“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” | F. Scott Fitzgerald

CANVAS REBEL Stories & Insights: The Story Behind Your Mission

We were lucky to catch up with Erica Adams recently and have shared our conversation below.

Erica, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. So let’s jump to your mission – what’s the backstory behind how you developed the mission that drives your brand?

My mission for starting Mountain Girl Creative stemmed from wanting to express my creativity on my own terms and have my work revolve around my life, not the other way around. I always had a passion for photography, writing, and all things creative, but for many years, I was behind the scenes and using my idea’s to grow other’s small businesses. I was exhausted from working in the demanding corporate world and realized I needed to prioritize my daughter and myself. It’s so gratifying to see my dream come to life, have my voice heard, and have my work appreciated. Most importantly, I have more time for my daughter, can focus on what’s truly important, and am proof that with commitment, drive, and dedication, it’s never too late to go after what you want. I am inspired by other women entrepreneurs working on their own terms, and I enjoy supporting small business owners in growing their businesses with purpose.

Erica, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?

I loved art from a very young age and always found writing and photography as outlets of expression and a way to navigate my life. After taking photography classes and attending art school for graphic design, I found my calling in marketing. Helping small businesses grow their brands, capture their missions, and connect with their audience really fueled me. When I started writing copy for press releases, social media, and other marketing materials, I realized I had a talent for writing. My blog and social media gave me the freedom to express myself and share my voice in a way that seemed to resonate with others. Agencies, media companies, and small businesses connected with my work and began hiring me to produce articles, blogs, website copy, create content, and help grow their online presence.

Mountain Girl Creative is unique in that marketing is not one size fits all, and people crave a personal connection to a brand. Every business needs to understand what their client is craving and share what makes them special. Copy, social media, and content aren’t just about keywords, SEO, or getting found on Google. It’s about simplicity and understanding the big picture. I truly care about my clients and am dedicated to ensuring their message is custom-tailored to their needs. Because of my experience in marketing in various industries, I know how to simplify the message and uncomplicate content. Nothing makes me happier than helping business owners capture their brand in a way that not only grows their business, but that is uniquely personal to them. Everyone knows entrepreneurs pour themselves into their small businesses, so it fills me up knowing I’m helping someone else grow their lifelong dream.

What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?

As a recovering perfectionist, I had to get over my fear of failure. Since I’m a self-taught writer, I had to come to terms with learning from mistakes, taking criticism, researching, and being willing to ask for clarification. I also realized that growth might be slow or there might be setbacks, but it’s essential to give yourself time to understand a new industry or evolve with where the demand is. Sometimes it’s tempting to want to be an expert in every field, but it’s ok to niche down, to pass on projects that aren’t a good fit, or to understand when it’s better to refer clients to other experts in an industry. I also think it’s essential to learn boundaries and know your worth. With many of us working from home, juggling family and workloads at an all-time high, you must know when to say no, schedule time for self-care, and make time for what fills you up to burn out.

Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?

My most significant transitions have been learning new techniques and technology and evolving my skills into what’s in demand. For years I loved film, and developing my own photographs, but digital was a transition that needed to happen. Print magazines were always my favorite to write for, but again the market shifted, so thus, it took adjustments to more online content. Blogs have also transitioned into more podcasts, so I’ve worked at learning the industry. Website copy became in high demand, so I had to pivot into where agencies needed assistance. Social media’s shift to more video content has also pushed me to learn new platforms, which I really enjoy. As long as new technology allows me to continue sharing my creativity, exploring and learning are exciting. All creatives must be brave when trying new technology and embracing unique aspects of the marketing universe. It moves quickly and takes out-of-the-box thinking to make it work.

Original feature from CanvasRebel: https://canvasrebel.com/meet-erica-adams/


“I’m grateful for my struggle because, without it, I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength.” | Alex Elle


Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Adams.

Hi Erica, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Growing up surrounded by beauty in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, I’ve always loved adventure and enjoyed capturing the moment with photography. After taking photography classes at Colorado Mountain College, I attended the Art Institute of Colorado for graphic design. From there, I began helping Colorado businesses market their small businesses. My journey of helping other entrepreneurs in Denver, Aurora, Fort Collins, and Steamboat Springs with their websites, social media, and marketing motivated me to start my own business. Mountain Girl Creative stemmed from my love of writing, photography, storytelling, and connecting with others. I’ve very grateful for the gifted and talented people who have encouraged, taught, and motivated me to get where I am today.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I’ve always been a big advocate of enjoying what you do for a living, but with that comes the balance of sometimes taking on projects that aren’t always as creative as I like. Particular copywriting for websites, blogs, and articles can take a lot of out-of-the-box thinking to bring to life. I have also learned to value my time and know when to walk away from jobs or clients that aren’t appreciating my commitment. It can be challenging not to have a steady paycheck, meet tight deadlines, and communicate effectively when working for agencies. There is so much talent among creatives, so you must focus on your strengths and know when a project isn’t the right fit for your skills. Utilizing networking, coaching, and surrounding myself with other entrepreneurs encourages me to succeed. When you realize you never stop learning and can continually expand your industry knowledge, it allows you to step outside your comfort zone and grow. Once I became a mom, I realized you must set boundaries with your career. Like everyone has learned with Covid, working from home can be challenging to focus, but it allows me more time with my daughter, better mental health, and allows me to be more present with what is essential in my life.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My journey to opening Mountain Girl Creative is a unique combination of years of helping others grow their small businesses. While I was more marketing, photography, and social media based in the past, I found my true calling as a copywriter. I started blogging to share my story and connect and soon learned that writing was my favorite way to express my creativity. Today, my primary focus is writing copy for websites, blogs, and publications. My greatest accomplishment is getting to write for Ski Town Media, as I grew up reading those publications in Steamboat. Writing for the Steamboat Chamber has also been rewarding in sharing my hometown’s unique history and helping the Yampa Valley thrive. My main clients are national agencies, but I also offer marketing consulting for small businesses that need help growing their online presence. I would’ve never imagined I was strong enough to start my own business, and I am so glad I leaped. My dedication and passion for helping companies tell their stories help me thrive.

What does success mean to you?
My outlook over the years has changed dramatically with who I strive to be. I have realized it’s not about a title, position, salary, or outward accomplishments. It’s about finding what speaks to you personally. If you are blessed enough to love what you do for work, then it becomes something you enjoy doing every day. I strive to create a balanced life where success isn’t just dependent on my career. Money can’t make you happy, and things can change overnight, so be grateful for what you have today. People will never forget how you made them feel, so above all, be kind and vulnerable by sharing your story. The connection will draw others to you, so invest in what you can give the world, not just what to take.

Original feature published by VoyageDenver: http://voyagedenver.com/interview/daily-inspiration-meet-erica-adams/



“You can be healing and feel broken at the same time. Healing isn’t a destination we reach where we’re perfect and at peace all the time. Healing is a journey that involves accepting and embracing ourselves as we break, as we heal, and as we reconstruct.”|Najwa Zebian

Oregon’s salty breezes, caves to explore, waterfalls to chase, treasures to discover, and new adventures to experience have filled me with excitement about this next chapter in my life. Whether it’s the ocean, mountains, forests, or any aspect of nature, it helps ground, calm, and clear our minds. The ever-changing tides, delicate wildlife, and shifting seasons are all a reminder that it’s ok just to let yourself be. No matter what region you reside, time must be set aside in the outdoors for our well-being and serve as a reminder we all need to fill our lungs with fresh air and take in simple beauty.

My blog was on pause these last few months during our COVID-19 recovery, transitioning from Colorado to the West Coast, and being busy with copywriting deadlines. Although I’m thankful to be so busy helping agencies, clients, and businesses communicate their messages, what’s been missing is sharing what inspires, motivates, and helps me stay happy in my life. So, being #NationalWellnessMonth, I wanted to take a moment to share a few valuable insights that have helped me on my journey with the hope it helps some of you.

Anxiety, depression, mental health, and all the messy aspects of being human can be hard to manage. The truth is we all struggle at times and will face it at some point in our life. These days so many of us are mentally juggling so much, are under pressure to live up to unrealistic standards, and never in history are people stressed out more than they are today. There is no quick fix or overnight cure-all, but it starts with having open conversations and honesty with ourselves, friends, and family. We all need to feel seen, understood, and valued, which takes accepting ourselves, asking for support, and utilizing tools to help us manage and heal.

Focus On What You Can Control

It can be frustrating when we wish things were different, especially in a world where we can feel helpless with what’s happening around us. Accredited Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Coach Emma McFarland recently shared a great visual as a helpful reminder of what we can control in our lives. The bottom line is that the sooner we accept we only have control over our thoughts, behavior, and mindset, the less time we will waste on issues around us we can’t change. It’s not a matter of not caring, giving up, or not fighting for what we want; it’s about directing our energy into areas of our life where growth is an option.

Open Communication with Children

Sadly never before have children struggled so much with mental health. Recently, at only twelve years old, my daughter was given a confidential suicide questionnaire during her physical; the doctor explained it’s required for all children from age eight. The National Institute of Mental Health now ranks suicide as the second leading cause of death among those 10-24 in age. My daughter has seen numerous YouTube creators and entertainers in her age group commit suicide under enormous pressure.

While conversations around these topics can seem overwhelming, children need help to process and reassure them their emotions are valid. Instead of trying to buy our children things, teach them how to live, thrive, and provide the knowledge they need to find their way. Explore with your children outdoors and talk honestly about their feelings. Watching my daughter leave her phone behind to search for mushrooms, locate sea creatures, smell wildflowers, and admire tall trees fills my heart.

Ways to Manage Anxiety, Stress & Mental Health

While each situation and person is unique, I’ve compiled these practices of what’s helped me cope with challenges.

  • KNOW YOUR PLACE. Your only responsibility is to breathe, be authentic, speak your truth, love who you are, and take the next step for what you want for your life. It is not your responsibility to fix, save, be liked by everyone, do it all, or always hold it together.
  • BE MINDFUL OF YOUR BODIES NEEDS. Think of your body as a house plant with more complicated emotions. Like any being, we need daily nurturing to thrive. Drink more water. Have a good cry. Limit foods that don’t make your body feel good. Don’t feel guilty about taking a nap. Be cautious of addictions that don’t fix the problem. Unclench your jaw and relax your shoulders. Get a massage, acupuncture, or another form of self-care.
  • JOURNAL. Write without judging, dump your emotions on the page, and remember it’s healing. Not only does writing your thoughts help clear your head, but it assists your mind in making sense of your challenges. Make sure to include what you are grateful for and acknowledge your victories.
  • SET BOUNDARIES. People pleasing and perfectionism are a losing game. Learn it’s ok to say no, distance yourself from people who drain you, find new employment if needed, and schedule activities that bring you joy. You are a human being, not a human doing.
  • MOVE YOUR BODY. Choose an activity every day to release your stress. Biking, swimming, hiking, running, yoga, the gym, a walk, or anything you can look forward to that’s active daily. Exercise has proven numerous mental and physical benefits, but we must prioritize it in our schedules.
  • MEDITATE. Calm your mind every day by breathing and being present. Whether you use an app like Headspace, my favorite, or find free techniques online, taking time to breathe revitalizes, calming the mind, especially before bed, when it’s easy to worry.
  • EMBRACE YOUR SITUATION. Let go of living up to society’s, families, friends, or anyone else’s expectations. While personal goals and values are vital, focus on being accepting of your current circumstances, and what you can be grateful for, not what isn’t realistically attainable.
  • CONNECT. Listen to a motivating podcast, call a trusted friend, read a motivational self-help article, or meet someone you respect for coffee. Do something positive to get out of your head and get a fresh perspective.
  • UNPLUG REGULARLY. We live in a technology-obsessed world created to be addicting, so set limits on social media, with the news, streaming services, and anything that can drain your precious time. Focus your energy not on the right now, but on what will matter in the long run.
  • KEEP PERSPECTIVE. Do something kind for someone, volunteer for an organization you’re passionate about, donate to a cause that is making a difference, and remember someone always has it worse than you.
  • TALK TO A PROFESSIONAL. Virtual and in-person therapy is vital to help anyone cope, heal, get unstuck, and have a safe place to share feelings honestly. It takes bravery and strength but is critical in allowing you to be the best you. Every person is different, and sometimes medication is needed. Don’t be afraid to get help.

We Are All Healing

Remember, continuous improvement is better than delayed perfection. Progress is about growth, not pace, so as long as your doing your best and working towards your goals, let that be enough. While we cannot control many things around us, some days will be more challenging than others; remember, you are not alone, and there are simple tools you can use to assist you on your journey. You are not a diagnosis, a label, or a broken person; you are finding your way. Never forget that you can manage your thoughts successfully with practice. It takes self-control, assistance from others, and shifts in attitude, but you can be successful. We have all lost friends to suicide, so be kind to those around you, make that call, send a text, and ask for help. We all have battles we are fighting, but never forget all the significant aspects of life and that your voice matters. As James Allen gently reminds us, “You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.”

Find help and resources at Mental Health.gov or the National Alliance on Mental Health


“Life is tough my darling, but so are you.”|Stephanie Bennett-Henry


Meet Erica Adams | Owner & Content Creator of Mountain Girl Creative

We had the good fortune of connecting with Erica Adams and we’ve shared our conversation below. Hi Erica, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When I was first out of college, I always believed that the harder I worked, the more I would be recognized and appreciated. What I learned in time is that you have to have boundaries, and if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have anything to give to your job. Having my daughter definitely was a turning point in my priorities. They say when you are a parent, the days are long, but the years are short; it truly goes so fast, and I never want to look back and regret missing out on her essential milestones. I think you have to find an organization that values that work/life balance or find a career path that allows for more flexibility in my situation. Looking at what the pandemic has taught us, there are more important things than our careers, and we have to cherish the life we’ve been given.

