Competitive Creatures

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Written By: Emma Grosskopf

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Once upon a time, there was a professor at Georgetown named Deborah Tannen.

Now, I, unlike my girl Deborah, am not a professor. So I’m not going to lecture you.

But she came up with the idea that men communicate Competitively, while women seek Equality. Meaning, men will try to be the top dog in their group, while women strive to be equals.

Well, this idea was developed in the 80s.

Times have changed.

Anyone that has ever talked to a man or even witnessed a man talking will know that what Tannen suggested is true. Men, generally, are competitive creatures. All that testosterone and aggression.

But it’s 2017 now. Men aren’t the only competitive creatures out there. Women have now joined the game.

Who has the most followers? The most likes? Who looks best without makeup? Who has better eyebrows? Who’s in better shape?

Fueled by the swift rise of social media, women are comparing themselves more and more to other women, especially online, creating an atmosphere of constant competition. In many women, there’s a little voice in the back of our heads, telling us that either A) we are SO much better/prettier/smarter/more successful than HER, or B) there is no way in HELL we will ever be as pretty/smart/successful as HER.

It’s a lose-lose situation for everyone, because everyone is insecure about something.

We, as modern women, should be focused on ourselves. Our careers. Our grades. Our love lives. Our bodies. We shouldn’t waste our time comparing ourselves to other women because we all have the same goal: to be HAPPY.

In order to achieve that goal, we should be building each other up. Cheering each other on. Owning our bodies and our jobs and our lives while still rooting for other women.

I mean, seriously. It’s hard enough to be a woman nowadays without having the added pressure of having to be THE BEST all the time. Let’s not worry about being the Top Dog. Let’s be Bad Bitches together instead.


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Food Documentaries, Conscious Eating, and Yogic Lessons, Oh My!

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Written By: Erin Bach

Food Documentaries, Conscious Eating, and Yogic Lessons, Oh My!

Name a food-related health documentary on Netflix, and chances are I’ve watched it. Likely, more than once. Educating myself about food and health has been an important part of my body acceptance journey, so when I saw a new doc called What the Health in the “Recommended For You” lineup, you know I was on it.

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Just to be clear, this is not a review of the movie. I’m not going to delve into the strengths and weaknesses of the film or even into the whole corporate industrial health complex or the benefits of a plant-based diet, both of which are explored in the film. What I am going to talk about is the effect these types of health documentaries can have on people who are still struggling with figuring out how best to care for their body and a lesson I was reminded of while watching.

So here’s the truth: watching food/health documentaries can be crazy inspiring and informative, but they can also make you feel like shit. Because of where I was at in my personal life when I viewed the movie, when I got to the end, I basically felt like “Well, now I know everything in my cupboard is poison, but I want to eat all the things.”

Luckily, I only zombie-walked through this hyper-health guilt haze for a little while before I remembered what one of my teachers taught me while I was doing Yoga Teacher Training years ago. Since vegetarianism is often a hot topic in the yoga world, a student asked the teacher what she thought of it. I will never forget her response.

She explained that tacking a label on yourself based on what you think you should eat is doing yourself a disservice because it takes you away from your body. She told us that if she had to choose a label, she’d call herself a “Conscious Eater,” meaning she is aware of what she eats and how it feels in her body.

For example, she had learned through years of observing how different foods affected her body that eating mostly vegetarian meals makes her feel healthy and vibrant. BUT, she also learned that when she is on her cycle (hello, hormones!), eating beef helps her feel less tired and lethargic (which she was feeling with when she had restricted her meat intake). If she had only listened to other people’s opinions, she may have denied her body what it needed (whether that be veggies-only, red meat, whatever) just because a person not in her body told her to. The same goes for sugar, caffeine, dairy, gluten, etc. We are ultimate experts when it comes to our bodies.

This lesson feels empowering to me, and hopefully for you as well. You are the only person in your body, therefore you are the only person qualified to make decisions about what you feed yourself. If eating a plant-based diet makes you feel like a sexy green goddess, then do that. If eating meat makes you feel healthy and energetic, do that. If you’re still figuring it out, keep going. If you’re confused and never really thought about how you FEEL after you eat, I highly suggest paying attention.

