Are Diets A REAL Thing?!

Written By: RO


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How many times have you “been on a diet"? I have done it plenty of times! It ain't bad my lovies. Diets have gotten bad reps for a while now. For example, diets are a quick fix? Clearly, this word needs some clearing up.

Yes, dieting is not a “real” word, it's called a lifestyle. It's also called eating habits. Call it what you want but diets are real and everybody does it. Diets are a real thing and they help you lose weight. Here's the other half of the story though…

Do you know what it takes to compete as a bodybuilder? You go on a restrictive diet for 14 weeks to lean out and help your muscle definition show. Yup, diet. It shocks the body and complements the heavy weightlifting and cardio.

So you hit a plateau? Can't shake off the last 5 pounds. That's because the remaining fat cells in you body are stuck, so to speak, like the cheeto in the couch. You must change your eating habits, eh hem (go on a diet), to help your body dig deep to find the energy, aka fat cells, to continue your daily activities.

Going on a diet doesn't mean eating less. Not at all! It means eating differently for a set amount of time until you reach your goal. Then once you create a new goal you'll start a different diet. Your diet can consist of more calories, less carbs, more fats, or more protein.

I recently took a paleo diet (Click Here to learn more) as a challenge and I came out on top! I had a flatter tummy and have some ab definition. Which was MY goal. I love rice and beans,but I learned that I don't need it on a daily basis and upping my vegetable game was key component.

Whatever lifestyle, eating habit or diet you choose to follow, you just do you!

Xoxo

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Modern Period Care

Written By: Jill Warwick

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Let’s talk about my vagina.

Specifically, what I am putting in it.

Two weeks ago, a friend and I went camping. Now, when we camp, we have two basic rules:

  1. No people

  2. No cell reception.

This typically also means no working toilets and that isn’t a problem.

Until you’re on your period.

The entire week before, I kept wishing for my period to happen so I wouldn’t have to deal with it while in the woods. But, of course, nothing showed up until two days before our departure.

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But hey, on the bright side –

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I figured this was a good time to try out the Diva Cup. The thought of having to deal with pads and tampons without a functional bathroom or shower made me want to cry.

Fast forward to me standing in my friend’s bathroom with the cup in one hand and instructions in the other, with my pants around my ankles and trying to mentally prepare myself to shove a big piece of silicon inside my body.

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Inserting the cup for the first time is like losing your virginity again – things don’t seem to fit where they are supposed to go, you’re sweaty and silently wondering if it is supposed to feel this way and if this is even worth the effort.

Oh the things we have to do in order to function as a normal human while menstruating!

The box has instructions on how to hold the cup to insert it, but I still recommend reading the booklet. And holding the folded cup will come easier with practice, I think.

It took some adjusting but by the end of the evening, I was feeling comfortable.

Camping crisis averted…until the next morning.

Waking up with the Diva Cup felt better and cleaner than any other morning I have ever had on my period, other than the pressure of having a CUP INSIDE OF ME, but overall not too bad.

What didn’t feel so great was realizing that the cup had moved up too far for me to grab easily as I squatted in the woods at 7:00 a.m. Visions of having to walk into my doctor’s office to have it removed or worse, having to ask my good friend to play doctor with me, flashed through my mind as I tried to breathe and not freak out.

The best solution was to wait for the cup to move down on its own, (trying my best to use Lamaze breathing, as my friend recommended). Luckily, waiting for it to move didn’t take too long.

To compare (and to avoid any more panic about the cup getting stuck), I used an overnight pad the second night of our trip. It was nice to give my vagina a break from the cup, but as you can imagine, I woke up sweaty and gross.

I will take the Diva Cup trying to move permanently into my cervix instead of pads sticking to my ass any day.

Final Verdict: Complete Fangirl!

Overall, it is the cleanest I have ever felt while being on my period, and as tampon-commercial sounding as this is, freeing. I completely forgot about the cup during my lake-side 4th of July celebration and had less irritation while I slept.

