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BookClub: 7 Books I Read & Loved in 2017
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BookClub: 7 Books I Read & Loved in 2017

It’s always nice to have a good book at hand and every morning I sit down to journal a little and read. It’s a nice escape and whether I’m diving into a non-fiction book to learn something new or adventuring along with the characters of a fiction novel, I loved reading these in 2017. Below are seven books you should go read now if you haven’t already! Feel free to click the photos/titles if you want to hop on Amazon and get these shipped to you right away (I know I’ve done that with 3 books already for the new year!)

The Magnolia Story – Joanna & Chip Gaines

Chip and Joanna wrote this book to tell not only their own love story, but how they started their crazy dream business (empire, really, if we’re being honest here). It was SUCH a good read. So much more inspring than I thought it would be and regardless of if you’re a huge fun of them, this book is for everyone out there with a goal. It’s also really inspiring to people who have no idea what they want to do in life. Chip and Jo are here to tell us that it will all work out the way it’s supposed to if we just have a little faith and a lot of courage.

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Crying: Lessons From a Life in Comedy – Carol Leifer

Comedian and TV show actress Carol Leifer details her experiences of trying to break into the business and it was a funny, honest look at what that truly looks like. No glam, no flashy business but hard work and some super funny stories that will make you laugh so much! I love hearing people’s stories about how they got to where they are now because it shows us all that we have to start somewhere, right?

Lily and the Octopus – Steven Rowley

I’m not crying you’re crying! You will cry. I’m just going to lay it all out there now, you will love this book and you will cry very hard. Oh my goodness this book! I am a major dog lover and have always had a dog in my life. I currently have 4 dogs, 2 little ones and 2 big ones. They are the loves of my life! This book was such a unique, funny, and heartwarming story about one dog owner. I love love love the fact that this book went inside the dog’s head but from such a different perspective that I hadn’t read before. So imaginative and original. You’ll be better off for having read this!

Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook – Tony Robbins

Like I’ve mentioned before, I have that nerdy side of me that loves marketing and business books. I love soaking up new information and this past year I became really curious about investing and the right way to go about that as I get older. This book was SO helpful in explain to millennials the way it works and why we need to start investing now. I’ll leave it all up to the inspirational Tony Robbins to tell you, but I learned that it doesn’t matter how much you start with it just matters that you start now and not later!

Faith Countryman – Lori Hartman Gervasi

One of my favorite novels to date!!! You guys HAVE to read this. The characters in this book were so original and I always felt like I was right there having a conversation with them or standing in the same room. It’s my favorite thing to sit with a good book and just escape the world for a little bit and I did not want to put this novel down or stop going on the adventure with Faith! A must-read!

The Intent to Live: Achieving Your True Potential as an Actor – Larry Moss

This book will probably only be of interest to those who like acting but if you’re curious about what it really takes to be an actor and all the WORK it takes, all the inner work that goes on, then definitely pick up a copy of this! For anyone reading that does act: This book needs to be on your shelf to keep forever as a reference. Larry is a master and I wish I got to train with him. He gives invaluable advice, exercises, and personal stories we can all relate to. Consider this an acting class in a book.

Left Neglected – Lisa Genova

I remember I picked this book up in Portland about 2 years ago and it sat on my shelf un-read for whatever reason! I was cleaning out my room and picked it back up and decided to give it a read. I have to admit I thought I wasn’t going to like it….oh how WRONG I was! I loved this book! I couldn’t put it down and I mean it. There is so much more to this book and let me just say there’s double meaning to the title 😉 I truly fell in love with the main character and her voice. Everytime I would come home from somewhere I got sucked into reading this and finished it in less than a week.

 

I’m definitely a book worm and always will be, and it’s so interesting to see what books I stumble across I hadn’t planned to read. I already plowed through an amazing book so I’ll have to write it down for my 2018 list. Anyways, tell me every book you loved reading this past year below so I can pick up a copy and check it out!!

Setting Clear Intentions for 2018: New Year’s Resolutions (Only Better)
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Setting Clear Intentions for 2018: New Year’s Resolutions (Only Better)

If you didn’t catch yesterday’s blog post, Finding Clarity: Questions for the New Year, I mentioned that I’m doing an email series with my subscribers called Cultivating Your Best Year. Day 3 (the final day) was all about setting clear intentions for 2018. As day 3 came and went I realized…wow that was a lot of journaling! And that’s coming from someone who really enjoys it. I’ve said it again and I’ll say it before though…journaling really does provide so much clarity, new ideas you didn’t know were in the back of your head, and a perspective you didn’t know you had. I really enjoyed doing this email series and got some sweet messages and comments. Thank you to everyone that felt a sense of purpose through this and I’m glad we can go into 2018 with a little more clarity and a lot more creative inspiration! P.S. if you don’t want to miss out next time, click here and scroll to the bottom where it says “Let’s Connect” and sign up for my newsletter!

