inspiration

30 Good Things that Happened in April

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) Officer Oliver reported for duty

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2) This Humboldt hockey player showed incredible bravery in the wake of a tragedy

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3) These dog nannies took care of their kids

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4) This 108 year old man met his great-great grandchild and namesake

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5) This incredible joke was made

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6) This girl’s video about bullying received a big response from the Yankees

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7) This boy got the photoshoot of a lifetime

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8) This woman tried to water her plants

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9) This man’s picture ended up being worth more than 1000 words

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10) This photographer went the extra mile to get the perfect shot

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11) The co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge got his voice back

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12) The police identified this missing dog by singing its favorite song

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13) This boy saw color for the first time

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14) Chuck E Cheese made this announcement

Considerate Chuck E. Cheese

A post shared by Tank.Sinatra (@tanksgoodnews) on

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15) This woman made geode art

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16) Google honored Maya Angelou for her 90th birthday

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17) This woman gave us an important reminder

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18) This family found their daughter after a 24-year search

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19) This girl tried her hand at captioning New Yorker cartoons

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20) The Rock surprised this girl over her school’s PA system

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21) This man got a nearly drowned prairie dog back on its feet

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22) Melissa McCarthy gave some inspirational words about finding success

“When you spend 20 years working your butt off, you know yourself better. If you’re handed everything you want at 19 or 20, you may actually believe all of the people who are like, ‘You’re amazing.’ I think I would have been probably cuckoo [if I’d been successful] at 18. I think the best thing I could have done was struggle until I was 30. I always assume every job is my last. Twenty years of desperately trying to get a single job gets deep in your DNA.”

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23) This dog taught his brother how to “sit”

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24) Model Nyles DeMarco politely called out this woman for creeping pictures of him

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25) The royal baby was born

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26) And so were a bunch of others whose parents didn’t expect to find paparazzi waiting for them outside the hospital.

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27) These truck drivers joined together to save a man’s life

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28) This girl surprised her prom date

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29) This woman drank alcohol for the first time since giving birth

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30) This boy ran home

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

I can’t wait to see what May brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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You Keep Following Your Dreams & I’ll Keep Following Mine

In August of 2016, me, my sister, and my best friend Allison (except I spell it Alleeson because of a whole Kimberlee double-e solidarity thing) went to dinner at Islands. As we sat laboring over which hamburger to choose from the menu, Alleeson put her hands on the table and took a deep breath.

“I have news,” she said.

I put my menu down and looked across the table at her, trying to gage whether this was good news or bad news based on the tone of her voice.

“I got a job.”

“That’s great!” I said, relieved.

“It’s for a news station in Oregon.”

Not even a month later, she was moving into a house 12 hours away and I was both heartbroken for me and unfathomably excited for her. She was nervous, I could tell. But she was also excited and curious and determined to give herself the big break she’d been waiting for.

In November of that year, I was able to visit her. She took me on a tour around her studio and showed me where they filmed the show and the things she was in charge of. I even got to watch a live taping of the evening show and witness her talent in action.

Back home, I was trying to catch some of the fire Alleeson had left behind. I was in awe of her bravery and her ability to just go for it. She made it look easy, even though I know almost no part of it was. She made me want to fight the battles that had long been easier to stay out of.

As the months went on, even though we were now hundreds of miles apart, I noticed how we still managed to mirror each other. Since we both come from creative backgrounds, we are constantly looking to do more, make more, be more, and so we both have our ups filled with confidence and our downs filled with doubt.

One night, as we were both lamenting over where we were and where we wanted to be, we made a pact. We decided that since the paths to our ultimate dreams were somewhat blurry, the best first step would be to hone in the destination.

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In the last year, I’ve seen Alleeson dive even deeper into her work. Putting in day after day, constantly pushing herself and trying new things, trying to be more. And yesterday, just as I was getting home from work, I got a message.

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She called me and I screamed into the phone. I tried to tell her how proud I was, how excited I was, how much she deserved it. Because she did. She does. She took that big risk; she’s put in all that work. She’s carving that path towards her dream no matter what anyone has to say about it.

It would be easy to be jealous, but that would be a waste of time. Instead, I’m going to take this as a reminder of what we set out to. What we intend to do, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.

