Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts


 "Love is not about how many days, months, or years you have been together. Love is about how you show love to each other every single day."

Nate and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on September 21st. Each year, we take turns planning something to do since we don't get each other gifts. With my adherence to Covid-19 measures, he pretty much left this one up to me and my personal comfort level. He hasn't been nearly as freaked out by the whole thing as I have, so I think he was surprised when I booked a stay in a hotel in Orange County. I just felt like I was going to completely lose my mind if we didn't get away, at least for one night. We had to sell our camping trailer at the beginning of quarantine, so we really haven't had a chance to find a change of scenery.  

We stayed in Newport Beach on Saturday, and then made our way down the coast driving PCH the following day. We spent the weekend lying out in the sun by the hotel pool, playing music and dancing in our room, and grabbing takeout. We also went to brunch and I had my first mimosa in months. 

It was really such a lovely, relaxing time. No set plans, nowhere to really go. It's honestly one of my favorite anniversaries to date because we weren't rushing around trying to see and do different things. I wasn't focused on my outfit for the night, or taking too many pictures on my phone. 

Also in September: 
In other exciting news, I finally got my hair colored again! Salons opened up in many parts of the state, including mine. It was so nice getting to catch up with my stylist and thankfully she is doing well and is booked up with appointments. Originally I was going to go back to dark brown, but that week I decided to keep the lighter balayage pieces. 

I also got together with a couple different girlfriends. We hadn't seen each other in so long that I was worried it would be awkward, but we picked up right where we left off (with masks and distance). I really miss hugging people though. 

I have another niece! My sister-in-law welcomed her baby into the world a couple weeks ago. Our family's first pandemic baby!

It was a great month, and I'm hoping October is as well. It's still hot as Hell here, though the mornings and nights have a chill in the air and I love that. 

Have a great weekend! 


Now that I'm well into my 30's, I've become extremely diligent about taking good care of my skin. I wear sunscreen religiously, I moisturize and exfoliate, and I drink a lot of water! A couple areas that I've been guilty of neglecting though are my chest and neck. They were always afterthoughts during my daily skincare routines, when really they should be just as important as the face.

I've had horrible lines on my chest since I was 21, and although I find them terribly embarrassing, I wasn't sure how to treat them or make them disappear. As a side-sleeper, I knew that they were going to be chronic unless I changed my sleep position, but no matter what I try at night, I always end up on my side. Every morning I wake up with embedded lines and wrinkles down my chest.

I've tried silicone patches as a quick fix, but I want results that will last. I've even thought about getting botox for my chest wrinkles, but I know it will be expensive and I don't want to go that route if I don't need to. When I was contacted by a local beauty brand that specializes in products for the chest and neck, I knew I wanted to give it a shot. Lola Collective produces 3 key products with ingredients that target lines and wrinkles in the delicate chest and neck area. The goal is to repair, plump, and rejuvenate.

Good Night Decolletage Sleep Mask: This is a thick, rich cream that I've been using every night before bed. I'm pretty generous with it. I'm convinced that this layer of hydration is what really helps with the lessening of the lines. I still end up sleeping on my side, but this at least keeps the skin moisturized and the next day, the appearance of the lines isn't as severe as they were without using this.

Damage Control Vitamin C Primer: We know vitamin C is good to incorporate into our daily skincare routine, so it offers the same benefits to our chest and neck. I use this every morning and it instantly (I mean instantly) firms and tightens.

Bright Morning Decolletage Smoothing Cream: After the primer, I then apply this super thick smoothing cream. Out of the 3 products, this is the one that shows the most dramatic difference in my chest lines. It took a couple weeks, but after using it every day I'm no longer as self conscious about wearing a low-cut top or even my bikini.

The results are pretty great in my opinion. The before was taken when I first received the products and had not started using them yet. These photos are all in natural light with no retouching. What you see is what you get!


Also After (about 3 weeks into using the products)

I'll definitely continue using these products as part of my regular skin routine. These products were sent to me, but I will absolutely buy them on my own and am so happy that a local southern California company is behind them! For a complete list of ingredients and to learn more about Lola Skincare Collective, go to their website. 

If you have any questions, let me know!


"Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested from a crutch." 
James Baldwin

I think you can tell simply by virtue of posting here that the month of August was much better for me than July. I barely blogged last month and I didn't even do a recap because my heart just wasn't in it. Besides, there wasn't much to recap anyway. By the time August rolled around, I'd had enough. I decided to go back on Prozac for my anxiety, and am beginning to feel much better. I was reluctant to take it again (and I still am) but because my mood has improved and my fears have subsided a bit, I know that I am making the right decision. As my therapist reassured me, "if there's ever a time for anxious minds to get a little help from medication, it is now." There's only so much you can do when you feel like you've hit the bottom. Talk therapy, practicing mindfulness and yoga, writing your thoughts and feelings in a journal, exercising - those are all great tools, and I do most of them every day. But another powerful tool is actual medication, and there is never any shame in utilizing it when necessary. I will always advocate for it. 

