BECOMING AN EARLY BIRD

Whether you work the morning shift or like watching the sun rise, everyone can benefit from waking up at 6am. These are just the benefits that I personally have noticed, and I’m sure you’ll notice them once you stop hitting the snooze button!

Eat Breakfast

Getting up earlier will push you to eat breakfast first, which is, as many grandmas would say, the most important meal of the day! Breakfast it vital to our daily food intake, and it will stop you from feeling hungry and eating snacks throughout the day. This will also go hand and hand with the next benefit.

Boosted Metabolism

There’s no doubt that waking up early gets your gears moving a lot sooner in the day.  This means that your metabolism will be kickstarted. The morning time is when your metabolism is at it’s peak and it starts weakening later on in the day, so wake up to receive this natural benefit!

Body Healing

Waking up earlier for a slow start also means that you won’t be jumping right out of bed with an aching body. I personally always had lower back pain before letting my body gently wake up with the rest of the world. Adding yoga or pilates to your morning routine also stretches your body so you won’t pull anything or have stiff muscles all day.

Plan the Day

Since you have this extra time, you can plan your day, or go over your plans from the night before. If you don’t do much planning, you can check and make sure you don’t have any appointments set up. *I began using an iOS app named “One List” (Not sure about the availability on Android), and it has helped me a ton during my previous semester of college. To rid of ads and unlock all the themes, it’s $4.99, but very worth it in my opinion! If you want to go paperless, this app is very simplistic and helpful in sorting tasks and their level of difficulty.

More Productive

If you spend time planning your day, you’re more than likely going to follow it which makes you more productive. Even if this doesn’t apply, you’re going to do something when you wake up, no matter how big or small the task may be!

Improves Sleep

Since you will be waking up at 6am, your body will start getting tired earlier. You may find that you become tired around 8pm rather than 12am, and that’s a great thing! It’s easier to wake up early if you go to sleep earlier, which makes you feel like you had the best sleep. Many of us only feel fully rested when we go to bed and sleep in late. However, you can get the same feeling and more!

Energized

The energy in your body will be at an all time high when you give yourself a little time! Forget spending $3 a day on energy drinks and pulling all nighters. They leave you tired, unhealthy, and drains energy faster than you can drink it. If you want to save money and gain time, this is for you!

Easy 8am Classes/Morning Shift

This only applies for those who are in college or work an early morning shift, but nonetheless helpful. If you wake up at 6am, you have two free hours to do what you like. Whether you kick back and enjoy a Netflix show or spend the few hours studying for a test for your 8am course, it makes these early tasks simple.

Better Mental Health

This is in no way inferring that all mental health issues will be eradicated. This just improves mental health and dealing with it. Better sleep and decreased stress are linked to a healthier mind. When you’re more productive and energized you feel great and that everyday is purposeful.

*not sponsored

Start swiping on Hey! VINA today to find a best girlfriend that will keep you accountable on your new goals!

5 MANTRAS TO SAY TO YOURSELF DAILY

WHAT IS A MANTRA?

It is a word, sound or sentence that is said over and over again to help with concentration or to provide positive affirmation.

HOW CAN A MANTRA HELP

It can help produce positive thoughts, feelings, and energies in your mind and body and help you de-stress.

DEVELOPING YOUR MANTRA

  • You want to find a quiet space with minimal distractions for yourself. Add candles, incense, or essential oils.
  • What is your intention? Peace, health, success, or a spiritual connection?
  • Sit in a comfortable position. Keep your back straight and upright.
  • Clear your mind, close your eyes, and breathe through your nose and out of your mouth.
  • Choose your mantra:
  1. I feel beautiful, I am beautiful
  2. I am free to be myself
  3. I am healthy and strong
  4. I have the power to create change
  5. I accept myself for who I am

Looking for friends to develop your mantra with? Start swiping on Hey! VINA today!

Q&A WITH SOPHIA YEN, FOUNDER OF PANDIA HEALTH

As a thank you to Pandia Health for including VINA flyers in their boxes for the month of May, we have a lovely Q&A with their founder, Sophia Yen, MD from Sunnyvale, California.

What is Pandia Health and why did you decide to launch it?  

