AU
Amy Matthews, Women UnRuled
about 7 hours ago

Caught up in the Expectations Trap

wellness
women
Most of us are ambitious. We have a grand vision for ourselves and our lives. We imagine what we want and we go after it. But we also want it to look a certain way. When reality doesn’t meet our vision, we naturally get disappointed. Or sad. Or frustrated. Or angry. 

Our daily lives are full of expectations of how situations will go or of w...
Most of us are ambitious. We have a grand vision for ourselves and our lives. We imagine what we want and we go after it. But we also want it to look a certain way. When reality doesn’t meet our vision, we naturally get disappointed. Or sad. Or frustrated. Or angry. 

Our daily lives are full of expectations of how situations will go or of what another person will (or will not) do. You know what I mean, Nav.igators. Any of these sound familiar to you?

You don’t get the promotion when you know you deserve it. A friend flakes on you at the last minute. Your “dream” vacation ends up being more of a “reality” trip. After extensive interviews, you don’t get the job you want. The product launch is a flop. Your partner/spouse doesn’t follow through on what they said they would do.Your Match or Tinder date looks 10 years older than their profile picture. 

Whatever yours might be, expectations are a breeding ground for not feeling good. And they have the potential to block our happiness. They keep us living in the future rather than enjoying the present. 

Here are my 4 tips to help you avoid the expectations trap.

Make a plan for the journey and not the destination.                 

By all means, be intentional, visualize what you want, create a plan and take repeated action. But the next step is crucial. Let go of how and when it’s going to show up in your life. Be open to how things unfold. Trust and have faith that what is supposed to happen, will happen.          
                                                                   

Consider disappointments learning opportunities.                                                      

Don’t give meaning to events or situations. A lot of stuff happens in life. When things don’t go the way you think they will, try your best not to go into a negative spiral or take it personally. The truth is, it’s rarely about you.

Seek first to understand, ditch the judgment.                                                              

When someone values something that you don’t, it’s easy to reject it. Instead of criticizing, judging or creating a story around it, be curious about their point of view. Perhaps by doing so, you’ll enrich your life and expand your perspective on this person who might have otherwise let you down.

Try to think differently than what you’d usually think.                                                  

What got you here won’t necessarily get you where you want to go. If disappointment is coming up for you time and time again, you may have a negative belief that is running the show. Perhaps something like: “I never get what I want.” Or, “I can’t depend on anyone.” If this sounds familiar, ask yourself, is it really true? 

By no means am I telling you to ditch your high standards, intentions, clear goals and a vision for where you want to go. But try your best to not get attached to a specific picture or a certain outcome.

You get to decide whether you fall into the expectation trap. Ease up on yourself, and the people in your life. Celebrate the now. Be in the moment. Set yourself up to be pleasantly surprised. Your happiness is up to you.


BS
Bekah Stallworth
about 1 month ago

I’m Planning on Saving Over $230,000 in My Lifetime—By Not Having Kids

money
women
In my early twenties, I had a realization that would undoubtedly shape the rest of my life: I didn’t want children.
 
I had always admired the mothers I saw hauling their children’s strollers up and down subway stairs, but I’d simultaneously wondered, Is it worth it?

Is the price of motherhood—financially, physi...
In my early twenties, I had a realization that would undoubtedly shape the rest of my life: I didn’t want children.
 
I had always admired the mothers I saw hauling their children’s strollers up and down subway stairs, but I’d simultaneously wondered, Is it worth it?

Is the price of motherhood—financially, physically, emotionally—really eclipsed by the sheer joy it supposedly creates? I chalked my initial hesitancy up to my age and lack of maternal instincts.

But it wasn’t instincts I was missing—it was desire. I’m turning 30 this year, and my list of reasons why I don’t want to procreate has grown. At the top of that list is money.
 

Kids are really F-ing expensive.

A 2014 USDA report estimated that the national average cost of raising a child from birth to the age of 17 was $233,610, not including college (#America). That number more than doubles if you live in New York. And realistically, child-related expenses don’t disappear as soon as your teenager turns 18, either.
 
Those statistics are based on middle-class households with two incomes. Yet, the average millennial probably can’t imagine comfortably parting with over $7,000 of their yearly salaries. Between the price of education, activities, and basic necessities, it’s no surprise we’re waiting longer to have children, if at all.
 

Avoiding the motherhood penalty.

For the first time, women over the age of 30 are having more babies than women in their early twenties. The primary reasons for holding off: education and careers.
 
Not only do we fear that putting our professions on hold will risk growth opportunities, but because of the wage gap, we feel the burden of student loans more strongly than men. On average, it takes two additional years for women to pay off student debt.

