My Happy Place

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LA is an amazing city to live in. The hustle, the bustle, the sunshine, palm trees, and beaches. There is always something to do, someone to meet, and something new to experience.

However, once in a while, this Colorado girl has got to go back to her roots. The fresh mountain air, the snow making a “shh” sound as you step into it, the miles and miles of nature. The pace is a little slower, the rhythm is a little less chaotic, and everything is way less crammed together.

 

In this girl’s mind, there’s nothing better than the mountains, sunshine, and fresh air. I love that I always have Colorado as an escape. A place to re-center and regroup. To unplug and hang out in nature is sometimes just what soul needs.

 

What’s your happy place? I’d love to hear all about it!

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The Perfect Reds

It’s not a secret that I love a classic red lip. Nothing pulls together an outfit more or boosts confidence quite as high as red lipstick. There’s just something so elegant, classy, and confident about it. For me, a lot of my wardrobe consists of black and gray. An all black outfit just exudes a cool vibe and once you add the red lipstick or even red nails, it sends the outfit over the top.

So many times my friends have said, “I wish I could wear a red lip” or “that red lipstick looks so good on you, I just don’t think I could pull it off”. I’m here to tell you that you CAN wear a red lip and that trust me, it WILL boost your confidence. It’s like putting on armor. Swipe it on and bam! Instant confidence boost.

I’ve picked out 2 of my favorite red lipsticks and my favorite red nail polish. I could wear red lipstick all the time but the perfect time would have to be valentine’s day. So whether you’re celebrating with your man or with your girls, these lipsticks and this nail polish will have people turning heads.

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Left: Urban Decay in Gash (cream)

Middle: Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Wine Not

Right: It Cosmetics in Ruby Slippers

It Cosmetics in Ruby Slippers:

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Urban Decay in Gash:

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Sally Hansen in Wine Not:

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Now that you have a couple of recommendations, go for it! Paint the town red.

 

2017 Reading List

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I love reading. I love books. I love holding a story in my hands, knowing that a world of people and creatures, defeats and triumphs, loss and love is all in between my two hands, contained in the pages of a book. I love getting lost in someone else’s reality whether it be a real story or one from the author’s heart. I get swept up and carried away. I start to believe I’m a student at Hogwarts or that I too can wander the snow-covered streets of Narnia. It is because of this great love of story telling that I have a never-ending list of “to be read” books. The books could line up end to end and reach across the United States.

Recently, I haven’t done the best job with being intentional about checking books off of that list. I get distracted by the book that everyone is chattering about. Not exactly a problem…I think getting into conversations with your friends or coworkers or strangers in a coffee shop about a great book is way better than a lot of the topics people talk about these days. But between these phenomenon books, it’s important to pick up the books that have been burning a hole in my shelf.

This year, I’ve made a list. I’ve also made a pledge on Goodreads. I committed to reading thirty books this year and I’ve decided that twelve of those are going to be the books that have waited for me to crack the cover the longest. One for each month. Let’s do this.

The Chosen Twelve:

  1. Woman in the Mists: The Story of Dian Fossey and the Mountain Gorillas of Africa
    by Farley Mowat — This one has seriously been on my shelf since the 8th grade. It’s time to tackle this one.
  2. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert — I’ve started and stopped reading this book a few times now. For some reason, I like the piece in Italy and can’t make it through India. But I really want to mark this one-off. 2017 is it’s year.
  3. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown — Okay, so I know this is the second one on the list which was one of those “talked about books” that I mentioned above but I never made it to this one. I was 14 when it came out so at the time when it was getting the most chatter, I was a little too young to really want to delve in.
  4. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy  — This is a hefty one, you guys. Depressing and confusing are the words I hear describe this book but for some reason, it’s always been there, on the list waiting for me to take it on.
  5. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen — Going to read all of Jane Austen’s works eventually, one book at a time.
  6. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis — Another one I’ve picked up and set back down. Hoping to read through the whole series but obviously need to begin with the one that started it all.
  7. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden — I picked this up in high school and can’t remember why I put it down. I liked it when I was reading it and this year, I’m going to finish what I started.
  8. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire — At the time of its publication I was only 9 years old. A bit young to get into this one but after seeing the musical, I have the need to see where it all came from.
  9. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger — When I first bought this book, I was in high school. I could even sense then that my time to read this book hadn’t come yet but after a few years working for a big company, I believe that time has arrived.
  10. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote — Recently a Tiffany’s blue covered copy of this book made its way to me. I love reading books before seeing the movie so it may have to be a double feature where I read the book and then hang out with Audrey.
  11. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg — Fried Green Tomatoes has been one of my favorite movies for as long as I can remember. It’s time for me to get the details of the story that only a book can capture.
  12. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr  — A newer addition to this list but one I want to get into nonetheless. I started this one last year (sensing a pattern here?) and for whatever reason, put it down. It was such a deep, connected read – one with a story you can practically see fill the room around you. Completing the list with this Pulitzer prize winner.

