I'm Annie. And I haven't always cared about the planet.
I grew up in a normal family. We recycled and tried not to litter, but we also ate McDonald's and sometimes forgot to turn off the water when we brushed our teeth. I grew up like most people my age. Normal.
We had a few pets growing up, but I wasn't a huge animal person. In college, I went to Buffalo Wild Wings so much that the waitress knew me by name. Until one day...
I got a dog. She changed my world (now I understand you crazy dog people!). In 2014, my boyfriend (now husband) bought me a Time Magazine called "The Animal Mind" because it had a cute dog on the front. I read it. There was a section on factory farms. I had some questions. So I Googled "What is factory farming?" And that's the day my life changed.
The images I saw online will never be erased from my head. I was in complete shock. How had no one told me where my food was REALLY coming from? I watched all the documentaries. I read all the books. I turned to social media to find vegetarians who could show me what I should eat because meat was no longer going to be apart of my diet. I just couldn't stomach it anymore.
It turns out most vegetarians on YouTube and Instagram are also vegan. In turn, I learned the truth behind the dairy and egg industries, as well. I gave it up for good in 2015.
Over time, I began to find out more and more about how animals are exploited in the entertainment, cosmetic and fashion industries. I started to rid my life of any products that came from an animal because I just couldn't bear to know that an animal suffered because of ME.
Eventually, and unfortunately, the shock of these images wore off and I was tempted to eat meat again. So I looked to the other benefits of a vegan lifestyle. I was already feeling better, health-wise, but I began to learn of the effects of our waste, our plastic, our pollution on the animals, and the planet. So off I went on my own journey to reduce the waste in my life.
Starting this journey of compassion for the animals has led me to a place where I want to lead a compassionate life for the planet and other people as well. I now try to live my life in the most ethical, compassionate way I know.
While I wish I was a total hippie that just sat around all day, making her own soap from scratch and living in VW bus, that isn't my life. I'm a busy, professional- probably just like you- and I don't have all the time in the world. So I'm on a journey to live life in a simple, compassionate way. I hope you'll join me!
Feeling really fragile all day and for the first time ever, I recognized that I felt this way and that is was OKAY to take care of myself. So no workout today, time spent with family, no lesson planning or grading, breakfast for dinner, journaling, tea and late night vinyls. 💕✌🏼
He wrote me a book about how we fell in love and I am pretty sure it’s the most thoughtful gift in the whole world. 💕😭👰🏻🤵🏻
Turns out that I’m not responsible for other people’s happiness, unhealthy decisions, lack of boundaries, guilt, victimization, toxicity, choices, lack of communication, passive aggression, unkind words or blame. Who would have thunk that I’m not obligated to call, text, see, spend time with, give money to, defend, excuse, or think about people who put toxicity in my life? ••
Is this what life is like for people with healthy boundaries? I feel like I can take a deep breath for the first time in years. ••
I spent so many years thinking that God wanted me to turn the other cheek + let people walk all over me. I thought that love thy neighbor meant tolerating toxic people because they are lost. I thought boundaries made me a mean person. ••
Turns out I read it all wrong. God isn’t a God of abuse, toxicity, or being a slave to the demands of others. God calls us to be a people of FREEDOM + STRENGTH. Sometimes, turning the other cheek is waking away, with forgiveness and peace in your heart. Sometimes, boundaries and saying “no” is the kindest thing you can do. •• Love is not enabling. Louder for the people in the back, LOVE IS NOT ENABLING. ••
Love doesn’t suffocate, control, depend on others for happiness, guilt trip, blame, refuse to accept responsibility, ignore, deflect, enable, triangulate, insult or victimize.
I will never again be ashamed, scared or timid when declaring this in my life.
My word for the year is LAUGH. It was going to be JOY, but I feel like, for me, it needed to be LAUGH because I need the type of joy that takes your breath away, hurts your abs, puts tears in your eyes, blocks all other thoughts, connects you to others and tells the world, “I HAVE NO FEAR CAUSE LIFE IS FUNNY AND IT IS ALL GOOD” I let last year steal my joy and my peace. That is NOT HAPPENING this year cause that’s not what my God has for me. My verse for the year is “She is clothed with dignity and strength and laughs without fear of the future.” WHO IS WITH ME?! 💕
I started this year with the word COMMUNITY. But really, all this year felt like was the word LOST. •
I didn’t have it in me this year. A lot was thrown my way and I buckled. I’m just trying to keep it real- this year felt like a fail. •
It was the year that I faced INSANE challenges professionally, in my marriage, in my friendships, in my health, in my relationships, in my finances. •
Everything felt like it was crashing down in 2018. I would win a battle and then two weeks later, another obstacle would smack me in the face. Eventually, last month, I realized that I rarely did anything for fun or just ‘cause. I let life take over. I let it wear me down.
