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  • 11 WAYS TO BE A BETTER HUMAN

    (Photo Credit: Bryan Tewell. @Lookout Mountain. Chattanooga,TN)


    We are in a time where we all need a list. 7 reasons why your zodiac sign is the worst, 20 reasons why you suck at life, 13 ways to declutter your mess of a brain etc. We need these lists to have something to relate to, something to validate we aren't alone in this gigantic massive negative crumbling world. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. We all need answers to these problems we have within us. These problems we feel we need to protect, so we bottle them up and never share them. WHY? Because God forbid we share our worries or we might be judged or even worse (GASP) embarrassed that we are a disgusting human, walking around with our gross stinky feelings/emotions/thoughts. EW  But really I need these lists too, because you see even as a nearing 30 year old (I know I am nearing grandmahood, grow up.) I still don't always have my crap together. In fact I don't know if I ever will and yeah thats certainly the most terriiying but also completely liberating thing. So here is my list on how to be a better human, how to open up, how to manage your time, how to communicate better, how to admit your'e wrong, and how to procrastinate efficiently. Basically this is my life on how to live each moment as your most authentic, mistake making, human living, open hearted self. 

    1. BE KIND.

    We say it all the time. We share quotes about it. Man even Cinderella is on board with it, and Cinderella is amazing. Like seriously guys, genuinely smile at everyone you see, hold the door (ladies can do it too), acknowledge the homeless (wo)man on the corner even if you can't spare some change. Leave a note for a friend/coworker to brighten their day. Call your grandparents if you still can. Change someone's day with a simple act of just treating every single person how you want to treated. Not only does it require the smallest amount of effort, you might actually find that negative closed off armour melt away a little bit.  

    2. WORK HARD  

    Let's face it. NO one is going to do the work for us as much as we'd love that. Getting somewhere in life requires ultimate effort. Not just the bare minimum, but above and beyond, blood, sweat, and tears kind of effort. Believe me, its exhausting. But the pay off is worth it. If you're like me in the freelance/artist world, finding work can be a full time job. But when you get to work for yourself, all of that hard work is the ultimate reward, even if it doesn't always feel like it.  Just put in some elbow grease and dont stop. 

    3. PRACTICE PATIENCE.  

    Success, love, finding yourself, money, etc. What do all of those things have in common? They require time to acquire and grow.  We work hard and search endlessly to figure out how we can get these things but we never take the time to allow everything to play out how they should. Put in the effort in life necessary to grow our assets and let it all just happen. Stop for a moment each day and breathe. Reflect. Meditate. Slow down just a little bit and enjoy each moment for what its worth, instead of rushing to get to the finish line.  Unless you have a deadline, then do that fast. 

    4. LET IT GO 

    There I said it. Let it go. LET IT GO. What exactly is the "IT"?  It doesn't matter. Its the past. It is unchangeable. It is absolutely most certainly not going to define you unless you let it. You had a horrific breakup. You lost all your money gambling on a boat. You cheated on your spouse. You hurt someone's feelings. You didn't get the 1,000 auditions you went to. Your credit sucks. You failed the spelling bee? All these things are things we don't want to experience or shouldn't have done. But guess what? They happened and Y O U have the ability to pick yourself up, move on, and make the changes to get out of that funk. Do it. You'll feel amazing. 

    5. COMMUNICATION IS KING

    Use your words. Sing them. Scream them. Write them down. But most importantly, get those words out in to the world. We all spend so much time complaining on the internet, or to our friends/family/whoever will listen about the most trivial stuff. Instead we should be talking to the people it pertains to. You don't like something your husband did? You were unfairly treated at work? You feel you're being taken advantage of? You didn't get paid what you were promised? Say something. If you do nothing. If you say nothing. Nothing will ever ever ever ever change. Communucating with one another can seriously change the world. 

