Career isn’t everything & other takeaways from ‘La La Land’


As I mentioned in this week’s Monday 5, over the weekend I finally had the opportunity to go see ‘La La Land.’

The music and style (basically her whole wardrobe is #goals) in the film were two of favorite parts, I also enjoyed the cinematography and how different it was from what we typically see today.

The story itself was also good, although I (as probably most viewers) was disappointed by the unsatisfying ending.

*warning* this post includes spoilers!

Of course in every movie and book when there is a couple that includes a or both protagonists, it’s natural to become attached and want them to live happily ever after; and while this may seem cliché or unrealistic, I think there’s something to be said about valuing the relationship we’ve seen flourish throughout the story.

In ‘La La Land’ we see them choose their careers over each other. There is the crucial point where Mia asks Sebastian, ‘What about this? What are we going to do?’ Of course the question is natural considering she may have to go to Paris for an extended period of time if she gets the job she auditioned for. But I think she was hoping (I know I was) that he would respond, ‘we’ll make it work,’ or something along those lines. Instead of his actual response which was essentially we will have to wait and see.

Cool bro.

In fact we see Mia’s disappointment in his words with her empty facial expression and silence.

What person wants to hear that?

We can argue that Sebastian was saying this out of selflessness, he wanted Mia to do well in her career and be able to ‘give it her all’ without their relationship as a distraction. After all, an essential aspect of their relationship was the mutual encouragement to pursue their dreams. And while I do see the value in this, I also think there’s something disordered about Sebastian’s reasoning.

Our dreams of having a successful career, of traveling, of accomplishing, of doing the perfect cartwheel (it’s all I want)… those are super important. To be with someone who nurtures and encourages that is even more so. However, I think there isn’t much in this world that can be more valuable than other people and the relationships we form with them. Especially when it comes to love. Mia and Sebastian clearly loved each other, they were committed to each other and wanted the best for the other. To give that up because of a ‘big break’ seems irresponsible and unnecessary. Couldn’t they still achieve their dreams as a couple? With their mutual encouragement couldn’t they have even potentially have helped each other achieve more?

What is more precious than love? What is more important? And if they had achieved less would they have been unhappy or dissatisfied knowing they had a great love? If that had been the case, that would have been a fault on their part… a disordered desire: success over love.

The ending is not disastrous by any means, we see Mia seemingly happily married and successful and Sebastian is able to achieve his dream of opening the jazz bar. But when we see the alternative ending, what could have been if they had stayed together, we see the great sacrifice they made in choosing what they did.

There was immense joy in their life together and a closeness between them that we don’t see between Mia and her actual husband.

Was it worth it?

I know we’re encouraged to follow our dreams, of course I hope we all do – career is definitely an essential part of our calling and fulfillment in life. But to say that our career is the most important thing I think is just not true.

Loving others and being loved, that is where ultimate joy and completeness is found, not our titles or income.

I mean that and chocolate.

And wine.

And Netflix.

I hope I am able to achieve at least some of the things I work toward in life, I hope my work does impact others in a meaningful way. But most of all, I hope I choose authentic love over anything else.



Letting go of your ‘ghosts’


I love New Year’s. I’m so thankful we live in a world that celebrates new beginnings and fresh starts. But a lot of people are skeptical about New Year’s resolutions, which is understandable as we all love the idea of all are dreams coming true beginning in January but few of us have the grit to actually pursue them after the hype dies down.

Recently I’ve been listening to Ella Henderson’s song, ghosts, a lot and it occurred to me how applicable it is to the challenges we face once the time comes to put our New Year’s resolutions into action.

It’s so fun and exciting to set goals for the new year, but actually doing the work to accomplish them isn’t. The work becomes even more daunting when you start to remember all of the reasons you haven’t been able to do this before. In other words, all your ‘ghosts’ come back to haunt you. Some examples of these are:

  • Previous failure in accomplishing a similar or the same goal.
  • The discomfort that exists outside our comfort zone
  • Insecurity: all the reasons we’re not good enough, strong enough etc.

There will always be a million inviting and perfectly reasonable reasons not to do what you set out to do, that is why so many people don’t do it…it’s hard. In my opinion the only way to get past this is to acknowledge all the reasons you can’t/don’t want to/shouldn’t pursue your goal and then let them go.

Yes it’s unreasonably early, yes it’s freezing outside, yes I’m tired, yes this bed is warm and comfy…and yes I’m going to the gym anyway.

The moment you start to weigh pro’s and con’s, the moment you start to think about whether you really want to do this, that is the moment your willpower leaves you. Don’t let these doubts fester in your mind, don’t give them power.

