My Birthday Is Half Jinxed 

I’ve been here 21 years today. 21 years and I can’t believe how different my life is from 1, 2, 3 years ago. 

Birthdays are so strange. It’s supposed to be your special day but for some reason, my birthdays always fall just a little bit flat. I get hit in the face with a softball, I get in a fight with a friend or my so called thing of a boyfriend forgets it all together. That’s the past and I think it’s jinxed now. Or half jinxed. Every other year something insane happens. Inevitably, something happens really close to my birthday. So can I just give it back? Just kidding. Kind of. 

Only because the bad always leads to something great. I love the constant reminders of friends and family saying I love you and make this day your best.  I love the smiles I get and sometimes even a little special treatment from those closest to you. It makes me appreciate the ones around me and I hug them just a little bit tighter. 

My 21st. The big one in the US. No, I’m not going to get smashed and take 21 shots. I’m not going to live off of a checklist. I’m going to grab those who love the crap out of me and buy my first bottle of wine. I’ll probably go to a bar just because I can and have shenanigans with my best friends because we have an excuse to be over the top happy. 

I’m going to jam my favorite songs and throw glitter in the air because while this birthday didn’t go as originally expected, it is going to be damn good. Whatever jinx catastrophe that keeps happening will subside into a night of stars and laughter. I deserve it. 

Most importantly, I want to thank you. You as an individual person no matter how many people read this. Thanks for taking the time to care. Thank you for supporting me in my writing and for following along on this insanity I form into a life. Thank you for being someone I consider important to me. You’ve truly given me the best present ever and that is support and a little bit of love. ❤ 

Happy Birthday to the other souls born on this day and make today the most spontaneous one yet.

Until next time, 

Anna Marie 

Breathe: Travel Will Heal You

Whether you’re going through a loss, heartache or bad times, travel can heal you.

I’m not advocating that you run away from your problems because that won’t make a trip worth while but escaping the environment you’re in might just be exactly what you need to heal.

Maybe you need fresh air, ocean waves washing your worries away and new faces.  A place that will be kind to you when you need gentleness.

When the world is horrible to you, surrender yourself to it’s uncertainty.

Let the trees wave hello and the ocean lift you up. Let the crisp air fill your lungs and give you a new energy.

Breathe.

Let yourself find what is important to you again. Discover what makes you happy, what you value and where you will go from here.

Breathe.

Let the clouds shelter you from pain and the mountains hide your worries. Let the grass tickle your feet and the wind take away the negative thoughts running through your brain.

Breathe.

Maybe time away is exactly what you need to find yourself again. You can process the changes life threw at you and understand what happens now.

It will be a way to heal yourself and to throw yourself into a place you don’t know so well. All so you can heal.

A place to let it all go.

Anger, fear, confusion, weakness, doubt, sadness.

Let it go.

And breathe.

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Rain

Today’s post isn’t very inspiring but it’s real. Sometimes the inspiration is looking up into the eye of the storm and raising your middle finger to the sky because you know you are going to make it through the thunder and lightning.

So here it goes.

The sky is crying. Sunshine is taking a break and the clouds are protecting the sun from having to be so bright and happy today. I want nothing more than to stand in the rain and let it wash away the thoughts, doubt and any pain I have been through.

The rain drops can hit my skin and take the poison from my mind and I’ll feel them roll down my face until they fall from me and sink into the ground.

I’ll let my mood fall into alignment with the clouds for today. I’ll pretend they are protecting me like they are protecting the sun from having to always be shining. I can be a little bit dull today, I deserve a day like that.

A smile will cross my face because I know how deeply I feel and how strong a person has to be in order to brave the emotions that come with a giving heart.  I will laugh in the rain because I will feel the self-doubt drip down my sides and recognize the worth I have in myself.

I might cry in the rain to let myself know that I am not going to numb what I have experienced in my life.

I know that every step forward is progress that has taken work. Even if you feel like you have fallen miles behind.

