Whiskey On The Rocks

For as hot as today was, I'm surprised its this cool. The breeze is making its way into my steamy, non-air conditioned, cozy living room and the fresh air has never felt so good on my skin.

I got the results today. I feel like I've been cooped up for what feels like a month. This is one of those nights where I wish I had a bottle of whiskey in my house so I could pour myself a niiice portion and drink it to the point where I would feel warm inside, ya know-get a little bit tipsy--maybe even trip and fall over Pippa's toys, laugh at myself & make my way to my bedroom and have a peaceful night sleep without a million thoughts running through my brain. And I'm a lightweight--so I really think this could effortlessly be accomplished with 2 shots.

To my detriment, there is no whiskey. So here are my thoughts instead:

It was shingles. Yes, apparently 26 year olds DO get shingles and it isn't just for your 80 year old grandfather--> who would have thought? And even though they are in the healing process, they are still very much there. Still visible-- I can see the spots. I know what I can and can not do. I know I need to avoid the sun. I know I need to build up my immune system. I know I need to sleep 8 hours a night. I know I need to stop internalizing my stress and anxiety. They are still painful without my nerve meds. And yet, I know they are healing and everything will be okay. That's the best news I have ever heard. It will all be okay.

That moment when I thought I wasn't okay was the moment that put things into perspective for me. I've had 2 health scares this year that were both treatable and I feel so incredibly lucky to have had the outcomes that I've had. And I'm ashamed to say that I was embarrassed of my scars--yes, my actual ones--and I only let certain people see them, because to me it used to mean that I am no where near "flawless". And everyone wants to wake up like that...no? (Okay okay--terrible joke that is way played out, but I had to do it)

What I've come to terms with is that those scars actually represent me. My story. My adventures. Maybe even a little badass-ery (as some like to call it). That fresh scar on my stomach is a little reminder that in fact, I am golden. And hiding that scar from everyone isn't allowing people to see the undeniable me.

It's all apart of my work. Letting go of the perfection that I desire in everything that I do. Well, what I've realized is that people don't like the me who tries to be perfect and is apologetic when I'm not doing things up to my ridiculous standards that I set for myself. It's that saying that I still have to get comfortable with: "Be unapologetically you".  Being okay to just be me and let everyone see the same, authentic girl. Not just the select individuals that I feel comfortable enough to let in.

There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.
— Steve Maraboli

It seems to be my 2014 theme. Expose yourself. Be true. Let your guard down. Put your heart on the line. And they will either accept you or choose to walk away from you, but at least you can say you were real.

That is what I want to say.

 

xx

#livehonestlysimple

There were 10 of us, all sitting in my living room. Talking about what keeps us up at night..admitting out loud that we are scared shitless of the things that we want the most. When it was my turn to share, I got that uncomfortable knot in the back of my throat and couldn't help but let it take over my entire body and break down. "I want to inspire people" were the 5 words that got me so choked up. And the first place that I went to was that ugly space of self-doubt in a room full of love and genuine support.. "who the hell am I to give people hope".
 
It was in that moment when I realized that I haven't been using my outlet, this space, the way that comes natural to me. When I say I want to inspire people.. what I really mean is, I want to inspire myself & others through actions.
 
I want to wake up every morning with a purpose.
And talk about the things that make me who I am
And be authentic enough to admit that I'm the most imperfect person who is often disappointed because I'm striving for perfection all of the time.
I want to live for this very moment, because right now is the only time that actually counts.
And with that, comes so many things that I haven't even dreamt up yet...


I walked away that night knowing that all that I have to do is be true to myself--and if you can actually take something away from that, then I'll be beyond happy.


I've had so many pep talks with myself lately.. "You can manifest everything that you want to create. Don't over complicate the present. The future will work itself out, if you let it. You just have to DO//GO//EXPLORE & do it often."


Point is: We are all on a personal journey.. and with that journey comes different adventures of all different shapes and sizes. One day, the adventure might be to grab a book and sit on your couch and read until you can't keep your eyes open anymore. The next day, you might actually pack up your bags and get out of town without telling a soul ((something that I dream about)). I almost think of it as a game. Life: Choose Your Next Adventure. You want to play, right??


8 months ago when I got on that one way plane ride to LA, I started making a list of all of the things that I wanted to experience in this city. That same list has been sitting in my "drafts" for those same 8 months.


Some of the things on my list, I have experienced. And a lot of those things, I haven't gotten to yet because "life" has just gotten in the way-- best excuse ever, right? I can have all of the best intentions in this world, but if I don't have these things staring me in the face.. and my friends aware of what I want to do to hold me accountable- it will be my year mark and I will be lucky if I can cross off 50% of those things.


Since it's officially the beginning of the summer, there is no better time to get into action and do.  Life happens when you're searching, connecting & meeting others. The dots will connect. And that's what these next three months are going to be about for me.
 
With that, here it is ladies and gents: My Bucket "Why Wait" List for my summer:


Food
Try 5 new local/organic restaurants
Indulge in some of LA's famous eateries: Roscoes Chicken & Waffles, Pinks Hot Dogs, Randy's Doughnuts, The Polo Lounge
Santa Monica Food Truck Lot
Boozy brunch at Edendale
Eat Mexican food on Olvera Street
 
Music
Viper Room
Hollywood Bowl
Greek Theatre
Grand Performances- downtown
Concert Under the Stars in Santa Monica
Walt Disney Concert Hall
 
