In Memory Of The Route 91 Shooting Victims: #PrayForLasVegas

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Exactly one week ago my hometown, the city of Las Vegas, was shaken by a horrible tragedy. A terrorist who I refuse to call by name opened fire on festival goers at Route 91, a country festival that takes place near the strip. The results of this were 58 people killed and over 500 injured. Honestly even typing it now I can’t really believe it. This past week has been one of the longest and saddest of living in Las Vegas. As someone who recently attended my first music festival, it breaks my heart that thousands of people just came out to have fun and see some of their favorite artists and that someone could be so evil to turn what should be a wonderful memory into the worst day of those people’s lives. That’s the weird space I’m in because even though I wasn’t there and wasn’t anywhere near the strip I still feel so sad, scared, and forever shaped by this shooting. If that’s how I feel…imagine how those who were there feel. I can’t even imagine how the families and friends of those who lost their lives feel. I can’t imagine the trauma of the festival goers who survived and how deeply this will impact their lives…forever.

If there’s one positive thing I can take away about this nauseating event is that it has showed me how much the people of Las Vegas come together when shit gets rough. The next morning (literally) the blood banks had lines that took all day to stand in. Various businesses across down are making donations. Some companies are event donating 100% of their proceeds to the victims and their families. These are just a few of the many ways the city has come together after a weekend that will certainly change the dynamic of our city forever. I’ve always been someone who is proud as hell to be Vegas Raised. In undergrad at San Diego State people knew I was from Las Vegas, NV within .5 seconds of meeting me. I even got a tattoo of Nevada with a heart where Vegas is my freshman year of college because of how much I missed my city. Vegas is somewhere that’s hard to describe to people not from here. You really just won’t understand the vibe of Las Vegas unless you live here for an extended period of time. Contrary to popular belief, Vegas is a small place to live in. Everybody damn near knows everybody. That being said every person who lives here probably knew someone who was at that festival. That’s what makes it even more…real. I had two co-workers who went and I was relieved to know they were okay within moments of the news breaking. Others weren’t so lucky to receive this news. It’s different when you read about these things happening in places all over the world and when it happens right in your backyard. One thing I know I will be able to say now is that Vegas sticks together when it matters.

I originally wasn’t going to say anything about this on my blog because I couldn’t process this tragedy (and I’m still struggling with it) but I decided that wouldn’t be fair to those who no longer are able to say anything. I want to say that I will keep my thoughts and prayers with the families and loved ones of those who has passed, those who were there and survived, and my city overall. During this time I hope that everyone is taking time to take care of themselves. Self-care is essential. Life is short and you never know when someone’s last moments are. Love a little harder and be kind, to others and to yourself. I love this city and my love for it has grown even more after this. We are Vegas Strong.

This post is dedicated to all the victims of the Route 91 shooting. Rest In Peace.

“When you lose someone you love, you gain an angel you know.”

Things I’ve Checked Off Of My Yearly Bucketlist So Far

At the end of every year I set out to ensure that I try new things in the upcoming year by creating a bucketlist and last year was no different! My bucketlist this year was small due to the fact that I had so many non-bucketlist goals I wanted to achieve. So far I have checked off 3 things on my Bucketlist for 2017.

1. Take a pole dancing class (aka channel my inner stripper):

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This year I turned 24 and I wanted to celebrate by doing something I had never done before. While I did do the go out to eat during the day and get hella drunk cliché thing, before all of that my friends and I took a “Stripper 101” class and it was quite the experience. Let me just say 1. I wish I was drunk for this. I probably would have been a little loose and able to do more. 2. Being a stripper is fucking hard. Like seriously, shoutout to all the strippers because that class was not easy. Even with all these things I still had a blast with my friends.

2. Bought my own domain

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This is something I needed to do sooner rather than later because I’m trying to be a successful blogger and develop my personal brand. The .wordpress.com got too be too much to tell people when sharing my blog with them so I finally just bit the bullet and did it. I’m happy I put this on my bucketlist because I was lowkey putting it off for a long time. Procrastination and I are in an on and off again relationship so it’s good I got this out of the way.

3. Participated in a paint and sip class

This was honestly one of the best things I’ve done this year! It was so relaxing and fun. I took my mother for her birthday and we both had such a good time! The wine was great, the instructor was hilarious, and I got to paint something I would have never thought was possible for me prior to going to the class. I highly recommend that everyone does this at least once to see if it’s something you love.

These three things were great to experience. However, I still have other things I want to do before the year is over. Here are the most important things I want to do before the year is over.

