Defeating Diet Culture

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Diets don’t work. Diet culture feeds off self-esteem and destroys self-worth. Cutting out major food groups or restricting how much you consume in a day robs your body of balanced nutrients and critical vitamins that it needs to function properly.

Many people harbor toxic relationships with food. Disordered eating, binge eating, comfort eating… they all represent a twisted way of thinking when it comes to the fuel your body needs to survive.

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Changing the way you think of food is the first step to mending your resentment towards it. Thinking of food as the fuel your body needs to walk, talk, think, and breathe is the best way to start. For most people struggling with disordered eating, food represents a bandaid for other trauma and emotions. By thinking of that meal as what’s going to power you through a study session or your next workout rather than a way to forget the bad parts of your day is the first step.

Comfort food is great, but there is a time and a place to eat it. Getting a little more adventurous in the kitchen by experimenting with different cultures and cuisines can you help you break any food funk you might be in. Appreciating new ingredients and learning new techniques can radically change your view on food.

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Food is the fuel of life. Through diet culture, we’ve been trained to see food as a reward or a punishment, when it’s simply the way we survive. It fuels our everyday functions, helps us walk, talk, sit, and stand, and can be a really fun way to learn about other people and cultures. Changing the way we appreciate food is the first step to defeating diet culture and the danger it poses to everyone.



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Lessons from my best friend

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My longest lasting adult relationship hasn’t been with a boyfriend, but with my best friend. All relationships take work in order to keep them together, along with compromise, communication, and forgiveness. The dynamic between a romantic relationship and a plutonic one clearly have differences, but the amount of effort is the same. Here’s why. My relationship with my best friend is far from shallow. She is my person, even being miles away. Throughout the past five years, she's taught me some hard lessons about myself without even realizing it.

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Communication

What is the first rule in relationships? Communicating! It is the key you know. Everyone believes, to some degree, they are an effective communicator, myself included. However, I’ve learned there is a difference in communicating with people who have similar views and communicating with someone who may not understand where you are coming from. It takes an extraordinary amount of patience and intentional listening before getting to the place where both parties are on the same page, but there’s nothing wrong or strange about the other person's view. Respect each other's opinions and know that just because you’re “best friends” doesn’t mean you have to be clones.

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Iron Sharpens Iron

The true test of any relationship is recovery. Can you recover from an argument or do you walk on eggshells keeping things nice and light? I’ve had some difficult conversations with my best friend and we have both hurt each other's feelings (although not intentionally of course). When I keep in mind to not take offense, acknowledge the source, and that the words spoken are coming from a place of love, then I am able to correct my actions and vice versa. Some of the most difficult and uncomfortable conversations I’ve had with my bestie have caused me to reflect and make a change. Sharpening requires friction.

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Love without conditions

There are times where we need people to be certain things for us. We wish they could be stronger, more confident, or able to express themselves in the ways we see fit. Yet the greatest lesson my best friend has taught me is to love people right where they’re at. No conditions, no strings attached. Believe me, you’d want them to do the same for you (no one’s perfect). Loving someone this way gives them the space to develop into the greatest version of themselves. Choosing to love someone unselfishly should mean wanting what is best for them and not about finding a reflection of yourself in them.

-Chantel M. Rivera


 

 

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College As An Adult

Written By: Shauna Yanchuck

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About two years ago I was at work as a nanny, scrubbing a floor with bits of chocolate melted onto the hardwood. As I scrubbed I wondered to myself, what happened? Didn’t I have big plans on being a successful journalist living in the big city? You know the type---the ones you see in movies, who are always wearing powerful pant suits and saying things like “I just can’t have a relationship right now, I’m just so busy with this deadline and this interview, where is my latte? TAXI!” That was supposed to be me. That was always my dream.

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“Oh, hi, what’s the hard hitting news story today on Wall Street?”---Classic woman journalist in all movies.

But, instead of my cliche working woman dream, I was scrubbing floors as a nanny. There’s nothing wrong with being a nanny. But it wasn’t what I wanted. So I decided right then and there I was going back to school to get the degree I had quit on a few years earlier. I got off the floor and sat on a bed covered in Paw Patrol sheets and scoured the internet for schools to apply to.

