Category: life advice

Wisdom of Our Mothers

I’m fairly sure my mom is The Best. (I mean, don’t we all think we’ve got The World’s Best Mom?) She spent her twenties teaching on Native American reservations, skiing in Colorado, and going to Europe to see my dad when he was stationed in Germany and Scotland. Before they got engaged, Mom Von was planning on moving to Australia to teach!

I will truly be proud if I turn into my mom when I (finally) grow up. In honor of Mothers’ Day, I asked my mom and aunts for words of wisdom to share with you guys. 
Here are some of the awesome things they said:
On life
“It’s much better to have an experience than a thing”
– Aunt Louise
“What’s right for one person isn’t necessarily right for another. Be tolerant of everyone’s choices. Just because something is different doesn’t make it wrong or bad…it’s just different.”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
“Don’t save things for special or the future- wear your fancy coat, use your sterling.They should be for your enjoyment and pleasure. Your kids won’t want them when you die.”
– My mom
On happiness
“Happiness is a relative term. You make your own happiness. No one, not even your mother, should have to make it her goal in life to make you happy.”
– My mom
On career 
“Be ware of people who don’t like their job but won’t leave it. We spend so much time working – life’s too short to hate your job.”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
“Don’t expect to start at the top or have the perfect career right away. Be patient and have a long term plan in mind about where you’d like to eventually end up. But also be prepared to have to adjust things and go to “Plan B”.”
– My mom
On relationships 
“Work at them. Stay in touch. Call your cousin on the phone. Send your grandmother a card. You will never ever regret it. When you send a sympathy card (or other kind of card) be sure to write a short personal message.”
– My mom”Watch romance grow in this manner: respect, trust, sincere love. The lusty, amazing sparks of a new relationship may only start a wildfire which not only burns out your heart but all your innards as well.
Maintain your wonderful girlfriend relationships – you will always need those sisters!”
– Aunt Elaine
On style 
“Just be sure that your clothes and hair are clean.”
– My mom
“I know what is my style and color and what makes me comfortable and happy. Of course then there are the 5% of the chances I take that make me go….oh sure, I’ll try that, and I like it. Don’t get stuck in your box.”
– Aunt Louise
On finances 
“Don’t be too proud to take a job at a convenience store or a fast food restaurant.”
– My mom
“Instant gratification isn’t nearly as rewarding as working towards something by saving”
– Aunt Marilyn Jo
General advice 
“Be nice to the janitors and other services workers in your apartment building or where your work.”
– My mom
“Don’t put it down, put it away.”
– My grandma
“It is better to “have it” and not “need”it”. Than to “need it” and not “have it”. Whether it is an umbrella or a savings account or anything else.”
– My mom”Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”
– Aunt Elaine
What awesome advice has your mom (or a mom-like woman) given you?

When + How To End A Conversation

Trying to brush up on your conversation tips? Feeling a little socially awkward? Exiting conversations can be weirdly hard! This will help >>
This super awesome guest post comes from my girl Kelly of Adulting fame.  She was sweet enough to interview me for the ‘making friends as a grownup’ chapter in her best-selling book!
At least 87 percent of casual, small-talk conversations last too long. The problem here is twofold:
• People are afraid to end the conversation
• “It’s time to end this talk” hints are ignored
This is something lots of people struggle with, so don’t feel bad!
First, do not fear the conversational reaper. All things begin and all things end, including this conversation you are engaged in. And really, chances are that the other person doesn’t want this to go on forever, either.
Can you imagine spending your entire life right there, in that living room, talking talking talking to this person about sports or the mutual friend you have or whatever, both of you growing old and grey and still the conversation flows dully on? No one wants that.
So when you notice the drop-off in the mutual enthusiasm level to below, say, 50 percent, start to convey your intent for things to end by issuing a somewhat final-sounding statement on the topic at hand, followed by “Anyway …”
For example: “No, totally. Tom is the best! Anyway,” and here, you will adopt an expression that conveys many things — sadness that this conversation is coming to an end, gladness that you have met this person, resignation to the finality of what you are about to say — “It has been just wonderful chatting with you.”
You don’t really need to announce whatever it is you’re going to do after this (“I think I’m gonna head to the snack bowl!”) because everyone knows what time it is, and that will sound awkward anyway.

Then, let them acknowledge that they have enjoyed chatting with you, and then say goodbye brightly.

Thanks so much for sharing your insights, Kelly! How do you guys get out of conversations once they’ve gone south? Tell us in the comments!

P.S. 16 questions that will make small talk a lot better

photo by jens johnsson // cc

A 4-Step, Airtight Plan To Feel Better

Want to feel better? Getting out of a slump, getting past a bad mood, almost anything can be cure (at least temporarily) with these 4 steps >>
We all go through rough spots.

We didn’t get into that school.
They hired someone else.
The repairs are going to cost more than we expected.
That cutie isn’t returning our texts.

Just like everyone else, I’ve had bumps in my proverbial road. I didn’t get into the first graduate school I applied to. I’ve been laid off. I’ve been dumped. I have made very, very questionable decisions about my hair.
After many a struggle,  I’ve developed a (nearly) fool proof plan to feel better when I’m down in the dumps.

4 steps to feel better

Step 1: Get sweaty for an hour

Run stairs. Have a one-person dance party. Weed the garden. Ride your bike. Have a roll in the hay with your lovah. Do something physical and strenuous.

Step 2: Get wet 

Water heals me. Take a long shower (and maybe have a good cry – crying doesn’t count in the shower!) Go swimming in a lake/pool/river/the ocean. Have a long soak in your tub accompanied by some Morcheeba.