Alright, so let’s move on to what keeps you busy professionally?
I have always loved art from a young age and even won my first art show at the age of seven. It was not only my favorite subject in school, but it was an outlet to escape from the world and calm my thoughts. I then found my love for photography as a teenager and enjoyed capturing moments in time, eventually even doing wedding photography. I went on to explore many mediums in art school but chose a degree in graphic design. I found even more passion in marketing and sales because I loved helping businesses find creative solutions and enjoyed the personal interaction. Along the way, I found my true passion when it came to writing. I loved helping businesses with content that was personal, motivating, and unique to their brand. I then officially opened Mountain Girl Creative as a culmination of all my creative experience. Whether consulting, freelance writing, or developing marketing content, I love telling someone’s story and finding ways to motivate their clients. I also started my own blog, which was a great outlet to share my voice and share my knowledge and experience of what inspires me.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week-long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.?
Being born and raised Colorado girl, we are blessed to live in a state with so much variety. I’ve lived in Steamboat Springs for most of my life, which has such a special place in my heart. My go-to’s would, of course, be our impressive mountain, which offers the best tree-riding and powder in the state. From there, I would take them to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs, which is just breathtaking. If they are up for an adventure, a dog sled ride, powder cat backcountry trip, or snowmobiling on Buffalo Pass, that’s sure to leave them with priceless memories. There are some incredible hikes in the summers, with my favorites being Fish Creek Falls, The Devil’s Causeway, and King Solomon Falls. Steamboat Lake and Lake Catamount are fantastic for paddleboarding and boating. For a small town, our restaurants are a foodie’s dream. For breakfast, Yampa Valley Kitchen, for lunch Freshies, for dinner Harwigs, and end the night with a hurricane from Sunpies.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life are at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love, and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To start, I would say, of course, my parents, who always believed in me and taught me what hard work was. My father was a self-built entrepreneur who was a great example of honesty, respect, and putting his family ahead of money. I really appreciated the internships I took part in throughout my journey. It was a real-life experience that you couldn’t learn in a classroom, and it was individuals who only wanted me to succeed. I also had therapists and counselors who really encouraged me, built me up, and allowed me to get out of my own way. Finally, the networking groups I’ve been involved in over the years motivated me to push myself and know that I could do anything with hard work and a willingness to grow.



“You’re not a victim for telling your story, you are a survivor setting the world on fire with your truth. And you never know who needs your light, your warmth, and raging courage.”|Alex Elle.

Healing doesn’t mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls your life. Thank you, Andrew Petty, for allowing me to be a part of your latest podcast. It was a privilege and empowering to tell my story of survival and feel heard and valued. Most importantly, I love how my journey motivated me to share my voice through my blog and grow my career as a content writer.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, please give this podcast a listen and share. It could save you or someone you love. Listen to the full episode below or wherever you listen to podcasts, including Spotify, Apple, Google, and Stitcher. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Appreciate all the love and support.

“Victim to Victor” | Andrew Petty Is Dying Podcast | www.andrewpettyisdying.com



“The abuse didn’t make you strong. You overcame it because you are strong. Let’s not give abusers credit for making us strong.”|Vassilia Binensztok

Being it’s Domestic Violence Awareness month, I must use my voice and share my truth that many other women can relate to. Watching the media lately and hearing story after story about abuse, narcissism, and sociopaths, I just had to use my platform to share my experience to help save someone’s life possibly. That might sound dramatic, but watching the video of Gabby Petito made me sick to my stomach in watching the manipulation and abuse. However, seeing the thousands of comments on social media of women who barely got out somehow made me feel more understood and not so alone in what I experienced. There has been a 41% increase in domestic violence crisis calls since the emergence of Covid-19. With many having to quarantine or lockdown, this trend is sadly going to increase. It’s estimated that 1 in 200 people worldwide have a narcissistic personality disorder, meaning someone you know is most likely living with this nightmare.

You own everything that happened to you and the right to tell your story. If people wanted you to write warmly or cared so much about their reputation, they should have behaved better. You owe no loyalty to anyone who abused you. Abusers gave up their right to any commitment or silence the moment they made their choice to abuse you. While there isn’t a simple solution, I feel the more I talk about my experience as a survivor of assault and battery, as well as domestic violence; it somehow gives me my power back. I hope it reminds other women to get out before it’s too late. I think it’s essential to refer to people as survivors and not just victims. A survivor indicates the person is exiting a harmful situation, and it honors their resiliency. While my experiences were with men, I’ve seen it happen with women as well, so in no way do I want to minimize that.


This concept started years ago in Greek mythology with Narcissus, the son of the river god Cephissus. As the myth goes, he was of surpassing beauty, and when he saw his reflection, he fell in love with himself and became incapable of loving others. Thus the term Narcissist came to stand for someone with a degree of self-love, so much so that the person is indifferent to anyone unless it can cause admiration for themselves. It became a diagnosed personality disorder in the early 1900s, but of course, it has existed throughout history. Many of us see this trait like never before in our culture today, and it continues to get more extreme.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of behavior, beginning in early adulthood. Traits manifest with grandiosity, entitlement, lack of empathy, exploitive, envious, haughty, an obsessive need for admiration, arrogant, jealous, demanding, and self-centered. Narcissists spend their lives repressing insecure parts of themselves by looking for things that will feed that insatiable need to feel superior, powerful, and strong. Another common trait is they will talk about how many of the opposite sex or ex’s want them, to try to make you jealous or make them seem in high demand. Many will try to exploit you for their gratification and false-ego validation sexually.

The bottom line, they are incapable of true love and deep connection. You are viewed as an object of what you can provide, like a human helium tank that maintains their inflated view of themselves. Narcissists will not support your career, value your relationships, the time you invest in yourself, eventually make you feel like you have no voice, opinion, or sense of individualism. You won’t realize that they have been lying to you from the beginning until the end, and you were in love with an illusion and complete fraud. A narcissist will promise you the same world they still owe their ex they discarded.

I honestly wish there was a course in high school on how to spot a narcissist. Many, including myself, wish there was better training in law enforcement and the judicial system of how these individuals operate. I had no clue when I got into my first relationship with a narcissist as a teenager and sadly experienced more than one. They seemed confident, exciting, self-assured, successful, and caring in the beginning. In the love bombing stage, they will spoil you with romance, gifts, compliments, and attention.

But, once you have lived it, that dream quickly becomes a nightmare. Early warning signs can also include wanting pity, a long history of failed relationships, little connection to their past, lack of nostalgia, few personal possessions, inconsistent details of the past, financial irresponsibility, and no personal accountability. Many narcissists will use their ex as a scapegoat for the current low state, claim they lied, cheated, and ruined them. Remember, love does not suck you dry and leave you feeling defeated. The only “cure” is to leave.


One of the most challenging realities about narcissists is knowing and choosing when to act in specific ways. The persona they create will almost feel custom-built for you, like they are perfect for you initially. They are excellent actors playing the role, but they will soon be auditioning for another part when the film wraps. So, they often thrive financially, can seem charming to others, hide their shady side, and usually only show that dark side when behind closed doors. Sadly, many victims feel like no one will believe them, and it can be hard to prove abuse. They will make promises so masterfully that intuition can be ignored. Many of us that have experienced toxic relationships had a feeling in our gut something wasn’t right, so trust your instinct. Narcissists will abuse you in private but seem so attentive in public. That’s not an anger management issue, that’s wanting control, and it is a choice they are making. Do not choose chemistry over character. Because chemistry won’t console you amidst grief, attraction won’t choose to love you on bad days, and sparks stop flying when life’s realities hit.

You will think back to when you first met them, how they spoiled you, cherished you, made you feel special when all along it was front. It was not who they were. They were studying you and learning how to exploit you. This is why many narcissists try to pressure others into relationships fast before you can see the person behind the mask. Many of them look for kind, compassionate, empathic partners who they can manipulate easier. They will be great listeners initially, trying to exploit your weaknesses and figure out how to control you better. It’s like a parasite that needs a host or supply and will do whatever it takes to trap its prey. Most of us were raised to be genuine, honest, caring humans, when sadly, we had to learn the hard way that such vile humans exist. A narcissist can manipulate anyone; it has nothing to do with your intelligence, but rather no one prepared us how disturbing a human can be.


I will never forget when my therapist brought up the term “gaslighting” in a session and had me go home to research it. While many of us have watched the psychopath on screen manipulate and play head games in the movies, it’s not always easy to see when you are the victim of it. The term originated from a stage play in the 1930s called “Gas Light” by Patrick Hamilton. It’s a dark story of a marriage based on deception where the husband drives the wife to think she’s crazy by subtly manipulating her environment. This practice, just like a fatal gas leak, can lead to death. While it can happen anywhere, the most commonplace for this abuse is in romantic relationships.

Narcissists manipulate someone psychologically into questioning their sanity, feeling like they are never enough, and undermining their self-worth. You begin to question reality in what you feel when you express yourself or doubt your perceptions. It’s a persistent effort to create a false narrative of where a person wears you down and wants control. Examples of this abuse include making you constantly defend yourself, controlling money, pushing away others you care about, making hurtful remarks about you, and they always have to be right. All of these tactics can lead to you feeling insecure, anxious, and vulnerable. Many learn gaslighting growing up or from their environment around them, but whatever the case, there is no place for it and no curing someone of it.


Trauma Bonding was another term brought to my attention in therapy, which I had not thought was common. While it can happen in any relationship, it’s prevalent with domestic abuse. Trauma bonding is a psychological response to abuse that becomes reinforced over time and can be very addicting. While it’s natural for humans to crave love, need connection, comfort, support, and fear abandonment, some relationships can create unhealthy dependence. In the beginning, the narcissist will shower you with fake love, care, and concern. Once control is established, the abuse starts, and the mask falls off.

This can lead some to feel they need to be saved or be validated. Many experience conditioning after the abuse; the person will show slight remorse, saying they love them, want to change, and this gives you hope of again getting the love you once felt or recognition. An apology without change is just manipulation. Other warning signs are hearing I love you too soon, them asking you to make significant life changes, feeling like they are overly caring, wanting to know where you are all the time, controlling how you look, or them not respecting others in your life. More often than not, when a person is being abused, they don’t stop loving or caring for their abuser; they stop loving and caring for themselves.

Healthline reminds us that “People can’t help the development of trauma bonds, which are driven by strong biological processes. Hormones can be powerful reinforcers. Dopamine has a similar function in trauma bonding. Oxytocin, a feel-good hormone we crave, further strengthens the bond. It’s an intense cycle that is complicated and hard to identify when in the situation.” Victims will suffer from cognitive dissonance, which is extreme mental discomfort and confusion.

If you’re unsure, ask yourself if you become defensive or make excuses for their behavior to others, feel like no one else gets how much they love you, make excuses for their actions, or take any blame when they become abusive. Narcissists are also experts in making you feel bad for them, that they need you, or blame their anger on outside factors. When in doubt, talk to a professional or helpline, a non-emotional resource, who can make you aware of what’s truly happening. Many survivors who leave experience symptoms similar to coming off a drug, but the good news is recovery is possible.


Thankfully toward the end of my abusive relationships, I was fortunate enough to have family, friends, and therapists that assured me I needed to get out. Psychology Today notes a few signs when it’s better to end a relationship. These include hoping they will change, not feeling understood, feeling drained, having to cover up for them, accusing you of false actions, making constant apologies, constant conflict, never taking accountability, and any emotional or physical abuse. Unfortunately, narcissists rarely get professional help because they won’t admit the problem and don’t want their tactics exposed. Remember reporting any abuse doesn’t ruin their lives; they did that themselves and should be held accountable. It shows everyone around you who they indeed are. It protects others from possible future abuse. It’s not gossip; it’s integrity.

So many friends, including myself, stayed longer than we should. That’s because it hurts to watch something you love transform into something you hate. When seeing someone you know in an unhealthy relationship, make sure they know you support them. Don’t ever victim blame by highlighting the error of their wrong choice. It’s imperative to remember it’s the abuser who chose to put them in this situation. Instead, listen to them openly, try not to judge, but provide empathy. Affirm their perspective, don’t blame them in any way, and share concerns gently. Narcissists like to isolate their partners, so suggest meeting them outside the home, offering financial help if they need to leave, providing community resources, and discussing an escape plan if needed. Many use children or pets as collateral, but know the longer you stay, the more damage will be done to them. Leaving a narcissist will not be easy, but it is possible.

Many women stay in toxic relationships because of finances, fear of what others will think, loss of identity, and sadly for their children. Abusers don’t abuse everyone they come in contact with, so placing doubt on victims based on your experience with them is unkind and irresponsible. Remember, you are stronger than you think, and your children deserve a healthy relationship where abuse in any form has no tolerance. I was very grateful to have a family that stepped up. Friends who hid me in their homes, other’s who gifted me money, a lawyer willing to help me at a discounted rate, doctors who protected my rights, community advocates who educated me, officers who took their job seriously to protect me, therapists to help me heal. My most considerable help was faith to keep me grounded and a daughter who had to be shown how a woman deserves to be treated.


First and foremost, remember it was never your fault. Abuse is a choice people make and must be held accountable. Some of us chose to see the good in someone, some of us might have unresolved trauma, some of us were hopeful, had lousy self-esteem, weak boundaries, were too conscientious, and some of us love whole-heartedly. See your vulnerabilities as superpowers. Never let anyone make you feel guilty for not seeing a narcissist. There was nothing you did or didn’t do that could’ve changed the outcome for them. They don’t love you; they are just in love with the idea of you. Understand that all the dreams they sold you were illusions. It was no boundaries of age, race, gender, or any other demographic; it happens daily worldwide. Sometimes you have to make a decision that will break your heart but heal your soul.

Traumatized individuals can lose faith in life, find it very hard to trust, feel broken, and have a hard time feeling hopeful about the future. It can rock us to our foundation about beliefs in humanity, betrayal, and losing faith in promises. But, remember the issue is not with you, and you are resilient. We can look around at healthy relationships and know good still exists and is possible. Look at your mistakes with compassion and understanding, not shame. Then, you can start over and build the life you deserve. Leaving a narcissist is like peeling an onion; little by little, with time, you realize how many ways you were manipulated, taken advantage of, and it was way worse than you thought.

Leaving a narcissistic relationship will be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. It will hurt because you are mourning a fantasy, something that never really existed. But, remember, your life is worth more than any relationship. Don’t be another statistic of a woman on the news who stayed too long. While our brains sometimes will think of the seemly “better” times before the mask came off, remember that you are also losing sleepless nights, walking on eggshells, the knots in your stomach, feeling ignored, blamed, and stress that never subsided. Author Sarah Moss wisely states, “I think we should start using the term “escape.” Domestic violence victims don’t leave, they escape. Some don’t make it out with their lives, all are injured. To use the word “leave” implies that it’s easy. It’s an escape with high risks.”

The end of any relationship is painful, and it’s useless to replay in your mind what happened. When it comes to leaving a narcissist, experts advise absolutely no contact. Let go of the fantasy of what you thought it was, which is like grieving, and it takes time. Instead, surround yourself with supportive friends and family who will let you talk and, most importantly, validate your feelings. Numerous online and local communities can help you feel understood. Remember the person you used to be before the abuse, believe in yourself, trust your intuition and values, be an example of a survivor who valued themselves. Dr. Mark Banschick notes, “Remember that the narcissist will quickly move on and not value anything about you. While that seems harsh to a loving person, it’s the sad truth and needs to be remembered on those hard days.”

Another important reminder is that narcissists hate to be alone and need a supply to feed off. So, when you see your ex with someone new, and it’s inevitable, remember that they don’t have someone better. They are just with someone who doesn’t know the real person and what you’ve already learned the hard way. Ph.D. expert Gena Da Silva reminds us, “It’s normal to want closure, but closure cannot come from a narcissist. In reality, everything is unresolved until it is finally resolved within you.” You will never know the whole truth, how many times they lied, the deception, manipulation, so you have to choose to be strong enough to know there was nothing left to save.

