advice

Say it & Keep it

It’s not always easy to say what’s on your mind.

Personally, I thrive at having entire conversations in my head. I can work things out, make plans for later, overthink something from 10 years ago, and make myself laugh—sometimes accidentally out loud.

There are times however, when I’ll be with a person or group of people, and I’ll find myself walking away from a conversation or situation where I wish I would have said something. Maybe it was a compliment I wanted to give, a joke I wanted tell, a story I wished I had the courage to share, or simply a hello, how are you?  But for whatever reason, it just sits there on the end of my tongue and doesn’t budge.

So, I’ve been trying to do better.

The way I see it, if you have good intentions, and especially good jokes, you should do your best to share them with other people. You should share you with other people. Even though sometimes it’s scary, and sometimes your friend just went to the bathroom and left you at this table with a bunch of random people you don’t know and you wish you could hide under your chair until they get back.

I’m not saying you have to make awkward, miserable small talk, or say things you don’t mean, but if you find a compliment forming or a relatable story coming to mind, go for it.

Say it.

Make your mark on a conversation, or on that stranger whose ______ you really like.

Say what you’re thinking, even if it’s just hello. You never know what kind of internal dialogue someone else is having, and you never know how much you can put their mind at ease. Maybe you can make them laugh or tell them something they’ve never heard before or simply make them feel noticed. Maybe you can inspire them to try something new or be inspired yourself. Maybe you’ll make a new friend who might feel just as uncomfortable as you are in a certain situation, and who might even offer you contraband snacks. You never know.

On the opposite side of this whole situation, it’s also not always easy to receive compliments.

Personally, I thrive at deflecting, rejecting and passing them along so I don’t have to bear the weight for even a second. Compliments make me uncomfortable, and sometimes overwhelmed. My toes curl up inside my shoes and I usually change the subject as fast as I can.

But again, I’m trying to do better.

For as uncomfortable as compliments might be in the moment, they’re not going to hurt in the long run. Like on those days when you feel like a troll who doesn’t dare leave the house looking like such a disaster, or when you feel rejected or sad or alone. It’s times like these when we could use a compliment or two, some motivation and encouragement that we are more than we are making ourselves out to be, and deserve more than we’ve led ourselves to believe.

So, when someone tells you look nice, or when they compliment a project you’re working on or a blog you posted or a meal you made, keep it. When someone thanks you for being a good friend or for a good gift or for a great day, keep it. Keep those compliments and tuck them away for later. For when you need them most.

Say the good things and keep the good things. You deserve them, someone else might need them, and sometimes there might be snacks. It’s a win win win as far as I’m concerned.

September/October Favorites

I am probably definitely biased, but I found some good stuff over the last two months. Which might explain why they flew by so fast and we are suddenly in the November! (?!)

Here’s hoping the next two months are just as exciting, though a little slower, because CHRISTMAS.

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Podcasts

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I have only seen The Office all the way through one time (so far), but I can imagine that if you are a diehard fan this podcast will truly be something special for you. Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey are rewatching the series from the beginning and sharing behind the scene facts and secrets from each episode. It’s super fun to listen to and there have only been a couple of episodes so far, so it’s easy to catch up!

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Books

These books couldn’t be more different if they tried, but they both easily top my list for the last two months. Where the Crawdads Sing is a fiction book that follows two different timelines. One describes the life of a girl named Kya who lives on her own in a house on a marsh in North Carolina, and the other investigates a murder in the same town. As the book progresses the timelines slowly weave together and I was hooked the whole time. Beautiful on the Outside is a memoir written by Olympic medalist Adam Rippon. It chronicles his incredible journey to the Olympic stage and is honestly one of the funniest books I have ever read.

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TV Shows

I don’t consider myself someone who watches a lot of TV, but when I was trying to figure out a favorite or two for the month, I realized I’d watched so many good things over the last two months! If you’re looking for a comedy, I recommend Fleabag and The Politician. If you’re looking for love (in many forms), I recommend Four Weddings and a Funeral and Modern Love. If you’re looking crime/suspense, I recommend Mindhunter.

