LeAnn Rimes Leads With Vulnerability in Second Season of ‘Wholly Human’ Podcast

A smiling woman standing on a set with a cameraman behind her

“Real Women, Real Work” is a Darling series about everyday women who work in various fields including business, entertainment, science and education. We want to get to know the WHY behind their WHAT and get an inside look into different industries.

LeAnn Rimes is known for her success as a Grammy-award winning singer, songwriter and actress, but with the launch of the second season of her mental wellness and wholeness podcast, “Wholly Human,” she is now also a leader in the mental health advocacy space.

Following up on the success of the first season of the iHeartRadio podcast, which reached #2 on iTunes Health & Fitness chart and in the Top 35 overall for podcasts worldwide, LeAnn continues to explore the wellness space in the second season of the acclaimed podcast. Ranging from topics such as anxiety, neuroscience, spirituality and the chatter in the mind, LeAnn leads listeners in honest conversations with experts to provide practical tools for their own wellness journeys.

More than ever, LeAnn is dedicated to using her voice and her celebrity to uplift others by removing the shame surrounding mental health. As she celebrates her 25th anniversary as a recording artist, LeAnn will continue her country-wide tour, and in early fall, will release her next studio album, “God’s Work.”

Darling got to sit down with LeAnn to discuss the second season of her podcast, which debuts today, as well as the journey that led to her upcoming album. 

LeAnn, you are a singer, actress, author and now podcast host. When you were a kid, what did you imagine you’d be when you grew up?

As a child, I wanted to perform. I loved to entertain. I loved to sing. I remember when I was little I either wanted to be a singer, psychiatrist or the first female professional softball player. The singing panned out way more than the other things. I remember when I was young telling my mom that I wanted people to know my name. Everybody would know my name no matter where they lived. So I think I’ve done fairly well. 

I’d also say the past year and a half has allowed me to diversify in a lot of ways. There are gifts through this pandemic. It’s allowed me to play in different areas where I didn’t know if I would have the time before. I have been on tour since I was 13.

At the beginning of 2020, I was talking to a friend, and I had all these ideas for a new record and a podcast. All of the sudden, I had plenty of time to create all these things. The pandemic really has allowed me to diversify and play in areas where I wanted to play but perhaps there was fear. This past year and a half has really been about expanding into other places and beautiful crevices of myself that I have not yet explored. It’s been really exciting.

This past year and a half has really been about expanding into other places and beautiful crevices of myself that I have not yet explored. 

You were catapulted into the spotlight at a really young age. At 13, you were a country music star. How did you deal with the pressure?

In one word, denial. Honestly. We just celebrated 25 years since my first single and album. I look back and I recognize how much denial I had to go through in order to continue to do the work that I was doing. It was always about forward movement and not stopping.

During this down time during COVID, I’ve been off the performance train for 16 months. It’s hard to get back on. It’s given me an opportunity to recognize how unhealthy some of my life was. My nervous system has been stunned since I was a child. In 2020, it was really uncomfortable to have so much down time because my nervous system was wound up. It has been eye opening to reflect after 25 years and to recognize the ways in which I had to suppress and deny in order to survive.

A woman wrapping her arms around herself as the wind blows in her hairAs a public figure, people might assume you don’t have struggles with finding your voice, fear or feelings of depression. What have been the biggest stereotypes or assumptions you’ve had to overcome?

I think there’s a big assumptionthat I am not human actually. We have spent many years as a society, not just with celebrities but with ourselves, shoving down our humanity and presenting a one-dimensional version of ourselves to everyone else. I think we are now finally stripping that back and we are being able to meet one another in our full humanity. 

People look at anyone in the spotlight and think they have everything. They ask: Why would they be upset? We always think that having things equals happiness or that it would get you out of some level of pain. On many levels, that is not true. 

Having so many opinions and projections, as a celebrity you really are projected on by thousands and millions of people. I joked the other day with a friend that the fact that I know who the hell I am outside of what people have projected on me is a miracle. I think we are breaking down a lot of stigmas right now.

I am happy to be on the forefront of that and tear down the stereotypes and shame around mental health. I’m honored to allow people to have their experiences fully and not hide parts of themselves.

I am happy to be on the forefront of that and tear down the stereotypes and shame around mental health.

One of your newest projects is your podcast, “Wholly Human with LeAnn Rimes.” Can you tell me a little bit about the backstory of why you started it?

My whole journey has been about collecting fragmentations of myself and bringing them back into wholeness. It’s a bit of a play on being incredibly human and the souls that we are. I wanted to create a place to connect with people on a human level. 

With me being a public figure, people forget that I am human. There have been so many projections upon my story by the media and people. This is another avenue to be even more open about it and share what I am going through and use my celebrity and my name. It’s been about sharing my journey of expanding into a fuller version of myself and taking people along that ride so that they have the opportunity to do the same. 

We are talking about things I never would have thought I would talk about in a million years. People are connecting with it, and that’s been so beautiful. Hearing the stories of how this has helped listeners deepen their own paths has made me really happy because that was my intention.

On the podcast, what are some common roadblocks you’ve found that hinder our wholeness?

One of our biggest roadblocks is our own voice in our heads. The bully that we think is true and isn’t 99 percent of the time.

It’s so common to see all the different ways in which we have survived, all of our survival mechanisms from an early age. We fed off the world around us. From the time we are born until we are 6 or 7 years old, we basically are carbon copies of our environment. It really is about retraining ourselves and our thoughts. Our programming all plays into who we think we are. It’s about unwinding who we think we are and discovering who we really are.

It really is about retraining ourselves and our thoughts…. It’s about unwinding who we think we are and discovering who we really are.

