To Sparkle Punch...

That is the question

High Five for Friday: December 9

JessComment

What a crazy week. I know I say that a lot, but it was legit last week, as there was a sudden death in my extended family. Ugh. So there's a real need to sparkle punch here and find the good things that happened in the past week!

  • Last Saturday was a banner Caturday because I saw Calico Pinky and finally learned her real name: EDIE! What a precious old lady name! I thought I had seen it on her collar, and then a little girl came running up shrieking "Edie! Edie!" for confirmation.
Official Cat Review: 100/10 for adorableness and friendliness. 0/10 for chill. (She literally just walked circles around me the entire time.) 

Official Cat Review: 100/10 for adorableness and friendliness. 0/10 for chill. (She literally just walked circles around me the entire time.) 

  • Also on Saturday was our family Christmas party, which is usually stressful because I'm an antisocial nut. But we had it at a hall this year, which meant that the weeks leading up to it weren't crammed with cleaning and decorating, HOORAY! The dessert spread also helped:  
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  • You know what song I've been listening to lately? "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. (Thank you for reminding me of it, Comcast commercial!) It's cute AF and pretty appropriate for the holidays, without being a "holiday" song. (I've been all about the home-y songs lately... My icy heart must be thawing a bit!)
  • On Monday, I got my first oil change, like a real adult! (Ok, I did shriek when the little wrench light first came on, so maybe not totally adult-like.) Afterwards, I stopped at the mall and found out that Hot Topic (yeah, I'm confused why I went in there too) has Neko Atsume plushies! #blessed
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  • Since I'm apparently re-obsessed with The Mighty Ducks at the moment, I found this amazing article (ok, it's practically a novella) with behind-the-scenes stories about the movies. I also stumbled upon the hilarious Quack Attack podcast, which is basically three dudes quoting/analyzing the movies and even interviewing actors from the movies! Aside from the shocking revelation that a different kid originally played Adam Banks (!!), I think the best thing I've learned so far is that Paula Abdul was on the set of D1 (she was dating Emilio Estevez at the time), and she refused to watch them film the scene where her man smooches Charlie's mom. Like WHAT?! 

Hope y'all have a great weekend! xo

As always, linking up with Katie, Tif, and Della for High Five for Friday!

December goals

JessComment
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Sorry, this is a bit of a fake-out because I'm not setting any goals for December! The holidays (and being out of my normal routine) are stressful enough--I don't want to add to it. In fact, I want to try to enjoy the holidays (how novel!).

Anyway, here's how November's goals went:

1. Christmas cards: CHECK! Not only did I come up with an idea for them, I actually executed it and filled out/mailed them! (Thank goodness because it is December now lol.)

2. Christmas gifts: CHECK! I still have a few to get, but I made some good progress and totally finished two people's gifts!

3. AM Facebook fast: Half-check. I would still mess around on fb (and my phone in general) in the morning, but I've been better about limiting it, so, progress. 

Are you setting goals this month?

PS- Blogger friends, let me know if you want to exchange Christmas cards! :)

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!

High Five for Friday: December 2

JessComment

What a whirlwind week! Let's see what put the sparkle into it:

  • I'm not super psyched about Christmas, but I did get really into taking artsy shots of all the pretty decorations at the mall last Saturday!
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  • For some reason, I really felt like playing video games over the holiday weekend, so I was thrilled to find one of my favorite childhood games in the App Store: Harvest Moon! In which you build your own farm and take care of animals and hang out with townspeople. SUPER EXCITING, I know. But look at my precious sleepy cow: 
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  • Mica sent me this delightful link in which people review the cats they meet on the street! MY PEOPLE!! (Coincidentally, I was late getting home on Sunday night because I'd spotted Calico Pinky and just had to see if she would come up to me. Spoiler: SHE DID, and I got lots of meows and bumps. <3)

 

  • My most recent allergy attack made me really curious about what exactly I'm allergic to, since I've only ever been told that I have "seasonal allergies." So on Thursday, I got allergy tested, and yes, it was a highlight of the week because I thought it was so cool! (Also, I'm insane!) I got a skin test, so I was pricked with 40 different allergens (not fun, but fascinating), and it turns out I'm allergic to a bunch of "typical" stuff (birch, dust, etc.)... and dogs! But not cats! Oh happy day! Since I've had allergic symptoms around cats before, though, the doctor actually encouraged me to pet cats and monitor my symptoms! DON'T MIND IF I DO. I also learned that certain raw fruits and veggies make my throat super itchy because they trigger my birch allergy! (So, not a food allergy in its own right, but related to my "seasonal" allergies.) How wild!
  • The Mighty Ducks (one and two!) were on again this week, and I could not resist watching... and trying to make sense of my childhood love of Adam Banks. I'm usually all about the dark-haired losers over the blonde rich kids (Jess > Logan, for instance), so this is a real conundrum. Maybe I was wooed by his insecurities in D2 (stressed about scouts! wanting to impress his dad! playing through pain!). He's not just a rich kid, he's a rich kid with problems. And he legit cries a single tear when Gordon won't let him play through his injury. Such emotional depth! What's not to love? ❤️😂 
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Hope you have a great weekend! xo

November 2016 Budget

JessComment

Well, this is a first... I only bought ONE clothing or accessory item this month! WOW. That would have been unfathomable a year ago! (Last November, I spent $173, so yeahhh.) I think I bought so little this month because I stayed out of stores and didn't do much online browsing. I seem to be most responsible when I don't tempt myself in any way. (In that regard, not having to kill time while waiting for Septa has definitely helped. Going into a store puts me 50% closer to buying something than if I didn't go into that store, you know?) Having to spend money on more responsible things this month (like Christmas gifts and a dentist appointment) also kept me in line! (Ugh, adulting.) ANYWAY, here's the one thing I got this month:

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  1. Rose Gold Fidget Ring (Etsy): $25

TOTAL: $25

I had been wanting this ring for awhile and finally committed in November! Not only is it pretty, but it's also like a wearable coping skill, since I tend to fidget with my hands when I'm anxious. The artisan (LoveDawne) has a bunch of different styles of fidget rings to choose from and is very nice to work with! (I had seen this ring on her page awhile ago and was super disappointed that it was no longer available when I finally went to buy. Fortunately, she was happy to make me one when I inquired about it!)

