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Monthly Archives: March 2013

I know, I know…I disappeared.

I’m training for a new position at work, trying to finish up my NASM studying, and I’ve had a few out-of-the-blue castings & auditions. So, basically every minute of the past week was accounted for.

Unfortunately, I don’t have much time for an extensive post today (I promise I’ll be back at it this week!) but I wanted to make sure I popped in to say Happy Easter! I know this holiday means a lot of different things to different people so, whether you’re celebrating Jesus or bunnies, I hope you have a fabulous day filled with the people that you love and lots of smiles. 

I don’t ever want this blog to become a place for political debates or moral arguments because I truly believe that we’re all entitled to our own opinions. However, in light of the current gay-rights battle, I wanted to leave you with this picture that I find to be absolutely beautiful.

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Personally, I’ll never understand why someone feels they have the right to dictate whether or not another person’s bliss is “acceptable” . We’re all humans. We’re all equal. Love has no boundaries.

Here’s to a day filled with love…

-Emily

I’ve always been a fan of challenges.

The feeling of accomplishing a specific goal that I’ve set for myself is one of my favorite things in the world. That doesn’t only apply to “big” challenges either. I’m notorious for making daily To-Do Lists and I get a little burst of satisfaction every time I get to cross something off. No judgements.

With all of the changes that are happening in my life, gaining control over my finances has become one of my main priorities. In the next few months I’m planning to take over a number of my bills (cell phone, gas, power/electric, etc.) and make more progress in becoming 100% financially independent. It’s a tad overwhelming to think about but I know I can do it and I know that each time I lift a little burden off of my parents shoulders I’ll have accomplished something. So, I’m ready.

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How am I going to go about doing this, you ask? Well, I’m going to take it month-by-month.

At the start of each month (April being the first) I’ll make a list of specific financial goals and challenges for myself. Then, at the end of those 30 days, I’ll see what I was able to accomplish and create a brand new list based on those results. I’m going to deem April-June my “saving” months. I’m going to focus on bringing in as much income as possible and spending very little that way I’ll have a solid foundation to stand on. And since April will be the kick-off, I’m challenging myself big time.

Makin’ Bank Challenge: April 2013

1.) No Spending Money:

Yes, yes…I know that sounds extreme. I’ll still pay my bills, buy groceries, and buy my necessities (toothpaste, for example) but I’m challenging myself to cut out all the extra spending for 30 days. I’m not going to lie, I have a shopping problem. I’ve gotten much better over the past couple months but I still have a hard time walking into Target or Urban Outfitters and not purchasing makeup or clothes. Considering I have plenty, I know I’m fully capable of going one month without buying more.

2.) Keep Track:

I’m going to keep a small notebook with me throughout the month and write down every single penny that I spend. I’ve attempted this before and failed but I’m determined to stick with it this time around.

3.) Get a 2nd Job:

This is a big one. I absolutely love my current job at the restaurant and I wouldn’t dream of giving it up. But, for the sake of “saving”, I want to have a second income for a while. I’m currently working mostly evening shifts so I’m looking for a morning job (possibly Starbucks?) Fingers crossed!

It’s not going to be easy but, like I said, I’m a sucker for a good challenge. I know that if I really focus on saving I’ll see results in no time. Being financially independent is a huge part of growing up and finding my bliss so it’s time to put on my big girl shoes and make it happen. Who’s with me?

Here’s to wishing that “money trees” existed…

-Emily

To say that this weekend was overwhelming would be an understatement. I’m not voicing that as a complaint- it’s just to give you an idea of the mayhem that ensued. I wasn’t supposed to work all weekend but, thanks to a coworker, that’s how it worked out. On top of that, the winds of change have been stirring and my life is going to be flipped upside-down in the next few months. I’m not ready to delve into all of that just yet but I will as soon as things are finalized.

Anyways, back on track…

Despite the craziness, I managed to balance out the work with some play. And, since bliss is all about finding a balance, I’ll consider that a success. Plus, I learned a thing or two along the way…

Lesson #1: Not even pre-movie drinks could make Spring Breakers bearable. It was honestly the worst movie I’ve seen in years. My advice? Don’t waste $16 dollars. If you must watch it- wait for Redbox.

