book club: mastering your mean girl
a few weeks ago, i announced that i would be launching a “book club” series here on bananas + bellinis, and i could not be more excited to dive in with my first official review for mastering your mean girl by melissa ambrosini.
mastering your mean girl definitely falls into the self-help or personal development category, and based on what i’m all about here at bananas + bellinis… and my own personal struggle with body image, self-confidence, and just generally being my own worst enemy… this book really, really resonated with me.
just to give you a little bit of background, melissa ambrosini is an author, coach, and speaker who defines herself as an “ambassador of choosing love over fear in every moment”. yea, she’s pretty badass, and after years of following her on social media, i was lucky enough to attend an event she hosted in venice a few months ago with a couple of my girlfriends.
not only did we receive a copy of mastering your mean girl, but we also got to meet melissa, and spend an evening in safe space with other women who can relate to her journey, and hear all about exactly how choosing love over fear and silencing your mean girl… you know her, she’s the voice in your head telling you you’re not smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, skinny enough to do xy and z… can change the entire trajectory of your life.
of course, choosing love over fear is one of those things that’s waaayyyyyy easier said than done. i mean… if it was easy, wouldn’t we all be doing it? melissa doesn’t deny this truth, and even states:
“my journey is far from over, though — i choose to keep learning, growing, and evolving every day. i choose to keep mastering my mean girl every second. and i continue to choose love over fear in every moment.”
and she’s right. this isn’t one of those books that you can read, put into practice once, and be done with. choosing love over fear, and telling your inner mean girl to go eff herself when she pops up is something you have consciously do day in and day out… for the rest of your life. i know that i’ll be revisiting this book… whether in bit and pieces or in full… for years to come.
the other thing that i really love about melissa’s approach is that she stresses the importance of taking care of yourself. i’m all about self-love and self-care, from the inside out! when we love ourselves, we want to take care of ourselves, and when we’re taking care of ourselves it’s easier to love ourselves… it really goes both ways. she encourages everyone to take a very balanced and holistic approach to wellness, something i can clearly get behind!
on top of this just being a great read, melissa also includes “inspo-actions” throughout the book… places where you’ll pause, reflect, and actually implement what you’re learning along the way. remember, choosing love is something you have to consciously do, so actively doing this throughout the book helps to show you how and where you need to apply this approach to your own life, based on the battles you are fighting with yourself.
all in all, in you’ve ever struggled with stress, anxiety, body image, or self-worth, engage in negative self-talk on a regular basis, or are just trying to find a better way of living, but don’t know where to start, i suggest grabbing a copy of mastering your mean girl and diving in a.s.a.p… you definitely won’t regret it!
3 simple ways to manage stress + anxiety
sorry that today’s post is going up a little late… but there’s a reason, i promise! … which i will explain: one thing i haven’t talked about too much here on the blog is my ongoing battle with stress and anxiety. it’s not exactly the easiest thing to talk about, but i’ve sort of felt a “call” to write about it lately. i think that there’s a certain level of therapy involved in being vulnerable, and i just wanted to make sure i was doing it right [stress about being perfect, anyone?]… so, here we go.
ever since i was little, i can remember experiencing extreme bouts of stress and anxiety, which tended to manifest in the form of stomach aches, constant nausea, heartburn [i literally never left home without a pack of rolaids], and nights lying awake in bed for hours before being able to fall asleep because my mind wouldn’t stop racing.
throughout my life, i’ve definitely been able to recognize that i experience high levels of stress and anxiety… but to a certain extent, assumed it was normal. everyone seems to be “stressed” these days, right? why should i be any different? i even feel like sometimes we glorify being “stressed” and look down upon the people who aren’t, accusing them of being “lazy” and “unmotivated”.
can stress be a good thing? sometimes. but if you’re experiencing stress that:
- disturbs your sleeping patterns
- impacts your appetite [in either direction]
- makes you feel short of breath, nauseous or lightheaded
- causes you to break down, shut down or lash out
… then it isn’t the good kind of stress.
