inspiration

5 Habits I Want to Implement into My Life

Last year around the end of September I had just finished reading Rachel Hollis’ book Girl, Wash Your Face and I was doing my usual round of Internet stalking. I wanted to learn all about the woman who got me so inspired and see if there was anything else I could immediately learn in order to jump start my way into badass-ery. In the process, I came across her “Last 90 Days Challenge” which encourages you to bring grit and determination to the last three months of the year so that when the New Year comes, you’re already in that motivated mindset. (You can check it out here.)

Personally, with my schedule, I couldn’t maintain the requirements of the challenge, but embraced the mindset as a whole. I am someone who, in looking at the last three months of the year, might want to just get them over with so I can get to that inspiring fresh start in January. So after reading about this challenge, I started last year and will continue this year to look at these last three months as equal opportunity months, that have as much potential as the first three months of a new year after that strike of midnight.

On top of that, I’ve made a list of five habits I’d like to implement into my routine for these last three months and thus carry with me into 2020. These are things that I’ve thrown around in my mind for a while as something I want to do, maybe that I finally want to put aside the time to finally, actually do.

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1) Drink 60-70 ounces of water per day

One of the cornerstones of the Last 90 Days Challenge is to drink half your body weight (in ounces) of water every day. I already do a pretty good job at drinking water, but I want to make it a habit to hit a goal every day (or as many days as possible). I usually carry around a 32 ounce Hydroflask with me, so I’m going to try and make it a habit to fill it up twice each day.

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2) Put lotion on every day

I keep a small bottle of hand lotion in my purse, but I have never been good at remembering to put on body lotion after a shower or before bed, or, you know, ever. I buy the lotion, and it sits on my bathroom counter like I’m some sort of consistent moisturizer, but I’m not. So, I’m trying to make a better effort. What can I say, I want to be smooth, y’all.

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3) Read before bed

This is something I’ve desperately been wanting to do in place of scrolling through my phone. Not only do I think it will help me fall asleep easier, but it will also help me fall asleep earlier. As hard as it is to admit, it’s way easier to close a book than it is to put down my phone. And since I’m trying to distance myself from my phone, I think this is a good place to start.

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4) DIY Projects

I probably have at least ten projects sitting around my room that I’m “going to get to eventually.” During the week, I’m too tired after work, and then on the weekends, I’m either busy or not wanting to do anything at all. So, I’m going to try and work my way through them one by one. I’m going to set one up on my desk, and maybe even pick one day a week to set aside time to work on it. This goal/habit is pretty vague, but I’m putting it on this list mostly as a commitment to finally start these bad boys. I know full well that I feel my best when I am being creative, so I want make more time to do that.

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5) Meditate a few times a week

I tried meditating for the very first time last year and while it was a little off-putting at first, I couldn’t deny that it was relaxing. Since then, I’ve downloaded the Headspace app to try to motivate myself to do it more, and while I don’t use it often, in the handful of times I’ve used it before bed, I slept like a baby. So I want to make it a habit a few times a week, either in the morning to start my day, or when I get home from work, or right before bed. Anytime I can just take five minutes to relax and block everything else out.

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Have any habits you’ve been wanting to add to your routine? Now’s the time to start! 🙂

July/August Favorites

A lot has changed since we were last here! For one thing, I’m 29 now. And while I can’t list this age as a “favorite” quite yet, I do have a good feeling about it.

Speaking of good feelings, I found a bunch of things over the last couple months that gave me all the good feelings.

Wow. What a transition, am I right? Told you 29 looks good on me.

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Podcasts

I was first introduced to the Try Guys when they were part of Buzzfeed, and I’ve loved their brand ever since. At their core, they are a group of friends who simply try stuff and make you want to do the same. You can check out their videos here, but I’d also recommend their podcast, The Trypod, which is an easy, lighthearted listen. It makes you feel like you’re sitting around in your living room talking to your friends.

The Clearing is a posthumous account of the life of Edward Wayne Edwards, a serial killer and all-around terrible human whose daughter put the pieces of his crimes together and brought at least a few of his victims and their families justice. The narrator has a very monotone voice, but I think it adds to the nature of the subject. I was hooked and frustrated the entire time.

