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Inspiration

Thoughts on Vulnerability

Fashion, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Petite Style, Style, TravelCrystal JacksonComment
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“Vulnerability is the courage to show up when you don’t know the outcome.” - Brene Brown

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Vulnerability is a concept I’ve avoided for 33 years. Yes, completely avoided. I’m sitting here listening to Brene Brown’s feature on Netflix and it is inspiring. If you didn’t know Brene Brown is a specialist in studying the concept of courage and vulnerability over the past twenty years. What she found through extensive research and data is that you can’t have courage without vulnerability. I was raised as a child who gathers strength from God and Jesus. Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I started thinking about how vulnerability plays into drawing from Christ's strength instead of my own strength.

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In the past, I’ve made sure to skip over every weakness and amplify my own strengths. In doing so, people found often that they couldn’t relate to me. How heartbreaking for someone who puts forth the effort to being their best. Do I fail? Often. Do I lose? Yes. But do I dwell there? No. I always found it inefficient and will hinder meeting my own goals. But does that mean I’m not vulnerable? Absolutely not.

Vulnerability is defined “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.” (according to Dictionary.com). Being exposed….well, hmmm. What exactly does that mean? I think vulnerability is admitting to yourself and others where you have gaps. It doesn’t mean those gaps won’t be filled in your life, it just means you are willing to recognize shortcomings. I think the more aware we are of ourselves the more that we can experience true greatness in our lives.

What are your thoughts on vulnerability? I’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below!

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5 on Fridays - Five Books to Read to Ease Anxiety

Fashion, Inspiration, Petite Style, Lifestyle, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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Lately, one of the biggest ways I’ve used a coping mechanism like reading to learn more about ways our thinking can impact the brain. Specifically, how our thought patterns can improve our behavior and the way we think on a broader scale. Anxiety has been a battle for me for years. This year I’ve made huge strides in informing myself more about behavioral cognitive therapy, meditation, how sleep affects us and thinking patterns. I’ve used audio books from Audible to listen to while driving and also downloaded a few ebooks to read when I’m in need of a little break from daily tasks. Here are a list of what I’ve been reading lately:

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder

By: Arianna Huffington

This book was one I downloaded and listened to on drives and walks. It’s written by one of the founders of The Huffington Post. Arianna discusses some of life’s stresses, collective international data on how things like technology impacts our ability to be more mindful and ways to address health epidemics. If you are a fan of having data back up a book then I highly encourage taking a look a this book. It’s absolutely inspiring and I’ve already started implementing more techniques and mindfulness in my every day life.

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The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook 3nd Edition

by Edmund J. Bourne 

I picked this workbook up last Fall and have enjoyed working through the assignments. It’s half text book and half therapy worksheets. It addresses how anxiety affects us, ways to spot triggers and identifying coping mechanisms.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg, Mike Chamberlain

This was another downloaded audio book for myself. I listened to this one mostly on walks. It discusses how creating and implementing daily habit routines allow our minds to think more clearly and calmly. Habit routines are linked to creating mental clarity. This is a fantastic book and was very impressed by how the book draws sociological examples.

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Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living

Shauna Niequist, Brene Brown

This is a spiritual based book discussing a woman’s journey being addicted to performance. I actually was in a bible study group and we discussed a new chapter every week. It was a really fun group and getting to process what we learned each week on our own time in a conversational setting was so rewarding. I would recommend this for any mother or woman who feels like life is too full right now. The book discusses how important being present is and how it impacts inner peace, joy and our perspectives in life.

Tuesdays with Morrie: An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson, 20th Anniversary Edition

by Mitch Albom 

This is not a new book, but I felt like it was worth mentioning. The book is written in a conversation form and is a short read. Although small in stature this was an impactful book in my life when I first read it early high school. It’s written by an young man who was a student of an older gentleman who is now dying of ALS. The wisdom in each chapter is profound and meaningful.

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What are some of your favorite books right now?

