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    I’m Focusing on Skincare Right Now—This is My Current Favorite Product

    Having all of this time on my hands has encouraged me to delve into new hobbies. I started bullet journaling—complete with fancy pens and highlighters. I started doing my own manicures. I took a leadership class on Skillshare. And I’ve gotten neck-deep in skincare.Now, listen: I know I say the same “I’m lazy about skincare” line in every story like this, and it’s true. But I’ve always enjoyed it, nonetheless. I like knowing about what can make our skin tick, from what products and ingredients to use for different skin concerns to what’s trending in dermatologist offices, Sephora, and more. I might be more of a makeup girl, but any and all beauty products give me the buzz of excitement most people can only dream of. All of this to say, my skincare habits have definitely changed within the last few months, not only to keep up with stress acne, but as self-care in the morning and at the end of a long day.
    While making my dream skincare routine (which yes, I did put in my previously-stated bullet journal) a few months ago, I wanted to add a higher-potency vitamin C product to my morning routine. I had been using one from Dr. Loretta to ease into it, but I was ready to try something that would tackle my hyperpigmentation and dullness with a little more vigor. Maelove’s hero product, The Glow Maker Serum, stood out to me immediately.

    If you’ve lusted after some of the most popular vitamin C serums (Skinceuticals C E Ferulic and Ole Henrikson Truth Serum, for example), they all have a few things in common: a high vitamin C content with the addition of vitamin E and Ferulic Acid. Oh, and they’re all expensive AF. Maelove’s formula? It has all of those buzzy ingredients with a price tag under $30. 

    I’ve been using it pretty much daily (laziness doesn’t just go away overnight, people) for two months now, and I see all the hype and more. There’s a reason this product goes in and out of stock constantly: it works. 
    Vitamin C, E, and Ferulic Acid are a common pair in skincare—but why? In a 2005 study from Duke University Medical Center, ferulic acid paired with 15 percent L-ascorbic acid (AKA vitamin C) and 1 percent alpha-tocopherol (a type of vitamin E) “improved chemical stability and doubled photoprotection.” Other studies, such as one from Mount Sinai Medical Center’s Department of Dermatology in 2007, suggest that vitamin C and E are “synergistic,” meaning they work best when put together. Basically, all of this science-jargon to say: there’s weight in using these ingredients together, and the Maelove serum combines it all right there for you. 
    My skin has broken out on and off since I started using it (thanks, Retin-A!), but my scars are fading much faster than usual. My skin also feels smoother and just overall clearer—I might have a few active zits, but my face has clarity and looks brighter. My morning skincare routine is pretty bare-bones, but I still feel like my skin is prepped and ready for makeup or to just look good on its own. 
    After cleansing in the morning, I pat Glow Maker on my skin with my fingertips. It has a really thin, liquid consistency that goes on easily. It does make my face quite tacky, but once I apply moisturizer, that goes away. I immediately wash my hands because the vitamin C stains your palms almost like a self-tanner would. Then, I go over it with a moisturizer and sunscreen, and I’m good for the day!
    As far as the scent, I don’t notice it and find it to be very mild on the spectrum of horrible-smelling vitamin C serums.

    How it looks on the skin with a little moisturizer—this product has hyaluronic acid as well, so it really plumps the skin and makes it look VERY glowy (hence, Glow Maker). 

    It’s rare for me to like every single thing about a product (I’m a little critical, what can I say), but I really have no complaints about this serum. I’ve been pining after the Skinceuticals since my dermatologist recommended it, but the $166 price tag just isn’t in my budget. This Maelove serum has a really similar ingredient list for a mere quarter of the price. With over 6,300 reviews (most of them five stars!), many say it works as well if not better than the one over five times the price. With free shipping and returns, I mean, you really can’t go wrong.  More

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    The 15 Best Books for Your New Year’s Resolutions

    Even though New Year’s resolutions look a little different this year, it’s still the season for self-invention. The beginning of January means making new promises to ourselves, letting go of the past year, and, most importantly, reflecting on what we want out of the year ahead. And the best way to keep resolutions (instead of letting them trickle out by January 28 like most years)? Go all-in by indulging in a good book that offers concrete advice to reach your goals and become your best self. So to help you make resolutions that will stick (because we all deserve a win in 2021), we’ve rounded up the best books that will give you a much-needed dose of inspiration, optimism, and motivation. Whether your 2021 resolution looks more like running a marathon or just getting off the couch every once in a while (no judgment), these books will help you get there. 

    Sallie Krawcheck
    Own It: The Power of Women at Work

    This bestseller is basically the #1 career playbook for 2021. No matter your industry or where you’re at in your career, “Own It” is a powerful manual for a new set of rules to achieve professional success. Read if: your resolutions are career-focused.

    Mallika Chopra
    Living with Intent: My Somewhat Messy Journey to Purpose, Peace, and Joy

    Because sometimes resolutions aren’t about changing your life; they’re about changing your mindset. Use this book as your go-to for finding purpose, joy, gratitude, and balance. Read if: you’re done thinking about what your life could be, and instead want to appreciate where you are now.

    Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life

    Never feel like you have enough energy or time to accomplish all you want? Maybe your to-do list feels impossible to finish, or you give up on goals because you don’t have the time. Drawing on practical advice from the latest in business, psychology, and economics, this book proves you can accomplish everything you want. Read if: you feel like you’re always lacking time or energy.

