The Summer of Self-love Never Tasted So Good - A Recipe

Before we get to the actual recipe, we need to talk about the WTF moment I had this morning while stuck OUTSIDE on my 3rd floor balcony in nothing but a sports bra.* Apparently faulty screen door hinges are a thing and can lock you out of your apartment (and keep you locked out until your neighbors hear you yelling and the property manager saves the day — which fortunately, was quite quick). It was basically enough time to construct a Spider man-esque escape route (thankfully not necessary), rearrange the patio furniture, get 45 minutes of California sun, and think about what to do with the 20-something pound watermelon sitting on my kitchen counter, which, to no surprise, was make juice.

Not just any juice, the perfect summer of self-love drink. Equally hydrating and insanely delicious, this cooling summer blend has been on my mind since my bff's annual “pink drink” pic appeared on my Instagram feed 6 weeks ago. While it’s not your traditional pink drink (I’m not actually even sure what’s in a traditional pink drink?), and definitely won’t be found at Starbucks, it’s ridiculously good and beyond easy to make.

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Healthy Ingredient Highlights:

WATERMELON  

Watermelon is loaded with lycopene (helps maintain eye health) as well as potassium (neutralizes acidity in the bloodstream), vitamin C (strengthens immunity), vitamin A (supports healthy vision, skin & glands) and vitamin B1 (helps convert protein to energy). Not only that, watermelon is one of the top cooling foods on earth making it perfect for hot summer days like today, which back in Boston, is pushing 98 degrees.

Pro-tip: To pick a ripe watermelon, knock on it - a hollow sound means it's ready.

LIME

Powerful skin rejuvenators, limes are notoriously high in vitamin C (immune support) and flavonoids (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties). Despite their acidic nature, like lemons, limes actually promote alkalinity in the body and stimulate natural detoxification.

MINT

Mint helps alleviate gas, aids in digestion, is rich in antioxidants, and has been shown to have significant antibacterial, fungicidal and insecticidal properties making it useful against many common bacterial pathogens and candida. Plus, it’s really good in this recipe and currently growing like wildfire in our garden.

Watermelon, Lime + Mint Juice

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MAKES: 2 16 OZ. JUICES 

INGREDIENTS: 

1/4th of a medium sized watermelon
1 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice
1 spring of fresh mint + more for garnish 

DIRECTIONS: 

Thoroughly wash produce and throw it in a juicer. (See notes below for blender method.) Drink up. 

Notes for the Non-Chef:

If you don’t have a juicer don’t worry, you can alternatively make this using a high powered blender. Strain mix using a cheesecloth or nut milk bag after blending. (It works just as well.) 

Use frozen watermelon, make this recipe in a blender, keep the pulp, and turn this into a slushy.

We use a citrus squeezer to juice the lime. 

Store your watermelon in the fridge before use. It’s best to keep the ingredients (mainly the watermelon) cold, as cold produce yields more juice than room temperature produce.

PS. If you make this recipe, we want to see! Tag us on Instagram at @thedailyalchemy so we can heart your pic? What’s your favorite summertime refresher? Share below in the comments. 

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

A Self-Lover's Guide To Finding The Perfect Swimsuit For Your Body

bikini body

 

(Spoiler Alert: it’s way easier than rag mags make it seem.)

Step 1.

First, acknowledge this fact: Your bod is hot.

Regardless of shape, size, dimensions, numbers, pounds, scars, marks, or anything else, your body is the home to your soul and therefore it’s f*cking magical and mad hot.

Step 2.

Know that, because your bod is already perfect in all of its glory, anything you put on it — especially when it comes to swimsuits — is also going to look perfect (and mad hot).

I realize everything I’m saying probably directly contradicts your results of the “dressing for your body type” quiz you took in ninth grade, but can I just offer you this: instead of listening to master marketers of fast fashion, and “style experts” who know absolutely nothing about you, is it such a radical notion to suggest that you simply dress for yourself?

What makes you feel good? Wear it.

What outfit are you most comfortable in? Rock it.

What makes you feel confident? Repeat it.

Step 3.

Apply the above learning to your search for the perfect swimsuit.

Who knows? It might already be in your possession.

The infamous bikini.

The infamous bikini.

Like, let me provide you with a case and point. I have this bathing suit that I’m absolutely obsessed with. I bought it when I was in London because I was really lonely one day and convinced myself that buying a bikini from Agent Provocateur would make me feel better (and it did, for like 5 minutes, but that’s not the point of this story).

Anyway, after the sales lady convinced me that I couldn’t live without said bikini, I proudly toted my new purch back to my flat where I unwrapped it with gentle care and tried it on again in front of the mirror. The sales lady had been right, I didn’t want to imagine a life without my new bikini.

However, despite my adoration over my new bathing suit, whenever I was given an opportunity to wear it — poolside, or at the beach — I chickened out. Out loud, I told myself I was saving it for a special occasion, but in my head, I was telling myself that I couldn’t actually pull it off in public; that I was too “volumptuous” for such a scandalous two-piece, that others would be offended by my body in my bathing suit.

Because my body didn’t look anything like the body of the women who modeled my new suit in the magazines or on the billboards, it sat in my drawer for an entire season, lonely as I was on the day I purchased it.

I would visit it from time to time — try it on and admire its lines, the way it hugged and flaunted my womanly curves. I would take mirror selfies in my bikini and imagine fantastical scenarios of myself sunning on some golden sand in a far away land where I could wear my two-piece in peace. I longed to slip it on and pull it off, the way all the girls on Instagram did. But I didn’t.

Instead of embracing my shape, I shamed myself. Told myself I’d only wear it when I lost 10 pounds. Promised myself the opportunity to rock it, as if it were a prize for when I got “in shape.” I told myself I needed to earn the right to wear it. 

And then one day, a year and then some after I found my perfect bikini, I pulled it out of its original pink tissue that I had carefully re-wrapped it in, and I put it on. And I went to the beach. And within 5 minutes of being out in the sun, a woman tapped me on the shoulder.

“Can I just say, that bathing suit is stunning and you look lovely in it,” she said.

“Thank you,” I responded. And then I laid back down, closed my eyes and smiled. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I'm not exactly sure what changed in that year, or where my confidence came from that day. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, maybe it’s because I care a lot less than I used to about what others think, maybe it’s because I have a boyfriend who loves my body the way it is (and no matter how much it weighs), OR maybe I'm just learning to love myself a little harder, but I learned a valuable lesson. I can wear anything I want to wear. (And so can you.)

SO. As far as I’m concerned, any bathing suit that you LOVE as much as I love my "London bikini," any bathing suit that makes you feel good, any bathing suit that you have absolutely any desire to wear at all...IS THE PERFECT SWIMSUIT FOR YOUR HOTTIE BODY. 

Trust me. 

(And even if there's nobody there to tap you on the shoulder and tell you how stunning you look, know that I'm virtually tapping you on the shoulder and telling you — you look stunning.)

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON LITTLEFOOLBOOK.

21 Self-love Summer Essentials

June 20th, marked the first *official* day of summer and the start to a whole new slew of beach trips, 3-day weekends, short shorts, and island inspired acai bowls. To honor summer solstice, the fiery heat of our favorite season and our love for the months that follow, we’ve rounded up a few of the items we’ll be eating, drinking, doing, reading, wearing, and otherwise enjoying so that you can enjoy them too.

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21 SUMMER OF SELF-LOVE ESSENTIALS

1. Plenty of green juices and green smoothies because #health.

2. SPF! A high quality preferably organic and non-toxic sunscreen that you can wear everyday is a MUST. We like this kind by Badger. Hint: Add a few drops of coconut or argan oil to your sunscreen to help spread it out. This dilutes it a bit but without the oil it goes on kind of patchy.

3. A long-weekend getaway with your girl-gang to destination Korakia or your local bohemian hideaway.

4. A stack of captivating beach reads

5. Frozen desserts. We can’t help but repeat ourselves once again about our (vegan) ice cream obsession. We willbe consuming our bodyweight in this and this, guaranteed. #notsorry

6. A fantastic pair of sunglasses. To keep our peepers safe from harmful UV rays we’ll be sporting thesethese, or a combination like these.

7. Hydration is key (especially in the summer). Let this water bottle serve as a fashionable and functional reminder to up your h2o intake.

8. Confidence; also key. Because nothing (including her seemingly perfect hair, ridiculous “beach bod”, and insanely amazing summer wardrobe), should inhibit you from seeing, owning, and rocking YOUR own perfection.

9. This. It only seems non-essential until it’s mid-July and you’re nearing the end of a Saturday afternoon sweatfest aka yoga class.

10. Classic denim shorts. We live in these from June - August.  

11. An extremely skimpy bikini like this one to show off that steamy summer bod.

12. An eco-chic summer satchel to carry all your farm fresh produce.

13. A big a$$ towel because lying poolside and 9-5 beach days are of utmost importance.

14. An epic summer soundtrack for those aforementioned beach days. May we recommend the classic A) Lemonade and B) more Beyonce.

15. Coconut oil (obviously). A year-round essential for silky smooth skin and virtually everything else.

16. Also on that note, coconut water. Preferably straight from a coconut.

17. For all the amazing summer cookouts you’ll be attending you’re going to need a killer guacamole recipe. This one is ridiculously good.

18. A good waterproof mascara so you come back from the beach looking like a bronzed goddess not a racoon.

19. Chapstick with SPF so you can avoid incidences like this.

20. Rosewater mist for a hydrating mid-day summer refresh.

21. Cute and comfortable sneakers like these because as wonderful as it would be to spend your entire summer laying beachside with a popsicle in one hand and your iPhone in the other, enjoying nature (phone-free), is one of the easiest ways to make your summer unforgettable. Grab your favorite people and get exploring.

What are your must-have summertime essentials? Leave your top three in the comment section below. And if you liked our list, spread the love! Forward this post to two of your friends and share it on social media.


THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

24 Self-Care Rituals To Infuse Your Summer With Self-Love & Good Vibes

self-care rituals

 

Self-care — the not always easy practice of taking care of oneself — is absolutely, fundamentally, without a doubt integral to this whole self-love thing.

We’re so conditioned to give love to those around us, give time to our work, passions and callings, give ourselves up to those who need us, that we often forget to take care of ourselves, first.

I might as well be the poster-girl for this sentiment.

