The Power of Curled Hair and Lipstick

I savor the days that I get to use my girl weapons of mass beautification. I crave the mornings I get to jump out of bed and put on a new beautiful outfit that I have been dying to wear. I am a girl who loves the rarity of an ALL OUT kind of beauty day.

What ever do I mean? Fashion is wonderful. It’s making a statement about who you are and what you feel best in. Sometimes it’s terribly confusing and you don’t understand how a some trends ever came in to style (*cough* my favorite pants used to be gouchos and I loved ponchos in middle school *cough*). It’s an art expression. People engage in fashion every single day and feel that doing this on the daily will give them the power they need to conquer their days. I love this idea but I am way too darn lazy for that.

Therefore, I stick to my leggings and super comfy v-neck and throw a cardigan over it if I’m feeling stylish that day. Make up is a laugh unless you count lately where I have been trying a little harder if I have a nice event or special occasion. Ambitious, I know.

So what is all this nonsense about savoring my days for an all out beautification?

lipstickThe reason I don’t curl my hair often or put on lipstick every day is because I feel super empowered and confident when I pamper myself like that. For some people, this is something that doing daily would never grow old but for me? Doing that every day would become a daunting task and I would hate it. I would eventually start feeling the same way I do now and then how I would I step it up for special occasions? Prom dresses that freak everyone out and make me look like the weird red-headed child I have hidden so well the past 20 years. We don’t want that, ladies and gentlemen.

I savor my try-hard days. Today, for example. I have a big presentation as well as a ceremony tonight. I was SO excited this morning that I was up before 7 am, carefully slid on my black dress and became way to excited to curl my hair. After the curls were carefully sculpted to bounce and float exactly how I wanted them to, I steadily applied a clean layer of bright red lipstick to finish off the makeup earlier applied.

I feel damn good today. Every girl deserves to feel that way. Whether you can do this every day or savor them like myself, there is a hidden power in a gorgeous outfit, curled locks and your favorite lipstick. It will give you that extra UMPH you need to seize your day with confidence and we all deserve that.

It’s going to be a good day.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Apparently, This is Why You Shouldn’t Be Traveling…

As much as I love traveling, I have heard so many people come up with reasons as to why they can’t travel right now or why they don’t want to travel. Well, for those who like to bring up a good point like myself, here is your ammo.

1. It’s too expensive. I have said it before and I have said it again, I will NEVER EVER regret money that I have spent on traveling. The experiences you gain and what you learn is so much more than money could ever buy you. You will not remember a $300 dollar dress you had when you were 20, but you will remember the trip to Cancun you had with your girlfriends in your college days for $800. Don’t buy the dress, save the money for something even more enriching.

2. I can’t afford it. This makes sense to some point. However, I get this from a lot of college students and I just tell them like it is. If you want it, you have to work your ass off and stop buying clothes and coffee every day. It’s not too out of reach. It just takes self-control and a savings account. If you want it, you can do it. It may take time, but it will be worth it. I’d rather travel than buy a new pair of shoes.

3. There’s war out there. There sure is, but not everywhere. I have a lot of people saying “Oh, well three months ago 3 Americans were killed there.” That’s truly heartbreaking and terrifying but if you think about it, how many international visitors die in the U.S.? Anywhere you go, you can find something bad that happened but that doesn’t mean it will happen to you. There were also probably hundreds of people that made it out safe. Now, if there is a full blown war happening in a country, you probably couldn’t fly there anyways and would want to stay away.

4. You have your whole life to travel. Oh, the amount of times older people have told me this. I suppose that’s true, but why not get started now? Who knows if I will die in the next month? I want to start adventuring the world while I’m young and keep going until I’m older. Who knows if a job or family will stop me from being able to travel as frequently as I want to? My whole life has already started and so should my traveling. You’re never too young to go on an adventure. Especially if you’re smart about it.

5. I don’t have time. Ahhhh… time. This is also a valid reason. However, if  you have vacation days or weeks, use them for this. In college, you have nothing but time during your breaks. Even just a week is enough for an adventure.

