Fighting past writer’s block during a pandemic

Fighting past writer’s block during a pandemic

I’ve had a bit of a writer’s block lately. What do I write about at a time like this? So many thoughts and feelings and ideas, but also self-doubt and worry. It’s as if I feel like whatever I write during this time needs to be insightful and sensitive and powerful. Until I have the perfect blog post, I better not post anything. I realized today that I am putting too much pressure on myself, on this blog, even on my readers. You all don’t need to read something that is perfect, right? You just want to read something.

Today I decided to put aside all of my doubts and hesitations and just write. So here I go….

The last blog post I wrote was about my intentions for this year. The funny thing about writing what you want to do in a year is you don’t really know what other factors will come into play. I obviously could not have predicted a global pandemic. I had no idea I would be on my 6th week of not going into work, and of mostly staying home and not seeing friends. I could not have predicted the complicated set of emotions and struggles and coping mechanisms that would come into play for me during this time. We can never predict anything in life, and life sure does have a way of keeping us guessing!

In my last blog post I talked about how the message I want to focus on and manifest in 2020 is confidence. I started the year off strong in this arena by starting my own podcast! It’s called Vulnerable Views, and you can find it on iTunes, Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher. This took a lot of confidence to say “I think my voice is worth sharing. I think I have opinions people need to hear.” Putting myself out there in this way has been so rewarding, and I am so proud of myself for doing this project. But I can’t lie and say this pandemic hasn’t made it harder for me to stay confidence and focused on the podcast. “There’s a pandemic going on, do people really want to hear what I have to say right now?” Thoughts like that infiltrate my mind on almost a daily basis, and similarly I wonder the same thing about this blog. I’m trying to set those negative thoughts aside and continue to create, because it makes me happy.

Finding things that make me happy has been another hurdle to get past during this time of social distancing. I’m learning to appreciate the simple things in life like blasting Taylor swift while driving with my windows down on a sunny day; walking around my neighborhood and being active and connecting with nature; talking with friends on video chat and laughing together; taking a hot bath at the end of a long day; seeing my parents and sister (from 6 feet away). For me, writing and being creative has always made me happy, so continuing to write blog posts and create Instagram content and put out new podcast episodes makes me happy as well, so I want to push myself to continue to be creative during this time.

Although I’ve found ways to stay happy, of course I still have my fair share of struggles and down days and moments of sadness and loneliness and fear. One of the biggest emotions I’ve noticed myself having is guilt. Some people have it so much worse than me. I should be grateful I’m healthy and can still see family and am doing relatively well. But the thing I keep reminding myself over and over again is: Someone else will always have it worse than you. That doesn’t mean you can’t feel sadness and loneliness and hopelessness and anger and fear. You can appreciate what you have, while still mourning what you have lost. The two are not mutually exclusive. Beating yourself up or feeling guilty for not appreciating what you have 24/7, or not being happy all the time, is not productive or helpful to you in any way. I keep reminding myself of this, and I think it has finally started to sink in.

I have so many ideas about topics I want to write about in the future, and I hope I can continue pushing myself to write new blog posts in the midst of this traumatic time we are all experiencing. I hope this blog post finds you well, whoever you are. Thank you for reading this and I will talk to you soon!

Reflecting on 2019, and Sharing my 2020 Intention

Reflecting on 2019, and Sharing my 2020 Intention

I have a really great feeling about 2020. Last year was a year full of changes and uncertainty and pushing past fear and being brave. This year I want to use everything I’ve learned to really come into my own. I have so many creative ideas and new projects I’m excited to start working on this year, and I really feel like 2020 will be my year to shine!

My intention for 2019 was courage, and I definitely feel like I carried this word with me throughout the year. 2019 started out with a couple months of unemployment, where I dove into figuring out what I wanted my next job to be, and having the courage to think outside the box. When I landed on working as an assistant preschool teacher, this was one of the more spontaneous and unexpected decisions I’ve made in my life. Making this career change took a lot of courage, and forced me to move past fear and shame around changing careers, taking a large pay cut, and trying not to worry about other people’s opinions.

2019 also forced me to be courageous with my personal life, jumping back into dating after a long time of consciously choosing to be single. I got into a relationship again for the first time since 2017, and had to push past a lot of insecurity and doubt and worry around opening up to someone again. Allowing myself to be vulnerable with a new partner was not easy for me, and although that relationship ended right at the close of 2019, I’m happy it happened and proud of myself for not letting fear stop me from putting myself out there. That relationship taught me a lot about myself and personal growth I still need to do, as well as what I’m looking for and not looking for in a partner, and what I’d like to find in the future. It also taught me that pushing past the fear of being hurt is worth it, even when the relationship ultimately does not work out.

