25 Things that Inspired Me this Year (List-cember #4)

You know those moments when you hear/read/see/taste/experience something that gives you butterflies and fills you up with something you can’t quite explain, except for the fact that you not only want to feel more of it, but you want to pass that feeling on to others?

One of the greatest gifts in life is that you can experience these moments, even in the darkest of times in the most unexpected of places. What’s even better is that we all have the opportunity to encompass that light, even if this simply means passing on the light given to you by someone (or something) else. So, in the spirit of passing the torch, here are 25 things that inspired me this year. From quotes to songs to photos to videos to small ideas to big accomplishments and the like. Anything that gave me that light or opened that new door in my mind.

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1) All the Good Things

This is a segment on my blog that I do at the end of each month, highlighting the good things that happened amongst the easier to find/well known bad. I am proud of this segment, but the reason I’m including it on this list is because of all the brave, kindhearted individuals that keep it going each month. Thank you for your continuing kindness and love, the world always needs it!

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2) This moment:IMG_3084

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3) Hard Love by Needtobreathe

“There’s a reason why the road is long, it takes some time to make your courage strong.”

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4) “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” – John D. Rockefeller

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5) Booksgiving

This an event held in February by The Bloggess, which encourages readers to gift each other books. This year I received When Breathe Becomes Air, which ended up being one of my favorite books of the year.

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6) “You can’t ever reach perfection, but you can believe in an asymptote toward which you are ceaselessly striving.” – Paul Kalanithi, When Breathe Becomes Air

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7) Eva Igo on World of Dance 

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8) We Are the Kingdom by Francesca Battistelli

“Not to gain the world but make a difference.”

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9) How to Be a Bawse by Lilly Singh

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Honestly, I could probably just say ALL OF IT, but here are some of my favorite reasons why:

Take the first page, for example:

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And then insights like THESE:

  • “Not being able to control people and situations doesn’t make you powerless; it just means you have to exercise your power in a different way.”
  • “Think of discomfort as currency—it’s the price you pay to learn some pretty crucial things.”
  • “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs. An escalator can go out of service at any time, but the stairs are always there.”
  • “Don’t let disappointment blind you to potential.”
  • “You are a product of your environment, so decide wisely what kind of factory you want to be built in.”
  • “If you stay true to your values only when things are going well, then those aren’t values; they’re hobbies.”

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10) The #MeToo movement and it’s recognition by TIME

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11) This artist who utilized ripped paper as a medium:

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12) And this artist who did the same with legos

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13) “We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.” – Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

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14) Happy People by Little Big Town

“If you wanna know the secret, can’t buy it gotta make it. You ain’t ever gonna be it by taking someone else’s away.”

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15) Will Darbyshire

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16) “Don’t fear being afraid.” – Connor Franta, Note to Self

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17) My adventure with Alison Teal

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It put me wayyy out of my comfort zone, but I’m thankful for every second of it. You can read about it here.

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17) This piece of advice:

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18) Which goes right alongside this one:

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19) Rudy Mancuso

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20) “Sometimes you just have to pick a direction and make mistakes. Then you use what you learn from your failure to pick new, better directions so you can make more mistakes and keep learning.” – Matthew Quick, Every Exquisite Thing

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21) Whatever it Takes by Imagine Dragons

“I do whatever it takes, ’cause I love how it feels when I break the chains”

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22) Move Beyond Tour

In June of this year, my mom, sister and I attended Move Beyond, a show put on by Julianne and Derek Hough, and I was absolutely floored. I actually wrote a blog post about it that I never published, but to give you an idea of how much the inspiration was bubbling inside me after seeing the show, here’s an excerpt:

When the three of us walked out of the theater that night, I had no doubts of what Move Beyond meant, and understood it was different for everyone. For me, it was a request—or rather, a demand—to move beyond the walls of the day to day. To move beyond the bounds of my limits. To move beyond the minimum, the maximum and the unthinkable. To become someone beyond who I’d imagined. To love, and create and discover beyond the realm of possibility. It was an encouragement to do more, to be more. It was proof that you can move beyond anything, if only you have the courage.

