Sometimes You Just Need To Get Away

Sometimes You Just Need To Get Away

It was like lying in a great solemn cathedral, far vaster and more beautiful than any built by the hand of man - President Theodore Roosevelt


Yosemite National Park in January has an average high in the 40s and an average low in the 20s. For a southern California resident, that's cold. Options for accommodations within the park include hotels, cabins, and tents. There are nice canvas tents with heaters, we didn't stay in those. Unheated tents were available and cheap - so we figured we could survive. 

I'm usually a fair weather girl. Not too hot, not too cold. So "glamping" in Yosemite, in January, without a heater at night wasn't in my comfort zone. 

The first night we arrived after dark. It was very cold and there wasn't much to see except canvas tents, a diner that served pizza, and the front desk. As we settled into our sleeping bags that first night, I tried to stay strong in the cold. Unfortunately my sleeping bag had other plans,  it was only meant to be used in the warmer climate zones. After 20 minutes I folded and decided to crawl into my boyfriend's sleeping bag in hopes of staying warm from his body heat. We shared a twin bed. 

The next morning I awoke sore, stiff, and cold. Stepping out of the tent, in the daylight, I was able to see the sheer granite rock rise into the sky just beyond our campground. Mist hung close to the ground while the sky above was bright blue. The fresh snow rested delicately against the granite faces, a contrast to the ancient goliaths. It was breathtaking.  

The night of peril seemed to melt away in my mind. My heart sang as I spent the day in nature. Seeing the majestic beauty and breathing the fresh air, whatever I had brought with me from home seemed to be lost. 

Yosemite like this - without the tourists - is quiet, calm, and a sight beyond what the summer sun can reveal. 

At home I had felt numb, stuck in a routine of moderate stress and to-do lists. Here I felt truly alive both in the physical cold and the brightness of my heart and mind. 

Neale Donald Walsch once said, "Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone". About a month ago I had heard it in a yoga class. This trip made me feel alive again. Surely out of my comfort zone, I awoke to the plentiful beauty around. 

Yosemite is a magical place. John Muir described it as "Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike". Every once in a while, we all need to get away and visit a place that gives our soul strength - to feel renewed, refreshed, and reawakened. Yosemite is my place, what is yours?

This Year I Resolve Not To Worry

This Year I Resolve Not To Worry

Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration, and resentment.

- Dale Carnegie


I'm a worrier. Always have been. Suppose it comes with the territory of being a perfectionist. I worry I'll forget the third item on my to-do list. I worry I won't have time to run that errand. I worry that despite my best efforts, the project won't turn out the way I hoped. I worry that I won't accomplish my goals. Why do I worry? Honestly, I don't know. 

A deadline has never been missed and I have never failed something I put my mind to. It's not others' expectations I anguish about, it's the expectations I put on myself. 

Reflecting on not just the past year, but my whole life, I realize that my every worry and stress has been futile. Life has always worked out one way or another. Every crummy event that has happened opened the doors to 10 favorable ones.

The worrying does come with benefits. It drives me to work hard enough so the consequence I'm concerned about never happens. It allows me to mentally prepare for the worst, which is sometimes inevitable. 

My new year's resolution is to drive forward for the best possible outcome instead of running away from the worst. I need to trust that life has a method to the madness, and my microscopic self-doubt won't influence the end result.  

Letting myself be free from the burden of worrying will make room for better things - like cuddling with my cats, working on my blog, and studying for the GMAT. 

I can't promise myself I won't worry at all, this only creates another rigid expectation. I resolve to worry less and enjoy more. To be happy with what is in front of me instead of anxious about some rare event. 

I resolve to let gratitude and love consume my mental capacity in 2016. 



My First Thanksgiving

My First Thanksgiving

Well, not my first Thanksgiving, but my first Thanksgiving away from home. 


Every year, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on what we are thankful for. Although I do attempt to practice gratitude every day, I’m not perfect. I still get frustrated about life, complain, and have moments where I struggle to stay positive. The truth is that I am very lucky to have a roof over my head and food to cook all day long. I have plenty to the thankful for, but this year my gratitude went out to:

My family and friends for their constant support.

My health and strength (both mentally and physically). 

My cat – for constantly reminding me that living in the present is the cat’s meow. 



The Recipes

I love to cook, so this was a perfect opportunity to pick out recipes, buy the long list of ingredients, and wear my apron all day while I created my first Thanksgiving dinner. 


Recipe #1: Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Just like the traditional, but vegan style. Boil those bad boys then throw them in the Vitamix. Add in 3/4 cup of coconut milk, salt, pepper, and thyme then blend them up. BOOM. 


Recipe #2: Green and White Bean Saute

Boil then saute green beans. Add in a can of drained cannellini beans. Cover with some amazing sauce made from dijon mustard, nutritional yeast, lemon, and olive oil. 


