Feel Good Favorites: PART TWO

Good morning, beautiful reader! I hope you’re having a fabulous week or, if you’re not, that your week gets better each and every day. I now have an adorable baby nephew! Now I have six nieces and nephews, each as awesome as the next. It seems like both parents and kids are totally enamored with the little dude. My parents and I took some time to visit the bro’s cute family and helped them out with everything- hell, that many kids are a lot to handle! After hanging out with the youngin’s and fawning over the new kid, I feel a bit more refreshed. There’s just something so crazy and wonderful about holding a tiny human in your arms. And then the bonus of teeny cute hands holding onto your finger! *tries not to squeal*

Anyhoo, I’m back to finish up my list of what brings me joy, gives me life, and makes me feel damn good. Once again, these aren’t groundbreaking or revolutionary ideas, they’re just what have personally helped me. I hope they help you out in some way!

Keeping a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. Of course staying hydrated is hella good for the body and skin, but it also happens to do wonders on one’s mood. Sometimes when we feel grumpy for no real reason, the culprit is dehydration. I try to drink eight glasses of water a day, but it’s easy for me to forget and then I end up with a headache or just a lower mood. So far the most effective reminder to stay hydrated is to bring around a reusable water bottle- you’re being environmentally responsible (not picking up a new water bottle every time you go out) and being kinder to your mind and body.

Have a go-to playlist for lifting your spirits. I promise, it doesn’t matter if it’s Norwegian heavy metal or old-school folk music. Whatever music brings you the most joy- the swaying your hips and dancing around the house kind of joy- is what you should listen to. Music is an incredible and beautiful way to feed your soul, and of course singing and dancing can benefit your physical health. My current favorite songs are the entire Cry Baby album by Melanie Martinez. I’m a huge fan of hers and I freaking adore how each song in the album contributes to a specific story-line. Whatever sounds your heart desires, turn up you speakers and dance your (cute) ass off!

Lastly, learn about something new every day. I started doing this activity to help my brain stay sharp while I’m not in school and because I genuinely find great joy in learning. Watch a documentary on a topic you’re not well-versed on, read an in-depth article or book on a subject you find intriguing, or look up a tutorial on how to do something you’ve never done before. Even if your projects don’t turn out well or you end up not enjoying the video, it feels good to gain knowledge/a new skill; or just to know that you can cross one area of study off your list if you’re like me and still looking for your passion.

That’s all for today, internet buds. I hope this list inspired you to try some of these tips or find what works for you. I’m wishing you all luck in figuring out what best makes you feel good.

Tons of love and good vibes,

Violet XO

Feel Good Favorites ★☽ PART ONE

Good morning, loves. Sorry that I haven’t posted here in a while, my anxiety has been having a bit of fun with me lately and I just didn’t feel like writing. I nearly had a panic attack earlier this week for the first time in several months. On the upside, though, it was a powerful reminder to take care of myself to the best of my ability and show compassion towards others (because what’s the fun in loving yourself if you aren’t loving other people, too?). I’ve been doing my best to heal myself (medication of course included, I take it daily) and have found some things that seem to be working for me quite well. I hope my list gives you some inspiration on how to be good to yourself or simply serves as a reminder that you’re not alone on your journeys to self-love and personal growth. And for those of us recovering, I’d like to mention that no recovery is perfect; there will be relapses and mistakes and fuck-ups. That does not mean we failed. You can only fail if you don’t try again the next day!

1. The Nutribullet. I was blessed and lucky enough that my parents were able to get me a Nutribullet for my 20th birthday (!! Squeee!!). Not only is it super satisfying to see all the solid stuff turn into a smooth blend, but it’s added a bit of motivation for me to eat healthier and try new fruit/greens combinations. My personal favorite concoction so far is a banana, some frozen strawberries/blueberries, some fresh spring mix salad, lemon-flavored greek yogurt, and a touch of water. If any of y’all have this device or something similar I recommend that blend (and psst- tell me down below what your favorite is!).

2. The Desire Map by Danielle LaPorte. While I don’t agree 100% with all that she writes, I think her “Desire Map” is a simple but brilliant concept! I first snatched up this book at the library when I was browsing self-help books (yes, I’m THAT person) and I really enjoyed it. The only problem was that the second half of the book was a workbook and it felt imperative to complete that section in order to reap all of its benefits. So I was able to get my own personal copy and having been writing in it ever since. It’s a very good practice for anyone that’s trying to understand themselves better and, as the author Danielle puts it, create goals with soul. It’s certainly an interesting read.

