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we can't all be glamorous at the same time

I’ve already decided that after Christmas this year (2020) I’m going to book a trip. I don’t know where yet, but I know I want to do something fun during the time between Christmas & continuing for the spring semester. I’m grateful that going to graduate school allows me to have bigger breaks and I want to take full advantage of them going forward. 

Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate the break that I’ve had and am having. I’ve been relaxing, reading books, making my vision bulletin board, cleaning my house, binging ‘younger’ on Hulu, prepping for the semester, going to the gym…. but I’ve also been BORED.

So what do I do when I’m bored? I scroll social media.

vision board 2020

You might think that this is where I’d go on to rant about social media and comparison, but I won’t. I love social media and it’s allowed me to find connections that I am so grateful for… but today, I was burnt out from it. I decided to disconnect from my phone, blast some tunes from my speaker, and deep clean my house. When I did this, I found myself thinking:

Our lives cannot all be glamorous at the same time.

It’s not a profound concept, it’s just the truth. Right now, I’m not doing fun things or dressing up fancy or snuggling with someone I love or tanning by the water. I’m at home. In pajamas. 

But just because I’m not doing anything ‘cool’ right now, doesn’t mean that the roles haven’t been reversed at some point. I’ve done cool things. I’ve backpacked Europe, I’ve toured DC seven times in one summer, I’ve stuck my toes in the water of two oceans within a matter of months, I’ve worn pretty dresses, I’ve gone on cool dates, I’ve had awesome experiences. So… yes, I have done cool things. 


Hofbräuhaus in Munich. Delish.

And while I was doing those things, someone else might have been working their tail off each day to put away money for later. Or maybe that’s when they were really struggling with their mental health and now they feel more fabulous again. Or maybe that was when they really needed to deep clean their house and spend three full days binging 6 seasons of a television show with Hilary Duff and Sutton Foster.

(okay, maybe not those exact details.)

And I have to remember, that even now when I’m at home and getting a certain type of joy from using my swiffer wet-jet and windex-ing my mirror… there are still people that probably think my life is ‘glamorous’ or have looked at MY life from the outside in and wished they could do THAT or be THERE or look THAT WAY. 

I have pictures that make me look (and feel) glamorous. Of course that’s what I want to post! HIGHLIGHT REEL, BABY. Everyone is posting their own highlight reel, on their own timeline, and I’m no exception.

There is room for everyone to have a little bit of glamor in life… to travel, eat good food, dress up, do cool activities, be fabulous, look gorgeous, soak up sunshine, have adventures….

but maybe, now’s just not the right time for me to be glamorous.

So, I’ll wait.

And I’ll post some cute photos in the snow in the meantime.

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letter to my 2020 self

One year ago, I sat down in my bed with computer in hand, and I typed up a “letter to my 2020 self.”

I didn’t open it again until yesterday evening. I wasn’t even half way through the second paragraph when the tears started flowing. I was overcome by the words that I had written for myself one year ago. I was overcome by love for myself and how far I’ve come. Self-love, written down, is so powerful. It’s been a long time since I’ve received a love letter.

When I wrote the words a year ago, I felt as if I was baring my soul. I only shared the final sentence with the world because I was scared to admit some of how I was feeling and what I hoped for the year. It ended with the words, “I love you Alexandra Grace, and I don’t even know you yet.”

I know her now. She’s different than she was one year ago… but the words that I wrote on that snowy, January evening could not be more perfect for the version of myself I am today. I am no longer scared to share these words because I’ve found my tiny corner of the internet where I feel okay sharing my heart and feel supported by other people who feel the same or can find some sort of message, inspiration, or meaning to take away from my vulnerability and my words. And, I just don’t care.

So here’s a few excerpts of my letter to my 2020 self… my letter to who I am today, written in early 2019.


I hope in one year you are beaming with pride at the person you are. I hope you see that rock bottom became the solid foundation on which you built your life. I cry as I write this because I so deeply hope that your heart has healed, my sweet girl. You deserve the world. You deserve love, and so so so much of it. But first, we have to learn to give it to ourselves so much so that we overflow into everyone else.

            Alexandra, you are amazing. Even on days when you don’t feel it. Even now as you sob off your makeup in your bed and write a silly letter to yourself for one year down the road. 2018 was the year to see the world and the year to be broken. 2019 is the year to heal your brokenness and realize that your world starts with you.

            Alexandra Grace, I hope you have the audacity to take your life by the reigns and make it your bitch… for lack of better, more poetic words. Now is the time to fight for your life, every minute of it. I hope you did this year. If not, every day is a new day to start again.