Of course, this wasn't the plan for 2020. I spent three years being proud of the work I'd done on myself without the assistance of Prozac and Klonopin. But neither was...any of this. Coming to terms with reality as opposed to denying it has been a huge area of growth for me this year. Dealing with situations as they are, and not as I wish for them to be has done wonders for my mental health. I'll explain in more detail just what I mean in a future post, but until then, I'll reiterate that if you're really struggling and nothing seems to be helping, please talk to a professional. 

We experienced quite a triple digit heat wave this month, so Nate and I took advantage of cooler temps at the beach! 

Oceanside, Ca

We also continued our Summer of "pool time" in his parent's relaxing backyard. Nettie was elated by this weekend ritual.

I'm still eating as healthy as I can, and salmon is probably my favorite meal to cook. I bought cedar plank salmon filets at Sprouts and grilled them for about 10-15 minutes. Easy and fresh. 

I finally felt comfortable enough last weekend to dine outside. In California, most indoor areas are closed including bars and restaurants. But places can operate outdoors, so we decided to eat at the winery we belong to. The food tasted extra delicious! I still inhaled it pretty quickly, but I savored every bite. 

What Else I Loved in August: 

My friend Gina shared this podcast episode with me, and I want all of you to listen to it! It features Lori Gottlieb, the author of Maybe You Should Talk to Someone. I'm sure you can tell because I won't shut up about it, but I'm obsessed with her book.

I began watching a series called Bloodline on Netflix and I'm loving it so far. It's about this family that looks perfect on the surface, but there are some pretty dark secrets hidden underneath. It's been around for a few years but Nate stumbled upon it just a few weeks ago. Have you watched it?

I have a shopping post coming up next week, along with a beauty product review shortly after. I'll also talk more in depth about mental health, so I hope any or all of those topics sound interesting to you. I'd love to hear from you guys. Hope you're doing well. How was your month? 


I've been fascinated with psychotherapy since childhood, when I began seeing my first therapist for anxiety. I went off and on until things got better, but after college I experienced what my current therapist called a "quarter life crisis" and I've been seeing her ever since. The pandemic has caused me to reexamine everything in my life - my relationships, my health, my habits, my coping mechanisms, everything. I've been doing a lot more reading as well, mostly to distract myself from all the chaos of this year. I remember the title of Lori Gottlieb's book, "Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, Her Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed." It caught my attention last year, but it wasn't until I saw a blogger rave about it during the height of my daily pandemic panic attacks that I bought a copy. This book came into my life at the exact moment I needed it. It sounds so cliche, but I laughed and cried more with this book than I ever have before. I even read certain chapters to Nate, and we would discuss why it resonated so much with me.

Brief Synopsis:
Half-memoir, half sort of self-help, the book delves into not only what it's like to be a patient in therapy, it also examines what it's like for the clinician. What are therapists like in their own lives? Are they perfectly balanced, well adjusted people? Or are they just doing the best they can everyday, like most of us? Lori Gottlieb is a happy, single mother of a young son living in Los Angeles. She practices therapy, and has a wonderful boyfriend that she wants to marry. Everything is great, until seemingly out of the blue one night, her boyfriend tells her that he can't live with another kid under his roof and he breaks Gottlieb's heart. This event takes her into a tailspin, and that's when she sees a therapist with her own "presenting problem," or the thing that causes someone to seek therapy.

What I love about the book is that it opens the window and lets the reader peek into other people's lives. There's something deeply personal, almost voyueristic about it. The relationship between a patient or client and their therapist is often profound, but because it's also privileged, you rarely get to hear what goes on behind closed doors. There's a lot of references to psychological theories, terms in the DSM that brought me back to some of my courses in college. Erik Erikson, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, Carl Jung. I love the way it all comes together, bouncing around between different characters' therapy sessions, and then turning the tables on Gottlieb's own sessions where she becomes the patient. It humanizes therapy in a way I've not read before. Gottlieb injects humor into her writing, while also remaining painfully honest. The handful of patients that she documents are interesting, but the one that really affected me the most was the woman in her mid-thirties that was dying from cancer. I could barely get through her story without blubbering like a crazy person on the couch, wiping tears from my face after every sentence. I've been thinking about mortality all Spring and Summer, how death is inevitable but it's not something people really talk about in earnest. It's explored in a really meaningful way in this book, the theme of one's mortality woven into many of the characters and chapters.

While I read the book, I was also speaking to my own therapist weekly and it definitely alleviated some of my worries. I really hope you'll pick this book up! It's a fast, enjoyable read that's also thought-provoking and incredibly funny. Everyone should read it.

Have you read it?


"The only way out is through"

We are almost in June, and while the weather heats up and the start of Summer begins to take shape, many counties in California are also beginning to reopen. Our lockdown became official on March 19th, but the last time I went out on a normal day was on March 11th. That date will always stick out in my head. I wasn't in full panic mode yet, but I knew something unprecedented was about to happen. 

