Happy Sunday!

Some of my favorite quotes:

"Friendship isn't about who you've known the longest. It's about who walked into your life, said 'I'm here for you,' and proved it."

"What a wonderful thought it is that some of the best days of our lives haven't happened yet."

"The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them."

"Be with someone who knows exactly what they have when they have you. Not someone who will realize it after they've lost you."

"Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them."

Also please don't forget my Kick Starter ends tomorrow! Check it out & donate if you love reading KBWC! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1592156786/kick-back-with-cate

August Favorites

My least favorite month of the year has come and gone and it is finally time for my FAVORITE month and season of the year! But before September begins, I have to share some of my August favorites with y'all!

Beauty Products:
Juara Rose and Willow Bark Blemish Free Mask
Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express
NYX SPL 856 Sand Pink lip liner
Luster Premium White Power White Deep Stain Eraser Daily Toothpaste

Break Up In A Small Town by Sam Hunt
The Cool Kids by Echo Smith

Food & Drink:
UDIs g free three cheese pizza
pumpkin spice latte
blue moon harvest pumpkin ale

Yankee Candle Fresh Linen
The Selfie from Urban Outfitters

What were your favorites this month?


I had a different blog post planned for today, but when I woke up, I saw something that hurt my heart and I needed to speak out on.

This morning on NBC's The Today Show, Ariana Grande performed. For those of you who don't know who Ariana is, she is a 21 year singer and actress who has already had a number 1 album and number 1 Nickelodeon television show. She has a four octave light soprano vocal range, making her sound similar to Mariah Carey. She started her own charity, Kids Who Care, at age ten. She has a beautiful voice, a great talent, and a big heart.

While scrolling through Facebook this morning, I saw The Today Show post a video of her performing the song "Problem." I never read the comments on these posts because of how negative they always are, but today I found myself scrolling further and further down with my jaw on the floor and tears in my eyes.

The hate that this young woman was receiving from strangers behind a computer screen was sickening, especially because most of the commenters were grown adults.

Many wonder why today's generation is the bullying generation...this is why. Children are raised by parents who attack a complete stranger on the internet. Children learn by example. If their parents can sit behind a computer and call a beautiful, talented, artist such hurtful things (that I will NOT post on this page as example!) then it is no wonder that children are doing the same to kids at their school.

God calls upon each of us to lead by Christ's example--to love others the way he loved us, to treat others the way we would expect to be treated, and to be tender hearted. We never know what each individual is going through on a daily basis. I have friends in the YouTube community who have had to disable their comment section on videos because it would cause them to sit alone and cry for hours in their rooms each night.

Why do people have to be so mean? Why do they have to hurt others? Just because they have hurt in their heart, they bring others down to their level. Why should Ariana Grande have to go home from another outstanding performance and be exposed to adults calling her distasteful, hateful things?

My prayer for each of you is this:
Uplift each other. Christ calls upon us to be kind-so let's do it. Smile at a stranger. Compliment one another. Pray for each other, and most importantly to pray for the people who have tried to bring harm by bullying innocent people.

Dream Dinner Guests

If I could have dinner with any 5 people, dead or alive, fictional or real, they would be:

1.) Kandee Johnson: When I met Kandee at Beauty Con, I felt like we were soul sisters. She inspires me, encourages me, and leads her life as a Godly woman. I would like the time to pick her brain more about her faith and confidence.

2.) Grandma Betty: I would love one more chance to give her a big hug. I would ask her questions about her growing up, her relationship with my grandfather, and what my dad was like as a child.

3.) Tammy Taylor: Talk about a bad BEEP! She was the epitome of a Texas football wife. When I grow up I want to be her...super wife, super mom, super counselor, and just an all around super fierce, God-fearing woman.

4.) Sierra Zrenda: My booboo! Next door neighbor at the big Reeg fall semester 2010. Sie Z also transferred, but our time together was so sweet. I could always count on her for a perfect playlist, a shoulder to cry on, a serious belly laugh, or a beautiful, encouraging, handwritten note. I’d love to grab a bite with her somewhere besides “the caf” to catch up on life.

5.) Julie Chen: I have 18,000 Big Brother related questions that NEED to be answered.

Who would you want to have dinner with?

Everyone always seems to ask me why I transferred colleges. Well here you go:

My decision to transfer from Regis University to California Lutheran University was not an easy one.