to this day, i still experience high levels of stress and anxiety that cause all of the above. and it effing sucks. sometimes it’s worse than others. sometimes i’m stressed about work… sometimes about my appearance… lately i’ve been stressed about the state of the world we live in and where society is headed… you name it, i’ve probably stressed about it excessively at one point or another.
the difference now is that i don’t just accept it as “normal” and struggle to live with it… i manage it.
over the past six months [after having a breakdown mid-november], i’ve found what works best for me when it comes to managing stress, and have a few different things i turn to when i start feeling even just a little bit anxious.
these 3 things help me to get centered and continue moving forward with a sense of calm [or, let’s be honest, at least a lower level of stress]:
1. get moving. it’s a no brainer that exercise is directly linked to our state of mind. think about it… how many times have you left yoga or finished a sweat session feeling worse than you did before? literally never. even though the thought of doing any sort of physical activity can be the last thing we want to do when we’re stressed, we need to suck it up and just do it [nike was seriously onto something here]. not only will all of those endorphins make you feel like you’re on cloud nine, going for a long run or hitting the yoga mat, even just taking a 10-minute walk, gives you a chance to remove yourself from whatever it is that’s stressing you out and just focus on the present moment.
2. meditate. over the past 3-4 months, my meditation practice has become consistent, and it plays a huge role in helping me to manage stress. every morning, i wake up 20 minutes early and do a guided meditation [i have a little “meditation corner” set up in my room] to set the tone for the rest of the day. i’m one of those people whose brain never. shuts. off. and meditating forces me to be still, acknowledge the thoughts i’m having, and then immediately let them go. it allows you to remove yourself from the outside world and turn inward, where the answers to just about all of our problems lie. if you’re new to the whole meditation thing, start small! even 5 minutes each day is enough to rewire your brain.
[not sure where to start? boho beautiful has some really great guided meditations on youtube, but this one specifically is good for cultivating a sense of peace and tranquility… and it only takes 10 minutes!]
3. listen to your favorite music. i’m a music lover. i grew up in a household that always have music playing, and my parents instilled their love of music on me from a very young age. i love finding new music just as much as i love listening to artists i’ve been obsessed with for years, and dabbling in new genres has expanded my musical preferences quite a bit. across the board, one thing’s for sure: music has healing powers. feeling stressed? play some jack johnson. feeling tired? put on the chainsmokers. feeling sad? hello, t. swift! need to make yourself feel like a badass? “big rings” by drake can help. allow yourself to really feel the music and let it take you away for a minute. keep it playing in the background while you go about your day [if you can] or plug into your headphones when you’re trying to get through your least favorite activity at work. there’s a reason that music is such a huge part of every culture… it’s universal, and as bob marley said, “when it hits you, you feel no pain.”
of course, there are many other ways to manage stress and anxiety, and i definitely encourage you to explore and find out what works best for you. these 3 things are simple and seem to help me the most, but i also keep journaling, taking a relaxing bath, and simply breathing up my sleeve for those really stressful times when i feel like i need to battle it from all angles.
what are your go-to methods for stress management? share in the comments below, or email me at email@example.com!
real talk for a sec… i’m obsessed with coffee. i don’t think i’ve ever really talked about this over here on the blog before, but seriously. i. love. coffee. and i especially love a tall cup of cold brew. it’s smooth, refreshing, and on a warm summer day [or any day in l.a.], really just can’t be beat.
the problem is… it takes anywhere from 12-24 hours to brew… so if you want to make your own, planning ahead is necessary, and let’s be honest, not something we’re all very good at. so you run over to your local coffee bean/starbucks/whatever, but a large cold brew at just about any coffee shop costs around $4… if you want to drink cold brew every day, you’re looking at a $28 weekly coffee budget [or $120 monthly… woah]… not exactly ideal either. so, what’s a cold brew addict to do?
