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The art of layering clothes

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The formula to layering clothes

 

Layering clothes– it’s what makes an okay outfit an amazing outfit. It’s where personality and creativity take off.

 

But it isn’t always easy.

 

If basic outfits are simple 1+1=2 arithmetic, then the art of layering is algebra. There are formulas and ways to solve for x and make a great outfit, but you have to know them (by instinct or learning). With that said, I would argue layering is considerably more fun than algebra.

 

Here’s your general formula for layering clothes:

 

Base garment + accent garment(s) + accessories = layered outfit.

 

Your base garment is the simplest version of your outfit and basically whatever is needed to keep you decent. In the below example, the base garment is jeans and a t-shirt. Nothing fancy, just a top and bottom so you don’t get in trouble for public indecency. There are 20 pieces of clothing that I consider base (aka the basics) garments and are the ultimate foundation for any wardrobe.

 

Your accent garment or garments (for the more seasoned layerer- not a word, but stick with me) consists of any extra pieces of clothing that you are wearing aside from the base garment. This could be anything from a cardigan to a vest or even a blouse. Accent garments are a great way to incorporate trends into your outfit. Check out the top 8 trends of Fall 2018 here.

 

Your accessories are the sprinkles on the cake. They fill in ‘visual holes’ (places on your outfit where you need more visual interest) and add the last little bit of personality.

 

Here’s the formula at work:

 

How to layer clothing

 

The basic jeans and t-shirt above layers various garments to create three very different outfit ideas. Some of these outfit examples are more casual and some are more dressed up. See if you can identify each part of the formula: base garments + accents garment + accessories.

 

It’s also important to note that it is easiest when the formula goes in that order: base + accent + accessory. Most people have trouble visualizing an entire outfit all pulled together. However, most everyone can add pieces one at a time (something I talk about in this free webinar). Even if you have to take off part of your base layer (like a dress) to add an accent garment (like a blouse), it’s still mentally easier to put the outfit together in the order of the formula.

 

That brings us to my next very important point. Layering can be done OVER or UNDER (or sometimes both!)

 

We usually think of layering in terms of putting a cardigan or blazer over a shirt. We are not wrong to think that but, but we are wrong to assume that that is the only way to layer! Putting a blouse under a dress is layering. Putting pants under a mini dress (thus making it a tunic!) is layering. Putting a dress under a pair of pants is layering. It may not all look good, but don’t limit yourself! Some of the best outfits are made by thinking out of the box.

 

Look at how this dress (as well as the example above) is layered both over and under.

 

How to layer women's clothingHere we see one outfit that is layered under (the blouse is under the dress) and two that are layered over (the sweater and blazer). Just like the jeans and t-shirt example, the formula applied to this little black dress completely transforms the whole outfit.

 

How to layer women's clothing

 

There really is no rule to how many pieces you can layer, so have fun experimenting and deciding what works best for you! Everyone has a unique style (Not sure what yours is? Take the Style quiz here!) and layering is a great way to show it off!

 

What’s your favorite layered look? Let me know below!

 

Cheers,

Leslie

1

The pair of shoes you can wear with anything

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The only pair of shoes you'll need

 

Anyone who knows me (or follows my blog) probably knows that I’m a neurotic packer.

I absolutely love packing for trips. This, in and of itself, is weird (or so I’m told). But while the rest of world dreads packing and procrastinates until the last minute, I start planning months in advance.

My goal is to pack the least amount (I almost never check a bag!) but still have enough clothes to look really stylish and appropriate for my destination. Because of that, I approach packing like a puzzle. How many outfits can I make from the least amount of clothes? How many accessories do I need to make each outfit look amazingly unique, even if I wore it the night before? And, the question that brings us to today’s topic, what is the least number of shoes I can pack? (psst. My biggest packing tip is to only pack some of the basics from your wardrobe.)

Shoes are a big deal. For one, they take up a lot of room in a suitcase. They are also extremely important when it comes to enjoying your trip. You don’t want to get blisters on the first day from bringing shoes that don’t fit well.

I just went to New York City for the weekend to meet up with my sisters. Activities included everything from walking around the Met to going out and laying out. I needed a shoe that would look great with a fancy dress, jeans, and a swimsuit. It was a tall order.

