April 19, 2017

Dear Girl, Embarking On A New Journey | + MINTED Collab

New beginnings. Unknown futures. Exciting journeys. Lots of "news" seem to be floating around the air as graduation season approaches for both high school and college campuses. With this, comes finalizing college plans for high school peeps and for soon to be college grads, real life full of work and responsibility will soon hit with full force. But before you start grabbing for the tissues thinking about those in your life who fit these situations, or maybe yourself. Let's chat a bit about a few key tips to keep in mind, that I personally think make for a smoother transition when it comes to a new phase in life.

Dare to dream ahead.
This is your time to set no limits. Dream big dreams for the next month, year, five years and basically those things that you want to be able to add to your life story. I like to keep my "bucket list" so to speak, with me everywhere I go. I used to do this by keeping some goals written in my notes app on my phone and just add to it whenever. But I have recently started using this fun little notebook from Minted that is actually called "My Bucket List." It's small enough I can easily add it to my purses without taking up to much space. And it's just kind of fun being able to dream up crazy adventures that most definitely have the capability of coming true if you get your brain thinking about it ;)

Say goodbye to comfort zone. 
Now, I don't mean this is your opportunity to go wild and not make smart choices. What I mean is that sometimes the best experiences and life lessons and those not planned or expected. These unplanned gem moments happen when you say yes to opportunities that challenge and grow you. Most likely if it scares you (in a good way) then it's something that needs to be accomplished.

Thank your mentors/influences along the way.
Many people and events made you into the person you are today. It's easy to just keeping moving forward in the hustle of life and exciting changes without taking stock of how you got there. Who breathed positivity and opportunity into your life? As you venture onto a new chapter in your story, stop and take time to be obsessively grateful for those iconic figures in your life. Write a short little note to send off and thank them for being a witness, role model, life mentor. Mentors don't often get thanked or even know how much of an impact they really were.

Take time to connect with others.
You are headed off to new things, whether that be school, career, location. But you will always have a home-base, which comes with friends that have known you before you were this accomplished world traveler. So again, take some time to write little hello, what's up cards. These little touches will go so far in your friendships, because no matter how busy or accomplished you become, you are still grounded with who you started out with. Okay, so I wanted to share my recent favorite cards to send out. Minted has the cutest notecards, stationary and notebooks! I have the Simple Springs & Welcoming Foliage Foil-Pressed thank you cards. They are so gorgeous and make writing little notes so fun for both the giver and receiver!

Okay, and while I'm sharing some fun Minted items, I've gotten some questions about where to create some grad announcements that are classy looking yet not to time consuming to create. I would recommend checking out the Minted 2017 Graduation Announcement Collection. I had the chance to design a few cards and wow! Super easy, GORGEOUS designs and they have GOLD foil! So yeah pretty obsessed with the whole collection. Here are some of my favs!

One | Two | Three | Four | Five

In addition to all the announcements and stationary that Minted provides, their are some super unique grad gifts to choose from. To give you an idea of the options you have, here are some of my favorite ones that I would love to give as well as receive.

 Map | Collage | Stationary | Pinboard

I have always wanted to create a gallery wall, so I was super excited to see all the beautiful prints from Minted. I'm going to have one full gallery wall!

This post was done in collaboration with Minted.com but all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Graciela blog possible! 

March 30, 2017

How To Get Inspired

Real moment. I don't always feel motivated or inspired and crank out post after post, Instagram after Instagram. Because sometimes I'm just plain uninspired. I hit a bloggers block. Every creative influencer as well as individuals experience a little stumbling block known as a funk. But the good news is you DON'T have to stay there. Today I'm going to share some of my favorite ways to get re-energized and re-inspired that I hope will be the catalyst to your creative launch. 

1. Create a pump-up playlist.
Their is nothing more exciting then finding new music that gets you going. I am obsessed with Spotify! The whole process of combing songs to fit a mood or occasion, is very therapeutic. So go ahead and be your own DJ! The Spotify Mood Booster, Happy Folk, and Pop Chillout are my go to pump-up playlists. 

2. Scroll Pinterest boards that motivate you.

When I find myself drawing a blank in the whole creative department, I pause what I'm doing and dedicate some time to drawing inspiration from other creatives. Whether you are uninspired in fitness, blogging, or school, find some influencer's that inspire you and pin away. For example, for those days when the last thing I want to do is workout, I quickly go scroll through a few fitness + healthy lifestyle boards. Everyone needs a little extra push sometimes, so find out what that means for you. 

