Monday, March 30, 2015

Worth Mentioning…

I love things. I am easily excited over the simplest items, like mugs and bobby pins. I sing praises of newfound TV shows and musicians. I shout from the rooftops about my favorite books. I figured I should use this space to do the same.

Here are some things I’ve really enjoyed in the past few months.


Broad City – Even if you haven’t watched the show, you’ve probably seen pictures of and artitcles about Abbi and Ilana circling the internet. The show just finished up its second season and has been renewed for a 3rd (YAS QUEEN!), but you can stream it on Hulu Plus. I can’t think of another show like this one. The girls are funny, crazy, and fresh. The storylines range from relatable to absurd and the supporting characters all hold their own. You must watch this show.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt – Until it was put up on Netflix on March 6th, I had only briefly heard of and promptly forgot about this show (created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the geniuses behind 30 Rock). Within the weekend, Brad and I had devoured all 13 episodes. This show has an interesting premise: Kimmy Schmidt is finally released from underground, having been captured with 3 other women by a crazy cult reverend claiming that the world has ended and only they had survived. Kimmy was 15 and has a lot of catching up to do. It’s funny and Kimmy’s character is a tough chick who has endured a lot and yet still maintains a positive outlook on life.



Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – I purchased this e-book on discount at some point and finally decided to read it in February. Holy crap, it’s so good. At its heart, Big Little Lies is a mystery, but Moriarty manages to make it clever and funny and heartbreaking all at once. If I had to describe it in one word: Cheeky. Seriously. I’m late to the Moriarty train, but if you haven’t read her stuff, do yourself a favor and pick this one up.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – Have you heard about the latest Gone Girl? Thanks to some early buzz and comparisons, this book has held a steady spot on the best-sellers lists since its release. I bought it because there are, to this day, 70 holds on the copies at the library. So, yeah. It’s kinda popular. This book needs no GG comparison. The story, and our alcoholic protagonist Rachel, hold their own. This was a book I just couldn’t put down. If you want in on the buzz or you just want to have fun solving a mystery, get on it!


Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Small Biz Style – Ironic, funny graphic tees have seriously upped their game. I cannot get enough of them lately. Stay Home Club, Alphonnsine, Clashist, and Cat Coven are my personal favorites. These shirts speak to my soul. (SHC Pro Tip: This company is based in Canada, so you’ll be paying less than what is listed on the website. Check out a converter if you’re curious. Also, since it’s considered international, make sure your bank card allows for foreign transactions!)


Kindle Paperwhite – A few years ago, I struggled with the decision to buy an e-reader. I ended up doing it, though. I don’t discriminate. I still buy books, too. I bought a Kindle Fire in 2012, when they had first come out, and thought it was an excellent decision. As time went by, though, I got annoyed with how quickly the battery died (I’d have to charge it at least once within the course of reading a book) and the glare that required me to keep the tablet on full brightness just to read it. Enter the Paperwhite. Since I used the Fire simply for reading, I see this as an upgrade. It might not have a color screen or app and web access, but it’s the perfect thing for me. It’s backlit, so I can read at night without bothering Brad (the light can be turned off, though!). I can access my Goodreads account to update what I’m reading (which was the only thing I was doing online with the Fire anyway). And, a personal favorite is the X-Ray feature, which will give you a little insight on a character or place that might have been mentioned earlier in the book that you forgot about. Actually,  !everything about this reader is fantastic. Also! I like to have cases for my electronic purchases because they aren’t exactly the cheapest things. I bought this adorable case from Five Sprouts Stitching on Etsy. If you can go small-biz, do it. The quality of this one in particular is impeccable. It’s like a cute sleeping bag for my Kindle. I also really love the front pouch, and I use it to store my charge cord with plenty of room to spare.


Rifle Paper Co. iPhone case – This thing is a frickin’ beaut. The best thing about the iPhone is that it’s already gorgeous (especially since I went with a gold 6+). I hated the thought of covering it up with a case, but I truly believe that such an expensive item needs protection. Enter Rifle Paper Co.’s selection of clear phone cases. I am able to keep my phone safe, flaunt a gorgeous Rifle floral design, and you can still see the gorgeous gold exterior. It’s a win-win-win!!!

2215 (2)

Lap Loom – After moving into our townhouse, I was faced with a lot of time on my hands that would’ve otherwise been occupied with my parents or laying in bed watching How I Met Your Mother for the zillionth time. Since we don’t have a TV in our bedroom and I don’t want to spend too much time on my phone anymore, I decided to try my hand at weaving. It’s so much fun. My first attempt was a little frustrating (because it usually is, duh), but I love the process of it. I have purchased so much yarn and look forward to playing around with various techniques. It’s the perfect way to keep an anxious mind occupied (and to keep your hands busy while you’re streaming tons of Netflix).