Full disclosure: I did also pay for a LipSense Lip Balm in November, but it's still not in stock, so I'm not counting it in my budget until it arrives. (It's just easiest to count things once I get them or commit to keeping them.)

So what did you get this month? Any great Black Friday deals I can vicariously live through? :)

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers

High Five for Friday: November 25

JessComment

I actually didn't think I'd get a H54F post done this week, so woo hoo! (Has anyone else been feeling super meh lately? OY--with or without the poodles already.) Let's see what put the sparkle into this holiday week:

  • Thanksgiving, of course! It's long been one of my favorite holidays. Look at this awesome card from my mom. Anyone else love canned cranberries?!
  • In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I'm so thankful for YOU, readers of this blog! Thank you so much for your support over the past 2 years, it really warms my icy heart! <3

 

  • TV was really at the top of its game on Thanksgiving. First, the parades, then the National Dog Show (I was totally cooing over the dogs! WUT?!), Some Kind of Wonderful, and the piece de resistance: a Mighty Ducks marathon! YASSSSS. #QuackQuackQuackMrDucksworth #GoodVorkCaptainDuck #AdamBanksEdinaMinnesota
  • Fellow Thanksgiving dinner guests included my aunt's two cats, so I was very thankful indeed! :D One of them acted totally aloof all day, but then waited outside the bathroom to meow at me! Once I sat on the floor to pet her, she proceeded to curl up in my lap, purring. I WAS DYING. <3 <3 I guess she'll be your secret bff, as long as everyone else (including her cat sister) is downstairs.
Her cat sister, meanwhile, made an adorable decoration.

Her cat sister, meanwhile, made an adorable decoration.

  • Finally, last Saturday, I actually acted my age and stayed out til 1 AM! Whoa! I went to a surprise party for one of my besties from high school, and it had an 80s-90s theme. This was my contribution:
You know where you are? You're in the jungle, baby!

You know where you are? You're in the jungle, baby!

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! xo

High Five for Friday: November 18

JessComment

All week long, I've had no clue what day it is. At least today I won't have the disappointing realization that it's not Friday! :) Let's see what put the sparkle into this week:

  • Last Friday, I finally graduated from physical therapy! (It only took five months nbd.) My foot still hurts sometimes, but now I actually have the strength to resist someone pushing on my legs/feet, so yay? I was also given the terrible news that I need to keep exercising for the rest of my life. UGH ADULTHOOD.
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  • To celebrate, I stopped at Starbucks on my way to work, and when I got to the register, I was told that the person ahead of me had paid for me! What the what?! I was so thrown off that I just left, like a total jerk! But what a sweet gesture in a week that so needed it! Thank you, complete stranger! (I am determined to pay it forward the next time I'm at Starbs. I need to plan to be spontaneous, ha!)
Holiday cups <3

Holiday cups <3

  • When I texted my bffl about finishing physical therapy, she wrote back "congrats!" ...and confetti fell on our texts! And thus began 20 minutes of us trying to figure out how to replicate it. iOS 10 is too fancy for us. (But sending confetti with unexciting texts is my new favorite thing to do!)
Oh yeah, we discovered the drawing feature too. 🎨 

Oh yeah, we discovered the drawing feature too. 🎨 

  • On Saturday, I went to a birthday party for one of my oldest friends! (Gosh, have we been friends since second grade? Maybe?) I also got to see her lovely fam and eat a Swedish fish jello "shot" with them! What a time to be alive!
Put a plate of cupcakes in front of me and I will photograph it. (I didn't actually have one, but only because Funfetti cake was another option. 💯)

Put a plate of cupcakes in front of me and I will photograph it. (I didn't actually have one, but only because Funfetti cake was another option. 💯)

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  • So I've followed the Flyers and Phillies in the past, but never the Sixers. The Sixers are like the red-headed stepchild of Philly sports. They're pretty consistently terrible, but for some reason, Pops and I happened to be watching last week when they won their first game of the year (only going 0-7!). And we were thus introduced to our new favorite song: 

It's so darn catchy, like Billy Preston meets Sesame Street, and dare I say the most entertaining thing to happen to the Sixers since AI's "practice" rant! With jams like this, I'm totally on board!

 

  • Lastly, I had my physical this week and got a clean bill of health! Yahoo! And my arm has finally stopped hurting from my flu shot! (UGH ADULTHOOD.) 

Wishing you all a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving weekend! (Eek, how did that get here so fast?!)

High Five for Friday: November 11

JessComment

I really struggled with the idea of doing a H54F post during such a painful, tumultuous week. But the goal of these posts is finding the good, and for those of us who are reeling, this week definitely needs some good.

In the wake of this election, there is real shock. There is real grief. There is real fear. We must move forward together, but in order to do that, people have to feel their emotions and be able to cope with them. Here are a few things that have been helping me:

  • Talking to someone. Be it a therapist, friend, teacher, counselor (college counseling centers are often free!), suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), etc. Journaling is a good alternative.

 

  • Keeping up my normal routine. In general, routine helps to lessen my anxiety, but my therapist suggested that it might be particularly comforting in this time of change and uncertainty.

 

  • Admiring the beauty of nature.
Such a lovely surprise in fall!