I am constantly getting caught up in the go-go-go economy of our society. Like, as a freelance writer and entrepreneur, I’ve convinced myself that I don’t deserve sleep and the only way I’m going to be a success in this world is if I work 27 hours a day. I’m also a binge writer, which means when I’m in flow, please don’t talk to me or try to feed me or pull my weary fingers from my keyboard. I’m busy. On top of all that, the best way I know how to show my love to others — my boyfriend, my family, my friends — is to give to them. So, because I want my tribe to know how much I care about them all the freaking time, I try to give constantly: my services, my money, my ears, my heart, my laughter, my love.

Add it all up, mix it around, give it a week, or month, two if i’m lucky, and I end up burnt out, deflated, exhausted — mentally, emotionally, physically depleted.

self-care-self-love

I’m learning, though. Because that version of me is no good for anyone. 

Spoiler Alert: You can’t pour from an empty cup. Self-care enables you to give more (of your best self) to those you love.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve proactively prioritized a handful of self-care rituals into my every day. I discovered yoga (yes, I know how cliche that sounds), and discovered I’m a better human after I’ve practiced. Both my BF and I have agreed that I’m definitely a better girlfriend after I’ve had my morning bulletproof coffee. And everyone who loves me knows that If I’m acting a bit on edge, it’s because I haven’t written anything lately. For me, writing — creating — is self-care in it’s most divine form.

It’s not always easy. I skip a yoga class every now and then, miss my morning coffee, and get too busy with my work work to write anything for myself. But self-love isn’t always easy. It is, however, really f&*king worth the effort.

SO. Avoid the inevitable burnout by taking care of number one, first (that’s you). What do you need to do to feel the way you want to feel, every single day? This can seem like a daunting question at first, but knowing the answer allows you to plan for (self)love.

Not Sure Where To Start. I’ve got some ideas. 24 of them to be exact.

24 Self-Care Rituals To Infuse Your Summer With Love and Good Vibes:

  1. Get more sleep. If, like me, you struggle with sleep try listening to a sleep meditation in bed.

  2. Eat food that makes you feel good.

  3. Indulge yourself. Guilt free.

  4. Exercise — not the painful kind you dread. Find a form of exercise you and your body love. And do it often.

  5. Engage in deep and meaningful conversations with the people you love. This is pure soul food.

  6. Write in a journal. If this is a new practice for you, let Katie Dalebout’s book, LET IT OUT: A Journey Through Journaling be your guide.

  7. If you are even remotely close to a body of water, by all means, go to the beach.

  8. Meditate. Or at least try to.

  9. Spend time in nature.

  10. Soak up alone time. It is precious, valuable, and absolutely vital to your wellbeing.

  11. Stop glorifying busy, and rest. I mean it.

  12. Dance in your undies.

  13. Practice yoga.

  14. Watch the sunrise. It’s medicine.

  15. Watch the sunset. It’s also medicine.

  16. De-clutter your space. Not just your physical space, but your heart space, head space, soul space. Need motivation? Read this.

  17. Light a candle.

  18. Write yourself a love note.

  19. Take a selfie. (‘Gram it and tag us @lovebombbootcamp, so we can double-tap that!)

  20. Splurge on a feel-good outfit. Every girl needs at least one reliable feel-good outfit in her closet at all times.

  21. Stargaze. (And wish upon any shooting stars you might see.)

  22. Buy yourself flowers.

  23. Practice gratitude.

  24. Find something to celebrate. Every. Single. Day.

What are some of your favorite self-care rituals? Comment below and let me know :) xx

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON LITTLEFOOLBOOK.

The Subtle Alchemy Of Self-Love

In our totally *unbiased* opinions, self-love is the secret ingredient to actually enjoying your life (and your summer!), and high-vibe health.

It’s also kind of like alchemy.

The Alchemy Of Self-Love

It’s not linear or a straightforward point A to point B type of trajectory. It’s more like an ongoing, expansive, alchemy-esque process. It’s a journey that takes time, practice, and patience. It can be messy, and hard, and frustrating at times. (What kind of transformation isn’t?) And when you’re in it, it can feel nearly impossible, but when you’re on the other side, it feels a whole lot like magic.

Pic via instagram

Pic via instagram

Here’s how it works:

Self-love starts with doing ‘the work’ meaning, the uncomfortable inner work we usually run away from til you’re walking the self-love walk and talking the self-love talk. Then you begin to feel a shift. Like an actual, sometimes visceral, often physical shift. Your perspective expands, you begin to glow (from the inside out), your confidence skyrockets, and if you keep going, you may even begin to fancy the reflection you see in the mirror. YOU, yes the same you that once believed you had nothing important to say and your nose was three times too large for your face finally realize, that you and your words DO in fact matter, and you DO actually have important things to say, and while your nose may not be the smallest nose in the world, it’s the perfect nose for your face.

This of course is absolutely amazing and the goal of this self-love journey, but this is also where things can get tricky. Because if you’re anything like us, you suddenly want to tell everyone everything. And if you’re anything like us a few years ago, you might have a sliiiiight inadvertent tendency to lovingly push things onto people. Which, speaking from experience, never plays out well.

We know you want to tweet, insta, Facebook, snapchat, iMessage, email, and shout from the high heavens that THIS is what you’re doing and THIS is what your sister, bf, bff, __ [insert your person here], *should* be doing, too, but the thing with self-love (and almost everything else in life) is that you can’t force it onto others. They have to be ready and willing to make the changes themselves. It’s kind of a hard pill to swallow if you mechanically slip into the caregiver role, but everyone is on their own beautiful, unique journey and maybe they’ll hop on the self-love train, maybe they won’t. It’s not up to you to decide when or how they will, or if they ever do. That’s for them to choose. So even though it will be difficult (we know you mean well and want your loved ones to feels just as free, liberated, and powerful as you feel), save the sage advice, self-love mantras, and unsolicited inspirational pep talks until you’re asked about why you’re so glowy. You will be asked. (A side effect of loving yourself is irresistibility.) For now, the best thing you can do to help others get through their sh*t is to lead by example and to send love from afar. When you exude the high vibe positive energy you’ve gained from truly loving yourself, your whole self, the people around you can feel it and will pick up on that. Eventually, if they’re interested, and most importantly, ready, they’ll approach you about it or explore it on their own. You’re already making a big difference in the world simply by being YOU.

Thoughts? Things to say? Share with us below! This space is as much yours as it is ours, and we love to hear your words!


THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

How to Actually Enjoy Your July Long Weekend Self-Love Style

Whether you’re Canadian (like me!) or American (like my boyfriend), you’ve got a beautiful long weekend coming up and if possible, you should plan to spend it doing exactly what you want.

You’re probably like, duh. But hear me out. 

I’ve long been the girl who goes with the flow. If my friends or family asked me what I felt like doing during the long weekend (or anytime at all, ever), in the past, I probably would have answered with something like, “Oh, I’m easy! Whatever you guys want to do is great.” Which is precisely how I’ve wound up, tired and alone in an Uber delivering me from one place I didn’t want to be, to another. And it’s also the reason that I got so drunk that one time (who am I kidding? — plenty of times) at that party where I didn’t know anybody because it was awkward AF, and why were we there again? Oh right, because “I’m easy!” And it’s definitely the reason I’ve woken up to angry texts from my BFF for making a Houdini exit at “the club” well before the night was deemed over. All because I conceded to other people’s plans, priorities and ideas of fun without actually consulting myself for an opinion. Being the “chill” girl, the “up for anything,” and the “I don’t mind” girl is exhausting.

While it’s one thing to be agreeable, it’s another thing altogether to sacrifice your own well-being for someone else’s idea of a “good time.” We live in a YESculture. It’s totally normal to want to be a people pleaser amongst your people. But sometimes constantly saying YES to your friends, your S.O., your family, your boss, your co-workers, means a default NO on your end — a NO to yourpriorities, your to-do lists, and your idea of a good time.

SO. It's time to prioritize your own agenda with these 4 ridiculously simple tips for actually enjoying your July Long Weekend.

1. Ask yourself, how do you honestly want to spend your time?

Chances are, there are a million things going on this long weekend. A beach bash and bonfire at your parent’s cabin. A BBQ at your BFF’s boyfriend’s brother’s house. Your grandma really wants to hit the yard sale scene (it’s always lit on long weekends). That band your bestie’s obsessed with is playing downtown and your BF’s graduating class is having a good ol’ fashioned house party.

You’ve got options, girl. But first, ask yourself — how do you honestly want to spend your time? What’s your idea of a GT? And is it aligned with anything else that’s going on? If YES, great. Hit up that BBQ and crash the house-party late night. But if it’s a NO, then maybe it’s time to stop being a YES woman for other people, and start being a YES woman for yourself. 

(BTW. It’s 100% okay for your BFF to want to spend her July Long booze cruising, and for you to want to spend it at a yoga retreat. Or vice versa. Just acknowledge the difference and make a plan.)

2. Plan accordingly.

Once you’ve given it some thought, start making the plans.

If all your friends are hitting up the free concert in town, but you’re dying for some 1-on-1 time with your BF at the beach, make it happen.

Let your friends know you’ll meet up with them later. Let your BF know what time to be ready, and to pack a bathing suit.

Done.

Believe it or not, while you’re friends will likely miss your presence, they won’t hold your priorities against you. (If they do, they’re not good friends.) And your BF, well, he’s been dying for 1-on-1 time, but didn’t want to seem needy.

OKAY. So. Maybe there’s no free concert in your town, or you don’t have a BF, but you get my point. Once you give yourself the permission to actually have your own thoughts, feelings, and opinions about what you want to do — listen to them. And then plan accordingly. You hold the power, babe. 

3. Recruit your squad.

Now that you know what you want to do, and how you want to spend your July Long Weekend, recruit your squad. Sure, your friends may already have other plans, but they might be YES women, too, so throw out your plan as an option and give them the opportunity to choose it, if they want.

Or, maybe you’re planning to finally spend some long overdue time with yourself. In which case, your squad is YOU. And that’s perfect.

Whatever you do, don’t peer pressure or bully anyone into your weekend schedule. Because then you’re right back where you started, except the one making the sacrifice is your BFF. And she doesn’t deserve that. 

4. Do you & enjoy.

Congratulations! You’ve just resisted the status quo, prioritized number one (that's you!), and learned a valuable lesson in self-care. All that’s left to do now is enjoy the weekend you’ve planned for yourself, knowing that you’re spending it exactly how you want to spend it.

While you’re busy doing you, try to remember and understand that other people’s priorities are not a reflection of you. And vice versa. We’re all just trying to have a good time, the best way we know how. Just because your bestie opted out of your plan, doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you.

PS. These tips are easily transferable beyond the long weekend and can totally be applied to your everyday life.


THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON LITTLEFOOLBOOK.

Self-Love 101: Have You Loved You, Lately?