Three months have gone by for me both at rapid speed and at a painful crawl. I've had days filled with crippling fear and sadness, and I've had days of pure happiness and personal growth. Like everything in life, you can't have one without the other. As restaurants, stores, and even salons start to reopen in many parts of the state, I feel somewhat relieved. My friends can regain some financial control again, people can get services that they desperately missed. I'm also still really nervous about the virus. I'm not sure why it's become political, but I have no desire to participate in any of that because there's still so much that's unknown.  I mean, whatever happened to nuance? You can hold different thoughts and emotions at once - excitement that businesses are reopening, but anxiety of venturing out yourself. It seems that people will continue to get sick no matter what we do, and that knowledge is maddening. With that being said, I'm still going to be extremely cautious in my measures and if I feel uneasy, I'll listen to that voice in my head.  Everyone is still encouraged to socially distance and wear masks whenever possible, and I'm comfortable doing both for as long as needed. 

Ultimately I know that every state (and country for that matter) is different though. Just a few short weeks ago I thought California would be on lockdown all of Summer, and just like that in the blink of an eye, I can now go get my hair cut. So while I have no idea what the Summer will hold, my hope is that this next phase will be a little less scary than the last. But really, who knows? 

Has your area begun to reopen? I'd love to read any thoughts you may have on this, both good and bad. 

In the meantime, May has been quite the beautiful month. 

Nate and I packed a nice lunch and took Nettie to the park. It was also the first park we took her to as a puppy. There was no one around, which actually isn't unusual for the area. She got the chance to run around and we chased each other through the sprinklers. 

I ordered my first Homesick candle in the Hawaii scent and have been burning it every night since. It's less tropical than I expected, but the fragrance really fills the room and definitely reminds me of my favorite place. I really miss my godfather...I've mentioned it before but he lives on the island of Maui in Kihei. He's like a father to me and I can't wait to see him in person again. 

I'm still following my nutrition plan, and have even lost a few pounds in the process. Last weekend, I made a quick and easy breakfast wrap with spinach, grape tomatoes, eggs, and feta. I also added some pesto to the wrap itself. 

We watched Waco on Netflix. I was pretty young when that terrible situation played out on national television and I'm happy about that. It's hard to watch, but also one that's impossible not to. 

I started reading a book called Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb. I'm halfway through and not only is it written in such a funny, conversational way, it's also adding a lot to my own therapy sessions. 

How was your month? Is there anything you're looking forward to in June? 


Some days, it seems impossible to have a positive outlook on everything that's going on in the world. I go back and forth all the time, grasping for any semblance of control. One of the positive things I can control at the moment is my desire to become more comfortable in the kitchen. If I actually get good at it, that's a different story! A few months ago, I created a board on Pinterest and I titled it "cooking for the timid cook." I don't own any cookbooks or have many family recipes to go by, so I began searching for anything that looked delicious, somewhat healthy, and most importantly, doable! I've slowly been attempting different recipes, but since the pandemic started my efforts have increased.

As some of you know, I was also diagnosed with high blood pressure in 2013. It's a scary thing to hear when you're 29 years old and otherwise healthy. I remember going to my doctor right before my wedding and the lead nurse joked that "we need to figure this out. You don't want to walk down the aisle and suddenly your heart explodes." Um, excuse me sir?! Not funny! Thanks for that. Anyway, after that morbid scenario, I've been doing my best to better manage what I put into my body. I struggle a lot and there's more I can always do, but thankfully I've gotten to a place where I'm finding it more manageable, and I'm being honest with myself instead of denying it's a problem.

I modify recipes to lower the amount of sodium, and I often adhere to DASH - dietary approaches to stop hypertension.  Lots of vegetables, certain fruits like blueberries, poultry, fish, and limiting sugar and alcohol intake (honestly the hardest part for me). I still drink, but I can't split a bottle of wine with a friend anymore. This isn't to say that my eating is perfect, or that I don't give into certain cravings, because I definitely do! I'm not sure I'll ever be able to give up my love of cheese entirely. I'm just more mindful, and having an underlying health concern that I'm finally dealing with head-on is a way to show love for myself.

Foods that are typically in my grocery cart:
Sweet potatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Ground turkey
Whole wheat bread
Eggs or egg whites
Cottage Cheese
Greek Plain Yogurt
Unsalted nuts
Olive Oil

Here are some favorites that are easy to throw together:
Smoothie with frozen and fresh blueberries (or whatever frozen and fresh fruit you may have), a handful of spinach or kale, plain yogurt, handful of walnuts, and water. Make sure to blend well.
Note: You can add some juice to make it even better, but just be mindful about added sugars. I like grapefruit juice but it counteracts my medications. 

Quick snack or even breakfast - cottage cheese with any type of berry (I obviously like blueberries) and a drizzle of local raw honey.

I love Greek flavors, so I try to make a salad or bowl with grilled or baked chicken, tomato, red onion, cucumbers, olives, and feta cheese. I used a leftover Greek dressing from Baron's, but it's healthier to just add olive oil and lemon juice. 

I've saved a lot of really simple recipes on my Pinterest board, so I hope you'll take a look and follow along! There's a mix of everything, and as I said above, most recipes are easy to substitute or tailor to your specific tastes and dietary needs. I'm learning a lot, laughing at myself when I mess up, and cooking for fun...something I'm only beginning to understand!

If you have any recipes that you make often, please share below! Also, do any of you have high blood pressure? 


