Heureux, mais Triste.

This past week was a rough one. In short: I’m happy, but sad. :): And the weird combination of the two had me anxiously spinning all week, leaving me feeling emotionally and physically drained.

img_5692I found myself very irritable and pissy with nearly everything annoying me even more than I already was. It would begin as soon as I had to face traffic driving to work each morning and was pretty persistent throughout the day.  At first, I attributed it to PMSing but after looking at the calendar, I realized that wicked beast wasn’t due for another couple of weeks so I couldn’t blame Mother Nature. I cried nearly every day. The kind of cries that make it hard to catch your breath while you’re drooling & snotting all over yourself. Even an episode of Grey’s Anatomy had me nearly curled in a ball, full of all kinds of emotions. I don’t cry like that often but it had been building up in my chest and finally began to erupt a little bit more & more each day. One time happened on my lunch break while another time happened on the drive home from work. On Wednesday night, I opened a photo album on my phone and came across the photo of my mom on her birthday while in the hospital this year. Her smiling, happy yet tired face beaming at me made my heart ache in an entirely new way.

And I lost it. I began to sob on my couch  and I ended up crawling to my bedroom, where I laid on the floor with my dog, Tammy Faye Barker for almost a half hour. It was a cry I needed to have.

I think the shock of everything that happened with my mom has finally started to wear off. I took on a lot in a short period of time and I think my mind is unwinding some of that heartache. Because man oh man, there is a lot of it. With the holidays coming up, there are many events that I’m super excited for, including one that happened just yesterday: Pre-Thanksgiving with many of my close friends to celebrate years of friendships. It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many people and have all kinds of delicious food. There were so many hugs and so much laughter that it was nearly impossible to not smile the entire time.

But that sadness is ever present…a constant reminder that my mom is gone. It follows me around like a shadow and is with me wherever I go. I’m sad about a lot of things but it’s the small ones like the fact that I can no longer share with my mom the cupcakes I always bake this time of year. I’m so saddened that I will start Christmas shopping very soon and there is one less person on my list to buy for: the person who used to be at the very top.

To say it sucks is SUCH an understatement but those two words really do sum it all up.

I physically feel the sadness. Its heaviness, its darkness; the dull ache, the fatigue. I’m having to push a bit harder each day to not stay in the bed and get lost in my millions of thoughts. My main thoughts have, of course, been about my mom and how much I miss her; how much my world has changed. But I’ve also been thinking about the silly two cats I acquired since her passing and how much I’ve grown to love them. They are one of the best reminders of my mom and I’m so happy to have them roaming around my house. They are both so loving but show it completely different ways and bring two fun & very individual personalities to the house.

image-1They went to the vet last week, along with Tammy Faye and all 3 of them checked out beautifully. Healthy and happy with the vet asking me if Tammy Faye was REALLY 14. I honestly can’t believe it myself. She is such a ball of energy and pure sunshine that I fall in love with her over & over again on a daily basis. Having these 3 animals around makes it hard for me to ever want to leave my house and wanting to hurry home to them when I’m out. I adore them THAT much. Tammy loves to stalk Layla and watch her every move.

Layla has become more trusting of me and snuggles a lot more, which makes me feel a bit privileged. Emme is the stereotypical curious cat. If she hears a door open ANYWHERE in the house, she comes running to hopefully investigate a new space. She loves getting lost in my bedroom closet, hiding under chairs, in plants and is even more talkative than before (plus she snores a LOT). She greets me every morning when I wake up, either telling me “Good morning” or “Feed me”, I’m not sure which. Either way, I look forward to our morning chats each day and gazing into those magical emerald eyes of hers.
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This week, I’ve found myself thinking a lot about the day that they won’t be here. The day when those reminders of my mom won’t be curled up at my feet. The day that I won’t have conversations with Emme and Layla’s paw won’t appear out of nowhere as I’m eating, trying to help herself to whatever I’m having. And don’t even get me started on losing Tammy Faye. I’ve had her since I was 18 years old. We’ve grown up together. The fact that I’m setting myself up for so much heartache is SUCH a terrifying thought. I already feel so physically heartbroken over losing my mom and I know losing those wonderful little animals is going to be crushing. I’ve seen a lot of people lose their best friends this past year and I am simply not looking forward it. And for whatever reason, I have been thinking about that a lot lately. Pretty cheery, huh? I must be a glutton for punishment..

