The Life You Love

Year Ahead Tarot Spread: My 2018 Reading

It's almost 2018, which is f*cking unreal. I mean, who even has time for that?! Okay, but really, I actually love beginnings even if they overwhelm the shit out of me. I sat down and laid out my year ahead spread using the Inner Hue Lumina Tarot deck. It looks like it's going to be a pretty positive, pretty exciting, and even challenging year.


Like my cards have been telling me A LOT lately, my instincts and my intuition are going to be super important for me. They've always been important, but they're being brought to the forefront now. It's probably for the best. Trusting myself and listening to my inner voice is something that I've always valued and something that will help me connect with my divine feminine. I'm feeling it.


This card is actually a warning that expectations can actually restrict what I experience and how I connect with myself and others. I find it really interesting that this card is in the "January" spot. January is when people tend to make goals for the year and honestly, they usually go nowhere. But this year I'm trying to be more focused.


Ooooh, looks like February will be a month for connecting with the divine and my higher Self. I love that this card was pulled pretty early in the year because I think it will really help with a lot of the later cards that I drew. When working with this energy, I want to remind myself that I am a spiritual being who is divinely protected and supported by the Universe. I am codependent with the Universe and everything and everyone in it. How freaking cool is it to have a month that will have that kind of energy?!


After such a focus on connection and codependence, March will ask me to remember my strengths and my desires. I'll be asked to remember that I'm still in charge of my life and I still need to take action in order to manifest my desires. I think there will be more to uncover as the year and this month goes on.


Well, damn. The first third of the year is pretty heavy on connections. This card's description says it all: I have both a physical and a Universal family. To expand on that, I also have my Spiritual sisters (aka the spiritual boss bitches that I've connected with on my spiritual journey). I think this month will be an important one for listening to my guides and mentors on earth and in the Universe.


When you take responsibility for your life and your current situations, you are able to change them. This month will be all about taking responsibility for what's happening in my life and how I can use this responsibility to achieve what I want. Some part of this process will be painful and uncomfortable, but it'll be incredibly rewarding if I can stick to it.


One of the basic tenets of vibrations and frequencies is that your vibes must be high in order to attract your desires and wants. By living with high vibes each day, I'll attract even higher vibrations and even more positive events in my life. What a freaking awesome card with such high energy! Of course, this will be a challenge. Staying positive and high vibe is sometimes difficult, but it is so worth it.


I love the placement of this card. The middle-ish of the year is the perfect time to focus on Slowing Down and replenishing my energy. At this point, there will have been some very high energy and very exciting months that will leave me feeling drained if I don't take time to take care of myself. Of course, this is something I hope to do throughout the year, but I love that there is a month dedicated to this.


Why yes, I did get the Be You card as my theme for the month of my birth. Authenticity is one of the most important - and sometimes the most difficult - parts of life. By being the person who I truly am and feeling comfortable with it, I'll be able to thrive in my life. It's exhausting and unfulfilling to be anything but yourself, but sometimes we do lose sight of who we are. This is my time to realign with myself.


This is an exciting card! Is it suggesting that I will be a mentor or that I will seek mentoring? Honestly, I think both. This card has some strong connections to the first third of the year that asks me to connect with my Family, both physical and spiritual. It's a symbiotic relationship full of give and take.


Time to take a look at what I've been hiding or running from. Another potentially uncomfortable theme, kind of like May and Responsibility. October is a time for introspection and self-awareness of what has been holding me back or causing me pain. By first acknowledging what is going wrong, I can finally take steps towards what is right and what I want.


This is basically the moment I've been waiting for. This is when my hard work and my efforts will finally culminate in an opportunity that will align with my desires. Oh hell yes, this is card of manifestation thanks to action and effort. This is kind of like the roof of the house after I've been laying each brick with hard work and persistence.


I am the author of my story. That is such a powerful message of reflection and of responsibility. Of course, December is usually the time when we reflect on what's been going on and when we figure out what was or wasn't working. By reflecting on these important details, I'm able to write my next steps and rewrite what is no longer serving me.

Want to have your cards read for 2018?  I'm offering a 13-card spread - one card for each month and one overall card - for just $20.18 (see what I did there?!).  I'll offer an interpretation of each month and your overall year.  This offer will only be available for a limited time, so get it while you can!  Available through my Etsy shop.

Your Holiday Survival Kit

My Christmas tree has been up since before Thanksgiving.  I love the holiday season because I think it can bring out the best in people and in the self.  I also think it can bring up some shitty feelings, like stress and loneliness.  Before I keep going with my holiday survival tips, I want to be super clear about how blessed I am.  Thankfully, I'm a pretty fortunate person with little to worry about in comparison to others.  Of course, there are many many many people who are less fortunate than I am and have much bigger problems to worry about.  If you're interested in giving to others this season, here are a couple ways to give:

  • Donate to the Salvation Army.  Growing up, my mom always made sure we had a couple dollars that we could slip into the red kettle on our way out of the store.  It doesn't seem like much, but every little bit adds up.  If you never have cash on you, don't worry!  They accept online donations.
  • I can't write much about this one because it hits too close too home and I'll cry.  Donate to a soldier or military family in need through Operation Christmas Spirit.  My dad was in the Army for 20 years.
  • Okay, apparently all of these are just going to make me cry.  With One Simple Wish, you can help grant a child's wish.  A child who is currently in foster care.  They range from gifts like Lego sets to laptops to help study in high school to plane tickets to be able to see their parents and siblings.
  • Another classic way to give!  Drop off toys at a local Toys for Tots dropoff location.  With all of the sales that happen around this time of the year and gift guides on every corner, you'll certainly be able to find a great toy for a child.
  • If you'd prefer to give locally, I encourage you to find local organizations that are accepting donations for food, money, clothes, toys, etc.  You can even find a local animal shelter and see what they need.

