Lessons Learned From a Wise Man

“I have always believed, and I still believe, that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”
― Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha


A friend told me to read Siddhartha by Hesse. At first I was put off and internally annoyed…I have 10 books judging me from my night stand when I wake up every morning, taunting: “Why haven’t you read us yet?” “Stay up late and read us!” “We are really interesting and educational, we promise!” Ugh, what straight-up brats they are. Then, like I knew I would, I impulsively Amazon-ordered Siddhartha, which apparently is a classic (“You seriously haven’t read SIDDHARTHA?!” -Aforementioned Friend)…..


Let me tell you something: THIS BOOK NEEDS TO BE READ BY ALL HUMANS…if you feel like your animals or forest creatures or plants or anything/one else can understand whatever language you speak then gosh darn it, read it aloud. The roller-coaster of emotions encased in this turbo-fast read is enough to strap you in for a one-afternoon read-a-thon. Hesse enchantingly and succinctly captured the raw emotions, intimate thoughts and bodily actions of Siddhartha as he follows his “spiraling” (though not circular) path through life….


Lessons learned:

  1. No matter what happens in life — good, bad, dangerous, life-threatening, exciting, daring etc. X a million– you will be forever pushed towards your eventual peaceful place, where you will feel at ease with anything else that happens from then on out.
  2. Take life’s events in stride. Fate has a hand in deciding what (or who) crosses our path, however it is up to us to decide how to handle these occurrences- hopefully with grace and if not, then at least with an ounce of humility.
  3. Let people tell you what you need to read, do, be etc…You do not necessarily have to listen but take these advices for what they are worth. Some may be useless and some may be essential….the essential ones will be obvious. Sometimes others can see potential in us where we thought it didn’t exist.
  4. Write, talk, communicate; even with yourself. Be honest about what you want, need and who you are inside. Siddhartha talks often about the bird in his chest. We all have one: she chirps nonstop about right and wrong, passions and dislikes, love and value. Listen up, that’s your heart and soul chirping and it will not lead you astray.
  5. When you feel torn, look inward. Deep, deep down you already know the answer.

I don’t eat pals.

My favorite tank top is a $10 number from a sweet boutique on Etsy. It reads “I DON’T EAT PALS” with a stenciled picture of a cow, sheep and pig: the pals I am referring to. There are infinite studies proving the intelligence of farm animals, most of which were performed, I am sure, to bolster our arguments as all-animal lovers/protectors/do-anything-we-can-to-save-these-innocent-perfect-creatures folk. No matter the reasoning behind the performance of these tests/kind experiments, they prove one thing above all: animals are with us here on earth, we share a planet for the blip of a second we each exist, why can’t we all just get along? I mean not in the idealistic, over-the-top, all-encompassing beauty pageant answer, but “Yep, we can live in peace with these creatures. We don’t feel the need to eat their bodies to prove our legitimacy as a species.” I am over here being a vegan and surviving and stuff….I am vibrant, ecstatic, so alive and in sweet sweet love with the fact that I do not eat the flesh of other vibrant, life-loving creatures. Consider this my rant for the day. If you gain something from this, be it that we can be pals with these adorable, brilliant, beautiful animals and still kick-booty as humans. Just check me out sometime.

On compliments and being a good human.


I am updating my blog- YAY! I have been busy…ok? Like turbo busy.

This post is a response to the constant-though polite- badgering from my mother to do so. It is also in response to finding out that a new friend took the time to read my blog and tell me I am a “talented writer” and to listen, really listen to me  talk…on end….about how much I love to write and why my journalism career has temporarily veered off course. Thank you! I missed writing.


Once in a blue moon we receive compliments that move us so much that they stay with us, in our hearts forever and play over and over again and inspire us to be that way; to be the way those incredible compliment-givers see us. One of my favorite quotes on this topic comes from a notepad my mother-in-law gave to me as a gift- “May I always be the person my dog thinks I am.” I would like to add to that: in my life I try to be the person my family members, friends, pets, peers, co-workers etc. think I am, whether it be negative or positive because that means I am true, real… I am acting the way they see me every day, in every situation. I think I do a pretty decent job at being a good human. I am still not sure what my “gift” in life is as of this moment….however, if it happens to be ‘being a good human’ I will take it with pride.

My favorite, hands down FAVORITE (caps are necessary) compliments I have ever received are from two of my favorite people, whom I admire greatly. One of them is from my friend Juhea, an incredibly talented writer, a sweet person and a brilliant, independent woman who inspires me immensely. On our first real-life meeting, the second she saw me in fact, she said I was “so sparkly” from my nails to my personality. I was amazed at how much that moved me. I hope to sparkle in every room I enter and bring smiles to everyone I meet. My other favorite compliment -that inspires me to be a better person, or to be “that” person- came from my friend Fried- he told me that I am “full of life”. It was breathtaking in a sort of surprising way-I never thought about being “full of life”- I mean, aren’t we all full of ‘life’? This is different, he meant that I was full of emotion (both happiness and craziness), full of vigor and had (still have) a ravenous thirst for taking advantage of every single opportunity that is offered to me in this life.


