Why We Aren't Finding Love

September 05, 2018


Someone once told me that every story is a love story. No matter what genre, medium, or plotline, at its core each story conveys some form of love or attachment from one person to another.  Looking around today, I think that's predominantly true - not just in tv, movies, books, and pop culture, but in our lives as well. Everyone's personal story is a story about love - a summation of the relationships, friendships and kinships that have formed us and that motivate us.

Makes sense, right - humans are wired for community. We are motivated primarily by love, both in the form of an unselfish desire to be part of something bigger than themselves, as well as the innate instinct to bond with other humans for the purposes of community, survival, and mating. And nine times out of ten, it just so happens that the heart of the story is specifically romantic love.

That's all well and good until you're seemingly the only single person on the face of this planet.

We've all been there: we're looking around at the relationship-centric world around us, at the rom-coms and the happily-ever-afters and our coupled-off friends, and we can't help but feel like we're missing out. The rest of the world alternates between going out of their way to point out your singleness and ignoring it altogether, then before you know it you find yourself at a party on a Saturday night standing in a corner, again, and clutching halfheartedly to your last shreds of belief in this elusive thing called "love".

Sound about right?

Someone once said that insanity consists of performing the same actions over and over again, expecting a different result. After a long repetition of failures or bad dates, that's what the quest for love starts to feel like. A crazy errand, a merry-go-round of pointless pain and disappointment.

I call this "dating burnout."

My natural response to this conundrum has always been to simply try harder. In true little-engine-that-could fashion, my mantra becomes, "I'll keep searching. I'll make it happen. I know I can." But in reality, I'm only trying to force something that isn't (and shouldn't be) in my control. I'm placing all the burden on myself, and thus, when I inevitably fail, the blame as well.

But what if I told you that dating burnout doesn't have to be a bad thing?

Here's what happens when we get burned out: we are forced to rest. We start to re-evaluate our process, our priorities, our needs and desires. We step back and start asking questions like, "why isn't this working?"

If you're experiencing dating burnout, you're not alone, and you're also not doomed. But it's time for us all to look at love from a different perspective.

After a breakup, or in the wake of another happy couple announcement on Facebook, I used to automatically cycle through the same age-old questions: "So what's wrong with me? Why can't I have that? Why haven't I found my soulmate yet? What am I doing wrong?" (What is love?? Baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, etc).

See, society treats singleness like some sort of disease, convincing you that if you aren't in a meaningful relationship, you need to be "fixed." At a recent family wedding, I lost count of relatives who asked me why I wasn't dating, whether I planned to have a family at some point, and if I wanted their help being set up with some eligible bachelor. Even in this modern society, for all the talk of feminism and independence, the assumption remains: If you're not romantically involved, you're an oddball; if you're not dating, you should be; and if you're single, you need help. It's no wonder that we're so desperate to find love: The pressure of that mentality, together with the natural craving for companionship, creates instant discontent.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not slamming relationships. There's a reason why they are so important to our society! But buying into a single definition of love, telling ourselves a one-sided narrative of what love is, can be truly dangerous.

I was driving home from a friend's house one evening when it hit me: Love does not exist only in the context of romance. We only think it does. And that's why we're so miserable.

The peril of the dating landscape of today is that we consider an exclusive relationship the only way we are going to find any form of love in our lives, the only way we will find approval and acceptance and fulfillment and companionship and meaning. And so we become blind to any other kind of love. We sacrifice community and forget the crucial importance of bonding with others in a non-romantic way.

Love is something that we must intentionally seek, create, and practice with every person in our lives - not just a potential partner. Think about it: if you don't love the people who are in your life now (including yourself!), how are you going to truly love a significant other? Your habits won't magically change when you meet the right person.

A recent study by psychological researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad found that "social connection is associated with a 50 percent reduced risk of early death." Let that sink in. Interacting with the people you meet on a daily basis is the number one factor in living a long and healthy life. And on the other side of that coin, living alone or having little to no daily social relationship with others has a higher mortality rate than smoking, drinking, and even obesity.

There is so much love present in our lives just waiting for us to receive it; and there are so many more ways to be loved than simply by being in a relationship.

By obsessing about romantic love, you could be overlooking the love that is found in the everyday moments. Like the moment you're running late to an event and your friend saves you a seat so you won't sit alone. Or the way your little sister says she would rather read another story with you than watch TV because she misses your voice. Or how your mom makes sure your breakfast is ready early in the morning even though you never thank her. Or the way your coworker completes one of your tasks like mopping the floor because she heard you venting earlier about how tired you are. Or when a total stranger pays for your coffee.

These moments need to be enough. We need to stop disregarding them. Because they are so much more than "enough."

And in our quest to be loved, we also tend to forget that we are enough, too. We forget that self love is also a critical form of love. We look to someone else to take care of us, check in on us, feed us, be our back-up, our road trip buddy, our coffee date. It took me a long time to realize that this person needs to be myself, first and foremost.

And I get it - sometimes we'd rather just get lost in the search. It's easier to put all the responsibility on someone else, to blame fate for your singleness, and to resign yourself to wandering towards some fabricated destination. The more time we spend searching, the longer we avoid doing the hard work of getting to know and love and improve ourselves.

But trust me, your life will radically change if you start pouring love out instead of looking to absorb it. You will discover happiness in checking in with yourself, taking care of yourself, comforting yourself when you're down, being your own advocate.

That's why even married couples can sometimes feel unfulfilled. If you're looking for someone to "complete" you, to be your other half and give your life meaning and fullness without any effort on your part to love yourself or your community, you're not getting the whole picture, and you're going to be dissatisfied.

I'm not saying that buddy love or self love is the same thing as romantic love, nor can they replace it; these different types of love are very distinct. But I am saying that if you even subconsciously think that you aren't "truly" loved unless you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you're dangerously wrong. Love is not confined to the context of dating and marriage - and neither is your purpose or worth.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you you're a strong independent woman who don't need no man, because 1. That would be a cliche and 2. That implies that you'd be weak if you do have a man. It's okay to need and want people - in fact, we all need other people to survive. Being in a relationship doesn't make you weak or 'less than' a single person.

But regardless of your relationship status, you have a responsibility to realize that you are strong enough to survive and thrive all on your own - and that you are perfectly able to give and receive love with or without the presence of a significant other.