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Books

After reading a loving Rachel Hollis’ first book, Girl, Wash Your Face, I was over the moon for her second one and preordered it. But then, life caught up with me and that poor book sat on my bedside table for months before I finally opened it. Once I did however, I was IN. It’s a great book for anyone looking for some fire under their feet and it gives great advice for how you can go about making your dreams a reality.

In another example of poor planning + a chaotic schedule, I received the The Silent Patient audiobook from the library and waited too long to start it. By the time I did, my loan was ending and I was freaking out trying to finish it and when I didn’t make it, I had to wait three miserable weeks until it was available again. It follows Alicia Berenson, a woman convicted of murdering her husband and then refusing to speak in any capacity, and Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who is determined to figure out why. It takes a lot of twists and turns and I especially recommend the audiobook because the reader was great!

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TV Shows

I realize that I am WAY behind the times on this one, so I probably don’t have to do much of an introduction on what Dexter is, but I am glad I finally made the time to start it. I am officially hooked and if you need me I’ll be sitting in a state of conflict over being worried about and emotionally attached to a serial killer.

Stranger Things is another one that doesn’t need much of an introduction. I had been patiently waiting for the third season and when it finally arrived I watched it so fast I have been considering rewatching it because I think I blacked out. In a good way.

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Music

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If I’m being honest, A LOT of music has been put on the back burner since Taylor Swift released Lover in August. It is SO GOOD, y’all. So while I’d obviously recommend that first, there is a bunch of other great music that I found over the last two months.

For albums, I’d recommend Tori Kelly’s Inspired by True Events, and Machine Gun Kelly’s Hotel Diablo. They could not be more different (aside from them both having Kelly in their name) and it’s almost comical to recommend them side by side, but such is my brain. It has a lot of different moods and these two do it for me.

Then, in continuing a new tradition of recommending individual songs, here are 10 that I think you should check out:

1) I Don’t Want Your Money by Ed Sheeran (featuring H.E.R.)

2) Painkiller by Ruel

3) Put it to Bed by JHART

4) All For Us by Labrinth & Zendaya

5) What Could’ve Been by Gone West

6) Tell When it’s Over by Shery Crow & Chris Stapleton

7) Someday Soon by Wilder Woods

8) Love is Love by Grace Potter

9) Rooting for You by Alessia Cara

10) Crowded Table by The Highwomen

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This Arm/Back Workout

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I have been getting into weight training over the last couple months and so I’ve been doing research on different sequences that can work out specific parts of my body. I found this one on Pinterest and it’s been great at working out my arms and back. It makes me feel strong and, unless I’m seeing things, I actually might look stronger too. Take care with these guns, y’all.

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Low Cow Ice Cream Bars

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And last but DEFINITELY not least, these! It’s hard to be completely in love with ice cream AND want to eat healthy. So it’s safe to say that when I found these, which are low in sugar, high in protein and absolutely delicious I gave them priority status on my grocery list. My favorite flavor is the Salted Caramel, but they also offer Fudge and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

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And that just about does it for July & August!

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

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Also, don’t forget to check out the fundraiser I’m doing in the month of September to benefit Childhood Cancer.  Anything helps! heavy-black-heart_2764

Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation September Challenge

Hello and Happy September!

Hopefully you are at home or on vacation or somewhere other than work right now, blissfully living out your three day weekend and pretending that it’s going to last forever. (Fingers crossed it does.)

Personally I think September is the best month of the year, not only because I was born in it, but because it marks the start of fall—or, in Southern California, the beginning of summer part 2.

In the past, I’ve done of a few things to commemorate my birthday, and this year I’ve found something really fun. I recently came across a charity called Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. It was started by a little girl named Alex who was diagnosed with childhood cancer just after her first birthday. When she was four, she setup a lemonade stand with the mission to raise money to find a cure. Now, her legacy lives on with Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation or ALSF.

For the month of September the ALSF is holding a fundraiser called the Million Mile Challenge where they are encouraging people to run, walk or bike as many miles as they can throughout the month while raising money and awareness for the charity.

