STOP LETTING SOCIAL MEDIA KILL YOUR SELF-ESTEEM

While the spring breakers are out exploring the beaches of Cabo, you’re at home scrolling through your Explore page and probably feeling kind of sh*tty about yourself. But know you’re not alone. Seeing an endless stream of gorgeous, skinny girls in their teeny tiny swimsuits is enough to put a real damper on anyone’s self esteem.

But it’s reality check time—this isn’t reality. There are so many tricks, stratagems, ploys, devices, you name it that Instagrammers use to make themselves appear totally flawless on your feed. Here are a couple:

EDITING APPLICATIONS

Phone apps like Facetune and Perfect365 are essentially Photoshop for dummies. Facetune, the worse of the two in my opinion, allows you to make yourself a model for the low price of $3.99. You can touch yourself up and thin yourself out with the mere swipe of a finger. In a CNN Tech article about the app, the writer says, “Now, there’s no excuse for not looking your best.” While we aren’t shaming people for wanting to look and feel beautiful, this mentality can be toxic, especially when tons of Instagram users are unaware apps like this even exist. So now you know, her complexion probably isn’t that clear and her arm not that skinny.

STRATEGIC POSES

Ever heard of the Insta-sit? Let me break it down for you. You sit in your bikini with your legs half-crossed, one extended and the other folded underneath, arms held above your head, and back slumped to bring your stomach inward. According to this article praising the pose, it “lengthens limbs and shows off tans” and “you HAVE to try” it. You’d be shocked at the mass of step-by-step instructions there are online regarding how to look thin in photos. Reputable magazines like Elle and Harper’s Bazaar have even contributed to this blatantly problematic conversation. Thankfully there’s another social media trend of posting “posed” and “unposed” photos side-by-side to confront this phenomenon.

CURATED CONTENT

I once heard the saying, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” People only post their life’s highlights to social media, and I’m sure once you come to think of it, that’s what you do too. In her highly publicized rejection of the app, Australian Instagram model Essena O’Neill made it clear that what she had been posting was merely “contrived perfection.” So, I leave you with this quote from her: “If you find yourself looking at ‘Instagram girls’ and wishing your life was there’s [sic]…Realise you only see what they want.”

How do you squash the social media blues? Let us know in the comments!

(Featured image via @alexisren)

DO THE DAMN THING ALREADY, OKAY?

Okay this may come off a teeny tiny bit hypocritical considering I’ve literally been contemplating getting my nose pierced for a year now, but hear me out! You know how you’ve always wanted to dye your hair pastel pink or beautiful lavender or electric blue? Or how you’ve definitely thought about chopping off almost all of your hair? Or how you’ve had like a million tattoos pinned on your Ink Board, but still haven’t managed to bite the bullet? Well I just want to offer some words of encouragement.

Okay, so yeah—I still haven’t made the appointment to get that shiny stud pierced into my nose, but I’m honestly slowing down when it comes to major style decisions.

Last year, I decided I wanted to dye my hair purple—like a beautiful, dark, rich, eggplant-y purple. So I made the appointment after about a week of contemplation. $350 and a generous tip later, I walked out of the salon with an electric blue do that I explicitly said I didn’t want. I cried when I got home. Fast forward a week, I asked the salon to fix it because it was exactly what I didn’t want (I swear I’m not the worst customer ever, I just wanted a specific color and I’m impulsive AF). The girl at the salon did what she could, and I walked out of there with like really, really red hair—it wasn’t purple, but I was just glad it wasn’t blue! Fast forward about a month and I realized that my hair was grossly damaged—cue impulsive decision. I had my friend chop off like eight inches of the bleach-damaged mop on my head. The lesson from the whole hair debacle is that I took a risk and, while it didn’t end up being exactly what I wanted, it led me to do something I definitely would not have done—chop off most of my hair. And let me just say I love my shorter hair! For all you vinas who want a crazy change, make sure to be really specific, but go for it! Life is too short to contemplate whether you can pull off pastel, because you can!

Fast forward to this year. Remember how I said I’m impulsive AF? Yeah, so a couple months ago I decided I wanted another tattoo—I really don’t wanna bore you with the whole thing, but long story short: the same thing that happened with my hair happened with the tattoo I got on my arm! It wasn’t what I wanted (and this one was kind of my fault for not being more specific), but I left the tattoo parlor with a big ole piece that I hated. The story’s not exactly the same, I mean I didn’t chop my arm off after this debacle but I immediately called another artist for a coverup! The second guy I went to did a beautiful piece that I absolutely love, and gave me an additional baby tat for free! People are always so worried about tattoos that they might regret, and I totally feel them. But vinas, if you’ve been wanting some ink for like a year or more, just pull the trigger already! And take it from me, you can always get a coverup!

