The Art of Living is // Failure

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I feel like, as far as blog posts go, a New Years Resolution post seems important.  It’s a topic we can all relate to, the innate desire for fresh starts and better days ahead.  I however, never made one, because for the life of me I couldn’t muster up the old enthusiasm I once had for New Years Resolutions.  I would always find myself making too many, ones I couldn’t keep, and others that I couldn’t measure.  It’s not like I ever wanted to be a different person just, well, a better one.

This year I felt defeated before I had started and couldn’t shake the feeling of having little inspiration for a better self, although I am far from perfect.  So instead, I scrounged together a short list of intentions. The word evokes so much less pressure, giving me a bit more confidence.

Two of my intentions revolved around improving my faith and fitness.  But lets be honest, who doesn’t go into the New Year not wanting to get into shape? Those sorts of resolutions are nothing new for me.  However, this year I saw a great flaw in myself.  I fear failure.  I am terrified of it.  As the years roll on I believe I am slowly drawing into myself, deciding risks may not be worth the crushing sense of defeat; not to mention the personal humiliation.  In 2013, I came to the realization that if I could not overcome my fear of failure then I may be doomed to never accomplish anything worthwhile, anything extraordinary.    So my very unconventional intention, the one with the possibility of the greatest reward….

Fail.

 

Fail again and again and again until the thought of failure no longer terrifies you.

 

What intentions have you made for this new year? Feel free to share and lets encourage one another to accomplish whatever we have set out to do.  I will surely update you on my failures from time to time.  I’m certain there will be many of them and I look forward to the day when I welcome failure with open arms, embracing all that it has to teach me.

The Art of Living is // The Beach

Settling into the new routine of school turned out to be much more overwhelming than I had originally thought.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to be where I am, but knowing no one and trying to be social  is exhausting.

Two weeks ago I was having a very rough time and this quote,”

“People think being alone makes you lonely, but I don’t think that’s true. Being surrounded by the wrong people is the loneliest thing in the world.”

seemed to make a whole lot of sense.  It wasn’t necessarily the “wrong people,” just people who I didn’t know and had no connection with.  It was difficult to watch people with their group of friends while I basically have… well, zero.  It was odd because I am someone who enjoys solitude but I think I crossed the line between comfortable solitude and loneliness.   Take this element and pile on stressful film projects and tests… it wasn’t pretty.

No matter how low things seemed I had to remind myself that once you hit “rock bottom” things can only go up from there.  So I waited for the weekend to come to a close and the new week to commence.

Like I knew (and prayed), everything fell into place.  The quizzes and assignments that had me stressed turned out to be easier than I’d thought and I walked away with A’s.  I even found myself talking more to classmates, more meaningful conversations, not the hideous small-talk that fills the first month of school.  I felt like I made actual connections, and even had some laughs with a crush *gasp*.  Taking these small strides outside school will be my next challenge and I hope it will work out.  Don’t hold thy breath.

This past week my workload lightened and I decided to take this weekend to do whatever the hell I wanted!  So Friday I had to be at school at 8 for work where I do community cleanup– so essentially I get to take a two-hour walk and save the environment from pollution.  Although slightly tedious, that’s my kinda job.  After work I had a two-hour gap between before my first and only friday class so I decided to treat myself to a great breakfast.image-93

I brought a book with me and sat outside in the most wonderfully chilly, overcast weather.  I have officially decided fall is my favorite season, however California fall doesn’t really count.    After stuffing myself silly with an amazing omelette and sausages  I headed back to campus, sitting near a nice fountain to do some more “Game of Thrones: Clash of Kings” reading.

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After reading I had to head to class but, being only 50 minutes in length, it was easy peasy.  Afterward I got to do one of my all-time favorite activities…. grocery shopping at Trader Joes!  Seriously love it.

Is it sad if I consider grocery shopping an activity?