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Music

I have also found a bunch of new music over the last few months, namely new artists (to me) that I have been listening to on repeat. Some of my favorites include: Free Yourself Up by Lake Street Dive, Stranger in the Alps by Phoebe Bridgers, Cheap Queen by King Princess, and Sing to Me Instead by Ben Platt.

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This Leg/Butt Workout

Remember when I recommended that arm and back workout? Well, over the last two months I’ve also worked this workout into my routine that focuses on your legs and butt and HELLO, I. AM. SORE. But that’s a good thing. I think.

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Dark Chocolate Oreos

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This last one technically shouldn’t be on this list because I tried them in November. But I feel like it would be more disrespectful not to tell you about these immediately than to abide by a rule that absolutely no one is enforcing. They are just so chocolatey and delicious. Definitely one of the best new Oreo flavors in a while.

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

Leaning into FEAR

I was going through my notebook the other day and I found a quote I wrote down a while back. I mentioned it in this post almost a year ago, but it hit me hard when I saw it again and I wanted to share it.

It is from The School of Greatness podcast, episode 721.

“FEAR can be:

Fear Everything And Run,

or Face Everything And Rise.”

I’ve always been a bit of a fearer. I’m afraid of, well, most things, and I have found it very easy over the course of my life to run from those which are particularly scary.

It’s easy to run. Fun too. Running keeps you safe. It carries you away from all that can hurt you, thus ensuring that you can’t be hurt. But running is also quite tiring. It’s exhausting, really. And it gets old. Especially if you’re running in circles.

I don’t know where you are in your life, today or this week or in general, and I don’t know what kind of FEAR you are leaning into. But I want to encourage you, and me, the group of us together really, to stop running. And I don’t mean that solely in the sense that we should stop avoiding hard things or fearing good and vulnerable things. I just think we could all benefit from receiving the permission to stop moving.

We don’t always have to be doing something or achieving something or reaching and reaching and reaching. I think those things are important, and I think setting goals and working towards them is one of the most rewarding things you can do. But it’s not the only thing.

We are still important if we are sitting still. We still hold value if we aren’t setting new records and reaching new heights. We matter, no matter what.

I remember when I first heard this quote I took it as motivation to keep moving up. To rise. To be bigger and better. But I think I underestimated how far you can move forward simply by standing still. For to rise is not simply to ascend, it is also to acknowledge the steps that helped you do so. It is to face the things, good and bad, that have formed you into the person you are, and to accept them as part of your story.

I am who I am because of my story, and you are you because of yours. So let’s appreciate those stories for all that they are, and rise.

How to Pack for a Weekend Getaway

Since the holidays are coming up, there’s a good chance you might (hopefully) get to plan a weekend getaway. Are you wondering what you should pack for said weekend getaway? Well, you came to the right place.

As a well-experienced packer, I have made an easy to follow guide for how to achieve packing success. Just set those worries aside, take a few notes, and soon you will be on your way!

Note: these guidelines do not apply to outdoor camping, as outdoor camping should probably require you packing your entire home because you are in the wilderness and there is danger and animals and rain and also that overall damp feeling that you never get rid of, so really just pack everything or don’t camp, preferably the latter because who doesn’t love a roof?

Step 1: Bring up your need to pack for your vacation approximately six times in the week leading up to your departure, but don’t actually start packing until the night before you leave.

Step 2: Envision yourself walking in slow motion, in perfectly put together outfits, for the entirety of the vacation.

Step 3: Forget everything you envisioned and stare teary eyed at your closet, criticizing yourself for ever buying a single thing you see before you.

Step 4: Pack your favorite shirt, the one you bring on every vacation, first, then tell yourself you should branch out and take the shirt out of your suitcase.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 up to seven times.

Step 6: Remind yourself that you’re only going to be gone for two days, then pack nine shirts, three pairs of pants, those shorts you’ve never liked but always thought you should try, 17 pairs of underwear, 7 pairs of socks, 1 pair of thick socks in case a blizzard rolls in, those shoes you’ve been meaning to replace, two bathing suits, pajamas, and a raincoat—regardless of the weather forecast.

Step 8: Imagine yourself having the desire to workout and pack workout clothes.

Step 9: Laugh, knowing there’s no way in hell you’re going to workout.

Step 10: Pack another workout shirt.

