How to Unwind in 19 Seconds

Sometimes, anxiety happens. Here's how to unwind in 19 seconds. 


Sometimes life is stressful. There are days where the workload is high, the ability to compartmentalize personal from professional and vice versa is difficult, and anxiety threatens to take over completely. I think it is safe to say we have all had that paralyzing moment of not being able to mentally take it down a few notches. 

I use this breathing technique to relax my mind and body for various situations; before an interview or big meeting, if I can't fall asleep, or as a way to exit work mode. It takes less than a minute to complete three rounds and can be done anywhere. 

It's fairly simple yet highly effective. Here's how it works:

1. Close your eyes or drop your gaze to the floor. 

2. Breathe in for a count of four.

3. Hold your breath for a count of seven.

4. Exhale for a count of eight.

5. Repeat at least three times. 

How do you feel? Relaxed? Was it helpful to count or was it distracting?

Happy almost long weekend. Xx. 

+ What do you think? 

How to Shake Hands with Someone

Never break eye-contact. 


Did you know when it comes to a handshake, if you don't make eye contact, you're immediately seen as less confident? I learned this is one of my professional training seminars. It is easy to be nervous walking into a social situation and look down to make sure you don't miss a person's hand. This makes you appear uncertain and unsure. In actuality, you can see your hands out of your peripheral, so you would rarely miss, and can thus maintain eye contact and exude the aforementioned confidence. 

Of course, we're not talking excessive staring. Since you will most likely be talking with someone, saying things like 'good to see you again' or 'nice to meet you, I am _____', you'll be walking into a situation where natural speak should be coupled with strong contact to demonstrate self-worth and power.

We could talk about cultural customs or whose hand goes on top of whom at a later time, but for now, we'll stick with the traditional shake:
As your hands come towards one another, the space between your thumb and index finger will touch theirs, and your fingers will wrap around the palm and lay on the back or side of the hand. Grasp strongly.

Some people suggest squeezing only as hard as the other person if you are in the less powerful position or having a firm shake if you are displaying dominance.

Remember, at the end of the day, it is just a handshake. Some people don't even prefer them at all. As long as you are being yourself and being confident in how your respond and speak, you will be just fine. 

+ What do you think? Do you have trouble making eye contact?

How to Say Goodbye at a Party

Five words: it is an art form. 

I first read about the Irish exit here. I was a little shocked about the idea of guests leaving a party without first saying goodbye. However, the more I thought about it, the more I recognized how much of a bummer pausing conversation to say goodbye to someone can be at the height of a fun night. I think back to the latest party I threw, and I was always slightly dimmed when my favorite people (aka anyone there) had to leave. 

I've had it go both ways, though. On one hand, a large party where a few guests slip out the door without saying goodbye is fine, but a smaller party becomes more complicated. Also, at large events, like weddings, if you know the couple very personally or are in the wedding, you should never leave without saying farewell. 

If you're worried about your friends, “this is key,” says Seth Stevenson in this Slate post, “They probably won’t even notice that you’ve left." If you're a little worried, just send a thank-you email in the morning with a lovely anecdote from the event.

Since I'm a sucker for those last tight hugs before departing, I would choose to do this at a larger event or if I'm sure I'll see them again (or see them regularly). What do you think? 

+ Would you Irish Exit? 

How To Pack a Carry-On

Packing for a weekend getaway made simple by a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rule. 

Honestly, packing is one of my most stressful pre-trip events. Because it gives me so much anxiety, I inevitably leave it for as last minute as possible, often over-packing late into the night before my early trip time. I wake up exhausted and irritable and invariably end up on my trip without the things I actually would want or need. I discovered this post years ago, didn't think too much about it, and recently found it again. Since this month is so inspired by travel (and I'm most anxious about the various trips), I wanted to break it down and chat about the idea in my own way. Read on for the best rule for packing your carry-on and banishing packing-anxiety for good...

