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Cures For The Post-Trip Blues

Cures For The Post-Trip Blues

This past weekend Dan and I and some friends of ours took a quick little trip to a hot springs, in a cute little mountain town about 3 hours outside of Denver, called Glenwood Springs. For my West Coast friends, you actually pass it on your drive out to Denver. I’d highly recommend staying a night or two to walk around the town and go to the hot springs. Such a cute small town vibe and very relaxing. 

Anyway, the weekend was great and we had so much fun getting away for a bit, but what is it that they say? What goes up, must come down? Yeah, something like that. As the covid fog wears off, and we start going back to doing normal things like taking trips and such, the more I become aware again of the highs and lows surrounding a vacation. The beforehand is always a little stressful, but so exciting. And the end (at least for, but presuming not only, me) is always a little sad. Not that I don’t love my everyday life, I’m always excited to get back to our fur babies and into our routine, but I can’t help but feel a little down when we have to say goodbye to our little getaway and the people we shared it with. 

I think it’s mostly because it serves as a reminder that time passes, regardless of what we have to say about it, and that even good things must come to an end. I try to be as present as possible during trips like this, but I find it difficult at times when all I find myself thinking about is that it will inevitably end. It’s something I’m working on: savoring every moment while trusting that more await- moments yet to be savored. 

We came home Saturday night and I spent a good portion of Sunday and Monday feeling fairly bleh and finding it difficult to jump back into a productive mindset. I think this may also have had something to do with the fact that we had a decent amount to drink the previous 3 days and that I was about to start my period later that week; the perfect storm, really. And since vacations can’t last forever and we can’t always time it perfectly around our cycles or emotions or any other unpredictable aspect of life, I figured I’d share a few things that helped me climb out of my little hole of self pity and lethargy and get back into the swing of things this week. My cures for the post-trip blues:

LAY IN BED

Seriously, sometimes all you need to do is nothing. It’s actually incredibly healthy to do nothing. And while it may not feel like you’re doing much in the moment (because you physically aren’t), you really are. You’re allowing yourself to rest. And though we may not always think we need it, we all know what happens when we don’t get enough of it. Sunday I laid in bed all day and watched at least 5 movies (highly recommend this one– it’s my fav). It was so comforting and therapeutic and I really do feel like it was exactly what I needed after a long weekend of being out and socializing. Gotta recharge the batteries. 

UNPACK

In the midst of my day spent in bed, I did find time to get up and clean up a bit. I unpacked, showered, and cleaned the house a little. Not sure about you, but being clean in a clean house is one of my favorite feelings ever. I made the bed, lit a candle, put clean cozy clothes on and jumped right back into bed to continue my movie marathon. It was GREAT. Something about continuing my lazy day after a little bit of productivity, to set me up for success later on, allowed me to enjoy my lazy day guilt-free and not feel so behind on things when Monday rolled around.

SET SMALL GOALS

Speaking of Monday, that’s when things got a little more difficult for me. I wasn’t mentally ready for the week to start, but I knew it was best to at least start somewhere. So I set a list of to-do items for myself that were pretty straight forward and easy to do. I spent the day switching from unproductively watching a show or scrolling on my phone to then going to the grocery store or doing my laundry. By the end of the day I felt pretty accomplished and caught up on life a bit more, which helped me go into the rest of my week with a bit more pep in my step. 

On Wednesday my period finally started and I did take that day to be a bit lazy as well, but I felt my emotions balance out and I was then able to go through the rest of the week feeling more productive. I had a newfound sense of looking forward to the future, rather than stewing in the fact that our previous trip was over. And, more importantly, I was able to find comfort in the present moment and really appreciate that place too. 

I think post-trip blues come mostly from not liking the present moment as much as you did the most previous one. It’s never fun to come back from a trip and suddenly have to get back to all of your responsibilities. Some transition time is needed there, and that’s okay. With this in mind, I’ve found that making your present moment, regardless of whether that’s on vacation or in your living room, as pleasant a place to be as possible. 

So often we’re running off to the possibilities of the future or looking back to the lessons of the past. We then find ourselves uncomfortable in the present, romanticizing the past or thinking we’ll feel happier in the future. When, in reality, the only thing that will change how we feel at any other time, is how we feel right now. If we can learn to sit with our thoughts and make the present a pleasant place to be, then it will continue to be- which will make it so for past and future too. It may not completely take away those post-trip blues, but it will sure help you move through them and get you looking forward to all the exciting things that lie ahead.  

Have you experienced the post-trip blues? If so, what have you found helpful to get over them?

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: 3 Things To Help You Stay Present.

Loving Yourself At Every Stage: Part 2

Loving Yourself At Every Stage: Part 2

Toward the end of this same year is when I took the next step in my journey and decided to go off the pill. Within a few weeks the weight that hadn’t been coming off with all the other lifestyle changes I’d made, started to melt away. I lost 10 pounds almost instantly. But see, that’s the thing. This weight loss was not a culmination of me going on some fad diet and killing myself in the gym for a few months. It was nearly a year of learning what my body needed, and treating it well, that I finally began to see a difference. And so begins loving yourself at every stage: part 2.

I went into 2017 feeling so good about myself. My body felt and looked healthier, and I had just graduated with my bachelor’s. That March I moved to San Diego and took the habits I’d created with me. I maintained where my body was for about a year, with a few fluctuations in between (cause that’s life), but knew that my journey to a healthier lifestyle wasn’t over. We got the news that my Dad was sick that December, which rerouted my journey in an entirely new direction. Sure, I’d been eating decently before my Dad’s diagnoses, but I had never paid much attention to the ingredients I was putting in my body.

