New Blog Launch – A Huge Thank You to Everyone!

gutsygirlnewI’ve never been so focused and inspired to move towards a single life path as I am right now. Right now being the past 5 months that I’ve created Gutsy Girl Wellness. And everyone who knows me well understands that this is a crazy, impossible feat- after all, I was the girl who changed life dreams every few months for several years straight. I went through 5 majors in college!

But now I have a strange sense of calm. Even though most people around me don’t understand exactly what I’m trying to do with my life, I still know that I have to keep doing it. This path that I’m walking along feels right to my heart and intuition, so I can’t stop now.

But the day has finally come for this specific blog to end. It’s not a sad ending like it sounds, but a fresh, bright beginning. As of today, I’ve officially launched my new website with a slightly new name & focus- Gutsy Girl Living. I’ve found enough courage and inspiration to slowly take this to the next level, from hobby to business.

I want to thank all of you who’ve started reading Gutsy Girl Wellness since it was formed this summer. You’ve given me the support and confidence to keep writing and creating, week after week. It’s often hard to keep going in the beginning stages of a project. You get sad if you don’t receive any comments on a post, or if nobody is engaging the way you’d hope for them to. It’s easy to say that I’ve already learned a bazillion lessons in vulnerability and motivation.

But it’s truly been a great experience so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store. I hope you’ll join me again over on my new & improved blog from now on! I have an awesome (and free!) digital workbook available for subscribers to the new website. Head on over! 🙂

So, cheers to new beginnings and opportunities! To celebrate, I’ll be posting over on Gutsy Girl Living for the next five days straight, including a giveaway post starting tomorrow. Now get your butt over there to learn more about my new blog and to win yourself a gift!

Check out my first official post on my new website: Blog Launch – Gutsy Girl Living is Now Here!

Sending you happiness,

xo Caylee

Soul Sessions: How I Live On Purpose

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I’m sharing how I live on purpose in support of my friend Dr. Danielle Dowling and her new book The Soul Sessions, a 5-week guide to crafting greater joy and making big things happen. Get a wee, free sample here!

What does living a life of meaning mean to you? Paint us a picture.

To live meaningful lives, I believe we all need to be the architect of our own existence. What I mean by this is that we shouldn’t give our power away to other people for them to make big decisions for us. Society as a whole, colleagues, negative family members- they all have opinions on how we should live our lives. How what we’re doing is wrong or that we should change to be more like them.

Everyone has these different personal influences in their lives, and that’s okay. The point is to harness the power in yourself to live the version of life that you find to be meaningful, regardless of what others believe. Create a lifestyle upon the foundations of your own forms of purpose and happiness.

For me, a meaningful life would not involve a traditional job where I have to work for someone else and abide by their rules. If you can’t tell, I’m not fond of rules! In my version, I would get to help and inspire people with my own business while having the freedom to spend time traveling the world with my family. I’d want to take my future kids on month-long backpacking trips and go on language immersion vacations with them!

Quality time with my loved ones is so important to me, and I would never want a career that kept me from that. I would rather live in a tiny cottage full of love than have millions of dollars without any strong personal relationships. A life of meaning is all about figuring out what you value most and then prioritizing those aspects.

Do you have any rituals that help you return to your truest, most centered self?

I’m honestly obsessed with developing my passions and exploring the process of self-improvement. I continuously try to discover the hidden angles of my personality. Even when I’m 80 years old, I think I’ll still be trying to find the truest version myself. To me, it’s a fun hobby! I’m sure I’ll learn so much about my heart and soul throughout the future, but for now I stay centered by:

Meditating for ten minutes daily – Playing the ukulele – Doing yoga 2-3 times per week – Writing my heart out – Creating art – Laughing with my boyfriend – Traveling abroad – Dancing like it’s my air – Being in nature – Coming to terms with the fact that my true self is uninhibited and impulsive, for better or for worse, and accepting all that comes with those traits!

How do find the courage to jump into a new adventure?

You can strategize and think through all the details of a new adventure for months upon months, but you’ll probably still feel crazy anxious about starting it. Anything worth doing will make your palms sweat and your pulse quicken. So, as with most things in life, what it all comes down to is just doing it. If you’ve been pondering a new life adventure for some time, my cheat is to spend some money on it to get the ball rolling.

