3 Reasons to Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

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I faced a few of my darkest fears the other day: Alligators, snakes, and dark, murky water. I’ve always categorized my fears with the unknown. I’ve had millions of nightmares that had to do with falling or being forced to get into water that I was unfamiliar with and had no idea what could be lurking under the surface.

That’s where alligators and snakes come in. I’m an animal lover, and anyone who knows anything about me would tell you so, too. BUT, when it comes to creatures in water that can “surprise” me (unwelcome touching or biting), I just shiver with fear. I told my husband yesterday as we arrived to Cypress Gardens- in Moncks Corner, SC- (known for its swampy preserve harboring alligators and venomous snakes) that I would be much more comfortable in a lion’s presence than that of gators and snakes. With a lion I know what it is capable of, and I can see it coming for me. They’re also beautiful and majestic and incredible animals. There is nothing beautiful about creepy reptiles.

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Yet, I found myself getting into a row boat subjecting myself to this crippling fear I’ve been restricted by my whole life. And do you want to know why? Because this is where Noah took Allie in The Notebook, weaving around cypress trees and swans. That’s it. That was my motivation to not only step outside my comfort zone,  but to leap into danger (they didn’t even make me sign a waiver or wear a lifejacket). The lady told me not to jab an alligator with my paddle if one came up to the boat. Um… of course I will not entice a 16 foot American Alligator to eat me. She chuckled at my facial expression and pushed us away from the dock telling us to stick to the route outlined with little wooden arrows on the trees.

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A half hour and about 83 mini-heart attacks later, we paddled back to the dock and I stepped out of the boat… ALIVE. No gators messed with me, and even though an arrow was missing in one area and we ended up in a “DO NOT ENTER” territory, I was not eaten alive! I want to thank Nicholas Sparks, Noah and Allie for indirectly giving me inspiration to face my fears and ultimately become a new person. The old Ayla held onto fears, avoiding any discomfort at all costs. New Ayla wants to look for anything and everything that has held me back up until now. I won’t be walking down any dark alleys anytime soon, but maybe I’ll go deeper in the ocean next time I’m there… or squash the spider myself instead of dragging hubby into the room. I feel reborn and I’m here to tell you that YOU should face your fears, and this is why:

1. You’ll have a story to tell.

No one wants to hear about how you passed up the boat ride and waited for the others to come back. Or how you went on a trip and just went shopping. DO SOMETHING & share it with others. If you’re a writer like me, your journal will be a lot more entertaining, too.

2. You’ll branch out more often.

All of a sudden you’ll be bored of always taking the easy way out. You’ll crave that kick of adrenaline and maybe you’ll be bungee jumping off bridges, or joining the peace corps. Do what feels right, man.

3. You can’t be a new person by staying the same.

Life is ultimately about change. What types of changes you’ve made through the years, how you handled them, how you changed the change. We are capable of so much more than we allow ourselves to believe. Always evolving, our minds and bodies crave change. Instead of waiting for change to happen to you, make the choice to change in a good way. Become the person you’ve always dreamed of. Try new things, learn new perspectives, jump out of an airplane if you’re afraid of heights. Life is too short to limit yourself to ordinary.

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“Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears.” -Arthur Koestler

 

 

21 Ways to Thrive in a Structured Society

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I’ve been thinking a lot about the “American Dream.” More specifically, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I don’t want the “American Dream.”

I don’t want to work my fingers to the bone doing what society tells me to do.

Its easy to get caught up in this whirlwind of what our lives should look like. We should pay thousands of dollars for a degree to get jobs that don’t exist. We can’t get married before we graduate college but you better be married by the time you’re 30, so don’t miss your window. You have to get high paying careers before you make the decision to have children whom you will battle every day to spend quality time with, but you’re just too tired or stressed. You better spend your weekends making every minute count before Monday comes. Eat, drink, drown your sorrows & before you know it, the kids are grown and gone. You have a spouse who you barely know because you spent years spreading yourself too thin and running through life like zombies. Then you die…?

All the while, you’ve been scrimping and saving money, because that’s what you’re going to think about on your death bed, right? Or how you missed out on gaining experiences because you were too busy gaining money? How you took overtime instead of going to that dance recital. How you skipped the honeymoon because it didn’t financially make sense. Is this what our life comes down to? Dollars and logistics?

I don’t want it.

