Going All In On (someone else's) Success

Empathy is getting a lot of buzz these days. And really, it darn well should. Lately, I’ve had several conversations about empathy. For us, in all of those conversations, empathy came down to humans connecting and being understanding of other humans, even if they haven’t had the exact same experience.

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Chelsea Francis
Totally Booked: Becoming by Michelle Obama

I'm on page two of the preface and crying folks. This will be anything but an unbiased review. I love Michelle Obama so much it hurts. She is always on my list of, “People alive or dead you most want to have a meal with.” This story is told in three parts and I wanted to respect that structure. So here are my thoughts on the wonderful, still developing story of Michelle Obama.

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Chelsea Francis
"I Feel Like You're Thriving"

My metric of success is completely different from yours. Your barometer of success is most likely very different from mine. When people who love and support us and are proud of us attach a success value to our work that feels undeserved because it doesn’t match the level of success that we are striving for, it can compound an already oppressive sense of failure. Though they don’t mean to, my friends and family tell me how proud they are of my work, and it feels like a reminder of how little pride I take in where I am.

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Chelsea Francis
On Social Media & Comparison: Can We Not?

It’s hard to imagine life, as we know it ten plus years ago. I mean, when was the last time we wanted to be crafty and didn’t use Pinterest for inspiration?  Want to get on a fitness kick? Follow a few fitness models on Instagram for inspiration, meal plans and workouts. Want to find the best jeans for your body? There is a blogger who  just listed her favorites and provided links to them so you can have them in the click of a button. It’s easier than ever to be connected to people, places and things. It’s also easier than ever before to feel jealous insecure and even anxious.

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Chelsea Francis
Learning a New Language

I started hearing German when I was very young. My mom would use words like Geradeaus and Vorsicht on my brother and me when we were wearing on her nerves. There is nothing like hearing Kommst du rein in the middle of a crowded grocery store to know your mom means business. Over time German commands faded out of our conversations, but it left me with bits and pieces of the language lurking in the back of my mind and an ability to mimic German pronunciation better than most Kansans.

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Chelsea Francis
How I Choose My Word of The Year

I am all about goals, resolutions, and setting new benchmarks for the year ahead, but for me these can often make me feel like I didn't accomplish much, when I actually accomplished a lot that just didn't make a list. 

That's how I began choosing a word for each year. In 2015 I chose the word 'quality'. My entire life I had been an avid Old Navy clearance section shopper. I bought the cheapest groceries I could afford. I opted for inexpensive, easy, and frequent when eating meals out, instead of a little pricier, new, and less often. I wanted to make new choices and re-arrange my way of thinking. Quality changed my life. I learned that there are things that I value that I had never tapped before-- one where experience and yes, quality, were prioritized over having lots of meaningless things just because I wanted to shop. 

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Chelsea Francis
New Year, New Life

2018 was a learning year: after 15 years of working for someone else, I had to figure out how to be my own boss. When someone asks me how my new work life is going, I immediately think of Peter Gallagher’s character Buddy Kane in American Beauty. A suave, silver-haired self-help guru, his tagline is punchy, memorable, and brings Annette Benning’s character Carolyn Burnham to her knees (literally): “In order to be successful, one must project an image of success at all times.” Appearances are tantamount for Burnham, but behind closed doors, her life is an abject disaster.

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Chelsea Francis
5 Ways to Stay Mindful this Holiday Season

Specifically for the holiday season, I want to bring attention to mindful gifting. In regards to mindful gifting, let’s all acknowledge the immense pressure we put on ourselves to do this right. We want to show appreciation for our friends, family, and those in our support system, but does buying a quick gift simply to check someone off our list really have the impact we want? And in doing so, are we simply forcing ourselves to buy something because it’s convenient rather than really thinking about what the person might really enjoy AND really use?

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Chelsea Francis
Breakups Suck, Especially When They’re With Your Friends.

I’m ashamed to say that I am worse at breaking up with friends than I am with my partners. In fact, many of my friendships have failed miserably because of my inability to admit that I just didn’t want to be friends anymore. For the longest time, the idea that friendships are just supposed to work lived at the base of my chest. And that might be because of how differently we talk about platonic and romantic relationships.

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Chelsea Francis
What's Behind Door #2?

Is it just me or does decision-making get a bad wrap? Memes about how people can’t decide where they want to go eat flooding my newsfeed. Words like analysis paralysis forced into our lexicon. In a country that prides itself on protecting the freedom to choose, when did actually making those choices become such a daunting task? 

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Chelsea Francis
Redefining Failure

I felt as if I had failed my education, my career I had worked so hard to achieve, the family that had helped me pay for my education and supported me through all of life’s challenges, and mostly myself.  What was I doing? I was leaving everything I thought I wanted in a career and what I thought was the perfect plan. But again, the universe had a bigger vision for my life and was challenging me to step into my greatness.

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Chelsea Francis
What Self-Care Actually Looks Like

In 2019, I am sure we can all agree that self-care is not optional. However, many folks may only hit the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding what self-care actually looks like. Self-care often requires you to face whatever you’ve been avoiding. Self-care is a habit you build over time; it’s a routine. Therefore, although one aspect of self-care may definitely be taking a luxurious bath while listening to Billie Holiday’s, “As Time Goes By” on loop and drinking a single glass (or two?) of six-dollar red wine, if you focus solely on the superficial aspects of self-care, you’ll get superficial, short-term results. So if you are looking for self-care that results in a long-lasting love affair with yourself, then take inventory of what self-care actually looks like.

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Chelsea Francis
Presented Without Context: Ashby Vose
  1. What are a few things that you want us to know about you?
    I’m Ashby Vose. I grew up in Northern California and currently live in Brooklyn, New York. I’m a content creator obsessed with fashion and love to create content that empowers women to embrace themselves and their bodies.

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Chelsea Francis
Totally Booked: This Will Only Hurt A Little by Busy Phillips

“He put his arm around me and kissed me sweetly on the forehead. “Okay, Buddy. If that’s what you want to do, I’m sure you can do it.” Of course I can. I’m Busy Philipps. Have we met? I say I’m going to do something, and then I go, and I fucking do it. I wanted to go for a walk around the block when I was two. And I went. I wanted to get out of Arizona. And I did. I wanted to be in TV shows and movies. And I was. I wanted this life. And I got it.” 

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Chelsea Francis
The Realities of Burning Out

Flash forward to me now, age 26, an Austin resident for two years, writing for a living. Is it my dream job? You bet! But does it come with more challenges than I expected? Also, yes. I’m a perfectionist by nature, something I feel that exists at the heart of every writer, but in the last three years since I graduated college, I have hit my breaking point more times than I care to admit working full-time and also hustling as a freelancer. Working in the creative industry, especially in Austin, is absolutely amazing. There are so many people that are on the same track as you, that can relate to those middle-of-the-night writing sessions and the flurries of racing thoughts, but it’s also highly competitive by nature (because, c’mon who doesn’t want to live and work in Austin?) and freelancing for a living is hard.

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Chelsea Francis
To Rookie

I spent about an hour crying at an airport Panda Express, wiping tears on cheap napkins between bites of honey walnut shrimp, risky I know, and lo-mein. When I could steady my mind I began assessing why it was that I was so distraught. I texted a friend a bunch of word vomit that amounted to ‘If she can’t do it, why do I think I can?’ and ‘I’m not the best person for this job. It’s going to fail too.’ and to be honest I was a bit paralyzed but what I was convinced Rookie ending might mean for us.

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Chelsea Francis