I know that love is surrounding me. Love is all I need.

My mind just gets in the way sometimes.

I’ll make it out of this little hell.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

We Loved With a Love That Was More Than Love

Flashback to when you were 16 years old. When you were either in the midst of your first love or dreaming of a love that was written by the stars. When a kiss was the blossoming of a crush and a hug connected you to another soul. When all we dreamed of was hearts and roses and never feared that we may fall down.

Imagine a  love that doesn’t happen in the movies but that happens in the lives that surround us. For those who dream of love or are blessed to have it, here is an ode to you.

To love someone is to first introduce yourself. To exchange “hellos” and run into each other until you plan on seeing them again. It is to start to understand their being and recognize a familiarity of yourself in that person yet to see something a little bit different or special. It is to feel an undeniable connection that has no reason, only feeling.

It is “yes” to dates, breaking down walls and allowing yourself to miss them. Love happens slowly and then all at once. You feel yourself starting to crave another person until you can’t imagine a life without them. They become your best friend, your confidant and your biggest fan. Their success makes you excited and their strength inspires you to be better.

As you move through time, you become aware of quirks and annoyances and figure out the differences you have. It’s a roller coaster of emotions that send you spiraling into confusion because you are starting to realize that there isn’t such a thing as a perfect person for you. You will eventually realize that the person you kiss goodnight every evening is not your 100% match but they are everything you could have possibly hoped for.

This is what loving with a love that is deeper and stronger. I am so young and cannot even begin to understand the depth of love I could accomplish by the time I am sipping coffee on a porch swing in my 80s, staring at the man who gave me everything.

Just a few days ago, I was talking with an elderly couple. The kind man told me “when I was 21, I thought I loved her more than I ever could. Now, I look at how much stronger my love is for her compared to all of those years ago. We’ve been married over 55 years, but it does not seem that long at all.”

To hear this was to be inspired by love. To aspire to be loved and love in that way. To remind me how truly blessed I am to have found someone I could see myself saying these words to 55 years from now.

To love is to open yourself to someone and let them into your life so you can grow together. It is to constantly care about another person and always wish well for their dreams and their future.

Love is inspiring, challenging and beautiful. Love is powerful.

Until Next Time,

Anna Marie ❤

Save Money: Go On A Road Trip

Do you love to travel but you just can’t afford it? This is one of the biggest reasons I hear people say is why they don’t travel. Therefore, I have created a plan for you to get your wanderlust fill and not break your bank account.  (HAPPY TRAVEL TUESDAY!) We’re talking about road trips.

First of all, you have to know that it’s going to take a lot of time to plan out your trip. If you want details and don’t like to wing the entire trip, you will have to sit down for a few hours and write down some information. Starting with…

Places: What is the general region you want to travel with? Start there and then research different attractions along the way and keep jumping from place to place until you find yourself back home. I recommend using roadtrippers.com just because it was really easy to navigate where you could go.

Time: Once you have your places down and have a good outline of where you would like to go, find out how much time you have to travel and plan accordingly. You can’t see the whole east coast in four days. You can’t see it all in a week if you are driving most of the time. Make sure you calculate how much driving you are doing a day and leave yourself enough time to not feel rushed when you reach a new attraction.

What I did was write down on paper the route I thought we could take every day, the attractions we could see and where we would sleep. I planned a ten day trip and went back to revise this whole plan just yesterday to make sure everything seemed like a good fit. At first, we only had a week and I was trying to cram 8 hours of driving and Yellowstone National Park in one day. That was obviously not a good idea considering how huge the park is.

So when I found out how much time I had, I went back and gave an abundance of time for each attraction because I know some will take longer than others and if we are too fast, we can always find another neat place to explore.

Who: Who is coming with you? One person? Two? Seven? Depending on how you work this, you can really save yourself a lot of money. A lot of the attractions and parks I am seeing cost $10 per car and allow all of the people inside to get in. Now, if I had four people including myself, we all would pay $2.50 and I would be cutting my costs in half. Same for hotel and gas.

