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“Like wildflowers; You must allow yourself to grow in all places people thought you never would”- E.V.

We are all guilty of confining ourselves to others ideas of what we can be or should be. We think we can’t go right because someone said we are only able to stay left. We can only jump so high because someone else said so. We under value and under estimate our worth, our ability, and our own opinion. It is so easy to stay in the small box someone else has put us in. You grow, persevere, and sprout when we no longer let ourselves be contained. Those opinions of others no longer matter. You aspire to be the tallest wildflower in the field because you said so. So you do. You grow and grow and exceed goals, accomplishments, milestones, that others shook their finger too. And how good does it feel? It feels incredible to say “Hey world, I did it. I accomplished what you said I could not.”

Allow yourself to grow. Allow your ideas to transform. Allow your own destiny to take form by your thoughts and no one else’s. It is so easy to stay in that box, but don’t, be the wildflower that grows.

#MondayMantra

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Monday’s seem to be the best day for solid motivation. It doesn’t matter if your working out, finishing a homework assignment, cascading into a busy work week, or just looking for a pick-me-up, Monday’s seem to be the go-to day. Did you know Pinterest most pinned pins on a Monday are all about motivation? Makes sense, how often do we put off a diet till Monday, a new fitness routine, or doodle out an extensive list of things to do. So here I am, deciding to do a #MantraMonday. I love a good quote, motivating word, or just a serious dose of reality. They do something for me, so maybe I could do something for you. Without further or do, here it is friends, our first #MondayMantra.

Believe; v: to have confidence in the truth, the existence, or the reliability of something, although without absolute proof that one is right in doing so.

Belief is where ideas, dreams, and goals start and end with. We have to believe in ourselves to get the dream rolling, and it rolls because we once believed in our self. But belief isn’t just about our own thoughts towards it; I strongly believe it can take one person believing in your dream or goal that makes the biggest impact. How often do we contemplate an action, a desire, or even a wild idea that you want to bring to life? We all have little ideas in our head that don’t get vocalized because we are scared or timid what others might think, they might not believe in something the same way you do. Rejection is uncomfortable and scary; no one likes to feel shot down. What we look for is someone to believe in us, to reassure our ideas, our wants, our aspirations. One person is your game changer, to push yourself and believe in yourself. One person to say they believe in you. Whether it is a stranger who believes in you, a friend, a significant other, or even your mom, it doesn’t matter. Being believed in feels good. My challenge to you is to always believe in yourself. Have trust and faith in your story and the road your supposed to be on. You will have much more Negative Nancy’s then you’d like, so hold on to your belief. My second challenge, believe in someone. Reach out and show someone that you believe in them, tell them, or show your support. That person could need the belief more then you know. You could be the only yes in a sea of no’s. We don’t know our end story, we don’t know the book written for us, but we do know that when you believe you receive what you need.

Flowers on a Friday

“In joy or sadness, flowers are our constant friends.”

-Kozuko Okakura

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The Carlsbad Flower fields have basically lived on my radar since early summer of last year. I can’t help but laugh that I actually wanted to go when I don’t perceive myself much of a “flower girl”. They just don’t it for me. They are pretty for two days and boom they turn their noses to the floor. There was just something about abundant fields of flowers that caught my attention and persisted a need to go. So I did.

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Lets just prelude to last summer when the idea struck. David didn’t bat an eye and drove us down south to Carlsbad. Well, with my lack of research, I failed to see it was seasonal. We drove right into yellow, dry fields, lacking in beautiful colors that the pictures had shown. Because I am never wrong (hehe), I persisted to drive around the area that this could just not be possible. Well folks, it was possible. I feel so bad for David getting sucked into my shenanigans and need to just go instead of planning and verifying this.

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Flash forward to the week of my birthday. I had triple, maybe quadruple checked, making sure those flowers had sprung and I could finally walk amongst them. The fields were beautiful. The makeup of colors, transitioning as you walk higher, was just so cool. I completely take back being a flower girl after this trip. I loved the different grouped colors they paired together, the abundance of saturation. These fields are a bee’s haven, prominent pollinating going on here. I am totally looking into other flower fields in my area because Carlsbad just might have turned me into a believer of flowers.

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This trip totally made up for my lack of planning and waste of a drive from last summer. David and I  enjoyed looking, learning, and snapping pictures. He even took over the camera and shot some of his own. I suggest if you get a chance to go visit the fields, make a day trip out of it.

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Of course I had to get a snap of us too!