So as I celebrate this huge step she’s made, I’m going to take a few more of my own. For we started this together and always planned to kick ass side by side from there.

Congratulations Alleeson! (And good luck at the 2018 Regional Emmy’s!) Keep following your dream and I’ll keep following mine, and may we continue to follow each other’s fire.

Strain then Stir (Episode 3): How to be Ingredient Conscious (Part 2)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Strain Then Stir, a no-cameras, diary-esque cooking show blog where I attempt to transform myself from a two-meal Tina into a full course Frank…or at the very least, be capable of feeding myself more than cereal and pasta.

It has been quite a while since our last episode, though I suppose I have the holidays (and blunt procrastination) to blame for that. It always seems like the beginning of November turns into the beginning of January in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it?

If you remember last episode at all—don’t feel bad if you don’t, I had to go back and look because I had absolutely no idea—you’ll recall I talked about being ingredient conscious, which was essentially just me learning to better utilize leftover ingredients rather than letting them go to waste. Going back and reading it, I was a little disappointed in myself for not including some actual recipes I was using. So in the hopes of making up for that, I’ve brought some today!

In these last few months, I again noticed that my pantry and refrigerator were starting to pile up with ingredients that weren’t being used and were just sitting there taking up space. Eventually I got tired of looking at them and I went on a mission to start using them all.

Here are some recipes I found to help:

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Leftover Ingredient: Bananas

Recipe: Banana Bread

Have you ever bought bananas, brought them home, eaten 1 or 2 and then totally forgotten about them until they are brown and gross? Yeah, that’s me almost 100% of the time I buy bananas. Luckily, banana bread thrives on overripe bananas, and acts as a haven for your forgetfulness. I came across this recipe about a month ago when I was on the verge of throwing my bananas away, and it was so delicious, I will never again commit such a crime! (Find the recipe here!)

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HT_Chrissy_Teigen5_cf_160226_4x3t_384Leftover Ingredient: Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I also happen to be guilty of buying sweet potatoes and forgetting about them until they’ve grown vines and look more like a monster than a food. In my last post, I talked about using sweet potatoes in an omelet, which was great, but this recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook is to die for. (Find the recipe here, find her cookbook here)

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Leftover Ingredient: Brown Rice & Frozen Veggies

Recipe: Rice Bowls

Whenever I go grocery shopping I like to buy brown rice and frozen vegetables in bulk, figuring the combination of the two is always an easy and healthy option. The only problem is, after a while rice and vegetables can get a little bland. An easy solution I’ve found for this however, is to:

a) Get more creative with my rice bowls, for example, you can check out a bunch of recipes here and here.

b) Add more flavor to my rice bowls. Growing up I was never much of a spice person. I’ve always been super sensitive to spicy foods and as a result tend to shy away from almost all spices. Recently however, I’ve been trying to ease in different herbs and spices to—wait for it—spice up my life a little bit, and let me tell you, it’s been life changing! (Check out this article for 15 easy ways to spice up brown rice) 

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p_R103186Leftover Ingredient: Cannellini Beans

Recipe: White Bean & Tuna Wraps

When I was working my way through Kayla Itsines’ book in the first episode, I bought a couple cans of cannellini beans for one recipe or another but then completely forgot about them. As a result, they were sitting in my pantry for months! My biggest issue with finding a recipe home for these guys was that I wasn’t exactly sure what they were or what they tasted like, and oftentimes when I’m making dinner, I’m too hungry or lazy to do that kind of research. But in the spirit of cleaning out my pantry, I finally took the 2 minutes to google “cannellini bean recipes” and I came across this bad boy. Honestly, I’m mad it took me this long to find it. (Find the recipe here)

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Over the next month or two I’m hoping to dive into another cookbook and find some new recipes to learn. If I were to sum up what I’ve learned so far in only two words, I’d say, who knew?! because it seems like the farther I go into this journey, the more I’m finding that is always something else to know.

You Won’t Win Unless You’re Willing to Lose

In October of 2017, as he was training for the 2018 Winter Olympics, Shaun White had a horrible crash that resulted in 62 stitches in his face. In an interview a few months later, he was asked whether the crash gave him doubts about his ability or willingness to continue, especially in pursuit of a spot on the Olympic team. He nodded his head, saying that while he looked in the mirror at his nearly unrecognizable face, he realized that by agreeing to continue, agreeing to step back out there and try again, he was more or less accepting that this could happen all over again.

