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…
twenty eight, feelin’ great
this past tuesday marked my 28th birthday, and i said this last year when i turned 27, but… twenty eight… seriously?!
just to backtrack for a minute… on may 10th, 2015, i was in l.a., hoping that my plan to leave new york for the best coast would end up working out… not knowing where i was going to live or work… how or if i was going to make new friends… and a year later, i’m here, working at a company i love, and surrounded by some of the most amazing people i’ve ever met… pretty. effing. insane.
last year i made a list of 27 things i’d learned in my 27 years on the planet, and this year i thought i would keep the tradition alive, but instead of 28 life lessons i thought i would list twenty eight things i’m grateful for. practicing gratitude has become a part of my morning routine over the past few months, and it just seemed fitting. so, here goes nothin’.
- for my family and friends, near and far. they are the most important things in my life, always and forever.
- that it doesn’t snow in l.a… ever.
- for my job at snacknation and all of the amazing people it has brought into my life.
- for my big girl apartment.
- that i no longer have to take public transportation… ever.
- for music, especially the way it brings people together.
- for the beach [where i could go every day if i wanted to.]
- for my morning routine, even though i over sleep from time to time and have no time to do it.
- that my hard work is paying off, even if it took longer than i thought it should have.
- for re-discovering my love of camping. seriously, my amazon cart is full of camping gear after going to joshua tree a few weeks ago.
- for blogging and having this creative outlet to do what i really love to do… write!
- for yoga.
- that leo finally won an oscar. about damn time.
- for puppies. still don’t have one of my own, but one of these days that’s going to change.
- for coffee. not sure how people make it by without it.
- that i broke up with the scale and haven’t looked back.
- that i took the leap and moved to l.a. i’ve never felt more at home.
- that i can workout outside all. year. round. [hello, hiking!]
- for the people in my life who call me out on my sh*t.
- for learning how to put myself out there.
- for being able to say that i’m making serious progress with mastering my mean girl.
- for pizza. never not grateful for pizza. and also grateful for margaritas.
- for the bad days. they make the good days even better.
- for weekends away when i can disconnect from social media and my phone… and reality.
- that i said “yes!” to almost everything for a while, but grateful that i’m starting to say “no” again.
- to be going to the u.k. in july with my family. nothing gets me excited quite like traveling does.
- that i’ve adopted the “i.d.g.a.f.o.s.” mindset. because there’s no point in being miserable.
- and last, but not least, i’m grateful for having another amazing year to look forward to!
pumping the brakes + disconnecting
today i want to talk about something that seems to be one of those things that we’re constantly reading and talking about, but not necessarily following through on. we see it everywhere… the idea of pumping the brakes, slowing down, and really enjoying life and living in the moment… but how often are we doing this?
it seems like we are constantly in a rush… a rush to get to the next task, the next event, the next day of the week, the next promotion, the next relationship, the next vacation… and we distract ourselves in those “in between” moments, often with things that don’t bring any real value to our lives, such as social media or television. and we’re doing this so much that we’re often missing some pretty important stuff along the way. [and listen, i enjoy social media and a good binge watch on netflix as much as the next person, but hear me out.]
a few weeks ago, i spent the weekend camping in joshua tree national park [i plan on blogging about this trip and my new obsession with camping soon, so stay tuned]. it was a group trip for a friend’s birthday, and i was going into it only knowing a few of the people who were going to be there. committing to a camping trip in a place you’ve never been with a bunch of people you don’t really know can be a little intimidating… factor in that you’re pretty far away from home and there is no cell phone service [aka no escape from moments where you maybe feel awkward or left out]… and yea, you could definitely say that i wasn’t sure how it would all pan out.
for those of you who aren’t familiar with joshua tree, it’s one of the national parks out here in socal, about 150 miles east of l.a. in the middle of the desert. the little towns that surround the park are exactly how you would imagine desert town to be, and within minutes of driving into the park, you find yourself in a dead zone.