A woman with a sheer top and her hands playing in her hairThe second season of the podcast is releasing today! What can listeners look forward to?

I am definitely more comfortable with the podcast experience and hosting. We deal with everything from anxiety to the chatter of the mind to the space of the heart and love. Every podcast guest this season is so different from experts on neuroscience to spirituality. We really have dug in further this season and bring people some really great information. 

Everyone’s healing journey is so different. The hope is that the podcast is just a guide. We give them some helpful and tangible things to play with. We are all scientists, and we are also science experiments. So we have to play and see what works for us.

You have a new album releasing this fall called “God’s Work.” What inspired this album?

It is really incredible and inspired from a very spiritual place. I look at it as an extension of the chant record I released in 2020 in a lot of ways but in full musical form. 

I speak truth on this record that scares me. It scared me to write. It scared me to perform, and that’s exciting because I know I’m pushing a boundary for myself and probably a lot of people too. I don’t hold back. I am so proud of this album. 

I know I’m pushing a boundary for myself and probably a lot of people too.

I hope that it helps support people in their awakening. I am creating music to support the awakening and the moment of time that we are in. It’s been a really exciting album to make. 

How would you describe the sound? How is it unique from previous albums?

I like to call it “World-acana” because it has an Americana vibe, but it has a lot of world groups. I love rhythm. There’s something about rhythm that moves me. Drums move me. So we started off playing with rhythms and kind of built it out from there. 

I feel like every album of mine is so different. I have always been one to play. I love music and creating it. There’s a real message that I’m sending with this album. I think that it’s a call to action for a lot of people, a wake up call. It’s been a world expression that I feel called to include.

If you had to pick, what would be your favorite song on the album? What about a close second?

Now that’s like choosing your favorite child. There’s a song called “The Wild” that probably is my favorite song on the record so far. It’s my favorite expression of something new of mine.  It scared the shit out of me when I wrote it. What came out was so true, honest and raw.

There were five incarnations of this song. Even when I went in to cut a scratch vocal, I felt like it wasn’t right. So I sent everyone out of the room, and I ended up finding this really cool hook to the song. I felt like I really let out the wild in me. Then, I knew that the song was complete, but it felt like serious birth pains. I felt like I was birthing a truth for myself and so many women when I recorded the song. I am really proud of that song and how I trusted the process.  

What advice would you give the young woman struggling to find her voice or perhaps who feels stuck?

Trusting the process is so important. Know that where you are is not where you will end up. It’s not the end. It’s just a momentary stop on your journey. 

The more we resist the thing that is showing up for us in the moment, the longer it persists. When we let things in, we become free because we give ourselves and that moment of our lives space to fully express themselves.

The feelings of being stuck are only momentary. Trust your heart and listen to what you feel. I don’t think there’s a wrong answer. We are here to learn. It’s all about the journey.

Know that where you are is not where you will end up. It’s not the end. It’s just a momentary stop on your journey. 

Knowing what you know now, what words of wisdom would you give to your younger self?

Keep a sense of self. I don’t even know if I had a sense of self back then. I think I did have one but then opinions, projections and that programming gets put on us from the outside world. Trust yourself. I don’t think anyone knows better than you.

To keep up to date with LeAnn, follow her on Instagram and listen to the second season of her podcast “Wholly Human.” To find out more, visit her website.

Images via Norman Seeff

Where I Come From: The Patchwork City, a Mosaic of Texture and Color

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“Where I Come From” is a Darling series that pays homage to the cities, towns and countries that we call home. Although we are not defined by where we come from, these places are a defining part of our stories.

When I tell people where I’m from,
I never know how they’ll respond. 

That’s somewhere in the middle, right?
Good barbecue. Really good.
Oh, I hear it’s.. dangerous.. there. 

That’s why I call it the Patchwork City.
We’re a mosaic of texture and color,
Many patches, stitched together. 

I grew up in the suburbs by highway 270.
Sometimes, I think I spent more time on that highway
Than anywhere else between the ages of 5 and 15.
My dad lived across town where you could hear
The church bells by day and the train whistles at night. 

In winter, snowmen filled the front yard.
In spring, lilacs adorned the backyard.
In summer, we go to hear Shakespeare in the park.
In fall, leaves fell everywhere. 

My grandmother, God rest her soul, told me once
That she heard the summer opera through her window,
When she lived near the park as a young nanny,
“The wind carried it,” she said. 

Isn’t that the most beautiful thing you’ve ever heard? 

After college, I moved to the city. It was glorious.
I discovered her hidden parks, cathedrals, theaters and pubs.
Now, when I return I drive and drive, with no destination in mind.
And I always wind up back on 270, my old friend. 

My Patchwork City, I see you more clearly with time. 

Sometimes, the stitches hold us together,
Sometimes, they feel like dividing lines.
Sometimes, quilts must be taken apart to be put back together again.
Here I am, lending my hands, in the best way I know how.
I’m sorry I can’t be there in this fragile time.
But I’m praying for you and letting the wind carry it.

Image via Erin Foster, Darling Issue No. 24

Simple Resume Tricks to Help You Switch Careers

Source: Danielle Moss for The Everygirl

There was a time, not too long ago, when it was common to work the same job for your entire career (just think about your grandparents). But today, that’s not the case. According to a recent Forbes study, 49 percent of Millennials would quit their job within the next two years (25 percent of which have already left a job within the past two years). This is partially due to the fact that we’re the most disengaged generation in the United States—71 percent report being either not engaged or actively disengaged at work, and according to a separate 2018 research study, while boomers considered being a good provider as the most important aspect of their job, not surprisingly, millennials have very different priorities.

We value passion and impact above everything else.