"Quiet the mind and the soul will speak."
- Buddha

I took a drive on Wednesday morning through the wineries. I woke up to a glorious blue sky with painted clouds, took one look at my car keys sitting on the kitchen counter, grabbed a very excited Nettie, and made a beeline for the door. I needed to clear my head, and what better way to to do that than by driving through the valley with all the windows down on a sunny day.

The warm air smelled of jasmine and orange blossoms. After the rain we had at the beginning of the month, the barren vineyards had transformed into a sea of lush emerald green. I turned the radio up, laughed at Nettie's lips flapping in the wind as she stuck her head out the window, and let out a huge breath that I had been holding for what felt like weeks. The beginning of April dragged on, but the ending was exactly what I needed. 

Fazeli & Robert Renzoni Winery

We watched one of our favorite shows on televison, Ozark. We only allowed ourselves two episodes per night, but the season went so quickly and was so gripping that we felt kind of depressed once it was over. If you haven't watched the series, you must! Just make sure you start at season 1. Other notable shows included "How to Fix a Drug Scandal" which I highly recommend, and The Housewives of New York City and Beverly Hills. I like watching The Housewives back to back with a glass of wine in hand. Say what you will about reality shows, but they offer a fun break from actual reality.

A few of my favorite people have May birthdays, so I searched Etsy for personalized meaningful gifts. I can't be with them physically this year, but that doesn't mean I can't still wish them a happy birthday! Plus, I'm all about supporting small shops and businesses now.

A family member who is licensed in the practice of mindfulness started a Zoom workshop, and I'm learning so much already. The class is once a week for two hours, and along with therapy sessions, it is really teaching me how to be present in my own life. We as humans have over 60,000 thoughts per day, and much of those days are lived on autopilot. No wonder we are anxious, distracted, and overwhelmed.

It's been pretty warm the last couple weeks (dare I say hot) so I ditched my joggers and long sleeve shirts for shorts, camisoles, and kimonos. I really only dressed up a bit for Zoom calls and virtual happy hours, but it was a nice excuse!

Nate and I spent last weekend cleaning up our backyard. It was overgrown with weeds. We have rented this house for a few years, and although there are many things we aren't allowed to change about it, we do what we can to keep things nice and make it feel like home. We really want to buy our own home, but with everything going on now, we will have to wait longer than we expected.

Happy May! I hope everyone is going to have a great month. Summer is near...


I've been thinking a lot about blogging, social media, consumerism, and self-worth in the age of a global pandemic. I hesitate in writing this, but I think I just need to get it out of my system so please bear with me.

I've been blogging for over a decade now, and I've mostly enjoyed every aspect of it. It has provided me with confidence, formed some wonderful friendships, and has pushed me to pull myself together during periods in my life of great anxiety, uncertainty, and depression. It's enhanced my life in ways I never imagined. There was something really special about it. But as the game of blogging and what that really entails has changed, so has my attitude towards much of it.

Social Media
First, there's the social media aspect. Don't get me wrong, there are wonderful connections in our lives because of it. There are genuine benefits that come along with using it, especially if you're a small business and want to get your name out there. I post, interact, and scroll through my feed as happily as anyone else does. But I also feel deeply that it's contributed to mental health problems, and that's really hard to scroll past. How can you ignore it? Sometimes it just seems like a constant barrage of photoshopping, mass consumption, oversharing otherwise private moments, inflated egos, narcissism, the glorification of eating disorders and unhealthy habits...the list goes on. I'm not trying to judge or pearl-clutch, I'm just concerned about the effects it can lead to especially for kids and teens. Obviously I don't have any answers. That's the frustrating part.

I also contribute to it. I filter my photos, not heavily, but I do it. I use affiliate links to make a small commission. I belong to a platform that helps people shop for clothes, beauty products, home furnishings, kitchen gadgets, cleaning products, whatever. I use it myself, and for the most part, I enjoy it. But I also feel conflicted, now more than ever. I've always tried to be careful in what I share and promote - only things that I buy (or would buy in the rare instance it's a sponsored post) and use myself. When I see other people being careless with their platforms, I think it shows and it makes it harder for people to trust bloggers and influencers. I hate that word. I'll admit I've made mistakes in this area in the past, but I've learned from them.

I also hate that we are collectively being told everyday that we need certain things in order to lead our lives. Or that we have to improve this or that in order to do so. "This (insert product) changed my life! You need this too!" Yeah, okay.

Consumerism & Self-Worth
Instead of telling you what you absolutely, positively have to have, I just wanted to remind you that's false. that you're strong, kind, capable, loving, hilarious, and uniquely beautiful just as you are, or as you see fit. There are so many actions you are told to take every waking hour, all in the hopes of...what exactly? A better life, a happier you? How about just being. How about acceptance.

You don't necessarily:

 need an expensive eye cream, although I did just pay an exorbitant amount for one.

have to try a crazy new workout routine or cleanse, unless it's recommended by your doctor of course.

 need 20 products to prevent the inevitable signs of aging; we are blessed if we live a long life.

have to buy the dress I'm wearing on my blog. I mean I don't mind if you do, but I want to show you that style isn't related to a specific item I feature.

need to pretend you're happy all the time, or crazy witty, or that you've got all your shit together. Everyone's winging it.

