Be Your Own Best Friend: A Practical Guide To Becoming Your Own Source Of Happiness

I used to be the kind of person who sought happiness through everything else but myself. I depended on things like money, success, and companionship to satisfy emotions that I should’ve been nurturing personally.

This misconception caused huge problems in my life when I found myself stripped of these vessels– the absence of money and adoration left me feeling lost, hopeless, and without direction.

For the sake of my well-being, I started to prioritize self-love, and life has been more fruitful ever since! Allow me to put you on to the three ways I learned to be my own source of happiness so that you, too can learn to be your own best friend, and carry your joyousness with you everywhere you go!

Give Yourself The Love You Seek From Others

Sometimes we rely on others to fill voids of love we should be awarding ourselves. We fish for compliments, attention, and displays of affection from other people and are disappointed when we don’t receive it or if it’s not up to our standard.

I used to rely heavily on validation from others in order to feel good about myself. So much so that other people’s opinions affected my confidence, and absences of adoration would be taken to heart.

I didn’t realize at the time that these were all symptoms of low self-esteem.

In life, I’ve learned that you can’t control how other people view and treat you. If you allow yourself to be persuaded by other people’s feelings, you’ll never reach a point of satisfaction. The only person you should be trying to please is you.

Author and spiritualist Don Miguel Ruiz speaks about this in his best-selling wisdom guide “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide To Personal Freedom”. In the second chapter titled “Don’t Take Things Personally,” he speaks about the benefits of loving yourself:

“When you feel good, everything around you is good. When everything around you is great, everything makes you happy. You are loving everything that is around you, because you are loving yourself. Because you like the way you are. Because you are content with you. Because you are happy with your life”.

Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements

Practice self-love. If you’re providing yourself with love and nourishment, you’ll never be without it, and you won’t feel the need to seek love from anywhere else.

Here are my favorite ways to pour love into myself:

  1. I celebrate my own accomplishments. Whenever I achieve anything, great or small, I make sure to give myself a pat on the back. Cheers and smiles followed by a “you go girl” is usually enough to keep my spirits high, but if the mood calls for it, I’ll take it one step further and treat myself to something (celebratory J, anyone?)
  2. I don’t compare myself to other people. My looks, life, and process are uniquely mine. Instead of being caught up in an imaginary popularity contest, I accept my life the way it is. With this outlook, confidence comes with ease, and I never feel threatened or the need to compete. I am my own competition.
  3. I build myself up with words of affirmation. Verbal affirmation is my preferred love language. Knowing this, I force-feed myself affirmative quotes daily. I’ll look for a quote that’s specific to the reassurance I need(either in a book or online), and I’ll post it somewhere nearby (like on the wall behind my workstation or as my phone’s wallpaper). This way, I’m constantly exposed to it. Now I have a daily reminder of how amazing I am 🙂
  4. I’m mindful/selective of my language. If words can be used as a weapon against others, why not ourselves? I started paying close attention to how I speak about myself, especially when I make a mistake (ex: OMG! I’m such an idiot). I refrain from using hurtful language and make sure that I am kind and patient with myself at all times.
  5. I use self-help books and music to keep my spirits high. Nothing like a self-help book or an upbeat song to remind you that you’re the shit. Whenever I need help restoring my inner faith , I read, or I put on a playlist. My ‘boss bitch’ playlist is a sure-fire way to put my confidence on 1000.
  6. I pamper myself. Whether it’s a relaxing candlelit bubble bath, my favorite yoga routine, or a face mask, I dedicate time to pampering myself. I do this daily and the luxuriousness of it all makes me feel like a goddess.
  7. I protect my peace. Establishing boundaries is a form of self-care. To raise my self-confidence, I stand up for myself whenever I feel my happiness is in jeopardy (one of my favorite ways to do this is by putting my phone on DND whenever I need alone time). By establishing a standard for myself, it helps me take myself more seriously and sends a message that I am worthy of respect. I do this as often as I can, even when it seems intimidating, and every time I succeed I can physically feel my self-worth rising.
  8. I stick to my guns. I used to feel compelled to explain myself or apologize to people, even when explanation wasn’t necessary or I didn’t do anything wrong (like if I was too busy to respond to a text or I didn’t want to go to someone’s event). Now, I practice trusting my thoughts and feelings instead of feeling bad about them which eliminates the need for me to explain or say I’m sorry.

Hang Out With Yourself

Spending time alone is a great way to reunite you with your sense of self and get familiar with your inner voice, which can be smothered or have to take a back seat when you’re hanging out with other people (like Eleven of Stranger Things would say, “halfway happy“).

I recently discovered the majesty of hanging out with myself, which reminds me of a story…

A few weeks ago, I learned about Japanfes NYC, an annual festival that celebrates all things Japan (everything from food to music to anime cosplay.)

Since I was a kid, I’ve been a huge fan of Japanese culture, so you could imagine how excited I was to go! Feeling spontaneous, I told my family to get dressed so that we could have this experience together but, they didn’t seem as excited as I was. Feeling disheartened by their lack of enthusiasm, I canceled our family outing. My Husbae saw how disappointed I was and suggested I go alone. My eyes beamed with joy and, after I left the house, I was so glad I went dolo.

