A Challenge For Myself

I’ve been MIA for so long it’s hard to know where to even begin again. The best way is to say that I miss writing whenever I leave it behind. Everyone has crazy lives and mine is no different, but I want to make a better attempt at taking time for the things I love.  I saw a post somewhere that talked about if something is important to you, why wouldn’t you do it every single day? Reading that resonated with me. My ideal career involves writing, yet I can hardly sit down at my computer to write a single rambling post about my boring life once a week.

So, as an exercise, I want to challenge myself to write every single day for at least one month. Some of that might be reflected on my blog, while some things may be more personal reflections in my journal if I don’t have the time to formally write out an entire published post. I have found a lot of journaling prompts online that I want to use as inspiration, in addition to my lists of ideas I’ve come up with in the past about potential topics. As my schedule normalizes, I truly do want to make more of an effort to use this space as I go through life.

Some things I’m sure I’ll write about in the coming days I think about a lot are topics like “What do you want to be remembered for?” and “Where do you see yourself in the future?” I hope to search deep within myself and discover some direction and share it here. Whether any of the things I write about stick with me through my adult life, I’d love to keep them as a record of how I felt at this point in my life. I hope you stick around to join me for that.

This is just a placeholder or short reminder that I’m here. I haven’t forgotten about my passion for writing, but I have let it fall to the side and haven’t made it a priority recently. I want that to change. I’m taking a lot of energy and putting it into my personal development (both physically and mentally) and I’m very happy with the direction my life is headed. I’m very excited to update this blog and start publishing content with some depth and purpose. IMG_2730.JPG

International Women’s Day

It’s amazing to realize how much you change as you grow up. I realize that’s part of coming into adulthood; the time between adolescence and adulthood is filled with so much drastic change it only makes sense. However, I can see a 95% difference in myself from how I was in my teenage years. Growing up in Bible Belt, Texas I obviously had a more conservative outlook on most things. I didn’t understand the LGBT+ community, I didn’t know any people of color, and I was ashamed of being a woman. 

Anyone that knew me back then versus now remembers the days where I was embarrassed to have breasts and hated going bra shopping. I had conditioned myself to look at my own body and demeanor with disdain because my femininity was wrong or dirty. Having boobs was sexy and sex is dirty and girls are supposed to have purity rings and not be aware of them being sexual beings. Or something like that. All of this was something I had made up or assumed; while my parents never mentioned anything about the birds and the bees to me or made me feel ashamed, somehow I still did. Really, many of these feelings followed me into college and down to Florida. It wasn’t until I began to see body positivity firsthand that I realized my femininity is something to be proud of. 

These days I can say without hesitation that I believe in true feminism. I believe in encouraging girls and women to love themselves as an A cup or a EEE, to love their curves and stretch marks and Fred Flinstone Feet. Women need to hear that makeup doesn’t make you beautiful, but if winged eyeliner and a killer cut-crease makes you feel empowered, then by all means go for it. It is entirely your opinion and choices that matter and not that of society. Show your stomach if you want to! Exposing some tasteful sideboob doesn’t make you a slut unless that’s how you would like to self-identify. True feminism advocates equality for men and women alike, realizing that men face just as many social pressures as women do. Opening my eyes to love myself as I am has made me a stronger woman and I want to encourage other people of all genders and identities to feel the same. 

On this International Women’s Day, I celebrate all women. This includes trans women, women of color, republican women, democrat women, immigrant women, women with disabilities, and every other type of women out there. So much of the mainstream society tries to pit women against each other by making everything a competition and putting them down. Telling me I’m not girly enough or not as thin as this woman is a way to break down my mind to conform to the bullshit. We all need to stand together as sisters and use our differences to make us stronger as a group to defend against that bullshit social norm. 

