hey, little sis • lessons to share with younger women

I was so blessed to be the youngest of three — I have two older brothers. Let me just get that out there: I have no biological sisters. My brothers were never really the ‘rough and tough’ on me because they’re 5 and 7 years older than me… for this, I’m thankful too. I’m as girly-girl, non-tomboy as they get. They did teach me many things… like how to teach yourself to not be ticklish, how to have a thick skin and sense of humor, and that I should marry a man who is tall enough to give me hugs like they can (I mean, they’re 6’3″ and 6’6″… c’mon!) I love them dearly.

While I wasn’t given any sisters at birth, I’ve acquired quite a few along the way. The picture that’s at the top of this blog post is a letter that a “little sister” of mine wrote me during some of my dark days. It includes the 10 favorite things she had learned from me (so far). This letter hangs above my desk, so right now as I write I am inspired by her words. I have a friendship bracelet nearby that a very special 14-year-old gave me because she was a little sister to me. Nearly every month, I get Indian food with my mentorship family and it feels like a family reunion of four real sisters.

From foreign exchange sisters to college best friends, girls who are older and girls who are younger, girls I’ve traveled the world or the country with, girls I rarely talk to but shoot me DMs when they need some love or want to give me some… these are the girls that I’m so thankful to call my sisters.

And if you know me, you know… I believe in girl power so much. I think sisterhood can transcend the gals that truly feel like family and embody the greater network of women working together and championing one another. I believe in friendship and mentorships between women. I’m currently reading “Own Your Everyday” by Jordan Lee Dooley (it comes out on May 14, I got early access!) and Jordan discusses the idea of comparison between women and learning to cheer others on rather than compete with them:

“Her success is not your failure.”

Jordan Lee Dooley, Own Your Everyday

I believe that my ‘failures’ can lead to wisdom for someone younger than I. It’s happened to me! I know the women I look up to that I could always lean on to act like bigger sisters have provided me with wisdom, tools, resources, verses, quotes, songs, and advice to propel me through a tough time or encouragement and love to fuel me through the good! My mom, for example, is my biggest cheerleader, advocate, listening ear, constructive criticism provider, and best friend. She leads by example that you can use your experiences to allow younger women to benefit.

So here’s a little letter for the little sisters in your life:

hey, little sis.

There’s so many things I wish I could share with you, but the first is that I hope you always know my heart is open for you… whenever you need me, I will share my words with you and squeeze you so tight.

☆ I am thankful for all that I get to learn from you. This friendship, this sisterhood, goes both ways. I am grateful for the lessons you teach me and ways you remind me of the good.

☆ I wish I could tell you not to worry, but instead I will tell you to have faith always and that fear is a liar. Worry does not add a moment to your life, so do not allow it to hold you down for longer than a moment. Your life WILL work out exactly as it supposed to, even when you believe you can no longer go on. You can, babygirl.

☆ Confidence is sexy. Own it. Own who you are. Thrive in it.

Your purpose begins with being 100 percent you — you showing up every single day in spite of the things you believe disqualify you from trying.

Jordan Lee Dooley, Own Your Everyday

☆ Self love will take you further than being the smartest gal in the room. Self love will take you further than being the fittest gal in the room. Self love will take you further than being the prettiest gal in the room. Self love will take you further than being the funniest gal in the room. Self love makes you untouchable by unkind words, unmet expectations, societal pressures, and bad attitudes. Self love is powerful. When you love yourself, you can CELEBRATE the other women in the room because you recognize that you are also worth celebrating. Master the art, sister friend.

☆ My long-lasting piece of advice for college students applies to you as well. “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” Know your limits — challenge them — but never push yourself past them to the point of harming your mental or physical health.

☆ A good outfit = a good day. Baby girl… wear your favorite outfit on a day when you know you will be tested or are afraid of what may unfold. Remember your power! You are fabulous.

Sometimes it takes more guts to say the kind thing than the opposite. Rise above. This will pay back ten-fold. I have been told by women, “You may not be my favorite person, but I respect you so much for how you handled that situation.” I’m okay with people not liking me. Not everyone is meant to hold hands and sing kumbaya. If my kindness allows people to respect me, that means a lot more than if my words are poison.

☆ Falling in love is amazing. Falling out of love hurts like you’ll never feel whole again. Do not be afraid of love. Love will change you… perhaps for the best or perhaps otherwise. This is a part of your journey.

“I owe it to the person I’m going to be with to keep going and keep fighting for love, because at the end of the day that’s the only thing that will get me closer to my person.”

