HOW TO POWER THROUGH SENIORITIS (EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT IN SCHOOL)

It isn’t easy combatting the lack of motivation that sets in when you are so close to graduating. You have spent years in the game, pulling all nighters for projects; skipped parties to write papers (granted they should have been done weeks ago), and skipped that big ABC (anything but clothes) party to be studious!  You worked tirelessly to study for the multitude of finals professors cram in at the very end of each semester, and now you are just completely burnt out. Your motto went from “I got this, just you watch me” to “future tomorrow, nap now.” Ah yes, sneaky senioritis has shown its ugly face. The question now is, with time running out, how are you supposed to fight back?

Firstly, be sure you are keeping a harmonic balance between work and play. We all know there is such a thing as having too much fun. It’s quite easy to get carried away and make your school years all about social status, thus letting your studies slip away. However, it can be  as equally harmful to put too much focus into your studies while never allowing yourself and your brain a night off.

It’s absolutely true that we attend school to learn about historic events, proper grammar and the periodic table. Then we go off to college to focus on a major- a particular subject, or two, that creates the foundation for what it is we would like to do for a living. Without the Yin and Yang that is schoolwork and socializing, one can find it all too easy to lose motivation. Sometimes, senioritis hits so hard because you find that you have spent so much of your time on school work that you have completely cut ties with you social side. Thus the saying: “too much of anything isn’t a good thing.”

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Never forget how important those studies are though. They are the core reason for why you went to the trouble of going to college in the first place. I think we can all hatch up a story or two about someone we knew who went to college, but never seemed to be there for the diploma. Surely some people attend school solely for the “perks,” but don’t let yourself be one of these people. You will find it to be a very costly endeavor.

Even if you’re not in school anymore, you might find yourself just OVER. IT. Maybe you’re feeling unmotivated at work, slacking on your relationships, and/or feeling uninspired by hobbies that used to bring you tons of happiness. We all get in slumps, and this form of “senioritis” can be combatted just like the kind you experienced in school.

Remember what all your hard work has been for – you didn’t get yourself into this for nothing, at least I don’t think you did. You didn’t take on the students loans and the years of stress just to say “I’m tired,” and throw it all away. You started this to finish it, to get that little scrap of paper and have it framed for your wall. You did this to give yourself, your significant other, your parents and your children a better life. Remember YOUR life truly begins when you graduate and it beings hard and fast, so take charge of your future today, and save the nap for tomorrow.

Call up some of your vinas and plan a group study session to help with the perfect balance of social time and study time! Let us know some of your best remedies for senioritis in the comments!

(Photos via alexandra galbreath photography on pintrest)

HOW TO SPRING CLEAN LIKE A PRO

Spring cleaning is a natural reaction to the changing of the season. It’s an essential deed to flip over a new leaf and get that spring energy flowing for you. Things and clutter can stagnate the flow of your emotional life and creative pursuits. Spring is a time to seize the day and get those projects off the ground and out of beta phase, and cleaning out your surroundings is the first and vital way to get this started.

You will find yourself sorting through the spices or throwing out old socks before you even intended to formally make a day (or week) of it. Spring Cleaning though can quickly turn into a totally dishevelment of your entire house with little progress. It can be overwhelming or underwhelming. It can leave you in a pile of t-shirts and knickknacks drinking a bottle of wine. So, how does one spring clean like a pro? I recommend getting your hands on The Magical Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. She’s a Japanese organizing consultant and has turned organizing into church with her methodical and genius method of sorting through and tossing out. But, perhaps you’d rather me summarize things for you here so you can get started asap.

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The whole thing stems from a place of both joy and functionality. She first asks you to assess your things, and if it doesn’t bring you joy, chuck it. That means those outfits you wore with your ex, the book you never finished, the pair of gloves that make you kind of sad when you look at them because you no longer live in Portland. Get rid of them.

Become a samurai of nostalgia. Yes, keep serious keepsakes and things you will later regret parting with but for the most part we hold onto hordes of things that remind us of a time, albeit a happy time, but the memories are not held I things. Slice and dice them down to the bare essentials.

This was a big one for me: move forward with categories not rooms. This totally blew my mind because I would usually do one room and then pretty much never move onto the next. The idea is that things move from room to room. Rather decide to handle all of your books in the house, sort them out, get rid of the ones that won’t stay. Then move to linens, or towels, or shoes, I don’t know whatever you keep in mass. She says begin with clothing because it’s often times the largest area of life in which we can trim down. Save the weepy stuff for last when you have the hang of this, photographs come much later.

