Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Happy Girls are the Prettiest.

In case you don't know, I am an enormous Audrey Hepburn fan. Not only was she flawlessly beautiful and a complete class act, but she said the most lovely things that have shaped so many Pinterest boards and mantras.

Generationally, we're in a completely different place from where Audrey was; a generation where Kim Kardashian is publishing a book of 300+ selfies (all in which she'll look absolutely perfect, thanks to genetics and airbrushing), or where we're inundated with images of various standards of beauty, so the war with self can just continue to grow and grow as we can easily compare ourselves to everyone with a Facebook or Instagram account. With all of these images or expectations of beauty slapping us in the face, it can be so easy to forget what really makes each and every one of us so beautiful.

So in case you need a reminder, here are some things you can do so that you will always be at your most gorgeous and continue to hold your head up high...

Smile. 
Really big and genuinely, whenever you can. Seriously - a real smile makes ANYONE so much more gorgeous.


Take responsibility for your actions. 
Seriously, if you can own up and admit when you've messed up, it shows that you're confident enough in yourself to be humble, which is such an attractive quality.

Be vulnerable.
Okay so confession - last week, I lost my shit for the first time and broke down crying in front of Anthony. This is NOT my default, because I don't like people to see the emotional side of me (I don't know why, I guess I just prefer being seen as a cold bitch versus someone with human emotions), however it ended up being such a bonding experience for us, and one where he said he loves me even more now.

When you're vulnerable, you're being truly you, and it's raw and you might not think it's pretty, but the people who love you will continue to love you and will appreciate that total honesty.

Say please and thank you.
Your parents taught you write - politeness really is a beautiful thing, especially in a time where we're all in a rush. It takes literally 1.25 seconds to say "thank you" to someone, and it goes a LONG way.

Get enough sleep. 
For real. The less sleep I get, the worse my skin looks, the worse I feel about myself. Shoot for at least 7 hours a night, if that's possible for you... if you can do less than that and look radiant, I hate you a little.

Exercise.
Not even to be "skinny," but to be healthy and treat your body with respect. Because you're gorgeous and you deserve to feel good, even if your version of exercise is twerking in front of your mirror to Nicki Minaj (sorry, am I alone in this?).

Treat yo self. 
Indulge - get a facial, drink really good wine, buy that outfit. Treat yourself well (within your budget) because you love yourself and you deserve.

Demand respect.
Don't ask for it - you DESERVE respect. Those who know their worth radiate that and it's ridiculously appealing.

Drink water.
A shit ton of it (that's a real measurement). My mother always told me to drink as much water as I could, and it really does make me feel so much better and get glowy.

Let go of shitty, succubus people.
When you keep negative people in your life, it takes a toll on you. This toll shows physically after a while - so seriously, when you can let go of those who drag you down, it really shows in your overall demeanor (which affects how you appear physically).

Anchor yourself to those who love you.
Unconditionally, no matter what you're wearing or how you're feeling. Surround yourself with positive people who see the beauty of life, and it makes you more beautiful by default.

Laugh.
Loudly, whenever you can, without shame. Because you are adorable when you laugh (I try to convince myself that even my snort laugh makes me that much more beautiful).

Improve your vocabulary, stay up to date on current events, read a book.
Intelligence is sexy.

Get a hobby.
Something you love, that makes you happy, that you light up when you speak about because it's yours and where you find your inspiration.

Don't listen to negativity from people who don't matter.
The world is tough - people can be cruel. Know who you are, listen to how the people who love you feel about you, and forget the rest of the noise of bitter people trying to knock you down. Insecurity tries to snatch your security from you - don't let it in.

BE YOURSELF.
And never apologize for it.

What do you think makes someone the most beautiful? And what makes YOU feel the most gorgeous?

Currently: Watching The Wolf of Wall Street, while charging every single electronic device that I own just in case of the impending blizzard and potential power outages. 

Friday, January 16, 2015

Leaving the Bad Week Behind.

This was written on Thursday, and will be published Friday, so I apologize in advance for past tense/shifted date terminology.

So, I've been having a really off week - one where I'm just miserable and no matter how many positive mantras I say, how much yoga I do, or how much I'm trying to look for the good in every situation, I just want to cry or punch someone in the back of the fucking head. 

There's nothing super major going on to warrant this down mentality (and I can't even blame it on PMS) besides work stress (we're currently developing completely new training materials and decks, which go through more revisions than I ever thought possible, on top of five hours worth of meetings every day), and silly things like going to plan my birthday and getting sucked into this game where I reflect on the friendships I've cut this past year. 

