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College. Don’t Do It!

Did You Know?  Student loan debt is the second highest form of debt in the U.S., second only to mortgages. Around 75% of student loan borrowers have delayed buying a home because of their debt & over 40% of borrowers have delayed starting a family because of their debt.

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COLLEGE – DON’T DO IT!

Let me explain.

Going-To-College

As I was growing up, teachers, parents, grandparents, cousins, graduates, & friends all stressed the importance of having good grades to get into a good college after high school.  That was the only option for anyone who wanted to be successful.   That’s why we worked so hard in high school, so we can go to college.  Because who doesn’t know what they want to do with their entire life at 18 years old?  And if you didn’t know, you can take classes until you find out.  “If you don’t go now, you’ll never go back!”

I’m not sure how this path was drilled in everyone’s mind because it doesn’t make sense to me.  I think for the generation before mine, college carried more significance than it does now.  It actually meant something to have a general, liberal arts, communication degree.  At least you had a degree on your resume.   And because it meant so much then, it only makes sense that you wouldn’t want to miss out on it now.

But times have changed.

Going To College

After graduating college & applying for real life jobs, all the openings required several years of experience.  A degree didn’t matter, they wanted someone who has been in the field for years.   Searching through job applications today is the same story: experience, experience, experience.  When I met with a job recruiter, about a year ago, she sat down to look at my resume & saw my degree listed on the weeee bottom line & asked if I actually received it, when I said yes, she replied “Ok, I’m just asking because if you didn’t we can just take it off… It’s not a big deal.”

Big deal?! My family & I just paid 1 million fucking dollars for this degree at the weee bottom of my resume & you’re saying it’s not a big deal if I leave it off?!

I wasn’t surprised.  I already knew the degree wasn’t what employers were looking for, but hearing her confirm my thoughts stabbed me in the gut.  Not only was I hoping the million dollar degree would help me land a job, but I was assuming I would also find a job that would make the money spent on school worth it.

Going To College

College WAS the best decision of my life. It paved the way for my future.  Not because of the education, but the choice to leave home & grow up.  I went from shy to strong.  From self-conscious to confident.  From scared to brave.  From 1 friend to 3.   I consider it the best & most important decision I made so far in my life.

But the truth is, I thought that was the only option for me to go out on my own.  I thought it was college or stay home.  So I had to make the move to college, because it was the only option & I’m glad I did.

That’s also why I wanted to share this post, because there are other options.    All the money you’re going to spend on college could be invested in yourself.  Your own business or ideas.  Travel.  Experience. Life. Work.

Going To College

I went into college, failed fucking math & took the Communication degree.  Here’s the deal, I didn’t know shit about finances or business so math was impossible.  These days, I’m reading books about money, entrepreneurs, taxes, business – all things I wish I would’ve studied in college because now I actually relate to them.  I can understand them beyond just taking a class & simply digesting information.

I don’t think college is smart.  I talk a lot of shit about college.  But, if you know you want a career as a doctor, or scientist or engineer then you need college to fulfill your career.  You can’t follow that path without the education.  BUT, if you question your choice whatsoever or don’t know what you want to do, why go spend a ton of money on a path you’re uncertain of?  Take time off to work, travel & learn about yourself.  Move to a different state.  Take an easy going job that you enjoy.  Party.  Date. Order a ton of books off Amazon & start educating yourself for .99 cents.  (because Amazon is the shit like that).

Then, when you’re older, and happily have a savings account without millions in student loan debt, and you know what you want to do & how to get there – go back to school.  If that’s the path.  School’s not going anywhere & maybe someday it’ll actually be affordable.

Going To College

I should also mention, in other countries the college degree holds a very high significance.  They don’t care what degree it is as long as you have one.  I noticed that in Dubai, so as soon as I was regretting that expensive piece of paper I did have a moment of gratitude, otherwise I don’t know if I would’ve been able to work while abroad.  Do I consider the degree worth it for my stint in Dubai? Not really.  But it doesn’t make me feel as bad about the whole situation either.

There are SO many ways to be successful without college today.  Education is at our fingertips in more affordable & accessible ways than ever before.   If I’m the only person that’s saying this, then I’m glad to do so.  You DO NOT have to go to college after high school.  You are likely smarter than the people who do.

 

Have I fallen off my rocker or are you with me? Thoughts?

 

Welcome to April! Go out, skip school & be thoughtful!

Xx

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Life, Thoughts

Life Chat: Meeting Nick from New Girl

Did You Know? When Tim Allen was 25 years old he was arrested in Michigan after he was found to be in possession of 1.43 pounds of Cocaine.

( v i a )


Hey everybody!!

 Austin Texas

What are we up to?!  I’ve been doing my best to engage in SXSW activities.  Wafiq & I always love how cool Austin feels during this time.

Last weekend we were walking around when it was rainy and cold, all the streets downtown were bustling with people & we both immediately felt like we were in another city.  So alive & streets filled with people, not to mention the cooler weather & rain made us feel like we were on vacation… Yes, rain and cold weather makes us feel like we’re on vacation, lived too many years in desert weather!