I know my experiences sound like a sh*t show (because they were), but here’s my profound truth: YOLO! Seriously, it’s fun to be impulsive! Haven’t you heard the whole you only regret the things you don’t do thing? So vinas, whatever you’ve been contemplating or considering for the past year or longer, just do it! The lesson here is that even if it doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it (which it most likely will) it may be for the best!

 

Sometimes you just need a little push to do what you really wanna do! So vinas what is it that you’ve been dying to do? Tell us in the comments!

EASY DAILY REGIMENS TO UP YOUR HEALTH GAME

I so often hear people complaining about how their health is slipping away from them. They aren’t getting any sleep, they’re super stressed, they can’t find time to work out or eat right, etc. And I, too, often find myself spiraling into unhealthy patterns that do not serve me at all. So I’ve compiled a mini list of easy-to-implement regimens for when you realize you’re in an unhealthy hole.

FOR DIGESTION

Probiotics have changed my life. Just pop one in the morning, and voilà! You’ll be stomach-pain free all day long. Another tip: drink a mug of hot water rather than cold water whenever you’re feeling cramped or bloated.

FOR SHINY HAIR

Two fish oil supplements every morning will make your hair and skin radiant. Add a weekly hair mask such as olive oil or coconut oil to your shower routine, and you’re good to go! I’ve also found that a quick rinse with cold water after conditioning creates a nice sheen, if you can stand a shiver at the end of your shower.

FOR A STEADY SLEEP SCHEDULE

Take a melatonin an hour before bedtime every night for a week to regulate your schedule. This little pill is all-natural as it mimics the sleep hormone your body releases. Do this weekly regulation every time you feel your sleep schedule slipping but not too frequently because you’ll develop a tolerance!

FOR A HEALTHY HEART

Walk for 30 minutes each day to get in some light cardio, regardless of if you have time to make it to the gym. This can be as simple as getting off the bus early or setting your alarm a half an hour earlier and going for a stroll.

FOR LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE

Water, water, water! Drink 8 cups a day for glowing skin, hair, nails, digestion and a surplus of energy.

What do you do to up your health game? Share with a vina and comment below! 

(Featured image via blog.juliakostreva.com)

CHANGE YOUR ATTITUDE WITH MORE GRATITUDE

Gratitude (noun): a feeling of appreciation or thanks; the state of being grateful

If you’re in a slump, or things just don’t seem to be going your way, it’s hard to imagine being grateful for the situation. We might not like to admit it, but it’s sometimes easier to wallow in self pity than to actually change the things that put us in the pit of despair to begin with. Luckily, although you might now be able to change a situation, you can change how you are situated mentally. The simple act of thinking of & focusing on being thankful and appreciative can change your life! Still sounds out of this world? Here are some tips to bring you back to earth and outside of your own experiences:

DIVE IN

On your next day off- or better yet, on your next busy morning- wake up ready to give. I don’t mean money, or food, or even time- I’m talking attention. Be present in every interaction. Smile at strangers, ask the barista how she’s doing, look the bus driver in the eyes and say “thank you” as you get off. These seemingly simple gestures can brighten some one else’s day (so long as the gestures are genuine). Dedicating thought and energy into how you influence the lives of others just by being thankful for their presence is a great first step to forming a new outlook on life.

USE YOUR WORDS

All too often, we assume people know that we are grateful for them. In fact- it rarely even crosses out mind to let them know since we think it’s so obvious. Chances are they are unaware of how much they really mean to you, so why not let them know? Call up your parent and thank her/him for putting so much time into raising you. Send your vina a text letting her know how grateful you are to have her in your life. Stop a coworker just to say you’re happy to work with someone who does their job so well. You never know how much a person needs your words of encouragement and appreciation.

WRITE IT DOWN

If you don’t have a journal because you’re unsure of what you would put in it, here’s your chance to go buy that cute little notebook from your local book store. Start your entries every day for just one week with three things you are thankful for- this could be anything from the time you spent with your vina, to a gift someone gave you, or maybe you just saw something beautiful that brightened your day. At the end of the week, you will notice that you no longer even need to think  of three “thankful things”- you’ll just immediately appreciate them when they appear.

