The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Received

Need some advice? Check out these wisdom tips from women around the world!

When faced with a tough situation, how do you handle it? Do you clam up or ask for advice? If you’re like me, you seek advice from all the strong people around you to help you move forward. I usually look to my vinas, my family, or my husband to help me sort through the mess.

Over the years, I’ve been given some great advice but hands down, the best advice I’ve ever received came from my father. During a very difficult time of our lives, I was trying to make sense of a terrible situation and wanted to keep trying to “fix” things. Everything I offered came up short and I felt lost. Then, he said to me:

“Be silent. Be still.”

Those four little words smacked me right upside the head. I, having been a talker and a fixer for most of my life, really took it to heart. I don’t need to respond to everything. I don’t need to fix everything. It’s comparable to the iconic song “Let It Be” by The Beatles— I just needed to learn how to simply sit back and let things work themselves out. 

This advice was sort of like the phrases, “this too shall pass” and “don’t feed the trolls” but seemed so simple and easier to follow. Once I realized the impact being silent and still could make, it was much easier to deal with the situation. That, and not adding fuel to the fire helps it burn out quicker.

Pondering this, I wondered what others had to offer. I asked several vinas: What is the best advice you’ve ever received? The response blew me away; I would have to publish a book to include them all! I sifted through the advice given by many of these women and gathered a pretty solid list here to pass along to you. These range from general life advice to handling relationships. You’re going to want to bookmark this one, babes!


“You’re never going to be good at it until you’re not afraid to be bad at it.” – Erin

“Your greatest passions can often be found within your deepest wounds.” – Danielle

“Stop and ask yourself: is this going to matter in five days? Five months? Five years from now? Almost always, the answer is no.” – Haley

“There’s no hope for a better past, only for a better future.” – Elizabeth

“Don’t complain about a problem without trying for a solution.” – Jessie

“No one will advocate for you but you!” – Jenna


“It’s OK to walk away from toxic people for your own mental health, even when it’s an immediate family member.” – Erin

“Approach every argument in a relationship as US versus THE PROBLEM, instead of YOU versus ME.” – Allisa

“The 3-Cs from AL-ANON has helped me immensely—not just with loved ones and addiction, but with relationships and dealing with others’ issues in general: I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it.” – Bridget

“You can’t control others, only yourself. You do you and the rest will come.” – Abby


“People can say whatever they want about you. You just make sure it isn’t true.” – Cee

“What other people think of you is none of your business.” – Meron


“Don’t start none, won’t be none.” – Mona

“You don’t want bangs – you want therapy.” – Anastasia

What’s the best advice YOU ever received?

The Benefits of Friendship

The Benefits of Friendship

We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: Friendship is good for your health.

Want to live longer? Me too— let’s be friends! 

But seriously, did you know your friendships can help you live longer? Friends are the family you choose, after all, and they are the people who are there for you through good times and bad. In fact, research has backed up the idea that friendships keep us going.

Long-lasting friendships do so much for your well-being— your mental, physical, and emotional health can benefit greatly from creating and cultivating friendships throughout the course of your life. There’s hard proof, too. According to The Mayo Clinic, friendships can not just create a sense of belonging, but they can improve your sense of self-worth, boost your confidence, and make you happier. It makes total sense. Friends build you up—they help you see your worth and feel important!Via Pinterest

When you’re going through a hard time, it always helps to turn to your friends to help get you through it. Coping with trauma is a heavy burden to bear. If you lean on your friends, the dark times associated with these traumas can seem a little bit lighter. 

Friends also encourage you to be healthier. Think about it: Have you ever hit the gym or taken a yogaclass with one of your vinas? You can keep each other motivated to make healthy choices and stay on the wellness path. The Mayo Clinicwrites that “adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI).”

If that isn’t enough to convince you, there’s more proof: A study conducted by the University of Michigan aimed to find links between close relationships and overall wellness throughout life. The study found “the quality of these relationships has been linked to healthier behavior, lower incidence of chronic illnesses, higher levels of happiness and lower mortality. Researchers typically believe that the enhancing effects of investing in close relationships are present throughout life.”

