5 Ways To Self-Care Without Spending A Dime

Self-care. It seems like the word of the year, or rather century. And like many other “trends” before it, it’s presented the problem of being highly productized. I’m sure I’m not the only one who rolls my eyes when I see at least 20 sheet masks, bath salts, and candles all boasting claims of “self-care” on any given day. And if you ask me, that’s not what self-care should be about.

While material items can certainly have elements of relaxation to help us destress after a long, arduous week (bubble bath, anyone?), there are so many ways that we can incorporate self-care into our lives without spending a dime. I have ideas…five to be exact. Get started below. 

Get outside.
Let’s be real. Being holed up for too long at the office give you a slight case of cabin fever. Before calling it a day and changing out of your work clothes, try setting aside some time to just go outside and breathe a bit of fresh air. Or even try going on a walk and bask in all that Vitamin D! You’ll be surprised at how centered you’ll feel being surrounded by greenery when you’ve been staring at a computer all day.

Go DND or turn your phone off, altogether.
If the Do Not Disturb feature had a brand ambassador, it would probably be me. Whether it’s so I can get a full night’s rest or so I can
actually be more present, utilizing this setting has taught me to be less dependent of my phone. Remember, most emails can wait until the following morning and, yes, those social media updates will likely be there tomorrow, too, so be sure to take time away from your phone and invest it into yourself.

Speaking of social media, go on a hiatus, if you can.
Have you ever looked up from your phone after scrolling through Instagram, only to realize that an hour has passed? Sadly, I know that feeling all too well, and that time is usually SO much better suited to doing something else. This one can be tricky if your job requires you to be heavily invested in social media, but that doesn’t mean you can’t delete it off your app on the weekends or whenever possible.

Listen to your body and prioritize downtime.
Our bodies are the best indicators (besides medical professionals) of how we’re feeling. If you’re frequently getting sick, it could be your body trying to tell you to give yourself a break. Having fun on the weekends is great, but remember to also prioritize downtime so that you can take care of your mental and physical health, too. 

Set aside time dedicated just for your happiness.
This one’s specific to you and what brings you joy to your own life! Whether that’s catching up on a show, checking out a new spot downtown, or simply just reading a book, make sure you have time allotted each week to do something that is completely for your own pleasure–and then do it!

If you’ve bought in (literally and figuratively) to the self-care trend, I hope my suggestions give you a new perspective on what it means to give yourself the TLC you deserve. Because remember, a happiness shouldn’t cost a thing!

Be good to yourself,
Kimberly

Kimberly Arnold is ACPR’s Freelance PR Assistant and doggo obsessed mom of three sweet little weiner dogs: Rocky, Luna and Bella. She can be found scouring Instagram for hours on end, sifting through ALL the adorable #dachshund posts to ‘aww’ at. Her favorite account is Princess LiLo, which serves as inspiration for her future role as dog momager.

Photo courtesy of Cassie Rosch, Photographer

We Got It From Our Mamas

We’ve got a lot to thank our mothers for. From showing us how to balance it all to encouraging us to pursue a life and career that we love, our moms are so much more than role models. So in honor of Mother’s Day, we’re sharing some of the greatest lessons we learned from them. #thanksmom

Christine Cerbana
aka: Allyson’s mom
I learned that a little creativity can go a long way. As a single mom of three, it couldn’t have been easy for my mom. But I never felt as if I wasn’t able to experience something because of time or the cost. My mom somehow made us believe that the world was our oyster, and with just a little bit of creativity we could have it all. As an adult now, whenever I encounter a road block, I channel some of my mom’s mojo and remind myself that it might just take a little creativity to make it happen.

“If you can’t change your situation, change your attitude.”

Valerie Topham
aka: Caitlin’s mom
I’ve learned that there are no limits to what I can do. Over the years, I have made a few decisions that some parents would have never allowed (or at least would have had a word or two to say about the matter). From dying my hair hot pink in high school to randomly deciding to study abroad as a sophomore in college, my mom has never reacted negatively. She’s always supported me in every decision I’ve made and helped me achieve my goals in any way she could. When I was deciding whether or not to move to Colorado, she didn’t try to convince me stay home or apply to other jobs, but instead helped me weigh the pros and cons and let me make my own decision. Being raised with this mentality has allowed me to set no limits for myself, both in my personal life and career.

“It doesn’t have to be perfect, just do your best.”

Sandy Arnold
aka: Kimberly’s mom

Though my mom had plenty of wisdom nuggets to share with me growing up (some I didn’t appreciate as much as I do now), I learned the most valuable lessons from her actions. My mom has always had the most admirable work ethic and is absolutely the most selfless person I know. From working a labor intensive job to supplement our income and coming home to take care of our family, she rarely got a break and, to this day, I’ve never seen her buy one thing for herself in my whole life. She never had access to opportunities like college, so you can imagine how much she *lovingly* nagged at me all my life to study hard and focus on my academics. I am so grateful for all the sacrifices she made and for her always pushing me to be my best. While I thought she was being hard on me as a kid, I think back now and realize she was only setting me up for success.

