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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Why are we so scared?

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Don’t lose your sense of adventure.

Open up to strangers and invite love into your heart.

Sit on the bus and ask how the person to your left is doing.

It’s not creepy, it’s how we used to meet people.

Stand in line at a coffee shop and tell that girl who dressed up that she looks lovely.

She won’t give you a weird look, she’ll smile.

Pick up a book and read your favorite quote to someone you want to connect with.

Your favorite words will tell them so much more than your Facebook account.

Smile with your eyes and dress up so you can say damn, I look GOOD.

Stop racing for a goal and breathe in the moment you’re living.

Why are we so scared to live in a world where no matter what, you’re going to get hurt?

It’s true isn’t it?

No matter how guarded you are, how careful you are, how safe you live your life- you’re bound to get hurt at some point down the road.

Tripping on the side walk.

Criticized by your boss.

Rejected by your crush.

Hurt is going to happen.

So why do we fear it so much?

It’s a huge part of us.

A part of living, growing stronger and pushing forward.

I’ve seen people cringe from pain so much that they’ve become immune to being alive.

They hide themselves in a shell so tough that they can’t even begin to understand how someone could open it.

And it only grows thicker.

The part of them that could really live gets hidden as they go through the motions- waiting for anything to break through that shell.

Well it’s not up to a force of nature.

It’s up to you.

It’s up to you to face your fear and live in a world where you embrace rejection and let it push you.

By the thousandth time, you’ll be a professional.

By the thousandth no, you’ll hear “there’s a different plan”.

Don’t be scared to live. 

Embrace the fear and do it anyways because we’re all a little insane to hope that just enough courage will earn us the happiness we all deserve.

Until next time,

Anna Marie

 

 

To Be Inspired

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To be inspired is to laugh so hard your body shakes. 

To hug someone who has continuously given you their time and love.

To breathe a sigh of relief after a big test.

You know that feeling when you can feel something inside you building?

Courage, determination, strength or pure happiness?

And then you finally approach that person or run that extra mile and you just feel… good.

Not good- inspired.

Inspiration is driven from chalk being twirled and pressed into concrete.

From 26 letters of the alphabet creating a novel that erupts passion.

From that one person you couldn’t live without whose presence sends your mood to the moon.

It’s biting into a piece of pizza and closing your eyes because the combination is just right as it dances on your tongue.

It’s that wave of heat that encompasses you as you step from painfully frozen air into a heated building.

It’s the excitement of a stranger saying “Good Morning” or smiling at you just because they are  swallowed in their own happiness.

Inspiration comes from new eyes searching the world around you.

From appreciating the moments that we so easily forget.

Taking our pants off.

Falling into a warm bed.

Stretching sore muscles.

It’s the way we look at ordinary days.

Because those ordinary days make up our lives.

That’s how we will create an inspired life- by living and breathing the beauty that goes into simply waking up in a comfortable home that was created by you.

Until Next Time,

Anna Marie

 

 

Do you like you?

I love writing but some days I have to remind myself that I started doing it for my own growth and expression. So yes, depending on where I am in my life, I will be writing about tough times or insanely hilarious moments. I will be sharing stories and mysteries that race through my mind.

It’s kind of beautiful to get to know someone through their words and I believe that Inspired She Lives, in it’s purest form, is me. 

So enjoy as more words continue to flow out of me!

Raindrops drip purity 

They slide slowly, always lurking at our deepest flaws as if to spend the most time trying to understand them

Because they only know innocence

And are confused by what we call imperfection

Don’t you know what you’re worth?

Sunshine fights shadows to warm up how calloused we’ve become

It feels a lot like fighting ourselves to stay loving and kind

Oceans calm thousands just by washing our toes

Is that why waves retreat back into their selves after touching our pain?

Depths that were never explored and creatures left undiscovered

Maybe that is where all of our secrets go after crying to the sea

Tumbling through forests until we can finally hear our own thoughts

Is this how getting lost finally allows you to find yourself?

Dreaming of futures that we are scared to chase

Maybe this is what it’s like to get stuck in quick sand

Fighting and climbing until we create ourselves

Do you like the person who blinks at you through mirrors?

