A Note From The Editor: We are very aware that the words we publish in this space and in our print issues have power. Even more so, we’re in awe of how your words, our dear Darling readers, keep us encouraged and motivated in the mission to redefine what true beauty looks like — in the media and in culture — so that all women everywhere can feel known, loved, whole and worthy. We want to start sharing these words with you as well, because YOU are the real voice and agent of change.

From Darling reader Hannah Rose Brasseur:

At just 31 miles long and 16 miles wide, it’s hard to believe such a small island can contain such a vast array of smells, colors, sights, and sounds.

Singapore is home to such a variety of cultures and people groups that it’s created a culture of it’s own, making it one of the most unique and fascinating stops in Asia. From the rainbow painted colonial buildings of Little India to the high-rise glass sky scrapers in the Financial district, Singapore is a history of old and yet-to-be-written, an identity unto itself and still being defined, and a land of beauty and intrigue that is a joy to explore but impossible to completely experience as it continues to grow and create.

We’re only scratching the surface, but hope today’s city guide leads you to amazing places on your next visit to Singapore.

Another gem from our friends at The Chalkboard. Not only do they share the latest, greatest and greenest health articles, but they’ve also been known to dive deep into matters of the mind and soul — which is why we’re particularly loving this spring-cleaning post and sharing it with you, below.

INTERNAL CHAOS CAN manifest itself in many different external forms: an unhealthy diet, insomnia, addictive behaviors, chronic indecision or stagnation. For many of us, it takes shape in the form of messiness. And just like with a fast-food habit or a lack of sleep, the toxins can start to build up.

Just in time for spring cleaning season, we’re talking about all that internal and external clutter.

The way we compartmentalize our messiness is very telling. Not all of us thrive in a completely sterile environment – on the contrary; most of us feel the most at-home when there’s just a smidge of organized chaos in our lives. Whether it’s a closet filled with knick-knacks or a wallet littered with receipts, we all have our beautiful messes that give us a sense of comfort and ease.

Personalizing your workspace is crucial when it comes to maximizing productivity and creativity. One simple Pinterest search brings up a plethora of ideas and inspiration for designing your own space. And while it may at first seem trite, having the freedom to create your own office environment can make your work time much more fulfilling and enjoyable.

Whether you are designing an at-home workspace or looking to put some personal touches on your office cubicle, here are a few tips for building your own unique work haven.

Stress. A natural human response, stress is essential for keeping us out of trouble, but it can also cause a lot of trouble, especially when it becomes chronic.

Stress is allegedly responsible for 75-90% of doctor visits, and while you may not even realize that you’re exhibiting signs of stress, in this day and age, chances are … you are. With the average work week stretching far beyond the “standard” 40 hours, and more and more ways to remain plugged in at all times (here’s lookin’ at you, Apple Watch) it’s no wonder that we often have trouble unwinding.

While it’s tempting to reach for a glass of wine or a pint of ice cream to temporarily alleviate stress, there are many more effective ways of doing so, all without the side serving of guilt. Below are some healthy and simple methods to dealing with whatever life throws at you.

INTRODUCING ISSUE 12!

So much is happening with the Darling Movement that we were inspired to center this new issue around the idea of a “spark.” What we mean is, there are times to sit and think, to hold back, to wait, and there are times to green light, to jump, to turn our backs on fear and just go for it.

That’s the spirit of this issue.

You’ll read about anything from embracing our uniqueness in a sea of humanity to finding a purpose, to taking action even if it feels too late, to overcoming hard times and coming to a place of life again and seeking a deeper meaning in even the simplest of acts.

This issue’s articles are timely and sincere and have been sparking conversation among our staff and at our Darling Dinners. Our cover was shot in South Africa, and there is something about its warm, deep, amber colored light that we just had to carry throughout the whole issue. All in all, you need these words and beautiful visuals in your life. They hold the love and motivation you want and crave during this summer season of adventure.

Read on below to get a sneak-peek inside Issue No. 12:

Whether we’re afraid of public speaking, spiders, the death of a loved one, or something more unusual, we all hold on to certain fears that we resist facing. It’s natural to shrink from them, and some fears – like spiders – are just plain hard to be proactive about conquering.

Others, however, stem from half-truths we believe about ourselves or a situation, and they’re something we can work on.

A Note From the Editor: As we’re inundated with news headlines with every passing day, hour and tweet it seems, we thought it would be helpful to begin curating select news stories here for you that bear particular importance about the world we live in and the people who shape it. It’s easy to consume; it’s a lot harder to stop, process, and think critically about what’s going on around us. 

