living intuitively


Posts tagged love
F I E S T A like there's NO MANAÑA
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated.
— Osho

I love celebrating. Celebrating people. Events. Ideas. Progress. Being alive. Tacos.

To me, life is meant to be celebrated.

And as you can see from my examples, I’m an equal opportunity celebrator. Life itself is a celebratable moment. Celebrate the small and big wins

fiesta image 1.jpg

Celebrate getting out of bed in the morning. Celebrate choosing water over soda. Celebrate your decision to choose love over judgment (toward yourself/others). Celebrate overcoming fear. Celebrate your promotion, your new commitment to a life of health + purpose. Celebrate a perfect record of overcoming everything life has thrown at you. Celebrate being ALIVE.

I truly feel this is one of the keys to a truly happy life.

The more you celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
— Oprah Winfrey

And I believe people are meant to be celebrated. That’s why I love birthdays so much. Birthdays are an opportunity to celebrate that person’s existence, and their latest trip around the sun.

Celebrating is a way to show our gratitude for what we have. A way to express our appreciation for our blessings in life. A way to say thank you to yourself, to others, to the universe/higher power. And gratitude is ESSENTIAL in life.

Sure, it’s important to exercise discipline, and work hard. As with everything else in life, it’s about balance. But to achieve true balance, we should regularly acknowledge our wins. Not be so consumed by our ambitions that we fail to recognize our accomplishments, and what has gone well in our lives. It’s easy to be consumed by the daily minutiae, or our major objectives. Celebrate the steps you’ve taken, the hills you’ve climbed, the obstacles you’ve overcome on your way to that peak. Don’t wait until you’ve summited to high five yourself/others.

fiesta image 4.jpg

Small celebrations sustain us along the way. Because guess what’s happening along the way? Life. Life is happening as we’re working toward our goal(s). And life is meant to be celebrated.

fiesta image 6.jpg

Celebrations can take many forms. They don’t have to come in the form of huge bash with confetti (though those are fun too!). Here are some others ways you can celebrate:

  • Send your friend a thoughtful, appreciative note/text

  • Take a luxurious bubble bath

  • Eat your favorite meal

  • Treat yourself to a massage

  • Buy someone a thoughtful gift

  • Allow yourself extra alone time

  • Booking a photo shoot to show your progress

The options are endless!

Celebrate others. Celebrate life. Celebrate YOU.



fiesta image 7.jpg
fiesta image 10.jpg
fiesta image 8.jpg

L O V E yaself
Images shot by Abbey Armstrong Photography  Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images shot by Abbey Armstrong Photography

Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

The only cure I have ever known for fear and doubt and loneliness is an immense love of self.
— Alison Malee

I think I’m awesome.

Please don’t be put off by that. I want Y O U to feel the same about yourself.

And you can!

Do I think I’m awesome 100% of the time? Don’t get it twisted: I have my moments of discouragement/frustration/etc, but overall - I always LOVE myself, which is especially important during those moments of discouragement and frustration. I think I’m a rad chick.

You owe yourself the love you so freely give to other people.
love yaself image 2.jpg

I had to work hard to get to that point. That unconditional self love.


You too can create an abiding self love, independent of your moods/feelings/triggers/experiences/environments.

It requires practice and awareness. It requires facing your shadows. Feeling - not repressing - your emotions. Reserving judgment and extending grace. Being honest and not feeding yourself stories just to make yourself feel better (this only feeds the ego and creates a faux, insecure self love). It also requires a touch of tough love, and calling yourself out when necessary, to live into your potential/cease the false narrative/incorporate the discipline.

love yaself image 8.jpg
Comparison is an act of violence against the self.

It’s not easy at first, but once you get a taste of true self love - YOU SEE IT’S WORTH IT. You realize how powerful, necessary, liberating, and impactful it is.

Self love is imperative. Not like, “Gee, it’d be ideal if you loved yourself, but it’s whatevs.”


It’s absolutely c r u c i a l not only to your ultimate wellbeing and happiness, but also to the wellbeing and happiness of your inner circle, of your outer circle, and of the whole entire world.

