Archive of ‘Inspiration’ category

uncomfortable transitions & growth.

I still remember the first time adulthood really smacked me in the face and knocked me down hard, I mean flat on my back hard. I kept thinking to myself if this is what being an adult is about, I want out. No thanks, I’m done adulting! I’m going back to collage.

Although I’m very stubborn about change and uncomfortable transitions, there is one thing that this journey called being an adult has taught me and that is when I am uncomfortable it means I’m growing as a person.

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I feel like most of the time I go through a transition kicking and screaming (internally at least). Wanting to resist every turn and bump and then all of a sudden before I know it, it’s over. It’s like the feeling after a storm, you’re not sure what quite hit but at the same time there is this eerie sense of calm until the next storm hits. Almost every time I go through this, I find significant personal growth has taken place. I realize that all the struggling and uphill climbing was worth it, because in the end it helped mold and shape me into the person I am today.

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west coast fall.

Fall is my favorite season by far! I love the changing vibrant leaves, cooler temps and pumpkin EVERYTHING! But this year is different.

I’m in California instead of Kansas City, which means less of a dramatic seasonal change. However, the leaves do still change color here in Northern California so all is not lost! The temps are starting to go from 90/100 degrees to 75/85 degrees, which is a BIG deal, people! This new change in temperature has got me thinking about my fall wardrobe in a new light. My chunky knit sweaters are going to have to wait a couple more months to make their debut but I’m learning how to embrace fall with some of my favorite staples, just in a new way.

The look I’m sharing today is a take on my new approach to West Coast fall. The olive green top I’m wearing screams autumn with its color, yet the short sleeves and lighter weight fabric make it bearable to wear. It will also be great for layering under a leather jacket in the winter.

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I’ve been waiting for the perfect fall shoe to come into my life and these brown suede fringe booties are it!! Not only are they fairly comfortable but they have a peep toe, perfect for the warmer weather I’m now experiencing. These would be absolutely adorable paired with a printed boho dress that are so popular this year.

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The only way I know how to experience change is by diving head first into it. Although, I’m many miles from home, familiarity, friends and family, I’m trying to look at this move as a brush stroke in my larger adventure. Nothing is permanent; however, we usually get so used to the changes that when it’s time to leave or move on, we never want to go. Change is happening, both with the season and life. I’m embracing it with my full being.

Outfit Details: Booties//Target (Similar Here), Jeans//Banana Republic, Top//Target (in-stores only), Purse//Michael Kors (Similar Here), Necklace//Kendra Scott

** Photo credit, Amanda Sebastiani.

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the serious weekender.

As described on Urban Dictionary, weekending is the antonym of “Mondaying”.

Everyone has their ideal vision of what a weekend might look like; everything from sleeping in, brunching, meeting up with friends or exploring something new. I love my downtime on the weekends to refresh and restart for the week ahead but I’ve also come to love the concept of weekending.

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After recently moving to California, I’ve discovered the art of weekend getaways and day trips. We live in Northern California and have some of the country’s most unique places at our fingertips so we’ve tried to take a weekend/day trip any free couple of days we can get our hands on.

Some that we’ve explored have included South Lake Tahoe, Napa, Amador Valley (great local wine) and El Dorado Hills (great for hiking). Next up on my list is Big Sur, a friend and I are thinking about going glamping at this ridiculously cool Airbnb.

Weekending requires a certain level of planning but also spontaneity. It’s best to approach it with a bit of wanderlust. Having a day or two to explore as you go, to see what you’ll run into is the best kind of weekending. However, you need to iron out a few details such as where to stay and what to pack.


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What to pack… this can be pretty daunting for a full-on vacation. But for a weekend, have a little fun with it.

Here are my weekending essentials:

Essential #1: A sturdy yet minimal bag to carry all your weekend essentials. One of my favorites is here.

Essential #2: A swimsuit. Living on the West coast means a lot more warm weather so I want to always be prepared, whether it be a hot tub, lake or the ocean. Here is one I just recently ordered. It’s a super unique cut and it was inexpensive.

Essential #3: Shades. Gotta have ‘em!

Essential #4: Small notebook to capture inspo. I always carry around a small journal to capture anything that inspires me along my travels. Usually traveling is my biggest source of inspiration and creativity so this is a must-have for me.

Happy weekending loves! There’s a lovely, wild world out there. Go explore it!

