Friday, August 22, 2014

Notes To My Younger Self

You know about The Post College Survival Kit, right? 159 pages of incredibly helpful, insanely insightful advice from Alex Franzen, Sarah Storer, Sally McGraw, Marie Joseph and me, 31 fill-this-in, actually-make-it-happen worksheets, 5 lifescripts you can copy/paste/memorize to help you turn down an internship, deal with a bad landlord, talk to your boyfriend about whereisthisrelationshipgoingalready?

Yeah, I thought I'd mentioned it a few times. In honor of its launch, I've asked some of my smartest, coolest internet friends to share the advice they'd give to their younger selves. Here you go!

Bobbi // Today, I'm Bobbi
First, stop making the stupid peace sign with your fingers when you pose for photos. You look ridiculous. In fact, take a good look at yourself and see if you can figure out the triggers that cause you to do something to make yourself look "better". Cooler, cuter, stronger, smarter, whatever. I'm a huge fan of "faking it until you make it", but there's a difference between that and being untrue to yourself (and the people that you care about). Taking a photo with your girlfriends? Cool, put your hands in your lap and smile like a normal person.
Read the whole post here

Kyla // Kyla Roma

Check in and see if your normal is normal One of the biggest surprises of my early twenties was finding out that I’d been living with clinical Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder for years, and that life could feel totally different than it did. I’d always been a worrier, it didn’t take much to exhaust me, and I’d always had bouts of deep sadness, but I thought that everyone experienced those things.
Read the whole post here. 

Rebecca McLoughlin // Beautiful Living

Vulnerability is the key to success in any relationship. Learning to be vulnerable can be hard –
excruciating even! It requires us to be seen for who we truly are – the good, the bad, the ugly. So many of us hold an unconscious belief that we don’t deserve love and that if someone truly knew our imperfections we would be alone for the rest of our life. Read the whole post here

Mara // Mara Glatzel

Relax your white knuckles. Every single upset or potential decision is not an emergency. It may feel like an emergency. It may feel like your nerves are spiking and your heart is racing, but responding to every occasion out of a state of panic will do little more than lead you to live a life of nervousness that will never leave you. Read the whole post here

Sarah // The Naked Redhead

Be first. To say "I love you," "I'm sorry," and "Yes!" Jump in, don't keep score, and revel in the power of words simply and wholeheartedly said. Be honest. With your friends, your family, your boss...and above all, yourself. In fact, what do you REALLY want? Read the whole post here

And you know you can download a free, 26-page sample of The Post-College Survival Kit here, right? 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Mini Travel Guide: Tonga

This is one of many Mini Travel Guides in which expats and locals are kind enough to share their insights and suggestions with us. And then we try not to immediately book flights.

travel tips Tonga

Malo e lelei! (Hello!) I’m Mandy and I blog over at Beneath a Balcony of Stars. I’m a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in The Kingdom of Tonga. 

Located in the South Pacific Ocean, Tonga is a nation made up of over 176 islands and is the last Polynesian monarchy. It’s a short two-hour flight from Fiji and New Zealand and it’s been my home for the last two years. Secluded and truly untouched, the waters that surround Tonga are so clear that you can see 100 feet down! Whether it’s spending time on/in the water or playing on land, I have loved living here. I’ve also had the opportunity to really get to know the culture and the wonderful people who inhabit this little corner of the world.

Must Go
Tonga is made up of three island groups. Vava’u is the northern most island group and is known for it’s natural beauty and mountains (large hills, in my opinion). Spend time sailing through blue lagoons, swimming in candle-lit fresh water caves, exploring hidden coves and enjoying the trade winds as they lead you around these truly magnificent islands. Most of the islands are uninhabited or are dotted with small villages filled with some of the most wonderful and generous people you will ever come across.

Ha’apai is definitely off the beaten path. The middle of the three island groups is known for its amazing scuba diving locations. In January 2014, Ha’apai was hit by a cyclone and has been rebuilding ever since. It’s still a great place to visit. Sea kayaking, snorkeling and horseback riding are just a few of the things you can do while visiting these 62 scattered islands.

