How to Make New Friends (As an adult)

Especially for millennial adults, knowing how to make new friends can be tricky business. False personas on social media and the strange taboo about wanting new friends can create barriers around breaking out and meeting people. But let me tell you a recent moment that let me know I’d found good old fashioned inspiring friends…

As warmth and sunshine finally made an appearance here in Manhattan, six friends found themselves on a blanket in Central Park, drinking white wine and talking about projects. Our conversation ranged from short films to op-eds about Brooklynites to what women in their 20’s and 30’s want to read. I was enthralled and humbled by the idea that such creative minds surrounded me, that I had found a place in a tribe that danced to my beat, that attempted in everything they do to make our individual and collective beats louder.

Growing up in a small town, it was hard to find friends with similar interests. As all bookworms know, it becomes much easier in college when courses bring similar characters together. But as adulthood settles in, circumstance trumps the magnetism of self-driven education; money becomes more important than hobby. It becomes too convenient to find yourself in a group of friends who’s similarities are based in complaint rather than exploration. Who’s favorite activities are drinking to the point of nausea rather than artistic collaboration.

But oh if I could only prove how important it is to do just the opposite. How vital it is to your well-being, to your potential, to find your tribe. Because it is not the amount of rested or decompressed you feel after getting together with friends that matters. It’s how inspired, how supported, how lit by their fire you feel. It is much more important to find friends that encourage you and push you than it is to have friends who are willing to indulge in the same form of trash talk about your coworkers or bosses or boyfriends.

How do I know this to be true? The experience of having differing opinions on the same topic. When I was diagnosed, it was the doctor who instantaneously agreed with me that I would not be dying of cancer that became my primary care oncologist. It was the cancer patients who believed cancer was not making them a victim that helped to encourage and inspire me through the journey. And it was the family members who were willing to be fearless (in fact, all of my immediate family, bless them!) that helped me to be courageous.

So when cancer was finished, I was – and am – unwilling to accept the circumstances of others as victimizing. I am unwilling to satisfy the crying needs of friends who wanted pity, especially for self-induced circumstances. And I expect them to do the same to me, whenever I fall prey to feeling helpless or hopeless when I should be stepping up with bravery.

The mindset of your friend circle is one that has unreasonable power and influence over your own capabilities. We are communal people, we humans, we sisters and friends, we lovers and coworkers and sentient beings. We feed off the energy of one another, and refresh ourselves in the love and comfort of one another. But when that energy is based in discomfort with ourselves, we spread the disease of unhappiness and unrest. Have you ever walked into work in a great mood, only to find your coworker grumpy as hell, and then find yourself too feeling unhappy and cranky? Their energy has fed you negativity, and you are resonating it to others in turn. It’s all proof of the power of a tribe.

It is of the utmost importance that we surround ourselves with those that will feed our souls, our hearts, and our potential with positive light and love. It is vital that we create a tribe of like minds that will help us create our vision for the world, that will listen with open ears and minds to the difference we want to make. That we find those who will collaborate with us, who will encourage us, who will see our dreams and help us reach them.

How to Make New Friends

Interesting places for adults to meet like-minded people:

  • Join a Meet-Up group, and attend and event based on your interests. It might be scary at first to show up alone, but remember that everyone there had to find the courage to show up the first time too!
  • Start volunteering for a cause you care about. There you are destined to find others who care about the same causes you do, and who are determined enough to make a difference as well.
  • Reach out through your connections. Whether it’s a coworker or a friend of a friend, or someone you in passing met at a get-together, be the one to ask them out for drinks. Friendships lead to more connections, and you’ll both be able to draw from each other new acquaintances that can help you create your core group of friends.
  • Last but not least, speak your truth. In all you do, all that you are, all that you create, share your truth and be yourself. It will call out others like a howling wolf in the night. Authenticity is magnetic.

In return, we must present an individual who is comfortable with herself. Who is willing to speak up and say her truth. Who is willing to listen to their dreams, to encourage them, to help them in any way. We must do the work to be happy with ourselves so that we can present our light to them, and they may feed off our love and our radiance. We must be true to ourselves.

It can be terrifying to branch out into a scary world, to reach out to strangers and ask them to like us, to be our friend. But becoming a member of a toxic tribe is much worse. To be stiffled by the negativity and bad behaviors of others who are not willing to live up to their potential, to do their part to make this world better, that is much worse. So if you’ve been too shy to finally show up to that Meet-Up party or join a writer’s group or find a community online or offline that will inspire you, vow to yourself to put your heart out on the line. The first step will be the hardest, but that tribe perfect for you has been waiting for you to find them…

How to Know if Friendships are Healthy

  • First and foremost, ask yourself the vital questions that will assess the health level of your friendship circle
    • What activities do you participate in together? Do you only meet up for happy hour, or do you also feed your creativity with museums or lectures or live music?
    • When you talk, is it mostly to gossip or complain about other people or situations? Are you honest with them about what you are trying to make or do with your career, life, and passion?
    • Do you feel supported by them? Not just in a crisis moment, but also in times of happiness?
  • Second, be honest about the type of person you bring to your circle
    • Are you offering your best self in your interactions?
    • Do you use them for cathartic emotional release?
    • Are you comfortable enough with yourself to being a vibrant, alive and awake person to your conversations, or do you rely on their judgments and opinions to make decisions?
  • Third, make the necessary changes
    • You do not need to ‘dump’ friends, unless she is directly harming or hurting your life. What you can do is expand your social network to include more friends, ones that can serve for different purposes.
    • For example, I don’t rely on my artistically-driven friends for conversations about spirituality or mental health. Instead, I have a certain core group of friends who I can talk to about those topics, and save my career and writing endeavors for conversations like those in the park.

Are you waiting for a ‘sign’ to live your dreams?

