Category: life advice

6 Loving Ways To Broadcast Body Confidence

Body confidence is about self-esteem, self-love, and self-care. Also: how good your bra fits and how good your posture is. Click through for 6 easy ways you can show people you have body confidence today!

This guest post comes to us via Sally McGraw of Already Pretty fame.  She writes about style, body image, and self-love every single day.  

In a culture that encourages women to engage in trash talk about their own bodies, in which body confidence is an act of bravery, it can be daunting to consider broadcasting pride in your own physical form.

But you CAN do it, even in the face of an oppressive environment, reluctant peers, and your own hesitation. I swear! It’s true!

Broadcasting body confidence doesn’t have to mean wearing an “I Love My Body” tee shirt or responding to every compliment by say, “Oh, I know.” There are a million tiny ways that you can tell the world you love your body, just as it is. Click To Tweet

And in doing so, you may just encourage other women to follow suit.

6 Loving Ways To Broadcast Body Confidence


7 Successful Women Share Their Stories Of Life At 22

What was life like at 22 for some of your favorite successful women? If you're having a quarter life crisis, you're a recent college grad, or your just struggling with your 20s, this post will help!

When I was 22, I was working for a horrible, horrible boss in an office without windows. Between rent and college debt, I had $15 (yes, really) of disposable income per week. Even though I knew my life wouldn’t be like that forever, I had a really hard time imagining a future that didn’t involve ramen noodles and Sunday night oh-god-I-have-to-work-tomorrow stomachaches.

In an attempt to show you guys that really, it gets better, I asked some of my favorite, most successful ladies to share their stories of life at 22 versus their life now.

Life at 22

Christina Holm-Sandok, Style Architects

At 22: My boss would take credit for my work, had unrealistic expectations and made me cry weekly. I spent every chance I could hitting the town with my girlfriends…crossing our fingers that guys would buy us drinks – we certainly couldn’t afford our lifestyle. I lived with my best friend in a tiny yet adorable apartment that was in a shady part of town.

Now: I own my own business yet still manage to put unrealistic expectations on myself. Now I spend every chance I can traveling or relaxing on our patio. My cocktails no longer require flirting although my husband appreciates it! We live in a 1920’s home in a quaint neighborhood. Life is simpler…and most importantly, happier!

Rachel Hills, Musings of an Inappropriate Woman

At 22: I knew I wanted to write smart things about gender and social issues, but I didn’t have the foggiest of how to go about it. I took a day job doing communications work for an NGO and spent my evenings running a youth media organization with a bunch of friends, including the guy who would later become my husband.

Now: I’ve written a couple of hundred articles for most of my favorite magazines, newspapers and websites. I live in London, and have traveled to 12 countries in the past two years. Right now I’m working on a book on sex, power and identity for Simon and Schuster and Penguin.

What was life like at 22 for some of your favorite successful women? If you're having a quarter life crisis, you're a recent college grad, or your just struggling with your 20s, this post will help!

Ana Alexandre, Life coach + nutritionist

At 22: I was working in a bar for a gross boss who would hit on a different waitress every shift. Although I made decent cash, I hated waitressing and never having a weekend to myself. I lived in a tiny bachelor apartment in a neighborhood I wasn’t crazy about.

Now: I love what I do! I can put in a lot of hours but it doesn’t feel like WORK. For this I am super grateful. I live in my favorite neighborhood in a city that I am at most 20 min away from the sea.

Karina Cousineau, dress designer + business owner

At 22: I was living on Bali in Indonesia working for S.L.I.I (space island light industry) My job was head of production for a small apparel company. Not speaking Indonesian was challenging, but slowly slowly I learned. The people were generous and joyful. It was a wonderful learning experience!

Now: Some years later, my life is similar in many ways. Heading design and production for my company Karina Dresses entails many of the same type work. Our Brooklyn production house does not require me to ride a motorcycle through streets filled with cows, chickens and village activity: Similar tasks are required and the streets of Brooklyn can be equally hectic. I lived at the beach on Bali and now live in a jungle in Brooklyn – both are full of life and exciting!

