A few days ago, I came across a photo on the Internet that I feel best sums up what it really means to live a congruent life. The picture states:

Make a list of things that make you happy.

Make a list of things you do every day.

Compare the lists.

Adjust accordingly.

I truly believe that the happiest people are the most congruent, the individuals whose thoughts and actions are in perfect alignment. Every day, the constantly strive to marry what they say with what they do. When they set their alarms at 6:00am to exercise, they make it happen even when they don’t feel like it.

I think the quote above can also be applied to the relationships in our lives. This past weekend, I reunited with an old high school friend who vented to me his frustrations about being surrounded by toxic people in his life. The pressures and stresses of regularly dealing with unreliable and unmotivated individuals truly weighed him down. He sighed, “You have friends now that you’ve known for more than a decade. That friendship and bond you have with your best friends Justine and Nikki and the Vaklas… I don’t have that in my life.”

After our meeting, I reflected on our conversation and couldn’t help but feel extreme gratitude for the deep relationships and friendships I have in my life. At this point in my life, I can say with certainty that there is absolutely nobody in my life who I don’t want in it, and it has taken me 24 years to realize that it is one of the most hard-earned prizes of adulthood

A majority of people live their lives settling for shallow relationships and connections with other people they know do not contribute to their growth, emotional vampires who suck life and joy and bring pain and heartache instead. I believe that cutting ties with toxic people in our lives is simple, but not easy. Just like the quote above, I think one of the most efficient strategies is to create two lists:

1) Make a list of standards that we admire in others and aspire to, standards that add value in our lives

2) Make a list of people that we surround ourselves with

The ultimate goal of list #2 is to be in alignment with list #1. If individuals on list #2 do not possess qualities and traits listed on list #1, have the courage to take the leap and cut ties with them. Disconnecting ourselves from toxic people is never easy, but postponing or making excuses out of fear implies that we’re not functioning adults capable of making our own decisions regarding who can and can’t be  part of our lives. We are more powerful than that.

Travel Essentials

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Exactly a week from now, I’ll be embarking on yet another epic summer road trip with my truly adventurous family. I’m a planner by nature, so I like to pack at least one week in advance  in order to make sure that I really have everything I need. Here are a few of my travel essentials:

1) Comfortable shoes – Whether traveling by air, car, train, boat, or any other form of transportation, comfortable shoes are a must. I like to stick to my white Chuck Taylor Converse. You can never go wrong with a classic.

2) Statement necklaces – They have the power to elevate any outfit instantly. Need I say more?

3) Fujifilm Instax Mini Polaroid camera and lots and lots and lots of film  – Because what better way to capture memories than with a good ol’ Polaroid camera? I like using the Instax mini because there are only four settings to choose from (super bright/sunny, sunny, cloudy/overcast, indoors). The camera automatically determines the appropriate amount of brightness for taking a picture. It’s very easy to use, and the picture quality is considerably high.  Before any trip, I like to load up on film from Amazon. I’ve discovered that it’s considerably cheaper than buying from an actual camera store.

4) LUSH Ultrabland Facial Cleanser – It’s no wonder this is the Lush founder’s No. 1 Desert Island Product. I have yet to encounter a better facial cleanser than Ultrabland. I use this product every night before bed because it is absolutely incredible at removing dirt and make-up! After massaging Ultrabland thoroughly all over my face, I wipe it off with make-up remover wipes, and it’s instant satisfaction since I see all of the dirt that’s been removed from my face on the wipes. With my skin now ultra soft and clean, I follow up by spraying my face with LUSH’s Eau Roma Water Toner.

5) Frank Coffee Scrub – Genetically, I’ve been blessed with clear skin. However, I also know that I’m not getting any younger, so I still want to take care of it even when traveling. I’ve used other body scrubs before but right now, Frank Coffee Scrub is on the top of my list. Not only does it smell like coffee, but it leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft and moisturized afterwards. Another perk is that it’s not a liquid body scrub, therefore no need to worry about TSA liquid carry-on rules at the airport!

6) A Travel Backpack – It’s a comfortable yet stylish way to carry all of my necessities. The backpack pictured above is from Francesca’s.

Anicka Nadine