32 goals for 32

Birthday Goal Setting!

I just turned 32. Which is crazy. I did not think I would live to be in my 30s. As a teenager I was so convinced I wouldn’t live very long. Life felt so temporary. And now I feel the complete opposite. I want to live forever! Since my change in thinking I have started reprioritizing my goals and now I like to make a list every year on my birthday of everything I want to accomplish before the next birthday! I love to do this to challenge myself and to better create the person I want to be. I think 2020 was difficult because I had to put a lot of dreams on hold (going to Bali, going to Madagascar) But I think it was also good to refocus my goals and look more inward and focus more on things that I think were very beneficial. Including making my Oracle Deck on Self Help. Love Thy Self Oracle available HERE.

My plan is to come back to this list periodically and update and cross off goals. I think all these goals are completely do able and some of them may take longer than others. Some are one day projects and others could take several months. What are on your goals for this year in your life? Who do you want to be?

32 goals for 32

  1. Run a Half Marathon
  2. Compete in a Bikini Competition
  3. Read 50 books
  4. Create a (another) Tarot Deck
  5. Create an (another) oracle deck
  6. Start a Podcast
  7. Write a book
  8. Go to Bali ( or another big trip)
  9. Get a new fitness certification
  10. Create dolls of everyone I know
  11. Show my art in an art gallery
  12. Make a quilt
  13. get a tattoo apprenticeship
  14. Sell my art at a public event ( Craft show)
  15. Bake Vegan Cup Cakes from Scratch
  16. Do 1000 burpees
  17. Attempt MURPH
  18. Bake bread from scratch
  19. Run a marathon
  20. Do the splits
  21. finish my Alice in Wonderland Tattoo
  22. Write Graphic Novel
  23. Run Every Week
  24. Design a gym bag
  25. Be a better vegan
  26. write a song
  27. Make a goldfish purse
  28. Sell online fitness classes
  29. Create online course
  30. handstand
  31. Get Dance Certification (Zumba? 305?)
  32. Make more art!

I am pretty excited for this year. I feel blessed for my life and I love everything I get to do. I make a lot of art. I work out a lot. I honestly don’t “work” much and that feels really awesome. I don’t feel like personal training is work. I also make art and I guess I make money doing that but it also don’t feel like work. I feel so fortunate. Sometimes I feel bad like maybe I should work more. But I am also working on buying less useless things and spending more money on experiences instead and I think I am doing a good job with that. I do like to buy clothes but I have gotten better at closet trading and things so I don’t have to always buy new things or support fast fashion. I would like to save more money and maybe save up for a big trip, like yoga training in Bali. But I don’t feel like I need to make more money but I do think if I focus more on my projects and put more into my blog and my art I will make more money anyway. Follow your passion right?

Reflecting on last year, I am proud of how much I have grown. I have focused more on friendships that make me feel good about myself. I have stopped trying to be other things for other people. I have really tried to spend this year healing.

31 was mostly good to me. I am glad I focused on more art! I created the Cats in Space Tarot Deck. I learned to pivot and start training virtually! Still wearing sparkles, still loving balloons. Heres’ to this next year! Lets make this one our best one yet. XO

You Should Go Vegan

It’s Nutrition Wednesdays and I want to give you all the reasons to go VEGAN!


Simply put, veganism is abstinence from the use of animal products in both diet and lifestyle.

The main reasons to go vegan

  1. animal welfare issues and the objection to using animals as commodities
    1. First of all. You can’t really call yourself an “animal lover” if you eat animals. There has been such a disconnect in recent years away from what we are actually eating. Do you know what’s in your food? Do you know how the animals you are eating are killed?
  2. environmental issues directly associated with animal agriculture (such as air pollution and contaminated drainage from factory farming into water supplies) and to help lessen our over consumption of resources including land, water, and fossil fuels
    1. If you care about the environment the EASIEST , FASTEST and more EFFICENT way to cut down on your impact on the environment is to go Vegan
  3. adopting veganism as a part of the solution to world hunger by more efficiently using our planet’s food resources

I became Vegan in February 2018 and it’s been awesome.

  • Following a plant-based diet is healthy for our bodies and the environment. I have was less IBS and intenstinonal issues since becoming vegan!
  • In this day and age we simply do not require animal products for sustenance, clothing, or shelter. We have WAY better alternatives, The cool thing about human beings is our ability to adapt and design and create. The science we have today is so cool. We can create anything we need synthetically!
  • We are currently wasting mass amounts of resources by using them to support the growth of animals we intend to kill. These are resources that could be used to feed undernourished people in the world and could be part of the solution to famine. It’s crazy that we are cutting down rainforests to make more room for cattle to keep up with the demand for beef, when we can grow chick peas, edamame, and other high nutrient foods that could not only feed more people, they would use WAY less land and resources to produce.
  • Things have changed drastically since our hunter-gatherer days. We’re now producing such a vast quantity of animal products that we are decimating our natural resources and destroying our environment. Widespread veganism is now fundamentally crucial to our survival as a species. Eating meat clogs arteries and causes SO many health issues. I have seen people overcome cancer, battle alziemers and fix hereditary health issues simply by switching to a vegan diet. it’s not rocket science, its basic fact.
  • All animals are sentient beings and are capable of feeling pain and a wide range of emotions including fear, sadness, and loneliness. What is the difference between a puppy and a piglet? Your moral choice? Why do you get to pick WHAT has more value? If you feel disturbed at the idea of animal abuse against dogs and cats, you must try to understand that cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals used for food production are no different. Have you ever hugged a cow? I grew up in dairy and cattle country in New Mexico where our largest export is MEAT, and let me tell you I have seen large cattle farsm and small cattle farms and met MANY different cows. The recognize you the same way a dog does, and I have met several cows who walked right up to me excited to get a hug. No joke, just like a dog or a friendly cat. Food production animals are being abused and tortured, and that is putting it lightly. I have seen “humane” cattle farms, they treat those animals like a product, the goal is only to keep them alive to make money. I have seen this up close. When you spend money on meat, eggs, dairy, animal based products, products that employ animal testing, animals at entertainment, etc., you are effectively saying to that company “I support what you are doing”, and what they are doing is abusing animals for profit. If you care for the wellbeing of living things, I don’t know how you can eat meat.