My point is this: give some rad compliments. Tell people how you feel about them. Inspire. Remember every sweet compliment ever given to you. Strive to be that person and you should be good to go.


P.S.- I will be writing more often….thanks Mom & J.B.


“Man is the only creature who refuses to be what he is.” ― Albert Camus

This quote resonates with me because for a long time I think I was trying (hard in fact) to be someone (something) I am not. I did this in high school and probably the first two years of college until I realized (or started to realize) that we are born with a predestined purpose and our “purpose” is displayed to us through recognizing our unique strengths (and weaknesses). We each have something we are truly good at doing, albeit it may take an entire lifetime to work this out but when a person does, it is imperative to hone that strength and work it to its full advantage helping others, making yourself happy and creating the best life possible for yourself and those around you.

Think about it: a wolf is born in the wild and within a few months will know exactly where he or she belongs in a pack, this is defined by their unique traits and they use these traits to be as ‘good’ as they can at completing the missions at hand. Humans by nature tend to be in a constant state of “I will try this because maybe that will work for me and make me and my family happy.” Just try your best to follow your heart (I know, I know, corniest phrase ever but it is TRUE; your heart –really your soul– will lead you eventually down the correct path for you) and work out the rest along the way. My friend said something to me last week that resonated beyond anything else I have ever heard and as vulgar as it is, it makes more sense than anything else: “If you know there is something more you could be doing to make yourself happy with your career or even with your family, do it: s*&t or get off the pot.”

Happy Sunday ! And here’s to all the heart following to come …



Importance !

ImageWe interact daily – at least most of us do- either by choice or by duty, but the fact is that humans are social creatures and we need other folks. Make the best of it. Daily I challenge myself (a tactic I learned from my mama) to make someone smile and to make everyone that I meet or speak with feel happy, comfortable, confident and important. We all want to feel important and honestly it is not that hard to make it happen for someone else- compliment them, notice something new and positive about them and mention it in conversation, listen-like really listen- and then bring up facts later. This could make the biggest difference in someone’s day, week, month, year or even life. They may just need that tiny boost to make it through. Be that boost for others and even when you’re not feeling so important yourself remember that a. YOU ARE and b. when you compliment others, that chick Karma boomerangs right back to you…you will feel better about yourself almost immediately, because guess what?

You made someone’s day–YOU! You important person you! :) Have a super week!


It’s Wednesday, because we adopted her on a Wednesday…


I have written about my precious Miniature Pinscher before, but to be perfectly honest, I really don’t think there are enough words to say about this tiny, perfect creature. Her name is Wednesday; honestly because while I was waiting in Itaewon train station to pick her up from her foster mom, an hour and a half train ride from our home in Dongducheon, South Korea, I was  browsing Pinterest and I saw a picture of a cat named Thursday….it was a Wednesday and I contemplated for a bit before texting my husband with the suggestion, he loved it. He also said that if she turned out to be angry (like we heard Min Pins could be…) it would be perfect because she would fit the ample comparisons to Wednesday Addams that would follow.

It turns out she couldn’t be anything but a Wednesday. She fits the name in the day of the week description: she’s been the turning point in our lives that showed us we were able to take care of another living being and love more than we ever thought possible, just like the day is the turning point in the week where we say “Ok, Monday and Tuesday were tough, but we can get through the rest of the week, we got this!”. Also, the etymology of “Wednesday” comes from the ancient name Woden, meaning “inspiration”; it also means “fury”….no comment on the latter description **ahem ahem**. However, she has inspired us to be better, to spend more time together and love without limits, so yes, she is quite the little inspiration.

She fits the Addams family description 75% percent of the time, she  is matter-of-fact, blunt and never hides her feelings, like ever. She is my inspiration because she never changes who she is for anyone, if she is having a cranky day, she is having a cranky day, no excuses.We are all allowed one of those sometimes, right?

So, to be honest, I don’t think that there is one reason why her name is Wednesday. I had not yet met her when I named her and I think it is some kind of sign that her name fit so well. But, whenever someone asks I am hesitant to tell them my whole story about her. This is not because I don’t want to talk about her for hours (or days…I am in love with her; completely) it’s because I don’t want to give it away for people. You kind of have to experience her for yourself. She is such a Wednesday.

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Just love.


^^ My unconditional love goes to this guy. ^^

Love in and of itself is a word describing a feeling. A feeling different for each of us. To label such a feeling with one word is preposterous, arrogant  and irresponsible; but, alas,  we have no choice but to give it one word — this feeling varies too much from person to person to have billions of new words circulating the world. We would be so confused. I can’t begin to understand how love feels to my husband, a stranger at work, my pups, my cat or even my mother but I know that this feeling is one that we can all agree on to a degree. It’s like this: if I see the color blue as my “blue” and you see it as your “blue” that’s cool, but how can we ever think that your blue is not my green? Your blue could be a color I have never seen, or it could be one that I have labeled as something else in my brain. Love is like that, we can’t expect to know how it will be expressed and we can’t possibly ever know what the other person is feeling. But we all love. We each have a something, a someone, a somewhere that we LOVE. Love without limits, love without fear of rejection. I can guarantee if you think hard enough you can come up with something that you love more than you ever thought possible. A feeling like no other.