There’s also the “motherhood penalty.” Research proves that women with children earn anywhere from nine to 20 percent less than childless women, even when the number of hours worked is equal.
 
In spite of legal boundaries, mothers are repeatedly overlooked for promotions and raises because of maternity leave. To make matters worse, paid parental leave isn’t mandated in the States, and childbirth here is more expensive than in any other country in the world. To top it all off, after the child is born, childcare is unsubsidized.

There’s a child-free butterfly effect.

Regardless of what the decision is rooted in, electing to live a childless life has instantaneous and residual ripple effects on your life.
 
For example, when my partner and I were house hunting last year, our realtor remarked that not having to be consciences of school districts made it easier to work within our budget. 
 
I also don’t feel tension in terms of my career trajectory. Mothers have to consider how a new job or career shift would impact their families. But if I decide to change career paths or go back to school, I won’t have to worry about how it could affect saving for my kid’s education.
 

Feeling free to be “selfish.”

Discretionary income is a major advantage of planning for a childless future. But I’m also looking forward to having more time and energy to spend on my soon-to-be husband. 
 
Without kids, we’ll have roughly $14,000 more a year at our disposal. With that money, we can take weekend trips and long vacations, make upgrades to our home and pay off our mortgage sooner, and can spare no expense for our dogs (*happy woof*). We can invest in our futures, and each other, more freely. 

There are downsides, of course. Since we won’t have children to look after us when we’re older, we’ll have to be especially diligent about planning for retirement and making sure we have life and long-term care insurance, but those are small prices to pay in the bigger scheme of things.
VC
Vanessa Charlot
7 days ago

5 Financial Gurus You Should Be Following

personal finance
women
I saw a meme the other day that said, “Being afraid to check your bank account is the adult version of being afraid to check your grades.” I found this particularly hilarious because I’ve unfortunately found myself in both predicaments (more times than I’d like to admit). 

We Millennials and Gen Xers spend much of our idle time on social me...
I saw a meme the other day that said, “Being afraid to check your bank account is the adult version of being afraid to check your grades.” I found this particularly hilarious because I’ve unfortunately found myself in both predicaments (more times than I’d like to admit). 

We Millennials and Gen Xers spend much of our idle time on social media. So while scrolling through the myriad DIY projects, plant-based recipes, and travel photography on your screens, sprinkle a little financial inspo into the mix.

Not only might you stop avoiding your bank account, you could actually learn something from some badass, self-made women and start making money moves yourself. 
 

Stefanie O’Connell

Instagram: @stefanieoconnel

In true Nav.it fashion, this millennial money expert is all about finding freedom through your finances. She is also the author of The Broke and Beautiful Life: Small Town Budget, Big City Dreams, a sink-or-swim, witty take on her experience with unemployment and learning how to effectively manage money.
 

Jean Chatzky

Instagram: @jeanchatzky
Twitter: @JeanChatzky

Financial Editor of NBC‘s TODAY Show and host of #HerMoneyPodcast, Jean shares comprehensive financial tips for everyone from the top investment bankers to the recent college grads trying to nav. their freshly earned college loans. 
 

Farnoosh Torabi

Instagram: @farnooshtorabi
Twitter: @FARNOOSH

Money strategist, author of When She Makes More, and host of So Money podcast, Farnoosh and her guests don’t shy away from sharing their own financial struggles and failures for our benefit. She touches on a variety of topics ranging from money and business to career issues. 
 

Jamila Souffrant

Instagram: @journeytolaunch

If you’re interested in retiring by 40 but don’t know how, Jamila is your girl. Creator of Journey To Launch blog and podcast, Jamila is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI). Check her out for budgeting tips and all things personal finance. 
 

Nicole Lapin

Instagram: @nicolelapin
Twitter:@NicoleLapin

Financial journalist and author of Rich Bitch Nicole has taken all of the information she learned (hard-knock style) and lain it out in simple and actionable tips, advice, and how-tos. 

Just remember, Nav.igators: If you can get your exercise tips, recipes, and travel recommendations from social media—why not get some financial planning advice while you’re at it?


NN
Nicole Negron
about 2 months ago

At-home Testing that Won’t Break the Bank

health and wellness
women
"High-deductible plans are really the epitome of the access-to-care problem. People don't have the liquid cash to meet their deductible, so you see delays in care or even avoiding treatment altogether." -Dr. Veena Shankaran, ...
"High-deductible plans are really the epitome of the access-to-care problem. People don't have the liquid cash to meet their deductible, so you see delays in care or even avoiding treatment altogether." -Dr. Veena Shankaran, Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
 
Raise your hand if you’re coming up on your yearly visit to your GYN’s office to check if your HPV is still present? Maybe you're about to embark on a sexual relationship with a new partner and you want to be uber responsible and get checked, but you want to avoid answering uncomfortable questions from your doctor about your sexual history.

