Friday, February 23, 2018

key points from the alchemist that changed my life

As I mentioned in a previous blog, one of the best things I did for myself in the past few years was to make it a goal to start reading again. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho was one of the books that made my to-read list. I read this book for the first time almost 2 years ago now and it completely changed my outlook on life. 

Not only did this book influence me to pursue my dreams, but it made me look at the world in a whole different light. It encouraged me to look deep into what it was that brought me true happiness—not in the future or found in an end goal, but in this moment, right now. For me, that includes helping to encourage and inspire others. 

The Alchemist also taught me to live more in the moment. It helped reshape my mindset to not dwell on the past but instead think, “What can I learn from it?” And, instead of worrying about the future, my thought process is now, “What can I do today to improve all of my tomorrows?” 

This book also really helped me with losing judgement of others. When you realize that each and every person is on a completely different journey, you have no right to judge another. One man’s Personal Legend could be completely opposite of another. The same goes for what others choose to do, or not do, with their own lives. 

Lastly, The Alchemist reminded me that nothing is impossible if you set your mind to it. Paulo Coelho says, “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”

Of course, I absolutely recommend anyone to read the book…but for now, here are some of the key points and quotes from the book that stood out to me: 

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” 

“There is one great truth on this planet: whoever you are, or whatever it is that you do, when you really want something, it’s because that desire originated in the soul of the universe. It’s your mission on earth.”

“The soul of the World is nourished by people’s happiness. And also by unhappiness, envy, and jealousy. To realize one’s Personal Legend is a person’s only real obligation.”

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 

“What is a personal calling? It is God's blessing, it is the path that God chose for you here on Earth. Whenever we do something that fills us with enthusiasm, we are following our legend. However, we don't all have the courage to confront our own dream.”

“…and when each day is the same as the next, it’s because people fail to recognize the good things that happen in their lives every day that the sun rises.” 

“And, when you can’t go back, you have to worry only about the best way of moving forward.” 

“We make a lot of detours, but we’re always heading for the same destination.”

“Everyone has his or her own way of learning things,” he said to himself. “His way isn’t the same as mine, nor mine as his. But we’re both in search of our Personal Legends, and I respect him for that.” 

“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future. I’m interested only in the present. If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.” 

“Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.” 

“How do I guess at the future? Based on the omens of the present. The secret is here in the present. If you pay attention to the present, you can improve upon it. And, if you improve on the present, what comes later will also be better. Forget about the future, and live each day according to the teachings, confident that God loves his children. Each day, in itself, brings with it an eternity.” 

“One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.” 

“There is only one way to learn,” the alchemist answered. “It’s through action.” 

“Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.” 

“That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

The Alchemist is worth a read, check it out below.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

steamboat ski resort

First day at Steamboat Ski Resort in the books & what a day it’s been… 

Let me start by saying that people always ask me what my favorite resort out west has been so far—and to be honest, I feel that they’re all so different it’s hard to choose just one. They all have their own flare to them. It all depends what you’re looking for, but if you’re anything like me, you love to try everything. So, here’s what I thought of my first day at Steamboat: 

Steamboat definitely has more of a “family friendly” feel to it with a wide variety of terrain, with plenty of options for any ski level. Laid back, relaxed, down-to-earth atmosphere. Incredible views and beautiful scenery. Steamboat does have some steep terrain in the chutes, but other than that, I wouldn’t say it's one of the most challenging resorts I’ve ever been to. Nevertheless, I still had an absolute blast today. 

Now for the not-so-great thing about Steamboat…a day pass costs $170—Holy F*CK! When the girl I was buying my pass from said, “Okay that will be one hundred and seventy dollars,” I honestly thought she made a mistake…and because I’ll be skiing tomorrow too, it cost me $350 all together. I just about fell over considering a day pass at Deer Valley is *only* $135. You win some, you lose some…or a lot (lol). 

Aside from skiing, I stopped and had lunch at the “Slopeside Grill.” This was recommended to me by a few people on the lift today. I ordered the cobb salad and a beer—an English Mild Ale made here locally at Butcherknife Brewing Company here in Steamboat. Whenever I travel, I like to try local brews, spirits and wines. 

It was a toasty -3 degrees when I took my first run this morning. I wore so many layers that I was actually sweating by the time I got my skis on. Haha oops—rather be over prepared than under. By mid-afternoon, my toes were numb though. It took me a good hour to warm up when I got back to my room. 

I completed a quick workout, showered, and now I’m getting ready to head out to Steamboat’s downtown—one of the main reasons I decided to come here. Stay tuned!