I, along with some family and friends have put together a team and will be participating in the challenge. I think it will be such a fun and inspiring way to motivate us to get out and exercise while bringing awareness to such a great cause.

If you are interested in joining the challenge, you can register here.

Or, if you feel inspired to donate to our team, that would be amazing and you can do that here.

With all that being said, I hope you have a wonderful rest of your (hopefully) long weekend, pour yourself a glass of lemonade and take a nap. You’ve earned it.

As for me, I’ve got to get moving! I’ve got miles to log!

31 Good Things that Happened in August

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 little boy born without a hand met a soccer player just like him

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2) These vending machines offered free books to children

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3) This little boy sold paintings to help the homeless

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4) This:

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5) This man went the extra mile to help his friend propose

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6) Taylor Swift helped this fan pay her tuition

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7) This camp in Colorado reunited siblings separated in foster care

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8) This girl played the drums

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9) This retiring FBI agent was reunited with an infant he saved 20 years ago

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10) This dog went swimming

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11) This list of wholesome animal content was created

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12) This fallen veteran got a long overdue welcome home

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13) This guy got there juuuuust in time

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14) This boy wore an incredible custom made shirt to his first day of school

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15) This man recorded his journey to losing 42 pounds

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16) These fireman built a path for a woman struggling in a wheelchair

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17) This young Foo Fighters fan stole the show

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18) This three year old sold lemonade to help mom’s in need

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19) This Dad remixed Billie Eilish

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20) A cure for the Ebola virus was found

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21) This man released a video about his recovery

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22) These workers went the extra mile

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23) This school superintendent used his bonus to help high school students apply for college

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24) These “public pantries” were opened up to help fight hunger

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25) This 10 year old ran for fallen heroes

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26) This boy wrote major league baseball player Chris Davis a letter when to help him through a slump

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27) This little girl wanted to be like her dad

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28) This man turned his run into art

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29) This man wrote a thank you note to the neighbors who saved his life

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30) Andy Grammer released this song and video

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31) And this little girl was inspired by an ad featuring a girl that looked like her

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

I can’t wait to see what September brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

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Don’t Suffer

A fun fact about me is that I’m cold—all the time.

I have two sweaters on my office chair at work and I almost never leave the house without some sort of extra layer, even in the dead of summer. My friends and family have (mostly) come to accept this—they only mock me half of the time now—and some even go out of their way to let me know when we (meaning only me) should bring a jacket to wherever we’re going.

If I were a teenager, I might try to spin this whole thing as a cute quirk. A way to get the boy to lend me his jacket because I’m just so cold teeheehee. But alas, I’m not 16, and I don’t even think it’s cute. I would love to confidently walk out the front door without wondering if I will catch hypothermia at the movies or grapple over what I should say to convince everyone to sit outside even though it’s hot and we might sweat all of our makeup off.

This past weekend a big group of my family got together at a house on the beach and the moment we pulled in I felt the ocean breeze shiver down my spine.

Shit. I thought. We just got here and I’m already cold.

I paced around a bit, trying to get my blood flowing so I didn’t have to look completely pathetic, but after a few minutes I leaned into my mom and said, “I really think I have to put my sweater on already.”

My mom nodded, nonjudgmental, then put her hand on my arm and said, “Like my yoga teacher says, ‘Don’t suffer.’”

At first I just smiled, thanking her for the words and for not, you know, pointing and laughing at me like I assume everyone should. But as I pulled on my jacket and then walked back around to the kitchen to lean back into the conversation I’d left, the real meaning of the words sunk in deep.

Don’t suffer.

It’s really simple on the surface, isn’t it? But let it sink in for a second.

Don’t suffer.

In the context of yoga, it reminds you not to stay in a pose that causes too much pain.

When you apply it to every day life—like whether or not I should be ashamed to put a sweater on at a family reunion—it acts a reminder to just let yourself be. Maybe that means saying no to party you don’t want to go to, or putting down a book you don’t have any interest in finishing, or taking a nap instead of going to the gym today, or whatever it may be.

Don’t suffer. Especially with the little things. Give yourself the freedom to be comfortable and it will give you the opportunity to thrive.