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Developing Your Morning Habit Routine

Fashion, DIY, How To, Healthy, Petite Style, Lifestyle, Inspiration, Style, TravelCrystal JacksonComment
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Lately, I’ve begin growing into the discipline of developing habit routines. After reading a few incredibly inspiring books like Thrive and The Power of Habit I’ve learned to begin my day the way I need to so that I set up a foundation to be kinder, gentler, more compassionate and most of all loving. There was a time in my corporate work career where I moved from one activity to the next without giving any thought to how it might affect my body, mind and soul. After a decade of living like that and burning the entire candle not just both ends, I’ve made a conscious and deliberate effort to change a life of chaos and develop a life of purpose, discernment and intention.

While hardwork and diligence is a discipline, I was far exceeding discipline and I turned it to a full obsession. I was a corporate supervisor’s dream… always ready to tackle more. Always willing to say yes. Never realizing that the more times I said, “yes” without hesitation or intention I was slowly become less of me and more of something I did not want to become. Late nights at work spilled over to not being able to sit still and enjoy time at home. I literally lived in chaos for a decade. Although I appreciate every single experience from that time, I now realize I can achieve a better life by implementing discipline into my morning habit routines that will allow my mind to have the space it needs to flourish. At the beginning of May I set out on a new journey. A journey to redefine my purpose - you can read more about that in last week’s post.

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After exptensive research and trial and error I begin to develop new routines. I start my day with a glass of water beside my bedstand. Before I even move or stretch I get this first glass down to fill my body with the hydration it needs. I spend a few minutes making my bed and stretching. I slowly let my body come alive instead of being my previous pop tart of a self. Then, I read a small meditation or excerpt from something inspiration and journal about thoughts. From there, I make a list of three categories:

  • One Big Thing I’m Going to Accomplish Today

  • Three Important Tasks

  • A Timeline for My Day

I begin with the end in mind which is how I am going to accomplish one big thing. That way if nothing else goes my way, then at least I knocked off one thing. Sometimes the one big thing is a long workout. Sometimes it’s a project or chore. My one big thing has become the center of the day. From there I list three other important tasks - pick up dry cleaning, coffee with a friend, or maybe write a blog post. I base my entire day’s timeline on these four items. I allow plenty of time to accomplish things and keep my schedule simple. I’ll be sharing my daily schedule with you guys over the course of the next few weeks on Instagram Stories.

If I could rewind the clock I would have been kinder to my twenty something self. I would have taken more breaks. Turned off work and slept more. Turned off the phone, the emails and late texts for work. I became consumed with being a slave to deadlines and projects. I literally could not go on a Sunday drive through the city without thinking as I passed by an industrial building that maybe I could help them become a client. While I do believe that many work inspirations can bloom out of the office, I was not being inspired… I had conditioned my mind to think only about work… about the next meeting, the next sale, the next goal I needed to reach to support my family financially. Now my days are different. My morning routine sets me up with intention. I realize what’s important and urgent and what can wait. At the conclusion of my day I reflect upon the things I put on plate and decide if it’s too much or too little. Whatever your current routine is I challenge you to start with just five minutes. Take five minutes to think about your purpose in life. Build your day around that purpose.

How do you prepare for your day? Anything especially helpful? Leave a comment or send me a tweet!

All photographs courtesy of the talented Andrew Sherard.

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Spending Time on My Purpose

Fashion, Healthy, Inspiration, Petite Style, Lifestyle, Photography, Style, Travel, VintageCrystal JacksonComment
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This is the first blog post I’ve written in weeks and feel like the break from everyday life was exactly what my spirit needed. At the beginning of this year I wrote the following on my mirror in pink lipstick:

  • Simplicity

  • Discernment

  • Purpose.

I’ve prayed over these three words and back in March I felt compelled to spend time alone addressing underlying parts of my soul. If you are one who has come to a point in life where you are seeking the deeper part of your soul, I can relate. I felt an overwhelming desire for discernment and purpose in my life. For months I battled with an internal struggle and what I would call spiritual warfare. My soul was literally battling with purpose on a daily basis. I decided at the beginning of April it was time to schedule free time (a contradiction in itself - haha!) to do some soul searching without the distractions of daily life.

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And so I made plans. Although the course of the plan did end up shifting and maybe one day I’ll feel it is placed upon my heart to dive into deeper details, just know that I was meant to be in the very place in time this past month. Something happened one day when I was driving home. I had knots lining my shoulder blades for the past month. There were over 15 spots that ached daily. It was excruciating. I was told I had a build up of lactic acid.

