Monday, October 29, 2012

About being embarrassed...

So...I recently discovered that I made the fashion faux pas of wearing the same outfit exactly one week apart from each other. TALK ABOUT EMBARRASSING!! And, the thing is - I know this isn't the first time I've done this! It's such a bad habit! I have my favorite outfits that I tend to accessorize differently in order to wear them often. I'm not ashamed of this tendency to repeat outfits because I am by no means a fashionista! But, when I don't space out the looks far enough, I must admit there is a teeny ounce of shame... Like, a big "WHOOPS!"

Apparently my portable armoire contains too much for me to handle!
  Nevertheless, this entire occurrence led me to this conclusion: Doing slightly embarrassing things really ain't that big of a deal! Pardon the poor grammar, but don't miss the point! At first I thought, "I can't believe no one pointed it out to me!" Then, I realized that's probably because they didn't even notice! (On the flip side, if they did notice, they probably didn't point it out because it's actually not a big deal!) I also realized that once the deed was done, it was done! Like, that's it! It's over. No need to brood over what you completely cannot undo. So, shrug it off, shake it out even! So, I just wanted to share this lesson learned from my little mishap!

In closing, I'd like to say that while I have been posting a bunch of "mental health improvement" posts, more physical health related topics are to come! All about mind, body and spirit! Enjoy the day!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spontaneous Lyric Sharing!

Brad Paisley's "Find Yourself" is randomly stuck in my head at the moment. I'm sure you all are no strangers to the phenomenon of not being able to get a song out of your head! I figured I'd make the best of this familiar experience by turning it into a post. So, without further adieu (because I really have nothing more to and in the spirit of my last post, I wanted to share this profoundly intriguing message from the chorus of the song:

 When you go through life so sure of where you're headed,
And you wind up lost, it's the best thing that could have happened.
'Cause sometimes when you lose your way, it's really just as well. 
Because you find yourself. 
Yeah, that's when you find yourself. 

Well, 'nuff said, right?! I think it's beautiful, and hopefully you find it inspiring, as well. Okay, that's all for this impromptu, impulsive post!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lessons Learned from the Vague Gap Year & the Move Back Home

To say that it can be a bit daunting to embark upon the vague, uncharted territory that is the gap year  is a gross understatement. I'd be willing to say that experiencing this gap year between undergrad and grad school has been one of my most terrifying experiences to date. Perhaps the difference lies in whether or not your gap year is planned or not... Regardless, once you're in it, you're in it deep.

Long story short, my Plan A for life after graduating did not work out, so I had to conjure up an efficient Plan B. I am coming to realize that this sort of situation happens to just about every other person in the world, by the way. Nonetheless, it still takes some adjustment to accept the fact that you have to not only come up with a Plan B, but to embrace it in all of its complex fluidity and ambiguity. So, hopefully a few words of encouragement can help you (or, y'know "someone you know") if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament - yikes! let's not say predicament - let's say a similar scenario.

Time to Explore and Confirm

A wonderful past professor of mine (who I always keep updated on my progress via email, something I recommend you do if you find such a professor who is kind enough to embrace the updates) often reminds me that you find out a lot about what you do enjoy doing by doing things you don't like to do. Take certain jobs, for example. If you never were a cashier, maybe you would have never realized you disliked dealing with money. Does that make sense? The point is, when you are not in a graduate or doctoral program or a career-binding job, you have time to scratch the surface of areas that you might be passionate about. You can find out valuable information from the most unsuspecting sources if you keep your eyes and hearts wide open to receive the advice pouring out.

During my little exploration period thus far, I've confirmed a few things:
  1. As far as I can see, I am slowly but surely still on the career path that I am most passionate about
  2. That which doesn't kill you certainly does make you stronger
  3. That which annoys you makes you more patient
  4. That which perplexes you makes you more accepting
  5. It is highly likely that I will never have it all figured out, but the little bits that I do figure out along the way is worth celebrating and embracing 
"Movin' back in with the 'rents" 

Returning back to the "house that built me" was extremely humbly, in fact. It forced me to realize that I was, in a way, still being built. Let me put it another way: Moving back home allowed me to see that although I had conquered independence as best as I could during my undergraduate career with single dormitory rooms and an apartment in LA for an internship, I still had room to grow into that young-adult-independent mindset.