I know, I know, you’re likely thinking, “Okay, dramatic much?”

But it’s true. If you want to change the world, start with yourself. The ripple effect starts with you. Happy people radiate and perpetuate bliss and good vibes. It’s all about energy, man. It’s the currency of the universe. Your energy introduces you before you even speak. Once you get right with yourself and start riding those high vibes, you’ll be amazed how it affects the space/people around you (I discuss this in my latest episode with Izzy Ramirez). That’s not just Hippie Whitney talking. That’s science. Physics. Your thoughts/actions carry energy, and people/life around you responds according to the frequency you emit.

love yaself image 3.jpg
Be the type of energy that no matter where you go, you always add value to the spaces and lives around you.

Don’t believe me? Think about a time you were feeling great/okay, and encountered someone in a less-than-stellar mood. Even if you manage to stay on that high vibe, you’re still affected to an extent by the negativity. And don’t even get me started with consistently toxic people.

Self love makes you happy. Happiness gives you energy, drive, stamina, compassion. (Plus, as Elle Woods rightfully noted, it fights crime and preserves marriages because “happy people just don’t shoot their husbands. They just don’t.”)

Shoutout to all the people out there trying to love themselves in a world that’s constantly telling them not to.

And ESPECIALLY if you have kids in your life, modeling self love yourself is key in developing their own. Particularly regarding body image. Society already demands they contort themselves to meet impossible and elusive ideals. Set your kids up for success and mitigate societal damage by expressing self love, especially during those impressionable younger years.

Daring to love yourself is an act of rebellion in this world. LET’S REBEL TOGETHER.

love yaself image 10.jpg

How sad is it that society has taught us to view people’s expression of self love as arrogance. Self absorption. Narcissism. When we see someone celebrate their win, or acknowledge their skill, or comment, “Hey, I look smokin’!” we tend to dismiss them is “sooo into themselves.”


That should be our baseline. We should allow ourselves and others the space to embrace our awesomeness. Our beauty and smarts. Our talent and skill. Sure, we don’t want to get obnoxious about it and go on and on about how ahhhmaaaze we are.

There’s a distinction between self love and insecurity. When you’re solid in yourself and truly love yourself, you’re secure - and have the mental and emotional bandwidth to love and care about others. When you’re insecure, you tend to overcompensate. You feel compelled to seek validation externally. When you love yourself, you internally validate yourself.

So DECIDE RIGHT NOW to win yourself over. Commit to falling in love with yourself and watch your life absolutely TRANSFORM.



love yaself image 11.jpg

32 L E S S O N S
Images by Abbey Armstrong Photography   Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Abbey Armstrong Photography

Edited by Brooke Richardson Photography

Age is irrelevant. Ask me how many sunsets I’ve seen, hearts I’ve loved, trips I’ve taken, or concerts I’ve been to. That’s how old I am.
— Joelle

Coming up on 32 trips around the sun. Thirty-freaking-two. That shit’s bananas, yo.

Absolutely W I L D.

I’m not old. I’ve just been young for a very long time.

I am fully committed to improving with age. Learning and evolving and polishing and refining myself in every single way - and ACCEPTING myself in the process. Loving myself through the evolution. That last part is key, yeah??

It’s about not resenting your current status/situation. Not bullying yourself through it. Not wishing it were otherwise. Just simply telling yourself, “Okay cool, this is where we are. I recognize that. I accept that. And I know I have so much more to give. So LET’S DO DIS.” Basically…”I see where I am, but I know where I’m going.” High five?! HIGH FIVE.

In honor of my 32nd birthday (or princess day, as I like to call it, because everyone should feel like royalty on their birthday) I’m sharing 32 lessons I’ve learned thus far.

32 image 2.jpg
  1. Too much discipline can be as harmful as not enough.

  2. Gratitude is THE BEST way to get back to good when you’re stressed/sad/pissed/bitter/anxious/uncertain. It’s a magical salve!

  3. Love is an infinite resource. There is always more where that came from, so keep tapping into that resource and sprinkling that shiz everywhere.

  4. People care more about how you make them feel than how many degrees/talents/accolades/achievements/possessions you have.