3. Go on a run during the golden hour.

Exercising anytime will help get those endorphins and inspiration going, but running in a sunkissed light is just good for the soul. Honestly, I get so many ideas and blog post topics while I'm working out.

4. Wake up and smell the coffee. 

I love love love coffee. It might sound ridiculous, but sometimes the process of making coffee, trying new flavors, and of course sharing a quick pic for the Insta story is just what you need to fuel the inspiration. Embrace the little mundane things.

5. Create a list of life dreams.

Things you want to make happen in your life, write it down. Start getting your subconscious thinking about them, and more likely things will start to happen. You can also jot down goals, things you want to accomplish for the week or month.

6. Create an atmosphere of serenity. Light a candle, grab a notebook and start writing down whatever is on your heart or any ideas floating around in your head. Clear your head and get it down in ink.

7. Adopt an attitude of spontaneity.
Day to day, same routine, same hour to hour schedule that you could do in your sleep. Sometimes the greatest gift you could give yourself is the gift of spontaneity. This doesn't mean you ditch responsibilities for the beach, but add in some fun rewards to your day. Plan something that creates a new found excitement in your routine. It could be as simple as planning a mani/pedi on a Monday afternoon, or grabbing lunch with a bestie who you don't normally see during the week. Life is an exciting adventure and should be lived as such.

8. Plug into some audios that create bigger bolder thinking. 
We all could be dreaming bigger dreams and strive to stretch our mind beyond our comfort zone. It's vital that we never stop growing and never stop learning. If you haven't yet arrived at your destination/goal then why are you slowing down. When I need to refocus myself and stay on track (which is pretty much everyday) I love to turn on some motivating podcasts + TED talks. Any favorites??

9. Work in a clean organized area. 
Nothing is more defeating and contributes more to an uninspired attitude then working in a disorganized space. Block out thirty minutes to an hour to get some deep cleaning done. Wash those coffee mugs at your desk, get all you planner supplies away, burn an air freshener. Okay, now you may get to work. 

10. Surround yourself with positive influences.
Your environment, from who you hang out with, what plays in your earbuds, to what you read. Everything you let in your daily life, eventually will influence your thoughts and actions, whether you think you gave them permission to or not. Jim Rohn put it best, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." If certain people and things are not positively contributing to who you want to become and accomplish, then it's time for some active reflection on your part. Nobody has time for negativity when you have people to meet, lives to impact, and the world to change!

Any tips for when you hit bloggers block? Who do you turn to?

January 23, 2017

How To Get Spring Break Ready

Okay, so I know it's only January, but that means it's the perfect time to start preparing for Spring break that is in a couple short months. These next few months tend to get busy and Spring break will be here before we know it. So, let's get inspired, motivated and committed to accomplishing some fitness/lifestyle goals these next couple months. This isn't about having a bikini body for the beach. It's about learning how to make small daily habits that leads to a healthier lifestyle. Let's utilize Spring break to be that needed fire to get started. 
Find fit-spiration 
Sometimes you just need a little pick-me up. Everytime you would rather stay in and not bother with working out, go and scroll through a fitness/health themed Pinterest board. Seriously this works all the time!! The only thing that stands between you and your goal is you. So figure out what works to get you fired up.

Create a Spring break bucket list
You don't have to have a Caribbean cruise planned to have a successful fun Insta worthy Spring break. Create your own fun and unique memories. Use this break to explore new destinations in your own backyard. Maybe plan to discover new brunch/coffee shops or explore local hiking trails. "Adventure is out there. Go find it."

Start a wishlist/shopping list
I don't know what could motivate you more than clothes! I am a forever list maker, and this is definitely true when it comes to fashion. For instance look how cute is this black set swimsuit, romper, and this adorable palm leaf two-piece!!

Discover new tunes
Music is a great way to get yourself pumped and adrenaline going. Have some fun, find new tunes, share with friends and get going.

Commit to getting fit
Now is the perfect time to start finding that go-to work out. Working out doesn't have to be boring. Maybe switch off between the gym, outside running, and a at home routine. Check out some tips I shared on creating a fit lifestyle for the busy girl.

Create a Spring break themed collage
Jump on over to your Pinterest and find those cute beach, sunset, and swimsuit galore pictures, that when you look at them, they just inspire you to get with it. Make this collage your phone/computer background ;)

What are your Spring break plans?

