Hunting For Treasure

I realized, life is a treasure hunt.

When I was a little girl, I remember my grandparents teaming up with my parents to create a treasure hunt for my sister and I. We had an aged, frayed map leading us to riches buried deep in the ground and clues to further our journey. At every clue, we would glance around and then at each other, hoping we could decipher the clue as time ticked by. 

At the “Aha!” of knowing what direction to go, we would skip over branches and mounds in the woods, heading straight for the next clue until finally, we came to a big red X in the ground. This was it, what we were waiting for. We scraped through the dirt and leaves with our hands and not far below was a little brown chest. Squealing with delight, I pulled the little treasure chest from the ground as my sister immediately went to work on the clasp. 

As the lid flung open, we saw gold coins, pearls and even a little parrot. We gasped as we rummaged through the riches we found, displaying them for our family as we pulled them from the chest. It was everything we could have hoped for.

After carrying the trunk back to the house, we shared our treasure with anyone who wanted a prize. After all, they did hand us the map in the first place. The night was filled with chocolate gold and after that day, we were happy to wait patiently for the next map to arrive so we could find riches once again.

Like I said, life is a treasure hunt.

We start by seeking clues that boggle us. As we stare at the directions we can go, we wait for a something to click that will lead us down the right path. When we finally take a step in a direction, we can’t help but second guess if this was the right choice until we reach another clue. Another fork in the road, we ask those around us to make our decisions and tell us what choice will be best even though no one can know until it’s a memory.

We seek satisfaction or greatness and we go on a hunt to find it. We take forks in the road that we believe will get us where we want to be and decipher clues until we are confident in our choices.

When we finally see our dreams within reach, we run straight for it, doing all we can to undo the clasp and feel what it’s like to achieve. As we rummage through our treasure, we can’t help but decide if it was all worth it. Am I disappointed with what’s inside? Am I surprised? Or is this exactly what I wanted?

If it’s not, we wait for our next map to arrive with the hope that this time we will find what we’ve been looking for. With that, we take our first footstep into the next journey.

See? Life is a treasure hunt.

Until Monday,

Anna Marie

Workout So You Can Take Impressive Pictures

That sounds strange doesn’t it? But let’s face it. Not many people actually like the idea of working out for more than a month. The people that do are athletes or stay within their comfort zone most of the time. It’s a time consuming, pain filled process and who loves pushing your body until you want to keel over? Not many of us, so here is a new approach.

I have just started working out again. I used to count my walks to work and took the stairs as a good form of cardio but I began to realized I missed feeling stronger. Here’s what I did to get back into it and yes, pictures are involved.

1. I grabbed a buddy who wanted the same goals. You hear this all over the internet because it’s true. Your workouts will be much more consistent if you push each other to be better and to be accountable. Having someone that you don’t mind correcting you and telling you to work harder will be a great tool in the workouts you choose. Besides, you are more likely to stand up yourself than a friend, right? So find someone you can workout with and make a schedule.

2. Decide what kind of workouts you want to do. I have had this workout buddy for 3 years and this past year we kind of lost our way. We didn’t workout together anymore and then we both stopped working out all together. Recently, we decided this wasn’t okay. We used to run together and do minimal abs and on and off body weight exercises but we weren’t as fond of that anymore. We both realized we wanted to get toned with a different kind of cardio that gave us a lot of body control, balance, and flexibility. So, we chose dance.

You probably think we’re crazy. Two 20-something year olds want to learn to dance now? Well, we both have had background training and knew that with time, we would be able to get better. We’re not going for So You Think You Can Dance, we just want to tone up in a different way that can be truly beautiful.

3. Set Goals. If you’re running, do you want to be able to run 5 miles non-stop in 3 months? If you’re lifting weights, do you want to bench ten pounds more in 50 days? With our new workout in mind, our goal is to become more flexible. One thing in specific is we want to be able to do the splits by the end of our spring semester. Setting a goal gives you something to work for and keeps pushing you.