What did I end up choosing? A cute pair of black mules. The picture below is the exact pair of shoes I wore.
target black muleBlack Mules from Target ($24.99)

Since I had copious amounts of time in airports and cars this past weekend, I got to thinking, “Is there one shoe you could pretty much wear with anything?” The shoe above did just that, but what happens when that shoe is outdated? And that’s when I got my follow up answer; it wasn’t about the exact shoe itself so much as the type.

The picture above, is a fancy flat. If you’re not familiar with that term, don’t feel bad, I literally made it up in the Delta lounge last weekend. More on what makes a fancy flat fancy later, but I want to hit on why this type of shoe will always be around:

When that fancy flat gets outdated, another fancy flat will take it’s place.

Just think about the last couple years of fashion when it comes to flats: ballet flats were all the hit (a la Tory Burch), then loafers, and now mules. In a few years (or months) another flat will take the place of mules.

So what makes a fancy flat fancy?

So glad you asked. It’s some sort of embellishment or attribute that takes the shoe from completely casual to gussied up. It could be an actual embellishment like tassels (see above) or rhinestones. Or it could be as simple as using leather or satin instead of canvas or some other cheap substitute.

This is the secret to having a shoe that can go back and forth from a maxi dress to a swimsuit.

Below are two flats. The one on the left is just a normal, casual flat while the other is one I’d consider ‘fancy’. Can you tell the difference?

Galinsky Loafer

Left (Toms $49.95), Right (Aldo $59.99)

The two shoes above are very similar, but because the one on the right uses leather instead of canvas and has a pointed toe, it looks fancier. Crazy how such a small change can make a big difference right?

Both shoes will look great with jeans, but only the one on the right will look good with fancier skirts, dresses, and even work pants.

Keep reading to see the top 3 reasons why fancy flats are so incredible.

you can wear these shoes with everything

 

The top 3 reasons why the fancy flat can be the only shoe in your closet:

  1. It’s a flat, so it’s easy to walk in. If you have one shoe in your closet, it better to be easy on your dogs.
  2. It’s fancy (or part of it is dressed up in some way) so the casualness of the low heel is contrasted with the more formal embellishments or materials. These two qualities ying and yang to create the perfect shoe that can work just as well with jean shorts as it can a silk slip dress.
  3. What’s en vogue changes enough, that by the time you wear out your pair of fancy flats, another pair will be on the market (which means you are always in style)

 

I love fancy flats, and think they’re so important, that they actually made my list of the top 20 items you need in your closet.

 

 

Looking for more fancy flat options? Try these:

Renzo Flat

DSW $44.99

Rodney Pointy Toe d'Orsay Flat, Main, color, Pink Snake Print Leather

Nordstrom $83

Sunflower Studded Mule Slide

Bergdorf Goodman’s ($347)

 

As you can tell, not all fancy flats have to be plain black (although that is pretty versatile!) Pick a pair that works well with the color scheme of your closet or opt for neutral colors like beige and black to get the most wear! They also don’t have to be fancy priced. The pair of mules I took to New York were less than $25. I’d say that’s a win-win.

Do you have a pair of fancy flats that you love? Tell me below!

xoxox,

Leslie

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5 biggest holiday stressors and how to eliminate them

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Welcome to *insert music here* “the most wonderful time of the year* and the “happiest season of all”. Let’s face it, though, no matter how jolly and happy this season is, it comes with its fare share of stress. Holiday shopping (or perhaps dealing with other holiday shoppers), fattening foods, horrible traffic, way too much family time (“you voted for who?!!?””you’re STILL not dating anyone??”)…the list could go on. By the time the second week of January rolls around we are more tired, broke, and stressed than we ever were before. Here are 5 easy tips you can do to combat the January blues. I’ve broken them down into 5 categories that usually leave us the most stressed.

5-biggest-holiday-stressors

#5 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Parties

It’s officially party season and you have a dozen invites on the table. If you’re an extrovert- the thought of a million parties sounds exhilarating. If you’re an introvert- multiple parties seem like a good way to kill yourself. No matter who you are though, a bunch of holiday parties can drain your bank account (if you’re bringing a bottle or two of wine to each), sabotage your health (helllooo sugar overload), and leave you exhausted. The key is to set boundaries and learn to say no. Go with a friend and help them keep you responsible (I will leave by 9pm, I will not eat all the cookies…). Or get a jump start on your New Years resolution to say no more often and send your regrets. This will save your time, money, and energy for the parties you care most about.

