Death and Rebirth

Death and Rebirth

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The Life/Death/Life nature is a cycle of animation, development, decline and death that is always followed by re-animation. This cycle affects all life and all facets of psychological life. Everything – the sun, novas and the moon as well as the affairs of humans and those of the tiniest creatures, cells and atoms alike – have this fluttering, then faltering, then fluttering again.

– Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves

I look at an empty page, a blank canvas of possibility. I bring my fingers to the keyboard and they tap tap tap nervously as my mind grasps for a sliver of inspiration. All at once it occurs to me – I haven’t written a single word in over 18 months.

Much of the time I’ve spent away from writing has been spent swimming in a deep sea of pain. It’s the most profound pain I’ve felt, the deepest sense of loss I’ve known. Some feel pain like this and they shrivel up; they stop relating to others; they hide away and try to make sense of it. What the fuck does it all mean? How can I give of myself when I feel so destroyed and lost inside my own heart, my own mind? Others use that pain as fuel for a bottomless well of creativity. I’ve always found myself to be a part of the former category. Even now I find it difficult to express wounds into words. What I think I’ve come away with in this dark hour of my being is this: death begets life. All that pain – all that suffering – it was simply deeply ingrained parts of me falling away. It was mind numbingly painful. At times I didn’t think I could withstand it. I nearly lost one of my most important relationships in the midst of the anguish. I see now – it was a great blessing. Today I feel new -reborn. From that desolation I’ve learned an incalculable lesson that will guide me in my journey until my very last breath.

I am becoming keenly aware of life’s intrinsic need for death. I have a gorgeous banana plant in my home – browning leaves need to be removed in order for new growth to sprout. The plant as a whole is much healthier for the pruning. Mature flowers on a rose bush need to be picked to make way for new budding life, berries need to be plucked, and so on and so forth. To hold on to the dying parts of our selves is a useless practice in vanity. I fought that truth for along time. No more. Shedding that old, dry skin has left me lighter and more able to see my own divinity – my own bright light.

A few of the most important things I have recently released:

  1. My need to be perfect – I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now. All of my flaws, all of my short comings are perfect opportunities for reflection and a deep dive toward inner knowing – a step on the path of realizing myself as a fully embodied human. If I can get cozy in my quirks and learn to love ALL of me then I can really begin to release that which does not serve me. Fighting against something is the surest way to make it bigger and stronger. Until that sweet moment when you’ve really learned and moved through a life lesson and integrated it into your life – you are presented with the same challenge over and over and over again. This will always be the reality. Bottom line? Stop fighting myself and embrace it all. The utter shit, the pure bliss and the monotony.
  2. My need to be right – My ego sure loves to win. She fears losing (being wrong) so much that she will go as low as to hurt others, just to save herself from the agony. I am getting to know my ego on a more intimate level and realize that I have endless compassion for her. How sad to be constantly measuring yourself against others, to feel so insecure that you are always trying to prove your worth. In the past I have fought against my ego. I’ve even tried to disengage from it entirely. I told myself that If I could just let go of my ego I could achieve enlightenment. I know now that is impossible. If I am to be a human being on this earth then my ego will always be a part of my journey. Without it I am not an individual, I become a part of the whole again or in essence, I die. So to be alive and to be human means to dance with the light and shadow sides of the ego. So, today I welcome her AND yet – I do not let her control me. Because when does stubbornness and being right help the spirit to shine and grow? I choose to be open to the possibility of the moment and to the truth that I still, and always will, have A LOT to learn.
  3. My need for everyone to like me – I need to like me. That’s it. If I truly accept myself then others will accept me too – and if they don’t? They will move along down the road and so will I. Life in this vessel is too short to waste precious moments trying to prove my worth to anyone. I can’t even begin to express how good the integration of this truth feels. It has taken over a decade of work to get here. Not sure what clicked exactly – but I’m grateful it did. LIBERATION!!
  4. That I have nothing of value to share – I am unique. There is no other person on the planet that is my exact equal. No one else has lived my life. Everything I have to say is special simply because it comes from my unique vantage point. I do not need years of schooling and accolades from others to measure my worth. I have been so scared to speak my mind and share my truth in fear of it not being interesting enough or backed by enough degrees. FUCK THAT. I have much to share and I am done waiting.