It’s okay to have days, weeks, months, seasons- or even years- like this. It’s life. You brush yourself off and get back up and make life awesome. •
So here’s to 2018- the good and the bad. Here’s to three years of marriage. Here’s to stupid arguments with your husband and staying up too late talking over wine. Here’s to adopting the sweetest little pup we didn’t even know we needed. Here’s to broken down cars and emergency room visits. Here’s to apartment renovations and broken dishwashers. Here’s to sending letters to our friends in Africa and awkwardly trying to make friends in our 20s. Here’s to turning 25 and having a quarter life crisis. Here’s to therapy appointments and awkward silence on too-comfy sofas when I don’t want to talk about my feelings. Here’s to friends found in unlikely places (like on the Internet) who love the mess outta me. Here’s to a trip to Chicago and cancelled plane rides. Here’s to new jobs and budgets. Here’s to cheering our people on through weddings, and babies and loss and new jobs, oh, my! Here’s to making hard choices and setting boundaries. •
A verse that was laid on my heart at the beginning of this year was “See if I will not throw open the floodgates of Heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” •
I believe that will come to fruition in 2019. This was the refining year, the processing year. The year of drought and famine and fire. But next year- oh, just wait.
2019 is gonna be our best year yet.
I always miss my Grandma at Christmas. We had a complicated relationship and words were left said and unsaid when she passed away a few years ago. Especially this year, our complex relationship has felt close and raw. I have felt the weight of her sometimes harsh words more than ever this season. And it just makes me sad. •
As I was packing up my tree today, I noticed how 75% of my ornaments were from or belonged to her. •
Like the Irish dancer she got me when I was 7 years old. She was so excited I was embracing her Irish roots by taking Irish dance classes. The ornament she bought me felt like a sign of approval, a true gift of love. I was absolutely devastated + crushed when I realized, earlier this season, that the ornament somehow got lost. My mom bought me a replacement ornament that was just like the one she gave me and it has been my favorite gift this season. •
Or the London ornament she bought me a few months before she died. When I told her I was studying abroad in England for a summer semester, she beamed with pride. She told me she was proud of me and that she wished she had seen more of the world. She bought me this ornament when I left in July but wrapped it and kept it hidden until December. She never got a chance to give it to me because she passed away in November. My aunt found this gift in her apartment and placed it under the tree for me that year. It was the best surprise ever. It’s broken but it’s my favorite ornament on the tree. •
Or the mice ornaments my grandfather would buy her every year. They are sprinkled throughout my tree and make me miss the magic of Christmas through a kid’s eyes. •
There are still wounds I carry from my relationship with her because all families can be messy. But as I put away these beautiful treasures, I realize that she showed her love through Christmas. She made every year magical and perfect. She was intentional and thoughtful with her gifts in a way that made you feel so special and seen. What she never said with her words, I feel now with her gifts that will last me years and years to come. •
I hope I will always carry on her legacy of making moments magical.
This time of the year is a GREAT time to purge your home of clutter. Get rid of the old things you don’t use or don’t serve you or don’t bring you joy. •
Make sure you bring whatever is gently used or still in working condition to a thrift or secondhand store to avoid it going to a landfill. Or give it to a friend or neighbor. Find a way to reuse it or repurpose it. Heck, try to sell it on @ebay , @poshmark , @letgo , @facebook or @mercari •
Which also makes it a good time to go thrift shopping because SO many people are getting rid of their things so the stores are stocked full of goodies. Plus, TODAY is Goodwill’s Super Saturday Sale where everything is 50% off. •
Tips for finding the best stuff? •
1️⃣ Head to the thrift stores that are in nicer areas of your city. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure has never been truer.
2️⃣ Try on everything! You never know until you try it on!
3️⃣ Double check for wear and tear. I try not to buy items that have too much wear unless it is something simple like a stain or a small hole. But unless you LOVE it and are super motivated to take it home and nurse it back to mint condition, skip it.
4️⃣Don’t buy it simply because it’s cheap or name brand. Only buy it if you LOVE it and would buy it full price.