Step 11: Invent at least 5 different turns the weekend could take that might provoke the need to bring shoe options, and then pack accordingly.

Step 12: Look up the weather forecast for where you’re going and regret everything you packed.

Step 13: Step away from your closet and move into the bathroom to gather your toiletries.

Step 14: Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash and makeup—even though you know you’re going to need most of it tomorrow morning before you leave.

Step 15: Pack a book, then picture yourself reading the entire book in one day and decide to pack three more.

Step 16: Pack your phone charger, then unpack it before bed to charge your phone, and then forget it all together.

Step 17: Zip up your suitcase and decide you are finished so you can go to bed because it’s almost definitely 1:00 a.m. at this point.

Step 18: Lie awake for about an hour wondering if you should pack more socks or if maybe you should bring a flashlight or goggles or an earthquake kit.

Step 19: Wake up to brush your teeth and realize you’ve already packed your toothbrush.

Step 20: Become frustrated while picking an outfit to wear because you packed everything you like, regret everything for a solid half hour, and then throw your hands in the air, zip up your suitcase and roll it out the door.

July/August Favorites

A lot has changed since we were last here! For one thing, I’m 29 now. And while I can’t list this age as a “favorite” quite yet, I do have a good feeling about it.

Speaking of good feelings, I found a bunch of things over the last couple months that gave me all the good feelings.

Wow. What a transition, am I right? Told you 29 looks good on me.

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Podcasts

I was first introduced to the Try Guys when they were part of Buzzfeed, and I’ve loved their brand ever since. At their core, they are a group of friends who simply try stuff and make you want to do the same. You can check out their videos here, but I’d also recommend their podcast, The Trypod, which is an easy, lighthearted listen. It makes you feel like you’re sitting around in your living room talking to your friends.

The Clearing is a posthumous account of the life of Edward Wayne Edwards, a serial killer and all-around terrible human whose daughter put the pieces of his crimes together and brought at least a few of his victims and their families justice. The narrator has a very monotone voice, but I think it adds to the nature of the subject. I was hooked and frustrated the entire time.

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Books

After reading a loving Rachel Hollis’ first book, Girl, Wash Your Face, I was over the moon for her second one and preordered it. But then, life caught up with me and that poor book sat on my bedside table for months before I finally opened it. Once I did however, I was IN. It’s a great book for anyone looking for some fire under their feet and it gives great advice for how you can go about making your dreams a reality.

In another example of poor planning + a chaotic schedule, I received the The Silent Patient audiobook from the library and waited too long to start it. By the time I did, my loan was ending and I was freaking out trying to finish it and when I didn’t make it, I had to wait three miserable weeks until it was available again. It follows Alicia Berenson, a woman convicted of murdering her husband and then refusing to speak in any capacity, and Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist who is determined to figure out why. It takes a lot of twists and turns and I especially recommend the audiobook because the reader was great!

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TV Shows

I realize that I am WAY behind the times on this one, so I probably don’t have to do much of an introduction on what Dexter is, but I am glad I finally made the time to start it. I am officially hooked and if you need me I’ll be sitting in a state of conflict over being worried about and emotionally attached to a serial killer.

Stranger Things is another one that doesn’t need much of an introduction. I had been patiently waiting for the third season and when it finally arrived I watched it so fast I have been considering rewatching it because I think I blacked out. In a good way.

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Music

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If I’m being honest, A LOT of music has been put on the back burner since Taylor Swift released Lover in August. It is SO GOOD, y’all. So while I’d obviously recommend that first, there is a bunch of other great music that I found over the last two months.

For albums, I’d recommend Tori Kelly’s Inspired by True Events, and Machine Gun Kelly’s Hotel Diablo. They could not be more different (aside from them both having Kelly in their name) and it’s almost comical to recommend them side by side, but such is my brain. It has a lot of different moods and these two do it for me.

Then, in continuing a new tradition of recommending individual songs, here are 10 that I think you should check out:

1) I Don’t Want Your Money by Ed Sheeran (featuring H.E.R.)

