Are YOU the One Holding Yourself Back?

limiting beliefs surf graphic

I’m not the type of person who’d be good at playing ukulele and covering my favorite songs. I’m not a sporty, adrenaline chasing girl who’d be into surfing. I’m not a New Age, woo-woo seeker who’d enjoy doing yoga and meditation. I’m not… I’m not… I’m not…

How many amazing opportunities and potential talents have you passed over or talked yourself out of because you believe you’re not a certain type of person? The above hobbies – playing ukulele, surfing, and doing yoga – are all things that I never thought I’d love to do, or even be good at doing!

Last year, I showed Stefan a bucket list of things I wanted to achieve before the age of 30, and one of my goals was learning to play the ukulele. Part of me actually wanted to learn. I didn’t know how to play any instruments, and I felt like I was missing out on this giant part of human existence by not creating music. But the other part of me thought, “If I haven’t learned how to play the ukulele or guitar before my age of 24, then obviously it’s not in my life path. I’m too old to learn something so complicated. I’m clearly not an instrument playing type, or I would’ve done it already- maybe I’m just more of a singer.”

False. If it was up to me and my stubborn brain, I never would’ve gotten to learn what turned out to be one of the loves of my life. Thankfully, Stefan saved me from a sad, music-less fate by buying me a beautiful baritone ukulele for Christmas. But it sat alone in the corner of my room for over a month before a disappointed Stefan asked if I was ever going to use it. I’d been feeling guilty seeing it there everyday, untouched, but I was honestly too scared to even try strumming it once. I was terrified to confirm my suspicions that I, in fact, was not a music playing type. Then all of my ukulele dreams would be dashed forever.

Stefan picked up the ukulele and showed me where to place my fingers on the strings. He then demonstrated some easy chords. The fateful moment came when it was time for me to try- and I SUCKED. It was hard, and I didn’t like the feeling of being new and bad at something. So there Josefina, my ukulele, sat in the corner for another couple of weeks before I summoned up the courage to try playing her one last time before giving up. This time, I did it my way. When I saw the movie “Her” a few months prior, I decided that if I only learned to play one song, it would be The Moon Song by Karen O. So sitting alone with my ukulele, I slowly learned the chords to The Moon Song and then added the words to sing along with my strumming. Once Stefan got home from work a few hours later, he was flabbergasted that I’d learned how to play and sing an entire song by myself.

I suddenly felt exhilarated that I was a music playing type of girl! I could recreate new versions of any song on the planet with my own beat and strumming style and voice. Amazing! Over the next few months, I practiced every single day and learned how to play at least 50 different songs on my ukulele while singing simultaneously. It turned into a time of total mental and emotional absorption for me. It was my meditation. It was my release. It was my joy. Tears came to my eyes as I sang Hurt by Johnny Cash, and I laughed as I covered We Can’t Stop by Miley Cyrus. In just a couple months time, I became the type of girl who played music and was confident in her abilities. The previous way that I viewed myself was totally shattered, and it opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for me. I never would’ve believed it if you told me that a year ago.

So, to get to my point, how are you holding yourself back? This entire post was inspired by a great quote that I found this weekend:

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you’re not.” – Denis Waitley

Think about all of the limiting beliefs that you hold about your personality and your life. What positive experiences, jobs, and hobbies are you stopping yourself from trying because you think you’re not a certain type of person?

I thought I wasn’t a musician, but after giving it a real shot, I feel like I’m a natural at playing ukulele. I was absolutely terrified to try surfing in Costa Rica and didn’t feel like I was athletic enough to be good at it, but I popped up on the board on my very first wave. I’ve shocked myself time and time again by realizing that I’m not the diluted version of a person that I stifle into a tiny box inside my mind. I am so much more. I am whoever and whatever I want to be. And so are you!

