Monday, October 20, 2014

What if I fall? Oh my darling, what if you fly?

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? Now what is holding you back besides yourself? Is it a fear of judgment or criticism? Fear of change? Fear of the unknown?

For me, it’s a mix of all the above. My need for certainty often disrupts a desire for freedom.

Atelophobia (n.) the fear of imperfection; of never being good enough.

I am a full-fledged, Type A perfectionist, forever doubting my abilities. I set irrationally high standards for myself and am never fully satisfied until I reach them. It was far too easy to compile a list of things I suck at at. I am my own worst critic.
This isn’t something new; I began life as a perfectionist. Even as a child, I was passionate about life and the successes I could make for myself. Since kindergarten, each report card I brought home would begin, “Shane is a very conscientious student,” a teacher politely telling my parents something they already knew, that their daughter feared failure.
Fast forward several years to my first real job. In our weekly retrospectives we discuss as a team that which went well, not so well, and how we plan to improve in the future. Week after week, I point out all the things I did wrong. My team leader offers encouragement: “I know you added great value this week, why don’t you ever talk about the positives?” I often sell myself short which projects as lacking the confidence necessary for success in my career.

Have you ever thought, I could accomplish so much more if only I believed in myself and my talents?
I overthink every situation, making the simplest of tasks 100x more difficult than necessary. I spend hours deciding if I want to make even the smallest of purchases, and then have regret for weeks after the fact (I'm talking like $20 here).
It seems a paradox that a perfectionist would procrastinate, yet many nights I am left staring at a blank computer screen for hours, trying to decide where to begin. I often put off turning in papers, checking them over and over, to be sure they are just right, to the point of crippling paralysis.
Stop focusing on what could go wrong and start focusing on what could go right
I think more about what could go wrong than what could go right. Nights are spent tossing and turning, a worry wart to no end.  
I possess a very black or white mentality. I want everything I touch to be just right, and when the world around me refuses to cooperate, I get annoyed and frustrated. I need to learn to see those subtle shades of gray.
I take everything to heart. I fake a tough exterior but I am easily offended. Yet at the same time, I struggle to accept compliments.
I tend to push people away. When it comes to relationships, opening up and revealing your true self is necessary. Yet when things start heat up, I freak at the thought of commitment and make excuse after excuse to get out of what I've gotten myself into. Do I risk being exposed and vulnerable, or act to protect my pride and heartstrings?
I don't like to deal with my emotions by talking about them. Instead I let them bottle up inside of me until I'm ready to explode. This allows fear to grow and harbor inside, stealing my happiness.
We all have comfort zones, or those artificial mental boundaries of that which we believe we can or cannot accomplish in our personal and professional and lives. There are those who are perfectly happy staying warm and cozy in this safe box they've built but this places bounds on experiencing all that life has to offer.

The urge to pack up and start a new life in a city is a dream we've all had at one time or another. There’s a certain appeal in leaving behind your established routine and starting fresh. I took the ultimate risk by moving across the globe for my first real job. I have stepped out of my comfort zone numerous times in the past three months, opening myself to so many amazing opportunities.
Failing is both the worst and best thing that can happen to you. When you don’t fail, you succeed. When you do fail, you succeed at figuring out another way of not doing it..Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes. Achievers succeed not because they’re not afraid, but because they overcome the fear. They know fear won’t go away, but they refuse to be deterred by it. 
I have come to realize through the years that more than just working toward success, perfection is a search for the unattainable. Striving for excellence motivates you; striving for perfection is demoralizing. You will fail to achieve as much as those with more realistic strivings.
Looking towards the future, I will not look upon failure as a frozen outcome, but rather a chance to learn and grow. I believe I will lead a much more satisfying life if I release my inhibitions. 
There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful than a woman being unapologetically herself, comfortable in her perfect imperfections, to me, that is the essence of beauty
My question for you is this: Do you want to look back at the end of your life and regret all those chances you didn’t take?
Helene in Between Blogtober

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Secrets on a Sunday v.30

Happy Sunday everyone, I hope you've had a lovely weekend! I decided to bring back Secrets for a bit. If you're new here, this is a chance to anonymously share secrets you've been keeping to yourself and just need to get off of your chest. They can be anything from "I cheated on my math test" to "I cheated on my husband" This is for you as well as for myself (I may post a few of my own) We all have secrets that we have to live with, but the best medicine is not keep them bottled up inside. My hope is that this can act as an escape of sorts for a lot of you.

