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.

Monthly Muses: Summer 2019 Inspiration

May 27, 2019

Photo by Jack Ward 

Wow, it’s already summer. I hate to admit it, but I let May rush right by me. I feel as if every month this year has just flown by without me taking the time to really focus on what I want and how to get it. Oops. But the good news is, summer tends to be my industry's slow season. That means I’ll have more time to be present and come up with a game plan to elevate my life. Aye!! And by elevate, I don’t necessarily mean I need to accomplish something major like getting a promotion, finding a new job, running my own lucrative business, paying off all my student loans or finding "my person" (don't worry, I vomited in my mouth a little bit at the last part of that list too). My definition of success is constantly evolving, and the rare ability to live in the moment and practice gratitude is something I appreciate more and more each day.

That being said, I want to start focusing more on the little things that inspire me and give me a pinch of happiness. Those small happy moments add up to one big happy life when you put them all together. One feeling I’ve always chased is a sense of inspiration. It warms my heart, and I’m sure you can relate. That’s why I wanted to share this list with you today, not just for selfish reasons (yeah, creating this post does make me really happy), but I also want to encourage you to write a list of a few things that have been inspiring you this month/season. Then you can take that list and use it as a road map to add a little more joy into your life.

There’s so much stress, drama, and pain in this world that we need to take some time out to remind ourselves of all the beauty life can offer. I personally think it’s crucial for our spiritual survival. I’d absolutely love it if you shared your list in the comments below. Like I said before, most people, including myself, are inspiration junkies so the more inspiration shared, the better.

A short list of things that have made me smile or feel inspired this month
Photos by:
 Ivan Ramirez , @brina_blum@pmason303@larasophie996@damiano_baschiera@markusspiske

  • Gardening  
  • House plants
  • Maxi dresses and skirts w/ slits
  • Raffia shoes
  • Cane bags
  • Almafi coast
  • Anklets
  • Seashells
  • Vintage bathing suits particularly this line by Danielle Bernstein aka We Wore What. Every time I look at the Italy swimsuit collection, I fall more and more in love with the entire line. The colors and patterns are perfect, the location of the photo shoot is dreamy and the vintage cuts/styles are completely my taste. I have loved retro bathing suits for a long time. The Danielle one piece in citrus, the Salerno eyelet top, and the black rose Sorrento two-piece set are at the top of my wish list this season.
Earrings, Dress, Raffia Slides, Cane Bag, Raffia Heels, Anklet

Thank you for spending a moment of your day to read this post. Your love and support mean the world to me. Wishing you love, peace, and joy. Until next time my friend.

Weekly Finds: Budget Friendly Flirty Maxi & Midi Skirts/Dresses

May 15, 2019

Photo by Mary Skovpen

I've recently become obsessed with midi and maxi skirts. I love how elegant and classy they are. And after I saw this video of Brighton Kheller in this Reformation skirt with a high slit, I fell in love!! I've been thinking about this skirt for a few weeks - wanting it but not wanting to drop that much dough on a singular skirt (although Reformation is a sustainable website, and I'm sure I would wear this lovely piece a ton this summer on dates and frolicking around the city), so I've been on the hunt for a dupe. Then, my brilliant friend MaryAshlyn told me that she found a skirt just like it on Shein.

I had completely forgotten to look there. And guess what y'all,  I found a pretty great dupe for a fraction of the price. I found a few other amazing pieces during my massive hunt as well and thought I would share. These prices are super affordable if you're on a really tight budget like I am. One day, I would love to evolve away from purchasing fast fashion clothing, but for now, my budget isn't large enough to only shop at sustainable stores. So if you're looking for a few budget-friendly and cute pieces, check out the highlighted items below. I already purchased my favorite pieces below (will share a review when they arrive) and I'll be rewarding myself with some of the other items after I meet various financial, career and health goals this month. What goals are you going to reward yourself for this month?