GET YOUR VINAS ON BOARD

It’s hard to change your attitude and appreciate life if you are surrounded by complainers. Let your vinas, family, and other members of your circle know what you’re up to, and encourage them to also reflect on their lives. By reframing life and experiences as something to be thankful for, you could change the very dynamic of your relationships.

What are you waiting for?? It’s never too late to appreciate! Let us know what you’re thankful for in the comments! 

(Feature image via pinterest)

YOU CAN TRAIN YOURSELF TO BE MORE OUTGOING

We’re all a little scared of rejection. Some of us are a lot scared. It doesn’t help that culturally, we’re taught to see rejection as a personal failure, where in fact, rejection happens to everyone, every single day. It happens when we don’t get a smile back on the street, when someone avoids eye contact or brushes us off during a conversation.

Most of the time, the person doing the rejecting has other stuff they are focusing on: really, it’s not us, it’s them. But it’s one thing to to logically understand this, and another to feel it. Many of us refrain from putting ourselves out there for fear of being shot down. So, how can we train ourselves to be desensitized to rejection, and begin to live more vibrant and fearless lives? Here are some exposure therapy steps to push you in the right direction.

STREET SMILE

Start by smiling at people on the street, especially people whose perception you may care about. Instead of walking past cooly in an attempt to maintain a façade, make eye contact, nod, smile. For some of us this will be terrifying at first. Sometimes, you won’t get a smile back, and that’s okay! Over time you will stop feeling personally hurt. And when some do smile back, that may just make your day.

BAR TALK

Next, it’s time to go up to people. Make a pact with yourself that you will talk to three people the next time you head out to a bar or other social setting with your vinas. These people have to be strangers, or not-so-close-acquaintances. Start off with people who don’t make you so nervous. They may brush you off, they may not. Remember, the idea is to actually get rejected a few times so that you understand that the world does not end when you do, and realize your capacity to pick yourself back up. After a few nights out, try talking to people who make you nervous. But don’t push yourself too fast. Baby steps!

IT DOESN’T HURT TO ASK

A lot of us feel like asking for something, whether it be a raise or a date or even respect, will reflect badly upon our character in the eyes of another. What most of us don’t realize is that oftentimes what you think will be a “no” is really a “yes!” It’s important to remember that if someone has a negative reaction to you it will probably be temporary, whereas your happiness and confidence is much more permanent. Besides, admiration is usually the primary reaction to those who ask for what they need!

What are some steps you can take towards facing your fear of rejection? Ask a vina and comment below!  

HERE’S THE SKINNY ON MAINTAINING HEALTHY SKIN

When I moved from California to Missouri, the culture shock was surprisingly minimal, with the exception of one thing: the prevalence of fake tanning. To this day, I’m taken aback whenever I hear girls casually chatting about the money they dropped on a monthly tanning package or the sunburns they got in the beds. At home, lying in a tanning bed is viewed as the equivalent to smoking a pack a day. It’s bad for you, and no one does it. End of story.

It’s hard for me to hear about my friends knowingly sabotaging their skin, especially because maintaining healthy skin is so simple. Love your skin, ladies, and here are some easy ways how:

FIND YOUR MAKEUP MATCH

Makeup, although never great for your skin, is okay if you’re using the right kind. The answer is all in the label. Look for face makeup and other skin products with Vitamin C to protect against sun damage, kombucha to moisten and tighten the skin, and copper peptides to stimulate collagen formation. If you have generally dry skin, try cream-based makeup, and if you have generally oily skin, opt for the powder-based kind.

MAKE YOUR OWN MASKS

Turns out face masks are good for more than middle school slumber party fun. If you’re trying to combat oily skin or acne, try an oatmeal face mask because the oats work to effectively soak up excess oils.  A yogurt mask should be your go-to if your skin is on the dry side. The yogurt has a moisturizing effect and even act as an exfoliator. If you’re not sure where you fall on the spectrum, stick with honey, which does wonders for all skin types.

LEARN TO LOVE LUKEWARM

As the last chilly days of winter linger into spring, jumping into a steamy shower sounds enticing. But, if you can- turn down the temp! The extra heat can strip your skin of beneficial natural oils, which can leave your skin feeling dry and patchy.

WATCH WHAT YOU EAT

There’s an old wives’ tale that eating greasy food gives you acne. While this may or may not be true, there are tons of other food that are either good or bad for your skin. Stick to: avocados, leafy greens, kiwi, blueberries, grass-fed beef, salmon, and dark chocolate. Steer clear of: chips, soda, margarine, rice cakes, candy, dairy, and fried food.