            I hope you smile as your look back on 2019. I hope you see the doors that opened and closed for you. The people you met, the friends you made. I hope you see the prayers come true and the random dance parties you had. I hope you laugh at stupid memories and got drunk a few times. I hope you are proud of your progress. I hope you are mentally and physically healthier than ever. I hope you are independent but have a great circle of love when you need it.

I hope, more than anything, that you feel worthy and magnificent and lovely and self-made. Sweet girl, you are something to be proud of. You are beyond any unfinished to-do list or well-made plans gone awry. You are beyond goals unmet or pounds gained. You are beyond friends that leave and boys who suck. You are beyond the societal pressures. You are beyond your own wildest dreams.

I love you, Alexandra Grace of 2020, and I don’t even know you yet.


I know I didn’t accomplish all I set out to do last year… but when I cried last night, I know that those tears were happy tears.

And when I write my letter to myself in 2021, I think I’ll cry happy tears too.

So who’s with me? Let’s write our letters to ourselves. Proclaim your hopes and dreams for yourself… a written prayer and vision board and journal entry all at once.

always,

alex.

let's be lazy & get better

There’s not a ton of ways you can be lazy and do things that improve your life… but I totally understand that during the holiday break, or really any time you need a bit of rest, being lazy is lovely and sometimes a necessity.

So here’ s just a few ways I like to relax: watching movies and tv shows, listening to podcasts, and reading a good novel.

I also think that these pieces of media can be beneficial and provide you with some good insights, information, and ideas.

So… I’m going to give you a few suggestions for media to consume – things I’ve liked, intend to consume myself, or suggestions received from others! These may inspire you, teach you about history or a concept, provoke new thoughts, or empower you in who you are.

I hope that you find it beneficial and can refer back to it when you need a new read, watch, or listen!


Books

  • Park Avenue Summer by Renee Rosen
  • California Girls by Susan Mallery
  • Own Your Everyday by Jordan Lee Dooley
  • Our Shoes, Our Selves by Moynahan & Benchley

I was gifted this book by my parents for my 22nd birthday. They gifted it to me before a four-hour car ride… well, I finished it within the first half of that trek. My mom was shocked as she figured it would be a coffee-table type book; one that you read through one or two of the stories at a time. I still do this, since it sits on my side table next to my wingback chair, but I was happy to read through the entirety of this collection of stories just after being gifted it. It’s the story of 40 amazing women and 40 pairs of shoes — shoes that tell a story for them, and they share it with us. Some women involved in the project include Maya Lin, Barbara Bush, Rachael Ray, Misty Copeland, Danica Patrick, and many more.

my thoughts
  • The Next Right Thing – Emily Freeman
  • Educated by Tara Westover 
  • The Greatest You by Trent Shelton
  • A Tree Grows In Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa TerKeurst
  • Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst
  • Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  • Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates 

The best book I have read is Melinda Gates’ book Moment of Lift. It talks a ton about women empowerment, feminism, and how women around the world are lifting each other up out of poverty, abusive situations, and much more. Just overall a really good book that makes you feel like you can conquer the world as a woman. 

Hannah

Movies

  • Charlie’s Angels
  • RBG (Hulu documentary)
  • Someone Great (Netflix)
  • On The Basis of Sex
  • Brittany Runs A Marathon (Amazon Prime)
  • I, Tonya (Hulu)
  • Where Hands Touch (Hulu)

TV Shows

  • Good Trouble (Hulu, Freeform)
  • The Bold Type (Hulu, Freeform)
  • Dollface (Hulu)
  • Shrill (Hulu)
  • Shine On [With Reese Witherspoon] (Netflix)
  • Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Prime)

Marvelous Mrs. Maisel makes me grateful for women who pushed through the gender barrier… and makes me want to get out there and kill it!

Kaitlyn

Podcasts

  • The Papaya Podcast
  • Scrubbing In with Becca Tilley and Tanya Rad
  • Pretty Big Deal by Ashley Graham
  • Thick & Thin by Katy Bellotte

Katy Bellotte is one of my favorite content creators — her podcast, youtube channel, instagram… all of it! Her podcast is different from others that I have listened to — it’s just her, drinking a glass of wine or coffee, talking about life as a young woman. Give it a listen – her episodes are named accordingly and you should be able to find a title that sticks out to you!

my thoughts on Thick & Thin podcast

So, my sweet sister friend,

It is okay to rest.

Do not allow yourself to get too caught up in the hustle and bustle.