Secondly, it allowed me to truly understand the value of budgeting out your finances. It's not a piece of cake to just up and move and get your own place! This is an obvious fact, but there's something about it becoming your reality that really resonates. You learn a lot about finances and how to prepare to stay on top of yours during this gap year.

Finally, if you dreadfully do have to move back in with your parents for a while, I think you can be comforted knowing that you learn how to truly value your family. You realize - even more than you did coming back home for the holidays during undergrad - that one day your room will no longer ever really be your room. Sure, the furniture may stay exactly as it is and a few of your items - like the trophies, the books, all that stuff that may not find its place in your new apartment - will stay. But, you won't ever really live there anymore. So, I stopped being annoyed that I was in the same room I had been in all those years prior - not progressing into an apartment like some of my peers. And, instead, I embraced the fact that I get to hold on to this piece of the past a little bit longer before it is lost in a way that is inevitable and necessary.

A Final Word

From a previous post and numerous conversations with friends, I think it is becoming abundantly obvious that I absolutely love pulling quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love - it's ripe with so many thought-provoking postulates that I simply cannot help myself. So, I want to leave you with this passage that really resonated with me when I read it. Even though, in context, the character (Richard from Texas) is speaking of getting over a failed relationship, I find that his advice also applies to getting over a failed "Plan A" and trying to move on to make "Plan B" work. I feel as if I must write it in its entirety or else it loses its effect:
"Someday you're gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You'll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing and you were in the best possible place in the world for it - in a beautiful place of worship, surrounded by grace. Take this time, every minute of it. Let things work themselves out here in India." 
Am I saying that every recent (or even not so recent) grad who finds themselves in a period of ambiguous transition should move to India to find peace of mind? No way! (As if any of us could afford to at this point, right?!) But, what I am saying is this: wherever you are at this point of transition, you're in the best place for growth. And, things will work themselves out. And, you will look back on this time as such a sweet time.

I couldn't tell you for certain if this is true. Check back in with me in a couple of months (eh, maybe years), and I'll confirm it for ya! But, I'll tell you one thing - it sure puts my mind at ease to believe it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Causes, revisited

At the finish line!
A couple of months ago, I wrote a post encouraging everyone to think globally and act locally when it comes to serving your community. Today, I got the opportunity to participate in a cause that definitely echoes this principal. Along with my mom and few other women, we woke up before dawn to run (okay...walk) in the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure. We did the 1K Fun Run/Walk, but next year my goal is to run the 5K race! (I figure if I post it here, that will ensure that I actually follow through).

I was so inspired by the hundreds of people (may have been more or less, I'm not the best when it comes to estimating the size of crowds) who came out this cold October morning, dressed and ready to support the cause. There were also a number of breast cancer survivors participating in the activities, as well - including a member of our team. To actually be surrounded by the faces that represent the cause you're donating towards is quite the uplifting experience.
Enjoying the lively concert while the 5K participants ran
 So again, I encourage you all to find a cause or event that you can support locally because I can almost guarantee you it will far-reaching, global effects. And, I can definitely guarantee that you will feel inspired and uplifted because of it.

Happy service!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thinking about buying skin, hair or nails supplements?

Sooo I was just tinkering around on my YouTube page, and I came across this oldie-but-goodie and decided to share it with you fine folks! It's a little choppy but I think you get the point!

So, bottom line is this - when considering taking supplements, consult a professional. haha That is my very expert advice!

Happy shopping! :-)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Lessons from my Yoga Practice & Gratitude Challenge Update

Ever since I set out to practice better health habits, I have realized something. When it comes to my yoga practice, I find it hard to be motivated to practice alone. I find that I do much better with my focus and determination when I'm in a class. At first I rationalized that maybe this was due to the fact that I didn't want to "look bad" in front of everybody. But, then I thought that couldn't be the reason because I have always felt that yoga was more of a personal practice, not a competition among the participants.

At home with Yoga Zone on Hulu, I find it extremely difficult to pursue the poses. I confess, I pause the video to go do something else. Yet, whenever I'm in a class (admittedly, usually in the back row...), I don't really have a lot of time to look around for comparisons. I find it easy to focus on what I'm doing and listen to the instructor's voice.

So, what can I learn from this? From a practical point of view, I learned that I'm a lot more easily distracted at home than in a yoga studio. But, to take a broader view, I also learned that it helps to do things in a community of like-minded people. Because even if each person in the class is focused on their own mastery of movement, you can still feel a spirit of encouragement for you to master your own. And, it can be the same way with any endeavor. It helps to surround yourself with a solid support system of people who can motivate you to continue to achieve your goals.