So if you have a small circle of friends right now, expand it! Get out there and make some new friends. Using the Hey! VINA app is a great place to start to find some new like-minded gal pals and form forever friendships. According to these studies, it doesn’t matter when you start forming those tight bonds—but the longer they are present in your life, the better off you’ll be.

Become the Friend Your Friends Confide In

Become the Friend Your Friends Confide In

Get advice. Give advice. And be an awesome friend in a few easy steps. 

What do you do when a vina comes to you for advice? You probably try to help them make the best decision when they’re in the midst of any sort of predicament, right? 

It is always best to remain objective, no matter the situation. What’s best for you may not always be best for your friend. But what’s the best way to put aside your personal opinions and think about what will make them the happiest?

Here’s how to create a judgement free zone that allows your friend to open up, talk through life with you, and makes you the number one choice she goes to about important life decisions.


When your vina is trying to make a decision, avoid saying “if it were me” or “well, I would do ‘x’ if I were you.” That doesn’t usually help (unless, of course, she’s specifically asks what you would do in that situation). Think about your friend’s wants and needs; what is truly best for her? If you know her well you probably have an idea of how she feels in most situations.

Ask her questions about what she’s going through?

How would you feel if ____ turned out to lead to ____?
What do you hope this will result in?
What other options could exist that you haven’t thought of yet?
Why do you feel like ____?
What does your gut say?

Which leads into the next tip… 


If they want advice, they’ll ask for it. Just be a good listener until then. Your advice will likely be catered toward what you would do in the situation.

You can also help your pal make the best decision (for her) by asking “what if” questions about the situation. What if she decides to go with option A instead of options B or C? What are the pros and cons, potential outcomes, or consequences of making a choice one way or another? Make it a discussion.


Unless the problem is super time-sensitive, let your friend take their time to weigh the potential outcomes. By that time, they may have asked for your advice or  had you weigh in a little, so you’ve given them all the fuel they need to make the best decision themselves. It’s ok to check in and see how she’s doing.


Once they have come to their own conclusion, support it. Even if it’s something you wouldn’t do, the best life you can life is the one that you feel aligns authentically with you. You can still be there and understand that they have made a choice that is good for them. The bottom line: everyone is different. What’s good for you isn’t always best for another person. Keeping that in mind, you can be empathetic and understand where they’re coming from. Knowing that you are helping them make the best decision for them, and knowing that they will do the same for you when the time comes.

Why I Journal

Why I Journal

Keeping a journal has been an essential piece of my writing process, since the moment I became a writer all those years ago. Putting the pen on the page and letting my thoughts spill out before me is not just comforting, but helpful – even if I am just doodling or writing about how much I dig the pen I’m using.

Journaling been so many things to me, but the three things below are what I find most important about my journaling journey.


When I am working on a project (personally or professionally), I often start with brainstorming. I will literally just start writing down topics, key words, random thoughts, or any tangent of an idea that I’m having at that moment that is connected with the task at hand. When I take to my journal to hash out potential ideas for a blog, poem, or for a process at work, I let my pen narrate my thoughts. It helps me to visual the ideas I have, either in front of me on the page or displayed on a white board. And because I love lists, it helps me organize my thoughts and formulate a plan to move forward.


I have more notebooks than I need, so I usually use them for separate things. I have a journal for personal thoughts, a small journal I keep in my purse for musings on the fly, legal pads for outlining, etc. I also write down big things that happen during every day life, so I can look back and see how I changed, for better or worse. When I got married this past spring, I recorded our weekend and the epic road trip that followed, so my husband and I could read it later and remember exactly how our marriage began.

A few years ago, I decided to dive head-first into fiction and began writing a novel (and I won’t lie, it’s taking forever because, you know, life). I started a journal for that project mainly to chronicle my thoughts, shortcomings, and victories while working on the piece. How wonderful it will be to look back on that journal when I finally finish the book, to see how I grew as a writer. And who knows, maybe I’ll find gems years later that prompt the next endeavor!