3. A daily yoga practice. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned on this blog before how much I dig yoga. It feels energizing, restorative, and all around lovely. My goal everyday is to allow myself 30 minutes (at the least) to do some yoga. The ideal goal would be 60 minutes per day, but I’m having trouble committing to just half an hour so I’m still in the process. It’s awesome if you join some sort of class, but for me I enjoy it most when I’m by myself and I don’t have the time/money to attend one. I find the best thing that works for me is setting up my laptop near my mat and putting on some Youtube videos. I recommend a channel like DoYouYoga for everyone, especially if they’re beginners because the yogis are excellent at explaining how the positions should look/work. My go-to teacher on their is Erin Motz. I like to either watch a few of her videos from the 30 Day Yoga Challenge or just her 30 minute routine video. Wherever you go to practice, just do it! I promise it will help you with your mindset and health so much.

That’s it for today- within the next few days I’ll finish up the list with my other feel good favorites. For now, I wish you all the best of luck and am giving you all big internet hugs.

Loads of love,

Violet XO

Letting Go Of Your “Perfect Self”

Happy Monday, gorgeous! I hope your week is off to a joyous start and you’re feelin’ all sorts of good vibes. Before I head to my shift at work I figured I would share a tiny insight that I’ve realized during my “Soul-Search-Because-I-Can’t-Come-Up-With-Anything-Cooler”: ideal does not equate to perfect, and trying to have the perfect day/be the perfect self is goddamn exhausting. Seems like common sense, right? I guess it just took me a bit longer to realize some of my disappointment in life was because I was trying to live up to an ideal that went beyond responsible expectations. Trying to achieve these goals (zero junk food, 8 glasses of water and no less, working out every day, etc.) just made me feel guilty and shameful for not doing things 110% perfectly. Sometimes we’re all too hard on ourselves for not completing our marathons, when we should feel proud for running 3/4 of the way and then gearing up to try again! As Dave Willis wisely said, Be an encourager- the world has enough critics already.”

Instead of sulking around feeling defeated, I’ve recognized I need to approach myself with love and gratitude before anything else. If I had a cookie at lunch, I don’t need to give up and hate myself for “ruining” my healthy lifestyle. I can get back on the proverbial horse and make a fresh, nutritious dinner. Listen, y’all: There is no need for self-shame. There is a huge need for self-love and self-acceptance. At least for myself, living in this world makes me feel like every day needs to be a competition – and in some sense it should be- but not at the expense of my relationship with myself. Just as we should approach others with understanding and encouragement, so we should ourselves. You can live up to your ideals, but you’ll never live up to your ideas of perfection.

It’s nothing revolutionary, but I figured if it took me so long to figure that out, someone else might appreciate the realization. I’m sending you all warm hugs and tons of positive vibes.

So much love from me to you,

Violet XO

A little inspiration for those learning to love your inner & outer self. ♥

Hey there, beautiful! I was enjoying having the house to myself- *ahem* karaoke time *cough* – and I came across the song “Try” by Colbie Caillat. It gave me absolute goosebumps, or as my poetry professor says, “chillbumps”. Suddenly I felt  a yearning inside- damn, I wish that songs like this had been around when I was a preteen, and I hope that my two nieces grow up to love themselves. I try my best to raise them as strong and confident girls but as an aunt who isn’t with them 24/7, I can only do so much. On the bright side, I can always work on raising myself. I’m still in the process. Maybe I always will be, but I’m kind of okay with that. As long as you’re learning, a day is never wasted.

And what better way to show myself love than to indulge in some inspiration and share with my Interweb fellows? Here are some passionate and incredibly positive videos for y’all on this Sunday morning:

♥ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXoZLPSw8U8

♥ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DnDgSsWnwwE

♥ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODnMaf0rB4c

I’m also going to challenge you to do something~ Take out a piece of paper and your favorite writing utensil. Write down 5 things about your physical appearance that you love, and ten things about your inner self that you love. I know you can do it.

Much love and tons of good vibes,
Violet XO

Some things to brighten your day or teach you something new!