So here I am world! Get ready to hear more from me. I hope to hear from all of you too because our ability to connect, understand and empathize with one another is one of the most valuable aspects of being in this human body. I LOVE YOU!

 

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All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

When a few magical things are happening for me simultaneously, I feel like a total goddess. Don’t you just love that feeling? You are head to toe sparkly and move through your day floating on air. First thing I need to feel this way is glowing skin. I can achieve this by drinking plenty of water, breaking a sweat nearly every day and using an ultra moisturizing face cream every night. Next thing I need is flowing, shiny, effortlessly lustrous hair. I achieve this by washing my hair only twice a week, rinsing with apple cider vinegar and touching up with dry shampoo when I feel a little greasy. Finally, I feel my most goddess like when my teeth are ultra white. There are few things on earth more attractive to me than a pearly set of chompers. Aside from a nice eager pair of listening ears and a beautiful compassionate heart of course. 🙂

I have used practically every whitener on the market today to attain those pearly whites. Unfortunately, most commercial teeth whiteners contain abrasive chemicals that strip your teeth of their enamel leaving them more sensitive to hot, cold and cavities. I know a lot about cavities. I’ve suffered through roughly 15 cavities in my 30 years in this body. I finally decided that it was time for me to find a better way.

A few months ago, I began experimenting with activated charcoal for it’s teeth whitening abilities. Activated charcoal’s natural adhesive qualities allow it to bind with surface-staining culprits like coffee, tea, wine, and plaque… hello naturally glistening smile! Eagerly, I made my own paste using coconut oil and activated charcoal; I began brushing with it every few days before my regular brushing routine in the evening. I noticed a slightly whiter smile after the very first brushing but after a few weeks, I began to notice my teeth appeared to be getting MORE yellow. I was puzzled, a little disappointed even but resolved not to write the stuff off before doing a little more research. After some investigative googling, I discovered that coconut oil can actually yellow your teeth. AHA! That meant that activated charcoal was still on the table for an effective natural whitener.

After further internet exploring I concluded that bentonite clay would be a fabulous little addition to the activated charcoal paste. Bentonite clay binds to unhealthy substances around the teeth, on the tongue and gums, and helps to remove them before they create plaque. It is also full of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to teeth and gums.

Another powerhouse for strengthening and cleaning teeth is arrowroot powder. Arrowroot powder is excellent for maintaining a balance between acid and alkaline levels as it is rich is many minerals including calcium. These minerals will help to remineralize the tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Winning!

With their powers combined, these three can conquer even the most intense surface stains and leave behind an absolutely beautiful white smile. Now, I have a pretty bad ass little whitening powder that is all natural and completely free of chemicals, preservatives or fragrances… all that yucky stuff you don’t want anywhere near your mouth. I’d love to share my recipe with you all. Hopefully you will find it as illuminating as I did. 🙂

All Natural Teeth Whitening Powder

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Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp bentonite clay
  • 1 tsp activated charcoal
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • 5 drops peppermint essential oil

Process

  1. Mix first three ingredients together in a glass jar or a tin… whatever you have on hand
  2. Add in peppermint essential oil and stir together
  3. Before each use, liberally wet your tooth brush, sprinkle some powder onto your brush and brush like normal
  4. After a few minutes, rinse out your mouth
  5. You can be finished here or you can brush again with your regular toothpaste if you so desire.

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My hubby has dealt with yellow teeth for… well forever. He started drinking black tea at a pretty young age, this is common in Armenian households, so his teeth bear the stains of this. Here is a photo of his teeth in the late summer of last year,

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Here is a photo of his teeth today, after brushing with my whitening powder every few days for two weeks. I personally can see a big difference!

