Girl Talk

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.)


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!




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.




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!


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.


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.


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.

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.

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!