Hello, all! Happy Easter to those who celebrate it- I hope your holiday is filled to the brim with joy and good memories. Today I wanted to share some of the cool things on the Interwebs I’ve found recently. I hope you enjoy this list- I even included a few of my favorite things this Spring.

✿ http://galadarling.com/article/feeling-burned-out-ask-yourself-this-one-simple-question/

✿ http://mysticmedusa.com/2013/05/fenging-up/

✿ http://dangerdame.com/2015/03/30/how-to-be-magnetic-4-ways-to-rev-up-your-magnetism/

✿ http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18169/how-to-stay-motivated-when-youre-not-in-the-mood-to-do-anything.html

✿ http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18030/are-you-sabotaging-your-authentic-self-heres-how-to-stop.html

✿ http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-17999/walking-boosts-brainpower-4-other-reasons-to-exercise-every-day.html

✿ http://everydayroots.com/how-to-get-rid-of-bad-breath

✿ Pretty much any Dog Whisperer or My Cat From Hell episode, ever.

✿ http://www.seventeen.com/health/a29642/ways-to-be-instantly-happier/

✿ http://www.seventeen.com/health/advice/a21913/boost-body-confidence/

✿ Light or Pastel colors.

✿ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnT7ZDubj94

✿ Raising some gorgeous indoor plants.

That’s it babes- I hope you enjoyed the links and learned something interesting.

Much love from my house to yours,

Violet XO

A reminder for ~YOU~!

Hey there, darlings. This message is made special just for you- all of you. If you’ve been waiting for a sign, or some sort of comfort from the Universe, this is it. You are unbreakable. You may bend underneath the pressures of life, but you will never be broken. Your scars are proof that you can overcome anything. You have immeasurable strength, courage, bravery, and beauty. Beautiful isn’t the most important thing for a human to be, but know that you are gorgeous- a stunner inside and out- and it is totally okay to feel that way about yourself. It’s okay to feel beautiful, and it is not selfish or vain to do so.

You deserve to love yourself. How can you help others if you’re not well yourself? “Once we acknowledge and accept the good in us we can spread the good in the world” (if someone knows who first said this quote, please let me know in the comments below). Once you light a spark of love and compassion in your own heart, it will be much stronger and brighter; it will truly help you spread that love to others.

Treat yourself kindly, whether you’re celebrating a raise or feeling disappointed in yourself over a recent failure. You deserve your love and care 100% of the time. If you had a child, would you only love them when they behaved their very best? No, even though they may be difficult or challenging for us, we still love and care for them. Why is it so easy for us to love other people, in all their imperfect glory, but so hard for us to do ourselves the same favor?

Love yourself. Love others. Give yourself a break and rest when you know you need to. If you just took a few steps back, reflect on what went wrong and see what you can learn from it. Let it catapult you towards your dreams and desires. “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop” (Confucius). Celebrate all your victories, no matter how small. Take a couple risks and learn to listen to yourself, so you can better listen to others. Go after what you really want.

Your strength is unfathomable, your courage untouchable, and your beauty undeniable.

I hope this small letter gives you a little more hope and peace to hold on to. I hope you accomplish every single one of your dreams.

Wishing you the best & lots of love,

Violet XO

A Confidence Booster: Power Poses

Happy weekend, friends! If you’ve traveled down the rabbit hole that is the self-help world, you’ve probably come across this phrase before: Power Pose. No, it’s not what superheroes do when they’re interrupting a dastardly villain’s evil scheme. Well, not exactly. Power Poses are positions of the body that evoke a sense of (You guessed it!) and power and confidence. Just as the mind can influence the body, the body can transform the mind as well- studies have shown that simply posing like the following…

Photos courtesy of Amy Cuddy's TEDxTalk.

Photos courtesy of Amy Cuddy’s TEDxTalk.

… can lower levels of the stress hormone Cortisol and make you feel more secure and confident in yourself. The pose depicted on the right is actually nicknamed the “Superman”, so maybe it really is a pose a do-gooder would strike before vanquishing criminals. Amy Cuddy did an incredible TEDxTalk about the subject and in it she shares the results of a study concerning the impact of strong-looking poses on the mind that she oversaw. I’ve given it a try myself, and it really does seem to work! Cuddy recommends remaining in a Power Pose for two minutes every day, or before any big or stressful event. It may just help you handle the situations better. 🙂

If you’re looking for a quick and easy boost in self-confidence, I highly recommend checking out her video:

Hoping all of your wishes and dreams come true. XO Violet

Hello again!