Because of the head games and manipulation, it can be hard to trust someone again and even trust yourself. Having your gut instincts and convictions undermined causes a hit to your self-esteem. All victims need professional support to heal, grow, learn and become aware of their patterns. Many survivors, including myself, suffer from PTSD and anxiety, which can be complicated to cope with. Each experience is different, and know there is hope. I have benefited from EMDR, which can be a massive help in helping your brain reprocess memories and allow the mind not be triggered so easily. Some trauma survivors need the assistance of medication, which is understandable after what they’ve endured. Don’t be ashamed to get help and know each person’s experience is unique.


Recovery from narcissistic abuse includes grief and time. You will be grieving what you thought they were, what you hoped it was, the time lost, and the energy spent. When getting over the pain of a breakup with a narcissist, you’ve spent so much time analyzing their behavior, figuring out their character, and trying to make sense of their twisted actions; it can be hard to let go. Another one of my favorite writers, Nikita Gill, shared this truth, “He is a storm, and storms devastate, but every time he hurts you, you hold your breath and bear the hurricane; repeating to yourself one more chance, one more breath, just one more, and you’ll fix him. Until one day, you can’t hold your breath anymore, and you are half a stormy evening, one tear-stained night, two minutes and five seconds away from breaking down. And you realize, you cannot fix anyone, not until you fix yourself.”

Even after the breakup, your mind will continue trying to figure out what happened, and it’s natural to want to understand how someone who claimed to love you could act this way. While it’s essential, to be honest with yourself, remember it’s no longer your concern to fix them, heal them, or put any effort into them anymore. Instead, when thoughts arise about them, they will gently encourage your mind to dwell on the reasons you left and that they alone are responsible for themselves.

While targets, like I was, aren’t easy to give up and want to help heal a broken narcissist, there are long-term consequences to staying when it’s no longer healthy. Sadly trauma therapist Caroline Strawson notes there are lasting effects from this type of abuse. She states, “Narcissistic abuse survivors often end up with chronic illness such as autoimmune disorders and adrenal fatigue. This is because the body is pumping out cortisol daily, even when the danger has subsided. The long-term exposure causes inflammation and pain-causing our immune system to attack itself.”

Poet Wattney Lander eloquently expresses the truth, “I could’ve let you come back, but I’m not going to abandon myself anymore.” Once you dig into that place of courage, be gentle with yourself, knowing some days will be better than others. Make daily time for self-care in whatever form fills you up. Forgive yourself for actions you regret or not leaving sooner. Re-establish healthy boundaries, remembering you have a right to say no. Educate yourself on the experience because many have suffered from abuse. While the hurt and pain will never entirely be forgotten, you will get stronger and back to who you truly are. You can survive anything, and you can use that experience to help others.

Always keep in mind, you can’t help someone that doesn’t want help, make someone ready to change, you can’t do the work for them, and you are not in charge of their recovery. Dr. Sherrie Cambell reminds us that “Abusive behavior should bring well-deserved consequences. The best way to bring those consequences is to remove your presence from the abuser and move on. Go and be happy. Be successful. Embrace a new life.” Remember, on those hard days, you aren’t lazy, unmotivated, or stuck; after years of living your life in survival mode, you’re exhausted. There’s a difference, and not everyone will understand that.

Many of us have been guilty of trying to love someone so much or fix them that we slowly fail to notice we are being broken down. I still feel the consequences of the abuse I endured daily, and while I can’t go back, I hope that sharing my story might help you, a friend, a relative, a coworker, or someone you know to get out before it’s too late. Don’t ignore the red flags; think you can change someone and ever be a victim of this tragic mind game. The only revenge is to move on and make a choice to be happy. Keep in mind with work, you can heal, while the narcissist won’t. A message to all the narcissists out there is you live your life as if everything is about you; you will be left with just that, just you.



“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”|Robert Frost

I speak for my fellow dog friends that now is the perfect time to hit the road with our owners. Your owner has no excuse being they are working from home and have no vacation plans on the horizon. After the year of comfort, support and friendship we’ve all provided as canines, we deserve an adventure. What better way for us to social distance and create fun memories together than on a road trip. I’ll have the wind in my fur, my best friend by my side and get to experience things I never have before. 

Adventure Awaits

As your best friend, there are a few things you need to keep in mind before hitting the road with me. With the right planning, tools and forethought, you’ll be able to make sure I’m not only safe and happy, but you’ll be able to have more peace of mind during the trip. 

Before deciding a route, make sure your owner researches which national parks, campgrounds, trails, Airbnb and hotels are dog friendly. Be respectful of the rules, clean up after me and follow leash laws for everyone’s safety. Look into boarding, doggy day care options or services like Rover if your owner is doing any activities that don’t include you. Be understanding of any anxious behavior I have while on the road, motion sickness, and do a few trial rides before heading to our long-distance destination. This will take the stress out of it and make sure we both have fun. 

Reminders For Owners

Stick With My Favorites

Since I will be out of my routine and in a new environment, bring treats along for me so that I can be rewarded for good behavior. My favorite toys and bones will help me stay occupied on the road and make me feel more at home. Always make sure I have access to water. There are many great stable choices for us dogs these days that can be on the floor and won’t make a mess. Bring my regular food along to avoid stomach issues and try to stick to my regular feeding routine.

Prepare And Plan Ahead

By sticking to my routine, listening to my cues, and planning ahead, our road trip can be one for the books. Plus, you know my cute face will help boost your social media stats. The world is our oyster just waiting to be enjoyed. Charles Schultz couldn’t have said it better, “In life, it’s not where you go, it’s who you travel with.” Your memories with me will be cherished forever, and I am truly the best co-pilot you could ask for. 



“When we do the work to heal and make sense of our unresolved past to improve our mental health, it doesn’t just benefit ourselves; it benefits each other, our children, our future children, and our children’s children. This is how we change the world.”|Rachel Samson, M.Pysch.

When recently asked to model for a friend’s business, I was hesitant. Challenges included pandemic weight, having a child, being diagnosed with a new auto-immune disorder, trauma, dealing with so many failures, and laughing at not even knowing the last time I wore heels. I wasn’t sure it was something I wanted to add to my already full plate or be that vulnerable. I had modeled from the age of seventeen when I was my “ideal” weight, spending numerous hours at the gym, but quit after seven years because it wasn’t a healthy environment. I couldn’t tolerate agencies telling me what measurements to be, the toxic competition, and the pressure of an unrealistic mold.

I’m so grateful I went ahead with this latest shoot with a photographer who loves her body and reminded me beauty comes in all sizes. I wanted to feel confident again and send a message to others that nothing will keep me from living my best life. I also think it’s important to be kind to our bodies for all they’ve carried us through. To remind our daughters and friends to focus on having a healthy body image and get rid of the guilt. I’m proud of the work I’ve done to stay active, challenge myself physically, but most of all, stop criticizing my imperfections, as society does way too much. You are enough, and remember, physical and mental health is equally important. Our bodies allow us to accomplish so much, so be gentle to them and thank them daily for helping you survive.

Lean Into Truth

There is a lot of talk about mental health these days. What’s tricky about this subject is that no two people are exactly the same, and no two situations are ever the same. For some, it’s a physical imbalance, others have endured trauma, and many are affected by circumstances around them. Each person’s journey is their own, and there is no exact formula or cure. But, the vital thing to acknowledge is it’s alright to admit you are not fine for yourself, a family member, or a friend; there has to be an honest conversation about it. Judgment, stigma, opinions, and criticism, whether against yourself or others, never accomplishes anything.

We all have things happen to us in our lives that are not fair, hurt us, and can cause us to be stuck. But, whether you suffer from a mental illness, have endured trauma, or are dealing with significant changes in your life, it’s good to remember it’s not your fault. At the same time, it is your responsibility to seek help and take care of yourself. Many try to self-medicate the pain away with alcohol, drugs, sex, spending, or anything that gets their mind off the pain. The problem is that the issues not only still there, but in time even more damage happens to their lives and those they love. If someone in your family struggles with mental illness, it’s appropriate to set boundaries and hold them accountable. Mental illness still holds responsibility and everyone has the choice to seek help and put in the work. No one is beyond repair, but it takes being vulnerable and acknowledging you need help.

Grow Your Mind

While self-help material abounds, professional therapy is a very critical factor. This is because it’s personally tailored to your issues, can help make you aware of unhealthy patterns, and is coming from a non-emotional standpoint, unlike other relationships in your life. While it can seem overwhelming and uncomfortable, dealing with emotions, trauma, grief, and unresolved childhood problems, talking about them is very healing. Even more important, it humanizes scary feelings and gives you tools to cope. I firmly believe everyone can benefit from seeing a therapist, no matter what age or stage in their lives.

Many mistakenly think venting their feelings to their partner or friend is enough. Science proves in reality, effective change will only happen with a treatment plan guided by a trained psychologist. Having a professional therapist is truly the first step in your healing journey. They can help identify patterns, understand the mind, provide honesty, and advise a treatment plan for your individual struggles. Thoughts, emotions, and behaviors can be controlled and don’t have to take over your life. Medication is beneficial for many, but needs to be monitored regularly and considered only part of the solution. While it can be hard to take that first step, investing in yourself will provide relief, and in the long run, make your life so much happier. Therapy has come a long way, especially with the pandemic, in having virtual options and many services covered by insurance or employers. Every community offers free guidance and has so many services available to help.

The Power Of The Brain

Meditation and mindfulness are also very useful tools in dealing with anxiety and depression. Dr. Thema notes, “Many trauma survivors hold their breath and their bodies tightly, bracing themselves for the whatever is coming next. Staying alert for years takes a toll. Create spaces where you can take your armor off.” The mindfulness practice over time has dramatically helped to calm my mind at night and forces me to breathe. There are great apps like Headspace, as well as many other free resources that provide meditation techniques. Our minds are kept so busy all day; it’s important to give your mind space to reflect and refocus on the big picture.

The Gift Of Self-Care

Remember, self-care isn’t optional. You don’t need an excuse to rest. Many over-function and try to stay so busy they think that helps manage uncomfortable feelings. This leaves many struggling with persistent worry and fear that does long-term damage. If you don’t take time to reboot, recharge and refocus, you’ll eventually run on empty. Proper self-care isn’t necessarily bath salts, chocolate cake, or wine; it’s making choices to build a life you don’t need to escape from. Each person must find what calms themselves, but it must be a deliberate choice and scheduled into each day.

Be Your Own Advocate

There are no quick fixes or one-size-fits-all with healing and mental health. It takes daily awareness, effort, time, but the good news is there is hope. Managing our mental health means finding balance and not allowing anyone or anything to take that away from us. Remember, you are not your thoughts and feelings. Find a trusted friend who will support you. Seek out a therapist who feels right. Don’t be afraid to try techniques or medications. Experiment with coping techniques that work for you and your schedule. As the saying goes, check in on your mental health as much as you check your phone. One of my favorite authors Brené Brown reminds us, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” Your willingness to explore emotions needs to be priority in your life and the essence of what it means to seek balance takes courage. Your body and mind are powerful tools that can carry you through anything.

All advice in this article is based on opinion. Always consult a medical professional for help.



“Every interaction, in any form, is branding.”| Seth Godwin

Facebook Takeover

The Future Is Upon Us

No one can deny that technology, like smartphones, smart home devices, wireless headphones, laptops, robot vacuums, PDAs, and LCD TVs, has already invaded most people’s houses. As vital as these gadgets may be nowadays, it’s crucial to choose the perfect device that suits your personal needs and budget. This is where technology and gadget reviews come in. Reviews provide users with more information on the latest trends in the market and help them decide whether they’re worth the money. Since these reviews can give you the full details of different products, you can get a better idea of the gadget in question, others’ opinions, and then compare it with other products before deciding which one to go for.

Reviews Equal Money

Facebook is a great platform to ask for reviews on because almost everyone has an account already active, so the simple request takes minimal effort. Another plus is that when someone writes you a review, it’s then shared with their friends, which means free exposure for you. There is an excellent opportunity to start selling to new customers with the help of the existing ones.

Harness The Power 


“You don’t have to be rich to travel well.”|Eugene Fodor

Know Before You Go

Charles R. Swindoll puts it nicely, stating, “Every day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.” What better way than to discover your next adventure on the road. Depending on the distance, children’s ages, if you’re bringing the family pet, it’s essential to have an itinerary. With a bit of planning and communication, you can ensure less frustration and make sure everyone is refreshed. 

When it comes to packing, make sure to include their favorites and plan for unexpected events. Bringing paper maps can be helpful when your phone’s GPS doesn’t work. Get creative with packing new toys, downloading special apps or movies, and having unusual snacks can keep the kids entertained. Bathroom stops should be expected, and it might even be wise to invest in a small portable toilet. Make sure to have drinks and snacks within easy reach so that stops can be minimized. Bringing a well-stocked cooler with their favorites will keep them happy and ensure you are making healthier food choices and saving money. Research where parks and rest stops are to give everyone breaks. Another helpful tip to keep in mind includes making sure you know your vehicle’s payload capacity. Your vehicle needs to get your family there safely, handle any road conditions, and minimize fuel costs.

Game-Changing Truck Gear

For a successful and hassle-free road trip, you must use the best storage options and pack appropriately. Fortunately, there’s plenty of opportunities to upgrade your ride. To optimize storage, wise investments might include rooftop luggage racks, cargo boxes, bike racks, hitch-mount attachments, or travel cargo trailers. Additional tools that can assist significantly in your adventures include quality ratchet straps, tie-down tracks, truck bed ramps, cargo nets, tailgate pads, and many other accessories, depending on your recreation choices. 

Organized Truck Storage

Whether your family is looking to get away for a weekend or maybe a little longer, the open road is the perfect place to put the pedal to the metal, take a deep breath, and set your eyes on new sites.  Not only do you get to arrive at your destination on your own schedule, but you also get to see parts of the world you wouldn’t have if you had flown. A family road trip done right will help everyone take a breath, create a new memory, and most of all bring the family closer together. Grab your hand sanitizer, gear, and camera, and get ready to explore. 



“To all the girls that think you’re fat because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one, its society who’s ugly.”|Marilyn Monroe.

One of the things 2020 has taught us, is that life is too short to not love who you are. This pandemic became a humbling reminder that at the end of each day sometimes the small things we sweat are not what truly makes us happy. With fewer social occasions, working from home, big life changes for everyone, things are being put into perspective. Every day we need to be accepting of our bodies, embrace our curves, and remember size does not define who we are.

An Era Of Change

Next Chapter Sizing

It isn’t just the general public that is speaking out for change, but fashion merchandisers, beauty editors, buyers, influencers, bloggers, and even models are speaking up for change and inclusion. Just in the past few years, plus-size models like Ashley Graham have become more popular and become this generation’s voice for body acceptance. Game-changer singer and activist Lizzo is a true definition of unapologetically owning her body and encouraging others to do the same.

