The Morph Project: Women Helping Women in Crisis

How did 2 normal women use their personal experiences with homelessness, addiction, and trauma, to create an organization that has helped hundreds of women and children, brought together dozens of volunteers, and is now partnered with 9 local non-profits (& counting!)?

Just ask Hill & Hil (also known as Hillary Tish & Hilary Motley). They’re the powerful women of The Morph Project. At first glance, they might not seem like the likeliest of duos, but make no mistake- these two are the best of friends and have the strongest of bonds.

Their friendship, as they shared with us on our most recent podcast episode, began when Hilary Motley brought her newborn to the pediatrician’s office where Hillary Tish (we call her “Blonde Hillary”) was working as a certified medical assistant. As they struck up conversation, Hilary M. shared that she was suffering from post-partum depression, among other traumas. Her open-book attitude about her trials struck a chord with Blonde Hillary and the rest, as they say, was history.

As their friendship grew, Hilary & Hillary learned they had much in common – most importantly, their shared desire to help women in crisis. Blonde Hillary had been going to Hilary M., a full-time hair stylist, for salon services and during one such visit, they discovered that each had a unique way of giving back to those in need. While Hilary M. regularly visited half-way houses and shelters to provide free haircuts on her days off, Blonde Hillary would take her spare cash and scour thrift stores for gently used clothing to hand out to women who would otherwise not be able to afford it.

Both women were doing what they could in their own private, small way, to ensure the women they helped were seen. Seen as more than their situation, seen as more than their problems, seen for the beautiful women they were inside. The women they were before they were in crisis.

Just like that, The Morph Project was born. Although, in its first iteration, it was called Hil & Hill’s Boutique. Both women wanted to curate an event where women in crisis could attend and receive a free haircut & style, as well as “shop” for as much clothing as they needed. The goal was to remind these women of who they were inside and to help them see their inner beauty reflected in the mirror. As the project began to take off and the girls saw the transformative effects of their work on these women, the new name became inevitable.

Now, just over 2 years later, these women have much bigger goals in mind. With the rapid growth of The Morph Project (thanks in large part to the power of social media!) Hilary and Hillary are more impassioned than ever to see their organization become the charitable foundation they’ve always dreamed it could be. These women are working hard to create strong partnerships with other non-profits, learning the ropes as they go and helping as many women as they can along the way. And, have we mentioned they do all of this IN ADDITION TO their full-time jobs?

They are fueled by their passion for lifting those in crisis. They are encouraged by the support they receive from volunteers and partners. They are energized by the results they see in the faces of the women they help. They are empowered by the sisterhood of women lifting them up in their efforts. We’re proud to be a part of that sisterhood and can’t wait to see what more they will accomplish.

To learn more about these amazing women and to support them in their cause, please visit www.themorphproject.com

To hear them tell their story, listen to our latest podcast episode right here:

 

With Eyes & Arms Wide Open…

It’s only January, and we’re finding ourselves in complete awe of how much has already transpired in 2019, how much we have ahead of us, and how much we WANT to do. Life is like that, sometimes, right? You can be in a routine for so many months, weeks, even years… and then, like the weather, everything changes in an instant.

The question is: how do you handle change? Both of us have experienced major shifts in our lives over the past several months, and the new year has brought with it a wave of changes. Some were expected and planned for, some not so much. But, with incredible support from our loved ones (and plenty of self-reflection), both Lan and I have made similar decisions – to welcome these changes and embrace them on our own terms.  

See, that’s the thing. MOST changes we encounter on a day to day basis will present themselves in the form of a CHOICE. It’s all about perspective. And your perspective can make all the difference in the world. Some choices are easy – Do I stay in bed and cuddle the baby for 5 more minutes, or get up now and have more time to get ready? (CLEARLY, stay in bed! 😊 ) Some choices are harder – Do I invest money to further my education or save the money to buy my first home? (Depends on your long-term goals!).

Some situations can lead to downright “analysis paralysis”. You know, that phenomenon of getting so caught up in weighing out every detail, pro & con, potential outcome, etc. that you end up unable to make a decision at all! We’ve all been there, right? The struggle is real and while we’d never want to diminish that for you, we want to offer you a little insight to make your next tough choice JUST a little easier to make.

It’s as simple as this: Even when it doesn’t feel like it, YOU’RE IN CONTROL. It’s true! Please understand that we’re not implying all life situations are controllable. What we mean is – in every scenario where you get to make a choice – you have some control. That knowledge, sisters, is empowering! It means you have the chance to determine the direction of your life. Just as you have the ability to decide between coffee or tea in the morning, you have the ability to make the tough choices with as much confidence. And when you embrace that fact, you realize your strength.