It’s crazy the misinformation out there about Vegans, and it’s also crazy the lobbying campaign against veganism. The dairy industry spent lots of $$$ to convince people milk was good for you. It’s not. Cow’s milk is not designed for human consumption. There are scientific studies proving healthy issues related to humans drinking milk. Cow’s milk contains on average about three times the amount of protein than human milk does, which creates metabolic disturbances in humans that have detrimental bone health consequences, according to a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Also with Oat milk, Soy milk, Almonld milk etc, why drink cows milk when we have AWESOME alternatives that don’t involve forced insemination of cows and then taking away their babies. In order to force them to produce as much milk as possible, farmers typically impregnate cows every year using a device that the industry calls a “rape rack.” Did you know once a cow stopped producing milk they just chop it up, and cows are known to stop producing milk out of SADDNESS, they miss their babies. Why support that? Just get a milk alternative! More info on this HERE

I am not trying to shame people who eat meat, I am trying to open your eyes to the truth. The meat and dairy industry go out of their way to hide how animals are treated so you keep eating your burger. I urge you to do more research on it. If you could Cull a chicken, then go ahead eat your meat, but if any of this makes you squemish, I urge you to look at your food choices. You make such an impact with your fork.

More Vegan resources HERE


One of the biggest this that hold people I know back from becoming Vegan is not knowing what Vegans eat. But here is the good news, a lot of the food you are ALREADY eating are vegan! Isn’t that awesome? There are so many amazing vegan foods out there, you may be surprised by just how many options there are! Here’s just a few examples of some of the foods vegans eat:

  • every type of fruit: apples, oranges, berries, mangoes, pineapple, grapes, papaya
  • every type of vegetable: asparagus, kale, broccoli, carrots, celery, zucchini, spinach
  • nuts and seeds: almonds, cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, almond butter
  • carbohydrates: potatoes, pasta, bread, bagels, pitas, wraps, rice, quinoa
  • beans and legumes: tofu, edamame, hummus, black beans, chickpeas, lentils
  • non-dairy milks: coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, hemp milk, oat milk
  • chocolate: many varieties of dark chocolate as well as non-dairy milk chocolates made from coconut, soy, or rice milk
  • junk food: fries, onion rings, chips, cookies, cake, candy (check the ingredients, many of these products are only incidentally vegan)
  • dairy alternatives: coconut ice cream, almond and coconut yogurt, coffee creamers, vegan cheese and cream cheese, vegan butter
  • meat alternatives: tempeh bacon, veggie burgers, deli sandwich slices, vegan sausages, holiday roasts

As interest in the vegan movement continues to grow, being vegan becomes easier every day. When I first became a vegetarian (in around 2000) It was slim pickings, but it’s almost like every day there are MORE and MORE options. And people going out to eat at restaurants and asking for Vegan food is helping grow the DEMAND and thus the SUPPLY.


If the food is completely unprocessed, any fruit, vegetable, nut, seed, bean, or legume is vegan.

If it’s a packaged food, read the ingredients list. There are many by-products derived from animals which can cause some confusion at first, for example; whey powder, casein, and modified milk ingredients are all dairy products.

If you’re considering adopting a vegan diet, don’t let that scare you! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you learn what ingredients to avoid, it’s nothing to sweat over, you’ll learn it all in time!

A simple tip for quickly scanning ingredients lists: look at the very bottom of the ingredients list for the information on allergens. If the product contains milk ingredients, eggs, or shellfish it will plainly say, “Contains milk, eggs, shellfish”. This doesn’t work so well for meat products, but it really helps when scanning for dairy and eggs.

For more info on Ingredients Lists, Check out our resource: Is It Vegan? A Guide to Ingredient Lists.

You can make almost any of your favorite dishes vegan. Want to know what made me switch to vegan from vegetarian? I perfected the perfect vegan queso! If I can make Vegan queso that tastes as good as the real thing ( Also WAY better for you without the gas too) Then Why would I ever not be vegan.

Whatever your reason or interest in becoming vegan is, I promise your body will thank you, the animals will thank you and the environment will thank you!


  1. order the vegan option next time you go out to eat
  2. replace a meat or dairy option at the grocery store with one vegan one( If you replace one every time you go, soon enough you will have a full vegan shopping list)
  3. next time you get a latte try a vegan milk option
  4. try out meatless mondays
  5. Don’t eat meat on week days
  6. Try meatless options for lunch ( or insert any meal)
  7. Watch a movie or documentary on veganism check out a list HERE
  8. Try a vegan recipe HERE

Try going vegan one day a week! It’s easier than you think!

