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The JUNE 2016 | Series No. 3, Issue No. 3

fun

Seize Serendipity with the Women of Monarq ALSO

C H OOS E YO U R F RI E N DS • OPEN UP T HE PORC H • SEEK T HE GEN UINE

Issue


The PERPETUAL YOU


At The Perpetual You, we believe in choosing, embracing, celebrating, and unleashing who you've always been – who you already are – who you want to be.

Be YOU...the Perpetual You.

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Friendship is the most important thing. – JULIA CHILD

The PERPETUAL YOU


L E T T E R from our E D I T O R

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hen the idea for this month’s theme began brewing—nearly a year ago now—I was virtually friendless. Sure, I had acquaintances, and my Facebook friend count wasn’t too shabby; but, in the department of genuine, intimate, loyal friendships, I was zero for zero. When my sister moved from Florida to Connecticut (my home), my friendship quota started to rise. Not only did LaKay and I spend the summer establishing a magical bond based on our mutual love of brainstorming and champagne cocktails, my circle of potential friends increased exponentially. Where my sister goes, friends are sure to follow. Those same months, and in the time since then, I’ve embarked upon several close relationships of my own, and I’ve reconnected with an important woman from a “past” life to rekindle our easygoing, enthusiastic camaraderie. I’ve attended more social gatherings than at any other point in my life, and I’ve spent time with “strangers” (i.e. potential friends) virtually every single day. How does an introvert such as myself, prone to isolation and more comfortable with introspection than conversation, turn her friendship fate around in less than a year?

Simple. I opened myself up to the possibility inherent in making feminine connections. I let the Universe know that I no longer desired isolation over companionship. I made a commitment to be my genuine self, whether alone or with a friend. Turns out, that attitude—more than anything—is what Intentional Friendship is all about. Even if you’re celebrating with only one close friend, the act of declaring how important friendship is in your life will bring about monumental goodness and exponential connection. If we can stop looking at other women as strangers, competitors, or potential sources of heartache, our hearts will be open to celebrate when a tribe arrives to fill it up.

lee lee p.s. If you consider yourself a “friend” of The Perpetual You, we invite you to show your support by making a monthly pledge on our Patreon page.


IN THIS ISSUE

Create

fun

by Celebrating Friendship

realize

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Create a life where friendship is a priority. Reminisce about the good times and dream up new adventures. Get your toes done and throw a garden party. Take a class, see a movie, & call up that woman you’ve been eyeing at the last three networking events.

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dwell Curate a home that welcomes friends old & new. Be ready to gather at a moment’s notice; enjoy playdates while they’re still happening. Appreciate the imperfection that comes with welcoming people into your home.

The PERPETUAL YOU


M O N T H LY M U S I C

Going on a girls trip? Listen to our "Friends For Life" playlist.

celebrate Celebrate your closest friend & confidante— your differences, your quirks, your shared experiences, and your future—with Cover Story Superstars & Business Partners,

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live

Diana Murakhovskaya & Irene Ryabaya.

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Cultivate a story of yourself that tells of strength and self-love. Pay tribute to the woman who taught you how to be a friend. Offer up the deepest parts of yourself, and be rewarded tenfold.

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SOCIALIZE WITH US

T H E P E R P E T UA L YO U M A K E R S

The Perpetual You wouldn't be possible without the amazing women who collaborate with us. Click on the Maker's handle or website to connect with her directly.

Jazelle Cover Story Photographer Jazelle's Artistry inspires creative entrepreneurs to strengthen their brand by finding power and beauty on and off camera. You can find more of her work at JazellesArtistry.com or on Instagram and Twitter as @JazelleArtistry.

Jazelle The Perpetual You is a place where creatives and coaches can come together to showcase their work and be part of a movement designed to shake up the world. Interested in adding your talents to the mix? Email hello@theperpetualyou.com.

The PERPETUAL YOU


Toni

Kristi

Walker Sisters

Proofreader

Designer

Staff Photographers

@redpentravelers redpentravelers.com

@druggedoncolor kglyphics.com

@walkerstudiosllc walkerstudiosllc.com

Michelle

Deb

Kristyn

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Photographer

@michellesmoment thismomentphoto.com

@debneele behumbledhn.com

@kristynmillerphotography kristynmiller.com

Christina

Sarah

Jen W.

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Photographer

Contributing Photographer

@madeinstills madeinstills.com

@sarahannayphotography sarahannayphotography.com

@jenwenzelphoto JenniferWenzelPhotography.com

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SOCIALIZE WITH US

T H E P E R P E T UA L YO U T E A M

Lee Lee

Jessie

Creative Director & Managing Editor

Art Director

The Lee Lee is the #ladyboss of The Perpetual You. A writer by trade, designer by heart, and mother by choice, she seeks intentional practices and a positive mindset. Connect with her through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Email. If you’re near Hamden, CT, she welcomes you to stop by her front porch.

Jessie is a multi-disciplinary designer & art director striving to make her world more pixel perfect. When she's not poring over mockups, she can be found singing (loudly) in her car or compulsively buying striped shirts. You can stalk her @jessieleiber or work with her at Little Legends.

Brittany

Kirsten

Social Media Coordinator

Senior Designer

Brittany is a social media guru and cabi stylist. She is often found on her phone curating hashtags or talking the latest runway trends, but also enjoys the perfect mix of chocolate and barre classes. You can plug in with her on Instagram @dressedtt9s or Twitter.

Kirsten is a designer, illustrator, and lover of plants. When she's not creating botanical doodles in the wee hours, she enjoys sleeping, sipping buttery chardonnays, or watching Cary Grant movies. See her whimsical calligraphy & illustrations @KirstenEike.

The PERPETUAL YOU


realize to align your daily practices with your

ever-evolving desires


C E L E B R AT E YO U R M Y R I AD

Friendships

Monthly Challenge Ready for fun? Grab a friend and join our monthly challenge in the Society.

The PERPETUAL YOU


REALIZE

A woman without women around her is a shade of who she can be. – KRYSTAL BRANDT

Tribe. Soul-Sisters. Your Bestie. These are the women that make our lives better. This month is all about celebrating them–and the FUN they bring to your life.

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celebration is gratitude with her party clothes on. We know that stopping to slow down and being grateful for what we have is a huge factor in increasing our happiness. When you are grateful for something, you actually send love to that thing or person, which raises your vibration and theirs! A celebration of girlfriends is a chance to raise that vibration to the speed of “I’ll be There for You” from the Proclaimers. If a 5-minute dance break can make your whole day better, imagine what a dance party celebrating the women you love could do? Although I’m always up for belting out Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” at the top of my lungs with my 14 closest lady-pals, there are lots of ways to celebrate the women with whom you’ve shared your life’s adventures. Catering your time spent together to the type of relationship will allow you to focus on having fun in the moment–no matter the time and place. Your tribe is the ladies who have become your entourage. They are there for just about any event that involves your favorite coffee or cocktail. These are the girls you call to go get pedicures, hit the Vintage Flea

Market, enjoy a quick happy hour, or try out a new yoga class. Fundraisers, direct sales parties, community theater, zumba-thon...One of the ways my tribe celebrates each other is by showing up–usually with champagne in tow. If any one of us throws a party or hosts an event, the rest of us will be there. Soul Sisters are the ladies you know who are on a similar life path to you–you are sharing your heart, soul, dreams, and struggles with them. We all know from the super-stardom of Brené Brown that vulnerability is a life-changing path. Many of us are used to only being truly intimate with our closest friends–or lifers. However, creating a sister circle opens up a different environment in which you can feel safe being yourself. I once spent a night in a tree-house in South Georgia with three amazing women. Although we realized raw oysters and the resort at Jekyll Island were more our style than composting and bunk beds, we did experience a powerful sacred circle where we celebrated the beauty of our friendship.

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The Rhoda to your Mary, Will to your Grace, or Six to your Blossom—your Bestie has been your buffer, your shoulder, your getaway driver, and your stay up all-nighter. Although this role can change over time as you pass through various life stages, the friend who holds it is someone who has been around long enough to have seen your ugly cry face (and you theirs!). Since I live 1,000 miles away from my best friend, we make it a point to have coffee and drinks together every week. She sits on her porch, and I sit on mine. We talk, laugh, cry and give advice just as though we were sitting in our favorite wine bar across from each other. We are happier, healthier women when we have meaningful friendships in our lives. From friends you share geography with to friends you share values with to the friend you’ve shared your history with, make celebrating their monumental role in your life a priority.

LaKay Cornell, a (semi) location-independent entrepreneur, is passionate about everything small batch. She drinks champagne once a week, loves craft beer & goddess cards, will barter for almost anything, and lives on soulful music. Above all, she loves the fall in New England and her superpowered daughter.

Start Today It’s time to put on your dancing shoes and grab a friend or ten to show them how much they mean to you!

Tribal Friendfare. To celebrate a possibly large and/or unconnected group of acquaintances, host a Wine Night. Ask everyone to bring a bottle of wine and a snack to share. To promote a friendly atmosphere, ask each woman to introduce someone else to the group. While many of us struggle to toast to ourselves, we love raising our glass to the amazingness of someone we admire. For more ideas on celebrating your tribe, read this month's Adventure article.

Sisterhood Social. The setting can vary from Friday night dinners around the dining room table to book club or a monthly New Moon Gathering. Have each woman share three things: an achievement, a struggle, and an intention. Celebrating these elements in a sacred circle locks the divine energy into each heart present so you can recall those positive emotions when you need them most. For tips & tricks on planning a social lunch, read this month's Food article.