I hope you enjoyed this feature. Honestly, I could go on forever, but these are the top hits of the past few months. I can’t wait to share more in the future!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Unfortunate Similarities Between Depression and Laziness


(I wrote this article in November of last year. At the time, I was experiencing SSRI withdrawal and realizing that my mind is much better on medication. I thought I would share these thoughts, as they were written in a more vulnerable time in my journey and might help others who are as well. I’ve picked up where I left off, and I will let you know when it switches to present day.)


For everyone who struggles with depression, anxiety, or any form of mental illness, you know what it’s like. Things hurt mentally and emotionally and it often turns physical. We find ourselves curled up in bed and on couches for what could be days on end. The seemingly simple activities, such as showering or eating, seem as daunting as climbing a tall mountain. I know what it’s like. When things get hard for me, I seek solace in blanket upon blanket (the more weight to get lost under, the better) and as many mindless TV shows and movies I can get my hands on to distract myself.

I know it must be the same, if not worse, for so many of you.

The frustrating thing is that we aren’t planning on this inactivity. We aren’t enthusiastically choosing this stagnant life. I will admit that there are days I am plenty happy to be lazy, to stay in pajamas for as long as I can, to watch Netflix marathons and get fast food or take out. That’s lazy to me. There’s still a planning to it. It might be a plan to do nothing, but you’ve chosen that course for the day. When I’m doing well, I get stir-crazy, and lazy doesn’t agree with me all day. I eventually need fresh air, to walk around (even if it’s just going to Target or something like that), to DO SOMETHING.

For those who don’t understand depression (or any form of mental illness that can’t be seen and, therefore, can’t be believed), us sufferers seem lazy. We don’t want to work. We don’t want to go out and be social. We don’t want to change our clothes for the fifth day in a row. We don’t care if our hair is greasy or we smell. We care about nothing and everything all at once, and it’s overwhelming. We just want to sit and sleep and be left alone.

It finally hit me that a lot of the times that I’ve been considered lazy were because of my depression and anxiety. As someone who lived with a mother who let these illnesses cripple her to the point of not leaving the house for years, I know how easy it is to fall into that pattern when things have crumbled. I work (sooo hard, I should add) on getting out of bed. I convince myself that a shower will feel good, that I will feel confident when I see myself clean. But I see how she allowed it to happen. When you are suffering, the things you need the most (medication, exercise, healthy diet, a support group or therapy) are the hardest things to get, to do, to understand. It is a vicious cycle.

All of this is already complicated. It’s hard enough to express the feelings and thoughts or the general weight of what you’re going through…but add the misunderstandings of those around you, the people who want to call you lazy? Talk about kicking someone when they are down.

When I go through these troublesome moments, trapped in the pit with very little upper body strength to dig my way up, I’m not happy about it. I’m not like “Yay! Bed again, because everything else seems so incredibly daunting that even a walk to the kitchen for fresh water sounds like the hardest thing to do!” From the outside, it’s all “What do you care? You just lay in bed all day? DO SOMETHING WITH YOUR LIFE!” So all of the things that were already bothering me are amplified by 1000x because I’m a miserable person and I’m seen as someone without motivation, goals, dreams, hopes, wishes. I am wasting my life. And why don’t I just fix it?

(The rest has been finished recently…)

I love my boyfriend. He is the one who first motivated me to get on medication when my anxiety went from nagging thoughts to crippling fears. He’s calmed me during some seriously scary times. He makes me laugh. Only recently, he has started to realize the difference between depression and laziness. He is still frustrated with me, though, when I can’t just shake a mood that comes on without rhyme or reason. I told him about this post idea and he was fine with me talking about his misunderstanding. I think that when I explained it to him, it helped open his mind a little more.

Since I first wrote this post, I have gone back on a smaller dose of a different SSRI. The improvements were quite sudden. The dark clouds lifted. My sudden fits of rage and hopelessness lessened. I felt stronger. Generally, I’m doing well. Still.

Lately, I’ve been having some anxiety. The change of seasons, even if it is seemingly good (from frigid and bare to warm and blooming), always seems to affect me. The thought of doing things got hard again. Full disclosure: I went without a shower from this past Thursday night to Monday afternoon. 3 whole days. Could be worse, but obviously it could be better. I  just couldn’t do it. Brad gave me a pep talk. He suggested that we get out of the house a little bit, do some grocery shopping, enjoy the sunshine. I swayed back and forth, wanting to lay on the couch and binge-watch Community more than anything.