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23) This:IMG_3067

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24) Seeing this dream be manifested*:

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*Note: the first tweet was posted in January of 2014. This year he’s nominated for five Grammy’s. 

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25) And finally this:

Which quite honestly, still leaves me speechless.

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There is always inspiration to be found, and I’m thankful for the bright lights that have proven that to me this year and in years’ past. Thank you for filling me up when I’m feeling empty and opening doors I didn’t even realize were there. Here’s to a continuing cycle of inspiration, kindness and love!

 

 

 

Books I Read This Year (List-cember #3)

In 2016 I set a goal to read 30 books and while it was challenging, I succeeded and commemorated the victory with this book tower:

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It was a cool way to physically showcase the feat, though, I wouldn’t exactly recommend it as it was much heavier than I anticipated. I’m pretty sure I almost pulled a muscle and I’m entirely sure I committed brief verbal assault on my sister for not taking the picture fast enough. (Sorry, Natalee.)

This year, I had no set goal for how many books I wanted to read, but that didn’t stop me from reading incessantly. There are just too many good books out there these days, it’s overwhelming! As of now I’ve finished 22 books and am about halfway through John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down, which, due to the crazy schedule December holds for me, will probably be my last book of the year.

Overall, I was very satisfied with the selection of books I read this year. I dipped my toe into a variety of different genres and experienced an endless array of emotions, which is really all you can ask for. If I were to pick a favorite or a top 3 or a you should 100% buy these as Christmas presents type list, I think I’d go with:

  1. How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh
  2. Brain on Fire by Susannah Calahan
  3. The Sun is Also a Star by Niccola Yoon

They are three very different books in three very different genres but they all had me glued to their pages and recommending them to everyone. With that being said however, I think I’d recommend just about every book on this list.  I actually considered ranking them from best to “worst” but couldn’t bring myself to do it, so instead I just listed them in the order I read them. So, in case you’re a bookworm like me or just looking for a suggestion or two, here are the books I read this year:

Note: I considered writing a brief bio to go with each book, but it turns out “brief bio” is an oxymoron to me. So, I’ve instead provided an Amazon link where you can find descriptions written by paid professionals and given you the genre to help you better sort out which ones you might be drawn to. Enjoy!

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  1. Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum: Teen/Young Adult (find it here)
  2. Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick: Biography/Humor (find it here)
  3. The Sun is Also a Star by Niccola Yoon: Teen/Young Adult (find it here)
  4. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanthi: Memoir/Social Sciences(find it here)
  5. OCD, the Dude & Me by Lauren Roedy: Teen/Young Adult (find it here)
  6. This is a Book by Demetri Martin: Humor/Entertainment (find it here)
  7. How to be a Bawse by Lilly Singh: Biography/Self-Help (find it here)
  8. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick: Teen/Young Adult (find it here)
  9. Brain on Fire by Susannah Calahan: Memoir/Medicine (find it here)
  10. The Great Passage by Shion Miura: Fiction/Japanese Culture (find it here)
  11. This is Really Happening by Erin Chack: Nonfiction/Humor (find it here)
  12. Crank by Ellen Hopkins: Poetry/Young Adult (find it here)
  13. Glass by Ellen Hopkins: Poetry/Young Adult (find it here)
  14. Note to Self by Connor Franta: Nonfiction/Poetry (find it here)
  15. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver: Teen/Young Adult (find it here)
  16. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by Mark Manson: Self-Help (find it here)
  17. Sandy Koufax: A Lefty’s Legacy by Jane Leavy: Baseball/Biography (find it here)
  18. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls: Biography/Memoir (find it here)
  19. How to Ruin Everything by George Watsky: Essays/Humor (find it here)
  20. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut: Fiction/Science Fiction (find it here)
  21. The Sun & Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur: Poetry (find it here)
  22. Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by JK Rowling: Fantasy/Fiction (find it here)
  23. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green: Teen/Young Adult (find it here)

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Did you have any books you were particularly drawn to/borderline obsessed with this year? Let me know! I’m always looking for suggestions 🙂

2017 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #2)

Last year I introduced you to a few of my family’s noteworthy Christmas ornaments by handing out superlatives reminiscent of a high school yearbook. And since I went over to decorate my parents’ house last night, I thought it was only fitting to introduce you to a few more.

