Categories
lifestyle positivity

recent reads

One of my goals entering the new year is to read a new book every month.

I set aside time to read. This is a way I prioritize myself.

I’ve always liked reading.

As a kid I would crush teen romance books.

Now that I’ve matured mentally I’m able to comprehend material heavier than The Fault in Our Stars. I love absorbing knowledge and viewing topics through different lenses.

But wait, let me guess…
“I want to read more but I don’t have the time,”

We’ve all got the same 24 hours.

If you really are driven to do it, you will make the time. It’s simple as that.

The average person has allotments of time throughout the day spent scrolling on their phone. You could read.

I spend a lot of time on public transit. Rather than shuffle through songs until I find one I want to listen to for half the ride, I read.

I made a list of some good stuff I’ve been reading lately for those of you who are interested in expanding your mind. However, while reading these books you must keep an open mind.

These are not your average bedside reads. Well, unless you’re someone like me.

The order of this list is not representative of anything.

MALCOLM GLADWELL IS MY BOY!

During my senior year of high school, I participated in a dual-enrollment program with a local college. During the fall semester, I took Introduction to Sociology.

A reading requirement for the course was Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell. This book was my gateway to self-improvement, business-oriented, entrepreneurial reading.

Gladwell’s writing style is easy to read. It’s casual while still maintaining structure.

If you like reading my writing, you’ll probably enjoy his. I take inspiration from his style, as well as a few other authors later mentioned.

OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS
A ‘self-made’ success story is all-encompassing.

In this book, Gladwell explores the background of successful moguls such as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. Why do some people soar and others fail?

Did you know a Canadian male born in early January is much more likely to become a professional hockey player than a male born during the latter portion of the year?

If not, now you do. For other cool and obscure knowledge, read Outliers.

BLINK: THE POWER OF THINKING WITHOUT THINKING
You’re more equipped than you think you are.

This Gladwell piece dives into “thin-slicing,” better known as a gut feeling.

We have a conscious and subconscious mind both of which are tapped into during the decision making process. What many of us often forget is that our subconscious knows a lot.

More than we realize.

I’m sure you’ve experienced intuitive feelings regarding the character of a person or the elements of a situation that have immediately rubbed you the wrong way. Were you right?

If you’re interested in learning more about how crucial your subconscious is when it comes to quick reactions and decision making I would highly recommend Blink.

TALKING TO STRANGERS:
WHAT WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE PEOPLE WE DON’T KNOW…

I have not finished this one yet. I am about a quarter of the way through and I’ve enjoyed it so far. Admittedly I’m not as hooked on this one as I have been on other Gladwell works. However, I started it during a rather hectic time so I do not have a vivid memory of it. I plan to restart the book sometime in the next few months to look at it with a fresh set of eyes.

13 THINGS MENTALLY STRONG PEOPLE DON’T DO by AMY MORIN
Sometimes seemingly self-explanatory information must be reiterated in order for it to fully resonate with you.

Although I said the order of the books is arbitrary, this book, in particular, I would recommend the most. 😋

I may be biased because this was the first self-improvement genre book I dabbled in. Outliers is categorized as business.

Nonetheless, this book quite literally changed my life. Thank you, Amy Morin. I started reading in February 2019 and did not complete it until late May (??) 2019. Something like that. My copy is beat up.

Of all the reads this one took the longest for me. Oh but it’s less than 300 pages…

Yes, part of it is that I get lazy with reading. But also this book is dense with information!

After reading into one of the concepts I would take a break from the book to work on implementing the change in my life.

Although some of the concepts seem self-explanatory, there is something about reading it that makes it resonate and become applicable to you. Once I began to notice improvements, which sometimes took a while because not everyone is perfect, I would begin to dive into the next chapter.

ESSENTIALISM: THE DISCIPLINED PURSUIT OF LESS by GREG McKEOWN
Figure out what core talents you have. Hone them.

As someone who has always prided themselves on their ability to do many things well this read made me rethink strategies.

I, along with others I have recommended the book to, believe the theory of essentialism would only exist in a flawless society where every individual acted highly selfish. ‘Selfish’ meaning they always prioritize themselves.
But we all know that person who cannot say no. Maybe you are that person.