Any who, Saturday was just as glorious.  I walked two miles to work, where I walked for an additional hour and a half and trekked the two miles back.  After getting ready I headed off to Huntington to hit up Hobby Lobby (I was so exited when I found one.  Made me miss Iowa) then I went to Barnes and Noble to purchase a new Prayer Journal and copy of Jesus Calling for a gift.  This took a tad longer than expected but I managed to finish up my errands and head off to Huntington Beach.

Thankfully I was able  to find parking and proceeded to Starbucks to grab a caramel macchiatto.   I finally had everything I needed and set out to find a spot on the beach to have my quiet time with God.

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It was the most perfect day.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better.    There is something about the ocean that makes you feel so small in a good way.  Like…. you realize how small your problems are and how beautiful the world is.  I get so caught up in striving and performing and none of it’s important!!  The pressure of school and society always swallow me whole and the ocean never fails to remind me what actually matters.

So if anyone else out there has had a rough time and you live near a beach or other beautiful body of water I strongly encourage you to drop everything and go!

I am convinced the beach is the closest we will ever come to heaven here on earth.

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The Art of Living is — Design

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You know what’s the most exiting thing about moving to a new city?  If you don’t count the new atmosphere, the thrilling anonymity, or the ability to be anyone you want to be I’d say decorating is definitely up there.  I’m not even a decorator, it usually overwhelms me… It’s difficult okey!  As soon as I choose something I end up wanting something else a few months later.

However, with this new start I knew I needed a fresh creative space.  My bedroom was always my little sanctuary; a place to go and get lost in a book or watch a movie in bed.  The past two years I’ve shared a room… and dorm room. Now that I finally have my own room again, it was my goal to create a space to get lost in; one that could inspire me.

You may or may not spend a lot of time in your home but in my opinion it can only help to make your personal space beautiful so go grab some inspiration and get decorating! Stat!

Since it is called a bedroom I knew that my bed was really going to set the tone for my entire room.  I had seen the wooden pallet beds a few times before and I was in love.  They just give a very earthy, simplistic vibe; exactly the kind of feel that I wanted.  I thought it would be rather simple, yuh know, just pick up some used pallets; clean them up, and BAM!

Instant furniture.

Unfortunately, after conducting a bit o research I discovered that wooden pallets, when used by companies, are sprayed with chemicals (I think to make them more heat resistant…? Don’t quote me on that) but obviously these chemicals are not good for you.  You can’t just wash them off.  So although I was looking forward to a recycled look, for my health and yours (if interested in this project), I ordered fresh pallets from home depot!  Along with the pallets I also bought a wooden crate which I had originally planned on using for storage but found myself using it as a bedside table instead.

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I’m someone who needs a headboard to lean against; the wall won’t cut it.  Besides, without a headboard I more or less just created a platform, not exactly what I call cozy.   So a few months before I had found the apartment I currently live in I visited Old Towne Orange by Chapman University (my new school woot woot!) and let me tell you it’s antique HEAVEN!

Everywhere you turn there is an adorable antique shop.  While wandering through one I found this old chain-link fence.  It was a four-foot section that had been painted white but had faded and rusted a bit.  At the time I was with my sister and trying not to spend money so I passed up the $75 treasure.  I couldn’t get it out of my mind and so when my mom and I moved some of my stuff to my new apartment I had to go back and see if it was there.  It was and I took that as a sign.

Not only did I find the fence, but I stumbled upon a tapestry at UrbanOutfitters.com (see picture above).  It is a gorgeous picture of a forest; because my room is small and box like I thought this would help to open it up and give the illusion of more space.  Four walls no longer confine me!   I feel as if I should take off my shoes and go frolicking through it.

I can’t, obviously.

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With my bed taken care of I really only had space for a desk and a clothes rack from Ikea I had purchased earlier.  Everything on my bed I had previously owned except the easel (which my parents graciously bought me so I could continue my portrait art).  The bulletin board I made myself with magazines, fabric samples, and modge podge.  Also, I was really  diggin’ the brown bag a Starbucks mug of mine came in so I decided to add it to my décor.  You will also notice my typewriter, my prized possession and yes I do actually use it.  It’s not just for decoration people!

Let’s not forget my floating bookshelves!  I am an avid reader and just could not pass them up.  You can see one in the corner of the picture above.

