Reclaiming Your Masculine Energy

Most people think masculine and feminine energy is gender-oriented (such as a man being masculine and a woman being feminine). Our gender may gear us to have one form more dominant over another. However, at the end of the day, all of us have both.

The point of this post is to open the perception of your abilities as a person – regardless of gender. This post may emphasize women tapping into masculine power. Yet, the goal IS NOT to tell a woman to “be a man in a man’s world” nor vise versa. It is just not sustainable.

Instead, monitor yourself. Not in a judgy way but to observe which is your strength. Each energy should be thought of as a resource in a toolbox. Depending on the scenario needing fixing, you would reach for the energy that appropriately applies. Therefore, below are three tips on tapping into your masculine energy.

What’s the Difference?

Let’s understand the difference between masculine and feminine energy. Each chart below lists the characteristics of each:

Breaking Gender Roles

To reclaim masculine energy, open your mind. Social media is a medium to celebrate and support men wanting to paint their nails as well as women wanting to wear boxy suits. Gender fluidity and neutrality are more open and present than ever.

So when it comes to breaking the gender norms, do something that you have always deemed exclusive to the opposite sex. Cigar smoking, for example, is my favorite engagement. With a cigar in my hand, I feel emboldened, empowered, and powerful. I’m tapping into a pleasure that women tend to miss because societal norms have deemed it as solely a male activity. But it’s for everyone!

Another empowering activity is getting familiar with power tools. When I renovated two properties, I was neither the assistant nor a decorator. I relied on Youtube to learn new skills or problem-solve. By doing so, I didn’t rely on a counterpart to do ALL the physical labor.

Knowing how to hang a picture frame and install new molding is empowering for women and will change your perception of what you are capable of. The same applies to men. Understanding when to problem-solve versus listen, to empathize versus lead, and to connect versus move is vital to success in relationships and in life.

Channeling Both Energies

As briefly mentioned earlier. I like to think of energies (fem and mas) as superpowers that can be tapped into when needed. When I worked in an office, I learned how to use both entities to my advantage.

For example, moving with intention activated my masculine energy which inherently garnered more respect from my peers and confidence from my superiors.

My masculine energy allowed me to claim my space. On the flip side, I leveraged my feminine energy to build relationships or channel creativity. Both energies are needed to be successful in every aspect of our lives – inside and outside of work.

Be Present

One of my favorite lines from a movie is from the Bridge of Spies. Because feminine energy is reflective and vulnerable, it can cause us to worry a lot. In this scene, I love the conversation between two main characters who are about to embark on a dangerous exchange across a bridge:

James Donovan: Aren’t you worried?

Rudolf Abel: Would it help?

These two lines have been stuck in the back of my mind ever since. Whenever I feel angst arise or take over, I think of this and it helps me to stop and tap into rational reality by asking:

  • What can I do about this situation?
  • What else could this mean?
  • Are there other outside influences making me think/feel a certain way?

I hope this post helps you question if you are using all your power! If you are curious to know you dominent energy, take the energy test!

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4 Sneaky Ways Brands Greenwash

Greenwashing is at an all-time high as brands struggle to keep up with the demands to change their fundamental core values (or lack thereof) to reduce their carbon footprint and implement sustainable practices. For more prominent brands, completely turning their production on its head and reevaluating their whole supply chain to be more eco-friendly will take an immense amount of time – however, that is not stopping many from trying. 

As or others, they are taking shortcuts to pretend they are on the same path mainly to make a profit versus attempting to make real change and thus Greenwashing. If you want to learn how to understand, spot, and acknowledge it, below are five signs of Greenwashing.

Greenwashing refers to practices undertaken by companies, organizations, and even politicians to overstate or mislead people on their ecological or social responsibility.

Conscious Life and Style

Greenwash Lie #1: Tiny Moves = Big Change

For corporations to claim a product/service is “eco-friendly” without providing access to specific data is misleading for consumers – thus Greenwashing.

For example, a hotel asking for guests to reuse towels to help the environment is misleading. In reality, the hotel wants to save on cleaning expenses. Therefore, the hotel pretending their intention doesn’t serve a financial endeavor is a form of greenwashing.

The same concept of “withholding information” applies to the fashion industry. When H&M clothing stated a collection of garments as “sustainably made,” the company ended up misleading their customers to think the whole garment was included. However, only the tag on the clothing was considered sustainable.