Deeply rooted stigmas in the fashion industry, designers ignore requests to offer certain sizes. There are manufacturing complications in progressing from size 2 to 12, but larger sizes much of the time require a separate pattern to account for different proportions, raising the production cost. Recently there have been updates to mannequins in retail, literally causing retailers to break their mold on what the beauty standard is. It’s an evolving problem that won’t change overnight, but many companies are proving solutions are available.

The Future of Plus Is Now

Life is short and is too precious to be wasted on trying to fit someone else’s mold of beauty. Accept your beautiful curves, embrace your imperfections, and know there is an army of women who are proud to say clothes should fit the woman, not the other way around. Speak up with your voice, as you do for anything that matters, and remember, you are beautiful just the way you are.

Slowly, larger retailers are realizing the value in including more plus sizes, both online and in-store, knowing it’s not only a wise financial investment but also is shown to translate into more respect from consumers as a whole. With over 68% of shoppers being plus-size, the fashion industry is being forced to realize that change is on the horizon. No matter what age, occupation, or any other demographic, women are demanding change. Let’s embrace the next chapter and accept who we are.



“When you emerge from the burning, covered in the ashes of the person you once were, remember how even the most devastating wildfires burn away debris and nourish the soil so that new trees grow.” | Nikita Gill

The above quote touched me and reminded me of how significant growth is and how adapting to change is vital. A year ago, our county in Steamboat Springs went into lockdown, and our mountain closed. I remember being so worried about what would happen to our valley that is so dependent on our beautiful mountain and tourism. How were businesses going to survive, would we have enough food, my family’s jobs, so much fear and unknown. I even found myself panic-buying and somehow came home with six bottles of disinfectant. While this pandemic has humbled so many of us and forced us to put things into perspective, it’s also shown how strong the human spirit is and how amazing our community truly is.

Most of us are still dealing with the effects and anxiety of this time; it’s been labeled as pandemic fatigue. Pandemic fatigue is not a medical condition but is a term used to describe the natural response people feel to the prolonged uncertainty and disruption. People “have made huge sacrifices to contain COVID-19,” says Dr. Hans Kluge, World Health Organization Regional Director for Europe. “In such circumstances, it is easy and natural to feel apathetic and demotivated, to experience fatigue.”

But I think it’s essential to also look at the positives this experience has taught us. Some days I am pushed to my limit, out of my comfort zone, and forced to accept that I can’t always make hard times better. I had never filed for unemployment, never done meditation, never asked for a free community meal, had to respect not being able to leave my home, be my child’s full-time teacher, and most of all figure out how I was going to pay my bills. It’s overwhelming, scary, uncomfortable, and honestly not anything I ever would’ve expected in my lifetime. But, I not only survived but started new habits and began looking at my time like I never have before. I wanted to share a few of my take-aways from this past year as victories, and in hopes a few of the ideas might help you as well.

Daily Habits Matter

Research has proven that it takes 21 days to create a habit. But, when you practice that habit for 90 days, you’ll have built a lifestyle. Everyone is unique in what they consider self-care. Explore different methods and see what makes you happier personally. I started using Headspace every night before bed because it came as a perk with my employment. I realized it helped calm my mind, sit with my feelings, breathe deep, and most of all has allowed me to cope with my anxiety. I recently even started the practice with my daughter, and surprisingly when you are reminded to breathe, you’re giving your body permission to calm itself. Journaling was also essential in having a place to dive into the emotions and remind me what I have to be grateful about.

As we all know, moving our bodies is so crucial for our mental health, releasing endorphins, tension, as well as for our physical bodies. A simple walk, stretch session, quick yoga exercise, Just Dance game, or online video can be just what we need to feel more in control. Be your body’s friend; it has carried you through so much and deserves to be cared for. Put yourself at the top of your to-do list and make time for something that makes you smile each day. Media intake needs to be kept in check to control our thinking, avoid comparing ourselves too much and keep our minds off things we can’t change. Rather than focus on what you can no longer do, look for ways that you can take advantage of your situation.

Remember It’s Healthy To Cry

This whole year has been a lot to process. Between financial stress, shocking news, scary statistics, and uncertainty, it’s no wonder we are all feeling the effects. Many of us, including myself, feel like crying feels like giving in or that we aren’t as strong as we’d like to be. It’s important to cry and is a natural reaction to help our bodies feel better. Studies have shown that crying has numerous benefits, including decreasing stress hormones, releasing the tension, removing toxins, and helping your body feel better. Benefits from crying include the release of oxytocin and endorphins, hormones that soothe us and make us happier. A 2014 study showed that crying drops you into your parasympathetic nervous system, thereby allowing you to relax and release stress. If you feel your suppressing sadness, look for ways to help release it, like watching a sad movie, listening to deep music, calling a trusted friend or a therapist. While it can feel uncomfortable, remember that human emotions are there for a reason, and getting them out will benefit us long term.

Growth Isn’t Always Easy

During both lockdown and when I’ve had mandatory quarantine, I was forced with time on my hands like I hadn’t had since my youth. To not make me feel like I was living Groundhog Day, I started adding small attainable goals to my daily calendar. Whether it was cleaning out my storage closet, learning to cook a new recipe, organizing photos, researching a psychology topic, starting a new book, trying a new craft, working on business goals, the important thing was making sure I wasn’t wasting my day. Growth can be different things for each one of us. It can mean accepting, embodying, adjusting, observing, releasing, or relearning a new way of living our lives. This past year made us all painfully aware of injustice and that not saying anything is still taking a side. But, voices were heard, and critical issues were brought to the forefront. This pandemic has transformed lives and made us all reflect on what’s truly important.

Don’t Be Ashamed To Accept Help

Being raised in a family that taught self-reliance and hard work, I find it hard sometimes to accept help. For many years, our family always offered financial assistance, made meals, or helped others in the community. This past year the tables were turned, and it was humbling to be the family that needed help. The generosity shown touched me, that many in our community kindly dignified us and stepped up where they saw a need. From free meals to a friend gifting us a laptop, dropping off flowers, fixing things in our home, helping with technology, gifting us a free art class, a community membership, it was heartwarming to see how others gave to us without asking or wanting anything in return. In the end, I realized that when we are feeling our lowest, the best thing can sometimes be doing something nice for someone else. Remember, someone always has it worse than you, and be grateful for what you are blessed with.

Kids Need Extra Support And Time

While we all have struggled with missing social activity, it’s harder on children. Their lives are heavily dependent on social interactions and significant milestones that are formative. Try seeing things from their perspective and acknowledge how hard it truly is. While I always have prided myself in communication with my daughter, I’ve realized that children’s feelings and emotions are different from adults in this pandemic. We know how to process better, understand where emotions stem from, and learn how to cope. Recent studies have shown that many children will withdraw or not express their feelings, not worry their already stressed parents. They may quickly get upset over small things from unexpressed frustration. Instead of minimizing their feelings or trying to look on the bright side, validate their expressions, and focus on supporting and valuing their abilities.

A few ways to help them express difficult emotions could be during physical activity, allowing them to rant, using art, screaming into their pillow, talking to a therapist, anything that gets those challenging feelings out. Avoid lectures or lessons, which can cause children to tune out and become more about the parent’s feelings. Instead of asking why something happened, ask how they feel about something like a failed test or problem. Sharing our emotions and even challenges can remind them we all struggle and show we respect their feelings. Always remember to ask their opinion and be open to changes that might contribute to happier home life. Sometimes deep conversations can be best without eye contact, so try it during watching a show or even driving in the car. Show patience and remember this is also a new way of life. Make a schedule that reflects your family’s current situation and set screen time limits.

Our goals for this year are attainable and can be simpler than any resolution. Be patient with yourself and others around you. Focus on your mental health. Allow whatever emotions you need to feel. Fill your mind with what lifts you up. Whether by a text, call, email, card, or video chat, reach out to someone you care about to remind them you care. Above all, congratulate yourself on surviving the last year. Be grateful you are alive, but also hopefully this unprecedented time has taught you more about yourself. No matter what each day brings, you cannot only get through it but can come out stronger on the other side. Be kind to your body and mind, remembering you’ll have good and challenging days. Sometimes just getting up and carrying on is brave and magnificent. You will never speak to anyone more than when you talk to yourself in your head, so be gentle. We have the strength inside us to endure and come out stronger despite our circumstances.



“Everyone you meet always asks if you have a career, are married, own a house, as if life is some kind of grocery list. But no one ever asks if you are happy.” | Heath Ledger

Many of us grew up being told by the world around us what success is. If the above quote teaches us anything, it’s that money, career, relationships, and financial accomplishments do not equal happiness. Sadly we’ve seen many in Hollywood struggle with mental illness and pressure from the demands of the business. I’ve had many job titles over the years, but the titles didn’t always equal satisfaction. So much of the time I pushed myself for companies who didn’t care about my well-being and in the end didn’t appreciate me. That’s when I realized being my own boss was the only way to take control and live the life I wanted. It was hard and challenging, but I slowly found my calling. Life is too short to not be doing something that makes you feel passionate and alive.

Happiness In Perspective

I’ve been having this conversation a lot lately with my daughter about what she see’s on YouTube and social media. How people might look happy, but deep down, they might not be. While it’s good to have goals, work hard, and enjoy life, we must remember to do it on our own terms. There can be a price to pay when we get too focused on what other’s think or expectations put on us. Each person deserves to find their definition of happiness.

It took me years to get to the point where I have stopped caring so much what others think, because the truth is that they aren’t living my life. Stop comparing your life to other’s and try to be grateful for what you have. Set goals that are important to you and no one else. You will never disappoint yourself if you listen to your gut. It’s alright to walk away from what isn’t serving you or giving back what you put in.

Financial Insight

A recent podcast I listened to made an excellent point that we need to change how we view debt. If your debt meant getting a degree, making a needed change, leaving a toxic relationship, provided you with a deserved break, got you needed medical care, or allowed you to experience life to the full, then be grateful you had that experience. While no one enjoys the weight of debt, sometimes it’s impossible to avoid. Stop with the guilt and come up with a reasonable plan. Educate yourself on your options, ask for financial advice, and research steps that can help you. Remember, your debt does not define you.

Writing for a financial institution recently educated me on some great advice that I wanted to share. I hope you find this information helpful and gives you some insight. Keep in mind you can accomplish anything you put your mind to and strive for. End each day knowing what you did matters in this world, and dedicate time every day to work toward the life you want. Never has there been a time in history when so many things are uncertain. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that nothing is guaranteed. While the times we live in have made us all value our loved ones, health, and appreciate the simple things in life, many of us are struggling with financial uncertainty. We are all looking for security and ways to reduce our stress, which can be provided quickly by a personal loan.

Pandemic Finanical Shifts 

Educate Yourself

Educate yourself on common loan terms to make sure you ask the right questions. The principle is the amount you need to borrow. You’ll pay a monthly interest charge in addition to the portion of your payment that goes toward reducing the principal. Interest is usually expressed as a percentage rate. APR stands for annual percentage rate. When you take out any kind of loan, in addition to the interest, the lender will typically charge fees for making the loan. APR incorporates both your interest rate and any lender fees to give you a better picture of the actual cost of your loan. Comparing APRs is a good way to compare the affordability and value of different personal loans.

The term is the number of months you have to repay the loan is called the term. When a lender approves your loan application, they’ll inform you of the interest rate and term they’re offering. Every month during the term, you’ll owe a monthly payment to the lender. This payment will include money toward paying down the principal of the amount you owe, as well as a portion of the total interest you’ll owe over the life of the loan. Personal loans are often unsecured loans, meaning you don’t have to put up collateral for them. With a home or auto loan, the real property you’re buying serves as collateral to the lender. However, some lenders offer secured personal loans, which will require collateral, and could provide better rates than an unsecured loan.

First and foremost, don’t rush into any agreement without understanding the big picture. Make sure you know your credit score and don’t over-borrow what is truly needed. Shop around for the most competitive rates, which can vary by state, income levels, credit score, and debt to income ratio. Take the time to look for companies with great reviews and offer affordable approaches to lending. Have a clear understanding of terms, fees, interest rates, payment schedules, restrictions, penalties, the company’s history, customer service, and taking the time to read the fine print. Many companies offer the option of having a co-signer to help you qualify and also get better rates. In these challenging times, many companies offer to delay payments if you become unemployed, which can give you more peace of mind. Give you and your family something to smile about and advocate to live your best financial life today. 



“A woman is like a tea bag, you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” | Eleanor Roosevelt.

Lots of ladies in my life lately are proving this infamous quote true. I was never a big tea fan until my mom took me to the Brown Palace for high tea. There I experienced that high quality, loose leaf tea, cream, and sugar, could actually taste incredible. I still fondly carry on this tradition with my daughter and cherish the memories with friends.

When I went to London, that experience was taken to another level with flavors and I was officially hooked. Now I drink tea on a daily basis and have seen numerous benefits. I recently had the pleasure of writing an article for Organic India and it’s research inspired me to try herbal tea on a regular basis, I’ve had great results.

What Nature Teaches Us

No matter what our age, health, or goals in life, we all want to feel our best. For many years foreign cultures have known the value of herbs as medicine. The best part is taking a more natural approach to health has fewer side effects, is more cost-effective, and in the long run, provides long-term solutions that heal us. As we do our best to navigate through this stressful time, it is important to remember to care for our mental health. It’s helpful to acknowledge that change in itself is stressful, and it can take a toll on us. Being adaptable to changing times is key, and fortunately, some plants can support us to do this better.

Game Changing Herbs

Mental Health Benefits

Positive Physical Effects

The amazing effects of this herb have been reported to help with diabetes, cholesterol, joint pain, digestive issues, healing from surgery, respiratory disorders, colds, coughs, the flu, sore throat, skin issues, heart disease, dental health, and many other health problems. Tulsi is high in antioxidants and helps our bodies detox, especially with so many toxic chemicals around us. Multiple studies have shown that Tulsi also adds nutritional value being high in vitamins A and C, iron, zinc, calcium, and chlorophyll. “Tulsi is an excellent all-rounder when it comes to maintaining overall wellness. It prevents a multitude of ailments and is a great way to stay healthy naturally,” Shruthi Hegde, Ayurveda Expert at The Himalaya Drug Company, said in a statement.

Enlighten Yourself

Regular consumption of adaptogens such as Tulsi can enhance your capacity to maintain the balance of mind, body, and spirit in stressful times. Winding down with tea each evening can have a similar effect compared to yoga. It helps to foster clear thoughts, relaxation, and bring perspective. Tulsi tea is caffeine-free and full of so many great properties. Having Tulsi as a herbal tea infusion is an easy and delicious way to incorporate a little Tulsi magic into your daily life. While the pure herb is from the mint family, its unique flavor is best combined with other flavors to create an indulgent experience. A cup every day is an excellent way to support and enhance our ability to remain calm and resilient so we all come out the other side stronger.