‘Eua is an island off the coast of the largest island, Tongatapu. Covered in lush rainforest, ‘Eua is the perfect place for the true wanderlust. To get there you take the world’s shortest commercial flight (7 minutes) from the main island. Rocky cliff faces, caves, and sinkholes will greet you upon arrival. ‘Eua is also Tonga’s oldest island. Tongan legend says that ‘Eua is where the Polynesian god Maui stood when he fished up the rest of Tonga’s islands from the deep Pacific waters.

Must Do
Swim with the Whales
Tonga is one of two places in the world where you can swim in the wild with whales. From July to October humpback whales come to Tonga to mate. They are friendly, beautiful and humongous creatures! It’s an experience that cannot be described in words and an absolute must!

Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
There are over 100 different species of tropical fish around Tonga and heaps of coral gardens for exploring. The turquoise water is not only crystal clear, but boasts some of the most interesting wildlife. Manta rays, spinner dolphins, sea turtles and sharks are just some of creatures you might come across while swimming in the Tonga waters.

Traditional Tongan Feast and Dance Show
If you want a fun night many of the islands invite visitors to traditional Tongan feasts, which may include a dance show afterwards. Usually these events include delicious traditional Tongan food, a pig roast, stories about Tonga's history and fire dancing.

Must Eat
‘Ota ‘Ika
This dish is made up of raw fish, vegetables (usually green peppers and onions) and coconut milk. It’s best served fresh.

Lu is made in an underground oven (called an ‘umu) and consists of your meat of choice (beef, lamb, chicken, shell fish), coconut milk, onions and taro leaves. It’s traditionally eaten with root crops (yams, sweet potatoes, etc.) and is best served hot.

The islands of Tonga are covered in coconut trees and the people here know what to do with them! There is cold coconut water that can be bought at the food markets and cold-pressed coconut oil that can be used for cooking (and other health and body needs). 

Cultural Tips
Modest dress is important when following Tongan cultural customs. Men sometimes where wrap skirts (called tupenus) to special events and it’s inappropriate for women to expose their shoulders or knees in public. It’s best to save that for one of the resorts or out on the water!

Tonga didn’t just get the nickname “The Friendly Islands” for any reason. The people you meet here are some of the most genuine and lovely people you will ever come across. Their generosity is something I will never forget about my time in Tonga.

Travel on the Cheap
Take the ferry. There is an inter-island ferry that runs once a week between the three island groups. It’s quite the adventure!

Hitch Hiking is commonplace here. If you need to get someplace just put your thumb in the air! 

If you're interested in a quiet, untouched getaway complete with adventures and amazing people, Tonga is the place to be!

Have any of you Aussie and Kiwi readers been to Tonga? Any other tips to share? 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The One Thing I Should Have Been Doing To My Blog Photos All Along

Isn't it the worst when you realize you've bungled something you should have been doing for a looooong time? Well, it's a lot worse if you never figure it out. Today on my small business blog, I'm sharing the mistake I've been making with my photos for pretty much the entirety of my blogging career. Learn for my mistake, guys!

New Thing: Take A Trapeze Class

Each year I make a list of new things I want to try. And then I try 'em. You can read about past shenanigans here.


When you're taking a trapeze class for the first time, you really rather hope that you're not the only newbie. 

So when I walked into Twin Cities Trapeze a few weeks ago I was thrilled when my kind-faced, well-muscled instructor told me that another first-timer would be joining us. "Oh, good!" I thought. "We can bond over our lack of upper body strength."

Jake then introduced me to Layla, the other novice. I looked to my left and then down two feet because Layla was six years old.

Undeterred, I chatted Layla up. We discussed her prowess on the monkey bars and the argument she'd just had with her mom about whether she should wear shorts or leggings to trapeze class because "I always wear shorts on the playground so I don't see why I need to wear leggings for this."

Touche, Layla.

Here's what you need to know about taking a trapeze class:

1. It's kind of scary (but not nearly as scary as you'd think)Is it a bit nerve-wracking to climb 28 feet up an insanely narrow ladder before you're clipped into a harness? Yes. Is it a little terrifying to jump off a tiny platform 28 feet in the air? Also, yes.

But you're wearing a harness with ropes on each hip and those ropes are being controlled by one very experienced and strong spotter on the ground - sort of the equivalent to belaying if you've ever rock climbed. You're also swinging over a very wide net and you're hanging onto something. If you've ever cliffdived or bungee jumped it's waaaaay less scary than that.

