LIFESTYLE

The Cutest World Cup Bracket Printable

I only get psyched for ONE sporting event and ONE sporting event only every four years. I can’t handle the emotional roller coaster of being a super fan any more often than that. But during the World Cup… WATCH OUT! I’ve been known to throw plastic cups at TV screens + eat tacos with my bare hands Viking-style + yell at people during games. It ain’t pretty. 

There are also the infamous all-girl WhatApp groups where we discuss extremely technical + statistically accurate matters ONLY, like uniform colors + hairstyles + anatomy. 

Wait, there’s more!

And this is the first time Panama classifies (#SomosLaSele #SoyMareaRoja) so it’s gonna get IN-TENSE.com around here.

Gotta love this time of every-four-years!!!

If you’re a super fan, and can’t seem to find a cute bracket (seriously they ones I’ve spotted are hideous), I’ve made one for me really, but you are totally welcome to use it too!

We can be like sooooo dysfunctionally hyped about soccer together, but in style please. Click here to download your World Cup Bracket!

Tag me in social media @mayicarles so I can see your World Cup Bracket in action. Please!

Psst.. I designed it so you can take your crayons for a spin + customize your printable with your teams colors. I’ll handpick my favorite pics to regram, and spread this beautiful madness.

Enjoy!

LIFESTYLE · PERSONAL

A Messy Guide to Traveling with Kids

Tuileries Garden, Paris, France – 2018

It’s no secret that I’m a hermit at heart, but when I do leave the house/office, I LOVE to explore the world + go on adventures with my family.

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of questions about how I survive bringing Olivia on board. It’s funny you ask because I’m still pleasantly surprise I’ve pulled it off without casualties.

Still, let me be the first to confess that I definitely don’t have all the answers when it comes to traveling smoothly with a 2 year old toddler. What I can provide is a little insight as to how we do it wing it, in case you’re curious + feel inspired to go on your own family outings.

Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy – 2016

I’ve rounded up a lot of answers to some of your most frequently asked questions below. Let’s call it A Messy Guide to Traveling with Kids, and living to tell the tale.

The Comb of The Wind, San Sebastian, Spain – 2018

Is traveling with kids really worth it?

I know some people feel strongly that taking kids around the world when they won’t be able to remember it all perfectly is a total waste. I see your point. You might actually be right.

But! David + I truly believe exposing Olivia at a very young age to different cultures + smells + tastes + languages + people, really helps her grow – turn her into a less high maintenance little dictador and more into a mini warrior capable of adapting to any given situation or environment (except when not feed).

I always joke that our goal is to raise a wash n’ wear kid. Not a dry clean one. Can you imagine? It would make parenting so much harder than it already is. 

Rome, Italy – 2016

I’ve also found that not many things top the memories our family has created while traveling, Of course, once you get over that first panic attack of “are we crazy, can we really do this?” It’s ALL worth it – the good (discovering an amazing gelato parlor) + the not so good (getting lost in an airport). 

If anything, traveling together has helped build a special bond between us I am thankful for.

At home + the office everything is such a GO GO GO – emails + launches + live calls (and making sure the nanny distracts Olivia so she doesn’t interrupt the webinar) + to-do lists + groceries + client projects + passion projects + house chores, that we rarely have sacred time as a family of three, know what I mean?

Time stops the moment you’re on vacation. You forget the time. You don’t know if it’s Sunday or Monday. It’s pretty neat. 

Louvre Palace, Paris, France – 2018
Biarritz, France – 2018
La Rioja, Spain – 2018
Boboli Gardens, Florence, Italy – 2016

Additionally, as you can probably tell, I’m obsessed with documenting the journey with photos + videos + Insta Stories. Oli often asks me to watch our travel clips over and over again or look at pictures from past vacations. 

Maybe she won’t remember any of it. But we sure will.

Bilbao, Spain – 2018

How do you manage sleeping during your trips?

We like to book a hotel with a king size bed so Olivia can sleep in the middle, just like we do at home. Yes, we co-sleep.

Some hotels, especially in Europe don’t offer this option (even if they say so in their website), so we have to settle for joined-twin beds. I let it slide, but not before whining to hubby + having a lil’ diva moment. Then I remember I’m on vacation, and I calm myself before I wreck myself. Whenever we get a joined bed arrangement, I grab the extra comforter in the room closet, lay it in the middle of the bed, and voila!

Rome, Italy – 2016

Olivia has never been the crib-lover type so she’s grown accustomed to sleeping anywhere as long as mom + dad are on the bed. I guess this has it’s pro’s + cons, doesn’t it? But during travels it’s definitively an advantage.

Oh! And I travel with my pillow, cause not all pillows are created equal. Makes anywhere feel like home.

Tip: Exhaust all your resources to tire out your child before arriving to your room, so when they land on that bed they pass out immediately. Those precious moments of utter silence to scroll your phone + edit photos + post Insta Stories are priceless.

It’s also worth noting that we go for hotels over airbnbs. We like the convenience of having our beds made + fresh towels everyday.

Another biggie is choosing a centric home base in case you have to catch your breath in the middle of the day. We don’t mind splurging a bit more on a hotel to make sure we’re close to everything, and we can easily go back, if needed.  

Montmartre, Paris – 2018

How do you handle meals while traveling?

The biggest thing is to hit a grocery store as soon as we arrive to stock up on healthy snacks (fresh fruit + yogurt + granola + muesli + water), cause no one wants to pay for overcharged water at the hotel mini bar or deal with anyone that’s hangry, including mama when traveling. Game changer.

Mercato Centrale, Florence, Italy – 2016

We do a couple of these market runs during the trip. Personally, I really enjoy seeing all the foreign/local food offered. You can tell so much about a place from what they eat, can’t you? And I love to bring home some staples, like a really nice truffle oil or decadent chocolates.

When it comes to dinning out we typically don’t make restaurant reservations. We either ask the concierge at the hotel + friends who’ve been there recently or clients who live there for recommendations. As much as we love an amazing foodie experience (have your seen Chef’s Table? Our fave show EVER!), we rarely go for the trendy Michelin-star rated spots. We opt for the local laid back favorites. 

Florence, Italy – 2016

If I was traveling alone with David, we wouldn’t mind the pretentiousness + the dressing up for the occasion + the long lines + the doll-size food + the bill. We would actually dig the theatricality, and talk about it for ages. But with a kid, heck to the no. Simple, is better.

Also, let me say, we’ve been surprised to find out that eating out with Olivia (and my nice + nephew on our most recently trip) is far more enjoyable than expected. Watching the kids eat an authentic paella or ask to dip their fries in a special aioli sure warms our hearts.

Zarautz, Spain – 2018

A few more tips when it comes to eating out:

  • Ask for a booth or corner table.
  • Order right when you sit down.
  • Ask for the check when your food comes.
  • Wine always makes you a more tolerant parent.
  • Let your kid sprinkle gummy bears on top of her croissant if she so desperately wants to. 
  • Bring a bag of small toys + sticker books for entertainment (I’m an absolute tyrant when it comes to allowing iPads/phones at the table. Don’t like it. Won’t  tolerate it in my regime. Any other time yes, but not here!)
  • Order something safe from the menu.
  • Order something audacious to try something new.
  • Share food.
  • Always order dessert. No one wants to be related to that person who’s counting calories on vacay.
  • Do a restroom run first thing, and last before leaving the restaurant.
Subway, Paris, France – 2018

Do you travel with a stroller?

I bring our stroller along all the time. We rarely use it at home, but we swear by it when traveling abroad.

We enjoy wandering by foot. We like to get to know a place by walking, several miles if we need to. Having the stroller to rely on is wonderful.

Also, it truly helps in the airport! We don’t even check ours with our luggage. We use it throughout the airport + check it at the plane doors or fit it into the overhead compartment (one of the nice perks of the model we purchased).

In case you’re interested we have the BabyZen YOYO+. What we love about this particular stroller is that it folds and unfolds + can be carried like a bag + can be driven with one hand (the suspension is SICK) + fits just about anywhere + it’s easily stored + can be taken as cabin luggage. Sure makes life easier when you want to grab a bite + catch an Uber + hop on the subway or fly to the other end of the world. After doing my research, it seems like the best fit for our family.

What I love about bringing a stroller along is that it serves as a home base during our days of exploring, where Oli can sit + relax or nap when needed. Oh! And if mama ever feels like shopping, guess what carries all the bags? Wink wink.

I think we’re blessed thou with a child that has no problem taking stroller naps, since her earliest days. And we don’t take that for granted. 

Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen, Panamá – 2018

How to you survive airports + lengthy flights with kids?

Here are my top tricks to surviving airports + long flights:

  • Wear comfy matching outfits. Bonus if you look like an Olympic ping pong team. 
  • If you’re traveling with a stroller, don’t check it with your bags. Once you get to the gate, be sure to go up + check in straight away. They will give you a tag for your stroller + also help you board the plane first, which is nice so you can get situated before all hell breaks loose (just kidding). But seriously, probably the best perk to flying with kids is getting to board early!
  • If you’re traveling with a baby, nurse or give them a pacifier during take-off + landing. That constant sucking + swallowing motion can help with the plane changing pressure considerably. For toddlers, you can give them something to eat during this time so they are also chewing.
  • The iPad is my best friend during long flights. Something I never thought I’d say a few years ago. We didn’t expose Olivia to a screen until she turned 1, and we allow minimal screen time at home, so Oli is always elated to get a free pass to watch all the movies she wants on the plane, and we happily oblige. Her all-time-favorite is The Sound of Music + her current obsession is a tie between Ferdinand + Coco.
  • Get on-ear headphones. Airplane ones suck. We got some pretty cheap ones for $17 that were comfortably padded, but you can go nuts if you can and get fancy noise-blocking ones.  
  • Pack a carry on full of surprises! A new coloring book + little animals + reusable stickers + play dough + a toy doctor kit + gel markers. 
  • Also, pack snacks in your carry on that are easy to eat + keep their blood sugar up.  We take grapes + blueberries (careful, they stain) + pretzels with chocolate hazelnut butter + empanadas + raisins + granola bars. I also bring her favorite treats – chocolate covered goji berries + gummies, for manipulation purposes only.
  • When the seatbelt sign is turned off and it’s okay to move around, take a walk up + down the aisles. It’s hard enough for me as an adult to sit still for an hour or two, so I can’t imagine forcing a child to. Plus! It helps to break up the trip, especially if it’s hours upon hours to let them get a bit of exercise.
  • Be nice to the people around you. I remember I made homemade granola favors for Olivia’s first trip (she was 6-months old and we we’re flying to a wedding in Vieques, Puerto Rico) to apologize in advance to my fellow passengers for what they were about to experience. I was always that person who hated seating close to a crying baby, and now I was about to become that mom. Oh God! Oli was still breastfeeding at the time + she ended up sleeping the entire plane ride, but the point is: be a nice and considerate human being. Doesn’t hurt to say hello when you sit down + apologize up front for any crying + spilling or chaos that may break loose at some point during the flight. And let them know you will do your best to keep it to a minimum. 

Not gonna lie. So far, we’ve been really really lucky in our flights. Great people around us, as well as great flight attendants. And when we travel with other family members, everyone help us + we take sleeping shifts. It makes such a big difference.

Very occasionally you may see an eye roll, but for the most part, people are awesome, which makes me regain my faith in humanity. Several folks have actually offered help when they see you could use a hand. They understand you’re just trying to get somewhere too.

Louvre Museum, Paris, France – 2018

How do you decide what activities to do + where to go to keep both the adults + kid(s) happy?

Everyone does as I say. Period.

Kidding.

What happens is Oli is still small. It’s kind of a breeze, because she just cruises in her little stroller vehicle as we wander around museums or shops. 

I know my days are counted thou. Soon enough, Olivia will have a say in the activity planning. And my life will be over.

Kidding.

Florence, Italy – 2016

Obviously we enjoy wine tours + majestic cathedral strolls + shopping sprees, but nothing beats a stop at a carrusel + bookshop + outdoor playground + pasticceria or children’s section at any department store, and seeing Olivia’s eye light up. And so do ours.

Athletic Club Bilbao, Spain – 2018
Galerie Lafayette, Paris, France – 2018

We love seeing her so happy, and I think that’s what ends up happening to all us parents. We soften up in our knees. It’s pretty pathetic. And beautiful.

You know what else? Something we have found to work really well is to show Olivia pictures + maps + YouTube videos + books of the places we are headed, and talk about our trip far in advance. The anticipation of a trip can be as exciting as the trip itself. 

 

Nassau, Bahamas – 2016
Monte Igueldo, Spain – 2018

If I missed anything you are curious about, feel free to ask in the comments and I will do my best to respond!

Florence, Italy – 2016

And if you have any tips of your own that you don’t mind sharing, I would really appreciate it. We have a big trip coming up – the farthest destination yet, and we’re a bit nervous, and could use a hand.

Biarritz, France – 2018
Rome, Italy – 2016

If you only remember one thing from this article please let it be this: Don’t stress yourself out too much about traveling with little ones. You got this! You are a super mom! You were showered with invisible mom superpower confetti capable of achieving the impossible in extraordinary circumstances.

I promise it’s much easier than it looks. Let me even dare say it’s much more straightforward + intuitive + simple than parenting from home. I swear! Or else I wouldn’t keep doing it, do you think I’m a masochist? 

LIFESTYLE

Life is Messy Bootcamp is BACK

Eight years ago I lost my hand wrestling battle to perfectionism and embarked on a quest to trust the mess. I’m still learning to love the part of myself that no one claps for, but this is what I know to be true:

Mess is in our DNA.

Embracing our imperfections is scary, but not nearly as terrifying as giving up on who we are for fear of “what will they think?”.

Whether you’ve hit a plateau, you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the incompletes in your checklist, you’re looking for a smarter way to get where you want to go or you’re simply in need of a friend who gets it, I VOLUNTEER, I volunteer as tribute to be your personal pocket-size cheerleader + help you transform your hiccups into a story of triumph. 

I created Life is Messy Bootcamp® for recovering perfectionist like me. And today I’m reopening the doors for members-only. Stay tuned for the grand relaunch to the public. It’s gonna be AWESOME!!!

Here’s a lil’ sneak peek of our latest photo shoot:

To learn more, go to www.lifeismessybootcamp.com and sign up to the wait list. You don’t want to miss what’s coming up next.

 

 

LIFESTYLE · PERSONAL

It’s Been a Heck of a Year (A Letter To My Daughter On Her First Birthday)

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I can’t believe its been a year already. I mean, we just brought her home, like so little ago! Now she is one. ONE you guys!!! How could one feel so huge?

I have been racking my brain trying to figure out what to get Baby O (or should I call her Little O now?) on her first birthday. She is beautifully uncomplicated. Would rather play with Tupperwares + keys + boxes + TV remotes, than most toys. Simple things. They make her totally happy.

New cute clothes + hair accessories + shoes, those things would only be for me, she’d rather be naked!

So, I stayed up late writing her a heartfelt, teary-eyed mommy to daughter letter (the first of a lifetime of birthday letters I supposed).

Here I go.

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To my beautiful daughter on your first birthday,

You turned ONE! Un añito mi pequeña malvabiscos.

I always thought that at your first birthday party I’d be sitting in a dark corner sticking nails in my eyes in protest of you turning one. Of course, it’s bitter sweet to see how quickly time is passing + how fast you are growing up, but it’s also so incredibly exciting to witness you bloom. So, for the time being, I will hold off the protesting in exchange of watching you become you.

It’s been a heck of a year.

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I‘ll never forget the first day we brought you home from the hospital. You were so teeny tiny, remember? I was afraid to get you out of the car seat… I was panicking about walking you up the stairs to your room… I was terrified to be left unsupervised + expected to keep you alive.

Your dad + I were like, “Alright, we’re a family of three now. We’ve got this.” Of course, we really had no idea what we were doing. I sure had no idea what I was doing or what being a mother truly meant. My! How quickly things have changed.

With each new day + passing milestone, I would say, “OH! This THIS is my favorite stage!” Then I would find myself saying the exact same thing the next day. And the next. And the week after that. I quickly learned that each day is better than the day before when you’re around.

In a way, we all grew together over the past year. You learned many things, we learned many things.

You learned to laugh, and I learned that your giggle is my new favorite sound in life.

You learned to point point point your finger at things, and I learned that you are a girl who knows exactly what she wants.

You learned to say “papapapapa” + “mamamamamamamama”. Then you learned to say “agua” + “Peppa Pig”, and I learned you are one smart cookie.

You learned to nurse, and I learned that breastfeeding you on demand for 12 months wasn’t a sacrifice at all. It was the greatest gift. Despite the social pressures + awkward interrogations, I cherish the memories of having you so close to me, wrapped in my arms. Our happy place.

You learned to push doors + open drawers, and I learned that nothing could ever get in your way. You’re surely on a mission. And I’m psyched to be Hand of The Queen.

You learned to eat solids, and I learned you don’t care much for spoon planes or purees, you would rather grab your meal with your own chubby little fingers, don’t you? So I channeled my energy at researching every nutritional fact about every food + cooked for you every day so you could grow strong. Did you know, petit pois, your favorites, are very high in fiber, which is essential to ensure regular bowel movements? But let’s leave poo for another time, shall we?

You learned to push your little cart everywhere, go places by yourself, and I learned to stop chasing you, learned to let you go. Mi vasquita, you are so painfully independent, yet always find a way back into my arms.

You learned to roll over, to crawl, to sit up, to take your first steps, and I suddenly learned that you wouldn’t stay a baby forever. That’s alright! No matter how many candles you blow, as long as I’m your momma, in my heart my baby you will always be.

It’s been a heck of a year.

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Funny thing is, in many ways, you taught us more than we taught you.

Each day I watch you learn + explore the world around you + I find myself getting excited about the simple joys in life again.

The love you have for the wind…

The way you gaze at the trees…

How you light up when you see a bird…

Your need to ring every door bell + flicking every light switch…

Your pull towards grandma’s coo coo clock…

The fascination you have with swimming pools…

Your obsession with my office supplies…

Your intrigue at whatever dad’s eating. (By the way, that’s how we get you to try most things, we just put it on daddy’s plate. Works every time!)

Enjoying the little things with you was been the bestest!

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I’ve learned to see the world through your eyes + suddenly, everything is even more amazing.

I love being your personal jungle gym.

I love being your favorite pillow.

I love being your safety blanket.

I love loving life with you!

I have been determined to soak up every day with you, especially since you waste no time growing up.

It’s been a heck of a year.

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I took you to the ocean, and you crawled straight into it, fearless, with purpose. You are a total beach babe. That’s why daddy calls you Sirenita (translation: Little Mermaid). You love the water so much, since day one.

I took you to the movies to see The Force Awakens dressed up as R2D2. The force is strong in you child. Feel it. It’s calling to you!

I took you on playdates with your besties Isa Mar + Martina. You shared with them your Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs set, which is your fave. I saw you. And I was so proud of you baby.

I took you to Puerto Rico + flew you on an 8-passenger charger to Vieques to attended your first wedding par-TAY!!!

I took you to Disney World + dressed you up as Snow White, the cutest princess in the magical kingdom. We then sailed away on the Disney Cruise through the Caribbean + dressed you up as the cutest pirate in the seven seas.

But mostly, we spent our days in “goofball island”, which happens to be my favorite also.

You love playing “pick a boo”. You will look me in the eye, grab the closest pillow or blanky you can find, cover your face with it, hold still for a second, then remove it really quick, and surprise me with the biggest giggle. Donde esta Olivia??? Allí esta Olivia!!!

You love books, specially the ones with animals. The lion is your absolute favorite. How do I know? Cuz you “rooooar” when we land on the African safari page.

You love banana bread. Makes you incredibly hyper, so we only feed you that on rare occasions.

You love circling coffee tables like an Olympic athlete doing laps. And while you’re at it, you make sure to knock every piece of decor in your reach + rearrange it to your liking. It’s a skill.

You love Barney. I swore an oath I would never endorse that purple dinosaur in my house, but you LOVE IT. I mean LOVE IT. Okaaaaay. You win.

You love cruising around with movable furniture + making me chase you.

You love tickle fights. And sword fights (ahem ahem, I mean paper straw fights) too.

You love when your grandparents come to visit, so much. And your God Mother too. Heck, you love when the entire clan of comes over.

You love to kidnap our phones + pretend to talk on it. Alooooo!!! 

You love Iker, your big cousin, the greatest baby sitter of all time. It’s the only time you ignore us. No complaining. We gladly use this moment to sit by the sidelines + catch our breath + have a cocktail with an umbrella.

Oh! And you LOVE music. You dance + hum anytime you hear it. You love when Abuelo Cutito plays the guitar + sings to you. And you love drumming to the beat on papa bears belly so much.

It’s been a heck of a year.

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For the record, you’ve never been a great sleeper. You have too much to look at + do for any of that nonsense.

We joke, “Winter is coming” every time the sun is setting.

Yeah. Bedtime has been difficult. I just try to remember how hard it must be to be for you, being so new in this world, thought most of the time I wish you would just fall asleep already for 8 hours straight, preferably in your own mattress, ideally in your own room.

Then it dawns on me that one day you won’t want me singing 12 lullabies or reading 5 books. And that day, I’ll long for the nights I used to rub your little back to help you fall asleep. But mostly, I will miss watching a tu papa check your breathing every 3 minutes to double check you’re still alive. It’s hilarious.

So for now, we’re okay with Plan B: Letting you sleep in our room tonight.

It will soon be over.

It’s been a heck of a year.

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Oh! And do you know why we call you Terremotin (alias Mounstrito)? Because changing your clothes, or diapers for that matter, is like wrestling with a greased Tazmanian devil. You are so not a fan of being still, let me tell ya’.

And you absolutely love being naked! I let you once, be all clothes-less + diaper-less, but it didn’t end pretty. About 30 seconds in I found myself wiping up pee off the floor. So until you’re all potty training will hold off on being naked, alright?

It’s been a heck of a year.

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And have I told you how stunningly beautiful you are? Your Minnie Mouse lashes + gorgeous dark blue eyes have, literally, stopped strangers in their tracks. (What a beautiful baby!)

But even more mesmerizing than your looks, is the beauty of your personality. It amazes everyone that meets you. Wherever we are, you wave + throw kisses + give high fives + clap your hands, as if you were part of the welcoming committee. Everyone wants to be around you. It’s a pull. You’ve got it.

It’s been a heck of a year.

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We did it, Miss Olivia. We survived the first round!

As you can probably tell, forty weeks inside my belly wasn’t enough time to prepare my heart for the magnitude of “motherly love”. I’m convinced that’s why moms cry so much, ya’ know? Cuz we have so much love in us, it can’t possibly fit all inside our bodies, so we overflow. That’s what tears are, joy exploding out of our eyes like liquid confetti.

I guess what I’m trying to say is: I am so grateful that you chose me to be your mommy Olivia. You know I asked for you too, right? Dad + I both did. We wished for you… dreamed about you… waited our whole lives for you. You are our bucket list. I want you to know that.

Thank you for the lessons + the laughter + the wake up calls of what’s truly important in life. Thanks for changing me forever + bringing out the best in me. You make me want to be better + do better, not only as a mother but as a wife + sister + daughter + friend. You’re like a lil’ performance enhancing happy hippo pill.

I hope when you’re able to read this letter, years down the road, you will smile, and know that the day you were born was the happiest day of my life. And my first year as a mother my greatest adventure!

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Happy 1st b-day sweetheart!

Your dad + I love you very VERY much.

Te amo infinito.

(aka your Mommy)

Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

LIFESTYLE

Girls Are Mean. But! We Can Totally Be So Kind, Right? (Inside: 40 Ways to Be A Little Bit Kinder)

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Girls are mean.

Sometimes.

Okay, more like a lot of times.

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When someone is mean, I get this sudden urge to release glitter into the sky above their head + watch it shower over them like a baptism of kindness.

When someone is mean, I’m also teletransported back to Art School.

Art School was brutal you guys.

My Master’s program at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago only accepted 8 graduates per year. It was a very competitive program. And there was this super mean girl. I won’t say who she is. I’ll just say this: Her name begins with “J” + ends with “ulia”.

When I think about the zombie Apocalypse, I think about her.

When I’m feeling inadequate + untalented, I think about her.

When I suck at something? You bet… JULIA! JULIA! JULIA! Her condescending Dolores Umbridge-like voice pops in my head. It’s terrifying. TE-RRI-FYING.

So that brings me here.

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It’s time. It’s time to end this mean girl epidemic, ya know? Kill these dementors once in for all. By the way, my patronus charm is a unicorn. Ahem, ahem, just thought you should know.

Alright so… what do we know so far? That girls are mean. But! Girls can totally be so kind if we had a little bit more faith in each other. Right? Deep down in my T-Rex heart I truly believe that. And I know you do too.

Imagine a world where girls aren’t passive aggressive with each other. Where girls don’t bully each other… call each other fat or ugly or whatever. Where girls don’t tear each other down.

Imagine a world where we all play nice. Where success is measured in selfless acts. Where kindness is queen. Where lifting each other up is the philosophy of life. Where we actively + aggressively believe in each other + praise each other + defend each other + think the other deserves the world. 

That’s the world I want to live in. That’s the world I want to help co-create. With you!

The ripple effect starts with one. One person to hold open a door. One person to leave a note on someone’s car complimenting their awesome parking skills. One person to write a thank you letter to a teacher. One person to be a spark of kindness when another really needs it.

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Here’s 40 ways to be that person:

  1. Bring your co-workers a special treat.
  2. Write a poem to someone special.
  3. Give pretty flowers.
  4. Help fund a Kickstarter project.
  5. Leave a generous tip.
  6. Plant a tree.
  7. Introduce two people who should meet.
  8. Call your mom.
  9. Gift a book you have read + enjoyed for someone else.
  10. Don’t gossip.
  11. Send a gift card.
  12. Surprise someone with balloons.
  13. Do the dishes.
  14. Make pancakes (extra bonus for bringing them to bed).
  15. Give a bear hug.
  16. Really spend time with someone without your smartphone.
  17. Thank the police for doing their job.
  18. Treat someone to fresh fruit.
  19. Organize a lunch date with da’ girls.
  20. Leave sticky notes with inspirational messages.
  21. Arrive on time.
  22. Buy dessert for someone else.
  23. Donate _____ you no longer use.
  24. Make a new friend today.
  25. Mail someone a hand-written letter.
  26. Lend a hand to a gal pal.
  27. Listen to a friend’s problem without trying to fix her.
  28. Send a thank you note to a blogger you inspires you.
  29. Keep a gratitude journal.
  30. Book a mani + pedi date with yourself.
  31. Call someone on their birthday, don’t just congratulate them on Facebook.
  32. Bring wine to your next dinner party.
  33. Help a friend think bigger with words of encouragement + pom poms.
  34. Pay the toll for the person behind you.
  35. Greet people with name tags by their name.
  36. Invite others to join a conversation.
  37. Write a letter to someone who made a difference in you life.
  38. Help change a tire.
  39. Leave quarters at a candy machine.
  40. Add yours here: ___________.

I challenge you to be that person.

Use the hashtags #BringingKindnessBack #KindActivist to document this much needed revolution.

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How we make others (especially other girls) feel about themselves, says a lot about us, our femininity, our sisterly superpowers, our womanhood.

If you think a girl is pretty… pretty smart… pretty strong… pretty funny, for God’s sake tell her. Say so. “Dang girl love your shoes.” “My gosh your skin is glowing.” “I see what you’re doing + you are rocking it.” Do it! Because you will probably make her really reeeeally happy for like 21 days.

You know who else will be happy for like forever? You! It’s true, the best way to make ourselves happy is to make other people happy. Works. Try it!

This is our mission. This is why we are here. To leave the world a little bit better than we found it. What else could it be? This is it!

Do good. Feel A-MA-ZING!

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Do you remember the last time you felt a happiness boost just for being generous + providing support + giving presents or contributing to make the world a little bit better? Share your story in the comments bellow to help inspire more and more and more random acts of kindness.

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Here is to kind girls everywhere. May we be them. May we inspire them. May we raise them.

Mean girls, take note or STICK IT!!! Life is way too short to condensed. Share stories that inspire other than gossip to trash. Pull up other than push out. Plant other than pain. Give other than suck the living life outta people. The world really doesn’t need your bitchin’.

Which reminds me…

Oh Julia! Julia who made me cry every single day after Visual Critical Studies: Creative Criticism class. Julia who really took the “criticism” part to heart. Julia who was so busy hating on people that she forgot to live. To be radically happy. To matter. Apparently. At least according to Google. She’s not even in the first 5 pages #karmaisabitch.

Oh Julia! My arch-nemesis. The PC to my Apple. The Darth Vader to my Obi Wan. The Magneto to my Professor Xavier. THANK YOU for being so hard on me that you made me want to be kinder that much badder.

We all have a Julia in our lives, don’t we? I know you’re thinking of her name right now.

By the way, to all other Julias in the galaxy, please forgive me. I promise it’s only this ONE Julia I don’t like. I don’t think y’all are trolls, or anything. Pinky promise. What? Of course you’re invited to my pajama party. So are you Julia Roberts.

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These are my final words of wisdom:

Dear Girlfriend (yes, YOU reading this),

Should you ever find yourself the victim of other peoples bitterness + smallness + insecurities, remember things could be worse. You could be THEM! 

And with that out of my chest I say, Let’s bring kindness back ladies! Cuz we can.

Don’t forget to use the hashtags #BringingKindnessBack #KindActivist to track our quest + find each other.

It’s time.

*This post is sponsored by Kate Spade NY. All content + ideas + words are my own.

Photography Credit

Susana Aramburú

Flowers

Boutique Flowers

Location

Uber House

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