To Sparkle Punch...

That is the question

High Five for Friday: March 16


Let’s see what put the sparkle into this week, shall we?


  • I finally started to get some ideas for the yoga class that I have to teach next Saturday, hooray! This all happened after the alarm clock in my room at YTT randomly went off at 5 AM, and I sprang out of bed and literally yanked it out of the wall. After all that excitement, I had a hard time getting back to sleep, but I started getting ideas for my class, so it all worked out.🙌🏻


  • Look at these lovely things that two of the ladies gifted me with last weekend!
 She made this mala necklace herself! Like WUT. 😍

She made this mala necklace herself! Like WUT. 😍


And I’ve taken this stone into work with me, where I've been using it kind of like a worry stone! (Obviously I made a beeline for the purpley one! 💜)

  • I was pretty wigged out after Sunday's YTT, so I ended up just laying on my mat in the yoga studio for awhile, alternately looking out the skylights and texting Timmi, who reassured me that I am not alone and sent me cat pictures because she is a beautiful angel from heaven. I also got to chat with one of the lovely ladies from YTT for awhile too! Talking to both of them really helped. (Talking to people--what a concept! #introvertprobs)


  • On Tuesday, I had a doctor's appointment in Center City and then decided to go to the Whole Foods on South St. for my adrenal supplement (#yolo). On my walk there, I stumbled upon a few cherry blossoms!! It was a bitterly cold day, so the reminder that spring (and FLOWERS!!!) are coming was much appreciated. (Sidenote: Why isn't "Flowers are coming" the Stark house motto? Like, I could get into that WAY more.)

✨🌸🌺Spring is coming🌺🌸✨ #flowertherapy #flowercreeping #flowers

A post shared by Jess (@jessie_face4) on

  • Lastly, two things I saw on Instagram this week that really resonated with me:
 From  @its_jmacch , who is a beacon of positivity!

From @its_jmacch, who is a beacon of positivity!

Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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High Five for Friday: March 9


Firstly, blog friends, I'm SO sorry that I haven't been reading your blogs or responding to comments! As you'll see below, my weekend did not go according to plan, and I'm still behind. I love y’all and hope to get caught up soon! 😘

OKAY, let's see what put the sparkle into this past week:


  • Last Friday's Nor'easter did some serious damage to our neighborhood, so the number one thing bringing the sparkle is that our house escaped unscathed AND that I made it home from work safely after a three hour drive that also included a fender tapper when I slid into another car (luckily I was only going about 10 mph!). Trying to get to my house from the highway (like two miles) was like being in the War of the Worlds--ambulances and fire trucks zooming by, downed trees and wires everywhere, traffic lights out... I was ready to kiss the floor once I finally made it home!  
 casual uprooted foliage just hanging out 😬 

casual uprooted foliage just hanging out 😬 

  • Now let's take a moment to acknowledge that I drove in snow and high winds on Friday. ME! 😮 Some of you have been around long enough to remember when I was doing exposure therapy for driving and almost fainted driving on a sunny day right by my house! The fact that I was just like, "OK LET'S DO THIS" about driving 30 miles in a snowstorm is mind-blowing--it's like I'm a completely different person than I was in 2015! I feel stuck in many areas of my life, but driving is not one of them (...most of the time anyway). And when I had that little fender tapper, I didn't freak out and throw myself into oncoming traffic. Sure, I was rattled, but I was able to handle it with a shocking amount of composure. I didn't even cry! I don't feel capable of handling most things, but when the worst case scenario happens, I'm usually fine. (Kind of like that wonderful time I threw up on the el.) Who knew?



  • Our biggest problem due to the storm was a weekend-long power outage. UGH. Luckily, my friend/savior Kristin came to the rescue on Saturday with a hotel room that she had booked for her fam but then no longer needed when her power came back on. So Pops and I got to spend the night in the warmth and, to his great delight, watch the 11 o'clock news! 
  • I feel so dumb talking about General Hospital every week, but for me, it's seriously become the equivalent of putting the crying baby in a car and driving her around. No really, I was randomly crying on Tuesday afternoon, and then GH came on at 3, and it calmed me right down! Port Charles coping with the aftermath of an earthquake was so unintentionally hilarious that it instantly made me feel better about my own life! At least I wasn't trapped in a freezer with my boyfriend or caught under a bookcase on my wedding day, only to be freed by my mortal enemy! 
 Always relevant. 

Always relevant. 

  • I saw this on Instagram and it made me laugh out loud:

Ok, before I go, I just need to commiserate with anyone else who loves Grey's--HOW are they getting rid of both Sarah Drew and Jessica Capshaw this season?! 😭😭I love them both so much! (I mean clearly, considering I name-dropped April in this space just last week!) And what will become of Japril?! (The end of this week's episode irritated me so much in that regard UGH.) Are they just never ever ever getting back together?! 😩

Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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March 2018 Goals


I'm feeling super emotionally and energetically drained right now, but there are some adult-y things that I need to get done, and making them this month's goals seemed like the best way to potentially do them!