I didn’t have to worry about my daughter getting tired and complaining about all of the walking or my Husband getting irritated by the large crowd; I got to enjoy the experience 100%, and even though I was only able to be there for a few hours (next time I’ll get you rolled ice cream!) I had so much fun!

When I was young (and yes, dumb), I thought that hanging out alone was only for weird, lonely people, and fun could only be experienced with company…that all changed during the pandemic. Constantly being surrounded by people caused me to feel overwhelmed and without a sense of self. When I finally got a chance to be alone, I had no idea what to do with myself. When I could think of something to do, I always wanted to involve other people. I found myself constantly craving company. When I couldn’t get ahold of a friend or a loved one, I took it personally and would take my insatiable loneliness out on other people. Who can relate? Eventually, I learned that what I needed wasn’t to see people more often; it was to learn to be comfortable doing things alone.

Hang out with yourself! Relish in your own solidarity and bask in doing things just because you WANT to. Enjoy alone time pursuing your own hobbies and interests and do things exclusive to you and your happiness. Take yourself on a date and learn to move throughout the world uninhibited, free from worry, judgment, or duty.

Here are my favorite things to do in my alone time:

1. Explore the city (I’ll walk down a new block, visit a new place, or visit my favorite places just by myself)

2. Hike/nature walk (nothing but me, my music, my lemon water, and my walking shoes)

4. Travel (I recently got to fly alone for the first time and it was truly bliss. I’d love to solo travel more often)

Happiness is something that has to come from within. If your happiness is tethered in other people, places, or things, then you’ll never get to the point of satisfaction because you’ll constantly be stuck in a cycle of pursuing happiness. This way of thinking can be dangerous and detrimental to your mental health and self-esteem. When it’s all said and done, and the dust settles, all you’re left with is yourself. Make sure you’re treating you right.

*How are you your own best friend? What ways do you like to practice self love?

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

The Energy Boosting Powers of Song: How I Use Music to Increase My Productivity

As a wife and Mom, my life is always busy.

Add full time blogger and editorial writer to the mix, and there’s never a dull moment in the Kaillaby household.

Any given day, I can have a laundry list of things to do, and I always use a Spotify playlist to keep me company.

Whether I’m finishing up an article, scrubbing floors, or washing my daughter’s hair, music always helps me put my best foot forward and help make even the most boring and mundane tasks seem, dare I say, fun.

Here’s how I use music to help increase my productivity.

I Use Music to Keep Me Focused

Music helps a lot with focus.

Whenever I have trouble starting a task, either because I feel lost or my thoughts are all over the place, music helps anchor me to the Now and zero in on whatever I have to do at the moment.

In addition to helping me stay present, music helps me focus by drowning out excess noise.

When I put on an Apple playlist, I’m blocking out the noisy world around me, which helps me immerse myself in my duties and really get some work done. This is especially useful when you live on a main avenue in a major city where labor is constantly being performed every which way you turn at all hours of the day, and you have a job that requires elite mental clarity and peak concentration (i.e., being a writer). In New York City, noise pollution is everywhere, and hearing blaring sirens and people screaming at the top of their lungs (for some reason) can be unnerving and distracting. Not only does music shield me from the distraction of my city’s hustle and bustle, but it prevents me from being distracted by people, too.

The presence of others can definitely be distracting. When your speakers are blaring, you’re putting out a signal to the World that your current mood is “D.N.D.” Trust me, nothing shuts up a chatty coworker quite like turning up the volume on your Mac’s speakers. I remember working in an intimate office on the Upper West Side that literally thrived on gossip (as is the fate of most office jobs). Although I looked forward to my mid-day kiki’s with B when it was time to grab my print jobs, there’s no denying that it pulled me away from my work.

Plus, being distracted can cause you to make mistakes you otherwise could’ve avoided had you been giving your task your undivided attention (yay! no more mini panic attacks).

Focus is the creme de la creme of productivity; you won’t get work done without it. If you’re having trouble focusing, either because you’re feeling scatterbrained, there’s a lot of noise going on, or there are chatty people around you, try putting background music on.

Pro Tip: The best kinds of songs for focus are instrumentals. Lyrics can be disruptive.

My favorite genres for focus: Lo-fi, Trance, Retro Video Game Music

I Use Music To Help Me Relax

I’m always rushing because of my anxiousness, but over time I’ve learned that doing things faster doesn’t always translate to efficiency (work smarter, not harder). Whenever I’m doing a job that’s stressful, meticulous, or requires precision, a gentle, slow-paced melody is just what I need to put me at ease, slow down and take things one moment at a time.

According to unr.edu, slow-paced music can “quiet your mind and relax your muscles, making you feel soothed while releasing the stress of the day. Music is effective for relaxation and stress management.”

Recently, I had to complete a trial shift for a company I applied to work for. For this trial, my job was to research and write two completed and error-free articles in a limited amount of time to be considered for a position. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and it’s a job I really want, so you could imagine the amount of pressure I must’ve felt.

