Live More Happy
Living Loving and Traveling the World
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My dear friend Jolie Dawn just featured me as an “Empowered, Sexy & Free” woman in her book re-launch.

It feels inauthentic when I look at it. I have not felt any of those things lately.


How fitting though, that Jolie was one of the key people who pushed me to begin writing more openly and honestly so here I am, challenging myself to share myself and once again feel empowered & free.

Its been very hard to write lately.

I take that back.

Its been very hard to share lately.

Not only because I have been so busy with my new project, a renovation of a run down beach house in Baja into a vacation rental, but for many reasons.


My spirit has felt broken.

I feel like I have suffered some serious losses lately. I lost my passion project business, Givebackpackers to a lovestruck, obsessive computer programmer that stole the company by creating a competing website with the same name, to force me to work with him. I’ve been harassed by this “friend” who wanted more than friendship for months now, causing me to fear for my safety and my security.  

I lost my boyfriend of a year because of his health issues and have felt like I am constantly defending our mutual decision to people who just don’t understand how “love just wasn’t enough.”

I lost a lot more money than I anticipated on this Mexico house, discovering everything from the floors, kitchen, windows to the plumbing and electrical needed to be completely replaced before even beginning to furnish.

And besides just money, I have lost time and faith, hiring people who stole from me, took advantage of my kindness and lacked the support of the neighborhood that I was expecting going into this project.

Watching my stepmom’s health struggle to return with more chemo than was expected while my best friend is going through the same heartbreak of watching her mom fight cancer has been emotionally exhausting.

I am living in a constant state of defending myself, picking myself back up and forcing a smile.

I’m a strong person because of everything that I have been through my whole life, parenting myself from the time I was 5 years old to starting a business in a recession after dropping out of college to traveling the world alone.

There’s so much I can face without fear but being on the defense all the time is exhausting.

I can play offense. It’s easy to be the one running down the field but much scarier to have someone running at you.

I’ve defended my choices and my business, my house and my freedom. I’ve even had to defend my writing.

I’ve been hurt by the things people have said to me and behind my back. I’ve been tired of defending who I am, what I have created and why.

I feel tired of defending and tired of being vulnerable. I want to shut it all down and hide away.


I’m afraid of being rejected or hurt any more. I’m afraid I won’t be able to be strong through any more of it.

I’m a strong person but I am sensitive. I know that I do not have to defend myself to the people who matter. The ones that matter already know me and love and support me and the ones who I feel defensive to, do not matter.

I have held off for months on sharing my writing and my thoughts and these insane experiences. I have been biting my tongue to feel safe and supported. I have been seeking comfort and stability and ways to nurture myself.

I am writing and sharing this because I find strength in my honesty. I am not a fake person. I do not need to be adored by the masses and make everyone else feel comfortable at the expense of my own freedom.

So if you are reading this with anything but love, why are you reading?

If you are reading this with love and support in your heart, thank you. You are why I share.



The last post I wrote was about how I created a relationship I love. It was all 100% true and I am glad I posted it just in time.

This is a letter about how I ended that relationship about a week later.

As much as I wanted to turn inwards and deal with this privately, I know that I have invited so many of you reading this to join me on the journey of life and love we are ultimately all sharing. (I just choose to share mine a little more openly) With that comes great rewards and connection with people but it also comes with responsibilities, to myself, to the ones I care about (and write about) and to you, Reader, to be completely honest, vulnerable and open.

My most popular blog was about a terrible breakup I had that tore me apart. I learned so much from that experience and while I am still struggling with losing such a huge part of my life, I hope that this post can be just as popular, inspiring anyone to invite this same possibility into their life. (The hope for all my blog posts)

My love for Perry is real. From the minute we met I felt so at ease and comfortable with him. Everything was easy, no questions or doubts or struggles. We could talk for hours and laugh or sit in silence and watch the waves. We had adventures and enjoyed just relaxing. We talked about marriage and travels and never fought. We gave each other support and love but also space and trust to do what each of us needed to do in order to be our best selves.


