We all have things about us that are beautiful
As I enter my senior year in college, I look back at the people who have really made an impact on my life for one reason or another. And I discover that many of them have been teachers. Not necessarily the kind who teach you to add or write in cursive, but the kind who show you how to live your life.

I was particularly blessed in high school to have some really amazing teachers. Many of whom I still talk to or visit. Because of them, I learned a lot of things about myself: I love to read, I am a much better writer than I think, do what will make you happy not what others want you to do, I am passionate about math, don't mold to stereotypes, argue a perspective you might not even agree with.

Think about the teachers you have had who really made a difference in your life. The ones who go the extra mile to help you when you need it. The ones who teach you more than just geography. The ones who will start a club about something you both love.

Honestly, there is a lot of bull shit that happens in school. A lot of busy work. A lot of things that people tell you that you'll need again and you really won't. And a whole lot of drama. But... if you sift through all the stuff, sort through the unimportant and the essential, you'll find quite a few gems that really do matter. You might even make a friend.

Let those teachers know in some way that they made a difference in your life. That you will remember them. They helped you. I promise, nothing will make them happier.

Feel free to share with me by contacting me via Twitter, via email, or by commenting.

Spread the word, and spread the beauty.

If you haven't checked out my Inspirations page, I suggest you do so. Especially since today's post features one inspiration that I have revisited again and again over the past few years.

The Last Lecture is a speech that was given by Randy Pausch, a man with pancreatic cancer who knew he was going to die, and soon. He created the Last Lecture: the lecture you would hypothetically give to your students if you knew you were going to die.

You can watch the ten minute version of the speech he gave on the Oprah Winfrey show here, or you can watch the full length speech (which I totally suggest because it is beyond worth the hour and forty-five minutes) here.

There are a lot of things that Randy talks about that are really moving, eye-opening, and thought-provoking. It is truly inspirational. But I have come to realize that this blog is sort of my Last Lecture. All of these things that I have been writing about are the things I would share with the people I know and love if I knew I was going to die. Love yourself. You are beautiful. I love each and everyone one of you. You are important to me. Find the beauty in yourself. Take baby steps, and be proud of yourself when you are successful. Be independent. Ask for help when you are struggling. Don't let others define you.

Originally, I was going to write about Randy's Last Lecture, but instead I'll take one piece of his advice and make that another part of my Last Lecture.

"The brick walls in our life are there for a reason."

I believe in this 100%. The struggles we face aren't for nothing. They have a purpose. Maybe it is to show others, or ourselves, how strong or competent we really are. Maybe it is to protect us from another brick wall. Maybe we won't know the purpose for years. This is the hardest part to deal with.

Recently, I have been dealing with a brick wall. And I have no idea what the purpose of it is. But I have renewed faith that there is a purpose to this wall. One day I will discover what the purpose of this brick wall is. And I will be stronger for having dealt with it, and stronger for finally knowing why the wall was built in the first place.

Embrace your brick walls. Climb them, take them down brick by brick, blow it over with a bulldozer. But understand that the wall is there for a reason.

I feel like the purpose for many of my brick walls has been this blog. Because of brick walls I have knocked down, I created this blog. And I couldn't be happier. I am glad to have dealt with some difficult things if this is what the purpose was. Because helping myself, my friends, people I may not even know, is worth any brick wall no matter how high or how thick.

Again, feel free to contact me on Twitter, via email, or by commenting below.

Spread the word, and spread the beauty.


Today, at work, I was reminded of the importance of independence. As my group of Princess Campers took turns using the restroom, one of the three year olds was taking a particularly long time. I asked if she needed help. She said "no!" quite adamantly.

After another few minutes I asked her again if she needed help. "No. I'm fine! Just get out!"

Sometimes were in a situation where where we need to figure out what we are doing on our own. We need to be independent and solve our own problems. We can't let others do everything for us. How we will ever learn if we never have to do anything on our own?

Work hard to do things on your own. School work, your job, practicing a sport or instrument. You will have so much more confidence in yourself if you know that you did it on your own.

After a few MORE minutes I asked my little one for the last time if she needed any help. She walked out of the bathroom stall in just her underwear holding her pink dance leotard, which was tangled and inside out. "Miss Shannon, can you help me?"

Yes. Be independent. But don't run yourself into the ground either. Know when to ask for help. Ask others to teach you things so the next time you can do it on your own. The people around you who love you want you to be successful too. And sometimes you just need a little boost.

Sometimes we need to do things On our own, even if we make mistakes. We can take that opportunity to learn from them. But as humans we need to understand that sometimes we need a helping hand.

Especially if you can't get your clothes on.

Spread the word, and spread the beauty.



It's really important to have goals in life. Long-term and short-term. Goals give us a purpose and a direction in life. Goals help us make decisions.

