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.)

beachdays.PNG

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?”

self love books

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

self love books

 

Books For Feminists & Critical Thinkers

self love books 2

 

Books For Femme-Preneurs & Girl Bosses:

self love books 3

 

Books For a Light-Hearted LOL

self love books 4

 

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

self love books 5

 

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

self love books 6

 

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.

mantra.PNG

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). 

love your body

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.

What Proactive Self-Care Actually Looks Like

Proactive self-care: The ongoing practice of taking care of yourself, your WHOLE self, mind, body and soul, every day. It’s the decision (self-responsibility) that we make to nourish, recharge, and care for ourselves often in lieu of pushing through, striving for, and “doing more”. It’s giving ourselves permission to pause and replenish regularly (not just when we need to), without judgement, critique or criticism. Proactive self-care can be as simple as eating lunch away from your desk, going to bed by 10pm, asking for help with the dishes, or as lavish as a phone-free meditation retreat in New Zealand. For me personally (this is different for everyone), proactive self-care is being radically honest with myself about what is and isn’t working, establishing clear and healthy boundaries, and mindfully adhering to my daily “non-negotiables”. In other words, it’s actually doing the things that help me feel my best like nourishing my body with nutrient dense foods, practicing yoga to keep me sane, and spending time away from work (regardless of my ever expanding “to-do” list), daily.

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What proactive self-care currently* looks like:

*Because this is apt to change. 

For my mind... 

Proactive self-care looks like waking up before the rest of the world to spend time with myself, alone. It’s reading good books, indulging in creative pursuits and not checking email every single day. It’s focusing on one thing at a time, getting outside in nature (regardless of the forecast), and surrounding myself with inspiring people that make me a better human being.

For my body…

Proactive self-care means doing yoga or some other type of physical activity, daily. It means tuning in, actively paying attention and listening to my body for exactly what it needs. It’s sleep, at least 8 hours, it’s real food, lots of greens, currently it’s no sugar (with the exception of figs and dairy-free ice cream), and it’s lathering my skin (and hair) in coconut oil even when I’m feeling “lazy”.

For my soul...

Proactive self-care is saying thank you, often (including the moment I wake up). It’s the beach, it’s meditation, it’s regular chats with this beauty, it’s mandatory tech-free time, and sometimes (depending on the season), it’s a totally mindless t.v. show. It’s also endlessly searching for the miraculous within the mundane, compassion, flexibility and although it’s never perfect, it’s giving myself the freedom and space to not work when I think I “should be”.

This kind of proactive self-care, ie. the act of putting small, simple, daily preventative measures and feel-good activities in place to care for our whole selves, prevent and avoid burnout is very different than reactive self-care, which is, in response to burnout. (Because if you don’t slow down by choice, life will make you slow down by force, ie. illness, injury and other life altering interruptions.)

What does self-care currently look like for you? Is it proactive or reactive? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Share your practices, your rituals, your struggles, and how you feel when you actually tend to you.

 

 

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON Urban Alchemy.

A 7-Step (And Then Some) Guide to Self Love

Every new year always feels like the right time for new beginnings, fresh starts, re-commitments, and renewing memberships. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I see it at my yoga studio — packed for January, then slowly dwindling back to it’s normal attendance. I see it on Instagram — picture posts of a colorfully staged juice cleanse, or the Clarendon filter over that neon sign from the trendy new barre studio that’s just opened up. And I get it. I do. I’ve re-upped my memberships, committed to brand new extracurriculars (book club, anyone?) and vowed to devote myself to more, more, more.

But what about the things I haven’t quite finished from last years “goal-setting” sesh? What about the book I still have yet to finish? What about last year’s journey — the destination of which I still have (definitely) not arrived at yet?

Here’s what I’ve recently learned: Some journeys take longer than others; some journeys are infinite, and some journeys don’t have endings — there simply is no finish line. So even though a year has passed, and even though you thought you would be “there” by now, it’s 100% okay to still be finding your way.

I was supposed to have finished writing my book by now. (98,000 words later, I’m still working on it.)

I was supposed to be five pounds lighter. (I might be, though today I just don’t feel it.)

And no longer craving wine on weekdays. (I don’t know what version of me envisioned that.)

And have my pizza addiction in check. (It’s been 2 days, 4 hours and 37 seconds since my last slice.)

I was supposed to be head over heels in love with myself by now. (Everything always comes back to love.)