 Austin Texas

We walked by the SXSW red carpet outside the Paramount Theater & noticed a premiere was showing.  I’m not sure what the movie was BUT, Nick from New Girl was there.

We had an excited moment as we walked by & both excitedly said “It’s Nick! It’s Nick!”.  There were people with their phones out & he was pretty open to talking or saying hi to his fans but as we walked away I realized I didn’t like seeing him.  I don’t want to meet Nick.

Meeting an actor takes away from their character, of which I love!  For example, I want Nick to be Nick – but he isn’t & if I met him I would realize that.  Wafiq & I will forever consider that man to be: NICK. Period.   So he may too busy to talk to us, but we’re too committed to his character to meet the real him.

 Austin Texas

There’s one more weekend left for us to go out (and avoid favorite actors) so we’ll see what we can get into.

We’re currently having perfect weather that hasn’t heated up too much & I’m pretty grateful to enjoy it while I can.

And as much as I would love to say I’m loving the sunshine staying out so late now that we’ve had daylight savings time, it’s really kicking my ass in the mornings.  I don’t remember this being a problem before?!  I was used to getting out of bed easily for Yoga every morning but all of a sudden I feel like I’m still in REM sleep when my alarm goes off…

 Austin Texas

PS.  I’m probably the first person in history to admit this, but I’m a complete fuck up when it comes to my essential oil diffuser.  It smells like something is on fire?! And I’m 90% sure something is, so I stopped using it. That lasted a whole 7 days.  Am I missing something?!

Ok, off to read Sandcastle Kings – a book about Jesus.  We’ll see.

As always, be thoughtful…

Xx

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Single or Taken, Ways To Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Did You Know?  According to an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Netflix, movies and television shows are the top two icebreakers for a first date. Show-compatibility is important, with 13% saying they would ask someone out based solely on mutual interest in a TV show. ( v i a )


Valentine’s Day is for everyone.  I fucking love February.  The red, pink, white, with flowers, hearts, wine & chocolate?  Hallmark Holiday? YUUUUUUUUHSsss please!

 Ways-to-Celebrate-Valentines-Day

Around this time of year I start hearing Valentine’s Day haters, so I swing opposite – I’m a Valentine’s Day ride or die lover.  I know I say this every year, but having a reminder to verbally express how much you appreciate or love someone is important.  I know people don’t do it enough, because it’s impossible to do it enough! We’re stuck in routines that create tunnel vision unless we have moments that break us out. Enter >> Valentine’s Day.

Seriously, it might be my favorite holiday.  And I celebrate all month.

 Ways-to-Celebrate-Valentines-Day(2)

Valentine’s Day, when you’re Single –

Being single for Valentine’s Day might be better than being in a relationship.  It’s very unpredictable.  I spent many Valentines Day’s single & I had a fantastic time. The chance of having a date with someone you just met, celebrating with your precious doggie, appreciating a close friendship, taking time for yourself to watch Netflix << All options sound like a fucking dream.  There’s nothing like being single, you have so much freedom to make choices for yourself & Valentine’s Day is a reminder of that.  YOU can decide how you want to love YOU.  On a first date, watching movies, or hanging with a friend? Your choice.  Relationship peeps have to stare at the same face they had dinner with last night + the added pressure of making it special (HA!).    Give your friends a little Valentine’s Day love by bringing them a cake, or a new bracelet, or sparkly shoes. I love giving my girlfriends little gifts & messages.  Valentine’s Day is the time to be a little cheesey & buy some cute, shiny gifts.    Love is most definitely not only between two people in a relationship, it should be spread to everyone.

 

Valentine’s Day when you’re in a Relationship –

GO OUT TO DINNER.  No one does this on Valentine’s Day, have you noticed?  On Valentine’s Day!  We love to use the excuse that Valentine’s Day is just another day, “we love each other everyday” or that Valentine’s Day is stupid, or Lord knows all the reasons Valentine’s Day is a P.O.S. But we get it! You’re so in love all day every day.  (Or, you basically hate romance.)  BUT, take a break in your week, slow down, and go out to a little dinner without phones & connect with your partner. We go so fast – working, playing, skipping, stressing – we don’t allow ourselves space to slow down & create time.  Use Valentine’s Day.  Nothing fancy, because making it a huge deal is exhausting. Take your time through the food, put your phones away, and stare into each others eyes.  LOL LOL just kidding, but listen & talk.

 Ways-to-Celebrate-Valentines-Day(2)

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to show loving behavior that’s out of character for you.  Weird? For example, if you don’t usually bring in snacks for your coworkers because you prefer looking tough & unemotional, bring in a fucking cake & slap it on the table with forks.  Cheers!    If you’ve never given a greeting card with a personal note inside, buy a few & hand them out!  SMILE to everyone. Be nice.  Be thoughtful.  Give your doggie an extra long walk, listen to someone longer that you normally would, call your parents.  And I challenge you (and I) to continue making these nice gestures all month long.

Don’t you think that’s better than all the other shit going on?  Lets keep loving, kissing, hugging, eating cake, dancing, listening, and being thoughtful.

WOOT WOOT!  Excited for this month.

What are you doing to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Have a great week & be thoughtful…

Xx

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Dating a Muslim Immigrant… during the “Muslim Ban”

Did You Know? As of 2010, there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity.