Recipe #3: Roasted Veggies

I made a ton of roasted veggies, which are great for leftovers. Brussel sprouts, carrots, and acorn squash all colorful and delicious. Simply tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper then cooked at 400° F for about 40 minutes.


Recipe #4: Creamed Kale

This was my big experimental dish because I have never been a fan of the old fashioned “creamed spinach”. I sauteed onion in nutmeg, then added chopped kale until slightly wilted.


Poured in some cashew cream (1.5 cups of cashews blended with 2 cups of water). Turned out to be delicious and so easy to make! The hardest part was finely chopping an entire bowl of kale. 


Recipe #5: Turkey Breast

This one was for the man (aka Dishwasher). I figured because the rest of dinner was vegan, I would cook this for him although I wouldn’t be partaking in eating it. After rinsing off the raw bird, I rubbed it down with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Next I threw it in the oven at 450°F to start then reduced to 350°F. Took about 90 minutes to roast and become golden. 


Origin of the Food

Most of the vegetables were purchased at the local farmers market and the rest was picked out at Trader Joe’s. 


The Meal

We enjoyed plenty of wine and food! Will be eating this meal all weekend. 

Dessert was a vegan pumpkin pie from Native Foods Cafe


That’s a wrap!

P.S. – Dishwashing credit goes out to this guy. 

Everything Was Falling Into Place, And Then...

Everything Was Falling Into Place, And Then...

Graduated from a great school with honors, check. Landed a job after graduation, check. Top athletic shape of my life, check. Upon graduating college, I felt like I was setting myself up to be exceptional in post-grad life. Working hard in school, getting a well paying job, and to top it off – I could do actual burpees. Everything was falling into place.

Two weeks after I started my job, I was rear ended at a stoplight by a car going 40 mph. My car launched into the car in front of me, who hit the car in front of them, who hit the car in front of them. My airbag went off and my car was totalled. Luckily, I walked away from the car but had no inclination of the damage that had been inflicted on my body.

It’s been over a year now since the accident. As this year has passed I’ve been able to reflect on how I have changed since. Before the accident, I moved about 80 mph. Yoga, school, work, friends, sleep…and it worked for me. I would organize my time based on my priorities and move from one activity to the next as efficiently as possible. Everything was round and fit in their respective round holes.

The accident changed all of that. In the beginning, I couldn’t sit in a chair for more than an hour. Sometimes I cried in the bathroom at work due to the pain. I couldn’t drive a car for more than 20 minutes due to the combination of pain and anxiety. Chiropractor appointments were 3x per week and physical therapy was 2x per week. This was my life as a new college grad. Not your typical “days of freedom”.

Over the months, my health did improve. My body healed very slowly but surely. It was the hardest year of my life, but with challenge comes change. Below are 5 lessons I walked away with.


1. Rest

Your body needs rest. Even if you don’t think you do, even if you think you can fit in a workout today – rest. When you have been in a traumatic accident, your body needs rest to recover. Stop pushing yourself and listen to what your body is trying to say.


2. Acceptance

Things change and so does your life. If you cannot except that being injured is your everyday, that recovery is part of the deal, or that this accident may spill into and affect other areas of your life, it’s very hard to let it go. You must deal with that you have instead of focusing on what you wish it would be.


3. Find New Hobbies

Pre-accident, my main hobby was working out. Yoga, cardio, weights, hiking, you name it and I was onboard. Being injured immediately took away that huge part of my life. Hours that used to be devoted to getting my sweat on were now empty. I learned to develop new hobbies, like writing.


4. Get Back On The Horse

Even now driving a car sends waves of anxiety through me and tightens up my neck. However, today was better than yesterday which was better than the day before. One day I know I’ll be able to drive without thinking about the accident.


5. Appreciate

Pre-accident I placed a high amount of importance on my physical body. Being a perfectionist who once had an eating disorder will do that to a person. I know I’m smart, funny, kind, and loving but at the time I thought being in great shape was what defined me.


Since the accident, my views have shifted. I take more time to cultivate meaningful friendships and place more importance on those connections. I take great pride in my intellectual capabilities and love how much I am able to contribute at work. I take more time to show my love and be present with my boyfriend. I am grateful for so much more now than just the vessel that is my body. I strive every day to let myself be silly, show my love for others, and be vulnerable in ways that I couldn’t pre-accident.

I’m still healing and trying to make sense of what happened. Although the past year has changed me from the inside out, I’m glad the accident happened. It taught me to rest, accept, pick up new hobbies, overcome my fears, and be grateful for the little things.

Through this process I have also switched jobs twice. One thing I definitely don’t waste any more is my time. I’ve learned it’s too precious to not genuinely love what you are doing and whom you spend your time with.

This post is dedicated to all those who have helped me, been there for me, listened to me complain about my neck, and love me for who I am. Without you, this struggle would have been much harder. I’m forever grateful.