Greenwash Lie #2: Straight-Up Lying

Slews of brands feel empowered to straight-up lie about their product or service being ethically and sustainably produced. Many people will take what is advertised on a surface level hoping they have made thoughtful choices. Especially when there are many underprivileged that cannot afford to think about the environment. To twist the knife, these communities are the people that need help the most.

For those that do have the resources and time, when you go to that business’s website and find no evidence that its supply chain has made any effort to curve its ecological footprint or inspect its factories for fair practice, that’s a major red flag for greenwashing.

Some people may retort that some sites may not be up to date with displaying that type of information. I that I say – it is not the 1990s anymore; therefore, it should be the bare minimum for a functional business to 1.) have a standard website and 2.) display proof of claims. Whether it is by pictures or certifications, any business that wants to make eco-friendly declarations must be able to back it up. 

Greenwash Lie #3: Broad Strokes

As mentioned in my terminology post, companies use “green” vernacular to describe the ecological impact, but these terms are merely concepts rather than definitions of positive impact. These terms are broad strokes that need to encompass more specific detail to hold companies accountable for their marketing claims.

Much like the previous greenwash lies, using broad terminology to claim a complete product and service with a low carbon footprint is a Greenwashing lie. 

For example, when a brand advertises a product made with eco-friendly material like bamboo, it doesn’t mean automatically mean the brand ethically-sourced and producd it free of harmful chemicals. Additionally, it doesn’t even mean that the bamboo is of great quality!

Greenwashing Lie #4: Whitelying Certifications

You even have to be careful when a brand declares their products are certified. What if the certificate is as vague as the term “sustainable” or “eco-friendly”? Credentials are a helpful tool for backing brands for transparency; however, they shouldn’t be the sole source of credibility.

Some companies like to “use third-party verification” or make up a certification of their own to sound like they are making impactful initiatives in the fashion industry. They know most people won’t check them – especially if they pick up the product in person. 

But if you are online and want to do your due diligence and ensure your money is invested toward brands that align with your values, it’s essential to dig deeper into these certifications. Doing so helps ensure these certifications are a legitimate and valuable addition to the brand. Accountability for ourselves and the companies is key to making a change in our global carbon footprint and the people that make the products come to life.

You can also use influences, new sites, and reliable website engines like Good on You to help decipher a brand’s credibility for you. I hope this post prompts thought and encourages you to think twice before believing in a company’s surface value.

How to Make Fast Fashion Sustainable by Doing Less

As much as some of us want to invest in sustainable/ethical products and services, not all can afford them. For items that you don’t want to get second-hand (e.g., underwear, shoes, etc.), buying from fast fashion is our only option.

What if I told you that you CAN be sustainable with items made in the mass-produced industry. Living consciously applies even when you step into a Forever 21 or Aldo store. It’s in the upkeep and consistency of intaking new items that create waste. For tips on how to make fast fashion sustainable, keep reading.

Germ Paranoia

Growing up, I believed that my clothes were contaminated as soon as they fell on the floor. Now, I wear certain clothes a multitude of times before it goes into the hamper.

Why? Because we are not that dirty! Unless the garment actually stinks or is visibly dirty, there’s no need to wash it!

By doing so, you will notice a lower energy bill and less laundry! Additionally, you end up preserving your clothes for a longer run.

Be a Healer

I admit mending garments is my least favorite thing to do. It is tempting to toss or donate a piece of clothing every time it gets damaged because I do not want to be bothered trying to fix it. However, I am working on it by forcing myself to mend the article – especially if I love it.

There’s also the option of sending the garment to a professional seamstress or to someone who knows how to work a sewing machine. Either up your skills or work those connections!

Whipping the Magic Wand

When I went to Iceland, I bought a sustainable two-piece swimsuit in white. I wanted it to look fabulous at the Blue Lagoon with my super-fresh, fire-truck red hair. I didn’t know that stepping into the lagoon’s steamy, jacuzzi-like water would make my hair bleed profusely, staining my brand-new white suit! When I arrived home, I tried to get the pink stains out but to no avail and left it sitting in the basement the rest of winter.