Ever since I was young I would make new years resolutions. I’m an avid list maker and always have been and when I was younger they were always those vague, cliché resolutions: workout more, read more, keep my room cleaner, etc. But as each year passes I’ve learned a lot more about resolutions, goals, and intentions and the difference between then all. Here’s why I think intentions are the foundation we need to start with.

Here’s something I said in my email newsletter:

Goals vs. Intentions

For me, I think the difference between goals and intentions is that goals imply a specific outcome. While specificity is great, I think intentions are more about the journey and making longterm changes that will lead to your goals & dreams. Don’t get me wrong, I love setting goals for myself. However, I think I can agree that there’s a negative connotation that comes with not meeting that goal. Intentions comes from a place of presence, and that’s pretty powerful. A great example I’ve read about goals vs. intentions has to do with weight loss. For example, let’s say you give yourself the goal of losing 20 pounds by the end of the year. But if you set out to do that without the intentions of really trying to live a healthy lifestyle and have that awareness to make those changes within your diet and exercise, you could be setting yourself up for a year of stress or not meeting that goal. And if you do meet it, where do you go from there?

A truly GREAT thing I read about goals and intentions said this: “Declare your intentions first, then build your goals on top of them.” That makes so much sense, right? Healthy lifestyle = intentions, losing 20 pounds = specific goal that builds from that intention.

Setting intentions allows you to live your values and attract the life you want. It’s common for many Entrepreneurs to set intentions because it’s truly a powerful tool!

Questions for Clarity:

Here are just a couple questions I asked my subscribers to journal, and a glimpse into my answers!

In order to see your dreams come to life, what parts of your life need to shift this year? What habits do you want to start or remove? What fears do you want to overcome? 

One of my words this year is Action. I moved closer in the direction of my dreams and goals but I want to attract them even more. I was productive, but not as productive as I could have been. I set some systems in place, like powerblocking my days, but I fell off the wagon a bit. This year I want to shift my day-to-day to taking more meaningful action. No scrolling on the internet or doing tasks for my blog when I know I sat down to work on my screenplay. Purposeful action. I know that I’m most productive and my brain is buzzing with ideas most in the morning. Things that could shift are my sleeping schedule and going to bed earlier to put everything else into place. Sometimes I look at my to-do list of everything I need to do to break into the industry for acting/screenwriting and it’s overwhelming. This year what I want to shift is not feeling like it’s a sprint but a marathon. All I can do is focus on one thing at a time and then move down the list.

I’d also like to shift my reaction to things more to a place of pausing, listening, taking it all in before reaction. I can be opinionated with those close to me and would like to see one of my core values of inner harmony come to fruition more this year.

Choose a word or a few words to be the anchors for 2018.

I divided mine into two words: Action + Inspire. Action to anchor my personal dreams and to take actionable steps towards that & Inspire to be a mantra for me in this world of blogging and writing. Both words are so purposeful to me right now in my life. In the blogging world, it can be hard to find your identity or figure out how to take your authenticity and make that your brand. Choosing inspire as my word is also my anchor for everything my blog stands for and helps keep me on track when I’m thinking of content ideas or what to say to my audience!

What are your creative or life’s work intentions for 2018? List a goal for each intention (I asked this slightly differently in my email but condensing it for this post)

  • To be more vulnerable on my blog/social media this year. A goal that stems from this is to incorporate video into my content more
  • To take more actionable steps towards what I want to accomplish instead of putting things off. A goal that stems from this intention is to acquire a theatrical agent as well as a commercial agent
  • To make my screenwriting part of my day-to-day routine, no excuses. A goal that stems from this is to have a completed and much better rewrite draft by this year.

What are some of your intentions for 2018? I’d love to know! Comment below and tell me and feel free to journal your own answers to the questions above!

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Finding Clarity Within Myself: Questions for the New Year

#Realtalk: Finding Clarity Within Myself

If you didn’t catch yesterday’s blog post Reflecting on 2017, I mentioned that I’m doing an email series with my subscribers called Cultivating Your Best Year. Day 2 was all about getting real with ourselves. This morning I took some time to journal all 13 questions prompted in the email! I know, that’s a lot right? But it truly helped and I loved getting clear on things that seemed to have slipped to the back of my mind. P.S. if you don’t want to miss out next time, click here and scroll to the bottom where it says “Let’s Connect” and sign up for my newsletter!

