Thursday, May 5, 2016

Four Ways to Feel Like a New Woman

I feel like I'm a fairly confident person. I have off days, of course, but really for the most part I feel pretty good about myself. It took a lot of years to get this way and I honestly wish I could go back and give my 13, 16, 18, 23 year old selves a little pep talk. Even if I didn't gain complete confidence until adulthood, I'm just happy I feel this way now.

Even still though, I can fall into these ruts where I feel like it's a lot of the same ole, same ole. I love a good routine and sticking to it but sometimes it's nice to mix it up– and the little new thing can go a long way. Here are some of my favorite (little) ways to feel like a new woman.

ONE // Get Fitted for a New Bra

I hate everything about bras. Who invented these mini torture chambers and why? One of the best parts of the day is when I can take it off. (Who else agrees?! 🙋🏻)The one thing worse than having to actually wear a bra? Going shopping for a bra. I hate it and therefore I put it off for years (and years). I've resorted in the past to ordering bras online and it's worked out okay– not great. I still hate 
The bras I've had for too long a while had seen better days. I obsessively wash mine, which isn't good for the bras at all and every day they got a little worse.

About a month ago I went to Nordstrom to get fitted for new ones. Here I am, finally with the courage to do the awkward fitting, and the saleswoman was just, um, not into it. So my old bra and I walked out there feeling defeated. I decided to give it another try last week and (the new, super nice, super helpful, super knowledgeable) saleswoman knocked it out of the park. She listened to exactly what I liked and didn't like in a bra, sized me, and literally kept bringing back option after option of great bras. I wear a weird size in bras and typically struggle to find a bra that's even made in my size. But I ended up with five bras and tossed my old ones out immediately.

I feel like a NEW WOMAN. They're comfortable and actually fit. I wish I had done this sooner.

After I tweeted this, I had a few emails about the bras I ended up with. I got a few Natori bras and just love the way they feel and how I feel while wearing them. They're gorgeous while still feeling simple. I also got a Betsey Johnson t-shirt bra that looks great too.

TWO // Use a Hair Mask

My hair is always giving me issues. I wish a talented hairdresser could come and do it every morning for me! I have never done a deep conditioning hair mask before although I have had one sitting under my sink for months. One day, as I was contemplating chopping it all off, I decided to give it a try. I washed my hair and then rubbed the mask in. I let it set for 10 minutes while I shaved and then took a short, relaxing bath. Honestly my hair has never been that soft and fluffy– the good kind. I've made it a part of my official weekly routine.

It's the next best thing to having someone come and doing my hair every morning. And the best part? It only takes ten minutes.

THREE // Switch Up Your Coffee Order

This is kind of a dumb thing, but I recently switched up my coffee order. It's a little change and now it's something I really look forward to. I used to get a plain dark roast coffee; now I get a cappuccino. It feels a little fancier and tastes oh-so-good. I normally order cappuccinos after a nice dinner and I kind of love making it an everyday thing. Sometimes I'll drive through Starbucks and other times I'll "treat" myself to this fancy cafe down the street. 

It's a nice, little change that lifts my mood!

FOUR // Get a Massage

I started budgeting for massages a couple of years ago while living in NYC. My stress manifests itself in very physical ways, namely my neck and shoulders. It's not uncommon for someone to say, "You look tense" even if I don't feel tense in the moment, my stress has built up in my neck/shoulders and I look it. Occasionally I find myself with my shoulders actually touching the bottoms of my ear lobes. I absolutely get at least one deep tissue massage a month. And if possible, more.

The massages themselves are not the most pleasant; they tend to really hurt. But when I get off the table and straighten my back, I feel two inches taller. Whatever boulder of stress that has been resting on my shoulders will have disappeared. If it's been a while, I'll splurge for an hour but otherwise a quick 30 minutes is really all I need!

Do you have any tricks to feel like a new woman?!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Gingham at the Beach

I think one of my favorite parts about going to the beach is being able to throw on cover ups and just bop outside. It's so simple and takes no effort. (The worst part is the 40 minutes before walking out the door applying half a bottle of sunscreen.)

The beach was just down the road from the Gasparilla Inn cottage we were staying in. It's an easy, enjoyable walk, but so much more fun to bike. 

I bought this tunic when it was still freezing outside and it's genuinely a new favorite. It drapes perfectly and hits just at the right spot in the front and the back. On Saturday I wore it alone and on Sunday I paired it with denim shorts. I feel like there's such a fine line between having a cover up that's cool and lightweight while still not being completely sheer. This one is just right!

I didn't check a bag flying down to Florida and my duffel bag ended up being a tight squeeze. Thankfully I chose this packable hat because I really did shove it into my carryon and it popped right back to shape when I unpacked.

And THIS BIKE!!!! Every time I visit my parents, I always want a bike. I regret giving away the one I had in college although I know there was no convenient way to get it back to Florida anyway.

I started looking for bikes and they were either super expensive and chic or super cheesy and affordable. Like dorky, cheesy beach cruisers. No, thank you. I stumbled on this Schwinn bike (under $200) and knew I had to have it. My dad and I installed the basket and, bam!, the cutest bike.

So I wore this bikini to the beach but pretty quickly popped on this rash guard. I have a love/hate relationship with the beach because of the sun. I just cannot spend a lot of time in the sun with my pale skin. Not only is it unhealthy and dangerous, it's miserable to get burned. I do not tan. I fry. I'm so thankful that J. Crew started making cute rash guards and sun shirts

(all photos by my Stacy!)

