Power Up 2017 with Powersheets

There are few things that I can pinpoint and say, "This changed my life," in real, tangible ways. But I am here today to share with you one of those things because it is just too good for you not to know about it.

Back it up a bit.

It all started with the book Make It Happen by Lara Casey. I was given the book as part of the Influence Network book club. I'll be honest: it sat on my shelf for a while. But when I discovered that my family was selling the family business that had employed me for the last 17 years, I started grasping for anything that would give me hope or inspiration for what the future might look like.

This book was all that and more. 

Did you read the sub-title? "Surrender your fear. Take the leap. Live on purpose." 

I was about to have no job (which meant no income which wasn't an option) and I was terrified. On top of that, I had spent my entire career life in healthcare which is not an industry I had planned on even entering. (I have a BA in photography, graphic design and creative writing.)

I had no idea what I was going to do.

no idea.

And this book walked me through a process of self-reflection that I so desperately needed and eventually led me to starting Belong.

The author, Lara Casey, is also the creator of PowerSheets. PowerSheets are THE ULTIMATE GOAL PLANNER. They inspire you to uncover purpose-filled goals and plan action steps to make what matters happen. Perfect for anyone—moms, students, creatives, entrepreneurs—who needs a grace-filled system that works. 

And they work.

I used my PowerSheets to put on paper what I was having a hard time talking about--and sometimes didn't even know that I was feeling it. I was able to "download" it all into a format that made sense of the mess of emotions and desires and gave them some direction and a form. 

Through the journey of PowerSheets I actually started a magazine.

I feel like I recreated myself and got a fresh start.

It just took a little guidance, some time and some realistic goal setting.

I still have all of my sheets in a binder with blue ink smothering the pages. Looking ahead, PowerSheets are now being offered in 2017 monthly spiral-bound book which I'm super excited about. I'm ready to start gearing up for 2017, and this is what is going to help me lay out my vision and goals for the year.  (The PowerSheets also come as a sheet sets that you can date as you wish and put in your own binder.) 

If you are looking for a way to put form and function into your goal setting for your business and/or personal life, I encourage you to give PowerSheets a gander.

They will change you. And this is a change that is sooo good.

I was blessed to be given this PowerSheets book by Cultivate What Matters and by clicking on the links, I may be monetarily compensated.

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2017 planner round-up

Though technology is great, and I truly love all the freedom and flexibility it provides, there is still something about a paper planner. 

Obviously, since we publish a print magazine (in addition to digital), we do not buy into the "print is dead" motto which also applies to planners. There is something about writing it down that commits things to memory in a way that typing it into my phone or computer does not. 

Here are some of the most fabulous planners you will come across.

The real problem becomes, how do you choose just one?!

Planner round up-2.jpg

Photographer's Planner* - $65 / Intentional Planner (with free phone case) - $86/ LiveWell Planner - $54 / To-Do Planner - $35/ "The Best Is Yet to Come" Classic Planner - $37.50 / Erin Condren Life Planner - $55 / Purposeful Planner - $52 / ShePlans - $56 / The Collegiate Daybook - $35 / Simplified Planner  - $58 / Make It Happen Powersheets - $55/ Day Designer - $59 / Happy Balance Planner - $36 / My Business Planner  - $49 / ReFRESH Planner - $39.95

*Our friends at have offered a special code for the Belong Community! Use code: BELONGLOVE to get $20 off. 

What is your favorite planner and why? Do you like daily, weekly, monthly? Colorful or plain? Large or small? I'm curious! Do tell!

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issue 06 / cover reveal

I always feel like I need to say "drumrolllll" for the intro of a new cover--like it is an unveiling or something. So much time, effort and love goes into the cover alone that it feels like it deserves some pomp and circumstance.



here it is!


Several months ago, I connected with our cover photographer Sofia Tomé on Instagram and instantly knew that I had to have her do a cover. Her photos just grabbed hold of me. Let me tell you, choosing just one image was no easy task as her collection of doors alone is extensive.

I also found her story to be of value to our community. So, you'll not only find her on the cover but you'll also find Sofia inside the mag--more of her beautiful images and her story.


More to come soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

(Our release date is looking like 12/12.)

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How to Handle Holiday Cards With Ease


Save Your Hand - Get a Stamp… or Two or Three…

I love sending out holiday cards because it gets me in the Christmas spirit and makes me feel like I’m sending a little joy out in the world and well, I think we all need a little pick me up this time of year, however I wasn’t always excited about it.  It used to overwhelm me.  Just the thought of writing my address over and over again made me tired.  My address used to be super long too which made it worse.  Now though, I have a tool that gets the job done faster and looks better than my tired hand writing - a custom address stamp!  I know it sounds simple, but if you are one of those people who hand is cramping up just thinking about holiday cards, do yourself a favor and just get an address stamp.

Photo Credit:  Amber Green Photograph

Photo Credit:  Amber Green Photograph

Getting a stamp for your holiday cards is not only cost efficient and hand-saving, but they are adorable too!  

Using a return address stamp will save you a ton of time when addressing your holiday cards and once your holiday cards are mailed you can use it the whole rest of the year for snazzing up your bills, dropping a note to a friend, or sending out birthday invitations.  It even makes my estimated taxes look pretty!  An address stamp is a must, but there are other types of stamps that can help you out too!  

A logo stamp will spice up the outside or the inside of your holiday envelopes and will put your business front and center this holiday season! You could even use it to make your own holiday cards for your business.  

BONUS:  You can also use it throughout the year to stamp packages, stationery, stickers, and other items for your biz.  

Photo Credit:  Paige Poppe

Photo Credit:  Paige Poppe


So whether you are looking for a way to make addressing your holiday cards easier, needing a company logo stamp, or just sending out regular mail, a custom address stamp is just what you need to spruce up your cards! Plus it's a great way to get the little ones involved too!  Let them do the stamping!  

