There are few among us who haven’t done a thing or two in college we now regret: that sexy-but-not-in-a-classy-way Halloween costume, failing to realize that paying attention in statistics class will actually prove useful later in life, or eating Mexican food after 2am far too many times.

But should we regret listening to the advice our college career counselors gave us? There is little doubt our intentions were good when we trekked to the distant corner of student services — the same one we dutifully ignored for the first 3.5 years of university — to plan for our future. But it’s possible that the things we were told we must do if we wanted to find jobs and stake out successful careers have been hurting us in our job searches ever since.

Note From The Editor:  Today we have more inspiring content from FabFitFun! Since we love animals around here, we thought this article would be a sweet and timely reminder of why caring for creatures can be one of our greatest joys. For more fashion, health and wellness articles, be sure to pay a visit to FabFitFun’s magazine, too! 

If you have a pet we’re sure you have your own list of reasons why your animal is the best. Even if your pet tends to misbehave, if anyone asks, Fido is a perfect angel. Having a pet isn’t just about spending time with an adorable ball of fluff. They can also help improve your mood and over all well being!

On any given Friday night, I usually wait until about 5:59pm to decide what to do. I like to keep my options open until the very last minute in case I get a better offer. The idea of someone asking me on a date and agreeing on a time and place in advance has not only proved unrealistic in our culture, but rather unthinkable. Like most little girls, I grew up naïvely thinking that dating would involve candlelit dinners, presents, and mix tapes full of sappy love songs.

However, the older I get, the more skeptical I become that courtship can really exist in the digital world.

There is always a tipping point, a turning point in one’s life where a decision is made that completely alters your path and thrusts you forward into a new reality, your future. You may have already made this decision, or it may be just around the corner, but for me, the most pivotal decision of my life occurred almost two years ago.

It was one that many of my closest family members and dearest friends could not understand, and honestly I wasn’t even sure I understood: I abandoned a six-figure salary to become a social entrepreneur.

Another winning tutorial from the Glitter Guide! Who hasn’t felt less-than-inspired when it comes to winter style? Especially when it involves our hair and a hat can look e-x-t-r-a inviting. These simple yet chic hairstyles prove that comfort and glam don’t have to be mutually exclusive; get ready to love sweater weather even more.

From Maritza Buelvas:

It’s a wonderful time for dressing up your hair in relaxed and romantic up-do’s that can enhance any look, even chunky sweaters, layered outfits or hats. These hairstyles can easily become your favorite fall “accessory” — we’re talking no-heat, no-fuss styles that’ll get you out the door fast so you’re never fashionably late!

As children, my parents made us sit in rapture at the top of the stairs awaiting an official start to Christmas morning. Until the ripe old age of thirteen, we weren’t allowed in the family room until beckoned. What I’m certain was merely a peacekeeping tactic on their end created a seemingly unbearable sense of anticipation for us. Our minds raced and hearts beat faster at the thought of unwrapping toys, feasting on cinnamon buns, and drinking our body weight in sparkling cider. That day was always uninhibited bliss.

As happens with many aspects of growing older, luster fades. Those enchanting sentiments dissolve into taxing responsibilities: A need to purchase the perfect gift, craft the most delectable meal, and host an unforgettable holiday party. Each year brings with it unique pressures or difficulties which dull our childlike enthusiasm.

Here we go — flinging open the closet door to pick out the outfit. I mean, the outfit. The outfit that gives insight to a potential employer, insight to knowing who you are.

Are you meticulous? How about creative? Innovative? Passionate? Perfect for this position? The list of possible impressions goes on and on, and so do your thoughts of all the ways your favorite shirt can be interpreted, and misinterpreted, and interpreted again.

These thoughts are justified, as Mike Bell from Tilson, a human resource solutions company, stresses “the way the person being interviewed presents him or herself is vital to making a great first impression … You only get one chance to make a first impression.”

As the holidays approach, we scramble to select the perfect gift for everyone on our list in an attempt to show the people we love the most that we know just what is their heart’s desire.