    Laura Thomas, PhD
    Just Eat It: How Intuitive Eating Can Help You Get Your Shit Together Around Food

    Whether your nutrition resolution is to stop eating late-night pizza (right, like that’s going to happen!) or to get rid of outdated food rules, intuitive eating is the way to finally eat nourishing foods and achieve food freedom. “Just Eat It” is a life-changing read about trusting your appetite, listening to your body, and ditching diet culture once and for all. Read if: you’re sick of struggling with your relationship with food.

    Michelle Obama
    Becoming

    Because we would be remiss if we didn’t include our queen, Michelle Obama, on any list of life-changing books. “Becoming” is the inspirational memoir you’ve been looking for to motivate you to chase your dreams. Read if: you want to focus on New Year’s resolutions, but self-help books aren’t typically your thing.

    Barbara L. Fredrickson, PhD
    Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection

    This isn’t your average relationship book. Whether or not your resolutions have to do with your love life, Fredrickson argues that love is the secret to improving our physical and mental health. Oh, and FYI, she also argues that love is not about a romantic relationship (though it can be!). It’s about connection between all people, including strangers, coworkers, friends, and family members, so this book is for anyone (regardless of relationship status). Read if: you’re looking for a new perspective to change your health.

    BJ Fogg, PhD
    Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything

    No matter how big your resolutions or goals are, the secret to achieving them is in small changes. Fogg breaks down how exactly to achieve anything you want by starting small. For example, try two push-ups a day instead of aiming for a 60-minute workout, or take a deep breath whenever you get in your car instead of starting with a full meditation practice. Read if: you have some lofty resolutions you’re not sure how to achieve.

    Maxie McCoy
    You’re Not Lost: An Inspired Action Plan for Finding Your Own Way

    With step-by-step advice, thoughtful exercises, and real-life stories from McCoy and other inspirational women, “You’re Not Lost” is an inspiring action plan to get the life you want (and deserve!). Read if: 2020 made you feel lost, hopeless, or confused in any area of your life.

    James Clear
    Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

    No matter your 2021 resolutions, “Atomic Habits” offers a proven framework for changing your life by forming good habits, breaking bad ones, and mastering small behaviors that lead to massive transformation. Learn how to overcome a lack of motivation or willpower, get back on track when you fall off course, and design your schedule for success. Read if: your New Year’s resolutions typically don’t last past January.

    Ann Shoket
    The Big Life

    Sometimes just a few key changes can help you achieve everything you want in your career, finances, love life, and overall wellbeing. Or, at least, that’s what trailblazing editor-in-chief of Seventeen, Ann Shoket, argues in her self-help book and memoir packed with actionable guidance to living your best life. Read if: your resolution is to find more meaning in your life.

    Lalah Delia
    Vibrate Higher Daily: Live Your Power

    Looking for inspiration to tap into your inner power and become your best self? Instagram superstar, Lalah Deliah, put her self-help wisdom into this comprehensive book that teaches us that we have control over situations and our emotions. “Vibrating Higher Daily” helps you make intentional day-to-day choices that lift you out of mindsets, habits, and lifestyles that don’t serve you. Read if: you’re over physical resolutions and ready to transform your soul instead.

    Dan Harris
    10% Happier

    Dan Harris experienced a nationally televised panic attack that acted as a wake-up call to prioritize mental health and make some major changes in his life. Follow Harris on his quest for happiness as he explores spiritual practices, studies scientific research, and explains his own experiences to help you get 10 percent happier (and maybe a lot more). Read if: anxiety or stress levels are affecting your life.

    Gabrielle Bernstein
    Super Attractor: Methods for Manifesting a Life beyond Your Wildest Dreams

    Filled with tangible tools like the “Choose Again Method” for reframing negative thoughts and boosting your mood, “Super Attractor” is a more spiritual approach with essential tips to live in alignment with the universe to create the life that you want. Forget resolutions–start attracting the life you want right now. Read if: your resolutions include getting more in touch with yourself. More

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    10 Ways to Up Your Dating Game in 2021

    Dating is always tough to navigate: what do you text back, who pays the check, and why is it so hard to meet normal people!? But dating during lockdown is a whole new set of difficulties: the old rules of dating no longer apply, our go-to date spots are closed, and we totally forgot how to do our makeup (nope, just me?). But lockdown or not, you deserve a fulfilling life, fun ways to meet new people, and to actually enjoy dating (because no one should have Charlotte’s dating exhaustion). 

    We all say it every year, but 2021 can truly be the year you reach all of your goals (#newyearnewme, right?). No matter what’s going on in the world, this year can be a golden opportunity if you’re looking for love (or, you know, just looking to go on dates that don’t suck). Here are 10 ways to not only date in 2021, but to totally up your dating game, achieve a fulfilling love life, and find a happy relationship (no matter how serious you’re looking for). Read on for romantic success by 2022:

    1. Appreciate how dating is different now
    Maybe you’re getting Zoom-date fatigue, or maybe you’ve kept your dating life on hold since the stay-at-home order hit. However, a global pandemic and social distancing restrictions don’t have to harm your love life. In fact, they could even be beneficial. For example, dating during a pandemic means focusing on an emotional connection first, since the physical connection and new-relationship excitement isn’t possible. You can get to know who someone is without spending time and energy doing the actual dating. Slower connections are a new kind of intimacy (plus it’s more foreplay, you know?), unsexy topics like who pays the bill is off the table (literally), and staying at home is an opportunity to get to know each other with fewer distractions. In other words, 2021 brings a lot of potential for your love life–not in spite of the pandemic, but because of it. 