  5. You don’t have to explain yourself.

  6. Let your intuition reign supreme. Save yourself time and regret and don’t ignore it/silence it/intellectualize it. Especially when it comes to the next point, which is:

  7. When it comes to relationships, someone’s potential is irrelevant if they’re not pursuing it. And as previously stated, honor your intuition.

  8. A messy start trumps no start.

  9. Minimalism is undervalued, in pretty much all areas of your life. This plays into the next lesson:

  10. Quality over quantity. With clothes. With friends. With business ventures. With home decor. With exercise hours.

  11. Your body is significantly more intelligent than you can even imagine. Don’t try to outsmart it. Which corresponds with the next few lessons:

  12. Your biography becomes your biology. Your body reflects your stresses/traumas/life choices.

  13. Adopt a holistic approach when healing your body.

  14. Get on the same team as your body. Don’t try to resist/fight/shame/bully it into submission. No matter how you abuse it, it still strives to keep you alive every second of every day, with every heartbeat. Now that’s love! Recognizing its loyalty to you is a game changer. Instead of wishing for a thigh gap, express thanks for those strong quads.

  15. Live intuitively, particularly regarding your health. Your body instinctively knows what it needs. Once you learn to tune into it, you’re set. Try not to intellectualize your fitness and nutrition. Don’t follow a certain regimen just because it’s the latest fad, or because a social media guru recommended it, or because your bestie glowed up with it, or because you want to look a certain way. Every body is different (what works for me might not work for you), and your body’s requirements fluctuate daily. So try to clean your palate (minimize the processed foods in favor of foods in their natural form), pay attention to what your body tells you after a meal/workout, and adjust accordingly. Once you vibe with your body, you’ll be blown away by its intelligence. Whether you listen or not, it’s constantly communicating what it needs for you to look and feel your best. Let it be the boss.

  16. How you feel matters far more than how you look.

  17. Confidence is K E Y. If you OWN it, it doesn’t matter what you look like, or how much you know, or how talented you are. And since we’re all works in progress, let confidence bridge the gap from where you are and where you want to be (with your body, your business, etc). Fake it ‘til you make it, if necessary, which leads to:

  18. Your thoughts are mind-blowingly powerful. Like the quote says, if you knew how truly powerful your thoughts are, you’d never think a negative thought. So get on those daily affirmations: “You is kind, you is smahhht, you is impohhhtant.”

  19. Nature is the best therapy. Instant energy re-charger and soul restorer.

  20. Energy rules the universe. It all comes down to energy. This isn’t hippie talk, y’all. Don’t believe me?! Even Albert Einstein says so: “Everything is energy and that's all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”

  21. Your biggest act of kindness to the world is getting right with yourself. When you’re at peace and solid in who you are, it’s a ripple effect: you radiate love and acceptance. And this world desperately needs more love and acceptance.

  22. It’s always worth an ask. Whether you’re asking for a date, a promotion, or an extra side of hot sauce - you’d be amazed what you can get if you just dare to ask.

  23. Save yourself time and sanity and don’t try to do it all (STILL learning this). Your time and energy are worth money and are finite resources. Know when it’s worth it to DIY, and when it’s better to outsource. This plays into:

  24. Stop the glorification of busy. Stop considering an impossibly-packed schedule a badge of honor. The truly successful people know how to best invest their time and energy to maximize their strengths and yield the greatest results. They also understand:

  25. Re-charging and reflection are essential, for your productivity, sanity, health, and creativity. Inspiration usually strikes not when you’re actively/aggressively luring it, but when you’re taking a breather.

  26. Normalcy is an illusion. Everyone is “weird” so own your weirdness. Your uniqueness is your superpower.

  27. Feel your emotions, don’t repress them. What you resist, persists. If you ignore/deny/shove them down, they’ll just fester and pop up eventually - in magnified form. The trick is to feel them and let them move through your body without wallowing. Emotions are emotions - they’re not good, they’re not bad. They just…are.

