Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: What I've learned

letter of reflection to my younger self:

Becoming vegan is a choice. Seeing what's being done to the animals will cause you to view your food choices in a whole new way. Ask yourself: Is this what I want my contribution to the world to involve?

You will be surprised how willing others are to accommodate your values. Their curiosity will ignite your passion and inspire you to create ways to contribute towards a shift in their diet too                                                                                                   .

There will be numerous occasions when you'll feel left out in social gatherings. No matter how often you are teased or discouraged, STAND TALL! These are opportunities for great strength and power. Remember you are happier and healthier living a vegan lifestyle.

Your photography will lead you to many creative endeavors. But the one that will fill your heart most will honor the life of a client and his family. It is then, you will see the true value of your art.

Go outside, where there are no lights and just look up at the night sky. Notice how you feel. Notice where your thoughts go and discover what wonder means.

You tend to be in relationships because you see a lot of good in that person, but you ignore that you aren't happy or that you are getting hurt. Learn not to compromise. If something is good, it's good.

Just because a guy is sweet and adores you, doesn't mean he's right for you.

Always ask for what you want and NEED.

Notice who you call at 4am, post breakup, lying on the closet floor. Sometimes all you need is a little heart to heart with your bestfriend and first love.

Don't be afraid of looking dumb, asking a stupid question, falling on your face, getting rejected or singing the wrong lyrics. We'll be dead soon.

Over-tip. It will make someone's day.

You will feel the need to disconnect from society. Instead of heading to the mountains, disconnect your phone service and practice being fully present with the people standing in front of you. Teach by example.

Breathe slowly when you're scared. Breathe slowly when you're excited. Breathe slowly when you meditate. Full, deep breaths. Breathing is the key to controlling our flow of energy.

The difference between being good and great is the effort you put in. When you discover you are exceeding the ability of your coworkers, ask for a raise. Own your work ethic! Not everyone has it.

The whole, "don't make someone a priority when they only make you an option' is so true. Letting go of friends is difficult but I promise it'll free you up to give increased love and attention to those more deserving.

Designing a christmas card for your grandma will be one of the highlights of your year. Don't put it off.

Be kind to yourself, even when you take a step in the wrong direction. You are human, it happens. Turn around and continue moving forward.

I'm so proud of the way you handled life's challenges this year! Abundant rewards are on their way to you now. I can feel it!! Let's start 2016 with so much love and laughter we don't know what to do with it!

Thursday, December 17, 2015


This weekend I was reminded of how valuable this outlet is in documenting my life. The years seem to be flying by and I want to remember as much as possible! Who was I at 27 years old? What did I enjoy doing in my free time? Where was my heart? I’ll do my best to post these questionnaires more often. My  archives are proof how much my likes and dislikes change throughout the years. I like that I’m no longer afraid of change and instead let it excite me!

What do you do for a living?
I work in customer service (celebrating 7 years with my current company this month!) Photography is one of my greatest passions and I’m incredibly blessed to also work as a photographer in my free time! I hope to one day be able to answer this question with a simple: LIVE.

Who do you love?
I do my best to love everyone that enters my world. When I’m sitting in traffic feeling frustrated with other drivers – I take a deep breath and send them love. When I’m dealing with difficult customers I try putting myself in their shoes for better understanding. Learning to see things in a new perspective regularly has helped me excel in both my home and work life. My heart overflows with love for my family and close friends. And with each personal project I tackle, my love for myself grows more and more every day.

How old are you?
27 and a half! I can’t believe I already reached the half way mark! In all honesty, I feel as young as ever. I hope to always hold a youthful heart. When I was a teenager, I remember thinking twenty-four was soooo old. Last night my sister called me out on almost turning thirty. I said, BRING IT! I’m so happy to be alive!

Do you think you are a good person?
I know I haven’t always been, but YES! Me, right here, right now… damn good. I believe in leading by example and do my best to stay true to my values. Hiccups will always happen but we need those incidents to become BETTER than before.

How often do you laugh?
Every hour if I’m lucky! A life without laughter is so dull. I know, because I lived it. These days I tend to laugh at myself more than anything. I’m silly and a little unusual but my heart is light and I’m happy :)

What makes you smile?
My niece and nephew! I’m so amazed by them simply existing in my world. Love! I photographed an engagement proposal last week and couldn’t stop smiling (I also cried). Puppies! Vegan restaurants! Listening to my record collection! Shooting stars! And HUGS!

Where do you live?
Pearland, TX. The town I grew up in. I moved back here in May in order to accelerate my financial goals. Living 5 minutes from work is definitely a huge perk. I’m still contemplating where I will live next. The possibility of moving out of state is very likely.

What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
I try to remember to first pause and say Thank You. Then I do a quick yoga flow to stretch my well rested body and drink warm water with lemon! (no cell phones allowed in my morning routine).

What is the best thing that could happen to you right now?
Traveling the world with someone I love while building wealth and giving generously to those in need.

Picture yourself in 5 years from now:
I’d like to be in a loving, encouraging, committed relationship, with a thriving photography business, surrounded by wonderful friends and family.

Name the thing that annoys you the most:

Favorite movie?
Star Wars: A New Hope & The Empire Strikes Back, Into the Wild, Interstellar, When Harry Met Sally and Amelie

Favorite television show?
Super Soul Sunday, Oprah's Master Class and Tiny House Nation

Favorite food?
Black bean burgers, avocados and sweet potatoes

Favorite beverage?
Water and green juice!

