book club: the subtle art of not giving a f*ck
the bananas + bellinis book club… something i totally intended on doing consistently and just didn’t… add it to the freakin’ list, amiright?!
at the beginning of the year, i set a bunch of goals [NOT “resolutions”] and one of them was to read 24 books in 2017 [averaging about 2 per month]. i’m a liiiittttttllllleee bit behind [currently working my way through number 10] but i’ve read a few really, really f*cking good ones, so bringing the book club back just feels right. and remember, i’m not pushing things if i’m not feelin’ it anymore.
so, back in april, i read the subtle art of not giving a f*ck by mark manson. i was so excited to dive into this one because it was born from my favorite blog post of all time [of the same title, by the same author] which if you haven’t read it before… get to it, but the book takes the same points made in the blog post and just expands on them… in a big way. it breaks it down, and takes it to the next level.
the core of manson’s message is all about figuring out what’s most important to you… and no longer giving a f*ck about the other sh*t. and he’s really good at removing the fluff. he can seem a little harsh, but sometimes tough love is the best way to get the point across… many of us need a big, fat reality check delivered with eff bombs flying from every direction. if you don’t like the “non non-sense” approach [or profanity] this book definitely isn’t for you. if you’re okay with it [and kinda embrace it, like i do]… read on.
for me, one of the biggest takeaways was that instead of focusing on not having problems and aiming for a life of perfection [because life isn’t perfect and there’s always gonna be sh*t to deal with] manson suggests asking yourself this:
what problem do you want to have?
life is about figuring out what is worth the struggle… what’s worth the pain, the heartbreak… what you want to fail at… what you want to have to pick yourself back up from, and try again and again and again until you get it right… failure and pain are the way to happiness and success, and you can’t have one without the other.
another thing that he touches on a lot is how caring about what other people think is the downfall of so many of us. we spend so much time and energy pursuing a certain career, dressing a certain way, doing this because we think so-and-so will like us more if we do, putting ourselves in situations we have no interest in being a part of because we feel obligated for whatever reason to do it… and sh*t like this is a giant waste of f*cking time.
why is it a giant waste of f*cking time? because, believe it or not, what other people think of us does not matter. if you’re not happy, if you’re not following your truth… then life makes zero. f*cking. sense. [sorry for all the eff bombs but this book just really fires me up!] so stop giving a f*ck about what you think you should be doing, and just go out and do what you want.
finally, the last point from his book that i wanted to touch on that really struck a chord for me can be summed up in this quote:
“you will have a growing appreciation for life’s basic experiences: the pleasures of simple friendship, creating something, helping a person in need, reading a good book, laughing with someone you care about.
sounds boring doesn’t it? that’s because these things are ordinary. but maybe they’re ordinary for a reason: because they are what actually matters.”
in conclusion, we all need to stop giving a f*ck about sh*t that doesn’t matter. society wants us to believe that our careers, our possessions, our “status” and our bank accounts are the most important things in our lives, but society is f*cking wrong. once we realize this and adjust our lives accordingly, we’ll be able to enjoy and truly appreciate the little things… the little things that make up most of the time in between the big things… and stop giving a f*ck about everything else.
if any of this has resonated with you… or you feel like you just need a kick in the ass to get your sh*tget the book right now together… and get ready to get real with yourself… and everyone in your life in the process.
let go: 2 little words with a big impact
last year, i read a book that completely changed my life: spirit junkie by gabby bernstein.
there were so many amazing takeaways from this book that i wouldn’t even know where to begin, but one message in particular really resonated and stuck with me… and is now the mantra that i live my life by [or at least try to… no one’s perfect, remember?]…
yep. that’s it. two little words. one short sentence. a simple meaning that can really go a long way.
i had been following gabby’s work for a while… listening to her webinars, reading her blog posts… but i had never actually picked up one of her books. i received spirit junkie for my birthday, and dove in not really knowing what to expect.
little did i know that i would eventually end up crediting this book with “changing my life” and introducing me to a concept that would become my “mantra”. but i am so happy that it did!
so, what does it mean to let go?
speaking from personal experience, i have anxiety… over just about everything. without going into detail, anxiety can impact pretty much every aspect of your life, and can be very hard to manage, especially when you feel justified in feeling the way you do.
so, when i was introduced to the concept of “letting go”… it resonated with me because it’s something i need to do with just about everything. i need to let go of insecurities, i need to let go of trying to please every one i meet, i need to let go of the need to be perfect, i need to let go of the fear of failure, i need to let go of all of the judgements i’ve placed on myself and my abilities, as well as those of others… i really could go on for days.
so, letting go, the act of releasing your expectations, and living your love from a place of love rather than fear, doesn’t mean that you just stop caring or trying… it doesn’t mean that you give up…
it just means that you trust the universe to get you where you’re going. it means that you trust the process of your life… recognize that everything that happens to you [both good + bad] can teach you a lesson. you still have to work hard, you still have to keep looking forward, but when you let go of anything that feels wrong, forced, or just isn’t making you happy, you open yourself up to miracles. and when you’re open to receiving miracles, the universe delivers.
and this is something you have to do every. single. day. you don’t just “let go” once and forget about everything. you have to keep doing it, which is why i purchased a my intent bracelet with these two little words on it.
i wear it every day, and it serves as a constant reminder to pause, take a deep breath, step back, and let go any time i feel like i’m getting caught up in the “what ifs” or “you’re nots”.
so… what do you need to let go of?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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 email@example.com… 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…
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