Going to school as an adult is a different experience than going to school as an 18-year-old. Aside from the fact that as an adult you care less about which schools have the best parties, you also have to think about a concept most 18-year-olds don’t fully grasp; money. As an adult all I really cared about was going to a school where I wasn’t paying $309,503 a month (which might be a slight exaggeration) to attend classes. I also needed a school that I could do online. I worked full time and my boyfriend is in the Air Force, which means occasionally every few years he’s like “hey, we’re moving to a different state real quick, pack your bags and quit your life now,” so all physical locations for college weren’t going to work.

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Narrowing down which school to go based off of money and a credible online program was the easy part. The hard part was avoiding the several thousand phone calls a day from online schools who got a whiff of my interest. After shooing those unwanted schools off, I settled upon a school, rage filled out my FAFSA even though it’s a deeply irritating process, and soon enough I started classes.

Taking classes online is great. It gives you flexibility, it lets you work at your own pace, and you don’t have to be the girl who walks to class in her cream cheese stained sweatpants. Of course, there are some challenges to taking courses online. Occasionally I came across professors who made no sense on what the assignment directions were. There were times where after work I’d literally cry as I did my finals, the energy in my body slowly depleting like a balloon with a small hole in it. Throughout everything, even when I’d scream “I’m quitting school,” I had people around, reminding me that it would all someday be worth it.

And here I am now. One week away from graduation. I finally did it.

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The things you want most in life are never easy. You have to really want them. You have to work hard, and even when you’re tired of working hard, you have to keep---you guessed it---working hard. What I gained from going back to school was not just a degree...although, I’m hoping I’ll someday get a job that like...pays me well...and maybe offers health insurance so I can visit the dentist once a year. But, what I also gained was the discipline that going after what you want always works out for the best. Because even if you don’t get exactly what you planned for, you will always end up in a better place.


 

No Retouching is Beautiful

Written By: Kimberly Davis

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Since switching jobs, I do a lot of online shopping (I still prefer the mall though). In any case I was shopping for new bralettes from Aerie when I realized something new about their models: they have physical disabilities and illnesses and they are gorgeous! Aerie continues to be a leader in inclusivity ever since launching their first body positive campaign promising to use models of different body shapes, skin colors, and to never retouch their photos. But this campaign is major! Aerie is now shining a spotlight on 57 women of different backgrounds, ages, and body shapes.

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But they didn’t stop there. For the “Aerie Bras Make You Feel Real Good” campaign casting was done through social media, meaning all the women you see in this new campaign are not models but “regular people”. This campaign features women with vitiligo, insulin pumps, surgery scars, down syndrome, and fibromyalgia to name a few of the conditions and life experiences featured.

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I purchase Aerie bras because they’re inexpensive (see Victoria’s Secret $60 bras), comfortable, and it’s easier to purchase a bra or a pair of underwear if I know they’re designed to fit women of all shapes and sizes. Growing up with a much bigger chest than all of my friends was hard. And it doesn’t feel good when you walk into a lingerie store and all the lacy, pretty bras stop at a C cup. Plus no one has time for too tight bras, falling bra straps, or underwear that rides up every five seconds when they’re out smashing the patriarchy.
Have a great week ladies.
 

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Fill Your Own Cup First

Written By: Alyssa Rogers ~ @honestlyhungry

When flying, we’re all familiar with the practice of applying our own oxygen mask first in case of an emergency. The rationale behind this is that if the pressurization in the cabin falls, you should breathe the oxygen that flows through the masks. In all video, audio, and print instructions for the masks, we are told to apply our own masks before helping other people.

This rationale should be common practice in our everyday lives as well. Most parents and caregivers know firsthand that taking care of themselves and someone else is challenging. There is a toxic glorification in our society of busyness and tiredness. Often, our health, happiness, and general well-being does not come first.  In reality, we do not always have the time or opportunity to put ourselves first, and that is unfortunate.

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This is why everyone should put themselves first. This sounds selfish, but hear me out. We should fill our own cups. We should eat more green things, take more naps, meditate daily, watch our favorite trashy television, and get more sunshine. In short, we should do more of what makes us happy and stop feeling guilty about it. Make it a habit. Make it a priority. Make it nonnegotiable.

Not only will the quality of life for you and those around you improve, but you’ll be happier and healthier - mentally and physically. When we are happier and healthier, those around us will be too because they feed off of our energy. We are better friends, partners, parents, and coworkers when we take care of ourselves first.

So, fill your own cup, whether it be with green tea, ice water, hot coffee, or La Croix (yep, I went there, don’t judge me). Fill your cup, sip and savor, and fill it up again.

