Dewey, You Devil.

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So take the month of July, add my favorite holiday, the beach, fireworks, and beer… what do you get? The best day of the year of course. I look forward to the 4th of July every single year. AMERICA!. Ever since I was little it’s been my favorite holiday… it doesn’t involve gifts and all of the stresses of Christmas and what not.That entire time basically just makes people go crazy and obsess over sales, the best presents, and materialistic things. Everyone forgets what it’s about.

Anyway, I love the summer time, longer days, and over course, summer nights. This year’s 4th of July definitely did not disappoint. I made my plans kind of at the last minute, hoping that they would not fail me.I had the opportunity to head down to Rehoboth and Dewey Beaches. Since I loved there for a few months, I definitely missed the surroundings, people, and social life. It’s funny how you can get sick of your same routine after a while, and then miss it when it’s not within your reach.

Of course I had to dress accordingly.

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If anyone knows me, I go all out for basically everything… there’s no in between. My entire 4th of July weekend was spent laughing, enjoying the beach, rocking out to bands, watching fireworks on the bay, and having the time of my life. If you’ve never been to Dewey Beach, you are missing out my friend. Let’s just say that I’ve never been disappointed, and I never woke up without a hangover… that means you must have had fun,

Places to Check Out In Dewey Beach

  • The Bottle and Cork : THIS place. All I’m going to tell you is to hit up the 5 o’clock Jam every Saturday, starting at 5:00pm obviously. Music, beer, fun. My advice? Basically they have a rotation of three bands that go through a couple of different sets. DO NOT wear nice shoes, and also bring cash. They don’t accept cards….ugh, right? They do have an ATM, but they run out very quickly.
  • The Rusty Rudder : This is definitely one of my favorite places in Dewey. They are right on the bay and have a huge deck with multiple bars and 2 stages. It’s probably the best place to check out a show on a Friday or Saturday night there. When you’re there, get a frozen Straw-berita. Also, whenever I’m at the Rudder, I think Jameson, don’t ask me why. Refreshing and a great atmosphere.
  • The Lighthouse : While you’re at the Rudder, you might as well bar hop across the street to the Lighthouse. They Lighthouse is known for the best views for evening sunsets and their Orange Crushes. Also try one of their signature “Spring waters” too. PS. It’s not water.
  • Northbeach : Speaking of the bay, Northbeach happens to be right on the bay, meaning you’re sitting and walking in sand. This place get’s crazy when the sun goes down. Another sweet venue to catch live music every weekend too. If you go to Northbeach and don’t order their famous “Dewey Devil”, don’t talk to me anymore. Life changing, and deadly. Oh, and Tuesdays are $1.00 beer and Dewey Devil night. You’re welcome.
  • Woody’s : By far, Woody’s is my favorite bar in Dewey. They remain open all year round even during the off season, so it then becomes a fun little local bar. The bartenders and fantastic and will remember you by name. Fridays are beer pong tournament nights, and Mondays are “Locals Night”, with awesome drink specials. The food is seriously spectacular too. They are known for their crab cakes and burgers. Grab some food and then hit the bar for a “Hand Grenade”. Don’t ask what’s in it. Just drink it.

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There are many other bars and restaurants that I didn’t mention, but the places that I did are the ones that I’ve had the most fun at and where I the best memories. Every weekend down in Dewey is absolutely crazy, so you can only imagine what it’s like during a holiday weekend. If you do happen to get down there any time soon, I better be coming with you. Just saying.

RIP Snooki

Enjoy the Little Things… and Try New Things.

I feel like I need to constantly remind myself to enjoy the little things in life. It’s so hard to keep that in mind when we have such stresses like work, school, relationships, or all three. I find myself consuming my thoughts and time in trying to budget, plan, or thinking about future events. But what about right now… what are you doing this very second? Obviously you’re reading this but, what’s the weather like outside? Is the sun shining? Any beautiful clouds in the sky? Are you enjoying a cup of coffee on a break at work, scrolling through the internet? Are you wearing an outfit that just makes you feel good, a favorite shirt or pair of sunglasses perhaps? It’s all about simple things like that to appreciate. I know we hear that over and over again, but it really is true. I believe that one of the biggest steps to happiness is being able to live in the now, and appreciate the small things around you that we sometimes don’t take notice to every day. Easier said than done, I know that from experience. But just like any great skill in life, it takes practice.

i spent Sunday relaxing with Andy, my best friend and partner in crime. The weather was gorgeous and it was the perfect day to just lay by the pool, talking and catching up. Even if you live with someone, it’s easy to grow distant from that person. You might have small talk throughout a busy day, but I can’t stress how important it is to make time for that other person. I feel like my days fly by so quickly that I don’t get the time to slow down and take notice as to how great life is right now.