The summer between my freshman and sophomore year of school, I just knew something wasn’t right in going back to Colorado. I felt empty and alone at Regis even though I had so much going for me there. I was on the Dean’s List every semester and set to graduate a full year early. I had jobs lined up for me, yet I still felt unsatisfied. I knew I wasn’t reaching my full potential as a Christian.

Then, my paternal grandmother passed away. Losing her was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. It was a quick loss--3 weeks from the time she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer to the day she left to be with the Lord.

When I got back to Regis that fall semester, I immediately knew I needed to come home. Twelve days into the semester, I submitted my application to CLU without having even talked to anyone at the school.

Once I was admitted, there was no turning back. I shut down immediately at Regis. I had professors begging me to stay, saying I was the star of their program. Even though I would not have had such a difficult time with the post grad life at Regis, I know I made the right choice.

The friends I’ve made, my family being close by, and the experiences I’ve had were all worth it. The loss of one beautiful soul lead me to find so many miraculous gains.

NLA For Her Uplift Review

I first heard about NLA For Her through my friend Carlie Stylez. I used the NLA For Her Shred for Her and fell in love. I have used several pre-workouts before, but stopped using because they broke my skin out and I had heard how awful they can be for the female body when not doing heavy lifting.

I received NLA For Her Uplift a couple weeks ago and haven’t looked back since. This is a pre-workout made specifically for the female body. It contains NO creatine and gives a lot of solid, clean energy. It doesn’t leave me jittery and it doesn’t make my body tingle. The guava flavor wasn’t great, but it wasn’t awful. It also comes in raspberry lemonade and cherry limeade. Like most pre-workouts, I just chug it down 20-30 minutes before my workout.

I recommend NLA For Her Uplift to any woman who needs in extra push in their motivation, focus, and endurance during their workouts. It can be purchased for $34.99 at http://nlaforher.com/products/sports_supplements/intra-workout_fuel/uplift_pre-workout. However, use the discount code: “carliestylez” to get 15% off your order!

Also, please don't forget to check out my Kick Starter page--I have one week to raise $220. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1592156786/kick-back-with-cate The tiniest bit helps!

Makeup Monday: Skincare Routine

Happy Monday!

I enjoyed a fun weekend with friends and family. We celebrated my grandmother's 89th birthday yesterday! I can only dream to live that long and still have as much sass as she does!

I hope you all make this the best week you can. Challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone, reach out to someone in need, and eat healthy.

Today I am sharing my current skincare routine with you!

Products Used:
Equate Wet Cleansing Towelettes with Vitamin E
Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam
Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion
Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion
Juara Rose & Willow Bark Blemish Free Mask

It's no secret how obsessed with Clinique products I am. However, my new love is Juara's Rose & Willow Bark Blemish Free Mask. It has really helped with some of the redness in my skin, calming my sensitive, acne-prone spots.

If you like this video, be sure to give it a big thumbs up!

Nature Box Review....YUM

Another month of Nature Box, another happy tummy.

This month's box contained:
-Seaweed Rice Pops: This was my second time ordering them, and I ate the whole bag within 5 minutes of opening the box...talk about addictive.
-Granny Smith Apples: These are my favorite Nature Box item. I make sure they’re in my box every month for a good snack on the go.
-Baked Peppery Potato Fries: These are like eating fries without the guilt! I didn't love them, but I didn't hate them. They were whatever.
-Sea Salt Pop Pops: They have a similar taste to corn nuts, but better. If you like to snack on popcorn kernels, you’ll really like these.
-Coffee Kettle Popcorn: This is a yummy, sweet and salty treat. It is like snacking on kettle corn on steroids.

If you are interested in trying out Nature Box, enter the coupon code SHARE10OFF when checking out to get $10 off your first box! I promise you'll be hooked.

The Art of the Walk Up Song

One of my favorite parts of baseball games is hearing the walk up songs. I believe each player's song speaks volumes about their game. When I went to Regis University and actual knew the baseball players personally, I was able to tell that each person's walk up song flawlessly fit their personality.

A lot goes into a walk up song. It has to have personal meaning, a good beat, and be something you won't grow to hate after 162 games.

To be a good walk up song, it has to represent you as a person. A walk up song I have never agreed with, regardless of how much I love the man, is Mike Trout with "Started From the Bottom" by Drake. Mike Trout is a middle-class white boy from Jersey who has been in the MLB since he was 20 years old. He did NOT start from the bottom.

