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.

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

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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The Bachelorette: A Romantic Culture in a Feminist World

This is my first season watching The Bachelorette. Yes, I know, I’m behind the curve. I haven’t watched any season of The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, determining it had nothing to do with lasting relationships, choosing to use the space on my DVR for something else. The goal of finding a man who desires a lifelong marriage commitment and is willing to propose at exactly the right moment on camera, well you understand my skepticism. But recently my daughter was visiting when the new season began. She, along with my other daughter and the girls who work with me, are ardent viewers of this series. Convincing me to grab my bottle of water and sit down with her on the sectional, I decided to

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3 Big Do’s and Don’ts of Skin Care You Need to Start Now

3 Big Do’s and Don’ts of Skin Care You Need to Start Now

In the last six years of being a licensed Esthetician (which, just to clarify is not to be confused with a statistician or Obstetrician…yup, that’s happened), I have heard some pretty interesting skin care routine stories from clients. I’ve heard everything from clients washing their face with acetone, to using hand sanitizer on their face throughout the day, because they were convinced it would help with their acne (to which I then considered referring them to me for counseling services). All that to say, I thought it might be helpful to share 3 brief do’s and don’ts as it relates to the world of skin care, and some best and not-so-best practices. 1. DO: Always wash your face at night. If you were going

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What to Do if Plan A Looks like Plan F!

You’ve finally landed your dream job, adopted that foster child you knew was meant to be yours, moved to the big city leaving the small town behind, or finally made your way into the college of your choice. Plan A has been achieved and all is well. Or maybe not… The thing in life about Plan A, if you’re so fortunate to find it, is that it does not answer all of life’s woes. There is very little in life that lives up to our expectations. Yes, I had to say that… Now, before you jump off that proverbial bridge of defeat realize this: whatever follows the failure of Plan A can often become so much better than what you had hoped for in the

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How Can We Be the Bridge to This Great Divide?

My heart continues to hurt because of the weeks we recently suffered; for the loss of life—all lives. I have never understood the lens that views humanity and focuses on our differences. Why do some individuals want to divide us, to pit us against one another? I don’t understand any of it today. I know we are unique; our life experience defines much of who we are and how we think… Yet I believe that creates an opportunity for us to offer a wonderful, rich perspective to one another. Yes, we do live in neighborhoods that are different from one another, with cultures uniquely our own, but in the uniqueness of our worlds there is a true treasure to be shared. What I do not believe is that

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Do Women Need to Be "Empowered" in Order to Display Strength?

Do Women Need to Be “Empowered” to Display Strength?

When speaking to the world of women’s issues, one of my least favorite words in the entire world is empowerment. Not only do I find it entirely overused, but I believe our gender already has within us an enormous amount of innate power. However, I don’t think we always understand what that means, and I certainly don’t think we draw from it as often as we should. When discussing the second movie installment in the Fifty Shades trilogy, Dakota Johnson (the actress playing the role of Ana Steele), was asked by Entertainment Tonight what she did to prepare for the sex scenes. Her reply, “ shot of whiskey… mints.” She also said, “He does pushups and I just like lay there and drink whiskey.” As

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5 Tips on How to Make a Change the Right Way

Are you facing a life obstacle? Career not going as planned? In need of financial help because your spending always outweighs your income? Are you stuck in a bad relationship that needs some work (mother, sibling, friend, boyfriend or husband)? Have circumstances in your life forced a change that you weren’t prepared for and now you have to figure out a new path? Change is a good thing. Yes, I do mean that. We don’t grow or gain strength and character if we remain unchanged. We also will miss countless opportunities and discoveries about what we are both capable of and good at. But how to do it well? Now that is a challenge. Here are 5 tips on making a change the right way: 1. Review. Look

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Stuck In a Rut? Here’s How to Get Some Perspective

A Chick-Fil-A commercial caught my eye the other day. The company is advertising chicken for breakfast. Now I’m not here to talk about chicken vs. sausage but the ad left an impression on me. I’ll paint the scene: there was a man in some kind of trench in the middle of an office and a woman above him. The woman yelled down to the man and told him he was in a rut, to which the man replied, “no, I’m in a groove.” I can’t get this 30-second image out of my head because I’ve been that man. A few months ago I found myself bored and uninterested. I couldn’t muster up the passion to exercise, create, or socialize. But there was

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Do All Strong Women Hate Men?

Do All Strong Women Hate Men?