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Enjoy dazzling the world with your beautiful white smile! Please let me know how this works for you if you try it.

XO ~ Sam

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

I love cookies. Who doesn’t right? If they weren’t so void of nutrition I’d likely be popping them all day. I used to be able to eat like that. In fact I used to eat so poorly that I’m surprised I didn’t have a coronary by my senior year.

In high school, I’d polish off an entire medium sized dominoes pizza for dinner and about 10-12 chips ahoy cookies for dessert. All.by.my.self. This was only after my McDonalds breakfast of 2 egg, cheese and ham McMuffins with 2 hash browns and my lunch of a double quarter pounder with cheese with a large fry and soda.

Yes… I’m serious. I ate like that nearly every day until I was 18. I was an active teen, playing water polo and swimming and I have good genes so I never gained any weight, regardless of the fact that I rarely ingested anything green or with much fiber. Although I didn’t get fat externally, my organs were obviously bearing the brunt of the abuse. I suffered from rampant infections; bladder, kidney and yeast, had intense heart palpitations, crippling headaches and I was sick 6-8 times a year. All the while I was never able to connect the dots. I had no idea that what I was putting into my body was affecting my health. Nutrition finally came to my rescue after highschool. I became a more aware individual in every facet of my life; I started reading more, expanding my consciousness and quickly concluded that I would die if I kept eating this way. I completely changed my diet for good by age 22, cutting out soda, fast food and gluten and I’ve never looked back. Now when I crave cookies, I make my own.

These little babies are bursting with healthy fats, fiber, phosphorus, calcium and manganese. They are still cookies and calorically dense so try your hardest not to eat the whole batch in one sitting. I managed to keep my hand out of the cookie jar after my first two. My little one was not fond of my restraint. She unarmed all of her big guns in trying to get cookie after cookie into her little hands. She’s a master manipulator, this one. She should really teach lessons in ‘getting what you want.’

Now that I’m a mama, I hope that I can strike a balance between guiding my daughter on her own path of healthy eating and letting her indulge once in awhile. Forbidding things seems to be the surest way to get children fixated on them.  Plus, I believe that life is about pleasure. These cookies allow my girl to satisfy her sweet tooth all while I inject her with some much needed nutrition. Everybody wins. 😊

Raw Chia Cardamom Cocoroons

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Ingredients – Makes about 12 golf ball sized cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup coconut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • Seeds from one cardamom pod, grinder

Process

  1. Grind cardamom seeds in spice or coffee grinder
  2. Throw all ingredients in a food processor and process for a few seconds, until batter starts to stick together
  3. Press batter into little macaroon sized balls (or whatever shape tickles your fancy)
  4. Enjoy a few now with a hot cup of tea and save the rest in an air tight container for future taste bud pleasing

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XO ~ Sam

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

‘Wine tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

Health is something that I don’t often fully appreciate until it’s compromised. I guess that is one perk of not being well; when you get well again you are so grateful for your vitality that you vow to take better care of yourself from then on. With my health being less than optimal these last few months I decided I needed to get myself back on track. I took myself to a naturopathic physician to find a solution. A bunch of tests were taken and a few things were discovered. First discovery, I have borderline hypothyroidism, which I will get more into another day. Second, my cortisol levels are too high, which I am now controlling with magnolia root. Third, I tested in the high range for a few toxic metals; aluminum and lead. High levels of aluminum in the body has been linked to Alzheimer’s. High levels of lead in the body has been linked to nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems and muscle and joint pain. The aluminum is from using aluminum based non stick cookware and the lead is from using store bought makeup. Crazy isn’t it? I have since thrown out all my cookware and replaced it with either stainless steal or cast iron to reduce my aluminum exposure. I started making my own makeup a few months ago but I didn’t replace everything. Now that I have these results back I am newly committed to replacing all of the toxic makeup in my makeup bag. The only makeup that I use is lipstick, concealer, mascara and very occasionally blush/bronzer for a little sparkle. I made my own organic blush from beets and hibiscus a few months ago so I’ve got that covered. Next and arguably most importantly on my list is lipstick. I wear it nearly everyday and the store bought lipsticks contain unnatural dyes filled with lead. Considering the fact that this stuff goes on your lips, it is safe to assume we ingest a bit of it every time we put it on. I’m done poisoning myself. I can give my lips the color I love without sacrificing my health to do it. I measured, melted and mixed some of my favorite natural ingredients and created a really beautiful, deep red lip color with a hint of purple. I’m simply in love and frankly I’m never buying a lipstick again.