And now that I'm experiencing all the feels, let's talk about how to survive the holidays.  If you're asking, "But Samantha, the holidays are glorious!  Why would I need to survive them if they're fucking amazing?!"  So glad that you asked so I didn't have to force some unsolicited advice onto ya. Don't worry, everything in my survival kit can fit into your favorite bag.

The holidays are expensive.  Follow a budget and use cashback apps.

Personally, I use ebates for almost every purchase.  Even if it's just 1% back.  Money is money is money and it sure as hell adds up.  If you don't believe me, think about all of those "just a quick coffee" stops that you made and ask your wallet how it feels.  Shit adds up.  And guess what.  You probably need a budget.  For life in general, but especially for the holidays because again SHIT ADDS UP.

People ask a lot of questions.  Prepare yourself to answer.

That whole joke about your aunt always asking if you're in a relationship yet is not a joke.  Aunt Carol is going to ask the same goddamn questions every year.  Even after you're married.  Then they just change into awkward questions about when you're going to get knocked up.  Y'all, just prepare yourself to answer.  I'm not saying you need to have a script, but you have to have at least a general idea of what you'll say so you don't scream at Aunt goddamn Carol.

People also say dumb shit.  Get yourself a coping method.

I highly recommend using an app like What's Up to deal with your emotions and get out of the situation for a moment.  They have different techniques like paced breathing, getting grounded through the senses, affirmations, and more.  If you're interested in seeing more about mental health apps, be sure to keep checking my blog because I will eventually post something about them.

Carry around a notebook.  Or you'll forget everything.

Between gift ideas, holidays parties, and thank yous, you need to keep track of a lot of shit.  And really, we all know that you aren't going to remember it without writing it down somewhere.  Keep your notebook with you at all times.  If you can't be trusted with a paper notebook, just use an app.  I prefer to use OneNote for everything because it syncs between my iPhone app and my computer app.

And keep an actual kit in your purse. 

Either buy one or use one of your 1358 ipsy bags that you have lying around the house.  Just me?  Throw in some basics like gum, a mini hair brush, some hair ties, an extra set of stud earrings, cleansing wipes, dry shampoo... basically anything that you may need while you're out.  Pinch Provisions has some cute kits and if you want to make your own, you can also order refills of things like deodorant wipes and stain removing towelettes from their website.

How and Why You Should Express Gratitude Daily

Thanksgiving has come and gone and although I don't necessarily love the holiday, I'm all for gratitude.  Being grateful for your life and the people and things in it is a great daily practice that can improve your relationships, sleep, physical health, mental health self-esteem, resilience, and more.  Plus, it just feels great to recognize all of the good in your life and truly appreciate it.  Read more about the benefits of gratitude here.
Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

I choose to think that people are naturally grateful and just don't always outwardly or explicitly express their gratitude.  For example, I am incredibly thankful that my boyfriend pays for most of our bills because it means I have to take out fewer student loans.  I don't always express that, though.  And sometimes, the thought doesn't even enter my mind even when he tells me that he just paid a bill.  It's not that I'm not grateful or that I don't want to give him thanks, it's just that I don't always think to do so.  And if I'm "forgetting" about a pretty big and obvious reason to express gratitude, imagine what else I'm forgetting about.

Gratitude isn't always about the obvious or the positive, though.  Using my above example, I can choose to show appreciation and thanks towards my bills because they represent something more than just money being spent.  Bills show that we are able to afford what we want and need.  It shows that we are capable of paying for the clean water, electricity, shelter, and even waste collection that we have access to.  You can go even further and recognize how blessed you are to even have access to these resources and services.

Of course, gratitude doesn't have to go so deep, either.  You can be thankful because someone paid-it-forward while you were getting coffee.  You can express gratitude when you find a nickel on the ground.  You can emphatically tell someone thank you for holding the door open for you.  There is gratitude in every day.  Some days, you may feel as if there is more to be thankful for.  And other days, you may feel as if you're just writing down the same things over and over.  That's okay.  You can write that you're thankful that you're alive every. damn. day.  It doesn't make it any less true and it doesn't mean you don't have anything else to be thankful for.  After days of this, you may all of a sudden remember 30 other things that deserve your gratitude.

There are so many ways to express gratitude.  One way to not only express gratitude but to also hold yourself accountable and be able to revisit your thankfulness is to keep a daily gratitude journal.  You can do this with a pen and paper or with your phone.  There are tons of gratitude apps and journal apps.  I'm still trying to find a favorite, so let me know if you have one that you love!  Of course, you can always just go over your daily thankfulness in your mind, through meditation, through prayer, etc.  You can do this at any time of the day or when you first wake up or you're about to go to sleep.

No matter what you're thankful for or how you decide to express your gratitude, make an effort to recognize all of the abudance in your life.  If this is something that you want to start doing more frequently or routinely, make it a New Year's goal.  Hell, get started on it right now.