Some of my favorite walk up songs are:
-Yasiel Puig & Matt Joyce: "Turn Down for What" by DJ Snake & Lil Jon
-Troy Tulowitzki: "The Sign" by Ace of Base
-Miguel Cabrera: "N****s in Paris" by Jay Z
-Carlos Gomez: "Shoulder Lean" by Young Dro
-Matt Wieters: "Raised On It" by Sam Hunt
-Trevor Plouffe: "Travelling Riverside Blues" by Led Zeppelin
-David Wright: "I Got 5 On It" by The Luniz
-Jake Marisnick: "Come & Get It" by Selena Gomez

One walk up song I don't like is Manny Parra's--Jump Around. It's too stereotypical. A lot of stadiums already play this song in between innings, why would you waste such a valuable moment to pick a song on something that is already getting played?

Some players, such as Aramis Ramirez, don't have walk up songs. I found this interesting. They prefer to get in the zone walking up in other ways.

When I asked my brother and our roommate what their walk up song would be, they both said that it depended on what position they played. I found that interesting. It was something I had never thought of. They said if they were a pitcher they would pick a different walk up song than if they were a 2nd baseman.

If I was a baseball player, I would walk up to "Empire State of Mind" by Jay Z & Alicia Keys. My roommate gave me a lot of crap for this, but the intro to the song is a perfect beat to walk up to.

What would your walk up song be?

Kick Starter!

Just a reminder that my Kick Starter is open for 13 more day!! Every dollar matters.


Every donation provides new content for this blog. I love sharing beauty, fashion, fitness, crafts, recipe, and so much more of my daily life with you all. I want to continue my dream of making this the best blog possible!

XO, Cate


Happy Wednesday! I did the 40 Beauty Questions Tag and now I tag Kandee Johnson, Carlie Stylez, Elise Ingegneri, and all of you! :)

Be sure to check out yesterday's post to enter to win the Beauty Con Swag Bag!

Target & Makeup Giveaway

The winner of the Back 2 School Target Gift Card Giveaway is...
Jessica H!
Please DM me on Twitter with your mailing address so I can send it to you! A big thank you to all who entered and to Opinion Outpost for helping me provide one lucky viewer with a great gift!

This month's giveaway is a Beauty Con Swag Bag!
It is full of stuff from Olay, Maybelline, Cover Girl, NYX, Carefree, Murad, Charmsies, Thufri, Pixi Beauty, Uberliss, and so much more. It also includes a tote, t-shirts, and sunglasses!

Giveaway runs until September 2 at 12pm PST.
To enter:
1.) Must be following.
2.) Comment below with a question for my September Q&A video.
3.) If you share this link on social media, let me know, and I will enter you twice!

Good luck beauties!

Beauty Con LA 2014

Beauty Con has come and gone. What an awesome day it was and how glad I was to spend the day with so many of you. It was so fun to meet you and a big shout out to sweet Jada! The highlight of the day was spending time with Kandee Johnson. Kandee was the first YouTuber I ever watched. She has inspired me in so many ways and will continue to change my life for the better. I admire her for sharing her struggles, dreams, hopes, and fears with her viewers. She has gone through some very difficult times in her life, yet never lost sight of God's plan for her life.

When I first got to Beauty Con, I was invited by a swarm of balloons. I walked around to all the vendors and hung out with P'Trique at the Maker Studios platform. I was gifted more product than I ever can use (prepare for a giveaway) and met amazing people. Then I got to meet Kandee and go to a panel she sat on. The panel was called, "How Do You Wear Your Inner Beauty?" It was hosted by Emily Greener of I Am That Girl, and featured Kandee Johnson, Evelina, Jenn Im, Shameless Maya, Alexa Losey, Mindy from Cute Girls Hairstyles, Teni Panosian, MakeupByMandy24, and Brittany Mota-Wiley. After that I met some of you awesome lovelies! It reminded me of why I continue to do this blog. The rest of the day was pretty low key. I met some really great people, gave out lots of hugs, and left feeling overwhelmingly blessed.

Be sure to come back tomorrow to check out the $300+ bag of goodies that I am giving away! :)

Healing & Humility

Our power lies in realization. We can not allow ourselves to be defined by our mistakes. There is not shame in suffering. We can not heal on our own. We can only heal by humbling ourselves before the Lord.

