I Hope You Stay You.

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I hope, at the end of the day, you’re you.

I hope that the fire in your soul fuels your bravery and the criticism of society burns in the flames.

I hope you love so freely that it scares people away and attracts the deepest friendships of your life.

I hope you spike your hot cocoa to stay warm and breathe in the crisp winter air because the contrast is sacred.

I hope you fall in love so bad it hurts and he only stays if he let’s you be exactly who you are.

I hope you always stay exactly who you are.

Never a dimmed light-

never a watered down version-

always, 100% you.

I hope you eat french fries and skip the salad once in a while.

I hope you call yourself beautiful.

I hope you look in the mirror and accept yourself for your own beauty ideal.

I hope you talk to yourself like you would talk to your best friend.

I hope you practice kindness and stay genuine.

I hope you aren’t afraid to feel sadness and learn how to carry it with you.

I hope that you inspire yourself to be brave and believe in yourself to be fearless.

I hope you know that you can do anything.

Whatever you want, just do it.

I hope that you care for others in a way that makes them love you to the ends of the earth and fight like hell for what you believe in.

I hope your beliefs are never shoved down the throats of others.

I hope you listen to the silence for all that it says.

I hope you listen just to listen and not to respond.

I hope that you are missed by the ones you love and miss those you adore.

I hope you remember to smile.

I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself.

I hope that someone finds that light of yours and let’s it shine as bright as ever before.

I hope no one tries to take away your spirit.

I hope you never let them.

I hope you never apologize for what isn’t in your control.

I hope that you share yourself if only so you feel more confident in who you are.

I hope you never change.

I will always hope, at the end of the day, that you are you.

Stay you.

Love,

Anna Marie ❤

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You Need to Sink Into Nature

Travel Tuesday takes a twist into appreciating nature wherever your adventure leads. 

When on the verge of self-implosion, I step into a place that offers much more than a beautiful view and I sink into it.

I will close my eyes and take in what it is to sink into nature.

The rustle of leaves as the wind whispers through shaken stems forms a language that calms the heart, mind and soul.

A gentle breeze lightly kisses your skin to take away the heat that comes with the warm sunshine on your shoulders. Nature knows the pain you feel and it fills those cracks with the shrill of birds singing and the smell of new leaves springing from their homes.

Breathe out, breathe in. The faint smell of flowers is overwhelmed by the earthly scents that flood all five senses. Maybe you’re standing by a lake and can hear the light trickle of water moving and smell the fish and seaweed that lie beneath the glittering surface.

Perhaps you’re caught in the wind on the ocean and can almost taste the salt on your lips. You slowly squish your toes into the sandy beach, feeling each grain of crushed rock smooth the skin you walk on. The ocean waves slowly crash against the shore. They stretch and reach for you, maybe just getting far enough to wash your feet, pulling your worries and self-doubt into the vast blue.

forestThere you stand in the midst of a thousand trees. A forest filled with cracking trunks and bending limbs. Rodents rustle rapidly through the brush and climb heights we consider feats. The sun rays slice through the branches that shelter us, if only to wash our face with light and hope. White noise hushes your thoughts as each leaf high fives it’s partner and the forest dances as one.

What you hear, what you see, what you feel has erupted what you have been holding inside of you. You loosen your grip on what you can’t change or let go piece by piece.  A calmness settles in that whispers you’ll be okay and you once again feel the hug of sunshine and earth surrounding you.

Nature can heal you if you sink into everything it has to offer.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Patrick’s Point, California

My vacation to California has been an incredible journey mentally, physically and emotionally.

I have spent my days in Northern California exploring multiple beaches, forests, state parks, small towns, etc. and just yesterday my cousin who I am staying with asked me what my favorite part has been so far. I just sighed because this indecisive demon in my brain could not possibly choose between all of the adventures I’ve been on.

Until I went to Patrick’s Point.

There are things that I loved about every place I wandered here in California but I have never been so continuously awed by the views and feelings I had when I set foot on the paths surrounding Patrick’s Point.