So if you just can't seem to find love, maybe it's because love is not something you just "find". It's not something you stumble upon accidentally. It doesn't just happen. Love is something you receive to the measure that you give. You must cultivate it like a garden. If you're simply going out there *looking* for someone to love you as if you're simply wandering the aisles of Target, you're doing it wrong. Don't get sucked in to the lie that you have to get busy searching in order to receive what you really need; God's not up there laughing as He sets up hoops for you to jump through. We simply cannot avoid the fact that life must be lived - not skipping over the slow parts or the ugly parts or the lonely parts; it must be lived in all the mess and uncertainty.

Experiencing dating burnout is actually one of the best things that ever happened to me. It wasn't until I reached this point that I realized that I am tired of placing my happiness in something outside of my control. That I am sick of the empty process of looking for something solely because I think it will make me feel more worthy or important.

It took a broken heart or two for me to finally decide that I'm done passively waiting for happiness and love. That I'm done putting all my identity in a romantic relationship and I'm ready to simply be love to everyone in my life, and not obsess over when I'll meet the lucky guy.

By realizing that my relationship status isn't only in my control, I was greeted by the relief that it wasn't my fault, and that singleness is not a punishment for something I've done or failed to do. It's not on me to "get out there and find" my future spouse; when the time is right for you to be blessed with a romantic partner, it'll happen.

Until then, now is the perfect time for us to shift our focus from finding a significant other to simply learning to be in true relationship with others, with God, and ourselves. To quote one of my favorite rom-coms, "Love actually is all around us."

I guess the short answer for why we can't find the love we know we deserve is that we aren't looking for it. At least, not in the right places. We're not noticing it in the world around us. I'm still learning to open my eyes to the beauty of the many different types of love surrounding me every day, and to be content in this period of waiting. But I do know this: If every story is a love story, we have no choice but to live as the story unfolds - slowly, gradually, blindly, with no certainty of what comes next. Let's learn to find the beauty in every chapter, and not just in our idea of the final destination.




8 Low-Budget Staycation Ideas You Need to Try

July 24, 2018

As the summer goes by and your social media feeds fill up with glamorous photos from exotic vacations of celebrities, family and friends, it's easy to feel jealous and even a little gloomy if you're stuck at home. Maybe Vegas has been a goal for you for ages, but it always loses out to paying rent on time. Maybe you've always wanted to go to Hawaii, but student loans dictate otherwise; And while your heart says "Paris", your bank account says "canned peas for dinner".

Even if you're trying to set aside a bit of savings each month for a travel fund (which is a good idea!), it's slow going. I feel you.

Big vacations are always fun, but I want you to know that you don't have to break the bank in order to have a great time. Sometimes I think we tend to overlook the opportunities for small adventures in our own backyard; it's the smallest things that often make the best memories. So don't miss out on the opportunity to have an amazing summer just because you can't afford a luxury trip!

For this post, I've pulled together a list of some of my favorite ideas for low-budget, fun activities you can do right where you're at. Depending on where you live, some of these might fit you better than others, but this can at least get you started. Happy Adventuring!

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1. Become a tourist in your local area

I've noticed a strange irony in myself and many of my friends: Even if we live in amazing places like San Diego or New York, we often haven't even seen many of the "must-see" sights around our own hometowns, because our week-to-week life keeps us so busy! Unless you've lived in the same place your whole life or do a good amount of sight-seeing with out-of-state friends, chances are you haven't explored all there is to see right in your own backyard. 

Some of these attractions cost more than others, but you'd be surprised how many inexpensive and even free places you can find in your area. Try searching Yelp for attractions in your area, or look up "top things to do in (your city's name)" to see if there's something you've never done before. 

If you live in an area that sees a lot of tourism, I'd highly recommend you go to the visitor's center (they're usually marked on google maps), and start talking to the guides there. Pick up pamphlets with all of the local state parks, hiking trails, eateries, museums, and other curiosities. 

When my friend Crystal and I went to Carlsbad, we stumbled on the visitors center, and the lady there directed us to a free historical park that I'd never heard of that ended up being right around the corner from my house, and it ended up being a highlight of our weekend! She also let us in on a secret tour in Balboa park - again, which I'd never heard of, even though I'd been to that park several times before. Moral of the story: you never know what you're going to discover right under your nose if you just look! 

2.  Explore a local bookstore, coffee shop, or boutique


If you have a special hobby or interest that you like to get lost in, try using that as a starting point for where to go! If you're a bookworm like me, search "antique bookstores near me" and see what comes up. (I don't know why, but I've found that almost every town has one - which is good news for me!).

If you like coffee, make it a goal to find a new and unique coffee shop to get lost in for the afternoon. Antique stores and boutiques are also fun, because you can explore for hours and maybe even find a treasure or two!

There are loads more specialty shops you could look for based on your hobbies and interests - get creative!

3. Farmer's markets


Markets and street fairs are a great way to experience the flavor of places outside of your hometown without ever having to leave.

Markets and fairs bring together artists, craftspeople, and farmers from far and wide, and they usually go on for at least three to six months! Most farmer's markets even have live music, street performers, festival rides, activities, and games.

Even if it's held in a place you're familiar with, it can be super fun to watch your city streets transformed into a completely different world. You can either stop by briefly or make a day of it! Search for farmer's markets in your area, and if you can, make it a point to support your local businesses and farms by purchasing from them.

4. Host a summer gathering

If you're like me and tend to get super busy with work and life, summer is the perfect time to step back and make it a point to connect with friends and family. Even if you can't go anywhere fancy with them, consider just hosting a gathering at your own house. 

With some string lights, lanterns, and / or candles, even the most mundane of patios can feel like a luxurious getaway. 

There are many different forms this gathering can take. If you're not fond of cooking, make it a potluck-style dinner, with each guest bringing something different. Or you could host it in the morning as a brunch - or in the evening as a dessert-only affair. There are no rules! 

If you have a pool or a barbecue, try a daytime pool party. If you don't have a yard, maybe bring things indoors for a movie night. Even pillow forts & board games is an acceptable theme. Just get your friends together with some good food and drinks, and the rest is history!  

5. Visit a museum

Chances are there are many local museums that you've never been to: now is a great time to try them! 

Many of my own local museums are inexpensive or even have "free days" or discount days for students, local residents, or volunteers. Do some research, find a museum that looks interesting to you, and go check it out, taking pride in your newfound knowledge of science or local history!  

