Read this When… You’re Scared to Take the Risk

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Hello, World.

Life lately is so hectic and all over the place and full of surprises and time is passing quicker than I want. However, something heavy on my heart recently is the concept of risk. I suppose this is on my mind because I recently committed to working in Washington D.C. this summer, an idea that used to scare me. But, sometimes we just have to take a risk and dive in head first and see what happens. I will share more about my summer job situation in a separate post, but for now, I want to stay with the idea of risk-taking. In many ways, most major decisions I’ve made thus far in my life were risks. I recently spoke at my high school’s Career Day and today I mentioned that to one of my law school friends and she said, “it’s impressive really, that you come from a small town in California and now you live across the country and are going to law school.” I brushed the comment off and thanked her, but the concept stuck with me the rest of the day.

The truth is when I was in high school I wanted nothing more than to ditch my little town the first chance I got (i.e. College).  I was eager to escape the small town and go experience the world at college. It sounds naive and it probably was, but I wanted more. So, I chose to go away to college. Then, at the end of college, I wanted to get out of my home state and experience something new, and that seemed right because the law school I felt was the best fit was William and Mary (in Virginia, which is, quite literally, about as far as I could go while still in the U.S.). Then, in Virginia, I wanted to go back to California. So, I did for the summer following my first of law school. All of the decisions, at the time they were made, were risks. There was a chance I would fail, or end up hating my choice, or return home battered and beaten down by the world. But I didn’t. I questioned my decision to move so far from home at times, but with each passing month it gets easier and I get more confident that I’m exactly where I need to be.

When I spoke at my high school, I spoke with my former college counselor, and as I was heading out she said, “let me know what happens! You’ll make it work. You always seem to.” I laughed and said, “I guess so!” Frankly, I don’t think I make it work. For some reason, things just seem to work themselves out. When I want something really really badly, and I do not get it, it’s usually because something better is coming. So, I usually just take the plunge and trust my gut. The other day I told a friend that my gut told me the job that was going to work out was the one in D.C. (I was unsure if an opportunity in California would pan out). She looked me with a serious face and said, “If law school’s taught me one thing, it’s to trust your gut.” Well, about two hours later, I sent an email confirming I would be working in D.C. this summer. A wave of nervous, excited energy washed over me at that moment. I was taking yet another risk, and as of now I’m not sure whether it’ll work out, but here’s what I know: this summer I’m working in Washington D.C. (honestly that’s still odd to say, but I’m very excited).

When we think about taking risks, we obviously think about the possibility of failure. We also think about the possibility of success. Typically, we’re not sure how something is going to go and we just make a decision that we think is best and see how what comes. As someone who likes to analyze a situation before making a decision, risk-taking doesn’t always come easy. In fact, many people struggle to take the plunge. Sometimes, though, we become so caught up in the analysis we don’t do anything and then we’ve missed the chance and the risk is gone and we’ve gone the safe route by default. So, how do we prevent having choices made by our own mental paralysis when we’re scared to take the risk? We either don’t take the risk and accept whatever regret or double-guessing follows… OR we take the risk and figure the rest out later. There are so many times we can play it safe and go with the safe option, but sometimes in order to get where we want to be or become who we want to be, we have to take the risk.

Something that I wrestle with regularly is “what if I don’t do it, will I regret it? What if I do it, and x result doesn’t occur, and then I feel like I made a mistake?” Well, mistakes are part of life. So is failure. So is success. So is sadness. So is joy. Sometimes, in order to get what we want or find out what we don’t, we just have to risk it. I know that seems scary if you’re a planner like I am, but I will say the times I felt the most scared to do something, but did it anyway, are the times I felt the biggest reward. Things don’t always make sense right away, and you may feel like it was a massive mistake in the interim, but honestly, you’ll learn something from taking the risk. If it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn what you don’t want or that you shouldn’t repeat that decision in the future. If it works out, well, then you’ve created your own magic and you can bask in the success or joy or happiness, whatever it is!

Callie leigh


Movies I Loved

Hello, World.

Today I am back with some movies I HIGHLY recommend. My roommate and I went a bit of a movie bender and watched so many movies over the last few weeks. I recently shared my thoughts on The Greatest Showman, Darkest Hour, and The Post. The next movies on our list were Lady Bird, I, Tonya, and Fifty Shades Freed. I’m not going to share an in-depth review of Fifty Shades Freed, but I will say if you saw the first two films, I recommend seeing the final. However, I personally liked the second movie best. Also, my roommate and I were reading excerpts of the books and were cracking up at how terribly written the books are. Still, It’s an entertaining film.


