To Sparkle Punch...

That is the question

High Five for Friday: March 24

JessComment

The past week has been super wacky, and in finding the sparkle in that, this post became like Confessions meets High Five for Friday:

  • The "Weird-Ass Song of the Week" this week has been "Frankenstein" by Edgar Winter. Which is actually a GREAT song, but kind of weird to be playing on your phone sans headphones at work when your co-worker suddenly strolls into the office. And naturally, in trying to turn it off, I fumbled with my phone as if I'd never held one before in my life.
This guy is more coordinated than I was.

This guy is more coordinated than I was.

  • While getting ready for work on Tuesday, I heard a MEOWING CAT outside my window! It seriously sounded like a siren in our backyard, but somehow, Pops never heard it (it would stop on cue every time I called him, grrr). Of course, I rushed out into the yard to look for my new best friend, but no luck. Pops was basically like, "Uh huh, an imaginary cat, suuuure." πŸ˜­
  • Later that day, Pops took over as Dr. Doolittle when he found a visibly injured bird on our back porch. The local wildlife refuge told him to put the bird in a shoebox and bring it in. Easy enough, right? Welp, it turns out that being on death's door did not impact the bird's ability to fly--which meant that Pops had to chase him through three yards in order to catch him. Just a normal day... that ended with Pops meeting several goats at the animal refuge.
  • Pops got his car inspected last week, which prompted me to go, "Hmm, I wonder when those stickers on my windshield expire..." YEAH, about that... 😱😱😱  I knew my registration was up in April, but it never dawned on me that my inspection and registration stickers could expire at different times. #FirstTimeCarOwnerProbs #rube I made this discovery on Monday, but the first appointment I could get for an inspection was on Wednesday morning, so I fretted about driving to work on Tuesday (ignorance truly was bliss!). Pops was like "Pssht, what's another day at this point?" so I did drive in on Tuesday... and this is NO JOKE the first song I heard when I turned on the radio: 

And on my way home, a bunch of police cars were camped out with a tow truck right where I get off the highway! EEP. THE JIG IS UP! But thank the lord, I did not get stopped, and now, I have legit stickers once again WHEW. 

  • On Wednesday, I had a doctor's appointment in Center City, but apparently, Ellen (like, THE Ellen) was also in Center City (via satellite) taping some segment. All that hoopla was close enough to my doctor's office that our v serious conversation was periodically punctuated by wild cheering nbd.
"So how's your anxiety?" "YAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!"

"So how's your anxiety?" "YAAAAAAYYYYYY!!!!"

  • My drives to and from Philly are generally like an obstacle course and make me feel like I'm living in Paperboy-land. In the past, I've even had a girl carrying a gigantic teddy bear walk out in front of me. And on Wednesday, just when I'd finally gotten around a car blocking my lane, there were two guys carrying dry wall across the street. Because, of course.

I just realized that's six things. OH WELL! Has anyone else had wacky week? Here's to a wonderful weekend! xo

Real talk on Rebirthday #4 + things that have helped me to stay alive

JessComment

Four years ago this week, I checked myself into the hospital for suicidal thoughts and started to make major changes in my life. At the time, I just wanted to be able to feel more than "meh" and "totally freaked out or depressed" in my everyday life.

I'm not there yet. And honestly, it's frustrating. The past year has been tougher than I'd like to admit, largely because I can see ways to improve my life and mood, but I haven't been able to get myself to do them.

Like, I know that I'm still comfortably numb on routine and pessimism a lot of the time. I know that I settle and succumb to anxiety more than I would like. (I am definitely an introvert, but I've gone full hermit this past year, even for me!) I know that I eat horribly and don't get enough exercise or sleep, and that those shortcomings hurt my mood and overall health.

I know these things, and yet I don't change them--which doesn't really make me feel good about myself, you know?

But then March 20 rolls around and reminds me that I have been in a much much darker place than I am now and have come out of it. That I am capable of changing my life for the better. I may not be in love with my life at the moment, but hey, I'm still alive! So as much as I get annoyed with myself and wish that I could just FREAKING DO THINGS without battling anxiety all the time FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, at least the fight is between fear and growth these days, and not life and death. That is huge.

While my struggle with anxiety and PTSD wages on, here are a few things that have added stability to my life over the past four years and helped me to move away from suicide:

Admitting that I had a "problem"

This is the first step, right? No one else knew that I was feeling suicidal until I accidentally told two friends the day before going inpatient. Owning such an "ugly" truth and admitting it to other people felt awful in the moment but has been very freeing in the long-term. Before, I felt like I constantly had to hide my true feelings because they would freak other people out. But allowing myself to be a "burden" to a few trusted people and admit how bad I was feeling lifted a burden from me. Those friends didn't run, and one even took me to the hospital. In addition to saving my life, admitting my feelings helped me to then open up to other people and see that I don't have to hide my true wacky neurotic self from the world. :)

Journaling

This has probably been the number one game-changer in my life. I used to hate journaling, even just the idea of journaling. Any time I did try to sit down and write about my feelings, I would just end up writing about boys I thought were cute, HA! But post-inpatient, I started journaling regularly and found that it actually worked for me. I don't force myself to journal in any way (so no schedule or set number of pages per day)--I just write when I have an insight that I want to explore more, or when I want to calm myself down if my emotions are spiraling. Writing really helps me to slow down my thoughts and take off the anxiety goggles so that I can see a stressful situation as it really is.

Weekly therapy

I had never been in therapy (aside from the college counseling center) until after inpatient, and having a trained professional to talk to and unpack my feelings with every week has been incredibly helpful. Therapy has helped me to be less scared of my emotions, to begin to discover my authentic self (who dat?), and to understand myself better--especially why I do and feel things that never really made any sense to me before.