Photo Credit:  Amber Green Photograph

Photo Credit:  Amber Green Photograph

Kelly Parker Smith is the owner at Hello World Paper Co. & Stamps where she designs stamps and stationery for new homeowners, weddings, and small businesses out of her home studio in Belleville, IL.  You can read more about the products and services she offers in her Etsy Shop, Hello World Stamps. She also has a free email course all about setting up and managing an Etsy shop and has helped hundreds of other shop owners.  And last but certainly not least, Kelly and her company have pledged to build a school through Pencils of Promise!  10% of the company profits are going toward the campaign that started in June of 2016.  Read more about that story on their blog! / /

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Holiday Card Favorites

If you are anything like me and have yet to get your holiday cards and mail them, this post is for you! 

hoilday card round-up / christmas, new years, and beyond / Belong Magazine blog

Peace on Earth / Hey Bestie, Merry and Bright / Joy / Merry & Bright / Let it Snow / Merry Christmas-Black + White Ribbon Stripe / 4-Pack Illustrated

Etsy is a great place to find personalized cards and a great way to support small businesses. Another personal favorite of mine is Minted which now offers a service where they will mail your cards for you. Where is your favorite place to purchase holiday cards? 

Watch Instagram where I'll be sharing my holiday card pick soon! 

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Simple Thanksgiving Tables

If you've yet to plan your Thanksgiving table scape, we've got you covered. From simple to glam and everything in between, you can find something perfect for your taste and your timeframe.  


I embraced gold as my main decorating element in my Friendsgiving tablescape! I found a gold polka dotted burlap fabric at the craft store which inspired me to combine the traditional rustic burlap of the fall season with touches of gilded glam. Next, I chose inexpensive gold chargers as my base for each place setting and simple white plates. I added burlap and black polka dotted favor bags to hold chocolates for each of my friends. Black napkins hung below each plate adorned with a gold-sprayed leaf for a pop of glam. Next up was the centerpiece. A brown kraft cornucopia from the craft store was spray painted gold and set on a simple white serving tray. Pears and fall leaves were also painted gold and displayed in the cornucopia with a touch of green leaves from my yard. A chalkboard “friendsgiving” sign finished off this easy DIY centerpiece. Scattered on the table were the gold leaves to tie in the fall theme. Rustic chalkboards were used as place setting cards set down in wine corks tied with jute twine. If you don’t like your handwriting in chalk, you can easily print off a label and stick it right on! More here.

Courtney Whitmore is a creative stylist and entertaining blogger. She launched in 2010 to share entertaining inspiration and ideas with her readers. She is now a published cookbook author, entertaining and food stylist, and continues to share daily party inspiration on the blog. Her latest party book will release in Fall 2017. She's been featured on Better Homes & Gardens, Access Hollywood, HGTV, and Martha Stewart.

Find her at: /  @pizzazzerie on all social media channels


Our Thanksgiving table is very simple but makes a big statement. A white ceramic pumpkin from HomeGoods is the centerpiece along with some artificial leaves and orange berries from the dollar store. A silver tablecloth and orange plaid runner pull everything together. All our dishes are thrifted from local shops so each is unique!

Hi, I'm Casey, A DIY Enthusiast, and aspiring interior decorator near Toronto, Ontario. Back in 2013 my husband and I bought a new-build house with my parents and started renovating to give the builder-bland some much needed personality - on a budget!

Find her at: /  @housebythebay


In keeping with the simple Thanksgiving tables, I went with Kraft paper card stock as place mats, twine wrapped around napkins, and sparkly leaf cut-outs using card stock.  


My name is Jessica and I love all things organizing, crafting, and decorating!  When I’m not organizing or crafting, you can find me playing with my kiddos, husband, and fur-baby.  As a professional organizer, writer, wanna-be decorator, crafter, exclamation-mark enthusiast, lover of creativity, and reality-TV junkie, I can easily find ways to keep myself busy.  I am the founder of The Organized Mama, an organizing/crafting/decorating blog and professional organizing service, where creativity and order are used to inspire joy in the every day!

 Find her at: / @organizedmamas



My table is all about simple elegance, and was inspired by natural elements as well as touches of golden glamour.  The table decor is available at your local At Home store.

Inspired Life Interiors is a full service boutique interior design firm. Every room I create is truly a reflection of my clients themselves. I get to know them personally and take inspiration from their passions, travels, and hobbies to create one of a kind spaces for the entire family to enjoy.

Find her at: / @inspiredlifeinteriors


Dressed In Details x Alison Chang 2.jpg


Holidays have always been a staple in my family. It's a time to gather, spread cheer and share love with some of the most cherished people in our lives. Naturally, I took the torch of entertaining from my mother who is always overjoyed to host a beautiful holiday that is always loved by so many. This holiday season I decided on a Thanksgiving themed table scape classic in design. Using many elements from my personal collection of entertaining treasures, I went to work to create a mood of togetherness. A warm palette of orange and berry based hues accented with dazzling gold, such a stunning setting to enjoy a warm pleasant meal. Candle light, freshly sliced fruit and fresh-baked bread were among additional elements to add details of texture and an authentic dining experience. As a floral designer, the lush focal point featuring a centerpiece that highlights some of my favorite floral elements. Complete with flowering kale, antique hydrangea, coxcomb, spray roses and mustard colored branches for perfect depth and dimension. This holiday season and beyond, I wish that a beautiful table scape holding a warm delectable meal is enjoyed but most of all I wish that memories of thankfulness are created with those that are most near and dear to you

Photography - Alison Chang Photography / / @alisonchangphoto


Styling and Floral Design - Dressed In Details Events

Table linen - Luxe Event Linen / Flatware - Target / Plateware, linen napkins, napkin rings, round marble board - Pier 1 /  3 Tier Stand, goblets, rectangle marble board - Homegoods

Meet Brittany Nichole, Creative Director and Owner of Dressed in Details Events. Obsessed with aesthetics, Brittany designs floral arrangements and executes timeless weddings and events. The classic and luxe style of this Floral Designer and Event Planner is illustrated through floral creations that are admired without end, and weddings and events that birth spellbound celebrations. Brittany’s attention to detail is carefully orchestrated whether designing for an intimate birthday celebration, an adoring wedded union or corporate meeting. As a promising talented industry professional, Brittany finds joy in creating a not only beautiful but timeless memories for the most special celebrations and occasions of a clientele that continues to pave a way for the most classic works of art illustrated through stunning florals and seamless events.

