Foreword from your Head F&N Babe-in-Charge Tiff: Each week, we're introducing a new friend with a new story. A story about something that'll make you root for the author reading through her (or his!) ups and downs. A story that will inspire you to chase your own dreams and maybe pursue other paths you may have not considered before. A story that will show you never-before-seen vulnerabilities and suck you in. Every story is different but one thing remains the same. Each person is pushing forward ever-onward, giving 110% to living the best life possible.
(Throwback photos from our first New Orleans Fashion Week Party to our most recent trip to San Francisco)
Andrea was the very first real new friend I made when I moved to New Orleans. She shocked me with how very loud ( lol I'm sorry but it's true Andrea!) she was the first time I met up with her for happy hour but I also couldn't help but admire how driven and confident she was. In every being of her body, through her hand gestures, the way she texted so fast and talked to me at the same time, and down to her order choices at the restaurant, I could tell she was someone that got what she wanted because she worked hard for it (we're kindred spirits). We've since moved to very different parts of the world (me in Nashville, TN and her in Honduras), but life has kept us close no matter the miles. Andrea is a person who unfailingly is supportive of other people, no matter what the industry, trying to chase their dreams. And that's what makes the world go round, babes supporting babes! If you're ever needing a pep talk or a genuine friend, email her and I know you'll make a life-long friend, guaranteed.
Read on below to hear about her journey in revitalizing her soul and strengthening her relationship with herself ( not gonna lie, I was so guilty of a lot of this before I came to terms with it within the past year and her words hit home!). -Tiffany
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The concept behind Pretty Eats comes from a deeply rooted love for food. ( Am I right?) I wanted to show to other health conscious millennials, et all, that healthy food does not equal boring or basic. Slowly I began to develop the space to not only encompass recipes but to encourage healthy eating, as well as healthy living.
As within, so without
Flashback to turning 25, little did I know this would be a year of crash and burn — I thought I had it all: a career, friends, health and youth. Most importantly someone I thought who would soon become my partner-in-life, someone who I loved dearly and who had also become my biggest mentor and best friend, abruptly left. And in the blink of an eye, I had lost it all.
Having no foundation of who I truly was, I fell hard. No matter what distractions I used whether it was socializing, friends, boyfriends, work — I was still lost, confused and miserable. I was living on auto pilot, shutting the world out and waking up each day, putting a mask on and pretended things were ok with me. It’s actually pretty common among people in their mid-20s, it's called imposter syndrome and it has sky-rocketed since social media came into the scene.
It was a pretty dark year; my life felt like a puzzle that I had no instructions on how to put back together. I was hurt and along the way I hurt a lot of people, I was in a vicious circle of self-destruction and, like a black hole, I destroyed everything in my path. After almost a year of heartbreak and self-sabotage, my soul was begging me to take back the reins of my life and begin the process of self-recovery.
I began to practice a more mindful way of living and through hours of introspection, meditation, prayer and a lot of release, came self-acceptance, confidence, light and immense feelings of love and gratitude.
It’s an amazing place to be and thus, I decided The Pretty Eats would not only focus on working on our physical self but it would also talk to the inner self, the one that rarely gets to come out. Think of your inner self as the Miranda of the group, too busy to hang out, stressed at work, comes to an empty house and sadly eats chocolate cake out of the trash can. In other words, it can feel very much neglected.
The truth is, once I started nurturing my inner-self, spending time with myself, revealing and working hard to break self-sabotage patterns that were only hurting me, giving it confidence, love and most importantly listening and understanding it – well it’s safe to say my inner self is looking more of a Samantha at this point.
But in all seriousness- the only way to bring peace to your surroundings is to find peace within yourself first. Coming to terms WITH YOURSELF will make it easier for you to BE BY YOURSELF.
Consider this beautiful passage out of my all-time favorite book, Manuscript Found in Accra by Paulo Coehlo, (Must read):
“Blessed are those who do not fear solitude, who are not afraid of their own company, who are not always desperately looking for something to do, something to amuse themselves with, something to judge. If you are never alone, you cannot know yourself.”
So how can you get there? Below you will find some ways in which you can start familiarizing you with yourself but keep in mind it’s a process that will take as long as it needs, so practice patience more than anything else.
1. Introspection – Breathe deeply, relax your body and after a few minutes, once your muscles are relaxed begin to review your day. How was it? Where there moments of anger, sadness, joy? Why? What triggered you to take actions in the manner in which you did? Where are these feelings stemming from? These type of questions will lead you to assess your actions, your feelings, your thoughts and make you accountable for them. Once you are aware, it implies responsibility. Make time before bed each night to go over the day, it will help you stop living on auto pilot.
2. Be In Control – As the saying goes, think before you act. To be able to make free choices we must free ourselves from the enslavement of our thoughts, our feelings and our reactiveness. Self-control will help you when meditating or spending time by yourself by limiting the power that emotions or thoughts that creep in can have over you. Honor the time you spend doing introspection, do not let anything else take control.
An easy way to do this is by acknowledging things for what they are, for example:
You’re on the roll and you’ve managed to somehow meditate for 2 whole minutes without overwhelming yourself, then a thought pops in, “Maybe I should not have had that third coffee”as your jittery self struggles to stay put, (Acknowledge this as a thought and go back to focusing on your breathing) … as you’re closing in on 3 minutes, your stomach begins to knot and your face turns into a frown and you let anger take over as 3 of your close friends failed to like that selfie you whole heartedly worked on, (Acknowledge this as a feeling and go back to focusing on your breathing.)
But before you go on a full on Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, remember to be patient with yourself and allow yourself to process emotions, thoughts and anchor yourself in love.
3. You are not alone – Last but certainly not least, put your squad to a good use other than taking killer group pics. Ask for support from family, friends and even professional help, there is no shame in needing a hand or two, or four if you’ve got a furry friend around.
Sometimes, it takes a while before we can come to terms with ourselves, to truly love ourselves without filters , (no matter how good you look with it) so soaking up in the love of others that have been doing that for a while, our parents, our siblings, our close friends,helps us cement a foundation for it. It anchors us in it and helps us heal, recover, process, embrace our own light.
We are an enlightened and vocal generation, trust that you are not alone in this process, send waves of love and light and blessings to others who may be going through the same thing. Remember, everything is light. For in order for there to be light, there must be darkness and they peacefully coexist.
I wish that you are able to reconnect with your inner light and inner power. Never forget that God, the Divine Energy, or whatever higher power you believe in listens to you when you speak, but listens also when we are in silence. Accept every process as a blessing and be always grateful, when you achieve this harmony, you will always receive more than you ask for.
Good vibes all around,
Get in touch!