‘Wine Tasting in Burgundy’ DIY Lipstick

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Ingredients – makes about 2-3 lipsticks depending on size of container. I used .15 ml Chapstick tubes

  • 2 grams beeswax  (I use a scale here because hard beeswax is easier to measure this way)
  • 1 tsp mango butter
  • 1 tsp Shea butter
  • 1/2 tsp meadow foam seed oil
  • 1/2 tsp sweet almond oil
  • 1/4 tsp vitamin e
  • 3/4 tsp Australian red reef clay
  • 1/4 tsp bentonite clay 
  • 6 drops essential oil (I used Ylang Ylang)

Process

  1. Melt together butters/oils in a double boiler or in a glass bowl atop a boiling tea kettle
  2. Take off heat and add in vitamin e
  3. In another bowl mix together red reef and bentonite clay 
  4. Add melted oils/butters to clays and mix until well combined 
  5. Add in essential oil and pour into tubes
  6. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes to harden
  7. Apply to lips
  8. Leave natural lipstick marks on a lucky lover

DSC_1066 The rich burgundy color evoked images of me with a wine stained mouth in the rolling green hills of France; hence the title of the lipstick. If your lip color can transport you all the way to Burgundy, you know you’ve got a winner. 😉 If you like your lip color a little less dramatic, just use a little less red reef clay. Enjoy your gorgeous red lips without sacrificing your health. XO ~ Sam

My top 5 ways to achieve a natural glow

My top 5 ways to achieve a natural glow

I feel like I can confidently say, nearly every human being wants to look their best. Whether you consider yourself a glamour girl, a granola girl or somewhere in between, each one of us wants to shine in our special way. People, women in particular, will do nearly anything to put their best face forward when showing up in the world, turning to makeup, expensive products and even resorting to cosmetic surgery. I’m personally not a proponent of going under the knife to attain beauty but I don’t judge it either. Each women’s body is their own and she is free to do whatever she wishes to it. However in the interest of looking at preserving beauty from a more natural view point, I’d like to share some easy, inexpensive alternatives to the more costly and invasive measures.

  • Alternate between warm and cold water in the shower, ending with cold. This opens and closes pores which can detoxify the body. Alternating between warm and cold makes circulation move in and out like an accordion. When the body is subjected to cold external temperatures, the flow of circulation is directed inward toward the internal organs. As the outside temperature gets warmer, the flow of circulation goes outward toward the skin. This increases the rate of detoxification and moves nutrients more readily to various parts of the body. Ending your shower with cold water closes pores and keeps dirt and oil out after cleansing. Another benefit of cold water is it makes your blood vessels constrict which reduces swelling and the appearance of dark circles under your eyes (where skin is at its thinnest). This provides you with a young, healthy glow.
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  • Dry skin brushing- Dry skin brushing is an Ayurvedic practice that promotes a healthy lymphatic flow in the body by gently guiding lymph fluid to lymphatic drainage nodes. This process detoxifies the entire body including the skin giving you a beautiful glow immediately after brushing. It also encourages circulation by increasing blood flow to the skin which will release toxins.

