Nolan and I talk about moving to Nashville.

We talk about getting a big piece of property where we can host people, build guest houses and create an event venue. We want a dirt bike track and a creative studio, at our property in Nashville, the possibilities are endless. In our minds, it’s the best place in the world.

The thing is though, neither of us have been to Nashville, ever.

It’s like we have a dream of this place we’ve heard about from afar, and we want to be there. There’s beauty in the mystery of it all. Because there, life is better. There, we will be in nature, away from the troubles of the city and the materialism of Southern California. There, everything will be different, right?

I’m sure as you were reading that you laughed because we all know there is no perfect place here on earth.

But I can tell you one thing. This hope that we have for a better place, this dream that we have together, it fuels us. It makes us save money, it makes us work hard now, hoping that our hard work will one day pay off. It gives us something to look forward to in life, and I think that’s important whether or not it actually happens.

We obviously know that life no where is perfect, and the same troubles that we have here in LA can and probably will follow us anywhere we go. But we can dream can’t we? Isn’t it important to dream? To hope?

On a larger scale, this is what heaven is to me. It’s my hope for a better tomorrow. That one day, all of our suffering, anguish and hardships will be redeemed when we meet our maker. It’s a hope that allows me to be ok with the imperfections of this world, because I know this is my temporary home.

Heaven gives me something to work for. It’s the song in my heart. It’s the place I ache for. An ache deep down in myself that I’m not even aware of most of the time. It’s apart of me. It’s apart of you. We long for, we ache for perfection. We search for it high and low.

We look for it in money, relationships, power, status, physical appearance, we look for it in Nashville :) We will continue to search and search but never find it here.

This world never promised to fulfill us. Why do we think it should?

Time and time again we search. We work our entire lives searching, trying to get as close as we can to that perfection we long for.

Heaven is my hope. God is my hope. Jesus is my hope.

One day, we will meet perfection.

But until then, I’m going to keep dreaming of Nashville.

PS- I’m actually headed to Nashville tomorrow morning for Story Conference! Anyone out there want to meet up? Let me know!! 

29. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: Randomness | Leave a comment

The Physical and the Emotional

It’s interesting to me how physical spaces so closely have an effect on our internal being.

The internal and the external. They are so connected.

Tonight Nolan and I moved the last of my things out of my old office space in Burbank. As we were cleaning up and carrying the last things our of the office, I got sad.

It feels like just yesterday Nolan and I were painting the office white. When we first moved into that space, the walls were a dark green and red. It was dark and dreary. Not the best creative environment.

Nolan and I got in there, painted everything white and brightened up the space. Together, we turned it into a creative and happy place.

It was in that studio I planned and created the very first Yellow Conference. I got the idea for Yellow just a few weeks after moving in.

And now, I’m leaving that space.

We had movie nights in there and get togethers, Yellow team meetings and workshops. Such a defining place for the early stages of my career.

It’s interesting to me that a space like this could have such an impact on me. It’s just a physical space, but it holds so many memories.

I often think about my freshman dorm. What would it be like if I went back there? Would memories come flooding in when walking into the space? Do memories live in these spaces and aren’t activated until we physically run into them?

Spaces and memories have always fascinated me. Maybe it’s because I grew up moving so much. I lived in so many different houses and went through different phases of life in each of them. Each house holds memories that would not probably even be triggered unless I physically stepped inside these places. I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few of the houses I lived in growing up. Each time I’ve visited, nostalgia floods over me.

It makes me think about the people who have lived in the home I now live in. Do their memories exist here? Do they float through the air, non-existent to me, but existing to those who have lived here in the past?

Ok, this post took a bit of a weird turn, but my point is, spaces have a way of defining times in our lives. Good and bad. The physical space can be a marker of an emotion, a memory, a phase of life. The physical effects the emotional.

So now, as I move into my new Downtown office space, I’ll always look back with fond memories on the little Burbank studio. Who knows what new memories are waiting for me in the new space. The new opportunities, the new phases and the new emotions that will exist and be built there.