Discovering my path to healing

Once I started exploring my suicidal thoughts, all the stuff that was under them--the stuff I was trying to push down or run from--started coming to the surface. UGH. But honestly, it helped. The first time I read about the symptoms of Complex PTSD (at a therapist's suggestion), it was a big aha moment, like, "Hey, I'm not a freak! There's something real going on here, and a 'something' can be helped and treated! A 'something' can get better!" πŸŽ‰ It was an uplifting experience, like, oh my God, there's a way out after all! And I'm on that path now, thanks to therapy (of course), and also EMDR, inner child work, and bodywork. It's a bumpy road at times, but things are definitely better than they were before.

Final note: It feels important to mention that I am on medication, but I didn't highlight it above because a.) I was on medication pre-inpatient too and b.) I don't feel like it has been the biggest source of change in my life/mindset. 

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There is certainly still work ahead of me, but that idea operates on the premise that I will be alive to do it, which is a very good thing indeed. Happy Rebirthday, self. πŸ’–πŸŽ‚

And for anyone reading this, your rebirthday could be today, or tomorrow, or any day you decide that enough is enough with something making you miserable. Progress is always possible; I am living proof of that. ❀️

High Five for Friday: March 17

JessComment

Let's see what put the sparkle into this arctic, snowy week:

 

  • Sunday was my good friend Kristin's bday, so Calico Pinky got a snazzy new wardrobe for the occasion! 
Everybody's getting new glasses in 2017!

Everybody's getting new glasses in 2017!

  • Apparently, this is what I was doing eight (EIGHT?!) years ago: going to a bazillion Flyers games with my bffl our senior year of college! TAKE ME BACK 😭😭 (Thanks a lot, Facebook Memories!) 
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  • Considering my undying love of George O'Malley, I FLIPPED OUT over this IG post (naturally):
Poor 007 :(

Poor 007 :(

Related: A sign you've rewatched Grey's too many times is when you hear "Owner of a Lonely Heart" on the radio and then go, "OOH, this is the title of a season 2 Grey's episode--maybe episode 11 or 12--and the picture with it on Netflix is Izzie looking sad!" 

SEND HELP. (For both me and Izzie.)Β 

SEND HELP. (For both me and Izzie.)Β 

  • I haven't even seen many things (anything?) that Busy Philipps is in, so I think I just follow her on Instagram because I love that she's Michelle Williams' date to every awards show, but that notwithstanding, I love her Instagram stories! I love her talking-to-a-friend delivery ("YOU GUYS..."), and her willingness to admit to the world that she picked her face after being super anxious over getting an MRI. #mypeople ❀️

 

  • Finally, here's the weird-ass '80s song that I've been listening to all week for no apparent reason:

Here's hoping for a great weekend (with some warmer weather maybe?)! xo

High Five for Friday: March 10

JessComment

Happy Friday! We made it! :) Here's what put the sparkle into this week:

  • Let's start with some fun mail!! Including this cute Vera Bradley wallet/wristlet/crossbody that didn't get here in time for my February Budget post, a new Leuchtturm because apparently, I could only commit 60 (days) to my Commit 30 planner (the day grid is just too small, and I need more layout flexibility), and LipSense in "First Love" (I seriously wear my other LipSense color almost every day)!
On every day, we wear pink. πŸ’–

On every day, we wear pink. πŸ’–

  • On Saturday, I resolved to collect my January "prize" for getting to work consistently before 11--"watch two hours of TV guilt-free"--by tuning into the weekly Will & Grace marathon on WE TV! I'd had no interest in Will & Grace during its original run, but I've been leaving it on in the background every Saturday, and it never fails to make me laugh out loud. Sitting and just watching a show was quite challenging, but I did it!
Will &Β Grace got muted when Pops came home, but at least it's equally hilarious without sound, as someone is always bursting into song and dance and causing someone else to look like this.Β 

Will & Grace got muted when Pops came home, but at least it's equally hilarious without sound, as someone is always bursting into song and dance and causing someone else to look like this. 

  • Speaking of Saturday, I've been loving Fran's Healthyish series that she posts every Saturday! I'm generally intrigued by fitness but terrified to actually go to the gym or attempt fitness classes because I'm just so physically weak. (Remember how I hurt my foot last summer? Yeah, that likely happened because my hips and legs are too weak to support proper posture/walking mechanics. DANG.) I had a great email chat with a fitness-goddess friend over the weekend that helped me to clarify what exactly I would want to get out of a fitness class (strengthening and better posture... and endorphins!) and made me feel better about starting where I'm at!

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  • Then, a few days later, I was checking out classes at the new yoga studio and read the description for a 7 AM yoga class I'd previously pooh-poohed because HELLO 7 AM, and hey--it was all about posture and strengthening! So I went! And there was only other one student, so it wasn't wildly intimidating! I definitely struggled with things like down-dog and plank (surprise), but the teacher was super encouraging, and I actually enjoyed myself! Yay!
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  • And lastly, this gem that spoke to my introvert soul:
PREACH. πŸ™Œ

PREACH. πŸ™Œ

Hope you have a great weekend, loves! xoxo

High Five for Friday: March 3

JessComment

Let's see what super random things put the sparkle into this week:

  • Back when I first started driving, I would only listen to the songs on my phone because skipping between radio stations felt too distracting. (Mind you, turning on the heat and AC also felt too distracting.) But I've progressed and am now sick of the same old songs on my phone, so I've been listening to the radio more while driving. Last Friday, one particularly good block of music on the classic rock station (three Billy Joel songs, then "La Grange," "Lights," and "Rock You Like a Hurricane") got me almost all the way to work. 😎  It was a great start to a warm, sunny Friday!

