Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How To: Leaving Home

Hey guys. Today I am a mess. This is my last day in my home town before leaving for college. I think I have cried every day for the past five days just thinking about it. As I was driving through downtown this morning, this is what I was thinking.

When we are born, we begin growing our  roots. They are small at first. But, as we grow up, they get stronger and set deep into the ground.

As I drive through this place I call my home, I can see my roots. I see them extend into my house, with its white picket fence and green wooden door. I see them attach me to my sister, my brother, my mom and my dad. My roots connect me to my friends, both old and new. I am rooted in my hometown. I am secure. I am stable. I am safe.

This is why it is so hard to leave home. But, on this drive, I realized that leaving home does not mean I have to break off my roots. These roots are a part of my history. They are a part of me, even now. I will always be connected to my home.

Tomorrow, I am extending my roots. I am going somewhere new.  I will attach myself to new people and new places. These connections will be new and fragile. But, soon, they will grow stronger and stronger. It may take time, but I have to remember that I will be secure again. I will be stable again. And I will be safe again.

Hopefully this helped any of you who may be experiencing the same thing. Wish me good luck and I would love to read any of your advice, tips or thoughts on the topic. 

That's all for now.

Monday, July 27, 2015

UPDATE: Social Media Challenge

Hey guys! It has officially been 24 hours since I posted the "Social Media Challenge" yesterday and was determined to steer clear of things like Facebook and Instagram. Well, I am back this morning with a full update on my experience, my failures, my achievements and overall what I learned.

After publishing my post yesterday, I felt extremely enthusiastic and determined. I was hopeful. To be honest, I was overconfident. Then...it happened. Only two minutes after the challenge had begun, I opened my phone, swiped through my apps and opened Instagram. The scary part was that I did not even think about what I was doing, nor did I want to even check Instagram.

 It happened like clockwork.

It was automatic. My fingers seemed to move on their own and my mind seemed to shut off. 

Okay, okay. That may be a bit dramatic. But in all seriousness, it was a real wake-up call. That was the moment I knew that social media was affecting my life in a negative way. Now, I was really determined to finish the challenge and succeed. Honestly, it was tough. Throughout the day I would find myself wanting to check Facebook or Twitter, especially whenever I was in an awkward or boring situation. After the fourth hour, it got easier. My need for these social networking sites slowly decreased. And, by the end of the challenge, I had almost forgotten about them.

What I Learned: 

1. Social media/social networking can be an addiction. Personally, I wouldn't say that I am addicted to social media. Although they do say that denial is the first sign of an addict. (This is where you laugh.)

2. Without social media, I am able to live more in the moment and am more aware of the situation I am in. 

3. Social media can be positive in smaller doses. It's all about balance and priorities. 

And, there you have it. Those 24 hours were tough. But, they were also an amazing learning experience. The biggest lesson I learned, as I pointed out before, is balance. Life really is all about balance. Too much of anything is a bad thing, in my opinion. And this includes social media. If you joined me in this challenge, congrats! Whether you "failed" or "succeeded," as long as you learned something about yourself, then you won. :) So, put away the phone, laptop or whatever you use to connect to the online world once in a while and remember how amazing the real world can be when you give it a chance. 

That's all for now.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Social Media Challenge

Hey there. Today I wanted to make a quick post about social media. Now, as a mid-90's baby, my childhood did not consist of social media. Yes, let's be cliche about it. I played outside. Made forts in my living room, built tree houses with my friends and used my imagination.  I don't want to focus on this today. Today I want to focus on using social media today. As a person who has experienced life with and without social media, a blessing that many kids do not have today, social media is a very complicated topic in my mind.

Today, it seems like our whole lives are consumed by it. 

It's like a daily routine. Wake up. Check Facebook. Get updated on Twitter. Scroll through Instagram. Repeat. 

My challenge to you: try to not use any social media for twenty four hours. To some, this may seem easy. To others, it may be extremely difficult. Right after I post this, I will also try this challenge and after the twenty four hours, I'll post my findings here. :)

And it starts...now.

That's all, for now. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

5 Rules To Live By

Hey there. This week has been crazy. From going to bed at 3 AM to crashing at friend's houses three days in a row to eating breakfast past noon, I have definitely swerved off of my steady, usual track. Now, this is all fine, but at the end of the week I realized that there are a few rules I should abide by no matter what direction my life takes me.

