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My dreams rock. Your dreams rock.

I’ve recently come across an annoying phenomenon. Okay, maybe not a ‘phenomenon’, but one too many backhanded humblebrag posts on my Facebook newsfeed. No, I’m not referring to fitness selfies or ‘my baby blinked today’ posts; something much less tolerable in my mind, “ambition-shaming”, as I care to coin it.

I like to define ambition-shaming as one person making subtle, yet still holier-than-thou statements that judge someone else’s goals and aspirations. My chosen career path has always been entertainment, fueled by a love of being on stage and doing the thing that makes me feel most alive, and most “Kelly”. The cliché saying goes, “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I, and many others, can attest to this. While the path I’ve chosen is in no way easy (trust me, spend a month in NYC trying to book a gig, and the appeal of the 9-5 calls to you like a runaway train forging full speed ahead), once you book that job,  the hard work aspect doesn’t feel like ‘punching the time clock’, it feels like…passion…and fulfillment…and the true meaning of being fully in line with what you were called to do. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. Those in entertainment are not alone in this feeling. I have friends from all different educational paths who are equally as passionate about closing a high-end business deal, creating a fun meal as a chef, working with children…. the list continues, as I am about stepping onstage. Are any of these more admirable than the other? Nope. So stop with the ambition-shaming.

I recently stumbled across a couple of girls who were beginning their residencies and about to become full-fledged members of the medical community as MDs. Awesome. Not an easy task. It takes a special type of person to be able to handle the rigors of med school and feel called to such a profession. I then overheard said girls discussing how quality guys would be lucky to have them because they are in a field where women are “career-oriented and actually have a brain”. As a confident girl, who is proud of her brains, talents, and a slew of other qualities (as well as my quirks – of which I have many), I usually do not let comments like this annoy me. I am a FIRM believer that women who talk about other women say much more about the girl saying the negative things, than the person being talked about. However, if I’m being honest, it did frustrate me.  Just like the girl in the soon-to-be white jacket, I also identified the thing I loved, spent four (okay, five) years in college training for my chosen field, and have since always been continuing that training and education through classes to keep me competitive and at the top of my game. Ask anyone in this field, and they will have the same story.

The more I let this exchange fester in my mind (fester – terrible word), the more I wanted to tell these girls how ironically misinformed they were and educate them on how little they knew about the world. In their minds, the ‘calling’ they have in their lives is somehow higher than other ladies- the girls who have channeled their passions in a different direction; and sorry, that is BS. Based on these ladies’ logic, if we all were at the optimum level of achievement, we would be doctors as well.

A society cannot function without a variety of working parts – people working in tandem with the goal of doing meaningful work that contributes a service to others, and hopefully makes themselves happy in the process. What good is a scientist if there is no one in town to stock grocery stores to ensure they eat? What good is a sanitation worker if there are no bank tellers to deposit their paychecks? Although anyone can argue that the value of each job differs in society, the bottom line is, a community cannot operate without people having varied skill sets and dreams.  Myself, and others in my profession, have worked their toned from spending years in dance class behinds off in a way that these chatty Cathy’s would probably last no more than one day. But would I judge them for that? No. (Minus just now).

I will be the first to admit that I can fall trap to this. Although I love the career path I have chosen in the realm of entertainment, I often feel the green-eyed monster rearing it’s cute little head when I see another accomplished gal pal finishing up her law degree or working as a reporter or on camera host. Both are career paths I am interested in, but alas, my love for the stage won out. Perhaps a trait among all goal-oriented folk is the drive to always be looking ahead and devising a plan to conquer the next lofty goal. Complacency is the indignation of dreamers and achievers. But, at times it feels like a double-edged sword. In a perfect world, I would be a vocalist with a law degree who hosts a weekend show on the E! Network. But for now, I will chose to be happy in the fact that I have had a dream and a game plan since I was a young girl, spent years upon years training, made numerous sacrifices, logged countless hours in NYC and LA at auditions and have been able to make a living doing what I love as a result.

