On Love…

As social as I am online or in a local coffee shop, I tend to keep my personal life to a select few. I don’t write blog posts and tweet about my relationship, the details of my family or health concerns.

I like to share articles and tips about business and entrepreneurship, photos from my travels, juice recipes and fitness routines. I love posting pictures of my dog and moments from everyday life, without including too much of the mushy stuff because I feel like those intimate details are more important when shared with the ones I love.

But as I sit in our rented Paris flat, with a constant smile on my face, butterflies in my stomach and my head in the clouds, I want to share a personal story.

I’ve always been in love with love. As a little girl I would watch Princess Bride, The Little Mermaid and Dirty Dancing over and over again. I dreamed of the day I would have someone to share my life with. As I got a little older, that started to fade. There were times, that I truly wondered if love was even real. It was a weird feeling, but one I’m sure that others question every day. I tossed the idea of a fairy tale life out the window and focused on just living in the moment, not expecting too much, not dreaming of something I had seen in movies and read about in books. It was easier for me to think like this, because if it wasn’t real, it couldn’t hurt. With those thoughts, I took a few years to live alone and discover myself. It was a difficult challenge but one I’m so glad I managed to do before I began a life with someone else.

When John came into my life, we were both in a place to take things slow but as we began spending more and more time together and I found myself falling for him. With every late night ice cream date or early morning trip giggling through the grocery store, I fell more and more in love. It was two years after we started dating when I moved in with him and shortly after after that, we picked out a puppy together. Now, almost five years after John and I first met, he proposed.

And in that moment, the wave of emotions was stronger than anything I had ever felt in my life. I instantly began laughing and buried my head in his chest smiling so big that the tight pinch in my jaw was tingling. My hands were trembling intensely, stomach fluttering away, my feet were floating off the ground and just like that, time stopped. The bridge that was once full of people was now a vortex of spinning colors as we stood in the center looking into each other’s eyes. In the distance, a street band was playing a familiar song: “You’re just too good to be true… can’t take my eyes off of you…” and it was just like the movies; just like those moments that are described with such emotion and heart pounding love, that you find yourself completely entranced and full of excitement from head to toe.

I am quite positive that there’s nothing in this world more amazing then the day you realize where you are meant to be.

For me, that is in his arms as his bride-to-be.

Make Life More Valuable: Part II

My first post, Make Life More Valuable: Part I was such a hit that I decided to make it a quarterly feature.

challenge

Last summer when I was in Seattle, I decided on a whim, to climb Mount Si and ever since, I can’t stop thinking about the feeling I had when summiting the mountain. When everything was different. When I reached the peak and felt rocks crumbling down below my feet as I climbed higher and higher through the haystack. When I watched the clouds circle the mountain and was left with a view of the world five-thousand feet below me. That moment when I remembered what I was climbing for. Without challenge, life would feel like every other day on the ground.

PATTERN

Have you ever been upset in a moment or stuck on a problem that you just can’t seem to find a way to look at it on the outside, no matter what you do? You keep digging yourself deeper and deeper into the situation in your mind that you have now let this one little worry control your entire world. Well, the only way to really gain control of your emotions is to change the pattern. When you get upset, if you always go to the same place, listen to the same music, think the same thoughts, just stop! Get up, go for a run, act goofy, shake it off, (seriously). No one is watching but you. Get yourself out of the funk and change the pattern. I’m telling you, it’ll help you snap back into reality and let you see the problem from another point of view to find a meaningful solution.

WORK

I love this tweet I saw last week “Stop the Glorification of Busy”. The thing is, we can all be busy… drowning in work… so overwhelmed with things to do… etc. But by working SMARTER you can accomplish much more on that to-do list. You just need to be disciplined and set realistic goals. Being an entrepreneur definitely isn’t for everyone. Some people need structure set by someone else. And that’s fine. But if you are willing to make the jump, be sure you know how to manage your time efficiently to get the most out of your work days. Working hard isn’t hard enough if you aren’t working smart.

PLEASURES

We spend so much time working to become “successful” “wealthy” or “rich”. We spend even more time trying to figure out what those terms mean to us and how to get there. But what about all of the time in-between? Just be. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life and just simply be. A cup of hot coffee on a rainy day, a walk around the park with my happy Golden, a phone call with my dad for no reason… these are the type of simple pleasures that makes my life more valuable.

INVEST

The key to a rich life is to invest in yourself. By eating well, sleeping well and exercising often you will be much more productive with work and have a stronger sense of balance. Another important step to investing in yourself is to continue learning and building your knowledge base. I consume tons of information every day by reading books, articles and blog posts or listening to podcasts and TED talks from powerful thought leaders. I find that spending my time and money on growing my personal skills will always be beneficial.

INDULGE

We get so caught up in working out and being hard on ourselves that we deserve to indulgence every now and again. My secret indulgence is Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams on a hot summer night. Who am I kidding? Jeni’s at any time is delicious.  I even had a little yesterday! [double-toasted coconut + banana cajeta…mmmm].

