Everyone Doesn't Have to Like You | Actually It's A Good Thing!

I'm standing in my kitchen at 3am attempting to eat a pint of Hagen Daas Peanut Butter Chocolate Ice Cream, staring at my cat Lucca, and remembering that time in second grade when I walked out of the classroom for recess to meet my friend who I assumed was waiting for me at the pole with her peanut butter jelly sandwich in hand, only to find out she no longer wanted to spend recess with me anymore. "I don't want to eat with you anymore, I'm going to go eat with Nicole now," I remember tears welling up in my eyes, I ran into the bathroom stall, eating lunch alone, feeling like the loneliest girl in the world with tears streaming down my face. I went home crying to my Dad asking him why Amanda didn't like me anymore. And he point-blankly said, "Because that's life kid, not everyone's going to like you and that's a good thing!" I remember thinking my dad was crazy at the time. Flash forward to me being 30-years-old now and you know what? He's right! It only took 27 years for me to realize it, but that has been some of the best advice my dad has ever given me. 

If you're anything like me, you probably scroll through Instagram wondering if the accounts who follow you actually like you. Well, this use to be me before I turned 30 and had an epiphany one day that it didn't matter at all if they liked me. What matters is if I like me. Some days I would look at other bloggers and see their interactions with each other and yearn to be apart of their "it-club." Instagram started feeling like high-school and less like that place I would refer to as a community. It was at that moment, I realized I needed to stop caring whether or not anyone liked me. I needed to focus on myself and love myself. And you know what? Everything changed. All those bloggers who once ignored me started interacting with me. those "it-girls" started coming to me for advice and started asking me questions. I realized that I was putting out an energy that wasn't welcoming and it was not until I truly started to love myself, that I gave and continue to give off some really positive vibes. Everything changed for me, it was as if I moved out my own way and paved the way for new opportunities. Doors opened, birds chirped, and all of the sudden I was flooded with all the love. 

But with all this new found love comes a trickle of jealousy too. Does everyone like me? No. Are people online mean and do condescending digs? All the time. Do I pay attention to it anymore? Not even a little but. I simply don't care if other's like me because I LOVE MYSELF. Yup. I did in all caps because it's true. You cannot get upset when other's don't like you, because my darling, most people don't even like themselves. There's a reason that quote when viral on the internet overnight because it's true. Most people wake up in the morning, say something gross about themselves to themselves in the mirror and continue this negative mindset all day long, dragging everyone else in the mud along with them. I wake up in the morning, look at myself the mirror and say: "Damn girl, you are gorgeous, and today is going to be amazing!" And it works, not only does it work, but I find myself dancing and singing throughout the day and having a really good time, by myself. Does anyone watch my IG stories? If you do, then you'll see all the dancing! 

Loving yourself is the only way to truly be free. Let go what other's may or may not think of you and just do you and when you do you, OWN IT! If you do it, say it, be it, stand behind it and own it. Give yourself an air-kiss in the mirror everything morning and tell yourself how amazing you are, beause you are amazing! Stop asking for permissiona and start sharing your amazingness with the world! 

Love yourself and doors you never thought possible will open far and wide! 

8 Ways To Fall In Love In Love With Yourself

Do you ever wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and say "Yuck, I look horrible." Or "Ughh this face is horrible." Every woman wakes up in the morning, looks at herself in the mirror, and frowns on herself. And half the time we don't even know we are doing it. The first thought you say to yourself either out loud or in your head sets the entire tone for the day. If you start your day off saying something negative to yourself, then you are automatically bringing all of that negative energy to everything you set your focus on the rest of the day. Think about it, the days you started saying something negative about yourself in the mirror, did you have amazing days those days? Or did things not go your way? I believe that everything should go exactly your way and the first way to start doing that is to say something nice to yourself when you look in the mirror. And I don't mean something small, I mean something really nice about yourself like, "Girl you are absolutely gorgeous and today is your day!"  This is just one of the ways to fall in love with yourself. 

Here are 10-ways to fall in love with yourself and be your best self! 

1. Wake up, look in the mirror, and say: "You are beautiful, you are strong, you are capable."

2. Hit that unfollow button! Yes, ladies I'm instructing you to un-follow people. It can be really hard to feel good about yourself when you are constantly scrolling someone's social media feed. Instagram is what always gets me and the moment those feelings of self-doubt and the "I'm not enough" feelings, I immediatly put my phone down and focus on something else. Sometimes I even un-follow the person if it's someone whose feed causes me to doubt my abilities. 