More Vegan Resources HERE

Veganism – Wikipedia article

The ethics of eating meat – Wikipedia article

Intensive animal farming – Wikipedia article

Why Go Vegan? – The Vegan Society website

Resources – The Vegan Society Website

10 Arguments Against Vegansim – Care2 website

UNEP – 2010 Energy and Agriculture Priority List for Sustainable 21st Century

Visiting Washington

Just got back from a super fun vacation with my love. We were trying to go somewhere before he starts his new job and opted for staying with some family. I have never been to the Northwest. And wow is it green, and wet and overall gray. It sure was beautiful though.

Seattle and Olympia  Trip!

Round trip tickets for $200 each? We were looking for somewhere to go that wasn’t absorbingly expensive. With very little planning and a couple of quick phone calls we had a place to stay for a week in Olympia and a place to stay for a week in Seattle.

Part One :*Olympia*

Very green, a bit chilly in December. Would be lovely weather in warmer months. The town itself is sort of a hipsters mom paradise. Downtown Olympia is home to a host of adorable local shops that bring charm and there are plenty of coffee shops along with MANY vegan options.

Vegan options in Olympia :HERE :

Happy Cow lists 37 Vegan options in Olympia, and I found no trouble finding Vegan food, even most pizza places had a vegan cheese option.

Running Routes in Olympia HERE:

This was an excellent city to run, there is a great little lake that also has a watershed lots of trails.

The only downside was the price of food. It seemed like any where we went it was about $25 a person.

Cost of Living in Olympia seems ridiculous compared to Albuquerque. Rent averages at about $1,000 a month although The people were visting expressed concern that rent seemed to be going up and up and the two bedroom single family unit they were renting in the front fo their house they were charging much more for. Online it says that the cost of living in Olympia is 4% higher than the national average. More Info HERE

On the other side of town there is a shopping outlet and lots of very modern amenidies.

Hipster finds in Olympia Washington :HERE:

Day one: Nice run exploring the lake and local parks.

Lake: Capital Lake Info HERE

Capital Lake is beautiful. It’s a great little run. Also all the Parks that surround seem like great options for families. Lots of playgrounds almost anywhere you look. Map of Capital Lake trails : HERE :

Park: Garfield nature trail park is a great walk on your way to the Olympia Food Coop. They have a little FREE store, where you can get stuff people have dropped off, so if you were like me and didn’t pack warm enough I picked up an extra sweater. Check out more HERE .

We enjoyed a lovely dinner at a cute little café. Walked the town and enjoyed the cute shops.

Cute shops in Olympia : HERE :

Psychic sister was super cool. I bought a vintage coat for only $30. Also Captain little was a ton of fun! Also this Art Store was super cool! I bought some nice water colors.

I have two more parts to this story, The Rest of Olympia and the Washington Peninsula, Also all of Seattle! Check in Next Thursday for the next part!

Have you been to Olympia? What was your favorite part?

Getting into Tarot

I created Painted Tarot

Get Painted Tarot HERE

I love tarot cards! I always have since I was a kid. I find them so interesting! Recently I designed my own tarot deck! It was a huge undertaking. I learned so much more about the cards then I ever thought I would. Do you know how long Tarot cards have been around? Since before ancient Egypt! And the poker card deck you think of s playing cards originated from Tarot!


Tarot can feel super intense and intimating but it doesn’t have to. Break it down one card at a time! and separate it out. There is Major Arcana the 22 cards you would recognize and then the Minor Arcana which is 4 suits of cards.

Here are the Major Arcana from my Painted Tarot Deck!

This Painted Tarot Deck is a whimsical take on traditional Tarot created in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This custom painted deck of Tarot cards is perfect for any reader, collector, lover of art, tarot and all things magical! All card designs are individually painted and crafted by Thea Muehlenweg; printed on an smooth card stock. Cards measure at 2.75″ x 4.75″ each deck comes in a tuck box and come in a full set of all traditional Rider-Waite deck of 78 cards. Each deck comes with a fully illustrated guidebook.

First launched and successfully funded on Kickstarter.

It was such a humbling experience designing a tarot deck. If youre thinking about creating a tarot deck yourself, I have one peice of advice for you…. DO IT! You will learn tarot in such a deeper way. and yes there are a lot of tarot decks out there. I know, but the more tarot the better in my opinion. I personal own over 50 decks, that Ive gotten from other artists.

Here is the Oracle Deck I created. Oracle Decks are different than traditional decks because they don’t follow any specific format.

You can get my Painted Tarot deck HERE.

Designing a Tarot Deck

CREATE MORE. Make a ton of versions and design and choose a style you love and create continuity between all the cards. Find the FEELING you are going for.

I made lots of paintings before narrowing down what my concept was. I wanted to show off my art style but I also wasn’t completely sure what my art style was yet. I had put down art for a long time before doing this project. While I always adored art, I never thought I was very good at it. What I found doing this project is that art is practice. And it doesnt matter if you are good. Looking back on this deck I hate several of the cards. I want to change them, maybe redo them but I have had people tell me those are their favorite cards. I also had people tell me they don’t like certain cards in the deck that I absolulty adore! That’s the thing with art tho you never know what people will like. But you wont know until you start creating, so just create!

You will Make Mistakes

Seriously, I made so many mistakes! But that is a part of the process and I feel so fortunate for every thing I have learned. I talked about this on my friends podcast

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I wasn’t happy with some of the initial paintings when I scanned them on the computer so I enhanced them with photoshop. I was sort of new to using photoshop prior to this project. and what a way to learn softwear!