If we want to be healed, we have to be real with ourselves. We have to stop putting the blame in our life on others and look at the internal locus instead of the external. We must admit that we do stupid things. We must put God in control. We must admit that we are powerless over our past, powerless to control others, and powerless to cope with our harmful habits, behaviors, and actions.

When we humble ourselves before the Lord, there is no question about who our God is. Even when we do stupid things and are in desperate need of healing, God offers his grace to each of us.

Happy Fashion Friday!

It's Friday!!!! Woohoo! I'm headed back to good old Moorpark for the day and then tomorrow is the day I've been waiting for....BEAUTY CON!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited to meet so many of you, plus to meet Kandee Johnson & Bethany Mota. Yeah, I'm going to cry.

Here's my outfits of the week!

And because it's Friday and I love and appreciate you all so very much, head on over to Starbucks and have them scan this card right here! Drinks on me (and on my amazing partner Opinion Outpost) while funds last! Any good kind souls out there can pay it forward by buying a stranger a drink or reloading the card for more to enjoy a treat today!


Mica Beauty Cosmetics Review

Mica Beauty Cosmetics is a mineral cosmetics line that offers healthy, vibrant beauty products. It is Paraben free, with minerals that work with each individuals skin oils to provide a flawless, light feeling coverage, with SPF 15. It is all natural, hypoallergenic, and fragrance free. Mica Beauty Cosmetics does no animal testing.

I was recently introduced to Mica Beauty Cosmetics while walking around my mall and fell in love on impact. My skin had never looked so flawless. Knowing my face could look this good without heavy makeup and several products without clogging my pores and worsening my acne and sensitive skin had me leaving the mall beaming.

I haven't touched any other makeup since I got their mineral foundation ten days ago. It leaves me feeling confident and beautiful, something I often struggle with because of my acne and acne scarring. The makeup is buildable, so I can either do a loose cover when I just want to hide my redness or I can create a look that shows zero sign of blemish. Mica is a great alternative to talc (a mineral in many face powders proven to cause breakouts) in makeup products.

I also have been using the Mica Beauty Cosmetics brown line-fix gel eyeliner. I love this stuff. It glides on easily and is the right color for my skin tone and eyes. It also dupes as a brow filler. I have never been big on filling in my eyebrows, mainly because I did not want to look drawn on, but the Mica consultant showed me the right way to do it and I feel like a whole new woman!

I strongly recommend Mica Beauty Cosmetics! Be sure to check back August 20, because I will be giving away some of their products in my August Makeup Swag Bag giveaway!


Rest In Paradise, Mr. Williams

Depression is a terrible disease that 10% of Americans live with. Those who suffer from depression feel like they are drowning and there is no way out of the water. It is not a feeling they can control and it is not a feeling that other people can understand. This can make sufferers feel even more alone than they already do.

The world is full of so many sad hearts hidden behind beautiful smiles. People show strength in front of others, but are fighting terrible battles inside that nobody knows about. Even when people are so loved by others, it is hard for them to see this. They become their toughest critic. Depression is a downward spiral. Even when you are climbing upwards, and feeling better, something can set you back. Things can make you snap.

Suicide is not that people want to die, it is that they want the pain to stop. You never know the pain in someone else’s heart. We all loved Robin Williams greatly and saw him as a genius in his craft. Even if he grasped the idea that he was one of the most powerful, loved actors of all time, he had a disease that prevented him from feeling that way. Depression doesn’t allow people to see all the great things in their lives. It only allows them to focus on the negative. Robin Williams could play any role, he just couldn’t play himself.

My junior year of high school, one of the most encouraging teachers I had, Mr. Chapman, played “The Dead Poet’s Society” for us. Being a total nerd growing up, I hated when teachers played movies. I wanted to learn something, not spend a couple days watching a movie so that the teacher didn’t have to teach. Playing this movie for our class, Mr. Chapman WAS teaching us something...and so was Robin Williams. Williams encouraged his students in the film to become their own people. He told them, “You must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, ‘Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.’ Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!”

For those who suffer from depression, I encourage you to take Williams’ words and find your voice. Break out. Find your passion and run with it. Remember that even in the darkest hour things always get better. Think back on the worst moment of your life. You overcame it. While it’s not easy living with depression and can be a gray cloud hanging over you for the rest of your life, there are things you can do to try to feel better. Seek therapy. Pray. Get involved in something that makes a difference to someone else. Read positive quotes. Write out ten positive things about yourself.

