How to Join Sanctuary Girl

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If you haven’t already heard, Sanctuary Girl is a new direct sales company that launched the end of January with a mission to equip, empower, and embolden women to share their faith stories on a global scale with a product line and an organization that stands behind them. When we launched, we began with 300 Ambassadors and are now over 500 Ambassadors strong and continue to grow!

 We are looking for women who are Troublemakers!  Women that, according to Acts 17:6 “they who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here”.  Women who are ready to share their faith stories, inspire others, and make a differrence.  Those interested in joining should be prepared to spend approximately five to ten minutes on the website and will need to have accessible their shipping address, phone number and social security number. You will also need to select the name for your replicated site. Every Ambassador gets to choose what is listed behind their sanctuarygirl.com/_________ website. You cannot use something that another ambassador has previously chosen and you should keep it simple and easy to remember. Think personal branding! (Some ladies use their name, some use something special to them… mine is lovedbyblue)

In addition to the above information, you will need to select one of our two enrollment kits, the Inspire Kit for $99 (plus tax and shipping) or the Influence Kit for $159 (plus tax and shipping). Kit contents include:

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Inspire Kit:

First month Technology Fee (valued at $9.99)
25-pack of catalogs
25-pack of Quickview catalogs 
25-pack of share the vision/hostess flyers
SG Oversized Tote w/floral compact
Troublemaker Key Necklace
I am Strong Necklace
Silver Antique Dome Key
I am Healed Wristlet
Just Breathe Eyemask
I Am Sanctuary Girl Armored Up Bangle
Brave Fearless Bold & Strong Pillow Cover
One Black Velvet Necklace Bust
One Black Bracelet Pillow                                                                                                                                                                    

Influence Kit:

Inspire Kit PLUS:
Set Free Tag Necklace
Stone & Shine FillerBracelets: Slate Blue
1 Additional Black Velvet Necklace Bust
1 Additional Black Pillow

When you are ready to join you will go directly to my website ( JOIN HERE) and confirm that you see my name listed as the Ambassador and then click the Join link.  You will then proceed through the enrollment process. If you have any questions at all during this process, please do not hesitate to reach out to me!

Once you are officially an enrolled Ambassador you have so many things to look forward to in addition to your very own direct sales business. You can expect a welcome call and invitation to a closed Team Facebook Group as well as a company sponsored facebook community. You will also receive an invitation to Sanctuary Girl Academy to help you successfully launch your business. You will receive training not only from me as your leader, but from the company, as well as your fellow Ambassadors who have been successfully running their Sanctuary Girl business. You can also look forward to hearing about our incentive program for new Ambassadors, Success From the Start.

We look forward to not only working with you, but welcoming you into this faith based community of sisters (and brother’s) of Christ. Welcome to Sanctuary Girl, direct sales like no other!

I Am Fearless.... And So Are You!

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Have you ever wanted to do something, but were absolutely terrified? You are not alone! I have been wanting to jet ski since I moved to San Diego, but was so afraid! I figured I could probably handle sitting on the back with someone I trusted, but to do it myself… well… let’s just say that always ended in a disaster in my head.

I believe we live in a world where we are taught to always prepare for the worst. Some of us may spend more time preparing for the “what ifs” then we do actually living in the moment and enjoying life as it passes by. Do you remember the list of reasons I had created why I wouldn’t be able to Stand Up Paddle in a previous blog “Facing Our Fears through Stand Up Paddle Boarding”? I was overweight, out of shape, had arthritis in both my knees, from the east coast and had a fake hip were just a few of the ridiculous lies I told myself. I was convinced that I’d fall in, wouldn’t be able to get back on the board, and possibly lose Bluebelle. Even after facing my fears and finding a hobby I love, it doesn’t mean the cycle of negative thinking has ended.

I told myself the same kind of lies prior to going jet skiing. I wouldn’t know how to steer, I’d flip the jet ski, get sucked under, and get chopped up by the motor (yes, these were my honest thoughts). Sounds pretty ridiculous when I hear it outside of my head. That is the beauty of my Sanctuary Girl jewelry. Quick messages, at a glance, to speak life back into me and remind me of my truth, when my head is telling me lies. Like, “I Am Fearless” when I am otherwise feeling terrified.

I Am Fearless bracelet from  Sanctuary Girl

I Am Fearless bracelet from Sanctuary Girl

Luckily, I tackled my fear of jet skiing out on the open water with an amazing friend who continues to push me out of my comfort zone on the regular. I’ll never forget hearing her yell “Go Faster” over and over again until I finally just faced my fear and took off on the open waters! And, to no surprise, the experience was completely exhilarating! To say I had fun is an understatement!

 
I am Fearless And So Are You. Loved by Blue
 

If you are local to San Diego, or in town visiting, and want to go Jet Skiing, I highly recommend San Diego Bay Adventures! We had a seamless rental experience from check in to check out. They offer safety and operating instructions, a place to store your belongings, a waterproof case to put your phone in, life jacket, restrooms, and a great souvenir photo! Everything you could possibly need is included in the rental. Location is everything, and renting from here you can enjoy the San Diego Bay and sights including the USS Midway, the kissing statue, downtown skyline and the Coronado Bridge.

Souvenir Photo from  San Diego Bay Adventures

Souvenir Photo from San Diego Bay Adventures

Today, and everyday, I challenge you to do the things you’ve been wanting to do. Today is a gift and tomorrow is not promised. Life is short. You can face your fears now and enjoy life in the moment; or you can look back with regrets on all of the things you wish you would have done. Some of the best decisions are scary. Some of the most fun moments in life are terrifying. Grab a friend to hold you accountable, to push you further than you’d ever push yourself. Enjoy the ride. Now, what are you waiting for…. get out there and live it up girl!

Life is short, enjoy the ride!