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  • Emboldened by my trip to the yoga studio last week, I decided to venture out to the Ulta near work for an overdue eyebrow wax. Driving to new places still really stresses me out, but I'm always very proud of myself (and relieved!) once I get there! 

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  • How about that insanity at the Oscars, huh? I'd sat through the whole show with Pops (😴), and those last five minutes finally made it worth my while! My friend sent me this gem afterwards:
πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

  • Does anyone else get excited about finding a good pen? This isn't even a fancy pen--just a black ink ballpoint by a random brand that happened to be on sale at CVS. But it's inky and bold and writes really smoothly, which isπŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰. 
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  • Let's bookend this post with a little more classic rock! I've never been that into Pink Floyd (like, I only learned who Pink and Floyd were last summer whoops), but I've always liked "Comfortably Numb" and rediscovered it last week when the classic rock station was playing The Wall. Those solos! That orchestral arrangement! Those creepy-ass vocals! What's not to love? πŸ˜‚

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Hope you have a great weekend! xo

March 2017 goals

JessComment
Best purchase ever? High-five, 2014 Jess!

Best purchase ever? High-five, 2014 Jess!

It's that time again! Let's see what's on the white board for March:

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1. Unexciting and self-explanatory. 

2. When I went to yoga last week, I decided to sign up for a one-month trial at the studio. Because signing up and paying for last Thursday's class in advance was the only thing that finally got me through the door, haha!

3. I stumbled onto Lavendaire's YouTube channel last week, and she reminded me about Morning Pages, something I've tried before, enjoyed, and abandoned. I want to give it another shot this month, although I'm not exactly sure how often I'll be able to do it, as I discovered in February that the key to getting to work earlier is apparently getting out the door shortly after I wake up. The longer I hang around the house, the less I want to leave it. So, yeah. πŸ€”

4. The only blog posts I got up in February were for link-ups, which isn't bad or anything, but I do have other posts I'd like to write. Hopefully, this goal will motivate me to do it!

5. I'm really good at blowing things off til later. And, of course, when "later" rolls around, I don't want to do it any more than I did earlier. So I might as well get it over with now. BLEH.

 

How did February's goals go?

1. Get to work by 10:50: Ehhh no. Not consistently. Although I did manage to get to work in the hour of 9 a few times, which was HUGE. Interestingly, trying to move the time back slowly seemed to stress me out more than making a huge change and leaving for work significantly earlier. Who knew.

2. Continue with YNAB: Check! I still need to fine-tune some things, but I was able to stick with it for another month and even put some money aside while planning ahead for things in March!

3. Move more: Ehh not so much, although I did finally get out to said yoga class before month's end! Hopefully, the trial month at the yoga studio will help to move more in March!

4. Print tax docs: Check!

5. Pick up glasses: Check!

 

As for my Phrase of the Year ("out of hiding"), I ventured out to a few new places by myself (such as the new yoga studio, the Ulta near work, and the Sheetz), and I drove a semi-familiar, multi-highway route for an hour+ at night! πŸŽ‰ It's the little things!

 

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl! 

February 2017 Budget (and an "Aw, Crap" realization)

JessComment

My shopping this month started out reasonably enough. Replacement booties, nail polish remover, a nail polish color identical to one I'd had to toss... nothing too crazy.

And then I started LIVIN IT UP. Two pairs of Valentine's leggings! A Rebecca Minkoff bag! Do I need these things? Not especially, but they're so fun! πŸ’ΈπŸ’ΈπŸ’Έ

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  1. Zoya Remove+ Nail Polish Remover (Ulta): $11
  2. Zoya Pixie Dust Nail Polish in "Tilly" (Amazon): $11
  3. LuLaRoe black heart leggings (eBay): $24
  4. LuLaRoe infinity heart leggings (eBay): $18
  5. Rebecca Minkoff Mac Crossbody (eBay): $30
  6. Susina Reid Suede Wedge Bootie (Nordstrom Rack and sold out now, boo): $24

Not pictured: 

  1. Laneige Water Bank Serum sample (eBay): $6

TOTAL: $124

Y'all already know my love of the Susina booties (aka the Beyonce booties), and I'm loving the Mac too. That purchase was fueled by my rediscovery of my Minkoff MAM. I had wanted a Mac off and on for awhile, but I wasn't sure that I'd like it--would it be too heavy? Would it hold enough stuff? Considering it retails at, oh, $295, I needed an inexpensive secondhand one to test the waters, and the one I got did not disappoint! It's in really good shape and can hold quite a bit! πŸ™ŒπŸ™Œ

I still came in well under my $170 monthly shopping budget, but I had gotten so much better at limiting impulse purchases that this sudden spate of unnecessary spending felt weird. Like, is something else going on here? kind of weird. And most of these unnecessary purchases did come after therapy appointments...

Hmm...

Therapy has been sort of intense this month, and I know that I need to make some changes in my life, but I totally don't want to do that--so finding other "problems" that need "solving" via shopping (like the lack of heart-covered leggings in my life) is way better! This plan works extra well because spending my money frivolously gives me a very legitimate excuse for not doing bigger and better things--I simply can't afford it! I just can't afford more therapy! Or yoga! Or traveling! You can't argue with a bank balance. I can just stay home in my safe little cocoon and do nothing (except shop online). PERFECT. 

