Out With the Old, In With the New

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Written By: Danielle James @danielleeejames

Cleanses are hugely trendy. From the juice cleanse that’s supposed to clean out your internal organs to the hugely popular “social media cleanse” that appears in almost every self-care article, we are encouraged to periodically cleanse our lives of all toxins.

Removing toxic people and habits from your life can drastically improve your mental health and quality of life. But the pressed juices and the day off Twitter won’t really help you in the long run. If you want to make lasting change, you need to look deeper and make more lasting changes.

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These three simple acts of cleansing will help you create lasting, positive change in your life that will last long after that last bottle of juice.
 

  1. Deep clean your social media profiles. Beyond just taking a day off, go through everyone that you follow. If that person’s feed makes you feel any sort of resentment, anger, jealousy, etc. unfollow them! If you have old pictures with people who have hurt you or brought more negativity than positivity into your life, delete them! You get to curate what you show to the world, so let go of those sour memories.

  2. Start journaling or meditating daily. This is a daily way to reflect on what you’re feeling and experiencing and once it becomes a daily habit, you might be able to track unhealthy habits and take steps to correct them. This daily reflection allows you to leave what might have gone wrong in a day behind and go to sleep free from the weight of the day.

  3. For one week, drink nothing but water. We consume so much sugar through our drinks, be it coffee, energy drinks, or alcohol, and processed sugar is so, so bad for you. It’s addictive and often makes you overeat without noticing. By limiting your sugar intake and increasing how much water you drink, you’ll help your digestive system, your skin, and your brain (Ever had a sugar headache? Not fun!)

Changing a few habits in your daily life can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Finding a way to cleanse your mind, body, and spirit will give you the freedom to move on in life and reach your full potential.


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Hu-what? Hygge [hoo-ga]

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Written By: Chantel M. Rivera ~ @chanty_m

I didn’t know weather could have such a tremendous effect on people and their emotions. I have lived in various places in the U.S., and I have experienced everything from the sweltering heat of a Mississippi summer to the frigid bite of a Northeastern Winter. Here in NY, Spring took her time greeting us this year. Though it is May, April showers are still in full swing. I, however, am loving it!

You may think what is there to love about perpetually gray skies and the gross rainy streets of NYC? Well, this past winter I discovered the Danish way of living called Hygge {hoo-ga}, and I love it! Though it is usually reserved for winter months, like the Danes, I am going to Hygge all year round.

What is Hygge?

Hygge is a term used to describe something extraordinarily cozy, charming, or special. It is recognizing life’s simple pleasures and enjoying them in the moment.

However, the Danish have turned this into more than a feeling. It is a lifestyle. The Danes are consistently ranked at the top of the World’s Happiness Report each year, and they claim their Hygge lifestyle is to blame.

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How to achieve Hygge

If you thought Hygge was just going with the flow- well no, but also yes. Creating Hygge in your home is intentional. There are some elements one needs, to create a Hygge atmosphere. These items vary, but the top three I have seen every Hygge “expert” mention are:

-Soft lighting {preferably candles!}

-No technology

-Something cozy {fuzzy socks, blanket, hot drink etc.}

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Little Book of Hygge

If you want to learn more about Hygge and bring the Danish way of living into your home, I highly recommend Meik Wiking’s ‘Little Book of Hygge’. Wiking writes the guide to living as the Danes do and breaks down what Hygge, and its elements, are all about. He also includes recipes of some of his favorite Hygge dishes, as well as some interesting Hygge vocabulary.
 

WE ALSO LOVE THIS BOOK:

If you don’t have time to pick up the book just type Hygge into Pinterest and have a blast. Don’t let gray skies get you down. Do as the Danes and Hygge-fy your life!

You’re Welcome

 

-Chantel M. Rivera


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Figure it Out -Mom

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Written by: Chantel M. Rivera ~ @chanty_m

I’ve been taking some serious inventory of my life lately. When I think of everything I have been blessed with and the achievements I have accomplished thus far I am truly thankful. Then there is the other side of the coin. I start to think about everything I want to accomplish, and my never-ending to-do list called “everyday life”, and all my gratefulness seems to be drowned out by another voice. The voices of doubt and comparison that likes to creep in and tell me there isn’t enough time to accomplish all the dreams I have spilling over in my mind. When they speak I have to quickly hush them up before fear invites itself in and makes my heart its resting place. This Mother’s Day I was sharing some of these thoughts with my mom and she gave me advice that put both heart and mind at peace, so I wanted to share with my SMV family.

