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Mind, Tech,

7 Apps for Making Friends When You’re Grown AF

Making friends is hard at any age.

It’s even more difficult when you’re grown AF and set in your independent, boss babe ways. As self-satisfying as it is to do things on your own it is also nice to have a squad who wants to roll with you – and maybe talk you out of bad decision or two;).   

The question is, how do you find these friends?

Sure, you can make some great BFFs at work, but what if you don’t gel with your co-workers in the – let’s grab a bottle of wine and watch Scandal – kind of way.

Well, like most things these days – there’s an app for that. Actually, there are more than two dozen apps on the market designed to help people with similar interest connect and make friends.

I sorted through the most popular ones and compiled the ones that were the most user-friendly (pun intended;)).

Here are my 7 favorite apps for making new (platonic) friends when you’re grown AF.  

1. Bvddy – For The Sports Inclined
 

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Available on IOS and Andriod, Bvddy literally finds someone for you play with. The app matches people looking for sports partners, pickup games or someone to workout with. You select the sporting activities you enjoy, your proficiency level and location and the app matches you with others in your area that like those activities too.  

2. Meet my Dog – For Dog Moms and Dads 

Meet my Dog helps you set up playdates for your pet and make some puppy loving friends in the process. The free social app – available on IOS – lets you upload of picture of you and your furry companion, chat with other dog owners, and see what other dogs are nearby for playtime at the park.  

3. Patook – For BFFs and Nothing More

Patook is no-nonsense when it comes to helping people make friends. The free app – available on IOS and Android – automatically weeds out users who try to flirt or hook up via its app and permanently bans them. The system matches people based on similar interests and location and makes it easy for women, men and couples to make platonic friends.   

4. Meetup – For the Squad Seeker 
 

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Geared towards connecting groups of people in IRL who share similar interest, Meetup is great for finding your tribe. Available on IOS and Android, the app lets users set up events for people who are passionate about anything from cooking to wine tasting to politics, to ice hockey.  

5. Peanut – For the New Mom
 

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Peanut helps mamas find friends with little ones of their own.  The free IOS app matches women users via location and child orientation. Matched moms can set up adult playdates or group chat via the app. The app is only open to female users and Facebook as its log-in interface, so make sure you’ve identified your sexual orientation on Facebook before signing up.   

6. Hey! Vina – For Women, By Women 
 

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Hey! Vina is a female-only app focused on helping women build a supportive community through their friends. The app lets users connect based on interest, age, and location and encourages them to meet for coffee as soon as they’re matched. The app is available on IOS.   

7. Real – For Those Who Don’t Want To Be Swayed By Looks 

Subconscious gender and racial bias are true hurdles when people are trying to move out of their comfort zone to make friends. Real tries to help by hiding profile photos until users have been matched by common interests and location. The fee IOS app wants people to swipe left on right based on appeal, not appearance.  

Let me know what you think of these friend-making apps!

Mind,

5 Things To Do To Make You Happier Today

Happy Black Woman 2Winter is here and no matter where you live in the country; it’s cold. Staying positive and happy through snow and freezing rain storms is tough. The harsh weather and lack of consistent sunlight has the power to negatively impact your mood and have you longing to curl up in bed in instead of tackling the day. Fortunately, there are ways to combat the mood altering effects of winter. Here are five tips to make you happier now and keep you smiling through the spring:

Minimize Distractions – Don’t let your email or phone interrupt your flow. Turn your phone to silent for part of the day and close out of your email. Schedule a set amount of time in your day to respond to emails and voice mails. This will help lower your stress levels and keep you happiness quotient high by allowing you to concentrate getting your to-do list done.

Spend Time Helping Others – Schedule at least 15 minutes a day to help someone else. This could be writing a LinkedIn Recommendation for an old colleague or even editing a friends resume. Doing something selfless will always make you feel good.

