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A Few Ways To Remember, You’re Never Alone

A Few Ways To Remember, You’re Never Alone

I experience many days where the feeling of loneliness creeps up on me. It’s never a conscious effort to bring it up, it just has a lovely little way of doing it all on it’s own (lol). And it says a lot that it happens without effort, because it shows me where I’m at within myself. What the world reflects back to you is more a reflection of yourself that it is of the world, because it’s how you’re processing in that moment based on your own experiences and biases. But guess what? Just because your perspective may have changed momentarily, doesn’t mean the world has. 

I find it comforting that, even when I am in a headspace of feeling like everything is working against me, everyone is mad at me, I’m alone in all my experiences, yada yada yada… it really is just a reflection of my mind. The world didn’t change- I did. The world doesn’t change- WE do (well, most of the time). And I can say 1000% percent that you are not alone- in this experience, or any other. Here’s a few ways to remember, you’re never alone:

  1. Breathe. Sit somewhere comfortable and consciously slow down for a moment. Quiet the mind. You may not realize it, but, if you’re feeling lonely, your brain is likely in overdrive and headed down a rabbit hole you’d probably rather avoid. I mean, the fact that you’re reading this shows that you’d like to avoid it, so good on you for being here. Anyway, our brains like to think. A LOT. With or without our consent. And we have a choice to put some skin in the game and tell it what direction and at what speed we’d like it to go. So take this opportunity to let it know you’d like to take it down a few notches and go in a more pleasant direction. I personally like to breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 2, then breathe out for 8. You always want to make the outward breathing the longest part. This activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which will let your system know that there is nothing to be worried about. This also stops your mind in it’s tracks and gives you an opportunity to redirect and focus on something soothing- like counting your breaths. 
  2. Meditate. The more I meditate the more and more I become an advocate for it. There are times when I feel I totally suck at it and literally think about stuff the whole way through, but even being aware that I am thinking is a great practice (and is really the whole point- to be aware if your internal dialogue). This helps you learn how to tune in and really sit with yourself when you’re feeling lonely or down. When those feelings creep up, don’t ignore them. Check in with yourself and ask why it is you’re feeling this way. Where do you feel it in your body? Once you’ve answered these questions, meditate. This will quiet the mind and give you a moment of pause and reflection. It’s like hitting the reset button. Seriously, it’s the best. 
  3. Read an inspiring book. Loneliness isn’t just about feeling physically alone. You can be surrounded by people and still feel like you’re the only one in the room. If you’re feeling alone in your experiences, it can be incredibly helpful to read about someone else’s experiences. Read a memoir written by someone you admire. Learn about their failures, successes and lessons along the way. Doing this always makes me feel connected to the whole of the human experience. It allows me to get into someone else’s mind, in the privacy of my own home, without having to actually talk to anyone, and really connect with them. That’s what I love about writing; it allows you the opportunity to share a part of yourself you wouldn’t ordinarily share, and that people might not ordinarily ask about. And those who do read it get a special glance into that part of you, leaving both parties feeling more connected. It’s pretty cool actually. 
  4. You might be able to guess what that last point leads me to… Journaling. I have a designated notebook for free-writing and the main time I use it is when I am way too in my head. If I feel lonely or not good enough or whatever, I get my notebook out and literally just start scribbling words. Whatever words are in my head I get them out on paper. And you know what’s funny? Not even a few minutes into writing some less than favorable things about myself, it turns into something really beautiful and inspiring. Sometimes you just have to get all the bullshit out of the way first, before you can access the really good stuff that makes you feel all fuzzy inside. But it’s there, even when you can’t feel it. All the surface stuff that comes before it isn’t you- it’s what you’re subconscious thinks the world thinks of you. And, since most of our subconscious beliefs are formed when we’re children, I think it’s safe to say not all of them are entirely reliable. Just be nice to the inner child within you, let them have their moment to express themselves in writing; your real voice will follow. 
  5. Talk to someone. I know it’s the last thing you probably want to do when you’re feeling lonely, because you feel vulnerable and alone in those emotions, but trust me, you are no where close to alone. Ever. Call up a trusted friend you feel safe with and share how you’re feeling with them. My guess is they’ll be so relieved you called, either because they’re currently feeling the same way and you can both help one another feel connected, or because they recently felt that way and they want to be there to help you out of it too. Human beings are so funny; we act as though we don’t need anyone, when in reality we really do. We are happiest when we feel a connection to our community, whether they be near or far. 
  6. And lastly, go for a walk. Get out into the world. Sometimes, when I’m feeling lonely, I’ll purposely make myself go out for lunch, or chai, or to walk Remi at the park, just so I can feel connected to the world. I spend a lot of time at home these days, which can leave me feeling very in my head. And sometimes, the best thing for you is to go out and be a part of the bustling world around you. It reminds you how big the world is and how small we really are (in a good way). That, even if we feel this way in our minds, it does not mean the rest of the world feels the same. You can still go out and have positive interactions with others and it’ll challenge those thoughts and remind you that you, in fact, are never alone. 