What was life like at 22 for some of your favorite successful women? If you're having a quarter life crisis, you're a recent college grad, or your just struggling with your 20s, this post will help!

Dr. Danielle Dowling, life coach Los Angeles

At 22: I was working as a buyer for Bloomingdale’s in NYC. And it really wasn’t my bag. The cubicles, constant number crunching and corporate pressure choked my soul. I remember running out of money on the Wednesday before payday and rummaging at the bottom of my purses and desk drawers to find change for a coffee!

I lived on the 5th floor of a 5 story walk up with 3 other roommates and a dark bathroom that was clearly was once a hallway closet. I also distinctly remember loving a boy who despite his best efforts, broke my heart.

Now: I am 35 years old with a Master’s in Psychology and graduating this December with a Ph.D. I own my own company,, where I help women leaders balance professional success + love. I am part relationship expert + part spiritual ass-kicker. My spacious one bedroom is bright + airy and all mine! Although many a day and night I share it with my gem of a boyfriend + loving soulmate, Jose.

Julie Merriman Wray, Olivine Atelier

At 22: I was working at my Dad’s office as a receptionist. Boring! Don’t tell my Dad, but while I was sitting there answering the phones I was secretly doing all the research and making plans to open my first business. I lived in a basement studio apartment that had the most adorable pink depression glass knobs. I loved that kitchen. Oh yeah, I also got dumped by my first love. That was heartbreaking.

Now: I work for myself and I run four different businesses! I have the most beautiful 2 year old son who makes me laugh constantly and a husband that I am head over heels in love with. We go on fun beach vacations every year for my birthday which I love. I own a real house now! No more basement! Although I do still think about those pink knobs…

Carly Jacobs,

At 22: I was living with my parents, working in a well-paid but not overly stimulating university job. I’d just started dating a gorgeous boy, I was acting in a few plays and had just started a blog called Smaggle.

Now: I’m a freelance writer, presenter and actor. I live in a bigger city, I’m still with the gorgeous boy and we now live together in a funky loft in a trendy suburb. My blog contributes more and more significantly towards my regular income and I’m dangerously close to being 100% self employed. I’m also slightly taller.

Readers who are older than 22! Share your stories!

P.S. If you want 1-on-1 help and support making your life look + feel the way you want, I do that!

5 Things To Do When You Fail

How do you deal with failure? What should you do when you fail? Click through for 5 things to do when you fail that will reduce the likelihood of failure next time!
This lovely guest post comes to us via Kim Lawler of Finest Imaginary fame.  She blogs regularly about food, photography, design and working for yourself.  Drop by her blog and say hi!

I have failed on numerous occasions in my life.

From that time I didn’t get accepted to a certain college, to the time I got a D on my Chemistry AS Level. I’d like to say that these failures didn’t derail me, but then I’d be completely lying.

As far as I can remember both of those incidents ended up with me in a tantrum like state, crying and wailing that I wasn’t good at ANYYYYTTTHINNNGGG EVVVEERRRRR. A-hem.

But then, after allowing myself time in my pit of doom, I’d pick myself up and figure out what I needed to do to fix the fails. I applied for another college, and I retook my Chemistry AS level exams and came out with a B at A level.

These two incidents really stand out to me when I hit road bumps in my career, just because you fail once doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again, and it’s not necessarily a bad thing if it does happen.

5 Things To Do When You Fail

Without trying to sound like a self-help book, these are the things that have worked for me in the past couple of years when things haven’t exactly gone to plan.

1. Take stock of the situation

I applied for a rather large craft fair a year or so ago and got rejected, it was a bit of a blow, but I didn’t let it put me off. I upped my game, got better at what I do, and this year I got accepted to an even BIGGER craft fair.  One of the most important things you need to do when you fail is take stock of the situation.