Such a lovely surprise in fall!

This tree is right around the corner from my house, and I never even noticed it before. 😍

This tree is right around the corner from my house, and I never even noticed it before. 😍

"Nature's first green is gold..." 

"Nature's first green is gold..." 

  • Making some new cat friends. (#cattherapy)
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  • Smiling at nuts like this guy:
Busted.

Busted.

And, hey, pot became legal in several more states this week, so HIGH Five for Friday has a whole new meaning!! 😂😂

Have a good weekend. Be kind to each other out there. xo

High Five for Friday: November 4

JessComment

Holy November Batman! Let's see what put the sparkle into this week:

  • Donuts were the theme on Friday night! 
So seasonally appropriate.

So seasonally appropriate.

In addition to bringing actual donuts with her, my mom found me this Christmas-y donut blanket at TJ Maxx! How cute!! It's super soft too!

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  • My mom also gave me this adorable pin! It's basically Ike, in pin form! Eeee!
I need to figure out how to wear these fancy pins like all the cool kids! 

I need to figure out how to wear these fancy pins like all the cool kids! 

  • Speaking of cats (because when am I not speaking of cats?)... On Friday night, I thought I'd spotted Calico Pinky, but when I got close, she darted away. :( But before I could be too disappointed, a SECOND CAT came out of nowhere, ran right for my legs, and rubbed up on me, meowing! Turns out cat #2 was Calico Pinky, and cat #1 was Skinny Tabby, a very skittish and lesser-seen neighborhood cat who may in fact be Calico Pinky's reluctant housemate. What a bunch of nuts. And I'm including myself in that. 
My buddy 💕 

My buddy 💕 

  • Did you ever have a shirt that you super randomly just LOVE? This is that shirt for me these days:
I got it secondhand in exchange for clothes I was selling, and I have no idea what brand it is! 

I got it secondhand in exchange for clothes I was selling, and I have no idea what brand it is! 

Purple with a subtle pattern?! Perfect. Not to mention that it's a bit boxy, so I layer it with a tank top and then kind of feel like an off-duty ballerina! (#goals #wut) 

 

  • And finally, hey Chicago, what do you say? The Cubs are gonna win today! (Or tomorrow, since that game ended at like 1 AM.) Who else stayed up to watch? I was actually starting to root for Cleveland, just because the focus was so lopsided on the Cubs and their fans, but I am thrilled for Chicago. I can't believe that I went to a Cubs game just before their first championship in 108 years! Like WHAT? I've been to Chicago four other times, and THIS is the year I get to a game?! Pure magic. 🦄

Here's to a great weekend! xo

November goals

JessComment
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It's never a good sign when the goals post sneaks up on you! I'm actually not setting too many goals for November because I know there's a good chance they'll be totally forgotten in the holiday chaos!

That does say "Christmas cards," although all I see now is "Christmas carols"!

That does say "Christmas cards," although all I see now is "Christmas carols"!

1. I like to send out Christmas cards, and I usually make them through Snapfish. But my creativity is currently at a zero. I need to get those creative Christmas card juices flowing! 

2. Christmas gifts. Because I need to spread that expense out over two months so as to not go broke! 

3. I tend to start messing around on my phone (particularly with Facebook) as soon as I wake up... which means that I basically disconnect from my body and emotions as soon as I possibly can. That's typical for me (I'm a constant motion, constant stimuli kind of person), but it's not healthy. I tend to feel stressed before I even get out the door in the morning. (Probably because I get sucked into the fb vortex and then am running behind, but a million posts and articles about the election can't help either.) Instead, I could focus on my breathing, do yoga, journal, read posts by my blog friends, blog myself... There are so many brighter ways to start my day. So I want to try them on days that I don't have a new blog post (because I do post those to fb in the morning--that's legit!).

 

So, how did October's goals go? (If not for one very productive day, this recap would be sad!)

1. Put away spring/summer clothes and shoes and get out fall/winter clothes and shoes: CHECK!

2. Frame two posters: HALF-CHECK! But I'm ok with this because I realized that I really need to commit to custom framing or trim the mat on poster #2 (there are just no frames in its current size).

3. Leave for work earlier: No. Just no. 

4. Choose two adventures from my list: CHECK! Ok, I did choose two adventures, but only one from my list. I'm going to count the M83 concert as adventure #2 because I had really wanted to go (I bought the tickets in August!), but I had massive anxiety the day of the concert. Pushing through that and getting out of my comfort zone would constitute an adventure, I think! 😊

5. Those dang blog info pages: No. Just no. That goal may never happen!

High Five for Friday: October 28

JessComment

Boy, Friday really snuck up on me this week! Let's see what brought the sparkle:

  • With Halloween on the horizon, let's start with this adorbs pumpkin washi tape from Target! I had enough restraint to not buy it the first time I saw it... but that ship has obviously sailed.
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  • I also got this super-cute little binder (and filler paper) from the Target Dollar Spot last week! The moveable pages are a boon when you're trying to piece together childhood memories for therapy. Or, er, using it as a planner as advertised! 
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  • Speaking of childhood memories, I was going through old pictures over the weekend and found the one on the left. Looks like not much has changed over the years! 
How did my 29-year-old self get a better party hat than my 4-year-old self? 

How did my 29-year-old self get a better party hat than my 4-year-old self? 

  • I had a very exciting neighborhood cat sighting this week: the ever-illusive Calico Pinky! Eeeee! Unlike the cats that roll their eyes at me (why Tuxedo why?), Calico Pinky made a beeline for me and then proceeded to walk circles around me while meowing, purring, and bumping me for pets! WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?! 
She even tried to follow me home! I was like EEEP and literally said out loud, "Um, I think you live here?" Luckily, she got distracted chewing on some grass, so I did not become a cat thief. Just a cat creep.