Make your own deck

Be original, show off your style, and tell your story.

It can seem like a huge project. and it really was. The hardest part was starting.

Get Inspired by my Story

Painted Tarot is the first deck I designed. I was in a bad car accident in June 2019 that turned my world upside down. Apart from almost dying, losing my group fitness teaching positions, I realized life was short and all those times I said I was gonna do things, I either needed to do them or stop saying them. I had been talking about designing a tarot deck for almost 20 years. I thought i wasn’t “good enough” to read tarot. I had purchased several indie decks off Kickstarter and realized that I could design my own deck if I could have help purchasing the initial printing. Since the initial printing costs were around 7,000 I had assumed this was an unachievable dream. But with some hope and faith instilled in Kickstarter I began painting and researching and painting. I went thru several drafts with some of the cards and really struggled with.

Painted Tarot Deck

Hello! My name is Thea and I am the creator of The Painted Tarot Deck. I have been interested in Tarot and in art since I was in grade school and always had the dream of designing my own deck. This year I was in a traumatic car accident and it made me realize how fleeting life is and how important it is to follow your dreams. With this new spirit I created the Painted Tarot Deck. Each card was hand painted with acrylic paint and enhanced using Photoshop. Each Card I created myself. Each card is itself a work of art. I am really excited to share with you the magic of this deck.

The Deck

The 22 Major Arcana Cards are each a magical representation of what these powerful cards represent. Special care was taken to ensure that these cards don’t hold the *toxic white masculinity* of the original Waite deck, more genders and races are depicted throughout this deck. I wanted it to feel more powerful and real using real people as influence.

  • The Suit of Coins represents career, material possessions or finances.
  • The Suit of Wands represents energy, action and inspiration.
  • The Suit of Swords represents logic, words and thoughts.
  • The Suit of Cups represents emotions, intuition and feelings.

This Tarot Deck is unique! There is nothing like it! It is inspired from horoscope, crystals, Astrology, Palmistry, Tealeaves, Reiki, Akashic Records, Numerology, Runes, and more. There is a lot of positivism and optimism in these cards.

This deck is completely created and ready for printing! Initial batches are exquisite and beautiful. The purpose of this kick starter is to fund the printing of the Painted Tarot in larger quantities!

This Painted Tarot Deck is a whimsical take on traditional Tarot created in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This custom painted deck of Tarot cards is perfect for any reader, collector, lover of art, tarot and all things magical! All card designs are individually painted and crafted by Thea Muehlenweg; printed on an smooth card stock. Cards measure at 2.75″ x 4.75″ each deck comes in a ridged box and come in a full set of all traditional Rider-Waite deck of 78 cards. Reading instructions provided as a digital download with card purchase.

These Cards are designed using Universal Rider Waite Tarot deck. Tarot is a wonderful tool for reflection and insight! Read the Tarot cards can open up many possibilities for this amazing tool in your life. There are 78 cards in a traditional Tarot deck — 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor Arcana — which is divided into four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Coins. Tarot has a lot of magic to be anything you need it to be.

Thank you for your support 🙂

It was really a fun and rewarding project. I feel like I personally found myself making this deck.

You can find my Deck on Etsy Here

How to Take a “Before” Photo

Are you starting a fitness journey? Whether its your first time in the gym, the first time back in a while, or this will be you 65th time trying a new workout plan. You are probably scrolling thru Instagram looking at those intense before and after photos and thinking: THAT CAN BE ME!

Let me start by saying this: You don’t have to take a before photo. What?! I know did this post just confuse you? I understand the motivating and inspirational before and after photos, wheather someone super toned up or really leaned out; maybe they lost a bunch of weight! That’s awesome. If you find this motiating personally, that is great.

However, do you at all feel any negative emotions from these photos? What I am talking about here is shame. Are you self shaming yourself and using these photos to stir up negative emotions? What I mean, is that while these photos can be inspiring they also provide a false narrative that your brain can fill in with negative thoughts.

When you see these photos, unless they are of you, you don’t know what that person did to achieve those inspiring results. I am not hating on these photos, I am simply pointing out that they can be misleading and harmful. The person in the photo could have followed a specific plan and had wild success, or they could have been following multiple plans, they could have been over training, they could have been unhealthily restricting, or they could have barely followed a plan at all but had emotional changes in their life that helped them reduce stress. It could have been a little of all this. It doesn’t actually matter. What matters is how it makes you feel.

If these photos are inspiring, that is great. Be inspired by them. But if taking a before picture makes you feel any negative judgment about yourself, tread lightly here. Remember You don’t have to take a before picture. Before and After photos should be for the person who takes them. Some people are inspired by this process, other people are reminded of all the things they don’t like about themselves.

It’s totally ok if Before and after photos totally freak you out. You don’t have to take one, maybe you take one but don’t look at it. Let me go through my suggestions.

My personal fitness journey is coming up in a future blog post…

How to Take a Before Photo

First of all, start with Where, What and Who you want to be. Write down where you are starting right now, and write down what you want to envision for the future.  Try not to just think of physical goals, think about yourself completely. What are your strengths, what are your weaknesses?

If you are not ready to take a full body before picture, you can try taking a selfie. Maybe take a daily or weekly selfie, and with each selfie, I challenge you, to write down something positive about yourself. It doesn’t have to be physical. If you find yourself having trouble, recruit a friend to help you out and remind you, why you’re awesome.

