{somebody to hug}

We don’t touch each other enough.

We’re all getting more socially connected through technology, but we’re neglecting the benefits of real, physical contact. We used to make a point to congratulate friends in person, but not we’re more likely to shoot them a “Congrats!” on facebook. It’s a double-edged sword, since it helps us stay more connected while depriving us of essential physical contact.

I’m latina and live in South Florida, so touch is a part of greeting most people; we kiss cheeks and hug just about everyone. Still, because of technology, I have less of an opportunity to do so. Unrelated to technology, I made a self-observation recently: The older I get, the less I touch and hug people. I don’t know what to think of that change, other than that I think it kinda sucks. Of course, I hug and kiss my son constantly. I’m affectionate towards my very close friends and family, although less now than before. So, I’m making a point of randomly giving out warm hugs and pats on the back.

It’s such an awesome feeling to be welcomed openly with an embrace or to receive an unexpected rub on the back. I think we tend to get too busy to realize how much we’re missing it. {Granted, American culture has a different comfort zone than my own heritage and many other cultures, so if you are from one of those cultures you may or may not identify with this post.} Physical contact with another helps us process our connection to that person better. {There’s a reason why touching a person’s arm when talking to them will make them feel closer and find you more persuasive.} Research has shown that touch is an integral part of infant development and can increase survival rates in premature babies; talk about the power of touch! There’s even hugging meditation.

So, when was the last time you randomly hugged a friend? When was the last time you laid your hand on your mom or dad’s back just because you were near?

{around the web}
+The absolute best 404 error page ever
+ You can learn more about the Free Hugs Campaign here.

{the beauty you can’t see: the most striking form of all}

This is a guest post by Ashley Ambirge, author of the famous Middle Finger Project and beautiful life expert. {Yes that’s her in the picture below.} I invited her to post on my blog to share her vision of living beautifully in hopes that her words will inspire you to live a life that you feel is beautiful. In light of her new book and the approaching new year, I believe this is perfect timing. You can visit Ash’s blog for more worl-rocking, soul-shakingly good inspiration and check out her new book here.

10847 523960786697 47600615 30941450 2251636 n {the beauty you cant see: the most striking form of all}

Typically, when we think of beauty we imagine the red-lipped woman who confidently struts down a New York sidewalk in her best heels, her long brown hair swaying back and forth behind her, along with all of the men she leaves speechless along her path.

Typically, when we think of beauty we imagine bold, breathtaking artwork that speaks to our souls in just the right way, that we just know we have got to have it.

Typically, when we think of beauty we imagine a vivid blue sky & a garden of bright orange tulips that run for miles beneath it.

Typically, when we think of beauty, we think of sexy aesthetics.

But there’s another kind of beauty—one that we often overlook because it isn’t tangible beauty, but rather, is a beauty that comes in the form of peace, of soul and of validating self-love.

It’s the beauty of living up to your potential.

So often, as we rush around in this life, trying to meet everyone’s demands, the days start to turn into weeks, the weeks into months, the months into years, and before we know it, we’ve woken up one day to wonder, “My goodness, where did the time go?”

It’s rare that we take a time out & ask ourselves hard, but valuable questions such as whether or not we actually are living up to our potential, or whether we’re just lettting life pass us by, and hanging on as tight as we can in the meanwhile.

But we should be asking ourselves these questions, because it’s only by asking the question that we can ever arrive at an answer.

And if the answer is no—that we aren’t living up to our own potential—then we’ve got to make some changes, and fast, because the beauty that lies behind our own potential is so well worth it, in every sense.

Because when we aren’t, we’re bound to experience prolonged feelings of anxiety, angst and disappointment—sometimes without ever knowing why.

And there’s nothing beautiful about that.

For me, I’ve been fortunate to have found my potential through creative entrepreneurialism—I write, I blog, I connect, and I make my living by doing so.

For years, I worked in corporate America, disillusioned with every single moment of it. I remember sitting at my desk at my very first job, looking out the window and thinking, “Is this it? Is this what I’ve worked my entire life for? This?”

But that’s where I thought my potential was. That’s where I had been taught my potential was. That’s where I had been falsely led to believe my potential was—through years of schooling, teachers, parents and the media, all telling me that I could do “be somebody” and do “big things.” Unfortunately, “being somebody” and doing “big things,” to them, meant surrendering myself to the system, working in the name of someone else’s profit, and generally doing what I was told, from now until the day I retire.

Looking back, I should have been insulted that this was all of the potential that anyone ever saw in me. Because to me, knowing what I do now, none of that is much of an accomplishment. That isn’t potential; that’s the equivalent of playing Monopoly everyday. You know the steps you have to take to succeed, and you take them without ever really thinking about it. At best, it’s a simulation.

I needed more from life.

I needed more from me.