Nothing is more frustrating than when you are working towards completing a goal and for whatever reason you come to a standstill. You can't or aren't making progress towards that end goal. It becomes discouraging. You begin to question why you are working for that goal?

You want to give up when you can't move forward. But isn't everything worth having in life hard to get? Fight for it. Take a moment to regroup. Create a new plan of attack. But don't stop fighting to reach your goal.

I promise that there is a light at the end if the tunnel. If you persevere and keep working you will start making progress.

Have faith in yourself that you will eventually accomplish your goal.

Don't ever give up on what's important to you. You can do it.

As always please share your stories with me.

Spread the word, and spread the beauty.



Sometimes things happen that are sad or painful or make you angry. Most of the time your reaction is to suck it up and move on. "Cheer up" everyone tells you. Everything will be okay. Things will get better. All of these things are really positive messages to share with someone who is going through a hard time.

But sometimes whatever you are dealing with warrants some acknowledgment. You can't move past every thing in a minute or an hour or even a day. Sometimes you just need to be angry or sad. You can't turn off your emotions immediately.

Don't stifle how you feel. It'll just end up coming back and hurting you later. If you bottle up all of those negative emotions without dealing with them, you won't be able to move past them.

When a relationship ends, a friend moves away, you fail a test, deal with the sadness, anger, and disappointment. After you have taken the time to be sad for a minute, change to a more positive attitude. Figure out how to solve the problem.

You can't spend every minute of every day positive. We all need a moment of weakness. We're human!

As always, feel free to contact me to share your stories.

Spread the word, and spread the beauty!


"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared." -Buddha
Happiness. The underlying theme of my blog has been ways to be happy. By seeing beauty in things you may not have noticed before. By finding happiness and self-worth within yourself. But today is about gaining happiness by sharing it with others.

It's why I always write to spread the beauty at the end of each my posts. When you are happy, making others happy only creates more happiness. Sharing it with others, like Buddha says, does not destroy your own happiness. It makes it last longer.

It is so easy to spread messages of negativity. Sharing stories of our bad days with friends. Telling your parents how your teachers really upset you. And sometimes we need to vent. We're human. We need to purge negativity sometimes.

Just don't forget to share the positive stuff too. Let others know about the happiness in your life. And ask them about the great things happening in theirs.

When there is a smile on your face, do something to put a smile on someone else's face. You'll only be happier when you succeed. This world could do with a lot more smiling. Be apart of that.

This is just another reason why kids are so great. They love to tell you about all the great things that happened to them. They got to use bubblegum toothpaste this morning. Then they had a chocolate donut for breakfast. They're going to a birthday party this afternoon! They want you to know about all of the happiness in their life, and they just can't keep it inside. Stop keeping your happiness inside. Let it out into the world. Let it help others to be happy too.

Share the happy things in your life with me by contacting me via Twitter, sending me an email, or commenting below.

Spread the beauty, spread the word, and spread some happiness too!

So often other people look at us and see us one thing. You're the girl with the green eyes. You are the girl with the big boobs. You're the really tall guy. You are that guy who sings. You're the computer chick. We are recognized by others as that person with that one specific attribute (positive or negative).

It is so hard to not see yourself as that same person with just that one attribute. But take a minute to think about it. You aren't just really tall. You're also smart. You're funny. You are a million other things besides tall. Do not define yourself by one characteristic. And stop letting others define you like that as well.

If we continue to let others, and ourselves, define us in only one or maybe two ways, we become just those characteristics. You become, on the inside, the girl with the nice butt. You are not interesting anymore. You are not funny anymore. You see yourself as the girl with the nice butt and begin to use that as the way you connect with people. Instead of connecting with people on a multitude of levels.

Do not box yourself in. Do not become that one thing. Do not shut yourself off from all the things you could become if you gave yourself the chance. You are more than that one thing.

You are beautiful for so many reasons, not just one. Show off all of them. Not just the one people generally notice. Don't be predictable. Yes, maybe you have fantastic eyes. But blow everyone's mind with your hidden talent: movie trivia. Stop relying on your pretty eyes and take chances.

When you define yourself by one thing, you are giving other's the greenlight to do the same thing. Be yourself in everything you do. Be a dancer, an artist, a mathematician, and the girl who is really short. Don't be afraid to share all the awesome things about you.

You are you. You are nothing less than you.

Share the awesome things about yourself by contacting me via Twitter, by email, or by commenting below.

Spread the word, and spread the beauty.

As everyone I have ever met knows, I have the coolest and cutest dog in the world, Cliffy. Today, he reminded me of the beauty in baby steps.

Since we brought Cliffy home in June 2012, he has been a very special kind of dog. Cliffy is absolutely terrified of pretty much everything. The lawn mower. And loud noises. Any person who doesn't live in my house. The car. Sometimes the TV. It takes him a long time to become acclimated to new things and people. But in the past fourteen months, he has improved so much.