Hi y’all! Week number one of the semester is done (15 more to go!) and I had a little time to post a life/goals update and some journal prompts and ideas for you lovely people. This will probably end up being a rather short post, but I miss writing here and will write what I can, when I can.

As for my daily life, not too much has changed: I go to school Monday through Friday, spend time with my friends and family, and do my best in order to pet as many damn animals as I can haha. Life is a bit quiet at the moment but I am enjoying it to the fullest. Going to school full time- even at just a community college- can be overwhelming and busy, so I genuinely enjoy whatever peace I can find!

Concerning my goals, however, my life has been a little more exciting and lively. Although I have big and general goals for 2015, I decided to break them up into smaller and more specific goals that I will work on each month. For example, one of my annual goals is to continue learning and becoming a smarter, more informed person. So every month I aim to read at least one book (which sounds totally wimpy but when you’re a student time becomes scarce!) and keep up to date on current events. My monthly goals for January are:

★ Read a book

★ Complete & send in 3 writing submissions

★ Make good grades

★ Volunteer once a week

★ Blog daily

★ Maintain healthy habits

I’m proud to say that I’ve accomplished one of those goals already (I finished a book I started in December and then read a captivating fiction novel) and am halfway through on the second. I have also been doing my best to maintain healthier habits, which means I’ve been keeping on track with my skincare routine, staying hydrated, making and eating healthy meals, resisting junk foods (unless I’m having my daily treat), going to bed at an earlier time, keeping good hygiene, etc. This goal, along with achieving good grades, will have its success shown at the very end of the month. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Unfortunately, I have not accomplished the remaining two goals- blogging daily and volunteering once a week. I’m going to be honest and say that the first is completely unreasonable given my schedule during the semester, and as far as the latter goal, I’ve been damn lazy. I could get off my butt and sign up for duty at the soup kitchen, donate some items to the self-help pantry of the city’s Epilepsy foundation, etc. These things are plausible and totally doable. But I’ve been lazy and a tad selfish this month. I’ve spent so much working on myself that I’ve forgotten that part of self-love and inner-peace is helping to better the lives of others around you. So while I won’t be able to check these things off of my list, for the remainder of the month I’m going to keep writing when I have the time/energy and at least once donate my time and efforts to a good cause. I just need to do it; otherwise I’m wasting some of the life that I’ve been blessed with. As the beautiful-inside-and-out Audrey Hepburn once said, “Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at each end of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover you have two hands. One for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.” Words to live by, my friend.

Lastly, I wanted to share with you all a few of the journal prompts I thought up this morning:

★ What are the things going right in my life? What am I doing right in my life?

★ What are the things going wrong in my life, and what am I doing wrong?

★ How can I turn those wrong things around or use them for the greater good of myself and others?

I hope this post resonates with you in some way. We all fall off the wagon but we must remember to celebrate our successes- no matter how small- and get back on track and continue working hard. How are your goals going? Are you enjoying January? Let me know in the comments below.

Have a wonderful day & lots of happy moments,

Violet XO

How To Help: Easy Ways To Help Others

A big part of discovering oneself and the path to self-love is loving others. Once you begin to see the good in yourself, it becomes even easier to see the good in others. Being comfortable with yourself assists you in being comfortable around others and looking at them through a wider perspective. And after all, we have more than enough love and compassion within us- it’s time to spread some of that joy and adoration around!

The world is a huge place, with thousands of issues that need to be solved and millions of people that need to be helped. Yeah, it’s pretty freaking overwhelming. A lot of us hesitate to help others because we simply don’t know how and where to start. What can I do? Where can I lend my personal abilities? How can I make any bit of difference?

Because the world needs us all to pitch in (and because I know from experience just how intimidated and lost one can feel when trying to help out) here are ten easy ways to help others. I hope this list helps you begin the process and get y’all in the habit of doing what you can! I know I’ll be doing the same.

1. Host a food drive and donate the bounty to your local food pantry or self-help pantry. Or, buy some non-perishable foods yourself and donate them.