I became obsessive about checking labels and only putting things in and on my body that I knew to be healthy. This of course included foods, but also makeup, soaps, lotions, detergents.. pretty much anything and everything I could find that I could switch to a better option. This is where my healthy anxiety and first and only panic attack set in too. There were times I’d go to the gym and feel like it was pointless. I was hyper-focused on our mortality and the fact that none of us knew how long we had left, so why waste time working out. It was another moment where I got mixed up on who was doing the betraying. I no longer trusted my body. I did my best to keep it away from toxins and anything bad for it, but it wasn’t primarily to treat my body well anymore- it was mostly because I didn’t trust it to take care of me. 

Early in 2018 my doctor found a lump in my breast and my whole world came crashing down- for about two weeks. I was convinced I had breast cancer and would have a very limited amount of time left (my reality was still very focused on the fragility of life). When they finally brought me in for my ultrasound they were able to tell me right then and there that I was perfectly fine. Relief washed over me immediately, but what was super eye opening was that, immediately when we got home, I began questioning the doctors. I worried that they had missed something and began to obsess. Which is when I realized my anxiety and irrational thoughts like these had become my reality. I needed to learn how to trust my body again because I could no longer trust these thoughts based in fear.

I continued paying attention to ingredients, and still do to this day, but was much less obsessive. I decided that my body and I needed to build our trust back stronger than it was before, and so I did what I could to treat it well, and trusted that it would in turn do the same. After all, that’s all we really can do, right? Staying away from processed foods and filler ingredients paved the way for the rest of my journey. My body naturally lost another 15 pounds overtime, and I’ve pretty much stayed in that place ever since. 

With my experience, I truly believe that if you can find that love for yourself to treat your body well, continuously overtime, it will naturally arrive at the place it is supposed to be. And that is real health. Not trying to reach a specific goal weight or body type, but to make daily choices to love yourself and to love your body. That is how you make lasting change. I know if you’re in a place you’re unhappy with right now, that reading this may all just sound like a bunch of bull. I get it. I’ve been there. But losing weight can’t just be about punishing yourself in hopes of looking like some unrealistic image you have in mind. It has to be about acknowledging that the lifestyle choices you are making have not been in honor of your best, truest self, and that they need to change.

It’s not what you want to hear at the beginning of the process, mostly because you haven’t formed that new relationship with yourself or with your body yet, but give it a week. Give it a month. No, it’s not a cold turkey diet. You can still eat and do some of the things you used to. You won’t get to your healthiest place as fast as you want (most likely), but, when you do get there, you’ll stay there. And, let’s not forget, the most important advice: you’ve got to learn to love yourself at every stage. Seriously. I know it sounds cliche, but if and when you reach your goal, whatever that may look like, if you haven’t practiced loving yourself at every stage along the way, you will never truly love yourself. Love does not come from attaining a goal, it is unconditional and accessible at all times. And the more you find that to be true for yourself, the more you’ll love yourself at every stage.

What are your thoughts on this article? Have you had a similar or different experience? Would love to hear more about your journeys! 

I also want to throw out there that I am not a health care professional in any way shape or form- this is merely my experience- and that, no matter where you are in your journey, I would highly suggest speaking with your primary health care provider before making any drastic changes. 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: Loving Yourself At Every Stage: Part 1.

And, in case you’re wondering, above outfit deets are tagged here.

Loving Yourself At Every Stage Part 1

Loving Yourself At Every Stage Part 1

I know this title “loving yourself at every stage” is a little vague, so let me explain what I mean by it. I originally wanted to write a post about my journey with weight loss, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized how my weight loss really had very little to do with my focus on actually losing weight. And I don’t want to write a post that’s just about how I gained 30 pounds and then what I did to lose it. Because the journey was so much more than that. I also want to note that I am not here to say anyone should lose weight. You know your body better than anyone, and you should do what makes you feel good. This is simply my own experience and journey, and the advice that I do feel I have enough experience to share. My main piece of that advice, that I think applies to most everyone, is the importance of loving yourself at every stage. 

I actually began to write this last week, and now that Halloween has passed it feels more relevant than ever. I’m seeing so many posts about how people feel bad for eating like shit/going out/not sleeping enough this past weekend. And I totally get it. BUT. I also want to take a moment to say…great work. You are LIVING. Assuming you did what you wanted to and had a good time, I think it’s cruel to turn around the next day and get down on yourself for it. Sure, you might feel like shit, but that’s no reason for regret. You had a great time, and in a couple days you’ll be back to feeling more like yourself. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend living the holiday celebration lifestyle every weekend, but my god if you have a reason to celebrate and that’s how you want to do it-  do it! Your best self can take place in many forms- let your inner party woo! girl be one of them, if that’s what you want, and then get back to the best self version of you that drinks lots of water and gets into bed at a reasonable hour. You can do both. 

With that being said… I also want to say that stage, in this context, doesn’t just pertain to a body. It also pertains to the mind and where you are in life, exactly at this moment. Appreciating every little thing, even if it’s not exactly how you think it “should” be. For most of my life, I’ve never had to worry about what I ate or whether my clothes would fit me the same or not the next time I tried them on. I was blessed with a mother who was super into health and so I ate home-cooked meals most nights of the week and “junk” food was a rarity. Then, at 18, I moved out of my parents’ house and into an apartment with two of my besties from high school. Our grocery list usually consisted of top ramen and fruit roll-ups- partially due to finances, partially because of inexperience with cooking, but mostly because that’s just what we wanted. And, because I was still a teenager, I got away with it. I never fluctuated weight, but I most certainly was not healthy. 

I remember vividly being the smallest I’ve ever been at 22, at the same time that I was going through a terrible break up. I had zero appetite and felt miserable. But, just a few weeks later, a new kind of anxiety set in and I wound up finding great comfort in food. I’d constantly think about what I was going to eat next, almost as a form of distraction from all the things I didn’t want to deal with. Or a way to feel better in the situation I had found myself in: broken-hearted, broke, living in a bedroom in someone else’s home, and still trying to graduate from college. I was so frustrated with myself and unhappy with where I was during that time period, and, before I knew it, (and to top it all off) I could barely squeeze into my jeans.