Except not. But you knew that, and the responsible adult part of me knows that too. So I need to look out for the sudden impulse to spend spend spend, as it might be driven by the desire to buckle myself securely into my comfort zone. I can address those feelings in therapy, but they don't need to derail my budgeting progress in the meantime, you know?

How do you stop yourself when you're feeling extra grabby (perhaps emotionally so) and want all the things?

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers!

High Five for Friday: February 24

JessComment

Let's end this week of GORGEOUS non-winter weather with reflecting on what brought the sparkle: 

  • It's Blogger Galentine's Exchange link-up day, so let's start with my gift! I legit shrieked when I saw the return address on the package because it was Bri! ...who also had me for the Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange! LOL what are the odds? Anyway, here are the lovely gifts she sent me this time around:
  • A cute V-Day card
  • Three Sinful Colors nail polishes (I now have the lightest pink, "Pinky Glitter," on my toes!)
  • A lavender travel tumbler 
  • An awesome candle that says "Babe, You Got This" (LOVE)
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This could not have come at a better time because I srsly need all the affirmations. 😍 

This could not have come at a better time because I srsly need all the affirmations. 😍 

Thank you so much, Bri!! xoxo

I sent gifts to Erin at TexErin in Sydneyland, and I am SO RELIEVED to hear that they got there because trying to send gifts internationally through Amazon was giving me fits! Erin had several cat-themed items on her wish list, so I obviously picked those haha!

 

  • My college roommate Paulina came to visit last weekend for a celebration of Pops' b-day (which was on Valentine's Day). After dinner with the fam, the three of us ended up laying around and watching Zootopia, which is πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ for a Saturday night. Sidenote: how pretty is this bag she brought me?I think she said she got it at Shop Rite! Like WUT.
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  • The weather here has been RIDICULOUS since last weekend when it was sunny and almost 70! People were losing their minds over it. (Some kid was legit skateboarding while playing the ukulele, I kid you not.) You know who else enjoyed this fine weather? CATS. Specifically, my gal Calico Pinky! She is just the sweetest little angel and turns me to absolute mush. Pops practically had to drag me out of the house for a walk on Saturday afternoon, and 30 seconds later, I was sprawled on the sidewalk with Calico Pinky, cooing like a loon. You guys, she comes running up to me for pets! And petting a purring cat fixes everything. She started following us home, and I was like DON'T TOY WITH ME. πŸ˜«πŸ’–πŸ˜»πŸ˜«
brb crying Β 

brb crying Β 

Signs you've lost it: you're sitting on the sidewalk, petting a cat that doesn't belong to you, and asking her if she'd like to come along to CVS. πŸ‘ŒΒ 

Signs you've lost it: you're sitting on the sidewalk, petting a cat that doesn't belong to you, and asking her if she'd like to come along to CVS. πŸ‘Œ 

  • Back in December, I started looking up yoga options near work, and I found one that sounded pretty interesting (i.e. it had a lot of gentle/restorative options, woo hoo!). Annnd I did nothing with that information. Fast-forward to this week when I finally signed up for a class... and ACTUALLY WENT! (Despite loads of anxiety on the way there!) The restorative class was really good--laying around on props in a quiet room was just what I needed! 

 

  • Because I had to leave work at a reasonable hour to make the yoga class, I managed to get to work by 9! WHOA! And it was still light out when I left! (Not to mention 72 degrees nbd.) This month's goal of getting to work by 10:50 has been mostly a fail, so making it in at 9 was a freaking miracle, ha!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo

Northwest Native Blog

High Five for Friday: February 17

JessComment

Let's see what put the sparkle into this Valentine's week:

  • Well, ridiculous cards, for one:
WELL-PLAYED.

WELL-PLAYED.

  • I love all the pink and hearts and cuteness of Valentine's Day and had miraculously been able to resist the siren song of LuLaRoe Valentine's leggings... until a few days ago when I totally cracked and eBayed it up!
Initially, I bid on a different pair with this pattern and lost the auction,Β so I bid on this pair and the one below, in the hopes that I would win one of them. Naturally, I won both oops.

Initially, I bid on a different pair with this pattern and lost the auction, so I bid on this pair and the one below, in the hopes that I would win one of them. Naturally, I won both oops.

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  • I spent last weekend away at a healing retreat and came home feeling rejuvenated and enlightened. My soul was feeling the love. <3 <3

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  • If you follow me on Instagram, then you saw my tale of woe about my glasses like a month ago. When I went to get new glasses (mine were 4+ years old nbd), my old frames SNAPPED IN HALF at the optical shop. 😦😱😰  After a few weeks of wearing makeshift glasses with my old lenses, I've finally got the new ones, hooray!
🎢I'm a model, you know what I mean, and I do my little turn on the catwalk🎢 

🎢I'm a model, you know what I mean, and I do my little turn on the catwalk🎢 

  • Lastly, I am very jealous of Timmi's dog Mieze, who is clearly living the life:
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Hope y'all have a wonderful weekend! xo

High Five for Friday: February 10

JessComment

Here's what put the sparkle into my week! (Spoiler: not the snow/arctic blast that rolled in on Thursday!)

