Great relationships don’t happen by accident.
Just like that sweet little vegetable patch in your backyard, the more you nurture and nourish your relationship the happier you’ll both be.
And what does that look like? Quality nourishment requires pausing, listening, and paying attention to your partner. It requires that you learn to love people in ways that are meaningful to them and listen when they tell you what their needs are.
Here are 10 ways you can nudge your relationship into a happier, healthier, more fulfilling version of itself.
:: Stop pretending to be someone you’re not and just be yourself instead.
When we are who we really truly are – weird hobbies and all – magic happens. Being true to ourselves allows us to navigate life and relationships free of hangups, emotional baggage, or expectations.
In the beginning stages of relationships, many of us focus on showcasing our best selves in an attempt to garner love and affection. We become ridiculously, painfully focused on making a good impression.
But being who you really are and being who you think someone wants you be – it’s hard to do those two things simultaneously. Take a deep breath, release those shoulders, and stop pretending and polishing yourself. Just be right here, who you are, today.
:: Smile at your loved one.
To the best of your ability, greet your partner with a smile when you see each other for the first time that day.
Imagine how good that would feel – after a tough day at work and sitting in traffic, you walk through the door and are greeted with a smile and a kiss from the person you love most. Wouldn’t that be an amazing way to start your evening?
This is not to say you’re never allowed to share the low points of your day, but maybe save them for dinner – rather than the first five minutes that you see your sweetie.
Other great times to smile at your partner: across a crowded party, before you part ways for the day, when you know they need encouragement.
:: Realize things change.
We’re living, breathing organisms – subject to the changing tides of emotion and circumstance. It can be emotionally crippling to get too attached to the “status quo” – not just in your romantic relationships but in life. Change is inevitable.
Next week your partner might wake up and want to change careers, move to the east coast, or have kids (like, soon). Can you allow space for that? Could you create a new life with him while he pursued something new?
And, of course, things will change for you – your passions, your career, your family, your health. When your partner tells you that they’ve got some big changes in mind – a new workout plan, a move to the country, no more dairy – do your best to listen with an open mind and heart.
:: Work out together.
Exercise gives you energy and it’s great for your sex life! Studies show people who work out regularly enjoy more sex and feel more aroused more frequently. Also, it’s a wonderful way to show your partner that you’re interested in your health and you want to stay cute for them.
Trying new workouts together also helps you bond! Take a couple’s yoga class, a hip hop dance class, or try rock climbing. Even if you’re terrible, later you’ll be able to laugh together about his terrible downward dog or your totally failure to pop ‘n lock.
:: If you want quality time with your significant other, plan it.
You’ve heard this advice before and that’s because it works! Make time for thrilling, exciting things – not just birthdays and anniversaries. As your weekend winds down, take a few minutes to schedule in at least one fun date each week – whether that’s trying a new restaurant, going for a hike, or catching a movie at the second-run theater. Fun things happen when you make time and space for them.
Stay tuned for part 2 of 10 Tips To Help Your Relationship Thrive!
Summer is coming! And there is a new health and fitness destination online that will help whip you into shape. Brocollete.com is a new wellness platform for women of all colors. The site will provide video lessons from various health and wellness practitioners to educate, inspire and enable women to live healthier lives. Brocollete.com will cover topics from natural medicine, homeopathy, physical training, organizational tools, meditation, on-the-go fitness, juicing, clean cooking, utilizing creativity for emotional health and more. The site was started by LA based health and wellness curator, Njambi Gibson, who has devoted her career to inspiring and educating people toward passionate, healthier living.
For this next week, in exchange for kick starting Brocollete, Njambi will whip you into your happiest, healthiest, most beach-ready self with recipe books and guides found on her RocketHub site. Here’s a sneak peak of some great tips to get you right for the summer!
Dump those sugary calorie-laden drinks in favor of chia seed water, fresh green juice, herbal iced teas and coconut water. You can also eat your water in the form of hydrating fruits and vegetables. Cucumber, watermelon, lettuce and celery are great choices!
Your workouts don’t have to be hours long. Get them in where they fit in your daily routine. Hit the squats in the a.m. while brushing your teeth, applying makeup or making a smoothie. Perform isometric exercises at your desk and keep a pair of weights handy. Don’t forget classics like parking further away and swapping elevator rides for stairs!
Excessive salt consumption causes us to retain water, making us look and feel bloated. While eating out or shopping for pre-packaged foods, ask for dressings and sauces on the side and opt for salt free alternatives. When cooking, flavor food with fresh herbs, garlic, lemon and spices instead of salt.