Happy Black WomanChange Your Scenery – Being trapped at a desk all day is bound to wear your down eventually. Try taking your standing conference call at a coffee shop or scheduling your 1:1 meeting for a walk around the block. Even a small change in scenery can re-energize you and make you smile.

Acknowledge Your Happiness Sources – Before you start writing your to-dos, list three things that you are grateful for at the top of the page. They can be work-related, like “I am happy to work with a supportive team” or personal, like “I’m looking forward to having dinner with my friends later today.” The point is take a time each day to ground yourself in happiness.

Schedule A Joyful Me Moment. –  Don’t sit around waiting for happiness to strike. Take control of your mood and add a cheerful mini me moment to your day. That can be going to the gym or grabbing a chocolate chip cookie from your favorite bakery. It can be a small moment. The point is for you to have scheduled happy time on your calendar each day. If you won’t invest time in your happiness, who will?

Try these tips to have a happy day today. Also, share your own #HappyDayEveryday tips with us on Twitter.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

Mind,

Beat Procrastination: Ways to Trick Yourself into Jumping Into Any Task

Every entrepreneur struggles with procrastination from time to time. Let’s be real: doing boring work is no fun. However avoiding key tasks, no matter how small, can lead to an increase in stress levels. Instead of avoiding the dreary to-dos, try these tips to trick yourself into diving into Jumping Black Girlany task:

Evaluate Yourself First

You don’t want to jump into something head first that you’re not completely ready for. If your new to exercising or haven’t done it in years, you can’t start out by running a marathon. You need to start slowly and build your strength. The same concept goes for taking on projects. Set your sights on completing the tasks, but don’t jump in feet first.

Cheat A Bit

Next, trick your brain into thinking that you have already started on the work. Try creating an unconventional to-do list. Write down ten things you need to get done this week, but include two items that you’ve already completed. If you make your to-do list with a couple of items already done, it tricks your mind into thinking you don’t have as much to do and you will be more willing to tackle the other items.

Change Your Outlook

Instead of calling your list a “to-do list”; write “happy to-do list” at the top of your page. Just by simply changing the name of what you call your outstanding tasks, you may be able to alter how you feel about them. Positive words have powerful effects on your mind and energy levels. We are more likely to be more motivated if we believe we’ll derive a level of joy from an act. By simply stating that you are happy to do a task, you are more likely to actually be happy to do it.

Take Small Bites

Try to divide large, tedious or complicated projects into smaller, easier steps and allow yourself ample time to complete them. This will help ensure you don’t feel overwhelmed or stressed out about having to compete such a big project all at once.

Try these tips to keep yourself focused on getting your items done no matter how big or small. The best entrepreneurs work smart, not hard after all.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

Mind,

5 Ways to Feel Happier Today

We all want to be happier, yet it can be a struggle from time to time. Whether it’s stress from your job, family life, relationships, many factors play a role in our happiness and we all experience not so joyful times. Here are a few ways to improve your mood if you find yourself feeling a little down:

  1. Focus on hope – Being hopeful about something in your life can really change your emotional outlook. Having hope means that you know that the future will be better than today and you know that you have the power to take the necessary steps to get there. If you are having a less than stellar moment, choose a goal that you have been putting off for a while, and think of what you need to in order to reach it. It could be something small or big, but visualizing how you can make it real will give you something to positive to focus on.
  2. Get some air: Go outside and get some great exercise. Exercising is a sure fire way to make yourself feel better emotionally and physically. Your brain will thank you and your body will benefit from it too. Staying cooped up indoors is enough to make anyone start thinking negatively. So get outside and move!
  3. Pick better companions: Being around people that are constantly talking negatively or complaining all the time, can really take a toll on your happiness level. Limit contact with people who are like this and if you can, eliminate them from your life altogether. You get to choose the energy that surround you. Instead of partaking in negative gossip tune it out and click on a happy video instead.
  4. Grab a healthy treat: Eating certain foods can actually make you feel happier and we all know eating unhealthy can make us feel drained and sluggish. Foods like seafood, eggs, nuts, and leafy greens are wonderful alternatives to boost your mood and actually contain ingredients that help you brain feel healthier and happier.
  5. Do one thing you love: Everyone has a hobby or something they enjoy doing. Make time for these personal pleasures each day instead of putting them on the back burner. If you allow yourself at least thirty minutes a day to do something you love, you will ultimately feel happier throughout the day.

