Jump Into…Clarity

I was 5 years old when I decided that I wanted to be a vet. I spent my whole life being passive about it, worrying about other things like what movies were out or when I could ride. I never once took an internship at a vet’s office or asked my equine vet to ride around in his car. But I still kept this dream all through elementary, middle, and high school.

I was 19 years old when I decided I didn’t want to be a vet. I decided so after riding around with the previously mentioned vet and being thrown into thermodynamics (which I absolutely hated for many reasons). I decided that my career would have to be something different.

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So there I was, 19 years old, at a college that specialized in agriculture, engineering, and architecture, in a major that specialized in pre-vet, and I literally have no idea why I’m there. Instead of running away, I decided to take every single interesting animal science class I could to expose myself to different things. I learned that I love horses, anatomy is amazing, and I still have no idea what I want to be.

A couple years later, I graduate college. I enroll in the MBA program because a well-rounded education sounded nice. I’ve worked in businesses before and people seem okay, right? Okay, well then I graduate. I still have no idea what I am doing.

Then, people start asking me what I want to do. As if I need more pressure, right? But it was actually useful because these people were a bit older and wiser and actually gave me sound advice.

So, after years and years of feeling lost, I am slowly pulling myself out of confusion. There’s a couple of things that helped me with this and I want to share them so everyone can embark on a journey of confusion to clarity.

  1. Talk to different people about things like careers, their past, or and wisdom that they can pass down to you.
  2. Don’t be passive in your life. Sometimes I think back and feel like I was dealt the wrong hand. I feel like I wasn’t given as many opportunities as some of my peers. But when I think more on that, it’s because I didn’t allow myself to open up. I didn’t allow myself to try new things or ask people for help.
  3. Do things that interest you. Don’t worry about what everyone else thinks because in 5 years from now, those people won’t be living your life.
  4. Read self-help books. Whatever you want to believe about them, these books are actually very helpful. Right now, I am reading about finding your career of your choice. I’ve also read books about empowerment and the like.
  5. Read memoirs. Watch documentaries. Learn. Expose yourself to things that might not be ‘you’ at the moment. This will all help you find yourself and your true passions. Plus, you might learn something really cool.
  6. Take time to self-reflect. I always loved the idea of keeping a journal. I’ve never been able to do it until I started this blog. If blogging isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other mindful activities that help. Doing something mindful for 20 minutes a day really helps.
  7. Don’t forget to have fun! I think I did this throughout my life, more than the other lessons that I’ve written down. While it’s not as productive, doing something fun helps you know what you want, what you like, and what you want to keep in your life.

There are so many more lessons I’ve learned throughout the years. But I think everything here is really important. No matter what stage you are in life, it is good to just allow yourself to have new experiences because that puts you one step closer to a life of happiness. And that’s what everyone on this planet should have.

 

Ok cool, so just take this thing called life one stride at a time and you’ll be good, yeah?

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Jump Into…A Brand New Place

I totally thought that I would have time to blog throughout this move…but I was greatly mistaken. These past few weeks have been full of moving, starting a new internship, finding a full-time job, finding a barn for Rae, barely sleeping, and some part-time exploration of the town and the rest of NorCal! I can honestly say I am so happy to be back up here, but I can also say that I miss SLO more than I thought.

 

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It’s hard to change everything and move, but there is also a beauty in it. I feel like you learn who you are when everything else isn’t stable in your life. On top of that, it shows you that you’re stronger than you think. Trust me, I’ve had some hard moments in the past month between applying for jobs and devastatingly missing Raven. During those hard times, it’s best to just keep going. Because I’ve also had great ones! Not only did I find a place for Raven, but I also got to try backpacking for the first time and dare say I’m addicted!

Putting yourself into new situations may seems scary at first (or maybe even exhilarating), but it always ends up being a good thing. I’m thankful that I can be optimistic during this time period and understand that it will all work out.