What are some of your personal tips or tricks on how to make life more valuable?

Make Life More Valuable: Part I

In my life, my most treasured moments either stem from family or exploring. I am so thankful to have the ability to travel the world, explore new places and learn different culture. Even if it’s just a little weekend getaway in a cabin with my girlfriends or a ten day adventure to several European cities, I find that the art of travel brings creativity and inspiration to everyday life.

Last Winter, I took ballroom dancing lessons and never imagined it would bring such value to my life. But not even just ballroom dancing — dancing in any form is a beautiful way to express yourself. Have you ever gotten in the car, turned on your music as loud as possible and danced around in the driver’s seat all alone? Well, I tend to do that more often than I’d admit. There’s just something about losing yourself in moves that makes the worries in the world seem so minuscule.

Sometimes I forget to take a break. I run, run, run and then when I finally catch my breath, I am reminded how amazing it feels. I like to just rest…relax…read a book, drink a cup of tea on my balcony and watch the sunrise. Seriously, take time to relax because when you have a chance to actually see the world spinning, it’s a beautiful thing.

A healthy lifestyle makes for a healthy business and a healthy relationship with yourself and others. Fitness and nutrition have  always been an important part of my nature. My personal recipe for healthy living is: juice (once a day, usually breakfast) + cardio (three times per week) + weight lifting (three times per week) and if you’re good, you can build a routine to put them together alternating days on different muscles. One of the best things I’ve ever done for myself was hiring a personal trainer. I learned what type of weight lifting I should be doing for my body structure and goals.

Something I’ve struggled with for many years is my fear of loneliness. I’ve always been committed to overcoming that by trying to find things I enjoy doing by myself. That led me to moving into my first apartment by myself and really getting used to the feeling of solitude. In that time, I experienced some of my most creative moments. I painted, wrote poetry, read classic novels, watched foreign films and documentaries, shot some of my most compelling images and even learned how to grow a window garden (OK, so maybe I was still a little unsure of the whole living alone thing during that time.) But that point is, I did it.

Something that has added so much more value to my life of late is actually volunteering in order to improve the life of others. This year, I will be choosing one organization each month to donate my time and efforts to help those in need. After covering twelve different volunteer categories, I hope to find the ones that need the most and build a relationship with them and contribute as often as possible. Not only is volunteering a great way to give back to the community but you can also meet amazing individuals and learn a lot about yourself in the process.

These two simple words can change everything.

What is some of the best advice you’ve heard or given about making life more valuable?

Girls in a Cabin

After hours of driving through winding roads in the woods, we finally arrived at our girls’ getaway weekend retreat. We approached the cozy log cabin and our city-girl personalities started to shine through. Of course, we didn’t think to bring flashlights so there we are, all huddled closely together, using our cell phones to peer into the darkness…”Wait, shh.. what was that?” “Hello? Is anyone out there?” “No really, did I just see someone looking in the window?” Completely freaked out, we finally made it inside and after a bottle of wine, we felt right at home!

We never once turned on the TV and we had no cell service the whole weekend. In fact, at the very beginning of the trip, I had to call the other car of girls but had no way of doing so until we set out driving in to the dark forest and happened upon a cord phone in a box on a tree in the woods. Scariest thing ever!

It was a weekend of talking… a lot of talking: stories, secrets, laughing, and of course s’mores, wine and jacuzzi time.

Over the past two years, we’ve all been getting to know each other more and more over dinners and shopping trips but this weekend was such a great treat to really connect and appreciate our friendship on a higher level. I’m so thankful to have a group of girls that I can be myself around and learn so much from. Here’s to true friends!

Things I Love About Autumn (Photos + Playlist)

Running and hiking in the crunchy leaves

Pumpkin patches!

Apple picking – and then baking homemade apple pies

The smell of firewood

Pumpkin spice coffee

Snuggling up on the couch with a good book

Pumpkin flavored everything

Cooking homemade soup

Wearing scarves and flannels

Autumn Inspired Playlists: [Listen Here]

  1. The Tallest Man on Earth – 1904
  2. First Aid Kit – Wolf
  3. M. Ward – Pure Joy
  4. Vetiver – Roll On Babe
  5. The National – Fake Empire
  6. The Lumineers – Stubborn Love
  7. Fruit Bats – Seaweed
  8. Beach House – Myth
  9. Alexi Murdoch – Blue Mind
  10. Iron & Wine – Lion’s Mane
  11. Andrew Bird – Give It Away
  12. Sufjan Stevens – For the Widows in Paradise
  13. Camera Obscura – Tears for Affairs
  14. Ryan Adams – Two
  15. First Adi Kit – Emmylou
  16. Blitzen Trapper – Furr
  17. Guillemots – Fleet
  18. Neko Case – Maybe Sparrow
  19. The Walkmen – Heaven
  20. Belle & Sebastian – The Boy With The Arab Strap

What are your favorite things about this beautiful season?