The work stress is well worth it, because we're building kick ass content and are learning about financial regulations and guidelines like the back of our hand because of all the revisions, but right now it just seems so cyclical and repetitive, while the task list continues to grow. The friendships that I chose to end this past year are all for the best too, since I'm being more and more surrounded by positivity, even if it means that the number in my circle has decreased a little. 

But sometimes it's okay to have an off day, or even an off week (as long as you don't actually punch someone in the back of the head) as long as you make a vow to shake it off (I work well with time frames, so I'm literally giving myself until tomorrow at noon to be in the shittiest mood ever, but for the weekend and next week, I need to start finding the good in situations and letting that manifest). 

So in the spirit of not allowing myself to be a little black storm cloud, I will be sweating it out in an intense hot yoga class for an hour and a half tonight, and focusing on these images to reinforce the fact that a shitty week is okay as long as I don't let it make me a shitty person, or dwell on things that I can't change while refusing to adjust my own attitude. 

Forreal though, the Free People "Write This Down" Pinterest board is some amazing inspiration and mantras for when you're feeling horrific.


Not only did typing this out really help me, but I made the conscious decision to get out of my horrible mood (especially since it was so all encompassing, that I had a really shitty yoga session - that's how in my head I was, it was physically causing me to be off balance). Today, the sun is shining, it's Friday, I've had amazing conversations, my hair looks good, and I have another fantastic weekend lined up. The bad week is behind me, but I know that it's okay that I had one.

How do you combat bad days? Share your tips! :) 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

3 Step Simple Winter Sangria.

It's so fitting that B and M over at The Sequin Notebook invited me to participate in a monthly cocktail recipe link up, because one of my resolutions was definitely to blog and connect with local bloggers more, AND I have a killer recipe for winter sangria that is perfect for this post.

Every year, my family takes turns at Christmas making new cocktails.. maybe because we all can't stand to be around one another without drinking a ridiculous amount, and we needed variety - just kidding, we legitimately love each other, we just express it more with drinks ;) 

This year, I volunteered to make a drink, since I have a Pinterest account that's beautiful in theory, and really bad in my actually going about creating some of the things I've been pinning. I'm thrilled that this winter sangria was what I went with, because it was the biggest crowd pleaser and is ridiculously easy to make. 

Ingredients: 
1 bottle white wine (I used Sauvignon Blanc)
1 bottle sparkling cider 
1 Granny Smith apple (chopped)
1 Gala apple (chopped)
1-2 cups cranberries 
(The recipe calls for 1-2 sliced clementines, but I wasn't in the mood to make another trip to the store, so I skipped and think it turned out just perfect). 

Directions:
Combine wine and cider.
Add fruit.
Stir.
Put it in a beautiful glass and watch it really catch up to you after 3 or 4 glasses. 

It was seriously the easiest drink, it looks beautiful, and was delicious (and I am usually not a white wine fan). 
via Pinterest, where I found the recipe.

via our family Christmas, where I drank and drank


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014.

I had a whole New Year's post envisioned in my head, I really did. It was where I would outline the goals I have for the year, and where I want my life to head, but then I really stopped and thought about it, and I'm so happy where I am right now. For the first time in forever, I look at my life and I'm thrilled with where I am, and where I'm going. Obviously there are always areas where you can grow and improve, and I'll probably post about my goals at a later time, but right now, I want to just embrace the fact that I am so incredibly fortunate with how I'm wrapping up this year. 

This year has been one of pretty continuous growth, good and bad, easy and difficult. 

2014 brought me...

Travel.
I went to Paris and the French countryside where I learned that I can manage on my own and get by even with a language barrier, as well as make connections with people I meet. 

I went to Philly on the first trip with Anthony, where I learned how much fun it can be to do touristy things, go new places, but revisit some of the old, eat everything and walk everywhere, and reconnect with old friends. 

I went to the Catskills, where I learned that when you love someone, you can spend five days with them and never get tired of it, and then miss them when you're not together anymore (and I also learned how much I am now obsessed with House of Cards). 

A better relationship with my family.
Ever since moving out, we laugh together more, share more together - one of the most meaningful conversations I had in 2014 was when I had my mom over for dinner and we ended up sitting and talking about all of these things we had never brought up for years and years. I left that conversation feeling so close to my mom for the first time in a long time, where we were completely honest with one another. The more I grow, the more I appreciate everything my parents did so that my brother and I could live an extremely privileged and fortunate life, and the more I grow to like them as people, not just as parents. 

