[ a m s t e r d a m ] x x x

Alright! So, after turning my world upside down and quitting my job, I thought… welp, better pull a Julie and leave the country. Perfectly logical decision. It turned out to be GREAT timing as well, because I had some friends planning a Euro trip. I had never been to Europe, so thought this was as good a time as any! Not to mention, I was feeling very self conscious about the fact that I didn’t have many close relationships with people around me after my romantic relationship had ended. Let the universe provide, and provide it will.

So, first stop of Euro Trip 2016. Amsterdam! Yes, I had falafel, yes I had their pancakes, and yes, I even had their greenery, brownies and space cakes as well.

Amsterdam is thought to be a place where all pleasures are not just legal, but promoted. You should indulge while in Amsterdam. I kept this in mind while wandering around. I had lots of fine pastries, lots of delightful lattes and a few joints. I even bought mushrooms from one of the shops! To be honest, the mushrooms made my ears feel like they were buzzing and I just felt delightfully nauseous. Sort of like, I was spinning. Tough to describe. Not a psychedelic or trip experience, just felt…different.

The one thing that stands out to me about Amsterdam first and foremost were the BIKES. Holy hell. I have never seen so many bikes in my LIFE. I thought it might just be a fake quirk purposely set up to amuse tourists. I mean, there are some rusted to hell, antiquated bikes locked up all over. Bridges, drain, poles, you name it. Bikes that have clearly been forgotten about for years–probably one too many brownies, eh?

Anyways! I had 3 days in Amsterdam. The weather was just perfect. We stayed in a really nice Air B&B just outside of town. It was on a farm! I loved waking up there.

Anyways, here are some photos. I just loved walking around. Lots of shops, street art, street food, and cafe’s galore. Cafe’s are where we smoke weed, coffee shops are where we get coffee. So, when in Amsterdam, beware what “cafe’s” you wander into.

The relight district was honestly a little surreal! I wish I had taken more photos, but photos are not allowed. I mean, really it just didn’t feel real. The most gorgeous women you’ve ever seen behind glass doors beckoning men to come in with them. The entire area is really cool, actually. Especially at night time! The red haze of light and assortment of novelty shops and bars in the area is a sight to see, aside from the gorgeous ladies.

Amsterdam was a fun city and a fun first for my stay in Europe!

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Handstand-sterdam 🙂  The walk to the bus stop from the farm we stayed on.

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This is a funny story, actually. My friends and I were eating at a pub and I went inside to use the restroom. There was a cat inside! I wanted to take a photo with it. I got this photo, and then the cat jumped away. The owner of the cat said with an entirely serious face, “Oh! The cat is so shy because you are such a slut”in a thick dutch accent! I certainly hope he made a mistake when translating…although, in such an area you’d think they would have a grasp on what the word “slut” means. Still cracks me up to this day. img_6170

YUMM. Tacos after walking for 13 miles! img_6168

The charming row buildings and waterfront!img_6160

Our neighbor’s house on the walk back to the farm!

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Enjoying the farm 🙂
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The bikes!img_6121

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The beautiful canals!img_6143
The farm!
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Haha, what Amsterdam is famous for :)(:

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Such a fun spot. I miss the leisurely Dutch people and their fun words. I love how the language sounds and how they pronounce their words with deeply enunciated vowel sounds…. Sigh. Take me back! I could use a brownie this afternoon, to be honest. 😉

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Accelerated Nursing Program:  First Thoughts 

Soo, I finally did it! Nursing has been in the back of my mind for some time. In fact, when I started my first degree 7 short years ago (can’t believe it’s been that long!) I intended to pursue nursing as a major. However, the program was far too competitive. Apparently, a 3.4 wasn’t a competitive  GPA. I switched into the Health Sciences major and hung the nursing hat up for good…or so I thought. That was my first real rejection in life, and boy! It stung. 

Now, I’m not one to have regrets…. financially speaking, I sometimes catch myself wishing I had just retaken classes such as anatomy&physiology that I had B’s in to go for the B+ or A, but then I never would have traveled the world or lived in New Zealand, would I? A happy blessing 🙂 Not to mention, a friend of mine did that… stayed behind and persisted with the program and she only just graduated this past December due to a mile long wait list. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I digress. 

