Popcorn & Prosecco: Rooftop Cinema Club–Los Angeles

About a month ago, I purchased tickets for my (at the time) boyfriend and I to see an older movie “Heat” with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino on an outdoor rooftop building in LA. I figured this would be a fun and trendy date night for us, and I wanted to do something nice for him.

I purchased the more expensive love seat tickets, which included a 2-person chair, blankets, pillows, endless popcorn, and a glass of wine or beer each (still only $30 per person). Unfortunately though, we broke up before we could enjoy this special night together.

As the independent and strong woman that I am, I decided I didn’t depend on him in order to go myself. I invited my best friend Ally to accompany me on this new girl date night. Although I was slightly disappointed that this night didn’t go according to plan, I was very happy to have my trusty and reliable best friend be my sidekick for the night.

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We dressed cute, and headed out. Of course, we made a pit stop at Taco Bell before getting stuck in the all-too-expected LA traffic (UGH–why I hate LA right here). We finally made it to the destination: Level Furnished Living. This place was no joke. They only offered valet (no self-parking), which we were not informed of on the tickets or website. We ended up spending $16 to park for a few hours, but later realized that there are a ton of other, cheaper parking structures close by (note to future self). We asked the concierge what the price was to live there, and were told it costs $4,000-$6,000 per month. Holy cow.

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We headed on up to the rooftop which, disappointingly, was not as high as the building was. We thought we were going to be about 30 stories high or so, but came to find we were only about 10 stories up. Sigh, first world problems.

On the bright side though, the venue was freakin’ adorable. Despite not being that high up, the view was still pretty cool. Little lights surrounded the seating area, which was full of little lawn chairs on a bed of grass. A giant movie screen was set into the side of the building, for easy movie viewing from even the back rows. We were all given individual headphones, so that we could hear the movie despite the city noises. Before sitting down, we loaded up on popcorn and prosecco. We then crammed on the tiny 2 person chair–love you Al, but that was a little too close for comfort! Unfortunately the seats were not the most comfy, and the flying bugs were a slight distraction as you tried to focus on the screen. We were less than enthusiastic about the 3 hour movie that we chose, so we decided to duck out early after an hour of watching.

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We then headed over to The Yardhouse for some pints of cider. Have to admit though, it was 10:30pm and I was already getting sleepy (did I mention I’m a grandma?)…so we headed home shortly thereafter…although not without hitting a ton of frustrating 11PM LA traffic.

So the question is: do I recommend going to the Rooftop Cinema Club in LA?

Yes. The venue is adorable, and perfect for a date night or girls’ night out. Take selfies and enjoy your glasses of wine & popcorn as you look out at the LA skyline.

Tips:

Don’t valet the car. Self-park in one of the nearby parking structures (walkable distance).

Know the movie you are seeing. Read reviews, see one you already know and like, or just seriously cross your fingers. Since there are more distractions outside than in a real movie theater, you really have to enjoy the movie to be invested.

Wear warm clothes. Even if it’s 90 degrees during the day, it gets much cooler at night time. Especially since you are in a shaded area, you experience wind and chills. They do provide blankets, but it’s definitely nice to come prepared.

Don’t purchase the loveseat. Honestly, even if you’re going with your “honey”, I guarantee you will both be a million times more comfy in your own individual seats. Plus! It’s cheaper that way. General admission is $19 per person. To learn more about the rooftop cinema experience and see their movie schedule click here.

Well, that’s my review. Hope you enjoyed.

 

xx allie

The Beauty of Today

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This morning I woke up early, before my alarm went off. I always love when I wake up at 5am, as it’s the best feeling knowing that I still have an hour and a half more to sleep. Today is also the best day of the week—it’s Friday…and for the next two days I don’t have any responsibility. I am trying to appreciate my free weekends right now, before I am occupied with papers and homework once I start grad school in August. The sun is out and about today, even along the coast, meaning it’s going to be a great weekend for tanning/hiking.

As I drove to work, I came across zero accidents. Phew. I checked my snack drawer as always, and noticed that someone had left a “Take 5” candy bar inside. I’m not sure who put it there, but I am absolutely grateful for their generous gesture. I always try my best not to purchase candy bars at the store (despite my contact desire to), but since this one randomly appeared in my vicinity…I am stoked. Thank you Universe.