LA Experiences
Paramount Ranch
Explore The Art's District
Rose Bowl Flea Market
Spend a day reading at The Last Bookstore
Attend Cafe Project on Tuesday night (watch my friend recite a poem)
NBA game @ Staples Center
Watch a movie at Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Griffith Observatory
Walk the Venice Canals
The Getty
Ride merry-go round that inspired Walt Disney at Griffith Park
Electric dusk drive-in movies
Ride ferris wheel on Santa Monica Pier at sunset
Lakeside picnic at Lake Balboa
Visit Venice Mosaic Tile House
Visit Orchid Fever in Culver City
LACMA
Beverly Gardens Park
Angels Flight Railway--> Angels Knoll
MOCA
Visit The Gentle Barn
Ride a tandem at Santa Monica beach
Culver City Architecture Walk
Spend a day at Anneberg Community Beach House
Afternoon at Echo Park
Eat/Drink/Shop my way through Abbot Kinney
Sweat it out at Korean Spa
Bonfire at Dockwiler Beach
 
Day//Weekend Trips
Malibu (Malibu wines, Picnic at Mailibu Bluff's Park, Topanga Lookout, El Matador State Beach sunset)
Disneyland
Joshua Tree
Big Bear/Arrowhead
Catalina
Wine tasting in Temecula
The Channel Islands
Santa Barbara
Ojai
 
Sweat It Out
Hikes (Hollywood Sign, Temescal, Topanga, Sturtevant Falls Hike)
Trapeze on Santa Monica Boardwalk
Paddle board in Marina Del Rey
Culver City Stairs
Take dance class in Silverlake
Yoga class on the beach
 
Home Body
Host a housewarming party with Christina
Host a Sunday brunch
Complete my watercolor typography prints
Make a summertime body scrub from scratch

 

My challenge to you is to create yours: list exactly what is is that you want to do/see/experience/create this summer and then see it through. Share that with others. Get your people on board, have them create one and you can "do" together.  Let's make more memories.

This is the journey that I want to share with you. We can track ours together via instagram: @ajklein22 #livehonestlysimple #whywaitlist #summerstory


Here's to less talk & more action,


xx

 

I really don't know anything, but I do have my beliefs

I'm 26 years old. I barely make enough money to take care of myself and my "high maintenance"- need to have a manicure and pedicure at least once a month- needs. I'm nowhere near marriage or even dating anyone seriously. I'm still sorting through what I want to be when I grow up. And sometimes, I eat ice cream for dinner because that's the only thing that sounds good to me.


I'm slowly realizing that the older that I get, the less I know (yes.. ponder that for a second). I thought that with age comes money and knowledge and love and all of these incredible things that you watch in the movies growing up. Like oh, I'll be okay when I'm in my mid-late 20s, they have it all figured out. Girl graduates- girl lands a killer job- girl meets the man of her dreams- girl falls in love- girl gets married- girl has kids--girl gets that dream life. Nope. Can't say that is everyone's reality. There is this GIANT world out there.. and I only "know" a tiny dot of information.

At this point, all that I really have are my beliefs:

I will never be a perfect human being. I am blessed by the mistakes that I've made. And I promise I'll keep making them. And I'll keep those unforgettable snap-shot moments, those feelings of hurt and anger, those difficult conversations all in my back pocket to keep track and chalk it up to another lesson learned-- we will never be finished with those. This is when we find out where we go when the going gets tough. It's a beautiful process of light bulbs going off in your brain & making a choice to shift into the person that you want to be.


What you give, you receive. It’s really that simple.

We all have soul mates. Multiple. Most of mine have been friends. Some that have come in and out of my life and some that are here to stay. It's that person who understands you, connects with you on a level that you didn't know was possible, gives you a sense of peace--& someone who loves and respects you more for your flaws than your strengths. Cherish those moments with whoever they are. It could last an hour on an airplane where you have a life changing conversation, only for one night, a few months- and even a lifetime if we are lucky.


Money will come and go. And enjoying the ride and the life that you have right in front of you at this very moment is all that matters. Before I moved out to California I got SO caught up in the amount that was in my savings account and stressing if I spent any of it. I had a mental shift during a conversation with a friend. "I have to have at least xx amount of $$ because it freaks me out if I go below that"-- she replied "It's great to have a safety net, but you have to life your life and do what you want. The money that you have shouldn't hold you back." I was letting the money that I had sitting in my savings account hold me back from doing what I wanted to do- now thats a crazy thought. Do I feel financially secure? Not entirely. But is that going to be forever? Definitely not- more money is on its way. And most importantly.. Do you know for sure that you are going to wake up tomorrow? Because I don't.


Loving yourself comes first. Be your own damn best friend- you are all that you have. Your body, your mind, your spirit. Love you so much that you are radiating that to others and the cycle continues. 

Surrounding yourself with people who live life with a wild passion is a non-negotiable... their contagious energy will rub off on you and make you want to do the same. And you too will want to spread your wings and seek new adventures in life. Be around those who want to make a difference and change the world.

f e e l i n g  b u t t e r f l i e s & your heart racing a mile a minute speaks volumes. Don't ignore something if it takes your breath away.

Getting 8 hours of sleep every night. It's what my body craves.. and what I need to be a functioning human being the next day- ask anyone who knows me.

Treating yourself. I believe in indulging:: get that massage you've been talking about for months,  go out to dinner with friends, soak up all that life has to offer- and most importantly, never skip the dessert.


I'm a more empathetic person because I've had my heart broken.  A lot. And there are moments when I want to guard that precious thing up forever because the thought of putting it back out there on the chopping block scares me more than anything, but that would be selfish. This heart of mine is pretty big.

Having the utmost integrity with my commitments and promises. And when I don't, I believe in owning it.


Making my bed every morning sets the tone for my day-- Only awake for 60 seconds and I've accomplished something?! BAM!  ((insert positive self talk)) What else can I do?

I believe in not washing my hair everyday.

Life is a balancing act. It's your job to keep it in check. It's okay to say no- people more than often respect you for your honesty and knowing what's best for you. This is something has taken time and practice for me to feel comfortable with.

In the power of being present. Giving others & yourself your undivided attention. Because nothing feels better than truly listening without having a million and one things going on in the back of your mind.


I am exactly where I need to be in this very moment, doing what I'm supposed to be doing & spending my time with the people who are going to teach me and love on me the most.