An Interview At Sanctuary Girl Grand Social

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On June 14, 2019 over 100 ambassadors from Sanctuary Girl gathered for our first annual conference, which we affectionally called “Grand Social”. Our company is a direct sales company like no other, and this conference was a conference like none other. Friendships were formed, aha moments occurred, lives were saved, and healing began.

On Sunday, there was an on stage segment celebrating the seven women who were featured in the Sanctuary Girl spring/summer 2019 catalog. One by one, I watched the six women prior to me being interviewed on the stage, in a state of anxiety wondering what I would be asked and what I would say.

Sanctuary Girl Spring/Summer 2019 Ambassador Spotlight

Sanctuary Girl Spring/Summer 2019 Ambassador Spotlight

I had the privilege of being interviewed by a dear friend Cheryl Swingle, who I have known for the last 5 years. Cheryl is the Chief Igniting Officer of Luminary4Women , a life and business coach and motivational speaker and a dear friend who really knows my story. As I walked onto the stage, I knew she had the ability to hone in on any number of emotional parts of my story. As she began to ask me my question, there was a split second where I knew I could either chose to take the easy way out and only share a glimpse of my story, or I could be vulnerable and speak the whole truth, and probably end up crying. I chose the latter, knowing that in that moment, I had the ability to provide hope and inspiration to any number of people listening. I had no intentions to share this private moment any further than with the woman in attendance at the first Sanctuary Girl Grand Social, however, again, I am presented with an opportunity to inspire others.

 
An Interview at Sanctuary Girl Grand Social Loved By Blue
 

Not only did Cheryl ask me about my personal brand, but she also asked me about the ministry work I do with Eastlake Church inside Donovan State Prison. Eastlake Church Donovan has become my home group and my church of preference. Although unconventional to some, it is a place for me to serve, to be inspired, and to grow deeper in my faith far beyond what I could do inside the four walls of a church.

Please take a few minutes to listen to my interview, and if it inspires you, please share with others. This is a piece of my story that until last week, I’ve held very closely to myself. However, the time to share is now. Stay tuned for an amazing opportunity to help Eastlake Church Donovan regardless of your location!


The Wedding That Never Was…

Photo credit:  MIO Photography

Photo credit: MIO Photography

7 years ago I would have gotten married today. It's something I don't talk often about, but today, I will. I thought I was in love and found the one. I had a wedding planned, a venue booked, a wedding dress purchased. I was pretending to plan this fairy tail wedding, but things were far from perfect. Even though I didn't want to admit it at the time, I was being taken advantage of, for everything I could possibly be. My home, my stability, financially. I provided a responsible home for him to have visitations with his son. I supported him financially, all the while I thought he was working, when in reality he was "pretending" to go to work, just to return home after I left. I put all the deposits down for the wedding. I spent years upon years dreaming of being a wife and a mother, and looking back now, it was apparent I was more “in love” with my dreams coming true then I was in love in that relationship.

And, after I learned he was cheating on me, and called off the wedding, I lost everything. Not just the relationship, and the money, but I lost myself. Having to call of a wedding was embarrassing. I felt like it reflected negative on me and the type of person I was. I felt foolish, unworthy, unloveable and heartbroken. As if it wasn’t hard enough to end the relationship and deal with what comes along emotionally with a break up, I had to cancel the venue, the photographer, the dj. I had to continue making payments on a wedding dress that I no longer had a need for. And… I had to tell everyone.

How could someone cheat on me, when I had given them everything. It wasn't long that I spun into a pretty dark depression. A depression that literally had me detach from everyone and everything I once enjoyed. I remember days where I would feel like a zombie, just staring off into space. I disconnected from family and from relationships. I felt empty. I felt alone. And, for a period of time, I remember turning to wine in an effort to literally drink myself to sleep. I literally wrapped up my entire view of self worth based on someone who was using me and didn’t deserve me. I know it now and knew it then, yet somehow let being cheated on completely define who I was as a person- completely unworthy of love.

When I finally went to a doctor, and started medication, my family had a lot of mixed emotions. My father wasn't supportive of me being on anti-depressants, simply because of the negative stigma that mental health has. My father, also uneducated, thought that because I was on anti depressants, meant I was suicidal, which was not the case. If you’ve read “A Cry for Help Meets A Broken System”, you’ve heard me talk about just how difficult it is for a person experiencing mental health to take the step for help. So imagine, working through my own stigma and barriers to go get help, to accept medication, and then hearing my father disapprove, it made things even harder.

I share this today for one of two reasons. Firstly, if you are struggling, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And, it will get better. Had I gotten married, I'm fairly certain my life would be very different. I wouldn't have Bluebelle, I wouldn't have so many amazing people in my life that came after, and I wouldn't be here in California. Life happens for a reason, a reason we may not always be able to see or understand. His path leads you to where you are meant to be. You know the cliche expression “Faith Over Fear”. It’s not so cliche when you think about it. Sometimes we just have to trust. We don’t have to know the when, or the why… but know that things happen for a reason and that reason tends to lead to bigger and better things far beyond our imagination.

Secondly, May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it's time we NORMALIZE mental health, and accept that it is everywhere. If it doesn't affect you, it affects someone you know. People aren't choosing to be depressed, to be anxious, to be psychotic. And, many are afraid to get help simply because of the stigma. We need to ban together to support one another. Smile more. Be kind. Say hello. Reach out to a friend, just because. Say I love you more.

You not only need to take care of others, but you also need to take care of yourself. Self care is not optional. It needs to be a priority. If you are like me, and struggle to make yourself a priority, then I urge you to begin scheduling self care into your calendar. Studies show you are much more likely to do things written down and scheduled, so if that’s what it takes, grab your pen and planner and get to scheduling! Positive self talk (positive affirmations) is another great way to take care of you. I have some subtle, and not to subtle ways to affirm myself on a daily basis. Reminding myself of my worth became so important to me that I got it tattooed on my wrist as a permanent daily reminder. Other days, I stack on my Sanctuary Girl “I AM Collection bracelets” to remind myself messages like “I am Loved”. Whatever it takes, take the time to affirm yourself and those around you.