4. Document your journey. This is where I’m getting into the pictures part. This is new for my friend and I, but we decided that we wanted to take progress pictures to see how far we’ve come and push ourselves even farther. When I say progress pictures, I don’t mean the whole sports bra thing.

I said my goal was the splits? So every week, we take a picture of each other trying to do the splits and see how much farther we get. We have done this for a few different flexibility poses and I can’t wait to see our progress. Our goal is to become strong and capable of taking beautiful Pinterest worthy pictures. To inspire you, is a beautiful example.

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Courtesy of Pinterest.

5. Patience. Especially for our goal, we have to be patient. Being able to control your body or do what these girls are doing in the picture is going to take more than a semester. That’s the fun part about it. We get to see how far we can push our bodies because we are still young and willing to learn.

I hope these tips have inspired a new fire inside to get that booty up and moving. If you have any other amazing tips that work well for you or styles of exercise you love, comment below! I love to hear what makes people successful.

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

5 Places You Didn’t Know You Needed to Go

Let’s crave the greens of a lush forest, lust for the white sandy beaches of tropical paradise and listen for the hustle and bustle of a new city. Let’s find a place that makes our heartbeats stronger, our footsteps lighter and our thoughts quieter. Let’s say hello to new faces, create memories with the ones we know and never forget them. Let’s travel.

Today is the mark of a new weekly topic for Inspired She Lives. It is, if you haven’t guessed, travel Tuesday! Every Tuesday I will post something about Travel since it is one of my greatest passions. So let’s continue.

FIVE PLACES THAT ARE ON MY BUCKET LIST RIGHT NOW:

First I will tell you the place and my personal favored attraction that I think would be a can’t miss during the tour.

1. GREECE– From Athens to Santorini, Greece is known for its amazing food and beautiful beaches. Right on the Mediterranean Sea, I would love for the chance to island hop around the shores and taste the authenticity of Greek cuisine.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Most favored attraction:  I would love to see the Delphi Ruins in Greece. They are historic and known as the ‘center of the universe’. I lot of people consider it a very spiritual and grounding place. Besides, the ruins and the landscape surrounding them are both beyond beautiful.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

2. MORAINE LAKE, CANADA– This may seem like an odd choice but I bet you can already see the picture and are awed with the beauty of this place. The blue of the lake in contrast with the dark green pines and the white snow capped mountains is truly breathtaking. I couldn’t imagine a more beautiful and serene place. This is has to be on your bucket list.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Most favored attraction: Moraine Lake was made by a glacier that swept through the land and left moraine (or rocks) that damned the flow of streams and created the lake. If you go and see the lake, you must see how it was made right? The picture below looks like the rockpile is human made; it’s unbelievable to think a glacier is the cause of this beauty.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

3. NEW ZEALAND– I know so many people who love the idea of going to Australia but what about it’s neighbor? I have had a few friends visit this beautiful country and I couldn’t be more determined to visit it’s incredible landscapes. The views in any part of this country will blow your mind. At least, I sure hope that’s the case.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Most favored attraction: Glow worms are native to New Zealand and occupy caves to make it look like you are right underneath hundreds of shining stars. How different is this from what we experience at home? The chance to experience these caves would be quite surreal .

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

4. SWITZERLAND– The Alps, cheese and chocolate. Switzerland is known for the views of its beautiful lakes, mountain ranges and homes. Being a true Wisconsinite means I would be overwhelmed with joy to taste a Swiss cheese and my chocoholic taste buds are tingling with desire to savor a piece of Swiss chocolate.

switzerland

Courtesy of Google Images.

