Lifestyle Goals

In only a few days my little girl will be FIVE months old. Time is doing what it does best and flying right on by. To be honest, I sometimes find myself hoping for the time to pass more quickly which is pretty sad. I really only think that way when Blake is gone because everything is so much more fun when he’s around. But guess what? He’s gone a lot! Way too often for me to be putting life on hold until he’s back.

Having a baby has made me very aware of how quickly time goes by. I sort of get sad thinking that were just slowly growing older. I do my best to let all of the special moments sink in and to feel everything deeply. The soft baby skin, the giggles, the sweet baby scent, and looking into her big blue eyes wondering how I created something so incredibly amazing. I never want to forget how these things make me feel.

I recently came up with a list of “Lifestyle Goals” for myself and I plan on sharing each of those goals with you guys in future posts. They are simple things that I hope to incorporate into my daily life in order to better myself, and you can too! It’s sort of like a list of new years resolutions except these are things that I want to impact my life permanently. Kind of like when people say they’re not “on a diet” they’re really “changing their lifestyle”.

One of the things on that list is to say yes to new experiences. So I’ve decided I need to stop wishing for time to pass more quickly when Blake is gone and just take advantage of every day I get to spend living life. I’m pushing myself to get out more and to try new things even if I have to go alone… and by alone I mean, with Logan. I’ve always been the kind of person who would rather have company when going to new places. But now that I’ve gotten the hang of taking care of a baby on my own, I know that I can do almost anything on my own.

Sometimes my anxieties keep me from doing new things that seem scary. When I think about the fact that I am gong to die someday (even though that may just be the scariest thought of all) … It makes me realize that I better stop obsessing over what others might think, or what could go wrong and just experience all that I can while I’ve got the chance. Take a trip somewhere, hit the dance floor, make new friends…. whatever it is, just do it and HAVE FUN! I think people take life too seriously sometimes. School and work are great but it’s our experiences that make us who we are. What’s wonderful about that is, we get to choose our own experiences. Sure, sometimes things happen to us that we have no control over but we can ALWAYS choose to do something differently and I think that makes life really special.




Grateful for Family

Thanksgiving is only one month away and I know exactly what I’m grateful for this week.


The older I get, the more I appreciate the time that I get to spend with my immediate and extended family. Living in North Carolina was the first time that I realized how much quality time with family really matters to me since there was a major lack of it while I was there. When you see someone every day or every week, you don’t think about what your life would be like without them in it for a longer period of time.

Last week I was able to drive home in just two hours to spend time with my family, having my aunt and cousin visiting from out of state made it an eventful time. It reminded me of the vacations that we all used to take together when we were younger. My mom and her siblings would set up these big family vacations for everyone, it wouldn’t happen every year but when it did it was always so fun and memorable.

Since we’re all getting older now and those of us who are still referred to as “the kids” have different schedules on top of the schedules of our parents, we haven’t really been able to schedule any more of those family trips. But it’s my goal to make it happen again, because I’m not ready for all the growing up that’s been going on lately and a family trip would be a good distraction from everything.

To my family, I hope you all know how much you mean to me!



What are you grateful for this week?


Motivation Monday #26

Happy Monday friends! Today I want to motivate you to do something that you have always wanted to do, but have never had the courage and/or time to actually do it. Mondays are a lot better when you have something to look forward to so think of this Monday as another step closer to finally doing that thing you’ve always wanted to do.

Here are a few things that I could think of that you might want to try!

  • Go skydiving
  • Buy that pair of shoes you love- then go out and flaunt them
  • Take a ceramics class
  • Go to disneyland
  • Get a dog
  • Go on an evening hike
  • Get a tattoo
  • Go scuba diving
  • Go on a tropical vacation
  • Attend the live filming of a talk show
  • Go parasailing
  •  Attend a wine and paint night
  • Go to a museum
  • Go zip lining
  • Take a cooking class
  • Go to a drive-in movie
  • Read a good book
  • Make a new friend
  • Start a blog!