Come summer, I decided to tie-dye it in hopes of revamping the suit, and it came out rad! Now I have a two-piece that is unlike any other! Plus, I saved it from the landfill by extending its life. The point is that whether you have to sew, dye, or cut something you own (no matter the brand), refreshing a look rather than buying a new article of clothing altogether is sustainable enough.  

Create an Evergreen Style

Trends is a dirty word as it represents a state of “temporary use” in consumption. To be honest, I never really understood them.

For example, let’s think about fall trends. Who is in charge of saying that cardigans and jean jackets are “cool” and in-demand that season? Since when are these two items not needed when temperatures drop?

The part that makes trends such a bother to the preservation of the environment is that people will discard “out dated” items and then replace them with the same item but with a triendier version of the garment.

Think about the constant production to meet that demand. Imagine the hostile and volatile working conditions and chemicals seeping into the ground all because we wanted a NEW fashion piece to display on our bodies. The practice is such a waste when you sit down and really think about it.

Create a style that is constant regardless of what the dude in the top of a high-rise says it should be. Be you. Be unique. Doing so is not only better for your mental health, but mama planet will thank you for it – plus you will look cool too!

Hopefully, these tips have come in handy for my wallet and inputting conscious living into practice. Much like the Mari Kondo concepts, how we care for our clothing has a lot to say about ourselves.

Leverage 3 Minimalism Questions When Shopping

Minimalism. It is the less is all you need a mantra.

Like water and oil, minimalism is the antecedent to shopping. When the impulsive desire to consume arises, it can be hard to resist the addictive shopping high – though fleeting. If you find yourself constantly wanting to consume the most for less, ask yourself the following questions to redefine your needs. 

Reevaluate Emotions

My go-to when I was bored or needed a pick-me-up was to hit up Forever21 and spend up to $50 just to feel excitement or relief.

Over time, I have leveraged the following questions to keep me from stepping into a fast-fashion store:

  • Why do I want to go shopping? Is it boredom, anxiety, or necessity?
  • If needed, do I have an article of clothing at home that I can wear instead?
  • Can/will I wear this item long-term or will it only last a season?

Analyzing your feelings will separate emotion from rationality. It takes practice but if you snap a rubber band on your wrist every time the impulse kicks in, the reflection will eventually become second nature.

Discern the Timeline

Let’s say that you do need a product. Similar to the previous advice above, look at your timeline. Can you save to buy a sustainable alternative instead, or do you need this item now?

I guarantee that buying better quality products will make you feel much better than buying something that breaks on your way out to dinner. It’s not as fun to wait, but you will find that piece to be more rewarding as it never lets you down.

I have witnessed and been a victim of fast fashion fails. It is no fun to have your necklace snap in the middle of dinner or your heels break off when walking to work from the parking lot. Worst of all, it’s embarrassing when it happens in public! Save yourself the heartache and try to plan ahead so you can save for better-quality products.

Is There a Second-Hand Option? 

Not only do you save money exponentially from buying items second-hand, but you activate a resourceful skill. Whether you are negotiating a new dresser from FB marketplace, grabbing a blouse out of your mom’s closet, or buying a pair of pants off of Poshmark, you are being sustainable by finding ways to reuse and restore already-made garments.

Additionally, instead of putting money into the pockets of exploitative companies like FashionNova, you are activating the rational part of your brain that helps you reel in impulsivity.

And yes, I do wear some fast fashion pieces still; however, it is 90% preowned. However, one of my deal breakers is buying footwear second-hand because I find that they are on their last leg when I find them at a thrift store.

To sustain mental health, finding balance in what we invest/support can be a positive habit. For example, I have bought $120 sustainable and ethical shoes, thrifted a pair of high-brand boots for $7, and purchased two new pairs of sandals from Aldo for $200. The point is that it’s all about doing our best with what we have – no shaming for lacking resources!

I hope this post helped you understand how to discern desire from necessity. This skill is vital to financial wealth and reducing environmental/social impact so if you have any more advice or tips, please share below!

Prevent Ego From Stunting Personal Growth

People tend to use pride and ego interchangeably to describe a person raging with arrogance, selfishness, and stubbornness. In reality, these two terms are much different from one another even though they are not exclusive. We all carry pride and ego but where people differ is in how we deal with it.

I noticed this to be a common struggle amongst everyone I’ve met in a new city. If you are serious about self-healing and breaking negative patterns in your life, the first step in doing so is in gaining self-awareness. Sounds easy but it is actually a difficult skill that most people lack.