A movie I do want to share a full review of, however, is Lady Bird. I absolutely adored this film and if I wasn’t watching with another person I probably would have been sobbing as the credits rolled. I cannot say enough about this film other than I recommend everyone see it. I think it perfectly captures the dichotomy between being a teenager and hating everything and being yourself and loving people without knowing how to show it. If I had a dime for every time my mom and I fought when I was in high school, followed closely by tears and comforting I could pay for my law school education. Being a parent is hard, but being a parent to a teenage girl has to be the worst job ever. Honestly, high school feels like eons ago and I can’t even really see the person I was anymore, but I do remember feeling like I just wanted to get away from my small town and arguing with my mom and crying in a car because some boy hurt me before jumping right back into a relationship with someone equally terrible for me.

I liked that Lady Bird was tough, smart, witty, but also frustrating and mean and imperfect at times. Hello, teenage life. As a northern California native, the setting of Sacramento also got me. This movie resonated with me because I know what it’s like to be an angsty teenage girl who desperately wants to escape her small town only to discover, some 3,000 miles away, that she really loves the small moments and the people who make it home. In short, this film was incredible and got me all kinds of emotional.


I saw the trailer for I, Tonya months ago and I kept telling my roommate I really wanted to see it. I didn’t live through the scandal between Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan (it happened the year I was born), but I was intrigued by how much attention it got and the narratives told. I thought a movie from Tonya’s perspective was bound to be interesting. What I loved about this film is that I walked away still not knowing who to believe or what to think. So many unreliable narrators and so many questions. I heard people criticize the movie for trying to make Tonya look like the victim. I disagree. I do not think there is a question who the ultimate victim is. However, I do think the movie tries to humanize Tonya and illuminate why she reacted the way she did to the attack. Further, Margot Robbie killed it. Honestly, her acting was incredible. Sebastian Stan (who will forever be the creepy, but also hot guy from Gossip Girl in my mind) also did an incredible job.

Ultimately, Tonya was a victim of terrible abuse from her mother and husband who wanted nothing more than to skate and be the best. It’s gutwrenching at the end to see her banned from skating for life at the age of 23 (my age!). Part of me wonders if the narrative would have been the same pre and post attack if this happened today. I don’t think it would be portrayed the same way, but its also hard to say because the media loves to pit women against each other (hello, Jennifer Anniston and Angelina Jolie… more than ten years later).

What movies have you seen lately that you recommend?

Callie leigh

5 Easy Ways to Practice Self-Care Effectively

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Hello, World.

Self-care is one of those things I had never heard of before college. Then I got to college and everyone was preaching self-care. Self-care can look different for different people, but I think self-care is one of the most important aspects of a person’s life. I feel like everything in my life improves when I take time for myself and do things that make me feel like my best self. So, today I’m sharing my top five tips for practicing self-care.

  1. Listen to yourself. Seems straightforward enough, right? Well, it’s not always easy to stop and just ask yourself, “what do I want?” and allow whatever comes to mind to control. I used to ignore what I wanted and put what everyone else wanted first. Now, I ask myself, “do you want to do x?” and if the answer is no, I don’t do it. Whether its a social gathering, the gym, a movie, a function, if it’s not what I want to do, I don’t do it. Now, obviously, we have to do things we don’t want to do occasionally. Still, if you can control something, and it’s not what you want, you have the power to say no.
  2. Make time for your hobby. Whether its yoga, the gym, hiking, reading for pleasure, getting coffee and reading The Post, find time for it. The best thing you can do for yourself is really stressful seasons of life is take time to enjoy something you love. For me, I take time to read from “for fun” novels or nonfiction. I miss reading novels and talking about books, so I try to bring a daily reading practice into my routine.
  3. Let go of failures. Did you get a low grade? Did you get turned down for that job? Did you get blown off for a networking call? All of that sucks and can easily cause all types of self-doubt and annoyances. However, a way to practice self-care is to let it go. Don’t let those things, that seem so major right now, define you. You can be successful, and you will be successful, but you have to let the things that don’t work out go.
  4. Quick Spa Night. When I’m feeling really stressed, I will put on a face mask, paint my nails, light some candles, and relax. It may seem too easy, but it can rejuvenate me and give me the extra motivation I need to check more items off my to-do list.
  5. Take a Walk. I go to school near Colonial Williamsburg, and when I’m really stressed or just need a break, I go for a walk around the area by myself. It’s great to get outside, get fresh air, gain some perspective, and just walk around. Taking a walk can give you distance from something that’s stressing you or will allow you to think clearly as you walk around. Taking walks is vastly underrated, in my opinion!

How do you practice self-care?


Callie leigh


Body Positivity: Let Go of Food Guilt

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Hello, World.

