Spotlight Feature: My Mom

Moms are kind of magical.

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They have this uncanny ability to be there for you at the most crucial times, offer the best advice (whether or not you choose to listen to it, is up to you), and they have this infuriating knack for always being right.

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My mom is all of these things and so much more. She is my champion, my number one fan and always supports me no matter what I endeavor to do. She brings so much joy into my life and lights up the world within which she operates. She is both my friend and my confidant, she keeps all my secrets and cheers me on. She has been here for me through many ups and downs and her strength never falters. She is a grand optimist and taught me to always look for the silver lining (sunshine) in the world.

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She has also known hardships. She has spent much of her adult life dealing with severe health issues and last year, had the added complication of battling TWO separate cancers on top of everything else. The hand she was dealt has not been easy. It’s hard to see someone you love so dearly, someone so completely selfless, deal with debilitating pain every minute of every day. Yet she soldiers on. Her smile never wavers, her head stays held high, she walks with confidence, and her chipper attitude is contagious- even on her worst days.

I hope one day to have even half of the optimism and joy for life she has.

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(Birthday lunch on The Plaza)

This past week we had the immense pleasure of bringing in her birthday with her. This was a milestone birthday, and a day we didn’t know if we would see this time last year when she was receiving her cancer diagnosis.

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(mushroom lasagna with truffle oil at my new favorite restaurant Gram & Dun)

This year has been full of ups and downs and has shown me just how precious time with your loved ones-especially your mom- actually is.

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(there was a suprise mini-snow storm, it didn’t photograph well, but we enjoyed it immensely! it seems like it always snows on her bday-just more of her “momma magic” I guess…she then proceeded to have an impromptu photo shoot with me after lunch-always the encourager that one)

Yesterday she had her one year scans to detect if the cancer she so recently beat is still eradicated from her body; it was a day of fear, but also a day to remind us of her strength and eternal optimism. So I encourage you today to take stock of the blessings you currently have. Look at the loved ones in your life who are your support system. Appreciate every second you have with them as life can be hard and cruel sometimes. Remember to look for the sunshine and know the value of the things that truly matter in life. Keep the sunshine in your eyes.

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Update: as if she could be anymore wonderful, I got home tonight to find this waiting for me from, you guessed it…



My mom! 

Seriously love this lady more than words could ever convey.

Weekend Details

Weekend Roundup on a Tuesday because my weekends are always a little too packed.

Saturday

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Red lips and an amethyst necklace.

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It snowed all day, so after work I went to Caribou and sat by the fire to read and watch the snow fall.

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Honey Hazelnut Latte and a French Novel.

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After work I had a friend’s bridal shower to attend and the set up was lovely!

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The theme was wine tasting, so as you can imagine it was a hit.

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Various cheeses and such.

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My plate (dinner) consisting of bread and cheese.

Sunday

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Mocha Latte at my new favorite local coffee shop Post Coffee.

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Perfect Pancake with peanut butter, chia seeds and blueberries.

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Perfect sunset after a snow storm.

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Have a lovely week all!

Also Happy Birthday to my awesome brother!

Your Best Self

Today I want to talk about being the best possible version of yourself.

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In this technologically driven society we live in, it’s easy to be over exposed to those with so called “perfect lives”. We see the constant updates on social media, hear about the exciting things others are up to, and in turn, we naturally compare our own lives to theirs. Obviously we are going to fall short when we know the raw details (including the ups and downs) of our own lives and are only exposed to the edited and abbreviated version of others. When we make any comparison of our own lives to others, whether it be an upward or downward comparison, we are cheating ourselves and those we look at with judgmental eyes by only looking at what is presented to us instead of the whole story.

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 *I think there’s an important distinction to be made between comparing yourself with others and trying to be more like them (which is often depressing as you are denying your true self), and holding someone in high esteem as a role model of sorts-the trick is to be aware of how you are viewing the person. Are you trying to mimic them and live like they do? Are you bitter or envious of them? Or are you merely inspired by them and seek to better your life by taking cues from them?