At first, this statement seemed obvious to me. Being a complete outsider to the sport, the corresponding danger is constantly at the forefront of my attention. I mean, they are literally throwing themselves through the air, flipping and spinning and twisting at high speeds, all the while hoping they’ll land flat on a thin piece of fiberglass. With that in mind, of course it could happen again, Shaun! Honestly it seems like it should happen more.

But as the weeks went on and the Olympics came and went, the quote sat with me, churning around in my brain the way all lessons waiting to be learned tend to. Eventually I started thinking about the risks I take in my own life. Both small and big. I thought about my writing, both on this blog and outside it in pursuit of other projects, accolades, etc. Every time I write a blog post, I accept the fact that people might not like it, or that it might not do well. Every time I submit a piece to a contest or a magazine or a publisher, I accept the fact that it might lose or get rejected. Every time I try to succeed, I accept the fact I can fail.

After a while, I realized this mindset can apply to almost every aspect of our lives.

In relationships, every time you make yourself vulnerable you accept the fact that you could get hurt.

In finances, every time you make an investment you accept the fact that it could fall through.

Plans can fail. Accidents can happen. Hearts can break.

In this world, there is a lot to be afraid of, there is a lot that can go wrong, and there are a lot of opportunities to fail. But every day we get up, every day we step outside, every time we accept those fears and try again, we give ourselves the change to succeed, to win.

On February 14th, after spending months both recovering from his injury and working his way back into the physical and mental shape needed to make the Olympic team, Shaun White won the gold medal in the Snowboard Halfpipe event, making him the most decorated snowboarder of all time.

In many ways it was expected, hoped for, anticipated, both by Shaun White and the millions of people tuning in to the competition. But the only guarantee would have come from him not trying, not taking that risk, not stepping back into the sport all those months ago. The same goes for anything you hope for, I dream of, we all aim to accomplish. So even though failure is hard, vulnerability is terrifying and losing sucks, it’s worth the risk. Not only because it brings you one step closer to success, but because it makes you stronger, braver and smarter than you were before. And although it might not feel like it, trying and failing will always show more courage than avoiding failure all together. So take the risk, make the try and see where it takes you.

2018 Goals Check-in

Can you believe we’re already 3 months into this year? I seriously can’t get over how fast everything is moving! And with the end of March officially marking the end of the first quarter of the year, it’s time to check in on how I’m doing with the goals I set for 2018.

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1) Do a handstand in yoga

Progress: 33.33%

So I have to admit, I haven’t been doing great at going to yoga. I started strong at the beginning of the year, but that petered out fast. It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy yoga, I just didn’t particularly care for the class I was going to and haven’t been that motivated to find a new one. HOWEVER, I have been doing some at-home yoga using Yoga Girl’s program and have been very diligent about going to the gym. Thus, I am getting stronger, which was the ultimate plan in working myself up to do a handstand. Stay tuned!

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2) Take a kickboxing class

Progress: 0%

I have not got around to signing up for a kickboxing class. However, I’ve done a bunch of research on where I can take them. In doing so I found a bunch of promotional deals on sites like Groupon, as well as a number of gyms and classes near me that offer a free class for beginners. So I will definitely be taking advantage of those opportunities in the near future.

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3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

Progress: 1/20 (5%)

This was another one that had a great start but has been in a solid lull since then. However, I’m not too worried as I love museums and I think it will take just getting back to one for me to fall into a rhythm and go consistently. As of now, I’ve only gone to is The Getty, but I’ll keep a running list in case you’re interested!

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4) Get CPR certified

Progress: 0%

This one is on hold until the fall because my aunt offered to take me with her when she gets re-certified before the coming school year. That being said, please hold all emergencies until September.

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5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

Progress: 3/12 (25%)

It’s funny, I never realized just how long it had been since I photographed with my film camera or how out of practice I was until I shot my first roll. At the beginning of this year, I was feeling pretty confident and decided to ignore my instincts to re-read the directions on how to work my camera, and I moved through the roll of film pretty quickly, thinking, “I still got it!” This overconfidence however, came back to bite me when I finished the roll, tried to unload the film—while STILL not looking at the directions—and ultimately ruined the film all together. Since then however, I’ve got my groove back (and I’ve read the directions) and am currently on target.