You know a phrase I say that I hate? “If I eat x, I definitely HAVE to go to the gym.” Honestly, few phrases irk me more than expressing guilt for eating something. You know what else this phrase does, aside from letting everyone know you eat responsibly and care about your figure? It makes you feel like you cannot eat sweets or carbs without feeling guilty. This is wrong and I’d like to proffer the suggestion that we, as a society, let go of food guilt. Kelsey Damassa, of Boston College, writing for HerCampus, wrote an article entitled “The New Eating Disorder You Might Not Realize You Have: Food Guilt.” The article chronicles what food guilt is, address the origins of food guilt, and offers solutions for combating food guilt. It’s a good read, and I suggest you read it once you finish reading this post.

What I’d like to talk about is more how I’ve seen food guilt manifest in my own life, how I’ve recognized it, how I’ve exacerbated the guilt, and how I’ve been working to overcome guilt associated with eating a few extra sour gummy worms or cookies. To begin, I’d like to say I’ve always struggled with my body.  I’ve never been overly thrilled with my body, and I’ve spent countless hours beating myself up over the way my body is. This is only natural given the unattainable standards of beauty we see daily. In college, I lost a bunch of weight really quickly (by cutting out gluten and dairy, both of which do not react well with my body). I felt good about my body for the first time. Then I got to law school and gained all the lost weight back and then some. Enter punishing thoughts and despair as my clothes started to fit tighter. But here’s the thing: intense stress makes you gain weight. I’m a stress eater, and when I’m stressed I crave sugar and carbs, which do not nourish my body.

Anyway, as I reached for a bag of M&Ms or ate the dinner rolls while out with friends, I could feel that voice, you know, the one that tells us we shouldn’t eat that or we’ll get fat, creeping back in. So, to combat my eating shifts, I started going to the gym. Then, in conversation, I would hear myself saying, “Oh, yeah, let’s eat ice cream, but we have to go to the gym tomorrow.” Why did I feel the need to say, out loud, that if I had ice cream I had to go to the gym? I know some people say they do this to remind themselves to be healthy, but I think it creates an uncomfortable, often uneasy feeling. Even if the “we have to go to the gym,” is meant as a personal reminder, think about how the other person perceives it. This essentially means that the other person can eat that and not go to the gym, but if they do that, they’re making a bad choice, being unhealthy, the list goes on. Watching what you eat, making healthy choices, and avoiding things that don’t nourish your body is all totally fine. However, when guilt seeps in every time you make a choice to eat a given food, that’s no longer healthy. Restricting your food or having a negative relationship with your food is a cause of eating disorders.

If you begin seeing food as the enemy — you know, thinking that cookie will make you fat or that the candy bar translates directly into minutes at the gym — you’re not helping yourself. I know this because I’m a veteran of food guilt. Every time I eat something “unhealthy,” I feel the guilt. I know I’ll have to put extra time in at the gym, I know it’ll go straight to my hips. BUT, the thing is, feeling guilty doesn’t stop me from enjoying a cookie in the moment. It’s the guilt that comes after that sucks. Still, one cookie is not going to change much. I’ve told some of my friends this many a time. “One cookie, piece of pie, a bag of popcorn, etc. isn’t going to kill you.” The issue is my response mirrors the all or nothing mentality that their “I have to go to the gym if I eat this” carries. The way to combat this is to let go of food guilt. Make decisions based on what makes you feel good, but if you want the cookie, eat the damn cookie, and let it go. That doesn’t mean you can’t go to the gym after, but it means you hold the power, not the cookie.

Body positivity is one of the hardest things to embrace. We all have things we wish were bigger, smaller, better, stronger, etc. However, you only have one body and it’s important to treat it well. Stop telling it that one cookie or dessert will always mean two hours on an elliptical. The best way to embrace body positivity is to aim for healthy, but refusing to let one indulgence give you so much guilt.

What are your experiences with food guilt and how have you combatted it?

Callie leigh


3 Movies I’ve Seen Recently

Hello, World!

With awards season in full swing, my roommate and I are trying to see the nominated films. Each weekend we go to see a movie. It’s a great break from school and forces us to enjoy the movie. When we watch at home we end up on our phones or computers or generally distracted. Our town has a Movie Tavern, which is essentially a restaurant inside the movie theatre, so the food is delivered right to your seat! Anyway, I wanted to share three movies I saw that I highly recommend. In the coming weeks we plan to see Lady Bird, Fifty Shades Freed (obviously NOT a nominated film) and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.


We just saw Darkest Hour and it was so well done. Gary Oldman did an incredible job and I would be surprised if he doesn’t win the Academy Award. The film is long but worth it. I feel like I need to brush up on my European history. Still, it’s so well done. I love a good historical film and I felt like I was actually watching Churchill at work! I’d give this film 4/5 stars because I felt the length a bit, but other than that it was a great film!