(Also, museums are nice because they're air conditioned. Just saying. So are Ikeas; if all else fails and you don't have air conditioning, just go to an Ikea and test all the cozy couches. Life hacks). 

6. Outdoor movie marathon

Instead of binging Netflix inside, take the bingeparty outside! This one works whether you have a porch, balcony, or backyard; if you have more space, just hook up a portable speaker, put up a bed sheet, borrow a projector, and voila! Marathon-ready.

If you don't have a lot of space, or if you don't have a projector and screen, just take your laptop outside, put up some Christmas lights, and get cozy on a beanbag chair or a camping chair: your very own theater for one. 

For most states in the country (except California), the summer weather only lasts a little while - take advantage of it! Make your favorite hot or cold drink, and let the marathon begin. 

7. Hiking / camping


This one's a bit trite, but if you're an outdoor person, exploring a new hiking trail or getting away from civilization for a few days can be just as rejuvenating as traveling out of state. Perhaps even more so! 

Search for affordable campsites in your area, and make sure to book at least a few months in advance before they get booked for the season. You should also be able to find a good list of which campsites are the least crowded and the highest-rated. Going with at least two buddies is always a great idea - for safety and for splitting costs. 

As for hiking, venture off the beaten path (so to speak) and try a less-known trail in your area, or venture a bit farther out from your hometown for a refreshing change. Unplug from social media for at least a day and reap the benefits of the great outdoors. I myself am making a goal to tackle this one this summer: I haven't yet tried out all the hiking places in San Diego area, so please feel free to send me your own personal recommendations! 

9. Sleepovers

If you have friends who live close by, doing a backyard campout or indoor sleepover is a great way to take a break from your day-to-day routine and experience a type of vacation.

The key is to get out of your own house for at least two days in a row, and to pack as if you were going out of town. Take a clean break from your normal house and environment, and spend some quality time with the family or friends you're staying with.

8. A small change of scenery 

For those weekends you can't get away, try cultivating the space you do have. 

For example, if you want to make your outdoor space feel more exotic, plant some new flowers in your yard, add a hammock, or refresh your patio furniture to make for a fun spot to hang out this summer. If you don't have a yard, consider planting some plants anyway. (One of my good friends just built a planter box to put on her balcony to plant her succulents and herbs!) 

If you're more of an indoor person, hit the thrift stores and redecorate your room - or your favorite indoor space. You'd be surprised how much a change of scenery can refresh your mindset in a major way. 

***

What You Need To Know About Self Care: with Mia Hemstad

June 22, 2018

Hi everyone! I'm proud to introduce another blog collaboration! Today, I'll be featuring my good friend Mia Hemstad, a vlogger, mental health advocate, and mom of two based in Huntington Beach, California.  Mia's YouTube channel frequently delves into self-care and the importance of taking time to nurture yourself despite the busyness of everyday life - something that many of us find to be a challenge. So last weekend, I sat down to interview Mia and get her thoughts on self care and its effect on one's overall mental health.

As you read this, you'll understand why I am so excited for this collaboration. Mia is one of the most down-to-earth, honest, and inspiring individuals I know. If you're not subscribing to her already, go show her some love on her YouTube channel at this link here! You can also find her everyday insights on Instagram @miahemstad. Trust me, I just know you'll love her just as much as I do!

Without further ado, here are her words of advice about self care, self love, and mental health.

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Learning what self care means


Me: So what first got you started on your journey towards consciously practicing self care?

Mia: In college, I never thought about practicing self care. Up till recently, I disregarded it; I thought self care had to be expensive and extravagant, because that's what it was for the mom vloggers I watched on YouTube. Self care wasn't a thing for me until I went back to therapy at the beginning of this year. That's when I first learned about what self care really was. My psychologist said that I need to learn how to take better care of myself, and that I put everyone first but forget to take care of myself - which is true. I started exploring what can self care be for me, instead of what I’ve been told self care is from Instagram and social media.

Me: In this process, what did you discover about self care then that you maybe wish you'd known sooner?

Mia: That self care doesn’t need to be expensive, and it doesn’t need to be time consuming, and it doesn’t all need to be related to physical self care; a lot of self care can just be taking time for yourself, whether that's taking a nap, or just going somewhere alone. 

Me: Can you share some of the ways you practice self care in your daily life? 

Mia: It varies depending on what season I'm in. In times of transition, self care can be especially difficult to practice regularly. But usually it involves taking naps, exercise, resting, drinking tea, taking a shower.  People underestimate the healing power of a good shower, especially if you wait till night time to take it. Sometimes I use soaps or lotions with essential oils in them. I also drink a lot of decaf tea.

Self care is also about being really proactive; I try to be proactive by listening to or reading something really inspiring or motivating, whether it's a podcast or a YouTube video or an audiobook. I also like to listen to ASMR for anxiety.

Self care as a habit 


Me: So what advice can you give to someone just starting on the journey of self care? 

Mia: I like to think of self care as a list of habits that I have to work on every day. When you're starting a new habit or routine, it’s not about doing it perfectly - it takes time to work up to doing it every day. And it’s not about staying on track all the time, it's about having a track to come back to when you derail - because you will derail.  It's important in those times to know that you’re not failing;  the self care habits just take time to develop.

I want people to know that even if you're not perfect at it, you're so much better off setting goals rather than not setting goals at all. For example, if you set the goal that you're going to do yoga every day, but you only do it once that week, that’s still a victory. You did it one more time than never having done it. My goal to practice flossing my teeth every day took a whole year to master; and now I feel like if I could make that small habit change, I can keep making habit changes.

Me: How do you face roadblocks in practicing self care?

Mia: Instead of feeling defeated and looking at all the things I can't do (like joining a gym or taking a yoga class) I really just have to focus at what I can do. Something that helps me is journaling 3 things every day that you're grateful for. When I was super depressed in high school, I challenged myself to make a list of 3 things I was grateful for each day for 30 days. I challenged myself to make my 3 things different every day; when you give yourself a goal like that, suddenly it'll be in your mind throughout the day and you'll be noticing positive things around you more and more. Just take action. If I were to sit around all day wishing I was different and didn't have to suffer, I'd still be suffering. 

Self care is an act of loving yourself


Me: How directly do you think self care is tied to positive self-image and self esteem?