 

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I have yet to know the love of having a child of my own and I indeed hope to know that magic sooner than later. But caring for another living creature that loves you in return is a pretty incredible relationship. How two totally different walks of life can bond in ways that bring pure happiness is such a beautiful thing. I hope its something that I have for as many days as I’m here on Earth. It’s one of my favorite parts about waking up in the morning: knowing I have another day to spend time loving on the fury creatures that live with me. I feel very fortunate to have them in my life and even though the inevitable is set to happen, I will treasure every second of having them here. I hope I bring them at least a fragment of the happiness they bring me.

However, I’m looking forward to the upcoming week. It’s a 3-day work week followed by Thanksgiving, the Gilmore Girls revival on Friday and then a quick trip to the Outer Banks on Saturday that is sure to be super special. It’s another trip dedicated to my mom, that I’m sure will have tons of photos & words to explain its story. Until then, I leave you with this:Today, as we continue a week devoted to tending trust around sensual growth, ...  kristinnoelle.com:

 

 

 

Introducing : Simonne Jones

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Music is in my DNA, encoding the structure of my development, growth and has even at times, contributed to my functioning as a human being. I’ve always believed that music is the one vital component that we, as human beings, have to connect with one another on levels that know no judgment, have no rules and can create a spiritual unity that is as close to religion as you can get without having to choose a denomination. We live in a world full of so much beauty, that is so vast and full of opportunities yet we know all too well, how easy it is to get caught up in the negative space that dwells within the infiniteness of our nature. Countless times, I’ve found myself resorting to music when I needed guidance, finding inspiration through the words and stories of those who have been where I have or where I long to go, relishing in their insight and consolation.  I’ve stumbled upon a lot of my music collection by accident, usually thumbing through Rolling Stone or combing through pages of new artists online and devouring discographies of Rock Gods past. With the help of one of my favorite Youtube channels SoulPancake, finding Simonne Jones was no different.

(FYI: SoulPancake is the brainchild of actor Rainn Wilson and his 2 friends, Joshua Hamnick & Devon Gundry, launched in 2009. Its purpose is to open + challenge your mind to “big think” topics such as spirituality, arts and philosophy. It also aims to inspire + make you friggin’ happy with a HUGE variety of video “shows” including my favorites Kid President, The Science of Love and My Last Days.  Now continue on to my video encounter… )

With dark hair flowing from under a large-brimmed black hat, a simple black dress, detailed only with studs embellishing her shoulders, she held onto her guitar with a calm confidence that drew me in before she even started singing. Outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), she stares into the camera with a seemingly fearless assurance as she begins her song “Make Love to You”, an empowering song about desiring nothing but a physical connection.  Starting with a simple acoustic guitar riff, she takes her time as she wanders between a light installation toward Wilshire Boulevard, breezing through honey sweet vocals + candid lyrics. Moving to the catchy beat she creates by hitting the guitar against her palm in between riffs, it’s clearly visible she’s enjoying herself and makes the multi-tasking look quite easy, which I can assure you, is not. She would later be interviewed, speaking behind inquisitive smiles with a unique poise, explaining her curiosity to explore our infinite universe as well as her belief that music has the power to change the world. Yes, I liked this girl. (See the video here…)

Resembling an offspring that Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet forgot they had, Jones spent her teen years modeling before taking her life in a completely different direction. With an intense love for science and medicine, she studied biochemistry, devoting her studies to the HIV field, graduating with honors in Biomedical Research, as well as in Visual Arts from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Co-authoring a research paper on detecting different structures within HIV, she has been published in Science magazine and as a humanitarian, has travelled to Ghana, where she researched an adolescent HIV/AIDS program she created to raise awareness about the disease. Jones passions did not only reside in the science world but flowed over to the arts side as well, where she expressed herself through painting + visual arts before succumbing to the one passion that drove her just a bit harder than the rest.