Before I got started, I put on the “Peaceful Piano” playlist on Spotify, and it helped me set the mood. Instead of feeling stressed out, scared, and anxious, I was completely relaxed and at ease, and it made a world of difference in my work performance. I was able to spot errors, correct mistakes, breeze through my research process, and even have time to ask questions, which helped my submission out a lot. Instead of allowing the pressure to get to me, I used music to put myself in a calm, tranquil state. Thanks to my increased focus and mental clarity, I walked away knowing that I gave 100% and I was extremely confident in the outcome. All thanks to music for providing the perfect setting.

Pro Tip: Music is perfect for setting a tone/mood. That’s why whenever I have company, I have music on–it’s a great way to control the mood in an environment.

My favorite genres for relaxing: Classical, Jazz, Coffee Shop

I Use Music To Motivate Myself

Sometimes the reason we’re not performing at our best is that we’re not feeling motivated. If a task requires a lot of energy (like exercising) or it’s just boring A.F. (like filling out spreadsheets ), adding music to the mix will definitely help with that.

Here’s how it motivates me:

  • Makes tasks enjoyable. An upbeat tune creates an atmosphere that makes you feel like you’re having a good time making painful tasks seem fun 🙂 I hate doing dishes, but pair that with some Calvin Harris, and it’s a party!
  • Provides words of affirmation. Sometimes a singer will give you all the words of encouragement you need to keep up the good work and get your light feet going. I swear by the statement that no genre’s lyrics are more motivating than Electronic Dance Music. Just put on Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” if you want to see what I’m talking about.
  • Gets my heart pumping. Research suggests that music can literally increase your heart rate, which comes with mood-boosting effects like increased adrenaline. That definitely comes in handy if you’re doing something boring or that needs a lot of energy.

Good music makes the day seem brighter, makes your time pass quicker, and takes the sting out of drawn-out, dull duties. (Like doing laundry. Nothing makes getting up at 8am on a Saturday suck less than Coldplay)

My favorite genres for motivation: EDM, Hip-hop, Rock

A Few Things To Keep In Mind

Here are some helpful tips for customizing your productive playlists to get the exact results you’re looking for:

Tip # 1 Make sure your soundtrack pairs with the tone and energy you need

Do you need mood-boosting, high-energy music, or something chill that will help you destress? 

Tip # 2: If you’re doing something that requires clarity, listen to music without lyrics

Your main priority is increasing productivity, so the music you listen to is really only background noise. If it’s preventing you from completing your work, it’s distracting, which defeats the purpose. As much as I love Megan the Stallion, twerking in my living room will not help me write these articles faster (no matter how fun it might be).

Tip # 3: Sometimes, you need silence

Take a break from noise once in a while. It helps sharpen the mind (completing tasks distraction-free helps with memorization and alertness)

Oh, Here’s a Playlist ❤

I customized a productivity playlist for anyone who needs help getting into work mode. This playlist is mostly chill, upbeat instrumentals which should really help with focusing.

(Here’s one if you need something more upbeat)

It’s ever-growing, so like all of my Spotify playlists, I’ll add new music from time to time, but for now, I’ll start you off with these 15 songs.

I hope it helps 🙂

Give it a like!

*What are some other methods you use to increase your productivity?

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

Feeling Through Music: Playlists For Every Mood

It’s hard to describe my relationship with music. No word in the English language can capture the way a good song makes me feel.

How do you verbalize an entity that has brung you joy, relief, and comfort for as far back as you can remember?

I have been expressing myself through music in every phase of my life:

  • Pop, when I was a starry-eyed kid with my head in the clouds and all the world was a stage,
  • Rock when I was a brooding emo teen, and I thought no one would ever understand me,
  • and R&B as an adult for its chill vibes and relatable lyrics.

Since I was first introduced to this art form, my music taste has expanded vastly; there’s no telling what you might hear when you put my phone on shuffle. It could be soul, metal, trap, EDM, or an anime theme song. But no matter the genre, the type of music I listen to always echoes how I’m feeling in the moment.

That’s because there’s power in song.

Courtesy of “the little book of self care” by Joanna Gray

Music is more than just mere entertainment; it’s a soul transcending experience.

If you’ve ever seen music live, you know what I’m talking about.

Every which way you turn, fans are in their own zone. Whether they’re dancing and singing along, nodding their heads, crowd surfing, moshing, or swaying from side to side with tear-stained cheeks and their phones raised to the sky, it’s all proof that there’s something powerful at play here.

I believe musicians are the worlds most influential people. They have a gift that unites people through emotions.

Music is so influential that a tune can literally affect your mood.

Some of the most important moments in your life require music (graduations, weddings, birthday parties). What would a celebration be without a good soundtrack?

That’s definitely true for me. The most magical moments in my highlight reel feature music: my high school prom, Bamboozle 2010, my family cruise in 2018, that time Husbae sang to me at my brother-in-laws…

But music isn’t just there for us when we’re in a good mood. It can help relieve feelings of anger, stress, and sadness, too!

