Sunday, November 26, 2017

Off Your Rocker

A lot of my posts have to do with mental health. I do this as part of my own personal therapy. I feel like there is still such a stigma when it comes to mental disease, but I also feel like it's important to self-healing when you're true to yourself and your shortcomings. Dealing with anxiety and depression definitely sucks; you're in your head all the time, you can be having a great time out with friends and then just really want to go home, sometimes it prevents you from evening making plans in the first place, and it can really get you down sometimes. Fortunately, I don't suffer from worse, like manic bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, body dysmorphic disorder--but that doesn't make it any easier during a panic attack or a day where I can't find the energy to get out of bed.

Through research and common sense, though, I've compiled a short list of "dos and don'ts" when it comes to bettering/worsening your mental state. Although having a mental illness doesn't mean your life is over, there are things that you should make a conscious effort to do, and some you should avoid doing. 

Take your fucking meds!
Too many people decide that they "feel better" and just stop their medication. Whether it be due to unwanted weight gain, having horrible memory and forgetting, or just being ashamed that they have to take a daily medication--you're on the medication for a reason. Would you rather pack on a few extra pounds, yet be a sane person that others want to associate with?...or are you that vain that the worst thing you can be is fat?  Plus, when you suddenly stop taking your medication, your body does withdraw. With my new medication, if I don't take it everyday I will literally get a headache or dizzy spells. My body can tell me "hey, you need your medicine"...and I listen. I'd rather be chunky than crazy, that's for sure. 

Working out is medicine in itself. It could be a daily walk around the neighborhood, a Zumba class or some cardio at the local gym...just get your blood pumping! Release those endorphins; you'll feel better inside and out!

Don't drink alcohol, especially in excess!
Alcohol only worsens things. I know people tend to lean towards alcohol to "forget", but when you're a sloppy mess that's 10 seconds away from a complete mental breakdown, it's time to put down the wine and reevaluate your life. You know those girls that get super emotional and cry when they get drunk?...almost certain it's due to their anxiety. Overanalyzing everything in your head and being drunk is a bad combination. A drink here or there is NBD, but when you slam back half a dozen drinks and start talking gibberish via text or social media, you may have a problem. Plus, antidepressants and alcohol are not a good combo--it even states that on every single bottle you fill.

Stay away from triggers
Easier said that done sometimes, I know, but try your damndest to stay away from people or situations that you know are going to trigger you. Have a friend that unintentionally makes you feel bad about your life? See them sparingly. Have family that constantly fights/complains? Visit on only the holidays. Have an ex that you KNOW made you unhappy? Don't fucking go back. It's easier to make these decisions once you have a good sense of self-awareness...without it, you will keep falling back into things that make you sick, not better.

Be OK with not being OK
Find a friend or two that you know that you can trust to come to when you're feeling exceptionally low. There's no reason to display an episode for the whole world to see, but it's important to have someone that you can turn to when you're having a rough time. You're allowed to NOT be OK. When you have a mental illness, there are going to be good days and bad. Even if you DON'T have one, this is also true. But knowing that you have a good support system is part of helping yourself. Whether it be a workout class, a therapy group, your BFF or just having a good cry--it's important to be self-aware and do what you can to make the situation better, not worse. 

Try talk therapy
Like I said, I've been doing this for over a year now. My last therapist all we really did was talk, but my new one is doing EMDR with me ( along with some talk therapy ) Find what works for you. Some people have more than one therapist. Some go once a week, some go a few times a week. It's all about trial and error. I know that it's not cheap, but if you don't have mental health coverage with your insurance, you can also find solace speaking to someone at your local church. Or finding groups online for people who have your same issues. It's easier, I feel, to talk to someone who has experience or knows first hand about what you're going through. When you talk to a world that has no idea, all you look like is a fool. 

I cannot say enough how important self-care is. And you cannot find that within another person. You're not going to die if you're alone for a few years. You don't need to have a man/woman in your life to be whole. It's actually the opposite. Part of being self-aware is that you realize that you can do it on your own and that you don't need another person to "complete" you. For a long time, I was like that--so concerned with always being with someone because I felt like I NEEDED someone all the time. But through experience and heartache, being alone and enjoying that time, I learned more about who I am and what I'm capable of. I don't need anyone else, so those that I have in my life are not out of necessity but want. And that self-awareness helped strengthen me and alleviate some of the depression. Realizing that the only person who can truly affect your depression/anxiety/bipolar is you! 

