inspiration

I Can’t Believe You Kept This

I have a scrapbook in my room filled with paper souvenirs that I’ve collected both from vacations, events, and the average, seemingly ordinary days. I have wristbands from concerts and boarding passes from flights. I have a sticker from the first time I gave blood and a parking ticket from the City of Vancouver. I have birthday cards, receipts from fun bars and ticket stubs from nearly every movie I’ve seen in theaters. But my favorite things, and the ones I collect most, are notes.

I don’t just mean the heartfelt, emotional letters, or the funny, memory filled anecdotes— some of my most prized possessions are the simple scribbles, written on post it notes, scraps of paper, or whatever happened to be in reach. I love the way that notes can bring simple moments back to life, and the way someone’s handwriting can give their words a voice, no matter how long it may have been since you’ve heard it.

By all accounts, I am a hoarder of notes. I’ll keep them whether they say “I love you” or “we’re out of milk.” I have notes written on napkins, drawings from hotel notepads, and a birthday message written on the back of an envelope. On one page in my scrapbook, I have a few sheets of paper covered in check marks, hearts, and the letter w, that came from a night when my roommates and I sat at the kitchen table together, fascinated by the different mechanics of our handwriting.

Each of the notes can take me back to when I got it. Sometimes in vivid detail, other times with only blurry recollection. I might not remember what I was wearing or what else might have happened that day, but I can connect to that moment and to the feeling I had when the note was written. And I love being able to share those moments with my friends and family, and watching as their faces light up in recognition.

“I can’t believe you kept this,” they say.

But as we reconnect all the dots surrounding the day and moment in question, and we smile and laugh as we unlock the memories that had long faded into the background, I think we both realize that this is why.

So don’t mind me as I steal this paper menu from your wedding, or this napkin we doodled on at dinner, or this map from the day we spent at the zoo. It just means I found a little goodness here and I want to keep that goodness.

I Say Sh*t 17 Times in this Post, But it’s Upbeat, I Promise

I recently read the book Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan, which chronicles her year of saying “yes” to things in order to help her step out of her introvert comfort zone. It was a hilarious and relatable book that was full of valuable lessons, but one in particular stood out to me.

As the author puts it: “Being shit at being shit is just shit.”

Or, put more PG: being bad at being bad is just bad.

(Personally, I like the shitty version, but that’s just me.)

Jessica Pan writes this when referring to the tendency of someone who is placed out of their comfort zone to put in minimum effort in order to protect themselves from further embarrassment.

I know I’m guilty of it.

It’s hard to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone and be yourself. Sometimes it feels easier to make it all a big joke, that way, if you fail, you’ll know you weren’t really trying in the first place.

But then again, we also learn, from an outsider’s perspective, that when we see people putting in that minimal effort, it doesn’t make them look “cool”, it doesn’t even protect them from embarrassment. In fact, we notice that lack of effort more than any failure, and it looks far worse.

Because there’s a difference between trying and failing and failing to try.

There’s a difference between “being shit” and being shit at being shit.

And, as previously stated, being shit at being shit is just shit.

So, the lesson here is: just be shit, you know?

Be bad at something.

But don’t be bad at being bad. Strive to be great at it.

Try your hardest and fail your hardest. But try. And don’t try halfway.

Don’t laugh it off or shrug it away. Don’t shrink yourself down. Go out there and suck to your full potential. Because that is what makes you cool. That is what moves you forward. That is what ultimately protects you and fights for you because it gets you out of your head, into the new, and onto the next.

You have to go through the shit to get to the good stuff. And sometimes going through shit requires you yourself to be that shit, and it’s learning to let yourself be the shit at being shit that ultimately gets you through the shit, you know what I mean?

31 Good Things that Happened in January

I usually put the same intro before my monthly “good things” posts, but this one felt a little different. January was rough. And it seemed to last way longer than 31 days. But even amongst all the bad, as always, there were good things. And even though I might have dragged my feet a little bit to collect them, they were still there, and they still filled my heart with all that good stuff.

So here’s to January, the marathon that it was, and here’s to February, who we hope jumps at the chance to be far better.

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1) Reese Witherspoon was surprised with a package from Jay-Z and Beyonce.

View this post on Instagram

Thank you, @Beyonce for the #IvyPark swag!

A post shared by Reese Witherspoon (@reesewitherspoon) on

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2) This duck played the drums.

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3) New Zealand supermarkets launched “food in the nude”, which eliminates plastic packaging from all fruits and vegetables.

