25 & Feelin’ Alive

Ever since I can remember, I have always been excited to be 25. I didn’t have any feelings about 18 and even 21 didn’t feel significantly different. But something about 25 always felt complete. Now that I am 25, I can feel a difference, but I also know this change has been developing over the first four months of the year.

These days, my priority is learning to be unapologetically myself. Though I continue to freak out about little things, I am trying to develop it as a habit. I am undoing a decade’s worth of ‘performing’ for others. I somehow convinced myself that if I act how I think others want me to act (read: agreeable), people will like me, but that has never proven to be true. Instead, I was left with empty relationships wondering why they were not reciprocated and instead focusing on what I could do to convince them they need me in their life. This led to many, many mistakes and countless heartbreaks. Why should I convince someone they need me? How does it benefit me to beg someone to keep me in their life? It sounds like common sense, but once you get stuck in a pattern, it’s hard to pull yourself out. Now, I can see more clearly.

When I was picking a senior quote in high school, I settled on a different quote than my first choice by Judy Garland; I should have followed my gut because my first choice is now more resonant than ever:
Always be a first-rate version of yourself instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

I like to think this quote burrowed itself in my subconscious because I knew there would come a time when I needed to be reminded of it: that time is now. I must admit that sometimes I catch myself wondering which part of my personality is really mine or, instead, long-term adaptations of people who have come and gone throughout my life. The important thing, however, is to focus on the person I am now and the person I aspire to be.

I know 25–and life after–is not going to be smooth-sailing, but I am looking forward to the new challenges in this next quarter of life. I am excited for bigger changes and pushing myself out of my comfort zone as I start to love and accept myself for who I am. I have wasted the bulk of my 25 years on Earth hiding, both literally and figuratively. But now is the time to have courage and live in my own skin.

I have absolutely no idea what happens next or why I even expect that something will happen. All I know is that if 24 marked the year of letting go, 25 marks the year of new beginnings. Or better known as, “The Year of Alexa.”

xx, AE

A Quiet Winter

A Quiet Winter

Happy March, everyone!

First and foremost, I should apologize. I am sorry that I disappeared without a trace after making a declaration about 2019. There wasn’t a particular reason except for the fact that I have not had any new content. Aside from continuing to regularly update my YouTube channel, life has been very slow and quiet.

Per my last post, I have been diligently trying to center in on improving the quality of my life, so I have been setting monthly goals. For January, it was all about fitness. I signed up with a gym after losing the motivation battle to work out at home and I have been loving it. I am still struggling to find the confidence to explore the weight-side of the gym because the other gym-goers are pretty intense, but this fitness journey is about small steps. Even on days when the workout isn’t great or I desperately want that extra hour of sleep, I am proud of myself for getting up and going. It has been two months of a fairly regular routine and I have reignited that desire to workout and no longer see it as a chore. Since this journey is about small steps, I am not measuring my physical changes so that I do not obsess over it and take myself down a self-deprecating path. But I like to think I am making strides.

I also decided to do dry-January just because. I don’t drink heavily and unless I am out with friends, I rarely drink at all. However, I wanted to challenge myself in social settings. I only went out with friends a couple of times that month and saw a noticeable difference in how I interact. It was at first a more negative response because I felt left out of the ‘social high,’ but I eventually learned to navigate it to where I still have fun and know when my version of last call is. I have a more well-rounded understanding of my social ‘battery life,’ for lack of a better description. While I can say I much prefer to join in on the fun, I am able to now go out in social settings and not give a second thought to the decision to stay sober. My body also thanks me the following day.

February’s goal was to go somewhere new. I had not been on a plane since October and I started to develop anxiety about flying again. Part of that anxiety, however, was because I felt an itch to get back out there. Since my job is in operations (a.k.a. no company holidays), I didn’t get that time-off refresher between Christmas and New Year’s. Not to mention, I was trying to save as much time off for a trip this summer (America, am I right?). I felt a little burnt out and needed to see some new sights. Unfortunately, all of my plans to hop on a plane fell apart, so I had to improvise. Technically, I accomplished my February goal on March 1st, but I still managed to go somewhere new: Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, popularly recognized by Americans from HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” with Chip and Joanna Gaines.