I was shocked. I had never had something like this happen before. I couldn’t believe that my body would betray me like that, but what I soon came to realize was that I was the one actually doing the betraying. I’d been disconnected from my body most of my life- never having to think about it much- and now it was sending a message loud and clear. This is the turning point in my life where I finally started treating my body the way it deserved, and doing what made me FEEL good. 

At the end of that year, and after 5 years of living outside of my parent’s home, I decided it was time to go back. I had fought going back so many times, swearing my independent self would figure it out and make it work, but I was tired. My body and mind needed a break. My Dad helped me pack and home we went. I still remember that first night, my Mom making me some tea and everything feeling so much calmer. I felt like I could take a deep breath. I wasn’t swimming upstream anymore, I was flowing with the current. 

This was all at the beginning of 2016, and, at the beginning of that year, I vowed to myself that I’d get back to a place I was proud of. But, what I was surprised to learn as the year progressed, was that I could be proud of myself for being right where I already was. Had I not loved myself enough to know it was time to go home, I wouldn’t have given myself the opportunity to focus on ME. And that alone, was something to be proud of. During that year I went gluten and dairy free, began paying more attention to macros and eating more nutrient-rich foods. I broke the relationship I’d had with food, where I saw it as a comfort, and built a new one focused around fueling my body with what it needed to perform well and feel good. No, this wasn’t some quick diet fix- I’d committed to switching my lifestyle completely, because I wanted the way I felt to last. 

I also began working out regularly each week, and, thanks to one of my closest friends, I became more and more comfortable and consistent at the gym. That was actually the most consistently I’d ever worked out on my own, and it felt so good to show my body that love. At first, I had started eating well and working out to lose weight, but the more I did it, the more I loved my body for exactly where it was. Because I was taking care of it and showing it the love it deserved, our relationship changed. I no longer needed my body to look a certain way, I had learned how to feel comfortable in it and appreciate it for all it had done for me.

Oddly enough, this year of progress ended up being one of the happiest years of my life. A year I had dreaded because I was afraid I’d fail, yet ended up feeling strong and energized. I got a job where I was finally making money again, I had an internship and was on track to graduate college at the end of the year. Everything felt like it had fallen into place. Don’t get me wrong, it was really hard, but my perspective had changed everything. I was taking care of me, and that’s what kept me going. 

More on that next week <3

Does this story resonate with you? Would love to hear your experiences.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like What Makes You Feel More Like You?

How To Stop Worrying When You Embarrass Yourself

How To Stop Worrying When You Embarrass Yourself

Earlier today I was on a call for work, and I asked a question at the wrong time. I felt SO embarrassed about it. All kinds of thoughts flooded in: did I make the other person feel uncomfortable? Do they think I’m incompetent? How will they feel working with me moving forward? Did I hurt the trust we had established? You’d think, with all these extremely negative thoughts, that I had done something to severely impact this person’s life in a negative way, but no. It was literally as simple as asking the wrong question at the wrong time. Afterwards my mind wouldn’t shut up about it. Not wanting to drain my energy and get sucked into this negative thought loop all day, I found a way to work through it. And now that I think I’ve got a pretty good system, I thought I’d write it down. For you, for me, for anyone who has EVER IN THEIR LIFE, embarrassed themselves. Here’s how to stop worrying when you embarrass yourself:

PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE

When we’ve done something embarrassing, our minds take us to the worst possible place and we spiral into a negative thought loop. This moment feels like the biggest deal in the world, and we think it will radically affect the trajectory of our lives. So, you have to shift the perspective. Is this moment something you’ll be thinking about next year? Next month? Next week? Tomorrow? I feel safe to say the answer is, probably not. I know this sounds morbid, but, let’s say you knew you were going to die later today. Would you care at all about whether or not you “embarrassed” yourself? Would that even be on your radar in any way shape or form? My guess is no. At least I’d hope that’d be the answer. Because guess what? Truly, it does not matter. We are a cluster of cells with a conscious floating around in outer space and we’re worried about saying or doing something that might make another cluster of cells with a conscious think differently about us? WHO. FREAKING. CARES. 

Also, the people you’re worried will think lesser of you or laugh at you when you inevitably do something embarrassing, have also done embarrassing things. And, if they’re the kind of people who would think lesser of you or mock you so easily, then do you really want to care about what they think anyway? 

REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT ALONE

As mentioned a few sentences ago, you are not the only one who’s ever done something embarrassing. You are not the first, and most certainly will not be the last. This is a totally normal part of life that we just have to let roll off our backs. If we spend our lives constantly trying to never embarrass ourselves, we’ll waste a lot of energy on that instead of just enjoying the life we’ve been given. Plus, you’ll be pretty boring. People who are “perfect” and never make any mistakes aren’t relatable, and they most definitely are not real. Don’t believe the hype. Rejoice in your imperfections. Utilize them and learn what you need from them, to take with you along the way.

PRACTICE SELF-COMPASSION

Which is a perfect lead up to this next point. Practicing self-compassion is the most underrated thing EVER, in my opinion. I actually just started really thinking about self-compassion a couple of months ago when I listened to this podcast about it. It was a concept I had never heard of before, and the moment it was put in front of me, I became fascinated. Think about it as being your own best friend. How do you treat your best friend? How do you lift them up and help them understand how amazing they are? Can you say you do the same for yourself? For most of us, that answer would be a hard no. We are so mean to ourselves… we tear ourselves down and have trouble believing we’re worthy of anything good. If we do something embarrassing we beat ourselves up over it for an endless amount of time. Do we do that to our friends? No! We laugh about it, pat them on the back and say “happens to the best of us.” Imagine how our experience of such a situation would be, if we could do that for ourselves? Let’s start doing that.