2. You're going to use muscles you didn't know you had (or needed)
You know what's hard, you guys? Going from a dead hang to pulling your knees up and hooking them on a bar above your head. Within the space of a few seconds. Sure, I can struggle and paddle my way up there, with lots of grunting and hoiking if you give me 45 seconds - but instantaneously? Let's not overestimate my abs, friends.

Thankfully, the incredibly patient and kind instructors showed me how to use the momentum of the swing and my own body weight to (finally) get my knees up in a (somewhat) timely fashion.

3. If you've got good instructors and you're vaguely fit, you'll succeed at this
By the end of my lesson, the instructors taught me how to position my hands and arch my back so another trapeze-er could snatch me off my perch. I was compleeeeeetely doubtful that I'd be able to accomplish this (remember how I paddled my legs up to the bar?) but when you've got good instructors, all you really need to do is follow their directions.

When the moment came, I stretched my hands back in the W-shape as I'd been taught, stared through my ponytail and yelped when Jake grabbed me by my wrists. I'm flying! I'm a flyer! I'm pretty much ready for my sparkly, spangly outfit now!

Even with an entire week of stiff muscles and a few blisters, I'm totally committed to trying trapeze again.
(after I spend a month doing a lot of ab work.)

Have you ever tried trapeze or aerial work? Would you? 

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How To Be A Grown Ass Woman: Friendships

Earlier this month, I launched my ecourse The Post College Survival Kit. In honor of trying to be the best adults we can be (regardless of our current age) I'll be posting about how we can become awesome, grown ass women.

When I was in ninth grade, I was fairly convinced that I was experiencing the most socially challenging time in my life. My friends and I filled entire books with notes, spent hours on monopolizing the landline with our conversations about outfits and boys, and would fall in and out of love with each other approximately every 20 minutes.

It was all very emotional and very, very dramatic.

These days my friendships are rarely dramatic or emotional.* And while adult friendships are easier in a lot of ways (less note passing and boyfriend filching) they can be hard, too. How do you make friends once you're out of college? And once you've befriended your co-workers and your partner's friends ... then what? And how do you move from being friendly acquaintances to friends who hang out in sweats together? 

While I'm not sure I'd call myself a friendship expert I do have a very full social life filled with people I love + admire. Here are seven things I've learned about friendship as a grown ass woman.

* unless we have to cry about animal bffs, when someone's marriage is on the rocks, or when someone's getting engaged or moving.

1. Think about what you need in a friend + what you want more of in your life
Are you an introvert who wants a friend who will get you out of the house? Do you need someone you can share deepnmeaningfuls with? Are you a super driven Career Woman who wants to swap war stories about the latest account you landed and how to deal with a sexist boss? 

Chances are you've probably already got some pretty great friends, but you might have some social needs that aren't quite being met. You might have openings in the Up For Anything friend department or the Also Single friend department. Think about what you need in a friend before you jump into the pool. 

2. Go places filled with people who are like that + talk to them
Once you've figured out what you need/want in a friend go places where people like that hang out. And then talk to them. IT'S THAT SIMPLE. If you want to make friends with fun, outgoing, dance-all-night types go to Tuesday Night Music Club or take a Hip Hop Dance Class. If you want to meet fellow writers, check out a Meetup

3. Take initiative! Do things! Invite people to do stuff!
So now you've found some awesome humans you'd like to befriend. So do something about it. Because I'm a weirdo, when I find someone I'd like to befriend, I literally announce to them "We're going to be friends, I hope you know." 99% of the time this is met with a high five and a new friendship. 

Other things that work: friending someone on Facebook with a note about how you enjoyed chatting with them/sharing resources/whatever. And when an event comes up that you think they'd enjoy (cough internet cat film festival cough) invite them to join you and your other friends. 

4. Don't expect one person to meet all your needs
Just like you can't expect your romantic partner to meet every single need you'll ever have, you can't expect that from your friends, either. You'll have friends who are great for a night out on the town but not so great for heart to hearts. You'll have friends who totally understand your wanderlust but not your professional ambitions. You'll have buddies who can help you work through relationship struggles but don't really get single girl life. 