Who says you can’t be the type to hike the Pacific Crest Trail? To own your own business? To learn how to sail? To make your own movie? To be a great parent? To create your own vegetable garden? To get toned and healthy? Sometimes you are the one stopping yourself! I hope that you choose to challenge yourself into being the person of your wildest dreams. Surprise yourself, and show that you can be more than you ever thought possible. You don’t ever have to keep being a certain type of personality, unless you decide to be the type who kicks ass and steamrolls your goals. In which case, go for it! 🙂

Thanks for reading, and please share your thoughts in the comments below. What type of person do you wish you could be but think you’re not? What’s really stopping you?

Have a beautiful Monday,

xo Caylee

Tweet this: “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you’re not.” – Denis Waitley via @Cayleepugh

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When Your Family Doesn’t Support Your Dreams

AUTHENTICSELF

What do you feel is the appropriate reaction when your loved ones don’t support what you’d like to do with your life? I would confidently say: I love you, but this isn’t about you. This is about what’s best for me, and only I can know that answer. If you believe I don’t know what’s best for me, you’re wrong. You’re thinking about what you would do if you were me. But you’re not me. So, I love you, but if you’re not coming with me on this journey, then please move out of my way. I’m turning into the most badass version of my authentic self possible, and I need supporters with me, not downers and haters. So are you with me or against me? *drops mic*

Let me start off by saying that I personally feel like I’m the Queen of Familial Disappointment. The family member that I’m always trying to impress is also the person who I oppose most often. I see this as a common thread throughout the lives of my friends- they care about their family’s opinion more than anything, but they’re also tired of trying to be the people that their families wish them to be. Do you see how problematic this is to our happiness? I’ve noticed that the most common way family members demonstrate their lack of support is through pressuring, manipulation, and most of all- giving unwanted advice that we should stop pursuing our dream. Though these acts aren’t necessarily dubious, they can certainly influence us away from the goals of our authentic self.

My dad wanted me to attend his favorite Florida university, but I wouldn’t consider it for a second. Didn’t even apply there. He wanted me to get a business degree and work in a high-paying, office environment. Then, once I got enough corporate experience, he thought it would be great if I started working at his business, just in time for his retirement. Of course, you can guess where this story goes. I tried to get a degree in absolutely everything besides business- broadcast journalism, interior design, and finally, cultural anthropology. I studied anthropology because I completely loved it and felt passionately about it. I did it for me. Since graduating, I’ve taken on a multitude of interesting jobs and heard all of my dad’s advice, but I usually choose to listen to my personal intuition instead. Brazenly following my heart has led me to where I am today, and I’ve been more consistently happy this year than I’ve ever been in my whole life. Without a doubt, I can say that listening to my own intuition instead of other people’s opinions has been the wisest decision.

Now, this is not to say that your family members aren’t wise and knowledgeable. My dad has made many great decisions in his life and has built a business that I truly admire, but there’s one important fact missing: he is not me, and I don’t want to be him. I want you to consider this simple question for a second:

Would you love to have the life of your parents? Or sister, grandpa, uncle, etc.

If your answer is “yes,” then you probably should listen to their advice. They know exactly how they got to where they’re at, and they’ll surely be happy to tell you all of their stories about how to live the same lifestyle. But if your answer is “no,” then please stop following their advice! Your parents aren’t experts about any life other than the one they chose to live.

For example, before getting engaged, would you ask someone who has cheated and been divorced four times already how to make a marriage last forever? Or if you wanted to create your own tech start-up company, would you get your business advice from someone who’s worked only in nursing for thirty-five years? No, of course not! These people don’t have experience in your realm of interest. So why would you follow everything your parents say if you want to live a life that’s very different from the one they have?!

It’s tough love time, because I don’t want anyone influencing you to live their dream. Own your own damn life. Stand up for yourself and what you want. Show your family love and respect, but you must show yourself love and respect too. If what you want out of life is different from what your family or friends want, then giving in to them and living their version of happiness is a crime against the soul. Here are my five basic tips for moments that your family tries to steer you away from your dreams:

1. When people are giving unsolicited advice on what you should be doing with your life, just listen with respect and kindness.