Pandia Health brings prescription birth control to women wherever they have internet and a mailbox. We are decreasing stress in women’s lives, increasing productivity, and increasing access to vital healthcare.

As a Clinical Associate Professor at Stanford Medical School, I was giving a talk to a bunch of doctors about “Why don’t women take their birth control?” The answer: they didn’t have time to go to the pharmacy or their prescription expired. My friend Perla Ni and I thought: “We can fix this. We’ll ship the medication to women and keep shipping it until they tell us to stop!” This is a great opportunity to disrupt the slow, monolithic pharmacy industry. We will make it a delightful, mobile, 20-something friendly experience. Then when we ran ads for “free birth control delivery,” 60% of those that responded didn’t have a prescription. I’m a doctor, I can write subscriptions and thus, Pandia Health was born – the End to End Solution for birth control, from prescription to delivery to your home.

Why is your work through it meaningful to you, as well as important for all women?

Pandia Health makes women’s lives easier and helps women prevent unplanned pregnancies by providing the “one-stop shop” for birth control.

1. We free up time for women: On average, women spend 20-30 years of their lives on contraception. They spend valuable time and money traveling to the pharmacy to get prescription birth control every month and going to the doctor’s office once a year. They have #BetterThingsToDo than run to the pharmacy each month.

2. We save women money also. Some women live hours away from the nearest pharmacy or doctor’s office. They have to spend time and money to go there.

3. We provide Confidentiality. Local pharmacies in small towns do not offer the privacy needed for women to get their prescription birth control. “Slut shaming” when you get your birth control. Women don’t need that.

4. We decrease stress. Women worry about running out of medications. It is a source of great stress.

5. We provide Access. 60% of women who respond to an advertisement for free birth control delivery, don’t have a valid prescription (it expired or they didn’t have one to begin with). We provide access.

6. We are providing Education. We have a youtube channel with 130k+ views with NO advertising/promotion. People want/need the information we are sharing/providing.

7. We Advocate for our customers. We fight insurance companies to get women the medication they want/need.

What was the hardest part of getting it up and running? Any “failures” or doubts along the way and if so, what did you learn from them?

Getting funded. Seeing guys before me get funded with no mention of # of customers and then with 50 customers, then I come along with 150 customers and have to beg for funding. We are the ONLY Women-Founded/Led, practicing reproductive health doctor founded/led company in this space. Keep knocking on doors and eventually you will find your people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Get everything in writing and don’t let people bully you into a decision. You can always stop, consult people, consult lawyers.

Where do you want to take it in 5 years? 10 years?

Pandia Health is building The Brand Women Trust with Their Health. Pandia is the greek goddess of healing, light, full moon. I also came up with: Pan = every, día – day, we have you covered everyday. Set it and forget it. Let Pandia worry so you don’t have to.

We are starting with birth control, but we will grow as our patients grow from birth control to acne, to prenatal vitamins, breast pumps, to menopause and wrinkle cream.

How do you balance your work with Pandia Health with your other roles (teaching, Board membership, etc.)?

I’m at Stanford 1 half-day a week and the rest of the time I’m 24/7 Pandia Health. With Pandia Health, I’ve had to cut down on other involvement (fighting for healthy school lunch, participation in my daughters’ girl scouts, attending daughters’ school events) but that’s ok. My daughters and other young women get to see a woman CEO and my husband gets to step up as a parent.

Pandia is not the the first venture you have founded/co-founded. How did you develop such an entrepreneurial spirit?

It’s in my blood. My grandfather had his own company – selling men’s clothing. My parents have lived the silicon Valley/American dream – from rags to riches. My mom had me learn accounting since 4th grade and I did the family finances! Junior Achievement in high school taught me how to run a company from selling stock, serious accounting, leading a team, paying back stockholders dividends, etc. Also, Future Business Leaders of America gave me skills as well. And being Treasurer of: my high school class for 2 years, sorority x 4 years, MIT class x 4 yrs, Homeowner’s Association x 15+ yrs?  Being treasurer made me think about what to sell, how to price it, profit and labor.

What advice do you have for young women who want to launch their own initiative, big or small?

Do it. Build a tribe. Check out Springboard Enterprise, Women’s Startup Lab, StartX.

Do you have a mentor? Who do you look to for inspiration and support?

