I Vow, 2017.

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I vow to worry less about others love for me and work harder to give that love to myself.

I vow to breathe through anxiety and put myself first.

I vow to say no without an explanation and feel comfortable doing so.

I vow to love fiercely in every way possible.

I vow to be vulnerable and real.

I vow to not let the fear of judgement control who I am.

I vow not to measure my success by the amount of likes on a picture or the amount of compliments in person.

I vow to keep some goals to myself and smash the hell out of them.

I vow to let go of could-bes and things that don’t work out.

I vow to truly take in the moments that make me carefree.

I vow to say what’s on my mind even if it isn’t what someone agrees with.

I vow to minimize the “stuff” I purchase and save it for the experiences I can live.

I vow to be open and genuine.

I vow to never numb myself to joy for fear of feeling pain later on.

I vow to say sorry less, to stop apologizing for who I am.

I vow to keep feeling every single emotion fullly and showing the world how it should be done.

I vow to call myself beautiful and believe it.

I vow to work through rejection in an effort to better myself.

I vow to have more courage to tell someone how I feel only for the sake of them knowing.

I vow to always find hope in any incredible amount of darkness I face.

I vow to accept that which I cannot change and move forward in the direction I’ve been pushed and pulled.

I vow, for one year, to give every ounce of love to myself so that others know how it should be done.

I vow, for one year, to be exactly who I am in the most kind and genuine way possible. 

I vow, for one year, to put my happiness utterly and completely before anyone else’s. 

I will always keep pushing, keep striving and keep growing.

I will never give up.

Love,

Anna Marie

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The Constant Battle Between Your Heart and Your Head

Hush, I tell my heart, you don’t always know what’s best for you. 

Quiet, my heart challenges, you’re overthinking this. 

It’s like I can feel these two separate entities inside of me whenever a crucial decision arises.

For instance, when you get a funny feeling about someone or being somewhere.

Our head often sees what’s happening far before our hearts ever sense we might be in danger. When we finally realize our thoughts are not just paranoia we cautiously whisper our fears to our beating chests. With every beat, our hearts reassure us that people are good, incapable of causing pain and besides, can’t you just enjoy happiness for once?

They say we’re ignoring our gut instinct but in reality, we just have too much hope. We are too excited for things to go as we dream and push away the nagging discouragements our brain is spewing in the background. We just want our heart to find happiness because we know how much it deserves to. 

If you’ve ever been stuck, it’s hard to choose between what you think is right and what you feel is right. I wish I could help you understand which is better but the truth is there is never going to be one that conquers all.

There is this battle that happens within us and that’s when we know the decision we are making is life-changing. When your heart and your head clash so ferociously you can’t sleep, that’s when you know you’ve come to a fork that has two separate futures.

And if you follow your heart? I can promise you that you will feel good. I can’t promise for how long, but whenever you choose your heart you always feel good for at least a little while.

Is it smart to choose your heart and surrender your brain? It depends really.

Is it smart to choose your brain and ignore those feelings you have? I just don’t know.

But if you follow your brain? You can talk yourself into reason and sometimes that means talking your heart into reason as well. You can calm the terror you may feel in your chest by explaining why something needs to change.

In our hearts, we can almost always know if something is a good idea if it just feels right. 

Often, we can also argue our minds to the point where we convince ourselves that it is right. 

So in the end, we never know if we made the “right” decision or chose the right organ to follow. We just move forward because we realize that is what we decided to do. We continue on living and will not know if that organ was the more reasonable one until one of them start questioning every choice you’ve ever made again.

When that time comes, maybe wave a white flag and find a way to follow both. 😉

Until Next Time,

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 ❤

Shutdown or Breakdown: You Need a Break

You’ve been there. So much stress and pressure building up on your shoulders until you’re positive one more day might send you over the edge and two more days will make you unbearably crazy. Three days and you’ll pull an Anna and lay face down in bed until the world is ready to embrace you in gentle arms again.

Exhibit A of a breakdown.

Exhibit A of a breakdown.

The importance of shutting down may seem a little immature, like a misuse of time or unproductive, but it’s actually the opposite of those. By giving your mind and yourself a chance to have fun and relax, you’re healing yourself. You’re refreshing your ideas and getting your energy back. You finally can let loose before getting back to the grind.

Whether this is on a weekend, an evening or your 2 hours in the middle of your day, you need to shut down. Take a break from social media, your phone and anything else that will make you stressed out. Do you. Take a walk, watch a movie, lay in bed, catch up with someone you love or just sit there and breathe.

But I don’t have time. Yes. Yes you do. Don’t say that. I used to over commit myself to so many things before I realized that I wasn’t even having fun doing any of them anymore. That’s what your activities should do. Make you have fun. Let you let go and forget about everything for a while. Do something that you don’t just cross of your check list.

Breaking down is what happens after all of the stress and inability to shut down attacks you. You might feel better afterwards, but shutting down in the first place is going to prevent a hysterical break down. Breaking down leads to a night of tears or anger that doesn’t need to be there if you take care of yourself.

There is a lot of talk of taking care of yourself psychically, but remember to care for your emotional and mental side too. The energizer bunny will still die out of batteries at some point right? We need time to recharge and recuperate before jumping into the next day’s battles.

Do yourself  a favor. if you need to, start small. Snatch an hour out of the day that’s just for you. A time for you to recharge. Whether that’s taking a bath, sitting outside or enjoying an iced coffee while reading your favorite book, do something for your brain. Take a break. I know how much everyone of us deserves it.

Until tomorrow my friends,

Anna Marie

P.S. If you have any advice that works wonders on healing your stretched thin self, please share. I know we could all use ideas to wind down.

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