Quick aside: I came across the most adorable succulent garden last night at Trader Joe’s, and simply cannot get my mind off of it. I will be going back this weekend to purchase those potted plants for my room. I love to add life to my living space. They literally look like this and they’re only $6.99 apiece:

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I am leaving work early today to go make a business relationship, and try samples of nuts and dried fruit (strange I know). Things like this make me grateful for the job. (Also so stoked for my solo business trip to Bend, Oregon next month! Woo!).

Tonight is a fun event, as Ally and I are headed to an LA Rooftop movie w/ wine and popcorn included. We are definitely going to get trendy and dolled up, as we rarely have a reason to go downtown on a Friday night. More to come on this..

Today I am full of energy and liveliness as it’s a beautiful day to be alive, and I am SO stoked for all that is to come. I am ready for the next chapter that the Universe delivers. I am ready for new adventures and learning experiences. Bring it!

xx allie

The Light Between the Cracks

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“There’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

-Leonard Cohen

 

One of my favorite courses that I took while attending UCSB was “The Dark Side of Relational Communication”. Not because I am a dark, sadistic person (because I’m not), but because the main premise of the class was that even the worst aspects of our relationships, and the sometimes harsh ways that they end, have a silver lining.

You cannot begin to appreciate the light without darkness. I have been struggling with a very difficult life transition lately. But despite my less than enthusiastic mood and notes of negativity, my support system is rockin’ it. I couldn’t be more grateful for a fantastic group of friends (who are basically family), and family (who are also friends) who have taken it upon themselves to rush in and comfort.  Despite the changes that occur in life, my support system has always been a constant. They are there through the best of times, and the worst of times. They are there to rise up my spirits, and remind me of my worth. They are truly the real MVPs, as they never let me down in my time of need.

I am able to be real with every single one of these people, and they are able to be real with me. They are the foundation on which I stand. They talk to me about the finer things in life, the things that are not always easy to discuss. They question my intentions, my values, and my aspirations, and challenge me to do what’s best. They are what make my life beautiful. They are what make my life deep.  Because that is what life is all about: human connection and belonging. I feel 100% connected by their presence and company in my life. I feel strengthened by their very existence to me. I am incredibly lucky, as not everybody gets the chance to meet life-changing people like these. They truly add to my life, and inspire me to always be my best self.

It takes a loss sometimes to be reminded of all that I have not lost, and never will. The people that see the light in me, will want to remain in my life. They will feel enriched in my presence, as I do in theirs. They will feel inspired by me to be a better version of themselves. To me, a thriving relationship is one in which both parties feel the value of their counterpart, and acknowledge it to them. There is a give-and-take exchange, where both parties feel balanced from the equal reciprocity among them. There are equal parts gratefulness. Equal parts love. Equal parts understanding. And equal parts patience.

There is not always agreement, but there is acceptance for the other side. There is respect, in spite of controversy. Not everybody is willing to make the sacrifices that must be made to cradle a relationship and solidify a bond. Not everybody is willing to endure the darkness, to appreciate the light. I am beginning to see the beauty of the cracks. I am beginning to value the presence of the dark.

xx allie

Appreciation Post: Hot Water

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One of the main reasons why I live a happy and fulfilling life is because I have learned to be grateful for even what seems like the smallest of blessings. When you take the time to FEEL grateful and actually count your blessings, even the biggest of disappointments begin to feel small.

Recently, I was given a reason to be EXTRA thankful for easy access to hot water. Our water heater malfunctioned, and left us without hot water for nearly a week and a half. While this may not seem like the biggest tragedy (and, of course it’s not), it was definitely a large inconvenience that I had to learn to adapt to.

