Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Laguna Beach Favorites

Two Parts Clouds, One Part Sunshine, Wish You Were Here

Those are the words printed on Lala's store window, a charming little shop that I've written about here, and continue to visit each time I'm in Laguna.


Laguna Beach is enchanting. It's a quant beach town, with art galleries, small boutiques, delicious food, and the ocean is always in view.

It was the perfect escape this last weekend, three friends and I drove up Sunday morning, and by 10:00 a.m. we were taking in the salty ocean air, and basking in the 75 degree weather. 75 degrees in January, yup, we felt pretty blessed.

I've been going to Laguna Beach since I was a little girl. I've collected a few favorite spots along the way, and what was really fun about this past day trip was that I got to see all new shops as we wandered.

Tuvalu Home Designs
This was my first time visiting this store, and it was filled with ridiculously adorable home furnishings, jewelry, bath products, books, and everything under the sun.

Laguna Bead Shop
This shop is a crafter's heaven. There was so much to choose from and the lady running the shop was this super cute yogini with the sweetest personality. She helped me navigate through the heaps of beautiful beads and told me what each one meant, strength, clarity, love. 

Laguna Beach Books
I will always be a sucker for book stores that include recommendations from all the employees.


The boutiques in Laguna are one of a kind. We had so much fun exploring different shops. This one, The Shop, had great beach wear, awesome maxi dresses, intimates, and gifts. The best part was probably how kind and helpful the store employee was. The people in Laguna are so friendly which makes the trip so much more worth it. She told us about a discount clothing shop in Dana Point called Doheny Clothing Exchange. It's basically an upscale second hand store. Name brands for half price!
I don't have any photos of the shop Heavenly Couture, but all there clothes are $16 and under, and it's located right by Main Beach in Laguna.

Still swooning over this necklace.
Coffee Klatch
The iced chai latte taste like a sweet cinnamon dream in a cup.
Random pictures, there is something beautiful around every corner in Laguna.


 Happy Wednesday, everyone! xoxo.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Permanence/Laguna Beach

"I realize these troubling times are as permanent as words we write in the sand. No matter how long they seem to be there, no matter how long they seem to stay grooved in the ocean's neighboring floor, a wave will eventually whisk them away. That's my favorite part. In seconds, we are granted a clear, blank platform again. This time, we choose what we write. This time, the feeling of permanence is gone. Everything is temporary."

I wrote this last night while driving home from Laguna Beach, California. After a day trip where I just breathed, relaxed, laughed, and never checked the time.

These past few weeks have been really challenging ones. If you asked me if I thought troubling times were necessary, I would say absolutely. But  when you find yourself deep within the hard times, suddenly struggles seem so unnecessary and instead like a big, unbearable weight holding you down.

A lesson that is constantly being presented to me is that life is full of challenging times, wonderful times, and times in between, but everything is temporary. Especially my stresses and times of defeat. Especially the times that cause me to drive to the beach with three dear friends because we all just need an escape.

The permanence of these hard times are like words written in the sand.


 Here are some photos from our Sunday, I am so grateful for these girls. I am so grateful for the ocean, the sand, our healthy able bodies navigating a beach town by foot, I'm grateful for sunshine, mesmerizing sunsets, frozen yogurt, Mexican food, laughter, small mom and pop shops, book stores, chai lattes, and every other little thing we experienced yesterday.

This week I will also be sharing a guide to Laguna Beach, it's one of my favorite place in the world to visit, and I can't wait to share some of my most see spots with all of you. Stay tuned. xoxo.

Stop by Emily's blog, Ember Grey, and share what you are grateful for today. Best way to start the week.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Thankful & Grateful

image via pinterest

I found myself kneeling on the pavement, co-worker beside me, not knowing what we were staring at, but trying to look as convincing as I could that I knew what was wrong with my nearly flat tire.

"There's a nail in it," he said. "Do you have a tire pressure gage?"