Learning to play piano by ear, teaching herself how to read music and play guitar, Jones decided to focus on her music career, relocating from Los Angeles to Berlin. Much like one of her heroes, Leonardo Da Vinci, Simonne believes art and science are very closely related, having both problem solving + experimenting in common. Combining her passions into one outlet, she creates not only an entirely different electro-acoustic sound but a new form of expression, where she constructs the atmosphere + builds the mood. To add a new element to her art, she began building her own guitars and mini drum trigger pads, which connect to her laptop, allowing her to trigger any sound she wants. This is how Jones is able to build her own songs live, by tapping the pad coordinated with her laptop; she records each sound live, programming it right before your eyes to transform into music. It’s pretty cool to watch and something I do hope to see live one day.

Staying in full command over her art form, she also takes on the role as the producer of her music, allowing no intrusion into the creative process. Her songwriting approach is simplistic yet strong, with themes of youth + freedom, love + not-just-sex and an overall wonder, expressing a hunger for life that is quite invigorating. Also bringing a unique, raw sexuality that isn’t over-the-top thrown in your face but subtlety shown between whimsical melodies and a dash of rock and roll, Jones really is the whole package: intelligent, unusually relatable, mysterious, stunning and yes, even a little weird but really, who isn’t?

Her outlook on life is more than refreshing, emphasizing that questioning is more important than answering, that the universe is limitless and that we, as human beings, have the potential to surpass even our own dreams. Accomplishing more in her short 27 years on Earth than most do in a lifetime, Simonne Jones is currently recording and based in Berlin. Recently gaining acceptance into the Red Bull Music Academy and being recognized as a songwriter-activist by Rolling Stone Magazine and the New York Times, I am beyond eager to see what this amazing woman, who lives + breathes music, has in store for the world that she is in fact… changing.simonne

 

Nothing More Album Review

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One of the hardest things to do in life is to simply be who you are. From the day we’re born, everyone from our friends, family and even current Internet celebrities tell us how to dress, how to act, how to think and how to live. With the dominant rise of technology and the accessibility the media gives us to other people’s lives + opinions, our society is in a constant state of influence, forcing us to always compare ourselves, usually finding fault instead of acceptance. It’s easy to feel alone, to doubt yourself and feel unjust for the struggles + hardships you have to endure; to get lost in the negative aspects of life, wallow in anger + self-pity and see life as a burden. The hard part is to find the light in the times of darkness, however dim it may be.

Setting the bar high with their self-titled fourth full-length album, Nothing More shimmers with a profound and inspiring message that is not only revolutionary and will affect nearly everyone who listens but easily mirrors that very light we all need to survive in those dark times. With numerous standout songs, almost all being radio-friendly, the album shines as a whole with intelligent lyrics and an intense passion intertwined into every second. The many influences of this band are apparent, with sounds similar to Alice In Chains, Disturbed, Three Days Grace, S.O.A.D, The Prodigy, Rush, Megadeth, Coheed and Rage yet somehow their sound is incomparable and all their own.

The hypnotic opening sequence of the album exemplifies the stress + unhappiness we force upon ourselves on a daily basis, allowing fear + negativity to weigh us down, essentially leaving us drowning and gasping for air. “Ocean Floor” blends perfectly into the thundering drum + bass of the album’s explosive first single, “This Is The Time (Ballast)”, an extremely catchy, head banging song about letting go of whatever it is that holds you back, recognizing your own strength and finding your balance. Followed by an exquisite blend of electronic texture amongst heavy metal guitar riffs, the hard-hitting anthem of “Christ Copyright” sends a powerful message regarding religion’s role in our society; that “we are not machines” and as individuals, we need to learn to ask questions, to think for ourselves and not be faceless sheep in the herd but to indeed, have a voice.

Recurring themes of the pressure to conform are found throughout the record, as well as internal struggles with self-doubt + guilt. The sad, ugly truth of the media‘s influence on society and how it spawns robotic + materialistic shells of human beings is found in “Mr. MTV”. Tensions fly high through identifiable lyrics of always feeling judged and never being fully heard in songs like “First Punch” while the hostility found in “The Matthew Effect” is everything you’ve ever wanted to say to the spoiled + entitled hypocrites of the world. With an already clear focus of unleashing negative emotions, “I’ll Be OK” allows the album to switch gears, slow down + reveal a more emotional but not necessarily softer side of the band. Looking for forgiveness and needing to forgive, passionate, soul-crushing vocals that exude longing +hope are given the spotlight, escalating into a buildup so dynamic and strong, your breath will literally catch in your throat as this song speaks for all the times you’ve lacked faith in yourself, offering a reassurance that only music can bring.