1. Do taxes: Yawn.

2. Get car inspected: Mainly to avoid last year's problem of being wanted dead or alive. 😂

3. Plan yoga class: I have to teach my first full yoga class, to the whole YTT group, at the end of the month. EEP! So I need to actually start working on this instead of just obsessively worrying about it like I currently am. When I used to have to do presentations in school, I would write out a whole script and practice it repeatedly, and I think that having something to go back to and envision if my mind went blank really helped me not devolve into fight or flight mode. (I just really want to get through this class without another panic attack if at all possible!)

4: Creative writing: I've mentioned a few times that I have this story/collection of characters rolling around in my head, and I've noticed how much I genuinely feel excited when I get ideas for it. It gives me life! So I should probably stop ignoring it or dismissing it as dumb or unimportant. It makes me happy, and I guess that is important enough. 💖


Now February's goals weren't really goals so much as mantras to keep in mind during the emotional rollercoaster that was the last month. "I don't feel okay, but I am okay" was the one that I came back to the most, especially when I would start to feel scared completely out of the blue and didn’t know what to do with myself.


This month's Healing with the Angels card is CHILDREN 😮😬⁉️ But, as usual, it’s the perfect card for me right now. The description talked a lot about the Inner Child, which is definitely a key component of my healing work, because she is usually scared, and I'm very good at ignoring her. I bet the sudden, scared feelings that I've been having lately are related to her, if I would just listen to her...


What are you working on this month? 


Linking up with Nicole at Feel Good, Dress Better!

High Five for Friday: March 2


Well, that week flew by! Let's see what brought the sparkle:

  • Last weekend was an interesting one! I feel like I spent it on a spectrum from Drunk April Kepner to Super Emotional April Kepner, which is obviously aspirational. 

On Friday night, I went to this dance/movement night at the studio where I'm doing yoga teacher training, and I was shocked by how easily I was able to let loose! It was such a wild and freeing experience! I was full-on Drunk Kepner (just completely sober), with a touch of the African Anteater Dance for good measure!

 Future head of neuro nbd

Future head of neuro nbd

Then on Saturday and Sunday, I had yoga teacher training, hence becoming Super Emotional Kepner. I really love being with my fellow YTT gals, but constantly doing something that I'm not "good" at (like, say, yoga), and having to teach and be seen, pushes alllll of my buttons. I wish we could just hang out without the yoga, haha! 



  • I pulled this Goddess Card after the dance party: Isolt, goddess of undying love. I really hope that the healing I'm undergoing is swift and efficient! (Clearly, I need to heed the "be patient with yourself" note.)
  • Well, I'm watching 1998 General Hospital againso I must be getting back to normal! The beginning of this scene (before Luke, aka Major Buzzkill, shows up) speaks to me so profoundly. When Liz goes back to the place she was attacked and then is upset about breaking down in front of Lucky because "I just wanted to be able to give you a good progress report," I am like, GIRL YES. STORY OF MY LIFE. The non-linear aspects of healing drive me nuts, and I always want to be able to tell people I'm doing better. (I'm clearly already really good at being patient with myself! 😂) Buuut that's just not how it works. And Lucky's response to Liz here is so great: "You don't have to do anything for me. I mean, if you stay just the way you are this very second, it'd be more than fine by me." 😭😭😭  I know it's just a dumb soap opera, but it makes me feel less alone in my own struggles (while also giving me all the feels!).

When he reaches for her hand in the beginning OMG ❤️


  • My low-grade Olympic fever continued last weekend when I heard that GERMANY'S men's hockey team beat Canada to make it to the gold medal game! My bffl had previously alerted me to the fact that several of our former faves from the Sharks were playing for or coaching Team Germany, so I was totally on board! I didn't get to see the game, and Germany ended up losing to Russia anyway, but I'm still pumped that they won silver! I love me a random underdog!


  • I had Gilmore Girls on this week, and you know I struggle with GG, but it was Dean's-profession-of-love episode, and I know that that one features "Oh My Love" by John Lennon. What an exquisitely beautiful song. And with Nicky Hopkins on electric piano! I love finding out who the unsung session musicians on classic rock songs are, and Nicky Hopkins is one of my faves because he's on a million famous songs ("She's a Rainbow," "Getting in Tune," "Angie"...), and his piano playing is just so tender and beautiful. 
  • And a bonus SIXTH THING because Mica tagged me when she found this precious fella, and I want to encourage everyone to alert me to the presence of cats in their lives! 😃
 I now call all grey tabbies "Dexter Purrington," thanks to  this guy !

I now call all grey tabbies "Dexter Purrington," thanks to this guy!

Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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January-February 2018 Budget


Well, I couldn't sit still long enough to write a budget post in January, so here we are with January and February together! 

Interestingly, when I was feeling like an emotional wreck, I had zero interest in shopping. That was an unexpected bank error in my favor! Only my regular anxiety can get channeled into finding the ripped jeans of my dreams and something to fix my dark circles, it seems. (Who knew that obsessing over my skin was a sign of mental health?!)