I’ll continue to remember. I’ll continue to look forward. Allowing the memories and the emotions to come and go as I walk through my life.

29. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge | Leave a comment


I was never the kind of girl who dreamed of her wedding day.

I didn’t have the colors picked out, I never thought about location or how many bridesmaids I wanted to have.

All I really ever wanted was to have a really awesome party.

Our wedding was just that. It was an epic dance party with lots of love, happy tears, prayers, celebration and beauty in all forms.


The funny thing is, both of us had no idea what we were getting into that day. People try and prepare you, we went through pre-marital counseling and had some great mentors in our lives telling us how marriage is not a walk in the park. We knew that going into it.

I think the main thing about marriage I didn’t realize going into it was just how much of an impact you have on each other. Nolan’s stress levels rub off on me and vise versa. If he’s stressed, I feel it. If I’m worried, he feels it.

You also have no idea how the person you jump into marriage is going to change over the next 10 years. You don’t even know what they’re going to be like in 1 year! You will change. Your spouse will change. It’s something you can’t control. And who they change into is not up to you. That’s a scary thought!

I’m thankful everyday Nolan has grown more and more into a man who loves me better, supports me and encourages me to be who I was created to be. I hope I’m doing the same for him.


But we can’t predict the future.

Circumstances happen, they have the ability to rock us and shake us to the core, changing the kind of people we once thought we were.

I have to admit, sometimes I fear the worst. I think, “what if we get into a car accident and Nolan is paralyzed from the waist down? He would become completely dependent on me and others. How would that effect him?” When I was in college I watched a family close to me experience a similar situation. The man who was paralyzed changed from being a fun, loving and encouraging man, to a very, very angry one. Angry towards God and the world around him. And I don’t blame him. I can’t even imagine the pain he was experiencing deep within himself. It was extremely hard on his family and equally hard on his marriage.

I pray and hope that doesn’t happen- but I know it could, and who knows how Nolan or I would change or act when placed a situation like that? I can hope that we would be able to find God and find good through those times, but I’ve seen enough good people change that I know I can’t even trust myself to do that, let alone my husband. I realize this probably sounds extreme, but I also know life is unpredictable, and my mind wanders to these places.

And honestly, I think it’s healthy to think about these things.

Far too often we romanticize marriage, finding a soul mate, or finding the “one” who completes you.

When in reality, that just doesn’t exist for anyone. Even if you found someone who “completes” you at that moment in time, who knows how you or that person will change to what circumstances will arise that will change the way you see the world and in turn, the way you see that person.

We are a fickle species, never satisfied and always changing. There’s no way one person could constantly make us feel whole. I sure know I can’t do that for anyone, and no one is going to do that for me.

This may sound harsh, but there’s no such thing as “the one” for you. Stop looking for it, because he or she will never come. Nolan and I all the time talk about how we could have married other people, and probably ended up having perfectly fine, happy lives with someone else. But we chose each other on that day we said our vows. We said, “hey, I love you so much that I want to do my life with you. I choose you to be my partner in crime and go through this life together. I’ll stick by you through think and thin, you do the same for me.” It’s a beautiful thing when two people can come together knowing that neither of them will ever satisfy each other, sometimes it’s the complete opposite, but despite that, we are choosing to do life together. It’s that simple.


So for me, remembering and reminding myself that we don’t know what the future holds and how it will effect us, helps me to let go a bit of the tight grip of control I want to have over my relationships with my husband.

One thing I tell my friends when they are getting married and ask me for advice (since I’ve been married 4 years I’m obviously an expert) is this: let them be themselves.

You can’t control them and you never will. You can encourage, you can be a support when they’re moving in a good direction, and a voice of reason when you think the opposite. But when it comes down to it, you can’t try and change who they are. It’s toxic.

Oftentimes, I find when I try and manipulate or control Nolan into being what I think he should be at that moment in time, it’s usually when I’m feeling very insecure in myself. Our insecurities come out in strange ways in a marriage. But I know, if I’m trying to tell Nolan what to do or putting him down for the person he is, it’s always because deep down I’m feeling those things about myself. If I’m saying to Nolan, “why don’t you ever stand up for yourself at work??” It’s usually because I’ve been feeling like I need to stand up for myself in my job.