  • Inspired by Mica and all of her gorgeous designer handbags, I busted out my Rebecca Minkoff MAM this week, for the first time in ages! It's so beautiful (#purpleisaneutral) and pricey (even second-hand) that I'm always afraid of messing it up. Eek. But I'm trying to put those fears aside because carrying it makes me feel all pulled-together and fancy! Plus, you can fit a TON of stuff in it, and it's structured enough to not become a bottomless pit! #pursegoals
Hello, lovahhh. 😍

Hello, lovahhh. 😍

  • One of my inner child therapy "assignments" over the weekend was to play... which is a tall order for someone whose adult self thrives on structure and to-do lists! Luckily, I loved video games as a kid, so Mario Run was an easy solution! 
It looks like Mario knows how to sparkle punch! βœ¨πŸ‘Š

It looks like Mario knows how to sparkle punch! βœ¨πŸ‘Š

  • On Sunday morning, I had a lovely Galentine's brunch with a few wonderful friends I hadn't seen in awhile! Donuts, pals, and Parks and Rec in the background? Who could ask for anything more? Bonus that it was another last-minute invitation that I didn't say no to!

 

  • After brunch, I went to Reading for a meditation gathering, and before heading home, I stopped at Sheetz for the first time by myself! When I used to carpool to yoga classes in Reading with a friend, we would often stop at Sheetz before going home, but now that I'm going by myself, I've been too scared to stop. (My stranger danger may be slightly extreme.) But I did it!! One can only resist the siren song of their chicken finger sliders for so long, I guess. πŸ˜‚

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  • I only ever wear flats/flat boots/sneakers to work, so when I decided to wear my new booties from Nordstrom Rack on Monday, I basically felt like Beyonce. Give me a little wedge, and I will apparently stomp it out while walking from my office to the bathroom. ✌️
They're quite comfy too!

They're quite comfy too!

Here's hoping for a warmer weekend! Happy Friday! xo

High Five for Friday: February 3

JessComment

Was this a weird week for anyone else? Is Mercury in retrograde or something?! (Spoiler: NO.) I've just felt... strange all week, and I don't know what's bugging me. Sigh. Anyway, since emotional stability didn't bring the sparkle this week, here's what did:

  • Awesome mermaid nails added some literal sparkle! I hardly ever use this color (Zoya Charla), but it's sooo pretty!
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  • You guys, I'm definitely a pod person now because this week's meal prep involved quinoa. QUINOA! Who am I, an adult?! I used this recipe again, just with quinoa, and it turned out delicious (because all you can taste is the pesto! Wait, does quinoa have a taste? I don't even know.). And I didn't cut myself with the food processor this time! πŸ’―

 

  • On Saturday, Pops and I watched the NHL Skills Competition, which basically transported me back to senior year of college (2009), when I took the GRE in the morning (ack), and then my bffl and I went to my dad's house, and the three of us watched the Skills Competition together πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘§β€πŸ‘§. My hockey fandom has been sadly lacking the last few years, so watching the Skills Competition reminded me of the good ol' days with friends that feel like family. πŸ’–
Oddly enough, Jeff Carter was last an All-Star in 2009! But with the Flyers, of course.

Oddly enough, Jeff Carter was last an All-Star in 2009! But with the Flyers, of course.

  • For some reason, I legitimately did not want to go to work on Monday. Work is never something that feels optional to me, not to mention that I love routine, so this was real weird. But then, right before I was about to drag myself out the door, my boss called to tell me to work from home because the heater was broken!! I practically did cartwheels! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰  (Apparently, leaving the house was the real problem, ha!) And then, I got sent home on Tuesday because the "fixed" heater broke again! Pops had this hilarious take on the situation:
Well-played, Pops. πŸ‘Β 

Well-played, Pops. πŸ‘Β 

  • This week, I started (and got 100+ pages into!) Scrappy Little Nobody, my Blogger Christmas Cheer Exchange gift from Bri! I don't exactly love it, yet I'm strangely drawn to it and enjoy it. Yeah. Pretty characteristic of this weird week!
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Here's hoping for a good weekend! xo

February goals

JessComment
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Somehow, I went way overboard with this "new year, new you" nonsense in January. (I usually hate that phrase, so it was truly a new me!) I started using an alarm clock, meal prepping my lunches, reading before bed (!!), and using YNAB. Like what? Adulting (or insanity?) at its finest! 

Anyway, here's what's ~officially~ on the white board for February:

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1. I was actually successful in getting to work by 11 every day, which was one of my January goals! But most days, I only juuust squeaked into work before 11, hence February's goal of getting in by 10:50! (Baby steps!)

2. Thanks to Mia's post (and my reader Molly's encouragement!), I tried YNAB this month. I'm still easily confused by the interface, but I like the premise, as it's geared toward breaking the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, which I definitely need to do! YNAB encourages you to allocate all of your income for different expenses, not just your bills, and I found that to be surprisingly helpful. (Usually, I just figure out how much is going toward bills and then pray I won't spend more than the meager amount that's left over!) Because it forced me to set money aside for inevitable but non-bill expenses (like gas and groceries), I didn't feel deprived on the YNAB system--in fact, I felt less panicked about money overall. So I'm curious to see how Month #2 goes.

I did not meet last month's goal of "switch to a fee-free bank," but that was intentional after I started researching my bank options. I don't have direct deposit at my job, which makes hold times a big deal. So I think I need to break the paycheck to paycheck cycle before I start dealing with a new bank and potentially longer/more erratic hold times. 

3. My job is 100% seated, and I've been feeling basically like a gross lump lately, so I want to try to move more and incorporate basic exercise into my day. I'm legit scared to go to a work-out class or gym, so maybe following along with some YouTube videos this month will be a good start. 

4. and 5. Self-explanatory. 

 

As for my phrase of the year ("out of hiding"), I did pretty well! I went to dinner with friends in the city! (I'm terrified of city parking AND driving at night AND unfamiliar driving routes! I went to Target after work! I went to Nordstrom Rack at lunch! I met up with friends from my old job! (Which was perhaps the biggest accomplishment because it was a last-minute invite, and that's almost always an automatic "no.") 