ANYWAY, here’s what I bought over the past two months:

  1. Relaxed Textured V-Neck Sweater (Old Navy): on sale for $12
  2. Xhilaration Sleep Sweatshirt (Target): $17 - gift card = $0
  3. Zoe + Liv Galaxy Unicorn Tee (Target): $13
  4. Distressed Rockstar Jeans (Old Navy): $40 - gift card = $15
  5. Any Day Now Scoop T-Shirt (Target): $8

Not pictured:

  1. LC Lauren Conrad Filigree Midi Ring (Kohl's): $10 on sale for $4 - gift card = $0
  2. LC Lauren Conrad Birth Month Tasseled Slipknot Bracelet (Kohls): $18 on sale for $15 - gift card = $0
  3. Lavender Tee (Marshalls): $6
  4. Shine High Neck Tank Top (Old Navy): on sale for $4
  5. Moto Compression Leggings (Old Navy): $35 on sale for $17
  6. Mossimo V-Neck Long Sleeve Tee: $10 - gift card = $0
  7. Milky Jelly Cleanser and Boy Brow Duo (Glossier): $30

TOTAL: $105


Since I bought a million things, I'm not going to talk about all of them individually. But if I were to single out the one item that I think you need to run out and get immediately, it's the Xhilaration sleep hoodie. It’s ridiculously soft and cozy AND has sleeves long enough to cover your hands—a real perk when you have a constant case of ice hands! I basically just want all of my clothes to be as soft as humanly possible, so I've starting raiding the sleep sections of stores (especially Target) and asking myself things like, "Does this look too much like a robe to wear to work?" But with a sleep hoodie, that is not an issue! 🎉

I also love this tank top that I found on the sale rack at Old Navy. (Tragically, it appears to be out of stock now!) I'm always looking for things that talk about "sparkle" in this sense (not because of To Sparkle Punch or anything 😉), and "shine" was close enough for $4.

 “Shine wherever you go” ✨ 

“Shine wherever you go” ✨ 

After seeing the lovely Lisa rave about Old Navy's Rockstar jeans, I had to give them a whirl, and she is so right—they're awesome! Super stretchy and soft! I kind of hate myself for spending $40 on ripped jeans, but they were just the perfect pair for me, and I'd been searching for awhile. Not to mention that any time I wait for something to go on sale, I wind up spending the original price, if not more, to meet shipping minimums or on new, cute things in the store. #knowthyself 

The Any Day Now scoop tee might seem boring in the picture, but it has pink and purple streaks in it! I'm not a huge fan of navy, but pink and purple make everything better!


Did you get anything fun so far in 2018?!

High Five for Friday: February 23


Let's see what put the sparkle into this week!

  • On Friday, I had to take my car for an oil change, which turned into 50 other things (💸💸💸), BUT they changed my windshield wiper blades, and now I don't have to hear an obnoxious scraping sound every time I use them!! (Almost worth all the money flying away tbh.)


  • When I started having that "I'm going to jump out of my skin" feeling a few weeks ago, my one therapist suggested going for walks. Initially, I would just walk, barely aware of the scenery or people around me. This past Saturday, though, I felt like a different person on my walk--or more like my usual self, I guess. Instead of a walk, it was more of a "stop and take pictures of the trees, and the beautiful sunlight, and the Valentine's decorations at the park." (No cats, sadly!) And I went swinging! No one was at the park, and I felt like swinging, so I just went for it! Swinging into the sunlight while listening to M83 was such a pure, freeing moment of joy. And a good reminder that I do have these moments of joy and lightheartedness--that my whole life isn't just dissociating and sobbing in the bathroom (even though it can feel that way). And that those "bad" moments are just moments too. Fleeting moments. 💖
  • I finally saw Lady Bird over the weekend! I think my expectations for it were way too high, but it was still really, really good. I related hard to that Catholic school life. (Kilt checks! "The Prayer of St. Francis"! Ditching your date at prom!) I'm also smitten with Timothee Chalamet (despite him being a complete tool in Lady Bird) because he seems like a total awkward geek IRL. And he wore a purple velvet suit to some award show, so he's clearly living his best life. #PurpleIsANeutral
  • Speaking of purple, look at these gorgeous tulips at Whole Foods! I was totally willing to give them all a good home, haha.
  • I haven’t been super into the Olympics (in years past, I was very excitedly watching Ukraine play France in hockey so, yeah, not on that level this time!), but the ladies’ figure skating sucked me in. For no reason at all (except maybe because I know that broken foot life?), I became very emphatically Team Medvedeva in the past 48 hours. I loved her free skate and was bummed that she didn’t win the gold. Anyone else watching?


Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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High Five for Friday: February 16


Well, hello Friday! Let's see what put the sparkle into this week! 

  • I was psyched to be back at yoga teacher training last weekend!

Buuut as we're getting closer to teaching an actual class, we've been practice teaching more and more. I know I signed up to learn how to teach, like duh, but doing so is WAY out of my comfort zone--and worrisome because I know that I tend to dissociate super easily when people are watching me do something. My brain and body just stop communicating. I'm there, but I'm not there. And if I can feel it happening, then the panic starts rising.

And that did indeed happen during a teaching exercise on Saturday. My brain went totally blank, I started getting increasingly panicked, and I ended up fleeing and sobbing in the bathroom. YAY. But I'm including this moment in H54F as a good thing because it revealed something important to me: that I spend so much of my life actively avoiding anxiety triggers so that I won't break down in front of people like this. I usually end up staying home in hiding because that feels like the only option I can handle without drowning in anxiety. But yoga teacher training is the opposite of that--I'm actually out there, in community, doing something. And when you actually do stuff, with other people, you're going to potentially feel things. I'm not gonna lie--the panic attack was terrible and really freaked me out (I haven't felt like that in a looong time), but it happened because I'm trying to LIVE. And that was a powerful realization.