It is this beautiful hiking course with paths along the Pacific Ocean that over look the ocean and the rough, rocky shore. I’ll let you look for yourself.

Naturally, this place is stunning. If you think it is gorgeous in pictures, we all know it’s ten times better in person. The waves crashing over the rocks just sent your mind reeling over the power the ocean had.

I witnessed a whale peeking out of the ocean as well as sea lions playing with each other and slapping water into the air. It was just beautiful to see the world move around you. The sun glittered on the horizon and the fresh air was so crisp. You could feel the warmth of rays kissing your skin and the wind kept you cool.

These views were taken from one of the view points called Wedding Rock (probably named because you fall in love and want to marry a State Park or whoever you’re with you just want to give a romantic hug to). Below is little ole me standing on Wedding Rock (picture taken from the Patrick’s Point look out).

… and another of the rock itself.

Wedding Rock was absolutely stunning and an easy climb for the peace you had when you get up there.

Next we went to the Rock Lookout area and it was just as stunning. It was a place kind of on the outskirts of the main looking area and so nobody was there in the time I sat down and thought about life. It was beautiful. I sat and watched the waves crash onto the rocks as my thoughts just became fluid. It was the perfect place to think.

This leads me to why Patrick’s Point became my favorite place in California.

When I was sitting here, staring over the water, my thoughts seemed healthy. I felt calm and peaceful. It was as if the waves would heal my mind with every splash that landed on the coast. I felt alive and happy. I felt an overwhelming amount of gratitude for the opportunities I have had and the memories I have shared with others.

I have been going through a lot of really random events happening in my life lately and this place brought all of the loud thoughts in my head from a 10 to a 2. I could just breathe for a second before going back to deciphering my life again at a lower volume.

The natural beauty of Patrick’s Point was inspiring to me. It gently helped cleanse some wounds and wash away some of the negativity I’ve had thrust upon me. I felt more aligned with the path I wanted to take and more sure of my decisions and actions lately. It is the ultimate thinking spot.

I fell in love with Northern California. This was the place that had absolutely everything for someone going through a bit of a tough time who was standing back up again. It will give you serenity and love. Nature’s hug is always the warmest.

Please find a place as magical as this or visit here if you can. Your happiness will sky rocket. 🙂

Until tomorrow,

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 ❤

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

Photography in the Dark

I was asked by a friend to help her capture her emotional side through photography in order to use those pictures for a great project she is working on.

This project, named Warrior, is meant to bring awareness to domestic abuse and create a community for those who have been involved in abusive relationships or suffered consequences because of one.

This girl is always quite bubbly, so I wasn’t sure how we could bring out the emotion we needed to get these pictures to stand out against normal photography.

After we met up at around 9 p.m., we searched all over a few buildings on campus for the perfect lighting. We couldn’t find it. Instead, we walked outside into the misty rain and started shooting in what light we had. I shot on manual and was having a really hard time without a tripod.

Looking through my camera, I wasn’t seeing anything incredible until we moved in front of a huge mural that is lit up at night on our University campus. As I started taking pictures, I became super excited about the red glow and as I edited, it was just what the picture needed.

Enjoy yourselves in looking at the photography for the Warrior project.

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Comment below thoughts, suggestions, questions or anything really.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Travel, Meet Pinterest

Two of my favorite things are Pinterest and Travel. Today, I am going to leave you with some of the best Pinterest boards to follow for those who love to travel. Enjoy!

1. https://www.pinterest.com/whatsgabycookin/travel/

Love these pictures, get lost, etc…

Orvieto, ItalyBlue Window | Rock | San Laurenz, Gozo, Malta

2. https://www.pinterest.com/enmibolso/travel/

Make your heart ache with longing for these kind of places…

Verdant setting on Lake Como in northern Italy • photo: Daniel Schwabe on Flickr

3. https://www.pinterest.com/carajourdan/travel/

Please those eyeballs with pictures like…

Blue Canyon, Arizona.