I LOVE this movie. Ugh. On so many levels I just loved this film. It focuses on the intersection of free speech, free press, and national security. Meryl Streep, of course, did a phenomenal job. Tom Hanks was equally great, and their chemistry was strong. I took my roommate that was the first movie I’d seen where two people had great purely platonic chemistry. I highly, highly recommend this movie. I also want to read Kathryn Graham’s Personal History.


This is such a good movie. The soundtrack is amazing and I listen to it a lot while studying. I was hesitant about the circus theme because I like the idea in the abstract, but sometimes it feels like a con. I also felt, at times, like P. T. Barnum was a bit of a jerk… his treatment of the performers at times was troublesome, but by the end, I was happy with the storyline and enjoyed all the performances! I highly recommend if you want a great musical.

What movies have you seen recently?

Callie leigh


Success is a Mentality

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Hello, World.

I once saw a woman walking down the streets of San Francisco in a beautiful outfit — a wool coat that stayed the same shade as freshly fallen snow despite the debris of nearby construction sites swirling through the air, her hair shiny and straight and in place, not succumbing to the cool breeze coming off the Bay, and a elegantly tailored navy suit peeking through the coats, perfectly hemmed to accommodate her small, but newly shined pumps. There’s a look on her face that’s determined. She walks with purpose, a crisp copy of the Chronicle tucked tightly under her arm, a blue bottle coffee cup in one gloved-hand, and her briefcase held firmly with the other. She takes a left on California Street and heads toward her office which she left mere hours before her morning routine started. Yes, she is someone with a morning routine… she does have coffee, a newspaper, and a briefcase after all.

The person I saw was me… but a future me. A future me I wanted to see. This is what I call daydreaming between networking meetings about the person I want to be one day. It sounds weird, right? Looking put together doesn’t translate directly into success, but we all, to some degree, assume that people who look put together have it all together. However, if we apply a little logic to this assumption, it’s thinness is clear. In actuality, success is a mentality. Success is something we tell ourselves, its something we create by our own actions and drive. When you google a definition for “successful” the definition spit out is “accomplishing an aim or purpose.” So, in order to be successful, you must have an aim or purpose.

In college, I was a facilitator for a leadership retreat, and as a “thank you” gift (I suppose), the women I worked with gave me a book entitled Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Essentially, the book advocates for figuring out why you’re doing something before doing it because if there is no passion…no reason…you won’t achieve what you intend (because what you intend is unclear). This message pops up for me again and again. When I’m feeling lost or aimless, I usually go back to why I started or why I’m doing what I’m doing. Ultimately, if there is no purpose or aim success cannot exist. If you don’t have a clear mental image of what you wish to accomplish, you cannot possibly measure how you’re doing or how close you are to achieving that.

So, if you want to be successful, the best thing to do is come up with an aim or purpose. Figure out what you want to achieve. There are a lot of people who will define success differently than you and there are plenty of people who will tell you what you should do to be successful. I say ignore all the voices and listen to your own. Imagine the life you want to live, cling to the image, and pursue it with all your strength. Don’t settle; don’t become so discouraged you become convinced its impossible. Persist.

How do you measure your success?


Callie leigh


Stylish Academic’s Guide to Avoiding Drama in College

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Hello, World.

Remember when Gossip Girl sent a blast announcing the Upper East Side crew wasn’t done with her upon high school graduation and that she would be following them to college? I think we all inhaled and exhaled so sharply in that moment. Bummer for them, but that meant we had more seasons of Gossip Girl! When you think about one’s first year of college, it’s hard to remember that in August, after moving into your dorm room, you’re really only three or four months away from high school.

Some behavior that’s sometimes normal in high school isn’t always welcome in college. The first being drama. Everyone’s life becomes a lot easier when the drama is stuck in a TV show and doesn’t permeate a person’s real life. Note: though this post is focused on college, I will say that in all stages of life minimal drama is desirable. If I notice someone loves drama and does whatever possible to create it, I quickly side-step interactions with them and minimize my exposure to them. So, I think it’s relatively easy to avoid drama in college, but sometimes it can be difficult because everyone is living in close quarters and if you’re at a small school, most people know each other.