Do What Is Right For You

This does not mean to act selfishly or in disregard for those around us. She told me to stop listening or bending to the pressures around me. The ones that tell me what I should be doing, or what I should have accomplished, by a certain age. Those pressures do one of two things. One, they can cripple us and keep us from accomplishing anything.

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It’s like sensory overload. Trying to be everything and please everyone else will never last long. You’ll eventually burn out and be left to sweep up what is left, yourself.

Second, we end up losing ourselves and are suddenly defined by the titles we took on or the roles we play for others. What happens when a role suddenly ends… (mid-life crisis loading in 3…2…1). There is something rooted deep within each of us that will direct us to which path is right, and that may look different then the path everyone around you is taking.

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Everything Cannot Come At Once

We’ve all got goals, dreams, plans, whatever you want to call them. If you’re like me you may be a little impatient. Even knowing that the best things take time I still find myself trying to be superwoman, tackling a bit of each project every day. When I told my mom this she laughed and then started talking about Thanksgiving (but it’s May). She told me that everything cannot be cooked at one time. There is one oven and four burners, and you shouldn’t have all the burners on high at once.  You must slow down and work on one dish at a time. “Focus on one dish, and once it’s been properly seasoned and ready to cook, then you can start on something else. Eventually, you’ll be able to put some dishes on warm and they’ll take care of themselves while you begin something new. In the end, you’ll have an amazing feast, but cook everything at once and something is going to burn”.

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Figure It Out

Leave it to my mom to give me sweet words of wisdom, but a swift kick in the rear too. At some point in life, you realize that your parents aren’t superheroes. They are human and are figuring life out one day at a time, just like we are. Newsflash, they’ve never been at the stage of life they’re in now, just like we have never been where we are now. So, if life seems crazy confusing to you from time to time, I think we’ve all just joined adulthood. Mom kindly reminded me that everyone is still figuring it out from day to day. “No one has all the answers, and if they say they do, they’re lying”.

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I hope you all had an amazing Mother’s Day whether you got to see your mom, are a new mom, wanting to be a mom, or are remembering your mother. Be Blessed.

-Chantel M. Rivera


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Without Passion Life Is Nothing

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Written By: Rosie Riott ~  @rosie_riott

My boyfriend, you see, is a photographer, a filmmaker of sorts, and a very particular one at that. So while bicycle touring, it isn’t a rarity for us to make pit stops in just about every camera shop he sees fit. Today, while testing out gimbal after gimbal, camera lens after camera lens, tensions were at an all time high. Yeeeeah, that happens when you spend every second of everyday with a person for NINE MONTHS!

So, we’re sitting in this camera shop, right? All of a sudden he turns to me, while stammering in frustration, and says, “Stop staring at me! God!”

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I tell you what.. That remark alone immediately stopped me in my tracks. Perplexed, I thought to myself, “Wow! That was really unexpected! I didn’t even realize I was doing that..” In my eyes, I was simply admiring his focus, and well.. What’s that thing called? Passion? Oh yeah, that!

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Since I was a little girl, I’ve always loved to watch people, their mannerisms, their body language, their ability to communicate feelings without speaking, but passion? That I absolutely adore! There are very few things I can honestly say I’ve ever been more fascinated by. To watch that light in their eyes beam with vision, to see every little click from every little mechanism in that big ol’ brain of theirs connect every little piece as if it were a puzzle being completed. It’s like watching a maestro conduct an orchestra. It’s beautiful!

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When it comes down to it, I’m not very vocal, just precisely observant. I'm introverted. I’m a writer and I express myself differently, but I do find it very important to consistently surround myself with creative visionaries. It keeps me on my toes and inspires me to keep creating, to keep writing, to keep pushing! Thankfully, my partner in crime happens to be one of these people. Every time he picks up a camera, hell, every time he’s in production mode, it intrigues me even more and gets my personal creative juices flowing.