January 20, 2017

How To Prepare For Internship Season

 Often with the start of Spring semester brings lots of talk and Pinterest searches for "Summer Internship Tips". Now is the time to figure out what you need to have a successful internship search and experience.

Business cards
Internship season or not, having your own personal business cards is a super important tip for any up and coming professional. You'll never know when you will run into a potential employer, internship recruiter, or somebody who would like to connect further and you end up exchanging info. Super simple but is actually imperative if you want to be taken as a serious professional candidate.

I don't know how much easier it can get these days to network and find internships/job opportunities. With platforms like LinkedIn, you have the capability to to display your accomplishments and personal brand to future employers, partners, and connections. LinkedIn is an emerging networking gold-mine!! Take advantage of it and start reaching out to either professionals you admire, hopeful future employers, and peers. This shows initiative, genuine interest and you learn to form relationships with everyone.

Dress for the job you want
This is yet another opportunity to show who you are. Know the job you want and dress accordingly. Just because you are a 20 year old college girl doesn't mean you should wear that dress you just wore to that Friday night party. Dress to impress. Even if it's a creative position that might have more leniency, you should still dress professionally but you have the capability to add your own flare to it.

Create opportunities
Internships don't just fall in your lap. If you want something go and work for it. Also, use this opportunity to think outside the box and make yourself stand out. If everyone is applying for similar internships, yes, still apply if it's something you want, but be creative and search out other unique positions.

Make connections + network with everyone
When I say everyone I mean EVERYONE. You don't know who they know or what advice they can give you, even if they themselves aren't some high flying CEO. Learning to make connections with everyone is the greatest thing you can do for your career as well as personal development.

Speak up and reach out for recommendations 
If you made a good impression & formed a relationship, most professors, RA's, past employers, internship advisers & mentors are happy to be a person of contact on your resume or even can write up a letter of rec. The biggest mistake most make (and yes, I have done this before) is that they don't ask!!!

Check social media
With the easy access to everything now a days, most people will look you up on the internet before meeting with you. What people see online actually plays a big role on how they perceive you. Keep this in mind before clicking every "share" button. Again, your are preparing for the career and future you want.

Update resume 
Since internship season is coming up, campuses will be full of recruiters and internship fairs. Having an updated resume on hand makes it professional and convenient for everyone. You might get contacted out of the blue, so you want to be prepared to email off your resume before that noon deadline.

Take initiative 
If you have your sight set on a particular job/internship, then reach out. I can say this from experience. Early December I reached out to an organization media department asking if they were open to adding an intern to their team. The director emailed right back thanking me for reaching out and confirmed a possibility of adding an intern. He told me to contact him again closer to the end of my Spring semester. I followed up in April and he offered me a summer internship in the media office. You see, I would never have gotten that opportunity or made those summer connections if I didn't first reach out. This particular organization doesn't advertise for intern positions so most never even thought to ask. But if you are looking to gain experience early on and stand out, then you have to be creative and courageous.

Be honest 
This goes for what you tell yourself and how you present yourself. Applying for internships require you to have a passion for that field and not something you are pursuing because of the status, the fact that everyone is doing it, and most importantly because it's expected of you. You have to do this for you and what you want for your future.

Have fun!
Last but not least, this season of your life should be a fond memory to look back on. It can be stressful but try and keep the big picture in mind of what getting this internship could do for you.

January 15, 2017

17 TED Talks To Create Bigger Thinking

In a world which is constantly trying to drag us down, we are the only ones who can choose to live in positivity. Don't wait till the perfect moment to start creating a positive change in your life: that time is NOW. I've always loved diving into podcasts, audio books, & motivational talks. Even in my early teens, you could find me reading a TJ Hoisington book or a Kerry Shook podcast. Looking back, those simple moments of plugging into that environment, taught me to challenge my thinking, engaged my brain in how to dream bigger, and inspired me to pursue my goals no matter how "uncommon" they are. 
 TED talks make it easy for anyone to learn how to make positive changes in their life, which lead to becoming a happier, healthier, successful, more productive self. 