The 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Rule:

5 Tops

Think about your most versatile favorites, and incorporate 5 tops into your packing list. This includes any outerwear, so pack something that gets you onto the plane (or into the chilly car) and to your destination in style and comfort. My go-to tops include a silk blouse, black t-shirt, soft pullover (sunburn and AC don't mix too well), off the shoulder blouse, and a workout shirt I love for both yoga/running and going out. 

4 Bottoms

Time to toss in 4 bottoms - this includes shorts, skirts, pants, etc. Again, flexible options are your best friend here. This weekend my four include a pair of cutoffs, a green maxi skirt, a pair of white palazzo pants, and my favorite black pants. 

3 Dresses/Rompers

Honestly, I could pack for a whole weekend in just this section. Picking basics suiting the mood of your trip but not strikingly noticeable is key. Since these limit mixing and matching options as well as them being all you'll wear, make sure they match your accessories. I'll be packing my black romper with lace detailing, my black slip dress, and a simple black cotton romper. 

3 Pairs of Shoes

Here you must pick your most wearable, already broken in, shoes. In my opinion, flats are better than heels when traveling. I'll be taking my flip flops, lace up sandals, and a pair of sneakers. 

2 Bags

For bags, I suggest taking one you'll use for travel, like a backpack or tote, which transitions nicely for any longer day trips as well as a smaller clutch-sized bag for going out or when you just need/want the essentials. Make sure these match or compliment your clothing choices and shoes, as you'll only have these two options. I'll be taking my computer and chargers in my blue tote bag and tossing in my favorite pink-orange clutch for a fun infusion of color. 

2 Bathing Suits

Clearly for a more tropical destination (it is summer traveling for us here), you really don't need more than two. I suggest one bikini and a one-piece, however I'll be traveling with two one-pieces, because I'm obsessed with their design and want to get all the wear time I can with them. 

1 Hat, Watch, & Sunnies

How often do we take several of each of these and only wear one (or none) the whole trip? After the sunburn I got last week, I'm bringing a wide-brimmed hat for the pool, a watch I recently picked up and am trying to get into the habit of wearing, and my favorite aviators since I wear them 99% of the time. 

Unlimited Undies, Socks, and Jewelry

For these, feel free to pack as many as you can fit in your carry on. I usually put socks into my sneakers, roll my undergarments into the side, and place my jewelry in small bags and place them on top of my clothes.

+ I'm a notorious over packer. This rule is saving my life. What about you? 

10 Must-Dos for Writing Thank Yous

Just a few things to keep in mind. Xx. 

It has been celebration central these past couple weeks since I graduated college, and I have been overwhelmed by the support and love of my friends and family. I wanted to send them a token of my appreciation by writing thank-you notes whether they showed up in person to my ceremony or thoughtfully sent a gift of congratulations. I know some people think snail mail is a dead art, but I find there is nothing more exciting than getting to open an unexpected piece of mail from someone I love. For this week's Weekly Niceties, I am sharing my 10 must-dos when writing thank yous...

1. Do personalize your notes, and avoid any standard formats where all you do is sign your name. 

2. Do recognize the gift - though not the amount - or sentiment. 

3. Do, if applicable, mention how you will use the gift. Here, stating the amount might be appropriate, but still avoid if possible.

4. Do send a note even if time has passed, and you feel it is too late. A late note is always better than no note in my opinion! 

5. Do be enthusiastic but also genuine. Unless it truly is the "most beautiful ____", avoid overdramatic platitudes. 

6. Do make it legible, and write in your best handwriting, either print or script. 

7. Do address it with their name, and use a signature like best, with gratitude, or love

8. Do write them in the spirit the gift or presence was given. People can smell a form letter from a mile away, which takes away from the nature of a thank you.

9. Do take your time. There is nothing worse than messing up on the last sentence, because your thoughts are faster than your hand. 

10. Do have fun! You were celebrated or thought of kindly, and that is so lovely. You're wonderful for wanting to share a little of that kindness. 

+ were these helpful? do you still write thank you notes?