( v i a )


Heads up – Muslims come in all shapes/ forms/ colors/ backgrounds/ beliefs/ families/ countries/ parents/ lifestyles.

They do not all wear a hijab or thobe or a long beard.  They are not all brown.  They are not all from the Middle East.  They ALL have long, black, thick, curly, beautiful eyelashes.

Muslim-Immigrant-

As much as I would love to say I’m a scientist and am knowledgeable on this subject because of my time living in the U.A.E., I’m not.  This is basic common knowledge.

You probably have Muslim friends.  And you might not even know it.  Hello, my Muslim brother.

Some Muslims pray at every call to prayer.  Some don’t pray at all.  Some believe all words of the Quran. Some have never read the Quran.

I feel like the word Muslim is connected to an image of what that looks like to a lot of Americans & I wanted to paint a realistic picture, because even I wasn’t as aware as I am now.

Muslims are white skin, Muslims are from a small town in Poland, Muslims are your suburban neighbors, Muslims donated to your charity, Muslims work at Starbucks, Muslims drive toyota’s, Muslims are Canadian, Muslims have blogs where they talk about fashion & dessert, Muslims wear gold chains & Adidas, Muslims wear short sequin dresses & fake nails, Muslims listen to Eminem, Muslims listen to Beyonce, Muslims are blonde, Muslims go running at 5:00pm after they leave work.

Muslims are from Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.  They’re also from Jamaica,  South Africa, Honduras, France, Canada, and The United States.

Muslim Ban

Yes. I made him pose like this.

Lucky me, I have my own little Muslim immigrant.  With everything going on last week having this immigrant has kept my anxiety at a steady level 5.  And, in order to keep the playing field fair, I’ve asked him a thousand terrifying questions, staring directly into his eyes, waiting for him to feel the same anxiety that I have.

The truth is, he doesn’t.

Visa’s and being allowed entry to the United States is not something new for him.  We’ve been struggling the past two years with ways to get into the immigration system.  I think we had enough moments to make the current situation feel  like a breeze?  That’s the reality of immigration, IF you’re trying to do it legally.   Wondering if we’ll get through customs (I say we’ll cuz I’m considering us same-same), is our normal.  Countless times I’d be waiting at the customs exit doors crossing all my fingers & toes that my precious Muslim immigrant would come through doors without being denied & sent back home. Two years ago, after a grueling customs process, we were told by an immigration lawyer that Visa’s get denied in the airport all the time and they don’t need to give a reason, so hello reality, American’s are finally meeting you.

Immigration is tough.  No matter what side you’re on.

So what I want people to know is that no matter what side you’re on, it’s ok.  You can still be compassionate.  You’re still a human being.  Some people/families are hurting, some are not.  It’s ok to push your opinions aside (trust me, we all know them) and be a human being to another human being. That’s it, simps.

For example, if you live next door to a Mexican family that’s being deported & the immigration officers come knock on the door & are stripping the parents from the house as the kids cry with screams for their parents – and you agree that illegal immigrants should be deported. There are two ways to act:  1. You sympathize, feel compassionate & act like a human being.  2. You scream out the door “GOOD! LEAVE YOU MEXICANS! GET OUT OF HERE!” Possibly with a huge sign.

Don’t be #2.

There’s opinions & loud noise flooding every outlet of social media, television & papers.  But you don’t have to do that. You can, but you don’t have to.  Why not have a conversation with your friends, ask the Muslims you know (because you know one, trust me) how they’re doing. What they think about everything.  Having that compassion, completely disregarding loud opinions, is so completely refreshing. Genuinely see what the fuck is up, salam aleikum my brother.  (I just like using the minimal Arabic that I know, forgive me.)

With everything so elevated, it’s wonderful to have a conversation.   And you DO NOT have to push anyone into feeling bad, scared, or anxious – like I did.

At this point my precious immigrant is milking it:

“Katie, please hand me the remotes, I need to watch TV all night to distract me from the problems” “Katie, please make me dinner, my stomach is hurting, it must be the stress”.  “Katie, if you go buy me a large Toblerone I’ll feel much better as it’ll remind me of home.” “Katie, Maybe playing video games all day will put me at ease”

(WTF have I done)

 Muslim-Immigrant-(3)

My point is, maybe you’ll talk to someone with a visa & they won’t be super bothered.  Figure out why.  Maybe they have a spin on things that you didn’t understand before.  Now is the time to be a human being, be kind, be thoughtful, and ask questions.  Keep an open mind & listen.

We’re choosing to be patient through this process, like we have been.  I don’t believe the end of big change is near, so taking it day by day while eating Toblerone’s & watching American Crime Story, is how we’re handling current events for now.  It’s good to be alive.