Keep on keepin’ on—

XX, Laura 

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

road to steamboat

After a 5 + 1/2 hour drive, I have arrived in Steamboat Springs, CO! Today’s road trip was fueled by a brown box salad from Whole Foods, LifeSavers Wint-O-Green mints, and a whole lot of music. I hopped in the car this morning around 11am prepared for a longggg day of driving, but to my surprise, the day flew by—I could not believe how fast I got here! I was a little nervous about road conditions considering it’a snowed out west these past few days, but they were not bad at all. I have to say, it feels good to be back in “Colorful Colorado.” I love this state! The scenery out west is just beautiful. I never get tired of it. People are always blown away that I’ve done so much driving, but I don’t mind road tripping at all because you get to see and experience so much. 

I checked into my hotel around 4:30-5pm. I’m super happy with my hotel and my room. It’s a lot nicer than I thought it was going to be. It’s also located in a great spot right at the bottom of the ski resort. First thing I did was pop open a bottle of red wine—ahhhh—few things better than red wine and wintertime. I was soo hungry that I ordered some food to the room at 5:30pm. I felt like an old lady! A mediterranean snack platter and a kale salad. Hit the spot! 
I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I came to Steamboat as a kid, but I don’t remember it at all. I thought maybe driving through something might come back to me, but nope, nothing. I can’t wait to ski tomorrow. It’s going to be a little chilly, but nothing an east coast gal can’t handle. Stay tuned as I will definitely have more energy tomorrow and much more to talk about. 

Keep on keepin' on—
XX, Laura

Monday, February 19, 2018

mid-february update

Good afternoon, loves! I just made a cup of coffee and decided to sit down and write a blog. What a whirlwind of a month it’s been! Utah got snow, then we lost snow, then we got snow, then we lost snow…and at the beginning of last week, I really started to feel homesick because it was so dry here. The snow had melted and everything looked and felt like spring—in February! However, just as I thought old man winter was gone for good—he showed up full storm! Since last Thursday, Park City has gotten over 25 inches of snow! …And just like that, it was winter in Park City again. 

Other than that, I’m doing great. I start Kayla Itsines’ BBG (Bikini Body Guide) last week for no other reason other than I was kind of bored with my usual workout routine. I’ve followed along with Kayla’s Instagram for quite some time now and decided to give it a go. Holy heck—it is NO joke! I started at the beginning, pre-training week 1&2 thinking they’d be easy as pie…holy heck-a-roni was I wrong! I’m not gonna lie, I did not enjoy the first day…like at all (lol)…but I’ve stuck with it and I am enjoying it so much! It is definitely challenging, but that’s exactly what I wanted. I feel like I already feel a difference in my muscles. I’ll keep you posted as the program progresses. 

I’ve also been eating more of a plant-based diet lately. I’ve had so much fun experimenting with smoothies, salads and dinners. I swear my skin looks better because of it. Eating mostly plant-based makes me feel my best. As I experiment, I’m sure one or two of the recipes will end up on here. 

I wanted to take one more adventure while I’m here in Utah. I figure, I don’t know if I’ll be back next year (or ever live out west again) so I might as well take advantage. So, I’m leaving for Steamboat Springs, CO tomorrow. I booked it a week ago not knowing that Park City was going to get 14 inches of snow last night…but hey, what can you do. I’m really looking forward to it. I actually went to Steamboat when I was a kid but don’t remember anything except how snowy the runway was when we landed. As usual, I got deal on a sweet hotel room because I stalk Trip Advisor like a weirdo. I’ll be sure to post some pics when I get there. 

Stay tuned! 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

feeding your wolves

I recently watched a commencement speech on YouTube by Matthew McConaughey that he delivered a few years back at the University of Houston. He gave numerous points throughout his speech, but this one in particular stood out because it’s something we all deal with on a daily basis—deciding which wolf to feed.

McConaughey said, ”Let's admit it, we all got two wolves in us, a good one and a bad one, you know what I’m talking about — and they BOTH wanna eat… We just gotta feed that good wolf a little more than the other one."

I recently had a conversation with my mom about choices, and how people get themselves in unfortunate circumstances and situations—because of choices. These choices often determine a big chunk of our happiness or our unhappiness, because we have to live with the consequences—good or bad. 

We make our choices and then our choices make us.

The same goes for habits: we have a choice everyday to feed good habits or to feed bad habits. If you are trying to create a good habit, feed it all you want. But if you are trying to stop a bad habit, make the choice to start feeding it a little less.

