Photos by the lovely Jessica Steddom (@jessicasteddom)

    Hi friends! This is a little something I wrote up giving you the spark notes of what I learned in 2017, and how I hope to grow in 2018. I put this together with the hopes that it will give you some food for thought :) I have to admit, I still find myself forgetting these things from time to time, so keep me in check people.

2017 Lessons:

 Traveling: You do not have to travel outside of the country or go somewhere extravagant to have this wanderlust filled traveling experience that is so popularized by social media. It's all about the people you are with and having an open mind with no expectations for the journey ahead. Some of the most joy-filled travel experiences I've had were with people who make my heart happy going to accessible places to do simple things. Whether it be going on a little road trip to Joshua Tree to camp in the freezing rain, or going on a 16-hour road trip to Portland, Oregon to drink chai lattes all day. I also learned that comparing my trips to other people's trips can be a real thief of joy. No travel experience is going to be the same as someone else's, which is incredibly exciting, but it can also leave you feeling defeated if you let it. Enjoy the cool places around you. I really wish I had learned this earlier in the game. Just the road trip itself is ALWAYS worth it. That's when the best talks are had.



  Friends: We don't have time to surround ourselves with anyone who puts us down. Having just a few friends who are not only with you but for you is way better than fostering relationships with people for the fear of rejection or loneliness. Friend breakups are the worst, and they are painful, but ultimately it will lead to more happiness, confidence, growth, and new relationships. Cherish the gems you have in your life and be the kind of friend that you wish to have.


 Comparison: (Warning: this is my attempt to organize a whole lot of thoughts and feelings on this topic. I tend to discuss this somewhat haphazardly because for me it stems into many aspects of my life.) I don't think we take this as seriously as we should. Social media is great and I have met many of my best friends through it (bless you Instagram). However, it has also made me realize how much is left out of all of these beautifully crafted insta feeds that I look at every day (disclaimer: this applies to me as well). Not all is shared and EVERYONE has their own struggles and insecurities that you may not see through their perfectly curated images. In no way am I saying that this makes someone fake; however, it isn't necessarily popular to post these feelings on social media and it is easy to forget. This has been a really hard year, and even in some of my most popular posts I was struggling (I apologize for portraying otherwise. I get insecure because sometimes I don't think my thoughts or words are enough to really express how I feel or that I'll be judged for not having this poetic style of writing. I think that is a silly insecurity so one of my goals for 2018 is to change this mindset). It doesn't make my feelings less valid or meaningful. In other words, it is perfectly ok to be sad because it happens to all of us even if it doesn't appear that way. So love on your friends when they hurt and give yourself grace when you hurt.


2018 Intentions:

  Productivity: I have a really hard time being productive. I'm a professional lallygagger and I make excuses for it by saying that I like to enjoy the moment and be present (lol what?). I'm actually just super slow and get distracted easily. It's honestly a major insecurity of mine, but I find that lists help A LOT. This year I plan to make small goals for every day. I have this irrational fear of being too slow to enjoy my youth (I realize this is a bit drastic), so I think this will help. Posting this New Years themed blog post on the 28th of January may convince you that I am already failing at this, but I promise I'll be faster next time... Maybe.




   Meditation: This time last year, I was really sad. I struggle with feelings of loneliness from time to time, and it was in those days that I felt like I had no one. I also had no motivation. An actual ray of sunshine who happens to be one of my best friends (you know who you are) talked to me about meditation, and it changed everything. It was ridiculously hard at first, but I did it every day for two months. I can say wholeheartedly that through this practice I found a lot of emotional clarity that brought me back to my truth and my old upbeat self. I was able to pinpoint the little things that were subconsciously affecting me and develop a sort of quiet confidence with my emotions. I also learned how to find joy in the simplest of activities that I used to just observe and go through the motions of. Understanding the power of my thoughts changed everything. As time went on, I got busy and started meditating less and less. I have found myself falling into a few pretty lame slumps since then, as well as failing to "be here now",  so I am committing to make it an everyday thing from here on out. It is day 28 of the new year and this resolution has proved to be successful so far. Also, I use the app Headspace for my daily meditations and it's great!! Especially for people who are new to meditation.





 Grace: I am really hard on myself, and in doing so I sometimes inhibit myself from moving forward. I achieved some great things in 2017 and I learned immensely. We are all on different paths and I'm right where I need to be. Just so ya know, I text my friends all the time because I forget this and I am needy. It's ok. 2018 IS THE YEAR I GIVE MYSELF GRACE.