Knowing what you need and when you need it, when you feel alone, can be a challenge. The key is to really listen to your body and let it lead the way. If you’re feeling like curling up and reading a book, do that. If you’re thinking it might be nice to get out and feel the fresh air on your face, then do that. We all need different things at different times. Some of these suggestions may work for you, others may not, and that’s perfectly okay. Just try them out when you get those unwelcome feelings of loneliness, and see what helps.

One other tip I’ll give is to ask yourself whether you’re seeing things through a lens of fear or of faith, when you’re feeling lonely. Asking yourself this crucial question will help remind you that your lonely feelings are not based in reality, they’re based in fear. It’ll also help you move toward a more faith-based mindset, where you can see the world as a more loving place full of opportunity and abundance. 

The most important tip I can give on this subject though, is to always remind yourself that you are never alone. Our brains like to trick us into thinking that feeling this way is bad and that no one else ever does and that we’re lesser for doing so, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It is completely natural to feel these feelings. Try to see them as your body communicating to you that it needs something. Maybe you’re a bit disconnected and a little too in your head at the moment, and this is your body’s way of telling you to come back. To look around and take in your beautiful life. You’re not bad for that, it’s actually a good thing. It’s an opportunity to come back and be here. To feel connected to the world around you. Because, when you feel connected, you know you’re never alone.

What do you do to combat feelings of loneliness? Share your tips!

The Moment That Changed Life As I Knew It

The Moment That Changed Life As I Knew It

December 2017 was when we found out my Dad had a year to live. The moment that changed everything. We had already known of his cancer. He had undergone surgery back in May to remove his kidney, where they thought the cancer had been isolated. Things seemed to be going alright, life moved forward after that without much thought or talk about it. It was never on my radar that it might turn into something more. 

When I visited home for Thanksgiving that year, my Dad could not make it to dinner. He was too sick. Still, it never crossed my mind that it might be because of something life threatening. That the cancer had come back.

I remember my Mom calling me often about emergency room and doctors visits. She would sound so worried and I couldn’t understand why. I could not process the idea that something might really be wrong. With my Dad… The strongest, most wonderful person. The person who made the world feel safe, suddenly no longer could. 

Then the real call came. Well, actually, it was me calling them. I knew my Dad had an appointment that day to figure out what was going on. I knew it could be bad, but still hadn’t truly processed it. Still had no idea what I’d do, or what we’d do, if it was. It felt silly to think about when I just “knew” everything was going to be okay. 

But then I made that call. With knots in my stomach because it was weird they had not yet called me. Something was off. My Mom was the one to answer the phone. Actually, I don’t remember anymore if it was her or my Dad. I don’t remember the small chit chat anymore. I just remember my Dad getting on the phone and sounding so sad. So defeated. They had been told the cancer had come back- aggressively. And that he only had a year to live.

A year to live???

How does one even go about processing that? What do you do with that?

Guess it depends on the person.

He kept apologizing to me and I couldn’t understand why. This isn’t you fault? You didn’t chose this? Why are you sorry? It’s you this is happening to. Not me. 

But that was wrong. It happened to us all. My family dynamic changed forever. 

My Dad lost his Dad when he was about 19, if I remember correctly. He passed from an aggressive cancer as well, in his 50’s. I think my Dad somewhere deep down thought he might endure the same fate. He never spoke of it much, but it seemed as though this was not the first time he had thought of it as a possibility. 

I did not understand then, but do now, that he was apologizing because he knew what it felt like. To lose a parent that young. Here I was a hopeful, reckless, uninhibited 24 year old. Just moved to San Diego and had started my first job out of college. I was hopping on planes to fly across the country for 36 hour trips. I was meeting new people, experiencing new things, enjoying the newfound freedom of a first year out of undergrad. 

And then he got sick. It breaks my heart to remember that conversation. To think that he felt the need to apologize. It wasn’t his fault. 

When you’re in this situation, you think you’ll act a certain way or know what to say and do. But you don’t. Nothing makes sense. Everything hurts. It’s impossible to feel normal. 

But I’ve come to learn that normal is boring. Normal doesn’t do great things. Is normal even a real thing? I don’t think so. But whatever my “normal” was before- I don’t want it. I should be more specific- I want everything back about my normal life except the old “normal” me. I want my Dad here with my Mom and to call them and laugh with them and surprise them by flying home and jumping in their bed at 2am. 

But the old me can go. She was a little self-absorbed. It hurts to learn the pains of the world, but I’ve come to believe it makes for a better human. 

I know there are others out there struggling with losing a loved one. More than at pretty much any time in modern history. 

I want you to know I am sorry. I know it sucks. So much. Nothing anyone says can possibly make it any better.

I want to encourage you to take care of yourself. Seriously. Even when you don’t feel like it. Just do something that will make you feel good. Even if only for a second. Creating those moments, and trusting that they will still be accessible when you need them, will get you through. And the more often you create them, the more often they’ll begin to show up on their own.