Consume chewing gum, sugar free snacks, beer, sparkling drinks, dairy products and other gas producing foods in moderation. Considering cooking fibrous vegetables --broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage -- and be sure to soak beans before cooking. Remember to eat slowly and make decisions based on the way your stomach feels.
Exfoliate skin weekly with a homemade salt and sugar scrub. Scrub daily with a natural sponge or gloves to remove buildup. Use Shea butter to even skin tone and reduce the appearance of scars.
For more great tips and insights including a Healthy Snack Recipe Book, Drinks and Smoothies Recipe Ebook, Wellness Guide for Busy Professionals and a Natural Beauty Guide visit the Brocollete Rockethub site, found below for the next week! And for exclusive first look of the site, leave your email address on Brocollete.com!
It's not uncommon for business professionals to spend a large amount of their time attending conferences, business meetings and company events. It is during these times that a person needs to put his or her networking skills to work, connecting with people who can help him or her to grow as a working professional. Thankfully, there are several ways to effectively network at company events. Let's dive in and take a look at six tips you can follow to improve your networking.
Chances are, there will be a speaker or two that you aren't that interested in listening to. During these times, let your feet guide you to a nearby lounge room. You are likely to find other people hanging out in the area. Whether it be a sponsor, company CEO or just another guy or gal like you, mingle among them and let your networking skills shine. Find out why they are there, who they work for, and most importantly, ask how you all can be of benefit to one another. Chances are, all of you can offer valuable advice to one another.
You need to get noticed at your company events. To do this, there needs to be something about you that stands out from the crowd. Whether it be wearing lime green shoes or a blue dotted tie, find your signature style and stick to it from one company event to another. As time goes by, sponsors and investors who attend the events will come to notice you; this can help you land that next investment you need to start your own company.
While it's a good idea to have a handful of business cards on you at all times to give away, make sure you collect them as well. For anyone that you come in contact with who you want to stay in touch with, ask for a business card and offer them one as well.
Chances are the event you’re going too will offer an app for you to download on your smartphone. If you’re the one organizing the event for your company, plan on using the DoubleDutch event app. By doing this you will improve the attendee engagement in ways that they’ll not only retain more of the information they learn, but they’ll have fun sharing it too! Check them out for more info on the features their app offers.
Before you dash off to your next company event, do a little research. Make sure you know who the speakers are as well as who the people are that will be attending. If there is a speaker or other attendee you really want to catch a few minutes of alone time with, schedule a five minute meeting with him or her prior to the event. In doing this, you don't have run around trying to get the person's attention at the conference.
If you act fake and/or arrogant, you will turn people away from wanting to talk to you. You have to be genuine. Networking is all about developing meaningful relationships with other business professionals.
To get the most out of your next company event, make sure that you are both interested in what other people have to say, and do your best to be interesting as well. Take time for each person that wants to talk to you, and better yet, make time to talk to the people you want to connect with.
How couples ever planned their wedding before the internet is a mystery to me. When I was planning for my wedding I spent hours looking through websites to find ideas. I think I Googled wedding planning 1,000 times in 6 months! These websites not only serve as inspiration, but also as a comfort that TONS of other couples are in the same boat as you: planning the most important day of their lives. Here is a list of the websites that made planning my wedding day that much easier.
If you are looking for pictures of beautiful, real weddings, this website is a must see! Brides submit their wedding pictures for a chance to be featured on the site, and I must say they pick some STUNNING ones to share. I was on this site everyday looking for color schemes and décor inspiration, along with eyeing all the wedding dresses. A bonus for this site is that after you wind down from your big day you can submit your pictures for the chance to be a featured wedding for other brides to oogle at!
This site is one of the most popular wedding pages out there, and if I didn’t love all the other websites so much then I would say this is your one stop shop. It’s filled with vendor information, registry help, planning suggestions, decor and fashion ideas along with tips on planning your honeymoon. My Husband and I even made our wedding website through The Knot and loved it! What’s also great is that after you’re married they have sister websites “The Nest” and “ The Bump” to help you with creating a home and preparing for a new baby.
These sites are very similar to each other and also to The Knot, but are totally awesome and worth checking out. They each have categories consisting of vendors, planning tools, wedding dresses, registries, beauty, honeymoon, etc. I personally don’t think you can ever have too many of these informative sites at your fingertips.
Pinterest isn’t particularly a wedding website, but with all of the boards and wedding pins it might as well be. I can’t tell you how many nights I spent scouring wedding boards and DIY ideas. (Well, I could but that information might be embarrassing ...) What’s also really great about this site is that you can make your own wedding boards to save, or “pin,” the things you love from other sites in one place. Even if you never browse through other people’s pins, you need this site just to save yours.