Right now, that includes going our own ways. It’s so hard to think about, I can’t believe it’s even true still but sometimes in life, love is not enough. The past few months we saw that each of us need different things in our lives right now to be the best we could be. We let each other go because we love each other that much.

Perry has been bravely battling chronic pain from his professional cycling career and I have stood by him every day, supporting him in his fight to get better. There is no cure besides time and an intense therapy and rehab schedule, about 4 hours a day, that I can’t really help with. Its been such a struggle but a lesson in patience, compassion and acceptance. I learned more about my own ability to love unconditionally, support someone else in their challenges while still putting myself and my needs as a priority. It’s easy to make someone else your focus when you are in love. Its easy to lose yourself and put yourself on the back burner in order to be fully present for someone else.


I wanted so badly to DO something to help Perry. I found specialists, read articles, supported him through his intense schedule of appointments and treatments but still ended up disappointed when there weren’t any significant signs of improvements.


My desire for him to get better so we could finally start our lives together added to his stress and hindered his improvement. Planning trips, planning our future, it all was on indefinite hold and we felt like we were in limbo.

Meanwhile he has been working full time as CEO of Merritt Bookkeeping, I have been growing my projects and companies. Juggling travel, volunteer work and social life while also trying to manage my own stress, anxiety and health has been crazy.

It has been quite the balance and we have done it well. We have always come from a place of love and kindness with each other. We don’t keep secrets and we don’t lie or try to manipulate each other. We had an honest conversation months ago about travel and business and all the different things we have going on. We knew that our lives were on two different tracks but we love each other too much to quit.

One day it was just time to adjust, get on our own track and release the tether to each other. We released each other with love, friendship, support and ease. Just as it was when we met, and the 10 months we spent together, we loved each other with peace and an emotional maturity I didn’t ever think was possible.


These are uncharted territories. How do you break up with someone you love and get along with? How do you tell your friends and family? How do you adjust?

I don’t know, except to follow my heart, be kind and honest and continue to send love and my healing energy his way, even while giving him the space he asked from me. (It’s too hard to be checking in and “keeping in touch” right now.) I understand and I think too many people use the excuse:

“I know you said you wanted space but I just…”

If someone asks for space and you love them, give them their damn space. That is love. You asking for their time anyways is saying you don’t care about them as much as you care about yourself and your own needs. I see this happening all around me with my friends and I am committed to still respecting and caring for Perry in whatever aspect he needs of me while taking care of myself.

This is the easiest breakup I have ever experienced and the hardest. We are nice to each other, take turns watching over the cat and he even changed my locks for me when I was out of town and needed help dealing with a stalker. (That’s another story and some absolute bullshit I don’t need right now!)

Perry and I share the same values and dreams for the future, but the present moment calls for us to be apart. Who knows what the future holds but for now, I’m just crying in my bed, holding my cat. 



With Love,



Writing has been my greatest tool for understanding myself better.

It has been a therapy when the thoughts and words are swirling in my head, repeating themselves over and over, out of my control. Until I put the pen to paper or begin to type, I feel as if the words have control over me. My thoughts run away from me and writing them down is the only way to take the control back.

Writing makes me feel free. It also makes me feel naked.

The last few months I really challenged myself to be more open, more vulnerable. When my friends learn of my stories they have often said I need to write a book. I’ve always cringed at the idea.

“Maybe if I write it in a pen name! I don’t want random people to know my past or my secrets!”

The last nine months I have found the courage to share some of my most personal battles and the response has been incredible. Thousands of “random people” have read about my struggles as an entrepreneur, shared in my journey to overcome my greatest heartbreak and cried with me when sharing their own stories. Random people have become close friends.

When I hit publish on the first real scary blog post about my cheating ex last September, I held my breath. A huge part of me didn’t want anyone to read it. I knew it was an ugly truth and sad. It was something I needed to face in order to be set free from it. It was the first time a blog post I had written on my personal site had seen over a thousand views.

