• Trendy Hobbies You Need To Start ASAP

    Wondering what to do with your free time?

    Take up a new hobby! Whether you’ve stayed true to your New Year’s resolutions or not, you can pick up where you left off or take your commitment a step further by challenging yourself to learn a couple new skills! Here are three trendy hobbies I highly recommend you try. They’ll definitely get your creative juices flowing!

    Calligraphy

    Forget cursive writing, decorative handwriting is taking both journaling and Instagram by storm! While this hobby will take practice and dedication to master, excelling will put a whole new spin on your future to-do lists and invitations. Think all things creative and super personal! Not challenged enough? Try painting your favorite quote or song lyric on a canvas and framing your masterpiece for decoration after the paint dries!

    Embroidery

    Break out the sewing needles and thread, it’s time to take a page out of Grandma’s book. This trendy hobby (yes, trendy) is old school meets new school—a modern take on a classic hobby. Create your own pillow covers, napkins, or even party favors that will inspire your friends to pick the art up themselves. Why not gather all your friends for an embroidery circle!

    Adult Coloring Books

    It’s time to get artsy with the adult version of your childhood coloring books. This activity will allow you to relax and unwind—just like you did when you were five! Today’s coloring books come in all different themes from mandalas to wild terrains to just about everything else in between. Someone find me my 120-count crayon box (with a built-in sharpener) quick!

    Whatever hobby you decide to pick up, pursue it as a way to take a break from your busy life and breathe. I promise it will put your mind at ease and give you something to look forward to each and every week!

  • How to Set Boundaries with Your Friends

    Hit That Reset Button!

    My friendships tend to outlast my romantic relationships—thank God for that! A significant amount of energy and care goes into maintaining the bonds I have with the women in my life. I am forever grateful for their company and companionship. 

    At the same time, however, I also understand the need for personal space. Sometimes it’s beneficial to think and breathe alone. If you’re having trouble setting boundaries with the people near and dear to you, here are five tricks to help you reclaim your sanity without jeopardizing your friendships!

    1. Know what you want!

    Be honest with yourself. Think about the boundaries you’d like to set. Be through—I mean it!

    I have found it super helpful to list everything I value from personal beliefs to life goals and aspirations and weigh them against those of my friends’. Doing so has helped me pinpoint situations and scenarios where we don’t get along because we don’t see eye-to-eye. 

    2. Address with finesse!

    Dropping subtle hints is the best way to slowly introduce change in relationships. It’s important to address what’s bothering you as soon as the thing bothering you happens. If, for example, you’re uncomfortable being around a friend who is gossiping about a mutual friend, switch the subject by saying something positive about your mutual friend. Doing so will catch your first friend off guard and turn the conversation in a different direction.

    3. Be honest.

    If you think that having a one-on-one conversation is the best way to get your feelings off your chest, do it. There is no harm in taking your friend out to lunch or discussing changes you’d like to make to help grow your relationship. A loving and honest conversation only makes for better communication.

    4. Respect Boundaries

    It’s as simple as treating others the way you want to be treated. Showing respect for your friend’s boundaries will only benefit your friendship.

    5. Be open to making adjustments.

    At the end of the day, you only have control over yourself. It is not your responsibility to change other people. Adjusting is centered around acceptance. You either accept people for who they are or you don’t. Setting boundaries allows you to grow in a relationship you are more comfortable in. If your efforts are wasted and your friend is not respecting your boundaries, then you know that an adjustment needs to be made. This may require you to set different expectations for that particular friend.

    I think we can all relate to having difficult conversations with friends. At the same time, friendships are so precious and deserve to be treated as so! Grab your main girl and enjoy life together, boundaries and all.

    Wishing you light and love as we head into February!

    xx

    Emily

  • Being Nice Matters Especially NOW!

    Stunned and angered by the general lack of love demonstrated by Trump this past weekend, a proliferating number of Americans took to both airports and the streets to protest the president’s disgusting travel ban. As I watched the series of events—a result of the cold-hearted act—play out in disbelief, I could not help but wonder: What ever happened to the golden rule? The one our parents are constantly telling us to mindful of each and every day?

