ll Looking Ahead ll

Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset“We don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  – Walt Disney

Hey there!

I’ve been toying with this idea for awhile, but I think the time has come for a bit of a new direction and design for this site. I’ve loved the journey thus far but I’m excited to start reading the next chapter. I’ve made new friends, discovered things about myself and come across beauty I’d have otherwise missed if it wasn’t for the discipline of blogging. That being said, I’ve been having so much fun dreaming up ideas for what’s next on lovealwayshannah.com and I can’t wait to share it with each of you. I don’t take it lightly that you follow along on this journey with me. From the bottom of my heart,

THANK YOU!

This is by NO WAY a goodbye. It’s just simply a see you in a little bit! It’s going to take some work to re-design and re-focus the site.  In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already pretty please come follow along on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. I’ve got some travel, fun events and other craziness coming up in the next few weeks and I’m sure I’ll be updating on those sites as I go.

Can’t wait to show you the fun things in store! Stay tuned!

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See you soon!

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Weekly Inspiration l 3-20-15

Weekly Inspiration

I love the juxtaposition of the graphic black & white against the wild and lushness of the tropics. Counting down the days until I see a palm tree again. I’m dreaming in black & white & sunshine.

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Miami in B&W

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Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.

Robert Frank

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Light is meaningful only in relation to darkness, and truth presupposes error. It is these mingled opposites which people our life, which make it pungent, intoxicating. We only exist in terms of this conflict, in the zone where black and white clash.

Louis Aragon

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Things are not quite so simple always as black and white.

Doris Lessing

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All photos taken with my iPhone 5 & VSCO Cam app

5 Ways to Make Your 30s Flirty & Thriving

So I feel the need to preface this post by saying, that I really haven’t figured that much out just yet.  I simply know that I am loving being in my thirties and I thought I’d share some things I’ve learned thus far.  So without further ado, I give you…

5 Ways for Making Your 30s

1. Age Gracefully

And by that I mean don’t act your age. Just be yourself, whatever age that feels like.

Personally, I choose about 12.

Also, I’m pretty sure “gracefully” includes, flamingoes.

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2. Invest in Friendships

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Like the good kinds.  The friendships that let you be yourself, crazy and all.  Friendships that are not only fun but also challenging. Surround yourself with people you want to be like and that inspire you to be the best version of yourself.  Don’t hang out with people just because you want them to like you. Go for quality over quantity.

3. Stop waiting around. Go after your dreams.

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Remember all those days in High School when you would sit around, stare at the clouds and day-dream of all the amazing things you would do and see someday? Guess what?

Someday is NOW.

You’re never going to be 100% ready but at some point  you just need to go for it.  There’s no time like the present.

4. Adventure

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Don’t buy into the lie that your best years are behind you. NO WAY! There are so many new adventures out in front of you.  If you can’t see them then make them happen. Go on a trip. Take a class. Make a new friend. Learn a new dance (I recommend the dinosaur dance pictured above…it’s not for beginners though)

5. SPARKLE BABY SPARKLE

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Don’t be afraid to BE YOURSELF.  I’m sure you’ve heard the quotes a million times, but they’re true.  There’s no one else like you!

The world needs your unique sparkle.

Don’t waste time trying to be like anyone else.  Work hard to find out who you are and then don’t let go of that. You’ve got something special!

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All photos provided courtesy of Erica Baker Photography

REPOST: Are you beautiful?

I came across this post entitled “Are you beautiful? I asked 100 men what ‘physical beauty’ is and the results shocked me” earlier this week and found myself drawn to the title and perhaps this photo of Marilyn Monroe looking incredibly…normal.

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I was a bit incredulous as I began to read, but quickly saw that the author, a truly AMAZING young woman named Rozanne, had hit on a nerve with many, many women.

“I’ve travelled around the world and met women from every continent, and every woman I have met– no matter how attractive she is – is battling the same battle and asking the same question: “Am I beautiful?”

I’ve met girls from India who bleach their skin to be lighter. Their mothers tell them: “You will never find a man to marry you if you are too dark.”

I’ve met girls from South Korea who have their eyes made bigger, their jawlines shaved, and bridges put in their noses. The competition to be ‘the most beautiful’ in Korea is so fierce that plastic surgery is a common Sweet 16th gift from parents to their daughters.

I’ve met girls in bathrooms throwing up their food in an attempt to lose weight.

I’ve met women who have had breast implants, butt implants, lypo suction, face lifts, botox, tummy-tucks, knee implants, plastic surgery on their legs, spray tans, and more…

Now, I’m not judging. In fact, these options are very tempting (I even went for a spray tan once… DISASTER) and I understand why we go to these extremes. But because I wanted to get to the bottom of why we feel the need to do this to ourselves, I’ve asked every one of them (and myself):

Me: “Why?”

Them: “Because it (that part of their body) needed to be fixed.”

Me: “Why did it need to be fixed?”

Them: “Because it wasn’t beautiful.”

Me: “Why do you need to feel beautiful?”