Needless to say I put the jacket it on, instantly felt better, and wouldn’t you know it, I had an amazing afternoon.

What’s the Point?

Have you ever been so caught up in the monotony of the day-to-day routines and stresses that you found yourself frustrated and exhausted and wondering what are we even doing here? Or, and not necessarily as dark as this sounds, but, what’s the point?

It’s that, is this it? feeling. Is life just alarm snoozing and work and bills and debt and general frustration?

Deep down we know it’s not. We know there’s more. We know this thing has purpose. But some days that truth is a little cloudy, and others it seems downright hidden.

But then there are days or sometimes just moments when it shines bright.

Like when you see someone do something so kind that it makes you want to cry.

Or when you see people look at each other with such unconditional love that you feel it too.

When you stay up late talking to your sister about nothing and everything at the same time.

When you watch the sunset on the beach and that warm glow makes everything slow down.

When you eat something so good it makes you (want to or actually) dance.

When you do something you never thought you could.

When you get butterflies in your stomach because someone or something is so overwhelmingly exciting.

When you tell a friend something you’re struggling with and they lift a little piece of that burden off your shoulders.

When you lose track of time laughing and then trying not to laugh and then after a while laughing just to laugh.

Among millions more.

The way I see it, life is about finding things that make it easier. Easier for you, easier for someone you love, or even easier for someone you’ve never met. It’s about finding people and places and experiences that make you take deep, purposeful breaths. And on the hard days, it’s about believing that ease exists, and working your way forward one step at a time to find it again.

Life is not meant to be easy, but it’s full of impossible ease, and you owe it to yourself to find it. So whether you’re having the best day ever or a cloudy one at best, I encourage you to seek it. Open yourself up to the good things in this life, let them give you breath and breathe breathe breathe.

Everything in Moderation

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde

 

I heard this quote for the first time recently and it really hit home.

While balance is often preached as the secret to life, sometimes it’s the balance that leaves me so worn out. Day in and day out I’m trying to make sure I find time for goal setting, self care, loving others, eating right, being productive, etc. I try to achieve that balance, but by the time I’m getting into bed each night I’m feeling more overwhelmed than I did that morning.

I end up lying there wondering what I could have done better, what I shouldn’t have done at all, and how I can improve the next day. I promise to pursue that balance, but I’m also wondering how I’ll ever be able to do it.

So maybe, that’s not the answer.

As this quote suggests, maybe it’s not about finding and maintaining that balance every. single. day. But striving for a balance—whatever that means for you. That means knowing when you need more or less of something. It means giving yourself a break when you can’t find time to do much of anything at all.

Moderation is healthy. And it’s a good standard for living, but it shouldn’t be your only standard. Be wild sometimes. Break the rules. Change the rules. Know when you need to be disciplined. Know when you need a nap or a snack—or two snacks. Respect when you need to be quiet and when you need to scream. Find your balance, and don’t be ashamed if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s.

31 Good Things that Happened in July

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) Gwendolyn Christie submitted herself for an Emmy—and got nominated

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2) This police department accepted animal shelter donations instead of cash for parking ticket payments

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3) Dodger pitcher Clayton Kershaw’s son Charlie made the most of his time at the MLB All Star Game

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4) This South Korean water polo team celebrated their first goal

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5) People in Ethiopia planted over 350 million trees

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6) Netflix announced it will remove all forms of smoking in its original programs rated TV-14 or lower

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7) This man sent a heartfelt text on his wedding day

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8) This girl found a…familiar dog?