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6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

Progress: 10/104 (9.62%)

I made a spreadsheet to track this (which surprises no one) but I’m actually not 100% sure where I’m at, as I haven’t developed the film I’ve shot over the last few months. There might be some surprises that can apply to the book, we’ll see!

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7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

Progress: 0%

I haven’t had any time to do research on this one, so no progress yet.

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8) Go to the dentist

Progress: 0%

I’m going to make myself an appointment today. I (probably) promise!

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9) Watch 20 documentaries on Netflix

Progress: 4/20 (20%)

Before starting this goal I was a little nervous I wouldn’t find documentaries I liked or enjoyed and instead would feel like I was back in school trying not to fall asleep during an educational video. To my pleasant surprise however, I’ve found that documentaries come in a variety of flavors, at least one of which everyone is bound to like. Here are the ones I’ve watched so far:

  1. Happy
  2. The Mortified Guide
  3. The Mortified Sessions
  4. Minimalism

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10) Perfect an omelet

Progress: 0%

For this one, I’ve both received tips and invitations for in-person lessons from friends, but the biggest thing holding me back is getting a good pan. So, once I find some extra room in my budget to grab one, I will take everyone up on their advice/help/etc.

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11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

Progress: 3/12 (25%)

If you read my January & February favorites, I mentioned MoviePass, which has essentially been the key for keeping up with this goal. After seeing two movies in January for a total of only $10, I quickly convinced my sister and my roommate, Rachel, to sign up and I hope we take wild advantage of it for the rest of the year. Also, in case your curious, I’ll keep a running tally of the movies I see, so far that includes:

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine

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12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

Progress: 2/20 (10%)

I fell a little off track on this goal after getting sucked into a couple books (Into the Wild & Into Thin Air, both of which I’d highly recommend!) by Jon Krakauer at the beginning of this year. In addition, once I was ready to start checking books off the list, I realized I either had to ask if people I knew had these books, or start working a second job to start buying them all. Luckily, my roommate Rachel discovered something MAGICAL, a.k.a the digital library. It works exactly like a physical library: you check out books and get them for 21 days. However, with the digital option now available, you can rent the books and have them sent directly to your Kindle! What a time to be alive, people! If you are in the LA area, you can check it out here, or if you’re not, I’d recommend researching whether your local library has an online database. It’s a real game changer.

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13) Pay off credit card

Progress: 6.40%

So the whole point of this goal was to pay off my current credit card so I can open up a new one. Specifically one that gains your airline miles because flights are ridiculously expensive. That being said, the start of this year brought a lot of reasons for me to use my current credit card, so I fell a little behind. Good news is, I caught back up and am now in the green in terms of repayment, so hopefully I can keep trucking along throughout the year.

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14) See 3 WRLA’s – COMPLETED!

Progress: 3/3 (100%)

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada this past month, I was unexpectedly able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

 

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15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

Progress: 0/5 (0%)

I admit it, I’m totally slacking on this one and I need to get on it.

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16) Donate Blood

Progress: 0%

The day I started this progress report my church announced it is holding a blood drive at the end of this month. So, while I’m still slightly terrified, I feel like that’s kind of a sign to suck it up and go for it. Stay tuned for the next update to see if 1) I chickened out, 2) I went for it and passed out or 3) I went for it and handled it like a champ. #3 seems farfetched at this point, but you never know.

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17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

Progress: 95/365 (26.03%)

This has actually been more fun than I expected. While it is a little stressful to find something unique to record every day—especially when I forget and it’s already 11pm—I ’ve been very pleased with the results so far. My favorite part is knowing I’m the only person that knows what all the clips relate to, as some of them come off pretty obscure. When I watch them back however, they all awaken a specific memory from that particular day.  On March 1st, the 60th day of the year, I compiled all the clips I had so far in order to see what my first “minute” of the year looked like.

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When we add that all together, my total progress is about 15%. So I’ve got a little ground to make up, but it looks like a lot of it will be covered by the end of this month!  If you set goals this year, I hope things are going well for you, and if you didn’t, it’s never too late to start! 🙂

28 Good Things that Happened in February

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) This dog took a detour

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2) This girl discovered the wonder of books

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3) This couple took some incredible engagement pictures in Bolivia’s Salt Flats

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4) This pig got creative

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5) These choir students joined together to sing the national anthem.