Bestie Love. To celebrate your closest confidante, plan a special night for just the two of you–a besties-only #CocktailWednesday or a weekend to get away for some fun–and find a moment to tell this gal-pal what she means to you. If your bestie lives too far away for a happy hour, send her flowers or a “ just because” gift! For more ideas on hanging with your bestie, read this month's Beauty article.

The PERPETUAL YOU


Keep up with all our book suggestions by following us on Pinterest.

C E L E B R AT E E P I C F R I E N D S H I P S

MWF Seeking BFF by Rachel Bertsche, Pub. 2011 Lighthearted yet meaningful, this memoir explores one woman’s quest for a new best friend. After moving away from her home, Rachel realizes that making new friends as an adult can be tricky. Through her 52 “friend dates” with total strangers, there are hiccups, laughable moments, adorable connections, and awkward encounters aplenty—all of which reminds us reminds us of the marvelous fun that comes when we stretch our friendship muscles.

Saving Gracie

Summer Sisters

by Jill Teitelman, Pub. 2012

by Judy Blume, Pub. 1998

A writer who has always lived her life with vigor and ambition, Ruth Kooperman’s priorities are career-focused. With middle age comes a shift in her thinking and she seeks out a more “traditional” path, with some amazing girlfriends by her side. She learns how to climb with a new set of parental ropes, and reminds us what belonging really means. Common side effects of this read include: laughter, tears, and a strong desire to hug your girlfriends.

This delicate, rich novel devoted to the pursuit of summer fun, close bonds, and all the little moments that matter so much takes us deep into a friendship spanning several years and many breezy August afternoons. While following the summer sisters’ journey towards reconnection, you can’t help but celebrate your own most memorable summers, and cling a little tighter to that special friend who’s been there through it all.

Radically committed to magical mornings – Micayla is a wordsmith, entrepreneur, and mindset enthusiast living out a decidedly different post-secondary path while eating wholesome plants, drinking black coffee, hyper-organizing her days, and staying up too late working on poems. Lots more online and tweeting cheer from @Micayla_Vranic. The F UN IS S U E

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C E L E B R AT E

Sisterhood

The PERPETUAL YOU


The days of ‘leaving your calling card’ are long gone, but that doesn’t mean lavish, lush gatherings have to fall by the wayside as well.

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hen was the last time you sent out formal invitations? Text messages are fine for impromptu get-togethers, but your closest girlfriends–those you treat like sisters—occasionally deserve more than that. Throw a soirée worthy of this inner circle where the only special occasion is your lives together. To keep from spending hours in the kitchen, serve light fare, such as cucumber & dill sandwiches, fancy potato chips, and an easy but entertaining-worthy protein like deviled eggs. For an even easier experience, let your local market or deli curate (and deliver!) the menu. Set the table buffet-style, manifest mildly warm weather, and concentrate on making your friends feel as special as you know they are. Feast on gaiety, with a side of sincerity. Share the highs and lows of your past week with each other–these meaningful moments take no preparation and no additional budget. Commiserate with each other's sorrows and cheer each other on. Celebrate the friends in your sisterhood circle. They are the best part of your social life.

Modern Meets Manners Not a hand calligrapher? Use a service like Paperless Post to design, print, and mail your paper invitations. Or go “old-school” and use their online invitation option.

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REALIZE

A C E L E B R AT O R Y

Cocktail The PERPETUAL YOU


Keep up with all of our cocktail suggestions by following us on Pinterest

This June, celebrate your best friends with a Strawberry Pisco Punch party.

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P H O T O S BY J AY N A C OWA L P H O T O G R A P H Y

here are few drinks that scream CELEBRATE more vigorously than punch. It’s fruity and fun and comes in an enormous bowl. Who wouldn’t be enthralled? In this punch, the ripe flavors of Chilean brandy, fresh strawberries, and tart lemon mingle together as flawlessly as your friendships do. With myriad recipes from which to choose, you can encourage everyone to make their own varietal and take turns filling the punch bowl. If you’re feeling extra lavish, rent a fountain for the party. Whether in a bowl or a fountain, on a porch or at a beach house, this punch will no doubt be the centerpiece in the circle of laughter and gratification you share with your closest friends.

Sarah Locke is a poet by night and a realtor by day. She was born in New Haven, Connecticut where she currently dwells. Her free time is filled with reading, traveling, and following politics (for better and for worse). She loves wine and has never turned down a piece of cheese.

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C E L E B R AT E

Camaraderie Going somewhere new, even when you want to, can often be daunting, sometimes so much so that we don’t even go.

Enter the “go-to” buddy; that friend who is up for anything, who likes a challenge, or who just likes to go wherever you do.

The PERPETUAL YOU


Schedule the class. Send her the invite. And go!

You’ll learn a lot and make a lot of mistakes—and have someone to laugh about with it later.

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Keep up to date with our monthly product selections by following us on Pinterest!

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The PERPETUAL YOU


REALIZE

C E L E B R AT E

“Just Because” A genuine gift—given for no special reason—serves as a tangible token of the depth with which we care for our friends. Women love to shop. From browsing on the Internet or through a window to full-blown “shop ‘til you drop” marathons, there’s something about the hunt for ‘new’ (whether truly new or newto-you) that motivates and thrills. Craftland, a small store in downtown Providence, RI, recognizes this urge and offers myriad small wonders to satisfy it. Whether you end up buying or just trying, there’s plenty of fun and laughter in their shop to share with a friend.

1 | Assorted Art Prints by Sarah Parrott Design ($29, buy it)

2 | Enamel Necklaces by DA Metals Jewelry ($42 – $72, buy it)

3 | Bead Earrings by Kim O'Brien Jewelry ($28, buy it)

4 | Body Scrub and Bath Soak

This month’s products were especially curated by CRAFTLAND to inspire your next ‘just because’ purchase. Click on the name of any item to be taken to that artist’s online shop. To browse more curated goodies, visit Craftland’s online store here.

by Biggs & Featherbelle ($15, $20 resp, buy it)

5 | Vegan leather Body Bag/Purse by Shara Porter ($66, buy it)

6 | Measuring Spoons by Beehive Kitchenware ($54, buy it)

7 | Various Cards by Ladyfingers Letterpress ($6.50/ea, buy it)

Get Featured The Perpetual You actively seeks small shops and product makers to curate our product spread each month. Send us a note if you’re interested!

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REALIZE

C E L E B R AT E

Your Tribe Friendship is a form of empowerment for women. We feel safe with our tribe around us, whether in person, on Facebook, or just the knowledge that they are there if we need them. Most of us have a standing coffee date while the kids play. Why not curate some amazing BIG adventures with your people, too?

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our “tribe” isn’t just any group of women. These women lift you up; You feel better after being with them. Our lady friends provide a type of support that can only be given and understood by women. Who and what we want to be is reflected back through those whose company we keep. Celebrating the friends who have your back and 'get' the trials of your life (without making you feel guilty) is an important and necessary part of sustaining these friendships. The occasional coffee date or morning run goes a long way, but creating and providing a celebratory space lets your tribe know how much they mean to you. Weekends away can be managed with plenty of preparation. Kid-free “playdates” are a good way to blow off steam—-bonus if you can share a babysitter! When was the last time you gave a friend your undivided attention? When was the last time you received hers? Even talking on the phone all hours of the night can become an adventure, if you fully commit to the experience. When you find the right group of buddies, the experience of life becomes more fun and more meaningful. Nurture the adventurous energy and

The PERPETUAL YOU

spirit you give to and receive from your closest friends. They’re your tribe. They get you. Get out there and have some fun!

Summer is always enjoying the journey and making the most of the everyday moments. She is the wearer of many colorful hats; a yogi, mom, wife, writer and marketing & education coordinator in the Florida Keys. She is also the lover of really great red wine. You can follow her island life adventures on Facebook, and Instagram @airabess or #findingmywaylivingthisdream.


Try This at Home Girl Power Plan a weekend away for you & one or two close friends. Stay in a posh hotel and order room service. Glamping—if you are willing—is also a fun way to get out of your regular routine. Be sure to plan the entire thing so all your friends have to do is show up and have fun.

Pajama Party Have the girls over for a “night in” to watch movies, drink wine, tell stories about old boyfriends… Make sure the kids all have somewhere to stay, so you can be as giggly as you want without fear of waking them up!

There's nothing like looking at your own history in the faces of your friends. – ANI DIFRANCO

Shop ‘til You Drop If you and your friends love to shop, invite them on a flea market day trip or find an auction you can attend together on a weekend night. Set an intention to find something the other person would love and secretly buy it for them. The F UN I S S U E

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REALIZE

Celebrate Your Best Friend Celebrating the friend you’ve known the longest and/or love the most doesn’t have to be something out of the ordinary; just have fun & pamper her. Give her the treat you would want were the tables reversed!

The PERPETUAL YOU

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onoring your best friend can remind you why you loved each other in the first place. She is the one you always turn to for advice, the one who picks you up, and the one who supports you when you leave your comfort zone. Planning a special day with your best friend can feel like you’re once again two little girls planning a sleepover. And who doesn’t want to do that? The more complex our lives get, the more we need our most trusted, most straightforward friendship. She’s the one who knows what is most important to you and understands your love for good, clean beauty. Having a close friend along for a beauty makeover might also introduce her to new, safe beauty routines and products.