    6. SHARE YOUR SUCCESSES (with no expectations of return)

    Many many moons ago when I first started modeling, I didn't have any one to guide me. I didn't have a single person to tell me if something was a scam, or that I shouldn't pay for this or that, don't cut your hair, learn how to dress, what is in a model bag? The internet wasn't really a tool at the time. We barely used emails for bookings. Anyways. It's been my vow and I've felt my duty to mentor/guide/pass on the torch to others when I can. Sharing is literally one of the best things we can do for ourselves and others. Not only does it make you feel good to help someone else out, you are also giving someone else a chance to have a great experience.

    What do I mean by sharing your successes?

    Example: I can't make a particulr modeling job on Sunday (true story) so I reached out to my network of models and passed on the amazing opportunity to someone else. 

    Moral of the story. Stop being so competitve and afraid that another model (person) might take your client. If you are good at what you do, people will always remember you. They will remember your hard work, your kindness, your ability to share, and eventually maybe just maybe you'll refer enough people they'll start paying you for it? (Hey its happened to me a few times) 

    7. DROP YOUR EGO (sort of)

    Okay. EGO isn't all bad. We all need to believe in ourselves fully. So.....don't drop your ego completely. DO allow yourself to be more open. I believe that many opportunities are missed because we think we are "too good" for something.  We all want to hold ourselves very high, because we think we are better than something. We think because we made this much money doing this job that we should always continue to make that much and never less, or we've worked this job so we can't be seen doing something we consider beneath it. STOP THAT RIGHT NOW. Yes. We do need to have standards. We do need to demand that we get paid what we are worth. We do have to make sure we are not being taken advantage of. BUT what I have learned is that you can never judge an opportunity because you never know what it might turn into. 

    8. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF

    Nobody is perfect, I repeat, NO LIVING HUMAN IS PERFECT. Although we are all pretty guilty of this on the daily reg. BUT just stop it. We are our worst critics, but it isn't our place to judge others or compare ourselves to others. Look within yourself, if you do not like what you see, change it. But stop tearing yourself down trying to be someone else. Your successes, your path, your journey, your life. That is all you. You will never anyone other than you, so embrace that fully.  Be you and be proud. 

    9. BE PRESENT

    GET OFF YOUR CELL PHONES.  It's rude.  It's boring. I've fallen into the habit of getting so annoyed that people are on the phones ignoring the moment that I've just started being on mine, because I hate talking to thin air.

    Nothing on any social media page will ever be as important as the conversation you are having with a real live friend, spouse, family member. I don't care how boring the conversation is, when you refuse to absorb the people in your presence, or the moment, you are refusing the have a normal open friendship/relationship with that person.  So if you are having a nice dinner, leave your phone in your purse/pocket/car. Pay attention. The world is beautiful.  Your phone can't hold you at night. 

    10. CREATE YOUR OWN HAPPINESS

    You are completely responsible for your own happiness.  You need to get your life in order, pave your own way, make your own money, have your own individual successes, learn to cook for yourself, whatever. You need to be your own individual. It should never ever be up to another person to make you happy. 

    INSTEAD- You should be with a person or people or friends who enhance your existence. Who have their own game going and can run alongside you and share happiness. Right? Happiness is shared. And if that isn't the case, run as far away from the negativity that is bringing you down son!  

    *Side note- happiness isn't constant ok? Like get a grip. Its work, just like everything else. So if sometimes you have a day where you aren't super happy, its not the end of the world. Promise. Go pet some puppies, sip a latte or unicorn frapp if you have that fat heart, and sleep on it. 

    11. TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH

    YES! Do something bold, something that you know deep down you want to do.  Something you maybe always dreamed of. If you can look deep inside your soul and say, if I do this I will be with the person of my dreams, I can live in a place I've never lived, I can change my life, I can live a little differently, DO IT. It might be scary. It might be the biggest uncertainity ever. It might not even be anything you ever expected. And it might not even work out. But if you don't do it, you will spend your life wondering what if?

    As Eminem once nobaly said:

    Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity
    To seize everything you ever wanted, in one moment
    Would you capture it or just let it slip?