But don’t forget…

You can get better… even while being ‘lazy’.

always,

alex.

Suggestions to add? My inbox is always open on Instagram. @alexfarbie

admitting my loneliness

Last Friday, my tank was empty, so I decided to be vulnerable. I posted on Instagram about how I’ve been feeling lately. I was nervous to post it — admitting my weakness, admitting my hurt, admitting my loneliness.

Graduate school is a strange beast — most of my friends are still here (a huge blessing) but our lives are so different. Nearly all of my friends have significant others. My roommates of two years moved out. Some of my friends got big-girl jobs, others are finishing undergraduate degrees or have demanding school work for their own master’s programs, and life has changed. Friendships I had have changed and different people have different needs in friendships. And that’s okay.

In full transparency, I love to be at home. I recharge by myself, watching a TV show and accomplishing my to-do list… but when I ran out of motivation (or grew tired of my television series) all I was left with was my empty tank. I began to realize that there were gaps in my heart that I couldn’t fill. I needed to admit I was struggling and turn to the people I love to help me out of the pit I found myself in.

Since posting this — I’ve had four separate girls’ events with friends. This weekend, I spent the entire day with one of my gal pals (who, we discovered, I haven’t really hung out with since last December!) and we had an amazing time exploring a local shopping expo, talking, eating, drinking a margarita, perusing boutiques downtown, and then catching Charlie’s Angels at the movie theatre.

Hanging with my friends this week watching movies, drinking wine, eating ice cream or appetizers or Mexican food, talking, laughing… all of it filled my cup so much more than being alone. Sure, I still had speeches and papers to grade that I wanted to finish earlier — but I needed this time spent in friendship just doing little things with wonderful people.

Social wellness is a part of my wellness — a part that I’ve been disregarding for far too long. (Luckily, I’ve been making more time with my amazing parents and the ladies at my gym are often a highlight of my days.)

However, I had to admit my weakness — which, I have many, but at this time, it was my loneliness. I was tired of being alone. I’m tired of being by myself, left out, and ‘forgotten’ … but in reality, I wasn’t doing my part either. I wasn’t sure who to reach out to or what to say or how to say it. So I posted it on Instagram because I didn’t know how to go about it — and, like I said, I’m pretty bad at asking for help.

But damn, I’m glad I did.

I need my gal pals.

I needed time away from my house, doing normal human things with people who love me and who allow us to pick up our conversations whenever we come back together.

And, I think I reaallyyyy needed the Charlie’s Angel film, because it was fantastic!

Margs & Mexican food!

Admit what you need and ask for help — wellness isn’t just hitting the gym and checking items off your to-do list. It’s feeling good.

Sometimes, you can’t feel good all by yourself.

And I’m thankful for the gals who picked me up when I was down and took that Instagram as a call to action to make plans with me — plans that weren’t made out of pity but made out of love.

I’m going to try to be that friend, too. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s not natural for me. Even when that means admitting my loneliness.

always,

Alex

GNO outfit 🙂 🙂 🙂

lessons learned from middle schoolers

This summer, I was blessed to work with middle schoolers as a tour leader with school groups heading to Washington D.C.. I was nervous about this age group — Would they like me? Would they make fun of me? Would they turn me into a meme? I was so nervous…. but after my first tour, I knew that this age group had something profoundly wonderful. A perfect mix of childlike innocence and teenage sass.

I would typically drive all day or the previous day and greet the group in the dark of night. We’d drive through the night to arrive before the airport opened. We’d get situated and get to the gate (sometimes, just in the knick of time) and be on our way to the nation’s capital.

After just four short (and very, very long) days with 7 different groups of amazing individuals, I learned hundreds of lessons and shared many laughs, tears, Pinstripes cookies, and sweaty steps throughout D.C..

I learned so many things this summer. In no particular order, here’s some wonderful things I learned from many wonderful students who won my heart.


Seize the opportunity. • Sometimes, you have to roll with the unexpected. Sometimes, the unexpected actually turns out better than you ever would have planned for.

“I’m going to miss you when we all go back home to Wisconsin, but I will always remember this trip because of you.”

Abbie

Your attitude is contagious. • The students would always ask me, “How are you so excited this early in the morning?” and I would reply that there were so many things to be excited about in the day. Later, when I’d be dragging after walking 15,000+ steps, their excitement to see the Lincoln Memorial as the sun set (even on my seventh time this summer) made me forget about my achy legs and tired eyes.