Ego versus Pride

According to Psychology Today, ego is the Latin word for “I.” Therefore, if you were to write I love you in Latin, you’d write ego amo te.

The ego is an internal force that allows you to experience and perceive an event in a unique and separate manner from others – helping you to establish identity.

We need our ego to protect us from dangerous conformity; therefore, do not confuse this post as some ode to completely dismantle ego as a whole. However, an ego left unchecked can also isolate you from creating meaningful relationships and connections.

Pride is a feeling of satisfaction from accomplishments and motivates you to strive to be your best self as well as drive inspiration. It establishes quality, engrains motivation, and fuels self-worth.

Alternatively, ego constantly pushes you to prove superiority over others to establish worth (e.g., much like machismo culture over women). Therefore, what you want to do is to check in to see if your decision, emotions, and actions are based on genuine pride and respect or straight-up ego.

Taming the Monster

I am no psychologist, but perhaps an inflated ego appeases our inner, wounded child or gives us a high from thinking our shit doesn’t stink. Either way, having an ego run amuck can prevent us from finding common ground and empathy with others. In addition, it makes us forget the importance of love and unity by constantly inflating ourselves as a protection mechanism (e.g., Fear is the heart of machismo culture and ego is the lungs).

Though pride is meant to be positive by definition, when you couple it with ego, you create a monster! This heavy spirit wants to win in all games that do not even exist. Though I admire those that go against the grain, sometimes not paying attention to the ego mess left behind can leave you alone and resentful. As for everything in life, balance is key!

To check your ego demon, the following tactics can help:

  1. Therapy – To understand how to leash up those pesky ego demons, you must first learn what brought them to existence. The more you know about yourself, the more power you have over it. Using a professional to guide you through this process – no matter how painful – will be an essential resource in overcoming and preventing ego possession. Therapy is a helpful and pivotal tool in discovering the why behind your ego and healthy ways to heal from it.
  2. ReframingMel Robbins taught me to note my physical reactions and their correlation to my emotional/mental states. By doing so, I eventually learned (through practice) how to stop myself before the spiral of emotional thoughts – garnered by depression/anxiety – took over. Giving in to the whispers of the ego – even though they are conclusions based on one sole reality – will trigger you to protect that inner child. Even if you do have an episode of wild emotions, her techniques to gain control are just as useful.
  3. EducationConstantly educating yourself to elevate your emotional intelligence will help you gain control over your life. So much so that when others trespass a boundary despite whatever hot emotion you feel, you can calmly and appropriately react accordingly. Ego would have you flip on someone instantly just to gain the satisfaction of safety. However, it is really you allowing the outside world to control you.

All three tools have made me the woman I am today. Of course, the negative and self-destructive learned behaviors may come out of the woodwork every so often. But for the most part, I finally have power over the majority of my lowest bouts of depression/anxiety.

Emotional Intelligence

Gaining control is a superpower that did not come to me through lightning. I had to practice until my emotional breakdowns were far from in-between. 

Even around those that do not suffer from anxiety or depression, I can quickly identify who is mature in their emotional health versus those who let their demons run rampant. 

These people rummage through life unaware of the monster on their back. They live in a constant state of frustration, negativity, and fear. Instead of taking responsibility, they blame and burden the outside world with their baggage.

As baffling as it may be, each person is on their own mental health/spiritual journey so it is not for me to judge. All I can do is be a resource or determine if backing away will protect my wellbeing.

If you are struggling with ego demons now, I hope this blog post helps you. It’s uncomfortable to confront the ugly parts of ourselves and will be a daily struggle but self-awareness is a skill that gets easier the more you practice.

5 Major Problems with Telenovelas

According to Nielsen Data, telenovelas (Latin soap operas) average 5.7 million viewers from ages 18-50 a week in the US alone. Unlike American soap operas, seasons only last one round but comprise up to over 100 episodes, making them marketable and a cornerstone of Latin American culture. 

I grew up watching them with my parents and grandparents, even though I found them strange. “Why is she always talking to herself?” I asked once about the main character’s need to have several monologues in one episode.

My parents burst into laughter as the thought never crossed their minds. Now, as a 32-year-old woman, I would be lying if I said the only reason I watched telenovelas was to keep up my Spanish. The truth is, it brings comforting, nostalgic entertainment.

