5 Ways to Make Your Dreams a Reality

how to, Life

If only life were as easy as a Disney movie.๐ŸŽฅ๐Ÿฟ

Well, I take that back. A lot of Disney movies have one or both parents missing or dead and some pretty bad stuff can happen in them, but what I mean is…Disney movies are typically full of characters that are dreamers.

You all should know the plot and formula by now, if you’ve watched any amount of them. The main character has a dream to do something or be something and…they usually end up doing it. Sometimes, they might need a push or something or someone else in the plot pushes them forward, but the point is, they usually achieve whatever their “dream” is.

Now, it isn’t always easy, but I think in our culture today, we associate dreams as being easy. It’s easy to dream and fantasize…but not so easy to take action steps to get us to our dreams.

I’m not saying I’ve lived out every single one of my dreams, but I have gone to Italy, something I’d only dreamed about doing before. The other day, I was watching an Indiana Jones movie that was set in Venice for part of it and I couldn’t believe that I had actually been there! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

So, here are 5 practical tips for how you can take action steps and get closer to making your dreams a reality!

1. Don’t set so lofty a goal.

Dreams are big for a reason, but sometimes–we can dream too big. You should always aspire to something, but start small. For example, I would love to travel the entire world, but I instead made a more realistic goal: to go to Italy for 17 days. And you know what? I did it! Start with smaller goals and work up to your big ones! ๐Ÿ’ฏ

2. Always be working to better yourself and learn things.

No Instagram success was built overnight. No CEO of a Fortune 500 company sat down at that desk after just turning one measly application in. The truth is, it takes hard work.

If you aren’t getting better, you’re usually getting worse or just…staying average.

For example, I’ve wanted to get better at social media lately. This has resulted in me reading up on everything to do with the subject. I’ve also wanted to invest more in my Instagram photography, so I’ve been looking at cameras. Read all the books you can, research and study because nothing happens by accident or overnight.

3. Make a list of things you can do each day or each week.

I don’t know if you’re like me, but if I don’t make lists, I’m prone to forget things! It’s not natural to constantly be working on the same thing or to remember everything you’ve been mentally digesting, so make yourself lists. 5 Action Steps To Start My Own Blog. 5 Things to Do To Improve My Photography. 5 Ways to Save up for My Next Out of Country Trip.

When you write things down, you not only sort of will them into existence, but you make them more concrete. You hold yourself accountable. You make lists for the grocery store and that stuff is all gone by the end of the month! Why not invest in yourself and your personal skills and dreams by making a list to help you achieve those dreams?!

4. Stop looking sideways.

I REPEAT—with a bullhorn and with emphatic tone—–STOP LOOKING AT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING!

Okay, you can. To an extent. But do not get sucked into the trap of comparison. Instead of saying, “I wish I had what she has.” or “She makes doing what I want to do look so easy!” say, “What can I learn from this person?”

I’m going to use Instagram as an example because it has been on my mind lately, but I used to look at other travel bloggers and hate myself. It wasn’t until I realized that these stylized images are just that—stylized. They are literally only a fraction of a second of those people’s days and lives!

Instead of comparing myself to that fraction of a second, I attacked my own battle plan. I looked at what I could do to change my own feed. How could it be better? How could I get better at taking pictures and telling a story? Think of positive things and positive things will come!

5. Never give up.

It’s easy to give up, but dreams aren’t achieved easily. Think how much better your dream will taste and be when you actually GET IT.

So, get out there.

Stop making excuses.

Stop looking at everyone else.

And focus on YOU.

The going will be tough and you will have naysayers. Put in your earplugs and blinders and get to it.

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Jonesborough Storytelling Festival

Life, Travel

Jonesborough, Tennessee. It’s a historic little town that is only an hour and a half from Knoxville, and yet I’d never been there until the other day.

Jonesborough is actually the oldest town in Tennessee and also home to the international Storytelling Festival. We had the opportunity to go this year when we were gifted tickets by some sweet friends and we loved the experience!

When you come to the festival, you are given fabric patches, like the ones we’re wearing! They are a lot cooler than nametags!

Photos were prohibited in a lot of the tents where the actual storytelling was going on, but we took a lot of pictures of the town, which is so charming! When you’re walking around, you see a lot of churches, old squares and general stores–it’s easy to picture horses going up and down the streets once upon a time!

The old brick walls of Jonesborough are also peppered with old advertisements, my favorite!๐Ÿ˜ There’s just something about faded paint!

But enough about the actual town! The Storytelling Festival was great! Speakers from all over the world come to weave tales and share anecdotes; it’s a festival that is going on 46 years strong!