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6) This boy brought his valentine flowers

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7) This spiderman put on a show

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8) This woman found a miracle

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9) The Winter Olympics!

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10) Mr. T discovered curling—and gave all the athletes some encouraging words.

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11) And this family caught their own share of Olympic inspiration

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12) This couple proposed to each other at the exact same time

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13) This professor said hello

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14) Jamie Dornan from 50 Shades and James Corden made an incredible collaboration

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15) This man learned to use a cellphone

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16) This man drew honest portraits of his family

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17) This woman had fun with her trainer

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18) This student wrote a letter to his teacher after her dog, Charlie, died

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19) This family rapped together

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20) Drake bought everyone’s groceries

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21) David Harbour (a.k.a Chief Hopper on Stranger Things) danced with penguins

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22) Tiffany Haddish met Oprah

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23) Olympic favorite Adam Rippon, showed what it’s like to a be a good teammate

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24) Shaun White got to watch fans react to his gold medal winning run

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25) This 4 year old boy donated his bone marrow to save his twin brothers.

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26) This baby was comforted by one of his mommy’s shirts

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27) After living in 24 different foster homes throughout his life, this man was finally adopted. 

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28) Will Smith sang La Bamba

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

I can’t wait to see what March brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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Sometimes Friendship is Gummy Bears

About 3-4 years ago I was going through a period of my life when I genuinely believed I didn’t have very many (see: enough) friends. I considered myself a master of acquaintances, succeeding in keeping most people at arm’s length to ensure that a) I wouldn’t get hurt and b) I wouldn’t disappoint anyone. Some days I told myself I was satisfied, other days I wasn’t so convinced.

Combined with shyness and bouts of social anxiety, I struggled knowing what kind of friend I should be. I read articles and watched how other friendships worked, and though I wasn’t necessarily dissatisfied with my relationships, I constantly worried that other people were. I thought I was too boring, I thought I was too quiet. I was too this or not enough that and I drove myself crazy, making notes on what I could improve on or what I should do differently.

In time, I came to realize that these fears were all linked to the insecurities I felt as a person, rather than the weaknesses I had as a friend. I’m not saying I am or have ever been a perfect friend, however, in not accepting and loving the person I was, I was doing a disservice to both myself and to anyone I tried to start a friendship with.

These days, I consider myself very lucky to have an amazing group of friends. And while I would still consider myself a guarded person, I have a much easier time opening that door because I’m proud of the person I’m introducing on the other side. In light of this however, I still find myself having those doubtful days. With a constant stream of articles, quizzes and social media anecdotes that define what friendship should look like or feel like or sound like, sometimes I’m still left wondering if I’m a good enough/entertaining enough/honest enough/etc. friend.

For example, the other day I read an article that was titled something like, “You Can’t Consider Yourself Best Friends with Someone Unless…” and it went on to list a number of conversations and experiences the author considered defining for a friendship. I clicked on the article in hopes of finding relatable experiences I could share with my friends, however, as I read through it I didn’t recognize myself in a single thing. Does this mean all my friendships are fake? Of course not! Does it mean that we live in a world where friendships are as unique as we are and should be understood accordingly? I’d like to think so!

The way I see it, friendship is what you make it. There is no definable timeline, there are no parameters and there are no “you’re not actually friends unless…” Friendship can be big, it can be small, and it can be shown with words and actions alike.

About a week ago, after having a terrible day and coming home on the verge of tears, my roommate, Rachel, presented me with a small packet of gummy bears. It was the last packet leftover from my sister’s birthday—which featured a taco piñata full of mini alcohol and candy—thus making it precious cargo.

“I just want your day to be better,” she said as she handed them to me. And it genuinely was!

I know it sounds silly and small, but in that moment it made me feel loved and understood, which is really what friendship is all about. It’s not about being a specific this or that or talking about this or experiencing that. Sometimes it’s just someone willing to give up their gummy bears. And when you can find people like that, you stop worrying about whether you have “enough” friends, because having even one friend like that is a far greater gift.