Find her at: / @dresseddetails


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Are You an Influencer?

I already know that you have influence. That's a no brainer. You are out there changing the world in your own way, every single day. 

But are you a Belong Influencer? Should you be? Could you be? 

belong magazine influencers

What is a Belong Influencer?

Belong Influencers are like the ultimate cheerleaders for the brand, its mission and its products. Influencers are individuals who believe in Belong, who want to support Belong and want to see it become a sustainable business.

We've broken it down like this:


  • Cheerleader of all things Belong!

  • Further promotion of Belong products through social media platforms, blog posts, and word of mouth.

  • Reach new businesses and customers.

  • Be discovered by audiences who have yet to hear of Belong.
  • A sustainable business!

*For each influencer opportunity you choose to be a part of, Belong would expect two instagram posts, two twitter posts, and two facebook posts (and anything else you are willing to do).


  • Have a voice in the Belong brand--what products we offer and businesses we partner with.

  • First to view and receive new products.*

  • Free and discounted products.*

  • Free shipping.

  • $25 for each new stockist referred and acquired.

  • $25 for each new advertiser referred and acquired.

  • A great feeling that you’ve helped a small business make it!

Is this something that you're interested in? If you are a leader of the pack, if people look to you for advice and tips, if you have the ability to help us grow, then we want to hear from you. Apply by clicking the button below.

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Help Wanted: Facebook Hosts

Are you a social butterfly? Is your middle name "networker?" Then The Belong Collective needs you--I need you!

I absolutely love our facebook group, The Belong Collective. But, let's be honest, I am really not good at keeping up the conversation on a regular basis. I do know, however, that many of you are good at this. 

Do you believe in Belong and its mission to connect women to one another in life-giving ways? Do you want to promote a space where women feel that they matter and that they belong? Then we need you! 

the belong collective facebook group / belong magazine

We are looking for hosts for The Belong Collective. 

What does being a host look like? 

  • A regular, friendly and encouraging presence in the group (3 days/week)

  • Each host will be assigned one day that they are responsible for facilitating the discussion (prompt provided) and interacting with comments.

  • Assist in monitoring comments for appropriateness.

  • Serve as a connector and resource.

  • Positive influencer of all things Belong! (that means you get to say nice things about Belong and what we’re doing, the products we’re producing, etc…--wink wink)

  • And anything else that we come up with as we go, because, let’s be honest, I haven’t got it all figured out yet.

Interested? Fill out the form below and tell us why you'd be an ideal hostess! 

Name *

Not a member of the collective? Request to join now!

Name *

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Holiday Hacks for the Busy Entrepreneur / Part Four

We asked some of our favorite Savvy Business Owners how they handle the craziness of the holidays on top of their already crazy business responsibilities. What are their top tips and ideas for making the holiday season more manageable? They had so many great thing to share, we are having to split it up over a few days to share all the goodness! Don't miss the other posts in this series.

holiday hacks for the busy entrepreneur - belong magazine blog

We are all looking for shortcuts and helps! Here are some great resources!

Holiday Gift Wrap Book--perfect for gifting on the go! by Erin Condren

Holiday Gift Wrap Book--perfect for gifting on the go! by Erin Condren

Celebrate by grabbing a ride from Lyft!  (and use cod BELONGMAG for $50 in Lyft credit!)

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Holiday Hacks for the Busy Entrepreneur / Part Three

We asked some of our favorite Savvy Business Owners how they handle the craziness of the holidays on top of their already crazy business responsibilities. What are their top tips and ideas for making the holiday season more manageable? They had so many great thing to share, we are having to split it up over a few days to share all the goodness! Don't miss the other posts in this series.

holiday hacks for the busy entrepreneur - belong magazine blog


The holiday season is truly the most wonderful time of the year! There are cookies in the oven baking, nights spent watching holiday movies like ELF with your family, or evenings out with friends enjoying local community events.  Usually it really is a warm and wonderful season until you forget this, that, or the other thing. You have over scheduled yourself again, or you feel anxiety and stress over all the different things you are trying to juggle during the holidays on top of your day to day demands of running your business. All while trying to avoid extreme FOMO by not doing ALL of the things!

I’ve got a two part solution for you that comes from the heart and yet is so practical that anyone can put this into place this holiday season! It’s the compassionate “no” coupled with the Christmas calendar. When you use these two together, this is where the magic happens!

The Compassionate "No"

The compassionate “no” is all about learning how to set boundaries in your life and making time for the things that truly matter. It’s a great way to set priorities, manage expectations, eliminate resentment and create more time for the things you truly love during this season. Plus, you gain more confidence each time you set a new boundary and give a loving “no” to the things that don’t serve you in your life. Make a goal for yourself of identifying who or what your top 5 priorities are for this holiday season. If something comes up that doesn’t align with your top 5 priorities then I challenge you to really ask yourself if that is something you want to be allocating your limited amount of time to. If someone asks me to do something or go somewhere, It has to be a “heck yes” reaction from me otherwise I know I need to give it a “Big No” and move on to the things that really matter to me.

The Christmas Calendar

The second part of this two step Christmas magic formula is the Christmas calendar. This is a calendar you create specifically and for only your holiday activities and plans for the month of December. You start off by printing out a big calendar for the whole month to post in your kitchen or your at home command center.  Next, you take your priorities list created in step one to decide what activities you absolutely want to make time for this holiday season and get those on your calendar right away! After you schedule your priorities, you schedule a couple nights of “free time” that you utilize for any holiday events that come up that you would like to do with your family or friends. Lastly, create a list of all the fun holiday activities you would enjoy doing like driving around looking at Christmas lights, going out for hot cocoa, writing out hand written Christmas cards, and so on. Then when people invite you to get together you can suggest an activity from this list of things you already know you love doing or you can pick any activity from this list for your scheduled “free nights.”