6. I’m scared. This is understandable. You would be leaving your comfort zone. But sweet dearest, you will never overcome a fear until you face it. I still get nervous going to a new place, but you will be shocked to find how quickly you adapt to foreign places. You fall in love with that adventure and it will be hard to get you on the plane back home.

7. I can’t go alone. This is also scary, so maybe start by going with a tour group. However, if you are alone and you go somewhere new, you will be much  more likely to step up and meet people and join into a culture much more willingly then if you had someone by your side. I’m not saying this is harder with two people but you will be much more excited to throw yourself into somewhere if you are by yourself and know that is exactly what you have to do to create new relationships.

Does this cover all of them? I am not sure, but it’s a good start. So STOP making excuses and get your butt in gear! Traveling is an amazing experience and one that reading or watching will never justify. YOU have to do it and you can start as soon as you want. Comment below with any suggestions or stories you have. 🙂

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

I Finally Figured Out If I’m Happy Or Not

Wow, this past month has stretched me in so many different directions. I feel like Elastic Woman from The Incredibles. How is it that one person can feel so obligated to do 14,000 things in one day? (Exaggeration, more like 13,999.) College, I tell you, it’s all because of college and the extremities that are attached to it. I needed that break last week but boy, it sure feels good to appreciate blogging again.

Now for the meaty section of today’s post. I have had a lot of crazy jam packed checklists to accomplish lately and while I was tackling these huge feats of work, I had some time to day dream and think about a really important question: am I happy?

I was stunned when I couldn’t answer very easily. I was laying down before bed and I thought, what constitutes as someone being able to say that there are definitely happy? Then I thought of something that one of my friends recently shared with me. She has been going through a lot and she said “You know Anna, I have realized lately that I have a lot of bad days.” At the time, I was just trying to be her friend and comfort her through her bad day, but it really got me thinking.

Do I have a lot of bad days too? Does a string of bad days lead to bad weeks, bad months, a bad year, a bad life? It kind of dawned on me that in order to be happy, I had to start by having good days. Of course, you can’t force those on yourself, but you have to know what contributes to your good days and what triggers your bad days. We need a little of both because how else would we tell the difference between them? It’s just a matter of which ones we have more.

I looked back on the past few weeks and thought about the good days, the bad days, the normal days and really evaluated which kind of days I was having most often. I felt kind of ungrateful when I realized that I have had a lot of good days lately.

I am smiling because it represents happiness.

I am smiling because it represents happiness.

I thought, maybe I’m just lucky, which can definitely be so, but I had to start giving myself some credit too. I am where I am today because of my hard work and commitments in my life. I have chose to do certain things every day that really contribute to a good day for me.  Even in the midst of this stressful time with challenges being thrown at me left and right, I have had a lot of good days.

I thought, well, does that mean I am happy? So I dug deep into those days and found that I was doing things that were truly making me happy. I was learning, loving, sharing and challenging myself every day. Bad days were ones that I couldn’t control. Days that were triggered by other factors that I only have half the say in. On these good days, I would seize random opportunities to go places and do things with new friends and that really set my mood soaring.

I realized, I have worked hard, really hard, and I have earned these good days. It was the best feeling in the world. I want to continue to earn these good days through positive energy, building relationships and taking adventures whenever the chance comes around. I have a lot of good days and to me, that means I am happy. I am living a good life and I really am happy. Are you?

That’s a lot of deep thinking for a Monday. 😉

Take care and until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

HIATUS this week. 

just a heads up to my followers that I love and treasure, I am taking a week to really focus on my school work as finals is only 2 weeks away. Wish me luck and I’ll write you next week!

Anna Marie 

Good Morning, a Note For You

Good morning sunshine and thank you for reading! ❤

I know that your day just started. Whether you are lying in bed with one eye still closed, squinting into the light that is seeping through your window blinds or drinking your morning coffee with your PJs still on, good morning. That’s what it is going to be. That is what you should want it to be.

Right now, you have no idea what kind of mood might hit you. You’re still basking in the warmth of your dreams and thinking about what is happening in your life today. You don’t know yet if you’re day is going to be memorable or average. Can you really choose?