    2. Keep all options open
    Many of us have this idea that we need a movie-worthy meet-cute when finding a soulmate. But closing yourself off to any meeting that isn’t locking eyes across a crowded bar or running into a long-forgotten high school sweetheart from back home (Hallmark Channel style) limits your chances. And during a lockdown? Your chances are next to nothing. Despite what Hollywood has us believe, we can meet worthwhile people anywhere. You could meet your ideal partner over a Zoom meeting, at an online singles event, in an elevator, at the park walking your dog, or yes, on a dating app. The more options you keep open, the higher your chances of meeting people that you’ll enjoy being around. Instead of a “meet-cute,” try to find the dating apps or methods that feel right for you, and be open to any possibility.

    Source: @ashbegash

    3. Be ready for “the talk”
    No, not the “seeing other people” talk, or even the STD talk (although I urge you to have those conversations as well). I’m talking about the global pandemic talk. It may be awkward, but being on the same page about COVID safety and social distancing practices is crucial to make dating safe and enjoyable. Make sure you’re connecting with people who are taking the same safety precautions that you are and be open and honest about what you’re comfortable with. If an in-person date is on the table, let them know exactly how you’re staying safe, and what you expect from them to feel safe being together.
    As weird as the conversation might feel, one of the good things about dating in a pandemic is that you have to be more intentional and selective about who you spend your time with. Having an open and honest dialogue not only keeps you safe and worry-free, but lays the foundation for a trustworthy relationship. 

    4. Forget prerequisites
    Many of us have extensive prerequisite checklists before even considering going on a first date. Maybe you want someone who is exactly like you, whether it’s interests, religion, or background. Maybe you’re not looking twice at people who have a certain dating history, are over a certain age, or own a cat (because you’re way more of a dog person). 
    While shared values are crucial and compatibility is often determined by similarities, try getting to know someone before making assumptions based on your prerequisites. The only “prerequisites” you need are your non-negotiable values, like kindness, integrity, and humor. Otherwise, base opinions on how you feel, not off of a checklist. Pay attention to the person in front of you, and try not to project a narrative or assign meaning to traits before you even know the person. Ask questions, and genuinely care about why someone is the way they are before determining whether or not they are for you.

    Source: @missenocha

    5. Cut it off with the “maybes,” already!
    Do you have an ex that has been hanging around for years, or a f*ckboy that’s been messing with your head? What about those people you text when you’re feeling lonely or bored, or who you think you might be interested in someday (keyword: might)? I call these people the “maybes:” the exes, previous dates, and “it’s complicated” relationships that didn’t work out the first time around, but you keep their number in your phone “just in case,” or are hoping something will change.
    There’s a lot of reasons we stick around with people we know are not good for us. Maybe they’re a security blanket, maybe we’re lonely, or maybe we’re seeking external approval. But no matter the reason the wrong person is in your life, as soon as you realize they’re not the one for you, that should be the end of it, not the beginning of the end. Now, if you have a friend with benefits (you don’t have feelings for) or love flirty-texting that hot coworker, you do you, girl. But those people you go to out of loneliness, comfortability, or insecurity? They’re just holding you back. Know what you deserve, be honest with yourself, and don’t settle. Bonus tip: unfollow on social media. Just do it!

    7. Visualize your best self
    Dating highlights our biggest insecurities: we overanalyze what we say over text or Tinder, try on 15 different outfits (even if the date is just on Zoom), and maybe even expect the worst and prepare to be ghosted or for the date to go bad. Sound familiar? To cure pre-date anxieties, try visualizing the best version of yourself. Are you confident, comfortable, or friendly? How would the most confident you act on this date? What would you wear? Would you even care about what you wear? Remind yourself that you are the catch that your date is trying to impress, not the other way around. Even if you don’t feel confident or calm, the simple act of visualizing your best self can help you relax, and enjoy the date instead of getting in your head.

    Source: @missalexlarosa

    6. Remember that “no” is not a dirty word
    In fact, it’s one of the most important words in your dating vocabulary. Especially as women, we’re taught to be likable and easy-going on dates, and we focus more on how to be liked than whether or not we actually like them (but more on that below). You know what we should vow to end in 2021? Going on dates we’re not excited about, texting back people we don’t like, or not vocalizing what we want and need in our relationships to protect other people’s egos. Overall, let’s work on saying “no” when we want to say no. Compromise and empathy are crucial in relationships, but so is respect for each other’s wants and needs. Communicating what you don’t want should be just as easy as what you do. If it’s not, this person doesn’t respect you or care about you as much as they say they do. Thank you, next.

    7. Use alone time to your advantage
    While 2020 was a lonely year for many of us, being alone has allowed us to turn inward, explore our truest desires, and get to know ourselves better. When we know ourselves and what we want, our dating lives become more fulfilling, successful, and fun. Think about it: we’ve grown a lot, started new hobbies or hustles, and got to know our likes and dislikes in 2020. Even an abundance of alone time can be invested to understand what we want out of a partner. Plus, scary times make people crave connection, and hitting pause on all normalcy helps you let go of the habits, traits, or dating rules that are no longer serving you. Not only have you been subconsciously preparing yourself for a more successful dating life, but any potential partners have too.