Most favored attraction: Matterhorn mountain sits on the border of Switzerland and Italy. It’s peak is almost a perfect pyramid and is a beacon of power in the horizon. To be able to stand near such a huge landmark would make anyone feel like an ant scuffling through through grass.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

5. ITALY– This country has been on my bucket list for such a long time and it always will be until I get to explore its culture. I would love to go all over Italy and see Venice, Verona, Rome, Pompeii, Pisa, Milan, Florence and anywhere else the Gondolas take me. Every city seems to have it’s own history and I would love to experience the Italian cuisine there.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Most favored attraction: My must see for Italy would be the Trevi Fountain in Rome. There is so much to see in Italy with architecture and beautiful sculptures but I feel like the Trevi fountain is held up almost to a magical standard. Tradition says that if you toss a coin into the fountain, you will return to Rome some day.

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

That’s the top five places on my bucket list right now! What about you?! I love to learn about new places and what other people are desiring in their traveling hearts. Travel is a way to discover ourselves and lose ourselves all at the same time. Any travel bug is a friend of mine. Comment below with your travel wishes!

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Goal Setting 101

Setting goals is a beautiful thing. Do you know what’s even more beautiful? That feeling that rises inside of you when you accomplish them.

One of the most truly satisfying things someone can do to increase their happiness meter is to set a goal, work hard, and achieve it. Whether that’s getting your homework done ahead of time so you have a little more breathing room or keeping your apartment clean for a week straight, that satisfaction and accomplishment can lead to more motivation throughout your days.

The worst part about setting a goal is thinking of something you want to commit to. It’s kind of scary isn’t it? If you do set a goal that you know you probably won’t achieve, then you just feel bad about yourself. On the other hand, if you keep setting tiny goals that you achieve daily but don’t have any bigger goals, you may feel scared to branch out and try harder.

Accomplished my first 5K with the Color Run!

Accomplished my first 5K with the Color Run!

Setting the right kind of goal is different for every person. You want something that is going to push you and yet, not something that will make you feel like a failure. For example, I wouldn’t make a goal to go on a run every day of the week because I know how busy my schedule is. Instead, I planned on running at least three days a week or more until I took part in my first 5K. Realistic and attainable.

Another good example is to think of something you WANT to do that you feel would make you a little better or happier in life. If that want is attainable, set it as a goal. If it isn’t, change it a little. Exampled below.

My goal: I started this blog because I wanted to write more. I wanted to become more creative and better at writing in general.My goal was to start having a more positive outlook. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to do a blog full-time so I set my goal to write a post Mondays through Thursdays in hopes of improving my skills.

Your goal: Did you have a goal in mind while you’ve been reading? Go from there and see where it takes you!

Alright, now your goal is set. When you start, you will be so motivated and the first few weeks will fly by. Now, comes the tough part. You get into your routine and feel good about starting a new goal and all of a sudden it gets a little muddy. You don’t feel as motivated, you’re wondering if you should have aimed less or you think of a better way to solve the problem that sparked your goal.

Don’t let your mind fool you. If you have been thinking of a goal for a while now and you have started the journey, don’t you dare give up just yet. Those first few weeks are the warm up, it’s when you get beyond that that makes you work a little harder. Chances are you set this goal for a reason and you know why you want to reach it.

It’s a test I want you to pass. So here’s what you can do. Think of why you set your goal and how good you will feel when you reach it. Setting yourself daily, weekly, and long term goals will be so good for you because you will gain confidence in achieving milestones and be able to inspire those around you to do the same.

Right now, just for today, set yourself a small goal. Are you going to skip the coffee today or get a jump start on a project looming ahead? Share your goals with me and we can all keep each other motivated! I’m excited to see some progress.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Stressed Out? You’re Not Alone

They say that if you do something one thousand times, you’re an expert at it. Ladies and gentlemen, I am an expert at becoming stressed. I’ve been feeling a little bit a pressure lately and knew that writing about stress might, in fact, help me cure it.

If you’re like me, you have the super power of knowing when you are stressed out. Therefore, you probably have recognized that when you’re stuck there, it just takes time to unravel your knot of to-do’s swimming in your brain.

Not to fear, I’ve been there.