Looking at the year ahead of me, I’m feeling extremely optimistic about many areas in my life. The word I’ve chosen for my intention for this year is Confidence. I want this year to be my year of being confident in everything I pursue and everything I do in my life. I have so many things I want to accomplish this year, and the main thing stopping me is a lack of confidence and a fear of failure. I’ve been working really hard at improving my self-esteem and self-love, and I think remembering to act with confidence in every aspect of my life, will really help me to be happier.

Confidence has never come naturally to me, but I do have a history of pushing myself to work on being more confident. When I was younger this started with my passion for acting, when I started getting the lead in my school plays in middle school, later diving into the world of musical theater and choir in high school. I was terrified every time I stepped on stage, but taking my bow at the end of the shows gave me a certain confidence I hadn’t had before. This year I want to carry that idea with me into some personal creative projects I’m working on (I hate to be that person who says they have exciting projects coming that they can’t share yet, but…stay tuned).

I’m looking forward to continuing 2020 with confidence, and I have a feeling this is going to be a great year for me! What is your intention or resolution for this year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

My 2019 Intention

My 2019 Intention

I know, I know, I’m a little late on the New Year post, as we’re already a month into 2019. But I figured better late than never! Today I wanted to share my intention for the year. I like the word intention better than resolution, because for me it feels more tied to an overall message I want to carry with me for the year, versus specific goals that may or may not be achieved.

I recently heard the idea of choosing one word that you want to represent your intention, and I’ve decided my word for 2019 is Courage. I want this to be the year I move past fear to really get the things I want, from my job, to my hobbies, to relationships. I’ve always been a pretty timid and fearful person, even from a young age (just ask my parents) so I want to work on getting out of my comfort zone more this year, and not letting fear get in the way of my happiness.

Over the past month, I’ve already had some great moments of courage. For me it’s about doing small things that scare me on a regular basis. One of those things was opening up about losing my job, which I’ve done in a blog post, on social media, and individually with people in my life. One of my proudest moments so far was sending an email to some of my old coworkers to let them know why I left. This felt big for me because I was scared about being judged, but I pushed past that and did it anyway.

I’ve received great responses from people in regard to these moments of courage. One of my old coworkers told me he hopes he’d be brave enough to send an email like the one I sent. I’ve had friends tell me they are going through something similar at work and it felt good to know they aren’t alone. These positive responses have helped me feel like I’m on the right track with this intention of courage, and I can’t wait to see where it takes me this year!

What is your word or intention for this year? How is it going so far? Comment and let me know!

First Quarter Check-In: New Year’s Resolutions

First Quarter Check-In: New Year’s Resolutions

The first quarter of 2018 has flown by! I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about how to stay motivated and accountable for my goals. I want 2018 to be the year I accomplish a lot, so I thought I would take this time to share an update on how my New Year’s Resolutions are going so far, and talk about what I could improve.

The Successes

Travel to at least 3 new places

I’m on my way to success in this resolution. A week from today, I will be arriving in Costa Rica! My mom and I are going on vacation for a week, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve never been to Costa Rica, so this will mark #1 on my goal of 3 new places this year. I don’t have the other two trips booked or planned, but I will keep you all posted.

Try new restaurants in Austin

I have a list of restaurants I still want to try, but so far I would say this has been a success. I tried Picnik the other night, which is a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for a while now. I actually went alone, which is something I’m always nervous to do, but it was a great experience and the food and drink were delicious!

I posted about the idea of being nervous to go to dinner alone on my Instagram and Twitter, and it was really interesting to see what people had to say! Let me know in the comments your thoughts on going to dinner alone.

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Berry Basil Smash Cocktail

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Orange Chicken & Broccoli

Learn an instrument

This was honestly one of the resolutions I wasn’t sure I would succeed at, so shoutout to my parents for helping it come to fruition! For my birthday in March, my parents got me a piano keyboard, and I’ve loved playing around on it and teaching myself some songs. It’s harder than it seems to learn even simple songs, but YouTube tutorials really help. Plus, it’s fun to have a musical outlet! If I get brave enough I might share some videos in the future of me playing the piano and even singing…

Needs Improvement

Write the first draft of my book

This resolution was possibly the tallest order, so I suppose I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for failing so far. I’m going to be honest – I have not written a single sentence of my book. I’m going to need to be more determined to write in the next 9 months if I’m going to complete this goal.