She even tried to follow me home! I was like EEEP and literally said out loud, "Um, I think you live here?" Luckily, she got distracted chewing on some grass, so I did not become a cat thief. Just a cat creep.

Literally can't even. 

Literally can't even. 

  • Lastly, my aunt sent me this card for Halloween. I can't imagine why. 
I'm a full-on cat lady, just without actual cats that I own (nbd).

I'm a full-on cat lady, just without actual cats that I own (nbd).

Hope y'all have a great weekend and a happy Halloween! xo

October 2016 Budget

JessComment

I thought I didn't buy much this month, buuuut that's just because I bought most of these things in the first week of the month! Whoops! 

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  1. Sketchers Go Step Sneaker (DSW): $60 on sale for $48
  2. LipSense Bombshell, Glossy Gloss, and Oops Remover starter kit: $53
  3. The Body Shop Chamomile Eye Makeup Remover (Amazon): $13
  4. Mossimo Jeggings (Target): $30 - $19 (gift card) = $11

TOTAL: $125

 

I put "black and/or grey sneakers" on my Fall/Winter Wish List, so I can now cross that off, woo hoo! I really like the streamlined look of these Sketchers, but they're kind of weird to walk in, like, they're very springy? But they are comfy and look reasonably cute with skinny jeans, so I'm happy!

I've only had the LipSense for a week, but I really like it so far! I very rarely wear lip color anymore, largely because I am lazy--I can't be bothered with touch-ups throughout the day or, like, having to use a mirror. The fact that I can put on my LipSense color (the very neutral "Bombshell") at 10 AM and then just reapply the clear gloss throughout the day (so no mirror needed!) makes it totally perfect for me! I honestly put on the clear gloss at 9:30 the other night, and my "Bombshell" from 10 AM still looked flawless! If you're interested in trying out LipSense, Becky at byBMG is a consultant! (I got mine from her.)

The Body Shop Eye Makeup Remover is just a boring necessity purchase. I usually swear by Make Up Forever Sens'Eyes, but it had begun to sting my eyes in recent months. I'd used The Body Shop Eye Makeup Remover awhile ago after a friend gave it to me, and I found myself longing for it again as my Sens'Eyes ran out this month. So... yeah. 😴

I'd been wanting a pair of ripped jeans for awhile, but it seemed like an impractical purchase for fall/winter. Like, wouldn't you get cold in ripped jeans because, hello, gaping holes in your pants? (I may be too practical for grunge fashion.) Enter these PATCHED jeggings from Target! The deconstructed look without the fear of hypothermia? EXCELLENT. Bonus that I finally returned the grey jeggings from this post, which gave me the gift card that I put toward the ripped-up jeggings! 💯

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers!

 

Where are you going, where have you been?

JessComment

As I mentioned in my Day in the Life post, it's hard to see just how far you've come when you're caught in the day-to-day grind. I had a similar thought when I saw the band M83 a few weeks ago. Because I last saw them in 2012 (four whole years ago?!), it got me thinking about how much has changed in that time. It's so easy to focus on what we haven't done and to be disappointed with our lack of accomplishments when really, we're growing and changing all the time. The little things often turn out to be big things, right?

So in that spirit, let's revisit what I was doing in October 2012:

Hello, 2012 self with short hair and no make-up!

Hello, 2012 self with short hair and no make-up!

1. Living at home (ok, no change there!).

2. Working part-time in HR. (There's no way I would get a non-teaching job using my English degrees, right?)

Being very busy and important. 

Being very busy and important. 

3. Relying entirely on public transportation. (It helped that I was working much closer to home back then!)

4. Writing/editing chapter three of my MA thesis. I definitely remember listening to "Wait" by M83 on repeat while writing about gender and sexuality in Fun Home and Persepolis. Like, hearing it in concert took me right back there. (😭)

Getting those images properly formatted in my thesis was such a struggle! 

Getting those images properly formatted in my thesis was such a struggle! 

5. Going to a psychiatrist every so often but not being in therapy.

5 a. Spending a lot of time with friends to avoid being alone and anxious after work (since I would get done at 2 in the afternoon).

6. Being single.

7. Visiting Chicago for the second time! 

Casually holding up the Bean with Timmi, as one does.  

Casually holding up the Bean with Timmi, as one does.  

I think that I hate change, but a lot sure has changed (some of it almost imperceptibly) since 2012:

1. I lived in Philly! (2013)

1 a. ...And then I moved back home! 😂  (2014)

2. I got a full-time (non-teaching!) job that requires an English degree! (2013)

Before I left on day 1 of said job, Pops took a picture of me as if it were the first day of school. 👌

Before I left on day 1 of said job, Pops took a picture of me as if it were the first day of school. 👌

3. I started driving consistently for the first time in my life! (2015)

3 a. I BOUGHT A FREAKING CAR. I cannot overstate how unfathomable that would have been in 2012! (2016)

4. I finished my MA thesis and passed my defense! (Ok, that did happen in 2012, but after October. And I seriously wanted to give up the summer before I finished.)

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5. I addressed my depression and recurring suicidal thoughts by going inpatient. (2013)

5 a. I started regularly going to therapy for the first time in my life. (2013)

5 b. I went to group therapy. (2013)

5 c. I started doing yoga and somatic healing. (2013)

5 d. I started EMDR. (2015)

6. My relationship with B started! (2013)

6 a. ...And ended 😔  (2016)

7. I visited Timmi in Chicago for the fifth time! 

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8. I started this blog! (2014)

 

Ok so I haven't saved the world. Or written a best-seller. Or started a family. And some of my accomplishments were not exactly age-appropriate (like, say, driving). But if we constantly minimize the things that we do, what are we left with? Disappointment? Negativity? Let's instead celebrate the "little" things, the ways that we've grown. Let's celebrate how far we've come on this continuous journey forward. <3

High Five for Friday: October 21

JessComment

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

  • I went out in nature (!!) on Saturday, and I made a new friend! Or so I thought... As I swooned over this precious chipmunk, he was intermittently chirping, which I thought was adorable... until I googled it and found out that chipmunks chirp when they feel threatened! Wahhh! Sorry little buddy!
How is this real life?! 😍😭😍

How is this real life?! 😍😭😍

Hey there fall.