Today, I woke up from nightmares that touched on some anxiety-triggering fears of mine. Instead of wanting to wake up and start the day, to move away from that, I wanted to stay in bed, to fall back asleep, to have new dreams and run away from the ones that would torment me for most of the day. I didn’t want the anxiety to stand a chance, and sleep was the way to kill it. But I had a shower to take, work to get to…I had to try my best.

I’ve realized that I have thoughts lingering in my mind that need attention. In the madness and change of moving and settling into a new home, I had easily been able to distract myself. Now the thoughts are busting out. I decided to create two separate To-Do lists. One has things I want to do on it, such as weaving another finished piece on my lap loom, writing a blog post (because obviously that suffered a little), and painting my nails. The other had important things: Pay this bill, rewrite my budget, do the massive pile of laundry that has spilled onto the floor. I felt more in control after doing this.
There are still tasks to check off, but realizing what needed to be done made a huge difference.

Part of me is nervous about posting this because I probably sound like I’m making excuses for the times I’ve stayed home instead of going out, for sleeping in instead of rushing to start the day. I guess that’s the way it will always seem and that’s why it’s so unfortunate. Maybe I sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about. Each depression is different. Some worse, some more tolerable.
I’m just sharing what I’ve been through in the hopes that people can know they are never, ever alone and that those who want to know more gain some understanding.

Now I’m off to watch Community and lay down on the couch…because I want to. :)

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Little Steps to Happiness

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination…” – Souza

If there’s one thing I continue to learn in my life, it’s that finding happiness is a continuous mission. It’s not something that is achieved after a certain number of experience points or a certificate given at the end of a long course. Happiness is already here, in some way, and it must be embraced, nurtured, and appreciated.

Almost a year ago, I decided to try the 100 Happy Days challenge. The concept is simple. For 100 days, you take (and post to social media, if you want to) a photo of something that made you happy each day. At the end of it, you’ll have had 100 photos that are purely based on your joy. What’s more important is that it kindly forces you to find the happy in your daily life.

100 days sounds like a long time. We have no idea what the next 3-4 months will hold, no matter when the challenge starts. Bad weather? The stomach flu? An unexpected financial situation? These are the things that we can think about and get caught up in on that “road to happiness” we so constantly obsess over. But no matter what, there is a silver lining on those gloomy days. I saw them myself while doing the challenge. I stepped outside of the moment to find the happy. So in the case of the three icky situations I mentioned, you might take a photo of the heating blanket you snuggled under to stay warm and dry, the crackers and sports drinks that kept you hydrated and healthy, or the relief of paying off an annoying bill.

I think it’s important to remember that there is something to be happy about within each day. If you find that it’s hard, why not try the challenge? Even if you don’t want to post the photos on Instagram, you can take them every day, maybe journal about them, and see how happy your life already is.

When things are tough, it’s hard to believe that they’ll ever get better. We tend to put pressure on the future for our happiness. “When I get a better job, I’ll be happy. When I meet my soulmate, I’ll be happy. When I start a family, I’ll be happy. When I retire, I’ll be happy.” We don’t know when/if these things will happen. The first step towards happiness is reveling in the now. Looking around. Remembering what we do have. Knowing that we live well without the things we think we need.

I’m thinking about doing the 100 Happy Days challenge again, but maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll just keep searching for those little happy moments and keep them to myself. Maybe I’ll make a scrapbook about it. I don’t know.

If you’re in need of some perspective, I think this challenge is a great idea. However, if you don’t have the time, why not consider making a list every week (or day, or month) of the good things that happened. Here’s an example of things that make me happy on a daily basis lately:


And if you think you need big life moments to be happy, take a look at some of the photos I posted on my Instagram while doing the challenge last year:

I’m still learning how important these little moments are. I could dwell in the things I haven’t accomplished, in the stress I face in certain aspects of my life. And yet, I can look around and smile about the little things I actually do and can have. A tasty bagel and coffee breakfast. A cute pair of socks. Blooming flowers in the spring. Sleeping in on a day off.

These things remind me of  how lucky I am.

Especially around this time of year, as we wait for the slush to melt and the temperatures to rise,
I hope you can use these exercises to see how lucky you are, too!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Why the Outside Counts

A little while back, I spotted this book at the library. I was just going through the stacks when the title and gorgeous colors sucked me in. The concept of clothes changing your life is an eyebrow-raiser for some, but I’ve experienced this first hand.