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The power of visualization.

We all have people we look up to in life and take to heart everything they say. For me, one of those people is my Aunt. She is a strong and courageous woman who has experienced a lot of life. Despite the trials she’s dealt with, she’s never stopped trying to curate her best life. She said something to me that really stuck out, which was “visualize exactly what you want and then go make it happen.” She told me that she had envisioned a job that would provide enough for her and her family to survive off, yet provided her the flexibility she needed to work from home most days. After years of working her tail off, she was finally able to land a position that gave her exactly what she had wanted.


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I remember going through a period of time where nothing felt right. As I was digging deep and trying to get through, my Aunt’s words again came to mind, ‘visualize exactly what you want and then go make it happen.’

I sat down and made a list of everything I wanted in the next phase of my life, everything from being able to bike/walk to work, take a lunch break, live in a place where I could spend a lot of time outdoors, etc. I remember thinking it felt so far off to have all of these things. Now that I’ve transitioned to the next phase of my life, I can say that I have most all of these things now. However, I can’t say that I didn’t worry and struggle through the process of getting here.

I think we can all take away this valuable lesson from my Aunt, which is to identify and be clear about the things that you want or need. If we never verbalize or write these things down, there isn’t anyway we can hold ourselves accountable in reaching these aspirations. I’m not saying that we need to be ungrateful for the things we have but I am saying that you deserve to go after and receive the things you want in life, especially if you’re willing to put in the hard work it takes to get there.

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Saying Yes to Your Creative Soul Within.

When I was younger, all I ever wanted to be was an artist. It didn’t even matter what kind, I just wanted the ability to work with my hands and create. I had a childlike curiosity about everything around me and was never afraid to lean heavily on the right side of my brain and the skills that came most naturally to me.

As I grew older, I felt more pressure to develop the science and math skills that came easy to my left brain acquaintances. Over time, I became more focused on developing these skills because I thought they were more “right” than creativity. I even became accustomed to finding hobbies, internships and other experiences that fit with these more technical qualities. It’s as if the world was saying, “these skills are more useful for the real word, the creative skills just aren’t as important.”

Although I think it’s important to be well-rounded in all areas, I have always felt that since that key time growing up, I’ve neglected and pushed aside my want and need to be creative simply because I thought it was wrong or looked down upon. After a few “adult” years of struggling with this gap, I’ve come to terms with being okay needing to embrace my creative side every once in a while. I feel like now I see the value of being creative and the joy and new point of view that a little left-side thinking can bring to an area in my life.

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Since my recent decision to embrace creativity in all aspects of my life, I’ve started small habits to slowly build up my creative muscle again. We tend to put a lot of pressure on ourselves to create or be original or solve a problem differently so I’ve compiled a few small things you can start with today.

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Adult coloring books are bomb. I still remember the day my mother-in-law gave me my first adult coloring book. Knowing I was in a stressful situation at work, she thought it would be the perfect thing to help clear my mind. Little did she know, she encouraged me to start a new habit. Plus, I really did miss using colored pencils and markers. I feel like a kid again!

Switch it up. This could be as simple as taking a different route to work than you usually do or try substituting your usual breakfast of eggs with a new chia seed pudding you’ve been dying to make. The point is to push yourself out of your normal routine and in doing so getting your brain to think and approach a situation differently.

Get Moving. If you’re feeling very lackluster with no imaginative willpower whatsoever, get up and get moving. Every time I get my body moving, the creative juices start flowing. Don’t feel like you have to do you’re hardest workout, but at least do some yoga, go on a walk outside or perhaps do a little dance to your favorite song (always a sure way to feel inspired).

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Minimalism, the practical way

There has been so much hype around the concept of “minimalism” lately. I’ve read blogs and have watched videos on minimalism to see what this “new-age” concept is all about and I must admit at first I was a bit skeptical, especially those who give up all aspects of consumerism. This exploration got me thinking about how those of us who are intrigued but don’t necessarily want to give up our Starbucks and Banana Republic could apply these concepts to our life. Because I completely agree with a lot of the principles of “more is less” and sometimes it’s healthy to get away from the mentality that more stuff will make us happier.

With all of the research I’ve recently done, I’ve summarized a few things I think are completely practical yet may turn you on to the minimalism lifestyle and its benefits.