I don’t think we can truly cultivate a life we love without getting 100% real with ourselves and asking the tough questions (or honestly, even the silly questions that we haven’t asked ourselves since we were kids)

Creating the life of our dreams means asking empowering questions, means moving in a direction where we feel our best selves, and knowing firmly what we really want. They say we grow where we are planted, but in order to grow you must know what it is that you need. What we need is always changing but I think to cultivate our best year yet, we have to get really clear on things! Some of the questions I asked were meant to help us discover ourselves a little deeper & find clarity about our dreams and goals so we can pursue our intentions (that we’ll set tomorrow) with clarity and authenticity.

Here are just a couple of the questions I asked, feel free to journal these too!

What do you feel, at your core, that you absolutely cannot live without doing? What do you feel you’re meant to do in this life?

Storytelling & moving people to feel deeply. This is the foundation of everything I’m passionate about in this life (acting and screenwriting, or writing in general, which are both forms of storytelling) and I know that’s what I was meant to do and would not want to live without doing. Storytelling and moving people to feel deeply about something also coincides with connecting with people on a deeper level. I think that’s why I love it, too. There’s a reason I love deep conversations!

What would you do if everyone believed in you?

My answer to this question in my journal was longer than I expected. I wrote about a lot, but something that emerged I thought was interesting (which happens a lot when we journal; things come out from us that we didn’t know where thoughts) was that I would show up more for my blog in person (IG stories, live video, Youtube videos, etc.) I think I hold back in this area because it’s a lot scarier than posting a picture! A lot more vulnerable and I know I wonder if people will tune in, or furthermore if they even care? But I felt such a reassurance, or maybe even a voice that was saying not to care what people think, to try this!

What are your most treasured values? How can you live your life more aligned to these values?

This prompt was a great reminder! I loved this one. I skimmed a few lists of values on the internet, like this one, and made a list of the ones that stood out to me:

  • Authenticity
  • Adventure
  • Balance
  • Compassion
  • Creativity / imagination
  • Community
  • Faith
  • Legacy
  • Determination
  • Loyalty
  • Growth / Learning
  • Friendship
  • Inner harmony
  • Love
  • Honesty
  • Meaningful work
  • Optimism
  • Peace
  • Curiosity
  • Trustworthiness
  • Openness
  • Passion
  • Happiness

Okay sooo, that’s a long list! And while all of those traits are valuable to me, I know I needed to narrow it down. “If everything is a core value, than nothing is a priority.” I wanted to get really clear about my most important things so that I can set clear intentions about my day-to-day life in the coming years. Here’s what I narrowed it down to:

  • Adventure: Because life is fun! I don’t want to make excuses as to why I can’t travel somewhere or do something I want to. It’s fun to go out of the norm and experience new things!
  • Empathy: For me, it’s important to come from a place of trying to understand how other people feel. Having empathy can be both a blessing and a curse, especially when you feel bad about serving yourself when you know something doesn’t feel right at the cost of hurting someone else’s feelings. But I know this is an important value to me because I can’t stand when people are rude or mean to others, it shows me they have no empathy for others and there’s no room for that in my life.
  • Creativity / Imagination: Probably obvious here! “Made to Create” you know?
  • Faith: I couldn’t get through life without this. It’s what keeps me going when the path gets a little muddy or I question myself.
  • Growth / Learning: I always loved school and love soaking up new information. Podcasts and as always reading are my favorite way of learning right now.
  • Inner harmony: Because I’ve struggled with anxiety a lot in the past and probably will continue to. This inner harmony and peace is essential for me.
  • Passion: Because if you have passion you have meaningful work and vice versa. Having passion for what I’m doing means I’m on the right path towards fulfilling my soul’s purpose
  • Trustworthiness: I really try to be that trustworthy friend and I hope I will continue to.

*I wanted to include love and happiness in here, but to me those felt like the essential human needs that everyone wants and I feel like love and happiness are the foundation of many of the core values above. Just my thoughts!*

What I learned from Day 2 journal prompts:

What I learned overall from all 13 questions asked on day 2 was that in order to attract the kind of dream life we want, we have to radiate it and become it before it is drawn to us. Getting clear on my dreams, my values, and what was missing allowed me to really get down to the nitty gritty about what I want to incorporate in my life. I feel that when we are that specific, it’s easier to attract jobs we love and repel the ones that suck the life out of us and the same goes for friendships and relationships!

If you want to see me get candid about these topics, head on over to my Instagram where I’m probably sharing more thoughts with you guys on the new year!

What are some of your core values? Comment below!

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Reflecting on 2017

The older we get, the faster time flies by. Often times I think we forget what life lessons we’ve truly learned or how much we’ve grown as a person. Reflecting on the good and the bad allows us to get real with what we want out of life.