I will have a post about that mini road trip on Thursday (March 7th), but I am actually really looking forward to this month. I have a couple of concerts I am going to and a potential international trip (fingers crossed!), so it feels like I’m finally starting to have a life again. I am making it a point to find things to write about on here because I have ideas, but I am curious if people would be interested. I really want to write more about pre- and post-travel experiences because there are obviously times like now when I am not traveling. Overall, I want to have relevant and interesting content. What do you guys think? I’d love to hear any suggestions you may have!! Let me know in the comments or on my Contact page πŸ™‚

xx, AE

Better Late Than Never

I have said time and time again that creating this blog started out as a simple way to be connected with friends and family when I was abroad, but it quickly turned into so much more for me. It has become an outlet for me and a place where I can really be expressive. I embarked on a creative journey this year which leads me to the point of this post. I made a decision with the new year that I wanted to bring this blog back to life, so I have been cataloging my travels throughout the year in the form of vlogs (read: video logs); tonight, I launched my YouTube channel!

I figured that since people have enjoyed my photos on my blog, what could be better than actually taking everyone with me on my trips? Admittedly, the first few vlogs are a bit ‘cringy’ as I am getting used to speaking to a camera in public, and I struggled in some places due to weather conditions, but I have to say that the whole process has been a lot of fun for me so far! People have a lot of ideas and feelings about YouTube, but I am excited to share these videos with you and, I guess, the rest of the world.

As of right now, the vlogs will be uploaded every other Thursday, and they will be posted in chronological order with my first trip of the year to L.A. What I plan to showcase through this channel is not only the travel footage, but other discussions about experiences while traveling, tips for more seamless travel, and featured guests to provide a more well-rounded view rather than just hearing everything from me. My brother, Cameron, will also graciously be producing all of the music for my vlogs.

I will continue updating this blog exactly as I do now because this is the drawing board for me. It is the place where I fully tapped into my writing and what made me realize that it could be part of a larger career. Long story short, no matter what ideas come to fruition, this blog will not go away, but I am so happy to be finally sharing this with everyone just in time for the new year. I cannot wait to start creating more videos and improving on this new skill set.

I would really appreciate any feedback that people have–the only way for me to improve the content that I provide for you all is to know exactly what brings you to my blog (and now my YouTube Channel) and what keeps you here. I hope that these videos will bring you as much joy as I had filming them. For the people who knew about this or were actually a part of this, thank you so much for your support! I would not have felt comfortable continuing this if it hadn’t been for the encouragement I received in the last year.

Again, new videos will be up every other Thursday, but there are already two uploaded for you all to check out. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts! ❀

xx, AE

An Evening of Inspiration with Bold Babes Co.

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend the launch party of Bold Babes Co, a brand and community dedicated to bringing women together to use their resources to help one another through skill sharing, mentorship, and guidance. The founder of Bold Babes, Shampaigne Graves, invited me personally and I could not turn down this opportunity after reading about her mission. To say this event was inspiring would be an understatement.
ANE_0269ANE_0337ANE_0273The theme of the night was collaboration. Every speaker touched on the importance of utilizing and building one’s network even when it may seem silly or discouraging at times. Collaboration is the best way to get inspired, to get your name out there, and, most importantly, to help someone else along the way. A way to make that happen is to also believe in the power of manifestation.

Mindfulness and manifestation are not new concepts, but many are skeptical of their results. I write a lot on here about my personal mindfulness journeys, but I am a lazy participant when it comes to manifestation. I wholeheartedly believe that what you put into the universe is what you get back, and I can sit all day long telling other people that. But do I do that for myself? Sadly, no. I succumb to confirmation bias, and just when I am ready to throw in the towel, moments like last night come along to remind me to continue on my journey.

I also thought it was incredible for Shampaigne to partner with Dallas-based businesses such as OWNEXT Media, who created the Bold Babes commercial, and Beverages in Bibs (BIBS) who provided us with refreshments. There were so many more vendors and sponsors, I was blown away that she rallied all of these people in a matter of a couple of weeks. If that isn’t a #girlboss move, I don’t know what is!

ANE_0336ANE_0350ANE_0352ANE_0351ANE_0357What I loved about this event was that everyone was there to support Shampaigne and in turn ended up supporting each other. I loved seeing everyone’s business cards being traded and the positive energy surging through the event as all these beautiful women (and a few men) were connecting to strengthen this network in Dallas. Everyone was proudly sharing their stories and it dissipated any fear I had to introduce myself as a blogger for the first time.
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I seriously cannot thank Shampaigne enough for reaching out to me about the Bold Babes Launch Party! Though we did not know each other personally before this event, I am so proud of her and feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet so many smart, creative people. ❀

Make sure you are following @boldbabesco on Instagram!!

xx, AE