If you want to be happy, you need to manifest it. Yes, it takes time and a lot of work...but it's achievable. Having anxiety means I'm always in my head; this being said, I try to "be in my head" positively instead of negatively so that I don't worsen my symptoms of sadness. Having a positive attitude is hard when you've never practiced it, but the only way to get better is to stop doing the things that weren't working and try something new! 

Be smart, be aware and be kind.


Friday, November 24, 2017

Dat November Birchbox, Yo...

It's Friday night ( also, Black Friday )...I ain't got shit to I'm sitting here with my rum and Diet and we're gonna talk about my Novembre swag.

That wasn't a typo--that's November en espanol...

I'm actually going to do my reviews A WEEK BEFORE THE MONTH ENDS! It's a gotdamn miracle! 

Here are the goodies:

Wilma Schumann Hydrating Eye Pads
I haven't tried these yet because I usually like to do a "spa night" and use the sheet masks, eye pads, nose strips and moisturizer all in an evening. So I will be keeping these for a night I need a little bit of pampering!

Klorane Shampoo/Conditioner with Mango Butter ( Dry )
I love the way this duo smells, O.M.G! The mango scent is not at all overbearing and you can definitely tell that it's a good shampoo because it doesn't lather a whole lot. I used the shampoo yesterday before turkey day festivities and woke up to another good hair day. So any product that can get me two consecutive days without fly-aways and a messy bun are good in my book!

LAQA & Co. B'Lighter Blush/Highlighter in Peacher's Daughter
I used this product as a highlighter and it looked stupid on me. The color looks horrible with my complexion and, since it's a wax, it's super easy to put WAY too much on ( in which I did ) I felt like a gotdamn Cabbage Patch doll afterwards. Thank God for powders to help tone it down. Not. For. Me.

Avene Hydrance Intense Rehydrating Serum
I used this once with no complaints. I have other products from this brand, and any brand that doesn't cause me to break out is A-OK with me! I was a little hesitant with how "wet" the moisturizer was at first, but it soaked in fast and didn't sit on top of my face. I didn't wake up with any new pimples, either. Plus my nose hasn't been so dry, either.

Stila Cosmetics HUGE Extreme Lash Mascara
LOVE IT! I loooooove it! Great mascara! Nice full lashes. Big application brush. And the sample is a decent size, unlike some of the smaller samples that I've received. This product is definitely my favorite from this month.

My December box is available to customize come November 29, so I have about 5 days left before I can see if there are any samples I have to have. November was considered box #8 so I have a total of 4 more before my subscription ends.

Do any of you have any boxes that you love that you would recommend trying out? Let me know in the comments section below!


Thursday, November 23, 2017


Happy Turkey-Day Y'all!

It's the day we give thanks for our blessings and then die of a food coma for a few hours. It also happens to be my favorite holiday! Can't go wrong with turkey ( dark meat, please! ), mashed potatoes ( um, I'm Irish ) and that motha-fuckin' punkin' pieeeeee! NOMNOMNOM!

On this day, though, we are to be thankful for the good in our lives and not dwell on the bad. Sometimes it's hard to practice that during the rest of the year...or even on just this one day. I know this year has been quite a shitty one: the loss of Nathan's sister, almost $10k spent in vet bills, being rushed to refinance the house, losing Haley, Lola's surgery. I lose site of reality when it feels like the walls are crashing inward. But I like to take this day and reflect on some positives. It also helps that I'm currently reading a book by Daniel Chidiac called Who Says You Can't? You Do that also urges me to see the brighter side and focus less on the negative. 

This book asked me to write what I appreciate down on a piece of paper and recite it for three mornings in a row before continuing on. Well...I haven't been too good about said request. I do have it taped up in my bathroom, though, beside my mirror--so if I DO get ready for work, I can recite them. He asks you to write "inner" appreciations, as well as outer. These are my 10 of each:

As a whole, we are "programmed" to never be satisfied. Whether it is instilled in us or not instilled in us, we all strive to be better or have better. When do we truly sit down and think about what we are thankful for? I think we are too busy comparing ourselves to others and looking at what other people have instead of focusing on the things we ourselves have. I know I'm guilty of it; seeing people with big houses, picture-perfect families, awesome jobs, well educated, constant opportunities, money. But then I have to bring myself back to reality...we ALL have our own personal issues and NO ONE'S life is perfect. 

So to put both my feet back on the ground, I want to write some things that I am truly thankful for ( with specifics, if necessary ):

1. I'm thankful to have mental health services covered on my health insurance. Therapy is something I've felt that I've needed for years but since it's pricey, I never had the opportunity. Working where I do, my sessions are a specialty copay and I can go as often as I want. I've been seeing a therapist for over a year now and I'm very grateful to be able to get myself the help and support that I need.