Add it up: Figure out your approximate costs for the trip. Roadtrippers has a great feature where they tell you the approximate gas cost based off of mileage and how many miles your car gets per gallon. Then plan out where you will be sleeping every night.

A HUGE cost cut that I planned for was to sleep in a tent instead of a hotel. In the region I am roadtripping, there are camping spots everywhere that cost about $25 a night compared to hotels that range from about $90-$100 a night. For nine nights total, I cut my costs by $630. Not bad eh?

Next, figure out the costs for parking, entrance fees, etc. for each park you are going to. My trip will cost about $100 in those type of fees.

When I split everything between two people, my cost for the trip without food/water/souvenirs is starting at $400. For a ten day vacation, that is a really cheap price.

When we made our plan, we understood that we might wing some days, add or subtract some places and hit a roadblock or two. That can only be expected. However, we wanted to get a good estimate of what the trip will cost and how we can save as much as possible. Below is a list of things to look out for as your trying to save money on your trip.

1. Tolls

2. Entrance/Parking Fees

3. Hotel Costs… can you be the camping type and save yourself a few hundred?

4. Food costs… can you survive on bread and cheese for a week?

5. Water… bring plenty of water bottles to fill up

6. Gas prices in that area

7. Extra amenities.. WIFI for example, can you live without it for a little while?

*8. Make sure you have an idea of the hours a park is open! You don’t want to get there and only have 30 minutes to explore.

If you have any further questions, I have just finished up planning my roadtrip and would love to help out in any way possible. Good luck with your planning!

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Summer Days, New Ways

It is officially summer for those college kids who have been crying over their last finals and praying for the projects to end.

This summer, I have a lot of trips planned and memories to be shared and cannot wait to see what the sunshine brings. To start, I have decided that this summer is going to focus a lot on myself. I am going to start new habits and new routines that will make me feel like the days I have nothing to do are filled to the brim with relaxation, learning and happiness and I feel like you should do the same if you have the opportunity to.

Starting off small, I created an imaginary list of things I enjoy and how I can incorporate that into my summer.

Here are a few hobbies I am adding to my list. I feel like by doing a few things I wasn’t able to do during a hectic semester, I will feel a lot better about how I am making use of my time. Take ideas from me or add to them, either way it’s time to take advantage of the better weather and abundance of hours.

Reading plenty of books: Have I ever mentioned what I book worm I used to be? I can’t say I still am because I honestly haven’t had time in the past school year to pick up a new novel. However, summer is the best time to reconnect with novels I have wanted to read and to get lost in stories that aren’t my own.

Yoga/Fitness: Ahhhh the excuses I was able to make during school. Most of them were true, but this summer I want to amp up my work out routine now that I have plenty of time for it. I am hoping to hit harder into yoga and find other fun activities at my local campus fitness building (free group classes!) or just even taking a walk by the river.

Photography/Videography: I have had a few friends ask me to do some projects for them which I know will keep me busy before I head on these sporadic trips I have planned throughout the summer. I will be honing my editing skills and looking for new ways to challenge myself because this summer is all about advancing what I know I can do.

Cooking: My mac and cheese game is strong but I need to learn how to cook an actual meal. I plan on looking up a few simple recipes and mastering them by the end of the summer. This has never been a strong suit of mine but I figure that if I have time on my hands I won’t mind learning a new skill.

Blogging up a storm: with YOU! That’s right. Now I am able to focus more on Inspired She Lives and amp up ideas, content, engage with you all and so much more! I am excited that today is the start of an incredible summer ahead. I am looking forward to what it will bring.

What are your summer goals? Think of them in your head and hop to it!

Today isn’t going to make itself great, you’re going to have to push it along.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Huge Moments Don’t Change You, The Process Does

Think about this. Graduating High School, your 21st birthday, graduating college, getting married, having children, etc. All of these huge moments in life are ones that we consider to be monumental and even life changing.