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9) Miss Virginia 2019, a biochemist, was crowned after doing a science experiment

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10) This incredible paper airplane took flight

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11) The first trailer for A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood came out

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12) The Be My Eyes app allowed volunteers to help the visually impaired

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13) This duet:

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14) These kids wrote their dad an incredible obituary

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15) France started forcing it’s grocery stores to donate their leftover food rather than throw it away

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16) This 12 year old made bow ties for dogs in animal shelters

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17) This man turned a bus stop into a full blown experience

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18) This man caught a wave

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19) These brothers started a candle company and donate some of their profits to the homeless

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20) Lizzo dominated this tiny desk concert

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21) US federal agencies pledged to go paperless by 2022

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22) This dog joined in

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23) New Hampshire passed a bill to offer free period products to students

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24) This carpenter used his life savings to send 33 strangers to college

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25) This Seattle Mariner shortshop made an incredible throw

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26) This dog tried his best to “shake”

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27) This noise sensitive student got a silent standing ovation

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28) This dad was sent on an errand by his daughter

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29) Stranger Things actor Dacre Montgomery shared this inspiration Instagram post

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When I was a kid, I was lost. I had a really tough time in school. I was a big kid who loved drama. I never got passing grades, I wasn’t popular or a gifted sports player. Girls were never interested in me. I suffered from anxiety from a young age. I was distracted and I wasn’t focused. But I had a dream, I was lucky – I knew what I wanted to do. And every night I went home and I focused on THAT. I visualised a future where my dreams became a reality. When I was 15 I failed my high school drama exams. When I was 16 I was told I needed to loose weight. When I was 17 I was told I should go to drama school and train. When I was 18 I was fired from my job. When I was in drama school I was told to leave. When I had a DREAM – I was told it wasn’t achievable. Well, you know what…. I lost weight, I went to drama school and I never stopped wanting it, I never stopped being curious. I never let the failures get me down. Because I believed in myself and I never let anyone tell me otherwise. You can do anything you set your mind to. So, go out there and get it!

A post shared by Dacre Montgomery (@dacremontgomery) on

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30) Olympic hopeful, Heptathlete Chari Hawkins, shared some inspirational words

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31) And this cat napped hard

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

I can’t wait to see what August brings!

You can view the last edition of this series here.

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BAWAGA: A New Mindset

I talk a lot about inspiration on this blog. Whether it be my own ideas, lessons I’ve learned from others, or words and phrases I’ve picked up anywhere and everywhere else. I’ve talked about mantras and mottos that carry me through rougher days (i.e. It’s Not Time to Worry Yet and Just Live the Day) and I’ve talked about mindsets that motivate me to push myself forward (i.e. Shout Your Strong and Opening the BIFC Door)

Today, I bring you yet another mindset, that comes straight from the first baseline of Dodger Stadium.

It was a hot afternoon in May and a small group of us were there to see the Dodgers play the Mets. Seated in field level seats right next to the foul pole, we were very close to Dodgers’ right fielder, Cody Bellinger, who, in case you haven’t heard, is having the season of his life.

“He’s such a badass,” my sister said as he warmed up after hitting another homerun.

“You might even say he’s…a badass with a great ass.

Badass with a great ass. (BAWAGA, if you will)

Obvious thirst aside, this stuck with me. Not necessarily as a quality we should give to others (sorry, Cody), but as a mindset we should take on for ourselves.

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to like—let alone love—ourselves all at once. For me personally, I have moments of love, sparks of that hey, I dig that about myself, but very rarely (if ever) am I walking around thinking, “man I love my brain and my spirit and my body, I am just the total package.”

But what if I did? What if we did?

What if we pursued that total self-acceptance on a daily basis? What if we woke up thinking and believing, I am a badass with a great ass, I can do anything and then went about our day? How would that change the way we viewed our world? How would it change the way we treated others? How would it change the way we approached obstacles?

For athletes like Cody Bellinger, they need to take the field with a BAWAGA mindset, even on days when they don’t feel like it. If they don’t, they leave room for both doubt and the confidence of all of the other players to stand in front of them. And when all of that is blurring your vision, it’s impossible to play to the best of your ability because you don’t believe it exists.

The same goes for us regular (non-professional baseball playing, MLB record breaking) humans. We all have the ability to “play” at our best ability, but first we need to believe that our best exists. We need to go into each day with positivity and motivation and we need to look in the mirror with love and admiration. We need to appreciate all sides of ourselves—including the backside ayyyy—and remind ourselves that we can do anything. Why? Because we’re badasses. And not only that, we’re badasses with great asses.

Is it corny? Yes.

Is it cringy?  A little.

But does it secretly motivate me to go out there and kick some ass? Sure does.