P.S., be sure to read the reviews and look at the clothing measurements for each item. This is key when ordering from a wholesale site like Shein, and don't forget to check out their plus size section where there are similar styles!

I also wanted to share this amazing green polka dot dress with you guys. It captured my roommate's and my heart! So obviously I bought it. Let me know if you love it as much as we do. I am a sucker for maxi dresses with flirty elements like a wrap neckline and a high slit. This dress was too good to pass up.

Link Here 

 As always, thanks for reading this post and supporting me. I truly do love you.

Sunday Reads: Health, Wealth and Love

May 12, 2019

Photo by Henry & Co.

Hi Guys,

I hope you had a wonderful week! Here are a few interesting articles I found on the web this week. I hope you grab a cup of tea and enjoy diving into the links below this evening. And if you’re a GOT fan like me, let’s pray we don’t lose any of our favorite characters this episode… but let’s be honest, Game of Thrones has never cared about sparing our emotions lol.  

  • Save Our Planet - this was a really informative article about the fabrics our clothes are made out of, how they impact the earth, and what fabrics to shop for instead

  • Mental Health Talk - This article is for all of my fellow women of color. Mental Health care is typically frowned upon in our communities. I know I was told to just “pray more” while growing up when I asked my parents if I could go to therapy… not the most helpful advice when tackling mental illnesses. Healthy mind = healthy life #blackgirlmagic

  • My favorite open, honest and relatable people on Instagram
    • Hayet Rida - I've been following her for years and her entertaining, honest and uplifting content - especially her IG Stories have helped me get through a lot! I have an entire powerpoint of screenshots of the advice and quotes she shares.
    • A Cup of Charisma - I was watching her IG Stories at my desk at work and started crying. Her stories happened to hit a raw nerve with me that day, but I love that Jillian always shares her highs and lows. Plus, she's a huge advocate for mental wellness, just like Hayet.

  • Currently Craving: seashells! I want these earrings; maybe I'll buy them next week.

  • Growing Pains- Apparently our 20s are supposed to be hard.
    • I loved how raw and honest these posts below were. They touche on so many points that I really relate to. So far my 20s have been freaking hard (losing my dad, graduating college without a job, my brother being diagnosed with an insane disease and constantly being rushed to the hospital, moving to NYC and dealing with mice, bedbugs and evil landlords, money and career struggles, dating all the wrong men, learning to let go of relationships that no longer serve me, adjusting to being single again, battling and getting treated for depression- therapy is the freaking best, having a quarter-life crisis…this list could go on and on lol) but these experiences are making me tough as fuck. I hope these articles I’ve linked resonate as much with you as they did with me. We are all struggling with something and learning how to grow from it.

  • Wanderlust: Uh, I have a huge travel bug right now and want to check out these colorful places.

Weekly Highs and Lows

This week was transformative; that’s the most positive word I could think of. Despite being terrified of a lot of different things (some in my control and some out of my control). This week was not amazing, and I’m ok admitting that. I’m learning to accept that life is ½ negative and ½ positive. I will have hard weeks; we all will. And that’s kind of a blessing because these shitty ass times make us so much stronger. I have a lot of changes to make in my life - and I’m excited about that. I want to take actions that move me closer to my goals, and going back to therapy this week was the first step in doing so. I am so grateful that I am able to afford therapy (right now I’m using Better Help, which is quite budget friendly). I’m grateful to have the guidance of a much wiser person who can help me reflect on the errors of my past. Now, I’m able to apply those lessons and create a happier future for myself. No matter what the future entails, we are all capable of figuring it out. Wishing you a lovely Sunday and Mother’s Day - make sure to do something extra special for your mom and for yourself this evening. Even if it’s just ordering your favorite food and watching something hilarious - after all, laughter is the best medicine and my favorite coping mechanism for growing during hard times.

Thank you so much for reading this. Your love and support mean the world to me.