In the past, I’ve felt guilty for going to Starbucks and being perceived as a “basic white girl” or expressing my emotions and being called “dramatic and hysterical”.  Now I realize how silly that is and have chosen to embrace myself for who I am. If I can choose to be unapologetically me, then maybe I can inspire more of my brothers and sisters in the world. I’ve been brushed off when I talk about not wanting to have children, as if this makes me less of a woman. When I asked my gynecologist about a tubal litigation he told me I was too young to make a decision like that when I know in my heart that it’s not something I am going to change my mind on. I’m louder and more independent than most men are used to, and I’ve accepted that that is the reason I’m single; it will take a very special man to be able to handle me.  I talk openly about sex and zit popping videos and other “non-ladylike” topics and I’m proud of myself for having the freedom to vocalize my opinions and feelings. 

As a woman in the United States I realize how lucky I am. Compared to how women are viewed in other countries around the world, here in America we have so many rights to be thankful for. Not only am I lucky enough to be a woman in America, I’m also lucky enough to never have experienced a sexual assault when 1 in 6 American women have. While I am extremely fortunate to not have this history, I never want to take that for granted and forget the women who have suffered through harmful situations because of their gender. From the women in other countries fighting for education and jobs to the women around the world who have been assaulted or live in fear of assault (not to mention the women who have not survived these battles), I want to live to support them and not let them be forgotten. Because I am one of the lucky ones, I feel like it’s part of my duty to stand with victims and offer encouragement to my sisters to stay strong through whatever life throws at them. 

I’m grateful for the changes I’ve made since high school. I’m proud to be a woman, and I’m even prouder to be the strong and independent woman I am. Being raised to speak up for myself and encouraged to do anything I set my mind to, I’m using my voice to stand with my fellow women in their right to live the lives they want and not the ones expected of them. Liking Starbucks, not wanting children, listening to bubblegum pop music, wearing pink lipstick and getting your nails done, playing sports, being covered in tattoos and liking sex doesn’t make you more or less of a woman. It makes you you. The most important lesson I’ve learned as a woman is that mine is the only approval I need. I want to support women around the world in their own journeys and battles to achieve their rights and find their individual voices. 

Living a Cruelty-Free Life

February is almost over and I’m continuing to embrace change and transformation. Some of the goals I set out for myself at the beginning of January and February were not met, but they were replaced with greater and more permanent forming habits. January was more about shifting my mindset and gaining focus and starting the routines I want to keep with me. February has been about setting goals and making a plan on how to achieve them. These new practices are really all derived from one main idea: I want to take care of my body, mind, and soul.

One way I’ve decided to do this is to shift into a cruelty-free lifestyle. It’s been something I’ve contemplated for a while, but I was motivated by my friend Lindsey over at Listy Lemon and her post about making the cruelty-free switch in cosmetics and skin care. It makes the journey for me easier when I know there are other people in my life with the same ideas.

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What this means for me personally is that I no longer wish to purchase products that are tested on animals. In my opinion, my dollar is a vote. When at all possible, I want to use the money I earn to support businesses that share my beliefs. There may be times where I am not able to follow this, but I’d like to do what I can. When it comes to cosmetics and cleaning products, I’ve discovered how many options there are that don’t involve harming animals. With a quick Google search I found so many blogs that are rich in information on cruelty-free brands. Cruelty-Free Kitty is one of my favorites to visit for an easy answer. PETA’s website also has a super easy resource for discovering if a brand is cruelty-free or not.

Shopping cruelty-free can be different for everyone. There are some companies that do not test on animals but are owned by a parent company that does. An example of this would be Urban Decay, which is owned by L’Oreal. There are some people who choose to buy from fully cruelty-free brands, and some who use their voice and money to support the cruelty-free company and not the parent company. I’m more aligned with the latter group; it’s a less-limiting way to shop, and I’m still showing the parent company which products I would rather purchase.

I have a lot of makeup products that still have plenty of use left. The money is already spent, therefore I see wasting it as worse than the purchase I made when I wasn’t shopping mindfully. However, any new cosmetics, skin care, and even cleaning supplies I buy from now on will be smarter purchases. With resources like the two I listed above, it’s incredibly easy to find products that don’t harm innocent animals.