BeYOUtiful (Plus One!) 1

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Overnight Fun Take girl talk to a whole new level and make yourself glow while soaking in your friend. Sip on some antioxidants (wine, that is) and share a mask. You can use a powdered clay mask as a base and customize to your skin type.

* Leigh recommends Aztec Healing Clay or Tata Harper’s Resurfacing Mask.

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Morning Date Getting a manicure and pedicure can give you and your friend time to talk and relax all at once. Make sure to choose a brand that has eliminated known toxins like formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin, and camphor.

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* Leigh recommends Zoya Nail Polish and Priti NYC Soy Nail Polish Remover Wipes.

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Makeover Day Your best friend knows what colors look best on you but can also encourage you to get out of your color comfort zone. Check that your color cosmetics have been tested for heavy metals, which can build up in your body and potentially cause harm.

* Leigh recommends Beautycounter’s Lip Sheers or Beautycounter’s Color Shade Eye Duos.

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Whether you and your best friend were grade school BFFs or college roommates turned friendsfor-life, spending time with her is a fun way to repay her for what she brings to your life. Take her to get her nails done; treat her to a makeover or a facial. Cultivate this important friendship as precisely and carefully as you would choose a nail polish color at your next pedicure!

Leigh Schwab is a mother of twins who uses her love for skin care to help educate women about the ingredients in their products and the need for proper skin care legislation in our country. You can learn more about Leigh’s passion for a healthy and simple life on Facebook and Instagram. The F UN IS S U E

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REALIZE

This month’s Self-Care Toolkit

Coffee Spikenard Amber Mary Magdalene

C E L E B R AT E F E M I N I N E

Energy The PERPETUAL YOU


The days fly by, and we get older. Keeping up with friendships gets harder. Partners, family, and colleagues all lend support, but—to be healthy—we need the support and strength of other women.

H E RB

ESSE N TI AL O IL

CRYSTAL

GO D D ESS

Coffee

Spikenard

Amber

Mary Magdalene

B E N E F I TS

BE N E FI TS

BENEFITS

BEN E FITS

Aids in digestion; boosts energy

Helps with anxiety, insomia and uneasiness

Converts negative energy

Brings understanding and compassiony

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e a part of a conscious community of people that you connect with because of a similar interest: join an herbal community, a goddess gathering, or take a new crystal class. Expand your wings, connect, join in on the march, and attract women you can be genuine with. Coffee has great health benefits—such as aiding in digestion—and boosts energy when needed; however, daily use doesn’t give your adrenals a chance to keep your energy up naturally. When you need to pull it together for that early morning playdate? This is your herb! Used in wild woman ceremonies for thousands of years, Spikenard essential oil connects us to our roots and grounds us to mother earth. Spikenard also helps with anxiety, insomnia, or feeling out of sorts. Diffuse this oil when you gather with women to invoke the divine feminine in each of you. A purifying stone, Amber connects to the sun, warmth, energy, and life, while creating a friendly energy that

we can harness. Since Amber converts negative energy, wear this stone in large groups to stay grounded and maintain your true spirit. Mary Magdalene has a powerful message for us this month, “Love yourself, others, and every situation- no matter what the outward appearance may be.” We've all been misunderstood. Remember that we do not know what someone else has going on in their life. Let us be understanding, compassionate, and loving. When you drink that next cup with your girlfriends, make it a ceremony. Infuse understanding in your gatherings — let your feminine friends be who they are; allow them to support you when you need it. Give respect to all who you encounter and expect to receive authenticity in return.

Ashley Dees frolics around Saint Augustine Florida, picking herbs, finding herbal remedies, and playing with aromatherapy, tarot cards and crystals. Learn more about her, and how she teaches and gathers goddesses together at her website greenharmonyaromatherapy.com.

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Celebrate Friendspiration “Playing dress up begins at age 5 and never truly ends.” – KATE SPADE

Who has time for shopping anymore? Plan a clothing swap get-together instead and spend time with friends while you shake up your wardrobe—all without spending a dime!

The PERPETUAL YOU

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ince life challenges us in almost every area, let’s not make what we wear a challenge too. Wear the same thing you wore the other day with different accessories. Go ahead and wear your favorite jeans every day this week with a different sweater. Pair that same white t-shirt with a cardigan, a button down, or a patterned scarf. Keeping our outfits simple allows our bodies to move and our hearts to breathe with ease. The ambience of your clothing swap is entirely dependent on your circle of friends. I’d likely offer champagne and a tasty cheese plate, and have a great playlist ready to go. Typically, the hostess sorts and styles the swap beforehand; if you’d rather just attend and have fun, offer to bring food & drink to a friend’s house instead.


Style Your Swap

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Here are some simple tips to maximize the fun and minimize the hassle of your next clothing swap.

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Be Intentional. Don’t rush through the sorting process! Channel your inner Kondo and go piece by piece until all clothing items (from shoes to suits) have been considered. • Get rid of stained, damaged, or clothing worn beyond reuse. • Pile up clothes that aren’t your style or your size

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Be Prepared. Organize piles by garment type, set up a separate table for snacks & drinks, and clear a place on your dresser top for swap-worthy accessories. • Throw out broken items, whether a purse strap or a jewelry chain • Hang on to clothes not ‘on trend’ that still fit with your style

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Be Selective. If it doesn’t fit quite right or you wouldn’t have bought it in a store, put it back in the pile. “Free” jewelry can be especially tempting – resist picking something up just because no one else has. • Pass on items that require you to buy something to complete the look • Grab up outfits or accessories you’ve been dying to “borrow”

You can keep it minimal or go big, inviting each of your close friends to bring someone else. The latter option means you get more clothes and new friends! You might also be introduced to new clothing styles and have a greater range of sizes to choose from. Ensure that everyone feels comfortable by providing a screen to change behind, or prettying up a nearby guest bath.

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You can choose to invite only women your size who share a similar style, but a little diversity brings a lot to the table. Seeing the same piece worn by a handful of different people in different ways can provide inspiration, and a chance to celebrate your differences as much as you revel in your similarities.

Brittany Trimble is a social media guru and cabi stylist. She is often found on her phone curating hashtags or talking the latest runway trends, but also enjoys the perfect mix of chocolate and barre classes. You can plug in with her on Instagram @dressedtt9s or Twitter.

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P E R S P E C T I V E S from T H E P E R P E T U A L Y O U PA N E L

What's the most fun way to

maintain important friendships?

Having a glass of wine, taking selfies, looking stunning and dancing. Just let go and have a blast, without a care in the world. In fact, I want to do that right now! Another way is to drop off a gift or card out of the blue.

I have a group of girlfriends that I’ve had in my life since we were all teenagers. One of our favorite things to do is go to the winery. It is such fun to sit back and enjoy a glass of wine (or two) and talk about our lives.

This always involves wine. Personal connections are amazing, but virtual Wine Wednesdays by Skype are just as meaningful. Being in a space where you can be you and vulnerable with someone who sees you without judgement. Laugh with. Cry with. Be creative with.

Ashley

Victoria Anne

April

Life Coach + Motivational Speaker Paso Robles, CA

Counselor St. Peters, MO

Coach & Branding Expert Houston, TX

The PERPETUAL YOU


P H O T O S BY J AY N A C OWA L P H O T O G R A P H Y

Postcards! Living abroad and having a lot of friends who also love to travel, this has naturally evolved. But you don’t have to travel to send postcards. I've sent postcards to friends within the same city. The more obscure and random the better!

To be spontaneous and flexible. It can be a morning text that leads to an afternoon brunch or shopping, a quick coffee together via Skype before the start of the day, finding old photos and emailing them, or just a quick phone call to say I’m thinking about you.

Some of my most cherished memories are ones I made with my girlfriends when we have adventured to new places and taken the time to slow down and enjoy each other's company. These friendships remind me how women can always form strong bonds, no matter our stage in life.

Rachel

Cara

Katie

Play Therapist Hong Kong

Marketing Expert Baltimore, MD

High School English Teacher Arlington, MA

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“Fun in the present ensures

flow in the future. ” – GABBY BERNSTEIN

The PERPETUAL YOU


dwell to align your physical space with your

ever-evolving self

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Design Fun To celebrate—and be ready for—the gathering together of friends, create a "go-to entertaining kit" of dinnerware, menus, and simple decor that you can grab when company arrives unexpectedly. Having the preparations in stock means you can host graciously – not only for major events and milestones, but also in celebration of everyday occasions.

The PERPETUAL YOU


“ We need

imperfection in our

relationships, else we would die from the thickness of intimacy.” – GAIL CALDWELL

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Open Space, Open Mind, Open Heart

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As your life shifts and sways with passing seasons, your idea of a fun house might change. And that’s okay. Go with the flow. Make space for everyone. Focus on socializing and storage. You may be surprised how much you enjoy a less cluttered life.

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ooks and crannies. That’s my favorite milieu. My dream house consists of three floors with lots of twists and turns, enormous trim and crown moulding, angled ceilings, and a third-floor attic with secret spaces. Then the children came... And when the children came, so did toys and diapers and spilled milk and crushed crackers and hearing “MOM” yelled from the other room and friends and play dates...things that filled our space, physically and mentally, besides the furniture. My ideas of a perfect little house were turned upside down. I began to feel cramped. Very, very cramped. Even though I like my spaces cozy, I need mental possibility. Children don’t give you much mental space, and if you want them to socialize with friends, play dates are required, which means even less mental space. Additionally, I longed for adult conversations (almost as much as I desired less clutter!); my social and personal needs had changed significantly.