    If you don't take a leap of faith at least once in your life, to do something that might change your life forever, why not take it?  I did.  And I literally woulnd't change it for the world. <3


  • Leap of faith

    I can't help but smile, not just while I write this, but also just in general in life these days. I know its horrifically disgusting and pathetic and truthfully I think its the most wonderful feeling in the world. Love I mean. Most of us have experienced it, even just briefly, but we've felt it to some degree.

    Being IN LOVE is one of the most terrific euphoric feelings to experience, and it can also be the most detrimental to our lives. It's compassionate, obsessive, manipulative, heartwrenching, confusing, lovely, motivating, and captivating to just spew a few essential descriptive words. I swear I am not being negative, rather I am just being realistic. Being in love isn't actually love. Psychologically its not, I promise. (Read: A Roadless Traveled by Dr. M Scott Peck) Its just an overwhelming sense of feeling immese uncontrolable obsessive lust for someone. Those feelings are real and amazing and totally worth recognizing them for everything they are and fully indulging in them.  But the smartest thing you can do is recognize that real love comes after the fairy tale, I've learned that the hard way. Does it mean that I know all of the answers, or that I am in a place that is different? No. It just means that I've spent far far too much time researching and reading about the psychology of love and relationships and just trying to understand human behaviors for my own personal growth as well as how I nourish my personal relationships. Because we can't love another until we love ourselves, same applies to everything else. You want to understand others? Maybe work on understanding yourself, perhaps its a life long journey but thats the fun part :) 

    “When we love someone our love becomes demonstrable or real only through our exertion - through the fact that for that someone (or for ourself) we take an extra step or walk an extra mile. Love is not effortless. To the contrary, love is effortful.” 
    ― M. Scott PeckThe Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth


  • Only boring people are bored

    We all spend so much wasted time......scrolling. And clicking. And liking. Tweeting. Looking for something or someone to connect with. In a way we are all in this place where we struggle to be in the moment. To connect with our surroundings and just authentically live. Couldn't we have better connections and relationships with people if we just simply cared about being in the presence of real life humans? to appreciate their actual verbal words? to stare directly into someone's eyes and genuinely listen without trying to think of a response or about how hungry we are? to sit and have these simplistic moments and just absorb it, without snapping a photo, without posting a story, an update???

    The world would be so much better off if us humans would understand each other more fully and if we stopped letting these moments pass us by. We sit in rooms with people doing whatever activities and we all stare at our phones instead of just being. This drives me crazy and sadly I am just as guilty of doing all of the above and it's mostly because I'll be sitting in a room with people, I'll trying to connect, and boom everyone else is on their phones. What else can someone do?

    But  seriously HOW boring are we as humans that we can't just have fun without the Internet. You know that saying that only boring people are bored? Yeah it's totally true. Get real! Relationships in life are about bonding. Connecting. Finding people who make us better. Who are positive influences. That make us smile. Laugh. Appreciate. We can't have these honest moments if we are so worried about expressing to the world our every actions.

    Relating this to my current life....my career is all about social media. Aside from the hard work hustle and upkeep I've touched on before, having a social media presence is like an absolute necessity anymore. Keep up a website, a twitter, a Snapchat, IG, Facebook, Actors Access, Casting Networks, my various agency websites, my gmail, LinkedIn, and the list goes on. If I don't tag, credit, check in, share, share, share, I don't exist. It's redundant and tedious but necessary. So what I struggle with every single day is wanting to express all of my personal life to the world. Especially when I have all these changes and absolutely wonderful things going on. But then I have to remind myself that people don't need to know that. Why? Because my real genuine personal experiences don't need to be news. The people who need to know do because I've shared it with them in real conversations, not status updates. Sure I want to shout from the mountain tops my tremendous heart stuff and all the feels, I refrain?Why? It's none of your business that's why! But also because of fear, fear of being judged, or rejection, or better yet jinxing shit. Yeah shit. Because even in my nearly 30 year old brain, I get insecure. And over analyze. And get impatient. And sometimes feel on top of the world. Then the next I feel like a flock of seagulls took a giant dump on my face. And you know what....it's the Internets fault for making me worry about this stuff. And yet I need it. So moral of the story is. The internet is wonderful, but also it can suck a dong. ❤