The bottom line is this: Food is in our lives. Many of us struggle with it. Sometimes you might feel like everything around you is poison, but you want to eat all the things. All of this is okay.

You are human. You are beautiful. You have a body. Pay attention and take care of her (whatever that means for YOU).

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Life Tips for Busy Ladies

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Written By: Gina Verrastro

Today’s women are Busy. That’s an intentional capital B. I don’t know a single woman who comes home after work and just relaxes, and I bet you don’t either. We’ve got side hustles, we’re taking night classes or getting certified, we’re learning languages or meal prepping or driving kids to after-school activities. What we need are ways to maximize efficiency without sacrificing self-care! Here are just a few:

Drink More Water

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It’s the number one recommendation of doctors and beauty bloggers everywhere, but how do we work more water into our over-saturated lives? Studies have shown that drinking beverages with a straw encourages consumption, both in terms of speed and volume. Instead of carrying around a water bottle, carry one of those plastic tumblers that comes with its own straw. Really any glass with a straw will do! If you’re still struggling, try adding cucumber slices, mint, or chunks of fruit like pineapple and strawberries for a hint of healthy flavor.

Demolish Stains With Lestoil

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You east coast ladies may already be acquainted with the magic of Lestoil, but for those of you who have never heard of this miraculous liquid, Lestoil is a heavy-duty cleaner that eats oil and grease stains for breakfast. It smells like more like something you would use to clean your garage floor than your clothes, but don’t let that put you off. I’ve yet to meet a stain that Lestoil couldn’t handle in a maximum of three washes. Don’t’ sacrifice another white dress to wine stains when you can order yourself some Lestoil online! Just apply directly to the stain, scrub (rub the fabric together or use a toothbrush), let sit for five minutes, and then let the washing machine do the rest.

Practice Self-Care Sunday

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Okay, it doesn’t have to be Sunday, and it doesn’t even have to be a whole day, but once a month, carve out a few hours for yourself to just be gentle with yourself. Silence the voice in your head that says you must be productive every minute of every day. Down time is not wasted time. You can’t function at your full potential when you’re exhausted and burned out. Binge-watch something on Netflix, do a facemask, play a video game, snuggle with your pets, and when your inner monologue starts scolding you and listing all of the things you could be doing with your time, tell it to go fly a kite. Think of it as an investment in your most important asset: YOU.


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Because You Have To? Or Because You Want To?

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Written By: Kimberly Davis

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Picture this: a little girl is surrounded by different kinds of makeup. Not really knowing what any of it is for she paints her face to the best of her ability, and the finished look, while a little messy, makes her heart happy and she is filled with giggles.

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Fast forward a couple of years and that same little girl is now in middle school. She now knows the difference between an eyeshadow and a blush, but instead of feeling happy when she applies her makeup she feels like she has to spend forty-five minutes in the morning covering up every flaw.

On the opposite side, there’s a different girl. One who rarely wears makeup, but she’s constantly told she needs to put more effort into her look.

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But the problem lies here: who’s wearing makeup because they feel they have to, and who’s wearing makeup because it’s a form of creative expression.

Makeup has only gotten more and more complicated and daunting over the years, but it has also gotten a lot more expensive; not to mention the constant whitewashing shown in makeup ads. According to Buzzfeed, on average a woman in the US is expected to spend at least $300,000 on makeup alone. This is an industry that is literally making money off of insecurities. And while not all females wear makeup to cover flaws, many do.

The line between the use of cosmetics and self-love is a blurry one, mainly because it’s one that you have to set for yourself personally. Whether you chose to be barefaced or full glam, make sure you’re doing it for you. And always remember, with or without makeup, you are worthy of love and respect.

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The Bombshell, the Amazon, and the Waif.

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Written By: Emma Grosskopf

Three women walk into a bar.

One has a tiny waist, round hips and boobs that could poke your eye out. She oozes femininity, and her soft voice and hourglass shape snare the attention of every man in the room. And her coy smile and breathy laugh show that she knows it. She is the Bombshell.