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After spending an afternoon at the pool, sunburn included, it was time to get dinner at one of my FAVORITE West Chester restaurants, Kooma. They have an amazing, fresh sushi and sashimi selection as well as classic Japanese fare. We definitely didn’t hold back on treating ourselves.  Of course we had to start the meal off with drinks and appetizers. I decided on a Key Lime Pie Martini which I’ve haIMG_20140615_205016d before. It’s really, really good, but I think it has more of a pineapple flavor rather than Key Lime. It’s made with vanilla Absolut, fresh lime juice, and pineapple. Still super yummy, just needs a different name for sure.

For appetizers, we decided on traditional edamame, miso soup, and Gyoza, mini pork filled dumplings served with a peanut dipping sauce. They were fantastic! There was so much flavor and the inside was very moist. You can get them pan fried or steamed… I think steamed is the way to go with any type of dumpling. For the main course, Andy and I both got three Maki rolls each, and sides of steamed rice. I could seriously eat steamed rice with every meal… I have an addiction. Anyway, our roll selection included a classic tuna roll, spicy tuna roll, cucumber roll, California roll, Alaska roll (Salmon, cucumber, avocado), and a New York roll (tuna, salmon, and green onion). We didn’t try anything too exciting since Andy is still new to exploring rolls and different flavors. Every sushi roll at Kooma is pretty much to die for! I would suggest the eel cucumber roll, or the yellowtail and onion. Prices are extremely reasonable too. Needless to say we struggled a little at the end to finish all of our food, but I can never leave quality sushi behind on my plate!  Next time you’re in WC, give me a call and let’s go to Kooma! If you’ve never tried sushi before, this is a great place for your first time!

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Something else that I’m really excited about is starting a new lifestyle change with Shakeology. Not going to lie, I definitely fell off of my healthy eating and fitness routine ever since Andy and I were wrapping things up in Rehoboth Beach. It’s hard to stick to your regular routines when you’re in the moving process and starting another phase of your life. With that being said, I’ve been trying to find something for me that can help me get back on track, and boost my results. Plus it’s swim suit season… ladies, you know what I’m getting at. Anyway, I’ve been doing my research for a few weeks on Shakeology and other protein powders. I was pretty skeptical at first, but there really isn’t anything else out there that has all of the nutritional benefits that Shakeology has. One serving (42g) is power packed with healthy vitamins, minerals, probiotics, digestive enzymes, and that just names a few. It comes in 4 different flavors (chocolate being my favorite so far), and you can make anything from shakes, ice creams, cookies, and other protein filled clean treats. I do have to say the price for a 2lb. bag is quite expensive… around $130. BUT, that breaks down to $4 a day if you replace a meal with one shake. The taste is amazing and the recipes that you can experience are countless. I caved and ordered my first bag of chocolate Shakeology after I tasted sample packets of that and the vanilla flavor. Believe me, you need to try it. Hopefully I can get back on a healthier path. My weekdays are usually super hectic. My day begins at 5:15am, and then I’m finally home again around 6pm. I’ve been mostly working out in the morning before work (an intense 30 minute cardio session) and replacing my breakfast with a GIANT shake. During the day when I have time, I incorporate small routines created by the Free to be Fit  Summer Games coaches. (check it out and maybe you can join us! Click here for more.  ).

Wish me luck on my journey! It’s hard to feel like I’m starting over after all of my hard work and muscle gain previously, but life is about stepping out of our comfort zones and pushing ourselves. It’s okay to start over again. I didn’t realize how in shape and healthy my body was because I was too focused on getting “better” and “thinner”. I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster with my body and health… time to get back to smooth sailing! My goals aren’t to lose a huge amount of weight or anything like that. That’s not really what health and fitness is about. It’s about feeling good, loving your body, being active, and fueling your body with everything that it needs… in my opinion that is.