I remember when I moved to my college, I thought it was huge compared to my 300-person high school, but others who went to much bigger high schools thought it was too much like high school [pro tip: size of college is something to really consider when choosing where to attend]. College gossip is real and college drama happens, but I want to share my top tips for minimizing drama:

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. Negative people brew drama like it’s a house roast. Whether intentional or not, negative people tend to create drama because their negativity either rubs off on others OR people vent about the negative person, thus brewing drama.
  2. Keep venting to a minimum. People will annoy you most likely, at one point or another. However, if you’re having issues with someone, either vent to someone you really trust, like your closest friend or your friends from home, or keep it to yourself. The more you vent, the more drama will form.
  3. Acknowledge issues as they happen. If someone annoyed you or hurt you, tell them. Handle your problems with people with them directly. There is no worse thing to do than telling everyone but the person that you’re upset. The more you do this, the more you send two messages: (a) you create drama and (b) you aren’t mature enough to handle your issues responsibly, quickly, and effectively.
  4. Focus on individual friendships. Some people believe the best way to live is to be friends with everyone all the time. That may work for some, but it didn’t work for me or many residents I had in college. When you nurture and develop individual friendships, they tend to be longer lasting and more genuine. I’ve never been someone who could hang out with 5 people at once all the time. Sure, I had “friend groups,” but I always made a point to schedule one-on-one time with all my friends. Whether it was coffee dates, study sessions, shopping outings, etc., I wanted to get to know the person as an individual and not just as a component in a larger group. This way, you know what each person is offering and adding, and you can discern if someone fits well in the group, but isn’t someone you want to seek out one-on-one. This also clarifies who the trustworthy friends are!

Four easy steps to an as-much-as-possible drama free college experience. I think the biggest thing is remembering that people talk. You don’t want to build a reputation as someone who talks negatively about people or stirs drama. Additionally, if you realize someone isn’t a good fit for your life, you can slowly step away from them. This may be difficult, as sometimes they’re very present in your life, but I think minimizing interactions is a great start. That way, it’s not some huge dramatic blowup, but rather a mature departure from the relationship. Drama can come about in ways you weren’t expecting, but it’s always best to be the bigger person! Or, if that doesn’t work, you can do as one of my duty partners did in my RA days: ignore it away!

Callie leigh




Handling Rejection with Grace: Jobs, Relationships, and Life

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Hello, World.

It seems only fitting the banner image for this post is a street in New York, a city that can eat people up and spit them out. New York City isn’t for the weak, but it is somewhere many people go with a dream that may or may not come to fruition. At the end of the day, some people will inevitably fail while pursuing the dream they so desperately want. Inevitably, we all fail in some aspect of our lives. We won’t just fail once, either. We will fail multiple times in different aspects of lives. However, how one handles that failure says a lot about their character. On the same vein, some failure results from rejection. The rejection that rears its ugly head at the worst, most earth-shattering times is the most damaging, but rejection in any form, even the insignificant, can impact us.

When we want to succeed so badly it hurts, someone telling us, “no, now is not your time,” stings a bit extra. It’s like getting lemon juice in a papercut. So, how do we handle rejection with grace while also subtly saying, “that won’t deter me, but nice try!” to our nay-sayers? Well, I think the biggest thing we can do is not let people in our heads. Don’t let someone’s comments or “not good enough,” insinuations get to you. You can take constructive feedback, but if the comment is just flat out hurtful and beyond the nature of constructive, it’s perfectly fine to disregard. I was scrolling through Twitter the other morning, as so many law students who aren’t ready to face mergers and acquisitions reading do, and I noticed a thread from the author of The Nest, Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney that immediately caught my attention and made my thumb lift from the lit-up screen. Her tweet said this:

“When I heard When I heard an agent say a ‘middle-aged woman in a writing class’ was not a client he wanted & I thought I’LL SHOW YOU #misfitsmanifesto”

When I read this, I wondered what had spurred it. There wasn’t anything in particular that preceded this in her feed that indicated it was a response to something. However, following this tweet, there was another:

“So don’t listen to dummies and don’t be discouraged. Just make your manuscript the best you can.”

I liked the sentiment of the tweets because the author is encouraging people to ignore those that say such rude, condescending things, and keep pushing forward. The agent who said this was rejecting D’Aprix Sweeney as an author, belittling her work in the process, but D’Aprix Sweeney, rather than curling up and crying, said, “hm. let me prove you wrong.” She may not have said it to the agent’s face, but she took action to become a successful author whose novel is the topic of book clubs and Goodreads threads around the world. This is, of course, just one example of someone handling rejection well. However, handling rejection isn’t easy…handling it well is even harder.

Rejection is just part of life, unfortunately. Whether we’re working hard in law school to get that big firm job, or on every dating app in search of something, or trying to maintain friendships we can feel are failing, we set ourselves up for someone to tell us “now is not your time,” over and over. However, success is kind of like lightning in a bottle. You’re not always sure what’s going to happen, how you’re going to get X, but once you hit it just right, it’s pure magic. So, we have to put ourselves on the rejection chopping block time and time again to see if this time we’ll hit it just right and find success. Handling rejection with grace isn’t some equation or perfect step-by-step process. If anything, handling rejection with grace is saying, “thank you for your time,” walking away and trying again tomorrow. While someone can say no to you, they can’t rob you of your gumption. So for every “no” uttered, remember you only need one yes to get somewhere.

