15 Life Lessons I Learned from Reality TV

Nothing says America like the sweet guilty pleasure of a good reality show. I’ll be the first to admit that watching complete strangers make fools of themselves often times makes me feel better about my life decisions. We love to hate them and we hate to love them. But I say, let’s learn from them! Here are 15 life lessons that reality shows have taught me:

1. A confession booth isn’t just for old school Catholics anymore. It’s where you go after you’ve had one too many kamikaze shooters and admit all your deep dark secrets like the name of your crush, the number of shots you just took or how you can’t stop thinking about pickles. It can also be used for recreational activities that might just make even The Lord himself cry…let’s just leave it at that.

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2. Whining while talking makes you pretty. Right? Wait, no? I’m like, so totes confused.

3. God can use your passions no matter how strange, obscure, or smelly they are.

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4. No, but seriously.

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5.  Finding love the old-fashioned way is so boring. Wouldn’t you rather vie for one man’s attention while he romances 15 other women who are probably taller, thinner, and prettier than you?

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6. Do you dream of becoming a household name because of something you created? A life with your name in the headlines and free photo shoots? Just become a teen mom!

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7. Long distance relationships are okay, but Internet dating is a huge NO. You may think you’re dating Bow-Wow but you’ll soon find out that you may in fact just became a lesbian. On accident.

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8. If my best friend ever tries to break up with me (which she won’t because I will totally tell everybody about that one night when she did that really embarrassing thing that I promised that I would never reveal to anyone) she better cry a black tear or she’s not really sad.

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9.  Guys will only love me if I change everything about myself. Self esteem? Girl, who needs it?!

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10. If my dreams never come true, I can always reproduce a human being and force her to be everything I ever failed to become.

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11. Every girl has those days when they feel like they can run the world like Beyonce. You get your hair and nails done, your makeup is on point, and dang gurrrl, those jeans make you look 10 pounds thinner! But don’t be fooled, no matter how Beyoncified you feel, there will always be a man who is prettier than you.

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12. Marry rich. It’s the only real way to find true love, happiness, Botox, and friends who will never kick you when you’re down because you’re totally not worth scuffing their Louboutins.

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13. Do not, I repeat, do not piss off Tyra Banks.

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14. Gone are the days where you had to practice, audition and waitress for years before you ever saw your name in lights. Just become an overnight sensation and you are guaranteed the success of a lifetime!

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15. Last but not least, what would a blog mocking reality shows be without the famous chicken or tuna debate? Admit it, there was a time when you once wondered the same thing.

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There you have it. Don’t you feel smarter already? What has reality television taught you?

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Fearless Friday! A Mexican, A Hippie, and A White Girl All Meet at a Hot Spring.

Fearlessness isn’t the absence of fear. It’s being full of fear, full of doubt, and full of insecurities, but going for it anyways.

Four weeks ago, I introduced Fearless Friday and invited you all to take part in observing as I began doing things that scared me or that I have just never found the time to do. Like last week, this one doesn’t fall into the “I’m too scared” category, but more of the “Hi, my name is Rihanna and I have realized that I am powerless over my Netflix addiction” category (the first step is admitting you have a problem).

Like most weekends, my roommate, Audrey, and I woke up, drank coffee, checked our Facebooks and other life-sucking social media sites, “cleaned” our room (meaning we made our beds and put our shoes that accumulated over the week away), and acted like we were going to be productive. Normally by 10am we both realize that neither of us have lives or other friends, so we start trying to think of things to do. Now that Fearless Friday has taken over my life, Audrey always graciously asks, “well, what do you have left to do for your blog?” From there we plan our day.

Here in Redding, there isn’t a whole lot to do aside from going to In N’ Out or sitting in Starbucks, eavesdropping on other conversations  that always seem to have the same key words: Community. DTR. Process. Honor. (TIP: If you hear “DTR,” you should stick around because it’s incredibly awkward and entertaining all at the same time).

So, we decided to be hipsters for the day and go to a local used bookstore,  a trendy coffee bar and then to the hot springs. Here’s me trying my best to look all edgy and such in the front of the bookstore.

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After the book store, we put on our bathing suits, typed in the address to the hot springs, and began the one hour drive. On the way there, we listened to Justin Timberlake on repeat and I began to imagine what our hot springs experience would be like. It kinda played out in my head like this:

Audrey and I arrive at our destination as the sun is about to set and because God loves us so much, we still have cell phone service. We get out of the car and look around at the wilderness around us. We breathe in the crisp fall air and follow the sound of the water and choirs of angels singing until we finally find the hot springs. Okay, so it ends up not being a choir of angels but more like a traveling hippie band that lives out of their van painted with peace signs and inspirational bumper stickers like “Free the People” or “Love is all you need.” They welcome us as we walk closer, because hippies love us. I mean, I had already spent half my day drinking a latte and roaming a used book store so aside from actually brushing my hair, I practically screamed “HIPSTER.” Wait, are hippies and hipsters the same thing? Don’t answer that. Let’s just say they are for the sake of this blog post.