The savage, jilted lover track “Sex and Lies”, graphically depicts the turbulence caused when cheating is involved. Words laced in anger, resentment + disbelief accommodate the energy of the pounding drums and raging guitars as the bass cuts through manically creating an all-around melee of fury. Evident in nearly every song on the album, this band is not afraid of being brutally honest, hitting on uncomfortable but easily relatable subjects, climactically shedding light when darkness seems ever enveloping.  However, it’s the two extremely personal songs saved for the end of the album that truly demonstrates the ability of Nothing More to touch a nerve and move something inside of you.

We’ve all had that one friend or relative that, despite the love shown + the numerous chances given, fail to realize their own chaotic demise, continuing their vicious cycle until hitting rock bottom becomes the only solution. “Jenny” brings to life an all-too-familiar story, representing that one person we all know and how their actions affect everyone around them, bringing to light the undoubtedly harsh truth that we are usually too afraid to speak. Beginning with a simple guitar + soft vocals to set the stage for this epic wake-up call, what was once hope slowly changes into defeat before eventually exploding into full-blown exasperation, not only told through the lyrics but through the vitality of the music itself. Heavy disappointment shines through every syllable, with the chilling pleas for change hitting like a ton of bricks as the drums slam in perfect unison with the bass + guitar to match the intensity of having to walk away from someone until they see the error of their ways. The despair + agony felt when watching someone you love spiral out of control and self-destruct is enough suffering to bear but experiencing the loss of a parent at the same time takes the pain to an all new level.

Being one of the most moving pieces I’ve heard in years, the incredibly stirring “God Went North”, a song about the loss of a mother after battling cancer, easily defines why music exists and to say this song is beautiful may be an understatement. The soothing wind chimes and rolling thunder provide an atmosphere to the symbolic calm before the storm as the words begin to paint a profoundly realistic picture. Extraordinarily illustrating a life-changing moment of having to say goodbye to the person who created you, nearly every emotion felt during the grieving process is evident in the exquisite vocals that expose the heart + soul of this band. The drums slowly heighten as the story unfolds from numb disbelief to the heartbreaking request of “if you won’t save her, please just take her”, the guitar magnifying the turmoil + distress before soaring into an upward turn of accepting the finality of what ultimately must happen. With the mortality of our parents being inevitable, anguished-wrapped lyrics like “cutting the cord from the mother who gave me everything” are sure to touch even those who haven’t experienced such a loss, while providing a therapeutic consolation when the pain is all too real for those who have.

Transcending into wind + crashing waves, the thematic use of the five elements creates a unique musical experience, adding a special, intimate approach that is felt through the album as a whole. Even though we are individuals, we are all part of the same Earth; the growing and changing we go through in life is evident through water, healing + purifying us along the way. The drive + passion of fire that can both create and destroy, heal or harm is represented by the spark inside us all that Nothing More urges to keep ignited. Concluding with the electronically stimulating “Pyre” brings everything full circle, as the wind not only carries away the last breath of life but is the expansive freedom of departing our physical body, leaving the sky to embody everything we cannot comprehend with our minds and only truly embrace with our limitless spirit.

Flowing into one last food-for-thought piece featuring the intriguingly captivating words of philosopher Alan Watts, who is also heard in the guitar-layered instrumental track “Gyre”, the theories are not ones that you need to necessarily agree with to fully enjoy the nearly ten minute final track of the album. Instead of being forced down your throat, the ideas are designed to make you think, offering a tranquil reflection while stressing that “the real you, is not a puppet which life pushes around”, a message that has easily weaved its way through Nothing More, who emphasize the importance of keeping your inner fire blazing and embracing your individuality.

