Monthly Archives: November 2012

Friday Five

Hi beautiful friends! Here’s five things on my mind this week that I wanted to share with you. How was your week?

Have a lovely last day of December! …..Insanely weird how fast November flew by. xx!

1. Reading List This Week.

Paris in Love by Eloisa James {author of Eat, Pray, Love} and a book jam-packed with healthy living goodness called Healthiest You Ever. I LOVE having a library card!

2. Inspiring Blog.

Hey Amber Rae is the Amber’s lovely piece of the Internet. I absolutely love her fresh, optimistic and empowering view on life and the way she encourages others through her blog. Read it! And follow her Instagram account {images below} for a daily dose of inspiration. Also I would highly recommend spending 12 minutes watching her TEDxCMU chat The Art of Being Unreasonable.

3. New Favorite Website.

The Striking Truths site. So thankful I signed up for their daily email too! Definitely check out their beautiful site for inspiration and a major crown polish.

4. Royal Dynamite Clothing.

I recently learned about Royal Dynamite Clothing, a socially responsible online community focused around a t-shirt lines. The best part – for every t-shirt you buy, Royal Dynamite donates an educational package {bags and school supplies} to a child in need. LOVE. The adorable Ali modeled the From Sierra Leone with Love V-Neck for Queens royal tee and the Tahiti Blue with Hot Pink Logo royal tee. These t-shirts could make perfect holiday gifts – you can find the brand on Facebook and Twitter as well.

5. My favorite advice.

Honestly. Enough. Said. I need to like get this tattooed on my body or something. Very wise words!

What You Deserve

My lovely friend Maddie passed along this article from Thought Catalog that left me speechless to be honest. The author, Chelsea Pagan, shares her eloquent and compassionate reminder that you deserve so very much out of life – to feel beautiful, to love your body, to appreciate yourself and your everyday life, to accept love, to accept other people, to try your very best and to be okay with just being okay.

You magnificent queens deserve all of these things mentioned in the below article but that doesn’t mean they will happen with the snap of your fingers. I hope you remember you do indeed deserve these things, but it’s okay if you don’t feel or believe that you do right this second. I also hope you realize how absolutely worthy you are – right here and now – soon though. Enjoy the article – and please take empowering words to heart. {and read the entire thing! maybe twice!} xx

You deserve to look in the mirror every morning and see someone that, though not perfect, isn’t trying to be. You deserve to walk past the billboards and commercials that show staged-and-Photoshopped images of what and who you are supposed to be and laugh at them, secure in the knowledge that you are wonderful because you are real. You could imagine that the models themselves must be so much greater in person when not reduced to a pose and a cheesy tagline — maybe they are at their most beautiful when just stepping out of the shower, hair still wet, and excited to go eat a good breakfast — but you don’t compare yourself to them. You deserve to love your body simply because it is yours, and it is capable of so much.

You deserve to look past whatever is displayed on the outside, whatever code lingers on your skin to be read by society and neatly organized into some compartment about who you “are” — fat, thin, ugly, tall, awkward — and be even more in love with what exists within you. Of course you may have moments in which you regret past mistakes, or dislike a character flaw that you know you need to work on, or feel the rope of maturity tugging at your ankle saying “Come on, catch up,” but it doesn’t define you. You deserve to appreciate all of the wonderful qualities you bring to the table, instead of relentlessly harping on yourself for the categories in which you fall just a tiny bit short.

You deserve to look for love, if that’s what you want, and be ready to accept it when it comes your way. You might find yourself overwhelmed and even briefly in disbelief when you realize that someone actually loves you for who you are and wants nothing more than to be with you, but you should be able to embrace that unconditional caring with your own. You should wrap your arms around them and cover them with your whole body — flesh, bone, the ugly little cracks and scars that they can’t stop kissing — and know that you are a good person, who is worthy of such joy. You deserve not to question every person who gives you a compliment or tells you that you’re wonderful, not to wonder if they have some ulterior motive, or if you are somehow the victim of an elaborate prank. You should realize that you are worth loving because you are ready to love back.