Despite your chosen field, the most alluring qualities of all are dignity, self-respect, and hard work. I’m happy that I can discuss global events, politics, football stats, and my love for science, right alongside my not-so-secret devotion to teen dramas on ABC Family and the CW #noshame. But I’m most proud of the fact that I am a woman who knows that building other women up and supporting each other is key. And In terms of “getting a quality guy”, well my yet to be identified guy may not be dating a gal with a stethoscope around her neck, but I would prefer one who wants an intelligent, fun girl with ambition, who he will never have to walk in on throwing shade at other girls.

**Steps off of soapbox and exits stage left**

Feeling Fab Through the Holiday 5… (or 10.. or 15…)

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If you are anything like me, you are unable to resist the bulk order of brownies that you can down in one sitting holiday treats that seem to literally be at every turn this time of year. To make matters worse, these gifts from the God incarnate Himself items are usually free…….just sitting there, in their beautiful grandeur, as if a cosmic shift in the universe would arise if you did not partake. Perhaps that is a bit extreme, but hey, my mind tends to function in extremes.  

While the old adage is definitely true, “you can’t out-train a bad diet”, I find myself putting in a few extra hours at the gym each week to attempt to counteract my Yule-tide binge-fests. While it is probably in vain, and makes zero impact of my waistline (what is 30 minutes of P90x in the face of two pieces of cheesecake? Hint: The cheesecake will always come out victorious on the scale and mirror), I do it anyway. This is probably more for my mindset than anything else, so I can tell myself I’ve done something to make it more “okay”.

While I am a huge advocate of fitness and healthy eating (10 months out of the year anyway), I think it is important that we, as women (and men too!) keep all of this in the proper and healthy perspective. When I am at the gym feeling guilty and gross because I’ve strayed from my usual lifestyle, I have been trying to focus on the positives. For example, how blessed am I that my body actually has the ability to run? To squat and lift heavy things without having an injury or impairment that prevents me from using my body to its fullest? Sure, we may not be a size zero in the winter months or be as swimsuit confident as we were a few months ago, but seriously, how amazing are our bodies that we can jump, climb a mountain, dance, fight off sickness, hug those we love? Even in knowing all of these things, we spend most of our body self-talk lamenting the loss of our summertime figures. Don’t get me wrong, its beyond awesome to be motivated to be at our personal best, but it’s important to do this with a positive spin for our own body-loving sanity!

If you know me at all, you know how big I am on the power of positive thinking and affirmations in our daily lives. So this week as we are meticulously analyzing our Beyonce booties in the gym mirror (or our reflection in the glass at the pastry shop ;)), change those thought patterns! Instead of, “Ugh, LuluLemon would never even let me in the parking lot with these thighs!”, think “How amazing is it that I have healthy, working legs that can take me everywhere I need to go without pain or inhibiting factors?”

When you see a less than flat stomach filled with holiday sugar cookies, think “I’m so lucky that even though I’ve gotten a bit carried away this month, I am able to get back on track and lose this whenever I decide to focus again – how wonderful that I can enjoy holiday treats without the results being permanent!

While I think it is a cruel, cruel trick that the best foods ever created are subsequently the worst for us and offer no nutritional merit, think of it as a blessing that the foods that are the absolute best fuel for our bodies, are also the foods that make us look the best. #winwin

Although hopefully we are planning on jumping back into a less sugar-laden lifestyle after the holidays and reaping the benefits of a healthier body that comes with that, let us not forget that the sexiest attribute of all is CONFIDENCE. Whether you are rocking the size double zero Bebe dress at the Holiday Party or slammin curves this season, if you embrace it and own it – nothing is hotter and more fierce. Now get out there and #werk that fab bod!

10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 20-Year Old Self.