I find the more secure I am in myself, the better my relationship with my husband is.

I’m more ok with his flaws because I’m ok with my own flaws. I can support and encourage him because I feel good about where I’m at in life, and vise versa.

Marriage is a vulnerable thing. It’s awesome, it’s hard, it rocks sometimes and sometimes feels like the worst thing ever. It can be the life of you or it can be the death of you.

So I’ll end with a few things.

If you’re not married and you have a desire to be one day: (Side note: I’m a huge believer that NOT everyone was made for marriage nor do they need to feel pressure to get married. Some people have the desire and some don’t! Both are ok!) Make sure you look at how a person makes decisions. How have they changed, grown and been shaped throughout their life. Listen to their life story and pay attention to their ethics, morality and character. Because when those are solid, or they are working at growing and changing into making them as solid as possible, chances are they will continue that behavior. People generally continue to go in the direction that they’ve been going in. Is that direction a place you’d like to go too? Is this someone you actually want to do life with?

If you are married: I’m no expert, but I do know the one thing that works best for me in my marriage is to work on my own passions and support my husband in his. Don’t lose yourself in any relationship. Have separate dreams, have dreams together, make sure you are working on yourself first. The more secure you are in yourself, the better spouse you will be. For me, working towards my own dreams helps keep me fulfilled and growing. It makes me feel empowered and strong. That rubs off on my husband and vise versa.

This year has been one where I’ve really taken my career under my own wing and had a vision for where I see myself headed. I honestly believe my marriage has been strengthened since I’ve done that. I love hanging out with Nolan. We laugh together, we love coming home and sharing what each other has been learning. We love talking about marketing together, new tech tools, branding, email drip campaigns and sales. We both are working towards something and it gives us something to talk about. Something to bond over.

Marriage is a huge and complicated beast. Everyone has their own struggles and their own story, which is why no advice fits all. But I can say, letting go of control, letting go of the “soul mate” illusion, and seeing your spouse as a person you’ve chosen to do life with is the best way to create a healthy marriage and relationship. And of course, stop sweating the small stuff, remember to laugh, and don’t take things so darn seriously.



28. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge, Life | Leave a comment


So today is Saturday. I was up late last night so I decided to let myself sleep in this morning.

We then had an event at my church we were volunteering for and after that we hung out with some friends.

All this to say, it’s now 1am, I was just about to head to bed when I realized I didn’t write today!

How sad would that be if I missed just one day out of 30?

I know neither you nor I wanted to see that happen.

So here I am, writing at 1am on a Saturday night (technically Sunday morning, but let’s just ignore that small detail).

It’s interesting to me how easy it is to get off track with discipline.

Things we once knew to focus on, we slowly forget.

We hear the same things being said a million times in a million different ways throughout our lives, but the reminders, the repetition, and the play on words is really what we need.

Today, I almost forgot to write. I’ve been doing it for I think something like 12 days now. Seems like that would be enough for me to remember to do it every day.

But all it takes is a small schedule change, some traveling, or a difference in your routine to get you off track. At least that’s what happens with me.

This is why we need to remember that our words, even if we’ve heard them before or told them to someone else before, are not in vain. Because we always need reminders.

Life is filled with daily disciplines. Some days I feel much more confident in my own skin. That’s been a journey that’s taken me a long time to get to. But other days, I feel like that 16 year old self conscious high schooler who hated her body. Now those days come far far less often then they did when I was 16, but my point is I still, after 10 years of being told and telling myself I’m beautiful and to love myself as I am, it’s still a battle. It’s still something that haunts me, and as I hope one day I’ll be at a point where these thoughts disappear completely, I’m sure I will still be fighting the battle when I’m an old woman.

Life is a daily struggle. Just because we’ve heard or done something before doesn’t mean it will continue.