A Cry For Help Meets A Broken System

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If you follow me at all on my business page, you know that I pride myself on remaining authentic. I can even be quoted several times saying that I will always share the good, the bad, and the ugly. When I wrote that, I was serious, however, I still find myself terrified to share some of the ugly. This is one of those terrifying shares. I share because if I can help just one person, then it is worth me putting myself out there. It is my prayer that this post will reach someone. Someone who needs to know they are not alone. Someone who may once be too afraid to reach out for help. And, if I am lucky, it will reach someone who has the potential to make a difference in a system so broken.

A quick google search on depression statistics brought me to the following list from The Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment.

  • Panic Disorder affects 6 million adults, or 2.7% of the U.S. population.

  • Social Anxiety Disorder affects 15 million adults, or 6.8% of the U.S. population.

  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects 2.2 million adults, or 1.0% of the U.S. population.

  • PTSD affects 7.7 million adults, or 3.5% of the U.S. population.

  • Major Depressive Disorder affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7%of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year and is The leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3.

A quick calculation and this equates to 23.8 % of the U.S population experiences depression or anxiety. Even more concerning, are the following statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the US claiming the lives of nearly 45,000 in 2016.

  • Suicide was the second leading cause of the death among individuals ages 10 and 34.

  • There were more than twice as many suicides (44,965) in the US as there were homicides (19,362) in 2016.

Reading these statistics you would think that help was easily accessible. Help should be a phone call away, right? Wrong! I know from personal experience, that I am not alone in my story. I am angry for myself. I am angry for my friends who struggled to receive help. But, beyond my own hurt and anger, I am terrified for those that will not make it, because of the broken system.

I am someone who struggles with depression and anxiety. I don’t talk about it, in fact I like to pretend it doesn’t exist. Which, makes no sense as a professional in the field and an advocate for mental health awareness. Even as a professional, or an advocate, I am still susceptible to fears of the stigma. The stigma existed in my household. I remember the first time I went on anti-depressants my father was angry with me. In his mind, antidepressants made you want to hurt yourself, and that doctor’s overprescribed these “happy pills” and that you should just “suck it up”.

For anyone that has ever told someone to “suck it up”, I hope that you never have to experience the frustration of not being able to suck it up. There is nothing worse then not knowing why you feel down, why you feel unmotivated, or why you are sitting in tears. That, my friends, is called depression. It’s a recognized, diagnosed by certain criteria, medical condition. And, I can assure you that the cure is not “to suck it up”.

I am someone who cycles through depression and anxiety. When it hits, and I recognize it, I toy with the idea of getting help. I’m stubborn, I’m in denial, I don’t have time, I don’t want to pay the copays, It will pass… and every other excuse I create. Inevitably things appear to get better… until it hits again. After spending most of last week crying, and speaking to a trusted friend, I decided to reach out for help.

I cannot put into words how difficult asking for help is. Acknowledging to yourself that there is a problem is one thing, but when you say it out loud to someone else… man, that makes it real. Ive worked in the field long enough to know how to do an in-network provider search through my insurance company. I picked up that 1,000 pound phone, dialed the first phone number, and muttered the words “I’m depressed, and want to go back on meds”. You could hear the fear in my voice, as I hesitated to let these words leave my mouth. And call after call, I was met with appointments weeks to months out. I called family doctors, general practitioners, urgent care locations, and psychiatrists. Call after call, was met with one barrier or another. Worst yet, not one single person on the other end of that 1,000 pound phone asked me any questions about the severity of the depression, or if I have any thoughts to harm myself. Now, let me make this very clear to anyone reading this, I am not suicidal, nor do I have any thoughts to hurt myself… but, no one on the other end of the phone knew that.

Several years ago, in complete desperation, a close friend of mine, who actually was having harmful thoughts, was met with the same experience, phone call after phone call of barriers and lack of help or support. In complete panic, she reached out to her OBGYN, who was able and willing to help her. Following her lead, I contacted my OBGYN and shared the same hesitation and fear on all of my previous phone calls “I am depressed and want to go on meds”. They scheduled me an appointment for two days later. I almost canceled the appointment. If you think it was difficult to mutter those words on the phone, I was literally sweating thinking about having to say them out loud, face to face, with a doctor. I texted my friend on my way to the doctor and told her I wanted to puke.

I got to the doctors and happily paid my $50 copay, thinking that I’d finally get some help, even if it was a starting point. After less than five minutes with my OBGYN, I was met with another barrier “We don’t prescribe unless you are a new mother”. She told me she would get me some resources and would be right back. In that moment, I broke out in tears. I was devastated, angry, frustrated, and overall disappointed. I wiped the tears away, not wanting anyone to see my crying. When she returned to the room, she handed me a brochure on postpartum support groups. In that moment, without any control, I broke out in tears. As she handed me a tissue, I apologized, and stated I didn’t even know why I was crying… but that I just wanted to not feel like this anymore.

That phone call was hard, that visit was even harder, and the let down of lack of help was painful. I cried my entire way back to work from the doctor’s appointment. I knew how hard it was to take those steps, and I know how easy it is to say “well, I tried” and just wait for this to pass… until the next cycle happens. My heart hurts for me, but my heart aches for the 45,000 people who took their lives in 2016. How many of them made that difficult phone call, just to be turned away.

Our system is broken. We, as the mental health field, are not doing our due diligence to properly screen people. There needs to be more availability of provider’s able to see first time patients. We need to be able to capitalize on the moment someone needs help. I know I am not alone in that moment, that fleeting moment, where you are willing to face your fears and reach out. That moment passes, and we need to be prepared to capture people in that moment. Medical provider’s need to be educated and willing to intervene, as a temporary resource, until the proper referrals can be made.

Less than half of the people experiencing depression are receiving treatment. How many of those are because treatment isn’t available. I am a mental health provider, who knows how to navigate the system, a broken system. What about the thousands of people who don’t know how to navigate? This shouldn’t be so difficult. We need to do better.

