Love Versus Emotional Abuse

This is going to be one of the more controversial articles I will write, but I find it important to start a conversation around it. Why? Because on a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide¹.

There is a difference between being loved and being abused. Yet the ways of being emotionally abused in a relationship can be incredibly discrete.

I have watched as many loved ones excuse behaviors on the basis of “oh he really loves me”. I have even done that! I have accepted really crappy behavior from previous partners because “he loves me”. Or I longed to feel loved, even if it is just crumbs. But this is not okay! First off, no one deserves to be hurt. Secondly, whether we realize it or not, there is a long lasting effect from being in these abusive relationships. It crushes our self-worth in the long run. Each time we accept unacceptable behavior, we are saying, “oh I deserve that treatment, I am not worth being respected.”

What Emotional Abuse Looks Like

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How To Deal With Change

First, I want to thank all the lovely comments and support while I have been away! I apologize it has been pretty quiet on the blog front last week. While some may know, I have been going through a lot of changes and it finally all hit last week. Since I begrudgingly admit I am human and the very normal feelings of fear, sadness, anxiety, and anger began to creep in- I decided to step away and take care of myself while finding my footing again.

While I just moved (which is a big milestone in itself) I also have been going through some massive personal changes. I won’t dive into it because I don’t want to hurt anyone else involved, but it really reminded me of what I would do when I faced these momentous points in life.

dealing with change in a healthy way

While today isn’t a fashion post, hang in there, I will have those soon enough. Instead, I want to share certain really HEALTHY steps I choose to combat the human feelings of fear, anxiety or feeling overwhelmed. While feeling feelings are crucial, constantly living in fear or sadness is not. This is what I found works for me.

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How to “Power Your Happy” with Lisa Sugar

A few weeks ago, I attended the Power Your Happy panel hosted by Lisa Sugar from Popsugar. The evening corresponded with the launch of Lisa Sugar’s new book “Power Your Happy” and was filled with incredible speakers who have successfully turned what they loved into a career. The panelists were Deborah Lloyd who is Kate Spade’s Chief Creative Director, Chef Chloe Coscarelli of by CHLOE, and Jessie Randall the Creative Director and Cofounder of Loeffler Randall. See what each inspirational woman had to say below!

Lisa Sugar – founder of Popsugar

  • “Do what you love”
  • After a lot of crappy jobs in my 20s and not liking what I was doing everyday, I started “doing what I love”. My husbands motto of  “just do it” played in my head. I began writing and making a routine. I learned from the audience what they liked and modified the content.
  • I have a series of people I look to for inspiration, such as Beyonce. Though I don’t know her personally, I use her quotes to help direct my own thinking and choices.
  • As for Balance? Screw balance. It is great in theory, but there is no such thing as balance when you are doing what you love and working for yourself.

Popsugar Power your happyPopsugar Power your happyPopsugar Power your happyPopsugar Power your happyPower Your Happy Chef Chloe, Deborah Lloyd, Jessie Randall

Deborah Lloyd – Kate Spade’s Chief Creative Director

  • I was head of Burberry of women’s wear and Banana Republic then Kate Spade. I kept moving into new opportunities and experiences.
  • Be surrounded by a team of people who are better than you and better at the things you hate to do.
  • A smile will get you a lot further than you think.
  • The hardest experiences are when you learn the most and inquire more drive.

Chloe Coscarelli – by CHLOE

  • Attitude is everything. Not success is everything; not money is everything. It is how you see things that make a huge difference.
  • I moved home for three years and not sure what I was doing. That time was so necessary. I was able to listen to myself and figure out what I wanted to do.
  • My advice is don’t seek validation from others. Who cares what other’s think when you tell them what you do for a living or if you are in the place of figuring your life out. Do what you really love.
  • Think about what you would want as a consumer- that will cultivate more genuine products.