2. Contemplate if they have true expertise in the area of your dreams. If so, consider taking their advice. Even if it’s not what you want to hear, is what they’re saying valid? Listen to what your intuition is saying in response, and go towards that.

3. If they don’t have expertise in the area of your goals, contemplate if the advice that they’re giving is still useful or relevant. If so, take it. If not, just say, “I appreciate hearing your thoughts,” and move on.

4. Do what’s best for you, and live your own damn life! Be gutsy! We’re getting too old to follow what our family says without a second thought about if it’s really best for what we want. Going against what your loved ones think takes crazy courage, but it will be so worth it!

5. Even if you’re not being emotionally supported by your family at the beginning stages of going against them, I’ve found that they usually come around. Once your loved ones see how happy and passionate you are about your choices, they’ll understand it was the right decision for you to make. So forget about their support at the beginning, and be your own shining light. Remind yourself everyday what a brave, kickass woman you are for following your heart!

So have you ever felt unsupported by your friends or family? What did you do in response to their backlash? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

I hope you have a beautiful, brave day,

xo Caylee

 

When Is the Best Time to Start a Goal?

say yes to now sky graphic

To start off, I have two questions for you to answer honestly:

Do you have any life goals or personal projects that you keep putting off for another day? Does the guilt of not beginning it nag at you constantly?

Don’t feel alone in these habits- Postponing goals and passions is one of the most common problems people face. I’ve definitely struggled with this issue too, and still do at times, because it’s so easy to get stuck in the trap of telling yourself that you’ll get to it eventually. But, as an example, we all know how that story went in college.

At the beginning of each semester, your professors passed out a syllabus outlining all of the required projects and specific test dates for the upcoming several months. The whole class would know exactly when a paper was due from the first day of school, but how many of us waited until the very last minute to complete any of that work? If you’re not raising your hand, you’re the oddball here.

This experience from college is a metaphor for life. Just like we procrastinate writing a 20-page research paper that’s crucial for getting a good grade in class, we put off important things in our life thinking we’ll have plenty of time to do them in the future. Well, we won’t. Life will get in the way. Things might get messy, and two months of putting off your dreams will suddenly turn into twenty years. You don’t want to be trying to cram in all of your best life experiences at retirement age like you’re trying to cram during an all-nighter for an 8:00 AM test.

I’m not saying that you should dramatically quit your job today, backpack the world, and grow flowing dreadlocks- Unless that’s your heart’s dream, and in which case, go for it! What I am urging you to do is take this one small step:

Take five minutes to focus in on something that makes you truly excited. The type of “excited” where you feel heart pumping, bright-eyed energized. It can be a person, place, thing, goal, whatever! Then ask yourself how you can integrate that more into your daily life, even in the smallest way. Act on these thoughts immediately. Like, right now.

Take me as an example. I completely adore writing, and I’ve been so crazily happy since I started expressing myself on this blog on a regular basis. I could have just put off my happiness and told myself that I’ll start a blog in the future, but I decided I was so sick of putting off my dreams. I wrote my first post right then and there which gave me the excited energy to write another one the next day (and so on).

Writing a couple posts per week might not seem like much now, but let’s do this math. I’m about to turn 25 years-old- If I keep writing only until the young age of 40, then I still wrote regularly for 15 years with a total of about 1,500 blog posts!! I’d be a writing and coaching expert by then!

Now what can you do with that precious time if you take little steps everyday to further your goals? Just start now. Don’t keep making excuses and then feeling guilty about it. Take the teeniest step today and then another one tomorrow, and by the end of the week, you’ll be proud of yourself and rolling in momentum.

Please let me know in the comments below what baby steps you’ll be taking today, alongside me, to further your passions. I’d love to know so that I can keep motivating you along the way!