Rich people don’t have a lot of money. The truly rich have moments. They have spent their lives gathering memories and experiences. I was not put here to serve America and its ideals of a “perfect life.” I was put here to serve God, and if that means selling all of my belongings and spending years in missionary work, then so be it. Just because you move around a lot or can’t decide what you want to do with this life doesn’t make you fickle or naive. It doesn’t make you indecisive, it means you want more out of life than what “they” have outlined for you.

If you’re like me, you probably haven’t decided what your soul purpose in this world is. Some people never figure it out, but shouldn’t we at least try?

Start today: I’ve made a list of all the things in my life that make me feel alive & thriving. Choose your lifestyle for you. And choose a different one if you don’t like that one.

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Alive & Thriving

Write – even if you have nothing to say.

Read – even when you don’t think you have time.

Explore – you haven’t seen the world yet.

Take pictures – gathering moments one picture at a time.

Close your eyes – in the sunshine.

Stay inside – & listen to the rain.

Listen to music – that matches your mood.

Go camping – surviving is exhilarating.

Make plans – then change them.

Make your house a home – decorate, remodel, invest time, enjoy.

Socialize – be around happy people.

Converse – deeply.

Make lists – because it’s fun.

Volunteer – give & receive.

Kiss – your hubby, dogs, etc.

Build – with your hands.

Cook – from scratch.

Visit animal shelters – humble yourself with love.

Compliment – instead of insulting.

Smile – at strangers.

LIVE – before it’s too late.

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“Forever is composed of nows.” – Emily Dickinson

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3 Best Pandora Playlists for Working Out

In the spirit of New Year’s resolutions – a magical time when fitness & health kick products line the walls of Walmart – I’ve decided to focus my new post accordingly. With every exercise comes the need for some motivational and inspirational music to just. keep. going. If you’re like me and don’t have the patience to sit down and update your music on your iPod or iPhone, you probably resort to apps like Pandora to pick the music for you.

The problem is, you can’t just pick any old station otherwise you will be distracted from your workout by pressing next until you hit your limit of “nexts,” and then you’re stuck with some crappy song like I Am A God by Kanye West (or any other song of his for that matter). How exhausting… (click here to see Kanye compare his entertaining career to being a police officer or soldier in war)

SO, after many trials and errors, I have narrowed my workout sound-tracks down to 4 Pandora stations. These are my go-to stations depending on my mood and activity.

1. Candy Shop by 50 Cent. –> You get a little bit more old-school songs to remind you of the old school YOU. What’s better motivation than remembering the swag you used to have…

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-You’ll find songs like: Baby Got Back. (because let’s face it, that’s the problem & this is just a friendly reminder)

2. My Humps by The Black Eyed Peas –> Keeps you focused on the humps you get to keep while working off the ones you don’t.

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-You’ll find songs like: Just Dance. (Even though we don’t like Lady Gaga because she might be the anti-christ, her songs usually have a good beat)

3. Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. –>What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger… focus on that before you turn down the speed on your treadmill.

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-You’ll find songs like: Party in the USA by Miley before she turned (in)famous with her twerking obsession. Twerk… that word just feels dirty to say. Maybe that’s why her tongue’s always hanging out of her mouth.

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“Fitness needs to be perceived as fun and games or we subconsciously avoid it.” -Alan Thicke

Or, people like me, consciously avoid it.

15 Best Netflix TV Shows for Binge-Watching

I know finding something good to watch on Netflix can be a daunting task at times but lucky for you – I’ve had plenty of free time on my hands to sift through the garbage for you. With a husband in the military, working long hours, being sent away for weeks/months at a time, and an online student with incredible procrastination issues – I’ve become something of an expert at TV show binge-watching. The key is to stick it out at least the first three episodes before you decide you’re for sure not interested in the show. Sometimes it takes awhile to get hooked, but once you are, there’s no turning back. Sometimes living under a rock isn’t so bad.

Warning: This may take over your life a little.

1. One Tree Hill – All 9 seasons available on Netflix

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This is one of those shows that I wish I could go back to the beginning and watch it all over again without knowing what happens. I teared up at the last episode… just because it was the last episode, EVER. Also, there are 9 seasons of it – all available on Netflix. A must-see.

2. Gossip Girl – All 6 seasons available on Netflix

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I wasn’t sure about this one at the beginning – seemed a little ridiculous at first. And who the heck is this creepy blogger that’s up in everyone’s business? But once you’re in, you’re IN. Maybe worth re-watching just to put everything together once its done & the secrets are out.