For the first time today, Cliffy stayed home alone without being put in his crate. He watched us leave from our front door, and then he laid on our green fluffy chair for an hour and fifteen minutes. All by himself. He was so brave.

In fourteen months, Cliffy has grown from a scared little puppy into a almost brave... okay really just less scared dog. But he has grown. At his own pace. And he been very successful.

I have taken a lesson from him. I don't have to be perfect the first time. Or the second time or even the third. But I have to take baby steps. We all do. You aren't going to wake up one day and suddenly love every single thing about yourself. But each day you can become a little more comfortable in your own skin.

Believe me. If Cliffy can come this far, you absolutely can too. When we first brought him home, I thought he was going to be a ten year old dog who still wouldn't walk in our backyard alone. Just keep looking for your own beauty, and don't give up.

For those of you who have been reading my blog every day for the past week, think about how you felt about yourself one week ago and how you feel about yourself today. I hope it's a little bit different. Imagine what baby steps you can take in the next month or six months or a year. Remember that life is a journey. It's not just a list of events that have happened.

As always, share stories with me on Twitter, by email, or by commenting below.

Spread the word, and spread the beauty.


Another video that is completely worth the watch. I don't even know who this guy is, but he's brilliant.

He is completely right. I don't know anyone who is ugly. I don't. The only people I have EVER thought as "ugly" have been people that I have found rude, disrespectful, or downright mean.

"We are all born beautiful." This is so true. Every baby is born onto this planet as a beautiful human being. We grow into beautiful children. It is not until we are old enough to judge others that we can become "ugly". And by "ugly" I mean internally. This internal attitude, your personality, does truly have a huge effect on your external beauty.

"The more you love or adore something, the more their internal beauty takes over everything." I love this statement. And I want you to start applying it to yourself. The more you can love yourself (your physical attributes and your personality) the more beautiful you will be not only to yourself but to others.

People always notice those who beaming smiles and happy personalities. These positive and upbeat people are attractive. Not because their nose is just the right size or their skin is perfectly tanned, but because their internal beauty outshines any external characteristics that the media has convinced us is "unattractive". Love yourself because you are kind. You are thoughtful. You have a good work-ethic. You like to help others. There are a million things about you that you should love. Value them.

The best news is that internal beauty is something you can find if you have lost it. If you are thinking to yourself, "I am not nice. I am mean and rude. I am not beautiful on the inside," it's okay. You can become beautiful. You can change your attitude. You CAN be a better person. You know what to do, you have spent your whole life learning how to be nice to others. Just start doing it, and don't let others convince you that being mean is better.

I have so thankful to have see this video. I hope you are too.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter or send me an email or comment below.

Spread the word, and spread the beauty.

As I have mentioned, I am a dance teacher. Every year I encounter new (and old) students. Some you get to watch grow up, and others are already grown when they walk into the studio.

Ideally, you'd like to remember every single student you have forever, but that is pretty much impossible. However, there are definitely some who really make an impact on you. (Side note: if you work with kids, you make an impact on a lot more of them than you think)

There is one student I have become close with in the past year. I think of her as my mini-me because we are very similar. Unintentionally, the first thing I say about her when I talk about her is "I love her". She's in those teenage years. The really sucky ones that people tell you are "the best time of your life". In all honesty, every single day can be the best time of your life if you make it that way, so don't ever believe that once a certain chapter of your life ends that you are no longer in the "best time of your life".

My mini-me is a fabulous dancer. She's a great human being. She's so smart. Yet, she's in this constant struggle to be accepted by her peers. She is never her true self around her friends because she is afraid that they won't accept her anymore. She hides the unique parts of herself and does what she thinks the others will think is cool.

It's these unique parts of her that I love the most. Be different. Be yourself. You are you not anyone else. And you are pretty freaking awesome.

Her struggle with peer acceptance has led her to struggle with self-acceptance. But she is so great. One of the greatest things about her is her work ethic. She never gives up. She never stops trying. She works and works until she is perfect. Admirable. I admire her.

Why do we live in a society where it is so easy to find our faults and so difficult to find the positives. I challenge you find one positive thing about yourself every single day. If your immediate reaction to this challenge isn't "YES!" then at least answer this: why don't you want to think the positive things about yourself? What bad things can come from thinking of something positive about yourself?!

Don't make it too hard, friends. Today, my positive thing is that I have one random blonde eyelash. The rest are black. It's strange. But ya know what, it's also pretty cool. And I'm glad I have one blonde eyelash. I'm always up for a little bit of variety.

So I want you to find your blonde eyelash of the day. Feel free to share by commenting below, tweeting me, or sending an email.

Spread the word. And spread the beauty.


See the Beauty in Yourself