Success is the same thing. Once you have it, doesn’t mean it will stay. Once your business does well, doesn’t mean you can coast. You need to continue to fight everyday for that business, to stay on top, to make sure you don’t fall back to where you once were. That takes daily discipline. We’re never safe!

I think there is also a difference between hearing something with your ears, and hearing something with your heart. As cheesy as it sounds, sometimes it takes a certain life circumstance, a particular interaction or conversation with someone to really make words come to life. To make them mean something to us, to allow them to penetrate our hears and not just our ears.

I can hear my husband tell me everyday that he loves me, but until I see that in action, or until I see him tell me after we’ve gone through something difficult together, it means different things.

We need to experience life, to get out and do things in order to hear with our hearts. We learn through living out our stories. We learn through experiences, and we learn through action.

Again, life, details and disciplines are daily battles. Nothing is ever conquered when it comes to our humanity.

So keep pushing, don’t get lazy. Don’t get prideful. Fight the daily fight. Put in your time. Things get easier, but there will always be another fight to take on.

Don’t feel stressed by this fact, feel called. We’re all here to do something. We have a battle to win.

As for me, I’m going to hop in my bed next to my husband, sleep a good sleep so I can get up and fight a good fight in the morning. Writing will not be forgotten!

Goodnight friends!

PS- sorry if this post doesn’t make much sense, it’s been a long day and my brain is super tired. Feel free to skip over this and please don’t judge my writing ability on this post alone.

Thanks and goodnight.


27. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge | Leave a comment


Fear. It’s a feeling that stops us, protects us, and makes us do crazy things.

I watched a REALLY great interview yesterday with Marie Forleo and Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) on fear, creativity, and Gilbert’s new book “Big Magic“. You guys it’s SUCH a good interview. You’ve got to watch it. The book sounds amazing as well.

There were so many take aways from this interview that left me thinking.

If you’ve seen Elizabeth’s TED Talk, you’ve seen how she likes to personify feelings and human emotions, in order to help us understand them better and learn how to deal with them in the best way.

In her interview with Marie, she talks about fear. As an author, she explains how she is not lacking fear in any way, she’s just learned to deal with it. She mentions how fear is a good thing in it’s purest form. It keeps us alive, tells us not to go into that apartment with that guy, tells us not to get too close to the ledge of that cliff, ultimately, it warns us of danger.

What fear doesn’t understand (she says) is creativity. Creativity is an unknown thing, and fear doesn’t like the unknown. Elizabeth says that she talks to her fear. She says, “hey, I understand that you are just trying to protect me, but I’m just writing a poem here, I’m not going to die. So you can stick around if you like, but I’m going to keep going here, and I’m going to be the one calling the shots.” She talks about putting fear in the car with her, to come along for the ride, but fear is going to sit in the back seat. He’s not going to be able to control the radio, he’s not going to make any decisions, but he will be there.

Hearing her talk about these things reminded me of the quote by Mark Twain, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but acting in spite of it.”

She goes on to talk about how perfectionism is fear walking around in stilettos. It’s a glamorized version of fear. People talk about perfectionism in a glorified way, but what true perfectionists will do is not finish something, or worse, not even start something because they know it will never amount to what they want it truly to be- perfect. That’s fear.

Done is better than perfect. Don’t let the fear of something having flaws stop you from finishing what you started.

Elizabeth says something in this interview I’ve never heard anyone say before, “What will make you finish it is not discipline, it’s self forgiveness. Because we all start our projects with the same amount of enthusiasm.” How interesting is that?

Personally, I do think it takes discipline to finish something, but adding in the self forgiveness is really interesting. People often will start something and see that it’s not what they want it to be, or fear what other people will say or are saying about it, and they stop.

But we can’t be afraid of that. The simple act of finishing what you started (flaws and all) puts you miles ahead of most people.

Don’t be afraid of the flaws in your final product. There’s beauty in the humanity of our work.

JUST FINISH IT. Forgive yourself for the imperfections and keep going.

I could go on and on about all the things that made me think in this interview, but one other thing she said that I thought was very interesting was that we shouldn’t start something for the sole reason being that we want to help people.