With lyrics that provoke and the concept of music as therapy restored, there is a song on this album for everyone; for anyone who has ever thought they weren’t good enough, who have been wronged or have done wrong, have lost someone they loved or who just need that little nudge of courage to just simply: be. Ranging from optimism to rage and melancholy, Nothing More will for sure pull many conflicting emotions from you, all while putting things into perspective + possibly providing solace while reminding that at the end of the day, we are not alone in the fact that we are all just trying to simply… be.

“Life exists only at this very moment, and in this moment it is infinite and eternal. For the present moment is infinitely small; before we can measure it, it has gone, and yet it exists forever.”

Why the $%#@ am I so tired?

 

The past few months have been very strange.
I’ve felt like myself yet…not.

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I’m tired.
All of the time. I have no energy or desire to do anything but lay around and sleep as much as possible. My excitement levels aren’t skyrocketing like normal. I’m happy but I’m also sad because a lot of my passion has diminished. My brain feels foggy and it takes a while for me to fully focus on something. It’s annoying, inconvenient and downright depressing.

I’ve had a weird discomfort in my side that I can only describe as a fist under my left rib cage that often radiates down my entire side, low back, pelvis/hips and lately, down my legs. It’s a tight, uncomfortable pull that feels like if I could just stretch enough, I could loosen all those tight muscles. I’m very much into yoga, stretching any spare moment I get yet it’s still there: that tight, uncomfortable pull that is constantly weighing me down. Again, annoying, inconvenient and downright depressing.

This has all been going on for years off and on but the past few months, it hasn’t let up. I hate not having the desire to do much of anything; it feels like someone blew out my candle. Even writing requires too much effort and energy for my little body, turning me into a puddle of moosh.

After the pain in my side continued to radiate around my lower back, keeping me up two nights in a row with my normal dose of Ibuprofen & a heating pad NOT doing the trick, I made emergency appointments with both my general practitioner as well as my girlie doctor. I had my GD check for kidney issues as well as do a pelvic exam for any kind of cysts; everything was normal. He did however listen to the symptoms I described and noticed they often heightened around my “monthly visitor”. He felt my symptoms were a clear sign of endometriosis (a disease that can cause lots of pelvic pain, which was something I’ve had constantly for years) and suggested going back on birth control to help balance out my hormones.

The endo has been affecting my left side, low back, sciatic nerve, hips, pelvis and amazingly enough, the base of my skull, which is tight all the time.endo

However, it was the result from my GP that was a bit more satisfying. I tested positive for both EBV Ab/EBNA (Epstein Barr nuclear antigen) and EBV Ab/VCA Iga (indicates prior infection).  The diagnosis of Epstein-Barr lit my little brain up like a light-bulb and I began piecing together the weird puzzle that my body has been going through for roughly 6 years.

In the summer of 2009, after a weekend Fourth of July trip, I got red bumps about the size of a quarter down both of my shins that stopped on my ankle. There were four symmetrical marks on each leg that at first, I thought were bug bites. By day two, they were now swollen, bruised, full of fever and tender to the touch.

erythema-nodosum-pictures-2(this image is not mine but is the closest I could find to what my legs looked like)

At the time, I only had a girlie doc and she couldn’t see me until the next day. On day 3, it hurt to walk. I limped into the doctor’s office where I was told I had Erythema Nodosum, a rare occurrence caused by an allergic reaction to birth control. Instead of doing a blood test to properly diagnose what caused these nodules, I was simply given antibiotics and told to stay off my feet for a week.

After everything that’s been going on with me since then, I now know that the Epstein Barr Virus was the culprit instead of being wrongly diagnosed with having an allergic reaction to my birth control.

The antibiotics cleared up the Erythema Nodosum but I honestly don’t know if they had any affect on the Epstein Barr Virus itself. And once you have the EBV in your system, there it stays. For most people with the virus, it doesn’t cause too many problems later on in life but it’s becoming a much bigger issue in the health field. The virus buries itself in your internal organs, such as the spleen, thyroid or liver, causing these organs to become inflamed or enlarged. This can cause SO many different health problems in SO many different areas and is the main reason why it’s so hard for doctors to really pinpoint why so many people are chronically fatigued. Doctor’s don’t know much about the virus so they tend to either dismiss patients who are chronically tired, achy and lethargic or prescribe pain meds that often cause addictive behavior. It’s not something that should be overlooked when it’s affecting over 95% of American adults.

