Inspired.

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A door was opened a few days ago that could potentially change things for the better! Now for the task of walking through the damn door (always easier said, than done). The caveat I’m realizing as I think about this new possible opportunity in my life, is not only being mindful to get very clear about what I want and to stand firm in that truth, but to manage my expectations. There’s only so much you can do before you have to simply let go and let the chips fall where they may, but not before you put up a good fight…and I intend to.

Almost as if the universe were speaking directly to me, not long after that door opened, I came across the quote above on Instagram and instantly felt more energized about this new venture.

It’s been awhile since my last Inspired post. It’s time. A few other words of wisdom keeping things in perspective as of late. Perhaps something will resonate with you, too. x

Inspired_March 2015_ATG FINAL (2){Click image to enlarge.}

Have a lovely rest of the week and weekend ahead!

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Image credit: The Old Door” by byronv2 used under CC BY 2.0 | Modifications: text added to original.
Collage: created by blogger via various images sourced from Pinterest.com.

What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

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I know some people don’t like to fall into the trap of or even believe in New Year’s resolutions; but I’ve always liked the idea of working toward goals. And yet, I haven’t taken the time to sit down and formally write my list of resolutions for 2015. I can’t say that I will at this point either.

Admittedly, I meant to do this over my holiday vacation, but other things got in the way. Rather than beat myself up about it, I came up with a very simple idea for how I wanted to approach 2015 in such a way that negated the need to write this long list of things that I would likely never get to because…you got it…life got in the way. Instead, I simply told myself that I wanted to have something to look forward to every day. I think this is a much more realistic and manageable way to deal with life at the moment. The great news is that it doesn’t have to be anything big. In fact, it will likely be the small things most days: a latte from my favorite café, heading home to binge watch Girls (my current obsession), meeting a friend for lunch, or curling up with a good book and my favorite candle burning nearby (see #3 below).

I haven’t sworn off New Year’s resolutions entirely – but I’m giving it a break this year. I will share that there is one main area of my life that I am aiming to make a big change at this year, that will require some thought and course of action; but really, I just want to spend more time being present, enjoying the little things.

As such, I’m lovin’ things that embrace small pleasures, things that aid in my goal to have something to look forward to each day. Below you’ll find a few ideas that I have in mind – be it the perfect bath after a long day (#7); a DIY project to sink my teeth into (#6); trying a new, healthier recipe (#8); planning a date night with my guy (#2); or treating myself to a little bling (#9). There’s always something to look forward to, and for once, I want to take it day by day.

Here’s to small pleasures and that one big change in 2015. I’ll keep you posted on how things come along. Here’s…

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 1. A fresh take on why we’ve got “happiness” backwards. | Enlarge to See Full Quote.

2. Where to go when you need a date night. | The 13 Best Date Spots in LA.

3.  The best smell in my apartment as I type this. | Bella’s “Midnight Orchid” Soy Candle.

4.  In case you thought you were doing everything right on the skin front. |  20 Skincare Mistakes That Are Damaging Your Face.

5. A quick reminder of your birth-given power. | 7 Things You Don’t Know About the Power You’ve Always Had.

6. Inspiration for what to do with all those damn coffee mugs taking up unnecessary cabinet space. | DIY Pallet Coffee Cup Holder.

7.  Everything you need to turn into a prune from the comfort of your own home. | Crafting the Perfect Bath at Home.

8. What to do when you perpetually have avocados and tomatoes ripening faster than you can eat them. | Avocado Quesadillas.

9. Feeding your minimalist jewelry binge. | Bar Drop Necklace.

10. Because winter reeks havoc on your skin…and it won’t win.  | Eau Roma Water (a personal favorite at the moment).

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MLK

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One of my favorite quotes in the world comes from the man who was likely never at a loss for the right words. They hang in my apartment, framed over my bed. They are words that I stop and meditate on should my eye ever be drawn to that particular part of the room. They are words that speak volumes, even if that volume is only 5 sentences.

If you’re familiar with this famous quote from the prolific M.L.K., you might notice that the last line is not apart of the original quote as you’re used to seeing it. That’s because I actually combined two separate quotes from MLK into one. I found one quote (compromised of the first 4 lines) and then saw the other quote (the last line) and fused them together when researching some of his famous words a few years ago. For whatever reason, it really was the last line the cements the message in such a way that crystallizes the relationship between love and hate; and ultimately, why we must practice forgiveness as human beings. It comes down to not even allowing yourself to move into spaces that do not serve you, that are beneath you.