A truly essentialist society, on a large scale, is off the table. However, there are practices within the theories of Essentialism that when applied externally lead to a positive result.

THE SUBTLE ART OF NOT GIVING A F*CK by MARK MANSON
Focus on what matters to you.

While I love Mark Manson’s writing style and delivery, I do not completely agree with all his ides. That being said, the man can argue his point well.

The overall theme of the book is to not give a f*ck about anything more than you have to.

Essentially figuring out what aligns with your personal values and goals then pursuing that life.

Sounds lovely! However, not always practical.

If you’re able to get a bit creative in applying the concepts, there are some really valuable lessons to take away from this read! If you’re into sarcasm, cringe humor and a blunt delivery, check out Manson’s blog or other published works!

Next on the reading list is The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel Levitin. I started it Tuesday and I’m enjoying it so far.

Baby is thicc.

After that in the queue is Content Inc.: How Entrepreneurs Use Content to Build Massive Audiences and Create Radically Successful Businesses by Joe Pulizzi.

Let me know if you guys read, or have read, any of the books I mentioned in the comments below! What are you reading next??

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
lifestyle

morning routine – winter 2020

Hello everyone! Welcome to another post where I talk about myself.

hehe ☺️ –>

Recently while doing brand research (exciting things coming) I came across a quote by online marketing guru, Neil Patel which read,

“Building a brand isn’t about feeding your ego. It’s about giving yourself more opportunities to help and connect with people in your industry.” 

“Hell yeah it is,” was the immediate thought that came to mind. 
This dude put my thoughts into the words I haven’t been able to gather!

As I mentioned I was doing research on branding, which is what led me to this quote. A key point I have learned through my journey is that to be your best self you have to invest in yourself

Each person has a unique set of needs that are critical to thriving in life. These needs link back to Abraham Maslow’s psychological theory, Hierarchy of Needs

Essentially the theory entertains the idea that each person must meet their specific needs to operate optimally. 

One of my needs is stimulation. These needs can be met in infinite ways. 

To meet my need for stimulation there are goals I set to achieve each day. These small, attainable goals build confidence and are proven to encourage people to achieve more goals. 

Getting in at least 30 minutes of activity (walking, lifting, running, shopping, etc).

 Completing at least one personal task (journaling, reading, meditating, etc). 

Interacting with individuals who push me to think outside the box. 

There are a lot of things I set out to do in a day. That is because I know prioritizing my time properly will benefit me in infinite ways. 

In the past (and even sometime now) I spent many, many days running around (both literally and figuratively) like a crazy person. Yet at the end of the day, I completed nothing. I may have worked a bit on quite a few tasks, but nothing is finished.

The determining factor is how we choose to delegate our 24 hours. 
We all have the same 1440 minutes to be our best selves daily. 

Time management to the minute can be incredibly helpful for planning your day. Especially if you’re new to actually following a schedule, like me. ☺️

MORNING ROUTINE

4:40am – 5:10am

I know this is early and that sucks. But something that makes it a bit more enticing is pairing the thing you dislike (waking up early) with something you enjoy (ex. coffee)!

Another help has been an app I downloaded in December called Sleep Cycle. The app runs overnight and monitors your sleep cycle (duuh). It is able to track the various levels of sleep (REM sleep, light sleep) and wakes you up while you’re in your lightest sleep level.

This is meant to promote a more satisfying, refreshing and pleasant morning.  Which I can attest to.

5:15am – 5:20am

Depending upon when I am in my lightest level of sleep I have woken up, made my bed and am brewing a cup of coffee by 5:15am. While my coffee is brewing I check in with my physical self to see if I’m hungry. If so, I will snack on a few rice cakes with PB or a mini bowl of granola with my morning coffee.

5:30am

how does activewear NOT get wrinkled???

Once my caffeine supply is restocked, I go back to my room and get ready for the gym, or whatever workout, I have planned. 