The second has a tall, slender frame, and is toned and tan. Her muscular legs stretch on for miles and miles. Her body shows its sexiness in its strength and athleticism. Unlike the Bombshell, she is bold and strong rather than coy and soft. She is the Amazon.

The third woman is thin. Very thin, almost boyish in shape. She is all knees and elbows, with a sharp jaw and pencil thin brows. Her breasts lay flat against her narrow chest, and her shoulders jut prominently underneath her clothes. She appears as if even the smallest puff of wind would send her flying. She is the Waif.

The Bombshell, the Amazon, and the Waif.

What do they all have in common?

(Other than the fact that they all walked into the same bar.)

At one point, they were the epitome of society’s idea of beauty.

The Bombshell? Think Marilyn Monroe in the 50s.

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The Amazon? Any 80s supermodel (Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Brooke Shields and the list goes on)

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And the Waif? A smoldering Kate Moss from the 90s.

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Society’s view of what constitutes female beauty has changed drastically over the last six decades. Thankfully, the decade we live in now accepts as beautiful a much more diverse pool of women, not just bombshells, amazons, and waifs.

Now, society’s eye is on curvy beauties such as Ashley Graham and Iskra Lawrence.

Women of color such as Kerry Washington and Beyoncé.

Not just athletically-shaped models, but actual athletes such as Serena and Venus Williams and Ronda Rousey.

And finally, women who have qualities that, in the past, have been deemed unattractive, such as body hair, vitiligo, acne or stretch marks.

2017 is a year of acceptance of ALL women.

Not just the Bombshells.

Not just the Amazons.

Not just the Waifs.


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Friends - aren't they the best?

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Written By: Gabi Torres

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Imagine your life without that person who loves you just for being you. It doesn't matter if you had a rough day, or if you did something a bit shady - because yes, we all do shady stuff here and there.

Can you imagine your life without a person who will always be by your side, no matter if you are right or wrong? That friend who will be there to celebrate your achievements, and to cry her/his heart out with you if something wrong happened.

Wouldn't your life suck without that friend who gives it all for you, without waiting for something in return? - (I bet that as an adult you know how hard is to find those gems!)

This quick note is a memoir to Keira - Karlo and Marie Gomez's dog. She parted ways to doggie heaven yesterday. The news shook me hard, and I didn't even know her... but I do know how important it is to have a best friend!

I'm sure that Keira is in a happy place now, because she made those two (and everyone around her) happy. Here are a few things we could learn about her loving personality:

- Keira only had 3 legs - she was a fighter, and she enjoyed her life with what she had!

Let's all be grateful for being alive, and celebrate our "imperfections".

- Keira loved her bone collection - she treated each of her bones as a special one, It didn't matter if it was an old one, or a new addition.

Let's celebrate and be grateful for what we have. Let's not compare our belongings to other peoples goods!

- Keira was patient! Whenever her parents were cooking something yummy, she just starred at them, waiting for a piece of the pie!

Do I even need to say more? - Best things in life take time, we just need to patiently wait for the time we're ready to receive those blessings.

Let's all take a minute to think about all our friends, human or pets. Let's reflect about how much better they make our lives, and how much we can learn from them.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry said: “It's the time you spent on your rose that makes your rose so important", and it couldn't be more true. Let's dedicate time to share & spend time with our beloved ones today! at the end of the day - memories and good times it's all we have.

In loving memory to you, Keira - 08-27-2017

With Love,

G


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The Magic Mornings

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Written By: Erin Bach

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I’ll tell you right now, I’m a morning person. Before you start throwing things at me, let me say that by “morning person,” I don’t mean that I spring out of bed with a smile on my face and get my To-Do list completed before 8am. Haha...no no no no.

It takes a lot of self-cajoling and caffeine to make it happen, but I consider myself a morning person because even though I have to drag myself out of bed when my alarm goes off (my husband would add here that it takes about 4 alarms to get me up), I feel significantly better throughout the day when I give myself some Me Time before the world is awake.

When I was a high school teacher, I had about an hour commute (because, Los Angeles), so in order for me to have a real morning practice before work, I would usually get up somewhere in the 4am hour.