Rule your mind or it will rule you. –Buddha

Here’s to a successful 2015.



Do you ever find yourself putting off happiness? It sounds like a weird thing to do, (probably because it is), but I also know that it is not uncommon. I’ll feel happy when…I lose weight, graduate from college/high school/, have a boyfriend…the list can get very long. We create our own paradox by wanting to be happy while simultaneously putting specific conditions around it that delay us from achieving it.

Recently it’s been occurring to me, why can’t I just feel happy now? Why am I procrastinating being happy? How does that even make sense? I think the reason we do this is because we always feel we need a reason to be happy. We feel happy because we got asked out on a date or because we finally got those shoes that are super cute and comfy (plus they were on sale!)…that joy we feel is always preceded by a ‘because’.

But most days we don’t get asked out on dates, or get new shoes or get a raise, so we don’t experience joy because we don’t feel we have reason to. We feel tired because we had to stay up studying the night before or upset because we want to lose ten pounds but it’s so hard…so we put off feeling joy until we have what we consider to be a valid reason.

What if we didn’t need a reason? What if we just felt joy right now? Just because we’re alive and probably have a million things to be grateful for already. I know it can be difficult to  experience joy when we feel there isn’t a ‘good reason’ to do so, it’s illogical!

I’ve begun to challenge myself to feel joyful right now. Even though I’m just sitting at work and nothing special has happened and I have a million things to do and I don’t want to study…I want to feel joyful; because day to day, work, school, this is what makes up our lives. And yes, those special moments that happen are parts of our lives too but why save joy for a handful of rare occasions? If most of our lives will be spent in ordinary days doing ordinary things shouldn’t we try to enjoy them?

It may seem counter-intuitive and I know it hasn’t been easy but it has made a difference. Maybe just once a day this week or even once this week, consider choosing joy. Even if nothing ‘special’ is going on, choose to feel good right now! I believe that those who achieve success are able to make happiness a mindset, not a place to get to.

A helpful hint: it makes it a million times easier to access those feelings of joy and happiness when you are well-rested, nourished and stress-free. Take care of yourself! It makes all the difference in the world, promise. If you need some tips on how to do so check out this article.


“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.” Buddha 


Good luck!


What to do when you’re tired/unmotivated/burnt out

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With the first round of exams either creeping up or already upon us, you may be feeling a little uninspired right now. With so much work to do, it is easy to become slightly depressed and the urge to give up can be overwhelming.
But there’s a reason that you’re in the school that you are, studying whatever you’re studying and hopefully, that reason is that ultimately this will serve your career. Keeping that in mind, here’s a list of things to do when you’re feeling down about all there is to do:

1. Take a step back. When I feel overwhelmed my instinct is to want to just stop. I feel as though no matter how much work I do I won’t finish so I want to give up. When that feeling of helplessness threatens to overwhelm me, I step back. I separate myself physically by leaving my desk and take a seat on the ground or bed. Then I take a few deep breaths and tell myself I’m okay. I might sit there for a few minutes and try to think about good, happy things, or just not think at all. Then I might get some tea, eat a piece of dark chocolate or listen to a relaxing song.

2. Make a list. Lists fix everything, right? Yes, yes they do. After I feel slightly better, I sit down and make a list of all the things I need to get done in order of importance. Then I determine the ones that need to get done today.

3. Get inspired. When it gets so challenging it can be difficult to remember why you signed up to do this in the first place, that’s when I watch these videos to get inspired. Neither of them are long so they don’t take up too much time.

This one


This one

 4. Pin it. Pinterest is a great resource for inspiration and motivation, these are a few of my fave pics from there. (Note, if you know that if you go on Pinterest you may be on there for way longer than you need to, this tip may not be for you).



Omg, my trainer at the Gym said this this morning! Sorry Jake but I want to punch you when you say this!! Lol

Go for it.

practicedby melissa

How do you stay inspired?

Best of luck! You can do this.



Just Do It- Winspiration


We’ve all seen Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan. It’s powerful: don’t think about it, don’t make excuses, just do it. It’s that simple. But it’s not that easy. Do you ever have days where you just don’t want to do it? Whatever ‘it’ is, eating healthy, working out, studying…I do. Yes. So many days. It’s usually when I’m tired, maybe a little burnt out and there isn’t a ton of pressure so I tell myself it doesn’t really matter and that’s that.