I know you’ve been patiently waiting for the ‘right time’ to live your dreams… There are times to wait for life to invite you forward into new experiences. If it’s meant to happen and the world takes it upon itself to make sure you’re aware, it might just offer you a ‘sign’.

Then there are times that life waits for you to put things into motion. And oh, this sweet and giving universe is so desperately and patiently waiting for you to take the leap so it can support you and peel your eyes wide open upon your dreams. Life’s love for you is so big and so grand, it only supports you whether you go after big or small things. Have you been going after small things?

As we talked about last week with the typical reaction to cancer (the “if my life was in danger, I’d do something crazy!” answer), it’s of vital important to look at life as a temporary state. Let me beg you like a needy child on this, let me tug on the hems of your dress until you can’t ignore me anymore: Even the moments that drag, meandering on, don’t negate life’s brevity. The gift of existence, so quickly held and then recanted, should only be respected for it’s impermanence.

So again, why are so many of us waiting for something big, something terrible – like a death threat from cancer or a divorce or a winning lottery ticket – to start truly living? They say that necessity is the mother of invention; but we have all the necessity we need. Death is one of the few certainties in life. We already have that big thing, that big excuse to go after what we dream…

Here’s the truth about how to get what you want and live your dreams:

YOU are given permission to have everything we want by the simple, profound fact that you are here. Our existence is all the justification we need.

And our impermanence, the knowledge that we won’t always be here, is why now is the time to act.

Think of all the areas like love, travel, self-appreciation and job aspirations, that we’re waiting for our permission slip. If anyone has ever asked what you want to do with your life, and your answer was “I don’t know”, then what you’ve really said is “I’m waiting for my permission slip, and I don’t even know what the slip will look like.” In other words, your hunting in the dark for something you don’t know how to identify as what you need.

For women, I see the need for a permission slip in order to appreciate our bodies so prevelantly. We’re waiting for it to show up on the weight scale, in the perfect dress, in the right person to tell us we’re beautiful. We’re waiting for permission from everyone else to tell us we should worship and cherish our bodies.

But you know what I’m about to say. You know deep down this truth, don’t you?
There is only one person who can grant you permission to be happy and fulfilled and content, and that person is you. And you’ve been hoping I wouldn’t tell you because that knowledge gives you POWER. And that power is intimidating, isn’t it? Don’t let the fear of taking responsibility keep you from offering yourself permission to live your dreams. Actually, to live your dreams, to live fully, to live happily, to live fulfilled.

Even if you at first have to deal with the guilt of messing things up till now, accepting responsibility is still the only place you can start your personal revolution. You are the CEO of company YOU. You are the pilot of the flight that is your trajectory. You are the director of your story. In whatever Pinterest-framed-art way you need to phrase it, you must take responsibility for the fact that not only are you in charge of your life, but it’s time to make some major decisions and open some new doors. For the betterment of you, and for a world that needs you to be your best so we can start fixing things.

That’s your permission to travel, to love your body, to take an entire day off work to bake muffins. Start by giving yourself permission to sit, quietly, with a pen and paper and write down what it is you’d like to accomplish and experience. This permission includes privacy from other people as well as other responsibilities. It’s permission to only focus on what’s in your heart and not worry about anything else for just a little while. Can’t you feel how hard I’m tugging on your hems?

Once you know what you want to do (or at least a start), then identify what’s in the way:

What fears are keeping you from allowing yourself permission to move forward?

Who are you waiting for to tell you that it’s your turn to be happy?

What sign are you hoping will show up so you can take the next step?

What will it take for you to get fed up from hiding all that power and potential you have inside?

It still takes everything I have to give myself permission to break down. For me, that’s bigger than the permission to travel the world or switch careers. But to break apart into fragmented pieces of my coherent, expected self, to admit my own fears and un-brick the walls around my insecurities, that takes all my slips. It’s not always about big goals, sometimes it’s about the full, vast, encompassing experience of the human heart. Sometimes it’s enough to give permission for all your emotions to be expressed. In the end I find it reveals all the limitless connections in our lives: the way we cry for happiness and for joy, the way that laughter is a universal language, the communication that happens without words, all the sounds and stories of the natural world that echo in our lives and art.

Give yourself permission to be exactly who you are, expressing all your individual dreams. Liberate your self from yourself.

And just in case you’re still wondering: Yes, this is A SIGN.

On Acceptance: Get Past Fear, And Embrace Change You Didn’t Choose

Oh to get past fear, one of the most uncomfortable things we can do. As we announced on Twitter, we’ll be out of New York City for a few work projects. Though, it might be more appropriate to say that we’re always traveling, always moving to where our hearts, and thus our work takes us. Like birds, holding on to a home only temporarily until the earth calls us onward, whether for season’s or safety’s sake. There is certainly a peacefulness to be found in transience.

There are times in life when change is thrust upon us, such as this move; change can occur without choice, but that certainly doesn’t prevent us from accepting and embracing it. For our big change, we’ll be traveling to where I underwent chemo, the city where I’ve lost so many family members. At the risk of being too candid, I’ll tell you this change has become a face-to-face conversation with that which I fear most; not just cancer, but my own past (as all humans do). I had to get pastfear. It’s just like the universe to enact as much: ask us to face our demons, demand that we expand larger than the cage of our fear so we can never be trapped by it again. Outgrowing fear is an uncomfortable aspect of fulfilling our purpose, but it’s vital one.

In growing into your greatest power, please expect that the universe will ask you to face yourself, as well. To acknowledge all that you aren’t most proud of, or all that you’ve kept hidden in the back of your mind. But it is all an act of love from the universe, so that you can be set free from yourself. As Emily Best quoted in her SheDoes Podcast (and I’ll paraphrase here): when you can get over the fear of truly looking at something, you’ll find a great power there. Remembering all your strengths is like the armor you wear as you work to get past fear.