1. A solid clean-out every once in a while is a good thing!

Remember moving to and from college and in the process you would go through all of your clothes, shoes and accessories to identify the items you wanted to keep? Then the rest would either be donated or sold. I still remember how liberating this feeling was of pairing down to the essentials. I mean do I really need six black v-necks that all look similar? No probably not. So why wait for a big move or life transition to do this? I think it’s feasible to plan to do this at least once or twice a year. The new year has always been realistic for me as it’s the start of something new so I feel the need to clean out everything anyways and I usually have some time off work. Whatever works best for you, just make sure you’re being realistic with what you’re keeping. If you haven’t worn that fur vest in two years, probably a good idea to donate it.



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2. Get creative in the kitchen before you buy more food. 

Something I love to do (my husband thought it was a little strange at first) is eat most everything in my pantry and fridge before going to the grocery store to buy more food. Towards the end of this process, I definitely get some interesting lunch creations (rice, beans and avocados anyone?). But it forces me to be more creative with my meals and it’s extremely satisfying clearing out my fridge and pantry, yet not wasting it by throwing half-eaten items away.

3. More space = more stuff and more cleaning.

As my husband and I prepare to eventually move to Sacramento (he secured a residency position at UC Davis!), we are considering selling a majority of our furniture. We don’t want to haul everything across the country and our place will be smaller than what we currently have so it makes sense to pair down. I thought I would struggle with this but I’m extremely excited to have a smaller space and less furniture because we can start fresh but also be very intentional about items that we do buy in the future for our new place. Right now I’m not in any rush to decorate our new place because I’d rather take my time and only get items that I absolutely love and can’t live without. Also, with a smaller space means less rooms to clean. That’s a PLUS!



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Ultimately, you can apply the minimalism concept to any aspect of your life (or all of it if you’re feeling ambitious), just make sure you have the golden rule of ‘less is more” in the back of your mind.

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Friday Inspo

Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy some links from around the web, while relaxing. Also, Happy Mother’s day to those wonderful mommas still on earth and those up in heaven. No matter your situation, celebrate the wonderful women in your life this weekend. See you Monday!outdoors

“I didn’t follow my heart, I worked my ass off.”

Mindy Kaling on Friendship

The Summer “Yes” List 

How to win any argument

A dad’s perspective on what it’s like to have a baby


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7 Books for Female Entrepreneurs

Whether you’re just starting out on your entrepreneurial journey or you’ve been in the game for a while, one thing is for sure… It’s important to never stop learning! If you’re looking for some new books to read that will inspire you and help you boost your biz, these are the ones you need to check out! Get ready to head to the local bookstore or fire up that Kindle and get ready to read!

7 Books for Female Entrepreneurs

The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte

Odds are, you’ve heard of Danielle LaPorte before. But if you’ve never read one of her books, now is the time! The Fire Starter Sessions isn’t filled with top business advice, but it is full of motivational messages that will leave you feeling ready to conquer the world. Staying motivated is only half the battle when it comes to building your business. And the great thing about this book is that Danielle includes exercises after each chapter to help you apply her teachings to your own life.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

You’re pretty much guaranteed to get great business advice when it’s coming from the COO of Facebook, right? While Lean In isn’t about growing a business, it’s still a great read for any woman on an entrepreneurial journey. Her advice (and all the data she provides!) will really get you thinking about the importance of female leaders in the business world and why we need more of them.

Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur by Lisa Messenger

Having worked in various industries over the years, Lisa Messenger has a lot of personal stories and business advice to share in Daring & Disruptive. Lisa opens up about the highs and lows she’s experienced in her entrepreneurial ventures, providing inspiration for ladies at all stages of their business.

Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas

Denise is a pretty spunky Aussie who started her own business, Lucky Bitch. Her book is different than anything else you’ll find on this list, but there’s a good reason for that! If you find yourself busting your butt and working long hours without seeing any reward when it comes to your bank account, check out Get Rich, Lucky Bitch. Denise’s goal with this book is to help you determine what your money blocks are and how to kick them to the curb.

Thrive by Arianna Huffington

Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of Huffington Post Media Group, Arianna talks about her struggles in business in her book, Thrive. She questions the world’s definition of success and discusses why it needs to change. Arianna also writes about her difficulties when it comes to managing her time and juggling her career with her family life.