It is a sustainable method and I can finally clean out all the excess pads and tampons I have stashed all over my apartment.

Yes there is some discomfort and adjustment, but that is how most things in life are and has most defiantly been my experience with other period products.

Side notes and other random thoughts

 

  1. While reading through the instructions, it was insane to me that apparently a person only loses 1-2 ounces of blood during their period. If that is all, why does it feel like:

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2. Using this will get you REALLY in touch with your anatomy. There is no room for modesty or hesitation here. Just go for it!

3. Taking out the cup can be uncomfortable and as you come to the end of your cycle, it will start to irritate, just like tampons typically do when you’re almost done.

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Chillin' in Seattle

Written by: Michelle Davalos ~ @michelle.g.davalos

Pike’s Place, Starbucks, Amazon, and copious amounts of rain are the first things that come to mind when thinking about Seattle, but the city has so much to offer than the traditional touristy hotspots. Especially if you’re looking for a chill, no drama, relaxing vacay. Here are my highlights of my northwest tour:

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Starbucks Reserve: skip visiting the original Starbucks! The lines are horrible unless you go at 5am. Only monsters get up at 5am while on vacay. Instead, take one or two hours to visit the Starbucks Reserve. The well laid out tasting room has three sections: a bar that serves specialty cocktails, a confection tasting bar, and the experience bar. We enjoyed the experience Bar, which is at the far west end of the store. We ordered three flavors of siphon-brewed coffee. The experience was amazing, and the coffee was astonishing. Honestly, I don’t care for Starbucks coffee, but I’ve had a change of mind after visiting the reserve.

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Portage Bay Café: surrounded by warehouses converted to lofts for Amazon employees, this must visit restaurant is the primo spot for breakfast/brunch. This establishment exudes pride while serving organic, local and sustainable foods from Pacific Northwest farms. Expect a wait but it will be worth it! I had the best huevos rancheros I’ve had in a long time. They are known for their breakfast bar menu which consist of swedish pancakes (GF), carrot cake oven baked french toast, vegan banana pancakes and so much more.

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Bainbridge Island: the island is a day trip out to a beautiful, commuter, retirement community. I know, that description doesn’t sound appealing but its stunning! To escape the Seattle’s hustle, visiting the island will help you reset your traveling intentions. The island provides an opportunity to take in the peaceful surroundings which should always be mandatory while traveling. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in taking pics for the gram, we forget to slow down and chill. Bainbridge Island will make you slow down and chill. When we arrived, via ferry, we first stopped at Eleven Winery for a tasting of their local wines. Preeettyy delish! The locals are delightful and welcoming in this charming town. They see their fair share of tourist, yet they provide exceptional customer service. You won’t regret it; Bainbridge Island is a must.

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Seattle Public Library: typically, libraries are not on my destination list, but Seattle’s library is phenomenal, and I encourage everyone to take a few extra minutes to check it out. The architecture is astounding, obscure and a work of art (naturally). When we arrived in the downtown, it was the first building I noticed, I was immediately struck by the size and modern architecture. They offer and audio/cell phone tour for out of towners. We started our tour at the 10th floor and worked our way back down to the 1st floor and each floor did not disappoint.

Seattle was another great Northwest host! I encourage everyone to explore their backyards!

Much love today and always,

M.

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Running on Empty

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We live in a pressure cooker of high expectations, instant gratification, and constant comparison. Between working, maintaining our health, chasing our dreams, and trying to get enough sleep, we are bound to run out of steam. After all, there are only so many hours in a day.

Burnout is so common in the 21st century. We live our lives based on how it will impact our Instagram feeds and how many likes we think we can get. We don’t take the time to release the stress that builds up from simply trying to survive in a world of political, economic, and ecological strife.

We’re always in a hurry. We think the limits of stress don’t apply to us. We have too much pride to pause and process the emotions we are feeling. We don’t give ourselves time to breathe. It’s dangerous and exhausting.

