Wednesday, April 20, 2016

5 Things I'm Crushing On Right Now

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Can I just tell you guys this new series has become one of my most favorite things ever? I know this is only the second post, but I literally spend my whole week making lists of things I love and then narrowing them down to the top 5 that I decide to share with you. I have photos stored in my phone of potential things to include and when it's time to post, I narrow it down to what I think is the most special. They're things that make me happy, and things I hope will make you happy, too.

And this post, in particular, has some extra super-charged energy attached to it because my birthday is just 3 days away and I'm excited! I've honestly been on Cloud 12 all week and it's not just because I'm looking forward to partying (though I am). It's because I realize that getting another year on this Earth is a privilege denied to many. The fact that I am happy, healthy, and doing what I love every single day is a gift beyond words. So please take some of this good juju and apply it to your own life, because I've got lots of it to go around!

So that's that. Now it's time for the fun stuff! Here are the 5 things I'm crushing on right now:

1. Pins!

I've always loved pins. I've also always loved things that are miniature. There's just something so darling about a mini version of anything, hence why I love the way a cluster of pins looks on a lapel. But what's even more fun is mixing and matching unexpected pins, like this adorable statement pin I recently snagged on Etsy and my Chanel brooch. I mean, seriously?



2. Words That Move Me

I love words. I live for stringing words together that make you feel something. And when someone makes me feel something with their words, I don't take it lightly. Here are some words that do exactly that.



3. My Vintage Teacup Collection

I started collecting vintage teacups a few years ago and when I recently moved, they stayed in bubble wrap packed away (you know how crazy things can get during a move). I decided to unpack them a few days ago and have developed a newfound love for these beauties. I used to strictly drink my nightly tea in them, but have since started enjoying my espresso in them in the morning. They add such a dainty, pretty vibe to my morning routine and I just adore them. Keeping an inspirational postcard next to me while I sip my espresso makes it all the better.




4. Creating Things With My Hands

I've mentioned on Instagram and Snapchat that I'm currently working on my new zine, Quaintrelle, and I could not be more excited. I'm obviously a huge fan of digital media, but to me, there is something so fulfilling about creating things with my hands. I have always been an artistic person, so reigniting that passion in me has been a game changer. I feel a renewed spark that was dormant for so long. And is there not something sacred about holding original content in your hands and not having to read someone else's comments below it, or see it reposted 78 times? It's a whole different experience. Not only am I working hard on the first issue of Quaintrelle, but I'm creating a special handmade birthday present I'll be sending my VIP's later this week, so make sure you're on my mailing list so you don't miss it.



5. Eccentric Older Ladies

I've always been in awe of stylish older ladies who just don't give a fuck about what anyone else thinks. Pink hair, wild outfits, and confidence are the uniform of choice for some of my favorite senior style icons. And it's not just about the clothes. What draws me most to these women is their attitude. They do what they want and they truly don't care about anyone else's opinion. I suppose that sort of wisdom builds in you as you get older, but its something I want to continue to acquire sooner rather than later. Here's one of my favorite babes. You can find more on my Pinterest board or check out the book Advanced Style that I just ordered. Maybe soon these ladies will inspire me to finally take the plunge and get my pink hair, too.




Friday, April 15, 2016

23 Ways My Life Has Changed Since Leaving My Job and Following My Dream

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As I approach my 36th birthday, I am in major reflection mode and thinking a lot about the past year. I walked away from my career at MTV in the end of 2014 to pursue my dream of being an author and life coach and running The Champagne Diet brand full-time. I did it scared. I did it excited. I did it with no promise of outcome, and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

But it was not an easy decision to arrive at. In fact, it was painstaking. I spent many nights curled up to one too many glasses of Pinot Noir, stressing over every detail, crying, panicking, and soul searching. I was leaving a career I had poured 8 years into, at one of the top media companies in the world. I was leaving a 401k, a 6-figure salary, and a yearly bonus. I was leaving my "looks great on paper" life.