In my head: I wish I knew what that was. "Um, no?"

"You can borrow mine." And there I was, reading on a tiny digital screen, that my tires that needed 26 pounds of pressure, and could only take 9 at the moment.

I have never been taught tire pressure, I don't know these things about my car, and in that moment I wish I did. I try to not be bitter, but as this father of two girls knelt beside me and pointed to the nail, I thought about how his girls probably knew how to do this, and they were probably taught over laughs and bonding.

I think of how I have never known how to do anything about my car. I think about how when I was 17 and got pulled over for my taillights going out, the officer said, "Did you Dad never teach you how to change your lights? Just have him do it." I said, "Yes, officer" and went quickly home and YouTubed what it was I needed to do to not be in the dark again.

My coworker waited till I got off work and then we drove to a gas station to get my tires filled up. The drive over, I just smiled.

Because things have been going in a completely different direction lately than I have planned.
And we all do that, right? We hope, we pray, we hold on so desperately to how something should go. I have this idea of how things will go and who will be there for me. I grip those ideas like they are "the answer".

As I was driving over, thinking about how I slightly despise my car for always having an issue, I loosened my grip on what I have been carrying as "the answer." Because although I did not plan on this happening, and although I had things to do, I had someone willing to help me.

Like I always do.

Sometimes when your taillights go out on New Year's and you get pulled over by a mean cop, or your tire goes almost flat, or you fight head to head with scholarship deadlines, you realize that this fight, is what life is.

What's incredible for me to realize, is that when I feel alone in the boxing ring, I realize there is always someone in my corner.

It's not always who I expected, and half the time I didn't expect to be in the ring at all, but I survive. I'm better and stronger because of all the times things have not gone quite as planned. I am better and stronger because of those who help me endlessly.

I don't really know where I am going with the post, but as I sit at my desk, writing this, I am just so thankful.

My goodness, I am thankful for all the times this past month alone I have been worried, scrambling, and upset. Because I can sit here now and realize that those are the times that have made my appreciate, slow down, and find a space to be happy.

I called my mom last night, and just told her all the things that have been making me nervous, all the things that have made me scared, and I felt myself let go of it all as I said, "I feel safe."

What a revelation is it to realize that you can fly freely without the ridiculous expectations of how things need to be weighing you down. Things happened that are unplanned, messy, and often unwanted and unwarranted, but we make it.

My tires have a much needed 26 pounds of pressure. And I know now that everything ends up being okay.

Sometimes it ends up better.

Link up with Emily at for Grateful Heart Monday.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Who do you root for?

image via Pinterest

Whenever I need inspiration, I tend to go to my favorite childhood places.

A playground near the house where I grew up, where I would swing till my legs grew tired, feeling bigger than the trees, stronger than the wind. I go to the Mini-Mart where I would empty the coins from my jacket pocket, and purchase Laffy Taffy and bubble gum.

It’s never really all that comfortable at first, but instead like visiting a really old friend you haven’t seen in a while. The first few moments that I find myself navigating through my old neighborhood, it’s all just fact-checking. Same trees, same cars in the driveway, the strange colored house, the hill that I skinned my shins on.

The next moments are always a deep, sigh of relief. Years have passed, but there’s the same feelings. Nothing has changed, and yet everything has.

This time, I find myself aware that I am old enough to be driving around this neighborhood. I remember the little girl who would ride her bike everywhere and dream of owning a car.

I drive past my school, the playground, the swings where I laughed for hours with friends, and the gate where I would wait for my mom, reunite like I had been gone for so long.

I remember that in second grade, I started bringing my journal to school. I started writing everything I saw, everything I felt. I remember someone took it out of my desk and read it, and I felt mortified. I decided to leave my journal at home.

At 7, my sister and I would pretend I was on Oprah, I would be a singer, dancer, always a writer.