 
 
My ideal day starts out with 10 minutes of meditation the minute I open my eyes. I sit up straight in my bed, take a few deep breaths, and settle into the new day with a clear and conscious mind. If everything goes as planned, I will go on my daily run and then whip down the street for a pilates/yoga class, then get ready for what I hope will be a productive day. Unfortunately, as perfect as this sounds, these days are rare. 


    It seems as though I am in a constant state of going going going. I am a full-time student who has too much on my plate with a few snacks on the side. I have a career taking photos (don't get me wrong, I do love it.) that often requires me to wake up for sunrise more often than not to take photos before I have to go home and cram in the final moments of studying for class. I have what I can of a social life (being a literal hermit with my roommates). I also do my best to workout every day and always throw together some kind of green smoothie that makes me feel like I am healthy.


     No doubt, the nonstop lifestyle takens an extreme toll on my mental health and time spent being present. It is easy for me to get down on myself, which ultimately leads to less production, and less time glowing up to be the ideal human that I strive to be. 


     This past week I started a one-year subscription on an app called Yogaia. I have already taken a few yoga and meditation classes and I LOVED them. The app offers a myriad of live and recorded classes throughout the day led by a staff of kind and talented teachers from guided meditations and vinyasa flow, to Pilates and body strength classes. With a schedule like mine, it is difficult to have a routine and I often get frustrated with myself for not making time for yoga and other practices that make me feel so good and focused. I am so stoked to be a new member of Yogaia so that I can take classes whenever it works best during my day. Cheers to more mindful mornings! Click here for a free Free 7 day trial  :) 

Photos by the talented Kendall McLeod (@KendallMcLeod)
   Yosemite in the summer is all kinds of magic. I'm lucky to have befriended the savviest campers I know who always come prepared and ready for anything, which usually means curling my 6'2 self up in the back seat to fit all the snacks and essential camp goodies for the drive ahead. The conversations get a little sweeter and a lot sleepier when driving through the winding roads of seemingly never ending wilderness with no service. I'm so grateful to have friends who will drive through the night just to arrive there at 3 am to sleep on the concrete and secure a camping spot for the next day.

   I'm extra grateful for my tiny bean Rachael who gladly shared a one person sleeping bag with me, covered in dirt, under those sweet summer stars for warmth and company. Those are the kind of golden nuggets you keep around.


   After a day of hiking and laying on the edge of Taft Point to catch the sunset and feel the myriad of bug bites, and the heaviness of our legs, we trudged back to camp for some hobo packets (the greatest things ever. Thx Kendall). There's nothing quite like summer campfires with friends, amongst the mountains, trees, and sweet families in their campers. It's my kind of bliss. I've come to realize how much distraction I am surrounded by and how great and freeing it is to exclude myself from it. I find so much goodness in the grit and struggles of living in nature. It's in these times that we laugh, we connect, and we bask in the beauty of life in solitude. I live for these moments.

Photography by Kendall McLeod (@kendallmcleod)




Ingredients for the dreamiest bath: Sweet Himalayan bath salt, unicorn tranquilliser bath bomb, and the liquid daydream perfume roller by Chasin' Unicorns. 



 Sprinkles of sweet Rose, Grapefruit, and Peppermint goodness.


   I have a special love for crystals and their healing properties, so I was absolutely smitten when I found these Quartz clusters tucked away in the Himalayan bath salt. Quartz is a stone of clarity which dispels negative energy. Beside it is a piece of Amethyst which promotes calmness, balance, and peace.


  This past month I have been investing quite a bit of time into practicing self-love. In a culture where priorities are often found in a seemingly neverending stream of business, I have found it extremely transformative in nearly every aspect of my life to take the necessary time to "treat myself". Once I realized that I am much more productive and content with whatever it is that I'm working on after taking time for myself (like this blog that I've been waiting months to publish), the "I have too much to do" excuse has quickly lost its potency. Taking dreamy baths like this one is one of my favorite forms of self-love and mindfulness, which was why I was so thrilled when Chasin' Unicorns reached out to me about trying some of their products. Every day since receiving their package I have generously applied their liquid daydream perfume, and I can honestly say that my mood instantly improves upon smelling its citrusy lavender goodness. My baths have also become a lot more enchanting. I adore aromatherapeutic goodies, and I am so stoked to have added these to the collection. Cheers to balanced minds and spirits my lovelies.

Photography by the lovely Kendall McLeod (@kendallmcleod)










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