Squad Goals Met

One of the many trends floating around the interwebs lately is the term “My Squad”. I’m guilty of using it, so there’s no judgement here. Seeing people’s photos and definitions of their “squad” had me thinking. Excuse the rambling that is to come, but this is as real as it gets.

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I’ve come to realize that my squad is not limited to a specific group of people, or a certain number of people. It’s not “these people” or “those people” or “no boys allowed”. My squad is anyone willing to go outside and get a little dirty. Anyone willing to sit around a campfire, throw back a few beers (or non-alcoholic beverage of their choice) and have a good conversation.

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My squad is anyone who has my back and is willing to stand up for me when I’m not around. Those who empower me and support me. My squad is those who help without judgement and give advice when needed.

My squad is so much more than the people I can fit inside one photograph. There’s no limitations. My squad is bigger than I could have known or imagined, and (at the risk of sounding “basic”) I am incredibly blessed to have people like this in my life.

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Coffee Date

If we were on a coffee date, I would apologize for being a few days late with this post. I just decided to get back into blogging and needed a quick and easy post. Thank you ladies for having me!

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If we were on a coffee date, I would be drinking out of this mug because I’m obsessed with it right now. It’s the first Christmas related item I bought this year, almost immediately after Halloween. Although it’s not too Christmasy, so I’m sure I’ll use it all year. I found it at Target and you can see it here!

If we were on a coffee date, I would also be drinking a peppermint mocha, like Erin. I too prefer the holiday flavored drinks over pumpkin spice.

If we were on a coffee date, I would probably first ask how YOU are. I almost always want to know about you before rambling about my own life. I don’t think enough people ask “how are you” and really want to hear the answer.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you how excited I am that the holidays are upon us! I absolutely love the holidays at my house. I have a big family, so things are always exciting. The last two years I have done most of the decorating, which really puts me in the holiday spirit. The weather here in Southern California has finally started to cool down a bit, too. YAY! Maybe we can light a fire here one of these nights…

If we were on a coffee date, I would confess that I am really looking forward to 2017. This year has been absolutely amazing for me and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store.

If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I love this blogging community and I hope I can get back into the swing of things very soon!

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A Week in Photos (#2)

I’ve been slacking a little the last two weeks.. I’m a little off my blogging game. Since it’s Friday, I thought I’d share some photos from this last week with you.


On Tuesday, I got myself some iced tea from Starbucks and took a drive through one of the canyons here close to home. There’s a few that kind of wind and loop together, and I absolutely loving cruising through them. If you go at the right time, there’s hardly anyone else out there. It’s so quiet and peaceful, even with my music turned up and the windows all down. I drive these canyons to unwind or think, or even just for a change of scenery. It’s one of my absolute favorite things to do.

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Wednesday night I went to an Angels game with a few of my friends. These are friends I’ve met in the Jeep community, and these three in particular are a bit younger than I am. I’m 27, and they’re all under the age of 22. Sometimes I feel old being around them, but most of the time, I feel like I’m 22 again. It’s interesting to be around people who are in different stages of life than you are. Even though I felt old at times, (and sober – I was the only one choosing to not drink) I always have a great time with those kids.

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Thursday night, my family & I went to the brand new Karl Strauss Brew Pub in Anaheim to celebrate my brother being the SOLE brewer there. They don’t open to the public until Monday, August 22nd, but we were amongst a handful of people who received a special invite. My brother has been in the brewing industry for a little while now, and was just given the opportunity at Karl Strauss to essentially have his own brewery. He’ll be the only one brewing there, AND everything brewed on site will be his own recipes. As his big sister, I am BEYOND proud of him. Words can’t even begin to describe the feeling. The food is amazing, and all the other beer is good as well, so if you’re in the Anaheim area, GO CHECK THEM OUT.

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So here’s kind of a funny story… I found these cactus PJ pants (above) at Target, weeks ago. I’m kind of cheap, and couldn’t justify spending almost $17 on a pair of pajama pants. (Especially since I wear shorts most of the time. It’s hot in SoCal!) I knew there was a good chance of them eventually going on clearance, so I waited it out. Yesterday, (Thursday) I FINALLY saw them on clearance! I quickly grabbed a pair, finished my shopping, and headed home. When I got home and put them on (because I had to) I realized they were a bit tight. Usually I get pajamas in a bigger size so they’re comfy, but apparently in my excitement, I forgot. So I took them back to Target, returned them, and went to find a bigger size. I was then very disappointed to see that they didn’t have a bigger size. So what did I do? Went to another Target. They didn’t have my size either. Neither did the next Target I went to. That’s right.. Three Target stores, no cactus pants. I could have cried. I woke up this morning feeling a little antsy and almost immediately decided I would go hit up another three Target stores. I got some coffee and have my route all planned out. I was SO EXCITED when I found them at the first Target I stopped at and didn’t have to drive all over SoCal! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. They’re just too freaking cute. Now I’m starting to think maybe I should make the rounds again, buy them all on clearance, and get them up on Amazon. Seriously people. How freaking cute are they!?