Jessie Randall – Creative Director and Cofounder of Loeffler Randall

  • I struggled with the confidence of saying I am a designer at first. It was something I had to get over.
  • Someone asked me at the beginning stages of starting my own business, “If you failed- would it still be a positive experience if you tried to be a designer?” – it helped me take the big risk.
  • Let go of things- delegate, ask for help, you don’t have to do everything yourself.
  • Find a partner that will help you. They should be the ying to your yang.
  • When you can’t stop thinking about it, pursue it.
  • Think about what makes you different from what is already out there.
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Jewel’s powerful story and inspirational words

Yesterday I recently visited the set of AOL Build, where the mega online hub hosts daily interviews with big named celebrities. I sat in on an interview with folk-country singer Jewel. If you grew up in the ’90s like I did, you’d remember jammin’ to her songs on the radio along with Savage Garden.

What I did not remember was how much Jewel had overcome at such a young age. She grew up in an abusive household, ran away at 15, became homeless at 16 and started stealing to make it through. She then started singing and songwriting which led her to become an American sensation.

But how did Jewel turn her life around?

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The Two Pillars I live By

I recently wrote an article for a friend about following your dreams. Pursuing your passions. The moment I sat down and began typing words of inspirations I had acquired through the years, I was flooded with feelings. For me writing is the process of taking a moment to pause, think, reflect and compose a letter to my closest friends (you). When constructing the piece on following dreams, I was reminded of what life is about. At least how I see it, and what I believe it is. I live by two pillars.

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What it is like to survive sexual abuse

I don’t even know where to begin. I have edited and rewritten this article 43 times. I’ve walked away from this post to breathe, remember where I am today, and relax. This was the hardest article to write.

Lately, I have been bombarded by articles of teens and young women who have been raped. Most of us have been discussing the Stanford student who raped a young woman. We all know that this horrible abuse exists, but I don’t feel like we know how prevalent sexual abuse towards women is in our society. I also don’t think we understand the long-lasting effects of sexual abuse. We squirm at the thought and would rather ignore it. In reality, we need to stand up and say, “This has to end”.

The last article I read made me furious to the point I knew that I had to finally share my own story. To share what it is really like to survive sexual abuse in today’s society.

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How To Prevent A Blogger Burnout

It is beyond easy to have a blogger burnout. Or have a burnout in general especially as an entrepreneur or startup. There is a ton of work to do,  a lot of different hats to wear, and typically only one person to do it all– you. Without a large budget to start, many bloggers (self-included) are responsible for writing content, producing original photos, marketing, engaging in social media, networking, editing, and pitching to brands.

It is a lot.

What I found helpful to prevent a blogger burnout is incorporating balance and boundaries into my schedule. Think about it, what you are doing now has to last for years to come. If you don’t think you can withhold your current regimen for five years, then these tips may help!

So what does balance look like? Great question, this is how I create balance in my day to day life:

My mornings typically involve returning emails, running to the post office to fulfill Poshmark orders, and  working on social media. These can be draining activities so I make sure to rest before heading into my next task.

Afternoons are dedicated to creative writing. I turn my phone on Do Not Disturb and write whatever comes to mind. This time is precious to me! The whole reason I became a blogger is to write. It is not only work but also a form of creative expression. I gain a lot of energy from this part of my day. A perfect balance to my morning activities. If I have additional time, I tend to dream about where I want to take my blog and career.

Late Afternoons I follow up on additional emails, schedule social media, take meetings. This takes a lot of time and thought process.

Evenings I shut down around 5/6pm. Not because I a done working but I need time to decompress to start the day fresh tomorrow. Unless I have an event, which I will speak about in the next section, I enjoy downtime with friends, working out, or cooking.

Did you notice that through the day there is a balance of activities that were energy draining and energy giving? Try to include that in your own work schedule, and see how that impacts your mood!