So, the year was 2016. Long story short: 

A typical scene. I hated my job. I wanted out. I applied to hundreds of jobs. I applied to 5 accelerated nursing programs. Didn’t hear a single thing back from ANY of the jobs, but I got into all of the nursing schools I applied to. Well. If I was ever looking for a sign, there it was!  I left my fate up to the universe, as I often do. 

Going back to school frightened me… by frightened me, I mean, gave me anxiety so severe that I booked a few sessions with a therapist. 😂 Seriously, the money. The time. More debt?! What was I doing? I started to feel more solid with my decision. It started to feel right. Of course it was right! Once I peeled back the irrational fear, I realized the simple, subtle truth: It’s the only thing I want to do. No corporate job would bring me fulfillment or flexibility like a nursing career would. I made my final decision to take the nursing school leap 6 months ago. 

Flash forward to NOW. I am half way through my first semester! I cannot belive how the time is flying, which I am more than glad for.

What I even moreso cannot believe is how much I LOVE it. It’s CRAZY. Truly. I’ve never worked harder towards anything. My work ethic is surprising even myself! 

 I have ACED my first round of exams, check offs and clinicals. I feel a real sense of belonging here. I love the small school I am attending. Everyome is so wonderful and supportive. The professors are all nurses, so you can imagine how sweet and great they are! 

Everything I am learning is super applicable to my soon to be career. I know I will need each and every one of these skills and bits of knowledge. Nothing feels like “senseless busy work”. It’s all interesting and I don’t even have time to feel overwhelmed. I just stay at it, one day at a time. Knocking things out as they come.

My daily schedule goes something like this: 

6:00-6:30 am. Wake up. Snooze a few times :)(: 

6:30-8:00 am. Have breakfast. Have coffee. Drive to campus. 

9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Monday-Thursday): 2 classes a day, 3 hours each. 

4:00-6:00 pm.  Drive home, have dinner, relax, go for a walk.

6:00-10:00 pm. Review, study, work on assignments, listen to recorded lectures. 

Eat. Sleep. Nursing. Repeat. 

On Saturdays and Sunday afternoons, I do consulting for an organic foods marketing company. 4-12 hours per weekend. Its very flexible. I make my own schedule and can cancel if I need to. It’s a nice way to change up the pace and have a little scratch for myself. Not that I’ve needed much extra money. All I really have time to buy is a coffee and sometimes dinner! What is the mall…? Haha. 

That’s been my life for the past 6 weeks and I absolutely love it. 

Now, I’d be a damn liar if I said I hadn’t experienced those waves of doubt or anxiety. Those old familiar nagging feelings trying to hold me back. I won’t let them. Not this time. Sometimes, the debt Iam accruing  worries me. Then I remember women (and men!) much older than me, with families, children and spouses are taking on that debt as well. 

I worry about what I’m missing out on with my friends. Weekend trips to wineries. Saturday boozy brunches. Late friday nights. Then I remind myself- It’s just one year. Well, really, it’s just this ONE semester. I keep hearing after the first semester that the clouds will part and I will find myself with a bit more free time. Honestly? I’ve spent multiple fridays and saturdays studying by myself and I have felt an immense amount of pride for doing so. I haven’t felt like I’ve missed oh so much just yet. I take great pride in my studies. I know what I’m investing this time in now is very important. The payoff will be well worth it. 

I just have to keep reminding myself that this is where I’m meant to be. This is what I want to be doing. I’ve rarely even had to remind myself of those things because overall, it has been so rewarding.

The accelerated nursing program is so fun because of all the different students… of all ages, and of many backgrounds. 

We’re all very serious about being here and very dedicated. So many talented, smart women in my class. I am lucky to be surrounded by such wonderful people. It’s a special comraderie. Something I never felt the first time around in undergrad….and this has only been a couple of weeks! 1.5 months down, 13.5 to go!  

Just wanted to add: I read an article recently and it really made me think. The overall idea of the article was that pursuing a passion as a career is inherently flawed. Our passions change. Our passions use up a lot of energy. Cashing in on your creative energy day after day will for sure cause burnout. However, the author suggested, to choose a career that gives you purpose and your passion for it will be renwed over and over; in ways you never thought possible. Sooo, i’m glad pastry chefing and cooking are just *hobbies* :)(:

 

O, Canada!  Part 1: Vancouver

You have my heart. Ohhh, Lordy. Was Canada an adventure, or what?!