Hey there fall.

He got the last laugh though: the minute I got back to my car, I realized that my allergies had kicked in! YOU WIN THIS ROUND, CHIPMUNK.

 

  • I had a super productive Saturday with my October goals! In addition to choosing an adventure (going to the state park above), I got out my fall clothes, put away my summer clothes, and framed this awesome poster! (It only took 14 months haha!)
🎶That thing, that thing, that thiiiiiiing🎶

🎶That thing, that thing, that thiiiiiiing🎶

  • Luckily, I left out a few summer items because it was 80 here this week! What the what? The warm weather is definitely contributing to my allergies, but sandal weather with pretty fall leaves?! I ain't mad at it.
I love warm weather even if it doesn't love me!

I love warm weather even if it doesn't love me!

  • My LipSense order arrived, and I'm loving it!! I was very intimated by the application process (mainly because there is one--I tend to just wear clear lip balm and slap it on all willy-nilly!), but it turned out to be super easy. And it seems to be healing my chapped lips, while also keeping me from biting them (because it lasts so long)! I got the color "Bombshell," and it looks like I'm not wearing any lip gloss/stick at all, which is perfect for me!
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  • Lastly, I'm glad that my allergies are finally calming the eff down and that this is no longer my reality:
Anyone else love Meet the Robinsons?! 

Anyone else love Meet the Robinsons?! 

Here's to a great weekend that I'm not allergic to! xo

A day in the life (vol. 2)

JessComment

I've been wanting to do another Day in the Life post for awhile, but I couldn't remember how long it had been since I did it last year. Turns out I'd chronicled October 6, 2015--how convenient! So here's what the same date looks like one year later:

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Good morning! Now that I'm driving, I can sleep in past 6:50--what a luxury! And on this particular day, I actually woke up when my alarm went off, instead of snoozing it five times! Here is my view upon awakening, including a Snuffles nose in my face (lol) and my white board (complete with my October goals and my 2015 spending total eek!).

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Since it's Thursday, I worked on my H54F post for a little bit before getting ready for work.

All drugstore products, except for the Hera cushion compact (LOVE), which is from Memebox.

All drugstore products, except for the Hera cushion compact (LOVE), which is from Memebox.

Remember the "Five-Minute Face" from What Not to Wear? That is definitely my philosophy towards makeup, haha! Concealer, eyeliner, mascara, and foundation--that's about all I can tolerate doing on a regular basis! 

Old Navy tulip-back sweater (2015) | Gap Legging Jean (2014) | Sketchers Go-Step Sneakers (2016)

Old Navy tulip-back sweater (2015) | Gap Legging Jean (2014) | Sketchers Go-Step Sneakers (2016)

What "Day in the Life" post would be complete without an OOTD?! (And yes, I committed to the Sketchers I got at DSW!)

While I keep next to nothing in my car, note the hand sanitizer and mala beads ha!

While I keep next to nothing in my car, note the hand sanitizer and mala beads ha!

This is why I get home from work so late: something always happens the minute I try to leave. On this particular day, Pops (who was heading out at the same time as me) and I bumped into our neighbor, and you know that's never a quick chat!

Cats and flowers. Yep, this must be mine!

Cats and flowers. Yep, this must be mine!

Hello work desk! I feel like not much has changed here since last year, except for the addition of a Sadness Tsum Tsum. :) And you know you're an editor when your Post-Its say things like "curly apostrophe"!

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My current Bullet Journal-esque planner set-up. Complete with a breakdown of things to include in my H54F post and also notes of things to ask about in therapy next week!

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I wrote 49 grammar questions at work today! Woo! #nerdalert

🎶I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone🎶 #OneTickettoFarhamptonPlease

🎶I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone🎶 #OneTickettoFarhamptonPlease

Heading home... with some music from HIMYM. <3 I'm so sad that it's dark out when I leave work now, wahhh. I used to be treated to some gorgeous sunsets!

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Finishing up my H54F post with Bailey and Ben while my dinner heats up. I haven't seen Grey's seasons 11 or 12 yet, but why not watch 13 in real time? Makes perfect sense!

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Time to ice my foot after doing my foot exercises (hence the yoga mat and ball in the background!). Meanwhile, Pops is totally engrossed in the Million Dollar Listing season premiere. (Josh Flagg and Colton 😢)

Current face wash/make-up remover routine. I used to love Sens'Eyes, but I'm kind of over it now. In fact, I started using The Body Shop's Chamomile eye make-up remover the next day and am liking that way more!

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Bedtime rituals: diffusing essential oils, getting some white noise going, and cueing up a Grey's rerun. (I had been watching season 8, but I got to up to "Flight" and was like AW HELL NO I'M NOT GOING THROUGH THAT AGAIN, so I'm back to season 7 lol.)

 

What a difference a year makes! Last year, my day was basically running between modes of public transportation, with some work and therapy in between. It's wild to think of how much freedom having a car has given me in terms of structuring my workday. (My office has no set hours, so I've basically been working 11-7 these days. But pre-car, I had to work 8:30-4:30 in order to make all of my Septa connections. That may sound normal, but it meant getting up at 5:50 to catch bus #1 at 6:25. And I am not a morning person.) These changes just kind of sneak up on you, so it's good to stop and reflect on how far you've come sometimes. <3 

Linking up with Mattie for Weekly Lessons, finally! 