I could go on forever but it’s all about what you really want and that’s something you have to figure out for yourself!  Now start thinking of what you would love to do and have a beautiful week 🙂

Take it from Tori #1

I have decided to start a blog segment called Take it from Tori to share my personal opinion about things. Whether it’s a good thing, a bad thing or just some random thing, I’ll be explaining how that thing makes me feel. And there you have it, I have just used the word “thing” 4 times in one sentence.

So for my first topic, I have chosen:

People who don’t use their blinker while driving.

It should be a habit, like putting your seatbelt on. When you know you need to switch lanes or make a turn, your left hand should automatically want to flip that little signal switcher rod up or down. I use my blinker even if I’m turning on a random side street in the middle of the night and I’m the only driver in sight.

The worst is when someone cuts you off without any warning (aka blinker usage). I mean, go ahead and cut me off if you absolutely must but PLEASE at least give me a little heads up before you do so.

Here’s a tip: when people cut you off and you feel like flipping them the bird, go ahead and give them a sarcastic thumbs up (and maybe even a smile) instead. It feels better when people think you’re being nice but you’re really saying, “go ahead, cut me off you big turd”. That way you won’t get into any road rage fist fights.

Be careful out there people, and don’t forget to use your blinker.


Motivation Monday #17

Happy last Monday of April! Summer is just around the corner and I’m feeling very grateful to be able to spend it in beautiful southern California.

It’s only one of the many things that I am grateful for these days. Life is about being happy, so make sure you find the time to do the things that make YOU happy!

It may be Monday, but it’s the perfect day to make plans for Friday. Give yourself something to look forward to and use that phone you’re always on to make plans with friends or family to do something that you love to do.

Monday is a reminder that if you work hard and get the important stuff done during the week, you’ll have all the more time to do what you WANT to do on the weekend.

Have a beautiful day!


Homeward Bound

Well today is the big day, I’m going home! In fact, I’m currently sitting in the second airplane of the day. The first flight was a little bit rough, it was the smallest plane I’ve ever been on consisting of only two seats on each side. I figure that’s why is was such a bumpy landing. I felt bad for the guy next to me who confessed that it was his first time on an airplane. I tried to comfort him by saying that not all planes are that bad but I was also trying to keep myself from barfing so there was only so much I could say.

I had a layover in Atlanta which I thought was supposed to be 40 minutes. I planned to go to the bathroom, buy a water and pop some dramamine but by the time I found my terminal they were already boarding all passengers.

I’m actually surprised that I didn’t get lost, the Atlanta airport was so big that I had to take an indoor train to get to my terminal. WTH. Fortunately my stomach had settled a bit at that time so I hopped in line, found my seat and patiently waited for the flight attendants to start passing out snacks and drinks.

Admittedly, I was pretty nervous to fly alone for the first time. If I had someone with me then at least I wouldn’t die alone if the plane came crashing down. Which is why I bought Wifi… so I can send a quick “peace out” text to everyone if that does happen- kidding, kinda. But it’s really not too bad, just boring.

I know it’s rare for planes to crash these days but as I am typing we’re going through a huge patch of turbulence and I kind of regret making that joke now. Isn’t it sort of unsettling how they have to tell you what to do if we crash before every flight? I know it’s a safety protocol but jeez, what a way to get people comfortable! The voice comes on over the loud speaker, “Find your seats, store your belongings in the overhead compartment OH AND heres what you do if the plane goes down” NOOOOOO, I wasn’t readyyyyy.

Oh and it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to get some sort of cold or sickness from being stuck in such a tight space with so many people for so long, in fact the gentleman at the end of my aisle seems to either be choking on something or just coughing way too loud without covering his mouth… EVERY 10 SECONDS. I mean at least cover your mouth dude. Luckily for me, I’ve been loading up on vitamin C all week for exactly this reason

So I guess I’m not completely alone, I have Skippy with me. But it’s honestly just a hassle to have to lug him around. The last time I flew with him I was able to take him out of his carrier and hide him under a jacket on my lap. That’s because Blake was sitting next to me so I wasn’t worried about him tattling. I hope he’s okay down there, poor little guy has no idea what the heck is going on. He’s just stuck in a small bag for 7 hours, I will take him out immediately after I exit the plane. Speaking of Skippy though, I was wondering if any of the passengers on this plane are allergic to dogs, because that would be a bummer.. for them. Maybe that’s why the man in seat 35F is coughing so much, in that case- my bad dude.