I have playlists for every mood:

  • “Anxiety Reducing” when I need to calm down,
  • “Issa Vibe” when I want to chill out,
  • “Make Her Dance” when I want something to get me moving,
  • and “Dark and Brooding” when I hate everything and just want to cry in the dark (lol)

Music means the world to me, so I want to share it with you!

I created these mood-specific playlists that are designed to adhere to whatever you’re feeling at the moment.

Not just the happy ones, because sometimes we feel down, too. (You’re human. You’re allowed.)

So whether you want to keep that mood high, you’re trying to chill out, or someone just cut you off in traffic and you never got the satisfaction of flipping them off, I have the perfect song for you! To me, sharing music’s a profession of love. Let me show you how much I love you.

1. So in love

If you’re feeling particularly smitten

2. Let’s Dance (NSFW)

If you’re in the mood to dance

3. Issa Vibe

Super chill. Anxiety reducing.

4. Lets Put A Smile On That Face

Guaranteed to make you smile 🙂

5. Mood. (NSFW)

When you’re MAD mad.

If you’re like me, then music is a form of therapy. Sometimes hearing the right lyrics paired with the right tempo ignites a fire in you like nothing else could. I definitely have my days where I just need to escape, and music has always helped me. I hope it helps you, too ❤

*Don’t be a stranger, drop some of your favorite mood altering music in the comments! I love being put on to new tunes ^_^

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

6 Valuable Lessons I Learned From Yoga

Yoga is my favorite way to exercise. It enhances flexibility, promotes mindfulness, and encourages discipline.

These days, I get my yoga fix from my favorite Youtube channel, Yoga By Biola.

Not only has yoga been doing my body right (aowww), it’s also been having a major influence on me psychologically.

Here are 6 valuable takeaways I’ve learned by practicing yoga.

1. Yoga Taught Me Patience With Myself

I judge myself harshly when things don’t go according to plan. When I make a mistake, I can be pretty mean and impatient with myself. It’s as if I’m mad that I’m falling short of my own expectations. How many of you can relate?

This impatience stems from past experiences where I wasn’t granted the tolerance and compassion for my flaws. My mistakes would be met with punishment which caused me to set up unrealistic standards for myself. Yoga teaches me that this way of thinking is wrong.

It’s ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Allowing yourself to learn and grow instead of punishing yourself for being human is better for your long-term success and self-esteem.

In yoga, it’s less about how perfectly you can get it right the first time and more about your gradual progress.

Abiola Akanni’s practice teaches me to be patient and kind to myself, down to how I talk about my body.

In her “slow flow hip opening” routine, she speaks about observing the body without judgment. Not discrediting yourself for being tight in a certain place or having a limited range of motion, but instead making a mental note of your body’s progress and the messages it’s sending to you at the moment.

Yoga By Biola does an excellent job of encouraging people to move in a way “that feels safe” and to not be so caught up in trying to achieve stretches and bends that our bodies aren’t prepared to handle. Abiola is super accommodating and often recommends using additional accessories (i.e., yoga blocks, pillows, books, belts, etc.) in case you need them.

We could all benefit from being more patient with ourselves. Most of the time, we’re our harshest critics and our own worst enemies when really we should be our own best friends!

Be mindful of how kind you are to yourself in moments when things aren’t going right for you. Grant yourself the graciousness you give to other people, and remember to love yourself unconditionally. (Side note: It’s NOT ok to insult yourself. Even in jest. What we speak, we become.)

2. Yoga Taught Me The Power of Consistency

I started doing yoga to improve my flexibility and counter tightness in my hips and groin, a consequence of constantly sitting and not having enough movement in my legs.

At first, I didn’t see the improvement I was looking for, not taking responsibility for my lack of persistence.

When I started taking it seriously, I noticed that the more I kept practicing, the easier the bends and poses became. Each time I was able to lean into it just a little bit further, and before you know it, I was pulling off moves with ease. (Ok, nailing pigeon pose!)

This inspired me to become more consistent in other aspects of my life. Like

  • My work ethic
  • My hair and skincare routines
  • And relationship building.

With yoga, just like anything you strive to achieve, you have to be consistent to see the results. It helps to think of each practice as a stepping stone in your journey versus expecting results immediately.

If you want to see progress with anything, you have to be consistent.

Establish a routine and keep at it. If you commit to the process, you’ll inevitably get better over time. The hardest part is finding the patience.

Just put your energy into achieving the goal, turn a blind eye to the timeline, and the Universe will take care of the rest. T.T.P!

3. Yoga Taught Me To Dedicate Time To Peace and Mindfulness

As someone who lives with anxiety, my peace is often disrupted by my mind’s desire to constantly overthink which can cause me to lose focus and feel overwhelmed. It’s helpful to incorporate a habit that anchors me in the present and cleanses my mind of this noise.

When I’m done doing a flow, I always walk away feeling calm and alert. The state of zen does wonders for my anxiousness and mental clarity.

I even started keeping a journal nearby because sometimes, the increased alertness inspires new thoughts, feelings, and creative ideas.

This very post was inspired during *one of my daily practices.

We always make time for work, friends, and social media, but how many of us dedicate time to our peace?