LAUGH

Laughter is one of the best medicines in life, and, I’d argue, that the ability to laugh at yourself is one of the greatest qualities a human can have. It makes us more relatable, which allows us to authentically connect with those around us. People don’t connect with perfection. It doesn’t speak to anyone because no one is perfect. But when someone shows their imperfections, and isn’t ashamed of them, those around them have an opportunity to appreciate that person AND themselves in a new way. It breeds humility and this world could definitely use more of that. So laugh- it’s good for everyone involved. 

When you do something embarrassing, it may feel like everything you’ve been working towards might come crashing down right then and there. I get it, I was just there a few hours ago. And while embarrassing yourself does admittedly suck (I don’t think anyone’s out there trying to do it on purpose), it is an opportunity to show yourself and others who you really are, and to model self-love. You have a chance to remember how fleeting life truly is and that everything (even the tough stuff) is a miracle in its own way. You have a chance to connect with others on a deeper level, and love yourself on a deeper level too. And, while you’re at it, you may even get a good laugh in. And suddenly, embarrassing myself doesn’t sound so bad after all. 

What have you found helpful in situations like these? Would love to hear your experiences and advice!

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like: You are loved. You are you. You are perfect.

3 Things To Help You Stay Present 

3 Things To Help You Stay Present 

Do you ever wonder why time starts to speed up so much as we get older? I’ve heard a few different reasons for this, like that our reference of time changes as we get older and days feel shorter because we’ve lived more of them. But the one that rings truest for me is that, as we get older, we become less present in the moment we’re currently in. As children, we’re processing moment to moment, and not a whole lot outside of that (thank god or else the idea of 13 years of going to school would have REALLY overwhelmed me lol). As adults, we begin to spend a lot of time dwelling in the past or fantasizing about the future. We spend very little time just appreciating where we are in this given moment, which makes the moments go by faster. And I’m not sure about you, but that FREAKS. ME OUT. I don’t want to worry my life away and miss out on all the amazing things happening right here, right now. So, what’s there to be done? Here are 3 things to help you stay present:

CATCH YOURSELF

I know this is much easier said than done, but if you really want to be more present, you have to break the habit of not being present. Whenever you begin to feel yourself veering into the past or future, take a second to look around you. It can be a lot like talking yourself down from anxious feelings (which can also be caused by living in the past or future). Ground yourself. Count how many fingers you have, feel the feeling of whatever they’re touching. Breathe the air in, what do you smell? Paying attention to the senses helps remind you of where you are right now, and brings your focus back to that place. The mind will wander if we’re not paying attention, so it’s our job to bring more awareness to the process. And how do we do that? One way can be found below…

MEDITATE

Meditation is a common theme here for me, but that’s because I truly believe it’s a key to contentment that many of us are missing out on. If our minds are constantly trying to solve things and plan for things and avoid things, we may begin to feel a bit exhausted. Or a lot exhausted. For me, it’s the latter. So we practice becoming more aware of the chatter in our minds by meditating. Meditation is not about not thinking, but more so about realizing that you are, and about what. We live inside the reality our mind makes for us, and think that that’s the only reality there is. But guess what? That’s not the case. There’s what’s going on in our minds and then what’s ACTUALLY going on in the world. Our reality is just the reality outside ourselves, filtered in through our own biases and assumptions. Which is why it’s so important to quiet that internal chatter regularly to let some new information in, and learn to separate ourselves from the voice inside our minds that we seem to so easily identify with. 

LOVE YOUR LIFE

By no means am I saying I am an expert at this, because I most certainly am not, but it’s something I’m working on. We’re constantly thinking about all the things we’re looking forward to or all the things we may have done differently in the past, but if you take a second to just look around you, and switch your attention to simple appreciation about whatever good is in your life right now, it changes everything. Instead of constantly looking to the ways you want to better the future, see all the reasons your life is so wonderful right now. Instead of getting stuck in the past, use it as a reference point to see and appreciate how far you’ve come. Maybe you would have done it differently knowing what you know now, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t necessary, because it got you where you are today.

Sometimes I catch myself getting so excited for all the things we’re planning for in the next few years. I start scrolling through my calendar to the years ahead and imagining what it will be like. But then I stop and think of all the things I want to make sure I appreciate in this moment, because things are ever-changing and you never know what life will bring. Today, my mom is here and I can call her whenever I want. Moo is alive and well, and I still wake up to her sleeping on the pillow behind my head every morning. Dan and I and our families are healthy and happy. We have so much to look forward to. Right now we’re in the most magical moment that somehow we tend to rush through because we can’t wait for all the things to happen. But then they happen and life changes and we miss what it felt like to be here and look forward to it all. 

Kind of like when we were teenagers and all we wanted was to grow up and be adults. We pretended like we already were, and imagined all the things we’d do and be when it was finally our time. And then we grew up. And is it anything like you pictured? Do you wish sometimes you could go back and tell your younger self to stop rushing? I know I do. And I know my parents tried, but of course I didn’t listen. Those early years were the most present we probably ever were in our lives. Can we make it back there? 

There’s times when I’ll be walking Remi outside and, while she stops to sniff something (which happens every few feet or so I swear), I take a breath, pause my thinking, and look around me. And things look so different. It’ll actually feel like how I felt walking outside as a kid. I’ll breathe in the air, hear the wind rushing, crickets chirping, and notice the clouds changing shapes up above. I’ll see the sun reflecting off the leaves of a tree, and the shadow of those leaves cast on the sidewalk. There’s a new appreciation for it and, for the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why I felt that sometimes and not others. Then it finally clicked: it’s because I’m PRESENT. Just like when I was a kid. 

You want time to slow down? Enjoy every little beautiful morsel of your life. Linger. Trust that all that’s meant for you will come in its own time, and, in the meantime… use these 3 things to help you stay present. 

Do you have trouble staying present? What have you found that’s helped you?

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy Let Fear Move Through You, So You Can Move Forward.