2) Painkiller by Ruel

3) Put it to Bed by JHART

4) All For Us by Labrinth & Zendaya

5) What Could’ve Been by Gone West

6) Tell When it’s Over by Shery Crow & Chris Stapleton

7) Someday Soon by Wilder Woods

8) Love is Love by Grace Potter

9) Rooting for You by Alessia Cara

10) Crowded Table by The Highwomen

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This Arm/Back Workout

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I have been getting into weight training over the last couple months and so I’ve been doing research on different sequences that can work out specific parts of my body. I found this one on Pinterest and it’s been great at working out my arms and back. It makes me feel strong and, unless I’m seeing things, I actually might look stronger too. Take care with these guns, y’all.

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Low Cow Ice Cream Bars

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And last but DEFINITELY not least, these! It’s hard to be completely in love with ice cream AND want to eat healthy. So it’s safe to say that when I found these, which are low in sugar, high in protein and absolutely delicious I gave them priority status on my grocery list. My favorite flavor is the Salted Caramel, but they also offer Fudge and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip.

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And that just about does it for July & August!

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

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Also, don’t forget to check out the fundraiser I’m doing in the month of September to benefit Childhood Cancer.  Anything helps! heavy-black-heart_2764

Don’t Suffer

A fun fact about me is that I’m cold—all the time.

I have two sweaters on my office chair at work and I almost never leave the house without some sort of extra layer, even in the dead of summer. My friends and family have (mostly) come to accept this—they only mock me half of the time now—and some even go out of their way to let me know when we (meaning only me) should bring a jacket to wherever we’re going.

If I were a teenager, I might try to spin this whole thing as a cute quirk. A way to get the boy to lend me his jacket because I’m just so cold teeheehee. But alas, I’m not 16, and I don’t even think it’s cute. I would love to confidently walk out the front door without wondering if I will catch hypothermia at the movies or grapple over what I should say to convince everyone to sit outside even though it’s hot and we might sweat all of our makeup off.

This past weekend a big group of my family got together at a house on the beach and the moment we pulled in I felt the ocean breeze shiver down my spine.

Shit. I thought. We just got here and I’m already cold.

I paced around a bit, trying to get my blood flowing so I didn’t have to look completely pathetic, but after a few minutes I leaned into my mom and said, “I really think I have to put my sweater on already.”

My mom nodded, nonjudgmental, then put her hand on my arm and said, “Like my yoga teacher says, ‘Don’t suffer.’”

At first I just smiled, thanking her for the words and for not, you know, pointing and laughing at me like I assume everyone should. But as I pulled on my jacket and then walked back around to the kitchen to lean back into the conversation I’d left, the real meaning of the words sunk in deep.

Don’t suffer.

It’s really simple on the surface, isn’t it? But let it sink in for a second.

Don’t suffer.

In the context of yoga, it reminds you not to stay in a pose that causes too much pain.

When you apply it to every day life—like whether or not I should be ashamed to put a sweater on at a family reunion—it acts a reminder to just let yourself be. Maybe that means saying no to party you don’t want to go to, or putting down a book you don’t have any interest in finishing, or taking a nap instead of going to the gym today, or whatever it may be.

Don’t suffer. Especially with the little things. Give yourself the freedom to be comfortable and it will give you the opportunity to thrive.

Needless to say I put the jacket it on, instantly felt better, and wouldn’t you know it, I had an amazing afternoon.

What’s the Point?

Have you ever been so caught up in the monotony of the day-to-day routines and stresses that you found yourself frustrated and exhausted and wondering what are we even doing here? Or, and not necessarily as dark as this sounds, but, what’s the point?

It’s that, is this it? feeling. Is life just alarm snoozing and work and bills and debt and general frustration?

Deep down we know it’s not. We know there’s more. We know this thing has purpose. But some days that truth is a little cloudy, and others it seems downright hidden.

But then there are days or sometimes just moments when it shines bright.

Like when you see someone do something so kind that it makes you want to cry.

Or when you see people look at each other with such unconditional love that you feel it too.

When you stay up late talking to your sister about nothing and everything at the same time.

When you watch the sunset on the beach and that warm glow makes everything slow down.

When you eat something so good it makes you (want to or actually) dance.

When you do something you never thought you could.

When you get butterflies in your stomach because someone or something is so overwhelmingly exciting.

When you tell a friend something you’re struggling with and they lift a little piece of that burden off your shoulders.