 

Xx

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Tips, Tricks, and Ideas to Help You Clean Out Your Living Spaces

 Did You Know? Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty discarding or parting with possessions because of a perceived need to save them. A person with hoarding disorder experiences distress at the thought of getting rid of the items. Excessive accumulation of items, regardless of actual value, occurs.  Compulsive hoarding affects approximately 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the U.S. and only 15% know their behaviors are irrational. ( v i a / v i a )


MissBassmaster crashed – alllllll the users I’ve been having crashed it!  Just kidding, I wish. That sounds much better than the truth, me forgetting to renew my domain name.  Procrastinating & ignoring emails that I don’t understand finally caught up to me.  Thank God for my super helpful, wonderfully intelligent friends that can fix all my problems 🙂

 Cleaning-Your-House

It’s the end of January & time to talk my favorite activity – PURGING.  The New Year, especially when things have settled down & gotten back into a routine, is the perfect time to clean out your living spaces.  I actually attempt to throw things away every single weekend, in case immigration knocks at our door and kicks Wafiq & I out of the U.S., we’ll easily be ready to catch the red eye back to Dubai :0

Getting rid of things doesn’t come naturally to me or feel comfortable.  I cried when I had to get rid of a $10 box TV and $25 bright red sofa a few years ago as I was moving. Wafiq had to pry me off my red sofa as it was sitting outside by the dumpster waiting for someone to pick up for free. (#neverforget)  In the moment, it was traumatizing.  I latch on to items because they’re tied to memories & money.

One of the better parts of leaving the United States & living out of a suit case was having to get rid of everything.  I’ve done this a few times. All of a sudden you can live with minimum items & surprisingly barely notice, so I know it’s doable.

Since moving back to Austin, finally getting an apartment, and having more than -$100 in my bank account, I’ve tried to keep a handle on the “things” I have.  If I don’t have enough room for something I take it as a sign to clean out!  To brag – I’ve been doing a fantastic job.  Border line too good?  I’m throwing things out faster than I have a chance to doubt my decision. BYEEEEEEEEE!

Cleaning-Your-House

“Things” to get rid of TODAY:

Bedroom & Closet

  • Clothes that are uncomfortable
  • Clothes that are cheap
  • Clothes that are broken, tearing, or have holes (this includes bras/underwear)
  • Old Swimsuits that’s don’t match or fit
  • Shoes that are old or broken
  • Shoes that don’t fit
  • Clothes that don’t fit
  • Old jewelry that has changed color
  • Jewelry you won’t wear
  • Mismatched socks
  • Worn purses
  • Old pillows
  • Paper/books/magazines that collect in your bedroom

Random

  • Furniture (I’m serious.)
  • Pens/Pencils/Markers/Tape Rolls/Paper Clips/Stapler
  • Gifts (Yes. Gifts.)
  • Anything you have 2 of
  • Photos.  (Unless they’re very special, scan & throw them.)
  • Greeting cards.

Living Room

  • Books
  • Furniture that you don’t like
  • Paper (scan everything you actually need & save to a hard drive)
  • DVD’s  (one word, Netflix)
  • Video Games
  • Magazines
  • Decorations – knick knacks, wall hangings

Kitchen

  • Tupperware that doesn’t have a matching lid
  • Plastic Cups
  • Old food you’ll never eat
  • Cookware you have 2 of or that’s old
  • Serving utensils you have 2 of
  • Your entire junk drawer

Bathroom

  • Old makeup
  • Towels with holes or torn or too small
  • If you have too many towels, get rid of the ones that don’t match
  • Hair products you don’t use
  • Soaps, cheap lotions, old candles, old toothbrush, hand products – ANY product you don’t use
  • Unnecessary decorations

 Cleaning-Your-House

Tips:

  1. Understand the term: OLD.  If it’s old, it needs to go.  The items might not be old in age, but may be old in use or appearance.  Yes, you can judge your items by physical appearance.  If you have to question anything to determine whether or not it’s old, it’s old.  Throw it away.

  2. Don’t ask yourself – What if I could use this in the future?  That’s a killer question & a no win.  If you can answer it, that would make you a fortune teller.  If you end up needing something similar in the future you’ll buy another one or find something else.  It’s not worth the clutter in your house to ask yourself: What If?  What if you never need it again?  It’s just sitting there. Taking space.

  3. Less is more. Trust me when I say, it IS better to have empty/open space than space filled with crap.  Open & empty is trending & totally chic.  If you have a big ass table that the dogs ate the legs off of, throw it away.  You don’t have money to replace it?  Don’t.  Let the space be open.  (We did this & it’s fine.)

  4. Don’t feel bad about throwing things away.  This was the hard part for me, to literally throw items in the trash can.  Especially when you see how much you throw.  When you don’t have money you never want to throw ANYTHING away.  If you can’t find a charity, or if it’s broken & a charity doesn’t make sense, then throw things in your trash can.  Yes, waste it.  Recycle it if possible, but it needs to go.  Once you come to terms with the fact that you’ll be “wasting” things, and throwing things in the trash can, you’ll get better at it.  Not ideal, but sometimes that’s your only option.

  5. Always assume you don’t need it until proven you do.  I always tell myself I don’t need whatever item I’m debating about.  If I can’t find a great reason to keep it, it’s gone!  Unless you’re currently wearing it, cooking with it, or sitting on it – you don’t need it.