As a self-proclaimed adult, my life can get way too cluttered with feeble attempts to build a nice life resume. I started becoming way too obsessed with what I needed to do rather than what I wanted to do to make my time spent on earth worthwhile. I knew what would make me a good candidate for jobs after I graduated and I got lost in that mindset.

The first step to becoming a less stressed person is knowing what situations make you stressed out. I figured out that my tendency to bite off too much is the main reason why I have been a little overwhelmed on and off the past few years.

This can truly be the hardest part. Sometimes, it’s hard to not blame your stress on something that’s right in front of you or that just happened. For example, when I was feeling a lot of pressure yesterday it was because I thought I had a ton errands to catch up on when in reality I did a really good job of getting everything I needed done. After sitting down and taking a big ole loud breath, I realized that I was more stressed out because I haven’t had much time to hang out with my friends. This made me a little lonely and crabby and therefore I got stressed out because of it.

The reason your stressed can sometimes be hidden beneath all of the little things you think are making you upset. Once you do figure out the core of the stress, it’s time to breathe.

Step two is to know what makes you feel better when you are stressed out. Do you like to be alone and think it through? Maybe distracting yourself with music or TV works best? Perhaps you are like me and want to talk about it with someone and then move on to a nice distraction.

Do you know what makes you feel relaxed? Good, now do that. If you can’t or don’t have time, take a few breaths and plan out the next chance you will have to do what makes you feel better.

The worst part about being stressed out is not knowing what it is at the time and not knowing how to counteract it. But once you figure those two crucial things out, you will know how you work better and how to help yourself in the best way.

Let’s hope this post gave a little more comfort than stressing you out even more.

Breathe in, breathe out and conquer the world. 

Until next week!

Anna Marie

Make the Morning Count!

Sunshine and coffee. Need I say more?

What qualifies someone as a morning person? Is it the ability to jump up in the morning and go or is it the love for morning itself? Because if that’s the case, I am a morning person. I love feeling refreshed for the day and I am curious to see if my mornings are like anyone else’s in the world.

When I wake up to an obnoxious alarm, I do not jump out of bed. I’m literally the person who will open one eye and roll over to whatever side is darker. This is always the most challenging part for everyone isn’t it? Not just waking up, but actually getting yourself out of bed? Yeah, me too.

So after I open up one eye, I slowly will my other eye to open and just look around. This is when I take a few minutes to appreciate the warmth of my blanket burrito I am tucked in. I just think about the day ahead and take a few minutes to lay there and soak in a new day.

Good Morning World! Coffee in hand.

Good Morning World! Coffee in hand.

After I work up the courage to pull the blankets off and step out of bed, I definitely go to the bathroom because I feel like that’s what a lot of people do. Eight hours of holding it has to make you go! I swear if this is just a me thing I might be in disbelief for a solid year. This is where the other boring stuff happens like washing my face (which I definitely WISH I did every day but don’t), brushing my teeth, putting my contacts in if needed, etc.

After that, I chug a big glass of water. I don’t know when I started doing this exactly, but I think that at some point in my life my body just started working way too hard when I was sleeping and I would wake up super thirsty.

I would actually recommend you do this in the morning. Drinking a glass of water when you get up not only wakes you up even more, but its super good for you. That could be a good goal!

Then its time for pants. I’m going to be honest and say that I only wear actual jeans maybe twice a week and on those days I’m a little more reluctant to put on presentable clothes. Either way, I throw some clothes on that will either make me feel good or make me look good and brush through my hair. Am I the only one who dreads changing out of pajamas some days?

Honestly, this is usually when I’ll put on my shoes, grab my water bottle, throw on my back pack and head out the door. Once I leave, I arrive to work at about 8 am and no one is nearly as crazy enough as me to work in the morning as a college student but I thoroughly enjoy it. It’s nice and quiet and there aren’t people blasting music I despise or talking a bunch when you are trying to get work done.

I love it when the office is lively but sometimes at 8 am, it’s nice to slowly coax yourself awake.