I don’t even know where to begin.

How about we start with…Canada is only 5 hours away from me. WHY THE EFF don’t people make a bigger deal about Canada…?  It’s HIGH on the list of favorite places I have EVER been to.

So, I spent one month traversing Canada. From Vancouver to Toronto! Woohoo! Let’s begin with the GORGEOUS Vancouver. I’m the first to say–a city is a city, take me the the mountains. However, there is truly something magical and charming here, let me tell you.

The steam clock: check.

Delicious food: check.

A wonderful market: check.

Fantastic breweries & foodie scene to match: check.

Goregous scenery & waterworks: check

Bike ride through Stanley Park: check

Culture & personality out the wazoo: check.
On my list of cities I have ever visited, Vancouver holds my #2 spot! Right on,  Vancouver!  It’s a great city with something for everyone. Modern at its heart, with an unmistakable historic beat.




Thanks for the good times, Vancouver. Until next time 🖤

Make breakfast great again…

Who is guily of skipping breakfast? Ooh, me! Well.. if it’s the biggest sin you’ve commited all day, you’re doing better than me :)(:

I thought I’d give a go at a smoothie bowl! 2017 is the year of the bowl. Unconventional methods are so hot right now. 😉

So! I’m a fan of tExTuRe! Blend a little, or blend a lot–it’s up to you! Decorate with whatever nutritious (or not so nutritious) treats that you like. Super simple, nutritious and filling. What’s not to like?!

Here we have it!

1 single serve strawberry greek yogurt container

A handfull of spinach (i know, super precise)

Half a banana (or avocado! Just something creamy for texture)

5 large frozen strawberries

4 slices of frozen pineapples

A few cubes of frozen mango

A handfull of fresh blueberries

1/2 c. Almond milk (again, blend to your liking!)

3 tbsp rolled oats (for texture and fiber!)

A scoop of Designer Whey vanilla protein powder

Chia&flax seeds w/ coconut, raw almonds and white chocolate chips. Decorate to your heart’s content!

 

A Bowl of GOOD!

Here’s a quick fun recipe for you fit foodies!
Not to mention, I’m rather PROUD of myself for this one 😉
Not only is it artsy, its QUICK.

Here’s what we’ve got.

 

1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1 tbsp nut butter (coconut cashew nut butter in this specific recipe)
2 tsp. chia AND flax seeds
2 tbsp shredded coconut
1 tbsp Designer Whey Chocolate Protein Powder
a few berries, a few raw almonds

So, I poured some boiling water into my quick cooking oats and let them sit for a few minutes. I prefer this method because I prefer my oats to have a little texture to them. The microwaves cooks them up and they are mushier and thicker. Not my preference. Up to you. Then, I mixed in some coconut cashew butter and chocolate protein powder! Divine. Then, I simply decorated to my hearts content.

Not going to lie, I stared at this breakfast for longer than it took to eat it AND compile it 😉

Enjoy fit foodies! Share something with me below!

 

How Working Out Became My Favorite Part of the Day!

I know that I struggled immensely to incorporate daily activity into my everyday life. Especially in the wintertime! I know a lot of us have a hard time with making fitness a routine. Let’s face it, going to the gym is SO boring (my opinion) and the couch is just SO comfortable after a long day of work. Sometimes, eating healthy is a chore… However, I finally did it. I have made it to the point where I work out MOST days of the week. More importantly, I’m to the point where I genuinely LOOK FORWARD to that part of the day.

Now, I’m not selling you anything here. I don’t have P90x level results. I don’t have a perfect beach bod. However, what I DO have is an excellent attitude towards my body, my health and fitness in general. I’m just sharing my tips. This isn’t a one size fits all approach. This isn’t a pyramid scheme. It’s simply how I got myself from watching Game of Thrones, scrolling endlessly on my phone and “running out of time to workout” to working out daily to fitting it in everyday without having to think about it. As a full time student in a nursing program with a 30 hour/week job, this routine has worked the best for me. I hope my readers can gain some inspiration here as well.

Let’s get started, shall we?!