Have you ever agonized over making a huge change in your life? Has your mind ever started spinning with toxic thoughts? What if it doesn't work? What if I fail? What if I embarrass myself? It's natural, and it happens to most of us. We begin to drown in our fears and before we even take a step toward that change, we've talked ourselves out of it. We rarely think about the positive. We rarely think about the good things that might happen if we pull that trigger.  

We rarely think that making that change could drastically improve our lives.

I practice gratitude daily and no matter what is going on, I can always rattle off a list of things I am thankful for to bring me back to my center. The list seems to get longer by the day (another thing I am grateful for). So many of these things have happened for me since leaving my job and pursuing my dream, so I thought I'd share them here in the hopes that maybe they will inspire you to pursue your dream, too. Because when we choose to look at what is possible for us, we reshape our destiny. When we choose to focus on the success stories rather than the scary stories, we shift our mindset. And we begin to realize that the only thing standing in our way are our thoughts. 

So here is a list of 23 ways my life has changed since leaving my comfort zone and following my dream:

  • I lost 25 pounds
  • I finally dyed my hair platinum blonde (I wanted to do it for years)
  • I've completed 200 SoulCycle rides (!!)
  • I am in the best shape of my life to date
  • I published my 4th book and it was a huge success (my books are now my main income source)
  • I've appeared on television over 10 times
  • I sleep 8-9 peaceful hours a night and wake up without an alarm
  • I stopped mindlessly eating
  • I cook all of my meals and get to be healthy every day
  • I moved into a beautiful, spacious, new apartment
  • I get to spend a ton of time with my mom
  • I went back to Japan and did a talk at the American Chamber of Commerce
  • I have partnered with brands like Macy's and Kate Spade 
  • I was named one of YFS Magazines 10 Women Entrepreneurs That Will Inspire You
  • I've been more creative than ever and reconnected with my passion for blogging
  • I completely changed my relationship with alcohol
  • I ditched my 1.5 hour morning commute that was more stressful than my job
  • I've cultivated my own personal spirituality and relationship with The Universe
  • I am planning 2 new tattoos (I used to hide mine at my corporate job)
  • I've created my own signature style I call "Luxe Leisure" (aka sneakers and yoga pants paired with my designer purses - comfortable yet chic!)
  • Speaking of, I treated myself to a Celine and a Chanel bag (paid for in cash. Boom!)
  • I've created a high-end morning routine that grounds me and inspires my day
  • I have more time to nurture my friendships and spend time with the people I care about

New hair!


Books and bags

My talk in Tokyo!

Macy's event

On Pix11 Morning News in New York City

Kate Spade event!


One very important thing I want to mention is that things in my life are nowhere near perfect. I realize that curating a list like this may look as though every last duck is in a row and I have rainbows shooting out of my eyeballs at all times. Not true! I've experienced a lot this past year, including disappointment, heartbreak, stress, and rejection. But I choose not to dwell in those things, because there is just so much more to be happy about.

I also want to stress that every single thing on this list felt like a far off fantasy to me at some point. I knew they might happen for me somewhere down the line, but they did not feel tangible. At all.

So wherever you are today, know that the only thing separating you from your dream life is the illusion that you can't have it. Make a list of your own and imagine 23 things you want to manifest. Act as if those things have already happened. Give thanks for them. Feel as if they are yours.

You will be surprised at how quickly they start to appear.

With love (and wishful thinking),
Cara





Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Me & Wine. An Update.

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It's been 5 months since I changed my relationship status with wine, and shit, has life changed. If you did not catch my original post titled Women, Wine, and What Nobody is Talking About, then I suggest reading it before reading this one. It will give you the backstory on why I decided to explore my relationship with alcohol. The cliff notes version is: I was drinking way more than I was comfortable with. And I was afraid to change. But I did change. And it was one of the best decisions I've made in my life. 