I have several advisors. There are so many great women entrepreneurs out there that inspire me! Currently, I am inspired by Sarah Lacy of ChairmanMom, Kara Goldin of Hint Water, Lisa Fetterman of Nomiku in addition to the usual Sara Blakely of Spanx, Rent The Runway Jennifer Hyman, Katrina Lake of Stitch Fix, Shan-Lyn Ma of Zola, Emilly Weiss of Glossier.

For support, I’m thankful to my investors Matthew Gould of Allectus Capital and Charles Hudson of Precursor Ventures and my tribes from: Springboard Enterprise, StartX, Women’s Startup Lab, female entrepreneur groups and feminist groups like the Feminist Majority Foundation, Center for Reproductive Rights, Ignite, and Emerge.

Any final words of wisdom to all the young women out their who are strategizing to reach their education, career, and wellness goals?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

You can do it!

If you are open to connecting with our readers, how can they reach you?

Twitter: @TeenMD or @pandiahealth

If you want to be a Pandia Health ambassador and help spread the word, email info at Pandiahealth.com

HOW TO STAY ON TASK WHEN YOU DON’T WANT TO

Accept life as it is, in it’s naturalness, and live it in its totality.

Osho

I’ve often begun tasks or set goals with impressive enthusiasm only to end up losing motivation and never finishing. What are we supposed to do when we lose interest in finishing something we once deemed fulfilling or important? Trying new things or learning new skills unfolds the same way that life does. It is extremely unpredictable. However, we can learn to accept the journey in its naturalness. Here are some tips and motivation that keep me pushing and trying new things. 

LOSING MOTIVATION + THE FEAR OF NOT ACCOMPLISHING GOALS

It is quite normal for anyone to lose motivation after they begin any task. Fear may also come creeping in, in the midst of achieving a goal or a task. Fear can be tamed by assessing the inner dialogue that one has with themselves. When I have too many negative thoughts intruding or interrupting my progress of achieving a goal, I set aside time in my daily schedule to tackle the thoughts. I normally write down my negative thoughts in a journal and find ways to change the negative thoughts into something more positive. To get back my motivation, I normally take my mind off the goal I am trying to achieve and focus on a hobby or something that I enjoy doing. Doing something that I love sort of gives me the energy and mindset to work towards my goals. I always keep in mind that I have a balance between goals and hobbies. I try my best not overwork myself, as this may create a lot of strain and stress. Finding new hobbies can also be very helpful in putting myself out there, and, who knows? I may meet new people in the process. 

FORGOTTEN DREAMS: REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED

When you lose the motivation to achieve a goal or a task at hand, it may be easy to forget why you started in the first place. Getting to achieve a goal has its ups and downs, and it’s quite realistic to bear in mind that there will be challenges along the way. I normally speak to people I know, who understand how significant achieving that goal is whenever I find it difficult to remember that. It could be useful to ruminate on and evaluate how far I’ve come since I initially started working towards achieving that goal, so that I am constantly motivated and am fueled to continue working towards my goal(s).

girl jumping at top of mountain

SET AND BREAK DOWN GOALS INTO SMALLER CHUNKS

In order for you to achieve a goal, you might need to break it down into smaller chunks. When I had issues meeting new people and putting myself out there, I broke down the goal into more manageable chunks. I used to struggle with crippling anxiety, and I worked on my anxiety in order for me to approach people. I practiced my social skills at random events. Despite how awkward I was when speaking to strangers, I still managed to learn from all the mistakes I made in the past and make progress from that. Putting oneself out there not only accounts for meeting people at social events, but even talking to strangers! You would be surprised at how that can boost your confidence. Today, I know how to articulate myself well with confidence, because I chose to learn from my mistakes and not let that stop me from growing. Mistakes are part of the process. I couldn’t get things right from the get-go, but when I fell, I got back up again. I am a human being, and mistakes are there to help teach and help me grow.

WORKING WITH PEOPLE WHO HAVE SIMILAR GOALS

two professional women smiling and working together


Working with people who have similar goals has kept me on the right track. Surrounding myself with people who are accomplishing what I want to accomplish will provide constant motivation and inspiration.