Don't need to create inspirational content on Instagram in order to inspire others with a photo of a place you visited, or a memory you created with a friend. Why not post "just because?'

Or, if you do want to try these things or set new goals or whatever else you want to accomplish than do that! But do it on your own terms, without pressure or worry.  When I feature products I've purchased, when I recap my beauty routines, or when I post links to my clothes, I hope you understand that I truly don't expect you to buy them. A lot of bloggers I admire, respect, and read regularly have made a living doing this and I hope that if they read this, that they don't misunderstand me. I'm not pointing fingers or saying that selling items to their readers is bad. I have purchased many things over the years through their links, most of which I never would have found on my own. I love being able to do that, as well as having the choice in supporting them! I just know that none of us really needs anything - aside from the people we love, the air that we breathe, and knowing that we are each more than enough.


I've recently come across some absolutely beautiful sentiments from writers who are aching for their communities, cities, and states during the coronavirus pandemic. Krystal from This Time Tomorrow dedicated a post to New York City, and as tears welled up in my eyes from her poignant words, I knew that I wanted to do the same for the state I call home. Having been born in Los Angeles, and my dad's side of the family having deep roots in the San Fernando valley, I know that I've taken this place for granted. It's easy to do. You become spoiled. You get caught up in your everyday life and you forget how good you have it. The palm trees, the ocean, the sunsets - they all become routine and fade away into the background.

My mom and I moved to a small town called Temecula in 1988. L.A. with all of its hustle, bustle, and traffic had become too much for her, and she wanted to raise me in the simplicity of a quiet neighborhood. My dad stayed behind working in Reseda, but he drove down every weekend to see us. I remember that drive. Back then, it only took an hour and a half to make your way down the valley through parts of Orange County, and then you'd start seeing more greenery, less cars and people. Finally, there was Temecula cascading into sight. 108 miles separated us, but it felt like worlds apart.

I didn't leave much when I was growing up. I went back and forth between L.A. and Temecula, but it wasn't until my late teens that I really started exploring California and all it has to offer. And it has so much to offer...

The Pacific Ocean: my sanctuary when life feels too blurry or confusing. One deep breath of salty air and it gives me the courage to keep paddling, a not-so-subtle reminder that "sometimes in the waves of change, we find our true direction." Whether it's calm or choppy, low or high tide, it is constantly shifting.
Big Sur, California

Carlsbad, California

The Mountains: a welcome escape, especially during warm California Winters when you crave some snow like the rest of the country. The winding roads lead off into little secert lookouts and hideaways, each one more scenic than the last. Finally when you get to the top, snow and ice covering the pines below, you realize just how far you have come.
Big Bear, California

The Desert: my husband's personal favorite, so much so that he turned his inspiration for it into a business. So many people love getting away and riding their dirt bikes and off-road vehicles along the sandy, rocky hilltops. I mostly like to watch, being the risk-averse person that I am. But they say "the desert is truth, life pared down to the bone."
Ocotillo Wells, California

The Valley: those hidden gems, tucked between hillsides and mountain ranges. I've been up to Paso Robles, a beautiful place with even better wineries. I have yet to go to famous Napa, probably first on my next "must-see" list. But Temecula is where I was raised. It's familiar, it's the comfort of knowing someone or something so well. And now as an adult, I can appreciate its imperfect beauty while sipping on my favorite local wine. 
Temecula, California

Everything In-Between: From San Francisco to Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara to Laguna, I can absolutely vouch for the special qualities that make each area of this large state so unique. I haven't been all the way up north since 2014, but I can't wait to go on another long road trip and explore even more. Each time, there is something new to see or a detail you missed before.
Palm Springs, California

Long Beach, California

San Diego, California

Dear Cali,
From the mountains to the sea, I'm in love with your vast diverse beauty, and the 40 million people who also call you home undoubtedly agree. I've thought about leaving, what it would be like to live somewhere else, but we both know I could never leave you. There's a reason why travelers come from all over the world just to get a glimpse of you. Some never leave, holding on to a hope that you will help make their wildest dreams come true. You are one of a kind, California. And you have my whole heart.
A California girl

I cannot wait to get back to the places I know and love most, in a state that has shaped me into who I am.


I know our daily lives aren't exactly the same during this quarantine. It's vital that we come together in solidarity and do our best to flatten the curve, but we all have varying degrees of responsibility and pressure. My days don't involve distance learning, tending to an infant, or managing a company with employees. So while the things I'm doing to cope with our current time is helping me get through my days, I don't want to be patronizing to those of you with much larger responsibilities and less free time. I do however hope you can use at least one of these! They aren't terribly unique, but they're alleviating some stress. Just a few minutes a day to decompress can do wonders.

Candles: I'm a huge fan of lighting candles, now more than ever. Their soft glow provides tranquility, and the scent either boosts or relaxes my mood. I don't hoard them, but I do normally have two or three on hand. This candle has been in our coffee table drawer for months, and I just began burning it again. Bonus that it's lavender scented!