So CHEERS to a wonderful morning and I hope you have a fabulous rest of your day.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Capturing Happiness

Here’s what I believe.

You can really get to know someone through the pictures they share with you. Therefore, since a picture is worth a thousand words, I thought that today I would share one of my favorite hobbies. Photography. I love taking pictures and even more than that, I love to capture moments. I love to catch that moment of laughter or that real smile and it’s even better when the camera decides to work with you and catches that moment as well.

I am not very advanced with my skills but whenever an opportunity arises, I jump at the chance to capture someone’s moment for them. I am always learning and growing in my skills and so I thought I could show the world a bit of my work so far.

These are all property of Inspired She Lives- ENJOY!

Property of Inspired She Lives.

Property of Inspired She Lives.

Property of Inspired She Lives.

Property of Inspired She Lives.

Property of Inspired She Lives.

Property of Inspired She Lives.

Property of Inspired She Lives.

weding2hannh2 hannah

I truly feel blessed to have captured some of the moments that I did. I even feel more blessed to have had these wonderful friends and family ask me to do these pictures for them. Looking back, I know they are not perfect and I am my own worst critic, but like I said before, I am learning.

I can’t wait to continue to have this hobby as something that makes me truly happy.

Thank you for reading this special post and I would love to hear about any wonderful hobbies you have!

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie ❤

Here’s Why You Should Love Mondays

I’m going to make you love Mondays.

Even if your Mondays are your going through the motion, still waking up from the weekend I am a zombie kind of a day, I’m going to make you love them. Okay, I understand how your negative filter may be rattling off a ton of reasons to fight me right now but just hear me out. I can at least try to get you to appreciate why Monday’s could be loved.

Here it is, the lost list of why Mondays are awesome.

1. You should feel refreshed! The weekend just passed you by and hopefully you had a chance to catch a few z’s, relax in the way the makes you feel at your best and cross off a few things on your to-do list. Ahhh, sweet relaxation.

2. Mondays have the potential to set the mood for your whole entire week. If you are productive and get lots done, you are setting yourself up for a successful few days to come. On the other hand, if you are not in the best mood and decide to procrastinate, you’re giving yourself a ton of work to catch up on for the rest of the week.

3. Everyone you see is also starting a new week and since you haven’t seen them in a few days, you get to catch up! Talk about your weekends, have a few laughs and enjoy seeing friends that can put a smile on your face. Avoid the ones who don’t with that awkward I got a text message trick or looking into the distance gaze.

4. Usually you won’t have any deadlines on a Monday. So that’s less pressure for you! It’s a day that you can take time easing into the rest of the week. Running around like a chicken with your head cut off can’t be good for you at 8 am on a Monday.

5. Monday is always willing to take the blame for your mishaps. If you spill your coffee all over yourself, drop your papers in the hallway or trip and fall on the ice or thin air, you can simply say “It’s a Monday” and everyone will just slightly nod their heads as they do when they feel your pain.

Looking a little differently at Monday can hopefully raise your spirits as we begin a new week. Maybe if we all repeated “Mondays are the best days” in the mirror 20 times it would be true. However, if Monday does in fact get the best of you, know that it will have your back and gladly take the blame for all of your troubles. If you really can’t see the best Monday has to offer, here’s a little picture to let you in on a little secret.

mondays1

Google Images. Monday.

Cheers to starting a new week and making the most of Monday!

Until next time,

Anna Marie

Dance With Me

As a three year old girl, my mom said I couldn’t stop moving my little butt so naturally, she put me in dance class and my whole world changed.

I was in ballet, jazz and tap and absolutely loved every second of it. As an 11 year old, I started helping my teacher teach 3 year olds how to dance and started making up routines at home. After I got my 10 year award at my studio, I graduated out of the program and joined my high school’s dance team which sucked miserably and dissolved after my sophomore year.

I didn’t realize how much I missed dance until my freshman year in college when I was able to take a class as a general education requirement. I joined into some zumba classes as well and realized that dancing was such a good release from stressful days.