No, seriously. Think about it. Have you loved you, lately?

Here’s the deal. I spent a lot of time thinking I knew all about self-love because I’d spoil myself with money I didn’t have on products I didn’t need from Sephora. I spent a lot of time thinking loving myself meant splurging on a pair of $200 jeans (even though they were two sizes too small for me, and I’d have to lose a bunch of weight and bone density to fit into them.) I spent a lot of time believing that self-love could be bought — ordered online from a swanky retailer in AUS, costing me a leg and an arm in shipping, but hey, that’s (self)love baby! It wasn’t. What it actually was is lingerie that sat in my drawer because I never felt like any occasion was the right occasion to wear it. (True self-love would have been wearing it anyway, just for me, because it made me feel good.)

From the outside looking in, things probably looked gravy, baby. Like, I was going on lots of dates, always wearing new clothes, my liquid eyeliner was always on point (even if it took me 37 minutes in front of a mirror just to paint two single lines), and I did whatever I wanted, on my own terms (like eating pizza for breakfast, lunch, and dinner), because I was the boss of my own life.

Except, during that time, I was also binging and purging in private, picking at my nails til they bled, sleeping in because what was the point of getting up? And fat-shaming myself under the fluorescent light of my bathroom. Self-love? More like self-loathing.  

And while my intentions were good — I was trying to find happy and be happy — they were ill-directed. I was looking for (self)love in all the wrong places — in other people, in products, and in material items. I was looking for self-love in the bottom of a Slim Fast.

The truth is, I spent a lot of time thinking I was loving myself up, but not actually doing the work of loving myself IRL, at all.

So let me ask again. Have you loved you, lately? And I’m not talking about the faux, self-loathing kind of “self-love.” I’m talking about the un-judgemental, the forgiving, patient and optimistic self-love. The real self-love that can’t be bought online, in a store, or from another person.

Self Love 101: In order to feel the results, you must do the work.

What does that mean?

It means changing your mentality. 

Instead of thinking, “Gawd, I hate the way my arms look in this tank,” try, “my arms are perfect exactly as they are, this shirt just isn’t right for me."

It means silencing your inner mean girl.

Instead of listening to that voice in your head that says, “you can’t do that,” or “you’ll never be good enough,” listen to your inner optimist that tells you, “yes you f*&king can.” 

Spoiler Alert: You can literally do anything. And I don't mean that in a cliche, fluffy way. I mean it in the true sense of the sentiment. I would know. I wrote a book despite my bitchy inner mean girl. 

It means disregarding your insecurities, rewriting the story in your head and acknowledging all that you are — right here, and right now.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Self-love is all about appreciating your own unique brand of beauty, recognizing your myriad gifts, and honoring yourself. This can be hard to do when you’re not sure where to start, or when you’re blinded by society’s definition of worthy.

So, start at square one. Put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard) and write down everything you love about yourself. Save the modesty.

Pro tip: be mindful of what you focus on. Self-love isn’t just about body image, or what’s on the outside. It’s also about taking notice of what’s on the inside, what your unique talents are, and the irreplaceable space you take up in this world.

Read your newly penned love list anytime you need a boost, and add to it often.

Need help? Phone a friend. Ask your BFF what she loves about you and use her answers as a jumping off point for realizing just how incredible you truly are. (I do this all the time with my brothers — mostly, I’m just fishing for compliments but calling it self-love.)


THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON LITTLEFOOLBOOK.

What NOT To Do At The Beach

Regardless of your own unique style, the reality of summer attire is that in general, it tends to be rather naked. Which, if you have a body (since you’re reading this, we assume you do), then you know — (and I know) — that despite the chill vibes summer is *supposed* to bring, it can, and often does, run a series of zero-chill criticisms, body-image insecurities, and tremendously toxic thoughts down the spine. So, in an effort to change the conversation, put an end to the self-sabotaging ‘beach body’ shaming (for good!), and make self-love your mantra all season – scratch that, all year long, The Summer of Self-Love continues with, What NOT To Do At The Beach.

From the girls who have done them all. (Even #8.)

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The 8 Beach Behaviors You Definitely Want To Avoid 

1. Scan yourself (or anyone else) for cellulite.

Cellulite is nothing more than fat deposits beneath the skin pushing against connective tissue. It’s one million percent normal and it happens to (almost) all of us including Instagram models, Hollywood movie stars, and Beyonce (well… maybe not Beyonce).

2. Wear a swimsuit you’re not comfortable in.

Why do we do this to ourselves? It took me a long time to realize that wearing something I’m worried about wearing isn’t a good fit. And don’t be discouraged if what was once your go-to barely there bikini bottom now barely covers half a cheek. We’re not robots, and we were not made in a factory. Our bodies will change from year to year, season to season, even day to day. Last year’s style is better suited for last year’s you, anyway. THIS is who you are right now. Work on loving her because she's who you've got.

3. Judge other women’s bodies.

“She is soooo skinny!”

“I wish I looked like that!”

"Well at least I don't look like her." (I know, terrible.)

I wish I could get back all the time and energy I've spent (and continue to spend) appraising my “flaws” and how I measure up against my delusionary idea of “perfect.”

I know that the idea of a "perfect” body is an outrageously toxic social construct.

I know how blessed I am to have a body that does (mostly) everything I ask of it.

I know that your body is YOUR body and my body is MY body, and I know that despite what the media tells us, our bodies are not objects to be judged. But this idea, that our bodies are objects to be judged, is so deeply engrained in our psyches it’s incredibly difficult to stop. I’m still working on it. I would like to look at a pair of legs and just think: “Those are legs.” No judgement, no comparison, no narrative, no nothing, but as with most things, easier said than done. I’ve recently come to accept myself as a work in progress and honest awareness is always the first step to changing any kind of behavior.

4. Engage in cruel commentary.

I'm not sure if it's the sweaty temps, sun soaked brain cells, lack of clothing or a combination, but beach days tend to bring out our judgey-ist inner appraisers. Per the above recommendation for all the same reasons, let’s do our best to shut her up for the time being shall we? Stop shaming other people for their swimsuits, hairstyles, selfie sticks, etc. It does not matter how many selfies the girl sitting next to you just snapped. It has nothing to do with you. And on the flipside, stop shaming yourself!

5. Listen to cruel commentary.

Even if you’re not the one doing the talking, if you’re anything like me — rather, the fresh-faced 15-25 year-old version of me — listening to other people’s self-deprecating complaints (ill-intended or not) is also toxic. If your brain reads: “If my perfect ten friends are upset with their perfect ten bodies, how much of a disappointment is my own???” Catch that thought! Try your best to change the conversation IRL and in your head. If your friends just won’t quit (you can control you but girls can be girls), go for a dip. Saltwater is the ultimate cure all.

6. Eat sh*t foods.

Consider this: You are as fresh as the foods you eat. If your beach bag is packed with processed snacks, salty foods, and summer shandys, it’s safe to say you’re not going to feel your best. Continuously feeding yourself this kind of cuisine is to quote Ree, our resident literista, “Like putting low-grade fuel into your Bugatti. You wouldn’t put low-grade fuel into your Bugatti, right? Your body is a Bugatti.”

7. Dehydrate.

Okay, this seems obvious but please hydrate. Dehydration can easily ruin your day at the beach and spending a full day in the sun means you’re going to need a lot more water than usual (especially if you’re used to spending the day behind a desk!). Pack a cooler and be prepared. Remember, your body is a Bugatti.

8. Intentionally or unintentionally starve yourself.

Abide by the two most important unspoken rules of Veganism: Bring food & don’t starve yourself. Maybe those are just our rules? Either way, it’s good advice whether you’re vegan, not vegan, or just wrapped up in the elusive allure of “skinny.”

Your body is a Bugatti. Treat it as such.

Thoughts? Tips? Things to say? Share with us below! This space is as much yours as it is ours and we LOVE to hear your words!

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

The Summer of Self-Love: Hot Tips For The Best Summer Ever

summer of self love

In theory, this whole “Self-Love” thing sounds like a simple concept. It sounds like giving yourself a hug, treating yourself to a mani/pedi combo at the mall, and maybe even a little somethin’ somethin’ from that boutique you pass by every day on your way home from work. What it usually doesn’t sound like is work. Except that’s where you’d be wrong. 

Self-Love means exactly what you think it means — loving yourself wholly, fully, truly, madly deeply. And then some. Self-Love means believing in yourself when nobody else does. It means recognizing your own unique brand of beauty (and knowing that someone else’s unique brand of beauty is certainly not the absence of your own). Self-Love means honoring your self-worth, learning to say “No,” and challenging the status quo. (Remember: we currently live in a society that profits off our insecurities.) Self-Love is an infinite journey, and it ain’t always an easy one.

Especially in the summer time.

With all the bikini pics on Instagram, the juice cleanses, and the incessant heat that can drive a girl to madness (or ice cream), it can be hard NOT to get caught up in the comparison game, or talked into the latest liquid diet because you feel like you take up too much space in your bikini, or to feel guilty about the double scoop of rocky road you devoured in the hot summer sun. (Spoiler Alert: one should never feel guilty about ice cream.)

SO. Want to never feel guilty about an ice cream cone again? Thought so. Join me for The Summer of Self-Love. Every week, this summer I’ll be spilling my tips, secrets, rituals, practices, and pointers to love yourself hardcore all summa long.

Here’s What You Can Expect:

  • Self-Love 101: Have You Loved You Lately?
  • What NOT to do at the beach
  • 24 Ways To Practice Self-Care This Summer
  • How to ACTUALLY enjoy your July Long Weekend
  • Summer Essentials: How to Prioritize What Matters Most  
  • The Miracle of a Mantra
  • 10 Things to Do Instead of Comparing Yourself to Someone Else
  • A Guide to Follow the Light

 ...And so much more! This #summerofselflove series is packed with love and light and probably more than a few LOL’s.

 

 

This post originally appeared on littlefoolbook.

The Ultimate Hydrating Drink: Coconut Water 3 ways

Due to crazy high temps and ridiculously humid days happening here in Boston, we’re currently avoiding all recipes that actually require effort and politely declining all social situations that don’t involve ice cream, acai, or these insanely refreshing coconut water coolers. But before we get to the recipes, a quick word on coconut water, hydration, and per reader request, how to stay cool when it’s hot AF.

HYDRATION & COCONUT WATER  

We’ve discussed it multiple times but so many of us still seem to forget this simple health hack. Proper hydration, as in, at least 3 liters of water per day (more if you’re active or live in a hot climate), is one of the best things you can do for your health. However, in order to reap the benefits of water, which includes clear skin, healthy digestion, properly functioning organs and a longer lifespan, you actually have to drink it—lots of it.