I do hope Dr. King will forgive me for massaging his words, though together, I truly believe they create one of the most powerful declarations I’ve ever come across.

Today, let us stop and remember how far we’ve come, yet how far we still have to go.

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Inspired.

Where is the time going? How is it already Wednesday? October is half-way over? Why am I starting my post with so many questions?

This week has been hectic so far, to say the least. I can’t seem to catch my breath long enough to feel totally grounded. My Monday night yoga class zen is already gone (and mind you, that was only the day before yesterday!). And though I think I work well and even thrive under pressure (I love a challenge!), I try to remember that it’s important not to get too caught up in the chaos – it’s how life passes you by and how you lose perspective. Since I can’t get to another yoga class to re-capture that zen feeling at the moment, I’m going to my next best resource – the words of wisdom I’ve been collecting as of late on Pinterest.

It’s funny, while I don’t necessarily get the same feeling as I might after an hour and a half of an invigorating yoga class, I do find stillness and inspiration in reading the right words. I have entire notebooks just filled with quotes I’ve collected since I was a teenager. Now in the digital age, I’m finding Pinterest is my new notebook. In the spirit of turning to good advice, I’m taking a mid-week pause to share words that are keeping me inspired and in perspective. I hope they remind you, too, to take a moment to just breathe, keep going, and keep your focus.

“Make today count, you’ll never get it back.” Find your zen within the chaos. x

Inspired ATG FINAL October 2014

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Inspired.

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A mid-week pause for some soul encouragement.

But first, a word.

I came across the quote above yesterday. Reading it immediately solidified something for me when thinking about labels, paths, and women.

It’s no secret that women are more likely to encounter the struggle of walking the fine line between the perception of assertiveness and bitchiness, something most men presumably don’t think about (or defend) when maneuvering through life; and if they do, “bitch” (or the male equivalent) is not always the first thing that comes to mind.

Now before I offend anybody, naturally it depends on the person (irregardless of gender), the situation, and how a specific person interprets another, but for devil’s advocate sake, let’s focus on that fine line and what I think makes all the difference.

Obviously, I’ve never met Madonna, and I certainly don’t know the complete circumstances of how she was quoted here, but on some level I think she’s commenting on that aforementioned fine line, following her path anyway, and accepting whatever label comes with it. I can respect that. However, this post really isn’t about her or a comment on her as a human being, so much as the train of thought that her words provoked, inspiring me to write this post. So bear with me.

Let me preface that I’m not at all advocating that women should say, “ok, fine then” and be as much of a total battle-ax as necessary to get where they need to in life, or that we need to start more openly imparting such labels on men to stick it to them in the name of equality. While there’s certainly a vital conversation that could take place regarding the blatant gender hypocrisy at play, that’s not the aim of this post. Instead, what I am advocating is being who you are, despite perception, as long as there is a level of grace to it.

Be assertive, yes. Speak your mind. If you need to raise your voice a little higher so that people can clearly hear you after you’ve already repeated yourself twice? Perhaps that’s necessary. But with anything in life, there should always be grace present. How you’re perceived from there is really out of your hands.

I would describe myself as an independent, assertive woman. I was raised by a single mom so it’s what I witnessed and absorbed firsthand during my childhood. As I’ve gotten older, I think the most delicious thing is learning to take my own path, but on an even deeper level. I’ve become much more selective about how and with whom I spend my time. I don’t have time for disrespect, games or drama. I pick my battles (though this one’s hard!).  If I don’t want to do something (within reason, obviously) I don’t. And typically, when I have something to say, I mean something to really say, I think about the best approach and then go for it. Sometimes it goes just fine, others…well…

The more I think I about it at this moment, I’ve always had these attributes. I think they are simply becoming more defined as I age, and are a work in-progress. I’m still a work in-progress, by no means perfect.

The challenge is that many things in life require a compromise so you don’t always get your way 100% of the time (unless you’re someone like Madonna); however, the beauty is learning what those areas are and should be, while also keeping in alignment with your chosen path. You may have to walk the curb for a while in the name of compromise, but at least you’re still going in the right direction.

It’s even more complicated when taking into account that most of us still want to be liked and loved and respected as a person, while on said path. After all, you can’t do everything on your own.