Your success lies in your daily habits. This is a fact. How you spend the first 2 hours of your day sets the tone for the day to come. How did I used to feel upon waking?  Tired. Not energized. What were my first actions of the day? Scrolling my timeline. Switching endlessly between social media apps until I was frazzled and rushed to make it out of the door on time. By picking up my phone first thing in the morning, I was putting myself in a reactive rather than proactive state of mind! I’ve come to learn that my phone, while beautiful and wonderful and helpful, is SUCH a distraction. It steals SO much time.

Here is a quick list of tips for how I transformed my mornings and ultimately transformed my life!

-I charge my phone away from my bed on my desk. I use a regular, old school alarm clock to wake myself up.  This has been HUGE. Once the phone gets to my hand, I am helpless but to surrender to its time sucking magic.

-I sleep in a comfy workout outfit. Spandex shorts and a tank top. Easy.

-I wake up 90 minutes before I have to leave for the day. My bags and lunch have already been packed and prepared from the night before. Most days, I wear my nursing scrubs, so choosing an outfit isn’t too challenging, although this could help you make some more time in the morning.

-I hung a fitspiration WALL in my bedroom/workout area. This has been a HUGE motivation for me. I realized the times I had been successful with working out (albeit for just a few weeks at a time), usually started with scrolling fitspo pages on Instagram. Motivational messages are so important. Having a mantra and having daily, visual reinforcement has been huge to my success. Here is my workout space. It’s RIGHT next to my bed.

-On my fitspiration wall, I have an accountability calendar! I personally use a points system. I give myself a rating each day for how well I worked out and ate and stuck to my goals. If I did a crazy hard workout and pushed myself, ate clean all day AND drank a ton of water I get 5 points. If I did a nice stretch, ate mostly well, drank a decent amount of water, avoided alcohol, etc I get 3 points… You get the idea. I also put REWARD days on the calendar. For instance, if I collect 50 points, I can go to happy hour and/or burger and wing night with friends. Its such a fun way to keep myself accountable. There is still the ever important aspect of positive reinforcement. I still get points, even if my day wasn’t optimal. I also like to plan my rewards visually. Before, I would say to myself “I get one cheeseburger a month”. However, a couple of weeks would pass and I’d say think, hm I think I’m near my one cheeseburger allowance. This is a solid way to keep track of progress and rewards. I also keep track of my weight on this calendar as well. There are also photos of quick at home workouts I can do. No excuses. If I have 20 minutes and a yoga mat, I can do a quick circuit, some pushups, etc.

This is my fitspo wall! I see it everyday when i’m on my way out of my bedroom.
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-I made a playlist. I put 70 of my favorite songs on there. This is how most of my workouts go in the morning. I put the playlist on shuffle and it’s such a great way to wake up. I aim to complete 5 songs. Depending on the songs chosen in the shuffle, that’s about 20-30 minutes of working out. If a slow song comes on, I stretch and practice yoga poses. If It’s a fast, pumped up song, I use my 15 lb dumbbells to do some arm routines or some body work on the mat (squats, pushups, situps, etc.). If its a super fun dance song, well I just dance around my room for the length of it, adding in lots of big body movements (great cardio) and even jogging in place, etc.

This has been the perfect formula that works for me. It doesn’t feel inconvenient and it fits into my busy schedule. I hold myself accountable. When I look at my wall, weary and tired from a long day, I am reminded of all the reasons this is important to me. I am happy with my method and STOKED that I finally found a way to incorporate exercise into my life for good.

It has been a small start, but I’m super proud of my consistency and dedication to make fitness a part of my everyday life. I’ve lost nearly 10 pounds, toned up most of my flabby areas, and this is just the beginning! It’s been a little amount of effort to work up to big results.

I’ve found that weight training is so much more fun for me than cardio. The results are faster and being sore the next day feels great. It’s my body letting me know that it’s getting stronger and changing. This is encouraging. Let me know if you have any questions! I’d love to help anyone else on their way to a more fit lifestyle. Share your tips and tricks below, as well! I’d love the opportunity to improve 🙂

 

The Last of 23…

So, it seems I left this blog in the dust this year. I feel that writing is always something I abandon when I need it the most! I really would have appreciated having more details to reflect and remember upon the year ending!

23 was such a doozie! Left me on a ridiculously high note and with a bit of a stone cold heart. I will fill in the deets later in subsequent posts. There’s much to discuss, friends. :)(:

Anyways, here is my typical yearly reflection on what I’ve learned and how I’ve improved.