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What I’m saying is, if you find yourself bored and uninspired, maybe you ought to take a look at your surroundings. If the people around you lack passion and enthusiasm, how are you to even know that you want more out of life? How will you ever be able to think outside of the box when you and everyone else around you are too busy living inside of it?

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If I were you, I’d find my tribe, and I’d keep them close. Never let the fear of failure stop you from trying something new or different because on the days you really want to say “fuck it” and quit, your new tribe will show up and probably tell you you’re being stupid and to keep fucking going because DUH, it’s all in yo’ head!

Anywho! Stay inspired and always stay passionate! Then share it with the world because you never know who it might help!
 


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Money and Mental Health: Where Do We Go Wrong?

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Written By: Danielle James ~ @danielleeejames

On June 5, 2018, famed designer and entrepreneur Kate Spade was found dead in her home of an apparent suicide. Celebrities and fans alike took to social media to remember and mourn the whimsical, colorful designer and celebrate her legacy. It also sparked conversation about mental health, and how someone of such stature could feel like the only way out was to take her own life.

Similar conversations sparked after actor Robin Williams and singer Chester Bennington also took their own lives, but those sparks soon fizzled out. What is the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to these conversations about mental health, wealth and fame?

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The missing piece is that money and fame aren’t cures for the chemical imbalances that cause depression and suicidal ideation. No number in your bank account can cure a diseased brain. You can walk red carpets and take private jets to Mallorca and Cannes but there isn’t an expensive bottle of champagne out there that will cure the sorrows of mental illness.

It’s hard watching celebrities that we’ve looked up to for so long succumb to the perils of mental illness. They seemed to have everything, so what went so horribly wrong?
 

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If you feel the helpless weight of your mental illness weighing on your mind, body, and soul, you are not alone. There is help out there. There are others who feel your pain, who see your struggle and want to help. You are not alone. You can keep searching for happiness in the next big trend or the money in your bank account or the hottest new man on the market, but you won’t find it in anything material.

Healing comes from within. If you feel like a prisoner in your own brain, call someone. Reach out. Cry out. You are heard. You are valued. You are wanted.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255


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Bad Ass Accounts to Brighten your Instagram Feed

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Below you will find five accounts, (in addition to @sundaymorningview, obviously ☺) that I highly recommend for you to follow to get a good laugh, some internal reflection, education, and hopefully, inspiration:

1. @drcarlen

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Sexologist, Love Leader and Psychotherapist, Dr. Carlen Costa, is both the Sex Ed teacher and big sister you wish you had!

The thing I enjoy most from Dr. Carlen is that she has created a space where it is okay for women to talk about sex and their bodies. This is a safe place to learn about new things or rethink things you thought you had figured out.

No topic is off limits in her posts or Facebook Lives – butt stuff, toys, hair removal, pregnancy, why we shouldn’t be sleeping with our exes, how to stay fresh during the summer, and most importantly- realizing how powerful we are.

You can also find her on Facebook as Carlen Costa or at her new group, The Every Day Goddess.

2. @justmereka

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Reka is a local Radio DJ in my area and she is strong, funny and so full of energy. But more than that, she inspires me. I would listen to her morning show here and there, but really started following her this winter when I was drawn to her commitment to personal growth and honesty.  

She is currently working on a documentary called My Journey to 40 about being single, with no kids. She is unafraid to travel alone, and her posts are empowering reads to get you thinking about yourself and motivated to make changes to better yourself.

3. @shophereforher

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The mission behind Here for Her is “to reduce the awkwardness around women’s health”. This Canadian-based enterprise posts a variety of valuable information about women’s bodies and social policies, with some funny and inspirational posts as well. There’s a lot to know about your body and this page is a great way to educate yourself, connect to different resources and to remind you, you’re not alone.

4. @thedryginger

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The first time I found this account, I screenshot at least four memes within 10 minutes and sent them to my friends. I’m obsessed and not because I’m a fellow ginger.

If you need a laugh, just give yourself five minutes and scroll through the page.

5. @rupikaur_

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I don’t remember when I fell in love with Rupi Kaur’s art, but I have been obsessed ever since that fateful day. So far, she has published two books, milk and honey and the sun and her flowers that are filled with her poetry and drawings.