Another way I’ve chosen to live more mindfully is changing my diet to a vegetarian one. For years I’ve watched all the documentaries on Netflix, Food Inc., Hungry for Change, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, and more. I’ve known how bad our food industry is and especially when it comes to meat. I’ve seen the videos of chickens being mistreated, and I know about the added hormones and preservatives. For so long I’ve turned a blind eye to not only the treatment of animals before they become my dinner, but also the way eating meat makes me feel physically.

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Don’t get me wrong, I love Chick-Fil-A, Big Macs, and bacon. Never say never, so maybe I’ll eat meat again someday, but I do know that from a health standpoint I feel much better when I don’t eat a lot of it, even when it’s something I’ve prepared at home. As of recently, every time I eat meat (especially red meat) I feel sick and sluggish. As far as my diet goes, at this time I don’t have any plans on going completely vegan. Honestly, it’s about my own comfort socially and financially. I think I would like to eventually make the transition to veganism someday, but that isn’t in my plan currently.

As a strong animal lover, I’ve always struggled with knowing where my meal came from. So far the decision has been an easy one. I still think fondly of meat-lead meals I’ve enjoyed in the past, but I don’t crave them. It makes me much happier to know I’m making a small impact on the world. Not only am I not supporting the treatment of these animals, I’m not supporting the incredible destruction of our planet by animal agriculture. 

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There are enough things I do every day that aren’t good for the environment; I drive a car, I don’t recycle (that’s not entirely my fault when my apartment complex doesn’t have recycling bins), I use aerosol hairspray, etc. Despite this,  I have switched from using pads and tampons to a reusable menstrual cup, I recycle whenever I can at work, and cutting out meat is another way of being kind to the planet.

With my new spiritual views, I no longer feel right morally harming another creature for my own gain. Having opposable thumbs doesn’t make me superior to my dog or the cows that are sent off to make steaks. As I live a more positive life, I can’t do that when I’m knowingly supporting the food products or cosmetics that are so negatively created.

Part of me wants to assure you that I won’t be the stereotypical vocal vegetarian: you know, the one all the jokes are about. The other part of me remembers that I’ve never been subtle about anything, so why should my diet be any different? I remain, as I have become, a straight-edge, democratic, hippie, vegetarian feminist.

If You Had the Chance to Change Your Fate (The Five Year Plan)


I posted this photo on my instagram with the caption explaining that I’m trying to formulate The Plan. The dreaded/welcomed Five Year Plan is one of those things people always ask about in one way or another; where do you see yourself in five years

The truth is, I don’t know. I thought by the time I was 23 I would have more things figured out and taken care of. There was a mental timeline I thought I’d be further along than I am. I never wrote down any of those things, but I want to start now. 

Sometime in the upcoming days/weeks/months I want to set up a Vision Board of sorts. On it, I want my Plan to be posted up to be a daily reminder of the goals I have set for myself. My list of priorities and inspiration need to be somewhere I can always go to when I’m discouraged or off track. 

Life is so uncertain and I know that all too well. However, there are many things I can take charge of and control. I’m using my time to decide what I want out of my life and figure out how to make those things happen within my ideal timeline. I need to be open to flexibility as fate takes me down her own path, but I’m the best guide I have for now. 

Pursuing Photography 

More than anything I am a writer (good or bad), but I wanted to share this photo. It’s a simple iPhone 6 picture taken from the backseat of a Kilimanjaro Safari’s truck with an instagram filter on it. But I love it. 

It’s pictures like this that remind me to get out with my DSLR camera and pursue photography as a hobby. I want my photos to accompany my writing, as well as stand alone. 

I may never be an artist or a musician; hell, I may never become any kind of writer or photographer. Even if nothing ever comes of these hobbies, they make me feel good. These hobbies allow me to express myself and see things differently. They help me learn and notice the finer details. 

This weekend I’m going out with my friend, Caitlin, with this in mind. We’re going out with our cameras and we’re going to capture the world around us.  I’ve been wanting to do this for so long and I can’t wait to share the photos I take. 