Somehow, we don’t feel all that different when this moment occurs yet we know our whole life has changed. Look at it this way, it’s not this moment in it’s entirety that has changed you, it was the process and hard work that led you to this moment.

High School

When someone hands you a high school diploma, there isn’t a shock wave of knowledge and certainty that consumes your body. No, in reality, someone just handed you a piece of paper that confirms you have worked your butt off the past four years. It is a beautiful day because you are recognized for the process it took to get your diploma, but I think we can all recall that it feels weird to be done because nothing really feels different. Sure, you toss your caps and celebrate but nothing really feels as if you have changed.

Well, you haven’t. Not right at that moment. But in those four years of clubs and academics? My Lord, you would barely recognize the same person. That’s what changed you.

21st Birthday

Your 21st birthday is supposed to be this magical day where you are no longer consuming alcohol illegally and can celebrate your responsibility with the substance. Truth is, you really didn’t change from the person you were at 11:59 pm and you probably didn’t change that much from the person you were a week ago. This can really go for any birthday.

Yet, we have to wait until this magical moment because that symbolizes our readiness (even if we weren’t considered “ready” 1 minute ago) to go forth on onward. It’s not the clock striking 12 that makes you ready to consume alcohol, it’s the experiences you have had leading up to midnight that America really thinks you need before you can drink. You don’t feel different on your birthday, because you’ve had a whole year of change leading up to another wise year added on to your age.

College Graduation

If you go to college and graduate, it’s almost the same scenario with High School. If you go through all of the requirements needed to graduate and never get handed a piece of paper, you would still know all of the material you do and be able to perform just as well. Somehow, this piece of paper and confirmation of your knowledge is to assure everyone else that we know what we’re talking about.

That moment we graduate from college doesn’t change us, the blood, sweat and tears we put into that degree changed us. The paper just confirms it. Of course it’s a great day to celebrate but that’s all it is. You’re celebrating the change that has already happened because when you are handed that degree, a wave of knowledge will not sink into your skin. You already have it, they are just recognizing it.

Getting Married

You meet someone, fall in love and want to tie the knot. You have a ceremony to celebrate two people coming together as one and can even change your last name. However, when you kiss the bride, there is no magical commitment enchantment that falls over you and your loved one. You decided that a long time ago.

The exact moment of signing a marriage license doesn’t make two people commit to each other, it confirms the commitment already made when you are asked to be married. Marriage is saying that you love the commitment you have made to each other and want to spend the rest of your life eating frozen pizza and laughing every day.

There is not a force field of love that engulfs you when you put that ring on his or her finger, that love is already there. You are just confirming it. That huge moment does not change you, it reinforces what you already know and have with each other.

Having Children

I have had two really close friends of mine become pregnant and I had to ask what it was like. They both told me, it was completely surreal until you saw yourself getting bigger and felt the baby start to move around. It was crazy for them to think of themselves as mothers until they had their child in their arms.

This one is tricky. Of course finding out your pregnant is a huge moment that will change your life. However, if you’ve been sexually active, you’ve technically been preparing for this moment to happen (even with birth control) because that’s what animals do. Reproduce. The process up to the baby’s birth will lead to another huge moment when your baby is now in this world outside of your tummy. The moment you can see your child is a huge life changing sequence that changes you in that moment.

But when my cousin first held her son in her arms, she said she didn’t know how to be a mom. What changed her was the process of it. Taking her baby home and starting to care for him, that’s what made her become a mother. Of course, as soon as she was pregnant she was the child’s mom but she learned how through the process. I thought that those words were so beautiful. It’s in the process more than a specific, entire moment. So from my understanding, it’s both the huge moment and the process.

Other

For those who like to contradict, I am sure you can think of incidents where a huge moment can change your life. I am in agreement. Death, accidents, etc. Those are all painful and huge moments that really can affect  you right then and there. But even with those moments, it’s not the instant someone dies that changes you, it’s the start button it presses for the process of change. The process of learning to live without someone. Learning to live with grief.

