Why We Should Celebrate Other People and Life’s Small Moments

A smiling woman outside leaning back on a rock with flowers growing next to her

Standing ovations always make me cry.

Without subtlety or reservation, my heart melts at the sight and sound of a crowd rising to their feet as they roar with cheer, shouting as loud as their voices will carry. As the echoes of applause fill the room, no matter the musical, movie or ceremony, a familiar lump forms in my throat. 

I’d love to tell you that my salty tears trickle delicately down my cheek as I lightly pat my eyes with tissue (the kind of classy and composed weep you see actresses do so beautifully on-screen) Yet, if I did, I wouldn’t be painting a true picture of the seriously soppy scene. In a not-so-graceful fashion, my tears spill down my face like milk. My cheeks turn rosy red with emotion, and my voice runs dry from cheering with such vigor.

The crowd isn’t standing for me. In fact, my presence is lost and mostly unknown in the noise of the room. However, all the more, those brief moments of unified joy move a world within me. 

Those brief moments of unified joy move a world within me. 

Perhaps I’m a little too soft. But stay with me while I tell you more.

In the movie “The Holiday,” there’s a scene toward the end of the film where screenwriter Arthur Abbott (who, of course, introduces us to “gumption”—the iconic meet-cute and the “you’re the leading lady of your own life” concept) receives a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the film industry. 

As elderly and ever-charming Arthur arrives at the ceremony—smartly dressed in his suit—the music plays, and the auditorium doors swing open. Much to his surprise and humble dismay, there’s a sea of people waiting to greet him—clapping, whistling and celebrating. He takes a step forward and walks through the crowd, shaking the hands of his comrades and friends. 

Upon reaching the end of the aisle, he approaches a small set of stairs, which he has to climb in order to reach the stage. All eyes are on him. 

Though offered a helping hand to assist him, Arthur decides to take a leap of faith. Fueled by the praise of his friends and unfazed by his old age, he says, “I’ll do it,” before bounding up the stairs with determination, gumption and a lively spring in his step. 

The camera remains focused on Arthur before panning around the room to show the crowd as they continue their heartfelt applause. Despite his many achievements and accolades, Arthur didn’t believe his life’s work was worth much. Those who loved him, however, fervently showed up to celebrate him—commemorating his triumphs and wins, even when he wasn’t sure if they were due any honor at all.

Those who loved him, however, fervently showed up to celebrate him—commemorating his triumphs and wins, even when he wasn’t sure if they were due any honor at all.

While life isn’t a movie and standing ovations won’t usually play a part in our everyday schedules, there is deep joy to be found in celebrating the brilliance and beauty of those around us. In big and small moments alike, supporting our friends will never grow old.

Like Arthur leaping up the steps to the ceremony stage, encouragement and acclamation can go a long way. With a gentle nudge, a word of kindness, a “you can do this” and a warm smile of support, we can empower those around us to go the extra mile—to reach higher, stretch further, imagine greater and finish stronger. 

Our love and belief in them, consistent and honest, can help shine a spotlight on the goodness and gold they haven’t yet seen in themselves.

There is deep joy to be found in celebrating the brilliance and beauty of those around us.

As human beings, we have been designed to walk through life together. It’s important to remember that the strengths and successes of our friends, family and even strangers do not negate or diminish our own. Our victories still belong to us. But how much sweeter would they be if we shared them with the people near and dear to us?

The pure and sincere celebration of others is a privilege we get to enjoy when we live in community. In fact, sharing in their happiness is one of the richest rewards of a life lived well.

The same light that shines on them as they win the award, overcome the struggle, run the race, achieve the grade, get the job or fulfill the dream, shines on us too. Let us remember this as we stand to our feet in the auditorium, join the chorus and cheer from the very top of our lungs for the ones we love.

How well do you celebrate the victories, big and small, of the people in your world? Why is it important to share in the victories of others?

Image via Koty, Darling Issue No. 24

Everything You Should Know About Matcha

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: Josie Santi

Move aside, espresso! Whether matcha is a new ingredient you spotted at Starbucks or a longtime staple in your household, this superfood packs some serious benefits that many Everygirl editors have experienced for themselves. FYI, matcha isn’t just a trendy caffeine craze taking over coffee shop menus and health food store shelves; it has roots in ancient Chinese and Japanese history. The powerful powdered tea is said to have originated in China (over 4,000 years ago!) before making its way to Japan and becoming a key part of tea ceremonies for thousands of years. With a history like that, you know it’s gotta have the health benefits to back it up.


In this article

What is matcha?

What are the benefits?

How to DIY Your Own Matcha at Home

Shop Our Favorites


What is matcha?

“Matcha has been an all-star for centuries and was traditionally used in Chinese medicine,” explained Shizu Okusa, founder of Apothékary, a brand of plant-based medicine supplements based in Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Japanese Kampo Medicine. “Matcha is made from green tea leaves that are grown in the shade to avoid direct sunlight. This process increases the content of nutrients, including amino acids and antioxidants, and is rich in chlorophyll.” In other words, it’s a powdered, more concentrated version of the green tea you’d find as loose leaf or in a tea bag, giving it a bright green hue, earthy taste, and high levels of antioxidants. 



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What are the benefits?

“Matcha is known for boosting the metabolism, sharpening cognitive function, and basically keeping you on your A-game,” Okusa said. Yes, matcha is known as a coffee alternative because it contains caffeine, but the effects are very different. According to U.S. News & World Report, matcha gives you a calmer, more sustained energy, whereas coffee can make you feel jittery or leave you with that dreaded caffeine crash. Every body is different, so it’s important to experiment for yourself, but if you’re experiencing negative symptoms from coffee, like energy crashes or trouble sleeping, matcha might be a good alternative. 

Beyond the caffeine, matcha itself is a powerful health food. It contains a high amount of antioxidants (one study found the number of antioxidants in matcha is up to 137 times greater than in other types of green tea. That’s a lot of antioxidants!), can help boost brain health, and may help promote heart health. Traditionally, matcha was seen as having energetic benefits as well. “This powerful superfood contains both Yin and Yang aspects by increasing energy while promoting calmness,” Okusa explained. 