Returning to Church... A Year in Review.

A year ago today, on the first Sunday after New Years Day, I stepped foot in church again, after being hurt from my own church almost 20 years ago.

I was working with my mentor, who had been talking to me about restoring my faith. About giving church another chance, and not judging all churches by the actions and behaviors of my previous one. I remember her saying “You need to get out and meet people, and church can do that for you”.

She asked me to research churches and that she would attend “online” with me. In that same week, I saw an ad on Facebook for a church here in Imperial Beach, and they were starting a new series called “Alt, Control, Delete”, basically doing a hard reset. This caught my eye, because it was what I was working on with my mentor. On that weeks call, we were having difficulty connecting. We ended the call, and what I didn’t know, was she had to reset her phone before Able to call me back. We got through the call, and I told her about the church. That’s when she told me about the phone reset. She said that’s it, there’s your sign, go to that service!

That week, one year ago, I sat in the back row, crying to myself, as I listened to the pastor speak directly to Me. “God loves you. No matter what you think of yourself. No matter what others say about you. God created you just the way you are on purpose, and he loves you”. Words I so desperately needed to hear... that I was loved.

The last year has been surreal. I’ve connected with Eastlake Church Imperial Beach , gone on a mission trip, helped my local community, traveled out of the country to serve, walked into confidence in my passion, and signed up to be involved in the prison ministry.

I owe my mentor a lot. I know that it was God working through her, but without her patience, her authenticity, her showing up and loving me, believing in me, and walking WITH me on my faith journey, this last year would look much different.

Now, it’s her turn. This weeks service was titled BEST. YEAR. EVER. I’ve watched her step out on faith, turn her fear into confidence, follow her purpose.... from a thought to a dream, to reality. It has been pure joy to watch this process unfold, and an even bigger honor to be on this chapter with her as one of her Regional Leaders for Sanctuary Girl, the newest direct sales company. It is a task I do not take lightly, and will be sure to honor her and Gods trust and faith in me every single step of the way.

The world needs this. I need this. You need this. It’s 2019 and the world is filled with more hate, self doubt, anxiety, depression, addiction, and judgment than I could ever put into words. What we are about to do is revolutionary. Providing words of affirmation to speak life into people... when the world is speaking life out of you.

The world is ready. I am ready. You are ready. One more day. 
#lovedbyblue #iAmSanctuaryGirl

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Evaluating Your Support.

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A new year brings a time of reflection, hope, and excitement. It’s a time where we naturally allow ourselves to say good bye to our past and welcome our future. It’s a time where we allow ourselves to dream, to set goals, and identify change. It’s a time where we talk about finding not only ourselves, but our best selves. It’s usually a time where we take a close look at ourselves, and think about personal growth. Today, I am going to challenge you to not only look at yourself, but the people around you.

I have a confession to make. This may be too personal for some of you to read, but I promise there is a profound message behind all of this. I have not purchased new bras since I was in college. Who enjoy’s bra shopping, anyway? They are expensive, and I can find a million other more exciting things to spend money on, then new bras. But, here’s the thing, it’s been like ten plus years, and well, if I may be honest, they are falling apart. I’m way overdue for some new bras. So, I drug myself into Victoria’s Secret today, because, who doesn’t love a sale. And if I’m going to buy new bra’s, they better be on sale. And yes, while there, I decided to get fitted... and guess what, I’ve been wearing the wrong size bra, for, well, I don’t even know how many years.

Talk about moving forward in the new year with proper support! Ok, all jokes aside, but that’s the real message here. I’ve been wearing the wrong size, which probably didn’t leave me with great support. It’s easy to get complacent, to get stuck, to get comfortable... but, having the proper support is extremely important... and now I’m not just talking about breast health!

Businessman and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said,

“You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”

Think about that for a minute... because I’m now talking about that kind of support. You hear it all the time- your ride or die crew, your family, your squad... but do you really take note to what that means. You ARE the average of the five people you spend the most time with. How does that make you feel? Are you excited by the possibilities that unleashes? Are you horrified? When is the last time you evaluated who you spend your time with, who you identify as your support system?

The good news is, it’s a new day, and a new year. It’s never too late to re-evaluate, to re-measure. If I didn’t take the time today to get sized properly, I’d still be walking around unsupported. It’s the same for the people in your life. Society has made us feel like we want to be the best at everything, be the smartest person in the room. But here is my real challenge to you--- How about spending time with five people smarter than you, more talented than you, more successful than you. Imagine the opportunities that will open for you. Imagine all you can learn, and absorb, from spending time with brilliant, successful, talented people. Imagine the drive that will ignite in you, the motivation you will receive, the push it will give you.

I have been working with a mentor, and that has been a positive experience for me, for a lot of different reasons. But, easily, one the biggest reasons for that success, is because she is someone I respect and admire. I strive to be a better person because of her. She guides me to be that better person. She challenges me. She doesn’t except the mundane, and has taught me that I shouldn’t either. We challenge each other. We learn and grow from one another, because success is contagious.

She shared a recent sermon from a visiting pastor at her Church, Pastor Jeremiah Stingl. He did a sermon yesterday on moving forward. He talked about things that really resonated with me, including an analogy of not spending too much time looking in the rearview mirror. He also spoke about assessing the people you are spending your time with. He said “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” He went on to say

“The key to your calling is your crowd.”

He explained that as long as you are still breathing, God has a purpose for you. You may have yet to discover that purpose, but Paster Jeremiah explained that God has a person for you that will help you discover that purpose, but asked, “do you have room for them, or are you full”.

I’m not suggesting you dispose of those in your life. I am suggesting that you work to identify your supports from those that may bring toxicity into your relationships. Perhaps you just need to make some changes with how much time you spend with someone who can be toxic. If you are not satisfied with your top 5, make sure you have room for the right person to come along. Trust me when I say that “your person” may already be someone in your life. My person was in my life far before they were IN my life. It’s all about timing, and being open and willing.