Food For Thought: A Note on Ambition

April 17, 2019

Photo By: John Parkinson III
One of my favorite podcasts - the life coach school podcast - has an episode about ambition that really challenged the way I look at ambition and the reasons why I pursue the things I do. I get so much value from this podcast. Not because I want to become a life coach, but because it focuses on teaching the tools we need to cultivate our minds and control our thoughts and emotions. And since our emotions influence our actions, really this podcast is teaching us how to develop discipline so we can achieve our goals.

I’ve always been a pretty ambitious and driven person. I thrive when I’m in that state, but I never realized the key problematic factors that Brooke points out and anyone who’s ambitious should address.

There’s one question that she repeats during the podcast that made me stop and pause while on my commute to work, “why are you ambitious or why aren’t you ambitious?”

For me, the answer to this question has changed over the years. I used to be ambitious because I thought I had to be an overachiever in order to be valued and to be important. This was not a healthy attitude because I was driven by fear and the belief that I wasn't good enough unless I was achieving great things. And that’s not a sustainable driving factor. This fear led to burnout and depression: two things I’m still actively working to recover from.

And this lead to an interesting chapter in my life... the lack of ambition... because I stopped believing I was capable of getting what I wanted, so I avoided (and have recently been avoiding) taking massive action. This is a mindset I'm battling every day so I can get back to the version of me that follows through on my word to myself... for myself and myself alone.

But then there was this other point that Brooke made that completely disturbed my previous ideas about ambition, success, and achievement. She believes (and I now believe this too) that if you're ambitions because you think you’ll be happier once you achieve x y & z, you’re going to be disappointed. You might be coming from a place of lack instead of learning to be at peace in the moment - and we all know we aren’t promised another moment on this earth, so we should take advantage of the moments we do have.

Fuck... that’s exactly how I’ve lived my entire life!! By chasing external achievements, expecting to be happy when I make a certain salary, find the love of my life, live in that dream apartment/townhome, don’t have to stress about money, am completely debt-free, etc... If I work hard enough, all of these problems will disappear, and I’ll live happily ever after, right? Hahahaha wrong Nia.

Now don’t get me wrong, I will never give up on my dreams and desires. I’ve taken breaks from massively pursuing my goals, but I’ve never given up on them because when I’m growing and overcoming obstacles, that’s when I feel the most inspired, invigorated and fulfilled. Being ambitious is not the issue. Being ambitious because I want to contribute to the world and continue to grow into the person I want to be is a goal I’m very proud of. But when my ambition is driven by lack and fear (aka two things that have been trying to run my life for the past 3 years) and because I think that once I achieve that goal, I’ll finally be happy, that’s when my mental, spiritual and physical health starts to deteriorate. That’s when I start being cruel to myself and telling myself that I have to push harder in order to be worthy of success and love and happiness. But I am already worthy of those things. You are already worthy of those things too.

My main goal of the year was to grow my business, but now my main goal is to stop looking outside myself for fulfillment and a sense of purpose. My name literally means purpose afterall, and I believe our purpose is to focus on becoming the best version of ourselves, regardless of what other people think or say.  I want to create a tiered business that serves others, but I want to do so from a place of love, contribution and peace, not from a place of fear, misery or selfishness. And I can’t do that until I heal my relationship with myself. This podcast is helping me do just that. It is a daily reminder that I should let go of shaming myself for not being ”perfect” and not being “good enough”.

This podcast is just one of the critical tools that’s helping me actually learn how to love myself. While I’m learning to love all parts of myself, I’m also learning to appreciate the discomfort that comes with growing into the best version of myself. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you today. I hope you related to something in this post today and feel less alone/scared if you've been battling the same sense of scarcity and fear as I have. I’d love to hear what you’re trying to achieve, whether it’s career-oriented, health-oriented or romance-oriented, ambition can impact every area of our lives. But most importantly, I'd like to hear why you are pursuing that dream. Our job is to make sure that we are pursuing those ambitions for the right reasons. Thanks again for reading. Your support means the world to me. Be sure to leave a comment letting me know your thoughts about the podcast episode linked below! Until next time my friend.


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