Audrey and I climb into the hot springs in our incredibly modest attire because we are ministry school students after all. (Only heathens wear bikinis. Every good Christian knows that). Our new hippie friends begin telling us tall tales of their life as I watch them pass around a strange piece of rolled up tissue paper that made them laugh and kinda smelled like skunk. (Don’t ask me what it was. I have no idea because I’m really holy and I have no past.) Being the good students that we are, we share with them the good news of the gospel and of course, they already know about Jesus. They have a few candles in their van that have his picture on them and it turns out that they think that Jesus is “so totally awesome, dude.” Perfect. Our job was done. After a few long conversations and growing tired of the ever increasing “skunk” aroma, I notice that I’m feeling really weird and hungry and all I can think about is a Doritos taco. So Audrey and I part ways with our new hippie friends and as we walk back to our car, we debate as to whether or not it was a mouse or a gerbil that we saw crawl out of one of the hippie’s dreadlocks.

Well, that is not what happened. Here’s the real story:

Audrey and I think we arrive at our destination but we can’t really tell because our cell phones lost service, it’s pitch black and heaven forbid they have a single light outside! We are freezing because all we have on are our bikinis (heathens) and towels and I’m terrified as we walked around the deserted darkness looking for the springs. Flashbacks to “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” run through my head and I pray that I make it through the night without losing my face. I mean, how perfect would it be for some freak to find us? We both have semi-decent faces and the only self-defense I know was from a karate class my mom made me go to in the third grade because someone got kidnapped like four hours from us one time. We decided to drive around a little bit and TADA, we found the springs. Well, kinda. Here is what we found:

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SERIOUSLY? Like, really? I immediately get mad and start throwing insults at Obama because I think I’m a republican and Obama is always the one to blame if anything goes wrong. Thanks a lot Obama! First, you marry a woman whose perfectly sculpted arms are a constant reminder that I have jealousy issues, then you want me to have health insurance and now this?! When will it end with you?!

I take a deep breath and Audrey assures me that it would all be okay. She then does what all good Mexicans do and pulls out her homemade salsa and chips. I begin to feel better.

We drive home and decide that we won’t be defeated. If we can’t go to the hot springs, we will do the second best thing: break into an apartment community pool and use their jacuzzi. So, that we did. We felt young, wild, and free. Can’t you tell?photo(1)

So, there’s one more thing I get to cross off my list. Taking a trip to the hot springs was not what I expected to be, but we managed to make good memories out of it. Here is now what I have left (that is if Obama doesn’t get in the way again):

1. Go to dinner by myself.

2. Ask a guy to coffee. 

3. Cook a meal from Julia Child’s cookbook.

4. Go on an overnight trip by myself. 

5. Go a week without a phone.

6. Sing at an open mic night.

7. Go to a spin class by myself.

8. Go to two hot yoga classes in a day.

9. Make and follow a schedule for a week.

10. Finish a song.

11. Take a trip to the hot springs.

12. Pick a pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin pie.

13. Host a dinner party.

14. Pick a DIY craft from Pinterest and actually do it. 

15. Volunteer somewhere (like a women’s shelter or food bank) for a day. 

16. Give someone a compliment or tell them something encouraging about themselves once a day for a week.

Wish me luck!

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"God Loves Ugly" Giveaway!

As many of you may know, I have traveled the long and hard journey of recovery from bulimia. It was something that ate away at every part of me and I spent many nights afraid that I would never see the other side. In fact, just yesterday I was going through an old journal from 2006 and every page was filled with hopelessness and writings of self hate and disappointment. This one in particular caught my eye because there was a glisten of hope in it. It brought me to tears because reading those entries brought me back to those feelings and moments where I wanted to give up and to be able to stand here today and say “I won” is a miracle I never expected to see.

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About a year ago, an artist and author I deeply respect released a book called “God Loves Ugly.” In it, Christa Black shares her personal journey of learning to love herself in a world where we, as females, are constantly reminded that we will never be good enough. Her book dramatically shifted my thinking and my journey, so when I messaged her asking if I could do a book giveaway on my blog, I was beyond ecstatic that she not only responded, but that she said she would love to!