While job searching can be stressful, I love the fact that it’s no longer taboo to leave a job because you’re just not passionate about it. You shouldn’t have to spend your life doing something that you don’t enjoy, and in order to find the thing that you do enjoy, you may have to do a complete 180 and switch industries altogether.

The first time I realized I was working in the wrong industry, it didn’t take long for the self-doubt to start creeping in. I asked myself so many questions: How would I land a new job in an industry I had never worked in before? Did I waste all these years at my current job for nothing? Would I have to start all over again? But once I started looking around for jobs in new industries, I quickly realized that, while I didn’t have the exact experience many of them were looking for, I did have the basic set of skills necessary to do the jobs well. So I focused on building my resume around transferable skills—skills that can transfer from one industry to the next because they’re necessary in order to succeed in any job. 

Since learning this trick, I’ve been able to land jobs in a wide variety of industries, from event marketing to real estate technology to public relations and digital branding, all of which have inched me even closer to achieving the career of my dreams. Below, you’ll find the four transferable skills I’ve found to be the most eye-catching as well as how to seamlessly weave them into your resume to prove your value in any industry.


Critical thinking

Critical thinking, also known as problem solving, is the ability to identify an issue, weigh the pros and cons of multiple solutions, and make an educated decision on the best path forward. Organizations everywhere value critical thinking, no matter the industry—in fact, job postings requiring the skill have doubled since 2009, as Forbes reported, and usually, it’s the employees who take it upon themselves to solve problems who are also the ones that make the most impact.

When preparing your resume to apply for a job in a new industry, pepper in a few bullet points about how you solved problems in your previous roles. Did you identify a more efficient way to do something? Did you implement a new tool that saved money or increased productivity? Did you notice a hole in an existing process and propose a better way to move forward? Rather than simply listing “problem solving” as a skill, paint a picture of how you thought through a problem critically, why you landed on a particular solution, and what the positive result of that decision turned out to be. This will show your interviewer that you’re always thinking about ways to do things better—a skill every company values.



Having strong communication skills is essential across every job and every industry. You can make this skill apparent from your very first interaction with a potential new employer simply by the way you write that first email as well as when and how often you follow up. I know the feeling of firing off a well-polished application and then never hearing anything in return (I even wrote an article about it; it happens that often).

It can feel daunting having to follow up with a stranger, but I strongly believe that, if done in a polite and time-appropriate manner, this is actually an opportunity to show off your communication skills. Hiring managers are busy, and in my experience, they appreciate a candidate who has the confidence to offer a gentle reminder. This can give them a glimpse into how you would operate as an actual employee as well. If you did work there, you wouldn’t want them to think you were too timid to follow up with a coworker or client if they owed you a response, so don’t be too timid as an applicant, either. 

If you end up landing an interview, make sure you’re truly listening to the questions you’re being asked—this may sound obvious, but sometimes we tend to walk into interviews with a script of what we want to say already rehearsed, then we spend the whole time the interviewer is talking thinking about what we’re going to say next. It’s important to be prepared, but make sure you’re actually answering the questions they ask, not simply spitting out the answers you want them to hear. If a question catches you off guard and you need a moment to think about the best way to answer it, let them know. Intentional communication during the interview process will show them that you can be trusted to handle yourself professionally with clients and key stakeholders and that you listen to understand, rather than just waiting for your turn to talk. 



No matter the industry, it’s pretty much a guarantee that you’ll be working with other people in some capacity. For that reason, the ability to work as part of a larger team is an essential skill. At its core, teamwork means that a group of individual people must all work together to achieve a common goal. Within that group of people, there will be employees of different backgrounds, skill sets, interests, and responsibilities—but if you’re a true team player, you’ll be willing to take on essential tasks that may fall outside of your wheelhouse if those tasks will help achieve the common goal.

When trying to switch industries—or land any job for that matter—we tend to show employers our professional highlight reel, but it’s equally as important to show that you’re a team player by including some examples of where you took on a project for the good of the overall team, even if it wasn’t necessarily the most glamorous task. Within any industry, I’ve learned that there are four little words that will immediately set off red flags: “That’s not my job.” By showing an employer that you don’t consider yourself “above” particular tasks, you’ll be positioning yourself as someone who can provide value in any team setting.  



Being organized can essentially be broken down into two parts: You know how to manage your time and you know how to multitask. When putting together your resume, think through how you can best illustrate the multitude of different things you were in charge of at your previous roles.

In addition to your regular responsibilities, were you on a culture committee? Did you volunteer your time for additional projects? Did your work straddle two different departments? If so, how did you stay organized? Are you a fan of time blocking, or do swear by time management tools like Trello, Evernote, or Asana? The beauty of this skill is that there is no right or wrong way to stay organized—what’s important is that you have a system and that it works for you. Every company would gladly welcome a little more order into their business. By showing that you can stay organized amidst the chaos, they’ll see you as a valuable resource, no matter your background.

When it comes down to it, specific skills can always be taught—but transferable skills can generally only come from experience, and hiring managers know that. If you’re trying to jump from one industry to another, a learning curve will be inevitable, so be honest about what you do and don’t know. However, every company, no matter the industry, will be impressed with a candidate who can showcase these four qualities, and the smart ones will place just as much value on that as anything else.



How to Write a Resume With Little or Irrelevant Experience
cinch that interview with these tips


Why Financial Wellness Is the Latest Self-Care Trend

Sure, you’ve heard of buzzwords like work-life balance, self-care Sundays, and positive affirmations, but have you heard of “financial wellness?” Take a pause from your face masks and meditation pillows: There’s another form of self-care, and it just might change your life. According to a Bank of America survey, over half of companies are now offering financial wellness programs, and major universities like UCLA have started financial wellness programs for their students. Even though corporations and major businesses are instilling financial wellness programs for their employees, it isn’t just corporate America lingo or a buzzword reserved for Wall Street employees and bankers. Financial wellness is actually a crucial part of individual self-care and physical health that many people ignore. Read on for this important factor of self-care and how you can practice it yourself.