High Five for Friday: October 14

JessComment

I can't believe it's Friday already! What the heck put the sparkle into this week?

  • I was actually social last weekend! Hooray! I had a long overdue reunion with one of my buds from my old job, and it was so delightful to catch up with her! This was the first time I'd seen her since she got engaged a few months back, and I was so.excited. for her. Like, talking-color-schemes excited--and I'm not even a super wedding-y person! 
Despite the rainy weather, we had a lovely lunch on the rooftop deck at Revolution House in Old City.

Despite the rainy weather, we had a lovely lunch on the rooftop deck at Revolution House in Old City.

Then we stopped at Franklin Fountain for some ice cream before hitting up a nearby pen/art supply store! #nerdalert

Then we stopped at Franklin Fountain for some ice cream before hitting up a nearby pen/art supply store! #nerdalert

  • I had a major city driving accomplishment on Monday when I successfully drove to my therapist's office near Chestnut Hill! I was totally confused by the ease of (non-parallel) parking, the wide streets, and the TREES! It was such a cute suburban/city area! Not to mention that I had a great session AND got a delish caramel latte from a nearby coffee shop! What an unexpectedly great start to the week!
Yep, this was me. 

Yep, this was me. 

  • For whatever reason, this week's song on repeat has been "Dream On" by Aerosmith. I noticed recently that I'm able to pick out specific instruments (or models of instruments) in songs, which has made songs I've heard a million times so much more interesting. Plus, if you listen to "Dream On" with one earbud in (as I'm apt to do at work), you'll hear certain instruments more clearly and pick out things you could never hear before in the arrangement as a whole! (You can do this with a lot of classic rock songs, and it always enthralls me haha! #nerdalertround2)
  • Whenever I get back into Supernatural (mainly because I can't quit Jensen Ackles, that beautiful bastard), I only watch the same few "funny" episodes. (I get easily spooked, so the supernatural is really not my friend!) So of course, I love (and can relate to!) over-the-top-scared Dean in the episode "Yellow Fever," especially when he refuses to drive over 20 MPH and has this reaction after being startled by a kitten: 
This is me every time I see a bug, basically. 

This is me every time I see a bug, basically. 

  • I actually went to a concert this week! On a Thursday night! Who am I?! (That seems to be a theme!) I saw M83, a band I saw four years ago (back when I only knew "Midnight City") and totally fell in love with. The show was really great. It was especially interesting to revisit these songs that I had listened to so much at other times in my life (like when I was finishing my MA thesis or living in the city)--a lot has changed changed since then. I feel like a completely different person!
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Hope you have a great weekend! xo

High Five for Friday: October 7

JessComment

I thought it was going to be hard to come up with five things for this week, but it turned out to be super easy! I guess the sparkle is always there, just waiting for us to see it. :) 

  • Exhibit A: this precious little angel. She is just the cutest. My friend Deena (Sasha's owner) got a barrage of heart emojis in response to this pic, haha! 
Apparently, a pumpkin costume is way more tolerable than kitten mittens! Who knew?

Apparently, a pumpkin costume is way more tolerable than kitten mittens! Who knew?

  • I've been wanting to get some black and/or grey sneakers that look cute (or at least not dumb!) with jeans, so on Sunday, I ventured out to DSW. I've never had any luck with Sketchers (they tend to be pretty wide, and I have super-narrow feet) until now! No frills, no crazy colors or design, a streamlined look... basically, exactly what I wanted! AND they were in the sale section! But I knew the true test would be if I could drive in them pain-free, since driving still bothers my injured foot. So I immediately tried on the right shoe in the car for my ride home! I was like, "If I get pulled over, they're going to think I'm insane!" LOL
💯 

💯 

  • After DSW, I stopped at Old Navy for socks. Seriously. I got a pack of their socks on a whim back in the spring, and I LOVE THEM! Like, I'm disappointed when all five pairs are dirty and I have to wear other socks! So I added a few more pairs to my collection! (Clearly, it doesn't take much to excite me! 😂)
Hedgehogs!! I guess they're this week's contribution to Exotic Animal Watch! 

Hedgehogs!! I guess they're this week's contribution to Exotic Animal Watch! 

  • I tend to be pretty antisocial, so I'm always pleasantly surprised at how much fun I can have with other people, even just virtually! Tif, one of the lovely ladies who hosts the H54F link-up each week, had an online LipSense party on Facebook on Tuesday night, and it was super fun to chat with her and fellow bloggers Becky (who sells LipSense) and Della! With their help, I picked out Bombshell, which seems like a great "my lips but better" shade. (I'm a neutral lip color gal all the way!) I tend to have dry lips (and I bite my lips a lot eek), so I'm hoping the long-lasting and super-moisturizing nature of LipSense will help me out!

 

  • Was anyone else super bummed that Vanilla Ice got eliminated on DWTS this week?! He was just so positive and happy to be there, not to mention a pretty good dancer! Stodgy old Len Goodman calling him "Vanilla" in his Brit accent was everything I didn't know I needed my life. (Another great moment was when Erin Andrews asked Vanilla Ice what he knew [about DTWS] before being on the show, and he replied, "Construction!" HAHA)  

On the plus side, pros Sasha and Emma (who I knew were dating IRL) got engaged during Tuesday's show, which was pretty darn cute. Public engagements usually make me uncomfortable, but those two seem pretty chill and adorable, so I'll allow it. Plus HOLY MOLY her engagement ring! It's purple! GIRL. I knew I liked you for a reason! 😍

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 Here's to a great weekend! xo

October goals

JessComment
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I have no awareness of what day it is any more, let alone what month. How on earth is it October already?! Sheesh! (Naturally, I typed "September goals" a billion times while writing this post!)