2017 felt like a stepping stone year for me. I suppose every year is a stepping stone, but it didn’t feel particularly wonderful or exceptionally awful. That’s not to say that I’m not grateful for this life and the fact that I’m alive and healthy because let me tell you I AM! A lot of amazing things did happen this year and I’m proud to celebrate that too.

2017 was a year that I spent a lot of time questioning things. I spent a lot of time worrying and asking what-ifs. While that probably won’t go away completely, I’ve come to more peaceful terms with a lot of things that happened this past year.

In my Cultivating Your Best Year email series I’m doing with my subscribers, we reflected on 2017 yesterday with a few journal prompts geared toward reflecting on our accomplishments, positive things we want to cultivate again this year, things, people, or energy we want to get rid of for 2018, what we learned about ourselves, and so much more. Every day we’ll take some time out of our day to write down answers to these questions and I did my journaling this morning!

If you missed it, be sure to subscribe to my list so you won’t miss out on more fun things we do and super soulful conversations! (Scroll to the bottom where it says “let’s connect”)

My 2017: Personal Growth & Reflections

I did write longer more personal answers down in my journal, but here are some takeaways from my year and reflections I had.

  • This past year I got to know myself a lot more. I got to know my strengths and weaknesses more than I ever have and I came into my strength and self-awareness. I stood my ground for energy that no longer had a place in my life and said “no” more to things I dreaded instead of trying to please people.
  • This past year I put effort and energy into people that didn’t reciprocate that, that simply didn’t care as much as I did. It took months and months to come to terms with that, but I know that in 2018 I can’t let suck energy out of me. I want to cultivate friendships and partnerships with people who meet me on the same level and put thought, energy, and nurturing time into me just as much as I put into them.
  • In 2017 I showed up for my dreams, but at times not as much as I could have. Can we all give 100% every single day? It’s a nice thought but I think we all have days where we just need time. Time to give ourselves a little rest and self-care, and that’s okay! But I think I could’ve been a little more aggressive in being productive, in not making excuses, and going after it. If you haven’t read it yet, check out one of my top blog posts: Showing Up for Your Dreams
  • Something I learned this past year was that we CANNOT predict how our life will go. That’s obvious I guess. But this year it was really cemented for me. There are some things in my life today that one year ago looked completely different. The bottom line is that I can worry all I want, but there’s a greater plan here. Trust that.

My Happiest Moments and Achievements

2017 also brought some really happy times and crazy accomplishments for me:

  • I wrote 2 short films: one that you can view here and one that’s in pre-production!
  • I went on my first cruise
  • I filmed a commercial with Hyundai that was so much fun!
  • I started this blog! It’s something I wanted to do for a while was so happy to finally just start
  • I might live in LA, but there’s a lot of things I still haven’t done in my own city! I finally went to the summer movie series at the Hollywood Bowl and it was a blast! We saw Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • I attended BeautyCon for the first time! Read my blog post about authenticity at BeautyCon
  • I traveled to Asheville, NC for the first time with my Mom and Uncle
  • My family took a trip to Oahu and we stayed in the cutest town of Lanikai. We felt like locals for the whole week. I had been there a few times before and was so happy to show them my favorite spots! I learned a lot about being present on this trip, so check that post out!
  • I learned a lot more about social media and digital marketing. (I’m that person that loves books on business too, the nerd side of me comes out)
  • I participated in a Mastermind with some amazing bloggers and one of my favorite PR Influencers!

All in all, Reflecting on 2017 allowed me to see where I flourished, and where I could have done more. 2017 prepared me for the year ahead, as I suspect each year will do.  I had some amazing times with friends and family that I never want to forget and I’m glad I took time to journal about it all.

What did you reflect on and learn about yourself in 2017? Scroll to the bottom and drop me a comment to tell me!

Also, be sure to check back on the blog in the next few days to read blog posts about the other 2 days of my email series! We’ll also ask ourselves some tough questions as well as set clear intentions for the year ahead!

my wish for the new year
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Reflecting on Christmas + My Wish for the New Year

I took a needed rest from writing blog posts and didn’t stress about posting on social media. It’s nice to take time to relax the mind and not be so busy. Christmas is by far my all-time favorite holiday. As soon as Thanksgiving is over I’m in full on Christmas mode and it genuinely makes me so happy. My spirits are 100% up!

It’s also that time of year that I watch The Family Stone 1 billion times. My favorite movie, with an all-start cast that will make you laugh ‘til you cry and pull at your heartstrings. Go watch it immediately if you haven’t yet and it will be your new favorite film!