Thus, here is the second installment of Ornament Superlatives, enjoy!

(Also, in case you missed it, you can check out the first installment here.)

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Most Likely to be Missing a Piece

(or be some sort of break dancing angel baby)

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Most Likely to Have Eaten a Compromised Cookie

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Most Likely to Peek-At-Choo Gifts Under the Tree

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Most Likely to Have Just Found Out it’s an Ornament

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Most Likely to Have Glued a Beard on His Face to Try and Blend In

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Most Likely to be an Extra from Santa’s Vogue Photoshoot

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Most Likely to be Santa’s Mode of Travel When the Reindeer Get Old and Tired

(Hint: Foot Propeller)

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Most Likely to Give You Nightmares

(Note: This dethrones last year’s previous winner)

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Most Likely to Have Previously Topped a Cupcake

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ALSO: Most Likely to Make You Want a Cupcake

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Most Likely to Make You Wonder What a Llama Has to do with Christmas, then Make You Wish You Had a Christmas Llama of Your Own

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My Top 10 Christmas Movies (List-cember #1)

Hello and welcome back to the second annual List-cember!

In case you missed it last year, I dedicated my December to posts centered around lists. Some were Christmas themed, some weren’t, some will be returning for a second edition this year, some won’t. Regardless, I’m excited to bring you the second installment! I hope you enjoy and I hope you give me opinions on things you’d include if you wrote one of these lists. I’m all about the input, people, give it to me!

To kick us off, I’ve got somewhat of a controversial topic: Christmas movies. If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about people during Christmas time, it’s their devotion to watching what they consider THE BEST Christmas movies. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about these kind of movie watchers it’s their tendency to debate over why they think their Christmas movies are THE BEST. Now, I’m not here to debate, really, I’m more just standing here with my list and a white flag saying, “these are my opinions, and I totally respect yours.” But if you have a Christmas movie you love that I didn’t include, please let me know. Because if there’s one undeniable fact about Christmas movies, it’s that you can never watch too many.

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10) National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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I’ve really only seen this movie a handful of times, but it’s one of those that I constantly forget how funny it is until I watch it again. It’s Chevy Chase in his prime and it’s one of my dad’s favorite movies, which makes it that much better.

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9) The Year Without a Santa Clause

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This is a classic from the 70s where Santa wakes up with a cold after Thanksgiving and decides not to deliver presents that Christmas. Instead he sends out two of his elves to figure out if anyone still cares about Christmas or even believes in Santa anymore. I realize that the way I’m describing it makes it sound totally depressing but it’s not. (At least not all of it.) It’s got cute characters and catchy songs that I’ve been singing my entire life, so if you haven’t seen this one, I highly recommend you check it out!

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8) Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

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This is another classic that’s undeniably adorable. We all know the story of Rudolph and how he saved the day—or rather, Christmas Eve night—but this gives us some backstory on the little guy, including his friendship with an elf named Hermey and his run in with the Abominable Snow Monster of the North (no relation to King of the North, Jon Snow.) Fun fact: There is a point in the movie when Rudolph yells, “I’m cuuuuuute!” and my family quotes this approximately 30 times a year.

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7) To Grandmother’s House We Go

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If you were anything like me as a kid, you were OBSESSED with the Olsen twins, so it’s really no surprise that the girls’ Christmas film holds a firm place in my top 10. In this story, the girls overhear their mom saying she needs a vacation, so they sneak onto a UPS truck in the hopes it will take them to their grandmother’s house. Mind you, the girls are only about six years old, so this causes some panic among multiple parties, but it’s undeniably cute and makes me smile every time.