Jingle bells, Christmas shopping, and warm family gatherings are right around the corner. Get excited for this wonderful time of the year because now you have the two step Christmas magic formula to create more time during the holidays for the things you love while still finding the time to manage your business.

Amanda Beilke is a Life Coach. She coaches ambitious women in helping them identify their core values and purpose, in order to align those with meaningful work in a fantastic career so that they can feel completely authentic, confident, empowered, and full of joy in how they are living their lives. Amanda is passionate about identifying what excites you, living with intention each moment of the day, and not shying away from creating and living your best life. Amanda is a Minnesotan now residing in the Twin Cities. To learn more about Amanda and her mission, go to Now is the time to turn your dreams into reality

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Holiday Hacks for the Busy Entrepreneur / Part Two

We asked some of our favorite Savvy Business Owners how they handle the craziness of the holidays on top of their already crazy business responsibilities. What are their top tips and ideas for making the holiday season more manageable? They had so many great thing to share, we are having to split it up over a few days to share all the goodness! Don't miss the other posts in this series!

holiday hacks for the busy female entrepreneur


The holidays can be a crazy, unapologetically stressful time, especially if you are a consumer-facing business. The pressure to ride the holiday marketing wave, fulfill orders or client requests, and double-down on social media can be all too consuming. On top of that, the holidays are a time to anticipate a new year and new beginnings, to commit to a whole new set of resolutions and goals. What did I not accomplish this year? What financial goals did I miss? What project did I not get to do this year? A year ago I, too, fell into the trap of critical self-assessment and felt overwhelmed.

Tip #1: Call a Time-Out

No matter how crazy the holidays become for you, call a time-out from your business. This means shutting down your computer, stepping away from social media, and putting aside your emails for later. No compromising. I recommend at least three days if you can. I stepped away from my business for a week. What did this do for me? It helped clear my head, reset myself, and shift my perspective on things that weighed me down. I also gained the focus that I needed for Tip #2.

Tip #2: Celebrate Your Successes

Not only should you set your goals for the New Year, but also celebrate your successes from the past year. We so often focus on what we failed to do, rather than what we did do. When I intentionally took some time to reflect on all that I had accomplished and what I truly enjoyed doing, I surprised myself! I had forgotten about what my team had done 10 or 11 months ago, but all those little wins were critical to the journey that brought us here. Take an inventory of all your successes and all that you loved doing, because no matter how big or small, they are worth celebrating.

Tip #3: Do More of Them

Take your successes and what you truly enjoyed doing, and do more of them next year! Revisit your vision, set some stretch goals, and sprinkle in opportunities for personal growth, and you have the foundation for your New Year planning. When you’re not planning from scratch, rather building upon what you learned from past experiences, you will feel confident about having a purpose-driven plan that is attainable. Come next year, you’ll want to celebrate more successes!

Stephanie David.jpg

Stephanie David is the founder of POPNOD (, a marketing studio that champions brands with purpose. Through creative campaigns and marketing strategies, POPNOD exists to help the stories that matter be heard. Stephanie’s background in business development in Fortune 500 corporations such as Microsoft, along with her love of stories and travel, and a little bit of serendipity, led her to finding her passion in 2013.

Website: / Instagram: @popnodshop / Facebook:

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Holiday Hacks for the Busy Entrepreneur / Part One

We asked some of our favorite Savvy Business Owners how they handle the craziness of the holidays on top of their already crazy business responsibilities. What are their top tips and ideas for making the holiday season more manageable? They had so many great thing to share, we are having to split it up over a few days to share all the goodness! Don't miss the other posts in this series.

holiday hacks for the busy business woman and entrepreneur - Belong Magazine Blog - keep the crazy under control this Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and more!

NICKI ZEVOLA shares...

Choose one or two things that are important to you, and then outsource or automate the rest. For me, that means I will carefully select presents and decorate the tree with my husband. But you better believe I'm buying store bought cookies, using shortcuts like boxed stuffing and pre-made side dishes, and getting help cleaning my house afterwards! Remember that what is valued by your family and friends is your presence -- and being a stressed out, frazzled, or overworked version of yourself means you're less present. The most loving thing I think I can do sometimes is remember to genuinely connect and enjoy my time making memories with my loved ones.


Send thoughtful cards and unique gifts with just a few clicks this holiday season. I love using Postable to send good old-fashioned snail mail to my biz friends, partners, clients, and even family members! Greetabl takes happiness to another level by delivering fun gifts with customized packaging. It's the busy entrepreneur's perfect solution for sending client gifts or treating your biz besties.

Caitlin Horton is a brand strategist and designer for entrepreneurs, community builders, and creative professionals who want to grow thoughtfully and strategically. She is also the author of Memphis Type History: Signs and Stories from Just Around the Corner. / instagram: @dizzycaitlin / Twitter: @dizzycaitlin / Pinterest:

JORDAN GILL shares...

When looking for gifts, I always review people's social media feeds for help. If they travel a lot flying Southwest, I will get them a Southwest giftcard. Or if they take bubble baths, I will get them some candles. It makes the gift giving experience a lot more thoughtful!

Jordan Gill is the Founder of Personalized Procedures, a business operations agency that blends the perfect words and systems to make your company run smoothly. They love implementing workflows - for your clients and for your team. Her newest venture is a podcast called Systems Saved Me that showcases how business owners from a variety of industries navigate their way to success - through systems, of course! She resides in the heart of Texas, Dallas. / Instagram@personalizedprocedures, @jordan_hillery



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Hostess Gifts Galore


Stock up on gifts to give hostesses (and hosts) at all those upcoming parties (and there are LOTS of parties coming up--too many?!). Here is a collection of some great picks from our Belong Magazine readers. Check them out! 

hostess 3.jpg

Bumblewood Gift Box  /  Cosette Nicole Products

(Body Polishes & Facial Cleanser / Coffee & Sugar Body Polish / Lemon Sugar Body Polish / Cleansing Water)

What's going to be your "go-to" hostess gift this year? I'd love to hear your ideas.