However, most of the time, our family and friends would rather spend an afternoon laughing together than receive an elaborate gift. This year, I chose to wrap small meaningful gifts with snapshots from throughout the year. I love using my instant print camera to capture silly moments shared between those closest to me.

For many women, the holidays are a time of excitement, engagements, first Christmases and baby stockings. But for every woman rejoicing, there is often another who is depressed, alone, or feeling unsure about what the future has for her.

How can we learn to be real in our struggles, but also genuinely rejoice for others? Especially if a friend has something that we feel unable to attain (a husband, pregnancy, etc)?

Worrying about eating healthy over the holidays is a thing of the past, thanks to Chalkboard Mag‘s unending wisdom on all things clean + green. We love this round-up of healthy baking ingredients so that we can join in all the delicious fun to be had right now. Here’s to making, having, and eating all the cake, too.

LET THE BAKING BEGIN! We’re ready to hit the kitchen this holiday season and bake up a storm…or at least one batch of cookies, before we run out of time.

We’re calling out some of the most fantastic ingredients for holiday baking this year, from impressive extras like edible flowers to carmel-y, healthful white sugar alternatives like coconut sugar, that will keep your baking game strong. Read through our list and make a couple of adjustments to those classic cookie recipes.

On Tuesday, December 8th, Darling partnered with Women & Whiskies to throw a holiday bash in San Francisco. It was a magical evening filled with lots of holiday cheer and of course, whiskey. Considering that Women & Whiskies is all about empowering women with knowledge to enable them to be more comfortable tasting, talking about, and buying whiskey, this partnership was a no brainer, and the cocktails did not disappoint.

I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting at ten years old. I remember fantasizing about how different my life would be once I lost fifteen pounds. I dreamt of the cute boy giving me a Valentine, getting the lead in the school play and making the A-team in soccer.

Unfortunately, I was never the girl who could stick to a diet. For the next fifteen years I’d set reasonable goals and choose a diet, only to find myself in a threesome with Ben and Jerry just six hours into it.

My perfect life always felt thirty pounds away.

There is much to be said about the power and value of girlfriends, and I have the best ones on the planet, but even your best friend might not understand the struggles of owning a business.

When I opened Milk Jar Cookies almost three years ago, I felt the need to seek out other female entrepreneurs and become part of the community, not only locally, but in the broader sense. I wanted to find women like myself; little did I know I would be building my “squad.”

The holidays are here, and that means so many good things are in store: Cookie exchanges and Christmas movies, tree-trimmings and holiday parties, gift-wrapping extravaganzas and an excuse to pull out our favorite festive wear.

In this season, there will always be more to do — more cards to write, more gifts to buy, more parties to attend, more people to see. But what if this year we opt for a little less, not in an attempt to sacrifice the richness of this season but rather in hopes of giving our loved ones the gift of presence?

No one seeks out insecurity. No one anticipates the idea that tomorrow may not go according to plan. Like it or not, however, life often seems bent on twisting our rigid roads and turning our maps upside down.

Our natural response is to safeguard ourselves with even more tenacity than we did before. Billboards and status updates reinforce our dream of carving a life full of possessions and policies that keep risk at bay and harm at arms length.

And yet the world continues to push back like a pounding wave against our fragile sandcastles. Everything from foreign bombs to personal explosions brings us face to face with the idea that safety is a myth and our pursuit of it is futile.

If that’s true, perhaps there’s another way to respond when crisis creeps into our lives and culture.

Retro-pop with an island twist, singer Christie Brooke doesn’t produce anything that you’d expect. Though talented, of course, her voice surprises you with its range; it seems to carve out new spaces in the air, forming captivating punches and beats, transporting you to an era of early jazz laced with a coolness Amy Winehouse would be proud of.

Self-releasing her #FirstLove EP (that you can preview below), Christie Brooke’s mission is to fearlessly inspire dreamers everywhere to chase what seems impossible, wherever the wave leads. Give her story a read and her tracks a listen, and see if you aren’t just a little more amped to take on the day ahead.

While I dread the declining temperatures, winter’s arrival sparks the beginning of a new fashion season. Say hello to knee high socks, coats, scarves, turtle necks, alpaca, angora, fur, suede, leather, wool, and the list goes on. ‘Tis the season of layering!