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6) The Grinch

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I can already cross this one off my “to-watch” list this year because my roommates and I watched it while decorating our house the other day. It had actually been a few years since I watched it and I forgot how good Jim Carrey is in it.

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5) It’s a Wonderful Life

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This is one of those movies that always makes you think a little bit more about how lucky you are to have what you have, especially during the holiday season when the general mindset is focused what you want. I think it’s an important one to watch each year, if only to hear Jimmy Stewart yell, “MARRRYY.”

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4) A Christmas Story

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I take it back, this is probably my dad’s favorite Christmas movie. We’ve undoubtedly watched this movie upwards of 20 times in my life and we still laugh at all the same parts. Recently, I got a flat tire and I thought of the scene when Ralphie drops his infamous F-bomb, and while I’ve never had much of a dirty mouth, it still made me very grateful my mom rarely bought bars of soap. Fun fact: my family actually owns two bb-guns like the one shown in the movie and we break them out every Christmas to shoot old ornaments. Additional fun fact: no eyes have been shot out…so far.

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3) Love Actually

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I’ve been trying to stop myself from getting cheesy and saying I actually love this movie, but, well, anyways. I do love this movie and I watch it every year while I wrap presents. It makes me laugh, it makes me cry and it gives me all the warm fuzzies. Also, Hugh Grant’s dancing scene is one of my favorite things that’s ever happened in a movie.

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2) Elf

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At this point, it has to be almost impossible to make a Christmas movie that can hold up among the oldies, but Will Ferrell managed to do it a few years back—woah, I just googled it, and this actually came out 14 years ago, yikes—and I think it will forever be regarded as one of the best Christmas movies ever made.

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1) The Family Stone

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I know, I know, this one has got to be a little bit of a surprise for most people. As far as I know, my family is the only one that consistently watches this EVERY year, sometimes more than once during the Christmas season alone. But it is undeniably my favorite Christmas movie and probably one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t even know what it is about it, maybe it’s just the place it holds in my family’s heart. But we laugh and laugh and cry and cry every year as if we’ve never seen it before and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

30 Good Things that Happened in November

I have good news and good news. I have only good news!

As mentioned in this blog post, at the end of every month I’m going to highlight all the good things that happened in that 30-day (or so) span, to give ourselves a break from the well known bad.

You can find last month’s here.

Happy November to you!

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1) The Dodgers took out a full-page ad in the Houston newspaper to congratulate the Astros on their World Series win

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2) These childhood sweethearts got engaged

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3) Lin Manuel Miranda’s son saw the first act of Hamilton

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4) These sisters perfectly showcased what it’s like being sisters

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5) This dog liked his new carpet

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6) This stepson gave his stepdad an amazing surprise

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7) Actress Gabby Sidibe responded to a nasty Instagram comment in the best way

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8) This police trio got warmed up

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9) This homeless man got the ultimate payback after a helping a woman with his last $20

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10) This boy gave out some great encouragement at the New York Marathon

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11) These passengers turned a delayed flight into a party.

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12) This 102 year old man met the nephew he never knew he had

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13) This cartoonist created a series that reminds us to be thankful

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14) This boy saw clearly for the first time

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15) Australia voted YES

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16) This Australian man proposed to his boyfriend using his water polo team

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17) This mom wrote a beautiful letter to her nurse

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18) This cop went above and beyond the call of duty

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19) This man danced his heart out

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20) This chef offered some help to a customer

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21) The lead singer of Imagine Dragons posted this great reminder

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22) This boy got some camera time during his mom’s yoga video

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23) Thanksgiving

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24) After accidentally inviting the wrong teen to Thanksgiving last year, this grandma invited him—and he accepted—to spend the holiday with her family anyways. This year, she invited him again and he brought his girlfriend.