3. Breaking Bad – First part of all 5 seasons available on Netflix

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A little bit darker than the first two shows, but I think anyone who has watched this has most likely finished the whole series in a very short amount of time. A high school teacher turned drug lord? Definitely binge-worthy.

4. Sons of Anarchy – First 5 seasons available on Netflix

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I never thought of myself as a “biker chick” but this show makes me reevaluate that decision. I’m not that into action & gang business, but the personal lives of these guys is fascinating enough to keep watching.

5. Arrow – First season available on Netflix

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Look at the cover.

6. Revenge – First 2 seasons available on Netflix

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It’s interesting to see life in the eyes of really, really, ridiculously rich people. And the tables are always turning on this one. Take a trip to the Hamptons with Amanda, I mean, Emily in this vengeance motivated drama.

7. Pretty Little Liars – First 3 seasons available on Netflix 

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A little unrealistic at times, but the scandalous lives of these teens make me reevaluate my entire high school career as utterly uneventful. In a good way.

8. Lost – All 6 seasons available on Netflix

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At times you will feel completely lost. But that’s not always a bad thing?

9. The Tudors – All 4 seasons available on Netflix

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I wish my Advanced Placement European History teacher would have let us watch this show in class. Everything would have made much more sense. And I would have at least remembered something from the class. A good watch for anyone interested in the scandalous life of King Henry VIII. Yeah, that one who beheads his wives.

10. Jericho – Both seasons available on Netflix

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My hubby loves anything that has to do with survival/living off the land. So we watched this short-lived series and it turned out to be pretty dang good. Hopefully its not relevant to the real-world U.S.

11. Brothers & Sisters – All 5 seasons available on Netflix

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A tangled web of a family with 5 siblings all grown up leading their own lives with loads of scandal. Which just happens to be really entertaining. You learn to love and hate all the characters at once. That’s powerful.

12. Say Yes to the Dress – 8 seasons of the original series + extras available on Netflix

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Any girl who is any girl will probably enjoy watching this show if you haven’t been married yet, or are engaged. Also, this may give you an unrealistic view of how your mom will react when she sees you in the first dress. Mine didn’t let me get all the way out of the dressing room and said “Nope, next.”

13. Vampire Diaries – First 4 seasons available on Netflix

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I know, I know. Vampires are dumb. But this show is just so addicting. Love triangles are never fun, unless it includes two vampires and a doppleganger. Yeah… just watch it.

14. The Walking Dead – First 3 seasons available on Netflix

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For the zombie fanatics.

15. Friday Night Lights – All 5 seasons available on Netflix 

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I haven’t watched this one yet, but I love football & I love some good drama that doesn’t pertain to me so it’s on my watch-list. Yes I have lists for everything.

Enjoy, and have fun doing absolutely NOTHING productive for awhile. It’s worth it.

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“Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.” -Mick Jagger

3 Tips for 2014 New Year’s Resolutions

Better known as “a burst of inspiration and motivation to change your life but quickly dies out before January is over,” New Year’s resolutions have a bad rap. However, every year the majority of people tend to make a few goals to steer their life in the right path. Maybe people are just doing it wrong. As a writer and list-maker, I love making my New Year’s resolutions and I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. Actually, I’ve learned more about what doesn’t work, than what does.

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1. Don’t make UNREALISTIC goals.

Don’t say “I’m gonna lose 150 pounds,” because unless you’re going under the knife in some sort of plastic surgery, the chances of you sticking to that over-acheiving mission is slim to none. If your goal is to lose weight, start smaller. The thrill of dropping those pounds will keep you going. Which brings me to my next point…

2. Make each goal MEASURABLE

A huge mistake most people make is they leave their specific goals open-ended: “Eat healthier.” A better way of maximizing results is to be specific like: “Only go out to eat once a week,” or “Eat a grapefruit every morning.” That way you have a clear path and you know if you accomplished that goal or not. More importantly, you know if you’re cheating. If you eat out more than once a week, you failed to stick to your goal & if you eat a grapefruit every morning, you succeeded. You need your results to be easily measured, otherwise it’s easy to find loop holes and justify ways around your wish-list.