My Current Favorite Mood Boosters

My Current Favorite Mood Boosters

Life has felt a bit chaotic lately and I’ve been experimenting with ways to change my environment so that I feel more motivated and uplifted throughout the day. It can feel at times like there are so many little things to do, and I start to get wrapped up in the feeling of overwhelm that comes up if I stay staring at my to-do’s for too long. I start to worry if I’ll be able to get it all done and how I’ll feel if I don’t. And in order to get past those feelings (that are based in fear), I’ve had to force myself to get going first thing in the morning. Instead of dwelling in all the “what-if’s” I’ve learned to take things one step at a time and put my focus toward what I can do in this moment to set myself up for success. Here’s a few of my current favorite mood boosters:

GET ENOUGH SLEEP

Seriously, this one’s the most important. I’m a night owl by nature, but if I can get to sleep by 11:30 at night, I wake up earlier feeling so much more rested. And when I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier, I feel like I have more control over my days. I have the energy and time to make things happen during the day, as well as to wind down in the evening to relax and do something I enjoy- like cooking, going for a walk, binging a show or reading a book. 

READ

I’ve been sucked in to RHONJ a little too much as of late, and I realized I needed to do something else with my free time too (something a little more stimulating for the mind). I picked up my books again and now I’m hooked. I usually have one “self-help” and one fictional book going. The self-help I read when I’m in need of an inspiring, motivational pick-me-up, the fiction I read before bed when I’m looking for something enjoyable, relaxing and that stops me from thinking about all the things I “need” to do. 

PLAY MUSIC 

This one has made a HUGE difference in how I feel throughout the day. Alexa has country music going pretty much all day now in this house, and soon it’ll be switching to Christmas music (woo!). Silence is nice too sometimes, but there’s something about a little music playing quietly in the background of your day that sets the tone and makes you feel more energized and focused (or at least it does for me). 

LIGHT A CANDLE 

I’ve been loving this one especially now that the weather is beginning to cool down. Something about a room smelling like pumpkin vanilla just makes me so happy lol (what up Trader Joe’s candles!!! For reference, find them here. They’re much more affordable at the store). And I KNOW I am not alone here. But don’t just save it for the fall- this is something that can (and should) be done year round to add to the good vibes and intentions we’re setting for the day.

We’re slowly working our way back into a routine that makes us feel happy, fulfilled, motivated and accomplished over here. The wedding kind of threw us off our game a bit (no regrets), and I’m so happy we’re now establishing this new momentum in our lives. But this feeling doesn’t just come naturally with time. We have to be intentional. Because when we’re intentional about the environment we spend our time in, we become more intentional in how we use that time, too. Having some go-to’s for when you’re in need of a mood boost makes all the difference. Try these out and let me know what you think!

Do you have any other mood boosters you’d add to this list? Let me know, I’d love to try them!

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy How To Steer Your Mind In The Right Direction.

Weddings When You’ve Lost a Parent

Weddings When You’ve Lost a Parent

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- weddings are stressful. And what’s more stressful? The planning. Yet we dive right in and move forward because of how special they end up being. What’s that saying? Nothing in life worth having comes easy? That’s true for so many things in life- weddings included (and marriage, of course lol). But what makes it even more difficult for some? Throwing a wedding all the while knowing your parent/s won’t be there. Even if they’ve been gone for some time, spending these big life milestones without them can bring up so many emotions. Here’s what I learned (plus some advice) about weddings when you’ve lost a parent:

  1. During the planning process, vendors will most likely assume that your Dad is walking you down the aisle. I feel like I got real lucky with this one because none of my vendors point blank asked me about it, but I did have to fill out some questionnaires that explained the situation. Of course, this is their job and it’s good to get this information out there to avoid any awkwardness on your day, but it’s a very surreal experience having to explain that your Dad is dead and won’t be able to be there, over and over again. Get prepared for this part by setting time aside with your partner to make filling out these questionnaires as fun as possible. Most of the questions are lighthearted and just ask about things you both like, so you can make a fun date night of it. Then, when those other questions do inevitably pop up, you’ll have support there with you to keep your spirits high. 
  2. And with that, I think it’s also important to note that you’ll probably think you’re a unique case that a vendor has never dealt with before- a parent dying? No way. Every other person has a perfect family that’s never been through anything… NOT. As isolated as you may feel in planning this big event and not being able to live out some of the traditions you once thought you would, it helps to realize that so many others have (unfortunately) walked this path before you, and will after you, too. Take this as an opportunity to create your own personal touches and traditions and make it special and customized just for you guys. 
  3. Random things will happen in the years/months/days leading up to the wedding, and your big day will act as a reference point that will make you miss your parent even more (as if that was possible?). You’ll think about how they may have handled a certain situation, what they might have said to help you through, and how it would have made everything, including your wedding, so much better. Not a whole lot of advice I can give on this one other than just be prepared and remember, you can still vent to them whenever you need. I like to think they’re listening. 
  4. After the wedding you’ll likely run through all different kinds of scenarios for how things could have gone better, smoother, whatever, but the main one that will continue to stick out is how your parent would have been if they were there. What they might have worn, how they would have interacted with guests, if they would have given a speech, or cried when they saw you in your dress. How they’d laugh and smile and joke with you and make you feel at ease. Even just typing this makes me tear up. I can see my Dad so vividly. I can picture him on that day and how special it would have been to have my first dance with him. It’ll hurt when these thoughts pop up, but that’s okay. Let them. 
  5. As much pain as you may feel leading up to (and after) the big day, I can almost guarantee that when it’s finally here, you’ll feel them there and you’ll be over the moon. They may not be there physically, but I know my Dad was with us on our day, and being surrounded by so much love made all the pain disappear. It was an overwhelmingly magical, beautiful day and that’s exactly what I’ll remember it for. Before and after the wedding, it’s hard not to worry about the details, but during, if you can get your mind real quiet, you’ll be present for all the beauty that takes place. 

