For 2019 I’m Dedicating My Time To Building Stronger Friendships

The old proverb that “friends are the flowers in the garden of life” couldn’t be truer. On one hand, friendships can be like a beam of light in the darkness of the daily grind. They provide laughter, color, and happiness and can be a respite from everyday stresses. On the other hand, like flowers, they take care and attention in order for them to thrive.

Unlike other more transient relationships, a good friendship can be like an anchor in difficult times and one of the few things in life you don’t have to worry about. In fact, studies have shown that people with strong friendships report higher levels of overall health and happiness as they age. And although there are tons of articles out there giving advice on how to make new friends as an adult, it’s also important to nurture the relationships you already have. What better time than the new year to closely examine your friendships and find ways to fortify the bonds you already have.

In light of this, we’ve compiled a list of ways to improve your relationships with your friends in 2019 and beyond

1. Take Time to Listen

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It may be true that humans value good conversation, but arguably, they value good listeners even more. There’s nothing people want more than to be acknowledged that their thoughts and feelings matter, and there’s no better way to communicate that than to offer a sympathetic ear. In the new year, try to talk less, ask more questions, and actively listen to what your friends have to say. You’ll both be happier for it.

2. Remember Birthdays

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It may seem like a small gesture to make among the hundreds of interactions we have with our friends throughout the year, but it means so much. Birthdays, although they’re meant to be happy occasions, can be stressful. It’s the one day of the year when you have to reflect upon how many people are thinking about you. So when our friends forget our birthdays, we inevitably feel a little hurt. At the beginning of the year, mark all of your friends’ birthdays in your phone and set reminders for a week before (in order to prepare) and the day of their special day. Because birthdays matter more than you think.

3.Check In Often

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As we get farther into our careers and more absorbed in our own individual lives, its common to lose touch with friends or “drift apart”. Sometimes, it can even embarrassing to reach out to an old friend after months of silence. It’s easy to feel ashamed or disappointed in yourself that you let a relationship languish. The best way to combat this is to periodically check in with your friends. A simple “how’s it going?” text can be the difference between a continued relationship and the “friend that got away”.

4. Remind People How Much They Mean to You

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Sometimes, we assume our friends know how much they mean to us by virtue of the amount of time we spend with them, or by hard they make us laugh. But many people fail to recognize how important they are in their friends’ lives because their friends never tell them. In the new year, don’t be afraid to tell your friends how much they mean to you. It may seem cheesy, but it means a lot.

5. Own Your Mistakes and Apologize

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Look, we’re only human, and it can be hard to admit when we’ve done something wrong. And it’s especially hard to admit our mistakes if they happened to have hurt someone we love. In these moments, it’s more important than ever to put our pride to the side and acknowledge our friends’ feelings. In 2019, put your ego to the side and don’t be afraid to apologize. It’s the stronger person who has the guts to admit when they’re wrong and take full responsibility.

6. Remember Details of Their Life

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How annoying is it when you tell your friend the latest drama in your life, only to have them respond with a “huh?” the next time you talk to them. That’s because we want our friends to recognize the importance of our lives–regardless of how trivial the details may seem to the outside. In 2019, along with listening to your friends, remember what they tell you and recognize how important the events in their lives are. It makes all the difference.

7. Respect Your Friends’ Space

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We’ve all been in a situation where we can’t bring ourselves to follow through with plans when we’re too stressed to leave our bed, let alone our house. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes, we need alone time to decompress. So offer the same compassion to your friends. If they turn down an invite to go bar-hopping or cancel plans last minute because they’re swamped at work, respond with empathy instead of anger. We’ve all had moments where we want nothing more than to be alone.

8. Be More Selfless

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Sometimes, expressing your appreciation for someone is never more powerful than doing something for them. Do they need someone to feed their cat while they’re out of town? Volunteer. Are they stressing about the cost of an Uber to the airport? Offer to pick them up. Taking the time out of your day to do something for your friends makes them realize that you’re willing to sacrifice part of your day to make their’s better. And there’s no better feeling than that.

9. Don’t Flake On Plans

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Just as we explained that it’s best to practice empathy with friends who aren’t always up to socialize, we suggest abiding by the Golden Rule when it comes to making plans with others: if you hate it when your friends cancel plans, don’t do it to them. Make a pledge to never cancel plans last minute in the new year, no matter how much you dread putting your bra back on after work. In all likelihood, your friends will respect your reliability and return the favor in the future.

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ANTM’s Eva Marcille Bravely Comes Forward With Her Story Of Having Hide In ‘Multiple Places’ To Evade Her Abusive Ex-Boyfriend


ANTM’s Eva Marcille Bravely Comes Forward With Her Story Of Having Hide In ‘Multiple Places’ To Evade Her Abusive Ex-Boyfriend

Shade is often thrown around on any given episode of the Real Housewives franchises. Gossip is what makes the reality show interesting. Sometimes, however, when lies spread, the truth that is ultimately revealed can be hurtful and speak more about reality than what was intended.

