how to improve your focus

We’ve all had those days (or weeks) where our minds just aren’t there. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to focus on anything! It’s especially tough in a modern world — technology is ahead, and it’s up to us to halt the madness. To put it in perspective, a goldfish has a higher attention span than Americans. Goldfish! We can certainly improve our powers of productivity, and concentration (Phew!) — Here are a few hacks to get your mind back on track! (PS: Consistency is key).

  1. Listen to music: Yep, we’re starting out easy! Music has actually been proven to be a mood-booster. Listen to your body, and play music according to your mood. (Currently listening to Spotify’s ‘Relax & Unwind’ station). They have something for everything!
  2. Environment: I always have fresh-flowers by my side when I work — I just love the smell, colors and inspiration they provide me. (It really is the little things in life, right?). I work better in a beautiful, inviting environment. I also try to keep the clutter away (it drives me crazy!)
  3. Super Foods: Eating super food (walnuts, spinach, berries, etc) can actually improve blood flow to the brain, and regulate blood pressure. (I’m currently snacking on tropical Starbursts — this one may take awhile to get used to.) If you’re feeling a little dull, reach for a healthy snack. (Apples are also great for caffeine!)
  4. H20: Dehydration can make us feel irritable, sleepy, and sick. Our brains need fluid, or they cannot function properly. Obviously, everything in moderation — but you’ll definitely see an improvement overnight by performing this simple task! Need a reminder? I am obsessed with ‘Thyme is Honey’ to-do list with h20 goals!
  5. Walk: For those of you who eat at their desk, fine — but, please, do me a favor and take a walk around the block! Your mind+body need the exercise/break. Sometimes, we just need to step away for a refreshing perspective.
  6. Turn it off: Whenever my boyfriend works, he puts his cell-phone in the room next to him so he’s free of distractions. You don’t know how many times I end up picking my cell-phone in a given hour! I’ve also started this habit, and I’m accomplishing my tasks at a much faster pace! I’m coming for you, goldfish! Also: avoid computers for the first, and last hour of each day.  Spending time away from e-mail significantly improves one’s ability to focus. Use this time to relax, and detach from technology.
  7. Meditate: I’ve always been a fan of meditation — it trains your mind to be in the present, so you’re not constantly worrying about the future. There are so many guided-meditations that I enjoy (Headspace is a favorite). Get in the habit of doing this daily, and your mind will start feeling at ease. An eased mind helps productivity/focus.
  8. Buddy System: Teaming up with a friend/colleague can help hold you accountable. Also, it sparks competition (healthy competition, of course).
  9. Prioritize: Do your hardest tasks when you’re most alert (for me, this is mid-morning) — After 4pm, forget it!
  10. Set rewards: Did you accomplish 2 tasks within 45 minutes? Treat yo-self! Little rewards can often be great motivators. For instance, I will not take my bubble-bath until my blog is written! The faster I get my blog done, the sooner I can enjoy my happy place. Productivity at its best!

Tell me below — How do you focus?

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Hello, loves! Sorry for the silence this week — I have been working on some exciting projects! I was on the radio this week giving some fashion advice, and I’ve been writing away on WhitneyPort.com! I’m also in the process of creating some new content for Heart of Chic, so stay tuned.

victorias secret bikini

I recently shared this photo on Instagram, and it received close to 4,000 likes! I cannot wait to pack these in my suitcase next month — I’ll be off to Arizona! Are you going somewhere for Spring Break? View my favorites from Shopbop.

Shop the bikini here | iPhone case

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If you’re anything like me — when Sunday rolls around, you can’t help but feel a cloud of sadness, and stress as you head into a new week. Research suggests that ‘having a case of the Mondays’ can actually have a negative impact on your performance and productivity for the entire week. I’m not sure why I’m having flashbacks of my mom saying, ‘You are who you hangout with’ — but, this goes for the office, too! When you’re unhappy, it makes it difficult for those around you to be happy, causing the entire team to be cranky. We all have to be at work anyway, so let’s make the best out of it! I know it’s hard (believe me) — So, I’m sharing 5 tips to beating the Monday blues. What else would you add to my list?

  1. MAKE A LIST: Yes, I’m one of those list-loving gals! At the beginning of the week, make a list of things you’re looking forward to. This will help train your mind into positive thinking, and excitement.
  2. KEEP YOUR SCHEDULE LIGHT: I tend to feel overwhelmed if I have a jam-packed week, so I’ve learned to keep my schedule simple. The power of no, it’s important! Just learn to be selective with what you do.
  3. WORK IT OUT: Working out is scientifically proven to make you happier. It’s one of those things I dread, but come out feeling so much better, and alive. Find a workout class you enjoy, I know a lot of my blogger-pals love Classpass (a monthly class-subscription).
  4. MAKE SOMEONE ELSE HAPPY: Probably my favorite one of the bunch. Compliment a co-worker, buy a stranger a cup of coffee — It’s truly amazing how happy we feel when we give. It’s a win-win. Oh, and what goes around comes around, right?
  5. UNPLUG: This isn’t an option for everyone, but it’s something I have gotten in the habit of. I completely unplug from work over the weekend. Too many weekends have been ruined by that ‘one’ annoying e-mail I received on a random Saturday. It’s healthy to take a couple days, and start anew on Monday. Your productivity will be higher, too.