  • When I was finally able to breathe again and come back into the room, I found that the other girls had waited for me to "OM" with them at the end of the exercise. I had felt awful for running out, so this sweet gesture almost got me crying again! (But in a good way this time!) I’m so very glad to be part of such a wonderful group. ❤️


  • To keep with that lovey dovey-ness, I hope y'all had a fantastic Valentine's Day! I love any excuse for pink, hearts, and sparkles, even though I didn't do anything especially festive, besides getting this awesome card from my dad (whose birthday is Valentine's Day!):
 “That scratch will heal” 😂😩😂 

“That scratch will heal” 😂😩😂 

  • After days of rain and fog, the sun came back this week, and I've been like a cat in a sunbeam! I've started going for a walk around my therapist's super-cute neighborhood after my appointments, and when I did this week (basking in the sun!), I spotted this guy! He wanted nothing to do with me, but I was thrilled nonetheless! (I saw him from across the street and was like, TARGET ACQUIRED! Commence kissy noises!)
  • Lastly, I'd been intrigued by Flower cosmetics for awhile, but then somebody (I think Lavendaire?) posted Flower lipstick swatches in their IG Stories recently, and I was like "GIRL YES." The problem is that a.) it's only available at Walmart (which I never go to) and b.) when I attempted to go to the one near my house, I found that they don't actually carry Flower! Luckily, the Walmart near work does, so I made a little "Treat yo self" stop on my way to work on Thursday! They didn't have the full range of products that's available online, which was kind of disappointing buuut didn't stop me from getting three lipsticks!

Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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High Five for Friday: February 9


Let's see what put the sparkle into this big week for Philly:

  • I am generally not at all interested in football, but even I've got a touch of Eagles (or Iggles) fever now! I still can't believe that they actually WON THE SUPER BOWL. Like, how did that even happen?! And that's not a diss--it's because I'm a super-paranoid/negative sports fan. Like, don't touch the Prince of Wales trophy, and definitely don't think your team is actually going to win the big game. (I was a complete basketcase when the Flyers were in the Finals in 2010. I was hiding in the closet when Patrick Kane scored the Cup-winning goal in OT!) But holy hell, the Eagles did the damn thing!! Congrats to all you Eagles fans out there! :)


  • This also means that I was treated to many renditions of "Fly Eagles Fly" on the trumpet courtesy of our neighbor on Sunday night, which will never not be hilarious to me.
  • I love what Nick Foles had to say after winning. (I also love that he looks like he should be teaching fifth grade Social Studies.) As someone who is struggling some right now, I found it very comforting. 
  • Moving on... Sunday was probably the best day I've had in weeks! (And this has nothing to do with the Eagles!) The morning was rough, but I went to a trauma-sensitive yoga class (my fave type of yoga tbh) and then visited my friend Maggie, who twirled me around her house and made me laugh uncontrollably because she is a beautiful goddess. And then I went home to an empty house. Cue the chorus of angels! I was supposed to go to my aunt's to watch the Super Bowl, but I've been such an emotional wreck lately that I decided to stay home so that I had the space to cry or sleep or whatever the spirit moved me to do. It was the perfect decision. ❤️


  • And lastly, in this installment of "Weird Ass Song of the Week," we have Eddie Money's "Think I'm in Love," which was featured in last week's episode of Waco. (Is anyone else watching Waco? Pops saw the first episode while I was away and was so pumped about it that it's the first thing he told me about when I got home, haha!) "Think I'm in Love" is a song I totally forgot existed, but it's so catchy and 80s that it's been a fine accompaniment on my many walks lately!

Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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February 2018 goals


Oh hey, a goals post! I didn't do one in January because I just didn't feel like it, whoops. I kind of subbed in Timmi's tarot reading instead (relating HARD to the Four of Cups) and called it a day.

February's "goals" are different than usual because I'm still in this very triggered emotional state and haven't been productive with much else. So this month's "goals" are really things that I need to remind myself of as I work through this.  


I’m learning that I spend most of my time bouncing between a state of panic (*hyperventilates*) and shutdown ("I'll never get better, so what’s the point?"). But there's an in-between place (my "window of tolerance") that I need to get to so that I can make measured, thoughtful decisions about my life, rather than just freaking out or giving up. Breathing and not getting swept up in my thoughts (which are typically being colored by my anxiety, depression, and PTSD, rather than reality) are two routes to get there.

(If you want to learn more about hyperarousal, hypoarousal, and the window of tolerance, I found this article to be pretty helpful.)

Mindful breathing is a huge struggle for me, probably because I tend to counteract feelings with constant activity! But I’m starting to see how breathing can be calming--especially if I've already gotten some of that nervous energy out by moving first (like, say, through yoga).

And "I don't feel okay, but I am okay" was something that my therapist suggested when I was like, "What can I tell myself when I'm freaking out?!" It's been my mantra for the past few days when I feel super amped up despite being in a perfectly safe environment. Honestly, I've been feeling like I'm crazy because my emotions have been so intense, so I'm trying to keep in mind that the intensity will pass and that I'm developing tools to get myself back to a calmer, more rational state. And one that isn't totally numb to boot. 🙌🏻


What about this month's Healing with the Angels card? It's a new one for me: "playfulness." 