I don’t know, sometimes I feel like I could argue either way. But here is the truth. This morning might lead to a day full of happiness that you will treasure for years to come, or it might bring news that you never even knew you were dreading. You can either excite yourself for the days that might bring the most sunshine or always expect the rain clouds.

But let me tell you this. You, mister or missy, are important. You mean something to someone in your world right now and that person loves you. They cherish your smile and can’t wait for the next time you get to make more memories together. Someone out there, the person or people that you are picturing right now, they want to see you. They need you to bring them joy.They want to share their day with you or gossip about the latest happenings. They want to sing obnoxious songs with the windows rolled down and hear that they’re doing okay in life.

We all just need to hear that we’re doing okay, that we’re doing great.

If you don’t feel like you’re okay, you will be. Believe me. It may take time, it may take another person, it may take an adventure, but you are doing okay. Everyone one of us has had something bad happen and every one of us has learned to overcome something. Everyone of us has wondered what is next for ourselves and everyone has second guessed our decisions. It’s okay. It’s normal.

For you, understand that your presence is one that can not be duplicated. No amount of magic could ever cast the light you do on the people who surround you. No one could ever tell you how to shine that light and no one could ever replicate the grace in which you do. That brightness is special, YOU are special.

Recognize one thing this morning. Recognize how much you mean to those around you and realize how important you are to someone. You, my friend, are so incredibly loved. Feel that warmth that you feel when you wake up in the morning when you are in your cocoon of blankets. Feel it and keep it with you for the rest of your day. No one can ruin this day for you. You are going to make it yours.

Be yourself in every second of your day and let yourself be known to those around you. They’ll find you just as lovely as those people who know how much you are worth. That worth is evergreen.

Good morning and good day,

Anna Marie

Planning Your Road Trip

Itching to hit the road? For those who cannot wait to get in a car and drive, I came up with a game plan to make the road plan as you start planning your road trip.

1. Who is going with you? Ask around and see which of your friends are willing to go on a road trip, that way you can start matching schedules.

2. How much time do you have? This is what will dictate how far you can go and to how many places you will be able to see. Figure out a chunk of time that you can escape and if possible, get dates ready so you can start seeing if there are any events on the road you could take part in.

3. Where do you want to go? You can’t do the entire United States in a week. Here is how you can narrow down where you want to go. Think of a few landmarks that you have been dying to see. Maybe it’s Mount Rushmore or maybe it’s Times Square, decide on a place you need to see and start looking at different attractions around it. If you find a group of places you could reach within a few days of road tripping, that’s where you can begin.

I recommend using a website that can help you with mileage, gas costs and find you accommodations and near by attractions around you. I use roadtrippers.com but use whatever you  find/like. I really enjoy that website because it’s super easy to use and is really helpful with surrounding information. This way you can easily switch the order of places you go and rearrange attractions in the way they are ordered.

4. Know how many hours you want to drive a day, include time for stopping for attractions a long the way. This could very well be the hardest part of planning. Who knows exactly how much time you will need for each place you want to visit. Try to do some research to see what people have said about the attractions you are willing to stop for. That way you can hopefully get to know how much time you might need in each city/place.

5. Book where you will be staying. Once you are confident in where you will be staying book ahead if you’re going during a busy season (like summer). That way you don’t have to worry about where you will be sleeping. Unless you want to be a camper, then pack a tent and look up some campsites.

6. Plan for snacks and food during the trip. Of course! You’ll never know if you might get hungry while you’re a couple hours away from the nearest gas station. It could happen right? Bring some water while you’re at it.

7. Plan on road games and CDs to keep the mood light. You don’t want to hate the people you are traveling with so back some great road games and CD’s to keep entertained.

8. Expect something to not go as planned. When traveling across states, you will probably encounter something you didn’t think of. Construction, weather, closed attractions, etc. Something may go wrong but just remember to roll with it and move on. It might make the adventure that much more worth it.
Hopefully this can get you started in planning out the right places to go. Get moving, get planning, and hit the road!
Until tomorrow,
Anna Marie

Children Movies are also Secretly for Adults

I had a great realization yesterday.

When I was little, one of the movies I really liked was The Road to El Dorado. If you know the movie, you must have had a wonderful childhood. In short, it’s about two guy friends that look for a city of gold, find it and must save it from the Spanish invaders who just want its riches.