Me & Tara

Lesson #2: Unless it’s an emergency, it’s never okay to “call out” from work at the last second. I wound up working a double shift yesterday (for the second weekend in a row) because the same person called out “sick” again. When you have a job, you show up. End of story.

Lesson #3: When you’re suddenly hit with an 8-hour day, this is 100% acceptable…

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Lesson #4: Lionel will always be able to put a smile on my face. No matter what.

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Lesson #5: When I’m not working out/getting sweaty, I’m totally capable of going 3 days without washing my hair. Pssst! dry shampoo is my best friend- thanks, Claire! (And yes, I still showered…)

There you have it- my weekend in a nutshell. This week? I have jury duty (aka: DEATH). Wish me luck.

Here’s to making the most of life’s little lessons…

-Emily

Alright, it’s time to talk beauty. YAY!

I’m not going to lie, I’ve put my hair through hell and high-water for most of my life. I spent years washing it, blow-drying it, AND straightening it on a daily basis. Shame on me. Thankfully, I have amazing friends (like Claire!) who are much more knowledgeable about beauty than I am and aren’t afraid to whip me into shape. Since incorporating haircare advice from Claire into my routine I’ve noticed huge improvements in the look and feel of my hair. It’s thicker, shinier and much easier to manage. So, I figured you all would benefit from her blissful beauty advice as well!

Meet Claire-

Claire

Claire is a 2012 graduate from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising with a degree in Beauty Industry Merchandising and Marketing. She currently splits her time between working in social media marketing for beauty brands and working as a riding instructor in LA. She loves a good weight lifting session, time at the barn, and laughing with friends. Follow her on Twitter, @clairehana.

Build Your Beauty: Hair Care!

Like Emily posted the other day, if there’s one thing that us women really focus on in finding happiness, it’s being happy with the way we look. Whether that means dressing well, having perfect makeup, glowing skin, lush hair, a fit body, feeling fantastic from a great diet, or simply wearing our best smile, we tend to zoom in on our looks.

But when it comes to our looks, what about looking our best AND doing what’s best for our body? I mean, when was the last time you examined the ingredients on the back of your shampoo bottle? And when you did, how many of those ingredients could you actually pronounce?

During my time at FiDM, I took a course that reviewed major ingredients in personal care products. I have the ingredient dictionary to prove it, in fact! And learned that the ingredients in many a mass brand shampoo are incredibly harsh (those of you with colored hair know, hopefully, all about SLS and SLES) and simply strip your hair of any of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy and strong!

Claire’s Healthy Hair Tips:

1.) Wash your hair every OTHER day, at most!

You do NOT need to wash your hair every day. Yes, even if you workout every day and your hair turns into this hot, sweaty mess, DO NOT put shampoo in it. And if you do, I will come and slap you.

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By washing your hair every day you are stripping it of any natural oils your scalp produces in order to keep your hair looking healthy. Washing your hair every day is simply too much, and if done for a long time, can result in dry, straw-like hair, premature hair loss, hair thinning, and even changing the texture of your hair. Nooo thanks!

So now you’re like, “But Claire. That’s guh-ross.” Go pick up a bottle of dry shampoo. This will be your new best friend on non-wash days. And yes, you can still take a shower without washing your hair.

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2.) Pick your product wisely!

Avoid the following ingredients at all costs:

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Lauryl Ether Sulfate (SLES) – detergents and foaming agents that completely strip your hair of any oil or color. This ingredient is also found in your dish soap. Yeah.
  • Fragrance or Parfum (if listed in the first half of the ingredient list) – basically, this means that these artificial scents are a main ingredient in your shampoo, no bueno. A heavy dose of fragrances can be used to mask any sort of chemical odor and between 7 and 18% of all individuals may have some form of sensitivity or intolerance to fragrances. Fragrances in ANY cosmetics are also directly linked to skin allergies. Yuck.
  • Parabens – the safety of parabens in cosmetics is under some serious fire right now. Parabens have been linked directly to certain forms of breast cancer. Enough said.

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If you’re questioning an ingredient look it up on EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. Just search the ingredient and it’ll tell give you data as well as a red, yellow, or green score.

3.) Switch up your part and your ponytail.

I know, I know. This one’s kind of hard. We all have our favorite part and our go-to ponytail position, but by consistently keeping your part and ponytail in the same place your hair begins to wear thin and become more damaged. So be sure to switch it up every now and then. Low ponytails and natural parts are big this spring/summer. So, technically, you’re totally on-trend.