5️⃣ Hit up a variety of stores. No two thrift stores are alike. •
If you’re in the Baltimore area and want some suggestions on the best thrift stores to hit up, message me and I’d be happy to share my faves with you! 😍 #AnnieGetsThrifty
Merry Christmas to all 💕 But especially to those who are going through their first (or twentieth) Christmas without a loved one. Going through unexplained medical issues or cancer or depression. Those who couldn’t afford gifts this year and feel ashamed. Those with confusing, frustrating and unhealthy relationships in their life. Those who feel that material possessions are the only thing that can fill you but it isn’t working. Those with a broken marriage and a broken heart. Those out of a job or a car or a house. This is your holiday. Because Christmas is about HOPE in the darkness. If your life feels dark, if you are weary...this is YOUR day. This is the day that God saw you in your situation + sent you HOPE. // A thrill of HOPE, a WEARY world REJOICES...Christ is THE Lord. ✨
The best way to spread Christmas cheer is....giving everyone a candy cane and putting on a movie to survive the last 30 minutes of the day. 🙃🎄
Six years ago today, we went on our first date in NYC. Today, we celebrated by spending a day in NYC and taking Brandon to see his first Broadway show! Today was perfect. Except that I had to fight 5.6 million people to get a picture in front of this friggin tree. 🥴🎄But other than that, totally perfect. 💕
My 90s heart loved seeing Anastasia at @hippodromebway with my sister today 💕 thanks, @alliejoyduhhhh for the Christmas gift and being my date! 👯♂️
All I want for Christmas is for our dog to look like she actually loves us in photographs. (I swear she does!) Anyways, the halls are decked and all the cheesy Christmas movies, featuring a predictable love interest and a made up European country, are being watched. 🎄🍾🐶
Whatever happened over this past year, be thankful for where it brought you. Where you are is where you’re meant to be. ✨
Let’s play a fun little game for the rest of 2018 called: if you think something nice about someone, literally say it, text it, message it, write it in the sky. Something as little as “I like your shirt!” to as big as telling someone how deeply they have impacted your life. Anytime a random person comes to mind and you think something lovely about them, TELL THEM. Let’s finish this year in love. 💕
Just a reminder that it’s possible to find amazing, forever friends in your 20s (or 30s if you’re old like some of these senior citizens in this picture) ✨💕 #Friendsgiving #DavesBooty
Friendly reminder that there are 47 days until a new year. You have 47 days to finish the year better than you started it. You have 47 days to work as hard as you can so you can sign your name to this year, knowing it was a job well done. Don’t wait 48 days to start a new habit. Don’t wait 48 days to get healthy, to work out, to quit smoking, to start volunteering, to repair your marriage, to cut out toxic friendships, to get yourself a budget, to stop overspending, to stop drinking too much, to stop finding your worth on social media. Today. Start RIGHT now. GO.
Whatever you’re feeling today, it will pass. Good or bad, it will be nothing more than a memory this time next year. Whatever burden you are carrying, whatever is broken around you or inside you, this isn’t it. There is more. There is hope. There is wholeness. Take a deep breath. Let the negative out. Let the light in. || Cold weather sucks and bogs me down. Maybe it does for you too. New post on how I fight anxiety and depression in the winter. Link in bio. #ad #DiscoverPukka
Ya know what, people? Sometimes self-care Sunday is cleaning your bathroom and sitting on the floor in your robe, with a glass of ice cold water, a candle burning, a hair mask in, meal planning on the floor. And DAT IS COOL. Just take care of yourselves, please, before you burn out and exhaust yourselves and get sick and grumpy. Just go do something good for yourself. Cause you are loved and beautiful and worth taking delicate, precious care of. ✨
Until we get that dream house in Ireland, we’ll keep spending all day at the Irish Festival- listening to all the music, watching all the dance schools, drinking all the Magners and trying on all the flat caps. ☘️💕
Feeling REAL GOOD about all the compassionate voters that showed up yesterday across the country. 🇺🇸California passed Prop 12 which will require larger cages for factory farmed animals (still not humane or right but a step in the right direction) 🐔🐷Amendment 13 in Florida was passed to ban dog racing 🐕PLUS, recently, @covergirl and @dove announced they are becoming #crueltyfree 💄People are speaking up and realizing that treating God’s beautiful creation and creatures with RESPECT and LOVE >>>>> greed, money, selfish indulgence. You do not have to be an animal rights activist to live a compassionate live. You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods and only eat kale. You can be a “normal” person and still live compassionately. I still eat at alllll my fave places like Chick-Fil-A, Red Robin, P.F.Changs, Starbucks, Panera Bread, Chipotle without eating animals. You can do this! Eat plant-based to the best of your ability. Refuse to buy products that test on animals. Adopt from shelters. Try a new vegan recipe. Don’t support circuses, amusement parks or roadside attractions that exploit animals for money. Do what you can to live a more compassionate life. 💕🌍 #hippielife