Now, let me preface this with saying I have not stopped drinking completely. I did abstain for a while, as a reset for both my mind and my body. In fact, during that period, I was 85% convinced I might never drink again. And I was fine with that. But as weeks and months went on, and I had enough time away from my sometimes toxic relationship with my beloved wine, I started to look at it - and myself - in a very different light. 


Break Up to Make Up

I felt so amazing during my wine-cation, that it took me a good 3 months before I even had the desire to go out to dinner and order a glass of wine. And I will be honest, when I did, I felt a little guilty. I felt scared that I was slipping back into old patterns. It was kind of like calling your ex again, hoping that you could share a romantic meal and reminisce about old times, but you wind up getting into a fight, having bad sex and feeling gross the next day. 

The first time I sipped my wine in a restaurant, I hated it. And I was pissed. Why wasn't I into drinking? My goal was to shift my relationship so that I could go out and enjoy a social drink from time to time, and now it sucked. I wanted to go back to my carefree days of sipping a glass of red with a delicious meal, and enjoying that warm buzz that allowed me to forget the stresses of the day. It wasn't happening. 

I went out again, and this time ordered a glass of champagne. Same deal. Not into it.

Rather than getting myself into a tizzy, I reframed things. Being so aware of the way I felt around alcohol is a blessing I don't think many have. Sadly, many people drink with reckless abandon, never even taking the time to explore why. I was still in the process. I wasn't going to pressure myself to enjoy something that I wasn't ready to enjoy yet.


Finding My Stride

About a month later, I saw my friend and client Andrea Crowder post a photo of her new wine glasses on Facebook. They were absolutely stunning, so I ran to Crate & Barrel that afternoon and picked up a set. I grabbed a bottle of my favorite Pinot Noir, on the way home, lit my candles, and gave it another try. This time, I can honestly say I enjoyed one glass of wine - like truly enjoyed it. I think that was the moment I realized things had really changed for me. The act of indulging in that beautiful glass of wine felt more like art to me than a quick fix to get buzzed and forget the day. I savored each sip and I admired my new glass.



Since then, I've been enjoying a few glasses of wine each weekend. I have it when I feel like having it, because I want to truly enjoy the taste of it, with a meal or over a great conversation. I don't salivate at 4 PM on a Friday like I used to, anxiously waiting to crack open the bottle. There are some weekends I don't drink at all. I've definitely overindulged a night or two since then. But the thing of it is - it's not a thing anymore. I am no longer waking up with guilt, with a hangover, or with that horrible feeling of not being in control. I have truly mastered my relationship with alcohol and I am forever grateful for that. I have continued to lose weight in a healthy way (I'm down 25 pounds total since November). I continue to become a better athlete. I continue to feel more creative, inspired, energized, and passionate. 

This experiment has been not just a game changer for me - but a life saver. I am sure that I am a better woman for it. And I feel extremely lucky that I was able to do this alone.

If you're looking for some help, or you're "sober curious," you should check out my friend Biet's event in New York City this Thursday called Club Soda. I will be out of town or I'd be there. And I'm hoping she does another one soon.

If there are any negative habits in your life that you feel are stifling you from being your best self, I strongly encourage you explore them, without judgement. I could not have done this if I was angry with myself, or hated myself. I had to do this from a place of love. I had to do this with no expectation. I had to do this because I knew I deserved more. And you do, too.


With love (and an occasional glass of red wine),
Cara

Saturday, April 2, 2016

My Go-To Weekend Rituals

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As an entrepreneuress who works from home, it can sometimes be difficult to differentiate weekdays from weekends. My schedule always looks different, and I don't have much of a routine outside of my SoulCycle classes. I've gotta admit though, I couldn't imagine having it any other way. Every day looks different, I travel often, and I get to design my life. 

However, incorporating time on the weekend to slow down has been a life saver for me. It has helped me maximize my energy and creativity, and it has also helped me stay connected to my family and friends, most of whom operate on a 9-5 corporate lifestyle. 