But more about backpacking because I can understand why so many people go. The feeling of being in the woods with literally no one else around is beyond words. This was my  first time backpacking and before then, I always was hesitant to try. I’ve always loved hiking, but I didn’t know if I would like carrying upwards of 30 pounds on my back or going to the bathroom in the woods. Heck, I didn’t know how I was going to wash my hands for putting my contacts in! But I put that all aside and just dove in and did it. I’m glad that I put my fears away and explored the beautiful backcountry of Tahoe! I highly recommend going there, but also just ignoring your fears (or at least not embracing them). It will surprise you what you’re capable of!

 

Jump Into…Packing!

I’m kicking off this new series a couple of days early. I felt like it needed a to happen now and not later so here we are. Without further ado, welcome to the new series…Jumping Into! What better way to track the progress of moving than beginning with packing (yuck).

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I was laying on my floor last night, drinking a beer, and taking a break from packing up our apartment when I just got this crazy feeling. I’ve been so anxious about this move (for obvious reasons), but I felt oddly calm.Besides the time that I moved from home to college, I’ve never moved by myself to a new city.  In what is supposed to be such a hectic and disorderly moment, I felt like I was exactly where I was supposed to be. It was such a great feeling. It was one of those moments that you cherish forever because you can never forget that raw happiness and excitement.

And I think there’s an important thing to remember about this. Even though change is scary, it is absolutely necessary. Not to say that I was fighting all of the change that was in my life in the past couple months and now, but I certainly wasn’t welcoming it. That mindset, though, didn’t allow me to grow with this change. That mindset didn’t allow me to become better.

Change is in everything, not just the typical examples of moving towns or graduating from a school. It’s also true that basically every living thing resists change. Raven hates when I give a command a different way, when I’m late with her dinner (or even worse…her grain!), or just anything that deviates from normal routine. And while this all seems trivial, it makes a big difference in our lives.  Think of it this way: If I don’t do things slightly differently, or give her the change to experience new things that changes her routine, going to a show or learning something new will be over-dramatic and will probably lead to an uphill battle.

So, it’s better to just embrace change, because it’s inevitable. Another good way to think about change is that we are growing, learning, and striving to be something better than we once were. I’m trying to take this mindset over everything else, and I think that it’s working!

But then, all of my positive mindset went away when I remembered all of the packing I had to do and how I still need to clean everything before we leave. Uhhh my to-do list is so long….

 

Sayonara Cal Poly!

This week marks the end of my journey at Cal Poly. While it’s bittersweet to leave the place that made me who I am today, I can’t wait for what is in store for the future. Along with that, I’m going to start a new series on this blog. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it’ll be one for the books!

The next few months are going to be hectic while I am packing up my life and relocating to an entirely new city. Not only that, but I have to transition from the sporadic college life to a grown-up career and balancing a horse with that. I have no idea what is in store, but I want to chronicle it on here in a series because I’m sure I’m going to learn a couple useful things along the way. And if not, it’s going to at least be an experience worth remembering.

I think it will teach me something, though. When I first came to college, I thought I knew a lot more than I did. By all means, I knew that I had room to grow and expand my knowledge, but I never thought I would have the experiences that I did. College taught me more than just technical knowledge, I also learned important life skills that I could never forget. From things like diagnosing a lame horse, to getting through foaling season with only 20 minute naps every so hours, to juggling horses and school and a social life, my college experience equipped me with vast amounts of knowledge for the horse industry.

My time at college taught me important life lessons. My dad died my sophomore year here, and I had to cope with the stresses of not only losing a loved one, but how to deal with the legal stuff after. I also met some of my favorite people here like my one of my best friends or my boyfriend. It’s hard to think of where my life would be if I never went to school. I’m so thankful for these times, but I can’t wait to never take a final ever again.

College was daunting at first, don’t get me wrong. I remember crying while I was leaving the barn after my last visit before I went to college. I didn’t want to go and I didn’t want to leave my horse. But, had I never gone, I would have missed out on so many opportunities. Change is hard and most people don’t want to do it, but that anxiety that everyone feels means that you’re pushing yourself. And that’s what I feel right now. So hopefully that means something amazing will happen with this move!

So, here’s to my last week in college and a fresh start to the world! I’m definitely going to have to take things one stride a time with these next few months…

Why I Ride

I don’t ride my horse to be perfect at something. I ride because it’s who I am.