Lavender: Speaking of lavender, I also have a small batch of dried lavender that i like to keep on my vanity or nightstand. When I need a dose of calm, I take a deep breath and inhale the scent. Some people don't care for the smell, but I've always been a huge believer in its calming properties. I also have a vial of essential lavender oil that I put on my wrist at night. Pillow sprays, soaps, and perfumes are all great to have on hand.

Face creams/treatments/serums: I've been keeping my creams in the fridge and using them at night before bed. The cooling sensation is amazing, and it instantly relaxes me. I also have a facial roller that I've been using and it feels so good in the moment. I've even been using it down my neck to ease tension.

Tea: I love tea, but I'm definitely drinking it more often now. I haven't had coffee in two weeks! My blood pressure has been high (undoubtedly because of anxiety) so I'm mitigating that by not having any caffeine and am also greatly limiting my alcohol intake. As much as I love a cocktail or glass of wine, drinking regularly makes anxiety worse. I love lemon balm tea, so I have a cup before bedtime. Any caffeine-free tea is helpful, or teas that boost your immune system.

Being creative: Arts and crafts, drawing, sewing, writing, painting, name it! Some of my friends are doing crafts with their kids, some are doing puzzles. My dear friend started a bible study that I'm included in. All of these things allow us to channel our energy into something positive. Besides, you never know! You may discover a new talent or passion.

Did I miss something that I could add to my coping list? What are you doing to ease stress during quarantine?


I didn't intend to go a whole week without saying hello. Every time I sat down to write a post, I couldn't find the right words much less string together complete sentences. I've always enjoyed writing, but it's been so difficult to do lately.

I know we are all struggling in this current coronavirus pandemic. Every aspect of life has changed overnight, and there's no real endpoint yet. Uncertainty, stress, restlessness, isolation. As I sit here looking out the window of my little office, the sunlight streaming in, I can only imagine what others are going through. I've talked to some friends that are handling it pretty well and taking things day by day, others are not. I guess I'd fall under the category of "not." I'm not okay. There, I said it. My panic attacks are back like never before.

Let me just say though that I'm not telling you this to gain sympathy. I'm not on the front lines like health care professionals, delivery drivers, postal workers, grocery store clerks, pharmacists, and others who are still required to be out in the field. I'm eternally grateful to these everyday heroes. Parents are also included.  They are working harder than ever before to meet the demands of homeschooling, daycare, and working from home on top of everything else.

I've wasted the last couple years feeling lost, weighed down by petty thoughts, bouts of depression and feeling sorry for myself, doubting my choices, and really just existing instead of truly being present. I've been asleep at the wheel, and this crisis has jolted me awake. Yes there's been a lot of happy moments - 2019 was a fun year for us. Trips to different states, parties and celebrations with friends, tiny sparks of light during my down days. But in general, I have neglected so many things that have needed my attention.

*Spending most afternoons in my loft. It's coming along*

I'm not sure I've written about this before, but I suffered from debilitating panic attacks as a kid. No one is entirely sure what prompted them, but it was incredibly frightening to be so young and not know what was happening to me. The anxiety started in preschool. Screaming for my mother to not leave me at school is my earliest memory. My parents did what they could, but they had no idea what was wrong with their only child and neither did anyone else, even doctors. I began seeing a therapist in grade school, and that took me on a path of relief so that I could try my best to just be a normal kid. It was a roller coaster from there on, but the panic attacks subsided once I approached high school. I had other things on my mind then.

Panic attacks, health anxiety (hypochondria), vivid nightmares, and financial worries have all taken up space in my head. I should have seen it coming, I should have known that I was headed on a spiral. I was naive and thought I could control it. I would just laugh my way through this, reconnect with family, do Facetime calls with friends over a drink, spend quality time with Nate. Don't get me wrong, I have and still am doing all these things and I'm very grateful for modern technology, modern medicine, all of it. I'm thankful for the roof over my head, food in my fridge (although I've lost 6 pounds in a week because I can barely eat), a loving partner that is doing all he possibly can to console me. Some days it feels like I'm a child again, helpless in so many ways, and he's the only parent. It's so frustrating. I'm supposed to be stronger than this. I've worked with other children to help them cope with their fears and anxieties and now I've become the client that needs help.

Fortunately, I've been in recent contact with my therapist and she provided me with some tools I can utilize. They include:

1) Stick to a semi-normal schedule. Try to wake up at the same time each day and go to bed at the same time every night.

2) Get 30 minutes of exercise daily. If you can get outside for a few minutes that's ideal.

3) Connect with others as often as possible, but DO NOT let this virus be the main talking point of conversation. Talk about future plans, something you're looking forward to after this is over, share funny stories, laugh together.

4) Limit all news and social media. Twitter was what triggered me last week. I deleted it off my phone a few days ago. This was hard for me because I want to be informed, and of course we should be. But getting minute by minute updates and reading some of the petty bullshit that is Twitter-verse is unhelpful for people with mental health issues. It only aggravates them.

5) During a panic attack, use your 5 senses: 5 things you can see, 4 things you can hear, 3 things you can touch, 2 things you can smell, 1 thing you can taste. Also: take a pen and paper and write out all the things you can think of under a particular category. For example, 90's television shows, go! List all you can think of. Pick any category that comes to mind immediately. Distraction is key when you're really in the irrationality of a panic attack. I picture myself with a sword, slaying mine.