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Once you become aware of this tendency you realize how destructive it can be-I was having this conversation with a good friend the other day, (lets call her J) and she pointed out that you just gotta live YOUR life. It sounds so simple, but I’ve used it as my mantra for the past week and it has made the biggest difference.

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Every time I felt the slightest twinge of envy or jealousy creep up, I would repeat that mantra back and I instantly became intent on bettering myself as opposed to focusing on what I didn’t have.

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Which brings me to being the best possible version of yourself.

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I think its easy to become complacent in our daily lives-we get busy, we have routines, we make unhealthy easy choices, instead of difficult ones that mean a better future for us and our loved ones. We lose sight of childhood dreams and sometimes put ourselves second to the point of losing our identity. We get so caught up in the nuisances of life, that we lose sight of the big picture.

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Being your best self, to me, means constantly challenging yourself, never stop learning, always look for the bright side of things (the sunshine), never taking yourself too seriously, and always maintain the mindset that you can never be done with the project that is you.

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Which is why I am making this the year that I scare myself silly. I’m going to backpack Europe. I’m going to strike up conversations with strangers. I’m going to work on nurturing relationships I currently have and challenge my loved ones to be their best self. I’m going to explore places in my home city that I’ve always wanted to, but have been too afraid to go alone. I’m going to turn off my phone and get lost somewhere. I’m going to try and teach myself French in 3 months. I’m going to go to live shows and poetry readings, and get back to the theatre. I’m going to a ballet class tonight because I used to dance as girl and miss it so! (pics to follow, as I’m sure they’ll be hilarious)

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The point is this-never stop trying. Always challenge yourself. Look at your life with fresh eyes and realize that we only get one shot to be great.

 Live YOUR life- and make it your best one.

Update: went to that ballet class and had SUCH an amazing time!!! Chase your dreams people!

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Planning the Trip

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I’ve been planning this trip for a while as a graduation present to myself, and it seems like it’s finally coming to fruition!

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It’s been incredibly exciting outlining the trip and putting together an itinerary, but also extremely headache inducing!

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(Current mood)

Either way this trip is finally happening!
My sister and I will be backing through Europe for 2-3 weeks in June, starting in London and making our way though France and down Italy! I think the hardest part is going to be narrowing down the list of places to see as I feel it could be endless!

I’d love to hear any travel advice you guys have as this will be out first trip overseas!

Also thanks to The Savvy Backpacker for your awesome website that makes planning so easy, and to my friend Megan for the awesome travel journal!

Snowed In

So it snowed here in Kansas City last night.

Not too much, but enough to cause me to be sufficiently trapped in my neighborhood and thus forced to stay bundled up inside all day-definitely not complaining though!

It was a perfect excuse to spend some much needed quality time with my sister!

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(shopping at the Plaza at Christmas)

Speaking of my sister, let me tell you a bit about her.

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(at the salon Christmas Party)

First of all she is my person. She’s the constant in my life who never wavers and is always loyal. I can’t imagine a better friend, so it’s kind of crazy that we ended up being sisters.

She’s the most kind, sweet, thoughtful & hilarious person who always is supportive, yet never hesitant to call me on my crap. Best of all she goes along with my crazy antics and inspires me to be a better person everyday.

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I’m lucky enough to have had her as my best friend almost my entire life (I’m older), and I hope all of you have a person who you can count on no matter what.

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(shopping shenanigans)

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(detective work)

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(full cat mode)

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(celebrating her college acceptance)

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(campus tour after Kayla got accepted)

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(animal versions of ourselves-guess which one I am?)

You get the point.

Normally I’d spend the snow day playing in the snow and building snowmen-or snowcats in my case (complete with snow mouse)…

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but instead we decided to make pasta and have a Harry Potter marathon-something I’d always recommend, snow day or not.

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Here’s to spontaneous Mondays!