A Lesson From Sunflowers

I’ve always been a fan of “happy flowers,” and sunflowers are one of my favorites.

Perhaps my favorite feature of sunflowers is how they constantly follow the light, always turning to face the sun and following it faithfully as it makes its way across the sky.

I think all of us can benefit by being more like sunflowers… by trusting the process of our lives and having true unwavering faith in something bigger and brighter than ourselves.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Anicka Nadine

A Day In: Los Angeles

One of my biggest fears is feeling like my life has plateaued. I absolutely dread experiencing any form of inertia in my life, whether it be with my career, my relationships with others or relationship with myself.

Having lived in Los Angeles for nearly 14 years, I’m beginning to feel that little nugget inside of me that can’t help but feel stuck. Most people dream of living in the City of Angels, it’s considered one of the greatest cities in the world! 3.8 million people don’t choose to live here for nothing. I truly feel fortunate being able to afford and have this city as my playground, but at the same time, there is that small part of me that feels as if I have experienced everything this city can offer. Perhaps I’ve been bitten by the travel bug, but I just want to be anywhere but L.A.! Rome… Tokyo… Bali? I’ll take it!

It’s reached a point where I’ve seen the Hollywood sign, Pacific ocean, Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive, Disneyland, and other famous Los Angeles attractions so many times that I’m starting to grow tired of it. Change of scenery, please! To be perfectly honest, I secretly feel sick of all the palm trees and the weather being sunny and 75 degrees 360 days out of the year.

I came across the Youtube video above in my Facebook newsfeed a few days ago, and after seeing it, I felt reminded just how magnificent Los Angeles can be and that no matter which part of the world I end up in in the future, it will always always ALWAYS be my home.

Anicka “Angeleno for life” Nadine

A few things I’m grateful for…

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset1) Living in Los Angeles

It’s a love-hate relationship. Love for all the options/activities/food/culture it offers. Hate for all the traffic/smog and ten million complicated parking signs. Nevertheless, I really am spoiled for having such a great city as my playground.

2) Temporary people

As cliché as it sounds, people do come in and out of our lives. This year, I cut ties with numerous people. Some were easier to let go than others. Life is too short, and I’ve learned that there’s no point in tolerating toxic and unhealthy relationships with people who no longer contribute to my growth.

If my gut says they’re bad news, I have to act on that gut feeling (and not question that gut feeling — which is still a work in progress) and let them go. My instincts have been the primary decision-maker as to who stays and who goes, and so far, it’s been 100% accurate.

3) Lifers

Along the lines of what I mentioned above, I am incredibly grateful for my lifers. My family, first and foremost, and my small group of close girlfriends who I’ve known for practically half of my life. I’m blessed to have a strong support system.

On the other side of meeting temporary people these past few months, I am grateful for the new relationships I’ve started with the very few special individuals who I have a very good feeling would be lifers.

4) Getting past the stage of super self-consciousness

My body is by no means perfect, and there are A LOT of things I wish I change about it if I could. Very gradually, I’ve learned to accept that there is nothing I can do about my short legs/thunder thighs and that I will never reach my dream height of 5’7″.

I used to obsess over my scars and stretch marks, and I still have days where I struggle to love my “stripes,” but it’s liberating to accept yourself for who you are.

5) Shit that happens

It helps us grow and appreciate the good. We learn to distinguish between the petty nuisances from what really matters.

6) The possibility of love

One of my biggest fears after my devastating breakup with my ex was not being able to find someone who I can connect with the same level I connected with my ex. I didn’t believe that lightning can strike the same place twice, yet the universe is currently in the process of proving me wrong.

I practically met my dream man. He’s kind, driven, compassionate, gentle, appreciative, and he does everything with intention and purpose. He loves food and travel and adventure… He is the perfect combination of all the attributes I am looking for in a man, which I thought was unrealistic until he came along. He’s such a rare occurrence, like a needle I somehow found in a haystack.

I see a lot of myself in him, and we have shared moments that are so perfect that I still have trouble accepting that he is real. How can a guy like him exist?  And more mind-blowingly, he likes me too?

I don’t know how things will unfold down the road with him, but I’m going to let the chips fall where they may. Love is perhaps the only thing in the world that I will have blind faith on, but I am doing it. I’m trusting the process. I’m trusting what’s next.

What are you grateful for?

Anicka Nadine

Maybe I’m overthinking. Or maybe I just need someone to pat my head and say, “It’s okay, Adrielle”

SunsetIf my brain were a file cabinet, this story would be archived under Times Adrielle’s Big Fat Mouth Betrayed Her.

Let’s just say that I have a tendency to talk before I think. Anyone who spends a significant amount of time with me knows the randomosities that escape my mouth. For the most part, they’re quite harmless, and no consequences are involved.

This is not one of those times. Or maybe it is. You can be the judge.

