Ushering in a New Year


IntentionsIt’s taken me a couple of weeks to ease into the new year. I wanted to give myself the time and space to reflect on 2017 before getting into the 2018 mindset. Over the last couple of years, I’ve started to do a few various end of year/new year activities that have become my traditions.

Reflect & Take Inventory

I like to reflect on the year that is coming to a close and take inventory of:

  • What did I accomplish?
  • How did I grow?
  • What do I wish I would have done differently?
  • What did I let fall to the wayside that I should refocus on in the new year?
  • My appreciations for the year that is ending.

Gratitude Jar

The gratitude is the fun part. Thanks to Pinterest, I’ve started to do a yearly gratitude jar. Throughout the year, I will make notes on things, experiences, quotes, or anything really that I want to remember at the end of the year. On New Year’s Eve, I will empty my gratitude jar and read everything I collected over the past year. Then I’ll update my jar for the upcoming year.

Write & Release

If I feel like there’s something negative that I need to release before going into the new year, I’ll usually write a letter about it (or to the person who is causing the meh feels) and then read it out loud and then burn it. The burning part can be kind of scary since I live in a smaller apartment, but I use a dutch oven to keep it contained 🙂

Intentions for the New Year

My favorite tradition is reflecting on the intentions I’d like to use to guide my year and mindset. I’m not really into New Year resolutions, because they bring out my all-or-nothing perfectionist monster, which is no bueno.

I take into consideration everything I want to do, accomplish, and feel in the upcoming year, and then play around with words until I find the ones that feel good. Those are my intentions.

My 2018 Intentions

So, for 2018, I decided on the following for my intentions:

Create:  Creating is what lights me up. My intention to create in 2018 encompasses a bunch of things: screenplays, novels, blog posts, content for my side hustle that I adore, and I’ve been getting more and more into doodling and artsy fartsy writing in my soul journal, so I want to keep incorporating those forms of self-expression because they are fun and make me feel good.

Manifest: 2017 was a year of self-discovery and reflection for me. I want 2018 to be all about manifestation. I’m ready to start a new phase in my life and really invite in all of my wildest dreams, desires, hopes, and wishes. I’m ready to see change and results, and super excited at the prospect of bringing them to life.

Purpose: As I mentioned, last year was really about self-discovery for me, and it helped me get a clear vision on my calling and what I find fulfilling in life. I know my purpose, and I’m ready to activate it 🙂 I mean, that’s why I’m here, right? We’re all here for a reason, so once you realize what it is, you need to worrrrrk it.

I am really excited for 2018. I just have a feeling it’s going to be such a magical year with a lot of big changes and accomplishments. There are so many things that have been on the horizon for a long time, and now I feel like I’m finally closing in on them.

To a vibrant, creative, and magical 2018 ❤


The Dictator O’ Christmas


XmasTo many, this is the most wonderful time of the year (you can pry my cliches from my cold, dead hands). Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and also – shopping. Lots and lots of shopping. And gifts. Who doesn’t love getting gifts?! Still, for some of us, this time of year is filled with darkness. And dictatorship.

Dictator (noun): a person exercising absolute power, especially a ruler who has absolute, unrestricted control in a government without hereditary succession.

Hello, my name is Pam, and I’m a recovering Dictator O’ Christmas. And let’s be real, the only reason I’m in recovery is because I don’t live at home any more and my younger siblings are no longer under my rule. Still, there was a time, long long ago, when my dictator tendencies were infamous and revered.

Thanksgiving Day was always the catalyst. Filled with turkey and stuffing and lots of pie, this cheerful day turned me red and green like the holiday hulk. Once I had my fill of pie, it was time to move on to advent calendars. Not eating them, but making them, and not for crafting fun or to show off artistic abilities (because maybe some of us don’t have artistic abilities, okay?), but to start the countdown.

As the days carried us into December, my methods grew stricter. There was a Christmas Eve regimen, you see, and I spent days, no, years perfecting it. In the days leading up to December 24th, I made sure that each one of my soldiers (read: younger siblings) were fully trained and battle ready.

First and foremost, there was the completion of the Christmas Movies Must Watch List. We’d make our way through this list, not for enjoyment or viewing pleasure, but because we had a quota to fill. The CMMWL has at least half a dozen firm watches, but no movie was more important (or mandatory) than A Christmas Story. A gem always saved for Christmas Eve, and some years, it wouldn’t just get a cursory watch, but an extra viewing or two.