You deserve to go through your day and take in the good parts, breathe in the good air and appreciate the little things that too often go unnoticed. You should know that a strong flower growing in a city sidewalk, a child laughing and blowing bubbles, or strangers that smile at one another and mean it are all things worth loving, and which make your day a net positive. You deserve to live your life for the joys and not the frustrating slights that are out of your control — to be able to say that, because you held the door open for an older man with too many bags on his arms, your afternoon was good. Though the profound effect these tiny moments of happiness can have on all of us are often lost in the shuffle of life and its myriad injustices, you deserve to look at them and see them for the victories of compassion and simplicity that they are.

You deserve to try, and give it your all, but be okay if you fail. You deserve not to spend so much of your life berating yourself for not having been “good enough,” especially when you’re not even sure what “good enough” might entail. Your job might be strenuous, your classes impossible, but you deserve to be able to do your best work and, at the end of the day, put your pen down and sleep well. You deserve to have a personal best that is good enough for you, to not constantly feel as though you’re outrunning yourself with expectations, to the point of sapping the joy out of a hard day’s work.

You deserve to be truly happy for others. You deserve a life that is filled with its own successes and triumphs, that is carved out in the image you desire, and that is not effected by the perceived victories of others. Sometimes others may get things that we wanted for ourselves, but you deserve to be confident enough with your own life and journey that someone else’s achievement is not directly detrimental to your own desires. You deserve to see success not as some finite pie from which we must all take exactly one slice, but rather a constantly evolving and growing garden in which we can all flower and reach the sunlight.

Perhaps most of all, though, you deserve to be okay. You deserve to know that a day in which you can just barely get out of bed because you are sad, or sick, or simply not ready to see the outside is not the end of the world. You deserve to know that moments of weakness do not make you fundamentally weak, only fundamentally human, and that sometimes we’re not going to be effusively happy, and that is okay. You deserve to be happy just existing and not constantly holding yourself up to a standard of fake smiles and forced cheerfulness. You deserve to not beat yourself up when you do not reach perfect acceptance of your body, your personality, the love you receive, or anything else that may come your way. Though you should know that you are worthy of these things, learning to be happy just in a kind of stasis with yourself is a long process, and you should know that we are all working on it. You deserve to live through all of your emotions, all of your states of motivation, and know that as long as you are treating everyone with kindness (including yourself), you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Don't Get Stuck

I previously shared RELEVANT Magazine’s 11 Things I Know at 25ish article on my blog here and thought it was important to share again. Hope you have a great Wednesday!

#11: Don’t Get Stuck.

This is the thing: When you hit 28 or 30, everything begins to divide.
You can see very clearly two kinds of people. On one side, people who
have used their 20s to learn and grow, to find … themselves and their
dreams, people who know what works and what doesn’t, who have pushed
through to become real live adults. Then there’s the other kind, who
are hanging onto college, or high school even, with all their might.
They’ve stayed in jobs they hate, because they’re too scared to get
another one. They’ve stayed with men or women who are good but not
great, because they don’t want to be lonely. … they mean to develop
intimate friendships, they mean to stop drinking like life is one big
frat party. But they don’t do those things, so they live in an
extended adolescence, no closer to adulthood than when they graduated.

Don’t be like that. Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take
a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness,
and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Don’t lose
yourself at happy hour, but don’t lose yourself on the corporate
ladder either. Stop every once in a while and go out to coffee or
climb in bed with your journal.

Ask yourself some good questions like: “Am I proud of the life I’m
living? What have I tried this month? … Do the people I’m spending
time with give me life, or make me feel small? Is there any brokenness
in my life that’s keeping me from moving forward?”

Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love, and with people
who believe … life is a grand adventure. Don’t get stuck in the past,
and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet
earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and
keep traveling honestly along life’s path.

advice for a bad day

Have you had a bad day recently? I’ve had my share of them and knew I wanted to share this “Ten Things To Do When You Feel Like Crap” list {found here}. My remedy for bad days typically involves a walk or run, taking an extra long bubble bath or calling my mom on the phone. She’s always the best at giving me a fresh perspective.

How do you get through bad days? I’d love to hear! xx

1. Have a really hot, long shower. Cry if you need to. Sit on the ground. Feel sorry for yourself. Let the steam soak into your skin. Let the hot water wash your face clean. But the moment you turn off that water, you are done feeling sorry for yourself. Make a decision to move on from that sadness.

2. Clean. I know, cleaning is boring and annoying – but how about that feeling you get when you are finished? The smell of the vacuum. That feeling of accomplishment? Who knows, you might even find money along the way. Totally worth it. It’s like starting with a clean slate.

3. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while. If your first choice doesn’t pick up, choose someone else. Ask them all about how their lives are going and tell them about yours. Not only will it take your mind off whatever crappy thing you have been plagued by, but you will laugh with them! Laughing triggers endorphins and endorphins make you happy!

4. Go for a run or a walk. This get’s your endorphins and dopamine going crazy. You will get more energy and more happiness just because the chemicals in your body are running around!

5. Stop and take it all in. Walking in the night? Stop and look at the stars. Breathe in the cold air. Feel alive.

6. Stop whining. Ever heard the saying “love life and life will love you back”? Or, the idea of the power of attraction? It’s true! If you sit around saying “why me, waaaaa waaaa” then bad things will happen to you. You’re already defeated. If you start saying, “I will be happy, I will accomplish my ambitions, I will find love, I do look amazing, I am a great friend” etc., then not only will you start to believe them but you will be amazed at what amazing things start to happen.

7. Drink tea. This always works. Not a tea fan? Try hot water with a slice of lemon and some agave syrup.

8. Make a conscious decision to stop holding certain grudges. We all have people we have held grudges on in the past. Let them go. If you feel like you owe this person an apology, don’t be too proud. Send them a sincere facebook apology. Sincerity is in the intent, so even if it’s a 2 sentence apology – as long as you mean it it’s worth it.

9. Cook some really nice, warm food. Stimulate your taste buds with anything as simple as two minute noodles or as lavish as a three course garlic bread, pasta bake, chocolate mousse triple combo.

10. Write down a list of goals to achieve for the week. As simple as “buy insect repellent” or as large as “jog for 25 minutes non stop” and tick them off when they’re done. You will feel very accomplished and that alone will help pep up your mood!


dose of joy {by katie}

meet my little sister, katie! she surprised me randomly and emailed me a long and lovely “dose of joy” blog post. i thought it was absolutely a must-share. 

1. Reading Andi’s blog and getting a good “pick me up”
2. Good coffee that Corey grinds and makes me
3. 79 degree weather in BG
4. Facetiming Mom when we’re 20 minutes away
5. Younglife
6. Good, long, quiet times
7. Watercolors
8. Blankets and cuddling
9. Jeremiah 29:11
10. Cider with caramel
11. Texts from Dad
12. Colored/Patterned pants
13. Taylor Swift’s new album
14. Detoxing
15. Waking up early to watch the sunrise
16. Counting down the days until Andi comes home
17. Roadtrips with the family
18. Hugs
19. Random phone calls from Sam
20. Ann Arbor trips with Corey
21. Songs
23. Friends I can count on
24. Christmas
25. Feeling so much joy in a moment that I could cry
26. Warm scarves
27. Faithful prayer
28. The smell of trees after it’s rained
29. Unmade beds
30. Using time efficiently
31. Dreaming of being in San Fransisco
32. Yoga
33. Tyler Knott Gregson
34. Naps during sunset
35. Laying around doing nothing with my sisters during breaks
36. Family game nights
37. Laughter

what brings you joy? find similar posts here.

How to be a Better (Happier & Healthier) Human Being

This is too beautiful not to share. My favorites? Be present, confront any challenging situation first with a deep breath, wander, don’t be embarrassed to feel, do what you love, remember that you always {ALWAYS} have a choice, and find joy in what life really is.

Hope you had a very happy Thanksgiving weekend! xo

A great way to spend down time

OK, you have some time on your hands. It is – or should be – a rare situation. After all, you work hard, you have hobbies, friends and family that usually occupy most of that time. But here you are; the weather’s bad, you’ve seen the movies you want, read the books on your shelf, and there’s not so much as a decent ballgame on the tube. Still, the options are there, because there’s always something new to explore.

Turn free time into fun time

The online world has helped us with this exploration. There’s Facebook, blogs, YouTube and Twitter stuff we like to check out. Too many times, though, these activities last about five minutes. So, what about something that turns that free time into fun time? How about a casino game? And no, we’re not talking about a trip to Vegas. You see, people by the millions are finding that online casinos are great ways to spend that down time. That’s because there’s a casino game just about anywhere there’s internet access. In airline terminals, waiting rooms, and even (oops!) boring old meeting rooms, people are calling up games and hitting winners as a way to occupy down time. And they’re having fun. In fact, fun is the main reason casino games have been so popular down through the years. Entire cities have been built because people have enjoyed the excitement of playing games such as blackjack or roulette. You know that if you’ve ever played at the tables of Vegas or Atlantic City.