#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Okay, okay… You may be tired of hearing about this book because it comes highly recommended for fabulous entrepreneurs like yourself, but there’s a good reason for that! If you haven’t already read it, this is your sign to buy it now. While this book is primarily about Sophia’s life, she shares some important lessons that she has learned on her journey to becoming a tremendously successful businesswoman. Sophia is a reminder that we all have struggles in our lives, but it’s always possible to overcome them and completely turn things around.

Make It Happen by Lara Casey

Lara’s book is similar to The Fire Starter Sessions in that it’s filled with inspirational tidbits and it’ll put you to work! Lara doesn’t want you to just read her book and forget all about it, never putting her tips to use in your own life. Make It Happen also includes questions at the end of every chapter to really get you thinking. It’s also part biography as you’ll get the inside scoop into Lara’s life and the difficulties she faced when trying to create her path in life. Such an inspiration, this book will leave you feeling ready to take a leap in your life, whether it’s to start a business, a new project, or something else entirely!

Which of these books are on your reading list?

Thrachel_mis post is by Rachel Moffett, an Influential Gal contributor. Rachel is a Maryland-based writer and the voice behind the lifestyle site, The Haute Notes. She has been blogging since 2009 and is passionate about inspiring women and helping them build better blogs and businesses. When she’s not working on The Haute Notes, she’s running an online book club for a local website that empowers women.




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Top 5 Sites for Millennial Women

One reason I ended my fashion blog, Classy and Fab Girl is because I felt like the fashion blog world was completely saturated. Although I love reading fashion blogs, I just didn’t feel like I could contribute anything that wasn’t already out there. Hence the reason I started Influential Gal because personal/professional websites for millennial women aren’t as common and throw in a podcast, and well it’s a little different than what everyone else is doing.

Today, I thought I would share the 5 top websites for millennial women. These sites I’m recommending, I have either been going to for inspiration for years to they have become my new favorites. They all offer something just a little different but I have found all of them very valuable. Feel free to leave your favorite inspirational websites for millennial women in the comments below.

Top 5 Sites

1. The EveryGirl – This is hands-down one of my all-time favorite websites for millennial women. I actually had the opportunity to hear one of the co-founders speak last year, which made my “fan girl” experience all the more sweeter. This is a website that I go to for all sorts of inspiration but my two favorite things they offer are home tours of absolutely beautiful (not super expensive) spaces and career profiles of women who are totally rocking it in their work. I highly recommend this site if you need a creative pick-me-up.

A few of my favorite articles include:

2. Levo – I recently came across this very interesting website. Levo is community for women looking for mentoring, jobs, career advice and peer networking. What I was most interested by is the mentors they have for you to ask questions and get an inside scoop on how they reached success. They have everyone from Chelsea Clinton to a few big-time bloggers that you can ask for their advice.

A few of my favorite articles include:

3. Career Contessa (Honest conversations about work and life) – Career Contessa has everything from inspirational profiles on women who have killer careers to articles analyzing the latest health trends. What I think makes Career Contessa unique is that it lists some great job openings by city and industry.

A few of my favorite articles include:

4. theCEOffice – In this case CEO stands for Chief Encouragement Officer. This group’s purpose is to encourage other entrepreneurial women in their journey to grow their business and left’s be honest, that is something we all need while starting a new venture. They feature monthly meet-ups in cities like Chicago and Kansas City. I haven’t been to an event yet but have heard good things.

A few of my favorite articles include:

5. She Is Fierce! – This is one of the newest websites I have ran across and I am intrigued by their goal of empowering women. She is Fierce! is a social movement that gives women the tools, inspiration and community support to make their dreams happen.  They feature contributors from all around the world that cover a robust amount of topics. I love that they have a Fierce Women section where they profile women who are leading awesome lives.

A few of my favorite articles include:

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Friday Inspo

Congratulations, you made it to Friday. I hope you have something fun planned and that you take some time for YOU! We have been traveling for the past couple of weekends so I am looking forward to staying here this weekend. On Saturday we are taking one of my good friends wedding dress shopping. Cant wait! Indulge in a little inspiration below while you relax this weekend.

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I keep hearing about body brushing. Has anyone ever tried it?

I LOVE how she decorated her New York apartment

J.Crew’s secrets to timeless style.

Found this article super helpful because I am struggling with this right now.

If you are ever in Kansas City, go here and order their salmon and asparagus risotto. So good!

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