Category Archives: Inspiration

In Search of: The 2014 End of Year Video (I LIVED.)

If you’ve been reading this blog a while, you’re probably familiar with my end of year tradition — the end of year video!! OMG. It’s my absolute favorite thing. For reals. It makes me smile and laugh and sometimes even cry (but always in a good way). Going through photos and videos and posts from the year really makes me count all the awesome things that happened. And, sometimes, that’s a lifesaver.

Like this year. Looking back (without really examining the year) I sort of thought the year was a bust. I was disappointed about a lot of things. I was feeling a little deflated. But I love my video tradition, so I carried on anyway, setting out to create a video that was truly representative of all the good that occurred in 2014.

And you know what happened? I sorta kinda knocked my socks off! All this reminiscing about the positive made me realize — I lead a pretty charmed life. I experience amazing things, and I have a fantastic group of friends.

It kind of changed everything about my outlook. And with that, I feel amazing. I really do.

I started this tradition six years ago, and I’ve no plans for stopping! And now I share my video with you. Have a seat, get cozy, and enjoy!

Farewell 2014. Bring it on 2015. Bring it on.

2014 – I Lived from Heather Rae on Vimeo.

Also posted in Ramblings and Rants, Year-End Video Tagged , , |

In Search of: A Vision for 2015 | Release & Renew

In-Search-of-Squid-Vision-Board-2015-1Every year I choose a theme. It’s a tradition I’ve carried on now for about 5 years. And I kind of love it. It’s like my guiding light, my guiding principle for the year ahead.

This time, I spent a lot of time trying out different words and different themes. So many words seemed to fit! Yet nothing felt just right. Until I stumbled upon two words that sort of…settled in the right places.

They feel good. And warm. Like the perfect embrace.

My 2015 theme: Release & Renew

Seriously. Whenever I say it or write it, my whole body takes an exhale and everything relaxes. It’s a gut check. That’s how I know it’s the perfect theme for the year.

I started by looking up the textbook definitions to see what I thought.

Release: to allow or enable escape from confinement; set free

Renew: to make something new, fresh or strong again; to begin again, especially with more force or enthusiasm

I sat down and did a little free writing to describe my feelings about Release & Renew and why they fit my year so perfectly. Here’s what came up.

2015 is all about releasing my light into the world and renewing my belief that I contain that light. It’s about releasing expectations, releasing the heaviness that has been weighing me down, and releasing the shame of missteps in the past year. It’s about renewing my sense of purpose, renewing my excitement for life, renewing my inner glow, and renewing my innate sense of peace and harmony. It’s about creating a year that lights me up from the inside – one that feels warm, soft, comfortable, and right. It’s about realigning with my core values. This year is about taking care of my inner self and my own needs, while radiating my renewed love of self to those around me. It’s about renewing my belief in my dreams, continuing action to reach those dreams, and sharing those dreams with others. It’s about love and light and zest for life.

So there it is, my friends. My theme for 2015. I have a feeling it will guide me well.

Also posted in Ramblings and Rants Tagged , |

In Search of: Goodbyes, Decompressing and Self-Care

It’s been an emotional few days. I said goodbye to an amazing man, I cycled through a myriad of emotions, I closed out another school year, and I struggled with frustration over work and friends and life. I came out of it realizing that this summer is going to be a summer full of self-care.

The man I said goodbye to was my grandfather. The world truly lost a beautiful soul with his passing. He’s been sick for a very long time, and he’s been in so much pain. The last day I saw him, I walked away thinking that it was so unfair he had to live like that. But when the news of his passing reached me the next night, it still felt pretty devastating. He was a wonderful grandpa. He was always full of smiles, hugs and advice. The thing I noticed most in the past few years was that his advice started to change. He used to always talk about keeping up with responsibilities and, essentially, being a good member of the community. He was big on being a responsible person (paying your bills on time, going to work every day, taking care of your family). All good things. And that’s what he would talk about when I saw him. Then, a few years ago, something changed. This was also about the time his illness really started to take its toll. He stopped talking about jobs and being responsible. Instead, he regularly gave me this advice:

Don’t listen to other people. Actually, don’t listen to anyone. Do what you want to do. Do what makes you happy. You don’t have to live a traditional life to be happy. Keep traveling. See the world. Life is short. See and do everything you possibly can.