1. Go to a kickboxing class

I went to a turbo kickboxing class when I was in undergrad and I loved it but I’ve always wanted to go to a legit kickboxing class where there are gloves and the whole nine. This is definitely something that I MUST do before the year ends or I will be upset.

2. Go to a shooting range

There is something about being able to shoot a gun (without hurting myself) that sounds so invigorating! Hahaha. Honestly, I can just picture myself embracing my baddassery as I fire a gun and hit my mark on a target. I eventually want to get a gun license so going to a gun range is the first step.

3. Run an entire 5k

One of the things I’ve wanted to do for a while is run an entire 5k. I’ve walked in many 5Ks in the past and always wanted to be one of the people who run past everyone. As someone who has never excelled at running long distances, running one would be a huge accomplishment for me. This would prove to me that any of my fitness goals are possible. I hope to run one on New Year’s Eve so I’ll start training sometime next month to make sure I’m ready. Wish me luck.

These are the majority of things on my Bucketlist for 2017. Some of these things are things I’ve always wanted to try and others are things that will get me out of my comfort zone. I feel that everyone should have a bucketlist each year to encourage themselves to try new things and live life to the fullest! It’s not too late if you haven’t made one for this year; we still have a few months left. Who knows, you might find a new hobby you love and enjoy.
Have you ever had a bucketlist? What’s on your bucketlist? If you don’t have one will you think about making one now? Sound off in the comments!

Why I Decided to Transition to a Mostly Plant-Based Diet

One thing most people don’t know about me is that I stopped eating meat (read: chicken, beef, pork, and other land animals) at the beginning of this year. My reason for this dietary modification was not because I watched a documentary on Netflix or because I’m an animal rights activist (no shade to those who are). My reason was that this lifestyle is what was best for my health and how I feel.


Back in 2016 I went to my doctor for a regular check-up. When I got my blood work back the doctor informed me that my cholesterol was too high and I needed to stop eating red meat temporarily. Girl, bye. Whatchu’ mean I can’t eat red meat anymore? Have you had carne asada or a realllly good burger? She said I had to in order to fix the problem while I’m still young. Long story short, I didn’t listen to her. Taco shop food was basically its own food group when I was in undergrad and carne asada and adobada were my favorites. I told myself I would only eat it every so often but that turned out to be…false. So all of 2016 passed me by and I was still eating red meat.


At the end of last year I decided that I should listen to my doctor and stop eating red meat. Becausew I’m an extremist and always have to do the most, I decided I might as well just stop eating meat all together! Luckily for me, this wasn’t a change I had never tried before. My junior year of high school I stopped eating meat for 6 months just to see if I could do it and I did! This time however I opted for the pescatarian route because if I was giving up carne asada…sushi had to stay.


However, as I’ve been on this pescatarian journey I’ve decided that at some point in my life I would like to make the transition to a more plant-based diet. Plant-based is defined as “a diet based on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes and fruits, but with few or no animal products.” This is different from vegan because Vegans don’t eat meat at all and they also don’t use animal products in their lives at all. My main reason for wanting to transition to plant-based is because when I eat plant-based meals my body feels the best. I have more energy. When I still ate meat I would eat meals and feel groggy, gross, stuffed, sleepy, and overall shitty after I was done. I can’t remember the last time I felt like that. Overall, I feel healthier and more energized and less bloated.


I’m excited to see where this new lifestyle transition takes me. When it comes to your day to day diet and eating habits it’s best to know what works for your body. If you have always considered being a pescatarian, vegetarian, or plant-based leave a comment below! If you have any further questions about my lifestyle change e-mail me at themusingsofmara@gmail.com

3 Signs You’re the Toxic Person in Your Life and How to Fix It

I’m not one of those people who believe in “good vibes only” or only focusing on the positive things in life. Being a constantly positive person is hard and, in my opinion, impossible for most people. As humans we aren’t perfect and there are times when we’re going to have a shitty day and be in a shitty mood. This is fine. However, there is a difference between having a bad day or week and being the toxic person in your life or the lives of others. As someone who has gone through these moments at earlier times in my life, I’ve discovered 3 signs that will tell you if you are the toxic person and how to fix it if you are.

1. You are always angry/in a bad mood and take it out on others

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As I said earlier, it is perfectly okay to have a bad mood for a day or week. Some people even have bad months depending on what they are going through in life. What’s not okay is constantly being in a bad mood and taking this out on those around us. Nobody wants to be friends with the person who is always angry, never has anything nice to say, and acts like an asshole to most people around them. Even if you disguise it in constant sarcasm, slick comments, passive aggressive behavior, or whatever else, it’s annoying and toxic to others and yourself.