I know, I know, that’s insane. But there is something so delicious and sacred about this extra-early morning time that it became something I craved. And I’m in good company in feeling this way.

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Take poetry goddess Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem, “Early Riser,” in which she talks about the necessity of time in the early morning to bring energy and purpose back to herself. Who here hasn’t felt like they spend their day attending to chores and other people? Without this early morning time for herself, she is “a crumb of talk/ stuck to a plate.” I feel her on that one.

In Kundalini yoga, the two and a half hours before sunrise are called “ambrosial hours,” and are said to be a special time for spiritual practice. The energy of this time is super-charged for reflection, meditation, and self-enrichment. In short, mornings are the ideal time to connect with yourself.

Now, what does this morning connection look like? It can be anything you’d like--anything that lights you up, brings you into yourself, and energizes you before the day takes you away. You are in charge. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Morning Pages: This tool from Julia Cameron’s book “The Artist’s Way” pretty much has a cult following (search #morningpages and see) and is the foundation of my own morning ritual.

What are they? According to her website, “Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages…[they] provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page...and then do three more pages tomorrow.”

Meditation: Since mindfulness and meditation are “buzzwords” right now, it might be easy to brush them off as fads or just something trendy, but if you do, you’d be doing yourself a disservice.

Meditation is an ancient practice, and it’s been around forever for a reason: it freaking works.

Don’t get bogged down with all the different types or labels or fancyass cushions, just find a comfy place to sit, close your eyes, and listen to your breath for a few minutes. If silence is too terrifying (or just not your jam) try guided meditations. Personally, I use the Insight Timer app and love it! You can search thousands of guided meditations or sit silently and use the timer so you don’t have to check the time.

**Tip: Meditation is NOT about silencing your mind or clearing your mind of all thoughts. That’s not realistic nor is that the point. When a thought comes up (or a river of them), acknowledge it, then let that shit go and come back to your breath. Do this over and over. You got this.

Card Pulling: A few years ago, I bought Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Love Notes guidance deck,

and I’ve been a card addict ever since. I use my oracle, guidance, and tarot card decks for daily card pulling in which I close my eyes, take a breath, ask a question (usually “What guidance do I need right now”) and choose a card intuitively. Nearly 100% of the time, whatever card I pulled is applicable to my life somehow, shines a big fat light on something I didn’t want to see, or gives me a loving reminder that I needed to hear.

What I love about these types of decks and daily pulling is that it is a tool to help me tap into my intuition and bring to the surface what I already know inside. If you’ve never dabbled in card pulling, I highly suggest it, just make sure you find a deck that resonates with you visually and emotionally. Along with the Crazy Sexy Love Notes, Elena Brower’s Art of Attention deck

Art of Attention: Yoga Healing Cards
By Elena Brower, Erica Jago

is awesome, and Starchild Tarot is a favorite. Recently, I’ve been digging the goddess energy around me, so I’ve turned to Soulful Woman Guidance Cards

and Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Oracle Deck.

Inspirational Reading: This can be anything, but I recommend something short that will either inspire you or get you thinking. This could be a spiritual text, a book of poetry (my personal go to), a book of affirmations or quotes, anything. The key here is to have something that is not an assignment or a requirement--it should be something you feel called to read that day.

When I choose a poem to read in the morning I’ll usually choose a book of poetry off my shelf (I just go with my gut), and then like the card pulling, I close my eyes and open the book to a page intuitively and consider the poem a little morning gift from the universe.

Sometimes I have the luxury of doing all of the above practices, and sometimes I barely squeeze in one, but even on days when the latter is true, I’m better off than if I’d let the morning slip away without connecting with myself. So whether you try any of these ideas or make up your own, I urge you to grab a cup (or barrel) of coffee, light a candle, and give yourself the gift of the morning, even just once, and see what magic it brings you.

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Already have a morning practice? I’d love to hear about it message HERE


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We Can Wear the Pants

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Written By: RO

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“Women cant handle high stressed jobs” (The quote is something to that effect) Ok Mr. James Damore who was just recently fired from Google for your stupid ass comment, have you ever bled for 7 days and not died from it? How about making a whole new life inside of you, then push out a watermelon through a pea sized hole?