FOLD, in the special Kondo sort of folding way that makes it possible for you to see everything in your drawers and thus pretty much change your life.

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Fall in love with your space. She advocates organizing everything in a visually pleasing way, your closet, your tables, your underwear, and then you will respect your possession more and they will bring you more joy. If something is ugly and sad and stuffed in the corner, no one is feeling good about it. Make it a lovely display of your wonderful taste.

So here is a sum up:

-Start with the easy things and move to harder more nostalgic items

-Move through your house with categories not rooms

-Do not be a prisoner to memories

-Keep only things which bring you joy

-Make beautiful what is left

Good luck ladies!!! If there is one thing I have learned from a major spring purge is that if you push through the anxiety induced by reducing, you will suddenly find yourself in a euphoric state of joy that comes with sloughing off the unneeded and the extra in your life.

(Feature image via Camille Styles)

GUARDED GALS, YES EVEN YOU CAN LEARN TO OPEN UP

Do you have a hard time opening up to new people in your life? Maybe you consider yourself to be a wallflower, or an introvert. But it could be that past experiences are hurting your chances of being able to open up and connect to new friends.1e0f2d7ef28c9b4478c413bc2fa07c1a.jpg

Some reasons why you can’t talk about your life with new people could be:

1. You’re embarrassed: Maybe you’ve never been in a serious relationship, but you’re with a group of friends who seem to have plenty of experience in that area. Maybe you don’t open up because you feel insecure or boring. Truth is, you have something you bring to the equation too! They’d probably be more than happy to learn from you and offer advice!

2. You’ve been picked on or bulled in the past: Got some bad middle school memories of online or real-life bullies? This could understandably be a blocker in forming connections later in life.

3. You’re shy, introverted or suffer from a social anxiety disorder: This is just your personality or chemical makeup, and that’s OK! There are still ways to form positive friendships.

4. You had a tough or secretive childhood: If you had a childhood with some unhappy memories, like your dad’s drinking problem, you were probably urged not to talk about it. But the truth is that is an unhealthy way to live. Opening up and getting help if you need it is the right way to go.

So how can you start feeling more confident in yourself and feel comfortable speaking to and getting to know new friends? Here are a few ideas:

1. Adjust your attitude: Everyone has flaws, and no one’s perfect. Learn to realize that everyone around you has problems of their own, too.

2. Face your fear: Try a few exercises so that you can start opening up to others. You could share something with a random stranger, like your Uber driver. Ask your vina if you could discuss something serious with her over chat.

3. Seek professional help: If your guardedness continues to be a problem, and you believe it’s preventing you from living your best life, seek professional help! See your school counselor or a mental health counselor in your area to start understanding the issue.

4. Say Hey! to more vinas: Keep on using Vina to connect with other women. Eventually, you can make a great connection and convert her to real-life friend and confidante.

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GET BACK ON TRACK BY DEFINING YOUR LIFE #GOALS

When I first started writing Work Trips and Road TripsI thought I’d write a book about how to become a digital nomad or how to take extensive breaks to travel the world. As I usually do, I approached some fascinating ladies to interview them about their freelancing strategies. After talking to them for more than one and a half hours each, I ended up thinking about the much bigger questions we ask ourselves throughout life.

When you now ask me about how to travel the world, I’ll most likely tell you that it doesn’t have as much to do with having to be rich. It really has to do with your attitude and what you optimize your life for. In other words, it’s got to do with life goals.

The amazing gals at VINA and I have connected over that subject and decided to bring you an exclusive chapter from my book! Please let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


 

Quarter life crisis; whether you’ve had one or not, it’s an eligible state of mind in which we question anything and everything we possibly can about life. Around the age of 25 is when we’re really faced with setting our future plans. We tempt to feel the pressure of adulthood; we’re no longer able to take a raincheck and say we’re young and don’t know better.

Before we turn 25 (or possibly sooner, maybe a little later), there’s always something we work towards that has a framework: we work towards our high school diploma. Then we work towards a college degree. Then maybe a master’s degree. Then we need an internship. All of these things are temporary and what makes them easy – retrospectively, because at the time it feels really hard – is they come with a set of rules and a goal, which once achieved is clear proof of being successful. However, once you graduate and land your first job, the world with all its possibilities is your oyster and you can do whatever you want. The options are limitless, and social media makes opportunities feel equally reachable as it makes them feel out of reach.