Here are my 5 Rules To Live By:

1. Always take your makeup off before you go to bed. 

As much as this model makes wearing makeup to bed look glamorous, it is anything but. Going to bed wearing makeup leads to breakouts and ages our skin. I know it can seem impossible to come home after a long day or night out and whip out the face wash or eye-makeup remover, but it is a must! At the bare minimum, always try to take off your face makeup. Trust me, it is worth it.

2. Do not be selfish. 

This can mean many different things. For me, it means to be aware of other people. Take into account their feelings, thoughts, opinions and ideas. Put yourself in their shoes. And, simply, do not always think about yourself. 

3. Invest in experiences, not things. 

This is a tough one. Yes, I know we all sometimes like to save up money to buy those adorable wedges from Nordstrom or that newly released iPhone from Apple. Trust me, I get it. But, I think we sometimes forget how valuable our experiences are. Instead of buying things, maybe we can invest in experiences. Go to that concert, buy that plane ticket or eat that expensive but out of this world meal with your friends. As it says above, "have stories to tell, not stuff to show."

4. Eat dessert before dinner. 

I don't exactly mean this literally. I mean that it is okay to indulge yourself every so often. Life is short and unpredictable. Who knows what could happen tomorrow. So, in my opinion, go ahead and treat yourself to that cupcake, or whatever it is that makes you happy. :)

5.  Exercise at least a little bit every day. 

I know, I know. This one probably annoys you a lot. In fact, it annoys me too. However, I have learned that this one is extremely important. You don't have to run a marathon every day, but try to do  something, anything really, that is active. This could be hitting up the gym, going on a hike or even just taking the stairs rather than the elevator. You will have more energy and overall feel a lot better about yourself. (This is from experience) :) 

And, there you have it. This is what I learned this week. 

That's all for now.

Monday, July 20, 2015

How To: Change

Change. I have never been one to be excited about change. Now, that's not to say that I like routine. But I love that comfort you get when you are really happy and safe during certain times in your life. For me, my comfort was my senior year of high school. Yes, there are always ups and downs in life. But, for me, I was completely, fully and utterly happy during my last year of high school. My friends made me happy. My school made me happy. My family made me happy. And then: change.

Next year I will go off to college. And this terrifies me. It terrifies me because why would I want change when what I have now brings me so much joy? To think that in a very short amount of time I will never live the life I have been living for 18 years now again is unbelievable.

After graduating, I wanted to do a post on change. However, I realized that I was totally unprepared to confront my feelings on moving on from my current life. I wasn't ready to deal with my emotions and overall wasn't ready to say goodbye. And, to be honest, I'm not so sure I am 100 percent there yet even as I write this now. However, I have made a lot of progress, have dealt with many of my fears and have finally accepted this change.

How I Dealt With Change

1. Tears. Many tears. I am a firm believer that a good cry can really help you release your emotions and heal, even if it's just a little bit. :)

2. Music! I have always loved listening to songs like they are a soundtrack to my life. My advice: Avoid all songs about home. I also tried to avoid songs that I listened to a lot this past year. Instead, I was drawn to songs about the future or hope, as dramatic as it sounds haha. Try to find new songs to accompany your new chapter of your life. My choices: Time Will Tell by Gregory Alan Isakov, Landslide by the Dixie Chicks, Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts, Smile by Mikky Ekko, Somewhere Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole, Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves, You Get What You Give by the New Radicals, Everything Will Change and I Don't Want To Be and Chariot by Gavin DeGraw! Let yourself dissolve into the music and set your mind on the new, the future. :)

3. Appreciate the past but don't live in it. It is extremely important that you don't dwell on the past. Yes, it feels amazing to look back on what you had. Appreciate and be thankful for the "good old times." But, look to the future. Think about how you can make new memories, experience new things and meet new friends.

4. Keep yourself busy. Don't let yourself have too much alone, down time where you will probably end up sobbing over a photo album while listening to "I'll Always Remember You" by Miley Cyrus. Do anything to take your mind off of these thoughts. Be productive!