In this article

What is financial wellness?

Why is financial wellness important?

Tips to increase financial wellness:


What is financial wellness?

To put it simply, financial wellness is exactly what it sounds like: healthy finances. You feel prepared to handle any financial crisis, are in control of paying off debt, know what’s coming in and going out, and don’t feel stressed over your financial situation (no matter what income you make). But financial well-being does not end at having “enough” money and knowing what to do with it. The difference between financial wellness and financial literacy is that financial wellness recognizes that money is not an end destination (i.e. the end goal isn’t just to make a lot of it); instead, money is a tool we use to live our happiest, healthiest, best lives possible.

Money is a trade system. You’re exchanging your life’s energy for whatever you want to make your life happier, healthier, and better. Think about it: Money is simply a tangible exchange for the biggest portion of time, energy, passion, and experience you put into your life. How you manage, invest, and spend your money not only dictates your future finances, but it’s also subconsciously sending a message to yourself about what your life’s energy is worth. 


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Why is financial wellness important?

If you view your bubble baths and superfood lattes entirely separate from tax season and your IRA, it’s time you start looking at the big picture. Think of your well-being as a pie chart. Of course we know the nutrition pie slice, the fitness pie slice, and the stress-relief pie slice. Maybe you even know that strong relationships and a fulfilling work life are also important pieces of the pie. But finance is also a slice of your well-being pie, as it’s such a huge part of our lives. 

Finance is one of the most common major stressors, and (as many of us know all too well) chronic stress can negatively affect our health and well-being. Financial anxiety not only affects your bank account or spending habits, but it can also bleed into other areas of your life as well (stress over big purchases, avoiding necessary healthcare for fear of the bill, affecting relationships, etc.).


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Beyond stress that comes with poor financial wellness, good financial wellness is a tool to help our lives be better; it’s knowing how to use the money we have for our well-being (and grow that money for more well-being). Think: achieving whatever makes us happy, whether it’s creating a home, taking care of a family, or having amazing experiences, as well as spending money on our health, whether it’s necessary healthcare, a gym membership, or regular acupuncture sessions. 

The end goal isn’t actually to have a lot of money. The goal is to spend a lot of money (and know how to spend it) throughout your life so you’re as healthy and happy as possible. I don’t mean you can spend all of your paycheck on Postmates and shoes. I mean that at the end of your life, you’ll be able to look back on many decades of experience, memories, and happiness that you achieved partly because of how you spent your money. Financial wellness is beyond investing, saving, and 401ks; financial wellness addresses money as a common stressor, and it also views money as a tool to help us be healthier and happier. The good news? You can add it to your self-care routine no matter what your income is or what financial situation you’re in. Here’s how:


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Tips to increase financial wellness:


Budget based on what brings you joy

Be thoughtful about how you want to spend your life’s energy. Does it really bring you joy to grab drinks with that friend you don’t have fun with or to buy the top you’ll never end up wearing? Managing your money based on what does and doesn’t bring you joy will reduce stress that comes with spending money on the vacations, items, and experiences that you truly love.


Educate yourself

Throughout all my years of education, not one person decided to tell me that a personal finance class might be something important (or even accessible!). A lot of my financial stress comes from feeling uneducated. What the heck are all these types of accounts, how do I pay off debt, and what can I actually “afford?” Simply educating yourself might take away a lot of stress, help you grow your money, and find out what you deserve. Talk to your employer or university to see if they offer financial literacy programs, take our Finance 101 online course, or check out a resource like Ellevest, which is dedicated to educating and helping women manage their money. 


Invest in yourself

We’ve been talking about spending money, but money can also be invested. Just like you invest money into stocks to get more than what you originally invested over time, you can invest money into other things as well: get the gym membership, purchase that online course, or shop for organic groceries. Another financial wellness tip: The more money you put into something, the more likely you are to keep it up as a habit. Decide what you want your habits to be, and then invest your money to achieve them.


Make tracking your money part of your routine

PSA: If you’re not checking your credit card statements, checking account, and any other accounts or cards on a regular basis, you need to be. Make a finance check part of your weekly routine. Take yourself on a coffee date to set some financial goals at the beginning of the week or put on a face mask and go over bank statements on Sunday evening. Not only can this reduce added stress by identifying credit card fraud ASAP or knowing if you’re close to your credit limit, but you’ll also be more aware of how your money is being spent and feel more in control of your finances. 


Automate savings

The rule is to pay your past self first (debt) and pay your future self next (savings). If you’re having trouble saving money or want to start saving for those big life purchases that will make you happy, try to automate so you don’t have to think about it. Even if it’s just $5, set up an automatic deposit or transfer into a separate account from every paycheck. It’s kind of like setting short, easily attainable goals so you feel like you’re getting closer to what you want most in life, and it also brings clarity to know how much money you can spend on your day-to-day expenses and purchases to still enjoy the moment. The key is to save what you can but remember that the point of saving is so you can eventually spend it. Don’t forget to actually spend on the things you really want. 


Spend money to make you happier

Even if you don’t think you have any money to spend, is there any way to rearrange your budget for the things that will really make you happy? If a facial puts you in a state of bliss for days or a service like Instacart or Blue Apron saves you time and energy from chores you hate, try to see where you can find the money for it, at least once every few months. This might be as simple as using a Keurig instead of your $3.50 Starbucks every morning, packing lunch instead of buying it, or pulling from your clothing budget.


