Essena O'Neill is the epitome of what Be Bona Fide is trying to inspire and bring awareness toy young adults everywhere. We need to open our eyes and realize that there is so much more to focus on than our acceptance through social media. We need to lift our head out of the cloud and be present and aware of those around us. We are so happy to have found this amazing, thought provoking post and brave girl who decided to take her fame and use it to help change many lives including her own.

"I can't tell you how free I feel without social media. Never again will I let a number define me. IT SUFFOCATED ME," she writes, "I know you didn't come into this world just wanting to fit in and get by. You are reading this now because you are a game changer, you might not know your power yet I am just finding mine, but man...when you do...far out you'll go crazy. It'll be brilliant. You'll be brilliant."

From fashion bloggers to fitness experts to simply photogenic everyday citizens, the "Instagram celebrity" has emerged as a new branch of fame in our social media-run world. Essena O'Neill, an 18-year-old from Australia, was a regular teen who amassed half a million followers on Instagram (on top of 200,000 followers on YouTube and Tumblr and 60,000 on her Snapchat, all now inactive) with selfies, outfit posts, and #fitspo photos. After building that up, she decided last week that she was done with social media. She deleted 2000 photos, renamed her account to "Social Media Is Not Real Life," and changed the captions on existing photos with truthful anecdotes about posts she was paid for, how many tries it took to get the shot, and the pressures she felt to look perfect. 

"I've spent the majority of my teenage life being addicted to social media, social approval, social status, and my physical appearance, " O'Neill writes in her last Instagram post on October 27, "[Social media] is contrived images and edited clips ranked against each other. It's a system based on social approval, likes, validation, in views, success in followers. it's perfectly orchestrated self-absorbed judgement."

"How can we see ourselves and our true purpose/talents if we are constantly viewing others?" she says, "Many of us are in so deep we don't realize [social media's] delusional powers and the impact it has on our lives." In addition to making changes on her Instagram, O'Neill made a video on YouTube about how people make money off social media. She's since moved on from YouTube to Vimeo, where she'll now be uploading daily videos, because of its "positive and value based ranking, not likes or followers or BS ads." O'Neill adds on her newly launched site Let's Be Game Changers, "BUT PLEASE CAN SOMEONE MAKE A SOCIAL SHARING PLATFORM NOT BASED ON VALIDATION IN VIEWS/FOLLOWERS/LIKES BUT SHARED FOR REAL VALUE AND LOVE. THANK YOU. PLEASE HURRY UP."

Article found here on ELLE. 

Learning to Be Present at The Happiest Place on Earth

"Hi, I’m Katie, and I am addicted to Disneyland. Lucky for me I live about an hour and half away from the magic kingdom and I have annual pass. Unfortunately, it is expiring at the end of September – so last Thursday my boyfriend Sean and I decided to ditch our responsibilities for the day and head to The Happiest Place on Earth.

We have been to Disneyland together more times than I can count and have all of the mandatory Disneyland couple photos in front of the castle, the Ferris wheel, on Splash Mountain, with the characters, walking down Main Street USA… you get the picture. In the spirit of Be Bona Fide we decided to go phone-less this trip. This meant no looking at your phone while waiting in line, or checking the Disneyland app for wait times, and if we were taking a picture we only got one shot, ONLY ONE SHOT!


I was reluctant to give up my phone at first, but the second I tucked it away I automatically felt relieved and stress-free. It is such a nice feeling to not be glued to your phone and detach from social media for the day. We headed to “Soaring over California” first, because they added new high tech screens that allow you to experience the 3D motion of flying without 3D glasses – it was seriously amazing!

Anyway, while waiting in line without our phones, we were able to spend time reading the bios of all the pilots that cover the walls leading up to the entrance of the ride. These fun facts lead to conversations about female pilots, fighter jets, and WWII – all while helping past the time of waiting in line. Once we jumped on the ride the girl sitting next to me began snapping (snap chatting) our flight. Not only was the light distracting but I couldn’t help but think that she was missing out the ride because she was choosing to document and share this moment on social media. Instead of experiencing the ride, she was viewing it through her iPhone screen, a tiny tiney  5.44” x 2.64” screen, compared to the massive high-tech jumbotron right in front of her! 

Running around Disneyland phoneless, watching people constantly on their phones, posing and snapping pictures, and documenting and sharing their experience for the sheer pleasure of posting on social media got me thinking, why do we choose to view life through our iPhone screen? The beauty of our surrounding is only adequately captured by the beholder - YOU and your eyes only! Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook had allowed us to share our surroundings with others but it will never quite do it justice. The snapchat of “Soaring over California” could never capture the nostalgic feeling you get when your legs are dangling from a ride, the wind blowing in your hair, or the smell or California Orange fields or the Pacific Ocean.These little moments add up and make memories and this is something you will never be able to capture and share with your followers, friends, or family. 

