Categories
my life positivity

loner

I like doing things alone better.

I am an only child so that may make more sense… maybe?

Whatever the case may be I’ve never disliked being alone.

However, this is not the case for all.

Rather than asking why others dislike solitude, I thought about why I enjoy being alone!

‘ME TIME’

Don’t get me wrong — I like being social!

But I also enjoy spending time by myself.

Recharge yourself. It’s necessary.

I AM AN INDEPENDENT WOMAN

There is a certain satisfaction in doing something outside of the norm.

We all know it.

Being alone in public tends to be one of those taboo things.

So yeah, if I go to a happy hour alone to journal it is okay to feel confident in your difference!

Just follow through with what feels good for you.

You’ll be amazed by how awesome happiness feels!

APPRECIATE YOURSELF

Something I have learned overtime is that no will be will able to give you love you’re “looking for”.

You have to love yourself.
That’s the only way.
All that good (cliche) bullsh*t.

Hey, I don’t make the rules!

Think about all the joys of solitude, such as no one else to account for or answer to.

It is freeing!

Do you guys like having alone time?
Let me know in the comments below!

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
Everythanggg

everyday makeup

Hey guys. I’ve gotten quite a few messages on Instagram asking about my everyday makeup routine. Well, ask and you shall receive! 

I’m using ‘everyday’ lightly. I definitely do not wear this look everyday.
But this is my go-to day look.

I tend to focus on my skin makeup and brows because they’re the most important part of the look for me. 

I use a mix of drugstore and high-end products. I’ve listed some budget-friendly alternatives too! 

I hope you’re able to find a new product (or two)! 😋

Your skin is the canvas. Makeup is the medium.

So taking proper care of your skin will result in better makeup application and wear. 

I’m in the middle of figuring out what skincare products my face likes so if you’re interested in a skincare routine in the future, let me know! 

While my skin is going through its phases I’ve been switching between two face primers.

THIS Ciate London primer is great for hydrating dry or dull skin. It has a very subtle fruity scent that dissipates soon after application. 

I like wearing this product when I’m having a relatively good skin day. 

THIS Peter Thomas Roth primer is great for those with oily skin like myself. 

I shine like no other, I swear!

For cheaper options of skin prep, I enjoy THIS Milani Prime + Correct Setting Spray. 

It’s a primer AND setting spray — two for one! 

You can grab Milani products at any drugstore. I think I got mine at Ulta

While my primer sets on my skin, I move to eye makeup. 

My go-to shadow is a bright shimmer color all over the lid with heavier application towards the tear duct and a neutral warm brown swept in the crease. 

I have been gravitating towards THIS neutral shimmer set from Mac Cosmetics and THIS warm neutral palette from Thrive Causemetics

The Mac glitter shadows do have a bit of fallout which is why I apply shadow before undereye concealer or foundation. 

Stars In My Pocket (champagne shade in Mac palette) packed on the inner lid.

Frida (terracotta brown shade from Thrive palette) and Let’s Roll (red bronze glitter shadow) blended in the crease.

I picked up THIS undereye brightener by Becca a few weeks ago and have been loving it. 

My under eyes tends to crease throughout the day resulting in an aged look. 

Not cute. 

I put some product on the back of my hand then use my ring finger to warm up and apply the brightener under my eyes, around my nose and any dark spots. 

The product is a little heavy so a little goes a long way! 

After the brightener, I go in with THIS concealer. 

LOVE LOVE LOVE!!!

The only other Bare Minerals product I have tried is THIS gel serum foundation.
I unearthed it from my collection and admittedly don’t like it as much as the concealer.

This concealer is incredibly lightweight and natural-looking while providing INSANE coverage!  

If you have more dry skin you may not need to set the Becca brightener.

However, I do have rather oily skin and find the concealer and brightener looks best when I set with a bit of translucent powder. 

There is some under eye settling throughout the day.
I just blend it out with my finger then I’m good to go!

THIS Maybelline dark circle treatment is a comparable holy-grail drugstore brightener! 

I’ve been using THIS loose drugstore powder. I also really like THIS compact. 

It’s made for oily skin and I do find my shine holds off longer when set with this! 