Surprisingly, I found this same sentiment true during the ‘Week Without Mirrors’ experiment; I went seven full days without seeing my own reflection, to see what affect it would have on my concept of beauty. I was terrified to look in the mirror by the end of the week, like all the insecurities and flaws I’d been ruminating in my imagination would burst to life in the reflection. But what occurred was just the opposite: a greeting with a beautiful, familiar woman, who’s physical strengths could shine through once the ego’s exhausting list of flaws was out of the way. Once I got over the fear of looking at myself – flaws and all – I realized there was a lot more ‘all’ than ‘flaw. But it took a hard honest look to see it.

Life often asks us to confront what we fear. We don’t have to answer that call, but by doing so, we are given the opportunity for profound liberation. In taking a good hard look at the fear itself, we will realize the measures necessary to conquer that fear. That’s where the liberation lies: in the equation of evaluating the fear, realizing it’s antithesis, and thus given our way out.

Fear, funny enough, is founded in the idea that this one particular thing can somehow diminish our true self, our safety or our worth. Think about the times that you avoid looking in your own bank account, fearful of the lack of money or confronting how much you’ve spent. Your true worry is not actually the amount, but that you’ll feel scared or ashamed of the amount; that you’ll be ashamed of yourself for making such imbalance happen. There are, of course, bigger fears we can use as examples, but even this common everyday worry has the same truths.

Looking at our fear offers the chance to deeply analyze the conclusions we’ve drawn for ourselves. Empty bank account = I’m irresponsible. For me, leaving New York = the loss of my inspiration and community. It can be a painful process; facing the fear of cancer was incredibly painful. After traveling back to see family members in their battle years after I’d won mine, I realized I wasn’t in control of cancer after all. But that didn’t make my capacity for love and gratitude any weaker. I didn’t conquer this fear, I only made peace with it, and that can be liberating as well. I learned to accept it’s presence, and use it as a tool to enhance my gratitude rather than be paralyzed by it, unable to emote or connect with others.

The only alternative, then, is to avoid your fear, and surely find that it only follows you all the more flagrantly. Have you ever experienced this: when you work tirelessly to avoid a problem, and yet it never seems to let you be? Never a moment’s rest, only the worry and rush to get further away from it by distraction.

So turn around, take a long hard look at what you’re afraid of, and you’ll diminish the fear by realizing it has no power to change you after all. A fear cannot reveal something about you that’s not already there, so avoiding fear only keeps you from solving it. Stop giving the fear the power, stop letting it grow bigger in the shadows when you’re not looking, or making you feel like it’s hiding a dirty secret about you. Or, if you must, take the Elizabeth Gilbert path and accept the fear as present, and lovingly forgive it for trying (but no longer succeeding) to keep you from happiness and gratitude.

On a lighter note, moving is it’s own bundle of surprises. One thing is true though: it’s a glorious opportunity to take inventory of all that we’ve acquired, and to do a little personal editing in our collections. From the wardrobe to the storage spaces, it’s my turn to clean out the corners and ask some tough questions, especially about what serves us (enthusiasm, courage) and what no longer serves us (fear, the ego’s negative messages, and insecurity).

To round out this week’s post of expansive fear-facing, let’s ask ourselves some important questions:

How to Get Past Fear: The Essential Questions:

What fears would I be happier not having:

Myself and my worth?

My relationships and my contributions to them?

Whether I could live up to my aspirations?

What physical manifestation does fear have on me? Perhaps shown in the form of:

Negative habits?

Self-destructive language and inner monologue?

Unwillingness to try new things or put myself out there?

Where can I forgive fear for hurting me or handicapping me, so that I can move on:

How it’s made me act

Opportunities I’ve missed

Moments it’s been present, keeping me from being happy?

And finally,

Where fears do I need to stop avoiding and start facing? And where do I need to make peace with fear, realize it’s presence, and act anyway?

It all boils down to the brevity of this wonderful, magical life of yours. You have no time to allow fears cage to imprison you. This world needs you to allow your passion and aspiration to be bigger than fear.

Also this week, we’re featured on the website for the Foundation of Living Beauty. This incredible organization helps to inspire and encourage women during and after their battle with cancer, and I couldn’t be more honored to have been interviewed by them. Please check out their website and get involved if you can!

Appreciating Stillness, and Embracing Your Power to Choose Your Mood

A few hours after my parents told me that I had cancer, I went to the movies.

It sounds strange, but I was 17, and all I could do was keep cancer from taking over my life. That effort would start with keeping it from ruining my afternoon. I had plans. I had plans to live, in fact, and I was going to go through with them. Naivety can be such a blessing when it offers us such unfounded courage.

So this was my 17-year-old logic for why I had no business sitting at home and crying about cancer when the world was waiting. A bright, bold world that I had known I wanted to be part of, but in the light of new risks, I wanted it even more. You can read the full story of my diagnosis here, but for now, let us digest these strange circumstances with open eyes.

First, that the power of the mind to control our mood is unlimited. If you can tell a clueless 17 year old that her life is in danger, and she refuses to be scared, then I’m quite certain the possibilities for you are endless.

Second, that these little moments of clarity in which all that truly matters, and a basis for our most natural and self-aware intentions come to light, we should show a little gratitude. That clarity continued through my afternoon.

Standing in the mall downtown waiting for the show, I found myself in the center of a complex. People bustled from one side to the other, one store to the next. It was Christmas time, thus even more busy and chaotic than usual. Reality might have well been just a painting for me. I stood, feet planted in the marble lobby of this huge town center, words and energies swooshing by like water colors, moving in currents in every direction. Everyone had wishes on their lips, and wants on their lists, a concern for everyone they loved attached to their wallets. But I couldn’t make out a single thing. It wasn’t that the room spun around me, but still I became the center of it. Or maybe centered by it, the room and the world all around me in every direction.