Yeeeeea..i thought so. He had the audacity to argue that women are more likely to have “innate biological traits that make them inferior engineers.” ok, now I’m pissed.

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Women, first of all, were the business pioneers of the West. Women opened up brothels and the men came a ‘runnin. Women saw this as a business in the making...and made a profit. They made enough money to open schools, banks, and general stores. And you know what else,because of these brothels, towns began to grow and populate.BOOM! IN YO’ FACE!

So, women still don't have a place in this “man world"? Honey, there’s a reason they say “men wear the pants" but that’s because the woman picked them out.

I get it, we just can’t walk into a gym, for example, on day 1 and expect us to just lift a 135 lb deadlift. It takes practice. We need to build on our skills. It’s the same shit when we venture out into the business world. Women have the same right to be in any position. Hello!? Hillary Clinton!? The unwritten set of rules to be in a leadership position is bullshit. Why choose gender over ability?

“A successful woman is one who can build a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her.”

Here’s a list of things us women should do to make it to the top, in any career field.

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Focus on what you can control- You are only in control of your decisions and your attitude. Don't go around pointing fingers at the results of your decisions. Be a big girl and be a problem solver.

Be Real- Always be yourself. No matter the circumstances. Don’t change your belief and values to accomodate who you are working for. Stand out from the crowd and honor yourself.

Have a support system- Invest in relationships that will help get you through any bump in the road. It is vital to have someone that will always have your back or at least bounce ideas off. Even for the sake of sanity. Even the President has an advisor.

Turn negativity into determination- Winning the race goes doesn’t mean you are strong, it means you endured it.

Believe in Yourself- You are phenomenal, you are amazing, you are deserving of anything that comes your way.

Don’t underestimate the strength in your stiletto. Whitney Houston said “I like being a woman, even in a man’s world. After all men can’t wear dresses, but we can wear the pants.”

-xoxo


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Water Lizard

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Written By: Gina Verrastro

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My niece’s nickname is Water Lizard. She is a ten-year-old ball of fire, from her flaming orange curls to the neon pink polish on her tiny toes. She is beautiful, intelligent, and sassy. I was seventeen when she was born. I held her in my arms and stared down at her angelic little face and I wondered: How will I protect you from becoming the self-conscious, insecure wreck that I am?

I watched her grow and I worried.

When she grew taller than her peers like I did, I worried. But she was okay.

When she got glasses like I have, I worried. But she was okay.

When she told me she doesn’t like to wear shorts because the other kids make fun of her because she has hairy legs, my heart shattered into a million pieces.

“I know when other kids make fun of me, it’s because they’re unhappy with themselves,” she says.

“I know they have problems at home,” she says.

She’s a good actress, my little Water Lizard. She’s learned the lines her mother taught her. I recognize them. They’re the same lines my mother taught me. They’re the same lines you learned, too.

“That’s very true,” I tell her, “but that doesn’t make it hurt less in the moment, though, does it?”

Her little eyes widen in surprise and recognition. I’m not a parent. I haven’t been indoctrinated into the Parent Club where you have to keep Parent Secrets and adhere to a collectively constructed version of life where all bullies are cut from the same cloth and if you just pity them their words lose all their power. I am free to join her in the real world, and tell her the truth.

I tell her kids can make fun of you for literally anything – your boobs are too big, they’re too small, you’re too tall, too short, too anything convenient. You might as well just do your own thing and be confident in the setup you have, because no amount of shaving or hunching or sucking it in will protect you from every mean comment.

I tell her the older she gets, and the more confident she gets, the less things people say will affect her.

I tell her someday she will be able to look a bully in the eye and say “Fuck off”, and in the meantime we can work on comebacks together. For now I will arm her with the same weapons I developed – a sharp tongue and an icy stare – and someday she will don the armor of confidence and self-love I wear.

I tell her people still make me cry sometimes. She’s shocked, but I tell her it’s true. I’m human, I have feelings, it’s okay to feel them and honor them. Just keep going after.