10 Easy Ways to Learn Something New Every Day

If you are like me, you love learning. You love dropping fun facts and (as subtly as possible) saying look what I can do! And while 12 years of grade school might have given us somewhat of a distaste for the long winded, multiple choice kind of learning, these days it doesn’t take much for us to learn something new. Oftentimes it will just find us in the middle of an average day and that little light will go on in our heads saying, hey, I didn’t know that!

Call me a nerd but that is a rush.

I love that feeling so much that I actively try to learn something new every day—as many times a day as possible. Any little tidbit of new information I can find, I grab it and hold on tight, and then wait for the perfect opportunity to say, “did you know…” to my friends and family.

So, if you can relate to any of that, or if you’re just curious what kind of information I’m consuming on a daily basis in an attempt to turn my brain into its own Mary Poppins’ bag, here are 10 easy ways to learn something new every day:

 

1) Subscribe to a podcast

I went on my podcast app and counted, I am subscribed to 32 podcasts. THIRTY-TWO. Is this extreme? Am I an addict? Don’t answer that. I love all of my podcasts and I listen to (not all of) them every day. They cover just about every topic in the book, making it easy and fun to learn about a little bit of everything. Some of my favorites include: Ear Hustle, Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet, and Heavyweight

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2) Click on the Google logo

You know how Google often has those decorative versions of their logo on their homepage? Did you know that if you click on those you can learn about the historical icon or event they are honoring? Talk about easy access to fun facts.

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3) Subscribe to an e-newsletter

There is so much information on the Internet, both good and bad, so it’s nice to have someone else wade through it and give you the highlights. I’ve bounced around between newsletters, trying to find one that best fits what I’m looking for and right now my favorite is Next Draft. An email is sent every weekday after lunch and it is organized into ten bullet points of both important current information and interesting articles you might not have read otherwise.

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4) Watch a documentary (on Netflix, Hulu, or even YouTube)

I know, I know, we all have good intentions when we scroll through and add documentaries to our queues, and we all promise to watch them next time because we’re just not in the mood right now. But I encourage you to take a chance on one when you’re looking for something to watch. There is so much good stuff out there! Some of my favorites include: Evil Genius on Netflix, Three Identical Strangers on Hulu, and You’re Not Allowed to Die Here on YouTube.

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5) Go outside

I know this sounds obvious, but there’s no denying it. Our houses and apartments and dorms are wonderful and cozy and safe but there is so much to see and learn when we get outside! Just the other day a group of friends and I walked out to look at the moon and someone held their hand up and said, “did you know that if you can cup the moon in your right hand it’s a waxing moon and if you can cup it with your left it’s a waning moon.” No, I did not know that. But will I now drop it in any conversation about the moon? You’re damn right I will.

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6) Look up a new recipe

One of my favorite things to do is cook, and I love looking up recipes that I can put together with things I find in my fridge. Lucky for us, the Internet is CHOCK-FULL of recipes thanks to all of the wonderful food bloggers of the world. From breakfasts to desserts to gluten free tea party recipes, there is something for every occasion, just waiting for you to dive in.

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7) Download a language learning app

Learning a new language, or at the very least becoming familiar with key words in another language can be so valuable, both in every day life and when you travel. There are tons of apps out there that can teach you practically any language you can think of. My favorite is Duolingo, because it’s free, easy, and fun to use. Plus, an adorable owl named Duo sends me cute reminders to do my daily Spanish homework and it excites me.

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8) Take a different way home

If you do a lot of driving for work, either as part of your job or just in commuting to and from, try a new route. Turn one street early, or get off on a different exit. Expand that mental map and see where different roads lead, you never know what you’ll find along the way!

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9) Ask questions

Whenever you think to yourself, “I wonder how…” or “what is that?” or “when was..” pursue those answers. I can’t tell you how often I ask a question out loud and then immediately Google it. Even if they are little, seemingly meaningless answers they are something and you never know when you might need that something in the future.

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10) Listen

This doesn’t just call for putting on your listening ears, as my mom would say. This calls for using all of your senses. Put your phone down. Pick your head up. Look around, listen up and interact with the environment around you.