3. Focus on more than one area in your life.

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Its more inspiring to stick to your resolutions when you have a bigger outcome from small steps. As for my resolutions this year, I have put them on a much smaller scale of time: 40 Days and 40 Nights. This is because I’m participating in Paleolover’s 40 Day 40 Night Challenge starting January 1st. “It is said to take 30 days to make a habit, so why don’t we kill the 30 make and make it 40?”-Brittany Umstead. Each participant has to send in a list of measurable goals so they stay accountable. Here is my own resolutions list & guide to making your own, whether its a year-long resolution or 40 days:

Ayla’s New Year’s Challenge

For the Belly –> In this section I am focusing on what I should and should not consume.

*No sugar or flavored creamer in my morning coffee.

*Eat Paleo restricted dinners 3 times a week.

*No alcohol or pop (soda, coke, whatever).

For the Body –> Here, I’m focusing on fitness and physical health.

*Complete the “30 Day Shred” workout video with Jillian Michaels, starting Jan. 2nd.

*Take the dogs an extra block every morning.

For the Soul –> This is where I tend to my spirituality and emotional well-being.         (This list should be your longest.)

*Wake up by 8:30 a.m. every morning. No if’s and’s or but’s.

*Do yoga every morning that I’m alone.

*Either go to church every Sunday or have a service of our own at home.

*Write a blog post once a week. (Now you can keep me accountable on that one)

*No “fat talk” about myself no matter what. Only helpful & positive criticism.

*Have a cup of tea every day.

 For the Bank –> Because it’s always in pain.

*Create a budget and follow the Dave Ramsey’s Envelope System. & stick to it.

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“It’s not hard to decide what you want your life to be about. What’s hard, she said, is figuring out what you’re willing to give up in order to do the things you really care about.”
― Shauna Niequist

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10 Best Movies to Watch This Christmas

Merry Christmas Eve out there to all of my lovely readers. I just wanted to brush you up on which movies to flip on tonight  & tomorrow to make your time with the fam more tolerable, I mean, enjoyable. God bless!

1. Elf

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The best Christmas movie, ever. I don’t know one person who doesn’t love this movie. I love Will Ferrell, & I love him as Buddy the Elf. If you haven’t seen this movie, crawl out from whatever rock you’ve been hiding under & watch it.

2. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

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My family’s tradition was to watch the cartoon version of the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas. However, every year the movie got shorter and shorter on T.V. with more & more commercials cutting out parts of the movie. Finally the Jim Carrey real-life version came out in 2006 & that became our new and even better tradition.

3. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

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Chevy Chase as the patriarch of the tragedy-ridden Griswolds is hilarious & a perfect movie for Christmas time. I often refer to my own family as the Griswolds because of our infamous bad luck during the holidays.

4. The Holiday

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Just a modern feel-good movie about finding love during the holidays. Perfect chick flick for the single girl (Since no guy will want to watch this with you).

5 & 6. Home Alone 1 & 2

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Before Macaulay Culkin turned into a total weirdo, he helped make Home Alone and Home Alone 2: Lost in New York one of the best Christmas movies ever.

7. Fred Claus

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A little more dark humor when it comes to Vince Vaughn who plays the role of Santa’s unsupportive brother. If you like Vince Vaughn & Christmas, you’ll like this movie.

8. The Santa Clause

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Tim Allen eventually makes a great Santa Claus when he is responsible for accidentally killing the original Santa Claus.

9. Jack Frost

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A father dies and comes back as a snowman. A tear-jerker when the son, Charlie, comes to a cross-road of decisions when spring comes.

10. Prancer

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This one takes place on a farm with a girl who nurses one of Santa’s reindeer back to health. I’m super jealous.

 

Merry Christmas! (The movies are better with cookies.)

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#1 Way to get Physically and Emotionally Hot By Summer

I’ve come to realize that my husband is definitely responsible for the extra weight I’ve put on in the past couple years: “Mr. What’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert, eat, eat, EAT!” I used to only eat when I was hungry, naturally, but Hubby has his mind set on eating-routines regardless of how hungry you are. Now I’m not saying he shoves the food down my throat, but a little encouragement is enough to totally ruin your good eating habits. “No I would not like a salad while you’re eating pizza rolls.” Also, since I’m not living in Minnesota anymore, I have no excuse to hibernate all winter and pack on the fat for warmth (North Carolina is warm enough to go outside, unfortunately). So I think it’s time to make a difference. But what’s the best way to go about it?

