Life & Culture

life • cul·ture

/līf/   /ˈkəlCHər/

Every experience we walk through that affects our very existence; the external influences of the world we live in that shape us and impact our thoughts, actions, and daily routines.

10 Tips for Tackling Menopause with Grace

10 Tips for Tackling Menopause with Grace

I recently entered the much despised stage of life: second puberty. More commonly known as menopause. This is a stage of life that most women go through with varying degrees of symptoms and frustrations and lengths of time. Do I want a taco? A salad? My husband’s head on a platter? It changes often and quickly. Sometimes I just want to be left alone. Other times I want all my people around me. I want to eat the carbs, but I want to stay in the same size pants, which is, for the record, impossible. I have yet to find a diet or miracle food to prevent the dreaded menopause belly, otherwise known as muffin top. I exercise, I eat right (most […]

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I Did a Social Media Detox and Learned Why We're Always Reaching for Our Phones

I Did a Social Media Detox and Learned Why We’re Always Reaching for Our Phones

One day after my 8-year sober birthday, I decided to do a social media detox for a month (or as long as I could). In the beginning, there really wasn’t any end game in mind. My motivation: I realized that somewhere along the way I started caring what people think. And this started to affect how I felt about myself. Oh, and also: I was spending way too much time checking my phone. I wish someone could have taken my picture and posted it as I contemplated what it meant to erase the Facebook and Instagram apps from my phone. I held my finger on the screen and the icons did that little dance, that shaky “please don’t delete me” dance. This

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7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Now

7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Now

Change. It is a certainty. It never ceases to amaze me how life can completely change in the blink of an eye. It invigorates me and leaves me a little terrified at the same time. We often go about subconsciously believing that we will live forever—that time is always there. The mind is amazing how it can trick us in that way. But we rarely fully experience the present, even though it is the only thing that is certain about our time here on earth. Experiencing the sudden death of my father and the traumatic birth of my daughter (born with a rare genetic disorder) heightened my awareness of how life can turn on a dime. I’m sure many of you have had similar life curve balls. Yet, we know

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Representation Matters: Searching for Mental Health Support for People of Color

Representation Matters: Searching for Mental Health Support for People of Color

I was stunned when I read the news story. I remembered her winning Miss USA 2019, not because of her articulate answers or platform, but because her physical features mirrored my own. At the time, I was just beginning to embrace my curls and she proudly wore hers with confidence. As I read through the breaking news story, once again, I saw myself in Cheslie Kryst. Her struggle with anxiety and depression echoed my own. I rarely share about the time I sat, razor blade in hand, contemplating if I should live or die. Would anyone care if I were gone? Or the time I called my mom at 3 a.m. to pick up our infant son because I couldn’t have him

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9 Best Ways to Choose Happiness

The 9 Best Ways to Choose Happiness

I was glamping in an elegant Airstream in a land of sunny skies, craggy mountain ranges, and saguaro cacti—Tucson, Arizona. The trailer next to mine was a cool, vintage model and stenciled on the back was this thought: “Today, I will be happier than a bird with a French fry.” Which begs the question: Can we choose to be happy? Based on my experience, I believe happiness is a choice. And if a choice, then perhaps the old adage, “Practice makes perfect,” comes into play: “Note to self: Anything you have ever wanted to be good at, you’ve had to practice. If you want happiness, practice being happy. Keep these handy tools in your backpack to help along the way: gratitude, observation, presence,

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How to Teach Your Child Not to Hold Prejudices 2

How to Teach Your Child Not to Hold Prejudices

Why does it feel so uncomfortable to talk about race and racism in this country? Deep down in our gut, we know something just isn’t right and that makes us squirm. Humans strive for internal consistency, and when it’s not there we become uncomfortable. A part of our mind knows that we are all one family: the human race. The other part knows that we harbor some racism, stereotypes, prejudice, or discriminatory thoughts. Yes, we do. This makes us uncomfortable. When we become uncomfortable, we actively avoid situations and information likely to increase it. So, it’s normal to feel that way. I invite you to feel it now and keep reading anyway. There is something called multigenerational transmission process, which just means

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soft-pretzels-with-beer-cheese

18 Recipes for the Best Super Bowl Party on the Block

It’s no secret to anyone who knows me that I am not a big sports fan. I couldn’t tell a touchdown from a jump shot from a home run. I tried faking it for years because I’m married to the biggest sports fan ever, but recently decided to give up the ghost and let my true non-sports fan flag fly. Luckily that’s not why he loves me, and 15 years in I guess it’s a little too late for him to bolt over a silly game anyway. But there is one thing I love from the wide world of sports, one event I look forward to every year… The Super Bowl. Clearly I don’t look forward to it because of the game.

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Here's Why We Need Black History Month and Racial Reconciliation

Here’s Why We Need Black History Month and Racial Reconciliation

“Mommy, is Jesus white?” This question was recently posed to a white mother in our congregation by her brown son. This family diligently provides books, activities, and holds ongoing discussions with the three brown kids in their home, yet this charming little five-year-old boy wrestled with the color of Jesus during the Christmas season. Your initial thoughts about this question and discussion say much about your comfortability with racial conversation. If your response is, “What difference does it make whether Jesus is white or not?” then I invite you to take a moment and consider why the race of such an important religious figure matters. How does each culture see Jesus? Years ago, on a visit to the Holy Land, I was

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7 Easy and Natural Methods to Boost Your Immunity 2