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When my kids (and all of their little buddies) started getting mobile, it occurred to me that coffee tables are a really bad idea. They create clutter, are stumbling blocks, are too reachable for curious little hands, look like a stage to perform on, and, shockingly, are unnecessary! So instead of wrapping ours in foam and saying “no” every five seconds, we got rid of it! FREEDOM! Out went the coffee table, out went a wall between two rooms, and out went lovely lamps whose cords could be tripped over. In came storage to organize toys, cozy rugs to sit on with babies, thrifted chairs and sofas that could suffer stains, and an open bar with stools so the kids could color in the kitchen. When my friends and their tikes came over for play dates, I had less to worry about and the wide-open space was awesome. My friends could sit on the floor with their babies, and there was plenty of room for everyone. Even now that my kids are older and we have fewer worries, I still prefer the open floor plan. Several

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friends who come over have little ones, and my kids still want to be where I am. This phase won’t last forever; I want to celebrate it while I have the chance. With the opening of our physical spaces came the opening of my mental space. An open floor plan makes it simple for our kids and guests to have fun and feel at ease in our home. Is it my first choice of design for my space? Not necessarily, but I’ve designed around my lifestyle. I enjoy company now more than before, and I love having a home that invites social interaction, that allows kids of all ages to be comfortable and safe, while having fun.

Sarah Sandidge can often be found reading a book. When she’s not reading for fun, she’s reading for work as a freelance editor, which is also fun. Her love for language, cultures and sociology makes people fascinating to her even though she’s a bit of an introvert, albeit a chatty one. When she isn’t glued to a written sentence, she is spending time with her family—mostly taking care of her two beautiful children— somewhere in the heart of Missouri. See how cute they are on Instagram @LulainLondon.


Dwell on This Life with children can get messy. Instead of fighting it, invite it. Have multiple multipurpose spaces for the whole family to hang out in.

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Double Dip Cooking, conversation, coloring, calculations, and claymolding can all happen at the kitchen island. Ensure seating is comfortable and there’s storage nearby to organize all the essentials.

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Move & Groove Exchange a coffee table and side tables for nesting tables that can be pulled out when guests drop by or for poufs that can easily be moved around for extra seating and surface space.

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"Phase" the Facts Embrace your current phase of life – allow homework at the dining room table, clarinets in the kitchen, and pack n plays in the living room.

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Be Savvy As your children grow, keep a few of their favorite toys and books from different stages around for when friends with kids pop in. Or pick up cheap items while thrifting for this purpose.

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Close the Door If there’s an area you want to keep for adults-only, try to put this area behind closed doors. Children typically understand this boundary, and you won’t feel like you’re giving up all your spaces.

Share your Space Use #theperpetualyou + #dwellonthis on your interior photos for the chance to be featured in an upcoming issue! This month, we'd like to thank @melissacollette (top) and @mcdonald_contracting (middle & bottom) for sharing photos of these beautiful open kitchens!

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Welcome to Our

Home

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What does that mean exactly – “Welcome to Our Home?” Are you welcome whenever, or only when we have invited you? Only on certain days? The days when the house is clean or the days I’ve managed to get all the kids dressed? What does it mean to have a “welcome” home in the first place? That guests are comfortable there, or simply that the host intends for it to be welcome, regardless of the actual environment? Does having a welcoming home mean that those who live there are expected to behave in a welcoming manner? Should children be polite? Should there be food and drink available? A celebratory atmosphere waiting in the wings?

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hose were the questions that suffered my mind as I began to redesign our front porch a couple of months ago. This summer is our third summer in the house. When we looked at the house, I fell in love with the expansive, stately porch with its Craftsman columns and well-kept front garden to look upon. We were somewhat nervous about the busy street, but ultimately decided the urban environment was a good fit for our family. The trucks going by at alarming speeds all hours of the day and night certainly didn’t bother our toddler.

Oh, the mornings we spent counting trucks! Naming the colors of trucks, remembering which type we’d seen that day, and wondering what we would see the next. This porch turned out to be a truck-loving toddler’s dream. As much as I loved the porch and as much as we enjoyed it on those mornings, I had no real design intentions for the space. Imagining the porch to be different felt too big—changing paint colors meant changing the entire house, not just one room; modernizing any part of it meant updating all of it, from

the ugly iron hand railings to the rotting columns to the mismatched windows overlooking it all. The project, once begun, would likely get out of hand. What’s the use of a facelift if underneath it all, you’re still the same house? As a result, the space became wildly unintentional. I collected furniture from the side of the road (as I’m wont to do) and placed it here or there. Blankets I didn’t like continued on next page

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a galley kitchen, and that layout wasn’t going anywhere. Next comes the reframe: the length of our porch meant it was practically twice as big as any other in the neighborhood! Conventional furniture arrangements are based on ideally shaped spaces, though, so I did need to figure out a workable floor plan. I had witnessed, over time, that no matter how appealing I tried to make a secondary conversation area, the chairs either got moved to crowd around the main seating, or were left unused. We needed one large gathering place, where everyone could see and hear each other, without feeling crowded.

but couldn’t bear to throw out found their home on the porch, as did toys the boys had outgrown. If something broke, we patched it up—or didn’t—and then forgot about it. The rug I’d bought two houses ago didn’t fit right, and was soon as dingy as the unpainted floor beneath. If I loved my porch, I had a funny way of showing it. In being so neglectful, I became less and less pleased every time people came over to hang out. The first time I hosted a playdate, I had to bite my tongue to keep from apologizing for the state of our outdoor space! When my parents came from Florida for Christmas, I had to stop myself from running to Macy’s and buying all new outdoor furniture. More than just being vain or unduly apologetic, my psyche was making a very important point. A The PERPETUAL YOU

house is only as welcoming as the person who lives within. If I’m not proud enough of it to want people there, then my guests will not feel welcome. If I’m uncomfortable in my own space, how can I make others comfortable? Over a period of two years, the conflict of wanting to extend hospitality and knowing the space wasn’t what I wanted it to be became large enough that I needed to address it. The flipside to this makeover is that when the time came to do a redesign, I knew the limitations of the porch much better than had I undertaken a reno the day we moved in. For me, intentional design begins with the principles of moderation: accept what I’m not going to change, whether due to budget, time, or inclination. Our porch is a long and narrow one, not unlike

The solution turned out to be simple. Better definition of space, and more purposeful furniture arrangement, beginning with the largest piece–a derelict settee I wasn’t yet ready to part with—to the (mostly) middle of the porch. A pair of chairs was placed on either side, close by but with a wide enough area to walk in between. Several small, narrow tables were added to the periphery, and three rugs were laid out in a row. The final obstacle to layout was that, while the porch’s main purpose was to be a haven for adult gatherings, more often than not we are accompanied by my 3-yearold son. The newly intimate setup, however, turned out to have a nice leftover area just the size for the small table & chair where Wayne likes to draw, paint, and snack. Plus, without a coffee table, there’s ample floor space for little boy play. While not traditional, the arrangement of furniture was


fairly easy to determine. What wasn’t so apparent was the color scheme. I wanted our house to embody its bungalow roots, which indicated an earthy paint scheme: saturated but traditional colors to ground the unimpressive bluish gray siding. After two years of redecorating the interior of our house, however, I decided that the exterior of one's home should preview what's on the inside. In our house, earth tones do not rule the day! Pink, whether coral or fuschia, has been my go-to color for going on 14 years now. Pink is my first love. Yellow—in the appropriate hue—is also a color I like to have around, provided there’s not too much of it. Blue, on the other hand, was a surprise, as I had decided long ago that black was my favorite dark color. Room by room, though, blue has come out the winner, from cabinets in the kitchen to stair posts in the foyer to a key element of many of my as-of-yet unfinished rooms. It’s no surprise, then, that I ended up back at blue, pink, and yellow for my front porch color palette.* Thanks to the gorgeous oversized dreamcatcher, custom made by Kate Yundt of “Open Eyes Open Mind”— which became my inspiration the moment I knew it was a possibility— the fourth color became a jade-ish green, a completely new color,

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See how this bright porch redesign inspired this month's color palette on p.54

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a surprise scattered about in small doses (if you consider the front door small) and something I now have the opportunity to find a place for in the next interior space I work on. Finally, since I was now working with FOUR superbly bright colors, I decided a soft gray, just a few shades lighter than the house itself, for the columns and trim was just the neutral I needed. The overall effect, as you’ve no doubt witnessed from the accompanying images, is a bright, cheery, bordering-on-tropical space that proclaims: “Let’s Have Some Fun!” One of the things not considered in my design was the regular foot traffic we get, on account of being between the senior housing and a convenience store, but the passersby sure considered me! The usual friendly waves and nods became input, suggestions, and talking-tos. One woman envied our ability to change our environment at all; another wondered if I hadn’t better get a thinner brush to paint the window trim; and, the resident wanderer, who we’ve occasionally given odd jobs, felt entitled enough to ask why—of all colors—had I chosen dark blue? These comments were neither wanted nor helpful, but as the whole thing started coming together, the oohs and aahs started showing up. We often get compliments on our front garden—for which I can’t take credit, considering I didn’t plant it and I don’t pay attention to it—but as admirers started praising the porch design, I basked in the credit. Though I try not to base my self-esteem on opinions of others, a little encouragement never hurts. Besides, I began to feel as though I were doing a service to our neighbors – not so much as a point of boasting, but just in the way that our house was providing interest and surprise to their otherwise routine lives. Any doubts I had remaining about a tropical color scheme on a traditional bungalow in a New England town were then easy to The PERPETUAL YOU

reframe. Not everyone will appreciate the fun, bold colors of our house, but for those who do, the pleasure is great indeed. I love design because it is so personal and intimate – because I feel confident in my choices once they have been made – because I tend to know what I want and I enjoy figuring out how to get there –because I even enjoy the process, which is really what intentional living means to me in the first place. Still, I’m gratified when I see that my intense, personal design affects someone else positively. What’s good for me is also good for the community, my family, and my ever-widening social network. At a recent wine night, a friend paid me a high compliment. She described me as the person who really does mean it when she says to “stop by at any time.” I can think of no truer way to describe me, nor any that would be nicer. As a self-professed introvert,


Get Some Dreamspiration I do love being at my home more than just about anywhere, and I’m perfectly okay being there alone. I also value my privacy. A lot. But I mourn the days gone by when women “just stopped in” to other women’s homes whenever they needed to talk.

