6 Questions You Should Ask [Someone] About Your Significant Other

Ask someone?  Why would you need to ask someone else about YOUR relationship with your boyfriend/girlfriend?

Good question.

And the answer is simply this:
A family member or close friend who knows YOU well, can give honest insight into your dating life.  Insight that you may not have because they can see it from a neutral, outside perspective.


1)  Do you think we go well together?
Do we balance each other out well?  Do our personalities and lifestyles clash or mix?

2)  Do you see anything about our relationship that is unhealthy or could potentially lead to something unhealthy in the future?
Do you see us communicating well?  Have we laid down good physical boundaries?  Do we spend quality time together?

3)  Do you see me being myself around this person?
Am I comfortable with them?  Or am I acting in a way that would try to impress them or thinking that they'd like me more if I did this or said that?

4)  Do you see me showing my boyfriend/girlfriend the love, care and respect that they deserve?
Am I being selfish in any certain areas?  Am I accommodating this person or genuinely interested in being more for them/doing more for them/being healthily selfless for them?

5)  Do you see him/her taking from me or adding to my life?
Do I thrive or whither when I am around them?  Over the amount of time that we've been together, have you noticed a positive or negative change in me?

6)  How is my relationship affecting my friendship with you?
Does he/she encourage my friendship with you or do you feel that he/she takes up an unreasonable amount of time and attention in my life?


12 Ways To Change Your Life [For the Better]

It's that feeling of a desire to do something different.  The little voice in your head that keeps you up late at night, thinking of the endless possibilities.  The first thought in the morning as you get out of bed, wondering how you can make this day different.  Or if it won't ever change.

We all have dreams and goals.  Some seem impossible to achieve.  Others are just fantasies that we would never attempt at making a reality.

All change starts with an idea, a thought, a passion that is begun in your head.  By you alone.  And I know, without a doubt, that you have potential, and you're big enough to make something happen.
Here are 18 personal tips that can help you start living today...

1.  Begin
One of the most daunting places you can be in is at the start of something new.  Many of us have tried and failed, so we are afraid to try again.  Some of us have started, but lost motivation.  What do I say to this?  Well, Ijeoma Umebinyuo said it best.

'Start now.
Start where you are.
Start with fear.
Start with pain.
Start with doubt.
Start with hands shaking.
Start with voice trembling, but start.
Start and don't stop.
Start where you are, with what you have.

Start with a word, then a sentence, then a paragraph.  Start with a phone call, then a breath, then a smile.  Start with a key, then a car, then an ignition.  Start with a spark. 

2.  Fresh
Clear out the clutter.  Get a rid of anything or anyone who does not bring value, happiness or meaning to your life.  This includes the old toy that you used to play with when you were five.  And the guy/girl who only texts you to flirt and never has anything meaningful to talk about.

3.  Visualize
What do you want?  Consider the steps on how to get to it.  Write a list if you have to.  Step 1, 2 & 3.

4.  Connect
Who is someone you've always admired?  Who is someone you aspire to be like?  Who is someone you wish you could sit and have lunch with?  Don't be afraid to contact them.  The least you can do is try.  And remember - they are humans too.

5.  Explore
Go somewhere you've never been before.  Visit a museum.  Go camping.  Take a road trip out of state.  Inspire yourself.

6.  Celebrate
This is a big step in your life.  Celebrate it.

7.  Focus
What are the things in your life that make you love it?  Expand on these.  Do them more often.  Is it being with friends and family?  Singing?  Writing?  Hiking?  Star-gazing?

8.  Dream
What is your dream job?  Dream house?  Dream property?  Dream pet?  Who says it always has to stay a dream?  Have you tried pursuing it?  Don't let dreams take back burner.  Work towards making them a reality.  It will take time.  Remind yourself of that.

'There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you.  And there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.'

9.  Give 
It is better to give than to receive, right?  Give compliments.  Give gifts.  Give help.  Give without expecting anything in return.  

10.  Lose
Yourself - in a city, in a field, in a forest.
Others - who don't build you up.
Job - if it's one you hate, quit.
Roommate - if you like them, move out.

11.  Accept
Nothing worth having is easily acquired.  Change happens, but sometimes slowly.  Accept the fact that not all things will happen overnight.  It takes time.

12.  Live
You will never be as young as you are right now.  How are you enjoying your life?  How are you making it better?  How are you living a life that is worth leaving a legacy of?

'If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives.'


5 Reasons I Do [Not] Like Summer

I know what you're thinking.


Well, hear me out.  And by the end of this, you may agree with me on these top 5 reasons.  Or at least one of them.

1.  Heat
C'mon, admit it.  sometimes it just gets too dang hot.  I've learned to always have a lemonade, smoothie or a pool nearby during the summer months.  And a fan or air conditioner with me at all times.  Not only does the heat make you too hot to DO anything, but if you're like me, you get pretty severe migraines because of it too.  And yes, I stay hydrated.