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25) This man spent his Black Friday paying it forward

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26) This puppy made a new best friend

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27) This girl got flowers from her dad

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28) These Indian women who are victims of acid attacks walked in a fashion show

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29) This woman became the first contest with Down Syndrome to compete in the Miss Minnesota pageant

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30) This woman got an amazing surprise from her grandmother

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what December brings!

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You’re Free to be Great, So Go for It

This past week I officially hit the 900 mile mark of my 1000 mile running goal for the year. It’s been a trying 11 months to get here, and I have a feeling this final month will take everything I have to finish. My body is tired. It’s been sore and achy and fatigued more days than it hasn’t. And yet, I still feel strong. I feel like I can do anything.

Over the course of this year, I’ve looked for and found a variety of different things to listen to/watch while I’m running, the most prominent being my ever changing playlist on my phone, aptly titled “Running.” Consistently among my favorites on the playlist is “The Greatest” by Sia.

The song starts as follows:

Uh-oh I’m running out of breath, but I’ve got stamina.

Uh-oh I’m running now I close my eyes, well I got stamina.

And uh-oh, I see another mountain to climb

But I got stamina

For obvious reasons, this first verse makes sense on a running playlist. I mean what else besides stamina—and the slightest bit of insanity—do you need to get yourself running? To add to that, in the next part she sings:

Don’t give up

I won’t give up

Don’t give up, no, no, no

Which again, is exactly the kind of mindset you need to have while running.

The part that really hooks me though, is the chorus:

I’m free to be the greatest, I’m alive

I’m free to be the greatest here tonight, the greatest

The greatest, the greatest alive

The greatest, the greatest alive

I tell ya, whenever that chorus kicks in while I’m running, I break out into a sprint. Because aside from being the kind of inspirational “go team” type of sentiment that I need when I’m exercising, it fills me with motivation that I can take further.

I’m free to be the greatest, she says, I’m alive.

In other words: I’m free to be the greatest I can be, in anything I choose to try, because I have the great privilege of being alive. I firmly believe that the idea behind these words is what gets me out there running every day. It’s what put the idea in my head that I could run 1000 miles in the first place. For there’s truly nothing greater than making your dreams a reality and your doubts fiction.

So, I encourage you to chase them with everything you’ve got. Because as of today, as of this moment, you are completely free to be the greatest you can be, so you might as well go for it.

 

5 Square Pegs I’m Thankful For

It’s Thanksgiving time again, which means we have reached that point in the year where there is an entire day dedicated to something we should all strive to do a little more of: be grateful. I personally feel like I could talk for hours about all that I am thankful for, but that’s not to brag, it’s more to criticize myself for all the moments I let trivial things make me forget.

This year has been a trying one for our world. Fear and hate have tried their best to dictate who we are and what we do. But among this darkness has also been the constant presence of love. There are people helping people and loving people and saving people. There is still an ever presence of light that is trying it’s best to bleed out the dark.

Here on my blog, I’ve been doing my best to highlight the good things that have been happening amongst the bad in a monthly segment called “All the Good Things.” It’s a list of positive minded and/or inspiring actions/events that happen during a specific month, the length being equal to the number of days in that month. Come December, I’ll have done 11 “episodes” which equivalate to 334 good things that have happened so far this year! (And that’s only the ones I included on the list!) For me, making this list each month has given me a constant source of hope and positivity. It’s inspiring to know how many good hearts are out there in the world!

Speaking of good hearts. Last year for Thanksgiving, I wrote a post about 8 badass women I was (and still am) thankful for. Starting with my girl, Gina Rodriguez, the list showcased 8 women who had truly inspired me that year with their character, courageousness and all around badass-ery. This year I have a new list, and while they are not all women, they are all people who I’ve looked up to this year . For amongst all the repetition and imitation found in this age of social media, these 5 people are paving their own way with passion, innovation, inspiration and kindness. These are the square pegs challenging all the round holes—don’t make it weird. They are the ones standing out for good reason, showing the true benefit of being yourself and standing up for what you believe in.

