The Power of the Mind

Our mind’s potential is underestimated. While our actions are essential and ultimately influence whether or not we achieve our goals, I strongly believe that everything begins with our thoughts. Former research has shown that actions can influence how we think, which is true. However, I also believe our thoughts and actions are clearly inextricably connected. So, which one comes first?

Based on personal experience, I believe it all begins with the mind. Moving to New York and not having a support system in the city was tough. I moved here from my hometown of Atlanta. While I love New York a million times better than Atlanta, it was hard not having my friends or family, so falling into a state of depression was easier than ever. A continuous cycle of rough patches. Mainly in the winter. Ha, seasonal depression is a thing. My life was the following: I would wake up, work for 9 to 10 hours, go back home and watch Netflix – that was my life. I stopped working out, which use to be one of my passions. I had no motivation to go out and make new friends. Literal depression. I would tell myself that I wanted to leave New York and blamed the city for my problems, as so do a lot of people.

I want to stress that your problems are nobody’s fault but your own. It’s not your boyfriends, your shitty friend’s fault or where you live . It’s yours. As simple as this is, it took me a while realize that. I knew I needed to make a change in my life and knew it started with my thoughts, which included not letting other people’s perception ruin my own. If I had friends that were having horrible experiences with the city, why let that ruin my thoughts or perceptions of my own life? If I was “depressed”, why make the decision to drop everything and leave? Was leaving going to solve my issues? Didn’t really think so. I had so many positive things to focus on and had no real reasons to be depressed. Going through a rough time doesn’t necessarily mean you’re depressed. It just means you’re living life. Literally. Life is full of rough moments, but that’s where we grow and learn the most.

I’ve been learning to appreciate the difficult moments. In fact, I’m actually thankful for them. The rough patches continue to shape me. Life doesn’t have to be hard 100 percent of the time, but it’s also not rainbows and flowers. So heck yeah for those moments where I cried. Gracias Universo. Much appreciated.

Lately, I’ve constantly been working on my mind. Mind power is huge. I’m learning how to go with the flow and not let the negative opinions of others ruin my vibe. I’m living in the capital of the world and working for my dream firm. Why focus on the negative when you can also focus on the positive? I’m not here to brag, but just want to inspire you to do the same. When I started taking responsibility for myself, I’ve been a lot happier. I started changing my thoughts, which led me to change my actions, ultimately leading to different results. I started meditating and practicing yoga. I’ve been grounding with myself and the Earth and have never felt so connected.

While we all want instant gratification and immediate results, this isn’t a thing. Self-development is a constant process that never ends. Once you solve an issue, another one comes along. If you’re struggling and think you’re going through depression, don’t look for the easy fix. I don’t recommend going on antidepressants like most of America. Start with your thoughts and your actions will follow, and vice-versa. Your mind is crucial and more powerful than you think. I’ll give you the good news, you have control over it.

 
 

How to Help Reduce the Consumption of Plastic

Hello fellow friends. As I was reading the news this morning, I came across a story that truly broke my heart: the carcass of a pregnant sperm was found washed up on the Italian island of Sardinia. And hold up, because that’s not the worst part. The whale had 22 kilograms, equivalent to 49 pounds, of plastic in its stomach and was carrying a dead fetus. You may be thinking this is just another story out of the hundreds you’ve already seen in the media and while scientists are still investigating the whales cause of death, this is a huge problem.

 
Image acquired from the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs

Image acquired from the Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs

 

According to EDN, each year over 100,000 marine animals and one million birds die from ingesting and choking on plastic. The influence of anthropogenic factors is now intruding every aspects of the environment, particularly in animals. Humans fail to realize that by not protecting the environment, they are posing a threat to the their own existence. Harming the environment doesn’t just affect the animals, it affects you too! We need plants, clean water and air to survive. Without those fundamental necessities, we are nothing. Just like we rely on the Earth for existence, animals are also responsible for keeping the balance of nature as well as making the ecosystem work. So, conserving and protecting wildlife is crucial.

After hearing about all these terrifying stories, it does make me happy that more individuals from our generation are coming together to increase environmental awareness, in hopes for a greener future. The European Parliament has also recently approved a law banning a wide-range of single-use plastic items, such as straws, cotton buds and cutlery, by 2021. MEPs also agreed a target to collect and recycle 90% of beverage bottles by 2029. I believe with the help of the general public, a similar legislation will soon be passed in the U.S. Wondering how you can help the environment and steps you can take to reduce the consumption of plastic? Read the tips listed below:

  • STOP using plastic straws – Who needs them anyways? None of us enjoy seeing those disturbing images and videos of turtles with straws up their noses. If you find straws so useful, even though they’re not (we’re just lazy), use reusable straws instead.