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The last touch to my room is the clothes rack I purchased from Ikea.  I spend way too much money on clothes and in the end I wear the same 5 things.  I really see clothes as works of art more than things to cover my body.  So, instead of letting them rot  away in a closed closet I picked my most beautiful articles of clothing and set them on display.

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All of these elements have come together to create my perfect sanctuary.  It is a calming oasis for me to relax in and every time I walk in my room I feel wonderful.

Create your own special place.

P.S. If you do feel free to share pictures with me! I love to see beautiful interior design.

“It isn’t as hard to be happy as you’re making it.”

-Unkown

The Art of Living is // Wellness

 

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After moving to Orange, California from San Diego, at the end of July, I had quite a bit of time on my hands.   I can’t say that I used it wisely, actually no, scratch that.  I think any time you spend enjoying yourself and relaxing is not time wasted.  However, was I what you’d call productive… not quite.   So I began watching numerous documentaries on Netflix, one being, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.” 

To summarize, the documentary is about a man who, after living an unhealthy lifestyle and paying for it, decides to go on a 60-day juice cleanse.  I know, when I heard 60 days I couldn’t help but think, “This is madness!” No one can argue that his transformation is anything less than amazing, he and others he convinced to try the juice cleanse (not all for equal lengths of time) raved about how great they felt, how much energy they had, and how much weight they’d lost.

 

Intrigued? Yes.  Enough to actually try it? No.

 

This was my attitude after finishing the documentary.  I mean why would I pay at least a $100 dollars for a juicer and pile on expensive fruits and veggies on top of that?  I’m a poor college student who hasn’t yet found a job.  Pshhh… no way.  Nope. Not happening.

 

Cut to me at Best Buy purchasing Juicer.

 

Okay so I have a fault.  When I want something it’s very difficult for me to put it out of my mind until I get it. I feel like that statement made me sound like a potential home wrecker…. But this only applies to clothes, décor, and gadgets.

 

I couldn’t stop thinking about juicing.  I HAD to try it.  The thing is I don’t think I’m an unhealthy person.  I’m not overweight or taking any medication for any illnesses, although I do have very unbalanced hormones, or so my mother and doctor tell me.   I enjoy exercise and get the recommended 30 minutes 3x a week at least.

 

Even though I don’t think I’m an unhealthy person I’m not some health guru.  I still indulge, too much at times.  The week before I began this Juice journey my habits had gone down a slippery slop thanks to Aunt Flows visit and a trip back to San Diego for a concert.  So between those factors and the first day of school fast approaching I just thought I needed to do something radical.  Juicing seemed like a good option.  Originally I thought I would do a 10 day juice cleanse but later knocked it down to 7 due to school starting and not being able to realistically bring juice with me for 2-3 meals a day.  So here was my experience with this mini health journey.

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Day 1:

I woke up exited to start my new mini journey.  It is recommended that you wean yourself off of unhealthy foods at least a few days before so as to experience fewer “side effects” such as headaches, exhaustion, and just feeling like sh*t for days 2-3.  I however took my own approach.  I hate ice cream, a burrito, and some candy.  This obviously isn’t my normal meal plan but hey, if I was going to do this then I also was going to go out with a bang.  It was delicious.  I actually think this is what made it easier for me in the beginning.  I  knew I had not been good to my body and was more eager to make amends.

 

All in all day 1 was very easy besides the fact that my first concoction was TERRIBLE.  Ughh it was so awful, I was constantly on the verge of gagging and in the end I had to plug my nose to drink it and brush my teeth right after.  Not the best start and a tad discouraging.  Luckily I realized I’d added too much ginger and after that it was pretty smooth sailing as far as drink prep goes.

 

Day 2-3:

I was dreading these two days.  I woke up in fear for my life.  What I had read indicated your body will be ridding itself of toxins and going through a sort of withdrawal and this would result in you feeling less than stellar.  Fortunately, I didn’t have school or work so I could stay in bed all day if need be.  Weird thing was I felt perfectly fine.  Seriously.   No headaches, body aches, nothing.