“Work hard and be independent — no one is responsible for making your dreams happen besides yourself.”

Heidi Anderson
aka: Hannah’s mom
My mom taught me to never fear an opportunity. Growing up, she was always taking my brother and me to different activities, events, classes, and anything that would show us different perspectives and fill our days (I was often the only girl in Karate class). She wanted me to be curious, open, and transparent. To this day, I try not to back down from opportunities that I think I will fail at or not enjoy. It’s those opportunities that have taught me the value of working hard and experiencing everything life has to offer.

“Everything always passes, so just do your best for everyday.”

To all of the mother’s of the world: THANK YOU!

With gratitude,
The ACPR Girl Gang

The 10 “Grown-Up” Pieces You Need Now

During four years of college, my everyday uniform consisted of pretty much the same thing: an oversized t-shirt from my sorority, Nike shorts, Adidas sneakers and a backpack. So when graduation rolled around, I quickly found myself with quite literally nothing to wear. Instead of buying a completely new wardrobe, I focused on investing in key pieces that would elevate what I already owned. This made it so much more manageable (on my budget and energy) while giving me the opportunity to try my hand at different styles. Fast forward  seven months and I’m ready to pay it forward to the next group of graduates. Before you go shopping for your new job, read this!

Say goodbye to your beloved backpack and upgrade to a minimal tote bag like this one from Baggu.

Save your jean jacket for the weekend and switch to a leather jacket that will effortlessly take you from the office to weeknight happy hour.

Swap out the signature girly scent you’ve been using since middle school for something a little more sophistcated. I love anything from Jo Malone.

T-shirts may be a staple in your closet, but we promise this Everlane turtleneck is just as comfy and WAY more professional.


Adidas Superstars are classic, but not very professional. A great pair of booties are still casual, but look more put together.

Ripped jeans scream casual. (I’m looking at you Meghan Markle at the Invictus games!) Instead, opt for a dark wash or black jean.When it comes to jewelry, minimal designs are always a safe choice for the office. Madewell has a great selection, like these Pavé Circle Stud earrings!

There’s nothing more embarrassing than having your bra show through your shirt. Invest in a nude bra that you can wear with literally anything. ThirdLove has a great selection for different skin tones!

Up your ponytail game with a leather hair tie like this one from Banana Republic.

Ditch the pencil bag, and grab a swanky business card holder instead. Kate Spade makes great ones!

#WorkIt,
Cait

Caitlin Topham is ACPR’s Public Relations Assistant and royal wedding enthusiast. When Will and Kate were married in 2011, she woke up at 4:00am to watch the procession, and plans to do the same for Harry and Meghan. Her royal wedding watching essentials include champagne, scones, Union Jack socks and God Save The Queen blasting over the speakers.

Photos courtesy of The NorthFace, Need Supply Co., Little Words Project, Madewell, Sephora, Topshop, Nordstrom, Everlane, Kate Spade, Adidas, Anthropologie, J.Crew, Victoria’s Secret, ThirdLove, H&M, Banana Republic, and Herschel Supply Company

Currently Coveting – April Edition

And we’re back with our second edition of Currently Coveting! I know what you’re thinking: last month’s picks were so amazing, how on Earth could we possibly top them?! Oh we will. TRUST. This go-round, I’m rounding up my must-haves for the graduate-turned-professional. You know, girls like me who will be trading in the classroom for the workplace very, very soon. Eep!

Faux Leather Trench Coat ($129.90 on sale!)
It’s high time we parted ways with that oversized sweatshirt and leggings lewk. This casual trench is a staple that you can throw over any outfit—even over workout clothes on a weekend grocery shopping trip—and still make a chic statement. Your wardrobe will thank you for this investment for a long time to come.

 

Birchbox ($10/month)
Living large on an entry level budget is a thing. And we’re about to do it with the help of companies like Birchbox. Whether it’s that new hair mask that’ll keep your ends from looking janky or that adventurous red matte lipstick that you’re too chicken to buy, you don’t have to drop the dough on it. Order this subscription box instead and try before you buy.

 

Michael Kors Sofie Pavé Gold-tone Smartwatch ($350)
Life is about to get infinity more busy. And you know what, BRING IT. From a new work schedule and happy hours with your new colleagues to workout classes at the new gym we joined and meal planning, we’ve got a lot going on. But let’s make a pact that we won’t sweat it. This rose gold watch has everything we need to #adult with features like sleep monitoring, fitness tracking, calendar, and alerts.

 

Day Designer Academic Year Flagship Edition ($49-$59)
We already know that planners are a girl’s best friend, and they’ll be just as handy now with our new pro status. We relied on them through our college days, so there’s no way we’re about to break up with them now…not when we need them the most! The Day Designer Flagship Edition is functional AND pretty, meaning we’ll stay organized and productive while showing off our unique style.