the idea of being in a dead zone, without wifi or at least cell phone service for even a couple minutes freaks people out [remember those verizon commercials from years ago?]… let alone a whole weekend? forget it.
so, in the spirit of making a long story short: i went to joshua tree, disconnected from my day to day life for two days with a group of people i barely knew… and had one of the best weekends i’ve had in a while. i mean, look at this place!
we’re living in a world where being connected constantly is the expectation. cell phone service is one thing, but even having a wifi connection at places like the grocery store, bars and restaurants, or in a public park has become commonplace. and we all know that we’re spending wayyyyyyy too much time with our phones in our hands, mindlessly scrolling our social media feeds, and checking to see who has/hasn’t texted us… i mean, for crying out loud, we don’t even use our phones to actually talk to people anymore.
being in the middle of the desert without any kind of connection to the outside world was so refreshing. every single person on the trip was completely unreachable, which allowed us to interact and connect with one another the way human beings were meant to: with face to face conversation that isn’t being constantly interrupted by buzzing phones letting you know that someone, somewhere has sent you a message that is so trivial it can be said via text message instead of an actual phone call.
it was nice to look at my phone, see that there was less than 10% battery left and not have an anxiety attack about needing to charge it.
on top of all of this, i also noticed that i was rarely checking the time throughout the weekend. when you spend your days in front of a computer/phone screen, checking the time constantly becomes a habit. so, when you know that it’s impossible to have received a text or a facebook notification, you check your phone much less [if at all] and suddenly, time doesn’t matter anymore. you’re living in the moment, not fast-forwarding through it. you’re moving with the universe and the people you’re with in realtime… at a pace much slower than what you’re used to… and wow, does it feel good.
at the end of the weekend, i felt so rejuvenated and relaxed [even after a saturday night spent drinking pretty heavily… i mean, after all, there are some things i’m just not willing to get away from!] that the idea of heading back to the real world and getting reconnected actually made me a little sad, and i felt as if i was leaving a piece of myself behind in the desert [okay, yea, i know that’s cheesy a.f. but whatever, it’s true].
so, do you see the point i’m trying to make? whether you’re spending your weekends in dead zones, switching your phone to airplane mode for a few hours each day, or establishing a “no phones at dinner” rule [except to take food pictures, obviously], disconnecting from technology and slowing down is not only a good idea, it’s so important.
important for our relationships [all of them, with others and ourselves]… important for our sanity… and important for our self-worth and personal growth.
when we’re disconnected, we have no choice but to focus on what’s right in front of us… getting to know the people we’re with, acknowledging our insecurities, confronting personal problems we might be facing, whatever. we automatically slow down and take things moment by moment for what they are, and we don’t distract ourselves from what’s most important with things that are so trivial, yet have somehow managed to become a priority over everything else.
we also can’t engage in activities that make us feel sh*tty, such as comparing ourselves to the people on our instagram feeds who seem to have it all together [remember, it’s all a matter of perspective]. it’s pretty effing liberating.
so, i challenge you to come up with a way you can disconnected this week. for a society that lives and breathes in the digital space, disconnecting sounds terrifying… but in all honesty, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy going off the grid. even if it’s only for one hour, it’s something, and something is better than nothing. start small and see where it takes you. it’s always has been [and always will be] about those baby steps!
need a starting place? i wrote this post a looooongggg time ago about ditching your digital addiction… i’m still working on applying these tricks and staying consistent with them each day. it’s alway easier said than done, but getting started is the first step.
and personally, i’m committing to this 7-day smartphone detox, starting today. i want to make sure that i don’t lose sight of that feeling i had in joshua tree when i was completely disconnected, forced to the pump the breaks, and really just soak up the present moment.