So how can we make the time to take care of ourselves in a culture that frowns upon rest? How do we adjust our lifestyles to prevent the breakdowns from the burnout?

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It’s time to stop running on a nearly-empty gas tank. We have the power to choose how we live. We have the power to be role models for the next generation. Not everyone has to run on empty. Balanced lives are possible. You just have to remember to fill up your tank.

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This Isn’t the Baby Blues

Written By: Kimberly Davis

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The assumption: when you realized you’ve missed your period, or maybe your period is later than usual. Maybe you’re suddenly nauseous all the time. Whatever your symptoms may have been, something lead you to purchase that pregnancy test. And now, you’re staring at those telltale double lines, that digital ‘yes’; you’re pregnant. You should be ecstatic, overjoyed, and understandably a little nervous. You should be glowing, excited about your growing belly, cooing at babies on streets anxious to finally meet your own, you should feel strong at the fact you’re growing another human life. You should feel all those things and more, right?

The reality (for every one in ten women): prenatal or antenatal depression. Yes a pregnant woman's body is usually all over the place hormonally, and you can experience some mood swings or fatigue every now and then. But prenatal depression is much different, and it isn’t talked about as much as it should be. Prenatal depression is often brought on when the pregnancy is unplanned, met with an unsupportive partner or unsupportive family members and friends, financial stress, if you have a history of depression or anxiety, and if you are or were in a violent relationship.

While it is often hard for doctors to diagnose antenatal depression, it is always important to be completely transparent with your doctor at prenatal checkups. Your doctor is there to help you and the baby, not judge you. We need to talk more about depression during pregnancy, because once we start talking about it people will start getting the help they need. It’s okay to admit that you don’t feel happy about being pregnant, it’s okay to admit that you’re struggling. And always remember you are not alone.

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While your doctor will be able to help with treating your antenatal depression, put self-care at the top of your to-do list in the meantime; if you’re taking care of yourself you are taking care of your baby. Read a book, go out for a walk, get your hair done, have breakfast in bed, do anything that’ll make you feel good and remember to slow down.

 

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Portland Is Not Weird

Written By: Michelle Davalos ~ @michelle.g.davalos

When thinking about my next vacation, it’s easy to divert to relaxing on a Caribbean beachside while quenching my thirst with summer water (Rosé). But this year is different because I realized I’ve only explored a quarter of the 50 states. So, I decided play in our backyard and take a Northwest tour to Portland and Seattle. Here are my touristy hotspots of Portland.

Light rail: try to take public transportation everywhere you go. It’s fast, dependable, immersive and for the most part, safe. It’s a great way checkout the landscape and the first glimpse of the cleanliness of a city.

Lardo: if you love pork shoulder and kimchi, order the Korean Pork Shoulder sandwich!

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Powell’s Books: this was my primo stop to make while in Portland. Book worm or not, this book store is an incredible, electrifying, seductive being. Allow yourself at least two hours to browse and get lost.

Ex Novo Brewing Company (non-profit); “Better Beer for the Greater Good”. This brewery donates a large portion of their profits to those in need around the world. So, you can drink beer and help humanity…it’s a win-win.

Pips and Bounce: Ping pong, beer, cool jams, wood paneling and 80s-90s nostalgia sprinkled out the establishment is great fun of reminiscing about the past while dominating with ultimate backspins.

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Blue Star Donuts = best donuts on the West Coast. I totally dug into their hipster artisan boujee donuts. My favorite was the Mexican Chocolate donut; smooth, dark chocolate with a soft linger of chipotle pepper.  

Modern Times Beer – Portland: Mondo Macho Man piñata was hanging from the ceiling instantly brought good vibes for a taste and some food. I was surprised to learn the food menu was all vegan. I had heard so many positive reviews about the beyond burger, so I gave it a try. If you ever think about trying this faux meat, abort, abort…. I repeat, abort! I admire vegans; it takes dedication and determination to sustain a vegan lifestyle. I was a vegetarian growing up, I sort of get it. With that said, faux meat is not okay and you’re playing yourself if you like this monstrosity.       

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Lang Baag: I watch a lot of Netflix docu-food-mentaries. So much, my husband and I keep a funning list of restaurants featured on shows. Lang Baan was on our list. We tried to reserve a table, but it was booked for the next six months. So, we decided to stop in to see if they had a bar or any cancellations. After the Uber driver dropped us off, we used navigation because there was no visible sign. After walking up and down the street, a gentleman popped out of Paa Dee restaurant and asked if we were looking for Lang Baag. He walked us in and we mentioned we didn’t have reservations. The look of regret and sadness upon his face will be forever embedded into this story. That’s when I knew Lang Baan was a remarkable, mysterious place but it was completely booked. So, we settled at Paa Dee’s bar ordered a couple drinks. After 5 minutes, a waiter comes over to me and said, “I think it was your destiny to come in here tonight” and I replied, “Yep, I think it is”. They had a last-minute cancellation for two and dinner was starting. We hooped off our stoles and walked past the kitchen, to a book shelf door that led into small room that dined twenty-four food enthusiasts. The format was a chef’s table where you watch the chefs prepare a twelve course Northern Taiwanese dinner. It was magical! Each dish was better than the next. My favorite was the Nahm prik kha (relish of ground duck breast with galangal, market greens).

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Portland was a great host, it’s a little quirky but not weird. Next week, Seattle!

Much love today and always,

M.

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The Choice is Yours – Be You or Be Them

Written By: Jill Warwick ~ @girlwiththejoplinglasses

She is fearless.

She wears her hair and skirts long,

Her list of worries is short.

She finds adventure in every day and travels the world without concern.

She is relentless in learning,

in growing,

in loving those close to her with every inch of her heart.

She does it all with ease.

She has a million stories people can’t wait to hear over and over.

She makes her own work schedule and rides her horse fast across the hay fields, sand and mountains.

She is healthy, strong, confident, beautiful and happy.

The woman I thought I’d be is not who I see every morning.

There are times when I am at work or doing dishes where the life I pictured and the reality of my actual life hit me like a truck. Then I sit there hating me and feeling ashamed about the things I never finished or even started; depressed I’m not a better, thinner, prettier, smarter, more successful version of me.

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In those moments, it feels like there is a slow-closing garage door pressing on me as my 20s roll faster and faster towards my 30s, my 40s, and the rest of my life.

And it is so exhausting!

I’m sick of being “lost” and “searching” to find what I want in life. It seems like I’m now just using that excuse as a way for me to explain to others why I am not dating someone, trying to have a baby, or buying a house.

And I’m done.

I am through trying to explain myself or my decisions, in hopes of gaining a small piece of understanding from other people. While it can seem like the safer, more acceptable option is to live in the boxes someone else makes for us than to build one we envision for ourselves, it is terribly constricting on our souls.

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I still don’t have it all figured out and I’m definitely not that woman I wanted to be...yet.

Life changes so much that trying to get it all figured out before hitting the metaphorical road is a waste of time. The only thing we can do is map out an idea and change the course as needed.

Because nothing is certain, I decided to focus on the concrete things I know about myself.

What do I see?

What do I believe?

What do I want?

What do I actually enjoy doing, not what do I feel like I HAVE to do?

This reflection made me actually say and write things about me that I hadn’t before. It ranged from realizing that I value honesty above all else to admitting I really do not like buffalo sauce.

I encourage you to take some time and think about what you really value and how you really want to spend your time.

Then start acting on it.

You can envision who you want to be all day, every day, but to finally be her, you have to make choices she would make, choices that you truly believe in and want.

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5 Habits of Financially Strong Women

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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Ready or Not

Written By: Kimberly Davis

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Domee Shi, everyone knows that name at this point, or everyone should know that name. Domee Shi, at just 28 years old, is the first female to direct a Pixar short. Bao, which airs before Incredibles 2, a Chinese mother struggles to transition to life as an empty nester and she accidentally creates a giggly, cooing humanized dumpling. In the beginning, the mother is ecstatic to have a child again, that is until baby bao starts to rebel.

We won’t go into too much detail in case you still haven’t seen the short film or Incredibles 2 (which you should!). But the first Pixar short film to be directed and created by a female should not go unnoticed. While Shi was initially worried that the storyline would be too heavy or culturally specific for the studio, everyone understands the significance of family and food. More than 75% of all enrollment in animation schools are female students, change is coming to the animation industry. We’re now smashing into yet another industry!

We all have or had overprotective parents, we’ve all been the over mothered dumpling that is baby bao. And if you haven’t already, call your mother, grandmother, aunt, whoever raised you into the person you are today!

In case you wanted a great recipe for bao:

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Red Lips and Fake Tits

Written by: Michelle Davalos ~ @michelle.g.davalos

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When explaining to a girlfriend Sunday Morning View’s mission and vision; to challenge the status quo and embrace their natural beauty, my friend said “well, I don’t know about that, I like red lips and fake tits”. After we laughed, I explain it's not about natural beauty in the traditional sense, its more about being comfortable and confident in your skin. But this made me really think about what is natural beauty? Does natural beauty mean embracing the way we were born and don’t pursue changes? Does it mean you only use natural, organic, clean products? Does it mean you don’t shave your legs, under arms and the sweet pea area? No lash extensions, hair color, Botox, and fillers?

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Where does “natural” begin and end? Are we in a place where we freely use the word “natural” without meaning?

For example, most women I know receive breast augmentation surgery because they either have had children and/or they feel their breast don’t belong to them. They don’t feel comfortable with their breast. So, they take control and change them which has a great chance of boosting their confidence. A large percentage of women receive Botox or fillers as preventative maintenance. In order to get results, we tend to enhance our qualities and hide what we consider a flaw even though others find alleged flaws attractive. J’adore freckles!

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SMV is changing the way women and men approach and embrace beauty. This moment and movement is redefining natural beauty, this our opportunity to explore what it means to us. My definition of natural beauty is acceptance. Accepting I have curly hair, accept I have a crooked smile, accept the fine lines are forming around my face and accept my lushness.

What does natural beauty mean to you?

Much love today and always,

M.

 

Three Parisian Fashion Trends to Make Your Own

Written By: Erin Bach

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From runways and couture to chignons and capsule wardrobes, Paris is no stranger to style. I experienced this style first hand recently when I stayed in Paris for a few days with my husband for a belated honeymoon.

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I’m a horrible tourist because I hate crowds of people. I do, however, love people-watching, so I often found myself observing others when we were walking through the city or crammed on the metro. Pretty quickly,I picked up on three trends that I think are worthy of repeating.

#1: Sneakers

I am the queen of hating on sneakers. I only wear them for working out because I don’t like the way they look on me, and I generally feel frumpy and awkward when I wear them. However, I learned my lesson last time I was in Europe that walking around in sandals or “cute” shoes all day basically makes you want to amputate your feet by lunchtime, so I packed sneakers “to be practical.”

Not only did they save my feet, but I noticed that nearly all of the women I saw who looked chic or stylish were also wearing them. Turns out, sneakers aren’t so bad after all.

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There are a few keys to getting the sneaker look right. First, it needs to be slim, not bulky (no 90s TV dad sneakers). Second, choose the color carefully. Luckily, mine are gray/black so they went with my wardrobe. A pop of color with the sneaker works well too.  

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#2: Leather Jacket

I’ve researched enough about capsule wardrobes to know that a leather (or faux-leather) jacket is a great lightweight piece that can be adapted for multiple occasions. In Paris, I saw leather jackets all over the place.

I saw them paired with dresses, jeans, workout gear, business attire, etc. I love the juxtaposition of a pretty dress with a leather jacket, just as I love the look of a proper-looking business woman also being a badass.

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Pretty much the same rules for the sneakers apply here: slim not bulky, and choose a color that is either a neutral or a statement.
 