1. Go PALEO

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My fellow ex-military-wife, fit friend, Brittany, has this wonderful body thanks to her life-changing decision to go paleo (Dang her!… just kidding, kind of). She even has a blog, paleolover, where you can find motivation and recipes to enhance your quality of life. Those of you who are not familiar with what “going paleo” even means, it’s nickname is “The Caveman Diet.” You basically cut out processed foods, harnessing the nutrients & benefits of a natural way of life.

Now before you get your mind stuck on the idea that losing weight is the only goal while going on the paleo diet, that’s not true. Finding the self control to make such a big change in your life is more than rewarding when it comes down to it. You can use this goal as a baseline for making multiple changes in your daily lives. Brittany encourages you to enhance your life physically, spiritually, and emotionally during this committment – make it a lifestyle. And guess what, Brittany will be hosting another 40 Day 40 Night Challenge starting January 1st, 2014. Take your New Year’s Resolutions to a whole new level this year. Visit her blog for more details. I’ll be following along in the challenge and touching back on this topic occasionally throughout the 40 days. Read on for a quick lesson on the paleo basics, provided by the paleolover, herself:

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Photo: Brittany Umstead

What to EAT:

- High Proteins: Cage free organic eggs, free range chicken, grass fed beef & pork.

- Fresh Veggies: As much as you want, whenever you want. Try to buy as much organic or farmers market produce as possible. Sweet potatoes are digested as a veggie… EAT THEM!

- Fruit: Buy organic as much as you can. To lose more weight, limit fruit to only breakfast and only 1 or 2 portions.

- Nuts: Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecans… in small portions. But NO peanuts.. so no to peanut butter, but yes to yummy almond butter!

- FATS: BACON, AVACADO, & BEEF ARE YOUR BEST FRIENDS FOR ENERGY!

What NOT to eat:

- NO Carbs/Grains: Bread, pasta, white potatoes, rice.

- NO Legumes: Beans & hummus are off limits.

- NO Dairy: Milk is made to fatten us up as babies so it will do the same as adults. Use almond milk and coconut milk as a substitute.

- NO POP: Whether you call it pop, soda, or coke, you can’t have any.

- LIMIT: Preservatives, sugar, canned goods, & frozen foods.

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Laugh whenever you can. Keeps you from killing yourself when things are bad. That and vodka.” – Jim ButcherChanges

Oops – wrong quote. Try this one:

You have been blessed with immeasurable power to make positive changes in your life.
Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

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10 Ways Pinterest Can Change Your Life

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I recently hit my record high of 5,000 pins on my personal Pinterest boards. That feels good. What feels even better is thinking about all the things that have changed & almost changed in my life because of this beautiful website.

Here’s what Pinterest has done for me:

1. I’ve become a crafty Interior Designer, Gourmet Chef, Fashion Designer & Photographer. 

In Pinterest-land, you can be anything you re-pin. Unless you don’t have the money, time, or skill to do so, you can atleast see what it would be like if you did. You can also start a lot of projects that you never finish or don’t work. Every once in awhile I get lucky, though!

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2. I am an online shopping addict.

With every new season, there is a completely new wardrobe to acquire. Fall boots, Christmas sweaters, spring-y tank tops and all kinds of risqué summer attire. (Unless you live in Minnesota, then all you need is sweats, Uggs, and a bikini.) This is also where I met Etsy.com.

3. I’ve tried hundreds of new beauty tricks that usually don’t turn out like the picture.

One day we’ll be able to photoshop our faces and bodies in real life. Finally, we’ll be able to look like magazine models!

4. I’m full of health-nut ideas and goals.

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Whether I’ve actually carried out ANY of these ground-breaking, life-changing, body-blasting ideas or not, at least I know what to do if I ever become disciplined enough. Maybe tomorrow.

5. No more pesky therapy sessions.

Come to Pinterest if you ever need a metaphoric shoulder to cry on, some good old fashioned advice, and/or inspirational quotes to make you want to save the world.

6. I’ve planned my own wedding, and about eleven other fantasy weddings.

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I wouldn’t have had half as many good ideas as I did for my own wedding if it weren’t for Pinterest. The problem, though, is that the ideas never stop coming, even when your wedding is done and over with. Dang it, I should have had white horses, doves, chinese lanterns, on a mountain, in a church, by the ocean, in Italy, in a poofy, lacy, silky, short, edgy, classic, Bella Swan dress. Click here to see more of my wedding pictures on Pinterest.

7. I have 213 imaginary tattoos.

It’s a lot easier to commit to tattoos by re-pinning them, than to have them permanently etched on your body… click here to check them out.