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love your pet day

Today is National ‘Love Your Pet Day’ — I know this sounds kind of silly considering we love our furry friends all the days, but they deserve a special day too! Maybe give them an extra treat to celebrate? My pup means the world to me, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her. Above, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite furry-finds for you to enjoy! I personally cannot get enough of these Pottery Barn pillows! (They have a bunch to choose from!) Oh, and this Ban.do tumbler is everything. Tell me about your babes in the comments! I just love animals. Oh, and check-out this adorable guy before you go!

1. Umbrella 2. Cat makeup bag 3. Cat necklace 4. Dog salt+pepper shaker 5. Betsey Johnson bulldog earrings 6. Cat mug 7. Baublebar cat+dog tag (so cute!) 8. Bulldog makeup bag 9. Dog print 10. Ban.do kitten tumbler 11. Baublebar cat+dog collar 12. Cat nail art 13. Dog bowl 14. Pillow

Hello, lovelies — Make sure to check-out my original post on Groupon!

chicagohotchocolate

Chicago winters know how to make an entrance (without much warning!) –There’s nothing better than warming up to a piping cup of hot cocoa when the temps got you down. (40 below wind-chill to be exact, ouch!) Heart of Chic has searched high and low for the most decadent hot chocolate that’s allowed in a mug! Luckily for us, Chicago has a spot for just about everyone. (And, yes, you’re allowed to break your New Years resolution for these — they’re that good). So, let’s make a toast — to kicking these cruel months to the curb with our secret chill-weapon, hot chocolate. Tag your hot cocoa pics with hashtag #ChicagoCocoa — I’d love to see your sips!

XOCO: Scoring a spot on America’s best hot chocolate, XOCO is comin’ in strong! Mr. Rick Bayless highlights Mexican street food with one ingredient in mind: authenticity. Made fresh from ground cacao beans, and roasted right before your twinkling eyes — it’s too good! Oh, and don’t forget to order a hot churro for the ultimate slam dunk.

Mindy’s Hot Chocolate: I mean, if you live in Chicago and you still haven’t been, you’re on the naughty list. Chef Mindy is my partner-in-crime in the dessert department. House-made marshmallows, ya’ll — & they’re superb. I highly recommend the maple caramelized white chocolate (just drooled on my keyboard) but if you’re feeling simple, the old-fashioned milk chocolate will surely do, too!

Katherine Anne Confections: If you’re having an especially rough day, pair your hot cocoa with house-made truffles, whip cream and marshmallows. Not any kind of marshmallow: vanilla bean, salted caramel, hot chocolate, cinnamon sugar, latte and chai tea are the flavors of choice. Katherine’s is a great place to kick your feet up, relax and take a treat to go! It’s one of my absolute favorite places on earth. You will not be disappointed…

Margie’s Candie’s: The Beatle’s, Al Capone, Bruce Springsteen & more have dined at this historic gem! It’s the most charming, intimate dessert you’ll ever have. Did I mention the Beatles? They still have the very booth they would sit in (a great Instagram photo, no?) The desserts are out-of-this-world good, but the hot chocolate is perfection and served with a side of cookies to seal the deal. Make this a date-night with your favorite, you’ll be glad you did!

Wormhole Coffee: I absolutely love this Wicker Park gem. Fun atmosphere, delicious cocoa (that comes with latte art, very important) You know how you can order coffee however you’d like? Feel free to do the same with cocoa — I would add some peanut butter in there, just saying! Also, the staff at Wormhole — Chicago’s heart. They all deserve a metal for being rockstars at life. A great time for all!

Please share! What are your favorite hot cocoa spots?

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 That last photo — I dedicate to the -15 wind-chills we are currently experiencing in Chicago. While I was going through my photos, I couldn’t help but laugh — Why do I look so mad!? Oh, it’s because I can’t feel my feet, or legs. Can’t a girl wear heels? Got my mean muggin’ on! I’m sure most of you can relate :)

I absolutely adore this Forever 21 sequin beret that I scored for $9 regular price! Sometimes, those small victories mean so much more than a designer handbag (OK, maybe not, but I’m on a budget and I have to pretend). I paired with a cozy faux-fur jacket to give it some extra flair. It’s definitely one of my favorite pieces of the season —  Chic, cozy and trendy! What’s your current closet crush?

Wearing: Forever 21 faux fur (similar here) | Jeans: Zara (similar here) | Shoes: Anne Klein | Beret: Forever 21 | Necklace: Aldo | Purse (similar)

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whitney port blog
Hi lovelies — I’m so excited to share my big news with all of you. I will be a weekly contributor to WhitneyPort.com!. This is certainly a dream come true for me, as I have watched Whitney Port grace my television, and evolve into a style icon. I’m so blessed to be able to work alongside the girl that has continued to inspire me throughout the years. Fashion designer, Author, and kick-butt CEO — I can’t wait to share this fun journey with all of you! We have so many great ideas that will undoubtedly inspire, empower and create. Make sure to check-out WhitneyPort.com for lifestyle, fashion, beauty, and a daily dose of happy. My first article goes up tomorrow! While you’re waiting, here are some of my favorite WhitneyPort.com posts for your enjoyment. XO

What would you like to see more of on WhitneyPort.com?