Sweet Reads

Sweet Reads || April

Hi there, you.

1. Do you ever feel like each month has a personality of its own? A mind of its own? A world of its own? Keep reading.

2. Do you hoard things? Sometimes words or thoughts? Join the club.

3. Did you miss me? I’m back with yet another new idea. This time, a series. Reads of the month. Sweet reads, actually. There may be a more creative name in the near future, but sometimes short and sweet (not intended but I guess now it is) does the best job. I think I like it.

I don’t know if I’m starting this out of fondness or a slight obsessive compulsive tendency. I love my email inbox. It’s one of my favorite places. More and more newsletters and subscriptions fill this space, and I read them all. As a person who loves stories and advice and lists and ideas, I wanted to create a little home where I can document and share my thoughts on these precious pieces and why I thought about them for hours and even days after I read them. Each month I’ll compile a few of my favorites that I’ve stumbled upon.

There’s no rules here. Read them all, or read one that catches your eye (or heart). Share it with friends or keep it all to yourself. Don’t forget to leave some of your own April favorites in the comments and tell me which one of these you like, too. I’d love to hear any feedback you have to make this better. I love you, reader. Thanks for stopping by. xx

A P R I L

April’s Quote:

“You don’t make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.” ― Shirley Chisholm

Image of the Month:

Illustrated by @bymariandrew

I’ve spent the past month thinking about a lot of stupid things that, in hindsight, has wasted a lot of my precious time. Tyler, a friend of mine, introduced me to this amazing Instagram artist last month. I love all of her illustrations; she is just so darn cute and relatable. This one in specific got me thinking. No more being angry at my roommate for a week’s worth of unwashed dishes. No more being upset at myself for that thing I didn’t say four years ago. No more gabbing about that one project that I want to do, but haven’t (because I’m gabbing about it instead of doing it). Every time I’m anxious or mad or worried, I’m no longer going to count to ten like a five-year-old. That’s ollllld news. Instead, I’ll count how many hours of my life I won’t get back like the twenty-three-year-old I am. Will it matter this time next year? Absolutely not. Can I take control of the situation? Then I will. We’ve got one life to live, my  sweet friends. And if that’s not true, I’d like to come back as a butterfly please and thank you.

Reads of the Month:

+ 35 Things To Do For Your Career By 35 

This read made me feel empowered to prepare for my future now. Finding my superpower (Did you know it’s not always a skill, but often times a trait?). Making a list of my non-negotiables. Being able to articulate my goals + sell my professional self and ideas. These are things I haven’t put a ton of thought into, but now I will. Thanks, The Muse.

+ First comes the wedding. Then comes marriage.

Hannah Brencher is a wonderful soul. And this is why I can’t get enough of her writing. Readers send her letters and she answers with her own stories and the lessons she’s learned from them. I’m not getting hitched any time soon, but boy oh boy was this breathtaking. This reminds me that choice is a beautiful, beautiful thing. Whether it’s your person, your friends, your faith, or your life. You get to choose every day. My favorite thing she says: “I am learning if I spend every single day seeking to make people feel loved, chosen and special then I can never lose. I can never really say a day is wasted.” Amazing. Also a burger truck and an old library? Ideal.

+ Let it go.

“That’s what you have to do with fear over and over again: you have to learn to let it go.” Clearly I love me some Hannah Brencher because here she is again. In this read, she reminds me to forgive myself like I forgive others, name my fear by calling it out of the dark and into the light (“You can look at it from several angles and know the truth”), and crush my fears by not putting my faith in the enemy – all things I needed to hear this past month. How would our lives look if we built out of love instead of fear? How would our relationships flourish? Would we be stronger? Braver? Happier? Great questions. I’ll get back to you on that, Hannah.

+ How to be more confident. 

This article by Susie Moore had me in my feels, because I sure needed to brush up on this topic. There were SO many gems here. Moore tells us that the most confident people tune out their inner critic and turn up their inner coach. Confident people A) Know failure is inevitable, so they don’t fear it, B) Laugh more because life is short, and C) Have vision for their lives and focus on what they do want rather than what they don’t. “I love. I do. I can.” She says,“When you use stronger, more intentional language, it impacts your mood, your confidence, and even how other people perceive you.” They sit taller, do them, and stand strong. Confidence is your call; it’s a decision because no one is born with it. Confidence is taking control of your own life. Maybe it’s Maybelline. But more than 90% is Confidence.