I can remember that I was always a little embarrassed of my writing, not because I didn’t think it was good, but because I cared about it so much. It was magic. As kids we are told the things we want most will be the most difficult. Writing has always been my escape from the difficult. It's easy for me. Since I was little, it has just been an instinct.

As a little girl,I loved how writing felt, I loved how I would word things, and I loved putting pencil to paper.

There’s a point to this post, and me rambling about memory lane,

I root for the girl I was. The girl I am. I am not only living out my dreams, but the dreams of the girl who stayed up late writing on her top bunk, hiding her journal underneath her pillow.

I strive to become the woman I painted so beautifully in my mind, I always thought I would be courageous and strong. I try to honor that.

But more than anything, I realize I, Katie, am a collection of Katie’s. I am a series of right and wrong turns, of tough decisions, of beautiful discoveries. I am the girl I was at 5, 7, 12, and 20. I am writing the book, but each season of my life has a chapter.

The girl on the playground helped me become the girl who was okay with sharing her work with an English teacher, and that girl blossomed into the girl who went to college, who studied the wrong thing, only to discover it’s been writing all along. I am the girl who fought her way for a job at a newspaper, writes a blog, and strives to be a role model for not only others, but the girl I will be tomorrow.

We are a collection of memories, that carriers of our dreams. We know exactly who we are because we have watched as we transformed.

Don’t shape your future only for you, shape it for the person you were. Shape it for the child in you that rooted in you all along. The child that knew you would be legendary.

The swings at the playground still squeak when you swing to far too the left. The asphalt is still painted with four square. The Mini Mart still carries my favorite ice cream.

And I am still that bashfully curious girl, who picked up a pencil, and dreamed that I would never put it down.
Link up with Ember Grey & share what you are grateful for today.

Friday, January 9, 2015

For the love of quinoa pancakes

About two minutes from my apartment, there is this magical restaurant called Lyfe Kitchen that serves quinoa pancakes, or fluffy circles of healthy deliciousness. I used to have these pancakes twice a week. They are soooo tasty, and they fill me up for hours.

I ran into a problem.  A "where does all my money go/why am I poor" problem. After much consideration, I realized buying things like quinoa pancakes often is a detriment.

I know everyone has their secret addiction, but as part of improving myself for the new year and years to come, I am trying to really think about where I choose to spend my money, and if the temporary happiness is worth the financial loss.

The truth is, the happiness is worth it. I like getting a delicious breakfast, I like eating healthy, and I like treating myself. I was eating at Lyfe Kitchen last weekend, I had a forkful of quinoa, and I thought, maybe this isn't that much of a expense. Then I went home and added it up: if I eat quinoa pancakes twice a week for one year that's $728. What?! That's a plane ticket to see family, a fun trip, it's textbooks, rent, car insurance, it's a lot of money.

So, I'm wrapping up this rambling post by sharing a recipe for *drumroll please* quinoa pancakes! Making these for myself was so fun and super easy. It takes about ten minutes start to finish, and they are absolutely delicious and a fraction of the cost.


Two eggs
3/4 cups cooked quinoa (leftover quinoa works great!)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon cinammon
1/4 teasppon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon honey
pinch of sea salt
One tablespoon of Sugar in the Raw

The recipe I read didn't call for the sugar or honey, but I like everything sweeter than necessary. I also ended up throwing in some blueberries, I think any fruit would be delicious and work fine in the batter!

Heat a skillet and coat with any cooking spray or oil. I used coconut oil to keep this whole healthy thing going, but whatever you've got will work just fine.

Mix all your ingredients together in a medium size bowl.

Pour batter onto skillet in a pancake shape, and let the pancakes cook for about two minutes each side over medium heat.

Get your fresh fruit, whip cream, maple syrup, and enjoy! Then open your wallet and do a happy dance with the seven dollars you didn't spend.

Happy Thursday! If you have an awesome restaurant inspired recipe, tell me about it below. Wishing you all a great weekend. xoxo.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Life Is with Ashley Cottle

As I've gotten older, I have realized the importance of making friends with people who bring you higher. As I've gotten older and maybe a little wiser, I try to actively learn about those I admire most. What inspires them, what drives them, what makes them blissful. 