I was 6 years old when I decided that horses must be in my life. I had my mom, my dad, my teachers (basically a lot of people) tell me that I couldn’t do it or that I couldn’t afford it or that I wouldn’t have time for it. I had a lot of people tell me no, so why did I say, actually yes?

Honestly, I don’t really have an answer. Riding horses was always a no-brainer for me. I might not be the best at it, I might not have the money or time to quickly move up in show competitions, but I still persevere. I keep it in my life because the feeling of sitting on a horse is the most liberating feeling. You have control over a 1200 lb. animal with the ability to go anywhere and do anything.

I can also say that horses teach lots. There’s so much you learn about communication, responsibility, perseverance, discipline, and love that you can’t really learn from another sport, animal, or person. My horse taught me so much about interpersonal skills and the importance of humility. She also taught me that I need to be for her every single day, just like she is for me. She taught me that I need to take care of her, just like she takes care of me. We have created a team, and that is probably one of the best feelings ever.

So why do I ride?

I ride because it’s who I am. I feel free, I feel alive, I feel like myself.

What I’m Good At.

Soon I will be an MBA. I will have a masters of business administration and a graduate degree in animal science. That’s a lot  of schooling. With all of this experience, I feel pressure to be wise and to have myself figured out. I know that I don’t have to, but that’s what modern society says.

I can sit here and blame society, but honestly, I would just be avoiding myself and not taking responsibility. It’s literally my fault that I can’t figure out what to do. You know why? Because of my attitude.

I am terrible at making decisions. I am afraid of risk. I am freaking terrified of failing. I let people get into my head. I over-analyze every situation and cannot stop thinking about it. I can easily feel depressed, just as I can easily feel over-the-moon. If I don’t do well at something, I automatically think that it’s not for me; I never assume it’s because I need to persevere. I am never an A student — I can’t motivate myself to try that much. My vocabulary is subpar at best. I’m a terrible test taker. I constantly make bad decisions. I’m not as selfless as I could be. I have low self-esteem.

There’s a bunch more I can write, picking apart everything that showcases my flaws. I’ll spare the details because, let’s face it, everyone has at least some of these characteristics. Sometimes I spend so much time devoted to thinking about everything I’m bad at, that I never highlight my good qualities.

The truth is, I am a strong person. I’ve been through a lot and I’ve lived to tell the tale. I’m good at hiking. I love nature and appreciate everything the environment has to offer. I constantly try to improve myself and become more well-read. I can ride my horse well. I drive a truck and trailer like nobody’s business. I can keep relationships strong. I am awesome with animals. I can run 2 miles in 15 minutes. I’m pretty good at drinking beer. I don’t fail classes. My mom likes me. I actually read the news daily. I stay humble. I crack myself up, even if no one thinks I’m funny. I’m good at making small talk.

Not that everything about me will get me a job, or suddenly make me feel better about myself, but it’s a start. I’ve been listening to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, and while this book points out a lot of other things, it also emphasizes that you cannot go somewhere, you cannot motivate yourself, unless you start somewhere.

So I am beginning by writing down everything I can work on, everything I am good at, everything I like, don’t like, want to improve on because I believe this will help me understand more about myself. I also believe that this will help me start to figure out my life and what I want from it.

Now this is only the beginning, but I think it will work. I think that eventually it will lead me in the right direction. If anyone feels something similar to how I am feeling (which is lost), I encourage you to do this, or read self improvement books, or just do something. It can inspire you, motivate you, make you feel life you have a handle on life.

And I’ll be back with an update/more horse stuff/more hiking stuff soon. Remember to just take things one stride at a time (especially when life throws you a curveball).

 

6 Ways to Enhance Productivity

 

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To-do list. The first “to-do” of productivity (sorry, I can’t help it) is to compose lists of everything that needs to be done. It’s easier for me to wrap my head around the amount of work I have to do if I write it out. These lists can include everything from what needs to be finished in a day to a ten-year plan.

To-do lists also help break big tasks into smaller components. If you had a huge project due at the end of the quarter, lists can help you establish a timeline to finish the project early and definitely help you not lose motivation.