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Happy Flower Frolicking Friends =]

 

Answers with Austin

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Instagram these days is more then a posting site or social media avenue for users, it is a business outlet, shopping platform, artistic demonstrations, but mostly a community. It is a community of bloggers, business owners, mom’s connecting with other moms, makeup artists, and larger companies connecting with their consumer. To see the impact Instagram has on others is huge, and the good that it has brought to others having the support of a complete stranger. I started following Brandi from the explore page simply because she dresses her babes so cute. I loved seeing her day-to-day style and cute posed pictures of Austin and Paisley.

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I started watching her journey as a mom and stumbled upon her blog. There, I found her sweet story of Austin and diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy. I had no idea he had this traumatic birth story, every picture the boy is smiling or looking like the coolest kid at Disneyland. This family is strong, and courageous, and has a lot of love for their kiddos no matter the setbacks life has thrown them. Austin is a healthy, sweet soul who has so much to teach the world. In honor of March being CP Awareness month I wanted to share a little bit about this sweet boy and some recent pictures we took. I chatted with Brandi on what we should know about this condition, what we can do, and learn a little insight of what life is like. Go follow Brandi on Instagram to follow her journey. (@bleighlovee)

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What exactly is Cerebral Palsy in non-medical terms?

Cerebral Palsy to me is a broad term for brain damage. No two cases are the same, and some are a lot more complex than others. Some people can have a mild case, and can still be just independent as you or I. Some need help with minor things, and others need 24/7 care.

What is a little background on Austin and his diagnosis?

Austin was diagnosed with CP, at age 2 due to medical mal practice around age 6 months. It took us loads of persistence and pushing to get the answers we deserved. I have his whole birth story on my blog, http://adventuresofaustin09.blogspot.com

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What are some challenges you have faced along the way?

Well first there’s the emotional challenge of knowing Austin will need me to care for him for the rest of his life. Then there’s the physical challenge for not only Austin, but also myself. Having to carry him from room to room, make sure he is constantly getting enough exercise, making sure he has had all his tube feedings for the day, and since Austin is very mobile, making sure he doesn’t hurt himself.

What keeps you going?

Love.

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How have these challenges changed your everyday routine?

My everyday now consists of having to accommodate my 5-year as if he were a 6-month old baby. I need to find ways for him to stay entertained, and make sure the places I am going will accommodate for his stroller, which we are still using as a “wheelchair”. I have to tube feed him on a strict schedule, and make sure he is getting all the nutrients he needs. While doing everything else I would normally do for a baby, and their sibling while doing the duties of a stay at home mom. We have therapies and specialist appointments on a normal basis and we have incorporated the therapies into our daily life.

As Austin grows older has it become easier or more of a challenge?

The older Austin gets, the harder it becomes physically. He is too big for most things, a baby would enjoy, and those are things that Austin enjoys. Getting of the house takes longer, he doesn’t walk and now having two children, it’s much harder to make quick trips anywhere without using the stroller. It has gotten much easier emotionally. I have accepted what happened, and have chosen to move forward. If anyone has a chance for a good read – check out “Welcome to Holland” it literally describes what each special needs parent had to face when they first got the diagnosis.

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How do you stay strong with setbacks and overcome these to make negative situations into positive?

I look at the overall picture, and everything we have already conquered. All that matters is Austin’s health and happiness. My son fought tooth and nail to live his life to the best of his ability. He is a fighter, and he gives me every reason to stay strong.

How can those around help and be aware of CP? (donate, organization, support, etc.) 

People can help by being a little more open minded, and understand he is just like an other child. He needs love, and positive attention in order to live his normal life. He is not sick, he is healthy, just has a few more physical limitations than most. If people wanted to help by donating they could do some research and choose their favorite CP Organization, or look out for the few companies that will be doing a couple “shop for a cause” projects in honor of Austin this month!

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Raising a new baby without CP, how has it been different or are there similarities? 

It’s bittersweet. It shows me everything I missed with Austin, and all the experiences that were taken from us. It’s a whole new ball game, and it’s so exciting to have so many firsts I didn’t get to have. But I am so happy Austin has a new baby sister to love on him the way he deserves.

How has the community (living and Instagram) helped? 

The Instagram community has shown so much support and love for my special boy. They have helped keep me strong, and shown me that I am not alone. They have gone above and beyond to spread awareness and I couldn’t thank them enough for the immense support they have given our family.

When will Austin get his own modeling career! 🙂 

We are content with brand repping for now ☺️ but who knows what we will get ourselves into in the future!