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4) The city of Vienna started an incentive program that rewards commuters who take public transportation with concert and museum tickets.

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5) This dog finally caught his ball

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6) Exciting new technology was introduced at CES 2020.

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7) The manager of Athletes Village for the 2020 Olympics revealed the bed frames are made of sturdy cardboard, making them recyclable after the Olympics and Paralympic Games.

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8) This family created an epic obstacle course.

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9) This teacher in India started taking students to school so they wouldn’t drop out.

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10) This woman received a hug from a grateful kangaroo.

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11) American Girl launched the first doll to ever represent girls with hearing loss.

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12) This father and son shared their tradition of taking the homeless out to lunch each week.

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13) This man believed.

 

14) Researchers in South Africa announced they have created a second embryo of a nearly extinct species of rhino.

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15) These boys played ping pong.

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16) These volunteers drove people to work in rough weather conditions.

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17) This man rode over 1,400 miles to thank a family whose son’s heart saved his life.

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18) These American firefighters were applauded as they arrived in Australia to help fight the wildfires.

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19) This man bought a Super Bowl ad to thank the company that saved his dog’s life.

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20) This family moved into their new home.

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21) These students pooled their money to replace their teacher’s stolen shoes.

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22) This man (as well as hundreds of thousands of others) shared his story about the positive impact Kobe made in his life.

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23) This boy rode a unicorn.

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24) This brewery put local shelter dogs on beer cans to help them get adopted.

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25) This cat…spoke?

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26) This boy made clay koalas to raise money for Australia and has so far raised over $100,000.

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27) Alyssa Nakken became the first female in history to be hired as coach on a major league baseball staff.

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28) This adorable boy known as @theshirleytempleking won the hearts of Instagram

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29) This man found an old VHS tape of a baby taking its first steps, then tracked down the family it belonged to.

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30) This man used his coffee to rescue three frozen kittens.

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31) And finally, this blogger/author tweeted a very important reminder.

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You can view the last edition of this series here.

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For My Fellow Worms

While going through some of the old documents on my computer, I came across this little story. I think it was my hope that one day it would become a children’s book, but that never transpired, and now it’s just been sitting in folder oblivion for a few years, so I thought I would share it here.

I think we can all relate to Wally in one way or another heavy-black-heart_2764

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Wally the worm woke up with the squirm and wiggled his way down the road

He passed the tall flowers and birds taking showers, to find his friend Marvin the toad.

“Oh Marvin,” said Wally, “What a glum day this is.

I’d hoped that last night, the stars heard my wish.

I wanted to wake up a big hungry bear,

or maybe a lion with long fluffy hair.

Perhaps a green crocodile with big shiny teeth,

or even a monkey that climbs trees with his feet.

But this morning I found I was still just me,

I guess a little brown worm is all I’ve ever be.”

 

“What’s wrong with that?” said Marvin with a “RIBBIT.”

Wally sighed and said, “You just don’t get it.

Toads like you can catch flies on their tongue,

and hop high between lily pads for just a bit of fun.

But all I’ll ever do is wiggle and squirm,

digging in the dirt, just a tiny little worm.”

 

Then Marvin and Wally went down to the river,

to see their friend Sammy, a bushy tailed beaver.

“Good Morning!” said Sammy with a big toothy smile.

“Hello!” said Marvin, “Haven’t seen you in a while.”

“I’ve been working so hard on my dam made of wood,

it’s almost finished now, do you think it looks good?”

With one look at the dam, Wally said “Wow.

I wish I could do that, but I don’t know how.

Maybe tonight I’ll wish to be a beaver too,

so I can build something beautiful, and do things like you.”

Sammy smiled, but then shook her head,

“Don’t wish to be me, be you instead!”

 

Wally sighed and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”.

“Oh Sammy,” said Wally, “You just don’t get it.

Beavers like you can build things brand new,

and birds in the trees sing beautiful tunes.  

Peacocks have feathers prettier than gold,

and tigers have stripes and a roar oh so bold.  

You all have something that makes me say ‘wow’

and all I can do is squirm on the ground.  

Maybe tonight I’ll wish I was a giraffe standing tall,

or an ocean blue whale, the biggest beast of them all.

And then tomorrow I’ll wake up something better than me,

so you’ll finally say ‘wow’ when it’s me that you see.”

 

Then Wally and Marvin wished Sammy farewell

and walked down the road ‘til they saw an anthill. 

Next to it they saw a long line of ants,

marching and carrying heavy packs on their backs.