1. This is open to anyone who wants to participate, from a regular follower to casual visitor.

2. Post a secret anonymously, no names please (Choose the anonymous option under comment).

3. I do this for you guys - so you can get some weight off of your shoulders. If you are not comfortable with sharing, that is entirely well and fine.

4. I am going to participate as well. One of the comments will be mine.
**Remember: Nothing is off limits and we are not here to judge. 

**To anyone who anonymously posts a secret here, if you ever need someone to vent to, get advice from, etc, do not hesitate to contact me personally through e-mail.  I have been through some tough stuff and know how alone it can make a person feel at times.  I promise I will never judge, and it will be kept soley between the two of us. There are so many of these I have read which make me wish I could give the person a huge hug and let them know everything will be okay.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Early August+$750+gift cards galore

I'm what you call a jeans and a tee-shirt girl, through and through. Yes I love to dress up and get fancy sometimes but I'm most comfortable in my favorite jeans, slouchy v-neck, leather jacket and boots. A few years ago when shopping around for new accessories, I couldn't find any jewelry that I felt fit my somewhat simple style and my "I don't have a big girl job yet" budget. So being the creative that I am, I attempted to create my own pieces and completely fell in love with the process.

My new skill quickly wen't from trying something new, to hobby to passion within a matter of months. And eventually into my own growing business. As I grew, I began to see that I wasn't the only woman who was looking for these simple daily accessories. Not every woman likes big flashy jewelry nor does she wan't the hassle of figuring out what necklace looks good with what.
And that's why I created, Early August. I wanted a space to provide ambitious women on the go just like myself with the everyday essentials needed to help simplify her life. Whether she needs a cute necklace that can go from being worn during the day at work or later for a fun night out or something to add to her personal space to make it feel a little more like her own. Early August was created for her.
Early August has been a dream of mine for years now and I have put so much passion, love and even a few tears behind its creation! The feeling I have knowing that I FINALLY get to share my dream with the world is indescribable and I hope that you all love it just as much as I do! You can keep up with all things Early August on Twitter, Instagram + Pinterest.

Ashley @ Afternoon Espresso

If you could be any color in the crayon box, which would you be?
The first color that pops in my head is yellow!  Yellow completely describes me as a person-it's bright, happy, and fun.  I also completely love the sunny days- they are my happy place.   
If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
Ahh this is a depressing question, but I think everyone should try to live every day like it's their last day by "taking chances, living well, loving hard, and laughing often" oh and being nice.

If you could be any color in the crayon box, which would you be?
Turquoise! It's my favorite, if you have ever seen my wardrobe you would understand : )
If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
I would spend it with my family just talking and enjoying their company.

Lindsay @ Bourbon, Lipstick & Stilettos

If you could be any color in the crayon box, which would you be?
Pink!  It's one of my favorite colors and I think it fits my outgoing personality.  I like to have fun, and I feel pink is the most fun color in the box!

If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
I'd spend it with my family and boyfriend, preferably at the beach.  I'd snuggle my niece, eat seafood, and soak up every last minute.  

Lauren @ Lot 48

If you could be any color in the crayon box, which would you be?
Maroon!! It seems so fierce yet seductive at the same time, doesn't it?? And also says, don't mess with me!! 

If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
I would spend every second with my husband and my family.  I have been fortunate enough to travel and live my life in a way that if that time ever came, I am confident I would be able to say "I have lived my life how I wanted, and to the fullest."   I am proud of myself that I live my life in that way.

Ready to be featured next week

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On choosing joy

*Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for a giveaway that will make you all sorts of happy!

It’s OK to be Happy!

I need to say that. It’s OK to be happy! I mean happy deep down all the way till it bubbles out onto your face and into your life, and effects each day.

Do you remember when you were little and you made yourself a fort or maybe you were lucky enough to have a proper playhouse or tee pee! It was simple. Nothing but “sheets” but your imagination ran wild and you played there the WHOLE entire day! That was your only care in the world and you were HAPPY! So much so you passed out right where you were!
It's okay to be happy

Flash forward… To your latest and greatest adventure to date! A music festival! Your standing there surrounded by a gazillion people. Your favorite single is being sung live and next to you is your best friend and your newest friend. You’re all swaying, flowers in your hair, singing the words at the top of your lungs! Your hot, sweaty, smelly, braless, flower crowned down, and sporting your best festival apparel. You look around and realize in that moment you are completely happy! Nothing Looming over you! It occurs to you this is living life.
bonnaroo Music Festival
It’s not the experience though! Trust me it’s not. It’s the feeling. That feeling of complete euphoria! The feeling you get when you spend the weekend with college friends, sorority sisters, your family. Even by yourself doing the things that you “never” have time for, like reading and finishing a book, making a playlist of songs that perfectly capture your life, or gaming!