 

 

 

Think It Through

Written By: RO

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“Don't make permanent decisions based on a temporary situation.” Heard this on the radio today. Can I get a hell yeah!? Too many times we get caught up in the moments and let the impulsive monster take over our emotions and logic and decision making. Take a freaking chill pill, and then just chill the fuck out. Think it through.

So you and your boo had a fight? Stop the I hate you forever speech and just take some time away from each other. You need to just let the wind hit you from a different direction. Let the wind bitch slap back to the times y’all were in love and continue on from that perspective. Don't break up over silly indifferences. I mean, fack, if Beyonce and Jay-Z can work through it, so can you. Think it through.

You gained some weight now you want to lipo it all out? Okay, THINK IT THROUGH! Ok, It's your body, correct, Amen to that sista! However, look at it this way...by the time you schedule a consultation, the procedure, post-op visits AND do the recovery period which involves eating healthy and small portions, that's at least three to four months. The same amount of time to lose a significant amount of weight or body fat.For free. Plus the cost of food. (Ha, that was so infomercial!) Think it through yo!

You finally decided to get some ink done? Time and time again, you will hear it from people with tats, make sure its it's what you want and you are certain you are ready..yup here it comes, think it through. Tattoos aren't like haircuts. Eventually hair will grow and in a few weeks you can have a do-over. Tats, is like drawing free hand with a marker instead of using a pencil first. Once it's done, it's done. Tattoos can be beautiful skin art or a dreadful bloody mess. Eventually you will be wrinkly..will that tattoo still look the same when you are 85? Remember tattoos are personalized and meant for you. Not for the significant other who may have been twice removed over the past 6 months.

Just think it all through lovies!

Xoxo

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If you watch one thing this week, make it this.

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I have one homework assignment for you and it is to watch the two videos below.

I will give a disclaimer that the company behind the short films is a skin care company, so obviously the company has some possibly alternative goals. Even with that, I feel these videos have sincere, important messages.

Marriage Market Takeover:

The Expiry Date:

Let us know what you think.

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July Book Recommendation

Written By: Chantel M. Rivera  ~ @chanty_m

 Trastevere, Rome

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It was four years ago that I walked into this book shop pictured above in Trastevere Rome. There was an english book section and I had cash to burn. Four years later, I finally decided to read the book I bought there.

 Linda Grant. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

Linda Grant. Photograph: Lefteris Pitarakis/AP

I don’t know if it is possible to fall head over heels for a writer, but Linda Grant, boy do I have a thing for you (well, your book). Not only is her writing style an amazing work of art in itself, but the characters she creates transcend off the page as their inner thoughts are exposed and the plot unfolds in such a way that you can’t seem to stop turning each page. Linda Grant’s book The Clothes on Their Backs tells several stories in one. The overall theme being the human experience, and since we’re all a little vain, what’s not to love already!

 The Clothes On Their Back

The Clothes On Their Back

The novel tells the story of a London born native to immigrant parents, parents who have sheltered her from knowing anything of their past, and don’t exactly encourage venturing out into the unknown.

“Until I was 10 I was completely unaware that I had a relative.”

That is until one day a mysterious knock on the door revelies a man who claims to be her uncle. Years later he would reveal much more about the families hidden past and his complicated business dealings that landed him in jail.

Grant takes us through an array of emotions as the main character learns to deal with loss, her recent discoveries of her family's past, and how to move forward in the reality she lives in but is uncertain of.

“Yet now I stood with a line of white at the roots of my hair, in my jeans and plucked at the green silk scarf round my ruined neck, for no one looked at me any more the way Vic had looked.”

Do yourself a favor and dive into the fictional world of the Kovacs family, the dealings of Benson Court, and the moral dilemmas each character faces. Ladies I advise you hop on amazon and click buy now. Happy reading!

- Chantel M. Rivera

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Me, Myself and My Body

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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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Let That Shit go

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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Make Some Lemonade

Written By: RO

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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

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You Are Enough

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It’s that time of year where everyone’s Instagram feed is cluttered with shiny new engagement rings and beautiful lace gowns and first look photos. Love is in the air and wedding season is in full swing. Witnessing your close friends and family fall in love and celebrate that love is a beautiful thing, but for those of us who are still single, it can be incredibly taxing.

