Monday, January 26, 2015

Why I Didn't Make Any New Year Resolutions

January always seems to go by so fast, doesn't it? The last week of the month is probably much too late to be writing a post about New Year resolutions, but, hey, I'm doing it anyway. ;)

Last year, I was much more timely with my "resolutions" post. In fact, I wrote it in December, and posted it right on January 1st, ambitiously bestowing it with the tile of  "2014: The Year to Make It Happen". In 2014, I decided I would revamp my blog, practice yoga daily and become a yoga instructor, start a small business, volunteer, have a better work/life balance, and practice living a healthy lifestyle through diet and exercise. Oh yeah, and there were some other personal goals that I didn't share in that post!

Fairly ambitious right? The thing about setting a lot of big goals like these, is that it's easy to feel disappointed with yourself if you don't complete all of them. The first couple of times I re-read the "Make It Happen" post over the course of 2014, I thought - 'Man! I'm so far away from achieving this stuff! I haven't even touched some of these goals!' But when December came around, and I re-read it for what I promised would be my last time, I realized that I had made a lot of progress - much more than I was giving myself credit for. For example...

I didn't become a yoga instructor, and I didn't practice everyday, but I practiced a LOT. I explored different methods and different studios, and I ending up joining a new studio that fit with what I needed in order to deepen my practice. Since January 1st of 2015, I have been practicing yoga every day. Which kind of leads into why I didn't make any new year resolutions this year.

I didn't make new resolutions, because I decided to continue expanding on last year's resolutions. They were good enough for me in 2014, and they are good enough for me in 2015. Didn't get to start that small business in 2014? Who cares? I did some research and explored some hobbies, and now I've got a better idea of where I see myself going with it. Didn't do a big new blog design? That's ok, because I actually took some time away from the blog world, which led to some insight into what I want my blog to look like, where I see the direction headed, and little extras I'd like to add to it. (A new website is currently in the works!) 

Did you have a bunch of goals last year that you maybe didn't finish and ended up feeling guilty about? Or did you feel like you didn't set big enough goals compared to other people? We live in a world where "more is more" and "hustle" is a word attributed to the best of the go-getters. It's super cool these days to do a lot, and to have a lot of hyphens in your title. (i.e. designer-photographer-baker-writer-yogi). You get the point. I don't know about the rest of you, but I've realized I'm only capable of so much, and while I love a good descriptive title (ahem, "Designer, Dreamer, Adventure-Seeker"), I'm ok with taking a couple of years (or more) to cross some things off my resolutions list. 

Not to keep harping on yoga, but two different yoga teachers expressed their dislike of New Year resolutions in my classes this month. One said that she "had issues with them," and eluded to the "good and bad" of making these goals at the onset of the year. I never asked her to elaborate more, but I understood where she was going with it. Another teacher announced in a class this week, "Instead of making resolutions to do more, we should focus on doing less." That really resonated with me. I'd love to get back to the mindset of less-is-more. We can be ambitious, and we can achieve our goals, but we don't have to treat our lives as a giant checklist. 

I believe that we can create change and fulfill goals individually, at our own pace, remaining present the whole time, enjoying the journey and not just thinking of the endpoint. Isn't the journey the fun part anyway? :)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Steller New Year & Adventures on The Great Ocean Road

Happy New Year! I promise that I have not forgotten my end of 2014 resolution to get back to blogging. Last year I was a little overly ambitious with my goals, so this year I'm keeping it simple. Instead of setting new goals, I'll be expanding on the ones I set last year. This blog will be going through some changes, and I'm looking forward to sharing those with you! 

2014 was a wonderful year of travel for my boyfriend and I, and recently I shared (on Steller) one of my favorite days from our trips (possibly my all-time-favorite-day ever) - a one-day drive down The Great Ocean Road on the east coast of Australia. You can find the full photo story there, but here's a little glimpse:

What are some of your favorite adventures from 2014? Any upcoming ones for 2015? Share them in the comment section! :)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Truth About Why I Stopped Blogging

For the past few months, my blog posts have been sporadic, to say the least. (I averaged two posts over the last five months.) To justify this absence to myself, I chalked it up to focusing my time on other things. The day job, extra yoga classes, more travel, working towards big dreams, spending more time with friends and family. But the truth is, I was still doing all those other things back when I was blogging three to four times a week. Blogging never felt like a chore to me, I was loving it. So why did I stop?

The truth is - I felt that my blog wasn't good enough. It wasn't what I had envisioned it to be, and I felt like it may never get there. In my mind, I was striving for perfection, and it always seemed far out of reach. I hated that I never had enough "time" to devote to my website, that the design wasn't as cohesive or beautiful as I wanted it to be. The posts themselves also felt a little too rushed and unrefined, and my grammar skills weren't as up to par as I would have liked. I hated the fact that when I read back through my posts, almost every single sentence started with "I". (As you can see, I'm still having this same issue!) When I flipped through the websites of my fellow bloggers, I couldn't help making comparisons… Their web design is so beautiful! Their writing style so witty and smart! Those photographs look like something from a magazine! Look at all those comments! How did they get all those advertisers?! As a result of these silly comparisons, I ended up feeling like an amateur. 