I make it a priority to go to the gym at least 4 times a week. When you’re breaking a sweat and getting dirty, it’s absolutely essential to shower. Every day that I went to the gym while our water heater was out, I had to pack a shower bag: clean clothes, shower flip flops, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, hair brush, detangler…the whole shebang. While this was undoubtedly a hassle to me, it made me feel grateful for even having access to the gym showers. Because no matter how many germs were infesting those shower walls, it still beats a watering hole in murky, muddy water that must be the solution elsewhere in the world. I showered happily and contently in those showers, thinking about the lesser alternatives that I might have if I lived in a different, less fortunate country. In fact, I began to see the bright side of my gym showers: a feeling of nostalgia for my college days, when bringing my shower caddy to the shared bathrooms was the norm.

I was also fortunate to be able to shower once or twice at my boyfriend’s house—thanks Ben! I even had multiple friends who offered to let me borrow their showers, if I preferred (thanks Noosh and Al!). My predicament was a reminder of the fortune and kindness that surrounds me when I need it.

Not only was it difficult to wash my body while the hot water was out, but it was also difficult to wash the dishes! My mom was able to boil water every morning to get the water hot enough to wash our dishes sanitarily. Inventive…I know. Lucky for us, we have large pots and fire that enabled us to boil the water so easily. While it was definitely an extra step in the process of cleaning the dishes, it was an extra step that we were ABLE to do.

While lacking hot water made life a little bit more difficult, I am actually grateful that this happened to us. It was a good reminder of how easily things can be taken away, and how lucky we are to be able to adapt. Losing the hot water made me prioritize something so simple…finding a place to take a shower. And yet, I have a newfound appreciation for the simple things in life. Because what seems simple to us, is not simple to everyone. And what is standard to us, is by no means standard to everyone. Be grateful for your hot water, today and every day. You never know when your tables may turn.

xx allie  

Update: 10 Months on Lexapro

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It’s been 10 months that I’ve been on Lexapro now, and let me tell ya, time flies when you’re happy.

Lexapro has undoubtedly changed my life. On only 5 mg, I am a different person. I am finally me. The effects of lexapro were, and continue to be, astounding for me. I see the world through rose colored glasses, and glean positivity from most all scenarios. Things that would normally bother me, still do, but I no longer ruminate on them and allow them to ruin my day. Small problems stay just that…small. Things no longer escalate into catastrophic emotional turmoil or a downward spiral with no end. Responsibilities no longer feel  daunting, overwhelming, or impossible. I welcome my responsibilities more readily, and do not feel angry or resentful to have them. I am more confident, as my self-esteem has greatly increased. Make no mistake…it is not inflated, but it is finally normal and exists! My irritability and anger has subsided, making my interactions with others much more pleasant than before. I am no longer guilty for carrying so much negativity around everywhere I went.

Lexapro is like a magic wand. It’s science, but it feels like magic. I didn’t doubt it’s ability to help me get through my depression, but I never imagined how drastically different I would feel in my day-to-day life. A good day before Lexapro, is a mediocre day on Lexapro. The bad is never as bad as the good is good. I still get sad. I still cry. I still care about all of the same things I used to. But now, things don’t seem as drastic. If something upsetting happens, it’s not the end of the world. I am more equipped to handle disappointment. I am more motivated to finish tasks I’m not excited to begin.

The positive effects of Lexapro last over time. I have been on 5mg from the very beginning, and have never felt a reason to increase my dose. My body does not get used to it, and then need more to get the same effects. The right dose is the right dose, period. (Or at least in my own experience).

Lasting side effects:

When you’re depressed, you often lose your appetite. Food isn’t appetizing, and it doesn’t taste nearly as satisfying either. As the lexapro kicks in and diminishes the depression, your appetite comes back. Food becomes enjoyable again. To me, this was a good thing. I had lost about 20 pounds while depressed (mostly because I was eating 1/3 to 1/2 of my normal portions). In the last 10 months, I’ve gained about 10 pounds back. I feel that I am at my healthy weight now. Do I think the Lexapro caused me to gain weight? No. I think getting my appetite back caused me eat regularly again. My body restored healthy weight back to my body. I’ve also been more motivated to work out lately, meaning muscle weight is most likely included. Lexapro didn’t cause me to gain weight. Lexapro restored my appetite.