How to fix it: Find out why you are so angry

Unless you suffer from a disorder that makes your emotions not at your own will, most people experience another emotion before anger. Figure out what emotion(s) you’re trying to mask in anger. Are you sad? Are you hurting? Is there a trauma you don’t want to deal with? Ask yourself these questions and similar ones to find out the root of your anger. This is the only way you can address this anger and move on to a life not plagued by it.

2. You’re jealous of others and their accomplishments

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Being a hater is one of the most toxic things to your well-being. I don’t mean the haters everyone swore they had in high school but a genuine hater who hates to see others do well. A hater is someone who constantly hates on others’ magnificent accomplishments. Do you find yourself getting jealous of strangers or even worse…your “friends?” Do you hear about people’s new promotions at work or their new PR at the gym and find yourself looking for a way to cut them down or “humble them?” If you’re this type of person you’re toxic to yourself and others and people will definitely pick up on it even if you never say anything out loud. They will stop telling you the good things that happen to them because you’ll always be known as somebody who is a hater and has nothing good to say when people share their accomplishments.

How to fix it: Realize you are an adequate being and what is for you won’t pass you by

Many times when we try to dull someone else’s sparkle it’s because we are insecure about our own shine. As people we have insecurities or feelings of inadequacy sometimes. What’s important is that we don’t let these feelings consume us so much that we can’t be happy for the next person. Another reason people become haters is because they want what someone else has. There are very few things that are in such scarcity in the world that you need to covet those who have them. What is meant for you is FOR YOU so long as you take the steps needed to achieve it. Hating on the next person won’t get you any closer to your goals. Aspire to be inspired by those who are we’re you want to be and learn from them instead of wishing them bad.

3. You only call/text your friends to talk about yourself, your problems, or other people

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There is nothing that toxic people are better at than maintaining one-sided friendships that only benefit them. If you’re constantly reaching out to others with no intentions of seeing how they are doing, you might be the toxic friend. I’m using the term friend loosely here. But seriously, if you only think to hit people up when you’re going through some shit, they aren’t your friend…they are your therapist and honestly that’s not fair to them. This isn’t the same thing as a friendship where the energy and effort is mutual and you both help each other through hard times. This is you not checking in with someone unless you need something from them and they are helping you in some way…it’s toxic. If you only reach out to a friend to talk badly about other people that’s toxic as well and not good for either of you. Only equally toxic people want friends who never have anything good to say about others.

How To Fix It: Get a therapist and a journal

One way to make sure you’re not the friend who only keeps in contact to talk about the shit going on in your life is to have someone whose job it is to let you vent to them. Therapy is often looked down upon (especially in communities of color) but if you have this tendency you could probably use someone with the proper skills and knowledge to help you through these times. Another way to master your emotions and feelings is to write about them. I know I say this all the time but it works, okay? Ever since I’ve started journaling I have become better at dealing with my emotions. This can help you too. Also, if you find yourself consistently gossiping about others, you need to figure out what insecurities you are trying to hide by doing so. As I mentioned earlier everyone has insecurities and it’s okay but talking badly about others won’t make anything within ourselves better. Find the problems within yourself and handle them.

I believe that everyone goes through a phase or two where they are the toxic person in their own life as well as the lives of others. What’s important is being able to recognize this and taking the steps needed to check ourselves and deal with our problematic behaviors. The first step is awareness so if any of these signs rang true for you I hope you take my suggestions. Help yourself live a peaceful non-toxic life. You are in charge with how you deal with life so take the steps towards happiness not bitterness.

How Getting a Passion Planner Changed My Life For Better

 

I was introduced to Passion Planner during a very hectic part of my life. It was during my 5th year at SDSU and I had never ending anxiety about EVERYTHING. A sorority sister of mine had died from a sudden heart attack which caused me to have sadness about her passing as well as anxiety about my health. I was supposed to start preparing to take the LSAT when fall semester started but I stopped because I realized I was exhausted and burnt-out from school and all my other commitments. I was going to school, clocking in 15 hours a week at my unpaid internship, working another 15 hours at my job, in a sorority, and preparing for graduation. My idea of self-care was a night out on the town instead of the rest my body probably desperately needed by the time the week ended. I eventually got sad when I had to go out because it started to feel like a chore. Panic attacks were a regular occurrence and it go to the point when I would have at least one a week if not more and battled sleep paralysis every so often as well. My life was rough; it felt like I was watching my life happen to someone else instead of living my life.