DRINK UP

Every time you read a self-care article, there’s usually a segment about drinking water, and this one’s no different. Water can remedy pretty much anything, including dry skin. For the best results, drink 6 to 8 cups of water per day. This may seem like a lot, but put it in a trendy bottle, and you’ll meet that goal in no time.

How do you love the skin you’re in? Let us know in the comments!

(Featured image via vogue.com)

GIRL BOSS ADVICE TO INSPIRE YOUR HUSTLE

Sometimes it’s okay to take things slow and go with the flow… but not always. If you’re at a point where you’re ready to get where you want to go and cut the rest, listen up to these ladies. Here’s the advice you need to hear right now.

MALALA YOUSAFZAI – ACTIVIST

“When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.”

ESTÉE LAUDER – ENTREPRENEUR

“I didn’t get there by wishing for it or hoping for it, but by working for it.”

OPRAH WINFREY – OPRAH

“Step out of the history that is holding you back. Step into the new story you are willing to create.”

AMELIA EARHART – PILOT

“The most effective way to do it is to do it.”

AYN RAND – AUTHOR

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.”

VIOLA DAVIS – ACTOR

“Do not live someone else’s life and someone else’s idea of what womanhood is. Womanhood is you. Womanhood is everything that’s inside of you.”

MAE JEMISON – ASTRONAUT

“Never limit yourself because of others’ limited imagination; never limit others because of your own limited imagination.”

CAROLINE MYSS – AUTHOR

“Do you really want to look back on your life and see how wonderful it could have been had you not been afraid to live it?”

OLIVIA JUNE POOLE – ENTREPRENEUR

“All work is hard work, or you’re not working hard enough.”

 

What are some of your favorite #bossbabe quotes? Share them in the comments below!

(Featured image via flickr.com)

THE CURE FOR FOMO ON A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX

These days it is easy to feel overwhelmed by the onslaught of social pressure that is social media. Many people find it consuming their lives, the first thing they do when they wake up and the last thing they do before bed. Not only are our various accounts false testaments to our realities, but they can promote unrealistic life expectations and far too much comparison. Basically, it’s exhausting. But how do we take a break without completely disconnecting from our friends and family? How do we stay connected in ways that matter while disconnecting from the harmful plagues of the not-so-idealistic reality that is the internet?

IF YOU DON’T WANT TO TAKE A FULL HIATUS

Take a walk and leave your phone at home

This is good practice for everyone! Especially those of us who don’t want to delete all of our apps or profiles.

Delete social media apps from your phone

Set aside an hour for social media and pledge to only use a computer for the apps that are on both platforms. Now you won’t get distracted all day long!

Put your phone on airplane mode at night

As you’re winding down for bed, set your phone to airplane mode. This is good practice for when you’re ready to shut down work emails as well. Perks include getting more sleep due to less screen time, and cleansing yourself from a hard day with a simple self care routine.

IF YOU’RE JUST SICK AND TIRED OF IT ALL

Ask for consistent updates

Message your closest friends and family members and ask them to text you funny photos or updates on their lives from time to time. This will ensure that you’re not missing what you loved about social media when it comes to the people closest to you. Besides, you may find that what you receive is more authentic than the polished image they post online.

Talk on the phone more

Call up friends and actually hear their voices when you’re feeling lonely! This keeps you connected and leaves you feeling much more fulfilled than a random texting or social media sesh.

Make more plans in person

Make plans to meet up instead of scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. If you’re worried about missing out, ask about those acquaintances you don’t directly keep in touch with, or events coming up. This way, you can be filled in about what’s going on on the inter-web with company and laughter, rather than jealous or resentful seclusion.

Do you have ideas about how to detox from social media? Ask a vina and comment below! 

(Feature Image via Elite Girl Daily

AFRO-VISIBILTY: WHY YOU SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION TO BEAUTY REPRESENTATION

 

#Afrovisibility is a term that UK mom Lekia Lée made viral in an attempt to promote diversity and challenge the general beauty narrative, especially when it comes to hair. Lée created a billboard sporting beautiful women with their natural hair to show her daughter she didn’t have to straighten her hair or wear wigs to be deemed societally appropriate, beautiful or even represented.
This pressure for afro-representation builds off of the “Natural Hair Movement” which gained momentum in the early 2000s. Since then, afro-visibility has been slowly creeping into media representation.