    8. Ditch outdated rules
    Let me go on a quick tangent about a few outdated dating rules that we really should ditch, like, yesterday. To start, my least favorite of all dating rules are “don’t kiss on the first date” and the “three-date rule.” Let’s just throw out any rules that imply that what you want to do with your body, and when you want to do it, is not up to you. Make your own rules based on comfortability and what you’re feeling. 
    Next up: playing hard to get or waiting for the other person to make the first move. Besides outdated gender roles, these “rules” come from the idea that whoever cares less in the relationship is the one who has the most power. But should love be about power? It’s OK to care; we’re supposed to care about each other. So what does it matter if you “come on too strong” or “care more?” Be true to your feelings and what you want. Oh, and making the first move can save us a lot of time wondering if they like us back. It’s 2021: we’re starting side hustles, prioritizing our health, and smashing glass ceilings. Ain’t nobody got time to wait around for a phone call. 

    Source: @cmcoving

    9. Focus on finding out what you want
    Dating is supposed to be about finding what you want, not becoming what someone else wants. Some people will like you and some people won’t. Whether or not someone wants to pursue a relationship or a second date with you has nothing to do with how likable you are, but has to do with compatibility. And I think we can all agree there are many people we wouldn’t mind being incompatible with. Prioritize what you want in a partner by making a list of non-negotiable qualities or values you want, and stop yourself from getting caught up in what a relationship or person could be. Instead, ask yourself if you genuinely enjoy each person you’re talking to, and whether or not they deserve you. 

    10. Know that dating is supposed to be enjoyable (and stop if it isn’t)
    Repeat after me: dating should be fun. It should not feel forced, boring, painful, or sad. If it’s not enjoyable, you’re either putting too much pressure on each date, feeling self-conscious about dating, or focusing on the wrong things. Remember that dating is not intended to have only one outcome. Every experience–whether it’s a Zoom date, Tinder conversation, or a few months of dating–brings you closer to clarity.
    The purpose of going on dates, talking to new people, and opening yourself up to meet someone new is not to feed your ego, affirm insecurities, or to find a soulmate ASAP. The purpose is to collect information that will bring you closer to a happy, fulfilling life, and to have a good time along the way. Bottom line: it should be fun meeting new people, whether or not a second date follows (yes, really!). If it’s not, take a break from dating to reflect on what you’re really looking for in your dating life.
     
    How are you updating your dating game this year? More

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    6 Things to Do This Month to Kick off Your New Year Right

    After a very trying year that was shaped by a global pandemic that halted our personal and professional lives, we are all cautiously optimistic for a brand-new year in 2021 after the holiday season. For many, the only New Year’s resolution is for a more pleasant year than last. The top of a new year brings on new chances to improve yourself, reset, or simply take a break after a stressful, eventful year’s past. Even though there’s no surefire way on how to start a new year off right, here are a few ways you can usher in a new year this month to strive to be your happiest and healthiest.  

    1. Prioritize your health 
    After a stressful year for all, your physical, mental and emotional health at the top of another year should take priority in order to kick off your new year right, as your overall health is crucial in getting through another year. Whether you’ve sought out help in 2020 or are still trying to prioritize your health in the middle of a pandemic, your overall health is important and should not be ignored in the new year.
    Make time to assess your health mentally and physically and schedule time to seek out resources and small ways to help you kick start your year with the help you need. Whether you are looking to be more physically active or to better yourself mentally by attending therapy, use the top of the year to focus on ways you can be healthier holistically. 

    2. Consider switching up your daily routine 
    If you’ve been looking to start and end your day more positively, the beginning of a new year is a great time to switch up or refresh your daily routine. A healthy daily routine improves your productivity and your mood throughout the day and keeps you focus and grounded as you move throughout your day. 
    Establish a daily routine that meets your needs by evaluating what makes you happy throughout the day, whether it’s finding time to meditate, spending time with your partner, your family, or your pet, or having time to pamper yourself in the mornings or evenings with your beauty routine. Identify what brings you joy and make it a priority to incorporate it throughout your day. 
    If you already have a daily routine, refresh what it looks like and be more mindful of prioritizing yourself first, avoiding just “getting through” your day robotically. A new year is a great time to shake up your schedule and make room for yourself and new, healthy practices that will carry on throughout the year. 

    3. Find an accountability partner for your new year’s goals
    The new year brings on resolutions and goal-setting to ensure a productive year ahead. If you need that extra push to get you going, identify a friend or your partner to hold you accountable to reach your goals. Having an accountability partner helps you put your goals into perspective and holds you to reach them. 
    Your accountability partner can also remind you to show yourself more grace and patience throughout the year, as the effort to reach New Year’s resolutions can make us harder on ourselves. Find someone who is not only your coach, but your cheerleader and confidant who can remind you to press forward, but to also take a break and reset when your expectations are weighing heavily on you. 

    4. Check in on family and friends 
    We have all been through a tumultuous year, so make sure to check in on family, friends, and loved ones in the new year to express your gratitude for them and to give yourself some joy as well. Positive relationships with family and friends help us get through rough times but also helps us celebrate good ones, so start your new year off right by cultivating and prioritizing those relationships before the year picks up. 
    If you can’t physically spend time with family and friends due to the pandemic, schedule some Zoom time or even just a quick phone call or text to let them know you’re thinking about them as the year gets started. If there’s anything 2020 has taught us, is that everyone is going through a struggle that you may or may not know about, so connecting with your loved ones can help them get through the beginning of the year and the end of another. 

    5. Practice gratitude 
    Ring in the New Year practicing gratitude this year, which helps boosts your mood and refocuses your attention on positivity versus the challenges of the past year. Practicing gratitude helps put another year in perspective, helping you usher in another year on a positive note and being thankful for the year behind. It also helps you reflect on the good in your life rather than the negative, looking ahead in an optimistic, more productive way. 
    You can practice gratitude in a variety of ways to start to your year. Here are a few great ways to practice gratitude at the beginning of the year: 
    Give back monetarily or volunteer your time to an organization or charity that could use some assistance in the new year 
    Practice mindfulness by using meditation as a guide to stay present and aware of yourself and your mental health going into another year 
    Write down what you’re grateful for from the past year by either journaling or making a simple list to recognize your own hard work and perseverance
    Treat yourself to an at-home spa day, give yourself a gift, or spend the day resting to show yourself some appreciation 
    Express your gratitude for someone else by sending them a gift or kind words to start their new year off with appreciation 
    Gratitude is all about appreciating who you are, what you have, and loved ones around you in the moment; celebrate a new year by giving thanks to yourself each day. 

    6. Give yourself a moment to rest 
    We all need a little break mentally and emotionally from the whirlwind that was 2020. Give yourself a much-needed break at the top of the year and find some time to wind down and rest, putting aside the hustle and bustle (and stress) of what a new year brings. 
    Before ringing in the New Year with a mound of work, New Year’s resolutions, and a host of productive tasks to jump-start your year, give yourself permission to rest before overexerting yourself too early. Rest and relaxation is just as important to your overall health as productivity and goal-setting. If available, carve out some time before jumping back into the swing of things after celebrating the New Year to relax and focus on self-care. Whether you hop right back in the bed to get some much-needed sleep, or binge your favorite TV show or Netflix movie, give yourself some time to decompress to refocus your New Year’s energy on yourself first. This downtime will help you jump start another year at your best physically, and most importantly, mentally.  

    How do you plan to start your new year off the right way? More

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    Every Hack I’m Actually Trying to Get Healthier in 2021

    I started 2020 pretty strong. I went to my gym about four days a week. I was trying new recipes. I started a bullet journal. I felt very prepared to take on the next decade of my life. And yada yada, one thing led to another, and here I was, July 2020, and I, like many others, had fallen off. For the record, there was a global pandemic, but I wasn’t doing so hot. I reignited myself, made some updated goals that fit the times, and went on my merry way. I’m here to say: I feel 100 times better now than I did then, and I’m carrying that same fervor into the new year. But I’ll be the first to admit: health “trends” are not my jam. I need something that’s going to stick. I don’t want to completely overhaul my life and routine, and I’ll never dare give up socializing over food and alcohol. So, what’s a girl to do? Here are the health hacks I’m actually planning to implement into my life in 2021. 

    1. “32 Before Brew”
    I saw this on Instagram a while ago, and it has changed my life; however, after the holiday season, I’m sure I’ll need to reassign this goal to myself. Basically, it’s the idea that you drink 32 ounces of water before you drink your cup of coffee in the morning, which I found genius. It’s an easy, pretty straightforward concept, but I love that it gets me drinking water first thing, and it reminds me to keep drinking water after I’ve had my coffee. If I don’t drink water during the workday, it’s so hard to catch up and drink enough later, and this keeps me accountable all day, starting with the morning.

    Source: @lolaomonaija

    2. Controlling volume instead of portions
    I will never be someone who eats like a bird. If I’m eating a meal, I’m eating a meal; that’s all I’m going to say. But adjusting portion sizes is often a recommended hack for being able to still enjoy all the foods you love without eating in excess. Instead, I’m opting to try focusing on the volume of food I’m consuming versus how much. I can eat an entire plate of pasta, but I also want to bulk up the meal with protein, a side salad, and a big glass of water. I feel fuller, faster, and it builds my meals upon nutrients rather than going into it controlling how much I’m eating, which can often lead me to disordered eating. If I want to go get McDonald’s, I’ll drink a lot of water and add extra veggies or protein to my cheeseburger (highly recommend—one of the best hacks I’ve ever seen is asking for double meat and splitting the sandwich in half to eat two open-faced sandwiches!). 

    3. Finding alternatives to the foods I crave
    If I tell myself that I can’t have pizza or pasta or chips, it’s all I’ll want, and it’ll lead to a binge. Always. No foods are “bad,” so I can easily find or make alternatives to my favorites that feel better (and sometimes taste better too!). Currently, I’m loving MyBizzyKitchen’s healthier pizza dough recipe, I’ve swapped regular chips for baked versions (Peetos are my current favorite spicy chip alternative!), and I’m using the above hack to enjoy pasta and other foods that are easy to overindulge in. 

    Source: @gabbywhiten

    4. Creating “ceremony” in the evenings
    Mental health is important as well, and it’s especially necessary to create goals around this too. A therapist once recommended creating “ceremony” around normal day-to-day routines as a way to reorient your brain into a specific task and make these feel like an event more than another thing to tick off your to-do list. 
    One way I want to practice this is through working from home and separating my workday from my evening. When the clock strikes 6 p.m., I’m closing the computer, lighting a candle, drinking something other than water (see the next tip!), and reading 30 pages of a book, or maybe I’ll watch a YouTube video or an episode of a show. (As long as it’s not work or scrolling on my phone, I’m game!) I want to create a ceremony, or a ritual, around ending the workday. When I light the candle next to my bedside, it’s time to finish work for the night. 

    5. Swapping to a different drink in the evening
    Drinking water is not my strong suit. I have to really force myself to stay hydrated, especially working from home because it’s easy to sit at my desk and not fill up my water bottle all day. So, I’m taking a slightly different approach to fixing that problem this year, and it’s allowing myself to drink anything but water in the evenings. Don’t get me wrong, I will still drink water with dinner, to take my medicine before bed, or just simply to sip throughout the night. But right after work ends, whether I’m hankering for a bubbly soda, sparkling water, or an adult libation, I’m letting myself have it instead of forcing myself to stick to water only. It encourages me to stick to water as much of the day as I can, but I know I can “indulge” with something else to change it up.

    Source: @theplussizedprep

    6. Create challenges for workouts
    Motivating yourself to workout at home when the gym isn’t an option is hard. Why would I push hard if no one can see me? Why would I create or follow a routine if I don’t have to? There’s nothing holding me back from stopping in the middle of a workout just because I don’t feel like it. So to keep myself motivated and inspired, I’m creating challenges for myself. I’ll tell myself to work out three times a week, and then after I do that for four weeks straight, I push it to four days a week. Maybe I’ll try to do yoga every day for seven days straight, and then the next week I focus on doing 20 minutes of cardio a day. Making these small, reachable goals every week rather than some overarching goal of “work out more” is much easier to follow and accomplish.

    7. Keep your phone in another room while sleeping 
    I can’t be the only one who wakes up in the middle of the night, checks their phone, and ends up staying awake for way too long because I end up scrolling for no reason at all. I really try to limit how much I use my phone before bed, but if I keep it next to me, I’ll inevitably use it any time I wake up (including first thing in the morning). By keeping it away from my bed, I’d have to get up to grab my phone if I want to use it, and when I’m half-asleep at 4 a.m., that’s unlikely to happen. Prioritizing better sleep is a major goal of mine in 2021, and I’m trying this first!
    This hack also might help me hit snooze less because I’ll have to get up to turn the alarm off. Win-win!

    Source: @crystalinmarie

    8. Add movement into every part of your routine
    If starting from no workouts to five a week feels daunting (for one, it is!), try just adding different forms of movement into every part of your day. Turn on some music (maybe a glass of wine!), and dance around the kitchen while you cook dinner. Maybe you do some stretches from the couch while watching your favorite show. You could try setting a timer during the day to get up and get more water and move around for 10 minutes. You don’t have to follow an eight-week intense HIIT program to feel the benefits of moving your body more, and finding small ways to add that in (especially while working from home) is beneficial too. More

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    13 Ways to Cleanse Your Life

    Sure, you’ve heard of (and probably dread) spring cleaning, when you change the pillows, flip the mattress, and deep clean your bathroom, but we also stan a cleaning at the end of the year that cleanses more than just the home. Take a cue from nature: the trees are shedding their leaves, so why shouldn’t we? The end of 2020 is the perfect time to let go of physical, mental, and emotional toxins. So what’s the best way to clean up your life during a time where we’re always distracted, on-the-go, stressed, or busy? Try these 13 holistic challenges simultaneously, or tackle one challenge every day to Marie-Kondo your health, wellbeing, and entire life.
    1. Simplify your diet
    When it comes to cleansing nutrition, a juice cleanse doesn’t have to be your go-to. Instead of opting for a totally different diet, simplify your diet. Focus less on frozen meals, processed products, or a plethora of sauces, dressings, and dips, all of which have a multitude of ingredients. Instead, prioritize whole foods that come from the earth, not a factory. Make sure the majority of your grocery cart is from the produce section or full of whole foods like beans, lentils, rice, or quinoa. Make meals more flavorful with whole ingredients like herbs, spices, olive oil, or apple cider vinegar. Yes, you might be opting for processed foods as a way to simplify your life and make meal time easier, but trust me, a few fresh, whole ingredients is way simpler than an ingredients list that you can’t pronounce. 

    Source: @ariellelorre

    2. Refresh your personal finance
    Money is not just something you make and then spend; it’s your life’s energy force. Think about it: money is an exchange of value for the effort and energy we give about 40 hours every single week. Take a look at your bank accounts and credit card statements to reevaluate how you’re spending your life’s energy. Does it really bring you joy to go to drinks with the friend you don’t have fun with or to buy the top you’ll never end up wearing? Managing money based on what does and doesn’t bring you joy will reduce stress that comes with spending money on the vacations, items, and experiences that you truly love.
    If money is a consistent source of stress for you and you feel like you’re always coming from a “lack” energy instead of an abundance energy, try cleansing your spendings. Temporarily cancel recurring charges, increase your savings by five percent, order out less, or designate certain days of the week where you won’t spend any money. With the money you do save, consider investing it in yourself: get the gym membership, purchase that online course, or put more into your savings account for future you. The more money you put into something, the more likely you are to make it a priority. 

    3. Limit stress and clear out negative emotions 
    You’ve probably heard of a juice detox, but what about an emotional detox? Sometimes we need a little extra focus on removing impurities in the mind, too. The goal of an emotional detox is not to totally totally get rid of negative emotions (ups and downs are a part of being human, after all), but rather to clear out emotions that are stagnant and no longer serving us. Try recording negative emotions, coming up with a plan of action when negative emotions come up, or go on a full-on complaint cleanse. Since a big (unavoidable) piece of mental health is stress, prioritize cleansing that too. Limit stress by scheduling breaks and downtime into your calendar, forgive yourself (and others) for making mistakes, and incorporate CBD to limit day-to-day or chronic stress (bonus tip: try any of the products from Equilibria, which is our very favorite for stress relief). 

    Source: @kelclight

    4. Reassess your relationships
    Whether online or in real life, unfollow toxic people that drain your energy instead of lift you up. Make a list of the people you come in contact with most often, including friends, roommates, family, coworkers, etc., and ask how you feel being with each person. I don’t know who needs to hear this, but you should only be giving your precious energy and time to people who are deserving. That means people you’re proud to be around, people who bring you joy, and people who make you feel loved. If you find that some unavoidable people don’t fall into this category (like a jealous coworker or a toxic family member), you can still consciously decide to give them less thought and energy, even if they still require your time. 

    5. Designate a tech-free space
    Sadly, technology is a big part of cleansing because it’s a big part of our lives. While tech is often unavoidable (we need to make a living somehow, you know?), try to designate one space in your home that’s tech-free. Try the bedroom, kitchen table, or corner where you keep a yoga mat and meditation pillow to create one space in your home where Netflix, Instagram, and Slack are not allowed. Having this tech-free space will remind you to have some “off” time every day, whether it’s during dinner with your significant other, while meditating and working out, or right before bed.

    Source: @the_stables_

    6. Cleanse your social media
    If it tickles your fancy, take a social media detox and delete all the life-sucking apps (sorry, was that dramatic?) from your phone for a designated period. However, also be mindful of how you can keep your social media habits cleansed, even after the detox is over. Utilize the mute or unfollow button for accounts that don’t inspire you, stop checking your phone first thing in the morning, and turn off all notifications. Yes, I said “all.” When your notifications are on, whether it’s a like on Instagram or an iMessage, you’re no longer in charge of your own life and habits. The phone buzzes or lights up to tell you when it’s time to check your texts or Instagram feed, instead of being able to choose when is best for you to check your phone. 
     
    7. Donate “excess” clothes
    You knew that organization would come into a life cleanse at some point (or you would if you binged Get Organized with The Home Edit in a day as I did). In my opinion, the closet is the most important space to start with, as it’s often a representation of what we need to let go of. For example, donate or sell clothes that don’t fit. Period. Holding onto items you hope you’ll fit into one day is only stopping you from loving, accepting, and dressing for who you are right now. Also, in the most Mario-Kondo fashion ever, get rid of what doesn’t spark joy. Even your clothing items should bring value to your life: a cozy sweater that keeps you warm, a sparkly necklace that makes you happy, a nice bra that makes you feel sexy, or a dress that reminds you of that shopping trip you took with your mom. If they don’t, time to make room for something that will. 

    Source: @waityouneedthis

    8. Refine decision making 
    We make a lot of decisions every single day, even just within the first few minutes of waking up: whether or not to hit snooze, what to wear (which is approximately 100 different decisions), and when to turn on the coffee pot. The little decisions add up to feel so overwhelming that we become unable to make even the most basic decision. Decision fatigue is real, people! To keep up with healthy habits and improve your overall wellbeing, limit decision making as much as possible and reduce decision fatigue. Meal prep all your lunches, sign up for online workout classes in advance (or put a workout in your calendar), do the dishes right after dinner without the choice to do them later, and try a go-to outfit formula so you don’t have to think about what to wear. 

    9. Get sweaty
    The word “detox” has basically lost its meaning since it has become one of the most over-used buzzwords in the wellness space. However, there’s one sneaky method that can actually help the body get rid of toxins, and guess what: it’s not a juice cleanse. “The primary detox organs are the liver and kidneys, but sometimes they’re not able to get rid of certain toxins,” Jeffrey Morrison, MD, told Well + Good.  “What doesn’t leave gets stored, so the body gets rid of it through a secondary system, which is sweat.”
    That’s right: the embarrassing stuff you try to prevent with antiperspirant and prevents you from going straight to work after a hot yoga class can help your body rid itself of toxins. Add “detoxing” to the long list of reasons to exercise. If you’re not exercising regularly or prefer low-impact workouts that don’t break a sweat, try taking a steam shower or finding a sauna near you. 

    10. Spend time in silence
    When’s the last time you actually sat in silence and did nothing? Yes, I mean without the TV on or Instagram pulled up on your phone. Sitting in silence is one of the most crucial and effective things we can do to declutter the mind. Think of it like plugging your phone in the charger when its battery is running low; when the brain is always on, it never gets a chance to shut off. Cozy up on the couch and stare at the fireplace, spend two minutes taking in every scent, sight, and smell, sit on a park bench and take in the scenery, or try meditation. The more uncomfortable sitting in silence is, the more you probably need it. 

    Source: @aroundthewaygyrl

    11. Reassess your schedule
    That’s right: you can (and should!) detox your schedule too. Try looking through a few days or a week of your planner to get a better understanding of what you’re doing all day, every day. If you don’t schedule and plan out every second of your entire life like I do (how does anyone live without an overly detailed planner!?), consider tracking every activity and task for a couple of days to get a good understanding of how you spend your time. Include everything from work projects to a five-minute Instagram scroll. Once you know exactly how you’re spending your day or week, reassess what’s really worth your time and energy. Find the pockets of time that feel like a waste (looking at you, TikTok scroll), and reassess how you can fill that time differently to make you happier or calmer. 

    12. Get some indoor plants
    You don’t have to have an inherent green thumb to know that plants bring, attract, and give off good energy. It’s believed that they ease stress, purify the air, boost creativity, and help increase productivity. In other words, having a plant in your home or workspace can simultaneously cleanse stress levels, your work quality, and the air. BRB, my apartment is about to become a forest. Don’t have much of a green thumb? Click here for how to keep your indoor plants alive, or check out these houseplants that you won’t kill (promise!). And if you’re really not about that plant-life, some affordable fake plants couldn’t hurt (if nothing else, they’ll look really in your home!).

    13. Detox your sleep 
    I like to say that everything starts in the bedroom. Get your mind out of the gutter–not like that (although that might be true too). I mean that sleep is one of the most crucial elements to our overall wellbeing. Thanks to factors like stress at work, overexposure to light, and Netflix binges (curse you, Love is Blind!), more people than ever are relying on coffee to get through their day (forget about optimizing health). To fully achieve a cleansed life, you need to regularly get 7-9 hours of quality sleep a night. If you’re not waking up refreshed and staying energized throughout the day, your sleep (or lack thereof) might be to blame. Detox your sleep routine by limiting light in the evenings, perfecting your sleep environment, and stick to a sleep schedule. 

    How do you cleanse your life? More

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    HOLY SH*T: Our Favorite Wellness Brand Is Having a 50% off Sale This Week

    This week is kind of like purgatory: the stress of gifting and excitement over Christmas is over, but the what-am-I-going-to-do-on-NYE stress and will-I-actually-stay-awake-until-midnight question still loom ahead of us. Getting any work done feels like a joke, and without the ability to go anywhere and see anybody, this week just feels like a waiting game. But this is actually a very important time we can all use to spend on ourselves: prioritizing self-care, spending free time in fulfilling ways, and buying ourselves gifts that will make us feel good.Our CBD go-to and favorite self-care brand, Equilibria, must have gotten the memo on “self-care week” too. Equilibria has been an Everygirl favorite for a while now: Maddie takes the soft gels for stress-relief, Abigail swears she sleeps better after taking a bath with the bath bombs, and I can’t get enough of the treatment oil to soothe inflammation and dry skin. If you’ve been interested in trying CBD, looking to add some more stress-relief into your life, or made your New Year’s resolutions to be treating yo’self more in 2021, now is your chance. 

    Source: @equilibriawomen

    From December 26 through December 31, Equilibria is giving the ultimate gift of high-quality products at a discounted price; score 50 percent off all new subscriptions to kick off 2021 with a bang (or more like a relaxing, self-indulgent, and restorative nudge). That’s right: you can finally try the products our team loves and uses every day, for a fraction of the price. Pro tip: we always recommend subscribing anyway, so you won’t have to remember to refill. And trust me, you will want to refill.

    offer ends 12/31/20

    Equilibria
    The Brilliance Box

    The Brilliance Box includes Daily Drops for fast-acting, targeted relief, Daily Softgels for a sustained-release, and topical Relief Cream for local discomfort, so you’re getting everything you need.

    Equilibria
    Daily Treatment Oil

    This luxurious oil renews skin to calm inflammation, hydrate, and nourish. The perfect fix to dry winter skin!

    Equilibria
    Mindful Mineral Soak

    With over 30 nourishing minerals, this powerful bath soak uses gardenia and jasmine aromatic oil blends along with calming CBD to purify and destress.

    Source: @equilibriawomen

    Equilibria
    Daily Softgels

    Perfect for all-day balance, Daily Softgels are a slow-release product, resulting in long-lasting effects.

    Equilibria
    Balance Bath Bombs

    The perfect gift for yourself: add to a bath when you need an extra dose of relaxation and self-care. You’ll feel instant relief and have your best sleep that night.

    Source: @eacourts | @equilibriawomen

    Equilibria
    Daily Drops

    Use Daily Drops to help increase feelings of calm and balance throughout the day. Perfect for targeted, fast-acting results.

    Equilibria
    Relief Cream

    A topical cream that works deep into muscles to soothe aches, pains, and even period cramps.

    Equilibria
    Mindful Mineral Soak

    With over 30 nourishing minerals, this powerful bath soak uses gardenia and jasmine aromatic oil blends along with calming CBD to purify and destress.

    As per FDA guidelines, Equilibria CBD is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease or ailment. As always, consult with your physician before starting any new program that may interact with your current health plan.

    This post is sponsored by Equilibria, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board. More