Have a beautiful day,
xo Caylee

 

The Gutsy Girl Road Trip Awards

Another startlingly fast year has passed, and another wonderful road trip is almost over. It’s been great seeing old friends and getting to connect with family from all over the East Coast again. I was lucky to be joined by my boyfriend during one leg of the trip from Washington, DC to Long Island, NY and by my Dad from Long Island to Upstate New York. Blog post about that coming soon!

Over my weeks on the road, I’ve loved experiencing beautiful mountain vistas, driving through crumbling ghost towns, feeling the sand between my toes, and exploring some of the coolest towns in America. Now deemed my Gutsy Girl Road Trip Awards, here are several moments and places that stood out most to me during my adventure.

Favorite Atmosphere to Grab a Drink with Girl Friends:
Ambar Washington, DC [Eastern Market]

Two DC friends and I stumbled across this charming bar & restaurant as we walked through the neighborhood of Eastern Market. If you’re into adorable row homes and visiting a quieter side of Washington DC, check out this area that boasts a bustling market and tasty restaurants, like Ambar, which serves Balkan cuisine with a modern twist. It’s like any trendy restaurant when you first walk in, but go up the stairs and you’ll find a cute, rooftop oasis to enjoy appetizers and drinks with the girls. My friends and I shared a few tasty small plates, and I had a delicious margarita- you can pick from original or spicy mango. How about both? Try Ambar at Happy Hour like we did for some unheard of specials in the DC area. I promise you- $4 cocktails and appetizers. How is that even possible?!

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Most Exciting Purchase:
Millennium Broadway Hotel in Times Square – New York, NY [Manhattan]

When my boyfriend, Stefan, and I decided to stay in Manhattan for the night, I was expecting our hotel room to be the most expensive purchase of my entire road trip. I was so wrong about that! Through Hotwire, we ended up scoring a room for $146, all inclusive. Amazing! Though that still may seem pricey to some, you won’t find a decent hotel for much less than that in the city. But I haven’t gotten to the best part yet. I was under the impression that $146 would get us a dingy room facing rooftop air-conditioning units. So wrong. Stefan and I were placed on the 33rd floor with a corner room facing the Chrysler building on one window-wall and Times Square on the other. One block from all the action! It was stunning, and we had a blast that evening.

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Best Area to Find Funky Treasures:
The beaches of Great Peconic Bay – North Fork, Long Island, NY

If you’re a lover of the beach and finding interesting treasures, visit the areas around Great Peconic Bay where there’s a smattering of quaint towns around the bay and its smaller inlets on the North Fork of Long Island. Take to the beaches and you’ll find everything from sea creatures to beautiful rounded stones to antique sea glass that’s finally floated up onto the beach after several decades. The picture below documents some of the goodies that Stefan and I came across after just one hour of walking around searching the sand. I can’t wait to turn the sea glass and little stones into a pretty display back home!

aquebogue

Prettiest Secret Place:
Conservatory Garden in Central Park – New York, NY [Manhattan]

Okay, I’ll admit that the Conservatory Garden isn’t actually a secret. It’s right in Central Park! But you’d never know it. There’s only one entrance to it through a gate on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, so the garden is pretty easy to miss. If you’re a flower-loving visitor to NYC, or a resident who needs some quiet time, this is the place to go. I was there at 10:30 AM on a Wednesday, and there was only a tiny handful of people in all the acres of botanical beauty. You’ll find a giant Wisteria pergola with views of the fountain, tree-covered walkways out of a fairy tale, and my favorite space- an expansive flower garden. I loved relaxing around all of the bursting wildflowers and the waterlilies in the pond. It was such a stunning, peaceful place that you’d never know you’re in the middle of New York City.