Kindness makes you memorable. • I don’t remember the names of the students who made me want to pull my hair out. I do, however, remember the names of the students whose kindness and love impacted me.

“You were o.k”

unknown student in anonymous note

Monkey see, monkey do. • There was one particular group of parents and adults that left an impact me as someone who aspires to be a mother someday. These parents and adults were from a community where they didn’t necessarily know one another, but on the trip they were close-knit, loving, and inclusive of one another throughout the experience. It was beautiful to then see their sons and daughters doing the same, following the example set by their parents.

Be yourself & love yourself. • I will never forget when a student purchased a pride flag and twirled around with a smile that no one could take away. If a middle school student can happily live their truth in a world that may not be kind about it, I surely can too.

“You are such a girl boss and seeing a confident woman like you is very comforting.”

Nadia

You may be different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be friends. • This was a present theme — unlikely pairs that appeared on my tours, yet made the trip so much better for one another. Don’t judge a book by its cover, because it may turn out to be your absolute favorite.

The world is wide and we are small — we should encourage one another to explore. • I had many students who had their first experience on an airplane on the way to Washington, D.C. with me this summer. I felt privileged to be a part of their journey at such a pivotal moment, hopefully creating a love of travel in them the way I have had the same love ignited in me. It was extraordinary to see the way the students take care of one another, laugh together, and hold each others’ hands while taking off and landing.

Appreciate the people who invest in you. • At the end of each tour, I’d offer many thanks to my students and remind them to thank the MVPs both with us and at home for making the trip possible for them. I believe this stands as a good reminder for us all to understand that others make investments in us and a thank you goes a long way.

A quiet person can be amazing if you allow them space to be. • One of my students comes to mind when discussing this lesson. He was a quiet student, very close with his dad on the trip. I knew I wanted to be his friend and open his shell. It all started with a nickname and kind smiles, and ended with an award at the end of the week and big smiles that melted my heart. He reminded me that while everyone isn’t like me, they still can surprise you with their warmth that happens even without words.

“I will never forget about you. You really touched my heart.”

Emma

Giving is a learned behavior. • As any of my students could tell you by the end of our four days together, my favorite memorial in Washington D.C. is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial – sometimes referred to as the Nurses’ Memorial. Often, young women place hairties at the feet of these women (nicknamed Hope, Faith, and Charity) to honor their sacrifice and women in service. The girls did so nearly instinctually — giving is a learned behavior in their lives, even if it may seem like just a little ponytail. (All things left behind at the Vietnam Memorials are collected and will likely someday be put on display in a Museum.)

“I wish I had more women like you in my life. In just these four days you have showed me what a real woman looks like and how she acts. You made me want to live my life in a more positive way.”

Sophia

Life may not be easy, but respect will get you places. • On one of my tours, I mistakenly thought an adult that accompanied a student was his grandmother. She forgave me for my mistake, she stated that she was the boy’s aunt. She then told me of his rough childhood and home life and the fact that a few years prior she had taken full custody of him to give him a stable and loving home. This student was one of the most thoughtful and respectful boys I had all summer. I will always remember him.

Work really, really hard for what you want. • There was a student on my tour who had worked her tail off for nearly two years to afford the trip of a lifetime to our nation’s capital. She proudly wore a sweatshirt on the trip — a sweatshirt her employer had gifted her just before the trip because they understood that her time and dedication was paying for this trip and wanted to give her a little something extra. She was a terrified flyer and was very ready to get home by the end of the four days… but I have a feeling that it’s a trip she won’t forget. I won’t forget her and her dedication to making sure she got what she wanted.

Don’t stand for something unless you know what it means. • While this summer had amazing highlights, you can also learn lessons from the moments that hurt your heart a little bit. It was hard for me to see young, impressionable minds symbolically standing for something that they don’t even have the capacity to understand fully. It is a reminder for us all to be informed in order to have educated and fully developed opinions.

Your smile can light up a room. • One particular student comes to mind… when he smiled, we all smiled.

“I love how much you show your true self and make us all feel worthy.”

Paige

Sometimes, you just need a hug. • I’m a hugger to begin with — but sometimes, words just can’t even begin to say what a hug can mean. Hug it out.

Memories are worth more than money. • I didn’t make a whole lot of cash this summer. What I did make felt like it disappeared quickly with personal travel and school expenses. However, the memories I made this summer will last a lifetime and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to make these students smile, share important pieces of American history with them, and have a plethora of dance parties and bus karaoke. (Some days, I miss this summer a lot and I watch all of these videos!!!!)

“Bust down.”