Many people have posed the age-old question, “if you could go back and relive your life, knowing what you know now, would you”? It’s fun to daydream about what you might say in a situation where you thought of 12 different sassy comebacks an hour later, or get a re-do with the “one that got away”.  I would love for present day Kelly to meet 20-year old Kelly. Would they get along? Would they judge each other? Would 20-year old Kelly, being as stubborn as present day Kelly, actually listen and heed her fab advice? Unless an Urkel-esque time travel device finds its way into my possession by the time I hit post, this blog will suffice as my way to relay the “10 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 20-Year Old Self”:

  • 1. The anticipation of doing something big is scarier than actually taking the plunge. 
  • 2. The saying is true, what other people think of you is none of your business. Seriously, you are awesome.
  • 3. Other people’s beliefs are a product of their individual experiences and upbringing, so do not be judgmental. If you had different life experiences, your beliefs and views would be different than what they are, so never think your point of view is somehow superior. As soon as you realize this, you allow the world to become much more interesting, and the validity of your opinions will carry much more weight.
  • 4. Know the difference between working hard for your goals and forcing things to happen. If something isn’t a fit, it isn’t a fit. 
  • 5. You can’t date someone’s potential, only what they bring to the table at the present moment in time. They usually make who they are blatantly obvious….so believe them when they show you. You think they are the exception - they aren’t.
  • 6. Never apologize for authenticity and showing your real self. Even if the result isn’t what you wanted. Baring your soul in an authentic way is a gift that only you can give. Pretty cool.
  • 7. Justin and Britney aren’t getting back together. Begin the acceptance process now.image
  • 8. Whenever possible, never react out of emotion. It is the one thing that can instantly discredit you, even if your points are valid. 
  • 9. Never let anyone intimidate you. Again, you are awesome. Choose to see every interaction with others as being set on an equal playing field, despite their accolades, successes, or fame. Being intimidated stifles the most awesome parts about who you are and what you bring to the table- and being awkward is cute on no one (unless you are Zooey Deschanel, in which case, disregard).  Even if someone may not be responsive to your brand of fabulosity, who cares? Doesn’t make you any less fab. Embrace this notion. And while you are doing that…
  • 10. Embrace your quirkiness.  You don’t think like other people, and you shouldn’t want to. Cookie cutter people are boring….and everywhere. 
Bonus Life Tip: Get over your weird hang up about foods with off-putting names. Do you realize how many years of cheesecake you are missing out on?? 
(I should have learned this one in college when I discovered how amazing Ben & Jerry’s “Phish” Food was. #FreshmanFail)

Knowing all I do now would have saved many-a-frustrated-nights and invaluable bonding time with various carbs. But then, all the fun in learning these gems would be gone - and that, is what we call “living life”. So I guess 20-year old me will have to learn the hard way. Sucka.

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Timing is everything….and I’m usually not okay with that.

Patience is a virtue.

Is that so? Because I consider myself to be a pretty virtuous gal, and I think being patient might be one of my least favorite past times. A wise person recently said to me, "the patient path is the fastest way". While I have heard many anecdotes about why it is in our best interest to be patient, this phrase hit home above the rest. Many times, we try so hard to push things along, we actually end up making a bit of a mess of things and delaying the desired outcome even longer - if not ruining it all together! Eeek!  

They say a delay is not a denial, but often times when what we want doesn’t match up with the timing that seems logical to us in the present moment (“but I’m ready NOW!”), we tend to go into panic mode, and think something is obviously going terribly awry. When we try to move things ahead of their natural pace in life, it almost always backfires. There may be an exception to this rule, but i’ve yet to stumble across it. More often than not, we end up “spinning our wheels” and not actually making any forward progress- ruining something that could be great.

Say, for example, you are really excited about making cookies, so you plop the dough out onto the pan and place them in the oven and the delicious aroma fills the kitchen. The anticipation becomes too much to handle, so you take the cookies out of the oven pre-maturely. (Obviously, waiting the additional 5 minutes would just be crazy-talk). However, upon biting in, we realize that the insides are nothing but a goopy mess. Still good maybe, but not the finished product that the “maker” (in this case, Duncan Hines) had in mind. (Ok, bad example, uncooked cookie dough is awesome - but you can see where I was going with that…). 