I am challenging you to choose a place where you have envisioned taking the perfect picture for instagram (you know that place, the “Nikon Picture Spot”) and go phoneless for the day. Fight the urge to live your life looking through your iPhone screen. There is so much more beauty in the world and all you have to do to enjoy it is: look up."

How many of you have had this same experience? *insert raising hand girl emoji* We sure have and know first hand how easy it is to get lost in your iPhone, especially waiting in those long lines! At Be Bona Fide we are striving to be present in everything that we do and L O V E how Katie is challenging us to put down our phones and enjoy the moment. Are you going on vacation, have a day trip planned, or visiting an Instagram worthy place soon? We want to hear your experience about being present and going phone-less! Make sure to tag us @bebonafide, use #bebonafide, or email us at hello@bbonafide.com to have your story featured. 

Don't forget we will be in Southern California TOMORROW at LUX Clothing (@shopluxclothing) in Riverside from 10 - 12. We would absolutely love to mix and mingle with the people who are keeping this movement alive. Stop in for sips, snacks, and a little (or a lot) of shopping! Can't wait to meet you!

Meet Allison

There are many things I am proud of in my 22 years of life. Having anxiety doesn’t exactly make the top of the list, but it is what it is. Living with anxiety has been far from easy, but after 2 and a half years of battling it, I am finally comfortable enough to share my story.

I suffer from GAD – General Anxiety Disorder. While I used to be incredibly embarrassed by that fact, the more research I do, the more I realize that I’m not alone. Most people don’t see this as a big deal because it’s not life threatening, (thank goodness!) and because it can’t be “seen.”

Unfortunately there is such an unfair stigma against mental health. There’s so much more to it than what meets the eye, and I’m ready to share that without ANY shame. So, let’s dig just a little bit deeper shall we?

What Does It Mean To Have GAD?

Firstly, what does it mean to have anxiety? Well, to be honest, there’s a different definition for every sufferer out there. For me, having anxiety means chronic worrying, self-doubt, and over exhaustion of nerves. The simplest of tasks are daunting and we simply have no control over those feelings.

How Does Anxiety Start?

There’s really no concrete answer to this. Anxiety can occur at any time to anyone, for any number of reasons. Most commonly, anxiety is triggered by not producing enough serotonin in the brain (also leading to the cause of panic attacks). There’s no rhyme or reason for this. Sometimes, anxiety is genetically inherited, other times it literally just happens.

My Story:

In my life, I experienced my first panic attack on my 16th birthday in Disney World. Disney freaking World….of all places! I was having a FABULOUS time and my family and I were waiting for dinner at Planet Hollywood, when all of a sudden, this overwhelming sense of terror consumed my body. At the time, I had no idea what was happening. All I knew was that I had to escape, somehow, someway. When it finally passed, I was exhausted, mentally and physically. I hoped to never experience that again.

Flash forward to February 2013 and once again, out of nowhere, I had the absolute worst panic attack of my life. It was a 2 hour ordeal and from that night forward, I was changed. What was once a rare occurrence became a daily battle. I went into hiding. I distanced myself from my family and friends. I lived in constant shame and self-loathing for having this medical condition. Anxiety was like the big bully on the playground, just lurking around every corner waiting for me. My biggest fear was people finding out what I was going through and judging me. I was way too embarrassed to ask for help, and I thought I could handle it on my own.

Unfortunately, I experienced two major tragedies in a short period of time and my anxiety became worse. It started to affect my health in ways I NEVER expected. After losing both of my grandfathers within a year of each other, juggling being a full time college student, and a large support to my family, my white blood cells began to go through the roof. I had to see a hematologist and it was by far the scariest moment of my life. After ruling out some life threatening disorders (leukemia, etc), I was terrified I had, I discovered that anxiety can raise your blood cells dramatically. And so, the time came for me to get some help and begin to heal myself. I realized by fighting against it & not helping myself, I was only going to become worse. I began to seek counseling and start medication. That moment was the best decision of my life.  

For the first time in the LONGEST time, I could breathe. I could resume a normal, healthy lifestyle again. I could go out with my family and friends. I could do all of the normal things that I wanted to do. Don’t get me wrong, I still struggle with anxiety. Unfortunately, it’s something that doesn’t just go away overnight. However; I’ve learned to accept it. Anxiety and I are by no means friends, but we are no longer enemies either. There’s so much more I could say about this illness, but each and every person experiences it differently. I will say this though; the journey I’m on is unique. Anxiety will always be a part of it, but I know I can overcome it. I know I can survive it. This is MY life and my anxiety can’t have it anymore.

- Allison

Thank you, Allison for being so brave and sharing your story! Mental health is such a big issue, yet hardly discussed - especially on social media. Every person is affected by their illnesses differently and each journey is unique. The more we talk about this and share our experiences the more informed people will be.  We can also learn how to support and uplift those who have these disorders. We know Allison is not alone in her struggles, and we would love to hear more from our Be Bonafide community about your personal journeys with mental health and any other storm you've learned and grown from. You are not alone, no matter what you are dealing with. Love yourselves, because we already do!