While coconut water is certainly not a substitute for actual water (the mother of all hydrating drinks), it is in fact one of the most naturally hydrating and nutritious drinks on the planet. In addition to being comprised of about 95% water, it’s loaded with vitamins (especially C and B-complex), minerals (mainly potassium, magnesium & copper), bioactive enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism, cytokinins (minimize the aging of skin cells), phytohormones, antioxidants, amino acids and electrolytes making it popular among athletes and an excellent alternative to traditional sugar-sweetened sports drinks like Gatorade.

Raw coconut water—preferably straight from a young coconut—is always ideal, but Harmless Harvest coconut water (found at Costco, Wholefoods, and other natural food stores), is also a great option. We highly recommend reading this article by Food Babe, Vani Hari, on how various brands stack up as NOT all coconut waters are the same. Unfortunately, a lot of what you find on the shelves is heavily processed reconstituted coconut water concentrate void of nutrients made by reducing fresh coconut water to a syrup and tastes absolutely nothing like the real thing.

Coconut water is an acquired taste, but this slightly sweet, almost nutty, tropical bev has won us over. Perfect pre or post-workout, and anytime during the summer, this is THE drink to keep you cool when it’s hot AF.

THE RECIPES:

COCONUT MINT COOLER

Combine 12-16 oz fresh coconut water with a handful of fresh mint leaves.

COCONUT ROSE WATER TONIC

Mix 1/2 oz of rose water with 8-12 oz fresh coconut water.
*Make sure your rose water is food grade (i.e. safe to ingest).

COCONUT LIMEADE WITH MANUKA HONEY

Combine 16 oz fresh coconut water with the juice of half a lime and 1 teaspoon manuka honey.
*We like to dissolve the honey in a bit of hot water before adding in the other ingredients.

RECIPE NOTES :

A light splash of tequila transforms any of one these into an insanely delicious coconut water cocktail.

Opening the coconut is definitely the most difficult part about this recipe. We use a Coco Jack, you can also use a sharp knife but please be careful. Reserve the fresh coconut meat for smoothies and desserts.

What’s your favorite summer drink? Share in the comments below. These coconut water coolers are currently on tap in our kitchens.


THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

14 Must-Listen Podcasts For When You Don’t Want To Read

Podcasts have quickly become our preferred method of on-the-go information consumption. They’re perfect for long commutes, long flights, long walks (we need more of these), and also perfect for the more sedentary moments in your life when you can’t keep your eyes open or you’re trying to move away from staring at your computer screen. Which is me, all the time recently. So, in an effort to save my eyes whilst still consuming my fix of high vibe self-love girl talk wellness wisdom, in no particular order, the best podcasts ever, courtesy us.

Intentional, inspired, and a very (very) nice contrast to the usual “noise” thrown at our ear waves, 14 Must-Listen Podcasts:

1. The Robcast With Rob Bell

Weekly podcast series by insanely talented storyteller, former megachurch pastor, and all around awesome guy, Rob Bell, The RobCast explores life’s greatest questions through the idea that everything is spiritual. We seriously can’t get enough of this man’s words. If you’re at all interested in personal growth and development or just need some help making sense of this weird human experience (a.k.a. your life), we can't recommend it enough.

Favorite episode(s):
Episodes #38-42: The Forgiving Flow Series Parts 1-5
Episode #33: Increments and Explosions

Typical episode length: 20 - 60 minutes.

2. The Time Ferriss Show 

Consistently ranked the #1 business podcast on iTunes, and on many occasions #1 in all categories, Tim Ferriss, author of the massively successful book-turned-empire, The Four Hour Workweek, interviews world class performers from an eclectic array of backgrounds (think: investing, sports, business, art, etc.) to deconstruct their personal practices, habits and routines. If you want to learn how to optimize everything you could possibly imagine, give this a listen. Tim is the ultimate bio-hacker and expertly extracts the practical tools you can actually use. Guests include: Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Jamie Foxx, and many many more.

Favorite episode(s):
Episode #102: “The Iceman,” Wim Hof
Episode #67: Amanda Palmer

Typical episode length: 1-2+ hours, most episodes of The Tim Ferriss Show are longform style which we’re usually not fans of, but here it totally works.

3. The School of Greatness Podcast With Lewis Howes 

Jess & her future husband, Lewis Howes making the earth-quake. <3

Jess & her future husband, Lewis Howes making the earth-quake. <3

With over 375 episodes (and counting), this bi-weekly pod is guaranteed to be an inspiring listen. Lewis Howes covers everything from business to health and wellness, to love, relationships, and personal growth and development. If you want to discover really cool people doing really cool things, add this entire feed to your earbuds. Lewis does an excellent job of asking all the “right” questions, in other words, the tough questions that aren’t always asked. Plus, Lewis is an absolute sweetheart you can’t help but adore.

Favorite episode(s):
Episode #376: Become a Love Warrior In and Out of Marriage with Glennon Doyle Melton
Episode #349: Choosing Optimism and Finding Modern Love with Ravi Patel
Episode #373: From Small Town Skateboarder to Media Mogul Empire with Rob Dyrdek
Episode #327: Styling the Life of Your Dreams with Stacy London

Typical episode length: 60 - 90 minutes tops.

4. The Beautiful Writers Podcast 

A must-listen for the femme creative girlboss entrepreneur, this monthly-ish podcast series by book mama Linda Siversten (the pod actually began with Linda and desire map queen, Danielle LaPorte) dives deep into the minds and habits of some of the world’s greatest writers including Seth Godin, Elizabeth Gilbert, Martha Beck, Steven Pressfield, and Brene Brown, to name a few. Expect a heartfelt dose of soulful inspiration, every time you hit ‘play’.

Favorite episode:
Episode #8: The Big Magic of Creative Living with Elizabeth Gilbert

Typical episode length: 45 minutes.

5. Bulletproof Radio With Dave Asprey

Loaded with high vibe health info, expert advice and interviews, and the some of the best biohacking tips ever,  Bulletproof Radio with Dave Aspey has become a go-to source of knowledge. If you’re looking for cutting edge science from top nutritionistas, world-class MDs, Ivy-league educated biochemists, and insanely brilliant minds, give this a listen.

Favorite episode:
Episode #328: Dinner and a Side of Spirituality with Cynthia Pasquella

Typical episode length: 60 minutes.

6. Home Podcast With Laura McKowen and Holly Witaker

Tackling the big questions of life through the lens of addiction recovery, heartfelt realness, candid honesty, and raw humor (the kind we l-o-v-e), this relatively new-to-us (we’re 1 month in!) pod has become an instant favorite. Just like the BFF convos you have with your girls (or your sister and long-distance bestie), this show is insanely relatable, therapeutic, and one million percent worth a listen, regardless of your relationship to alcohol and recovery.

Favorite episode(s):
Episode #56: with Glennon Doyle Melton
Episode #57: with Tommy Rosen, his riff on co-dependency is uh-maz-ing.  

Typical episode length: 60 - 90 minutes.

7. Straight Up With Stassi

Hosted by Stassi Schroeder, star of the Bravo’s hit reality show, Vanderpump Rule’s (a must-watch, btw when you need good, mindless t.v.), Straight Up With Stassi is a hilarious look at the world and everyone in it. Unfiltered and uncensored, Stassi riffs on trending topics, pop culture and her own personal life happenings. Never afraid to make fun of herself, or anyone else, this podcast is straight up hilarious. Our go-to listen when we’re not looking for something wellness-related.

Favorite episode(s):
Episode #31 Dating Talk & Big Announcements with Kellie Decker
Episode #99 Stassi & Rachael do Charleston

Typical episode length: 30 - 90 minutes.

8. Raw Talk With Sheena

We’ve professed our love for Sheena Mannina, owner of the celebrity acclaimed Raw Republic Juice Bar and Wellness Center in New Orleans, Louisiana, twice already (both here and here) so it was only a matter of time before we broadcast our love/obsession with her podcast. If you’re looking for levity, want to vibe higher, elevate your consciousness and open your mind to a new way of seeing things, this is the podcast for you. A combination of conversational interviews with inspiring guests and relaxed discussions on all things wellness with her partner in basic witch crime, Dr. Amberleigh Carter, we guarantee you’ll never be bored. Topics include: nutrition, healing, spiritual development, energy work, and sometimes, aliens.

Favorite episode(s): 
Episode #12 - Sheena & Amberleigh.. the ultimate talk on Food, Fruit, and Mercury retrograde
Episode #17 - Birth control… yep, we said it

Typical episode length: 45-60 minutes and *bonus* Sheena occasionally closes with a meditation.

9. Rewild Yourself

Off-the-map but still connected, if you currently crave a back to your roots, real food, live from the land kinda life, you’re going to love Daniel Vitalis’ Rewild Yourself podcast. Through the exploration of how ancient ancestral strategies can help our minds and bodies thrive in the modern world and free us from the degenerative effects of human domestication, the Rewild Yourself podcast provides deeply rooted health and wellness wisdom backed by science. If you’re secretly jealous of that friend who moved to Portland to raise her own chickens and keeps posting photos of her freshly harvested radishes hashtag #farmher to Instagram, this is the podcast for you. From long form interviews with leading industry experts to the occasional solo show, Daniel Vitalis and his guests are the new generation of real deal modern homesteaders. Listener warning: he talks about hunting, a lot.

Favorite episode(s):
Every single interview with Nadine Artemis!

Typical episode length: 60-90 minutes. The first 20 minutes are usually a mix of relevant life updates from Vitalis and a reader/listener FAQ. (I must confess, I usually FF this part.)

10. Pardon My French With Garance Doré

Real, relaxed (and often hilarious) conversations between French fashion photographer, illustrator and writer, Garance Doré and well known fashion icons, artists, and creatives like Gwyneth Paltrow, Elle Macpherson, and Joseph Altuzarra to name a few, Pardon My French never fails to leave us feeling inspired. We especially love the “pocket” episodes with Garance and the girls that work at Studio Doré because nothing is off limits. They chat about love, friendship, stress, fashion, living with roommates, wedding planning, beauty, boyfriends, periods, how to be a better human, you know, basically everything. It feels like a night in with your best girlfriends and will, without question, make you want to learn French.

Favorite episode:
Episode #26 - Pocket PMF: Doing Well with Daphne Javitch

Typical episode length: Short and sweet 30-60 minute episodes. This is my go-to podcast of choice while I’m making dinner.