We hope this series opens the door for conversations to develop and for voices to be heard. We encourage you to share your own thoughts on the stories shared and suggest new ones for us to feature in the comment section below.

Anything light, airy, fresh, and inspiring. It seems as if our current favorites are mirroring the season this month, because that’s what we’ve been surrounding ourselves with and are excited to share with you now, too! Below we’re rounding up several products that would make perfect additions to a bridal shower, graduation or a birthday gift.

… and we’ll look the other way if you throw in a few extra for yourself:

POST TAGS:

Some people are energized when they enter a party, maintaining a posture of confidence as they approach each conversation. They remain self-assured and emboldened as they socialize throughout the evening. However, many people do not feel this sense of excitement when they approach large gatherings. Instead, a sense of insecurity and dread settles in at the mere thought of working the room at a party or business meeting.

Whether you are someone who is comfortable with large parties or someone who gets nervous at the thought of even attending one, we are wise to keep a few things in mind that are sure to help us work a room and intentionally connect with other people.

Avocado and quinoa with roasted corn and jicama succotash. Roasted free range chicken with herb aioli and pickled red onions on toasted ciabatta with a side of chipotle BBQ sauce. Local kale, crispy wheatberries, and grape tomatoes with a lemon parmesan vinaigrette. Vegan Banh Mi with marinated tofu, housemade sweet chili sauce, pickled daikon & carrots, cucumbers, jalapenos, and cilantro.

We know. It’s lunchtime, you’re starving, and if you’re lucky there’s a Mendocino Farms nearby where one of these menu items is easily within reach. As soon as you enter one of Mendocino’s Southern California locations, however, you’ll immediately notice that you’re about to get more than just a sandwich. You’ve walked into a company that values people with as much attention as they put into their pickle and dill potato salad. Which you should definitely do yourself a favor and try.

We had the chance to sit down — over lunch, of course — with Mendocino Farms co-founder Ellen Chen. Below she sheds new light on the term “customer service”, as well as offers some encouraging insight as to what women can uniquely bring to the hospitality industry. Ready to break some bread with us?

The days leading up to my trip to Argentina were nothing short of hectic.

When I’m in a good place and connected with myself, God, and loved ones, social media is a part of my life, but it is not a lead role. I could do or do without it, and be fine.

When I’ve lost connection to the things and people that matter most to me, I find that I am like an addict looking for my next hit. I’m on the prowl just looking and hoping for someone, something or that magic number of followers or likes to tell me I’m important, loved, worthy, enough. Sometimes I don’t even realize that I’ve lost touch until a few days or a week goes by, and something inside feels off.

Here’s how it can play out for me (and maybe I’m not the only one):

Haunted and heartbroken, I cried for an hour after reading Kate Fagan’s article “Split Image,” which revisits the life and death of Madison Holleran, a nineteen-year-old collegiate athlete who committed suicide. Her story was eerily similar to my own as an eighteen year old battling severe depression; I wanted to end my life. On the outside and on social media, Madison’s life looked near perfect.

Similarly, to onlookers I had everything going for me, but inside I was coming apart at the seams. I tried hard to make myself feel happy, to make myself feel worthy. Next to my white nightstand sat my stack of self-help books including, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” “The Power of Positive Thinking”, and my journal, where I purged my deepest thoughts and listed my big, lofty goals daily: to lose ten pounds, become a model, to get a full-ride scholarship for soccer.

Yet, shortly after I graduated sum cum lade from high school, I came undone. I cracked under the pressure to be perfect. Deep-seeded insecurity, stress, perfectionism, and grave hormonal and physiological imbalances collided, shattering my picture-perfect world into bits of broken pieces.

In the age of technology, everything is at our fingertips. We can have groceries delivered to our house, prescriptions refilled instantly, bills paid on time, and gifts sent to loved ones all with the touch of a button, without ever having to leave our home or our device. Similarly, we can make friends and start romantic relationships through our screens, which is inevitably changing the way that we connect with people, for better or for worse.

In elementary school, we made friends with our peers in our classes. We bonded by playing together at recess, working on group assignments, and trading items from our lunches — all of which we did in person, face-to-face.

In the modern, digital age, things have changed substantially. We communicate our emotions and interests through carefully curated words (and emojis, of course!), and while these initial conversations can bring about and sustain long-term, meaningful relationships, these patterns also beg the question: Are we just as quick to make friends now as we were in the days before social media?