I was not able to push through anxiety to go to the Women's March, though, so that's a bummer. :( In general, I still have a hard time getting myself to out of the house for non-obligatory things, but at least I broke that pattern a little bit in January.

What are you working on this month? 

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!

High Five for Friday: January 27

JessComment

Here's what put the sparkle into this blur of a week:

  • Well, not our TV dying on Friday night! It just clicked off and would not turn back on. But now Pops and I have a glorious new TV, so that helps! We promptly tested it out with some show called Is OJ Innocent? because of course we did. 

 

  • I meal prepped my lunches again this week! And it involved using a food processor! WHAT. A. GROWN. UP. (And I only cut myself once!) I made this sun-dried tomato and basil pesto, which was super easy and pretty delish, and I added it to the one other thing I can make: pasta.

 

  • Does anyone else find watching vlogs to be energizing? Maybe it's because I feel like a friend is chatting with me? (The sense of connection without actual human contact is really πŸ‘ŒπŸ‘Œ. #bloggerprobs) Anyway, I stumbled upon Lydia Elise Millen this week and really enjoy her. Her lovely Brit accent makes for calming background noise!

She also has a very cute cat who gets stuck in the Christmas tree, which is obviously why I chose this video.

 

  • I hardly ever want to go out during the work day. I also find shoe shopping to be a total pain. (Hence why I'm still wearing booties that have a pebble-filled hole in the sole!) But on Thursday, I apparently became a pod person, as I felt compelled to take a lunch break and go look at shoes at Nordstrom Rack. So I went out! And the world did not end! And I found a pair of cute and comfy booties for $25! πŸŽ‰
Living the dream.

Living the dream.

  • Lastly, modern dogs are such slackers.
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Have a great weekend! xo

January 2017 Budget

JessComment

Just a few purchases to start the new year! (This is a far cry from last January's shopping bonanza!)

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  1. Bobeau One-Button Wrap Cardigan (TJ Maxx): $17
  2. Women's Geneva Platinum Polished Aztec Print Strap Watch (Target): $19 - gift card = $0
  3. The Body Shop Chamomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (Amazon): $16

Not pictured:

  1. Tresics Long-Sleeved Tee (TJ Maxx): $10 on sale for $8

TOTAL: $41

My ever-faithful Target watch finally died a few weeks ago, and I was like, "Meh, who needs a watch these days anyway?" Buuut then I found myself repeatedly checking my bare wrist like a nut, so I ordered two watches from Target. The Geneva one was the winner because 1.) rose gold face 😍 2.) a neutral strap in a color other than black or white 3.) not clunky (unlike my previous watch, which would get caught on my sleeves sometimes!) and, most importantly, 4.) has a soft strap that I can punch more holes in. #priorities I have tiny baby wrists, which makes finding a watch that fits practically impossible. But I do own a leather punch, so in like two minutes, I was able to turn the Geneva watch into a perfect fit! πŸ™Œ  (Is owning a leather punch a sign to maybe step away from the Amazon Prime?) 

I actually got the Tresics t-shirt and Bobeau "blanket with sleeves" at TJ Maxx in December (when I bought the tiered organizer of my dreams!), but after I'd already finished my December budget post. I'm not sure that I linked to my exact cardigan (I don't think mine is fleece?), but it looks identical. I must say, now that I've been scaling back on my clothing purchases for awhile, buying clothes feels decadent and almost wrong. Like, I loved both pieces (as they're both super soft and long enough to wear with leggings!), but I seriously wrestled with buying them. I took the cardigan on and off about five times in the dressing room before committing to it! But this hesitation is probably a good sign as I try to limit my impulse buys and reduce the amount of clothes my closet.

And then the eye make-up remover. YAWN, but a must.

Oh, and my dad bought me this awesome pom pom beanie, as a treat for sticking to my budget! See, budgeting has its perks! πŸ˜‰ 

What did you buy this month?

Linking up with Fran's Budgeting Bloggers!

High Five for Friday: January 20

JessComment

For some reason, I decided to tackle ALLTHETHINGS I want to work on in 2017 this past week! In spite of that madness, there are still some things that put the sparkle into my week:

  • On Friday, I got to catch up with a few friends over some delish pizza in South Philly! Not only was it great to see these gals and be back in the old 'hood, I also successfully drove there from work, so I crossed another route off my New Driver Bingo! (The thought of taking a newish highway route at night did have me making the sign of the cross in the parking lot before I left work, not gonna lie!)

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  • So I hate cooking. I hate that lunch is a thing that exists, and I certainly hate the idea of "meal prep." But I was able to overcome that this week and make a big batch of pasta for myself on Sunday to then dole out during the week for various lunches! (I really need to scale back on my all carb diet, but let's tackle one unpleasant thing at a time here!)  

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  • Thanks to an H54Fer (ack, I can't remember who!), I read this morning routine post by Sammi Harvey and got some great ideas for how to make my morning less frenzied! I totally feel like I spend my mornings just catching up on social media and then feeling overwhelmed and perpetually behind. So this week, I really tried to limit my phone time when I first wake up, and Sammi's old-school alarm clock tip has really helped with that! (If I don't have to grab my phone first thing to turn off the alarm, then I'm less apt to start playing on it right away, you know?)
Bonus if your clock is as awesome as this $10 one from Amazon!

Bonus if your clock is as awesome as this $10 one from Amazon!