Please e-mail us at hello@bbonafide.com or tag us on Instagram @bebonafide with anything you feel comfortable sharing! We'd love to hear from you.

Think Positive & Positive Things Will Happen

The power that we have to control our day is very underestimated. Just the other day I rolled over when my alarm went off and gave a grumpy grunt then said "don't make me get out of bedddd". Ryan looked at me and saw my emotionless face and said  "put a smile on that face, Nik".  I felt annoyed that he said that, all I wanted was 5 more hours of sleep!  Shortly after I shook off my pride and put that smile on my face laying in bed... painfully at first... but it slowly became natural. I started to notice everything was looking up... the lady at Starbucks was genuinely happy to see me, everyone I was with was so enjoyable to be around and the 110 degree Dallas summer did not seem that hot.  Wait, ok now I'm you know I'm overexerting... but no really, that day was pretty golden. :) That fake-it-till-you-make-it smile made me focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

This Ted Talk is everything! Please take the 12 minutes out of your night to watch this.

We’re finding it’s not necessarily the reality that shapes us, but the lens through which your brain views the world that shapes your reality. And if we can change the lens, not only can we change your happiness, we can change every single educational and business outcome at the same time.

This  part of the talk is SO powerful.  We get so caught up trying to hit our societies goals that we have slowly made happiness something that is becoming impossible to obtain.  With social media at our fingertips this "keeping up with the Jones" mentality just keeps growing.

How do we find our personal happiness? We need to reverse what our society believes happiness is- which is "If I work harder I will be happier". We need to make conscious effort to re-wire our brains to to be grateful for the little things in life  and to acknowledge our small victories. When we are positive everything in our capability rises.

Its so easy to  look at people and in our head think..."If I had her house I would be happy... or if I had her body I would be happy". Recently I have seen a change of mindset where I'm no longer wanting THINGS others have. The people who I'm noticing and I'm admiring the most are people who are genuinely happy. I do believe I am a naturally positive person... But let's get REALLL.. life is HARD!  I have gone through trials and I know the older I get the more trials and struggles are to come. 

If there is a study out there that has made people happier, why have I not participated?  If we have the capability to change my happiness level why have I not done this yet?

We’ve found there are ways that you can train your brain to be able to become more positive. In just a two-minute span of time done for 21 days in a row, we can actually rewire your brain, allowing your brain to actually work more optimistically and more successfully. We’ve done these things in research now in every company that I’ve worked with, getting them to write down three new things that they’re grateful for 21 days in a row, three new things each day. And at the end of that, their brain starts to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.

I have watch this Ted talk a handful of times and yet have challenged myself to committing to writing down 3 things I'm grateful for everyday. I'm pretty embarrassed but mostly disappointed in myself that I'm just now committing to doing this. So heres to holding myself accountable... I know how easily I can prioritize other things ( like.. 5 more minutes or hours of sleep;).  Anyone with me?! 


I uploaded our print above as digital copy and made it my screensaver to help remind myself of the control I have on my day. I'm in charge of finding my life and I choose happiness. 

This print is available in our shop for $8. Join me in this 21 challenge and report back... or just download it for positive reminder... either way you rule! 


Nikk- Tay
Nikki-Tay- B
Nik Nak

Confidence > Insecurity

I’ve always been the girl who needs assurance from others to feel confident in myself.  At the nail salon, I am always the last of my friends to pick a color so I can see everyone else’s first. My favorite princess as a child depended on who I was hanging out with, along with my favorite sport, color, school subject, & tv show.

I wasn’t the girl who wore red lipstick and strutted cowgirl boots to school in utter confidence.  But I didn’t want to be.  In fact, I was most confident when I felt like I matched someone else, or blended in to the other “typicals” my age.

To put it simply, I wanted to feel accepted by everyone around me- those who were significant players in my life, and those who weren’t.  I thoroughly believed I needed to be in agreement with everyone to be loved, appreciated, & accepted by them.  

I was insecure with myself, my actions, my decisions, beliefs, & preferences.  And I still am insecure in some ways.  Aren’t we all?  Sometimes it can help us- keep us from making too crazy of decisions for fear of judgment by others.  But it’s that same sense insecurity which destroys us.  It pulls us away from the things we love, from chasing our dreams, and taking leaps of faith.

Insecurity is a grip that tightens with doubtfulness and uncertainty. There are many roads to success but they all require trust in your decisions and faith that you will be successful in time. 

You have to believe you have a purpose.  You were hand crafted with determination and strength flowing through your veins.  So drop your insecurities.  Drop you doubts, skepticism, and hesitation.  Be bold.  Be ambitious.  Be Bona Fide.  And be confident that you have what it takes.  Because you do.

- Madi