We’ve decided to face recent changes and choices in our lives with our arms and eyes wide open – because we know we’re strong enough to think things through and, when necessary, come up with our own solutions. We’re smart, capable, strong women who are not going to let a few unexpected changes rile us up. We’re going to view them for the opportunities they are: opportunities to be strong, opportunities to be brave, opportunities to learn and grow. We hope you’ll join us in recognizing your strength and trusting in your ability to choose how your life unfolds. You’ve got this.

With Sisterly Love,

Cathy & Lan

P.S. We’d love to hear from you; what life-changing choices have you had to make? What helped you reach your decision? Share with us in the comments below.

A Season of Giving…& Giving Back

While the holidays are a time of elaborate winter decorations, festive traditions and buying and receiving gifts from the people we love, it’s also a time to show support for those who need it most. Whether you’re buying gifts for a family in need, volunteering at a local shelter, or making a charitable contribution to your favorite non-profit, giving back during the holiday season is incredibly impactful. While this is “the most wonderful time of the year” for many of us, it’s often easy for us to forget that for a lot of people and families in our own community, it’s not so wonderful.

We consider ourselves fortunate to have been raised in a loving home with parents who taught us by example just how important it is to be a conscious member of society. Our table always had room for one more person to join us for a meal, our wallets were never too empty to buy a box of cookies to support the local scouts, and there were visits to the nursing homes to spend time with lonely folks at the holidays. The lesson was taught often and clearly, Give When You Can. We are conscious of how that lesson has shaped us, especially so as parents ourselves, now. The idea of making an impact by giving when you can, what you can, is something we try to impress upon our own children.

In addition, we are using our small platform with our last message of 2018 to implore you to give back in your own way. Many families go without gifts during the holiday season, and sometimes even without a hot meal or a warm place to sleep.  It’s easy to fall victim to the commercial nature of the holiday season, but the true spirit of the holiday comes from giving back, giving thanks and lending a helping hand to those in need. So, if you can, please join us in giving in any way you can!

Not only does giving back make you feel amazing, but giving back to your community is a huge part of how our society functions. There are plenty of ways you can help make the world a brighter place this holiday season, even if you start out small. Get your family, children and coworkers involved and we promise it will give this time of year even more meaning. And, you never know just how far the effects of your kindness will extend!

Here is a list of some easy, inexpensive ways to give back this holiday season:

  • Pay for the person behind you at the coffee shop, grocery store, etc.
  • Organize a food drive at the office
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Buy gifts for a program like Toys for Tots
  • Visit a nursing home – the gift of your time can mean so much
  • Hand out bags of snacks and essentials to the homeless
  • Clean out your closet and make a clothing/toy donation
  • Buy gifts through companies that donate a portion of their proceeds to a charity whose mission aligns with your core values.

We wish you a wonderful rest of your holiday season, and a very Happy New Year!

With Sisterly Love,

Lan & Cathy

Sisterhood

“Helping one another is part of the religion of sisterhood.”

– Louisa May Alcott

Intro: Better with Sisters

Welcome to the SISTERHOOD!!!

We are sisters who spend a pretty good amount of time together. We’ve found that life is just easier and a whole lot more fun when you get to share the experience with sisters. Which is why we decided to launch our podcast, Better With Sisters. In each episode, we’ll share with you things we’ve discovered, experienced, and learned on our many journeys. So, if you haven’t already, make sure and subscribe or follow the podcast wherever you listen!

We realize, though, sometimes we have more to share that we just can’t get across in audio format; some things you have to see! And so, the Better With Sisters brand was born – Website, Facebook, Instagram. Here, you’re going to find links and resources to items and topics we mention in our podcast, tips and articles to make everyday life and work just a little easier, and fun exclusive content just for being a part of our BWS sisterhood! Enter your e-mail address below, and we’ll make sure you don’t miss out on upcoming giveaways and updates!

Last, but definitely not least, we’ve made it easy for you to be able to contact us directly; share with us your thoughts, questions, and let us know if there are any topics you’d like for us to address on a future post. Just reach out to us on our website, comment/message us on FB, or send us a DM on Instagram. We invite you to be a part of the conversation, always.

With Sisterly Love,

Lan & Cathy

Holiday De-stress and Simplification

“According to one survey by the American Psychological Association, 44 percent of women and 31 percent of men reported an increase in stress during the holidays. 59 percent of respondents testified to feeling nervous or sad, and 51 percent reported symptoms of fatigue.”