People want to know the real me. The vulnerable me. The one who isn't afraid to let people know that I'm scared shitless//hurt beyond belief //so genuinely happy. They want to see the authentic me.. just like how I want to see the authentic them. The person that they are when they tear their walls down and speak from a place of truth is so inspiring. That is what I want to see from others, so leading by example is crucial.

A handwritten note.

 

Celebrating the small victories. Have a great conversation at work? Accomplish a goal that you set for yourself?  Feel it-share it- celebrate it! Celebrations aren't just for big life accomplishments-- celebrate when you put yourself out there, when you learn something, when you have a breakthrough. Afterall, it's the little things that matter and add up so that big things are possible. When I shared with one of my friends that I didn't get a job that I applied for.. she reached out and gave me a high five! At first I thought to myself "Did she hear me say that I didn't get the job?".. and then she followed that high five with "That means something else is going to open up for you! Congrats girl!" Now that was truly powerful.. and absolutely worth the high five. 

And lastly.. I believe that..

There is no right, wrong, perfect or imperfect way for how we live our lives. Each day looks and feels different. Each day we have a new perception, a new heart, a new chance-- to be who we want to be in that very moment. We make choices that dictate which paths we take & sometimes we swerve and hit a bump in the road and other times we are cruisinnnn with the windows down and jams blasting. 

------

There is no guide to life. We will never know everything that we need to know. All we can do is believe and trust. 

What are your beliefs?? 

xx

Checkmate.

Failure. When I coach others or simply have casual conversations with my friends, I love to say that that failures and struggles in life are often what shapes us and pushes us to be the best people that we can be. I even tell them that failure can be looked at as “fun”, as often times it takes us down different paths that we may not have seen before. Hell, I also just got a tattoo of an arrow with my 3 best friends representing the power of choosing your direction and in order for the arrow to launch, it has to be pulled back, symbolizing the hardships that we have to go through in order to launch us into greatness.

I breathe this. I speak this. I believe this. It’s now inked on my body.

I am one of the most optimistic people when it comes to seeing the bright side of failures. And with that being said, I slipped away from my normal “silver lining” mentality.

Three weeks ago, I was getting ready for my best friend’s wedding rehearsal dinner when I was casually scrolling through my Facebook news feed, in between my beauty routine of hair & make up, basically procrastinating. I had a freak out moment when I saw that a team of people (who happen to be my virtual inspiration) was looking for an intern to join them and their mission. My jaw hit the floor. Was this the Universe sending me a message!? A few weeks prior to seeing this, I was manifesting an experience just like this and I didn’t have the courage to reach out—so this was my chance! I frantically gathered up my thoughts, put together an email & sent it before I had the chance to over analyze or be too critical of myself. I haven’t been this excited about an opportunity in a long time- and this was my time to put it all out there and speak on why I would be the perfect fit. 

A few weeks passed.

And in the end, I didn’t get the internship.

When I found out, I was sitting outside on a bench soaking up the beautiful sunlight, surrounded by all things positive, but I couldn't feel any of it. I chose to ignore those things and focus on the fact that I was sad and disappointed--> screw the sun, the palm trees and the beautiful people around me.  

My mind instantly went to that dark place. “Why was I not qualified enough?” “What am I missing?” “How is it that I KEEP putting myself out there… my feelings, my heart, my hard work and NOTHING is working out? In every single aspect of my life” … Yes, all of those things. I have never felt more shut down in a 6 month period. "Aren't doors supposed to open after multiple ones are slammed in my face?" Yes... not closed, slammed. I'm dramatic like that.

 

A few minutes later, I was lucky enough to be around someone who was able to shift me out of that negative space. She asked me “What is it that you were looking to get from this internship?” I thought about it.. and from that question, she made me realize that this was not the end all be all for me. What I need for myself, I can still seek out and get in other ways... even if I have to create it. She also asked me “What do you like to do when you’re not working?.. Do more of those things. Fill up your time with things that you love and with that, comes fulfillment and opportunity. And connect with others who have the same passions." She was there for a reason in that very moment. By asking me those questions, she didn't just tell me what I needed to hear, she had me tell myself. She helped me find the light, and I instantly felt like my head was in a better place. 

So I did just that. It’s been 24 hours and I’ve already put some things into action and writing is one of them. I had to sit with the negative feelings, the disappointment and the rejection on that bench. I had to be human and f e e l all of those feelings. 

This definitely won't be the last time that something doesn't work out for me.. and the real questions are: What am I going to do about it now? How am I going to live my life and make myself happy? That is the true test.


I am convinced that I'll be ready as soon as the next door opens.. 


xo  

Small Acts, Big Outcome

It's easy to take people for granted- half the time, we are too caught up in our own shit to realize that the people who we are surrounded by every day, those closest to us and even strangers that we pass on the street, might just need to be hugged 5 seconds longer, a note to cheer them up, a smile, a door held- something so small and insignificant to you, yet- it could change the outlook of their day. Give up that road rage--I mean damn,let the person with their blinker on in front of you over into your lane, because it's definitely not going to make you 5 minutes late to your meeting, even though it feels that way. Be k i n d.

kind·ness

ˈkīn(d)nis

/

noun

noun:

kindness

1. the quality of being friendly, generous and considerate. 

 

I've written briefly about this before- because it's so important to me & something that can easily turn into an effortless habit; a way of being that you spread to others. Being kind to the people who are in your life, loving you every single day. Being kind to those who cross your path. Being kind to strangers. Putting your phone down, looking UP & noticing your surroundings. These are all things that we are capable of. Why? Because we have choice.

The way that you treat other people also shines a little light on how you treat yourself. We can all be a little kinder in those regards.

I'll share a story. I was on my way to work last week- in a bit of a rush, as I usually am when I have the entire morning to cross things off my to-do list, go figure. I was sweating.. if I'm not 10 minutes early then in my mind, I'm late. There was a decent amount of traffic and I was hitting every red light imaginable. Did I mention that I HATE being late??