I needed to start tapping into my own potential

if I ever hoped to do anything meaningful.

And as I started experimenting with what things made me feel ALIVE—what made my heart beat a little faster, what made me jump out of bed ready to throw punches at the world, and what made me proud of myself—I soon realized that writing & blogging & sharing my ideas with the world was that thing.

Admittedly, it took some time before I was able to accept this as a valid career path—as something that I could legitimately turn into a business, and learn to make a living doing what I loved—but once I wholeheartedly made the decision to go forth & give my all to the world, the world didn’t hesitate to reward me for doing so.

Ah, the beauty of potential.

I now look forward to each day, and can’t wait to begin “work.”  I feel as if I truly am working toward my potential, and I feel as if I’ve just barely scraped the tip of the iceberg.

And it feels amazing.

This feeling is hard to describe—it’s a mix of passion, of pride, of excitement and of relief—but most of all, the best way to describe it is simply as beautiful.

There’s a powerful, untapped beauty that lies in striving to live up to one’s potential, and while we may not be able to see it, like we can a mysterious red-lipped woman, a piece of artwork or a field of orange tulips, that doesn’t matter because one thing is for sure: We can FEEL it.

And at the end of the day, that’s really what beauty comes down to in its most basic form, doesn’t it?

{i want to see your madness}

port940 {i want to see your madness}

I know many of you are bloggers, crafters, freelancers, or have a little business on the side. Most of you would like to know how to make a full-time living off this. Because of that and the fact that this post has been so popular, I’m going to share a little bit on how I’ve been doing this for myself.

My Personal Madness

A little over a year ago, I’d just been fired from a job I hated. I shouldn’t have stuck around there so long, but it was safe. The job market sucked when I got out of college, and I’m a single parent. I was thinking of law school, but I’d heard the horror stories of lawyers who went straight to law school only to find they hated being a lawyer when they got out. So, I got a job at a law firm, quickly realizing that I did NOT want to be a lawyer. Instead of quitting, I kept the job. Be happy to have a job, right. So when I got fired it was a HUGE relief, but it was also ridiculously stressful due to those things we like to call bills. I didn’t have anything liquid {like an emergency fund}, and I had a load of debt.

Lucky for me, I’d started this blog and had experience in marketing and event planning. I offered ads here and sold a bunch of stuff I didn’t need or had never worn. Thinking back to a conversation with Lisi, I looked for work as a writer. I also picked up a gig with a big entrepreneurship conference in Miami, where I met some amazing people. All this helped me cover the bills while I started offering my services as a freelance writer and social media specialist.

Fast forward to today. I’m a full-time freelance writer, social media specialist, and consultant with a variety of clients, one of my most frequent being a Fortune 100 company. I donate my spare time and services to a really cool charity. I’ve written and had a book published. I’m in the process of writing another book. I’m not rolling in dough, but I’m making just as much as I did at that job I hated. I’ve managed to pay off most of my debt, have an emergency fund, and now have a retirement fund. I work fewer hours, and I do it from wherever I want, which means more time with my son and a more comfortable wardrobe.

And, you’re saying “That’s great, but how does this help me?”

So here is where I tell you the super helpful stuff. I read through plenty of blogs and books out there that helped inspire me, some of which you will find in that post I mentioned above. However, if I had to tell you to pick just one, I’d tell you to go for Chris Guillebeau’s Unconventional Guides and $100 Business Forum. For someone looking to start a very small business {full-time or on the side}, I think his stuff is the best. I was part of his and Pam Slim’s first group of $100 business students and it was amazing. I’m applying everything I learned to a current project that is set to launch next year, and it’s helped keep me focused.

I believe in his products so much that I’m offering 15% off any service on this page to anyone who purchases anything from the Unconventional Guides.

If you’re interested, but still not 100% sold on the idea, keep reading. {FYI: There’s another discount at the end of the post.}

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Intimate & On Display

“…the act of displaying what is meant to be intimate is seductive and decidedly feminine.”

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16 Intimate & On Display

There’s something beautiful in showing off things that are meant to be on the inside or underneath. A sliver of silk or a frill of lace peeking out from under a skirt, a satin strap slipping off the shoulder, it all suggests the possibility of being undressed, of another layer, and of intimacy.

Whether it be emotions, secrets, skin, fears, or a garter, the act of displaying what is meant to be intimate is seductive and decidedly feminine. It’s powerful, inviting, flirtatious, and delicate. In our dress, the effect ranges from daring to innocent to modest. {The last being a sign of the times in the fact that so many women skip the garters or slips.} In the home, taking something lovely that is usually kept in the closet or lingerie chest and placing it on the wall or by the window for all to see gives a room a playful, whimsical effect. And, in our relationships, the result can be devastatingly beautiful and empowering.

{images: free people}