5 Steps to Make Your Morning Better

When you rise each morning, you set the tone for the rest of your day. What does your morning ritual look like? Is it intentional, or it is just another motion you move through?

Mornings are important.

I’m not religious, but to me, mornings are sacred. I worship morning light, the fresh opportunity gifted to us at the start of each day.

My morning ritual looks a little like this, and I invite you to take pieces of it to make your mornings better too:

1. The first visual I seek every morning is earth and light. At home, it’s my hanging pothos vine that catches warm morning sun and brings the land into my bedroom. I start my morning by inhaling a view of earthly delight. Put a plant by your bed and worship it as a symbol of the earth. Let it ground you.

2. I always, always make my bed. If I could offer one piece of advice to people to change their entire day, this would be it. Make your bed. Period. Do this. Always.

3. Set a positive intention or thought. Today is YOURS, what will you do with it? Say it out loud in the mirror, write it down in a journal, or just set it in your mind. Empower yourself with grace, positivity, and strength.

4. Drink a tall glass of water. Bonus points if it’s hot with a slice of lemon. Start your day hydrated.

5. Move your body—it’s better than coffee. Just for one minute, move. Do jumping jacks, shake your limbs around wildly, or be like your dog and do the zoomies around your kitchen. Get your heart pumping.

How do you spend your mornings? Do you have any magical rituals that help you show up to each day? Either way, good morning, friends. Note: This was originally an Instagram post that you can see here. 

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The One Thing College Doesn’t Teach You: How To REALLY Live

Friday marks a huge milestone for my little climbing family – many of them are finally graduating from Florida State University. Having graduated nearly two years ago, I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day for months – and as the topic of graduating into the “real” world has been floating around for the past few weeks, I’ve spent a lot of time mulling on this idea of shifting from “college” life to “real” life.

What will you do today that will make you proud in a year?And I’m pretty sure most folks are doing it wrong.

There’s this horrible stigma that many of my collegiate peers fall for: this idea that after you graduate, you’re supposed to start settling (down, but mostly just settling). It’s touted as that time where you finally get a real house with non-beer-stained furniture, work 9-5 at an “entry level” salary, and focus entirely on things like weddings, babies, and car payments.

That’s all gravy, and are admittedly things I look forward to in the future – but where’s the rush? Where’s the balance? What about all those other things that are supposed to make life worth living?

So, graduates, here’s my send-off advice for you: Make sure you’re REALLY living now that you’re being freed into the “real” world. Make sure you head down a path of realness, not a path of pre-packaged so-called satisfaction that includes a handful of stock options.

You are young. You are free. You have time, and most importantly, you’re still in the phase of your life where eating cheap tacos is acceptable. So use this period of your life to do as much youthful, spontaneous, outrageous living as you can before you finally settle down and have a garage filled with holiday ornaments (yeah, I plan on having a massive collection of seasonal décor one day, so what?).

The number one thing I hear from my older colleagues and peers while talking about my big 2013 trip is this:

“I wish I had taken the time to do this when I was your age, it would be impossible for me to drop everything and travel for a year now.”


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A question for you…

This morning, I read an exceptionally inspiring post on my fellow OmniTen-er Heidi’s blog, BananaBuzzBomb. She retold the events that transpired during her day off, an afternoon that turned from tackling mundane to-dos to dropping it all to live in the moment and go for a hike.

I’ll let her post do all the talking – but just remember to ask yourself this question every day:

Are you living in the NOW? Are you living in THIS MOMENT?
If you’re not, it’s never too late to start.

Are you living in this moment, right now?

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Monday Motivation – let’s get back into the groove.

It has been quite a while since our last Monday Motivation, compliments of Marianne Curtis, but I’d say it’s high time to get back into the swing of things. Life has been throwing plenty of lemons in my direction, so a few inspirational words seem like a great reminder that there is always something positive to be gained from any situation.

Are you really that positive, or is it fake? My answer is simple: I truly believe it is way easier to live with a smile on your face than to spend one extra second of this precious life consumed with negative emotions. The only way we will ever reach our full potential is to shed the negativity.”

Hell, maybe we should go for a double-whammy twofer of Monday Motivation to really get our minds ticking. Enjoy:

“So here is the blueprint for success and happiness in life: When you get knocked down, stand back up. When you get knocked again, stand up again. And just when you think you can’t stand back up, smile, wipe the sweat off and stand up with just a little more authority in your step.”


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Monday Motivation – inspiring words by L. Sepe and bumble bee photography

Today’s uplifting quote comes from one of the most beautiful ladies to ever grace the planet, Lauren Sepe. This girl has a captivating spirit that seeks out all the beauty in the world around her, which means you’d do well to follow her word.

To compliment her wise words, enjoy a lovely pair of shots I took this weekend at Railroad Square Art Park. Spring is officially upon us, and the bugs are lovin’ it.