February Goals

I’m very happy to announce that in January I completed 8/10 of my planned goals. Not only did I successfully do the 10 I set out to, I also made great progress in creating lasting habits for my health and well-being. It isn’t important which goals I did or did not meet, what matters most is that I was able to achieve more than I thought I would for the month. 

With that being said, I decided on my February goals. I have less on my list this month, and some are the same or slightly different, while some are new. Although I’m doing a lot of focusing on the short-term goals, I haven’t forgotten about the long term; many of my goals I set intentionally to get into the habit of doing it, so I can eventually turn around and utilize them for a longterm plan. An example would be more exercise: someday I want to comfortably complete a full marathon. I can’t do that without consistent running and training (and diet!!) every day. Another would be my writing: four blog posts a month at minimum gives me the practice and experience to someday get paid for writing.  “I want to learn everything I can, and write down everything I see. Golly says if I want to be a writer, I’d better start now…”

  • Publish 4 blog posts
  • Read 4 books
  • Work out 4 days a week
  • Put (and keep) money in savings
  • Continue to clean and de-clutter
  • No soda

I feel good. These may seem like more “to-do” list items, but they mean more than that to me. These goals mean working to become a better person, both physically and mentally. I want to learn, I want to feel stable, I want to feel strong. I’m so ready to be the best I can be. This month I also want to sit down and seriously begin to plan out my long-term life goals, and I’ll be sure to write about it when I know more myself. 

Grateful and Healing

Today I’m grateful that, even though I’m working two weeks straight with no time for rest, I’m able to sit and read at work. And that the team brought in donuts

 The last week has been off for me; I ran around working and entertaining an out of town friend and totally forgot about myself. I didn’t make my own mental and physical health a priority, so I ate junk park food and forgot about my meditation. Waking up for work was a challenge because I didn’t have my positive solace first thing in the morning. 

Yesterday on my break I found a 15-minute meditation podcast to get me through the rest of my afternoon and it did wonders. This morning I woke up and grounded myself before I even turned on my lights or went to the bathroom. 

Mediation has become a necessity for me in the mornings. It sets my day off right and gives me a clearer view on what I want to accomplish for myself. 

This last week I totally fell off the wagon. But I planned out my workouts for next week, and am re-committing to my health in all aspects. (Yes I know I just said I was grateful for the donut. Let me treat myself.) I brought fruit, carrots, and hummus for my lunch to fuel my body, and I jump started my day with meditation to fuel my mind. Although I don’t get to have a day off this weekend, I’m looking at the overtime as a blessing and am happy to have it. 

I’m grateful for a library card and the fact that I live three stoplights away from my library. Reading brings me so much comfort and I’m happy to be able to escape into the pages. 

And of course I’m grateful for the donuts. Not even because they’re sweet and tasty. More than that, I’m thankful for the gesture of bringing them in on a long day of overtime. 

The sunrise this morning was beautiful. The weather walking into work was incredible. It’s much too pretty outside to be cooped up indoors, but I’m grateful to be able to take it all in briefly first thing today. 


Spiritual Awakening

I’ve always been interested in the supernatural or metaphysical. Even when I was young and living in a conservative Christian home, not allowed to watch The Wizard of Oz or Harry Potter, I still had a strong affinity for learning about magic, ghosts, and other things many people in our church and community saw as “demonic.” As I grew up, my family became less dependent on religious doctrine and we each went our separate ways spiritually. I’m very lucky to have had so many different resources and experiences through my parents’ discoveries because I’ve been given a great spiritual foundation from varying ideologies.

With that foundation, I’m beginning to seek out spirituality for myself. After high school and college, I gave religion a wide berth, not because I felt negatively towards it as a whole, but because I needed space to come to it on my own. I don’t like labels, especially on things like religion; they’re too limiting for such an unknown and strong energy. Even describing myself as “agnostic” didn’t sit well with me. It still doesn’t.