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Lastly, before I go, here’s a few steps to brighten your day and week….

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Oh, Hello. Survey Please!

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     So it has officially been about two months since I moved from Rehoboth Beach back to West Chester and I could not be happier. So many exciting things have been happening and it was exactly the change that I needed. Sometimes the same surroundings and routines can get boring… I needed some spice back in my life. Seeing friends that I missed oh so very much and moving in to a new apartment was just what the doctor ordered…not to mention starting a new job that I love! I can’t even describe how amazing it is to feel good about what I’m doing.I haven’t felt this way since I left my position at Koko FitClub in State College.

     So many things have been changing around me, including myself. I guess I could say that at 24 years old, I am ready for Imageanything that comes my way. I’ve always been a problem solver, but there’s a spark in me that I’ve never had before. Growing up is such an adventure, and it has been quite the ride so far. 

During the last few months of living at the beach, my blog has had much success with reaching out to many audiences. I have gotten noticed by a few web sites and have been contacted by complete strangers thanking me for the messages that I get across through my writing. I feel like from here I can only go up. I really enjoy writing and feeling as if I can get away from everything, even just for a little while. I believe it’s a beautiful thing to be able to put your thoughts in to words that others can read. 

     My question for you is, where should I go from here? I want to hear from you about what you love to read in my posts, or what you would like to see more of. I have created a simple survey that you can take, OR you can just comment your thoughts and feelings below. Maybe you want it to stay the same. I would definitely describe this as a mixed bag. Whatever I’m feeling, I write about it. If you want more of something, please let me know. That’s why I’m asking. :) 

Click here for the Survey.

ImageImageI am ridiculously happy about the warm weather and having Summer right around the corner. Talk about refreshing! I love the start of new seasons. There’s nothing like walking outside and feeling the warmth of the hot sun hit your body. Don’t we all love those summer nights out? I know I do. I’m just happier with the warmer weather. Forget about the winter depression and cabin fever! 

 

Lastly before I go, I would like to wish my Pap a happy birthday in Heaven. It was his birthday yesterday. It’s been a while since he passed, but I do think about him quite often. Remember to spend with family and loved ones, because one day you won’t be able to do that anymore. Don’t end up regretting the times that you didn’t.

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Happy Tuesday! 

 

Life is a Whirlwind

Woah.

Haven’t posted for a few months, and there’s a ton to catch up on.

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But on serious note, a ton is changing. Long story short, Andy and I packed up and left the beach to start a new adventure with each other. Next destination, West Chester, PA! Very excited to return to where I went to college. The biggest plus of all is that I will be closer to all of my best friends AND the city of Brotherly Love. It takes a lot of courage to just pick up and move somewhere without having a planned path set out for yourself, but that’s the fun of it. It’s all about being brave, and knowing that you can make dreams that you have a reality. You just have to take that first step which is usually the biggest one of all. It helps to have my partner in crime with me along the way.

We move in officially in a few days and my excitement level is through the roof! I guess  the girly side of has come out again. I have been on Pinterest and Overstock.com endlessly over the last two weeks. Ideas, ideas, ideas!!! In the mean time, this is what I’ve been up to lately in a nutshell;

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Once I finally get settled in WC, I plan on doing big things with this Blog of mine. Writing really is a getaway no matter what the topic is. So keep an eye out! There’s going to be more Rachel on the way!

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And for your Friday musical pleasure:

Antioxidant Rich Foods and the Winter Blues.

I don’t get sick often, but when I do, I really do. I can’t stand being achy, congested, and out of energy. It’s so hard to go about your day when you aren’t feeling 100%. I’ve stocked up on Emergen-C, and I am definitely making sure to drink enough liquids. Wish me luck. I need to kick this cold!

Speaking of colds, one of the best ways to avoid them is by adding a generous amount of antioxidant rich foods in to your diet. Antioxidants are nutrients and enzymes that help to rid the body of radicals and toxins, as well as helps to prevent the development of many diseases such as arthritis, heart diseases, and cancers. Antioxidants are found in fruits like berries, red grapes, and oranges, and vegetables like spinach, kale, Brussels sprouts, and more.