I think of a girl in her 20’s who’s just been informed her parent might die. Or a girl who’s already lost someone. I think of me and what I needed in those moments. A place to connect. To feel understood. To learn new ways to be me again. To find the new me and to accept and appreciate every ounce of her. If that’s you- thank you for being here. I am honored to be of some service in this gut-wrenching, transformative time in your life; when life as you knew it, has changed as well.

How to Steer Your Mind in the Right Direction

How to Steer Your Mind in the Right Direction

Every morning when I wake I either feel light and happy and ready for the day, or an immediate feeling of dread consumes my body and I fear I won’t be able to accomplish anything (at least not how I hope to) for the day. The mornings that I wake up ready to go are my favorites. They’re the ones where I feel the endless possibilities around me and I show up excited to receive them. The other mornings I don’t like as much, naturally, and I’ve been trying out some new ways to turn them around before they determine more than they should. 

Recently I’ve learned that, from the moment we wake up, we begin to ask ourselves questions- whether it be conscious or not. We may talk ourselves into a complete panic with our inner dialogue without really being aware of it. We might ask ourselves “What are all of the things I need to do today?”, or “How am I going to be able to do that?”, “Will I be able to?”, “What if I look like an idiot?”

I’ve also learned that we can change this dialogue by becoming aware of it and more intentional about the kinds of questions being asked. This can actually begin the night before, as you prepare for the next day ahead. Instead of, “Am I really capable of this?”, maybe try something like “How am I going to show up in a way that I never have before?”, or “How am I going to show up in a way that makes a positive impact in the world?” 

Instead of focusing on one small part of your day and stressing out about whether it will go well or not, you can ask overarching questions that have the power to shape the entirety of your day. Asking yourself a question like that, before falling asleep, sets you up to ask it again in the morning to get you in the same mindset. Yes, stressful things are going on, but how will you show up for them? Will you show up in a way that you’re proud of? That makes you happy? That makes a positive difference?

Fear keeps us from doing great things. It is scary to put ourselves out there and open ourselves up to criticism. But this is the kind of stuff that makes life great. Without risk and vulnerability we are stable. And yes, stable is good, but not when it’s the highlight of your entire life. 

Failures happen when we’re trying to do better. When we’re challenging ourselves and learning new things. We should never stop doing that. Even if it doesn’t always work out the way we’d hoped. By asking yourself more strategic questions to get you into a focused and motivated headspace, you can approach your day head on, knowing full well that there could be failure, but there could also be great success. And even if there is failure, you’re still on the right track.

This week was a bit of a strange one for me. I just couldn’t get into a rhythm. But asking myself these kinds of questions had me feeling like I was still on the right track. The brain is designed specifically to solve problems, and, when left unattended, will go off and start trying to solve all kinds of problems that don’t even exist. Which, in turn, leads to anxiety. But, if we are conscious of our thoughts, we can direct them in the way we wish them to go. Asking questions forces the brain into problem-solving mode, and when we’re in charge we can direct it to solve realities we’re actually dealing with. Just have to point it in the right direction. 

My favorite question to ask when I’m stressed or nervous about something, has been “How can I make this playful?” As kids, we’re so good at creating and playing and using our imagination, without any regard for criticism. As adults, we tend to lose that magic skill, and we begin caring way too much about if we look stupid or not. If we can immerse ourselves in what we are wishing to focus on in a true and meaningful and playful way, we’ll get a lot more out of it and be able to create much more amazingness than had we been worrying about what others would think the whole time. 

This week was a weird week over here. But feelings come and go. And life sends us through cycles of highs and lows and it’s or job to know what we need and when we need it and trust that, when we’re in the low moments, that better vibes are just around the corner. And in the meantime, we can ask ourselves those questions that point us in the right direction. And also go on a walk with our dog and a seltzer. Solves pretty much anything if you ask me. 🙂 

What Makes You Feel More Like You?

What Makes You Feel More Like You?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted on Instagram asking what made you feel more like you. It’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I’d been feeling super off and a little down. I was struggling to find inspiration, motivation and confidence and I couldn’t figure out why that was, or how to get it back. I felt helpless to the idea that these feelings would come and go as they pleased, without much of my own say in the matter. 

BUT. What I realized last week in my big, BIG epiphany, was that I DO have a say in the matter. I do get to decide if I feel confident and inspired and motivated. Sure, I may not feel it intrinsically at times, but we do have the power to create it for ourselves. And, the more we do this, the easier it is to get into the swing of it again and again and again. It’s amazing really. How much power we truly have. It’s just hard to see it when you’re struggling to get out from under that little dark cloud that won’t stop following you around. 

What’s really funny about this epiphany that I had though, is that I knew the answer to my question all along. I already knew how to get myself out of a funk. In fact, it’s literally the entire reason I started this blog in the first place. And yet, I forgot. I forgot what made me feel like me. What inspired and motivated me and made me feel unstoppable. 