I don’t know how this passage came out of me but if I had to analyze myself, I’m sure I’m going through a lot of self-evaluations at this time in my life. I’m graduating college in the next year and with that, comes SO many big girl decisions! So at this exciting time in my life, I must consider what I want and who I am at this very moment.

I just can’t think too hard.

Happy Monday!

Until next time,

Anna Marie

Your College Bucket-List From a Soon to be Senior

It’s true when they tell you college is the time of your life. You are thrown out of the nest and start to grow your own wings. You experience the stress of finals at 4 am and the doubt of being able to graduate in four years. College is the best experience and do you know what else is true? It flies by way too fast.

Coming from a soon to be college senior, there are so many things I did throughout the past few years at my university that I hope and pray freshman will do as well. So here are ten things I couldn’t have left college without doing.

THE COLLEGE BUCKET LIST

1. Meet people every year and don’t stop making new friends. College is a lot bigger than your high school and your friends will come and go, just make sure you hold on to the good ones. Be open to people you haven’t talked to before.

2015. February.

2015. February.

2. Go to a sporting event that you know has the loudest pride fan section. At my school, it’s hockey. The cheering section for every other sport sucks but when it comes to chanting for our hockey team, we go wild. There are chants, taunts and horrible sportsmanship but it is one of the most fun ways to spend a weekend night. 

3. Join a club, even if you only go to one meeting. Joining a student org not only gives you the opportunity to meet new friends, it also gives you opportunities to volunteer, become an intern or at the very least some free food (sometimes). Even if you don’t stick with it, it’s good to have at least tried something out.

4. Join an intramural, if only for a semester. I don’t care how bad you suck at sports, intramurals are such a good time. You can play in the fun league and meet so many nice people and make lots of great memories.

5. Try to get at least 3 teachers to remember your name by the end of your college career. This isn’t as easy as you would think, especially as an underclassman taking general education courses. Going into the last few semesters made me realize that a letter of recommendation from a professor would look really good on a job application so sit in the front of the class for once and talk a little.

2012.

2012.

6. Live in the dorms… and then live off campus. Living in the dorms are so much fun. You get to know your community and get offered tons of free programs. There is never nothing to do in a dorm. Living off campus provides you with learning opportunities and a place to call your own. You learn a lot.

7. Travel. Either study abroad or traveling on your own, now is the time to go if you can afford to. Even if it’s just for spring break, take advantage of the free time you have while you are in college. Once you graduate and start your career, your traveling is going to be much more limited.

Cancun. 2013.

Cancun. 2013.

8. Take advantage of anything that’s FREE! You get so many college perks it’s ridiculous. Free concerts, movies, comedians, fitness classes,craft-nights, etc. Our campus even gives you free condoms so find out what’s free and take advantage of that!

9. Say yes more than you say no. One of the greatest ways to make memories is to say yes when people ask you to do things. Walk through a park, coffee at a cozy shop, study date at McDonald’s, whatever it is, do it. You will not regret the quirky memories that come from those nights.

10. Take a class for fun. This sounds so ridiculous to take a class for fun but trust me, since you have general courses you are required to take, it will be easy. You have options in so many different broad areas so pick something you need to graduate that you know will give you a good time.

One of the most important things to remember about college is why you are there. Don’t get lost in the atmosphere all the time because you do want to graduate with a degree. You are in college to learn, grow and prepare yourself for your future career in the real world. Bask in that.

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Hunting For Treasure

I realized, life is a treasure hunt.

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

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

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

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

Like I said, life is a treasure hunt.

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

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

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

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

See? Life is a treasure hunt.

Until Monday,

Anna Marie

Workout So You Can Take Impressive Pictures

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Courtesy of Pinterest.

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

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

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

5 Places You Didn’t Know You Needed to Go

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

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

FIVE PLACES THAT ARE ON MY BUCKET LIST RIGHT NOW:

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

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

switzerland

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Courtesy of Google Images.

Courtesy of Google Images.

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

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Goal Setting 101

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

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

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

Accomplished my first 5K with the Color Run!

Accomplished my first 5K with the Color Run!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until tomorrow,

Anna Marie

Stressed Out? You’re Not Alone

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

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

Not to fear, I’ve been there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Breathe in, breathe out and conquer the world. 

Until next week!

Anna Marie