Led by Sgt. Pepper, carrying a load thrice her size,

Marvin and Wally watched the ants in surprise.

They marched and they marched and Wally said, “Wow.

So small and so strong, but I wonder, how?

If I were an ant, I too could be strong.

I could be part of their team and march all night long.

No one would see me as just a lousy worm,

but a hard-working insect, with respect that I’d earned.”

 

Suddenly Marvin and Wally heard a voice from up high,

and a tall beautiful sunflower looked down with brown eyes.

“Oh Wally,” said the flower, “Don’t you know what you are?”

“Yes,” Wally answered, “A tiny worm, nothing more.”

 

The sunflower sighed and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”

“Oh Wally,” she said, “You just don’t get it.

You watch us flowers grow tall in the spring,

and you see our colors blossom as the birds in trees sing.

It’s because of you this forest is so green and lush.

Without little worms like you, we’d be nothing but mush.

When you dig in the dirt, it helps our seeds grow,

you make the dirt healthy for us, didn’t you know?

We all have a “wow” and they don’t look the same,

but they all have an important place and a name.

So don’t wish on stars for sharp teeth or long hair.

Don’t hope for long legs or the strength of a bear.

Everyone has a wow that is theirs alone,

so please take the time to appreciate your own.

 

Wally was speechless and Marvin said, “RIBBIT”,

then Wally squirmed and said, “Now I get it.

It doesn’t matter the size or shape I am,

it doesn’t matter I can’t hop high or build a dam.

I have my own wow in my tiny little me,

and that is all I’ll ever need to be.

So when the stars come out and the sun goes home,

I’ll be grateful for the wows I have of my own.

I’ll go to sleep with a yawn, a wiggle, and a squirm,

hoping tomorrow I wake up me, a perfect little worm.”

A Nostalgic Lesson on Failure

It took my sister and I all of two days after Disney+ came out to give in and subscribe.

For some people, the draw was the backlog of Marvel movies and shows like The Mandalorian, for us it was easy access to Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century.

Because let’s face it, when it comes to movies made for television (and sweet sweet nostalgia) Disney Channel Original Movies are master class. The stories are simple (and at times ridiculous) but they are wholesome and weirdly empowering and full of iconic one-liners that I will quote until my dying day.

Aside from DCOM’s, Disney+ (who, regardless of how this blog may seem, is not sponsoring me) has also given us access to a variety of other Disney movies, most of which I’d completely forgotten exist.

Take Ice Princess, for example. It stars Michelle Trachtenberg (a.k.a Harriet the Spy), who plays a brainiac that takes up ice skating for a physics project, and ends up eventually pursuing it as a career, all while falling in love with a Zamboni driver named Teddy. This predictable yet undeniably adorable film is what brings me here today.

I’m a firm believer that inspiration can come from anywhere, and I’m not too proud to admit that I found it while watching this movie with my sister at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

About halfway through the movie, as Casey Carlyle (Michelle Trachtenberg) starts to take ice skating seriously (the decision of which creates backlash from almost everyone around her, most prominently her mom) she confronts controversial ex-skater Tina Harwood (played by Kim Cattrall) and asks her to be her coach. When Tina bluntly states that she doesn’t think Casey has what it takes, Casey replies, “If I fail, I fail, but it will be because I wasn’t good enough, not because I didn’t have the guts.”

This line struck a chord in me, and I immediately wrote it down.

As hard as it is to admit, we are not destined to succeed in everything we do, and we are not always going to be the best, even when we give it absolutely everything we have. But sometimes it’s not about being the best, it’s not about winning, it’s not even about getting exactly what you want. It’s about knowing you did everything you could, gave everything you had, and didn’t let your fears hold you back. It’s about having the guts to try, and when things don’t work out, to try again, maybe in a different way, or maybe on a completely different path.

I know I’ve both put off and completely given up pursuing certain projects or passions solely because I was scared I would fail. But at the end of the day, failing is never going to be the worst thing you can do, and it is never going to hurt more than never knowing what you could do.

So today I’d just like to encourage you to go for it. To try and then to try again. Your win is out there, and it’s waiting for you on the other side of fear. So give it your all, and see where it takes you.

The Year of Shine

As a final wrap up of 2019, I wanted to share with you my word of the year.

Since 2015, I have found a faith-based word to focus on each year. In these last five years (!!) I have had: trust, give, patience, surrender, and then for this year I got shine. Every word has found its way to me differently, but shine was perhaps the most direct.