I have seen this pan out with many of my girlfriends as well when it comes to relationships. Girl meets guy. Girl goes on a few dates with guy. Girl decides “Hey, I really like him”. Girl proceeds to disrupt the natural flow of the relationship and fast forwards it into the courtship she has concocted in her head for the past 3 weeks. Guy gets freaked out by cool-chic-turned-overnight-creeper. Guy vanishes. What could have been awesome is now ruined, and said girl is labeled as ‘crazy’. Happens to even the most logical, rock-star ladies, all because we lack patience. We all know this routine well, but when we are in the midst of a seemingly high-stakes situation, we get temporary amnesia and think this time warrants a lack of patience - that the universe clearly needs our help in speeding things along. 

Remember that we RARELY EVER see the full picture and usually don’t know what is going on behind the scenes.  Everything in life comes together because of a multitude of intricate details all correlating into the present moment, and, more often than not, things are usually not personal when they don’t seem to be panning out. 

So, how do we take a step back and apply patience when we find ourselves in a situation that isn’t in sync with our carefully orchestrated life plans? We let go. We let go of ANY perceived outcome we have attached to the situation and decide to simply ask ourselves, “have I been the best version of myself today and done my part in this situation to the best of my ability?” If so, awesome! Time to go eat some of those half-baked cookies in your kitchen. If not, then keep working and improving (then go find those cookies - I hear they are delicious.)!

For me, personally, I have found that literally closing my eyes, opening up my hands and visualizing releasing the situation from my tight grasp does wonders in alleviating my need to control the outcome. I have found that It makes whatever I am holding onto not seem so big and abstract, and turns it into a tangible thing that I can physically let go of. Of course, you are still highly invested in whatever this thing or situation is, but you no longer are bound by the stress of having to handle it all on your own. Because, *spoiler alert*, much of what happens IS out of our control. What we can control is if we did our very best in that day, in that moment. If so, our part is done and we are free to let everything else play out how it is intended.

I don’t know about you, but I think this beats being high-strung and stressed out any day of the week. I’m sure if you think back to times you actually did let go of the outcome and just chilled out, things probably seemed to piece together effortlessly anyway, even without your meddling. You were probably grateful things worked out how they did, instead of on your timeframe. That 20/20 hindsight…. hate when she’s right!

Crazy thought….What if we allowed ourselves to believe that the present moment is perfect, just as it is? It has a perfectly timed purpose. To not only accept that, but to be grateful for it? 

I’ve yet to master the fine art of being gracefully patient in all of the situations the universe throws my way, but here’s to making today better than yesterday, and tomorrow better than today.

Awesome Habits. Awesome You.

Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit”. 

I love this. In essence, this means everything about you – success, health, happiness, prejudices, friends, aspirations, outlook on life – is all because of habits and patterns of habitual thinking and acting. 

If Aristotle was in fact telling the truth (which I’m gonna give him the benefit of the doubt on… he has a pretty good rep up to this point), this means that we literally have the power to transform our lives simply by tweeking (not twerking) our thought patterns. It is funny how habits all begin with a simple thought. A thought grows into an action that may seem menial at the time, but if we seem to benefit from this action, we repeat it. In repeating our actions, they become habits, which become a way of life. This, in turn, becomes embedded into who we are, all beginning with a tiny thought -sort of like throwing a rock or pebble into a pond and watching the ripples grow. 

If we have allowed less than ideal habits to creep in, changing this inevitable progression of our minds doesn’t happen overnight. We have to retrain our brains to think like the type of person we aspire to be would think. A fake-it-til-you-make-it kind of thing. Except one day, you won’t be faking it, it will just be…you. The key is to learn to re-wire the routine, and/or avoid the cues and triggers that cause you to engage in the habit or negative thought process in the first place. And awareness is one of the key ways to do that. I’ve recently begun a meditation class in North Hollywood (highly recommended for anyone who wants to really get inside their heads without the distractions of iPhones, Facebook, gmail, Twitter, last week’s VMA’s….). It is amazing how much clarity we can get when we really allow ourselves to be alone with our thoughts, undistracted. Some of the “self-talk” we encounter just sounds downright silly when really listened to and repeated back to ourselves.