I am so very weary of the notion that the sure sign of a strong woman is that she is angry with men. Outspoken or implied, this utter nonsense is everywhere. I’m not saying I’m not angry with some men. Those who think faithfulness is selective, the men who have their tail ends glued to the sofa while constantly playing video games, or the men who make promises they optionally keep … I can be really angry with those guys. But I am certainly not angry just because they have a Y chromosome that makes them what they are: men. Men really are pretty great! A few days ago I was in the grocery store parking lot searching my purse for my keys when

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Do You Travel for Work? 5 Ways to Be Safe as a Woman

My career in the music business often required days out of town. Because I was the artists’ manager, I juggled a workload in the office as well as hitting the road with the bands. When I wasn’t on a tour bus, I usually traveled solo from airport to rental car to auditorium to hotel and back to the airport the following day to trek to the next destination. I not only traveled with my bands but also attended out of town meetings, working with other business partners to achieve our career goals. As a female traveling by myself, I took a few extra precautions. It’s not that I’m not adventuresome, nor am I unnecessarily paranoid. But I had two daughters and a

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When You Can’t Do an Island Vacation, Bring One to You

When You Can’t Do an Island Vacation, Bring One to You!

As we settle into summer and the tans of spring break have faded, we start longing for our next sandy, sunshiny getaway. While many of us are putting the finishing touches on summer travel plans, some of us may feel trapped by circumstances that limit our vacation time. We yearn for quiet days and salty hair but are ever pressed by to-do lists and tight budgets. I know routine and lack of adventure can easily bog me down, especially when my newsfeed seems to be filled with pictures of extravagant trips that I can’t take. I was lucky to get an unexpected getaway to the Bahamas this spring, but due to family changes, our full time jobs, and time needed to devote

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5 Things We All Do, But Need to Stop! (Video)

1. Need some pointers on how to de-clutter? Read 5 Ways to Rid Your Life of Clutter! 2. Struggling with comparison? Check out Just Because She’s Pretty, Doesn’t Mean You’re Not. 3. Are you saying yes to everything and accomplishing nothing? You need to read Setting Goals and Meeting Them. 4. Do you want to please everyone? 5 Things You Need to Quit Right Now will walk you through that! 5. Gut check: are you putting your man down? Girl, you need to read Take It Easy—On Your Man! — You’ll also like5 Things You Need to Quit Right Now and 5 Things You Need to Stop Doing Right Now! (Video) #gritandgracelife

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The Best Father’s Day Gift Guide

Father’s Day is Sunday, June 17, so we’ve compiled a list of 11 gifts that range in price, simplicity, and style. Perfect for every guy on your list! 1. The basics. You can’t go wrong with getting him a new belt, tie, undershirts, or dress socks. They’re used daily, so getting a new set is always appreciated! Plus, it’s a super affordable option. 2. A toiletry bag. This is something he’s not likely to purchase himself but will appreciate once he has it. Check out this waxed canvas option by Overlap Sewing Studio. 3. A beard kit. Some dudes love their beards. Why not encourage him to make it smell good and feel nice? Try this shampoo, conditioner, and oil set for $30 from

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Your Identity Is Not What You Do, but Who You Are (Video)

Be sure to read a few of our favorite articles on what makes a woman strong, beautiful, and full of purpose: Anatomy of a Strong Woman True Beauty is Found in a Woman’s Strength A Woman of Grit Without a Hard Heart 9 Marks of a Beautiful Woman (on the Inside) Just Because She’s Pretty, Doesn’t Mean You’re Not 7 Ways to Get the Most Out of Now How to Get Honest About Your Dreams and Thrive! Freedom from the Glass Ceiling and the Glass Slipper — #gritandgracelife

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The Art and the Heart of Hospitality

I have learned a lot about the art of hospitality, not because I am a master of it, but because I have been the recipient of it. My mother in law is the very model of a gracious host. If you are fortunate enough to be welcomed into her home, chances are you will be met with a smorgasbord of food, you’ll be told to use the nicest towels, and you’ll leave feeling rested and refueled. Every time I leave her home, I find myself inspired and soon lost in a Pinterest-induced coma so that I might craft and bake my way into deserving the title of Hostess-with-the-Mostest. In these Pinterest wanderings, I found myself inundated with images of the trendy pineapple.

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Want to Help Foster Kids? How to Become an Advocate

I first heard about the Guardian ad Litem program when I moved to Florida 20 years ago. There were frequent commercials about it on TV and I always thought, “That is a really neat program…maybe one day I’ll volunteer!” About 17 years went by, during which time I homeschooled my daughter, lost my husband and went back into the workplace, transitioning through a series of pretty challenging jobs. After nine years as a single mom, I got remarried and was able to start working part-time from home, freeing up my days for personal pursuits I had put on hold for many years. A good friend who owns a small newspaper in town asked me to do a story on the Guardian ad Litem (GAL)

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