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  • Drink up to a gallon of water throughout your day. I carry around a 12 oz jar and make sure to drink about 8 of those a day. Since starting this practice my skin tone has evened out and I look a bit younger as my wrinkles have filled in. Hydration is an incredible beauty tool. I think most of us are walking around at least partially dehydrated. I challenge you to drink more water and notice how your skin begins to glow. Point of note- don’t chug large amounts of water at once. This could disturb your electrolyte balance and be damaging to your health. Sip H2O slowly and consistently throughout your day and you’ll be looking more radiant in no time.

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  • Face cupping – Cupping is a therapy that draws blood to the surface of the skin to promote healing. Cupping helps the tissue develop new blood flow and causes anti inflammatory chemicals in the body. Cupping done on the face can reduce puffiness, reduce dark circles and under eye bags, firm jowls, plump up wrinkles, the list goes on. I do this therapy to myself a few times a week and have found it to be an amazing tool in combating the signs of aging. This is the brand that I use and I would highly recommend them as they are easy to use and fairly inexpensive. 

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  • Use carrot and rose hip seed oils on your face every night. These oils are not only hydrating they are also full of vitamins, antioxidants and essential fatty acids that are known to correct dark spots, fill in fine lines, reverse sun damage and reduce scars. You can slather one or more of these oils onto your clean face right before bed or you can make this face cream and incorporate them into it. Either way, your face will glow like never before. My skin has never looked as good as it does since I started making my own face cream with these nourishing powerhouse oils.

I believe that beauty is all about radiating from the inside out. That means, eating nourishing whole foods, exercising consistently, feeding your spirit and helping/giving to others. As long as you are doing these things you will surely be glowing… but if you still need a little help, the above natural methods should do the trick. 😉

XO ~ Sam

DIY Beach Day Texturizing Hair Spray

DIY Beach Day Texturizing Hair Spray

I was fortunate enough to grow up in sunny Southern California, where the weather is always perfect. During the summer, I spent most weekends at the beach, soaking up yummy rays and swimming in the ocean. My skin was always sun kissed and my hair always boasted that effortlessly tousled, perfectly set waviness. In the winter when the beaches were a chilly 60 degrees, 😉 I’d have to find alternative ways to mimic that beach day hair. The first hair product that I ever purchased was a beach blonde salt spray by John Frieda. I looooved that stuff. It really did achieve that perfect bouncy beach wave that I got organically from a day of swimming in the ocean and lounging in the salty sea air. The problem with John Frieda? I mean I’m sure he’s a nice enough guy but just look at the ingredient list for my favorite spray,

WATER, MAGNESIUM SULFATE, ALCOHOL DENAT., PROPYLENE GLYCOL, SALICYLIC ACID, SODIUM BENZOATE, FRAGRANCE, PVP, CITRIC ACID, SEA SALT, BENZYL ALCOHOL, BENZOPHENONE-4.

Water, I know that stuff! And sea salt sounds familiar, awesome. Fragrance… well that’s vague. The other stuff? Can’t pronounce it, don’t want it on my body. Period.

Although it’s raining today here in the east bay of a Northern California, I woke up craving the beach. These last few weeks have been hard for me, my mood has been low and my energy non existent. I’m going to get some thyroid testing done on Monday to investigate whether an under active thyroid may be the cause of my issues. For now, I think I just need some more Vitamin D in my life. My hair, straight and listless is begging for some bounce. I decided that some natural, chemical and preservative free hair love might turn that frown upside down. I’ll tell you, it certainly helped. John Frieda’s got nothing on this stuff. 🙂

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Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup Hot filtered water
  • 1 tbsp Sea salt
  • 1 tsp vegetable glycerin
  • 1 tbsp Meadowfoam seed oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Argan oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Jojoba oil
  • 1/2 tsp Vitamin e
  • 5 drops Rosemary essential oil
  • 8 drops Lemon essential oil
  • 1/4 tsp mica powder (*optional)

Process

  1. Using a glass bowl on top of a tea kettle, heat up water.
  2. Add sea salt and mix until dissolved
  3. Add glycerine and stir until incorporated
  4. Next add all oils and mix together
  5. Take bowl off of the heat
  6. Add in mica and essential oils and stir to incorporate
  7. Using a funnel, pour contents into an airtight spray bottle and store in the refrigerator for several months.
  8. Shake bottle before each use.