    “Treat others the way you wish to be treated.” I’m sure you’ve heard it plenty of times. Perhaps you’ve even repeated it too! A requirement to being a moral and decent human being, the simple code of conduct has withstood the test of time and traversed cultures and boarders.

    There’s not much to it, really. I’m sure you can all relate to an experience with a stranger that left you feeling joyful, if not assured that  all IS right with the world. Maybe a kind man chased you down the block to return the wallet you dropped, maybe a gracious lady held open your front door as you hobbled through with an armful of groceries. Either way, their acts changed your day.

    Why be nice? Well, I truly believe what comes around, goes around. And, the world could use a little extra positive juju these days. I ask you this: Why waste your energy being mean?

    Not sure where to start? Give these 5 acts of kindness a try!

    1. Hold the door!

    My mom believes that a man should always hold the door for a woman, but I think otherwise. Regardless your gender, hold the door. Did someone hold the door for you? Thank her/him! 

    2. Buy someone’s morning coffee!

    Letting the cashier know you’d like to pay for the order behind you will surprise the person who’s receiving your small act of kindness. Trust me, this small gesture goes a long way!

    3. Smile or say “Hello!”

    A smile or hello could really brighten anyone’s day. Don’t fake or force it. Do it if you want to. Do it if it feels right.

    4. Volunteer in your community.

    Give back. Nothing feels better than supporting your community, making a difference, and seeing your work positively affect others. Whether it donating your old clothes or volunteering at the local community center, support of any kind makes a difference.

    5. Tell the truth!

    We all deserve to know the truth. Certain people are more willing to hear the truth than others, but honesty is always the best policy. Being upfront with someone could really make waves for positive changes in their life and your own. Be real with yourself and those around you.

    xx

    Emily

    Photographs via @anniepaddington

  • Wo(men) Who March Because Women's Rights are Human Rights

    January 25, 2017

    Even though it’s been a few days since the Women’s March, I still get goosebumps every time I scroll through the photos on my phone from this past weekend. As a Canadian citizen living in Toronto, Canada, I debated whether or not to participate in the event. Not only did I have a long list of errands to run, but I also wanted to meet up with a couple friends. Needless to say, parading the streets of Toronto was not high on my to-do list. It wasn’t until early Saturday morning, while watching Season 1 of Mad Men and browsing my Instagram feed that I suddenly felt an urgent sense of purpose. 

    It was the first time since the American election results—or really, the entire election—that I realized I had an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.

    As I watched my favorite TV show accurately portray women, especially the way they were treated in the 50’s, I couldn’t help but notice equally backward sentiments displayed throughout Instagram. Hurtful comments like “Don’t you have some ironing to do?” and “More dumb girls!” were posted on my favorite fashion blogger’s social media platforms after she shared an inspiring women’s march post.

    Immediately following the incident, I decided to stop moping about the unfavorable circumstances. I am not helpless and my voice will be heard!

    This past Saturday marked a day in history—not just in the United States, but worldwide. Approximately three million people came out in their local city to stand up against inequality. From Washington to New York, from Toronto all the way to Melbourne, men and women took a stance for what is right. And, for what’s its worth, we achieved a sense of unity together.

    I appreciate and often seek healthy debate, but I have difficulty identifying whether people should even debate about this movement.

    Truth be told, I’ve heard rather arguments that demand US citizens to “respect their new president because the march is setting women back.” And to that, I say respect should be both reciprocated and earned. It’s one thing to not attend the march (trust me, I know better than anyone how life commitments can get in the way), but to not agree with equal rights? That’s just something I can’t get my head around! Hasn’t the US been divided enough during and post election? Shouldn’t there be some basic common ground?

    As I marched down University Avenue in Toronto, all while refreshing my Instagram feed to see the inspiring photos shared across the world, I reflected on why I had a stake in the issue. Will my marching disrespect Trump? No, he isn’t my president. Did I march because I felt marginalized for being a minority? No, I’ve lived an incredibly fortunate life in comparison.