I’m forging my own path through different means. Currently I’m focusing on mediation and healing energy. Chakras, crystals, and candles, oh my! I’ve begun teaching myself to read tarot cards and hope to take a 6-week course on it next month. To learn the cards and their many meanings, I’m updating my Facebook page and sometimes my Insta daily with a tarot card that my deck chose for me that day. I really love it so far and appreciate the clarity it adds to a situation. Tarot isn’t meant to be “fortune telling” or reading the future; tarot is a reflection of yourself.

Similarly, I bought my very first crystal this week. At a a local metaphysical shop I was browsing through the many cases for a few specific ones as gifts. My intention was to buy for others on this trip and only get the tarot cards for myself. I came to the sunstone and saw the brief description on the card and it took my breath away. While it isn’t the most beautiful or most versatile, it certainly is the most important crystal I could have chosen as my first. Instead of putting it in my “shopping cauldron” like my other purchases, I felt drawn to holding it in my hand while shopping, and continued to do so once I got into my car as well. It immediately warmed in my hand and I could feel its energy vibrating through me while I held it. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.

I have a lot of things I want to learn. I want to educate myself and share my knowledge with those who want to hear it. Maybe that gets done through healing, readings, or charms; maybe my new positive energy will strengthen others to seek out a deeper spiritual awakening of their own. Nonetheless, I want to research and read and try everything to see what works best for me.

Will any of this last? I hope so. I want it to. It doesn’t feel like church revival “warm fuzzies” that fade. This feels like a transformation in my deepest soul. I don’t feel this transformation only spiritually; I feel it emotionally and physically. I feel lighter as I’ve been practicing mindfulness in the past week, taking care of myself and ridding my life of negativity. I’m focusing on the positive energy and not allowing the negative to come close to me. I’m speaking blessings and focusing on the good in myself and in others. I’m becoming mindful of the way I sit, the food I eat, and the amount of wastefulness I’m trying to reduce.

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My Small Return to Facebook

Back in July, I ended my relationship with Facebook. It was causing me to feel a lot of negativity that I didn’t need in my life. While I still have an “active” profile, I no longer have anyone on my friends list and only use the website for a few Facebook groups and to maintain my photo albums. All of my online interactions have been on other social media sites and this blog. I’m here to make a quick post that I am more or less returning to Facebook, though in a slightly different way.

I have made an Orlando is Calling Blog Facebook page as another space to share my blog posts, photography, and other things I would like to share. My reasons for using Facebook are a few things. One reason being I know it’s much easier for people to keep up with things if they’re on their newsfeed, so having my posts show up may bring more people to my blog. A second reason, and really the most major, is that I have a goal for my blog.

I’ve always loved writing. It’s been a passion of mine for as long as I could write. Within the next two years I want to be making money with my writing. It’s a somewhat long-term goal, but I know a strong social media presence will only aid me in succeeding in my dream. I don’t need to be able to make a living off of my writing, that’s a goal for another day. For now, I just plan on starting off with chump change. In order to even begin that process, I need to continue writing and gain an audience.

For now Orlando is Calling is just a personal blog about my life. I share my feelings and my interests with you in order to express myself. Even though my posts are mostly about myself, I do consciously try to add in interactions and open-ended questions to bring a sense of inclusion to whoever may be reading. I want to encourage and inspire my audience by using my own life as an example. When I make mistakes or go through a difficult/strange situation, I want to share that and maybe someone will have a similar story to tell.

This doesn’t mean all of my opinions or stories are “right,” but it doesn’t make them any less true or real for me, and I hope my readers can understand that and accept me for my personal truth. I’m changing myself a lot this year; I’ve already made many great strides mentally to rid myself of heaviness and negativity and I still have a ways to go, but I want to share that with you through my blog and social media accounts. I will continue to make mistakes and say things I shouldn’t, but I also hope that I can inspire you as I find more light and positivity and grow within myself.

Please excuse the emptiness of my page, but I encourage you to find “Orlando is Calling Blog” on Facebook and give it a “Like” so my posts show up on your newsfeed.  I hope you join me in discovering whatever my purpose is and in achieving my goals.