Now, and about when a quarter life crisis may kick in, things become quite complicated. Up until now, you knew what rules to play by and what you’re trying to accomplish. Once you’ve gotten your foot into the door of your industry, the regularity of confirmations about how successful you are slows down. Given many companies have established flat hierarchies, it’s difficult to climb higher and prove to ourselves and others what we’re worth. It’s of no surprise we start questioning what life is all about once we set our own rules and define our own goals. The question suddenly hits us; what are our goals? What is it that’s worth working towards forty hours a week, if not more?

Social media makes it seem like everyone has a plan and knows what they’re doing and where they’re headed. However, not everyone has a clear plan and knows what they want to do with their lives. And even those who do, once they’ve reached their goals, they’ll need to find something new to work towards. Having to constantly define your goals and then redefine them again isn’t easy. One doesn’t want to set goals that are simple to achieve because then, one would have to quickly find a new one.

So, what is a goal worth having? And what goal do you set yourself, once you’ve reached one you had? Take becoming a graphic designer or a photographer, for example. What comes after you’ve added that job position to your LinkedIn or you’ve built a website that highlights your profession? Now that you’re a photographer or a graphic designer, what is it that comes next?

We’re not made to be satisfied with the status quo. We often seem to want more! But what is it that we want? If we don’t have children to take our attention away from ourselves and give us a purpose of helping them achieve their life goals, it’s on us to define and redefine the answer to this question for ourselves every day. It’s of little surprise millennials want to have an impact. It’s the only way we can find assurance that our efforts are needed.

Those who work for a company may have goals set for them and even receive guidance for how to best accomplish them. If, on the other hand, you’re a freelancer, it’s in your hands to make plans for what you want to accomplish in the future. There’s no one to look after your career. It’s you that needs to know what it is you define as personal growth and what makes you feel proud of what you say you do when introducing yourself. Neglecting this sort of self-care is often what leads to the rather common doubts of whether one should look for a proper job again.

Sure, it’s uncomfortable to ask yourself the big questions. Why else would you check your emails first thing in the morning instead of diving into the much bigger question of what you want to be doing next right after breakfast? If you don’t take the time to be brutally candor with yourself and figure out where you’re headed today, tomorrow, in a month, or after a year, you might find yourself at the edge of jumping back into full-time employment. Often, it’s the easy way out to have other people tell you what to do and mourn about it instead of finding the answer to the question all by yourself day after day.

Success, especially for the ones who desire independence, is no longer about climbing the ladder and going up, up, up or growing a team. It’s often about going sideways. It’s about learning new skills, working with more interesting clients, or increasing the impact that you want to have by working with people who can help you achieve it. It’s about creating the sort of work you can be proud of and you believe should exist in this world. Success, in my opinion, is your process. It’s your everyday, it’s your work-life balance, it’s your being in charge of your day. It’s the activities you choose to fill up your day with that make you feel content. Activities that make you feel like you’re still growing as a person and make you feel like you have accomplished something.

In my opinion, there are two types of (life) goals; the ones that you can accomplish pretty much yourself by improving your skills, and the ones that depend on the approval or participation of other people, like working for a very specific company. If you focus on making plans that depend solely on you and your dedication, you might have more luck achieving what you set out to achieve. If, on the other hand, you want to achieve something that depends on others, you might want to balance that goal with a few smaller goals that are dependent solely on you that you can tick off along the way. Only you know what that goal will be and let me tell you, we’re curious! 


 

This article has been edited by the VINA team. If you’d like to read the full book, please support the project while it’s still live on Kickstarter.

A LOVE LETTER, TO YOURSELF

Below is a love letter I wrote to myself, from myself. I wrote so that anyone out there could print this out, post it next to their bathroom mirror, and read it every morning in the month of February. This month, more than ever, is the time to practice the art of self love.

 

Dear You,

We’ve been through a lot, and yet… here we are. I wish I could have told you ten years ago that this is the kind of woman you would become–you probably would have worried less. But, then again, you working so hard, you worrying, you picking up doubles and going to school full time, and reading in your car, saving every penny to go to Europe, all of that built you up into the kind of woman we are now, so maybe just maybe I’ll keep it a secret.