Sleep: I have not had one night of bad sleep since I’ve started taking lexapro.  Sleep was never an issue for me even before taking the Lexapro, but it’s drastically improved nonetheless. I sleep very soundly throughout the night, and hardly ever stir. I struggled with crazy bad dreams up until lately, but they’ve slowly settled down and become less frequent. Night sweats were also relatively frequent after starting the Lexapro, but those too have become less frequent with time.

That’s about it. Lexapro has provided me with so many amazing benefits, and next to no long-term side effects. If you are struggling with depression, and have been thinking about trying an antidepressant, I would highly recommend trying Lexapro. One of the best parts about this pill is that it’s also an anti-anxiety pill. My anxiety has decreased substantially, and no longer gets in the way of my life. I am now living without any unnecessary or crippling constraints. Lexapro has given me the freedom to live my life happily.

xx allie

 

The Secret to Happiness

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There is one thing that we all have in common. We all just want to be happy. Some people spend their entire life trying to discover what brings it about. Some people travel the whole world seeking to fill an emptiness in their spirit, and failing to ever do so. Some people work 70+ hours a week, trying to earn enough money to bring about a sense of ecstasy and elation. But what if I told you that happiness is easier to find than you think?

I think I’ve found it.

You may find that this answer is unsatisfactory. You may respond by saying, “Are you kidding Allie? That’s it?”. And I’m here to reply, “Yes…it’s that simple”.

Happiness is directly a result of allowing yourself to feel grateful.

Yesterday I visited the pharmacy to pick up my acid reflux prescription. As I was fishing out my credit card to pay for my $1.50 pills (thank you insurance), I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for the low cost of my daily pills. I smiled to the clerk who was helping me and made a remark like, “A buck fifty? I guess I can do that”. She then proceeded to tell me that earlier that day she had witnessed an elderly man pay $470 for his Alzheimer’s medication, which he needed monthly. I took a moment to think about that poor man. Not only is he suffering from a debilitating and horrific disease, but he is also forced to continue paying for the ability to simply function in his day-to-day life. In that moment of compassion, I felt selfish to even feel grateful for my situation in comparison. I was lucky to be young and healthy. I was lucky to have good coverage by my insurance. Heck, I was even lucky to have access to the medication I need. The moral of this story is that we are lucky. Luckier than we may think sometimes. Luckier than we might even deserve in some cases.

When you really take the time each day to allow yourself to be grateful, happiness floods in. I am thankful every night for the opportunity to sleep in my warm, safe, and clean bed. I realize that what I have today, may not be what I have tomorrow. Each day I allow myself to feel grateful all over again. Feeling grateful for even the smallest of things makes the largest difference. Noticing the world around us, and mindfully taking the time to acknowledge it is something that a lot of people miss. Stop and smell the flowers, feel the sunrays warm upon your skin, gaze up at the stars in the sky, and watch the ants carrying each other on their backs. Be mindful. Be gracious. Be happy.

xx allie

The Upside to a Debilitating Headache.

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For the last 4 days, I have had a moderately bad headache that will not let up. From the moment I wake up, to the moment I go to bed, I am plagued with a pain in the middle of my forehead that persists no matter what attempts I make. Thinking it was allergies at first, I tried Claritin-D. I also tried the homeopathic route and took some natural sinus issue pills. Neither worked to remedy the pain. Then I decided to give Tylenol a chance, again to no avail. And although Excedrin reduces the intensity of the pain, it still lingers in the background…trying hard to emerge from the smothering of the pill. Although I’ve been struggling to bear the ongoing discomfort brought about by this migraine (for lack of a better term), I have grown to appreciate the days where I feel good, with a new level of gratitude.

When you’re feeling good, you often don’t stop to think about the alternative. You don’t stop to think, “Wow how much different would I feel right now if I had been suffering from a headache for the last 4 days?”. You don’t stop to think how lucky you are, to not feel the need for ancillary pain medication. You don’t consider the blessing that’s been bestowed upon you, to be able to think clearly and effortlessly, without a daunting and miserable head bringing you down and distracting your focus.

Obviously this goes for just about any impediment. We don’t think about how lucky we are to be able to walk easily, until we break our leg. We don’t think about how easy it is to see long distance, until we start to need glasses. We don’t think about how lucky we are to be able to hear, until we meet someone who is deaf.  