I grew up in an environment where I was told, “the worst they can say is no,” every time I was hesitant to do something – talk to a romantic interest, apply for a leadership position, go after a job, apply to law schools I knew may not take me, etc. It created a less scary aura around everything I wanted to do – if they said no, bummer but I could move on. If they said yes, well, I got what I wanted! Being fearless but realistic is important in handling rejection. We cannot be so scared of rejection that the fear alone is the biggest roadblock in our lives. We have to keep going, putting ourselves out there, and remember that we will get what we want if we work toward it strategically. If you can’t get X immediately (I know, hard to believe in the instant-gratification world we live in), maybe try getting to X the long way around, by starting with Y, moving to Z, and attacking X tangentially.

I’m not going to tell you rejection gets easier or that you become immune. Rejection is discouraging as hell and by the fifth or so “thanks, but no thanks,” you can feel your ego bruising. However, if we stop putting our name out there and let the few rejections push us so far down they become the end game, we’re letting ourselves down.  So, how do we handle rejection with grace? We say, “I understand,” take the night to drink a glass of wine [or a scotch, neat], take a bubble bath, listen to some James Arthur before getting up in the morning, putting on our big-girl pants and showing the world it cannot shake us.

Callie leigh



Stylish Academic’s Guide to Living an Active Life: How to Avoid Passivity

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Hello, World.

Do you ever feel as if you’re watching your life go by and you don’t have control of over it anymore? It’s funny how frequently I hear people say, “How is it almost October already?” “Where did the summer go?” etc. I mean, I’ve gone as far as to think, “Where did college go?” I just don’t understand where the time went. I’m only twenty-three, but sometimes it feels as if my life is just going by as I focus on getting the next thing. However, I think we are all worried that we’re going to be so focused on the next thing that we forget to enjoy the moment right now. I was also watching a movie or TV show (I can’t remember) where one of the characters said something to the effect of, “stop acting like this is all happening to you. Stop acting like you haven’t played a role.”

However, I think sometimes we do let things just happen. We don’t really take an active role in our lives and suddenly we’re living a passive existence where things are happening and we’re just taking them as they come without really thinking much further. It’s hard to know when we allow passivity to consume us. Sometimes we blame it on other things: “I can’t deal with that right now, so I just won’t.” “I’m focusing on my career so I don’t have time to deal with that.” “I cannot possibly date because I haven’t had good luck recently and I don’t want to get hurt again.” “I won’t be friends with someone who makes me feel bad.” We have justifications regarding why we aren’t taking active steps in some aspect of our lives.

However, Elena Gilbert from The Vampire Diaries, who wasn’t my favorite character, but had some great dialogue, once said, “Don’t take risks. Stick with the status quo. No drama; now is just not the time. But my reasons aren’t reasons, they’re excuses.” This statement was said when she told Stefan, her almost-boyfriend at the time, what she would write in her diary about them. While it probably seems super dramatic out of context, Elena’s words have depth. Life is so much easier when we don’t take risks or when we play by the rules and take the safe, knowable route. However, I doubt wildly successful people, those so-called “household names” became such by playing the safe game. They undoubtedly took risks and defied the status quo. While none of us want drama in our lives, sometimes facing things that we’re unhappy with will lead to a better life. It’s important to stand up for yourself, to take active steps toward finding out who you should trust and who shouldn’t. We all want to live our best lives and that’s difficult to do when we refuse to take chances, put ourselves out there, and accept that disappointment is inevitable. If we live life with the purpose of never being disappointed we will make regret inevitable. When we’re ninety, looking back on our lives, we will most likely think, “I wonder if I had done x, y would have happened.”

People tell us we shouldn’t have regrets. People also tell us that everything happens for a reason. How do we reconcile things that happen when we do regret something? People say, “Oh, everything happens for a reason, even if you can’t see the reason right now.” Honestly, I’m someone who thinks this way and I never thought it had a negative side until recently. Until recently, I thought “karma will get that person,” or “my time isn’t now, so I’ll wait for my turn.” But then, while walking down the street one afternoon, “Home” by Chelsea Lankes blasting through my earbuds, I had a thought that stopped me in my tracks. Literally, I stopped walking, looked around, and thought, “hmmm. That’s new.” My thought was this: we regret the things we had complete control over and chose passivity or inaction instead.