Mia: Self care is literally saying, "I care enough about my body to take care of it." When you're depressed, your mind is telling you you're ugly or you're not worth it, and questioning why you're even here; when you start taking care of yourself, it’s like a grounding exercise. When your mind is saying you’re not worth care, but you get up anyway to take that shower or care for your skin or brush your teeth, you’re literally combatting what’s going on in your head. People don’t realize that it really does have a subconscious effect on your self worth. 

The more you take action outside of your head, the more you ground yourself and acknowledge that you are worth taking care of. Then you start to tell yourself that, then you start believing it. Even if you can’t tell yourself you love yourself, you’re still performing the actions that say that. Actions speak louder than words. Just be patient with yourself, and don't compare yourself to others who are also on the journey of self care.

Beginning is half the work


Me: Any final words of wisdom you'd like to share? 

Mia: What I really want people to know is that just admitting that you’re struggling is 50% of the work. it's also important to have a good support system and a therapist who can remind you that you’re not a horrible person, you’re not failing, your mind is just struggling and that's okay. Knowing the reason why you're struggling gives you permission to have some compassion for yourself. Awareness and compassion are more than half the journey. So far, I've gotten the awareness part, I'm working on the compassion, and after that comes the healing part. 

***


How Overcoming Depression Became My Superpower

June 18, 2018

"Knowing it's real means you gotta make a decision. One: Keep denying it. Or two: Do something about it." 
-Marvel's Jessica Jones

I know I've been posting a ton about mental health, but I keep being inspired as it comes up in discussions with friends and in the culture, so here's another post!

So much of the talk on the news and on social media has been centering around the tragedies that have taken place recently, and on people sharing their stories about the dark reality of mental health and how we need to get better about addressing it as a society. While all of that is true and important to address, I also wanted to give you all a look at the positive successes and victories I've been experiencing in my own mental health journey, to share a bit of hope with you!

Earlier this weekend, I was talking with my friend Mia about mental health as part of our upcoming collaboration; One thing we talked about was that when you're depressed and don't want to do anything, sometimes the smallest tasks can require the most monumental effort - even just getting out of bed or brushing your teeth. One of the best ways to combat depression (besides seeing a mental health professional, of course) is to just get up and take care of yourself anyway - to persevere through the fog and keep moving forward. Even if you feel like you're just going through the motions, soon these motions will affect how you think, feel, and treat yourself in a positive way.

Over the past few years, through my own depression, I've gotten used to getting my ass up, showing up, and not giving up. I've learned how to keep fighting to keep moving, whether it's taking a major step in life or just making myself shower. And my efforts have finally begun to pay off! I know that my story is not the same for everyone, and that the things that work for me may not work for you; But I do want to make sure that you know that it is possible to recover, and it does get better!

Today, it occurred to me that what I've done - continuing to move forward and learn to love myself - takes true effort and discipline, and it's something to be proud of. It might sound odd, but in a sense, working to overcome depression has made me a better and stronger person than I was before.

Think about it. Adult life is basically a series of doing things that, at the core, we don't really *want* to do: Having job interviews, going to work, spending money on rent and loans, putting time and effort into loving and caring for someone else even when we don't feel like it - and even following laws! We know we need to do all of these things because they make us good people and good citizens; however, actually doing all of that takes discipline, self-awareness and sometimes determination, too.

We who are living with depression are already well practiced at this! Here I am, here we are, winning that battle every single day, sometimes hundreds of times a day. My depression itself has not made me stronger, but refusing to surrender to my depression has made me a better human, a better Catholic, a better employee, a better friend, daughter and sister, because I know what it's like to do hundreds of things per day that require perseverance, determination and 100% of my willpower.

My depression itself is not an achievement, but fighting my depression has made me invincible. 

Some days, depression robs us of our emotions, our control, our health, our passion for life, our ability to function, our enthusiasm, our joy. Yet if we fight it, it slowly begins to lose its hold on us. I just want you to know that I am so proud of you, and I hope you'll keep going on this journey with me! Take a moment to be in awe of yourself. What we have done is no small feat!

For a while, I've struggled with the whole concept of "weakness is strength". Sounds poetic, sure, but how can something that makes you weak also make you strong? Isn't that an oxymoron? I know that getting through something difficult makes you strong, but is the weakness in and of itself a good thing? Aren't we always supposed to just try to get rid of our weaknesses?

Then, today at church during the homily, everything clicked. The priest quoted Saint Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, verses 7-10, in which Paul wrote:

"Therefore, that I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.' I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

I've heard this reading before, but for some reason today was the day that the realization of what Paul was saying hit me like a freight train. Paul asked for God to take away his weakness; and God said no. Why? Because power is made perfect in weakness. 

He's saying that you're not supposed to just be strong despite your weaknesses; you become strong because of your weaknesses. There's literally no way to be strong unless you're weak. In a sense, weaknesses are the best things that ever happened to you. In response to this, Paul's like, "Well in that case, I'm going to be proud of my weaknesses." Pain and weakness are not merely byproducts of bad luck, accidents of the universe, or human fault. They are the source of your power.

I'm not saying that God was directly talking about depression there, because He wasn't. But I found a grain of inspiration in those verses that I could apply to my own situation. I also am not saying that you can overcome depression simply with sheer willpower - because that's not true. It also takes guidance from a mental health professional, time and effort, sometimes medication, and support from family and friends and loved ones. But knowing that our struggles are part of something bigger, that they will make us better versions of ourselves, is a very liberating concept. It takes away the shame, and replaces it with a sense of accomplishment. It takes away some of the fear and helplessness.

In this society, so many people equate failure with lack of worth, or just straight-up weakness. But I'm learning that failure is nothing more than valuable experience that makes us more prepared to take on our lives and to guide us towards success. I think this applies to mental health, too. Weaknesses and obstacles are not just things that need to be eliminated. We need to view them as opportunities, as preparation for success.

After all these years of asking "Why?" Or complaining, "Not again!" when it comes to the hardships I've encountered, I feel like this realization is so key. I've spent so much time just wishing that depression wasn't part of my life, and trying to just ignore it. I've become accustomed to treating it like the redheaded stepchild, like an "annoying flaw in an otherwise good life" - instead of accepting is as part of my growth. This may seem like a backwards mentality - especially in a world that refuses to allow us to be imperfect. But it's a game changer.

I don't know if this makes any sense at all or if I'm just rambling; But I came out of today feeling proud of my struggle with mental illness, because living with it, wrestling with it and, most of all, learning from it is part of what has improved me. Over time, it's helped me develop resilience and a sense of purpose.  I know that having a mental illness makes me "weak" by some standards, but it also is what makes me so fearless.

