“The littlest things can brighten a person’s day. If we all showed a little bit more love, we could change the world. It all starts with one. One person, one act. Smiling at a stranger, holding open a door, lending a helping hand, giving someone a compliment. Spread the beauty! “

Kindness. Connected by our humanity. Compassion. Understanding. In their shoes. Good karma. Enriching to both the giver and receiver. Opportunity to help others. Opportunity to serve purpose. The golden rule. Showing love. Kindness!

What comes to you when you think of kindness?IMG_6331

I recently sat down for an interview with Hannah Jones for her Kindness Project, an initiative that promotes and inspires kindness. The Kindness Project is all about spreading the love. She created this place to encourage people to be kind to others, and to share what kindness we come across. In light of all the energy and effort Hannah’s been putting into the education and importance of  kindness, I’ve been thinking about kindness more and more since our rendez-vous. There isn’t a whole lot more I can say about kindness, but there’s so much we can do! Taking a page from Hannah’s website, and in an effort to inspire and cultivate more kindness out there, here is a list of my favorite 50 flavors of kindness:

1. Smile!
2. Volunteer!
3. Compliment someone.
4. Tell someone you love them.
5. Feed someone.
6. Forgive someone who has hurt you.
7. Leave a love note hidden somewhere for someone to find.
8. Clean out your closet and donate stuff you don’t want anymore.
9. Truly listen.
10. Give someone a hug.
11. Hold the door open for a stranger.
12. Let someone into your lane when everyone else is subtly ignoring their blinker.
13. Dog sit for a friend, requesting nothing in return.
14. Fundraise for an organization you believe in, using your talents!
15. Send someone a letter or a small package (They are so fun to get!).
16. Offer to help a friend with something they seem to need help with.
17. Pick up trash you find on the ground and throw it away.
18. Bring a treat to work to share with your coworkers (like candy or donuts).
19. Leave encouraging, loving comments on peoples photos & posts on social media outlets.
20. Say thank you, all the time!
21. Call your family.
22. Do an errand or a chore for someone who is feeling overwhelmed.
25. Take the time, to do something for someone else.
26. Offer someone your seat if there are none left.
27. Email or write someone who made a difference in your life.
28. Buy someone coffee.
29. Have a photo of you and good friend framed (or family member) and give it to them as a random gift.
30. Help someone carry their groceries to their car.
31. If you see someone crying, ask them if they’re ok and give them a hug.
32. When someone is rude or hurtful to you, responding with kindness can do more than you know.
33. For Christmas, sponsor a family and buy & wrap presents up fro them.
34. Organize a volunteer project, and create an opportunity for others to give back.
35. Hand make a card.
36. Contribute to someone’s GoFundMe, even if it’s just five dollars.
38. Rescue an animal from your local shelter and give them a forever home!
39. Text someone in the morning telling them that you hope they have a wonderful day
40. Buy some dog or cat food and give it to an animal rescue or shelter.
41. Create a care package for a homeless person (toothbrush, deodorant, feminine products, a banana, a sandwich, a water bottle, a crossword puzzle and a pen).
42. Help someone elderly.
43. Make someone breakfast in bed!
44. Leave encouraging notes somewhere like a public restroom.
45. If you appreciate something someone did, tell them!
46. Don’t dwell on your problems, remember your blessings and cultivate an attitude of gratitude!
47. When someone cuts you off in traffic, or treats you rudely, respond with kindness and remember that you never know what that person could be going through.
48. Take the extra step to recycle.
49. Give someone a book you already read.
50. Notice the kindness around you, and spotlight those acts and the amazing people doing them!

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You’re doing a great job with this project, Hannah! I think you’re awesome. I love you! Seriously, I love you and your kind heart.

Check out Hannah’s Kindness is Beauty project here!

On this day, April 20th, many of you will first think of cannabis, some of you will think of Spring. But I will think of both of those things, when I think of Lauren Hoover. You may have seen her as a manager at Back Country Cannabis Club on High Profits, a docu-series about the cannabis industry. Her happy, upbeat, yogi spirit made everyone think twice before labeling cannabis users as lazy or glued to the couch. On an average morning, Lauren would get up early to snowboard, run 12 miles and do yoga before working an evening shift at BCC. But more than that, she was a light to everyone she met- and to some she had never met, too.

lauren bubblyWith a slight obsession for the show and a trip to Breckenridge in early March, I learned that Lauren was unconscious after a head-on collision during her commute to work, on an icy morning on March 2, according to her sister’s GoFundMe. I was upset, and feeling an overwhelming injustice that good people who take care of themselves and who are kind to others have to face such horrible trauma and suffering at 26-years-old. So I thought good thoughts at her, meditated on her recovery, and snooped on her social media pages. I picked up her core message, allowed it to resonate in my life, and shared it. Love and light.