I always like to reflect on the year that has passed each year on my birthday. It’s a tradition that started with my mother. During a particularly tumultuous year in our lives, she took me out to dinner and while I was grumbling and eating my birthday dessert she said to me “by this time next year, things will be better for us. Just wait and see.” True to her word, the next year at my birthday dinner she asked me if things had gotten better. They absolutely had. It’s a tradition that has stuck.

23 was a tough one. Blink 182 and Machine Gun Kelly already told me that. However, on the morning of my 23rd birthday a coworker said to me “Julie, I just want you to know that if you have a near midlife crisis this year, that you’ll be okay. You’ll figure everything out. 23 was my toughest year and I bottomed out and went through some hard times but now I’m fine and you will be, too. I just wanted to warn you.” I wanted to laugh. Me? Not having my shit together? Impossible. I always have my shit together…… LAWL.

Cue getting bulldozed by life.

I had higher highs, but also lower lows.

In 2016 I think I cried in public more than I have in my entire life 😂😂😂

This was a unique time where I genuinely didn’t know what the next step was. I was overwhelmed by choice. I hated where I was. I hated thinking about what was next.

I quit my job. I started a nut butter & almond milk company…Against good advice. I ran the idea by my personal advisor/mentee of sorts and she raised an eyebrow and said ,”Really? Why would you want to do that? You can buy natural peanut butter at Whole Foods”. Honestly? It was in that moment I realized that I can’t put my trust in anyone else. This woman was successful, but she very clearly was not an innovator.Despite her degrees and her “title” she was still working because of the grace of someone else. Someone else decided her skills were useful. I don’t subscribe to that. I know I’m valuable, talented and smart. So, I thought…why not make money for myself?  It was all so random. It was scary at times, even. The way the pieces fell together was nothing short of a miracle. Sometimes I sit back and wonder how I got myself into it and even pulled it off.

I learned that it is both a blessing and a curse to feel things very deeply.

I learned that when things scare me I should run towards them head on. I’ve only ever grown from taking on things that scared me.

I learned that some people genuinely just suck and there is nothing you can do about it.

I learned that I don’t take criticism very well.

I learned that I’m impatient.

I learned that I’m not very good at being bad at things.

I learned that dreams take work. Ridiculous amounts of work and copious amounts of support from family&friends.

I cried because I felt lost, because I didn’t know what was next, because I didn’t feel good enough and because people treated me poorly. I cried because time was moving too fast and I missed simpler times, because I was proud of everything I have accomplished and I even cried because I was just really, really happy.

I felt vulnerable, but unlike in the past, I opened up about my troubles often. To anyone who would listen. I learned that this is when the healing happens. When we allow others in. This was new for me; different from my usual. It was probably the best thing I learned this year.

I learned that words matter. Saying sorry after insulting someone doesn’t stop the bleeding. “Bandaids don’t fix bullet holes.” – T Swift. (Crediting Taylor Swift so I don’t get sued)

I think that I finally learned how to love myself. I’m so down with the weirdo that I am and I honestly feel unfuckwithable. It’s a real word. Look it up 😉

Wellll now I’m 24.

What the fuck is next?

Big, B I G adventures. Will keep current.

Believe in your journey…

…. even if you don’t understand it.

Live for your passions, even if you’re the only one.

So, I’m always stressing about finding where I’m meant to be and where I’m destined to end up…I want so badly to find the right career, one that will be fulfilling and make me happy.  As I’ve grown, I can say for sure that I’ve learned to relinquish control over where I will end up. Expectation is the root of all disappointment, and one phone call can change your life, one opportunity can turn everything around…and you never know when those moments will make themselves apparent. I’m going to share a little bit of my journey, my confusion, and how everything, including the ups and downs came together. I’m not even close to down moving, I’ve just landed in a spot where I’m feeling content, inspired and happy. I’m glad that I had faith in the winding path because I’m so happy with where I’ve ended up…..for now 😉