When weekends roll around, I am intentional about incorporating lots of self-care and time to "fill my flute," so to speak. 

Here are my go-to weekend rituals that keep me sane and happy:

1. Get sweaty.

photo by angelica glass


I never let a weekend go by without getting in at least 2 SoulCycle classes. Although I ride during the week, it's crucial for me to ride on a Friday night so I set the tone for a healthy weekend (and avoid diving head first into a bottle of Pinot Noir). I take Noa's Friday night Rockstar Ride in Brooklyn Heights, and then get in either a Saturday or Sunday ride with him in BK Heights or Williamsburg. An endorphin rush + a mega calorie burner is the ideal way for me to kick off my weekend feeling strong, sexy, and fit. And it's the perfect excuse to wear my Soul gear with my Chanel kicks (please, as if I need an excuse!)


2. Get social.

photo by angelica glass


It's all about the "balance," right? I actually don't believe in balance, but I do believe in doing a variety of things that bring you joy. And as much as I love to work out and sip on my green juice, a girl's gotta indulge a bit! Weekends are the ideal time for me to connect with friends and family in a social setting. Although I occasionally meet up with people for a mid-week happy hour, I love hitting a great restaurant on a Saturday night and indulging a bit. Because I am so health-conscious and I work out so often, letting loose on the weekend with a few glasses of wine and a great meal is important to me so I don't lose my mind. And if I'm too exhausted to go out, I'll order take-out from my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn and snuggle up on the couch in my PJ's with a delicious meal, a drink, and an episode of Girls. Heaven!


Get creative.



Although I get to be creative every day on my social media, there is nothing like curling up to my blog on a Saturday morning with a big cup of coffee and writing. Perhaps I still have a bit of that old corporate schedule in my blood, because Saturdays were always the day I looked forward to before leaving my day job at MTV. It was the one day where I had no other responsibility but my passion and my creativity, and I soaked it all in. You can typically find me brainstorming upcoming blog posts for the week or sending an email out to my VIP list on the weekends. Or, if I'm working on a new book, weekends are my time for writing. I just feel more focused and relaxed when the rest of the world is, too, know what I mean? #EnergyIsEverything.

So I want to know, how do you spend your weekends? Leave me a comment below and let me know! And remember, no matter what your schedule looks like, don't forget to slow down a bit and have some fun. Taking time away from your work will only inspire your work. Believe me on that.

PS: Do you have my books yet? Check out my library here!

With love,
Cara

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

5 Things I'm Crushing On Right Now

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Spring is in the air and I couldn't be happier. This season brings so much excitement; from longer days, to my birthday (April 23rd, for the record), to that smell in the air that makes you feel like anything is possible. I adore walking around New York City on days where the sun feels like it's kissing your forehead, the flowers are in bloom, and everyone has that extra frisky look in their eyes. Meow!

With Spring Fever in full force, it feels like the perfect time to introduce a new blog series here called "5 Things I'm Crushing On Right Now." My phone is filled with snaps of things that make me happy, so I thought, why not share it with my girls?


1. Inspirational sidewalk art


There's just something about looking down while rushing through a busy New York City street and seeing a message like this. You have to look closely, but when you do, the signs are there.


2. Beautiful blooms


I mean, how can this not make you insanely happy? I love seeing everyone staring up at the trees this time of year taking photos of these gorgeous blooming branches. I'm pretty sure everyone has some version of this shot on their camera phone. But how can you not? It's a total Spring tradition and it's so gorgeous.