+ My Boss Sucks Sometimes – Can I Tell Her?

Let me clear: my boss doesn’t suck. I actually like my bosses a lot. But I love a juicy advice column read. This one by Jessica Romolini caught my eye then captured my conscious because confrontation is something I struggle with. I’m either waaaay too confrontational or not confrontational enough. I’m really bad at finding that middle ground and I’m working on it. What is your motivation for correcting someone? Is it because they made you feel small at some point, or because it’s the right thing to do? Getting clear on why you want to correct someone, then focusing on the problem and not the person is crucial – whether it’s inside or outside of work.

+ 4 Big Reasons I Quit My Job To Build Girls Night In

I’ve started getting this newsletter in my inbox every Friday, and it’s a pure treat. Alisha Ramos outlines the four questions she began asking herself over and over, and how she took it upon herself to explore those questions and turn it into a business that could benefit other women. In four months the community grew 17x, 95% of new readers found out about GNI from a friend (word of mouth works, people!), and they receive 3 job applications a week. I’m a real sucker for a fun success story. It reminds me that anything is possible. It gives me hope for my own business endeavors.

+ The 100 Best Movies on Netflix

Thank you, Jason Bailey. This might be the best list I’ve found this month. You will literally never run out of things to watch. Like ever. I mean, there’s 100. And get this: IT’S UPDATED REGULARLY AS TITLES COME AND GO. Is this a dream? (I watched Up In The Air with Dan for the first time this weekend after taking a peek at this list… it was amazing.)

+ There is no that.

“The reward for the work is the work itself.” Mike Coyle writes music to my ears. For any business person, creative, or everyday person suffering from FOMO – you absolutely need to read this. There will always be some seemingly amazing thing happening with seemingly amazing people outside of where you are. But that moment ends for them. And this one will end for you if you’re not here. He says: “I wish someone had told me that it was the work, that the highs would be brief and bright and over, and then it was the grind. I wish they had told me, because there will be times when the grind itself must be the thing that drives you. You have to love the effort divorced from the result.” Is your pay off people? Is it moments? This article reminded me to keep my work honest and to keep doing the work I love. In the end – that’s what you have when you’ve climbed the mountain and return back down. You have this amazing thing you created. That’s enough.

*All quotes by the writers are quoted, bolded, or italicized. I am not earning money from this post.

This party is just getting started, so I would greatly appreciate any feedback you have for this new monthly thang. Let me know below. Thanks for reading, sweet friends! Cheers to you.

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Life & Lessons

Cheers to the new, and to the year.

This is not your typical New Years post.

For starters, it’s not January 1st.

In fact, it’s fourteen days after the new year has begun. The buzz of newness has probably already started to wear off for most of us, and the hangover already seems to be kicking in.

But for me, the party is just beginning.

This year, I decided not to make or take any resolutions seriously in the first few days of our new slate. I’m learning something: keeping score before you’ve started the game is dangerous. We are creatures of habit, yet we can’t seem to stay on track when it comes to the things we want the most for our lives. I thought to myself: maybe I should walk on the playing field before I run the play.

I chose to start January 1st, 2018 as any another day. New year, same shit. The only difference is that this go-round I let the thought of resolutions and goals and wants and plans whisper a melody in my mind without hanging on to any one lyric, and without turning off the music either. I didn’t cling to or claim the first “I want to go the gym three times a week” or “I want to make more videos.” I typically write everything that crosses my mind down, but I wouldn’t even let myself near a piece of paper in these first few weeks. I wanted to let the possibilities ruminate in the room of my mind; I wanted to see which desires would emerge as the truest of the true.

And I think we have a winner.

Err, winners.

This may be odd, especially to people like myself who try to find balance and find symmetry in everything, but the resolutions that reoccured, protruded, and rose high above the others don’t match and don’t quite make sense in regards to the traditional “New Year Resolution” narrative. These resolutions were what my heart was singing very clearly through all of the mess. So I listened.