 

What I was really surprised about was that I had no urge to eat more.  Three classes of juice a day and I was full and satisfied.

 

Day 4:

Woke up on day four feeling more or less normal.  Some say they woke up with an exuberance of energy.  I felt I had no more, no less.  This day was really going to test me though because today was orientation at school.

 

Chapman University was giving away so much free food.  Muffins, croissants, pizza, sandwiches.  Couldn’t have anything.  Didn’t have anything.  I can’t really say it was that difficult.  I wasn’t craving anything they were serving it was just disappointing because it looked good and as a college student free food is always accepted to save some money.  So I had to pass breakfast and lunch (I had juice before I left and drank more right when I got home.)

 

Then later that night I attended a student event at an upscale bowling alley where they served gourmet sandwiches, pizza, fresh fries, chicken wings.  Let me emphasize this was a super nice bowling alley and the food looked wonderful and expensive.  It was all FREE for us students.  *sigh* Except me.

 

I made it through the day without too much difficulty.  Just bummed I couldn’t enjoy some good food.

 

Day 5:

Very much like day 4, passed up on a lot of food.  By this point all I wanted was broccoli and an omelet.  Seriously would have assassinated someone just to have it!  I think that’s my body begging for some protein.  I had to deny it.   Also the fact that I hadn’t chewed anything had really started to mess with my mind a little haha.  You don’t realize how much you miss chewing until it’s taken away from you.

 

That night I attended a transfer student photo project meeting at Starbucks and we could get whatever drink we wanted for free!!! When I turned them down I was seriously asked three more times if I was sure I didn’t want anything.  I turned down the possibility to get a free venti white chocolate mocha… I deserve some kind of metal or something.

 

After I went to a Panther club night… thing.  There was music, a movie, and more free food.  Including fondue.  Okay, how many times do you ever go somewhere with fondue?  So my commitment went from 100% to 97%.  Okay, sue me! I had one piece of pineapple and 1 strawberry with some chocolate drizzled on it!  I admit it!

 

Phew, the guilt was killing me.

 

Well that summed up my day and after the slip up I was back on.

 

Day 6:

I woke up at 6:50 a.m.  I’m an early riser but even this was a tad unusual, especially since I hadn’t gone to bed till 2 a.m.  I actually felt great though.  Had a lot of energy and was ready to start the day.  I personally think it was the magic of the chocolate drizzle the day before but what do I know it could have been the juice.  I really did feel pretty good.  I think I noticed my skin looking a tad brighter.  I’m on Accutane already so I can’t say whether my skin actually cleared up.

By mid day I was kind of over juice.  I feel like juicing really put food in perspective but I think 3-5 days could have yielded the same results.  Either way 6 is a weird number to end on so I went to bed ready for one last day.

 

Day 7:

The day started out really weird.  I didn’t set my alarm correctly so I woke up very foggy and became disoriented when the clock said 8:30.  If I wanted to make it to church on time I had to leave in twenty minutes so unfortunately my morning juice had to be put off.  Once I got home I did my first juice of the day, thrilled to see the end in sight.

Knowing that actual real food will be in my stomach tomorrow I used this day to kind of prep it.  Consuming a plum and peach in between my juice.

So I still have one juice left for today and I’ll be happy when it is finished and I can look forward to food tomorrow.

 

Oh yeah, by the way school starts tomorrow.  I think I may be more exited for the food.

 

Positives of the juice cleanse:

  • Doing this juice cleanse really opened my eyes to how much I ate out of boredom.  I constantly snack throughout the day, yet when all I was consuming was three classes of juice I had no urge to snack whatsoever.  It was weird but was a testament to quality over quantity.  The right nutrients are what fills you up and because your body isn’t lacking you then don’t crave it in the form of junk foods. 
  • Skin seemed a tad more… glowy? Not 100% sure but I feel like there is a small difference
  • I wasn’t doing this for weight loss since I don’t even weigh myself but my pants fit much better.