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1) Ellen DeGeneres

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If you’re ever looking for a smile or a safe place to laugh, Ellen is your go-to girl. With her unwavering positivity and message of kindness, she is a constant source of joy for anyone and everyone, especially those who watch her show. I am constantly inspired by the goodness she brings to television and social media and I can only hope to be part of projects with such a positive impact one day.

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2) Malala

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Honestly, I don’t even think there are words I can say that could possibly describe the magic that is Malala. But maybe that’s the point. After all, it is not only her voice but her actions and her unshakable bravery that make her someone I continue to look up to. If you don’t know her story, I highly you suggest you look it up in its entirety, but here’s a sneak peek:

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3) Gal Gadot

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A small part of me wishes Wonder Woman would have come out last year so that Gal Gadot could have been properly featured on my list of badass women, but the rest of me is glad it came out this year, because she is the superhero we all needed. It’s no secret she’s a badass, but it’s also no secret that she’s humble and kind and an incredible role model for young (and old and any age really) girls and boys alike.

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4) Chance the Rapper

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I don’t like being behind the times, so when I started hearing everyone talk about Chance the Rapper’s album Coloring Book, and then realized I could only listen to it on Spotify, I almost immediately handed over my $7/month so I could see what this guy was all about. After doing so, let me just say that regardless of whether or not you like his music—which I do—you can never be too late to the party that is Chance the Rapper. Bottom line, he’s just a great person that is so full of life and love that it makes you want to be full of life and love.

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5) Lin-Manuel Miranda

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A few months back I had the opportunity to see Hamilton when it came to LA, which was everything I wanted/hoped it would be times 1000. Afterwards, I more or less love-ranted my way into a blog post called “5 Lessons I Learned from Hamilton & Lin-Manuel Miranda,” which says pretty much everything I want to say here, save for a few more thank you’s. As someone who’s constantly exhausted by what I find on social media, Lin-Manuel Miranda is always a breath of fresh air.

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Sometimes I have to remind myself that these tweets are not written directly to me. But then again, maybe they are. Maybe they are exactly what I need to read in order to get me where I need to go, which in a perfect world, is a place where I can write something that is exactly what someone needs to read in order to get them where they need to go. I’m all for this assembly line of inspiration, kindness and productivity, Lin. Let’s keep it moving!

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Thank you to all these square pegs and to the many more that are out there making a positive difference in the world. I have so many things to be thankful for this Thanksgiving and you are all among them!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

TBTS (Throwback Thursday Stories): Flu Season

In honor of the impending flu season, today I bring you an unpublished blog I wrote a couple years ago when I had fallen victim to its clutches. I had spent days on the couch and was going a little insane and wanted to make myself laugh.

I hope you can all escape the snot and chills that come a threatenin’ this time of year, but if you do find yourself swaddled in a blanket for multiple days at a time, stay strong!

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I have the flu and I’ve been sitting in my dad’s recliner since Monday afternoon.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m someone that doesn’t like to go to the doctor and will try to avoid it at all costs. Some might say it’s because I hate the doctor, others might say it’s because I have severe commitment issues and will only go unless I completely trust them, which is rare.

A few years back, I found a good one. She was funny, smart, and talked about kayaking when she gave me my first pap. It was true love. Then she left me. Something about “wanting to start a family.” I call it selfishness, and I’m still not over it. COME BACK TO ME, ALICIA.

Wednesday evening, after I had successfully spent two straight days in the aforementioned recliner, I decided that I might as well go to the doctor. A 102 fever, a nasty cough, waterfalls of snot, and a splitting headache. I was the picture of glamour and sex appeal.

My mom and I strolled into Urgent Care at precisely 8:45 pm. It closed at 9, so we were met with more than a few annoyed glances but a helping hand nonetheless. I walked up to the counter, signed in, and turned to find the closest seat. I was exhausted. I had after all, just walked 100 feet from the car.