If you have any recommendations on what the other eighteen should be, shoot them my way! Better yet, let’s connect on Goodreads! If you’ve made your own reading list, I’d love to see it.

As the great C.S. Lewis said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”

That being said, don’t mind me as I go heat up the kettle and pull a soon to be treasured story off the shelf.

Happy reading!

2017 Planner: Erin Condren

 

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Hello Friend!

I don’t know if you happened to catch my post on my 2017 resolutions but the best way, in my opinion, to accomplish goals is to be and stay organized. The biggest way I do this is with my Erin Condren Life Planner. I spoke about this last year in my 10 Ways To Keep It All Together post and how a planner is just 1 of those 10 ways. Today, I want to dive deeper into my planner, which one I use, and why.

Erin Condren is such a top notch, quality company. Everything they make has such love put in. It shows in the packaging, the customer service, and the quality of the product.

The main color is this beautiful teal color. It shows in the freebie sticker shown above and the box itself even adorns the fun signature color, pattern, and “enjoy!”

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Packaging is so important. As soon as I see this box at the front door, it immediately brings joy and excitement. Maybe that’s a little nerdy over a paper planner but you guys, I love staying on top of things and I have a sneaky suspicion that you do too. This planner, is just the means to how I do it all.

As if the teal, patterned box wasn’t enough, the planner is wrapped in bubble wrap and bright pink tissue paper and topped with a couple of bonus surprises. I just love this be merry sticker. The fact that it’s all wrapped up emulates a present – even if it is just a present to myself. But it isn’t just the present of the planner but of organization and time well spent because it was thought out.

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Something I really love about Erin Condren is they love to live life seasonally as much as I do. With the interchangeable covers, I can have something for every holiday and every season. Living seasonally is so important to me since moving to LA. Since there isn’t weather to match the seasons, I have to portray it in other ways. Coming from Colorado, it is always so important to me to mark time with the passing seasons and I love that I get to plan my days and scrapbook my memories with a cover on the front to match the season.

With it being a fresh new year, I went with a more New Year cover to start out the year.

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This teal is a common color in my house. I love the brightness and freshness of the color and the silver leafing is gorgeous. I went simple with my name on the cover, also in silver. My coil is silver to match, of course. Type A-wesome personality coming through.

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As you open the front cover, it is already evident the changes that have been made this year. For one, the inside of the front cover has space to act as a white board. Truthfully, I’ve only put sticky notes there and haven’t utilized this feature. I have heard other people say that if you use their white erase marker, it is hard to get off (in a good way) but can be removed simply by rubbing it with a tissue. I mostly use sticky notes in this way so I’m not sure if I’ll use this feature. Especially because with a sticky note, I can just take it off and throw it away. Regardless, pretty cool that they made use of what was otherwise un-utilized space.

Also new this year, the pocket isn’t already in the planner. It is placed in the front cover and comes with one of the coil clips so you can put it on the pocket and put it where you like. I never had an issue with it being in the back and I just took off the covers and flipped it to the front if I wanted it there but the versatility is neat.

The pocket comes with other free add ons which is really lovely on the company to include. There are compliment cards, stickers, post cards, etc. I really think it’s a nice touch to the purchase.

The front page appears the same to me although I haven’t compared. The vellum sheet in the front is a nice, classy touch to enjoy as soon as your open the cover.

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Each month starts out with a lined sheet of paper and an inspirational quote.

This year is the third year I’ve gone with the company and I couldn’t be happier. I’m so excited that they have come out with more layout options and this year, I took the plunge. My first two EC planners were both the traditional vertical layout with all the colors. This year, I went with the horizontal version with the neutral option.

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I’m excited to try this new layout. Having a horizontal planner is what I used in school but it will be interesting to see how well that translates from classes and homework to work events and to do lists. The reason I switched was that even though last year they took off the labels of the three boxes on each day, I still felt like it had to be in some sort of order. I found that it just didn’t work for my train of thought if I had put evening to-dos in the bottom boxes but then ended up having dinner with a friend, I felt the dinner shouldn’t be in the middle box but neither should the evening to dos.

