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 Must Decide To Rise

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Breathe.

Breathe in light.

Breathe out darkness.

Raise your palms to the sun so your fingertips can be touched by hope.

Close your eyes so you can imagine how blessed you are to be so loved.

Wild and free.

Wind blowing throw fields of sunflowers so yellow it’s petals drip happiness.

Free as the birds who fly anywhere and everywhere with the option of home always in their hearts.

Wild as the drinks that make you dance on table tops and kiss strangers.

Breathe in.

If only to feel alive because spontaneity is played by those who crave adventure.

It’s for those who crave each other. 

Lust and love.

Fall in love with a one night stand for just one night but promise to respect your body.

Crave love in everyone you meet and long for a soul that will understand your own.

Have the patience of your mother and keep her strength too.

Be brave like trees swaying in hurricanes.

Pray for the opportunity to spread positivity.

Love fiercely, move fearlessly and chase what everyone is too scared to run after. 

Rejection isn’t for the weak- it’s for the willing who know they are capable of rising.

And you must decide to rise. 

Until Tomorrow,

Anna Marie

This Is How I’m Going To Love You

I’m not going to notice you and look over my shoulder seventeen times just so you know I’m interested. I’m not going to accidentally bump into your shoulder to have an excuse to ask you to have a conversation. I won’t play the eye contact game or giggle politely. I don’t like games because to me, love will never be a game.

I am going to get lost in my work and thoughts because the truth is, I’m not looking for you and I don’t want you to be looking for me. I want to meet and start talking not to get another date, but to get to know you immediately. Right then and there. I don’t want to pretend that I may or may not be interested in you because the truth is I am genuinely interested in every person I have ever met until I have reason not to be.

I will text you when I want to, not when Cosmo tells me I should. I will ask you to hang out whenever I want to see you, not after however many days society says I should to keep your attention. I will not work for your attention. I want you to give it to me willingly because what you see in me. 

I’ll probably text you too much and share too many personal stories much too fast because I don’t waste my time sharing myself with someone. I give too much, feel to deeply and crave to cultivate relationships. I will never feel overwhelming or like I have to think of every word coming out of my mouth. I’ll ask you questions that you’ve answered a million times and questions that you never knew you’d be asked. With you, I’ll feel safe.

I’ll laugh way too hard at something you weren’t even trying to make funny and cry too hard during sad movies. I’m going to go way too fast and far too slow with you. I’m not going to wait until the third date to kiss you and I’m going to hope you hold my hand because it feels right, not because it’s appropriate timing.

I’ll be terrified of falling in love and excited to call you mine. I’ll surprise you with endless small things and expect nothing less than love and support. I’ll say those three words only when I know they are absolutely true and will show you every day how much I mean them. 

I’ll be worried and overthink because I can’t help but stress myself out. I will say the wrong thing or make a mistake at some point because I’m human. I will apologize and forgive because two people can always work through problems if they try hard enough. 

I will fight hard and love you even harder. I will take time to myself and need to be alone. I will kiss your shoulder goodnight and never feel like I can’t be my complete self around you. I will never speak to hurt you and always remind myself of how lucky I am to be yours.

I will always respect you and never disrespect myself in the process. You and I will be best friends in love and the fire we have my change in flame but will never die out. I will never feel like I am too much or not enough. Neither will you.

I will love you fiercely and proudly because I don’t know how to love any other way. That is how I am going to love you and if you don’t want this, you don’t want me.

But to someone, it is going to be everything and more. I’m not waiting for you, but I can’t wait until the day we meet.

Yours,

Anna Marie

PS: inspired by this lovely post HERE

Who I Am, Who Are You?

I’m a Caucasian female in her twenties. I’m an American red headed middle child . I’m a college student in the Midwest.  Do you think you know me yet? I bet some of you do.

That’s what I’m labeled as. You can make a lot of conclusions from that information but that’s not who I am.

Today, I am going to tell you the top three things that I think you need to know about me in order to understand a vague outline of the person I am. I will do this, in hopes that you will return the favor and tell me three things that make you who you are.