There have been many times in my life when I did everything possible to make something happen and the thing didn’t work out (relationship, friendship, job application, academic application, etc.). When I fail initially, but then something does work out its much easier to say everything happens for a reason, and move on because something better came along eventually. However, when I knew I could make something happen, but allowed fear or anxiety control my actions, and rather than make it happen, I just… froze, watched the situation play out as if it was someone else’s life, moved on and didn’t give it much thought until I had a pit in my stomach that felt a lot like regret. It’s hard to be active in all aspects of our lives. It’s hard to make ourselves vulnerable, give someone else a little power over any aspect of our life, or put yourself out into the world and give it the power to crush you. Most people don’t want to relinquish control, but sometimes we have to if we want to expand, grow, change, and adapt. So, how do we overcome passivity?

Well, revising your life to be more active is similar to revising a paper to get rid of passive voice. You have to be strategic, you have to look for the problem, you have to address the problem when you see it, and you have to have confidence that the change is a correction. So, when you like someone, let them know. When you want the job, do everything in your power to get it. When you want to go to Harvard, work your ass off. When you want to move to that city, visit, make connections and do the thing. If what you want doesn’t pan out after all the work, maybe it wasn’t meant to be. However, if you put in the work, and it works out, you won’t regret it. Even if you discover later that what you wanted isn’t what you needed, you can make a change. Going after something with your whole heart won’t lock you in forever, but it will surely prevent those moments when we’re ninety, writing in our diaries about how sad we are we didn’t call that guy (Hello, “the one who got away”), or we didn’t go after the promotion in year two instead of year ten, or we didn’t live in New York for a few years, or we waited until it was too late to cut a toxic friend from our lives. Disappointment is evitable, but don’t allow your fear of disappointment dictate your life… it will only create inevitable regret.

How do you cultivate a more active life?

Callie leigh


Dating as a Girlboss: Thoughts on Ambitious Goals, Guys and Making It Work

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Hello, World.

Today I come to you with a topic that’s far more personal than my recent posts. Today, I want to discuss modern dating; specifically, if you’re career driven, have many goals for yourself, and are hesitant to settle down until you achieve your goals. For the purposes of full disclosure, I am by no means an expert on dating. In fact, I’m probably quite the opposite. However, lately, relationships have come up in conversations with friends more and more. I joked recently with one of my friends that I left for the summer with mostly single friends and returned to find a good portion of my friends dating someone or at least having a hand in the dating game.

During a night of drinking with my roommates a few weeks ago, we swapped war stories about relationships we’ve had in the past. As I sat there, the sweet scent of a Mike’s Harder wafting up my nostrils, listening to my friends lament the failed attempts of relationships past, I couldn’t help but think that I’ve never been really really burned. I mean, I’ve had failed relationships and once they ended I thought, “That wasn’t the healthiest, but overall I learned a lot.” Additionally, I’m a firm believer that most of the time, there isn’t one completely innocent party. A relationship is a two-way street, and often both parties act in a way that contributes to the relationship’s demise. In all honesty, looking back on the relationships I consider significant, I don’t think the guys I was with are bad people, not then and not now. But I look at where we are now, individually, and laugh. We couldn’t be more different. The guys I dated went their own way, and I went mine, and we ended up in very different places. There’s a reason we separated and it was for the best.


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However, it’s funny how different dating is as you age. In high school, dating was fairly easy. You went to the movies, you hung out by firepits in backyards, you argued about whether you were going to hang out or not based on if he could borrow the family car. In college it was different, but still pretty easy. You studied together, went on dates in your college town, attended parties together and argued about whether you were going to go to that party with his friends or go to that event with yours. I’m not trying to simplify dating, sometimes it is heavy and sometimes it has intense, serious consequences. However, in the grand scheme of things, dating in high school and college seems easier because it’s easy to meet people, it’s easy to see them, and you’re both operating in similar spheres of life. However, dating post-college isn’t as easy. My friends are all on dating apps and recommended I sign up. So I did. I scrolled through a few profiles and didn’t find anything promising, so said maybe that wasn’t the best approach. My friends often tell me my standards are too high. Maybe they are, but I also haven’t met anyone I wanted to lower my standards for, so I remain steadfast in my pursuit of the “unrealistic.”

In addition to relationships entering conversation more frequently with my friends, some of my favorite bloggers have also been contributing to the dialogue. Katy Bellotte, the Youtube persona and author of, has constant negativity clogging her comment sections with readers ridiculing her videos and blog posts for focusing primarily on relationships. This obviously raises the question: why do people react so viscerally to a college-aged woman (who has her own business) discussing relationships, f*ckboys and casual sex? Some women comment with “I like you, but all you talk about is relationships. It’s annoying. You don’t need a man!” But here’s the thing: she doesn’t need a man, but maybe she wants one. Maybe she doesn’t even want a man in the sense of an ever elusive creature who she can chase through various frat houses, she just wants a relationship, someone she can feel something for who isn’t going to text her “Send nudes” at 3 am or “you up?” at midnight. People expect someone like Katy, who is a business owner, driven, dedicated, and absolutely killing it, to stand firm and say, “I don’t need a man.” They expect her to have walls on all four sides of her being that refuse to let anyone in because she’s a strong independent woman. However, I think vulnerability is important. Vulnerability is what allows us to learn. If you can only be either a strong independent woman or a senseless romantic that’s extremely limiting. Why can’t women who are strong and independent want relationships?