Here are 17 TED talks to be inspired, challenged and motivated to change your life this year:
 - - -

1) How Waking Up Everyday  at 4:30 a.m. Can Change Your Life | Filipe Castro Matos
You want to know how to wake up early? A motivating story by Filipe Castro Matos, will help you not only to train yourself to get up early, but also to cope with working problems more effectively. #21EarlyDays

2) Why 30 Is Not The New 20 | Meg Jay
Clinical psychologist Meg Jay has a bold message for twentysomethings: Contrary to popular belief, your 20s are not a throwaway decade. In this provocative talk, Jay says that just because marriage, work and kids are happening later in life, doesn’t mean you can’t start planning now. She gives 3 pieces of advice for how twentysomethings can re-claim adulthood in the defining decade of their lives.
 3) My Year of Saying yes To Everything | Shonda Rhimes
Shonda Rhimes, the titan behind Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder, is responsible for some 70 hours of television per season, and she loves to work. "When I am hard at work, when I am deep in it, there is no other feeling," she says. She has a name for this feeling: The hum. The hum is a drug, the hum is music, the hum is God's whisper in her ear. But what happens when it stops? Is she anything besides the hum? In this moving talk, join Rhimes on a journey through her "year of yes" and find out how she got her hum back. 

 4) Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance | Angela Lee Duckworth
Leaving a high-flying job in consulting, Angela Lee Duckworth took a job teaching math to seventh graders in a New York public school. She quickly realized that IQ wasn't the only thing separating the successful students from those who struggled. Here, she explains her theory of "grit" as a predictor of success.

5) The Difference Between Winning and Succeeding | John Wooden
With profound simplicity, Coach John Wooden redefines success and urges us all to pursue the best in ourselves. In this inspiring talk he shares the advice he gave his players at UCLA, quotes poetry and remembers his father's wisdom.

6) Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders | Sheryl Sandberg
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg looks at why a smaller percentage of women than men reach the top of their professions -- and offers 3 powerful pieces of advice to women aiming for the C-suite. 

 7) How To Succeed? Get More Sleep | Arianna Huffington
In this short talk, Arianna Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night's sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness -- and smarter decision-making.

8) Women Entrepreneurs, Example Not Exception | Gayle Tzemach Lemmon
Women aren’t micro--so why do they only get micro-loans? Reporter Gayle Tzemach Lemmon argues that women running all types of firms-- from home businesses to major factories-- are the overlooked key to economic development.

9) How To Gain Control of Your Free Time | Laura Vanderkam
There are 168 hours in each week. How do we find time for what matters most? Time management expert Laura Vanderkam studies how busy people spend their lives, and she's discovered that many of us drastically overestimate our commitments each week, while underestimating the time we have to ourselves. She offers a few practical strategies to help find more time for what matters to us, so we can "build the lives we want in the time we've got."

10) Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are | Amy Cuddy
Body language affects how others see us, but it may also change how we see ourselves. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how "power posing" — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don't feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

11) How To Find Work You Love | Scott Dinsmore
Scott Dinsmore quit a job that made him miserable, and spent the next four years wondering how to find work that was joyful and meaningful. He shares what he learned in this deceptively simple talk about finding out what matters to you — and then getting started doing it.

12) Success, Failure and The Drive To Keep Creating | Elizabeth Gilbert
Elizabeth Gilbert was once an "unpublished diner waitress," devastated by rejection letters. And yet, in the wake of the success of 'Eat, Pray, Love,' she found herself identifying strongly with her former self. With beautiful insight, Gilbert reflects on why success can be as disorienting as failure and offers a simple — though hard — way to carry on, regardless of outcomes

13) All It Takes Is 10 Mindful Minutes | Andy Puddicombe
When is the last time you did absolutely nothing for 10 whole minutes? Not texting, talking or even thinking? Mindfulness expert Andy Puddicombe describes the transformative power of doing just that: Refreshing your mind for 10 minutes a day, simply by being mindful and experiencing the present moment.

14) How Great Leaders Inspire Actions | Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership — starting with a golden circle and the question "Why?" His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brother.

We're raising our girls to be perfect, and we're raising our boys to be brave, says Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code. Saujani has taken up the charge to socialize young girls to take risks and learn to program — two skills they need to move society forward. To truly innovate, we cannot leave behind half of our population, she says. "I need each of you to tell every young woman you know to be comfortable with imperfection."

16) A Life of Purpose | Rick Warren
Pastor Rick Warren, author of "The Purpose-Driven Life," reflects on his own crisis of purpose in the wake of his book's wild success. He explains his belief that God's intention is for each of us to use our talents and influence to do good. 

17) The Optimism Bias | Tali Sharot 
Are we born to be optimistic, rather than realistic? Tali Sharot shares new research that suggests our brains are wired to look on the bright side -- and how that can be both dangerous and beneficial.  

What are your opinions on TED talks? Do you have a favorite one?