 

#4 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Traffic

If you are someone who gets easily angered by traffic, get prepared…this time of year is no driving cakewalk. Opt to visit stores during their off-peak hours (if you search any local store in Google, a nifty chart comes up showing you when that particular store is least and most busy) or purchase online. If you’re hitting the road to visit friends or family, try to get off work early or leave after everyone else. You won’t avoid traffic completely, but it may help you keep some of your sanity. With that said, be careful driving late at night as there is in an increase in drunk driving around this time of year.

 

#3 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Health

It’s too late to take back what you ate for Thanksgiving, but it isn’t too late to make sure you don’t add a few more pounds before New Years. If you’re going to a party, bring a healthy dish (note: healthy doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with carrot sticks, this black bean salsa is healthy and delicious) and decide what you’re going to consume beforehand. Ask a friend or spouse to keep you in check. The items with the biggest calorie count aren’t necessarily cookies or cake (although, those don’t help) but alcohol. A single glass of wine can have up to 100 calories or more in it. If you’re friends are party animals and love to drink, volunteer to be the DD. It’s a great out for you (let them kill themselves at the gym come January…you’ll still be looking great) and ensures everyone is safe during the holidays.

 

#2 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Family

Family is great. But often times, too much family can be…well, too much. You don’t have to spend every waking moment with your relatives to prove you love them. Allowing downtime and limiting the length of your stay are two ways to show that you respect the other person’s personal space and generosity to host you. If you need some alone time (and no one is getting the hint) this may be a great time to do something active. Go for a walk or take a jog. It will help re-energize you and work off any wine you might need later that day.

Image result for dysfunctional family holiday

#1 Biggest Holiday Stressor: Money

How many times do you get your January credit card statement and solemnly vow never to spend that much again…only to have severe amnesia around Thanksgiving and repeat the whole process? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one. Luckily, a little planning and preparation (and some self control) can help get your finances back in order and keep them that way. For starters, assess everything you purchase. Yes, everything. And ask yourself, “do I (or whoever it’s for) really need this?” If the answer is yes, follow up with this question, “do I need it right now?” Instead of buying a new outfit for every party, borrow something from a friend, rent a dress, or get creative by mixing and matching pieces in your own closet. Instead of bringing a pricy dessert that you picked up from the bakery, make it yourself and save some money. Instead of buying an endless amount of gifts, decide on a gift budget beforehand and then stick to it. Every year my husband and I decide on how much money we will spend on each other. I also decide what my max amount is to spend on family members. That way, there’s never a surprise bill in January.

If you’re already too far gone this year, try something different next year. Set your budgets and then divide that total amount by 12. That’s how much money you need to put into savings each month to afford your holiday spending…without the hangover.

Image result for holiday stress

Not everyone gets stressed out about the same things during the holiday season. Whether it’s weight gain, money woes, or traffic issues, know what pushes your buttons and make an active plan (NOW!) to better avoid the stress later. Believe me, you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

 

 

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How to Pack a Carry-on like a Pro this Holiday Season

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how-to-pack-a-carry-on-like-a-pro-this-holiday-season

 

There are two camps: people who will check their bags, and people who will do anything in their power NOT to check bags when flying. I’m the latter. The strong desire to never check a bag isn’t a matter of money so much as it is convenience. For example, this past summer, my husband and I went to Thailand for ten days and I packed us both a small backpack. There was nothing better than landing, grabbing our bags from under our seats, and walking right off the airplane and straight to our resort (no lost luggage or long luggage pick up lines to deal with!)

Unless you travel with bulky medical equipment or lots of kids, I truly believe that most people can pack whatever they need in just a carry-on…especially during the holidays. Here are a couple of tips to beat the holiday chaos around baggage claim and get your carry(on)!

Tip 1: Pick the right bag.
A good carry on bag will have a firm bottom and flexible sides. This allows the bag to keep its structure while you are allowed to pack more. I prefer duffels and back packs over roller bags because they are easier to navigate large crowds with.
backpack

The backpack on the left is what we took for Thailand (yes, we had enough to last 2 weeks in there!), the bag on the right is my current heartthrob.

Tip 2: Don’t pack anything with only one purpose (except a bathing suit and/or coat)

Sequin jacket? Body con dress? Sweater that only goes with one pair of pants and nothing else. Those items are great, but they don’t belong on this trip. If you can’t pair an item with everything else you’re bringing, then it needs to stay at home. I don’t even pack real pajamas when I go home because they really only have one purpose. Instead, I wear my lounge clothes to bed. Be realistic about what you’ll be doing at home. If you’re going to be sitting around with your immediate family, leave the fancy stuff at home.