Sure, my Dad didn’t get to walk me down the aisle, but my Mom did. And no, he wasn’t there for our first dance, but my Mom was. Appreciate whoever steps up to be there for you on that day. Don’t take it for granted just because you were stuck on how things “should have” or “could have” been. I wrote a note to both my Mom and Dad the morning of my wedding. It was my way of acknowledging them both in the roles they played that day, and throughout my life so far. It was a moment to quietly honor my Dad, while showing my Mom how much I loved making those memories with her. Because I did- nothing taken for granted. 

Losing a parent sucks, and so does them not being there for the major life milestones that come up after they’re gone. But you know what also sucks? Wasting your life away wishing things were different. That doesn’t mean you won’t spend time thinking about them or paying tribute to them, but it hopefully means that you’ll also live your life as fully as possible at the same time. You deserve that. Remember, nothing in life worth having comes easy. And yes, this is applicable to weddings in general, but I’d argue even more so if you’ve lost a parent. No, it won’t be easy to plan and celebrate while feeling sadness for their absence, but those feelings are what will make it all just that much more worth it. Because even though they aren’t here physically, it doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the happy times, or that they won’t see you in those magical moments and smile. 

If you’ve made it through the loss of a loved one, I’m guessing you have a greater appreciation for life than you did before. A knowing that all magical moments must end, just like every other kind of moment. Planning and having a wedding can be stressful and incredibly overwhelming, but it is also full of things to appreciate and enjoy. So do that- appreciate everything and everyone who has gotten you to this point, and enjoy it all for what it is now. It may not be what you pictured, but it still sure is beautiful. 

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: Wedding Recap: Part 1.

Wedding Recap: Part 3

Wedding Recap: Part 3

Okay we’ve made it to the third (and final) part of the wedding recap (phew!). This was the part that everything the last 2 years had been leading up to. As I waited my turn, I watched our wedding party pair up and start walking down. My mom followed, and that was my cue to go. I barely remember this part- so many emotions I basically blacked out lol. It was so overwhelming, but in the best way possible. I just remember meeting my mom at the door, linking arms with her, and then walking down the steps trying not to trip over my dress. Then I was finally able to look up and really take it all in.

So many people standing, smiling and looking at me, my cheeks hurting from smiling so big and my eyes welling with tears. Seeing faces I hadn’t yet that weekend that I was so excited to finally find. Our wedding party waiting at the end and… Dan. My guy. I can’t wait for our wedding video because I feel like I barely remember this moment. I remember bits and pieces but very few details. I was trying so hard to be the most present I could possibly be, but those emotions take you on a journey haha. 

Before I knew it I was at the end of the aisle hugging my Mom and taking Dan’s hand. The ceremony was perfect. I loved every single second. And boy was I relieved when it was over- it felt like the party could finally begin! We took SO many photos and hugged and talked and laughed and barely ate and maybe peed one time the entire night, and once it was time to dance I was ready to go. I think that was my favorite part of the night because the pressure was finally off, there were no more “to-do’s” and we could just relax and enjoy. 

Then, after what felt like one second later, the last song played and we looked around at our emptying venue and soaked it all in one more time. Then we went home, ate in-n-out, showered cause I was real gross, and passed the f out. Weddings are EXHAUSTING. Especially when you’re running off of three hours of sleep.

We spent the next day getting brunch with everyone and had dinner with some of our SD friends, then headed up to Santa Barbara for our honeymoon (photos of that here). We had Remi in tow which made it so much more fun too. She loved sleeping in the hotel beds and now we’ve created a monster and she sleeps in our bed at home. 

On our way back we stopped in Vegas and played black jack until 5am (whoops). Then we drove the rest of the way and got home on Friday night (or Saturday morning) at 1am. This trip was seriously the most amazing once in a lifetime experience, but I don’t think we’ve ever been so happy to be home.

This whole wedding experience was incredible, but it also had its challenges. So many heightened emotions, you feel so out of your “normal” for so long and it begins to stress you out. All you want to feel is excitement, but in reality, it’s human to feel a range of emotions, so don’t be hard on yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed at times too. 

I know I say things were “perfect” a few times throughout these recaps, but what I should say is they worked out perfect for us. Some things did go wrong and, if I’m being honest, it was hard at times not to obsess over them. Like after the wedding when I learned that our polaroid battery had died, and so we were only able to get a few photos for our guest book. I was bummed at first, but then realized I didn’t want to waste my time feeling disappointed about something so small, when I could be using that time to just feel so freaking grateful for the amazing day we got to share with our people. 

Planning was quite the rollercoaster too and, although I still get stuck in little nostalgic moments sometimes, I am overall just so damn happy it happened so that we have these memories and can move on to a new chapter. I also think all of this was a lot for me because it served as a reminder of my Dad not being here (at least not physically). Thinking of what the day may have been like (or this whole wedding thing overall) with him involved, is hard. I know he would have loved to walk me down the aisle and share our first dance. It pains me to even think of it at times, but I’m also grateful I got to share those moments with my Mom- it’s all so so special. 

My best advice to anyone planning a wedding: don’t worry about the details too much, or about everything going “perfectly.” There is no such thing as perfect, at least not how we tend to think of it. What will make your day perfect are all the little personal touches and quirks that come out of it. You’re going to feel overwhelmed with emotions. LOTS of them. Try to focus your attention on the good ones and go with the flow. You only (ideally) get to do this once, so relax, soak it all in, and enjoy. I know… so cliche, but there’s a reason for that. And, if you ever need to be reminded that weddings don’t have to be “perfect” to be magical, just come back and reference this post- writing it has helped me and I hope it helps you too.

Now, onto that next life chapter. Excited to see what all it has in store for us. 🙂

Are you currently planning a wedding or have you planned one recently? Would love to hear your stories and advice!

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy Wedding Recap: Part 2.