Now, the gratitude challenge update...

It's been just about three days since I challenged myself to say thank you more, so here are the results as promised:

...I kinda lost track of the count, so I'm not really sure if I said "thank you" at least 15 times over the past 3 days, BUT I can tell you that being thankful has been on my mind a lot more! I had a wonderful little "conversation-over-coffee-at-Starbucks" with a friend the other day, and she reminded me that when things in life start to overwhelm you, it helps to write it down. This is because when you get past them - as you will get past them - you can look back and be grateful for the experience and for how far you've come.

So, again, cultivate a spirit of gratitude in any way you can! 

And as for speaking to strangers, I do that all the time at work, so challenge accepted, challenged accomplished...if that makes any sense.

Okie doke, that's all for now, happy day!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New web address!

This blog is changing its address!

We are now officially located at! 

After much deliberation (and then finally a burst of spontaneity) I have decided to use the domain: There's is a bit of a story behind it, so let me share it with you. 

I chose ".net" not only because .com was not available, but also because this website is meant to be somewhat of a network. I wish to be the hub that provides and also directs readers towards different sources for finding ways to better improve our mental health, physical health and spiritual health. It's all about mind, body and spirit, yo! 

Anyhoo, just thought I'd let cha know! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Officially a Published Author!

I am very proud to announce that I am officially a published author now! Let me explain...

A group of women from my bible study group and I all contributed to a "little book of encouragement" entitled Letters While You Wait containing various stories meant to inspire anyone who finds themselves in challenging situations. For more details and ordering information, feel free to email me! Just wanted to share with you guys this milestone and incredible accomplishment by these amazing women that I am honored to know.

Oh, and, as far as me and publishing goes (dare I say it?) this is only the beginning!

Fellow author Ashley Kendall and I at the book signing!
One last thing. I wanted to also share this bit of wisdom my Dad shared with me after I considered the fact that I might be a hypocrite if I don't always practice the patience I "preached" in my story. He said that the "light bulb moments (like when I wrote the story of encouragement) is where growth begins but it doesn't end there. We are always growing." Try and remember that as you continue to practice practicing what you preach!  

Saturday, October 13, 2012

A Note on Gratitude & Overcoming Fears

I've never seen Josh Radnor's HappyThankYouMorePlease film, but I love the first line of the trailer:
"The key to your life is gratitude; you do not give enough thanks...say 'thank you'."
 It's a simple suggestion that can bring about a complete overhaul of one's attitude. I'm sure the film goes more in depth on the concept, but I just wanted to scratch the surface myself. I'm going to challenge myself to challenge myself to say "Thank You" at least 5 times a day for the next 3 days and see what effect it will have on my overall mood.This challenge reminds me of Loving Kindness Meditation practice that improves your feelings towards humanity. So, I vow to make a conscientious effort to say genuine "Thank You's" to any and everyone I come across at least 15 times over the next 3 days, and I will report back to you guys with the results.

And, this is semi-related, but not really, I just stumbled upon this old gem of mine on YouTube, and I wanted to share it again here! A little background information: At my dear old Alma mater Duke, there is this plaza strip that a bunch of students cross daily to get to class, the Bryan Center, to pass out handout supporting various causes - EVERYTHING.

I still laugh out loud at the fake email address given at the ending! I mean, I think I'm funny. But, this just got me to thinking - this "plazaphobia" pretty much can translate to any public space nowadays. Merely walking the sidewalks of the outlet malls you can see people glued to their phones or simply on a one-track-path towards their destination, not bothering to acknowledge others. Well, in the same vein of giving more thanks, I think I'll add another challenge for myself to directly speak to a stranger at least once for the next 3 days. I'm just coming up with the challenges off the top of my head, but again, I'll let you know the results, if any!

So, go forth and be grateful today! And, maybe even challenge yourself to overcome something you find awkward. Y'know, if you're not busy doing anything else this weekend. :-)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Obsessed with the IDEA of being in love?

It happens to the best of us, and it happens to the rest of us. Whether we would like to admit it or not, everyone feels this way every now and again. You fall head over heels - not for a person, necessarily - but for the idea of being in a relationship. Or, maybe you are the type of person who absolutely does not share this fleeting obsession. Well, good for you.

