Surrounding oneself with solid friendships is said to have some serious benefits on both one’s happiness and health. And it’s easy to see why: the immense laughter and enjoyment one experiences through friendship is palpable, and the emotional benefit – from having a shoulder to cry on to discussing your deepest thoughts – helps one work through problems and become a stronger person.
Of course, it becomes easy to take something so special for granted, particularly when life gets in the way. Whether your time is taken up by a job, kids, family obligations, school, or travel, some times it simply becomes difficult to keep up with those friendships you cherish most.
But this spring, we challenge you to focus on sustaining the relationships you adore. The first step in doing so? Become a kinder friend. This includes everything from making more time to catch up via email, to texting them a cute smile when you miss them, to treating your friend to dinner when you finally get together. How else can you become a kinder friend?
- Be honest yet kind. Real friends speak the truth with sincerity and compassion. Superficiality can only serve to tear a rift between friends who were once close, and offer a barrier to friends in the making. Being superficial – or not telling the whole truth – won’t gain you the respect of any friends, even if you’re trying not to hurt anyone’s feelings. Tell him or her what they need to hear with tact, grace, and love.
- Let things go. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if Jane missed your birthday party, or if Susan ditched out on plans last minute? Unless it’s a recurring problem, it’s important to let the small stuff go. Holding grudges takes a lot of mental energy – energy you don’t need to be wasting – and can seriously harm a friendship in the long term. When things change, go with the flow as often as possible. Who knows, your friend might be struggling to juggle his or her priorities… and that’s something you can help them through.
- Speak positively, and limit gossip. Of course, gossip can be fun, and can feel like a bonding mechanism. Unfortunately, all gossip typically breeds is negativity, and we’re striving for positive relationships that enrich our lives. Make a pact with yourself to speak about the positive things, and focus on your life and your friends’.
- Be present. It can be easy to get together and hop on Facebook to peruse the latest updates from friends you have in common, or to show your friend a hilarious email chain you saw recently. It’s also easy to be distracted by incoming texts, emails, and calls. When you’re with friends, however, make a point to be present. Put the phone away, turn off electronics, and really take the time to experience each other’s company. You will be amazed how much closer you feel!
- Love yourself. As the old saying goes, it’s hard to love someone else until you can truly love yourself. Always know that you deserve the best friendships in the world, and deserve to surround yourself with people that nourish you. The kinder you are to yourself, the kinder you’ll be to others – and the kinder they’ll be in return.
How do you keep your friendships strong and filled with kindness?
Don’t forget – Mother’s Day is one week from today! How will you show your beloved mom how much you appreciate her? While perhaps you appreciate your special lady each and every day, Mother’s Day is the time to really put it out on the table and tell your mom exactly what makes her the best.
Whether you’re planning on whipping up a delicious dinner, writing a beautiful card, buying her the gift she most deserves, your mom deserves the best. Still looking for an idea?
At the end of the day, your mom ultimately deserves the greatest gift of them all: spending time with you. If it’s a nice day, take a walk in the park, go kayaking, or peruse your local outdoor shopping strip. If you’re looking for something indoors, do a craft together, make dinner, or simply sit and chat with a cup of coffee.
Another gift we know she’ll adore? A great pair of springtime shoes. Whether your mom is a fan of wedges, sneakers, sandals, or a mix of all three, grab her a bright, beautiful pair as the ultimate Mother’s Day gift.
Seen above: BioNatura Pamina
For the casual mom who’s always on the go, grab a great pair of flat sandals. These BioNatura slip-ons will allow her to run out the door in seconds – and in style. Whether her weekends are filled with errands and dates, or if she just likes to relax, a nice pair of casual sandals will get her where she needs to be with ease.
Seen above: Wanda Panda Manila
For the mom with a whole lot of personality, a pair of colorful wedges allows her to shine her brightest. With a little height and a whole lot of heart, these Wanda Panda wedges are so comfortable, it’s almost guaranteed that your mom won’t want to take them off.
Seen above: Chocolat Blu Wala
A tall pair of wedges will really help your mom embrace her inner fashionista. With trendy laser cut details, a beautiful, sleek silhouette, and beautiful suede, these Chocolat Blu beauties will bring a huge smile to your mom’s already grinning face.
What will you get your mom this Mother’s Day? Visit PlanetShoes for a few ideas.