My symptoms over the years include:
-chronic fatigue
-chronic muscle/joint pain
-enlarged spleen (that fist feeling under my left rib)
-recurrent bacterial infections
-loss of appetite
-lethargy and depression
-super low Vitamin D levels

I am NOT a doctor and am in no way qualified to be one but in my humble opinion, if you have chronic fatigue, experience depression or ANY of the above symptoms, I highly recommend getting an EBV test done. It may be the answer to MANY of your health ailments. It won’t be the key to any kind of mental health issue but knowing if this virus resides in your body is good information to know. 

I’m a habitual researcher who does way too much reading when I’m interested or curious about something. After hours of reading about other people with this little bugger and what has worked for them, I went to my local Vitamin Shoppe. The natural route is the only road that goes somewhere good so I set out to get immune booting supplements that also increased my energy levels, helping me get my groove back so to speak.

The following 5 supplements I got specifically to help attack the EBV, recover the immune system and heal:

imageMonolaurin: an anti-microbial agent that kills virus and bacterial cells

L-Lysine: lowers EBV load and is a central nervous system anti-inflammatory

B-12: increase energy & strengthen the nervous system

Spirulina (specifically Hawaiian grown): Rebuilds central nervous system

Lemon Balm: Antibacterial, kills EBV cells & strengthens   immune system

I also take Vitamin D, Folic Acid and Vitamin C daily on top of drinking nothing but water and coffee. if I drink alcohol, it will be champagne for a birthday or New Years Eve but other than that, I am a no alcohol girl.

I’ve been on this new supplement regimen for almost 2 weeks and have already noticed improvement. My brain fog has cleared up a bit, I’m more excited about things, I have more energy and that sad feeling is working its way on out. Like I said, I’ve felt like myself over the past few months (ok, years) yet… not. Normally, I’m a very happy, optimistic, excitable person. When I was sitting around doing nothing but feeling tired and sad, I knew something was up. The pain I was in was being caused by an endometriosis flare-up but the chronic tiredness, achy (and LOUDLY popping) joints, etc are due to Sir Barr. Thankfully, I feel quite confident in the knowledge of this information bringing me fully back to my original goofy and AWAKE self. Updates to follow!!!

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If you have been diagnosed with EBV or endometriosis, feel free to share your stories below. If you have any questions, I can do my very best to answer them with the bit of knowledge I’ve gained but remember, I ain’t no doctor, yo! And I also was NOT paid to promote any of the above products..

Take A Break, Learn + Have Fun

Hello.
My name is Jenn and I am a self-criticizer.

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You know the old saying, ‘you are your own worst critic‘? That fits me perfectly. I am especially hard on myself whenever I start a new venture or take on something different. I judge my thoughts, mock my ideas and roll my eyes at the thought of me doing anything well. I take the fun out of things that I once found enjoyable because I turn them into a “job”. Instead of letting things flow and allowing whatever happens to occur naturally, I start making mental schedules, setting deadlines and try to always ensure a perfect outcome. I beat myself up when things don’t go according to plan or for not having enough time or not spending my time wisely enough or just simply for not being better then I am. It’s an energy-sucking, vicious cycle that has existed all throughout my life (kind of like that comparison void I’ve often found myself in).

However, I’ve gotten better with how I deal when all the ‘crap‘ starts really piling up. I know that when I’m passionate about something, I get excited. My heart rate speeds up, my eyes widen and I smile…a lot. I have fun working on whatever it is I’m doing and the end result is usually quite positive. Thankfully, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned the remedy that I need when things stop being fun + I no longer get excited: I need a break.

I need time to simply relax and let my brain unwind.
To stretch + meditate; to read; to color (yes!), to watch movies…
to be inspired!

(and of course eat a lot of Butterfingers out of the freezer +
cuddle with my dog,Tammy Faye Barker)
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I basically do whatever makes me happy and enjoy the little things in life. I make time for work as well as time for my own mental health.

And why not? It’s important to take care of yourself. In fact, it’s absolutely crucial.