This book isn’t just for people who have eating disorders. It’s for girls of all ages who may need the reminder that they are good enough despite what they feel. It’s perfect to keep for yourself or to give away to someone on your heart!

So here are the giveaway rules:
1. Share this blog post on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. using the hashtag #godlovesuglygiveaway. Each share gives you one entry (so if you share on twitter and Instagram, you get two entries). Remember if you share on twitter to tag me (@missrheyna) so I can see it.

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2. Comment on this blog post about why you want to win.

Seems simple enough, right? The contest will run through Friday, October 25th.

Thanks for sharing and good luck!

Fearless Friday! It's Fall Y'all!

Fearlessness isn’t the absence of fear. It’s being full of fear, full of doubt, and full of insecurities, but going for it anyways.

Three weeks ago, I introduced Fearless Friday and invited you all to take part in observing as I began doing things that scared me, or that I have just never found the time to do.

This next one doesn’t fall into the “scared” category but more the “I’m so lazy and can easily watch an entire television series in a matter of 3 days” category. I love fall. It’s my favorite season. I know, I’m white and that’s, like the most cliche thing to say. So I won’t go into all the reasons why I love fall like the pumpkin spice lattes, leaves turning, scarf and boot weather, romantic strolls holding hands with the one you love, etc. I won’t do that to you.

Every fall, I tell myself that I want to go to a pumpkin patch, pick a pumpkin, and bake. Every fall, I don’t. Either I’m lazy, surrounded by lazy people or there is a Full House marathon on. The list of excuses is endless really.

So last Friday, since my day started quite early due to my previous Fearless Friday Fail, I was able to be productive and found myself searching for something to do. So, I rounded up my roommates and we went to Redding’s finest pumpkin patch, Nash Ranch!

It was everything I dreamed it would be. A petting zoo, corn maze, cotton candy and a plethora of pumpkins.

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One of the workers advised us to NOT purchase a traditional orange pumpkin if we planned on making pie, but to buy one of these:

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I literally have no idea what it’s called but since I’m no pumpkin connoisseur, I took her advice.

I came home and went through the whole process of cooking and mashing the pumpkin. I found a recipe for pumpkin pie, well two recipes, and just call me Martha Stewart because I mixed them both up unknowingly. About halfway through baking this Fearless Friday pumpkin pie, I realized that I had purchased all the wrong ingredients and had no sort of direction. So I just added extra pumpkin pie spice, said three Hail Mary’s and carried on. Doesn’t this picture make me look domestic?

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As it baked, the sweet aroma of cinnamon and pumpkin filled the house and I pranced around feeling like I might finally have my life together because I, ladies and gentlemen, was 100% sure I was the creator of the most fabulous pumpkin pie to date. I imagined my roommates taking their first bite, looking up at me (in slow motion) with the look of pumpkin induced intoxication and they realized that I am their only hope for surviving the rest of the school year. They applauded me and praised my baking skills publicly on Facebook which then caught the attention of the man of my dreams who then became brave enough to private message me asking me out for an afternoon of deep conversations about marriage over coffee and a piece of my pumpkin pie. My life was about to become so glorious and as I slide across the tile floor in my purple fuzzy socks to check on the pie that was about to shape my destiny, I am 55% certain that two little birds appeared to tie my apron and braid my hair for me while singing songs of my greatness.

In my unadulterated bliss, I opened the oven and my dreams shattered to the ground faster than a republican could start a fight by just hearing the word “Obamacare.”

My pie was black. Ok, I’m being dramatic. It was dark brown. Very dark. In the hopes of keeping up with my dreams I thought, “Well, at least a Kardashian would like it.” This picture doesn’t fully capture it’s dark glory. I promise.

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I allowed it to cool by putting it in the freezer. I didn’t have any time to waste. I was watching my dreams fade quickly and this was my one last chance for hope. After waiting a solid 20 mins, I cut a slice for myself and my roommate because although I hated school, I did learn that sharing made people like me. I took a bite and I quickly remembered,

I hate pumpkin pie.

This happens every year. EVERY YEAR. I try and try to like pumpkin pie and somehow Stealmybucks always convinces me with their sugary, creamy, espresso goodness that pumpkin pie is a good idea, but it’s not.

The man of my dreams has yet to private message me and those two little songbirds are no where to be found. One roommate said, “This doesn’t taste like pumpkin pie, but it’s good.” The other said it burned her tongue because of the spices and the third and perfect roommate proclaimed that it was the best pumpkin pie she had ever had!

Le sigh.