Happy New Year! Wishing you love, happiness, and amazing support in 2019!


Love Always, Alycia and Bluebelle

Love Always, Alycia and Bluebelle

Out with the Resolution, In with the Word of the Year!

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With just days away from the end of 2018, and a new year rapidly approaching, it’s time for the dreaded question, “What’s your New Year’s Resolution?” But, what if I told you to say the heck with a resolution! Let’s face it, many people dread them. It’s become an obligation to set one… so that you have an answer prepared for when someone asks you. It’s something we have to do. It’s another line on the to do list. It focuses on the negative, something you don’t like, something you aren’t doing well, something you want to change. Who wants to start a new year focusing on the negative? Even worse, it’s pass or fail… you either accomplish your resolution, or you don’t. There is little room for in between.

Heres an idea- instead of setting a New Years Resolution, which you will probably forget about, push to the side, ignore, make excuses, not follow through with…. what if you identified a word of the year! What’s that you ask? It is one word that you want to focus on for the new year. It helps guide you in your goals, your decisions, and what steps you want to take. It is one simple word, in which you use to stay grounded in your dreams.

There are millions of words to chose from, so this may not be an easy task for some. Take some time to reflect on where you are, and where you want to be. Visualize not just your short term goals, but also your big vision dreams. Trust your gut, for you, your word may come immediately to you. What qualities do other’s see easily in you, but perhaps you don’t yourself believe.

I have been thinking about this for the last few weeks, and I’ve decided to break the rules, and am selecting two words. I don’t think that I can have one without the other, and in true transparency, I am choosing two area’s in which I struggle with the most. My two words are Loved, and Worthy.

Meet Sanctuary Girl. You have heard me talk about her before. In 2019, she is transforming into a faith based direct sales company. Over the last few months, as I have helped to prepare to introduce her to the world, I have been overcome with these two words over and over again. So much, that I’ve used the word “loved” in my personal branding, Loved By Blue. One thing you can always count on from me, is total authenticity and transparency. Like many people, I come from a complicated family. I don’t have a great track record with relationships. The two have left me feeling unloveable more times then I feel loved. Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of people that I know love me, and I feel that love from them. But, if I am being completely raw, when the people who are supposed to love you the most, unconditionally, walk out of your life, it is often hard to feel anything but unloveable. Which, brings me to the word worthy. How does one feel worthy of anything great, when they feel they are unloveable?

When I was designing my brand for my new Sanctuary Girl business, I had a vision. I wanted to create a place where everyone felt loved by someone. A loving space of like minded women. A place to be celebrated and valued for who you are, regardless of what hat you are wearing. I also wanted to create an atmosphere to teach and encourage self-love. Because, I know that in today’s society, women have more reasons to not love themselves, than they do to love themselves. I also felt it was important to be reminded of the love that is provided to us by God, so much that he sacrificed his only son for us. I remember, one year ago, when I went back to church for the first time in years, the pastor spoke about God’s unconditional love for us. Hearing those words, I sat in the back of the church, crying. I don’t even know why, other than it was words I’ve longed to hear. Then, I cannot forget my sweet rescued dog, Bluebelle. How something so little, can love so much, is beyond my wildest imagination. I truly believe that Bluebelle was sent to me to fill the voids in my life. This little snuggle bug provides me with unconditional love, and more love than I can recall feeling in more years than I care to admit. My hope in creating Loved By Blue, is to make sure that everyone experiences a “Bluebelle kind of love”.

While feeling lovable, even by myself, is still a work in progress, it’s a great place to focus on for the upcoming year. I want to focus on improving my self love, and believing that I do have a lot to offer, and that I am lovable. More importantly, I plan to focus on believing that I am worthy. Worthy of that love, worthy of success, worthy of opportunities presented to me, and worthy of achieving my goals.

I challenge you to select a word of the year. Chose something that challenges you, yet resonates with you. Make sure the word is visible. Put a picture on your phone. Write it in your planner. Use it as a screensaver on your computer. Write it on your mirror. And, I may even be able to help you wear your word in the form of jewelry. I am excited to share with you three collections of jewelry from Sanctuary Girl, providing opportunities for you to wear your word daily, be reminded of it, and encouraged to live out that word. Please let me introduce you to the “I Am Collection” (bracelets), the “Keys Collection” (necklaces) and the “Statement Ring Collection”. If your word is any of the following, let me help you wear your word: Beautiful, Blessed, Enough, Fearless, His, Loved, Worthy, Brave, Breathe, Courage, Dreamer, Grace, Love, Purpose, Faith, Peace and Believe.

Happy New Year. May 2019 bring you all the love, all the worthiness, and whatever your word is, and may this year be your best year yet!

The Other Side of the Wall.

Looking into the United States from Tijuana, Mexico

Looking into the United States from Tijuana, Mexico

At an initial glance, it’s impossible to see the difference between either side of this wall. In one direction, just 10 minutes from this wall, I reside in Imperial Beach, California; a small beach community south of San Diego. In the other direction, 10 minutes from this wall you can find Zona Norte, the largest Red Light District in North America. If you are unfamiliar, the Red Light District is a neighborhood filled with prostitution, the sale of illicit drugs, gangs, and brothels. What is highly illegal in the United States, is seen out in the public in this neighborhood. Because of it’s proximity to the United States, it is also an area frequented for the sale of drugs, women, and children.

During the month of November, I had the opportunity to invite people to sponsor a Child in Tijuana for Christmas. I partnered with Eastlake Church Playas, and together, we had a large goal to collect 200 Cinch Sacs to fill with toys, and provide to the children at Hope Zone. Hope Zone is an organization located in the center of the Red Light District, inviting children of the community into this safe space to play, learn and be introduced to the word of Jesus. Their main hope is to provide prevention to the youth of this community, in an effort to break the cycle. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with this mission and admire the couple who founded Hope Zone.