In November of 2018, I was at the wedding of a family friend, and my mom, sister and I were on the dance floor—our usual wedding reception hangout. In between songs, the bride herself walked up to me and put her hand on my shoulder.

“You have a light in you, you know that?”

Me, being bad at receiving compliments, smiled, but was already plotting a way to deny, deflect and run away. But she didn’t back down.

“You have a light in you, something special, and you need to let people see you shine.”

I remember wondering if she could possibly be talking about me, or if maybe it was dark and she’d had champagne like the rest of us, and had meant to say this to one of her friends, or my sister, or someone, anyone else. But she looked at me, and she squeezed my shoulder, willing me to hear her and believe her.

“Okay,” I said, and the word stuck with me.

By the time I rang in 2019, I was sure it was my word, and as usual, I was terrified.

For starters, the dictionary defines shine as: to emit rays of light, or to be eminent, conspicuous or distinguished. So I thought, GREAT, I just have to be wonderfully successful, seen, heard, inspiring and bright. Sounds horrifying. And hard.

For the first couple months, all I could do was put pressure on myself.

You need to shine you need to shine you need to shine.

You need to be BIG! You need to be LOUD! You need to let people see you and hear you. You need to be great.

Then, in March, after six months of training, I ran the LA Marathon. And when I crossed that finish line, I thought, THIS IS IT! This is me, shining. I’m doing it, baby! But then the high wore off and my routine went back to normal, and I felt as dull and unremarkable as ever.

I kept trying to think of new ways I could impress people. New things I could do that would mark me as successful and inspiring and unique and special. I was trying desperately to shine my light, but was doing so in ways that sometimes felt inauthentic or even uncomfortable. Ironically (or not at all), this is when my definition of inspiring, successful, unique, special and shine, began to change. And it started with something I hated most: quitting.

Out of nowhere, I started quitting.

I took a look at the list of goals I’d set for the year and I started crossing things off and making changes. I pulled the bookmarks out of books I was “going to finish,” and I waved the white flag on projects I’d lost interest in. I got rid of clothes and shoes that didn’t fit right but I’d kept because I thought I should wear them, and I stopped buying makeup products “everyone was using” that I didn’t like the look of on me. It was a Marie Kondo approach: anything that didn’t spark joy (or was necessary for survival and wellbeing) was out. And though it felt scary, bad even, like I was letting people down or giving up or being lazy, I knew it was something I had to do.

For so long I have tried to figure out who I am, what I represent and what I want to do with my life. I have tried to find that unique light inside myself, but have often done so with the hope/need of others’ approval. I have based a lot of my self worth in the opinions of others, and I have let my own opinion and self-confidence be swayed in their wake.

This submissive and self-conscious mentality is something I’ve always been aware of, but it is also something I believed I needed to embrace in order to be loved and accepted. When I realized the error in this thinking, and I began to let things go that “didn’t spark joy,” I found that what was left were actually the things that, in my own way, made me shine.

And it is there, in that understanding, that I found my reason for receiving this word. It is there that I found the hope in it rather than just the pressure.

We have all been made to shine. We have been given unique talents, dreams, desires, and destinations, all to mold us into the wonderfully different people that we are. We do not need to be the biggest or the loudest or the most successful to shine, we need only be our most authentic selves. And when we do things that make us happy, make us feel whole, give us a reason to laugh or smile or scream in excitement, that is when we shine the brightest.

Standing on the dance floor of that wedding, I had no idea why God would put someone in front of me and ask me, outright, to shine. I couldn’t figure out why He needed me to be big and brave and loud and remarkable, and I was afraid that if I couldn’t be, I’d be the disappointment I’d always feared. But as I’ve made my way through this year, I’ve found that what He was really asking of me was simply to love the person He made me to be. To reconnect with the goodness that is mine, the uniqueness that is mine, the shine that is mine, and to let go of the fears, expectations and opinions that have been controlling me for too long.

And so, as I step into this new year, I will shine my light, in exactly the way I was made to shine it, and I hope I can encourage you to do the same.

Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

2019 Goals Final Wrap Up

I mentioned this in my goals for 2020 post, but I was a little self-conscious/borderline ashamed at how unfinished my 2019 goals went last year. The first year I made a list of goals, in 2017, I went ALL OUT to finish by the time that clock struck midnight, and I felt bad for not having that kind of drive this past year. But then I remembered how busy the year was, and how it was good but utterly exhausting and I cut myself a little bit of a break.