Self-love is the foundation for it all. When I’m doing a good job of it — taking care of myself, being gentle with myself, loving myself — My writing is in flow, I don’t care what the number on the scale says, and pizza loses its efficacy over me.

It sounds so easy. Self-Love. But if the last three years have taught me anything, it’s that self-love is one of those goals where there simply is no finish line. Self-love is an infinite journey.

1. Self-Care is Always (Always) The First Step.

There simply is no self-love without self-care.

We’re so conditioned to give love to those around us that we often forget to take care of ourselves.

Avoid the inevitable burnout by taking care of number one — 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 answers allows you to plan for love.

2. Set (or adjust) your priorities.

Refer to Step 1. How do you want to feel every single day? What do you need to do to feel that way?

Adjust your priorities accordingly.

3. Change your mentality.

Whenever I’m feeling down and out, my boyfriend forces me to tell him “whats up.”

“I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“I’m broke.”

“My eyelashes aren’t long enough.”

Are some of my common complaints. To which he usually responds with:

“You’re writing a book. You’ve never written a book before. Of course, you don’t know what you’re doing, but you’re doing a damn good job of figuring it out as you go.”

And:

“You’re not broke. You are your own boss, running your own business and you have a roof over your head (Thanks, Hayl!) and food in the fridge, and pretty stylish clothes to wear for someone who claims to be broke.”

And:

“Your eyelashes are exactly long enough for exactly your eyes, but if you really want them to be longer, lucky for you, you have a BFF who can make all your dreams come true.”

The point is when you put your complaint down, flip it and reverse it (Yes, that was fully a GIRLS via Missy Elliot reference), you can actively change your mentality from negative to positive.

You don’t even need an S.O. to do it for you. (Though it can help hearing it from someone else’s perspective — go ahead, lay it on your bestie.)

4. Remember that comparison is the thief of all joy

And joy is like, a super crucial ingredient in the self-love recipe book.

Quit comparing yourself to strangers on the internet.

Quit comparing your accomplishments to your BFF’s.

Quit comparing your downward dog to the chick on the yoga mat next to yours.

Quit comparing your journey to anyone else’s in the entire world. Your journey is just that — yours. It’s time to take joy in it.

5. Be gentle with yourself

Always, always, always be gentle with yourself. You’re going to mess up. You’re going to catch your inner mean girl talking shit about you. You’re totally going to cave and order the pizza on a non “cheat” day. You’re going to forget to put yourself first.

It’s all okay. Allow me to remind you: this whole self-love thing, it’s an infinite journey and detours are 100% bound to happen. Be gentle with yourself when they do.

6. Know your worth.

I struggle with this one more than I care to admit.

I attach my worth to inanimate objects. I attach my worth to my creative output. I attach my worth to my resume and professional accomplishments. I attach my worth to the size of my jeans and the number of “likes” I get on an Instagram photo. I attach my worth to things that have nothing to do with my worth.

Like I said, I’m working on it.

But here’s the truth: My self-worth cannot be negotiated. My self-worth is not dependent on any variables or factors. My self-worth comes solely from within me.

Knowing your worth can save your life.

7. Invest in yourself.

Because, back to that thing I was saying about some journey’s being infinite. Self-love is one of those journeys.

If...

You're ready to be the main source of love in your life.

You're sick and tired of questioning your own self-worth.

You want to be the happiest person you know.

You're exhausted from constantly putting other people (and their priorities) ahead of your own.

You're seeking self-love and self-acceptance.

You're ready to say "no" to guilt.

You're craving comfort in your own skin.

Then, you might want to click the button below. Like, immediately. 

 

 

This post originally appeared on littlefoolbook.

Love Notes, From Our Hearts To Yours, Welcome To Our Blog!

Hey, gorgeous!

Your regular Tuesday/Thursday reading list just got so much better. Introducing Love Notes, From Our Hearts To Yours. Our brand new, twice-a-week, self-love centered blog series.

Join us each week for honest advice, heartfelt insights, and real words from real women, just like you.

Expect sexy and spirited self-love soul stuff, body-talk, exclusive interviews, radical self-care, and a handful of other random writes including a dissertation on how to find good jeans (oh yes)… you know ALL the things growing up girl. We’ll try our best to make you laugh along the way, but be warned babe, the journey to loving yourself is not always smooth.

Got something you want us to talk about? Please weigh in in the comments! After all, this space is for you

Same time Thursday?

Perfect.

Good things coming really (really) soon.