I am challenging myself, and any readers, to take time every day to be mindfully grateful for something that seems inherent. Because truth be told, it’s not inherent. Just as easily as it was to be blessed, it can be just as easy to lose. We are not entitled to anything. We are all living in the same world, with all of the same vulnerabilities. Take time to notice the lucky things. Take time to revel in feeling good.

xx allie

Who Better to Treat Yourself Than You?

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What’s up guys?

As you know if you follow my blog posts, I am a huge advocate of treating yourself to things that make you happy, and allocating “me” time each week for renewing and replenishing. With all of the stress and craziness you are certainly enduring as you ‘adult’, you absolutely NEED to take care of yourself to maintain a certain level of Zen.

There are many routine ways that I “maintain my Zen”, so to speak, but this month I went out on a limb a little and decided to order my very own FabFitFun box! FabFitFun boxes are themed for the seasons, and arrive with a ton of fun girly goodies that retail for $200+ dollars [I got mine for only $45…needless to say, what a steal!]. I purchased this box because I knew I would enjoy using the products to pamper myself on a night in, indulge in some relaxation, and even improve my health!  

After rummaging through my Spring box, I can’t tell you how happy I am with the array of products I received! I am already counting down the days until my Summer box arrives!

What’s Inside:

  • Access to online workouts: Membership to FabFitFun TV, with new workout videos released every season.
  • Hair, Skin and Nail Vitamin Gummies (Strawberry Flavored, packed with Biotin)
  • Realher “I Am Awesome” Lip Kit: With a matte lipstick paint, lip pumping gloss, and liner! Super cute: since the type on the bottles are motivational for women. (Offered in two different colors—mine came in “deep nude”). This product alone retails for $48 online!

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  • Briogeo Leave-in conditioning spray (full size bottle)

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  • Gypsie Roundie: decorative or useful patterned fabric throw.
  • Milly Zip Pouch: “Beach Please” waterproof zip up bag (offered in multiple phrases/colors)
  • Brandt Microdermabrasion Age Defying Exfoliator: LOVE skin care products..so I’m excited for this one. Retails for $79!
  • Karuna Hydrating Face Masks—Pack of 4! Great brand—so, great value!

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  • Luv AJ 14K rose gold earrings
  • Deborah Lippman Nail Polish Set in springtime hues.

The excitement of opening up this surprise box of goodies, using the products over time to embody my girly desires, and now having the opportunity to write about it in my blog is what creates happiness for me! Do what makes you happy.

Interested in ordering the FabFitFun box for yourself? Contact me for a special discount code.

xx allie

 

Bad Days…We All Have Them.

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You woke up late. You missed an appointment. You sprained your ankle. Your windshield cracked. Any one of these unfortunate mishaps can cause your day to veer off track. Once your day has gone awry, we all know how difficult it can be to turn it back around.

I don’t care if you’re Beyoncé or Chris Harrison, if you’re a human being then you are susceptible to having a bad day. No one is exempt from this mere fact of life. Even animals have bad days (such as the day your dog has to go to the vet or groomers). Although we all have this in common, not all of us handle our bad days in the same way.

The way we choose to appraise our misfortune largely dictates our resilience to it.

So the next time you’re having a bad day…try to remember these helpful little tips:

Re-Fill Your Bucket

When you’re having a bad day, it is all too easy to take it out on others. The bad mood takes over, and we taint the interactions we have with friends, family members, and our partner for the remainder of the day. Although we feel guilty, we often feel justified. We know that we can just chalk up our bad attitude to “having a rough day”, which we feel people should understand.

Tom Rath and Donald Clifton have proposed a life-changing metaphor for the way you live life and interact with others. They suggest that each of us have a bucket within us that needs to be filled with positive experiences, praise, and recognition. When we compliment someone or give them a positive affirmation, we are helping to fill their bucket. Filling another’s bucket does not deplete our own. In fact, it fills ours a little as well. However, when we are negative towards others, we use a dipper to draw from their bucket, diminish their positivity, and consequently remove from our own buckets.