Multiple layers not only keep you warm, but developing an art of layering means more clothing options, accessories, and decisions — essentially emphasizing your personal style.

A great coat is an important winter wardrobe staple.

In 2012 I was lifting weights at the gym when I felt my spine pop like a helium balloon. Although it was extremely painful and scary, I had no idea at the time how drastically that moment would change my life forever.

Back then, I was a 26 year old go-getter whose whole existence was truly to “live life to the fullest.” I had a job I loved and was passionate about, worked out almost every day of the week, and frequently traveled the world for both work and pleasure. The world was my oyster, and it felt like there was nothing I couldn’t achieve.

This post is brought to you by Olympus.

Ever wonder what a day at the Darling office looks like? With the printing and release of our fourteenth issue, kicking off exciting fall events, and even welcoming a new (tiny) team member to the bunch, our days of late have been busy but brimming with newness, creativity and collaboration.

And while smartphones are great, if you’re anything like us you sometimes want certain memories to carry a bit more weight beyond the typical Instagram shout-out. That’s why we teamed up with Olympus to do just that.

Can we just say it?  Holiday hosting is intimidating; especially for those of us who are new to the hostess spotlight. However, I am here to assure you that the spotlight’s once harsh glare can easily be transformed into a warm glow that soothes and invites even the coldest of hearts this holiday season.

All you need is a little planning, a couple of easy hosting hacks, a few deep breaths, and some help from your friends. Below are four key things to remember to keep the merry  in your gatherings.

For many of us, networking is one of the great necessary evils of the world – or at least of our professional lives. Necessary because in many industries, as you may have heard, “it’s not what you know, but who you know,” and evil because the idea of networking can insight somewhat of a panic for those of us who identify as introverts.

But being an introvert doesn’t mean you have to settle for a career that’s less than you deserve.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

War.  Terrorism.  Extremism.  Racism.  Hate.  Violence.  Unrest.  Suffering.  Death.

These words should not be commonplace for us in everyday news.

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 spring selection (March – May) please send an email to blog@darlingmagazine.org with “Kickstarter Submission” in the subject line.

We like to support each other in the magazine world, which is why we’re excited to introduce you to Whiteour friends from down under. With the goal to inspire, encourage and challenge couples to build a marriage as beautiful as their wedding day, their current Kickstarter campaign is worth watching.

Whether single or in a relationship, we invite you to learn more about White’s journey, where it’s headed next, and why anyone can stand to gain from this beautiful publication.

Redecorating around this time of year can be tricky, and usually when we desire those cozy times at home the most. Yet, as we dash out the door from one event to the next, so does extra sleep, and taking the time to rest can inch ever nearer the bottom of our to-do lists.

So when Darling’s EIC Sarah Dubbeldam was on the hunt for a new mattress, the last thing she expected was to find a company like eve. Currently making its debut in the US from the UK, eve was founded by four friends seeking to reinvent the whole mattress buying process — taking it from something time-consuming and (typically) overwhelming to something fun, encouraging, and, best of all, easy!

Why does eve get our vote for the best way to a better night’s sleep? 

A Note From The Editor: We used to think that developing an impressive knowledge and deep appreciation of wine required a lot of time and money. But then we discovered Club W, a subscription service that acts as a personal sommelier sending you a collection of unique, straight-from-the-wine-maker bottles each month thanks to WINC, their revolutionary direct-distribution wine company. After building your own personal palate profile, Club W takes the guess work out of what to buy and why. They include the best (for you!) wine and recipe pairings so that your next dinner party is only a mailbox away. We asked Brian Smith, Chief Wine Officer of WINC, to walk us through a few of his favorite wines to get you started.

WINC’s wine program has grown immensely since our first harvest in 2013, and as Chief Wine Officer, I’ve gotten to be there every step of the way. We’re really proud of how far we’ve come. To celebrate the end of our 2015 harvest, I’ve picked a few of my favorite wines to show you just how cool and diverse our portfolio’s become.

And they’re all currently available on the Club W site!