I'm going to do a phone call with her once a week, so if I can relay anymore tips to you I will in upcoming posts.

I don't want to focus my entire blog on this pandemic, and I don't want to trigger any of your own anxieties by talking so much about mine. Although it helps to talk about them and read about what other people are going through, I also appreciate a break from it all. My next couple posts won't be so serious, I promise! But please don't hesitate to reach out to me or anyone else in your life to help alleviate some of these horrible thoughts and emotions. Your health and mental health matter more now than ever. Sending you my love. 


"Wherever life plants you, bloom with grace."

First and foremost, happy March! Spring is right around the corner and I know everyone is looking forward to the change. It's been a pretty cold and gloomy day here so while I'm currently covered up in a blanket, you can expect upcoming posts to feature fresh flowers and airy dresses. 

February passed quickly, as it usually does. I still couldn't completely shake the blues, but I tried my best to channel all that negative energy into gratitude and by the end of the month, I was feeling much better. Thank you guys for your support and feedback on my Valentine's Day post. Being honest about my struggles is so cathartic, and it seems like it has helped some of you as well. At least, that's my hope. 

Not everything in February was good, but it was the little things that made me happy...

I treated myself to some gorgeous fresh flowers, courtesy of Trader Joe's. Tip: Buy yourself some flowers during a bad day or week. It will instantly lift your mood.

Decorated my home office. Most of our house has a relaxed coastal/beach vibe, but I wanted my little office space to reflect my love for Palm Springs and the desert. I purchased the items below, and have a large leaning floor mirror being delivered shortly. I'm adding little touches slowly, but I can't wait until it's all completed.

I'm beginning to transition my (California) Winter wardrobe into Spring. I'll talk more about how in the coming weeks, but really it's all about making small changes that include shoes, bags, and accessories. Details make the difference!

Drank nitro cold brew from Starbucks on repeat. Have you tried it? I just get the regular nitro cold brew with sweet cream and it's the perfect flavor!

Contemplating watching the Netflix series Love is Blind. My sister-in-law told me about it a couple weeks ago and now I'm seeing it mentioned everywhere. I think I'll try an episode this week.

How was your February? Do you have any trips or big plans for Spring?


"Own The Day"

I'm thrilled that so many of you have enjoyed my monthly edit posts, so I will definitely keep bringing them to you at the end of each month! They're probably my favorite to put together, and I've actually learned a lot about myself in the last year by documenting the things I do, places I go, and even the more mundane aspects of my life. Even if you don't blog, I seriously recommend writing a few things down each month that stood out for you -  it's a great way to put things into perspective, reflect on any areas where you need improvement, or to simply take note of things you are currently grateful for.

I keep hearing people say that January has felt like a lifetime and I sort of agree. After the buzz of the holidays wears off, January can feel like one big hangover. But it's also nice to get back to reality and into a more positive mindset. I was fairly productive this month, and I didn't even put any pressure on myself. I'll take that as a win! Now let me see what else January had in store:

I didn't go on any cleanses or special diet, and I didn't do dry January (although I commend those who did). Instead, Nate and I went to one of our absolute favorite places to eat dinner. I met my friend Gina there before the holidays, and I wanted to go back so badly that we stopped in earlier in the month after the beach.
The nut-crusted baked brie is to die for

I got my balayage freshened up. I always like to start a new year with a solid trip to the salon. I'm going back in a couple days to get a healthy trim as well. My hair gets so heavy that I need some longer layers.

I bought a few things from the Anthropologie sale, including my new day planner that I'm loving! It's a great medium size, and I believe it was under $12.00 after the sale. And really, I need to see those three small words - no, not "I love you" but "own the day" - every damn day.

Other Things of Note:

1. I'm turning the awkward loft space we have in our home into a little office. I bought a small desk and am working on getting a couple pieces to complete the room. I usually blog, write, read, and listen to music in our bedroom but I want a space that's more practical for getting things done. It's hard to do that on the bed or floor of our room! It's also just terrible for my posture. I've also been wanting to take more daily outfit and product photos and the loft has the best lighting in the house. I can't wait until it comes together.

2. Nate secured an office/shop space for his business, and I could not be happier for him! To see his dream become a reality has been inspiring to say the least.

3. Unfortunately, Nettie hasn't had such a fun time. She's been dehydrated and sickly for the past few days, but thankfully she's on medication and is starting to resemble her fun-loving self slowly but surely. We still don't know what the trouble was, but the vet said probably something she ate that didn't sit well.

4. My beautiful lash extensions are no more. Well, mostly. I'm letting them grow and fall out and I have a couple stragglers leftover that makes me look a bit crazed but we're going with it. I bought a new tube of mascara for the first time since August and let me tell you...I'm not impressed.

5. We received a generous gift from my in-laws for Christmas, an air fryer. I must admit, I had no clue what an air fryer was, but now I'm singing its praises. I haven't used our regular oven once this year! It's amazing just how useful it is, and I've been pinning different recipes to try. Let me know if you have one too!