à bientôt

Charell Star | A Girl In A Dress

Career, Mind,

Ways to Create a Life or Business Full of Intent

Happy WomanWe all have dreams and goals we want to accomplish in life, whether they be to start or run a successful business, have a happy family, be in a position to give back to the community or all of the above.  With everything going on in our lives it’s easy to get distracted and forget that we started with a dream or goal in mind.

Follow these few tips to ensure you live your life, and run your business the way it was meant to be; full of intent and purpose.

Define Your Goals

The most important part of creating a life or business of intent, is clearly defining your intention. Writing down your on goals and intentions not only makes them official, but creates a starting point for creating a path to achieve your goals.

Hold Yourself Accountable

Your goals are yours and yours alone. If you don’t hold yourself accountable, who will? Are you making choices full of intent? Are you taking steps to achieve your goals? Review your goal list often to remind yourself why you started down this road in the first place. Self-correct when you stray from your original intention or find yourself being lazy or lacking focus.

Start Tracking Your Progress & Achievements

It is important to write down your goals and intentions, but it is just as important to track your accomplishments and successes along the way. By keeping tabs and celebrating your achievements you’ll reinforce your original intentions, ensuring you stay on the path. This is also a great way to motivate yourself by showing how far you’ve come from the beginning.

Take Your Goals Everywhere

Having reminders of your goals is great way to keep on track and a vital way to stay motivated to keep moving forward. Create several copies of your goals and put them everywhere: your car, your purse, and even keep a photo copy on your phone. This gives you a way to bring yourself back to your dreams when you feel yourself getting lost in the craziness of everyday challenges. Giving yourself an easy way to realign yourself to your goals will be priceless in helping you live each day with intent.

à bientôt

Mind,

Guilt-Free Ways to Say ‘No’

tape over mouth“No, is a complete sentence.”

That is best statement I’ve heard in a long time. Those two little letters have a lot of power in your life.  If you are a entrepreneur than I am sure people depend on you. And, sometimes you may find yourself saying, ‘yes’ to them when you really want to say no. Sometimes you’ll let the words, ‘I’ll try’ slip out,  when you rather say, ‘absolutely not.” And sometimes you’ll mumble, ‘can I let you know?’ when  you really want to say, ‘have you lost you ever-loving mind?”

Entrepreneurs and especially solopreneurs are A-type personalities. We don’t want to disappoint or have people think less of us. We like being the hero, the person that comes through. The problem doing that all the time is we end up stretching ourselves thin, leaving no time for ourselves.

You have a lot on your plate and need to feel comfortable prioritizing your time. It is absolutely acceptable to turn down a request, if you do not want to do it. After all, if you try to focus on everything; you won’t be able to do anything effectively.

No, is one of the most powerful words in your vocabulary (ask any two year-old). Here are a few tips to help you use it like a pro:

Don’t feel Bad:

If the idea of saying ‘Yes’ to something makes you cringe or you get a lump in the pit of your stomach, you should say ‘no’.  Saying ‘yes’ is an affirmation of your mind and body that you are in agreement with the request and doing the request brings you (and not just the person asking) some sort of satisfaction. If you doubt saying ‘yes’ for even a moment, then you should trust your gut and say, ‘no.’

Know Who You Are Trying To Please:

Sometimes the idea of saying ‘no’ makes us feel guilty, so we decide to say ‘yes.’ This usually stems from some desire to not make the person asking upset or think less of you. So, you let yourself feel bad in order to have them feel good.  This “disease to please” can become a never ending cycle and only you have the power to stop it. If your intentions are to keep them from becoming upset then you will succeed at the cost of your own comfort and time. Only say ‘yes’ if you truly want to help and you feel happy to do it.