5. Live in the moment. Every second of your life is precious. So, although it is easier said than done, don't live in the past, don't worry about the future. Focus on "the now." Put all of your energy and passion into your everyday, current life. :)

And, there you have it. Of course, I'm no expert. These were what worked for me, or I guess still are working for me. Change isn't easy. The truest but hardest way to deal with change, I would say from experience, is time. So, to those of you who may be going through a difficult time in your life due to some change, please listen. I know it is hard right now. It's painful and feels like nothing will ever be better. But soon you will realize that as every day passes, the pain gets less and less and soon enough, you will find that comfort, that happiness and that security that you once had. I promise.

That's all, for now.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

How To: Escaping Reality

Hey there! It's a Sunday night as I write this post. I was laying on my bed, excited for a night of "Orange is the New Black," Youtube surfing and maybe even some reality t.v. All of a sudden, I felt really guilty for wanting to spend so much time on things that many people say are a waste of time, unproductive and possibly anti-social. However, after spending some time thinking about the idea, my guilt slowly went away.

A man once said...

"The story of escape." This phrase played over and over again in my head until my thoughts changed. Escaping. This is something we all need. Now, I do not mean escaping as in running away from problems. I mean a sort of break from reality. A vacation from our everyday lives where we travel into other worlds, other minds, other lives and most importantly, other stories. How can we ever learn or grow if we only focus on our own selves and situations? How can we ever cleanse our minds if we are always living in our own heads?

So, to everyone out there who calls things like Netflix, television shows, etc. a "waste of time," all I have to say to you is: you're wrong. These things have value. Of course, we cannot spend our entire lives binge watching "Gossip Girl." However, those moments where we sink into other realities, those times when we completely relate to another character or forget about the world around us, are vital.  As silly as it sounds, it can help us learn, grow, laugh and escape.

I believe escaping makes us happier and better people.

That's all, for now.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Late night thoughts part two

Although it's not that late at night right now, I found myself unable to end the day without writing something. So here we go. Sorry for the lack of quality posts on here lately. My excuse: I've been out of town and well, I'm still out of town actually. Here's what I have been up to for the past couple of days. 

Now onto some of my thoughts. Things racing through my brain right now. 

1. Wow, I really need to go to the gym. Do you ever have those days where you just feel so out of shape and not good about your body? Hopefully I'm not the only one. I'm thinking of doing a post on body confidence soon, but I still need to wrap my head around the idea. Any thoughts? 

2. Are reality tv shows a waste of my time? For some reason I am addicted to reality shows like "The real housewives." I've been told many times that those shows are complete garbage and a waste of my time. A part of me agrees that I shouldn't spend too much time watching tv in general. However, I constantly find myself defending these shows. Although some argue they are fake, I find the women on these shows to be genuine in their emotions and relationships. Am I being completely naive? 

3. Poetry! I've recently been interested in poetry. The only problem, I don't know where to start! Any recommendations? 

4. Dreams! I think I want to start keeping a dream journal or maybe even post some of my dreams on here. Ever since I was young I have always remembered my dreams very clearly and have had the craziest dreams in general. I definitely think that dreams do hold value and can tell me things about myself in real life. For example, when I was taking my drivers Ed courses and preparing for the test, I had many recurring dreams of me crazily driving down the road unable to control my car. I remember this made me realize that I did not have confidence in myself when I was behind the wheel and let the car control me. Yes, that one was kind of obvious. :) let me know if you would be interested in hearing some more of my dreams in more detail!

Okay, I think that is enough for tonight. Again, sorry for the lack of posts lately! 

That's all for now.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Quote of the day

Take a moment to appreciate your friends. :)

That's all for now. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

How To: Live For Yourself

Hey there! Today I spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to "live for yourself." This topic made me extremely confused because on one hand, I firmly believe that family and friends are what really make a person happy, but on the other hand, I also believe that a person needs to first be happy with themselves and place this above other relationships. As you can probably tell, this is one messy, complicated idea. After sitting on the idea for a while, I came across a quote that finally made sense of things.