So don't give up! Don't let anyone make you feel like you are weak for having a mental illness. Don't let the world tell you you have to be perfect in order to be loved. Don't listen to the negativity. If you struggle with mental illness, I want you to know that you can beat this, and that I'm proud of you. Just by virtue of the fact that you're here and you are persevering, you're an absolute warrior and I hope you know that.

My pain and weaknesses will not win the day, and neither will yours. With the right tools, we can be in charge of our own life.  I refuse to let depression tell us that we have no place on this earth. We belong, we are each here for a purpose, and we each have such big things in store for us, just you wait! This isn't the end of your story.

I'm not "done" with my journey through mental health, but I'm continuing to thrive and grow into a healthy, positive space. That's why I choose to keep fighting, each and every day. While I don't know if I can quite say that I am glad for it, I do know that working through my mental health issues has made me realize just how strong I am, and for that, I am grateful.

Have a great week, and remember to take care of yourself! 💜


Pursuing Success Despite Anxiety: With Susannah Doucet

June 10, 2018

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to introduce my very first blog collaboration! Last week, I sat down to interview my Instagram friend Susannah Doucet, a total girlboss, sweetheart, and entrepreneur from Alabama. She's also a mental health advocate, and shares the story of her own experience of living with anxiety on her blog.

Since last month was Mental Health Awareness month, I wanted to ask her some questions about things that helped her on her mental health journey, and what she's learned. I was curious how she balances running her active network marketing business with the daily struggle of debilitating anxiety. If you're struggling with anxiety or if you want to hear about an amazing girlboss, just keep reading!

***

Working with anxiety


Susannah talks a lot about not wanting to have to sacrifice who you are or what you want just because you have anxiety. Having her own business has been hugely beneficial for her in this way.

She explained that she loves to work and loves especially working with people, but over the past few years, her various jobs have taxed her emotionally, mentally and physically. "Every time I had to call in sick or quit a job, it made me feel like crap." But when you run your own business, you don't have all that pressure, she says. "With my own business, I can work my own hours - I can work from my bed, and it makes me feel more empowered. It makes me feel like I can still contribute."

However, having anxiety is a constant tug-of-war between needing to interact with people and needing to be alone to recharge.  This can be challenging if you have a traditional 9-5 job, or any job that requires emotional and physical effort. She explained how working from home on social media has been a lifesaver. "I love to work with people, but some days it's just hard to go out and meet people; but with technology, I can still do that. I can still talk to people without leaving my house."

Surrounding yourself with a positive community


Another thing Susannah and I talked about was how important a good community is, especially for someone struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses.

In her professional life, Susannah noticed that she feels more self confidence and self-love if she interacts with friends and mentors who boost her own self-confidence through positive words and care. "It's so important to constantly have that fed into you," she says. "In [my business], when I'm around successful people, it's like it rubs off on me. The same goes for life in general."

She then highlighted the importance of just getting in the habit of talking to people and engaging in good, positive relationships throughout the day. "Sometimes all it takes is Facetiming a friend. Just opening my mouth and talking with someone. Even if I'm just venting about my day, at least I've spoken to someone that day. You have to stay in contact with people, even if it's just a few people."

Choosing your friends wisely 


The kind of people you open up to about your mental health should also be a very intentional decision. While your anxiety does not define you, it is a part of your life and you deserve to be surrounded by people who understand and support you.

"A lot of people say they understand and care about [your mental struggle], but they don't," she admits. "You really have to know who your friends are, and unfortunately sometimes that involves learning who your friends are - or aren't - the hard way."

But when you do find people who care about you, how do you allow yourself to be honest and open about your anxiety without letting it dominate your social life?

Susannah recommends balance. "Just be honest," she urges. "Tell them what you're going through and explain it to them. Assure them that it's not about them; they're not causing your anxiety, it's just something that you're experiencing." If they are truly your friends, they will be supportive and patient. If they are not, then perhaps re-evaluate whether or not you should be hanging around them in the first place.

In the social arena, the reality is that sometimes your dreams and goals must learn to co-exist with your anxiety. Susannah puts it this way: "I've decided, you know what, I'm not going to let anxiety keep me from doing the things I want to do. If I can work something out to where I can still do what I want and still enjoy it, I'm going to try to do that. Usually that involves telling my friends about my situation and making sure they understand so that they don't [...] take it personally."

For Susannah, sometimes that means needing to leave early, or having a "backup plan" on what to do if the outing gets to be too much. Some days might end up feeling like a compromise between you and your anxiety, but that's okay. Learning to work with your anxiety, although it is frustrating at times, does not need to hold you back from living your life.

Realizing it's not "just you"


Sometimes anxiety can distort our perception to the point where it's difficult to tell if we're being reasonable in our expectations. But sometimes we tend to blame ourselves for things that aren't in our control. One of the things from our conversation that struck me the most was how at one of her jobs, whenever things went wrong in the workplace she'd blame it on herself for being "slow" or "disorganized," when really it was her employers that were expecting too much of her.

"With anxiety sometimes you cant tell if what you're worrying about is your gut, or if it's your anxiety. You start to doubt yourself: 'Maybe it's all in my head, maybe I need to just relax or pray the anxiety away,'" she says. "I was taking all this stuff that they were telling me I needed to change as things that were wrong with me personally." But it's important to be wary in situations like this: Not only do people tend to expect too much of any reasonable person, but they should also need to be understanding of the certain things that are out of your control that are caused by your anxiety.

Sometimes they even go out of their way to treat you as less of a person if you have anxiety. "As a person of faith, people would use the whole concept of 'spiritual warfare' against me all the time, when really it's not just a spiritual issue." Abuses and misunderstandings like these are why we need better awareness and support in the public conversation about mental illness.

Getting out of unhealthy situations


Susannah was adamant about recognizing situations that are unhealthy for you, and not being ashamed to get out of those situations. "If you are in a bad situation like that, my advice would be to step back and observe the whole situation: Look at how they treat others, and what kind of people they are. Listen to your gut."

Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect, love and patience. You are not wrong to expect these things from people around you. Don't settle for anything less than this, she urges: "Your life is so much more important than this bad situation that 's making you feel worse about yourself.  God, or the universe, or whatever you want to call it, is going to take care of you. For example, if you have courage to leave the job that's causing you stress, something better will come along. Your mental health and wellbeing is so much more important than anything else."