And what is it for me, you might ask, that makes me feel more like me? It’s giving myself some extra time to do my hair and makeup, and dressing myself up a bit. That’s it. Super simple. A little extra TLC to make me feel like my best self before the day begins. And yet, when I’m not in the best mood, it’s the last thing I want to do. Isn’t it funny how the things that will be best for us seem to always be the things we want to do the least? Salads over pizzas, water over pretty much any other beverage, working out over couch potatoing… (that’s right, I made it a verb). 

Here I am, starting a blog to encourage women to do what they need to do to be and feel like their best selves, based on my own personal experiences, and even I am in need of the reminder as well. A reminder that we deserve love. ESPECIALLY from ourselves. And maybe that doesn’t mean putting makeup on everyday. Maybe it’s actually quite the opposite. Maybe it’s as simple as taking your vitamins or remembering to moisturize.

When my Dad was sick, I travelled home to Portland to be with him and my family for the months leading up to his death. I felt so all over the place internally most days that I just wanted to crawl right out of my skin. But in acknowledging that my skin was the one place I will inhabit for the rest of my life, I instead decided to make it a more pleasant place to be. Ergo, my newborn obsession with makeup and hair tricks. 

After my Dad passed, I spent the entire next year committed to doing one nice thing for myself a day. Something that healed me, whether it be physical or mental. I started acupuncture and therapy weekly. I began to get my nails done and do face masks religiously. I honestly had never really found the benefit in any of these things prior, but I knew it’s what I needed. 

I may no longer rely on these things as heavily anymore, but their benefits have never dwindled. And I can see that more clearly today than ever before. Here I was thinking I was healed and that these things were more supplemental  for me than anything. But, in reality, I still need them more than ever. I will never stop needing them. 

Maybe those needs will change, as I do, but what I must remember is that making myself feel inspired and confident and loved are always a top priority. If I am going to inspire other women to unapologetically show themselves love way more often than society has ever taught us to, then I have to do the same. I have to truly live it. You can try your hardest to be self-sufficient and act as though you don’t need any of it, but the truth is, we all do. We all have the basic need of feeling loved and held. And providing this feeling, on our own, for ourselves, is the most healing and inspiring thing we’ll ever do. 

So now I pose this question to you: what makes you feel more like, well… you?

My Full Hair Care Run Down

My Full Hair Care Run Down

To be honest, I never really had a set routine for my hair up until about a year or so ago. I remember one summer, back when I took no care of my hair at all, a friend of mine asked me if she could borrow my heat protectant spray and I looked at her as if she’d just asked me the square root of *38M6%42@. It pains me to think I ever didn’t take proper care of my hair (ha, that rhymes), but what can I say? We live and we learn. And, better yet, my hair is still here to tell the tale. Here is my full hair care run down, with my favorite products and tools, that have helped me revive my locks back to (or should I say to better than) their original form- before all of the coloring, heat styling, etc.: 

  1. Everyone and their mother (and their grandmother) needs a good shampoo and conditioner. It’s important to pay attention to your hair because, believe it or not, it’s speaking to you. It’s constantly letting you know what its needs are, based on the reoccurring issues you’re experiencing with it. You can tune into this just by recognizing what your common complaints are and then remembering them long enough to do some research and see what’s recommended for you. Is your hair fine, medium or thick? Is it wavy, curly or straight? These will be some determining factors for your decision making process. For me, personally, I have fine stands and a lot of them. My hair gets weighed down pretty easily if I’m not careful, so I use a cleansing shampoo that I use twice each time, and then a heavy conditioning treatment that is designed to not weigh fine strands down. I do switch it up from time to time, with a purple conditioning treatment for my blonde, or whatever else I might be feeling that day (like a hair mask or something) but these are pretty much my usual go-to’s:

*Davines Oi Shampoo (use a small amount first on scalp, rinse, then normal amount all the way through to clean more thoroughly)

*Davines Melu Conditioner 

*Kevin Murphy Blonde Angel Purple Conditioner 

*Davines Miracle Conditioner  

2. Once out of the shower, hair still wet, I immediately apply a leave in conditioner and heat protectant. Make sure to check that whatever products you’re using provide both features, since some only provide one or the other and both are very important- if you plan on heat styling, that is. Otherwise you can just stick with a leave in conditioner. Here are my favorites as of late:

*In Common Magic Myst Spray (leave in conditioner + heat protectant) 

*Living Proof Nourishing Styling Cream (leave in conditioner) 

You’ll also want to make sure you’re using a wide-tooth comb to brush your wet hair, since this is when it’s in its most vulnerable state. Be super nice to it and brush from the bottom of your strands, up, to avoid damage (do this anytime you brush your hair, dry or wet). This is the one I’ve been using:

*Paul Mitchell Pro Tools Detangler Comb

3. From here, I let my hair air dry. If you don’t have time, no worries, just blow dry and move onto the next step. Either way, you’ll end up with the blow dryer and a round brush. I know there’s a super fancy way to do a blow-out, but I basically just run the ceramic-coated brush through my hair with the blow dryer on it all the way through to relax my curls and make it easier to style. Plus I feel like this gives some extra volume, which I NEED. Here’s the round brush and blow dryer I use and love:

*GHD Air Hair Dryer

*T3 Volume Round Hair Brush

4. Once my hair is dried and blown out, I take a straight iron and quickly run it over my roots and face framing pieces. These areas always keep a little curl, so I do what I can to smooth them to make the finishing look a little more polished. After this, I curl my hair. I use a regular curling iron with a 1.25 barrel. I work my way from back to front, curling small sections of hair in the direction away from my face. I begin in the middle of the strands and keep the ends out of each one. This gives it a more undone, lived in look- which I’m all about. My hair straightener and curling iron can be found here:

*BabylissPRO Nano Titanium 1″ Straightening Iron

*T3 SinglePass Curl 1.25 Inch Curling Iron 

5. Once I’m done curling I’ll usually finish off with a little texture spray throughout the middle of my strands and a hair oil on the ends. For upkeep, I do the same thing only I add dry shampoo as the first step. Dry shampoo the roots, texture the middle, oil at the ends. And voila! Perfect hair for days 1,2,3,4… whatever your preference lol. Here’s my favorites for each product:

*Prose Dry Shampoo (love this one because it’s clean and doesn’t use aerosol)

*IGK Beach Club Texture Spray 

*Oi Hair Oil (this will legitimately last you forever)

6. Some last tips I’ll share: 

-Try to wash your hair as little as possible. This keeps the heat styling to a minimum, plus you’ll save lots of $$ on product. I typically wash and heat style about twice a week.

-When you do wash, I’d recommend a scrubbing tool to aid in the shampooing/cleansing like this one.

-At the end of your shower, try blasting cold water on your hair (and body) for a few seconds. This has many benefits for the entire body, but for hair specifically, it helps lock in moisture and tightens hair follicles (resulting in less hair loss). It also helps your hair look shinier, which is always a plus. 

-For regular brushing I’d recommend a paddle brush. And for up-do’s I’d recommend sticking with a non-damaging hair tie when possible, like these. Also! A silk pillow case helps to keep frizz and breakage at bay.

And that’s it- my full hair care run down. I only cut my hair about 4 times a year and color about twice a year, so I try to get as much longevity out of each session as possible. I also just want my hair to be as healthy as it possibly can be at all times, which is great motivation to always try new things and see what works best. It’s become one of my favorite forms of self care, and I think my hair would say the same. 

What are you favorite hair care tips? Would love to hear from you!

Let The Bad Days, Be Bad Days

Let The Bad Days, Be Bad Days

This past Sunday was a weird day. I wouldn’t say it was bad necessarily, just a little off. It seemed like everything that I tried to do just didn’t go as planned. Nothing major, but when the small inconveniences build up it can still get a little overwhelming. As I was stumbling my way through running errands that evening (since I was literally making everything difficult for myself) I remembered something I’d been told many times before: Life isn’t meant to be easy.

I feel like that’s one of those cliche’s you hear all the time, but never really give any real thought to. Or at least I hadn’t. I’d hear someone say it or read it somewhere and nod vigorously in total, unwavering agreement. Yet, when it really came to applying it in my everyday reality, I’d always forget about it.

But this Sunday was different. Because while I was having an off day, I suddenly remembered this simple, incredibly helpful, fact. For most of my life I had it easy (in most ways, I still do). But once my Dad became sick I kind of had to have a come to Jesus moment with the fact that being alive meant things like this would happen too. And that it was pretty much completely out of my control. What a freaking thing to have to come to terms with in such a short amount of time. In all honesty, I think I am just now getting around to realizing what it means to truly understand and accept it.

My response to it at first was to try with all my might to control it. Or at least predict it. I’d worry endlessly about someone else I loved, or myself, becoming ill, getting hurt, or dying. When someone would refer to the future with such certainty, as I would have in the past, it suddenly didn’t feel right. How could you say so confidently that “there’s always next year?” I’d almost feel that I was jinxing it by saying something like that, so I kept my mouth shut and just prayed for the best. 

Brené Brown says that joy is one of the most vulnerable things you can feel. And now I really understand that one too. I used to feel joy without a doubt in my mind. Now I feel it and immediately follow up with the fact that it won’t last forever. It’s exhausting, always stunting your joy before you’ve even really had a chance to feel it. 

All of this need for control totally took away my ability to just feel happy and relax. Attempting to control everything that happens to you and your loved ones and everyone else in the world, and wanting everything to be perfect and for everyone to feel safe and loved, is a lot to place on your shoulders. Not only is it a lot, it’s setting yourself up for complete and utter failure. And massive disappointment. 