All of these experiences trigger that feeling of simpler times. Times when we didn’t feel the weight of stability and security; Or the weight of past mistakes and experiences.

How do we cope with the new realities and still remain happy and hopeful and willing to see each day as a party and celebration of life? I wish there was an easy answer but there isn’t. It’s helpful though to be honest about what you feel and express it. Try making a list of a few things that threaten your happiness daily.

Take your list and make honest resolutions/solutions. It’s going to feel scary but think of it like a roller coaster ride, as it clicks up the steep slope just before the dip! Just before the euphoria! The happy!

I recently wrote down the things that threatened my happiness and stifle my laughter.
It's ok to be happy!
I’m going to start with the first thing on my list and throw myself into creative projects! When I create (or travel) I’m able to connect with my inner self and find that peace that comes with trusting myself.

See in these moments that we are do the things that brings us close to euphoria; our hearts and minds are furtherest away from the things that bring us great anxiety. We are fully focused on the the euphoria of the moment. So why not focus on making tough stuff fun, letting go of the stuff that hurts us and fully live in the moment!

Giveaway time!

At Unbelievably Human, I blog about Love for Self, Love for Others, and Love for life, all expressed through Art! I want to encourage you to "express through art" and to use your iPhone camera “eye” to see life's different perspectives. So I am giving away 3 iPhone lenses to a lucky reader who does the following:

1. Follow me @unbelievablyhuman + @shaneobaneo on instagram

2. Share a picture of what you do to “defend” your happy, through art/creativity (make anything, prepare a meal, photography,DIY, craft, home decor,a flat lay, a look of the day, ect.) and #unbelievablyhuman

3. Then send me an e-mail at UH[at], letting me know how you are Unbelievably Human! Bonus points for creativity!

The Winner (person with the most heart in their expression) will be chosen on October 21st! and submissions will be shared on the site and social media! <3
It's ok to be happy I can not wait to hear from you!

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's never too early to start planning for your future

Hey you. Yes you. Starting your first “real” job can be exciting. What better way to celebrate than by eating out seven nights a week and treating yo’self to a whole new wardrobe? (Guilty) The allure of bringing home that first big girl pay check will soon fade as the endless stream of bills begin. Now that we’re big kids, we need to start budgeting our money and saving for our future.  Here’s how.

We have seen what happened to our parents, many of whom lost their jobs and savings in the financial crisis—and we must take steps to avoid a similar outcome. Yet after student loans and pricy city living (where all the best jobs are) those first dollars seem to fly away. Here are five steps toward achieving financial independence and security for the future:

1. Moderation is key

Know when to splurge and when to save. Live within your means and make thoughtful decisions about where you want your money to go. Don’t be afraid to treat yo’self every once in a while, but brew coffee at home instead of dishing $6 for that latte day in and day out.

2. 50/20/30 budgeting method

50% of your income after taxes should go toward your essentials (rent, utilities, groceries, and transportation), 20% goes to the future (paying down debt, saving for emergencies and retirement), and the rest- a whopping 30% percent - goes to your lifestyle (eating out, vacations, shopping, concerts, etc.)

3. Make savings a priority.

In your 20s, it can hard to find a sweet spot between living in the moment and accepting every opportunity that comes your way and keeping the future in mind. Who thinks about retirement at this age? Want to be a millionaire by 65? Simply set aside $4,000 a year starting in your 20s in an 8% return account. Voila!

4. Automate Your Savings

Sure, we all start with intentions to save throughout the month, but how often do we actually stick to it?  By automating at least 10-20% of your earnings through payroll deductions or automatic transfers into a savings account, you don't even have to think twice, If you schedule your student loan, rent, or health insurance payments, you won’t forget to pay and you’ll avoid late fees. Look into budgeting apps such as Mint, Spendee, and BUDGT to save your butt come the end of the month.

5. Educate yourself on your benefits

Millennials, strapped for cash, face possible credit issues due to unexpected medical bills. Just one missed payment can negatively affect an individual’s credit score, making it difficult to buy a car, rent an apartment or even be denied that dream job. Steps to avoid being One Emergency Away From Financial Disaster:

Tip: Think of health insurance premiums as an essential monthly budget essential like rent, rather than a discretionary expense, like entertainment.
Tip: Educate yourself on how your insurance deductible with Aflac works. Choosing a plan with a low monthly premium and a high deductible may give you more money in your paycheck, but could also result in expensive payments in an emergency.
Tip: If your company offers a health savings account as part of a high deductible health plan, contribute as much as the plan allows so you’ll have money set aside to help meet the deductible.