    I marched for my patients—the ones who see me regularly because they’ve been treated as less than human for being transgender or homosexual. I marched for the women who was raped when no one believed her. I marched for the young girl who got pregnant at 15. I marched for everyone, regardless who they are or where they’re from.

    The Women’s March wasn’t a march against Trump. It was a march of solidarity for everyone else. For once, this wasn’t about the President, it was about standing up for what’s right!

    Editor’s note: TheLoDown is and will remain a platform for strong, independent women to voice their opinions. If you’d like to submit an article for consideration, please send it to paula@thelodown.com.

  • 3 Ways To Remain Hopeful Post Inauguration Day

    This past Friday marked a significant day in American history.

    Whether you faced it with trepidation, hesitation, or plain ole fear, there’s no doubt intense emotions were involved.

    Oftentimes in life, we are faced with adversity that, quite frankly, questions why things are the way they are. The inauguration, for many, was one of such instances where unfavorable circumstances touched upon a deep-rooted societal uncertainty. Regardless how you felt about the presidential transition, the inevitable happened. Trump became America’s new “leader.”

    As I sit here writing this post, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I feel small and helpless. I’m not quite sure what I can do to ease fear for both others and myself. While reflecting, however, I realized that we are ultimately in charge of how we choose to deal with this uncertainty. Even though we might not be able to change the inevitable, we can still be in command of how we hold ourselves moving forward.

    The Company You Keep

    Surround yourself with like-minded and forward-thinking individuals. I know I will. Whether it’s enjoying a dinner date or sharing ideas on how to move forward, surround yourself with people whose opinions you respect. Together, we can and will be better.

    The Conversations You Have

    As much as I love and seek healthy debate from time to time, know that it’s okay to take a break. Instead of arguing, engage in conversations that inspire change. How can we learn from multiple perspectives? How can we grow as a society? Although conversations like these ones may too become heated, we are in charge of how we choose to engage and hold ourselves in those conversations. Be in command of how you let it affect you. You have a choice. You ALWAYS have a choice.

    The Values You Portray

    Things are easier said than done. While you may feel the need to vent (and rightfully so), use this time to lead by example. I, for one, have located my nearest Planned Parenthood to see how I can get involved. We cannot and should not allow our fear, anger, and frustration to get the best of us. Instead, we should use our energy in the most effective and positive way. 

    I cannot think of a better time to demonstrate compassion, to initiate meaningful conversations, and to appreciation an array of perspectives. Perhaps, in this mess, there is a silver lining. We will, however, have to work tirelessly to find it together.

  • New Year, New Things, and New Goals

    #GoalsOnGoals

    Hi, LoDown fam! What are some of your goals for the new year? I decided to do a little shopping to motivate myself to stick to my goals. Hey, no judging! I swear it works for me!

    Curious about my methods, my goals, and how I plan to see them through? Well then, keep reading!

    1. Don’t stop being creative!

    If you know me, you know that I love all things artsy fartsy. Muji is one of my favorite stationery stores in New York City. A Japanese retail company, it sells stationery, clothing, travel items, household goods, and snacks. I like to think of it as the one-stop shop for everything imaginable! Their stationery section is obviously to die for. If you’ve never been, go now. You won’t regret it! And if you do go, coffee’s on me!

    This year, I decided to start writing down ideas, thoughts, and quotes that strike me. I’m also keeping up with illustrations, lettering, and other random activities to nurture my creative side.

    2. Capture moments!

    Meet the Polaroid Snap Touch and the Polaroid Zip, two new goodies I added to my camera collection. The Polaroid Snap Touch is similar to the usual Polaroid camera but you can decorate your photo with different frames before printing (if you want to), or you can chose not to print the photo if you don’t like the picture all that much.

    The Polaroid Snap, on the other hand, is a mini photo printer that prints out any photo of your choice— even the ones that have been in your Camera Roll for ages. I like how slim these babies are. They actually fit in my bag. These nifty gadgets will definitely help me capture more moments this year. The best part? They’re stickers!!!