And that's totally okay. 

3. L-I-S-T-E-N
Have you ever left a happy hour and belatedly realized that you have no idea what your friend has been up to in the last few weeks? Because you spent the entire time talking about your job/that bad date/your landlord woes? 

Don't be that friend. 
Resist the urge to interrupt and share your story on the same topic. Resist the urge to 'solve' your friends' problems when they really just want to vent. (ahem, note to self). Make sure you ask them about what's going on in their lives and follow up on things they told you about the last time you saw them.

6. Put effort into maintaining your friendships + showing your friends you love 'em
I don't know about you, but I put a lot of work into my romantic partnership - daily texts or calls, big surprises, little gifts I know he'll like. And while I do some of that for my friends, I don't do nearly as much. What if we made a collective effort to be better at that? What if we were better about sending 'thinking about you!' text to our friends and telling them what we loved about them?

To paraphrase Gandhi, you need to be the change you want to see in your relationships. 

7. Get out of friendships that are toxic or bring you down
Does That One Friend constantly bring you down? Is she making choices and living in a way you don't respect? Do they make snarky comments about your job/partner/clothes/weight? You get to choose the people you surround with and if someone hurts you or doesn't respect you, you don't need to have them in your life. 

If someone isn't hurtful - just draining - you can limit your interactions with them by reaching out less, only seeing them in group settings, or only seeing them when you have somewhere else to be at a specific time. 

But if a friendship is truly toxic and you don't want that person in your life at all, you might have to be a bit more direct. In a perfect world, you'd have this conversation in person, in a private space but I'm sure lots of us are too nervous for that and more inclined towards email.

Here's a little script I wrote up for you:

There's not really an easy way to say this. For the last while, I've really been struggling with our friendship. I'm not sure that it's necessary or beneficial to dig into the who/how/why of this but I think we need to give each other space for a bit. 

Of course, it could be beneficial to actually tell your friend what they're doing that's making your distance yourself, if you're interested in working through the issues - but that's another post entirely.

How have you navigated friendships as an adult? Share your tips or questions in the comments!

P.S. Did you know you can download a free, 27-page sample of The Post College Survival Kit here

photo by Luiz Fonseca // cc

Monday, August 18, 2014

True Story: I'm A Nun

This is one of many True Story interviews in which we talk to people who have experienced interesting/challenging/amazing things. This is the story of Sister Anne and her work as a catholic nun.

Tell us a bit about yourself! 
Being from New Orleans thing is a huge aspect of my life, and it shows, I think, in two of my big interests: food and music. I enjoy cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, trying new things out on the sisters (who don't seem to mind). In terms of music, my tastes are all over the place. I discovered classical music (Bach's Brandenburg Concerto #3) when I was 13, but I also really like zydeco (the fiddling reminds me of Bach), country music, R&B. I also really love to sing, and have been a part of my community's recording choir since 1987. (We have released over two dozen albums.) I even got to sing for Pope St. John Paul's Mass in June, 2000! 

Another big area of interest for me is reading, writing, social networking, technology. I was part of the Vatican's Jubilee Internet Office for the Year 2000 (which is why I was in Rome for the Pope's Mass). I got on Twitter when it was still in beta, just to see how it worked. (Now I have over 13,000 followers, and a sister I had to convince to start a Twitter account is now the most followed nun in the world, @SrHelenaBurns.)

What are some of the most common misconceptions about nuns?
Probably the big one is that we are either childlike naifs or social misfits who can't find a place in the world. (Eyeroll.)

Did you grow up in the Catholic church? 
I was baptized into the Catholic Church when I was 17 days old. Marked for life. Not only did my family background support my Catholic upbringing (Dad was national President of a Catholic men's organization), the culture of New Orleans itself is permeated with Catholicism. 

When did you receive your calling to join the church? 
During my last year in high school (1974), I was looking for a way to combine my interest in communications and writing with serving the Church. In some way, I wanted to help the Church communicate better. Meeting the Daughters of St. Paul in their New Orleans bookstore revealed a perfect fit: Jesus and media in one life! 40 years later, it is still a perfect fit. 

How did the people in your life react to your decision?
Dad was concerned because it meant giving up an important scholarship.