This Christmas my family took it slow and it felt so nice to spend time together without running around. My Uncle Mark from South Carolina usually comes out so I was bummed he couldn’t make it this year, but he was with us in spirit! Our Christmas tree looked a little different this year, due to the craziness of the fires we never got around to decorating it like we normally would. But I actually love how simple it was this year! Then, my Dad unfortunately crashed on his mountain bike recently and hurt his back. We didn’t do much on Christmas Eve or Christmas except go out to dinner and again, it was so great to take it slow. We had a wonderful Christmas at home enjoying each other’s company and watching Hallmark movies.

Some of our Christmas Traditions:

  • Baking German Butter Cake (this recipe has been passed down for many generations on my grandfather’s side. It’s unique in it’s almond flavor but similar to a coffee cake, though better if you ask me) We usually make a few batches throughout December
  • Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas Eve morning
  • Church and Christmas Eve dinner at a local Italian Restaurant. We’ve been doing this for years and it feels like home when we finally sit down to eat
  • This has become sort of a funny “tradition,” if that: my Dad buys everyone stocking stuffers from rite-aid without fail every year haha. We started making fun of him, teasing that that’s the only place he gets stocking stuffers from and now it’s a thing!
  • Taking a photo of all of us on Christmas day which is usually the last photo of the year before I get pictures printed out to put in our family album. I’ve talked about this before on the blog, but it’s so important to me to preserve memories because when we’re older do you actually think we’re going to go back on “the cloud” (Which may or may not exist) and look at pictures when we were 20? I highly doubt it and everything will be lost. SO this is my way of making sure that doesn’t happen haha.

My Wish for the New Year

While there are always crazy drivers and people that resemble the Grinch around Christmas, for the most part everyone is in good spirits. I love that. I love that for the whole month of December, everyone is generally really happy and excited about giving to their friends and family. Excited to soak up that special time with loved ones. Full-hearted as they drive around looking at Christmas lights feeling so full of life.

My wish is that the Christmas spirit will be carried with us throughout the year. And the only way that’s going to happen is if we are present with ourselves and mindful about keeping the peace within ourselves and giving that to others. Not dwelling on the negative, but focusing on the positive and sending that positivity into the world.

How can you carry that Christmas spirit with you this year? Comment below and tell me one way!

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Amazon Prime Stocking Stuffer Guide Pt. 2 – For the Guys

If you missed it, I did an Amazon Prime stocking stuffer guide for gifts for the ladies here. Now, I’m onto things for the men! Is it just me or is it harder to find practical things to put in stockings for the guys? There aren’t a lot of little small gifts or trinkets I feel like men would like so I did my best here! Comment below and share what you’ll be getting your brother, boyfriend, Dad, uncle, etc. from this list!

Click on the photos to shop and starting adding to your Amazon cart!

  • Phone/wallet finder, $20

  • Wine socks for men, $15 (who doesn’t love a good pair of punny wine socks?)

  • Leather Key Swivel Case, $34 (so classy, love this)

  • Facial Scrub – Green Tea, $27

  • Chip Gaines’ Book (I read their other book Magnolia Story and loved it) $11

  • Fold Out Keychain, $18

  • Waterproof Touchscreen Gloves, $14

  • Herschel Passport Holder, $24

  • High Quality Playing Cards, $12

  • City Whiskey Glass, $18 (lots of options, I loved this Charleston one)

  • Car Side Pocket Organizer, $11 (so nice for pens, your phone, snacks, etc.)

  • Brixton Men’s Beanie, $20

  • Hydroflask (I can’t live without mine now! Best water bottle)

  • Whiskey Chilling Cubes, $10

  • Compression Socks, $15 (great for post-workout, circulation, etc.)

  • Multigroom Kit, $15 (laughing at the fact it’s called a grooming kit haha)

  • Smith’s Knife Sharpener, $3 (Really this could be for anybody but so cheap and great reviews)

  • Lemome Leather Journal, $16 (there were cheaper ones but quality wasn’t as good. Love me a great notebook!)

  • Star Wars Mad Libs, $5

  • Burt’s Bees Men’s Gift Set, $25

  • Flashlight 2 Pack, $12 (one of those things that you always wish you had when you actually need it, ya know?)

  • Before-you-go toilet spray, $9


 

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Amazon Prime Stocking Stuffer Guide – For the Girls

Let’s be honest. Every year we say we are going to get ahead and have all our Christmas shopping done by the first or second week of December…and YET every year most of us end up doing last minute shopping. It’s hard for us busy girls who consider ourselves pretty organized and on top of things, but it still happens. If you’re one of the lucky ones, kudos to you my friend and enjoy the last week of December not running around! But here’s the thing. I don’t want to spend my time running around and being stressed out either. I have things to do before the end of the year, and family and friends to spend quality time with. So, I thought I would create an easy to shop stocking stuffer guide where you can get everything here on Amazon! If you’re a Prime member, even better. This makes things so easy and you escape the holiday rush of every shopping center in America.