This past Sunday, when I remembered that life is not meant to be easy, it finally sunk in that I do not have control. And that it’s actually really beneficial to find acceptance with that. It doesn’t mean you accept the bad things that happen, which is what I think I’d thought it meant all this time. It means that you have to accept that regardless of how hard you try to keep it from being so, bad things will happen. To you, to your loved ones, to the world. Bad things happen everyday. But so do good things. A LOT of good things. And trying to predict and avoid any and all possible things that could go wrong, tear away any opportunity you might have to experience everything that could go right. Plus it distracts and discourages us from doing good in areas we may be able to actually help change, too.

Take it from me, someone who has tried to control everything and has constantly “waited for the other shoe to drop,” life changes for the better when we release our attempts to control things that are already, and unchangeably, completely outside of our control. Bad things can, do and will happen. There’s no way around it. But our reaction to it and how we choose to live our lives in spite of it, is what really helps us through. When we acknowledge that life is actually meant to be a struggle, we won’t be blindsided when shit hits the fan. AND, when shit is not hitting the fan, we also give ourselves permission to fully immerse ourselves in and feel those moments of joy. We realize that no, those moments won’t last forever, but that it’s a privilege to have them at all. When we stop trying to make everything perfect, we can see it for the perfect that it already is. And when we see its perfection we can trust it more fully and live in a way that makes us feel truly alive. Appreciating every little moment, knowing nothing lasts forever. 

You Are Loved. You are You. You Are Perfect.

You Are Loved. You are You. You Are Perfect.

I’ve been reading the book, Untamed by Glennon Doyle. If you’ve read it, or are familiar with it, then you know it’s a story about a woman who colors within the lines, or tries her darnedest, for a majority of her life. Then, something magical happens. She decides to be unapologetically herself and unapologetically happy for it. Naturally, this has me thinking a lot about my currently over-apologetic self and how I came to be this way.

You see, society conditions us (men and women, but for these attributes I’m speaking specifically to women) to be seen and not heard. To be polite and pleasant and always put others before ourselves. We pride ourselves and base our entire worth as a woman on how helpful we are, or at least how helpful others perceive us to be. We feel guilt the moment we share an opinion that might come off as “too strong”, or when we want to do something that might disrupt our own, and others’, comfortable way of living. If we speak too loud, hurt someone’s feelings, do something for ourselves over doing something for someone else, we are pushed into a shame storm that lasts until we can finally redeem ourselves and someone by the grace of God comes along and tells us just how “good” we actually are. That feeling of validation for being someone society wants us to be, is exactly what keeps the vicious cycle going. 

The idea of jumping off this wild carousel ride feels intimidating, almost impossible. As humans, we so badly want to be “liked.” We want others to think we are good. And we’ll do anything to get that stamp of approval. Of course, we don’t want to be running around like a bunch of assholes, but to what extent is making others happy causing us to lose ourselves? If we aren’t careful we might just end up as shells of humans with pretty hair, pretty smiles, and our entire existences spent searching for the next validating moment that tells us that we, indeed, have succeeded as the figure of a woman society so happily constructed for us. 

I find myself lately asking for validation way more than I’m comfortable with. Way more than I think many of us would feel comfortable with. Confirmation to ensure that I’m not being too much, but also reassurance that I am still enough. A tight rope I’ve walked my whole life, that I have only brought myself to question a handful of times. I have put the responsibility of making sure others feel comfortable, that others feel happy, before myself. I will feel uncomfortable, I will feel unhappy. So long as others around me don’t. So long as they think I’m nice and pretty and pleasant.

But within those lines is not where great things happen. Life, real life, cannot happen there. There, we do all the things we think we’re supposed to do. The things we think we “should” do. And then a whole life passes and you look back and realize you never really did anything you actually wanted. You never really lived your life for you. 

We’re told that we can’t be contradictory or controversial. Everyone is much more comfortable with us being calculated, careful. But we can make mistakes and still be good. We can have strong opinions and stick by them even when it makes others uncomfortable. We can exist in our fullness without being sorry for it. What we cannot do is survive in a life where every little action and reaction is given all of our energy to think through it first in fear of how it’ll be perceived. Or where we would rather live with caution, never putting ourselves out there, in fear of rejection. 

Our existence is not purposeful in making others feel comfortable. Our existence becomes powerful when we give others permission to live their lives fully, by living ours fully too. I can think back to many times when society has tried to keep me locked in a perfectly finished little box. It still does. And I still feel the pressure of those walls. Every time I think of myself as lesser I am reminded that they are still there. But there’s a way out of that box. It’s not locked. We can choose to challenge those thoughts and feelings and decide that we are both not too much and more than enough, all on our very own. 

We are all capable of amazing things. No favors are done by shrinking into “should.” It is a great disservice, to yourself and to the world, to be anything but you. A you that lives life how they want, on their terms. A you that loves themselves, unconditionally and unapologetically. We must forgive all the apologies from our past, people-pleasing selves, and trust ourselves enough to make way for the new, shiny, unapologetic being that’s been here inside us all along. Just waiting to break free.