Finally, a site for the Grooms! This is a great site for the man in your life to go to for inspiration of his own. It can get overwhelming for them to continuously look at pink taffeta gowns and peony arrangements (ask my husband!). As much as they want to be involved, sometimes they need a space to go for ideas on their wardrobe that isn’t surrounded by a page full of ruffles. AND maybe a little advice on how to deal with Bridezilla…
These site are good places to start on your journey to the big day. Plus, you can check out the weddings section here on Made Woman Mag. Good luck and congrats!
You may think you need gym equipment to help you get in your best shape. Think again... Things that you have around your home can make some unlikely devices that double as fitness equipment. You’re not alone if you have an aversion to gyms. Some people prefer working out alone, outdoors, or (let’s say it…) for free. Some social circles may not accept you if you don’t have the local gym’s membership card attached to your keys, but there are other ways to incorporate exercise into your weekly routine:
Want legs that stay firm and look good without the aid of jeggings? A heavy and solid (read: unbreakable) wooden coffee table or ottoman can help. Put some felt pads under the table legs. Lie on the floor with feet against the top edge of the table and press away. Be sure small pets and children are not within squishing distance.
Don’t want to use the table? That’s OK. This exercise will work those same leg muscles, and some others (abs, lower back, and butt). Stand with your back against a sturdy wall and walk your feet forward about 2-3 feet (depending on your height). Start sitting down as if you had a chair underneath you, and slide your back down the wall. Hold for as long as you can, in the position where you feel challenged—progress to the point where your hips and knees form 90 degree angles. (Tip: make sure your feet are right under your knees at the lowest point of your squat.)
Use a sturdy chair or table (again, one that is unbreakable) that can’t slide away to do this exercise. Lie down on your back with your feet and ankles resting on the table or chair top, with your knees slightly bent. Squeeze your butt cheeks together, flatten your lower back (imagine tucking your tail between your legs and point your tailbone toward the ceiling), and press your hips up toward the ceiling. Slowly lower and repeat. This will firm the back of your legs (including your bum), abs, and lower back.
Want firmer arms? Lots of women are mavens of multi-tasking, so while you are waiting for your soup to simmer, rock some push-ups against that counter. Safety tip: stay a safe distance away from pot handles, hot stove surfaces, and open flames. You can also try some single arm push-ups against the bathroom counter while brushing your hair.
Most of us have running water at home, or gallon containers of liquid in the fridge or cupboard. If you lift them enough times, they’ll feel pretty damn heavy. Grab that heavy container, or fill a bucket with water (don’t waste it; water the plants with it after you’re done), or bags of sugar and/or flour, potatoes, or anything weighty. Then, lift, arm curl, or carry around the weight while you go up stairs or lunge across a room. Doing so will tone your shoulders, core, and your limbs as well.
This exercise will help strengthen all of the muscles in your mid-section. Hold push-up position (butt in the air is not a modification...it’s not the precise way to do it—not even close—just wrong) with your tailbone tucked under, stomach held in tight, and shoulders drawn back. If your shoulders, hips, knees, and toes form a straight line, you are doing it right. To modify this exercise, keep your knees on the floor.
These are just a few exercises that you can do at home, besides the old standbys—jump rope and stairs. Skip the gym and get your workout on at home. Be safe, and be creative. You may notice your clothes will fit better, and you will have some money to spare.
Oh, the world of online dating…it seems every time we turn on the TV, there’s a Match.com advertisement. Click here to find true love and happiness!”
Yet, when (heaven-forbid) some of us try the online dating experience to meet someone new, it doesn’t seem to always end in butterflies and rainbows like we think it might. In fact, sometimes it ends in some ridiculously creepy story that you’ll always have as a go-to “OMG do you want to hear a crazy story?” story.
We all know the type of dates I’m talking about - those ones out of the Twilight Zone that make you cringe… those ones that make you never want to try online dating again.
I feel you, and I’m here to help you avoid such moments with some personal tips on the online dating front from someone who randomly and successfully met their ultimate match on Match (Yes, I’m one of those 3/5).
And while there are a million things to talk about in regards to this subject, I’ll start with perhaps my BIGGEST tip:
This includes the entire way you present yourself - from those oh, so imperative pictures to the words you choose to paint the picture of YOU. Be honest when you answer the profile questions. Take some time to reflect about your responses. We have reached an age where we can almost handpick our partners like we are doing some serious online shopping. Why not be real about what you want and who you are?