By making Tulsi an integral part of your daily routine, you can help your system relax and your body function more effectively.  Another easy and effective way of consuming this herb is by including a Tulsi supplement in your diet. Make sure you do your research for the highest quality product, select a company focused on sustainability, quality, and superior products. Whether it’s warming up with an herbal tea or adding a special supplement into your routine, the health benefits are worth the small adjustment.

Always make sure to talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement and confirming there are no interactions with current medications or health conditions.



“I love the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her.”| Kaci Diane

As 2020 wraps up, it can be easy to think of all the challenges we faced and even disappointments. While it’s beneficial to reflect on what obstacles we’ve overcome, lessons learned, and trials endured, what’s most important is acknowledging the growth we’ve all made. While some days just felt like surviving, other moments made us laugh, and in the end, we all were reminded how fragile we all are and what truly matters.

I took the above photo on the London Eye, which was like a dream and is a memory I cherish, especially with not being able to explore the world right now. I also wanted to take a moment to commend those who inspired me and challenged me to reflect on who I am. While I enjoy marketing and blogging for companies, giving life to others’ dreams, this personal blog of mine is close to my heart, and I enjoying sharing truths that inspire me to be a better being inside. Here are a few realizations I learned that I hope might help you as well.


No one is immune to this human trait. When we think of personal failure, we might think of fear, sadness, shame, and heartbreak. While it’s alright to admit our mistakes or wish we made a better decision, failure pushes us to grow. We need to accept failure as an opportunity for learning, gaining knowledge, character, bravery, courage, and strength.

One of my favorite speakers, Brene Brown, states it eloquently, “The irony is that we attempt to disown our difficult stories to appear to be more whole or acceptable, but our wholeness, even our wholeheartedness actually depends on the integration of all our experiences including the fails.” So, be vulnerable with others, share your struggles and challenges. It will endear the right people to you, and connections are made stronger by the vulnerability. No one attains perfection, so open yourself up and accept your failures. If you can reflect and learn, then you can move forward stronger.


I am a huge advocate of finding work that fulfills you. While waiting for a dream job isn’t realistic, look for something you can be proud of. For years doing marketing and sales, I worked myself to death, worried about my titles, salary, career choices, but in the end, if you dread going to a job every day, you are wasting precious time. In this challenging job market, with sometimes limited options, I found I had to get creative. Meaning, I walked away from what wasn’t fulfilling me, even though it meant taking a large pay cut.

I chose to not to be my own boss, but look for opportunities that didn’t suck the life out of me. This has included being a barista, dog walker, florist, hostess, wedding planner, being in retail, and finally, where I found my real passion, freelance writing. Yes, it meant juggling schedules, maybe swallowing my pride, but in the end, I could sleep better at night, enjoy my free time more, and be proud that each position I worked was helping me be happier. It’s never to late too take a different path, learn a new skill, go back to school, apply for a career you’re curious about, but the bottom line is doing what makes you happy. Worry about your character, not your reputation. Your character is who you are, and your reputation is what others think you are.


While it can be tempting to stick with what’s comfortable, growth requires continued education and challenging ourselves to become better. As many of you struggled with as well, remote learning comes with a massive set of challenges, but I learned a great concept from my daughter’s school counselor that was profound. She had the children visualize a Yeti. In doing so, it strands as a reminder that although we may not be able to do something now, it just means that we can’t quite do it YET. But, if we don’t give up trying, we can get there. With that attitude, anyone can achieve incredible things.

No matter how difficult something appears, how many times it takes you to get where you want to be, always keep working at it. A great way to integrate the power of YETI in all you do is to identify where you’re using the word can’t. Using yet instead brings hope, ignites a can-do attitude, and is a more encouraging environment. You must be willing to learn from your mistakes and persevere. We must develop more patience and belief in ourselves. Remember, life is a journey where there’s no room to give up. Yet is a powerful word that means an implied time, still, even, or nevertheless. Have no fear of perfection or success; it’s something that can never be fully reached.


All of us deal with trauma, pain, heartache, wounds, addictions, anxiety, depression, and challenges in this complicated world. Know it is alright to get professional help, knowing it takes strength and is a huge testament to you as a person. Everyone has a breaking point, but not everyone is aware that it is a choice to remain broken. Getting help for stress, anxiety, depression, and mental illness isn’t easy, but it takes more energy to repress it than to get to the root cause and work at healing it. Getting over a painful experience is sort of like crossing monkey bars as a kid; at some point, you have to let go to move forward. Sadly pain moves through a family until someone is ready to feel it. The earlier you can dig into your issues, the easier it will be to make changes in your thinking.

Therapy isn’t about blame or excuses; it’s about understanding who you are and what you can be done to be happier and be more in control. There’s truth in the statement, “Unpack your baggage, so your kids don’t have to carry it.” Lu Hanessian. In a recent counseling session, my therapist listened to my words describing my chronic nightmares I was suffering from PTSD. She patiently listening and simply said, “You are a warrior.” It made me stop, and I was at a loss for words. But, her stating that also reminded me that I am powerful. Yes, I have endured much I wish to forget, but I keep fighting, and that’s all the matters. That’s what I want to pass onto my daughter. It’s never too late at any age, phase in life, relationship status, or any other circumstance to get help to be a better person.


A great quote I read recently was, “Self-care is not indulgent. It’s a discipline. It requires tough-mindedness, a deep and personal understanding of your priorities. A deep respect for both yourself and the people you spend your life with.” Tami Foreman. Every single person needs it every single day. While I have always enjoyed journaling, as a writer, this pandemic required I take it to the next level. It meant no matter how tired I was, writing down my thoughts, and more importantly at least three things I am grateful for each day. I even tried a new approach with my daughter and purchased a journal we shared. It was time away from devices each evening before bed, to listen to each other and express our thoughts. A skill that can never start at too young of an age. I also got into the habit of using a meditation app before bed. It was a reminder I needed to breathe, calm my mind, and take charge of my thoughts.

Burnout can come from resentment of doing everything for everyone but yourself. Preventing it is about knowing yourself well enough to see what you need and when it’s time to do something that makes you relax, smile, and enjoy life. Know it’s alright to say no and set boundaries. Make sure to also move your body every day in whatever way you can. It isn’t about weight; it’s about your health. Everyone is different from what refreshes them, but daily take a few moments to fill yourself back up.


A friend trying to provide comfort about my divorce recently shared a powerful concept that can be very helpful when overcoming many stressful life events. It’s the centuries old Japanese art of Kintsugi. While most of us would throw away a broken vase, teapot, bowl, plate, or other household items, this art form takes precious broken pieces and repairs them with a lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The technique consists of joining fragments and refining the piece. As a philosophy, it treats the breakage as part of the pieces history, rather than something to disguise. It’s an essential metaphor for healing ourselves that sometimes in repairing things that have broken us we can actually create something more unique, beautiful, and resilient. Each of us are works of art with individual stories.


A great analogy I read the other day was to look at a palm tree as an example. Paradise can be where you’re planted, so make the best out of where you live. Stand tall in the world, don’t compare your growth to others. Grow alongside others who rise up with you. Find the light even when things don’t feel sunny; there will be both good and hard days. Use your resources to help nourish the community. When you are feeling your lowest, do something positive for someone in need. While this might seem a bit basic, there is truth to this concept. In nature, nothing ever stays the same; change is constant, so we must expect the same in our lives. So, here’s to those who have the strength to lift up their roots from underneath them and plant their wounded hearts to face new light.

In conclusion, I’d like to end with a message from the inspiring Maya Angelou, “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.” We all had a lot to handle in 2020, but let’s not forget to remember the blessings, positives, and memories that were made. Who knows exactly what 2021 holds, but know we have much to look forward to, and no matter what, there will be good times to be had. Try to be grateful for life each day and know we are all a work in progress.



“To anyone out there who’s hurting, it’s not a sign of weakness to ask for help. It’s a sign of strength.”|Barack Obama

Being September was National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, I wanted to share my thoughts and some great insights that others have shared which are game-changers. Many of us have sadly lost someone to suicide and with the pressures around us in the world right now, honest conversations about this subject are more important than ever. With so many around the globe being isolated, depression has become very common in these uncertain times.

Many coping with income loss, fear of the future, decrease in social activities, relationship problems, it’s a difficult time for many of us and takes a mental toll. Mental illness, depression, and anxiety are very complex problems that have no quick-fix solutions. Whether you or someone you know is struggling, know that there’s help, resources, and solutions. Remember how many around you truly love and care about you, ask for help or reach out to someone you know, everyone’s life is precious.


The most tragic part of suicide is that it can affect anyone. The statistics are quite horrific and no age, culture, gender, or community is not affected. While mental health conditions can be a factor, it can also be brought on by stress, life changes, addiction, and feeling that one’s problems are just too much. As I’m sure many of us have experienced, it can happen to someone we didn’t realize was unhappy or struggling. Especially in these times of social media content that breeds so many into posting only the positive aspects of their lives, it can lead to not understanding how even close friends are doing. We’ve turned into a culture of only digital communication, making it hard to know or understand the feelings of even close friends and family. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone, it could save you or someone else’s life.


One very important concept we all can put into practice is to try to remember our thoughts and emotions aren’t always real. In actuality, thoughts are influenced by our moods, environment, lack of sleep, hunger, physical health, hormones, and many other factors we can’t always control. Our thoughts directly influence how we feel. It’s not invalidating feelings, but to gently work at not letting them take over our lives. Our thoughts do not exist outside of our awareness. They are like mental habits. What can make thoughts feel real is focusing our attention on them.

Simple actions like thanking your mind, listening, and acknowledging what it’s trying to tell you can make you feel more in control. We hear so much talk about mindfulness, but it truly is a huge key. Find what works for you individually, whether it’s deep breathing, focusing on your faith, exercise, art, meditation, journaling, music, talking out your problems, but take control over your mind. We become what we repeatedly do and think, so show your brain whose boss. Remember thoughts are not permanent, and there are always coping solutions for any problem.


As with mental illness, our society must get over the stigma, which prevents so many from getting the help they need. Just as so many of us know we must work at taking care of our bodies, that same energy needs to go into our mental health. We need to be more comprehensive in our approach which means getting to the root issue of emotions, learning new coping skills, educating ourselves, and partnering with both mental and physical health care providers for assistance. There are simple steps we can all take to help someone struggling. Don’t shy away from asking, stepping in, be there to listen, help them connect to someone professional who can help, then continue to follow up. It’s worth the effort to take care of ourselves and each other.

Below are a few resources with helpful guidance and information:

This information is only meant to bring awareness from my personal journey, comes from a place of true concern, please reach out to a professional with questions if you or someone you know needs help.



“Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid that you forget you already have one.”|Glennon Melton

With a whirlwind summer finally winding down, and kids heading back to school in various forms, I wanted to share my thoughts on a topic that isn’t discussed much. While so many of us strive to be good parents, sometimes the pressure of being perfect can take the fun out of it. Too many times we as mothers don’t want to admit our struggles because we want to seem like to have it all together. Especially in our social media obsessed culture. In reality, if we shared the tough times, challenges, and issues, we’d realize it’s a continual learning process that no woman has down exactly.


Being an artist and writer, empathy and connection has always been important to me and helps me make sense of this crazy world we live in. Sometimes we can parent from a state of anxiety, fear, or have unrealistic expectations, myself included. When we are too hard on ourselves, we can also become too hard on our children, which is not honoring them or ourselves. Take time to stop and reflect on your child’s great qualities. Enjoy a fun afternoon with them being in the moment just letting them be who they are. If you have concerns, sometimes is easier to write them down, then share with them so emotions don’t take over. Psychotherapist Nicole McGuffin recently shared this great insight; to raise resilient children we need to connect with them, create emotional safety without judgment, allow them space to show emotions, don’t define their self-worth with performance and help them learn to problem solve.


During quarantine this winter, I was organizing old boxes in our basement and found a book a friend had given me from my baby shower over ten years ago. I remember at the time, I thought it was kind of an impractical gift, being I was a single mother with no job and wondered if she remembered how as a new mom you have no time to barely function, let alone read a book! Thankfully I decided to read it now, as I did have some extra time on my hands. Its called “Because I Said So” by Camile Peri and Kate Moses, and it ended up being one of the best books I’ve read in a very long time. Mainly because its a collection of stories told by mothers who aren’t afraid to discuss deep topics, be vulnerable in sharing, and come to terms with the challenges that don’t always have an easy solution.

I became obsessed over the years with parenting books, but what many are lacking is the truth of how hard it is to be a mother and there is no one size fits all. In the end, you have to do what’s best for you personally and your specific child, because at the end of the day you know you and your child best. I highly recommend all mom’s read books like this that are honest, real, fierce, and touching, and be quick to share their experiences as they navigate the hardest job in the world.


I wanted to share a few great thoughts I took away that I hope might help other mom’s raising children in a world that we ourselves have a hard time figuring out and handling, let alone raising a child in. One great point made by Karin L. Stanford is that we have an opportunity through our words and example to provide our children with courage and a candid understanding of the challenges we all face. Children respect honest conversations and truth when they ask questions. Give them that respect and validation to be open with them. I am continually surprised how perceptive and accurate my daughter’s thoughts are about situations, so have those hard discussions and gain their trust.

Teach them independence and personal strength are to be commended when they are standing up for what they believe. A very accurate statement Karin makes is that when it comes to daughters, “teach her fairy-tales belong in books, but that heartfelt dreams, despite surprising twists and turns, are always worth reaching for.” Go against the cultural norms, don’t teach your daughter to look for happiness in prince charming, help her find her own purpose, and remind her what a strong line of women she comes from.


When it comes to loss and challenges, it can be hard to make sense of pain. As a parent, big feelings and negative emotions can be tough to work through. Imagine and remember how overwhelming it can be for a child. We have to help our child and sometimes reach out to therapists for help with emotional regulation. This is such an important part of a child establishing and maintaining healthy relationships. Remember to hold space for your child’s feelings, acknowledge that at that moment it’s hard, it might hurt, it’s a struggle, but make sure they’re feelings are validated.

Sadly in this life, many things are unfair and adults have a hard time understanding when bad things happen to good people. Marianne Pearl makes a bold statement I could not agree with more when her son was asking questions about his father’s suicide, she boldly stated “I have no choice but to tell him the truth because you cannot escape from your own story. With each mountain, you climb you reach a new summit within yourself. You have to have a sense of purpose that is stronger than whatever obstacles you find in your way. If you are to give birth, you must also give hope.”