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How to Take Care of Yourself + Your Biz


I am an entrepreneur to help create the type of world I want to live in. A beautifully balanced, sustainable world.

With this as my goal, it's important for me to nurture my business' growth and my personal growth with those values in mind each step of the way.


how to take care of yourself and your business - belong magazine blog - female entrepreneurs, self care, ladyboss

in business

I work with my brother building Bogobrush, a minimal, eco-designed toothbrush brand. We work hard on developing the business with the vision of our ideal world in mind, and that includes maintaining flexibility and balance. For me, this comes through two key principles.


I don’t buy into a consistent 100+ hour work week. In my experience, that schedule seems to be an expectation of startups and founders, and it is easy to fall into because there is always work to be done.  But therein lies the trap: there is always work to be done.  Whether I work 50 hours a week or 100 hours a week, the to-do list never ends.  The difference between the two is that a consistent 100+ hour work week is not the type of world I want to work in, so outside of an important pitch or deadline, I maintain an average 40-50 hours of work each week.


I don’t fit into a regular 8am-5pm, Monday-Friday work week. I believe creativity strikes when it wants and a flexible schedule allows that process to remain organic.  To be fair, a lot of work does happen in traditional working hours, especially for meetings with other folks.  But, if there are not meetings, I listen to my intuition and leave space for independent work and thought processing. 

for personal

Maintaining balance in business necessarily allows for my personal growth in the same way. Like most people, I am not one-dimensional, and I’m happiest when my life includes a balance of my passions. 

For instance, I love yoga.  I practice it daily and teach several times a week.  I love to sing and perform so I make sure I am involved in some type of show consistently throughout the year.  I love to learn from other people and their stories so I watch documentaries, read books, go to plays and concerts.  I spend time with family and friends.  I love the environment and need to spend time outdoors hiking, walking, meditating, or relaxing.  And, of course, I love my husband and need time with him. 

Sometimes my attention is drawn more heavily to one or another of those passions for a period of time, and that can be great.  

If my focus is out of balance for too long, I notice my quality of life suffers.

 I maybe get moody, or stiff, or stressed.  And, when my quality of life suffers, so does anything I’m working on.  Everything is connected.


In reality, my life is not a collection of separate passions, but rather it’s a single spectrum of activities and passions.  When I nurture the entire spectrum, everything in it benefits.  My creativity expands, my procrastination decreases, my productivity increases, and my perspectives evolve and keep me relevant.   

if you're interested: my tips

  1. Permit yourself to find the balance that’s right for you and live it well. I believe life is made of the yin and the yang, the meditations and the actions.  So, experiment and explore you.  Use your moments of confusion to inspire a change of scene, pace, or activity.  Allow your balance to nurture your Self.
  2. Keep a journal.  Regardless of the passions that fill your spectrum of life, I think journalling is extremely helpful.  Personally, I keep running journals or notebooks of all my activities, to-do’s, brainstorms, anything - even high level. For one thing, journalling helps me stay on track.  But beyond that it helps my psyche.  For instance, when I feel stuck, my notes remind me how far I’ve come and inspire me to take one more step.  When I feel out of balance, I look at my notes to see what aspect of my life is missing lately.  If I feel overwhelmed, I write in my journal to release my thoughts that get blocked up.  Most likely, journaling will find it’s own path with you, but I highly encourage it in some way or another. Even if you never look at it, at least you’re getting thoughts out of your head to make space for new thinkings. :)

Bogobrush_ Heather.jpg

Heather is a vibrant and curious gal who is determined to help the world be a brighter place. She’s an honors law school grad, a yoga teacher, and a social entrepreneur - Bogobrush and a think tank with her brother. She’s worked on venture finance and non-profit lobbying, and she loves singing, dancing, art, and the great outdoors. Finer her at @heather_mcdougall and @bogobrush.

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5 am Never Looked So Good / How Prioritizing Can Make You a Morning Person + Allow You to Pursue Your Dreams


It’s five AM and I am sitting at Starbucks.

I need to be at work in two hours. I need to buy groceries. I am planning to go to the gym this afternoon. I have a meeting later tonight. My laundry needs to be folded. My lawn needs to be mowed. I need a haircut. I need to get the oil in my car changed. My husband and I haven’t been on a real date in a while.

5 am never looked so good - how prioritizing can make you a morning person and allow you to pursue your dreams - belong magazine blog

My days can feel overwhelmingly busy, even cluttered at times. But this early, with a cup of coffee next to me, I am in my element. I can focus on the task at hand without being distracted by my ever growing to-do list.

The reason I have such unrelenting focus is because I love what I am doing. I am writing.

Writing is the only passion that has never faded with time. So, even though I work a disappointing and difficult job, even though I want to schedule some quality time with my husband, even though I need to make sure I stay healthy and spend time exercsing, and even though I could honestly use a good night’s rest, I will wake up at four AM to steal a few hours of writing time before the real work of the day begins.

When I was younger, I always hoped to be a writer when I grew up. Reality hit me the first time I was late paying my rent. I needed a real job. I needed to be able to pay my bills and save for my future and pay for college. I got a nine-to-five job that would allow me to make enough money to accomplish those tasks. I started taking college courses online and in the evenings. And time just passed, the way it always does when we aren’t paying close attention.

Please do not get me wrong.

I was never unhappy with this life I was living. Women have an incredible capacity for waiting and hoping. So, while I was not pursuing my passions, I always felt that there would come a time when I would get the opportunity to finally chase my dream. I was waiting for the time when I could do what I wanted. I was hopeful that I would not have to wait too long. I wanted to write books. Not just any book. I wanted to write a book that could capture true feelings. I wanted someone to tell me that I had been able to put into words the way they were feeling but hadn’t been able to express. I wanted these things, but I was just waiting and hoping for them to happen.