When you lose track of time laughing and then trying not to laugh and then after a while laughing just to laugh.

Among millions more.

The way I see it, life is about finding things that make it easier. Easier for you, easier for someone you love, or even easier for someone you’ve never met. It’s about finding people and places and experiences that make you take deep, purposeful breaths. And on the hard days, it’s about believing that ease exists, and working your way forward one step at a time to find it again.

Life is not meant to be easy, but it’s full of impossible ease, and you owe it to yourself to find it. So whether you’re having the best day ever or a cloudy one at best, I encourage you to seek it. Open yourself up to the good things in this life, let them give you breath and breathe breathe breathe.

Everything in Moderation

“Everything in moderation, including moderation.” – Oscar Wilde

 

I heard this quote for the first time recently and it really hit home.

While balance is often preached as the secret to life, sometimes it’s the balance that leaves me so worn out. Day in and day out I’m trying to make sure I find time for goal setting, self care, loving others, eating right, being productive, etc. I try to achieve that balance, but by the time I’m getting into bed each night I’m feeling more overwhelmed than I did that morning.

I end up lying there wondering what I could have done better, what I shouldn’t have done at all, and how I can improve the next day. I promise to pursue that balance, but I’m also wondering how I’ll ever be able to do it.

So maybe, that’s not the answer.

As this quote suggests, maybe it’s not about finding and maintaining that balance every. single. day. But striving for a balance—whatever that means for you. That means knowing when you need more or less of something. It means giving yourself a break when you can’t find time to do much of anything at all.

Moderation is healthy. And it’s a good standard for living, but it shouldn’t be your only standard. Be wild sometimes. Break the rules. Change the rules. Know when you need to be disciplined. Know when you need a nap or a snack—or two snacks. Respect when you need to be quiet and when you need to scream. Find your balance, and don’t be ashamed if it doesn’t look like everyone else’s.

BAWAGA: A New Mindset

I talk a lot about inspiration on this blog. Whether it be my own ideas, lessons I’ve learned from others, or words and phrases I’ve picked up anywhere and everywhere else. I’ve talked about mantras and mottos that carry me through rougher days (i.e. It’s Not Time to Worry Yet and Just Live the Day) and I’ve talked about mindsets that motivate me to push myself forward (i.e. Shout Your Strong and Opening the BIFC Door)

Today, I bring you yet another mindset, that comes straight from the first baseline of Dodger Stadium.

It was a hot afternoon in May and a small group of us were there to see the Dodgers play the Mets. Seated in field level seats right next to the foul pole, we were very close to Dodgers’ right fielder, Cody Bellinger, who, in case you haven’t heard, is having the season of his life.

“He’s such a badass,” my sister said as he warmed up after hitting another homerun.

“You might even say he’s…a badass with a great ass.

Badass with a great ass. (BAWAGA, if you will)

Obvious thirst aside, this stuck with me. Not necessarily as a quality we should give to others (sorry, Cody), but as a mindset we should take on for ourselves.

Let’s face it, sometimes it’s hard to like—let alone love—ourselves all at once. For me personally, I have moments of love, sparks of that hey, I dig that about myself, but very rarely (if ever) am I walking around thinking, “man I love my brain and my spirit and my body, I am just the total package.”

But what if I did? What if we did?

What if we pursued that total self-acceptance on a daily basis? What if we woke up thinking and believing, I am a badass with a great ass, I can do anything and then went about our day? How would that change the way we viewed our world? How would it change the way we treated others? How would it change the way we approached obstacles?

For athletes like Cody Bellinger, they need to take the field with a BAWAGA mindset, even on days when they don’t feel like it. If they don’t, they leave room for both doubt and the confidence of all of the other players to stand in front of them. And when all of that is blurring your vision, it’s impossible to play to the best of your ability because you don’t believe it exists.

The same goes for us regular (non-professional baseball playing, MLB record breaking) humans. We all have the ability to “play” at our best ability, but first we need to believe that our best exists. We need to go into each day with positivity and motivation and we need to look in the mirror with love and admiration. We need to appreciate all sides of ourselves—including the backside ayyyy—and remind ourselves that we can do anything. Why? Because we’re badasses. And not only that, we’re badasses with great asses.

Is it corny? Yes.