Are you heading into the holiday season already resigned to the idea of it being spent overly tired, stressed and exhausted? Do you want this year to be LESS stressful, LESS overwhelming, and JUST SIMPLER? We know how you feel!

Let’s face it; the sheer number of things that have to be accomplished at the holidays can seem daunting when tacked onto your already full plate. If, on top of your normal work and life load, you’re also trying to figure out: how to carve out time to turn your home into a Pinterest-worthy winterland, what gifts to buy everyone, when to bake the gazillion holiday treats, what holiday events you have to attend, how you’re going to navigate those tricky moments with the extended family (you know what I’m talking about!)…the list is endless and you’re probably exhausted before you even get started!

We’ve learned, navigating these same stressors over the years, that the holidays DON’T.HAVE.TO.BE.PAINFUL! You really can get it all done, and you really can enjoy yourself –  without faking it. How? By using 7 simple de-stress tips that we want to share with you.

If you haven’t already, give Episode 2 of our podcast a listen. We break down some examples of how stress during the holidays affects us, and we also share with you how we’ve learned to manage the stress. We talk about how we simplify life a little so we can enjoy all the great parts of the season. You can also subscribe to our newsletter and we’ll send the tips straight to your e-mail!

We hope you have a chance to relax and really enjoy the very best of this holiday season!

With Sisterly Love,

Cathy & Lan

1 Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (12 December 2006) “Holiday Stress Report Final APA””

Braver With Sisters

As 2018 comes to a close, many of us are mentally taking stock of where we are in life, what makes us happy, and what we want to change moving forward. As a direct result, we often find ourselves making New Year’s Resolutions. Perhaps you are resolving to make a small change, and maybe you’re thinking of something bigger. Or…maybe you’re not planning on making any resolutions because you haven’t exactly followed through on past resolutions?

The thing is, a resolution is a goal, right? You’re resolving to make some change, big or small, and here at Better With Sisters, we want to help you reach your goals. If you have, like us, given up on resolutions in the past, or are worried about the success of upcoming resolutions, let’s talk about what’s probably holding you back.

We’ll start by sharing a little about the plans over here at BWS. Lan and I decided our team resolution for 2019 was to Stop Procrastinating. It’s a BIG one for us, and it took some honest talks to acknowledge that procrastination is something we’re guilty of more often than we’d like to admit. So, we’re resolving to change our habits!

THIS website and the December podcast launch are direct results of that resolution! Full disclosure, we had a lot of reservations about this new venture. We’ve never produced a podcast before so there was (is) a lot to learn. On top of which, the idea of putting our personal stories and voices out there to be heard and judged by the public was simply daunting.

We discussed all of the reasons why perhaps waiting until January to launch all of this would be a better idea: we would be less overwhelmed with holiday tasks/commitments, we’d have more time to tweak our sound, perfect our logo, optimize our website, get better photos taken…you get the idea.

It’s arguable that we had a lot of very valid reasons to put off launching this venture before year-end. But, in talking it all out, we realized that the end result was the same: we were not moving forward. Why were we wanting to put off this task to an arbitrary date of January 1? Was it because we absolutely couldn’t accomplish all of our tasks? No. Was it because our resources wouldn’t allow for us to finish any of the components required? No. Would we actually have a perfect product in January (or EVER)? NO.

Why, then? What was holding us back from committing? FEAR! Fear of being judged for a less than perfect podcast and website, fear of being vulnerable with the public, fear of failure. Every single reason we had really was just an excuse; they were excuses we had for giving into our fears. So, we are resolving to BE BRAVE. We’re going to lean on each other and accept the fact that, while each of those fears is valid, none of them are good enough reasons to stop us from moving forward.

Because, friends, that’s ultimately what fear does: it stops us from moving forward, from reaching our goals in life. And we’re making 2019 a year of not giving in to those fears any longer… We’ve made the first steps towards OUR resolution. Now, how can we help you achieve YOUR resolutions?

We’re going to start by challenging you to take real steps towards changing your patterns and making effective changes to reach your goals. Start by deciding what your resolution is for the new year. Then, ask yourself how fear (in any form) is an obstacle in your path to reaching that goal. Finally, resolve to be BRAVER THAN YOUR FEAR and get started. Do so with the confidence that you have, here, a sisterhood that you can lean on for support and encouragement as you move forward on your journey.

Don’t forget, we always want to hear from you. So, comment below with what your goal is, and let us be the first to encourage you! You can also share on our FB page and use #braverwithsisters.

With Sisterly Love,

Cathy & Lan