3. My Marilyn Bar


If you've been following me on social media, then you know that I moved into a beautiful new apartment and I've been having a ball decorating it. In fact, I think I'm going to dedicate a full blog to an apartment tour very soon because it seriously deserves it. My last place had a very dark glam vibe to it, so I wanted the complete opposite in this new large, bright, sunny space. Think whites, cremes, golds, and pastel pink. My first order of business was scoping out this Marilyn Monroe print which I scored from an Esty shop called Wall Buddy. I had him make it for me in an 18x24 print and then I had it custom framed at Frame Me in Brooklyn. I placed it above this console piece from Ikea and my "Marilyn Bar" made it's debut on Easter Sunday. Decked out in champagne and tulips, it was the perfect space for entertaining with a touch of mod glamour. 

4. Quotes that give me goosebumps


As a writer, I'm constantly searching for new quotes that move me. I admittedly get a little bored of seeing the same things re-posted over and over again on Instagram. There's nothing wrong with sharing words that inspire you, but when you see the same thing 78 times, it loses its impact. For me, at least. So when I do share something, it's because I haven't seen it around before and it does something to me at the core. Like this Jack Kerouac quote. Talk to me about empty pages and I'm hooked. 

5. Pastel pink peekaboo highlights


If I do one thing this year, it will be pastel pink hair. I'm a sucker for it and it's gone from "oooh that's pretty!" to a full-blown obsession. While I'd love to go full pink, I do love my new platinum look, so I think I'll do something more subtle like this. Cotton candy pops of pink that shine through just enough. And there is nobody in the world that I would trust with giving me pastel hair other than Tarin at Bohemian Rose salon in Brooklyn. If you're looking for a change, she is your girl. Trust. 

So tell me, what are you crushing on at the moment?

PS - Do you have my books yet? Check out my library here!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Power Playlist: Grrrl Power

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If you know me personally, you know that music is, well, my life. I am not only listening to music 24/7, I also happen to have a bizarre and completely non-useful trivia bank of random musical knowledge stored in my mind. I asked for a record player for my 2nd birthday, and I've been walking around with headphones on and analyzing song lyrics ever since.

Many of you have asked me to create Spotify playlists with my favorite songs, so I thought I'd start a new series on the blog called Power Playlists. It's basically me sharing what's on my iPod, aka giving you a sneak peek into my brain (don't say I didn't warn you!) Each playlist will have its own theme. And the kicker is, I don't really listen to any new music, so you can expect a music catalog mainly from the 80's and 90's. Sorry not sorry!

Speaking of, I've been feeling a major 90's girl rocker vibe lately, which has been filling me with an insane amount of passion and creativity. Maybe it's because these are the songs that I listened to when I first began truly creating and sharing my work with the world as a teenager in the 90's (catch up on my Snapchat today for more on that. Username: GlitterGutsGlam). These songs reflect the time in my life when I was working on my zine, going to shows, interviewing bands, and basically trying to become the next Tabitha Soren. Points for anyone who remembers her!
 
So without further ado, I present you my Grrrl Power Playlist. Music you can create to, write to, brainstorm to, and most importantly, rock out to. Enjoy!

With love (and skateboards),
Cara

Friday, March 18, 2016

Stripped

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all photos by Angelica Glass



As I sit here typing this, I have no makeup on my face other than some leftover eyeliner from yesterday and a sweep of shadow on my brows. I'm in a tee shirt and sweats, my hair is wet, and for the first time, in a very long time (perhaps ever), I feel free.

Feeling free has been a process. A big one. It started with realizing that my emotional vulnerability was the key to a number of things: my personal happiness, my professional success, and my connection with others. Most of us grew up in a world where we were taught to get in line. To put our own desires aside and do what you're "supposed to." Robot mode, as I call it. Go to school, graduate college, get a good job with a 401k, buy a house, have a few kids, and maybe if you're lucky, take a vacation once a year. Those are the things we are taught to value. But the things that truly count, like self-expression, authenticity, and creativity, are thwarted somewhere right after high school. I think this is why so many of us look back at those years with such great nostalgia. Because for a lot of us, that was the last time we were celebrated for truly being ourselves.