conservatorygarden

Most Picturesque Town:
The streets of Old Town – Alexandria, VA

Old Town Alexandria feels so American that it’s actually hard to describe. The hilly, cobblestone streets, history-drenched row homes, and flags flapping proudly in the river breeze just oozes pure Americana. Check out the waterfront area and King Street of Old Town next time you’re in the Washington DC area, and you’ll find plenty of restaurants and boutiques to keep you going as you admire all of the charming, colonial buildings.

oldtownalexandria

Tastiest Food & Greatest Value:
Sake Bar Hagi in the Times Square area – New York, NY [Manhattan]

This place might be my new favorite restaurant in the entire world. I know that’s a bold statement to make, but everything about the experience was fantastic. It took Stefan and I a while to find the entrance, which was part of the adventure, because there’s no sign for Saki Bar Hagi- just a random stairwell leading you down off the street. Imagine a restaurant with no sign in the Times Square area! It’s pretty clear that they don’t want loads of tourist crowds in their restaurant. And they don’t need them- the place was packed with people eating authentic Japanese food, shoulder to shoulder with strangers. I loved the bustling intimacy of the restaurant, but I enjoyed the food even more. Stefan and I shared five small plates, the best being Tofu Dengaku. Now, Stefan and I aren’t vegetarian or huge tofu lovers, but we both couldn’t stop eating this dish! So delicious. The best part is that the meal was crazy inexpensive. Stefan got a huge 30 oz. beer for just $8. I don’t even know how that’s possible in New York City.

sakebarhagi

Most Amazing Lifestyle:
Basking in the outdoors and enjoying local food – Aquebogue, NY

If you follow a similar road trip route that I took, you will have eaten your way up the East Coast and walked your butt off around New York City and the Washington DC area. Now what do you need to finish off the trip right? A beautiful and relaxing stop in nature. You might be surprised that I’m recommending a town on Long Island, which most people falsely assume is overcrowded and ugly. The North Fork, where you’ll find Aquebogue, is actually filled with wineries, rolling farmland, and stunning views of the water. You’ll get to eat loads of fresh seafood and vegetables from local stands, but the best part really is the pace of living. At my family reunion here, the huge group of us gathered outside on picnic tables to enjoy all of our meals in the dappled sunlight. Stefan and I got to walk along the empty beach and explore tiny coastal towns. The peaceful setting was very rejuvenating after a fun, but exhausting road trip up North. I would recommend traveling to the North Fork of Long Island to everyone!

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So there you have it! I took hundreds of pictures and visited dozens of amazing places that I, unfortunately, don’t have the space to write about. What a shame that I have to leave so much out! I hope that my Gutsy Girl Road Trip Awards has inspired you to visit even a few of these locations and restaurants. I truly had an amazing trip and can’t wait for my next one!

Have you been to any of these destinations? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

Have a great week,

xo Caylee

How I Deal with Struggles on my Road Trip

It’s finally arrived. Today marks the first major leg of my road trip – about 8 hours from Naples, Florida to Atlanta, Georgia. Due to my time constraints with packing and getting on the road on time, I’ll write a smaller post today about a common string of questions I get when doing a road trip:

Don’t you get so tired that you almost fall asleep at the wheel? Doesn’t it kill your body to sit for that long? Are you crazy?! Yes, yes, and definitely yes.

Road trips are my favorite way to travel, as I talked about in my last post, but I’m not here to tell you that they’re never challenging. Without a doubt, every single day, I’ll have to stop for a coffee or two along the way and take a break at several rest stops to stretch my legs and walk around. Each night before I go to bed, I’ll do a brief yoga sequence to stretch out my neck, back, wrists, and legs – spots that get impossibly painful after days in a car. It also helps to relax my mind by reading or meditating nightly, because, as we all know, driving can have its majorly stressful moments. I should know – on a road trip with my Dad several years ago we flipped our SUV multiple times in a heavy rain storm!