  28. You can appreciate others’ beauty without diminishing your own.

  29. There are multiple types of intelligence; don’t judge your intelligence or others’ by one definition. Some people are masterful musicians (sound smart), or brilliant logisticians/mathematicians (number/reasoning smart), or natural athletes (bodily-kinesthetic smart), or gifted linguists (word smart), or…the list goes on. So the next time you feel tempted to judge someone for mistaking you/you’re, consider how you’d feel if someone assessed your intelligence solely on your calculus skillz. Appreciate and play to your strengths, and honor and acknowledge others’.

  30. Everybody has a story to tell. Stay interested in others.

  31. You never know what life has in store. Do your best to enjoy the ride. Celebrate the highs. Cherish the “minor” moments. Appreciate the tough times for the lessons they teach and the strength they impart. Stay jazzed on life and never ever become numb to its beauty.

  32. Balance is the key to life.

Let’s never stop learning.



32 image 4.jpg
There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.
— Sophia Loren

where Y O U are
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.
— Melody Beattie

It can be all too easy to wish life away. To focus on what you’re lacking/wanting rather than on what you already have.

“Once I earn my degree, life will be easier and I can breathe a sigh of relief.”

“My life would be so much more meaningful if I had children.”

“My life can really start once I’m married/have a life partner.”

“When my finances are solid, then I can catch my breath and enjoy life.”

How about enjoying life on the way to those goals? How about focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t? How about celebrating your current situation?

where you are image 2.jpg
If all you did was just look for things to appreciate, you would live a joyous, spectacular life.
— Abraham Lincoln

This seems to blow some people’s minds when I tell them, but I can genuinely say I have never minded being single. I have never been the girl who needs to be in a relationship. I would much rather do my own thing than be with someone I’m not 100% into. Yes, a major part of that is I’m independent AF, but I’m also perfectly happy in a relationship.

where you are image 8.jpg

We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.
— Abraham Lincoln

The trick is I focus on the benefits of each status.

For example, the bonuses of flying solo are:

  • Crushing hard on that tall beautiful stranger at the gym

  • Considering your options

  • Flirting shamelessly (with other single guys!)

  • Receiving those cute initial texts

  • Creating nicknames with your friends

  • Going on a first date and wondering where it’ll lead

  • Being selfish with your time and covers ;)

And on the other hand, the upsides to a committed relationship are:

  • “Fun stuff” (yep, that fun stuff)

  • Cuddling

  • Someone to share life with (to include but not limited to: major moments, inside jokes, challenges, adventures)

  • Instant “plus one” to weddings

  • Someone to dress up with on Halloween (we all know this is the real winner and should be at the top of the list)

  • Someone to SPOIL

  • Having “your person”

where you are image 4.jpg
Promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

Same concept applies to other situations! For example, I can’t wait to have littles of my own someday, but until then, I’m soaking up the advantages of a current childless existence. For example, every time I take a nap whenever the hell I want, or sleep in, or take off on a spontaneous getaway, I think, “Couldn’t do this [easily] if I were a mama!” On the flip side, I can’t imagine the love you parents experience for your little ones, and the special moments you share.

where you are image 5.jpg

The takeaway here is just being grateful for wherever you are in life, while working toward what you want.

where you are image 7.jpg

Don’t settle! Don’t force anything! Don’t rush anything! Don’t wish your life away!

Sure, you may have moments where you feel less than awesome and just REALLY FRIGGIN’ WANT THAT promotion/degree/ring/bambino but if you spend the majority of your time focusing on the positives, then you’re golden.



where you are image 6.jpg
Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Images by Brooke Richardson Photography

Suicide. What a heavy topic. Heavy but utterly N E C E S S A R Y to discuss.

This is becoming increasingly so, as we lose more and more beautiful souls to this tragic end.

A note about suicide, depression, and mental health in general: mental health is non-discriminatory and its prey comes from all walks of life. Just because you’re of a certain socioeconomic status, or have a specific number of friends, does not mean one is immune.

And it’s important to recognize and remember the role mental illness plays. It is said how selfish it is to take one’s life, considering the wake of devastation it leaves for the survivors. I can understand how some may feel like this - having someone take their own life is deeply heartbreaking - but think how desperate and hopeless that person must have felt to be driven to such an action?