4.) Your hair can’t handle the heat. No, seriously.

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Your hair is not the heat’s biggest fan. Ha-ha. See what I did there? All puns aside, if you’re going to use heat, USE A HEAT PROTECTANT or, again, I will find you and slap you. Otherwise, try to limit your heat usage. Maybe use it only every other day. Or give yourself a blowout after you wash your hair and use dry shampoo to make it last through to the next day. If you have a pixie and feel like you need to blow dry everyday, just spritz your hair with some water and finger style.

5.) Get your fair share of Omega-3 Fatty Acids!

Your body doesn’t make these acids, which are key to hair growth, so you have to be sure that you’re eating lots of foods with them or taking a vitamin. But, I mean, who doesn’t like eating? So I recommend eating it rather than taking a vitamin. Think salmon, avocado, walnuts.

If you’re struggling with hair health, don’t get discouraged! Be consistent about these tips and you’ll start to see a difference in a month or so. Don’t believe me? Just ask Emily! Until then, don’t be insecure. Be confident and wear your biggest smile.

Love and good vibes!

ClaireHana

Time to hop in our time machines and go back 4 or 5 years…

Remember how much of an influence the media seemed to have over us during that time? Models and celebrities were not only expected to be thin, they were praised and idolized for it. Tabloids were filled with pictures of them in bikinis and details on the extreme fad diets they were following to maintain their “figures”. Eating disorders were common and “healthy” became synonymous with “skinny”.

It was rough. I remember it clearly and I remember how much it affected me and all of my friends, even at such a young age. We were convinced that we had to look like those celebrities in order to be considered beautiful and we were willing to do whatever it took to attain that. Scary? You bet.

Thankfully, things have definitely changed. More and more actors and actresses are embracing their “normal” body shapes and too-thin celebs are no longer praised for their unhealthy lifestyles. Their influence on our self-image will never completely disappear but society has definitely taken a step back and realized that what we see on TV and in magazines isn’t reality. Thank goodness.

But with this improvement we seem to have fallen into another trap…

The trap of social media. 

Between Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Blogs, etc. we’re constantly comparing our lives with the lives of other people. Whether we think we are or not, that’s the reality of it. We see the pictures that people share and we automatically assume that their lives are summed up in just those images.

That’s not how it works.

The beauty of instagram, for example, is that we have the ability to only share the photos we choose to. On top of that, we’re able to edit them until we have a “perfect” finished product. It’s an awesome concept but it’s dangerous if we let ourselves get too caught up in it. That’s what’s happening.

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Unfortunately, hashtags like #fitspo, #leanbody, #girlswithmuscle and #eatclean have begun to take over the world of instagram. We’re constantly bombarded with pictures of girls with six-packs, bragging about how many calories they burned and snapping a picture of their heart-rate monitors to prove it. While hours and hours of exercise may be okay for some people (read: athletes & figure-competitors), it’s not normal. The second we start comparing our bodies and our meals to the ones we see on social media sites, we’ve fallen into a very dangerous hole.

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What scares me the most is how much it seems to be affecting young generations. It breaks my heart when I see 12 or 13 year olds with accounts that boast about “eating clean” and “training hard”. Um, I’m sorry, you’re in middle school– you should be carefree and enjoying life, not stressing about the number of macros you consume or how many hours of exercise you get. Just let yourself be young.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about finding and maintaining a healthy lifestyle and social media sites like instagram and pinterest can be extremely helpful in that regard. They can serve as inspiration and a place to monitor progress and hold yourself accountable. We just have to remember that we’re all unique and stop comparing ourselves with one another. What works for me probably won’t work for you and what works for a figure-competitor definitely doesn’t work for most of us. That’s okay. 

Being “healthy” is a matter of perspective. It’s about finding a balance between diet, exercise and life. It should never become an obsession or a game of comparison. You’ve been given one body and it’s your job to take care of it and embrace every single thing about it- quirks and all. Love your body.

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Heather (For The Love of Kale) wrote a beautiful post a few weeks ago about cleaning up our instagram feeds and getting rid of anyone or anything that makes us feel negative about ourselves. I do that on a regular basis and it’s an amazing feeling. It’s okay to use those accounts for inspiration but as soon as they start making you feel inferior, it’s time to move past them and find something new. Once you start filling your life with positivity you’ll truly be able to discover your inner bliss.

Here’s to embracing our bodies and escaping the comparison trap…

-Emily

It’s amazing how life works. Broad statement, I know.

Right now I’m referring the wonderful balance that our universe seems to maintain. When things are falling apart and I’m not sure how much more I can take, I’m always granted with a few days that are filled with nothing but smiles. That’s what this weekend was. Not perfect by any means but it was productive, relaxing and filled with the people that I love. Just what the doctor ordered.

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I’m constantly forgetting to embrace the present moment. Society has trained us to always have our thoughts set on the future. We plan, organize, and change today in order to create a better tomorrow. But, tomorrow is merely a figment of our imagination. It doesn’t exist until it becomes the present. So, find the simple beauty and joy that surrounds you with every passing moment. Smile, laugh, and surround yourself with positivity- that’s where true happiness and bliss are found.

This weekend I worked, cleaned, studied, finally got errands done that I’ve been putting off for weeks (I’m no longer driving with one headlight!), and enjoyed a visit from my mom and sister on Sunday. Nothing particularly “out of this world” but I enjoyed every second of it. Simple smiles.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think to photograph most of the weekend but, if you don’t follow me on instagram (@missemilydryden), here’s what you missed:

Studying

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I have a number of exciting posts planned for the next week or so. One of my best friends that recently graduated from FIDM is working on a beauty-related guest post which I’m super excited about. Yee!

Here’s to remembering how beautiful life can be…

-Emily

Money. 

I don’t know about you but merely hearing that word brings me anxiety. How ridiculous is that? As a society, our dependance on money is unbelievable. We truly couldn’t live without it. Is that sad? You bet. But it’s not our fault. We’re taught from a young age to value money and that having a lot of it is equivalent to “success”. I wouldn’t necessarily agree with that statement but there’s no point in arguing it. We’re never going to stop the cycle and the concept of money will never, ever disappear.

So, what can we do? We can be smart about how we handle our money, we can value our belongings, and we can be aware of how our income relates to the amount we spend. Easier said than done. 

Budgeting is something I’m constantly struggling with working to improve. And I’d be hard pressed to believe that anyone truly has it mastered. I mean, how many times have you been this person…

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Sad but oh-so true.

As a recent college graduate, I’m not completely financially independent from my parents yet and that’s okay. However, I do pay for all of my living expenses (food, house necessities, car maintenance, certain bills, etc.) and one-by-one I’m working to take over full responsibility of my bills. Um, stressful.

Budgeting has become absolutely crucial to maintaining my sanity and making sure that I have all of my bases covered. I know how much I make working at my job, how much needs to go where, and how much I have that’s “extra” to save or spend. Am I perfect? Hell no. But, I’m getting there!

Here are a few tips that I’ve learned thus far:

  1. Be Aware. Know how much your income is, how much money is in your bank account at all times, what bills you’re responsible for, and where every dollar is being spent (see #2).
  2. Keep Track. For one week keep a little notebook with you and write down every single thing you buy- from food to clothes to gas- everything. Then, after 7 days, add up how much you’ve spent and take into account where that money went. You’ll be shocked. Let’s just say, Starbucks has gone from an everyday affair to once or twice a week. #illalwaysloveyou
  3. Get a job. Obviously this is self-explanatory but I figured it should be stated. Getting a part-time job at the restaurant where I work was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Not only does it give me a steady income, it also brings me a constant sense of accomplishment and purpose.
  4. Save. Duh. Every time you get a paycheck, put a few dollars in your savings account. Then don’t touch it. If you make that account off-limits then you’ll constantly have money accumulating.
  5. Use Cash. It’s been proven that people spend less when they’re using cash. There’s just something so easy about swiping a card, it almost doesn’t feel like you’re spending money. But, with cash, there’s no escaping the reality. That $20 you had in your wallet is gone now. #oops

Unfortunately, stressing over money is a part of life that most of us will encounter at some point. Thankfully, there are ways to make it a little more bearable and that allow you to still find your bliss.

Bottom line? Control your money. Don’t let your money control you.

Here’s to a blissful bank account…

-Emily