 

Negatives:

  • Besides wishing I could chew solid food I often got light-headed when standing.  This started on day 4 and continued from then on.
  • Most annoying was when I didn’t eat and people asked why, as soon as I mentioned I was on a juice cleanse they just laughed.  Since I’m not overweight I think people just scoffed at what they thought was some crash diet to be thin. 

 

My Mistakes with this adventure:

  • Besides my little fondue fiasco I think the reason I didn’t see a noticeable difference in my energy level, skin, and just overall feeling was I know I wasn’t taking in enough juice to sustain my body in the long run.  My calories intake was probably around 900-1000.  I know. I know but I honestly was never hungry!  I didn’t crave anything and didn’t feel like I needed anything more.  My energy levels stayed mostly even, perhaps a little elevated which told me that perhaps I wasn’t consuming enough since everyone seemed to have an exuberance of energy. 

 

All in all I’m glad I gave the cleanse a try and it put food and my consumption of it in perspective for me.   I’ve always been a fruit lover but never really got my recommended vitamins.  So in order to keep up the benefits of juicing and getting in my recommended veggies I will try and replace 1 meal a day with juice.  Doing things for your body to make it stronger and healthier will only add to your happiness.  Whatever that step is go for it (after consulting with a physician of course).  Treat your body right and it will carry you through the long days.   Find a way to make your body a little bit healthier this week!  Whatever it is cut out soda, caffeine, or make a commitment to eat one more serving of veggies a day.  I know you can do it!

 

“Your mission: Be so busy loving your life you have no time for hate, regret or fear.”

-Karen Salmansohn

The Art of Living is — Fangirling

When in doubt, fangirl it out
This is my  friend Jenna; she has lovely eyes :)

This is my friend Jenna; she has lovely eyes :)

 

We’ve all had that one obsession, and I’m not talking about my obsession with the show “Too Cute” on Animal Planet.  Who doesn’t love to watch baby animals do cute things while being narrated by a man with an English accent?  Nobody, that’s who. No, I’m talking about the completely unhealthy, frightening kind of obsession called fangirling.

You can deny it all you want but y’all know you’ve fallen victim to this alternative lifestyle once or twice.  For me it was high school, I’m not really sure what happened.  I think I was in heat or something… for a year.  Oh but don’t worry I had no interest in boys say… at my own school, just ultra famous, adorable, pop stars.

Falling in love with the unobtainable, the ultimate form of birth control folks.

Maybe I should have seen it coming. I mean there were the N’sync days but then again I was only a wee elementary student and so naive to matters of the heart.

It wasn’t till what I refer to as “the four years of torture” that I really dug deep and realized my potential as a fangirl.  The apple(s) of my eye were a little boy group known as The Jonas Brothers. 

Stop right there.  I can already feel the judgment oozing from your pores through my computer screen.  Yes, I admit and am proud (okay, “proud” may be pushing it a little) that I was obsessed with the Jonas Brother.

Eventually my obsession waned as most do and I was able to move on with my life and focus my obsession on… well, who knows.

I have to say though, throughout my obsess—… deep interest in their music I never did go to a concert.  And although I hadn’t played a song of theirs in years, a serious regret of mine was never going to one of their concerts.

Cue dream come true.

So once upon a time I was walking back from the gym and next door is San Diego’s Viejas arena where concerts and sports events take place.  While taking this stroll past the venue, whose name comes scrolling by? The Jonas Brothers.

It was easy to see that I couldn’t pass this opportunity up so on August 14th I woke up, channeled my high school self, and got pumped!

A few days prior to the concert my friend Jenna asked if I wanted to make posters for the concert.  Hmmm… did I want to be one of those fans?  Did I, a college sophomore, almost junior want to make a poster for a boy band who hadn’t come out with new music in 3 years?  The answer…

HELL YES.

 

So that’s what we did. Two hours before the concert we went to Target, bought some supplies and put together some kick ass posters.  Mine lit up :)

After spending an hour making the posters we arrived at the doors of the venue only to be told “our posters were too big.”

Seriously! Seriously!

Walking away in frustration my friend Jenna found one of her friends and their conversation went a little something like this…

Jenna: Hey!