Take the time to be present, and as a result, you’ll be more relaxed. It’s hard to be chill when you’re constantly distracted.

Sometimes just a few minutes of deep breathing and stretching can be enough to regain your focus and find your tranquility. Considering how much time we willingly forfeit to our obligations, we should be willing to at least spare 20 minutes for our peace of mind.

*Here’s one of my favorites:

4. Yoga Taught Me How To Use Every Part Of My Body

In yoga, some poses require you to isolate specific muscles in the body. When done right, these poses can improve posture, release tension, and increase range of motion. Yoga will have you activating muscles in your body you didn’t know you had or, at the very least, the ones you misuse. For me, that’s my upper body and spine.

I’m guilty of hunching my shoulders and not sitting upright, which can have negative effects on the chest and back. Poses like cat-cow and triangle pose are helpful for that.

Yoga by Biola offers different yoga flows that target specific parts of the body. Her routine for the neck and shoulders will give you the greatest release of tension you’ve ever felt. (Skip that massage you booked, all you need is a chair!)

Each routine challenges me to activate muscles I didn’t realize were weakened (Like my triceps and biceps. hello spaghetti arms!) or carrying stress.(It’s the shoulders and hips for me).

I take each challenge as a moment of self-reflection and check in on parts of my body that could use improvement. I invite you to do the same.

Remember to be kind and patient with yourself and try to follow the instructor’s tips verbatim to prevent injury.

5. Yoga Taught Me That Breathing Is A Thing

If you have ever attended a yoga class, you’ve probably heard the instructor tell you things like “focus on your breath” or “remember to breathe.” Typically they’ll ask you to inhale or exhale deeply depending the intensity of the pose. I’m sure you’ve rolled your eyes at this advice and convinced yourself it doesn’t work. But, really. Breathing is a thing.

I have found that the more I elongate my breath, the more space I make in my body, inviting me to sink into those really ambitious poses. Like the goddess squat, for example.

Photo courtesy of Youtube.com

Turns out there’s a scientific reason why.

According to healthline.com, deep breathing not only helps you increase your pain tolerance but also lowers your chances of injury and helps you relax.

Now when I’m faced with tense situations (a heated argument, a setback, a vigorous exercise), I take a second to breathe, and it makes a huge difference for my threshold of tolerance and pain. I invite you to do the same.

Try this: Instead of short, shallow breaths through your mouth, try deep inhales and exhales through your nostrils which will allow you to breathe deeper.

Bonus perks if you suffer from environmental allergies. (like me!) It has amazing benefits for the sinuses, too. Happy breathing!

6. Yoga Taught Me To Embrace My Femininity

Doing yoga has unlocked new levels of femininity within me. It makes me feel strong and powerful and unleashes my inner Goddess while encouraging me to try moves in a way that makes me feel safe and in control of my body without feeling ashamed or sexualized. (like the opening of my hips, groin, and chest.)

It promotes body positivity, something I know a lot of women struggle with.

*One of the things that impressed me about Yoga by Biola was her take on woman’s sexuality with her Trap Vinyasa Core demo.

I created Trap Vinyasa to help you explore sensuality and begin identifying as a sensual vessel as opposed to a sexualized body

Abiola Akanni

Here she encourages us to embrace our sensuality with confidence by incorporating twerking or the chakra shake as she so cleverly words it 🙂 (say what you will about twerking, it’s fun A.F. and an amazing workout)

Yoga teaches me that femininity is divine and that I should welcome all the things that come with that: softness, gentleness, sensuality, strength, and fluidity.

Because of yoga, I am a stronger, happier, and wiser version of myself. Not a bad takeaway from an exercise that I get to do from the comforts of my own living room.

Namaste!

*Don’t forget to like, share, and leave a comment ^_^

*Like the post? Show me some love! https://www.buymeacoffee.com/kaillaby

*She also has a playlist called “The Divine Yoga series”, a 6 part series inspired by “the 6 archetypes of the divine feminine”. I invite you to try and make it to the end!

5 Unique Journals You Can Buy At Target

Target is one of my favorite places to shop.

Recently I had some extra time on my hands and took a detour from my usual candle venture (lol) to get lost in their selection of journals and notebooks, a habit I’d like to continue from now on.

As a writer, I live for journals.

I’ve been gifted a few, including the very colorful “Zen As F*Ck” which HusBae gave me a few Christmas’ ago.

Not only are journals a safe secret place to air out your thoughts and feelings, but they’re also a practical way to check-in with yourself.

These 5 journals offer that and more.

If you’re a journal lover like me, here are some unique ones you can find at your local Target.

1. Get To Know Me Better

This journal’s pages are filled with writing prompts and fill-in-the-blank sentences designed to learn all there is to know about a person.

It’s like your own personal trivia book.

Reply to all kinds of personal prompts like “Hidden talents I’ve kept hidden are” and “Things I like to do when I’m alone are.”

Target.com

It’s a fun way for someone to get to know you and the perfect opportunity to get in touch with yourself.

Who knows, your answers may surprise you.

2. A Great Way To Capture And Relive Memories

This journal would be a great keepsake to pass down to a family member or loved one.