According to this philosophy, when we project our bad attitude onto another, we are subtracting from their bucket and our own. Nobody wins. If you can see your interactions as having a direct effect on the buckets of others and yourself, you may think twice about projecting your bad day onto an innocent, otherwise content individual.

No matter how bad of a day you are having, positivity and meaningful, pleasant interactions with others can only help you to turn your day around.

Thoughts Become Reality

Everything you’ve ever owned, achieved, created, or felt is the result of an initial thought. What we think, we become. Who we are is largely determined by our thoughts, values, beliefs, and ideas. Our thoughts guide our reality. When you think positive thoughts, you attract positivity into your life. When you think negative thoughts, you attract negativity into your life.

Ruminating or obsessing over anything negative can in fact bring about the exact thing you are trying to avoid. We know this as the self-fulfilling prophecy. We have the power to make our biggest fears come true…simply by having thoughts of them coming true. By having these thoughts, we subconsciously and unknowingly behave in ways that encourage and nourish the fear, thus bringing it about.

No matter how bad your day is turning out to be, it’s important to maintain a positive mindset. Your mind is a powerful vessel, and when you glean positivity from even the most difficult scenarios, you set yourself up for a more positive future.

It’s Just a Bad Day, Not a Bad Life

When you’re having a bad day, it’s easy to overextend your misfortune to appear greater than it truly is. It can often feel like a downward spiral. Just because you’re having a bad day, doesn’t mean that you’re having a bad life. Remind yourself, “This is just a bad day, that’s all. Everybody has bad days. Most likely tomorrow will be better, and then things will be back on track. I’m going to try to let this go, be grateful for the things that are going right, and move forward”. Allow yourself to experience any anger or frustration you might have, but don’t let it linger! Feel it, and let it pass.

Last Words

Many things happen that are out of our control, but it’s important to remember that the way you appraise and react to your experiences makes all the difference. You may not have control over the things that happen to you, but you do have control over your attitude. Make the most of even the worst days, and count your blessings.

xx allie

Trust in the Universe, and Be Open to Fate

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As a child, I was exposed to a variety of very troubling experiences. Learning to cope with adverse, life-altering events was difficult at best, but also impactful in the development of my character and personality. I lost my innocence to the sometimes harsh and unfair world, before I had even hit puberty. Nevertheless, I am thankful for the wisdom and maturity that I gained as a result.

One of the most important lessons that I learned from my childhood experiences, is that you have no control over the way that life unfolds. Without question, there will be many challenging experiences that you will be forced to endure, but they cannot be altered by any acts of yours. You are helpless in the way that the universe dictates events. When you try to predict, control, and manipulate the turns of the universe, you are only disrupting the peace and flow of nature.  You are creating a source of anxiety for yourself, and the illusion that you have any role in the way that forthcoming events unravel.

Accepting this truth has been quite a struggle for me. Oftentimes I agonize over trying to control things and the way they play out. Feeling helpless in controlling the struggles of my childhood has contributed to a strong inclination to want to take things into my own hands, and do everything in my power to control the outcome of events that have not yet occurred. Although I feel responsible for controlling things, I ironically feel powerless in doing so. Therefore I am conflicted most of the time.

Lately I have been working on trusting in the universe, and simply letting myself be naturally affected by my experiences. Waves of the ocean come and go, rocking objects that exist within their path…much like experiences that come and go, rocking us as we come to know them. We do not dwell on any one wave, in the same way that we should not dwell on any one experience. There are always more on the horizon.

The universe has a plan, and largely operates by the law of attraction. You can attract good things into your life by harvesting positive energy, and dispensing it out into the world. Your positive vibrations are picked up on by your surroundings. When you send positivity out into the world, you allow space for it to come back around full circle. The universe has your best interest in mind. It will work with you harmoniously, if you allow it.

Visualization is key. When you envision the future you hope for, the universe finds a way to give it to you. If you’ve ever read “The Secret”, then you may be akin to how powerful visualization truly is, and the several accounts that attest to this. There are no bounds to the generosity of the universe. Trust that there is much to be reaped when you are open to fate.

xx allie