“Miss Koehn, will you be able to provide us with some samples for this test. It’s an annual test and it appears as though it’s been 2 years since you last completed it.”

I couldn’t breathe, I looked like shit, and a raindrop of snot was working its way through my nose and onto my face; could there be a better time to test me for Chlamydia?

“I guess.”

I was then escorted to a room where a nurse asked me to list my symptoms.

“Persistent fever, wheezing, a cough, and sinus congestion.”

I said this, realizing that 1) both my ears had popped, a phenomenon I had not experienced for 72 straight hours and, 2) I hadn’t coughed or wheezed since I’d been there.

She took my temperature.

98.6

Well, damnit.

“Listen lady, I. AM. SICK. I promise you. I’m not being dramatic, I’m not faking it to get out of work, and contrary to what your coworker might think, I didn’t drive all the way down here just to get tested for an STD.” I told her all of this with my mind of course. Speaking would involve a lot of breathing, and that was exhausting.

Luckily, a doctor still came. He looked me in the eye and shook my hand, my germ ridden hand, skin to skin. (Respect, man.) He reviewed my vitals and listened to me breathe deeply in and out, roughly 1000 times.

Since my fever had reached 102, he ordered a chest X-ray to check for pneumonia. A nurse escorted me through three doors and led me down a hallway to Radiology. There I found a man sitting behind a desk watching Survivor, his waiting room completely empty. He led me through two more doors and directed me down another hallway to the women’s changing room. After stripping down and then robing up, I waited patiently on a cold seat until an elderly Hispanic man took me to the X-ray room.

After snapping a few pictures, he led me back to the changing room and told me to go back the way I came to the doctor. I waved to Survivor man and then found the Chlamydia nurse who led me back to my original room where the doctor was waiting.

He prescribed me the good stuff, saying it wasn’t pneumonia, but it had potential. So, I hopped in the elevator, made my way to the pharmacy and took a seat in a squeaky leather chair, waiting for my name to pop up on the marquee.

There was a janitor sweeping the hallway, and every few seconds I heard a door shut and lock. That’s when I realized I had no idea where my mom was. And maybe it was the snot or all the walking, but suddenly I imagined the worst. My mom, a notoriously good napper, had obviously drifted off in one of the waiting rooms while reading her Kindle. She had left her phone in the car so she didn’t hear me calling and the only janitor with a key to the room she slept in had left for the day. We would spend the night here, me in this chair in the pharmacy that smelled like Pepto Bismol, and my mom unknowingly trapped behind one of the seemingly hundreds of forest green doors.

I wouldn’t go down without a fight.

I glanced down the hallway and decided a door looked familiar. After knocking a few times to no response, the janitor sauntered over to me and pointed to the next door over. Then, in a Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams esque tone, he said: “If you knock, someone will come.” Chills ran down my spine, either from awe or the second wind of my fever.  I nodded in thanks and then he vanished into thin air. (Just kidding, though he did move fast.)

In the end, my mom was saved, I got a goodie bag of drugs, and I didn’t have Chlamydia. I’ll take the wins where I can get ’em.

If the Timehop App Knew Too Much

Alongside hitting snooze upwards of three times, my morning routine usually consists of checking the Timehop app on my phone. For those of you unfamiliar, Timehop connects to your social media accounts and tells you what you have posted on that day, however many years ago. In my case, Timehop usually reminds me of bad jokes I’ve made—though to be fair, I usually still laugh at them.

Sometimes when I read through an old status or tweet or Instagram picture, I’m reminded of more than just the post itself. I have flashbacks of the days and moments surrounding the post, getting a little glimpse into where I was when I posted it. This got me thinking: wouldn’t it be something if Timehop somehow tapped into those moments in time, both the good and the bad?

It would probably look something like this:

6 years ago today you said “you too” when the theater ticket taker said, “enjoy the movie.”