I don’t know what’s going to happen, I realized. I’m not sure if what I plan to do is going to work. But I have to try.

This was the second truly profound moment of stillness – the first being while my parents told me the diagnosis, and I realized I could interject with “No.” Those little pockets of silence, the energy vibrating in pulses through your bones. The mind can’t attach to any one thought.

I know you know the feeling. It’s waiting just at the moment when your tears take a pause as you mourn someone you’ve lost. Or just after you’ve jumped into the lake, as you float just under the surface, and all stands still right before you come reaching back for air. Or right after the words ‘it’s over’ have left his mouth, and you’re not sure what to say, now that you’ve heard the words you were most scared to hear…

Have you noticed that little pause? That little quiet that the universe gives you like a hush across all the world? When you can see, even within the deepest of pain, that the world still continues around you…

All it can do is realize your physical presence, from head to do, and all the space around you that extends endlessly in every direction. Don’t worry about the past, don’t fret about the future. Just stand still, and breathe deeply.
In my moment, I’m just a girl, a girl who’s very sick, but a girl who’s right here right now, and is certain of what she’ll attempt to do. Though all this time I thought I understood everything about the world in a manageable way, but in truth all I am is a single entity. Really, I am just standing, pulsating, watching the water colors zoom by, and thankfully the world is giving just a brief break in the chaos to help me look outward…Oh what a gift it truly is.

Just like the gold in the changing fall leaves and the way the world is always in balance, these still moments are just proof the universe’s endless love for us. A quiet little pocket when we can choose to react in any one direction. These little moments that we experience all alone, whether painful or joyful, are gifts that remind us of the moment we are living in, a moment always in motion.

So much of our time and energy is absorbed with reaching for what we want to be, or fleeing from what we hope we aren’t. Whenever I’m online pinning for inspiration, I can see it. All the positive messages emblazoned on mugs and t-shirts and Instagram photos. All these words to remind us to work hard and keep focused, and how capable we are of getting to where we want to be! Oh if only it were as easy as a mug on our desk to make us a hero of our own lives!

But silence speaks the truth. It so softly whispers of our power to choose our mood, our action. When we listen, listen listen…sometimes only because we’re begging the moment to move faster and it doesn’t…we realize the moment. Here we are. Right here right now. And all the happy mug messages of “she believed she could and she did” don’t make any sense anymore. Because all ‘now’ can say to us is “there she is”. And all we can say back is “ok here, now, is where I’ll start from….”

It’s ever a journey onward, whether facing backwards or forward. The moment is always moving. But when you get the gift of sudden stillness, or better yet if you can train yourself to stop, take a look around, and put yourself at center again, you’ll open your eyes and hearts to much more than you ever thought possible.


Take a breath in. Freeze the thoughts that are coming in – the fears, the anxieties, the worries, the excitements. Just stop and be still and let the breath be your focus.


What around you is really happening? Who is here with you? Why? Regardless of the fight you’re in or the situation you’re trying to solve, what do you really know is here, now, with you?


What does your heart say? What feels right? Give your trust to the wisdom of life, and stop trying to over-plan what happens next too much. Have faith that the answers are presenting themselves even as you try to invent them, and let yourself be a channel for whatever life might have in store for you.

The movie, by the way, was The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. I couldn’t tell you a single thing that happens in that movie now. Although Anderson is still my favorite director – shout out to you Wes, you’ve been there with me through some tough times. Nothing but love for you.


How to Accept Compliments AND Be Who You Truly Are

Maybe you saw the viral photos of her fellow teens bursting into unexpected smiles, covering their faces in embarrassment, or struggling to manage the joy and disbelief of her kindness. Last year, photographer and teen-cum-sociology genius Shea Glover sought out to capture a specific kind of expression on film: how people react to compliments.

If you’re anything like me, a compliment typically induces one of two reactions: slight humiliation confounded by a deep-seeded fear that my complimenter will soon see what a fraud I am, and that he/she is in fact very wrong about me. Or, the alternative: flattered-ness with a side of distrust. The complimenter wants something from me, I think to myself, he just wants my attention, affection or infatuation. Both reactions have the same underlying sentiment: the compliment isn’t a truism, even though its subjective.

Glover (who was only 18 at the time of the photos) hadn’t intended to conduct a social experiment, but that’s what she created. She was simply seeking to capture beauty, as she puts it, and realized what was most interesting about the work around her. But as heart-warming and inspirational as the art itself might be, it reflects a much deeper problem: not that we can’t take compliments. That’s a simple practice of humility and manners.

The problem is we don’t respect ourselves as being worthy of admiration. And even more harmful, we believe refusing a compliment or putting ourselves down makes us seem humble. It doesn’t, it only diminishes us.

Why You Can’t Take a Compliment

Why does being complimented feel so uncomfortable? Because we’ve stopped seeing what’s worthy of admiration in ourselves. We spend so much of our time putting ourselves down (using inner-monologue to tell ourselves we’re not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough), that when someone expresses an opinion that differs from our own, we feel vulnerable and exposed even if in a pleasurable way. If I told you to give yourself a compliment right this moment, it would probably feel awkward as hell. The truth is:

You’re bad at taking compliments because you’re out of practice; you never compliment YOURSELF.

If we complimented ourselves more, we’d be more willing to take compliments from others. Not only would be better equipped to react and accept compliments, we’d actually realize there are traits about us worthy of complimenting.