Wedding Recap: Part 2

Wedding Recap: Part 2

So, now that you know all about our travels to San Diego and the events leading up to our wedding, I can take you through the actual wedding day. And let me tell you- it was magical. Seriously best day of our life- so far. I honestly wasn’t sure how I would feel the day of our wedding. I always thought I’d be a chill bride who had prepared everything super in advance so that I wouldn’t have a thing to worry about day of. Boy was I wrong lol. Well, not entirely. I’d like to think I was pretty chill, but I was definitely nervous too. I felt this way up until I saw Dan for the first time, but I’ll get to that in a bit. Here’s the wedding recap, part 2:

I’ll start with the moment I ended my last post with: waking up in our hotel. We woke up at 7am and first thing I saw, right in front of me, was a big blue sky, tall skinny palm trees swaying in the wind, a little morning dew on the window pane and the big beautiful ocean crashing against the shore. I got up to get a better look and saw people running along the boardwalk. I thought, “for them, today is probably just another ordinary day..but for me? IT’S MY WEDDING DAY!!” 

Through the lack of sleep induced grogginess, I pulled myself together and woke my friends up. They were real troopers and got up with me so we could all start the day together. Hair and makeup were knocking on our door at 8am, and after that it was a whirlwind of people coming and going as we all got ready. I felt like I had SO many things to do, but in reality it was just writing my vows in a booklet (I’d already written them in my phone) and doing hair and makeup. I mean, looking back more, I suppose there were many other things that needed to be done- little details that could easily be forgotten (writing cards, giving gifts, making sure I was ready on time, capturing all the special moments, doing my makeup that one certain way, etc., etc.), but my nerves were what really made it all feel so overwhelming. 

I was so nervous and excited that my stomach felt turned upside down for a good portion of the day. It was weird not seeing Dan all day and dealing with these feelings without him. I wrote my vows in the outdoor cafe at the hotel. Birds were chirping, the sun was starting to get real hot, and I remember my hands shaking as I wrote. They probably look like a five year old wrote them lol but they got the job done!! 

Another anxiety-filled moment was doing my own winged eyeliner (such difficult things I dealt with that day…hahaha). I did one eye and then had to take a breather before moving onto the next, I was THAT nervous. I’d done this eyeliner a thousand times before, but something about it being for my wedding definitely added pressure. Funnily enough, when my false eyelashes went on you couldn’t really see the eyeliner anyways, so -note to self- save yourself the trouble and don’t freak about your eyeliner being perfect if you plan to wear false eyelashes. 

I finally started feeling less anxious once everyone was ready. The mimosa I had may also have helped lol. During this time, the photographer and videographer came in and started snapping shots which brought a whole new energy. Things started feeling like they were moving more quickly- the time FLEW. 

Side note- make sure you ask someone to get food for your group for when you’re getting ready. You won’t feel like eating and it’ll be the last thing you think about, but seriously it’s so important. Don’t need anyone passing out at the altar. AND make sure you put a good playlist on while getting ready- seriously it’ll set the tone for your day. I loved the vibe so much I took a random video of the moment while I was getting my hair done. Just never wanna forget it 🙂 

Before we left for the venue we got some group photos on the hotel bed in our bridesmaid robes (basic I know- but also amazing. Cannot wait to see them!). We even got Remi up on the bed with us in her little flower girl outfit (here’s a pic of her– SO CUTE). She loved the attention- was living her best life for sure. Then I popped some champagne for the photos and hit a bridesmaid in the face with the cork HAHA whoops. Like I said, these girls were troopers. 

I got in my dress, took more pictures (of course), put on the final details, and then we were off! Ubered to my wedding in a full on wedding gown haha. Once we got there I snuck into the bridal suite so Dan wouldn’t see me, and that’s when I really started to feel nervous. I swear I didn’t notice one damn detail until I took a moment to breath, drink a white claw and look around. It was all so beautiful. 

I could hear our officiant and DJ doing soundcheck, people outside fixing last minute details, the guys doing who knows what. And there we were, my bridesmaids and I, waiting for the ceremony to begin. I cannot say enough how amazing my bridesmaids were. There was a point, while waiting in the bridal suite, when I needed lash glue, tweezers and tissue. Within our group at least one of them had one of those things. And they weren’t only great because they’re all basically Mary Poppins, they’re great because of the wonderful people I know them to be. I am seriously so damn lucky to have each of them in my life. 

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, it was time for the first look. Dan hadn’t been sure he wanted to do a first look, but once we did we were so grateful. The nerves melted away for both of us after that. It’s so strange having this person in your life who you go to for everything and vice versa, and on the biggest day of your lives you only get to see each other for the last half of it. We did it this way because it felt like it’d be fun, and I don’t regret it, but I also wouldn’t try to sell anyone else on going that route. I think there’s also something very romantic about waking up next to your person on your big day and spending a moment together to take it all in before the craziness begins. 

I would, however, if you don’t see one another in the morning, recommend doing a first look. It was such a sweet moment. We both cried and laughed and looked at each other awkwardly as more pictures were taken. We didn’t know what to do or say. I think both of us were just so overwhelmed and couldn’t believe we were actually finally in that moment. It was one of my favorite parts of the day. 

After our first look, it was time to go back and wait for the ceremony. And then FINALLY it was time to line up. I downed some more white claw, grabbed my bouquet, and off we went…

But more on that later 🙂

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: Wedding Recap: Part 1

WEDDING RECAP: Part 1

WEDDING RECAP: Part 1

Hi! This is the first post I’ve written in almost 2 months, since before my bachelorette party. What’s wild to me is that it feels like forever ago, and yet also like no time has passed at all. And now it’s been exactly one whole month since our wedding! So wild.