It wasn’t until recently that I traded out my predisposition for waiting in exchange for a go-get ‘em attitude. I was sitting at a table with a group of strangers. We were about to listen to a lecture, but the evening’s speaker had us start with a few roundtable questions to briefly discuss so that we could get to know our neighbors. One of the questions was how we would spend a million dollars. My table mates had variably interesting answers. They would attempt to cure a disease, they would pay for the grandchildren’s college, or take an amazing vacation. I knew my answer. I would quit my job and write full time.

Now, I didn’t leave the event completely changed. I didn’t turn in my two weeks notice and spend my entire day writing from a table at a local coffee shop. However, I did do something I hadn’t done in a long time. I got out my laptop and began to write. I am in no position to quit my job. While I would like to think that someday my writing will be what puts food on the table and gas in my car, at least for now I need to work a full time job that has a steady paycheck.

I have learned the value of prioritizing.

While I cannot stop going to work each day, I am allowed to occasionally let my husband find his own dinner so that I can write for a few hours. While I need to continue to make sure I stay active and healthy, I can skip watching a re-run of Friends on television if it means I get thirty minutes to write a few lines in the evening.

In this way, I have started to pursue my dream. Re-prioritizing has worked like a miracle, and I encourage any woman with a dream to start there. Let your spouse do the grocery shopping while you take a little time to find and pursue your passions. Let the laundry go one more day undone. In this way, we aren’t being selfish. Rather, by taking a little time to pursue our passions, we becoming happier. In my experience, a household is only as happy as the least happy member. So, when I started following my dream, and starting finding joy in the stolen moments, my family got a little happier too.

My first novel was published in August of this year. I was terrified that only 100 people would read it and 99 would hate it. I was terrified that I would fail at the one thing I know I am passionate about doing.

I had to exchange the measuring spoons I was using to gauge my success.

Sure, I could watch famous and popular authors and compare myself to their success, but that would not make me happy. And it wouldn’t change the joy I felt when I saw my book come to life. Instead of measuring myself in copies sold or in five-star reviews, I have begun to measure my success in the support of the people around me.

When I look at how encouraging and incredible they have been, I feel very successful indeed! So, I leave you with these final thoughts.

What would you do if you had a million dollars? How would you spend your days if your full-time job was to pursue your passions? And what is stopping you from stealing a few hours here and there to make those passions a priority?

Together, let’s agree that we will skip the gym once this week, and skip an evening of television tomorrow. Let’s agree to let someone else make dinner, and let our kids pack their own lunches. I know that we cannot really stop being wonder-women, because let’s face it, women seem to be what holds the house and family together, but we can take a break for a few hours.

So, let’s agree, to pursue our passions and make our dreams come true.

Courtney Kammers was raised on books and coffee. She spends her free time going on adventures with her husband, snapping photos with her sister, and writing stories by herself. Most of her writing has been hidden away on her laptop, or penned into journals. Her writing was featured in a national magazine at age 13. Her first novel, All Things Fade, was published in August of this year. She lives in Washington.

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Belong Online Resource Guide

Have you seen our Online Resource Guide yet? It's a free, downloadable guide listing businesses that offer services and products that can help you build your business. If you need help, this is your "go to" source.

The Resource Guide features several different categories including:

  • ATTEND / workshops + events
  • BEHIND THE LENS / photography + videography
  • BLOG / blog related resources
  • COMMUNITY / business or creative groups (online or in-person)
  • DESIGN / graphic or design related services
  • DEVELOP / business development, coaching, strategy
  • LEARN / webinars + education
  • MONEY + LEGAL / accounting + legal
  • SUPPORT / technical support, virtual assistants, etc... 
  • TOOLS / applications or other tools

We don't know about you, but this is something that we wish we'd had when starting Belong a year ago. There are SO many resources out there, but how are you supposed to find them exactly if you don't know they exist?! This guide is intended to connect women with one another, allowing them to use their talents to support one another and make things happen!

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Natural Beauty is the Icing On Your Healthy Lifestyle Cake


Being healthy is on trend. It’s a thing. And this movement happens to benefit us in a big way.

There is certainly no shortage of health experts, fitness gurus, life coaches, and spiritual advisors teaching us how to treat our bodies and minds in the most healthful of ways. These experts span diet and exercise, to meditation and creating our dream careers.

All of this big dreaming and mindful living is pointing us in the direction of better health and happier mind. Know what is often missing from this round up? Beauty.

Yes, we are all beautiful in our own way. No denying that. But we women tend to love our beauty products, treatments, and rituals. Even those who consider themselves low maintenance on the beauty spectrum prefer healthy skin and manageable hair.

I came upon this whole organic beauty career sort of…well…organically. I’ve always loved beauty products and writing but never truly dreamed I’d make a business by combining the two. When my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, I read everything I could get my hands on about the disease. Then I came across an article in a British magazine that linked harmful ingredients in the cosmetic and personal care products we use every day with breast cancer.

After much research, purchasing of products, and sampling I came up with a pretty good foundation of which ingredients I wanted to avoid using on myself and my family. It was a lot of time consuming effort and I wanted to share my newfound knowledge. Certainly there were other women out there concerned about the safety of the products they were applying to their own skin and their babies.

And there were! I had women of every age and stage of life, some with existing health issues, others who were interested in maintaining good health for the long run, asking questions on the ingredients in their beauty products, how to identify safe products, and where to find them.

Over the past decade that I’ve been writing on organic beauty, these products have come a long way. We no longer have to choose between safety and effectiveness. We can now have it all, healthy products that are high performance.

But are natural beauty products that big a deal? Do we really need to use them for better health?

Why Organic Beauty Is Important to A Healthy Lifestyle

You may have heard that our skin absorbs around 60% of what is applied to it. Think of skin patches used to administer medication or bioidentical hormones to our bodies. Yep, what goes on, goes in.