That’s it for this week, folks. I’ll try and be a better blogger next week, I promise!

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A Week in Photos (#1)

Happy Friday! Congratulations on making it through another week. It can be tough, I know. So high five! βœ‹πŸ» I’ve decided to make Friday’s super easy on myself & post photos from the week. I also think photos are a great way to get to know someone. So, here ya go. 



Last Friday night a few of us girls went out to celebrate my sisters 23rd birthday. We went to this amazing Mexican restaurant in the Irvine Spectrum called Javier’s. I had never been there before but ohh my goodness the was so good! I ordered two enchiladas; one with crab and one with lobster. I could have eaten two more, honestly. The margaritas were pretty good, too. Following dinner, we hit up a few bars and got my sister nice and drunk. That’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re young & can handle the hangover. If you follow me on Snapchat (@xhelloerin) you may have seen a bunch of obnoxious videos on my story. I do not apologize because we had a blast. πŸ™‚

Sunday, I took a nice solo drive down one of my favorite dirt roads. Unfortunately, I was stopped by California Highway Patrol (what was he doing out there anyway??) for not wearing my seatbelt. In my defense, I had just gotten back into the Jeep and pulled out onto the road, and literally just hadn’t put it back on yet. I was going to, I promise! I’ve seen too many accidents out there to not wear a seat belt. Anyway, he gave me a warning for the seat belt thing but wrote me a fix it ticket because I don’t have mud flaps. Really? My tires don’t even stick out that much. BUT things usually go a lot worse when I’m stopped by law enforcement (always my fault, I accept that) so I’m glad all I got was a fix it ticket. 


Tuesday night I took myself out for a beer and a couple of tacos. We have 4 kegs on tap at my house, which is nice, but sometimes you just need to get out of the house. I really wanted to be alone, but that’s the downside of being a regular and a bar… You’re almost never alone. A few people wanted to sit and talk, which I guess wasn’t the end of the world. Maybe next time I’ll pick a different place. (I probably won’t, though.)


I don’t remember what day I took this picture, but how cute are my succulents!? I was hesitant to plant them because I have a habit of killing plants. Turns out these things are pretty easy to keep alive. They sit on a little table on our back patio where I enjoy them almost daily. 


This is my view this afternoon. I ran a few errands this morning, with no AC in the Jeep, and it was just too hot to handle by the time I got home. I didn’t even bother getting out the laptop. Just grabbed my phone, took a quick dunk in the pool and picked the chair under the umbrella. It’s perfect here in the shade. I’ll probably stay here all afternoon. 

I hope you all had a lovely week and hope it continues through the weekend. See you in August! πŸ˜‰

Would You Tell Your Secret to a Stranger?

If you don’t know what Post Secret is, you absolutely should. It’s the most beautiful community I have ever seen. Founded by Frank Warren, the concept is simple… Write your secret on a post card & mail it to him. So often, we carry a secret that can weigh us down or make us feel disconnected or unwanted. The act of writing your secret down and putting it in the mailbox, essentially telling a complete stranger, is designed to take the weight of your shoulders. And it does. (I’ve done it!)

In 2005, Frank came up with this simple idea. He created and printed 3,000 blank, self addressed post cards and handed them out to people on the streets of Washington DC. He started it as an art project. A way to set his own secrets free. The secrets came trickling in, and then suddenly, they flooded his mail box. Weeks, and even months after he stopped handing them out, secrets from strangers kept coming.

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He started a blog in order to share them with the rest of the world. Every Sunday morning you can see a fresh batch of anonymous secrets on the website. Reading them, you feel less alone. I constantly find myself relating to other peoples’ secrets or wanting to reach out and let someone know it’ll get better.

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Two years later, in October of 2007, Post Secret Community was launched. It’s a forum where people can talk anonymously (or not) about anything in the world. Seriously, no topic is out of the question. It’s the most accepting community I’ve ever had the pleasure of being part of.

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Frank has published six books and been on a few speaking tours. I own all the books and was lucky enough to hear him speak, and get him to sign one of my books.