    3. Drink more water!

    I’m the worst when it comes to drinking the right amount of water. Truth be told, I’ve had days where I’ve completely spaced on drinking any H2O. Well, not this year! I’m proud to say that I’ve been drinking way more water than ever before, thanks to my CamelBak companions! I’m especially loving the Chute Vacuum Insulated bottle because it keeps my liquids cold. I know, it’s winter, but the only way I will drink water is if it’s super duper cold. Totally recommend!

    4. Keep warm!

    Yes, I have a bad habit of not wearing enough clothes, especially in the winter. My boyfriend (who knows my habit all too well) purchased a Uniqlo coat for me last month, so I decided to get some winter gear to go along with it. A 100% wool scarf and cute water-resistant boots are must-haves to conquer the cold days of New York City. Both of these products are from Sorel, a footwear brand that has what you need to walk in the rain or snow. Pictured here are the Women’s Joan Infinity Scarf and the Women’s Lolla Boots!

    4. Sleep well!

    After suffering from constant lower back pains for the past few months, I decided to finally time gift myself a new mattress. It’s been a decade—I know, gross! I’ve been holding off because mattresses are not the cheapest things on the planet and most places charge a hefty amount (to the point where I’d rather continue suffering with my lower back pain) for one. Recently, however, a good friend recommended Tuft & Needle. I decided to give their mattress a whirl and my body is truly in wonderland. T&N has affordable prices for mattresses, and I couldn’t be more grateful. My favorite part? The mattresses are deflated and come rolled up in a long vertical box. I loved the inflating process! All you have to do it cut the plastic and bam!

    Now if I could only find leggings that can heat up… 

  • 3 Ways To Deal With Winter Blues

    Seasonal Depression is Real

    As we truck through the snow and freezing cold this winter, it’s natural to feel somewhat downtrodden with spring months away. Everyone notices seasonal changes differently. While some people aren’t really affected, others find it difficult—if not debilitating—to go about their everyday lives.

    Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) was previously classified as a primary psychiatric illness. Today, however, it’s considered a “specifier” that manifests in people who have recurrent depressive episodes.

    Wait, so what does all of this mean?

    Someone who has a depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern experiences a temporal relationship between each of their depressive episodes at a particular time of year like winter. Unlike individuals who may be depressed throughout the year, individuals who experience it with a seasonal pattern experience full remission after the season (winter) passes. For an individual to be diagnosed with a seasonal pattern of depression, he or she must have experienced two or more consecutive seasonal depressive episodes with non-depressive (normal) seasonal episodes in between.

    Regardless the degree at which you experience a depressed winter, below are 3 ways to deal with the cold weather blues.

     

    1. Get some shut eye!

    I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before, but I’m going to say it again: a consistent amount of sleep can go a long way. While there’s no exact number of hours to determine the right amount of sleep (you will know what you need), a good amount will help us process and deal with what life throws at us the next day—whether it a power outage or snow storm.

     

    2. Sweat it out!

    In addition to getting a good night’s sleep, eating healthy and working out also helps keep your mind active and alert. I get it, it’s tough to schedule in gym sessions when you go to work in the dark and leave in the dark this winter. Heck, it is even harder when it takes twice as long to get to the gym due to a pile of snow standing in your way. In order to put your best foot forward this winter and improve your ability to cope, however, it is taking simple steps like breaking a sweat and eating nourishing foods that will make all the difference.

     

    3. Plan Ahead!

    Although this may not be helpful for everyone, for me, planning something to look forward in the upcoming months does wonders. Spending your spare time planning both the logistics and your outfits for a special occasion will not only keep you future oriented but also distract you from dwelling on your current sad mood.

     

    Not everyone who feels blue this winter is experiencing a true depressive episode. However, if you or somebody you know are depressed, it would be beneficial and recommended to go see your doctor so he or she can assess and advise on the next steps. If you have a friend or family member who is struggling this winter, acknowledging their distress can go a long way.

  • 3 Ways to Keep Your Resolutions All Year Long

    It’s official…

    Holiday parties have come and gone, the days of procrastination with them. Endless hours of watching old Christmas films and eating “just one more cookie” are, unfortunately, activities of the much-desired past. If your social media feed is anything similar to mine, you would have noticed an influx of posts by friends and influencers reflecting on their #bestof2016 moments and setting both goals and resolutions for 2017!