I don’t think I tell you enough how much I love you, how proud I am, and how I wouldn’t want to go through any of this shit with anyone else but you. I might not always make the right choice, but you’ve always got my back. Your capacity to dream so big and reach so far has taken us to some pretty incredible highs, and I know those nights that I lay awake wondering if it’s going to work, that you’re the one who whispers in my ear, yes, yes, a million times yes.

You are far more determined than you think. Far smarter than you will admit, and lovely as ever, and you don’t need to lose five pounds. You look amazing.

I’ve watched you for a long time, bend, grow, and become someone new again and again. Do you remember that time we moved halfway across the country all alone? Do you remember the new job? The time you were so poor you could only eat beans? Grad school? Do you remember meeting him? How happy we were? And then how heart broken? How much you cried that summer?

And yet, did you not climb hand over foot out of that space and become someone not even I might have expected? You can come back from anything, it’s kind of our thing. Reinvention looks incredible on you.

What I want to remind you is that while some days might stretch you thin, and while some days you might feel completely alone, or out of your mind… you’re not. I love you and I’m not going anywhere. In fact, I have this sneaking suspicion that there is a whole lot good coming for us. Let’s make sure that in five years, we’re really proud of the woman we are busy being.

All the love,

Me

What would you write in a love letter to yourself? Let us know, and join the  community at Hey! Vina

(Feature image via @ianavasylyshyna)

DON’T GIVE UP YET: 5 WAYS TO RECOMMIT TO THOSE RESOLUTIONS YOU MADE BACK IN DECEMBER

We’re a month into 2017, and you may not be where you wanted to be. Face it. You only went to the gym six times, and you wrote, like, one page of that novel you’ve been talking about. But no worries! There’s no time like the present to recommit to your New Year’s resolutions. We’ve got a few tricks to get you back on track.

QUIT WITH THE GUILT

Guilt is the worst! It makes you mean, it makes you judgmental, but, most importantly, it inhibits you from recommitting. Forget that you haven’t been at your goal since the first of the year, and look forward. The past is in the past, so leave it there.

WRITE IT DOWN

Like you’re in high school English class all over again, jot down an outline of the steps needed to make your goals a reality. Go as in-depth as possible, predicting any potential obstacles and accounting for necessary smaller steps. Mapping it all out will prevent the unforeseen roadblocks that usually knock people off track.

REWARD YOURSELF

There is a reason reward systems are in place, and it’s because we respond really well to incentives. Promise to give yourself a reward a month or two out for getting however many steps closer to (or fully achieving) your goal. Make it something you really want—a pair of shoes, a steak dinner, a facial. Sometimes, looking at the big picture can be a little too overwhelming and force us to cheat, give up, or stray. Little rewards can drive big results.

TAKE SMALL STEPS

If your goal is to volunteer, then take the small step of setting aside a day to research local charities. If your goal is to stop eating gluten, then clean out your cupboards, and donate the food. If you want a new job, redo your résumé. Think of it like the prep work for the real work. Breaking things down into manageable tasks will help you get a move on.

CREATE A MOOD BOARD

This is a fun activity that can get you jazzed about the changes you’re making. Plus, if you feel like straying, you can revisit your mood board to remind yourself of the importance of recommitting. Tack some things to the board that will inspire you, save you from cheating, or remind you why this is something you want for yourself. Get collaging!

Making changes is not easy, but it is worth it. Recommit, show up, and see this thing through!

Have you kept up with your New Year’s resolutions so far? Let us know! 

(Featured image via @macbby11

SHOW UP OR SHUT UP: WHY FLAKINESS HAS GOT TO GO

C.S. Lewis once said, “Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”
Lately, the importance of friendship has been a recurring theme in my life. It’s been the topic of several sermons, in my study guide readings, and the focus of many memes. So you can guess that I wasn’t at all surprised when I started reading a Huffington Post article about friendship. According to the article, sometimes you just need someone to show up for you, and I couldn’t agree more. The article states that a true friend  will not only be there for the fun times but will also be there when things aren’t going your way.