  • Somehow, it's been awhile since I got super emotional over a stranger's pet on Instagram! But watching one of Beth Stern's recent adult fosters hide and then slowly warm up to her new mama just hit me right in the feels. "Out of hiding": a 2017 resolution for shy adults and cats alike!
And she's a calico like my girl Calico Pinky! <3 <3

And she's a calico like my girl Calico Pinky! <3 <3

  • I ended the week by coming out of hiding a bit myself and doing something spontaneous--going to Target after work! Gasp! I hardly ever deviate from the work-to-home plan, but after reading Tif's $10 at Target post this week and seeing all the adorable Valentinesy things she found, I just couldn't resist! Valentine's, in all its pink/purple heart-and-glitter covered glory, was basically made for me, and the Target near work is usually way less picked over than the one near my house. Clearly, it was a successful trip: 
Hooray for gift cards!

Hooray for gift cards!

As nbd as going to Target after work probably sounds, for me--someone who often finds the outside world very scary--being able to do a fun, impromptu thing by myself and still get home safely was EXHILARATING. :)

Hope you have a good weekend! xo

She's a rainbow

JessComment

I have never been as enthusiastic about the start of a new year as I am now. I didn't quite realize it at the time, but I was feeling really blah in the waning months of 2016. And I should have known, because the evidence was right there in front of me: my unpainted nails.

As dumb as it sounds, the state of my nails often reflects my mental/emotional state. If I'm not painting my nails at all OR they're painted a barely-there color, I'm probably feeling scared or sad. I may really want to blend in and hide. My bffl (an even bigger nail polish enthusiast than me!) actually called me out on this tendency in college when I was taking a class that terrified me and, as a result, only painted my nails a pale opalescent pink the whole semester. (2017 must be off to a good start because my nails are currently this awesome shade of blue!)

So one of my fun self-care resolutions for 2017 is to try to paint my nails every week because having pretty nails just makes me happy! (And happy people don't shoot their husbands! Er, among other things...) And I have quite a collection of polishes, so I might as well use them!

This is as close to minimalist as I can get!Β 

This is as close to minimalist as I can get! 

If you too love painting your nails, then you know that the struggle to find a good color AND formula is realer than real. So here are my go-to polishes, the tried and true ones I know will look good without 47 coats (and assorted expletives):

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Essie "Splash of Grenadine"

Zoya Pixie Dust "Tomoko"

Sally Hansen Triple Shine "Red Snapper"

Illamasqua "Jo'mina"

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Maybelline Color Show "Porcelain Party"

Essie "Where's My Chauffeur"

Ginger + Liz Rock and Ice Collection "Is It Friday Yet"

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None of these colors is particularly "quiet," which is a good sign! Jo'mina is probably my favorite color in my whole collection (hello, purple πŸ’œ). It's just such a pretty, vibrant lavender. I actually get compliments on it every time I wear it! A close second fave is "Red Snapper"--I wear it seriously all.the.time. Such a good cherry red. And the brushes on the Sally Hansen Triple Shines make applying a breeze!

I didn't include it in the pictures, but Poshe top coat is the only one I've used for the last four+ years. (Props to my pal Piper for introducing this magical potion to me!) It dries really fast, makes your nails super shiny, and lasts for days. What else could a gal want? πŸ’―

The matte glitter polishes (like Zoya Pixie Dust, Ginger + Liz's Rock and Ice Collection, and also OPI's Liquid Sand line) are my go-tos when I need my nails to look perfect for an event or a vacation (when I won't be able to immediately change polishes or fix a mistake). They just don't seem to chip as fast as "normal" polishes. Bonus that they usually look great in just two coats and don't need a top coat! (The sandpapery texture is a little weird, but I can overlook it because, above all, I am LAZY with my beauty products.)

What are your go-to nail polishes that I need to try?

High Five for Friday: January 13

JessComment

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After a 65 degree Thursday in January, I am cartwheeling into the weekend! (Which has snow in the forecast for Saturday, boo.) Here's what else put the sparkle into my week:

  • I had a follow-up doctor's appointment last Friday and got a clean bill of health, hooray!

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  • I finally wore these sweet raccoon pjs that I got for Christmas! I bought the same exact ones for my bffl, and then Pops got them for me LOL. (They're from Target, but apparently they're sold out online 😞.) They are so comfy!! And these purple sheets were a Christmas gift from my mom and make getting out of bed for a 9 AM therapy appointment REALLY CHALLENGING. 
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  • I hopped on the Gratitude Jar train for 2017 after reading Ashley's post! I used to keep a gratitude journal and really enjoyed it... except that I would sometimes forget to update it and then feel guilty and that became a drag. So I like that the Gratitude Jar allows me to still note and remind myself of the good things going on, in a less structured way.

 

I already had this decorative bottle (?) from the Target Dollar Spot and threw it together with some cute Post-Its I wasn't using. DONE!

I already had this decorative bottle (?) from the Target Dollar Spot and threw it together with some cute Post-Its I wasn't using. DONE!

  • If you're a fan of cats and/or cuteness and you're not following Beth O. Stern on Instagram, here's Exhibit A why you should change that:
A tiny kitten using coasters as steps to climb into a vase. GAHHH I CAN'T EVEN WITCHU. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

A tiny kitten using coasters as steps to climb into a vase. GAHHH I CAN'T EVEN WITCHU. πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

  • And finally, this cracked me up:
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Along with my general spaz-ness behind the wheel, this is why I'm reluctant to have passengers: because I know that not everyone wants to hear "Sundown" 27 times in a row (which may or may not have happened on my Tuesday commute...)!

 

Hope you have a lovely weekend! xo

2017 and January Goals

JessComment
How fantastic is this confetti thrower that Timmi got me for Christmas?!

How fantastic is this confetti thrower that Timmi got me for Christmas?!