Say ‘No’ the right way:

Say ‘no’ with enthusiasm and skip the excuses. Excuses leave the other person room to come up with work arounds for you to get their request done. Remember, ‘no’ is a complete sentence. Practice saying it. If you don’t want to sound too harsh, practice saying it with a smile. You don’t have to deliver the ‘no’ in a negative tone or with a frown for it to be effective.

Don’t Apologize:

Avoid, using the words, “I’m sorry” when you decline a request. Let’s be real. You’re not sorry. You just don’t want the person asking to think you are being mean or dismissive. Be confident when you say ‘no.’ Saying ‘no’ is a choice just as asking a request or favor is a choice. You shouldn’t apologize for making the choice you feel is right for you.

I’m not suggesting that you go around saying ‘no’ to every request in your life, but you should only say ‘yes’ when it feels right. Saying ‘no,’ doesn’t make you a bad person. Saying ‘no’ when you mean it opens opportunities to do more of the things that make you smile when people ask.

à bientôt

 

Mind,

5 Ways to Practice Gratitude and Increase Your Happiness High Daily

There’s a saying, “it’s not happy people who are thankful, it’s thankful people who are happy.” Research has shown that showing gratitude for what you have automatically makes you feel more joy, ” relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships.” Entrepreneurs, like most people, need ways to replenish their happiness high throughout the day and actively showcasing thankfulness is a great way to manifest a positive day. Here are 5 ways to be practice gratitude in your life everyday:

Say Thank YouSay ‘Thank You’ More Often

Saying ‘thank you’ is something most people don’t do enough of on a daily basis. Often, we are too busy and focused with our own problems that we forget about being grateful for the many positive things that happen to us. If someone holds the door or elevator for you, say “thank you.” If someone pays you a compliment, say “thank you.” It’s not only good manners, but will make you feel positively fuller.

listMake a List

Oprah starts her day everyday by reading her gratitude journal. Everyday she adds to the things that she is thankful for having in her life. Yes. the “Queen of Media” may have some pretty big items to make her smile, but it is the small things that bring her the most joy. She includes items like, “good water pressure,” “clean sheets,” and “fresh flowers” on her list. Create your own gratitude journal, include all the things big and small that make you smile and read it to yourself before you get out of bed each day.

happy black girlBe Genuine

A grumpy ‘thank you’ will not help you in any way. It is important be and sound genuinely grateful when you say ‘thank you’  especially when speaking to others. This makes those around you feel appreciated and your sincerity, so they will treat you in the same happy and gracious way.

 

Positive thinkingReplace Negative Thoughts With A Positive Ones

Actively shifting negative thoughts is a big step in creating a more thankful space for yourself.  We all have negative thoughts during the day and the act of reflecting and altering them will change your entire spirit. After you catch yourself thinking, “My client is crazy” take a moment to stop and focus on something in the situation that makes you feel grateful. For example, “she really does trust me with her project and I know in the end she just wants to see my great work.” Being able to alter your thoughts and create thankful moments out of trying ones is amazing way to stay on your happiness high.

You RockGive a Compliment Daily

Giving out compliments can help you increase your gratitude, especially when done on a daily basis. It does not necessarily have to be about the person you are speaking with, but saying something nice and sharing that appreciation is a wonderful way to practice gratitude. Don’t forget to give yourself little compliments as well. The more gracious moments you surround yourself with the more you will have to be thankful.

à bientôt

 

Mind,

5 Tips to Make This a Happy Day

Happy Black womanBeing an entrepreneur comes with its own set of ups and down. Add to that the daily stresses of life and you’ll find that your emotions can vary wildly throughout the day. No one is happy 100% of the time, but I think happiness is something we all strive for each day. Happiness is important, and it contributes to how effective and productive we are at our jobs. Here are some tips to make this and everyday, a happy day:

 

Know what makes you happy

Slow yourself down and think about what exactly makes you happy. We are all unique and have different needs to make us happy. It is important for you to identify what these needs are so you can focus more energy and attention on that versus other less joyful moments. Meditation can be a huge help here. Take some quiet time  and allow yourself to look within and reflect.