I have been making sure to eat a few servings of antioxidant rich foods several times a day. I love love love berries, especially blueberries. Here are some yummy recipes to fuel up and protect your body.

Berry Cheesecake Smoothie

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-Ice

-1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

-1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese

-1/2 cup nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt (I use Dannon)

-2 handfuls fresh spinach

-1/2 cup frozen blueberries

This smoothie is SO creamy and delicious. You wouldn’t even know that there is spinach in it!

Blend and enjoy!

Mixed Berry and Pomegranate Egg White Oats

Sounds a bit strange, but the egg whites really provide the oatmeal with a “fluffy”, light texture. I love them!

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-1/2 cup instant oats

-1 cup water

-1/2 cup egg whites

-1/2 cup frozen mixed berries

-1/4 cup pomegranate arils

-1 tsp. vanilla extract

-1 tsp. cinnamon

- Vanilla almond milk (optional)

Cook the oats thoroughly in boiling water on the stove. After about 2 minutes, add in the egg whites, vanilla, and cinnamon. In the meantime,  microwave the frozen berries about 35 seconds until warmed. Cook the oats about another 2 minutes until whites are combined. Top the oats with the berries, pomegranate seeds, and almond milk.

Flourless Blueberry Cottage Cheese Pancakes

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-1/2 cup raw oats

-1/2 cup nonfat cottage cheese

-1/2 cup egg whites

-vanilla extract

-cinnamon

-1/2 cup blueberries

Combine the oats, cottage cheese, egg whites, vanilla, and cinnamon in to a blender until smooth. Heat a nonstick pan on medium high. Pour the “batter” on to the pan, and cook just like a regular pancake. Once bubbles start to form, sprinkle in the berries, and flip to cook the other side.

These pancakes are fantastic, low fat, and super healthy! I enjoyed mine with some coconut cream, extra cinnamon on top, and sugar free maple syrup.

What are your favorite antioxidant rich foods or recipes?

Lastly, anyone else feeling the winter blues? I am really craving the warm sun, wind in my hair, and the sound of late summer nights. How can you break the sadness of the sun going down so early? Well, you can do what Andy and I did…. road trip and visit friends! We went to West Chester this past weekend to hang out with good friends that we haven’t seen in quite a while. I had such a fun time. It felt so good to get out of town for a while. Even though I don’t get to see my friends all of the time, some things never change. :)

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Friday, Oatmeal Love and Happiness.

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Happy Friday everyone! So excited for this weekend… going on a little road trip back to West Chester to see some friends and catch up with the town. It’s always nice to get away from your normal surroundings, even if it is just for the weekend. It helps to keep you fresh. It’s a good idea to break away from your usual routine every now and then.

This week I’ve been on an oatmeal kick. It’s just so good for you! The health benefits are off the charts. Oatmeal helps to kick start your metabolism, provides you with fiber and energy, as well as helping you to stay full so that you can avoid those mid morning cravings. Plus. you can do so many things with just plain oatmeal… the possibilities are endless. Here are some of my creations this week.

Vanilla Blueberry Cobbler Oats

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Quick cooking oats

Frozen blueberries thawed in microwave for 1 minute

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tbs Vanilla Greek yogurt (optional topping)

Cinnamon

Chocolate Strawberry Peanut Butter Oats

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Quick cooking oats

2 tablespoons chocolate PB2

1 tablespoon coco powder

Stevia or Splenda packets

Fresh strawberries

sliced almonds (optional)

almond milk (optional)

Raspberry Maple Pomegranate Oats

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Quick cooking oats

1.5 tablespoons sugar free raspberry preserves (mix in to cooked oats)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon

1 tablespoon sugar free maple syrup

Pomegranate seeds

Breakfast really is my favorite meal of the day. What’s your favorite breakfast foods or oatmeal concoctions? I’d love to know! :)

Don’t forget to be happy. 

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That is life ! <3

Any plans for you this weekend? 

Not Good Enough.

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     So lately I have not been myself. Of course we all go through phases and funks here and there, but I know those feelings all too well. The way that I have been feeling is a way that I have not felt in quite a long time. You might know this feeling that I’m talking about; I feel like I’m “not good enough”. 