8. I have intimate, unspoken friendships with people that re-pin the same things as me.

Take a look at someone’s Pinterest boards & you can practically see into their soul. You can see their dreams, interests, passions, sense of humor… its endless. So when you find yourself pinning the same things with those select few people, you have a bond of steel, that probably will never be talked about, but you both know its there.

9. I have an even longer list of future pets, than before.

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That baby elephant having a temper tantrum is the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen. This guy had a lion as a pet. There are so many different combinations of dog breeds out there, and pink dolphins. Damn those animal protection laws that keep me from having them all!

10. I have mentally named, clothed, and photographed my unborn future children.

Photo: Paislee Marie Greene

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Children are no longer thought of as sticky, noisy little life consumers, and they become the most beautiful, precious, sweet morsels of life (Not that they aren’t). I have to remind myself how much I like sleep in order to avoid impulsive decisions. (I mean, look at that face!)  Click here if you want to see some more cute kids & stuff.

5 Ways to Have a Christian Christmas

Christmas is a Christian holiday. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday. Kwanzaa is an African American/African Diaspora holiday. If you don’t agree with the religion or culture, don’t celebrate the holiday. Furthermore, if you don’t agree with what the holiday stands for, don’t try to change the holiday. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

As for us Christians, let’s celebrate Christmas the way God would want us to.

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1. Say “Merry Christmas.”

There is nothing wrong with wanting to spread Christmas cheer while publicly acknowledging that you are of Christian faith. I never knew it was offensive to believe in something others don’t… So no, I don’t think you are being a bully by saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”

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2. Go to Church.

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It’s easy to get caught up with the presents and spiked egg nog, but don’t forget about church. This is where you can tone down your greed and remember its the giving holiday. At church you forget about asking “Santa Baby” for a ring (not on the phone) and remember to celebrate the birth of Jesus (the real reason we’re celebrating). So get off your butt and go to church – you won’t regret it.

3. Read the Christmas story out of the Bible.

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My family always opened presents from each other on Christmas Eve after church (Christmas morning was reserved for Santa presents only). But before any of the presents were passed out, my mom would open up the Bible to Luke 1:26-38 & 2:1-20. My brothers and I would take turns reading paragraph to paragraph out loud. I can’t tell you how much this set a humbling mood for not only opening presents, but the holiday itself. Try it out this year. I would recommend reading the NIV Bible. The King James Version can be a struggle to understand, especially for kids.

4. Give to charity – money, toys, clothes, food, animals, etc.  

Growing up, we weren’t always able to afford Christmas presents, so we would receive gifts from organizations like Salvation Army. To this day, I still remember every single present I got from those perfect strangers. Sometimes it was an awesome present, other times I was disappointed – but something is better than nothing. Make a difference in someone else’s life this year. One of my favorite ways to celebrate giving is through websites like worldvision.org. You can purchase, or contribute to a purchase, of animals like chickens, goats, cows and donkeys. It’s the kind of gift that keeps giving. With chickens, a family can enjoy protein in eggs daily, goats and cows provide milk, cheese, & yogurt… and donkeys help lighten the load for transporting supplies. There are other non-animal options like fishing kits, clothing, shelter, fresh water, medical supplies, etc. Do some research and give something you would want to receive.

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5. Receive. 

The way you receive things say just as much about you as the way you give. Don’t thank just the person, or the money responsible for giving you the gift, but thank God for placing those people and privileges in your life. Not everyone is as fortunate as us, so keep in mind how privileged you really are. Don’t get greedy – appreciate the little things.

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10 Chick Flick Quotes To Live By

I know I’m not the only one who has lived vicariously through characters in my favorite romantic comedies. Everything seems so simple: they’re recognized for their beauty and charisma, and they end up happy. Too often people are saying that these fairy tales don’t exist and that “there’s nothing special about me.” But they do exist and you are special, so act like it!

Here are some notable chick flick quotes that I have compiled and put into “real life” perspective. Find out how to own the role as the heroine of your story:

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1. “You can’t live your life for other people. You’ve got to do what’s right for you, even if it hurts some people you love.” – Noah on The Notebook

This one sounds like a broken record, but you need to hear it again. Live your life FOR YOU. No one else. That’s it. Just do it and stop stressing.