This isn’t to say we should expect compliments. Unfortunately, we don’t live in that kind of society where everyone spreads flattery like butter across the desperately dry burned toast that is our cultural landscape. There is a vital and fundamental difference between thinking you deserve compliments, and accepting the fact that there are great qualities and gifts you possess, and being able to enjoy others acknowledging those gifts. Expecting a compliment requires thinking you are special in a discriminatory way; special or talented in a way that is better than others, and that other people owe it to you to recognize it. Appreciating your own wonderful, unique traits and talents is to live within your purpose, and being lifted when others find your uniqueness as rewarding. One works with elitism, while the other works with gratitude and mutual respect.
A self-aimed compliments should start with“I Love Myself BECAUSE”, rather than: “Other People Love Me BECAUSE”.

Positive compliments to give yourself:

I am grateful for what makes me unique.

I respect my individual talents and passions by using them to help others

I’m doing the best I can, and I am enough as I am

I teach others to respect and believe in me by believing in myself

I have been gifted a specific set of unique abilities, and I use them to fulfill my purpose

Honoring Yourself as Unique, Beautiful and Worthy:

There is a light in you that shines out through everything you are and everything you do. It’s in your every physical feature, it’s in your every passion, it’s reflected in everything you say and do. Your looks, your actions, your words, your passions: all of these qualities are designed in accordance with who you truly are and your individual purpose. That light is your unique life energy, and when you are not honoring that unique life energy, it can feel really uncomfortable to be complimented for it.

What if Patti Smith had ignored her passion and genius for writing? Or da Vinci had thought his inability to finish a painting meant he was not worthy of being a painter? What you tell yourself about the worth of your own unique traits and talents has a profound affect on what you are able to do with your life.

Not honoring your light and individuality looks like this:

Saying unkind things to yourself in the mirror.
Not living out your purpose, working with your unique gifts to serve others.
A deep, unsettling lack of peace and calm in your own heart.

If you don’t believe you’re worthy of your dreams, you’re definitely not honoring your light. If you’re telling yourself you’re not attractive or worthy of love, you are smashing out that light like a limp candle. The light within you has a very important job to do on this earth, and the only way to complete that job is to let that light shine and use it to do you work.

Why You Should Say “Thank You” to Compliments

As Maya Angelou said: others will not remember what you did or said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. In the same way, a compliment directed toward you isn’t only about you. It’s an attempt to thank you for the way you’ve made them feel.

A compliment is someone showing appreciation for that individual light within you.

A compliment on your work, your looks, or your actions is actually another person thanking you for something positive you’ve brought to them. Don’t worry about what any compliment means for you, just do your job of shining your light out onto the world. Your job is to hold that light, protect that light, treasure that light, guard that light, and share that light. When someone compliments your light, know that it isn’t about you, it’s about how your light makes them feel. You’ve done something that makes them feel good, happy or rewarded. That is your light in service.

Saying “Thank You” to a compliment is really saying:

THANK YOU for recognizing my individuality

THANK YOU for acknowledging my light.

THANK YOU for offering space for my purpose to serve this world.

THANK YOU for allowing me a chance to shine my light in your life.

Seeing that a compliment is about much more than just telling someone they’re pretty…kind of makes you want to go spread some compliments, doesn’t it? The world could use more butter.

Ready to become a happier YOU?

Her Happier, Healthier After:
A How-To Guide to Becoming Your Best

It’s time to wake up to the power you have in your own life! Join me in this simple guide to building happiness and self esteem by asking the right questions, prioritizing your best self, and consciously embracing beauty, style, wellness and healthy living.

Because of all the incredible and heart-opening feedback I get from readers like you, I wanted to create a guide that women could use to realize their own power, beauty, and potential even during struggle. This guide is designed to help you create a life in which you can be successful, at peace, true to yourself, and live fully. It’s created with the intention of helping you see that no matter what you’re struggling with, whether it’s confidence and self esteem, your career, your love life, or accessing your creative side, that you truly have EVERYTHING you need RIGHT NOW to become the person you were meant to be.
Her Happier Healthier After is a practical manual of insightful questions, simple tutorials and transformational tips on everything from home decor to beauty and style to exercise and fitness. This short book offers a fun, inspiring new look at how women can live fulfilling lives by indulging in the activities they love most. With her unique take on appreciating life and living with eyes and heart wide open, Rachael gives compassionate advice to help women of all lifestyles reach their potential, and feel beautiful from the inside out.

This short, intensive guide will offer you tips to:

– Analyze your beliefs about yourself, and how they hold you back

– Discover your purpose, and overcome your fear

– Learn to love and cherish your body again, and fall in love with your life

– Plus tips to living beautifully, from the inside out!

You’ll also discover ways to build a happier, more fulfilling life asking life’s most important questions, that will help you deeply understand your heart and soul, and release your BEST self. And additionally by reassessing your habits, your choices, and your relationships, and how they are keeping you from being happy and self-expressed. After all, most of our bad habits are our greatest sources of unhappiness. This guide will give you the clarity and insight to help stop habits like discouraging yourself, not believing in yourself, and not being your own advocate.

Chapters covers everything you need to build your best life:

  • Purpose and Passion
    Breaking through to the dreams you want to fulfill
  • Beauty
    Including make-up, at-home tips, and ways to wake up feeling more beautiful
  • Style
    How to look amazing in everything you own, and find your personal style
  • Home and decor
    How to build a home that makes you feel peaceful and inspired
  • Health and fitness
    Changing how you work out, and eating with joy, rather than shame and guilt
  • Love and Relationships
    Including toxic friendships, and what makes relationships successful

Give Zero F*cks: How to Care LESS What Other People Think

It took me a lot of practice to be the kind of woman that gives zero f*cks and actively care less about what other people think, because I misunderstood what the ‘give zero f*cks’ mindset is all about. The misconception about women who give zero f*cks is that they have no priorities or passions.

In actuality, it’s not that we don’t care about anything, it’s that we don’t give our precious energy to things that don’t matter.

Most importantly, that includes the opinions of people who are rude, condescending, or so clearly unhappy with themselves that they feel the need to take it out on us. Misery does love company, as they say.