All in all, my point here is that the journey is more important then the destination. Take time to enjoy the process because you will spend most of your life in that phase rather than the celebration stage.

Value your processes more and you will be able to celebrate even harder at your next victory.

Until next time,

Anna Marie

Travel Quotes to Inspire Your Next Adventure

It’s all about your visual side today. I made a nice collage of some of my favorite travel quotes that you may very much enjoy yourself! ❤

There’s just something about being broke in a new city. Not broke in the sense that bills are piling up and you’re worried, but broke in the sense that you don’t actually have any bills, you’re in a strange land, you have nowhere to be, nowhere to go, and nothing in your wallet.You don’t take things for granted. You know how to appreciate the good in life, and how to enjoy it come what may. | Community Post: 15 Perks Of Being A Middle ChildTraveling the world would be something I would like very much today because there's so much to see out there.Im in love with cities Ive never been to and people Ive never met | The most beautiful parts of life are still unfolding.I have an insane calling to be where i'm not. To see more travel and adventure quotes, click on this pic!When was the last time you did something for the first time"Fernweh" is a German words and there is no English translation for it. It is basically the opposite of homesickness (Heimweh): when you feel like you have to leave your familiar surroundings to discover new places. It is the need for distance, the wish to experience something far away from home, the urge to escape from your everyday life by travelling“I read; I travel; I become.” ― Derek Walcott & more travel #quotesBeautiful travel quote. So very true, you can't put a price on the feelings you get and the things you learn when you travel the world.How many days have gone by where you planned to get certain chores or tasks done but then at the end of the day you realized that in actuality you accomplished absolutely nothing that you set out to do that day?Travel is....getting to know yourself by finding new experiences.20 Inspiring Quotes That Will Make You Want To Travel The WorldA little travel inspiration from Lonely Planet co-founder and legend, Tony Wheeler, suggested by Josh Button.

These beautiful quotes make me want to buy the next plane ticket out of here. 🙂

(Big thank you to Pinterest!)

Enjoy your Tuesday!

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie ❤

Depth of Feeling: I’m Letting Go of Poison

I think I’m overly attached to people. I think I feel things really deeply and when I find something good, I will do everything to take care of it because I have experienced a lot of bad. Sometimes I hold on a little too tight and if I need to completely let go, it breaks my heart because once I am close to someone, I will never truly let go without the memories surfacing once in a while. My depth of feelception (new word) is extremely massive and I’ve come to realize while it can be really beautiful, I really don’t like it sometimes.

Have you ever struggled with this? Feeling too much? Is that even a thing, because it sounds ridiculous. It’s accurate for me though, I have these moments where I feel things far too much. I’ll give you an example. I had a really good friend my freshman year of college. We got really close and had these heart to hearts that made us bond over a lot of similar experiences and trust each other.

Long story short, we had a falling out.

This is when I realized my super hero powers did not work on friendship. I tried keeping in contact with that one good friend I had, invited her to meet up to no prevail. I said that if she told me the time and place, I’d be there because I wanted to fix our friendship. She said she would text me asap. She didn’t.

And after all that trying, I stopped. I felt really hurt by it.

I still feel that stab of pain. This happened months ago and it still makes me feel betrayed when she pops up in my world. To me, losing a friend that was really close to me is like having a piece of yourself break off. I trusted her with a lot of my life stories and put a lot of time into building a friendship with her and when something like that isn’t reciprocated, it hurts. It sounds like we broke up, which I guess, we kind of did.

In other words, I felt this way deeper than a lot of people I know would have.

They would have been like, fine, I don’t care and I will get a new friend who values me. Of course, I knew I didn’t need a friend who wasn’t interested in being a part of my life anymore but it sure made me feel like I wasn’t all that special or important. Looking back, that’s not what I should have been feeling.