3 reasons to implement a morning routine
i’m sure you’ve heard how important routines are to our health, and if you haven’t, let’s talk for a minute.
why do you think parents are so crazy about making sure their babies and kids are on some kind of a routine? because it’s good for them. both mentally and physically. when our minds and bodies know what to expect and when to expect it, they function more optimally. i’ve recently started to build up a morning routine, and while it’s not quite where i want it to be yet, it’s slowly becoming a habit and that’s all that matters … baby steps.
tomorrow is the beginning of october, and fall is a great time to get into new routines, especially when that colder weather starts changing our habits! here are 3 reasons you should start implementing a morning routine a$ap, and 3 ideas to get you started:
1. easing into the day sets a positive tone for the rest of it. we all know that feeling … our alarm goes off and wakes us up from a deep sleep and we hit snooze. and the alarm goes off again … and we hit snooze again. and again … and again. we wake up at the last possible minute, take a hurried shower, get dressed, throw our sh*t in a bag, inhale our breakfast and run out the door. sound familiar? starting our day off in a rush is going to set a pretty negative tone for the rest of it.
personally, i like to set my alarm for about 15 minutes earlier than i need to be up, and allow myself at least an hour to get ready so i don’t feel rushed. of course, this doesn’t always happen, but on the days it does, i feel so much better when i head out the door. what do i do with that extra 15 minutes?
tip #1: meditate! starting your day off with a quick 10-15 minute meditation can do wonders. it’s as easy as turning off your alarm, sitting on the edge of your bed, turning on some meditation music [i love krishna das] and zoning out and being completely still for a few minutes. studies have shown that meditation has a huge positive impact on how the brain fuctions, so it’s a great way to get you into the right headspace before beginning your day. if the idea of meditating freaks you out, this guided meditation from one of the sweetest souls i’ve ever met, cassandra bodzak, is perfect for getting started … and for a little extra motivation for going after your goals!
2. looking at your phone first thing in the morning is bad for your brain. it’s probably not new information that the light given off by our device screens seriously effs with our eyes and our brains. waking up and immediately trolling our instagram or facebook feeds isn’t going to help us ease into our day and will really confuse our brains that are trying to adjust to being awake again. when you don’t have a routine in place, it’s so easy to grab your phone, turn off the alarm and go straight to email, texts, twitter or whatever it is you’re into these days, so …
tip #2: buy an alarm clock … like, a real alarm clock. invest in a real alarm clock and put your phone facedown on your nightstand when you go to sleep the night before so you aren’t as tempted to wake up and check it immediately. i promise you, whatever it is, it can wait. try to go phone free for at least 30 minutes after waking up. this cloud alarm clock is fun, simple and gets the job done.
3. when we wake our bodies up in the right way, all of our systems start to regulate. sleep is something that our bodies need in order to function. sleep has a huge impact on all of our systems … digestive, lymphatic, circulatory … literally everything our bodies does requires sleep to do it right, but giving them a little jumpstart won’t hurt! how can we do this?
tip #3: wake up your system with skin brushing or give your metabolism a head start with hot lemon water! dry skin brushing [read all about it here] is a great way to wake up the lymphatic system first thing in the morning [i typically do this right before hopping in the shower as it’s also a way to exfoliate] and drinking a mug of hot water with the juice from half of a lemon [and maybe a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, turmeric and a splash of apple cider vinegar] before eating breakfast will give your metabolism a little boost after it’s been at rest overnight [the recipe for my daily detox drink is here].
getting started with something like this can be daunting, especially when we feel like we’re losing sleep. i highly recommend starting slow … that’s what i’ve been doing over the past few weeks and it’s working wonders!
go out and buy an alarm clock and start waking up just 5 minutes earlier than usual for the next week to meditate. for the week after, try 10 minutes, the following week, 15 and so on. once that’s feeling good, add skin brushing or hot lemon water … and keep building it up! the change doesn’t have to happen overnight [see what i did there?!] … as always, baby steps build habits, extremes don’t.
do you have any ideas for creating a morning routine that i didn’t mention here? share in the comments below!
photo courtesy of the design chaser
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