  • look up

    Settling into this space

    Reflecting on a new path

    an uncertain one at that

    I find myself daydreaming

    Of a moment with contentment

    A place where I know myself

    And can be that self

    For me

    I suppose uncertainty isn't all bad

    When you have the sun

    and the moon to remind you to look up

    To breath in the moment

    And let it happen

    As it's supposed to

    And will

    Because life is weird and awesome. -me

  • THE WIND

    "IF YOU DO NOT CHANGE DIRECTION, YOU MAY END UP WHERE YOU ARE HEADING" - LAO TZU 

    There is this concept about life that everything happens for a reason. Like the generic saying, "If it's meant to be, it will be." I do honestly believe that if something is supposed to align a certain way, it will eventually. Sometimes we don't read the signs or follow through with them in a timely manner, or at all.  I personally believe what is most important is that you listen to your heart, closely.

    I could write all day about how we decide our own happiness, we truly do. We are fully responsible for our own paths, sometimes not all the wrenches that get thrown in, or the plot twists, but certainly we are responsible for our outlook, our actions, and most importantly the work that we put into any given situation.  If you don't like something change it, if you want something go get it, yes its all easier said than done, but it isn't all impossible. I know it, I've been there, I've struggled, I'm living in a daily struggle, but it's not the end. 

    SO this brings me to my point.  If we live in this world, walking around, looking so deeply to find someone or something to complete us, we will likely fail. Maybe not in the beginning, but eventually that something or someone will fail because we have put too much faith into something we THINK we need or want.  That failure isn't the ending of all things happiness, its the beginning on something greater. Growth. You did not waste, you learned, you grew, you became (hopefully) a better person you were before, and most of all you were dedicated to something that once mattered to you. In that you find yourself, your independence, your purpose, and sometimes things you don't want to see. If you open yourself up to the world, if you participate in growth, and immerse yourself in what makes you happy, the world will point you in a way that is necessary. Maybe it will be a stepping stone, or another chapter in the book, but it will be the necessary pieces to find that thing you seek so badly. Moral of the story is. Stop looking and trying so hard to make up your story. If someone or something is supposed to happen, it will organically. You might have to take giant leeps and fail a million times to reach such points, but if we don't jump, we will never feel the wind.  

  • The Simple Things

    Don't ever think for a single moment that you can't make someone feel special in the most simple of ways. By lets say......helping a friend move, refering someone to a job, a simple thoughtful note, a elongated kiss goodbye, or saying how much you care and appreciate someone. These things cost nothing, like zero dollars. BUT they require effort and genuine interest in making someone other than yourself feel special. So why is it that the most simple of things are not common practice to most humans. I mean most humans are good, right? I always give people a generous benefit of the doubt that they are genuine, I'll even go as far as to make excuses for someone when they do something not so good on the reg. What I can't wrap my head around is this, WHY when you over extend yourself for people because you genuinely care about them, does it have to be a royal pain in the ass to try and feel noticed, loved, appreciated, warm. We as humans are just programmed to be selfish, and as I've said before being selfish is perfectly okay the majority of the time. It allows us to be independent and to have self worth. BUT when we allow our selfishness to blind our ability to reciprocate, we are really destroying something without even realizing it. Or maybe not. In the end, if you ask yourself why this person or the next person doesn't stick around, or why a friendship fizzles out? Its likely because you only took the time to be around when it was convenient for you, instead of cherishing the simple things, the simple moments, and lifting others up with no expectation other than passing on the feels. 

    "a man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it" 

    <3

  • SILENCE

    "Silence isn't empty. It's full of answers." 