I have learned so much about myself and one thing that really surfaced was how insecure I was in a lot of my relationships. I usually think that when something goes wrong, it’s because of me. It’s because I’m not good enough or special enough or worth enough time to be a part of someone’s life. That’s really hard to say because it is really a summary of how I have felt through way too many relationships I have or have had in my life.

It’s almost embarrassing to say that this is how I have worked for the past 20 years and I didn’t even know it was one of my downfalls until a few days ago.

It’s really frustrating when I take a look back at these times because that’s not something I want to continue to feel about myself and it will only cause more insecurity in the future.

Since I have recognized this, I have started to give myself a lot of pep talks. Something along the lines of you can’t control how others interact with you but you can control how you interact with others. If someone isn’t a positive person in your life, you need to let go. It’s not your fault, it might not even be their fault, but it just so happens that friendships come and go and you’re probably better off without each other. 

This doesn’t mean you are unimportant because you are. Whether people recognize it or not, you are very important to quite a few people out there. But sometimes, it’s just best to let go of a poisonous flower rather than to keep staring at it’s potential beauty. If someone doesn’t recognize your value and can’t reciprocate your friendship, it’s time to make a change and sever those ties. 

Why? Because we all deserve an empowerment squad that surrounds us on a daily basis. It doesn’t mean that those people we let go are not special or worthy, it just means that they don’t mix well with what we want to conquer in our lives. That’s a hard realization, but it’s an important one. One that I am working on every minute.

I figured out that there is only so much I can do. Instead of feeling as deeply as I do and coming out disappointed, I need to change my mindset. I need to realize that I have worked hard at something and sometimes that isn’t enough. In the world, people will come and go but the people who stay will be those who share a mutual respect and compassion with you. I need to work on forgiving those who wronged me and feeling okay with letting go of people who aren’t lifting me up.

Most importantly, I need to cherish and love the ones who do this for me. Instead of dwelling on the friendship failures, I will begin dwelling on the beautiful people who have gotten to mean so much to me over the past 20 years.

This is a lot of deep thinking for a Monday, but the gray skies made me go into a very rich state of mind this morning. This was really deep and personal, but I know I’m not the only one who experiences these emotions. Thank you kindly for reading today and I hope to hear your thoughts.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie ❤

P.S. When I say relationships, I don’t mean between my man and I, I mean all relationships in my life. Family, friends, acquaintances, the whole shebang. 🙂

Finals: I’m Too Tired to Think of a Clever Title

My fingers are dragging over the keyboard. My eyelids are in slow motion. My body is screaming nap time but my mind is whispering the final assignments that are due in a few days. Finals week, this battle has been hell. I will not let you win but you can throw a hefty left hook. I just need a minute to catch my breath.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Yes.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. Yes.

For those who are in college good luck. For those who aren’t, I’m sure you have felt another comparable, stressful situation. I didn’t think much of finals when I was a freshman and I didn’t think college was too difficult until I got into my major and realized all of the work that has been demanded from me.

Today is the day that positivity needs to be carved into my skull. The days I lose motivation and the grey skies win over my mood. The days that textbooks seem a thousand pages thicker and words seem much too difficult to string into a coherent essay. The days I drag myself around in an attempt to be functional. Man, I am burned out. College is hard. It’s not a new revelation I’ve made, but it deserves to be said.

So for those of you who need to hear it, you can do it. You are almost there. You have a few days left and if you keep up the pace and push yourself until that last minute of that last exam, you will be so proud of yourself. It will be worth it. Take a deep breath and keep trucking. You are almost done. Then you can scream to the skies and let the sunshine hit your face.

Think of summer. Think of how great it will be to enjoy the summer knowing you pushed yourself to the last possible hour of the Spring Semester of 2015. You will jump in the air and time will freeze in your happiness. Okay, maybe not quite that blissful, but you can grab a glass of wine and watch Netflix without feeling guilty for the first time in months.

The simplest pleasures. They are quite worth it. Keep pushing.

Until next time,

Anna Marie