Flashback to May of 2015. I had just returned home from nearly a year spent abroad and I felt like I was ON FIRE. I felt like nothing could stop me! I was glowing and radiant. It was so good to be home, to see old faces and tell all of my recent adventures. As soon as I started applying for jobs, I found many hot leads and got plenty of calls back; which was very exciting! …….Until I went in for the actual interviews… “So, are you okay with making 150-200 outbound cold calls per day?”  “How do you feel about adhering to a strict uniform policy”… Suddenly, I was disheartened.  The jobs I tried out for that I was excited about, unfortunately weren’t the jobs I was getting offers for. These excellent, promising companies that I was so excited to interview with were suddenly not at all appealing to me. They were offering me the bottom of the barrel! I’m special, I’m different, I’m smart. Surely I can do better than entry level sales or administrative work, right?! Not so fast! Even though I already had a resume full of work experience, there was nowhere else to start except for the bottom. Why did I think I deserved more than that, anyways? Did I really think my waitressing, RA and camp counselor experiences would get me so far? Ha, no, I didn’t really think I was better than what I had been offered, I just couldn’t picture it for myself. I knew I wouldn’t be happy.

I complained about all of this to my mom, cursing my college degree, calling it useless. To which my wise mother responded and said, “Well, every college degree is useless. You’re hardworking and determined, you’ll find what you want. Sometimes when you are lost, life will guide you”. I didn’t believe her at the time, but she was right! So, I went in for another job interview.. I didn’t think it was anything special, just a medical receptionist offering an attractive starting salary… at least it was in a surgeon’s office and would correspond to my degree in health sciences while I was still figuring everything out. The night before the interview I got doped up on a drug cocktail. Just something to loosen me up and help me fall asleep. Just a little codeine and klonopin… Well it turned out to be a  mistake! I ended up oversleeping and waking in a miserable fog. I was 15 minutes late to the interview. Which turned out not to be a problem, as my interviewer was just finishing up with someone else. She said to me, “I hope you haven’t been waiting too long”. “No, no not at all!” I said. Within minutes of glancing at my resume she offered me an upgrade position as a marketing coordinator. The rest is history. I started a step up from the bottom with a job that affords me full freedom… I get to manage myself, I work independently with no one breathing down my neck and I get lots of perks like taking clients out to lunch, etc. I really found the perfect place for me to start. I honestly can’t believe my luck. I would have never chosen marketing for myself, but I do really enjoy it. I enjoy the creativity behind it, the psychological aspect of predicting consumer behavior and I even enjoy the data collection and analysis….

So, where am I going with all of this? Well, I’m always spinning up business ideas. Just neat little ventures I think would be fun to pursue some day. I have them in my mind and have fun “planning” them and thinking them through, only to neglect them and never bring anything to fruition. I recently read an article in Money magazine about turning your passions into profit. It said that the only successful start-ups were ones surrounding what you REALLY loved. I thought of my #1 business idea/dream of owning a bakery café. I love to cook and bake for other people. It really is what I love to do. When I was 10 years old I would bake a cake for my family every weekend. When I was 13, my brother would bring all of his friends over and I would make them a menu of all the meals I could make for them with the ingredients we had in the house. When I got my first job at 16 years old, I would walk to the grocery store and buy tons of ingredients to make all sorts of fun confectionaries and recipes. It has always been a passion of mine… to delight others with my cooking. I have never felt any shame in being a waitress, either. I actually LOVED waitressing! I was a server for 6 years and really enjoyed serving people. Even the really picky ones, they never bothered me or brought me down. I was HAPPY to bring them as many sauce and drink refills as they needed. Okay, sometimes drinks were annoying, but you get the point ;).

In the midst of all this inspiration, the whole turn your passions into profits idea… Something crazy happens. A man calls me at my place of work and awkwardly asks about a half-baked business project I started three years ago…How on earth did he find that? What is this all about?  I wondered…  I had reserved a domain name, but hadn’t gone any further. This man proceeded to tell me that he started a business with the same title and wanted to make sure he wasn’t encroaching. He had been successfully running the business in another state for 10 years and was moving his business to my state/area. I told the man that he wasn’t encroaching, there was no competition on the market. I never did anything with the idea…. It was disheartening. An idea that I had could have been profitable. So I took all of this as a sign to finally pursue my passions. To start small, but get something going….Flash foward and now I’m getting ready to launch my first health foods/baking business. I now have excellent marketing skills from a job that I lucked into while fueled on a drug hangover. I thought about how much trouble I have had trying to decide whether or not I should go to medical school, dental school, to get a PhD in Clinical Psychology, to pursue an advanced degree in marketing. I just didn’t know. Now it all makes sense. Nothing stuck out to me, nothing inspired me and nothing excited me because I was destined for something else. My first true business venture has been wildly exciting to me and has not only inspired myself but others around me. I can’t believe it’s all really coming together. I still have a lot of work to put in to get it off the ground, but I’m happy to do it. I’m BEYOND excited to put in the work. I spend my evening and weekends working on this business plan, experimenting with recipes, etc. And it’s all been worth it.