Favorite book?
The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment - Eckhart Tolle
What I Know For Sure - Oprah Winfrey

Favorite song?
Morrissey - Suedehead, Chromatics - Cherry, Bon Iver - Holocene

Favorite color?
Light purple and white

Sum up your life in one sentence:
I live a simple life in a familiar city, where I'm always searching for lifelong learning. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

On Gift Giving

Confession: I'm a giver! Unfortunately, this has gotten me into some financial trouble in the past. I absolutely love giving! Everything from hugs, gifts, large tips, donations! My mind is constantly looking for sentimental ways to give to anyone and everyone! This may sound all good and fun but the way I was giving was harmful. It’s difficult to fully give when you don’t have control of where your money goes. Credit cards have become a way of life, the normality. But borrowing to give is not giving at all. The borrower becomes slave to the lender. I don’t know about you but I value my freedom! By eliminating credit cards there’s no more room for mindless spending.

So much of money management is behavior management.
Money reflects what is going on in our hearts.

With Christmas fast approaching, we are well into the “shopping season” and I can’t help but notice the excess amount of advertisements flooding media outlets. It's easy to get caught up in the routine of using credit cards during the holidays. But there's a better way! A healthier way we can slow down and enjoy the holidays with more peace of mind. So how did I kick this damaging habit to the curb? I started using a Christmas budget! Each November (sometimes October) I sit down with a notebook and pen to devise a plan. First, I write down the names of everyone I’ll be giving a gift to. Then I choose an allotted spending amount for each individual, depending on what I’ve saved this year. I make a list and check it twice! Saving to give is so much more rewarding! Giving every dollar a name serves a bigger purpose – in my life and in my heart.

Do you overspend or stress out during the holidays? Try a Christmas budget this year and let me know if you find it beneficial.
Try for a simple, online budgeting tool

Happy Budgeting!

Friday, December 4, 2015

5 Ways to Heal a Broken Heart

I recently went through my first major breakup in a really long time. I had forgotten how difficult it is, returning to the single life. No more late night pillow talk, weekend getaways or shoulder kisses. Man, do I love those shoulder kisses! The end of a relationship can sometimes feel like a piece of yourself has left along with your partner. And I guess that’s somewhat true. I’m not the same girl I was when I met him. But I’m a hell of a lot better than before.
So even though it’s painful and challenging, remember this process is proof we’re alive and growing! How lovely it is!

Here’s a little advice to help ease the pain:

Do you have any advice on healing? I would love to hear what got you through your toughest breakups 

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

30 Days of Meditation: A Simple Guide to Meditation

What is meditation? For so long I believed meditation was a tool to handle stress and tune out. But actually- the true purpose of mediation isn’t to get away from it all, but to get in touch with it all. To not only relief stress but to find peace within. So, mediation is really about clearing space and making room for what is needed. It’s about that quiet space between each thought.

Your core consciousness – whether you call it the spirit or God is the window to the infinite world. It’s a field of possibilities, pure potential, infinite imagination and creativity! It’s a place where you become the observer of your thoughts and that my friend, is the power of intention.
Where: Choose a safe place where you will not be disturbed. 
When: I personally found mornings to be most beneficial. Life feels remarkably quiet upon waking.
How: (this one has a few important steps)
  • I attempted to mediate in lotus position but had some difficulty when my foot kept falling asleep. Ouch! After a few weeks my body adjusted and I was able to sit in the position for longer periods of time. Being comfortable is most important! Although, I don’t recommend lying down because our minds are conditioned to sleep and staying awake becomes a disturbance.
  • Thoughts are going to dance around your head, especially in the beginning – this is normal. Don’t try to do anything with them – simply let them be. If you find yourself thinking about each passing thought just return to focusing your awareness on your breath. As you progress you'll notice yourself slipping into the space between thoughts more and more.
  • When we pay attention to our breath, we are in the present moment. Take long, deep breaths at your own pace. Find a natural rhythm and allow your breath to flow in and out easily and effortlessly.
Duration: 20-30 minutes was favorable for my lifestyle but everyone is different.

I hope you will find some of these tips helpful in your own practice. Having a set goal of 30 days definitely helped me to stay motivated and focused. Before November I tried fitting in mediation here and there but the true benefits are an effect of consistent practice. During this challenge I noticed myself becoming particularly aware of my surroundings. Sights, smells, sounds – it was all so vibrant! I love moments like that, glimpses of true bliss.

What was the strangest part of this experience? Well, one morning after mediating something told me to release facebook. Not just deactivate the distraction (which I did multiple times throughout the year) but to rid my life of it completely. I deleted each “friend” one by one and couldn’t remember the last time I spoke to most of them. It seems mediation also helped me to clear space in my daily life. What a wonderful surprise! With results like that, there’s no question I will continue to explore this peaceful practice.

Do you mediate? Tell me about your experience in the comments below :)

December's Challenge: 30 Days without a Cell Phone

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Thanksgiving Tradition: Vegan Tamales

Last weekend my cousin and I made vegan tamales! Tamales have always been one of my favorite holiday traditions. But having gravitated towards a more health conscious lifestyle we decided to try a vegan alternative. If you’ve ever made tamales you know it’s an extremely time consuming process. We finished in a total of six hours! I know, it sounds like a lot but it’s part of the tradition’s joy. You gather around the table with family members conversing and being fully present in the task at hand. To me, the quality time spent with loved ones is just as rewarding as biting into the finished product!

What is your favorite family tradition?

We made our own variations from these recipes: One, Two and Three.