She said that the reason we should start something is because we need to start it. Because it brings us joy, because it makes us come alive. And THAT in itself will help people.

I thought this was so interesting because of how counterintuitive it is at first glance, but how profound it is when you dig into it.

I think about when I started Yellow Conference. I tell people all the time, I started it because I needed it. I started it because I needed to work on this thing. I needed an outlet, and I needed healthy women in my life, healthy female role models, and I had a deep desire to hear these kind of women’s stories.

I did it for myself. And it turns out that other people needed it too.

I went out to coffee the other day with this amazing woman who is doing some really great things in the world. She asked me a question, “What is it that you see women in LA needing the most?” First off, I’m a huge people pleaser by nature. So when I start striving to please people with my work and what I do, it becomes in-genuine.

So instead, I have to think about what it is I would want, what makes me come alive and what brings me joy to do? That is how I need to make decisions. And if things don’t work out, they don’t work out. We can’t get too attached to our work. It’s not us forming and shaping these things, they are actually the ones shaping us.

Anyways, my 30 minutes is about up here, but please do yourself a favor and watch the interview above. It’s got a lot in there, a lot to think about, but I guarantee it will leave you feeling inspired.

Happy Friday y’all!

25. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge, Inspiration | Leave a comment


At my old job, I loved meetings.

Probably because I hated my job.

When my boss would call a meeting I would be so excited to step away from my work for a bit and listen to other people talk. I was excited to step away from my work because I didn’t like my work. Anything to take me away from it was a good thing in my eyes.

Now I’m much less fond of meetings, especially inefficient ones.


Sometimes, there needs to be a meeting. You need to be able to sit down face to face with a team to brainstorm ideas, review, prepare or debrief upcoming or past events.

But I think the thing that bothers me the most about them is that you never really get anything done in a meeting. Even if a direction or idea is chosen, that’s all it is, chosen. The actual thing is not getting done and executed.

Over the past year I’ve started to segment my week to group all of my phone calls and meetings into one day, so I feel like I’m not really missing out on a full work day.

Mondays I try and take care of admin things and errands. Sending checks, picking up things, invoicing, bills, etc. Mondays are for admin.

Tuesdays and Thursdays I try not to schedule any phone calls or meetings, so I can hammer through the day and get stuff done with little interruptions.

Wednesday is meeting day. This is when I try and schedule phone calls, coffee dates, in person meetings, etc. That way my entire day is blocked off to meet with people and then I can have Thursday as my day to execute and implement without having to stop my work flow for a phone call, etc.

Fridays I try and leave room for creativity. To roam the web a little bit, to read, to play. But I do end up using this day as another meeting day and day to get things done. It kind of becomes a chill version of my Tuesday and Thursday work days.

These don’t always work out like this. For instance, it’s Thursday and I have a phone call in a half hour and I’m headed to Orange County later this afternoon for a meeting and event tonight. This isn’t ideal, but sometimes it happens this way.

I mostly look at this schedule as how I ideally would structure my weeks. I aim for it, it doesn’t always work out, but when it does, it’s always the most productive for me.

One tool that I’ve been really excited about lately is Calendly. It stops the back and forth communication that happens through email when trying to schedule a meeting with someone. All you have to do is send them your Calendly link and they can see when you’re avail, punch in a time to meet, and it automatically syncs with your Google Calendar! Here’s my Calendly link: https://calendly.com/joannanoelwaterfall/

You can customize it so only the days and times you want available are on there. If you only want one slot open, you can have that. It can also keep you accountable to not fill your schedule up too much if you only allow for a certain amount of meeting slots. I just started using it but I’ve really been enjoying it!

Our time is valuable. It’s what our live is made out of. To value our time is to value our life.

So think about it, and try to be intentional. How do you spend your week? What systems can you put in place in order to make you the most efficient with your time?


24. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge | Leave a comment


I get a lot of emails from both men and women who are looking for speaking opportunities and would like to speak at Yellow Conference.

I think this is awesome that so many people have a heart to share their story and give encouragement and advice to our audience.