Why Money Actually Can Buy Happiness (and How)



What My Children Have Taught Me About Courage

A woman in heels seated on a cube shaped stool

Growing up, I thought that having courage meant doing big, daring and heroic things. I thought it was the kind of things that you watch superheroes do in movies. Yet, the older I get and the longer I am a mother, the more I see that courage is in the small, often everyday choices we make that propel us forward. Courage is in the fabric of each choice to bravely choose your own voice, believe in our worth, stand up for others or to simply try again.

I have found that a common thread weaving through all of parenthood is teaching my kids to choose courage. Because in the movies, the superheroes don’t always look like they’re making a choice. However, in real life, courage is a choice and a constant series of choices made in small, everyday moments. Just like children, we can learn to choose courage daily too.

Courage is in the small, often everyday choices we make that propel us forward.

Here are a few things that my children have taught me about courage:

Choose your own voice.

As a parent, I found myself coaching my children on choosing and listening to their own voices as early as preschool. It’s a skill we often need in unexpected moments.

My daughter came home one day describing in distress how another girl in her class told her, “We don’t like that girl, right? You can’t like her.” Her little 4-year-old mind was working hard to reconcile someone who she identified as a friend not only speaking negatively about another friend, but asking her to choose sides. 

Have you ever been in that subtle moment as a grown-up when in a group of friends, at an office or even with extended family? Choosing your own voice is not always a big moment. It is often a quiet refusal to be incongruent with what you believe.

Choosing your own voice is not always a big moment. It is often a quiet refusal to be incongruent with what you believe.

We work on this in our house a lot. My other daughter, after being told on the playground by another child that there is a group of people God doesn’t love, turned to the girl and said, “Well that’s not true, but you can believe what you want.” She was able to hold onto her own thoughts and beliefs.

Believe in your worth.

“I believe in you, and I’m your biggest fan,” I told my son as he tried out for the soccer team. “No matter what happens we are so proud of you.” 

As adults, we don’t often have as many opportunities to “show our work” to the class, enter a talent show or go for the team. Childhood is full of these exciting and sometimes scary opportunities. Believing in your own worth is an essential part of going for anything and an essential part of picking yourself back up if it doesn’t go how you hoped.

Believing in your own worth is an essential part of going for anything and an essential part of picking yourself back up if it doesn’t go how you hoped. 

I have walked my kids through talent show rehearsals that went well—their little shaky knees walking up the stairs to the small stage in the school gym. Just as important, I hugged my kids as they cried and reminded them that their choice to be brave enough to try and the uniqueness of who they are is much more important than the outcome. 

Knowing our worth is what makes us brave to try. And knowing our worth helps us pick ourselves back up when it doesn’t go how we hoped. What might you try if you knew you were worthy either way?

Stand up for others.

When we drove home from a rally to stand in solidarity with the AAPI community against the growing number of hate crimes this year, my son asked me an insightful question on the way home, “Mom, what can I actually do everyday to help stop this?”

We talked about many options as a white family, including standing up for others in school when there are racist remarks said about or to any other child. I sincerely hoped as a mom this wouldn’t continue to happen, but I knew better. The next week, my son got a chance to practice what he learned as another boy in his class mocked Asian culture. It was a comment made between a few other kids, and in that moment, my son practiced the power of standing up for others. 

Using your voice for others in big ways is essential; however, the potential impact of taking a stand in any small moment that comes your way is a powerful act that can have huge ripple effects. How much more might you use your voice to stand up for others if you believed in the impact of every small moment?

Simply try again.

Sometimes, I feel like literally everything in childhood could be a lesson on trying again. Kids have not mastered anything quite yet. Everything they attempt is new to them at some point, even walking and talking. 

As adults, we lose often sight of this. We fear looking stupid, of being embarrassed or of failing. So we pin ourselves into smaller and smaller corners with little to no new experiences. In the last two years, I have had a child learning to skateboard, another learning to roller blade and still another learning to ride a bike. They fall and fall, over and over again. The only way forward is to simply try again. 

The only way forward is to simply try again. 

It isn’t fancy or complicated. It is just the only thing you can do to move forward. Trying again seems obvious when you fall off a skateboard, but what if we gave ourselves as adults the same permission to just try again when we fail? How many more things might we try?

If courage has felt like a big or far off thing to you, pull that big idea off the metaphorical movie screen and into your everyday life. Courage is a small, daily choice that we all can make.

What have you done today or yesterday that required some measure of courage? Knowing that courage is a choice, what might you choose to do tomorrow?

Image via Melanie Acevedo, Darling Issue No. 11

Portuguese Footwear Brand Unreal Fields Launches Dreamlike Shoe Collection Inspired by Life in Quarantine

A picture of a woman with a pink shoe

Inspired by the quiet moments of introspection and loneliness from the last year and a half of isolation, Lisbon-based footwear brand Unreal Fields is launching a dreamlike universe of shoes for its upcoming SS21 campaign.

“A time to reconnect with our innermost selves, this last year of isolation has brought forth a profound need for self-exploration and self-knowledge that begs the questions, ‘Who am I?” and “Who do I wish to become?’” said Unreal Fields CEO and Founder, Inês Lebre.

When creating their new shoe collection, Inês and her team set out to express their feelings more freely, move more wildly and chase independence in every aspect of their day-to-day lives. When designing the new shoe line, the Unreal Fields was driven by the desire to be bold and inspire others to do so as well.

When designing the new shoe line, the Unreal Fields was driven by the desire to be bold and inspire others to do so as well.

With the creation of SHI, Unreal Fields has once again positioned itself  as a creative premium brand unlike anything in the current European market. Highly connected to its values and personality, with this new line the brand showcases where its inspiration comes from: a celebration of womanhood in all its shapes and forms. Their shoe line is also a call to arms for women around the world to exercise their freedom to choose when and where to be daringly bold.