Besides the fun of it all, there are plenty of other reasons folks play casinos online. The online casino industry has made it convenient … well, to an extent. They are, as we said, convenient because they’re so accessible. They are also convenient in the sense that you can find a site or game to match whatever device you use, from PCs to smartphones and tablets. And they’re convenient in that they have just about any type of deposit and withdrawal system you want to use. The hitch is, there are so many casinos online like this that picking just the right one can be a bit daunting. But the cyberworld comes to the rescue again, because the popularity of online casinos has brought the need for sites specifically designed to make shopping for casinos online a little easier. These sites offer solid reviews, lists of sites that cater specific types of software and money management, and casinos that offer the best bonuses. These bonuses are a big deal in the online casino world. They are a big part of what brings players in, and a big factor to consider when shopping casinos online. The versions of bonuses come in many forms; bonuses for signing up, bonuses for depositing, and loyalty bonuses, for playing at a site for a long time. You can even get a bonus for recruiting other players to join in. Now, that’s a thought – connecting with friends over a friendly game of poker. Imagine playing a game with a pal from across town, out of state, or even overseas. With the chat modes man of these games offer, you can relay the events of the day while playing along. It is like a whole new way of social networking.

So, what’s legal?

Of course, you may have heard that online casinos are illegal where you live. Well, fact is, you really need to check out the laws in your particular state or nation. Lawmakers have left us with a confusing hodgepodge of rules. But here is a sure bet: you don’t have put down so much as a dime to play casinos online. They offer plenty of free casino games, which are as much fun, if you don’t want to play for real money or just want to practice your strategy for that trip to Vegas.

Thursday Thankful List: Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m thankful for… Katie and Kerry and Hope and my mom and my dad. For grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and second cousins. For friends that are my family, for friends that above and beyond. I’m thankful for second chances and unconditional love and and wonderful experiences and hard experiences and lessons learned. I’m thankful for a God who showers me with grace when I least deserve it and for mercies that are new each and every morning. For silliness, for laughter, for hysteria, for sheer joy. I’m thankful for music that makes my heart sing and for oldies songs that remind me of dad and singing at the top of my lungs and turning up the radio really high. For the colors of fall – for reds and yellows and greens. For chocolate chip pancakes and the first cup of coffee in the morning and tea before bed and enjoying a meal in good company. I’m thankful for contagious smiles and possibility and holding hands and hope and happy dreams. For books to read and a mind that wanders and eyes that look for the good in others. For trips to Lake Tahoe and flights across the country and childhood vacations and impromptu road trips. I’m thankful for the winding road that is life – my life right here and right now. I’m thankful that this thankful list goes on and on….

It’s our job to be thankful – to live out our thankfulness not just today, November 22, 2012. Not just today; this lovely Thanksgiving holiday where everyone comes together to eat delicious food and spend time with friends and family. It’s our job to do this every single day – to be saying thank you, to be counting blessings, to be actively and consciously remembering what we appreciate.

So I’m saying thank you today and remembering to continue doing the same tomorrow and the day after that. Happy Thanksgiving to you queens! xx

do anything but let it produce joy

Happy Wednesday! Today I’m sharing a few of my favorite images from my Life Pinterest board. I especially like the quote: “do anything but let it produce joy.” Anything. What a lovely thought. What brings me joy may be very different from what brings YOU joy – and that’s the beauty in life. That’s part of the reason I share Dose of Joy blog posts asking people to write down what ten things bring them joy. It’s always really cool to read how people are inspired and joy-infused from their everyday lives.

A few things that bring me joy are in this blog post: reading poetry, champagne, writing thank you notes, laughing hysterically while jumping on a trampoline, a delicious cup of coffee or tea, following my dreams, sisters and making each and every day my day. There’s just no point in doing things unless they bring you joy. Lots and lots and lots of joy.

Have a great day and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend!


This is something I need to remember today and every day.

The problem, often not discovered until late in life, is that when you look for things in life like love, meaning, motivation, it implies they are sitting behind a tree or under a rock. The most successful people in life recognize, that in life they create their own love, they manufacture their own meaning, they generate their own motivation. For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson