Weekend Agenda: 3 Things to do this weekend to reset

September 14, 2019


So I have a confession. I used to be one of those people who felt hella anxious if I didn't have weekend plans when I first moved to NYC. I felt like such a loser if I didn't have a packed social schedule. Maybe it's because I went to a hyper-social college and was constantly surrounded by sorority sisters and friends. There was always something to do, but more importantly, there was always someone around to hang out with. Literally, always.

So the transition to post-college life was a little daunting. I was lucky enough to find an amazing crew a few weeks after moving to New York, but now that we are all hustling and grinding in our careers, building romantic relationships or moving to other cities, it's a lot harder to hang out. Aka, that means I have a lot more alone time. And it's taken me a while to appreciate this surplus of alone time. But now I realize how vital it is for me to spend time alone to recharge. Although I totally get a lot of energy from connecting with people, I also need a lot of time alone to reset and not feel drained.

It's funny how I used to be a hardcore extrovert in college. I could go, go,go! I was a freaking energizer bunny. I thrived from being around large groups and loud energy. But now that I work a full-time job, take dance and pole classes, work on my blog and want to accomplish like 50 other things this year, I find myself fucking exhausted at the end of each workday. And I don't like it.

I want to have the energy to come home and read for 30 minutes before bed. I want to have enough energy to wake up at 5:30 am, do a quick yoga routine and work on my blog for an hour before work. I want to have enough energy to paint my nails when I'm sitting on the couch catching up on my favorite shows. And I think I've finally figured out why I don't have as much energy as I'd like after work.

It's because I don't take time to recharge properly on the weekend. Although I LOVE hanging out with my friends in Manhattan and Brooklyn, spending all of my time in the city on the weekends isn't great for my wellbeing. I need time to myself to work on all of my goals and to do things that inspire me. So now, I kind of look forward to not having a lot of plans on the weekend. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally still a huge social butterfly, but I also need to be better about knowing when to say no to plans and just do me. So I'm sharing a shortlist of three things I'm doing this weekend to get my mind right and slow down.

My Weekend Reset Roadmap

1. Put together my vision/aspiration corkboard. This has been on my to-do list for so freaking long. I am really motivated by inspiring photos, patterns, and affirmational words. So having a constant visual reminder of why I'm working hard and eating "sh*t sandwiches" each week is a huge source of energy for me.

2. Cleaning my freaking room.... and keeping it clean all week long. I thrive when I am surrounded by a beautiful and clean atmosphere. But I've noticed that I'll clean my room one night of the week, and then it's a train wreck the next day. And it stays a train wreck for the rest of the week. Why does it stay messy and distracting? Because I'm always too tired at the end of the day to tidy up. This is a terrible habit I've recently developed and I hate it. So I'm changing it. And I'm going to hold myself accountable by dedicating just 10 minutes every morning and every evening to tidy up. I pre-set an alarm so I feel obligated to follow through, and if I don't, I'll feel guilty. Since I despise feeling guilty, I will be more inclined to follow through with this goal.

Photo by Julian Hochgesang 

3. I'm going to spend a minimum of 30 minutes reading on my balcony with a glass of coffee or tea each day during the weekend. Depending on my schedule, I'll do this in the evening or in the morning. Now that it's cooling off a little bit, I'll be able to enjoy my outdoor space without sweating to death.

Photo by Ellieelien 

Ah, I'm so excited just writing about these plans! I love how much healthier my relationship with myself is becoming. Literally two years ago, I would have had a pity party for myself from the thought of too much solitude, but now. I can't wait to spend some quality alone time with myself! What are some of your favorite things to do in your "me time" to hit the reset button? Let me know below! After all, variety is the spice of life, so adding new things to our routines will help keep us inspired. Thanks again for reading this post and supporting me! Sending you lots of love, and I hope you have an amazing weekend!! 

Dating Diaries: Dealing with Disappointment

September 10, 2019

Photo by: John Parkinson

Oh boy, dating in 2019 is... exhausting. Or at least it can be if we set high expectations or just run into one too many disrespectful guys on dating apps. I know I've been freaking exhausted from dating apps for the past few months. I've constantly deleted and re-downloaded a few apps out of frustration or because the bland conversations just annoyed me. 

And I'm not going to lie; I've dealt with a ton of disappointment this year in my dating life. But I've finally reached a place where I have accepted that disappointment is a part of life.  And guess what, it's a part of life that will never kill us, so why have I been so terrified of it? 

I definitely go through cycles of not giving two f***s about dating and being irritated that I haven't met someone to build a meaningful life with yet. Sometimes this cycle happens all in the same day. Luckily, I have soooo many other exciting and challenging things to focus on in my life that dating isn't my top priority anymore. Although I will never give up on the idea of romantic love, I'm learning how to quickly bounce back from disappointment and to re-shift my focus to more important things within the hour every time I feel pessimistic about my dating life. 

But tbh, this was an EXTREMELY hard place to reach. Like real hard. I had to spend a lot of time working on my mindset in regards to how much effort to put into dating. I used to put a ton of effort in, but that is kind of wasted energy for me. But hey, old habits die hard. I know I'll have slip-ups, but I'm proud of myself for finally learning how to deprioritize dating and learning how to bounce back a lot faster from dating disappointments than I was able to just a few months ago. 

Its amazing how much progress we can make in a short amount of time if we cultivate the right mindset. 

If you're familiar with my more personal posts, you already know that dedicate a ton of time to self-growth and seeking out ways to help me overcome all the dating woes that kept me up at night in the past. I guess you could call all my failed dating experiences research. I don't know why it took me so long to intrinsically believe and understand the lessons below, but it did. Oh well. We all have our own process. Although I had to learn these lessons painfully (well there're studies to back up how adults learn lessons through pain, so maybe I can blame biology), but I'm glad I did experience them. I feel so durable now, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Here are some of the lessons I've learned over the past year - and luckily these lessons can apply to pretty much every area of your life, but especially apply to dating/relationships in the modern age of "swiping for love".

Lessons I've Learned In 2019
  • Set your boundaries and focus on creating a life you are actually happy about because no one else will give that to you. Relationships should add to your life, not fill a void or hole. 
  • Knowing how to self soothe is the only way to become stronger. 
  • Set strong boundaries (and sticking to them) is the best way to avoid dating drama or pain. 
  • No one has ever fucking died from being disappointed, so chill. There are plenty of fish in the sea ;) 
  • Stop putting guys on pedestals (thanks Actual Black Mermaid for this clarity). I’m over this for sure. I’m looking at people’s actions and not their words or their texts. Seeing clearer and knowing exactly what I’m getting myself into is the key to success. 
  • Taking a break from dating apps is necessary if I'm just starting to feel frustrated by them. If it's not a fun experience, I'm not spending my time on them.  
  • I keep letting myself down by having high expectations and getting invested in people who don’t invest back and who really aren't that special. I know that sounds kind of harsh, but no one can be special/meaningful in my life until we've built a strong bond/connection- and that takes a long time to develop. So no more of that! 
I also wanted to share a few incredible resources that have helped me along my journey. 

My biggest take-away - it’s not about me. I should get over my ego because I have no idea what’s going on in their lives behind the scenes.

Actual Black Mermaid

My biggest take-aways:
  • Don’t get hyper attached to someone you barely know.
  • Loss is expansion!!! The fewer distractions and less energy you spend on the wrong people, toxic jobs and bad habits in your life, the more room there is for the things that actually should be in your life. 

My biggest take-away:
  • If you feel yourself settling, you should step back and focus on yourself. Work on your self-confidence and re-evaluate why you even want a relationship. Relationships should thrive on a want-base, not a need base. Being co-dependent isn’t cute and doesn’t help you grow into your strongest self! 
I really believe that writing out a list of things to focus on instead of dating is a powerful way to stay on track in life, so here is my list!

  • Building a business I love
  • Creating digital and physical content/products that I'm proud of
  • Paying off my student loans!!!
  • Volunteering my time to causes I'm passionate about 
  • Traveling home to visit my family more often 
  • Building wealth and investing
  • Making enough money from an exciting and positively challenging job that allows me to live the lifestyle I want to in the NYC area 
  • Mastering new pole dancing tricks/flows 
  • Mastering new choreographed routines in my traditional dance classes  
  • Saving enough money to get a dog
  • Traveling the world with friends 
  • Learning to speak french 
  • Mastering intense cooking dishes 
  • Expanding my personal and professional network 
  • Reading more 
  • Adding more luxury investment pieces to my wardrobe
This list could go on for a long time, but these are some of the things I'm pursuing at the moment. 

 I hope you share your list below. And thank you so much for supporting my site and reading this post. I love you so much more than you know. Sending you all the love you deserve. Cheers to creating the lives of our dreams. 

September Mood Board: Accepting the Process

September 4, 2019

Photos by: Photo by Alessio Linwill-myers.com@mrrrk_smith@yoshikoevanka@eduardmilitaru@virussinside

September is such a lovely month. And with the start of a new month comes new goals to pursue. I think this month, I'm going to focus on accepting things as they are and as they appear. I'm going to approach situations with a wide-eyed sense of curiosity and wonder. And I'm going to focus on appreciating the beauty and simple magic that exists all around us in everyday life. There's just no point in making myself miserable over things I can't control or getting upset when things don't go my way. Yes, I like to be in control over the things I can actually control, but most things in life are out of my control. I've been trying to force so many specific things to happen in my career and dating life and trying to fix my relationship with myself overnight. And surprise, it's not working for me. I have been making myself miserable expecting instant gratification.

 But I don't want you to misunderstand. I am in no shape or form giving up on any of my goals. In fact, I'm going to work harder than ever to become the person whom I wish to be. But I'm adjusting my strategy and just going to focus on being the best version of myself, for myself. Not for my boss, not for a romantic interest, and certainly not for social media/societal acceptance. I'm going to show up for life every single day (even on the really shitty, painful and dark days) to the best of my ability, literally just for me. And I know that some days I'll be able to show up for myself better than others, and I'm ok with that. Because creating the life I want is going to take a lot of dedication and a lot of time. And that process will have lots of highs and lots of lows, which I accept.

I know that the only way to actually live a fulfilled life where you feel confident and are proud of the person you see in the mirror is to push through the shitty days and remember that the rough times are just temporary. And when the time comes, I'll make the salary I deserve to make, find the person who wants to build an incredible life by my side and continue to build my sense of self-worth.  And honestly, I can't think of a better feeling.

I wanted to thank you for spending time today to read this post. I hope you make your own monthly mood board and share it with me or one of your trusted friends. We all owe it to ourselves to seek out inspiration, and this is one of my favorite ways to start each month, with a little bit of inspo. Sending you all the love in the world.

My Favorite Fashion Finds From All The Labor Day Sales

August 31, 2019

Photo by Jason Briscoe

Yeah!! Labor Day! I'm so grateful for all the men and women who have fought to keep our country safe. And I'm also grateful for some much needed time away from the office this long weekend. Labor Day pretty much means summer is over. I've come to accept that and am 10000% ready for all the chunky sweaters, mini skirts and cute booties. Fall fashion is my SHIT... but doesn't every fashion-lover say that? Whatever, I guess I'm a tad bit basic. I can accept that. But just because I love fall fashion doesn't mean I need to spend a fortune on fun pieces for the season. And LDW is the best time to stock up on fall staples because every single store on the planet is having major sales. I wanted to share some of my favorite finds from the sales round up with you guys. Online window shopping is really fun for me, so I fogured I should stop being a selfish brat and share the wealth with you. Now we can all be a stylish gang this season.

Also, here are some great sale alerts to keep on your radar. Happy shopping. And p.s., there are affiliate links in this post. Just want to be transparent. :)

Let me know if you end up grabbing anything cute during this weekend full of sales. And you can always DM me photos of your outfit if you're having issues styling pieces. Thanks again for taking a moment to read my post. Your support means so much to me. Sending you all the love and safety wishes this weekend, espeically for all my fellow east coast friends. I'm praying that this hurricane doesn't cause as much damange as it's predicted to. Until next time my friend.

How to Cope with the Negative & Overwhelming News Cycle

August 22, 2019

Photo by Branden Harvey
*Disclaimer: I'm about to have a "she doesn't even go here" mean girls moment and get real sappy. You've been warned.

Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I like to pretend that I live in a faraway land where everyone is nice to each other. In this mythical place, people approach the differences in others with love, respect and intrigue, and violence is not a constant reality nor is it normalized. Yeah, that's a nice little daydream, but I know that it is far from how our world operates today.

I've had quite a few discussions with friends recently about how we are experiencing extreme levels of anxiety. Between the mass shootings, a surplus of hate crimes, families that have been torn apart by the current administration, global warming and police misconduct, it's no surprise that most of my friends and I have trouble sleeping at night or have become way too familiar with panic attacks. But just because there is a ton of chaos in the world, that doesn't mean there also isn't a ton of good! 

I am constantly researching ways to cheer myself up after reading the news. It's a tricky spot to be in because I want to stay aware of everything that is happening around the globe, but I also have had quite an amount of breakdowns after reading the news. I'm constantly on edge while doing the most mundane activities because I'm afraid that if I go to the movies, there could be a mass shooting or if I go to the grocery store at the wrong time, there could be a mass shooting or if I go to the wrong workout class, there could be a mass shooting. Or if I walk by the wrong police officer, I could get murdered.. you guys get the point. Most of us are on edge all the fucking time! And this is such an unhealthy way to live. So I've started seeking out a few different resources to help me calm the f down and learn to cope with the current state of the world. I wanted to share what I do to take care of my sanity because I know this is not a problem that is unique to me. I hope this list helps you find a little more peace in your day. And if you have any coping mechanisms, please share them below. I want us to support each other in every way possible.

What I do to cheer myself up after reading the news. 
  • Mobile Journaling - Although I love the ritual of writing in a physical journal with a beautiful pen, it's not always the easiest thing to carry around or whip out when you are on the go. One of my favorite new habits has been using my phone as a journal. I started a folder in my inotes app that is dedicated solely to journaling. This way, when I'm feeling super anxious, I can express myself, collect my thoughts and reassure myself that everything will be ok.
  • I seek out positive news sources. Although I love my daily newsletters from Katie Couric and other sources, I NEED to read about a lot more positive things that are happening around the world. The Good News Newsletter by The Week is an amazing resource for happier news. I like that they actually share heartfelt, impactful stories instead of just fluff news.  I signed up for their newsletter via my work email so I actually see it every week and am more likely to read it. 
  • I watch Queer Eye. It's one of the best reminders of humanity in the world. Wine and Queer Eye are an excellent combination... just saying.
  • I chat with my friends about the current news. I have pretty amazing friends who are all very compassionate people. The news typically emotionally impacts them just as much as it impacts me. So discussing our thoughts usually makes me feel 10000 times better. It always helps me feel less alone and like our world has a fighting chance.
  • I step away from technology and treat myself to a nice, warm cup of tea. We all know about the soothing health benefits tea, but have you ever thought about grabbing tea instead of coffee when you are stressed or feeling really down. The warm cup feels like a mini little hug. I believe there are a few studies that discuss the psychological benefits of holding a warm beverage.
  • My last tip is to research ways to get involved. One time, I heard this great quote, "If an injustice makes you angry, that’s a sign that you should do something about it." So if reading an article makes you want to scream into a pillow, brings you to tears or want to punch something, hop on Google and find a reputable place to donate money to that cause or volunteer your time. The best way to feel better about the state of the world is to actively contribute to making it better.

Now it's your turn homie. Let me know in the comments what you do to get over the emotional hangover that usually lingers after reading the news? I'm so happy that we have each other to lean on when times get tough. That's one thing I love about the internet; it allows us to expand our support system in ways that were never possible before. Thank you so much for spending time reading this! I love and appreciate you soooooo much more than you could ever know. Until next time my friend. 

August Mood Board: Dog Days of Summer

August 11, 2019

Photos by: @sixteenmilesout, @the_modern_life_mrs, @sugercoatit, Matthew Waring,@alisaanton

Although my closet is ready for it to be fall, I still want to soak up as much of summer as I can this month. In my opinion, August is all about enjoying time outdoors. 

Reading in the park or on the porch. Having picnics late in the evening after the weather has cooled down a little. Sneaking in that last weekend getaway. Jetting off to the south of France, the Italian coast or Spain if you have the budget for it. 

Yeah, August is a good month. It’s a reminder that it’s not too late to add some carefree joy and a little bit of luxury to our lives. I’m adding a little bit of luxury to my life this month by dressing up more, treating myself to dessert once a week, and saying yes to more social activities, even if I just feel like staying in pj's all day. Summer can be so much fun, and I want to take advantage of that. And hey, if I meet a cute guy who’s on my same page while I'm trying to have a buoyant summer... then that’s just icing on the cake. Why should summer end prematurely? Taking advantage of this airy time is something we all need to do. 

I hope you add a few more things to your bucket list this August. No matter how big or small, adding enjoyable experiences to our daily routines is crucial if we want to stay sane in this extremely chaotic and anxiety-driven world. I'd love to hear more about what's inspiring you this month. And as always, I want to say thank you for taking the time to read this post. Your support means the world to me. Sending you lots of love! 

Pre-Fall Musings: my pre-fall wardrobe staples

August 4, 2019

So it looks like high summer is quickly coming to an end. Although I love the ease and laidback vibe that comes around every summer, I'm getting really excited to start transitioning my closet for fall again! I am longing to pair long blazers with mini dresses, but the idea of wearing that outfit when it's 90 degrees and I have to walk a minimum of 40 minutes a day does not sound even remotely appealing. But the weather isn't going to stop me from getting excited to plan fun pre-fall outfits.

I wanted to share a few items I'm lusting after for the upcoming season. This fall, I want to channel my inner boss/bad b***h. And yes, I know how corny that sounds. But I am committed to feeling confident, strong and sexy in a tasteful way, and my appearance plays a part in that. When I like my outfit, I instantly have a little pep in my step.  And I am craving a pep in my step lately. I want to transform into a better version of myself this fall, and I want to show up for myself 7 days of the week... because right now, I've only been showing up like 3 days a week lol. Are you planning to level up your wardrobe this fall? Feel free to tell me what's on your wishlist in the comments below! And let me know which item in my list speaks the most to you. Happy planning y'all, and thank you so much for stopping by to read this post.

The Luxe List - My Pre-Fall Shopping List

  • High-quality dainty gold necklaces: I am so freaking sick of my cute gold coin necklaces and layered pendants rusting because I only paid $40 for them from a fast-fashion retailer. I get so attached to them, so it's time to invest in one or two timeless layering pieces that I will have for years to come. 
  • Satin Slip Dresses or Skirt: I love the chic and sexy silhouettes that these pieces usually create and with literally zero effort on our end. You just throw it on and instantly, your look is elevated. 
  • Plunging Polka-Dot Top: Ok, well I actually want this exact top by Lorna Luxe. Like, I really really need it. And it will be available to buy on August 5th! 
  • Long Blazers: So I already ordered this long white blazer, and I cannot wait for it to arrive! I am going to wear it with sooooooo many mini dresses, (aka the dress below) mini skirts and shorts. My favorite way to wear a short hemline is to pair it with a long jacket that covers my butt. In my opinion, that is the best way to add a touch of class to a sexy outfit. 
  • Cheetah Mini Dress: I've been wanting to add a cheetah dress to my wardrobe for a few months now but never bit the bullet. This one is absolutely perfect though, so it will be my weekly treat to myself. And I'll give up brunch for the weekend in order to save some money. 
  • Comfy Square Heels: I swore I wouldn't jump on this trend, but now I really like it lol.
  • Mini Skirts with Side Slit: I'm obsessed with this cut. Showing off my legs is one of my favorite things to do, so I will take advantage of any and all weather that allows me to rock a bare leg look. period.  

Weekly Finds: What's on my radar this summer + a recent journal entry

July 26, 2019

Photo by Viviana Rishe 

Hi Gang,

We made it through another work week. Hopefully, the temperatures have dropped in your area. We were having a ton of brown-outs/ black-outs in the NYC area, but it seems like the intense heatwave is behind us... for now. As far as this week has gone, things seem to be turning around. Well, truth be told, none of my situations have changed, but I am feeling a lot better and my attitude is wayyyyy healthier and better than it has been in a while. And that's something I can be grateful for. I've been putting in a lot of work to make myself feel better though; it's not as if I just randomly woke up today feeling strong. Here is a list of a few things I did this week to help "future Nia - or I guess, now present Nia" feel better:

  • I forced myself to go to the gym multiple times this week, even though I REALLY didn't want to. 
  • I woke up early to listen to podcasts and journal. 
  • I stopped avoiding my therapist and actually responded to her text messages - lol 
  • I dressed up a little bit more and took extra time in the morning to look and feel more confident (this seriously makes a huge difference) 
  • I disregarded my "I should be making X amount of money by now" rule and accepted that it's ok to still be in an early growth stage of my career... but sidenote, that doesn't mean that I'm not going to work hard to make more money lol 
But guess what, the most impactful thing I did for my mental health this week was I admitted that I'm not healed yet!. I finally admitted to myself that I'm not fucking 100% back to my bad-ass self yet, and now I'm ok with that. Honestly, after watching Big Little Lies, I realized that healing from past traumas and self-deprecating actions is a long process. I am just so used to instant gratification, that I was lying to myself and saying "you're better now Nia. You should have accomplished X, Y and Z by now". Like wow, I have to freaking stop bullying myself. And I have to find peace in the fact that pulling myself out of the dark places that anxiety and depression drag us into takes years. There are constant ups and downs, progress and regressions, sunny seasons and dark seasons, but that's ok. It all makes us stronger in the long run, as long as we keep showing up for ourselves, even if that just means getting yourself out of bed and out the door, at least you're still fighting, and that's a reason to always be proud of yourself.

Ok, I did NOT intend to pour my heart out when I started writing this post. So before I start crying in this coffee shop, let's move on to a few things that have been on my radar this summer. Hope you enjoy! 

  • Captain Planet: These Reformation Climate Credits are dope! I always feel so freaking guilty about the amount of waste I produce and how terrible taking a flight is on the environment. Lucky for us, we can contribute to organizations that help to reverse our actions by purchasing these credits... pretty cool, right? Or at least, I think so haha. This is also another reason why I love this sustainable clothing company; there aren't many fashion brands taking actions to protect our environment. 
add widget here

    • I also think their sustainable travel guides are pretty inspiring as well. Sustainable travel is something I need to do a better job of incorporating into my life! 
  • Gotta Get My Mind Right: This is a cool IG mental wellness account I found out about this week. I don't remember who shared it with me, but I'm very grateful. 
  • Menu: I cannot wait to make this for dinner this weekend or next week!
  • Beat the Burnout: I thought this was a great article that talks about actually disconnecting from work when you take days off.  
  • Summer Entertaining: I want to host an al fresco brunch for a few friends soon, (when it's a little cooler) and this tart would be the perfect sweet to serve! 
  • Lean In: Women have it rough in pretty much every industry, and our current political environment is making equality even harder to achieve. LeanIn.orghttps://leanin.org/ is an incredible female-empowerment resource that Katie Couric endorses. I really hope you check it out. 
  • Support the Girls: It's no secret that I have a lot to support when it comes to my chest area, and finding a quality strapless bra that actually supports the twins has been a struggle since I was in 8th grade. That's why I was so excited to stumble upon this strapless bra guide for busty women. I'm adding one to my shopping cart ASAP. 
  • Simple Living: Is there anything better than taking a stroll through the farmers' market in the summer? I think not! I love this guide for making the most of the farmer' market this summer. Overalls are optional... but I'll be wearing mine to the farmer's market this weekend because they are fun and sexy in an unexpected way. 
  • Shop Til You Drop: Here are some great sales this week: 
    • Gap- 50% OFF EVERYTHING - valid through 7/27
    • H&M- Sale up to 70% off - Ayyyyyeeeeee!!!! 
    • My Theresa- Extra 20-30% off sale items. This is a great site for anyone wanting to buy discounted luxury items! - valid through 7/28
    • Zappos - Extra 20% off select styles with the code BDay20 - valid through 7/28
    • Kohl's- Friends and Family sale!! Extra 20% off with code FFTAKE20 - valid through 7/29
  • Shopping Cart: So I know that I included a ton of links about sustainable fashion/living, but it is out of a lot of people's price range. I've had my eye on a few things for the past few weeks. Some sustainable and some fast-fashion. I've included a mix of the two below that range in price. P.S. These are affiliate links so I may receive like 50 cents-2 dollars if you make a purchase from the links below. 

Hope you have an amazing weekend! And thanks so much for stopping by to read this post! I know I say this in every post, but you support seriously means the world to me!

Inspired Living: Positive Quotes To Live By

July 15, 2019

Photo by Alisa Anton 

So the start to my week was a little rocky, but I wanted to share some amazing quotes that serve as great reminders that brighter moments and brighter days are right around the corner. I know that a lot of people are going through tough times, so I wanted to share some uplifting messages. I hope you curl up with a warm cup of tea, grab your journal and feel a little more inspired, regardless of the day you’ve had. And remember, no matter what you're going through, you're never really alone. That's one thing I love about the internet and social media. Technology has made it possible for me to connect with so many incredible, talented, kind, loving people, and for that, I am in awe and eternally grateful. You truly deserve all the love and happiness in the world, and I know we are both on the right path to receiving just that. Until next time my friend. 

Soul Food: a random list of low-key things that spark happiness

June 26, 2019

Photo by Will Truettner 
Ah, summer. There’s something so freeing about it. It’s as if the world opens up a whole new realm of possibilities and adventures this season. I like to think that summer is nature’s way of telling us to relax and take a freaking break. The Lord knows we all deserve one, especially with how hectic and scary our world has become (I promise I’m not about to go on a political rant because you guys already know).

In my opinion, summer is all about embracing the easy life, indulging in a few things that enrich our soul and taking time to evaluate what really matters to us. One thing that really matters to me is feeling inspired. I want to feel inspired for most of the day. I want to feel joy at least a few times a day. And when you’re grinding away at a corporate job and then come home exhausted, you can start to feel drained and totally lose yourself in the mundane routine. That’s why I love making short lists of a few things I can do every day to add a little more joy into my daily routines. Here are a few things that have been making me happy lately.

  1. Reading outside - I love grabbing a blanket and sitting in the shade in the park or reading along the waterfront or my apartment balcony. It's a great way to just escape and dive into a fictional world.
  2. Watching Desperate Housewives - y’all this show is wild!! I grew up watching this show with my mom but haven’t watched it in like a decade so it’s basically like watching a brand new show. I’m obsessed, and I got my roommate obsessed, so now I have someone who I can talk about the show with.
  3. Going on a random walk while listening to a podcast. This is my favorite thing to do when I’m feeling lonely. I love walking down a tree-lined street filled with brownstones or walking through a park. I get exposed to so many new and interesting ideas from the podcasts while also discovering beauty in NYC/JC home. (Mom Monde: Just be sure to keep your volume down a little bit, only walk when it’s light outside and be aware of your surroundings. It sucks that it even has to be said but rather safe than sorry, right?)
  4. Getting ice cream from an ice cream truck in the park- it’s the best on a hot day and they only cost like $1.50.
  5. Yoga - I recently started going back to yoga and I forgot how much I miss therapeutic, slow-paced yoga.
  6. Taking "Me Time" in the morning before work. This is my favorite new ritual. I literally refuse to just hop out of bed and start getting ready for work now. I spend the first hour of my day doing things that I actually want to do and it’s been great! Yes, that means I wake up an hour earlier than I used to (on good days), but it’s soooooo freaking worth it. Tbh, I still hit snooze 3 out of 5 days a week when my alarm goes off at 5:15, but it’s my goal to start making 5:15 my “me time hour” and 6:15 my blog mode hour. There are so many things I want to do before heading into the office. Now I just have to push myself to do them.
  7. Flipping through a glossy magazine, reading luxe blogs or spending time on Pinterest making vision boards. There’s something so relaxing about flipping through a lux magazine or curating pretty photos that transfers me to a different place - like a little free trip that feeds into my wanderlust. I firmly believe that some escapism is good for the soul - it allows us to dream a little bigger. 
What are a few things that bring you happiness? I really hope you take 5 minutes today to write a list for yourself. That way, when you're feeling blah and in a rut, you have a pre-made action plan that can help you have a little more responsible fun. We definitely all need a little more healthy fun in our lives. Feel free to share your list below! I'd love to hear what little luxuries make you happy! Thank you so much for spending a moment to read this post. Your support means the world to me. Until next time my friend.

Survival Guide: What to do when a shitty job gets even shittier

June 5, 2019

Photo by Arnel Hasanovic

We’ve all been there. In that horrible mental place where we feel stuck, angry, depleted, emotionally drained, and those awful feelings are budding from a very significant place in your life… your day job. You’re living paycheck to paycheck, your boss refuses to give you the raise or promotion you deserve, you work insane hours with very little reward or maybe your job is just painfully dull and your boss is a tyrant. Regardless of your situation, pretty much everyone who has a traditional job started off shoveling shit for a living (metaphorically speaking of course). Oh, if only our professors in college had prepared us for how bleak, unfair and soul-crushing the corporate world could be, maybe we’d beat ourselves up less for going through these growing pains.

But here’s the thing, these growing pains are kind of inevitable. And, you bet your sweet ass this sucks right now, but complaining about how awful corporate America is, how shitty the pay is, or how completely mind-numbing your job is will not get you any closer to living an inspired life. You know what will? Taking action my friend, that will get us all closer to our dream lives. That’s why I’ve rounded up my personal tips, tricks, and action plan to elevate your career and your life. But since I’m still in the early stages of my career development, I’ve also rounded up some incredible resources from people way smarter than me with more experience in this subject. I hope these articles and tips will help you feel motivated to take just one action to make tomorrow better than today.

And just a quick reminder, all of the advice listed below might not be a great fit for you. Just take what feels right and leave the rest. Unless we win the lottery, we are not going to magically prosper overnight. It’s going to be a process full of hard work, mistakes, tears and, for me, a ton of wine, but we will get there as long as we get back up every time we get off track. And isn’t that why we are all here? To encourage each other and help each other focus on curating beautiful lives - I certainly hope so.

The Problem: I want to be paid my worth

How to change it: So my first step would be to ask for a raise or a promotion (which should come with a raise). If that request gets denied, and you’ve worked your butt off and deserve one, it’s time to start looking for another job my friend. But I once heard that you never want to run away from a job because you might be running right into a worse work situation. So in order to avoid accepting a job offer in an act of desperation, look into picking up a side hustle. Having a higher income will allow us to see our current job and any potential new jobs with a healthier perspective. Now that you’re not moving on to a new job just to pay the bills, you are buying yourself time to find a job you will actually like… now that sounds like a dream. And don’t worry, I’ve included some links regarding how to stay sane at your day job while you’re job hunting.
P.S. We will go into job hunting skills in another post - tbd.

16 Ways to Make a Lot of Money Without Another Full-Time Job or Degree

How to Ask for a Promotion (and Actually Get It)

How To Survive A Job You Hate (But Can't Leave – Yet)

The Problem: I want a more challenging and fulfilling job

How to change it: So there are two main options here. One, come up with a list of tasks and projects you would like to take on at work, put them into a neat little presentation, and pitch them to your boss. I happen to have an amazing boss who LOVES to hear all of our new ideas when it comes to growth and development… if you’re not that lucky - it’s time to look for a new job.

How To Stay Sane At The Job You Hate – From Women Who’ve Been There

The Problem: I need to work in a less toxic work environment

How to change it: So you’ve talked to HR and they didn’t do shit. You’re already job hunting. You have a list of 20-30 companies that you would love to work for, but what can you do in the meantime? My friend, you need to find a mentor who’s been in your shoes. This can be an internal mentor or you can use Bumble Bizz or Linkedin to connect with someone. You need an ally, and you need an outsider's perspective to remind you that this is a freaking temporary situation.

11 Tips For Staying Sane in a Toxic Work Environment

The Problem: I feel lost and don’t know what the f**k I want to do with my life

How to change it: Reflection. Reflecting, reading, researching and trying new things is literally the only way you’ll figure out what you want to do. If you don’t like reflecting because you hate the emotions that come with it, you honestly just have to suck it up and accept that you might cry during this exercise. But that pain will move us forward, so it’s completely worth it. You can always have a glass of wine (or 2) while you reflect and write out everything that interests you.

Listen to this (5-minute watch w/ Marie Forleo): How do I figure out what I want

And this (8-minute watch w/ Marie Forleo): Feeling Lost

Ted Talk: Refusing to Settle - The Quarter Life Crisis - 16-minute watch

Book Recommendation - You’re Not Lost

The Problem: I f***ing hate corporate America and want to run my own business

How to change it: It. Is. Time. To, Moonlight. Quitting your job until your side-hustle replaces your current source of income is non-negotiable unless you have a trust fund or live with someone else who's paying the bills. And even then, it’s pretty risky to quit your job and be financially dependent on someone else. Do you really want someone else to be in control of your future? I sure as hell don’t, so the daily grind continues and you wake up at the crack of dawn to work on your business before you head into work. And you add a 3rd shift to your day after you get home from the office and the gym. And you make a lot of sacrifices. This is the stage I am in, and I might be in this stage for a while.

I know successful entrepreneurs who also have day jobs because it’s a constant source of income. Running your own business means you don’t always get a paycheck each month. Maybe you want to keep your day job for a few years and just cut back on the hours you work. But if that sounds like a death sentence, then start working harder and smarter than you’ve ever worked before. Action is the only way any of us will be able to grow our businesses enough to sustain our lifestyles. Trust me, I’m eating my words as I type them. I have to step my game up and start taking my own freaking advice.

On Mental Wellness
One thing I’ve learned the hard way is that our businesses and our careers cannot successfully thrive if we don’t take care of our mental and physical health. If we neglect ourselves for a season, we might be able to get away with it. But if we neglect ourselves for too long, we will burn out and breakdown. So go ahead and add self-care to your daily to-do list while pursuing goals. It’s a  necessity.

Podcast (28-minute listen) Why you aren’t taking action

A Little Inspo (57-minute listen) SDH 268: Corporate America to Six-Figure Entrepreneur in Less than 4 Months with Julie Ciardi

SDH 304: How to Create Self-Discipline and Drive Within Yourself with Amanda Boleyn

And here are a few resources to deal with feeling down while job hunting

Let me know what your game plan is to create a better life for yourself in the comments below. And if you have any tips you’d like to share, please do!! We all need as much help as we can get. Sending you all the love and prosperity in the world my friend. Cheers to a brighter career, because your current job is just a stepping stone on your way to success. Until next time.

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