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On Relationship Agreements

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Hoan and I want to thank EVERYONE who shared recommendations on books to read to strengthen a romantic relationship. The first book we decided to delve into is Relationship Agreements the bookWe chose this book for a variety of reasons:

  1. Chapters are a BREEZE – every chapter is several pages so you can quickly read a chapter a day if that’s all the time you have
  2. The author provides at the end of every chapter homework or exercises you can do. Hoan and I love being able to put words into action so this was perfect. (FYI: the homework assignments are lengthy so we don’t do all of them)
  3. You can skip around – you don’t have to read in a chronological order. Different chapters have different topics, so if there’s one you feel could be of more benefit, have at it.

The Relationship as Its’ Own Entity

The first chapter talks about how you should consider your relationship as a separate entity. Meaning the relationship is something that you and your partner co-create. The author takes it a step further and actually advises to give your relationship a name. This is because it allows for both parties to invest in something you both have some responsibility over versus investing in the person. For example, when you go out of your way to do something for your partner and they hardly notice, you can’t help but get upset with them. But when you’re doing it for the relationship, there’s more pardon you can place on your partner for not noticing because it wasn’t necessarily for them, it was for the relationship.

Relationship Agreements

The second thing we’ve learned is to have agreements that you both have discussed and both agree upon committing to in the relationship. And of course these agreements can change over time as long as you both discuss and agree on them changing. Hoan and I have made some agreements upon regarding day to day stuff, bedtime and wedding planning. Which you know it honestly felt really good to talk about them and to have both of us aware and on the same page.

But yeah so far so good! If you end up reading it, lmk how it goes and what you guys get out of it!

Live simply, love beyoutifully,

ATL

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Growing Up – What would your 17 year-old Self Say

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My friend Ann recently asked me if my 17 year old self would be pleased or disappointed with the 27 year old self that I am today. I can’t believe it was 10 years ago that I was 17… it feels so long ago yet at the same time feels like yesterday. Being a senior in high school, I felt like the next few years were so cookie cut for me. At the time, I knew I was going to the University of Minnesota for the next four years, was exceptionally excited to grow up and start adulting even if 17 felt old already. I was literally looking forward to growing up, getting married and being a mom, starting a nonprofit of some sort… and just basically being a rockstar.

In the here and now at 27, I can say that I am nowhere near being a rockstar. While getting married and having kids is on the horizon, I’m definitely nowhere near starting a nonprofit! My life is so different than what I thought it would be but I’m grateful for who and where I am today. The one thing I do want to pick apart is the nonprofit I dreamed of starting. Honestly, I never considered myself an entrepreneur but the older I get the more enticing that sounds.  I can say with confidence though, that starting this blog is a starting point for that nonprofit I dreamed of. I’m not sure how or when… but I know there’s more to the blog than just this.

So if you want to join in on the reflection, here are some things to ponder:

What did I picture life would be like when I grew up?

What dreams did I have as a child that I wanted to pursue?

Am I living the life I deserve?

What more can I do to create the life I want?

 

I’d love to hear what your thoughts are!

 

Live simply, love beyoutifully,

ATL

 

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Goal Setting: What’s Most Important

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I look at my goals and a lot of times I think: how the heck am I going to get there? Reaching the top is such a rewarding experience that a lot of times we want to skip the hard work and just bask in the glory. But of course, that’s never the case. I know especially for a lot of younger people, we want to be successful NOW.  In this post, I want to talk about why it’s so important to enjoy the here and now. 

We live in a world where instant gratification is the new hype. Everything is NOW. But what’s definitely sad about it is that we’re not enjoying nor appreciating the process we must go through to get where we want to be. Psychology coined the arrival fallacy to acknowledge a lot of the disappointment that people experience when we get to our end destination, look around and go, ‘that’s it?!”  And it’s like ‘yup, that’s it.’

The purpose of every goal

Hoan told me something really valuable that one of his mentors shared with him that I want to pass along. The purpose of every goal is not to achieve it. The purpose of every goal is to learn, grow, and become a better person through the process.

 

Live simply, love beyoutifully,

ATL

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How to Make a New City Feel Like Home

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The transition to California was definitely a difficult one. Being that it was the first time on my own, I constantly missed Minnesota. I thought for a long time that LA would never feel like home. However, I’m happy to say that it’s finally beginning to feel like it! In this post, I want to share what helped me with the transition in becoming a California transplant but also how to make a new city truly feel like home.