 Cleaning-Your-House

A few places to consider donating: Goodwill, Half Price Books, The Salvation Army, Safe Place but it’s also super important to google local organizations that are looking for donations. Unfortunately, Texas has an overwhelming amount of homeless people so Wafiq & I will bring them extra blankets, pillows, and jackets/clothes that we’re done using. Having a place to bring a lot of the items you’re getting rid of also makes the entire process easier. Find what works for you…

Cleaning-Your-House

I can’t imagine starting this process if you haven’t done it before.  I have very little to go through & it’s still an overwhelming day, but it’s worth it.  If you’re a newb, take it room by room.  Even closet by closet.  Do one this Saturday & another one next Saturday, eventually you’ll get there & your living space will have never felt better!  Throw on Michael Buble station from Pandora, pour a glass of wine & get to work. I’m telling you, it’s life changing & one of the most rewarding experiences I can share with you.  HA!

As follow up, I’ll need a report card from you.  I would like an A for excellent, impeccable, everything-serves-a-purpose room & an F for I’m hoarding but am scheduling with my therapist.  I would like a letter grade for each room you go through.  I’m holding you accountable!  And I’m not a fan of excuses.

 Cleaning-Your-House

Woofta! Here’s to a new week & a start to the most loving month – February.  Yes to big ass hearts & big asses, pounds of chocolate, extra kissing & hugs, romantic dinners & spreading the love – WE FREAKING NEED FEBRUARY THIS YEAR.

Now, more than ever, please remember to be extra thoughtful to all the peeps.  Just be thoughtful.  That’s it.  Nothing more.  I think that’s easy enough for everyone.   <3

Xx

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5 Things to Do This New Year RATHER Than Goal Setting & Ridged Resolutions

Did You Know? “In Colombia and Peru, some believe in throwing three potatoes underneath the bed on New Years Eve: one unpeeled, one half peeled, and one completely peeled (“pelado”). Without looking, you must reach under the bed and grab the first potato your hand bumps into. Colloquially, if someone is “pelado” this means they are financially “broke.” Thus, if you grab the potato that is completely peeled you will find financial hardship in the new year. A half peeled potato means some economic troubles ahead, while a potato that is not peeled may mean money is in your future.” ( v i a )


How many of you have completely fucked up your New Years resolutions already?  OR, have: “Create Goals” on your To-Do list?  Setting goals was always on my to-do list, lingering forever.  I would finally write them down and get ridiculously excited about the million dollars I was going to make in the upcoming year.

 Goal-Setting-and-Resolutions(2)

2017 is the first year I’m 100% satisfied not making any goals. Fuck a goal <<  When I first started saying this to myself, around July, I was kind of joking.  Then I started saying it out loud (“fuck a goal”) and started believing myself. Eventually, I rationalized how terrible a goal was.

Growing up in cute Minnesota & being a cautious child, I followed all the rules.  And in a way goals were part of rules, to keep you on track.  S.M.A.R.T. goals. (If you don’t know what that is, google it & horrific high school memories will come blaring into your mind.)  I hated the pressure of having goals, making them, looking at them, and reaching them.

2017 is the first year I’m giving myself a break.  Goals are predictable.  And I want to welcome change – open arms with a glass of wine and some jazz music perhaps.  Or Eminem, depending on what kind of change is ahead.

I’m still an advocate of the New Year / New Start mentality because there’s something refreshing about January, having the chaotic holidays behind and a new year ahead.  It’s a fresh start.  A mental reset, perhaps.  But I don’t think SMART goals are… smart. Cuz who the fuck knows what’s going to happen.

 Goal-Setting-and-Resolutions(3)

5 Things to Do This New Year RATHER Than Goal Setting and Ridged Resolutions

  1. Create A Vision Board:  I’ve noticed instead of writing down goals & each step to achieving them, creating a vision board that you can easily see every morning creates a bigger focus.  Without too much planning or intention I’ve been creating a vision board throughout the past 10 years or so.  I have a huge magnetic board & I throw any special notes I receive, quotes I love, daily reminders (ex: call my family), future visions, personal pictures & mantra’s – all items and words that give me warm feelings.  Without realizing it, this focuses my daily life. And the board is constantly evolving so it’s always in sync with my bigger vision.

  2. Clean out your kitchen:  It’s 2017.  We all want sexual bodies & we all want to feel good.  We also know that a TON of food is actual crap.  There’s no arguing whether or not diet soda is good for you, or spaghetti sauce with 3,000mg of sodium is a smart decision.  Take the beginning of this New Year to throw out anything you have in your kitchen that you know is shit.  Throw it away, give it away, but get rid of it.  That step alone is going to feel good.  Unclog the kitchen cabinets. Create space and organize it with yummy, delicious, ingredients. If you don’t know whether or not something is crap, Pinterest it.  Ask me. Ask a friend if they would eat it.  Throw out the feelers and if everyone says its fucking shit – throw it away.

  3. Loosen up:  If you’re working towards an achievement & it’s not going exactly how you planned, let it go.  Take a break & relax.  Remember how lucky you actually are.  One thing about goals is how strict they can feel, almost too focused?  And, when does anything really go as planned?  Never.  If it does, then you’re probably doing it wrong. If you’re uber focused on one particular mission going exactly how you want it to go – you’re going to lose.  So loosen up.  What’s meant to be, will be.