“The most important thing we’ve learned as far as children are concerned is never, never let them near the television set. Or better still just don’t install the idiotic thing at all. It rots the senses in their head. It keeps imagination dead. It clogs and clutters up the mind. It makes a child so dull and blind” the Oompa Loompas energetically sing in the 2005 movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Though this song is just part of a silly scene from a movie, not a serious attack on television, its message is one we’ve probably heard before – that TV is bad for children. And though there is definitely some truth to those lyrics – there are a lot of messages on television that we shouldn’t expose kids to – good messages can also be found. This is important to know as on average kids ages 8 to 18 spend a whopping 4 ½ hours watching TV shows each day via the TV, cell phones, tablets and/or computers.

Fortunately, there are ways to help protect your children (or your nieces and nephews, siblings, kids you’re babysitting, etc.) from TV’s negative messages and enhance its positive impact.

A Note From The Editor: While in the past it hasn’t been our policy to promote Kickstarter campaigns on Darling, we’ve been receiving so many amazing and inspiring product pitches that we’ve decided to open the door for submissions, and will be selecting one campaign to feature every quarter! If you have an upcoming Kickstarter campaign that you’d like to submit for our summer selection (June – August) please send an email to blog@darlingmagazine.org with “Kickstarter Submission” in the subject line.

Today we’re sharing a special Kickstarter campaign that has Darling ties. If you’ve enjoyed Heather’s hilariously honest, yet humble foray into the world of dance, watch below to find out what’s coming up next during her year of learning.

Itching to tap into your creativity this spring?

This multi-functional wood box is such a fun DIY because it is so versatile and can serve as so many things. Today I’m detailing how to make a box that’s about 15″W x 15″L x 14″H — perfect to store a few toys in the living room or even a blanket collections that can be rolled around as needed. It can even serve as a planter box. (I stuck my pot directly inside of it which made it a lot easier to move around; I never keep my plants in the same spot longer than a week.)

Want to find out how to make you own? See below for the full walk-through!

We all are beautifully unique. This concept has been hopefully told to us since we were little. However, believing and embracing it is another story. Unfortunately, women often seem to spend a generous amount of time focused on other women. We compare looks, bodies, clothing, you name it. How much time do you spend focused on what other women are doing or wearing? It’s time for a change.

Spring is here and with it, time for dresses. Time to go frolic and spin in fields, or in reality, to go to thousands of weddings and dance our faces off. Whatever the occasion, dresses too come in different shapes and sizes. Some play well with us, and some play well with others. Finding what works for your shape is key.

POST TAGS:

Exploring lesser known, more elusive genres can open up a whole new world of music that might never otherwise have been discovered.

This month, we are tapping into the sublime world of Shoegaze music. In the late 1980s, a sub-genre of alternative began emerging that some described as a “wall of sound”. Heavily distorted guitar riffs morphed together and melted into eerily enchanting, misty and melodic vocals. This type of sound was one with a steady, molasses pulse that never really faltered, built or dropped significantly and the lyrics became as esoteric as the entire body of each song.

Ready to learn (and listen to) more?

I moved to Barcelona, by myself, in January 2012 and lived there for seven months. It was the first time I had lived outside of the UK – my home – and deeply experienced a new culture. Despite having visited the country a few times before, living in Spain was an entirely different scenario. I was faced with the challenge of adopting a new way of thinking, and it was simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking.

At the time, I had no idea how much Spain would change the course of my life; I’ve traveled the world and lived nomadically ever since. Barcelona paved the way for that. Locals are masters of the slow life, and living there taught me a lot about the importance of balance, self-care, and simplicity – essential items for life on the road.

I’m sharing the five biggest lessons the country taught me, below.

POST TAGS:

Without her, very simply, we wouldn’t be here.

Though everyone has a unique relationship with their mother, this Mother’s Day we wanted to hear from spouses, children, and mothers themselves about the joys, challenges, and special gifts that this bond brings. We hope that this three-minute video below reminds you of the mother-figure(s) in your own life, and that you make it a point to thank her (and them) today.

Happy Mother’s Day.

POST TAGS:

His words grace our 11th issue of Darling, and we couldn’t be more excited or inspired by the way Tyler Knott gives life to each one of the Darling personas.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Tyler to get inside the poet’s mind, discovering just how and why his way with words has global audiences captivated. Read on to learn more about what he thinks poetry really is, how he found his passion, and how he continues to foster it.

We all know that romantic relationships can come to end, but what about friendships? As we grow older and more distant from friends we used to hold dear, is it possible to end friendships in a healthy way? Life transitions such as moves, school, career changes, new relationships, and shifts in personal values and world-views are just a few of the things that can drive a wedge between friends.

