Sunday, August 23, 2015

Powerful Life Lessons from Oprah Winfrey

The women I admire the most is Oprah Winfrey. Her story is incredible and completely inspiring in every way. Whenever I feel a bit lost regarding my business, or just emotionally down, I YouTube one of her interviews. Hearing people tell their stories of triumphing through hardship helps lift my spirits and reconnect to who I am and what I need to do next. Here are my favorite quotes and mantras I have gathered from studying Oprah through the years.

“You have to know what sparks the light in you so that you, in your own way, can illuminate the world” – Oprah Winfrey.

I thought about this a lot when I was contemplating leaving my secure job to embark on my entrepreneurial journey. I spent several years completely emerged in my retail career, I learned every aspect of the industry from A to Z. After six years I knew I learned enough to move on and pursue my dream which has always been to start my own business. I wrestled with this for several months, after all why leave a good job? But in the end I knew inside what I really needed to do for myself and I went for it.

“Start with knowing what you don’t want to do”

This mantra helped me not only in deciding to leave my career path, but also in figuring out what business to open. I knew I wanted to work for myself, so why keep trying to climb the career ladder? I knew then I had to push myself to be an entrepreneur. Regarding what business to open I knew that after years of managing physical retail locations and dealing with hundreds of employees, I needed a break. Knowing that I did not want to initially start my business as a brick and mortar helped me establish the layout for an online shop instead.

“Take care of yourself, keep yourself focused and centered”

Why is this so hard to do at times? I think we all learn this lesson the hard way sometime in our lives. I tend to work non stop, and several times this has caused stress related illnesses that naturally led to even more stress. Now I know I need to take the time to do things that are important to me. I like a clean organized home, it helps me stay sane during stressful weeks, so every so often I take a day to meticulously clean and organize my apartment. When the cleaning is done, I feel great about my space and much more relaxed. Taking care of yourself can come in so many different ways, it’s all about knowing what works for you, it may be taking a yoga class, getting a relaxing massage, or just taking the time to enjoy a good book.

“There are no mistakes, the losses are there to wake you up”

It can be hard to stay motivated when you are going through a rough patch at work or in your personal life. But when you look back on your life, you can clearly see how some wrong turns led you the right way. In an interview Oprah did at Stanford University, she suggested that when you feel overwhelmed, focus only on what is the next move. When you do that, you ensure your next step is in the right direction. Try not to be overwhelmed, and to know that your life is bigger than any one bad moment.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

5 Apps That Reduce Stress And Make Life Easier

Originally posted on

Sometimes your week is so crammed they have you running around like a crazy person, during these times it can be difficult to do the simplest things and this is when stress piles on. When you are having an intense week at work it can seem like all your brain power is being used up and you can’t even begin to think about simple things like tracking your water intake, there are even humans on this Earth who ‘forget to eat’! Let these five apps be that helpful little voice that reminds you to stay on top of things and relieve some stress from your daily life…


Dehydration can be a scary beast. It can bring terrifying consequences such as bloating, a foggy mind, feelings of hunger when you are actually just thirsty and at it’s worse it can land you in the hospital! Slay this beast by using an app to track your daily water intake. I know you have heard this a million zillion times, but seriously, it is the best and cheapest way to stay healthy.


It can be very hard to carve out a few minutes during the day to meditate, especially if your mind is buzzing about. I have tried to meditate so many times and within a few minutes I catch myself deep in thoughts of work and what to have for dinner. The best way to stay on track is to practice ‘guided’ meditation, it can be so much easier to just follow the voice in your earphones telling you to take a deep breath and focus. Andrew Johnson’s voice is very soothing, this is one of the best free meditation apps available!


To lead a more stress-free life, it is essential that your sleeping habits are rock solid. The Sleep Bot app will help you track how well you are sleeping by analyzing your movements and even sounds you make while sleeping! It will wake you up at an optimal time that will ensure you feel refreshed in the morning. This is important because often times a conventional alarm clock will wake you when you are smack dab in the middle of REM sleep which can leave you feeling groggy all day long.