Tip 3: Choose a color scheme.

Either go all browns/blues or all blacks. This means you only have to pack one (or two…max!!) pairs of shoes. Everything should coordinate with your color scheme including your purse.

Tip 4: Wear your bulkiest outfit while traveling

When you have everything laid out on your bed before you actually start packing (something I highly recommend, so that you can see what outfits you can create with what you have) remove the bulkiest items. This is what you’re going to wear on travel day. Ex: Set aside your boots, jeans, sweater, and coat….while you pack flats, leggings, and t-shirts.

Tip 5: Remember where you are going

Are you going to a family member’s house who has every hair device you could possibly need (blow dryer, flat iron, etc)? Don’t bring your own! My little sister never packs pajamas when visiting my parents because she knows my mom owns, at minimum, 35 pairs of flannel pajamas. If you’re meeting up with siblings at your final destination, divvy up any items that you can share while you’re at home. Are you going somewhere with a washing machine? Perfect! Now you can pack even less. There’s no need for 28 pairs of panties when you have a washing machine.

Tip 6: You need to plan ahead

Packing with just a carry-on does take a little planning. If you’re rushing around the morning before a flight, you’re not going to make great packing decisions. Instead, make it into a fun activity or (if you have kids) a game. If you’re by yourself, put on some great music and pour yourself a glass of wine. If you’re helping your kids pack light, turn it into a fun game of matching or a critical thinking challenge (how many outfits can you make and put in this backpack?)

You can’t beat all the airport chaos this year,  but you can make it a little bit easier on yourself- by only packing a carry-on! It never hurts to try.

What’s your biggest deterrent to only packing a carry-on? Not sure how to pack the bag? Shoe addict? Chronic over packer? I want to hear your reasons!

Cheers,

Leslie

 

 

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What a Thai Hospital taught me about the psychology of dress

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Most of the time, June is a pretty uneventful month in my household. This June, however, was anything but…especially when it comes to my husband, Andrew.

 


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It started with a surprise two week vacation to Thailand and ended with intensive physical therapy and work restrictions including ‘no walking’ and ‘no standing’. In between, there were lots of beaches, a five hour surgery, and one motorbike ride gone terribly awry. While we learned lots from our experience (stay at the beach, don’t ride motorbikes), one of the most interested things I learned had to do with the hospital uniforms. But, I’ll work my way around to that in a minute.

 

Just an hour before leaving for the airport, I announced to Andrew that we would be heading to Thailand for a two week long stay at an eco-luxury beach resort. We were celebrating our 5 year wedding anniversary and our 10 year together anniversary, so I had arranged a surprise trip that fulfilled Andrew’s two biggest wishes: somewhere warm, with a beach. Everything was sunshine and fresh coconuts until we decided to get adventurous and rent motorbikes to ride around the island.

thai sunset

Sunset views at our resort

 

Needless to say, the whole motorbike thing didn’t end well and Andrew ended up with a dislocated knee, fractured patella, and downright broken tibia. He was strapped to a body board and, two ambulance rides and one 30 minute boat ride later, was emitted to the ER at Bangkok Hospital Phuket. At the hospital, x-rays were taken, a surgery was declared necessary, and within 12 hours Andrew was in a deep slumber for 5 hours dreaming about the resort he was ironically not at. The surgery was followed by a week stay in the hospital and a jump start at physical therapy before catching a flight home.

family on motorbike in thailand

A rare moment where everyone (including the kids) are wearing helmets. Motorbikes are a common form of transportation in Thailand, and I took this picture en route to the hospital one day.

 

It was during my long hours at the hospital post-surgery and pre-flight home, that I had plenty of time to observe the nurses and hospital staff. I don’t spend a lot (or really any) time in American hospitals, but I was really struck with how professional everyone in this particular Thai hospital dressed. I think I saw a total of 5 people in scrubs during our entire week stay. Doctors wore business clothing with lab coats (unless, I’m assuming, they were in the OR). Nurses wore either white or lilac suits with the cutest hats. Staff members (or what I called: patient ambassadors) wore blue suits that coordinated with the hospital’s logo. Even the first responders in the ambulance had on suits or, at the very minimum, a sharp polo with the hospital’s logo and dress pants.