If you are into having a photograph but not ready emotionally to look at it, Take a photo but don’t look at it yet. Only look at it when you start to feel a difference in your body and feel proud. You can set up an auto timer on your phone and take a full body shot without having to ask someone to take the photo.

If you want a photo and this is actually inspiring to you. Take a high quality before photo. Try to wear the same outfit in all the photos you take for progress, if you’re looking for those social media follows.

I have an approach to fitness, that if you love yourself and you love your body, you will achieve your goals. I am selling a workout plan that incorporate self love techniques as well as workouts. If your starting a fitness journey and you want to celebrate this I want you to take a meaningful before photo. If you don’t like body shots, that is totally ok. A before selfie is great too. The point of this photo is to see progress and I want you to love your before photo and accept it.

Your “before” and “after” photos and measurements can be a better way to really see your progress and accomplishments along the way toward reaching your goal. Especially because the numbers on the scale can be so misleading when you’re lifting weights.

I used to take daily photos in my classes, I used mirror selfies as a way to feel more confident. They helped me!

How Often Should You Take Progress Pictures?

The answer I think for this is whenever the heck you want to. This is your journey! You can take one photo every 90 days, once a year, or you can do one twice a day! It really doesn’t matter. You can take a selfie every morning, or every Friday if they make you feel positive about yourself, DO IT!

Photos like this can work as great “progress” photos too!

I don’t like Photos of Myself, What do I do?

Here is a list of other ways to track your progress: especially if numbers are more motivating than photos

  1. Measurements – waist circumference is the best one, and easiest to track. Stand up tall, take a measuring tape to the smallest place on your stomach, without holding your breath just standing natural and neutral. Tracking this once a week or once a month can be really helpful
  2. How long does it take you to walk a mile and also how do you feel? Try walking a mile once a week and write down how you feel after, track that and see how you feel week to week. (If a mile is too much or you don’t have access to a treadmill, try half a mile or try on a bike or elliptical)
  3. Write down how you feel waking up every morning. Do You feel groggy? Did you workout yesterday and feel more awake today? Tracking your energy changes can be really rewarding starting a workout plan.

Full Disclaimer I found a blog post similar to the one I just wrote, so if you want to read more about this body shaming concept behind “Before & After” photos click here. I am glad there are more people out there noticing the issues with this obsession over appearance. I am a firm believer that fitness is not just physical. Wellness and Health are so much deeper and more important them simply how “hot” you look on Instagram.

Learn More HERE

I didn’t want this post to be an advertisement for my new workout plan, but if you like this positive approach to fitness, take a step back from all the ego and negativity in fitness, a urge you to buy my plan. I think you’ll like it, I put a lot of love in it. If you do sign up for my plan I want you to send me an email with your before selfie, so I can help cheer you along the way! My email is popwiththea@gmail.com

How to Plan for the Future

Recently I had a discussion with my mentor about what I want to do. I was thinking where do I want to be in the next year. His idea was where do I want to be in 10 years, 25 years.

As daunting as it sounds to think of the future. The simple act of thinking about this is extremely beneficial.

  1. start with a really big picture.

What do you want your day, work week and lifestyle to look like? Do you want to work 8 hours a day and go home and leave work at home? Do you want a more loose schedule but more hours of your day devoted to working? Do you need structure in your day?

2. What makes you happy?

When are you most happy and fulfilled? Is it when you have a challenging project in front of you? Is it when you’re working on a project with others sharing responsibility?

3. What are you good at?

What do you excell at doing. What are your natural talents?

Once you answer these three questions. You can make an outline of what your goals are.


Where are you now. Where do you want to be in 25 years what are the steps to get there?

Things to know if you suffer from Anxiety

Hello Friends, for this week’s post I wanted to talk about anxiety. I think a lot of young adults suffer from some form of anxiety and I wanted to dispel some myths and show you some coping mechanisms. I start this piece noting I am not a psychiatrist and that these are merely some words for thought.

Picture this: You wake up in the morning, you check your phone, scroll through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. You feel sad about missing your friends party this weekend when you see the photos. You scroll the headlines, there’s been another school shooting. You go and brush your teeth, start your morning ritual, a weight on your chest thinking about what you need to get done that day. Your phone rings, it’s a credit card company reminding you your overdue. On your commute to work, you check your email, filled with offers of things you must buy. You wish your job paid more. You remember a bill you forgot to pay. There is an accident on the main interstate your ten minutes late to work, you walk in your manager is upset. You feel like you’re working hard at work, but you also feel under appreciated. You think about getting a job, but you remember your finances and you feel tired. Your day feels long and stressful, you take your lunch as a way to catch up on extra work you missed because a mandatory staff meeting that didn’t pertain to you. You feel your heart pound as you force yourself to make cold calls, the people you call are cold. You feel small. When you finally get home you feel tired, and hungry. You get fast food on the way home because your too tired to cook. You feel like your life is a cycle. You dread getting up and doing it again tomorrow.

That was my life for three years before I left my job. You can always change your job, change your circumstances. But even changing professions, I still feel a lot of these things. Our society is set up to live to work instead of to work to live. Our society is set up for us to feel anxious and small, chasing the next paycheck, buying the latest thing, posting the right content online. Now, I am not dissing society, I just think we should be aware that its made to make us feel insignificant, anxious and alone. I want to show with this post that once we recognize our set backs we can begin to refocus our energy.