My plan is to write something every single day, whether that is a sentence, a paragraph, or an entire chapter. I think making small steps like that will really help to get started.

Find a workout routine

This one hasn’t been a total failure, but has also not been a total success, so I’m categorizing it under “needs improvement.” My mom and I try to go on walks 3-4 times a week before I go to work, which is a good start. I also enjoy taking yoga classes, but I have not been very consistent about it. I would like to start doing more cardio, but I still just need to figure out a good schedule and motivate myself to actually work out!

Find a blogging/YouTube routine

Although I would love to be able to report back that I have been uploading YouTube videos and posting on my blog consistently, that is unfortunately not the case. However, I do want to acknowledge the strides I’ve made. I FINALLY uploaded a YouTube video yesterday, and I think just uploading a new video has helped boost my confidence and makes me more likely to continue uploading. Just need to find that steady cadence! I actually touched on the topic of staying motivated in my video, so check it out and leave me a comment with your suggestions if you get the chance.

 

Thanks for reading (and watching)! Let me know in the comments how your resolutions/goals have been going so far this year. I think it’s important to keep ourselves accountable, and also to help encourage others to do the same.

My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

My 2018 New Year’s Resolutions

As I mentioned in my 2017 Reflection post, I accomplished a lot last year. But in true perfectionist fashion, I am determined to accomplish even more this year. I’ve never been one for setting strict resolutions, but I do like to set goals for myself to have an idea of what I’m working towards. So here are some of the things I would love to do in 2018….

Write the first draft of my book

Perhaps my most hefty goal, I would love to get started and hopefully write a first draft of a book. I’ve had the idea for it for years now, and have written parts of it on and off for a while now, but I want 2018 to be the year I actually take it seriously. I don’t want to give too many details about it yet, but I will definitely keep you all posted on my progress!

Travel to at least 3 new places

Like I mentioned in my 2017 Reflections, I was lucky to be able to travel quite a bit last year. However, it only made me want to travel even more this year! There are a few places in Texas I still haven’t visited, along with a few other states and countries that are on my wish list. Honorable mentions go to San Francisco, New Orleans, and anywhere in South America. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to make it to at least three new places!

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In Crested Butte Colorado during my vacation in July

Find a workout routine

Working out and I have a strained relationship. I tend to go through periods of time where I exercise on a regular basis, and then periods where I don’t so much as go on a walk. I’m hoping to make 2018 the year I finally get consistent. I haven’t decided on a specific schedule yet, but I just want to get on a routine that I feel comfortable with. As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, exercise makes me feel happier as a whole. Happy body, happy mind!

Find a blogging/YouTube routine

Like exercise, I tend to go through slumps in my blogging and, more recently, my YouTube channel. I guess everyone experiences that with resolutions to a certain extent, but I would like to get into a routine with uploading YouTube videos consistently, and writing new blog posts consistently. Again, I haven’t decided on the schedule, but I would just like to stay consistent and have a goal to work towards every week/month.

Try new restaurants in Austin

Despite the fact that I was born and raised in Austin, I sometimes feel woefully ignorant to where the best restaurants are in the city. I always enjoy exploring new places (hence the travel resolution above), so why not explore within my own city? This year I’m hoping to discover some new favorite places to eat. And I will definitely capture them on this blog!

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At Elizabeth Street Cafe for my birthday last year

Learn an instrument

Last but certainly not least, possibly the most fun and exciting resolution I have is to pick up an instrument! I played piano and violin in grade school, and I was in choir in high school. I’ve always loved music, and the past couple of years I have had the urge to start playing an instrument and/or singing again. My dad recently got a ukulele, and I’ve been thinking about getting one myself! Either that or a cheap keyboard to learn how to play piano again. Like my other resolutions, I will keep you all posted on what I decide.

 

I’m pleased to say I’m feeling very optimistic about the coming year. I know I said this last year, but I am determined to make 2018 MY YEAR! What are some of your 2018 resolutions? And what are your tips for sticking to them all year round? Let me know in the comments!

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2017 Reflection: A Year Of Change

2017 Reflection: A Year Of Change

2017 tested my resilience. It was a year full of life changes which made me question what I thought I already knew about love, family, happiness, and life in general. It was tough, but I was tougher. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone more times than I can remember, and it all paid off in the long run.