Clearly, not everyone you meet is going to gravitate toward you or like you. And this is why I use the word “grace” when advocating being who you are. I think the best way to meet like-minded people stems from that. Grace is subjective, like beauty. You’re bound to meet people who gravitate toward your grace and those who don’t. When the “those who don’t people” arise, remain cordial, but keep pushing forward.

Unfortunately, I’m starting to understand that women typically have to accept labels if they want to want to make a mark in the world or stay on their chosen path. I think what makes all the difference is in how you go about maneuvering it. Essentially, it really comes down to being who you are, staying on the path that works for you, while still being able to live in the world with all kinds of personalities and situations that are inevitably out of your control. As I write this and wrap up my thoughts, I see the intricacies involved in that fine line. Grace is your guide. The pendulum of that fine line. It doesn’t necessarily prevent the more harsh perception, I’d say, so much as keeps you grounded and your intention pure, coming from a good place.

While this post has officially become more than “a word” (sorry!) this quote and those below are keeping me inspired at the moment.

Happy hump day. See you Friday!

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Inspired. Again.

There are those days where things just don’t seem to fall into place from the moment you step out of bed. You woke up late, stubbed your toe, the coffee machine breaks, you can’t find your favorite shirt, every other car on the road feels the need to cut you off for some reason (and then give you “the bird”), your computer greets you with tons of emails (some less than pleasant in tone), and when lunchtime rolls around – only then do you realize that you forgot your wallet at home. “Ugh. It’s going to be one of those days,” you think.

Then are those days where everything is just fine on the surface, you can’t complain – you have a roof over your head and food in the fridge. You’re working toward something, dreaming, and believing in whatever aspirations are important to you. And yet somehow you still feel like you’re going in one big circle in life, while others seemingly run laps around you, moving faster, sweating less (those bastards!). 🙂

I’ve come to learn that there are all kinds of days. Some good, some not so good, some life altering, but many in the middle. What has always helped guide my perspective, despite the type of day that I’m having, is collecting quotes. For half my life now I’ve always kept a collection containing advice that I’ve heard or read and written down; but in more recent times, an image with just the right words that I came across that resonated with me and started collecting them online. (Thank god for Pinterest.)

I wrote a post like this last summer and thought today is a good day to share more of my favorite quotes with you, perhaps turning “Inspired” into a new series for the blog. What I always (ALWAYS) appreciate no matter what mood I’m in: is good life advice, words of encouragement, and wisdom from others that uplift and motivate you to live better and be better.

Considering these words even exist to share, is a gentle reminder that we’re all in the same battle if you think about it – perhaps at different rankings, fighting on different fronts for different causes, but ultimately for the same end-goal. I think that goal is to have lived life to the fullest in whatever capacity that means to the individual.

So if any, or all, of these bring a smile to your face, or give you an ounce of encouragement and motivation to see the beauty in whatever is going on in your world – no matter how you started or ended the day  – then I’ve used my blog and done good.

Here’s to inspiration…

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What I’m Lovin’ Right Now

A few random things bringing a smile to my face at this particular moment and interestingly, that thing we call “love” open and closes my short list today. When I saw Frida Kahlo’s quote on an otherwise blah day, she kinda blew my mind with these 12 words.

And speaking of love – if you’re looking for a good Thanksgiving weekend read to lose yourself in something else besides turkey and pie, check out Falling into You, then the sequel, Falling into Us by Jasinda Wilder. I can’t recall know how I stumbled upon these books and I don’t really read much of this genre (other than 50 Shades, because hey, who hasn’t at this point?), but I couldn’t put either book down. Jasinda Wilder has a way with stories. I read Falling into You this summer (insert a handful of other books in between) and I’m just now finishing up the second. Wow! Alert: they’re “steamy!” though not pushing 50 Shades territory…and much better written.

Insert my “Carrie Bradshaw-esque” voice here: “I couldn’t help but wonder…do people actually have relationships like Colt and Nell; Jason and Becca?”

A girl can dream.

Here’s what i’m lovin’ right now…

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Frida Kahlo kinda just blew my mind | ellafrancessanders.com

Blueberry and Jam Buttermilk Coffee Cake with Buttery Vanilla Glaze | averiecooks.com

Black Rutilated Quartz Gold Necklace | Friedasophie on etsy.com

Studio M Moto Jacket | macys.com

Falling into Us | amazon.com