Be In Love with Yourself

It was an anniversary for me last week: It was “I Survived Brain Surgery Day” (in all transparency, I can’t even remember the exact day) and this year happens to be lucky number 7.

Whenever I tell people about this story, it sounds shocking and traumatic. I can understand that. But, it’s important to me that we don’t allow ourselves to forget that there is no hierarchy of suffering in this world. Just because you haven’t had brain surgery or been the victim of a violent crime, doesn’t mean you haven’t experienced trauma in your life, which, in turn, means you always deserve to be taking care of yourself.

Trauma looks different on everyone and FEELS different inside of everyone. Let’s be honest, the winters in Chicago are FUCKING TRAUMATIC. Anytime you don’t feel like your normal self, it’s time to do something about it! Seek some outside guidance or help to kickstart your energy and awareness back into balance with a book or mindfulness practice (DM for recommendations!). Your thoughts, feelings, and trauma deserve to be validated. There is no shame in that.

As the years go by, I get triggered by lots of different things and I have ups, downs, sides-to-sides. But, I’m happy to say that this event no longer stands at the forefront of my memories; it’s in an old, dusty file cabinet in the waaaaay back.

This I also know: I’m not a victim of anything. I’ve been broken, deflated, and beat down by several challenges that have stood in the way of my path. But, I continue to stand as a restored, renewed, and replenished soul full of light, love, and learning.

Some days I cook from a vegan cookbook, some days I get McDonald’s on the way home work. Some weekends I never leave my apartment and talk to my plants, some weekends I drive hundreds of miles on a treasure hunt for a pair of shoes I saw on a random Instagram page. Other weekends I pursue my passion of modeling while MOST weekends I stay at home reading & writing while binge watching The Office (again) or Snapped (again).

ALL DAYS I AM ME and I am in love with that.

Photo by: @matthewfrancisphoto // Willow Springs, IL

{Magic Lives in the Forest}

In an afternoon of howling fury,

Our madness runs wild

The gloss of our furry coats glistens with vehemence

As we float through the forest’s underbelly.

In a fuzzy haze,

We race off the trail leaving only the trace

Of our bodies’ fragrant embrace

And the summer sound

Of lovers’ laughter.


{Memory. Cleared.}

I don’t know which was the bigger mistake:

letting you overstay in my life after having met you that night


letting the old memories of you linger leaving no room to replace you with new light.

Photo by: @vastdifference // Chicago, IL

Naturally Free & Primal

“…freedom isn’t secured by filling up on your heart’s desire but by removing your desire.” -Epictetus
What defines natural beauty? These days we see a lot of new tips and tricks on how to maximize the latest and greatest makeup and skincare products. This can make it difficult for any of us to remember the time when we didn’t have to worry about leaving the house bare faced and a head of hair 3 days gone without a decent scrubbing. But, does that define our natural state? Our purest, most natural form?
I ask this because I’ve noticed that there times I’m not “looking” my best when I don’t have makeup on. I’ve been suffering from adult acne more so than ever lately, and the damn bags under my eyes seem to have taken a page from Picasso’s book and, well, let’s just say ‘The Old Guitarist’ is painted on my face.
But, I’ve also noticed that there are days when I’m all done up with a whole face of color and lashes and I’ve thought, “I don’t actually think all of this makes me any MORE beautiful.”
My point is this: makeup, clothing, our cars, even the extra degrees, titles, relationships that we seek and constantly want more, more, more of…those are all external factors that keep us from being free. They keep us from being aware of our truest, most NATURAL beauty, which comes from the most pure place…our soul, our spirit.
So, your most natural beauty comes from within. Of course, playing dress up, having possessions, and pursuing your dreams is NEVER wrong. However, wanting all that you have (and not attempting to fill your empty hands with what you want), everyday means that you are most free and, truly, in your most primal, natural state of being.
Travel on, lovers.
Photo by: @matthewfrancisphoto // Willow Springs, IL

Passion for Passion

What do you feel when you hear the word passion? Do you feel a certain type of way? Maybe you think of activities that ignite a fire in you that just can’t be ignored, put out, or explained with words from your native language.

Passion is a way of living to me. I believe that passion should exist in everything that I do. When I think of that word, I think of exploration, adventure, challenge, and reward. Most importantly, passion {to me} is connected to love.

I am fortunate and grateful enough to live one of my passions daily. I get to educate the young minds of our world and witness the beauty of the seeds I plant blossom at extraordinary measures.

I also love art. I love creating. I have a passion for building something from nothing either with my hands, my body, my mind. It fascinates me most when I get a picture like this sent to me from a friend that illustrates the process of creation. Not only does it represent two minds connecting on a common ground, but it also shows that any picture can your best picture. When you see yourself shine in all light, at all angles {including inward}, that’s love. When you connect with others {creatively, mindfully, mentorship, friendship} that’s love.

Passion is all about drive, ambition, and fighting for what matters most to you in this world. You might not know it, and you may be doubting yourself every step of the way, but the storms you weather are part of that amazing feeling you seek. The journey is never going to be pure bliss and happiness 24/7/365. But, I can tell you that if you keep doing what you love (truly) at least once everyday, you are on the right track to freedom and self-love.

{From Paris with Love}

I found the gift from your business trip

the tiniest token of your affection,

the smallest showcase of your love,

the grandest gesture I ever needed,

to know where I belonged.

I found the Paris Pen.

I miss you.

I miss then.

I miss Paris…

…and the earrings filled with so much love and lust

that someone else dared to steal them from us.

The souvenirs of our partnership

coveted by those in darker homes

seeking treasures to ignite light in the shadows.

So, I hope he glides them into her sweet, kitten ears

as you would’ve mine.

As he will the fluffy Parisian slippers

onto her milky, soft feet

that I hope are just her size.

She deserves it.

And so did I.

Paris, France // 2008




Hakuna Matata

Over the years of studying Stoicism, philosophy, mindfulness, and, pretty much, just trying to get my shit together…there is one decision that is important when reaching ultimate self-awareness. Are you going to stand with the philosopher or with the mob?

Naturally as human beings we have diversity within us; we are able to enjoy a lot of things that can range from basic to weird to cool to totally extreme. However, our society has taught us that it’s not necessarily okay to express those likes in diversity and show all the sides of yourself, which can create a pushing and pulling/“I am torn” mentality within us.

When this happens it’s important to decide whether you are going to stand with your philosopher (your beliefs & your core values) OR are you going to disintegrate into the mob that is society? The “push/pull” of the pressure that is the mob mentality will eventually tear you apart. Meaning: if you conform to the realities of others (many of them being false) you will never find the happiness that you seek. We live in a society filled with propaganda, visual literacy and rhetoric, and instant gratification. These forces must not consume what your heart and spirit hold true to yourself.

Don’t change your beliefs and your core values to be liked by others or to fit with the “mob.” Stand with your philosophy and don’t fear rejection. Instead, choose to be hopeful for happiness, self-awareness, and all of the true love that will connect with you once you take that first step out of the pit.

Photo by: @matthewfrancisphoto // Willow Springs, IL