Ashley Cottle is one of those people. She is incredibly talented and down-to-earth, with a love for nature, exploring, and helping others. I used to always think that the people who seemed the happiest were the ones who never had never had any let-downs, hardships, or defeat. I believed that those who were full of good energy were just the "lucky" ones. Ashley is ones of those people who displays so much happiness and light, even through hardships. She is one of those people who has you believing it doesn't matter how hard you fall, as long as you have the courage to get back up again. 

I am so blessed to know her, and have her insight on the blog today. 

Grab your Kleenex, and get reading. 

Life is with Ashley Cottle

1. What do you think the three most important parts of living a meaningful life are?

I think there are a lot of different approaches to living a meaningful life. I've met so many people who have found meaning in their lives in different ways than I have. For me, it was realizing my own worth, discovering my passions and then sharing them with the world. In our culture, it's hard to find a balance between being a complete narcissist and being totally inhibited by self-consciousness. I think it's important to go for your dreams, don't be discouraged by failure, persevere and be willing to accept new opportunities along the way. For a long time I was scared of stepping out of my comfort zone. I was so sure I would fail. I would think, "what if I give this everything and it just doesn't work?" I realized that if I don't live for things I'm passionate about, I'm not fulfilled. I am my own worst critic, so recognizing my own worth was really hard for me. Once I started to be easier on myself, I embraced the failures and learned from them. I started recognizing my individual strengths and sharing what I am passionate about with the world. Giving myself the freedom to share what I love allowed me to meet like minded people and learn to love myself despite my faults and past failures. I stopped nagging myself for not being good enough at something and finally started enjoying life as it is. The good, bad and all the in between.

2. Who do you look up to?

I admire so many people for so many different things. Mother Teresa for her faith and absolute dedication to loving and caring for people. My mom for giving everything she does 100% and then some. She can find the silver lining in everything. I'm always incredibly inspired by those who actively live the way they want to see the world. People who strive to make progress and live with an open heart and mind.

3. What are three non-essential things that get you through the day? Ex. chocolate, coffee,...

Humor. Creativity. Delicious, fresh food. I am big into food!

4. What does the world need more of?

Open minds, optimism and forgiveness. A lot less ego and fear based living. 

5. What is your personal mission?

To share what I know and love. To inspire and always stay inspired. To never stop learning, creating and exploring. To live a life full of transparency, silliness and a lot of love.

6. Tell about a moment in your life that has shaped your belief system. A single moment that your heart holds onto forever.

I'll try to keep this short..

When I was 23, I hit a breaking point. I have struggled with anxiety and depression for most of my life and it took me a long time to accept that. I thought that it was something that would eventually go away if I ignored it. For years I believed that I was weak for not being able to heal myself of this incredible sadness I always felt. Not once had I ever considered that what I was feeling was innately part of my biology. My lifestyle at that time was working three very emotionally taxing jobs 60+ hours a week, drinking every weekend, and just generally keeping my mind busy all the time. I didn't take much time for myself and after about nine months, I felt like my head was going to explode. I had a mental breakdown and was scared to death. I had never felt so low in my entire life. It was then that I knew I had to suck up my pride and tell the people in my life what was going on. When I told my family and friends, they were supportive and loved me until I got better. I started going to a specialist for anxiety disorders, practiced cognitive behavioral therapy and started changing what I didn't like in my life. I joined a recovery group at a church near my house and my life did a 180. I know how much of a skeptic I was of the old "Jesus healed me!" claim. Come on. But in my experience, it wasn't until I let go of this need to control my surroundings that I found purpose and meaning in my life. I asked for God to just grant me wisdom and peace and provide opportunities for me to be who I am supposed to be. It was so hard for me to do that. I am a perfectionist by nature and like to be in control. I like being able to take credit for the things I accomplish. At least I did until that point. That experience humbled me. And it shifted my life so quickly that before I knew it, literally a month or so after I was volunteering like I always said I would. I was making time for myself and the people I cared about. I realigned my priorities and it changed my entire life. Is my life perfect now? No. But I am in a better head space because of my willingness to let go of things that are out of my control. I am more happy in the years after that than I have ever been. I quit the partying thing and started spending my time doing things that are more fulfilling for me. I am a very thankful girl.