At one of the many red lights, I spotted books on top of the car's trunk in front of me. It looked like there was an elderly woman driving, who must have forgotten to grab the books before driving away. I went back & forth in my cluttered mind-- "Do I jump out, grab them and hand them to her? Will I freak her out? Will I make it in time? What if the light turns green and I'm not back in my car? Will the car behind me honk their horn--oh my gosh there is nothing that drives me crazier than loud horn honking"--Oh yes, all of those thoughts ran through my mind. I had no choice but to shut those voices off.

Of course the woman would want the books to be in her possession versus scattered all over Pico Blvd. And the voice inside my head was only wasting time. I quickly jumped out of my car, grabbed the books and handed them to the woman in the front seat, letting her know that those books were sitting on her trunk & I ran back to my car. She said absolutely nothing to me--and that's okay, she didn't have to. Did it change her life? Definitely not. But who knows where those books came from or the trouble that it would have caused her to purchase them again or even remember where she put them in the first place. Let's face it, we've all had those forgetful moments. It's even worse when it's coffee on the top of your car.

The point is, is that she got her belongings back. And that's all that mattered to me.

When I hear stories of kindness, I'm always inspired to do the same. How amazing would our world be if we all committed to one random act of kindness every day?? Please share your stories with me & let's make this world a better place.

xo, 

Alex 

Light Up

Just when you think you’re invisible.. and you can get away with heading straight to your room that hasn’t been touched in weeks, not make or return phone calls, live strictly inside your head-- BAM, you’re caught! Well, I was caught. Deep down, I knew that was not who I am, who I aspire to be or who I want to be known as.

It has come to my attention that I haven’t been showing up as myself to the people that I love and care about the most. Isn't this always the case though? You know from past experiences that your family and true friends will love and accept you even when you're the ugliest version of yourself. Still, that doesn’t make it fair to them, no matter what’s going on upstairs. 

It was so obvious to those people around me & now that I can look back, the time that I wanted for myself lingered a little bit too long. I needed to be told that I wasn’t being “me”. "Time's up! Look at what you're doing! I feel like I don't even know you anymore." 

My sister & my roommate specifically are great about being honest with me—God love them. Talk about disappointing others. I never ever want to hear my sister say that she feels like she doesn't know me, or feels like she can't reach out to me- ever again. I want to be the one that she calls at 2am when she has something that she needs to get off her chest & she knows that I'll listen, even if I'm in a deep sleep and have to wake up at 5am. I am that sister. I am that friend. But I wasn't being her.

And the light bulb went off, yet again. Every single day, people are counting on you. People look to you for the light.

You do matter.

Your presence, your energy, your laughter- just, you.

You bring so much to the table

and you don't even realize it.

You give people hope.

Even when you think no one notices you.

Every single day. People do care.

You are not alone.

We are all in this t o g e t h e r.

Figuring it out. One day at a time. 

Show up the way that you want others to show up for you.

I'm working on modeling the behavior that I also want to see out of others.. 

Xo, 

Alex

Mercury Is Retrograde

The past couple of weeks have been a serious time of reflection for me—and when I found out that mercury has been retrograde these past 4 days and will continue to be until the end of the month, I had an aha moment! No wonder! Turns out to be a perfect month for me to reflect on how I’ve been showing up, what I’m doing with my life (maybe this is a lifelong question for all of us) and who I want to be right now in this very moment. Mercury in retrograde can mean many things- and in this instance, for me personally, it means going back to the drawing board.

The biggest thing that came up for me: I need to focus on myself. I am my own priority. I need to do things for me and no one else. My roommate

Christina has been calling me out left and right- in a wonderful, loving way, might I add. The other night, I made the comment of not knowing how to open a bottle of wine & how I should probably learn how to do that one day in case I invite a friend of the opposite sex over for a glass and she totally nailed me—“You should probably just learn that because you will need to open one when you’re by yourself”. Did I seriously say that out loud?! I did. How embarrassing. And she was there to bring me back down to earth. We all need people like that in our lives.

I need those call outs in order to be the person that I want to be. We can't possibly see everything-- our perception of ourselves is sometimes the farthest thing from what other people see. I’ve also realized that life is a constant practice. In order to shift, I need to give myself time to focus on what I want and need.

I want to be a better writer. Well, that’s easy. I will only become a better writer if I write more. Write posts, write in my personal journal, write music.

I want to be confident with who I am and what I believe in. I will only become more confident when I put myself in situations that make me feel uncomfortable, like I want to crawl out of my own skin uncomfortable. I want to show up in every situation the same. I want to be me in every facet.  Not only when I’m around people that I’m related with.

I want to cook. A lot. And bake delicious treats for everyone who comes over! I want to be the housewife without the house, husband & kids (for now) and live in a space that everyone wants to be in when they think of a get together. That won’t happen just by me dreaming about it.

I want to be more creative in how I express myself. In my work, in my personal life, in my actual apartment. I need creative souls in my life… I crave it. Hell, it’s one of the reasons why I moved out here. A part of how I felt like I was expanding my creativity was through my blog and I’ve even lost touch of that the past few months. I also want to get behind a camera more, just for fun. And oh yeah, I want to dance. Full on express myself through my body. 

I want to put myself out there more. My feelings, my thoughts, my photos, my love. I’m tired of letting that little voice from my past stop me from doing exactly what I feel in that exact moment that has never existed before.

I want to continue to take adventures & discover new places. Preferably the spontaneous ones that open my eyes and make me feel even more alive than I ever thought possible.

I’m not just going to be all of these things that I want to be because I want them, I need to work on them ((..and not expect change to happen immediately)). Less thinking, more doing.