Friend: *limps over* Hi!

Jenna: *noticing limp* …Are you okay?

Friend: Oh yeah… I have a poster between my legs

Jenna: Wait, what?

So apparently the more seasoned Jonas fans knew of the poster rule and made other… arrangements.  So obviously we followed suit.

Then once in we sat in our nose bleeder seats where we sat for TWO HOURS of their opening acts.  No joke.  Two hours of opening acts… yeah I was pissed too.

Right before the concert officially started we spotted a few seats ten or so rows up and snagged them.  Score!  And who just happens to descend the stairs two feet away from us?

Joe Jonas

Let’s just say if I hadn’t channeled my old fangirling ways this was the moment they geared into full throttle.  There was jumping, swaying of arms, singing at the top of my lungs (no crying), and just letting loose without worrying about how ridiculous it all was.

Who cares what you look like and who judges you, because you are having the time of your life.  And when you are doing that there is no time to worry about appearances or perceptions.

So what I suggest is taking an imaginary time machine and go back to a period in your life when you were crazy over something or someone; when you were fangirling the hardest.  Whether it was 3 years ago or thirty get together with friends and have a blast from the past. Trust me you won’t regret it and you’ll go to sleep still smiling.

A Change is Gonna Come

Vintage Luggage Parmiters Antiques bySouthsea By geishaboy500,available under a  Creative Commons Attribution license

I love change. Which is weird because I’m the most organized, structured… boring human being on this planet.  Maybe I’m just always looking to reinvent myself until I get it right.  Or perhaps living in Iowa for 18 years has made me a wanderlust-er… wanderluster.  Yes, that is not a word but it should be.

This “lust” was momentarily quenched when I moved to San Diego.  Well partially, momentarily quenched since I didn’t actually want to attend San Diego State.  It was just my best option at the time.  Although I grew a lot as a person as well as in my relationship with God I just never felt like, “Yes I’m supposed to be here!”  Everyone around me seemed to feel this way, but not me.

On a whim, a very advanced and well thought out whim, I applied to NYU, Chapman University, and USC for Screenwriting. After 7 months of waiting (which I’m convinced should be considered mental abuse committed by college admissions) I received acceptances from NYU and Chapman University. Unfortunately, I was rejected from USC… but I’m not bitter or anything *Shifty eyes*.

As soon as I visited Chapman again I knew it was meant to be.  I don’t think I’ve ever had that feeling; it was glorious.  As far as I’m concerned Orange County is perfection, where everything and everyone is bright and shiny.  I want to be bright and shiny too! Except maybe with a few scratches, some rust… Okay I’ll just say it; I’m not the bright and shiny type.

If I was going to attend Chapman there were things to be done, moving for instance.  I’m sure you know as well as I there is a LOT that goes into moving and when you don’t live in the same city and cannot afford too many days off work, it’s a disaster.  Luckily I found an apartment with two other girls and in the end it all worked out, as things seem to do.

The last three weeks have been spent getting settled in, decorating, purchasing school necessities.  One of those weeks was also spent watching all three seasons of The Walking Dead.  30-something episodes in 7 days, I felt like I deserved a medal (I can’t wait for October so I can watch more, but that is another post for another day.)

It doesn’t feel like I moved at this point, well, it does but because I literally know not a single soul (besides my roommates) I haven’t really explored or made friends.  I promised my friends in SD that I’d make at least one friend.  I think I can handle that, right?  Except I probably can’t, I have forgotten how to make friends… oh gosh… this year will be interesting.  I was blessed with two lovely roommates and although their boyfriends have been around, making me the fifth wheel on a double date I was never invited on, we’ve all gotten along great.  So at least I’ve had some kind of human contact.  I don’t throw around the “friend” label so as far as making 1 friend, I would say I’m still working on it.

Almost four weeks ago I moved to a new city to attend a new school where I know and have no one. As of this moment I do not feel all too different.  But school begins in a little more than a week and you can be sure a change is going to come. I hope to take this time of change and use it to not become a different person, but a better one.