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How to DIY Your Own Matcha at Home

Matcha is a simple ingredient to incorporate at home, and even DIYing a frothy matcha latte is just as doable as brewing a cup of coffee. The traditional method is to put matcha and hot water in a tea bowl and whisk with a bamboo whisk, called “temae” (or a procedure for making tea). Also, be aware that matcha has not only been used for health benefits or as a delicious morning beverage, it also has important ceremonial ties. A tea ceremony is a Japanese ritual based on principles like hospitality, minimalism, and simplicity. To honor the tradition (and reap the benefits), view making and drinking matcha as an opportunity to take a pause from busy life rather than just a quick caffeine fix. Try a few minutes of meditation while drinking or share a cup of matcha with a friend. 

If you prefer something a little frothier or sweeter, try adding your favorite latte sweetener, like honey or stevia, and whatever milk or creamer you prefer after whisking the hot water and Matcha powder together. Think of the whisking process like your machine making coffee or espresso. You have to fully blend your coffee before adding milk or sweetener, right? The same goes for matcha. Whisk with less hot water if you want to add more creamer to make a latte (think: similar to an espresso shot). Alternatively, whisk with more hot water if you want a thinner consistency. Pro tip: Matcha also works in baked goods too. 


Try it:

  • Matcha Brownies
  • Coconut Almond Milk Matcha Latte
  • Iced Matcha Green Tea Latte
  • Earthy Matcha Latte
  • Matcha Pound Cake
  • Iced Coconut Matcha Latte
  • Vanilla Coconut Matcha Latte


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Pure Matcha

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Adaptogenic Matcha Blend

AAPI-owned business!

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Kifukuen | Amazon

Matcha Tea Whisk

AAPI-owned business!

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Matcha Gift Set

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Ceremonial Matcha

AAPI-owned business!

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Matcha Kit

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What Experts Add to Their Coffee
check out what nutritionists, doctors, and wellness bloggers drink in the A.M.


The Coolest French Haircuts to Show Your Stylist

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Mathilde Langevin | Unsplash

The “French Girl” persona is chic, sophisticated, classic, and sexy. What can I say? It has that je ne sais quoi. From their of-the-moment interior style to stylish clothes (who didn’t want a striped tee and loafers circa 2015 thanks to a bunch of French girls on Pinterest?), the French know what’s up. I personally can’t get enough of their beauty looks: messy red lips, undone hair, barely-there skin—the French beauty vibe is unmatched, and the easiest way to achieve it stateside is through French haircuts.

There are just certain styles that immediately scream “waltzing through Parisian streets” or “frolicking in Nice.” Consider these Paris’s coolest haircuts of 2021. No matter your texture or length, scroll down for the best French-inspired cuts and easy ways to style them.


1. Messy Pixie

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A post shared by ETCHER • ADELAIDE HAIR SALON (@etchersalon)

The French girl aesthetic is all about disheveled, barely-done beauty, and that’s exactly what you’re going to get with this style. To keep it looking purposefully piecey instead of like bedhead, use a hair wax or pomade to strategically put everything in place. It’ll add a matte texture to your hair and hold all day without getting sticky or stiff.


Matte Pomade

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Control Flexible Paste

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Living Proof

Perfect Hair Day Body Builder

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2. Full Bangs

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A post shared by Cynthia Taylu (@taylu_me)

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A post shared by Taylor LaShae (@taylorlashae)

You’re bound to walk through a French shop and see bangs, and they’ve made their way throughout the U.S. in the last year too. Bangs act as your cheapest accessory, looking good down, at all lengths, and with every single updo. To style your bangs, use a round-brush dryer like the Revlon One-Step or a blow dryer with a small round brush to put your bangs in place and give them a little shape and volume. Then, follow it up with a spray wax. This will keep your bangs exactly where you want them all day long without changing the texture and keeping the look soft.


One-Step Hair Dryer And Volumizer Hot Air Brush

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Bumble + Bumble

Sumo Liquid Wax+ Finishing Spray

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3. Blunt Bob

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A post shared by Erickson A, @bumbleandbumble (@erickinvisible)

The French love a blunt cut because it adds tons of volume and can be worn every way under the sun. Add bangs for a cool-girl vibe, curl it into soft waves for a romantic look, or straighten it to make it sleek. Regardless, use a frizz-reducing product to keep frizz to a bare minimum because the style can look boxy when the hair gets really frizzy.


SinglePass Curl 1″ Curling Iron

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Good Behavior Spirulina Protein Anti-Frizz Smoothing Spray

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4. Shoulder-Length Curls

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A post shared by Nià The Light (@niathelight)

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A post shared by Irinel de León | Hairstylist (@hairinel)

This tousled look has tons of shape and volume, and it’s perfect for all curl patterns and types from 3A to 4C. It’s a low-maintenance cut that continues to look good even as it grows out. It’s cool-girl, which inevitably screams Parisian. Add even more volume to your curls with a volumizing product, and then add a curl gel to keep them in place and give them a day’s-long hold.

Miss Jessies

Jelly Soft Curls Gel

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Flora Curl

Sweet Hibiscus Curl Volumizing Foam

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5. Chin-Length

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A post shared by James Earnshaw Hair (@jhair_stylist)

The chin-length bob is sharp and defined, so it turns your hair into a whole look on its own. To keep it sharp, use a flat iron to smooth out the ends. This style looks sophisticated and elegant with little-to-no styling required, so it’s a must-have for French girls who don’t have time for a high-maintenance cut. Plus, this grows out into lengths that are also trending, like a classic bob and lob.

Kristin Ess

Nanoblack 3-In-One Flat Iron

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6. Shaggy Layers

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A post shared by SAL SALCEDO (@salsalhair)

If you’re really looking for that Parisian je ne sais quoi, it’s in a shaggy, messy layered look. It’s perfectly imperfect and looks effortless (but the process is usually the opposite, of course). Bring out all the stops in the texture department with this look. Use a waver to get a beachy, barely-there wave and add lots of texture spray. For even more texture, especially at the roots, use a dry shampoo powder to roughen it up and give your scalp lots of volume.


3-Barrel Ceramic Jumbo Hair Waver

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Crown Affair

Dry Shampoo

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Mixed Chicks

Morning After Foam

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This is 2021’s Biggest Haircut Trend—Here’s How to Style It
Perfectly-imperfect fringe, despite what the naysayers say, is attainable.