    There is something undeniably exciting about the fresh start to a new year. I, for example, like to shelve my mishaps from the year before and move forward with a clean slate. While good intentions and fancy calendars will help you maintain both goals and resolutions, I know from experience that a long to-do list will making the actual maintaining extremely challenging. If anything, a lengthy list of must-achieves will result in a difficult let down when everything on the list is not successfully checked off.

    Regardless where you hope this year will take you—getting around to using that gym pass or traveling more in your free time—there will always be obstacles that make achieving your dreams challenging. Below are 3 simple ways to help you keep your resolutions all year long. Yes, ALL YEAR LONG!

    Remember, you can do it!

    Realistic Goal Setting

    I get it. You just finished the first week of January and you’re still excited. Hell, you’re energized! Even though I’m all about shooting for the stars, I think it’s crucial to remain realistic when setting goals. When I make my goals, I make sure they fit the SMART criteria. The “smarter” your goals, the more likely you’ll achieve them.

    Specific: A specific goal has much greater chance of being accomplished than a general one. For example: “I want to work on my physical health” is less specific than “I want to start doing yoga weekly to improve my physical health.”

    Measurable: Is the goal measurable? Keeping track of your progress gives an incentive to keep going and working towards the goal.

    Action Oriented: Can your goal be described as a verb? Outlining the exact steps needed to accomplish your goal will set you up for success from the beginning.

    Realistic: Can the goal actually be obtained?

    Timely: Can your goal be accomplished by a set date? When you have a set time period in mind you will be more likely to be focused throughout the process.

    Progress > Perfection

    There is nothing worse than falling off the band wagon three weeks in and resorting back to your old ways. When this happens, you need to cut yourself some slack.

    Strive for progress over perfection.

    When working towards any goal, there will always be setbacks. It is how you deal with those setbacks that will predict your success.  Even if you miss a couple spin classes or inhale too many slices of pizza, you should not give up! Pick yourself up and be resilient. Remember, it is about baby steps. Sometimes it takes going a step backwards to go two steps forward!

    Reward, Reward, Reward

    Another great way to help keep your resolutions all year long is to form a buddy system. Whether you periodically check in with your friend or a celebrate with mani and pedi every time you regularly exercise, it is important to celebrate and acknowledge all the milestones you reach on your journey!

    Whatever you may have in mind for 2017, it is important to remember that all good things take time and effort. With perseverance, your goals can be achieved! Happy New Year and best of luck in 2017!

  • I make goals, not resolutions. You should too.

    Happy New Year!

    I don’t know about you, but everyone in my life keeps asking me about my New Year’s resolutions. I get that we’ve hit the reset button but I make goals, not resolutions, and you should too!

    Let me break it down:

    Res-o-lu-tion: a firm decision to do or not to do something.

    Goal:the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.

    Goals come from the heart. Flexible, they mold to your hectic life schedule. Resolutions, on the other hand, are set in stone. Once altered, they’re immediately considered a failure. You see, most of us stumble upon failure, wallow there for a while, before picking ourselves back up and re-committing our minds and our hearts to our individual journeys. This process, while tedious, makes us stronger. There is nothing wrong or shameful about experiencing failure. The point is to see it, conquer it, and leave it behind in the past! 

    Making goals allows you to set a destination and a path to get there. Goals reflect the positive ambitions you have for yourself and the people around you.

    Share your goals with EVERYONE! Doing so will keep you motivated and accountable!

    My Goals for 2017:

    • Help 20-30 people graduate into a healthy lifestyle through my Healthy Hustle Lifestyle program.
    • Train a few of my clients to complete their first NYC Marathon in November 2017, while also training myself to complete my second.
    • Encourage people daily to take joyful risks. Allowing them to take the leap to believe in themselves and their thoughts. Taking risks and concurring doubt and failure to get to their max joy (i.e. TAKE JOYFUL RISKS).
    • Start a store on my website by the end of January 2017. I want this store to be filled with pieces that I have created to help others find their max joy! (Water bottles will be in January 1st!)

