I shall pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

Happy Thursday-


how i figured out my life goals in 15 minutes

figure 'em out. make it happen.

For the past year of my life I feel like I've been running around without any sense of direction or longing of purpose or life goals. I could speak generally to what I wanted but I was not making strategic choices & actions that were aligned to tangible wants and desires for my life. I've mostly been afraid of simply committing to any set of ambitions and feeling as if my goals would be carved in stone. I finally accepted that I needed to determine a set of goals or I would continue without direction as I have, which hasn't felt right. Additionally I've accepted that these goals could in fact change and will evolve into who I grow to be and what experiences further mold me, so they are not carved in stone.

Sure enough this was no tough feat, it only took me 4 steps and about 15 minutes. I now feel hella-good  about where I'm headed.... I dare you to give it a stab....

If you're an office supply nerd like me then step 1 is very important. To get into the zone I'm always motivated by a colorful new collection of papers and pens. Three things I absolutely needed for this activity were: bright neon construction paper, an assortment of Sharpie pens and a hot pink chisel-tip Sharpie (oh baby!). If this doesn't tickle your fancy then cheerfully move along to step 2. 

Next, with a big blank sheet of paper and a marker I went-to-town listing out all of the things I want to do in life, things that make me happy, and things I simply just love doing & feel like a rockstar about. I named this paper my Super Mad List of All the Things That I Want to Do in My Life. I tried not to worry about feeling silly or shallow. The idea was to write as many things as I possibly could and think of all of the things I have ever even considered wanting or doing (it helped to  have some happy beats playing in the background too).

Following that I took a big fat marker and drew arrows to the things that connected or linked to one another. After that I circled my top 5 goals. I went with my gut instinct on this, I didn't  spend a lot of time thinking but rather just enjoying the gratification of that big fat marker and the fast swoop of a circle. 

Voila! All-of-a-sudden they appeared, my life goals. I transferred my 5 goals onto a new, bright, blank sheet of paper and dazzled it up a touch. I am now eager to head forth in the direction of my purpose. 

obtain a master's degree
open and operate an early childhood education center
write & illustrate children's books
commit to a lifetime of love: partnership & children
make crazy mad change* (*not as measurable but it's a lump-sum of all my other goals)

Of course of course we shouldn't limit ourselves to just 5 things and each person may need a differentiated version of this activity but hey, it's a start. I sure feel a lot better than I did 15 minutes ago.

glimmer, goals & glows-


respond with love

source:: Pinterest
Sometimes things don't go the way we wanted them too. We lose something, we hurt a little bit, we experience confusion, frustration and so many other feelings. While it can always be tough to find the silver lining in all situations it is still true that something positive is always produced. This may be hard to find or identify right away but sure enough days, months and years down the road you look back to find that all things truly do happen for a reason and you are better for the tough times (one way or another). 

When I experience less-than-desired situations I find that I actually do become better for them. I try to seek opportunities for learning and growth as coping mechanisms to overcome less-than-favored feelings. The greatest revelation I've had recently is the act of responding with love. Of course I have always known this but I'm truly challenging myself to follow through and commit. I'll be the first to say it's not easy in any way but when I do respond with love it is incredibly gratifying and rewarding.

From this I've realized that we are all humans, we all make mistakes, and no one is immune to pain. By responding with love I accept that everyone is dealing with their own battles, both internally and externally, despite their actions. I also accept that just because I disagree with someone else’s actions doesn’t mean I should call the shots on what is right or wrong. I've learned that to be successful at responding with love one cannot only respond with love to others but should also respond with love to them self. 

I am admittingly the hardest person on myself. When something doesn't go my way I come down incredibly hard on myself. I seek answers and replay my actions over and over again. I immediately gravitate to regret rather than growth. This is how I've always been. Through this new experience of responding with love I find that I must love myself just as much as I love to love to others. So....I've started writing lists about all of the wonderful things about myself, my life, and my actions. I've stopped criticizing myself and loving my imperfections. I've started eating healthier and running more. I'm embracing who I am, not who I think I should be. I'm blogging more, reconnecting with my favorite people and making time to create art. I'm taking more opportunities and doing more of what I love. I'm pouring my heart into my work and reinvesting myself in it. I'm loving myself in any way that I can, the same way I would love any other person. I'm absolutely loving this. My hope is that the act of responding with love will become a natural habit and the more I learn to love myself the more love I'll have to give others. 

When we respond with love, in all situations, we can't ever do wrong, there is everything to gain and nothing to lose.

life is so complex, but beautiful for that reason-


gratitude, it's in our bones...

 warmth in my heart, a smile on my face, and these are the things I am thankful for...

coconut iced mochas. Friday night movie night watching The Time Traveler's Wife. getting into a warm car. flirting (even just the word makes me blush). committing to a "work free" Saturday. driving through the Oklahoma country. finding a Strabucks gift card in my email. Maile's PB&Js. flipping my bookshelf on it's side, instant apartment makeover. newly acquired tan lines. spicy nacho Doritos. dancing along to 90s music on benches at my favorite Tulsa bar. recoloring my hair brown again. conversations with amazing teachers. cupcakes from Cuppies & Joe in OKC. drinking delicious vegetables & playing with my juicer. following friends on Instagram. Ryan's white bean ragu & jamming out to Motown in his apartment. funny dreams. my new blue lamp. leftover chocolate Easter bunnies. floating down a beautiful Oklahoma river with great people. pink lips & grey nails. revelations about how much I truly love my job. snacking on raspberries. working on projects with Maile. listening to country music. creating my summer bucket list. 2-hour group message conversations about R. Kelly & who-would-be-who in the movie Mean Girls. emails from the universe. being a Libra. 6am runs along the river & admiring the ducks.

could it truly get any better?