2. I'm thankful for my health. Although I suffer from mental health issues, which at times can be upsetting, my physical health is good. I've brought up my weight concerns to my doctor and she had no issue with it due to the fact that my blood work is clean. I have no incurable diseases nor due I have anything going on borderline.

3. I'm thankful for a roof over my head, food to eat, heat, central air, hot water and a bed to sleep in. Not everyone has those luxuries, especially these days. I sometimes wish I had this or that or a bigger place or more land and then I realize that what I have is perfect. It's enough. My house ( I can say that now!! ) is the perfect size for 2 people, we own it so we can do whatever we want to it, I can have as many pets as I want, I was able to paint it and decorate any way I wanted and it's *mine*. I may not have "picked it out", but I made it a home and I pay the mortgage on time every month and it's good for US.

4. I'm thankful that I got my shit together when I did and had the sense and ability to maintain a savings account. Of course I always want more, but having that account eased some of the vet bill stress, I'm able to pay my car insurance in full every 6 months, if something goes wrong with my car I have something to fall in to, and I can *finally* take a vacation out of the country. Growing up with little-to-no money and literally working in high school to buy clothes and school lunches, I understand the value of a dollar. Even when I have money, it's important to me to bargain shop and get the most I can from it. You never know what tomorrow can bring, and it's important to me to be prepared for anything.

5. I'm thankful for my good friends and the people I love for loving me in return. I know I can be a handful sometimes and I know that I used to be super overdramatic when I was younger. I know why I was and I'm growing/have grown from that. I've learned to speak less and listen more, and that the world does not revolve around me and my life "coming undone", nor do I need attention like that now that I'm more secure within myself. Everyone has shit. But I've weeded people out of my life that are self-absorbed like that and have no desire to change. The people I have around me now are ones that I truly would do anything for and I know they would do the same. There may not be many, but at my age I'm much more concerned about quality over quantity. 

I spent today with my dad and sister, then we went to Nate's grandma's for dinner with his mom and brother. I ended up making deviled eggs and mini cheesecakes for dad's house. I spent some time with Madilyn and caught up with everyone. My dad is having rotater cuff surgery tomorrow. 

I've decided to start writing down good things that happen to me and putting them in a jar. I saw the idea online and it resonated with me. I feel like 2017 has just been a generally shitty year and I'm hoping 2018 doesn't follow suit, but to even be able to physically SEE blessings on sheets of paper in a jar may invoke some hope. We tend to see the good through all the bad, and having a reminder could be helpful.

Guys, it's super important to try to focus on the positive. I know that it's fucking HARD, but with suffering from anxiety I've realized that when I focus on the bad, it becomes a downward spiral that can last for days. I don't want to be sad and always wanting and pessimistic and being the person to let hateful people get to me--it doesn't make me HAPPY. Happiness starts with you and your mindset.

As I always mantra for life...

Fake it 'til you make it! 


Monday, November 20, 2017

You Do YOU, Girl ( or Boy )

"Don't do shit that makes you feel like shit!" - Mr. Black

"Mr. Black" is my friend Anthony, whom I became close to during my brief time living in Seminole, Florida. He is a fellow blogger ( Mr Black Talks ) and he also has his own podcast, in which I listen to regularly. 

Well, I was listening to The Love Examiner the other week and the segment was called Tis' The Season To Cuff. I was actually headed to Pittsburgh to see a friend when I was listening to the episode and when it was over, I thought "I need to blog about this"...that beginning QUOTE made me want to blog about this...

Self-care is an essential practice that needs to have more importance in our lives. 

Between work, kids, spouses, fitness, friends, family, pets--where do we fit in? 

Why do we deem it so important to be busy/with someone all the time?

So let's chat:

Tony talks about "cuffing" which is pretty much locking down a sig other for the holidays. This usually starts right after Halloween and can last until after Valentine's Day. As a society, we feel that we have to have a special someone to avoid awkward dinner conversations about our love lives, third-wheel dates with friends and cold, lonely nights ( at least up here in PA ) Usually it's nothing serious, just someone to bone for the holidays and bring around to functions. 

In the same episode, he goes on to discuss a list of things you can do instead of hitting up your booty call. A lot of the things listed could also be considered self-care. We need to learn how to not be lonely while being alone. 

We need to learn how to enjoy and lavish in our alone time.