Or perhaps  you suspect something’s up with your hormones and want to get a hormone panel but realize it can cost anywhere between $800 and $1,500 dollars, and you have a $3,000 deductible to meet. 

There are many barriers preventing women from taking care of their health needs. Thankfully, there’s incredible innovation taking place in women’s health care that is making it easier for women to engage in their health and save money! 

At-home testing

Home testing can come with incredible financial advantages. Some tests such as Eve Kit’s HPV testing cost $89. NURX Full Control STI Kit, tests for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and Hepatitis C and Urine test, throat swab, rectal swab, blood spot card, and costs $75 with insurance or $220 out of pocket. 

One of my favorite self-monitoring tools that I highly recommend for my clients, is  Modern Fertility . Since I often work with clients that struggle with their menstrual cycles, this test helps provide a baseline for where they are. Modern fertility tests for, estradiol, thyroid TSH, testosterone and more, and cost only $159. 

Discuss with you doc

With health care costs predicted to continue rising, I encourage women to be empowered and knowledgeable about what’s going on in their bodies, and take their health into their own hands. However, as you embark on the world of self testing, be sure to partner with a doctor who’s trained in the intricacies of your needs. 

Manipulating your test results should not be a project you do with Google. It’s critical to team up with a doctor or a functional practitioner, such as myself, to help make sense of your home-test results and lead you in the right direction. 

Save money on tests, partner on plan

The moral of the story is, don’t turn your body into a DIY project. Google is great but when interpreting results such as cortisol--which measures your adrenal performance and stress--make sure to partner with a specialist before you start going down the road of panic or creating a treatment plan by yourself that is above your paygrade (binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t make you an expert). 

Testing is a critical step in understanding your reproductive, sexual and general health. This is a perfect starting point for those who want to take a first step in assessing their own health status before turning to more expensive alternatives.


MG
Moon Travel Guides
about 2 months ago

Travel and Safety Tips for Hiking the Camino de Santiago

travel
women
There’s something empowering about traveling alone as a woman. Embarking on a sacred pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago gives you the rare opportunity for solitude and self-reflection. 

Taking travelers through mountains, river valleys, and vineyards to Santiago de Compostela and onward to the rugged shores of the Atlantic, the Camino i...
There’s something empowering about traveling alone as a woman. Embarking on a sacred pilgrimage like the Camino de Santiago gives you the rare opportunity for solitude and self-reflection. 

Taking travelers through mountains, river valleys, and vineyards to Santiago de Compostela and onward to the rugged shores of the Atlantic, the Camino is therapeutic for both mind and body.

The prospect of trekking alone can be daunting, so here are some tips to prepare you for your adventure—whether you’re hiking the Camino or trying another famous trail.


Plan ahead.

Ask yourself some key questions: Do you want a physical challenge or an easier walk? Seeking solitude or camaraderie? Want to marvel at world-famous churches or taste world-class wines? Study a guidebook (like this Camino de Santiago guide from Moon Travel) to get a feel for the area and uncover practical tips. 

Taking a spur of the moment trip may be fun (or a necessary self-care escape), but reserving lodging in advance can help you avoid racing for a bed at the end of a long day! It’s also a good idea if you’d like to stay in state-run paradors in León (Parador San Marcos) and Santiago de Compostela (Hostal de los Reyes Católicos) or other one-of-a-kind accommodations.

And make sure you’ve saved up enough funds for the trip so that you’re not low on cash while in unfamiliar spaces (always expect the unexpected, are we right?). It’s as easy as setting aside a little bit every time you get paid.


Find a supportive network.

Just because you crave a solo trip doesn’t mean you have to go through it completely alone. Resources like Travelletes, Wanderful and Pink Pangea can connect you to female travelers all over the world who are happy to answer questions about safety, local traditions, and everything in between. 

Keep an eye out for destination-specific sites like Camigas, an all-women’s network of female pilgrims, or the Camino Forum. You may also find other solo female travelers hiking the Camino (or other magical treks) to meet up with along the trail. (Pro-tip: There’s also a community tab in the Nav.it app where you can ask questions that fellow Nav.igators will answer!)


Understand the culture.

Learn about the local culture before you travel. The Spanish, and the Camino culture in particular, are open-minded and tolerant, so people of color will likely feel welcomed, but may notice that locals tend to make reference to physical attributes like skin color. (This isn’t surprising, people of color experience this often.)