Is it cringy?  A little.

But does it secretly motivate me to go out there and kick some ass? Sure does.

10 Easy Ways to Learn Something New Every Day

If you are like me, you love learning. You love dropping fun facts and (as subtly as possible) saying look what I can do! And while 12 years of grade school might have given us somewhat of a distaste for the long winded, multiple choice kind of learning, these days it doesn’t take much for us to learn something new. Oftentimes it will just find us in the middle of an average day and that little light will go on in our heads saying, hey, I didn’t know that!

Call me a nerd but that is a rush.

I love that feeling so much that I actively try to learn something new every day—as many times a day as possible. Any little tidbit of new information I can find, I grab it and hold on tight, and then wait for the perfect opportunity to say, “did you know…” to my friends and family.

So, if you can relate to any of that, or if you’re just curious what kind of information I’m consuming on a daily basis in an attempt to turn my brain into its own Mary Poppins’ bag, here are 10 easy ways to learn something new every day:

 

1) Subscribe to a podcast

I went on my podcast app and counted, I am subscribed to 32 podcasts. THIRTY-TWO. Is this extreme? Am I an addict? Don’t answer that. I love all of my podcasts and I listen to (not all of) them every day. They cover just about every topic in the book, making it easy and fun to learn about a little bit of everything. Some of my favorites include: Ear Hustle, Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet, and Heavyweight

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2) Click on the Google logo

You know how Google often has those decorative versions of their logo on their homepage? Did you know that if you click on those you can learn about the historical icon or event they are honoring? Talk about easy access to fun facts.

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3) Subscribe to an e-newsletter

There is so much information on the Internet, both good and bad, so it’s nice to have someone else wade through it and give you the highlights. I’ve bounced around between newsletters, trying to find one that best fits what I’m looking for and right now my favorite is Next Draft. An email is sent every weekday after lunch and it is organized into ten bullet points of both important current information and interesting articles you might not have read otherwise.

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4) Watch a documentary (on Netflix, Hulu, or even YouTube)

I know, I know, we all have good intentions when we scroll through and add documentaries to our queues, and we all promise to watch them next time because we’re just not in the mood right now. But I encourage you to take a chance on one when you’re looking for something to watch. There is so much good stuff out there! Some of my favorites include: Evil Genius on Netflix, Three Identical Strangers on Hulu, and You’re Not Allowed to Die Here on YouTube.

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5) Go outside

I know this sounds obvious, but there’s no denying it. Our houses and apartments and dorms are wonderful and cozy and safe but there is so much to see and learn when we get outside! Just the other day a group of friends and I walked out to look at the moon and someone held their hand up and said, “did you know that if you can cup the moon in your right hand it’s a waxing moon and if you can cup it with your left it’s a waning moon.” No, I did not know that. But will I now drop it in any conversation about the moon? You’re damn right I will.

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6) Look up a new recipe

One of my favorite things to do is cook, and I love looking up recipes that I can put together with things I find in my fridge. Lucky for us, the Internet is CHOCK-FULL of recipes thanks to all of the wonderful food bloggers of the world. From breakfasts to desserts to gluten free tea party recipes, there is something for every occasion, just waiting for you to dive in.

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7) Download a language learning app

Learning a new language, or at the very least becoming familiar with key words in another language can be so valuable, both in every day life and when you travel. There are tons of apps out there that can teach you practically any language you can think of. My favorite is Duolingo, because it’s free, easy, and fun to use. Plus, an adorable owl named Duo sends me cute reminders to do my daily Spanish homework and it excites me.

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8) Take a different way home

If you do a lot of driving for work, either as part of your job or just in commuting to and from, try a new route. Turn one street early, or get off on a different exit. Expand that mental map and see where different roads lead, you never know what you’ll find along the way!

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9) Ask questions

Whenever you think to yourself, “I wonder how…” or “what is that?” or “when was..” pursue those answers. I can’t tell you how often I ask a question out loud and then immediately Google it. Even if they are little, seemingly meaningless answers they are something and you never know when you might need that something in the future.

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10) Listen

This doesn’t just call for putting on your listening ears, as my mom would say. This calls for using all of your senses. Put your phone down. Pick your head up. Look around, listen up and interact with the environment around you.