But, in my opinion, the most difficult aspect about road trips is the mental exhaustion that comes on without warning. My body might be completely alert and wanting to drive, but my brain will spontaneously decide that it wants to go into hibernation mode.  Even though I’ve been trying to avoid coffee in my life recently, it must be a staple on my East Coast drive. Besides that, my only hope to keep driving while tired is to listen to some awesome music or my books on tape. Great music has an uncanny way of waking me up as I sing along like a diva, and I get so sucked in to listening to audiobooks that the time flies by. Below are my two choices that’ll be on repeat during the entire trip. Because, let’s be honest, audiobooks are way too expensive to buy more than one!

Music to Listen to: MAGIC CITY HIPPIES – ROBBY HUNTER BAND

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Find the album here: https://soundcloud.com/robbyhunterband/sets/magic-city-hippies-1

Robby Hunter Band is a group of guys I know back in Miami, and they are CRAZY GOOD. This album actually released last year, but I’m still loving it as much as ever. They have some of the most fun and sultry songs you could ever imagine – perfect for summer. Check them out for yourself above!

 

Audiobook to Listen to: THE POWER OF NOW – ECKHART TOLLE

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The Power of Now is a huge book in the field of spirituality and self-improvement, and I feel super behind that I haven’t read it yet! Tolle doesn’t preach any particular religion, but instead, guides people to live in the now in order to find our true happiness. That’s as much as I can say at this point, but I’m excited to absorb myself into it along my 3-week journey.

Well, there you go! Do you have any methods that keep your mind or body feeling in tip-top shape while you drive long distances? If so, please let us know in the comments below. Any experienced road tripper will tell you that traveling by car definitely isn’t easy, but you’ll see some of the most beautiful sights of your life along the way. So relax, and enjoy the ride! Talk to you soon from my first big destination – Atlanta!

Have a beautiful day,

Xo Caylee

Two Books to Read This Summer for Self-Improvement

Calm Blue Sea Water Close-Up

If you didn’t know this about me yet, I’ve been obsessed with books since the day I started learning how to read. I always joke and say that, since I’m an only child, reading was the only thing I could do to make time pass by while growing up – but the truth is, I loved all of the different worlds, eras, and cultures I could meld myself into just through looking at some letters on a page. How amazing is that?!

Now that I’m a bit older, I still enjoy an engrossing fiction novel every now and then, but I’ve moved predominantly into the world of nonfiction. Interesting research books, memoirs, and self-help guides are all the rage in my mind. I’m always searching for more insight into human emotions and living more abundantly. More vibrantly. If you’re looking for two beautifully written books to read this summer in the area of self-improvement, look no further:

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Daring Greatly – Brene Brown

Making an impact from the first page, Brene Brown uses Teddy Roosevelt’s powerful quote above as an inspiring call to action – basically, find no shame in failing if you’re brave enough to fight for your cause in the first place. What Brown does in her social science research book, Daring Greatly, is crack open all of the painful, vulnerable feelings that we all have but don’t like to talk about – or even think about. Just contemplating these experiences bubbles up awkward feelings of shame in us.

What makes you feel like your inner soul has been stripped naked for everybody to witness?

Think of this: posting your illustrations (or writing!) online for the world to see and, therefore, exposing yourself to potential criticism, and perhaps even worse – public silence. Or, for instance, getting fired from a glamorous job and being too embarrassed to tell your parents. Or getting cheated on, but feeling so ashamed by it that you lie to your friends about the break-up. All of these situations, and more, make us feel completely bare, so we avoid talking about them. Additionally, many people reject doing the courageous things that the soul craves, because they believe doing them might reveal weaknesses. To diminish this pain, people choose to numb themselves through activities like overeating, drinking alcohol, shopping, or getting lost in video games.

In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown encourages readers to step out of their emotional comfort zones in order to own their life stories and connect with people on a raw level. She wants us to tell the truth about our lives. What scares us and makes us feel insignificant? Why are we so afraid to let our true selves be known? It’s because being vulnerable to people is incredibly difficult, and allowing it is something that we all have to work on consciously, everyday.

