authentic friendships + shared space

I’m coming off of a lot of west coast vibes and meaningful “friend-time” which is not a complaint and absolutely an expression of gratitude (and possibly involves a drum circle).
 
My first trek started in Arizona for a wedding, moved to a wedding and anniversary in Portland two weeks later, quickly followed by a flight out to and five days in California. “Hashtag blessed," some might say. 

Now that I am home and slowly adjusting to the eastern timezone, I am reflecting on the gifts that travel always stows and sneaks past TSA for me.
 

Perspective and gratitude.

 
Deep, unconditional, and genuine friendship was the catalyst for each and every trip. It’s hard to believe that at the age of 27 I have both cultivated and maintained several quality friendships and across many different groups. 

We have seen, experienced, counseled and supported one another through pivotal and trivial moments in life. We can be exactly who we are in the comfort of one another, while understanding and respecting our differences. Each person has taught me how to be a friend and when to be a better friend.

I’m sharing this because I know how hard it is to find these people and I know the work it takes to keep them. I know what confidence in a friendship brings, and I know the security of shared successes and failures.
 
Yes these are quick summations and yes they are positive but this end result required constant commitment to both respect and honesty. Respect for one another as separate people with separate expectations of every experience, separate lenses with which to see and interact with the world and separate ways in expressing ourselves. I felt this the most in California and here’s where the honesty plays its role…
 
This past week I was in San Diego and Palm Springs for a girls trip with Emily and Caroline, relationships we started at the age of 3 and 5, respectively. Despite having known each other for so long, we had yet to take a trip to celebrate just us; there was always another reason (bachelorette, wedding, “home-for-the-holidays”). Throughout the trip we had small moments of big impact. Moments where our expectations and personalities collided, differed, and then shared space. Because of our commitment to allowing one another to both be who they are and express that, we were able to talk with pure honesty.

Honesty isn't always a soft embrace and can often feel like a head-on collision. 

Each of us was willing to be authentic in expressing our true feelings (at one point I did use the term “steam-rolling”) and vulnerable to the unknown and the discomfort that comes with that. Each of us supported one another in justified feelings, emotions, and actions. Each of us held the safe space required to do so; we were allowed to be ourselves with the accountability and support of someone who is different. No one got mad, no one got nasty.
 
I encourage you to take a look at the relationships in your life where you can be your best self. Where you are challenged to be honest, asked to engage, and accepted with respect. Think of the people you can count on and can count on you. Where can you hold space for someone to share authentically with you about the good and bad sides of humanity and of ourselves. Think big by sharing in the small moments. 

keep your sense of adventure

I just returned from a gloooooorious trip to Portland, Oregon where I celebrated the marriage of a close friend and my two year wedding anniversary. Yay love! All of this in the land of local meat and cheese, fresh coffee and endless beer, and fresh-air and skyline (nose-rings and doc martens).

The first two days in what I dubbed "the motherland" (per multiple Buzzfeed quizzes, this is the city I am "meant to live" >>click here to see yours<<) were spent hiking in dense forests with lush landscape, crisp leaves, and clean air that I couldn't sip in fast enough. Literally, trying to make pine-trees, moss, and waterfalls... mother nature's fast-acting inhaler. 

Wahkeena Falls, Portland, Oregon

Wahkeena Falls, Portland, Oregon

Maltnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon

Maltnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon

Maltnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon

Maltnomah Falls, Portland, Oregon



see what I mean...

Needless to say my trip through the forest, down steep ravines, and even our jaunts through industrious city blocks were adventures. But so are a lot of things in life; vacation trips, a next chapter in life, anything that breaks you out of the mundane of "the norm," a situation that is new or uncharted. 

When you embark on an adventure you 1. enjoy the ride by 2. remaining open to the present (aka not obsessing on the outcome or result of the adventure). You gain more by engaging, moment by moment.