I was recommended THIS Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer towards the end of summer by a girlfriend of mine and have been using it since!

I start by using a bit of the bronzer on a small contour brush and follow the “three-technique”. 

If you’re unfamiliar, it’s when you sweep bronzer from your temples, accentuating the cheekbones and then along the jawline. Mimicking the number three with your brush strokes.  

If I want more a more defined look I will follow up with THIS deeper bronzer by Becca in Bronzed Bondi

Clearly I need a makeup shopping spree

I’ve just about run out of THIS NYX WonderStick in Light but I was loving it while using it! 

Super blendable. The primers I mentioned for sure help the product glide but even alone this contour stick is awesome! 

If you’re willing to invest a bit more in a cream bronzer, I would recommend THIS one by MILK Cosmetics.

I am rather pale and do not find the shade to be too dark or muddy for my complexion.
Another incredibly creamy, blendable product!

My go-to powder blush recently has been THIS darker mauve shade, Truffle by The Body Shop.

This winter I’ve been really into cream blushes. THIS Lip + Cheek Stick by MILK Cosmetics brings such a youthful, glowy look to the skin. Shade Werk.

For highlighter, I’ve been sticking with my tried and true layering duo.

The label has completely worn off but the highlighter I use is very similar to THIS Clinique cream one.


It’s a really pretty pink, pearly shade. It reminds me of Benefit High Beam which I used to death in high school.

I apply the cream product to the back of my hand, then using a damp makeup sponge dab the product onto the high points of my face. 

Cheekbones, brow bones, the tip of the nose, and cupids bow. 

Get nuts with it! 

Then using my ring finger, I layer THIS Mac Mineralized Skin Finish in Lightscapade over the areas I applied cream highlighter. 

BROWS 

I’ve been getting my eyebrows threaded at Zara Brow Bar for about four years now. 

I love the way my brows have transformed and I’m super pleased to not have to put a ton of work into them! 

My brows aren’t super thick so I prefer a thinner style crayon/pencil to give a more natural look. 

I used THIS definer crayon/pencil in Brunette or Dark Brown for a while. 

But recently I switched up to an old favorite. 

THIS $10 micro brow pencil by NYX. When I take my time to use this, my brows look BOMB!

LASHES + LINER

Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper has been my eyeliner of choice for about four and a half years. 

There was a stint of time — about 2 years — I wore winged eyeliner every day. 

I really like makeup! And I really wanted to perfect wings. 

Which I did. 

I would typically wing it out but I’ve been trying to perfect baby wings. 

That’s my new passion project. 

For my lashes, I was really loving THIS Tarte mini I picked up at Sephora but the fallout was too much. 

It was settling on my undereye area and irritating my contact lenses. 😔

I grabbed an old favorite on a recent trip to Sephora.
Another MILK Cosmetics product.

THIS mascara is worth the hype!

LIPS

L’OREAL Infalliable Pro-Matte Liquid Lipstick in Dose of Cocoa; L’OREAL Infalliable Pro-Matte Gloss in Statement Nude; Sephora #LIPSTORIES in #9; Bite Beauty Amuse Bouchie Lipstick in Chai; Milani Lipstick in Naked; MAC Cosmetics Matte Lipstick in Twig. (left to right then down)

Variation of mauve/rosey mixes.

Spritz my face with Milani Setting Spray. 

I’m good to go. 

I always wash my hands immediately after because I wear a lot of dark clothes and touch a lot of product.

That’s it! Talk to y’all soon, 

Alex 

Categories
my life

one for me

This post was inspired by THIS song.
Great listen. I would highly recommend.

A day can make a whole world of difference in life.

Imagine a day something incredibly impactful happened to you.

Those few seconds of processing the information made a difference.

Now scale that to a year!
Time changes a lot of things, as I’m sure we are all well aware.

On Valentines Day I crafted an Instagram feed post and stories sponsored by Saxbys. This is something I could have never envisioned myself doing!

Saturday marked one year since I moved in with my aunt.

Tuesday I attended the media party opening of the new Dim Sum House in Rittenhouse Square hosted by the public relations company I used to work for.