It’s so important to understand ourselves before we can start to grow as a person. We cannot be a better version of ourselves if we don’t know where the starting line is. We also can’t finish the race if we’re struggling for the start line. Understand yourself before you decide if you want to make a change.

SO…

Photography by the lovely Steph!

…who am I?

I am smart. I am strong in academics in school because I crave knowledge. I want to know everything about anything and love to know depth on various subjects. I don’t like to half-ass learning and take advantage of any opportunity to improve any skill I have. I am also smart when it comes to my actions and thinking. Everything I do is usually very deliberate and thought out. I rarely say or do things without thinking it out first unless I am extremely comfortable with someone. I am very observant of others and can usually get a very good picture of a person within the first few times of meeting them.

I am driven. I have strength that I don’t realize can push me to do more than my mind believes. I am strong-willed and determined to reach goals and accomplish tasks. I am always putting my best foot forward in each situation and will give 100% effort at all times. I can be stubborn with this quality but I am always focusing on a goal while enjoying the ride. I can do what I put my mind to.

I am caring. I inherited my mothers big heart. I have a passion for people, stories and those who I can see a part of myself reflected in. I have a need to help those who are struggling and am a good listener to those who need it. I wear my heart on my sleeve because I believe it takes a certain kind of bravery to be open and honest. While sometimes this has hurt me beyond words, I will never regret the connections I have made with others because I opened up myself to them. I have a knack for caring about each and every good person I meet, no matter how long I’ve known them. When I get to know someone, they’ll always have memories in my past that have created the person I am today.

As of today, I feel like these three traits are some of my strongest. I understand the upsides and downsides to each trait I have and in recognizing them, I know where I want to go from here. I want to continue to call myself smart, driven and caring so that others will be able to see the same qualities I see in myself.

Your turn. It doesn’t have to be what everyone else tells you. It doesn’t have to be what you felt yesterday. Right now, what three traits do you feel explain a vague outline of who you are?

Understand yourself so you can better understand others.

Happy Monday!

Until tomorrow,

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.

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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

Here’s Why You Should Love Mondays

I’m going to make you love Mondays.

Even if your Mondays are your going through the motion, still waking up from the weekend I am a zombie kind of a day, I’m going to make you love them. Okay, I understand how your negative filter may be rattling off a ton of reasons to fight me right now but just hear me out. I can at least try to get you to appreciate why Monday’s could be loved.

Here it is, the lost list of why Mondays are awesome.

1. You should feel refreshed! The weekend just passed you by and hopefully you had a chance to catch a few z’s, relax in the way the makes you feel at your best and cross off a few things on your to-do list. Ahhh, sweet relaxation.

2. Mondays have the potential to set the mood for your whole entire week. If you are productive and get lots done, you are setting yourself up for a successful few days to come. On the other hand, if you are not in the best mood and decide to procrastinate, you’re giving yourself a ton of work to catch up on for the rest of the week.

3. Everyone you see is also starting a new week and since you haven’t seen them in a few days, you get to catch up! Talk about your weekends, have a few laughs and enjoy seeing friends that can put a smile on your face. Avoid the ones who don’t with that awkward I got a text message trick or looking into the distance gaze.

4. Usually you won’t have any deadlines on a Monday. So that’s less pressure for you! It’s a day that you can take time easing into the rest of the week. Running around like a chicken with your head cut off can’t be good for you at 8 am on a Monday.

5. Monday is always willing to take the blame for your mishaps. If you spill your coffee all over yourself, drop your papers in the hallway or trip and fall on the ice or thin air, you can simply say “It’s a Monday” and everyone will just slightly nod their heads as they do when they feel your pain.

Looking a little differently at Monday can hopefully raise your spirits as we begin a new week. Maybe if we all repeated “Mondays are the best days” in the mirror 20 times it would be true. However, if Monday does in fact get the best of you, know that it will have your back and gladly take the blame for all of your troubles. If you really can’t see the best Monday has to offer, here’s a little picture to let you in on a little secret.

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Google Images. Monday.

Cheers to starting a new week and making the most of Monday!

Until next time,

Anna Marie