Being the kind of gal who gives zero f*cks doesn’t mean your apathetic to life itself. In fact, the truth is just the contrary: you simply care about what you care about, believe in what you believe in, are doin’ your thang and just don’t have time for the ill-informed opinions of people who don’t have your best interest at heart. In essence, it’s not that we have zero f*cks to give, it’s that we’re not willing to give our f*cks to unworthy thoughts and people.

So this isn’t about not caring at all, it’s more focused on caring about things that actually matter. Like yourself, and your happiness. And essentially, giving zero f**cks about anything that gets in your way. Here’s the no BS guidelines, so you can start caring more about yourself and less about that which distracts you from being your best.

Give Zero F*cks
How to care less about what other people think,
and more about your own happiness

Decide your own opinion about your life and what’s good for you, and make it the most important opinion on the planet.

Too many times we’re relying on other people’s opinions about us and our choices. The truth us, no one knows you better than you do. Take a day, a week, a year – however long it takes – to decide what you really want (regardless of what other people think you’re capable of), identify what is really good for you (regardless of what other people want for you), and make those convictions more important than anything anyone else says.

Only you can know what the right path is, and as they say, there is a voice that speaks without words. Listen to that voice; that voice is your highest self. Trust your gut, follow your instinct.

Stop feeding your insecurities by thinking about them

Insecurities, fears and doubts about ourselves only have power when we feed them with our attention. The more we pay attention to our insecurities, the more we feed them, and the stronger they become. Stop feeding your insecurities, stop obsessing over your fears, stop playing stories and thoughts about all the doubts and criticisms about your life and your body in your head on repeat. Give zero f**cks to the thoughts that make you feel bad about yourself.

Instead, start feeding your conviction. Start thinking more about the parts of yourself that you love: your creativity, your compassion, your ability to problem solve, your curves. Start obsessing over what you think is great about you – feed those thoughts, repeat those stories. Whatever you feed becomes most powerful; so take the power away from your insecurity and put it back where it belongs. Yes, your mind are strong enough to do that! Stop giving away your power!

Don’t read the damn comments.

Sometimes ignorance – as in ignoring something – really is bliss, especially when that thing is a hateful rant or a judgmental criticism. I learned this the hard way after writing an article on why I’m not ready for marriage even though I’m in a years-long relationship. Reading the comments is rarely a good idea, because other people will always provide over-stepping opinions that will just piss you off. On your instagram and facebook posts, on your blog, on whatever. If there’s a chance someone has something awful to say about you or to you, just stay away from that. Keep in mind that constructive criticism is very different, and you’ll need to learn that difference in order to grow. (You can usually tell the difference because criticism offers guidance for your potential and comes from people you admire, not harsh judgments and rudeness from total strangers.)

Stop waiting for other people to give you what you really want.

Validation. A better work environment. Forgiveness. Anything – if you want it, give it to yourself. Trust yourself enough to know which paths and efforts feel right for you, individually. This is about honoring and trusting yourself enough to believe that there are rights and wrongs for you, that there are things you are worthy of (like love), and you’re in charge of putting the rights into your own life.

Let it be ok…that things aren’t ok

Empty bank account, in a fight with your sister/bff, you showed up late to work today and your boss has been giving you side-eye. There’s a lot of things that could be going very wrong. Don’t brush it off, don’t try to avoid it; give a little breathing room for circumstances that aren’t going your way. Accept it rather than try to deny that it’s happening.

The only thing that can make your life worse when things aren’t going your way is when you don’t let your heart break, don’t allow space for the disappointment or pain, and try to judge yourself as a failure on top of trying to deal with everything going wrong. It’s ok to struggle, it’s ok for things to be a little messy, that’s just life. It’s not ok to make a conclusion about your own worth just because things fall apart. And trust me, they will fall apart now and again. The strongest bridges in the world still need maintenance to hold things together. So things aren’t ok? It’s ok that they aren’t ok, ok? You’re doing the best you can.

The point is that you understand your time and energy are limited. You do not have enough of these to be giving them to everyone and everything around you. Focus on what’s important to you. Be cautious about where you give your attention. You are a powerful, vivacious being and what you allow in your mind and heart ultimately affect the quality of your life. Stop giving your f**cks to things and people that hurt you. Start giving your all to things and people that help you evolve into a better and better you.

   Want more great life advice? Check out our Ebook on how to become YOUR best self:
Her Happier, Healthier After
A How-To GuideA simple guide to building happiness and self esteem by asking the right questions, prioritizing her best self, and consciously embracing beauty, style, wellness and healthy living.
Full of important questions to ask yourself, simple guides and tips on everything from home decor to beauty and style to exercise and fitness, this short book offers a fun, inspiring new look at how women can live fulfilling lives by indulging in the activities they love most.


Why You Should DEFINITELY Take More Days Off!

Are you using your days off wisely? Productively? Effectively? You’ve worked hard all week, given your attention and energy and precious time to a cause or company that helps pay your bills. And now, blissfully and deservedly, you have a day off. With these few hours of freedom, you have so much to accomplish! So many friends to see, so many chores to get done! So what do you do when the pressure of doing everything outweighs your desire to do nothing? Stop. Breathe. Reflect.

Make no mistake: the ‘hustle’ is very much en vogue right now. You might be aware of this if you’re the type of girl who owns a ‘Get Sh#t Done’ affirmation framed in your office. Our busy society has put an arbitrary necessity on filling every possible moment with accomplishment. Unlike many other cultures around the world, we have created an unhealthy myth that our weekends, our personal days off from work, or even our vacation days should be packed to the brim with plans and to-do-lists. That all of time should be productive. One look at Instagram and you can see most people are spending their vacation fixated on the perfect angle for a bikini selfie. So instead of sleeping in on Saturday, we’re waking up early to get our workout in, or spending all day Sunday doing laundry, working on our side business, and other tasks. While these responsibilities are surely essential, so is the time in which we do nothing. Absolutely nothing. Purely and totally nothing. Because nothing is actually something, and it’s something important.