Social media applications are a great way to meet new people with similar interests. Apps like Hey! VINA have helped me meet a whole lot of amazing friends. Speaking to people online made me feel less anxious about talking to them in person, too.

REWARD YOURSELF

I thought it would be a good idea to reward myself every time I made progress in reaching my goal. I am not extrinsically motivated, but sometimes I reward myself with goodies or presents. I’m more intrinsically motivated, so it would be best to look at how achieving the goal adds to my personal values.

TAKE A LEAP OF FAITH

I always try to keep in mind that I should not compromise who I am for the sake of achieving a goal, meeting new people, or, even more so, putting myself out there. So I say: jump and take a leap of faith whilst trusting the process!

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, don’t sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.

Dale Carnegie

Sending love, light, joy and angel blessings your way. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind!

And of course, you can always practice putting yourself out there by chatting up a new vina on Hey! VINA today!✨👯

THE FRIENDSHIP SKILLS YOU NEED (BASED ON SCIENCE)

Friendship doesn’t just happen. Too often, we rely on fate and believing that the stars will align and what’s meant to be will find a way when it comes to finding friends. There’s a common myth that friendships bloom out of a randomly found affinity, a sense of just “getting” one another. However, all relationships require a common set of skills for them to grow and survive.

People are social animals, we thrive on connection and social interaction (yes, that’s just as true for you introverts out there!). If you’re looking for fulfilling, lasting relationships in your life, you don’t have to wait on fate.

According to Licensed Professional Counselor Suzanne Degges-White, friendships form under specific circumstances.

SUPPORT

“The people we like to be around are those who make us feel good about who we are, what we believe, and what we enjoy doing,” says Dr. Degges-White.

Not everyone you meet will share your hobbies, world views, travel bucket list, and sense of style, but most people will share one of those things.

If you want more friends, it’s likely not that there are no potential friends around you, but that you’re not giving them a chance. Sometimes your best friends are the people you’d never have picked out based on first impressions.

Takeaway: Be open and challenge yourself to find common ground with everyone you meet. Sometimes that means being vulnerable and sharing some of your experiences and opinions. You’ll never know what common ground you have until you open yourself up to people.

Next time you’re faced with a small-talk-required event (or just want to practice and meet new people), ask about their week or if they have any big plans for the weekend. Most likely, they’ll be doing something you have some sort of connection with. Whether they’re going to a place you’ve been, seeing a movie you’ve seen, or hanging with friends at the beach, there’s likely something you can tie back to your own experience. Find the most positive (don’t forget this part!) opinion, memory, or hope (maybe you haven’t seen the movie but you want to) of the activity. Sometimes common ground is built-in (e.g. if you’re both in line for a concert or event, you probably have at least that shared interest). This is the easiest place to start when looking for new connections.

GIVE AND TAKE

Not only do we like people who support our views and lifestyle, we want people who support us in our not-so-happy times, too.

Friendships rely on the trust and expectation that those people will be there when you really need them. Knowing you can come to your friends at your lowest for support, attention, and love is important. And it’s important that they can trust you to be there for them, too.

The problems begin to come up when the give and take becomes unbalanced and resentment can begin to build. Nobody wants to be the friend that takes and takes and takes but somehow never has the time to give back when the other person needs it, so be aware and don’t be that friend.

Takeaway: Next time a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, don’t try to make them feel understood by launching into a story about your own similar experience. When it’s about them, let it be about them. Spend some time just listening to them. Let them feel heard. The next time you’re going through a rough time, be sure to confide in them as well. Not only will this increase trust and a sense of connection for both of you, it will also give you an opportunity to take, and that’s important for keeping resentment at bay.

POSITIVITY

Most people enjoy being around people who make them feel good, so it makes sense that we like to surround ourselves with positive people.

But it goes deeper. Researchers have found that being positive creates a sense of familiarity with strangers. It makes you approachable. Friendships are based on mutual respect, understanding, and authenticity. Making people feel comfortable around you starts with showing that you’re not looking to see the worst in anything or anyone. Positivity builds trust, and trust makes room for those deeper bonding moments of vulnerability and authenticity.

