Who is this lady?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The One Where We Get Inspired

First of all, before I get to the real meat of this post...


Yes, that's right. Ross popped the question and asked Amanda to marry him while they were out horseback riding in the Temecula wine country last weekend. How perfect is that! 

 I am SUPER excited for them (in case you couldn't tell by the massive font) and may or may not have already started crafting my wedding speech. Ross proposed to Amanda with her nana's ring, which is one of a kind, and absolutely gorgeous. 

 Congrats you crazy kids!!! (Who are both older than I am!)

Amanda is my best friend for many reasons, but one of them is that she continuously inspires me to be a better version of me and not settle for things just because they are easy. Though sometimes she can be a royal pain in the ass with this, I always come through the other side grateful that she pushes me and doesn't accept wishy-washy crap from me. I was thinking about this the other day and it got me started thinking about other inspirational women in my life. The list is loooooong because I know a lot of incredible women, but I wanted to highlight a few of them. If you do not find yourself below, fear not - every person I consider a friend inspires me in some way or another. Obviously. Otherwise, I wouldn't be friends with you. 

My first friend is also my hair stylist,  Mary Beth. 

I met Mary Beth at a friend's party and as soon as I spotted her across the room, I knew she did hair and I had to get her info. I haven't regretted this decision for a single second in the several years I've now known her. She knows her stuff. She definitely knows how to keep me from looking like I have a mullet (most of the time). But aside from that, I find Mary Beth inspiring because she's a single mom to 3 kids, plus she now has two grandkids (I mean COME ON... I can only PRAY I look as good as she does when I grow up!) and on top of all that, she just bought her own salon! She loves her kids and her family more than anyone I know and I always leave my hair appointments feeling happy. If you need your hair done and you live anywhere in Southern California, she is seriously worth the drive. Check out her stuff here! Oh, and if you get on her good side, she'll definitely bust out her scooter and go kick some butt for you if you need her to. ;-) Mary Beth inspires me to 1) keep my hair looking good, and 2) believe that with the bad comes even more good

My second friend, Caroline, is also a Kappa sister of mine. Though I didn't know Caroline very well when we were in college (she was a couple years behind me), I have since grown to know her more through reading her nutrition blog, Colorful Eats.

Now, let me tell you something - it takes a LOT for me to even read a person's food blog if they are touting grain-free, sugar-free recipes. I mean, seriously, barf. But I've actually attempted some of her recipes and they're all VERY good. And almost every single recipe she posts is something I WOULD ACTUALLY EAT. You can read about how she got into the whole nutrition thing on her blog, and I have to say in case I ever decide I need to eat grain- and sugar-free in the future (sorry, girl, but I'm not there yet), her website and ebooks would be the first resources I would turn to. And it doesn't hurt that she has the sunniest personality. And a cute puppy!! Caroline inspires me to make better food choices and step outside of my food comfort zone. Because a little almond flour never killed anyone. 

Speaking of cute puppies, my friend (and also a Kappa sister), Christina, has two of the cutest non-fluffy dogs I have ever seen. Case in point...

Christina graduated from our alma mater, Hillsdale, in just 3 years (no easy feat!). During the short time we had together at Hillsdale, she became one of my closest friends and I'm pretty sure I laughed more with her than almost anyone else I've ever known. While at Hillsdale, she studied abroad in England and then after Hillsdale proceeded to get her nursing degree. Since then she's been an amazing nurse in Colorado and back in Michigan and now she's back in Colorado and not only nursing, but also climbing ridiculously high mountains, taking care of those dogs, and planning a wedding to her fiance Kyle. She also pet a reindeer in Finland for god's sake, and does a spot-on impression of Olympia Dukakis as Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias. Oh yeah... and she can also parallel park a stick shift on the left side of the street in one try. (That might be the most impressive fact I know about ANYONE.)

Christina inspires me to try more outdoorsy things and simultaneously to be more of a lady. I swear, her style is better than Princess Kate's and she always looks so put together. I'm planning to see her when I'm in Denver this October for a conference, and it's about time because it's been almost 2 and a half years since we saw each other last! 

The fourth woman on my list, Zhenya, was ALSO a Kappa sister of mine at Hillsdale (what can I say... Kappas are pretty amazing) and though we didn't know each other super well at school, she makes this short list because she owns the cutest baby boutique EVER in Charleston, SC, which is one of my favorite cities in the US.

It's called Sugar Snap Pea (check out their insanely adorable website here) and, like I said, she owns it. As in, she just decided "hey, I like baby stuff. I wanna sell it." So SHE DID. And, yeah, I'm sure the story has a little more to it than that, but that's the gist of it. If you're ever in South Carolina and need a baby gift (or just like shopping... or aren't a robot) drop in. You won't regret it. I also remember being very intimidated by Zhenya when we were in college because she's very cosmopolitan and fabulous and while I still think those are 2 extremely accurate attributes of hers, I also came to learn she is hilarious and very kind. Zhenya inspires me to follow my dreams. Seriously, when I was very first debating applying for the EdD program at UCLA, one of the reasons I went through with it was because of the example Zhenya set for me (and all women, really). She knew what she wanted to do and she did it. Why let anything hold me back? 

The last woman on my list is my friend and "sole" sister, Shelly. 

I've mentioned Shelly numerous times on this blog, especially in my running posts, but she is so much more than someone I've run races with. (Although she always serves as an inspiration when I am running, whether it be for a mile or 13.1 miles, or more (Ragnar, I'm looking at you).) I am inspired by Shelly's love for the environment (she is the reason we recycle at our office!), her love for her family (she rivals Mary Beth with how much she loves her family), and her love for being adventurous. I'm sure living many years of her life in Alaska has something to do with the adventurous part of her, but I just like how she rarely says no to a suggested activity and is usually the one suggesting cool things herself. I mean, just today she went canyoneering in Zion National Park. AKA she rappelled down a FREAKING CLIFF into a CANYON. Because why not? Shelly inspires me to say yes more. And also to watch shows about Amish youths haha. 

Who inspires you?

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