How did January treat you? Please share in the comments, and have a happy weekend!


"I don't have any sweeping changes in mind for 2020. I'm just not giving into the pressure. Every January we are inundated with articles and ads about losing weight and getting fit, creating positive habits in our daily routines, drinking more water, setting new goals. Realistically, we should be doing these things year-round, constantly re-evaluating."

I wrote that last week, and I meant every word. However...

After doing some much needed blog evaluation, I've decided I'm committing myself to writing more about a few topics I really care about again. I used to sprinkle them in more frequently, but I inadvertently took a step back. I want to keep this space fun and lighthearted, but there's no reason I can't get (a little) more personal to break up my usual style and beauty content. We are multi-dimensional, complicated, interesting people and I want to reflect that here.

I also want to re-share or update some of my older, more personal posts that are still relevant to how I'm feeling today. One of the things that sometimes frustrates me as a blogger is how posts can get lost in the shuffle. We take the time to write and publish them, then quickly move on to the next. That's perfectly okay, even necessary most of the time, but some might require a second look.

The posts below were published in 2018 and 2017, and I feel like they make sense to post again as we keep going forward into the new year.

Finding My Balance With Social Media:
As I mentioned in my May updates, I took a couple weeks off from social media in an effort to disconnect from all the noise. I never realized how consumed I had truly become. I took time off from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (although I rarely check in there anyway). At first it was difficult. I felt completely out of the loop, not just with other bloggers but even with my own friends. In some ways, I almost felt I was being rude if I didn't invest my time to check in with people. But after the first couple of days, I started to feel better about the disconnect. I texted my friends instead of liking their pictures, I became more present in my daily rituals, and I used the time I spent mindlessly scrolling to work on other things I had been putting off. It was absolutely a great way to put things into perspective. I needed to find my balance.

It's not just social media either, it's technology in general. I never feel like I can completely disconnect and as someone who used to really value privacy, this lead to a ridiculous amount of worry about not returning a text quickly enough, or not immediately checking an email. It morphed into a vicious cycle.

This is of course the reality we live in now. I just think it's important to take little breaks from all the noise. Instead of scrolling through Instagram, I'm using that time to write. Not just for this blog, but also for my own clarity. I've never been good at articulating my thoughts, but writing them down is a way for me to release everything. I highly recommend it to everyone, especially before bedtime so that your mind is clear at the end of the day.

I'm not saying that I can cut out social media altogether, nor do I think other people should either. It's a great tool, and I love connecting with people. But. there should be some balance for those of us who feel negatively affected by its overuse.  Posting a little less frequently seems to be working for me at the moment, and I'm using my time more wisely. I hope you guys have found your balance as well.

The Power Of Habit:
I've always been a creature of habit. As a kid, I ate the same breakfast every morning before school. I'll listen to the same songs over and over in the car until my passenger gives me the side eye. I'll want to go to the same restaurants to eat. Heck, I even like taking vacations to the same destinations.

There's nothing wrong with being a creature of habit. I think most habits are convenient for people, and they make sense for that person's lifestyle. But I do think that there's a huge difference between good habits that keep me on the right track and bad habits that just keep me stuck. I go with what feels comfortable for me, and I realized this Summer that I wasn't allowing myself the risk/reward that comes with trying new things and possibly creating new and better habits for myself.

One example is in exercise. I hit a wall and wasn't working out at all. I was beginning to not only see the result of that on the outside, but I was feeling sluggish and knew that my insides couldn't be much healthier. I had coffee with a friend about a month and a half ago, and she suggested that I try yoga. I was nervous about taking it, but I signed up that very same day and didn't think twice. Until of course the time came to actually go to the class, and then I had a little mental breakdown. I texted Gina and Caryl, and they were the push I needed to just go! So I went, and you know what? I actually like yoga. It's all about being in tune not only with your body, but with your mind and that's something I have desperately needed for ages. So while I'm not quite doing handstands and only last week could do downward dog without tumbling to my butt, I feel like I've created a new positive habit that really didn't require too much scary change. And I've been feeling good again.

I should mention that I read The Power of Habit, and that was the catalyst for some new habits. I highly recommend it, although it is rather slow and reads like a textbook at times. Another habit I've created for myself is taking a few minutes each morning to mentally prepare for the day. You know, like a little pep talk. I create a mental checklist of my goals for the day, and tell myself some positive affirmations to keep me calm and grounded. I never used to do this, at least not regularly. I would just hop right out of bed, get into my car, and immediately join the rat race better known as life. It felt like a race, and now I can see why I was always so frazzled.

Small changes can lead to big changes, and that's the one takeaway I hope you'll remember. You don't have to give in to the pressures of drastically changing something, you can start with baby steps and still feel like you're heading in the right direction. So much of our daily lives is born out of habit and routine. The tiniest shift can make a huge impact. Don't set yourself up for failure by taking on too much at once.

If there are any topics you'd like to discuss, please feel free to let me know! I'll still mostly stick to the fun and frivolous, but I'm open to writing about a whole host of other things too. You can expect to see these once a month.

Happy Wednesday!