31 Good Things that Happened in January

Hello and welcome back to another year of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. It’s a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) This woman hilariously rejected the idea of New Years Resolutions

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2) This girl let Beyonce welcome her into the new year

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3) This woman paid tribute to her pregnancy cravings

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4) This guy made a memorable appearance on TV

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5) Demi Lovato set a great goal for the new year

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6) This woman won money on HQ trivia

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7) This boyfriend came up with an amazing gift idea

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8) This t-rex shoveled snow

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9) This girl left some amazing advice behind

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10) This man made do with what he had to make his dog happy

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11) The Times Up Movement took the world by storm

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12) Oprah gave a powerful speech at the Golden Globes

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13) This woman repaired a butterfly’s broken wing

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14) This man saw his wife’s new haircut

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15) This hippo created her first painting

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16) This girl showed off her skills on the subway

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17) Sterling K. Brown gave a great speech after his SAG award win

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18) This late wife played one last trick on her husband

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19) This girl used her tragedy to try and make a positive difference

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20) This girl made a valid plea

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21) Beck released a music video with the cutest cast ever

 

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22) This horse worked up some courage

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23) Vikings fans donated over $200k to the Saints’ punter’s charity

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24) Olympian Michael Phelps started teaching his son the ropes

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25) This girl apologized to someone she used to bully

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26) Reddit encouraged people to share kind things strangers have done for them

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27) This grandma got the royal treatment from her sisters

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28) This 3rd grader got the welcome party she deserved after missing 15 months of school for cancer treatment

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29) This girl woke up to an amazing surprise from a stranger

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30) This dad made a YouTube tutorial

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31) These twin brothers weathered the flu together

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

I can’t wait to see what February brings!

If you missed any of the “All the Good Things” posts from 2017, you can check them out here.

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Just Keep Dribbling

There is a boy in my neighborhood, probably about 12 or 13 years old, who is constantly dribbling a basketball on the sidewalk in front of his house. When I get home from work, he’s out there. When I go to the gym, he’s out there. When I sit on my couch trying to find inspiration for a blog post, he’s out there, just like he is right now. Dribbling and dribbling and dribbling.

Now, I don’t know what this boy’s dreams are. I don’t know if he wants basketball to be his life, or if maybe it already is. I don’t know if he wants to play in the NBA or if dribbling on his front porch is just how he blows off steam. But when I hear him out there, I smile, because I recognize the habit or the vice or the passion or whatever basketball is to him. For me, it’s been writing, it’s been photography, it’s been books, it’s been sports, and a number of other things.

These passions, these vices, these dreams all start small. They all start with just a dribble. And in order to make them real, to turn them into something tangible and successful and satisfying, we have to keep dribbling. Even when the days start to go by faster, even when our schedules start to get fuller, even when our bodies start to grow tired.

In my life, there are things I want to accomplish. Tons of things. Heck, I even have lists of them on the Internet. But while some of these things may seem impossible, some of them may seem far-fetched or unlikely or incredibly difficult, some of them might even be things I’ll change my mind on in a few years, what’s important is that I’m trying. Day in, day out, I’m trying. I’m working. To make myself better. To make myself stronger. To remind myself that no matter what life throws at me, I can keep working.

When I see that boy outside his house, I wonder what he’s working towards. If it’s basketball, I wonder if there are days when he sits inside with the ball in his lap, telling himself to just give up. Then I think about the things I’m working towards, some of which I’ve grown frustrated with the lack of progress on, and I ask myself if it’s because they’re not meant to be, or if I’ve just spent too many days indoors with the ball in my lap.

At the end of the day, it’s all about taking those small steps. As hard is it is to believe, they do add up and they will pay off. We just have to keep dribbling. And dribbling. And dribbling.

2017 Goals Final Check-In

So I’ve decided to use this week as a kind of “wrap up” for 2017. Monday was the last episode (in 2017) of All the Good Things, and today we take a final look at my 2017 goals. Let’s see how I did:

1) See Star Wars

COMPLETED

That’s right folks, I can finally unlock a new level of society because I have officially seen all the Star Wars films. Well, at least all of them except the new one. But to be fair, that one wasn’t on the list because I didn’t know it was coming out. So as of now I’m counting myself among the I’ve-been-too-busy-with-the-holidays-to-see-the-new-one-yet breed, which is exactly where I want to be.

