monday motivation

Monday Mavericks: Don't Give Up


Happy Monday from Boston! I've been in Beantown for a long weekend with my friend Haley and we've had so much fun exploring this beautiful city (it's exploding with history + beauty). But today's post isn't a travel guide, it's continuing my weekly Monday Mavericks series that offers quick bits of encouragement to increase optimism in today's world. 

Boston Public Library

Boston Public Library

As I head back to Chicago later today, I'm already thinking about my long to-do list filled with everything I have to tackle before my next set of travels next week. Aside from the regular things like laundry, grocery shopping and heading to yoga to sweat off some of the over-indulging I did the past few days, I have loads of work that's piled up + is now staring me in the face. As if I weren't already feeling behind, there's a passion project I've been dreaming about for a while that I told myself I'd finally get to work on once I got to Chicago. Except- with a month already under my belt, I haven't really made much of any progress on it like I wanted to. 

Life sneaks up on us like that, doesn't it? We can have the best of intentions, but sometimes it feels like we're hamsters on a wheel: working ferociously and going nowhere. It's easy to beat yourself up when you're feeling far from accomplishing all that you hope for or to be tempted to give up altogether at the first sign of a setback.

So today, let's pause and find solace in the fact that just because we're not where we want to be doesn't mean that we're failures or that we're not getting closer. Or as this quote I found puts it:



Contrary to how you may often feel, you don't have to solve all of the world's problems today. In fact, that's a hell of a lot of pressure to put on yourself and completely unrealistic. Yet sometimes we act like we should try, don't we? 

Today, let's absolutely show up to life with all the courage, passion and heart we have in us. Let's take steps in the direction that we want our lives to go (whatever that looks like for you). But let's also respect where we are and not try to plow through to a victory we haven't yet earned. Let's celebrate the areas in our life that we're doing the best we can and give ourselves grace where we deserve it.

If you're like me, this is much easier advice to give than it is to receive. So consider it a friendly reminder to help it set in a bit more. Take a deep breath, turn on some feel-good tunes (I added some new ones to the Monday Mavericks playlist) and keep pressing on- one foot in front of the other. 

“If you can't fly then run, if you can't run then walk, if you can't walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” -Martin Luther King Jr.



I'll be cheering all of you on this week! Stay tuned for the first (of many) London guides I plan to finally share. 


Thanks for stopping by, friends! Shine on + keep spread goodness everywhere you go. 




Monday Mavericks | Discovery

monday mavericks

Happy Monday, all of you mavericks! Hope you had a fantastic weekend and that you're ready to take on the week ahead. As I mentioned last week, I started this weekly series every Monday in hopes that by kick-starting our week with some optimism, we’ll all be able to spread more positivity in today’s world and do our part to make it a better place for everyone around us. 

I spent a good bit of time this week working on some trips I have coming up-- the first being this weekend (follow along on Instagram stories to see where!) You may remember from my post a few weeks ago that while I came to Chicago because I was ready for a change, I also love what an easy hub this city is for travel (I’m a 30 minute train ride to O’Hare, which is a flight away from just about anywhere in the world!) So as I was working on these said travel plans, a line from Lord Huron’s “End of the Earth" (which I just added to the Monday Mavericks playlist) seemed to scream at me: 



The lyrics continue and pose the question: "What good is living the life you’ve been given if all you do is stand in one place?"

You likely don't need me to elaborate to why I couldn't agree with these words more. Traveling and exploring places around the world has been hands-down the most positive influence in my life and I highly encourage everyone do as much of it as they possibly can (I mean, I kind of have an entire blog that's based around this mindset...) But while it's easy for me to jump straight to the importance of travel, I also realized that this idea of "seeing the world" can be applicable to the everyday areas our life- no matter where we are. 