11. Free Cookies

Major bonus points for the name Free Cookies. This brand new (it’s still in it’s infancy stage!) podcast by espnW with sports reporter Kate Fagan and world renowned yoga instructor Kathryn Budig, is quickly becoming one of our favorite podcasts when we need a quick dose of high vibe inspo. We absolutely adore Kathryn Budig, she is as kind, quirky, and hilarious IRL as she appears on the interwebs, so we’re expecting only good things to come. Topics include: sports, wellness, life, relationships (quick caveat: they’re dating!), and pop culture. So far, it’s as delicious as stumbling upon a plate of free cookies, yum.

Favorite episode:
Episode #6 - Reshaping The Cookie Cutter: 5/24/17

Typical episode length: 30-60 minutes.

12. Underground Wellness Radio

Despite airing its last and final episode in November 2015 (podcast host, Sean Croxton, started a new podcast called the Sean Croxton Sessions which we also highly recommend), Underground Wellness Radio remains one of our top picks, if not the top pick, for high vibe health and wellness info. Stacked with almost 350 archived episodes of expert advice and interviews from world-class doctors, researchers, and nutritionists like depression specialist, Dr. Kelly Brogan, flo living’s, Alisa Vitti, and hormone queen, Dr. Sara Gottfried, this is a gold mine for health nerds like me. If the connection between adrenal fatigue and hypothyroidism is in your recent Google search history, you fancy a good biohack, and you research vitamin K for fun, this is the the podcast for you.

Favorite episode(s):
Anything related to hormone health or digestion.

Typical episode length: 60 minutes.

13. Girlboss Radio With Sophia Amoruso

A must-listen for the femme creative girlboss entrepreneur, this girl powered podcast by OG GB herself, Sophia Amoruso, uncovers how some of the world’s leading ladies in business actually got to where they’re at. Expect honest advice, a heartfelt dose of reality (*spoiler alert* an overnight success takes at least 10 years), and major laughs about the absurdity that is life. Girlboss Radio was last updated in December 2016. All fingers crossed the next season starts soon!

Favorite episode:
Episode #13 - Christene Barberich, Global Editor-in-Chief & Co-Founder, Refinery29

Typical episode length: 60 minutes.

14. That's So Retrograde 

Since (finally) jumping on the TSR train last month (where have I been??), I’ve successfully binged well over 20 episodes. Obsessed is an understatement. This hilarious and radically honest podcast chronicles the trials and tribulations of LA mega-babes, Elizabeth Kott and Stephanie Simbari as they conquer the wellness world one green juice (or cough, joint) at a time. Featuring inspiring interviews and comedic conversations with guests like intuitive, Jill Willard, eco-conscious actress, Emma Roberts, and nutrition expert, Elissa Goodman, alongside sparkling commentary from Elizabeth and Steph, That’s So Retrograde is soon to be at the top of your wellness regime.
 
Favorite episodes:
Episode #95: Protect Her
All episodes with Elissa Goodman and TSR's resident astrologer, Ambi Sitham.

Typical episode length: 60 minutes-ish.


Are you also obsessing over audio? Let us know! Share your favorite podcast(s) in the comment section below. We love finding new soundwave inspiration.

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

The Ultimate 3-Minute Beauty Regime for Glowing Skin

self-love-glowing-skin

I’ve been really tired lately. Like, struggling to get out of bed tired, guzzling 6 cups of coffee a day tired, falling asleep mid-Mindy Project tired. And every time I catch a good glimpse of myself in the mirror I can see the tired all over my face: The bloodshot eyes, the dark circles, the dehydration lines, and an overall lack of radiance (maybe that’s just another warm welcome from adulthood?).

Some days, I’m pretty sure I could pass for an extra on The Walking Dead. This would all be very depressing, and likely end with me crying gigantic crocodile tears (that would only dehydrate me more) into my coffee, except there’s a twist.

I don’t mean to brag, or anything, but I’ve been receiving an abundance of compliments on my skin lately. Apparently, despite what I see in the mirror (zombie vampire, aka dead), my skin is glowing! It’s radiant! I totally don’t need botox (yet)!

And I know what you might be thinking—I’ve got some great friends, right?

And yes, you’re totally right—they’re GREAT—, but only like, 33% of these generous compliments have come from my friends’ lips. The rest (you do the math) have been from acquaintances, strangers, and estheticians who have, quite literally, nothing to gain from their compliment.

what’s my secret?

I can tell you that it’s definitely not the lack of sleep or the stress and anxiety that comes from being your own boss and making sure the lights stay on. It’s most certainly not from staring at a computer screen for 12 hours a day. And I can 100% guarantee you, it’s not from the 8000 bottles of wine I’ve dared to drink anytime the girls get together for a GNO (Girls Night Out) that never actually makes it to the O-part because we’re all too drunk and tired to remove the wine stains from our lips and call a cab. No, it’s not that, at all.  

All that I can attribute to the state of my apparently good skin is 1) genetics (thanks, ma and pa!) and 2) my—oh gawd, I can’t believe I’m going to say it—beauty regime.

So, in case you, too, are feeling like the run-down is showing all over your face, or you own a t-shirt that says “my under-eye bags are designer," I’m going to spill all my glowy skin, I-swear-I-get-enough-sleep, and stress? What stress? beauty secrets.

It starts with Witchcraft.

Thayers Alcohol-Free Rose Petal Witch Hazel with Aloe Vera

I’ve been using Thayers Witch Hazel Toner for years. Apparently, it’s a natural remedy that’s been around since 1847, so if you were wondering how all the ladies in those old b&w photos had such flawless smooth skin, I’d attribute it to Thayers (and not the fact that black and white camera’s from the 1800’s were likely fairly forgiving).

I always buy the Aloe Vera formula with Rose Petal, because it just sounds a whole lot more luxurious than the original unscented version. Plus, rose water is meant to be calming (and it smells really good).

The best part about this all-natural blend—the witchcraft part—is that it’s not just a toner, it’s a cleanser, too. So if you’re like me, and pretty lazy about your beauty regime, this is literally the perfect product. I use it morning and night, religiously.

Add more Rose. (Altogether different than Rosé.)

Badger Balms Damascus Rose Face Oil 1 Fluid Ounces

After my cleansing and toning, I add more rose. This time in the form of a moisturizing oil. Badger’s Damascus Rose Face Oil is everything: USDA Organic, Gluten Free, Cruelty-Free, and smells f&*king fantastic (if you’re into roses, that is). It’s also super moisturizing and designed for delicate skin.

My boyfriend, who loves to give me a hard time for buying stuff like this, has officially worked this facial oil into his daily routine, too. It's that good. We go through a bottle of this stuff at least every two months. 

SPF, always.

Andalou Naturals Beauty Balm All in One Sheer Tint with SPF 30

After I’ve given my rose oil a few minutes to sink in, I add a layer of Andalou Naturals All-in-One Brightening Beauty Balm with SPF 30, because I’d rather have my face be wrinkle-free than tan (and that’s why bronzer exists, duh).

I usually apply a dime-sized dollop to my face and neck. Its soft sheer tint adds a touch of color without making it look like you’re wearing layers of foundation, which is precisely the balance I like to strike. Basically bare-faced.

Most days, I leave it at that. But, if I’m going to be outdoors, or in public, and I want to give off that gorgeously nonchalant “I woke up like this,” look, I’ll enter into phase two of my beauty regime.

Time for the triple-threat.

When it comes to beauty products—or any products I use, for that matter—I try to go green, natural, and organic.

I haven’t always been this way. In case you don’t remember, I used to casually drop hundreds of dollars at Sephora on products promising me things like 12 hours of shimmer, kissable lips, and impossible-to-see pores. Then, one day, I looked at the ingredients list in all the products I was using and realized that instead of making me look younger and healthier, these products were probably long-term aging me.

*cue transition into clean beauty products.*

I’ve been experimenting with clean beauty products for a few years now, and it’s been underwhelming, to say the least. The lipsticks don’t stick as long, the black-ink mascara irritated my eyes, and the powders were too chalky.

And then I found Josie Maran. WAIT, before you say it, I know her products don’t pass every green test. But they’re cleaner than most and help me achieve the exact glowy look I’m always trying for. So I’m willing to overlook some things.

I use the Protect + Perfect Argan Daily Moisturizer with SPF 47 combined—literally—with the Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer.

Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 Protect + Perfect 2 oz Tinted Warm Glow

Josie Maran Argan Enlightenment Illuminizer by Josie Maran

Benefit Cosmetics Watt'S Up! Soft Focus Highlighter for Face .33 oz

Nothing fancy over here. I simply mix a dollop of each in my hand and apply to my face and neck and voila — glowy and enlightened!

The final step in my beauty regime—and the third-party to my triple-threat—is not natural at all. But I love it. I use Benefit’s Watts Up! Cream-to-powder highlighter wand to give a champagne glow around my eyes and on my cheekbones.

Because I think I read somewhere that contouring is out and highlighting is in and Gigi Hadid always looks perfectly highlighted. So, there's that. 

And….That’s it! From zombie to presentable in under three minutes.

(If you really want to get wild, take an extra 30 seconds and top with mascara.)
 

 

 

This post originally appeared on littlefoolbook.

7 Simple Ways To Make Space In Your Life For Self-Love

Marie Kondo, the Japanese organization expert, decluttering consultant, and international phenom made famous by her revolutionary approach to tidying is absolutely slaying the war on clutter. Her mega-bestselling books, including The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing and its follow-up, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up have sold more than seven million copies worldwide.

Her infamous ‘KonMari’ method as it’s known, which consists of gathering everything you own — including the juicy couture tracksuit you HAD to have when you were 16, the stack of dusty frayed notebooks from college sitting under your bed, you know, just in case you need to brush up on the basics of pharmacology, and the vacuumed sealed bag of irish moss resting comfortably in your kitchen cabinet because two years ago while in a shopping trance at Whole Foods you had the intransigent desire to make seaweed pudding, which, of course, you never did — by category (clothes first, then books, papers, “komono” or miscellaneous, and finally, mementos or sentimental items), and discarding anything that doesn’t “spark joy.”

We’ve already begun applying the KonMari method to our closets with extraordinary results, which got us thinking, what else can we KonMari?

Tidy Up These 7 Spaces To Make Space To Make Space For Self-Love

1. Your Kitchen

Albeit an obvious next choice considering cooking is kind of our thing [link], Kondo already has this one covered in depth. Her goal with the signature Kondo kitchen cleanse is to help you create a space that you actually enjoy cooking in. Kondo encourages to take advantage of vertical storage space and to add pops of color (like flowers or plants) that make you happy. But above all else, she advises to keep it clean! That means nothing on the countertops, in the sink, or on the stove. A huge challenge for most home cooks but according to Kondo: outer order = inner calm. A truth we firmly stand behind.