Instead of trying to hit up the opposite sex, you have other options. Tony goes on to read his list from the blog post and these are a few of my favorites:

Go to sleep! 
Don't drink, don't think too much...just treat yourself to an early bedtime. Nobody needs to fucking know; it doesn't make you lame. Think of how refreshed you'll feel in the morning!
Learn a new hobby on YouTube
I've learned how to do many things by watching YouTube tutorials, including knitting and crocheting. It's a great way to pass the time, advance your skill set and keep your mind occupied.

Netflix binge
Dude, I'm in a relationship and still "Netflix and chill"...but when I N&C, I literally have sweats on, hair pulled up, blankets on with a cup of hot tea and Lola on my lap. Even before Nate, there are nights where I just sat on my couch bundled up and watching Netflix for hours. Some nights you just need to do nothing.

Go to the gym
Exercise not only makes you feel better but ( at least for me ) it redirects my brain. Why not do something productive to pass the time instead of waiting for a man to text you at 2 AM so he can get it in and get out?

I think he lists about 20 more alternatives, so if you'd like to read them all you can find them here.

But the thing that really got to me, and the origin of that quote, was when Tony was discussing going home for the holidays.

Look, not everyone has an awesome family. Sometimes siblings don't get along. Sometimes dad is a fall-down drunk. Sometimes grandma likes to preach the Bible and Aunt Suzy is way too prodding in her questions about your choice to have ( or not have ) children. For people like this, the holidays can be pretty dreaded. 

As adults, though, we need to realize that we can make our own choices. We shouldn't have to explain ourselves. We have the option to not do shit that makes us feel like shit. Even if that involves upsetting some people. Why make yourself feel miserable if you don't have to? Why teeter on a mental breakdown if it can be avoided?

Self-care doesn't always involve indulging yourself--it includes doing what's best for your own mental state. includes finding something else better to do than wait for your booty call to hit you back. includes going to Jamaica on Easter because you can. includes saying "no" when you really want to, because you're an adult and you have that option. includes putting yourself first every now and then...


Saturday, November 18, 2017

Pop's Outlet

Until earlier this year, I had never heard of Pop's Outlet. My sister actually told me about it and sent me an event invite via Facebook for it. Apparently, though, it's been around for years.

My sister originally found it when she was living on her own in Dillsburg many moons ago. Yesterday was the second time that I went, this time with my friend and fellow thrifter, Mandy.

So what is Pop's Outlet?

I took this from their Facebook page:

Pretty much a shit-ton of people show up at a warehouse and get to look through dozens of boxes of "overstock" artwork, framing, lamps, bedding, throw pillows and furnishings. Like any other thrift store, you have to have patience and time because there's much to look through. Also, the crowds get fucking crazy. Last night we could barely walk through to see things, but she went again today and said that it wasn't as bad.

Pop's does this sale a few times a year. It's usually a Friday in the evening and then the following Saturday morning. By Friday, most merchandise is swiped but they actually unbox another entire load for the next day, so if you didn't find it on Friday you just may on Saturday. Mandy texted me a picture of a pug canvas she'd found and grabbed me that totally WASN'T there yesterday. So they pretty much re-stock a ton of other stuff for the second day of the event.

Last time I went was in April. Since it was my first time and it was so busy, I only got a few things: a large floral canvas ( $15 ), a chocolate lab picture for Nathan ( $3 ) and the two shell pictures for my bathroom ( $2/each ) But the canvas is HUGE and hangs in my kitchen now, so the price for everything...a whopping $22!...was quite a steal. Even at Ross, you're not really paying less than $10 for wall decor.

My spring haul!

This time around, I spent a tad more, but not much...$27. But my count was more. I bought a lamp for my bedroom ( shade/stand $10 total ),  a seashell picture ( $5 ), a picture for my bedroom that says "do all things with love" ( $5 ), a cute clock for the kitchen ( $5 ) and two unframed prints ( $1/each ) ONE IS EVEN A PUG! 

$12 ( the NYC map is for Mallory )



**BACKSTORY: I saw this lady had the cutest pug print from the table of unframed art. We were talking about how pug people are crazy and we are "crazy pug ladies" as I was searching through, desperate to find a copy of the print. Well apparently, she had found two and she was kind enough to give me the second copy! So that was my "good people still exist" moment of the day AND now I can find a pretty thrifted frame to put my $1 cute-ass watercolor pug puppy in**


So if you're interested in a bargain, especially on home decor, I recommend checking out Pop's Outlet when it comes back around. It's located in Mechanicsburg and is super easy to get to. I just recommend not bringing children or elderly, as it gets super crowded and very hot in the summer months!