Years later, I also learned that my leaving home at 18 was really hard on my six younger siblings. They felt I had abandoned them. You can't imagine how hard it was on me, though: the youngest was only six! Jesus wasn't kidding around when he challenged people to “leave everything and follow me.” 

Could you tell us about the training you went through before becoming a nun?
After a period of discernment with the sisters by means of letters, retreats and in-person visits, I entered what is called “postulancy.” I left home to share in the prayer life of the community; got introduced to its history, ministry and spirituality, and began putting my gifts at someone else's disposition, rather than by my own lights. This is when I started writing, too.

After that year, I was admitted to novitiate. At this point, I was officially a “member” even if only with “trainee” status. Novices are called “Sister”; they continue the experience of living in community, putting the vows into practice in a concrete way. (For instance, everybody seems to think that the vow of chastity is only about sex—or lack of it—but it is really about the appropriate ways to make a loving gift of self: a gentle word with a lonely person is absolutely an expression of the vow of chastity, unless you are seeking yourself in the deed!) During those two years, there was more time to read, pray and study the Bible; I was also assigned for a few months to New York to get a feel for the way of life I would be committing to if I went ahead with vows.

Three years after entering, I made my first vows as a Daughter of St. Paul, committing myself “for one year to live chaste, poor and obedient” and to devote my energy to the service of “evangelization with the media of communication.” Every year, I asked to renew my vows, until finally I was allowed to prepare for “perpetual profession” (final vows). After a kind of novitiate-like experience for five months, instead of making the vows “for one year,” I made them “for all my life.” 

Making those perpetual vows really stabilized my sense of belonging to the community. In fact, there's a beautiful formula that the Superior who witnesses the vows says in response to the sister: “From now on, everything will be in common among us.” When there have been things I've had to let go of, dreams that I had to let vanish, this has really helped me, knowing that someone else, maybe a fellow-sister, maybe a person I'll never meet here below, can benefit from it. Sacrifices can be a way of fostering another person's flourishing.

I think a lot of people imagine nuns living in a convent, praying and singing all day. What's an average day like for you?
The image many people have is from the monastic life where prayer determines everything else. For communities with an active ministry, the work makes some practical demands that the community structures have to accommodate. 

During my 13 years in Chicago, it was the bookstore's schedule that determined when, where and how we would pray together or have a meal together. (Morning Prayer together right before opening; Evening Prayer a half-hour after closing; l-o-n-g, chatty supper after that—including doing the dishes together!) For the rest, each sister arranges her own schedule, according to the tasks at hand.

How is your cost of living covered? 
We live very simply and we work very, very hard. The Daughters of St Paul are self-supporting (well, we try to be). The order was founded in 1915, and we have publishing houses and bookstores around the world with the usual business-type structures. In the developed world, these are challenged by changes in technology and people's media preferences.

A few of the sisters have positions in diocesan offices or other Church entities; their salary goes directly to the community (that vow of poverty). I sometimes give conferences on spirituality or lead a retreat; the stipend gets signed over to the community.

We are trying to figure out how to “go out to the peripheries,” as Pope Francis says, reaching people who are looking for the Church and its message, but we still need to support ourselves. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Have you ever questioned your decision to become a nun? 
My experience of that perfect match between my desires and my call was and remains so clear that even the most intensely frustrating moments have not led me to question my vocation. That said, there have been times when I felt betrayed, written off or rejected by sisters or superiors. I have learned that I can turn those experiences into a gift of self that can be life-giving, if not immediately for me, then for someone who will come after me. I have decided to let everything “work together for good,” even if it is not my good.

What are the best parts of your life as a nun? The most challenging?
The best parts of being a nun are the same as in any well-lived life: a feeling of connectedness; the ability to use my gifts in doing something I love; contributing to something that will last longer than I do. It boils down to a sense of meaning.

The most challenging times are when any of those values appears to be threatened. Watching a worthwhile project go down the rabbit hole of bureaucracy, for example. That's where faith has to come in and show me that the meaning is intact, despite the evidence. 

What's one thing you've learned that any of us - regardless of our faith - could apply to our daily lives? 
Be willing to learn from everything.

Thanks so much for sharing your story, Sister Anne! Do you guys have any (polite, respectful) questions for her? Are any of you devote Catholics? 