lauren yogaHer laugh was contagious. She provided free Funky Buddha Fitness in the park. Her love for life was infectious. She was known for leaving love notes for people she worked with, such as: “Have a wonderful day. The sun’s shining so enjoy the hell out of it”. She had a fiance of 6 years. Her Facebook timeline’s abundant with messages that are inspiring, uplifting and love-filled. In one post she wrote,”And if you forget that you are beautiful… Remember that everything beautiful in the universe resides within you. You are a reflection of light and even stardust lies in your very DNA.”

laurenNow Lauren resides within the universe and the stardust. She passed away on March 23rd, after fighting for her life for 3 weeks. I’m sad that I never even had the opportunity to be Lauren’s friend, but she would have been my friend, taking mouth open selfies because it means you’re having more fun and all. The world seems a little colder with her gone. She made each day count, and I am ever so reminded to enjoy the present moment. Because life is short, and every day could be your last. You may have had your last day on earth, but I intend to carry on your message, Lauren. I’m going to enjoy the hell out of sunshine, and remind others to do the same. Love and light always.

“The adrenaline filled walk up the bridge to spectacular city views made for memories to last a lifetime.”

This year, my mom, dad, sister, boyfriend and I decided on Australia for our vacation spot. We weren’t sure what to expect down under, but we figured we would have fun. We were not expecting to fall in love with the city of Sydney. Our trip was far too short (we only stayed for a week), however we made the most of the time we had! Here are the top five things that I’d recommend doing:

1. The Sydney Bridge Climb12966504_10208937088052910_812079975_n

I was a bit unsure about booking this tour, as it is a bit on the pricey side and seemed a little too expected and touristy, but it was worth every penny! The adrenaline filled walk up the bridge to spectacular city views made for memories to last a lifetime. Word to the wise- Do NOT stop for a beer before you go. They actually breathalyze you before the climb! Also, if you are a flight crew member, bring your badge! You get 50% off!

12939087_10208937088572923_1070321638_n2. Bondi Beach to Coogee Beach Coastal Walk

Best part about this activity? It’s FREE! This gorgeous trail can take a couple of hours or more based on how many times you stop and take pictures! My family stopped what felt like every 10 feet, so this walk took up most of the day for us. If you get hungry, I would highly recommend stopping for lunch at “Nourished: The Healthy Food Co.” near Avalon Beach for lunch. It was on the way, and the food included was very tasty and energizing.

“Being up close in the mountains, it was more like being in a mystic, fairy-like world.”

3. Blue Mountains/Scenic World

12935220_10208937089332942_77927553_nThe Blue Mountains are about an hour outside of Sydney. They are called the Blue Mountains because they appear blue from far away due to the eucalyptus oil evaporating from the plants. Being up close in the mountains, it was more like being in a mystic, fairy-like world. Scenic world is basically a place to explore these mountains, and the world includes three attractions: Two cable car rides and one sort of train ride that is apparently the steepest train in the world. All of the rides were awesome and offered spectacular views.

4. Featherdale Wildlife Park12966386_10208937091813004_346930791_n

This was our chance to experience Australia’s wildlife up close! We had the opportunity to feed and pet kangaroos and wallabies! They were very sweet and docile. We also got to pat and take some pictures with an adorable koala. The experience made me realize that koalas are my spirit animal. They are just so cute and cuddly, and I share their love for the eucalyptus plant!

“…I can truly say that the trip was like a detox for my soul.”

5. Surf Bondi Beach!

Okay, so we were pretty unsuccessful at our surfing attempt, as conditions were pretty terrible, but it was still fun to try! If you have never surfed before, or maybe even if you have, I would definitely recommend splurging for a lesson. Surf’s up!

12966121_10208937092493021_1197413524_nAll these fantastic adventures aside, what truly made our experience in Sydney unforgettable was how kind everyone was to us. To be honest, it was a bit surprising at first. Nevertheless, we found ourselves smiling more and more, and when it was all said and done, I can truly say that the trip was like a detox for my soul. There is something about that city that makes everyone be nice to each other, and it makes you want whatever juice they are drinking. We are all just human beings seeking joy in the world, and Sydney was definitely a place where we found it. I can’t wait to go back!

 

 

“No matter what, try your hardest to strengthen and maintain those bonds. This is what will keep you in the positive..That love and support is what will get you through the most difficult of times.”

11846518_10205734277568781_6158439121258078112_nMultiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system, which interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. To better educate myself and others about MS during March, which is M.S. Awareness Month, I asked Itzy Medina to get up close and personal about life with MS, how the disease has changed her life and what gets her through the most difficult times.

12935315_10207361121278857_361073569_nTell us about you!

“My name is Itzel but my friends call me Itzy. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2010. Spending time with my family and friends is what I enjoy the most. They bring me the most comfort and joy and they are the closest and most important support group I could ever ask for. Life can be challenging at times so they are really important to me as they bring me strength and support, and provide me with my greatest happiness! 🙂 Family and friends are everything.”