It was very cool getting to hear stories from so many different varieties of people. We all have stories to tell and it made me realize that we shouldn’t discount our stories. If we don’t share our stories and what we’ve learned in our lifetimes, our stories die with us.

This is a festival that anyone can enjoy! There are tents scattered around the city, which you can walk to and pick and choose which speakers you listen to!

We laughed, we cried. I didn’t expect to go through so many emotions at this festival, but I did! These speakers share things from their personal lives, using comedy and sometimes even tragedy, to drive their points home.

Storytelling is rooted in every single ancient civilization that has existed here on earth. It also has deep ties to the South, where stories are told as often as sweet tea is made or pecan pies or casseroles are pulled out of an oven.

If you haven’t heard of or been to the Jonesborough Storytelling Festival, you need to check it out! It is held every October and is so fun!

5 Ways to Cheer Yourself Up When the World is Full of Hateful, Nasty Scumbags

how to, Life

Good afternoon!๐Ÿน

Now. I know if you were to go by the title alone, this blog entry seems like it might be a little…negative. But really. I don’t think everyone is mean and nasty. I genuinely think that, for the most part, that that old man who flipped me off in traffic for blowing at him when he was swerving into my lane…must have just been having a bad day.

Or that lady who said the other day when I was buying a bouquet(for myself, as it turns out, because that’s how I do), “You must be buying these because you’re celebrating something. Must be nice to have good things happening in your life.” in the most sarcastic tone I’ve ever heard…must have just been going through something.

Alright, let’s be real. Sometimes, people are just…people.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still believe there is good.

So, here are a few things you can do on those days where you’re just…really annoyed with or feeling hopeless in regards to humanity at large.

1. Treat yo self.

Really. This is such a mood booster! I don’t care if you buy yourself flowers or a foot long from Subway! To each their own. Do something or get something for yourself. Don’t get something because you think it will impress someone else—factor everyone else out of the equation for a few minutes and just do something or get something that you actually want. If you don’t like coffee, than don’t fake it like that time I thought it’d be a good idea to go to a cafe and “work on” my computer. I didn’t get anything at all done. I honestly don’t get how people go to coffee shops and get work done. How is it conducive to work?! I think we’re all just lying to ourselves and each other and looking busy. ๐Ÿ‘€

But anywaysssssss.

2. Do something nice for a stranger.

You thought this was going to be a self centered list, huh? Well, NO. Sometimes, you just have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others better. ๐Ÿ’ฏโœจ

I personally like buying the food of people behind me at drive thrus. Or giving someone an extra tip. It’s the little things that you don’t even have to do that are the best!

3. Surround yourself with positive people.

This should be common sense, but a lot of times, we find ourselves hanging out with Debbie Downers, fun suckers and just people who like to put us down whenever they aren’t feeling so hot.

Find good friends who are glass half full kind of people. You’d be amazed at how much it will change your mood!

4. Find an outlet.

For me, my outlets would be playing random 90’s computer games on my PC, thrifting and going to estate sales, blogging and photography and so many more things!

Just find something that makes you forget everything else for a while.

5. Imagine the possibilities.

I’m a little bit of a daydreamer. I like to imagine possibilities rather than impossibilities.

When you think in positive terms rather than negative ones, it can change everything. Seriously, if you’re always doom and gloom, than no wonder the world always seems like it’s full of nasty hateful people! We all have days where this may seem like the case, but just accept that other people have bad days too and don’t let it ruin or affect your mood! Don’t let someone’s 5 minute temper tantrum or blow up cloud over the rest of your day.

Hope you guys have been having a good week and remember—you can always believe there is good, but we should also be the good!

5 Ways To Prioritize Whatโ€™s Important to You

how to, Life

Sometimes with how busy and crazy life can get, it’s easy to give up on the things we actually love doing.

We make excuses, time gets away from us, or sometimes, we just genuinely are exhausted from all the “responsibilities” we have. Ugh!

Lately though, I’ve been noticing some things about prioritizing the things I love. It’s really just a matter of sitting yourself down, making some goals and prioritizing…well, your priorities in life!

Here are some tips for how you can make time for the things you love doing during the day!

1. Look at your calendar and find those empty spots during your day/week.

If we were to really think about it, we have an hour at least each day where we can make time for the things we love. For me, that would be finding time to practice photography and blogging! I don’t know about you, but these times are usually when I’m just watching tv or on my phone anyway! Instead of completely wasting that time, I’ve been trying to take advantage of it instead! Really, it comes down to time management! If you sit down and map out how you can best use your time, you’ll find that you have more times for the things you love than you once thought!