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2) See 5 WLRA’s

COMPLETED

WRLA (pronounced wool-rah) is my nickname for the World’s Largest Roadside Attractions, which I became addicted to sometime last year. It is among my life goals to see them all, and so I’m chipping them off slowly. This year I shot for five, and ended up seeing the fifth one just under the wire. My sister and I drove out to see the World’s Largest Donut on New Year’s Eve Eve. The other four I saw this year were the World’s Largest Paper Cup, Fishing Fly, Thermometer and Monk.

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3) Try this jean rug DIY

COMPLETED

I did most of the prep for this project back in September, but didn’t actually sew it together until this past weekend. On one hand I could say I’m glad I was ahead of the game (at one point) because when I finally sat down to sew it together, all the pieces were already cut. But on other hand, I wish I would have just taken the time to sew it together back then, it might have been a tinge less stressful. Regardless, I’m very proud of the end result. It’s nowhere near perfect, but it’s something I actually sewed with my own two hands and, like, HOW COOL IS THAT?!

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4) Run 1,000 miles

COMPLETED

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It’s almost unfathomable that I can write “complete” on this goal, but it is, in fact, COMPLETE! I, Kimberlee K, ran 1000 miles in 2017. EEEK. You can read all about this ridiculously crazy feat here.

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5) Complete The Ultimate Fit Bit Week

COMPLETED

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At the beginning of the year I decided to make my own Fitbit achievement known as “The Ultimate Fit Bit Week.” Essentially I wanted to see if I could meet every goal (i.e. steps taken, calories burned, active minutes, etc.) every single day for an entire week. Let me tell you, it was not easy, but it’s one of those things that I can now say that I did, which is cool. You can read about it here. Also, if you’re reading this, Fitbit, make sure you name this challenge after me if you ever make it, you know, a thing.

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

COMPLETED

As I’ve said in previous check-ins, this was one of my favorite goals of the year, which made it a no brainer to add it to my list of goals for 2018. I’d highly encourage anyone and everyone to volunteer if they get a chance. It’s truly one of the most rewarding experiences!

These were my five for this year:

  • Food Forward (5/21/17)
  • Children’s Hunger Fund (6/24/17)
  • My Stuff Bags (8/10/17)
  • Food Forward (8/26/17)
  • Children’s Hunger Fund (10/7/17)

You can find opportunities to volunteer here.

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7) Go to a sporting event of “every” kind (i.e. baseball, football, hockey, basketball, & soccer)

60% COMPLETED

When the year started, the NFL, NBA and NHL were all in the tail end of their regular seasons and moving into the playoffs, thus making tickets to the games way out of my price range. So, since I knew baseball would be an easy one to check off (because I’m a huge Dodger fan), and soccer season was just about to start, I decided to channel my energy into those and put the other three checkpoints on hold until the end of the year (a.k.a the beginning of a new season). In the end, while I was lucky enough to be invited to a hockey game (in a suite!! Thanks, Sam!) I never found my way to a basketball or football game this year. But don’t fret! At the end of the day, not going to a basketball or football game doesn’t make my year a “failure” or this goal a wash. And it would be a waste to get caught up in the parameters of the goal and obsess over the failures rather than celebrate the successes. For among the casual weeknight Dodger games I got to attend this year, I also got to see Game 6 of the World Series, and got my family out to see an LA Galaxy soccer game, which we probably never would have done otherwise. When I think about it like that, I’d say it’s a pretty successful goal.

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8) Try every class at the gym

VETOED

The lack of progress on this one began with a lack of facilities, due to water damage at my local gym. It was back up and running in April, but then April turned into May and then June and then July, leading me to believe that procrastination had taken over. While that was definitely part of it, the truth was, I was scared. By July I had hit the 500-mile mark of my running goal, making the finish line something I could actually picture, and I was scared to do anything that might prevent me from reaching it. So around October, I more or less forfeited—or rather vetoed—this goal for 2017 and decided to add it as a bonus goal for this coming year. I still want to get a taste of what my gym membership is getting me and I figure it will be a good way to stay in shape.

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9) Do The Princess Diaries painting

COMPLETED

You remember this iconic scene from classic RomCom The Princess Diaries, right?

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I mean I think it’s safe to say we were all jealous of that mother/daughter arts and crafts session. Lucky for me, I have an amazing group of friends and family that dove headfirst into this project for my 27th birthday.