#3: Bold Lip

Who doesn’t love a good bold lip, right? I definitely do, but I’ve shied away from bright lip colors because I thought they made me look like a clown (I’m pretty pale). I adored all of the bold lip colors I saw on the streets and subways of Paris, so I decided to go for it!  

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In fact, sunblock and lipstick became my go-to “makeup” for the entire trip, and I loved it. I saw women of all face shades and shapes rocking bright lipstick, so if you’re thinking “I can’t do that,” oh yes you can!  

So there you have it. Bring out your inner style badass this summer by choosing one of these trends to make your own (or adapt all three). Have fun!

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Keep It Shut Or Let It Fly?

Written By: Rosie Riott

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There are two types of people in this world, the go getters and the easily discouraged. While both of which are capable of achieving whatever it is they put their minds to, which type of mindset ACTUALLY allows one person over the other to keep pushing, to keep moving forward? Well, to answer that, you must learn the difference between each mindset, fixed and growth. First let’s start by differentiating the two.

“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.” - Carol Dweck, World-renowned Stanford University Psychologist and Author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

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While unfortunate, there are a lot more people who have a fixed mindset than we think. What these people do not realize is that it is not their predestined fate that keeps them stagnant, it is they themselves who limit what they can and cannot do, believing that they can do no better, and that the life they’ve been given is all they will ever have because life is, well, what it is.

I’ve always personally believed that life is what we make it, that through hard work, motivation, perseverance, and determination anything can be achieved. I believe that in order to be successful, in order to be truly happy, there are obstacles that need to be faced, but it is through these obstacles, a healthier more resilient being is born.

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Now ask yourself, which type of mindset would you rather have? Would you rather be a glass half empty or a glass half full type of person? Optimism is key, truly.

The way I see it is, you can either play in the rain, or you can hide and pretend it's not happening; either way, it's still raining. Might as well make the best of it!

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Be the best YOU!!

Xo Rosie Riott

 

 

Why you shouldn't fake orgasms

Written By: Kimberly Davis

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There’s usually a lot of pressure leading up to the first time you have sex. Whether you’ve decided to wait for a specific reason or are just trying to get it over with as soon as possible, the first time you have sex can be awkward, exciting, and slightly nauseating and pretty much any feeling you can think of. Just remember that as long as you’re having safe, consensual (consent is hot) sex, you’re already doing everything right. A little awkwardness never killed anybody. Just remember…

Don’t fake an orgasm

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You don’t want to create any unrealistic expectations, and most women don’t orgasm the first time they have sex. Faking orgasms only makes it harder to communicate the things you need to get there in the future. Plus, once you form the habit of faking it, it’ll be harder to quit in the future. Like biting your nails when you’re nervous.

Don’t compare your experience with anyone else’s
 

Also keep in mind that if when you look back on this experience later, not to beat yourself up about it. Especially if you waited to share the experience with a long term partner and you two are separated now. It only matters that you had fun in the moment, and were enthusiastic about the experience.

Remember to breathe

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Deep breathing is a great way to get rid of distracting thoughts. It’ll help you to relax, which will in turn help make things a little less uncomfortable.

Above all, remember to have fun. Don’t focus on your partner seeing you completely naked (no need to feel self-conscious, you’re beautiful regardless). Sex is messy, human, and flawed and awkward regardless if it’s your first time or your thousandth. It's the exploration that makes it fun.

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Are you happy? find out why micro winning is.

Written By: RO

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Winning is fun, but microwinning? EVEN BETTER! A micro win is the little victories that we produce every day! We just don't take the time to celebrate them.

For example, your lunch partner did not finish their dessert...and you pass up the chance to finish It? Micro Win! Did you walk during your lunch hour instead of sit in your car and look at insta-stories for 44 minutes? Micro Win!

Have you decided to try a sugar detox? Stop right there, and give yourself a pat on the back for even considering that you need to improve your health and have made a decision to do something about it. Micro-winning is a personal affair..with yourself.  Just be excited that you are going to try something new because you want to.

Once you start celebrating these wins, you begin to gap the bridge to your bigger wins. So you walked at lunch and didn't eat the leftover dessert makes you feel good so you may just skip the after dinner wine that day too. These small victories will soon roll into one big win, like fitting into that little black dress. Ya gettin’ it now?! Micro Win!

Small wins will bring happiness. Who doesn't like being happy!? Just so you know some people won't get why you are celebrating you only ate half a burrito instead of the whole thing.

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Or why you bust out the Macarena dance when you skipped the sugar in your coffee in the morning. These micro wins are for you, and no one else. If they don't want to join in your happiness, it may be time for a friend upgrade. Soon, you will see that this new found interest in micro-winning will attract a lot more positive vibes into your life.

 

Xoxo


 

 

“The Carters dropped a Surprise Album”

Written By: Niya Smith ~ @niyaunique

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Millions launched the Tidal app last night to listen to The Carters new joint album, EVERYTHING IS LOVE. Ironically, we just had this conversation last week.

The Carters have OVER delivered. From top to bottom this piece is infused with soul, distinctly unique beats, unparalleled lyrics, and financial empowerment. I’ll share the nine track list.

1 SUMMER

2 APESHIT

3 BOSS

4 NICE

5 713

6 FRIENDS

7 HEARD ABOUT US

8 BLACK EFFECT

9 LOVEHAPPY

This was an essential - following Beyonce’s album Lemonade & Jay’s 13th studio album 4:44, this gave us the aftermath of trouble in paradise. Yoncè reminds us of the constant evolution of their relationship as she sings in their LOVEHAPPY song:

Baby, the ups and downs are worth it

Long way to go, but we'll work it

We're flawed but we're still perfect for each other

Sometimes I thought we'd never see the light

Went through hell with heaven on our side

This beach ain't always been no paradise

But nightmares only last one night

This solidified their commitment to their union - it takes courage to decide to rebuild a new foundation from the ground-up. The Carters then stepped into the Louvre Museum to give us a simultaneous visual to their song APESHIT.

 CLICK TO WACTH NEW VIDEO

Following this video at last night’s show the words “ALBUM OUT NOW” flashed on the screen. What is marketing?

Twitter also chimed in.

This album can spin on any occasion, forever appropriate. Cheers to the Carters.

Xo,

Niya.

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Ever think, “Damn, I got it going on”?

Written By: Jill Warwick ~  @girlwiththejoplinglasses

I saw her today.

The woman I was 2 years ago; the one who was starting to feel comfortable in her skin and love her body.

I was getting ready for work, a fun task when it is Jean Friday in my office, and I looked into the mirror at myself - bangs, floral shirt, pop of green, heeled boots and thought

"There you are". 

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Somewhere between then and now, I lost touch with her, but I think she's finally back. 

I don't know what happened. I recently became single again, so it’s easy to blame my ex-partner, but it wasn't his fault that I stopped being who I was. 

We learn relationships mean compromise, but I think some people take that too literally. They give and give to this other person, completely shifting their world and even, their priorities, usually themselves.  

I know that happened to me. I’ve been angry at myself for expecting another person to take care of all of my needs and thinking I could take and handle all of someone else’s.

The answers to my life are not in someone else.

Love is a beautiful thing. Give some to yourself and make you a priority, just like you do for others.

Look in the mirror and say three things you like about yourself. Wear something that makes you feel powerful, do something you love, find a mantra and repeat it over and over until you believe it.

For some tunes, I recommend Life to Fix by The Record Company.

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Finding your way to the woman you want to be isn’t going to happen with any quick fixes.

Live, make changes as needed, and let go of expectations.

Build it, brick by brick.

“You ain’t gonna win, if you ain’t gonna play.”

-The Record Company, Life to Fix


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Money and Mental Health: Where Do We Go Wrong?

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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
 

 

 

 

Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.