Doctors from Bangkok Hospital Phuket

 

Maybe it was because we were no longer in a small rural clinic (where the doctor wore baggy khakis and an oversized polo), but I just felt like everything was going to be okay and that Andrew was going to be well cared for in this hospital. It turns out my intuition was correct. Although the break was ‘quite bad’ and the surgery was ‘risky’ (to quote our orthopedic surgeon), Andrew’s surgery was a declared a success by local doctors and our American physician. It wasn’t until a few days post surgery that I wondered if the professionalism of the hospital uniforms didn’t help subconsciously put my mind at ease. I perhaps felt like Andrew was in good hands because the hospital staff looked like they had everything pulled together and under control. Clean and crisp uniforms implied that their wearers took themselves, and their patients, seriously.

A group of nurses and doctors

 

Not only do I think the uniforms created an unspoken air of authority, credibility, and professionalism, but they also made it very easy to identify different roles within the hospital- an important thing in an international hospital where many languages are spoken. Based on what the person entering our hospital room was wearing, I knew exactly what we would be discussing. A blue and red suit meant bills and insurance. White or purple suits meant bath time and pain meds. White lab coats meant a check up on the wound. Dark blue polos with a prominent third party logo meant mealtime.

Nurse surrounded by patient ambassadors (who are wearing blouses with a blue and red cross pattern- the hospital’s logo)

thai hospital

A very sketchily taken photo of some of our amazing night nurses in their lilac outfits.

 

I was also amazed at how easily the uniform accommodated Muslim staff members. In the Western world, I feel like there is always a debate over whether it’s appropriate or not for a Muslim to wear a headscarf at work. It seemed like adding a coordinating headscarf to the uniform options wasn’t even second thought in our hospital. With 20% of Thailand’s Phuket province being Muslim, providing a headscarf option to the uniform seems obvious. If Western companies are struggling to accommodate the headscarf to their uniform, they should look to Bangkok Hospital Phuket as a prime example of how to do it respectfully and professionally.

 

I wanted to get a picture with all the wonderful nurses from our ward to show you exactly what I’m talking about. However, when it came time to leave, a waiting taxi and a ward of busy nurses (with plenty of other people to deal with) prevented a photo-op. Instead, you’ll have to look at the above photos that I plucked off the hospital website in order to see exactly what I mean. (And enjoy that one winner that I snapped while they were changing the sheets)


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All in all, it was a crazy month and we still have a long journey ahead of us (or more so, Andrew has a long journey of healing ahead of him). And while I wish I had never needed to check out the hospital uniforms in the first place, I enjoyed seeing how another culture uses dress to influence both the staff and the patients. It would be interesting to see what would happen in terms of provider/patient relationships if American hospitals adopted more professional dress in their health care institutions.

 

Ciao,

Leslie

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10 days, 1 backpack: the SECRET to packing like a pro

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I’m that super nerdy person that really loves packing for trips. The further the destination and more moody the weather the better. Packing strategically probably appeals to me because it combines two of my favorite things: travel (including the wonderful anticipation beforehand) and problem solving.

In the videos below, I let you in on my three step packing process while I get ready for a 10 day excursion half way around the world. Check out below the videos for a full step by step checklist to packing.

Step 1: Pull

Essentially, pull everything that you would pack, but don’t actually pack the items (because, let’s be real, there’s probably waaay too many).

___  Choose any clothing/accessories you feel you’ll need for your trip

___ Group all items in categories (ie: underwear, tops, bottoms, jackets/cardigans, jewelry)

Step 2: Edit

Time to get rid of everything you don’t really need!

___ Choose a color family to adhere to (blacks or browns)

___ Eliminate anything that doesn’t fit into that color family

___ Eliminate anything that doesn’t go with almost every other piece (ex. take out that shirt that only goes with one bottom)

___ Eliminate any ‘solitary use’ items. If they are only used for one purpose, (with the exception of undergarments and swimwear) they don’t belong in your bag.

___ Choose 1 or 2 (at max!!) jewelry accessories for your trip. Chosen accessory should work with every outfit. I am bringing two long necklaces (not shown in videos).

___ Choose 2 pairs of shoes (max!) to wear while on your trip. One pair you will pack, the other (the bulkiest) you will wear for travel.

___ Think creatively. I packed a skirt that could also be worn as a dress. I also packed a rash guard that can be layered under tees or just worn like a normal long sleeve shirt. The more versatile each piece is, the more outfits you end up with.