P.S. What happened when I went to a service at a Universal Unitarian church and True Story: I'm A Missionary

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Web Time Wasters

How was your week, friends? My guy and I celebrated our anniversary by recreating our first date, and this weekend was consumed by brunches and a themed party for which I made these. Of course.

Also, a kind, happy-fying note after this sad, rough week. An anonymous Yes and Yes reader was so moved by Esme Wang's work (which they found through this post) that they donated $500 to The Mental Health Association of San Francisco. That money will help them make care packages for people who are in psychiatric hospitals. Whoever you are, many hugs and hearts to you.

Okay! Let's talk about you, internet!

Super interesting: What I learned after taking a homeless mother grocery shopping.
“Here’s the thing,” she explained. “We can’t have anything perishable in the shelter. So, the girls never get enough fruits or vegetables. We don’t have a stove or a fridge. I don’t want you to think I’m buying bad things. I just don’t have a way to keep the good things.”

Can scientists predict moment-to-moment happiness?

Of course I loved this Airstream makeover. I love how rustic they made it!

I'm completely mesmerized by this dress. Never thought I'd say that about something from Ann Taylor!

When Mimismartypants goes to San Francisco for work and enjoys 'part of a marijuana beverage' hijinks ensue.

We've all lived in questionable spaces, right? The Time I Lived In A Laundry Shed… And How To Change Your Beliefs And Stop Feeling Like A Loser

Things to eat/bake/cook: White wine slushies, lemon blueberry icebox cake.

Oh, gosh, The Nostalgia Machine is amazing. You can set if for any year and it shows you the most popular music video of that time!

I am obviously fascinated by Russia's ugly, mean suburbs.

Yes! Earn your sleep.

A gorgeous skirt.

These temporary tattoo would be great reminders.

What happens when you go to a Barbie Collectors Convention? AMAZING THINGS, OBVIOUSLY.

Two fascinating posts that certainly challenged my ideas of traditional marriage:
If you’re married to a woman, how can you really be gay?
This is a really good question and I can see how people can be confused about it. Some might assume that because I’m married to a woman, I must be bisexual. This would be true if sexual orientation was defined by sexual experience. Heck, if sexual orientation were defined by sexual experience, I would be as straight as the day is long even though I’ve never been turned on by a Victoria’s Secret commercial in my entire life. Sexual orientation is defined by attraction, not by experience. In my case, I am attracted sexually to men. Period. Yet my marriage is wonderful, and Lolly and I have an extremely healthy and robust sex life.

I'm a lesbian marrying a man
The wonderful smell of this man made me want to laugh out loud with pleasure, as did the lovely, slightly mannered, slightly pompous way he spoke (so like my own slightly mannered, slightly pompous speech). And I recognized in that delight, to my great surprise, desire. Later, I will realize that he looks a great deal like my first girlfriend (who looked a great deal like the writer Peter Matthiessen — slender, weathered face, salt and pepper hair) and my last cat (the same green eyes and self-satisfied smile).

If you're a blogger, do you ever find yourself doing things JUST so you can blog about it?

These plates! Ca-yute!

You guys. Is Mitt Romney the world's sweetest grandpa?

Love it. Things I Don't Care About.

As always, you can follow along with Yes and Yes on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or get the best stuff, once a week in the newsletter. Thanks for reading, guys!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Loving your life. What a novel concept!

This post is brought to you by a better work/life balance, more time to do things you like, the letter K, and Kathleen Ventura.

Have you ever heard the truism that you should only take advice from people who are happier than you? It makes sense, I think. Why would you value the insights of someone who hates their life/job/partner/choice of Lean Cuisine? You wouldn't.

But it can also be surprisingly hard to find people who live the life most of us aspire to - inspiring, supportive friends, a job they like, an amazing partner, a body they love. But you can call off the search, guys. Because I found one of those rare, happy, together people: Kathleen Ventura.

Kathleen moved to Costa Rica (alone! with a one-way ticket!) and taught English there for 15 months. She and her husband BIKED ACROSS AMERICA. She even has a cute puppy (of course).

Luckily for us, she's willing to share some of her happy-making secrets - in the form of a six-month coaching program, a free webinar about time management mastery, and simple tips delivered right to your inbox. Get to it! A happier life awaits.