If you don’t live with depression, there are still things you can do to help. Be as kind as possible to others. So often we hear of suicides on the news where children and teenagers were bullied to their own death. We all saw Robin Williams as a happy, successful, comedic man. None of us knew the internal battle he was fighting and none of us know of anyone else’s internal battles.



It's that time of year again! Lucky for me this is the first August/September in 18 years that I am not headed back to school. I thought I would be sad about it, but I have been walking happily past all those frantically school supply and back to school clothing shopping at Walmart and Target the past couple days.

Fall has always been my favorite season: my birthday, football, Halloween, colder weather, and back to school. I loved the feeling when I was younger of finding out who my teacher was and what friends were in my classes. I enjoyed picking out the first day of school outfit, determining my seat for the year, and getting to meet all the new kids.

Even though I'm not going back to school this year, I've put together three separate outfit ideas for those of you that are! I also want to provide you with some discounts from great companies so that you don't have to break the bank this back to school season!

Bohemian Fringe on Etsy: beautiful modern tribal and bohemian jewelry! To get 10% off use the discount code: KICKBACK

Esqido mink eyelashes: To get 15% off use the discount code: YOYO

Share this video on social media accounts using #kbwcgiveaway to be entered to win a $50 Target gift card! Or comment below with which of the 3 outfits is your favorite to also be entered! (You can do both for two entries!)

Happy back to school shopping!

Makeup Monday: Get Ready With Me (Date Night)

Happy Monday! Here's another Makeup Monday for y'all. I filmed a Get Ready With Me for a Date Night, by request of a follower, a couple weeks ago before a date. I went pretty natural on this night, especially since it was SO hot out!

Products Used:
Bed Head Tigi Root Boost Spray
Conair 1875 Blow Dryer
Conair Velcro Rollers
Aussie Extreme Hold Hair Spray
Clinique Even Better Moisturizer
Clinique Acne Solutions Foundation
Urban Decay Setting Spray
Cover Girl Instant Cheekbones Peach Perfection
Prestige L207 Love Lip Liner
Sephora Outrageous Volume Mascara

What other looks would you like to see me do?
Also please donate to my Kick Starter! Even $1 makes a huge difference! 

Start your days off right.

Happy Sunday! I started my morning with a happy heart and headed to a brand new church. It's a big church (about 3,000 people) but felt like home the minute I set foot on campus. When I got home I received the tragic news that my beloved Angels lost Tyler Skaggs for the remainder of the season due to Tommy John surgery. I apologize to the team for this is all my fault...I was just telling someone this morning how Skaggs is a beast.

I had pinned this quote from Renee Swope on Pinterest several months ago and find myself constantly coming back to it. There is no love greater than the love of God. Even when you feel so alone, so weak, so lost, God is there beside you. God will give you strength. God will give you grace. He will give you hope, and most importantly God will never fail to love you.

Each morning when I wake up, I promise to remind myself of God's grace. I won't let the troubles of yesterday interfere with the newness each day brings.

Check out this video to see what else I do each morning!


Cooking With Cate: Cookies & Cream Rice Krispie Treats

Cookies & Cream Rice Krispie Treats

1/2 c unsalted butter
8 c mini marshmellows
10 c rice krispies cereal
20 double stuffed Oreos, coursely chopped

How To:
1.) Grease 9x13" pan.
2.) Melt butter in large pot over medium-low heat.
3.) Add marshmellows, stirring until completely melted.
4.) Reduce heat to low, stir in rice krispies, fold in chopped oreos.
5.) Turn mixture into prepared pan, press into even layer.
6.) Allow to set at room temperature until firm, 30 minutes to 1 hour.
7.) Cut into squares and serve.
8.) Store leftovers at room temperature in airtight container for up to 4 days.

Instagram Round Up

Here are some of my favorite things I've posted on Instagram lately:

The waterfall is in Thousand Oaks, California at Wildwood Hiking Trail, which is where I usually hike. The waterfall is the halfway point.

This cupcake is from GiGi's cupcake on 16th Street in Denver, Colorado. It tasted just as good as it looked. All the styles of cupcakes they had melted my heart. I was afraid to ruin the beauty by eating it!

I met the Shay and Colette Butler a couple months ago and it truly changed my life. Meeting them has benefited my personal, mental, and spiritual well being. It has also lead to great growth for my career. They are a remarkable couple who share a special bond with each other and Jesus Christ.