Everything You Should Know If You’re New to Eye Makeup

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: @patrickta

Thanks to a thriving social calendar, my makeup collection is finally getting the much-needed love it missed for a while. My black liquid liner, my eyeshadow brushes, and my palettes have been dusted off and are getting more action now than ever. With a host of events and meetings comes new eye makeup looks, but my skills have diminished quite a bit since my makeup hiatus. Applying liquid eyeliner is somehow the bane of my existence, and don’t even get me started on smudgy mascara. Something had to be done. Whether you just haven’t worn makeup in months or are an eye makeup beginner, here are the ins and outs on eyeshadow, eyeliner, and mascara, as suggested by two makeup artists.


In this article

Why an Eyeshadow Primer Is Essential


What Eyeshadows to Try

How to Start With Eyeshadow as a Beginner

How to Enhance Your Eye Shape With Shadow

How to Start With Bright/Editorial Makeup

The Key to the Perfect Winged Liner

How to Keep Mascara From Smudging


Meet the expert
Jamie Dorman
Jamie Dorman is a celebrity and editorial makeup artist based in New York. Her clients include Bella Hadid, Anne Hathaway, and Dascha Polanco, and her work has been seen in Vogue, Allure, and others.

Meet the expert
Renee Loiz
Renee Loiz is an LA-based makeup artist with over 20 years experience. Her work has been featured on red carpets and in advertisements for brands like Target, Disney, and Urban Outfitters.


Why an Eyeshadow Primer Is Essential

If you’ve ever watched a beauty video on YouTube, you’ve likely heard of eyeshadow primer, but what exactly does it do? “If you have oilier eyelids and your eyeshadow creases, a primer will nip that in the bud,” said celebrity makeup artist Renée Loiz. “Primers take away the oil and smoothen out the surface, ensuring whatever you apply on top of it will stay in place.”

But do you have to use a specific eye primer? Celebrity makeup artist Jamie Dorman said concealers can work well if they’re silicone-based and if you dust it with a bit of powder before applying your eyeshadow. If you have oily eyelids, Loiz recommended primer for keeping oil at bay instead of adding another creamy texture to the eye.

Urban Decay

Eyeshadow Primer Potion

You can never go wrong with the original. Use this lightweight, easy-to-apply primer that keeps eyeshadow on all day long.

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Anastasia Beverly Hills

Mini Eye Primer

This is my favorite eye primer for bright eye looks because it’s a very light, almost white base that makes colors pop.

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Juvia’s Place

I Prep, I Prime Eye Primer

This primer is good for people with oily eyelids who want a little color correction.

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Source: @makeupbymario



If you’re new to eyeshadow, Loiz said the first thing you need is a good set of eye makeup brushes. “These are key to blending in your shadows seamlessly.” Opt for a set of a few brushes to give you some variety, but you mostly need one shader (to put product on your lid and inner corner), one blender (to blend shadows in the crease), and one liner brush. If you want to get a little fancy, having a pencil brush to apply and smudge product into your upper and lower lash line will give you the smokey eye of your dreams.

Real Techniques

Everyday Eye Essentials Brush Kit

This kit contains eight brushes to help you achieve every look under the sun.

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EF 1 Makeup Brush

This double-ended brush would be perfect for travel (or the minimalist makeup lover).

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Pencil Brush

Smudge a little eyeliner on your upper and lower lash line with this for the easiest nighttime look.

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What Eyeshadows to Try

There are over a thousand brands on the market making eyeshadow, and which one you use comes down to preference and budget. “For beginners, I would recommend smaller palettes like the Fenty Beauty Snap Shadow Palettes,” Loiz said. “The smaller size of the palettes are not intimidating at all and come in a variety of shades from neutrals to bright pops of color.” Loiz also recommended Pat McGrath, Makeup By Mario, Juvia’s Place, and Cozette, and Dorman recommended Rituel De Fille, LORAC, Buxom, and Bobbi Brown.

“Beginners should have a good collection of matte shadows that mimic the depth in shadows on their own skin,” Dorman said. “This will pair well with all colors and is easier to use when learning how to create dimension.” So don’t be afraid to build out a collection of shades that all look a little similar to your skin tone. You’ll use them time and time again to blend out deeper colors or add dimension to your eyes.

Laura Mercier

Caviar Stick Eye Shadow

This one-and-done eyeshadow stick is the key to eye makeup for beginners.

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Fenty Beauty

Snap Shadows Mix & Match Eyeshadow Palette

A warm-toned, peachy eye will never go out of style and looks good on every skin tone and eye color.

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Juvia’s Place

The Taupes Eyeshadow Palette

This will help you achieve that ‘90s cool-toned, grungey eye.

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Master Mattes Eyeshadow Palette

It has everything you need for a day-to-night look.

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Source: @iliabeauty


How to Start With Eyeshadow as a Beginner

Before you start applying shadow, you should know a little more about the different types.


  • A matte shadow has no shimmer or shine; it’s just pigment. These are usually more pigmented and are good for blending in the crease. Mattes can also be a little harder to blend.


  • A shimmer shadow obviously has shimmer running through it. While some formulations can be very opaque, others are a sheerer wash of the product versus a matte shadow. These are good for your eyelid and inner corner.



My favorite way to apply a shimmer eyeshadow, especially one with a lot of texture and glitter running throughout, is with my fingertip. It’ll pick up the most product and evenly disperse it, and the oils from your fingertip will make it look extra shiny and metallic.

“Any beginner to doing eye makeup should start with sheer, shimmer textures because they are easy to blend, look good without adding shades, and are very forgiving if something goes unblended,” Dorman said. She recommended starting with a cream formula to make application easiest.


Any beginner to doing eye makeup should start with sheer, shimmer textures because they are easy to blend, look good without adding shades, and are very forgiving.


Source: Patrick Ta Beauty


How to Enhance Your Eye Shape With Shadow

Eye makeup involves a lot of shaping, whether it’s making your eyes look more almond-shaped with the fox eye trend or Twiggy-esque ‘60s smudgey mascara, making them look bigger. The shape you should go for often depends on the look you’re trying to achieve, but if you’re focused on the basics, then Dorman said you should get to know your eye shape first to figure out what will work best on you. “Some eyes need a socket created, some eyes look great being a bit down-turned, other eyes need a lift—whatever your eye looks best in, keep that shape in mind when selecting and applying looks for your own face.”