Although these things may not sound incredibly crazy or important, they are huge milestones for me.

I’m not one to be sensitive but while reflecting on challenges I faced in 2019 I’ve been nostalgic! I am incredibly proud of the woman I have and continue to become, the emotional and mental progress I have made, and the professional growth I have achieved.

At this point last year I was in the process of expanding my world.
Previously the lens through which I viewed life was incredibly distorted. I believed I was fighting all of my battles alone. Everyone and everything was against me.

I didn’t realize it at the time but I was a baby bird with broken wings.

At the start of 2019, I was still enrolled at Drexel University and the new quarter was about to begin.

I took Introduction to Western Philosophy which I accredit largely to enlightening me on the larger picture of life. I forget the professor’s name but he was cool as hell.

Many of the belief systems and norms of Western cultures I was introduced to intrigued me. I was a great student for this course.
I did most of the readings, participated in class, thoroughly completed the homework. I really enjoyed the course!

I was already familiar with the concept of self-reflection, or introspective thinking, but this class piqued my interest further.

Mindfulness, a state of awareness or consciousness, can be achieved through enough reflection and practice. This is a state of mind in which you’re able to truly think clearly.

It’s not a one and done kinda thing sadly.
You have to learn about various methods and see which work best for you.

If you would have told me a year ago I would be preaching about the importance of mindfulness through meditation and self-reflection I would not believe you.

But ya know,
🎶 What a difference a day makes… 🎶

We must experience discomfort to grow.

My Pattern, an astrology app which I follow as religiously as Co-Star Astrology, has been telling me that I attract wild experiences.

I have indeed had some crazy life experiences thrown my way but to say I draw them to me is insane. However, sis isn’t usually wrong…

So I’ve been working on my methods of leadership to be able to control my life!

I cannot control what happens to me but I can control how I react to it.

Thanks Aunt Leen for saying that to me repeatedly until it eventually made sense!

Here’s to 2020! A year full of positivity, love, and growth for all!

Think about where you came from.
Embrace where you are now.

Talk soon,
Alex

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 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
my life positivity

entering the closing of a decade

Please see the above. Middle row, far left.

I hope you all had a wonderful December 25th, whether you celebrate the commercial scam that is Christmas or not! 😊 This is my final post of 2019, which I am floored by — where is the time going?? 

I was debating closing the year with a summary of what I learned in 2019. Then I started writing it out for the first six months of the year, and already had a seven-page document…

Rather, in the spirit of moving forward and continuing along the path of personal growth, I am going to mention a bit of what 2020 has in store! I’ve come to realize all the drama and nonsense of this year was the necessary “grunt work” for 2020 to be smooth…ish. I am incredibly excited to close 2019 and start with a clean slate. So if you want to hear about the #goals I’m achieving this new year, read on. 

I am grateful to have the peace of mind that: a roof will remain over my head, I will have a solid support system to fall back on if need be, and I will not go hungry. Not everyone can say that.
Knowing I have these things allows me to focus on being a student. I have discovered I am a lifelong learner. I’m curious — always have been. Since I could talk I have asked questions and wanted to expand my mind. However, there was a point in time that I was solely supporting myself and I had to prioritize shifts at work to pay bills over doing homework assignments or studying. 
I intend to continue my prioritization of knowledge in 2020. As you may be aware, I started this fall semester at a new university, and I am proud to say I’m happy with my performance! The amount of knowledge I have absorbed and the ways in which I have gotten to know myself is truly astounding. Something I will be doing next semester is going to professor’s office hours and making more in-depth connections. The individuals I have met are some of the most authentic, genuine and intelligent people I know. Creating another support system is important, especially when it comes to education. You never know who knows who. 

2020 has tons of exciting stuff happening through my pursuit of personal branding. For the first time in my college career, I have a winter break (which is insanely long)! I’m taking advantage of it by preplanning a bunch of content (blog posts, social media, campaigns, etc.) I have also created a relationship with the founder of In Between Rivers, Briana. She is an awesome boss lady who I am going to be working with a bunch in the next few weeks. Looking forward to some awesome content (Briana is an amazing photographer) and exciting networking opportunities!!