Accepting your anxiety


"Before I fully accepted that I had anxiety, and a long time after, I would try to hide it and it would make those situations worse," she shared. "I wouldn't know why I felt bad, but I kept pushing through and it made it worse because I was bottling it all up."

As trite as it sounds, the first step towards managing the problem of anxiety is acknowledging it, accepting it, and focusing on positive steps you can take. "When I started to tell people about it and be more open about it, it took so much pressure off."

 Susannah said that if she could tell her past self one thing about living with anxiety, it would be to accept it and stop living in denial. "I always thought [my anxiety] would magically disappear - I was just going to wake up one day and it would be gone. I was in denial that it was a condition that I will probably always have. This journey might have gone a lot easier if I had accepted my reality that this is what I have, and I need to learn to still be able to live my life and work around it."

That being said, she made it clear that anything can happen, and that she remains optimistic that one day she might be dealing with far less anxiety than she is now.

"I believe that miracles can happen; and even if they don't, my anxiety is serving a purpose right now. Sharing what I'm going through is helping people who are going through the same thing. I'm able to connect with people."

Finding what helps you cope 


When it comes to mental health, there is no one answer, but you can begin working to find what works for you.

For Susannah, the turning point was a few years ago. "I agreed to see a counselor, and then a psychiatrist. That was life-changing. Getting on the proper medications has been huge.  Essential oils can also really help me calm down. I'm also trying to work on clean eating; and also, taking time to talk things out really helps."

Changing the way you think about yourself also helps. "You have to be kind to yourself and accept yourself, and find the way you can best live your life with all of this happening. I have to accept that it's okay if I need to lay in bed all day some days, or watch youtube all day. I try to make sure I get out of the house every day at least for just a few minutes. My weighted blanket also helps. A practical thing is a weighted blanket; it's like a hug!"

Above all, Susannah says, don't bottle it up. "Don't be ashamed that you're asking for help or that you have depression or anxiety. whether it be seasonal or situational or chemical. Don't be ashamed of it, the best thing you can do for yourself is open up to someone about it. Your life is too short to not do something about it." 💙

***

Did you love this post? Go check out more by Susannah on her Instagram and her blog! Many thanks to Susannah for collaborating with me on this post!







My Summer Reading List

June 10, 2018

Did anyone else do the summer reading program at your local library when you were a kid?

I used to do it every summer when I was in elementary and middle school, and it was always a highlight of my summer. As I got older, though, I stopped reading as frequently. 

As you guys know, I've read a few books this year so far, (Artemis, Ready Player One, and Armada) but it's been a constant struggle of mine to get back into reading new books both fiction and nonfiction alike. So, I decided to make a summer reading list and track my progress! Here are fourteen books I want to crack open this summer! 

If you have any additional suggestions, let me know! I'd love to know what you're reading, or what you've read so far this year. For my complete reading list, go find me on Goodreads.com. Let the reading begin!  

Nonfiction

1. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
2. Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert
3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
4. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k by Mark Manson
5. Unfiltered by Lily Collins
6. Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling
7. You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

Fiction

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
2. Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (I started it in April but never finished! Oops!)
3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
4. The Circle by Dave Eggers
5. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
6. The Outsider by Steven King
7. The Girl in the Spider's Web by Stieg Larsson

***

What are your reading hopefuls this summer? Let me know in the comments! 

Love,
Amanda

How to Travel Like an Adult

May 21, 2018


Traveling is truly one of the best pastimes, in my opinion. Seeing the world and experiencing new places, people and cultures enriches our lives and keeps our sense of wonder alive in ways that few other experiences can. However, social media can tend to oversimplify and romanticize the idea of traveling - so much so that it's increasingly easy to believe that traveling is nothing but breathtaking views, flawless HD photos, and effortless journeys from place to place.

However, if you're like me and are new to the traveling thing, the whole ordeal can be really intimidating. Just like anything else you do, traveling is messy, and it's more about the journey than the photo you snap at the end. It takes preparation and practice. The more you do it, the better you get and the smoother your trip will go. Over the past few months, leading up to my recent trip to Seattle, I've put together a list of my top 5 tips and tricks that have helped me in the past and continue to serve me well as I embark on each of my trips. Enjoy!

1. Pack as light as you can


I know, this one doesn't sound fun at all. But there's some crazy phenomenon that always happens when I travel: the more stuff I bring, the more bogged down and anxious I am, and the less I can enjoy the trip. I overpack because I think that if I bring these things the trip will be easier or more fun, when instead I find myself less able to enjoy the place I'm visiting. I'm suddenly more concerned with how I'm going to carry all this luggage or what to do if one of my bags gets lost or stolen.

Funny, isn't it - fewer suitcases = fewer things to worry about!  I may not be good at math, but that equation looks pretty good to me.

I'm not saying you should only bring what you can fit in a fanny pack, either - you know your own comfort limit and how much is enough for you. Whatever that limit is for you, try to question your packing choices, and only bring what you absolutely need. You may find that you feel that much more free and energized to take on the journey.

2.  Identify your essentials


This goes hand in hand with the last tip, but as you are narrowing down what to bring with you on your trip, start by identifying what things are essential for you, and pack those first. These are things that you need to have with you for safety, for

For me, my bare bones essentials besides my clothes and my phone are:

-Emergency spending cash (in case of a cash-only parking meter, train or bus, for instance)
-Mascara
-Moisturizer
-Charging cables / adapters
-Headphones (my Beats noise-canceling headphones are absolute life savers)
-My camera (because I'm an artsy-pic addict; but you don't need to feel the need to document your trip with photos if you don't want to!)
-A water bottle
-Some essential oils (to fight any sleeplessness, indigestion and anxiety)
-Some basic toiletries
-My vitamins and supplements
-A notebook and pen (ya never know when inspiration hits - or when I'll need to write something down to get it off my chest during an anxiety attack).

Everyone's list is different, but those are just the things I know that I like to have with me no matter where I'm traveling to. Take time to get to know yourself and your needs, and what little things would make the trip most enjoyable for you from a personal care standpoint.

Whatever your essentials are, make sure you pack them in your carry-on so they are always close and so if your bags get lost, you'll still have your staples. If you're on a road trip, make sure you keep them near the top of the stuff in your trunk or close to your arm's reach while you're driving.