Lee Lee’s macramé dreamcatcher was custom made by Kate Yundt. Use coupon code PERPETUALYOU for 20% off any purchase from Kate's Easy shop, Open Eyes Open Mind.

I’m no optimist. I recognize the downside families underwent in the “move to suburbia,” as well as the danger to women of having nothing to do but socialize. For a friendship to bloom, though, there

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must be closeness on some level. For connection to occur, you must depend on the other person’s desire to spend time with you. Take away the excessive daytime drinking and oppressive social alienation and sign me up! Or, we find a new normal. One in which we maybe call or text first, and all parties acknowledge the hostess’ right to not be available to entertain at the drop of a hat – but a normal, nonetheless, in which we try harder to spend time together. We ask for companionship when we need it rather than wait for it to come to us. We offer our homes as gathering places rather than keep them as shrines to cleanliness. We elevate the art of friendship back to its rightful place in the lives of women and girls – the place where we stop first and we visit most often.

Lee Lee Thompson is learning to be intentional, whether mothering, writing, designing, or imbibing. A true collector and bargain boss, she’ll shop you under the table at the thrift store of your choice. Follow her journey through pictures, through words, or through her hopes and dreams. You’re also welcome to come hang out on her front porch.

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She longed for porch friendship, for the sticky, hot sensation of familiar female legs thrown over hers in companionship. She pined for the girliness of it all, the unplanned, improvisational laziness. – REBECCA WELLS


Planning an “Impromptu” Porch Party Make sure all of your last-minute get-togethers are as fun as possible by being prepared for anything.

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Be nothing if not flexible.

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Return the favor.

An easy way to be ready for anything? Work spontaneity into your floor plan. Lightweight furniture can be moved around when needed, and multi-

It’s fun to be the hang-out house; some of us really can’t help it. But if you never show up to other people’s soirees, you won’t know the enjoyment of not having

tasking pieces, such as a vintage TV tray, can go from side table to bar cart in the matter of minutes.

to clean up when the party leaves.

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More is merrier, but less is lovely too.

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Quick & easy is the new entertaining.

Invite everyone, but be glad if even one person shows up. Celebrations are less about numbers and more about the vibe. Put a playlist on and start sharing those secrets!

Pre-made appetizers, fancy potato chips, and a jug of sun tea is more than enough to make an impression. You'll be glad that you don’t have as much clean-up or as much leftover food.

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Accept any and all offers of help.

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Be You.

Part of being a gracious host is just that—being gracious. When someone brings cheese and you’ve already bought the requisite four varieties, just squeeze that extra hunk right in.

I get more joy out of preparing a spread than I do partaking of the result. If you get more out of just being present, keep a stack of quality take-out menus and compostable dishes on hand.

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Keep up to date with our monthly product selections by following us on Pinterest!

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Shop the Look Refresh your front door with a sunny, summery paint color, and add style with our June 2016 suggested home products.

G E T T H E L O O K F R O M T H I S M O N T H ' S F E AT U R E D DW E L L I N G

Ready to purchase? Click on the 'buy it' links below.

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1 | Wooden Welcome Tag from Creations by L. Love (from $17.50, buy it)

2 | Medallion Door Mat from Target ($12.99, buy it)

3 | Gem Hanging Lantern from Pier 1 Imports ($69.95, buy it)

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Mackerel corresponds to Benjamin Moore 2059-10

Sea Spray corresponds to Benjamin Moore AF-575

Forever Flamingo corresponds to Benjamin Moore 2002-30

C E L E B R AT E A S U N - D R E N C H E D C O L O R S C H E M E

Key West Beauty corresponds to Benjamin Moore 658

This month’s color palette is inspired by a sunny cottage on Key West. Enliven your home and your life by infusing this saturated scheme into those areas where you hang out the most–the family room, an eat-in kitchen, and—of course—your front porch. Other suggested pairings: Mackerel, Forever Flamingo, & Sunny + Sure. These tropical interpretations of primary colors add whimsy & interest to an otherwise exhausting palette. Add vintage kitsch in these colors to your kitchen or bathroom and prepare to smile!

Sunny + Sure corresponds to Benjamin Moore 320

Mackerel, Sea Spray, & Forever Flamingo. A touch of this rosy-coral blend is all it takes to make this pairing of blues sparkle. Add brass fixtures or accessories to bring in perfection and shine.

Sea Spray, Key West Beauty, & Sunny + Sure. Along with the more neutral bluish gray, this combination of green & yellow offers endless possibilities. Combine elements from nature—plants, stones, leaves—with modern furniture for a fun, eclectic workspace.

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Color Inspiration For more ideas & inspiration, follow our Color Palette Pinterest Board.


celebrate to align your friendships with your ever-evolving story

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24/7

FRIENDSHIP A S TO RY O F M O D E R N S E R E N D I P I T Y

Words by Lee Lee Thompson; Images by Jazelle's Artistry unless noted with reporting by LaKay Cornell & Olivia Rowe

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The relationship of Diane Murakhovskaya and Irene Ryabaya reads like a love story, of the romantic comedy sort. They met at a turning point in both of their lives and were immediately and repeatedly involved in each other's lives in ways that seem, at the least, scripted: planning a wedding (Diana’s); escaping during a blackout with a broken leg (Irene’s); and leaving the success of one industry behind to fight for their lives in another (Both!).

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n this way, Monarq—their friendship “dating” app launched last year—is their love child, not to be confused with the actual baby in Diana’s belly,* which Irene is quick to point out at networking conferences is not hers. If this love story is true to form, we can assume Irene and Diana will gain wild success with their venture and live happily ever after in a mansion by the sea; or, if directed by someone with a little more depth—say, Sophia Coppola—maybe the app remains obscure, but they realize true joy by supporting each other.

As Hollywood-worthy a story as this is, the flourishing, fun-filled friendship of Irene and Diana isn’t a romance at all, rather a prime example of the way friendships are

Since the writing of this article, Diana's baby has joined the world. Welcome Ophelia, and congrats to her parents!

naturally formed. Think of it as Serendipity. Or, as Irene puts it, “Easy serendipitous repeated exposure.” Several years ago, Irene and Diana were each working in the finance industry when a mutual friend suggested they do business together. Though they had been running in the same circles for a number of years, they hadn’t actually connected. Neither of them had high expectations of the meeting. Irene was brutally up front. “When I met her, I was like: ‘I hate my job. I’m leaving. I’m not going to give you any business. I’m not really interested.’” Diana was able to overlook this “bitchiness,” partly because she was in the same place of dissatisfaction, and partly because she is more of a “strategic” friend-maker, looking at friendship as a “project...to pick away at.” This meeting turned out to be the first of many, through which the pair found out what they really have in common: a thirst for something more out of life.

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Before long, Diana had asked Irene to help plan her summer wedding, an honor women our age might save for their closest, most loyal of friends—the friend we’ve known forever. Due to her husband’s work schedule not allowing for time off, Diana then asked Irene to accompany her on her honeymoon. This adventure took their friendship to another level. Traveling together, whether a daytrip to the beach or a week in Malaysia elevates your friendship by removing boundaries. In the car together, stuck at the airport together...negotiating when, where, and what you will eat...rest stops, bathroom breaks, plane etiquette. You get to know someone intimately by spending uninterrupted time with her.

“Entrepreneurship is like a crash course in losing your ego,”

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Both unemployed, they began rock climbing together, which turned into going to events together, which turned into planning events, one of which was Irene’s 30th birthday party. Before long, Diana was the friend Irene turned to in her time of need, particularly when she found herself with a broken leg, stuck in her apartment on the 33rd floor during a blackout. Being the more introverted of the two, Irene didn’t call Diana, but when she received a text saying “Are you ok?” she took off to Diana’s Brooklyn apartment. This fun and carefree weeklong “staycation” turned into what would become a foundational principle of their friendship: taking a break from the real world to spend time “alone” (i.e. with each other).

The trip culminated in an exhaustive and “intense” hiking trip in Borneo, the only women among 50 Malaysian hikers. “It was difficult—steep, a lot of rain and pretty terrible,” says Diana. Getting back to camp didn’t help much. “The end of all this hiking,” says Diana, “is literally an open air, three-wall hut. You’re trying sleep in your mosquito net with men snoring left and right.” Moving from repeated, serendipitous exposure to sheer vulnerability to the discovery of shared goals resulted in the decision to progress their friendship to the level of business partners. "We saw each other under pressure," says Irene. Adds Diana, "We felt like we could get through anything together." Their friendship, in essence, was at an all-time high. Out of this moment Monarq was born.