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As I am behind the steering wheel suddenly so many things in my heart, soul and mind came together and I realized I’ve been carrying around the weight of my past experiences. I also realized in this moment that every wrong choice, circumstance and event in my life led to the preparation of this moment where my purpose in life was revealed to me. Within 30 seconds my knots disappeared.

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I awoke each morning this week with a peace I’ve never experienced before. The knots are still gone and my eyes shifted to focus on my purpose which has been known to me by Jesus. I prefer on this blog not to share religious or political viewpoints, but to make it a space to encourage you to live a better life.

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What about you? Are you at a place in life where you are going through an unexplained internal struggle or spiritual warfare? Please share your experiences!

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How to Utilize Habit Routines to Make Getting Ready Easier

Fashion, How To, Inspiration, Lifestyle, StyleCrystal JacksonComment
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I’ve been spending much of this past month studying habit routines. As I’ve been learning and implementing habit routines, I’ve been amazed at how much less stress I endure on a daily or even hourly basis. I began creating habit routines both morning and evening every day for two weeks. After I managed to complete these, I’ve added in weekly and afternoon habit routines. Today I’m sharing two strategies to make getting ready each day effortless and automatic. One of the reasons habit routines are so important in life is that it fufills the needs of our bodies, minds and souls allowing more mental space.

Think about it, when you reverse your car out of a parking lot you do so many of the actions automatically. You don’t have to think about the seat belt, putting your keys into the ignition or looking to see if you are clear. After driving for years, these actions become automated. Just like mastering driving skills you can master organization and routine. Just like anything, it takes discipline and repetitive behaviors over time for habits to become automated.

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If you find that you are constantly in a hurry to get ready each morning and picking out an outfit seems to be an overwhelming event then this post is for you! Let’s begin by discussing how to prepare your week for a successful morning each day.

Every Sunday block an hour or two of uninterrupted time off your calendar. If you have a big family, you may want to get up early so you can get things accomplished or set a timer for your family and notify them you are busy until the timer goes off. Grab the following items:

  • Cell phone or camera

  • Full length Mirror

  • 5-7 hangers

Pull out five work or everyday outfits. Try each outfit on with full accessories and your shoes. Once the outfits are on, take a selfie in the mirror so you can easily reference outfit options during the week without having to really make a big choice. By using timeblocking techniques like this, you can use your brain all at once instead of every day. Create an album or folder on your phone where you can keep all outfits in one place. You are beginning to develop a catalog of outfits you can later reference. If something looks good, you can now incorporate that style into your routine.

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Once you have put together your entire outfit, you can steam, press or iron the fabric. You want to hang up the garments and drape accessories around the neck of the hanger. It creates a simple system where in the mornings you grab a hanger and go. I also like to set aside a workout outfit and pj’s for each day so I’m not scouring for a matching set throughout the week.

Once all outfits are laid out, then you can pack your work bag, diaper bag, mom bag or school bag for the week. Choose one bag for all of your items and then add a smaller purse for your cell, makeup, and wallet. I like to keep my workbag consistent so I’m not constantly switching then add variance by adding a smaller purse. I’ve tried many different techniques, but it’s nice to go to lunch without carrying a suitcase of paperwork on my shoulder.

Lastly, take a nice long bath on Sundays. I’ll discuss more about developing a Sunday evening routine in a future post, but pamper yourself on your day of rest. I also like to go ahead and wash my hair since I do this about every 5-7 days. Sunday provides a day for me to connect spiritually with God, get organized to clear my mind and time to exercise to work on my physical health. I cherish each Sunday and find a little time devoted to making things simpler all week, creates a clear mental space and less chaos. If I wake up a few minutes late, oh well! I know I can throw a protein shake in my bag and then grab my outfit. I have a few go to hairstyles that take less than 5 minutes and an easy everyday makeup routine. I can get ready in 15 minutes if necessary. However, to do all of this in a short amount of time I spend an hour or two on Sundays making sure I am prepared.

This dress was gifted by Land’s End and I couldn’t be more excited to share it with you! It’s made out of cotton and the print is so vibrant. Head over to Land’s End to shop more of their beautiful dresses on sale right now!

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