This layout, even though I’ve only been living in it for a month now is much more versatile  which is perfect for me. Some days, I have a lot to do in the morning and afternoon and my nights are more free. In the old planner, I wouldn’t be sure what to fill the bottom box with. With this layout, I can arrange my day as I see fit. It’s more fluid but still maintains structure having the box on the end.

I also use my planner just as much as a planning device as I do for memory keeping. So the extra versatility is really aiding in making my planner as functional for me as I need it to be.

The reason I switched the color was although I loved how fun, happy, and bright the colorful planner was, I felt like I had to stick to that color as far as pens, stickers, what have you. I’m currently trying it out and seeing how I love the system but now, I can use colors as a system and not necessarily have to match to the color of the month. I don’t feel as boxed in as to what colors I have to use and I enjoy that creative freedom.

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The back pocket got a makeover and I’m definitely a fan. Keeping it simple, the perpetual calendar is included and another white board on the back cover. Simple, classy, functional – all the things I look for in a planner.

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And of course, Scout is always helping.


If you ordered an EC Life Planner, what options did you choose? If you didn’t use Erin Condren, what planner do you use?

Once I’ve gotten into a groove with this layout, I will be posting an Inside My Planner so I can show how my planner equally functions as both a planner and a scrapbook. I would love to get a peek into your planner and see what works for you!

Happy Planning!


*Disclosure: if you click on the Erin Condren link in this post and purchase something when you do, I may receive 10 dollars for referring you. After that, you’ll get your own code and can share the magic of this planner with your friends!

Stitch Fix Haul

A while back, I wrote a post titled “Bringing Summer to the Office“. In it, I explain just what Stitch Fix is. The simple version is it’s a styling service where you are personally styled monthly. You’re sent 5 items. Purchase what you love. Send back what you don’t.

Slowly but surely, I find my closet turning into a Stitch Fix haven. Often times, I find that the outfit I’m wearing was entirely purchased through the service. What I love most is how many compliments I get. Who doesn’t love that, right? I get more compliments on my Stitch Fix clothes then any of my clothes from other stores.

Since the pieces are such good quality, I know that I’m building a lasting wardrobe. The flip side of that is I’m very selective about what I choose to keep from Stitch Fix. I don’t particularly hang onto the “trendy” types of items. Those, I can spend less money on and discard them when the fad has disappeared from the racks.

My last box was another winner. All of the pieces felt personalized to me. I’ve had the same stylist for a while. She has the perfect balance of pushing me a little beyond my comfort zone while still keeping a consistent style. I didn’t keep everything but I’m really happy with what was added to my closet.

Item #1 and #2

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These gray jeans, which don’t exactly photograph their true color, I kept. I can’t rave about Stitch Fix jeans more. They are perfect, every time. I have never been complimented on my jeans before but now, I get a lot of comments and a lot of “where did you get those jeans?” when I throw them on. They’re incredibly flattering and even more comfortable.

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This blue and white plaid had me as soon as I opened the box. I’m a sucker for plaid, what can I say? A key for me when purchasing fall/winter clothing is that it’s still pretty light weight. Living in LA, weather isn’t what I traditionally think of when it comes to fall and winter. In Colorado, the air is crisp and the breeze can have a bite. In LA, it rains but the buildings still have air conditioning and the sun can be brightly shining at a balmy 75 degrees the next day. This plaid is lightweight and comfortable. Perfect for trying to live seasonally in a place without seasons but still staying cool, the perfect LA balance.

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Dog does not come with Stitch Fix purchase 😉

Item #3

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Okay, let me tell you about this coat. It is undeniably perfect. It is the most fantastic shade of purple, which just so happens to be my favorite color. It is a down coat that is flattering! Living in Colorado my whole life, I have had my fair share of down coats. Let me tell you, girlfriend: they aren’t flattering. You look more like a marshmallow and if you were hoping to have any kind of waist line, forget it. This coat changes that. It actually comes in at the waist to give me more shape.

It is long! Another win for a down coat! It comes down over my rear end. I don’t know if you’ve tried to sit on a cold bench or even those cold leather seats in the winter, but if you had this coat would have come in handy. It has a hood with the same lining as the pockets: the softest material ever. That same material is also in the sleeve to fit closer to your arms to keep you warmer. One last win: it isn’t super dense. It actually feels really light weight but will keep you super warm. It isn’t heavy and bulky – how amazing!!

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But ultimately, I sent it back. It broke my heart, let me tell you. It was reasonably priced but it’s a coat designed for sub-zero temperatures. As a girl living on a budget, I couldn’t justify the spend. If I was still living in Colorado, trust me it would have been snatched up. But since 98% of my time is spent in LA, I just couldn’t pull the trigger.