How ironic this is the final point I touch on, but in 2020 I am going to prioritize myself. 
The year is packed with super awesome stuff, and I have to make sure I am promoting my best self throughout the process. What help are you to others if you can’t even help yourself? 

Ya girl is going to make time for an awesome skincare routine and morning meditations. I am going to push myself to read and workout more. I forgot how much I love doing those things because I stopped prioritizing them. Life happens! We are all guilty of falling off and struggling to get back on. I have been saying it, but this time I’m doing it — time to get back on my bullshit. 

I hope you guys are as excited about the new year as I am! In the spirit of manifestation, comment a goal you will achieve in 2020. ☺️💫

As always, thank you for reading. Have an amazing close of the year with the best projection of your future. 

Talk soon, 
Alex

Categories
positivity

finding the silver lining

Call me a hopeless romantic — or a person who took control of their life — but I love finding silver linings. Having the ability to accept that certain situations in life are outside of your control is the key to inner peace and true happiness. Or so I’ve found. My worldview used to be much different than it is now. I largely attribute this positive change to my ability to search for whatever positivity lies in a heap of negativity. Even if you have difficulty finding something, you maintain the hope that something will be found.

The concept of “silver linings” has always been present in my mind. I have developed the ability to look at something that can be perceived so poorly by others, find the hope within and do my best to strive towards it. This was not always the case — I have chosen to view life this way.

Silver lining graphic

Perception differs from person to person. Two individuals can experience the exact same event, yet exhibit completely different responses. This is because external factors play a large role in the development of our perception. However, what is important to remember is that perception and reality do not always coincide.

David Eagleman explains this disconnect between perception and reality in the simplest way. Look in the mirror. Move your eyes to the left, to the right, then back to the left. You never see your eyes move.

Although there is no evidence of gaps in your perception, critical parts of the experience have been edited out such as the visual experience of your eyes moving side to side.

An individual’s perception of the world is composed of previous experiences, expectations, context clues and other outside stimuli. Although these external factors are able to influence the way an individual views a situation, it is not the determining factor. Perception is able to be altered.

Not to toot my own horn, but I’m doing pretty well for where I’ve been. Early on in life, I was repeatedly faced with incredibly trying circumstances that many other people in my situation may have let consume them. Being an angsty and misunderstood youth, I often wondered why this — for lack of better term — BULLSHIT was assigned to me.

I stole a bobblehead from pre-K once and I returned it the next day, okay! WTF, world?!

I am not attempting to compare tragedies in life, but just to give you a synopsis of a few major ones so you know I’m not bullshitting this post…
I am legally an orphan in the state of Pennsylvania. I spent a portion of my childhood living in an unstable, toxic home environment. I have less than five immediate family members. And I was displaced from my childhood home, allowed only a few hours to gather my belongs, losing most of my irreplaceable childhood memories, aside from what I could fit into a cardboard box. And, fun fact, that home is now a settlement used to facilitate the re-integration of individuals with criminal backgrounds.

I think it goes without saying, but that shit SUCKED. However, here I am — still standing! Despite December trying to kill me. Much of my sanity I attribute to humor. In life, you must be able to laugh at yourself and the situations you encounter. Otherwise, you will be miserable and bitter. Believe me, I’ve been there. This is where searching for the silver lining will help you maintain your mental facilities! Seeing as I do not know what is plaguing you, I am going to tell you about the positive aspects I have found from the sucky circumstances I mentioned above.

Although it sucks not having your biological parents on this earth to see you flourish into the best version of yourself, I WOULD NOT be who I am without what I have experienced. I know I would not have been able to: attend my (at the time) dream school; have such a compelling personal essay topic; or apply to seven colleges and universities for free. Another positive aspect that is rather f*cked up but true is that whoever has the ~honor~ of ending up with me won’t have to deal with in-laws! Plus because of my incredibly small (relevant) family, when I eventually write and publish my book there won’t be many people to offend!☺️☺️☺️

These events also taught me crucial life skills some people do not develop until much later in life, if at all, such as: dealing with loss, becoming accountable for yourself, facilitating communication, and altering perspective.