When I was going back-and-forth about teaching in Vietnam, I finally decided to just buy the plane ticket. I blocked all nervous thoughts out of my head as I put in my credit card information and then quickly hit “send.” The ticket was nonrefundable, so I knew there was no looking back! Instead of continuing to stall, now, the only option I had was to start planning and preparing for my move to Vietnam in a month. Continuing to be stuck in fear was not an option.

So just decide that it’s okay to not have the perfect plan ready or a 100% guarantee of how things will turn out. Choose a life of adventure, because taking the leap is all part of what makes life exciting. From my experience, you’ll never regret an adventure that feels intuitively aligned with your heart and soul.

What do you always say “yes” to?

I say yes to cuddling with my boyfriend, cocktails with funky names like “Mad Hatter” and “Moscow Mule,” and going on cross-country road trips. I say yes to leaving my worries at the door of the yoga studio and feeling my body get stronger and more flexible by the week. I say yes to dancing like an absolute crazy person to Michael Jackson and Journey. I say yes to any big, new adventure that comes my way. To coffee and conversations with friends. To working towards my dream career and making the bravest choices for myself. And I always say yes to living a life of purpose. 🙂

soulsessionsIn Danielle’s awesome guide, you’ll find out how to build greater self-confidence, create an inspiring social group, and focus in on your dreams and overall happiness. Check out the link for a free sample!

So tell me- how do you live on purpose? What do you consider a life of meaning? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Also, get excited for my new website launch in 11 days! I can’t wait! 😀

Have an amazing day,

xo Caylee

The Basics of Emotional Wellness

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Hi everyone! So happy that you’re here reading part two of my series, How to Create a Wellness Lifestyle. This week’s post will be an introduction to emotional well-being and the traits that we exude when we’re healthy in this realm of life. Out of the six dimensions of wellness that I outlined last week, I believe that emotional wellness is the most crucial area needed in order to lead a contended lifestyle. You might have all of the other aspects of life balanced, but without emotional stability, you’re probably finding that things are feeling a bit chaotic or under-the-weather.

The two most important characteristics of emotional wellness are the ability to acknowledge your emotions and to express them in appropriate ways. Most people that I’ve met seem to be very out of touch with how they’re feeling on a day-to-day basis. We often don’t take the time to listen to our subconscious, inner thoughts enough in order to read what we need more or less of in our lives.

But acknowledging and accepting your emotions, no matter how ashamed having them might make you feel, is such an important step for getting to know yourself better and understanding how to work with your emotions.

I’ve found that how we view others and treat them is usually a mirror to how we’re feeling deep inside. Challenge yourself to be hyper-aware of your negative thoughts for a week, and try to critique all of them to find out what they really mean. Don’t take your emotions at face value!

For example: My boyfriend has been feeling unlike himself in the past few days. He’s been stressed, and his normally joyful, funny personality just isn’t shining through as brightly. But before Stefan acknowledged his emotions and told me all about how he was feeling last night, I was starting to feel panicked. I put it all on myself and wondered if I’d done something wrong. But when I think about it- was he treating me any differently? Nope, still as loving as ever. Was he being mean to me? Definitely not! So I was projecting my insecure feelings onto him, like it was his fault they were bubbling up from my past, when really those emotions were just about my own baggage.

We project our emotions onto other people all the time, even when they have nothing to do with how we’re feeling. You know what I’m talking about… The mother who is scared about not being able to pay next month’s rent but takes that fear and lashes out at her kids. The colleague who always makes your dreams seem insignificant when really he’s upset because he hasn’t pursued any of his goals. If we try to see these emotional mirrors in ourselves and other people, we become so much better at expressing ourselves in a healthy way.

There are too many ways to express emotions for me to go through them all here, but to simplify things a bit, we can assume that any emotional reaction on an extreme side of the spectrum probably doesn’t count as “appropriate.” Here are a few examples:

  • Yelling or getting enraged about insignificant issues
  • Criticizing others when you’re feeling down about yourself
  • Bottling up all of your thoughts and feelings so that you won’t upset others

The above three examples are emotional extremes that will get you all wound up with poisonous, angry feelings without them actually helping your life one bit. They will only serve to push the people in your life away from you. I know from experience! When I was younger, I had tons of anger and bitterness trapped inside of me, and I had no clue how to properly express it. Instead, I got into verbal fights with anyone and everyone around me- especially authority figures! The funny thing is, I was so angry because I craved more love and quality time from those important to me, but my behavior only pushed people away more.