She is loved. She is you. She is perfect.

<3,

Sarah

Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

Happy Valentine’s Weekend!

I know not many of us are all too keen on the whole idea of “Valentine’s Day,” but, to me, I have found it to be quite an uplifting and joyous occasion. Not because of romantic relationships, per se, but more so because it is a reason to celebrate love. And love comes in all different shapes and sizes.

When we’re born, our first loves are our parents. As we grow, our love stems to new friends and mentors. Later on, we may find love romantically as well. Then eventually, for our children, if we have them (and of course, love for our fur babies!). And hopefully, through all of this, we feel the most important love of all- the love we have for ourselves. And all of these kinds of loves give lots of room to celebrate this holiday however you please, really. 

In my opinion, there is no greater gift you can give another than to love them unconditionally, and there is no greater gift you can receive than to feel that same kind of love in return. Not just romantically, but for everyone we love and care for, including ourselves. I think we all too often go through life thinking we have all the time in the world, that those we love know just how much we really love them, and that there is no need to make sure of that right this very moment. But, the truth is, we don’t have all the time in the world. It never hurts to tell our loved ones, again and again, of how much we really love them. And we do need to tell them- right this moment, and every moment we are lucky to have with them. 

It would benefit everyone greatly if we lived our lives like we only had right now, and stopped bemoaning Valentine’s Day because you “hate love.” You don’t hate love, you just hate some of the shitty situations you’ve found yourself in that you considered to be “love”. But what about taking this holiday as just another opportunity to share our love with those who really make us feel that warm and fuzzy feeling inside? I’m sure your mom would love a card, your best friend would love some chocolate, and you would probably appreciate doing a little something nice for yourself as well, right? We can spend any day doing these kinds of sweet gestures, and all Valentine’s Day has to be is a designated day to really do it up. 

So go wild. Spread the love. Not just this Valentine’s Day, but every day. Because you need it. Your people need it. The world needs it. Life is hectic and dark at times, but love always wins. And I don’t know about you, but at this point in my life I will take any reason to celebrate love and share as much of it as I can, with as many as I can. 

I hope you all have a wonderful Valentine’s weekend and that you get to spend time with those who make you truly feel like your best, most lovable self. Because that’s what you are- always.

<3,

Sarah 

What I Learned During Dry January

What I Learned During Dry January

Let me ask you a serious question. What’s the longest you’ve gone without one single sip of alcohol in your adult life? For me, I honestly couldn’t remember up until this past January. We spent the holidays last year like any other, drinking/eating a lot, and doing fun stuff with people we love. What was different for us this time, however, was that after all was said and done, we decided to go cold turkey on the drinking for the entire month of January. It seemed like such a great way to start the new year fresh and on a positive note, and also didn’t seem that hard to do, at least in the very beginning. Here’s what I learned during 31 days of no drinking:

  1. Your skin looks SO much better with no alcohol in your system. I don’t necessarily break out more when I drink, but my “fine lines” are definitely more visible after a glass of wine or two. I know you’re supposed to drink lots of water while consuming alcohol, to offset the effects of dehydration, but honestly who is on top of that 100% of the time? Not me. Because of this, I REALLY enjoyed waking up to a youthful, glowing complexion almost every morning in January. Will not be taking that for granted!
  2. Your body just feels better when you’re not drinking. I used to wake up slightly hungover even just from having two glasses of wine, but when you’re not drinking you wake up feeling great pretty much every day. Which is freaking amazing. Alcohol also messes with your REM cycle when you sleep, so no alcohol means you get better rest overall. 
  3. Alcohol is actually a carcinogen, meaning it has the ability to affect cell production and cause cancer in the body. I’m usually all about clean eating and avoiding foods/products that can cause harm, so why do I not associate alcohol with this group? Now, I’m not saying we should live in fear and avoid everything just to hopefully live to 150 (cause who wants to live to 150??), but I do think it’s smart to be mindful of what alcohol actually is, so you can remember to consume in moderation and treat your body with respect. Alcohol actually speeds up the aging process, and, while I am certainly not trying to live to 150, I also am not trying to speed things up either. 
  4. I still have anxiety when I don’t drink. For the longest time I have blamed anxious feelings/thoughts on alcohol. Even if I had one glass of wine the night before, if I felt off at all the next day, I’d immediately blame it on the alcohol. Which, could have had something to do with it, sure. But every single time? Probably not. This was an easy scapegoat so that I could carry on throughout my day without actually checking in to see where the anxiety was stemming from. Without alcohol, I had to develop a new practice. Alcohol couldn’t be the reason anymore, so I started journaling more, reading more and generally just doing more great stuff for my mind and body. Which was an amazing perk, and actually led to less anxiety overall. Win! 
  5. Not drinking makes you WAY more productive. Now, I am not an advocate of working more than what you personally feel allows for a balanced, healthy lifestyle, but I will say that not drinking helps you go longer than you otherwise might- like the cute little Energizer bunny. Some days, when I’m done with work, I’ll pour a glass of wine, read an article and relax. And while I love this time to myself, the problem ends up being that I suddenly have zero motivation to get anything else done afterwards. Folding the laundry? Hell no. Doing the dishes? Absolutely not. Doing anything other than getting some chips and watching 17 episodes of RHOBH? Not happening. So, if you’re trying to keep the productivity mode on longer throughout the day, maybe postpone the wine, or skip a drink altogether. 