Katy Bellotte, Thick & Thin Podcast, Ep. 8

☆ Take care of your body: nourish it with exercise, nutrients, and sunshine. Your body is a shell for your soul. Make your soul beautiful, sweet sister, and it will shine right through your skin… but also know that YOUR BODY IS BEAUTIFUL. Never let anyone — girls, guys, the media, society — tell you that your body is anything less than a masterpiece. Treasure your body for what it CAN DO, not what it looks like.

Sis, your body is a temple, not a trophy. And only you get to decide what lens you’ll look through. To be truly free of an unhealthy mindset and harmful behaviors, you have to look at fitness and health as a part of your self-care, not a part of your self-worth.

Jordan Lee Dooley, Own Your Everyday

☆ Candles, fresh sheets, wine, good music, ice cream, gal pals, dance parties, pizza, a good cry, a sweaty workout…. all of these things can solve a lot of problems.

☆ Real talk — don’t settle for less than you deserve. If a man (yes, a man. no boys allowed) finds it in his heart to treat you like the QUEEN you are, that means he is willing to put in the work. Love is work. Marriage (from what people have told me) is work. You deserve to be loved for each and every tiny piece of your beautiful soul, sis. Your tears will not make him better. Your worth is not defined by his opinions.

Common sense told her that begging someone to stay was often the same as begging someone to love you, and she was wise enough to know that never worked.

Nicholas Sparks, Every Breath

You can be sad that it’s ending without being sad it’s not continuing. Cry it out. Then move forward.

Sometimes, choosing to walk away, even if it means breaking your own heart, is the greatest act of self love you have access to.

Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face

☆ Lean on other people. You cannot fight against the world by yourself. Find people that believe in you, inspire you, grow you, support you, challenge you.

Look at your circle. Do you feel you have to change how you look to fit in? Is it a life-giving situation or a constant comparison game, full of drama and one-upping one another? They say you begin to look like the five people you spend the most time with. Who are your top five?”

Jordan Lee Dooley, Own Your Everyday

I looked to amazing women in my life — women that exemplify friendship and sisterhood to share their sentiments. It’s important to know that I am not wise enough as one person to provide you with all that could benefit you. Here’s some of what they shared:

☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

Loving yourself is one of the most important things you’ll ever do.

High school and college are each only 4 years of your life. You will move on to bigger and better things, so don’t stress the things you can’t control.

If you are going to do something with a guy, make sure you are comfortable and feel safe.

You are more than the narrative life gave you. You get to decide what defines you, nothing else.

Feel the fear and do it anyway. Growth doesn’t come from comfort zones and it definitely doesn’t come from second guessing yourself.

Don’t dress up for a boy who wouldn’t dress up for you.

I spent so much time worrying about what everyone thought of me. Fuck everyone that thinks I’m not enough me. There’s only one me. There’s only one you, little sis. Don’t change yourself to fit in.

Disconnect and live your life.

Saying no to obligations doesn’t mean you’re missing out. It allows you to focus on what’s really important in your life.

Always be 100% honest with yourself. Can you really afford that thing? Save money for the important things.

Surround yourself with good people. It’s important to surround yourself with good people — people that are supportive and life-giving. Also understand that it’s okay to remove yourself from toxic friendships. Sometimes God puts people in our lives for only a temporary amount of time and that’s okay.

Buy generic brand drugs. They work the same and save you money. Don’t buy generic brand condoms.

Some people won’t like you, no matter how hard you try. Put that effort in to bettering yourself and growing prosperous relationships.

Don’t sleep in! Get up, go eat breakfast outside, go for a bike ride with friends, watch your favorite show… you’ll feel better the rest of the day and probably set up good habits for life.

Take some time to act your age.

Get to know your own body before anyone else’s. Your thoughts, emotions, cycle, hormones, etc. Knowing yourself is so important.

Plans change. This isn’t a bad thing, just a different path. So many things will happen in your lifetime that will change the course of your life in the best way. You will lose friends, and you will gain friends. You will lose opportunities, and you will gain them. So many things in your life are subject to change so don’t expect everything to happen in the fashion you expect it to. You’ll be happier for it.

Wearing makeup is only to make YOU feel good, NOT for anyone else. It’s never required!

Don’t measure your successes based on the girl next to you. We all move at our own pace!

Loyalty is important.

Have courage and be kind. It’s amazing what unfolds. 

So, there ya have it little sister. I can’t say all the words I could hope to share with you. I just hope you know that you are loved and that you have a network of sisters who hope for your life to be even more than you can possibly imagine… and when it seems like you can’t go on, I am here.

I love you.

always,

alex.

☆☆☆

If you feel so inclined, share this with someone you view as a little sister.

and as always, I’m on instagram @alexfarbie.