2.  Immodesty
This goes hand in hand with the heat.  There's only so much you can take off, you know?  And some people don't really know the limit.  (I'm talking about string bikinis here, haters.  Not shorts and a tank-top.)

3.  Smoking
Yes, I know, people smoke year round.  But during the summer, when the air is thick and the heat is unmoving, one of the worst smells to catch your nose is the smoke coming from a cigarette.

4.  Static
Because of the heat, there is more electricity everywhere and static is on everything metallic that you touch.  Not cool.  I get shocked pretty much everywhere I go.

5.  Creatures
All the creepy critters decide that now is the time to come out and enjoy the sun...WITH ME.  Yellow jackets, mosquitos, spiders, you name it.  No thanks.  I'll just go back inside where my room is cool and no bugs can even attempt to crawl on me.


I've always preferred colder months, honestly.  Sorry (not sorry) if this post offends you heat-lovers at all.
And yes, I will be writing a 5 Reasons I Love Autumn as soon as September rolls around.


28 Advantages To Dating A Pacific Northwest Girl

Disclaimer: this doesn't necessarily pertain to every single girl from the northwest, but perhaps most of them...  Because we northwest girls are just pretty darn rad.


1)  She's laid-back and not high-maintenance.
She doesn’t need tons of attention or to be lavished on with high-quality gifts.  She loves and enjoy simplicity, and would rather be given something thoughtfully handmade or that took effort to get, rather than something that cost a lot.

2)  She's adventurous.
She can find an adventure anywhere, or adventures just seem to come to her.  Getting lost is fun to her.  It doesn't matter where the two of you are going, all she needs is to hold your hand, blast the music and roll the windows down.

3)  She's always ready.
Ready for a road trip.  Ready for a classy event.  Ready to snuggle and make out.  Ready with a pocket knife.  Oh yes.  Pocket knives are handy.  And she has them basically 99% of the time.

4)  She doesn't wear a ton of makeup and is not too obsessed with a perfect hair look because she's used to rainy drizzles. 
She’s all about the natural.

5) She knows the best places to eat.
Whether it be the food carts on 10th Ave. in Portland, Calamity Jane's in Sandy, or Fuji Teriyaki in Longview, Washington.

6)  She's not one for extravagant dates.
Sure, eating a romantic dinner up on a rooftop while seeing the city lights turn on for the night is super romantic.  But she's also happy with snuggling up to you on the couch, drinking hot coffee (or tea) while it rains outside, and just...being together.

7)  She has good taste in music.
She has a pretty wide range of favorite music genres, so even if you don't agree on all of them, you'll have at least a couple that you won't fight over changing stations all the time.

8)  She's talented.
Whether as a writer, singer, rock-climber, dancer, barista, or flower arranger.  Your northwest girl kind of excels at many different things.

9)  She almost always has a camera handy.
She’s all about the moments that take her breath away.

10)  She's creative.
Whether that means in crafts, knitting, crocheting, cooking, camping, wedding planning...

11)  She's not fake.
Not only is she comfortable in her own skin, she's happy with it.  There's about 0% chance of her having any fake body parts.  She enjoys working out and staying active.  Oh and yoga pants. 

12)  She's aware...
of her impact on God's creation, and conscious of how she can try to treat the earth better and care for it, i.e. recycling, composting, etc.

13)  She knows where to find the good food.
She's all about farmer's markets and fresh food stands or carts.  She knows good fruit and where to find it.  Oh and county fair food booths are no exception.

14)  She's good at driving on the back roads.
Not only for fun, but to get somewhere fast - so she can avoid the freeway traffic.

15)  She's great with animals.
She knows quite a bit about animals and doesn't mind being around them often.

16)  She's all about relationships.
She's very loyal to her family and close friends.  They mean a ton to her, and she values strong and healthy bonds.

17)  She's determined.
There is little that can stand in her way of achieving goals.  She's passionate about what she loves and dedicated to living life to the fullest.

18)  She can be comfortable in any situation.
She's not too prone to become awkward.  She loves meeting your friends and hanging out in group settings, or just having one-on-one quality time with you.  She makes the most out of whatever happens, is down-to-earth, and easy-going.

19)  She's friendly to everyone.
She loves saying hello to strangers, and genuinely loves striking up conversations with random people she may meet.  She isn't afraid to introduce herself to people and make them feel welcomed.  She has a friendly spirit about her and individuals feel warmed by her presence.

20)  She will always remind you for the important things.
She won't always have light conversations with you.  She knows when to get serious, she knows what's important, and she has no shame in talking about them honestly.  She'll encourage you to go visit your aging grandparents or reconnect with your childhood best friend.

According my informal poll of Oregonian males...

21)  She's real.

22)  She's [usually] really cute.

23)  She's [usually] a great writer.

24)  She also loves coffee.
So that's a great first date option, right?