On the surface, Irene and Diana are two very different people; most notably, Diana is extroverted and Irene introverted. When it comes to forging genuine friendships, Diana and Irene are more alike than not. Growing up, Diana had a “few really close friends,” most of whom she is still friends with. Similarly, Irene stays in touch with her best friends from both high school and college. “I’ve accumulated those people,” she says, “We’re still very close.” Both women also prefer “deep connection” to an abundance of friendships. “I’m happy not to have the acquaintances a lot of people have,” says Diana, because “I expect quite a lot from my friends.” Echoes Irene, “We give a lot to our friends. We expect a lot and we give a lot.” Diana and Irene are also compatible in their approach to entrepreneurship. Decisions have to be made, roles have to be played. In an entrepreneur setting, there are countless of each. While Diana and Irene both acknowledge that entrepreneurs play all the roles all the time, the fact that they’ve each taken over tasks that come naturally to them is key to their working relationship. Irene, who is much more inclined to the “tech stuff,” generally meets with developers, while Diana keeps her feet on the ground, so to speak. “Entrepreneurship is like a crash course in losing your ego,” she says. “No task is too small or big. No one’s going to have your passion. [You] do whatever needs to be done.”

Breaking Up Isn’t Hard to Do When asked whether they have found the "perfect" way to break up with a friend, Diana and Irene both responded with a solid NO; however, they followed up with the advice to listen to your heart. "A lot of time it happens organically," says Irene, "The moment you tell yourself you have to see this person, it becomes an obligation rather than a friendship." Adds Diana, "There's very rarely a time when both of you are not feeling it; Use the slow burnout. With friendships, there's not always a clean end."

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Let's Be Friends! Visit the Monarq website to get on their list of friends.

Also, both women are willing to step out of their comfort zone when necessary. For example, the time Diana decided that, to expand their networking circle, they needed to go to two events a day for 30 days. Whereas Irene wasn’t “required” to go to the events, she did because she agreed that this was the best way to make connections and learn more about the industry they were entering. Another key element in their partnership? They get along. Compatibility truly rests on the way two people deal with conflict. Irene and Diana have taken an oath to hear the other person out and to remain “open to the possibility” of the other person’s idea being more feasible. Generally, “whoever makes their case strongly enough” is the person whose idea they explore," says Diana. More importantly, they built in a no grudge factor, meaning after the fact, the person who gave in does

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not harbor ill will. “Regardless of the outcome, the decision is still both of yours,” says Diana, “You don’t fault the other person.” Does this mean they agree on everything? Definitely not. Nor would that be the sign of a healthy partnership. But their disagreements are usually “spats,” says Irene, “...silly stuff that resolves itself in 15 minutes.” Agrees Diana, “It’s just the small kind of bickering, like a marriage— toothpaste bottom, toothpaste top kind of stuff.” Despite the successful launch of their app in three cities over the past two years, Irene and Diana still find time to get away—together, of course. More than just the foundation of their relationship, this mutual penchant for experiencing a change in scenery is another sign of their compatibility. Traveling together is “lovely,” says Irene. “Having that experience,

even for a few days, is like this memory generator almost. [We] don’t go very far, but there’s nothing else like it.” Diana, who caught the traveling bug at an early age, says that traveling together is “a different kind of fulfillment”— not just about escaping, but about creating new memories together. Another factor in their compatibility is their husbands’ attitudes about the inordinate amount of time the women spend together. Though an adjustment in the beginning, had their partners not both been accepting of this intense friendship, they “probably wouldn’t have picked [us] as partners,” says Diana. “They knew the kinds of women we were.” In a way, Diana and Irene live in a very special bubble, where their friendship and partnership coexist peacefully, where the us vs.

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who need a lot more fulfillment in life and we wanted to do something big.”

P H O T O S O N P. 6 2 - 6 3 C O U R T E S E Y O F M ONARQ

“We’re the kind of people

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“We give a lot to our friends. We expect a lot and we give a lot.”

them mentality could become their entire world. Typical to the very nature of their friendship, though, they aren’t content staying in that safe space. By being honest with themselves, and with each other, they know they can’t be who they want to be through isolation. When they started Social Monarq, by their own admission, Irene and Diana knew next to nothing. “We didn’t know anything or anybody,” says Irene, “What does it mean to

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build an app from scratch? What does it mean to code it? What does it mean to grow social media? What does it mean to get press? We didn’t know the answers to any of these questions.” To meet this challenge head-on, without ruining their friendship, they combined business and personal relationships in unique ways, for example, conducting focus groups with their own friends; mixing new “entrepreneur friends”

with old “junior high” associates; and inviting all friends—new or old—to networking events they were planning on attending. This ingenuity combined with a good old-fashioned “make it work” mentality has resulted in the pair becoming regional Networking Mavens. They’ve been asked to conferences, such as The Lady Project Conference in Rhode Island, to speak on how to get your idea in front of other


people (without being a jerk) and have also been approached by a top angel investor to pilot women-in-tech experiences. These new opportunities help their business and their friendship get stronger. As does their complete honesty about the place their business is in. “The app has been growing organically. Every day we see more and more people coming in,” says Irene. And while they both agree that everything they’re doing falls under the “umbrella of connecting women,” they don’t yet know where all of this is headed. “The vision is something we’re still working on,” says Irene. We may not know the ending to this fairytale, but, unlike your average romantic comedy, this story doesn’t hinge on “butterflies and sparkles” (neither does the friendship itself!). “The beauty of a company being a startup is you do it 20 times before you know what it is,” says Irene. Diana and Irene have stepped off the page, so to speak, and are just focusing on doing what needs to be done. “We’re the kind of people who need a lot more fulfillment in life,” says Irene, “and we wanted to do something big.” By remaining vulnerable and honest, testing their compatibility often, and pushing for authentic, life-changing, femalecentric connection, these two fabulous ladies have already accomplished and received something very big indeed—a 24/7 friendship.

Lee Lee Thompson is the Cofounder and Managing Editor of The Perpetual You. Since the inception of this magazine, she has had the privilege to interview and write about 13 amazing women devoted to passionate pursuits. By telling their stories, Lee Lee hopes to inspire other women to choose, embrace, celebrate, and unleash the best parts of themselves– their Perpetual selves.

Networking 101 Need help with your networking "game?" Irene & Diana offer these tried and true tips to help you actually have fun at your next event.

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Rehearse Your Pitch. ͞"Cater your pitch depending on who you're talking to,͟" says Irene. A business description you might see on a homepage is too long & too vague. Having minor variations practiced for different situations is best.

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Be Memorable. "Tell a quirky weird story about yourself or something silly that turned out to be empowering,͟" says Diana. Just make sure you relate whatever you say back to the business you're promoting.

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Give More Than You Take. Approaching someone at a networking conference can be nerve-wracking. Take out the anxiety by focusing on what you have to offer and voicing what you need only if it seems natural to do so.

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3 Q U E S TI O N S with...

Diana & Irene What are some ways you Celebrate Friendship in your day-to-day lives?

What aspect(s) of your physical space are the most Fun?

What is the connection between Fun & Friendship for you?

Diana – The older we get, the less spontaneous our interactions with friends become in our busy and overscheduled lives. I try to talk to my friends about silly and fun things daily to keep us connected.

Diana – My kitchen for sure. I love to turn on some music and cook up a storm. My kitchen is usually the cleanest and most zen space but I try to be playful with colors and flavors.

Diana – Friendship is about support, but it’s important to have fun in both small and big ways –from sharing laughs over a movie to a crazy girls trip with fun stories to remember over and over.

Irene – The best celebrations of friendship are those moments when we share victories big and small, when we support each other through the failures – no matter how huge or seemingly inconsequential.

realize

Irene – Carving out personal space is important, especially for introverts like myself. My favorite spot is an old raggedy arm chair in a corner where I like to ͞hide͟ to read my favorite sci-fi books.

dwell

Irene – The best way I've found to bring fun back into adult relationships is to take a short trip – getting out of the daily grind brings back the lightness and joy of childhood friendship.

live


live

to align your innermost thoughts with your

ever-evolving perspective

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LIVE

Sisterhood ROOTED IN SELF-LOVE Words by Jennifer Sterling

We all crave connection. We want to be seen, heard and know that we matter. Often we seek out other people to provide these things for us– validation. In truth, before we can expect others to provide this for us, we have to be able to look within and find it for ourselves.

The PERPETUAL YOU


The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. – SONYA FRIEDMAN

G

rowing up I had more male friends than female friends. In part because I grew up with 4 brothers and was more comfortable with more “masculine” activities, but also because I found relationships with other women difficult to navigate—there was constant competition, jealousy, and a fickleness that I didn’t enjoy. My relationships with other girls were on again, off again—I was cool enough to be part of the group one day, but not so cool the next. These fickle relationships were all based on insecurities, mine and the women I was surrounding myself with. We were all seeking validation from each other. I would get jealous if I felt someone was prettier than me or had something I wanted, but felt I could never have. On the days our friendships were off, we stopped talking to each other or hung around each other only to make the person with what we wanted feel bad about what they had. We were insecure. We lacked self-confidence and boundaries. I learned as an adult that friendship with women doesn’t have to be that way. When I stopped looking for external validation from other women and cultivated a kind and loving relationship with myself, I was able to expect more out of my friendships.