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(Taken in July 2011, after getting caught in a Texas rain storm)

I also have Frank to thank for introducing me to this awesome chick right here. He didn’t personally introduce us, but he may as well have. Sam and I met online sometime in late 2008. We were both struggling with similar issues, and we clicked instantly. At the time we lived about 8 hours apart, but that didn’t stop us from driving in the middle of the night to meet up off the 5 freeway. We’ve had a few epic adventures, and even though life has taken us in different directions, she remains one of the best friends I’ve ever had.

So if you haven’t already, go over to PostSecret.com and read this weeks secrets. Remember, they’re updated every Sunday, so you have to keep going back!

Let’s talk. Have you heard of Post Secret before reading this post? Would you tell your secret to a stranger?

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Bookshelf Favorites

I have a confession to make: I’m not much of a reader these days… I have been in the past, though! (And definitely should be again in the future) Some of the things I like to read are a bit different than what others enjoy, which makes for a very interesting bookcase. I think you can learn a lot about a person based on what they like to read, and that’s my goal for this post. Also – don’t mind the condition of the books. I love to buy them used at dollar book stores!

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So right off the bat, I should tell you all that yes, I am a Nicholas Sparks fan. I know, I know. His books are generally all the same and they’re kinda cheesy, but WHATEVER. I love them anyway. My favorites are probably The Notebook and The Lucky One. (I’m also a Star Wars fan & I love this BB8 Coin Bank!)

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(Candle from Bath & Body Works)

In another life, I’d like to think that I had the patience to go to college & get a degree, so I could end up a forensic psychologist. But I hated college, so here I am. Regardless, psychology and the mystery that surrounds much of it, fascinates me. I took a few classes when I did go to community college and fell in love with the subject. Sure, it probably comes from the fact that I suffered from a mental disorder myself. Whatever the reason may be, this is one of my favorite subjects to read on.

β€’ Sybil – the story of a woman with sixteen different personalities.
β€’ The Myth of Sanity – Multiple stories of people who endured tremendous childhood trauma, and how it has affected their adult lives.
β€’ Detour: My Bipolar Road Trip in 4-D – This is probably my favorite of the four books above! Lizzie Simon, suffering from bi-polar disorder and longing to connect with others, goes on a road trip to meet and talk with others in her situation.
β€’ Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness – Twenty-four year old Susannah seemed to have it all, and then seemed to lost her mind. What it actually was, turned out to be incredibly rare. (I won’t give you any spoilers!)

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Another favorite subject of mine to read on is true crime. Like I mentioned above, I’d like to think in another life I was a forensic psychologist. Forensic meaning I’m interested in the criminal aspect of psychology. Why people do what they do; including horrific crimes. I won’t go too much into detail because I know it can be a bit much for some. I will say that If You Really Loved Me by Ann Rule is one of my favorite stories. It’s about a man who marries a woman, and then convinces his 14 year old daughter to kill that woman. It’s compelling and sad at the same time.

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Finally, a few of my favorite miscellaneous books! All of the Post Secret books. If you don’t know what Post Secret is, click the link and find out, because it’s amazing.

β€’ PostSecret: Extraordinary Confessions from Ordinary Lives
β€’ The World of PostSecret
β€’ My Secret: A PostSecret Book
β€’ A Lifetime of Secrets: A PostSecret Book

Let’s talk. What are some of your favorite books on your shelves?

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Blogging Tips & Why They’re Hard to Follow

As most of you know, I am still somewhat new around here. (By the way, when will I not be new around here? Hmm..) I’ve been reading a lot of other bloggers’ posts on blogging tips. Ya know, the do’s & don’ts for new bloggers, and I’ve got to tell ya, I’m having a hard time with a few of them.

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1. Be Yourself. I’ve read it a few times now, to be yourself when starting a blog. They say not to worry about having the perfect “blogger look” with the pretty desks and gorgeous clothes. It’s hard to think you don’t need those things when it feels like 90% of bloggers do look like that. I think I’ve been okay so far, but I do find myself thinking I can’t take my own photos because my stuff is crap. Or that I’m missing out on SO many blog post opportunities because I don’t have cute clothes or a ton of beauty products. This, for me, is the hardest part about being a new blogger… Feeling like you don’t fit in.

2. Don’t compare yourself to other bloggers. This one kind of goes hand in hand with number one. I’m constantly comparing myself to other bloggers. I know I shouldn’t, but, easier said than done.

3. Don’t obsess over the numbers. GAH this one is so hard! I look at the numbers a lot.. But I think what’s different for me, is the numbers I see aren’t discouraging. I don’t see the numbers and think “crap, I’m a bad blogger!” I actually see them and get excited that this blog seems to be growing, very slowly.

My biggest blogging fear.