25)  She's not afraid to speak her mind.

26)  She can [usually] hunt.

27)  She knows how to drive a manual car.

28)  She doesn't mind cooking dinner.

'Total outdoors ladies.  Not prissy or stuck up, like to get dirty, like to shoot guns, hunt, fish, and live life.  But then they know how to blow a guy's mind by getting all dressed up and take our breath away with how beautiful they are - both inside and out.  Not to mention they know how to have a badass party, bonfires, music, big trucks, and great friends.'
- Mathew, 22

'It's a fact that northwest girls are so much kinder and accepting than most regions of the USA.'
- Mitch, 21

'They don't need umbrellas.'
- Brenden, 20


Originally published by Raquel on Thought Catalog


8 Step To Cleaning Out Your Closet

I had been needing to clean out the nooks and crannies in my bedroom.  But especially my closet.  When you opened it, sure you just saw clothes on hangers, but to the left and right of those clothes were boxes and bags and clothes that had fallen.  And on the shelf above were three boxes and random knick-knacks.  Pretty disgusting when I word it like that...
I am a clean freak.  But even the cleanest of freaks has areas of obvious failure in organization.  It just happens, okay?

Well, yesterday, I decided to tackle the horrendous closet.  And now, as I sit on my bed of clean sheets and blankets, I can sigh with relief that everywhere you look in my room - even inside my closet! - is neat and orderly.

And I'm happy.

Here are 8 tips on cleaning out your closet.  Which, yes, you should do sometime.


Step 1: Grab three garbage bags, and a sibling or close friend
Bags - 1 to give away, 1 to throw away, and 1 to hand-me-down.
Sibling/Friend - for encouragement, help, and honest opinions.

Step 2: Put that music on
Everything is better with music.  Everything.
And don't be afraid to dance around while throwing stuff away or organizing your clothes, books or whatev.  It'll keep the mood light and get your mind off of throwing away that old blanket that you've had since you were five...and really don't need anymore.

Step 3: Hand sanitizer
You never know what you're gonna come across.  And you can't wash your hands too often (in my opinion).

Step 4: Take everything out
Yes, everything.  Everything off the shelf, everything off the hanger, everything off the floor.
THEN begin the sorting.

Step 5: Ask yourself...
When was the last time I wore this?
Who gave me this?
Will I ever see them again?
Does this hold good or bad memories for me?
Will this be something I'll want to pass down to my children?
Ask these questions every time you come across something that you're hesitating over whether to give away, throw away, or hand-me-down.

Step 6:  Boxes
Boxes are good, but limit yourself (depending on how big your closet is).  Sure, you can store things in them, but don't overwhelm the floor or the shelves with boxes full of non-essential items.  You're trying to get a rid of things, not hoard them.

Step 7: Clean
Be sure to clean as you clean.  Meaning: sweep, dust, mop as you move things around and reorganize.  Those dust bunnies need to go, and so does that layer of dirt, dust, grim or whatever it is.  Once you're finished, it'll not only look nicer, but smell fresher as well.

Step 8: Reward yourself
You did well.  You got a rid of a bunch of stuff (maybe some of it was really sentimental, but just not needed anymore), you cleaned, you're aching from all the bending over, lifting, folding, packing...  You deserve a shower and a treat.  Maybe some chocolate?


Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Plans are slowly, but surely coming together for the team that I am leading to Peru in December.

It's still so crazy to me that God is continuing to open doors for this amazing opportunity.  And that I get to lead a group of friends and acquaintances to a place that I have come to love so dearly.  And actually, we're not only going to the boys' home that I've been to twice before, but also to another one - near Machu Picchu.  The last time I was in Peru, I promised myself that the next time I came back, I would go see the Incan ruins.  I have Incan blood in my Peruvian lineage, so I've always felt a pull to visit the once-home of ancestors (pretty crazy cool, huh?)

Amidst all the exciting plans and team meetings and organizing, it's been a bit overwhelming - in an almost weird way, though, because I KNOW what I'm looking forward to and I KNOW that I am going to see my boys again, but at the same time, leading a team outside of the country, to a place that only a few of us have been to before, and being in charge of all the little details, etc. is kind of scary.  It's out of my comfort zone!  I am not a natural born leader.  I'm the type of person who will lead if a situation calls for it.  But I'm not the first one who would raise my hand in a crowd and be like 'Yeah, so this is what we're going to do'.  I'm the one standing behind that leader, encouraging the rest of the group to go along with the plan.

Little by little, though, throughout the process of getting organized for this team, God has really been teaching me a lot about leadership, and honing the skills that I do have, and using them to benefit this time and this season of my life.  It's been a definite humbling journey, and I know it will only continue to be.

December can't come soon enough.  My goodness.  I can't wait to get back to these sweet faces.


If you would like to know more about the trip and are interested in supporting the team, please check out our GoFundMe account!