You can also prioritize your list of things that need to get done. I have to see Raven every. single. day. So that definitely goes on my high priority task list. But buying those cute boots I see at the boutique across the street isn’t really necessary, so I can put that on a low priority. And I should probably but saving money for said boots at medium priority, too.

Plus, it’s ridiculously rewarding to cross items off of your to-do list.

Organize. I LOVE organization. My idea of a fun Sunday morning activity is cleaning out my closet and tidying up my house. Organizing your purse, your life, your house, heck, even your kitchen, can not only help you keep from procrastinating, but can also relieve anxiety about a dirty house or even just make you feel more put-together. I always sense a bit of accomplishment and motivation whenever I have a tidy living room or a clean kitchen. Then I want to organize my task list my tackling it.

Take breaks. The number one killer of motivation is burn out. If you don’t allow your body and mind to refresh every few hours, you will quickly reduce your concentration, and therefore, productivity.

The tricky thing I’ve experienced with taking breaks is rather simple. Avoid Netflix. Seriously, Netflix sucks you in and before you know it, you’ve watched 5 episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and your final is in two days and you haven’t studied a lick. Instead, take ‘productive’ breaks. I know, I know, it doesn’t sound like a chance to relax, but it actually works!

Let’s say that you have allocated 10 hours for studying over two days, or about 5 hours a day. If you take a break every hour or so (or whenever you feel yourself slipping in concentration), take 10 minutes to go make tea, coffee, doodle in a notebook, call your mom, eat some almonds, literally anything that gets you off of social media and gives your brain a rest. You can even switch activities for an hour and go do something else on your task list. Simply taking a break from anything using critical thinking skills will benefit your work.

Establish a (healthy) morning routine. I’m sure you’ve heard this. I think everyone has heard this. But I still think it’s important to mention, because I notice that variations in my morning routine can affect my productivity. Take Saturdays for example. If I lay in bed later, checking Instagram, and not working out until later in the day, I tend to not get anything done. But during my week, I wake up every morning at the same time, walk my dog at the same time, and continue on with my morning routine of making breakfast, getting ready for school, and I cannot forget coffee.

This routine allows me to budget my time out, but also reduces my laziness. Have somewhat of a plan for the mornings allows me to create more time in my day for activities.

Eat and drink well. Eat a vegetable. Have water. Simple as that! Give your brain healthy food to feel productive, increase concentration, and feel better. No one wants to work when their body feels like shit.

Leave room for fun! While productivity can seem like your sacrificing spontaneity, I would argue just the opposite. If you write down everything you have to do in a day, you should have a rough estimate of how much time you need. So for the other spare hours you have, go do something adventurous! Hang out with friends, let your mind relax. This is where you can watch the 1o episodes of Westworld all at once because you can’t just not.

 

So there you have it. These are rules I follow to increase my productivity. I love staying organized, having task lists, staying healthy, this all leads to a better lifestyle. While changing things in your routine are hard at first, they soon become second nature, and you’ll forget what it’s like to have Instagram open all of the time.

 

Thanksgiving

Hi, all!

So I’ve been gone awhile….sorry! Grad school is kicking my butt. Not gonna lie I have been so busy and today I totally forgot to shower and I didn’t realize that until just now.

But anyways, on to what I actually wanted to say.

I tried something new and hopped on the Western train! As many can tell from this blog, I ride English and, aside from a couple of tourist trail rides, I have never ridden Western. Over Thanksgiving I was able to try something new, starting with a Western saddle.

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(Excuse my riding attire, my family abruptly asked me to ride with them while I was in the middle of cooking so I had no time to change)

On Thursday, I warmed up my ride on the “western” side to get a feel for the tack change and for the differences in command. My AQHA judging experience came in handy!! It was definitely a learning curve to ride in this saddle, but I acclimated quickly. I even taught my boyfriend how to ride and he grew comfortable enough to go out in the pasture on his own.Thursday was a good warm up for the big guns. We were able to become comfortable with the horses and tack in time for the next adventure – a BLM trail ride.

Friday was the big day. We decided we were going on a trail ride, rain or shine. We loaded up the horses in 45 degree pouring rain and headed to the Bend in Red Bluff.