  4. Work hard:  Do the best you can do at every task.  Every single day put your best foot forward.  If you’re at work, work hard at having an impressive day.  If you’re working on a hobby you want to turn into a career, work hard at pushing a little closer each day.  If you’re listening to someone, work hard on giving them your full attention. If you’re exercising, work hard at having a powerful work out.   If you’re walking your dog, work hard at using the time to relax and enjoy the moment. If you’re driving in your car, work hard on not letting the traffic bother you.  Every day, WORK. HARD.

  5. Slow Down:  Rushing is one of our favorite things to do.  Rush here, rush there, rush home, rush to bed, rush to the movies, rush to the grocery store, rush through traffic, rush out of work, rush through dinner, rush to the restaurant.  Most of us probably rush around in our dreams at night too.  One thing I picked up from my time living in The Dominican Republic is the beauty of slowing down.  I don’t think that means be late (that’s fucking rude and inconsiderate to other’s time) but be realistic with time slots.  Leaving your house, driving to the grocery store, buying groceries, driving back home, creating a meal, while calling your family members and getting ready – IS going to take longer that 15-20 minutes.  Start creating realistic space that allows time.  Understand that you may have to skip the movie or a dinner with a friend or coffee with your mom or a walk with your dog or a workout at the gym – prioritize and eliminate.  Appreciate the present moment – let it live, don’t rush to the end.

Goal-Setting-and-Resolutions

I think I’ve said before, each Sunday I loosely plan my week to make it a week I’m proud of.  Workouts, dinners, work, entertainment.  If it happens the way I wanted it to, that’s awesome, if it doesn’t – fuck it.

We’ll see how this year goes without the ridged goal setting.  Come 2018 we’ll see if that was a fun little idea of mine to skip goals OR if I’m liberated and strong OR feeling lost and abandoned!  Mentally, I’m already feeling excited and relief, so throw some points in the non-goal making bag.

Thoughts?  Goals vs no goals?!

Have a GREAT WEEKEND and remember to be thoughtful, always.

Xx

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I recommend..., Netflix, Thoughts

Best of 2016: TV & Movies

Did You Know? There’s no reason to feel guilty next time you indulge in your favorite shows- 70% of Netflix users binge-watch their tv series ( v i a )


The most important conversation of 2016, what was binge worthy?!  What was worth those hours missed in front of the TV??  I have a few favorites — they didn’t all come out in 2016 but I watched them in 2016, so they count.

best-of-2016-tv-and-movies

( eye pads ) / ( socks )

I rounded up my favorite TV series I watched this year & a few of my favorite movies.

If you’re staying in & relaxing through the New Year weekend here are some binge worthy options to start your 2017 the right way!


 The Americans

The Americans

Different than other shows, I couldn’t peel myself away from the TV.  There’s suspense w a family dynamic that isn’t seen in other shows.  Lies, love, drama, murders, thrill, adventure, passion & loyalty like no other.  Also, I might be bias here, but it was refreshing/different to see non Arabs coming after America…

Jessica Jones Jessica Jones

I have a crush on this movie because I like the character so much.  A badass woman is all dreams come true, and the story line of this series is a winner for me.

 The Blacklist

netflix

I left this series during the first season but after tough convincing I came back to it, and I’m glad I did.  As soon as you think you have the series figured out, the twists keep it interesting & eliminate all room for boring.

 Chelsea

Chelsea Netflix

I was 50/50 with Chelsea Lately & was not a huge fan of her books… BUT, this talk show is constantly inspiring me.  Yes, Chelsea Handler is inspiring me.  You can tell she developed an idea for a show that would have more than senseless humor, & rolled with it.  Teaching proper vocabulary & spelling, the importance of politics, and incorporating WORLD knowledge – couldn’t be happier about this series.

Last Man Standing

Last man Standing

I would say New Girl as my 2016 favorite but I know I’m getting old on that one.  Last Man Standing is FUNNY!  I was hesitant, but have recently blown through 5 seasons nearly back to back so I don’t think I qualify to say I’m hesitant any longer.  The writers should be getting paid big $$…

Baby Daddy

Baby Daddy

I like shows that make me laugh.  There’s something about easy, quick TV episodes that can do the trick on your casual Wednesday.

Sense 8

Sense 8

This show took me a minute, but once I was into it I was hooked and couldn’t stop.  I think I binged the entire season in 1 day.  No shame.

How to Be Single

 How To Be Single

I almost wrote an entire blog post on this movie, I still might.  What a fantastic film.  The lesson for women to be patient & appreciate their alone time is something money can’t buy.   This movie needs to be taken seriously, ha! And all 20-30 yr olds should be required to watch it w that perspective.  LOVE this movie!

 Chef

Chef

Why would you watch a sad/emotional/thriller/bloody movie when you can watch a light & fluffy movie like Chef.  Is there anything better than this movie?  Can we get more made like this please?!

No Escape

No Escape

…but if you need high suspense/thriller/action – this movie is for you.  I watched it a couple times this year.

 


Time to share your favorite binge worthy movies & TV series of the year!  I’m having a major dry spell with TV series at the moment (forcing me to read), I’m not finding anything capable of getting me hooked – needs to be GOOD.