Tip: Consider adding voluntary benefits such as accident and critical illness plans for added protection. These pay policyholders directly for unexpected costs associated with a covered serious illness, injury or loss. 

6. Put your long-term goals in writing

It'e been shown that putting your goals to pen and paper and prioritizing them based on importance will make you more likely to achieve them. You can make adjustments throughout the month based on what’s working and what isn’t, so don't feel like this is an end all be all.

7.  Buy in bulk

This is especially useful if you have roomies. Stock up on any non-perishable such as toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent and other products you use monthly. You will be surprised how much you can save at wholesale stores versus buying items at your local grocery store each month.

8. Establish a freedom fund

Setting money aside for emergencies is key to avoiding financial disaster. This is safety net will cover you if you're in between jobs. Ideally, your freedom fund should have enough to cover three to six months of living expenses. You won't reach that level overnight, but set aside as much as you can each paycheck until you hit your goal.

9. Ditch the debt

Focus on clearing any credit cards to avoid high-interest rates first, and then use all the money freed up to ditch student loans and car payments.

10. Get honest with yourself

Money is always a sticky subject. You can't change what you don't acknowledge. No matter how much money you bring in, you can’t make the best use of it if you’re not aware of where it goes. Follow the above steps to
By starting your adult financial life on the right foot, you’ll gain the confidence to wisely manage your finances today while saving for tomorrow. Maybe we won't end up as the lost generation after all?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

If I ran for prezzy

1. Wine wouldn't have calories and chocolate would switch places with fruit.

2. Every person would be required to own a puppy before having a baby.

3. On that note, babies, would sing sweet tunes instead of crying.

4. Work weeks would only be four days long.

5. College would last 5 years.

6. Pennies would be outlawed.

7. Tipping wouldn't be a thing. The price on the menu would be the price you get. Waiters would be genuinely friendly people, not working for it.

8. Girl Scout cookies would be sold year round. Oh wait, do we really want that? I mean they'd be calorie free...

9. Teachers would be paid a proper salary. The likes of athletes. I'm looking at you +Rachael Jane +Sierra Charlesworth +Kallie E +Bonnie Larsen 

10. You would be limited to one selfie per week. On the second one, your phone would self-combust.

11. We would be required to blow into a breathalyzer before sending that text or posting on any form of social media to avoid regrets come morning.

12. Drinks in the office would not only be permitted, but encouraged. (Australia is rubbing off on me)

13. Legs would shave themselves.

14. Anyone would be allowed the sacred vow of marriage. Man, woman, dog, cat...

15. There would be no wars and no guns.
So whaddaya say? Can I count on your vote in the 2015 elections?


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Blog smarter, not harder + Linkup

We're all familiar with the fundamental apps of blogging: your chosen platform (blogger or wordpress), social media (twitter, instagram, facebook pages), preferred reader (Bloglovin' or Feedly) and various photo editing apps (afterlight, snapseed). But let me introduce you to some of my favorite non-traditional apps that help me blog-on-the-go with my Intel Tablet!

1/ The Editor


Write. Edit. Repeat.
Grammar not really your thing? Ditch that Word doc that only catches spelling errors and throw your writing into this handy app. It's almost like having Hemingway himself at your desk!

Hemingway gives you a “Readability” grading, flags errors such as:sentences that are difficult to read. adverbs you should consider revising, words or phrases that could be simple, passive voice (which we know as writers should be avoided at all costs!) You don’t need to change everything flagged, but following the advice is sure to amp up your blog posts and transform you into an overall better writer. Best invention since sliced bread?

2/ The Saver


As bloggers, we browse the Internet a lot on our smartphones, and come across insightful articles and blog posts that we would love to read but cannot due to limited time. Have no fear, Pocket is here! This app allows us save these nuggets to refer back to and share when the time is right.

3/ The Vault


Consider Evernote your digital brainstorming journal and personal assistant all in one. Also, create to-do lists that can sync across all of your devices and the Web Clipper to save useful articles for future reference, and take notes or brainstorm ideas on the go. Have a weekly series or feature? Use evernote to create a template to reuse with the same HTML each time. Easy, peasy lemon squeezy.