5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Life

5 Ways To Spring Clean Your Life

Now that spring is here, it’s time to clean up. Here’s the five best places to start.


Winter is finally over. The cold is slowly becoming a distant memory. It’s time to break out the floral patterns and pastels, because spring is in the air.

Spring is often seen as a new beginning; a time to make a fresh start as you peel away the winter layers, both physically and metaphorically. When we let go of the things that no longer serve us in the present moment—whether it’s your bulky winter coat or a toxic friendship—we make room for new opportunities, new experiences, and new growth.

Here are five ways you can begin spring cleaning your life today:



When your desk, room, apartment, or house is dirty, it’s hard to focus on anything else, so cleaning your space is essential to clearing space in your life. If you are not naturally a clean freak, try this: Make it a goal to clean one “zone” per week. Start with something small like your desk, then move on to your kitchen, living room, bedroom, and then the big finale: your closet.

Throw away knick-knacks, old papers, and take-out menus you haven’t used in ages; pack bags of clothes to give to Goodwill; and sell those things you haven’t used in six months. For important documents, create a filing system—using a binder, folder, or box—where you keep all of your important stuff.

When it comes to your closet, realistically ask yourself what you wear and what you don’t. Separate your closet items into winter and summer wardrobes—then, store away the wardrobe not in season.

Once you have cleaned your space, take note of what you have accomplished. How do you feel? Write it down and put it somewhere you’ll see it (inside your closet perhaps) to remember how great you feel with less.



Your body is a temple. Treat it as such. How you feel physicallymentally, and emotionally is a direct result of what you put into and how you treat this vessel through which you inhabit the earth.

Many think that the key to health is just exercise. Wrong. Exercise is necessary, but the single most important factor of good health (and a healthy waistline) is the food you eat. As you work to spring clean your life, make an effort to clean your body, too. Stop eating processed food. Prep clean meals for the week ahead of time. And, when you do eat out, ensure that half of your plate is vegetables.

It’s also important to move every day, even if you aren’t big on exercise. Moving your body cleanses and circulates fresh blood all over the body. If you are the gung-ho type and already exercise 6-7 days per week, work on taking an extra rest day. Taking time to rest is just as important as working out, so your muscles have an opportunity to recover. This also prevents extra stress on the body, which can cause injury or a weakened immune system.



At one point or another, we have all been in a relationship that we know deep down is not healthy for us. Whether it’s a friendship, a romantic relationship, or the relationship we have with ourselves, it’s not uncommon to find yourself nurturing relationships that bring more harm than good.

If you have a toxic friend, now is the time to begin distancing yourself. Sit down and have a conversation with them; be honest about the situation. Let them know how you feel and why you will be pulling away. (This might give them a chance to look at their own behavior and “spring clean” their life as well.)

An unhealthy romantic relationship takes a toll on all areas of our life. No more excuses. End it and take care of yourself the way you deserve to be treated. This is no easy task, but ask yourself what it is that will ultimately make you happy? Do you need time and space to learn more about yourself? Time to focus on your own goals and needs? Time to learn to love yourself before needing someone else to love you? We are all worthy of unconditional love.

Often, we are our own biggest critics. It’s that voice in your head saying “you’re not good enough”, “you’re not pretty enough”, or “you’re not smart enough” that we tend to listen to the most. Spring-cleaning your life is your opportunity to throw those messages into the trash. Work on cultivating new mantras to repeat to yourself, such as: “I am able”, “I am strong”, “I am kind”. These affirmations will bring your focus back to your inner strength, ability, and light.



Are you pursuing your passion at a job you love? Spring is the perfect opportunity to reassess your career and make sure you’re putting in time for work you love. If not, you have a few options in your search for something new. Start looking for what else may be out there. Do some research, attend some events, and begin reaching out through your network to get connected.

If leaving your job is not an option, find a way to do what you love outside of work. Start a side hustle, volunteer, or schedule a weekly meeting with yourself to work on a passion project or do something completely unrelated to work. This will also give you an opportunity to explore new interests and learn more about yourself.



Every once in awhile, take time to slow down and reassess how you feel about your life as a whole—where are you now and where do you want to be? If possible, set aside one day a week to practice being present. What does this mean? Turn of your phone, your computer, and your TV. Maybe start meditating once a week or if you’re ambitious, once a day.

Write down three things you are grateful for in the morning, and refer back to them when your mind wanders to your to-do list. Try to let go of anything you have planned for the future or anything that’s happened in the past. At the end of the day, take note of how you feel, and set new goals to help you practice mindfulness every day of your life.

* * *

If you’re hoping to spring clean your life, you can tackle all five areas or take your time through one area at a time—or only focus on the areas that need spring cleaning!

This Spring, take note of what doesn’t serve you in this season of your life, and clear the clutter. You will feel renewed, happier, and healthier by making room for good to come in.


This post originally appeared on Career Contessa.