     “Not good enough for what?”, you might ask. The thing is, if you ask someone who is feeling this way, they probably won’t be able to give you a direct answer. Responses could vary from looks, to clothes, to their jobs, to relationships, to even just life in general. The last time that I felt like I wasn’t good was two years ago when I was a senior about to graduate from college. My grades were fine, my professors respected me as I respected them… there wasn’t anything to really be stressing over. But for some frustrating and annoying reason, I just felt like everything I did wasn’t good enough. The final project for the most important Communications class that I needed to pass to get my diploma wasn’t good enough. All of my countless research wasn’t good enough. My paper sucked. The descriptions of the jobs that I wanted to apply for once I graduated made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. My interview skills weren’t good enough. I wasn’t smart enough.

     Here I am two years later. A few weeks ago the whole “not good enough” feeling came back to me. It’s pretty hard for some people to control their feelings, you know? I recalled that time two years ago when I was walking around my college campus like a zombie. Success was all I wanted. That’s all that everybody wants, right? It’s funny the way that life works. We get older, have to chose a career path, and be successful at that to survive, for the most part. Maybe not feeling good enough depends on the amount of success that you think you have reached, or in this case, haven’t reached. How do you define success? My definition of success is somewhat cliche and cheesy. To be successful, I just want to be happy. I want to be content and happy. I don’t  want to wake up feeling depressed that I have to go to work. I don’t want to be scared to take on new challenges. I want to wake up excited, rejuvenated, and happy that I am blessed with another day to make my own.

     Now going back to how I’ve been feeling…. Changing your perspective and the way that you think about things really is one of the hardest things to do. Not feeling good enough has the potential of holding you back from so many opportunities, so many chances. Really though, what am I so afraid of? What if I’m not good enough? What is the worst thing that could happen to me? My life will go on. I will have other days to try again.

     One of my new goals that I decided to conquer is to take on more risks and chances. I will not let the fear of not being good enough hold me back any longer. I know who I am. I know what I’m capable of, and I know that I am capable of great things. I realized that the feeling of not being “good enough”, is not good enough for me. Those feelings are holding me back from happiness, from rejuvenation, from success. Think about that. You know who you are and you know what you are capable of. We are given the opportunity in this world to be anything that we want… don’t you want to be happy…good enough? Sometimes if you challenge yourself to change the way you look at things, you can change and turn around your whole outlook on life. That’s pretty big. Do yourself a favor. Challenge yourself. Think about your definition of success, and most of all know that you are good enough for anything.

In case you were wondering about that final project that I thought wasn’t good enough two years ago…. well, turns out that it was good enough. 96% to be exact. ;)

 

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Andy and Rachel Try to Label a Blank Map of the United States.

So I’ve been coming across quite a few blog posts of people trying to fill in either maps of the United States, or other European countries. These posts are obviously just picking fun at the fact that we’re not all geniuses when it comes to geography. I can definitely rattle off a good amount of countries around the world, but I will admit that I am not the best at locating them on a map, and neither are these people;  Americans Try To Place European Countries on a Map 

My college German professor would not be proud, especially because I had to learn that area of Europe and other surrounding countries. Let’s be honest though, THAT’S INCREDIBLY HARD TO FILL IN!

Another post that I had found was Brits trying label out a map of the United States… here is the link; “It’s Thanksgiving So We Asked Brits to Label the United States” I highly recommend checking out that post if you haven’t already… makes you feel pretty good about yourself.  I at least know all of the 50 states (or do I). Of course I am from this country… With that being said, Andy and I thought it would be interesting for us to fill in a blank map of the USA. I do have to admit, for not looking at a map, and doing it off the top of our heads, I think we did pretty well…

Andy’s Map

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So Andy labeled 43 out of the 50 states correctly. Apparently Illinois doesn’t exist anymore, and Indiana just took over both areas of land. Alabama decided to take over Mississippi by switching sides, and where Alabama used to reside, it is just an area with “More Hicks” now. Nebraska decided to change it’s name to “Loser State”. I guess “Nebraska” didn’t roll off of the tongue well enough. “Loser State” is much easier to say and more memorable anyway. The final mistake on Andy’s map was the misplacement of New Mexico and Arizona, but in his defense, he did place an arrow, which makes them reversible at anytime. How convenient. I guess some days New Mexico and Arizona feel like changing it up.