We did have leftover pumpkin and I am proud to say that I redeemed myself by making some pretty bomb dot com (do cool people still say that?) pumpkin chili. For some reason, imagining the man of my dreams falling in love with me because of my chili doesn’t sound quite as romantic, but I mean if it’s the Lord’s will then so be it.

So, I have now scratched one more thing of my list. Here is what I have left:

1. Go to dinner by myself.

2. Ask a boy to coffee. 

3. Cook a meal from Julia Child’s cookbook.

4. Go on an overnight trip by myself. 

5. Go a week without a phone.

6. Sing at an open mic night.

7. Go to a spin class by myself.

8. Go to two hot yoga classes in a day.

9. Make and follow a schedule for a week.

10. Finish a song.

11. Take a trip to the hot springs.

12. Pick a pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin pie.

13. Host a dinner party.

14. Pick a DIY craft from Pinterest and actually do it. 

15. Volunteer somewhere (like a women’s shelter or food bank) for a day. 

16. Give someone a compliment or tell them something encouraging about themselves once a day for a week.

Wish me luck!

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Sharing is my love language! Like this post? Share it on Facebook, twitter, google+, or whatever else you’d like!

I'll Love You When You're Dead – An Apology to Hollywood

Celebrities are fascinating. They are everywhere you look. Every grocery store has racks of magazines at the checkout for us to look at to occupy our time as we momentarily imagine a life of caviar, limousine service, and photo shoots while we wait to pay for our un-organic fruit and questionable discounted chicken (oh please don’t let my debit card get declined).

There was a time when obsessing over photos of complete strangers would be considered deranged and frightening, but now we do it daily because we just have to know what Jessica Simpson wore to the grocery store or who Taylor’s latest squeeze is. Let’s not forget how completely offended we were that it took Kimye so long to reveal to us what their baby looked like, as if that was a right they owed us.

The only things we love more than celebrities, are the train wreck celebrities. We especially love them because we use them to convince ourselves that our lives may not be so bad after all. I mean, our families may be drowning in debt because we can’t control our spending, but at least I’m not relieving myself in a mop bucket like Justin Bieber. At least I’m not publicly throwing fits and bashing people like Kanye. No, we just do that privately, and we much prefer the word “venting.”

And then we have the train wrecks that we so tragically lost. The girl who was a forerunner for bringing soulful jazz music to the billboards and became a household name because of the power she carried when she sang. The girl who quickly became object of our jokes and judgement because it was clear that rehab was not just one of her singles, but a place she so desperately needed to be.

There was the woman who won over our hearts when she promised she would always love us. We belted her ballads in our cars and danced with somebody to her music at a party. We were all for her, but when her demons became public knowledge, we were so quick to brush her aside as just another sad Hollywood story. “And she said she was a Christian…”

Then there are the ones we didn’t know were suffering. They fought their demons silently and alone. While filling our time and households with glee, they spent their nights wondering if they will ever make it through.
And the cliché continues, we build them up just to tear them down.

These people captured the hearts of millions only to become the object of ridicule as their humanity and personal struggles became a public attraction. Mothers vowed that their daughters would never succumb to such a life, and we watched our late night television, laughing along with the comedians as they took yet another jab at them, as if mental illness is a joke.

Then they breathed their last breaths. Alone. And once they did, we as a nation watched the news in amazement and sadness. Suddenly, we pretended that we cared all along. Suddenly, they were human again.

Hollywood has become the most well known forgotten people. We gossip about celebrities, circulate articles about how certain ones are possessed by the Devil, call them idiots, and write them off as being as good as dead. We label them as coke heads, deadbeats, and wannabes. Then we turn around and preach messages about loving others.  But that’s a double standard. A person is a person. A soul is a soul. We’ve learned to accept the ones in low places, and now it’s time to accept the ones in high places as well.

So Hollywood, this is my apology. I am so sorry that we have shamed you for being who you feel you are. I sorry that in the midst of your pain and anguish, we mock you on message boards and in magazines. I’m sorry that we make you feel like less of a human being because you aren’t living up to the standard that we think is acceptable. I’m sorry that you have to endure seeing unflattering pictures of yourself go viral while we have minor panic attacks just when we get tagged in a Facebook picture. I’m sorry that we only seem to love you once you’re dead.

I wrote this blog piece a while ago, but I just never felt right about publishing it, until now. I have always had a passion for Hollywood. As a young girl, I remember laying awake at night praying for Britney Spears and other celebrities God put on my heart. I would cry for them as I felt the brokenness and loneliness that they must feel. I imagined them living in a world that they always dreamed of, only to find that there is nothing there. They live in a world where everyone knows their names, yet nobody knows them.