As I am reliving my middle school days, I was praying that the movie would still be as lovely as I thought it was when I was little. Has this ever happened to you? You loved a movie when you were little but as you get older and re-watch it, you don’t see the magic in it anymore? So sad.

Anyways, I sit down and watch this movie because I saw it went on Netflix and was really hoping it wouldn’t make me sad. GOOD NEWS my wonderful readers, it made me super nostalgic but also made me laugh and appreciate the movie all over again.

As I was sitting there watching it, there were a few moments that were definitely adult humor that as a kid, I never caught on to. Seriously, I was amazed that I never remembered any of the jokes that appealed to the parents that probably watched this movie with their kids. I found it hilarious. That’s when it dawned on me.

I have watched quite a few Disney movies and such over the past few years to relive my favorite moments from my childhood and I know that there are jokes in those movies that appealed to the audience that was forced to sit and watch a movie with a younger child. I found it so entertaining. I realized how GENIUS this was for these types of movies.

For example, I love Madagascar. One of my favorite parts completely blew my mind when I was introduced to what I am about to share with you.

Oh, Sugar Honey Iced Tea. Do you see it now? Ah, it’s brilliant.

Another loved one from Shrek that I never picked up as a child.

Compensating for something, eh?

And the great one I discovered after doing a little bit of digging on the internet a couple weeks ago. Toy Story’s Hooker.

Get it? Haha. Pretty clever.

I will never watch my favorite children’s movies the same.

Google more, it’s truly entertaining.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Vision Blog: What I Want Most

Since I am an avid lover of all things photography, I have decided to start something new on Inspired She Lives today. I am going to start doing a weekly post on Thursdays that use pictures (still or moving) to describe a story.

Here is post number one.

Yesterday, for a class I am taking, I had to draw up a ten year vision plan. I was asked to picture my life and pretend that I am at my absolute best potential or happiness. Then I had to decide, why? Who was surrounding me, what was I doing, what had I accomplished, etc. For a student in college who has not entered the “real world”, I was really freaked out by this worksheet.

I know how much things change and if I look back even five years from where I am today, I could not have imagined all of the things I accomplished. I couldn’t imagine the person I would have turned into and there is no way I could have predicted the memories I would make.

It was quite overwhelming to think about that far into the future but it made me realize what I want most in this world and I unknowingly put a hierarchy to my dreams. Below, I provided a small collage of pictures to SHOW you what I feel like I truly want most in this world. These pictures give insight into what I hope to be the “why” I am happy or at my best.  (Pictures all found on Pinterest)

Gorgeous destination wedding: http://www.stylemepretty.com/destination-weddings/2014/10/23/glam-destination-hawaii-wedding-at-andaz-maui-at-wailea/ | Photography: Tamiz - http://www.tamizphotography.com/

This engagement shoot is perfect - Sincerely, Kinsey: Nathan + Sarah | EngagedBonfires with best friends are always fun
I'm not even entirely sure what I like about this photo, but I like it.I had a dream that I tried to killed her. She wasn't scared. She was laughing at me.

Ingrid Bergman on the set of We, the Women, 1953Cool photo with image ... would be great for graduation, I think.  I really love this idea.

So here it is, a mini vision board if you would. Something to aspire to and something to look forward to.

It’s quite fun, you should make one yourself.

Until Next Time,

Anna Marie

Herman the Hippo

Herman the Hippo is a famous figure in my life because of the love my boyfriend has for hippos. When I first met this goofball, he changed my computer background to the picture below, claiming it showed the cuteness hippos contained.

On the other hand, I thought this creature looked like a slimy blob of flubber. Zach named him Nigel and he stayed on my computer for a long time, reminding me of the guy I was falling for.

After this, I learned that a young Zach had told his brothers that he hid a hippo in his closet and fed him chocolate chip cookies. This is when I started gaining a soft spot for the animal. I took a second look at poor Nigel and realized his legs were so short and stumpy and he had such a big nose. He was starting to look a little cuter.