3. Stay organized


Whether you're an organization freak like me (who has an inordinate love of lists) or not, it really does help to have a "system" when you're traveling. If you have anxiety, this could also really help make traveling less of an ordeal for you.

Whether you make the classic packing checklist, or make a list of things you need to do before you leave (i.e., pack, check in to your flight, print your ticket, etc), writing things down in list format is a time-tested way to both get your shit together and to retain & remember what you need even after you've made the list. It's also helps you achieve peace of mind knowing that you have a solid, visual reminder you can go back to, in case your brain fails you later.

Pro (not pro; amateur) tip: It also helps to write down important information (like your flight number, confirmation number, public transport route, hotel phone number and room number, etc) on a physical piece of paper, in case your phone dies right during your hour of need or you lose your booking info. You never know you'll need it until you are really glad you have it.

Also make sure you have a designated spot for your important travel documents like your passport, ID, credit cards, etc so you don't have to dig through your bag in the airport terminal panicking and thinking you've lost them - or worse, so you don't actually lose them. (This is where fanny packs actually do come terribly in handy.) If you're traveling internationally, you'll definitely want to make photocopies of your passport and ID, and keep them in a separate bag, just in case you get separated from the originals.

4. Don't be hangry 


While traveling, it's especially easy to skip meals (or eat food with no nutritional value), to get dehydrated, to skimp on sleep, or to otherwise to neglect your basic needs amid all the commotion. When traveling it's more important than ever to make sure you're eating, staying hydrated, and sleeping; these things will not only help you combat jet lag, but they are also important if you are traveling by yourself and want to stay alert, safe, and happy. It will be good for no one if your blood sugar crashes.

I always carry a compact snack when I travel, like an orange, an energy bar, or dried fruit, in addition to plenty of water. Try it!

5. Learn to enjoy the journey


It's trite, I know, but traveling is more about the journey than the destination sometimes. Some of the best memories you'll have and the best stories you'll tell your kids for years to come are the unplanned moments that you might have never anticipated - both good and unpleasant. Traveling, like a good improv scene, is all about being open and rolling with it as new things happen and take you in a new direction.

Even if you're not sight-seeing - even if you're just traveling home for Thanksgiving break or flying to attend a wedding, allow yourself room to take in your surroundings and enjoy your journey. If every waking moment of your trip was rigidly scheduled out, it wouldn't be an adventure!

What are some things that help you feel like your best self when you travel? Let me know in the comments down below!

Love,
Amanda





My Mental Health Journey: What I've Learned So Far

May 10, 2018

May is mental health awareness month. While of course mental health is something we can and should be mindful of every single month of the year, this is as good a time as any to be reminded to step back and re-evaluate how we are taking care of ourselves and our loved ones who struggle with mental illness.

There's been a lot of talk this week about mental health on social media. Earlier this week, Ryan Reynolds (star of the Marvel film Deadpool) opened up about his struggle with anxiety in an interview with the Daily Times.

Capsule Wardrobe: Worth It Or Not?

May 02, 2018


I'm sure that at some point over the past few years, you've all heard the phrase "capsule wardrobe" thrown around. For the longest time, I steered clear of the capsule wardrobe idea, because I assumed it meant something similar to "throw away most of your clothes and only keep a few outfits." Who wants to do that? Not me. However, after some procrastination and a little research, I recently found out that this assumption is actually not what a capsule wardrobe is. 

So what in the sam hill is a capsule wardrobe? 

Supposedly invented in the 1970's by London fashion designer Susie Faux, a capsule wardrobe (loosely defined) is a collection of a few essential seasonal clothing staples that: 

1. Don't go out of style
2. Can be mixed and matched with ease, and 
3. Serve as the "base" of your entire wardrobe (they can be dressed up or down, or paired with accessories).

The idea is to be able to narrow down your closet to the items that you really need and wear on a weekly basis - no more, and no less. You keep the clothes that are currently in season on display in your closet, and then you store the ones that are out of season. If it's summer, for example, you can see all your summer options at once when you go to get dressed in the morning, without having to dig past sweaters, coats, and other out-of-season items.  The result is that you'll be left with clothes that you can mix and match with each other to create many looks with minimal brain effort. If I had to use a few words to describe it, I'd say capsule wardrobing is bringing a sense of "focus" your closet and your life: It's keeping access to only what you need and stowing the extra visual clutter.

Sounds nice enough. But how do you *do* a capsule wardrobe?

That's the tricky part. If you do a quick search on google, you'll find that everyone has their own "guidelines" for how to create a capsule wardrobe. Some people say your capsule wardrobe should have 37 pieces; some 33; some 12. Some people include shoes and seasonal items in the count, and other's don't. Some people say it should be based on a certain color palette, others say it should just be clothes that you will wear on a daily basis. The list goes on and on.

Ain't nobody got time for that. 

All of those rules and numbers seemed pretty intimidating, and to me they feel the exact opposite of detoxing, de-stressing, and de-cluttering your life. But I started reading more and more articles by women who said that making a similar capsule wardrobe helped to bring a sense of simplicity and mindfulness to their lives.  

Naturally, then, I decided to try my hand at creating a capsule wardrobe for myself to see if it's all it's cracked up to be. Here are my practical tips for how to do the capsule wardrobe thing  - and still maintain your sanity.

1. Listen to your own life.


This is the most important step, and it's crucial whenever you're trying to adopt any trend or new idea: Adapt the concept to best fit your life, your personality, your needs, and your style. There is no cookie-cutter way to make a capsule wardrobe- or anything in life. You need to take into account that your capsule wardrobe is going to look different than everyone else's, because you are a unique individual with a unique style and unique needs. The biggest mistake I made is trying to force myself to be like other people. 

When making your capsule wardrobe, it's such a personal process. You need to be in touch with your life. For example, If you are a working professional with a corporate job, your capsule wardrobe will include more business-professional pieces, and might include a large number of pieces for different functions. If you're a stay-at-home mom, your wardrobe might include mostly casual pieces, with a few skirts or blouses for special occasions. If you're a student, it couldn't hurt to keep a few professional pieces, but you're going to mostly want comfortable (and stylish!) tees, sweats and jeans, amirite?

The first step, then, is to evaluate what "genre" of clothing you wear on a daily basis (whether it's casual, business casual, business formal, or something else!) and to make sure that you're keeping enough of those pieces intact. Be aware and listen to the rhythm of your own life; you're the person who's going to be wearing 100% of this wardrobe, after all!