But the movies were child’s play compared to showtime. That’s right – Christmas Eve. December 24th. The big two-four. In the days leading up to this pivotal moment, I’d relentlessly review our game plan with the troops:

Pajamas: Each of us needed to have special Christmas pajamas ready and waiting for Christmas Eve. Pajamas that were approved by the Dictator O’ Christmas, because this wasn’t just some cute or sweet tradition but preparation of our battle attire.

Sleeping in the same room: The dictator took no chances. The dictator trusted no one. Hence, we all bunked in the same room. Under my control. And you best believe I didn’t start collecting my Zzzzs until everyone else was out cold.

No peeking: Oh this was a firm one. If there was one part of the game plan you did not want to disobey, it was this. I made sure my troops knew this rule inside and out: if you peeked and tried to see your gifts or the fat man in red before Christmas morning, all of your gifts would disappear. That’s it. End of story. This wasn’t just some sappy warning based on love, but a tried and true scare tactic. ::insert maniacal laughter::

Wake up call: Most years we’d wake up around 6AM. No exceptions. We’d get up and quietly make our way to the kitchen. We’d take turns in the bathroom and brushing our teeth (cause ew morning breath) and make tea for my mom and coffee for my dad. If we, the troops, decided to indulge in a cookie or six, there was no one there to stop us.

The lineup: Ah, the most important and rewarding part of the game plan. The end of the game plan actually. Once mom and dad were all sorts of caffeinated, we’d line up in the hallway youngest to oldest. The parental units would storm the living room first and get situated, and then we’d start our long-awaited march.

To gifts.

To glory.

To victory.

But mostly just gifts.



Christmas Movies Must Watch List


CMMWLIt’s mid-December (say whaaaaat?!), and you know what that means…

Time to fix your eyeballs on your favorite holiday movies!

If you’re a fake!OCD freak like me, you may even have a trusty list of your go tos. And if you don’t, well, feel free to steal mine. Without further ado, I present to you my Christmas Movies Must Watch List:

A Christmas Story – A classic that invokes both hilarity and nostalgia. Not only is this a no exceptions Christmas must watch, but it must be saved for Christmas Eve. No changies.

Elf – I can’t help it. Will Ferrell’s portrayal of Buddy the Elf won me over, and now my holiday season isn’t complete without this gem.

Home Alone – John Hughes, Christopher Columbus, and Christmas?! We have a winner! I never ever tire of this film, and I still laugh out loud through the entire Kevin McCallister vs. the Wet Bandits showdown.

Home Alone 2: Lost in New York – Not all sequels are worth a watch, let alone a place on the  CMMWL, but Home Alone 2 is. You can pry my love for the end scene (Kevin + the two turtle doves gift + the homeless lady) from my cold, dead, Christmas loving hands.

Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas (cartoon) – Jim Carrey is cool and all, but he has nothing on the classic cartoon. This is usually the first Christmas movie I watch once December hits.

Frosty the Snowman – Another cartoon classic. Happppy birthday!

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer – I have a soft spot for claymation, okay? I can’t help it. This is another classic I’ve been watching since I was a wee one.

Love Actually – I may or may not be a nerdbomber for rom coms. And a Christmas rom com at that?! Cannot resist. I love this movie. Love it, actually. (Hahahaha, I’m awesome, deal with it.) Between baby Andrew Lincoln sans zombies, and Hugh Grant as the ideal boyfriend, woo boy. This movie is totally worth having Bill Nighy’s voice singing about his fingers and his toes in my head for weeks after viewing. (Weeks, I tell you.)

The Family Stone – I just… ::flappy hand gesture:: love this one too. I know it gets a lot of flack, but I love the feels and the funnies and the great cast. Especially Dermot Mulroney (rowr).

The Santa Claus – Ignore the fact that this movie starts with unintentional murder, and it’s a heartwarming, fun Christmas classic! Also, Tim Allen and the 90’s, I mean, come on.

Honorable mention: Jack Frost – ‘Cause Batman haunting a snowman, okay?

You’re welcome. Also, happy holidays ❤

Presence & Breath


PresenceSoul searching, spirituality, meditation, and all those good things are a big part of my life. Personal growth is a bit of an obsession of mine, and I love to learn new things and try new practices as part of my personal development. In the past, I’ve posted about meditation, which I practice daily, and today I want to write about two practices that are closely related to meditation: presence and breath.