For Valentine’s Day, I bought Zach a giant stuffed hippo who he named Herman. We cuddled, schmoozed and loved him while beginning to document the memories with pictures. Here is a taste below…

After the ridiculous amount of pictures we began taking, I became as obsessed with Herman the Hippo and hippos themselves. How can you not love the huge nose and heart tattoo on his foot?

Over a year later, he’s lost a little fluff but still continues to be the ridiculous cuddle pillow that I stole from Zach to sleep with every night. Literally, every night. I sprawl over this stuffed hippo and don’t let go until I wake up in the morning. It’s my first time ever having a stuffed animal that I sleep with every night. I feel like a five year old and I am not ashamed.

I have had a lot catch up with me this past week and have felt a lot of pressure from every aspect of my life. I don’t know if you have ever been stressed out to the max but hugging the crap out of a hippo tends to make your heart a little more fluffy and the world a little bit kinder. So as I write this, I am holding on tight to this little ball of love and hoping to just make it to the weekend without exploding into a mess.

Herman the Hippo is a wonderful stuffed friend to have around and the point of this post is to give you a tip on how to make yourself feel better after a long day/week. Buy a huge stuffed hippo, name it something adorable and hug the crap out of it.

Until next time,

Anna Marie ❤

Tips to Help you Save for Travel

globe

For those of you who are loving followers of Inspired She Lives, you know that I am a college student in love with the idea of experiencing every corner of the world. I have had many questions from friends asking me how I can afford to travel while I am paying for text books, rent and other expenses. Below are some personal rules I go by when considering my next adventure.

1. Have an Income: This seems pretty obvious but it’s true. You have to be working in order to have an income to go on a trip, there are sweepstakes and such but you might be waiting forever before that can happen. Find a job, even if it’s a part time deal. I had two jobs and now only have one and don’t make even $9.00 an hour. Which leads me to my next tip.

2. Budget your money or be aware of your spending: This is the MOST IMPORTANT part. You can make a very small income but if you know how much you can put away in savings for your dream trip, you have a time frame of when you think you can take the leap for your trip. I realized how badly I wanted to travel and every time I was about to make a purchase I would think of how it might affect my future goals of travel.

I made a budget using Microsoft Excel and put in my spending predictions as well as my income so I knew approximately how much I should have by the time I wanted to leave for a trip. It made me realize where my money was going and in some cases, I was shocked about how much money I spent.

For instance, I got coffee probably 4 days out of the week at a coffee shop. This cost me about $15 a week. It doesn’t seem like much but that is $780 dollars a year. That is an all inclusive trip to Cancun that I just gave away for a cup of joe. Some choose that coffee shop but I will always choose adventure. I also used to buy a lot of “stuff” that I didn’t really need. I would just ask myself do I want this $65 pair of jeans or do I want to go to Europe next summer? In my mind, the choice got easier as my savings increased. If you want to travel that bad, you’ll make it happen.

What I tell people most when they ask how I afford to travel is “I don’t spend money… ever.” This isn’t true because of course I still go out to eat and grab coffee once in a while but compared to the average person, I am really strict with my money. I would rather pay for an experience than pay for stuff that I don’t need. I have never regretted spending my money on travel.

That is why this step is the most important and the most difficult because it involves a lot of self-control for some people.

3. Decide a dream travel destination and do your research: Knowing where you want to go is essential in starting to save. That way you can picture your vacation and daydream about the experiences you could have there. If you start saying “I’m going to this place” you will be more conscious of every day spending decisions that might inhibit you getting to this place. Also look into if you want to go with a tour company, by  yourself, with a vacation package, etc. It’s as if you are setting a travel goal. You will psych yourself up  if you start doing your research and can name reasons why you want to go to this specific place.

4: Get excited and tell your friends: They will either want to come with you or ask you all about how you plan on going on this trip. Either way, you will get excited and more invested in making the trip happen.

5. Use Social Media or technology: I created a Pinterest board of where I want to go and have my computer background of the next place I want to see. I am always itching for a new adventure and constantly seeing beautiful pictures reminds me that I am going to try my hardest to get there. If you’re visual, use it.

These are the most important aspects I use when considering my next travel plan. If you have any further questions for me, please feel free to comment below and I will gladly help out a fellow inspired traveler.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie ❤