Click the photos to shop this post!

Stocking Stuffers for the Girls

  • Mini Monthly Planner $8:
  • Burt’s Bees Mini Travel Set $10! (perfect for traveling or keeping in your car)

  • Real Technique’s Miracle Complexion Sponges, Set of 2 (Love these!) $7!!

  • NYX Butter Gloss (you’ll never use chapstick again) $8

  • These beanies, because I love the little top fuzzy part! $9-14

  • Mini Vanilla Scented Candle 

  • These super cute $10 Passport Cases!

  • Headache Heat Pack, Lavender $23 (a life saver for me personally)

  • Mini Bluetooth Speaker, $14

  • Natural Sheet Masks, $9

  • Faux Succulents set of 5, $20 (great desk accessories!)

  • Rifle Paper Co. Notepad $9 (calling all list makers, this is so cute!)

  • Honest Company’s Natural Lavendar Bubble Bath, $10

  • Book: The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (can’t wait to read this and what better way to start a new year?)

Bonus stocking stuffer: Her Life is Her Art coffee mug from my Etsy shop! (not available on Amazon yet, but check it out in my shop!)

Your Life is Your Art: Living with Intention

 

Thanks for reading and check back soon for the guy’s stocking stuffer guide! Comment below and tell me your great stocking stuffer ideas!



 

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Sam Chat: Purpose & Perspective

If anything, I’m writing this blog post for myself to remember my family’s experience evacuating from our home and the new perspective I gained from an almost life-changing event. If you’ve ever been through something similar that moved you or changed your perspective, comment below because I’d love to hear your story! If you don’t care to read my long story about the actual fire, feel free to scroll to the bottom to the sub-title called “perspective” to see what I feel like I gained from this experience.

I woke up on Tuesday morning at 4am to hear an airplane overhead which I would later find out was dropping water over the Creek fire that started in Sylmar. I went back to sleep thinking it was nothing. By the time I woke up that morning around 8am, the fire was visible from my family’s windows overlooking what we call “the wash,” an area of vast land with trails that people in the horse community ride their horses. The fire was past the wash, across the freeway, and only just cresting the top of a mountain barely visible. This has happened times before in our surrounding area and 99.9% of the time, it’s nothing to worry about. This is about that other 1% of the time.

Quickly by 9am it had already burned ¾ of the way down the mountain. At that point, no one was that worried because like I said this has happened numerous times. By 11, the freeway or those mountains were barely visible in all the smoke. Some concern set in as I watched my neighbors and my Mom worry about how to get our horse out if it came time to evacuate. The streets were already getting crowded and freeway entrances/exists were beginning to close. Then, It had jumped the freeway and started burning the wash. Our house sits on a hill just above the wash and we were told if the smoke starts blowing into our faces, into the direction of our house, that’s when we have to worry. It happened so fast. One minute we thought evacuating was unnecessary, the next we know, it’s hard to breathe, the smoke is enveloping us and our homes, and we’re packing things up as quickly as possible.

The crazy thing about fires is they’re not like a flood. It doesn’t burn down everything in it’s path, inching closer and closer like water might. The extreme winds we had carried embers from mountains that were far off in the distance to our own backyard. One minute we’re looking out our windows watching it from afar, the next we know I can feel the heat.

I can FEEL the heat. The flames were still burning in the wash, embers jumping from one tree to the next. I touched the windows inside my house and they were warm. I went outside where my Dad was wearing motorcycle goggles shielding his eyes from the ash and embers, taking a video of what was possibly the last time we would see our back hill or house as it was. The heat was even stronger outside and the flames below looked so tall. Before I knew it, it was go-time.

My mom was leading our horse out of the arena and down the street. She doesn’t have a horse trailer so we searched high and low for a horse trailer that was already in the neighborhood. People offered trailers from all over, they were even being dispatched into our neighborhood but that was only half the battle. A couple trailers we had lined up were stuck on the freeway as they closed exits down and were unable to get to us. Finally, we were able to get in contact with a kind stranger who said he could meet at the bottom of our street and take our horse TJ to a rescue center. We loaded our 4 dogs into the 2 cars and threw any last-minute things into the backseats. My family has too many cars and not enough people so I drove one car to the next street over, then ran back to get the other. The smoke really got to me by then. My lungs were burning, my eyes were burning, and from the bottom of the street my house wasn’t even visible amongst all the smoke. Flames roared high as our neighbor’s house two doors down was burning to the ground. Firetrucks crowded the streets, cars were trying to get out, and horse owners were trying to lure their horses into feeling safe enough to get inside the trailers.