I aspire to do the same for my daughter when she asks questions about not having a father in her life or other challenges shes faced. While we must only share what their minds can handle at any given age, always be truthful and share your thoughts on why certain things happen. Children’s minds are more intelligent than we realize, so speak honestly and build a relationship with truthful conversations.


In closing, I want to remind all mothers that your time, love, energy, care, and teaching is not going to waste. While we can’t control the turmoil in the world or always change circumstances in our lives, we can continue to show up for our children and remember there is no perfect formula. You will make mistakes. You will have days that feel seventy-two hours long. You will have questions and situations that are complicated to explain. But, you have it in you to be strong, survive, and share your knowledge with your child.

Don’t forget to make time for self-care, things that make you feel happy, taking care of your body and mind, and remember that to-do list will always be full, but our children won’t always be around. Take care of yourselves and each other. You’re doing great and so is your child. Day at a time mama, you got this.



“You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.”|Warren Buffett

With the extra time I’ve had at home, I finally got to catch up on my book list, as I’m sure many of you have as well. I never used to be much of reader, maybe it goes back to the fact that I used to hate how long it took me to finish a book, but I fell in love with reading a few years back when I realized when I’m reading about topics that improve my life it’s very enjoyable.


Years ago, a book was recommended by my therapist called “The Highly Sensitive Person” by Elaine N. Aron, Ph.D. Let me just say for me this book was a life-changer! It inspired deep research into this concept that has helped me greatly. Whether you have this trait, love someone who does or even work with someone, this concept not only helps us all understand each other better, but for me helped me realize how common it is, with up to twenty percent of the population dealing with it.

Psychologists, doctors, and educators are starting to understand more and more about this trait, and even more importantly how to manage it successfully. It’s not a disorder or condition, but rather a personality trait. We all need to have self-knowledge, be open to re-framing, accept we can heal and come to terms with what can be changed with our thinking. Extensive scientific research has proven that there are gene variations in highly sensitive people that affect serotonin and dopamine in the brain and are deeply rooted in the nervous system. Having this trait causes the brain to inhibit action, so there’s a struggle with transitions and making decisions. It has no gender or age restrictions. There is no easy fix or cure, but rather is a complicated trait that needs to be understood and managed.


This overall concept of a highly sensitive person has to do with how our brains process information, emotionally react, and handle life in a different way than the average person. They are deeply affected by subtleties in their daily environment. The positive aspects of this condition include creativity, being loyal, thoughtful, emphatic, perceptive, conscientious, imaginative, having good relationships, and high emotional intelligence. But, along with this comes challenges of dealing with an easily over-aroused nervous system that can make daily life challenging.

Examples of things that overwhelm a highly sensitive person include strong smells, busy work environments, bright lights, other’s moods, intense entertainment, changes in circumstances and even over-scheduling can be very hard to handle. Highly sensitive people have a hard time with boundaries by extending themselves too much, becoming intimate too fast, and taking on other people’s problems.


Being sensitive to the disapproval of others makes them quick to follow rules, be as perfect as possible, and are afraid to make mistakes. Living this way can cause you to ignore your feelings and needs, which causes both long and short term damage. In the workplace, they experience feeling unfulfilled, burned out and this can thus trigger multiple career changes. All of this exhaustion not only causes mental fatigue and anxiety but emotional exhaustion and can be physically draining as well.


Knowledge is key and it’s good to educate yourself. The takeaways of how a highly sensitive person can manage include small daily practices and adjustments. Don’t allow your childhood to keep you stuck, take control of your mental and physical health. Surround yourself with positive influences and environments. Have open discussions in the family, workplace, and friends when your feeling overwhelmed.

Use mindfulness and breathing to calm the body when you can’t remove yourself from a stressful situation. Be aware of tension in the body including clinching, bad posture, breath-holding that affects the mind as well. Listen to your feelings, it’s alright to need time alone to process your thoughts. Find relationships that listen and value your needs, not making you defend them. Practice movement that helps you manage stress. Create time daily for quiet and calm. Engage with friends, a therapist, and journal to help manage emotions. Remember you are not alone and that with awareness and time you can succeed.



“I hope you are blessed with the heart of a wildflower. Strong enough to rise again after being trampled upon, tough enough to weather the worst of summer storms, and able to grow and flourish even in the most broken places.”|Nikita Gill.

The above quote is to this day still one of my favorites, as it not only speaks to me as a survivor, but also the beauty I see around me every day in the Rocky Mountains. This subject is not an easy one for me to express, as I’ve been a victim of verbal and emotional abuse, domestic violence, assault, and battery in more than one relationship in my life. What I’ve been seeing these last few months is numerous reports of abuse, especially with stay at home orders in place and it breaks me heart.


Many women are trapped in their homes with abusers, isolated from people and resources that could help. They can’t go to work, rely on friends, are scared for their health, and worried about their finances. Brad Garrett, former FBI agent recently stated to ABC News, “The shelter in place forces couples to remain home and the victim is scared to leave for fear of catching the virus. With typically ten million domestic violence reports a year, the longevity of the virus will certainly drive up domestic violence.” Those are just the ones reported. “It’s a crisis within a crisis, truly disturbing, if we don’t do anything about it, talk about it, ring the alarm, there will be millions of more cases globally,” says UNFPA deputy director Ramiz Alakbarov to CBS.

NBC News also noted, “there has been a twenty percent increase in domestic violence calls since the pandemic started.” If sharing my knowledge can help just one woman get out of an abusive situation, then I’m willing to go to this dark place and share my experience. For professional sake, I won’t go into details, but I do want every single woman to know that it can happen to ANYONE. Never in a million years did I think it would happen to me. There is no race, age, country, financial status, education level, background or demographic that is not impacted. It is not alright and it is not your fault.


While my daughter and I were driving home from the store last week, an amber alert came on the radio. It described a woman who had “stolen” her husband’s truck and “abducted” her children. Instantly I was in tears, mostly thinking of possibly what environment that woman and her children were in to have to flee like that. While I don’t know the details and am in no way saying that it’s always the man’s fault, what I do know is that when a woman reaches her breaking point, her mother bear instincts will kick in and she will do anything to keep her children safe. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do to leave, but you can survive it and find peace.

The scariest part of this whole situation is that, is no woman ever goes into a relationship seeing someone she loves as a possible abuser. What I’ve sadly learned the hard way is that so many men who are narcissist’s, sociopaths, manipulators, and liars know how to hide it so well that the nightmare that unfolds almost doesn’t seem real. You feel stupid and humiliated that you didn’t see it coming. Many men start relationships with over-the-top generosity, flattery, and seem almost too good to be true.


It all starts with what is called the Wheel of Power and Control. I’d never heard of this until I was shown it by a victim’s advocate. I’ve included it in this blog, because if you see these patterns in a relationship, you need to get out. It might start with small things like criticizing you, disrespect you needing alone time, not encourage your goals, trying to control who your friends are, pulling you away from family, bring up your past mistakes, make you explain everything and so forth, but it will escalate and will almost always lead to emotional and eventually physical abuse.

Another term that I was educated on was gaslighting. When your partner refuses to admit any wrongdoing and tries to convince the other person they are paranoid, too sensitive or imaging things. Domestic violence is rooted in power and control. Without a partner acknowledging there’s a problem, and getting professional help, things will never improve. Partners with personality disorders have mastered the art of using their words as weapons. If you keep hoping for change, don’t feel understood, drained, hide your partner’s issues and conflict is constant, it’s time to move on.


Walking away from someone you love is never easy. There is pain, frustration, guilt, hopes of what you thought it was, sadness, but living with someone who doesn’t respect you is no way to live. The best thing you can do is cut off all contact, let go of the fantasy of change, make peace with your past, and learn you deserve better. It might be lonely some days, but it’s better to be safe than feel lonely in a bad relationship. You might not ever get the closure you need, but dig deep for the strength in knowing you are enough.

There is so much help available and you are not alone. Confide in a trusted friend or family member. Call a helpline. See a therapist for help navigating emotions. Even when there are children involved, staying is not always the best decision. Children learn dysfunction by what they experience, so you have to break the cycle and teach them abuse in any form is not acceptable.

No amount of money, lifestyle, judgment from others, or fear should keep you in an abusive relationship. So many who care about you would be happy to help, but you must take the first step of being honest with yourself and admitting you need out. The World Health Organization states that one out of three women in the world experience abuse in their lifetime. While this fact is so intense, its a reminder that no woman is immune. If you see a friend struggling, be there to help and support them. It does take time and scars will always be there, but you are can recover and rebuild your life. You have a voice and you are strong.



“Love and compassion are not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”|Dalai Lama

While I sit here proud of myself for just giving my poor feet an imitation pedicure that I hadn’t done in decades, I’m reminded what’s truly important. As I’m sure many of you, we are surrounded by a culture of luxuries that give us temporary satisfaction and while they give us momentary enjoyment, are not the meaningful things that provide true contentment.

Especially as women small things like getting your nails and hair done, wearing makeup, shopping or going to a spa, all the sudden are not an option. Personally, over these last few weeks, in a lot of ways, I think it’s been a great reality check. Right now our society doesn’t really care what you look like, what matters right now are those who are showing compassion and love.


The health care, city, state, government and so many other community members don’t have the option of working from home. A few months ago who would’ve thought as a girl you wouldn’t care what you look like leaving the house, wearing a mask, because now it’s not for something social, it’s being focused on staying safe to just get necessitates. Now I don’t care so much about buying organic, I’m just glad if there are any vegetables at all. Talk about a wake-up call. Our personal conveniences are being put second place to saving lives. Never in any of our lifetimes would any of us thought our world would be here. But, let’s focus on the perspective it’s building in each of us.

I’d like to quote one of the best posts I’ve seen since this whole nightmare started from Rachel Hollis that could not be more true, “Your quarantine is a PRIVILEGE. There are millions of people who aren’t able to quarantine or socially distance because of socioeconomic reasons. There are parent’s right now caring for critically ill children, essential workers exhausted beyond belief, its inconvenient, difficult, but don’t forget your blessings.” What a great reminder.


Thousands of people around the globe don’t have the luxury of stocking the fridge with food, filing for unemployment, the option of schooling their kids from home, money to buy items like masks to protect themselves, technology to stay up on what’s happening, a safe hospital to go to if they get sick, the list goes on and on. So, while some days seem long and hard to get through, it’s all about putting things into perspective of what we can be grateful for. The bottom line is this horrific event, is being grateful for your life.


What has been surprising and inspiring to me is seeing the good that is being done in my community. Restaurants that have closed giving away food to families in need. Neighbors sharing toilet paper and asking if we need anything at the grocery store. A co-worker making homemade cloth masks for us all to wear. Local non-profits offering free creative and fitness classes online to help children keep busy. Teachers somehow rearranging their whole lives to provide education for our children.

Community members paying for other drive-thru orders. Friends and local businesses reaching out offering financial assistance. Even seeing on social media, sometimes self-focused celebrities now donating thousands to help others in need. The list goes on and on. The point of it being, when times are hard and fearful it can be easy to worry about our problems. But, what fills us up is helping others and thinking about their struggles. This crisis is teaching each of us what is important, without our health and lives nothing else matters.


As my daughter and I prepared for my parents’ forty-seventh anniversary tomorrow is was an interesting feeling. It’s not about a lavish party, taking them to a fancy dinner or some vacation like we’ve done in the past. It’s simply homemade decorations, simple takeout from a local joint, a bottle of wine, a few gifts we could find online and enjoying each other as a family. Every day I try to find joy in simple things and being grateful that I’m healthy, surrounded by many who care and one day coming out of this journey remembering what it’s taught me.

Cherish this time with your family, take time to do things we normally don’t have time for, reach out to loved ones to let them know you care and when your lonely remember someone else could use a phone call too. Show empathy when it doubt, it’s always the best choice. Put your wants in second place to someone else. Reassure children of your love and remember if it’s scary for us, it’s way harder for them to understand. They might be disappointed they can’t go to the mall, be with friends or go to that concert they were excited about, but take the time to teach them about the bigger picture.

If we all think of this challenging time as a time to show our true character we will not only survive but come out stronger knowing what deeply matters. It’s good to be educated on current situations, but pace yourself with negative news and focus on positive things that build you up. Take care of each other and yourselves. Hold onto a positive perspective in not just viewing this situation as a test, but an opportunity for growth.



“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we love deeply becomes part of us.”|Helen Keller

Seeing the sweet pictures everyone was posting on #nationalpuppyday reminded me of how much I miss having a dog by my side, especially with the crisis going on and being home so much. Bagel the Beagle pictured above will always hold a special place in my heart, his gentleness with my baby, the silly way he howled with his head back, how he’d warm himself behind the wood stove, didn’t like peanut butter, so many precious memories.


As with every dog I’ve owned throughout my life, each loyal dog will never be forgotten. This quote from Helen Keller is incredibly true that it’s better to have loved and lost than never had those dogs in my life or even people I’ve loved for that matter. Dogs are such incredible creatures in that they don’t ask for much but give us so much in return. It’s loyalty, unlike any other creature. Being loyal is a strong feeling of support and somehow dogs just do it naturally with no hesitation.

Since I’ve had some extra time on my hands, I was on YouTube recently and saw a dog I’ve followed for years through videos my daughter and I watched had passed and as I watched her owner describe her loss it brought me to tears. Strange how emotions are like that, how empathetic and emotional I can be for a dog we’d never even met. While this famous YouTuber and very successful entrepreneur seemed to have every luxury in life, that doesn’t mean she could save her dog. Dogs become family and when we have to say goodbye no matter what the reason it leaves a void in our hearts. Dogs provide comfort, healing, affection and a relationship that’s quite unlike anything else. It seems we never have enough time with these gentle creatures no matter how long they live.


What’s special about how we feel for others and is that we all want to have that human connection, to feel understood like we aren’t the only one going through something. When we show our vulnerability we are not only helping ourselves heal but also helping someone else not feel alone and understood. Sometimes vulnerability and loyalty can be looked on as a weakness or as being too sensitive. You can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. Boundaries need to happen with certain areas in our lives and limits set, but vulnerability and emotion can draw others to us.

In this sometimes harsh world, loyalty can be taken advantage of, but it is something none of us should lose, but cultivate. Some of my deepest friendships, best business connections, and fondest memories are when I opened myself up to show not only who I was, but also my struggles in life. Perfection isn’t real and all of us want authenticity. Cherish and look for people in your life who respect you, make you feel safe and show loyalty in being there for you. It isn’t always easy to find, but it does exist and should be cherished.


During this pandemic, one thing that’s touched me and shown me how great hard times can be is seeing everyone not know exactly how things are going to unfold and having to take life one day at a time. All a sudden our schedules have time, we are being around our families like we should, are having to get creative, it’s like a small gift of looking at your day and having time for what you like to do, not just have to do. As my therapist put it today, it’s teaching us all patience and is reminding us what’s important.