I think the most important thing 2019 taught me is the value of figuring out the difference between what you want to do and what you think people want you to do. I like setting goals, but I also feel that I have previously chosen some solely to impress and/or (hopefully) inspire other people, even if it was something I didn’t necessarily want to do. And while I think there can be discovery in that, and even fun, for 2020 it is all about marking what is most important, what I feel will move me forward, and what will make me feel whole rather than just a box checker.

So for anyone who has set or is planning to set goals for 2020, let me encourage you to choose goals that will cause to reach, sometimes far, towards somewhere/something you haven’t been before–not somewhere you think people want you to go, but somewhere YOU want to go. This is your year, it is your decade, and you have a say in it.

With that being said, here is a quick look at how my goals for 2019 panned out:

 

1) Journal daily

COMPLETED

This was so surprisingly easy to work into my daily routine that I wondered what on earth I was doing before I started. I have already started writing in a new journal for 2020 and foresee myself continuing this habit for a long time.

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2) Take a cooking class

I never got around to doing this in 2019, but I actually received an apron and a date to take a cooking class with my best friend for Christmas, so it looks like I’ll complete this one in 2020!

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3) Cook my way through a cookbook

I kept up with this one very well for the first half of the year, but not so much the second half. The good news is that I got out of it exactly what I was hoping to: I learned new recipes, which in turn gave me a wider knowledge of the kind of recipes that are out there, as well as an understanding of what ingredients work well together when I have a hodgepodge of leftovers in the refrigerator.

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4) Try the best drink from every state

This was just a major fail. I tried all of ONE drink, mostly because I’m a creature of habit and stick to what I know, but also because I was too nervous to ask bartenders to make the drinks when I went out and too lazy to make the drinks when I stayed in so…this might be more of an ongoing goal, TBD.

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5) Watch a sunset & a sunrise at the beach

I wasn’t able to pull off a sunrise, but the sunset I saw was part of such a good day. It was a warm Saturday and my sister and I made a spontaneous trip to the beach, and we watched the sunset as we ate tacos and drank beer at a restaurant just off the coast. (This was also the day that spawned this post about me not being able to pee in the ocean)

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

COMPLETED

I was probably more diligent with this goal than I was with any other, and I’m proud of that. I love volunteering, I love feeling needed and knowing that something I’ve done has made a difference, and I can’t wait to continue to pursue opportunities where I can lend a hand in 2020.

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7) See three WRLA’s

I was only able to see two this year, but they were just as weird and wonderful as the rest. While visiting family in Arkansas we were able to see the World’s Largest Spinach Can (which unfortunately has been repainted and is just a giant green cylinder now) and the World’s Largest Razorback, which was as bizarrely fantastic as you might expect.

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8) Pay off 1 of my 2 remaining student loans

COMPLETED

There’s not much to say except HELL YEAH.

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9) Amazon wish list splurge

COMPLETED

Indeed there was a splurge! I wanted to treat myself after paying off my second to last loan and I did. It wasn’t all on Amazon and it wasn’t all at once, but these are some of my favorite things I bought: an Instant Pot, Birkenstocks, these shorts from American Eagle, and these boots from Old Navy.

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10) Go to a winery

COMPLETED

Midway through the year I changed this goal from “stomp grapes and make wine.” After putting it on my list of goals for the year, I realized that I didn’t have the desire or the drive to make it happen. While I still think it’s a fun idea and should I ever find the opportunity to do it I will, but I liked the goal change and had a great day of wine tasting with some friends.

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11) Make my family tree

There has been minimal progress on this one, but not zero progress. It is something I want to take my time on and so I’m doing just that.

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12) Hike the Narrows

Almost every year I’ve made a list of goals I’ve had one on the list that is a trip I want to take. One year I had Project Lightbulb (which is the nickname I gave a family trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights), another I had the glass beach and then this one. I don’t think putting them on the list is a mistake, however, it has proven difficult to make a specific trip happen. In June of this year, my family had the wonderful opportunity to go to Europe, and so I deemed the “trip” box checked and gave myself a pass on this one.

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13) Do (at least) one unassisted pull up

I’ll admit, I didn’t exactly make this a priority, thus, as of now I still cannot do an unassisted pull up. However, after finishing the marathon, I moved away from cardio and got much more into strength training, and have felt myself get progressively stronger, which has been awesome. I also added this goal to my 2020 goals, so hopefully I can see even more progress throughout this year.