Question for you to ponder: Do you really think you’re going to get away with a 30 pound differential between the “you” in your pictures and the “you” on the real-life date? I’m pretty sure, with the exception of someone who is actually legally blind, that you’ll be busted, and it will end awkwardly. Why start off a relationship like that?
While we may have changed since five or ten years ago, and we may prefer those older pictures, it is mandatory to choose pictures that accurately reflect who you are in the present moment. You want someone to love you for who you are right? You, of course, want to pick photogenic pictures of yourself. I also suggest getting your friends’ opinions before putting them up on an online dating site! They can provide another point of view about what is valuable in a photo.
Lastly, pick the pictures that visually tell your story, so that your potential matches can compare the words of your profile to your photos. In other words, get pictures of you living your life out loud. If you are a free spirit and love traveling, socializing, animals, yoga, and are passionate about giving back (I may or may not be talking about myself here), choose pictures that show you doing these things: pictures of you doing yoga, traveling, attending a personal development event, hanging out with your friends, volunteering at an animal shelter, etc.
As humans, we are very visual creatures, so storytelling through photographs is a great way to help someone judge you more correctly. Let’s face it…we are going to be judged…so we want to put our best and most strategic foot forward.
Through being genuine online, and really assessing the truthfulness in others online, you can really increase your chances of success on an online dating site (and avoid those creepy moments!) if you are honest. So be YOU so that others can see YOU and value YOU.
Compliment a woman on her hair, and the response generally goes a little something like this: “Yeah? I wish it had more volume!” or “Ugh…I miss my long/short/medium-lengthed hair,” or even “It’s too…perfect. I want something edgier!” No matter what the texture, I venture to say that every woman has had their share of hair issues. Mine, growing up, were centered on finding someone who could deal with my naturally curly, über frizzy and (often) tangled -- mane. Instances like the day my 9-year-old self went swimming wearing a ponytail and subsequently stayed up all night with my mom cursing me and slathering conditioner on my matted hair to detangle it, race to mind. (Love you, Mom!)
Over the years, I’ve tried seemingly every hair product; from those in the “regular” aisle of the beauty supply, to the ones in the “ethnic” section -- sometimes a mix of all of ‘em. I’ve also tried a host of local salons in LA who specialize in curly hair styling. My hair has been relaxed, pressed, flat ironed, blown out, braided and re-curled by a variety of contraptions. Through all my experimentation -- coupled with new, innovative products and a culture that’s starting to embrace the hair’s natural state -- I’ve picked up a few tricks. My findings? The right resources, products and cut are essential to the health and beauty of your hair. And of course, I have to share my faves with my fellow curly girls.
“Knowledge is power.” This definitely applies to a Made Woman’s hair. I can’t over-stress the importance of educating yourself about your curls. Every curly hair product will not work on every curl! Are you Wavy, Curly, Curly Coily or Coily? What are the pattern, porosity, density, width and length of your curls? Chances are you have no clue. Naturally Curly will help you figure out your hair texture type; and their “Curltalk” forums, articles, photos and more will bring you that much closer to the curls of your dreams.
The “Queen of Curls,” Ouidad (yes, simply Ouidad), opened the first curly hair salon in the US in 1984. As a true curly hair pioneer, her website offers amazing resources for those of you looking to really define your ringlets. Use her “rake and shake” method to achieve the lustrous, perfectly-defined curls you crave. She also has a Curl Profiler to help determine what your hair needs to look its best. Check out more information on her salons below.
If you know me, you know I SWEAR by this line of products. These ladies helped me retire my flat iron and learn to embrace my natural hair. I felt so strongly about them that we had to profile them among our first Made Women of the Month! I’ve tried out other leave-in conditioners, but Mixed Chicks leaves my hair soft and touchable, while gently defining my curls. I love a slightly tousled, less perfect look; and this leave-in allows me to get the volume I love. I swear by their sulfate-free shampoo, deep conditioner and hair silk shine serum too!
I have used Miss Jessie’s Quick Curl Crème a few times, and I loved the smell and found it to be very moisturizing. While I personally prefer Mixed Chicks for my curls, I’ve heard great reviews from ladies with natural hair of various textures -- from thin and wavy to coarse and kinky. They also offer a slew of products, from puddings to meringues to baby butter crèmes. This is a great line to experiment with and find what works for your particular hair texture. They’re on the pricey side though, so try out their free samples first.