 

I am so happy I reached out to Brandi and learn more about Austin and CP. He has a contagious smile and a sweet little soul. It was so rewarding shooting and editing these photos.

Fire-breathing Dragons

The past couple of weeks have been so exciting in regards to Imagine Dragons happenings. Two weeks ago David and I had got exclusive tickets to an Imagine Dragons music video shoot. That description was so far off. I was thinking okay this is cool we will get to be apart of something special and have that memory together. What was actually being taped was far from an upcoming single. Target people, Target! Not only is this every woman’s favorite store, it was one of the epic cd release commercials Target does. I started thinking of Justin Timberlake’s Target commercial and how cool that was. My fan girl was dying inside. Poor David had to deal with me fan girling on the inside for the next 6 hours. After signing legal papers to keep my mouth shut about anything happening we were escorted into a club like space. There were huge cut outs of the new cd cascading on the red velvet walls and a long table of gourmet sandwiches, drinks pouring, and candy to our liking. I could not believe it. Not because of the space but because I love a buffet. On the other side of the room were multiple vanity’s set up with a makeup artist and products provided by NYX. Hair, makeup, and styling all provided to look your very best. The down side to all this (like there actually is a down side?)? No cameras, no phones, no possible way to document any of this. We did have the opportunity to partake in an interactive photo booth, documenting the day. So much fun! We also got to listen to the cd first, which only made my patience worse; I wanted the cd that day! After basking in the “Experience” room for a few hours we finally made our way to the outside stage. We were in the middle of Freemont Street, Las Vegas and the taping began. Imagine Dragons performed their new song live a handful of times and announced this will be the commercial and released during the Grammys. Uhm what? This day consisted of continual dying! Calm on the outside, exploding on the inside. We parted with our pictures and a signed album cover plaque gifted to us. It was a waiting game till we got to see the final cut. That was well worth the 8 hours we drove in one day. David and I divulged in our day and what had just happened.

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Cut to this past Friday and we are rocking out to Imagine Dragon’s new songs off their just released album and singing to the oldies but goodies. Let me back up how we wound up in the middle of 300 other lucky fans. If you know my mom, she is the queen of winning contests, concerts you name it on the radio. She actually should go to rehab for the addiction, but I can’t complain because at times I can benefit from it. She has radio luck. We asked her to try and call in to the times KROQ said to win these tickets, and bada boom she won. She gifted these tickets to David and I and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. We loved the intimate concert at the Troubadour. Dan was taking requests of what we wanted to hear, having conversations, hugging fans in the crowd, and story telling about trials with his momma who was in the audience along side his wife and daughter. It was a concert I will probably ever experience again in a venue that small. If I didn’t love Imagine Dragons before, my love has exploded into a whole new verb.

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Getting a little Juicy!

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Let me just say, I am not a person who jumps onboard to do a diet of any sort, let alone a juice cleanse. I like to think eating on the more healthy side is enough. Apparently, it just isn’t enough. I’m writing this now, Day 1, day of doom, worst day of them all so my thoughts, comments, and remarks, may just in fact be that I am hangry.

Day 1- Breakfast was yum, a raw oat, cinnamon, chia seed and blueberry mixture and it was really good. What I did not like was the juice. Spicy lemonade should have been my clue that it will burn going down. I don’t do well with spicy foods let alone ounces of cayenne pepper sizzling my throat. Not my fave, but after a few minuets I mustered up the energy, found some motivational quotes and finished that juice like a boss. Lunch was so good, a white kidney bean salad with avocado, cherry tomatoes, and an oil bad dressing. I give it two thumbs up. For dinner I didn’t follow the meal plan and had some baby shrimp in lemon and olive oil with steamed carrots, broccoli, and sweet potatoes and almond butter. Tonight’s kicker, it is Bachelor night. That means head over to David’s, drink flavored tea and eat Girl Scout Cookies. Bachelor night is like vacation, calories don’t exist so each as much as you want. So tonight, I will be practicing some serious self-control. I also still have my vanilla juice so I hope that will curb my sweet tooth. Hoping tomorrow goes just as smooth!

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Day 2- Today was rough, I mean really really rough. I felt like I was an addict getting sober. Withdrawal central. Okay I’m being really dramatic but I barely could finish my morning juice. I swear it was coming back up. Lunch didn’t go well either; the dressing was not good at all. So I skipped lunch entirely. Basically, I starved all day. Which lead to my fatigue. My body wants sugar and substance and 3 In-N-Out double doubles. Not eating led to my demise. I had a shrimp taco and green enchilada for dinner. I’m so mad I caved. But seriously, today was just so bad. My sister has breakfast and lunch prepped for tomorrow and we already know what were doing for dinner so I will try and finish this out strong. But today, I fell flat on my face. Mind over matter mind over matter is what I have to chant.