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Oh. My. Gosh. So gorgeous. The rain actually stopped (thankfully) as soon as we hopped on our horses and headed for the trail. Even though we ended up walking and trotting a bit, I absolutely loved it. There was no one on the trail, everything was fresh from the rain, and the views were absolutely to die for.

We even had enough time for Wes and I to take cute pictures with all the gorgeous nature. Once of my favorite things about the Bend was the always changing scenery. There was over 300,000 acres full of rolling hills, rivers, forests, and meadows. The trail ride was truly a beautiful thing.

These pictures do not do the area justice, but take my word because this ride was one of the most serene and picturesque. It was also a great experience to try something different.

As a typical horse girl, I will take just about any opportunity to spend time with a horse. However, I get so caught up in my discipline that I sometimes forget about others or I never think to try something new with my horse. Spending time with family, especially with a fellow horsewoman who strictly trail rides and packs, gave me a different perspective.

My horse sense grew over the weekend because I was able to learn from the trails. These horses were so comfortable with trailering, with jogging on trails, even with gunshots! It reminded me that increased exposure makes a better horse – something that my horse definitely needs to work on.Trail riding also taught me to slow down and enjoy the view. Constantly in the competition world can be detrimental to both our horses and ourselves. This is why I think we need to experience different things. It doesn’t need to be as drastic as racing barrels on Saturdays and show jumping on Sundays, but a casual trail ride every once in awhile could benefit your horse. You can even work it into your training regimen as a hack or conditioning!

All in all, doing something different every once in awhile not only opens your perspective, but it could maintain the health of your horse, and you might even find your next new hobby!

 

Senior Pictures with Horses: How-To

I recently graduated from college and….ohmygosh I’m an alum!! So weird to think about, but I’m so happy I now have a bachelors. Even though I will no longer be in college, I still will post tips and college experiences, because well, because college is really damn hard.

Since I just finished a huge task, aka mastering the science of animals, I decided to take some beautiful pictures to mark the monumental feat. Since there aren’t many senior picture examples with horses, I thought I’d share the photos that I had done. I didn’t take any of these photos (obviously…), so I give all credit to my amazing photographer, Asia Croson! If you are looking for a bad-ass photographer to bring out the best in you, I linked her website; you can find her here.

View More: http://asiacrosonphotography.pass.us/kaitlynandravenandmila

I originally booked a session with 3 different locations. I did the first two locations with just me at the beach and on top of a hill. If you’d like to see those, and the different poses that came along with them, comment below! These are from the last session I had.

Anyway, I love this photo because of the trees. They look so daunting, and really emphasizes that Raven and I are on this journey together. Which is completely representative of our relationship through college, and even through the 7 years that we’ve been a team. Plus we look like we’re dominating the world.

View More: http://asiacrosonphotography.pass.us/kaitlynandravenandmila

And of course we had to get a couple shots in the grass, so she can chow down! Playing around with the sun and how you’re positioned in relation to your horse really makes the portraits interesting. Even though my beautiful town is more brown than green, I love the contrast between her dark coat and the golden grass. Whenever I get pictures taken, I always try to angle my body and move my limbs so I don’t look awkward. It’s hard to master, but practice in front of the mirror or something if you’re worried about it!

These two are beautiful. This is the exact reason I wanted a professional photographer with me. They know how to capture the sunlight in the best way. I  absolutely love that I am casually focused on the railing while everything else is slightly unfocused! Having your horse in the background will not only put the spotlight on you, but also showcase your love for horses, in an artistic and adorable way.

View More: http://asiacrosonphotography.pass.us/kaitlynandravenandmila

Like the cover photo, I just had to get some photos of us with my graduation attire! The cover photo has me wearing the sash, but I also put it on Rae. Play around with your props, like your cap and sash, because it makes the photos more interesting and unique.

I LOVE these! I saw pictures of some people signing a heart on their horse like I’m doing here, and I just had to do it! These are some of my faves (I feel like I saw that with every portait…) because she looks so content and happy. You can just see the strong bond we have with each other.

I also brought my best friend along to appear in some photos. She and I have been riding together for almost 12 years, so I figured it would be cute and fun to have her with my horse. They kind of turned out like our engagement photo, but I don’t care!!  I love the ones where we’re resting on the railing, because you can see our jewelry. We decided to wear pieces that had meaning for us.