The entrance to Hope Zone- an outdoor space between two buildings, lined with barbed wire.

The entrance to Hope Zone- an outdoor space between two buildings, lined with barbed wire.

I eagerly committed to the goal of 200 cinch sacs, feeling compelled to help each and every child who enters the gates of Hope Zone. But, shortly after getting off the phone, I realized what the financial picture of 200 cinch sacs looked like. I was completely prepared to bless each and every child; what I wasn’t prepared for was how much my faith would grow. It didn’t take long to refocus and tell myself “If God gave you this, he will get you through it”. This may be the first time I can say I completely just had faith and trusted God in his vision for me. Through monetary donations, hostess credits, fellow consultants donating their own product on hand, and incentive rewards points I have earned through my Thirty-One business, I was able to collect 181 cinch sacs. I later found out that the 200 was an over-estimate, and that we would be serving approximately 140 children that day.

“God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called”

This past weekend, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel down to Zona Norte and meet the children of Hope Zone, participate in their holiday party, and hand out the cinch sacs filled with Christmas Gifts. The entire event was spoken in Spanish. While my ears could not understand what they were saying, my heart felt everything that was occurring. Skin color, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status…. none of this mattered. Children are children; humans are humans. I may not have been able to communicate verbally to these children, but I believe a simple smile is a universal language. I hope that they could feel and see the love that was being provided to them.

Amanda, the founder of Hope Zone (along with her husband) shared with us that this community is used to people coming into their community to take from them (prostitution, the sale of children, drugs) and she was incredibly grateful that we could come into the community and give to them. 10 minutes from the border. 10 minutes from the wall. As I was driving out of Zona Norte, I could see Imperial Beach, and the Coronado bridge in the distance. 10 minutes across the border is one of the wealthiest communities. And yet, 10 minutes in the opposite direction, children are being sold and purchased for sex and organs.

Amanda and her husband Jesse, founders of Hope Zone.

Amanda and her husband Jesse, founders of Hope Zone.

My hope in sharing this is to bring awareness. A reminder to be kind to others. To smile. To give, when everyone else is taking. We, in the United States, often feel we live in an ugly world. While I will admit that it can be ugly, just 10 minutes from that wall, is an unimaginable ugly, compared to what we see here. Love your neighbor as yourself. Love like Jesus did.

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Hope Zone, part of YWAM, is funded completely on donations. Every program is built completely on cash, so that their is no debt accrued. Their current space is outdoors only, and they are working on a building proposal with the vision of a 4 story building. More space, and more time to provide safety and education to these children. Please take a moment to read more about Hope Zone and consider donating.




Sponsor a child for Christmas!

Eastlake Playas Fundraiser.jpg

Last month, I traveled to Tijuana, Mexico with my church for a house build project. It was my first time driving across the border and going to Tijuana, which is literally a ten minute drive from my house. My initial thoughts were shock and disbelief…. disbelief that life could look so different, just ten minutes away. Spending a weekend there, and getting to know locals, it became clear just how humble and grateful they are for what they do have. They don’t focus on the things they don’t have, they find a way to make what they do have work.

A small area inside the families home with their daughter’s toys.

A small area inside the families home with their daughter’s toys.

I had the opportunity to speak with one of the Pastor’s of our churches locations in Tijuana and she told me that many of the families that attend their church live similarly. It became clear that I wanted to bless as many families as possible, and that with the holiday’s approaching, now was the perfect time.

How you can help!

During the month of November I am collecting donations to sponsor a child in Tijuana for Christmas. Your $18 donation will provide a holiday Littles Carry All Caddy filled with age appropriate gifts for the children. These caddies will be distributed to the children of Tijuana with the help from Eastlake Church Playas. Your donations can be made via PayPal to “alcardona16@gmail.com”. I have set a huge goal of 56 caddies being provided, and we are currently half way to our goal. Please join me in making a difference in a child’s life.

Best Cheesesteaks on the West Coast!

Meet the family behind Steak N Fries!

Meet the family behind Steak N Fries!

Two and a half years ago, living about an hour outside of Philadelphia, PA I did an internet search on “top dog-friendly cities to live”. One by one, I went through that list, to see if it were somewhere I could see myself. I was looking for a place I thought only existed in my dreams- a place where dogs could go anywhere. Imagine my surprise when I found that my dream place existed! Two years ago, Bluebelle and I drove from one coast to the other, to what SmartAsset calls the number 5 top dog friendly city to live, San Diego. They couldn’t have described it any more accurately: “It has the second-most dog-friendly restaurants and the fourth-most dog-friendly shopping centers in the study”.

Little to my surprise, a family originally from North Philadelphia, and currently living in Rochester, NY were dreaming up their own perfect place; their own ribeye cheesesteak restaurant. Two years ago husband and wife duo Angel and Angela, along with their daughter’s and son-in-law made that same drive from coast to coast, looking for the perfect location to start their own family restaurant.

Dreams Come True on the West Coast

Cheers to one year! Celebrating their 1-year anniversary on October 18 2018!

Cheers to one year! Celebrating their 1-year anniversary on October 18 2018!

Bluebelle and I are always on the hunt for anywhere dog friendly, especially places to go out to eat. I feel like this family and I were destined to meet, because although different, our stories and timelines are so similar! We had big dreams, and both took a leap of faith with that cross country drive.

If you aren’t from the east coast, you may not know that Philadelphia (Philly) is known for their cheesesteaks- “the Philly cheesesteak”. I love a good taste of home, and so it was a no brainer to give this restaurant a try. What is special about Steak N Fries is that everything is made fresh, daily (and, they may get some of their ingredients from back at home!). The ribeye steak is sliced daily, never frozen. All cheesesteaks come on Amoroso Bread, and you have your choice of cheeses and veggies.