7. What is your favorite quote?

"Life is a daring adventure, or nothing." -Helen Keller

8. Fill in the blank. Life is..

Life is weird. I say that on pretty much a daily basis. Because it is. Life is weird. And messy. And unpredictable. It will knock you down, yes. But it will build you back up. Always. 

Life is insanely beautiful. 

Ashley volunteering in Huaymalai.

A little girl Ashley met. She is a Burmese refugee child living in a children's home along the Thailand border. 

Follow Ashley: | Instagram | Website | Facebook 

Stop by Emily's blog, Ember Grey, to share what you are grateful for today. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Past Fear// 2015

The new year has me dreaming without boundaries and loving without walls. 2014 was such a blessed year. As I write this, I really can't comprehend the amount of wonderful things that took place in 365 days.

Seven things in 2014:

1. I started this blog. And every single time I publish a post, it feels like coming home. My words have a safe place here. I can't even begin to describe how grateful I am that I made the resolution to start a blog last year, and that now, I can't imagine my life without Life Is.


2. I made the switch from studying Elementary Education to English. I decided to get off the paved path I was unhappily walking, and go out on a trail that would have no promise of a career or a clear beginning, middle, or end. My goodness, even the moments where I have felt completely overwhelmed and lost, I am so happy to be doing what I am doing.

3. I got an internship and then a job at the Las Vegas Sun. At 20. In a major city. With relatively no experience in writing, besides this blog. It's a beautiful life.

4. I made such wonderful friends this year. I've got an amazing family. Sweet kids I get to watch grow. I've got people that challenge me, make me better, make me grow.
There are so many more people not pictured who I am so grateful for this past year.


5. I have fallen in love with running, being outside, and the abilities my body has.




6. I went to Bali, Indonesia by myself. I was bit by the wanderlust bug, and hard. But travelling overseas made me realize that I never really appreciated the little things, and the big things, of my life here.

7. I feel like I have a home. I feel really proud of the person I am. I am so excited about this new year.

2015 holds so much possibility. And there is something really unifying knowing that people got up all over the world today with the hopes that this year they would try a little harder, and do a little better.

The dictionary definition of resolution is "a firm decision to do or not do something." To me, the word is slightly intimidating and nearly every year, I've got a few things that even if a had a firm plan to do or not do, it doesn't work out. My goal this year is to live deliberately, intentionally, and forgive and love myself for the days that don't work out just the way I planned.

I'm not going to share all my resolutions this year, but I've got one that ties everything together. It's my word for 2015: fearless. Be fearless. I want to practice doing the things that scare me, I want to actively place myself outside of my comfort zone, I want to be a little bit scared, and a little bit anxious, but know that I did everything and anything I wanted to do.

For me, fear is a physical place. It's where I go to hide, doubt myself. It's a dark alley and it's cold and crowded with people who worry about the same things I do: are these risks worth it? Am I worth it? What if I fail?

What if I don't fail and it's completely magical and awe-inspiring? What if I fall and get back up? What if instead of what I intended, things are even better?

Everything I've ever wanted has happened to be just one push past fear.

I don't want regrets. I want opportunity. adventures. love. I want to fearlessly love myself, my life, my flaws, my setbacks. I never want to tell myself, "I am not good enough." or "It's not going to work out."

I want to get out of that dark alley of doubt and fear and move gracefully towards the light.

2015, I'm ready for you.

Happy New Year! xoxo
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