What I learned from being the People's Choice for Miss USA 2011...one year later.

"...love, the greatest of all things" -Zeta Tau Alpha Creed

I learned many things in pursuit of my endeavor to become Miss USA both before, during and after the competition. Many of the things I have learned have made me a better person on so many levels. Looking back at who I was even before becoming Miss New Mexico USA I would not say that humility and gratitude were my greatest strengths. I've done a lot of "growing-up" thanks to these experiences and the many people who have pushed me to become my best. I've also learned how to transfer pageant skills into real-life opportunities for success and leadership. Even just one short year ago I struggled to identify this correlation but now I'm grateful to find opportunity for growth and learning in all situations and understand that all situations teach us incredible lessons that can be used in a multitude of ways.

I came about this reflection from a couple of new blogging projects that I've recently gotten involved in.  I now guest blog for both a pageant related site as well as a Teach For America/education focused site. Many of the things I blog about on both blogs are actually similar to one another. These connections have pushed me to think about who and am and my experiences in a whole new light. Recently I wrote a blog about earning a spot as the People's Choice for ThePageantGuy.com and found that many of the things I was doing to promote my voice as a titleholder are very similar to what I do now as an ed reformer. Not to mention these approaches are also relevant to just being my best self and cultivating relationships and humility in all interactions. 

I share this reflection because I myself am so often guilty of not making the most of what I can gain from various experiences. I've traditionally approached experiences as "one-dimensional" and divorced from all other components of my complex life. I'm also guilty of being ashamed of my "pageant days" when in all reality my experiences as Miss New Mexico USA and Miss USA were probably the most formative of who I am now and what I stand for as a woman devoted to justice and love. I have learned so much and have so much still to learn but I know I will be better off by truly living my life as a learner and seeking opportunities to evolve (even when it's hard to understand how).

If you know me at all it's no mystery that one of my proudest accomplishments in life was winning the People's Choice Award at the 2011 Miss USA competition. I'm not proud of this moment because of the fact that I got to prance around on stage in front of an audience or showcase a sparkly trophy on a shelf. I'm proud of this because it's an accomplishment that I cannot rightfully claim as "mine" but rather am privileged to share with the many people who worked to helped me obtain it. As I stood on stage that night, under the warmth of a million bright lights facing a live audience, a camera man, and judges like Lil' John and Tyson Chandler I could not help but radiate pure gratitude and love to anyone who claimed their confidence in my ability to be a leader on such a large scale. I learned many things along that journey and continue to understand myself and my impact more and more because of it. When I wrote about about what I did to make my voice heard and represent something larger than myself (right here!! --> ThePageantGuy.com) I was so surprised to see that many of these things were actually continuing to help me everyday. Per usual this post is quirky, pink, and sentimental but it's also an honest depiction of my experience and efforts. 

(Oooo and by the way, ThePageantGuy.com is awesome for pageant junkies like me. It's full of fun interviews with titleholders like this one I did back in November of 2010 ...why yes, I just documented myself dancing like a cat on the internet)

How lucky are we to learn and grow in multifaceted ways in pursuit of being the people we are destined to become?

love & learning-


An Attitude of Gratitude

...little things that are making life sweeter right now.

When I woke up this morning I looked out my window to find a beautiful butterfly on my screen. I laid in my bed and watched it for a while. I really love butterflies, for so many reasons. The represent change, delicacy, strength, beauty, growth, nature & luck. What a beautiful way to start a day.


Other things that brightened my week:
Calling my mom on Mother's Day. Reconnecting with my creativity (this week we had to "craft" our "Story of Self" at work and I was excited by the opportunity to paint my life). Watching the Thunder destroy the Lakers on Monday. Obtaining a hand-me-down juicer (oh the possibilities!!). Playing field games with my corps members and watching them prance around in tie-dye unicorn shirts. Drawing in my Scribble Diary. Lounging poolside. Replenishing my stock of  pink Uni-Ball Signo pens. The fact that my new dark hair is naturally fading to create highlights. Long talks with old friends. Evening reflections that help provoke revelations and sweet dreams. A brand new Moleskine to fill up. My new velvety-blue sitting chair, perfect for enjoying a bowl of cereal in the morning. Afternoon Almond Joy breaks. Conversations with great teachers & administrators. Sunday movie night enjoying- Because I Said So and Marley & Me with Mike, Ryan, and Maile. Pushing myself to learn from all situations. Charging my Kindle so that I can download a new book. Evening runs along the river with Maile and acting like 6-year-olds when we spot glowing fireflies. Drinking Crush orange soda from a bottle. Documenting all the things that make me happy at the end of each day. 


gratitute is the way,


cinderella's bun

I'd like to introduce you to the sock bun, and all of it's wonder! I found out about this gem on Pinterest (surprise surprise!) and immediately needed to know more. So I Googled a simple YouTube video, and put my efforts into practice. I love to not only sport the bun, but also what happens when you sleep with the bun:


Yes, no joke, when I slept with it in my hair this was the morning result. I had to add my own tweaks to the routine though: I don't do it on wet or towel dried hair, I do it on dirty, dry hair. My hair is too thin and kinks too easily when wet. It also works on clean dry hair, but the results were a little better with dirty hair. None-the-less this is one of my new favorite lazy girl hair routines. 

Give it a try yourself:

more from me soon, that's a promise,