All of these things require me to be in tuned with my body and my feelings and be in practice every single day. And with this practice also comes patience, which I admittedly don’t have. I had the mindset of wanting things when I wanted them- with my apartment for example, I wanted to bite the bullet and purchase everything within the first month, just so I could feel settled and at ease. I didn't want to trust that I would eventually find everything that I needed. A mental shift was necessary. 

So, I asked myself this morning: “What are you doing today to practice what you want to achieve?” Today I am writing, cooking, expressing and trusting in the process.

Thank you, universe. 

 //

photo 1

//

My Ship Is Sailing

It has been months. Months since I've posted anything. During this time, I've been going through a lot of personal-life changes. Some that I've been afraid to write about because I wasn't sure what they even meant to me, and the thought of talking out my feelings with whoever happened to come across this page scared the shit out of me. Well, it's time to get vulnerable again and share a little piece of me to get this blog back in action! "Going through change" should be more of a reason to share, not one to hold me back. Enough with the excuses already..

I decided to leave my family (again), move across the country and BE. Just live and see where life takes me. You may be wondering.. well, why did you want to move out west? To put it simply, it's always been something that I've wanted and it's what I picture for myself in my vision. The culture, the lifestyle, the natural environment, the people-  I wanted the chance to soak it ALL in and let it inspire me every single day. The tough part was that my answer wasn't good enough for some people. They wanted facts, they wanted a plan, they wanted more of an explanation-- of course they ultimately wanted me to be happy, but be a little bit more strategic about what I was doing. I realized that me being happy is making these decisions based off my gut feelings & my instincts. No one can feel those but me.  I've made 3 very big life decisions based off of that "feeling" and it has lead me to some amazing things, people and most importantly, the self-discovery that I've been craving. I can't even imagine not being where I am today. It makes me believe in myself a little bit more, which is something that I am constantly working on.

My brother actually inspired me to write this post today. I was simply going to avoid writing until the New Year, when I was planning on re-vamping the look and the content of the blog, since I wanted to shift the direction a little bit-- but what for? Well, for my calculated mind and for the perfectionist in me. Yes, perfection... where you're afraid to put anything out there to the world that could be imperfect because you are afraid of being judged. In order to overcome this, I needed to practice self-compassion and embrace my imperfections. Which will always be a practice for me.

So back to my brother. I woke up to a text where he shared how much he loved me and thanked me for always looking to him as a brother and not a "step-brother". He ended it with "chase your dreams, because I know you will achieve them". My heart melted & my eyes swelled up with tears. My little brother who has never fully expressed his feelings to me just shared something that I have never heard from him before.  It completely set the tone for my day. I felt supported, loved and it gave me the push that I needed to write this. How easy is it to tell someone that we support them, we love them and we are behind them? SO easy. And SO powerful. Not only did he inspire me to tell a small portion of my story, but also share with some people in my life who are going though some changes that I believe in them and support them. If I can spread that love, it will make all the difference. If you take anything away from this post, I hope it's that.

Spread the love & chase your dreams…

Prevent Regret


This summer has been a time of deep exploration for me, both literally in my travels and figuratively through asking myself those tough life questions. What ARE my non-negotiables for me to live my best life and be my best self??

I have actually been dreading writing a new post since I've gotten so far away from it these past 2 months and I didn't want to be forced to write my feelings out in a public setting as I was still sorting through them. As much as I hope that I touch someone with things that I've realized and thought out, this really is a space for me to finally get it alllll out there and share (well, some of it).

Past regrets. These are things that I don't have and quite frankly don't believe in- and I'll tell you why. Every single situation that I've put myself in, good or bad, I've learned SO much from and can take something away from it and apply it to what I'm currently going though. The best thing that I could have done for myself even though it scared the shit out of me was to go to a college in New York City where I knew not one soul, besides the guys who friended me on myspace.. Oh yeah, I was one of those & I don't think I ever deleted that profile(...scary thought). Anyways, I remember the night before we took the 12 hour drive to Wagner College.. It feels like it was yesterday.. I never cried so hard in my life-based off of fear, not my sadness. I was leaving my family, my best friends, my comfort zone.. all to explore the absolute unknown. I knew that I wanted change and I'm so glad that I listened to my gut feeling & didn't bail out. I am 100% the person that I am today because I forced myself to be uncomfortable and go after what I wanted: New York accents, bright lights, a challenge, a different perspective on life & to live out my dreams.  Oh, and that guy that broke my heart over and over (and over) again- did it hurt? Hell yeah it hurt. Was it worth every single tear? At the time I definitely didn't think so and now I can say 'absolutely'. I learned so much about myself in the process.. & am continuing to do so. That is why I never regret what I choose to do, since this is what life is all about--learning & growing.

What I do regret, however,  are the things that I don't do & the chances that I don't take. I do believe in regret when I choose not to push myself, because I know that I gain so much when I do. I promise you I am getting to something here.. The past year I have been blessed with so much love, family, comfort & familiarity. Those were the things that I was looking for and I'm so happy that I had the chance to fill all of those needs, find my passions again, get back on the right track and now I can truly say that because I listened to what I needed, I am in a much better place and completely ready to start this next chapter of my life, knowing who I am, what I value & what I need to live my best life.

Things I will not compromise on: living a life filled with adventure & travel, surrounding myself with positive people who hold me accountable, honest relationships, creativity, yoga/meditation, quiet 'me' time, the water/mountains/sunshine on my face, FUN (in all shapes & sizes), being passionate in every aspect of my life, living a healthy/active lifestyle & feeling inspired by my surroundings.

As far as in a relationship.. that's an entirely different story and deserves it's own post. 

Stay tuned as my next adventure is still to be determined.. & in the works!!

Next stop, London with my bestest friends! T-one week!!