I think that advice pretty much sums up my view of life. Life is short — see and do everything you possibly can. I don’t know if he realized it, but it meant so much to me to hear him say those things. And I took them to heart. I often thought about them when I was struggling to make decisions or when I was looking for reassurance that I was making the right choices.

There is so much more to say about my grandpa. But I’ll leave you with that. I miss him already, but I’m truly glad he was able to live such a full life and that he was a part of mine.


After losing my grandpa I still had to close out the year at school. It was difficult showing up and smiling and getting things done. But I knew I wanted to clear out everything from the year and say goodbye to some very dear colleagues that wouldn’t be returning next year. So I went in and completed my last day. It actually turned out to be good for me. There were many loose ends tied up and a lot of hugs shared between friends. I would have been sad to miss those goodbyes, especially with my friends that were leaving the school for good.

I was also incredibly lucky to spend the second half of the day with a good friend. Things have been weighing on me lately, and I truly needed time to decompress, talk things out, laugh, and relax. We met up for an afternoon at the movies (Maleficent), dinner at the Cheesecake Factory and lots of good conversation. We walked a few miles to the park near Lone Mountain. I convinced him to swing on the swings with me for a good half hour. Swinging may well be one of my favorite pass times. (I dare you to swing super high and not find yourself in a giggle fit.) Then we played on the monkey bars, climbed the jungle gym and hopped around on the huge world map engraved in the concrete. It was a blast and filled with a lot of laughter. I needed that.


In the end, I’ve realized that I need to spend a lot of time this summer taking care of myself. I need to go to yoga classes and delve into my photography passions and get a lot of exercise and lose myself in making art and spend lots of time in nature and cultivate my friendships and get lots of sleep and return to eating healthy, whole foods. I need this summer break more than I’ve needed one in the past. I’m a little burnt out. I’m a little exhausted. And I’m a little fragile at the moment.

So my theme for the summer is self-care. And I may need the occasional reminder when I veer off path. But I’m determined. And I’m really looking forward to these next two months.

Also posted in Ramblings and Rants

In Search of: Food for the Soul

As the year began, a friend of mine posted on Facebook something she’s planning to do for 2014. Each month, she’s choosing something to give up — something that’s weighing her down or that she doesn’t need in her life. In turn, she’s adding something good each month.

I really love this idea. And, to be honest, there are probably a few things I could give up in 2014 that would be worthwhile, maybe even a relief. So I’m trying to figure out how I could implement something similar in my own life.

My friend’s focus is exercise and activity. I think my own focus needs to be a bit different. I need to spend time taking care of my soul this year. It’s felt a bit bruised lately. The only problem is that I don’t know exactly how to go about this. How does one go about feeling, well….more content? I mean, I’ve done all the obvious things. I’ve spent more time doing the things I love. I’ve worked on being more assertive. I’ve continued to work my way down the bucket list. I’ve upped my workouts and gotten stronger. In general, I feel great. Or at least I should. Because, really, I don’t. I feel, instead, like things aren’t quite adding up. Like life is great…sometimes. And other times, it’s just rather lackluster.

I should probably be clear that I don’t mean lackluster to be a lack of excitement. I’ve got lots of excitement in my life and all sorts of awesome things going on over here. I’m planning more trips (seriously, Australia is going to be awesome). I’m making more plans with friends and trying to surround myself with lots of love.

Yet. Something’s missing.

I’ve found that I’ve been rather hard on myself lately. Everything that goes wrong I’m quick to pin on, well, me. And I keep feeling like I’ve let myself down somehow. The things that aren’t perfect are the result of my bad choices (and I suppose at some point in your adult life, if the same things keep happening, you have to question this). I don’t know. It just seems I’ve been rather quick to take the blame for everything, and the same record goes ’round my head. Why haven’t I made better choices? Why didn’t I do this in school? Why didn’t I choose that person to date? Why can’t I freaking say what I need and then actually stick to it? It would seem there are a lot of, “Whys?”