Love you, mom and dad (and glad you don't read my blog to yell at me for these pictures).

New friends.
I met some incredible people this year, who I now consider to be very good friends. 
This was even more meaningful for me as I did cut ties with some people I was once very close to, in the spirit of continuous growth and not allowing myself to have negative influences who bring me down in my life any longer. As I've said in previous posts, I truly believe that by removing the negative people from my life, I opened up my life for positive influences who are actually happy to see me grow and do well in life. 

Growing comfortable in my own skin.
As I've never really hidden, I have suffered from body image issues for a very, very long time. While I'm ridiculously hard on myself, I'm working on giving myself a break, examining the good parts of my body, and working out more so that I can enjoy without the guilt. To help the process, I hung mantras of self love and acceptance in my bathroom cabinet (and on the mirror for when I have an event or function and feel shitty about myself) just so that I'm constantly reading words of positive affirmation. While I'm not entirely there yet, that's definitely a 2015 goal - to continue to love myself, despite weight gain and the fact that squats make my thighs bigger. Let's all take the 2015 pledge to cut ourselves some slack and embrace who we are (and do what we can to feel fabulous about ourselves more regularly - I'll always be a cheerleader for hot yoga!). 

Ink.
I finally decided on tattoos - I knew I wanted something in memory of Poppy, but for the longest, I couldn't decide what I wanted. I finally had the artist copy over an exact drawing of a heart that Poppy would draw on every single card he ever wrote any of us. I also got a lotus flower to signify the need for constant growth through all circumstances.

A new career.
I left teaching mid December to start my new position as a corporate trainer for a very well known financial institution. It's a huge, huge jump and was really bittersweet, as it required me to leave some fantastic coworkers who I grew ridiculously close to, but already, I'm learning new things, have had countless lunches and happy hours with my new coworkers, and am making significant strides in an up and coming position with endless growth potential.

Love.
This year taught me that things happen so unexpectedly, and in ways that sometimes you still may never be able to wrap your head around. I still want to pinch myself sometimes, because I have never felt luckier or happier than I have since Anthony and I started dating. It's funny, because once I reflected and really thought about what I wanted/needed in my next relationship, and fell in love with myself/identified areas that I could improve and grow from, it seemed like this introduction to a relationship materialized. I now have someone who shares the same values as me, who encourages me and is so supportive that I don't even have words for it, who is open with how they're feeling and is dedicated to work on whatever needs to be worked on, who is good looking and motivated and smart (I legitimately could keep going.. and am grateful that right now he doesn't read my blog to see what I mush I can be). 
I have become one of those mushy people who is so blissfully happy in their relationship that I legitimately have nothing to say when friends complain about their relationships - and not from disillusion, but from genuine comfort and stability in what we have. 

A new, more positive mindset.
One of the biggest things that I did for myself this year was to work on changing my mentality. I had been in this very negative spiral the year prior, and for whatever reason, it clicked this year that in order to move forward and grow into who I really wanted to be, I needed to change my own mindset and gear myself towards more positivity and less bitching and moaning. It's still a complete work in progress, because there are days when I am a miserable human being and am also miserable to be around - but most days, I can take a look at the good, try to see the silver lining, or truly embrace the fact that everything - literally everything in life - can be a learning experience if you look at it that way. 
This shift in mentality hasn't always been easy - in fact at first it was super hard, and there are still areas - like body image - that I struggle with and am learning, but I wouldn't change how I feel now on the majority of days for anything in the world. 

To close out this year, and a year where I was better at blogging (but want to do even better come 2015!), I want to leave you with some inspiration for a very positive start to the new year (just don't forget, you can make changes ANY day, month, hour, whatever that you choose - don't limit it to one day and get hung up if you slide back!). 


While I don't put a lot of weight on the "new year" meaning it has to be my best ever, I'm looking forward to more love, laughs, vacations, problem solving, time with friends and family, brunch, wine, and new experiences. 

How will you be spending New Year's Eve? 
I'll be spending mine dressed up (in all black, as per usual) with people I have a ton of laughs and good times with, eating too much, drinking champagne, and laughing until 2015 (I know I'm not a mind reader, but based on past experiences, I think this is a safe bet). 

Happy New Year, beautiful friends! xox

Currently listening to: As many EDM end of year podcasts as I can get my hands on (aka that have Soundcloud accounts). I've made my way through 3 of them before I left for lunch today, so onto the next ones!