I also got some photos of how I decorated my cap. I am in love with them because its somewhat original and totally applicable to my life (I am doing the MBA program in the fall).

View More: http://asiacrosonphotography.pass.us/kaitlynandravenandmila

Lastly, I wanted to talk about your outfit/props/makeup and stuff to be thinking about when you do your pictures. Since my horse is black, I wanted my outfit to be light colored. I chose a simple white tank top, jeans, and boots because I wear an outfit similar to this everyday and because it complemented my horse. When you choose your outfit, make sure you are comfortable and confident. The same is for makeup, except you could get away with exaggerating. I wore three times as much makeup as normal, curled my hair to enhance my natural curls, and wore fake eyelashes. With all of this, everything looks pretty natural, right? Just keep that in mind 🙂

Just as a disclaimer, most of these photos are completely candid. I thought of poses on the spot that I thought would look cute, but I literally had no idea what I was doing. That’s where Asia saved my life. She made me feel so comfortable goofing around and having fun.

I hope these pictures provide some inspiration with your upcoming photoshoot with your horse! I know I had a blast and they turned out better than expected.  I will always have these pictures to remember me and my girl, and I am forever thankful to have her.

View More: http://asiacrosonphotography.pass.us/kaitlynandravenandmila

On that note, did anyone have a similar experience with graduate pictures?

Favorite Things Thursday

I was sitting around my house today and thought I would share some of my favorite things at the moment. These items aren’t just inspirations, some of them I just really like right now or I am just really proud of. Without further ado, I think we should start this list 🙂

1. Flowers in a mason jar.

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These flowers were given to me by my boyfriend yesterday. I just love how simplistic and green they are! I live in California with the biggest drought of all droughts, so it’s nice to see something alive. Since I am a college student (this is like the best excuse ever), I don’t own any grown-up vases. Who knew a granola container could make a cute vase? Also, how are you supposed to pronounce vase?

2. My favorite pair of sunglasses.

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I bought these glasses on a whim from Target since my favorite pair of aviators were stepped on at a concert (cue the violins). I usually get glasses that are either wayfarers or aviators, so this shape is a little out of my comfort zone. However, these glasses are amazing! They have somehow held up through my klutzy tendencies and look super cute on! After my experience with these cute little frames, I am definitely going to listen to my gut and go with the crazy sunglasses next time.
P.S. Don’t you love my “shooting area”? Apparently, free coffee tables have multiple uses, not just for dancing on.

3. My inspirational phrase and cute red clock.

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I am a BIG fan of Pinterest. The main reason I love this website is because they have the best quotes and phrases! When I moved into my current house, I knew that I had to put up a phrase on the wall so that I could always remember to stay positive in life and be the best I could be. Naturally, I chose this quote! I used washi tape for this (my landlords advise against painting) and figured a cute red clock would go nicely. My roommate also added “Drink O’Clock” for her 21st birthday party. It’s fitting as we love to enjoy our Friday nights!

4. This weird painting I made for no apparent reason.

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One day, when I was trying to figure out something to do with free time, I decided that I wanted to be an artist and try my luck at painting. I’ve always thought mandalas were pretty and majestic af. So, naturally, that’s what I chose. Halfway through, I realized that painting is not my strong suit, but I still tried my best. This painting isn’t the bee’s knees, but I love it! It’s what I call my Gay Pride Mandala Look-Alike.

5. Last, but not least, my girly station.

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I love this area of my room! My mom got me this mirrored tray a couple months ago and it makes me think of The Parent Trap when they are in the mom’s room and she has all the perfume and jewelry. It makes me feel so girly and cute! I love all the perfume, rings, sunglasses, and necklaces that I get to put on display.

So there you have it. There’s some of the things that I am currently enjoying this fine Thursday afternoon. It’s funny to think that random things like a pair of sunglasses or a vase of flowers will instantly brighten your day. What brightens your day?

Whatever it is that helps you get through the day, make sure you hold onto that. Remember that life can get rocky at times. Having something that helps you stay positive is good to have!

And remember to take everything a stride at a time ~