Improve your life in 5 easy ways!

ha. ha. ha.

I have to admit, the title of this blog is misleading. There are no five easy ways to improve your life, but if there’s anything I’ve found out in the last year… there are ways to improve your life if you take the steps and work for it. Not everyone is *~LiViNg tHeiR bEsT LiFe~* all the time, my friends. Instead, we can take small steps to improve our lives and become a better version of ourselves. This year, I think I’ve done just that and learned a bit along the way… I wanted to share!

  1. Find (and eliminate) your silent stressors.
  2. Pay your rent.
  3. Find time to devote to physical fitness.
  4. Learn to say ‘no.’
  5. Soak in the good stuff.

Now, like I said, these really aren’t five easy ways…. but I can provide some in-depth insight on each tidbit and provide a little clarification.

I know drink wine isn’t one of the ways, but it’s unofficially #6 on the list.

Find (and eliminate) your silent stressors.

I heard the term “silent stressors” first on SHE podcast with Jordan Lee Dooley (more to come on her… love her so much).

She discusses the idea that there are probably things stressing you out that you simply don’t even realize are stressing you out until you change them. I think the perfect example is how amazing it feels to crawl into fresh bed sheets. Everyone loves clean bedsheets: you don’t realize how icky the other sheets felt until you climb into fresh, wonderful sheets.

For me, it’s things like social media accounts that make me sad or angry. laundry. dishes. hair. clothes. tasks you wanted to accomplish but couldn’t make time, so they stay there waiting. All of these things can silently stress you out… and when they are gone, you feel a little weight lifted. And little by little, that weight adds up.

Find ways to recognize these factors in your own life and ways to eliminate them. Unfollow the accounts. (I promise you won’t miss them.) Clean on Sundays. Chop your hair. Donate the clothes. Find ways to get rid of all the weight of the world that silently resides on your shoulders.

me, live from my bed.

Pay your rent.

Someone wise (that I can’t remember who… this is what happens when you try to absorb as much good advice as possible for an upcoming blog) stated that you cannot simply choose to live your passion and expect life to just work out. You’ll be poor.

Instead, you have to do the job that isn’t perfect in order to pay the bills. This isn’t me saying you can’t live your passion and actively pursue it — that’s what evenings and weekends are for! You can’t give up the day job until you can afford to live your life.

Not having money isn’t glamorous or fun. It’s not fun to be the friend that has to skip the movie because you can’t afford your life. Instead, you have to do what you can (work) so that your passionate, amazing, wonderful life can be all that it can be.

So perhaps a better phrasing for this tip: earn money so you can live your life.

My job at tech support for the last four years has definitely not been glamorous. Yesterday, while sick, I carried piles of dusty, old internet switches into the trash/storage facility at our university. Sneezes galore! However, this job has allowed me to pay my bills and live my life! (I also got to meet some amazing folks.) I am grateful for the opportunity to be a college student who goes to movies, goes out, traveled to Europe, and did a lot of really great things in my four years.

Tech support, how may I help you?

Find time to devote to physical fitness.

Nearly a year ago, I stepped foot into my gym. I bought a summer membership before ever taking a class – knowing that if I spent the money I would be more inspired to continue going. I got my butt kicked by my first class. I walked home with a friend, sweaty and smiling.

Fast forward to now: I crave the gym and how I feel after (not during!). The way it makes me love myself. The way it reminds me of my blessings. The way I feel strong and powerful.

10 months of work. and some pizza. Little changes on the outside, big changes on the inside! (And Yes, I’m nervous to post this.)

I’m not necessarily saying you need to go out and join a gym: I’m just saying that your life will get better even with the smallest devotion to your physical fitness. Drink water. Buy a fitbit and set some goals. Do a ten minute workout every day. Join an online fitness program…. or join a gym. Find accountability. Do some squats, join a dance class, or walk outside. Do something that’s fun and doesn’t feel like a chore!

This commitment in yourself will pay you back ten-fold simply in the way you feel and how you feel when you look in the mirror. I haven’t lost a single pound…. but I feel fantastic. I’m plus sized… but I like the way my clothes fit and show my muscle. I’m curvy… but my curves are more defined and are in lots of good places. I feel great and I get stronger every day. This is definitely a tangible step to improving your life: make a commitment to yourself and stick with it.

What if, just this time, you don’t break a promise you make to yourself? Not out of punishment or penance for all the times you’ve fallen off your goals, but because you are worthy and deserving of good things and the only way you’ll understand that truth is if you follow through on your personal commitments.

Rachel Hollis

Learn to say ‘no.’