So what, exactly, is your skin soaking up? If you are using mainstream cosmetics and personal care products, lots of ingredients you don’t need (or want!) in your body.

Take parabens for instance. These synthetic preservatives garnered big time media attention a few years back. They’ve been found in breast tissue, and have links to infertility and fetal impairment. Yes, it is a good idea to avoid parabens and it’s a good thing these ingredients were put in the spotlight. But the reality is, parabens are the tip of the harmful cosmetic ingredients iceberg.

Cosmetics in the U.S. are under regulated, with a host of not-so-clean ingredients making their way into our mainstay products. The best way to ensure the products you use are safe? Read ingredient listings and follow brands you can trust. Here is a quick look at commonly used cosmetic ingredients that carry health risks.

Harmful Cosmetic Ingredients You Need to Avoid

1,4 DIOXANE  A carcinogenic chemical by-product, often found in shampoos, cleansers, and body washes

DEA, TEA, MEA  Foaming agents that can cause carcinogenic compounds when mixed with other cosmetic ingredients

FORMALDEHYDE  A carcinogenic impurity released by certain chemical preservatives

METALLOESTROGENS  Heavy metals that are potentially carcinogenic, with links to developmental and reproductive toxicity

METHYLISOTHIAZOLINONE (MIT)  A possible neurotoxin commonly used as a preservative that carries potential health risks to unborn babies

PARABENS  Widely used preservatives found to accumulate in breast tissue and thought to mimic estrogen in the body

PETROLATUM  A widely used emollient with impurities linked to cancer

PHTHALATES  Used as a carrier for synthetic fragrance, considered a probable carcinogen

PROPYLENE GLYCOL  Used in everything from skin care and makeup to contact lens cleaner, it alters the skin structure and allows chemicals to more easily be absorbed

SODIUM LAURYL/LAURETH SULFATE  Found in many foaming products, SLS and SLES are penetration enhancers

SYNTHETIC COLORANTS (FD&C COLORS)  Petroleum-derived colorants contain carcinogenic properties, also linked to skin irritation and allergic reaction

SYNTHETIC FRAGRANCES  chemical cocktails that cause everything from headache to possible reproductive issues

SYNTHETIC SUNSCREENS  Have been found to cause hormonal disruption and skin irritation

TRICLOSAN  This heavy duty antibacterial agent designed for use in hospitals is often contaminated with harmful chemicals and linked to serious health issues. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently committed to stricter regulations for home-use products.

Where to Shop Organic Beauty (Plus Products You’ll Love)

There are many high performance, high quality cosmetic and personal care brands on the market today. Following are some of my favorite products and online shopping spots for organic beauty.

RMS Beauty makes luxe makeup items that suit every skin tone. The Lip2Cheek shades are awesome pots of multi-use perfection, and Living Luminizer is magical. Find them at BeauTeaBar.

It’s not easy to find a skincare line that suits all skin types. Acure Organics truly covers all the bases. Gentle products for every type at super reasonable prices. Get them at Credo Beauty.

Facial oils are beneficial to all skin types and Kypris Beauty has something for everyone. From mature, to acne, to hormonal, you will love these oils. Shop them at CAP Beauty.

Daily sunscreen use is important for fending off UV damage. Choose mineral sunscreen made with pure ingredients. Suntegrity is very effective and goes on without the white glare or greasiness. Shop the line at LeVert Beauty.

To keep your mane shiny and healthy use Josh Rosebrook hair care items. No harsh ingredients to strip strands, this stuff works like a charm. Shop the line at The Detox Market.

Think nothing but chemical deodorant can keep you fresh all day? You have to try Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant. I love Ylang Ylang + Calendula Deodorant Cream, available at Eco Diva Beauty.

Liz Thompson is an organic beauty expert with over a decade of experience writing on natural beauty / health and wellness. Liz started Organic Beauty Source as a way to inform others searching for safe cosmetics to add to a healthy lifestyle. She is a regular contributor at,, and When not blogging, Liz is providing copywriting services to her dream clients, and loving every minute of it.

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The Goal Funnel: Goal Setting Tips to Help you ROCK Your Day, Month and Year!


In the chaos of everyday life, it can be a struggle to keep your goals at the forefront, to feel like you are making forward progress on them and sometimes it’s hard to even start the work to make your goals into a reality. Regardless of whether your goal is small (i.e. you want to have breakfast away from a phone or computer screen) or your goal is big (i.e. you want to turn your hobby job into your full-time gig), I’m a firm believer that you need a plan! You need a roadmap and you need to set the direction for how you are going to move from Point A where you dream about your goals, to Point B where you actually live your goals! There are absolutely times when you might get thrown a curve ball that takes you off the course you originally set for yourself but that is even more reason to establish your game plan and have a foundation to come back to when you start to feel lost.

The real question becomes HOW?

How do you take all these ideas that you have, all these goals swimming around in your head every day and make them come to life? It’s so easy to say “I wish…” but it’s so much harder to actually do! That struggle is real and so we wanted to share with you our secret weapon: The Goal Funnel! It’s how you take any goal and break it down into manageable, actionable steps so that you’re no longer wishing but you are actually doing!

the goal funnel - goal setting tips to help you rock your day, week, month and year - belong magazine blog

The Goal Funnel works for any goal, big or small. It helps you carve out a path for yourself to make something that seems overwhelming and unattainable quickly become a realistic goal or idea, allowing you to start to find that voice in your head that says: “YES I CAN!” The Goal Funnel is broken down into yearly, monthly, weekly and daily goals and for each goal you need to write down a date! I know! You hate to write down an actual date in fear that you won’t reach it and then the minute you don’t reach it, you then fear that everything will unravel!

False! You hold yourself accountable with a date but the date does not make or break you!

Think of it like a check-in and a time to evaluate where you’re at by the date you set. You either put a giant check mark next to the goal or you adjust accordingly. Notice, throwing in the towel wasn’t one of the options!

Let’s break down The Goal Funnel so that you can make it work for you and start tackling those big dreams of yours!