All of these shifts are natural and even to be expected, however, knowing when we should fight to preserve a friendship and when it might be best to part ways can be difficult.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the ever-changing dynamics of friendships:

Candidates have started gearing up for next year’s presidential election, which means it’s our time as voters to start paying attention to the issues associated with each party’s platform. One of the hot topics will certainly be in regards to the immigration debate and its proposed reform. Admittedly, U.S. immigration law is extremely complex. This can create a lot of confusion amongst voters as they prepare to make decisions.

Yet, we shouldn’t tune out an issue just because it contains many moving parts. So, what details do we need to know in order to make informed choices and share our opinion?

Below we’re briefly outlining the details of the immigration debate so that you can learn more about the issue and align yourself with a view that resonates with you. We know this won’t fully encompass every argument, but we sincerely hope it’s a jumping off point for deciding where you’d like to press in for deeper research.

POST TAGS:

After a winter full of warm, heavy clothes, there’s just something about reaching for all the bright, beautiful patterns in your closet that feels like a breath of fresh air. If you’re like me, it doesn’t quite feel like spring until you pull your floral prints out of hibernation.

Patterns are everywhere these days and for good reason. They’re a great way to add interest to your outfit and make a bold statement. It may seem like mixing accessories with your printed pieces would result in a “zany art teacher” look, but adding a bright scarf or fun statement necklace is actually a great way to anchor a strong pattern. With a few guiding principles, it’s easy to mix-n-match patterns and accessories to create looks that are all your own.

To help inspire you to mix patterns and accessories, I’m going to style four bold looks that I’ll be living in this spring — paired with my favorite statement making accessories from Noonday Collection. Shall we begin?

Cinco de Mayo and margaritas (not to mention guacamole, limes, chips …) are a classic, festive pair. So classic, in fact, we thought we’d change it up today to bring you an easy twist on another south-of-the-border favorite, the paloma! (Don’t worry, the guac and chips are still very much welcomed.)

Similar to the margarita, the paloma is a perfectly delicious, tequila-based drink. This recipe features homemade grapefruit soda, springified with a touch of chamomile and orange zest. It’s truly a special treat, regardless of what the calendar says. Read on below as we walk you through each sip-worthy step.

I visited my grandmother at her nursing home last week. It’s been almost three years since I saw her last, and I wasn’t prepared for how much she had deteriorated. I knew she had dementia, but as I sat by her bed holding her wrinkled hand I struggled to connect the rosy-cheeked, cheerful woman I remembered with the pale, skinny form lying next to me.

She didn’t remember who I was and I didn’t expect her to. In fact, she slept almost the entire time I was there. To help pass the time a nurse mentioned that a hymn-sing was scheduled for 2 o’clock, which pulled a bright memory to the front of my mind.

I’m sitting on a piano bench next to my grandmother in the sunlit study, fumbling through “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” The chords feel too big for my hands, but she belts straight through my blunders with the determined gusto of a freight train.

Yes, let’s go to the hymn-sing.

Ah, Mondays. The quintessential day of work that actually plays out to be the most dreaded day of the week. When your brain’s operating on 10%, the last thing you want to be rethinking is your style routine. Wouldn’t it be nice if fairy dust sprinkled your room every morning with a nudge on how to style what, and when to wear those sleek new boots you bought this past weekend?

Us too. That’s why we’re sharing a few hacks that will offer you a few more (coveted) minutes under those warm sheets. Here are five secret weapons for your style so that no one will be the wiser …

POST TAGS:

Social media allows us to share some of the deepest and most polarizing opinions with the push of a button. The ease of challenging others or upholding values while masked by an online identity is convenient, but such an environment could also lead us to miscommunicate, dehumanize others, or come across more harshly than we mean to. That’s why we need to ask the question: can our preference for online communicating hinder us when it comes to engaging in person on hotly-debated topics?

Having a round table discussion may prove as a more worthy and personal way of discussing differing opinions. For topics warranting more time and care, round tables remind us that behind every opinion is a human with feelings, a face with a background, and a soul worth listening to.

Participating in these personal, sometimes confrontational, discussions can be difficult, especially when we can anticipate that we’ll be met with someone who doesn’t agree with us or holds a stance that is opposite of ours. We may not prefer situations like this for a few reasons: if we need extra time to process, if we sort thoughts better by writing, or if the thought of intentionally approaching someone with whom we disagree brings on anxiety. On top of all of that, physical distance can make having an in-person discussion near impossible in some cases.

However, which better helps us grow and widen our horizons — continuing to be affirmed by people who always agree with us, or offering to be challenged and questioned by people who don’t?