2. Your Calendar

We’ve been decluttering our days since Vancouver's own goddess of truth, Danielle LaPorte, began waxing poetic on the subj. The point (to clearing your calendar and saying no) is that it frees you up to say yes to what you really want to do (vs. what others want you to do or what you *think* others want you to do). And assuming you’re not filling your schedule back up with busywork activities that need to be written down and accounted for, Kondoing your calendar creates the freeing, healthy, good-for-the-soul kind of whitespace. Something we could all use a little more of.

To Kondo your cal, take a look at your current commitments. Is there anything you need to politely decline, reassign, delegate, designate, pull back from, reshuffle, or *gasp* cancel? Be ruthless (in the kindest way possible).

New commitments? Filter everything through Kondo’s signature question: "Does this spark joy?" Only say yes to things that do. Speaking from experience, the inner liberation that comes from a (mostly) clear calendar is life-changing.

3. Your Cosmetics

It only makes sense to use products you love, especially on the face you’re putting out into the world! Whether it’s a smokey eye and bold lip or a simple moisturizer and SPF, if you enjoy your beauty routine, that joyful energy will radiate out into the world. In true KonMari fashion, use products you love and adore. Get rid of the rest.

4. Your Inbox

Our inner Kondo’s kind of freaked when we took a closer look at our email inboxes (all 9 of them). Despite enrolling in Unenroll.me back in December, there is still a lot of stuff sitting in my inbox I literally never open, never mind read, or even remember subscribing to. As Kondo would say, “thank you for __ [insert your reason of choice here],” now UNSUBSCRIBE.

5. Your Headspace

Clutter can be more than just the physical stuff so it’s important to take inventory of your entire space, including your psyche. We have between 50,000-70,000 thoughts per day, all of which are creating your reality. How many of these thoughts are currently bringing you joy? If you’re human (or anything at all like us), according to Google, it’s probably around 20-ish percent? Time to Kondo that.

Start by observing your thoughts. If they’re not adding joy to your life, say thank you, then let those stories, self-talk, beliefs, ideas, and preconceived notions go. This kind of Kondoing is like a cleanse for your consciousness. (This kind of Kondoing is also called meditation.) 

6. Your Heartspace

Although Kondoing your heartspace (i.e. your relationships) usually requires uncomfortable “inner work”, forces you to get vulnerable, and on many occasions, involves very difficult conversations, the freedom, and clarity you gain from letting go of toxic relationships is incomparable. As Kondo might suggest if the relationship isn’t serving you, it’s probably time to part ways, bid gratitude, and let it go.

7. Your Dinner Plate

Kondoing your dinner plate involves asking yourself prior to eating, does this food spark joy, real joy, or am I eating out of starvation, boredom, guilt, or some other form of mind hunger? Which again like the above, only you can answer. 

What areas of your life would benefit from a little KonMari? Continue the conversation in the comments. This space is yours.

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

10 Totally Guilty Thoughts You Have When Your BFF Gets Engaged

In case you didn’t gather it from the title of this post, one of my BFF’s is engaged to be married. Naturally, I’m thrilled for her. It feels surreal and being the highly sensitive person that I am, I have so many emotions that are spilling out of me every time I think about how we used to prank phone call her now fiance, AND NOW THEY’RE GETTING MARRIED. It feels like yesterday, and yet it’s been years.

Now, all niceties aside, let’s get real for a minute here. While I’m beyond excited for my beautiful BFF, I can't help but wonder all those things every girl wonders (but is likely too polite to say out loud) when she sees yet another engagement announcement on Instagram or finds out her best friend is engaged.

Obviously, I’m not writing this to flatter myself. I’m writing this because I’m selfish and it feels good to get this off my chest. Also because it's wedding season, which means a rollercoaster of emotions, so maybe this might make you laugh or smile or something. And also, because if you’re anything like me, maybe you’ll feel a little better about yourself, knowing you’re not alone when you’re screenshotting wedding rings and leaving your phone out hoping your boyfriend will get the hint, because now that your BFF is getting married...the pressure is on!

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10 Totally Guilty Thoughts You Have When Your Best Friend is Engaged to be Married

1. Holy F&*k, my BFF is getting married!

It was a day, like any other day. I was probably sitting in my writing dungeon, writing things for littlefoolbook while simultaneously planning my future wedding on Pinterest and drinking unspeakable amounts of coffee. When I got a notification on my phone, I jumped at the opportunity for distraction and immediately swiped left to open up a photo of my BFF drinking a beer on a beach. “Lucky bitch,” I probably thought. (And when I say “bitch” here, I mean it in the nicest and most loving way.)

And then I noticed the ring on her left-hand ring finger, wrapped around the beer can. “Lucky bitch!” I definitely thought. (Again, in the nicest way possible.)

I’m pretty sure my heart leaped out of my chest, and I probably would have eaten my shirt if it meant I could teleport myself to that beach and squeeze my newly engaged BFF in person. Because OMG, these are the moments we talk about during our slumber parties, and on our road trips and our girls nights out. And it’s all happening!

Yes, the initial response was one of sheer happiness, excitement, and love. (See, I’m not a total monster.) I couldn’t wait to hear all the details. I couldn’t wait to celebrate the news. I couldn’t wait just to see my BFF and ogle her and her new fiance IRL.

2. ...I sort of always thought I would be the first one to get married…

And then the news settles in. You begin to process it. Your boyfriend comes home from work, and you tell him the exciting news half expecting him to get down on one knee right then and there and propose, because dammit, you deserve a wedding, too. And when he reacts like a normal human being with a, “Wow! That’s so exciting, babe!” you can’t help but feel slightly slighted by him.

Let me repeat, I know nothing about this confession is flattering. I’m not proud that my natural secondary response to my BFF’s exciting news was one of jealousy. Even less proud that the pressures of modern society make me feel that, as an unmarried woman in my late 20’s, I’m somehow a failure.

I know better than to equate a ring on my finger with success, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still want it, like really badly. I feel guilty about that. I feel guilty that my pure and absolute happiness for my BFF exists alongside my unsavory envy over something as materialistic as a ring on a very specific finger. Because I’m one of the lucky ones, while I don’t have a diamond or a date on the calendar to show for it (yet), I do have love. And that is more than enough.

3. I better be a f*&king bridesmaid!

A week passes, and you’re over the fact that your BF hasn’t impulsively proposed to you yet after hearing the news. You’re starting to get excited over all the many details of your best friends wedding.

Like:

will she have a summer wedding or a winter wedding?

What colors will she choose?

Where will the wedding be?

Who will be in the wedding party...OMG, who will be in the wedding party? I’ll be a bridesmaid, right? Like she’s my BFF, but am I her BFF? OMG, I BETTER BE A F*&KING BRIDESMAID.

You go over every moment and milestone of your friendship in your head and turn them into points in your favor for being chosen as a bridesmaid. You count up every photo you’ve ever taken together and add that to all the times you’ve @’d one another on Instagram. There’s a lot of points. You get tired of counting. You’re fairly sure you've made the bridesmaid list, but she hasn’t liked your last 5 photos on Instagram, and you wonder if your friendship is on the rocks? You take 3 deep breaths and rationalize that she probably just didn’t see them. Your friendship is fine. The two of you have like a bajillion inside jokes together; you coined a song together. It’s all going to be OKAY.

4. So... should I start writing my speech now or later?

Okay, so I get to give a speech, right? Because, people need to know that she’s MY BFF, and any which way that I can wrangle myself into this wedding, will do. 

5. This is going to be the BEST bachelorette party ever!

The third best thing about your BFF getting married — just behind the fact that your BFF has found love in this big, scary world, and the actual wedding, itself — is the bachelorette party.

Okay, fine. It's the first best thing. And yes, I totally feel guilty admitting that, but come on — when else do the girls have this good of an excuse to get a little wild on the weekend?

6. Note to self: This wedding isn’t about me. This wedding isn’t about me. This wedding isn’t about me.

I just had a flashback of the moment I cornered my BFF and her fiance — after one too many glasses of red wine, mind you — and demanded I be able to give a speech at their wedding. Now my heart is racing, and I’m having a panic attack. Am I the BFF from hell?

BRB, gotta go send BFF a message to apologize for coming on (way) too strong.

7. So...if my BFF is getting married, does that make her new husband my BFF-in-law?

OMG, we’re going to have so much fun together! I mean, I’ve been third-wheeling them for like 5 years now, this is really quite a natural progression. Now I can third-wheel them in married life, too.

8. Wahhhh. I’m never getting married.

There’s nothing like your BFF’s fast approaching wedding to make you feel like you’re an unlovable human who will never have a wedding of her own.

Even though I have a long term boyfriend. Even though we’ve had many discussions about getting married. Even though we’ve discussed all the important things like what style of engagement ring I want and stuff. It still feels like, because it’s not happening now, it’s never going to happen.

I don’t understand the psychology behind it, so please don’t ask.

9. MUST GET MARRIED.

When you’ve finished with your pity party — finished the chocolate, polished off the wine, and got back on your feet — you find a renewed spark in your love life that stems from the notion that you just really gotta get this show on the road so you and your BFF can still fulfill the dream of having babies at the same time.

Also. You love your boyfriend and want to spend the rest of your life with him. Yeah, that too.

10. Holy F&*k, my BFF is getting married!

And such is life, everything comes full circle. Once you get over your own insecurities, you revert to your initial excitement: OMG, my BFF is getting married!!!

And while this is a major milestone in your BFF and her soon-to-be-husband’s life, it’s also a major milestone in your friendship. Because she chose and invited you to be there with her on that day, to share in her love story, to witness one of the best days of her life.

And friendships like that are rare.

And this is love, and this is life and isn’t it beautiful?

 

 

This post originally appeared on littlefoolbook.

Self-Love Super Berry Island Acai Bowl Recipe

Though we’ve been unofficially celebrating since idk, April? Today, the day after Memorial Day, marks the first official unofficial day of summer and the start to a whole new slew of beach trips, 3-day weekends, bikinis and short shorts (if that’s your thing). Our thing, as you know, is self-love, self-care, selfies (obviously), and today that means nourishing ourselves with island inspired acai bowls.

Acai (pronounced “ah-sigh-EE” — I called it “uh-kai” for years until I worked behind the bar at a cold-pressed juice and smoothie co.), is a total powerhouse. Loaded with a vast array of nutrient dense vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, antioxidant polyphenols and flavonoids, acai is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. These power packed, small, dark purple gems grow throughout the tropical regions of Central and South America and taste somewhere between rich chocolate and ripe berries making acai the perfect flavor combo for smoothie bowls (and for pretending you’re on the beach in Hawaii).