Step 3: Take a nap 

Like, a proper one. Under the covers, no jeans, curtains closed.

Step 4: Consume some caffeine 

Life feels better and happier when I’m caffeinated.

I’m not sure why this particular series of things makes me feel so much better. Life (and all the challenges that that occasionally accompany it) seems so much nicer when I’ve got endorphins in my veins and I’m clean, rested, and have a latte in hand.

Do you have a few specific things you do when you feel down? I mean, in addition to drinking wine out of a robot mug and watching Ron Swanson clips on Youtube, HYPOTHETICALLY.

P.S. If you need 1-on-1 support and accountability around feeling better, I can do that!
photo by pineapples // cc

Things That Are Simultaneously Reassuring + Depressing: Life Is A Numbers Game

Are you trying to follow your dreams? Looking for inspiration? This is the real talk pep talk you need: life is a numbers game.
You know when you’re young, you hear adults say things that strike you as terribly jaded?
This is my relationship with the phrase “Life is a numbers game.”
A high school counselor told me this when I was applying for colleges. A family member opined about this when I was interviewing for internships. A dude friend tried to cheer me up with this after a so-bad-I’m-cancelling-my-Okcupid-membership date.
And I huffily climbed upon my idealistic high horse and shrilled “True love will find me when I’m least expecting it! I’m a good person and good things will come my way! I believe that life holds great things for me!”
That’s great! And maybe it’s true!
It’s also a lot more likely that good things will come my way when I try really hard and put myself in the path of lots of (potentially) great things.
This is not to say that you (or I) won’t encounter magic and love and good fortune.
And it’s not to say that you should go out with every.single.person who asks or apply to every single job on Craigslist.
The more apartments you look at, the more likely you are to find one you like.
The more more schools you apply to, the more likely you are to get in.
The more newspapers/magazines you pitch, the more likely you are to get published.
The more dates you go on, the more likely you are to find someone.
The more jobs you apply for, the more likely you are to get hired.

I think so.

P.S. Life has big plans for you.

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

If It Doesn’t Feel Right, You Should Stop Doing It.

How often have you plowed ahead even when something doesn't feel right? Click through to tips on following your intuition, maintaining your boundaries, and being honest about your needs.
How often have you plowed ahead even when something doesn’t feel right? We’ve all done it. And I imagine we’ve all experienced the negative consequences. Today Dr. Danielle Dowling gives us the remind we all probably need.

“It doesn’t feel right.”
Hold up.
Pause right there.

Even if it doesn’t feel like it: this is a significant place to be.
Powerful even. Definitely worth noting.

Yet we steamroll through these feelings as if they were inconsequential.
Or inconvenient even.

We think we don’t have time for something to “not feel right.”
The job needs to get done;
the task complete;
the relationship hauled forward, already.

Rationalization run amuck,
we feed ourselves very sensible, very logical reasons why we “should.”

It sounds like this…..

I’ll do it to make them happy.
But it’s good money.

It will make me look good.
But it’s a great opportunity.
I should just agree + avoid confrontation.
But I am all they have. If I don’t do it, who will?
But they’re expecting me to and I don’t want to disappoint them.

No. You. Shouldn’t.

Because it doesn’t feel right.
Bam. That’s it. Nothing more.

All that rationalization can over-complicate the decision making process.

Your gut instincts are one of the most powerful natural resources you have.
They will tell you how you feel long before you can articulate it.
Honor this information.

The truth is, you don’t “have to.” (Really, you don’t)
Just because you think you “should” doesn’t mean you should.

And most times when you do something “for the money”
you suffocate your soul. Which, quite frankly, is a drag + uncomfortable in the long run.

Doing what feels right will always make you feel bright + turned on.
Doing what feels right is simple.
Direct. Uncomplicated.

What feels right will not, however, be instantly popular. Click To Tweet

The world pays attention and you teach us how to treat you.
If you are always caving in to the “shoulds” + consistently abandoning your gut instincts,
you teach us to expect you to fold and we’ll lean on you for “more.”

If you hold your boundaries and do only what feels right;
you give us the opportunity to set our grumbling aside + lean in with admiration + respect.

How often have you gone against your intuition?  What happened?

P.S. Two words that will make you happier, calmer, and more certain.

Photo by Luca Baggio on Unsplash

Goal-making Made Gorgeous

This post is actually from last year, but I thought it could be particularly helpful during this time of resolution-making and goal setting!

If you have been reading Yes and Yes for any amount of time, you probably know that Making The Lists and Accomplishing All The Things are practically my favorite hobbies.  In addition to eating cheese, dressing animals in outfits and traveling the world.

Of course, I have a never-ending, constantly-evolving list of yearly goals, but since it’s a piece of notebook paper taped to the wall, it’s less than inspiring.  And while I know the rest of the Internet loves nothing so much as aspirational Pinterest accounts and vision boards, that stuff just isn’t quite my style.

Enter: Wall O’ Goals. 

Visually engaging.  Reminder-ful.  Cuter than notebook paper taped to the wall.

Here’s how I made it!

1.  Shuffle through Flickr Creative Commons and find gorgeous images that match my goals.
2.  In Picmonkey crop, resize and add text to my photos.  I used Impact font in white, faded 13% because I’m nothing if not a total effing hipster.
3. Drop my edited images into a Google doc and print said document on cardstock.
4.  Purchase adorably tiny bulldog clips.
5.  Map out a grid on the wall, pound in some nails, hang goals.
6.  Look at artfully arranged goals every day and start to actually accomplish them.

And!  If you’re feeling really ambitious, once you’ve accomplished something you can write about the process on the back of the card and bind your finished cards into a little book.  Lovely!

How do you stay on track with your goals?