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Item #4

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Sigh. This shirt. I wanted to like it. I have a lot of looser fitting tops because the name of my game is comfy. I really liked that it had a little extra room in it but still had the shoulder detail to make it a little more finished. The color was great and the quality was top-notch as per usual but truth be told, this is a shirt that looked good from the side but not from the front. Exhibit A:

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To me, the lace detail was a little too thick so it ended up looking like army epaulettes. Looking back on this picture, it’s not quite as bad as I remembered it but it just felt off to me. I know that if I’m having that feeling now, I’m never going to pull it out of my closet. It will always just not feel quite right. I also need to steer away from the roomier clothes. I have enough of those pieces in my closet, I need to strive to add more tailored items to really fill out my wardrobe. So, back it went.

Item #5

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This navy sweater has quickly become a favorite of mine already. It’s a beautiful color and perfect fit. It doesn’t show up in the picture, but at the bottom the sweater material cuts off at a diagonal and navy lacy takes its place. At first, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it but after looking at my preexisting sweaters, I knew this was a great addition. Most of my sweaters are pretty straight forward leaving it up to the accessories to add interest. But this sweater, had a little piece of fun all its own. It’s really comfortable and not too hot for LA weather. I wore it to work last week paired with olive-green pants (also sent by stitch fix) and a simple yet a little chunkier gold necklace. People kept up with the classic question: “where did you get that from?” And I received the best compliment: “you just look so stylish!”

With that, I say thank you Stitch Fix for another job well done. I loved my December box and can’t wait for January’s edition.

If you’d like to try stitch fix and get a nice treat on your doorstep each month, here is my referral link. I’ll even receive a credit to my account when you get your first shipment! If you give out your referral link, you could too! If you decide to sign up, let me know what you get and how you like it!

Happy shopping!

New Year, Fresh Start – 2017 Resolutions

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The first week of the year is already behind us and I’m still feeling incredibly optimistic and happy about what’s ahead. There’s nothing better then a fresh start. And that’s just what January is all about. A time to have a clean slate, to start over, to reset the status quo.

I’ll be honest, I’m not one for new year’s resolutions, per say. When the year is coming to a close, like many others, I look back at the year I’ve just had. What was the biggest lesson that came out of it? What’s the biggest thing that I want to be different for the year ahead? In years past, my “resolution” has been: “Only do what makes you happy”. This came from my previous tendency to say yes to things I didn’t want to do just because I felt like I had to or because other people thought I needed to. Don’t get me wrong, there are things that we all have to do that we don’t like, where we just have to suck it up and do it but I was saying yes to unnecessary things. For example, going out on the town with my friends because they wanted to rather then staying home and recharging like I knew I needed to do.  Sometimes I need to push myself to do out of my comfort zone but I need to balance that with what’s going to benefit me more. I used this resolution by giving my “best yes” so I could be the best me for the greatest number of things. I learned a lot about my “best yes” from the book by the same title. Now that this has become habit for me, it’s time for a new resolution.

This year, my resolution is this: “Stay consistent”. I always start out the year doing really well but over time, my good habits just fade out. I have good intentions but without prioritizing them, I become inconsistent. In the end, so many aspects of my life and my well being suffer because I couldn’t prioritize the goals I had for myself at the start of the year.

This year, I’m changing that. I’m making a list of what I want to implement and I’m going to try my hardest to prioritize them until they become habit. The list I have for this year, could be resolutions within themselves but with my “resolution”, I encompass them all. In case you still need an idea, here it is:

  • Go to the gym 5 times a week
  • Walk Scout every day for at least 30 minutes
  • Take vitamins
  • Keep the house clean
  • Spend more time outside
  • Keep up with my yearly devotional
  • Mark time and my appointments in my Erin Condren Life Planner
  • Keep track of my budget and spending for better savings
  • Drink more water
  • Eat healthier, live a healthier life style
  • Make time and room for my passions
  • Don’t forget to have adventures
  • Read 30 books (see my Goodreads challenge here)

If I can keep those things consistent, I have an inkling that I’ll feel something like this:

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Key Things to Remember:

Whether you make a more general resolution like mine or specific ones, just remember that resolutions are there so that you are more aware of your behavior because behavior becomes habit.

It’s important to find a way to fit these resolutions into your life instead of letting them overcome your life. Schedule the time in.