4. https://www.pinterest.com/SugarAndCloth/travel/

Satisfy that wanderlust with…

Waterfall of Gods - icelandMandore Gardens, Rajasthan / India

5. https://www.pinterest.com/dodo/travel/

Get obsessed about…

Geirangerfjord, Norway

Hope you don’t procrastinate too long on these boards. 😉

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Photography and Video Editing: Doing is Learning

I am currently a student in media production and a volunteer learner of photography. So what better project could come along when my professor told me that I would be creating a still image project with only two seconds of video and at least three layers of audio? A creative project, that is.

It’s time to talk about one of my biggest passions and inspirations. I love creating video projects. I’ve been editing since I was in 8th grade and shooting pictures for as long as I can remember. I have always had dreams of using my talent in a career and I still dream of the day I can live that reality.

So here below, I wanted to share some of my photography from the shoot and ultimately the finished product. Comments are welcomed. Enjoy!

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And as promised… this what happened when hundreds of these photos came together.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nM1TTtEPC6w

I hope you enjoy my project and thank you for stopping by Inspired She Lives!

Until TRAVEL TUESDAY tomorrow,

Anna Marie ❤

Why Thailand? I’ll Tell You Why

“Why Thailand?”

This is the question I heard over and over when I told my friends and family that I was traveling to the “Land of Smiles” this past winter. While my answer never seemed to make sense at the time, I can certainly tell you  why I chose Thailand now that I am home.

First, I must say that I went to Thailand through EF College Break for two weeks. I was in a group of 40 and the only person I knew before the trip was my boyfriend, Zach, who came with me. We paid a price and they had everything planned out for us already including several meals, hotels, transportation, plenty attractions, etc. It was so nice to not have to stress about the planning aspect and I would definitely go through them again.

BANGKOK

We flew into Bangkok, met our tour guide and travel group, and tried to sleep to beat the 11 hour time difference from home. To begin our journey, we went to a Thai home where we tasted raw sugar and saw squirrels doing back flips. We met the Thai family who lived there and were treated with the utmost kindness and respect. The first of many encounters we would have with this kind of treatment from the Thai culture.

Thailand. 2014.

Floating Market, Thailand. 2014

Later that day we went on a speedboat ride down the river, which was definitely one of my favorite parts of the trip. Water splashed around us and we saw a ton of tiny homes and temples. We drove through a floating market and stopped to shop for a while which introduced us to our very first market. When in Thailand, go to the markets. You learn to barter and it was one of my favorite experiences of the trip (and I don’t even go shopping that much you guys).

Something you must do if you ever go to Thailand, is get a massage. My boyfriend and I got an hour body massage for $8 each. It’s insanely cheap and feels really really good. They have shops everywhere so it’s not hard to find a place. Just walking the streets gives you plenty of opportunities to dive into the culture.

While in Bangkok, we also took a tour of the river that runs through the city. We saw a few beautiful temples as well as the Grand Palace which is one of the most gorgeous and detailed pieces of work I have ever seen. The intricacy of their architecture doesn’t fail to make you gasp every time you see a temple. There were quite a few crowds but you eventually learn to push and shove your way through if needed. Our tour guide always took good care of us.

Grand Palace, Thailand. 2015Grand Palace, Thailand. 2015.

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PHITSANULOK

We traveled to Phitsanulok on our way to Chiang Mai. On our way there, we stopped at one of my favorite places of the whole trip. Temple ruins. There was an incredibly sad story behind the ruins and it shocked us all. How can something so disastrous like a fire or flood lead to such beauty? I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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CHIANG MAI

Chiang Mai was a huge adventure. We visited the biggest night market in the city called Night Bazaar which had the coolest trinkets and gifts. We saw everything from insanely inappropriate bracelets to hand carved soap beauties that were made right in front of us.We went to another temple on top of a mountain by way of taxi pick up trucks. That was a great adventure. To think that it was completely normal to ride on a bench in the back of a pick up truck was so different than anything I’ve ever done.

We rode elephants and had the chance to pet a tiger.We also went on a bamboo raft ride down the river to see a Thai tribe. That little tribe was a really great cultural experience. It was such a versatile city and definitely more modernized than Bangkok.