Rylan

You make a bigger impact than you realize. • I could recount tons of stories here. Text messages, photo captions, a birthday card, handwritten notes, a postcard… my students showed me love in ways that made me laugh and ways that made me cry. I really never thought about how this job would open a door for me to impact young people and be impacted by them at the same time — but it absolutely did. I could quote their words and speak of the gifts I was given, but it’s better to just say that I have the utmost gratitude for each of my students, their parents and adults, and the teachers that made my summer trips possible.

“You have made a difference.”

Katie

If you ever have the chance, hang out with a middle schooler.

You may just learn a few things along the way.

I know I did, and I am a better woman because of my experiences this summer.

“You weren’t just our tour leader, you are our friend.”

Colson

No words could be enough — but I’m a graduate student now, so it’s back to the homework grind. I just needed to make sure to document these thoughts before the summer fades.

always,

Alex

P.S. If you went to D.C. this summer with me & you’re reading this — I love you, and I hope you loved your trip with me.

the commencement speech I never gave

I graduated on Saturday.

At my beloved alma mater, I was a finalist for commencement speaker.

I wasn’t selected, but I had a good mindset going in: I have done all I can. I no longer feared the failure, I knew that it was going to be exactly how it was supposed to be.

Turns out I wasn’t meant to be commencement speaker… and that’s okay. I got to enjoy my last several weeks of college, and I didn’t have to stress over not crying on stage in front of a couple thousand people.

However, I still feel this words on my heart. So here’s a “rendition” of sorts of the commence speech I never gave… and to my fellow seniors, we did it!

My name is Alexandra Farber, and I am fully aware that my classmates are all students who have accomplished great things, inspired many, and impacted our community…. and now, a small town girl from Britton, South Dakota will share a few words.

A classmate once said to me, “Our experiences at SDSU are so different,” when I was discussing the variety of meetings and activities on my schedule for the day. This couldn’t be more true. My experience involved the Students’ Association, CAPERS, State A Thon, Step Team, Intramurals, Honor Societies, Undergraduate Research, and so much more. Even though our experiences are vastly different, I wanted to find a way to relate to all the members of the SDSU class of 2019.

My thoughts kept circling back to one word: FAILURE.

I know, probably not the word you were expecting! I asked several classmates, fellow seniors, to enlighten me in my speech-writing process and narrow down their four-year experience into just one word. There was a variety of answers: growth, discovery, opportunities, excitement, friendship, love, and community… just to name a few!

While I am sure many of these terms relate to your college years, my mind kept floating back to a conference I attended last fall. There, I was introduced to the idea of a “Failure Memoir,” where we reflect back on our experiences in terms of all the ways in which we have already failed.

So here’s the thing… Our lives are the way they are today because we have failed. If I hadn’t failed, I probably would be an excellent pianist or an Olympic swimmer. Both of these, I failed in middle school. Now, I can no longer read music or swim a couple laps without getting winded.

In our collegiate experiences, we have all failed. I failed to star in an SDSU production, I failed to become lifelong friends with every person along the way, I failed assignments, I fail to wash the dishes in a timely manner (sorry, roommates!), and so far, I failed to keep off the freshman 15, find my the love of my life… I’ve failed to accomplish all that I hoped to do as a bright-eyed freshman when I lugged my room and my life into Honors Hall room 210, and today I’m sure I will fail in my valiant attempt not to cry as I hug my parents.

Failure is hard. and it hurts. Failure makes us question ourselves and the world around us.

Failure has taught me so many lessons. Failure has made me strong. Failure has shaped me into the woman I am. The idea of the failure memoir is to allow ourselves to realize that we have already failed. It somehow makes any future failure seem less daunting. Even though I know I will fail time and time again, I know that this success today is just one of many that await us.

As I began to write my own Failure memoir, I came to realize it was a resume of what I didn’t achieve. Our memories are selective. Our brains push aside the failures. In 5, 10, or 50 years we will not remember that extremely difficult economics exam or the group project that cost us a night of sleep, the speech that made our voices quiver, the time we slipped on the ice, a lost intramural championship, or forgot, once again, to wash the dishes. Our failures may not be our best memories, but they hold the best lessons.

