Raise your hand if you love women…

*two hands shoot straight up like a 1st grader needing to use the loo*

Fem•i•nism (n.) – the idea that women are also human

It’s International Women’s Day, ladies! Which means two things:

  1. It’s time to celebrate women… like we do everyday here at [insert title here]! #trendsetting
  2. It’s a chance to feature a few badass, must-know humans (some I know, some I don’t) who constantly inspire me to live with purpose and to work towards something greater than myself.

[this post is happily linked with your curiosity in mind]

F E M I N I S T S (n.) – those brave enough to label themselves fighters for female equality

+ Malala Yousafzai is one of the greatest spirits on this earth. She’s shown that courage outplays evil and that love triumphs hatred. She’s inspired me to be a better woman and a better member of humanity – one who stands for equality and for justice. Who said role models have to be older than you? At 18, Malala has touched more people than I could only hope to inspire in a lifetime (or two). Her novel I Am Malala is a riveting must-read. For more on Malala, click H E R E.

+ Amy Dickinson is everything. She belongs in both this category and the next, as she’s a mother, writer, and fabulous feminist. She holds a definite, long-reigning spot on my list of top 5 of must-meets, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon (or ever). Can you say girl crush? She’s the author of The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them – a book that dissects the long line of single-women warriors in her family, and her journey of becoming her own. Not enough time for a novel? She also writes the Ask Amy column for the Chicago Tribune, which is also published in just about every major newspaper nationwide. Her advice is real and uprooting, but that’s what makes her work so unique and needed.

Fun fact: I emailed Amy once. She told me I have “pluck.” Best. Day. Ever.

+ Jennifer Lawrence. Because who doesn’t love J.Law? Or Katniss. Or not dieting. Need I continue?

W R I T E R S (n.) – those who inspire, choosing words as their weapons

+ Natalie writes Natalie Dressed and is the founder of Style+Spirit. She is a constant source of positivity through her content and on my Instagram feed. Her blending of spirituality and fashion is effortless, and she rocks what she’s got – regardless of what others might think. Need a pick me up? Check out her Instagram accounts H E R E and H E R E.

+ Real Talk with Lindsey is authored by a women I had the pleasure of knowing in high school. She’s as truly authentic spirit with a message that resonates: be real and be you. Her chic new brand Fearlessly Authentic Living embodies all that she stands for – and all that you should, too. Check out her Instagram H E R E.

Since I’m already plugging some serious lady bosses…

+ Sarah Pekkanen is one of my favorite authors. How she cranks out a new novel each year, I have no idea. From being a superhero mom to a genuine, kindhearted friend, this woman seriously has a secret to getting it all done. If you need a good read, grab any of her books and allow yourself to escape the (sometimes) all-too-realness of this world. Every once and a while, a moment to yourself is more than needed – it’s necessary. Snag one of many copies H E R E.

( P E R S O N A L )   H O N O R A B L E   M E N T I O N S (n.) – people I admire (and love)

+ Mom – Thanks for showing me what it takes to be a woman warrior. You take each day by storm, and I am so damn proud to be your daughter. You rock, Chief.

+ Dad – I know it’s Women’s Day, but you’re the the biggest feminist I know. Thanks for roughing it up with me and teaching me to defy gender boundaries, everyday.

+ Lauren – From barbells to beauty queen, you defy every female stereotype that has ever existed. Thank you for kicking ass at life and for showing me that limits don’t exist. Ever. Even if you aren’t Cady Heron.

+ Sue – You’re the strongest, most inspiring woman I know. Never forget how loved you are and just how proud I am to call you family. You’ve changed us all, more than you know. P.S. I promise I’ll call more.

So, tell me ladies, whom do you look up to? Who inspires and motivates you to be better to yourself and to others? Drop me a comment below so we can all get inspired and celebrate these women – today and everyday!

Cheers to rockstar chicks.


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The Effort to Look Effortless

Being a girl isn’t easy. You know it; I know it; but he will never know it. Why? A. Because that’s the point of trying so hard (so he won’t know we’re trying) and B. Because even if he did know how much effort it took, he still wouldn’t understand. The amount of time (not to mention money $$$) that it takes to make us “miraculously” look gorgeous is unreal. That could easily be translated into an extra hour of sleep every night. Any takers? Cause I’ve got one over here on this side of the keyboard. (Not to mention Alyssa who’s currently sleeping on my shoulder with a full face of make up. Tired yet beautiful. Case in point.)

Poll question: What’s more beneficial, that extra hour of beauty sleep or beautifying your face to cover up for your lack of sleep? Since most of us don’t have the courage to experiment by sleeping in and going to work naked-faced, we’ll probably never know.

But regardless of what’s actually most efficient in making us look beautiful, I think we first need to define what ‘beautiful’ actually means. My definition is simple: you. Why? Because you’re you. How? Because you’re you. You, me, our moms, our sisters, our grandmas, our aunts, cousins, nieces, granddaughters, best friends and acquaintances. We’re all incredibly stunning. Oh and that really annoying girl who continually drives you unbearably insane? Well, she’s beautiful too; just like you, and just like me.

“Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.”

-Marianne Williamson

Who are we to decide who’s pretty and who’s not; who gave us that power? No one. We’ve just somehow come to think that we’re entitled enough to make such decisions. News flash: we’re not.

The real women of this world are the ones who are building others up, not putting them down; we all have so much to be thankful for and so much to celebrate. Simply being happy, charismatic women and striving to have a positive purpose makes us beautiful. And not just like a really nice bouquet of flowers kind of beautiful (unless they’re daisies, obviously). I mean beautiful like a mother holding her newborn baby for the first time, or an old couple holding hands walking down the street (even after 50 seemingly endless amazingly crazy years together), or (my personal favorite) watching a parent graduate from college before you because they want to give you something to strive for. (A note to my mama: Mom, you’ve always been a better role model to me and Lauren than I could ever ask for; you never cease to amaze me with your talents and accomplishments. I love you.)

There’s no greater definition of beautiful than our everyday actions and who it is that we are consciously choosing to become. We’re continually defining what it means to be beautiful, and we have the power to redefine it; but it has to be a choice, and it has to be for you.

So go grab those funky pants you’ve been dying to rock (you know, those patterned ones from JCrew that have been staring at you for the last month); try that new hairstyle from Pinterest that you’ve been too self-conscious to debut; decide that today, you’re going to be 100% yourself. How could there possibly be anyone better? You’re pretty perfect already. And did I mention beautiful? Sure there’s always room for a little tune-up here and there, but that’s no reason to not be you.

If we all pledge to love, if we all pledge acceptance of each other, then what is there to be afraid of? Okay, snakes. And maybe spiders. But somehow that’s incredibly less daunting than malicious gossip and unending judgment. Yes, it’s an effort, but it has to be a universal one; no one can start this movement alone. Everyday we have to choose to love ourselves, love the person next to us (whoever they may be), recognize both our own beauty and theirs, and actively remind each other that we are beautiful. Because we absolutely are.

Something else that’s beautiful: the San Francisco Giants. Let’s take this series, baby!

Keep doing you.