2. Learn to say “NO”.

This is a hard one for me, but I’ve gotten soooooo much better at it! In order to make time for the things you like doing, you’re going to have to say “no” to some things. Sometimes, it might be easy because these are things you kind of didn’t like doing anyway, but occasionally, it means turning down a fun night out with friends. Learn to say “no” so you can say “yes” to the things you want to improve on or have time for in your life!

3. Ignore the critics.

Maybe you don’t have any critics, but chances are you might. Whenever you’re trying to institute a lifestyle change, you will usually experience some pushback from those closest to you. Maybe they think your blogging is silly. Maybe they think you’re ridiculous for taking that bagpipe class! ๐Ÿ˜‚ If it’s what you want to do, than ignore the critics. Some people just don’t like change!

4. Have fun with it!

If you view this priority as “work”, chances are, you are going to drop it within a week. Make whatever you’re doing fun! If you’re trying to exercise more, tell yourself how lucky you are to have two legs that work and allow you to run. If you’re trying to get better at photography like I am, have fun coming up with locations and concepts for a shoot! Don’t take it too seriously!

5. Research, practice and invest in yourself.

Especially when you are learning a new skill! Read up on what it is you’re trying to learn! Practicing your skill naturally will make you better at it! If you look at it as investing in yourself, you will keep at it longer and prioritize these things more naturally!

Is there a skill that you all would love to learn? What steps are you taking this week, right now, to prioritize it?

How I Became a Girl Boss ๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿพ

Pets

It’s hard to really pinpoint when things changed for me. Looking back from where I am now, I can hardly believe what I get to do for a living. I am continually amazed and blessed by all the opportunities that have come my way.

What’s my job, you might ask?

I’m a petsitter.

But I wasn’t always.

I actually used to be a chef. Before that, I scooped ice cream, waited tables and was even a hostess at one point. I basically worked every position in a restaurant…except maybe bar tending or managing. ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ When I was a chef, I was used to always being caked in flower, having to clean grease traps and putting up with the public’s every order.

There are parts of kitchens that I miss. The rush. Filling orders. Getting to use really cool knives and carrying them in a fancy knife roll. (You wanna see my knife collection? ๐Ÿ˜‚ It’s best if you say that in the accent of The Butcher from Gangs of New York.) There are also parts I didn’t like–like aforementioned grease trap, people who don’t know the difference between medium and medium well—if you say medium, there’s a touch of pink, don’t care if you’re from Minnesota or Arkansas, that is what that term means—and weird hours.

But ANYways, back to the topic at hand. How did I become self employed? How did I get such a cool job of watching pets for people?

Honestly? It was a happy accident.

I’ve always loved animals. I had always grown up with them, taken care of them and just loved being around them. When people didn’t understand those unspoken feelings I had when I was upset, my pets always did. My dogs would always lick my tears off my face, crawl up into bed and lay down next to me until I dozed off and the very next day, they would follow me around, wagging their tails and just wanting to be loved. Isn’t that what we all want? To be loved?

After a few years in restaurants, 5-7, I was burnt out. I had been going to college and…that didn’t pan out either. I just didn’t care about any of it. And when I don’t care about something, there’s no hope.

I quit college, where I was going to get a culinary degree. I quit cooking and started working as a hostess. Still, working in a restaurant, but not having to get burnt by fryer oil or having to crouch behind a cooler to sneak a bite of food because in that business, if you don’t smoke, you don’t get a break.

I went from job to job for a while after that. I tried working in an office. That really wasn’t for me. It was a mold, water, fire and suicide remediation cleanup business. I got a lunch break and I honestly didn’t know what to do with myself.

From there, I worked at a salon as a receptionist and then I was back in restaurants again, working in a bakery and icing cakes and feeling dejected.

I then started up a petsitting page on Facebook. I had been doing it on the side up until that point and had been wanting to get more serious about it. I posted every day or every other day and I started getting calls and messages.

The rest, as they say, is history. Now, I watch people’s pets while they are gone and get paid to do it. I stay in 3,000 square foot homes sometimes, homes with pools, homes with incredible views, and watch pets and take care of them.

This weekend, I got to watch a farm with 6 dogs, 2 cats, 3 burros, 2 miniature ponies and 5 goats! And yes, 2 of them were fainting goats, but they did not faint for me this weekend! ๐Ÿ˜‚

I honestly have to pinch myself sometimes. I cannot believe that this is my life and that this is my job. I know it’s cheesy, but now I really know what people mean when they say, “Do what you love.” I love my job.