Trying to go green can sometimes feel like a hassle. It often involves changing one’s behavior and routine, and that’s never easy. Bringing a reusable bag to the grocery store, for instance, is a habit that doesn’t come naturally to someone who has been using grocery bags for his or her entire life. Recycling everything that can be recycled is a learning process, one that takes effort and patience to get down. And at times, buying eco-friendly products can feel like a serious wallet drain.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Going green should actually save you money, if you know the right tactics and tricks. But where can you start?
In the winter, turn the thermostat down and use layers to bundle up. Not only will it save on natural gas or electricity (whichever is used at your house), it will also save you some serious dough. Turn it down to under 60 degrees at night and when you’re out for the day, and leave it in the high sixties when you’re at home. The same goes for air conditioners – if you aren’t going to be home, there’s no need to leave it running.
Try vegetarian meals
Eating more vegetables is a simple, healthy way to go green. A lot of resources, energy, and water go into creating the meat we adore, and cutting just one meat-based meal out of your week can have some substantial green benefits. On top of this, eating more veggies can save you some serious dough. Forgo a weekly pork dinner for a bean-filled dish and rack up the savings.
If you drive to work, consider carpooling. Traveling to work with a friend or family member isn’t just a great way to start the day, it will save on your monthly gas spending. On top of this, you’re putting half as much pollution into the air because you’re driving one less car, and you’re decreasing highway congestion just a tad. If you have access to public transit, consider using that a few times a week to cut your gas costs and up your energy savings. And of course, if you have the option to bike, walk, or run to and from work, all the better! These modes of transport are free and have little to no environmental impact.
Part with your stuff
We all have too much stuff. Stuff follows us everywhere. You go to a cute farmers market and they give you a free tote – that you’ll never use. You head out to get coffee with a friend and spot an adorable mug you just have to have… even though you already have at least 15 mugs. Treating yourself can certainly be rewarding, and oftentimes, you deserve it. But adding up all these purchases makes for a lot of stuff piling up in your home – and chances are, someone else might really need some of that stuff. Have a yard sale and clear out your excess; giving items away ensures that others won’t buy new ones (creating new products utilizes more resources and depletes our earth of virgin materials). If yard sales aren’t your thing, start small and sell a few items on Craig’s List. You’ll be amazed by how free your mind feels when you de-clutter!
Yes, we’ve all heard the benefits of buying a reusable water bottle. Not only does it save countless pounds of plastic (when compared to buying pre-bottled water), but it will save you a ton of money. Reuse doesn’t have to end at your water bottle though; clean out yogurt containers and peanut butter jars when they’re empty, and use them to bring your lunch to work each day (no need to buy Tupperware!). Old coffee cans or shoe boxes can make great storage containers. The opportunities are endless to save money and go green if you can just get a bit creative.
How do you save money and go green? We’d love to hear your ideas!
It’s Monday night, and you’re getting home from work much later than you expected. Running around the grocery store, you look for a few, key ingredients that can come together to make quick 8pm meal. Whether you’re cooking for one or cooking for your family, this is no easy task. The grocery store is enormous, it’s difficult to know what to grab to blend into a magically healthy, delicious dinner, and your time is crunched. What do you do?
There are some serious benefits to eating dinner at home over grabbing something to-go – saving money, eating healthier, and going greener. Cooking your own meal gives you ownership over what you’re putting in your body, allows you to know exactly what goes into your food, and practically guarantees your food will be surrounded by less packaging (thanks to all those produce-section fruits and veggies). And while we acknowledge these substantial benefits, cooking can feel daunting when your time is limited.
Luckily, there are recipes that are healthy, quick, and delicious, and all include 5 or less ingredients. Piling your plate with good-for-you, nutrition-filled fruits, veggies, protein, and heart-healthy grains never felt so easy. Whipping around the grocery store takes you less than 10 minutes, and your body feels great. It’s a serious win-win!
Try out some of these recipes this week and let us know how it goes. How quickly were you able to whip them up? How long did you spend in the grocery store? We’d love to hear your experience!
The kitchen can be either your favorite place in the home, or just an afterthought. Oftentimes, we find that people feel intimidated by the kitchen – and therefore survive on take-out and frozen meals – because they don’t feel like their cooking skills are up to par, and feel like it’s too late to learn. But we know that’s not the case!