As for boundaries, I have very specific set of rules that work for me. Similar to balance, take a moment and see what fits your lifestyle. Are you an introvert or extrovert? What gives you a boost of energy? Incorporate those activities into your schedule and create boundaries based on your own needs. This is what works best for me:

When it comes to events I have learned to select carefully. Prepping, traveling, engaging with new individuals, and meeting brand representatives requires a lot of time, energy, and money. As an introvert, I can easily drain and exhaust my body quickly. Therefore, I carefully select events based on the below information:

  • If it is a PR company without brands represented, I politely decline. I love PR companies, but I prefer working with brands directly and cultivating a strong relationship. I found that having a direct line of communication, I gain more valuable information, access to funding (aka higher quality articles for my readers to enjoy), and promotional info much quicker. In turn, I am able to provide faster, unique, and more useful info to my readers while using my time and energy efficiently.
  • If it has anything to do with alcohol, late night partying, or products that are not cruelty free- I say no. It doesn’t fit my lifestyle or brand image. They may be incredible events, but if I can’t promote it then I am doing a disservice to the brand.
  • When both parties will get something out of the meeting, I say YES! It doesn’t need to be monetary but I do need to get something for my time as well. It may be credibility, a direct line to a brand I want to work with, or something I truly want to experience.  When I am excited and happy to attend the brand can tell and it creates a more authentic post for my readers enjoy. It also creates a better work relationship. Bottom line, people want to work with happy and enthusiatic individuals. And being bored or tired at an event totally shows.

Other boundaries I have:

  • I take weekends off- no emails social media or posts. Instead, I enjoy leisure activities by myself, with friends, or family.
  • I take holidays. Yes, time off just like other people.
  • When I am with friends and family, I do not post photos of the events we are attending. That is my time with them and I respect that quality time immensely.
  • I begin working at 9am  and end at 5/6pm . If I have an evening event I take the afternoon off to rest.
  • I do not text or call anyone (even personal) after 10pm.

These simple guidelines allow me to keep up this work routine for years to come and have a fulfilling life. It also enables me to provide useful, engaging, and fun material that my readers will enjoy. Furthermore, this is a way I can keep healthy and strong relationships with companies, who in turn enjoy working with me.

Does this help? Would you like to read similar articles such as how I avoid writers block or what I do to decompress? Let me know in the comments below!

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New York, What’s the Rush?

When I first moved to new york I vividly remember sitting in a Starbucks on the corner of 49th and Madison avenue. It was pouring outside. I sat with my journal and coffee to write, but I was more fascinated by what was going on outside in front of me.

Men and women in business suits rushing in and out of buildings. Some had umbrellas, a few used the morning Times to shield their head from the torrential downpour. All were racing.

Normally I would regard the scene as a side effect of poor weather conditions. But this was a typical scene for New York. Business attired men and women shoving their way down the busy streets.

Where were they going? What was so important? I want to know the emergency!

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Dating Disasters

Last year I had so much fun writing this article, I thought it would be fun to bring it back. As an ode to Valentine’s Day, I figured it is only appropriate to share some extremely painful yet hilarious dating stories. Because honestly, what better way to celebrate this holiday than with a good hearty laugh. Without further delay, here are some brave women who made it through some really horrible dates.

As we all know, there are a variety of factors that contribute to a bad date…

Let’s start with the men with a second agenda:

It was our 3rd date and he invited me over to his place to watch a movie.  Then he burst out with a story regarding toothbrush head replacements, asking if I used the sonic electronic toothbrush. I said yes, and he asked “oh, well I accidentally got the wrong model.  Do you want these?”  And right before I answered “sure, if you don’t need them” he interrupts with, “I’ll sell them to you.” My jaw dropped. I never saw him again after that.

– Anonymous lady who had too much sense (or cents).

I agreed to meet this guy for a coffee date at Starbucks. Of course he chooses the one Starbucks located on Canal street. Canal street? You go buy knock-off purses on Canal street not to get coffee. That should have been a sign to cancel, but I went. It turned out that specific Starbucks actually ended up being closed due to plumbing problems. So we tried again and eventually met in a Starbucks around Union Sq. I kid you not, once we met and sat down he takes off his shirt and tries to sell me Facebook add-ons! He had his whole business plan and everything. Uh-uh, I’m done.

-Anonymous lady who’s now happily sipping Starbucks in peace

There is always the Ex factor:

I had been looking forward to going on a date with …. let’s call him James,  for awhile.  He was the first guy in some time that I didn’t meet through match.com or tinder. It was exciting, we had been texting all week! The conversations were going great, then the big day finally arrived….. he called about 2 hours before our date saying he had to cancel because his ex-girlfriend just told him she was pregnant… needless to say, the date never happened!