4/ The Scheduler


If you still don't use this app, you are doing Twitter all wrong. Hootsuite has a bajillion nifty features to make your blogging life that much simpler. You can schedule tweets as far in advance as you wish, switch between accounts (including Facebook and Google+) in a click, and shorten your links. You can set up streams of mentions, sent received, lists of your favorite followers, and so much more! I also use it to keep up with Twitter chats, so I can see columns for the username hosting the chat, the hashtag for the chat, and my replies in three separate columns on one screen. There are also free add-on apps such as UnfollowMe and a twitter demographics to track all of your followers and followeees.

5/ The Networker


Put the internet to work for you with IFTTT. This app lets you create and share "Recipes" that fit the statement: "if this then that". The “this” part of a Recipe is called a Trigger like "I’m tagged in a photo on Facebook” or “I check in on Foursquare”. The “that” part of a Recipe is called an Action such as "send me a text message” or “create a status message on Facebook”. The combination of a Trigger and an Action from a user's active channels are called Recipes. Pretty nifty, right?
I downloaded all of these apps as soon as I laid hands on my Acer Tablet! Productivity and inspiration at my fingertips. I'm more than ready to blog-on-the-go these days!
Ash (Follow Here!) // Shane (Follow Here!) //  Tori (Follow Here!)

Rules are there are no rules! 

Please link-up to whatever you like! 

All that we ask is, if you wish, please follow us via the links above and that you link back to this blog - so that other's can join in and mingle! 

Happy Little Friday Everyone!

The Grits Blog - Little Friday Linkup

#spon: I'm required to disclose a relationship between our site and Intel. This could include the Intel Corporation providing us w/content, product, access or other forms of payment.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

An open letter to my future self

Hey there gorgeous, 

Woah nelly, it's 2024. Where on earth did time go? No, we still don’t have calorie-free food and flying cars haven't yet made it mainstream. I know, it blows, but we're not here to harp on the negatives. 

I see you smiling, feeling so content. You're looking at the younger, more naive, unrefined me; yet you have nothing but unwavering love and compassion for that girl. She's amazing in her own right.
You watch me struggle with anxiety day in and day out; the constant need for control and perfection ruling your life. Those excruciating moments of self-loathing, followed by a slew of negative critiques, picking yourself apart, flaw by flaw; but you refuse to let that define the new me. 

You know the struggles make you stronger. You made it through the rollercoaster and hold nothing but gratitude and hope in your heart. 

You will face some harsh realities, and you will hit rough patches. Bad days will come and bad days will go. Remember, it's a bad day, not a bad life. 
My advice for you, Shane?

Take care of yourself. Eat well. Exercise. Get outside. Get plenty of rest. That daily yoga regimine you started? It's so good for your soul, well-being, and healing.

Be kind to yourself.  For every moment you criticize yourself, you are robbing yourself of joy.

Let people in. When it's right, let go. Let yourself love with abandon, love openly and honestly. You don’t have to protect yourself from vulnerabilities so much. Tear down those walls. But above all else, love yourself.

Invest in people who invest in you. Wasted time is worse than wasted money.

Trust yourself. Take a leap into the unknown and completely follow your heart. Dream bigger. Reach for the stars – they are waiting for you.
You know all that crap you were worried about yesterday? It will all seem minimal in the grand scheme of life. Don't blink, life goes faster than you think. 

Travel every single chance you get. Once a year (or more if time and resources allow), go somewhere you've never been before. Travel to all 196 countries, see all seven wonders of the world. Life is too short to stay in one place. 

Find what you are truly passionate about. You know all those things you've always wanted to do? You should go do them. Not tomorrow, not next week, or next year, but now, before it's too late.
Forgive yourself. It’s time to stop carrying around the guilt, that you could have done better, been better. More supportive, more compassionate, more selfless. The past is in the past, and you have to let it live there.

More than just making a name for yourself, I hope you are changing lives. Make it your mission to leave the world better than you entered it.

Future self, I see that somewhere between you and me, we figure sh*t out. You make life look so painless, so carefree. You are proving to me that the possibilities are limitless in our life. You give me something to work towards, motivation to keep powering through. I can’t wait to meet you, I am so honored and excited to become you.

So Shane, one day you will be that gold-hearted, awe-inspiring woman you so admire. For now, be gentle. You are doing the best you can.
Be happy for this moment, for this moment is your life. But damn, the future looks bright up ahead. 

So much love,
Your slightly older and wiser, but still just as hot 32-year-old self

Helene in Between Blogtober