Rachel’s Map

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I decided to have a little fun with this assignment, and I actually really surprised myself with this one. I got 47 states on the map correct. I am embarrassed to say that I got the locations of Washington and Oregon incorrect. Most of the British people  from the other post at least knew that Washington was all the way at the top left corner of the US…. oops. I also apologize to all of the Mississippi residents. I just forgot about you all. I had some mental notes about certain states that definitely assisted me in labeling them correctly. I live in DE and am from PA, so those were givens. Thank you Tennessee for providing the gift of Justin Timberlake to the world.. If it wasn’t for the “Wizard of Oz” I probably would have no recollection of where Kansas was supposed to be. Michigan sucks, obviously. How could we forget about the favorite Easter dish, the Virginia Ham? And we can all thank our elementary school teachers for providing us with the acronym of “MIMAL”, the man wearing a chef’s hat near the middle of the country. Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana will never be forgotten. ‘Bama will always get a Roll Tide from me, even though they really messed up against Auburn last night. Also, what is with Nebraska? What goes on there? Andy and I did our research and all we could come up with was corn. Good enough. Alaska and Hawaii are go-to’s. I didn’t forget to give a little shout out to all of the Eskimos and sled dogs chilling in Alaska. Also, anyone living in the Dakotas, please contact me… I really need to learn some interesting facts about those two states.

Anyway, say what you want about the people who really mess up on what we would call “common knowledge”. I really think that Andy and I were pretty impressive, especially because we don’t sit around spending our days studying maps and geography. It can be a wake up call to learn your stuff, however. I will never forget about Mississippi again, promise! ;)

Long story short, ‘Merica, and keep partying like Miley…

Gif Miley Cyrus Party In The USA by AguustiinaEditions

Don’t Forget About the Things You Love.

Everyone gets caught up in the craziness of life…especially when you’re the dreaded 23 years old. Lucky me I’ll be turning 24 in just 13 days. That’s so insane. I definitely have been freaking myself out, and almost feeling like I’m having some sort of premature midlife crisis. I still have so much that needs to be figured out. I will get there though. One thing that I’ve started doing recently to clear my head is going on a daily walk. I have pretty much the same scenic route that I like to take, giving me a gorgeous view of the Atlantic ocean. The walk itself comes to about 2.3 miles when all said and done. That isn’t too far, but in just that 45 minute walk, I get my body moving, the smell of the salt air, and my mind freed. There isn’t worries about money, success, jobs, careers, relationships, even what I’m going to wear the next day or if I’m going to run out of milk soon. In that 45 minutes, I am just free.

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Today I realized that I’ve forgotten something. I forgot about doing some things that I love… things that make me happy. For one, I stopped writing. Writing for me is like a form of medicine. Whether it’s something that I’m going to share with the rest of the world, or just some notes that I scribble down on a piece of scrap paper, I get feeling and thoughts out. We all have clever minds, opinions, and point of views that should be documented, and not forgotten.

I don’t take pictures anymore. I was even a photography major for a short year. Being young and living in the center of Philadelphia with a camera in hand was amazing. I felt exhilarated every single time I took a shot of something that I found interesting to look at. Sure I take some pictures with my camera phone here and there. A good example of that is the image above, which I took on one of my walks. I’m not really sure why I stopped taking serious pictures with my huge, expensive camera… Perhaps maybe it was realizing that I was destined to be a fashion photographer, and that it was simply just a hobby of mine. But that isn’t really a reason to have stopped doing something that I loved, right? I think it’s time for me to start again.

Those are just two examples out of many. My point is to remember what makes you happy. Remember to take a step away from everything going on, and focus on things you like to do to escape. What is your hobby, your medicine? Everyone needs a break from reality here and there. Doing more of what makes you happy equals a healthier, more centered self. We can’t take things like that for granted.

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One more thing…. cheap stylish clothes make me happy! :) I found the most perfect faux leather jacket at Charlotte Russe for just $20! I love good finds like that. I really don’t need to spend a ton of money on things that aren’t that important. I’ll keep it a secret though, no one has to know…

Shhhhh ;)