Even though dance wasn’t as big in my life anymore, I still loved watching it. I became a huge fan of So You Think You Can Dance and movies like Center Stage and Step Up. There was just something about the movements and details that made dance so beautiful. To show you a little of what I love to watch, I included a video of Chloe Lukasiak (recognizable from Dance Moms) doing a beautiful routine. Watch it and I guarantee you you will understand why I love dance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6b6otMEdsYQ

Somehow, dance is very unrecognized when it comes to all of the other activities and sports kids can join. What people don’t realize is how tough dance is. You are completely supporting your own weight and controlling your limbs to move in precise angles and shapes. Sound easy? Even when you think you have a move down, you might still look ridiculous because the technique great dancers have is absolutely incredible.

I have always been a huge admirer of dancers and wish that I would have stuck with it when I was younger. I will see videos cross my news feed from time to time and be in complete awe of what some of these dancers can do with their bodies.

STOP: Hammer time…

The best part about dancing is that you don’t have to be good at it to have fun. You can look absolutely ridiculous and still be put in a better mood. Not to mention dancing gives you a work out! Zumba anyone? What I’m saying is that even though I can’t do all of the special things I used to do when I was younger, I can still do that side step bobbing thing you see at high school proms that make you feel good. That’s all I need.

So dance it up from time to time. From dance parties with your roommate to weird dancing when you’re home alone, own it and do it because you know it will make you a little happier. At least, it’s something to this day- watching or doing- that makes me happy.

Enjoy your weekends and dance this Valentine’s Day away!

Until Monday,

Anna Marie ❤

Confessions of a Story-aholic

All binge-watchers please rise.

You get up in the morning to watch an episode of a new favorite show and next thing you know its 1 p.m., you’re emotionally latched onto at least three characters and your coffee is still sitting under the Keurig. I’ve been there, have you?

I have been one of those TV/movie junkies since I was little because more than anything, I love stories. In fact, that’s the reason these shows and movies keep coming out. Most of the population world wide loves a good story. Now, there are other ways to get your fix like reading the newspaper or a good book (I still love that page turning thrill of getting to the next plot twist) but let’s face it, technology has given us something beautiful. Stories on demand.

Movies and TV shows have become so accessible with Netflix and digital renting. I particularly love getting involved with these types of media because of the show’s ability to cast a story that can make you learn or feel differently after you watch it. For example, one of my favorite TV shows is One Tree Hill which I am currently re-watching. (Naley, anyone?)

My SIGNED copy of The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks, one of my favorite authors. 2013.

My SIGNED copy of The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks, one of my favorite authors. 2013.

This show has drama, deceit and even some action all wrapped into a neat bow. The best part is that at the end of every episode you always end up learning a mini lesson. You get so emotionally attached to each character and feel such hatred towards others that you feel like you need to know what happens next and when they learn from their mistake you think, huh… that makes sense. Isn’t it beautiful how a story can affect you that way?

Obviously, these movies and shows are scripted. Unless you are a reality TV fan in which you mostly watch people scream at each other. P.S. I love Dance Moms and the Bachelor. Anyways, when writers are creating these scripts, they go off of real life experiences and realistic ways to handle problems and life. Unless you’re a herd of zombies. Or a sparkly vampire.

What I’m trying to say is that I love a good story that can make you feel something. When you can relate to someone in the story for even just a scene, it makes the whole experience just a little bit more personal. A lot of people preach about the negative effects of TV which I can agree that way TOO much can be harmful. On the other hand, to get lost in a story on screen can be one of the best ways to relax and let your mind go.

So now I have to ask, what are your favorite stories? Favorite movies, books, TV shows, anything!

A few of my favorites are The Last Song (book), The Fault in our Stars (both), Hunger Games Trilogy (both), One Tree Hill, Dance Moms, Bachelor, Chasing Life, The Host (book).

Tell me what you like and let’s bond over storytelling.

Until next time,

Anna Marie