Last weekend she found an old dress in my closet, an ancient prom dress I picked up at a thrift store in high school for my friends to wear in photo shoots. I guess I always had a thing for photography. The dress is dark red, long, with a netted overlay of black velvety roses. It’s got sparkles and the back laces up. Pulled tight, it fit the Water Lizard like a glove. She didn’t want to take it off, so I let her choose my dress and do my makeup and I whisked her off to a fancy dinner downtown. I wanted to give her that feeling so she can remember it when the insecurities come creeping in. You know that feeling. It’s a combination of fairy princess and warrior queen, regal badass, untouchable. I can’t protect her from becoming like I was, but I’ll teach her how to protect herself.


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Tonight's Full Moon: Let that Shit Go

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Written By: Erin Bach

When I was a kid, the only time I heard any reference to the moon was when something weird happened (“must be a full moon”), when it was a mandatory mood setter in a scary story, or when discussing werewolves (obvi). Other than that, it was just a giant flashlight in the sky.

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Cut to today and it seems like my entire generation has gone loco over la luna (myself included), so much so that you could say the moon has gone mainstream, with phrases like “Stay Wild, Moon Child” or “Live by the Sun, Love by the Moon” popping up on graphic tees everywhere from gypsy boutiques in LA to Targets in the Midwest. There are even apps for your phone to track the phases of the moon (not that I would know anything about that…).

For the record, I love this. You don’t have to be a yogi or a pagan or a Halloween aficionado to get all kinds of obsessed with the night light in the sky, and I’m all for inclusivity.

But why I really love all the attention Mama Moon is getting is because the moon is the ultimate symbol of the feminine. She represents the concept of cycles (many women’s bodies actually intuitively sync up with the moon phases...I’m not making this up), plus she’s pretty freaking powerful (just, you know, controls the tides...nbd.)

So it makes sense that in a time when feminine energy is rising that we have collectively started paying more attention. Noticing the different lunar phases and tapping into the energy surrounding those phases is just one more tool to empower yourself and celebrate all your natural-born awesomeness.

Since tonight (September 6) is a full moon, I’d like to share a couple ways you make the most of this moon energy, even if you aren’t one to be charging your crystals in the moonlight (but if you are, that’s awesome….I will be too).

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The full moon is the perfect time to release things that are holding you back, whether these are physical things (like household clutter), emotions (like shame or guilt), beliefs (like not being pretty/successful/thin//fit/popular/rich enough) or habits that are dragging you down (like perfectionism or being judgmental).

Journaling: In order to focus in on what you want to release, I suggest writing it out. If you don’t know where to start, ask yourself, “What is holding me back?” and then write. Don’t edit, don’t proofread. Keep your hand moving, keep your critical self out of it. Don’t be surprised if the waterworks start. That’s good though. RELEASE.

Once you’ve written out what you want to release, it can be cathartic to let that paper go in some way, whether that means tearing it up and flushing it down the toilet or burning it up in your fireplace (if you do decide to burn it, please make sure you do so safely).

Movement: Thoughts and emotions live in our bodies as well as our brains, so doing something physical to release this can be very powerful. Do whatever physical activity calls to you (running, walking, lifting, yoga, etc.) but with the intention of letting go of whatever it is that is no longer serving you. A personal favorite is a Qoya movement ritual that involves shaking it out! It’s like a grownass woman version of the Hokey Pokey dance, and it just feels so good!

Breathing: Breathwork is another potent way to release. In fact, I wrote a whole article on it for SMV earlier this summer (with a link to a video by awesome breathwork practitioner, Erin Telford). If you’re interested, read the article here.

When you learn about how to use lunar phases for intention, reflection, and release, you are learning one more way to listen to, love on, and accept yourself—and just imagine how powerful we’d be and how high we’d rise if all women did more of that!

Happy Full Moon, Beauties!

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Kindness is Just Kindness

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Written By: RO

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Ever smiled at someone, just because? Has it ever backfired? This is a predicament i find myself in at times...I have so much love in my heart that I bleed sugar. I feel joyous when I can put positive energy into the universe.

However, it doesn't mean it's an invitation to jump right into my pants or an opportune moment to exchange numbers. Kindness is just kindness dude, I smiled ‘cause I’m kind. That's it.