It is much easier to play the victim in our own lives when things don’t go our way. It’s easy to blame life, your family, your parents, your childhood, your friends, your boss, your environment…but it is YOU and ONLY YOU who can make the choice to change it all. We are the only people in our lives feeding into our circumstances. We are not born winners or losers—we are born choosers. 

We can either lay down and play victim and feel sorry for ourselves and keep feeding where we don’t want to be…or we can buck up and make another choice to take us down another road and feed the path of desire. 

Choice, not circumstances, determines where we end up.

For example: every morning, we either choose to wake up when our alarm goes off or we choose to hit the snooze button. That one simple choice can make or break how your entire morning goes. If you wake up with your alarm, you’ll have time to shower, maybe get a workout in before that, enjoy your coffee, make a good breakfast, be on time for work… or if you choose to hit the snooze button, you might end up running behind schedule, grabbing an unhealthy breakfast on the go or not eating breakfast at all, get stuck in traffic, walk into work late, and start the morning off stressed and frazzled. You see how ONE simple choice is the multitude of so many other areas of your life? 

McConaughey’s speech also goes along with The Tale of Two Wolves:

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: 
"Which wolf wins?" 
The old Cherokee simply replied, 
"The one you feed."

The truth is, like McConaughey said, both wolves will always be there. Life is about deciding what is most important to you—and feeding that wolf a little more than the other. 

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura 

Monday, February 12, 2018

lessons on love

In light of Valentine’s Day being this week, I thought I’d share with you a little of what I’ve learned about love and relationships over the years through my own personal experience, reading and observing others.

real love is accepting other people just the way they are
This one I actually learned from the book, The Four Agreements. The author states, “Real love is accepting other people the way they are without trying to change them. If we try to change them, this means we don’t really like them.” I’ve definitely been guilty of this in the past…trying to mold a man into what I wanted him to be, or falling in love with his “potential.” Of course there’s always room for improvement, but I learned that initially you should love someone for exactly the way they are. Nobody’s ever going to be perfect but it is much easier to find someone who is already what you’re looking for than hoping they’re going to change into what you want later on. Likewise, it’s equally important to find a person that loves you just the way you are. 

know your love language 
I have learned that it’s important to know your "love language" when it comes to dating. For example, affection and words of affirmation are important to me in a relationship. I’ve dated both kinds of guys: one who was affectionate, and one who was not. I never knew this was important to me until I didn’t have it. If my mom was here she would say, “That’s why it’s so important to date, Laura.” Similarly, if you want someone who is joyful, don’t settle for someone who is “kind of” joyful. Or if you want someone who is fun, don’t settle for someone who is “kind of” fun. 

you attract what you are
The law of attraction states that, “like attracts like.” This means that you attract what you are. If you are insecure and unsure of what you want, you’re more likely to attract someone else who is insecure and unsure of what they want. Same goes for someone who loves life and is full of energy, they’re more likely to attract someone who also loves life and is full of energy. Become who you want to attract. This leads to my next point…

a better you will attract a better next
Stop worrying about finding a great partner, instead focus on being a great catch. Being single isn’t a time to look for love, it’s a time to work on yourself and grow as an individual. I truly truly believe that if you focus on bettering yourself, God will bring you the person you are meant to be with when he feels that you are ready. 

the right man for you will pursue you
This is a lesson I wish I could shake into girls everywhere. If a man is truly into you, there will be no need for you to do the pursuing. There will be no confusion. The man for you will not leave you wondering whether he’s into you or not. Women like to complicate men, but they’re actually quite simple: they either want to be with you or they don’t. 

there’s a lot of pebbles on the beach 
This is a lesson I learned from my dad (also a saying that I’m pretty sure he made up himself). What he means by “there’s a lot of pebbles on the beach,” is that there are SO many people in this world. Don’t get hung up on someone who doesn't treat you right, doesn’t like you back, stay bummed over a break up or settle for someone just because you want a relationship. There are SO many friggin' people in this world, there is no reason to feel sad or hopeless about “finding the one.” There’s someone out there looking for somebody exactly like you. 

Last but not least…

The partner that God has for you is worth the wait. If it’s not happening for you right now, it’s because it’s not your time just yet. I read a quote a long time ago that said, “You can’t rush something you want to last forever.” My parents have always said to me that love will come when you least expect it. So while you’re waiting, you might as well enjoy the ride…

Keep on keepin’ on—
XX, Laura