On last night’s episode of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta,” one of the women, Marlo, tried to come for a castmate to poke fun at her financial woes. The shade turned out to expose longtime abuse.

Eva Marcille revealed on RHOA that the reason she has been moving from house to house isn’t that she’s lacking money but rather scared for her safety.


“I still feel a sense of threat,” Marcille told her castmates on last night’s episode. “I have had to move five times, and I still feel a sense of uneasiness. He’s just so petty sometimes. I’ve walked outside of my balcony before, and he’s been standing in the dark. And it is the scariest feeling ever.”

Marcille is an American actress and former winner of the third cycle of America’s Next Top Model who is of Puerto Rican descent.

Marcille alleged that she has a restraining order against her ex-boyfriend, Kevin McCall due to stalking and domestic abuse.

The couple, who share a daughter together (though she refers to him as a “donor”), separated in 2015. She has since gone on to marry Atlanta lawyer Micheal T. Sterling; they too share a child.

Marcille dispelled gossip that she and Sterling have frequently moved around because of financial troubles.


“Every time I move, he finds me,” Marcille said on the episode. “Because of that, I live in multiple places. Safety is a priority for me.”

Sterling took to social media to support his wife by saying “Everything we got, we earned the hard way. And every day that I wake up, I work for legacy, not labels. Motivational use only.”

Marcille told the women that a former friend, who she had a falling out with, began spreading lies about her. “The lies are real gross, and the hate is beyond,” she said on Instagram.

Her alleged abuser, who’s had a history of erratic behavior at least on social media, said Marcille is just using the claims against him as a fake storyline.

“It’s sad when she gotta keep using my name for her storyline if I was the husband I would be like “Real hoe of Atlanta is you out your mind, or is you still obsessed with your child’s Father? Why is he in our storyline so much ain’t I enuff headline for our relationship?” McCall said on Twitter.

Marlo also said on last night’s episode that Marcille was using old claims to back up her current financial situation.

Last year on “The Wendy Williams Show,” Marcille said that McCall has never been a part of her daughter’s life.

“He thinks that biology is more important than being present,” Marcille said of McCall. “He’s extremely dysfunctional, and he’s not at a place where it’s safe for himself or for others.”

Fans of Marcille were quick to offer her support on Twitter.

The less reasonable are demanding more details.

Others were quick to highlight their favorite and most empowering quotes from Eva on the episode.

READ: News Of This Woman Killing Her 11-Year-Old Daughter Because She Suspected Her of ‘Having Sex’ Is Proof Of The Perils Of Purity Culture

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21 Small Things You Can Start Doing Today To Better Yourself

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21 Small Things You Can Start Doing Today To Better Yourself

It’s a new year and, for a lot of us, that means resolutions to lose weight, save money or finally embrace the single life. But I’m not a New Year’s resolutions person primarily because I have learned that, time and again, they simply don’t work for most people. What does work, however, is making small changes that dramatically improve your life over time.

When I started making small changes myself (like going to bed earlier and eating more veggies), I discovered a great resource on reddit. Sure, you might have some bigger goals that you are going after in 2019 but there are also a ton of small things that you can do right now — as in TODAY! — to be a better you. If you’re hoping that 2019 will be your best year yet (and who isn’t?), here are 21 small things that you can start doing right away to become your best self in no time.

1. Make a budget and stick to it.


As someone who has over $150,000 in debt, you might think that I am terrible at my finances but the truth is that I have spent the better part of the past couple of years trying to figure it out. The #1 lesson I’ve learned (and something which has especially helped me over the holidays) is to make a budget and stick to it. I prefer the YNAB app but there are tons out there that you can try. If you want to jumpstart your 2019, then this is definitely the first thing you should do.

2. Write down the stuff you’ve been putting off and schedule yourself time specifically to get them done.


We all have that stuff on our list but having in only in your mind causes extra anxiety. Take some time to write down everything you need to get done on a sheet of paper then, little by little, start doing it. Having it written down and out of your head will definitely help with actually doing it instead of just stressing about it.

3. Forgive your past self and learn from your previous mistakes.


This one is going to take time but it’s something that you can slowly work towards in 2019. We are constantly beating ourselves up for one thing or another but there’s a lot you can do to let go. If there’s something particularly deep or painful that you are dealing with, then I suggest getting a therapist or subscribing to one of the many talk therapy apps out there.

4. Call your loved ones, especially the ones who have loved you even through your shit times.


It’s nice to have people to depend on and it is especially nice to have those people through the good times and the bad. However, if you only reach out to your friends and family when you are dealing with something tough, they will begin to feel used. Instead, make an effort to keep in touch at any time of time… and don’t forget to ask them how they’re doing as well.