You know it's ok to talk to people...in a relationship or not, you are allowed to continue to speak to other adults and enjoy the art of conversation. You are the authority of your decisions. So next time you find yourself waiting in line for coffee, strike up a convo with the person next to you, you never know what you may have in common. It could be Mr. or Mrs. Right or even your next business opportunity. Kindness is just kindness.

Ever see someone wearing something you want, or that hot body walking around in front of you, or how about the perfect lil’ family that you yearn to have one day...be kind, and be happy for them. You don't know their story. They could very well have been a rags to riches story, or an eating disorder survivor, or a family that has suffered multiple miscarriages...next time you are feeling envious of something you want from others, go ahead and hand them a compliment just because. Kindness is just kindness.

And the toughest of them all, ever encountered rude people? Yup, we all have. Have you ever wanted to rip their eyes out? Before you do that and get yourself arrested, find it deep inside of you, like waaay deep, to find the humanity in your core and let kindness flow out of your mouth or body language. Let the darkness of impulsivity slowly lose its light and let the kindness shine. It doesn't mean you are a pushover or allow people to walk all over you...it just means you are practicing being a better human. Kindness is just kindness.

Xoxo


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5 Habits of Financially Strong Women

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Written By: Chantel M. Rivera ~ @chanty_m

Over the past few months, I have been taking a hard look at my financial situation. With student loans, credit card debt, and monthly bills I thought it would be a good idea to look at my spending habits and make a few changes for the better. That way I’m not singing the same sad song when I’m forty.

“If you’re broke and you know it clap your hands (insert clap hands)”

With the small changes I have made, my financial situation has already improved. Try a few and I’m sure you’ll see more green in your future.

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1. Look at Your Finances

Sounds pretty basic, right? But are you doing it? I don’t mean looking at your bank account after a long weekend or when the direct deposit hits. I mean checking your account several times a week and looking at where your hard-earned cash is going. I have started checking my account about 4-5 times a week. Why? Because it is a reminder of where I am at financially and what I can spend. It also helps me keep track of all the small spending I do. That is what drains our pockets most of the time, and we can be unaware we’re even doing it. I had one friend who would ask herself how many hours were equal to the amount she would pay for an item. When you look at it that way you may delete a few items from your shopping cart.

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2. Trim the Fat – Immediately
 

Once you begin to look at your spending, next you need to look at what can go. Small things like morning lattes, eating out every day, that third slight different shade of pink nail polish- can go. No more frivolous spending when trying to make a real financial change. If you have debt you may have to pull the reins a bit tighter and start cutting back in other areas. Get rid of all those subscriptions and start to separate your needs from the wants. If the thought of this stresses you out start small. Get rid of things you won’t notice are gone and #treatyoself to a healthier financial future.

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3. Learn to Say No

Yes, you will have to learn to say NO, because when you're trying to get your money right you won’t be able to accept every dinner invitation, girls trip, or weekend sale. It is going to be important for you to learn how to have fun without spending any cash. Trust me it’s possible. I spent an entire weekend going out and didn’t spend a dime. It just took a bit of planning, and since it’s summer there are plenty of fun free things happening everywhere. Spend some time in nature and skip brunch (shhhh I didn’t say that). Have a picnic instead.

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4 Plan

A major factor for being successful in anything is planning and your money is no different. If you think about what most people spend cash on it is food. Learn how to plan and start packing. Look ahead and plan when you want to pay off any debts or reach a certain amount in savings. Set a realistic yet challenging deadline. Then plan how you are going to do it. The more detailed the better.

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5. Get Crafty
 

This one may seem a bit odd. Put your glue gun away unless you are fixing something rather than throwing it out and buying a new one. We have to admit often times we can be wasteful and toss things to the side long before they’re expired, simply because we want the latest item out there. It’s time to reduce, reuse, and recycle in the name of savings! Before you trash or donate things ask yourself what else can you use it for? You may find some items in your home can have some unconventional uses but will save you from going out and buying what people tell you you need.

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Bonus!!!

Increase your financial knowledge

It’s important to know more about money other than it can be used to buy things. Go to your bank and find out what services they offer and how they can help you grow your dough.

-Chantel M. Rivera


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