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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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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Need a musical pick-me-up? Take two of these, and call me in the morning.

Yes, I’m still alive. Life has become a hurricane of writing gig applications, endless work with the Caribbean guide sites, a million creative projects, loads of LivingSocial copy and trying to remember to climb in between it all. Yesterday, I was feeling overwhelmed by all the unchecked to-dos on my list — and then this song came on my iPod.

You may have heard it before when I’ve gushed about Lea Kram, but have at it again. This originally composed song makes my insides swell and erases any mental naysaying. After you fall in love with this song, check out Lea Kram’s YouTube channel to continue the flow of musical sunshine.



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Monday Motivation – Be Positive!

The past week has flown by in a flurry of travel articles, holiday dinners and failed climbing expeditions. The update flow has slowed to a meek trickle, but that will all be history once 2011 comes. I hereby declare an oath of daily updates, no exceptions. Will I keep true to this promise? Only the new year can tell. Here’s your weekly dose of Monday Motivation, be positive!

“There is nothing in this world that a positive attitude cannot make a whole lot better. It’s contagious, so just start…the rest will take care of itself.” – Marianne Curtis

I really connected with today’s quote by the lovely Marianne Curtis. It reminds us that any situation can be taken in either a positive or negative light; your perception is entirely up to you. Yes, my highly anticipated climbing trip to Tennessee did get snowed out, and yes, I could be very bitter about it while flipping through photos taken by friends who did get to go climbing. Instead, however, I’m relishing in the fact that I didn’t have to camp outside in below freezing temperatures, and now have a few extra hundred dollars to drop on a new camera. Look on the bright side, folks!

Happy Monday, everyone!

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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!

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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Life Lessons at The Red Caboose

Since the days of my disdain for older people, I have grown to have a deep appreciation for the insight and experiences that my parents, professors and older peers can provide. Yesterday, I was privileged to meet up with my human rights professor, Ray Ruggerio, for a long afternoon spent sharing stories while sipping on iced tea outside of StarSea’s famous red caboose in Railroad Square. There are only a small handful of teachers that have had as strong an impression as Ray has on my academic and personal outlooks. His tales of worldly travels, advice on academic pursuits and general outlook on life are truly inspiring.

I was blessed to be Ray’s student for three years, studying the realm of human rights. With his guidance, I produced my proudest work: a twenty page research piece entitled “Genocide of Homosexuals in the Holocaust.” I worked on that paper for more than two years, and with Ray’s help it evolved into a true example of my academic success.

Anyways, I wanted to share some of the greatest bits of wisdom that I gained during my three hour lunch with Ray. Some of these are directly from his words, and others are thoughts that I developed while basking in the Tallahassee breeze with my adored professor. (And one occasion that occurred on my way home.) These are words to live by, ideas to base your lifestyle around.

  • Measure your life in threes. This was the easily best bit of wisdom that Ray shared with me. Think about it, your life is hardly measurable on a yearly-basis, but counting by threes really makes sense. For instance, I am entering my next life cycle in a month when I turn 22. This clicked for me, because I am undoubtedly at a point in my life where I see major shifts in priorities, passions and opinions. Celebrate birthdays, but measure by threes.
  • Always give more than you receive. In fact, don’t think about receiving at all. If it happens, great – if it doesn’t, continue to give. The moment a relationship becomes about getting rather than giving, the entire dynamic has changed.
  • Write a letter or note by hand. Perhaps only once a week, but get back into the habit of handwritten communication. Send your parents a simple note of love, write a ‘Thank You’ to someone who helped you, contact a long lost friend across the country. Our cyber-driven generation has lost appreciate for the art of snail mail.
  • Escape your materialism. This is something that I have been working on for a while. I began college consumed by notions of money and status, and I think that everyone will come to realize that paper currency does nothing for your soul. Surrounding yourself with materialistic foolishness blinds you from the natural glory that surrounds you. Maybe it’s just me, but hiking to the top of a mountain and watching the birds swoop down the cliff-side is vastly more satisfying than working forty hours to be able to afford a new piece of expensive material. The people that truly matter in your life won’t care about what you’re wearing, what you’re driving or what kind of house you live in. The quality of your spirit is what will make the difference.
  • Wave to little kids. On my way home from lunch, I was driving through a rough side of Frenchtown. I saw a group of little children approaching the sidewalk I was about to pass, and watched as their mothers yelled at them to slow down. As I cautiously drove past, the children began to wave at me with expectant smiles. I waved in return, and their beaming grins were an indication of how much my simple gesture meant to their innocent souls. Take time to appreciate little ones, and their untainted love for the world around them. Kids have the best spirits, and we could all learn a thing or two from their simple outlook on life.
  • Unplug to tune in. I plan on discussing this at great length in an upcoming post, but the basic concept is as follows: take out your ear puds, unplug your iPod, and tune into your surroundings. I used to trek across campus blasting my music and ignoring everything around me. One day, I left my headphones at home and was unwillingly forced to walk to class without my iPod. During my short journey, I realized how much I was missing out on when I tuned out. Birds are chirping, sorority girls are telling laughable anecdotes, and people are paying attention to what’s going on around them. Try it, I promise you’ll be impressed by the difference it makes when you unplug and tune in to the greatness surrounding you.

That’s all I’ve got for now, but you can bet that I’ll be back with loads of positive life lessons and positive ways of approaching the world. I wish I could share everything that I took away from the time I spent with Ray, but there are some amounts of wisdom that cannot be translated into words, but can only realized through experience. I bid you adieu, my loyal readers. Until next time, keep spreading the good vibes.

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