Add It To My List: April 2017

April 25, 2017

Hey friends! Today I’m back with some recommendations and linking up with Bre and Lauren for “Add It To My List.” I’m all about word of mouth recommendations from friends and internet folks, so this link-up is right up my alley.

 

1. “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” (Hulu)

I finally watched 2016’s “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” on Sunday (because what else is there to do on a rainy day but watch movies?) and I’m so glad I finally did. I loved Taika Waititi’s “What We Do In the Shadows” from 2015, so I knew I’d like HFTW but it surpassed my expectations. I didn’t know anything about it going into it, which was probably for the best. I was pleasantly surprised by everything. The characters, the story, the cameos… all great. It continues to hype me for “Thor: Ragnarok,” which Waititi is directing as well.

2. “Hard Times” by Paramore

Anyone who has known me for any amount of times knows that Paramore is one of my favorite bands of all time. I’ve been a fan since 2005 and finally got the chance to see them live a couple of years ago. The band, despite its ups and downs, consistently puts out amazing jams, and recently released “Hard Times,” their first single from their fifth album “After Laughter.” The song, while super dancey and 80’s-inspired, has some serious truth in its lyrics. If you haven’t heard it yet, check it out.

 

3. “Black Mirror,” season 3 (Netflix)

I know I’m way late on this train, but I watched season 3 of Black Mirror a couple of weeks ago and was immediately drawn in. The show started on season 3 and in medias res but I soon learned that each season and episode are independent of each other, kind of like “The Twilight Zone.” All of the episodes take place in the near future and every. single. episode. was a mind-boggling one. There’s only six episodes in the season, so I highly recommend checking it out. I’m going to start watching season 1 and 2 soon!

 Hop on over to Lauren and Bre’s blogs to check out the other posts linked up today!

 

Spring is Blooming with JORD

March 21, 2017

JORD Wood Watches

JORD Wood Watches

JORD Wood Watches

Now that it’s officially spring, we’re trading in our jackets and boots for sunglasses and open-toed shoes. (Well, at least sometimes anyway… the weather is still making up its mind.) Something that I’ve always struggled with is incorporating in-season pieces into my wardrobe and transitioning from cold to cool to warm weather clothes.

One of my favorite trends for the spring are gorgeous, flowy tops. Paired with boot-cut jeans (which are apparently coming back in style??) I felt like something straight out of a magazine my mom might have read in the 70s. To be honest I was terrified to wear anything other than skinny jeans. But as soon as I tried these on, I knew I was ready to make the leap.

The rose color of the top paired perfectly with this bold watch from JORD. I’ve been admiring these watches for years; I love their versatility and is such a unique watch compared to traditional pieces with leather straps. The zebrawood and emerald watch was calling my name as soon as I saw it. What a cool watch, right?

JORD Wood Watches

JORD Wood Watches

Want a JORD watch for yourself? Good news, JORD is giving away a $100 gift code to use on their site! Be sure to head on over and enter. (Contest ends April 2)

JORD Wood Watch


Watches Made From Wood

*This post is a partnership with The Observant Turtle and JORD Wood Watches. All opinions are my own.*

Getting to Know You:
50 Questions You Should Ask and Answer

February 28, 2017

I’ve been blogging for nearly six years now and the blogging community has changed quite a bit. Many of my friends who used to blog regularly are no longer into it, and I’ve met so many new friends along the way! Because of this, I thought it would be so fun to share my answers to these fifty questions I saw on The Samantha Show blog. It reminds me of old surveys and linkups from back in 2011 that people would do on their blogs!

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1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called? My nickname is Whit, but I prefer most people to call me Whitney.

2. What books are on your shelf begging to be read? I got Anna Kendrick’s “Scrappy Little Nobody” for Christmas but haven’t read it yet. My mom let me borrow Joanna Gaines’ book but I’m still working on the first Outlander book. I struggle with reading fiction and this is a tough one!

3. What often do you doodle? What do your doodles look like? I doodle a lot actually, but mostly when I’m in a meeting and feel uncomfortable. I do a lot of hearts, triangles and practice my handlettering.

4. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and turn? Try to get up and do something productive? I don’t have a lot of trouble falling asleep, but if I do, I turn off the TV and put on the “Jazz for Sleep” Spotify playlist. I usually fall asleep within one or two songs.

5. How many days could you last in solitary confinement? How would you do it? I’m such a social person so probably not long. Maybe two or three days? It depends on if I’m allowed to have a book.

6. Do you save old greeting cards and letters? Throw them away? I do save greeting cards for birthdays and anniversaries, but not random holidays. I also have all of our cards from our wedding and want to make a book out of them.

7. Who is the biggest pack rat you know? I don’t know many pack rats! My husband and I got rid of a lot of stuff when we moved and my parents are really good about purging things as well…

8. When making an entrance into a party, do you make your presence known? Do you slip in and look for someone you know? Do you sneak in quietly and find a safe spot to roost? I typically look for someone I know or go to the food, let’s be honest. Or animals if they are there. But then again, I don’t go to many parties.

9. What is your strongest sense? If you had to give one up, which would it be? My sense of smell is super strong. I would probably give up my sense of touch because seeing, smelling and tasting are way too important.

10. How many times a day do you look at yourself in the mirror? Once when I’m getting ready, two or three times if I go to the restroom throughout the day, and then once at night when I’m getting ready for bed.

11. What’s the strangest thing you believed as a child? Okay, don’t laugh: I had terrible nightmares about E.T. when I was a kid and I was so afraid that he was going to get me when I was sleeping.

12. What is one guilty pleasure you enjoy too much to give up? I don’t have any guilty pleasures! Anything that I enjoy I’m happy to share with anyone.

13. Who performs the most random acts of kindness out of everyone you know? I’m not sure about people “IRL” but I do know that AP does random acts of kindness every year!

14. How often do you read the newspaper? Which paper? Which sections? I skim the free local newspaper we get delivered to our house every Tuesday, but read other articles online from the Charlotte Agenda, Charlotte Observer, and other random sites.

15. Which animals scare you the most? Why? Is a spider considered an animal? I have legit panic attacks about spiders. I absolutely hate them!

16. Are you more likely to avoid conflict or engage it head-on? It depends on what the conflict is. I’m typically the person to stand up and say something, but I try to do it in the most respectful and delicate way possible.

17. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savored? Someone at the gym told me that I have “gorgeous smooth skin” and I savored that for solid week. Nick also recently complimented me on the way my hair has been styled/colored and it makes me smile whenever he does that!

18. What is something about yourself that you hope will change, but probably never will? I go through stages where I won’t bite my nails for weeks and then I pick up the habit again. I’ve been doing it my whole life.

19. Are you a creature of habit? Explain. Absolutely. Nick and I were just talking about this the other day. We’ve developed a routine in our new home and I love it. I come home from work, put on comfortable clothes, play a couple of rounds of Overwatch, cook dinner, and then we will watch some TV or a movie!

20. Are you high maintenance? Explain. Definitely not. When I was planning my wedding my florist told me that I was the easiest bride she had ever worked with, and I hope that rings true throughout my life.

21. When was the last time you really pushed yourself to your physical limits? I’m starting a new 7-week program at work and I had to do a physical assessment last week. Let’s just say that pushups and situps are not as easy as they used to be.

22. Do you have a whole lot of acquaintances or just a few very close friends? Why? I have a mix of both. I love meeting new people and connecting with them. Relationships are very important to me.

23. Are you more inclined to “build your own empire” or unleash the potential of others? Both! I love to create things on my own but also really like to encourage others.

24. What’s a strangest occurrence you’ve experienced but have never (or rarely) shared with anyone? I saw a UFO once when I was driving. My mom saw it too. It was a flash of light in the sky and then it disappeared. It was too big to be an asteroid. (I do believe in aliens!)

25. What do you think about more than anything else? I don’t know that I focus on one thing more than anything else, except for work.

26. What’s something that amazes you? The animal kingdom. I’ve been watching Planet Earth II and it truly amazes me how these animals survive in crazy conditions all around the globe.

27. Do you prefer that people shoot straight with you or temper their words? Why? I tend to be somewhat sensitive but I’m trying to work on that. But I would definitely prefer that shoot straight while still being respectful.

28. Where’s your favorite place to take an out of town guest? There are tons of great breweries in and around Charlotte and even though I’m not a beer drinker, I know most people love it. There’s a brewery/restaurant in Rock Hill near by work called Legal Remedy and the food is outstanding! If we’re doing something a little more upscale, The Pump House in Rock Hill sits on the Catawba River and is great food with amazing views.

29. What’s on thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself? I would love to have someone clean my house or landscape for me, but I have no excuse not to do either of those things myself. Maybe after I have kids that will change…

30. Do you have a catchphrase? No, but I do tend to adopt accents and catchphrases/slang from those that surround me.

31. What’s your reaction towards people who are outspoken about their beliefs? What conditions cause you to dislike or, conversely, enjoy talking to them? I think we should all be outspoken about our beliefs because our they are what make us who we are. However, beliefs that are rooted in hatred and fear have no place in civil discourse.

32. How and where do you prefer to study? At a table or desk. I haven’t studied in quite a while but starting this fall I’m beginning a graduate program so I’m sure that will change!

33. What position do you sleep in? This one.

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34. What’s your all-time favorite town or city? Why? I love D.C. I’ve been there four times since 2005 and want to go again. I love all of the history in the city, especially that the museums are free, and the food is phenomenal. I also get to see Betsy when I visit, so it’s a great city for me!

35. What are the top three qualities that draw you to someone new? Sense of humor, kindness and playfulness/sarcasm.

36. How has your birth order/characteristics of siblings affected you? I’m the oldest and I definitely act like it. I’ve always been a strong leader. I’m shocked that I married another oldest sibling because usually that doesn’t work for couples, but we’ve done it successfully for almost nine years!

37. If you could eliminate one weakness or limitation in your life, what would it be? Sometimes I worry too much about what others think. Whether it be something silly about someone misinterpreting something to someone judging the way that I look, I wish I could just let that go.

38. If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be? I don’t think I have broken relationships that I want to repair. They are broken for a reason.

39. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? I love my name because it’s not too common but everyone knows how to pronounce it and it’s mostly easy to spell. I do like Irish names like Saoirse (ser-sha) and Eilis (ay-lish).

40. Do you believe ignorance is bliss? Why or why not? Not at all. Sure it may be bliss for a short time, but in the long run it’s best to know things, no matter what they are.

41. What do you consider unforgivable? It’s hard to say but I’ve consider affairs/adultery unforgivable.

42. Have you forgiven yourself for past personal failures? Why or why not? Of course. You can’t dwell on things, they will drive you mad.

43. How difficult if it for you to forgive someone who refuses to apologize? If they aren’t apologizing, it’s impossible to forgive them.

44. Do you hold any convictions that you would be willing to die for? I believe that everyone is created equal and deserves respect. If that means I have to die for it, so be it.

45. To what extent do you trust people? Explain. I definitely think I trust people easily unless they give me a reason to not trust them.

46. In what area of your life are you immature? My sense of humor is a little immature sometimes. I laugh at things that teenage boys would probably laugh at.

47. What was the best news you ever received? That we would be moving home to South Carolina.

48. How difficult is it for you to be honest, even when your words may be hurtful or unpopular? Honesty is important but I think that there is always a way to deliver it softly.

49. When did you immediately click with someone you just met? Why? What was the long term result? Conversely, are you close with anyone now that you really disliked at first? I’m usually a really good judge of character so I tend to click with people easily and stick with it. I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many people through blogging and then meeting them IRL afterwards felt like we had been friends for years. *cough*JOEY*cough*

50. When do you find yourself singing? Literally at any point throughout the say. In the car, at my desk, in the shower, while I’m cleaning. I sing all the time.

Is there anything you see that you do too? What about things you think are insane? Let me know!

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?