My initial reaction? UGH. But I can see why I might have pulled it. Because I've been so amped up lately, I've been taking everything super seriously and stressing about every little thing I do or say. The write-up on the "playfulness" card says, "When you have fun and laugh, you relax." What a concept! 😂


What are you working on this month?

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!

High Five for Friday: February 2


Oh boy, let’s see what put the sparkle into this emotional roller coaster of a week!


  • So the retreat may have left me in a glass case of emotion, but it was also deeply wonderful. There were moments of connection that really warmed my heart, and moments that gave me hope that my future isn't doomed to just reexperiencing the pain of the past. ❤️


Now let's run through some of the things that have helped me to get through this week without jumping out of my skin!


  • Writing! I've felt pretty meh about blogging for at least the last six months, but writing about what I've been feeling this week has been really helpful.



  • I just could not sit still over the weekend, so I went for two long walks and to a yoga class. (It was the first time that a yoga class felt too short!) I was pretty out of it when I set out on my walk on Sunday, so I knew the walk was helping when I spotted a rogue catloaf!



  • After my friend Kristin heard that I hadn't slept much in six days, she came right over with cat paraphernalia and a willingness to chat about nothing! Hooray! It was exactly what I needed. Kristin is the friend who took me to inpatient, so she is not deterred by a text that says, "Well, come on over! I may be actively crying!” #rideordie


  • Having familiar shows on as background noise always helps me, and bonus when it's General Hospital because my life is usually going 1000x better than any soap character at any given time. I'm not the biggest Sam fan, but this whole "My dead husband is actually alive (just with facial reconstruction), but wait, it's not my husband, it's the brother no one knew he had" thing is 💯. Oh soaps, never change.  
 I KNOW THAT FEEL, GIRL. Just not about husbands coming back from the dead. 

I KNOW THAT FEEL, GIRL. Just not about husbands coming back from the dead. 

Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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When you can't calm down


Today was supposed to be budget post day, but my nervous system had other plans! Writing about what I've been feeling has been cathartic for me, and I hope that sharing is helpful for anyone else feeling similarly. You're not alone!

Y'all know there was no H54F last week because I was away at a retreat. In some ways, the retreat was really wonderful. But it also made me feel things. A LOT of things. And that is not my jam.

I've mentioned before that I struggle with PTSD, and some of the healing activities we did at the retreat triggered my old PTSD symptoms. By Friday, I wasn't sleeping or eating much, I was crying over everything, I felt super clingy, I couldn't sit still... So once I got home, I basically felt like I was going to jump out of my skin. 

While in a perfectly safe environment, I felt scared to death. That's PTSD for you, I guess.

This onslaught of emotions has been especially hard for me because I'm typically living my best Elsa life: conceal, don't feel, don't let them know.

elsa gif.gif

And the most important one of the "they" is me. Now I know. Now I remember the full depth of emotional pain and terror that I felt as a kid, which makes it hard to stay angry at that part of myself. When we talk about my inner child in therapy, I tend to see her as the enemy, as the thing that's holding me back from living a full life. But now I see that my inner child is still super distressed from the things that she experienced and that that's why she gets in my way. It's not because she's trying to derail my life; it's a cry for help that I've been ignoring. 

My emotional state has been improving since Friday, but I still feel a jolt of panic when I stop doing something or am suddenly alone. Like, the fear pops right back up once distraction is gone. Feeling like your nervous system is stuck in overdrive is no joke. For anyone else feeling that way right now, you're a champ for just making it through the day. The biggest (and hardest) thing I’ve been trying to tell myself is that these feelings come in waves. That I may feel scared to death, but it does eventually lessen. Even if it comes back, there are moments of relief--something I struggled to see back when I was suicidal.

According to my therapists, all of this feeling is a good thing. I’m not totally convinced in my current, sleep-deprived state, but I'll take their word for it. :) One therapist said that this is the path to a full range of emotions that includes good emotions, like joy. I hope she's right. <3

2017 Favorites


January really got away from me, so let's look back at some of my Favorites from 2017 before it's 2018!

(These first few items I’ve had since the end of 2016 but hadn’t had long enough to consider them favorites in 2016.)

  • Y'all know I'm obsessed with Lipsense, especially with Bombshell, which is my ideal "my lips but better" shade. I've already gone through two tubes of Bombshell and Glossy Gloss since fall 2016!


  • I like these Sketchers Go Step sneakers because they are comfy without being bulky and so can go with anything! (At least in my mind they do!)


  • I seriously agonized for months about buying this fidget ring from Etsy and am so glad I did. It's so cute and fits perfectly--in addition to being there for the fidgeting. I wear it every day!



  • I bought Glossier's Balm DotCom in Original after seeing Fran rave about it, and I have not been disappointed. It just melts into your lips and doesn't seem to wear off as quickly as other balms do, which is exactly what I want as a lip-biter! Since then, I've also gotten the Cherry flavor, and I love that one even more. The Original can get a little oily, not to mention that the tiny pop of color that the Cherry has is just 💯.


  • These Primark skinny jeans are super soft and stretchy, while also being $15. SOLD. I now own two pairs!


  • I had been coveting Lanolips forever (curse you, primarily European beauty brands!), so I nearly shrieked when I spotted it at Ulta over the summer! The multibalm has not disappointed! I use it every night before bed.


  • I bought this $10 phone holder for my car on a whim while in the checkout line at Nordstrom Rack and have not regretted it one bit. It keeps my phone in place even while driving over the cobblestones in Chestnut Hill, so you know it's legit!


What are your faves from 2017 that I've got to check out?!



High Five for Friday: January 19


Friday already! Let's see what put the sparkle into this week: 

  • My exciting Saturday night was spent buying a shower cap and toothpaste at Target--woo hoo! While I was there, of course I had to check out the $1 Spot, which is all Valentinesy, much to my pink-and-sparkle-loving glee! I found the heart pouch below and totally fell in love because A.) pink sparkly hearts! and B.) it looks kind of like this Paper Source pouch but does not cost $22! (Actually, I don't know how much my pouch really costs or if it's even from the $1 Spot--it was the only one there and had no tag, so they were like "Whatev" and charged me $1!)

  • Did anyone else love the movie The Cutting Edge as a kid? Hockey player turned pairs figure skater who finds love with his figure skating partner? If that doesn't sell you on it, maybe awesome workout sequences set to Black Box will! (Does it get any more '90s than that?) What's not to love?! #HaleSchmale
  • I'm so over the cold and snow, but I'm willing to accept Wednesday's little storm because it looked pretty and the roads were fine.
  • Did anyone else watch the first episode of The Assassination of Gianni Versace this week? I don't know much about his murder (I was 10 when it happened), but I LOVED The People Vs OJ Simpson and also conveniently loved Darren Criss on Glee, so I am on board!
 I happened to catch him on  Kelly and Ryan  and was clearly pumped about it, haha.&nbsp;

I happened to catch him on Kelly and Ryan and was clearly pumped about it, haha. 

The first episode was beautifully artistic and deeply unsettling. Even though I knew he was going to be playing a murderer, I still was not emotionally prepared enough for Blaine Warbler: sociopath. On the plus side, Versace is def #robegoals in the first episode:

  • Lastly, is there anything cuter than cats taking over toys that are not meant for them?

New brother = new toys! #catlife

A post shared by Lemon & Sugar Pies (@lemonsugarpies) on

I doubt I'll get a post up next week because I'll be away on a retreat, so have a great two weeks, friends! xo 

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High Five for Friday: January 12


This has been such a wacky week. Sometimes, you just have to laugh at the chaos though, right? What else can you do!

  • Before I get into all that, one legitimately positive thing that happened was teaching my first mini yoga class on Sunday! As freaked out as I was beforehand, it felt surprisingly intuitive and was very fulfilling! ❤️


  • I had to head up to YTT on Friday night, and about 15 minutes into my drive, the tire pressure light came on. I'm still easily spooked driving and didn't remember what that light meant, so I shrieked about it a bit, as you do. And then, later in the drive, my defroster began losing the fight against the bomb cyclone, so my car basically looked like this:
  • When I was leaving for therapy on Tuesday, I discovered that our walkway was basically a sheet of ice. Oh goody! 

My attempt to navigate it drew an audience of the two little boys next door, who were so excited about watching me flail that they accidentally opened the door, and their dog came sprinting outside. (Now we have the answer to that age-old question "Who let the dogs out?") He was scampering around and skidding on the ice and having a much better time than me until our poor neighbor came out and corralled him.


  • Not surprisingly, I wound up being a few minutes late to therapy, so I just rushed inside with my sunglasses on, thinking I had my real glasses in my bag. NOPE. 👏
  • On Wednesday, I had a doctor's appointment and scans, and one of the computer systems was down, which meant that my doctor couldn't actually look at my scans. (Although she wasn't worried by the report from radiology so WOO HOO!) Then on Thursday, when Pops and I went to put air in my tires (because I'm still a rube with everything other than putting gas in my car), we had to go to FOUR different gas stations before finding one where the air thingy wasn't out of order. IS IT ME?! 

OY! 😂 Here's hoping for a less bonkers weekend! Hope you guys have a great one! xo

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High Five for Friday: January 5


I've been feeling more punch than sparkle this week. Although it wasn't what I had in mind when I named this blog, "sparkle" and "punch" pretty nicely sum up two sides of my personality: the one that wants to be happy and bubbly and grow and get better annnd the dark and twisty feisty one that wants to fight everyone on everything. That side has been coming out more and more lately. New Year's and resolutions and change really bring out the best in me! 😂

Even though I'm not feeling so sparkly, I didn't want to give up this space because I am always able to find five things that made me happy in the past week. At the same time, though, I didn't want to pretend that I'm all sparkle right now because I ain’t. 

Exit pursued by a bear

  • I watched a lot of Mom while I was home last week, and there's this great moment when Jaime Pressly’s character goes back to this gorgeous, sprawling rehab facility and groans, "OH GOD. BACK TO HELL!" Which promptly became Pops and my new favorite saying for any situation, haha!