So put your values and passions out there for the world to see even if you’re afraid that people might think differently of you. Trust me – posting up my writing to this blog gives me shivers most days, but I still make myself do it. Just remember: if anyone doesn’t like you anymore after revealing your true self, they’re not “your people.” Be courageous – dare greatly.

 

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The Blue Zones – Dan Buettner

I’ll admit it. Nonfiction books can be kind of dry or too academic at times. The Blue Zones, by Dan Buettner, completely shatters that stereotype – it’s so interesting and fun to read that I never wanted to put it down!

The first time I was introduced to the concept of “Blue Zones,” was when I visited Costa Rica on a study abroad trip three years ago. It’s one of a small handful of countries that boast a zone with a statistically high proportion of active centenarians – people who live to be at least 100 years-old. Buettner and other world-renowned researches were fascinated by these zones of wellness and wanted to learn how so many people could live to be a century old.

In The Blue Zones, Buettner profiles several areas around the world with this high percentage of healthy, happy centenarians. Places include Okinawa (Japan), Loma Linda (California), Sardinia (Italy), and the Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica). The book dives into research findings for why these seniors are living so long and how we can live our lives that way too. The reasons for their long lives are both cultural and nutritional, but The Blue Zones will definitely inspire you to implement their strategies. After reading about several 103 year-old men and women still tending to their own gardens and laughing over a glass of wine with their other ancient friends, how could you not want to do the same? As you’ll learn in the book, genetics are only about 25% of how well we age – the rest is the lifestyle we choose to live. It’s in your hands!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed my reviews and decide to take these inspiring and informative books with you on your remaining summer vacations. Just so that you know – I’ll be writing more specifically about “Blue Zone” lifestyle strategies in the future. So, if you’ve read these two books already, what were your thoughts on them? Do you have any other recommendations for great summer reads? Thank you, and please share below! 🙂

Have a fun weekend,

xo Caylee

Living Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” Lifestyle


If you’ve ever traveled to Costa Rica before, I’m willing to bet that someone said the phrase “Pura Vida” to you at least five times daily. These words were coined during the 1950’s through a movie but weren’t common in the country until the 1970’s. Now, it’s a way of life for Ticos and surfers alike, and the quickest way to describe their amazing lifestyle in the tropics. Translation into English literally means “pure life” – it’s an expression that I’ve had the urge to live by ever since I visited the little gem of a country.

To many foreigners, “Pura Vida” is symbolic of a leisurely lifestyle full of friendliness and a disregard for time. For Costa Ricans, the phrase can mean a whole lot more – or a whole lot less. Some rattle it off as a casual greeting like how we might say, “Have a good day” or “Goodbye” in the United States. When “Pura Vida” is used to its depth of meaning, Costa Ricas have described it to me as:

 

Appreciating what you have. Enjoying life slowly. Building a strong sense of community. Being good spirited.

 

I believe to my core that all of those things are important for embodying my idea of the good life. For me, it is all about quality over quantity. I want deeper friendships rather than more friendships and greater spiritual wealth versus material wealth. I crave meaningful experiences that enliven my heart – maybe that’s why I like to travel so much. Just loving the simple moments in life is what I want to focus on.

 

Both times that I’ve been to Costa Rica, I found it very easy to live in the present and enjoy every little thing that came my way – or at least feel it to its depth of emotion. When my boyfriend, Stefan, and I arrived at our first stop on the trip, I pulled open the doors to our cabina and sitting majestically, right in front of us, was Arenal Volcano. Tropical birds were chirping all around in the lush, green trees, and the setting sun was hitting Arenal dramatically. Everything was so fresh and quiet and beautiful. I cried. I’m not a crier, guys – this place just buries itself into my core, every time.