I must say, riding elephants was the chance of a lifetime but I won’t do it again. After we were on the giant mammal, our guide would hit him if he wasn’t going fast enough and it was a horrible feeling to be a part of that. I felt so guilty. After the ride, we had the chance to have elephants do tricks with us in which the owners weren’t hurting the elephants at all. This was really neat to be a part of. They lifted us up in the air with their trunks and shoveled sugar cane and bananas into their mouths as treats. Then they put on an elephant show to show off their impressively intelligent minds. They painted pictures, gave massages and even played soccer.

As for the tigers, some of them were so visibly drugged up I couldn’t bring myself to get in the cage with them. But some people on the trip really enjoyed petting the tigers. It’s all about what you know and what you believe.

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PHUKET

This place was paradise. If you go to Phuket, please go to Phi Phi Islands and to islands around there. That was the best part of Phuket. We stayed in Patong Beach and it was so humid so when you got to the beach, the ocean breeze felt like a slice of heaven. The beaches are very pretty, but once you see the the islands that are a boat ride away, it will outrank every other beach you have ever seen. We had a few free days and went ziplining, beaching and island hopping. Phuket was an incredible place to stay and the pictures can’t do it justice.

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WHY

Was that enough to convince you why? If not, here is a summary of how I felt. Thailand itself was beautiful and so were the people. Thai people are so kind everywhere you go and almost all of them can speak English. It actually makes you feel stupid if you don’t speak another language fluently. The Thai culture is something that is indescribable unless you have experienced their genuine nature.

Here are somethings I haven’t mentioned that just add to the trip overall.

Traffic is insane. There are almost no rules. You run a lot of red lights, people drive the wrong way on the shoulders and you see multiple people riding in the bed of a truck. It was exciting and scary all wrapped into one. Pedestrians don’t have a right of way, you stick your hand out and start walking in the middle of the road to get someone to stop. It’s a lot different from home but a really cool experience.

Stray dogs are everywhere and it will make you sad. Thai people see them as pests and we saw some dogs get rocks thrown at them. The dogs themselves didn’t give us any problems and some of them were so gentle and kind. Buy them crackers and love them up if they don’t seem disease ridden.

Everything is super cheap, which makes you buy everything. It is about 32 Baht to $1. You can get a T-Shirt for $3 and I got plenty of cultural souvenirs.

Be open to experiencing anything. We went to a monk chat that I wasn’t expecting to be high on my list of favorite things I did, but it was. I learned so much about Buddhism and why they live the way they do and it truly opened my eyes to why their culture is so friendly and giving. Take opportunities and run with them.

This is definitely a really short synopsis of my trip, so feel free to message/comment with any further questions you may have.

I have a special place in my heart for Thailand and will always treasures the memories I made there.

Have a great rest of your day and until tomorrow,

Anna Marie ❤

Ten Bridges You Need to Cross

How many posts have you read about the incredible culture and architecture behind beautiful bridges around the world? Take a look for yourself at the hard work behind this beautiful infrastructure.

Ten Bridges You Need to Cross (and then cross off your bucket-list)

1. Millau Viaduct: Tran Valley, France

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

The tallest bridge in the world reaching 343 meters above the base of its structure.

2. The Helix Bridge: Marina Bay, Singapore

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This pedestrian bridge is known for it’s nifty design.

3. Vasco Da Gama Bridge: Lisbon, Portugal

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

4. Pont Du Gard Aqueduct: Gard, France

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5. Tower Bridge: London, England

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This bridge has become an icon for London.

6. Golden Gate Bridge: San Francisco, United States

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

7. Sydney Harbour Bridge: Sydney, Australia

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This bridge is an iconic structure that opened in 1932. 

8. Ponte Vecchio: Florence, Italy

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This is a medieval bridge that was built with shops alongside it as was common back in the day.

9. Siosepol: Isfahan, Iran

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

This beautiful bridge consists of 33 arches on top and bottom.

10. Brooklyn Bridge, New York, United States

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

One of the oldest bridges in the United States.

Now you can go ahead and add these beautiful paths to your bucket-list. Who knew the worlds bridges could be so beautiful?

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie