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Don’t Miss Your Exit Waiting for a Sign

Fear. Ego.

None of us born with these things. Rather, they were bestowed upon us by our family, our teachers and mentors and society in general. It’s not our fault or theirs. It’s just what happens. And our lives will never be the same.

We take it and run with it. Maybe it’s the college boyfriend who treats you like crap, but that little voice in your head tells you that “you’re not worthy of anyone better” or “clearly there’s something wrong with you, not him“.

Maybe it’s as simple as refusing to add to your wardrobe until you’ve reached your perfect weight. Instead, you wear ill fitting clothes that make you look and feel worse, creating a vicious cycle. You’ll buy those jeans or that dress when you’ve paid your penance for eating carbs and not having the willpower to pass on dessert.

It runs rampant in the workplace, more for women than men I believe. You don’t get that long overdue raise you busted your ass for because you “aren’t deserving”. You don’t get that job or promotion because “you’re not smart enough”. You feel stuck in cement in a career that crushes your soul because it’s “more is just not meant to happen for you”.

The ego is a sneaky little bastard. It disguises fears as logic and reason. What if our boss is angry when we ask for a raise? What if we lose friends who are whispering “who does she think she is” behind our backs? What if we leave the draining, miserable job and can’t support our loved ones who depend on us?

The worst part of it all is that our ego really just wants to protect us. It’s like a friend with the best of intentions and terrible tactics. It’s the friend that’s holding us back, that’s telling us all of the reasons we shouldn’t trust our gut and make that leap. We wait for any number of variables to align or for a sign that the time is right because the ego tells us this will be the right time. Essentially, we’re stuck in a holding patter.

I’ll leave you lyrics from a song that came to mind while pondering all of this, aptly titled If I Ever Get Around to Living.

“You are hiding in your mind, working all the time, trying to make it better than you’ve got it. And you’ve been spending all your time searching for a sign that’s never gonna look the way you want it.” ~ John Mayer

 

How to Get Cash for Your Clothes (to Buy More of course!)

We have a rule in my house when it comes to closets – one in, one out. (This excludes handbags of course!) I’ve found, like most, that I tend to wear the same pieces over and over again while the same ones remain hanging in the back.

Since I love to shop, I find it best if I can make money when I get rid of the higher quality, designer pieces in my wardrobe. I used to spend a ton of time listing pieces on eBay, but over the past few years I’ve found that the process takes too long, there are too many steps once you include shipping, and the buyers are getting…let’s just say more difficult.

Its no secret that I love shopping – I probably shop online every day. This  I started taking things I would normally sell on eBay to consignment shops. If you have good ones in your area, this is still something I do and recommend for those who want to make back some of what you’ve spent for that new fill in the blank. It takes a little bit of time to sort and make sure it’s the brand and style shops want at that time – they will only take in season stuff, which may be the opposite of your closet cleaning cycles. I take my clothes to two different shops, one a little more high end then the other. This works for me because I have a range from Louis Vuitton to Target. You’ll need to make sure you know all of the shop’s rules – how many pieces they’ll take, when they accept consignments, what brands, etc. Consignment shops are very picky everything must be in excellent condition. With a consignment shop, you’re selling each piece to them, so have it ready to market as if you’re selling to the customer directly. I make sure to spray a little Febreeze to freshen things up and I run a steamer over most pieces. I make sure purses are clean and empty (that’s a big one!). I wipe off shoes and make sure there is nothing lose or worn before taking them in. Some will even accept jewelry and accessories. I’d say on average I’ll get anywhere from $35-$80 every few months from one and about $20-$40 from the other. Definitely enough for at least a new top!

My new favorites have become Twice and Thred Up.  It literally cannot get any easier, you don’t even have to leave the house. My mom actually introduced me to Thred Up, and I stumbled across Twice from there. I joined at just the right time…aka they were doing a promotion where you got an extra $10 or $20 for every purse you send in! They both basically work the same – you request a bag that they then ship to you, you fill it up with your clothes, shoes, accessories and they send you an offer for your bag. You can either accept the offers or decline, and depending on the site and what you’ve set up, they either donate or send the items back.

When I say they send you a bag, it’s a BAG. I’ve managed to get 25 pieces in one, along with a few pair of shoes. As of right now, both are offering free shipping, so it doesn’t cost you a thing to send your goodies in – not even gas since  you can call your carrier for pickup. They offer a little more flexibility in what they will take than a consignment shop, not being as specific about season, although they each have a list of brands they accept. That list, by the way, is quite long. The prices they offer for each piece is determined by the condition, the item and the brand. It may be lower than you would get on eBay and possibly a consignment store, but you get paid upfront – you don’t have to wait for each individual item to sell.

Shopping Spree!

I’ve found that these types of new sites are the most convenient for me, which means I’m likely to use it more often, I make more money and keep my closet cleaner.  I love shopping and this let’s me do it a little more often without running up the credit cards. That’s what I call win-win-win!

What do you do with clothes you don’t wear - donate or sell? How do you fund your shopping sprees?

5 Ways to Get Your Body Under Control (from Katie Humphrey)

I’ve been working on a post with ways to clean up your beauty routine specifically, but wanted to share this newsletter from Katie Humphrey with easy ways to give your hormones a helping hand with not just friendly products, but nutrition, fitness and more.

5 Ways to Get Your Body Under Control

 
 
Do you ever feel out of control in your body? Maybe it feels impossible to lose weight or keep it off when you do actually shed a few pounds. You might feel chronically lethargic or moody, but didn’t feel this way a few years ago. You could also be wondering what happened to your body, your skin and your appearance overall.
Believe it or not, it may be your hormones. When you were younger, you probably never thought about having trouble with hormones until you were your grandmother’s age. Menopause may have seemed like the only thing you ever might worry about.
But these days, women are experiencing hormonal imbalance more frequently and much younger in age. Teenage girls, even some as young as 10 years old, can experience unexpected hormonal changes; women in their twenties can begin to feel the effects of hormonal imbalance and women in their thirties, forties, fifties and sixties may experience menopause-like symptoms (or menopause itself).
Some of us are turning into endocrine disasters long before we thought possible, and sometimes we’re unsure of what to do about it. We might feel hopeless or frustrated with the symptoms we’re experiencing. The way we look and feel can affect the quality of our lives, so it’s important take charge of your hormonal health as soon as possible.
I can remember being diagnosed with PCOS after feeling the effects of what felt like menopause in my twenties. Many of my clients and women I communicate with share stories of horrific symptoms that are all attributed to a hormonal disorder. And here’s the good news:It’s not too late to get your body under control, and it’s never too early to start living a healthier lifestyle.
There are 5 areas that may be contributing to the symptoms you’re experiencing. Let’s focus on each of them as well as the solutions to take control of your body and hormones now.
1. Nutrition. This is the biggest area where most women struggle to create healthy habits. Unfortunately, the foods you eat have an enormous impact on your hormonal health (which affects the way you look, feel and function). The foods you eat and how often you eat them will directly affect your hormonal levels, and overtime can create optimal health or a serious hazard.
Quick Tip: Focus on eating healthy, whole foods (re: unprocessed) every 3 to 4 hours starting with breakfast. Make small changes until you nail down a new food choice, as opposed to crash dieting or starvation methods. Eating a variety of vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, ancient grains and lean meats can help you maintain a healthy weight, natural energy and improve many symptoms you may feel.
2. Rest. Your busy life and addiction to technology is actually making you sick. Most women who experience symptoms of hormonal imbalance may benefit from taking out time for some rest and relaxation. The more you stress and stay “busy,” you could be elevating cortisol levels and wearing out your adrenals. You’ll also be living life in a state of reaction and will probably feel unsatisfied, anxious or hurried.
Quick Tip: Take time out each morning to breathe deeply and be still. You’ll feel more relaxed, peaceful, positive and more equipped to handle life’s urgencies. You will also benefit hormonally and may notice some of your symptoms improving over time.
3. Products. These days, you can’t be too careful about what’s in your skin care products. Parabens, toxins, dyes and other chemicals are added to make-up products, lotions, soaps, deodorants and many of the items you use every day. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and as it absorbs these unnatural ingredients, it can create an endocrine disaster, disrupting your hormonal levels.
Quick Tip: Start by replacing one skin care item every time you run out of it. The next time you need more deodorant, shampoo, face wash or concealer, read the label of the product you’re buying and make sure it has safe ingredients. If you’re unsure, look them up online and find out if they are safe for your health. If they aren’t, choose a natural or organic version of the same product. Your health is worth it.
4. Fitness. We need movement. Our bodies crave it. Exercising can be fun and fantastic for your hormones and overall health. Simple things like walking, taking a yoga class or riding your bike can help you improve your energy levels, regulate your hormones and shed a few pounds. Staying sedentary simply isn’t an option. Get moving and do something you enjoy. You’ll love how your health changes!
Quick Tip: Start by doing something for 15 minutes a day (or an extra 15 minutes if you’re already exercising). Be sure to add in exercises that fuel your mind and body such as Pilates, yoga, dance, hiking, etc.
5. Liquids. I’ll write this once and for all so we’re all on the same page: Your body needs water. It doesn’t need soda. It doesn’t need energy drinks. It doesn’t need funky, fancy versions of water. Drinking water will help purge your body of toxins and rid it of impurities. So many times we think we’re ill and we’re really just dehydrated. Poor digestion, fatigue, chronic headaches and skin problems can all be improved by drinking more water.
Quick Tip: Bring a large BPA-free jug of water with you every day and make sure you’re drinking half your body weight in ounces. Replace any soda or extra cups of coffee with water (so you can wean yourself off of it instead of going “cold turkey”), and increase the amount you drink every week. You will start to look as radiant as you feel.

Hormonal imbalance is not something that can be overcome in a day. But by focusing on these 5 areas you may drastically improve your symptoms and feel a whole lot healthier. Get started by making small improvements each week and continue until you have the healthy, fit body you’ve always wanted.

Action Step: Start with just one tip above and when you feel you’ve got it down pat, start on a new one!

Copyright 2014 Katie Humphrey 

Katie Humphrey helps overwhelmed, overweight and exhausted women lose weight, balance their hormonal levels and create a healthy lifestyle the fun, simple and adventurous way! To learn more and get your FREE Cheat Sheet to “Turn the Table on Sabotage and Negative Self-Talk,” go to www.KatieHumphrey.com!

Splurge vs. Save – a Purse with a Pop of Color

Everyone knows that purses are my thing! I love being known as the one with a different (and of course fabulous) bag all the time.  As my collection grows, I’m increasingly aware of the difference between a cheap handbag, a designer handbag and a luxury handbag. I’ve also learned that decisions can’t always be made based on price.

When Erin from Credit Card Insider asked if I’d share my Splurge vs. Save piece with her, there was no question it would be a handbag. Lucky for me I grabbed just the one while shopping the other day.

I love Michael Kors. I own a few totes; the leather and quality are amazing (more so for the price range these bags sell at). They can still be pricey, especially if I know it’s a trendy print or pattern. Trends fade and are never where you want to invest a large chunk of your fashion funds.

I was absolutely thrilled to find a bag similar to the Michael Kors Hamilton in the perfect shade of bright yellow for summer while shopping at Altar’d State this past weekend!

Here’s the real deal MICHAEL by Michael Kors Hamilton Saffiano Tote that retails for $358 at Neiman Marcus and the vegan Pick a Padlock tote I picked up for $79. For the mathematically-challenged like me, that’s less than ⅓ of the price.

Michael Kors Hamilton Saffiano ToteMichael Kors Hamilton Saffiano Tote in Yellow

I wish my camera had captured the color of the bag a little better – its much brighter in person!

Vegan Pick a Padlock TotePick a Padlock Altar'd State tote 

I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it already, and I adore it and it’s price tag! What do you think?

The Teacher Appears…

I’ve often heard when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.  I believe this to be true, but often wondered how they might appear, where, when. I know this is not mine to know, but to trust. It’s one of the things we can ask to be shown to us clearly in a way that we understand.

Sometimes its an article, a blog, a book rather than a face to face meeting with a guru or expert as we might expect. Either way, you know. It smacks you in the face, it jumps off the page or bookshelf at you. It’s like a song you hear for the first time and it’s as if someone captured your exact thoughts and put them to music.

Recently, Danielle Laporte posted a two-part blog – Leaving the Church of Self-Improvement for the Temple of Me. All I can say is holy amazeballs. There are so many lines I want to quote, so many things I want share with you and converse about. But I’ll let you read it unbiased, for yourself, to take away what you will.

I will share why it was so powerful to me.

Can you obtain happiness by self-improvement? Can the two co-exist? How do you find the balance? These were things I had written down as part of a list my coach had me write of questions I was avoiding answering – just before I got the email with Danielle’s post. A friend forwarded me the email, not sure if I was on the mailing list; she said she thought of me as soon as she saw it. I had been pondering this for awhile, and had come up with no answers. I questioned if my question was valid or unintelligent or way too in my own head. It wasn’t something I could just share over coffee with a co-worker or open up for conversation (at least not expecting much of a response on Facebook). And so I wondered and wandered.

And then I read. This was meant to be shown to me at this time, I knew. Of course, I overanalyzed at first. I tried to create a checklist of sorts, or pinpoint where exactly I had gone wrong in MY quest based on HER experience. I searched again for an answer that was inside of me all along.

I did what I never do. I put it down. I walked away. For days. And then I came back to it. All over again, I felt as if this were meant for me right now. But I understood it differently than I had the first several reads. I let it sink in without questioning, without looking for some secret agenda or hidden meaning. Suddenly it made sense.

I hope you’ll read it, and I hope you find it as enlightening as I did. I also hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments, or thoughts on  something you’ve had a similar experience.