I lay out my gym attire the evening before so that in the morning I just have to go through the motions. There are quite a few articles I came across which encourage sleeping in your gym clothes. It allows you to spend the least amount of time getting ready in the AM. Interesting.

5:30am – 6:05am

This is my time. I spend this time doing something I enjoy, whether that be reading, journaling or meditating. 

I do my best to ensure I do those three things each day. However, framing my morning with enjoyment leads to a better mindset for the day. 

6:05am – 6:10am

During this time I prep to leave for the gym. Brush my teeth. Gather my lifting gloves. Tie my shoes. All that good stuff. 

6:10am – 8:00am

GET SWOLE

swole, adjective: fit, muscular

I don’t work out this entire time. It is also factoring in the commute to and from the gym. 

My workout for the day will be something like a strength training circuit, a group class or yoga stretching — whatever gets me moving.

8:05am – 8:20am

By this point in the morning, I am back home and sipping on a vegan protein shake. Right now I’m enjoying ON Gold Standard Plant-Based Protein in vanilla. 

Since I have a newfound spirituality, I read over my astrological data for the day during this time. I find it to be an amazing way to get myself into a clear mindset for the day to come. 

After I’m done reading my witchcraft mumbo-jumbo, I jump in the shower.

Depending on what the rest of my day is structured like I will do my hair and makeup accordingly. A day at work is going to require a bit more aesthetic prep than a brainstorming day. 

By the time my meetings, classes, phone calls or whatever else begins I have devoted a solid few hours to things that make me happy. 

Do you guys have a morning routine? 
Let me know in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading. Talk soon. 
Alex

Categories
lifestyle positivity

regression is easier than progression

Welcome to 2020 people! I hope you all had an amazing time ringing in the new year. I spent mine, very lavishly, chowing down on house lo mein from my favorite Chinese restaurant, while snuggled up in bed. The life of a 21-year old gal living in the city! 

This past week I reconnected with a friend I haven’t spoken to in a while over coffee. Funny enough, we have both been spending a lot of time reading; similar books within the same genre, if not by the same author! We got into conversation about Donald Miller’s, Building a Storybrand, which breaks down the framework of how to successfully convey a message. It’s a great read and I would highly recommend everyone check it out. 

When I got home, I glanced over to my shelf and focused on Miller’s book. I noticed the corner of a loose paper peeking out and decided to revisit the notes I had taken while reading the book sometime over the summer. The loose page was scribbled with notes. 

“You must signal change,” stood out of me. My mental wheels began to turn, thinking of all the ways I want to better myself entering the new year. One of them is spending more time with people who challenge my mind and push me to think outside of the box. However, when you are so accustomed to one way of living, making a major change is not going to be easy. 

Falling into old habits is easy. Much easier than establishing new habits. To live your most impactful life, you must ensure you are happy!

As I have touched on in other posts, the way to be happy is to understand your individual needs and meet them. For me, I have to be active daily. Whether that be stretching, going to a workout class, strength training or walking around the city! If I don’t get my daily sweat in, I begin to feel “off.” By this, I mean a minor irritation which can build up to become a major irritation. Small things add up. 

When I get into these moods, I feel unmotivated or unhappy or some other negative feeling. Being able to identify these needs and why you are feeling this way is key to being your best, most productive self.

Once I have identified what I’m lacking, I work towards correcting it. Like many others, my regression tends to have a domino effect. Why? Because falling into old habits is easy! 

Hitting the snooze button repeatedly on my alarm, rather than waking up to have coffee and read is a very easy thing to slip back into. Especially when it’s so cozy and dark in the morning. BUT this is not a productive way to do things. I know once I take off the blanket, I will be up. The more times you break your old habit and replace it with the new one (sitting up and putting your feet on the floor after your alarm goes off), the easier to becomes to retrain your brain to have an automated response. Yay for minimal brain-power required to perform habit loops!

Although breaking the habit is difficult, when we pair the disliked thing (waking up early) with something we enjoy (morning coffee), the brain is even more likely to create the new automated response. It’s similar to a reward system in the way that we do something we don’t like, then get a treat for doing it. Our brains like that. 