When I first moved to California a year and a half ago, I constantly missed home, my family and quaint-old Minnesota. I fought for a long time to even accept LA as home because I had too much pride in being a Midwesterner. It finally crept up on me one day after a trip to Florida. I was sitting on the airplane thinking, man I’m excited to go home and get some poke! I thought dang, do I really like poke that much? No! It’s because I love having a variety of food all in a 5 mile radius. Which I never even thought twice about until I was looking on yelp for a green juice place.  To my surprise, the closest one was 17miles away!

How

As I began reflecting upon why I was so excited to get back to California tho, it soon dawned on me that I was looking forward to coming back not just because of food but really,  because of what all I had going on with my friends. And that’s when it hit me, California felt like home because of the friends I had made. So, for all you new transplants… to make a new city feel like home, really get to know the people and find some really darn good friends because these are the people that become the reason why this new city feels like home. Good luck and happy living!

 

Live simply, love beyoutifully,

ATL

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My family

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My family and I have grown much closer as I’ve gotten older. Especially now that I live in California. I never actually considered myself much of a family person until recently.

My family

Since my move, I’ve discovered how important family really is and how loved I am by them. When you’re younger, you always think you’re mom is the prettiest and your dad is the strongest of them all. Of course this changes as you grow up and even more so when you butt heads. Unfortunately, this stage lasted for quite some time with my parents and I. We couldn’t see eye to eye to save our fricken lives and the gap between us just seemed to grow even bigger.

For us though, space has really helped, so it’s true that distance makes the heart grow fonder because mine definitely has of them.

We gotta love on them

And now, I can’t believe I’m entering the stage where you look at your parents and realize they’re aging O_O and like sand in an hourglass… i feel like my time with parents is running out. I’ve had several friends who’ve lost their moms and some who are in the process of losing their mums… and my heart hurts for them. So if we’re lucky enough to still have our parents around, let’s give our mums and dads an extra hug and kiss today. <3

 

live simply, love beyoutifully,

ATL

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2 Keys to a Successful Relationship

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A lot of people comment on how Hoan and I always look so happy together. While that’s true the majority of the time, like any other relationship there are factors constantly straining our relationship. We’ve only been together over two years so we don’t have all the answers but I do want to share two key practices that have really helped us in our journey together. So here are 2 keys to a successful relationship that I’d like to share with you guys!

1. Open communication

So this can be really difficult to practice, especially when there are a lot of toxic emotions and thoughts. And while you think something might hurt to say (which it probably will), it’s really important to be transparent and let them be in the know so you guys can work through it together.

2. Holding on

It’s really important that when it comes to a successful relationship that each side holds on when the trying gets tough. What I mean by this is when it feels like one person is letting go, it’s the other person’s job to hold on. Whether it be staying on the phone to settle an issue or not letting the other person storm out. It’s definitely a balancing act on both sides.

I hope these two pieces of advice can help you to have a successful relationship. Whether it be with your significant other, your best friend, or whomever is important to you, wishing you the best!

 

Live simply, love beyoutifully,

ATL

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5 Ways to Spark Joy in the Home

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more of a home body. I really do enjoy being home on a Friday night and that’s because I’ve always tried to make home a sanctuary. It’s important that your surroundings lift and brighten your mood not bog you down. Here are 5 things I do to help spark joy in my home.

1. Clean

I always feel so amazing after I’ve vacuumed and have tidied things up. It’s nice to be able to look around and know that your surroundings are light and dainty. They say your environment is a reflection of what’s going on inside which I find so true

2. Decorate

It’s always nice to have a little splash of personality that reflects who you are in your home. It helps to make it feel more cozy and really your space instead of someone else’s

3. Light a candle

This I love! It always feels so amazing to have candle light in the background. I feel like it always changes the ambiance of the room 🙂 it’s even better if it smells amazing

4. Declutter

I always think decluttering and donating things we don’t need is always great to do. Not only are we doing good by donating but it also helps us to feel lighter because we literally have less

5. Have real plants

There’s something about real plants that is so awesome! I do have fake ones too because they are fun to have. But maybe invest in some succulents or something that has little to no maintenance if you’re a busy bee like me

Anyway, I hope these small things can help spark joy in your home as they have mine. Let me know how it goes or if you have any other ideas! Would love to hear them 🙂

 

Live simply, love beyoutifully,

ATL

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6 Reasons to Ask Questions

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Growing up I always had a difficult time asking my parents for things. Which then translated to pretty much everything else in my life. I was afraid of asking for fear of anger or disappointment. The fear also applies when I have to ask for help as well. For some reason I have this weird thing about asking especially if it will expose me as incompetent. I feel really uncomfortable when people are aware of my weaknesses because it makes me feel so vulnerable. However, vulnerability is exactly what we need to make real connections. People can identify much easier with our vulnerabilities than our achievements because not everyone’s wins look the same. But the emotions people experience as they struggle are very similar.