I’ll never find a niche. This one is difficult for me because I don’t fall into any of the big niches. I’m not into fashion, make up, or cooking. Even when I look at other lifestyle bloggers (like I categorize myself) I feel like I don’t have the same interests.

I know that many of this is probably just new blogger jitters. I’m sure most of the successful bloggers I follow felt much of this in the beginning too. That’s what I keep telling myself, at least. I tell myself that it will pass.
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Why am I pushing through the fear & doubts?

I’ve seen this blogging community. These women (and maybe men? I don’t know, I haven’t seen any yet) are all so connected. I see this amazing bond you all have with each other and I’d love to be a part of it.

I have a story to tell. I suffered from major depression and anxiety for almost ten years, and I came out the other side of it, better than I ever was. I found a treatment and something that worked for me, and then I found a joy in life that I had no idea existed. I love telling my story, and I hope that by telling it I can help others may suffer the way I suffered for so long.

So for now, I’ll deal with the fears and the doubts, and I’ll keep writing posts that I don’t think anyone is even reading. I guess I’ve got to have faith that eventually this will all fall into place.

With that said, thanks for reading. πŸ™‚

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What I’ve Accomplished In 2016 (So Far)

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My goodness, where has the time gone? I swear just yesterday I was watching Inside Out and eating junk food with my bff on New Yeas Eve. (We’re not that lame, we just partied too hard the night before, lolz) It seems to me that the older we get, the faster time seems to move. Remember when we were kids and summer used to seem FOREVER long? Like it was never going to end. Now it seems to go by in the blink of an eye. 2015 was a strange year for me – I went an entire 15 months without a drivers license or a job, meaning I didn’t get out much – so I promised myself that 2016 was going to be different… And it has. Some things I’ve wanted to accomplish in 2016 (and have!) are,

1. Get my license back. WOO! That was one hell of a process, and I had so many set backs, but I FINALLY got back behind the wheel of my Jeep in February of 2016, after 15 months without it.

2. Take the Jeep out. Somewhere. Anywhere. I accomplished this in March and it was AMAZING. I went out to Ocotillo Wells, CA for a huge off-road event. I spent 3 days/nights off-roading and camping with friends, old and new. It was a freaking BLAST. Sitting around for 15 months without a license was tortue and I was so freaking happy to finally be able to make it to an off-road event.

3. Land a job. Unfortunately, I didn’t completely accomplish this one. I did look for a job, interviewed somewhere, they HIRED ME, and then ran a background check and didn’t like what they saw. Boo. I was pretty upset for a while, but that’s life. Honestly, I think it was the kick I needed to get serious about building my own business.

4. Work on my business. I really kicked it up a notch with this. It was hard to be motivated in this area during 2015, because really, that was just an all around crappy year. You’d think that because I couldn’t drive, I would have been MORE motivated to build my own business, but it was tough. Everything was tough. 2016 is my year for business building, though. I landed my first real client, which has been awesome, and I’m on my way to landing a few more.

5. Lose weight. In Febuary, I started a diet of sorts. Actually, I hate the word diet. It wasn’t a diet… It was a conscience effort to change my eating habits. I hopped on the Weight Watchers program and kicked ass. I lost almost 15 pounds in about two months. Then I met my boyfriend and got a little distracted. People keep telling me it’s because I feel loved the way I am and don’t need to lose weight, but that’s not it AT ALL. I literally just got distracted. Those first two months of dating, John and I spent so much time away from home. And it’s incredibly hard to lose weight when you’re constantly on road trips or in someone else’s house where you don’t feel comfortable using their kitchen. (Not John’s house; we stayed at his friends place a lot.) Not that any of that is an excuse, it’s just the way life works. BUT regardless, I didn’t gain the entire 15 pounds back, just a few of them. And I’m still proud of myself for kicking ass in that short amount of time.

6. Re-enroll in community college. I have a complicated relationship with college. I’ll save all my explainations and rants for another blog post, but recently I’ve been considering going back and getting myself into a certificate program. For what exactly, I’m not sure yet. Something marketing or computer related. I re-enrolled and met with a counselor, although the counselor was useless. I still have to apply for financial aid and actually sign up for classes for the fall, which I’m not even sure I want to do yet… But re-enrolling was definitely the first step.