Wendy of Dearwendy.com talks about all the obligations that we have as adults. She claims that the older you get, the less time you have. Although this is true, I’ve always been a firm believer that we can and should make time for what we value. We need to decide who is important to us and make the time to show up for them. I think a big problem is that we often misdefine showing up. We need to update “showing up” to include “being there” for someone. Your vinas know that you’re busy because they’re busy too. Sometimes a simple phone call is enough. As a society, we’ve lost the accountability of acknowledgement. Sometimes people just need to know that you think of them, that they haven’t been forgotten.

I find that sometimes I’m really excited for an event and then become utterly exhausted  by the time it rolls around. I’ll procrastinate on everything leading up to the event  so that I end up being late. Ironically, these are usually the events where I have the most fun, and make the best memories. They are also the times that I refer fondly to, as “the best night ever.” I can guarantee that if you just show up, nine times out of ten you won’t be sorry! And what is more, your friendships with your vinas will grow.

Friends make life worth living. So get swiping’ and  find a vina to show up for. 

(Featured Image courtesy of Urban Outfitters Instagram) 

ADVICE EVERY 20-YEAR-OLD SHOULD HEAR

I’ve agonized over this introduction for so long that I’ve surprised myself, given how much advice I have ready. Bear with me! Our 20’s are a time of endings (bye, university!), new beginnings (hello, career!) and other exciting new experiences. I can only share what worked for me and what I wished someone had told me when I was in my 20’s. Vinas deserve the best, so here goes!

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The biggest beauty, and let’s be honest, life lesson I learned in my 20’s is that a smoky eye just doesn’t look good on me. It was a revelation once I started exploring different techniques and landed on cat eye, which is waaaaaay more flattering. Maybe smoky eye looks amazing on you (I’m so jealous) but the lesson is still applicable. For some women it might be high-waisted jeans, or strapless dresses that represent a personal style Everest. Stop trying to make It (and fetch) happen. Put your time and energy into discovering what flatters you the most and makes you feel your greatest.

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Our early 20’s are a time to transition into more of an ‘adult’ wardrobe and make clothing mistakes that will be a hilarious follow up to our teen years. Once you’ve got a better idea of your unique style (that came around age 28 for me personally), then it’s okay to start looking at investment pieces. Hint: pay attention to the items you reach for each morning when you get dressed and invest in high-quality replacements that will last you a lifetime.

I’m still kicking myself for money spent on items that weren’t right for my style (but I didn’t know it yet) or that didn’t entirely suit my needs. In my attempt at a blazer, I somehow ended up with three not-quite-right blazers. After screaming internally, I vowed never be so stupid again. Once I finally bit the bullet and invested in the J Crew blazer that was exactly what I wanted, I haven’t looked back. I’ve worn it so often; the cost per wear is probably a few pennies by now. When you know you’ll wear something to death, invest in the best one you can afford.

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John Goodman explains it perfectly (so give that a look), but it’s even more crucial for young women. Our 20’s are meant for exploring and trying new things, some of which you’re bound to dislike (and there’s nothing wrong with that). This is where the f*** you money comes in handy! Don’t like your relationship and want to move out? You’ve got cash to do it. Are you about to snap at the creepy coworker who always stares at your chest? You’ve got cash to keep you afloat when you decide you need to find a new job.

In our 20’s we feel invincible, like we have a lifetime to earn and save money, so we buy the going-out top we don’t need or unnecessary Starbucks lattes 3 days in a row. As an early 30’s woman, my cash reserve saved me on several major occasions during my 20’s. Do anything you can to save extra money – live at home a few months longer, babysit, garden, blog, dog walk. Hopefully you’ll take all the money saved from my clothing advice above and put it aside! I promise you’ll be very thankful that you didn’t mortgage your future for another pair of jeans.

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This lesson is probably the most valuable to an old Millennial like me, because I’m used to seeing curated snippets of people’s lives through Instagram filters. It’s very easy to make it appear that life is great in a photo online, so it’s equally important to keep that in mind. Who cares if ‘only’ 4 people liked your most recent Instagram photo or your coworker doesn’t like your haircut? It won’t matter a year from now and it’ll only drive you crazy. In our 20’s we care way too much what other people think of us, and letting that go would have saved everyone a ton of unnecessary stress and worry.

 Go forth, be safe, make a whole new set of mistakes and have fun! With your vinas by your side, you’ll always have a partner in crime.

I can’t wait to hear your pearls of wisdom! Leave them in the comments below!

(Feature image via Vogue)