You can call me crazy for it. You wouldn’t be the first. I do find it interesting though, because very many people do the same for places like Africa, or people like the homeless, and yet nobody bats an eye. They are praised for their heart and passion while I get told to “go read a *explicit* book and stop watching E! news.” I’m not condemning. Just explaining my experience.

A friend approached  me the other day because of my heart for Hollywood. She said that she had  been praying about the same group of people and that God laid it on her heart to start doing something about it. What does that look like exactly? It’s not like we can raise money and go live in LA. Even if we could, where would we go? How do you get to these people? After a bit of brainstorming, we both felt like God was leading us to fast and pray every week with one or two celebrities in mind.  My first thought was, “really God? Just pray?” to which I was immediately convicted when he pointed out that that question alone proves that I must not believe that prayer changes things. Ouch.

So, we started on this journey. We began fasting and praying. Now, we want to extend the invitation for those interested to do the same. If you have a heart for Hollywood, we want you to join us in prayer and believing that God really can and will move on these people’s hearts. Once a week we will send out a newsletter stating the celebrity that we have decided to pray for, and things that we believe God is highlighting in that person’s life. You don’t have to fast if you don’t want to.

If that is something you are interested in, just fill out your information below. I promise that you won’t start receiving any spam mail because, well, I wouldn’t know how to sell information even if I wanted to. Maybe I’ll only get a few interested people, maybe I’ll get more but my heart is not to have another blog post go viral or to get a lot of hits on this at all, it really is to just gather those who have a heart for Hollywood in prayer. To really make a change. To give those we haven’t lost a chance.

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Fearless Friday! Spin Me Right 'Round…Or Not

Fearlessness isn’t the absence of fear. It’s being full of fear, full of doubt, and full of insecurities, but going for it anyways.

20131011-060135.jpg Two weeks ago, I introduced Fearless Friday and invited you all to take part in observing as I began doing things that scared me, or that I have just never found the time to do.

One of the things on my list was going to a spin class alone. What’s so scary about that? I mean, it’s just a stationary bike, right? No.

Spin people are a rare breed.

They have their own studios set up just for over-conscious soccer moms to attend at their convenience in between their manicure and Botox appointments.

They brag about how they almost threw up in the middle of class, but oh don’t worry, they didn’t.

They describe their legs as feeling like noodles and being hardly able to walk to their car afterwards. There have been very few times I’ve had trouble walking to my car and they all took place in my early 20’s. Trust me, I have no desire of reliving that.

They wear cool workout gear that cost about what I make in a week to these classes knowing the full possibility of it ending up covered in sweat and vomit. The last time I spent that amount of money on a piece of clothing was for my 21st birthday and yeah…it ended how you would think.

They sweat and still manage to look like a cover girl. I sweat and I look like I should be on the street holding a sign that reads, “Will beg for money.”

Basically, these people are intimidating not to mention I already have this fear of working out in public. I can trace it back to the fourth grade when I gained 3 pounds, bringing me from 60 to 63 pounds. Don’t ask why I knew how much I weighed or cared, I just did. There was a class bully, we’ll call her Elisa. Elisa loved to prey on the other fourth grade girls to cover her own insecurities and over-sized nose. One day in P.E., I think we were doing something annoying like running laps in our pretend gym and Elisa laughed loudly and claimed that my thighs were like jello and slapped each other as I ran.  *GASP* the HORROR I felt. So, when I grew up I learned that the best way to get out of running or doing anything physical in public was to just not.

So, going to a spin class alone was going to be a challenge and stretch for me. Not only because of the tragic story I just informed you of, but because the only time my gym offers this class is at 5:30am. This past summer, I became accustomed to waking up at 4:30am every morning but since being back in school, I very quickly readjusted to the typical student schedule of sleeping in till 9. So, everyday for the past two weeks, I’ve set my alarm to wake up. Every day, that dang iPhone drew me in and captivated me with its taunting “Just tap to snooze” option. So, everyday I snoozed.

But not today. Today I was prepared. I went to bed early last night and even slept in my gym clothes so that I would have no excuses in the morning. I slept terribly because I had this fear that I was going to over sleep and disappoint you all by failing. So, 5am rolls around and I’m up. I’m not happy, but I’m up. I brush my teeth and put my shoes on in a daze while thinking about happier things like cinnamon rolls and Luke Bryan. I push myself out of the house and go. I give myself a pep talk on the way. You can do this, Rihanna. Be like Beyonce. What would Beyonce do? I arrive fully ready to run the world and…the gym is closed. I see two over-muscled men wandering around the entrance aimlessly, like lost and confused puppies. They didn’t know why it was closed. So, I waited a few minutes because, what would Beyonce do? After waiting past the time the class would start, I decided that this is probably for the best because I’ve had a bad ankle for most of the year now and any type of high cardio irritates it.