Enjoy this last weekend of December & remember to be thoughtful, always 🙂

Xx

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Life, Thoughts

5 Tips for Listening

HO HO HO!

5 Listening Tips

I’ve been wanting to write about listening for SO. LONG.  But I wasn’t sure how to get across what I wanted to say.  Then the holidays came creeping in & I realized this is one of those times of the year where listening is at the forefront of my mind.

People love to talk about themselves. LOVE IT.  The people who love it the most are the people who say they don’t.  Everyone loves to talk about themselves & topics they adore.  Period.  They might ask you questions, and look as though they’re listening, but likely are waiting for you to finish so they can bring it back to something they experienced.  You know you do it.  I do too. Everyone does.  I tell a story, you tell a story, I tell a story, you tell a story.  No listening or engagement.

But listening is important.

SO SO SO important.  And listening doesn’t mean staring in the general direction of a person talking & nodding your head.

I left a job several years ago that I absolutely hated.  I dreaded work every day, hated what I was doing & was focused heavily on accomplishing as little work as possible while I job hunted for something else.  I was only at the job for about 6 months.  When I said I was leaving several people were really upset & sad to see me go.  I looked like a deer in headlights trying to figure out why… How can these people be sad I’m leaving?  I did a shit job on all my work, I put 5% energy into everything.  I came late, left early.  So, blah.

This company threw me a going away party.  Offered to let me stay as long as I needed.  Supported, encouraged my path, handed out all their contact information to stay in touch.  Truly made me feel something special. I was completely stunned.  I thought they were going to kick me out the second I gave them a chance!

I’m TOTALLY the type of person to reflect on situations that I don’t understand.  Almost too much.  I focus on a situation that’s happened until I figure out the psychology behind it.

Later, I realized these people liked me because all I did was actively LISTEN to them.  I didn’t want to work, so I had conversations all day.  (Winner employee, I know.)  And I did NOT want to talk about myself, otherwise I would risk revealing my secret plans to quit.  Eventually, I knew everything about everyone!  I knew their families, their stories, their feelings, their pets, their pet peeves, their frustrations, their friggen health problems, boob size, weight, their happiness and their sadness.  I could tell you more about each of the employees than the all of them combined knew about me.  I knew every detail of their lives and offered comfort, a friend, gossip, bitching, a hug, whatever it was – I was there, front row.  (Still avoiding actually working).

This was the first time I noticed the power of listening.

I realized how listening can make someone feel.  Often times, all a person needs is someone to listen to them.  I heard the craziest stories, ideas, & theories that I sometimes totally disagreed with, or often didn’t believe but I fucking went with it, fully on board.  Intrigued, engaged, mesmerized, interested.

listening-tips3

 5 Listening Tips:

  1. Don’t be shy or afraid. Ask one question – How is your dog doing?  Do you have any travel plans?  Have you read any good books?  Do you actually enjoy work? Where did you get that dress?  Where do you do your hair? When you ask one question, you’ll be able to  keep the conversation moving for a long time, keep focusing on them.

  2. Continue asking questions about a topic they’re on, several questions.  Engage and respond.

  3. Keep an open mind!  Do NOT let your opinions get in the way of a topic that doesn’t agree with you.  Ask more questions to understand where someone is coming from rather than start disagreeing or arguing right off the bat – try to understand them and their thoughts.  How did they get there?

  4. If you hear yourself start talking about… yourself – quickly bring it back to another question for them!  It’s about them, not you!

  5. Don’t be an asshole & push a topic they quite clearly don’t want to discuss.  If they don’t appear interested in talking about a breakup they just had, ask them about their dog.  Don’t push for the sake of learning the newest gossip, again it’s not about you, it’s about THEM. If the conversation goes long enough, put a few feeler questions about deeper topics out there but do NOT push them.  However, people tend to open up more the longer they get to talk.

listening-tips2

Listening is the most fantastic gift to give someone – free, easy & special.

Come this precious holiday season, practice shutting the fuck up & listening to the people around you.  And be interested.  Even people you don’t like or agree with.  Listen, ask them questions, be an ear for them.  Don’t think about yourself or how you feel or that awesome idea you have – it’s not about YOU! It’s about THEM! And their awesome ideas & stories. Them them them!

Shhhhhhhhhhhh

Listening is a constant work in progress, even for the best listeners – but it’s also my favorite quality to find in someone.  A conversation between listeners goes the greatest depths w the most interesting results that gives you all the feelings.  Layers + Layers can be discovered, and can be quite fun.

This is your friendly reminder to be a good listener this holiday season, and as always – be thoughtful 🙂

Xx

 

2017 Celebrations:

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Life, Personal Updates, Thoughts

Fresh Air In The Rain

Happy Wednesday! Happy back to school! Happy end of summer!

I’ve been savagely cooking out of Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook & unfortunately not the healthy recipes.  How she remains skinny is truly unfair, although I’ll admit my choice of recipes have definitely been the ones calling for TBLS x TBLS of butter.  I haven’t eaten butter since 2004.  I need to change my strategy with that a little bit. She’s so funny & honest in her book about the fat you’re about to inhale or the salads you should be eating – which is why I’m obsessed with her.  The real deal.