Takeaway: Maybe you’re not a naturally smiley, just-here-for-a-good-time kind of person, that’s okay. That’s not what positivity is about. Positivity means catching yourself before complaining about the weather, and giving complements instead of criticisms

SOCIAL SKILLS

Social skills is a broad and somewhat ambiguous term. We all know what it means, but what are all the smaller, specific skills that fall under that umbrella term?

All in all, social skills are knowing how to interact with people, and it’s one of those things you learn by doing. So if you feel awkward approaching a new potential friend, do it anyway! It’s okay to be awkward, and the only way to move past it is to keep practicing.

Takeaway: Put yourself in social situations that are just outside your comfort zone and learn by doing. Observe, practice your self-awareness, and remember that your number one priority should be to have fun, because that’s what socializing and meeting new friends is about.

Ready to put your new friendship skills into practice? Head over to Hey! VINA today and start swiping right on your new bff! But remember – you never know who it might be, so keep an open mind.

APRIL TO-DO LIST: WHAT YOU NEED TO DO THIS MONTH

As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers.” Well, April can also bring a laundry list of things that need to be done. But guess what? With the right initiative, you’re just the one to do it.

START SPRING CLEANING

Woman carrying blackets.

The term “spring cleaning” exists for a reason. It’s time to purge all your old or unused items. Clothes, home decor, electronics – you name it!  You may be tempted to simply throw these things away. However, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure,so find an organization that accepts donations and start your clutter cleanse. If you feel your possessions are too good to let go of for nothing, there are businesses that will pay you cash in exchange for your gently used items. Or, you can even have an old-fashioned garage sale.

GET OUTSIDE

Woman laying in a field with flowers.

You’ve been stuck indoors for most of winter, right? Now is the time to break out! Your body is craving vitamin D. According to draxe.com, seasonal affective disorder “is a form of clinical depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern,” and affects half a million Americans each year. Now it’s finally warm, so get outside and open yourself up to new activities. You’ll be glad you did.

BUILD THAT BEACH BODY

Two women working out outside together.

We all know what season follows spring. And just in case you need a reminder, that season is summer. Summer means warmer temperatures and less clothing. Now is the time to kick your fitness and nutrition routines into gear before it’s too late. Find some new, healthy recipes and plan a vina date to the gym. If lifting weights or running on the treadmill isn’t what you’re into, plan a hiking workout with your new-found friend. Having a like-minded workout buddy helps with accountability. Also, vinas who get fit together, enjoy fun in the sun together!

CHECK IN ON YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

Woman doing yoga on a pier.

Awe yes, do you remember your precious New Year’s resolutions? Maybe you said this was the year you would manage your money better. Maybe you said this was the year you would unplug from your laptop and phone and start spending quality time with your loved ones. Or maybe you said this was the year you would branch out and meet new people. Your resolutions don’t have to fade into obscurity along with the algebra you learned in 7th grade. Remind yourself why you made the resolutions. Then create a new plan to make those goals a reality.

April is a great time to bring in a sense of newness. Make a list of things you want to accomplish in April or take from this one. Remember to follow-up with a plan of action. Just like the flowers in May, you’ll be blooming in no time.

We at VINAZINE love summer as much as the next vina, but there is nothing better than getting out in the sunshine with your gal pals. If you’re looking for a crew to enjoy the warmth with, start swiping on your new bffs on Hey!VINA now!

ONE WEEK WITHOUT TECHNOLOGY

I truly believe that it is safe to say that social media has the power to bridge the communication gap and help us reach people more efficiently than we ever did before. With power, however, comes certain disadvantages. Social media has the power to make one feel mediocre and inferior because it allows us to constantly compare ourselves to our peers online. When we sit and scroll on our cellphone and computer screens, we can’t help but feel like we are mildly inferior to those whose lives seem “picture-perfect.”

As someone who practices essentialism or minimalism, I do tend to fall into the trap of losing time on social media. I know that the time I spent scrolling could have been on more important things and people in my life. Therefore, I decided to participate in a week without technology. So I am writing to share my experiences throughout that week.

DAY ONE

I deleted all social media from my computer and cellphone, but before I did this, I made notifications to my followers online letting them know that I will not be using social media for a long time. In my mind, I thought that not being online could affect my writing work, since I normally promote my blog posts using social media. I pretty much had a tough time navigating through this day. I was constantly checking my phone, even though I knew I had deleted my social media.