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Gasparilla Inn

This is a major, major picture overload here, but I simply couldn't resist. I just got back from an amazing family vacation on Gasparilla Island. My sister has been with friends a few summers, but this was my first time. We are now just in love with the island and I think we definitely have found a new tradition. We grew up driving seven hours north to Seaside or driving seven hours south to the Keys. Gasparilla Island is an easy two hour drive from Tampa so this was way more convenient and we really loved the whole vibe.

Isn't this map cute? It was the placemat at The Inlet where we ate breakfast one day. I love how it shows how small and quaint the town of Boca Grande is. We stayed at The Gasparilla Inn, right in the center of town. Everything is walkable, bikable, or accessible via golf cart.  

It's truly "how Florida was meant to be." It's like taking a step back into time.

The Inn is more than inviting. It feels like you're being welcomed into someone's home. There are rooms at the Inn and also villas and cottages. I booked us one of the three bedroom cottages, which was private and made us feel right at home. Everyone had their own space and it was easy to bop to and from the beach.

A few shots of the immaculately decorated inn. If I were to ever have a beach house, this would be the look I would go for. I love every fabric, every detail, every corner, every piece of furniture!

We had breakfast one morning at the Inn's dining room. The pancakes were honestly the best I have ever had in my entire life. PERFECTION. (And I'm a tough critic of pancakes!)

The yellow striped umbrellas were a favorite of mine. So cheery!

The beach club is located right down the street from the Inn. After leisurely mornings of breakfasts, cappuccinos, and sunscreen application, we'd head down to the beach for a day of lounging. Honestly it's just the most relaxing setting. I brought three books with me and only ended up reading about 50 pages. I mostly just sat there watching the gulf. 

My mom and I biked around the island peeping at houses and taking picks on which one was our favorite. The one below was hands down my favorite house.

I feel like I have missed out only having just visited Boca Grande for the first time. I think I may have found my actual happy place. The place I'll dream about visiting every day of the year I'm not there. The place I'll make a priority to visit. The place I'll vehemently encourage everyone I talk to to visit. 

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Monday, May 2, 2016

How to Start Building Your Tribe Right Now

I do believe in the quote about being the average of the five people you spend the most time with. I'm all about surrounding myself with people, especially women, who lift me up, inspire me, and push me to be my very best. I have friends near and far that I've met throughout the years. Each brings a little something different to friendship, but without a doubt they contribute something amazing! (And I aim to reciprocate the love the share with me!)

How to Start Building Your Tribe Right Now
Guest post by Maxie McCoy

You’ve all probably heard the word “tribe” tossed around here and there. It seems to be everywhere these days. But for good reason. When we think tribe, we’re essentially meaning the people that just get you. They understand what you’re about. There’s no drama. There’s a ton of support. And it’s the friendships that seem to just be so easy and always work no matter how many miles are between you and how many hours separate your time zones.

As you all can imagine, I’m lucky beyond lucky to have Carly in my tribe all these years. Our friendship was brought together under specific circumstances and has grown far beyond it as we have. She’s basically the perfect example of all the reasons you need a tribe of like-minded people who want your success as much as you do and will do anything they can to help you get there.

However, easier said than done. Sometimes we wake up and realize our friends are just our friends because of circumstances, school, or other reasons that we seemed to “fall into.” Being intentional about building lasting friendships will have a far greater impact on your life than you can ever imagine right now. 

One of my favorite quotes is “You are the product of the expectations of your friend group.” Do your friends share in your dream to be President one day? Do they see you getting into the school of your dreams? Do they want nothing but joy and prosperity for you? Because their expectations of you matter. 

If you don’t feel like you’ve found your tribe, here’s why you should have one. And here’s a few easy ways to start building one right now:

Find People with Common Goals
There’s no better way to build a tribe of support than by offering to be that support first. Maybe you’re killer at graphic design or have a real knack for dressing up a dorm room. If you feel that instant “click” with someone, offer up your skills to someone who might be able to use them. It’s an easy way to build a great foundation for long-term friendships. (I’ll never forget when Carly walked me through starting my blog! #lifefriends)

Organize Get Togethers
Tribes often extend beyond 1:1 friendships. Often, you’ll build your community of people by introducing your friends to other like-minded friends and being open to their friendships. One of my favorite ways to do this is by organizing “goddess dinners” where I invite a number of kick-butt women to meet each other and exchange dreams, goals, and ways to navigate obstacles. The more your connections meet the more it strengthens your own tribe of humans.

Social Media
I’ve met some amazing friends on social first. Years ago when I was building offline communities and twitter was all the rage, I was able to connect with other people doing the same thing. We learned from what we were each doing and were able to provide value to the other at conferences and meet ups. They turned into amazing friends that supported my success over and beyond the role. If you find people that are on parallel paths, a DM or email never hurt!

Engaging in Your Own Interests
While sometimes we end up being friends with people just because we have always have been friends with them, a great way to build out your tribe is by engaging in the interests close to your heart. As they say, “Your vibe attracts your tribe” and there’s no better way to be putting out the right vibe than by doing the things that sets your soul on fire. If you’re the creative type, head to a painting class. If you’re musically inclined, join the choir club. The people there interested in what you’re interested in will be a great foundation for meaningful friendships.

Be in the Business of Making Friends
Regardless of where you are or what activities you’re partaking in, your mindset is of the utmost importance when wanting to build out a tribe. If you’re in the market for new, deep friendships, you have to be open to that possibility. When I moved to a new city for the first time, I would always tell people, “I am in the business of making friends.” I would make effort to make new friends. I would make time for it. I would ask for introductions. And years later that has resulted in a life-changing community of people around the world that support me on my rise. 

A meaningful and supportive tribe is something we all need. Don’t wait another day to begin building yours. 

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