Here are my three resolutions:

  1. Read one book a month. Feed your mind.
  2. Celebrate the small victories.
  3. One thing at a time.

Like I said, they’re a bit strange. They go from detailed to abstract, and they might not make sense upon reading them. But there’s something quaint about that, at least to me. They are special little snowflakes; they are mine. I will explain.

I used to love books when I was little. I was a very bossy child (still am) and I would insist on reading my books to my parents rather than the other way around. My mom loves to tell me this story about my 3rd birthday: how when I unwrapped toys and Barbie dolls I was overjoyed, but when I opened a book it was all over. I couldn’t stop flipping through the thing. I didn’t want to open any more gifts. And after the whole thing was said and done, the first present I picked up again was the book. Nothing else was as fascinating. This still rang true on my college graduation day when I did the same thing at 21 and my mom reminded me of this story. “Nothing has changed,” she said. During college you get your fair share of books, but the “fun” reading was reserved for summers only. When I graduated, I read a book here and there. But this year, I want to make it a realistic priority. My soul misses the words.

I have an issue with always living in the future. I’m always planning and plotting my next project, my next hang-out, my next job, my next problem: the list goes on. But this year is about the victories — and very specifically, the small ones. I think there’s something so beautiful about celebrating the small stuff. And I’m going to need it to get through this year, because it’s going to be a tough one. I just moved across the country away from the love of my life and my family to chase my dreams (that I’m not even sure of anymore). I’m not too keen of my job. But I have to keep it in perspective to keep myself afloat. Every day is one step closer to being reunited with a loved one. Every day is one more page I’ve written for my web series, or my film. Every day is one more day I have the opportunity to meet someone special or make a connection. Every day is one day closer to something. I’ve found a loophole around always anticipating what’s next: tricking myself into living in the present to make for a better tomorrow.

Finally, I need to start taking things one by one. I’m guilty of taking on too much. Not for anyone else, but for myself. I try to start five projects at once, see four friends in a week, and do a million things in a day. Not. possible. In fact, I always end up neglecting all of it because I’m so overwhelmed. One of my very good friends used to tell me all the time, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I know that’s disgusting and weird and you’re like “Who are you, you freak,” but it’s just some metaphor that he’d heard (OK?!). And it makes sense. But for a person like me who thinks BIG, I don’t have one elephant. I never have one elephant. I have five. Lined up down the block. And for me, I just need to take each thing in my life one at a time. Dive in, make it whole and give it my all, then move on to the next. No matter how hard it is, or how long it takes. It’s better to get one thing done than to get nothing done at all.

Now that I’ve given you full insight into the thought process behind my resolutions, here are my two-cents on making yours for this beautiful, promising year:

Make it specific. 

If you are going to choose something concrete, such as the gym or a specialty diet or volunteering or listening to more podcasts — make it specific. Avoid the words “more” or “a lot.” Choose. Declare. One time a week. Three times a week. Every other week. Once a month. Commit and repeat.

Make it general.

You know I love a good contradiction. If you’re going to choose something abstract, make it general. I guess that’s sort of a given, but that’s the point. Think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to make your resolution(s) a mantra or a motto. That’s fun AF. You can attribute it or place it onto anything and everything into your life.

Write it in pencil.

If you’re a writer like me, try this with me: write your goals in pencil. You can write it big or small; on a whiteboard covering an entire wall or in a notebook tucked away under your nightstand. This sounds silly, but I swear pen can sometimes mess with your brain. It’s so scary!!! It’s so permanent!!! Well flip the script. Write it in something erasable. This way, you know you can change or adjust it whenever you want and it’s not as daunting. Which brings me to my next point.

Be kind to your progress.

We live in a world that fears commitment. I think this is mostly because we aren’t committing to the things we actually love. But the catch is, even when we do it’s still never easy. That’s why it’s a commitment. But trial and error is a real, true thing. Be kind to your progress. You have to try something to know it’s not really what you want to do or what your heart desires. That’s okay. It knocks down one possibility and moves you closer to the one that will actually move your soul and change your life. Don’t be afraid to change, adjust, or make a new resolution. Heck, try out one thing a month. But once you find the thing that you really do want to hold on to, don’t quit. Even when it gets hard.

Happiest of days to you. Wishing you all the love in the world this new year. Go get ’em, tigress. xx

YOURSTRULYMIA

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