While no harm is meant by this, it can be disconcerting for the unprepared traveler. Resources like the Camino Forum are a good resource for firsthand accounts of trekking as a person of color.

LGBTQ+ travelers can also travel safely and openly while hiking the Camino, as Spain is a gay-friendly country. But no matter your orientation, be aware that the Spanish don’t show much affection in public. 


Despite the religious and spiritual nature of the Camino, secular pilgrims are numerous and are very welcome on the road. Even if you’re not participating for religious reasons, be respectful of the religious pilgrims you meet: note when churches are holding mass to plan your visits accordingly and dress appropriately.

Know your numbers.

Emergency protocols can be completely different abroad. Look up emergency numbers for the destination and keep them handy.

Harassment—verbal or otherwise—along the Camino is rare, and local authorities take reported incidents seriously. 112 is the general emergency number in Spain (and throughout much of the EU). Go directly to the local police if needed. Additionally, police have a non-emergency hotline for visitors—902-102-112—with operators speaking several languages, including English. 


Keep in touch.

Embarking on a bucket list pilgrimage, tackling the Inca Trail, or tramping across New Zealand can be transformative, but it can also leave you homesick. Whether you’re missing your friends and family or having the time of your life, schedule time for calls or FaceTime sessions.

Assign someone you trust at home to be your designated “travel buddy” and give them your full itinerary, updating them on any changes so they can locate you if necessary. 

Finally, enjoy the experience and never let fear deter you from making the most of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure.




NN
Nicole Negron
3 months ago

A Modern Woman’s Guide to Birth Control

health and wellness
women
I am a firm believer that every woman should have the right as well as the ability to access birth control should she deem it necessary. However, it’s still difficult to access comprehensive information about what women are putting into their bodies.

In my clinical practice, women are increasingly inquisitive about the possibility of coming off birth control. Som...
I am a firm believer that every woman should have the right as well as the ability to access birth control should she deem it necessary. However, it’s still difficult to access comprehensive information about what women are putting into their bodies.

In my clinical practice, women are increasingly inquisitive about the possibility of coming off birth control. Some of the most common occurances that drive women to considering coming off synthetic birth control are low sex drive, painful sex, weight changes, yeast infections, gut issues, and depression. This leads them to ask, What’s the best form of birth control for me?

There are gaps in our understanding of menstruation, and there are even bigger gaps in understanding birth control, and its long-term effects. Given our current political climate on women reproductive rights, women need to be aware of alternative options that are available to them to better care for their mental, and physical health. Self-knowledge is the path to body literacy.

Let’s explore my top three recommendations for natural birth control options in 2019.

Fertility Awareness Methods (FAM)
Although you're probably giving this an eye role, give me a second to explain. Where men are fertile every single day of the month, women are fertile only six days per menstrual cycle.

To avoid pregnancy, you can determine your five fertile days before ovulation by using progressive tools, such as Ava Fertility Bracelet, an FDA registered device that measures five physiological markers during the menstrual cycle, and identifies your fertile window in real time. It has 89 percent effectiveness.

You can also use Daysy (99.4 percent effective), which has an integrated thermometer that enables a precise measurement effectiveness. Daysy determines fertile and infertile phases of the female cycle and can be used for family planning.

During your most fertile days, you can avoid vaginal intercourse or use a barrier method for those five days leading up to ovulation. It’s pretty simple. FAM is a method I personally have been practicing for over 15 years.

Diaphragm (barrier method)
Caya is made of silicone rather than the latex of the old-style diaphragms and does not need to be fitted by your doctor. It is 88% effective. It works by physically blocking sperm from entering the uterus combined with an eco-friendly spermicide that kills sperm.

You can purchase Caya directly online or by prescription from your local pharmacist.

Copper IUD
The copper IUD is a wonderful option as it does not suppress ovulation or change your natural hormones. The copper IUD prevents pregnancy by impairing sperm motility. It is 99.2 percent effective.

There was one study that  found higher blood levels of copper in the IUD users, which impacted mood and other aspects of women’s health along with zinc deficiency.

Side note on ovulation: Ovulation is necessary for good feminine health. Ovulation is how you make progesterone, which is a natural valium for the brain during the week or two before menstruation. Ovulation is also responsible for mood, good metabolism and bones and necessary for an easy period.

If you're on the Hormonal Birth Control
There are long-term side effects of being on the birth control pill, including increased nutrient deficiency such as vitamins B2, B12, B6, zinc and folate. If you plan on starting a family in the future, stop taking the pill, and start taking a multivitamin or prenatal vitamin at least six months before trying to conceiving.

If you’re interested in learning more about your current form of birth control and what form of birth control is right for you. sign up for a free consultation to explore more options with Nicole Negron.
 
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