I just needed a dopamine fix — you know, the feeling one gets from seeing a notification and having to log online to see what someone has to say. I felt somewhat lonely and a little bit blue because some component of my life was missing. I didn’t notice how much of an impact social media has had on my life until this day. I wish I noticed that I was addicted.

DAY TWO

I was a bit more relaxed and checked my phone less frequently. Although I did found myself binging video series and YouTube, I think this was mainly because of the instant dopamine rise that one gets from procrastinating, which I accomplished by watching things that made me feel good instantly. I admit this sounds like me taking a few steps back, but I felt guilty afterwards because I was not really productive. I spent about two hours just watching series and celebrity gossip channels.

However, the positive side of this was that I stopped comparing myself to others for some odd reason. I think that because I constantly found myself fully immersed in social media, I didn’t notice the effect it had on my self-esteem and self-confidence.

DAY THREE

I was getting into a routine with work and school, and I actually did not feel a need to use social media. I was productive, and I was elated to have made progress despite the bumpy few days I had when starting this challenge. I even found other useful YouTube channels and “Study with Me” videos that played a huge role in helping me focus on my work and take productive breaks in-between.

DAY FOUR

I joined a new gym in my area; I had not been exercising in a few months because I relocated. I met new people that day, and I was fully engaging in the conversations. I went out on a date with my boyfriend in the evening. Oh boy, I haven’t done that in a while, despite us having known each other for two years. It felt amazing, and I had butterflies in my stomach all over again! I was so relaxed and had an amazing evening. I noticed that I barely made enough time for him because of our crazy schedules and different, but very similar, career paths. I will admit that I was pretty exhausted at the end of the day!

DAY FIVE

I spent a day out in a national botanical garden with my vinas, and I was happy that I went out with them. We went hiking and jogging in the morning to get some exercise. Walking in nature was breath-taking, and I couldn’t remember when last I felt that free. Not being tied to any obligations but starting my weekend on a good note. As someone who is introverted and shy, I often relied so heavily on social media to make friends, that I had actually lost touch with friends that I normally engaged with on a physical level. I was constantly seeking validation from strangers online that I actually forgot to solidify the old friendships. This day gave me an opportunity to rekindle my friendships.

CONCLUSION

Social media can be useful when used in moderation, or else it has the ability to consume us and our morals. I started tracking my social media use and productivity on a daily basis using a chrome extension called Rescue Time. Set rules, so that you can have downtime for your hobbies and the people in your life. Self-care is also very vital. It takes discipline to set boundaries. These are the lessons I take with me from participating in this challenge.

Sending you lots of love, light and angel blessings your way. Let us rebuild a healthy state of mind.

Love, Francesca

Think it’s time for a social media detox? Ask your favorite vinas on Hey! VINA for some advice.

9 INSPIRATIONAL CELEBRITY QUOTES TO LIVE BY

Inspirational quotes can offer invaluable advice and wisdom. Here at Thrive, we often look to new role models like Michelle ObamaJennifer AnistonOprah Winfrey, and more for thoughtful commentary on everything from how to find happiness on your own terms to how you can finally conquer self-doubt. Here are some of the top quotes that we shared on our Instagram in 2018 — they feature smart, practical advice that will help guide you in 2019.

1. Jennifer Aniston:

2. Lady Gaga:

3. Michelle Obama: 

4. Alan Watts:

5. Jennifer Lopez:

6. Oprah Winfrey:

7. Sheryl Sandberg:

8. Diane Sawyer:

9. Arianna Huffington:

Follow us here and subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

Stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts with Arianna Huffington here.

Featured image courtesy of Michelle Obama’s Instagram. 

 

 

QUICK, HEALTHY MEALS FOR THE ON-THE-GO VINA

With careers, friends, family, and school, we vinas are beyond busy! It’s hard to find time to even eat. Fast food is well, fast. This affordable alternative to a nutritious meal is many times unhealthy and a wallet drainer if eaten too often. Instead, try these delicious meal combos that are good for you and your wallet both and are even Instagram-worthy!