As a part of the July edition of Darling’s Favorite Things and brands we love, we got to sit down with Inês Lebre about the new campaign and how Unreal Fields is elevating Portuguese fashion.

What was the “why” or the passion that sparked the idea behind Unreal Fields?

The passion was matching the excellent local craftsmanship of the footwear industry with incredible creative/contemporary emerging talent and finding a place for it on the world stage. Portugal has at its disposal several groups of artisans who have mastered the art of building a shoe manually.

However, the approach to this was always very classic and conservative. We thought it could be done with a stronger layer of contemporary and creative imagination behind it. Our purpose is connected with the celebration of heritage, empowerment and fun.

Our purpose is connected with the celebration of heritage, empowerment and fun.

How is Unreal Fields elevating Portuguese fashion to the global market?

Adding to the well-known quality (most big fashion brands are already produced here), we also bring an impressive layer of design, contemporaneity, art and playfulness compared to conventional aesthetics. We bring a sense of freshness to the Portugal fashion industry that was very much needed.

Unreal Fields utilizes handmade shoe models from generations-old family businesses of Portuguese manufacturers. How does this set your brand apart?

Our artisans have been doing this for centuries. This factor gives us a sense of pride and also social responsibility. In a world that’s strongly dominated by fast fashion, choosing to create in local and small productions is a bold choice because it definitely influences our prices, but it also places us higher in the quality offering.

Plus, having smaller productions also allows us much more flexibility regarding quantities, trying new materials and customizations.

We bring a sense of freshness to the Portugal fashion industry that was very much needed.

You also prioritize shining a light on new talent in your newer collections. Tell me about this and the team dynamic behind-the-scenes.

We look for talent (Portuguese and international) that has been exposed to the art world and give them a briefing about the brand positioning. The team researches the materials and then brings us their proposals. Then, together with the factory, we build designs that prioritize comfort without forgetting the edginess that we so love.

A great part of what we do is also engaging our community through social media. Every now and then we touch base with our followers by asking them to vote on colors, materials and shapes they’d like to see in future collections. This dynamic helps guide us throughout the process.

In the end, when the shoe is built, our audience also votes on which models and colors we ultimately produce. We recently did that with the SS21 collection and it worked really well. We can’t wait to show you the results!

How would you say Unreal Fields has evolved since its launch in 2019?

It has evolved tremendously, especially in regards to our communications and community-building. We´ve had the pleasure of connecting with artists and creatives that also enjoy engaging with us and participating in the creative process.

We have also started creating much more dynamic content that allows us to have a stronger voice connected to our values. We keep our tone fun and real, but also cultured with a splash of fearlessness. This gives us the opportunity to touch upon all sorts of topics—from summer trends to discussing burnout, pregnancy and beyond.

We keep our tone fun and real, but also cultured with a splash of fearlessness.

A woman modeling shoes on a rooftopIf you had to pick, what pair of Unreal Fields shoes would you recommend as a go-to for the summer?

Definitely our Madge Fuchsia Orange sandals!

If you had three words to describe the aesthetic of Unreal Fields, what would they be?

Bold, playful and contemporary

Is there anything exciting coming up that customers can look forward to in the rest of 2021?

More human engagement, exciting campaigns and an amazing FW21!

Image via Unreal Fields

Darling Letters: How to Take Up Space

A woman with her hands in her hair as she screams

We are bringing “Darling Letters” from your inbox to the blog! We love the art of letter writing and believe it helps build authentic community. Our editors and contributors have thoughtfully written encouraging letters to cut through the busyness and speak straight to your heart.

I can’t remember the exact moment I realized something wasn’t right—that the “same old, same old” wasn’t going to cut it anymore. Up until that point in my life, I felt confined. So I took a hard look at myself in the mirror and started the work of asking myself why.

What I discovered was that no one was confining me but me. In a subconscious attempt to protect myself from the disapproval of others, I put my voice and my opinions in a box of limitations. In this metaphorical box, who I was wouldn’t rock the boat and I couldn’t step on any toes.

What I discovered was that no one was confining me but me.

It took me years of self-discovery and growing pains to realize that I was living for the approval and applause of others and that the fear of not receiving it caused me to play the role of a lesser version of myself. For a while, this worked for me.

Yet, as I’ve matured, I’ve grown out of the box of playing small for other people. Now, that box of limitations is not large enough for me to fit in and living inside it is no longer sustainable for the healthier, more whole version of myself that I am today.

So I got out. I’m stretching my arms. I’m using my voice. I’m learning to speak up for myself and say what I think and what I want. I’m learning to take up every bit of space I’ve been given, and it feels good.

I’m stretching my arms. I’m using my voice. I’m learning to speak up for myself.

Let’s step out of the tight spaces where we have confined and limited ourselves. Everything about you—your thoughts and your opinions—is valuable and worthy of being seen and heard. There is room for you to be the most true and authentic version of yourself.

Starla Gatson, the Darling family

Have you ever felt the need to play small for other people? In what practical way, can you start taking up space in your life?

Image via Koury Angelo, Darling Issue No. 11

Why You Need to Stop Waiting for a Relationship to Pursue Your Dreams

An engagement ring

Some of the most beloved storylines end with the hopeful words “happily ever after.” The nostalgic phrase takes me back to childhood and evokes warm memories of bedtime stories, rainy days spent watching fairy tales and daydreams of romantic first dances.