5. Take deep, controlled breaths.


There are several different breathing exercises you can do but a favorite of mine is to breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for eight seconds, then breathe out for seven seconds. If you are having a major anxiety episode or just feeling stressed out, this can be a great thing to do at the moment.

6. Allocate time more directly to the maintenance of body and home.


Your body is your temple and your home is where you keep it, so it would make sense that you should treat them well. This means improving your diet (eating more veggies!) and scheduling the time to improve your home (new paint, getting those curtains you’ve been meaning to buy, etc).

7. Give someone else a compliment at least once a day.


This is something that can improve your life as well as the lives of others. If you strive to give someone else a compliment at least once a day, you’ll feel better and so will they. It doesn’t even have to be anything major since you can start with something small like “nice shoes” or “I like your hair.”

8. Do your dishes before you go to bed.


This one is small and kind of silly but trust me when I say it can really help. I’ve been making sure to do my dishes (or have my husband do them) every night before we go to bed and it has seriously helped with stress in the mornings. That is one less thing that I have to do when I wake up and having a clean kitchen is always nice.

9. Get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.


This is a piece of advice you have probably heard over and over again but there’s a reason for that: It truly helps! You don’t have to make a huge point of doing something big but even taking a walk or doing some at-home yoga can count as your daily exercise.

10. Set a sleep schedule and try to stick with it.


This is by far the best thing I have done for myself in the past year or so. After reading the book Why We Sleep, I completely revolutionized my sleep schedule and now go to bed fairly early (though that’s not necessary) and make sure to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night (which is the most important thing). Seriously, this is a MUST for all humans since lack of sleep causes so many physical and mental problems.

11. Make more time to hang out with friends and be there for them.


Just as your friends are there for you, you should be there for them. Spending a bit more time with them this year will definitely bring some added happiness to your life. It doesn’t have to be a ton of time if you don’t have it to spare but trust me when I say that more time with friends will help you be a healthier, stronger person overall.

12. Read a book for at least 10 minutes a day.


This is something that can help you a lot since there is always some new book to read and something new to discover. I know that many of us set reading goals every year and this small change will help to make that reading goal a reality. After all, 10 minutes a day is quick.

13. Take care of your mental health.


A key way that you can improve your life is to devote as much time to your mental health as you do to your physical health (see above). You can seek out a therapist (I highly recommend this) or engage in apps that can help. You can meditate (see below) and figure out what you need in your own self-care routine in order to help your mind… Whatever it is, figure out how to improve your mental state and DO IT.

14. Start putting $20 away from each paycheck into a savings account.


Guess how much you will not miss a simple $20 from your paycheck every other week? You won’t. It is truly a small amount that can end up adding up in the end. Just think: If you do this, assuming you get paid every other week, you will have $520 in your savings account at the end of the year.

15. Take a break from screens every so often.


I know it’s funny to read this as you are staring at a screen right now but this is truly something that can help. Not only can it improve your mental health (see above) but it can also help with some of your smaller goals, like more reading (also above) or having the time to meditate (see below).

16. Drink more water.


This one’s simple. Drink more water, period. I highly recommend getting a gallon-sized water bottle that you can refill in order to track that you are drinking a good amount every day. I got one a couple of months ago and I am definitely feeling MUCH better about my water consumption these days.

17. Start meditating.


Meditation is something that I have been meaning to try for ages and it’s always difficult for me to keep up… but I also know how much it helps. Not only does it help others with their focus needs but also with their mental health. As someone who has anxiety, meditation has helped tremendously. The best part is that you can easily do it for free or try one of the various meditation apps out there, all of which have content that is free (though most also have memberships to access premium content).

18. Spend 5 minutes tidying up in the room you are in.


This is yet another thing that can really help you and add up in the long run. If you have a messy home, then you will especially benefit from this one. All you need to do is spend five minutes a day cleaning up after yourself. That could mean vacuuming that room (we both know it won’t take you more than 5 minutes) or picking up everything off the floors or wiping down the surfaces.

19. Start your day with some stretching exercises.


Stretching is a great exercise to get your blood pumping in the morning. You only truly need a few minutes a day in order to do this but it’s something that will get you more energized. You can incorporate this into your regular exercise routine, too.

20. Brush your teeth twice a day.


I often forget to brush my teeth at night, sadly, but dental hygiene is VERY important. Flossing is an important part of it, too, but especially brushing morning and night can help in the long run.

21. Put moisturizer with some SPF on your face.


I live in Florida and yet always forget to put on moisturizer. Well, sadly, it’s beginning to show. A friend recently commented that my skin is looking dry and I realized that this is the cause. You should especially do this in the winter if you live in dryer climates but don’t forget the SPF. That will help with the overall look of your skin… And, let’s face it, it’ll help you look less old in the long run.

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