We may not always realize it…but social media has become the center of our everyday lives. It may seem crazy, but the average person will spend nearly 5 years and 4 months of their lifetime on social media.  With every passing day, social media grows in numbers, and innovates our lives in some way. Gone are the days where we pick up the phone to call a business…we Facebook Message them. We don’t go to that new restaurant until we’ve taken a good look at their Instagram page; and don’t bother calling customer service to complain or express frustration…you can now tweet them.

While I love and embrace the power of Social Media (spoken like a true Social Media Strategist); I can’t help but cringe at basic common mistakes made daily on social media. Here I share my top Do’s & Don’ts of Personal Social Media Branding:

Maybe it’s because I’ve lived a life raised by powerful, headstrong, determined, beautiful women; or maybe it’s because I’ve sadly experienced how women should not be treated to know that being bold was never my choice. Being BOLD meant getting up each day and fighting to be my best, always being heard, and never letting anyone tell me that I couldn’t do something, wasn’t good enough, or wasn’t important – no matter the gender, race, or belief.

According to a statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 62.6 million people volunteered through or for an organization in 2015 (September 2014-September 2015).  This rate, while astounding, is declining from previous years. While this may not seem like something of great concern, Volunteering is an incredibly valuable resource to community organizations; specifically non-profits, that have limited funding or monetary resources to keep their organizations operating. The reason for decline? While this remains a mystery, many may say it could be attributed to laziness, lack of interest in community, or just plain ignorance to the importance of this valuable resource. So why give back? The obvious answer- that it helps the organization with resources it may not have, and that it gives back to better your community…but I bet that you didn’t think about how it can help you.

Learn Something, Teach Someone

The thought of volunteering might leave you feeling hesitant; the perception that you’ll be doing something that you find less than enjoyable in your everyday life….never mind doing it as a means of giving back. Volunteering in your community doesn’t have to be something you don’t enjoy. Choose something that interests you, and make volunteering that much more exciting. Choose an organization you’re passionate about, and find a way that you can use your own skills and talents to apply them to an organization of your choice.

From my own personal experience working for a non-profit; Volunteering didn’t mean that being passionate about a particular topic (like animals) meant that you were committed to working with them, or cleaning up after them. If you liked talking to people…you were given a spot answering the phone; if you liked taking photos…we found a spot for you to use your talents in photography. Maybe the organization of your choice doesn’t list how you can help them doing something you love…but it can’t hurt to ask, right?

Take the opportunity to volunteer as a chance to teach someone something new…and bring a personal talent to the table! Learn something new from someone, and gain a new experience that you might never before have had the chance to do!

Make a Friend; Open New Doors!

Take advantage of the experience as an opportunity to meet new people, make a friend, or network with others within the organization. Volunteers are people from all walks of life, all types of organizations, and are composed of all sorts of community members. Maybe you’re new to the neighborhood; or maybe you’re looking for a job. Volunteering will open all sorts of doors and allow you to make an impression (good or bad) on the people surrounding you. Most importantly, keep an open mind…you never know who you’ll make a connection with.

Feel Better, Gain Perspective

In a 2013 study, 94% of people who volunteered over a 12-month period said that volunteering improved their mood, and 78% said that it lowered their stress levels.  Volunteering is good for your health, gives you the ability to feel empathy, and helps boost your self-esteem. By making an impact, you will feel a sense of reliability, and feel a sense of belonging. When we give back to our community, we learn more about the challenges our community faces, and in turn have the ability to advocate for change. With a changed perspective, we’ll be more open minded, and learn that the little things in life aren’t ones worth stressing over.

Even though the heart of volunteering is about giving back, volunteering has lots of gifts to give us in return. Choosing to volunteer doesn’t have to mean that you give up a whole weekend or make a commitment you aren’t able to realistically keep-make small commitments that fit into your life but will make a large impact on the lives of others. Living a Beauty Full life means finding the beauty deep within us and living with the kindness of our hearts.



When it comes to aging, Americans harbor plenty of concerns: Going broke. Succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. Spending the final lonely years in a nursing home. But, there’s no need to think that grey hair automatically translates to a dreary existence. And how about wrinkles? We do have remedies, you know.

“There are a number of things people can do right now that will increase the odds that their senior years will be healthy, productive and rewarding,” says Chris Orestis, a senior-care advocate and author of the books Help on the Way and A Survival Guide to Aging.

Orestis, CEO of Life Care Funding, has for years worked with families to help manage long-term care, something that about 70 percent of people over 65 eventually need. But, he says it’s also important to help seniors and their families make the most of what should be the best years of their lives.

A healthy diet and exercise are two of the better known ingredients for improving the chances you’ll lead a long and fruitful life. Others include:

Attitude. Life hands everyone challenges, but it’s how you deal with those challenges that makes the difference. “Keeping a positive attitude is important,” Orestis says. “Do you approach each day with zeal or with dread? Are you active or sedentary? It’s critical to live life with a purpose because it will make you strive to be healthy of mind, body and in your attitude.”

Adaptability. People change as they age and so does the world around them. “You need to be prepared to manage a whole host of changes in a positive way,” Orestis says. “Your body changes. Your mind changes. There are changes in your career, in the community you live in and in the technology we all use every day.” Those who do the best job of adapting are the ones most likely to thrive, he says.

Relationships. People who nurture relationships are more likely to live higher-quality lifestyles. “As we age, relationships will change and it’s important to stay engaged, whether in person or from afar,” he says. “We also need to build new relationships throughout our lives.”

Activities. Filling your time with activities—coaching a youth soccer team, learning guitar, traveling—can help give you a more meaningful and healthy life. “One of the keys to people who live long lives is that their life continued to have meaning,” Orestis says. “Hobbies, volunteer work, learning new skills or getting more involved with your family are all paths to an active and meaningful life.”

“Aging shouldn’t be a one-way ticket to poor health, loneliness, boredom and a declining quality of life,” he says. “The key to enjoying a long and fulfilling life is in your own hands.”

Photo by Annie Spratt