Self–love looks different for everyone—we’re different from each other and we value different things. Still, at its most basic level, self-love includes: eating foods that nourish your body, getting enough sleep, making time to move your body, and creating a spiritual practice that feeds your soul. All of these things are essential in maintaining your health, and also lay the foundation for developing friendships with others. If you feel good, you’re more likely to interact with other people. Basic self–care practices will get you through your day to day activities, but in order to maintain successful friendships, we have to move beyond the basics. One of the most important self–love practices in a friendship is the ability to set boundaries. Brené Brown defines boundaries as “defining what’s ok and what’s not ok.” You set the stage for the way other people treat you. If you are secure in your personal boundaries—what you will allow and what you won’t—making friends and creating sisterhood becomes much easier to navigate.

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Will you allow the people in your life to shame you for your weight? Will you allow people in your life who put you down, instead of celebrate you? Or will you choose to allow people who don’t talk about your looks at all, but instead find beauty in your thoughts and your laughter? Or people who celebrate all of your wins, even the small ones? Better yet, are you able to do those things for yourself – find beauty in your thoughts and laughter, celebrate yourself? As women we tend to be really hard on ourselves. We judge ourselves for our flaws and imperfections, instead of celebrating our strengths. Recognizing that no one is perfect creates the space for us to let go of the unattainable expectations we have for ourselves. When you treat yourself with kindness and compassion, you create a boundary that allows other people to do the same. For your friendships to be fulfilling, this is essential.

The PERPETUAL YOU

Learning to celebrate myself and treat myself with kindness and compassion changed the course of my relationships, and made it possible for me to stop looking outside of myself for validation. As a result, I was able to bond with other women more successfully. Today, my circle of friends is all women, a sisterhood. We laugh together, support each other, and celebrate each other regularly. There’s no need for competition because we realize that we are all uniquely gifted, a fact we remind each other of often. Let’s celebrate each other instead of competing with each other. Be grateful for each other’s successes and support each other through failures. Once you can do these things for yourself, it will be easier to sincerely do this for others. True friendships are built upon loving and believing in yourself so you can do the same for others. True sisterhood is rooted in self-love.

Jennifer Sterling is a Certified Holistic Health and Movement Coach, who uses her signature BodyLove Method™ to help women struggling with body image and disordered eating learn to nourish their bodies with food; dance their way through the tough stuff; and, love themselves unconditionally.


“ I have no notion of loving people by

halves, it is not my nature. ” – JANE AUSTEN The F UN IS S U E

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The Legacy of Friendship Words by Katie Lynch; Images by Deborahhannah Neele

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LIVE

Our first love leaves a lasting legacy on our soul.

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hink back to phase of your life when you found “her.” She may have been the one you met playing on the playground when you were only eight years old. Or the one who sat next to you at lunch on the first day at your new school. Maybe she was the one whose locker was next to yours in high school. You may not have found her until later in life, because she was your first college roommate or the one who you met at your first “grown-up job”—the one you thought you'd work at forever. She was your “best friend,” your “bestie,” “your soul sister,” “your other half.” Your first love. My first love? She was a fiery, prodigious, and extraordinary woman. We first met in a well-known non-profit. We loved feminism, excel spreadsheets, Harpoon beer, late nights, writing, language, obscure vocabulary. Our pride in having mouths like truck drivers bonded us instantly. We fell in “friend love” fiercely, quickly, and passionately. We worked together,

we partied together, and eventually we even lived together. We went through so many life milestones with one another. Jobs, relationships, mental health struggles, I was even privileged enough to be present as she birthed her first son. She was my rock, my other half, my partner in crime. I had her back and she had mine. We melded our lives together, convinced we could change the world, even if it took us until we were old and gray. She was my heart, she was my soul, and even if she thought the label too restrictive or emotional, she was my best friend. Over my beautiful lifetime, love has taken on many unique forms. The love that I possessed for this woman—a love filled with whimsy, magic, and idealism— is one that cannot compare. We spent hours upon hours with one another, losing ourselves in conversation, never running out of things to say. When we were with continued on next page

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each other, time stood still. She listened intently and patiently as I dissected the person I was, the person I wanted to be, and the grand plans I had. And when the conversation stopped, complete silence felt natural. Always my biggest cheerleader, she held my secrets and my desires in life, there to encourage all of the dreams, big and small, no matter how crazy. She was my dreaming partner in crime. We filled our days planning and plotting how we would change the world; no, scratch that, how we planned to take over the world, the only way we knew how...together. The laughter between us frequently erupted like a volcano, and left an ache in my abdomen that I would wear proudly the next day. She was the first one to know everything I have to tell: all of it—the good, the bad, and the ugly. When emotions overflowed she grounded me. She had my back, no matter what, even when having my back was hard. She is the reason I was able to pull through those life circumstances I thought might kill me. There was nothing we couldn’t get through together.

Life moves in directions we never expect. Our lives eventually shifted and changed, as we grew and changed. Somehow, amidst the growing, we started moving in different directions. We woke up one day, not too sure how we even got there, to find ourselves no longer present in one another's lives. This was painful. The type of pain that you spend lots of time and energy avoiding out of self-preservation. For a long time after our separation, I thought I was angry with her. For what, I didn’t know. Sure, at the time, I could have rattled off one hundred insignificant and petty reasons. Now I know that anger is a mask for other emotions—in this case, grief. Time moved on, and brought healing. Through personal growth and self-reflection, I came to believe that despite our separation both emotionally and physically, it was impossible for me not to hold a part of her and the legacy of our friendship in my heart. Time, space and distance could never rob me of this legacy. I also learned, that, sometimes, legacies have to end so that others may begin. The legacy that was left behind in the wake of my friendship with her is one I see so clearly now. She

The PERPETUAL YOU


allowed me to be so raw, so real, and say things out loud to her that I could never say to anyone else, never judging me, and never making me feel ashamed. This allowed me to push myself forward in life, to learn that it is okay to be vulnerable and okay to let others see you for all that you are. Through her love, I learned to love myself.

We take the big and little steps towards the goals and dreams we once shared with one another. We carry forward the lessons learned in our friendship into the friendships and relationships to come. We try our hardest to see in ourselves what she saw in us, and hold these truths about ourselves high so that when we are feeling low, we think of her, how she saw the best version of us. And we keep moving even closer to our true life.

It was only after this healing recognition that she and I found our way back to one another. Out of all the roads we could be on, we’ve managed to once again...be walking in the same direction. We may not be spending each and every day involved in every last minute detail of one another's lives, but we are able to honor the legacy of our friendship, to trust that legacy to propel us into new adventures, too build on that legacy in this new phase of our relationship.

And sometimes, that legacy—the knowledge we gained and the strength we discovered—leads us back to being friends once again.

I watch from afar as she takes on her greatest fears, biggest dreams, and most daring accomplishments. And she does the same, bearing witness as I pursue dreams, discover passions, and realize my potential. In each new and exciting endeavor, I see a piece of our legacy.

Katie Rose Lynch, LICSW is a professional mindset coach + psychotherapist and a semi-professional newbie wife. Katie Rose brings compassion, humor, love, and a contagious positive attitude to all of her work and is committed to moving women confidently in the direction of their goals Katie Rose is also rumored to be an avid baker, and blissfully recovering perfectionist who really believes that there isn’t any problem a hot cup of tea and a nice long nap can’t solve.​Connect with her online.​ Photography by Deborahhannah Neele

Our friendships are rich with gifts. Through the love, the vulnerability, and raw reality they bring to us, we are able to become the greatest versions of ourselves. Friendships teach us intimacy, and also encourage us to dream big, aim high, and recover from pretty much anything. And when a friendship ends, as many do, we are still learning, while we move through the pain. What would happen if we made the conscious decision to choose to focus on the legacy of our friendships rather than resent or be angry with the endings or changes in our friendships? When our lives are pushing us to move in new directions and we must leave past legacies behind, how do we consciously continue to honor the legacy? When we are no longer with one another in the day-today but going through new experiences and challenges, what remains? When we move forward, we may grow apart; but, our actions can still honor the legacy of our friendship.

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JUNE MANTRA

I willingly open to the limitless support available to me from those that

love me .

Mantra by Krystal

The PERPETUAL YOU

Krystal Brandt, Authenticity Coach, is a soulful, sensual siren who lovingly and powerfully guides high-achieving women back to their innermost desires by re-introducing them to their own intuitive whispers of wisdom. She brings a provocative, feminine and powerful edge to creating deeply connective experiences where vulnerability is invited, divisive walls come down and your truest self comes out to play.


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K E E P YO U R FRIENDS

Close THE METHODOLOGY & MERITS OF GENUINE FRIENDSHIP

Words by Lee Lee Thompson; Images by Michelle Roycroft

The PERPETUAL YOU


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LIVE

Thank you for being a friend, traveled down the road and back again. Your heart is true – you’re a pal & a confidant.

I

magine yourself to be at the age of retirement (if you aren’t already there). What does it look like? Where are you living? Are you still in the house you raised your family in? Or, are you location independent, like so many of us plan on being? Perhaps you’ll choose to downsize instead, or become a part-time resident of some tropical community. Whatever the picture, whatever the place, I imagine you won’t be totally alone. Who is with you? Let’s skip the romantic aspect of that question and focus in on something much less certain. Who will your friends be? Not

The PERPETUAL YOU

just the women you hang out with, but those you depend upon and are there for in a time of need. If you think it’s unrealistic to answer that question, you are probably like me—a cautious friend-maker. You might have one or two close friends and a wider circle of “wine night” buddies or work colleagues you occasionally hang out with. If you think the answer to that question is simple—obvious even—then you are probably more of a hanger-on-to-friends, with myriad “close buddies” to supplement the tight-knit tribe of women you’ve known for a long time.