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Motivational Monday: For The First Time


I shouldn't even have to think twice about this quote, however, I've been sitting here racking my brain for a solid 5 minutes (which feels like an eternity when you're sitting in complete silence). Have I completely lost my sense of spontaneity so far this summer? With my schedule being crazy as it is, I love a mapped out routine and I'm just now realizing that maybe sticking to my routine isn't really doing me any huge favors. Sure, it's great to feel organized.. & what I'm trying to figure out now is how can I be organized and expand my horizons on a whim all at the same time? Any tips??

I'll be working on changing my outlook this month. I am going to accomplish many firsts, so stay tuned. Something that I too need to remember is that when we are pushing our limits and boundaries, we find out what we are truly capable of and so much confidence is gained in those moments.

When was the last time that you had a new experience? No experience is too big or small. I personally don't feel that I can count jumping into my pool for the first time this summer since it really didn't mean that much to me...but who's to say that didn't mean something more to you?

Hope you had a great 4th of July weekend! 

Here's to more firsts in our lives :) 

Alex 



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Got Wood?

So I have this furniture obsession: Reclaimed wood.

When I eventually move into my own place, my goal is to try and find as many reclaimed pieces as possible. Purchasing or making furniture out of reclaimed wood is not only helping preserve our natural resources & freeing up space in our landfills, but it's a special piece of furniture that is unique to you- no two pieces can be identical. Sounds like something worth investing in if you ask me. Until then, I'm going to keep saving since I'm going to need it :)

And dreaming...









If only I had the skill (okay, let's be honest.. patience) to build these things myself!


Alex



My Summer Solstice: White Sheets & Ice Cream


White sheets and ice cream does not sound as sexy as you think it might be- trust me.. did I also mention a swollen face and ice packs wrapped around my head in little boy boxers?? Well, if you think that sounds fun then come on over :)

It's the longest day of the year and I'm so sad to report that I will be spending this INCREDIBLE day inside, resting and fighting off horrible mouth pain. I had the luxury of getting my wisdom teeth removed a couple of days ago and when I tried to sit outside today, I could only stand the heat for about 20 minutes before I left lightheaded and dizzy. It's times like these where I am so incredibly thankful for my health. I am lucky that there is end in sight for all of this pain that I'm feeling, whereas some people do not know how long they are going to be fighting their health battles for.

Being down and forcing myself to rest these past few days gave me such a different perspective on life. I am so grateful that I am able to wake up early, spend time in nature, enjoy time with my family and friends and work on my feet all day, because there are people out there who don't have those everyday enjoyments that I call my "routine". It also forced me to take a step back and think about all of the things that I can do to live my life healthier. Not putting things off when it comes to my health is something that I really need to take ownership of. It's really not rocket science-- you only have one body, how are you going to treat it??

So please, tell me what you're up to on the longest day of the year?! I want to live vicariously through you today :)

I'll eat some ice cream for you if you do something outside for me.

Deal??


Alex



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Nature's Best Substance



The oil that once had a bad rep in the 1970s is back & better than ever! There were many myths surrounding coconut oil, that have now been proven false. After doing my research & testing it out for myself, I can confidently say that I have found my new favorite go-to, multipurpose health & beauty product! It's such a simple way to receive so many health benefits. I have a small mason jar of coconut oil that I keep in my bathroom and the big jar stays in my kitchen!

Let me break down the benefits & uses for you:

Benefits: 
  • Helps our bodies resist viruses, fight off yeast/fungus
  • Positively affects hormones for thyroid & blood sugar control 
  • Increases metabolism, energy & digestion 
  • Maintaining cholesterol levels
  • Positive antioxidant properties
  • Stress reliever 
  • Amazing moisturizer & vitamin E for hair & skin 
Uses: (Keep in mind, there are over 300 uses.. here is what I've tried and love!)
  • Cooking
    • Great oil to cook with high heat 
    • Add 1 tbs to your smoothies for an energy boost
    • Use as an alternative to butter in a frying pan (stir fry, eggs, grilled cheese, whatever it is that you fry up!) 
    • Add spoon to coffee for a coffee creamer
    • Substitute for vegetable oil when baking
  • Beauty
    • Shaving lotion--will make your legs silky smooth after your shave
    • Make up remover-- not only will your make up be gone, but your eyelashes will love the nutrients
    • Moisturizer for e v e r y t h i n g-- face & body (make sure you put a light amount on your face) 
    • Tanning oil--light amount, after you apply SPF of course
    • Apply to cuticles to help nail growth
    • Massage oil--not too greasy & smells fabulous 
    • Mixed with sugar for body/face/feet scrubs (recipe coming soon!) 
    • Leave-in conditioner--I highly recommend you put a light amount on your ends and rub your hands through your hair. Put in a bun, sleep & rinse off in the morning. I once had a bad experience when I decided to generously cover my head & scalp with the oil while I was sitting in the sun, knowing that I had an event to go to that evening. Let's just say that one shampoo did not get all of the oil out of my hair & I didn't realize it until I was drying it.  Even though it wasn't very noticeable to other people (or so they told me), I felt like my hair looked WET from all of the oil that I put in! Don't be afraid to use it, just be sure to use it sparingly :) My hair was soft & shined beautifully for days!
  • Other 
    • Rub on skin to help heal bruising
    • Helps sooth psoriasis or eczema
    • Helps speed of healing sunburn 
    • Natural bug repellent when mixed with rosemary or mint essential oils
    • Reduces itch of bug bites

I would like to stress the importance of purchasing organic extra virgin coconut oil, just as I would highly recommend organic strawberries vs conventional. The less pesticides/chemicals/fertilizers used in the process, the better your for body and the environment.  There are many other versions popping up that have been chemically altered, so always look for the organic label!

What is your favorite way to use coconut oil??