As I mentioned in my post a couple of weeks ago, last year I participated in this awesome group coaching program focusing on eating disorders and body image issues. The foundation for this work was very soul-centered, which is one of the reasons why I was drawn to it in the first place. Two of the first modules we worked on were about presence and breath, so I’ve been learning about and implementing these two practices for a while. Due to daily stress and anxiety (I’m an introvert who can get pretty bad social anxiety), I recently decided to revisit presence and breath with the intention of making them firm fixtures in my life.  

Being present on the daily is a challenging endeavor. I’m still at a place where it takes dedicated and constant observation of my thoughts and feelings to shift into presence. The cool thing about this practice though, is that you quickly discover that in those fleeting moments of full presence, it really is a rewarding and perspective-shifting experience. I find this especially true as someone who is trying to:

  • Connect with my body on a deeper level,
  • Be more aware of my life and how I show up day in and day out, and
  • Be more positive and optimistic in general.

Breath is a huge part of practicing presence. I don’t think you can have one without the other. Really think about it – breathing is this involuntary act that we do constantly to stay alive. But when you really hone in on it and focus on it with intent and curiosity, it can become a great tool that helps alleviate stress and promote wellness. Breathing can literally cause a state change in your body. I’ve found breathing to be really useful when it comes to:

  • Meditation: Focusing on my breath can help me drop into a meditative state quicker, and go deeper into my meditation.
  • Stress/Anxiety: I’ve started to use breath to help curb stress/anxiety. When I feel myself getting overwhelmed, I’ll stop and take a few deep breaths until I feel more centered and less anxious.
  • Disordered Eating: It’s impossible to binge if you’re present (and focusing on your breath). Most of the time, if I want junk or am heading toward binge autopilot, it’s because of stress or some other #donotwant emotion that I’m trying to suppress with a quick state change – hence the magic of breath.

So how do you start practicing presence and breath?

I started out by setting daily alarms on my phone, usually for 9AM, 1PM, and 7PM. When the alarm would go off, I’d take a moment to breathe and center myself and then check in with myself to see if I needed a shift or to do anything (drink water, walk away from my desk, cord cut, etc.). At first it was challenging, especially for the first two alarms that went off at work. I’d often be too busy to stop, so I’d just shut off the alarm and keep working. BUT when I actually started to commit to these practices and respected the alarms and daily check ins, I noticed such a difference in my mental and physical states that I now do presence/breathing check ins frequently throughout the day without using any alarms.

As for the literal practice I use, it goes something like this:

  1. I close my eyes and take three deep breaths. I favor 6-3 breathing (inhale for a count of 6, hold for a count of 3, exhale for a count of 6, hold for a count of 3, repeat).  Sidenote: If I’m at work when I do this, and people are around, I’ll head to the bathroom, otherwise if I’m by myself in the office, I’ll just stay at my desk.
  2. Take inventory. Mental inventory is when you check in with your mindset and emotions. Are you feeling sad? Anxious? Angry? Physical inventory focuses more on your body and visceral state: are you hungry? Thirsty? Tired? Sometimes I take inventory of my surroundings, just noticing what’s going on around me: the conversations, the colors, the furniture, the light, etc.

There are so many benefits when it comes to presence and breath. The biggest benefit of presence is also the meaning of it – to just be in the here and now, where everything is okay, the past is long gone, and the future hasn’t happened yet. The benefit of breath is that you can really hone it to become a tool for your health and wellness. It can up your meditation game and help you learn to alleviate stress and anxiety – those are some game changers right there.

I think there’s something magical in that such simple practices can have a truly profound impact on your overall health and happiness.

Fangirl Fav: The Brave



I think we all know by now that I’m a huge fangirling nerdbomber when it comes to TV and movies. Oh, and books. Duh. So I wanted to take a minute to fangirl over my favorite new show of the season so far: The Brave. It airs Mondays at 10/9c on NBC, and here’s the official rundown of the show (edited a bit for brevity’s sake):

This fresh, heart-pounding journey into the complex world of America’s elite undercover military heroes follows Captain Adam Dalton (Mike Vogel) and his heroic Special Ops squad of highly trained undercover specialists as they carry out each mission on the ground. This team works hand-in-hand with D.I.A. Deputy Director Patricia Campbell (Anne Heche) and her team of analysts as they wield the world’s most advanced surveillance technology from headquarters in D.C. All members of this elite squad, both in D.C. and across the world, have one thing in common: their resilience and commitment to freedom is unmatched by any other. Often facing insurmountable challenges, the team works tirelessly to get the job done and to prevail in even the most complex situations. Week after week, the team uses that determination along with their unbreakable bond to save the lives of innocent people and execute missions in some of the most dangerous places in the world.