      When I first read this quote, it was like a lightbulb flashed on in my head. In my many, many years of experience on this Earth (yes-sarcasm), I have spent too much time living for other people. Now, I do not mean this in a "I am so generous" kind of way. I mean I have waited around way too many times for my friends to make plans with me. I have allowed others to determine my own behavior for too long. I've compared myself to too many people that I don't even know on social media. The list could go on and on and on. 
     Looking back on all of these times, it truthfully makes me sad to think that I placed the control of my life in the hands of others. I want to go back to my younger self, or even myself a couple months ago, and say, "Care about others, but live for yourself." I want to tell myself that yes, family is important. Friends are important. Love them, worry about them, do things for them. But don't forget about yourself along the way. Because, at the end of the day, it is your life. You are the one who makes the decisions and choices that will affect your future. This is your life. Live for yourself. 
     Now, don't get me wrong. I'm still working on this myself. This simply goes to show that we are always a work in progress and that this is okay. :)

That's all, for now.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Late night thoughts

Warning: This post is currently being written at a decently late time at night. Therefore, there may be many grammatical errors and an overall style I like to call "whatever pops into my head at the moment." 

Today was an interesting day. It was a fairly sunny afternoon here in the Bay Area. I started off the morning with something I have been avoiding the entire week. Aka: the gym. Since my car was in the shop, I drove my mom's huge minivan and to my surprise, I loved it. After the gym, I of course went straight to Starbucks. (If you read my last post you would know the drink I ordered. My order: a grande iced chai latte with light ice.) Next I lounged around my house for a while doing extremely random activities.  I hung out with my two dogs, played a board game with my siblings, tried to read a book, went on the Internet, tried to work on this "book" or story idea I came up with last night...etc. The highlight of the day was definitely when my family and I went to the local elemtary school and played basketball. This is where things went south. While trying to run after the ball, I seemed to have outrun it, trip on it and proceeded to somersault and fall three or four times. The result: many scrapes all over, a deep cut on my shoulder and a sprained pinky. For me, this is a big deal because I admit and will always admit that I am a baby and cannot take any pain. I ended the day by hanging out with some friends. Fun fact: Today was "free slurpee day" at 7-11. So we made sure to get a free slurpee. And yes, it was delicious. 

If any of you read that entire thing, you are one brave and dedicated reader. Since this is a "stream of consciousness" type of post, I'd like to ask you all for some tips on how to fall asleep easier. I have always found it difficult to fall asleep. For me, it usually takes an hour or more, which I'm pretty sure is too long. My mind is always racing and won't shut down. Any tips? 

I'm finally becoming more tired now, so I think I'll end the post here. Sorry that this wasn't that interesting of a post. However, I am trying to post every day so  I guess it will have to do. ;) 

Lastly, to those of you who do read my posts, thank you so much. It means a lot!  Feel free to leave any comments or requests. I also love to check out new blogs so please leave your info below!

                     That's all, for now. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Following Your Dreams

I once read that we should "go confidently in the direction of our dreams and live the life we have imagined." Dreams. Don't we all have them? I think, deep down, we all have that one fantasy. That one beautiful, perfect idea that lives in the back of our mind. Today, I'd like to share with you one of mine.

My Dream:

I'd move to New York City. Brooklyn, maybe. Or Manhattan.

The scene would play out as follows. I'm at the train station. In one hand, a huge suitcase that holds my entire life. In the other, an Iced Chai Latte, of course. It would be close to winter. Not snow, but the air would be crisp and icy. I'd be wearing a sophisticated coat and high-heels. I'd step out of the train, go up the escalator and walk into the city for the first time. It would be magical.

I'd live in a really classic, "New York" apartment. Preferably, made entirely of brick.

The inside would be cozy, modest, vintage yet modern. And, of course there would be a spiral staircase. 

I would be a writer of some sort. Maybe for a magazine. Maybe for a publishing company. Or maybe a best-selling author. The city would be my inspiration. On Sunday afternoons, I would go to Central Park with my journal and write for hours.

I would meet "Mr. Right." My family would move to NYC. And then, happily ever after. 

And there you have it. One of my biggest and most cliche dreams. Yes, it may seem outrageous. I know some people think dreams only lead to disappointment. While this can be true, I like to believe that dreams are magical. And, come on, are you really going to try and tell me that we don't need a little magic in our lives? That's what I thought. ;) However, I will agree with those who say that dreams are scary. Yes yes yes. One hundred percent, dreams are terrifying. They are terrifying to me because, for the most part, we all have the power to make our dreams reality. If you think about it, we really can follow our dreams and "live the life we have imagined." All we have to do is try. And, yes, trying can be scary. But if taking a risk could lead to such amazing outcomes, is it worth it? What do you think?