The reason I'm writing this post is because I'm guessing (hoping), that some of you may feel the same way sometimes. And it may not be just about blogging. Holding back on this blog has made me reflect on the other areas I've been holding back on in my life. Instead of just giving up on this blog, I could have kept striving to make it better. I could have acknowledged how awesome it already was. How much it had grown from where it first began. I could have felt grateful for the awesome community that blogging has opened up to me. I could have had the confidence to believe that this website could live up to my vision. 

Confidence is the key word here. I've never thought of myself as someone with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence, but lately I've realized I could be doing better in this department. I may appear confident on the outside, but inside, I've got a whole lot of doubt and fear going on. It's something I've decided to acknowledge and work on. I'm currently reading The Confidence Code, and it's made me realize that it is not super-intelligence, or genius-level talent, that helps people land their "dream job" or design their "dream life" - it's confidence. And it's something I think we could all use more of. Let's be real, those bloggers with 50K followers? They feel the same exact way sometimes. 

The other key word here is action. Those bloggers with a zillion followers didn't just "get lucky", they worked really hard to provide quality content and grow their readership. They work hard now to maintain it. Some of them had been blogging for several years already before they starting gaining a large following. And maybe you've noticed, they are almost always bringing something new to the table.  

"Luck" is not a word that I believe in. I believe in ambition, focus, hard work, and imagination. Call me an idealist, but I truly feel that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. I also think it is so important to reflect on what you've already accomplished. Sometimes we just don't give ourselves the credit we deserve!

Oh, and if you are suffering from a lack of confidence and need a little pick-me-up? When in doubt, buy an awesome hat, or any type of "look at me!" headwear (a crown would work really well if you're feeling particularly brave or fashion-forward). I purchased the hat in the photo above during our recent New Zealand/Australia trip, and something about it just made my confidence level sky rocket. I think it was the beautiful peacock feather pin that was attached. Peacocks are really confident creatures. ;)

I'd love to keep this conversation going in the comments section! I'll be back around the blog more frequently now (although maybe not 4 times a week), and I always love to hear from you. Drop me an email, or catch up with me on Instagram, Steller, and Twitter.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Steller Summer

As my blog hiatus continues, I've been finding other ways to get my social media fix…and Steller has quickly become my new favorite app for creative social networking and photo-sharing. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, it's a "storytelling" app.  Like Instagram, you can share your photos, but unlike Instagram, your photos don't become "one-hit wonders". You create your "story" using a group of photographs, and arrange it in a "book' format, into which you can also add video and text. Your stories get saved in "collections" of your choosing. To see what I mean, check out my Summer Adventures collection. 

I just love how creative you can get with this app! It makes so much more sense for me to tell my travel stories via Steller. To see influential bloggers using this app to share their stories is pretty inspiring too. While I love the advantage it offers to adventure-bloggers, I also love how all different types of bloggers/makers are using it to share recipes, showcase their photography skills, show off their style, sell their products, or even tell a story about a group of fellow creatives. 

If you're like me, and downloaded this app months ago, but have yet to try it out…now's the time to do it. Last week Steller announced some big updates, including the ability to add hashtags within a story and in the comment section. It's easier than ever to search and connect with other users, so why not start connecting? I'd love to read your stories. You know where I'll be

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Big Dreams and the Big 3-0

Is it the end of July already? Where has the summer gone?! You may have noticed my little seasonal hiatus from blogging, and if you're still following, THANK YOU! I'm officially back for good. If you're new to my blog, check in here

This summer so far has been wonderful, and jam-packed with fun adventures. The majority of my weekend hours have been spent outdoors, and I haven't opened my laptop in months. (Which feels pretty awesome by the way. Give it a try if you're someone like me who's constantly hooked to technology). But the truth is, I've missed you guys, and I've really missed blogging. 

I'll spare you all the details of the past couple months (although if you're interested in following my adventures, check out the photo-story on Instagram), but I will tell you the defining moment - turning 30. 

Ok, turning 30 is not that big of a moment, and if you're in your 30s or above, you probably already know that. If you're not yet, rest assured, it's not that serious. I never made a 30 before 30 list, and I made it through ok. 

The reason I never wrote the oh-so-popular 30 before 30 list, is because I feel pretty good about what I've accomplished in my 20s. Sure, there are more things I could have done, but there's also a lot less. No regrets.

Although I did spend the better half of my 29th year reflecting a lot on this "big" birthday  - not so much reflecting on what I've done in the previous decade, but what I want to do in the next one. Like my blog header says, I'm a "dreamer", and the best part about turning 30 so far is….my dreams have only gotten bigger. 

Dreamers sometimes get a bad rep, and I think that's something a lot of creative people can relate too. To counteract the negativity towards dreamers, I love these words by Vera Nazarian: 

"It is interesting that we call something good a "dream," but being called a "dreamer" is somewhat of a putdown….. Without dreamers, no dream would ever be given reality, and we would live in a very small and shallow world….. If you are a secret dreamer, it's time to announce yourself."

My challenge to myself in my 30th year is to be unafraid to share my dreams with others, and to act on them. To act on them without hesitation or doubt. To act on them with confidence. Are you with me? What are some of your dreams? 

One of my big dreams is to travel the world. I've been doing it little by little, and I plan to do even more traveling in my 30s. My goal for this blog is to make it more travel-focused. I hope that's something you'll enjoy, but in the meantime, I'll still be writing about dreamy stuff too. 

{The photograph in this post was taken by one of my fellow creatives, who happens to have a great eye for portraiture, Tracey Wei}

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