While I am by no means able to provide a specific method for which to follow, I hope to have at least planted an idea to help further your growth. ☺️

Talk soon, 
Alex

Categories
lifestyle my life

white out weekend ’19

Each October spectators from far and wide gather at State College, Pennsylvania, for the spectacle which is Penn State’s “White Out” football game. Hordes of people of all ages wander across Downtown, making their way towards Beaver Stadium. As far as the eye can see are students, alumni, families, fans and newcomers to football. Everyone dressed in varying white Penn State swag. Most groups carrying their choice case of beer or malt drink to enjoy at whichever tailgate they end up. Happy Valley is a cult. A fun cult, but a cult nonetheless.

Prior to this weekend I went to Penn State Main Campus one time for a visit during my senior year of high school. It is a nice campus and a nice area; however, it was not the type of environment I wanted for my college experience. Also, I would have had to attend the summer session and give up the opportunity to go to Hawaii the summer before my freshman year of college.

Sorry PSU but you were just not worth it to me.

I’m a city girl. Philly born and raised. I even have that 215-area code, so you know I am legit. Being here my entire life, I have been spoiled by the melting pot that is Philadelphia. I have endless food options available nearly any time of day, myriads of individuals from diverse backgrounds and pretty much anything anyone could need. I mean, sounds good to me.

It totally boggled my mind on Friday evening at State College as I scrolled through Grubhub to see my only options were pizza or wings.

(I ended up ordering from a place which sold a sandwich roll filled with diced grilled chicken a “chicken steak sandwich”. In the future I will be sure to pack more snacks, lol.)

As I mentioned earlier, I had no real knowledge of Penn State. I knew the white out game was a thing only because some of my friends attend the school.

I did not know how intense this spectacle is.

And I did not know the real importance of wearing white.

I showed up with an oversized navy blue basic “Penn State” hoodie a friend gave me, which I planned to crop. Ya girl wasn’t looking to spend money on a look I will never wear again.

This was a no. My friends said I would stand out, and I felt they were being dramatic.

They weren’t.

 

Alec, one of my best friends from high school, is amazing and not only let me stay with him but also let me borrow a crew neck sweatshirt — AND let me crop it to better suit my high waisted jeans.

What. A. Man. 😍

Being as I am such a fashion innovator, Alec loved my crop top and wanted to rock one as well. 😋Love you, boo. 😘

Aside from the lack of late-night food options I had a great time in Happy Valley for a whole 36 hours.

Did I enjoy myself? Yes. Would I go back? Yes, I’ll probably go visit again in the spring.

Do I regret not going to school there? Absolutely not.

I must admit, I have always had that little voice in the back of head questioning my decision to attend Drexel University. They are just so damn good at marketing themselves and I ate it up.

However, something I have come to realize throughout life is that things do fall into place.

Eventually.

You may not understand it while it’s happening, but eventually it will start to make sense. Believe me, I know that in between waiting period sucks. I think the vast majority of us will experience a segment of life where we feel kind of like so much shit is happening, and you have no idea what to do…
Then things kind of just start going right because of all the work you’ve put in.

yaas

It has taken my life 21 years to begin transitioning to the point where shit is going right, lol. Just like everyone else in the world, I have dealt with some wild stuff throughout life and it felt like the entire world was against me. Not to jinx myself, but things are finally where they should be. 

However, life did not just begin to shift into place and work its own kinks out. With much persistence, effort and will-power I have dealt with the obstacles life has thrown at me along the way. I have flourished into my personality, am able to better vocalize myself without fear of rejection and I can truly say I love the woman I have become. 

I am also incredibly grateful to be in an amazingly conducive growing environment at Temple University. It is amazing to be in a classroom with people who are partnered with Instagram, Maybelline, Clean & Clear… the list goes on!

These are real people.
People like me. What??
Then I get to thinking, 
Oh shitthis is something I actually can do…”

Transferring from Drexel University is by far one of the best decisions I have made. I am super thrilled with my experience at Temple so far and I cannot help but feel so much excitement for my future! 🙂

While my heart lies Temple, I will be reppin’ PSU pride again this spring. 😋