Them: “Because I want to feel confident and secure in myself.”

Me: “Why do you need to feel confident and secure?”

Them: “To be happy.

Me: “How will that make you happy?”

Them: “Because people will like/love me.”

Me: “Which people?

Them: “Men.”

***(simplified conversation sample)

To be loved.

Loved by a significant other.

So THAT is what our need to be beautiful comes down to: To to be ‘good enough’ for love.

Intrigued, I set out to find out FROM MEN what they consider to be PHYSICALLY beautiful. I asked them informally during conversations, I conducted surveys, and I asked on social media.

I asked single men, married men, young men, old men, straight men, gay men, and men from various religious and cultural backgrounds – from all over the world.

THE RESULTS SHOCKED ME. “

They shocked me as well… I think you should head on over to her blog and finish reading her post (and all her other posts because she’s got some good stuff on there).

Spoiler alert: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! No one else gets to define your beauty. You do. What’s more, you’re worthy of love because YOU ARE and not because you look a certain way.

Beauty is: loving yourself.
It looks like: taking care of yourself.
It has an attitude of: Confidence in your own uniqueness rather than vanity/arrogance.”

So today, I hope that you recognize that you, just as you are, are enough. You are beautiful. You are more than enough. Not just more than enough for someone to fall in love with you but more than enough to tackle the wonderful, amazing, adventurous life that is out in front of you.  You’ve got what it takes!

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Thank you Rozanne for taking time to highlight an issue that clearly means so much to so many of us. You are truly beautiful inside and out!

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This post contains content reposted from Life is Rozie authored by Rozanne Leigh.  Please go check out her blog for more great posts.

The Thirties

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My dad used to tell me that life starts to get really good in your 30s.  I never really understood until I passed the mile marker myself. Now I can honestly say that you couldn’t pay me to go back to my 20s. I know “supposedly” I’m supposed to want to freeze time at 29 and celebrate that birthday for an eternity, but I don’t buy it. I’m a few years into my 30s and..

I FREAKIN love it.

It’s like I could exhale a deep breath when I reached my 30s.  Suddenly all the striving and trying to justify my existence in the world that marked my 20s ceased.

Did I magically figure it out? Umm… no.  

It’s just that there’s this sense of purpose and peace that has settled in. I know myself better. I’m more comfortable with who I am. I’m not as scared to speak my mind. I’m less afraid of what others think of me (still not immune, but it’s better). I’m excited about where I am in life (even if I don’t totally know where that is). As my dad promised, life is just getting good.

So to all my sisters in your 20s, enjoy the ride! Live with abandon. Go on the adventures. Just know that the party really gets started in your 30s.  There’s no ticking time bomb. Your life doesn’t stop at 30. It just keeps gets better.  Can you imagine if it’s this good in your 30s, how much more amazing it will be in your 40s, 50s, 60s and beyond?

The ways of right-living people glow with light; the longer they live, the brighter they shine.” Proverbs 4:18

BREAK OUT THE SUNGLASSES BABY!

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Birthday Brunch


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I believe in birthdays.  I believe in celebrating. I don’t care how old you are.

Throw some glitter. Make it rain!

That’s my motto. Figuratively of course, have you ever tried to get glitter out of carpet? IMPOSSIBLE!

Anyways, a few weeks ago, I celebrated my birthday with amazing friends, cupcakes, sparkle and lots of Valentine’s Day goodness! It was so wonderful!

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I’m so grateful that I have these amazing women (and one random flamingo) in my life!

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Thanks for making my birthday so special!

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Photo credits go to my wonderful friend, Erica, of Erica Baker Photography.

 

ll Abundance ll

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“I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”  John 10:10

Is there anything more intoxicating that holding an armful of fragrant blooms? I love burying my face and letting the scent transport me back to the moments in my childhood when I first experienced the phenomenon.  There’s something positively decadent about the experience. It feels too much, too good and just too wonderful to contain.

That moment is what I think of when I read the verse from John listed above. It’s that kind of over the top, too good to believe, abundance that God wants to give us in life. Kind of like burying your face in a fistful of flowers. (Am I the only one who does that?)

I’ve realized though that too often we can settle for a just “good-enough” life. We stop dreaming and opt for ok. “It’s comfortable enough” we tell ourselves. We think “You’re too old, too young, too stuck, too…” and the list of limitations goes on.  Before you know it we’re living in a box of our own making. Bordered in by our own lack of imagination and faith.  What’s crazy though is sometimes we even have the audacity to look at our lives and blame God for the pieces we feel are missing.

How far from the truth that is!  His very goal is for us to live the life of our dreams and then some. He dreams bigger dreams for our lives that we can even imagine.  He is a God of abundance.

So as we prepare for Spring and watch the world to burst into bloom, my prayer is that each blossom reminds you of the over-the-top, abundant life that God dreams of for you!

Don’t settle for a solitary dandelion* when there are armfuls of peonies in your future!

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*I’m not hating on the dandelions. I think they’re just dandy.