3. We feel good when we look good. Now, looking good is different for everyone. For example, sometimes I feel my hottest when I wearing my nikes, a hat, and a cute workout outfit. Some days I want to be wearing the reddest lipstick I own and a boots with a really cute outfit. The point is, wear something that makes you feel good, or do your hair, just do or wear whatever makes you feel good. If you feel good, you'll give off a good vibe which will make others feel good too. Spread all that goodness around! 

4. Exercise, Exercise, Exercise! Girl get your sweat on! When I was heavier and found out that I needed to lose weight, exercise saved my life, literally. Now, I do it because it's an integral part of my day and it makes me feel so good. Even on the days when I don't feel like doing it, I still love working out because when I'm done I feel like an entirely new person. I feel motivated and ready to take on any task that comes my way. I don't think there has ever been a time when I've gotten done working out where I haven't felt good. I literally feel good every single time and sweat helps keep your skin clear, so another reason to exercise, exercise, exercise!

5. Make a decadent, gorgeous drink the morning. And no, I don't mean something super sugary and sweet, I mean make yourself a gorgeous cup of coffee with tons of yummy spices and frothy foam. Or make yourself a beautiful smoothie and top with healthy toppings like peanut butter, pepitas, and unsweetened shredded coconut. Make yourself a gorgeous drink and enjoy every sip of it. Don't scroll through your phone, don't check your e-mail, just be with yourself and enjoy your drink before doing anything else.

6.  Do self care. Take a bath, fill the tub up with epsom salts, fresh flowers (yes I said flowers) and lavender essential oil and enjoy every single minute of that bath. And again, turn your phone off, and just chill with yourself girl, this is YOU time, not anyone else's time. Remember that when you are scrolling through your phone, you are not using your time, you are using someone else's time. You are looking at someone else's photos and videos. You are using your precious time to look into things that took someone else a bunch of time. I bet you've never thought about social media like that before. You are not using your time, you are using up someone else's time.

7. Do Yoga, meditate, breath. Start a yoga practice, begin a meditation practice, even if it's just for 15-minutes a day, these two things work. I'm hosting a #FitDailyYoga Challenge for 30-days on Instagram right now and it's not to late to join in on the fun! For me starting out my day with yoga right after I've had my gorgeous cup of Bullet Proof Coffee sets the tone for the entire day. And let me tell you, it works! Many of you know that I struggle with anxiety and yoga has helped immensly with my anxiety. I do it in a pretty space in my house, filled with plants, and lots of light. I turn my phone off, and I focus on my practice. 

8. Throughout the day tell yourself how awesome you are. Go back and look in the mirror and tell yourself how amazing you are! You are awesome! You can do this and you will achieve everything you set your mind to. Tell yourself that and look at how much your day will change. Also, do reset. I do this constantly if I'm having an off day. Do a reset, start over, make yourself a fresh cup of coffee, take a minute to yourself, and start over. Just because you are having a bad moment or a bad hour, doesn't mean the entire day has to be bad. Remember that! Reset and start over and see how wonderful your day will become! 

I hope these things can help you truly love yourself. Love every single inch of yourself and stop putting bad vibes on yourself. Tell yourself how amazing you are and walk around with some swagger and love yourself! Tell yourself that you are gorgeous every time you look in the mirror, tell yourself that you will land that campaign or book that gig, or whatever your goal may be. Write post-it's and place them all around your house and write quotes on them that make you feel good. For example, mine say "I can do this, I'm amazing!"

These little exercises help and will over time help you fall in love yourself and 100% accept yourself. Every single flaw and all, but they are not flaws, they are the tiny little gems that make you, you and sets you apart from the rest of the world! 

The Cracks Beneath My Skin

It's 9 pm at night and I walk into my bathroom, turn all of the lights on and stare into the mirror. There's one, there's another, and there is a good one. I see the one I want to get first, and I go up really close to my mirror, stare at my face, and begin. The sharp edge of my nail pierces the first layer of my skin and it starts to bleed. As blood is dripping down my face, I wince a little, but then the overwhelming feeling of euphoria comes over me and I feel relief, followed by the feeling of exhaustion and intense guilt. This cycle continues until I've picked all of the scabs off my face and there's nothing left. I have a picking addiction, otherwise known as Excoriation. Many people struggle with what I go through, but no one talks about it. By looking at me from afar or watching me perform on stage, you would never know that I struggle with this addiction that over 40% of the American population struggles with daily. But if you look at me closely, with no makeup on, you'll see my scars. 