Even in the 3 weeks I’ve been here in Chicago, I’ve already found it’s so easy to settle into a routine. I know the schedule at CorePower (a yoga studio I love) and have a handful of classes I go to every week. I know how to get to the nearest Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods and Target. I’ve found several great restaurants, coffee shops and juice bars that I already want to go back to. It would be pretty easy to let myself stick to this list day in and day out, because I know I like all of these spots already (and as the proverbial adage says: "If it ain't broke...) But the reason I came to this city was to pursue discovery and get outside of my norm, so sticking to what I already know would not only completely contradict that intention, it would also cause me to miss out on a lot of the great stuff that's out there still waiting to be discovered. 

Keeping an open mind like this has lead me to some of my favorite life experiences. Sure, going back to countries I've already visited would make my life way easier because it'd be a breeze to plan, but visiting destinations like Granada or Madeira, where I knew absolutely nothing about (or that they even existed in the first place), turned out to be some of the most incredible adventures that I wouldn't trade for anything. And the only way I got those experiences was because I had a willingness to abandon what I already know and to try something new.

I believe this same practice can be woven into our life day in and day out- even if it's not as grand of an action as booking a trip to Europe. This week, what if you mix up your workout routine and go for a run in a park you've never visited in your city? Or if you try cooking a new meal you've never had before and don't know how to make? Even if you're busy and "have enough friends"- what could happen if you set aside time to actually get coffee with those distant acquaintances like you so often suggest, but never make the time for?

I know it's a lot easier to cook the dish you could make with your eyes closed or to show up to the workout class that fits perfectly into your schedule like clockwork. But:


Unless we're willing to complicate our lives and try things we've never done, we'll continue to get the same things we've always gotten- and while that may work fine, I believe there's a lot more sweetness we can get out of life that's waiting for us just beyond what's comfortable. 

This week, let's be conscious and mindful to partake in all the simple opportunities to see the world from a fresh perspective and appreciate it in all its glory as it unfolds around us. Whether it's in nature or yummy food, in Europe or your own backyard, or whatever else that may look for you. 

Today I'm headed to coffee in a neighborhood I haven't explored with a person I've never met. What are some ways you're planning to experience discovery and seeing the world with fresh eyes? Tell me in the comments below!

Thanks for reading and for opening your mind to what's possible alongside me! I hope you have a week that's bursting with new, wonderful experiences that make your life a little richer. Until next time...





Making Monday Great: Monday Mavericks


Lately I've found myself really discouraged by all the negativity that exists in the world. Obviously there's the big news headlines like last week's incident on the tube in London or hate crimes like the recent events in Charlottesville. But even the simplistic banter that occurs with the people all around us day in and day out is pretty disheartening. I can think of countless examples of snide remarks I've recently heard about the "annoying girl on Instagram" or even the wasted energy spent hating on celebrities. What's productive about any of it? When did cynicism become so acceptable? Not even that-- it almost feels like some sick new form of millennial humor. It's really been bumming me out. 

I could go into a lot more detail as to why I think we should eliminate things like cynicism and hatred, but pretty soon I start to sound like a cynical hater myself just talking about it (which kinda defeats the point, right?)

So after several failed attempts to do something positive about it all, I decided to shift my perspective + instead, simply focus on optimism. Sure, it may sound corny. But while attempting to completely squash negativity with some happy thoughts may sound a bit audacious, I do think we’re capable of doing a lot more good than we give ourselves credit for. So let's just start with a small, yet chronic case of negativity: Monday. 

Just about every person I know dreads the hangover effect this dismal day has after a glorious weekend of freedom (Sunday Scaries, anyone?) And I get it-- Mondays mean starting over at a daunting beginning and staring at all that’s ahead of us (you may remember this blog I wrote about Monday a few years ago). But as sweet as a perpetual weekend may sound, isn’t it a terribly sad thought to let one-seventh of your life always be dreadful? What if it didn’t have to be? 

As I've said recently, I started Blonde Atlas with the intention of inspiring you to live your best life. And while travel will always be a key player in that, I also believe there's a lot more all of us can be doing to make life more amazing-- even if it's as simple as re-framing Monday. 