We’ve all read the articles about stress’s impact on the body and mind. But the antidote is all around us, in moments to be present. Yes, doing absolutely nothing on your days off is actually good for you. Stop. Breathe. Reflect.

A happy mind is a centered one, one that takes time to stop the incessant messages of the ego and feel through the heart. In case you have trouble telling yourselfthis, let me tell you:

You definitively deserve to take time for quiet and stillness, smiling from the inside out. To sit in a chair staring into space, to lounge in the grass whenever you want. This deserved time has no pre-requisite. You don’t need to earn this by working all week at the office or making a lot of money. You do not need to hustle every other moment of the day in order to gain yourself a moment of pause. You have already earned this by being human, by being alive. You have already earned the right to stop, look around, and find a reason to be grateful and happy any damn time you want. And when you take those moments to lay in bed a few extra minutes, to stay in the hot shower a little longer, to skip a workout, to take time to really listen to another person when they speak, you will find that you enjoy every other part of the day even more richly and deeply-and that includes the chores. Stop. Breathe. Reflect.

For a moment, forget the guilt of all that has to be done in the future, and all that was done correctly or incorrectly in the past. Remember that time to simply Be, to breathe in the air all around you and feel the sensation of being alive right within your bones, right where you are, is a divine and beautiful gift. Forgo the messages your mind is saying: “I have too much to do” “I do not have time to do the things I love” “I am not living up to my potential if I waste time”. The only moment you have is right now, and right now, you deserve a mind free of stress, and full of love for beautiful, present Life.
Stop. Breathe. Reflect.

On Style: Girl Meets Jumpsuit

On a recent episode of SheDoes podcast, in which Elaine Sheldon and Sarah Ginsburgbrilliantly and compassionately interview women working in various media roles, interviewee Kat Cizek likened being a director to being quality-control. The essential function is to make sure every little working part and element is up to snuff.

This description works as a metaphor for the rest of our lives. If we are director of our own stories, we must inspect the goods. Everything from what we put in our brains to what we put in our stomachs to what we put on our legs; it all matters.

In this respect, we’re not only in charge of the quality of life, we’re in charge of the collection as a whole. Life is not unlike individual curation. The decorations in our house, the music we listen to. We’re curating directors. We’re writing our own stories through our every little elemental choice.

On HerAfter, we often talk about the power of beauty from an internal source. We’ve talked about being bald and glowing. We’ve talked about the power of femininity through clothes. We’ve talked a lot about all the ways and places there are to find inspiration in our closets and vanities. But none of that negates the fact that sometimes even just looking like yourself takes a lot of guts.

In our old article High Heels High Hopes, I shared that high heels were one of the things I was most excited to indulge in after cancer. It wasn’t because I couldn’t wear heels to chemo, it was because before I had to question my own existence, I had been too scared to wear heels. I thought they made me too tall (over 6′). But when the simple things suddenly took on a profound new importance, high heels shot to the top of my wish list. Screw it, life’s too short to worry about being too tall.

Put that into perspective: it took chemo, of all things, to make me brave enough for heels.

It takes guts to be the most authentic version of yourself in everything from how you dress to how you speak to what you believe. It’s not easy to stand up and say you like something, to add it to your collection when it doesn’t fit popular opinion of ‘cool’ or ‘beautiful’ or ‘accepted.’

It takes guts to be open about your individual perspective in the world, because you know that you’ll be the only one defending those choices. Cizek faced the same battles when she had to stand by her directorial decisions against popular opinion. Being individual is a solo mission. You’re the only you in the world. I won’t say individuality is a lonely mission, but I will say it requires cultivating a lot of strength and assurance in yourself, so that not only can you be the only you, but so you can also appreciate others as individuals too. Different but together.

That’s where this featured Denim jumpsuit comes in…

It was one of those ultimate online shopping finds. Girl finds jumpsuit. Girl loves jumpsuit. Girl takes too long to decide that it’s worth every penny. Girl cries when it’s sold out…

But alas, girl finds hope. ONE jumpsuit came back in stock in my size, and I snagged it. It fits like a 70’s dream, tight on the curves and flared in all the right ways. Like denim velvet…

I love this thing, as much as I love the dress from “How to Look Great in Everything You Own”. I feel myself. I feel empowered. I feel flippin’ fabulous in it. It’s about as me as the freckles on my cheeks. That a designer could somehow speak to my soul through a simple jumpsuit without ever having met me is what former fashion kids like me live for.

The moral is, if you’re in the market for a new sense of self pride, if you’ve been longing for the courage and inspiration to be yourself, don’t be afraid of where you might find it.

You are the curator of your life. You are solely in charge of making the best decisions for yourself. From your music to your art to your wardrobe to your diet. TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.

In a book, in the closet, in a photograph, in an artistic endeavor. Find your you, embrace it, cherish it, and do your best to keep it up, keep feeding it, adding to the collection. You won’t always feel brave enough to be unabashedly yourself, but if you can do it more often than not, it’s a job well done.

A well curated life, one that speaks to your soul in every way, is a happy life.

And if you’re looking for tips on how to build bravery (because it’s a muscle that needs strengthening, not an inherent trait!) than head over to this article.

How I Fell Back in Love with MYSELF After Getting Dumped

I’ve done a lot of very stupid things for the love of men. It was an attempt to employ the principle of every romantic movie: the heroine needs something specialabout her. Some unique trait makes her easy to love and hard to be with, which proves the hero all the more wonderful because he works so hard to be with her, despite her flaws and eccentricities. Thus, I thought my ‘flaw’ would weed out the terrible suitors and only the most heroic man would make it through my emotional booby trap. It needed to be dangerous to date me. The more dangerous the quirk, the more amazing the hero.