We are all living so over-scheduled most days that now it’s like we have all this space and time to just be. Make the most of it. Cook a meal you’ve been meaning to try. Listen to a podcast that brings positive thinking into your day. Walk outside because you don’t have to, but for peace of mind. Read a book that enriches who you want to be. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in months. Organize something to make space. Send a card to someone you care about. Offer help to someone who could use it. Do something that makes you smile and cherish this pause in our crazy world to do something positive.


We can all learn something from a dog. They are reliable, true, trustworthy and loyal. It takes work, effort, self-sacrifice, but being a loyal person always earns respect. Be loyal to those you care about. Find a company loyal to you. Stick with friends who value you. Draw close to family who supports you. Remember you don’t owe loyalty to someone who has harmed you, used you, abused you or did not live up to what they promised. Don’t always take the easiest path. Stand by those you love even when it’s not easy.

Be true to your word when possible. Be loyal to yourself in trying to live in your truth, stick to your values and your passions. Not one of us can be perfectly loyal, but know with time loyalty wins and prevails. I’m grateful to have had dogs in life who helped me and stood by me in good days and bad. In this time we live in be kind and show empathy to yourself and others. Take a lesson from a dog, be present in the moment and take each day as it comes.



“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of it’s strength.”|Charles Spurgeon.

Well for once as I sit here sipping my tea I’m a bit at a loss for words. But, I always find that when I write, whether for my blog, poetry or even just my journal I always feel better and putting my thoughts down seems to help make sense of it all. I’m hoping sharing my expressions might help just one person feel better and I’ve found that when people open themselves up it can give comfort to someone else who might be feeling the same way. Yes, it takes strength to share our fears, be vulnerable and admit we don’t have all the answers, but it can draw us closer together. No one can ever go wrong in speaking their truth.


As many of you are experiencing as well, most of our lives have been turned a bit upside down this past week. For me, I’m quite exhausted and drained, especially since I struggle with anxiety and feeling like today felt way too long. I’m a very organized planner and it’s a scary feeling not knowing exactly what tomorrow will hold. In the last 48 hours, bomb after bomb of information kept coming at me that felt like a lot to process. Now, in comparison, I have to say I’m thankful for my health and compared to what so many others around the world are dealing with needs to be put into perspective.


From schools shutting down, to losing jobs, empty grocery store shelves, eerie vacant streets, businesses closing, events and travel canceled, financial investments, the list goes on and on, it’s like in just a short period it almost feels like we aren’t living our normal lives anymore. It’s hard to remain calm when so much is uncertain. What started as a sad news story in China a few months ago all the sudden is affecting every single person in the world today.

What is most hard for me right now, is explaining the situation to my young daughter. There aren’t easy answers for exactly what’s happening no matter what age we are. As a parent, we try to be the example of a positive attitude, be resilient, strong, balanced, but both now and in the coming days is being put to the test. In some ways, I think it’s forcing us all to stop and think about what’s important. For so many their careers, social lives and external things are what keep them going. Now, it’s like we are forced to take the time to feel, think, just be and not be so busy with so many things that in reality aren’t important.


Our culture is so geared for these jam-packed schedules that if we aren’t being productive every minute of every day we aren’t driven. What a blessing it’s been to have more time with my daughter, to hear from friends its been way too long since we’ve heard from, to plan out home-cooked meals for the week, knowing I’ll have time to cook, working on projects I’ve been meaning to for months. I’m enjoying being forced to slow down and live how many of us should be living each day. Money has never really equaled true happiness and security, this crisis is proving that now.

While all these big changes can feel frustrating, I think all we can do it value what we do have, be grateful for those who love us, to be thankful to those around us who will be there for us and remember the bottom line is without our health, not much else is left, so we need to cherish it. Use this time to reconnect with each other and ourselves. Be considerate of what others are dealing with and let them know you care.

Reach out to others if we need help, but be compassionate to others as well. Control your anxiety by limiting worry on what you can’t change around you. Use this extra bit of time to do something that fills you up. If we can all take a lesson from this tragic experience it’s that life is precious and things can change overnight. Be kind to yourself and others. Remember to breathe.



“Pay attention to your patterns. The ways you learned to survive may not be the ways you want to continue to live.”|Dr. Thema

On a recent excursion with my daughter to ice fish, we passed a beautiful heard of elk that was awe-inspiring how their instincts drove them to find food in this harsh winter and how they didn’t mind sharing hay with cows because it meant survival. Even the concept of rainbow trout is incredible how they survive months of a long winter deep under the ice and still have so much fight in them. What’s even more special about humans is that we have ability to not just survive, but change patterns, habits, grow from our experiences and make choices in what we do in our lives.


The other beautiful part about surviving is that it doesn’t have to be just existing, but choosing to live each with the attitude that your outlook can make the difference. We can’t always control our finances, stress, people around us, health, family, even the future, but you do have control over your feelings and outlook in your life each day. Each person must find the strength to keep fighting and each individual is unique. What fills them back up each day. What helps them cope with what they can’t change. So many tools in this day and age are right at our fingertips, but we have to dig deep for the courage to utilize them.

My daughter’s school counselor sent out a great email recently to all the students that I thought was so insightful in an era where children are sometimes forced to grow up too fast and are handling problems that have never existed in our society. It was an image with two circles one labeled, what I can control and the other what I can’t. The smaller circle of what we CAN’T control including concepts in how others treat us, others taking care of themselves, who likes us, past mistakes and physical appearance.


While a child or any of us for that matter might hope and wish these might be things we can change, more often they are out of our control. In the other large circle of what we CAN control including how we respond to challenges, being kind, accountable, our decisions, forgiving, being productive, working hard, asking for help, not giving up, the friends we choose and respecting ourselves. What powerful words and reminders we all can think about. How much better is our energy put into focusing on what we can control in our lives each day.

All of us have to survive things in our lives, some are larger than others. But, you do have a choice in how you let those heartbreaks and challenges affect you, especially long term. Don’t allow trials to make you bitter, harden your heart, make you lose faith in love, change your positive outlook and most of all cause you to give up. Even when making mistakes, it can be insightful to find the balance of looking humbly at the past but not too long that you don’t keep moving forward.


Forget it enough to get over it, but remember it enough so it doesn’t happen again. While this seems like an easy concept most would agree with to do this takes self-reflection, time, asking for help, honesty, and integrity. As T.S. Elliot said, “Survival is your strength, not your shame.” We can be accountable for our actions and acknowledge mistakes, but true growth can only happen when we can forgive ourselves, acknowledge our weaknesses and then chose to be better next time. There are many paths we can find help along the way, but we have to want to do the work and break patterns that do not serve us anymore. Sometimes it’s better to end something and start another than imprison yourself in hoping for the impossible. Some battles require learning to lose to recover long term.

While life has peaks and pits it’s good to remember as Norman Vincent Peale stated you can, “change your thoughts and you change your world.” Chose to focus on making the best of things on hard days and being grateful for the small moments that make you smile. Take the time to reflect on who you want to be regularly. When falling, acknowledge the mistake and see not only what you can learn from it, but use it to grow in empathy. Remember you are in control of your life and with effort, strength, and determination, you can not only survive but thrive. Live whole-heartedly no matter what. You’re stronger than you think you are.



“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.”|Bob Marley

While I’ve never thought of myself as the strongest or most secure person, over time the above in my life has been very true. Strength is something we have to dig deep for, even when we don’t want to, when it hurts or when we have no other option. This majestic bighorn sheep was standing beside a busy five-lane interstate in the Rocky Mountains and I couldn’t help but be in awe of how calm he stayed standing right next to vehicles driving seventy-five miles per hour. It was as if he could block all the chaos out and was only focused on getting his next meal in front of him. This native to Colorado had no plan of moving and showed a calm strength that was very admirable. In our chaotic world, we as women can take this animal to heart.


Recently I’ve been inspired by many women in media who are going against the grain and showing their strength in speaking their truth. In a sometimes surface and shallow world, it’s very refreshing and needs to be commended. In a recent interview, Michelle Obama said these inspiring words, “I suffer no illusions that I’ve reached any mountaintop. Accomplishments are nice, but I try to not let those be my metrics for success. What I’m more interested in is our stories-the big choices, the turning points, that together make up a life.” What incredible and humble insight.

We should not be content with ourselves or label each other by our upbringing, college degree, career, beauty, status, and accomplishments. How do we treat others, what have we overcome, who have we helped along the way and how do we value those in our lives? Isn’t that what we want to teach our children in this fame-obsessed world. How much more connected could we all be if we opened up more and shared our struggles, challenges, imperfections and battles we’ve both lost and won.


Another strong woman who I’ve appreciated over the years and recently, even more, is Demi Lovato. While she’s struggled with mental health, addiction, eating disorders, family issues and the numerous pitfalls of Hollywood, she is a fighter who not only refuses to give up but hopes that sharing her journey will help others. Her beautiful honest vocals, unfiltered photo’s on social media, and willingness to get help make her real. She once said, “I think women who know who they are, are beautiful.” What a refreshing outlook on being content with yourself and just settle into who you want to be. Shouldn’t women look each day in the mirror and rather than be critical of what she wished she looked like simply accept who she is, be grateful for what her body carries her to do and say to her herself I’m good enough.


When Ashley Graham came on the modeling scene it was inspiring. What makes her so beautiful is that she makes no apologies for what size she is and her confidence shines through. From a young age, females are programmed to think your size is what defines you and will make you happy. I remember being a healthy, size eight, young girl in my 20’s who worked out five days a week and being told by agencies that if I didn’t get down to certain measurements I wouldn’t get modeling jobs. How dare someone set unrealistic standards for anyone.

By all means, I strive to eat healthy, exercise, practice mindfulness, but never let any human tell you what you should look like. Ashley just posted the other day her stretch marks on social media and she honestly should be praised for the strength it takes to show that part of motherhood. Be proud of those tiger stripes, they brought a life into the world. I’m proud of the small steps the modeling industry has taken over the years in showing beauty isn’t one size fits all, but there’s such a long way to go. Winnie Harlow is another strong female that did not let her skin condition define or stop her.


Selma Blair is an inspiration for openly discussing her brutal battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Lizzo slays it in speaking her truth through not only lyrics but not letting her size contain how she expresses her style. Sports Illustrated finally started featuring plus-size models in their magazine, which is a big statement. A recent study published in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology and Education revealed, “The average woman is between size 16 to 18.” Isn’t it sad that so many popular retailers only carry up to size 12! This information is crucial for both the fashion industry and should help women stop comparing themselves to an unrealistic standard set by society.

What I truly am so excited about is the information, education, and honesty that is so readily available for women to learn about and grow from. It used to be you had to be published to have a voice, where now social media and blogging allows anyone to have a voice and speak their truth. Don’t let yourself be defined by only how you look. Inspire young girls and your daughters to not body shame themselves into what society tells them what they should look like. Remember to not let your or others’ accomplishments be all you see or judge success by. Take care of your body, mind, and soul. True strength is shown when you listen to that inner voice and strive to be enough for you and no one else.



“Dogs are like that, I guess. They know how to fix you without ever saying a word.”|Caroline George

Living in the Rocky Mountains, sometimes winter can be quite long. The shoveling, bad roads, ice scraping, layers of clothing, as an adult, winter can lose it’s charm quite quickly. But, today a dog I was walking during my side gig for Rover helped me see the world through his eyes. As dogs do, they bring joy to our lives and remind us to live in the moment and have fun. This giant Malamute was leaping off snowbanks, diving headfirst into the snow, licking it up with his tongue and couldn’t help but force me to laugh and appreciate the joy he found on this beautiful winter day. I think that’s why we love dogs so much, they help us lighten up, smile and seem to fill voids in our hearts that no human quite can.


Recently I started volunteering at local animal shelters since I’m not in a position to have a dog right now. What’s so touching about the dogs I walk is that even at this low point in their life, where their hearts could be broken and they only have the basic necessitates they need, they don’t give up. They’re tails still wag, they want to keep exploring and most important even if someone has given up on them, they won’t give up on humans. Rescue dogs might not fully forget the abuse or difficulties they experienced, but they continue to love. It’s an honest lesson we can all learn from.


We live in a world that is always promoting what we need or want when it reality what fills us up is the simple things in life. If we all could only live whole hardheartedly as dogs do. Don’t worry so much about the future, look for simple pleasures in life, be more devoted and loyal. Comfort others because its the right thing to do, even when we don’t get that back in return. Stop worrying so much what you look like and live in the moment. Dogs truly teach us so much.

Mark Twain once quoted the honest words, “The more I learn about people, the more I like dogs.” I laughed at this true statement, in that many humans in our lives choose to let us down and maybe that’s why we adore animals so much. Their love is unselfish, pure, devoted and will love you more than they love themselves. I’ve owned three dogs in my life and each of them holds a special place in my heart, leaving memories I will never forget. When my daughter was young, I discovered a reading program with therapy dogs at the library. It was incredible how comfortable she became cuddled up next to them and how much better she read with no one to correct or judge her. But, we all can learn simple values by looking at our furry companions.


For example, sometimes all you need is a listening ear, not an opinion. A dog knows that somehow a walk always makes life better and leaves you with a clearer mind. Sleep is essential and sometimes the best use of time even when you have things to do. Help someone just because, not from what you might get in return. Vanity is over-rated, so be content with enjoying the moment. Most important, show unconditional kindness, tenderness, and support because its the right thing to do.

Many studies prove dogs are good for our health on so many levels physically, mentally and emotionally. Dogs motivate many to have a healthier lifestyle by increased exercise, provide companionship, more socialization, sensory stress release, structure, and routine. Medical News Today recently reported, “When we interact with dogs, our Oxycontin levels shoot up, a hormone largely responsible for social bonding, which boosts our physiological well-being.” Authors Lawrence Robinson and Jeanne Segal Ph.D. also reported studies that prove dogs help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, reduce heart attacks and overall owners have fewer doctor visits. Playing with dogs elevates serotonin and dopamine as well, helping with anxiety and depression. No one can deny the positive impact dogs have on our lives.


With all that being said, dogs are incredible and add so much value. It’s important to make an educated and responsible decision on if you can devote the time, energy and money to having a pet. Do your research on what breed and age dog is best for your family. Consider the amount of exercise they need, the time you can devote, vet and grooming costs, your living space and training needed. If you can’t commit fully to owning a dog, you can always look for ways to help animals in our communities, sign up for local therapy dog programs, play with friends or dogs in your neighborhoods.

Of course always head to the shelter when ready to add a new friend to your home, buying puppies online or pet stores comes with so many negatives, so do your research. As for me, I hope to live my life more like a rescue dog, remembering there might be bad in the world that leaves us with some scars, but that doesn’t mean love doesn’t exist moving forward. Be good to those loyal, furry, blessings in your life. You can always find hope in a dog’s eyes.