Between all the travel, the cold I was fighting, and all the feels I was feeling, I’ve had no inspiration to say anything of importance on here. My bridal shower had given me a glimpse into how I would handle all of these events, physically and emotionally. I tried to prepare myself as much as possible to not get in my head and go with the flow, but there’s really only so much prepping you can do. You don’t know how you’ll really feel until you’re in it, and I can say that, though this summer of once-in-a-lifetime events had me feeling anxious and heart-achingly sentimental at times (or all the time lol), it was the best freaking time of our lives and I will never ever forget it. As just that: the best time of our lives, so far. So now that I am finally recovered and feeling more like myself again, here it is… our wedding recap (part 1). 

About two weeks before we were set to leave to San Diego (just a few days after I’d gotten back from Austin for the bach weekend), I came down with a nasty head cold. I got tested for Covid, which came back negative, then proceeded to lay in bed -for what seemed like forever- hacking my lungs up, blowing my nose every 30 seconds, sleeping and binging RHONJ. I drank shit tons of water, downed vitamin c like no other, and ate really really freaking clean. Honestly, it kind of feels like I was just forced into “wedding day” prep mode a little early, which I wasn’t mad at. 

So, after days on end of taking vitamin c, zinc, and elderberry supplements, drinking water, eating raw garlic, and anything else under the sun that I thought might help me kick this thing, and just a few days before we were heading to San Diego, I STILL was not feeling fully better. My sore throat had come back and I decided I couldn’t mess around anymore- I needed to bring in the big guns. So I went into an urgent care and was so relieved to be met by a PA who really knew what he was doing. I told him my wedding was just a few days away and he set me up with literally everything I needed to get rid of my cold (antibiotics-ugh) and manage the symptoms in the meantime. I left feeling ready for anything that could be thrown my way (headcold-wise) and off I went to get ready for our road trip.

That was all on Sunday, and between then and Tuesday, I had a million things to do. But of course…sleep was what won most of the time. Things got postponed which stressed me out a bit, but it all got done and worked out in the end. Once I was finally finished packing Tuesday evening, we said goodbye to Moo and Sloaney, loaded up the car with all of our luggage, wedding decor and Remi, and we were off! 

The first night of the road trip was a little rough. There had been a mudslide on the 70, so we were sent on a detour that added 2 hours to the overall trip (making it 18 instead of 16 hours total…oof). It was a little creepy going along those backroads with no cell service in the middle of the night. There was even a point where we almost ran out of gas, but luckily we were able to find a station just in time. The creepiness factor was definitely not helped by the fact that we were listening to ghost stories/murder mysteries as we drove. I swear I saw like 14 ghosts sitting on the side of the road that night hahaha. 

What was really rough was that we didn’t sleep that entire night and I got extremely grumpy. Sick Sarah with no sleep.. she’s not a fun gal. We had been trying to make it to Vegas, but the detour messed things up and we ended up stopping at a random hotel in Utah. We took a 3 hour nap, freshened up, grabbed some food and got back on the road. That part of the road trip was MUCH better. Felt refreshed and less creeped out since we were back on a main road and the sun was out (see pics here).

We drove 5 more hours that day and then finally got to Joshua tree. Some of our wedding party/friends had also flown in and drove up from San Diego to meet us, and we all stayed at a pretty neat air bnb that I’d highly recommend. It had a hot tub, ping pong, a sunken fire pit.. seriously everything you could ever need for a Joshua tree trip (see video here). I remember getting there and feeling so relieved that we’d made it this far. The biggest part of the road trip was over and we could finally relax and enjoy ourselves. We made tacos, hot tubbed, played games and sat by the fire. It was the perfect way to kick off our wedding weekend. 

The next day we woke up, packed our things, and headed down to San Diego. On the way there I was finalizing seating charts and table arrangements (some of the things that had gotten postponed lol). It definitely stressed me out a bit, but once we got to San Diego and I could see the view of downtown, I started tearing up and felt overwhelmed with excitement. This was finally, REALLY happening. 

We checked into our air bnb, and were met by the cutest, most hospitable air bnb host to ever exist (he was a chocolatier who made us chocolates that spelled out “Welcome Daniel”- SO cute).  Seriously he was the best. Anyway, we got ready and then 30 of us met downtown at the Shout House, a dueling piano bar. We wanted to welcome everyone to San Diego with one of our favorite SD experiences, and, with this being one of them, it did not disappoint. (See pics/videos from this night here).

Mind you, I wasn’t really drinking this week because 1. I was on antibiotics and 2. I didn’t want to be/look hungover on my wedding day. I was a little bummed at first by this because I wanted to be able to let loose, but honestly looking back I’m so grateful that I got to take it all in as much as I did. I had an amazing time and I was fully present for all of it. That’s exactly what I had wanted and I’m happy it worked out that way. 

Friday was the rehearsal at the venue, and then the rehearsal dinner, which was at Dan’s parent’s beautiful air bnb that had an incredible view of downtown/mission bay/the ocean. We got pizza and white claws (cause we’re classy like that), played music, talked, laughed, danced and had an amazing time getting everyone more acquainted before the big day. That night was a bit of a shit show toward the end because I had to go back to the air bnb to pack my stuff and head to our hotel and I forgot my bag and thought I had lost it for about 15 minutes, but it all worked out in the end and two of my bridesmaids and I spent the evening eating french fries and salads, talking and getting ready for the next day. We ended up going to bed at like 4am (whoops) and had to be up at 7am. 

So the night before my wedding day I almost had a panic attack about losing my bag and only got 3 hours of sleep. These are just a few examples of how weddings ACTUALLY play out lol. You think it’ll all go one way and then it goes completely the other. But I’m not mad about it. It was perfect.

We’d gotten to the hotel at night, so we couldn’t really see the view out the window. On the morning of my wedding, I woke up between two of my best friends in a big, comfy bed, to a view of the ocean and palm trees right in front of me. It was the most beautiful way I could have asked to begin that day. 

More on that later <3

If you liked this post, you may also enjoy: Planning a Wedding: Covid Edition