The Bold Type, the new Freeform show, is a current obsession of mine and it’s mainly because the show portrays driven, successful women grappling with friendship, their careers, and relationships. Relationships and the ability to feel strongly for another person is what makes us human. Sure, we fear that stomach-dropping, ears ringing feeling that comes with a read, but unanswered text, or when he’s over an hour late and doesn’t call, or when you find out through the grapevine he’s implied you’re desperate. Dating is scary but I do think that sometimes we–‘we’ being successful and driven women–use our status as a blockade against feelings. If we’re too busy building our empires, we can’t possibly get hurt. There’s only so many read receipt rejections, minutes over- thinking responses, and disappointed evenings women can endure before they feel like sitting on their couch with a bottle of wine and chocolate, pathetically watching romantic comedies and thinking the following


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I mean, dating is hard enough and then you factor in all the conventions of modern dating and it’s basically a no go. By modern dating conventions I mean the whole “don’t catch feels,” “don’t seem too eager,” “make him jealous,” “you have to be casual” stuff. There’s this expectation that we cannot feel anything and if we do feel something then it’s our own damn fault when it goes wrong because we weren’t supposed to feel anything to begin with. To be frank, this idea of dating makes it pretty easy to feel nothing. Few people have the conviction to say how they’re feeling and pursue what they want openly. Why is it bad to admit you care for someone and then pursue them? To be fair, some of us have that “he said you’re trying too hard and he’s not interested,” playing on repeat in our head as background music in the movie of our lives where he asks for our number, ask us if we’re going to make a move, then has the audacity to call you desperate, thinking you’d never find out. Hello – high school isn’t dead (news travels faster than if I live tweeted the whole thing).

Returning to my “too high of standards” for a moment, I think the funny thing is that my standards aren’t actually that high. Is it really asking too much to want someone who is witty and understands that I’m not being snobby, I’m just really sarcastic? Is it too much to want someone who will return texts or calls without it being weird? Who won’t gawk at the phone, exasperated I’m showing my hand if I call them simply because I want to? I don’t think it is. As a general aside, when my last serious relationship ended, someone close to me said I was one bad relationship from seriously screwing up my life. They were joking, but there was some truth in this.  Perhaps because when I’m in, I’m all in or because if I dedicate myself to something, I will sometimes try to work it out for much longer than I should. Regardless, the comment stung. Since then, I’ve refused to let anyone derail my plans. I’ve refused to settle and I’ve refused to pursue someone unless I really felt something (I know, feeling something is breaking the rules… But I don’t always like playing by the rules, so…)


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Some people want a Nicholas Sparks movie to play out in real time. Some people are being “realistic” for accepting modern dating as it is, building their fortress and refusing to “catch feels.” Some people think dating should have an aspect of *gasp* mutual respect. All of us think we have the dating game somewhat figured out, and if we don’t we come up with coping mechanisms… either refusing to acknowledge feelings or recusing ourselves for a few rounds (aka months/years) of the dating game. I joke pretty regularly that I have horrible timing. I tend to catch people on the cusp of a major life change. My first serious boyfriend and I broke up because he was going through a personal change that affected all the relationships in his life and our relationship was part of the collateral damage. My second serious boyfriend figured some things out and acted upon certain discoveries, which terminated our relationship unexpectedly and quickly. Then, the next person to come along entered my life before I was about to move across the country and few people desire a long distance relationship, especially in new relationships. However, I do feel like the expression “you’ll meet the person when you stop trying” is becoming a cliche for a reason. We don’t have to actively look for someone to date. In fact, I don’t think we want or need to engage in such a pursuit. However, regardless of the path you choose when it comes to dating, remember it’s okay to have standards, it’s okay to stick by those standards and it’s certainly okay to feel. How are we supposed to have lasting, healthy relationships if their beginnings are built on games played through emotional fortresses?

This post is getting long and so I think I will conclude with this: find someone who makes you laugh, who the conversation is easy with, who challenges you, who supports you, and who won’t waste your time, forcing you to wonder where you stand. Find someone who makes it clear that you’re important and that you matter.

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What are your experiences with dating post-grad or while in school?


Callie leigh