I have found meditation is a perfect time to introduce new “self-talk” into my brain and ensure my inner dialogue is as positive as the outer layer I show to the world. We are bombarded with so many messages each day from the outside world. It is crucial to not ignore the most important voice of all, the voice of whom matters more than any other… our own.  Now we just have to make sure it is speaking positivity and light!

An important thing to remember is that bad habits really never go away  – the neural pathways are always there, just waiting for the cue and waiting for you to relapse into old patterns of thought. But fortunately, we have the power to prevent this and continue growing and evolving into people who are striving to become a better version of themselves day after day. I don’t know about you, but that makes me pretty excited. I am not a slave to ANYTHING holding me back right now. With the power of a thought, I can begin to take on whatever stands in front of me at this moment. 

What negative thought or habit is holding you down today or making you feel less than awesome about yourself? Just like the tiny pebble that causes a ripple in the pond, a new/positive thought today can be the first step in totally transforming your life.  So go ahead, remind yourself how awesome you are! Tell yourself you are stronger than that one vice that has a hold on you! Let yourself believe that wonderful compliment given to you today! By taking positive baby steps each moment, we can break habits, large and small, that are keeping us from being on top of our game in life.

That Aristotle knew what he was talking about. Too bad he doesn’t have a twitter account.

Leap and the net will appear…

So lately I have been at a crossroads. I have a comfortable, relaxing option that is appealing for just those reasons, and an uncertain one that involves yet another step into the unknown. As I search for direction, I am torn. As with all major decisions in life, do we chose the one in which will bring us comfort and security, the “safe” route, or do we leap into the unknown, risking a higher probability of falling on our face just for the slim chance that we could stumble upon something magnificent? Those who know me, know I always chose the latter. Is this always the right course of action though? Even for a free-spirited, anything is possible girl like myself? (I try to live my life by the mantra that someone has to succeed in what you aspire to, so why can’t it be you? While at the same time being acutely self aware of my own strengths and weaknesses - I believe to have this mindset one MUST be aware of the things that they lack in order to hone their skill set into an actual, tangible goal, but that is a blog post for another day :) ).

To quote one of the great philosophical minds of our time, Matthew McConaughey, “What if what I think is great, isn’t as great as….something greater?”

As I have made my wonderful and patient friends listen to me ramble weigh the pros and cons of each, many have given me the advice, go which choice the pit of your stomach wants to make. Thinking about that option will ease your shoulders, open your lungs, relax your soul. The opposite choice will close you up, and fill you with an ever-so-subtle twinge of anxiety. This seems logical; sound. But what about the whimsical, caution to the wind side of myself that has served me so well in the past? That has assisted in giving me amazing oportunities I would have otherwise never experienced? The part of my brain I love to follow (and that gives my parents unnecessary ulcers - sorry, btw) that says go with the choice that scares you the most - this is where extraordinary things happen

In regard to this “next step” that is occupying so many of my thoughts, (enough to inspire me to get a Tumblr, which I just learned tonight can be acquired by someone over the age of 15), I keep defaulting to “comfortable”, which is a new feeling for me. But, despite that, I’m still 93% sure I’m going with the big gaping question mark, because, well, “comfort” will still be there in a few months. Am I making the wrong choice? Maybe. But I’m in the midst of what some (me) would call a “wrong” choice right now and it is still serving a purpose. I like to think that it is not our circumstances that define where and whom we are, but the meaning that we give to those circumstances. Perspective is everything, and is what separates the people who achieve great things from the people who always feel defeated.  (#FunFact - those people are far less awesome and stress me out).

You know that episode of Friends where Rachael assigns Monica the duty of making all of her life decisions for her - even the menial ones? This option is always what my mind keeps defaulting to as I contemplate life options as of late. (If anyone feels qualified for this position, please send resumes and salary requirements to kellyrdutton@gmail.com).

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