I believe wholeheartedly that this is what animals feel for each other and the humans they hold so deeply in their hearts. We cannot expect a beef cow to show us love the same way our lifelong canine friend might, just like we can’t expect one person to express their love for their partner the way another does; it is not fair to that person or ourselves. Comparison is useless when it comes to love.

My challenge to you for the month of February (Valentine’s Day is so soon!!!) is to love the way you love and don’t expect others to love the way we feel like they should or even they way we do. Love them for who they are and how they express themselves.

Trust me, when you stop expecting a certain type of reaction, a certain type of expression of love you start to see things a bit differently and you will start to understand how your blue could be my green.

Happy almost February!


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Cheers for snow! But, in Georgia?!?!

Cheers for snow! But, in Georgia?!?!

The south is currently blanketed in the icy white stuff that has been falling from the sky in droves since last night. Our palm trees are hanging low, the sidewalks are quite dangerous and a trip to the car has proven too difficult. Ah, best stay inside and enjoy the fact that the deep south shuts down during times of snow and ice! I love it here!

It seems appropriate to add my favorite poem to this photo montage. Although, the exact meaning of the poem is debatable, it always reminds me how much we are capable of accomplishing if we push through the “snow” or the perils in our lives and face our fears and troubles with determination and tenacity. Happy snow day all, and be safe!

P.S.–Expect more posts soon; you can thank my mother for forever requesting new posts :)


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Unfortunately, animals destined for human consumption in this country (and globally) are numbered from birth. They are punctured with an ear tag or branded (cruelly on their SKIN with a hot branding iron) when born (except in the case of poultry, who are killed by the millions and therefore most of the time do not have the “luxury” of being identified by even a number). They are counted as they head to the slaughter house or the dairy/egg operation. They are killed and counted when they arrive at meat processing plants. Their earthly bodies are separated and organized by weight and meat “type” and counted out into categories (hamburger meat, “fine” steaks, hotdog product etc.).

Imagine we, as humans, the ahem ” more intellectual and developed” species were treated as such on ANY level. We do not tolerate being numbered well EVER. How many movies and books demonstrate this fact? Hundreds. We are uncomfortable with the fact that from birth we are given a social security number so we are somewhat tracked throughout life, our businesses are given a tax ID number, our driver’s licenses are labeled with a  number separate from our social security numbers so as to tally up our offenses, our license plates on our car attribute a specific vehicle to us, our precise numerical address means that is where we reside, that is our sanctuary. It’s strange how we as humans are so uncomfortable with the way we are numbered, tracked from birth to death, however we track these animals in the same lifespan (albeit over less time) in a much more grotesque and inhumane way. Let’s face it, we are basically numbering them from the day their hooves or claws hit the earth and counting down the days until they hit store shelves as “products” for mass consumption, kind of like an electronic device being created at a factory labeled with a serial number so as to track this product to its end destination: the human home. Except, the difference in this case is that we are taking home flesh that was an essential part of a living, breathing, FEELING animal no more than a week before consumption.

There is no way to make this pretty: millions of land animals (p.s. those cute calves and piglets you love to see on your road trips  are included) are killed in this country DAILY for human consumption. Since we do not NEED to eat animals for survival (I am doing pretty good over here surviving and stuff…) or even enjoyment (Oreos are vegan, people); then why the &*^% do we do this to these animals?! Good question, right? And, unfortunately one that may never be completely answered. The fact is that every omnivore has a different reason for why they eat what they eat, as does EVERY vegan. Most of the answers excuses run along the lines of: “It’s how I have always eaten.” “It would be way too expensive.” “Where would I get my protein?! NEED PROTEIN NOW” **Rips off a bite of a raw steak with bare teeth**

BUT, I have never heard someone say “I want to eat meat because I love the fact that animals have never received an identity other than a meaningless number throughout this whole process. They will never know motherly, or other love, and that makes me happy inside! I hope I can eat some of that malnourished, over processed, cruelty-, fear- and sadness- filled chicken tonight! YUM!”

AND THANK THE UNIVERSE THAT I HAVEN’T. I think this would be my breaking point. As in that kind of crazy where you shatter windshields with umbrellas while sporting a shaved head à la Britney Spears circa 2007.

This harkens back to the disconnect omnivores have with the meat on their plates. If I can make just one other person see that that piece of steak on your plate actually had a mom, siblings, a dad (most likely absentee, but he still counts), could have had friends if he or she had been allowed to grow, had emotions, felt compassion and most importantly felt ABSOLUTE fear while waiting for his or her turn to be killed, to be milked by violent metal machines or to lay eggs on a metal barred cage while cramped next to thousands of other hens. This connection needs to be made. In knowing the facts and making the connection between terrified animals and their flesh on our plates, we can make a better decision for ourselves, our children, our family, our future generations, our friends etc. etc.

Have a good, cruelty-free weekend all! I challenge you to make that connection (gently) to someone in your life !!!



Photo Credit: National Geographic