bizzy is a cold brew concentrate made from the best organic coffee beans you can find, carefully brewed, bottled and delivered right to your door. yep, this is what dreams are made of, friends.
i met the bizzy team a few months ago at expo west and not only loved their story, but loved the product, as well. just to give you a little background, bizzy was created after founders andrew and alex discovered that there was a lack of clean, healthy energy options on the market while training for a race and working in corporate america… talk about a couple of guys who desperately needed energy! so, they decided to take matters into their own hands and began experimenting with ways to create a source of energy that was all-natural, sugar free, simple and tasted great, but was also convenient. from here, bizzy was born!
so, what’s the difference between cold brew and hot coffee… or hot coffee poured over ice? not a whole lot, but the most important differences are that cold brew is less acidic, contains more caffeine [which can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how you look at it], and has a much more subtle taste than your traditional hot brew coffee.
so what’s the lowdown on bizzy [aka why should you give it a try]?
- it’s brewed for 18 hours, making it 67% less acidic than traditional hot brew,
- it has 3x the caffeine that traditional coffee does,
- it’s u.s.d.a. certified organic,
- and it contains zero, i repeat, zero calories and zero sugar
oh, and did i mention how effing easy it is? basically, all you have to do is go to the bizzy website and decide how many bottles you want [one bottle makes 6 drinks, and you can even set up a subscription]. once your bizzy has landed, making a perfect cup of cold brew is as easy as pouring 1 part bizzy and 2 parts water [or cream, almond milk, half and half, whatever] over ice. seriously, that’s it. it truly could not be any easier.
personally, i’ve been enjoying my bizzy as follows:
- 1 part bizzy
- 1 part water
- 1 part coconut milk… the reallllyyyy creamy kind from a can
typically i’m drinking it out of a mason jar, which we all know makes everything taste at least 3x better.
so happy friday everyone! do yourself a favor and order yourself some bizzy… and next weekend, you’ll be able to enjoy a cup of cold brew in the morning, without the hassle. and stay tuned… you’ll be seeing more bizzy around these parts in the coming months… including a fun giveaway [and a cocktail recipe or two].
introducing the bananas + bellinis book club!
i’ve always loved reading. as far back as i can remember, i’ve had my nose in one book or another at all times… more often than not, i’ve been fully immersed in multiple books at the same time… because there is just so much out there, and so little time to get to it all!
from fiction to non-fiction, romance novels to murder mysteries, and autobiographies to self-help… i’ll read just about anything. i’ve even been known to force myself to finish books i wasn’t into at all simply because i started them… not necessarily the best practice, but what can you do? trying to get better at the whole “fuck yes or no” thing in all aspects of my life… but we’ll get into that some other time.
as i grow bananas + bellinis into more and more of a lifestyle brand, i’ve thought long and hard about the components of “lifestyle” that i want to incorporate. it’s a pretty broad term, but because reading, whether for personal development, education, or just entertainment, is something that’s been a huge part of my personal lifestyle for so long, i just feel like it has to be a part of bananas + bellinis, too.
so, with all of that being said… i’m so excited to introduce…
the bananas + bellinis book club!
outside of my personal love for reading, this idea was partially sparked by the positive feedback i received after i briefly shared 2 of the books i’ve recently found myself lost in on social media [here, here, + on snapchat… username kelsey1988… add me]. some of you even bought the books i recommended, which was so exciting for me! so this really just seemed right… i mean… if reading something has changed my life and can help others do the same… i almost have to share it… right?!
so, going forward, once a month i will review a book that i’ve read here on the blog… i’m not specifically going to only review self-help or personal development books… or health/wellness books… if i read a book and it speaks to me, it’s safe to say that it’s gonna be part of the book club.
and maybe down the line, we can make it more interactive… where each month, as a community, we decide on a book together, read it, and start some kind of an online discussion… but as i always say, one thing at a time.