I am so glad that I get to do something meaningful and not slough off to a job I hate every day! Every day is honestly an adventure—sometimes I don’t know where I’ll be next, who I’ll meet. My job has also given me free time to focus on blogging, YouTube and social media, whatnot. And for that I’m grateful! I generally have more time to spend with my family and my grandparents, which is very important to me.

I have even been able to plan this trip to Italy with my grandfather, going over to his house a lot of days when I have finished checking on pets.

There is such a freedom and a peace now in my heart and I thank God for that. I am so glad that I get to wake up each day and have an actual purpose. Things make sense now.

When I look back at those years that I saw as wasted in restaurants and in college, I guess it makes sense now. It took me going through all of that…to get to where I am now. โœŒ๐Ÿป

A+

A Musing

I was never an A+ student. I was always one of those kids that people thought was a “straight A” student because…I don’t know. I had both my parents? I wasn’t ever really acting out and I was shy? I don’t know, but it still makes me laugh.

I was a B and C student, average, at best. I never really “succeeded” in school, but from a young age, I remember just not caring. The only reason I found myself wanting to be “better” was because I didn’t want to disappoint someone else.

I was more creatively inclined. I was in band and loved music. I was great at English and Creative Writing, but I sucked at math. There came a time though, when I was in high school that I started to realize…how pointless and dumb some aspects of school were. I liked learning things, but I thought life was a better teacher. Experiences were a better teacher. And I should want to be better for myself, not for everyone else. I needed to break apart from the huge, people-pleasing streak I have in me and start doing things…just for myself.

It’s taken a while to get to this point in my life. Did I get a college degree? No. But am I happy? Yes. I can truly say that I have a job that I love. I am self-employed and own my own petsitting business and not a day feels like work to me.

I guess I just wanted to write an inspirational post today because I thought someone else out there might need to hear it.

Don’t ever feel like you have to live up to a single letter on a page or report card. Don’t ever do something if your heart isn’t in it. And don’t try to better yourself just because you think that will make someone else happy–you have to want it too.

It hasn’t been but in the last 5-6 years that I have started making deliberate choices for myself and I’ve gotta say, it feels good.

Success is measured, often times, by people who believe the letters they are assigned on a piece of paper, the people who fall in line and do as they’re told.

Even though I got B’s and C’s and sevvvvvveral D’s and F’s, I knew that wasn’t me. I didn’t let it define me.

I know some might say that I didn’t have “work ethic”, but I do. I just genuinely hated algebra. ๐Ÿ˜‚

If there’s any advice I can give, having been on this earth for 27 years, it’s don’t sweat the small stuff. College doesn’t define you either. Do what you think you were meant to do. The rest will fall into place. โœŒ๐Ÿป

Hooray for Berets!

Life, Uncategorized

I realize this picture was taken in a bathroom. It has been a crazy month. I haven’t felt like writing in a while or haven’t had the time.

This is the outfit I wore to my aunt’s funeral. The last few weeks have been…surreal. I had to write my aunt’s obituary. Sitting at her bedside and asking her while she was still alive the things she wanted written most about her after she was gone was…hard. By that point, her brain cancer had really taken over and she couldn’t remember much.

I really didn’t care much what I wore the day this was taken. I chose the beret because typically, I like to wear hats when I don’t want to be seen. Same for the turtleneck. It made me feel secure and comfortable in my own skin.

One of the last things my aunt told me, her remaining two sisters and my mom was, “You broads better get your funeral attire ready, you need to look like a million bucks!” ๐Ÿ˜‚

My aunt was a blunt lady. I don’t think I looked like a million anything, but I just wanted to be comfortable.

Valentine’s Day also came and went and barely registered on my radar. I was watching so many pets and trying to get sleep and couldn’t…it was a mess. I think Valentine’s night, my husband and I ended up splitting some cheese fries and I went to a house I was staying at, took some sleeping pills and called it a night.

I also had a terrifying scare the other day when a guy started following me when I was out on a walk. ๐Ÿ˜ค It really annoyed me that this guy kept hitting on me—and had to call for help. It makes me mad that there are sick pervs in the world and that a woman can’t just go for a walk and mind her own business and not be harassed. ๐Ÿ™„

So, yeah. This has been one of the weirdest months of my life. I am so ready to escape for a while and write on my experiences in Italy for you guys! It would be nice to have something positive to channel my energy into!

So, anyways, wanted to let you all know I’m alive and well, life has just been treating me not so nicely lately. I think I’m going to have to take a defense class and show it who’s boss. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿป

Hope you guys have had a better month than me!