I've decided to start Monday Mavericks: a weekly newsletter with the simple purpose of empowering an army of optimists. Because I believe the world needs more of that right now.


Let me start by caveating that I hate emails and am the first to unsubscribe when there are too many or if even one feels sales-y. I pinky promise not to spam you or sell your info to some guy in Zanzibar. Instead, it's my hope to give you something that's quick + digestible enough to read in the elevator or with your morning coffee, but powerful enough to make you excited about the week ahead. You can expect things like:

Poppin' playlists with music that’s guaranteed to put you in a good mood. 

iPhone wallpaper with encouraging words. 

Quotes that make you feel warm + fuzzy and remind you the world doesn't suck. 

Lot's more... I don't live inside a box. 


My simple hope of Monday Mavericks is to equip you with encouragement to bring a little more positivity + optimism into your week so you can live a better life. Because when you’re a better version of yourself, it’s contagious to the people around you.  


Still not drinking the Kool-Aid? Consider the following to be a free sample of what's to come. Let's start with some jams, shall we?

These are my go-to tunes when I need a pick-me-up or help feeling like I can conquer the world (go ahead and hit play now- it'll make the rest of this sound more inspirational, thus making my job easier). Some songs are chalk full of juicy, encouraging lyrics. Some just have an epic beat and make you feel like the protagonist in an inspirational film. Some have both, and if you're not careful, you'll find yourself getting all teary-eyed because life is so damn beautiful (skip to 1:58 of "Surprise Yourself", imagine walking through Paris all by yourself and try telling me you don't feel a little emotional). 

Each week I'll add more songs to the same playlist (think of it like a fine wine that'll get better with age). If you think you have exquisite taste in music, feel free to send me recos:



In addition to some feel-good music, I also plan to share lots of encouraging words. This phone wallpaper (which I'll update each week) features one of my favorite sayings: "Life is tough, my darling, but so are you."

If your life isn't tough in some form or fashion right now, you're doing something wrong. Let me gently remind you: it's good to be in positions that are uncomfortable, difficult or tough. Sure, they're not always fun at first. But those are the places where you learn and grow and become far more interesting of a human being. If you strive for live a life that's always easy it's bound to be terribly boring and overrated.

So whether today presents you with small challenges like coffee spilled on your shirt or something much more difficult- don't curse it. Let this simple little phrase remind you that your life should be tough in order to become more beautiful, but you're tough too. Hang in there. 





I want to wrap up each Monday with a simple challenge you can apply to your week ahead. Before you freak out or get into your commitment issues, you can relax. I'm not going to ask you to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or write a novel. We're talking baby steps here. 

So for today, this beautiful, gift-of-a-fresh-start that's called Monday, what's one thing you can do to trade complaining for something lovely? How can you make it filled with more of what you love? Maybe it's something simple to boost your mood like taking a relaxing bubble bath, or letting yourself buy a stupidly-expensive latte from the boujee coffee shop on the way to work. Maybe you hand the barista a $10 tip for no reason other than being generous and making her day. Get crazy. Color outside the lines. Just do something that makes today special so that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday have big shoes to fill. And then, share your positivity of choice in the comments below. Let's make this movement contagious. 


I realize none of the above is necessarily revolutionary, but that's not the point. My hope of all this is to facilitate more goodness around a day that's known for snowballing various forms of negativity. Have ideas about the type of content you want to see in the newsletters moving forward? Please shoot me an email or tell me in the comments below! It takes an army to encourage each other, and I want this to be something you look forward to receiving every week.


So finally, we've reached the part where I ask you to join me. To sign up to receive Monday Maverick newsletters each week, complete the form below:


Join our Army of Optimists

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Let's make optimism and encouragement more popular than cynicism. Let’s be mavericks. Let’s have another cup of coffee and  let’s make Monday awesome.