I want to go into diagnosable anxiety, so you can cut yourself a break. Whether your anxiety is passing thing because you’re stuck in a rut or reading this makes you decide to schedule an appointment with a therapist. I want to tell you that it’s ok. All humans should be talking to someone about what’s bothering them, so let’s start there.

Occasional Anxiety is completely normal, we are complex human beings, diagnosable anxiety happens when the fear doesn’t go away and gets worse over time. There are many types of anxiety, including panic disorder – where your anxiety comes in sudden and intense attacks, social anxiety disorder – where your anxiety revolves around social interactions. Risk factors for anxiety include shyness, exposure to stressful events, economic status, being divorced or widowed, being female, and genetic factors. Reading the list of symptoms, we can all raise are hand and have experienced one of these.

General anxiety disorder symptoms include:

Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge

Being easily fatigued

Difficulty concentrating or having their minds go blank


Muscle tension

Difficulty controlling the worry

Sleep problems (difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless, unsatisfying sleep)


The main treatment for Anxiety is Psychotherapy or talk therapy. Other ways that have shown to be very successful are self-help or support groups and utilizing stress management technics, and if none of these treatments work there are medications, there have been studies tying elevated afternoon cortisol levels in the saliva to anxiety. Based on diagnostic interview data from the National Comorbidity Study Replication (NCS-R), An estimated 19.1% of U.S. adults had diagnosable anxiety disorder in 2007. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States.


According to WebMD Anxiety is defined as :A mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. Our society makes worry almost a part of daily life. You probably feel worried right now.  I would contend anxiety has become a natural part of living today. Don’t worry don’t go out and get anxiety medication, I am going to walk you through some life exercise that may help you with your worry.

Number One: Gain Freedom for Yourself

The first thing you can do in your life is gain back your financial freedom. This is the number one thing that causes anxiety for individuals in 25 to 35-year-old range. Finances are hard. We don’t talk about them, but they stress everyone out. You can gain finical freedom simply by sitting yourself down and writing out a budget. It’s really that simply.

I have looked at multiple budgeting Apps that may be helpful, however for myself I have found its easier to use a simple excel spreadsheet. Be honest with yourself about how much you spend. Write out all your bills for the next month, when their due, decide if it’s better for you to break up payments between paychecks. I recommend a simple day planner, where you can plan out monthly the major events, work and social, and plan your expenses based on paying down your debt, having fun and saving money. Focusing on experiences, not buying things. Saving $3 a week will equal $156 at the end of the year!

Ok I know what you are thinking, duh, Thea come on, I am an adult! but let me ask you this, are you doing this every month? Are you planning out your finances each month according to your goals? Are you sitting down each month, giving yourself time to think about the month ahead of you and making conscious decisions about your future? Planning for concerts, friend’s parties, scheduling yourself private time?

Maybe you run your budget and you have $100 extra each month. Save $25 and maybe spend the rest on a massage. Plan that time for yourself. Maybe you have a stressful week at work coming up, maybe schedule in some down time the following week. Have a plan of where your stress will concentrate and give yourself space to release it. This whole process may take only 10 min. But think of the freedom you’ve gained. You give yourself space to know what’s coming ahead. When things pop up, because life happens, you already know what’s on your plate and can plan accordingly. Now you don’t have to become a calendar nerd but find a system that works for you. Make planning ahead a priority.

Check out my besties recommendation: https://inkwellpress.com/


Number Two: Do Something That Alters your Outlook

Now that you’ve sat down and planned out your month, put something on your agenda that freaks you out but puts you closer towards a goal. You want to do stand up comedy? Attend a local Stand Up Comedy Event. Do you love watching Ninja warrior? Schedule a session at local CrossFit or kickboxing gym. Challenge yourself independently with your own goals. Provide yourself with ownership over them.

For my attaching goals and dreams to each month helps me deal with doing things I am nervous about or don’t want to do. If something makes me feel super anxious, I like to schedule something else to take my mind off of it. You have a large presentation coming, plan some thing else big on a personal level that excites you. Divert that frustrated stressful energy to something that will help you step towards your goals. I think My next log post will be on goal setting.

One goal that I am going to work on this month is drinking less.I feel almost trained to go for a cold one when I am feeling overwhelmed and I have created a pattern of behavior. After looking at my finances that’s an area I can cut back. Maybe I will order water the next time I go out instead, or even a club soda. Focusing on drinking much less, I am altering the reality I have created for myself. Alcohol seems a completely normal thing to me, but why? I notice I have been getting headaches the morning after I drink more than two drinks.  Which causes me to sleep in more. If you look at a cycle or pattern of behavior you dislike, evaluate the steps in it and figure out if you can alter your outlook. It’s hard to do self-reflection like this, I’ll admit I am not the best with it.

Number Three: Get Active

Honestly the best way to deal with anything mental is to exert physical energy. Go for a walk, schedule yourself a ten min walk every day, focus your energy on that. Maybe start watching free YouTube fitness videos. Maybe join a gym, do a 30-day hot yoga challenge. Start hiking once a week. Add this activity to your calendar, plan it, schedule it out. Make you physical health a priority. I am not just saying that because I am a Pilates Instructor and a Personal Trainer. I truly believe in the benefits of exercise. Exercise is listed among the first ways to help guard against most aliments in health for a reason.