I’ll be honest; I can be super picky when it comes to eating, and super weird about meat. I will also honestly say, this was the BEST cheesesteak I have ever eaten. No fat, no funny crunchy pieces, just super tender, juicy, well seasoned ribeye steak. And cheese wiz, don’t let me forget about that! The bread is light, and fresh, and all together, just the perfect combination. The family is friendly, and you’ll often catch them saying hello to those passing by on the street. Sit down for a few minutes, and it won’t take long to see this is a true family environment, welcoming to all members, including your furry family!

If you are local to San Diego, be sure to check them out at 1039 Garnet Ave. You can also find Steak N Fries on Facebook and Instagram.

Purpose? What's that? Do I have a purpose?

All Things New: A  Sanctuary Girl  Retreat.

All Things New: A Sanctuary Girl Retreat.

Raise your hand if you have no idea what your purpose is. I know I am not the only one that was clueless in this area. I also am willing to bet that you know at least one person who eats, sleeps, and breathes their purpose. That person that everyone who knows them, knows what their purpose is. I’m willing to bet that you may have been jealous of them, at least on one occasion, just wishing that you could be like them, and know…. like, really know, what your purpose is.

Here’s the good news: If you are alive, you have a purpose. You may not have discovered it yet, and that is totally ok, but trust me when I say that you have a purpose. What’s even more neat, is that you may be living out your purpose, and not have any idea. That was me.

This past spring, I went to a women’s faith based retreat with Sanctuary Girl (time out… click this link and go give this page a like, I promise you will not regret it). Here is part of the description of this retreat:

This retreat is for women who are ready to explore the patterns of thinking that have kept them from truly walking out their purpose on planet Earth. We will dig deep into what it is we really think we are here for, explore what we believe are our passions, and pull out the strengths to make them happen.

I was so excited to attend this retreat, and hopeful to find out what my purpose was, or if I even had one. I never imagined to be smacked in the face with what felt like a mack truck regarding what I believe my purpose to be.

Sanctuary Girl Retreat: Los Angeles, CA March 2018

Sanctuary Girl Retreat: Los Angeles, CA March 2018

Utilizing the Spiritual Gifts Test to

Discover your Purpose.

One activity that we utilized on this retreat was the Spiritual Gifts Test. Allot yourself some time, without distractions, to take this test. I’m going to be honest, when I took it, I wanted to melt into my chair and disappear. I was very new into re-engaging in my faith during this retreat, and to be quite honest, I didn’t know how to answer a lot of the questions. I remember, at one moment, panicking and thinking to myself “this is going to come back that I have no gifts”.

Imagine to my surprise that my top three gifts described me perfectly! Not just that, but my number one gift, was what I did for a living! After you take the test, you’ll be able to click on the link Spiritual Gifts-definitions and descriptions, and read all about yours.

My top gift was Mercy, which is described as “concern for those that are hurting”, “great empathy for others”, “feel the need to be there for others” and “THE HANDS AND THE FEET OF GOD TO THE AFFLICTED”. You will see that expression come up numerous times throughout this blog, because it’s a phrase that continues to appear in my life. I have learned that I may not have the bible memorized, or attend church every Sunday, I can’t recite scripture to you, but I am the hands and the feet, and I am out there caring for the afflicted, day in and day out. And I continue to find ways to do that, further learning about my true purpose, all while following my passion.

I’d love if you would take the test, and share your results (if you are comfortable) or feedback in the comments below. It was such an eye opening experience for me, and a defining moment in discovering my purpose.

Facing Our Fears through Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP)

Photo Credit:  SUP Pups California

Photo Credit: SUP Pups California

Fear can be defined as “A feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone”.

We all have fears. Big fears, and little fears. Maybe even silly fears. Fear of heights, fear of spiders, fear of being alone, fear of failure.

This past year, Bluebelle and I took Stand Up Paddle Board (SUP) lessons more times then I can count. To say that I was fearful when I first started, was an understatement. In fact, it was expressed in the second sentence I communicated to the instructor. Don’t believe me, here is proof:

“Hi! I would love to get more info about lessons! I should start by saying I've never done this and think I have horrible balance, but am so drawn to the idea of doing it with my dog.”

I was horrified, and actually convinced, that I would fall in the water. Actually, I was convinced I would not even be able to stand.

How many of us, as women, make “excuses” for why we can’t do something?

I am 100% guilty of this, and our SUP lessons are the perfect example- I am overweight; I won’t be able to stand up on a board, in the water, because I have arthritis in both knees and can barely stand up from the floor; how will this board stay afloat holding me, and my dog; I have a fake hip, I can’t do this... and the list goes on and on. (side note- what does half of this REALLY have to do with whether or not I can SUP).

We all have fears. The difference is, do you let it define you, or motivate you. Your fears are the only thing keeping you from success. Kick fear in the booty, and get moving! Find that one thing that will motivate you through your fears, through your excuses, through your hesitations. Your “security blanket”, if you will. For me, it is Bluebelle. I would probably have never signed up for SUP lessons; in fact, the idea would have never crossed my mind, had it not involved her. The SUP lessons were more about Bluebelle, and less about me. And you know what’s great- dogs are resilient! Bluebelle fell off the board on week three, but got right back on during week four, and soaked up the California sun for two hours, like it was her job! (If you are in or near the southern California area, and are interested in SUP lessons, be sure to check out SUP Pups California)

The reality is, when you don't face your fears, you may be missing out on something great. For us, we both fell in love with paddle boarding, so much that this past June, I purchased my own board. Buying that board, though, meant I had to face another fear.... going out without the instructor. I can excitingly share that we no longer rely on our instructor, and have spent our summer out on the water, cruising the bay at our own pace, making memories along the way.

Here is our SUP board purchased from Isle Surf and Sup. They are located in San Diego, but ship anywhere. Their selection is incredible, the boards are beautiful, and the staff went above and beyond to help me, a first time buyer. They even went the extra mile to teach me how to properly strap the board to my roof rack. The boards are great, but the customer service and going the extra mile is what won me over!