If there is one thing you take away from my tangent here, look for the positive aspects in negative situations. It’s going to be hard at first, and I am not going to lie and say it becomes easier — you just become better at finding the needle in the haystack of nonsense. Remember to laugh at your failures, shortcomings and unfortunate situations! Do not fixate on or become consumed with negativity. For more tips on that, check out an older post of mine, eliminating negativity.

As always, thank you for reading.

Talk to yall soon,
Alex

Categories
Everythanggg

eliminating negativity

This week I asked on an Instagram poll what topic you would rather me ramble about: Eliminating Negativity or Imposter Syndrome.
Y’all spoke and I listened. Here I am delivering.
If you’re reading this on the day it is posted — Happy Turkey Day!


With the change of the seasons, the sun setting in the early afternoon, and obligatory family time creeping up, it becomes easier to fall into less productive habits and mindsets. Succumbing to these obstructive behaviors may feel more comfortable in the moment, but they are digressions along the path. These small defeats you allow yourself, like napping when you planned to work out or scrolling on Instagram when you should be finishing an assignment, maybe easier, but that doesn’t make them the right choice.

Eliminating negativity from my life has aided me in choosing the most advantageous options available to me, even when it is not the easiest or most appealing. Something a mentor has instilled within me, along with a wildly sarcastic sense of humor, is the truth that “you cannot control the situation, you can only control your reaction.” Although you may not be able to control the types of energy being directed at you, you are able to convert that energy once it is received. Imagine… You’re at work; your boss is in a mood and takes it out in microaggressions towards you.

The cause of your boss’ disgruntled attitude was most likely caused by an external force. Maybe a traffic jam on the commute into the office or an incorrect coffee order — nonetheless, he/she is allowing something other than themselves to dictate their emotions. More importantly, he/she is being overpowered by a failure outside of their control.

Now the question is — how do you avoid falling into the same negative feedback loop? **

I have found that eliminating any negativity I was allowing into my life has helped me to better focus on my goals and make the choices to work towards them.

** The “negative feedback loop” is a concept which Adrienne Finch discusses often in her podcast, Self-Made CEO. The idea essentially says we are responsible for the energy we attract into our lives. If we fail something and allow that failure to build the believe we truly cannot overcome a challenge, we fall victim to more opportunities that highlight our shortcomings. Thank you so much to Adrienne who took the time to reply to my DM and further define this concept!!

– WITHDRAWAL FROM TOXICITY –

This requires being very honest with yourself. Evaluate what you are devoting your energy to (x), then think about how it makes you feel to have spent time doing x. If you do not feel good about having spent your time doing it, don’t do it anymore. Time is the most valuable thing a person is able to offer, which is why I make a point to thank each of you for reading my posts each week. None of you have to be reading this right now, however, you are and I appreciate it. Anyhow, you should only spend your time doing things which make you happy. This may feel selfish at first, but just remember society has ingrained in us that being selfish is bad.

This is not necessarily true when it comes to the 24-hours we each have in a day. Every minute of those hours we allot to something. These are the literal moments that make us. It’s important to spend a good amount of them doing things which make us happy, in order to allow ourselves to be fulfilled — enlightening us to reach our full potentials.

Removing the toxic people, or things, in your life does not have to be permanent. Once you feel you are better equipped to deal with those things, you can integrate them back into life. However, for now, it’s most beneficial to distance yourself from negativity so you are able to grow stronger. This may be a very difficult task, especially when the people feeding you negative energy are your family members or close friends. However, I have found communication is a very powerful tool. Explain to them you are working on you (as cliche as they may sound), which for you, means prioritizing more alone time.

They will either respect your mature decision to better yourself and allow you to distance without being hurt, OR they’ll think you’re a weirdo and begin distancing themselves from you. The end result is the same — more time for you. 🙂

– IMPLEMENT POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY – 

The idea is to focus on building your strengths rather than fixing your flaws. “Resilience is the ability to bounce back in spite of adversity.” Overcoming limitations are the situations that strengthen the courage, conviction and other personality traits of impactful leaders.

I have been fortunate enough to find forms of de-stressing and mental relaxation which work for me relatively easily. Unfortunately, each method does not work for everyone and you may need to experiment with a few different techniques.