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14) Get 100 rejections

I probably finished the year with around 25 or so rejections, and it’s a very strange feeling to be disappointed I wasn’t rejected more. But I understand what I was going for with this goal and will continue to pursue rejection in the hopes that it eventually leads to success.

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15) Learn Spanish

This was another mid year goal swap that I kind of started pursuing out of nowhere. I had heard about the Duolingo app and was intrigued by it being easy and free, and so I gave it a go and have really loved it! I by no means consider myself someone who is even close to fluent in Spanish yet, but I am improving every day!

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16) Finish my museum goal

This one seemed simple enough at the beginning of the year, but then the year’s calendar laughed in my face. While yes, there were days that I could have gone, I just, well, didn’t. Oops.

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17) Run the LA marathon

COMPLETED

Can you even BELIEVE that of all the goals and of all the fails, passes and mishaps, I can actually put a check next to this guy?! I am forever floored.

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And there it is, the wonderfully weird, crazy, complicated wonder that was my 2019 goal list. I am very thankful for all it taught me and very excited for where my 2020 goals are taking me next.

I sincerely hope you find the courage and passion to pursue whatever it is that might be stirring in your heart.

It is never too late to try something new! ❤

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You can read about the goals I set for 2020 here.

31 Good Things that Happened in December

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, the final edition of 2019!

2019 was a year full of good things, even though sometimes the good seemed hard to find under the bad. I can only hope that 2020 is filled with just as much, if not more good, and that this upcoming decade magnifies that good to the highest degree.

I hope you had a wonderful holiday and I wish you a very Happy New Year!

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1) After being unable to make her friends wedding because of a final exam, this woman showed up to her test in her bridesmaid dress

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2) This boy brought his entire Kindergarten class to see him get adopted

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3) This woman gave paintings to people who donated $25 or more to charity

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4) This girl collected books and donated them to jail inmates

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5) This veteran was surprised with a service dog

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6) This police officer donated part of her liver to a complete stranger, and then helped pay for the surgery.

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7) This giant 3D printer printed houses for the world’s first 3D-printed neighborhood.

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8) Joe Burrow’s Heisman acceptance speech sparked over $370,000 in donations for families below the poverty line in his hometown

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9) Newton High School won a state championship on the anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting.

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10) This man got a Christmas surprise

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11) Fallon Sherlock became the first female darts player to beat a man at the PDC World Championship

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12) This boy sat and talked to a police officer he saw eating alone.

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13) To honor her years of constant giving, Bill Gates surprised this woman with a very special gift.

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14) This dog smiled for a picture

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15) At ages 88 and 102, these men just released their first album

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16) Mental Floss made this video full of fun facts:

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17) And The Ringer made a list of all the best sports moments in 2019

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18) A team of volunteers got this dog back home

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19) Scientists used speakers to make a dying coral reef sound healthy in order to attract fish and repopulate it.

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20) This 4 year old girl saved her mom’s life

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21) This plumber offered free work to elderly and disabled people

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22) This man paid off the power bills of 36 families who were in danger of losing their power during the holiday season

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23) This Christmas light display inspired a young, nonverbal, autistic girl to speak for the first time

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24) This man recycled old Christmas trees into canes for veterans

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25) This grandmother received an incredible gift

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26) This grandfather bought a bus so he can take all of his grandkids to school

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27) This man gave up his seat

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28) This 5 year old paid off her fellow classmates’ lunch debt by selling cookies and hot cocoa

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29) This man showed how he made the most of his decade

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30) This boy got a surprise visit from his best friend

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31) And finally We Rate Dogs gave us the best 2019 recap we could ever ask for

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

I can’t wait to see what January (and 2020!) brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

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17 Goals for 2020 (List-cember #8)

It’s that time of year again, y’all.

I’m going to be honest, this list was not easy to make this year.

My 2019 was absolutely CRAZY in terms of busyness, so a lot of my goals were left unattended and it made me very discouraged. For a hot second I thought about not setting any goals at all, but then I was tempted by the mistress of a new decade and here we are.

In the past, I’ve picked goals based on their grandeur and their promise of a big, impressive challenge, however, I’ve worked hard on learning to pick things that I like, that I want to do, and that can challenge me in ways I want to be challenged.

So, with that being said, I am very excited to share my goals for the new year, the new decade! May we all make 2020 our bitch.

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1) Kick a field goal

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I have exactly zero talent in anything relating to football (except watching it) but I’ve always wanted to know what it feels like to kick a field goal. So, this year, I plan on 1) buying a football, and 2) trying my hand foot at field goals.