So over the years, I tried on a full wardrobe of silly stories and flaws and characteristics. Sometimes, it was that I was afraid of commitment or intimacy because someone else had hurt me before. Sometimes, it was that I was too busy and passionate about my future to get into a relationship. Other times, I was deeply spiritual and desperately committed to my individual enlightenment. Or I was the outspoken, gives-no-sh#ts girl, not afraid to disagree. I had all sorts of crazy personas about myself, and most guys believed them. In fact the plan usually worked, until I would ruin it. He’d fall for the story, and we’d be having a wonderful time falling for each other, then the part came where he should be weeded out if he wasn’t willing to work hard enough to love me…But I’d change my mind and not want him to leave. I’d get scared of being alone. We’d end up in a mess. Neither he nor I had any idea who I was or what I waned, which made breakups very messy. I was dangerous to date all right, because I’d suck all the love out of men as a way to see value in myself.

That is, until one guy really, really broke my heart. He had been lured by my story, for sure, and I’d been lured by his. A few months after moving in together, we culminated in a fight in which I finally admitted I wasn’t so special, so quirky and unique, I was just a scared little girl and actually needed rescuing from a prince – and are you that prince? No. He was not that prince. He left me crying on the living room floor, slammed the door behind him, and didn’t come home or speak to me for three weeks straight.

At first, I was devastated. I would sit at home at night, looking out the window till the sun came up, hoping to see his car. My job suffered, my body suffered, my heart suffered. Until finally, one night, he did come home. He knocked on the door, and I let him in. He walked straight to the guest room and closed the door behind him. He wasn’t home to rescue me or to ask for my love back. He needed a place to sleep. I thought “well, if he’s not here for me, he’s probably worn out every other place to sleep. I am his last resort.”

My concept of him changed. My concept of me changed. He wasn’t hurt from a lost love like me, so why was I sitting around hurting for him? I’d gotten what I’d asked for, here he was, and I suddenly saw him for what he was: a mess. Just like me. Not knowing what he wanted, or what he was doing.

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Despite the pain, I grew up a lot that night, and in the strangest of ways. I felt productively aged, instantaneously. I was too old to be crying like this. I was too old for all this drama in a relationship in which two people shared a home. I wasn’t old, mind you, I was still in my early 20’s. But even one more day of this misery and wallowing was too much. For once I wanted to worry about anything else, my job or my hobbies or my friends, and I needed a stable and reliable relationship, or no relationship. I finally stopped and asked myself: what do I want? The answer was that I wanted a lot of things. I wanted a new career. I wanted to move to a bigger city. And I suddenly realized I would never have the time for anything if I was crying constantly. It was a radical redefining of in what I would allow, simply because I was too exhausted from treating myself, and teaching others to treat me, like a victim. I didn’t want to need saving anymore.

The difference that night made is that I was finished turning my personal history in a fishing lure. Whether it was the good parts or bad parts, it didn’t matter. What a difference that made! All the sudden that big empty apartment we once shared was so quiet, and so peaceful. It was purged of the false character I’d been shackling there, and all that was left was really, truly, story-less me. It became a safe place where I could heal and regain my strength. Things started to grow from there; once I started giving love to myself, I started seeing potential in myself. I started acknowledging my power and talents. That all led to the confidence to go after what I wanted, to move cities and to start a new career. I started feeling sexier, taking better care of myself, valuing my opinion which led to sharing my opinion – my real opinion, not words I thought would make me look good – more. I started to give myself love and it changed everything.

Here’s the bottom line:

The love I had for me became stronger than my excuses not to love me.

I didn’t need someone else to prove to me that I was worth loving anymore. When I began to feed my love rather than my insecurity, my love became the stronger of the two. My own love was my own life raft, and I didn’t need rescuing anymore.

And make no mistake: I’m still dangerous to date. Because I don’t pity myself now, and I won’t allow my partner to pity himself either. And he won’t be able to derive his own worth from being needed by me. I’ll be demanding and offering the best of myself, and you can believe I’ll be expecting him to do the same.

How to Fall Back in Love With Yourself

How does one fall in love with another person? You get to know them, you share some special experiences, you talk about your wants and dreams. You cherish them, adore them, compliment them. Then you get comfortable, and you open up and accept the not-so-perfect things like old pajamas and giving that person a break when they need it. You respect those things without looking down on the other person. You go through challenges together, you stick together, you prove you’ll fight for each other. You build love together over time, you give it and you get it and you treasure it…

That’s exactly what you should be doing with yourself. It starts with a clean slate; get to know the quintessential details, your height and your weight, not the story you have about how you weight too much; look at yourself with your eyes, not your fear. Begin to dote on yourself, start to compliment yourself, adore yourself, give yourself little gifts. Then get into the deep conversations with yourself: share what you see possible, what you really dream of, just like you would with a partner. A journal (like we talk about in this post) is a great way to start that conversation Be supportive. Share the vision your highest self has with you, see what she sees. Encourage yourself, just like you would for a partner. Then start to get comfortable. Let yourself stay the night in with you, watching tv, take a hot bath, let yourself relax without judgment. Tell yourself you’re beautiful in sweatpants, with no makeup. Eat chocolate. Drop the guilt and negativity.

This is about you falling back in love with your truest, highest, story-and-excuses-free self. You’ve focused on only her for a while, you stopped seeing other people (those imaginary versions of yourself in your head), you’ve stopped letting other people’s opinion, or what you thought they thought of you. It’s you, with you, by you, for you now. That’s love. Now you know who you are, better than anyone else. Now you’re getting love and validation from the right place. And you won’t fall for your own self-pitying story ever again. Because who’s got time for that??