So what can you do to better acknowledge and express your true feelings? Here are some ideas:

Reflect

Like I said above, take a week to be extra aware of any time you feel a negative emotion- anger, sadness, jealousy, insecurity, judgment, etc. In the moments when you’re feeling that way, explore the “why” part of the problem. Why are you feeling this way? Deep down, is it really about the situation/ person at hand, or is it something in you? Perhaps it’s an issue from your past, or an insecurity that this person has absolutely nothing to do with. Dig around in those feelings to understand yourself more.

Move On

Once you’ve done that, don’t beat yourself up about it! If you’ve found that you’re directing your negative emotions at the wrong person/ issue, don’t make yourself feel guilty and sad. Just accept that it happened, apologize sincerely, and move on to change your emotional well-being for the better!

Be Positive

Learn from your mistakes in a positive way. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, but the people with emotional wellness are the ones who act to change their behaviors. Acknowledging emotions is the first step, but then we have to work to use them in a healthy way. Take it day by day! Be nice to yourself.

Love

It might sound cheesy or hippy-ish, but just choose love. When you feel the urge to say something judgmental or to react angrily, think: Do they deserve this? Will this make their life or my life any better? The answer is probably “no.” So instead, choose to love. Be kind. Why are we so harsh with our words anyway? The more often you choose the loving reaction, the more it will become a behavioral habit. Before you know it, your life will feel so much more positive and emotionally stable. That’s what happened to me when I was younger and lashing out all the time. I decided that I was sick of feeling constantly angry and mean, and I allowed the softer, sweet side of my personality to shine though. Now, that nice person is who I view myself as completely (but with some sass left over for fun, of course!).

Make Happiness a Priority

Straighten out your priorities and align your emotions with them. Make your emotional wellness important to your life. Are there certain people or activities that are depleting you of happiness? If you aren’t being treated the way you deserve to be treated, with kindness and respect, then let them go. People and activities that selfishly bring you down don’t deserve your time. You have the right to be happy just as much as anyone else.

Meditate

Practice meditating to gain more clarity in your mind and calm in your life. If you have a hyperactive brain, try activities like yoga, dancing, surfing, or doodling. They’ll provide a similar effect by keeping your mind focused on one task instead of worrying about a million life issues.

Ask for Help

Don’t try to go about hard times alone. Find people that you can open up to so that you can keep emotions from building up inside. And if you’re having serious emotional problems that are dramatically altering your life, please visit a therapist or doctor!


I could literally create an entire blog about the importance of emotional wellness and tips for stabilizing this area of life, so I hope this post can work as a basic introduction to the overwhelming amount of information I could give! If you have any specific questions for me regarding this topic, please leave it in the comments below! The next post in the series will cover spiritual wellness- one of the areas that I’d like to improve more in myself.

So what do you need to improve upon emotionally? Do you need to be more communicative about how you’re feeling with your significant other? Or maybe you need to filter yourself better, because you say things that *sting* too much? Let me know below, and please share with your friends! 🙂

Have a wonderful weekend,

xo Caylee

It’s My Birthday! And Other Happy Life Updates

Costa Rica May 2014 430b

I’m officially 25 years old, you guys! The age when it finally sounds like I’m a real adult, although most people know that I never want to become a standard, boring, adult-y type person. Year 24 of my life was filled with a whiplash of changes and a bunch of exciting experiences that I never imagined I’d get to have just one year prior. This has been, simultaneously, one of the hardest years of my life, and the happiest year of my life. It has zoomed by in the blink of an eye in some moments and has seemed to fall into slow motion at other points. I’ve started to redevelop myself into the person I truly want to become, rather than faltering under the pressure of what other people want me to be. I’ve savored, I’ve laughed, I’ve cried, I’ve finally been proud of myself, and I am so excited to see what my 25th year has in store for me. But before we get to my hopes for the next 12 months, here are some defining moments of my past year.

Year Twenty-Four Recap:

1. I started a new chapter of my life by moving to Miami with Stefan last year, and I’ve explored so much of the town already! Art shows, concerts, parks, kayaking, beaches, salsa dancing, festivals, farmer’s markets, restaurants in every neighborhood- it’s been so much fun going on mini adventures with my boyfriend in our new city. Though Miami definitely isn’t the place I’d like to live in forever, it’s been such a great learning experience for me. Plus, being only an hour and a half away from my parents in Naples and getting to visit them every month has been a nice change of pace from my usual far-off locations.