I have found podcasts to be incredible for my mental health. There are quite a few meditation / intention setting focused ones on Spotify. I really enjoy Sleep Cove and Mindful in Minutes: Mindful Morning! I have also rediscovered my love for reading. My excuse was “I don’t have the time.” But guess what, an extra hour isn’t just going to appear. If I really want to read more, I have to make the time. And so I did. Then between reading more frequently and blogging, I realized how much I love writing. I’m actually taking an advanced writing course in the spring, which I’m super pumped about! 🤓

As mentioned above, I began to withdrawal from toxic people I was allowing in my life and started to focus on what really makes me happy, then pursuing it (reading, writing, thinking creatively, sleeping, etc.) Find what you enjoy, that makes you feel good and is along the path towards your goals. Then do it.

– MAKE YOUR BED –

Seriously, listen to me: If you do not already, be sure to make your bed each morning.
You will leave your house and go about your day knowing you have accomplished something. You will be coming home to a neat bed, rather than a disheveled mess of blankets and pillows. It feels so good, believe me. Especially after a long day. This trick ties in with implementing positive psychology, as well. You are praising small victories, which builds and reinforces self-efficacy and confidence.

– BE GRATEFUL –

giphy

This is pretty straightforward, but take time each day to remember what you are grateful for. There is always something. Be specific in what you’re reflecting on, which will instill the habit of looking for small things. You can take this time whenever you’d like (morning, afternoon, evening), but try to do it around the same time each day to better build the habit.

I take time in the morning while I am preparing my cup of coffee. The smell of coffee grounds is one of my favorite morning scents, along with bacon. Once my coffee is brewing I will spend the time thinking about how lucky I am to be alive — some people did not wake up. Although this may sounds incredibly lame, it is true. As humans, we must realize our mortality in order to embrace life. That’s just my way of doing it. I also reflect on the specific small wins of the day before, then prioritize my goals for the current day. This is an amazing way for me to organize my thoughts while my mind is getting set up, which helps to solidify ideas. Or so I’ve found. ☺️

Okay, I think this post is long enough. If you’re interested in knowing more about anything I mentioned, feel free to reach out to me! Once again, thank you for spending the time reading my work.

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Sources:
Brendtro, L. K., Brokenleg, M., & Steve, V. B. (2005). The circle of courage and positive psychology. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 14(3), 130-136. Retrieved from http://libproxy.temple.edu/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.temple.edu/docview/214193531?accountid=14270

Categories
Everythanggg

6 places to get sh*t done in Philly

I am a busy gal who wears many hats. I mean that figuratively — hats are not my accessory of choice. In all seriousness, I am almost always working on (or procrastinating working on) something. Whether it be assignments for class, content creation, freelance projects or general administrative labors of living, like scheduling dentist appointments. Juggling all of these roles and tasks can be tough. I’m sure many of you can relate!

I personally am most productive working outside of my house. There are days when I work from home but they tend to be centered around laundry, cleaning and cooking. Every so often the 1950’s housewife in me comes out — always a pleasant surprise!

However, it can be a tedious task to find good workplaces. This is why I’ve compiled a list of six of my favorite places to get sh*t done in the city! Don’t worry, these aren’t (all) your traditional coffeehouses.

  1. Devil’s Alley, 1907 Chestnut Street

During my freshman year of college I worked as a waitress here and made some good friends I still keep in touch with. When I’m not in the mood for a coffee and want to grab a beer or small bite, I go to Devil’s Alley. The high-ceilings and skylights above the bar makes my day — I am a huge fan of natural light!
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The bar staff is always great and there is a rotating draft list, which is a plus! The bar isn’t huge, and during the lunch rush (12pm – 2:30pm) it can get a little rowdy and loud. If you cannot work in a noisy environment, this probably isn’t your place.

The wifi is kind of erratic, but there is a complimentary hour pass available through Xfinity. I set up my hotspot from my cell phone, seat myself near an electrical outlet and tackle my work. I typically am here on Tuesdays or Wednesdays when Brett is bartending. Go see him and say Alex sent you — he hooks it up and is super personable!