I first started picking when I was 5-years-old as a coping mechanism to deal with my parents brutal and ugly divorce. Or that's at least how a therapist once told it to me. I was once called into the principles office when I was in second grade because my teacher thought my mother was burning me with cigarette buds, which was hilarious because my parents don't smoke. She looked at me and said, "Honey, does your mother hurt you with cigarettes?" I looked straight into her eyes and said, "No, ma'am, I'm a picker." She said, "What?" and I replied back with, "I pick my skin ma'am." She didn't know what to do with the information I gave her. She couldn't understand why I had scabs all over my arms and why I insisted on wearing sweaters when it was 90-degrees outside. She refrained from calling Child Protective Services but told my mother, I needed to see a therapist right away. Then there was the time when I was in high school and my arm was bleeding as I got out the pool during swim practice. My swim coach asked me if I had cut myself on the drain and I told him no, and hurriedly ran into the locker room while wrapping my arm with a towel to stop the bleeding. My friends were always too polite to say anything about it to me. No one seemed to want to know why I had scars all over me, or why I carried tweezers in my bag to help rip the skin off my face in the girl's bathroom during recess. No one seemed to care that I was in a great deal of pain and that picking was my way of telling them, asking them, begging them to help me. I remember a time when I was 11 when I went to get my hair cut, and the girl was washing my hair, she felt a lump on my head. She asked my mother was it was, and my mom said it was nothing. It wasn't nothing, it was a scab the size of a golf ball, that I had been gnawing away with my fingers for months. I still remember that time and think of how lucky I was that I didn't get a horrible infection in my brain at the time. 

Then there was the time when my mother tried to rid me of my habit that same year, the night before Thanksgiving. I was set to go to Half Moon Bay the following morning to visit my Dad and his family, and my mother decided that would be the night to scare the living hell out of her 11-year-old daughter. She took my arms as I was going to bed, shook me, and told me I had a flesh-eating disease, and it was something I had brought on myself. She yelled and screamed at me to get dressed, and insisted on taking me to the emergency room. I cried, and begged and pleaded, begging her not to take me the hospital. She told me they were going to take me away if I didn't stop picking, and I remember running into my closet, locking the door, sobbing all night long, and hiding in there until morning. The picking only got worse after that. I picked until I couldn't feel my skin some days, and stayed up till the wee hours picking my skin so badly, that I had to go to bed with makeup on so my mother wouldn't ask questions. I got really good at hiding it, conveniently covering the parts of me I picked, and strategically never picking the areas like my legs that people would see in the summer months. 

Year and years of therapy later and I still pick. I've been struggling with Excoriation since I was three-years-old and most therapists don't have a clue about what Excoriation actually is. I go through a battle with myself ever single day. I start the day promising myself that I'm not going to pick today, and then something stressful will happen, and most of the time I don't even know I'm doing it until it's over. 

I hate that I pick my skin. I hate that I voluntarily make myself ugly. I hate that I have scars and that I'm unable to get a handle on my addiction. I hate that I'm ashamed when I look in the mirror. But I can't stop. I can't control my hands from ripping layers, upon layers from my skin. Excoriation is one of the most hidden addictions in American because no one knows what do with it. And when parents witness their children doing it, they rarely get to the bottom of why they're doing it. I love my parents dearly, but I do wish they did more investigating, and more research when I was a child, into the reasons behind my picking. I pick because my parents divorced when I was three years old and I was left feeling alone and like it was all my fault. I pick because I picked horrible boyfriends in high school who couldn't take no for an answer, and who felt like beating me anytime they got bored or frustrated. I pick because I'm insecure and although I have a highly confident exterior on the outside, I'm very frustrated on the inside. I pick because this addiction is not something someone just gets over. It's something I will be struggling with for the rest of my life.

I'm ready to rid my habit to the best of my ability and am researching and interviewing therapists who have actual experience with Excoriation addiction and who know the proper tools to help me. I want to share my message and story with the world because mental health and addiction is something that needs to be talked about and needs to be brought to the forefront.  

We can end this together if we instill the proper tools in our children and open up our eyes to find out why this disease happens at such a young age and what can be done to stop it. I work on my addiction every single day. I workout to keep me from getting overly anxious, I maintain a proper diet to help me stay calm, I do yoga because for me it's a form of therapy. I get my nails down so that they're thicker and cannot shred my skin as easily. I have a diligent skin care routine, although you'd never know it, but it helps keep me from picking late into the night.

I hope that this blog piece helps someone out there who may be struggling with the same addiction I am. I hope we can find a way to end this and help anyone who needs it. 