For the rest of you, who can sometimes get caught up in the idea of having an awesome relationship with a passing crush - this advice is for you.

First and foremost: Don't berate yourself for feeling this way. It's not childish or naive to think that you could end up in a great relationship with someone you're interested in. Neither is it insane or stalker-ish or anything like that! At least not in my opinion. I like to look at it this way: it's just an indication that you have the capacity to freely give love and to openly receive it. Not too shabby of a quality if you ask me. You should never lose that spirit of hope and positivity, especially when things don't work out. 

Secondly, don't fear the feeling. Sometimes I get annoyed when I find myself even contemplating pursuing a relationship with a new person. All of my anxieties and apprehensions come to surface in the most random and inconvenient ways. But, we should never slap ourselves on the wrist for merely feeling something! I mean, how silly is that? Seriously, where is the harm in feeling excited or looking forward to the possibility of something new? No harm, no foul!

Thirdly (who says "thirdly", right?!), relinquish your control every now and then. It's been my observation that people like to be in control of lots of things all at once. In control of their budget, in control of their schoolwork, in control of career decisions, and even in control of their own feelings! Feelings are, like, the most spontaneously-occurring phenomena that can't be tamed! Don't get me wrong, we conscientious human beings are in control of our actions and can choose not to act on certain feelings. But, I'm not talking about all that heavy stuff, I'm just saying you can't control everything ALL the time, and you certainly can't control your fleeting feelings towards a certain person. So, why even try? Don't be afraid that you'll fall into the trap of getting hung up on a crush. Enjoy the feeling. Let it pass. Feel that way again when the next person comes along! To sum it up, give this amazing song by this amazing band a listen: "Love, Loss, Hope, Repeat" by Carbon Leaf.

Lastly, find a way to grow from every experience. Whether it be a crush that faded or a relationship that crashed and burned, embrace the experience and acknowledge the growth you can glean from each and every one of them. And, if this just sounds like a bunch of "kum-ba-ya, peace lovin'" idealistic mumbo-jumbo, you bet your bottom's dollar, it is! Not every crush has to feel so crushing! Sure, you're disappointed that nothing blossomed, but somehow, someway, I guarantee you, you're better for the experience. Whether you learned something new about yourself, or something new about others, it's worth it!

And another thing! I could go on and on about this topic, but I'll wrap it up here. I'd be remiss if I didn't add the admonishment:
"Avoid comparing romantic comedies and such like to your own life when you're in one of these states." 
You shouldn't project these fictional scenarios or characters onto real people and real life. That goes for songs, too. It's easy to get wrapped up in the beautiful yet heartbreaking songs about being heartbroken and lovelorn. But, simply appreciate the melodic surprises and impressive vocal range - DO NOT get sucked into sulking over the depressing lyrics. I'm not calling out any names, but YOU KNOW what songs I'm talking about and which artists I'm referring to! This post is not for that type of love lost. Sorry, I'm not that deep and haven't been that hurt ever, so I can't help in that department.

Final Word

And, I wanted to add -- not as a disclaimer, but more as an author's note, if you will -- I did hesitate to click "Publish" after writing this post for fear of being "exposed". I only share these types of thoughts with my very closest friends. But, then I thought, "eh, my closest friends are the only ones who read this blog anyway, so think I'm good!" (Humor gets me through the awkwardness...) But, more than that, as I have mentioned before, writing these posts are more therapeutic for me than for the readers. So, I say all that just to say, I hope this does help anyone (or a friend of anyone) who may stumble upon this post, because it sure helped me!

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Some people run to clear their head. I've heard it described as a time to get away from it all and just be left alone to think.

Me - sometimes I run as kind of a buffer. I run when I anticipate that someone or some situation is going to stress me out. I do this in the hopes that the goodness that is released during the run will protect me from feeling the frustration of the stressful situation. Now, at first I felt like this was not a good reason to run, and that it was more of an avoidant defense mechanism than anything. However, I did once hear on an episode of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition that exercising more regularly does indeed help to lower your stress (rather than dealing with your stressors first and working out once you're not stressed anymore). What they actually said was, "You cannot wait until the stress goes away...your ability to deal with your stress will become better if you can get more fit." GOLDEN WORDS OF WISDOM (which also make me feel like my way is wise, lol).