I am not in anyway trying to trivialize anxiety by saying everyone has some form of it. Mental disorders are a serious thing. I am merely trying to shed light on the fact that anxiety can affect all of us in some way, even if anxiety is a passing thing or something that’s holding you down. I wrote this after battle anxiety for years and watching others I love deal with it and I hope that reading this can help you think a little more about yourself and show yourself some more love and deference. You are wonderful.



“Anxiety Disorders: National Institute of Mental Health; Retrieved from  https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-disorders/index.shtml

“Why Millennials Have More Anxiety Than any Other Generations” Caroline Cook Retrieved from : http://lovework.standdesk.co/why-millennials-have-more-anxiety-than-other-generations

“Most Millennials Are Finding It Hard to Transition Into Adulthood: Report” Miguel Juarez Lugo; Retrieved from  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/most-millennials-are-finding-it-hard-transition-adulthood-report-n748676

“Surviving Anxiety” Scott Stossel Retrieved from  https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2014/01/surviving_anxiety/355741/

“Millennials Are An Anxious Generation, And This Is Why” Andrew Maguire; Retrieved from  https://www.unilad.co.uk/featured/millennials-are-an-anxious-generation-and-this-is-why/

Harvard Medical School, 2007. National Comorbidity Survey (NCS). Retrieved from https://www.hcp.med.harvard.edu/ncs/index.php.

Understand the Facts Retrieved from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety#

“12 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder” http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20646990,00.html#irrational-fears-0

“Benefits of Exercise” https://medlineplus.gov/benefitsofexercise.html

 “Stress Management in Work Settings: A Critical Review of the Health Effects” Lawrence R. Murphy. American Journal of Health Promotion. Vol 11, Issue 2, pp. 112 – 135. First Published November 1, 1996 https://doi.org/10.4278/0890-1171-11.2.112


How to Make Tough Decisions

It has been an interesting year for me to say the least. I left a job last June that I honestly thought I would be there another 10 maybe 20 years. I started teaching Pilates full-time and went back to being a beginner in many aspects of my life and started studying to become a personal trainer.

I learned a lot about myself and I am not going to lie, it was hard. I went from having a secure job with a healthy paycheck and a group of colleagues – to cutting my income by 75% and going back to poor student mode and feeling very alone. Since I was teaching Pilates so much, I had students ask for private lessons, and I felt less confident teaching one on one. So I used my savings to sign up for an online intensive course on becoming a personal trainer. I had gotten my master’s Degree in Public Management so learning the muscles and how the body runs on a molecular level was extremely hard for me, I can make budgets and write essays but understanding science does not come natural to me. Studying made me feel dumb and I was used to feeling like the smartest person in the room. I also swallowed my pride and took a job from my father’s company solely for money. This made me a beginner in another aspect, I had to learn how to do tech support for a world of computers I didn’t understand. I felt like a scared 19-year-old again, back in school, barely making it between pay periods.

I really found myself though. It took time, it took patience – but I finally figured out how I operate. We are all different! I had spent so long thinking I had to fit into a certain type of mold. It’s good we are different. Different isn’t bad. After months of struggle and bad luck something magical happened, I was faced this month with a really difficult decision. I had four job offers in front of me and had to answer the question: What do I want to do with my life?

3 Tips for making BIG Life Decisions

  1. Give yourself emotional space to think through your options. Take a step back and don’t emotionally attach to any one decision. What I mean by this is: view each choice with the same weight and separate your self from it. Give yourself time to process the conclusion of each choice – without emotionally reacting. Gather your feelings and then ask the three most trusted people in your life what they think. Let them give you their opinion and weigh that against your initial response. The best thing we can do when making a decision is to take out your emotional thought and rationalize the choice. It’s also great perspective to hear how your “tribe” views it. (Your Tribe are those people in your life who are your cheerleaders and greatest friends, the people who you know are on your side and want you to succeed).
  2. Meditate on the choices in front of you. Think through all the possible options, even if it’s hard. Process the good and bad things that will happen based on what you do. Also allow yourself to know that unexpected and unknown things will occur with any tough decision. Go for a walk and think about your life, think about the things in your life that will be affected by your decision. If you can go to a local walking trail and breathe in some fresh air, escape your known environment and get in touch with nature. Meditate on your decision. If silence doesn’t work for you, play some music, lay in bed and close your eyes and explore your thoughts. Maybe go for a run or a bike ride. Spend some alone time thinking through your choice. If you’re not the mediating type, make a pro and con list.
  3. Listen to your gut feeling. After you’ve weighed the decisions in front of you rationally and given yourself time to logically think through the available choices, go back to your gut feeling. How did your options make you feel. Yes, make a rational smart choice, but if you felt a negative reaction to a choice, go back to why you felt that way. In the end to make a good decision you have to make the decision based on what you really want, not what you think your supposed to do, not what other people think you should do. What do you actually want? What do you want your future to look like? Make the best decision for you, and make it selfishly, especially if has to do with your future. Your gut feeling is usually right.

Facing four job prospects I had to really think about what exactly I wanted to do with my life.

I had 1,000 questions running through my mind: Should I take a job that uses my masters degree? Should I take a job at a nonprofit again because that’s where my work experience is mostly from? Should I do development because I am good at it? Do I have to do something just because I am good at it? Do I actually enjoy development work? Will everyone from my old job be impressed if I take this job? Should I just take the highest paying job? Should I take the job that pays the highest now or the job that has potential for growth? Should I take this job because it sounds the most respectable?

My best friend asked me: What does it matter what anyone else thinks? What makes you happy? She told me to think about why I cared about who I was impressing and who I was trying to impress. And she asked me if any of that mattered. She was right.