 

Day 3- Well, the juices itself went out the window but I ate healthier. So, was it a fail, yes but I did keep healthy eating.

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I wouldn’t say this was entirely a fail. I have found that I am open minded about this, I felt very positive the first day and the initial start, but my tongue is sensitive to spice. These types of juices you have to be willing to drink and eat whatever is on the menu. I did learn that portion really is everything and just eating clean. You don’t need butter on your steamed veggies, shrimp with olive oil and lemon is an easy, healthy alternative, and honestly I like my homemade juices better. Would I do a Suja cleanse again? No, I don’t feel it fit my personal needs. It worked for my sister, she loved it, but again personally just wasn’t a fit for me.

Be Mine.

(From Left to Right: Nixon Canvas, 1902 wing tipped men's shoes, Prada cologne, Locally Made Tee. Active socks, GoPro)

(From Left to Right: Nixon Canvas, 1902 wing tipped men’s shoes, Prada cologne, Locally Made Tee. Active socks, GoPro)

I am going to keep it totally real and admit, I have been the worst this Valentine’s Day. But thank goodness I have a few more days. I always have cute ideas and weeklong surprise gifts in my head that would be placed in the most unexpected spot or unlikely time but my execution sucks! So I add it to the rolodex for next year. I like to think of this holiday as fun gifts that I want David to have not so much what he needs or he’s asked for like Christmas. Is that selfish of me? Hmm, maybe but most likely he’s coming up on a pair of shoes or a nice button down so who is the real loser in this situation. I thought of a few ideas I have done or would do for him on a smaller holiday such as Singles awareness day.

 

  1. A nice pair of shoes- here’s the deal I got David these wing toed shoes our first Valentine’s (cue the “awe”) and I was terrified to give these to him. In fact I knew it wouldn’t be like an “Oh these are exactly what I’ve been wanting”. No, the guy at Nordstrom had to hold my hand through the purchase even giving me outfit ideas for these. But, can I just toot my own horn? David gets the most compliments on these vivacious red shoes and every time I squirm inside doing the happy dance. Now, these are not for everyone, but sometimes you need a little spice in your walk. So I say, go for it.
  2. A comfortable fitted tee- I want this t-shirt for myself. It is so soft, made local in LA, and did I say soft. I bought this at Cloth&Metal, a men’s only store in SoCo shopping area. I could buy the whole store. David and I are both obsessed. Really great quality items as well as basics for the everyday guy.
  3. Cologne- I say this only if you want to splurge a tad. Who doesn’t love a good smelling guy, I mean come on. So, this is self-explanatory.
  4. Casual watch- I say casual because I think the fancy more dressy watches should be saved for  a anniversary or Christmas. This is a black canvas strap watch made by Nixon and I love it. It matches everything and it’s all black. My cup of tea! David can put it on and complete an outfit even if its Vans, plain shirt and some jeans, it just works. This watch also comes in army green, which is just as nice. Do it.
  5. Socks- I mean who doesn’t love a fun printed pair of socks. Active always have great socks for a great price. Fun prints, good quality, sold and sold
  6. GoPro- Okay I put this in here for accessories. I think a GoPro is a little extreme for this holiday but hey girl you want to get that do you and get it! Guaranteed he will gush over it. But I think fun gifts for a guy who has one or is active are things like chest straps, the floater case, selfie stick (another selfish want). There are so many fun things to do with these you cannot go wrong.

 

 

Hopefully this has helped with some last minute shoppers like me. I hope you all have a very LOVED day even if you don’t have a significant other. Go have a girl date or take yourself on a date! Love is love.

 

P.S Who isn’t in love with this Maroon 5 Video? Thought it was fitting for this post. uhhhb-sessed.

Big city, Bright lights.

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Charlotte is one of my favorite cities I have visited to date. There is a sense of home I feel there. I love the sweet, southern hospitality, I love the culture, and I love that it has a city feel with a small town vibe. You get the best of both worlds what more could a girl ask for? Looking back I have always been fond of the east coast.