“Integrity is choosing courage over comfort; choosing what is right over what is fun, fast or easy; and choosing to practice our values rather than simply professing them.”|Brene Brown

It’s that time of year many of us reflect. All of us hoping the next year will be better than the last. How can we each personally guarantee the next year actually will be better? By following the hard-hitting advice above, being courageous and staying true to our values we set. It doesn’t have to be a giant mountain of a goal, it may be simply choosing to be kinder, more honest, authentic, giving, happier or forgiving. The main point is to work at being who you want each day and live the life you can feel positive about.


I love the above photograph and its a reminder how unexpected problems can bring new perspectives. I was on my way to Europe and the interstate was shut down from an avalanche. The road was closed for hours and eventually we were diverted over a desolate pass I’d never driven on. As I reached the summit I glanced out at this view and was taken back by this beauty. I had to document this moment in time for the fact that if things had not unfolded the way they did that day, I would have never seen this gorgeous scenery. Lesson learned that we can find a positive in any day.

Brene Brown has truly become one of my favorite authors and speakers in that she’s all about accountability and making positive changes to better anyone. In her book “Rising Strong”, which I highly recommend, there is an amazing chapter on being brave while brokenhearted. Sadly, as a sensitive and giving person, this has happened way too many times in my life. Her research and reasoning have inspired my next goal; why I must forgive. Forgiveness is a very hard thing to do when we are deeply hurt. But, Brene states perfect truth, “forgiveness is not forgetting or walking away from accountability or condoning a hurtful act; it’s the process of taking back and healing our lives so we can truly live.” Wow. This process takes work and is by no means easy, but in doing so, it can bring us self-love, wisdom, and clarity.


An interesting concept I never really pondered on before is that forgiveness requires grieving. When thinking of the word grief it’s usually associated with death, but the truth is that to forgive our family, friends, co-workers or anyone in our lives, something about our expectations or feelings has to die. If you make the choice to forgive, you have to face the pain and be hurt. You have to work through feelings, sadness, bitterness, and pain, but if you put in the work, in the end, you will be freer. It might even involve an idealized version of ourselves or who you thought someone close to you was.

What’s most complicated and hard about this concept is that it means by forgiving someone, you are responsible for your growth from this point on. They have no control over your life and can’t take up valuable space in your brain. It allows us to make space for better relationships, connections, a place for authentic individuals who too are doing their best to live true to themselves. We must teach ourselves that connections worth our time require emotional safety and vulnerability and openness must be earned.


As a parent, within our families or any relationship, we all constantly try to put on a smile and work at trying to shield those we care about from pain. But, as Brene points out when we struggle the truth is that it affects everyone around us. We have to own up to this fact and that this is alright. We have to let go of the idea that we can’t always shield those around us from pain and that mistakes are part of life. All we can do each day is acknowledge hurt, provide a safe space to discuss it and teach our children how to fall and get back up stronger.

As Brene concludes, it takes compassion, empathy and sympathy to be a decent human being and when we show understanding to ourselves and others its a true blessing. One of the ways to work at not being resentful is to make sure we have boundaries. It’s easy to blame others when things aren’t going well in our lives, but the fact is that if we hold ourselves accountable for asking for what we need and want, in the long run, we will be happier. Work at taking responsibility for our happiness. Yes, life is unfair, but being angry about it will not make it any easier.


So be brave and chose to forgive others and also yourself. Life is a journey that isn’t easy, leaves us with scars and can sometimes be too complicated to put into words, but it’s ours. Daily look for small nuggets of joy, make time to laugh, be your best version of yourself each day. Follow Brene’s excellent advice, “chose curiosity and connection rather than walking away or shutting down, while painful, is choosing courage.”

All research proves that writing down our own experiences of heartbreak is most helpful in helping us see clearer and get to the root of our feelings. Whether you do this on your own in a journal, with a professional, a trusted friend or chose to share it with the world, doing so can help us heal and might just help someone else in the process. Speak your truth. Dig deep. Forgive freely.



“She could never go back and make some of the details pretty. All she could do was move forward and make the whole beautiful.”|Terri St. Cloud

True, majestic, beauty. I took the above image by the side of the road outside Silverthorne, Colorado on the drive home that I have driven at last three hundred times in my life. I had my music playing, enjoying my road trip, windows down when I happened to glance out, slam on my brakes, and capture what took my breath away. Since then I’ve remembered to always keep not just my iPhone on me, but my actual, good old-fashioned, camera so that I never miss moments like this. This is still one of my favorite photos I’ve taken as to me it captures all that Colorado stands for and reminds me to make sure I never forget the beauty around me.


What I’ve learned over my years of many struggles, like all humans, is that beauty is in the details, but only if you take the time to look for them. We honestly live in a messy, complicated, unfair, nasty, world, but our perspective can make a difference. I make it a point to daily, every night before I put my daughter to bed, not only pray for what we are grateful for but also journal together about what we’ve learned, overcome, accomplished, and take a few minutes to express our creativity. I look forward to that time of my day more than anything, even Starbucks, which says a lot. At the end of an exhausting day, it can be easy to want to drown my sorrows by ranting, drinking, eating, watching reality TV, or doing some other non-constructive activity. But, I’m realizing when I journal about what I’m grateful for, breathe deep, and not keep my phone in my bedroom, I go to sleep much happier.


I recently read a powerful article in Psychology Today that made me hopeful. The gist of the research concluded that there’s hard biological evidence that breakups present an opportunity for growth. It went on to note that rejection ricochets through a number of neural systems, that stir emotional chaos of pain, loss, and longing, but also turns on higher-order brain networks that facilitate learning. I found this encouraging because many times failed relationships can leave us feeling defeated and broken to the point where it’s hard to trust ourselves again. Each of us has the choice to look at struggles in life as a learning experience and most importantly an opportunity for personal growth.


Some of my best friendships have stemmed from sharing painful experiences and when you feel like someone understands your pain it’s a powerful connection that cannot be ignored. While we have to choose wisely who we open ourselves up to, don’t afraid to show others your scars, that’s what we all need to develop, vulnerability draws others to us and is what all relationships evolve from. When you go through challenges, losses, mistakes, try to honestly look at what you can learn from it.

The bottom line is this; I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but I’ll repeat, as I’m constantly trying to live this truth, life is ten percent circumstance and ninety percent attitude. Look for joy in the tiniest detail, be thankful you lived another day, cherish those around you, focus on that one person you made smile, a small accomplishment you had, a tiny blessing you experienced, a song that brings back a good memory, a quote that resonated truth, but most of all never forget life is a gift and only you can choose whether to be happy.



“I am still here because I refuse to let anything or anyone decide what I get to have. I am still here because I refuse to let my trauma have the last word. I am still here because I will not let a nightmare have more power than my dreams. I am still here because I didn’t allow the hard time to make me weak; I willed it to make me strong. You can survive losing a piece of your heart without losing the core of who you are. More than merely surviving the loss, you can thrive.”|Rachel Hollis

While Paris is known for being the city of romance, one of my best friends and I found love in a different sense when we visited. For both of us, it was proving to ourselves that love didn’t define us. Proving to ourselves we had the strength to survive abusive relationships from men who wanted to break us. Proof that we could still enjoy life without having to be validated by others of where our lives were or comparing it. An accomplishment that there was a whole world out there that can be enjoyed while being single.

The truth we both came to realize was that it’s better to be lonely than in a toxic relationship. I will always admire the great example my friend set for me in traveling to every place her ex and her went and replacing it with new memories. She’s an inspiration to me in that way and has helped me find my value in pushing me out of my comfort zone. Our struggles build character and not allowing another person break you takes strength.


In our romance obsessed culture, it takes strength to be alone. Being surrounded by unrealistic entertainment, love songs, the commercial world, it all paints an unrealistic picture of what love is. Yes, love exists. Yes, it requires work. Yes, it’s hard. But the bottom line is love is proven through action and it either builds the other one up, supports them, cherishes them, encourages them or it isn’t true love. While we are all shaped by how we are raised, we have a choice whether to follow bad patterns or to evolve and become more. Loneliness can be hard to handle some days.

No matter what your focus is as a women when there is no man involved you have to constantly defend that. Throughout my whole life, I constantly settled in what I deserved from men thinking my life couldn’t be complete without being a relationship. Sadly over and over I was abused, hurt, lied to and crushed, all in the faith that if I give all of me I will get the same back. No more. The truth is that we all have choices in how we allow ourselves to be treated and if someone doesn’t value you, respect you and give back what you give them they aren’t worth your time.


For me, it took having a daughter to raise my standards, who is looking to me to be her protector, role model, and example. I would allow myself to be treated badly, but when it came to her, I would not allow anyone to cause her pain. She deserves better and taught me that so do I. While being a single mom is very hard most days, at least I can go to bed each night her knowing we’re safe, that we don’t need men to complete our life and specifically don’t need men who don’t know how to love wholeheartedly and care enough to give their all. Break the cycle.


Even through all the pain I’ve experienced, I still will always believe in love and see plenty of healthy relationships around me to know it exists in the world. But, the most valuable lesson all women need to remind their selves is that your first must be to love yourself and be secure enough to be content being alone. Go to dinner alone, a movie, a trip, prove to yourself that you are strong enough to enjoy life independently. Too many women stay in bad relationships out of fear, for financial reasons, caring too much what others think, for their kids and don’t realize that you are giving up a part of themselves to someone who doesn’t deserve it.

Be an inspiration to others, your children, your family, your friends in knowing sometimes you have to walk away. It’s not a weakness, but rather a strength in believing in yourself that no one has the right to hurt you in any way. Change and mistakes are a great opportunity for growth that should be admired. Be your own hero of your fairy tale. Find your value. Dig deep for the strength to not always take the easiest route. Learn to love yourself and while you will never be perfect, you can be enough. Let no one define you but yourself.



“When you say yes to others make sure you are not saying no to yourself.”|Paulo Coelho

The above photograph was taken in the midst of one of the worst weeks of my life. While I won’t go into all the horrific details we will leave it as my world was imploding on every level possible, and all my worst fears were coming true so much that I was numb and couldn’t even find tears. The life I had been striving for was ending. I was out on a walk with my daughter, trying to hold myself together, next to a field and these dead flowers caught my eye. While they were past their prime, weathered and bent from wind, they were still standing and doing so ever so beautifully. That’s how life is sometimes, you can’t always control your circumstances, but in the end, it requires us trying to look for the small gifts, the creation around us and try to find even small moments of joy in the chaos of life.


I admire that in children. How resilient they can be. When they are lost in life, with almost no say in what’s going on around them, they somehow always find something to laugh or smile about. My daughter has been that reminder for me, this glimmer of light each day, no matter what relationship, job, friend, family member or destructive self-thought fails me at that time. Her belly laughter always somehow makes life alright and strives to inspire me to keep fighting for what I want in life.

I read a great passage the other day from “Girl, Wash Your Face”, that was so powerful, yet simple in its strength. The author talks about how when a baby takes their very first steps, how thrilled, supportive and ecstatic the parent is, filled with pride and joy. Never in a million years would they say to them, “I think those could’ve been straighter, faster, less wobbly or you didn’t take enough.” Of course not, that would be unthinkable right?


Yet, that’s what women do, so many times, daily. We have this inner voice that is so critical, nags at us when we fail in any way, makes us feel not good enough, makes us question our choices and sometimes makes us feel like why do I even try to so hard. I don’t know about you, but once again, I need to take a lesson from that innocent little life whose excited, proud and joyful at just taking a few steps forward. It might be slow, not perfect or not like anyone else, but all you can do is learn and move forward.

Yes, it’s commendable and appropriate to care about what others in this life think of us, especially those we love and respect. But, also remember only you need to answer to you and most opinions need to be blocked out. Set your own standard of what’s enough. Live each day of your life not as perfect as possible, but just a bit better than you did yesterday. Progress is progress even in baby steps. Be proud of all accomplishments in your life because as long as you keep fighting and want to be a better person that’s all that matters. Take a walk outside and admire how nature isn’t perfect, it’s messy, broken, sometimes destroyed, yet it survives. So can you.



One day you will look back and see; that all along you were blooming.”|Morgan Harper Nichols

Lately, I’ve been touched by a lot of women who by sharing their truth not only encourages me to share mine but also is a great reminder that when we show our vulnerability, scars, and truth it draws others to us. We all struggle most days to stay positive, push through our fears and insecurities. What connects us is the fact we’re human and just want to feel love and understanding.


What’s been amazing to me is that you can find love from even the smallest things. A song that touches your heart, a caring thought expressed by a friend, a passage in a book that you swear was written for you. You have to have an open heart and be willing to look for those inspirations. Sometimes we can get so caught up in what we don’t have that we take for granted the blessings and need to practice more gratitude.

I just finished Rachel Hollis’s “Girl, Stop Apologizing”, and what I truly enjoyed most was this successful women’s honesty in sharing her weaknesses and struggles in her journey. So many of us only see the end product of success and don’t see all the failures, mistakes and struggles it took to get there. As a perfectionist myself, I’ve always been afraid of failure and will sometimes procrastinate because I want the end product to be my very best. What I’ve realized over the years is that if you give your best that’s enough. It might not be enough for someone else, and yes it might involve a few mistakes, but it needs to be enough for you. End each day knowing no matter what you did it was your best and feel proud of that.


My best friend sent me a song the other day that has become my anthem I sing over and over again as a reminder we all have a choice to become stronger and better, little by little each day. In “Castles”, miss Freya Ridings states the powerful message, “I’m gonna build castles from the rubble of your love, I’m gonna be more than you ever thought I was“. No other person should have the power to control your happiness. While we all have circumstances in our lives, we might wish were better, we do have a choice each day to make the best of our situation and look for the light and lessons.

Through my years with therapists and self-help books the main underlying truth is that we cannot control how others act, but we can choose to control how we respond and if we give them power or not. Selena Gomez just put out a super powerful song called “Lose you to love me”, which has a lot of truth in the fact that sometimes we have to walk away from those who don’t love us how we deserve.


Yes, love takes hard work, patience, endurance, time, but it’s also given, it shouldn’t hurt us, so if someone isn’t treating you with the respect you deserve its better to walk away. Whether romantic relationships, friendships, jobs, even family, if they aren’t filling you up and helping you be a better person, it’s alright to chose to not give them your precious time. In this rough world we live in sometimes we experience things we don’t’ deserve, but if we never share our truth and voice our lessons we can’t heal or possibly help someone else in their hard road.

As a mother, that’s one of my biggest goals is to teach my daughter to listen to her inner voice, remember you deserve to be honored and don’t always take the easier route. Yes, it’s scary to be vulnerable, to love wholeheartedly, take risks, but in the end, don’t live a life filled with regrets with what might have been. Believe in who you are, know your enough and every day show up and work hard for who you want to be. Take a lesson from the sunflower, chose to look up to the light and focus on the positive, it’s the best way to live.