It’s soooo good. I’m a huge action nerd with a soft spot for military dramas (note: my all time fav being Strike Back), and this show definitely fits the bill. Since the above synopsis was lengthy (and I swear, I did edit it for brevity’s sake hahaha), here’s a list o’ doom to cover why I heart this show…

Why I Love The Brave (And You Should Too)

  • It has something for everyone: action, drama, eye candy, heart strings pulling, suspense, humor, etc.
  • Mike Vogel (and his beard, ‘cause dayum, son).
  • Lots of well choreographed action sequences.
  • Strong female characters. The team’s sniper is a badass named Jaz, and of course Anne Heche rocks it as Patricia Campbell.
  • I’m pretty sure they use the phrase, “Stay frosty,” every episode, and I appreciate that!
  • Mike Vogel’s face (and biceps). #sorrynotsorry
  • There’s a lot of behind the scenes combat training and the like to make the show realistic and also pay homage to real life military heroes.
  • The ensemble cast is really talented and they have great chemistry.
  • Even for a high stakes military drama, there are moments of well executed humor that I appreciate. Case in point: Vogel’s Adam Dalton has a lot of sassy one liners that warrant a giggle or two.

I really like this how a lot and look forward to watching it each week. Of course, since it’s on NBC, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was suddenly canceled, since that seems to be their MO, especially for shows I like (lookin’ at you, Revolution). But, hopefully that’s not the case here.

I know there were quite a few military dramas that premiered this season, including SEAL Team (CBS) and Valor (The CW – don’t judge me), but I think The Brave was the most captivating. I couldn’t get through the first episode of SEAL Team without being distracted (sorry, David Boreanaz 😦 You’ll always be my vampire bae.). And Valor I really just tried because Matt Barr and his hair and abs and whatever, sometimes I’m just a really shallow fangirl, okay?

TLDR: Try The Brave. I think it’s great and deserves the viewership.

Magic Like Whoa


WordsMy day job has been completely insane the past two months, and I am SO RELIEVED that it has died down and I can finally take a breath and recalibrate. Starting to do just that made me realize that there has been some major magic at work in my life lately, but I’ve only just had time to realize it.

And it’s awesome.

Last year I did this amazing 6-month group coaching program, The Society, with Samantha Skelly. She founded Hungry for Happiness, a movement of women dedicated to ending the fight with food and their bodies by addressing the underlying causes of emotional eating. The mission behind HFH and Sam is one that I love:

We envision a world in which women no longer feel compelled to diet. In which they have a strong connection to their body and its intuitive powers, and give themselves permission to feel pain, secure in the knowledge that our bodies don’t throw anything at us that we can’t handle. We’ve set a lofty goal of helping one million women end dieting by 2020. Will you join us?

Now my close peeps know that I’ve struggled with these issues for a long time, but it’s not something I really publicize, especially on social media. However, I learned that these types of issues reside in the dark corners of fear and shame, and when you yank them out into the light, they lose their power over you. If my time in The Society taught me anything, it’s to speak my truth and that when you allow yourself to be vulnerable with others, instead of ridicule and judgement, you’re often met with love and compassion.

Through Sam’s coaching, I was able to reconnect with my body, discover the underlying emotional issues behind my eating disorder, and connect with an amazing group of women who showed me more love and support than I ever experienced before in my life. It truly was a life changing and transformational experience.

When the program came to an end in late May, I was at a point where I realized how much I wanted to use my writing to help others, just like Sam helped me. Of course I want to be an awesomely successful screenwriter (and novelist!) too, but I also love connecting with others through writing and in a way that is beneficial and inspiring (and fulfilling to me personally). I just wasn’t sure how I wanted to or could execute that desire.

Fast forward to today, and I’m a writer and Community Manager for Hungry for Happiness. It all fell into place quickly, unexpectedly, and like, well, magic. My role as HFH Community Manager provides exactly what I wanted. Every day, I get to connect with women all over the world through my writing. I’m able to offer support, guidance, and encouragement to beautiful souls who are experiencing the same struggles I’ve encountered.