Ouidad Salon, Santa MonicaI first visited Ouidad Salon in Santa Monica a couple of years ago. With flagship salons in Santa Monica and New York City, all Ouidad certified stylists are trained in the trademarked “Carve and Slice” cutting technique that helps make hair a lot more manageable. Upon my visit my stylist, Morgan, introduced me to the “Rake and Shake” styling technique, which helped to really define my curls. As you can see from the photos below, Ouidad is a great option if you’re looking to cut out the frizz and get more of a “wet look.” The salon also offers a variety of treatments to suit your hair needs.
Batia and Aleeza Salon, Beverly Hills
After just one cut, Batia became my go-to gal for haircuts and styling. She has mad skills with the scissors, effortlessly chopping away while telling intriguing stories in her incredibly charming accent. Of Israeli descent, Batia’s curly hair knowledge (and that of her sister, Aleeza) comes from personal experience. I found her when I wanted a much shorter ‘do and a more tousled look, and she gave me just that (see below). I ended up with a cut that I could grow into: when she finished, she told me I didn’t need to come in for six months! I prefer a low-maintenance hair routine, so this was music to my ears.
No matter what type of curls you’re rocking, knowledge, the right products and the right cut are paramount. I hope this list will help you step away from the flat iron (at least sometimes!) and embrace your God-given curls.
Did I miss something? Let me know your favorite curly hair resources, salons and products in the comments below! And don't forget to enter our We <3 Curls Contest!
You really don’t want to be that person at the gym who gets a wrinkled nose pointed at her because her clothes might not look or smell so fresh. You might be thinking, “I’m just gonna work out. What does it matter what I wear?” But I say, “You’re a put-together woman and your clothes—gym, work, or otherwise—ought to always convey that message.”
Spending a little extra cash on high quality and durable workout clothes is worth it because they’re designed specifically to stand up to all that you’re going to put them through -- sweat, those awkward yoga positions, etc. Since they are a bit more expensive than your old ratty tee and sweats, you’re going to want to take extra care of them to make sure they last you as long as possible. What’s the best way to do that? Try this:
Those are the fab five tips to keeping your workout gear lasting long and staying funk-free. It’ll keep you looking fresh at your workouts too, so everybody will know that you are that girl—the Made Woman.
You get up in the morning and proceed to have an hour long prep session before you even start your day. You use enhancers, creams, and miracles on yourself before you feel ready to face the world. But what about when the day is over and you come home? Do you just crash? If your answer is yes then sister, we have a problem. We are all guilty of it; even me, I confess. But we can’t neglect ourselves at night and then look for a quick fix to combat our laziness (yes, I said laziness). I have learned that if I spend a little extra time simply practicing some self-love with my pre-bed beauty regimen, then I really have little need for extra products. Here are a few beauty tips for right before bed; I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 1: Always wash up.
I’m guilty of skipping this step -- and I’ve got to stop! Sweat, dirt, makeup, the day’s grime … all of that sits on our face at night, clogging our pores and aging our skin. So use a gentle facial cleanser and lukewarm water before going to bed, and follow up with a mild toner. And the last and most important step, don’t forget to moisturize your body and skin before bed. (I will too. Pinky promise.)
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 2: Never sleep with your hair in a ponytail.
No matter how exhausted you are, it’s important not to leave your hair elastics in, because they can cause breakage. If you want to avoid morning tangles, try sleeping on a satin pillowcase. It’s easier on both your hair and your face.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 3: Brush and floss every night.
If you skip the dental care at night, you’re not just in for a huge lecture at your next dental cleaning; you might actually be making yourself look older too. Brushing removes stains between and around your teeth, and for healthy gums you’ve got to floss too. Poor gum care can cause your gums to recede, making your teeth look longer -- and you older!
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 4: Let your feet breathe.
Keeping your feet in socks may keep them feeling toasty, but it also creates a moist environment where foot fungus can breed. Yikes!
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 5: Keep a glass of water by your bedside. Not only will this help if you wake up in the middle of the night dying of thirst, but also you are supposed to have a glass of water pre-breakfast to dull hunger and rehydrate. Remember, glowing skin comes from water.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 6: Don’t eat right before bed.
It is so important to eat within a reasonable time of your bedtime. When you eat right before bed, you don’t have a chance to burn off the calories. Certain foods and eating too much right before bed can lead to a restless night of sleep.
Bedtime Beauty Tip No. 7: Get your beauty sleep.
I know you really want to stay up late to watch your favorite show, talk on the phone, or peruse the internet, but beauty sleep is no myth. Your skin needs time to heal and restore. Plus, who wants under eye bags?
I hope you use these tips to re-energize your bedtime regimen. Instead of just crashing and waking up looking like a wreck, put in a little extra effort at the end of the day and stay looking young and healthy. Sweet dreams!