In great literature, the “happily ever after” narrative is characterized by a beautiful and breathtaking ending. It’s usually the kind of ending we’re rooting for—the conclusion that even the greatest of cynics secretly hope to see. The hero saves the day. Goodness triumphs over evil. The protagonist falls wildly and madly in love, and he or she lives happily ever after with a partner.

This classic storyline, though rosy and romantic, carries with it its share of flaws. One of the most obvious red flags connects to this idea that life begins when we fall in love, get married or find “the one.” As we have heard this story for much of our lives, it’s easy to find ourselves living according to this common misconception.  

What if happily ever after, however, didn’t just arrive in the wake of new love, in the midst of a budding relationship or after the “I do’s”? What if, regardless of a person’s relationship status or stage of life, happily ever after looked, felt and sounded like something unique and specific to every human being on earth? What if we didn’t need to wait for the conventional happily ever after to pursue or fulfill our dreams?

What if we didn’t need to wait for the conventional happily ever after to pursue or fulfill our dreams?

We don’t have to look far to see that society tends to elevate marriage above singleness. Throughout the calendar year, our journals are dotted with celebrations from Valentine’s Day to weddings, engagement parties, anniversaries and bridal showers. All of which are beautiful occasions worthy of commemoration. I revel in them all. However, we still have a long way to go when it comes to celebrating singleness in equal measure. 

During these moments, as a single woman, it’s easy to feel left out, inferior or slightly less celebrated. Am I falling behind everyone else? Is there something wrong with me for wanting to be single? Should I be looking for a boyfriend? Am I weird for choosing this path? 

I’ve reached an age where many of my close friends and family are beginning to get married, have children, buy homes (or puppies) and “settle down” with their partners. As I’ve stood beside friends on their wedding days or held their hands through pregnancies, my heart overflows with happiness for them. While marriage isn’t a dream of mine (at least right now), at times, I’ve been left with a small ache in my belly that leads me to believe that I might be missing something.

Despite these fleeting feelings (and are generally found in moments of fragility), I know that I am exactly where I ought to be. Most importantly, I find peace in the knowledge that the things that are meant for me will neither miss me nor pass me by. There’s no need to fret, strive or even compromise by looking for a partner from a place of self-doubt or loneliness. Whenever the time comes, I hope I’ll fall in love from a place where I’m already filled to the brim with contentment—living a life that I’m proud of and grateful for.

I know that I am exactly where I ought to be.

So why don’t we need to be married or in a relationship in order to pursue our dreams? Are we free to pursue our dreams and hearts desires no matter our relationship status? 

The answer is beautifully simple: yes. Your ability to pursue a dream is in no way continent upon which relationship status box you check on your taxes. In fact, singleness provides a unique season of margin to pursue those dreams wholeheartedly. It creates a time for focus, freedom and growth. It can unlock the door to a staggering and breath-taking life. 

Singleness is an invitation to learn more about ourselves—to refine our focus, get to know our strengths and weaknesses better, to develop our characters and to understand our values on a deeper level. Singleness offers us the chance to give our undivided attention to the aspirations, ideas, friends, communities and causes close to our hearts. In a world that is deeply in need of restoration, singleness provides the gift of time to make a difference. The world desperately needs our creativity, vision and passion. What better time to give it than now?

Your ability to pursue a dream is in no way continent upon which relationship status box you check.

Our capacity to live a full and free life is equivalent to anyone who is married or in a relationship. In case you weren’t so sure, your life can be equally as rich, joyful and whole. You do not need a spouse or partner to do something significant. You bring beauty and restoration to the world exactly as you are. So, what are you waiting for?

Has there ever been a time where you pressed pause on a dream because of your relationship status? How have you learned to see singleness as a gift?

Image via Raisa Zwart Photography

What to Wear With Your Skinny Jeans

you don’t have to give them up

The Everygirl’s product selections are curated by the editorial team. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission, at no cost to you. We only recommend products we genuinely love.

Source: Aïda Badji Sané

Of all of the surprising things the past year brought, one of the most absolutely shocking things was that skinny jeans became one of the biggest controversies of 2021.

From lovingly being called chuegy to flat-out being deemed unstylish, skinny jeans have been debated, picked apart, and talked about to no end this year. The result? Some are clinging onto theirs for dear life and others have packed them up, waiting for the day that the fashion officials deem them trendy again. If you’re part of the former, today’s your lucky day.

While skinny jeans might not be the hottest or coolest jeans at the moment, they have a time and a place to be pulled out of the closet—and with the right pieces, they can be just as chic as any straight-leg jeans you could dream of. Ready to make the most of your skinny jeans in 2021? Do it with these foolproof looks that put them on center stage.


1. With a tank and oversized blazer

tank / tank (plus-size) / sunglasses / blazer / blazer (plus-size) / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sandals

You can rarely go wrong with an oversized blazer, and the contrast between the larger fit of the blazer on top and fitted pants on bottom will balance each other out and make your outfit work. If you’re wearing it out, pair it with a cropped tank on top; if you’re wearing it to a jeans-appropriate office, pair it with a tucked-in tee.



2. With a white button-up and sneakers

 button-up / button-up (plus-size) / sunglasses / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sneakers

There’s nothing more classic than a white button-up, and paired with a distressed pair of skinny jeans and a cool baguette bag, it’s a uniform-worthy match that’s so classic, there’s no chance it looks dated.



3. With a satin shirt and mules

top / top (plus-size) / sunglasses / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / mules

To cool up your skinny jeans, opt for a silk button-up in a retro pattern that will do all the talking when paired with your skinnies. With mules in a pop of color and neutral accessories, it’s a transitional look of our dreams. Pro tip: To give yourself more shape, unbutton the bottom half of your top and try a half-tuck.