There’s also a layer of continued personal growth and development that I get to experience through my HFH work. Overcoming an eating disorder and body image issues is an ever-evolving journey. There is no finish line. You have wins, and you have losses. Sometimes it’s easy, and sometime’s it’s really, really difficult. But with coaching from Sam, I’ve cultivated a ridiculous amount of self-love that’s allowed me to connect with my body and my soul on a higher level and surrender to life’s lessons, miracles, and magic. I never thought that I would be genuinely grateful for issues that have caused me so much pain and suffering, but I am. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today, and I wouldn’t be in a position to help others.

Fangirl Fav: The Black Tapes Podcast


tbtI know it’s been awhile since I posted, so to get my creative mojo flowing, I thought I would resurrect and slightly revise a post from one of my past (now deleted) blogs. Over the past couple of years, I have become a huge fan of podcasts. I listen to all different kinds, but it seems like I tend to favor personal growth podcasts and audio dramas. So, it’s no surprise that my very favorite podcast is The Black Tapes.  

Once I realized the power of podcasts in making my shitty work commute less shitty, I started listening to them on the daily. I wanted to add some fiction podcasts to my list, because hello – writer! That’s when I stumbled upon The Black Tapes.

Here’s the official blurb from the podcast’s website:

The Black Tapes is a bi-weekly podcast from Pacific Northwest Stories and Minnow Beats Whale, and is hosted by Alex Reagan. The Black Tapes is a serialized docudrama about one journalist’s search for truth, her enigmatic subject’s mysterious past, and the literal and figurative ghosts that haunt them both.

How do you feel about paranormal activity or the Supernatural? Ghosts? Spirits? Demons?

Do you believe?

I’m a total nerd for anything paranormal, which is why The Black Tapes originally caught my eye. I wasn’t exactly swept away by the first episode, but by episode three, I was completely hooked. Two 12-episode seasons have been aired so far, and SADLY – SO SADLY – the third and final season (which I hear is only 6 episodes) will begin on August 30th.

I’ll admit that the delay in production and distribution of season three, as well as the announcement of the podcast ending (on a shorter season no less), was a HUGE disappointment. I heard murmurings (through Reddit) of some behind the scenes drama between the creators, but I’m not going to put too much stock into that. I suppose, at the end of the day, I’m just grateful that we are receiving an end to such a wonderful and addictive story.  

I don’t want to spoil anything, so I won’t delve too deeply into plot details or my own thoughts/theories, but I’ll just post a few reasons why I love The Black Tapes:

  • Dr. Richard Strand. He is the “enigmatic subject” mentioned in the podcast blurb. First and foremost, allow me to fangirl for a moment and just swoon over the voice actor for this character. Hot dayum he has the sexiest voice I’ve ever heard. Audio objectification aside, his character really is intriguing and insanely intelligent. And a bit sassy. Have I already swooned?!
  • Blurring the lines. Again with me being a nerd, but I kind of love that the creators, actors, etc. of The Black Tapes refuse to acknowledge it as fictional. The organizations and institutes they refer to on the podcast each have a website, and many of the characters have social media accounts. It’s just an added layer of dedication and production that I–a fellow creative–appreciate.
  • Alex Reagan. She’s the main character. I love her. She’s smart, kind, intelligent, and not a pushover. She probably falls into the category of “no self-preservation whatsoever,” but that’s what makes The Black Tapes so fun. Plus, she has mad chemistry with Dr. Strand. I so ship it 😉
  • Ensemble cast. Actually, I really enjoy most of the characters on this podcast. Even the throwaways are usually well acted and unique. This really is a world in which you can get lost (because death to commuting!!!).
  • Creativity like woah. I haven’t googled or looked into any of the information broadcasted on the podcast, like the “evidence” and “research” that’s disclosed to listeners, so I’m not sure how much of it–if any–is based off of history or legit sources, but whether it is or isn’t doesn’t matter. I’m just blown away by the dedication of all parties involved in the podcast and the layers of creativity that make up this show.

Although I’m so very sad to see The Black Tapes end in the near future, I’m super excited to see how the rest of the story unfolds. I really hope the conclusion is satisfying and we get some Streagan romance thrown in for good measure.

P.S. If you like The Black Tapes, check out the two other podcasts by one of the creators of The Black Tapes: Tanis and Rabbits. Tanis sucked me in immediately, but I’ve sort of lost a bit of interest in it recently. However, relistening to The Black Tapes makes me want to get caught up. Same deal with Rabbits. I think it’s the “weakest” of the stories from the trio, but it was interesting enough for me to listen to most of season one. The Black Tapes is the best of the group, by far. Well, in my humble opinion 😉