At Yellow, we’ve had the amazing opportunity to host speakers such as Jeremy Cowart, Caitlin Crosby (Founder & CEO of The Giving Keys), Sarah Dubbeldam (Owner and Editor in Cheif at Darling Magazine), Vik Harrison (VP of Creative at charity:water) , Lauren Paul and Molly Thompson (Founders of the KIND Campaign), and so many other amazing spirits.

Oftentimes people ask me how I choose speakers for Yellow Conference.

I used to not know how to answer this question, as it was such a gut thing for me (gut reaction decision maker over here!) Something inside me just that told me this person needs to come speak at Yellow.


Now I’ve realized and have been able to hone in a bit more onto what it is that makes me choose a specific speaker. There are definitely strategic things. I try to get a good mix of both inspirational speakers, and practical speakers. I really believe that for people to make tangible change, they need to be both inspired, as well as given practical steps so they know how and where to direct that new found inspiration.CC


One thing I look for in a speaker is if they are able to communicate their thoughts and actions well.

This may seem obvious, but it’s something I’ve had to learn.

Just because someone has done something great or is super talented in one area, does not mean that they know how to communicate how they got there or how to give advice to people.

I find oftentimes with creatives we have a difficult time expressing how and why we do things. We act out of something that is stirred deep within us, and that’s a hard thing to explain to people.

Finding a creative who can communicate that is a rare thing, but a powerful thing to find. It’s personally something I’m  constantly working on and trying to refine. How do I communicate and express to people in a tangible way how and why I did things the way I did them… it’s very difficult!

I had someone tell me once that they went to a very large conference where the founder of Kickstarter was the keynote, and they were shocked to find that he was a terrible speaker! This just reminded me that because someone has done something profound or built up a company does not mean they have the ability to communicate to an audience well.IMG_8593


Another main thing I look for in a speaker is the heart of their WHY. Why are they doing what they are doing? Does it align with our vision for Yellow?

If they are looking out for their own personal interests only, I’m not about it. If they have a deep heart for humanity and truly want to use their gifts, skills and talents to serve the greater good and better this world, then yes. I’m sold. Yellow_2015_Day_1-112


The main thing I look for when I choose a speaker is a genuine spirit. My favorite thing that happens at Yellow is when I can see speakers hanging out for the duration of the conference, interacting with the attendees, and sitting in on the sessions, soaking up the information and inspiration themselves.

I believe when an audience can see that a speaker is a person no better than them, it’s empowering. When a speaker comes off as “high and mighty” and puts a wall between themselves and the audience, that’s when attendees stop feeling empowered, and start feeling insecure. So it’s very important to me that we have speakers at Yellow who see themselves as no better or worse than the audience they are speaking to.

I love this quote from Steve Jobs:

“Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact: Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.

Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

This is what I want to convey to our audience. That the speakers standing up and telling their stories are no smarter, no better, and no more powerful that they are. That’s motivating. That’s powerful. It’s inspiration.

23. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge, Yellow Conference | Leave a comment


I walked into this thinking it was one thing, then finding out it was another.

It was a job I had back when I was in college. The position was something I thought I had always wanted. A growing, established firm with room for learning and a great resume builder for me.

I thought I wanted one thing, when it turned out I actually hated what I thought I wanted.

Isn’t that a scary thought? That we could think so badly that we wanted one thing, then spend so much time and effort looking, searching and longing for that thing, only to find that we’ve wasted our time?

But has our time been wasted? I’m not sure.

What we learn from these experiences shapes us, molds us, and moves us closer into the person we were created to be. At least it did for me.

I hear from a lot of women who long for “something”. They want a community, they want fulfilment, and they want to make a difference in the world. They look at Instagram profiles of men and women who travel and post on Instagram for a living, (or at least that’s what they make it look like). And they want THAT.

The truth is, you have NO idea what someone’s life is really like.

I had a friend who traveled the world for a few months. She was a freelancer, and had the ability to work from everywhere. She took photos of her journey, of landscapes and going out to eat with new friends and old. She posted them all on Instagram and Twitter.