Here are some easy tricks to highlight your natural eye shape:

  • Almond Eyes: Blending your outer corner into a V-shape will lift and widen the eyes
  • Hooded Eyes: Using light, shimmery shades on your lids and slightly into your natural crease will open up the eyes and emphasize your lids
  • Deep-Set Eyes: Adding a light, shimmery shade to the inner corner will emphasize and bring your eyes forward
  • Monolids: Applying the deepest shades at the base of the lid and gradually blending will enhance your natural shape
  • Down-Turned Eyes: Applying your shadow in a cat-eye shape will lift and open the eyes
  • Up-Turned Eyes: Adding lightness to the inner part of the eye and darkness to the outer half will emphasize the natural lift in your eyes
  • Round Eyes: Putting shadow all over the lid and through the crease will keep your eyes open and bring attention all of your lid space




Source: @katiejanehughes


How to Start With Bright/Editorial Makeup

If you’ve mastered the art of the neutral eye and are ready to take the plunge into the world of editorial beauty (welcome!), Dorman recommended first understanding textures. “If you use a product that is creamy and doesn’t dry down, your eye makeup will look great for a photo when you first apply it, but it won’t wear well for a day,” Dorman said. So if you’re new to the editorial, glossy style, opt for something simple to start, especially if you’re planning to wear it all night. “Try putting a glossy glitter over a powder shadow and see how it wears. A look like this is easy to touch up and doesn’t involve precise lines.” You’ll get a feel for how different eyeshadow textures work with your skin type and help you make better choices for looks in the future.

If you look at bright, fun eye makeup looks on Pinterest and wonder how they achieved that, they started small. “When using bright colors or going for more of an editorial look, start out light and work your way up to the intensity you’re going for,” Loiz said. Use a light hand to build up the color rather than stamping down a ton of pigment that would be hard to blend out.


Fade Into Hue Eyeshadow Palette

This palette has so many shades to play with and in all different textures.

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Flower Beauty

Pop Fanatic Eyeshadow

If you know you just want one trending hue (like yellow), opting for a single will save you money and space.

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Matte & Metal Melted Double Ended Liquid Eyeshadows

For the easiest eyeshadow look you’ll ever create that will garner all the compliments, use the matte shade in the crease and blend it out with a brush, then follow it with the metallic on the lid and inner corner.

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Use a light hand to build up the color rather than stamping down a ton of pigment that would be hard to blend out.


Source: @sabletoothtigre


The Key to the Perfect Winged Liner

The first step to a good eyeliner look is finding a product that is easy for you to use. “I like liner pens that have a good consistent flow of product, like Westmore Beauty Wing Effects Liquid Eyeliner,” Dorman said. “Use the length of the pen itself by holding it from the end of your eye to the end of your eyebrow. That will be a good angle to use for your wing. Start small and build up slowly to a bigger wing. Keep your eyes open straight ahead when you look into the mirror to create the wing so it will look like the shape you want while your eyes are open.”

Westmore Beauty

Liquid Eyeliner

A felt-tip liner like this is key to getting a straight line every time.

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Gel Eyeliner

A gel pot and a brush can be easier for creating a wing because the brush gives you a lot of control.

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KVD Beauty

Tattoo Eyeliner

There’s a reason this is the biggest liquid eyeliner on the market: It’s ultra black and has a super fine brush tip for creating precise lines.

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Source: Glossier


How to Keep Mascara From Smudging

We all know the dreaded fear of looking at yourself in the mirror a few hours after putting your makeup on and seeing your mascara all smudged. Loiz suggested opting for waterproof mascara when you can because it won’t get disrupted by the oils and sweat on your skin. Dorman also recommended using a translucent powder underneath the eyes to reduce any of that oil as well. For all-day wear, blot the area throughout the day.

Too Faced

Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara

This is the critically acclaimed mascara we all know and love for it’s volume and length, but it’s in a waterproof, smudge-free formula—even better.

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LashBlast Volume Waterproof Mascara

You can go swimming with this on and it’ll still never budge.

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Laura Mercier

Translucent Loose Setting Powder

Applying this to your undereyes with a small powder brush will eliminate smudging if you need to use a non-waterproof mascara.

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15 Time-Saving Beauty Products That Will Cut Your Routine in Half
When I’m looking to pack a punch into my beauty routine and get ready quick, I reach for these double-duty products.


Darling Letters: Disappointment Is A Comma, Not a Period

A woman's hands as she writes inside a magazine, one page with a large comma and the other with writing

We are bringing “Darling Letters” from your inbox to the blog! We love the art of letter writing and believe it helps build authentic community. Our editors and contributors have thoughtfully written encouraging letters to cut through the busyness and speak straight to your heart.

After a long day of frantically refreshing my inbox, I finally got a response, but it was not the one I was hoping for.


The small, Arial text seemed as though it spoke in all caps. It felt as if the short message punctuated a dream of acceptance into the program and the subsequent joy that I anticipated. 

It felt as if the short message punctuated a dream of acceptance into the program and the subsequent joy that I anticipated. 

The immediate disappointment that followed this email seemed like confirmation that dreaming and hoping for something that was not immediately within reach was not viable nor worth it. In an ongoing season replete with dissolved dreams, this seemed like another reason to see the present moment as one of isolation disconnected from the future.

However, to dream is to realize that what you see is not all there is and is not all there will be. In doing this, we take stock of the state of things around us while also allowing ourselves to long for something better. When disappointment comes, we can try to suppress our dreams as “outlandish” or “unattainable,” or instead, we can discern a healthy discontent for the present moment while still creating new aspirations for the future.

May we see interruptions to our dreams as commas, not periods. Dream on (even when it’s hard).

To dream is to realize that what you see is not all there is and is not all there will be. 

Sam Miller, the Darling family

Is there any disappointment in your life that is causing you to feel disillusioned? How can we continue to dream in the midst of disappointment?

Image via Tony Li

The Summer Clothes Our Fashion Editor Is Wearing RN

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: Madeline Galassi

Temperatures are high, plans are on the calendar, and al fresco is the only way we’re eating. Life feels like, well, life again, and summer 2021 is already starting out to be one of the best we can remember—which means that our summer clothes are more important than ever.