2. I got the most interesting job experiences of my life so far through working in corporate events and travel planning. I never would’ve guessed that I’d get the chance to plan a conference in Costa Rica for Louis Vuitton, or that Audi would allow me to plan an entire travel itinerary for their executives in Manhattan, or that I’d get to be an event producer for an iHeartRadio concert on South Beach. I got to coordinate and attend stunning, dream events which I am so thankful for, but I also learned that it’s not the right career path for me. I had to do a lot of soul searching and had many rough days at work, but I’ve come out confident in where I want to go now. The experience of this year in events gave me so many new skills that I can’t wait to use throughout my future.

3. Some amazing vacations have been had! In May, Stefan and I traveled to Costa Rica for 10 days, which may have been the most perfect trip of my entire existence. Except for Stefan feeling like his organs were disintegrating during our last two days- but other than that, paradise! Not only was it gorgeous, but it allowed me to clear my mind and refocus on what I truly find important. This summer, I also went on a three road trip up the East Coast stopping to visit friends and family in Washington DC, New York City, Ithaca, Boston, Charlottesville, and Raleigh. Even as I write this, Stefan and I are still on the road. We’ve been living at a hotel in Atlanta for the past month while Stefan works on engineering the new Atlanta Falcons stadium. I can’t wait to be home in my own bed! So unsettled…but I guess that’s what Year 24 is all about, right?

4. It’s been a year of crazy important personal development. I was pretty depressed when I first moved to Miami, but I was able to turn the year around by focusing on trying to find my passions and experience new things. I learned how to play ukulele, got really great at cooking healthy meals, and dedicated much more time to practicing yoga. But what’s most exciting is that I found my dream job that I’m going to pursue, and I started this blog, which I love to write in! Gutsy Girl Wellness has given me an outlet to creatively express all of my thoughts about life, travel, and health, and I’ve never been happier. I adore writing- getting to speak to you all through my words has already been the most amazing experience. I’m only two months into blogging though, so I hope you stick around for a while!

What’s Planned for Year Twenty-Five:

1. I’m taking a major leap towards jump-starting my career in the wellness industry! I applied to a nine month coaching training program last month, and after plenty of essays and a phone interview, I was accepted! That means I’ll be flying out to California in January for our welcome retreat, and I am beyond excited and nervous about what’s to come. This is the dream job I’ve been speaking of. I’ve been thinking about a career path in coaching for years, but I’m finally going to do it now! In addition to this big step, I’ll also be working on writing my first book and altering my blog to make it even better. So exhilarating. So scary.

2. More travel, of course! For my coach training program, I’ll be going to the Napa Valley area of California for several days. Stefan is planning on meeting me there and then we’ll road trip down the coast. We’re going to explore San Francisco, Carmel and lots of other little towns going south, LA, and finally San Diego before flying home to Florida. I’ve actually never been to California, and I have a feeling I’m going to love it. Besides the trip out West, I hope to travel back to Germany for the first time since studying abroad there in high school. I want to bring my mom this time, and show her the town I lived in and get to see my host family again. It’s been far too long. I miss Germany!

3. By the end of this upcoming year, I hope that Stefan and I will have decided on a city/ town to make our home for a long while. Though traveling is clearly one of my favorite activities, I also crave finding my place where I can become a true part of the community and put down some roots. It’s been too many years of me hopping from place to place and never having the time to build a strong enough connections to people. This will be the deciding year, so who knows where we’ll move in Year 26!

4. This will be a year for even more personal development. I’ll be participating in a five-week intuitive painting workshop, called Bloom True, starting next month. I love to create art, but I’m always so scared that I’ll make a mistake that I rarely pick up a pencil or paintbrush. I’m hoping this course will push me beyond those boundaries so that I can create some beautiful pieces. I’ll also be continuing with Beachbody workouts! Right now, Stefan and I are starting our second week of Piyo (Pilates and yoga combination) and participating in a challenge that teaches you new yoga inversions everyday. Doing headstands and handstands was way past my comfort zone just a few weeks ago, but I’m loving learning how to do inversions! Maybe thoughts of doing a Yoga Teacher Training are in the works…

Looking back over this list, Year 24 seemed to be a time of planting seeds for my future. It was twelve months of planning and figuring out what I wanted. It was my prep year. So that means Year 25, to keep going with the gardening metaphor, will be my year of growing into my goals and expanding my skills. Year 26 will hopefully provide some financial harvest. 😉