I offer two sponsored posts a month. If you'd like to see your face and products featured here, in front of 11,000+ smart, kind readers you can check out traffic info here or drop me a line at sarah (at) yesandyes (dot) org. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Notes To My Younger Self

Want to know what my clever, impressive friends wish they would have figured out in their early twenties? In promotion of The Post College Survival Kit, I asked 'em!

Dana // Wonderforest

You'll have to do everything on your own. You won't realize exactly what this means at first, but eventually, over time, you'll get the hang of it. That first week on your own will be eye-opening. You'll realize you've just packed up your entire life and moved away from your family. There won't be any going back now because the deal is done. Read the whole post here

Kim // Kim Lawler Creative

Staying home with your cat is, and always will be, okay. I think I hit 18 and turned into a grandma. Given the choice between staying in and going to a club? I've already got my slippers on and a book picked out. Younger self – this is fine, you’ll find others just like you in a few years time, kick back with that puzzle and get an early night. Read the whole post here.

Sarah // Laughing Medusa

You have the power to change your thoughts, and your life. In fact, by changing your thoughts, you change your life. So stop telling yourself that you can’t have the life you want or that “that’s just the way things are.” Those are thoughts, not facts, and you always have the power to choose a different one. Read the whole post here. 

Kathleen + Tara // Braid Creative

Don't be freaked out that everyone knows something you don't. If you were a wonderful writer in honors English, you probably should still write in your job (even if it's not in the job title). Your talents don't disappear, they just get shy for a while. That's natural, but don't let ability-bashfulness keep you from putting your best stuff out there. Read the rest of the post here

Sarah // Xosarah

Hang onto your girlfriends. You had some really good girlfriends in your early twenties. Six of them to be exact and all six of them have since faded into your past. There are a couple of those friendships you probably should have been more stubborn about holding on to, but closing in on 31 you’ll find yourself with an entirely new group of lady friends through aerial and blogging. Try to take a little better care of your friendships. Read the whole post here

Halley // Evolve + Succeed

Money is just money. It does not reflect failure or worthiness. Do not shrink from it. Open your bills when they arrive. Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to money. Knowledge is a positive bank account. Takeaway: open your bills when they arrive and if you’re in debt, figure a smart way out. You can do it. Read the whole post here

Danielle // Dr. Danielle Dowling

A man is not a financial plan. If you’re looking for a sustainable sense of security and wholeness it cannot be found in an outside resource. A relationship will not rid you of feelings of loneliness, fear or insecurity. Those are inherent to the human condition. There is no man, no job, no home or amount of wealth that can ever generate an ongoing, uninterrupted sense of fulfillment. Read the whole post here.

P.S. Did you know you can download a free, 27-page sample of The Post College Survival Kit here

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Kitchen Globetrotter: Chile // Chilean Tomato Salad

Claire Suellentrop believes eating well + having a really good time need not be mutually exclusive, and helps creative people juggle both at Eat Well. Party Hard. Say hello on Instagram & Twitter!

They say “the devil is in the details.” However, I propose a quick change to the idiom—because, as this light and flavorful tomato salad proves, delight is what’s really in the details.

Traditionally served in Chile alongside grilled meats (a major staple of the country’s cuisine), the tartness and tang of this side dish balances out what would otherwise be a very heavy plate. It’s no show-stopping entree or spotlight-stealing potluck party necessity; it’s a humble, low-key dish that rounds out the flavor + texture spectrum and can be thrown together in about five minutes. An impressive main event? Nah. A delightful little detail? Absolutely.

Chilean Tomato Salad
Adapted from this recipe

Serves about 6

3 c sliced tomatoes
1 c finely sliced red or sweet white onions
salt + pepper, to taste
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp lemon or lime juice
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Mix tomatoes, onion, salt and pepper together on a platter. Combine oil and lemon juice and pour over salad. Sprinkle cilantro over the dish*, and serve.

*Cilantro may be added to oil and lemon juice mixture instead, if preferred.

What's your favorite summer salad to balance out heavier fare? Leave recipes/links in the comments!

P.S. I put all my favorite meat-free dishes in one place, just for you!

photos by Gonzalo Baeza H, cc