Step 3: Pack

Most people assume that packing light has to do entirely with HOW you pack rather than what you pack. This isn’t true. If you haven’t done the Edit step well, there’s no amount of packing knowledge that can fit too many clothes into a suitcase.

___ Take out your bulkiest outfit. This is what you’ll wear to travel in.

___ Shoes always go on the bottom. If you have closed toe shoes, fill the cavities with rolled socks/underwear/etc.

___ Roll tops and bottoms by category (as shown in video 3)

___ Roll socks, panties, other undergarments individually and stuff into the free space around the larger (tops, bottoms, etc) rolled clothing.

___ Put items you’ll need on the plane or immediately upon arriving (phone chargers, eye mask, earplugs, etc) in a separate bag at the very top of the backpack for easy accessibility.

___ Always leave room so that you could take things in and out easily!! Your bag shouldn’t be bursting full. Packing your bag should be more like solving an easy Sudoku puzzle than a rubix cube. Traveling is stressful, and the last thing you need while having to roll through airport security is to have to figure out how exactly you stuffed everything into your bag in the first place.

___ Enjoy your vacation!!

Ciao! Leslie

Ps. For more videos, check out my YouTube channel!

 


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5 Things Every Woman Needs to Know about Instagram Envy

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Instagram envy. It starts off harmless enough. You might be scrolling through your favorite social media app (be it Instagram, Facebook, Twitter…) casually looking at friends’ pictures and posts when you find yourself sighing and thinking any number of negative thoughts.

Why don’t I eat beautiful food like that? Why isn’t my closet that clean? I wish my kids looked that pulled together. I wish I could be in Paris right now. Why do I have to be so fat/short/tall/pale/dark/[insert insecurity here]?

I feel that women are especially prone to insta-envy. Maybe it’s our unparalleled ability to compare ourselves to any and everything. Maybe it’s the fact that we tend to downplay our own lives, achievements, and self worth. Whatever the reason, it happens. The following are 5 helpful tips to getting through the envy and embracing it to make you a better person.

what you need to know about instagram envy

Number 1: Not only does it exist, but it affects you.

This is for people who aren’t sure if they have social media fueled envy. This is for the women that are painfully aware that they do have it. This if for everyone who thinks that Insta-envy exists for everyone else except themselves.

Despite where you fall on the spectrum, there are two common truths: Social media envy exists and it affects you.

pierre

Even my Chinchilla, Pierre, can’t hide from social media!

Our surroundings and experiences are constantly shaping our current and future actions. You may be very aware that you feel sad when you look at her (you know, that frienemy whose jet setting, gourmet foodie lifestyle you constantly lust after) grams or read her Facebook posts. Alternatively, you may feel nothing at all save from basic observations (‘that’s a pretty flower!’ ‘That restaurant looks like fun’ ‘That’s a cute child’), but even at this point, your mind is identifying what is ‘good’ (well dressed children) and filling away assumptions as to what is ‘bad’ (kids in mismatched clothes). We are always in the process of reacting to what we’ve been exposed to (ex: you are more cognizant about the pictures you take because you like seeing the beautiful pictures on your feed) and Instagram is no save haven. Which leads us to the following…

Number 2. It can make you a sad, miserable person…

…if you let it. See that second part? It’s really important. While you can’t control what your mind takes in (not completely, that is) you can control what you do with the information. When you see a friend dressed to the nines in high end designer clothing, you have a choice. You could ignore it. You could get jealous and hold a pity party (whyyy can’t I have beautiful things like that?) Or, you could react positively (that blouse really brings out the color in her eyes. I’m lucky to have such beautiful friends!) I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure which option I would choose.

Number 3: It can make you a mindful, appreciative person…

…if you let it. There it is again. Remember what I said above? The choice between positive and negative is totally up to you.

Start by targeting the cause of your envy. When you find yourself feeling jealous from a certain picture or post, ask yourself: what about this picture/post is causing the envy? Would I actually want that [insert cause of envy] even if I had it? What in my life would someone else be envious of? For the sake of example, let’s say the said envy inducing picture was a young lady in (probably skimpy) workout clothes who has a very fit body with the caption, ‘can’t wait to workout today!’ You see the picture, get jealous, and then ask yourself the above questions.