It’s a record-keeping book designed for you to answer a different question about yourself every day for 5 years.

Target.com

I think it would be cool to look back on your answers and see how you were feeling and thinking at a specific moment frozen in time.

Seems like a fun psychological exercise to me.

3. This Freaking Journal Helps You Blow Off Steam

When I saw the long flowing text on the cover, I was drawn to this one immediately.

Anytime a sentence starts with “I’m so freaking freaked out” in enlarged white underlined font, you have my attention. It’s the humor and originality for me.

As I made my way through the title, I couldn’t help myself–I burst out laughing in the middle of the aisle (and yes, I am the type of human who’ll laugh to herself in the middle of Target. )

In addition to making me laugh with its quirkiness, it touched me with its self-affirming concept.

This journal is filled with inspirational quotes followed by check-in stations that start with the phrase “Why I’m So Freaking Freaked Out Today”.

You are then given several blank lines to pour your heart out on each page.

Target.com

I love that it gives me a space to freak out. I can see myself turning to this book in times of crisis and meltdowns.

Sometimes, you just need a safe space to spill your guts out and blow off steam.

Hey, it beats sending an angry text.

This journal is bloody brilliant. 10/10. It’s definitely going on my Christmas list.

4. A Journal That Flexes Your Creative Muscle

The aesthetics of this journal caught my eye: the way the gold foil pops against the black binding made me anxious to see what was inside.

I loved that it’s small and lightweight so it’s easy to transport.

I like to take journals with me on the go for distraction-less fun sometimes. It’s a peaceful way to pass the time.

What’s unique about this journal is that it requires your imagination. It’s filled with titles that are writing prompts designed to inspire your own short stories, helpful for creative flow.

Target.com

Each assignment presents a challenge: write your story using the required group of words on one page or less. Talk about concise.

A journal that encourages creative writing and productivity? Count me in.

With a copy of “Write The Story,” who needs a writing class.

5. A Daily Reminder To Take Care Of Yourself

I’m a huge advocate for self-care, so anything that acts as a vessel for this is a win for me.

The pages are filled with inspirational quotes designed to uplift your mood.

Each page serves as a reminder for self-love and begs the question, “what did you do to take care of yourself today?” followed by a space for you to track your mood and energy level.

I think this is a great way to just check in with yourself and make sure you’re given the individual care that you truly deserve.

This could be helpful if you’re someone who needs a little extra push when it comes to practicing self-care or to build yourself up if you’re having low self-esteem.

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The Problem With Complaining

They say a little complaining never hurt, I say complaining never helped anyone. Here’s what you can do, instead.

Recently, I picked up my copy of “The Power of Now,” a book that was recommended to me by my therapist as a tool to help me deal with my anxiousness, stress, and overthinking.

When I arrived at page 82, under the subheading “Wherever You Are, Be There Totally”, author Eckhart Tolle goes deeper into the concept of unconscious thinking.

When asked to provide examples of what unconscious thinking looks like, he starts with the most common form: complaining.

Complaining: A Common Language for the Unhappy

“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is,” he explains, “When you complain, you make yourself into a victim.”

This line received the writer’s stamp of approval, aka a yellow highlighter, and a verbal “YES!”.

I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Tolle.

I hate complaining.

It used to be something I did a lot of, if not to vent my frustrations, definitely as a conversation starter.

It’s a common language that unites the unhappy.

Have you ever noticed how common it is for people to resort to complaining as a coping mechanism?

My problem is not necessarily the actual complaint. It’s how it starts and ends there.

Very few people seek solutions to the problems that are constantly on their lips; it’s as if they find comfort in the unhappiness.

I’m a firm believer that complaining is pointless. Sure, it may feel good at the moment, especially when others can relate, but aside from the temporary release of your pain, how else is it beneficial?

It would be more helpful to turn the complaints into a moment of self-reflection.

Time for Self-Reflection

Pay attention to the things you often complain about. It is your mind trying to tell you something: you’re unhappy.

You’re not happy with the job you’re doing, the person you’re dating, or the apartment you live in.

You’re not happy with the way you look, the amount of money you have, or the way you’re being treated.

You’re not happy with the direction your life is headed. That much is clear. But, after a while, we have to take responsibility and have ownership over our lives because anything else makes us a victim, and we are not victims

You are in control of your life, your mind, and your emotions.

You do get to control your narrative and the direction your life is headed.

It’s easy to give up the power and play the victim. This way, we don’t have to deal with accountability. But there’s freedom in owning your life. There’s power in responsibility.

The real question is, what do you plan to do with your power?

The Only Two Options There Are

When faced with an unhappy circumstance, as humans, we are left with two choices: accept it or take action.

By making the conscious (or unconscious) decision to do nothing, you are left in a mental limbo. This is where your pain comes from.

The pain is rooted in the inactivity and continuing to leave your unhappiness unaddressed.

Try this: when complaints come up, try asking yourself, “what can I do about it?”. 

If there are solutions and steps that can be taken, map them out and execute them but start right away. Sitting idly on these steps just puts you back to square one.