The Bullet Journal

For way too long I’ve struggled with craving organization in my scheduling; although “organized” is the last word I would use to describe myself, I know I need structure. Every year I buy the cutest planner to fit my personality and fill it out with important dates and my work schedule. After that I never look at it again. Occasionally I might remember it exists and cross out months that have already passed and leave it to collect dust again.

I’ve decided my problem with traditional planners is that they aren’t flexible. They’re all the same and don’t  work for me. I have dozens of break slips in my pockets with tasks and to-do’s that have a much more linear aesthetic that I prefer. When I sit down to make life plans in a notebook, it gets listed. For me, boxy calendar views are wasteful in the end. I have at least a dozen notebooks scattered around all containing the same information. I need one main journal to keep track of my plans.

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Given my life currently, I don’t have “appointments” or meetings to need to plan in detail.  My work schedule is saved in screenshots in my camera roll so writing them down is useless. My life is tasks and flimsy plans with friends with no time crunch. I need to know what day bills come out and when my dog needs her heart worm medication and when to refill my antidepressant prescription and plan out my running days.

With all of this being realized, I began looking at a lot of posts of bloggers who use bullet journals. It’s been a thought in the back of my mind that I wanted to try the “BuJo” life, but like most people just starting out, I was overwhelmed at the amount of creativity most of the examples had. Still, in my fresh mindset I have decided to jump in.  Maybe it will work for me, maybe it won’t. Still, I want to give it a try. I’m standing by my statement that 2017 is a year of continued growth and logging that in a bullet journal with a more linear task list might just be the way to do it.

In less than 24 hours, I already learned some things I do and do not like and things I want to add or change in the future. I wish my journal was dotted or gridded instead of lined, for one, but I like the size and quality so I’ll survive. Before even starting, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t compare my journal to the Instagram models; I would allow my bullet journal to grow and evolve with me this year. BuJo would be my friend to learn from week to week and month to month.

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I think that’s my favorite part about the Bullet Journal model: complete freedom. If I try something one week and hate it, I’m not committed to it. I’m in an open relationship with my planner. As I was coming up with my pre-plan, I didn’t think I wanted a daily log. I started off with the blank spread, trying to decide what would work best for me. Then I realized i could do both: on weeks where I know I have a lot going on, I can do a daily log, and on weeks where I’m not doing much, I don’t need to waste the paper. I love the potential lack of waste that comes with this process. If my Thursday is packed, then I’ll do a Thursday log and skip the other days, lumping all my tasks into my weekly tracker.

Some collections that are unique to me are my long-term goals and tasks with no time constraint, things like cleaning out my iTunes library and running a marathon; I have a collection of dreams such as buying a new mattress and getting married; my favorite personal collection is my list of dates I go on, complete with a rating system and where we met. A few collections I added are inspired by others I saw online. Gift ideas, favorites of the season, bills and habit trackers, along with a few others are all a part of my bullet journal.

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Something I plan on gaining from this (besides structure) is strengthening my handwriting. This is a big joke, I know. My handwriting has always been horrendous, but I hope that through. My bullet journal I am able to at least have legible scrawl. In the short time I’ve spent making my first spreads, I’ve found a new acceptance for my lack of artistry and cursive/print hybrid penmanship. I discovered that although it isn’t easy coming up with my own doodles, fonts, or borders, I can copy the basic idea from what I find online and make it fit my needs.

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A trend I’ve noticed in the Bullet Journal community is finding a word to motivate or describe the upcoming year. I didn’t think much of it until I kept using the phrase “year of growth” whether it be in my blog, private journal, or even just my thoughts. I mentioned in my last post that “growth” is the word I plan on returning to throughout the year, and I stand by that. Even in the few short weeks of this year I’ve felt a great sense of growth within my self in many ways and I hope to use my new Bullet Journal to continue that feeling.

If you’re curious about how to start or need more inspiration, Modern Mrs. Darcy has some great posts about her own Bullet Journal and her posts include even more links to great resources. Of course there’s the official Bullet Journal website if you want to learn more from the creator himself. For me, I love the flexibility and casualness of this style of planning and I can see myself using it for a very long time.