 

Kate Spade Jackson Street Clarke ($68)
Perks to the new job? Business cards. Yes, I said it. And I mean it. Let’s get ahead of the game by treating ourselves to a classy business card holder, like this one from Kate Spade, like now. I mean, we’ll never know when we’ll need to hand one out, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be caught dead digging around in my bag for them.

 

Go GRADS!
Hannah

Hannah is ACPR’s Spring Intern, and soon-to-be CSU graduate. She is currently building her own list of must-haves to buy after graduation, all the while feeling overwhelmed by the flux of emotions that comes with a big life change.

Photos courtesy of Nordstrom, Birchbox, Michael Kors, Day Designer, and Kate Spade

The Benefits of Losing

We found out last week that we did not win a PR Couture Bespoke Communication Award. We submitted several months ago for “Best Agency To Work For,” and while I’m bummed, I’m shifting my mindset to focus on the positive. Instead of wondering what could have been and yearning for a more desirable outcome, I’m choosing to celebrate what I learned through submitting, and if you will, the benefits of not winning. Because, honestly, nothing really changes just because we didn’t win. If anything, it provided me with another incredible platform to learn and grow, as a business owner, mentor, publicist, and human being.

+ It reinforced that I employ the best of the best
Part of the application was to include testimonials from employees. I needed to submit three, but at the deadline, I had five. Reading the testimonials from the women I’ve employed over the years made this *very* unemotional Capricorn *very* emotional. As a business owner, it’s one thing to think that you’re creating a unique environment that fosters kindness, creativity, growth, opportunity, and collaboration, but it’s another to hear that you’re actually doing it. ACPR wouldn’t be what it is today without all of the incredible women who have come through these doors. And I’m eternally grateful to Caitlin, Emily, Casey, Bailey, and Sarah for taking the time to put pen to paper and share their experiences with me and the judges. You have made it easy for me to want to provide you—and future members of ACPR’s girl gang—with the most incredible working environment and the very best benefits I possibly can.

+ It gave me the chance to refresh our brand identity
As publicists, we preach the importance of a strong brand identity to our clients. But when I initially sat down with the application, I realized that ACPR’s identity wasn’t as strong as I had previously thought. The application process gave me the chance to really sit with the brand and explore where we are now at year seven, where we were at launch in 2010, and where I want to be in the future. I was able hone in on our mission, values, and our point of difference—all things I’ve wanted to do for years but never could seem to find the time for. And boy did it feel good. Like gooooooooood. Beyond the feeling, it infused new life into the business, and I know having a strong and clear identity only benefits employees, clients (current and future), editors, and brand partners. Timing-wise, it couldn’t have been more perfect, as if you’ve been following along on IG, you know we’re in the midst of a rebrand! Be on the lookout for a new website this summer.

+ It forced me outside of my comfort zone
I’m not good at vulnerable. Putting myself out there means opening myself up to criticism. And I’ve got the “disease to please” (thanks to goop I have a name for it), so flying under the radar for the last seven years, intentionally not submitting for opportunities like this felt like my favorite pair of sweatpants. So comfortable (and forgiving if you eat too much at dinner). Keeping my head down would prevent me from giving my imposter syndrome a soapbox to ask all of the questions. Like, what if they don’t like me? What if they don’t like ACPR? What if we don’t win? It’s always been so much easier just to skip the vulnerability altogether! But a long time ago, someone very wise told me that if I’m not a little bit scared, then it’s not worth it. And that every day as an entrepreneur is a little scary, so get used to it! So I forced myself out of my comfort zone and applied. And you know what? It turned out ok. I’m still here. ACPR is still here. And we’ll still be here in the future.  

+ It showed me how far we’ve come as a company
As I’m sure you saw in my post earlier this year, six years has come and gone so fast. We’re no longer a new or “startup” agency, and it happened in the blink of an eye! This application gave me a prime opportunity to take a tour down memory lane, and I got to really see just how far we’ve come. ACPR’s humble beginnings, with just me and three clients in the guest bedroom of my home, has evolved into a bonafide company with employees, freelancers, interns, 12+ clients at any given time, and an office space (that’s very pink) that I am so incredibly proud of. I get to do what I love and I get to work with the people and brands that I love while still learning, growing, and being challenged. I’m truly grateful for this journey and consider myself insanely lucky that ACPR is my company.

Win or lose, don’t forget that it’s all about the journey.  And we’re just getting started. So stay tuned for so.much.more.

With gratitude,
Allyson

P.S. Huge congrats to our friends at Victory PR on their win for “Best Media Placement!” Proud of you, Andrea!

Allyson Conklin is ACPR’s founder and dogmom to three rescues: Whitney, a 12 year old border collie mix from Arkansas that Allyson adopted when she was living in NYC, Macon, a three year old yellow lab mix from West Texas with a heart of gold, and Amos, a two year old spitfire border collie mix who was a total surprise.

Photo courtesy of Cassie Rosch, Photographer