So, technically I didn’t face the rare breed of spin ladies that I had been fearing, but for now I am going to cross it off my list because not only did I try, I really think I should take care of my ankle. I might re-attempt this in a few weeks.

Is this the most disappointing blog post you’ve ever read? I hope you continue to come back and read because I have a lot more fears to face! Here’s my list:

1. Go to dinner by myself.

2. Ask a boy to coffee. 

3. Cook a meal from Julia Child’s cookbook.

4. Go on an overnight trip by myself. 

5. Go a week without a phone.

6. Sing at an open mic night.

7. Go to a spin class by myself.

8. Go to two hot yoga classes in a day.

9. Make and follow a schedule for a week.

10. Finish a song.

11. Take a trip to the hot springs.

12. Pick a pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin pie.

13. Host a dinner party.

14. Pick a DIY craft from Pinterest and actually do it. 

15. Volunteer somewhere (like a women’s shelter or food bank) for a day. 

16. Give someone a compliment or tell them something encouraging about themselves once a day for a week.

Wish me luck!

Sharing is my love language! Like this post? Share it on Facebook, twitter, google+, or whatever else you’d like!

A Letter to My Sisters

189107_1002358532063_3446_n It seems like just yesterday that we were all playing dress up, walking in heels 4 sizes too big, and secretly trying on our mother’s makeup in her bathroom all while giggling in anxious anticipation of being found. It seems like just yesterday when our mom walked in our bathroom only to find that we had taken the liberty to give ourselves haircuts and suddenly resembled members from a bad 80’s hair band. She cried and in that moment I couldn’t possibly understand why she was so upset. After giving up my career in hair, we carried on most days playing “house.” We lived lives of make believe and we acted out the lives that we hoped to someday have. Of course, we were always adults and in our eyes, every adult lady was either pregnant or had a baby. So, to accurately portray our future, we’d put soccer or basket balls up our shirts and *tada* we were pregnant. Of course, like most pregnant ladies we tended to be emotional and moody and when we fought or couldn’t agree on who got to play the “mom” (which was usually me because I knew how to play the “oldest” card), our own mother would comfort us as we fought through the unnecessary tears. We didn’t know it at the time, but we were just babies ourselves. To the world, we were still too small to ride the roller coaster of life, but that didn’t stop us from creating our own adventures.

Then we grew up. I don’t recall how that happened exactly and every time I try to pretend that it didn’t, I get a bill or a wedding invitation and that’s all I need to convince myself that it did.

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And now here you are. You not only beat me to our once envied role of mom, but you leave me in constant amazement as I watch you transition into this new season of life.

We all hear the stereotypes of the tired mother. The one who gave up her life of sleep to comfort her babe and the one who lives off caffeine and Baby Einstein re-runs, but you never really see the beauty that it all entails.

You see, there is beauty in this stereotype. I see your tired eyes as you wake up each morning. I see the loneliness you battle because you had to sacrifice your social lives and your friends can’t seem to relate to you anymore.  I hear you sigh as you look at the clock to realize that it’s already 5pm and you have no idea what you are going to make for dinner. I see the hardships, but I also see it in your eyes that if given another chance, you wouldn’t change it for a thing.

I see the glow in your face as you feed and continue giving life to the one person who fully depends on you. You may not know it, but you do glow. I see the new life that is in your eyes as you look your baby in the face, captivated by a new love. I see the beauty that surrounds you as you stumble out of bed at 3am to comfort and hold your baby, singing lullabies while praying that sleep finds you soon again.

What you do doesn’t go unnoticed and while you may feel like the most blessed person in the world because of your baby, your baby is the blessed one because they have you. You are the only one who can nurture your baby the way you do. There will never be another person who will sacrifice sleep night after night just to make sure they are well fed. Only you will be the one who wipes their tears in the dead of night as they tell you about their nightmares. Only you can convince them that monsters will never get to them, not on your watch. Only you can really shape the person that they will become because of the love you have to give.

So in the moments when you feel tired, know that you have every right to be. You are raising a human being that needs all your energy.

When you are feeling down, know that you have every right to be. You are raising a human being that needs all your attention.

When you are feeling lonely, know that you have every right to be. You are raising a human being that needs all your affection.

When you are feeling like you aren’t making a difference, know that you are because you are raising a human being and many people are watching in admiration.