Why did you fail? Was there something you could’ve done to produce a better outcome? Was the failure completely beyond your control? Could you be better prepared next time?

My recent trip to Liberty resulted in a fail that I couldn’t control, at least not at the time, and I learned so much from that experience that the fail was totally worth while! Would I do it again even knowing that it wouldn’t come to anything? Of course!

2.  Get angry, get mad, get passionate

You’re allowed, you know? You’re allowed to be mad that something didn’t work out, at least for a little while, because being mad will make you realize how much you really, REALLY want this thing. And how ridiculous would it be to not try again?

3. Remember that you’re not a failure

You just haven’t found the successful way of doing something yet. You’re only a failure if you stop trying, and what’s the point in that?

4.  Remember all those Pinterest-y sayings

“Take a deep breath and count to 10″, “If it was easy everyone would be doing it”, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” Time to take note of all those things your Grandma used to say!

5.  Tweak your approach for next time

Albert Einstein once said “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result,” so be sane and make some changes. Use your failure as feedback & experience and come back with a better strategy.

The difference between success & never getting what you want is how you deal with failure. Click To Tweet Use it as a catalyst to improve yourself, your business or your craft, not as an excuse to give up! Don’t look upon failure as a negative thing, failure is proof that you’re on your way to success!

Tell us how you’ve dealt with failure! Your tips in the comments could be a huge help to someone!

P.S. 3 questions to ask yourself before you quit anything + What you’re REALLY seeing when you see ‘success’ 

photo by scott webb // cc


The ABCs of Self-Love: Y is for Yes

Friends, let us talk about the art of self-love.

About what it means to like yourself as much as your friends do.
To give yourself the treats/compliments/breaks you give other people.
To eat half a block of cheese because, you know what?  You want to.

The language of love that I’m particularly fluent in is saying “Yes.”
  To, um, most things.Here are a few of the things that I say yes to that help remind me exactly how awesome I am.

* Yes to monthly pedicures with my BFF.  Even in the winter.  Even when my toes are inside boots all day long.

* Yes to high quality parmesan.

* Yes to checking out my butt in these jeans and saying “Yup.  That’s pretty cute.”

* Yes to shouting “High five, self!” to my empty apartment when I finish something difficult.

* Yes to embracing my own impossibly high standards and being pleased when I encounter people who meet them.

* Yes to befriending people who make me happy.

* Yes to brunch.  Always.

* Yes to embracing my dorky desires to get up early, go to bed early and read college textbooks for fun.

* Yes to moving my body in ways that bring me joy.

* Yes to knowing when I’m bored and listless and taking action about it.

* Yes to respectfully, carefully culling non-awesome people from my life.

* Yes to being outside for half an hour, every day, regardless of the weather.

* Yes to re-reading my cheesily-titled Smile File when I’m blue.

* Yes to getting dressed and looking cute every day – even if I never leave my apartment.

* Yes to new things.  Every year.  Always.

* Yes to being direct, open and crazy-honest about my feelings.

How do you show yourself love?  What are you saying yes to this year?

Reminder: There Is Enough

It's so, SO easy to feel less-than after scrolling through Instagram feeds filled with thin, rich people doing interesting things. But let's remember there's enough to go around for everyone. Really. >>
This guest post comes to us from the phenomenal Sarah McColl
Tuesday night a friend and I went to a panel on writing. We were wrapped in scarves, and had just finished eating soup and sandwiches. The evening felt so collegiate, as we carried our trays in the bright lighting of a cafeteria-like restaurant and ventured out into the cool night in our tweed blazers to attend a lecture.
We were in good moods. A writing teacher of mine was speaking on the panel, and the evening was organized by a woman my teacher thought I ought next to take a class with.

The room was packed, and to complete that fall feeling of being at the big game, we sat on bleachers in the back of the college bookstore. The writer in charge was a high-octane, fast-talking, take-no-prisoners MC, unapologetically cutting off authors who droned on a little long. “We’ve got a lot to cover, so I’ll just summarize your points,” she interjected.