    I think most people are afraid of silence, afraid to hear their own thoughts and own them for what they are. I know that sometimes I am afraid of what I really want. I know that making decisions that are necessary is overwhelming. Hell, making the decision to walk or drive to get a coffee can get my panties in a bunch. But at the end of the day, the biggest steps in life require overcoming your biggest fears. Fear is the one thing that most people have holding them back from doing what they really want, and so they remain being stuck. It's a terrible feeling, to be stuck, to feel helpless, lost, and most importantly alone.  We create these fears, and then fight through them like its some terrible disease we can't control. That's the absolutely frustrating part. WE create these fears, we are responsible for the very things that keep us from doing one thing or another. But why? Because we are afraid to just be silent, to listen to our inner voices, desires, whatever. Instead we should sit still, close our eyes, and dig deep, listen to what is around us, visualize the very things that we want, and respond to it.  FEEL something real. 

    So that brings me to my inspiration for the quote. This month I have dedicated myself to practicing yoga. So I joined SHIVA SHACK which is owned by the amazing Rich Gonshak and his lovely wife Nora!   There I can recenter, focus, and properly engage my breathing with mind/muscle connection. To me whats more valuable is for the entire duration of any given class I am allowed to disconnect with everything and only stay centered on me. Be self loved. Be free. I am allowed to connect to my deeper self and fully feel all the feels. I am allowed to laugh at myself for not being perfect, for losing my balance, for holding my breath, or for ever being judgemental about anything ever. Yoga is a personal journey. It is a sacred space where you just have to show up. Your body will be different every time, and that self discovery is absolutely wonderful. So why is silence golden?? Well because in silence you can observe and reflect. You can find the deeper meaning to your inner wishes and thoughts and be allowed to feel, unjudged. Not a single person knows what you are thinking, so why not take the time to grasp on to your thoughts, let them be, and then let it go? 

    <3

  • "If you just believe in yourself, it's a lot of ego"

    The other day as I was leaving NYC two things happened.

    1. This guy Skyler I worked with for the maybe 6 months at American Eagle like 14 years ago in my hometown of Decatur, IL recognized me at Laguardia Airport.  WEIRD- DO I look the same? Is that good or bad? Who cares.

    2. I tuned into a podcast called The School of Greatness with Lewis Howes featuring Rainn Wilson. He's dope. So I'm going to talk about that. Also Podcasts rule.

    Rainn spoke on his struggles as an actor and his spirtuality. It peeked my interest because obviously I am a "struggling actor" and also I am quite spiritual, but it was the quote of "If you just believe in yourself, it's a lot of ego," that really got me.

    As an adult lady person I have spent my life sort of loosely believing in nothing. I didn't grow up religious and I never plan to identify with one belief system because I think labels are garbage and restricting. I think people need them to define themselves, but I do not.  I believe fully in myself, perhaps not all the time, but on a average day I am my own motivation. After listening to the podcast I came to question that theory of just believing in yourself. Do I have an ego simply because I use myself to push forward?  I was sort of psyching myself out thinking about how I am just puffing myself up for courage to keep going. I slept on it. This morning I opened Facebook to see all these people I have worked with or met through the years doing really amazing things. I got this tiny bit of envy, I am only human right? Then I realized that I'm kidding myself if I think I am too egotistical. I feel lifted up by seeing others do well, so in return I like to share my successes to in hopes do the same for others. Maybe that is an ego thing? Or maybe I just enjoy seeing others succeed and in turn just want to push as hard because of that! 

    Anyways, that brings me to believing in oneself and the reason why that is my belief system. If you do not deep down fully believe you are capable of doing something and are "enough", then why would anyone else?? I know that question is up for debate aka the common saying" Sometimes you need someone to believe in you in order to......" you get the point. That is true. But if you don't simply show youre all in, your committment, or just your level of wanting to work hard to follow a path, HOW on earth could a single person want to help you? So that means you must dig deep within yourself to find that deeper meaning to your path. Sometimes it is not always evident where you are headed and I can fully attest to that. I still don't know where my path leads and I may never know. But what I do know is that the path I am on is the best feeling one. It makes me happy to take scary steps, and do weird and uncomfortable things. I like feeling vulnerable and uncertain. Sure I don't love the inconsistencies in income or even work, but those are the little building blocks, or "chapters" that lead you to much bigger things. Rainn mentioned that he struggled for nearly 10 years in NYC, he was a strong theater actor before he landed The Office, but many times things would be difficult and he wanted to give up. Then these little things would happen that helped him move forward and it kept him going. He mentioned that even now he struggles to get the meaty roles he wants because he is viewed as Dwight from "The Office." So that brings to light that even when you think you have landed the role that will allow you to "make it", you simply do not know in the end where it all will lead.  At the end of the day its still an incredible life to live. However, you must be fully comfortable in knowing that you may never make it, because most do not.  And that's the ever so delightful gamble and danger of the business. Like it or not.  