A horse got loose on our street so I tried to help put her into a trailer before heading back to the house to get the other car. These poor gentle animals were scared out of their minds and had no idea what was happening. Amidst all the chaos though, I looked around and told myself to remember this feeling of a community coming together and unifying under trying circumstances. No one was going to leave a horse behind if they could help it.

Back at our house, my Dad and brother were busy putting hot spots out as embers would land on the trees and brush on our hill and our neighbor’s hill. Firefighters hadn’t yet arrived to our house as they were busy trying to help with structures going up in flames. I know without a doubt if my Dad and brother decided to throw in the towel any earlier, those hot spots would have fed off each other and eventually burned our own house to the ground. Meanwhile, my Mom and I left to get our dogs out of the smoke while my dad and brother said they would be shortly behind.

My brother later told me that he looked over at our neighbor’s house and noticed their car and motorcycle were still in the driveway and we hadn’t seen them all day. He went over there to check it out and started banging on their windows, knocking on their door. Finally the man came to the living room, throwing his arms up wondering what all the racket was. He had no idea!! I don’t know how that happens, but he had no idea there was a fire. He quickly scrambled to get out of there. Not too long after that, their guest house caught on fire and burned down.

It was a long night and a rollercoaster of answers. We got a call from my Dad who was at the house and was positive our house was going to burn down. He was sad, but grateful that the things that really mattered were safe. Eventually, firefighters came to the house and told my Dad and Brother they had to leave now. None of us would know the fate of our house for a while. By some miracle, a few hours later we were told our houses hadn’t burned and if it could survive the night and all the embers raining down, it would be safe.

We woke the next morning at a friend’s house to good news that our house had made it throughout the night. Those high winds made every scenario unpredictable but we couldn’t be more grateful. Even through the next few days we weren’t out of the clear as hot spots kept popping up, but the main fire had moved on. The smoke was intense and even now we are working to get the smoke out of everything— the house, our clothes, our cars. But I don’t care. I can’t tell you how grateful I am that none of our animals or my family or irreplaceable things weren’t lost in the fire.

A New Perspective

So many others in the Creek fire, the Thomas Fire, the Lilac fire, they all lost precious animals, belongings, and homes that they treasured. A few hours after we had evacuated, I was sitting in my smoke-filled car with 2 of my dogs in the backseat, my Mom’s car in front of me with our other dogs, my eyes just burning from the smoke and ash, my blonde hair almost stained from the ash. My phone had been blowing up ALL morning. Friends near and far were calling to see if we needed help. Friends I hadn’t talked to in a while were offering to make calls on our behalf to find a horse trailer, my best friends were offering anything they could, people were offering to bring their trucks over to help us, offering their homes for us to evacuate to. Seriously, people were amazing. Even though I couldn’t respond to half of the people at the time, I had a moment to myself in the car and just thought…how incredible that there are so many good people in this world. And when I thought about if I were to lose everything…what’s really important to me? It was an overwhelming sense of quality over quantity. That the quality people were there when we needed them most, were offering their help and hearts, and that most possessions don’t really matter.

Sometimes we place so much emphasis on materialistic things on a day to day basis. We’re blogging about our favorite clothes and accessories, the latest deals on whatever it may be. And so often I really do try to write blogs with more weight, more gravity. But everyone gets caught up.  We’re so invested in social media, showing people where we are and what we’re doing and who we’re with. But during this experience, all that faded to the background and I felt SO grateful and blessed to have the people in my life that I do, that my family was safe, and that our friends opened their home to us. It wasn’t life or death for us, not even close. But I felt in my heart the tragedy that so many others were going through. It really made me think about my purpose. During something like this, my days were filled with tasks so different than my day to day. It made me think that when I’m back to a “normal” routine, what’s my goal here? What REALLY matters? What’s my purpose? For me this experience solidified my purpose, my passions, and not taking things for granted. Because in some odd way I felt that if I lost everything materialistic, what would still be standing and strong is my purpose, my passion, and my drive. (Besides my family and animals by my side 😉

Thanks for reading and drop a comment if you’re having a “me too!” moment.

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November Favorites: Things I’m Loving Lately

Hi friends! I’m sharing my November Favorites because December is finally upon us and I can’t believe how fast it crept up this year! I love it though and I’m soaking up everything Christmas related. This is the first year my family has not had a real tree…we’ve always done the real deal and it was a great tradition but now that my brother and I are older, my parents decided to go for a fake tree. We started decorating our tree last night and I’m loving that cozy full-heart feeling 🙂

Today I’m sharing a few things that I’ve been using lately, from makeup to accessories! Leave me a comment below if you use anything here or if you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear from you!

novemberfavoritesI came across this body wash a couple months ago and I’ve loved using it so far! I prefer body wash over a bar of soap (germs, hello) and this body wash smells amazing and it’s really gentle on the skin! Amazon has both a small and large size of this which is nice depending on if you want stock up. You can shop this body wash here. There is also a Rose Petal and Original on Amazon that I have yet to try!