4 years ago today you woke up and felt inexplicably different about the relationship you were in.

2 years ago today you spent the entire day on the couch for no reason.

1 year ago today you ate 15 Oreos for breakfast and couldn’t eat anything for the rest of the day.

7 years ago today you fell in surface love with a person you saw on the freeway and spent a solid 10 minutes picturing what your future together would be like.

3 years ago today you looked in the mirror and liked what you saw for the first time in a long time.

5 years ago today you ate expired food from your fridge.

5 seconds ago today you were still wondering if it had any lasting effects.

14 years ago today you saw your favorite movie for the first time.

10 years ago today you made awkward small talk with a person who would become your best friend.

 

To be honest, I’m not sure if I’d like a deeper digging Timehop. I like the freedom of being able to block things out here and there. But I suppose the important thing to remember, both about the real Timehop, and the nosy, fictional one I’ve imagined, is that it can remind us of all the moments that have lead us to where we are now, and the ones currently leading us somewhere in the future. Today will be full of those moments, as will tomorrow. They won’t all be easy, but they’ll be necessary to help us get where we’re destined to go.

Blogging Tips that Helped Me (& Can Hopefully Help You Too)

By no means do I consider myself a professional in any capacity when it comes to writing, however, I have done (at least one) lap around the block, as they say. 

This past month marked my 4-year blogging anniversary, which made me feel a lot of feels and sent me on one of those oh, how far I’ve come type mind rants. And while I’ll spare you the details of that I thought it might be nice to give a list of different tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.

The way I see it, this is an ever evolving medium that will always have new things to learn, and it can never hurt to share!

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1) Beyond Your Blog

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If you’re a writer looking for places to submit your work this is essentially the MECCA of opportunities. I owe almost every publishing credit I have to this website, so I could never recommend it enough. Unfortunately, I think it is closing down soon, but before it does, do yourself a favor and take some notes!

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2) Submittable Newsletter

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When sending work to different publications, I often come into contact with Submittable as the platform used for submissions. And while I’m not sure when exactly I found out/signed up for their newsletter, I’m glad I did. Once a week the Submishmash Newsletter sends me two emails, the first of which gives a list of a bunch of publications and competitions that are open to submissions and the second gives you a list of top stories you can read for inspiration! It’s a win win!

You can sign up for the newsletter here.

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3) Unsplash

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This is my go-to place for all things pictures! When I’m writing a new blog I often try to find a nice/appropriate picture to go along with it and this website is stocked with absolutely GORGEOUS, free photos. You heard me right: FREE! Just type in a couple keywords and browse around the incredible gallery and voila your blog is looking professional.

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4) #MondayBlogs

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On the average week, I try to post two blogs, one on Mondays and one on Thursdays. (HEYOO, she’s on it this week!) In keeping to this schedule, I eventually came across #MondayBlogs on Twitter, which is a tag tracked by the account @MondayBlogs. They go through and retweet a ton of blogs posted on Mondays, which is great because it can both give your blog more publicity and give you access to a bunch of new reading material!

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5) Daily Post/Community Pool

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If you’re a WordPress blogger, you gotta jump on these trains!

The Daily Post publishes a prompt every single day to both give you inspiration and provide you a place to share your work! I love going through and reading the posts and have made more than a few blogging friends doing so.

The Community Pool is another place you can share your work with the WordPress community. It’s give you the opportunity to post a link to either a recent post or your blog as a whole and ask for feedback from your fellow bloggers!

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6) The Paper Kites

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Feel free to disagree with me on this one, but I have yet to find an artist that gets my creative juices flowing like The Paper Kites. I don’t know what it is, they just get me in the zone, you know? I’ve probably listened to their album twelvefour over one hundred times, so if you’re looking for some high quality writing music, I recommend it!

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That’s all I have for now, I hope that any/all of these can be of some assistance!

Have any tips/tricks/go-to writing music of your own you are willing to share? Please do!