  • I ventured out to Kohl's last Saturday to return a blouse, but I conveniently also had a gift card! Which was good because I wanted basically everything in the Lauren Conrad jewelry section! Her stuff is always so cute, gah. I especially fell in love with this dainty little midi ring, even though I haven't quite figured out how to wear it. Like, can I pull off a pinky ring? (The midi ring trend just makes me so nervous that the ring will slip off, and I won't even notice. Why am I too practical for fashion?)
 Put your pinky rings up to the moon?

Put your pinky rings up to the moon?

  • Timmi did a tarot reading for me on Tuesday! I chose this "Bridge" reading so as to keep pretending that the New Year hasn't happened. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out, even though every card was like "TRUST YOUR INTUITION" aka the opposite of what I ever want to do, and the fact that I am definitely living my best Four of Cups life right now. (Petulantly ignoring what's right in front of you? Isolating? Sounds about right! The Four of Cups is apparently all of my favorite negative coping skills wrapped up in one, haha.)
  • I was able to actually sit down and do some creative writing this past week, which makes me so happy. I didn't even realize how happy it made me until I started babbling excitedly about it in therapy!


  • Last night, Pops and I braved the bomb cyclone to see the DWTS tour! (Tickets had been one of my Christmas presents.) We had never been before, and it was so good! My new goal in life is to become a bad-ass dancer like Sharna. 


Hope you have a great weekend! xo

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High Five for Friday: December 29


Let's see what put the sparkle into the last week of 2017:

  • Christmas in our house (or, rather, the lead up to Christmas) was a bit of a disaster. The Internet/cable was out for four days, and when we finally got the Christmas tree up (on the 23rd shhh), the tree stand promptly started leaking because it was cracked. HOORAY. But we duct taped the stand, and the Internet/cable was restored on Christmas Eve, so it all came together in the nick of time!
 Looks totally normal! 💯

Looks totally normal! 💯

  • I got my hair cut on Saturday, which was so nice! In addition to loving the style, I had a grand ol' time reading about Meghan Markle and all the other people in People and US Weekly while under the hair dryer. #treatyoself


  • Sweet cards from Mica, Tif, and Lisa arrived just before Christmas! Blogger friends are the best! 💖
  • I've noticed that when I'm out of my routine (I’ve been off all week), I tend to immerse myself in some beloved TV show. This week, it's been General Hospital, but GH circa 1998 because who doesn't watch 20 year old soap operas? I think I love Lucky and Liz so much because, in addition to being so damn cute as a couple, Liz was a teenager coping with trauma, which is something I hadn’t seen on TV before (back when I was 12). She would talk about dissociating and being scared of other people and leaving the house, and I was like, "GIRL. You just get me." ❤️

But full disclosure, I also love how ridiculous soap operas are. Like, sure, Jason got shot in a mob ambush, and Liz (then a college freshman) harbored him in her art studio. Totally normal. 


  • On a related note, I also learned this week that I shouldn't be allowed on eBay when I haven't had access to the Internet or cable in three days. 😂😂

Hope you have a great weekend and a very happy New Year!

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December 2017 Budget


HOLY MOLY, this month (and YEAR) just flew by. I know everyone says that, but I really can't believe it's the end of the year. I also can't believe that I only bought two things this month! Being sick and then having to catch up on Christmas shopping helped in that regard. (I'm also back on my old medication, which might have helped too. As much as it annoys me to say that, the budget post data doesn't lie.)

  1. Apt. 9 Lace Panel Jumpsuit (Kohls): $60 on sale for $30
  2. Franco Sarto Dandy heels (DSW): $60 - $10 coupon = $50

TOTAL: $80

Yes, I ended up keeping the jumpsuit that I talked about here because once I belted it, I LOVED IT. I felt so fancy! And it's very comfy, which is really the bottom line for most clothes I buy, haha.

I'm not thrilled to have spent $50 on the heels, since they're not something I'll wear regularly. But I didn't have a pair of plain black heels, so at least if I spent a little more, it was on a closet staple (and one that I probably would have already had if my job had a dress code 😂). They're also fairly comfortable (as far as heels go) and are low enough that I can walk in them without flailing about. And the ankle strap is clutch. (I have narrow feet and need to be strapped into anything with a heel!)

I wore both to Christmas Eve Mass (along with a $3 belt I'd found at Plato's over the summer), and I love how my outfit turned out!

I also now have the Senegence concealer. Becky and I had been going back and forth trying to find a good match for my skin tone, and Sandstone Pearl (purchased in September) and then Candlelight (which I later exchanged Sandstone Pearl for) just didn't work for me. But I think the Corrective Color Concealer in Light is finally a winner for this pale Irish lass!

Now, since it's the end of the year, let's total up my budget posts from 2017 and see how much I spent... 


That's $222 more than I spent in 2016, which is a little disappointing, but not crazy. I mean, this year's total is still way better than 2015's ($2,768 YIKES)! Looking back at my budget posts for the past year is also a good reminder that, no matter how excited I am to buy something, that initial excitement does fade, and I don't end up loving/using everything I buy as much as I thought I would. I'm still working to separate shopping from emotion, but I think I'm slowly getting better at it.



High Five for Friday: December 22


Merry almost Christmas! Let’s see what put the sparkle into this whirlwind week: 


  • Are you guys ready for the big day?! I have almost all of my gifts (just need to add to two), but our house still isn’t decorated. Like, at all. (I did put my one pumpkin decoration away at least!) On the plus side, we spent last Saturday preemptively rearranging our living room furniture to free up the one outlet we can use for our Christmas tree, so we are ready to spring into action!
 Yep, this is us! 