BREAKFAST

As a chocolate advocate, I recommend trying a chocolate quinoa breakfast bowl. Quinoa is known for its multitude of health benefits. It’s also one of the only plant foods with all 9 essential amino acids. This meal is filling with a protein-rich base—and tossing in bananas and berries gives you a tasty serving of fruit.

LUNCH

Dijon chicken and veggies are easy to make and customize with different seasonings for different tastes. The versatility allows freedom to please every taste palette. I like to complement this dish with asparagus and potatoes for a nutritious and filling meal.

alexa-suter-454469-unsplash.jpg

DINNER

A staple of my childhood instantly became one of my favorite meals as I grew up. Red rice and beans with veggies and a hint of lime is just asking for a fiesta in your mouth. This simple dish can even be spiced up with a hint of cilantro.

DESSERT

Perhaps the most important meal of the day—try mini ice cream sandwiches. Putting frozen yogurt with chocolate bits or almond grinds in between two vanilla wafer cookies is my go-to for a cute and simple healthy dessert.

Tried these delicious finds? Tag @vinazine so we can see your yummy creations!

Join our Foodies or Vegans & Vegetarians community on the Hey! VINA app to connect with other vinas who want to try out the local eating scene!

HOW FAILURE IS A PART OF SUCCESS

In case you didn’t hear, I quit my job a week ago. I felt confident doing that, because I had a plan. I saved money. I had a project to work on. I bought a new journal/calendar/organizer thingy, and wrote down an hour-by-hour schedule of how my days were going to be filled writing a new novel.

Lot of good that did me.

I woke up on Monday at 6:00 am. I had an hour and a half to do nothing but write before my husband got up… a dream! But then, when I sat down, I was completely paralyzed. I felt exhausted. Totally drained. I couldn’t write. But don’t worry, dear reader, I found ways to fill that time! For example, I stared at my computer screen. I checked social media multiple times (you never know if you’ll get another “like,” after all). And most importantly, I chased my two cats around our living room. Eventually, my husband came downstairs and I realized I hadn’t at all accomplished my goal of writing 1k words of a new chapter.

Brilliant, excellent, strong start.

I quit my job so I could start writing. So… why wasn’t I doing that?

I will let you know that I didn’t write a single thing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. I wasn’t going to just hit the ground running, like I’d mapped out. I was reeling. I left the routine I’d been used to for the past 10 years: wake up, write, go to work, come home, repeat. Those instincts, and the rhythm my body had gotten into, were and still are present. I’m going to be making new habits, and new structure, and be my own boss, but not before I detox those old habits out of myself.

So I decided to take a little break. Well, I didn’t decide — I told my husband I’d fucked everything up, and he told me to ease up and chill out. Yes, I’d failed to accomplish all of the things I’d planned on. My hour-by-hour schedule was certainly not being followed, and no words were being written by moi. But it’s only been a week. This shit takes time… annoyingly.

It’s just that — not to pat myself on the back here too much — when I set goals, I hit ‘em. It’s how I wrote two books in a year, y’all. That isn’t easy to do! So this whole being OK with not having everything figured out thing is not a fun place or mindset for me to be in. Like, you know things are bad when you’re Googling “quotes about failure to feel better about yourself” (btw, new favorite one is “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failing is another steppingstone to greatness.” That comes from Oprah, like all good things).

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So, yeah, I don’t have a storybook life right now. This past week was really hard. I’m not used to just doing nothing. But I forced myself to acknowledge that this is a new life, and adjusting to that will take time. I’ve caught up on Younger. I finished reading Emergency Contact. I cried a few times because I felt badly about not writing and wondered if I’m truly cut out for this unemployed thing.

One piece of good news is that today is the first day I actually woke up and felt excited to write.

I got in 1k words before lunch. Maybe I’ll write another 1k (hey, maybe another 2k if I’m on a roll!) this afternoon. But if I don’t, THAT IS OK.

I’ll find a new routine that works for me, and when I do I’ll publish that here, in case it inspires anyone else.

This is a new beginning. And I guess you’ve gotta fail before you succeed (or something like that, I hope). And I’m going to just start embracing each failure as a hint at what will and won’t work for me.

But if anyone has any tips… I need them and I’ll take them!

Xo

—Originally published on February 15, 2019 on erinlarosacreative.com.

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