Last weekend, my crush (am I too old to use that word?) invited me to join him at Hermosa Beach to watch an outdoor beach concert along his friends. I really like this guy. I mean, REALLY like. So much so that I’m starting to think he’s a figment of my imagination. He loves food and travel and epic adventures and Anthony Bourdain! I’ve only known him for a few months, but he has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. He’s genuine, deeply cares about the environment and is compassionate towards others. Plus, he has dreams and ambitions and everything else that pretty much sums up an ideal man in my eyes. Did I mention how intelligent he is? Last Sunday, we were watching the sunset together, and I was thinking out loud, “I wonder how sunsets get their different colors.” And I swear to god, the kid had a legitimate answer, talking about molecules in the air and different light wavelengths… Yes, he’s my human Almanac.

Come on, how can someone like him be R E A L?!

So this past Sunday, we were hanging out, and I made a corny/cheesy comment, which I can’t recall at this point. Much to my surprise, he jumped on board and rode along my corniness surfboard! I don’t know what form of spirit possessed me afterwards. Maybe it was the romantic setting, maybe it was all the butterflies I’ve been feeling nonstop, but all of a sudden, I turned to him, grabbed his chin, positioned my face two inches away from his and blurted out, “I love you for that!”

I. love. you. for that.

My eyes widened, my jaw dropped, and blood immediately drained out of my face as soon as my ears heard the words my mouth rebelliously uttered without my brain’s permission.

WHY OH WHY?! Why did I have to choose those words?! Why not, “I like you for that!” Or “You’re cool for saying that!” Why do I have to say the “I love you” part?

I don’t love him, so why did I blurt it out? Perhaps I’m overthinking this. I said it very casually, so I’m just crossing all my fingers and toes it doesn’t scare him off.

It’s probably going to take a few more days for me to ride out the trauma and show my face to him again.

If I ever do recover.

Anicka “Fat Mouth” Nadine

Live Life Out Loud

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin

There are two sides of me: the free-spirit risk taker and the obsessive control freak.

On one hand, the first Adrielle has grown a reputation for pulling spontaneous mischiefs with whoever she’s with. From illegally hiking up to the Hollywood sign to spontaneously getting a tattoo after a Sunday brunch along the Venice Boardwalk, she is a person who craves adventure, who jumps before she thinks, determined to have those horses run through her veins, no matter how momentarily they may stay.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, the other Adrielle always wants to be in the know. She’s the one who hates surprises, the one who can’t stand being in the dark because she’s terrified of what might happen once she’s left face-to-face with uncertainty and the unknown. The one who rarely lives in the present because she’s too caught up either dwelling in the past or daydreaming about the future. The one who creates timelines and checklists on how she’s going to live her so-called “life.” The one who over-analyzes every single detail and overthinks herself to exhaustion in order to protect herself from a potential ambush.

You see, there are two Adrielles, the fearless girl who lives and the cautious one who exists. And truth is, neither of them has it all together.

When I was younger, I thought I’d have everything going for me by the time I was the age I am now. But the deal with life is, it’s unpredictable, always changing, filled with unexpected drops and loops. And within my brief 23 years of being in this beautiful world, I realized that most people live life within their comfort zone and hardly go near the edge. Why? Because it’s when we walk closer to the edge that life gets frighteningly chaotic and downright overwhelming. Nothing is more terrifying than knowing how quickly everything can fall to crap.

And it is at this stage, when life becomes an uncontrollable whirlwind, that I start retreating, where I sprint back to my unscathed shell instead of pushing through the discomfort and pain. It is at this level where I manage to convince myself to believe that staying within the lines of my comfort zone will somehow grant me contentment. That having a body that has never been chipped or a heart that has never been broken will earn me the most satisfaction by the time I’m six feet under, nailed shut inside that coffin. That not having a scarred soul will somehow catapult me on top of the leader board once my final breath escapes my lungs.

What I didn’t realize is that on a long enough timeline, the survival rate does drop to zero. What I didn’t realize is that none of us will make it out here alive, so I might as well make the most of it, whether I’m in gutter or on top of the world. What I didn’t realize is that those nights where I cried myself sleep, where I felt most vulnerable and raw because of the blows that life throws at me are reason enough for a celebration because I didn’t allow the fear of getting burned and hurt override the fear of living, the fear of loving.

What I didn’t realize is that every shed tear is another battle scar. That every letdown is an opportunity to turn over a new leaf. That every mistake is a lesson learned. That every hurdle I overcame will only give me additional strength for the next one.

From this day forward, I promise to start embracing the mess, to welcome the chaos. It’s time to free myself from the obsession of always wanting control, to let go, to let the ball cross over to the other side of the court. It’s time to ride the wave, to go with the flow, to let the chips fall where they may and live life the way it was meant to be: out loud.

Anicka Nadine