In 2017 I accomplished a lot with my blog. I started an interview series, and got to talk with so many inspiring women, including one of my favorite Bachelorettes, Kaitlyn Bristowe. This past year also gave me the opportunity to organize my own Blogging Meetup Group, which lead to me meeting a lot of other bloggers in the Austin area. Perhaps the biggest step outside of my comfort zone, and a personal victory for me, came when I started my own YouTube channel. Though I haven’t posted a new video in a while, it’s something I’m looking forward to continuing this year.

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Me with Shawn Boothe, Kaitlyn Bristowe and Erin Oprea. Trying not to fan girl too hard! 

2017 also brought a lot more travel than 2016, with trips to Las Vegas and Crested Butte, two places I’d never been before, along with smaller adventures to Fort Worth and Fredericksberg. In 2018 I hope to travel to at least three new places. I don’t have anything planned yet, but judging from everything I accomplished in 2017, I’m sure I can make it a reality.

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After climbing to the top of Mount Crested Butte. Look at that view! 

As I mentioned above, 2017 really tested my resilience. A lot happened over the course of  about four months, including quitting my job before I had a new one lined up, letting someone back into my heart only to say goodbye for a second time, and adjusting to a new family structure I didn’t choose or want. I had to come to terms with the fact that change is inevitable, and the only way to survive in life is to move forward and stay grateful for what you still have.

Here I am at the start of 2018, and I couldn’t be happier with my new job; I’ve truly let go of my past relationship; and I’ve come to feel at peace with the new family dynamic. I’m really proud of myself for staying strong and remaining (relatively) optimistic throughout all of the hardships I faced this year. I’m so happy to be entering a new year with amazing friends and family by my side, and a renewed determination to make this the best year yet.

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What was your biggest accomplishment in 2017? What about your biggest hardship? I’d love to hear about your year in the comments below!

 

My Plan for a Happy 2016

My Plan for a Happy 2016

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Hey everyone! I know January is already halfway over, but I figure it’s never too late to share my New Year’s Resolutions with you. My goals for this year all revolve around a specific desire to be happier than I was last year. Now, that’s not to say I wasn’t happy in 2015; last year was actually one of the best years of my life! But I think everyone is always striving to be even happier, so that is what I will attempt to accomplish in 2016.

With this in mind, I came up with a motto of sorts that I hope will define this year:

Take risks, and take care 

To me, this means that I want to focus on leaving fear behind me, and I also want to focus on self care and being more aware of how I am treating my own mind and body. I often feel frustrated or unhappy with my life, which I have talked about in past blogs. I want to take this new year to really take control of my own happiness and make changes in my life that I feel will improve my happiness.

I have separated some specific resolutions into two categories based on my new motto, along with a description for why they are my resolutions and how I hope to achieve them.

do-one-thingRisks:

  • Take an improv class

The idea for improv to be my new hobby came to me rather suddenly, and the more I think about it the more sense it makes. I used to love acting in middle and high school, and I took an improv class one summer and really enjoyed it. I think this will be an awesome way to get outside my comfort zone, meet new people, and pick back up an old passion. I signed up for a 6 week class already, and I’ll start in February!

  • Learn to cook

My inability to cook has actually been an insecurity of mine for a while. My mom and sister love to cook and I have just never followed in their path for whatever reason. I was always either too busy or lacking motivation to learn to cook in college, but now is the perfect time in my life to go for it! I put this in the category of “risks” because for me, it is a bit of a risk. I have always been scared to try new things, and cooking is definitely new territory for me. My plan is to learn to cook one new recipe per week this year. Wish me luck!

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Care:

  • Exercise regularly

I got really good at exercising three to four times a week for a while, but as soon as I started my job in November that all disappeared. While it used to be easy to work out in the middle of the day if I wanted to, I am now constricted to either early in the morning, late at night or on the weekends. Unfortunately I let this slight hurdle stop me from even trying. This year, I plan to find a yoga class or another type of class at my gym during weekday nights, and also go to the gym to work out on weekends.

  • Make time for friends

This one is very important to me. Spending time with friends brings me a lot of happiness, and I don’t feel like I make enough time for my social life as of now. It’s just too easy to go home and watch TV every night. I think making an effort to see friends at least 3 times a week, even if it’s just for a quick dinner, will make a huge difference.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my plan to have a happy 2016. I’d love to hear what some of your resolutions or goals or just general thoughts are for this year!