Maybe the thing causing jealousy is her fit body (that you assume you don’t have), her enthusiasm to workout, or even the fact that she looks great going to the gym (presumably…we’ll discuss that in point 5). Now, really ask yourself- would you want that fit body knowing what you have to do (workout…a lot) to get it? Would you feel comfortable showing off your body in those revealing clothes (if not, does that make a difference? Do you care more about what other people would think than about you being healthy?) Do you really wish you were super enthusiastic about working out? Or do you actually want to look like a made up model on the way to the gym? Often times, I feel like we really wouldn’t even like the point of envy if we had it. Having a super fit body may mean spending time at the gym instead of with your family. It may involve forgoing your favorite foods or restricting alcohol intake. You’d be surprised at how often we get envious over things that we really don’t care about at all.

Here’s an alternative. Instead of getting jealous, simply think about the awesome things in your life. What would other people be jealous of? Believe me, there’s always something. That roof over your head (not to mention everything under it!) would be a luxury for far too many people. What you need to do is retrain your brain. You love looking at beautiful Pinterest and Instagram pictures, right? Well, go through each day with mindfulness and really try to see the beauty around you. Often times, great grams are because the person responsible has an eye for seeing beauty in everyday things.

coco

This was just your average Sunday at the local minor league ball park. Beautiful things (like this sky…and Coco) are all around you if you take the time to look.

If you notice a pattern in what you find envious, maybe it’s time for a change. If travel pictures make you insanely jealous, start considering what sorts of trips you can take with your time and budget (even short, weekend trips count!) If you are constantly coveting a fitter figure, get thee-self to a gym (or see a therapist if your body image concerns are extreme) and make an action plan to start eating better. When you are actively working towards a goal, you will start seeing those same posts and pics as inspiration towards said goal rather than silent shaming reminders that you aren’t working towards your dreams!

halfmarathon

Seeing half marathon posts from my friends gave me the (unintended and very indirect) encouragement I needed to run my first half marathon. This picture is now a reminder to me what I’m capable of. (Btw- the term ‘run’ is used very loosely here. Think of it as more of a quick walk. Also- thank goodness for great filters and well placed hat shadows!)

Number 4: It can help elevate your personal brand.

You know I can’t have a post without talking about the all important personal brand! Your personal brand is what sets you apart from every other person in your office, town, state, and world. It’s what makes you, you and social media is simply an extension of your ‘you-ness’. When you feel jealousy over someone’s post, that means they have done something to elicit emotion in you. Now, turn the tables and ask yourself- ‘what kind of emotion do I elicit in other people?’ Is it joy? A hunger for knowledge? Happiness? I personally, would like for people to feel relaxed, inspired, and empowered to positive change when they are around me. For that reason, I choose to share and post positive, relate-able, and helpful (or just happy) items on social media. So, stop being jealous, start figuring out what you want people to think when they see your posts, and act accordingly. Coworkers, future bosses, clients, and your network will all be watching eagerly.

mug

Something as simple as a to go coffee mug can help tell the world what you’re all about.

Number 5: Not everything you see is real.

This seems obvious, but a little reminder here and there is nice. A lot of grammers literally retake their pictures dozens of times to make sure everything is perfect. They Photoshop and filter their pictures far past the point of reality. While these pictures may be beautiful, they have deviated greatly from the original shot, and should probably be viewed more as art than ‘I woke up like this’ (which, you probably didn’t). Do you remember that gram from the half marathon above? While it’s not Photoshopped, I did look straight up rough in non-insta filter light…so believe me when I say not to believe everything you see. Oh, and that girl who is going to gym in full makeup? Yeah…she probably never made it there.

The big takeaway here? Use the power of Insta-envy to formulate goals (and action plans!!), become more mindful, and build your personal brand! Sure, you can delete Instagram or turn your phone off, but why do that when you could turn the tables and use it to your benefit? Now, go gett’m girl!

chaise

All Instagrams pictures are from my personal account: @leslie_friedman. The picture directly above was used on this blog with absolutely no consent from the subject. But she looks fabulous, no? I’m lucky to have such beautiful friends. 😉

 

 

*****Side Note****If you have major jealousy problems that affect your life significantly in a negative manner, you may benefit greatly from seeing a therapist or mental health professional. Likewise, seek out guidance if you have a self image that is drastically inconsistent with your peers (e.g. You think you’re fat and no one else does, you have an unhealthy obsession with traveling and wish to constantly escape your life, etc.) Additionally, if you feel that your self worth is based on the amount of positive feedback (likes, loves, etc) you receive on social media…talk it through with someone. There are trained professionals in every town who can help you retrain your brain and get the most out of life; use their expertise to start living a better, fuller life!*****************

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