2. “Without suffering there would be no compassion.” – Nicholas Sparks in A Walk to Remember

What is the main reason this movie breaks our heart? Because throughout all of the pain and suffering, Landon only loves Jamie more. If we didn’t feel pain, loss, fear, anger… we wouldn’t know what it was like to be truly happy. We would have nothing to compare it to. Once you’ve felt pain, you can recognize it in other people. That ability makes us human. We have the ability to feel other people’s pain as though it were ours, & that is beautiful.

3. “I wish we could all get along like we used to in middle school. I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy.” - ‘Emotional Girl’ on Mean Girls

I know what you’re all thinking: She doesn’t even go there. But that doesn’t matter right now. We all know we wish the same thing. Everyone loves cake and it would be nice if everyone could just get along. Even though it is impossible to bake a cake with rainbows and smiles (Funfetti is pretty close), we can at least encourage people to stop being so petty, we can discourage gossip, and just plain smile more.

4. “Promise me you’ll survive. That you won’t give up, no matter what happens. No matter how hopeless.” – Jack on Titanic

I hope I’m not the only one that has ever gotten so distraught that I’ve wanted to crawl into a deep, dark hole away from the world and never come out. Unfortunately, that hole would be pretty chilly at night and there would be bugs and worms and stuff, so I’ve never actually done it. That doesn’t stop me from wanting to escape everyone and everything from time to time, though. But a young, hypothermic Leonardo DiCaprio urges us not to give up as his dying wish. He wants us to carry on no matter how hopeless life gets. So we must go on, for his sake.

5. “We accept the love we think we deserve.” – Sam The Perks of Being a Wallflower 

This is a famous quote that I’m sure you’ve heard before but have you ever really thought about it? If you haven’t seen this movie, you’re missing out. It teaches us a lot about self worth, happiness, and pain . We need to take some time to think about what our worth is. There is no other woman in the world that is the same as you, so it’s okay to be proud of who you are, its called confidence. We should walk with our heads high knowing that we are of great value. And when you truly believe that you are, you will find a love that is worth a great value. But not until then.

6. “Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be.” – Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love

It was hard to pick just one quote from Eat, Pray, Love because its jam-packed with valuable life lessons. But this one really needs to be heard. We don’t have to be frail, delicate creatures waiting to be saved. Get off your butt and save yourself. Don’t think of yourself as a defenseless flower, think of yourself as… Katniss Everdeen. She’s pretty badass and she’s the one who’s usually doing the saving. We can’t sit around and grieve when things don’t go our way. We need to suck it up and do something about it. In the words of Shinedown, “Don’t be delicate, be vast and brilliant.”

7. “I know you can be underwhelmed, and you can be overwhelmed, but can you ever just be, like, whelmed?” – Bianca on 10 Things I Hate About You

Yes you can. Bianca (Kat’s sister) really harnesses the idea, or question, that you don’t always have to be up or down, happy or sad, excited or mad… You can just be. This is one of the hardest things that I’ve attempted to do in my life. Instead of living in a whirlwind of emotions, can we ever just exist in peace? At the risk of sounding hippy-dippy, I think peace is the most desirable quality that one can achieve in life. It means that you are satisfied, level-headed, and living your life instead of fighting it.   

8. “My darling girl, when are you going to realize that being normal is not necessarily a virtue?” - Aunt Frances on Practical Magic

So what if you’re a weirdo. Be a weirdo and you will find other weirdos that will love you for your weirdness. One of the main things I love about my marriage is that my husband accepts me for absolutely everything that I am (Even though I’m pretty strange). I don’t have to pretend to be someone he loves because he loves me for me. And when you find that kind of love, nothing else will ever measure up.

9. “A spark could be enough to set them ablaze.” - Suzanne Collins in Catching Fire 

I am going to talk about Katniss again. Notice how a few of her small, but influential actions changed the entire world in which she lived in (If you read the books). This is where we realize that changing the world doesn’t have to be a huge, breathtaking achievement, but instead small installations of kindness and hope. President Snow tells us that hope must be contained because once the people see that change is possible, there is no stopping them. So why does that idea have to start and end with Panem (the damaged future U.S. in the series)? Besides, the way its looking, President Obama may be more like President Snow than they thought (I already knew).

10. “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” Elle on Legally Blonde

This is true! Reece Witherspoon makes for a simply logic lawyer on Legally Blonde, with her perm and fitness knowledge. Not only does exercising reduce the risk of you shooting your husband, but it makes you look good, too. You feel happier, healthier, and more attractive. If that isn’t enough motivation, I don’t know what is.