  • Use disposable shopping bags – This one’s huge. Wouldn’t it be amazing if there was a national law that banned the use of plastic bags in all grocery stores, pharmacies and convenience shops? Most reusable bags are extremely cheap – a small investment to help your planet.

  • Use reusable water bottles – I personally love my swell. I love it so much that I bought one for my boyfriend as a random present. Not only is great for the environment but it keeps your water so fresh and cold.

  • Recycle – Even though not all plastics are reusable, a lot of things are. Begin by learning what is and isn’t, and start recycling.

  • Don’t use plastic – So funny! When possible, choose items that are not made from plastic. For example, choose metal razors over plastic ones. Select that metal hanger over the plastic one. Also, quit using plastic-ware. Don’t be afraid to wash the dishes.

  • Buy from bulk bins – Not only is it better for the environment, but it saves you money. We all took an economics class or two in high school. The cost per unit is what matters, right? Lol but really, start putting this into practice.

  • Plastic containers are a No – Okay, I get it. You bring your food to work. Meal prepping is an important part of your life. Replace those plastic containers with glass, ceramic and stainless steel containers.

  • Buy fewer packaged foods – Replace this with fresh foods. It’s better for both the environment and your health.

With these simple practices, you can help the environment in millions of ways. Become an advocate for this and encourage your friends and peers to do so as well. Together, we can make mother nature a better place and more beautiful than what she already is. Picture those beautiful sights you see when traveling.

xoxo,

val

That Inner Voice

 
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Hello there. I want to begin this post by stressing the importance of listening to your gut and filtering out negative energy. While we may not always know the best suited answer when faced with decisions, somewhere deep down, is a voice that literally talks to us and tells us what’s best.

I recently came across an unanticipated scenario, which involved whether or not accepting an amazing job offer, that came over my way by surprise. However, given that I was comfortable at my job, I found myself suffering from uncertainties and wasn’t able to come to a conclusion regarding my decision. Due to these insecurities, I was quick to gather advice from friends, peers, and family - And this is where I learned a key lesson, which I will talk about soon.

To me, living a happy life and living the life you want to live means relying on yourself and the people you truly trust. Before I finally made my decision, which was accepting, I remember some of the various comments made: “you’re making the worst decision”, “you’re going to regret it”, “I don’t’ think this is a smart career move”, etc. It was hard hearing those comments, it really was. However, this is when I realized that negative energy will always be there and if we don’t learn how to clear it, it can significantly impact our emotional state.

When faced with decisions, specifically life changing - be realistic, listen to your inner voice, and only ask those who truly believe in you. For me it was my family, boyfriend, and two to three friends. Unsolicited advice? Forget about it. You are responsible for your life and only have one chance to make it extraordinary. Negativity will always be there but that’s just life.

Seriously, keep your focus, and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way.

How to Approach Decisions & Trust the Process

 
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Hi there. It’s your girl with another random post. Like I’ve said in the past, my mind is constantly wandering from left to right, and sometimes in a good way. I often find my mind experiencing a tornado whenever I have to make decisions, specifically decisions that can influence the direction of my life. Decisions can vary from a new job, to a new city, to a permanent hair change, or to even a new apartment.

I like to think of myself as a futuristic individual. I’m constantly inspired by the future and what it could be, which is why I like to take my time and give thought to things when needed. This extremely important and relevant to decision-making.

Choices are everywhere. The decisions we make can literally shape our lives. Despite our parents making the most of our choices for a better future, we are in full control of the decisions that we make. Not only are we in full control, we are also the only ones who will face the consequences, good or bad, from the decisions that we make. It’s scary but that’s what life is about. It’s about making choices because life is a journey and without decisions, the journey cannot endure.  

As we get older, we face more decisions. Do we make better or poorer decisions as we age? That’s something I don’t know the answer to. However, I do know that there are stages in life and decisions are crucial to each transition in life. By transition I mean, jumping from one stage of life to the other. For me and for most, graduating college and entering the workforce was a huge transition. My life took a 360-degree spin and I kid you not. Suddenly, everything was different. I was interning in a new city and with no friends (at the time). My family was far and so was my boyfriend. It was hard, it still is, but I’ve only grown immensely. Moving to New York was a decision that I had to make and the fun continues because I still find myself with more decisions.

It’s easy to look back on your past and see how big decisions have changed your life. What’s harder is to decide what to do next. I regularly find myself stressing over decisions because I want to be sure I make the “right” ones. However, I want to stress that it’s impossible to know what the right decision is. That’s life. Tomorrow is not certain and we have no idea what the future will consist of. I cannot tell you how many times I planned for something in the future and things turned out completed different than I expected. So why stress if you never truly know what’s going to happen?

Trust the process. If you believe you are doing everything in your power to make the most out of your life, then trust the process. When faced with a decision, trust your gut and don’t look back. Let destiny decide the rest and filter out all negativity.

How to Be Happier ♡

 
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Hi loves! NYC has been crazy busy. Work, the gym, and friends take up most of my time, and I barely have time to do anything else. I finally moved to my new apartment in the Upper East Side. Moving, decorating, and buying furniture has been a complete hassle. I also live on a six-floor walkup, so, as you can imagine, that’s been a thrill. Not really, but hey - at least it’s a natural stair master. Am I right? Yep, I thought so too.

Let us move onto my next point: my lack of blogging disappoints me. I want to start publishing blogs on a bi-weekly basis. As mentioned before in my Instagram stories, I love being able to inspire others and help them realize the power of self-development and self-love. Believe it or not, most human beings lack self-appreciation and self-love and therefore end up looking for it in other places. Yes, life is hard, and the idea of loving yourself isn’t always easy, but I promise it’s a work-in-progress that we all go through. Even though humans were designed to undergo difficult situations, getting through hard times can be easier with the support from others, so please feel free to reach out if you’re seeking tips and advice. Happy to share with you all what has worked for me and how I’m continually working on getting what I want out of this life.

I’ve been having a hard time focusing this post on a single topic. My mind has been all over the place. I constantly find myself questioning life and decisions. I’ll be honest; I don’t even know. What I do know is that for now, I will do whatever it takes to become a better version of myself.

Therefore, let’s make this post about self-development and how to approach that scary thing. I want to make it clear: we should always work on self-development and growth. This is key to a happier and healthier life. The best way to navigate through life’s ups and downs is to remain true to yourself and not wobble away from that, which involves loving yourself.

I have been alone for the past seven months and this time has allowed me to get to know myself better and realize what really matters in this universe that we were put in. I’ve been able to see peoples true colors, which most of the times does not synchronize with what you had in mind. The realization is disappointing, but necessary. Some people will only keep you in their life when it’s convenient for them. Once they realize you no longer serve a purpose, they are easy to let you go. This is huge because as hurtful as the reality may be, it only means God has a better plan for you. We don’t need people in our lives that don’t appreciate us and see our brilliance, because that’s literally draining and self-degrading. 

So, as hurtful as letting people in your life go, it's often necessary if you want to become a better version of yourself. Being alone and only having myself to rely on has been extremely difficult. Yet, it’s a bittersweet feeling, and I haven’t felt this happy in a while. For once I am confident enough to proudly say that I am worth it and deserve the best. There is absolutely nothing better than focusing on yourself and letting go of toxic people in your life.

If you are struggling with this, start by removing negative people. Friendships and relationships should be sources of joy, not pain. I promise you; this is the most critical step in the process of self-development and love. Just remember: if you want a better life and want to succeed in every aspect - focus on your growth and development. That begins with your environment. Analyze it and decide what needs to change. Try it. Challenge yourself. And begin by doing just that.

with love,

Valerie

Live Happier By Doing What You Love

Discovering who you are and what you like can be a challenge. I am essentially still trying to figure it all out myself - it's truly a constant battle. However, I have learned living happier is a result of doing what you love. I am evidently not an expert, heck I’m only 22, but I will say I have been able to discover the bits and pieces to the meaning of life. One of those pieces is literally doing what you loveee! Since I’m going through an awkward transitional period in my life, (transition from an upcoming college graduate to adulthood) I figured I would share some of the things I have been doing to become more satisfied with my life. 

1.    Stop and think about what makes you happy and do just that.
If you enjoy playing sports, singing or traveling – then do it. It's possible we might have hidden hobbies. By this I mean, we know what we like to do, but we don’t practice it. We tend to get so caught up with everything else in our lives that we put ourselves last. Even if you have endless amounts of schoolwork or work, you must make time to practice the activities you enjoy.  

2.    Make time for those who care about you & make time for you. 
I cannot stress this enough. You are worth a lot, so spend your time with those who care about you and value you most – this could include your family, best friend(s) or significant other.  Let go of people who are negative, gossip and put you down. Surround yourself with people who inspire you to become better. People who genuinely care are the ones worth keeping in your life. 

3.    Reach out to people who inspire you. 
This is broad and can be done in all aspects. If you’re in an awkward transitional stage, just like myself, do your research and reach out to professionals who have more experience. Conducting your own research is a great way to start. Discover people who have the current positions you dream of having in the future. Talk to them. Ask for advice. Learn. 

4.    Don’t Live Unhappily.
If you aren’t happy with the way things are going for you then maybe it’s time to reevaluate and make some changes. 


Doing what you love, and more specifically figuring out what you love isn’t an easy task. It is a process that begins with investing in your time and energy.  

 
Photographer: Yovan ReyeS

Photographer: Yovan ReyeS

 

Why You Should Put Yourself First

 
 

“When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.” - Jean Shinoda Bolen

Every day is a new day filled with distinctive learning experiences. As cliché as this may sound, life is a never-ending learning process. Each person or entity that crosses our path teaches us something new that we didn’t know before.

Learning to prioritize yourself can be tough at times, especially when we’re young and live in a society where being accepted and “fitting-in” is the norm. Why do we do this? Maybe it’s because we want to feel loved and accepted, and essentially think this makes us happy. If we truly want to be happy, then we should stop looking for it. In a series of new studies led by the psychologist Iris Mauss, the more value people placed on happiness, the less happy they became. When we place high importance on the value of happiness, we tend to look for it in other places. Nonetheless, I believe happiness starts with you.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with sharing happy moments with your boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friend. Good relationships make us feel more alive and therefore more engaged in all aspects of our lives. It is a great thing, and I do believe the energies of those around us make us happy. However, happiness truly begins with yourself. Everything else is merely a complement, which is why you should put yourself first.

The idea of putting yourself first can come off as selfish. This isn’t true. The thing is – to give love and be the best version of yourself, you must learn to put yourself first.

It’s self-full to be first, to keep yourself healthy, to take care of you, to be as good as possible to yourself – which doesn’t mean you disregard everything and everyone. But when you start sacrificing yourself for other people, you make them a thief because they are stealing from you what you need and they don’t necessarily know it. If you love yourself, you’ll know how to love other people.  

Just remember, you’ll always have yourself. You are your biggest asset – and no one can take that away from you. Love yourself; you come first. Everything else in life is a complement.

 

How to Ace Your Job Interview

Interviews can be one of the most overwhelming parts of any job search process. How can you sell yourself in a way that doesn’t come off as cocky? Finding that happy medium can be difficult. Evaluating whether the company is a good fit for you can also be a challenging aspect. Nonetheless, these processes can teach us a lot about ourselves that we didn’t know before. Stressed and need some advice on how to land the job YOU want and stand out from the rest? Then keep reading!

 
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1.     Do research on the company beforehand.

Research, Research, Research. To make that first impression make sure you have a general knowledge about the company. Go through their website, find out who their clients are, and understand what is happening in the industry. This says a lot about you and it shows interest. Nobody wants to hire a candidate that doesn’t seem intrigued by the industry and company.

2.     Know how to answer the “Tell Me About Yourself” question.

This can be referred to as the elevator pitch. Have a brief description about yourself prepared that highlights your experience and ends with a goal statement that falls into the position you’re applying for. It’s important to aim for uniqueness while also staying professional.

3.     Have a list of questions prepared.

I like to think of interviews as “conversations.” The best Interviews usually have a natural flow. Even though asking questions at the end is essential, it’s also important to ask questions as the interview progresses. This shows you’re engaging and paying attention.  

4.     Dress to impress.

Dress professionally. Show up clean and sharp.

5.     Stay positive & relax.

Its normal to be nervous. However, being overly stressed transmits to your interview. So, take a deep breath and relax. Be yourself. If you really want the job, it’ll show. You got this.

6.     Know your strengths & weaknesses.

These questions can be broad. Assure your strengths are relatable to the position. If you mention your weaknesses, share how you’re currently working to improve them.

7.     Know your interviewer.

LinkedIn is a great resource.  A portion of your pre-interview work should include researching everyone in the room. Know where they attended school and have a general understanding of their background.

8.     Be yourself.

Never be someone that you’re not. 

YAY, you’re now ready to ace your job interview and get that job! ❤️