Cooking doesn’t need to feel like a foreboding skill to learn. Like any learning process, it’s a gradual uphill climb, one that takes practice to be perfect. For those who are just getting started, knowing a few tips and tricks to propel you forward in the learning curve might be just what you need to climb over the cooking hurdle. And for seasoned vets, these tricks can help you excel!
- Always repurpose leftovers. Forget letting your waiter or waitress throw away your uneaten meals. Always take them home and repurpose the leftovers in new ways! Old rice can transform a homemade soup into a hearty meal; veggie salad (without dressing) can be thrown into eggs to make a frittata; sides like potatoes, beans, or grains can be heated up and thrown into a lunchtime salad. The opportunities for deliciousness are endless – and on top of this, you’re decreasing food waste and the time needed to cook completely from scratch.
- Avoid rotting. On that note, taking care of the food in your kitchen will ensure that you never have to run out to the grocery store because a key ingredient has gone bad. Each piece of produce has different ways in which you should properly store it to increase its longevity. Asparagus, for instance, lasts longest when stored in the refrigerator, while broccoli does best in a crisper drawer. Lettuce should be wrapped in a paper towel, then wrapped in plastic wrap, while garlic should be stored outside the refrigerator in a dark, cool place without any wrappings. Use this guide to start learning how each piece of produce should be properly stored.
- Utilize hot and cold water to revive old food. Over-softened butter can be made hard again by placing it in an ice bath, while hard butter can be softened by increasing surface area and cutting into chunks, utilizing the warm air to soften quickly. Placing soft cheeses like mozzarella in the freezer will make grating quicker, easier, and less of a mess. Putting pre-cut herbs in ice cube trays with water or oil will ensure they’re always ready to go when you need to throw them into a recipe on the fly.
- Use grease. We know this might not be the healthiest of tips, but using a little grease (in the form of butter or olive oil) can work wonders for saving time in the kitchen. Grease measuring cups before measuring out viscous, sticky liquids (like honey) to ensure no remnants are left behind in the cup. Line brownie pans with parchment paper, then oil, for clean-cut treats that don’t stick to your knife or the pan.
- Clean the quick way. Cleaning doesn’t have to be a horrid chore. There are millions of tips for cleaning quickly in the kitchen, most of which include using natural ingredients you already have on hand. For instance, using a salt scrub to clean a cast iron pan helps keep in the seasoning and flavor while still removing grime. Fresh produce can be easily scrubbed with baking soda and water to remove dirt and pesticides (without using harsh chemicals). For another salt-based solution, scrub your wooden cutting board with a salt scrub and finish off with a lemon to clean away food particles and smells. When you have the right solutions, cleaning can be simple – and can even make your food tastier!
Are you a cooking pro or a kitchen novice? What tips make your time in the kitchen quick and easy?
Seen above: New Brand! Wanda Panda (various styles)
It’s spring… let’s let those feet breathe! Open-toed shoes bring a whole new element of casual, bright, flirtatious fun to your wardrobe – perfect for matching the gorgeous springtime weather.
With every new season comes a whole new realm of possibility. As nature changes all around you – from trees and flowers blooming to more sunshine radiating for longer days – it’s time to reset and think about your goals yet again. What do you want to accomplish this season? The new weather brings all sorts of opportunities: the option to exercise outside, for instance, or the ability to explore your local neighborhood and see sites you haven’t seen before.
Seen above: Born Emmy Cork Wrap Wedges
Take advantage of this new realm of experience by setting new goals for yourself that you’d love to accomplish this season. Whether it’s something you’d like to get done at work, school, with your family, or for your own personal health, make a list and stick to it. If the switch to a new season doesn’t inspire you, the beautiful flowers, trees, and sunshine certainly will! With nature blooming comes a whole new realm of possibility.
Seen above: BioNatura Angela
Why not take advantage of it with new, beautiful shoes that shine as brightly as the season? Soar to the skies in colorful wedges that make you a few inches taller and all the more confident. Pair these beauties with a floral dress to match the beautiful nature that surrounds you; match some smaller wedges with shorts to explore a new city; or add them to a pair of simple jeans and a tank top for a fun night out to dinner with friends. We know you deserve it!
Soak in the sun, feel the wind in your hair, and enjoy the spring for everything it has to offer – in gorgeous colorful wedges that will take you to new heights!