 

Since we can’t all go and live in Costa Rica right now (a shame, I know), figuring out how to live the “Pura Vida” lifestyle back home is key. So have you ever been to Costa Rica? What are your thoughts on the “Pura Vida” lifestyle? What does a “good life” consist of for you? Please share, and let me know your experiences in the comments below! This is a topic I love, so I’m sure we’ll talk more about it soon. 🙂

 

Have a beautiful day,

 

xo Caylee

 

The Importance of Following Your Intuition

Most people I’ve ever met seem to struggle with indecision while making major life choices. This is common in the human experience – we all feel scared that we’ll make the wrong decision and be led down a path that we never intended to go in life. We then resort to making a pros and cons list or talking endlessly with our best friends and parents to try and debate the correct answer to our problems right out of each other. But how many times have you settled on a life decision and then changed your mind again less than a day later, because you somehow talked yourself out of it?

The truth is – nobody in the entire world knows the correct answer to your dilemmas and life choices better than you. The problem is that you need to follow your inner intuition first.

I’ve had a great deal of experience in this method of inner decision-making. Usually, I’m really good at following my intuition, and I’ve found it has never steered me wrong. But there’s been a couple of big instances, in recent rears, where I desperately didn’t want to hear what my intuition was screaming to me.

The most major time was in relation to an ex-boyfriend who I’d hoped more than anything was “the one.” He had everything going for him and was such a fun, thoughtful guy, but when he invited me to permanently move up to the Northeast with him to start his shiny new career, my insides froze. Not just froze, but shut down. Every time he would mention our future plans together up North, I would get sick to my stomach and feel trapped in despair. He was being just as sweet as ever, but I became depressed and developed major anxiety issues. Now, if I’d just listed to my intuition that was yelling to be heard, I would have ended it then and saved us both a lot of drawn out hurt. Instead, because I didn’t want to believe my intuition to be my truth, I ignored it and played our emotions back and forth for many months. “I want to be with you” changed to “I can’t be with you” in a matter of days – it was emotionally exhausting and devastating for both of us. In the end, we obviously broke up for good, but it left us with more emotional baggage and dark memories of each other than if I hadn’t avoided my blaring intuition about the situation.

So how do we become better at listening to our intuition? Since everybody has varying physical and emotional reactions when intuition is trying to steer you, I believe the most important thing you can do is to be in-tuned with your body – listen to it. Recognize how it feels when everything is normal and then the difference in feeling when something is wrong. Here is an example:

A completely non-threatening looking guy comes and sits down next to you at a bar. You know from your experience of listening to your body that usually when a nice-looking man approaches, you might feel a little shy and have a slightly higher heart-rate due to that. But as this man starts talking, your chest clenches up tightly, your hands feel disconnected to your body, and you feel an unexplainable sense of fear in the pit of your stomach.

PLEASE LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You don’t want to find out why your body was having a terrified reaction to that man. It is so important to hear what your body is telling you in any situation or decision. Intuition is your deep, subconscious way of telling the social version of yourself exactly what you want. The subconscious will usually win in the long wrong, because it’s trying to lead you towards happiness. You might as well listen to it in the first place!

Next time you’re needing to make a big decision, go over all the choices in your head using vibrant imagery like it’s actually happening. Imagine what the outcome of the various choices would be, and listen to how your body feels with each one. Does one make your stomach clench? Do you suddenly feel a tinge of sadness? How about a feeling of joy or relief? Don’t ignore these emotions – I guarantee that if you follow this intuition regularly, you will always make the best decision. Just like I should have made the hard decision with my ex-boyfriend and broken up with him sooner – sometimes, the hard answer is still the right answer.

Don’t let your future be dictated by a pro and con list or what your loved ones think is best for you – only you can feel the right choices for your life. So what are your experiences with listening to your intuition? Have you ever had an experience like me and ignored your intuition? Please share your stories in the comments below! 🙂

Wishing you a happy Monday,

xo Caylee