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2) Learn Spanish

I replaced one of my original goals for 2019 mid year with “learn Spanish,” and since I am in no way a linguistic prodigy, I am not yet fluent in the language, thus I’m keeping it on here. And since there’s no way to really gage how far along in a language you are, I’m going to base my progress on the app I’ve been using to learn it. Duolingo divides languages into sections and as of now I’m at the end of Section 1, so my goal by the end of 2020 is to finish Section 3. Deséame suerte!

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3) Do a pull up

This is another repeat from last year because damn it, I’ve made progress but not enough. Upper body strength has just never been my strong suit, but I’m working on it!

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4) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

This is a regular on my list of goals and it never fails to be one of my favorites.

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5) Write positive Yelp reviews

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I didn’t put a concrete number on this one like I usually do, but that’s only because it’s hard to know how many new places you’ll visit in a year, you know? But I wanted to put in on this list because I feel like there aren’t enough good reviews on the internet. People are quick to log on and write horrible, scathing reviews, but often forget to share their positive experiences. So I’m hoping to find good things and write good reviews about those good things, so that other people can find those good things.

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6) Donate plasma

A couple years ago I made it a goal of mine to donate blood, and while it took me two tries to do it, I was so glad I did! This year, I’m hoping to donate plasma, which can be in just as high of demand as blood. Check out where you can donate plasma here.

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7) 30 Cleaning Challenge

I have been in desperate need of a deep clean in my life, and I think this challenge is just the place to start. I don’t plan on doing the challenge in order or all at once, I’m just using it as a checklist/baseline for the massive clean I’m going to do around my house. Call me a nerd, but I am PUMPED.

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You can download the PDF here.

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8) Savings Challenge

This one makes me a little less pumped, only because it’s been pretty fun spending money I don’t have for the last couple years. But I would really love to get back into the habit of saving, and build up an account that I can use for splurging, rather than just closing my eyes, hitting purchase and crossing my fingers that the stars align and all my bills get paid. I’ve seen a bunch of different challenges out there, and while I don’t think I’m going to stick to any by the letter, I’m going to use this one as a baseline.

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9) Purchase one charity t-shirt per month

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A few years ago I wrote a blog post all about t-shirts you can buy that will benefit great charities. I love a t-shirt with a cause, and so I decided a cool way to donate money to charity each month would be to buy a t-shirt from a specific charity. The way I see it, you donate money to a charity, you get a great t-shirt, which then gives visibility to that charity! It’s a win win win. I can’t wait! (Find this t-shirt here)

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10) Pay it forward

Have you ever had someone in front of you pay for your food/coffee/etc? I have had someone do it for me once, but I have never done it myself. So this year I’m hoping to give it a try. Personally I don’t think I’d be brave enough to do it in front of anyone, but I’d love to hop in a drive thru, pay for the person behind me, and then sneak away so the receiving party could be surprised.

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11) Take a self defense class

I think this is important for anyone, but I feel particularly drawn to it as a woman. What can I say, I want to feel safe, I want to feel tough(er), and I want to give off that BDE. You know, badass defense energy.

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12) Go to (at least) 5 concerts

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Last year I was lucky enough to go to a handful of amazing concerts and it reminded me why I love them so much. There are few things better than live music, and so I want to make it more of a priority to see it. As of now, I’m happy to report I already have 3 on the calendar! 🙂

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13) Take a writing class

I love blogging and it has always been my dream to write a book, but since it was a passion I found after college, I never took a class that might help hone my skills and better my ability to express myself through writing. So I’m hoping to find a class online that is both fun and challenging—something that can move me forward in this field of mine.

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14) Go to 5 breweries

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Being a beer drinker, raised by a beer drinker, who loves trying and drinking new beer, I find it surprising how few breweries I’ve been to in my lifetime. This year I’m hoping to change that, both by visiting breweries in my state, and possibly a few others. We’ll see what we find.

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15) Go to a comedy show

This is another one that seems crazy to be so inexperienced in when I live in a state that is home to so many great comedy houses. There’s something special about setting out on your evening with the intention of laughing. And with so many great comedians out there right now, I’d love to spend a good amount of time doing just that.