It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind. – TONI MORRISON

Why does this matter? Because if you don’t know what kind of friend you are, you can’t know what kind of friends you will have later down the road. To make this even more complicated, many of us aren’t yet done figuring out WHO we are, let alone what we can offer to someone else. For much of our lives, we take friends where we can get them. You knew each other“back when” or were cubicle mates for a decade; your parents or families are somehow intertwined or you grew up in the same neighborhood. You went through a rough time and she was there for you. You’re related and, well, convention dictates you have to be friends. Circumstantial friends are fine—in many ways, they are the stuff of life—but this type of friendship doesn’t automatically qualify as a genuine one. For a genuine friendship to exist, you must have something deeper than time and place to offer each other.

• You must like each other. • You must trust each other. • You must give willingly to, and receive willingly from, each other. • And you must share each other’s values. This may sound like you need to be the same person, but that wouldn’t be a friendship either. Sure, in 2nd grade, when you and your bestie dressed alike, talked alike, and smacked on the same

type of chewing gum, it felt true— but that wasn’t friendship; it was co-dependency, albeit a harmless version. (Co-dependency, if you didn’t know, often masks itself as a real relationship.) In fact, “best friend” in and of itself is a problem. There’s a phenomenon happening in the romantic lives of women called “One person can’t be everything to you” that is just as applicable in platonic love as well. You can be close to someone and not need to be near them every second of the day!

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How do we know if the friends we do feel close to are going to last? Or, how do we know if the people we would like to be close to are worth getting close to? The playdate buddy, the work colleague, the neighbor down the street. Rather than building a wall around ourselves and assuming no friend will be as good a friend as we need, “test” your friends. Find out if they are willing and able to devote themselves to the success of this relationship. And while you’re at it, test yourself too.

A F F E C T I O N AT E F R I E N D S H I P I like you. Do you like me? Check the box YES or NO. Why can’t it be this simple to figure out if we like each other? First, life isn’t this simple anymore; second, I haven’t seen a sheet of ruled paper in quite some time. It’s hard to fold up a text message in little bitty squares and pass it across the aisle! Seriously, though, why shouldn’t you come out and ask someone you know tangentially if they want to take the relationship further? We do this with love interests all the time. Or if we don’t, we wish we had by the time we figure out they don’t want to continue getting to know us. The most intuitive among us can rely on signs to get us most of the way there. The rest of us can depend upon past experiences or learned knowledge. I read somewhere that if a woman says yes to half of your requests to hang out, she’s still interested in being friends. For someone like me who missed the course about social relationships, this was very helpful. You probably have your own litmus test—pick a standard and stick to it. Since we can’t yet read minds, the best way to find out if a friend really likes you is to ask her, flat out. (Role play will make this easier!) If you’re uncertain, you will feel so much better knowing, regardless of the answer. For your part, why not let her know that you

The PERPETUAL YOU

like her? If you’re not an up close & personal communicator, send her flowers or a card and share your feelings. Imagine what you would like her to say to you, and say it to her first.

AT TA C H M E N T F R I E N D S H I P or All I Really Need to Know About Friendship I Learned from Emily Dickinson’s poem, “I cannot live without you...” Not being able to live without someone is not friendship, nor is it healthy. On the other hand, if you feel blessed to have someone in your life, or you are aware of how losing this person would negatively affect your life, then you are genuinely friends. Still, attachment is about more than “being attached”–it’s about Trust. You may really like her, and she may really like you, but if you can’t trust that she will be where she says she will be or do what she says she will do, then what does it matter? A woman is only as good as her word.


Know Thy Self This isn’t to say people need to be perfect in order to be our friends! Mistakes happen. Hopefully apologies happen too. Frequency is what to watch out for. How often does she let you down? How often does she put you down? How often is too often? Having non-negotiables helps. Know what you’re not okay with. I cannot be friends with someone who complains about me to others (singing my praises is allowed, of course!) or who isn’t available when I need her the most. I won’t stand for needless or intentionally hurtful criticism. And if I don’t see a friend in person, at least once a year, she doesn’t really feel like a friend.

Knowing your values is at the heart of a genuine friendship. Identify those things that are at your core. You can find lists of values online and circle or highlight the words that mean the most to you. Then, read that list aloud—making a new list of only those words that really strike a chord. This smaller list comprises the values you will likely need a fellow friend to share.

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Know Your Friends Forgiveness is to relationships what baking powder is to baking. You only need a small portion to make that cake rise! If a friend lets you down, mourn that loss, but don’t write her off. Assess whether this failure was out of character; if it was, give her another chance. Let her know that she hurt your feelings or hindered your plans and that you forgive her. Once you have forgiven and forgotten, you can get back to having fun!

The PERPETUAL YOU

Loyalty is a strength of mine. I practice what I preach. You can be sure, if all other elements of the friendship are genuine, I will be there for my friends. What are your strengths? Observing how you behave toward others will give you a clear picture of the actions you expect, and deserve, in return.

A LT R U I S T I C F R I E N D S H I P Act first, feel Abundant later Do you think about your friend and wonder what she’s going to give to you next? Or what you can “get” out your time together? Do you call her up to bitch and moan or to celebrate, but not just to hang out, with no ulterior motive? Are you thinking of what you want to say as she talks?


If so, this friendship isn’t genuine. Assess whether you want to spend a different sort of time with this person. If the answer is yes, determine what you have to offer in this friendship. What are your gifts? What are your talents? What do you have a surplus of? Some friends are very good at asking for what they need; if you have a friend like that, consider yourself lucky! Many women have been conditioned to believe that neediness is a weakness. In friendship, as in life, requiring assistance is normal and asking for help is an act of courage. You do not have to be a naturally generous person to have a genuine friendship. Start off by filling immediate and obvious needs: last-minute childcare or dog sitting while she’s on vacation. As time goes by, you will begin to trust each other and share with each other more. I used to be a selfish person, from not liking to share food off my plate to not wanting to “waste” important seconds listening to someone else’s problems. I know now that this selfishness came from the feeling of not having enough, a lack mindset. When I focus instead on the things I have, I naturally want to give more to those around me. Altruism is the natural outcome of an abundant mindset.

AESTHETIC FRIENDSHIP aka Agreeing to be Friends Genuine friendship is not dependent on popularity. No one is keeping track of your Facebook friend count or keeping an eye on how many events you attend, at least no one you want to be friends with! What will attract other women to you is your system of beliefs and your resulting behavior —not in the sense of Right vs. Wrong —but from the standpoint of: “Does she believe in the same things I do?” While I’m no stranger to the merit of a lie of omission every now and then, I have yet to choose friends who can’t tell it to me straight. I both value and practice honesty. Those women who don’t crave

honesty are not who I want to be friends with. And that’s okay. In the same vein, a very sensitive person might not want to be my friend. Also perfectly okay. I’m okay with this because I am comfortable with the level at which I value honesty. As we get to know ourselves better, we know whether or not someone would make a good friend. If you’ve decided to be less judgmental, you will not befriend those who gossip. If you long to share meaningful conversation, you will not hang out with those who small talk. If you’ve made buying local a priority, you will not accept invitations to the discount store.

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Listen to your desires; trust yourself. Pay attention. You can tell a lot about a person from their lifestyle. Reserve space for growth but do not expect anyone to make a fundamental change so that you can be friends. Rather, seek out friends who already agree with your values. Intentionally forming genuine friendships can seem dangerous at first. What if I write someone off who would’ve made a good friend after all? Alas, I am not offering a crystal ball! Living intentionally is not about living perfectly. Nor am I trying to paint a picture in which friendship is solely about the methodical assessment of someone’s character—where would be the fun in that? Fun and games—the “good times”— will happen whether we do our The PERPETUAL YOU

due diligence or not; however, the memories will not mean as much unless we know in our hearts that the friendship is genuine. I recently reconnected with a friend who failed to be there for me during a critical time in my life. I was angry at that friend for far too long, until I remembered a time in which I had also failed her. Then I remembered another time I’d failed her. And another. And another. Next, I remembered all the times in which we had showed up for each other: the time she had rubbed my back during labor; the time I had set aside a whole day to plan the perfect graduation party for her. The baseball games. The boyfriends. The breakups. So many moments of my life had been touched by that friendship.

Finally, I remembered that, at our core, we both shared the values of honesty and forgiveness. She reached out to me and I answered. We had a real conversation in which we made it clear that we still liked each other, and that each of us was ready to trust the other and to be trustworthy. We shared the realization that not being in each other’s lives would be more painful than working through our disagreements. And we laughed. Oh my goodness, how we laughed.

The Lee Lee is the #ladyboss of The Perpetual You. A writer by trade, designer by heart, and mother by choice, she seeks intentional practices and a positive mindset. Connect with her through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest or Email. If you’re near Hamden, CT, she welcomes you to stop by her front porch. Photography by Michelle Roycroft


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I M A G E by D A N A F E R N A N D E Z , @ D A N A F E R N A N D E Z P H O T O

Create fun by Celebrating Friendship

Create fun by celebrating friendship  

June 2016

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