Self-love in it’s most delicious (and nutritious) form.

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Self-Love Super Berry Island Acai Bowl

Makes: 1, 12 oz bowl

1 packet frozen acai (unsweetened - we use sambazon frozen acai packs)
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup frozen raspberries
1/2 of a frozen banana
1/4 cup almond milk
1 handful kale
1 squeeze raw honey (sub with 1-2 medjool dates to make this recipe vegan)
1 tbs chia seeds
1 tsp goji berries
squeeze of lime fresh juice (optional)

Topping Ideas:

Fresh fruit
Shredded coconut
Homemade granola
Raw chocolate magic sauce
Nuts & seeds
Dehydrated buckwheat

Directions:

Combine all acai bowl ingredients into a high powered blender and process until smooth and creamy. You might have to use a tamper to pack it down. (This bowl is thick.) When done, scoop mixture into a bowl and top with desired toppings. We love fresh fruit, shredded coconut, homemade granola, and a drizzle of raw local honey. Delish.

Recipe Notes:

-Although we haven’t tried it, this recipe might work using a food processor. If you try this method be sure to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.

-We love extra crunch so before scooping the acai smoothie base straight into your bowl, add a small amount of crunch (granola, cacao nibs, etc.), to the bottom of your dish; then add your smoothie.

-To make this recipe vegan, sub 1-2 medjool dates or equal amounts of raw coconut nectar for the honey listed above.

We want to see your creations! Take a pic of your acai bowl and tag us on Instagram at @lovebombbootcamp using the hashtag: #lovebombbootcamp, so we can like your photo. *Bonus points for selfies. Want more self-love inspired recipes? Leave a comment and us know! After all, this space is for YOU.

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

The Self-Lover's Ultimate Summer Reading List

According to this website, reading makes you both interesting and attractive. Which is precisely why I devour books so voraciously.

One of the most common questions I get asked (second to, “what happened to your hair?”) by friends, acquaintances and strangers alike, is “what are you reading right now?” or “what should I read next?”

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First, I tell them that my hair burnt off during a botched bleach job (long story), and then I rattle off like 12 books top of mind and they’re all like, “hold up, lemme get a pen.”

SO. To make things easier for everyone, I’ve compiled a list of 30 books, all by totally kicka$$ women authors (because #girlpower). In order to get through them all by summer’s end, you’ll have to read a new book every 3.1 days, which is why I’m giving you a head start and posting this now.

These are the books I’ve been reading while writing littlefoolbook. These are the books I’ve turned to for inspiration, for a laugh, a cry, and even for wisdom. Some of these books have gotten me through some pretty hard times (read: my hair falling out, being uber lonely in a new city, and struggling with my reflection in the mirror). Others have inspired me to be vulnerable in my own writing, and to take chances in my career. All of them have made me proud to be a woman. I feel pretty confident saying, there is a book on this list for every girl and almost every circumstance. 

Books For The Fiction Lovers

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Books For Feminists & Critical Thinkers

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Books For Femme-Preneurs & Girl Bosses:

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Books For a Light-Hearted LOL

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For a Memoir That Will Make You Say, "Woah!"

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For Essays on the Female Experience (That Will Also Make You LOL, Cry, & Feel Things)

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Books For Creative Spirits

 

Books For The Self-Help Lovers and the Health Conscious

 

We're curious. What books are on your summer reading list?

 

 

This post originally appeared on littlefoolbook.

6 Self-Love Mantras To Boost Your Confidence

Chronic stress is a common theme among well, humans. Especially the mid-twenty-something, creative yet trying to get your sh*t together, almost broke, anxiety-prone, 6 planets in Capricorn (someone please tell me wtf this means…) type like me and my literista BFF, who (I assume) doesn’t have 6 planets in Capricorn but just went to her primary care doctor suspecting a life-threatening iodine deficiency and was prescribed, and I quote, to “chill the f*&k out”.

And then there’s my boyfriend.

The steady, levelheaded, super-chill, alien type that I strive to be more like, and for a minute back in January thought I WAS after successfully stringing together 40ish consecutive days of ‘chill’ during a project launch which in the past has been known to make me um...not-so-chill.

Maybe this had something to do with it?

Anyway, life happened, as it often does, and I am back, non-chill as ever* so I’m taking my own advice, being proactive, and doing all the Spirited Nutrition things to get back there.

Eating nutrient dense, health promoting whole foods is one of them.

Regular acupuncture is another. 

More recently, to shift my mood fast, self-affirming mantras have been a godsend.

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From the slightly esoteric to the real-time talk we use on the reg, here are our top 6 confidence mantras when you need an immediate, easy, healthy way to chill

Choose what resonates or create your own. The only requirement when it comes to mantras is that you use one that speaks to you and where you’re at.

Repeat it 3 times, 5 times, 200,000 times, or until you start to feel better.

Pro-tip: We find that pairing mantras with movement intensifies their power. We highly suggest the walk and talk, recite and workout, Intensati approach.

Repeat After Me: 6 Self-love Mantras To Shift Your Mood And Boost Your Confidence

1. They don't need your fear, they have their own.

This 9 syllable sentence gets us through speaking gigs, presentations, interviews, networking events, teaching workshops and all other instances that require talking (or performing) in front of a group of people. Use anytime you need a quick confidence boost. Proven to work even when you’re 30 seconds away from throwing up.

2. Great things never came from comfort zones.

The perfect string of words to play on loop when sh*t has hit the proverbial fan, when what you didn’t want to happen, happened, or life is exquisitely uncomfortable.

3. I can do hard things. 

Need we remind you of that time you accomplished that thing that almost made your brain explode? Yup, “I can do hard things” rings true for all, including you. Use whenever you’re having a day, on the verge of giving up, or life throws you a major curveball.

4. No one's ever been you before.

This one, which originated after spending 7+ hours with a former megachurch pastor, is especially helpful when you hit that point in your twenties and begin to question umm, virtually everything. It gives you *permission* to mess up, often – something we could all use a little more of.

5. Peace begins with me. 

From the OG spirit junkie herself, Gabby Bernstein, this nugget of tried and true new age wisdom serves as a lovely reminder that the ball is always in your court, and even though we can’t choose our experiences, we can choose how we react to them.

6. My bones are made of stardust. 

This or something like it plays on repeat whenever we catch our inner critic implying otherwise.

Love this list? We’d love for you to share it AND we’d love to hear from you! Share your current favorite confidence mantra in the comment section below. This space is as much ours as it is yours.

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

15 Ways To Love Your Body RIGHT NOW

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in the midst of a self-love awakening. Or, at least I am. I’m not sure if it’s something that happens once you’re over the hump of your mid-20s — like a rite of passage sort of thing — or if it’s much less profound than that. But at some point, we all just get sick of obsessing over our flaws and decide to try a crazy little thing called self-love instead.

Regardless of catalyst, I’m 26 now, and I’ve reached that point. For a decade and then some, my body weight fluctuated, and so did my self-esteem. I spent entire summers at the beach wearing cover-ups instead of my usual bikinis because my usual bikinis didn’t fit. (In retrospect, I should have just invested in a bathing suit that did fit).

I insisted on only being photographed from one angle (hand on hip, one leg bent, body turned slightly to the side) because I was convinced that with certain positioning, I could trick the lens into thinking I was Kate Moss skinny. (I’ve never been Kate Moss skinny.) I dyed my mousy hair platinum blonde and wore dramatic makeup with dark eyes, thinking I could disguise my self-perceived flaws in a Barbie-like façade of pink lips and black eyeliner.

I spent so long hating my body that it never occurred to me what might happen if I started loving it. Spoiler alert: It did amazing things. Not only have I managed to lose a little weight, but I’ve come to appreciate my body for the temple it is, and the incredible things it’s capable of.

Most importantly, I’m learning to accept and love my reflection in the mirror (flaws and all). 

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15 Ways to Love Your Body, RN, From Someone Currently Learning to Love Hers:

1. Listen to your body.

I’m no scientist, but I do know our bodies are incredibly intuitive. Your body knows when you need to eat, sleep, take it easy or have the energy to go harder. Simply listening to it can go a long way in helping you achieve your health goals.

2. Nourish your body.

I recently learned that my body is not a garbage disposal, and continuously feeding it pizza is like putting low-grade fuel into your Bugatti. You wouldn’t put low-grade fuel into your Bugatti, right? Your body is a Bugatti.

3. Positive self-talk.

If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, a family member or your puppy, then don’t say it to yourself.

4. Say “no” to images of beauty from magazines.

If you must read them (even I can admit, the latest Vogue can be somewhat of a guilty pleasure), admire the handbags, but don’t be fooled by the Photoshop, the editing, and the false advertising. Take satisfaction in knowing that you are every bit as beautiful as the woman on the cover simply because you are you, and beauty standards are a figment of our imagination.

5. Use a body scrub.

I would start out with my personal favorite, Frank. He will make you feel like a goddess.

6. Sweat often.

As Elle Woods once said, “Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins make you happy!” Also, it’s good for your body, your health and your spirit.

7. Dance (naked) in front of a mirror.

Admire your many curves and angles and all the compositions of your skin and muscles and bones. Appreciate your body’s movement.

8. Buy clothes that fit.

It’s truly amazing what a well-fitting pair of jeans can do for your self-esteem. Stop trying to squeeze into the smallest size because of a beauty industry that praises a size 2. Beauty is not a size.

9. Relax.

Allow yourself the luxury of rest. You and your body deserve it. Set out time for yourself each week to be lazy, read a book, watch a movie or simply spend an afternoon in bed. Do it all guilt-free.

10. Drink green smoothies.

Once you get past the color and the texture, you might find you actually enjoy them and even come to crave them. A handful of spinach, kale and some fresh mango can do your body wonders.

11. Soak.

One of my favorite ways to reward my body for all of its hard work is to take an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salts have been known to flush toxins from your body, relax muscles, aid in muscle recovery, relieve stress, improve your body’s ability to absorb nutrients and so on. Pour a cup or two of Epsom salts into a tub of hot water and relax while the salts go to work.

12. Flaunt it.

No matter where you are on your journey to loving your body, be proud of the body you have. It’s the only one you have, and it deserves to dance, run, bask in the sun, stand tall, walk, skip, jump and twirl. Enjoy what you have now while working toward whatever health goals you’ve set out for yourself.

