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.

The Best Blogs to Follow For Every Area of Life

Back in the day of “blah, blah, blah,” women sometimes found a struggle when it came to discovering an appropriate and willing sounding board for their ideas, aspirations, advice, and so on. Now in the days of blogs, blogs, blogs, it can be difficult to discover the ones worth watching and following versus those that are still filled with mostly blah, blah, blah… I’ve become an avid “listener” online recently as I dive deeper into my digital marketing masters certification course, and have begun to follow—and weed-out—all sorts of content. I have become a loyalist to a few brands that I have found so inspirational that I simply must share them with you, as a fellow woman of grit and grace. Here […]

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Why I Won’t Be Posting #metoo

As the #metoo movement sweeps social media, I have had a lot to think through. I am a part of that statistic, and I cannot deny that there is part of posting “#metoo” that is intriguing. Could it be that our society is finally ready to accept the ugly truth and see that your barista, the girl from your Intro to Comp class, your coworker, your friend, your cousin, was in some form sexually harassed and/or assaulted? Could it be that it is finally okay to let my guard down? Is it okay to let the whole world know that this month marks 9 years since I was #metoo’d? It could be for some. But for me it’s a no. Don’t get

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Focus On Today and Tomorrow You’ll Be Glad

Sometimes we get mixed messages. On the one hand, we are told to prepare for the future. On another, wisdom says not to worry about tomorrow. I think it’s fine to plan for the future and not neglect our responsibilities, but what about today? Are we living today? I’ve begun a new way of eating recently that is grounded on eating healthier just for today. Let that sink in. When it comes to food, I’m learning not to fret about tomorrow’s food options or all the weddings I’ll be attending over the next several weeks and the delicious reception food and wedding cake that will be served. I’m just focused on eating better today. It has actually made quite an impact on me,

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7 Things You May Not Know About "This Is Us"

7 Things You May Not Know About “This Is Us”

Hurry! The clock is ticking and you need to binge watch the first season of This Is Us before the show returns on September 26! In case you’ve somehow missed NBC’s top-rated dramedy, let me give you a quick premise of what it’s about: “This is real. This is love. This is life. This Is Us.” Yes, it’s that simple. It’s about life—real life—with messy people who do their best to love one another and find their way on this crazy, twisting road. And it’s that simple yet intricate storyline that has made Dan Fogelman’s creation capture the hearts and attention of both viewers and critics alike (winning two Emmy Awards this year). The plot follows five individuals who all come together in a much bigger way.

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Living With Grit and Grace in the Eye of a Hurricane

My husband and I shoved as many of our valuables as we could into our compact car after the majority of the space was claimed by our 2-month-old baby, year-old Goldendoodle, and an essentials bag for each of us. It was a split-second decision, but as the eye of Irma drew nearer our confidence buckled. We were afraid to face her toe-to-toe. We evacuated. We were planning to stay. We had taken necessary precautions. Water: check. Non-perishable foods: check. All of our laundry was washed. Baby bottles were sanitized. We were going to stay in a structure built to withstand a category 5 beat down, so we felt confident in our safety. Until we didn’t. The hurricane analyzer’s spaghetti lines started to move,

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If You Want to Be Civil and Polite This Is How It’s Done

It’s all over media these days…we have, apparently, reached the limits of civility. The end. No one knows how to be kind, graceful, or socially correct. Polite society as we previously knew it has ended. Or so some would have us believe. But is it really the end of civility? Have the American people really completely transitioned into an impolite and bullish bunch? Perhaps it’s time to revisit simpler times, the days of chivalry, manners, and, as the French say, la politesse. Join me as we journey to the bygone world of all things polite, appropriate, and well, just plain nice. It begins with words. Think before you speak. Are your words true, necessary, and kind? Do they speak life and affirmation? The

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2 Simple Secrets to Long-Term Success

Success is harder than it’s ever been and actually easier than it’s ever been. I’m not sure I’ve met a person who doesn’t want to succeed. We might want to succeed at different things but whatever your standard of success may be, you’re desperate to achieve it. And yet many of us live with a gnawing ache of feeling unfulfilled… angst just below our carefully crafted exterior that torments us with fear of not succeeding. This is compounded by social media’s wonderful ability (insert sarcasm) to point out the success of every other human. It’s for this reason that I think success may be more difficult to achieve than ever before. We cannot focus on our own priorities and purpose because we’re

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For the Girl Who’s Forging New Friendships in a New City

How many of us have sheepishly walked into a social event as the “new girl,” our hearts beating out of our chest as we cling to our phones for some semblance of comfort and security? One of my good friends and I had a conversation recently around this topic of making new friends, and how difficult and oftentimes awkward it can be. When I moved from my hometown on the East coast three and a half years ago, and drove across the country to build a whole new life in California, I was struck with the reality that I literally knew no one here, and no one knew me. It was simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying. From moving coast to coast, to then

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Married to the Badge Not Your Typical Life

Married to the Badge: View from a Police Officer Wife

Growing up, I could never have imagined that I would one day be a police officer’s wife, married to a walking badge in polyester black. No, the silly games I played pointed to my future husband as a banker or a doctor, someone who made a decent living working a “normal” job like everyone else. I guess I wore those same rose-colored glasses as I imagined and planned out dinners at 5:00 PM each day, holidays with family gatherings, spur-of-the-moment get-a-ways, sleeping blissfully in my lover’s arms at night without a care in the world, and a “Better Homes and Gardens” type boudoir with not a stitch out of place. What I received? I received the polar opposite of my imaginary dreams.