There is nothing like a wedding to make you more aware of just how alone you are when you don’t have a significant other. And it’s not always that self-deprecating “I’m so alone” stuff. Sometimes it’s just a feeling that you’re behind everyone else because you’re not in a relationship.

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Your self-worth does not rest upon your relationship status. It doesn’t lie with the size of the engagement ring someone gives you or how much money you spend on a wedding or how quickly he pops the question after you two meet.

Love and relationships rest significantly on good timing. If you’re still working on loving yourself or building your dream career or just finding the time to balance work, a social life, and drinking enough water, it just might not be the time for you to enter into a long-term relationship. It can be hard to remember that a boyfriend could delay your goals when you’re surrounded by the perfect Instagram shot of that cushion diamond, but it’s so important to remind yourself that you are enough on your own.

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So go to the wedding. Celebrate the love of the people that you care about. Tear up that dance floor and enjoy that champagne. But at the end of the day, remember that one day, you’ll get your happily ever after, too. All in due time.

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Dear Stress, I’ve Got To Let You Go

Written By: Rosie Riott ~ @rosie_riott

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One in ten adults in America suffer from Depression and Anxiety. According to Harvard Medical studies, exercise can be just as effective as an all-natural alternative treatment to pharmaceutical drugs. In severe cases, exercise alone may not be enough, but it is definitely a start. Studies show that in high intensity workouts, our endorphins, you know, those “feel good” chemicals we make, flood our bodies and give us what we call the “runner’s high.” While that may seem great, the real magic starts with consistent exercise over time. Dr. Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, states that exercise supports nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, the region of our brain that regulates mood, improving nerve cell connections, which helps relieve depression.

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“The minute you stop moving, that’s when you die.” Ever hear that saying? Well, I sure have and to be honest, I’ve heard it more times than I could probably count. As we get older, so many things are being tossed our way, clouding our judgements, overwhelming us, causing stress on not only our minds, but throughout our bodies. You’d wonder, especially in this day and age, how does one possibly survive? And I’ll tell you, it may seem hard now, but there are things we can do to keep our stress levels and our temper tantrums to a minimum, keeping us feeling ten times more alive.

1. Go on a daily walk! Yes, a walk! Wake up, walk around the block, maybe take a quick stroll on your lunch break or even a little trot after dinner! Every step counts! Remember, when you are moving, your blood is flowing and your nerves are growing!

2. Do something you already love. Maybe you used to play a sport and wish you could get back to doing it. Don’t think you have time? Make time! Your interests shouldn't have to take a backseat to your all consuming life! You, too, are important! Don’t forget that!

3. Try something new! There has got to be at least one thing you’ve been dying to try, but for whatever reason, have been putting it off. From activities like skateboarding to roller skating to bicycle riding to yoga to playing horseshoes to even kicking a ball around and well, the list goes on! You get the picture! Just try SOMETHING and if that sucks, try something else! Life is all about trial and error!

Ever since I was a kid, I've enjoyed exercise. My family life had always been chaotic and exercise was one of the only things that got me by. I studied it religiously. It then became an outlet for me, to relieve my stress, to let out my anger. Throughout my years, I’ve tried new activities, hated some, but only learned what I liked and disliked because first, I decided to try. TRY IT ALL!
All in all, exercise can only help you. Why pass up the free help or the good mood? KEEP MOVING! You’ll thank me in 3months!

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Xo Rosie Riott

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Three Easy Ways to be a Better Human Being

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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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The Pleasures of Solitude

Written By: RO

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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

 

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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Out With the Old, In With the New

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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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Quarter Life Crisis- downloading now

Written By: : Chantel M. Rivera ~ @chanty_m

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So, quarter-life crisis are real, right? I am going to say yes, because I am pretty sure I’m going through one right now, and have been for the past several months. You may be too if you are…

  • Constantly asking yourself what you are supposed to be doing next, and stress over how to get there?

  • If you wonder what you’re going to be doing in five years, and the thought of being at the same job makes you want to puke.

  • Every time you close your eyes you see the things you hope to achieve far off in the distance, but in between is this huge chasm, and you’ve yet to devise a way to get across.

  • Wake up thinking- surely this can’t be all there is to being an adult, right?

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In short, aren’t we all freaking out just a little bit, or is it me?

When stripping things down I started to think about what was really causing this sudden panic when thinking of the future. Was it restlessness, fear of the unknown, or the fear of actually achieving my aspirations, and it not being enough? Is it a strange cocktail of the three? I have found, we struggle most with that space in between. The space between where we are and where we want to be. Our current circumstances don’t dictate our future unless we allow them too, so why does the space that allows for change and growth intimidate so many of us?