I challenge each and every one of you to find that “thing” that will help you through a fear, no matter how big or small. For you, it may not be your pet, but maybe your child, a loved one, competition, a prize. Whatever it is, I promise you, you will be left with a feeling of accomplishment, feeling of self worth, and feeling just a little Badass!

National Pit Bull Awareness Month

National Pit Bull Awareness Month

October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month, and it brings to light a subject that is very near and dear to us at Loved By Blue. It is a subject that is very close to my heart, and a topic that we sadly need to bring to light. Unfortunately, we live in a world where discrimination and biases are formed in all areas of life, including our pets.

Did you know that people, organizations, and businesses can discriminate against dog breeds? We (pit bull owners, as well as other dog breeds) are not welcome at all dog friendly hotels. We are limited with what rentals/home owners insurance companies we can use because of the type of dog that lives in our homes. We are even banned from certain rental properties, because they do not allow “aggressive” breeds. It seems kind of silly to generalize and ban people because of the type of dog they own, but it is true. This bias and stereotype is so true, that at times, people will walk away from us, or cross the street, because of our scary dog.

I will begin by saying that I have the utmost respect for people’s fear. It may be hard to realize, but growing up, I was afraid of dogs; and sadly, that included pit bulls, because I did not know any better. I did not enjoy having a dog as a pet growing up, and I never wanted one of my own. It wasn’t until I met a friend’s pit bull that I even entertained hanging out with a dog. It didn’t take long to fall in love with the breed, in fact, they are known to be steal your heart.

I want to spend a few minutes telling you some facts about Pit Bulls. While this is impossible to say that it applies to each and every pit bull, it is no different then generalizing any other breed. I want to share some of our favorite pictures to de-bunk some popular myths about the breed.

Photo Credit  MIOphotography

Photo Credit MIOphotography

It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with Bluebelle soon after I adopted her. Pit bulls are specifically known breeds for their love and loyalty to their owner. Since she was rescued, and I did not know much about her history, including her age, I wanted to get some professional pictures done to capture the bond between us. What we got in return, was unimaginable. They say a picture can say a thousand words, and this picture no doubt captures the love and bond between the two of us.

Photo Credit  MIOphotography

Photo Credit MIOphotography

Many people believe that pit bulls are more aggressive than other breeds, and more likely to bite than other breeds. It is important to understand that any breed can become aggressive and/or bite if not trained properly. It’s also important to understand that studies have been done that report the opposite of this myth. The American Temperament Test Society, which provides a uniform national program of temperament testing found that pit bulls passed the test at higher rates than other breeds, including the family favorite golden retriever.

You shouldn't expect a dog bite, but be prepared for lots of kisses.

You shouldn't expect a dog bite, but be prepared for lots of kisses.

Another popular myth is that pit bulls are not good family dogs, because they are unpredictable. Again, it is impossible to generalize a characteristic specific to an entire breed. Many pit bulls that we have met and encountered make wonderful family dogs, because of their strong desire to please their owner. Pit bulls may be active, playful dogs; however, they also have the ability to adapt in different situations. Bluebelle has presented very calm with any child she has met, including a newborn. Before being labeled the aggressive breed, pit bulls were once labeled the nanny dog. “According to Vetstreet.com, The American pit bull terrier is one of the top three favorite breeds in 28 states”.

Bluebelle playing with her friend at the park, being sure to never leave her side.

Bluebelle playing with her friend at the park, being sure to never leave her side.

In celebration of National Pit Bull Awareness month, and all 365 days of the year, I kindly ask you to open your hearts to accept this breed, or judge them for who they are... an individual dog with an individual personality, and not a breed filled with mishaps. When I was designing my brand, I hesitated for a brief moment to include Bluebelle or not, because I knew I was taking a risk with potentially turning away people that were afraid, or did not like the breed. But, we have been blessed with so many people who have quickly fallen in love for who she is, not what people say her breed is. And, she is so much a part of my life. Thank you for everyone who has supported us and allowed Bluebelle to open your hearts to the breed. I know that she has changed the way at least one person thinks, and that is all that we can ask for.

If your heart feels compelled to share this, please do. I want to bring awareness to as many people as we possibly can this month. Thank you from the bottom our our hearts here at Bags By Blue!

There is no greater love, than that of a dog.

There is no greater love, than that of a dog.

Hosting a FB party is as easy as 1-2-3!

Hosting a FB party is as easy as 1-2-3!

Have you ever thought about hosting a Facebook party,

but are afraid it won’t be successful?

Have you tried in the past, but no one has ordered? If you’ve answered yes to either of those questions, stop right there! It’s time we change your thinking!!! Partying on Facebook is the new craze! Why? Because it is simple! It’s fast, and dang it, it’s fun!!! What’s better then simple, fast and fun? You don’t have to clean your house, no cooking involved, and wearing a bra is optional!

Is it really that simple? The answer is YES! Here are three simple steps of hosting a successful Facebook party!

  1. Invite your friends to the Facebook event that I will create for you. This is where the fun begins! Be intentional with who you are inviting. You will not be inviting every gal on your friends list! You will select those who are interested in Thirty-One, who may already love the product (or a good deal), and those who are just downright fun friends! I will even provide you with a “script” to individually reach out to people. Easy, right!

  2. I will only be posting one time a day leading up to the event. Your friends don’t want to be spammed and bothered by notifications going off all day. One engaging post a day, that’s it! You will comment and share your excitement and enthusiasm, because it will be contagious. When your friends see you excited, they are more likely to get excited and to comment.

  3. The night of the party, you “show up” to the event, and again, share your excitement and enthusiasm by participating along with the posts. Guess what- during this half hour “live” event, I’m only posting 5 times. Again, simple and non spammy! Your friends will have the chance to win a prize, see some products live in action via video, and will be provided an EASY shopping experience unlike anything else. I do the ordering for them, they collect the deals, and you earn FREE product.

That’s it! Literally, as easy as 1-2-3! Interested in booking your own Facebook party? Let’s chat!