A lot of situations and life events are adventures

  • moving (period. new house, new city, new block, new state...all of it)
  • having or adopting a child or choosing not to do either
  • marriage
  • divorce
  • changing, ending, or pursuing a job
  • trying a new food, restaurant, way of eating
  • travel (anywhere and of course!)
  • creating/engaging in literature, art, science
  • forms of physical activity

When you keep your sense of adventure, you are willing to try new things. Opportunities are opened to you and you are reminded of the reward behind the risk. When you keep your sense of adventure, you choose a path with confidence; filling your life with experiences that are rich, deep, and vibrant. 

But wait!
There is much more to be gained from adventure:

  • youth
    • getting out of your element keeps you active and keeps you spirited
  • adaptability
    • by nature, adventure is ever-changing therefore when you embrace the novelty of something new, you too have changed with it
  • gratitude
    • rising to the challenge of an adventure shapes your mind and body and creates an appreciation for both
  • dynamism
    • the skills gained, experiences earned, and overall next "layer" of yourself that is created by adventure has the ability to disrupt and surprise what you thought you new about yourself. you gain dymension 


how will you keep your sense of adventure as you navigate change, novelty, and uncertainty? how can you look at opportunities in your life with confidence and a spirit of self-assuredness? where is your next adventure taking you and how will you respond?
 

Forest Park, Portland, Oregon

Forest Park, Portland, Oregon

A glimpse at my decision-making + a cool travel app

Today I'm sharing more of my entrepreneurial side; Sharing insight into my reasoning when it comes to taking on a project outside of my normal closet or styling gig.
I am doing more writing and embracing another facet of my creativity. I am a firm believer that when you make a declaration into "the universe" that the world "conspires" to bring more of that delaration into your view.

"your thoughts create words, your words create action and your actions shape your behavior (i'm sure this is an exact quote of someone's)." 

I declared I wanted to do more writing and share my words and now mixes of opportunities are falling into my inbox. Some have been paid and some are strictly promotional. Either way I have learned to put the opportunity through these filters:

  • *gut check!* what is my intuition telling me? "explore this further? run away NOW! or this absolutely sends my creativity soaring!"
  • does this make sense for me and my brand (core values)?
  • will this require a lot of my time and energy aka does this measure up to the time (and $) I would or should exert elsewhere
  • will this create traffic to my website and build brand awareness?

So when I was randomly asked to be a "local expert" for a travel app (Stay.com) and emailed about an opportunity to provide a list of 8 shopping destinations in Orlando, here is what I did:

  • looked up the app/website
    • if my name is attached to ANYTHING you better believe I'm going to fact-check and make sure it's something I support or think is rad/useful
  • thought about how I could re-shape what was being asked of me to fit my personal and business mantras
    • I'm not a big "shopper" nor do I subscribe to trends forcing you to buy stuff all the time, so how could I look at this list differently and make it intentional
    • I asked if I could provide my own write-up/blurbs about the businesses I would recommend; making them personal and showcase what makes these shops true gems (be sure to click the purple "local's pick" underneath each shop, to access this)
  • made sure I was clear on what I was getting out of the "free" work
    • since promotion was involved, what did stay.com commit to doing for me in return for my time and what parts of my brand were they willing to include publically
  • made sure I was clear on exactly what was asked of me
    • always one to bring my best but also one to over give or think when it isn't always necessary. they wanted short blurbs so that was all they would get; power-packed 1-2 sentences.
  • set a deadline for myself, was prompt in providing what they asked of me and shared why I agreed to the work
    • since I advocate for local and small businesses, that was exactly who I wanted to showcase in this list. I was sure to share that in my agreement and in turn, created a genuine connection with the stay.com rep. I was corresponding with

I'm sharing all this because I too filter my decisions, evaluate them against all parts of my life (personal, business, down-time), make requests, and don't claim that any single part of that is easy. 

Plus the app is suuuuuper cool and useful. I would love for you to check it out and support my ci-tay!

>>Click here to get my "guide"<<

plus check this sneaky peak!

I learn and experience deeply along this journey of mine and I will continue to share of myself and encourage you to do the same.