 

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(live footage of my Final year of undergrad before I discovered Passion Planner)

I’m not saying that Passion Planner completely got rid of all of my problems overnight or even now, years after I discovered it, not at all. However, Passion Planner did give me a space to evaluate what I truly wanted from my last semester of school & the rest of my life and how to make sure I got it. As someone who was crazy busy, Passion Planner allowed me to keep track of my multiple commitments and everything I had to do as well as make time for the things I wanted to do that made me happy. I was able to change my idea of self-care from going out to working out and decorating my planner. I spent more time at home just enjoying my own company. It truly changed my life for the better.

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I have long since graduated (okay not really only a year ago I just like how “long since” sounds haha) and I still use Passion Planner to make sure my many commitments and passion don’t get out of control or put on the side. As an aspiring law student, a blogger, someone with 2 jobs, and many other side hustles I’m currently working on having an effective planner with a little extra push towards my goals is perfect for me. Passion Planner is all that and more. Do you want to live your best life? Buy a Passion Planner today and change your life for! GET 10% OFF of regular priced items at passionplanner.com using code MARA10

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Stay tuned for my “Plan w/ Me” Periscope Date Announcement COMING SOON!

4 Tips for Winning the Battle Against Your Post-Grad Blues

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As I mentioned before, a few months ago finally went from being unemployed, laying around my parents’ house all day, waiting for e-mails to confirm my start dates, etc. to being employed in two different places! Wooohooo! I no longer suffer the sadness that comes with being unemployed as the rest of my life passes me by. I was there for 5 months and I pray I don’t have to go back anytime soon. In today’s post I’m suggesting some things that helped me get through the trying times of being unemployed and battling with post-grad blues with at least a little bit of my sanity left. These tips can also help anyone who may just find themselves feeling down. Whether you are unemployed or not, these tips will certainly change your life.

Wake-Up and Say Those Affirmations!

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The post-grad blues period after graduating can definitely get you down (they don’t call it post-grad blues for nothin’). One way I battled this overwhelming sense of emptiness and lack of purpose was through repeating affirmations to myself every morning when I woke up. While each person has to determine what they want out of life to come up with their own, I think the ones I used during this rough time are definitely a good place to start. Here are a few of the many affirmations I told myself during my time being unemployed. Some of these I still use now! I found these at this article here.

  1. My body is healthy, my mind is brilliant, my soul is tranquil.
  2. I am at peace with all that has happened, is happening, and will happen.
  3. I deserve to be employed and paid well for my time, efforts, and ideas. Each day, I am closer to finding the perfect job for me.

Start with these and even tweak them to your style if you want. All that matters is you remind yourself that you are deserving and destined for greatness!

Journal About Your Feelings Towards Being Graduated/Unemployed (and your feelings in general)

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Unless you are still in the honeymoon phase of unemployment or you genuinely hate the idea of working, being unemployed will put a damper on your mood. In America capitalism and consumerism games prevail and if you aren’t making your own money or an heir to a fortune, you can’t participate. For people like myself, it is easy to start feeling down when you are trying to find employment. One thing I have made more of a consistent habit is journaling. I try* process all my feelings by journaling at least 3 times a week. During my time of being unemployed I have written about how being unemployed has made me feel (leave out nothing even the feelings of worthlessness and sadness). I’ve vented my frustrations and promised myself that I will never take being employed for granted again. While it is usual to complain about one’s job (unless it’s your dream job, which mine is being an attorney so I’m a long ways off), to be ungrateful for one’s job is not good for the soul. In cases where your boss is a jerk it’s different but at the same time, I have always hated being unemployed more than having a job I hate (blame my materialistic desires and FOMO). I hope to look back on my unemployment entries of journal should I ever start hating my jobs (hopefully I won’t).

Find a New Hobby or Invest Time in an Old One

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Whether you’ve always loved painting but college got in the way, or you want to learn how to dance salsa, or anything in between you have plenty of time to do it in your down time on the post-grad job search. One thing I started doing again while I was unemployed is reading. One of my goals this year is to read two books a month and it hasn’t been hard thus far considering I didn’t have really anything better to do. Another hobby I dedicated more time to while I was unemployed was blogging. It felt good to be doing things I wanted to do in undergrad that I simply didn’t have the time to do.