As I’ve learned the hard way, I generally regret not doing it. Not getting ahead on homework, not working out, not eating something healthy…I’m always disappointed that I didn’t do better. Here’s the thing, when we have a goal there will always be moments when we go a step backwards, that’s normal and it’s okay. Unfortunately, if those moments happen over and over again, we will never change. Recently I’ve found some ways that help me do what I’m supposed to do even when I don’t “feel like it,” hopefully these will help you when you’re feeling uninspired too!

1) Look at your vision board: If you haven’t made one of these yet, do it! Seriously, so many times that I’ve felt unmotivated just looking at a visual reminder of why it is I’m pursuing these goals does the trick. I go “oh yeah!” and feel motivated again.

2) Don’t think about it: I’ve kind of mentioned this before but it really helps if you make a plan and stick to it. If you start questioning whether or not you “feel like it” you’ll probably talk yourself out of it. So plan ahead and then when you see that it’s time to study, or go to the gym or clean your room, do it. Don’t think about how you’re tired and how you just want to watch Friends until you fall asleep, it won’t help! 

3) Take Ten: Like I said before, usually when we’re really unmotivated is when we’re also tired. Before you jump into whatever you’re supposed to do, set a timer and just do something mindless for ten minutes: Go on Pinterest, watch a funny video on YouTube, stare at the ceiling… Make sure you are able to stop when that alarm goes off though, I know how easily ten minutes can turn into an hour.

4) Treat Yourself: Okay so it’s hard. It really is. Waking up early to go to the gym, studying when you could be sleeping…so reward yourself. If you go to the gym get a super delicious (and nutritious) smoothie afterward, after you study for an hour, read your favorite book for thirty minutes…rewarding yourself like this will create a positive reinforcement for doing things you usually don’t want to do!

5) Think Long-term: This goes hand in hand with the vision board. When you really don’t ‘feel like it’ and you are extremely tempted to just give up, think about the consequences…okay probably no one will die if you choose sleep an extra hour instead of working out, but you’ll get one step farther from reaching your goal, and you’ll be mad at yourself later! Think about if you do go, you’ll feel so good and be so much happier that you pulled through!
And REMEMBER: discipline is like a muscle, the more you use it the easier it gets. So flex that discipline muscle and Just Do It!

Let me know your thoughts, what helps you when you’re unmotivated?

Have a super productive week everyone! (And remember we’re halfway to Friday!)


You are Amazing

 I hope everyone had a good, relaxing weekend, I know I did! I went to visit my godmother/aunt in Atlanta and stayed with her family, we got mani-pedis, ate amazing food and just generally had an awesome time. My aunt also has a very cool blog about organizing, called Neatsmart, definitely go check it out! On a more serious note, today’s post is about something that I think is really important and a topic that not enough people out there address.

For many years I struggled from a lack of confidence. It’s not a fun experience. As I got older I realized that this was an issue I needed to overcome. Confidence is extremely important to becoming the person you want to be and often a strong determinant of success. To be confident, one of the most important qualities that you must have is self-acceptance. I know I’m not the only person out there to have suffered from low self-esteem so here are some tips that helped me become more accepting of myself, thereby increasing my confidence:

at war 3


  1. Know that you are loved. First of all, you have to realize that there are people out there who love you for exactly who you are, you are not perfect and that’s okay! No matter what always remember that there are people out there who care about you deeply and that is all you need.
  2. It really doesn’t matter. Knowing that you are already loved means that you don’t have to make everyone love you. You actually can’t. I promise, so never worry about what any one else thinks about you. Be YOU, do what you think is right, wear the clothes you love and don’t apologize if you aren’t a clone of everyone else.
  3.  DO NOT under any circumstance, ever, for any reason, in any situation compare yourself to someone else. This was such an issue for me and seriously it doesn’t even make sense. You can never be like anyone else because you are YOU and you don’t want to be anyone else because you are amazing! Become the best version of yourself, not anyone else.
  4. Figure out who you who you want to be. This is probably easier said than done, learning the kind of person you want to become is a life-long process. However it’s hard to tell whether or not we’re making any progress if we don’t have any guide lines to follow. So sit down and think about where you are now and what you want to change. We all have the potential to become the best version of ourselves, but before we can do that, we have to figure out what that version actually entails.
  5. Take care of yourself. I know I’ve already talked about this before but, seriously, it’s important. To feel and look your best you have to get sleep, exercise, and eat healthy at least 80 percent of the time. Accepting yourself will be so much easier if you make feeling good a priority. If you haven’t ready my post on why it’s important to take care of yourself, go check it out!

Let me know what you guys think!

Have a great week!