If the situation is beyond your control and nothing can be done to make it better, you have to accept it.

The path of acceptance is not an easy one, it will take practice and lots of mental strength. But the latter option is no better or healthier.

The opposite of acceptance is denial, and that denial is what is feeding your pain.

I’m not saying that no one cares about your feelings or to keep them to yourself; we all get down about something. What I’m suggesting is that instead of sitting in these feelings and resorting to complaining to resolve them, which could potentially snowball into bigger problems (such as declining mental health), you should instead seek solutions and ways to help yourself because you are stronger than you give yourself credit for 🙂

So the next time a complaint comes up, what do you intend to do about it?

Are you going to step up, take ownership, and find a way to improve your life and strengthen your mind?

Or will you continue to standby and be a victim of your circumstances?

The choice is yours.

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Self Reflection? The Soul Searching Power Of A Checkers Game

How one match of checkers turned into a very valuable life lesson

One rainy Sunday morning, I stopped by my Uncle’s house for some coffee, breakfast, and a game of checkers with my Grandmother. Being the reigning checkers’ champ in my own home, I had no doubts whatsoever that I would walk away with the “W”.

Four games later, my Grandmother had four consecutive flawless victories.

No matter what strategies I tried I couldn’t beat her. I was making moves that I felt were clever, adept, and unsurpassable yet and still, my Grandmother was always 1 step ahead of me leaving me awestruck and dumbfounded. Throughout our games, she’d give me helpful tips: pay attention, look at the board before you make a move, and most importantly, concentrate. Seemed like easy enough advice to follow but, try as I might, I kept goofing up.

“You don’t concentrate,” my Grandmother told me, “there were times when you came close, and I was sure you had me beat, but you couldn’t see it because you weren’t paying attention”. Her feedback tripped me up because I was truly and genuinely oblivious to this fact. Of course, I was paying attention! Well, wasn’t I?

Valuable Life Lessons

This experience made me realize that I have a lot of growing to do. You see winning streaks have a tendency to stroke the ego and, for a long time, I was undefeated in the game of checkers. Then, my Grandmother came along and revealed all the chinks in my armor.

She showed me that:

  • I’m overly confident
  • Anxious
  • And quick to rush to judgment

These tips go beyond our checkers’ games. In life, one false move could make or break you. Taking your time and concentrating before executing your movements could be the difference between success and failure. I’m certainly guilty of moving too fast or not doing my best due to my anxiousness, but they say slow and steady win the race, something I should have taken into consideration during our checkers’ games.

The Bottom Line

Look, there’s always going to be someone bigger, better, faster, or stronger than you, but please don’t take it personally. Being beaten at your own game is not a testament to how much you suck, but instead of how much learning and growing you have to do. Therein lies the difference. Don’t cower away or let a bruised ego get the best of you. Instead, use these moments as opportunities for education. Internalize them and ask yourself,

  • Where are you going wrong?
  • How can you be better next time?

I’ve always been told that, in order to be the teacher, you have to be one hell of a student, to be a leader you have got to learn how to follow, and to beat your Grandmother at checkers, apparently you have to pay closer attention.

There are a lot of people running around with unchecked egos and, I personally think, nothing is more dangerous or damaging to your mental growth. Once you give up on learning and growing as a person, you stunt your own potential.

Remember that there is always room for improvement and life moments like this are a reminder of that. Do you feel that you can grow and improve as a person? If you answer no, I’d recommend doing some self-reflection. Pay closer attention to your errors and mistakes, notice any patterns?

Do you find yourself making the same mistakes over and over? Start there and see where it leads you.

As for me, my Grandmother and I have another match of checkers coming up. I’ll let you know how it goes.

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Find Your Spark: The Findings of a Lost Soul

Read on to find out how I went from being a “lost soul” to suddenly finding my spark

I was 31 years old when I got my spark. For those of you who have NOT yet seen the movie “Soul”, a spark is your life’s purpose, your inspiration and reason for living. It happened when I was watching HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”. This episode featured a young couple who were looking for their first home together. The coffee shop owners found a home for less than $100K and used the remainder of their budget to renovate their home and give it the personal touch they needed to make the home REALLY theirs. Your girl Joanna did her thing, like always! During the last shot of the couple in their home, they were welcoming friends over and telling the camera crew how delighted they were with their starter home, and that’s when I felt it, that twinge of “I want that“. The feeling of “this would make me happy” was shocking to me, you see because I always thought my life’s purpose was Writing.

By the time I was a teen, I knew I wanted 2 things out of life:

  1. To make enough money to live in one of the most expensive cities in the World
  2. To entertain people.

I have been on a quest of fulfillment ever since. That quest has caused me to start working at age 13. Since then, I’ve made my way through five industries and 12 jobs, all of which left me feeling unfulfilled. It didn’t matter whether they were reputable (some of them were) or if they helped me move out on my own (some of them did), none of them made me happy. That’s because I was making moves for all the wrong reasons. Your job isn’t supposed to be your happiness. Your happiness should exist outside of external instruments. Your life should make you happy and your life should not start and end with your work.