As a fashion editor, I can honestly say that I’ve never been more excited to get dressed than I’ve been the past couple of months. All of my existing pieces are suddenly feeling brand new, and the pieces I picked up are giving me a completely fresh lease on summer dressing. Chicago has been warm for about six weeks now, which means that my summer wardrobe has been in full rotation for over a month—and let’s just say I’ve been noticing some patterns.

Summer outfits are meant to be easy, and my latest go-tos have been channeling exactly that. I’ve been reaching for and mixing and matching the same few pieces for all different occasions, and I have officially fallen in love with summer 2021. Of everything in my wardrobe, these are the 10 pieces that are packing the most punch for me (and that I’m doing more loads of laundry for just to be able to keep putting on). My favorite thing to be right now? An outfit repeater.


Arizona Big Buckle

After owning my previous Birkenstocks for over six years, this summer was finally the one when I invested in a new pair. The second I saw these big-buckle ones in this gorgeous, rich brown color, I knew that they were my replacement of choice. No matter who you are, there’s always a place for a comfortable, easy-to-throw-on shoe in your closet, and these are the perfect option. I put these on every single day and get more use of them than any other shoe. I also find that they feel more put-together than my classic Birks because of the gold hardware.

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Abercrombie & Fitch

’90s Button Up

I’ll be honest: Prior to this summer, I hadn’t reached for a white button-up in at least a year. I never feel very inspired by them in the fall or winter, but there’s just something about summer that makes white button-ups so attractive. I love tossing it on over everything: my bathing suit for a beach day, a tank top with jean shorts on a chilly night—you name it! It just feels absolutely right. There’s nothing a white button-up doesn’t look good tossed over, and it’s the perfect transition to easing back into wearing real clothes.

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Abercrombie & Fitch

Denim Paperbag Shorts

I’m very into the longer, looser denim shorts that are trending this year, but with certain tops (think: more oversized ones) I feel like it can go from chic and baggy to looking like my clothes are wearing me, not vice versa. When I want denim shorts that are a bit more fitted, these are my go-to. The elastic waistband makes them ultra-comfortable, and the length is short without being too short (your butt cheeks aren’t going to pop out for the world to see). These are hands-down my most comfortable shorts, which means I’m reaching for them all the time—even on my work-from-home days.

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Ribbed Tank Top

A good tank is a predictable summer staple, but this one’s feminine neckline has made it my winner of the year. It feels feminine and gives me a little more “style” on days when I’m just looking to throw on a tank, jean shorts, and head out the door. It’s a perfect elevated summer basic, and I’ve found myself reaching for it a couple of times a week over the past month.

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The Boardwalk Double-Strap Sandals

When summer rolls around here in Chicago, days are filled with a lot more walking, which means that sometimes, I need a sandal that I know I can walk around in all day with no problem. These are some of the most comfortable sandals I have ever owned. The leather is super soft, and they stay on my feet perfectly without feeling like I’m slipping and sliding out of them. The simple design means they pair well with anything, from dresses to jeans and a tee. These have earned a spot on the mat by my front door for the summer (which is saying a lot, since only three of my shoes get that spot at at time).

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Ribbed Cropped Polo

Tennis skirts and polos and preppy pieces you used to only see at the country club are in this summer, and this little top has given me a way to incorporate it into my day-to-day wardrobe without thinking about it. I’ve been reaching for this over my plain white tees and love the subtle, preppy look it gives me. The ribbed, cropped design also means it’ll be flattering in a way that a classic polo probably wouldn’t be. I actually even ordered this in another color because I’ve been wearing it to death so far this year.

The perfect way to style this is as a direct swap for your go-to white tee. Instead of reaching for that, pair it with anything you’d ordinarily pair with a plain T-shirt, giving your look a subtle, trendy touch.

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Beaded Cherry Earrings

Summer allows us to have fun with our wardrobes in a way that other seasons don’t allow, and a couple of statement accessories always make their way to my go-to pieces every summer. I’m absolutely obsessed with these cheeky cherry earrings this year—they make any basic outfit feel a little more fun but are understated enough that I feel like I can wear them any day without feeling too done-up. Even with the most basic of outfits, they’re an easy way to make yourself feel like you put on a full, planned-out outfit.

Not sure how to wear these? Think of them as the cherry on top of your most basic outfit (pun intended). A white tee, your favorite denim, and any shoes your heart desires make the perfect base for these to top off.

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Bold Pearl Necklace

This necklace is a bit of an investment, and I debated it for months before I finally went for it. I love that it’s a bit chunkier and packs a bigger punch than most of my necklaces. I ultimately decided to get it because I knew I’d get a ton of use out of it—and I wasn’t wrong. I wear this necklace at least a few times a week, and it does all the talking for my outfits. It almost gives a puka-shell effect but in more of an Audrey Hepburn way. This is in the running for my favorite purchase of the entire year, and I won’t be abandoning it any time soon.

While I love wearing this on its own with just about everything I wear, it also looks great layered with my other gold chains for a little something extra.

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Abercrombie & Fitch

Knot-Front Midi Cutout Dress

My calendar is finally filled with brunches and patio nights again, and there’s truly nothing summer offers that’s better than an easy dress you can rely on. This one incorporates the season’s cutout trend in the most flattering of ways and is an incredible piece to throw on when you’re heading out. It really has the ability to be both dressed up and dressed down, and I’ve found myself turning to it constantly.

While this looks like it might be a little revealing, when it’s on, I don’t feel that way at all. I’ve found it’s a great alternative to the flowy, white dresses I usually gravitate toward and pairs perfectly with a basic pair of sandals (like the ones I mentioned above!).

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Charge It Sunglasses

I wanted a pair of trendy sunglasses to incorporate into my rotation this summer, and once I saw these, I couldn’t get my mind off of them. I finally ordered them and couldn’t be more impressed with the quality. They’re mid-priced but feel just as high-quality as my more expensive pairs. The shape gives a very vintage and ’90s look and just has a cool-girl effect that makes them a true 2021 staple.

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6 Summer Outfits You Can Wear to All Your Events This Season
enjoy every second of summer 2021 in style

What My Children Have Taught Me About Courage

A woman in heels seated on a cube shaped stool

Growing up, I thought that having courage meant doing big, daring and heroic things. I thought it was the kind of things that you watch superheroes do in movies. Yet, the older I get and the longer I am a mother, the more I see that courage is in the small, often everyday choices we make that propel us forward. Courage is in the fabric of each choice to bravely choose your own voice, believe in our worth, stand up for others or to simply try again.