    The last thing you want is to look back and be disappointed in yourself, you want to always be proud of reaching your goals!

    Fly into the new year with ambition!

    Peace & Love,
    Emily Burkhardt
    @thehealthyhustle

  • 10 Motivational Quotes to Celebrate the New Year

    Happy New Year, LoDown Fam!

    Remember “2016, We’re Comin’ For Ya!“? We’re keeping up the tradition with another two handfuls of words to live by for 2017. These were all handwritten by yours truly (@bristlesproutsco), for you! Hoping these quotes hit home, while lifting your spirits into the new year!

    Don't forget to keep yourself in mind 🌿

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Working on it though 🐜

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Because you're just fine where you are. You don't need to be in a garden to blossom ✨

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Be kind 💞

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Focus on the relevant ✔️

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Life is what you make of it 🌟

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Those little #achievements are a big deal, too ✌🏼

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Gotta get rid of the sh*t that weighs you down 💥

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Kill them with #kindness ✨

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Because if you don't, how else will you slay? 💥

    A post shared by courtney xu (@bristlesproutsco) on

    Let’s continue to be kind and lift each other up! Let’s inspire each other by sharing a favorite go-to motivational quote in the comments down below!

  • It’s Time to Show Yourself Some Love

    Give yourself a pat and then some!

    There have been times when I get so wrapped up with work, family, and friends, that I completely forget to check in on myself. In fact, when I’m busy tending to the needs of others, asking myself a “how are you doing?” is the last thing on my mind. Unfortunately, the gesture, however simple and seemingly small, should never be overlooked.

    Feeling a little guilty? Shake it off!

    It’s time to shower yourself in some much needed attention!

    Loving Talk

    There is both weight and value in the conversations we have with ourselves. The thoughts that float through our minds can influence us tremendously. While this may seem slightly overhwelming at times, know that you are in control of your thoughts. The more encouraging conversations you have with yourself, the more positive your outlook on life. Believe it or not, you will soon gain the confidence to share your accomplishments out loud.

     

    Treat Yourself

    Take the time to really treat yourself to something special. There doesn’t have to be a reason for the gift— sometimes knowing you made it through the day is reason enough! Everyone has a different way of relaxing. Maybe it’s that new scarf you’ve been eyeing for the winter, or that face cream you’ve been chewing your sister’s ear off about! Maybe it’s even taking  a Friday afternoon off work to get a message. I know a new candle or fresh flowers brings me such joy! Remember to balance working hard with playing equally hard.

     

    Check In with Yourself

    Self reflection leads to positive changes. Give yourself the necessary time and space to to explore your feelings. You’ll grow as a result. Ask yourself questions: What can you do better? What can you congratulate yourself for achieving thus far? Allow yourself to make adjustments in order to meet the goals youset for yourself. A simple shift in perception could allow you to feel lighter and more loving towards your overall journey.

    “To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” —Oscar Wilde

    I hope you are able to make the small changes that gear you towards a life of self love. Accomplishing all that you have thus far is no small feat, so celebrate you!

    Muah xx,

    Emily

  • How to Overcome Weird Vibes (GIFs included)

    Awkward turtles, anyone?

    Have you ever been in an awkward situation where it’s so uncomfortable you’d rather just crawl into a hole and fade away? Have I? Definitely! In fact, I’m convinced these unfortunate situations happen more frequently to me than they do the average individual.

    Ugh!

    It’s never fun to panic or feel anxious. Your nerves kick in and it’s a never-ending nightmare from there. But hey, overcoming weird vibes is all about managing the various circumstances from which they arise.

    Let me break it down!

    The Awkward Barista

    You’re obligated to be polite to this person because he or she is whipping up your ridiculously complicated order. I mean, I hope you’re polite to this person either way because you’re generally polite to begin with! 😛

    Principally speaking, however, waiting for a stranger to complete your order can be weird—especially if the conversation you exchange sets the tone for your entire day. Feeling a standoffish vibe? Try catching your barista off guard with a simple question. In my experience, a “How is your morning going?” works wonders. But, if the light interaction doesn’t do the trick, don’t take his or her grumpiness personally! Thank your barista for your drink, sip your non-fat mocha Frappucino with light whip, and be on your merry way.