Written By: Alyssa Rogers

Get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich.

Bitch, I might.

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There are conflicting expectations about women’s career choices: are stay at home wives taking a cop out or are women with full time jobs neglecting their families? The new phenomenon of expecting women to both maintain a successful career and nurture a family creates a new stress. However, one of the timeless stereotypes placed on women is their place in "the kitchen".

In most societies, since the dawn of sedentary civilizations, women have been the primary makers of food. Whether they ground corn, salted venison, milked animals, or harvested yams, women were responsible for transforming raw materials into edible, life-sustaining sustenance. This has in many ways evolved and devolved for each society. In America, the stereotype of women having an innate obligation to being the primary, if not sole, preparers of food has shifted in only the past four decades - after the birth of feminism.

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Domestic mamas and papas compose the fabric of society.

There is great power in the role of food preparation. After all, how would families, societies, and empires not thrive without sustenance for their stomachs? The bodies that govern, fight for, and educate our society have to be fed. Cooking is power and influence - the foundation of which has traditionally been women. Cooking can also be an expressive, deeply personal practice. Recipes are like narratives and oral histories that keep family histories alive.
 

Domestic skills and kitchen magic are valuable, fundamental elements to each and every culture – even in those that don’t know it.


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“Single Ladies, 3 reminders”

Written By: Niya Smith

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Am I the only one that has concluded celebs must be fishing from a different sea because nothing is biting? Do I have the wrong rod or the wrong bait?

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#RealtionshipGoals are smeared everywhere which stimulates all kinds of conversation from the singles. Most men are mentally, emotionally & sometimes physically unavailable while the  common misconception is that women are desperate & willing to accept damn near anything. However after reviewing my own essentials I’ve determined, that indeed is a lie! Even if that means waiting. Okurrrr.

The “waiting period” is all about perspective so while grooming your mindset to be patient, keep these 3 things in mind.

My man is your man. When Sza said this, I took it literal until I heard her explain it during an interview on The Breakfast Club. The song we sing with so much confidence is purely noting that without commitment, we are all “sharing” and we should not take things that are meant to be lighthearted so seriously. Not every interaction will be romantic (which is okay!) but it’s vital to be able to distinguish the difference.

Accept that timing is everything. Like with anything else, pace yourself. If you choose to force it, you’ll accept less every single time. Be impartial with yourself and get your shit together first. And don’t rush through it.

“I’m the shit” Affirmations. The story you tell yourself is the most important so make sure your language matches that same energy. Write it down if you need to but have healthy conversations with yourself.

So perchance we aren't fishing from the wrong sea, we just need to put our rods down & focus on what’s really important first. You.

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xo,

Ni.

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We Do Not Exist for Your Entertainment

Written By: Kimberly Davis

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As the weather gets warmer, the dogs come out to play; and not the fluffy adorable kind that everyone loves. I’m talking about the kind of dogs that stand on street corners and whistle as you walk by. The kind of dogs that catcall you in the disguise of a “compliment”. In case no one got the message, catcalling is disgusting and degrading. It embarrasses the woman, and often makes her feel unsafe.

A compliment is your local Starbucks barista saying they like your nail polish because it compliments your eyes nicely. Innocently walking by and having a strange man whistle or make “psst psst” noises, like the noises you make when trying to summon a cat, is not a compliment. Catcalling isn’t a compliment, but it is a show of power and entitlement. Street harassers would like to feel entitled over your body, but we know something they don’t. No one is entitled to your body (except yourself)!

It may be easier said than done but just like the bullies many of us dealt with in high school, street harassers work the same way. Reacting to their demeaning comments (flipping them off, feeling small, rolling your eyes, etc.) gives them the power that they were seeking. Don’t dress differently so you don’t draw attention to yourself, don’t make yourself smaller or dull your shine for anyone; especially not lowlife street men.

Take back the street this summer. And any other season for that matter.

Let’s continue the conversation on Instagram. Find me at @kimdavis29

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