Yearly (or 6 month) Goals:

Take a moment to really think about what you want to accomplish this year or in the next 6 months. Think about the different aspects of your life and think of goals that will help you grow in different areas. Find that thing that makes you a little nervous and requires you to reach beyond your comfort zone into something amazing. But then also recognize that you don’t need to fill your year or next 6 months with only big-ticket items, either. Making goals to travel more, check social media less, carve out time to laugh more with friends and read more stories with the kiddos are just as important as checking off the big work project. It’s about finding YOUR balance and doing things that bring you true happiness.

And remember you don’t need to have a crazy amount of goals to make your work significant: it’s always quality over quantity!

Monthly Goals:

Break your yearly or 6 month goals down into parts because very few are going to be goals that can be achieved overnight. That’s why you listed them as yearly or 6 month goals in the first place! Look back at your yearly or 6 month goal list and decide what you will do this month to work your way toward accomplishing one, two or a few of those goals. Here’s an example: Maybe your 6 month goal is start blogging consistently 3-4 times a week. Your first monthly goal could be to have a list of 50-100 blog post ideas by the end of the month. That’s the first step toward your big goal and doesn’t that feel more achievable than to simply “start blogging”? When you leave your goals big and lofty, the leap from dreaming and doing is too big.

Break the goals down, map out the steps and think of your monthly goals as individual stepping stones.

At the end of every month evaluate! You might find that you were over ambitious one month (happens to me all the time); don’t beat yourself up if you don’t have each item checked off. Simply move it to the next month and go after it again. It’s all about forward progress!

Weekly Goals:

Monthly goals are great for keeping the big picture in mind, but weekly goals are where you get your hands dirty. This is where you take a good look at your monthly goals and you decide the when and the how of checking those goals off. This is the place where you take control over what could be stressful and chaotic and you decide what takes priority and when.

Going back to our example of starting to blog consistently, your weekly goals could be:

 Write 3 of those blog post ideas

 Take photos for 3 blog post ideas

 Edit blog posts

 Edit photos

 Publish blog posts

Weekly goals allow you to break a monthly goal down into its individual parts and the best part is that you have control over those parts!

Daily Goals:

If weekly goals are where you get your hands dirty, your daily goals are the bread and butter! Fill out your weekly goals on Sunday night and start to move the individual tasks to specific days throughout the week. This is you deciding on the when for your weekly goals and giving yourself a game plan for the week. You might find that you need and/or want to break some of your weekly goals down into even smaller parts and your daily to-do’s are the prefect place to do that. For example, let’s break down the task of taking photos for your blog posts:

 Find inspiration for styled blog photos

 Decide on props for photos

 Buy and/or organize props for photos

 Style photos

 Take photos

Break each weekly goal down into however many steps you need. Even if you need to make your daily goal “Wake Up. Take Shower.”, go ahead and write that down. There is something empowering about checking things off a list and the true purpose of breaking goals down in this way is to allow you to feel completely organized (and balanced!) to OWN the week and not let the week own you!

Use the goal funnel and dive head first into the wild and crazy dreams of yours and remember that even with all the todo lists, you’ve got everything you need within yourself to make any of your dreams your new reality!

Hillary is the co-founder and owner of Sherbert Shop: maker of fine paper goods with a focus on daily planners. Sherbert Shop is Hillary and her husband’s, Jordan, late night creation that turned from a little pipe dream into a reality. A love of all things paper and planner related, combined with a passion for creating and building something from the ground up led them to take the leap with their first joint business venture. They believe in dreaming big, constantly working to be their best versions, filling their days with only people and things they are truly passionate about, being persistent, being focused, and being driven. They believe in seeing the positive in everyone and everything, choosing happiness, loving big, and helping others. Their creations are a reflection of these values, what they hold dear and what they truly find helpful for making the absolute most of every day! You can find HIllary on facebook or instagram @sherbertshoppe

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Earn a Free Digital Subscription

We asked what we could do better. You answered.

Be more accessible.

We totally heard you. And we are working on it.


.....does this sound familiar?! Yep, it is the same way that our LAST post started. After thinking about it a bit, we realized that we really could expand this opportunity to earn a free, digital subscription beyond just for referring stockists. 

In order for Belong to be in more places, we have to print more copies. In order to print more copies, we need a larger advertiser base to help cover the costs of printing. 

SO! We know you are all connected and totally know all the hot spots and best brands that would be ideal for Belong.

So.......can you hook us up?

And there is totally something in it for you. Here's how it works:

  1. Email with the contact name and email of a potential advertiser or stockist (for those of you who don't know that term, it means someone who sells the magazine in their shop).
  2. We will email the contact. If they agree to advertise or stock Belong...
  3. YOU WIN! You get a free, one-year digital subscription to Belong. Sounds like a pretty good exchange, doesn't it?

Pretty easy, right? So get to it!

Email and help us make Belong accessible to more and more women across the country...and the world!

We couldn't do what we do without the support of this amazing community of women. We are so grateful for you.

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Shelf Help

We asked what we could do better. You answered.

Be more accessible.

We totally heard you. And we are working on it.


A little "shelf help," as a matter of fact. And with our next issue headed to the printer soon, NOW is the time to get things in order to be sure that Belong is stocked in as many locations as possible. 

photo via

photo via

We know you are all connected and totally know all the hot spots that would be ideal for Belong.

So.......can you hook us up?

And there is totally something in it for you. Here's how it works:

  1. Email with the contact name and email of a potential stockist (for those of you who don't know that term, it means someone who sells the magazine in their shop).
  2. We will follow-up, emailing the contact. If they agree to stock Belong...
  3. YOU WIN! You get a free, one-year digital subscription to Belong. A little shelf help for some self help? Sounds like a pretty good exchange, doesn't it?

Pretty easy, right? So get to it!

Email and help us make Belong accessible to more and more women across the country...and the world!

(If you want to see who currently stocks the magazine, check out our list here.)

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