Alex


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Motivational Monday: Love Yourself


"I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line." 
--Lucille Ball 

Throughout several conversations that I've had these past few days, I've had a huge realization & this quote couldn't have come my way at a more perfect time. I'm someone who takes a lot on, both physically and emotionally. Sometimes I think I'm superwoman & I can handle whatever the world throws at me, my family & my friends...plus more. I had a bit of a breakdown yesterday and one simple line that my friend told me really stuck with me. She said: "Alex, take care of yourself." Wow. Lightbulb moment! Such a simple concept, yet something that is not always remembered or even valued. How can I be that great daughter, sister, friend, teammate & employee if I'm not taking care of myself? The answer is that I absolutely can not be that amazing person that I want to be if I don't make myself a priority as well. 

Taking care of yourself looks differently for different people. For me, I need to focus on things that feed my mind, body & soul. As much as I love social interactions and maintaining the close relationships that I love, I need my alone time which I haven't been giving myself lately. I'm giving myself alone time today by writing this blog post, taking some time before I go to sleep to read a book that I've been crawling through (and not because I don't like it) and getting 8 hours of sleep. If you have seen my eyes today, you would most definitely agree that sleep is much needed!

There is enough time in the day to do something for you. All that you have to do is make the conscious effort to do so :) 

Take care of yourself. You deserve it. 
Alex 


Motivational Monday: Comparison Kills


..And your past self & your "ideal" self.

Let's cut to the chase, comparing is very easy to do- with our coworkers, family members, friends, celebrities and even ourselves. 

A few things to keep in mind: 

The grass is not always greener on the other side, for everyone is living out their own path- making mistakes and celebrating victories in their own way. Even though something may appear to be sunshine & roses, you never know what else in going on in that persons life. No one is living a "perfect" life, because everyone's idea of a perfect life is different.

Instead of looking at others, point the finger at yourself. What do YOU want? What can you do to be the best person that you can be? Are you taking care of yourself? Are you listening to yourself? Are you taking the necessary steps that you need to take in order to get you to your goals? 

Don't forget to give yourself some credit. You are a different person than you were as much as 5 years ago and even yesterday. Every experience and encounter that you've had has made you the person that you are today, so don't limit yourself or live in fear based off of your past or what used to be true.

My challenge for you is to take mental notes this week of how often you are comparing on a daily basis. Once you're aware at how often you compare, you can also begin to realize why it's not doing you ANY good whatsoever & then you can start changing the way that you think.

Have the happiest of Mondays :)

All the best!
Alex


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Motivational Monday: Just Breathe


Although this is a space for me to share things that inspire me and lift me up, I also want to share that I DO have real issues and human feelings. No, I am not always shitting rainbows even though I want to be.

There were a few days last week that I was feeling off & not normal happy Alex. During those days, I was totally getting down on myself for feeling this way. Things that I said to myself: "Why are you feeling this way? You're supposed to be happy & have lots of energy! People only like it when you're positive" (yes, I was totally making things up in my head, which I need to stop doing) I think the worst part was that this feeling lasted a couple of days, and I couldn't figure out why. It was extremely frustrating for me. At least if I could pinpoint the issue, I could try and make changes for myself. But nope, it was just a time period when I wanted to be alone.

Looking back, I now know & accept that it's okay to have one bad day (or 2 in my case). What matters the most is that you realize that it's just a day in your life, no matter what the cause is. What can you do to make yourself feel better?? I needed a few good nights of sleep & some ice cream. After that, I made the choice to move on with my life, and it worked!

Look for the light at the end of the tunnel,
Alex

v i s i o n ary

Have you ever taken the time to sit down and think about what you actually want for yourself in 10 years? Or.. have you ever thought to yourself "I totally want to own my own restaurant someday".. and then 5 years later, realize that you haven't done anything to get yourself to that goal? There's something to be said for having a vision, but there is even something more to be said for writing that vision down, reading it over and over and sharing with those who can support you and hold you accountable for living the life that you need to live in order to get to your vision.

A year ago, I had zero clue what I wanted for lunch that day much less what I wanted for my life 10 years ahead. I was one of those people who said "I don't have a vision. How can I have a vision when I'm so unsure of what I'm doing now?" Well, I am going to call bullshit on my old thoughts. I realized that I was in an unhappy place, doing things because they were "expected" of me & not really doing things that were fulfilling my passions. I knew that I needed to make a change for myself, because I was simply going through the motions & not working on anything to make myself happy or fulfilled. Deep down we all know what we really want, but how do we get that out of ourselves? How do we challenge ourselves to discover that vision, articulate it and build on it? The answer is simple. Set aside some time to yourself to meditate and journal. If it's that impossible to think about what you DO want your life in ten years to look like.. focus on what you DON'T want for yourself. For some people, it's easier to focus on the negatives first, make that distinction and then from that, focus on the positive things. Forget about what society thinks you should do, your parents, your best friends--What gets you excited? What inspires you? Who do you want to be? Where do you want to truly go? The law of attraction is a beautiful thing.


Another amazing tool to get you thinking about your future is by making a vision board, which was introduced to me in my latest goal-setting course by Susanne Conrad. Check out Bettyvision, an online community that supports you to living out your vision. On Bettyvision you can create online vision boards for whatever you'd like and share them with your friends, family and the Bettyvision community. I am definitely a visual person, so I had such a blast doing this! Taking the time to put pictures to the images in my head was such a cool experience. This tool helped me re-write my vision and focus on specific details for what I want my life to look like. You can take a look at my 10 year vision in picture form on Bettyvision: here.

After I made my vision board, I took some time to re-write my vision. As scary as it is, I would love to share this with you. Your vision can look anyway you would like- a moment in time, an experience, a day in the life or just a wordstream of what you want. Do whatever you want to make it completely yours. Mine just so happens to be lengthy & specific.