She is a woman who shared her art and voice with the world, something many are too scared to do. It is beautiful to see where that journey has taken her.

She appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon this week. Check it out here.

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The Pleasures of Solitude

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Written By: RO

Alone time is underrated. Being alone doesn't mean you are not a desirable person to be with. Being alone means you can handle being your own company.  Yes you can go to dinner with whomever you want, no questions asked! You can also enjoy dividing your time however it pleases YOU! Let's examine alone time however through a different lens shall we?

Alone time is great for many reasons. You can be selfish with your thoughts.  You can do all your self care on your own watch. Exfoliate your whole body, tweeze the brows or pick at your ingrowns if you damn well please! Or meditate and practice deep breathing. Take those long baths with the candles and the bubbles and enjoy a drank! Self care brings you to a happy place. So why not be there ALL THE TIME!

Once you have a significant other in the picture,  whether its a romantic relationship or a furry one ( I'm talking about fur babies) alone time won't come around as often or last just as long as it did before.  The compensation for it though is totally worth it.

In the meantime,  take that yoga class, go to dinner by yourself, disconnect from your environment and be in tune with yourself. There's nothing wrong with that!! The new buzz is more and more people are getting hitched or having serious relationships at a later time in their life because you will never get that time again where you can be selfish with yourself. So my advice? Say yes to that $300 handbag. Say yes to the monthly facials. Say yes to eating out of ice cream tubs and watching reruns of Law & Order SVU. Say yes to whatever your little heart desires. Say yes to a relationship, with yourself.

Xoxo


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Three Easy Ways to be a Better Human Being

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Written By: Alyssa Rogers ~ @honestlyhungry

Who among us couldn’t become an even better version of ourselves? Most of us have some kind of personal growth goals, whether they be spiritual, physical, mental, or emotional. But all progress starts with current habits (or lack thereof).

Start by being more mindful with your words. As the old adage goes - if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Will the words you’re about speak build someone up or tear them down needlessly? Did a barista mess up your order? Bite your tongue, forgive them, and politely ask for the correct beverage. Basically, don’t be an asshole, mkay?

Do something nice. To this day, Princess Diana remains the epitome of beauty and class. She exuded compassion and kindness. She was notably quoted as saying, “carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of a reward, safe in the knowledge that someone might do the same for you.”

Most of us, err *all*, aren’t princesses. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be kind and giving on the daily just like a princess. Remember a time when you were feeling down and someone made you feel better. Maybe you had a bad day or just woke up on the wrong side of the bed. When another person offers a genuine compliment, buys your coffee, or takes on the bulk of a project at work or school because they know you’re feeling down, it feels good. Remember the feeling of receiving a kind gesture and the warmth that comes with it. Give that feeling to other people freely without expecting anything in return. Give it to people who are sad and happy and everywhere in between.

Forgive. This is by far the hardest “easy” thing to do when it comes to being a better human. If you aren’t used to letting things to easily, it can be hard at first. But the more you practice forgiveness, the easier it will become. People hold grudges for so long - sometimes for months, years, decades, and even their entire lifetime. Releasing the toxic energy that accompanies grudges and refusal of forgiveness frees you to be happier. When you are happier, you are surely bound to be a better human being.


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Make Some Lemonade

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Written By: RO

Ever had a vacay in the mountains? Me neither. I found myself deep in thought when I was surrounded by old ass trees. I couldn't find that part of myself that makes the best of every situation.  That's when it hit me, I gotta make some lemonade with these lemons mother nature has seriously just thrown right in my face.

I took a lot of deep breaths and thought about how much this vacay sucked ass. Then I took  a lesson from my toddler, and started making some lemonade.

She laughed and ran around and I constantly sanitized her hands and wiped her face from all the sweat dripping from her face. Not once did she stop smiling. That's when it hit me, make some freaking lemonade already damn it.

I was moaning and groaning while my stay at this national forest and I was meant to wake up and realize, it's all about making memories.

So, long story short, y’all gotta stop taking your life for granted and take deep breaths, life ain't that bad. Here's the thing, all it is, is that it's not what you are you used to. See, mother nature not only intentionally works in mysterious ways, but she shows up when you least want her to. Am I right? Like during a vacation? This time however she showed up to slap me in the f*ckin face and told me how precious my life is. It's not all about having room service. We are given a gift to celebrate life each day as if it were our last.