    So do I have an ego? Sure....I work very hard every single day to make moves in the right direction, because no one will do that work for me. Some days I take several steps back and some I take giant leaps forward.  It is a puzzle I will likely never solve and that is the joy in it all. 

    <3

     

  • The Art of Adventure

    The Art of Adventure

    As you know, or may not know, I am a model, actor, personal trainer, and travel obsessed cat lady. I consider myself a jack of all trades. I wear a lot of hats and enjoy the thrill of procrastination and being too busy to think. I took the leap a faith a few years ago to pursue modeling and acting full time. It has been a whirlwind and a blessing, but it has been a trying time. That brings me to today and where I will begin this chapter. 

    Last night I returned from one of the most luxurious trips I have ever been on. Luxurious in the way that my monthly income wouldn't even come close to covering a day's worth of expenses (including lodging). I am lucky enough to have a beautiful and gracious friend who invited to me to be her guest on one of her journalism assignments in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos. A place with some of the most pristine, untouched beaches, with various shades of blue and green waters. Aquamarine, the color of my eyes to be more specific. I have dreamed of such a place for many years and never imagined I'd ever be able to visit. I definitely never invisioned a visit at this capacity.  We induldged in endless amounts of conch, seafood, jerk chicken, rum punch, and all the best desserts you could imagine, and all ocean side. We went on a boat trip with Island Vibes Tours to a uninhabited island, snorkeled ACTUAL coral reef, ate fresh raw conch ceviche direct from the ocean, and jumped off our boat into the beautiful waters. It was magical and un-freaking-real. I'm already trying to find the most inexpensive way I can go back and soon. I could probably write an entire book about all the amazing things we did, but I won't.  Next.....

    (Photo Credit: Amber Gibson. Location: Fory George Cay, Turks and Caicos.)

    That brings me to my question of the week. How does one hone their "skill" for travel in a realistic manner?  

    I know I already live in a world that most would consider unrealistic.  To me I find my happiness in my adventures, in the thrill of planning, and seeing new places. Most importantly, I enjoy sharing those places and experiences with others.  I don't care that I am not the wealthiest person. I don't care that I have to occasionally be a penny pincher to do the exciting things I enjoy. To me the redundancies of a normal life are not enough to make me feel full. So I am drawn to the unknown.  I was born and raised in super small town of 1300 people in Central Illinois. I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I had a wonderful grandma who loved travel, food, and the finer things in life. She shared these things with me. She taught me how to appreciate the beauty in all things, but most of all she gave me the love and hunger for sunshine and the ocean. SO naturally I am drawn to finding a career in an industry that fully encompasses my passion and skills.

    I returned from my trip on Sunday evening. It is now Tuesday morning and as I sit online catching up on emails and it dawns on me. Why have I not considered a career in travel? Well, like most people, I didn't exactly realize the opportunities this industry has or really how to even begin. To be completely honest, I still don't. BUT I have dedicated my morning to researching the hell out of my options. I came across some articles highlighting careers as a Luxury Travel Consultant. Not agent. But consultant. And not just travel, but, LUXURY travel. So that's where I am currently. And that is where I will leave you. I'll check back in sooner than later. But I'd love some feedback. 

    <3 

    (Picture: Myself and Amber Gibson. Photo by: Nic Young.)