It took me up until now to realize a life of working isn’t living and it’s all I’ve been doing up to now. Investing all of my time and energy into my work and having no air around me. No time for fun, friends, or family just duties and then one day you look up and realize it’s all you have. I don’t want a life of completing tasks. I want to be able to conduct science experiments with my daughter, or to lay in bed with my Husband and talk about the theories of the Universe, or call my best friend and laugh and talk for hours, or visit my Grandmother on a Sunday morning and play checkers while we have our coffee. THIS is living folks. These moments are life.

I’m not telling you to quit your job, I’m encouraging you to make sure you exist outside of it.

Hey, we all have to make a living and frankly, I quite like being a Writer. I enjoy helping and entertaining people with my words but it’s not my life’s purpose because working isn’t living. Rapping JCOLE’s “Can’t Get Enough” with my Husband off of our terrace at 1 in the morning is an example of living (that’s a hook right thurr). Talking to my Mom about recipes I found on Pinterest is living. Reading books with your children, catching up with friends, and taking walks outside are all examples of living. Take the time to be alive. I hope you’ve found your spark. And if not, no worries! As the lovely George Eliot once said:

It’s never too late to be what you might have been

George Eliot

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Dear Weirdos: I Love You <3

I found this My Hero Academia hat in Midtown Comics

In a world full of sheep, be a Unicorn

In my 20+ years of living, I’ve searched the World and have yet to find another being like me. I reached out to Dr Strange, asked him to search the endless combinations of all the possibilities that ever were, and I can safely conclude: there’s no one else like me.

You’re looking at a real life Unicorn (actually, I’d like to think myself a Wizard. I’ve got a Hogwarts letter to prove it.)


Sure, there are similar humans. They may resemble me, share a fraction of my personality traits but I have yet to find another person made up of the same facets I have.


I used to think this made me crazy or a freak but then, I came to realize that this just means I am in an island all by myself.

For a while this made me sad.
I walked throughout my life feeling like a black sheep and, as I’ve mentioned, a lack of representation can really make you feel like there’s no space for you in the World.
As a result, it made me uncomfortable in social settings. After all, how do you socialize when you feel like you can relate to no one?
OMG ESPECIALLY WITH WOMEN!
Because my interest in geeky things (i.e anime, video games, cartoons, etc) is always viewed as categorically “male”, I found myself relating to, well, mostly males. This has been a thing for me my entire life.
It’s very rare, and few and far between, that I meet other women with genuine similar interests. I mean honestly, 8/10 our similarities start and end with us being Moms. That’s not to say that I don’t LOVE to talk about my kid, I would just much rather talk about the PS5 launch titles… and the cool accessories Sony’s releasing…and this anime I watched last night…


This, I realize makes me a weirdo to most people.

Hey guys, I’m a weirdo. Nice to meet you!

Weird- a person whose dress or behavior seems strange or eccentric.

Yup, this describes me pretty much perfectly. (They might as well have finished with “whose hair is green and is named Kysheeta”.)

What used to cause discomfort so much so that I would hide aspects of myself from people, is now something I embrace. I love my weirdness. And you know what? You should, too. Your weirdness is not a disability, it’s a Superpower.
Don’t look at yourself as the odd one out, view yourself as the life of the party!
Us weirdos are the light in the room, the talk of the town, the breath of fresh air; I know that’s true for me and I appreciate being known and loved for being 100% me. I want you to feel loved for being you, too! If cosplaying, roleplaying or having rainbow hair brings you joy EMBRACE THAT SHIT! Life is too short to be anything but happy <3. If you need an extra boost of confidence and reassurance to feel comfortable enough to be yourself, look no further than this post. Below, you’ll find a love letter to you.

Until our next adventure…
-Kaillaby

Dear Weirdos: I Love You. A Love Letter

Hey you! Weirdo!
I’m talking to you!
You’re loved, appreciated, trendsetting, and tradition breaking. You’re innovative! Unorthodox! You shake up the town and while you’re at it, paint the town red. You’re a rebel marching to the beat of your own drum.
Do you realize how brave you are?
Look at you, fucking shit up despite it being taboo. Oh, so you’re just going to be out here living your life and minding your business? It’s “fuck-what-a-hater-say”? Ok, I see you!
Look at you, being brave enough to be yourself.
How do you do that?
Walk around with your head held high with not a care in the World?
It feels good, doesn’t it?
Don’t let anyone steal your light, sunshine!
You’re probably an Artist staying up late nights just to impress people with your expressions of existentialism,
or maybe you’re a Scientist picking things apart trying to figure out how things tick just because it fascinates you,
or maybe you’re still in hiding, dressing the part of someone else, walking the walk and talking the talk because you’re still too afraid to be yourself.
Either way, I want you to know that you, yes YOU, are my favorite kind of person.
Why?
Well, it’s because of you that people view the world differently.
You represent you like no one else can and because of your unrelenting willingness to be yourself,
you inspire thought and conversation
which inspires change…which inspires people….which inspires movements!
So keep that freak flag high! And make sure that head follows.

Dear Weirdos: I love you.

I told you I had a Hogwarts letter! Any other HP fans?

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