I made Oreo Rice Krispie Treats! I'm going to post the recipe sometime this week :)

This is a sunset I saw on my way home from work one night. There is nothing as beautifully subtle like a sunset to remind me of God's greatness.

This quote is one that I reposted from someone else's Instagram account that really touched me. Sometimes I get very down on myself because of my struggle with acne and other body issues, but this puts into perspective that God made me who I am and how I am for a reason.





I saw this fun tag on YouTube and decided to give it a go! EIGHT more days until Beauty Con LA 2014. I can't wait to give so many of you hugs and get to know you more. I also can't wait to interact with some of my favorite YouTubers and bloggers, ESPECIALLY Kandee Johnson. She was the first person I ever watched and subscribed to on YouTube. I find her so inspirational and motivating. I just can't wait to share my upcoming Beauty Con experience with all of you!



My Hometown

A hometown is what makes a person. Growing up I hated Moorpark, California and couldn't wait to get out. The older I get, the more I appreciate Moorpark. It might not have much to do, but it holds most of my childhood memories. It holds the house I spent the first 17 years and then some of my life. It's a special place and a great place to raise a family. I'm very blessed to have grown up in Moorpark. It's a beautiful, safe, strong community.



I'm an avid Goldfish fan. But is original Goldfish what's best? Is there really a difference in all the flavors? Find out what happens when we decide to blind taste test all 15 flavors...



You all know how much I love this blog! I live and breathe my blog posts. However, blogging can get very pricy. In order to continue provide all you amazing people with the best possible material, I have opened a Kick Starter in hopes of getting donations to continue my blogging. These donations will be used to purchase materials for crafts, recipes, and more that go towards my posts.

Check it out here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1592156786/kick-back-with-cate

Thank you all for helping me achieve my dream. Don't forget to chase yours.
xox, Cate

Makeup Monday: First Impression (COVER FX CC CREAM)

I recently headed to the mall with NO makeup on. I set foot into Sephora to pick something up and decided to try out a new product instead of meeting up with friends for lunch makeup free. I grabbed the Cover FX CC Cream Time Release Tinted Treatment SPF 30.
This stuff was amazing. If I wasn't trying to go Clinique only to better my skin, I would have bought it on the spot. It had full coverage and lasted all day long without budging. It has a nice matte finish that didn't leave my skin looking dull. One negative was that it had a weird scent to it.I'd be curious to try it full time, but am afraid of any interaction my skin might have.

If anyone is looking for a new CC cream, definitely check this one out! It's $45.00 at Sephora, which seems steep for a CC cream, but think of how much you would be saving with no need for foundation or concealer!

Weekend Wrapup & Weekly Wisdom

I can't believe it's already Sunday! This week was filled with lots of food, lots of work, and lots of laughs. I filmed some new videos, did a lot of editing, and have been trying to get in touch with some new companies to provide you all with information regarding the latest in beauty, fashion, and fitness. Here's a further look into the week I had:



Happy Saturday! Here's my thoughts on what's trending in the world right now!

Enjoy your day!

Happiness Project

Another month come and gone means another month of trying to be the happiest I can be. July was the 4th month of my Happiness Project, inspired by Gretchen Rubin's self-help memoir. I challenged myself to focus on friendships and I think I succeeded. With anything it's always possible to try harder, but a couple of my friends were thrown some tough situations this month and I don't think I could have been more supportive.

"One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself."

This month I remembered people's birthdays. I cut people slack. I did my best not to gossip, I made new friends, and I smiled more at strangers. I asked questions about people's lives, I created a positive mood, and I tried to ignore all social anxieties.

Crossing things off on this "be a better friend checklist" was all fine and dandy, but this month being a good friend went far beyond that. Many of my close friends live far away. Because I started college in a different state, I have a lot of great people in my life spread around the country. One of my dearest friends is on an opposite coast from me. She went through a difficult time the past couple weeks and I felt awful that I couldn't be there for her. Then I realized, being a good friend is not about me physically spending time with her. It's about the phone calls, the texts, the how are yous, and the check ins. It's knowing that if need be, you would drop everything to fly across the country for that person, but knowing that a simple phone call is enough. Being a friend is not a checklist of things to do. Being a friend is just about being there mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It's about giving all you can to someone else when they need it and when they don't.

In the coming weeks, I encourage you all to look at your friendships and question--are these people I'm just killing time with or are these people I would give all the time in the world for?