You are a hero among many. You are loved. You are admirable and you are shaping history’s tomorrow.

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20 Things I Wish I Knew In My Early 20's

Today my sister is turning 20 and in honor of her entering into adulthood, I decided to put together a little list of things I wish someone had told me when I was in my early 20’s.

1. Learn how to forgive. Most of your friends are likely in their early 20’s as well so chances are they are quite immature and will hurt you. A lot. Use it as a way to learn to forgive and love them anyways.

2. Just because a guy sings “A Whole New World” with you and says he is in love with you doesn’t mean he is. Chances are he could be cheating on you with a go-go dancer while trying to cover up his womanizing tendencies. Don’t be too heartbroken. He gets fat and ugly in the end (I’m not bitter…I’m NOT). But really, his issues are not a reflection of you.

3. Never underestimate the power of a glass of water in between each alcoholic drink.

4. Don’t let random strangers come to your parties. You never know when a Mexican gang is going to start shooting guns out front of your house or if someone is going to try to pocket your ambien.

5. Don’t take ambien. And if you do, do yourself a huge favor and turn your phone off. You will thank yourself in the morning.

6. Do what you want. Really. If you have a dream, do it. Want to be a yoga instructor? Become one. Want to hike the Grand Canyon? Go and hike it. In the long run it will serve you better than watching all the 16 and Pregnant reruns and eating stale Sonic French fries.

7. It’s ok to be a hermit sometimes and spend your Saturday nights alone in your room watching Mean Girls. I mean really, alcohol and bars are not in your best interest and it’s wise to just avoid it all together.

8. Just because that random guy at the bar looks like Chris Daughtry (or anyone remotely famous) doesn’t mean you should go talk to him. He could be a creepy stalker who’s number you have to someday block.

9. Create healthy habits now. Just because your metabolism is the envy of everyone over 25 doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. Eat right and exercise.

10. Don’t beat yourself up about not eating right and exercising. I mean come on, your metabolism is the envy of everyone 25 and older! Enjoy it and don’t feel guilty.

11. A lot of people are going to come and go in your 20’s. A LOT. Save yourself some heartbreak and don’t ignore that inner voice warning you about certain people. Trust your instincts. You are smarter than you know.

12. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Every few months you will probably find yourself driving alone in your car with no place to go, listening to sad music and crying for no apparent reason. You’re going through a lot of change, a lot of transition. It’s completely normal. Just know that you are going to be ok in the end.

13. Appreciate your family. I know it seems that a life of independence and separation will solve all your problems, but in the end they are the only reason you even made it this far. They will catch you when you fall, pay your rent when you’re short, buy you groceries when you call your mom crying because you’re starving and cannot even bear to eat oatmeal for the 10th time in 4 days. Really. They love you even when you want nothing to do with them.

14. Go to school. Your early 20’s are going to be over before you even blink and your peers are going to be getting their degrees and starting careers. It’s just easier to go to school and get it over with sooner than later. Make sure it’s something you love. Even if it’s just cosmetology or dog grooming. Just learn to do what you love.

15. Don’t feel too bad about not going to school and getting a degree. The majority of your friends are going to graduate and end up bitter, broke, and serving at Red Robin just to pay off their student loans for a degree that they don’t even want.

16. Don’t drink and dial. It’s like literally the #1 cause for low self esteem every Sunday.

17. If your other 20-something friends make it seem that their grass seems greener on the other side, chances are it’s because its loaded with bull-you know.

18. Don’t neglect your passions. Whether it’s dancing, singing, bird calling, or still life drawing. Chances are your current job isn’t going to utilize it and it will be easy to keep putting it aside. But trust me, there will come a day when you wish you never stopped practicing and will have to start over again. Also, your passions will mostly likely be the only thing keeping you sane during this chaos-infested tornado called your 20’s.

19. Don’t be afraid to return to what you know is true. It’s easier to stop fighting what is right than to ruin your life just trying to prove a point. Everyone is rooting for you.

20. Follow the golden rule and love your neighbor as yourself. In order to love others, you have to fall in love with yourself first. Take this time to really get to know and appreciate who you are and what you’re worth. Don’t focus on petty mistakes or wrong turns. We all make them. We all move on. Your mistakes, past, and shortcomings do not define you. Once you learn to see the good in yourself, you will naturally begin to bring out the gold in others.

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are you ready?

Do you ever feel like you have no idea where you’re going in life?

You have these dreams.

Ambitions.

Desires.

Goals.

Fears.

You know that you have the potential.

If only people would just give me the chance.