A month can feel like a really long time, especially when things move a mile a minute at work. I constantly struggled with remembering my monthly bills due date, missing a payment can lead to late fees and affect your credit score. Mint Bills keeps track of your bills and when they are due, you just have to log into one app to make a payment versus multiple websites.


Last but not least an app I would, without a hint of sarcasm, consider life changing. Ladies if you are not using this yet you must start! An app that tracks your monthly cycle is a God send, you can see exactly how many days you have until your period starts and make notes on how you are feeling. If you keep daily notes on the app’s calendar you may start to notice patterns on how certain times of your cycle affect you. I get monthly migraines, a few months into using this app I realized that I always got a migraine during or directly before my time of the month, this was a breakthrough in helping me manage this debilitating monthly headache.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Travel Guide: Detroit, Michigan

Detroit is a place I have been wanting to visit for a really long time, admittedly a few years ago my main reason for wanting to go was to be an 'urban ruins tourist'. Thankfully I have matured and am much more compassionate and understanding of conditions that cause the demise of a great urban metropolis and simply going to photograph abandoned homes felt empty and callous to me. Ryan and I decided to go on a trip to Detroit for his birthday, we planned the trip to make a stop at the Indiana Dunes and Ann Arbor while en route to D-town.

If you are driving from Chicago I highly recommend stopping at the Indiana Dunes, I was surprised at how pretty the park and the natural beach were. Plus it's really fun to go on the trails through the dunes, make sure you are wearing some type of sandal, the sand gets very hot. After our trip Detroit has definitely become one of our favorite places, we are planning on returning soon. There are so many hidden gems in the city and the food was impressively good. The roads are bad, a lot of street lights don't work but at the same time you can see how much is being built up and it feels like an exciting place to be. Below are my recommendations for places to check out if you're in town.

Astro Coffee had out the door lines both times we decided to go there. The first time we decided not to wait as I needed a quiet place to spend some time working, the second time we waited and I am so glad I did. They have an amazing selection of breakfast sandwiches and pastries, the selection was so good I was tempted to ask if it was made in house or if it came from another restaurant in town, which I would definitely want to go to. Unfortunately the line was just too long for me to wait through it again to ask, but hopefully I will next time.

Anthology Coffee was were we went when I wanted a quiet place to work and it was the perfect place for such a thing. It is tucked away in an industrial looking part of Corktown and there is no sign anywhere. I actually peeking in and asked if they were open, they were! It is a very minimal set up, unlike anything I have ever seen before. They don't have many options for snacks but it doesn't matter because their coffee is so freaking good. Every cup is brewed to order, the barista was a super nice guy and the atmosphere was very calm. Loved this place and highly recommend it.

Wright & Co was the place we chose to go for Ryan's birthday dinner. Even though it was a pretty busy Saturday night we were able to be seated in 15 minutes, they serve tapas style new American food which is exactly what we were looking for. The decor is pretty cool, there are wrap around windows that let's you see the street traffic. We had steak, shrimp and pork sliders (which were my favorite). For desert Ryan guilted me into sharing their chocolate moose,  it was amazing, I still dream about this desert.

Slow's BBQ - We HAD to go here as it was on every top food list I looked up. The wait was long but we were able to grab a seat at the bar pretty quickly, Ryan had pork belly sandwich and I had an enchilada. It was really good, definitely a must go to place.

Dangerously Delicious Pies - This place was pretty surprising. We went in the middle of the day but it is actually a perfect place to go for dinner and drinks. The pie shop is inside a bar, you can either eat inside or in their outdoor sitting area. We had the gumbo pie and a berry pie - both were delicious.

Sugar House is a craft cocktail bar where the bartenders are really knowledgeable and can serve a stunning number of drinks. This was the only place we ended up going just for drinks but we would definitely go back next time we are in the city.