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It’s 2023 and I’m looking out at the water during my favorite part of the day, sunset, & reflecting on how blessed I am. I am a loving wife, mother, daughter, sister & friend. I feel peace, love and gratitude every single morning when I wake up to the soft, natural sunlight in my gorgeous, inviting bedroom. My family means the absolute world to me. My husband is someone who not only lifts me up and makes me laugh, but also challenges me to be the best person that I can be every single day. We are a true team: communicating effectively, loving each other passionately and unconditionally, showing our appreciation for each other & giving each other our own space to pursue our passions, mine being blogging on Honestly Simple. We instill the importance of a healthy mind & body to our twins: having a family & individual goal boards displayed in our kitchen, spending our weekend afternoons outside doing yoga/riding bikes/water sports together & having family game/movie nights. Our home is something that my husband and I have put a lot of thought and creativity into. We renovated a house that’s within walking distance to the beach and we completely made it our own using as many green products & appliances as we could—original hardwood flooring, exposed brick, a modern/clean/open kitchen and unique art pieces on the walls mixed in with photographs that I have taken of the family. We also take one family vacation a year to someplace new & my husband and I also take a vacation together once a year to get quality time together, have fun and truly relax. Showing our children different cultures and exposing them to the world is something that we value.



I am a creator, a teacher and a helper. I am in an area management role for lululemon athletica, focusing on people development and community relationships. I travel to different stores one week out of the month to train store managers & leadership teams on effective communication, recruiting, developing a powerful vision, living out their goals and how to spread that to their community through their events and their everyday floor shifts. I enjoy building and nurturing those relationships that I have with my teammates, members of other teams that I interact with & people out in the community. I truly love all aspects of my job: the culture, living the lifestyle & how I never stop learning and developing myself.



I am healthy, active & my smile lights up a room. I love to cook my family healthy, homemade, organic meals and juice 4 times a week. We take a trip to a farmers market at least once a week to support our local farmers & vendors. Yoga is very much apart of my life and getting in at least 4 sweats a week in with my family, teammates & friends is something that I make time for and is completely doable with my work/life balance.



I am radiant. I feel complete. I am my true, authentic self. 


Thank you for taking the time to read my vision. Now what are you waiting for?? What's stopping you from living your best life?? Go and write yours! And don't forget to share, share, share (I'd love to see yours!). Allow yourself to be vulnerable. You never know who you are impacting or inspiring.

Oh yeah, something else to keep in mind-- your vision is something that can always change, because it's YOURS. Mine changed after 6 months and I'm sure at the end of this year it will change again. I'll be excited to look back and see my thought progression.


Dream on, 

Alex

Motivational Monday: Collect Moments, Not Things


We live in a time where material things are placed at the top of the priority list. We are all brainwashed to think that we will absolutely not be able to go on if we don't get the new iPhone the 1st day that it drops.. among many other things. This could be part of the reason why the divorce rate is so high today, because a lot of us think that the next best thing is right around the corner. As much as I'd like to give you my thoughts on that subject..it's an entirely different topic, so lets stick to these "moments", shall we?

I'm headed back to New York for a short visit on Wednesday and I couldn't be more excited to take in the chaotic (yet peaceful) atmosphere of the city and thoroughly enjoy the company of my best friends and family.  

Being fully present and soaking in all that life has to offer, beyond the material things, is what this post is all about. Take some time this week to fully appreciate the nature around you. Cherish the moments that you get to spend with the family that you only see twice a year, appreciate the time that you have with the friend who means so much to you and last but certainly not least, embrace the little bit of time that you have to yourself.

Feeling extremely grateful for all of these incredible moments that I have to look back on, both good and bad. 

Alex



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Bronze & Protect Your Skin

The weather is getting warmer, you're smelling the fresh cut grass and your clothes are coming off. Whether you'll be sitting by a lake on the east coast, beaching it up on the west coast or hanging out in your backyard in the mid-west (hell yes), you're going to want to keep a few things in mind as it starts to get warmer:
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime
  • Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer for males and seventh most common for females
  • This is a weird one to think about.. the outer layer of skin is thinner than Saran Wrap, so you really need to protect it 
  • The skin is also the body's largest organ
  • Skin is gender sensitive. Women's skin is thinner and less oily than men's skin
  • Your eyelids have the thinnest skin, so protect those babies! 
  • Good news: Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium for strong, healthy bones-- so it is necessary to get some
  • Between 5-30 minutes of sun exposure between 10am-3pm at least twice a week without sunscreen is sufficient to meet our Vitamin D needs 
  • The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all kids wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 (and I'm recommending this to all adults) 
  • And last but not least, the more SPF that you wear now, the less wrinkles you'll have later on in life




This is not supposed to be a debbie downer post.. just informative. I am a huge believer of the sun, but I also have to be careful and watch for melanoma. I sat outside today for 5 minutes the other day and my face got red.. it kind of scared me and reminded me how important it was to apply SPF, even if I'm not trying to "tan". A couple of my family members have had to have skin cancer removed from their bodies and it only makes me that much more aware of mine. Being mindful & informed are both wonderful things :)
 
Now go on and get some sun you hot babe!


Alex 



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Motivational Monday: Haters Gonna Hate, Potatoes Gonna Potate


This concept took me a while to not only understand, but implement. I am someone who cares and puts a lot of thought into what other people think about me.. and I'm starting to realize that I have created a lot of stories behind what I thought people were thinking about me.. "He probably thinks I'm stupid for saying that", "She probably hates my shirt that she just stared at for 5 seconds". I've also let peoples comments bother me and doubt myself, specifically about my choice to move back home and leave NYC.. so you get it, we've all been there and wasted a lot of time in our lives feeling down and/or insignificant. What I'm realizing is that we have the power to decide how we feel every second of every day.. & it's a pretty amazing concept if you think about it. We are all responsible for how we feel and how we let other peoples words & actions dictate our mindset.

You know what else is cool? We are ALL trying to figure our lives out these days.. our purpose, our dreams, what path to take, etc. No one is perfect and has everything figured out for themselves, no matter what they try to say. And most importantly, no one has a right to make you feel bad or doubt yourself and if they do, be confident enough to not let it sink in.

Remember, what other people say about you is their reality, not yours.  

Live confidently & don't forget to smile. 

Alex