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I had been asked to shoot a jewelry campaign in Charlotte as well as an engagement shoot so I hoped on board and brought my best girlfriend. We flew down south three weeks later and the adventure began. I was excited to shoot the campaign as well as show her around this town my heart holds so dearly. I figured I would write a blog on the campaign when I get the go ahead so those details I’ll leave out out. This is about a girlfriend’s trip to the city. I couldn’t wait to revisit my favorite restaurants and nibble on their tasty offerings. The first day was mostly business and getting settled in. The second day I was finishing the shoot, which meant it was now time to whoop it up and have some fun. Juliane, a friend since junior high, is such a fun, goofy girlfriend. Traveling with her was fun and easy, the best kind of travel partner there is. We would laugh at who knows what, walked the streets goofing around making up alter egos, jobs, or acted like silly tourists. Of course just our luck we are walking down the street mid afternoon and low and behold there is the Indian Pacers walking into the tour bus. Side note, we had no idea where the Pacers were even from or what any of their names were, but we went with it and acted as if we did. We explored down town basking in that winter sun and a Starbucks in hand. Old brick walls, parks filled with dogs, tall cityscape buildings lined the streets of this North Carolina city.

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This trip made my heart so full. Having girlfriend time, going out, exploring a new city, and creating memories with one of your best friends was what I needed. I am so thankful for this sweet friend of mine who jumps at any opportunity with me. She hopped on the crazy train with me and didn’t once try to jump off. Juliane is an encourager, a truthful but kind, and spur of the moment type of friend. I really couldn’t have asked for a better partner on this trip. Who knows where we will go next, but I’m excited!

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Side note: We had the most random celebrity sittings. Atlanta airport we ran into Tyler Hubbard from Florida George Line. Of course I convinced Juliane to go say hi since she didn’t believe me that it was him.

Here comes the Bride.

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This past summer I interned with Two’s Company Boutique and Event planning to learn tricks of the trade, beef up my customer service experience, and learn more about this industry. What I didn’t know going into this was how much I would actually learn and just how much fun I would have with Ali and Emily, two sisters who own this company.

Ali and Emily may be young, but don’t let that fool you. Emily has been in the wedding industry more then a handful of years and Ali as well. Their Girl Boss attitude and work ethic is apparent. They are professional and truly want their bride’s to look beautiful and beam on their big day.

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The boutique has top of the line glamorous fixtures to dress your wrist, neck, or ears for your big day. The variety and range of looks they carry as well as having the ability to customize just about any piece, making it one of a kind, is something you just can’t find anywhere. I loved when a bride would come in and Ali would help furnish her wish to have this trim off a veil with this color off another while adding more Swarovski crystal clusters down the edge. As a bride, you don’t want to be wearing what every bride in Southern California is wearing, in fact most designers Two’s Company carries are not in Southern California for that reason. You want to stand out on your big day and not wearing the same drop earing as your best friend a few months ago.

The girls will help style you for your engagement session, your showers, and up to your big day. Have a Mother of the bride still looking for the perfect jewels? They will help with that too. A fun and different type of bridal registry they started was registering what they wanted to wear on their big day. It is a great gift from a Bridesmaid or close friend. It will be a special gift she will always treasure and help alleviate some cost for the bride.

Working in the store taught me a lot about the industry as well as being a serious Girl Boss. It was empowering seeing them succeed and watch their growth. They are taking the bridal accessory market by storm. Being open almost a year and a half, you would never know just how new they really are. They are so so so good at what they do and have the heart for it. I was so lucky to learn under them for the summer.

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If you or someone you know is in the market for wedding accessories or event planning, Two’s Company is your place. They are located in the cutest bridal filled center in Tustin, California. Head on over to try on some jaw dropping veils, find a head turning head piece, and the perfect drop earring.

 

Mylah’s Wonderland

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Little Miss Mylah was turning one, and that was enough of a reason to capture some sweet baby tooth smiles. I love a baby’s gummy smile and squinting eyes more then your average person does, missing teeth and chubby thighs peaking out is just part of that stage. Mylah, the cutest little ham in front of the camera, brought her A game giving me her sweetest smiles. Mariah, Mylah’s mom, was a girlfriend I had known from high school, is the sweetest mom and beyond creative with her birthday ideas. Mariah and Ronny are throwing their little girl an Alice in Wonderland inspired birthday with no lack of detail in the decorations.

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Shooting these three was so fun and effortless. We met up at the location of her birthday party and wandered around. The love these three have for one another was natural and so apparent. It’s exciting to see a high school girlfriend succeed at this new role in her life. Thanks for allowing me to capture these sweet moments of your baby girl.

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