In the end: after a run, after talking to my tribe, after making a pro con list, after thinking about it for a full 2 days… I decided to take the job as a full time personal trainer at a well established local gym. I didn’t take the development director job with the fancy title, I didn’t take the job at a nonprofit everyone has heard the name of, I didn’t take the job that pays well right now. I went with what makes me happy. Fitness makes me happy. Inspiring others to care for their physical bodies, showing people how to get stronger and gain strength and confidence – that’s what makes me happy. This is my life, who cares if anyone is impressed by me.

You shouldn’t spend your life living to work, work so you can live. Live for each day. Follow those dreams people!

Xo- Thea

Follow my Personal Training Journey HERE

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Things I learned after a Bad Relationship

This is a weird post for me to write because I didn’t want to talk about it for so long.

I met someone last summer who I thought seemed really nice. Something didn’t feel quite right, but he had a nice smile. I met him through a work function and I though he was harmless. After our first date I thought that I had really found someone. At the time I didn’t see the warning signs. I didn’t see the emotional abuse. I didn’t see the manipulation. I didn’t notice the gas-lighting.

If you feel you are in an abuse relationship visit this website.

I don’t want to say that I was in an abusive relationship because I don’t want to see myself that way. I wonder how many other people feel this way? This relationship took a lot out of me, and it kind of messed me up. Looking back on it how did I miss all these signs? Emotional manipulation it’s slow, it’s subtle and its hard to see. I thought this man was handsome, I thought he made me happy, though I can’t remember a time when he did.

Signs of emotional abuse include = Controlling Patterns: time, relationships, money; Isolation; gas-lighting, disrespect or humiliation, etc. HERE is a great article explaining it.

The signs I didn’t notice until after:

Sign #1 – The end of the first date didn’t feel right- I felt like my privacy was invaded. But I thought it was because we were clicking. And I just pushed my feelings away.

Sign #2 – He said I love you two weeks in. You cannot know someone enough to know if you love them after only two weeks. Everyone’s line here is different but for me saying the big “ I love you” means something and it should be cherished and cultivated. Not used for control.

Sign #3 – I started to feel guilty going out with my friends without him, as if I was doing something wrong. A friend invited me over to dinner last minute one Sunday and I was lonely and went – and he told me I was a slut and lying about where I was. I was visiting a friends house and she has a 13 year old daughter. But I felt like he was right about me.

Sign #4 – I went on a planned vacation with girlfriends and he made me miserable about going without him. He also made sure during the vacation I felt guilty. The vacation had been planned months before I had even met him, but I still felt like I shouldn’t have gone.

Sign #5 – I never saw his house or met anyone from his life. He told me this sob story about his grandmother and I had no way to tell if it was true. He could have been married with kids and I wouldn’t have known. He knew where I was at all times, and I knew nothing about him.

Sign #6 –  Plans were dictated entirely on his schedule, and I felt as if I could only have plans with him. He worked constantly, So he could rarely see me. He preferred when I stayed at home.

Sign #7 – He made me feel like the close friends in my life were actually my enemies. With his advice I started to turn against them. He made me feel like I shouldn’t trust even my closest friends.

Sign #8 – I engaged in behavior with him I didn’t feel comfortable doing. One example of this was -He would encourage me to drink beyond my limit. He would get mad at me if I only wanted one drink or even if when I didn’t want to drink at all and I felt obligated to get drunk for him.

Sign #9 – We were always fighting and it was always my fault. I felt like I had to watch all my behaviors and act “correctly”. I was apologizing constantly and in the ‘dog house’ for things I had said or done without asking him first. He made me feel like I couldn’t do anything right and I was constantly hurting him.

Sign #10 – He didn’t encourage me to better myself. He thought I should not try things because I would just fail. He didn’t want me to teach Pilates or follow my dreams. We actually had a fight when I was talking about becoming a personal trainer, he made me feel like I was hurting him if I did that.

This is what I learned:

Trust your gut.

Watch out for Gaslighting! Read about it HERE and HERE.

Always trust your friends before someone new in your life.

AND I would literally be dead without my best friend.

He convinced me that my best friend was somehow a bad person, and she told me – he wasn’t welcome at our house. She was scared for me. And I reacted so mean. I know that it wasn’t me, I was being manipulated. But I still feel terrible for how I made her feel. When she was there for me through the whole thing.

I want to write deeper post on gas-lighting and manipulation. But I wanted to see if anyone else ever felt like this. There was never abuse with him, but afterwards I felt abused. I have blocked him on all social media. Every now and then he tries to reach out to me, but I see his deception now. I block and report now.

Comment on your thoughts on this. Have you been through something similar?

Xo, Thea

How to pick your Tribe


A dear friend of mine told me I was one of her “tribe”

I love this concept. You are, after all, like the five people you spend the most time with.

Your tribe is defined as:

Tribe: A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

You can develop and choose your tribe and you should! You should cultivate it. You should nurture it.

Surround yourself with people that impress you, maybe even challenge you.

Find people who support you but don’t just agree with you.

Find people who make you feel happy – not anxious, not worried, pick people who when you think about them you smile.

Find friends who support you, that want you to succeed. If you feel like a friend is routing for you to fail, you really don’t need them.

Be the kind of friend to them that you want them to be for you.

All relationships take work. Put effort into those friendships that really add value to your life.

Great articles on Tribe Finding: