Friday Favorites

February 17, 2017

Friday Favorites

I’m taking some time today to share some of my favorites from the past week (or longer.) This list is pretty varied and weird, just like me. Hope you find something that you enjoy!

Podcast: Kermode & Mayo’s Film Review – this podcast is a radio program on BBC 5 Live in the UK, and sometimes I even listen to it live! I’ve been a faithful listener for about two years now and love the dynamic between the two hosts. It’s not just a podcast, it’s a religion!

YouTube video: The Oscars are next week and Emma Stone is the favorite to win best lead actress. Back in the day when she was promoting a little movie called “The Amazing Spiderman 2,” she went on Jimmy Fallon and did a Lip Sync Battle. If you haven’t seen this before, you’re welcome. (I watch this video way more than a normal person should.)

TV Show: Westworld – yes, yes I know I’m late to the party on this one. Nick and I started watching it a couple of weeks ago and have slowly been chugging along. We’re on episode 8 now and totally sucked in. This show has some Battlestar Galactica vibes and I’m loving that. Can’t wait to see how the season ends!

Movie: The LEGO Batman Movie – Nick and I saw this movie on Sunday and we absolutely loved it. We were fans of The LEGO Movie when it came out a few years ago and Will Arnett’s Batman was a huge part of that. My husband loves any and everything to do with Batman, and this movie was also like an animated (PG-rated) Deadpool. It didn’t take itself too seriously, broke the fourth wall at times, and had us laughing the entire time. We highly recommend it!

Blog Posts: I stumbled upon two blog posts this week that really hit me in the gut. Betsy’s take on intentional self-care is an important reminder that while we fight the good fight, we need to remember to take care of our mental health. Similarly, Nicole Marie wrote a blog post detailing how a panic attack feels and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more accurate written description of how a panic attack feels.

TV Show: Yes, sorry, I’m doing another one. Everyone’s talking about This Is Us, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the show. I’m not into sappy dramas, but this one is AMAZING. This week’s episode featured a character struggling with anxiety and I was so impressed with how it was portrayed. If you’re not watching this show, do it. Seriously.

Meal: This week we got a Hello Fresh box and made Turkish-Spiced Salmon with Blood Orange and Couscous Pilaf. It. was. delish. I’m not even a huge salmon fan but it was probably one of the best Hello Fresh meals we’ve had so far. It was served with an arugala salad with blood orange, almonds and cucumbers. I can’t tell you how amazing it was. (Get $40 off your first box if you’re interested in trying Hello Fresh! #notsponsored)

Instagrammer: If you’re a Disney fanatic like me and you don’t follow Caleigh Allen on Instagram, what are you doing with your life? She is one of the best (if not THE best) Disney cosplayers I’ve ever seen and she often goes to Disney World decked out in her costumes. Basically if I moved to Atlanta I think we would probably be BFFs.

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Twitter Account: The Snape Twitter account tweets gold constantly. There were two this week that really got me.

 


Have a great weekend, y’all!

Four Ways to Cope with Anxiety

February 9, 2017

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Since I was 12 years old, I’ve struggled with anxiety. It’s come in the form of panic attacks, overwhelming fear, forgetfulness and most of all, mood swings. Before I learned to control these through medication and the other coping methods below, I could be happy as a clam and the next minute, the slightest thing would send me into a rage.

Imagine if you will, making a call to the local pharmacy. I’ve called the line and been put on hold. The longer that the ticker on the phone goes on, the more and more angry I get. I’m sweating, shaking. It’s not normal. My breathing is heavy. I’m thinking about what I’m going to say to the person on the other end when they finally pick up. I feel helpless and angry, for no real reason.

Another example that would be more traditionally recognized as anxiety happened often when driving down the road. My breath would get really shallow and it would feel like someone was sitting on my chest. I felt completely out of control of my body and my car. This happened more times than I could count while driving on the highway in Houston, a terrible place to have a panic attack.

Thankfully last year I decided to speak to my doctor about my situation and ways to control it. Through reading blogs and speaking with other women, I’ve come to realize that anxiety is something that affects way more people than I realized. Because of that, I wanted to share four ways that I’ve learned to cope with my anxiety:

Cope with Anxiety

Talk with your doctor. This is the most important one. Many people don’t feel comfortable taking medication to regulate moods or to help with anxiety, but for me it is the one thing that finally helped get my anxiety under control. Even if you decide not to go the medication route, your doctor may be able to recommend other coping methods or refer you to a psychologist that can do so.

Figure out what triggers you. My anxiety manifested itself most often in mood swings that occurred as quickly as flipping a switch. I could feel myself getting annoyed and then I would just lash out and although I knew what I was saying was wrong or mean, I couldn’t stop myself. Although I don’t have this happen as often anymore, I have learned to take a step back if I start feeling extremely annoyed or anxious. I take deep breaths, sip water, and try to distract myself with something on TV (particularly not the news….)

Ask someone to help you with coping. Having the support of a friend, parent, or significant other is extremely important in learning to cope with a mental illness. Although I had been suffering from anxiety for 15 years, I didn’t decide to do anything about it until last year. Talking with my husband about how my anxiety manifested itself and asking him for his patience and encouragement has made a world of difference for me. When he sees me starting to get short or annoyed, he reminds me to calm down and breathe. It has really strengthened our relationship and reminds me that I’m not alone.

Take time for yourself. It seems like we’re constantly surrounded by bad news everywhere we look these days. Many people are discouraged by the direction of our country and afraid for what it might mean for themselves, their friends and their neighbors. If you’re able, unplug for a bit and do something that you enjoy. Or take a mental health day from work, if you’re able. I know my mental health has taken a toll in the last few months, but giving myself some time to do things I enjoy has really helped. (I realize that being able to unplug is a privilege that not all of us are able to afford. I’m grateful for the opportunities I have to do so but will continue to work hard so that all Americans are able to have some peace of mind.)

I’m not a psychologist, but these are just a few things that have helped me. I highly recommend speaking with your doctor or psychologist to find methods that work best for you.

Even if you don’t struggle from anxiety, are there methods you use to calm yourself down?

Unique Gift Ideas for Men And Women

February 6, 2017

Unique Gift Ideas for Men and Women

I don’t know about you, but I struggle when I’m shopping for gifts. I want to get something that’s unique and personal without breaking the bank. For me, gift giving isn’t only in December. Between Valentine’s Day in February, my husband’s birthday in April, my sister’s birthday in June and our wedding anniversary in July, I’m basically buying gifts all year long.

In case you forgot, Valentine’s Day is next week and although not all couples celebrate the holiday, it’s kind of a big one for us since it’s first time I ever spent time with my husband nine years ago this year! He invited me out to dinner with some friends from class and I confessed to our classmates that I had a crush on him. Afterwards I went back to my dorm room and added him on Facebook and our courtship commenced. I consider Valentine’s Day the start of something very special, so I love the celebrate it every year.

One of my favorite places to find unique gifts online is Uncommon Goods. Not only is the selection out of this world, they have a mission that I truly believe in. Any company that is socially responsible, sustainable, and works to give back tops the list in my book. I’ve worked to create a list of my favorite gifts from Uncommon Goods for Men and Women, but there are tons of awesome collections on their site like gifts for bridesmaids or groomsmen or gifts for a housewarming party and more.

Gifts for Men

Uncommon Goods Men

My husband, the history lover and geek guy, would love any of the history-inspired gifts from Uncommon Goods, including the Declaration of Independence Tie, the Constitution Glass or the Presidential Soap Collection. He’s also a huge fan of mojitos and has a weird fascination with drinking every beverage out of a mug. I hope this necktie holder would serve him well when he’s traveling for work, and also hope that this beard pack would encourage him to grow his beard out (which he knows I love…)

Banned Book Morph Mug – $12 / Constitution of the United States Glass – $13 / Presidential Soap Collection – $28 /
Mojito Mixology Set – $30 / 
Declaration of Independence Tie – $49 / State Quarter Ring – $75 /
Beard Pack – $40 / Shark Socks – $10 / Necktie Travel Roll – $ 24 

Gifts for Women

Uncommon Goods Women

I’m all about comfort, so this Sari Robe immediately caught my type on the website! I recently got a new pair of glasses so this glasses holder would be perfect on my nightstand, right along side the jewelry holder. Does anyone else constantly wear a hair tie on their wrist? I do all the time and this bracelet would be a lifesaver for me (and my sore wrist!) I save all of our ticket stubs for movies, plays and concerts, so this stub holder is an awesome way to store my collection.

Upcycled Cotton Sari Robe – $58 / Pedestal Jewelry Holder – $48 / Owl Eyeglasses Holder – $24 /
Seafoam Bar Earrings – $40 / Ticket Stub Diary – $12 / 
Hand Heart Desktop Sculpture – $48 /
Je T’Aime Necklace – $58 / Convertible Teal Netting Tote – $78 / Hair Tie Bracelet – $45 

Do you struggle with gift buying too? What do you look for in a gift?

*This post has been sponsored by Uncommon Goods but all opinions expressed are my own.*

Stuff + Things: Life Update

February 2, 2017

STUFF-THINGS

Oh hi. Remember me? It’s been a hot minute since I’ve been on the blog. Real life has been a little insane, but I just wanted to pop in and give y’all a bit of an update. I’m linking up for Stuff + Things since it’s kind of the easiest way to recap everything that’s going on!

1 – I’m applying to grad school! EEK. I’ve been looking at this program for years and now that I’m working at a university I have the opportunity to do the program through an employee education assistance program (meaning no more student debt. WOOT!) Of course since I’m not in the program yet I don’t want to bore you with the details but once I get that acceptance letter (fingers crossed) I will be sure to share more!

2 – Another exciting announcement: I’m now on board with Bliss Creative Services as the Director of Blogger Relations! It’s just a part time gig, but I’m so excited to work with Myra and Joey. I have admired these ladies for years and I’m so blessed to be able to work with them in a professional capacity! So if you’re a blogger in Charlotte or a business in Charlotte looking to connect with influencers in the area, I’m your girl. Hit me up!

3 – As if I didn’t have enough going on in my life, I’m also an officer for the Geek Girl Brunch in Charlotte. GGB is a meetup for geeky ladies to get together and chat about all our interests over yummy food and drink! If you’re a geeky girl in the greater Charlotte area, we would love for you to join us. We are planning our first brunch for mid-March and want you to be there! Trust us, it’s going to be awesome.

4 – We’ve been in our new home for a little over two months now and we have done so much! I’m not exactly the best interior designer but I think we’ve done a great job making this house our home. If you’re a photographer who can make my house look really pretty for blog pics…. let me know. ‘Cause I’m in serious need, haha.

5 – Nick and I are getting ready for the Academy Awards in just a few weeks and considered doing a two night Facebook live event discussing the awards and our predictions. Would y’all be interested in that? We have seen so many of the nominated films and have lots of opinions about them…

What’s been going on with you? Give me an update in the comments or leave a link to your latest blog post!

Thoughts on the Women’s March

January 23, 2017

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(photo by Betsy from the Women’s March in Washington on Saturday)

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the Women’s March that took place this weekend. Due to poor planning on my part, I wasn’t able to attend a march, but have many friends who did so in cities all over the globe. I also have many friends who don’t understand why the marches occurred in the first place. Because of this, I wanted to write a short post about the marches and why they occurred.

Firstly, this wasn’t a protest. I’ve seen folks confused as to exactly what the women (and let’s not forget the men who attended) were protesting. In short, the march was a massive show to the new administration that women, minorities and the LGBTQIA community deserves equality and justice. (Read the unity principles for the March.) Due to comments made by our new president and many in his inner circle and cabinet, it seems like they will work their hardest to marginalize these groups. We want to make sure that they know we are here, and we are watching. On the first day of President Trump’s first term, we want to make this message very clear.

It wasn’t an pro-abortion rally either. I’ve seen so many people commenting on how they don’t agree with the march because they are anti-abortion. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but the march was so much more than that. Not all of the marchers agree on every issue, and that’s okay. Also, any reports you see about this being a violent protest is completely incorrect. There were ZERO arrests at the march in Washington. NONE. It was a peaceful march and remained so during the duration. (source)

If you think there was nothing to march for in the first place, well friends, that’s what we call “privilege.” Privilege is when you think something is not a problem because it’s not a problem to you personally. (I can’t take credit for this wording, I saw it on Facebook on a sign from the march but is the perfect description.) Just because you don’t suffer from the issues these people are marching for, one day you may find yourself in a situation. Or not. But being able to empathize with these marchers and understand what they are marching for is so very important. I consider myself extremely lucky to have never felt marginalized because of the color of my skin but there are is a very large group of Americans who have to look over their shoulder daily and worry about the systematic racism in this country. What about the people who worry that their marriages will be revoked or that they may not be able to marry who they love one day? Or women who are afraid they won’t be able to afford healthcare or birth control? Take yourself out of your shoes for one second and think about what it would be like to be in their position. If your very existence was being threatened by our new president, it might feel pretty darn scary. (Again, don’t think it’s a problem? That’s your privilege showing.)

The right to assembly is guaranteed in the Constitution. Whether or not you agree with the message, you should respect the right of the marchers to do so. Plain and simple.

I believe America is a great country with so many opportunities, but we have so much more work to do and so much further to go.

(Since I was unable to attend a march, I’d like to direct you to my friends Bre and Jillian’s blogs for another perspective. If you would like to comment on this post, please know that any rude or disrespectful comments will be deleted.)