So, when you’re feeling lost and like you aren’t special? Just look to your passions. Start a little side hustle and have some fun with it while you’re still young! What do we even have to lose? I have student loans, a car payment, 2 jobs, a decent social life AND I still have the time and money to make this work. If I can do it, anyone can do it.

The Last of 22

As 22 comes to a close, I have to take a moment to reflect upon one of the most exciting and experiential years of my life….It’s funny, with each new year that passes, I conclude it by thinking that THIS was the year I really figured myself out. This was the year I did the most learning. Well just as I thought it was 21 last year, 22 takes the cake for most learning experiences by a long shot. L O N G shot. 

I had many ups and even a few downs. I moved to a foreign country for no good reason and without a plan. I experienced beauty. I fell in love. I saw new stars and constellations. I lived out of a backpack. I accepted huge physical challenges. I started a career that was totally unexpected but perfectly suits me.  I made new friends and even let go of a few. I spent nights out until the sun came up. I tried things I never thought I would. I watched someone lose their life right in front of me. Through everything, I watched myself grow. Some days, I felt myself wither. In every step along the way, on a good or bad day, I felt myself renewing my love for this crazy, crazy life.  Most importantly, I finally know and believe that the possibilities in life are truly endless. When nothing is certain, everything is possible. Always follow your heart and never be afraid to leave “good enough” to seek something better than you could ever imagine. Take chances in life and get into the habit of surprising yourself. You’ll do more than you ever imagined. 💋 

True Facts About Writing

(true for myself, anyways)

•      I can speak about a topic 100x better after i’ve written about it first. Yep! People are always telling me I speak eloquently and that I’m really good at explaining things. Little do they know, it’s because I’ve already ruminated over it in my mind and written a draft about it. I elaborate upon even my most trivial trains of thought in my personal journal. I’m a natural scatter brain. I don’t even want to know how jumbled my speech would be if I weren’t a writer.

•     Writing helps me solidify my thoughts and opinions. Sometimes in the middle of writing about something I feel like I’ve “figured it out”. I’ve come to many conclusions mid sentence that I can’t come to in my head space.

•     Sometimes the flow from brain to paper doesn’t work very well. I’ll be thinking aimlessly and come upon such a brilliant train of thought and as soon as I try to put it on paper it eludes me. It’s hard to just write what I’m thinking. Writing is such an active thing, it takes effort. Thinking does not. Once I start writing, I start judging my thoughts. I have a hard time with free flow writing.

•      I blog from my phone. So, there are mistakes and typos and I publish my first drafts. I need to embrace the editing process and take the time to improve upon my writing. I’m too impatient for that now. Always chasing down the latest train of thought.

•      Writing begets better writing. Okay, obvioussssly practice makes perfect, everyone knows that. The only way to be a good writer is to write everyday. I remember being 19 years old and googling “How to be a good writer”. Seriously. I did that. I remember it! I was alone in my dorm and I had been doing a lot of reading that semester and I decided then that one day I wanted to write a book. I remember a few times in my life when my writing was recognized. Still. In 2nd grade me teacher told me I needed to be more creative with my sentences. We were writing descriptively about wolves. All i could manage was “wolves are….., wolves are…” I remember being perplexed. How else was I supposed to write a paragraph describing wolves?!

In 3rd grade, I won writer of the week twice that year! I was the only 3rd grader to be selected twice that year. My 3rd grade teacher was a huge supporter of my creative writing and helped me with my tumultuous home life. I was timid and shy, but she knew something was up,  and she encouraged me to write to her about it since I was too ashamed to speak about it. She recently passed of Lou Gehrig’s and I never got to tell her how much of an influence she had on me and how much she helped me. I think of her often.

In 11th grade, my English teacher read my AP essay aloud to the class. I remember each and every of these moments of recognition plain as day. They made me so proud. My writing still makes me proud and the progress I have made is profound! Still haven’t started that book yet… 😆