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You can read about that day here.

Also, I recently got a chance to hang the end results up on my wall and it makes me smile every time I pass by.

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10) Find and try the “Best of” restaurants in LA

COMPLETED

This was another goal that I was super excited about and it did not disappoint. I’ve always wanted to take more advantage of my access to downtown Los Angeles, and I feel like this search for the “best of” restaurants in my five favorite food groups (i.e. pizza, burgers, ice cream, donuts and sandwiches) helped me scratch the surface.

Here are my five finds:

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11) Watch every film that has ever won Best Picture

98.88% COMPLETED

As of my last check-in, I had 60 movies to watch before the end of the year. When the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve, I only had one. Before you “awww”, know that this was intentional, as I realized (too late) that the last movie on the list was the final film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and I haven’t seen the first two…

…DON’T GIVE ME THAT LOOK. I realize this is another cardinal sin of cinema and I’m going to make right, okay? I’m adding this trilogy as another bonus goal for 2018.

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12) Learn to Longboard

VETOED

Similar to goal #8, I more or less quit on this goal after I became knee deep in my running. It just seemed too likely that I’d fall off my longboard and tweak an ankle (or worse) and I wasn’t willing to give up the progress I’d made. So, again, this was postponed. Hopefully I’ll find the courage to *shred* in 2k18.

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13) Learn to do a headband braid

COMPLETED (I GUESS)

Have you ever adopted a new hobby and put in a bunch of time to get better at it, only to realize that your skill level is and always will be pretty basic. Yeah, well that’s how I feel about the headband braid. After spending the year watching a bunch of different tutorial videos and knotting my hair a bunch of different ways, I more or less accepted that I’m just not good at headband braids. I get the basic concept, but my end result always looks like I let a little kid play hair salon. SO, I’m forfeiting my pursuit of the perfect braid. The way I see it, at least I can say I tried, and at least I have a handful of friends that are willing to do my hair.

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14) Reach the 100,000-mile mark on my car

COMPLETED

This was another highlight of my year. After hitting the 100,000 mile mark, my family and I loaded up into Jeffrey—wearing sparkly hats and homemade glasses no less—and took a ridiculous amount of pictures and Boomerangs to commemorate the occasion.

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You can read all about Jeffrey’s (my car) big milestone here.

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15) Do a bar/pub crawl

COMPLETED

As if it were destined for my attendance, when I Googled “bar crawls” in October, I found 12 Bars of Charity, which divides its attendees into “teams” and gives them t-shirts to showcase the charity they choose to support. My friends and I were on the “black team” which supported the Boys & Girls club. And while we only made it to three of the twelve bars—because we spent too much time talking at each one shrug_1f937.png—we still had a great time, and talked about going again next year to go to the bars we missed. (Though at this rate it will take us 4 years to see them all)

If you’re interested, 12 Bars of Charity has events all over the country. Check here to see if there’s one near you.

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16) Sing Karaoke

COMPLETED

Much to the surprise of my pre-2017 self, karaoke became somewhat of a staple for my year. My friends and I found a favorite place and made many an appearance on a Saturday night. I found that it is one of the best ways to blow off steam and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

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17) Complete Project Lightbulb

COMPLETED

Project Lightbulb is the nickname I gave my family’s dream vacation to Iceland. And while it became clear that this goal would be impossible to complete this year, I decided that as long as we made steps towards planning and booking it—a.k.a inching it to a reality—I’d call it a win. That being said, this year we did take steps in the right direction by officially opening a savings account so we can slowly save up enough money to make this thing happen! Iceland here we come!

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And that, as they say, is that! I completed 14 of my 17 goals, which is an accomplishment in itself, and what I didn’t finish, I plan on carrying over into this new year.

But the ultimate win here is the I CAN that comes alongside the setting and completing of goals, no matter what those goals may be. This list of 17 goals inspired me to get completely out of my comfort zone, which led me on new adventures I never would have experienced otherwise. I can only hope that the goals I set for 2018 can do the same.

If you are someone who is looking for some inspiration in your life, I highly encourage you to set goals. Whether big or small, artistic, athletic or otherwise, write them down, put them out into the universe, and then go for them! You might surprise yourself how much you can accomplish.

Happy New Year!