Ah. Therapy! Perhaps the most important reason why I keep a journal. Since I was a pre-teen, I have written down my thoughts to sort through them. Those angsty teen (and let’s face it, early twenty-something) feelings I had were always worked out between the pages of my private journal. The things I went through as a kid, teenager, and young adult – I was able to sort through the weird thoughts and feelings by writing down how I felt in the moment. I don’t know where I would be, emotionally and mentally, if it weren’t for my journals.

One of the most therapeutic exercises I’ve done is not even keeping some of those pages inside the journal. To work through the tough stuff I write down exactly how I’m feeling. Maybe it’s directed at a person, or just how I’m feeling in general. When I’m finished, I make a deal with myself: once I destroy this paper, I will let it all go. That’s when I rip it to shreds. I flush it down the toilet or I burn it. It’s a strange relief, I must say. It honestly helps me move forward.

What are your reasons and how does journaling help you? Even if you aren’t a writer, give it a shot. You might be surprised with where journaling will take you!

This post was originally published on the VINAzine <3

The Best Summer I’ve Ever Had

The Best Summer I’ve Ever Had

I’ve had what feels like a million great summers over the course of my life. But twist my arm to pick just one and I will always land on the summer of 2006 … 

I’ve had what feels like a million great summers over the course of my life. But twist my arm to pick just one and I will always land on the summer of 2006 — even though it seems like a lifetime ago. Especially when I consider friendship and how it helped me forge the path to where I am in life today.

I was fresh-faced at 22 and the world was my oyster. Well, the Midwest was, anyway. It was the summer I decided to go back to college, the summer I spent day after day with my vinas at the pool, the summer I worked my ass off for a job I loved. I even fell back in love with writing that summer. 

My core friend group consisted of people I worked with at a restaurant. Night after night, we would sling steaks and clean up copious amounts of peanut shells, followed by cocktails into the wee hours of the morning. We’d wake up around 10, go to the pool for the day, shower (or not), and do it all over again. We worked hard, played harder and it was FUN. I wrote about the moments using prose and poetry in journals that are now sitting at the bottom of a box in storage.

Not only did we create memories that will forever be frozen in time, we forged bonds that will never be broken. We loved each other, some in more ways than one. Anyone who has worked in a restaurant understands the close-knit nature of the staff — we date each other, break each other’s hearts, or maybe we found our soulmate (romantic or not). 

In fact, that summer taught me what I deserved when it came to love and friendship after I fell for my closest guy bud. Needless to say, it didn’t work out, but we were able to maintain a friendship. I became a stronger woman because of it and knew I couldn’t settle for less when that chapter closed.

That summer also helped me realize I wanted more for my life. My friends pushed me to write more, and when I decided to go back to school, they supported me. The ones I worked with covered my shifts when I needed to finish a paper. The ones I knew from school would study with me. My best friend and I would study for hours together with Law & Order SVU playing in the background. We’d help each other prep for tests and stay focused, even if we were ready to give up. My first semester back would not have been a success without their help.

That summer, I took my Dave Matthews Band obsession to the next level. I saw my first show in Cleveland with another bestie of mine and we spent the eleven years following them from city to city around the Midwest, meeting up with friends we made through Twitter. You might remember me mentioning it in my article about how it’s totally normal to make friends online nowadays. If it wasn’t for the summer of 2006 (or the creation of Twitter, let’s give credit where it’s due), I would have never met some of the ladies who have become some of my closest friends today. 

The summer of 2006 taught me so much about life, love, and friendship and for that I will be forever grateful. Each year, when Memorial Day rolls around, I often I wish I could go back in time and spend my days lazy by the pool, laughing about what so-and-so did the night before. Or how I could just take off on a random Wednesday and drive six hours away to see DMB play without planning ahead. I wouldn’t trade what I have now though, but it’s nice to reminisce on what I consider to be one of the most important summers of my adult life.