– Leonor Robels from Red Soles and Stilletos

All you need to know is that we got into bed and he could not, for the life of him, get it up.  The rest of the night turned into him crying for 4-5 hours while talking about how he just broke up with his ex. Once he was asleep, I decided that was my chance to escape. So I ran out in the middle of the night. Classy, I know.

– Anonymous girl who ran away.

I was in the airport having just gotten back from Morocco when I saw this lady who had the most beautiful coat on. I asked her where she got it and started chatting. I needed something to get my mind off of the vacation that had gone so horribly wrong. I mean horribly wrong, where my date ended up in the hospital. I figured I might as well talk to someone with half decent taste. A few minutes later my date, who is now in a wheelchair, comes rolling over. Turns out the women I have been chatting with was his Wife! Just when I didn’t think things could get worse, I ended up sharing a ride with them both from the airport.

– Lynn H.

The ones who think a few drinks will help:

My fave was a guy I met on plenty of fish. He was so cute. We agreed to meet for drinks, but he said he had to take a train to meet up because he had a breathalyzer hooked up to his car. That was a huge red flag. So of course on our date he got so wasted that he fell out of his bar stool and fell asleep on the bar floor. The bar staff literally had to drag him outside and put him on a park bench in front of the train station. Best part was when he woke up on the bench hours later, he kept trying to facetime me. Not call, but facetime. 

-Melissa R.

I went over to this guy’s place who I’ve been dating. It was super late because of my ridiculous work hours. When I arrived, he was already drunk, sick and congested. He said he wanted to take a shower to clear out his sinuses, so I just went to sleep. Couple hours later I woke up and I heard the shower still running. He decided to fall asleep in the shower. 

-Anonymous lady who’s no longer babysitting drunks.

Then there are the guys who leave you speechless:

I went on a date with this seemingly conservative man. It was a nice dinner at very plan restaurant. At the time, the dating book “The Rules” was super popular, so I knew I wouldn’t hear from him for three days. Like clockwork, on the third day he contacted me saying he had a great time and would love to see me again once he gets back from skiing in Vermont. I said no problem, call me when you get back, have fun. He quickly replied back with, “I bet you didn’t think exotic male dancers liked to ski… By the way I am a male dancer.” I didn’t know how to respond but with “ok”.

– Ellese Launer from Rock.Paper.Glam.

It was my second date after completing a fairly decent first date. My head was filled with visions of merriment and comparability. I entered the bar and found my tall hunched over and fidgety date…Not necessarily what I remembered. He chose two seats near the bathroom, and I went to buy my own beer. I sat drinking steadily while he went on talking about himself, and how knowledgeable he was. At one point his head was so slouched over, I am pretty sure he was talking to my crotch. The date concluded with him asking me “So are you going to make out with me now, or what?”… That would be a no.

– Meaghan Lass from Bitches ain’t shit. and other anecdotes (read the full story)

And of course, there are the MIA men:

I had been dating a guy for a few weeks. We were texting throughout the week and were hanging out every weekend.  A week before Valentine’s Day he told me that he was planning a surprise for me and he would call once he  figured out the details!  Well, Valentine’s Day came and went- no word.  While I was sitting at my sorority house irritated the following Monday, I aimlessly perused  Facebook when something caught my eye.  Lo and behold, my MIA date was in a brand spanking new relationship… with a mutual friend of ours.  Needless to say I haven’t talked to him since!

-Sophia L.

The one Valentine’s Day I actually had a boyfriend was in college,
but we couldn’t even celebrate because there was a huge snow storm! So I
ended up eating white pizza and drinking wine with my roomies. I got to tell you, I’ll never forget how good that pizza was though.

– Ashley B.

But every once in awhile you’ll land a good one:

I was on a third date with a guy. He took me out to dinner and soon into our meal, he bit into a pepperchini and it shot juice across the table into my eye. He just started laughing while I teared up and rubbed my eye frantically. He then said “well, at least this wasn’t our first date, or I would have just put money on the table for you to take a cab and walked out, because there’s no recovering from that.” I married this man five years later.

– Kelli G.

I hope you enjoy!

Originally posted on Feb 14, 2015

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