I don't think I ever talked about my goals for 2016 ~the year~ on here, which is fitting because I ignored them! Well, except for "buy a car," but I wasn't talking to anyone in advance about that! Aside from that terrifying goal, the others didn't interest me much, so they were easy to ignore. My 2017 goals aren't exactly thrilling, but I have enough energy around them to WANT to do them on some level, so that seems promising:

Plus "out of hiding," which I plan to acknowledge in future goal updates. πŸ’œ

Plus "out of hiding," which I plan to acknowledge in future goal updates. πŸ’œ

Like, "Hey, not being broke after I pay my bills would be awesome." And "It would be sweet to get home from work before 8 PM." Seeing tangible benefits like that seems to really motivate me. That was certainly the case when I attempted driving again. When I got my license (reluctantly, of course) at 19, driving was easy to avoid because I was in college and living on campus. Driving only intrigued me ten years later when I clearly had something to gain from it--like a greatly reduced commute. So now we'll see if this motivation theory holds true for my 2017 goals!

My two goals for January are both related to my bigger goals for the year:

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1.) Switching to a bank that doesn't charge those annoying monthly fees would be one way to save a little money--getting closer to my "Stop living paycheck to paycheck" goal. I've also been trying to find a budgeting app or program that I don't hate, but the search has been unsuccessful thus far. I can never stick with Mint, and I found YNAB super-frustrating to set up. Any suggestions? (Maybe the problem is that I don't know what I'm really looking to gain from one of those apps, since I already track my bills and spending on paper.)

2.) Getting to work before 11 is a start towards working more normal hours. Anxiety usually keeps me from leaving the house earlier, and, as I mentioned here, my anxiety typically only signs off on obligations, so by making getting to work earlier an obligation--in baby steps--there's a prayer that I might actually do it. I usually get to work between like 10:50 and 11:10, so my thought process here is to nudge that time back. Like, if I am able to get to work consistently before 11 this month, then I want to try to get in by 10:45 next month, etc., until I'm sort of naturally on a better schedule.

Pro tip: Understanding how to trick yourself into doing things is key. πŸ˜

What are you working on this month, or in 2017 as a whole?

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl!

High Five for Friday: January 6

JessComment

Let's see what put the sparkle into this first week of the new year!

  • Last Friday, Pops and I finally got our act together to go the Macy's Christmas Light Show! It's so crazy how there's this whole Light Brite-esque display just in the middle of a huge department store, all nbd. 
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  • My lovely, lazy Christmas vacation is sadly over. But basically wearing a blanket with sleeves made the transition back to work a little better!
So cozy!Β 

So cozy!Β 

  • I got my first-ever Christmas card from Australia this week! How cute are these sunbathing penguins?! (I wish it were still summer here!) Thank you Mica! Your card and message were so sweet and really made my day! πŸ’–
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  • In keeping with the blogger love theme, the lovely Nicole at Writes Like a Girl really helped me to push through some anxiety this week and get my "Phrase of the Year" post up on Wednesday! Her positivity and pretty pictures definitely energize me and make me want to write/post more! 
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  • Lastly, I ended the week with an impromptu reunion with some old work pals, which was just delightful! My initial reaction to the last-minute invite was going to be "no," of course (I'm not the most spontaneous person--surprise!), but then I remembered my mantra for 2017 and my resolution to just consider saying yes to things. So I considered it. And I realized that, under my reflexive anxiety, I actually did want to go! So I did! And it was great! HUZZAH! 

Happy first weekend of 2017 to you! xo

The "Phrase of the Year" that chose me

JessComment
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Have you guys heard about this "Word of the Year" thing? The idea is easy enough: you pick a word that resonates with you to use as inspiration and motivation throughout the new year.

My initial reaction to that lovely concept was BLEH. (Although, to be fair, BLEH is my initial reaction to most things.) 

That is, until a word chose me. Or rather, a whole phrase chose me. It came to me out of the blue sometime in December, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. It just struck me as the perfect theme for how I'd like to grow in 2017:

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Because, confession: I feel scared most of the time. And when I feel scared, I retreat into hiding. 

My knee-jerk reaction to most invitations or opportunities is "NO" (or "BLEH"), and I have a hard time getting out of the house for anything other than work or appointments. My anxiety seems to only sign off on obligations (particularly those that ward off conflict); it dismisses everything else as optional or frivolous. According to my anxiety, not much is worth the risk of venturing out into the dangerous, unpredictable world... so that leaves my house as the only safe place. Hiding also takes the form of silence, as my anxiety often causes me to second-guess myself, killing my enthusiasm for blogging and other forms of expression. None of this is new for me--I'm just able to see it now. To see that being a slave to anxiety makes for a pretty dull life. It doesn't rejuvenate or inspire me, and that's not good enough anymore. (Even though just writing that sentence spooks me!) I plan to use "out of hiding" as a reminder to question my anxiety and consider doing the scary thing, rather than automatically avoiding it.

As much as I also BLEH at New Year's resolutions, I can't deny that I need to do some things differently in 2017, so I bought myself the Commit 30 planner as a Christmas gift. My hope is that its focus on weekly and monthly goals will keep me from becoming a routine robot. (In 2016, I felt like I numbed out on routine a lot and hardly noticed the days, weeks, and months flying by.) 

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Am I absolutely petrified to attempt to come "out of hiding"? Uh, YEAH. Especially because the first thing I want to do when I'm scared is to go INTO hiding! But my life in hiding is not very fulfilling, so I guess it's time to try something different. πŸ’œ

What do you hope to do differently in 2017?

Linking up with Nicole at Writes Like a Girl