So if I could pick one word to meditate on and focus myself towards for the whole rest of this next year, it would be “courageous.” I want to push myself to be brave enough to follow through fully in all of my coming challenges and to become the best version of myself possible. I feel in my heart and intuition that this is going to be a big year for me- I’m not sure how yet, but I’ll have to work hard to make it happen! Thank you so much for stopping by and checking out my yearly life update! 🙂

Have a beautiful September 12th,

xo Caylee

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

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

 

20 Things You Might Not Know About Me – Blog Tag

As a fun Friday post, I want to share some silly facts about myself for you all who might not know me well yet. This blog post is a part of the “20 Things You Might Not Know About Me” Blog Tag started by April from Blacksburg Belle. She began this blog tag experiment to build community with other bloggers in order to connect more and get to know each other better. This month’s topic is all about sharing just a little too much information about yourself. If you’d like to participate or want more info, check out the beginning post right here.

Question 1: How tall are you?

What you can’t tell from pictures on my blog is that I’m super short- Only 5’1.” Basically everyone is taller than me!

Question 2: Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what?

Ice-skating! I used to be a competitive figure skater for a few years, but nobody really knows about that because I quit when I was only 11 years old. I can still do spins and such though!

Question 3: What’s your biggest blog-related pet peeve?

I get offended when bloggers don’t respond back to the kind comments people leave them on their website. Unless you’re Barack Obama or Beyonce, you got time to show some love back to your followers! Am I right? *sassiness over*

Question 4: What’s your biggest non-blog related pet peeve?

People who talk during movies.

Question 5: What’s your favorite song?

My favorite song in the history of the world is “Heartbeats” by The Knife.

Question 6: What’s your favorite Etsy shop?

Elise Mahan Fine Art has really cool art prints. She has the most unique style that really speaks to me. I have three of Elise’s pieces.

Question 7: What’s your favorite way to spend your free time when you’re alone? 

I, of course, love to read blogs and books. And I also enjoy playing my ukulele to clear my mind.

Question 8: What’s your favorite junk food?

I don’t really like typical junk foods, but I am a huge lover of bacon and doughnuts. So there’s that.

Question 9: Do you have a pet or pets? If so, what kind and what are their names?

I love dogs, but I don’t have any of my own pets currently. I travel too much. 😦

Question 10: What are your number one favorite nonfiction and fiction books?

What counts as a favorite book to a book lover? Is it the ones that make me feel the most? Or the ones that fill my heart the most? Because “Wild”, by Cheryl Strayed, made me cry more than any book ever in the very first chapter. But as for the books that have captured my heart and imagination, it would be these:

Nonfiction: “The Blue Zones” or “Blink”

Fiction: “The Shadow of the Wind” or, to be basic but honest, my childhood love, the Harry Potter series 🙂

Question 11: What’s your favorite beauty product? 

Maybelline Great Lash Mascara

Question 12: When were you last embarrassed? What happened?

Not so much embarrassed, but more awkward feeling. I was alone on my road trip up the East Coast a few weeks ago and stopped to eat at this super nice, trendy restaurant in Raleigh. Everyone was there with big groups of colleagues or friends, and here I am all by myself at a dinner table looking all lonely. People kept coming up to me asking why I was there alone and trying to make conversation with me, like they felt bad for me! It made me feel super awkward! But the dinner ended up being one of the best I’ve ever had, and the restaurant owner gave me a big, free desert for being a trooper.

Question 13: If you could only drink one beverage (besides water) for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Honest Tea. Refreshing and not too sweet!

Question 14: What’s your favorite movie?

Who can pick?? I’m much more of a TV series person- I get into dramas like Breaking Bad and Dexter. But my weirdest love, and they’re really my favorite, are Korean romance dramas. I recommend, in this order: Rooftop Prince, Love Rain, Boys Over Flowers, Dream High, and 49 Days. So emotional and addicting!!! Trust me on this!

Question 15: What were you in high school: prom queen, nerd, cheerleader, jock, valedictorian, band geek, loner, artist, prep?

I think I was a combination of many of those. I hung out with band kids, I was on the dance team, but I was also artsy in my free time and did well in all of my classes… I guess I was well rounded!

Question 16: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

I would love to live in New Zealand! Or my favorite place on the Western Hemisphere, Costa Rica 🙂

Question 17: PC or Mac?

Only PCs for me!