Make sure you get fries! I opt for classic, but Old Bay are good too. Brain food, right??

2. Capital One Cafe, 135 South 17th Street

These spaces are located in major cities, including Philadelphia, Boston and Seattle. They offer free wifi for all visitors, a welcoming atmosphere, quality Peet’s Coffee and ample seating. There are also tons of electrical and USB ports! Nothing is worse than a giant working space with nowhere to charge electronics. First world problems, I know.

Aside from the perks mentioned above, there is free financial coaching available to anyone! Capital One identified the divide between millennials and banking then moved towards bridging that gap with the introduction of Capital One Cafes. Grab an incredibly cheap coffee (members get 50% off) and talk about how to better manage your money with an expert financial advisor? Yes please.

I have to admit I am partially biased since I am a Capital One member but hey, discounts on coffee are always appreciated. Plus there are time frames when members get free coffee! So yeah, being a member is great, I love it.

3. Herman’s Coffee, 1313 South 3rd Street

This former auto repair garage turned coffee shop is adorable with a wide variety of speciality espresso beverages, if you’re feeling adventurous! The aesthetic of this joint screams retro summer vibes. Coffee choices range from simple black coffee to espresso tonic mixes. The coffee is good and strong. Available seating options are large communal tables, solo bar seating or lawn chairs.

The inspiration behind this interior design concept comes from the owner’s grandfather, Herman, who was known for sitting in his lawn chair sipping a fresh cup of coffee. This space does more than just warm the heart with their story, they also are supportive of local business ventures! Over the summer they hosted pop-up shops with different Philly businesses, including 1-900-ICE-CREAM.
Follow Herman’s Coffee on Instagram for more information on future events!

4. Rittenhouse Square

Processed with VSCO with e7 presetFor those of you who know me personally, this is no surprise. I practically live in this park, I’m here so much! Growing up in the city, I have always found myself drawn to the park. I really enjoy people watching. I can sit on a bench and observe everything around me for long periods without being bored. The range of people you will encounter during your time here is quite remarkable! This is one of the reasons why Rittenhouse is such an awesome place to hang around. Some of my favorite stories of talking with strangers stems from this park, but that’s a whole different topic. Nonetheless, there is never a dull moment here!

On Tuesdays and Saturdays the park is lined with vendors selling fresh bouquets of flowers, produce, jellies, jams, bread and seasonal specialities. If I swing by on a Tuesday afternoon, I usually grab a mini pretzel from Lost Bread Co. Aside from food, artists and other creative spirits frequent the park. Although the weather is getting cooler, I would recommend spending some time in the park. It’s a great place to sit and recenter yourself, especially now that the crowds have thinned out from summer.

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The downside to this spot is the lack of wifi and electricity. However, there is a complimentary hour of Xfinity wifi you can use. And when you need to charge up or use the restroom, there is a Barnes & Nobles directly across the street which is open to the public! Inside, on the second floor, there is also a Starbucks cafe which you could work at but I crave the fresh air.

5. Good Karma Cafe, 928 Pine Street

This fair-trade coffee chain has four locations around Philadelphia, but this one is the largest (and my favorite). If I am going to be sitting in a coffee shop, then it has to hit all criteria: strong coffee, ample outlets and comfortable seating. Plus you’ve got to offer more than just coffee — ya girl has to eat!

Good Karma has tons of tables, offers the option of seat cushions and has an entire menus of food choices, which is awesome. Another plus is that they have a few outdoor tables, but they are difficult to snag!

6. Pennsport Beer Boutique, 242 Wharton Street

Photo from Yelp

I was at Herman’s Coffee one day working on some stuff. I got a bit hungry and this place was right next door attached to Charlie’s Roast Pork, a place that make bomb roast pork sandwiches. I decided on going there for lunch. I knew this little island of merchants has been in the Pennsport District for a while, but I am rarely ever by this part of South Philly — I spend a vast majority of my time in Center City.