She noticed that people started to say “wow, I wish I had your life where I could travel around all the time and hang out with people.”

Little did they know what was going on behind the scenes. This girl was up until 3am every night working, up early again the next day, on the phone with clients, emailing like mad, and in between the stress and the jet lag, there were beautiful landscapes and delicious meals with friends.

Although to people on the outside might long for what she has, if they actually lived a day in her shoes, they may want to crawl right back where they came from. It wasn’t easy doing what she was doing. She worked her booty off. There were tears, there were frustrations and there were numerous bosses telling her what to do. (People don’t realize when you start to freelance there’s not a lacking of a boss, every client you have becomes your boss, giving you multiple people to please and deal with.)

The reason I say all of this is for a few reasons.

1- You HAVE GOT to stop comparing yourself to people on social media. Like, seriously stop.

I’ve met too many Insta-famous peeps who hate their lives and have gnarly stuff going on behind the scenes. Of course that’s not everyone, but everyone IS human with problems and issues and imperfections. Just like yours. So honestly, your life is no better than theirs. You both live on this earth and troubles leave no one untouched.

2- You don’t know the full story.

It really bothers me when people look at a personal brand, lifestyle blogger or Instagram-er (is that a word?) and say,  “Must be nice to go out to eat and look pretty all day.” Sure, that is totally part of their job. But if that was all there was to it don’t you think that everyone with a lifestyle blog (there’s THOUSANDS if not millions) would be successful and making a living off of what they are doing? I read only 8% of bloggers everywhere make enough money to support a family. Does that sound easy to you? Tears, looooong work hours and lots of critical thinking / strategy happens when you aren’t looking. Sure, the front side of things looks super glamorous, but you can’t forget all the work that goes on behind the scenes.

3- Make the best out of what you have.

You have a life. You may not be where you want to be at the moment, but honestly, who really is? The more I learn about people the more I see everyone is striving for the next step. The next thing. No one is ever fully satisfied, no matter what their Insta feed may show you. We just go through phases of being more and less satisfied- but it’s never full.

I hope I’m not sounding depressing here, but I just want you to know that your life is no better or worse than anyone you are comparing yourself to.

You may think you want that life, but you have no idea what really goes into it.

That life you long for may just be the thing you end up despising.

So be thankful, lighten up and be grateful for what’s in front of you.

It’s something I’m trying to do everyday.

22. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge, Life | Leave a comment

Life Advice from Grandpa.

I woke up this morning to cat poop on the kitchen floor and cat throw up on my carpet.

Do you ever have those times you just feel like nothing is going right? My phone hasn’t been working properly, I’m getting text messages from clients left and right about needing things asap this morning. We’re out of toilet paper. And it’s 8am!

Happy Monday!

I really can’t complain, life is all around good, but it’s easy to get frustrated when the little things don’t happen the way you want them to.

So being that this day was not going as I had hoped, I put on my running shoes and headed out for a quick run this morning. Which I haven’t done in far too long, but I’ve realized how important it is for me to do during stressful times.

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It’s amazing to see the benefits of exercise. This summer my grandpa turned 80. He’s in amazing shape. He could out run me, is sharp as a tack, and I swear he has a 6 pack. I asked him what his secret was. “Grandpa, what’s the secret to aging the way you have?”

“Exercise.” he said.

I have to admit, I was looking for something a bit deeper, like “be thankful everyday and don’t let stress get to you.” But no- it was a quick, one word answer. “Exercise”.

My grandpa credits exercising everyday for the past however many years as the reason he’s aged so well.

It was convicting, as exercise has always been important to me, but I go through phases. I seem to exercise when life is calm, routine, and seemingly steady. But let’s be real, when does that ever happen? When life gets stressful, non-routine, or I travel or what not, exercise is the first thing to go.

I often feel guilty for going to the gym or going out for a run when there’s so much to do. I think about all the other things I could be doing and getting done instead of running.

But the truth is, it’s just the opposite.

Exercise helps us deal with stress, keeps our concentration and allows us to be more productive. So it seems like you’d want to add more exercise into your life when times are busy and stress-filled.