Many lessons learned on this road we (Dan and I) just ventured down, and I am happy to report that I am so glad we did it. Sure, it was a bit unsettling when in the beginning my first thought every Sunday was to go to brunch and get a bloody mary. And yes, it was much more difficult towards the end and I’m not going to try to convince you that I didn’t almost cave a time or two. But, overall, this experience is something I would recommend to anyone who feels like they’re in a bit of a life funk, and needs to do something drastic to get out of it. Not drinking for 31 days gave my body and mind the reset it needed, helped me stay motivated and inspired to do things I love and that fill my soul, and made me a better human overall. Alcohol, as nice as it can be, can also be an agent for numbing and not being fully present in your life. We only have so much time, so we don’t want to waste too much of it buzzing on the couch staring at a TV screen. There’s so much knowledge to learn and experiences to have! Spend 31 days 100% sober with yourself, and let me know how much more you love and appreciate the “new” you at the very end. 

Cheers! Oh wait, too soon?

<3,

Sarah

My Love/Hate Relationship With Moving

My Love/Hate Relationship With Moving

So, even though we did not end up moving forward with our house (see Our First Home Buying Experience), we are still moving to another apartment this weekend. We are moving into a two bedroom/two bath with a friend of ours for the next year. Definitely a mental transition to go from thinking you’re moving into a beautiful, brand new, spacious home, to a two bedroom apartment in the same complex you’re currently in, but things could be worse. 

In fact, this situation has shown itself to be a pretty big blessing in many ways. We’re all about to be able to save more money in the next year than we thought originally, and we have more time to find the house that’s meant for us. Plus we get to live with our friend, who’s super great, so I think it’ll be a fun experience. We also get a beautiful view of the mountains from the new apartment, so that’s a plus too. 

Regardless of all the pros, I have many many mixed emotions around moving. And that’s not exclusive to this moving experience at all. I feel this way EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Even if I’m ready to move, it still stirs in me such a bittersweet feeling that I just can’t shake. 

I love the apartment we’re in now. Sure, it’s small (one bed/one bath), and inconvenient that the closet is connected to the bathroom and annoying that the bathroom has a sliding door that Remi is able to push open with her nose so you can never “go” in peace, but this is also the first and only place we’ve lived since we moved to Denver. And so much has changed since then. 

I remember walking into this apartment for the first time in October 2019. I was emotional and exhausted and when I walked through the door, it only got worse. We had left our friends and our whole lives behind in San Diego, only to come here and be met with an empty, cold apartment, and no friends to be found. 

I was also in my last term of grad school and was working full time, and the whole month prior we’d gone to a wedding, crossed the country to visit family, travelled to Bali for a week, all the while having our stuff moved to a new state, working and going to school. I was a WRECK to say the least. Plus I am EXTREMELY sentimental and every goodbye felt like a punch to the stomach.

But, since then, this place has become one of the homiest places I’ve known. We’ve decorated and made memories here and have grown so much since that first night. We’ve grown apart from friends and grown closer to others, developed new habits, new hobbies, adventured, gotten a pup and a kitten, learned to cook better, blasted music on Saturday mornings while making breakfast, gotten to know ourselves better… SO much has happened here. We’ve done so much growing and I feel like an entirely different human than the one who walked in the door all those months ago. So wild how quickly things can change.

This reminds me of one of my favorite sayings, “Isn’t it funny how day to day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” It’s funny how life happens like that. One moment you feel one way about your situation, and then life continues and you begin to feel differently, and you don’t even realize the change until you take a moment to reflect and look back. As Andy from the Office says, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

GAH. All the feels right now haha I’ve spent many nights, right before bed, staring out into our living room/kitchen area, looking back to our cozy cave of a bedroom, and just feeling so freaking grateful that we are here. 

Sure, it felt a little touch and go in the beginning, but I ended up loving every moment in this place. And the other funny thing is that I know I’ll feel the same about the next place too. That’s just kind of how things work. You may be really happy where you are, but change is imminent and so so necessary. Phases never last forever, and, though we may feel resistance to new stages at first, we almost always end up discovering that what we had feared had no basis at all, and that we evolve and adapt better than we ever could have imagined. We can appreciate the last stage and maybe would have stayed there longer, had we had the choice, but we’re so happy to be in the next stage because it’s pretty great too. 

Resistance and surrender, resistance and surrender.. that’s all there is to it.

When was the last time you had to move? What were your feelings around it? Please share your stories, I’d love to hear them!

<3,

Sarah