Yep, this is us! 

  • You guys, I did aerial yoga on Tuesday. AERIAL. YOGA. What the what?! My friend has been doing it for months (she was seriously impressive!) and invited me to go with her, and it was the coolest thing ever. You're basically doing yoga in a hammock, which is really challenging (duh) buuut made it easier for me be present so as to not fall on my head! I felt like such a bad-ass with the things I was able to do! (I had very low expectations going into this class haha.) The only bummer is that I got nauseous after a few inversions, but the teacher was super nice about it, and I didn’t throw up! 👐👐



  • How cute is this card from Bri? It was a total surprise--I was racking my brain when I saw the return address like, “Did someone move to Texas and not tell me??" haha Also, if I had a cat, I would totally do the same thing and send a card with pictures of the two of us!
  •  Speaking of cats and cards, I got this precious Meowy Christmas card from my mom!
  •  Lastly, this cracked me up. Sadly, I can't find the original meme I saw, which had the added bonus of an annoyed Kim K. visual, and obviously "barking" would need to be changed to "meowing" for me," but still. 👌😂

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo


High Five for Friday: December 15


Hooray, we made it! Here's what put the sparkle into this week:

  • Saturday turned into CATURDAY because I got to meet my cousin's precious new kitten, Leo! He's two pounds of tuxedo cuteness that climbed right into my lap and fell asleep. I was basically like, "Welp, I live with you guys now!" 




  • I successfully drove in the (very light) snow on Saturday! The biggest accomplishment in this was that my aunt offered to pick me up--a perfect opportunity for me to avoid driving--but I turned her down and drove myself! 
  • Here's something I never thought I'd say: I ordered a jumpsuit this week! I'd been sort of looking for one, as an alternative to the usual pants or a dress for the holidays, but all the jumpsuits I'd seen online were too intense. Plunging necklines, super-wide legs, bedazzled accents... nah bro. I finally found this tame one on Kohls’ website, and it arrived in two days! Now, it's super comfy, but I’m not sure that I can pull it off... I need some more time to mull over this very important decision.


  • This week has been disco/funk week in my car. Aren’t you jealous you don’t get to hear to these jams on repeat too?! 😂
  • Lastly, I'd really been wanting to get my nails done (I've been so lazy about painting my nails lately blah), and I finally did on Thursday night! It was delightful! I went with a bright red with a bit of shimmer that is perfect for the holidays!


Hope you guys have a great weekend! xo

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December 2017 Goals


I had hoped to have this post up last week, but getting sick derailed that plan, so here we are!


Only one goal on the white board this month because I really want to catch up on my yoga teacher training homework before going back in January... and because I want leave some space for inevitable holiday craziness!

Now let's see how November's goals went:

1. Figure out Christmas cards: CHECK! Bonus that they've all been sent out! (With the exception of yours, Mica, because I want to go to the post office and get the right postage to Australia!)

2. Stick to my budget: Weeeell... this did not go great in November. But I've since paid off the credit card charges I racked up last month, and I've been much more responsible through the first part of December (even transferring some money to savings!😮), so it's all good.

Now, I have a confession and a serious question for you guys. I created this space to try to cultivate and adopt a more positive outlook because I'm really a pretty negative person. I'm a pro at getting in my own way and talking myself out of things. So I've definitely fallen off with my Word of the Year "out of hiding." I set these goals at the beginning of the year when I'm all bright-eyed and optimistic, and then they start to make me angry as the year goes on. Like "WHY do I need to venture out of hiding? Eff that!" So we're at that stage in the twelfth month. I've still been going to yoga TT, and I've seen some friends recently, but I've mostly gone full hermit and am belligerent about it. (Like "YOUR MOM should get out of hiding!!" territory. It's not pretty.) I tend to not set bigger goals for myself because I’m so often in that petulant mindset of “Whatever, it’s not like I’m going to do X anyway.” 🙄 Last month's angel card of "freedom" kind of similarly set me off because I don't want to acknowledge that I'M my own jail keeper--I so easily lapse into being angry and blaming other people and things for the state of my life. I'm not proud of it, but it's the dark and twisty truth.

In some ways, I feel like I’ve given up. Not in a suicidal way, but in a "Well, this is my life and I can't do anything to change it" kind of way because change so often turns my anxiety up to 11. (For instance, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I went inpatient three weeks after starting a new job in 2013.) As far as I've come since 2013, I know I need to go further but am afraid to let myself. And then that is usually accompanied by the cycle of anger and self-sabotage. UGH.

So I'm curious: how do you guys set goals and stick to them? How do you quiet the negative self-talk? (I'm especially thinking of you, Bri, because you are so good at tackling big and small goals alike.)

This month's Healing with the Angels card is the opposite of where I'm at right now: serenity. Like "signs" and "freedom," I've pulled this card more than once in the short time I've had my deck. And this is the thing that always jumps out at me when I read the blurb in the booklet:


Huh. I always feel like I need to be calmer/in a better place before I can sit down and meditate etc., but I guess that's not the case. Maybe it's like that idea that the less you want to do X, the more you need to do X. Hmm...


Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!