*The mica in this recipe gives a really beautiful pearlescent shimmer to the hair, I love it. If you don’t have it on hand and aren’t interested in purchasing it, just leave it out, it is completely optional.

Another note- Meadowfoam oil is full of long chain fatty acids. It’s great for hair because it adds moisture without that greasy feeling and adds a beautiful shine. If you don’t have it on hand however, just use melted coconut oil, more jojoba or argan.

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Look at this lovely ‘just spent a day at the beach’ texture! My hair is naturally pretty stick straight so this is an awesome result.

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My little Marvel just had to try some too. Her hair naturally waves due to her Daddy’s curly, absolutely luscious black hair. This spray definitely defined and enhanced what she was already graced with. Just look at those curls!! ❤

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Life after Facebook

Life after Facebook

I did it. I actually did it. I wasn’t sure if I was capable of doing it but here I am, an anomaly, a 30 year old American woman, without a Facebook account. When I decided I’d deactivate my account, I gave myself an exit strategy. I’d allow myself two months to prepare mentally and emotionally for my existence without this potent drug. Turns out I didn’t need that. A few nights ago I just… up and had enough. I said my goodbye and deactivated the next morning. I’ve never been one for torture. Just rip off the bandaid quickly, no reason to suffer through each hair being ripped from it’s root slowly. Immediately after I made the final decision to disconnect from the ‘Book’ I started to to feel pangs of regret. My breath became shallow, my heart rate quickened and my palms started to sweat. No joke. I felt like a junkie flushing her stash. I couldn’t believe my body was actually showing visceral signs of withdrawal. Obviously cutting Facebook out of my life was the right decision. The resulting tremors further confirmed my choice.

Since I’ve said goodbye I must admit I’ve gone back to try and check it a few times a day, like rolling over in bed to cuddle your ex lover only to feel a cold empty space beside you. It will take some time to stop reaching for them but that time will inevitably come and with that space you’ll grow stronger then ever before. Until then I’ve been filling those empty spaces with reading, exercise and Instagram. 😉 Hey, a girl needs a little social media outlet from time to time. Overall, I’m feeling so much more productive… and lighter… and happier in general. It’s been lovely. Severing the shackles of Facebook’s grasp was one of the best decisions I’ve made for myself in a long time. Who knew such a small act could make such a large impact in my life? I thought it might be cool to share what I did in preparation of my new Facebook free life. Here they are in no particular order of importance,

Write down important friends birthdays in your calendar.
Facebook’s birthday feature is awesome. It was my favorite part really. Aside from a handful of really close friends, I have a hard time remembering birthdays. Facebook took care of that for me. Now I’m making sure my calendar picks up where Facebook left off. Plus it’s infinitely more personal to get a card, a call or even a text wishing someone a Happy Birthday rather than a generic Facebook post.

Shout out to all your people that you’ll be disconnecting and offer an alternative way to keep in touch.
I gave everyone my Instagram handle and my email address. That way I’m not falling off the face of the earth just the face of the book. 😉

Download any pictures you’d like to access onto your computer.
This was a long, arduous process. Downloading these pics also takes up quite a bit of space on your hard drive but it’s necessary if for whatever reason you have no other copies of your Facebook photos.

Get your creepy stalker fix.
I stalked the crap out of a few people. Who is of no consequence. I had to get it out of my system. Don’t judge me.

There is life after Facebook. I’m proof. Since the ‘break up’ I’ve had a few phone conversations with friends. We chatted for over an hour. I felt like a teenager again. I thought I may have forgotten how to use the call function on my phone but if turns out my fingers work just as well to press number buttons as they do to text and write status updates. Go figure.

XO
Sam