My biggest piece of advice to my freshman collegiate self would be the simple statement, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.”

I tend to overcommit myself. And I’m a people-pleaser.

And sometimes, this works out in my favor, I can’t deny. There are circumstances, however, that could have been avoided by me saying no. Listening to my brain instead of my heart or vice versa.

I think that this is a simple task, but even I need to be reminded that it’s okay to say no to opportunities that don’t feel quite right.

If it isn’t a hell yes, it can be a no. Allow yourself to say no. It’s okay! Saying no may lead to an even better ‘yes’ down the road. It’s that simple.

Soak in the good stuff.

Last but not least… soak in the good stuff. This one’s fun, and perhaps a bit easier than the other steps.

Soak in the good:

  • sunshine
  • music
  • memories
  • people
  • podcasts
  • books
  • self-care activities

When I was going through some dark stuff, I only listened to Christian music. I wanted to soak in all the good.

While I have now returned to my typical listening pleasure of lady jams and pop hits (with jesus jams as well, of course)…. I’m still a firm believer in this mentality. I want to only surround myself with, and absorb, the good stuff. It’s important to me to take in the things that benefit me and make me smile.

I have a habit of when sunshine hits my face, I try to take a minute and turn my face upward and close my eyes. I soak it in… even for a brief moment.

I want to do this more, with every little aspect I can.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve had a gratitude journal. I can’t commit to writing lengthy paragraphs at the moment (though I wish I could be the journal-writing gal I was in eighth grade), so instead I write one simple thing. Some days it’s a name, sometimes its a good food or memory of the day I hope to remember. This activity allows me to replay the day through from start to finish and soak in the very best parts of my day, even on the hard ones.

mmmm, sunshine.

So there you have it, folks.

This year has been a year of impeccable personal growth and I can definitely say I am the best version of myself that I have ever been… but I can’t even begin to dream dreams big enough for the version of myself that I could be next year!

always,

Alex.

every girl can relate to how nice this feels, amiright? glowin’ up.

Dig this blog or others? DM on instagram ❤ alexfarbie

“whelmed” • admitting weakness and submitting control

The other day I said to my coworker something I’ve said a thousand times… “I’m whelmed.” He looked at me quizzically. I continued, “Not overwhelmed or underwhelmed, but definitely moderately whelmed.” He laughed and said he’d never heard the phrase before.

Image result for whelmed clueless
Clueless, 1995

I say this often…but this particular time, it hit me a little bit differently.

I then realized that I hate to say that I’m overwhelmed. I hate to admit my own weakness and submit control. When I say I’m “whelmed,” it’s me inadvertently saying “I CAN HANDLE THIS.”

“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.”

Tyler Knott Gregson

If you’re into the enneagram (if you aren’t yet, check out the free test here) I’m a 2w3, which means I am a ‘helper’ and an ‘achiever.’ This couldn’t be more fitting. I like to help people (which I think is part of the reason I enjoy blogging) and I like to achieve. Even when I’m feeling overwhelmed, I like to keep my sh** together and a smile on my face, until I’m bursting at the seams. Some of the reasons I feel the way I feel are simply due to who I am!

“Life can be magnificent and overwhelming—that is the whole tragedy. Without beauty, love, or danger it would almost be easy to live.”

Albert Camus

I don’t like to be weak. When I get frustrated, sometimes I find it hard to allow myself to cry…. I feel as if holding it I somehow can avoid sending the universe the signal that I am weak.

I don’t like to submit control. This is why I don’t like to let others make my decisions, I don’t like to be adventurous with my hair, I don’t like to get too drunk, I don’t like to give up authority, I don’t like to not be in charge. It’s hard for me.

Well, I hate to break it to myself, but sometimes I am weak! And I’m not talking physically, because I’m pretty freaking proud of the improvements I’ve made in the gym. As a human, though, I’m a twenty-one year old gal who sometimes needs a good cry, maybe a bubble bath, and some time.

And sometimes I need to submit control! It’s important to allow others to help, to be adventurous, to take a deep breath and relax the tension I always hold in my shoulders. The world will remain on its axis even if I remove myself from the ‘control’ equation.

Something we can all learn to be better at is to grant ourselves a little grace. Give a little time, a good night of sleep, submit control, ask for help, cry it out, allow yourself to be OVERwhelmed…. and then pick yourself up and keep going.

If you’re in college like me, or if your everyday is feeling like more than you can handle… grant yourself grace, admit your weakness, submit control.

If you’re into it… pray.

YOU GOT THIS, BABE.

“I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had absolutely no other place to go.”

Abraham Lincoln

always,

Alex

sometimes, we’re all a little messy.