(My ex has since written his side of the story, and I feel like its only fair to share the other side. As he puts it, “its pretty dang cute.”)

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After writing about my mother’s addictions and my lifelong battle with anxiety last month, I was overwhelmed with support and love. People I had never met, people who I have only been connected to online, reached out to say they knew what I was feeling and they were looking for the same relief and peace. My hypnotherapist received 8 new clients from my post and besides being glad to help my amazing friend Kristyn grow her practice, I am in awe of how many people took proactive action to find their happiness.

My little blog post did that. Wow. Powerful stuff.

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Checking my google analytics after a scary blog post gives me heart palpitations. Most people are excited when 2,000 people visit their site. I feel exposed.

Turning hundreds of random people into real connections based on shared human experience is a life changing experience and scary as hell.

I’m not writing this to brag but to give myself the courage and recognition I need to continue to write. So many crazy things have happened and are happening to me all the time and if I can share a little bit of my insight, who knows how many people will find the tiniest bit of wisdom or inspiration to make changes in their life for the better.

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Relationships seem to be the most complicated part of being human, yet it is the most important thing we have. As I caught up with my first love last night, sharing funny memories and reflections on who were were 9 years ago, so young but so full of happiness and dreams, I thought about how at one point, our hearts were so broken over each other it was hard to eat or sleep or dream of going on without each other. Yet there we were last night, laughing together and being truly there for one another and I was genuinely so happy to hear he is happy and in love. My love for him has changed but still remains, the kind of true love that has no attachment but an appreciation for the person as they are.

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A few days ago I learned my second real love and longest relationship of almost 3 years, is going through a really tough time. My heart hurts for his struggle and I pray his happiness and strength every day, while also grateful we still can connect and I can be a person of support and unconditional love for him. He has always been that for me and while I wasn’t always deserving of that love and support from him, he gives it to me, unfaltering.

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While my third and most impactful love and I don’t speak and definitely don’t have the kind of friendly relationship I have with all my other exes, I am so grateful for all the lessons he taught me. For once, I allowed myself to be swept off my feet into the fairy tale he created for us. He taught me photography skills and got me into building websites. (He even helped me turn into a reality) He made me believe in happily ever after, gave me the dream of having a family, something I didn’t believe in before. He showed me that the worst possible thing I could imagine would not destroy me, but create growth and opportunity in my life I couldn’t have believed possible. Last week I found my old blackberry full of photos of our first year together and instead of being sad or angry, I was filled with happiness and gratitude for the memories of total joy. (I had deleted ALL photos off my hard drive in a fit of rage, so recovering these over a year later was an even more of pleasant surprise.) I find myself in a new place, not angry at him for the lies and deceit, but happy he has found someone who is a much better fit for his fairy tale life than me and excited for when I get that happy ending with a real prince charming. I’m grateful for the lessons and happy memories and new skills that have catapulted me further into who I am today.
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The last man I was with showed me compassion and patience for my broken heart and reminded me of how I deserve to be treated. Even though we are not meant to be together as lovers, we are still close friends and continue to support each other in our dreams, passions and goals. (He just sent me the new logo for Live More Happy that we designed together!)
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I have shared my story of heart break and my struggle to over come the betrayal, however I want to share the other side, the stories of positive transition from lovers to friends. A romantic relationship does not have to end as “someone I used to know.” It takes patience, compassion and maturity but these relationships can transform and be positive parts of our lives.

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We can get so bitter with our own disappointment in how our expectations didn’t work out. If we can view heartbreak with a positive light and not focus on the hurt, we can be grateful for the growth we experienced during the relationship even after it is over. If we are lucky, we end up with lifelong friends who know us at our best and worst and still love and appreciate us for all our beautiful and ugly parts. I am so grateful to have exceptional exes like mine. And if any future ex boyfriends are reading this, I hope this goes for you too. ;)

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Last Sunday I participated in a sacred Hindu water ceremony at a set of temples on a bluff over looking the ocean in Sanur, Bali, with a healer named Bunda who took myself and my three travel companions on a day long prayer and intention setting ceremony that involved bathing in a river that flows into the ocean, being splashed by high priests with holy water and entering a cave filled with a golden Buddha and praying for whatever it is we were in need of.