I have found that a common thread weaving through all of parenthood is teaching my kids to choose courage. Because in the movies, the superheroes don’t always look like they’re making a choice. However, in real life, courage is a choice and a constant series of choices made in small, everyday moments. Just like children, we can learn to choose courage daily too.

Courage is in the small, often everyday choices we make that propel us forward.

Here are a few things that my children have taught me about courage:

Choose your own voice.

As a parent, I found myself coaching my children on choosing and listening to their own voices as early as preschool. It’s a skill we often need in unexpected moments.

My daughter came home one day describing in distress how another girl in her class told her, “We don’t like that girl, right? You can’t like her.” Her little 4-year-old mind was working hard to reconcile someone who she identified as a friend not only speaking negatively about another friend, but asking her to choose sides. 

Have you ever been in that subtle moment as a grown-up when in a group of friends, at an office or even with extended family? Choosing your own voice is not always a big moment. It is often a quiet refusal to be incongruent with what you believe.

Choosing your own voice is not always a big moment. It is often a quiet refusal to be incongruent with what you believe.

We work on this in our house a lot. My other daughter, after being told on the playground by another child that there is a group of people God doesn’t love, turned to the girl and said, “Well that’s not true, but you can believe what you want.” She was able to hold onto her own thoughts and beliefs.

Believe in your worth.

“I believe in you, and I’m your biggest fan,” I told my son as he tried out for the soccer team. “No matter what happens we are so proud of you.” 

As adults, we don’t often have as many opportunities to “show our work” to the class, enter a talent show or go for the team. Childhood is full of these exciting and sometimes scary opportunities. Believing in your own worth is an essential part of going for anything and an essential part of picking yourself back up if it doesn’t go how you hoped.

Believing in your own worth is an essential part of going for anything and an essential part of picking yourself back up if it doesn’t go how you hoped. 

I have walked my kids through talent show rehearsals that went well—their little shaky knees walking up the stairs to the small stage in the school gym. Just as important, I hugged my kids as they cried and reminded them that their choice to be brave enough to try and the uniqueness of who they are is much more important than the outcome. 

Knowing our worth is what makes us brave to try. And knowing our worth helps us pick ourselves back up when it doesn’t go how we hoped. What might you try if you knew you were worthy either way?

Stand up for others.

When we drove home from a rally to stand in solidarity with the AAPI community against the growing number of hate crimes this year, my son asked me an insightful question on the way home, “Mom, what can I actually do everyday to help stop this?”

We talked about many options as a white family, including standing up for others in school when there are racist remarks said about or to any other child. I sincerely hoped as a mom this wouldn’t continue to happen, but I knew better. The next week, my son got a chance to practice what he learned as another boy in his class mocked Asian culture. It was a comment made between a few other kids, and in that moment, my son practiced the power of standing up for others. 

Using your voice for others in big ways is essential; however, the potential impact of taking a stand in any small moment that comes your way is a powerful act that can have huge ripple effects. How much more might you use your voice to stand up for others if you believed in the impact of every small moment?

Simply try again.

Sometimes, I feel like literally everything in childhood could be a lesson on trying again. Kids have not mastered anything quite yet. Everything they attempt is new to them at some point, even walking and talking. 

As adults, we lose often sight of this. We fear looking stupid, of being embarrassed or of failing. So we pin ourselves into smaller and smaller corners with little to no new experiences. In the last two years, I have had a child learning to skateboard, another learning to roller blade and still another learning to ride a bike. They fall and fall, over and over again. The only way forward is to simply try again. 

The only way forward is to simply try again. 

It isn’t fancy or complicated. It is just the only thing you can do to move forward. Trying again seems obvious when you fall off a skateboard, but what if we gave ourselves as adults the same permission to just try again when we fail? How many more things might we try?

If courage has felt like a big or far off thing to you, pull that big idea off the metaphorical movie screen and into your everyday life. Courage is a small, daily choice that we all can make.

What have you done today or yesterday that required some measure of courage? Knowing that courage is a choice, what might you choose to do tomorrow?

Image via Melanie Acevedo, Darling Issue No. 11

A Lesson From the French on How to Rest Well During Summertime

A view of the Eiffel Tower from behind a tree

It’s difficult to put into words what summertime means in France. An analogy that seems fitting is to compare summer in France to a finely aged wine. The French work hard all year to harvest the fruit of their labor, but when it comes to summer vacation, they know that, like an aged bottle of red, the secret to excellence is allowing time, rest and stillness to do the work. So let’s learn the French way to do summer—by taking time to relish in the abundance and harvest of the year through true rest. 

As a lover of California sunshine, living abroad in France for four years gave me a new understanding of summer as I faced my first dark, cold and damp winter in Paris. The short days and crowded metros made me crave space and light. Springtime in Paris was an emotional rollercoaster as weather was unpredictable and thunderstorms would interrupt pique-niques and plans.

The French do not live to work. They work to live. Even embedded within the language, the verb “être” (to be) is often used more than “faire” (to do). Daily life in the summer is centered on being not merely doing. Summers are not just for kids on break from school, but the entire society celebrates and savors all that summer has to offer. 

The French do not live to work. They work to live.

Summer Solstice, June 21, is welcomed with a national music festival called La Fête de La Musique. The festival originated in the 1980’s when the Minister of Culture desired to bring people and music to the streets. 

By allowing amateurs and professionals to play without permits, cost or noise restrictions at the festival, all genres of music are made accessible to the public. On the longest day of the year, everyone celebrates life with a 24-hour nationwide party. In Paris, all you need to do is walk for a few blocks and you will stumble on elderly couples dancing in the streets, punk-rock youth blasting their protests, classical quartets lining cafés and children, always at the front line of any crowd, soaking in the sounds and experience of music. 

This annual festival is just a debut of all France has to offer for the summer months. All year long you hear the French dream and discuss plans for “les vacances.” Embedded in French culture is the value of time for rest more than the grind of work and capitalism. 

Embedded in French culture is the value of time for rest more than the grind of work and capitalism. 