But seeing that I am going through a divorce and have discovered a thing or two since my adolescent introduction to these shows, I have noticed a reoccurring theme that poses problematic expectations about love and life that I didn’t know I had unconsciously swallowed. Therefore, I decided to highlight below five problematic themes with telenovelas… in case you wondered.

The truth is, you won’t always feel an ever-flowing surge of dramatic love for your partner – especially the longer you are with them.

And just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should be with them. People fall in love with the wrong person all the time, so the notion of “all you need is love” to make a lasting relationship is very much false.

Love Conquers All

As beautiful as that sentiment is, it is incomplete. Yes, true love is beautiful and can help fuel compassion and patience. However, it is unrealistic to say that you will always be in a constant state of heart-eyed emojis. 

Long-term relationships require work and rework because people change through their lives. Sometimes, one person changes while the other partner remains the same. Naturally, this change can cause conflict, and you need more than mere love to bridge communication gaps. You need empathy, self-awareness, patience, and most importantly – the will to try. 

As entrancing as it is to see two people constantly gaze at each other in these telenovelas with automatic, work-free, and yet profound love, that portrayal of love is a fantasy, at least in the long term. 

Only Men Can Save the Day

As sexy as it is to know a man can care for you when shit hits the fan, the theme of women being helpless in these telenovelas irks me.

It seems the only time women rise to the occasion of power in the plotline is when she accumulates wealth through evil or scorned intentions.

This theme needs revamping to help change the machismo culture fueled by these ideas in these shows. Instead, we need to show women chasing ambition based on nothing but strength and show them uplifting other women in the process: no more revenge-body themes and stereotypical roles in fueling passionate decisions.

After all, it is 2021. Women do not need men to save the day or reason to succeed other than being a bomb babe. 

White Lamb Syndrome

The white lamb refers to someone who is innocent, pure, and virgin. It is a reoccurring icon used in the arts, because of religion, to refer to the “perfect woman.” But, being 2021, it baffles me that the virgin image is still upheld to the highest standard. Never mind the sexual liberation women have gained in the last decade. 

Alternatively, men are free to roam shame-free sexually, whereas women are seen as “that kind of woman.” There are all these rules about what women should and shouldn’t do on dates, how many partners she is supposed to have before she loses value, and what type of sexual venture in her past deems her unworthy of a long-term relationship.  

For example, a woman that takes a man home on her first date for no other reason than feeling a genuine connection to that man is now seen as a slut and no longer worthy. No one mentions the man in the scenario that agreed to go home with her. Only the shame is carried on the female’s shoulders, and it seems to me that this culture is very much prevalent in today’s society. 

In telenovelas, this sexual pedestal is prevalent and is very disappointing.

Stereotypes in Beauty

Colorism is a present issue in Latin culture. Though we all speak Spanish, the truth is, we are even more divided than you think. Each country and region has its nuance in communication, food, politics, and perceptions around life. One of the few common traits shared beyond language is that we were all colonialized.

In telenovelas, especially ones with Mexican characters, dark-skinned native-looking people tend to serve roles of the poor who cater to the white, European-looking folks who always hold a position of power and money. 

Unfortunately, much like Hollywood’s lack of representation of minorities – especially in leading roles, Latin culture is also behind. This blue-eyed leading lady role needs to change, especially since Hispanics come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes. It’s time for change and continuing colorism in telenovelas needs to end.

Lack of Romantic Diversity

The allure of drama is what draws viewers every week. You do not need to be straight to have problems. However, the views on LGBT culture are still very far behind in minority communities. 

I have yet to see a gay person in a telenovela and not serve a stereotypical role or fuel irrational fears. Just because you are lesbian does not mean you can’t have straight female friends, and just because a man is gay does not mean he is always flamboyant. The solution is simple – representation. Much like colorism, representation for all forms of love is needed to destigmatize LGBT people of all colors and races.

This post is a little random but dovetails into the whole representation discussion. Also, the constant themes portrayed always trigger me to think and feel a certain way as I look at my own life. If that happens for me, I’m sure that happens for you as well.The thing is, telenovelas are not real. But because they heavily influence Hispanic culture, it is still important to make sure that old fashion tones of machismo are removed, women are empowered, and representation starts making its way into scenes.