Get Off Your Ass and Get Active

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Seriously! This one is a good morale booster. Whether I was dancing, working out, going for a walk, jog, or run, dedicating time to working out wasn’t something I did until towards the end of my unemployment and I wish I had a started sooner. Not only do you have time to figure out what kind of workouts you love, you can find a purpose in setting non-work related goals. One of my goals when I was employed was to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. This doesn’t sound like a lot but there would be days when I was unemployed where I sat around ALL day and barely clocked in 2,000 steps, YIKES! If you’re currently unemployed it doesn’t mean you have to sit around all day and become a sloth (I was guilty of this for a while).

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The post-grad “Damn I don’t have a job” depression is real and it can take over your mind, body, and spirit if you let it. I have been there in the deepest of post-grad blues and it is not pretty. Even if you are employed there are times where you can find yourself missing being in undergrad and carefree. The key to surviving this turbulent transition in life is to happen to it instead of allowing it to happen to you. If you already have a job it can be even easier to get caught up in the motions and find yourself still battling those post-grad blues. Find balance between keeping yourself busy and doing things you love. When you’re unemployed, finding things to occupy your time during your job search (and make sure you are ACTIVELY searching) will make the time in between graduation and being unemployed fly by.  You may even walk away from it being more enlightened, educated, and experienced person than the day you got your degree. If you don’t have a job or haven’t taken steps towards career yet, don’t beat yourself up about it. These things take time and there is always a lesson in the struggle! ALWAYS.

(Author’s Note: If you think you suffer from depression or any other mental illness, contact a professional for help. These tips will not cure depression.)

3 Life-Changing Things I’ve Learned from Working with Kids

Working with kids is a wonderful experience. Not only are children very entertaining, their behaviors also allow us to examine our own behaviors if we truly want to. Both of my jobs involve working with children. As a substitute teacher and a recreation assistant, I have learned many things from working and interacting with kids regularly. Here are the 3 most important things I have learned so far:

Apologize when you’re wrong (without trying to justify or explain)

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Children never want to get in trouble. If another child tells you they did something that hurt them, they will immediately come to their own defense with reasons why it was okay or how they didn’t mean to do it. We carry this habit way into our adulthood and become more focused on the “it was an accident!” part of the apology than the actual saying “sorry” part of the apology. I always tell my kids “just say sorry because even if you didn’t mean for that to happen, it happened” (within reason of course). Whether we intentionally hurt someone or not, our apologies should never been focused on what our intentions were. Instead, we should focus on just apologizing (if we are truly sorry).

 

Don’t hold grudges: forgive, forget, & move on

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Most of the time (especially with younger children) all it takes is receiving an apology for children to move on and continue playing with one another. Sometimes they even hug the person who says sorry and my heart melts because you can see the genuine forgiveness in their eyes. As adults, we struggle with this concept a bit more. We have a hard time with forgiveness and moving on. However, kids often don’t even require an apology to move on. When we get older we struggle with accepting apologies we receive and especially struggle with getting over things involving apologies we will never get. Even if we never receive the apology that we believe to be rightfully ours, we still can stand to learn from children…just get over it and move on! There are many times where we make things people do about us and hold onto that. What is the point? There isn’t one. It only does more harm to us than good to continue to be upset about something someone else did.

Be proud as hell about everything you do, no matter how small

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Anyone who has worked with children can tell you that they are proud as hell about every little thing they do. I used to teach a Messy Art class for pre-schoolers and these moments happened at least 5 times a day. Kids will scribble on a paper for all of 5 seconds, run up to you and shove it in your face and say, “look what I made!” bursting with pride. “Beautiful! What is it?” you will ask them because to you it just looks like scribbles. “A volcano!” they will say, as if they want to say “duh!” afterwards. “Oh! I see it! Good job!” and then you tell them to go draw another picture. A kid showing off their hard work and talent doesn’t stop at drawing pictures. Kids also think they are the highest jumpers, the best dancers, and the most talented person to ever do anything in life…and I think it’s awesome. At what age did we learn to undermine our own work and think “oh this isn’t that great?” “I can do better” “Hers/His is better than mine” and whatever other nonsense we tell ourselves when we do something. Enough! I saw that whenever we make something even if we plan on changing it later we should start off being as proud as a toddler in pre-school.

Children are the future of the world and I think we would all be much better off if we got in touch with our inner child. We just need to learn how to apologize when we’re wrong (without having to justify it to the other person), forgive people when they apologize (and even when they don’t), and have pride in everything we do, say, and create.