Pennsport Beer Boutique offers 6 rotating draft beers, including a seasonal Cold Press Coffee Pumking by Southern Tier. (Which sounds AH-MAH-ZING!!) Aside from the draft list, there are an extensive variety of bottled options. Whatever you may choose, you’re allowed to drink it into Charlie’s Roast Pork. You bet I set myself up in the corner, ordered my food, ate and was incredibly nice to my waitress. 10/10 would recommend for good people, beer and food.

Where do you go to work in the city? Let me know in the comments below!
As always, thank you for reading. 🙂

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex

Categories
positivity

three tips for starting a new chapter in life

You are the author of your own life, whether you accept it or not. Independent writers, such as yourself, have the creative freedom to create whatever they want to play out in their pieces. One of the many attractive qualities of writing are the various styles and types — a single text may include more than one writing style! A new chapter can begin whenever you choose.

Since realizing my role as author of my path, I have begun to break down my life into short-stories. For me, this has been the best way to prioritize what changes need to be made and work towards that progress.

Throughout 2019 I have expanded that collection by quite a few works, haha! The [theoretical] writing process of each new addition aides me in furthering my character development. But what we haven’t talked about yet is that all this brainstorming, planning and writing is hard!

I want to share a few tips and tricks I have discovered along the process thus far. I want to help those who truly are looking to restart life on their terms by sharing my personal trials and tribulations.

— THE FIVE-SECOND RULE —
No, not the one having to do with dropping food.

We spend way too much time wondering, what if about so many things in life, when we have the power to figure out what if it did. The next time we want to make a change but something seems to be holding you back, count backwards from five then do it.

I have really been loving listening to podcast series lately, which is how I discovered this concept created by Mel Robbins. The Self-Made CEO, one of my go-to series at the moment, discusses this rule often and argues incredibly valid points. We often hesitate to make a decision which leads to overthinking and overanalyzing the situation. The longer we wait to make a decision, the less authentic that final decision becomes. When we make a decision out of fear (over thinking, over analyzing, over complicating, etc) we are not necessarily making the best choice for ourselves; we are making the choice which is most comfortable for us.

How does it work?
When you are ready to make a change but do not have the motivation in the moment, countdown from five then do it.
Go read. Go to the gym. Dust your room. Take a walk.
Whatever it may be, do it.

Remember it is okay to fail. Doing something when you do not feel the motivation is really difficult. Use the failure to better yourself for next time.
Tomorrow morning, you are going to wake up early. Count down then get out of bed and take on the day!

— SIGNAL CHANGE —
“You taught others how to treat you. Reteach them.” – Costar Astrology

Generally speaking, most people have to be told to do things. This is why call to action buttons (email, phone, website) are so important. They tell people what to do next! New York best-selling author, Donald Miller, stresses this in his book “Building a StoryBrand”.

How does it work?
If you want other people to understand you are rebranding yourself, you must make it simple and clear. I have found being direct with close people in my life to be most helpful because it adds the aspect of accountability.

For example, if you tell your roommate you are going to exercise four times a week but you do not, your roommate is likely to ask you about the goal you mentioned earlier in the week. I am a self-motivated individual, however, I do find having someone hold me accountable for my goals to be a major help. Especially at the beginning of your journey!

— CONSISTENCY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN GOING HARD —
Consistency = Change

It doesn’t matter if you work your butt off in the gym on Monday morning if it only happens once that week. I’m sorry, but it’s true. You will see more results if you work moderately for 20 minutes each day, than if you work yourself to death for an hour and a half once a week.

I have found implementing routines to be helpful in establishing consistency! Planning out my day the night before is what I found to be the best for optimizing my time. Another plus to implementing changes into your routine is the 21/90 rule.

How does it work?
If you commit to a goal for 21 days it will become a habit. Continuing that habit for 90 (total) days will integrate it into your lifestyle.
Remember failure is not worth beating yourself up over. Grow from it.
Realize your faults and weaknesses, embrace them then improve.

I hope these three tips help you along your journey! I have found these to be the most important insights I’ve yet to discover when it comes to beginning a new chapter of life. If you’re new here or missed my past blog about lessons I’ve learned throughout life so far and ways in which I have started over, you can check it out here! If you have any tips or tricks please share in the comments below!

As always, thank you for reading. I appreciate each moment spent on my work.

Talk to y’all soon,
Alex