Let's see what's on the white board in October... (Two of September's goals were kind of a fail, so they're back in October for a second try!)

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1. Put away spring/summer clothes and shoes and get out fall/winter clothes and shoes (😭).

2. I have two posters that I've been trying to frame for at least a year. No joke. It's sad. I've even made this a goal of mine TWICE before, and I still haven't done it! 🙈 (Third time's the charm?) I did recently get a frame for one of them, so I should be able to finally accomplish half of this goal at least, ha!

3. I have such a hard time getting out the door in the morning. I can work whatever hours I want, so my AM slowness is not a big deal, but I've been getting home at 8 PM, and that's kind of a bummer (especially now that it's dark at 8 PM!).

4. Choose two adventures from my list. Maybe two different ones this time? (Weeell, let's not push it!)

5. Those dang blog info pages!

 

All right, let's reflect on September's goals:

 

1. Do the research for the Choose Your Own Adventure list (such as finding out places' locations, hours, admission fees, and distance from my house). CHECK! List complete! 

2. Do two things from the Choose Your Own Adventure list. (Eek! I'm really curious to see if this sort of planning helps to get me out the door. And how doing new things does or doesn't reduce my anxiety.) Hmmm, this wasn't a total fail... I just chose the same adventure twice, ha! (I went to one of the state parks near me.) Having the list has not made me more willing/less anxious to do stuff, which is kind of a bummer. BUT I hadn't been to that state park in at least ten years, so I guess the Choose Your Own Adventure List wasn't a total fail!

3. Update info pages on the blog. HALF-CHECK I did jot down a bunch of thoughts and ideas for these, and I managed to update my Blog Love page, as well as my Shopping Wishlist for fall/winter. I still have a few more pages to update, but hey, progress!

What are you working on this month?

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!

High Five for Friday: September 30

JessComment

Geez, these weeks just fly by! Let's see what put the sparkle into this one:

  • Last Saturday, I managed to get out to the park I went to a few weeks ago! I inadvertently went at magic hour this time, so the sunlight there was just gorgeous. My walk basically turned into a stop (...and take pictures every five seconds).
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  • After my walk, I stopped at AC Moore for a picture frame and found this guy! It was love at first sight, and once I figured out he was on sale, I really couldn't resist! As you can see, I was in a super "fall" mood on Saturday--I even got a pumpkin spice latte before my nature walk! Barf! 
What a cute lil guy!

What a cute lil guy!

  • Sunday was a two-cat day! First, Pops and I found New Cat on the left, who was hanging out in my favorite neighborhood garden and was not very interested in my cooing and "psst"-ing. (Wahhh.) And then, we crossed the street and found Tuxedo Cat! Who, as usual, was pretty much like "UGH these a-holes." 💔  SOMEDAY YOU WILL LOVE ME, TUXEDO CAT!
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Also, let the record show that I usually can't see a God's blessed thing (my computer is at like 200% zoom, and I legit can't read street signs half the time), but I can spot a camouflaged Tuxedo Cat from a mile away!! 

#skillz

#skillz

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This doofus really did well for himself! 

This doofus really did well for himself! 

  • And finally, I didn't expect Exotic Animal Watch to become a thing, but here we go again, this time with skunks! 😦 My dad's friend accidentally caught Pepe LePew this week! OOPS?
😁 

😁 

Ok, he's actually pretty cute! Although it def helps that he's in a picture and not in my life or range of smell! Pops' friend apparently "had a talk with him" and set him free LOL! Thank goodness I only see the groundhogs regularly (and not raccoons or skunks)! My bffl's dogs once had a particularly hilar/pathetic run-in with a skunk: her Mastiff puppy spotted a skunk and lost her mind, which prompted the elderly black Lab to meander out to investigate, and of course, the poor Lab got sprayed by the skunk. There's always that one friend who gets us into trouble, ha!

Hope your weekend is skunk-free! 😂 xo

Btw in you case you missed it, I miraculously got two other posts up this week: one about my experiences with suicidal thoughts and depression, and my September Budget Post!

September 2016 Budget

JessComment

Whoa guys, I actually bought stuff this month! I went a little crazier than I should have, but at least some of it was bought with birthday gift cards! So let's see what I got in September... (Minus the Target jeggings from this post because I'm not positive that I'm keeping them yet.) 

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  1. Merona Zip-Around Faux Leather Wallet (Target): $15 on sale for $7
  2. Merona Lace Trim Shell (Target): $18 - Cartwheel 25% off = $13 - gift card = $0
  3. Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum sample (eBay): $10
  4. L.O.L. Vintage Mystical Diagram Graphic Burnout Swing Tank (Target): $13 - Cartwheel 25% off = $10 - gift card = $0
  5. Leggings with feather print (LuLaRoe): $25

Not pictured:

  1. Laneige Good Night Trial Kit (Target): $5
  2. Solid Leggings in plum and olive (LuLaRoe): 2 for $42
  3. Irma Top in black (LuLaRoe): $35
  4. Xhilaration Jeggings (Target): $16 on sale for $11
  5. C&S drapey tee (Plato's Closet): $6 - clothes trade-in = $0

Total: $135

Holy leggings, Batman! Ok, so the pair from Target were an emergency purchase when I was in Chicago because I only packed two pairs of leggings and wanted to wear leggings every day (#packingfail #knowthyself). But it's all good because the pair I found at the Chicago Loop Target were on sale and HAVE POCKETS!! 🎉 I also went a bit crazy attending my first-ever LuLaRoe party! That was the biggest blow to my budget. The whole idea with LuLaRoe is that everything is limited--only so many pieces are made in each pattern, and you can't buy it in any stores. (Like, I can't see something I like in-store, leave, and then just order it online two weeks later--which is actually exactly what happened with the Target Mystic Tank!) This is bad news for me because I already tend to be an impulsive shopper--I don't need any encouragement, ha! But I can wear leggings to work (thank you, lack of a dress code), so the LuLaRoe purchases are not entirely ridiculous! I love the LLR leggings but am not totally sold on the Irma yet... It's cute, but it's oversized, and I need to find a way to not look like I'm drowning in it. A good belt, maybe?