The government by law requires full-time workers to take at least five weeks vacation, on top of public holidays throughout the year. By August, most shops are closed for the month with handwritten notes from owners explaining “on est en vacances.” We are on vacation and will reopen in September. 

The French summer is unlike any other. Located in the heart of Europe, the geography of France allows for easy access to travel and weekend trips to new cultures and countries. All you have to do is hop on a south-bound train and you will be at the seaside in a matter of hours. 

The longer days, full feasts of delicious seasonal food, time spent with family and a nation-wide pause on work allow for a restoration of the soul of humanity. This summer, may we also learn to pause and let time and rest do its work in usmaking us like a fine wine full of flavor and life.

How good are you about prioritizing rest? Why is this so important?

Image via Coco Tran, Darling Issue No. 19

How to Cope if the Reopening Makes You Anxious

Source: Stocksy

In 2019, I considered myself to be a social person (pre-pandemic and pre-reopening): I’m a decent conversationalist, never had a Taco Tuesday that I didn’t like, and tended to gravitate toward the people I didn’t know at a party. When I got vaccinated and restaurants started opening back up at the beginning of the summer, I thought I was ready to dive all in, see people I hadn’t seen in over a year, and even make new friends. Spoiler alert: I was wrong. 

Instead of the pre-2020 excitement I felt before going to a large social gathering or meeting someone new, dread set in. Questions like, “What do I do if the conversation lulls?”, “What if I’m awkward?”, and (the worst of them all) “What if I’m still not safe, even with the vaccine?” plagued the nights out where I used to only worry about what to wear or if my mascara would smudge. The truth is that we’ve been at home with only our quarantine crew and Uber Eats drivers to keep us company, and a lot of those “fun” things (like crowded bars or concerts) became situations that put us in danger. Of course, there’s going to be some adjusting. 


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“Feeling anxious about reopening is quite common,” explained Dr. Tyson Lippe, MD, a psychiatrist at Heading Health in Austin, Texas. “A lot of our fear in returning to pre-pandemic functions, like the office and engaging in social events, stems from uncertainty. It is unclear who is vaccinated, what precautions will be implemented, and what the new social norms are.” Basically, even the most social of butterflies are way out of practice. Add on stress about safety and dangerous new strains, and it’s no wonder so many of us are feeling stressed RN. So I did what any wellness editor would do and asked experts for their best tips to cope if reopening and getting back to “normal” isn’t as easy as we thought. 

Just as a brief disclaimer: We always recommend seeking help. Whether that’s leaning on your best friend, finding a therapist near you, or joining a community for your mental health, it’s always important to prioritize how you feel, especially when going through a tough time. Find a therapist you love, come up with a game plan, prioritize self-care over anything else, and try out these seven tips from experts on how to cope with getting back to “normal.”


Recognize how you feel

It may sound basic, but the first step is identifying and acknowledging the way you feel. Maybe you haven’t historically been anxious in social settings or maybe you didn’t know our lack of normalcy throughout 2020 and 2021 affected you as much as it did. Once you recognize what you’re feeling, you can make a plan. “The first step is to recognize that you’re feeling anxious,” Dr. Lippe said. “Pay attention to your emotional state as well as any physical manifestations.” For example, does your stomach get queasy when thinking about going back to the office or does your heart start pounding when you enter a crowded restaurant?

Keeping track of how and what you feel will help identify certain triggers. “Is it a particular place, group of friends, type of setting, etc., that’s making you feel anxious?” asked Merissa Goolsarran, LCSW, a licensed therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment. “Keeping a log of situations where you might experience anxiousness is helpful in determining if a pattern is present.” 


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Appreciate those feelings (yes, even the negative ones)

I get it. Any negative emotion, whether it’s stress, worry, annoyance, frustration, or sadness, can feel so uncomfortable that we actually get mad at the feeling. But take it from someone who has been in a toxic relationship with anxiety for years: Thinking “why me?” or “I just need to get over this already!” makes it worse. “We have to give ourselves time to be programmed back in the other direction,” said Dr. Emily Stone, PhD, LMFT-S, a professor and licensed marriage and family therapist. “Of course we are going to experience anxiety returning to work and other pre-COVID activities: We have been telling ourselves that these situations are dangerous.” 

Any extra worry or stress may be annoying, but it’s not irrational. In the big picture, “negative” feelings can actually keep us safe. Feelings of anxiousness and fear are biologically useful—the mind reacts to help us avoid danger so we survive (that’s where “fight-or-flight” comes from). After all, emotional reactions like fear, worry, or empathy are what drove us to make safe decisions during the pandemic in the first place. Appreciate the purpose of that extra stress and worry, and then remind yourself that you aren’t in any immediate danger like the fight-or-flight response tells us, and those feelings aren’t serving a purpose anymore.


Have a mini escape plan

If you anticipate that your first day back at the office or a larger social gathering might garner some overall overwhelm, have a game plan to help ease discomfort during each situation. “There are several useful techniques to keep you calm when faced with anxiety-provoking situations,” suggested Dr. Mimi Winsberg, a board-certified psychiatrist and the chief medical officer at Brightside. “Try self-talk, breathing exercises, or even rehearsing worst-case scenarios to realize they are not that bad.” Planning ahead is crucial when easing into uncomfortable situations you’re not used to. For example, mentally repeat an affirmation when you start feeling a little overwhelmed at the office, make a list of topics in your head for when there’s a lull in a conversation, or have a back up plan if the restaurant feels a little too crowded for your comfort level (takeout and wine nights are still fun!). 


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Say “no”

Just because everything is opening back up does not mean you have to totally open back up. In other words, just because you’re happy that concerts, office happy hours, dinner parties, and restaurants are coming back in full swing does not mean you have to do it all. “Go at your own pace,” advised Jenny Okolo, an occupational therapist from London. “While it may be tempting to say yes to everything, do so at your own pace until you feel more comfortable as your confidence returns.” Also, it’s OK if your comfort level looks different from your friends, significant other, or coworkers. “You’ll probably have different standards or a different ‘normal’ than others,” Goolsarran agreed. “It’s helpful to communicate what you’re comfortable with so that you don’t get stuck in an uncomfortable situation.” Let friends know that you’re sticking to small groups or invite your work friend to meet up at a coffee shop with outdoor seating.