But, the bottom line of this post is this: whether you're running away from something or running to clear your head, just run! Or if you don't like running, walk. Or swim, or dance - just move! You gotta find a way to get these negative energies out of your systems and exude positive vibes as much as you can!

I also wanted to share my current running playlist, just in case you need to mix up your workout music.

1. "It's Time" by Imagine Dragons
2. "Ho Hey" by The Lumineers
3. "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
4. "Young Blood" by The Naked and Famous
5. "Tongue Tied" by Grouplove
6. "Shake It Out" by Florence and the Machine
7. "Domino" by Jessie J
8. "Crazy Girl" by Eli Young Band
9. "Springsteen" by Eric Church
10. "Some Nights" by Fun.

So, yep! Those are the essentials, I add to it and subtract from it often. And, yes, it's kind of an eclectic mix of genres, and that's the way I like it. Hopefully SOMETHING in there fits your fancy!

One Last Little Thing!

And, while we're on the note of playlists and gettin' movin', as I mentioned in my post last week, life is one big dance party, so I encourage you to make moves - even if they are a little awkward. My moves almost always are awkward - in dance parties and in life! So, okay.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"Somehow everything's gonna fall right into place...

...if we only had a way to make it all fall faster everyday"
Do you ever find yourself feeling this way? This is the intro lines to one of my all-time favorite songs by Paramore, called "Hallelujah" (give it a listen in your spare time!) But, doesn't Hayley sum it up pretty nicely with these lyrics? We know that in the long run, EVERYTHING (career, lifestyle, relationships, etc.) are going to work out because if we look back at our lives and the lives of others thus far, we see evidence of that. You made it through the awkwardness of middle school, college degree - check!, job interviews - done. So, obviously things work themselves out.

But, it can be hard to shake that nagging feeling of impatience - anxiously waiting to see how something will work out next. I have been guilty of this. I get so wrapped up in what the outcome of a certain situation will be that I don't take time to really, truly enjoy and embrace the journey. This reminds me of another one of my favorite quotes from yet another of my favorites (can you every really have too many?) Hope Floats. At the end of the movie, Sandra Bullock's voice-over reminds of this eloquent fact:
"Beginnings are scary; endings are usually sad, but it's the middle that counts the most." 
And, I'll take this quote a step further to convey my point: even if the beginning is not scary and the final outcome is not sad, the middle still should not be breezed through and taken for granted.

It's in the middle of things working themselves out that we work things out within our own selves. We grow more patient, or wiser, or simpler just grow in whatever way the situation allows us to. And this is what matters more than rushing to the end to see how it will work out.

Hopefully this ramble makes sense and speaks to some impatient soul out there anxiously waiting to see. Sometimes (okay, most times) I think I write more for my benefit than for the readers haha, but you guys still get the point.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"And it's hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off! Oh woaah!"

Props to Florence and the Machine for the awesome phrase in their song "Shake It Out" which serves as the title for this very imprompu blog post. Suucchhh a great song, and a perfect theme for what I want to share with y'all while it's on my mind -

We have GOT to stop self-degradation. What do I mean? I'm talking about the typical dissatisfaction with the reflection we see in the mirror. This "A blemish here, a blemish there, everyone is gonna stare!" mentality gets us no where except in a valley of sulking and dark shadows as we go about our day feeling a wee bit less than confident. It's a bad habit that all of us sometimes exhibit.

But, we've got to just plain strive to stop thinking negatively about our appearances! And props to you if you don't let the way your hair looks a certain day bother you, or if all of your clothes fit. Congratulations. But, I know for me at least, I do have THOSE days where I fall prey to the stinky thinking while looking in the mirror.

The Bottom Line 

The point I'm basically trying to get across with this rambling is this: 
"Life is far too short and way to precious to let these minor annoyances bog you down"
And you can quote me on that! (Because that's what I just But, seriously! We don't need to weigh our spirits down with these negative feelings about not liking the way we look. We should embrace the way we look. Enhance it to our liking within reasonable realms, sure, but above all else -- accept and embrace your looks unconditionally! You owe that much to your spirit! To your aura! Let it exude with positive lightness! (Did I mention that this was an impromptu sorry if it's hard to read, but it HAD to be typed!)

It's just like Flo said, "it's hard to dance with the devil (i.e. negative thoughts about yourself) on your back, so shake him off!" Because if you didn't already know, I'm here to let you know that life is one big dance party and you're all invited to strut your stuff and rock out in your own unique way!