2. Start with the seasons


The main tenet of the capsule wardrobe is that you should have one capsule wardrobe - one different focused set of clothes - for each season: One for Spring, one for Summer, one for Fall, and one for Winter. 

But this part is important: When you're not using all the out-of-season items, don't throw them away! Just store them under your bed or in a plastic storage bin in the closet. For example, in the Summer, if you are clearly not going to wear sweaters or wool ponchos on a daily basis, just store them, and bring them out again in the Fall and Winter.  You'll be amazed how reducing some of the visual clutter in your closet makes such a huge difference in bringing a sense of freshness to your life. 

But let me make a few little disclaimers: If you live somewhere with no seasons, or if you're a low maintenance person, this might just be silly (Or maybe you live in Southern California like me, where we basically only have Summer and Cold Summer). That's okay. You can still create a capsule wardrobe for each season, depending on what styles you want to wear that season or whatever inspires you. It can be refreshing to change things up every three months. 

Or, if that feels like too much effort for you, you might just want to do this twice a year; put together one capsule wardrobe in the Spring/ Summer, and then wear those pieces till Fall, and then put together another capsule wardrobe for the Fall/ Winter. It's up to you. You're the boss here. But the idea is to stay focused on the season, and recognize that some pieces will stay in your wardrobe all year round. 

3. The number isn't important


Really, it isn't. You don't need to have 33, or 37, or 40, or 12, or any of the conflicting numbers I've read on style blogs. 

How many pieces should you have? 

As many as you need. 

You know what you wear, you know what you need on a day-to-day basis. You know how many is too many or how few is too few for you. My capsule wardrobe ends up being around 25 pieces (not counting shoes), and that seems to be more than enough for me. But I sometimes cheat and borrow some out-of-season items like different jackets, just because. There's no rules. 

4. Narrow down what you're working with


Before you start making your capsule wardrobe, make sure you won't be keeping or storing any "dead weight." Get rid of items that you don't fit anymore or just don't like. 

Your capsule wardrobe should only be comprised of stuff that you know fits, that you would 100% wear right now today, that fits with your lifestyle, that is in season, and that you like. Bonus points if you make it a point to only cultivate a closet full of clothes that flatter your body type, or that all are part of a coordinated color palette - but those aren't required. 

For the sake of simplicity, it also helps to narrow down what you're going to include in your capsule wardrobe. For example, some articles of clothing that don't change all year round probably shouldn't count. Such as, workout clothes, tank tops / camisoles, pajamas, underwear, and accessories. To keep it simple, I don't include any of those in my capsule wardrobe. Let's just stick to actual clothes clothes. 

5. Keep it basic


One of the beautiful things about a capsule wardrobe is that you can be as basic or fancy as you want; but for just starting out, I'd recommend you keep it as basic as possible. Don't underestimate the power of your little black dress, your white tee, your black jeans, and other such "fashion staples" that can easily be mixed and matched. 

However, don't listen to me. Only you know what's a "basic" or a "staple" for you. I tried to match up my own style to "must-have basics" according to fashion magazines; I went out and bought the praised white oxford button-up, the dress slacks, the black high heels - but I found that I just didn't wear them. Instead, I gravitated towards other kinds of basics, like chambray tops, black and white tees, skinny jeans, and colored button-up tops. Once again, be mindful of your own life and follow what you know you'll wear and feel confident in.

6. Just keep trimming


As the year goes on and you rotate seasonal clothes out of your capsule wardrobe, notice if there's anything you never wear.  If you haven't worn something not even once in a few years, that may be a good indication that it's not an essential for you, or doesn't fit you, or doesn't flatter your body shape. Take a step back and examine why you don't like it / don't wear it, and determine if it's best to donate it or throw it out. 

But if the reason you haven't worn it is because you're not confident in it, deliberately try wearing it in your daily life for a week, just to try it out. You'd be surprised how it can grow on you as you explore and your style evolves. 

What I love about capsule wardrobes is that it reflects an outlook that I think is a good outlook to have on life in general: use only what you need, and be conscious of your own unique style and beauty. At the end of the day, they're just clothes. But they can be an integral part of loving yourself, taking care of yourself, and building confidence. So choose carefully, and have fun with it! 

My capsule wardrobe


Here is my capsule wardrobe right now: it consists of 16 tops, three pairs of pants, and several shoes, graphic tees and jackets that aren't pictured. Because my dress code at work is business casual, most of my wardrobe is styled along that profile. However, I do have a fair share of random items in here. 



Tops:


1. Blue silk short-sleeved blouse 
2. Black button-up 
3. Chunky-knit sweater
4. Knit blazer
5. Tank blouse
6. Black knit tee shirt
7. Flowy casual cold-shoulder top
8. Striped knit tank
9. Light wash chambray
10. Casual strappy tee
11. Casual strappy tank
12. Leather jacket
13. Plan grey blouse
14. Casual black cut-out tank
15. Casual tee
16. Denim jacket

Pants: 


1. Black jeans
2. White jeans
3. Blue jeans

As I said, some items weren't pictured (Ok tbh they were in the wash). But there you have it! My capsule wardrobe for Spring 2018. I've had this for about two weeks now, and so far, it's going well; I haven't at all felt like I "don't have anything to wear" or can't decide what to wear. I love it for its simplicity, its focus, and the fact that it reminds me everyday that everything I have is everything I need. It really does help you to be satisfied with less, and that is why I love it. 

Are you going to try to form a capsule wardrobe? Need help? Comment down below what your staples are! 

Happy missadventuring!

Love,
Amanda 



Why We Should All Stop Stressing About the Future

April 25, 2018


I don't know about you, but as a young adult, I sometimes get overwhelmed by the enormous task that is living my life. I'm sure I don't need to tell you that being in your twenties is both an exciting and terrifying time: we've officially hit the part of our lives where we have no experience to draw on for what comes next, and each step is farther than we've ever been before.

Hi, You!

Yeah, you! Welcome to my blog! I'm glad you're here. I'm Amanda, a 22-year old writer from California who's on a journey through the messy, crazy process of learning to be an adult.

I started this blog as a journal of my life discoveries, hacks, and insights that I've learned so far.

While the #struggle is real, you're not alone. Stick with me and somehow we'll make it through this wild ride! Buckle up and enjoy your front-row seats as I document the ups and downs of my journey through adulthood.

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