Get into your body

Whether it’s a day at the office or a night out, if you anticipate any uncomfortable feelings coming on, try a ritual that will help you calm down before heading out the door. “Think of something simple that leaves you feeling more confident, like exercise or meditation,” suggested Teri Schroeder, a licensed clinical social worker and co-founder of Just Mind Counseling. “For many people, focusing on the body before a challenging event can help reduce stress and clear the mind.” Dr. Winsberg agreed, explaining that she often recommends her clients try jumping jacks or even singing out loud prior to social situations to loosen up and let out anxious feelings. Sometimes the secret to calming the mind is as simple as putting energy into the body. 


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Start small 

Even if you frequented clubs, concerts, and crowds all the time pre-2020, there are many “muscles” you haven’t worked in over a year. That’s right: Feeling social can be like a muscle and requires work to keep it healthy. “Too much too soon may feel overwhelming right now: start small and try to exercise that social muscle again. Resume social life with your inner circle, and gradually expand outward,” Dr. Winsberg suggested. “It may feel most comfortable to first interact with one or two other people who are vaccinated in an outdoor setting,” Dr. Lippe agreed. “As you begin to acclimate [and the CDC guidelines say so], you can move toward larger groups or indoor environments.” Just like biceps or glutes, it may take some time to warm up that social muscle and to identify what will make it fatigue too quickly. Identify what feels doable and enjoyable, and then limit what might be too much, knowing you’ll work your way there.


Adjust your routines

So you’re still in the habit of sleeping in until two minutes before the workday starts, staying in pajamas, and then eating Postmates for dinner in front of the TV? No shame in your quarantine game, but we can all agree that our routines are very different from the days working out at 7 a.m. or putting on a full OOTD before commuting, and then running errands or heading to happy hour after 5 p.m. (how did we do it all?). If your routines are the same when you were staying at home, of course, any difference will feel overwhelming. Even if you’re not ready to go back to the office or fill up your social calendar, start adjusting your routines.

Roxanne Francis, MSW, RSW, a psychotherapist and owner of Francis Psychotherapy & Consulting Services, recommended structuring your day as if you were going into the office (even if you’re still working from your couch): get up earlier, get dressed as if you were going to work, and treat your WFH space as if it was your actual office (no more empty candy wrappers or dirty dishes). Also, if you’re Zooming with friends after work, put on jeans (pause for shock), take a walk around the block beforehand, or just do a quick makeup routine to start feeling that normalcy come back.


*These tips are meant to be used as inspiration for coping with stress or anxious feelings, not as a treatment for anxiety. Anxiety can feel isolating, but you shouldn’t have to feel as though you’re going through it alone. Please reach out to your doctor, a therapist, or another trusted professional for support.

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or actions, please get help immediately. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

Crisis Textline: text CONNECT to 741741


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Tips for Succeeding as a Full-Time Freelancer

A man at a table with measuring tape and rulers

The start of my career as a full-time writer, ghostwriter and content creator was unintentional. I was 21 years old when I found myself simultaneously graduating from college and being my grandmother’s primary caretaker.

At the time, I felt like I had the rug pulled out from under me. Up until that point, I’d lived most of my adult life as if both roles were meant to be my future. I saw myself taking my resume and pivoting to a full-time role as a magazine editor, all the while still working to keep my grandma alive and healthy as she continued to grow older. 

A life as a freelancer was never in the plans. Yet, on the heels of a new chapter, it was the only part of my life that made sense. Taking on self-employment full time gave me the opportunity to grieve my grandmother’s loss at my own pace. The flexible schedule made tending to my mental health a possibility. The excitement of being responsible for bringing on new clients and working on projects I loved helped remind me that I had a say on where and how my life unfolded. 

A life as a freelancer was never in the plans.

Now, almost eight years since that first client, it’s easier to know what makes my life as a full-time writer and content creator fulfilling, less stressful and more manageable. Here are a few tips I have found to be helpful for finding success as a full-time freelancer:

Create your “A team.” 

I’ll start with the lesson that I’ve had to learn time and time again: schedule intentional time to workshop or to simply chat with people who are on similar paths. You will never regret having a mastermind group of people who just “get it.”

These people will understand the ins and outs of trying to grow and scale your career. They get the nuances of figuring out contracts or negotiating rates. They get it. They support you, and they help you become better at your craft.

They get it. They support you, and they help you become better at your craft.

Whether you come from a traditional work environment where you were surrounded by coworkers or you have been a solo-preneur since day one, the freelance path can get lonely. Having a built-in support system helps keep you on track. 

Play to your strengths.

The best part about being a full-time freelancer is that you get to cater your work to play to your strengths. This also happens to be one of the hardest parts about being a freelancer. Oftentimes, we’re our own worst enemies and playing to our strengths turns into a hard task because we don’t believe we have any strengths to begin with.

Take some time at the beginning of every quarter (or month, especially at the beginning of your freelance career) to list on paper all your strengths, what you do well and when you work best. This will set you up for success. It will also give you a tangible reminder whenever you’re feeling down because of work. 

The best part about being a full-time freelancer is that you get to cater your work to play to your strengths. 

Build routines and skills.

A big mistake I made early on in my career was to focus solely on building routines. I am constantly working on my morning routine or on setting boundaries at home so that my work time is protected. While those routines have been beneficial and I recommend anyone who is self-employed to dedicate time to building them, it’s also important to pour into your skillset.

A gap is born the minute you go freelance because unlike those who work under a manager and are learning from higher ups, you are now (mostly) working solo. In order to fill that gap, build your skills by attending seminars, listening in on panels or participating in courses. 

Define success for yourself.

When you’re freelance, you choose whether you’ll inherit society’s definition of success or whether you’ll pave your own. Success used to mean solely climbing the corporate ladder. Now, however, it can mean whatever you want it to mean. Lately success for me as a self-employed individual has meant scaling my business so that I don’t have to exchange time for money in a 1:1 transactional way. I set goals based on what makes sense, both for my career and my life. 

Whether you call yourself a freelancer, self-employed, a solo-preneur or a small business owner, we’re all on the same path to pursuing a career that’s meant to wrap around our lives. It’s a good journey to be on!

What tricks or hacks have helped streamline your day-to-day as a freelancer? What advice would you give to someone who is new to self-employment?

Image via Tony Li, Darling Issue No. 17