Because I attended Catholic School for most of my education, I didn’t have to worry about my personal style through grade school. I knew what I had to wear, so my taste wasn’t of importance. I think this was why it took a little while for me to build a style of my own. I think it’s pretty common in high school, but I basically wore whatever most people were wearing and shopped at the stores most people were shopping at (there was a particular style of top from Express, with lace under the bust with a bottom that swung out a bit, that comes to mind). I didn’t have to worry about my wardrobe outside of jeans, t-shirts, and comfortable summer wear.

When I went to college, it dawned on me that I had to pick my outfits out. I also had to make sure that I had a decent amount of clothes so I didn’t have to spend a lot of money doing laundry every week. This opened a door for me. Not only was I able to do some real wardrobe shopping, but I also got to discover what I liked, and not just whatever was popular in my class.

It was in those 4 years that I found myself over and over again in my style. It was a way of expressing myself, and I relished every bit of it. I bought things I wanted to wear, I tried new things (layering, colors, tons of plastic jewelry), and I figured out what worked along the way. If I think back to the bright My Little Pony tees and large plastic hoop earrings I wore in my freshman year, I cringe a little. But I know that’s what I loved at the time, and it defines who I was then. In my sophomore year, I discovered skinny jeans, and they changed my life. I also discovered ballet flats, another game-changer. While the trends I tried came and went, I also found things that I’ve carried with me, wardrobe staples that will last a lifetime.020021

Knowing that expressing and discovering personal style is a lot like discovering yourself as a person is reason enough to believe that clothes can change your life. But that’s not really how I learned. That happened when uniforms were brought back into my life through my first (life-sucking) full-time job. At first, I figured I could work around the khakis and monogrammed oxford shirts. I’ve learned that that isn’t true. I guess it wouldn’t have been so bad if I didn’t hate the job as well. Unfortunately, I really, really hated that job. I deteriorated from the inside out. The worse I felt inside (and I can’t blame all of that on the job as I had actual issues, as well), the worse I looked on the outside. I simply did not care. I wore my hair in greasy, sloppy ponytails (which I would only stop doing when I finally made a hair appointment and lobbed all of my hair off, making ponytails impossible) and I always had my glasses on in an effort to Clark Kent myself. I didn’t want to be recognized outside of work. I wanted to be gorgeous and stylish and fancy. But that didn’t really happen, either. I lost track of all style, personal and otherwise, and lived in sweats and oversized tees from the Salvation Army.


When I left that job, I guess I had hoped that I would find myself again. That it would come quick and easy. I was wrong. Even after getting a part-time gig at Old Navy, I had lost track of what I liked and what was worth spending my paltry earnings on. And then I got the job at the library.

Getting the job at the library rejuvenated me in a way that I very much needed at the time. It also had an effect on my style, which I found surprising. At my job, it’s completely fine if I show up in a pair of jeans and a sweater, as long as it looks clean and put together. But it’s also okay to wear a nice pair of trousers or a skirt and a blouse. I can dress up or dress down. In other words, the possibilities are varied and plenty.

Around this time, I was watching a lot of Once Upon a Time and found myself completely inspired by Mary Margaret’s wardrobe (tons of inspo here). Her classic cardigans, plaid pants, and delicate details were a huge jumping off point for what I wanted my wardrobe to look like. I loved that the look was classy enough for work (which, in her case, was a teacher), but completely comfortable and relaxed enough for any situation.

After accumulating a few basic pieces that I had wanted, I had fun mixing and matching what I had. I looked forward to putting an outfit together, picking out shoes I hadn’t been able to wear in a while (either too nice for Old Navy or not comfortable or warm enough for my previous job at the credit union), putting on a little extra makeup. My outfits inspired me to look my best, which led me to feel my best and, ultimately, strive to do my best.


Whether clothes are everything to you or just another necessity of life, there’s no denying the power of a great outfit. When you’re comfortable and you love what you’re wearing, you carry that with you. The confidence and joy you get from feeling your best allows you to shine. You’ll have a good day, simply because you’re wearing the pair of jeans that accentuate your curves or the sweater that makes dressing for winter a little less painful.

Speaking of winter, this post served a reminder of the power of clothing. The cold, dreary weather has a negative effect on my mood (I’d love to meet someone who doesn’t feel that way…) and options for cute clothes become limited due to potential frostbite, wet feet, and being covered in a big puffy coat anyway. As I started rotating the same few things, I felt the lack of confidence creep in again. Knowing that all it takes is a good pair of jeans, a pretty blouse, or my favorite shoes to make me feel like me again is something I’m forever grateful for.

Do you think your closet reflects your life? Maybe it has, and you didn’t even know it. I’m sure that, just as I feel a little embarrassed sharing the first few collages on here because my style then seems a little silly now, things will continue to change as I get older. It’s actually fun to see, and a really great reminder of who I am, who I was, and who I want to be.