You hear the stories of a nobody who became somebody overnight because a big somebody found them.

Believed in them.

Wanted them.

Why can’t that happen to me?

It can.

But are you prepared for that big somebody to find you?

Or will you be caught off guard because you stopped perfecting your craft?

Will your voice be rusty?

Will your writing be stale?

Will your business plan be outdated?

Will you regret wasting all those hours living vicariously through friends and old acquaintances?

I may not be able to hit that note anymore, but I do know what my second cousin ate for dinner last night.

Or

Will you be ready?

Will doubt finally have to bow because your time has officially arrived?

Your dreams could all come true in a moment.

Or maybe they won’t.

But if your opportunity comes,

are you ready?

Because what you do today, could determine your tomorrow.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas A Edison

 

 

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Fearless Friday! Table for One.

Fearlessness isn’t the absence of fear. It’s being full of fear, full of doubt, and full of insecurities, but going for it anyways.

photo(2) - CopyLast week I introduced Fearless Friday and invited you all to take part in observing as I began doing things that scared me, or that I have just never found the time to do.

I decided to start off this adventure with the first fear on my list: Go to dinner by myself. I already somewhat failed because I was too busy this past week to actually go to dinner, so on Thursday I took myself to breakfast (my favorite) and it was equally just as terrifying. As I walked up to the restaurant alone, I imagined it playing out like this:

Lonely girl walks into restaurant looking distraught, confused, and terrified. Hostess looks up from her iphone, annoyed that her Candy Crush game is being interrupted yet again and asks, “How many in your party?”

“One.”

Hostess pretends not to notice how pathetic lonely girl is, and as she leads her to her table, she wonders how many cats lonely girl has acquired. She hands lonely girl her menu and asks if she needs anything like water, coffee, a friend, Jesus. Lonely girl orders coffee with extra cream and sugar because although she is 27, she still has not mastered how to drink her coffee like an adult. Plus, who has time to care about calories? Not lonely girl.

Waitress comes along and asks if lonely girl wants to wait to order for the other person in her party to arrive. Lonely girl bows her head in shame and whispers, “there’s no one coming for me.” She orders the special which includes pancakes, two eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, two pieces of buttered toast and the guarantee that she won’t fit in her jeans by noon.

The waitress walks away, and as her food is prepared in the kitchen, the staff decide that lonely girl definitely has at least 2 cats because she is still young enough to have hope, but is smart enough to invest in her future.

The other diners pause in the middle of their meals and whisper back and forth about lonely girl. The grandmas give looks of pity and the parents quietly debate whether they should offer her their son’s phone number because he is getting out of jail soon and could use a positive female influence in his life.

Lonely girl’s food arrives and with each bite she feels her dreams of looking like Beyonce slipping further and further away, but the taste of maple and butter make it all ok.

She finishes and the meal lives up to its guarantee as she waddles her way up to pay her bill. The waitress runs over to the manager and whispers in his ear. He looks her over and says with a sad smile, “It’s on the house, sweetie.”

Lonely girl leaves and returns home to her house void of cats and quickly changes into sweatpants. She then spends the rest of her day watching the newest episode of “New Girl” while browsing Craigslist sales with the keyword “Cat.”

Thankfully, that is not how it played out at all!

I decided to go to a restaurant here in Redding called “Black Bear Diner.” I walked in and although the waitress did hesitate for a split second when I said there was only one in my party, that was the most awkward part of the whole experience. I did have coffee and I had their Farmer’s Scramble which consisted of egg whites with veggies and squash, and a side of fruit, because I really DO want to look like Beyonce someday. Honestly, I have no idea why I was so afraid because it was the most anti-climatic experience ever. Isn’t it funny how fear works though? We build up this entirely false scenario, imagining the worst possible outcome, only to find out that it really was not a big deal at all.

So, I successfully completed my first Fearless Friday! Take a look at what I have left:

1. Go to dinner by myself.

2. Ask a boy to coffee. 

3. Cook a meal from Julia Child’s cookbook.

4. Go on an overnight trip by myself. 

5. Go a week without a phone.

6. Sing at an open mic night.

7. Go to a spin class by myself.

8. Go to two hot yoga classes in a day.

9. Make and follow a schedule for a week.

10. Finish a song.

11. Take a trip to the hot springs.

12. Pick a pumpkin and make homemade pumpkin pie.

13. Host a dinner party.

14. Pick a DIY craft from Pinterest and actually do it. 

15. Volunteer somewhere (like a women’s shelter or food bank) for a day. 

16. Give someone a compliment or tell them something encouraging about themselves once a day for a week.

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