At the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion show, three models opted to sport their natural afros for the first time in the show’s history! Although there have been some #gains in the area of natural hair representation, there is still so much work to be done. How can you embrace and promote afro-visibility and accept your own natural beauty along the way? Here are some fab tips!

SUPPORT YOUR VINAS

If you don’t have an afro or  social/ethnic identity whose beauty ideal has been silenced in the media, there are still always ways to be supportive. The main way to be supportive is pretty simple: just be aware of your privilege.

Start to notice how often people who look like, have your hair texture, skin tone, etc., are represented all around you. It’s easy to feel like models and actors are of another species entirely, but beginning to notice the similarities you do  share and have never had to think about is important! Representation validates existence. Start conversations with your vinas about media representation and always, always support their beauty endeavors!

ACCEPT THAT WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE IS BEAUTIFUL

Although the Natural Hair Movement is important in so many ways and promotes a wonderful ideal of loving your beauty in its most natural and unencumbered form, don’t feel guilty for loving to play with your hair or makeup! The natural hair movement is simply a way to create opportunity for facets of beauty that have been oppressed or deemed unacceptable. Opportunity simply means choice! So choose to wear that wig or use that hot tool, but don’t feel like you have to.

TAKE IT TO WORK

If you work in an industry that produces media, promote afro-visibility and ethnic diversity! Advocate for images that support everyone in our society, and that promotes a safe space for all types of beauty.

How can you and your vinas promote all forms of beauty representation? Comment below!

(Featured image via The Huffington Post)

TOO MANY HOUSE GUESTS? ME TOO. 6 TIPS TO STAY SANE.

Hosting guests can feel like a blessing and a curse- you are excited to see and spend time with your guest(s), but also wonder, “What are we going to do for __ days?” and, “Am I going to get a moment to myself?” Here’s how to keep your sanity when entertaining visitors, friends, and family.

HAVE AN ITINERARY

Visits go more smoothly when some things are planned out. While your schedule can and should be flexible, it is also nice to have some “definites” when a guest is in town. Start by asking your visitor what they want t0 do, then fill in some gaps with your favorite local must-sees.

PLAN SOME BREAKS

No matter how excited you are to show your visitor around your city/ town, remember to give them a second to breathe. Putting aside time to catch your breath will help to avoid tension from spending so much time together. Nothing is worse than a person who is tired and cranky, so avoid it at all costs!

This is also a time to remember- you are allowed to have separate plans when someone is visiting you, especially if they are staying for a week or more. It’s important for both you and your guest to have time to yourselves.

BALANCING FOOD

It can get overwhelming to be worrying about feeding someone else, especially when you’re on a budget. This is why you should think ahead when it comes to meals. Know your budget and how much you can spend on going out to eat and on your grocery shopping. Head to the super market with your guest and some recipes, then split the cost at the register. This way you can enjoy and relax for some meals out, and experiment and bond while creating some together.

USE YOUR VINAS

It can be hard to constantly be with the same person for a few days, so spice it up. Call up a vina or two and ask if they want to meet you for coffee or a bite to eat. It will be nice for your visitor to meet new people and see who’s in your circle. Maybe you will even foster a new friendship!

NOT ALL PLANS HAVE TO BE HUGE

Sometimes, you just want to sit and do nothing with someone else. Grab a blanket, a book, and some snacks and head to the nearest park for a few hours of relaxation and conversation. Or if the weather isn’t great, grab a table in a local coffee shop or library for some quiet together time. Better yet- substitute dinner and a night out with popcorn and a movie night in. The little things often inspire the best memories.

BE STRAIGHT UP

The best way to avoid tension is to be upfront with your guest about your mood and energy level. Collaborating on plans and communicating when breaks are needed will help the trip go smoothly.

It’s also important to communicate boundaries/ expectations when someone is staying in your home. You can’t be mad at a person for doing something they shouldn’t have (whether that be eating your roommates food or bringing someone back to your house without asking), so be sure to let them to know what is cool and what doesn’t fly under your roof.  Don’t be shy or hold back if you start to feel yourself stressin- being honest is great meltdown prevention.

Remember: having a guest is supposed to be FUN, so if it begins to not feel too fun, give yourself a reality check. Also remember, you’re not a paid tour guide, so don’t break your back trying to coordinate the trip of a lifetime. It’s important to keep in mind that most guests are coming to see YOU-everything else is secondary. Avoid putting pressure on yourself, and everything is sure to turn out fine!

(Image via pintrest)