I could write pages and pages on my addiction, but for now, I'll leave it at this. I'm a happy person, I love my life, I'm beyond blessed and there is absolutely no sound reason for me to pick my skin. But the demons from my childhood creep up into me and take over. The depths of my despair cannot be explained through simple words. I will write many pieces on this addiction and what I'm doing to alleviate it and find a path to healing....

I'm here for you and would love anyone to reach out to me who struggles with excoriation or knows a friend who is struggling with it. No one should have to go through this alone. And while I don't have all of the answers, I know that talking about it helps immensely.

I'm here for you and I want to help. 

 

 

 

I Am Empowered | Why Every Woman Should Go On An All Women's Retreat

What if they don't like me? What if I make a fool out of myself? What if I can't run as fast as everyone else? What if I don't wake up on time for the 6 am runs?! These were the thoughts racing through my head the night before as I packed for the I Am Empowered Yoga, Run, and Wine retreat in Sonoma, hosted by Empowered Events and Sweat Pink. I anxiously packed, picking out every outfit in great detail, trying them on, making sure everything looked good and was functional. When I got word that Empowered Events and Fit Approach (Sweat Pink) was hosting an all women's weekend yoga + running retreat less than two hours away from my house, I was excited and nervous. I had never gone on a retreat before, yet alone one with a bunch of women I didn't know. I mean, sure I followed some of them online, but this was all new to me. I've always been a social butterfly, but in situations unfamiliar to me, I become shy, reserved, and quiet. I knew I needed to go on this adventure, but I was nervous about it and how it would go. Luckily, my sweet husband and friends told me that I would be fine and that having anxiety about this type of thing was totally normal for a first timer such as myself. 

I anxiously waited the weeks for the retreat with eager anticipation and the closer it got, the more excited I became. The night before the retreat finally arrived, and although I could barely sleep, I woke up the following day excited to meet my fellow Sweat Pinkers. I headed out to Sonoma and arrived there in the cutest outfit I could find, with the warm sun shining on my eager face. I was immediately greeted by all Jamie, Nicci, and Liz, the wonderful women who from Fit Approach and felt completely at ease. They welcomed me with open arms and kind hugs, and I knew the weekend was going to be amazing!

The first thing we did was get into our cabins which were decorated beautifully by the folks at Westerbeke Ranch, and let me tell you, this place was stunning! From the gorgeous, blue, sparkling pool, to the all of the greenery and succulents, it's no wonder this place is knowns for their amazing retreats and hospitality. The cabins were full of color and definitely had a ranch-like feel to them with a wrap around porch and comfy porch chairs. After we got settled in, I went down to meet everyone. This was the most nerve-racking part of the retreat. I didn't know anyone really and immediately it seemed like old friends were re-connecting and I admit it, I got a tad wigged out. But then, I met a woman from San Francisco who also didn't know anyone, we headed to our first yoga class together and bonded our $4,000 beds at home and our love for the Bay Area. 

After intro's where we named our spirit animal, where I instead talked about rock climbing, looking back, I should have said my spirit animal is a hummingbird, but that's a post for another time. The first yoga class with Jamie was hard and fantastic and I was dripping in a pool of sweat afterward and was very excited at the thought of dinner. The food was amazing, healthy, nutrient-dense packed food that made my belly happy and my heart full. During dinner, we sat under the stars and talked about where we were all from, what we did, and how we found out about this retreat. I went to bed excited about the following day and not so worried that I would miss my 6 am alarm.

I barely slept a wink that night and was up before my bunk mates ready to greet the sunrise with an open heart and open mind. We all ventured out on our run that morning and I still remember how wonderful that crisp, Sonoma morning air felt. It was a tad chilly, but once we were moving we were fine. We passed a horse along the way and hiked up the hard hills, then came back for a morning yoga class and breakfast. The second run of the day was a tad harder for me as the yoga classes and running seemed almost back to back, but we had a blast and the scenery was beautiful atop the Sonoma outlook. Afterward, we came back to free time and I mustered up the courage to walk around in my two piece bikini, curves and all. The best moment of the retreat was when we all jumped in the freezing cold pool together and it was captured on video. It was truly a moment I'll never forget! A very cold, but very memorable moment! 

That night, we did HIIT Yoga and boot camp and I swear my abs are still sore from that class, but I loved it. Drenched in sweat we moved onto the second yoga class with the sun setting, ready for a big, healthy, dinner and some wine. I slept better the second night and wished every day could be like this. The following morning, sleepy-eyed, groggy, and with sore muscles, I headed to a sunrise yoga class with Nicci that was invigorating and felt amazing on my sore muscles. The last run/hike of the weekend was atop a gorgeous hill filled with huge trees and beautiful views of the lake. I felt happy and calm at breakfast that day and was eagerly anticipating the next retreat with these amazing, inspiring women. 