4. With an oversized sweatshirt and sneakers

sweatshirt / sweatshirt (plus-size) / sunglasses / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sneakers

As far as transitional looks go, there’s nothing quite like a sweatshirt-and-jeans combo. To make a sweater work with your skinny jeans, go for an oversized fit or a couple of sizes larger than your usual size (think: hitting right below your butt). To complete the casual look, pair it with sneakers and a belt bag.



5. With a knitted tank and thong sandals

top / sunglasses / necklace / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sandals

Looking to break out your white skinny jeans before it’s too late? Make them into an ideal end-of-summer outfit with a knitted tank, gold accessories, and thong sandals—all in neutral shades.



6. With an eyelet top

top / top (plus-size) / sunglasses / bag / jeans / jeans (plus-size) / sandals

One of the most gorgeous trends of the year? Eyelet lace. A voluminous eyelet top is perfect for pairing with understated skinny jeans to balance out a look.


7. With all black

bodysuit / tank (plus-size) / necklace / bag / jeans / top / boots

There’s nothing chicer and more timeless than an all-black moment, which is the perfect way to make your black skinny jeans work this year. To break up the monotony of the black, sandwich it between brown accessories to keep it neutral, but give it some visual interest.



We Tried the Cult-Favorite Madewell Jeans
here are our unfiltered thoughts


How to Start and Grow a Business

A smiling woman with glasses in her hands that are touching her chin as she stands in front of a two-tone wall

Starting and growing a business is a deeply gratifying experience. Your business is a reflection of your unique gifts and experience—a contribution that no one else can make to the world. However, it’s not always easy.

Throughout several years of running a custom jewelry studio and coaching purpose-driven entrepreneurs, I’ve grown and been stretched more than I could imagine. There’s no single right way to run a business, and we’re all on a journey of discovery.

There’s no single right way to run a business, and we’re all on a journey of discovery.

Here’s a few things I’ve learned about how to thrive as an entrepreneur.

Learn about yourself. 

Honesty is best when it comes to your business. The start-up stage can be grueling, and you don’t want to build something you won’t enjoy. You’ll wear many hats and some may not be your favorite, but the bulk of the work should align with your talents, interests and past experience. 

Now is the time for personal exploration. Ask yourself:

  • What are your strengths? What are your assets?
    This might be prior work experience, education, finances or a professional network.
  • What gives you life?
    Consider keeping a journal for a week to identify what activities give you energy and which drain you.
  • How can you leverage your strengths to overcome challenges?
    After you’ve taken inventory of your strengths and assets, take notes on how to use those strengths to overcome any challenges you might encounter.
  • How much is “enough” revenue from your business? What would success look like for you? How many hours are you willing to work? What boundaries will you need in place?
    It’s more difficult to define values while you’re in the midst of struggle. Define your values around time and money. Take time to set the values and intentions you want to operate from in the future.

Create a self-care routine.

There will be tough days in your business. Don’t wait until you are already exhausted to try and refill your bucket. Build a healthy foundation by creating a self-care routine. As a business owner who is also raising four children, proactive self-care has become essential for me. 

Here are a few tips that have served me well:

  • Review my journal of life-giving and life-draining activities to identify things that could trigger exhaustion, as well as ways to refill.
  • Make a list of self-care practices you’ll need on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis.
    Consider your physical, emotional and spiritual needs. A few of my practices include a weekly long walk with a podcast, a monthly date with nature and annual health check-ups.
  • Schedule your self-care on your calendar.
    Booking appointments with yourself means you’ll be more likely to keep yourself running in a balanced state.

Build a community of encouragers.

Building a business is exciting. You’ll want to celebrate your wins and also maintain a sense of hope. As with a self-care routine, building your community of encouragement now will start you off with the support you’ll need throughout the life of your business.

Tell friends and family about your new venture. It may be tempting to wait until you’ve had “success,” but the whole point is to have support and encouragement before you have the “proof.” Running a business is often an act of faith, and there are days when you’ll need others to hold the faith for you. Don’t wait on success to connect. Let people accompany you at every step.

Running a business is often an act of faith, and there are days when you’ll need others to hold the faith for you.

That said, do be choosy about who you bring into your circle. This is sacred ground. Be sure you’re sharing with people who respect that. You’ll want people that can provide support without judgment or unnecessary fear.

Explore creative ways to broaden your community of encouragers. Consider networking or mastermind groups to meet other entrepreneurs.  Make a list of motivating music, quotes, social media accounts, books and movies to keep you inspired.

Plan and take action.

A business is its own entity and warrants thoughtful planning. However, don’t let fear or perfectionism turn into procrastination. There’s nothing about running a business that you can’t handle. 

  • Invest in learning.
    Think back to your list of strengths, assets and areas of growth. Where might you benefit from professional development? The surge in online courses has made it easier than ever to learn new skills. Word to the wise: Invest in learning, but don’t use it as a way to procrastinate. There is a temptation to wait until you’ve learned everything, but some things just have to be learned by doing.
  • Make a plan but practice flexibility.
    You don’t know what you don’t know. Businesses that are flexible are more likely to survive.
  • Invest time in creating systems.
    It takes longer at first, but systems create more time as you grow.  They also lead to a more sustainable business in the long run.

Also, a few practicalities to plan for when starting a business: Create a separate checking account from the beginning. Research licensing requirements, and consider hiring an accountant if you’re not versed in the tax implications of owning a business. 

With knowledge of yourself, a solid foundation of self-care and encouragement and a plan that is adaptable, welcome to the journey of a lifetime! It’s hard to top the joy earned from launching your ideas out into the world. I can’t wait to see what you create.

What tips do you have for the new entrepreneur? In business, what are some things you can plan ahead for and some that you cannot?

Image via Sierra Prescott, Darling Issue No. 16