November favorites

These Alex and Ani bracelets were really popular when I was in college and since then I’ve received a few as gifts. They’re the cutest charm bracelets and they are a lot to choose from online! My mom got me the ladybug one for good luck and I smile every time I look at it! Click here or on the photo to shop the photo and these Alex and Ani bracelets!

November Favorites

 

Maybe you saw me talk about this hat on my Instagram, but seriously it’s my new favorite thing! It’s so comfy and I LOVE the color! I’m definitely a hat person and I have a similar one in black, but I like the shape and feel of this one much better. I think this hat could be pretty versatile for all seasons so pick it up while it’s still on major sale! Click the photo or link to this hat here and it will take you to Liketoknowit. From there, click the hat photo and you’re on the product page and ready to purchase!

November Favorites

 

Of all people, my brother discovered Juice Beauty haha. In all honesty, I think he went into Ulta for something for men’s skincare and walked out with the entire Juice Beauty line (whoever sold him that, you’re a great salesman lol) BUT the good thing is I actually really love the line too. I had never heard of Juice before that but one of my favorite things from them is this Stem Cellular Exfoliating Peel Spray. You shake the bottle, spray some of your face, then start rubbing it in. The coolest thing happens and some of the dead skin from your face gets exfoliated off which you can feel. It leaves my skin super refreshed and smooth! Click the photo or here to shop it!

 

Last but certainly not least, my favorite of all favorite lip glosses. By now, you know I’ve joined the Butter Gloss train and I’m not looking back. For $5 at target, you can’t beat this. The color is amazing and my lips feel super hydrated! Stocking stuffer idea maybe? I’ll be getting my mom a few of these! Click the photo to shop it!

Okay that’s it for my November favorites! Can’t wait to share things from this month because I already have some ideas I’m storing! haha. Have a great week!

 

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Sam Chat: 10 Things About Me

You know me, I like a good list. Lists make me happy and grounded and they’re addicting. There’s a reason why everyone reads the Buzzfeed lists, right? While those are probably more entertaining than this one will be, a good relatable list is nice. I recently polled you guys on Instagram and some of you said you’d like to know more about me. It’s funny being on the backend of things, you assume strangers know so much about you but sometimes the obvious to you isn’t to someone else. Give me a shout if you read any of these and think YES ME TOO!

  1. I’m deathly afraid of scary/horror movies. I refuse to watch them now because I won’t sleep for days. I talk myself into an irrational fear that there is indeed someone or some “thing” in my room that will get me haha. In middle school or high school I could watch them fine but not anymore.
  2. I’ve traveled internationally to Switzerland and Italy and hoping I get to do another trip abroad soon! On my bucket list: London (and also the countryside of England), France, Ireland, Portugal, Prague.
  3. I have a degree in Screenwriting and love acting. I love the world of filmmaking in general and will always continue to do that. Extra fun fact: I’ve written a feature film.
  4. My Mom is from South Carolina and while I am born and raised in the Los Angeles area, I have those southern roots. I frequently visit the south, where my uncle still lives, and love everything about it. I love home too though, where my Mom and Dad met. I also have a younger brother who just turned 22! (he’s one of my best friends).
  5. I consider myself an introverted extrovert. Your girl likes to go out and have a glass of wine with friends and be social, but the next morning you better believe I want that alone time.
  6. I LOVE love love animals. They have a special place in my heart and I wish I could rescue every single one. My family currently has 4 dogs and a horse!
  7. I’m a sucker for rom-coms. It’s the romantic at heart in me coming out, I just can’t help it.
  8. I live for Christmas. If it could be Christmas all year long I would 100% be okay with that! Something about the colors, the lights, the decorations, the traditions, the kindness we see come out in the world. I’m currently working on a blog post about how to carry that holiday spirit with us all the tine. Stay tuned!
  9. You know those memes you see where it says, “she’s classy with a little hood”? That’s me. Or the one that says “she likes to blast rap music on the way back from yoga.” Yep! I like to go to the gym a couple times during the week and you better believe I’m playing some music to pump me up.
  10. Speaking of music, country music is my jam. My all-time favorite music! Currently listening to: Frankie Ballard, Florida Georgia Line, Granger Smith, Luke Bryan, Chris Young, Rae Lynn, Marren Morris, Sam Hunt, really I could keep on going haha.

Tell me a fact about yourself, I’d love to get to know you! Leave a comment below!



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