As each author talked––about stalking agents in bars or soliciting quotes from Ian Frazier––I found myself growing more and more antsy and irritated. I was hugely annoyed by everyone earnestly taking notes about how to publish a bestseller. When the question and answer period was over and people started queuing up for coffee and cookies, I just wanted to flee to the nearest bar.

My friend is a writer, too. She may not realize that I consider her my spiritual guru. (“You’re more spiritually evolved,” I said, “cause you’ve had more lives.” “More lives, like, reincarnation?” “Yeah. You’re, like, of the air,” I explained, “and I’m still of the earth.” This is what I sound like, by the by, after half a Brooklyn lager.)

But despite being on a higher plane, she shared my post-panel insecurity. To succeed, it seemed, we had to press the pedal to the metal: be out networking, sending out query letters, pitching stories, tirelessly taking workshops, going for it, full-throttle, determined and unshakable.

It all made me want to pull the covers over my head. Besides, how could we elbow our way in, I thought, when there are so many people out there doing it already? The world doesn’t need another Mary Cantwell or M.F.K. Fisher. There’s no room for us.

And then my friend told me about her dad. How for many years he felt competitive with a colleague who was, for all intents and purposes, a
genius. He spoke a billion languages and could play any instrument he picked up, and my friend’s father was always trying to keep up. And then one day watching this guy be all geniusy, my friend’s dad was struck with a bolt of enlightenment, and he just started laughing.

He suddenly felt the relief of letting his colleague reap the spoils of his success without feeling personally threatened. And so, when my friend one day was feeling insecure about something herself––someone at school, let’s say––her dad gave her a talk.

“Someone will always be smarter than you. And that’s okay. There’s space for you, too.” Click To Tweet

It reminded me of the advice I grew up with. Someone will always have more than you: more beauty, more money, more talent, more smarts. But someone will always have less.

The and that’s okay part was what I needed to hear. There’s room for all of us. There’s enough success, money, and love to go around.

There is no scarcity, really, unless we choose to look at life through that lens. One person’s success doesn’t take away from our own; someone else’s triumph doesn’t mean less triumph for us. There’s enough for everybody.

I like the way Natalie Goldberg puts it in Writing Down the Bones:

Don’t be jealous, especially secretly. That’s the worst kind. If someone writes something great, it’s just more clarity in the world for all of us. Don’t make writers, “other,” different from you: “They are good and I am bad.” Don’t create that dichotomy. It makes it hard to become good if you create that duality.

The opposite, of course, is also true: if you say, “I am great and they aren’t,” then you become proud, unable to grow as a writer or hear criticism of your work. Just: “They are good and I am good.” That statement gives a lot of space. “They have been at it longer, and I can walk their path for a while and learn from them.”

In yogic philosophy, there’s the concept of mudita:
“a sympathetic or vicarious joy, the pleasure that comes from delighting in other people’s well-being rather than begrudging it.”
More is more, and I can stand to hear it again:

“If someone writes something great, it’s just more clarity in the world for all of us.”

I’ve always been afraid of running out of money, things to say, or ideas to write about. But writing a daily column has taught me an important lesson about scarcity. There is no shortage of ideas. In fact, the practice of continually making yourself open to inspiration, ushers in only more. Creativity begets more creativity, love begets more love.

And perhaps the same is true: success for some begets success for others. There is enough, for all of us.

P.S. How to define success for yourself (but like REALLY)

photo by hal trozo // cc

How To Love Your Body, Regardless Of Size

Want to love your body? Or try a bit of body positivity? You can practice self-love and self-care by loving the body you have, right now, now matter what size it is.

Do you love your body? Like really, truly love it? In a society that tells us all the ways we’re not enough (or too much) self-love and body positivity can be hard. Mara Glatzel has some wise words for us.