What’s a typical day in your life with MS? 

“Before I was diagnosed I had symptoms that I remember going back about 10 years before my diagnosis, the main one being fatigue which is a major factor in MS. I was much younger at the time barely heading into my twenties and remember thinking how that extreme fatigue I felt seemed out of the ordinary for someone of my age. Being one of my only symptoms back then that I was experiencing, I went to several different doctors trying to figure out the underlying problem but no outcome was ever found. It wasn’t until I suffered my first severe MS attack in 2010 that I finally learned where my extreme fatigue issue had unfortunately manifested from. Since being diagnosed and having my first attack, which is typically a cluster of numerous and varying MS symptoms, most symptoms have mild down but some have stayed and lingered until this day and new ones have unfortunately manifested as well. Every day is different in the life of someone with MS so I try to handle each day as it comes. Positive outlook is always key.”

I learned to appreciate some of those little things in life that I was not able to see clearly before my diagnosis.

How did you first learn that you have MS? How has this changed your goals & dreams?

“My diagnosis 6 years ago was the hardest, most difficult, confusing time in my life. With no warning whatsoever one day I woke up to go to work as usual, but noticed my right toe was numb. As the day went on the numbness spread to the rest of my toes, then my foot, then my ankle, and before the end of my work day my entire right leg was completely numb. Later that evening that numbness spread to my other leg, up my torso and then to my right hand. I had no feeling in my legs which led me to be unable to walk. Unfortunately, I also lost partial vision in my left eye, along with other various symptoms that were also just as difficult to deal with. Everything just came at once.  After numerous tests and MRI’s and Lumber Puncture procedures, I laid in my hospital bed not knowing what my diagnosis would be. The prognosis was Multiple Sclerosis. At the time I had no previous knowledge what this illness was. I soon would learn everything about it. But the hardest part to hear was definitely the NO FOUND CURE part of it. It was hard to take in. I thought and knew my life would now somehow change forever and it most definitely has. There is a positive to this though…knowing that every day is a gift is important and everyday should be lived to the fullest. I learned to appreciate some of those little things in life that I was not able to see clearly before my diagnosis. After months of my first attack I regained the feeling in my body and regained my vision as well, but I was left with the lingering affects of the attack which involved muscle weakness and strength. That’s something I work on everyday to overcome and make great strides in.”

How do others react when you tell them you have MS?

10251932_10203852524886140_2105025862218438588_n“If I don’t tell someone directly that I have MS they would never know. I look completely healthy and good on the outside, but the story of what my body is fighting inside is another. The two reactions I mostly get is from those who know what it is and immediately tell me to stay strong and those who like me when I was diagnosed have no idea what  MS is so they ask and I gladly fill them in. Awareness and education of this disease is very important and I try to do my part in educating people about the different signs and symptoms. The sooner treatment is acquired for an individual the better and the more manageable this disease is, before permanent damage is too late.”

What do you want people to know about MS?

“What I would like people to know about Multiple Sclerosis is that even though there is no known cure for this disease, it is not a death sentence. Even though no two people that have MS are alike, this disease is very manageable so one can live an almost normal, average life once treatment is successfully started.”

What can people do to help? Is there hope for a cure?

The National MS Society is the absolute best place to help in anything related to Multiple Sclerosis including information about disease, symptoms and diagnosis, treatments of MS, Resources and Support, Health and Wellness, Research News & Progress and how to get involved including how to donate and volunteer for fundraising events such as the “Walk MS” that is held in different cities across the U.S all throughout the year. I myself have participated and lead my own team, the “MS Fighters”, for the past 4 years. I hope to continue to do so until a cure is successfully found!”

66063_553128098037217_1183700010_nWho has been your support & how have they been there for you?

“As I mentioned before, my family and friends are my best support. The bonds we have with our friends and family are linked to our happiness and overall well-being. They bring us joy during the good times and support during the challenging ones. When you have Multiple Sclerosis you need these relationships most of all so I am very lucky and grateful to be able to have this in my life.”

Do you have any words of advice or encouragement to share with others who are living with MS?

“Learning to cope with MS is challenging and can be a stressful experience, not only for yourself but your loved ones, but no matter what, try your hardest to strengthen and maintain those bonds. This is what will keep you in the positive..That love and support is what will get you through the most difficult of times.”

Lastly, what does the future hold for you?

“I’m not sure what the future holds for me and that can be scary, but it can also be hopeful at the same time. Comparing MS now to twenty years ago, we have advanced so much in medical research and treatments that has improved quality of life. Disability isn’t something we have to fight against much longer, which means that in just a few years more advanced treatments will come out and the quality of life will get better in time. I’m hopeful that a Cure will be found in the process. I will stay positive until then and I will not let this disease defeat me. I will FIGHT for a Cure. There is power in positive thinking!”

You can follow Itzy on her YouTube Channel:My Life Living with MS.