I’ve learned that instead of beating ourselves up + critiquing all of our flaws, we need to be our own support system. When you cheer yourself on and take time to find happiness, you get a hell of a lot more accomplished. Instead of thinking ‘I’m a huge loser‘ or  ‘I could have done better‘ and sulking, focus on how much you actually DID and try to learn something for next time. Life is a series of trial + error. Don’t waste energy on the mistakes you make. No one is perfect. Make it all a learning experience and simply have fun. Life is way too short not to.

So get lost in a book or discover a new movie. Find some park swings and hang outside or simply eat some chocolate. Figure out what helps you shift your crap thoughts and start enjoying life a bit more. I promise, it’s totally worth it…

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How do YOU take a break and unwind?

Everyday Inspiration

Inspiration + motivation is all around us.

We just have to see it.

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This is a simple car ad in a magazine…

Find who you have not yet become.

How rad is that?!

Go out and live your life and become the person you want to be!
Do your own thing and find your talents + goals.
Life is what you make it. Make it awesome…

When you start seeing good positive little things in your everyday life, it will change the way you see the world. When you no longer focus on the negativity in your life and begin taking cues from the teeny tiny signs around you, the world will appear just a little bit brighter. You’ll find yourself smiling more and being genuinely happy. And you definitely have plenty of reasons to smile… just look around you.

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Whenever I find a random inspiration, I will share it.
Because who doesn’t love a little dose a motivation, however small it may be?!


And I’d love to see what YOU find! Post your random everyday inspirations below!!

The Last Lecture : Achieving Your Childhood Dreams

We cannot change the cards we are dealt,
just how we play the hand.
” ~ Randy Pausch

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Carnegie Mellon developed a series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them and then give a hypothetical “final talk” on the wisdom they would want to impart on the world if it were their last chance. For computer science professor Randy Pausch, those questions became all too real when he was invited to give his “last lecture”. A month prior to giving his speech, Pausch received a prognosis that the pancreatic cancer, which he had been diagnosed with a year earlier, was terminal. He had 3-6 months to live.

Achieving Your Childhood Dreamswas delivered on September 18, 2007 to over 450 Carnegie Mellon students, staff members, and friends of Pausch.  Through tales of his childhood, he talked about lessons learned throughout his life and gave advice to those in attendance on how to achieve their own career + personal goals. The Last Lecture explains the speech in more depth as well as the events leading up to it through many wonderful stories of Pausch’s life that are relatable, funny and ultimately melancholy. But its the small bits of Randy’s quirky personality + simple wisdom mixed throughout the pages that make this book something truly special.

The book focuses on 3 main topics: Randy’s childhood dreams, enabling the dreams of others and important lessons learned along the way. He talks about the importance, as a parent, of letting your child express themselves and that “inspiration and permission to dream are huge“. He encourages people to chase their dreams and to be driven but emphasizes that nothing should be handed to us and that hard work is the only way to really achieve your goal.

The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.

Randy repeatedly stresses the importance of fun and that we should live life to its fullest because we never know when it might be taken. His positive mindset + no-time-to-waste attitude is evident throughout the book and is inspiring to say the least.

Complaining does not work as a strategy. We all have finite time and energy. Any time we spend whining is unlikely to help us achieve our goals. And it won’t make us happier.

A simple question that Randy often asked others: Are you a Tigger or an Eyore? Are you positive or negative? It’s pretty obvious where Randy stood. The love for life Randy displayed is how we should all choose to live our day to day lives. Instead of focusing on who has done us wrong + what we don’t have, focus on all the good stuff and work hard to get what you want. It really is just that simple.

This small, whimsical book is such a lovely treasure that beautifully focuses on the power of positivity and the love of a man for his family, career and life. There is a bit of cancer talk but its crucial to show the time-frame of how quickly this story came to an end. Randy chose to live out his remaining days as only he knew how: having fun + being positive. Leaving behind the love of his life and 3 children, his last words were not just meant for the viewers + readers of the lecture but as future guidance for his children since he wouldn’t be there to instill his wisdom himself.

As unfair as it all is, what an incredible gift.

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If you had asked little me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said a writer first, followed by an archaeologist (thank you Jurassic Park) and then a rock star.

I think she’d be pretty proud of where I’m at…

…and would definitely tell me to keep going.

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