; image 2.jpg

I’m sure most - if not all - of us have been touched by suicide at some point in our lives, some of us multiple times, via a relative/friend/acquaintance/idol/etc. Hearing the news of an occurrence has a way of robbing your breath and halting you in your tracks. You immediately contemplate warning signs and contributing factors. You wonder how it could have been prevented and (depending on your relation to the victim) if there’s something you could have done.

That last part can be particularly brutal, depending on your closeness to the victim, literally/figuratively. Often, no matter how close you were, your mind feasts on what ifs. "What if I had reached out more often?” “What if I had been more patient?” “What if I had been more observant?” “What if I had been more generous with my time?” “What if I had been more empathetic/understanding?” And on and on and ON. Down the rabbit hole you go. Gnarly stuff.

I remember one person whose suicide I really took personally was of a guy who had expressed interest in dating me. He was unbelievably sweet and such a great guy, but there was no interest on my part, unfortunately. I did my best to break this as gently as possible, and then limited my contact with him so as not to lead him on. I was unable to emotionally provide what he wanted: a romantic relationship. The feelings just weren’t there for me.

; image 3.jpg

As is common with tragedy, my memory blocked the details, but I vaguely recall suddenly thinking of him, whether through a dream or just a passing thought. It turns out, at the time he was crossing my mind, he was also taking his life.

I was shattered. I was wrecked with such a profound sense of guilt for not being there for him. Did I truly handle it the best way possible? Did my actions drive his loneliness over the edge, to the point he saw no use in living? Should I have been there more for him? What could I have done to prevent it? How selfish and awful am I?!!

Eventually I realized there are multiple contributing factors. Carrying that entire burden and regarding myself as the sole cause of his suicide was, in reality, self-absorbed. I was not the center of his universe, and I alone did not cause the outcome. Who knows what effect our interactions had on him, but I had to accept I did the best I could under the circumstances.

That sense of guilt and pressure lingered far after that event. Whether it was a friend, a boyfriend, or someone I was trying to help (especially if that someone wanted to leave the friend zone) it was considerably hard for me to draw those boundary lines (specifically if I knew they weren’t in the best headspace). Even if I effectively did set the boundaries, it resulted in countless nightmares and sleepless nights, with me worrying about them and stressing over their wellbeing.

; image 5.jpg

I’m not sharing this to evoke a pity response. Not even. I tell my story to: 1) demonstrate suicide’s ripple effect; 2) relate to those of you with similar situations; 3) alleviate the burden you may place on yourself; and 4) raise awareness and provoke conversations on this crucial topic.

Some of you may relate to the yearning to help “heal” people. This is a beautiful intention and calling, but boundaries are essential. As I discussed in my 09.15.2018 post on boundaries, they are essential for true compassion (watch for an upcoming post on empathy).

Be kind, for you know not of the battles people face.

All we can do is our best. Our best to be kind to one another, to be considerate of each other, and to be there for one another. We must do our best to watch for red flags, and to regularly check in with loved ones. We all deal with our own daily thoughts/ideas/responsibilities whirling around in our heads, so this is a reminder for us all to step outside of our mental/emotional bubbles and stay keyed in to those around us: friends/relatives/acquaintances…even strangers. Just letting someone know you care is significant. A simple smile to a stranger can have a profound effect. Just acknowledging to people that you S E E them can make all the difference.

; image 4.jpg
Please, tell me.

I cannot help you fight the enemy

If you do not tell me about the enemy,

The enemy that is trying to kill you.

Do not trust your suicidal thoughts.

They are not rational.

They are a symptom, a sign, a cry from inside.

Something inside you needs healing.

Healing, not killing.
— Stacey Freedenthal, PhD, LCSW; Letter from a Therapist to a Suicidal Person

Read full version of Letter from a Therapist to a Suicidal Person at:


24/7 suicide hotline

  • Text GO to 741741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor

  • Call 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline)

    • Also online chat option

Veterans Crisis Line

  • Call 1-800-273-8255 (same number)

    • Also online chat option

  • Text 838255