As for the skincare purchases, back in August, when I was trying to find a product to treat my facial redness, I had gotten a sample of the Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum from Sephora. It retails for $79, so of course, I love it. (ACK.) I had gotten a few zits around the time I started using the Radiance Serum, and it's been doing a great job of fading the acne marks. I bought the larger sample size this month because the little plastic sample "pot" from Sephora had run out, and I want to test it out more before I commit to $79. (Why is there no other option available at Sephora at a lower price-point??) And the Laneige sample kit was a total whim at Target because I've been intrigued by the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask since my initial K Beauty obsession, but I could never commit to a full-size. Well, I've used the mask a few times, and I really like it! It smells great, and it doesn't make my skin super-greasy (huzzah!). In fact, I think it helps a little bit with my redness too! The kit also came with the Multiberry Yogurt Repairing Mask, which I've only used once. (I can only definitively say that it smells delicious!)

Oh, and apparently, I need a new Target wallet, because it's been a few months, ha! (Totally normal behavior, right?) I love the Double Zip-Around One that I bought in January, but it's huge and had begun to take up all the room in my everyday purse (and we can't have that). Enter a new, somewhat-smaller model for $7! (I'm now remembering that I just bought a Target wallet last month, but that one is tiny, and I got it specifically for smaller bags. Apparently, I need small, medium, and large wallet options, because I'm insane!) 

What did you guys buy this month? 

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers! 

Suicidal thought remission

JessComment

I've noticed a strange phenomenon over the past few months: I've felt more able to handle things. It's not like everything in my life has been spectacular. (Hello break-up, foot injury and other health scares, and new work routine! 👋) And in the past, I met any challenge with the mindset, "THIS IS THE WORST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ANYONE!!1!!." Lately, though, I've been more like, "Ugh, this is happening. Ok. Moving on..."

Most importantly, I have not felt suicidal.

To be able to feel sad or meh or super-stressed without the presence of suicidal thoughts is MAJOR. I've had suicide as an open escape hatch for probably 15 years. The thoughts didn't usually escalate, but they were my security blanket whenever I got scared or overwhelmed. As it's only been three years since I narrowly avoided the fate of Robin Williams and so many others who have acted on their suicidal thoughts, I talk about these things with the hope of normalizing them and showing that progress IS possible--because I certainly didn't feel that way before going inpatient three years ago. 

For me, I think that suicide and anxiety emerged as protective impulses after I experienced some things as a kid that were just too big for me to handle. When you have scary or traumatic experiences, the emotions that you feel are huge and terrifying. They swallow you up. And when you're a kid, you're genuinely not equipped to handle them... and so you might grow up feeling like you can't handle anything. I think that's what happened to me. And that intense vulnerability made the idea of suicide very appealing and comforting. Not only was it an "out," but it was an out within my control--unlike my emotions, or anything, really. Suicide gave me a way to escape if things got too heavy.

Considering how often things used to feel "too heavy," thank God I'm still alive.

I had never been in any kind of therapy until college (and that was just occasional visits to the counseling center), so the negative messages I had internalized went unchecked for a long time and became automatic, often manifesting as self-hate. Outwardly, I was a perfectionist overachiever, and inwardly, I was really negative, consumed with ever-spiraling worries (hence the need to "sparkle punch" now and actively find the good!). Since being inpatient, though, I've gone to therapy nearly every week. Therapy has taught me to question my negative thoughts. To stop reading into everything. To stop seeing myself as the "problem" in every situation. To stop blaming myself for everything. Thinking in a more positive way has been major in alleviating the suicidal thoughts.

Therapy also brought me back to reality, which I desperately needed, since anxiety always kept me in the future. Thinking that a situation will never change or improve is simply not how life works... despite what my ever-faithful anxiety tries to tell me. Scary or unpleasant situations do end. When my mind can't recognize stuff like this on its own, I need to take over and remind myself of what is real. I need to fight back against the steady stream of "protective" anxious thoughts that drag me further into the future, keeping me alert against every threat, however distant or illogical. I need to remind myself that I am safe in this moment, because most of the time, I am. My old therapist used to refer to the questioning of anxious thoughts as "reality testing," which drove me nuts because my anxious thoughts always seem so real! ...but they're not. I can see that now.

Reminders help. ❤️  (FYI: Pilot Precise Grip Bold pens are excellent for writing mantras on yourself!)

Reminders help. ❤️  (FYI: Pilot Precise Grip Bold pens are excellent for writing mantras on yourself!)

I used to be incredibly self-conscious of my mental health struggles, especially about feeling suicidal, since that is sometimes a tough thing for people to hear or understand. I did, and still do, worry about revealing more about myself and being judged as a total freak. But I know that I'm not a total freak, and openness is the only way to break the stigma. In the words of that great prophetess (and mental health advocateDemi Lovato, "I used to hold my freak back, now I'm letting go." I may feel nervous about speaking out about my issues, but in my everyday life, I'm totally fine with being in therapy and with having been inpatient. Therapy is just a way of life now. I look forward to EMDR every week. Intake forms are my bitch. Positive self-talk is my daily reality. 

Suicidal thoughts can always come back, but at least for now, they're in remission, and that is wonderful. Progress is possible. <3