And I realize this is doing me no good. I realize I have to change these thought patterns. I’m just in a bit of a rut, and I’m not sure how to get out of it. I suppose, at least I’m aware of it. And that’s something.

So all of that to say, I want to choose a focus each month and work on taking care of my soul. I need to turn it around. I need to feel more content and happy. And I need to feel more joy. Not the kind of joy you get from doing amazing things (because I have that joy). Rather, the kind of joy you get from sitting at home doing nothing, yet you still have the feeling of — dam, I feel good; life is good; work is good; friends are good. I am good.

Now that I’ve written all this out, I’m thinking I know one thing I can focus on — these negative thought patterns. Seriously, the negative self-talk has got to go. It’s not helping. I could sit here for weeks and analyze every mistake I’ve ever made, every bad choice. But what good will that do me? It seems it’ll just keep me in the past, rehashing my imperfections. I know it’s better to keep my mind in the present, to be positive, to focus on my strengths and good qualities. It’s much more important to make my current decisions count. It’s much more important to love myself for who I am. Ah, there’s another one. Stop the comparison game. I’ve really got to stop comparing myself to other people. I do it all the time. It’s bad.

Okay. So, there are two months worth of ideas (let’s hope I remember this post next month when I go searching for idea number two).

For January, my focus is this: put an end to the negative thoughts about myself, and turn them around. Turn the negatives into positives. (I’ve got some ideas for how to implement this, so I’m going to hash it out a bit and save the details for another post.)

As always, thanks for being my sounding board. I have always found writing to be rather therapeutic. For me, writing for an audience is oddly easier than journaling. So, thank you. I appreciate your hanging in there with me.


Also posted in Ramblings and Rants

In Search of: My Top Priorities for 2014

Before the new year, I did a bunch of work to plan and scheme for 2014. I usually do something like this each year. But this year, I took it to a whole new level. I joined a group of women to do something called the Holiday Council. My friend, Molly, does it every year, and I decided to give it a go this time around. And let me tell you, it rocked. I got so much out of it. I basically made an entire workbook dedicated to evaluating 2013 (small portion) and plotting for 2014 (large portion). This will definitely become a tradition.

Here are a few of the fundamental things I decided for the new year. First, my theme for 2014 is Daring Greatly. I got it from the Man in the Arena speech given many years ago by Theodore Roosevelt. If you’re curious about the speech (and I assure you, it’s awesome), click here. For me, Daring Greatly is about taking my theme from 2013 (Brave) and kicking it up a notch. I feel like my need to practice being brave is truly a two-parter, and I need more than one year to focus on it. So Daring Greatly means being brave and taking action — it means not only speaking my truth but also living my truth. Digging deep, getting dirty and doing the hard work.

To go with my theme of Daring Greatly, I’ve come up with 5 guiding principles for the year. They are:

  1. Be Connected: nourish current friendships, and cultivate new ones; work to build a few close friendships with the girls; surround myself with “my people”
  2. Be Business-Minded: create a solid business plan, and take the needed steps to successfully launch my part-time photography business
  3. Be Loving: learn to love without expectations and lose the fear of showing that love
  4. Be Adventurous: travel, hike, celebrate nature, and do things that make me feel strong
  5. Be Creative: find ways to express my artistic side that have nothing to do with making a living and everything to do with fun!

I made a list of specific things to do that go with these guiding principles. Things like making monthly random act of kindness packages for friends, having more get-togethers at my house, working through a complete business plan, planning an absolutely amazing solo trip to Australia for Spring Break, etc.

I’m excited. I think there’s so much potential for the coming year! And I’m doing my best to stay positive and believe in the possibilities. So, cheers, my friends! Here’s to making it happen in 2014 — and feeling overjoyed because we dared greatly!


(This photo was taken atop a rather large random rock at Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada, perhaps my favorite place in the state!)

Also posted in Hiking, Las Vegas Hikes, Ramblings and Rants Tagged , , , , |