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I prayed for forgiveness and peace of mind. It has been something I have struggled with my whole life and while I am a loving person I am not easily forgiving. I have always struggled with letting go of past wounds and my personal mission on this trip was a search for a relief and some release from my tight grip on painful memories.

After the 5 hours of ceremony, Bunda explained that to show our commitment to what we are asking for, we must pick a day, Monday or Thursday to fast for seven weeks, starting at 5am until 7am, absolutely nothing to eat or drink. At 7pm you must shower, pray for what you want and then only eat white rice. I accepted this challenge as a sign of commitment to myself and Mondays will be my day of deep thought, prayer and emotional self love while fasting. 

As I write I am enjoying my 7:30pm bowl of rice, the first thing I have eaten since I went to bed at 1am (with a bag of my favorite Mexican tostitos) Today I woke up at Las Rocas Resort, my favorite Mexico destination just 30 minutes south of San Diego, on a cliff over looking the ocean, surrounded by friends who accompanied me yesterday to the Door of Faith Orphanage to volunteer and bring some Navidad cheer.

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I skipped the free breakfast Las Rocas gave our group (breakfast is my favorite meal and Las Rocas has great desayuno!) and skipped the fish taco and ceviche lunch as well as ignored the tostilocos and churros in the border line on the way back. I could say that it was torture but in every craving I found strength and in every desire for instant gratification I felt a commitment to getting what I want, inner peace.

I also realized that there are billions of people in the world, including children living all around me, who face this kind of hunger and longing every day, and not by choice. My awareness was so much higher and I felt so much more compassion for them all day today.

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My bowl of plain white rice tastes so amazing to me because I went without. I am so grateful to be eating it because I have been living with hunger all day. I am so much more grateful for the ability to eat when I’m hungry and eat the best food. I am grateful I only know hunger by choice.

rice hunger

September 27, 2014

I’ve had a lot of bad days. We all have. Contrary to what our facebook profiles might reflect, life is hard and sometimes it knocks us down so hard, no status or instagram filter can even begin to express how we feel.

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I scroll back through social media history, my timelines, messages and photos and see so many amazing memories, adventures, trips and friends, its hard to even believe the pain I have gone through the last year. You probably wouldn’t believe it by looking at my profiles or blog either. Here’s the truth, without shame or fear of what you might think, because the ugly parts are just as important.

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A year ago today, September 27th, 2013, my heart broke. I think it cracked right down the middle.

As I was flipping through photos on my boyfriends ipad, in our beautiful house by the beach, that together, we made a home, my stomach dropped as I saw photos of girls I recognized, models he had shot for his clients’ photoshoots the last few months, but they weren’t from any photoshoot. There were dozens of  photos of different girls, shameless selfies, photos of him in our bed he had definitely never sent me.  Even screenshots of naked pics from Snapchat. (Yeah, you think its a safe route, ladies?)

Even writing about it now makes me shake and feel sick.

I was in disbelief. I completely lost my mind that day, and while he was giving his Oscar worthy performance to prove his love for me and his “commitment to living a life of integrity,”

Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego Red Photobooth American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

I was getting all the details from the girls who I easily identified and were already fed up with his lies and manipulation.

One girl told me she felt terrible when she realized he “still” had a girlfriend and ended things with him after months of dating. He continued to pursue her until the day I caught him. She said he had convinced her we were done, that I had moved out but my stuff was still there. (He forgot to mention I was also paying rent.)

Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego Red Photobooth American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

She sent me the letters he sent her with the same things he told me, showed me cards and photos of coffee and flowers he delivered her while I was away, working.

She even told me the day he had flown to Vegas to surprise me, picked out an engagement ring and even discussed the story we would tell our grandkids about “this day,” he had woken up in her bed.

Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

From the day he surprised me in Vegas to take me ring shopping. I was so fooled.

Devastated is a word that is commonly misused, but I think it is fitting to describe how I felt.

I loved him and was not ring shopping and building a life and home together because I enjoy playing pretend. I was in it for real and I was in deep. I loved so hard that it hurt me and my individuality. I gave up parts of myself and my life that I loved because I wanted to sacrifice to show I cared. I lost a lot of who I was and it has taken me a year to regain a lot of it back.

I threw myself into work. I “picked myself back up” instantly because I didn’t want people to think I was weak. I wanted to get back to being happy because, well, I am Miss “Live More Happy.” I didn’t want to be depressed over someone who didn’t value and respect me.

A week later I was giving a talk to 100 entrepreneur women about overcoming obstacles at Inner Goddess Unleashed, and the following weekend I was hosting a fundraiser and coordinating 25 volunteers on a trip to Mexico to visit Door of Faith Orphanage.

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I put my happy face on and got into “do” mode, so that I could avoid “being.” Just being me, being still, being here, meant I had to feel the pain and face the reality. No matter what I did, where I flew off to, I could not escape what I felt inside.

I kept my heart completely guarded. I decided men were of no interest and the ones I did spend time with were distractions, remaining completely unattached and closed off to anyone that could mean anything.

I joked that I built a wall of smart, beautiful and inspiring women around me, but it is true. The kindness, patience, support and love that has poured out of my friends on to me has been the most beautiful acts of friendship I have ever seen.

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Because of this situation, I now feel more connected and loved than ever before in my life. You ladies tolerated me at my worst and loved me even harder. I’m crying for the first time while writing this because of how deeply you have touched my heart.

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In a very “The Other Woman” kind of way, I even have bonded with several of the other girls he was seeing. We have chosen kindness and to support each other, looking past the negative common denominator and have become honest friends over our other common interests. (Let’s face it, he has excellent taste in women.) I had to learn to remove my own insecurity, jealousy and anger and feel empathy for their hurt and frustration as well. (Happy Anniversary to you too, ladies. I love you.)

I have learned more about compassion and self love this past year than in 25 years of being alive. I had to have my heart and trust completely broken. I have shared more about myself, become more vulnerable with the people I know and with people I don’t. I’ve had people I’ve never met reach out to love and support me, tell me they knew how I felt.

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I have attended the School of Inner Beauty, created my own sisterhood retreat centered around community service and purpose, and recently joined the Free Your Voice coaching group where I am stepping outside my comfort zone even further to express my heart through song. I am even shifting my blog from a “database of events and causes” to my personal story with my first person voice to share my journey through the struggle to live more happy. I realized I have been hiding a lot of who I am and by sharing more of myself, my “weakness” and my heartache, I have become closer and more connected to people I never knew were even listening.

I’m certainly closer to myself, and in fact, got engaged to me during a wonderful heARTists way workshop hosted by Debbie Lichter and Jess Johnson.

engagement ring

Thank YOU for being apart of it. Thank you for reading this and weather you can relate or just think I am crazy, thank you for being here and now, sharing with me in my moment of truth and honesty, regardless of how scared it makes me.

There you have it, my ugly truth. It has been the best year and the worst year, but as much as I used to wish I could go back and somehow change everything, I wouldn’t.


One of those girls I discovered in that ipad is still with him, and they just publicly celebrated their year anniversary in July. If they are proud enough to share it, so am I! ;)Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak Red photobooth photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band cheater

Live More Happy cheating breakup heartbreak photographer David Manning Photographers  DMP Red photobooth photography San Diego American Idol Morgan Leigh Boberg Band


Well, if the rest is history, here I am! ;)

I am proud to celebrate my year anniversary with myself, my true, honest self, today, September 27, 2014.

*** UPDATE: To read HIS side of the story for an interesting perspective, visit his site***

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Oh, and HelloAmanda, you were right. ;)

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