i have 3 books lined up for june, july, and august… and after that, i’m open to suggestions, recommendations… anything! so, leave your ideas in the comments below, or email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org… can’t wait to see what you guys have been reading, too!
no better time to dive into some new reading material than summer… maybe poolside… with a cocktail in hand…
the only thing you need to be bikini-ready
well, it’s that time of year. memorial day has passed, we’re in the month of june, and everyone and their mother is scrambling to get “bikini-ready” in time for the official kick-off of summer.
typically, when we talk about getting ready to rock our swimsuits at the beach all summer, a few topics tend to come up:
- crash dieting
- low carb/low calorie diets [or other fad diets that encourage some form of deprivation]
- excessive cardio
any of this sound familiar? if your answer is “no”… i don’t believe you.
let’s face it: when it comes to getting in shape, we’ve all been guilty of trying to find the quickest fix, the fastest way to see the results we’re looking for… not the healthiest of game plans? oh, well… right? … wrong.
real talk for a sec: do the things mentioned above work in pursuit of a “bikini body”? absolutely. but, do they also create lasting results, and make you feel good in the process? f*ck no.
so, everyone, i hate to be the bearer of bad news, but cutting carbs, counting calories, running 10 miles every day, or doing a 7-day juice cleanse are all giant wastes of your time. sure, you might drop the 7-10 pounds you’ve been holding onto since the holidays in time to hit the beach next weekend… but as soon as you slip-up [aka decide to enjoy life and live a little], those pounds will sneak back up on you quicker than they disappeared.
so… if you’re in panic because you’re not “bikini-ready”… there’s a solution:
be confident. yep. that’s it. if you’ve got confidence in yourself, you’re ready to hit the beach and rock that bikini [or one piece, whatever strikes your fancy].
when you’re putting yourself down… it shows. our insecurities tend to scream for attention, hoping that others will either sympathize with us [“ugh, i know. i feel so bloated and gross today, too.] or shower us with compliments to make us feel better [“what?! omg, noooooo, you look sooooooo skinny!!”]. not only will you feel bad, but everyone around you will know it. there’s no fooling anyone.
on the flip side, when you’re confident, you glow. your energy is positive. it’s contagious. and when you aren’t focusing on your “imperfections”, no one else is either [and if they are, it’s because they’re projecting their own insecurities onto you]. when you’re not all hung up on whether your stomach looks flat enough or if your cellulite is visible, you’re able to live in the moment… you’re able to live your life.
that old saying, “when you look good, you feel good” goes both ways… and in this case, “when you feel good, you look good” couldn’t be more applicable.
so, instead of promising to wake up to run 5 miles before work every day this week, or to only eat vegetables for the next two, i encourage you… no, i dare you to take a different approach to getting ready for summer this year.
if you’re thinking: great, kelsey. “be confident.” easier said than done… back it up and let’s chat. it’s easier than you think.
when you notice a negative thought coming to the surface, take a step back by closing your eyes, and breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth deeply a few times. pause. relax. let the negative thoughts go, and invite positive thoughts in… give yourself a compliment or two… list off a few things you’re grateful for… anything you need to do to flip that switch.
finally, before you open your eyes, ask yourself what’s really important in life… losing 5 pounds [that pretty much no one is going to notice anyway], or living each day to your fullest, and being your healthiest, happiest self?
even if right now you don’t believe yourself, you gotta fake it ’til you make it. take these steps every day, in every moment when you’re feeling down on yourself. practice makes perfect. it won’t come overnight, but i promise it’ll be worth it.
stop hating on yourself, embrace yourself for who you are [while going after your goals in a way that’s healthy and manageable], put on that bikini, head to the beach [or pool, or backyard, wherever you find yourself!] and rock it all. summer. long.
how have you been able to overcome the pressure to feel like you have to be perfectly “bikini-ready” this year? share in the comments below… we’re all in this together.
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