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I know this is an article, and as the writer, I am supposed to have some type of answer or advise to share, but tonight I have more questions? There is always going to be that space between our reality and our dreams. At times it will feel like it is the deepest chasm, and in other moments nothing more than a crack in the pavement. What I’m learning to do is focus on the small, and often repetitive, tasks it takes to connect the two sides. Take comfort in knowing that the stranger who wrote these words you’re reading, is feeling the same way you may now, or have before. Don’t focus on the gap. Focus on what it will take to close it, and start small.

Love

-Chantel M. Rivera

 

 

 

Bad Angle or Bad Attitude?

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So my last couple articles have talked about my summer journey to becoming my best self. I have been eating healthier and really cracking down with my workouts, and I’ve been seeing results.

What I’m most proud of, however, is not the results. It’s the attitude that I’ve managed to maintain so far on my journey. I have been very positive this WHOLE TIME.

Up until now. I hit a little snag yesterday after my shower, when I was feeling all shaved and smooth and fit and lovely until I caught a glimpse of myself at a bad angle. And what did I see?

Stretch marks. ALL up and down my hips. Cellulite, all over the back of my thighs. The bad angle paired with the horrible fluorescent lighting in my dorm room pushed all positive thoughts about my journey out of my head. I was horrified.

I mean it. HORRIFIED.

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I immediately put on some baggy shorts and tried to pretend that I didn’t see it, all the while knowing that this was a DIRECT contradiction to my body positive health regime.

But today I was thinking about it while I was on my run. While I run, I can feel my thighs jiggling and I know that there are bumps and lumps in different places on my body. Even though I’m eating healthy and taking care of myself, that won’t necessarily change.

And there will always be bad angles. Sometimes we’ll catch ourselves in bad light that highlights our stretch marks or our cellulite, or that makes us look old or like we have bad skin or like we have bags under our eyes. Sometimes, we will feel ourselves jiggle when we run.

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It’s important to remember that positivity is not something that is always natural to us. We have to work to be positive about ourselves even on the days when we feel bloated or self-conscious or defeated.

Those are the days that body positivity is most important.

We need to tell ourselves that WE ARE HUMAN. Humans have imperfections. It doesn’t matter what our perceived imperfections are; what’s important is that we don’t view ourselves negatively because of them.

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Screw bad angles. Screw double chins. Screw fluorescent lighting. Seriously. We have to see past what we see as “flaws” in order to grow. We shouldn’t be horrified by those things that make us human. We should accept them as a part of us because, like I said, we’re only human.

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Put Down Your Phone

Written By: Alyssa Rogers

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I attended a beautiful wedding last weekend. It was a warm, sunny Pacific Northwest spring Saturday. Soft bits of cotton from trees gently and slowly floated down through the air. As the bridal party began its procession I noticed something else. This something wasn’t so pretty, though. I noticed a shocking amount of attendees looking at their phones instead of the wedding ceremony that had just started. Sure, they were mostly looking through their phone cameras and at the procession, but they weren’t watching and living in the moment and celebrating mindfully. How unfortunate, I thought, that these guests aren’t experiencing the sunshine or kiss of the breeze as the flower girl toddles down the aisle and the beautiful bride as she walks by, beaming.

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There is nothing profound or original about saying that many people these days have our phones in our hands or very close to our persons a lot. During weddings, as brides walk down the aisle, people (sometimes dozens of them!) will video record and take photos of the procession, as if professional photographers haven’t just been hired to do that very job. Focused on snapping pics, applying filters, and adding hashtags, we are missing that precious, once in a lifetime moment. We are detached from reality for the time being, and, in a way, electing to not participate in the ceremony.

We are addicted to those pesky phones because each like, retweet, comment, and notification triggers the correct neurons in our brain that release dopamine. We’re wired to seek more of what makes us happy. The more we interact with our phones, the more chemical hits we receive. We are literally addicted. But that doesn’t mean there’s not hope. Silencing our phones and actively taking time away from them to practice mindful living is essential. Some couples even ask their guests to keep their phones put away during the ceremony or entire wedding, a practice called “unplugged weddings”.

It’s wedding season. So, please, put down your tiny, handheld computers, Happy Sunday.

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