The things that we need the most are often the things we cut out first. Family, exercise, self-care, healthy eating. Man I eat horribly during stressful times. I will go for so long without eating, then eat something I warm up in the microwave for dinner. And coffee. Lots of coffee.

I’m trying to pay more attention to my habits during the stressful times. To build up good habits while I have the mental energy to do so, and then try my best to keep them when life gets busy. To slow down my mind, stop striving, and make good decisions.

Today, my run was just about 10 minutes. I came home, did some stretching, crunches and push ups. I think the entire exercise time took me about 25 minutes. 25 minutes! That’s it! I think those 25 minutes are worth setting aside for self care. And let’s be honest, I can always work 25 minutes later that day if I really had to. But chances are my productivity would be much higher so I wouldn’t even need to :)

So during the busy times, don’t neglect your health. Don’t neglect exercising and getting outside. Eat healthy and make sure you’re treating your body well. Being a young-ish person, I take these things for granted, but I know that when I’m 80 years old, I want to be like my grandpa. And we all know the secret now- exercise. :)

Happy Monday y’all!

PS- it’s been so fun to see a few other people start the #30days30minchallenge! Including my friend Arielle, who is a beautiful writer. Check out her blog here: http://chroniclesofalioness.com/


21. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge, Life | Leave a comment

Sunday Night Chats

I’m sitting here at my kitchen table while my husband (being the awesome man he is) makes us dinner. It’s blazing hot out tonight, even after the sun has gone down. The sad thing is I know it’s just going to stay like this until the beginning of November. Because that’s how fall works in Southern California.

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When you want to be drinking pumpkin spice lattes and throwing on your scarves, the weather says it’s still time for outdoor bbq’s and tank tops.

I asked my husband what I should write about tonight. At first he said politics. But let’s be real, it’s too hot for that kind of talk.

He said he changed his mind and that I should write about the art of living simply. I’m no expert in this area, but Nolan and I have really been scaling down our purchases these past few months. So what the heck, I’ll chat about it and see what happens.

Recently we’ve been trying to think of creative ways to save money, spend less, and minimize our possessions. It’s not easy to do, so thinking outside the box is key.

One way we’ve been doing this has been by getting creative with our meals. When we used to be low on groceries, we would always go out to eat. Now, we’ve been trying to get more creative with our meals, using the things in the back of the pantry we forgot we had, making sure to use up all our fruits and veggies before they go bad. It may take a bit of creativity to come up with an idea for a meal by only using the things you have left before the next grocery trip, but it’s totally doable.


Nolan is really good at this. Like right now, he’s taking frozen veggies, meatballs and top ramen (yes, you heard that right) and making a stir-fry. It looks and smells delicious, even though it may not be what we would first think of when it comes to making a meal.

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My mom has got us on a new kick… if you hold something you own in your hands, does it give you a spark of joy? If not- toss it or donate it. My mom is all about this practice and has turned us on to it recently. It’s not easy for me to get rid of things. I’m constantly thinking about how I could use it in the future. But usually, that date never comes, and even if it does, I usually can’t even find it.

I’ve also been minimizing the clothing items I have in my closet. I read somewhere that if you wouldn’t buy that clothing item again today, then you should get rid of it. So many of my clothes I haven’t worn in years, but have some weird attachment to them. Does it bring me a spark of joy? Normally, no. So I’ve been slowly but surely cleaning out my wardrobe and getting rid of the things I don’t wear.

Obviously these are just small things we’ve been bringing into our lives. But Nolan and I talk all the time about how these small changes have really been putting us in a good mindset. We’ve also been eating in a lot more, which is much more healthy. (I mean, as long as the top ramen isn’t a normal occurrence!)

We have a blast getting creative and cooking together in this little kitchen of ours. It’s moments like this that I’m thankful for. I have a husband who loves me, food to eat, and two cats to keep me laughing and entertained. What a good Sunday night.

20. September 2015 by Joanna
Categories: 30 Mins 30 Day Challenge, Life | Leave a comment

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