 Rainy-Days-in-Austin(2)

Besides cooking I haven’t been busy doing very much, the rain we’re having in Texas is extreme.  I never complain though, I love the way rain gives you an excuse to stay inside, cook, watch movies & light candles.

The rain outside inspires a calm & relaxing morning.  I’m the type to get increasing anxiety as the morning goes on, meaning sleeping in is no longer as easy as it once was.  The saying: “My brain during the day: Potato, potato, ching chong tomato. / My brain at night: I wonder why the Earth was placed exactly here and allowed us to provide a perfect climate to sustain life”, applies to me.

After two weeks straight of rain and staying indoors, me & my B Unit were getting a little cabin fever.  I feel bad when a dog has to stay inside through bad weather.  I saw (one of my many) girl-crush’s walking out from the trail with her two dogs in pouring down rain & feeling so envious.  She looked like how I imagine Michael Phelps felt when he kicked that South African man’s ass.  (Anyone see that?) And I was wanting to let out my inner water badass too.

Like any jealous girl, I then proceeded to my own adventure in the rain, with the B.  I told myself & Wafiq we’ll pretend we live in Portland & rain is what we do best. (?)

The adventure went well, it was wet + sweaty + muddy + buggy BUT being outside & breathing in fresh-ish air was so necessary after being cooped up for the past week.

Not to mention burn off at least a small portion of the 10lbs of Chrissy’s Mac & Cheese.

Another reason it’s totally necessary for you to adopt a dog.  You’ll feel guilty if you skip outdoor time.

Rainy-Days-in-Austin(2)

Hat for the sun, turned in to hat for the rain

In other news, I’m really excited because I’m going to Minnesota for a long weekend soon… Last time I was there I was suffering from major culture shock, yikes! I laugh now because I remember how uncomfortable I was driving & talking to strangers (aka, the checkout lady at Whole Foods).   The whole American thing was freaking me out, I try to remember how grateful I felt & remind myself to continue being grateful every single day.

Which I absolutely am.  I think almost every day Wafiq and I literally smile and remind ourselves how lucky we are. We bought the Costco size package of laundry soap and toilet paper.  Don’t even get me started on being able to do our own laundry! Living posh as fuck right now.

Life is good today!

Have a great rest of the week, be thoughtful. Talk soon!

Xx

+ P.S.  If you saw my Instagram you’ll have noticed my recommendation for NEEDTOBREATHE.  You guys, it’s freaking fantastic – download it now!

 

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Manifesting Better Phone Skills…

After meetings x meetings x meetings x meetings we think Wafiq will receive his work permit by the end of the month.  We went to San Antonio a week or two ago for a meeting with immigration peeps & we think it went well.  Who knows, this entire journey has really opened my eyes to immigration in the U.S..  I’m actually very opinionated now, unlike before when I barely paid attention to it.  There’s some major issues going on, I’ll say that much.

 Time-To-Pick-Up-My-Slack

SO. We have a very happy house & are looking forward to the days we don’t have to hear the words immigration + meeting + money + Wafiq in the same sentences.

As for other issues – I want to put this out to the world so maybe I can manifest a better version of myself.   I noticed the past year I have been AWFUL at responding to friends phone calls, emails or texts.  I saw this quote going through my Instagram: “I’m sorry I didn’t respond to your text, I answered it in my head”.  And thought that’s me!! But on an extreme level & I’ve been feeling like shit about it.

Time-To-Pick-Up-My-Slack

I think because the last year was so0o0o0 up and down I got in a terrible habit of not talking to people. Making plans was pretty hard w/no money or schedule, and answering questions was also challenging w/no money or schedule.. or plans.   I would get a text and not respond because I was trying to think of an answer & then I would end up ignoring it completely.  The problem – that turned into a habit and throughout the year I’ve let a lot of friends & family slide through the cracks. Ew.  I’m embarrassed.   

I’ve never been really good at using my phone.  I’m totally not the type to have my phone with me at ALL TIMES.  In Dubai, I preferred when my phone would run out of credit so I had an excuse not to use it.

I don’t have that excuse in the States.

Anyone else w/me on this!?  I feel like a lone alien on the planet Pluto because we are living in a time where your phone is your lifeline + your business, so we need it all the time!  And I’m noticing, people are good at having their phones ALL THE TIME – to capture every moment and respond to every email and answer every text.  I guess I should’ve been born a generation back, I feel that was my time to shine, HA!

 Time-To-Pick-Up-My-Slack

Another problem, I’m sad now that the bachelorette is over.  Whenever a season ends I feel like it’s the end of a relationship with meeee!!  Although, I wasn’t totally engaged in this season, a little too fakey fairytale to me?!? Hello 25 Ken Dolls, which one shall I chose?

What have you guys been up to?!  Watching the crazy politics happening in the U.S. right now? Snap chatting your way through the days?!  Vacationing in Cuba?! Team Kanye?!

So much going on it’s overwhelming (HA!)

Happy Wednesday, have a fantastic day & be thoughtful.

 

Xx

Loving Jewelry lately:

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