What will we remember? We will remember this moment. We’ll remember the people who reminded us that while we fail, we are not failures. We’ll remember the passion-fueled paper or project that reminded us why we selected our programs. We will remember the 4 Hobo Day celebrations, our beloved clubs and organizations, internships that kick-started our careers. We will remember our residence halls, our first time on the 9 dance floor, and, because we’re the class of 2019, we’ll remember things like the Frost parking lot, and the use of Doner auditorium. We will remember accomplishing goals after we believed we could not. We will remember thriving off of coffee and pizza. We will remember screaming GO JACKS at the top of our lungs. We’ll remember mentors and professors who helped us to fall in love with our future professions. We will remember this place and the monumental impact it has had on our lives.

So as we leave here today and go on to face the world around us, I hope you are unafraid to fail. Because, the growth, discovery, opportunities, excitement, friendship, love, and community we have experienced here are the products of our failures. I hope you remember that your failures will not define you, but instead they will enlighten you and reinforce your purpose in this world. I hope you will remember that your successes, alongside your failures, brought you here, and that, as we all know, right here is a pretty great place to be.

Today, my friends, we have succeeded.

This is what we will remember.

Oh, and we’ll always remember: GO JACKS.

I love that this blog gives me a space to share some of my creativity, thoughts that I have (because I’m terrible at journaling), and connect with others.

This one’s for my classmates.

We’ve failed… but in the end, we’ve all succeeded in amazing ways, too.

So… I’m proud of you, congratulations, and go jacks.

always,

Alex

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.

skin.

sometimes it glows and sometimes it sheds.

March is nearing its end, and I can’t believe that it was nearly a month ago that I was soaking in the Pacific sun on the T-Street Beach of San Clemente, California.

I soaked in a little too much sun, actually.

A naturally olive-toned gal, I typically skip the sunscreen on my body (not my face, I’d prefer to delay wrinkles a while). This particular trip was no different…. and I ended up with a pretty gnarly sunburn. Weeks later, the skin on my calves and thighs made me look like a snake in ecdysis.

I heard somewhere that you shed all of your skin in 27 days. I thought this was an absolutely fascinating concept. So, I did what anyone would do…. I googled it. Here’s what I found:

Humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin every hour – about 1.5 pounds a year. By 70 years of age, an average person will have lost 105 pounds of skin. Humans shed and re-grow outer skin cells about every 27 days – almost 1,000 new skins in a lifetime.

ezslinger.com

As many people smarter than I have stated over and over again, we are new every day. Each day is a fresh start. Every morning holds new beginnings.

I totally get this idea, and support it.

In other ways, I understand that we may need 27 days (or many more) to allow ourselves to shed that weight, that deadness, the thing that is no longer serving us… and allow healing and growth to take place.

I’m pretty sure it was a podcast that discussed this topic of shedding skin every 27 days, most likely my girl Katy Bellotte of the Thick and Thin Podcast (highly recommend!). It was discussed that even when you go through a breakup (friend, family, significant other, etc.) you get lonely for human touch perhaps more than you actually miss the other person.

I wish my skin was this dewey and glowy all the time… but alas, this skin went away too.

But then, sweet friend, you must remember, that your skin will not be the same skin in 27 days.

In 27 days, you skin will not have been touched by that person. or hurt by the sun’s rays. or scraped by a fall on the ice. or dry from the harshness of the winter. (I definitely won’t have the reminder I left on my hand… that seems to shed within minutes and then I’m left wondering what I was supposed to do.)

In 27 days, your skin is made new to serve you in a different purpose. This month, you may burn your hand making a new dish or you may moisturize every single day. This new skin will live to its full life expectancy, and in 27 days you can start a new story in the shell of what holds in all that is you.

Skin is just that — our shell. Our hearts and minds and souls may need a hell of a lot longer than 27 days to heal. I get that. I feel that. Some days I cry that my healing is taking longer than others, and my friends (bless their souls) are there to remind me that there is no timeline to my personal okay-ness about anything. We all hurt, some are just better at hiding it. Some people just have a thick skin. (Yeah, that pun was intended.)

While your skin sticks to a timeline… your soul does not. Some things, like a touch or a sunburn, will no longer reside on your skin within this 27 day timeline.

Take the time to find your okay-ness.

But in the meantime, let’s raise a glass:

  • Here’s to shedding a layer that’s no longer serving us.
  • Here’s to shedding deadness and darkness within and upon us.
  • Here’s to shedding unrealistic or unmet expectations, broken hopes, and dreams that are no longer our dreams.
  • Here’s to shedding all that is no longer me.
  • Here’s to growth and healing when the layer is gone.

Here’s to 27 days.

always,

Alex

f r e e d o m .

If you liked this blog or others, or have ideas for future posts… please reach out on Instagram! @alexfarbie & my dms are always open. xoxo