Therefore, I wanted to remind myself why asking is so powerful and why I should continue to ask and here are 6 reasons why.

1. Discovering truth

Asking uncovers the truth. If you think you’d much rather live with the truth rather than living in the dark, it’s important to work up the courage to ask.

2. Practicing courage 

Asking for the truth can sometimes be painful… but there’s something in asking that makes you feel so vulnerable that whenever I complete the task, I feel so proud of myself

3. Feeling authentic

Whenever I seem to ask, I always feel a little exposed… which is a good and bad thing. Mostly I think it’s a good thing because it allows us to be truthful not only to ourselves but also the people around us

4. Feeling connected 

When we are vulnerable, we’re able to relate to others a lot more and thus we feel more connected to those who identify the way we do

5. Getting the help we need

When we ask, we are letting others know of our needs. And because people are aware of our needs, they’re more inclined to meet us where we are.

6. Allows for clarification and growth

Asking to clarify understanding is so important in the process of learning and building upon our knowledge base. If we aren’t able to understand at a certain level, how do we expect to fully understand the next level?

I hope these 6 reasons can help to remind yourself why asking is so important. I know it’s not easy to put ourselves in a vulnerable position to ask, but remember that asking is completely appropriate and worthwhile!

 

Live simply, love beyoutifully

Anh Thu

 

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3 Tips on How to Get Inspired

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I’ve been feeling really off lately, almost like I don’t have the energy nor the drive to do anything that once gave me so much energy. There could be a lot of factors playing a role though.

I feel like whenever I come back from vacation, I always feel a little off-centered and it takes a little time to readjust to my routine schedule. Secondly, I had to work four days last week which is a bit unusual for me because I’m only used to working  2-3 shifts. And I don’t know about you, but after work I’m not as productive. I literally just go to the gym, come home, eat, shower and hop into bed. My life feels like it’s been too routine. Therefore, I’m trying to get re-inspired so I can have the fire I need to pursue my goals… so here are 3 things I’m trying to implement myself to help get inspired!

1. Write down a list of what you need to get done and cross them off as you go

I don’t know about you but man, I get so much excitement when I get to cross things off my to-do list. It also helps to visualize the productivity too throughout your day.

2 . Engage in activities that have sparked inspiration in the past

For me, church always helps to regain some juice. Maybe go to a coffee shop and read a book, take a road trip and admire the scenery.. or watch an inspiring youtube video. Just find something that has inspired you previously and get your butt to do it!

3. Do something new 

It’s in the routine that things can get really mundane and boring. It’s also important to try to get out of your typical zone and do work somewhere else for example. Although we’re creatures of habit, we can thrive from excitement and adrenaline

As I slowly try to get back into the swing of things, I hope these three tips will also help you. I went to church this weekend and that definitely helped, it felt even better because I wasn’t in the mood to go. I guess usually when we don’t feel like doing it is when we should really do it! So focus on your dreams and figure out what you need to achieve them. Do some stuff out of the norm and hopefully you’ll start feeling a little more inspired! Good luck

 

Live simply, love beyoutifully,

ATL

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How to Make a Vision Board

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The idea of a Vision Board was first introduced to me by my brother in a book called The Secret which was later made into a documentary and  featured on Oprah. Ever since then, I’ve had one plastered up on my wall.

What is a Vision Board?

A vision board is basically a board that you can place all your dreams and goals on. They can comprise of pictures and or words that remind you every day of what your goals are.

How do I use my Vision Board?

It’s really important to have your vision board in a place where you can see it every day. This way, you can be reminded of what the big picture is! Once you’re reminded of your goals, it helps you to be more intentional with how you use your time. It just makes you think, oh is this activity helping me to get closer to my goals? If not, what should I do get me closer to my goal of xyz.

How do I make my own Vision Board?

Materials needed: Cork Board, Magazines, Paper, Markers, Srap booking material (optional)

  1. First you’ll need to think about your goals. You can write down a list of what you want to put on your board or think about quotes you want included
  2. Starting flipping through your magazines to see if there are any quotes or pictures that you could cut out and place on your vision board.  
  3. If there’s something you can’t find but really need on your vision board, get creative and whip out those markers and some paper
  4. Start putting it on your board – it’s important to put what you want to focus on most at the center of your board so that your eye zones into it and then all of the smaller priority goals can surround that central goal.

These are the essential things you need to make a vision board. It’s simple but it’s important to really brainstorm what you want the focus of your vision board to be about! So take some time to really think about that and then also, find a friend and maybe you guys can work on it together and make it a date night because it’s so much more fun doing it with a friend! Hope this has been helpful and good luck!

 

Live simply, love beyoutifully

ATL