“The pursuit of happiness is a matter of choice! If we regularly deposit encouraging thoughts in our minds, bite our lips before we begin to complain and shoot down that harmless negative thought, we will find that there is much to rejoice about. The best things in life are unexpected because there were no expectations. Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference… Make your optimism come true!” – Lauren Sepe
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Monday Motivation – Look me in the Eye!

Folks, it’s that time of week again. The weekend has left us, and all that remains is the carnage of half-finished finals projects and partially drank beers. As we gear up for this final stretch of studying before winter break, enjoy Marianne’s weekly words of wisdom:

“Monday Motivation: Look people in the eye when you speak. When you do, make sure they see an unwavering passion for life, a passion that they may need to inspire them on a rainy day.”

Later, for some real inspiration, I’ll be posting the much anticipated photographs from the miraculous rebirthing of Baby Cap, whose life we watched from his smallest stages of caterpillar life. (Click here to catch up on this amazing little creature!) After six long months of metamorphosis, and many taunts by people who were convinced he was dead, Baby Cap has emerged from his brown shelling and is now flying through the brisk Tallahassee air. It was a phenomenal experience.

Enjoy this week, everyone! The holidays are closin’ in.

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Monday Motivation!

With the Thanksgiving holiday looming so close, it’s hard to remain focused on the work that must be completed before we all go gallivanting off towards turkeyland excitement. Here are some words of wisdom, compliments of Marianne Curtis, to keep us motivated during this tempting week:

“Life is not about always doing what you love. Rather, it’s about having so much pride in anything you do that you strive to create a masterpiece in everything you touch. At that point, you’re not doing what you love, but loving what you do.”

Keep truckin’ through these next few days – before you know it, you’ll be gathering around the table for some hand-carved turkey, cranberry sauce and quality family time.

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Monday Motivation!

It’s going to be a very long, and very short week. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning I shall be a slave to my writing and school work. Come Wednesday afternoon around 1:00 – it’s off to the mountains! A huge crew of climbers will be spending five days up in the Tennessee mountains, climbing at Little Rock City. Folks, I’m talking HUGE. Not only will Mr. Steve Strickland, ranked #7 in the nation, and the illustrious Kendal Jackson be there, but killer climbers from Orlando, Tampa, Tallahassee and Atlanta shall all be converging on a single crag for a weekend of insanity.

Until then, here’s some motivation to keep us going until playtime arrives:

“Monday Motivation: I smile because I woke up this morning. I keep smiling with the hope that people know they can feed off my energy if they are running low on their own.” – Marianne Curtis

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Monday Motivation!

Good morning, readers! Despite the next three days of impending storms, it’s promising to be a busy and beautiful week. Here’s some of Marianne’s Monday Motivation to get you started on the right foot:

“The good have a passion for what they do. The great have a passion for life in general. I want great, and my goal is to take as many people as I can with me on that journey. With that, let’s have a great week my people!”

Seriously, this woman has one of the best outlooks on life. She competes in triathlons, was (and still is!) a legendary star of the University of Miami women’s basketball team, never loses determination in her law school studies, and is one of my best role models. If you ever need a pep talk, or a heavy dose of inspiration – you need to make a date with Marianne. Be focused, be positive, and make moves! Happy Monday, everyone.

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VIDEO: Dark Side of the Lens

Today’s video is a stunning showcase of what is it to be driven by an insatiable passion. For this man, inspiration comes from photographing waves and surfing. The video gives an excellent perspective into what it’s like to be wholly dedicated to capturing the almighty power of the earth. Although the narrator’s heart beats for the ocean, I found that for me, the video spoke to my untapped yearning to document the art and lifestyle that accompanies climbing. Whether you’re an artist, filmmaker, photographer, outdoor lover or any style of creative mind – check out this video.


“There’s no sugary cliche, most folk don’t even know who we are, what we do, or how we do it – let alone want to pay us for it. I never want to take this for granted, so I try to keep motivation simple, real, positive. If I only scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping. If there’s no future in it, at least there’s a present worth remembering. The fires of happiness, the waves of gratitude. For everything that brought us to that point in life, at that moment in time. To do something worth remembering, or a photograph, or a scar. I feel genuinely lucky to say hand on heart that I love doing what I do and I may never be a rich man. If I live long enough, I’ll certainly have a tale or two.”

This felt like one of those ‘if you’re looking for a sign, this is it‘ moments. Over the past few years, I’ve begun to grow comfortable with the prospect that not everyone ends up swimming in endless pools of money, and furthermore, that money doesn’t amount to happiness or measure success. It’s about experiences, perspectives, accomplishments and being content. – And although I think there’s a lot more success to be had in my future, I’m pretty damn content with the present. Time to invest in that Canon Rebel T2i.

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