Question 18: Last romantic gesture from a crush, date, boy/girlfriend, spouse?

My boyfriend Stefan surprised me with doughnuts when he came home last week. It was love.

Question 19: Favorite celebrity?

Louis CK always makes me laugh; Robert Downy Jr. always makes me swoon

Question 20: What blogger do you secretly want be best friends with?

There are so many bloggers that I love- But I think April Bowles Olin, Mayi Carles, and I would make a crazy trio! 🙂

 

And that’s it for my fun facts! I’m going to tag three bloggers that I’d love to know more about: Julie from Girl On the Move, Gina Alyse at Creative Callings, and Liz from Liz and Lifestyle. Please feel free to participate and answer these twenty questions on your own blog, or not! It won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t. 🙂 Hope you all have an amazing weekend!

xo Caylee

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5 Things I’ve Learned About Life This Summer

shining light quote

1. Your community doesn’t have to be made up of the people in your town.

In this age of the internet where people from all over the world can connect over Twitter, Facebook, and a variety of other social media forms, why not take full advantage of this opportunity? I used to scoff at getting deeply involved in social media, because I thought it was a waste of time- that is, until I started utilizing it for my blog. And now, in just the past two months, I’ve met some of the coolest lady bloggers online! From my experience, it can be difficult making new friends in your community once you’re out of college, because often times, you’re just waiting for a serendipitous event to bring you in contact with friendly and interesting people. Instead of restricting yourself to only forming business and friendship connections with the people in your local community, think outside of those social limits. I’ve been meeting amazing people who share many of my common goals and interests though participating in fun Twitter parties and inspiring Facebook groups. If you’re not feeling supported by your friends at home, perhaps your soul people are waiting to connect with you from other cities!

2. I’m the best version of myself when I’m on the go and traveling.

When Stefan and I were vacationing in Costa Rica a few months ago, he remarked that I’m so much happier and energetic when I’m traveling. I would hop right out of bed at the break of dawn, and I’d be ready to explore for the whole day. I felt exactly the same when I was on my recent road trip up the East Coast- pumped to try anything fresh that came my way. I thrive on a combination of being busy and inspired, rolling in momentum over stagnancy. But traveling and being on the go is surely not what makes everyone the best version of themselves. It’s important for each of us to listen to our bodies and realize when we feel most energetic and in the flow of things. Then, do more of it!

3. Just because you follow your passion doesn’t mean success will come quickly.

Wouldn’t it would be wonderful if dream jobs and amazing lifestyles came easily to us all? Though I do believe that part of the struggle is just letting go of our ego and ignoring what other people want for our life, it really is true that work is inevitable. I could spend all day writing articles, marketing on social media, reading coaching books, and learning tips for small businesses. Even though I have a deep love for this whole business building process, it’s hard on the days when I feel like I didn’t get anywhere. I always have to remind myself that it takes time to become successful. So here are my thoughts- if we’re all going to work long hours to make it big and earn money in any industry we choose, why not pick the path that makes us happiest? It’s a no-brainer. That’s why I’m starting from the bottom and working hard to become a coach and blogger. It’ll still be a challenge, but at least I’ll be in love with my job.

4. When you follow what makes you happy, you’ll give off a shining light that attracts amazing people.

Which traits are most appealing to you: joyful, kind, and inspired OR bitter, selfish, and dull? I’m assuming you picked the former. From my experience, the more you embody these positive personality traits, the more people you attract into your life who value the same positivity in life. Truth: I can be the sassiest person on earth, but I was tired of the negativity and dramatic things that were being drawn to me. Instead, for the past couple of years, I’ve been trying to act from a place of love and understanding in every situation that I’m met with. Is it difficult at times? Hell yes. Does it sound hippy-ish to do that? Probably. But does it make me a happier person? No question about it. The best part is that during conscious attitude change the negative people naturally distance themselves from you and the positive people stick to you like a magnet.

5. On that note, you have to accept and set free the people/ things that are drifting away from your life.
Struggling and fighting to keep them with you isn’t allowing the natural course of life to take place. Let it flow. Though it can be challenging, let them go in a peaceful, loving way. It’ll hurt you and make you feel all alone, but I believe that if they were meant to be in your life, they would be. And if they’re meant to come back into your life in the future, they will.

So what are the biggest things you’ve learned about yourself, or about life, this summer? Please share with me in the comments below!

Have a great end of the week,

xo Caylee