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While I’ve accomplished quite a lot (to me) in the last 6-ish months, there’s still a lot I’d like to do this year.
-Land more clients, at least 2-5 before the end of the year.
-Grow my blog.
-Get back on the “healthy eating choices” train and stick with it.
-Take my Jeep out more often.
-Take a class at community college. Even if it’s just one.
-Apply for a credit card & start to build credit. (My credit SUCKS right now)

I told myself 2016 would be my year, and so far, it’s turning out to be. I’ve spent many, many years making the wrong decisions and falling behind in life, but I feel like I’m really starting to turn things around. I still have a long way to go, and one of the biggest things I’m learning is to not compare myself to others. I can’t tell you how many times I worry that I’m not in the same places in life as other 27 year olds are. I have to remind myself that I just took different paths in life, and that’s okay. I’m happy and on my way to being very successful. And hell, It’s TOTALLY OKAY to be proud of yourself.

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Coffee Date (A Link Up)

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Recently, Amber over at Mr. Thomas & Me turned a monthly “Coffee Date” post into a link up, and boy am I glad! When I first read her coffee date posts, I immediately thought, “this would make such a great link up!” So needless to say, I’m excited. I’m also excited that this gives me the opportunity to connect with fellow bloggers. I’m new here, so I’ll take any chance I can to talk to you all! Anyway, happy Monday. Coffee is much needed this morning!

If we were on a coffee date, I would be drinking iced tea, because it’s been too hot in SoCal to drink any kind of hot beverage. Not that I’m complaining about the heat! We’ve got a pool in the backyard, so I definitely don’t mind the warm weather.

If we were on a coffee date I would probably be wearing shorts, rather than jeans, because of the afore mentioned warmer weather. I feel more comfortable in jeans, because my thighs are a bit chubby. However, I have a sweet tan goin on right now, and I’d like to enjoy it publicly.

If we were on a coffee date I would first ask how YOU are. I’d want to know what’s going on in your life. Tell me something good that’s happened lately. What are you excited about? What are you looking forward to? No matter how small it may seem, tell me something good.

If we were on a coffee dateI would tell you how excited I am to be in a bigger bedroom. I’d confess that I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I’m 27 and still living with my parents. Even though I have a 2 year plan to get out on my own, I am STOKED to have moved upstairs into my sisters old bedroom. It’s still not a very big room, but holy crap, it’s so much bigger than my previous bedroom. To add to the moving excitement, I have bought myself a BRAND NEW desk! I know it seems so petty to some, but it’s a big deal to me. It’s bigger than my last, and I got a sweet deal on it.

If we were on a coffee date I would spend half the time looking around the coffee shop. I’m still listening to you! Don’t worry. I just LOVE people watching. Not in a judgemental way. It’s just that I love watching people be people.

If we were on a coffee date I would bring up that it’s July and half of the year has gone by already. How can that be?? I’d tell you that lately I’ve been thinking about where I was (in life) in January 2016 and where I’m at now, just six short months later. And then I’d probably tell you that I’m proud of myself and how far I’ve come. I’d ask what you’ve accomplished in the first six months of the new year and what you have planned for the last six months.

If we were on a coffee date I’d ask if we can do this again next month. And then I’d invite you over to my pool, because really, it’s so much nicer to work pool side than anywhere else.

Can’t wait to see you all next month. Don’t forget to check out Amber at Mr. Thomas & Me. This was all her idea, after all. πŸ˜‰

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A List of Things You Love

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This week, a very good friend of mine asked this question on social media. I instantly thought, “of course I love myself!” But after a minute or two, I realized something… I do love myself, but I probably would have never thought to put myself on a list of things I love.

This, of course, got me thinking. I think it’s interesting that you can love yourself and still not make a conscience effort to take care of yourself. So many of us go through life focusing on everyone else around us. Many of us have husbands and children to worry about. (Obviously not me, but others do.) Some of us have boyfriends that clearly require time and effort. And I’m sure everyone has parents, friends, and siblings that all need some type of attention. Then add to all that, a job, side project (maybe your blog?) hobby, volunteer work, if that’s your thing.. There are dozens of people and things that come before ourselves. But why is that? Why do we find it so
difficult to take care of ourselves, too?

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I’m a big advocate of taking care of yourself. I believe that when you take time to nurture the relationship with yourself it can make you a better wife/girlfriend/mother/friend/employee… Or whatever other role you may be taking on. Not only that, but it keeps you SANE.

When was the last time you did something all for yourself? Do you remember how it made you feel? Energized? Refreshed? Whatever the feeling, I’m sure it was a good one.

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I’ll admit, even I forget to do things for myself from time to time. Maybe it’s one of those things you have to actually schedule into your week. Write it down in your planer or on your mobile phones calendar. Do yourself a favor and do something just for you. And the next time someone asks you for a list of things you love, make sure YOURSELF is number one.

Let’s talk. Do you take care of yourself? What are some things that you do for you & ONLY you?

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