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16) The Emotion Scrapbook  

I feel like every year I have that one goal where my inner art major shines through, and this year, it’s this one. I have always loved pictures and the way they can capture parts of a moment or experience that you can revisit even years later. And so, to make a unique kind of scrapbook for this year, I made a list of 20 different feelings/emotions that I’m looking to capture in 2020. The idea is that when I find myself feeling one of those feelings, I want to take a picture of whatever can capture it best, so I can have a memento of it. Not all of these emotions are happy ones, but I think the list as a whole can give me a good idea of where the year took me and what it taught me, so I’m excited.

In case you’re interested, the list I’m going to work off of is as follows:

Take a picture when you’re feeling…

  1. Happy
  2. Sad
  3. Angry
  4. Peaceful
  5. Free
  6. Afraid
  7. Confident
  8. Love
  9. Relaxed
  10. Thankful
  11. Nostalgic
  12. Inspired
  13. Adventurous
  14. Stressed
  15. Bored
  16. Important
  17. Brave
  18. Optimistic
  19. Curious
  20. Determined

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17) Make a time capsule

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Since 2020 is going to be the beginning of a new decade, I thought it would be cool to make something to commemorate this decade. The last 10 years of my life have brought about a lot of change, and I would have loved to see a collection of things I valued at the beginning of 2010 compared to now. So, I’m going to find myself a box, gather up some things that I think best represent who I am and where the world is at the beginning of 2020, and then seal it, stash it, and open it at the end of 2029.

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And there they are in all their glory!

This might be the first year that I’m more excited than terrified. That has to be a good sign, right?

Don’t tell me if it’s not, I don’t need that kind of energy going into a new decade.

I hope you feel as optimistic and excited as I do about this new year, and I wish you luck on any goals you might be setting!

17 (More) Things that Inspired Me This Year (List-Cember #3)

Last year I decided to make this a bi-annual post, so I can have two editions of all the happy, cozy things that made me smile, cry, laugh, etc. throughout the year.

In case you are new here and a stickler for clean numbered lists (i.e. lists that are multiples of 5 or 10) and are wondering why on earth I would choose 17 of all things. 17 is my favorite number and my family kind of goes hard in the favorite number department.

With that being said, you can check out the first 17 here. 

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1) This quote:

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2) Ashlyn Sailsbury

I found Ashlyn through Kristin Johns who I mentioned in a previous version of this post, and she has quickly become one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. She is so funny and sassy and genuine and she shares the adventures of her adorable, fun family in Copenhagen. 10/10.

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3) This song by Ella Henderson

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8) Daisy Jones & the Six

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This was such a great book! Even though it was fiction, it read like a Rolling Stone interview and I was hooked the whole time. Plus the writing was absolutely brilliant. Here are some of my favorite lines:

“Don’t count yourself out this early, Daisy. You’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet.”

“Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.”

“Acceptance is a powerful drug.”

 

 

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9) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I mean, Mr. Rogers played by Tom Hanks? I loved it before I even stepped foot in the theater. It’s such a good tribute to a wonderful man and a great reminder of how much we can do for someone simply by being kind.

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10) This writer who gets it

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11) The Try Guys

I have been following the Try Guys for a while now but this year I really dove head first into their content. I started listening to their podcast The Trypod which always makes me laugh, and I kept up with their YouTube videos which always brighten my day.

Here is one of my favorites:

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12) My sister

Raise your hand if you’ve been going to school for 600 years and have spent that time working your ass off, borderline losing your mind, and definitely questioning if any of it was worth it. Now raise your hand if you overcame every obstacle that was put in front of you, grown into an incredibly smart, well spoken, badass Speech Language Pathologist that will undoubtedly go on to do great things.

Natalee, please raise your hand.

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13) The Grapes of Wrath, which inspired me to write this blog post.

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14) Mitch Albom

I read my first Mitch Albom book last year and immediately fell in love with his style of writing, so this year I read three more of his books and they continue to make me feel all the feels. One day I hope to write something that moves people the way his books move me.

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15) Glamour Friendship Test

This is such a sweet, hilarious series and this episode is absolutely one of my favorites.

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16) Iliza Shlesinger

I first found Iliza last year when a friend highly recommended her Netflix special, Elder Millennial. After watching and loving it, I was very excited to see that she released a new special in November of this year called Unveiled. Spoiler alert: it is just as good. Not only is it hilarious, but she is so well spoken and has so many good messages within her comedy, she is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

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17) Food Forward

This is one of my favorite local nonprofits to volunteer for. It benefits such a great cause and is run by such lovely people, so if you live in Southern California I would highly recommend checking them out!

 


 

Check out previous versions of this post here, here and here.

Check out more List-cember posts here.