Be grateful

It is important to be grateful for the things that make you happy. By simply acknowledging how grateful you are for them, you’ll feel happier. When we focus on the good, we are able to minimize negative thinking.  So go ahead be thankful for all the wonderful people, pets, joyous moments and accomplishments in your life. And, while you’re at it…take a moment to be happy that you have so much to be happy about.

Banish negativity, and embrace the positive

Negativity is everywhere, and crops up at the worst possible times. It’s a energy-suck and life is too short to let it get the best of you.  Happy people surround themselves with positivity as much as possible. Pay attention to how you feel after you interact with people in your life. Do the encounters leave you consistently feeling over-joyed or just sad? You need to determine what emotional environments you allow yourself to dwell. That is not to say, everyone around you will always be having a good day, but bad days should be the exception not the norm.

 Do something nice for yourself

If you haven’t seen the Parks & Recreation Treat Yo Self episode, I may question how committed you are to happiness in general.  It’s easy to get caught up in our day to day lives and sometimes we need to take away. All that stress and anxiety needs time to decompress, and doing something nice for yourself is a good way to start. Take a warm soothing bath, get yourself a well-deserved massage, or buy yourself that tech toy you’ve been eying for the past few months. It doesn’t always have to be something expensive or extravagant, but it should be something that puts a smile on your face.

Understand you deserve happiness now

Surprisingly, a lot of people feel like they don’t deserve happiness. Some feel they are too busy to enjoy happiness or that they need to put others before their own happiness.  Worst still some people think they’ll forgo happiness now and magically end up happy later in life. Let me be clear: you deserve to be happy and you deserve to have happiness now. I want you  to look in the mirror every morning and tell yourself you deserve happiness and today will be a good day. Even if this sounds silly, doing so will help you start the day in a positive way and become your daily opportunity to put a smile on your face. After all, if you can’t make you smile, who can?

à bientôt

Go, Mind,

No Time For A Vacation? Stop Telling Yourself That

Don't be this guy in the office!

Don’t be this guy in the office!

Labor Day has come and gone, symbolizing that summer is coming to an end. Say goodbye to warm days swimming at the pool and laying on the beach. Wait a minute, you didn’t get to do that? You are not alone.

According to the US Travel Association, 40% of Americans do not take advantage of all their vacation time.  You may be thinking, “I didn’t have time to take a vacation” or “if I want to get ahead in my job I need to show everyone how hard I work by not taking time off.” Wrong.

The truth is you help no one (least of all yourself) by being a martyr. In fact, an internal research study conducted by the audit firm Ernst & Young, found that employees who took more time off and used all of their vacation days actually did better in their work.

So, stop letting the days off you’ve earned go to waste. No more excuses. Take a day off and go back to the office feeling refreshed and productive.

bientôt

 

Mind,

The Top 10 Dr. Seuss Quotes to Brighten Any Day

Sometimes the best place to find inspiration is the same places you found it as a kid. Like most adults, I’ve been a Dr. Seuss fan since I was little and have read just about every book he’s written. It might seem odd, but the same man who penned The Cat in the Hat provided some sound advice in his children’s books that can be re-applied to your business and life.  Here are my top 10 favorite Dr. Seuss quotes sure to bring a little light and clarity to your day.

photo 11. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

photo 22. Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”

photo 33. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

photo 44. “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

photo 55. “You’ll miss the best things if you keep your eyes shut.”

photo 16. “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

photo 27. “Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory.”

photo 38. “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”

photo 49. “Today I shall behave, as if this is the day I will be remembered.”

photo 510. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

Feel free to share these Dr. Seuss quotes to bright the day of others in your life.

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