13. Sleep.

Sleep deprivation builds up over time and can have major negative effects on your mental, physical and emotional health. Our bodies need sleep to rest and repair from the day’s activity, and it’s important to make sleep a priority. If you can’t get seven to eight hours a night, try taking a few catnaps throughout the day (just don’t let your boss catch you).

14. Treat yourself.

Life’s too short to not eat the cake or to not buy the jeans that make your ass look better than the cake. Every once and a while, reward yourself and your body for its utter brilliance.

15. Love it.

Write down a list of all the things you love about your body. Read it and add to it often. 

I’m not so naïve as to believe that there won’t be days in my future where the number on the scale will disappoint me. I also don’t think that from here on out, I will live in a blissful bubble not influenced by mass media, the latest diet trends or the lure of Botox, lip-fillers and wrinkle eliminators. But, I’m making peace with my own unique brand of beauty, and you should, too.

 

 

This post originally appeared on littlefoolbook.

Is This One Bad Habit Killing Your Confidence?

No matter what we look like, we hardly ever see our own beauty and perfection in the moment. Instead, we compare ourselves to carefully curated and usually photoshopped media images, caked up celebrities, professionally styled Instagram photos, and convince ourselves that we are somehow inferior. Or; we compare ourselves to our former selves, which is tragically, just as destructive. Today’s body-talk deals with the latter: Why comparing yourself to your former self is neither beneficial nor productive, and more importantly, how to stop yourself from doing it.

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The Heartbreaking Realism Of Comparing Yourself To Your Former Self

When it comes to body image, we often base how we see our current selves by recounting what we looked like in the past or envisioning what we want to look like in the future. We’re all for self-improvement but there’s a fine line between comparison as a tool for healthy motivation and comparison as an impeding form of self-torment. Comparing yourself to your former self can be beneficial if and when it fosters the cultivation of positive change and progression. However, we often use comparison solely as a means to highlight our current self-perceived flaws and call attention to the many reasons we don’t measure up to our former selves. (Which is severely destructive to our self-worth.)

It’s a vicious cycle. We look at pictures of our “younger”, “skinnier”, “better”, more “perfect” selves, then compare, judge, and criticize what we currently look like, often totally discounting how we actually felt during those times in our lives. (Which, if you’re anything like us, was probably very different than what you actually wanted in the moment).

Here’s the thing: Who you are right now is not a lesser version of who you once were.

Holding onto an image of your former self to guide how you feel about your current body is completely senseless. You’re not the same person as who you once were. You’re not who you were last year, or last week, or yesterday, or even five minutes ago. Therefore, comparing yourself to your former self is actually like comparing apples to oranges or comparing yourself to someone else, which we all know is absolutely disastrous.

Here’s the other thing: When you’re busy worrying about all the things you don’t like about yourself or wish to change, you’re missing out on everything that’s already beautiful about you. 

Starting today, try to catch when you’re falling down the rabbit hole of self judgement and comparison. Instead of being so hard on yourself, shift your focus to the present moment and begin to work on acknowledging, accepting and embracing who you are right now because who you are right now is exactly who you need to be.

If you need help getting started, join us and thousands of women from across the world for Love Bomb Bootcamp, 30 straight days of radical self-love alchemy (because you deserve it).

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON URBAN ALCHEMY.

10 Things I Learned From My Mama

1.  Time is precious.

There are some things in life that, for the most part, you just have to do (like learn to tie your shoes, go to school, earn yourself a living). But there’s also a whole bunch of other things that you don’t have to do if you don’t want to (like go on that date because you feel bad for him, be friends with the girls who make you feel bad, attend the book club meeting you always dread), because time is precious, and life is full of choices and if it doesn’t make you feel good, what’s the point in doing it?

2. Enjoy yourself exactly where you are, for exactly who you are.

“Appreciate what you’ve got now,” my mother always says.

“Because outer beauty fades and you’ll never be this young again and while you’re busy worrying about all the things you don’t like or wish to change, you’re missing out on everything that’s already so beautiful about you.”

We spend so much time worrying about what we don’t look like, that we fail to appreciate everything that we already are. And we set these goals for ourselves; we make these promises like, if I just lose 10 pounds, my clothes will fit better and I’ll be happy. And then we lose the 10 pounds and our clothes do fit better, but now it’s our hair that we hate and if I could just take Blake Lively’s hair and put it on my head, then I’ll be beautiful and subsequently happy. And while we don’t actually get Blake Lively’s hair on our heads, we get a hair cut and color that looks just like it, and we enjoy it for a minute before finding something else to fix.

It’s a dizzying merry-go-round that will make you sick if you don’t get off it. Stand still. Enjoy where you are. What you are. Who you are. For all that you are. 

3.  You can decide to be happy. Or decide not to be happy. The choice is yours.

And if you want my mother's advice, choose to be happy.

My mother’s 10 secrets to happiness: 

1. Decide to be a happy person.

2. Watch and read less news. Information is important but skip a lot of the details because you can understand the principle of the news without the worry of the media emphasis.

3. Practice the attitude of gratitude. Say “thank you!”

4. Take time.

5. Laugh every day: with others, at yourself. Share your funny stories.

6. Love well. Express your affections and appreciation to those around you.

7. Work hard. One of the great sources of happiness is to do work that is worthy to you and to do it well. Be competent and take joy in completing your assigned tasks.

8. Learn something new every day. Take in new information (but not the news), read, listen, challenge yourself and stretch your mind. 

9. Use your body as it was designed. Walk, run, stretch, throw things, lift things, dance, make love, make cookies, give back rubs! Choose to make your body either a source of joy or a source of aches and pains—your choice.

10. Avoid toxins—stay away from negative people, bad chemicals, stressful noises and unsafe places (for my children, that includes nightclubs and drinking places).

4. “Don’t smoke anything…ever. It ruins your lungs and you need those for life.”

Spoiler Alert:

I kind of rebelled against this notion, but at the end of the day my mom was right. Smoking isn’t good for your lungs and you most definitely do need those for life. 

I did, however, extract from her in one of our many debates about how “she doesn’t know what it’s like to be a teenager,” where I, no doubt, tried to sell her on the fact that, “I don’t smoke because I’m addicted, I do it to look cool* like at parties and stuff,” that despite her conviction on the statement of “don’t smoke anything…ever,” she has, in fact, dabbled in the dark arts of cigarettes.

And when I say dabbled, what I really mean is that she and a girlfriend illegally acquired a pack of cigarettes and spent an entire afternoon (on a rooftop, if my memory serves me right) smoking those cigarettes and coughing until they were all gone. 

So maybe my mom does know what it’s like to be a teenager (I sometimes forget that she ever was one).

“I have never smoked again.” She declared proudly. (Which was true, until that time at my brother’s wedding out in Montana, when she caught me sneaking menthols and—noticing the mostly empty glass of wine in her hand—I convinced her to try it, just this once, because “it tastes just like mint gum!”)

*This was in the early 2000s, before “not smoking” became cool, before “health” and “vegan” and “yoga” were cool. I don't smoke anymore.

5. Girls are like phones. We love to be held, talked to, but if you press the wrong button, you’ll be disconnected.

She once wrote this in a "just because" card she snuck into my purse. I can’t be sure if they’re even her words because they sound pretty Hallmark-y to me. Maybe she saw this written on another card she almost bought and was simply recycling the sentiment. Or maybe I’m an asshole, and these are her words, and it should be her writing this blog post and not me.

6. Don’t run with your cell phone against your skin in your sports bra.

Because apparently, according to my mother, whose had plenty of experience with water-damaged cellphones, sweat will activate the “red dot” inside your phone that renders it “water damaged” and exempt from warranty.

However, this fact may be outdated. Do they still put those red dots inside the latest iPhones? I doubt it. But if you happen to be texting on a Motorola Razr, then I’m talking to you. Or rather, my mother is.

7. Nothing good happens after midnight. 

Naturally, as a writer (who feels most verbose and productive in the wee hours of the night), I’ve debated this statement with my mother so many times, that I think in the end, we’re both a bit undecided.

“EVERYTHING good happens after midnight,” I’ll argue with her. And it might be after midnight and she might have a half full glass of chianti in her hand, and she might have all her kids sitting around the fireplace with her and so on this occasion, she might not be so apt to disagree.

But other times, I might be calling from some noisy establishment that over-serves alcohol, plays top 40 music all night long, and doesn’t check ID’s and she’ll be prodding me to “just come on home, now,” offering even, to come pick me up, and telling me, “you’ve had enough fun for one night,” (which she can likely hear in my voice—mother’s are gifted that way).

It truly is an age old debate in my family, but I’ll give it to my mother…the older I get, the more I’m starting to see her point, agree with her even, and when it’s my turn to raise children, I’ll likely be borrowing her words and hoping they listen better than I did.

8. There are some things about being a women that boys just really don’t need to know. 

Examples include:

  • The fact that we tend to get gassy during our periods, and also that menstrual diarrhea is a thing (I dare you to try to casually explain that to the opposite sex).
  • Sometimes—no matter our marital status, and/or despite our endless devotion to our S.O.—we still crush on that guy from the coffee shop we’ve never actually talked to, or imagine what it might be like to make out with Tom Hardy. And that’s OK!
  • Our real weight. Quite frankly, I don’t even see a reason why we need to know our weight. Let’s say “see ya later” to numbers and body fat percentages and let our mirrors do the talking! Face it, you’re beautiful!
  • How much we spent on that dress we didn’t really need. (Okay, we needed it.)
  • That sometimes, when we say we’re “running errands,” we’re actually just taking some much-needed “me-time” (which may or may not include a mani/pedi combo).
  • That those glasses we suddenly started wearing aren’t actually prescription (we have perfect vision), but we just like the way they make us feel smart when we wear them. 

9. There's nothing a woman can't do or accomplish on her own.

I don't ask for help very often. Quite frankly, I don't like asking for help because I know from watching my mother that there's nothing I can't handle. 

It's because of my mother that I know to lift with my legs when moving heavy furniture, what a hacksaw is, and that there's no such thing as "man jobs," because anything men can do, women can do too (and often better).

10. The most beautiful thing a woman can be is herself.

My mother is the most beautiful woman I know. She is unapologetically herself. She is perfect and flawed in that beautiful way we are all perfect and flawed. And she owns it. 

It is from watching her, admiring her, and observing her that I have learned that to be beautiful is to simply be yourself. 

Thank you, Mom.

(And Grandma too, because likely everything I've learned from my mother, she's learned from you.)

happy mother's day

Don't forget to wish your mom a Happy Mother's Day, Sunday, May 14th!

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON LITTLEFOOLBOOK.