Being committed to my own self-expression is something that has always been a priority for me. Even while working my corporate job at MTV, I built this blog, wrote 3 out of my 4 books, and created and nurtured my own personal brand. Although I was technically "held back" by my day job, I knew in the back of my mind it wasn't forever. I knew I had more to give to the world. I used my paycheck to fund my passion and I worked like a dog to leave that world behind and build my own.

That type of freedom came somewhat easily to me. I felt drawn to being myself. I felt strong and secure in my voice. The one thing I did not feel strong and secure in, however, was my body.

If you've read any my books or this blog, you know that my struggle with my body image has been a lifelong journey. I joined Weight Watchers for the first time at 11 years old, and that launched 20+ years of disordered eating and a deeply complicated relationship with myself and my body. I talked a bit more about this in my last post (you can catch up here if you want to).

The good news is though, is that relationship has been changing for the better. It's been a slow change, but it feels real this time. It's not based on the high of a 10 pound weight loss or the fact that I can fit into a 29 inch waist pair of jeans. It's a true, hard-earned, multifaceted change. It's the result of a shit load of inside work that has resulted in a great change on the outside. And it became especially evident for me about two weeks ago when I did a photo shoot for my new website launch.

It was a sunny Sunday morning, the entire contents of my apartment and my life were literally everywhere. I was set to move in 2 days, so things were a bit crazy. Boxes overflowing with pots and pans, piles of clothes ready for donation, and the only room in tact was Champagne Diet HQ, better known as my den. I stood in a pair of shiny American Apparel leggings, a leather blazer, and my hair perfectly blown out as my dear friends Angelica and Tara rang my doorbell. Angelica, a phenomenal professional photographer, had agreed to shoot my "reband" photos and Tara came along to help me pick out outfits and offer moral support.

Within 15 minutes, Angelica started snapping away as I posed near my desk. My Pandora "girl band rock" station was playing softly in the background, and Tara occasionally tucked a few pieces of hair behind my ear as I slowly and meticulously turned my face to capture various angles. I felt uptight, as I usually do, when people are looking at me. 

We moved to the couch where I went through a few more scenarios like writing in my agenda and pretending to sip my coffee. You know, the things you're supposed to do when you're an author and a life coach. "This will be great for my About section!" I remember saying. But all I could hope was that I didn't have a fat roll when sitting down and that Angelica could Photoshop my double chin if I wasn't sticking my neck out enough. The negative self-talk that went on that first hour was out of fucking control. 

A few moments later, I saw the two of them chatting. "Can we do something?" Tara asked. 

"Like what?" I responded nervously.

"I just wanna mess up your hair a little."

Suddenly Rihanna was blasting, my hair was piled on top of my head in a messy bun, and I was being directed to stand against the wall. Tara snapped off her bra and handed it to me. "Put this on."

"But this is a business shoot! I can't be in a bra!" I argued.

Suddenly a wave of panic rushed over me as I whipped my shirt off. I felt exposed. Even though they were my best friends, I still feared being judged. But I knew if I didn't do this, I would never move past these hurdles I built in my mind. 

So I checked my fucks at the door and followed their direction.  And it was the most empowering and liberating thing I've done -- maybe ever.





I realized in those moments that I am an author and a life coach, but as I always preach to you ladies, I'm a woman first. I'm not perfect. I sometimes have a double chin or a little fat roll. But I am happy, I am healthy, and I am finally confident. And it felt damn good to celebrate that.

When I got the photos back, I intended to keep the more "stripped down" ones for myself and only share the "appropriate" ones with all of you. But that would go against everything I believe. I believe being appropriate is being truthful and authentic. And I believe that sharing the moments where we can overcome things like insecurity and fear is one of the most exceptional things you can do in this life.

So here I am. Free. Proud. Stripped. And finally embracing the fact that when we learn to take off the things we don't want to carry anymore, life gets a hell of a lot better.

With love,
Cara

PS - If you'd like to book a session with Angelica, check her out here.