That's all for now.


Someone once told me, "Well...you can't choose your siblings..." This isn't the typical, inspirational quote that I would usually choose to begin a post. However, this post is far from typical. Siblings are tough. Sometimes, I find that blood is about the only thing that siblings share. This may be a pessimistic outlook on sibling relationships. But, in my opinion, it's part of the harsh reality of family dynamics. (That made me sound way too much like a highschool psychology textbook.) This is what I have found out over the years. 

1. Just because you are siblings does not mean that you will be alike or similar in any way. 

2. Just because you are siblings does not guarantee that you will be close to each other. Again, sorry. 

3. Just because you are siblings, it does not mean that you will always like each other. 

I think you all get the picture. The three things I listed above make it very difficult to really bond or be close to your sibling. This can also make it really scary and disheartening. Now, imagine if I ended the post here. You have to admit, that would be pretty funny. Don't worry, I'm not that cruel. 

Here are three other things I've learned over the years.

1. Siblings show their love in strange, small ways. 

2. Siblings always have each other's backs. 

3. Siblings may not always like each other, but they always love each other. 

So, this is all of the information I've collected over the years. Let's just say, I still have a lot to learn. In general, this is what I know. Relationships with your siblings are tough. It takes work. And it definitely takes time. But a bond between siblings is like nothing else. It is definitely something to fight for and to never give up on. 

                   That's all, for now. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

How To: Explore

As the summer rolled around, I found myself on a tight time crunch. My mission: Make the most out of the few weeks I had before leaving for a special college program. One that actually begins much earlier than those of my friends, unfortunately. But, that is a whole other story. ;) Back to the point, I realized that I am leaving my home soon and I have to appreciate it every single moment. Although I will not tell you specifically where I live, for obvious reasons, I do live near San Francisco, CA. This is in fact, or I guess in my opinion, one of the most amazing, unique and beautiful places in the whole world. Up until these past few weeks, I did not even realize this. During the past few weeks I decided that one of my main goals was to explore.

John Muir once said....

Whenever I read this quote, it reminds me of the importance of exploration. It seems that many of us, more so nowadays, like to stay inside, go on our phones or watch Netflix and forget about the wonders of new places. Yes, I admit that I could spend an entire day watching "Orange is the New Black." However, I've learned that hopping in the car and driving somewhere totally new is exciting and enriching. And that is exactly what I did. Below are some photos of the places I discovered and fell in love with.

Exploring these new places gave me a new love and appreciation for the Bay area. It inspired me in ways I could not have imagined and lit up a new curiosity within me. So, this is my challenge for you. Go outside and explore. Find a new place. Be curious. Learn. To end, in the words of John Muir, go out into the world and "wash your spirit clean."

That's all for now.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Thoughts on Life

Life. How do I even begin to describe this word. Life seems short, but the days seem endless. Filled with so many experiences, so many moments, so many people. Every second is valuable. We learn. We laugh. We grow. It is priceless. Sure, some days are not so good. Some days we wake up and don’t want to get out of bed. Don’t want to interact. Are afraid of facing the world. Just plain scared. Sometimes we are sad. We cry and cry and cry until it feels like all of our tears have been used up. But with these bad days also comes amazing, beautiful, happy moments. The possibilities are endless. We have so much in this world to be thankful for. Trees. Books. Music. The sun. The grass. The ocean. The rain. Hugs. Love. The list is truly endless. There is so much to do, so many new things to experience, so many risks to take and so many people to meet. People. Our relationships with other people is the most important thing in this world. Throughout our lives, we will have many different relationships with people. Some will be short. Others will be forever. I once heard that people are temporary. And that this is okay. At certain times in our lives, we have relationships that we need in that moment. They teach us something. They learn from us. They make us smile. And sometimes they leave. This is all okay. Life is like the sky. The sky is always changing. The sky is vast. It’s open and stretches so far that there seems to be no end. Enjoy life. Appreciate life. Love your life. And when you look up at the sky each day, remember that, for us, life is forever.

Inspiration: "The Stable Song" by Gregory Alan Isakov (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3X9Bz0LNnc)

       That's all, for now.