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 ❤

Too Busy to Write a Blog

I’ve said it. I’m swamped. I am ocean deep in projects and papers that are due too soon, swimming in loads of tasks for my job and overwhelmed by friendships I am keeping or not keeping up with. I am a crazy busy person and I will blame it on those pesky college years where you’re expected to devote your lives to being a super student.

In reality though, let’s break one week down.

My teachers say I should spend at least 4 hours a week looking over material, doing homework or reading for a class. 4 hours per five classes I am taking.

Well, there is 168 hours in a week, 20 should be spent on studying and doing course homework, I work 20 hours a week as well as another 4 volunteering which brings me down to 104 hours.

I spend on average 9 hours a day sleeping, 1.5 hours a day eating/enjoying a meal, 2 hours a week showering, 9 hours working out per week and 13.5 hours a week in a classroom which leaves 26 hours of free time in a week. Now try calculating all of the time I spend getting ready to go somewhere and actually traveling somewhere and you could probably cut that down to 19 hours of free time.

What would you do with 19 hours a week? About 2.5 hours a day? Well, sometimes it feels like I don’t have the determination to write this blog. After papers and projects, the last thing I want to look at sometimes is a computer. So in this hectic last month of my Junior year of college, bare with me if the blog posts are shorter or I skip a day. After all, I’m human you know.

So today I might be a hypocrite. I don’t like saying “I’m busy” because usually it means that you’re not making time to do something you would like to but in this case, breathing and alone time over trumps some things I really enjoy. I truly am I frantic kind of busy in these approaching weeks.

So if you’re a student as well, best of luck to you and stay strong in your semester. If not, give a college kid a hug next time you meet one, they probably need it.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

P.S. I love irony.

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

Self Implosion is a Real Thing

Oh the beauty of free time. Without it, we all may crash and burn or otherwise lose our minds.

To this day, I struggle a little bit with taking out personal time when I could be doing something productive. I used to really feel like I was wasting my time until I realized that if I don’t take a step back and slow down, I would self implode. It’s a real thing you guys and its called a mental breakdown. That’s why finding how much time you need to just shut down for a little while could really help you change your mood from tired and crabby to focused and calm.

I’m sure everyone has experienced that hectic day where you work or go to class all day long and when you get home you have to make supper or do homework or start on laundry. By the time you crawl underneath the blankets, you realize that you didn’t take one moment to even think about something you enjoy.

Walking through the campus nature reserve. 2015.

Walking through the campus nature reserve. 2015.

I used to get caught up in this way too much. I truly thrive off of other people’s energies and I do like to stay occupied. Knowing this about myself, I would jam pack my schedule and join as many activities as possible to have fun and keep me busy. However, once I did this for quite a long time, I realized how toxic it was becoming.

When you are stuck in a routine that demands commitment and you bite off way more than you can chew, important things in your life begin to feel the effects of that. Last semester, I would be so worn out that I wouldn’t feel like making time for friends and I started mixing up my priorities. I didn’t study as much but began worrying about my work schedules more and more. I wasn’t running as much as I used to and I was a lot touchier than I used to be. My relationships with my friends were dwindling and I didn’t even have the energy to call them up. It wasn’t until I had a break over the holidays that I realized what was missing.

Having some time to yourself during the day is so important. For a person who thrives off of building relationships with others, I still need at least an hour or two every day to just sink into my thoughts and not worry about others. I’ll spend it reading, writing on Inspired She Lives, watching Netflix or even cleaning up the apartment. Anything that calms me down and let’s me forget about everyone and everything else for a little while. I realized that being alone is crucial to my sanity. Although, it also depends where I am alone.

Some people love the calm atmosphere of coffee shops or the quietness of a library to relax in but my ideal alone space is somewhere in my apartment. When I think about quieting my mind, I can’t be around anyone else except for my one and only boyfriend. Sometimes, I find that even the right places can’t stop my mind from roaring through the check list that is life. That’s why it’s so important to detach yourself.

Reading and coffee makes life an indie song. 2015.

Reading and coffee makes life an indie song. 2015.

When I just can’t take it anymore, I do one of three things. I take a bath in complete silence, put my phone on night mode and stick it where I can’t see it, or go for a walk. It all depends on what the situation. Clear minds are what are going to help you through a tough day and without taking a little time to breathe, you may start to realize that you’re suffocating your own happiness.

Maybe it won’t be as bad as you think. If you are way too busy for your own good then force yourself to take a break. Even if you have a lot of free time, set aside one hour for you to do something you enjoy. This time can be used for anything but make it worth it. Making one hour yours can really make you feel a lot happier going into the rest of the day. At least, it’s worked for me so far.

How do you guys de-stress and un-mess? Share your secrets because we all know how much they’re needed!

Until next time,

Anna Marie