We are currently flying over New Mexico and I’m just waiting for that last time zone change to kick in so I can accurately estimate my time of arrival. The 3 hour time difference will take a little while to get used to again but at least I’ll be on the same schedule as all of my friends pretty soon.


I’m finishing this post today because I lost connection on the plane yesterday… so much for paying for that wifi huh?! Anyway, I obviously landed safely and I was surprised by two friends who accompanied my mom to pick me up! 🙂 Of course our first stop was In N Out, then off to the bar for a celebratory drink and finally, sushi galore for dinner. It was a good day and it feels great to be back on the BEST coast! Overall, it was not so bad for my first solo flying experience. Now who wants to go to the beach?












Motivation Monday #16

It’s Monday again, but it doesn’t feel like a Monday to me. It feels like the last full 24 hour day I will spend in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I am still in awe of how quickly the time seemed to pass, but I am thankful that it did. It feels like just yesterday that I was on the verge of tears all day from having to say goodbye to my family and friends. Nine months later and I am filled with so many emotions about leaving. I’m sad to leave the friends I’ve made here, I’m nervous about flying alone for the first time, I’m stressed out from making so many moving arrangements, I’m so proud of Blake for doing what he came here to do and excelling at it, but most importantly I am SO happy to go home.

I’ll never forget what one of our friends’ parents said just before we left. I think it was pretty obvious that I was sad to leave and she said, “Don’t worry, nothing will change here. You guys will come back and we’ll all just be older and fatter.” It was such a comforting thing to hear. That’s the best thing about having a home to go back to, it’s all familiar and filled with memories and people that I love.

Living here has definitely been a great life experience and I would recommend that you travel if you are ever given the opportunity, because one of two things will happen. You’ll either fall in love with a new place and experience the world in a new way, or you’ll get to experience a new environment that will make you incredibly grateful for what you have to go back home to. So go explore, but never forget where you came from, it’s what made you who you are!

Happy Monday!



10 Reasons to Smile

Incase you’re feeling glum, I’ve got 10 simple reasons for you to turn that frown upside down.


Your friends and family- AKA your main peeps and your squad. You should smile when you think about the fact that there are people in this big world who love you and either choose to be your friends or are forced to like you because you’re family and they love you beyond your flaws.


Obviously summer is something to smile about. The sun, the break from school, the vacations, the sand and the water. In my opinion there is no better season. Yes, Fall is beautiful and Spring is a close second (because of the flowers) but Winter is just gross and cold. Sorry I’m not sorry Winter lovers. Summertime is my kinda time.


How awesome is it that we as human beings are able to travel the entire world? Doesn’t that make you want to smile? Sure it may take some time to save money but just the fact that it’s possible is amazing.


Um, like obviously coffee makes me smile. Some days it’s the only reason I smile lol! How wonderful it is that there’s a drink out there that can energize us when we’re tired and give us a little help waking up on those more difficult mornings. It really just warms the soul.



The world would be such a dull place without music. To me, music equals memories. When I hear a song that I used to love as a kid or one that reminds me of wild times in high school I can’t help but smile.


Endings can be sad, whether you’re graduating high school or college or even ending a relationship that isn’t working out, it can be hard to say goodbye. But you have to think of your endings as new beginnings! There’s always something new to look forward to in life and that my friends, is a reason to smile.


I LOVE my sleep and I try to get as much of it as I possibly can. My favorite are those nights when I’m so tired that I basically knock out once my head comes in contact with my pillow. I wake up feeling so refreshed and ready to conquer the day. Sleep is like a quick break from reality and a way to reenergize our bodies. I’m smiling just thinking about it.


Sometimes I’ll read a recipe for a dessert I want to make and think, thank the lord for whoever came up with this random mixture of ingredients because it is pure heaven on a plate. If desserts don’t make you smile then it’s probably because you’re on a diet and you can’t have any, therefore you are frowning. Cheer up Charlie, have a Wonka bar.


When I’m feeling down about life I like to think about all of the upcoming events that I can look forward to. When my days get boring I think of the next big party I’ll be attending or what I’ll be doing over the weekend. The upcoming event that I’m currently excited for is my brothers wedding, I am SO looking forward to it! 😁


Oh come on! If pets don’t make you smile then you are pure evil and I don’t want anything to do with you. My dog puts a big smile on my face every single day, I know for a fact that I’m a happier person because of him.

I hope you read this post and realized that you have a lot to be happy about, life is better when you’re smiling. So “put a smile on your face and make the world a better place”! (as sung by one of my favorite artists as a child)- Vitamin C

Our trip across the country


It was an early morning in July… we had our whole lives packed into a 5′ by 8′ Uhaul trailer and we were ready to begin our first major journey as husband and wife.

The day before we left consisted of a lot of packing and a lot of goodbyes. This was the hardest part for me because my family and friends are a very important part of my life. Although I was excited about finally beginning this new adventure, I was also scared. This would be my first time living anywhere other than the city that I had lived for my whole life and I wasn’t sure if I was truly ready for it. What I came to realize once we made it here and settled in, is that we are never really ready to do the things that scare us, were simply thrown into new situations and forced to learn how to live with them.

Now, when you think about a road trip across the country, you probably think that there are a plethora of cool places and things to look at along the way but this was not the case.. at least for us. Sure, we could have stopped at the grand canyon or the petrified forrest, but this would have taken us an hour off course meaning we wouldn’t get to our hotel until after check-in time. Unfortunately, our trip was mostly filled with wide open ranges and long stretches of road. This was not all bad though, because when we did finally reach a big city or anything more interesting than cows and grass, it made it even more exciting and we would look around at everything that we could possibly see to try and take it all in. As much as we would have loved to stop and explore different cities, we were also eager to get to our new home and we were trying to keep from spending too much money on hotels along the way. Originally we had planned on only stopping two nights, once in Albuquerque and once in Memphis but we quickly realized that this was not a very realistic plan when we began to experience the time skipping ahead an hour each day we drove. If we stuck to our original plan we would have made it to our new home the night of our third day of driving with no bed or keys to enter our apartment. So, in our better judgment we decided to reserve a hotel for the third night as well.

It took us four days to reach our destination and each day was filled with many different sights and emotions. The bulk of my post will be split into four pieces, (one for each day) and I’ll describe what kind of things we experienced.

Day 1: California, Arizona and New Mexico. 

Back to that early morning in July,  we got in the truck and headed off with our Uhaul filled to the brim, our bag of road trip snacks, and our dog Skippy. We were headed to New Mexico for the night and we were just a few miles away from Arizona when we got a speeding ticket, unfortunately if we would have already been in Arizona we wouldn’t have been speeding since the limit is higher there. The CHP wouldn’t give us a break but we wouldn’t let his $300 speeding ticket ruin our trip, so we kept going and ignored the ticket… but did NOT ignore any of the speed limit signs from that point on. We passed through Arizona and into New Mexico as the night began to fall. About an hour before we got to our destination in Albuquerque, we drove right through a lightning/thunder storm which was quite possibly the most frightening part of the whole trip (aside from the cicada bug that attacked me while I was trying to find a place to pee in Arkansas). The worst part about the storm wasn’t that I was scared of it but that at that exact moment it began to hit me that my life was about to change drastically. Blake must have seen that I was uncomfortable because he took my hand and comforted me, letting me know that he was proud of me because he was fully aware that this was something I would have been way too scared to do if it were only a year ago. This was what gave me the strength to continue our trip confident that I was embarking on an adventure with someone who was sure to take care of me.