I now firmly believe that every woman should go on a retreat with other women they've never met before. I walked away from this experience a genuinely happier, calmer, more centered, and saner person. The week after, everyone on social media said I seemed more calm and happy and I solely agree. I've been sleeping better, waking up earlier, keeping my daily yoga practice up, and feel an immense gratitude to be a part of such the amazing group like Sweat Pink. I'm honored and humbled that these beautiful souls have accepted me into their tribe as one of their own and I cannot wait for the next retreat and Empowered Event's event

And a very special thank you to all of the sponsors, PrAna, Sweat Cosmetics, Designer Protein, Amazing Grass, Clearly Kombucha, and Goddess Garden for all of the amazing goodies they gave us for this super fun weekend!

I'm excited to announce I will be racing in my very first 5k this summer August 5th and 6th through the I Am Empowered Series first ever women's race and yoga weekend at the Craneway Pavillion near the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Join on this amazing weekend and sign up for this race through the links above or here. Feel free to message me or leave a comment below with any questions. I'm excited to be embarking on my first race as I know this will be the first of many races to come! 

Seeker Of The Light

Today, as I was running I saw a girl skid off the trail and fall into a pile of mud. She was upset, dirty, crying, and mumbled how this was her life, something about always being stuck in the mud. It was at that moment that I felt a deep amount of sympathy for her. I felt so sad that there is someone in the world who walks around in life expecting the next worst thing to happen to them. I helped her up, offered her a hand, and went about my run. But the event stuck in my mind the rest of the miles on. Why do people walk around so jaded? Since when did it become okay to think that nothing good is coming your way? It's completely heartbreaking to me that someone doesn't have the ability to look at the bright side, especially a young woman whose just starting out in life. 

I grew up in a home where I was always told I could do more, be better, act greater, and think bigger. I've always had this perpetual positivity that beams through me. I'm an eternal optimist and I always believe the universe will have my back. That was until last March when I was snapped into reality when I had a health scare that changed everything for me. Luckily (and I thank my lucky stars every single day) everything turned out to be okay, I healed quickly, and was back to normal life again. But the entire experience really got me thinking. What about the people who aren't okay? What about the people who don't bounce back? Why is it that when we receive scary news about our health, that's when our perspective's change?

It's coming up on a year since my surgery for a benign cyst removal in my right ovary, but I'll never forget the feelings I felt during that time. I was terrified leading up to my surgery and a complete wreck. Now I thank god for every single day, because I know I'm lucky to be healthy and happy. I wanted to shake that girl on the trail and say to her, "You're alive! Go live your life, think positively, and be happy! Get your head out of the gutter, life is fleeting!" Instead I just helped her up and felt sorrow for her. 

I'm an eternal optimist and I'm positive most of the time, but since my surgery I've struggled with anxiety disorder and months after my surgery I was diagnosed with PTSD. My symptoms seem to be getting better now that it's been almost a year since my surgery, but some nights I wake up in a cold sweat, drenched, screaming for help. Some days I feel trapped in my own mind and my anxiety overcomes me like a black, thick, fog that suffocates me. Some days my worries pile one on top of the other over the other like snakes replicating themselves in a terrible nightmare where you're trapped and consciously you know what's going on, but you can't wake up. I now envy people who have never struggled with anxiety disorder. I envy people who never worry about health conditions or have "white coat syndrome". I find myself getting agitated when I see people on social media complain about little things, like having to get their oil changed, or being worried about their thick thighs. 

I've reached the point in my life where I try not to worry about the small stuff, because at the end of the day it doesn't matter. What matters is how we react to the small stuff and how kind we are to others. What matters is how we take charge in the big stuff and how we don't act mean or single anyone out. I'm so over the mean girl thing, hey ladies on Instagram, mean girls are out, kind women are in! I wish I could wake up tomorrow and have my anxiety be gone. I wish I had the ability to never worry about a single disease again. I wish my mind would never turn to the dark side. And I wish that everyone could be eternal optimists and stop complaining about silly things. 

I'm a seeker of the light, I always have been. Heck, I make a living off chasing light with my camera. Despite how my anxiety monsters attempt to take over some days, I will always choose the light. I will always believe in the better, bigger, kinder, side of life. And the next time I see a  girl fall off her bike in the mud, not only will I help her, but I will tell her to seek the light.