    The Standoff-ish Boss

    It’s not always easy to work with someone in close quarters on a daily basis. The thought of small talk might even disgust you! But, believe it or not, confronting the weird-ish relationship head on might be better than avoiding it entirely.

    Ease into something like discussing weekend plans or mutual interests. If the conversation isn’t flowing as smoothly as you hoped, try bringing up a work related topic. “Hey, the new printer is amazing!” or “The break room coffee has an extra kick today!” is proof that you’ve tried. There is NEVER anything wrong with trying!

    The Anti-Social Clique

    Have you ever been to a party where people separate off into individual groups or where the amalgamation of guests is too eclectic of a mix? Have you ever wanted to U-turn and beeline for the door you just walked in? You have? Well good. I’m now designating you as THE person to shake loose those negative vibes and get the people of the party partying! Take it upon yourself to put on a groovy song (Sexy Back by JT?) and showcase your killer moves.

    Mingle with the other guests and make connections! Someone had to do! Whether they thank you or not for your bravery, I will!

    Hopefully you can have a laugh and turn these cringe-worthy situations around for the better. Remember to laugh at yourself and enjoy all of the funky situations life throws at you.

    xx

    Emily

  • Guide to Gratitude

    May this how-to bring you clarity on a cloudy day

    We often hear people uttering the importance of gratitude but when was the last time you felt truly grateful?

    To be honest, I often feel a disconnect between knowing when to be thankful and actually feeling it. It is always easier to focus on the things that are not working instead of the things that are. In fact, I really believe society has conditioned us to assume that more is simply better.

    Now that Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, however, I’d like to encourage you all to reset, get excited about life, and rightfully take in ALL the love and joy that surrounds you!

    1. Keep a Journal!

    It is essential you take the time to really “practice” gratitude. The easiest way to begin is by journaling. Before putting my pen to paper, I like to start by picking out a cute notebook—anything water color or marble-printed. It helps with my creative process!

    Regardless of where you are in life, you have something to be thankful for, however small. The contents of my list, for example, vary from superficial possessions to deeply-felt and emotionally-charged experiences. Both are completely valid!

    I am grateful for –

    • Unconditional love from my family
    • Having an afternoon tea date with my grandmother
    • The opportunity to move up in the company

    I am grateful for –

    • Zac Efron’s body
    • Perfectly shaped eyebrows
    • New Acne boots

    Despite the difference in scale and magnitude, the feeling of  gratitude remains the same.

    2. Make it a Habit!

    8f5b4ae3b588b4df1d4883e49db41da4Because gratitude does not come naturally for a lot of many people, myself included, the constant practice of it makes for a more grateful heart. I usually experience three days of bubbling positivity before coming across a bad one that  makes me feel as though I have to restart my mission to gratitude. Don’t worry if you’re not immediately successful. Expecting an overnight shift is perspective is a little farfetched especially when it takes 21 takes to form a habit.

    Ease into the process by committing  ten or so minutes to journaling. Being disciplined and trusting of this process will allow you to shift your current downcasted feelings towards a more light and love-focused one. As the habit form over time, they’ll natural become instinctual!

    3. Spread the Love!

    Once you reach a state of continuous gratitude, the positive change will be felt by others. Not only will you find yourself surrounded by like-minded individuals, but you will also attract an abundance of love and life experiences. Think of it this way: themore love, gratitude, and positivity you create, the more those effervescent vibes find their way back to you.

    Gratitude makes everything grow.

    It is remarkable what can come when you allow yourself to experience all that life has to offer. These three tips can enable you to elevate your mind to a place of light and love.  Feeling grateful and following these tips is the only way I pull myself out of a bad day. Give it a try! The long weekend is a great start because laughter, food and drinks will already be flowing. First thing to be grateful for? Pants with elastic waistbands! More food please!

    xx

    Emily

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