Make your goal tangible. I find that if my resolution has been “get in shape”. What does that mean exactly? That’s why I broke it down to 5 days a week at the gym and 30 minute walks with Scout every day. It’s tangible, it’s a goal I can schedule into my life.

A new year’s resolution is meant for the entire year, you don’t have to get it done right now. Another trap I would fall into is “this has to happen right this instant”. A lifestyle change takes a bit, it doesn’t happen overnight. Whether it’s getting fit, which can take all year or longer, or going outside more, it takes awhile to integrate these new habits into your already busy schedule. Don’t beat yourself up if it’s not a bibbidi-bobbidi-boo moment.

Resolutions can change over the course of the year. One of the reasons I switched to more general resolutions is because individual ones never seemed to stick. And one of the reasons is because I would make it at the beginning of the year thinking one thing about how the year would go only to have it take another path entirely. It’s okay for resolutions to be flexible, to change as your life does.


Regardless of what your resolutions are or if you’ve made them, just make sure you do the best by you that you can. Do what you can to be happy and healthy – it’s all about balance. I hope you have an incredible year and that you take full advantage of this fresh, brand new start. So from Scout and I, happy new year, happy fresh start, happy everything!

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He’s happy, I swear. 🙂

 

The Key to Life

Wow, the subject is a pretty bold statement – saying that I have the key to life. I believe I do though. I believe it looks different for every person and I believe it’s simple, really simple but also easily forgotten.

What allusive, mysterious idea am I alluding to? Positivity, my friend. I know, I know. Life shattering. Just kidding. I’m sure we’ve all figured out that this is the key to life. If you haven’t so much declared it to be just that, let me explain why I have.

So much of life isn’t what happens to us, it is how we react to it. In my short 25 years on this earth, I’ve had my fair share of, well, crap. It would be really easy to let what has happened to me become who I am. It would be really easy for all of us to do that. But life isn’t about what’s easy, it’s about doing what’s right.

This comes from a place where I have just crawled out of the hole, am sitting on the rim, looking down in disbelief. This is not coming from a know it all, have it all place. Trust me. I am ready for some light, love, positivity, and some good ole dance parties. I’ve realized that while it seems easier to wallow in self-pity, to let circumstance become outlook, it is actually a much harder way to go through life. What’s actually easier is positivity. It takes a hot second. It really does. I think I’ve been wallowing for about a month, maybe two now. The difficult part is at the beginning, putting yourself back to where I’ve found myself now. But nows the easy part. To just be positive, to have hope, to keep skipping, running, dancing, and twirling. That sounds a lot easier than hating life, losing hope, and crawling your way through life, doesn’t it?

Honestly, I never expected my 20’s to be this hard. But life isn’t defined by ages and decades. It’s defined by your heart, your spirit, your mind. It isn’t that it’s my 20’s. It’s just the pit of path I’m currently treading.

I’m not sure how to tell you to crawl out of the hole. Everyone is different. I talk to my friends and family until I’m out of words. I cry. I listen to music that makes me sad, happy, dance, and think. I watch reruns of my favorite shows. I force myself to get out of my house. And I let myself have those nights where I just can’t deal with it anymore. Recently, I was letting people dictate how I felt. People who seemed to add positivity and happiness to my life only to immediately turn around and do the exact opposite. People who behaved how I never would. I find people who treat other people badly extremely confusing. It just doesn’t compute to me. I would never treat someone like that. Alas, that’s not what this is about. It’s not about them anymore. It’s about me.

Take the time for yourself. It isn’t selfish. I always felt I needed to be there for everyone even when they treated me badly. I don’t think that anymore. I really don’t. I am the only one in charge of my own happiness. If they are thinking about their happiness and I’m thinking about their happiness, who is thinking about mine?

Moments of weakness. They’re going to come. Had one this morning. Just because you’ve made the decision to be positive instead of negative, does not mean that you’ll only throw confetti around and say inspiring quotes from now on. It means you’ll also have dessert for breakfast and that binge night of Will and Grace. But remember, you’re worth it. You’re worth fighting for. Hope is worth fighting for. You can do this. I can do this. Not a single person knows what they’re doing. This too shall pass and something better is ahead. One of my favorites is, “it’s a good day to have a good day”.

Listen to music, read a book, have dinner with friends, lay in sunshine, breathe in the fresh air. Look up at the sky and dance to a good song. Everything is going to be alright. I say that to me and to you. And the people who bring you down? Waste of time. They are worse off then you are. They’ve given up someone who could have been great for them. Who could have brought out the best in them. Who could have made them happy. People say words but that’s all they are. You’ve got this. There’s no doubt about it.