Day 2: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Tennessee.

The second day was the longest, consisting of about 15 hours of driving. New Mexico and Texas were nothing but wide open ranges. We stopped once in Texas taking a very risky lunch break at a gas station/burger joint near the freeway. The service was slow… like really slow, but I assume that’s because there was only one lady who must have been been in her late 60’s cooking the burgers. It turned out that she was a master griller because those burgers were delicious. We stopped in Oklahoma for an oil change which added another hour or so to our trip, this was when I started  to realize how drastically different the weather was on this side of the country and how spoiled I have been my whole life for being raised in a place where humidity is a rarity. As we were waiting for the oil change to be done, we walked to a nearby Starbucks and it began to rain. I felt sticky and sweaty and at that exact moment that I knew I wouldn’t be spending a lot of time outside. We approached Arkansas as it got dark and stopped for gas as we would every couple of hours or so. The place we stopped did not have a bathroom and neither did the Taco Bell/KFC that was across the street. As I was searching for a large bush to hide behind I started to hear bug noises.. but not just any bug noises. These were noises I had never heard before, noises that sounded like they should be in the background of a suspenseful scary movie. Just as I was headed towards a bush, the most terrifying creature flew right at my head making the loudest clacking noise I’ve ever heard from a bug and once I got a good look at it, I decided I would be better off holding it in for the next two hours. I later came to find out that this was a cicada beetle and unfortunately they also reside in North Carolina, right in our backyard.  (I still freak out when I take Skippy on a walk and hear one of their creepy noises in a nearby tree.) We ended our second day of driving in Memphis, Tennessee. This was the night we realized that the time change was taking a toll on us and we needed to sleep in the next morning and extend our trip another half of a day.

Day 3: Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia.

On the third morning we took our time getting back on the road and also stopped at a nearby Starbucks as we had every morning since we left thanks to my brother who gifted us a very generous amount of Starbucks gift cards. We weren’t in Tennessee very long as we only drove through the southern west corner of the state, soon we were in Mississippi and driving through a rain storm that would pass just as quickly as it began. Rain was another thing I realized I’d better get used to since it occurs much more often over here than on the west coast. Mississippi was pretty but for whatever reason it was Alabama that really stood out to me, everything was so green and beautiful. We thought about staying the night in Atlanta, Georgia but after a quick internet search of the crime rate in the area, we decided to go a little further and stay in Augusta, thus shortening our final day of driving. By the third night we were both on edge, the only thing we had eaten that day were bagels from Starbucks and the time flew three hours ahead of what we were used to. Traveling with an animal is never easy, even one as small as Skippy.  Having him with us made it hard to stop anywhere to eat a good meal since I wasn’t willing to leave him in the car, especially with the increase in humidity. We were starting to get on each others nerves when we couldn’t agree on a place to eat OR find a place that was open after 9pm OR that had outside seating so that Skippy could come. Finally, we agreed upon takeout from a nearby buffalo wild wings. We got to our hotel, ate our food, watched a funny movie and all was well again.

Day 4: Georgia, South Carolina and FINALLY North Carolina. 

Our final day of driving was the shortest, but it still seemed to take forever for us to reach our new home since we were so excited to get there. We quickly noticed the endless amount of pine forests stretching along each side of the freeway. Pine trees are the new Palm trees! We finally got to our new apartment and it was just as nice as we could have hoped. We quickly ran out to find a mattress so that we wouldn’t have to sleep on the floor our first night. With help from our roommate and his wonderful family we moved all of our belongings into our apartment in no time. And then… we were finally able to open all of our awesome wedding presents.

This trip was an experience I will never forget. It was the longest period of time I had ever spent in a car and the farthest I had ever traveled from home. But most importantly, it was a great bonding experience for Blake and I as a newly married couple,  somewhat of a testament to our relationship with one another. There are very few people I could stand to be stuck in a car with for even a few hours of driving. Luckily I married someone who keeps life interesting and there is never a dull moment.