7 Easy and Natural Methods to Boost Your Immunity

Ah, winter. ‘Tis the season for crackling fires, family and friends gathered around the table, and sledding down the snow-covered hillsides. It’s undoubtedly a favorite time of year for many, but the chilly winter months can quickly lose their luster the minute germs make a debut. The influx of coughs, colds, and flus seem heckbent on ruining all the fun. Many pesky illnesses that sprout up during the winter months are viral, which mean antibiotics won’t do the trick. These bugs seem to have no qualms with keeping entire households homebound for weeks; it can take up to two weeks for them to run their course. Prevention is key, so wash those hands frequently and start boosting your immunity by trying these

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6 Job Interview Tips to Help You Get the Offer

6 Job Interview Tips to Help You Get the Offer

No matter where you are in your career or how long you’ve been in the business world, interviewing for a new job is intimidating. Just the word alone is enough to strike anxiety right into the hearts of job seekers. And the actual act of interviewing, forget about it. It is a palm-sweating, heart palpitation-inducing nightmare for most of us. And that’s even when it goes well. Everyone needs job interview tips to keep that heart rate down. But here’s the deal: interviews are a part of life. You won’t land the job of your dreams without going through an interview process of some type. (Unless your life is like a romantic comedy where dream jobs fall into your lap. In which

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50 Weird Things That Make All Women Happy

50 Weird Things That Make All Women Happy

Many moments in life are great—like finding out you got a hefty pay raise or embarking on your much-anticipated summer vacation. But have you ever bought a dress and discovered it has pockets? Hardly anything else compares to that kind of joy! We have found there are few things that make all women happy. So, to offer a few, many of our writers chimed in on some of their favorite weird things that make them happy. We thought we’d compile them and share the fun with you. Here are the things for us that are totally worth celebrating and never fail to put a smile on our faces. 50 Weird things that make all women happy. 1. Pockets…pockets, pockets everywhere. 2. When

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5 Simple Ways to Keep Dr. King’s Dream Alive

5 Simple Ways to Keep Dr. King’s Dream Alive

If you’re anything like me, Dr. King’s legacy leaves you very much empowered and yet, feeling a little awkward. As much as his words and actions have been cherished and praised throughout the years, I’m always left wondering, but what can I do to keep Dr. King’s Dream alive? As inspired as I am, protesting isn’t really my thing. I’m too quiet, too shy, and sad to say, much too worried about my own self-preservation. But injustice of any kind bothers me, hate makes my blood boil, and despite my quiet nature, I’m an activist at heart. But after 27 years of wrestling with society’s expectations, I’ve come to realize the many ways I can keep Dr. King’s legacy alive in my

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3 Healthy Hand Sanitizer Options You Need to Try

3 Healthy Hand Sanitizer Options You Need to Try

It’s flu season, and you know what that means? Germs—everywhere! So, what is the best way to keep those flu and cold viruses at bay? As we become more aware of what we are putting into our bodies, we must also consider what we put on our skin. It’s always a good idea to try healthier, effective alternatives. Hand sanitizer is a quick and easy way to get instant germ protection in the absence of water. The popularity of this convenient method has made its way into hospital rooms, clinics, and emergency waiting areas across the nation. Even though I fully support anti-germ awareness in this form, I have found that there are other, non-toxic ways to get the same protection while saving

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growing plants taught me 4 lessons for a satisfying life

Growing Plants Taught Me 4 Lessons for a Satisfying Life

During the height of Covid quarantine, I, like many people, developed some new obsessions. Partly as a way to pass the time and partly as a way to distract myself from the horrors of a pandemic, I took up some very strange hobbies. I dabbled in sourdough. But, as one can only have so many carbs, I let that starter go after a while. I remodeled a few rooms and was happy doing it until my killjoy husband put a kibosh on the spending. And I even went through an unfortunate period of time where I wanted to learn an instrument despite being, for lack of a better word, completely talentless. Luckily for all of us, that was short. The one hobby,

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29 Life-Changing Books for Your Reading List

January waltzes in, dreamy and ambitious. Whispers permission to shred your list of what you haven’t finished, haven’t even started, from last year. She’s a bright new start and welcome friend. Me? Just a girl who loves books, like you. I’ve handpicked my favorites from my bookshelf and I offer to you 29 of the most wonderful books sure to change your life. Let’s meander through my color-organized stacks and stop at these: 29 Life-Changing Books to Add to Your Reading List This Year 1. For the one holding her breath, walking faster, feeling the pressure to do more, balance it all, let no one down: Permission to slow and savor and grow. Growing Slow: Lessons on Un-Hurrying Your Heart from an

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How to Eat Vegetarian Without Making it Weird

How to Eat Vegetarian Without Making it Weird

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes, Venison steak, and fried chicken—as a Midwest gal, I grew up with these hearty dishes. Savory emanating from the floor boards like the smell of beef chili on game day. Baskets of carbs and real, salted butter. Tall, frothy glasses of milk. Fireworks of bouillon. Moats of gravy. We never thought to eat vegetarian. Don’t even get me started on dessert.  I love food and it’s always loved me. My closet proves this. I have pants that range a handful of sizes. Depending on the season and the frequency of my workout routines, what needs covering melts away like an ice cream cone in summer or swirls into a nice peak and expands like homemade whipping cream. Thankfully,

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If You Want To Get Healthy Do These 5 Things

If You Want To Get Healthy Do These 5 Things

For a girl whose dietary and lifestyle choices once included generous amounts of Cheez-Its, menthol cigarettes, and energy drinks mixed with vodka, doing a massive overhaul on my (not-so-healthy) habits was overwhelming at first. I’m not going to lie… it was downright hard. I wasn’t sure what foods my body would benefit from, so I tested popular diets and eliminated trigger foods. I wanted to find cost-effective ways to incorporate more organic produce to get healthy. So I found good deals and discounted products I could add to my recipe rotation. I began exercising on a consistent basis, and instead of automatically reaching for my former go-to substances during times of stress, I explored spiritual practices that seemed to calm my mental

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