I asked myself, did I celebrate my life today? Or did I moan and groan about what I didn't have? Am I being grateful for the people in my life that I'm on this not so great vacay with? I invite you, right now, to ask yourself these questions. Reflect.

Xoxo


Let That Shit go

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Written By: Alyssa Rogers ~ @honestlyhungry

Just about the only thing we can expect in life is the unexpected (duh). But knowing this doesn’t always mask the shock of unexpected circumstances or changes in plans. For people of who are big planners or who are Type As *raises own hand high into the air*, going with the flow isn’t easy, is sometimes out of the question, and is far from second nature. We have to make letting things go a habit. Ironically, we need to actively practice letting things go in order to let things go.

There is an image that really resonates with me. It is an obnoxiously inaccurate quote, but every time I see it, I take a deep breath and remember my place in the universe. It is of Buddha and says “Let that shit go.”

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In the grand scheme of things, minor annoyances and inconveniences are just small potholes on the road of life (that might just be the silliest metaphor I’ve ever written). But it’s true. The more we let shit go - all shit, any shit, the big shit, the small shit, the happier we will be. It’s that simple and it’s that complex. It’s simple because it’s easy to tell yourself and anyone else to chill out, but the praxis harder by far.

In my experience, letting shit go starts with recognizing what shit you need to let go. This requires mindfulness, being self aware, and noticing when you are irritated by thing(s). For example, I am fast walker. People who walk slow on sidewalks and down aisles in grocery stores, for some reason, irritate me to no end. But I know this about myself, and when I encounter these situations, I have coping skills. I breathe deeply. I remind myself that I am actually fortunate and privileged to be able to walk quickly whenever I want. This lets me appreciate my able body. I also ask myself “am I actually in a hurry? do I need to be somewhere asap?” The answer is almost always a resounding “no.” So I let that shit go.


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Me, Myself and My Body

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Written By: Emma Grosskopf @big_emma_g

I go on vacation in less than a week.

This is a family vacation, and I have never been more ready to hit the beach. Seriously. I haven’t seen my family in what seems like eons, and this is going to be a good opportunity for me to catch up with them while catching rays at the same time.

I AM PUMPED, let me tell you!

I have a big family, with LOTS of cousins, and that means lots of people to spend time with on the beach. Lots of people to play beach volleyball with. Lots of people to drink beer in the sun with.

Lots of people to compare myself to.

I know, I know, it’s like Rule Number 1 in the Body Positive Handbook (is there one of those?! If so, how the heck do I get my hands on it?!): don’t compare yourself to others.

But that, like many of the other ideas that we, as bad, body positive bitches spout, is easier said than done.

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I have never been labeled as “skinny” by anyone in my family I have three brothers, all very long and lanky, and most of the cousins (both male and female) around my age are also thin. On the beach, I am surrounded by endless legs everywhere I look, taut stomachs, and bikinis for days.

I’m not going to lie: sometimes, I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb with my soft belly, SUPER jiggly thighs, and wide hips. The only thing that connects me with my white, Irish family is the glow of sunburn visible across the lot of us.

Women today find themselves comparing their bodies to the bodies of women on TV, women in magazines, and women on social media. It’s easy for us to put defenses up when we keep comparing ourselves to people we don’t know (celebrities, models, etc.) that are digitally altered in print or online, but what happens when we are confronted with people that we know?

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How many of us find ourselves comparing our bodies to the bodies of our friends? Our sisters? Our cousins? It may not be something that we think about until it’s time for us to be in a swimsuit with them on a beach, with our bodies on display.

It’s unrealistic to say, “don’t compare your body to anyone else’s!” Because DUH, we all know that that’s what we should avoid. It’s just important to remember that everyone is insecure about something, and dwelling on these insecurities (especially on vacation!) is a recipe for disaster.

So for the rest of this summer, whether we are in a swimsuit or not, let’s try to avoid negative comparisons, and just appreciate differences. No, it won’t be easy, but we have to start somewhere.

And me? I’ll be starting on a beach, with a beer in my hand.

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