2. Donate blood. If you’ve never done this before and can physically do it, do it at least once. I’m horrible with blood and needles- and the experience was pretty terrifying- but I pushed myself to do it just once. It’s okay if you don’t become a frequent donor; just one donation can help save up to three people.

3. Go on a Litter Walk. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this one before. Grab a friend or a relative and take a nice, long walk outside. Pick up as much litter as you can find and dispose of it accordingly. Recycle what you can, too!

4. Purchase gently-worn clothing from thrift stores (i.e. pants, jeans, shirts, sweaters, coats, etc.) and new socks from a nearby store. Donate them (along with any gently-used clothing you want to give from your own closet) to your local homeless shelter. Another thing they are always in need of are basic hygienic items, such as travel-sized toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, plain chapstick, deodorant, etc.

5. Make blankets and distribute them to those who need them, be it at a homeless shelter, a local church’s charity, or the elderly couple down the street that have come down with a cold. An easy and efficient way to make blankets can be found here: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Fleece-Tie-Blanket.

6. During the winter season and when it snows heavily, volunteer to shovel your parents’, grandparents’, or neighbors’ driveways. This can be a rough time of year, especially for those with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

7. Visit an animal shelter (or even your closest Petsmart or Petco) and find out if they need anyone to volunteer their time, effort, and love. Even if all of the custodial duties are fulfilled, they may want someone to take the animals on walks or just spend an hour or two playing with them. If all else fails, you can always donate cat/dog food, toys, litter, treats, etc.

8. Sign up on DoSomething.org. This is a reputable and incredible website and organization that is specifically meant for helping people find ways to help others. I highly recommend it! They have a large variety of causes and campaigns, from animal rights to helping Syrian refugees. If you do only one thing on this list, do this one. And make sure to find a cause that suits your needs and talents. (:

9. Spread kindness around your school or workplace. After learning about operationbeautiful.com, I spent most of my high school days writing positive and inspiring notes and posting them all around when no one was looking. I still do it to this day because I’ve had friends (who didn’t know it was me, at the time) who found a note or two and kept them in their room or something because it made them feel so good and happy about life and themselves.

10. Lastly, help out around home. Do your normal set of chores quick and early in the day so your guardians aren’t stressed about it. Help them when they go grocery shopping and put away the produce for them. Pick up things that are too heavy for them to safely pick up. Do the chore they like the least so that they have one less item on their To Do list.

I hope this helped you get in the mood of helping others and spending your free-time wisely. Let me know in the comments section what you do to help others. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

Much love,

Violet XO

Best Of 2014: Full of Positivity, Body Love, & Inspiration! (PART THREE, BOOKS & MUSIC)

Good morning, beautiful! The Best of 2014 series has drawn to an end- today’s shall be my last post dedicated to 2014. After all, we’re two days into the new year! It’s time to get in the groove of 2015. For more information regarding this series, you can check out my two most recent posts. Without further adieu, here are my favorite self-help books and inspiring songs of 2014…

✦ BOOKS ✦

✦ “Beautiful You: A daily guide to radical self-acceptance” By Rosie Molinary

✦ “The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life” By Thomas Moore

✦ “The Goddess Is In The Details: Wisdom For The Everyday Witch” By Deborah Blake

✦ “The Miracle of Self-Love: The Secret Key To Open All Doors” By Barbel Mohr

✧ MUSIC ✧

✧ “Miss Movin’ On”~ Fifth Harmony

✧ “BO$$”~ Fifth Harmony

✧ “Anklebiters”~ Paramore

✧ “Feeling Sorry”~ Paramore

✧ “Wings”~ Little Mix

✧ “All About That Bass”~ Meghan Trainor

✧ “Close Your Eyes”~ Meghan Trainor

✧ “Shake It Off”~ Taylor Swift

✧ “Last Hope”~ Paramore

✧ “All About That Bass” Cover (Not About Your Waist)~ Natty Valencia

✧ “Salute”~ Little Mix

✧ “Dear Future Husband”~ Meghan Trainor

✧ “Skyscraper”~ Demi Lovato

✧ “Warrior”~ Demi Lovato

✧ “Hello Cold World”~ Paramore

I hope you guys enjoyed this short series and some of the things I’ve shared with y’all! Did your favorite book or song make my list? What would you add?

Tomorrow I embrace 2015 and let 2014 rest. Much love,

Violet XXOO