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Do I Have to Act Like a Man to Be Successful at Work?

Do I Have to Act Like a Man to Be Successful at Work?

Do you ever wonder if you will make career strides in the workplace as a woman? Is it necessary to compete as your male counterparts do, adopting the nature they exhibit in order to succeed? Do you have to act like a man to succeed at work? According to McKinsey & Company, studies on the impact that diversity of employees has in corporate America have shown surprising results. Corporations have achieved significant financial and productive gains to their companies when they are diverse. With racial, ethnical, and gender diversity they have achieved 15 to 35 percent more success. This type of workforce brings with it a range of talents, natures, and life experience. If we, as women, disguise our nature to emulate that of our male counterparts,

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I Thank My Twenties for These 10 Lessons

Foreword: One of fellow #gritandgracelife contributors recently wrote an article about why it is important to share your story. My 20s helped shape me into the woman I am now–a woman I am proud of, although I took some tumbles and falls and made hard choices to get here. So with that said, I’m sharing 10 lessons I learned in my 20s… Age 20: You can “go your own way…” As an undergraduate in my junior year at Appalachian State University, I was catapulted into my twenties with a new fervor for life. The first few years of my college experience gifted me many life-shaping experiences that helped mold me into the adult I was becoming. The road was a little messier than I had

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9-Awkward-Moments-in-a-Woman's-Life

9 Awkward Moments in a Woman’s Life

Life is full of great moments, but there are also the ones that find us looking around to see if anyone else noticed. It’s the awkward moments that land a permanent place in our memory bank… 1. When crumbs fall in your cleavage and you just have to dig them out. 2. When you wear a wrap skirt on a windy day. 3. When you rub your eyes forgetting you’ve worn eyeliner. 4. You wave back at someone, then realize they were waving at the person behind you. 5. Type a lengthy text and send it to the wrong person (and they were mentioned in said text). 6. Asking someone in a store for a different size, then realizing they don’t work

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3-Reasons-You’re-Unhappy-and-How-to-Make-a-Change

3 Reasons You’re Unhappy and How to Make a Change

Although I’m only in my late 20’s, I’ve been around long enough to acquire some toxic mindsets that have tainted my perspective. It’s not something I’m particularly proud to admit, but more often than not I can trace back the root of my unhappiness or discontentment to unhealthy thought patterns I’ve adopted without exercising self-awareness. But here’s the upside: once I take responsibility for my thoughts, I have the opportunity to grow in both grit and grace. Here are 3 of the biggest battles I fight in my quest to be happy, content, and healthy. Maybe they’re stumbling blocks for you, too: 1. Comparison to others. Wow, am I guilty of this. With social media so easily accessible, there’s never a shortage of women

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A Woman of Grit Without a Hard Heart

A Woman of Grit Without a Hard Heart

The ability to push through, face hardships, and confront challenges requires a quality we refer to as grit. We’re not talking about the irritating piece of something that gets in your eye or the type that is on sandpaper to wear down or smooth out a piece of wood. Grit is courage, fortitude, and determination. How do we take on life challenges without hardening the heart? How can one master what’s ahead without becoming that difficult, worn-down kind of person? Therein lies the battle. Here are five things you should never forget when life requires grit: 1. Grit does not mean aggression. The strongest ladies possess quiet, confident strength—picking up the gloves only when necessary. 2. Move forward. Proceed with calm thoughtfulness, never quick reactions.

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7-Apps-You'll-Want-to-Download-Now

7 Apps You’ll Want to Download Now

Apps are a daily, often hourly, part of our lives. We all have a bunch on our phones and tablets that we rarely (or never) use, but there are some that we just can’t live without. Here are seven of mine: Netflix: Did you know you could download and stream Netflix episodes and movies off line? It’s a game changer! Simply download the app, log in with your credentials, and search for the series you’re binging. Maybe this is a bad thing that we’re enabling our addictions… but maybe this is a great thing for me on the elliptical. 45 minutes on the elliptical sounds like death but an episode of Blacklist on the elliptical… best of both worlds. VSCO: I know

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Can I Be a Hippie in Heels? Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle

Can I Be a Hippie in Heels? Balancing a Healthy Lifestyle

In my family’s eyes, I am their resident hippie. However, in my eyes, I don’t even scratch the surface of what this could entail; my dabbling in probiotics and essential oils hardly makes me a hippie. I have friends who grind their own wheat for crying out loud! But after the birth of my first son, I admittedly took off my stilettos and dipped my toes into the cool and fascinating pool of holistic living, and I’ve been wading in deeper and deeper ever since. Short of an extreme health crisis, I’m not sure anyone jumps into the deep end all at once and so my hope is to encourage those who are making small steps towards holistic health to continue to do

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4-Ways-You-Can-Join-A21-in-the-War-on-Human-Trafficking

4 Ways You Can Join A21 in the War on Human Trafficking

For many of us living in the United States, the idea of human trafficking happening in our corner of the world seems hard to believe. Sadly though, this issue is just as pervasive here in the U.S., as in places like South East Asia and Eastern Europe. Human trafficking touches every part of the globe, from small villages in Africa, to major cities like Bangkok or London, and upper middle class cities in America. We may have watched Liam Neeson in the movie, Taken, busting down doors to rescue his daughter who was captured and about to be sold into the sex trade, and wish we could channel that heroism and go fight some bad guys. Well, I’m sure for most of us

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