To Sparkle Punch...

That is the question

High Five for Friday: May 31


This week was much better than last week (WHEW), and having that extra day off for the holiday was splendid! That seriously brought the sparkle!

  • On Saturday, I made yet another stop at Ulta (SEND HELP) and then dropped by Kristin’s for Caturday night with Schitt’s Creek + this guy! (Sharkey is really the star of To Sparkle Punch, let’s be real.)

just casually touching me with his tail 😭😭

just casually touching me with his tail 😭😭

  • On Sunday, I got to pick up this lovely Om bracelet after yoga! (As I mentioned in my Budget post, I tried to buy it last week but didn’t have enough cash oops.) I think it’s a fine addition to my “arm party”! (Is that still a thing??)

  • I also got to spend some time outside over the weekend, first with an impromptu nature walk through our neighborhood, and then with some writing time!

What is this?? 😍 I need to start walking around with a field guide!

What is this?? 😍 I need to start walking around with a field guide!

  • The caption says it all! 😂 YAY (almost) SUMMER!


This was my get-up for the ol’ saltines-and-soup Target run after I randomly got sick on Monday. (This also explains the Gatorade above. #blessed)

  • I had been flitting around the house tidying things up on Monday, but in an attempt to slow down after getting sick, I parked myself on the couch and watched some Sex Education. I finished season one awhile ago, but I’m still in love with Connor Swindells… and Maeve’s hair. 😍😍


Hope you have a great weekend! xo


May 2019 Budget


Buckle up for some Ulta buys! I ended up going to Ulta three times this month and, as you can see, I never left empty-handed! (First, I went to get my brows done, then I went for the emergency lip balm, and then I went armed with a gift card that was my “payment” for being locked out upon delivering said emergency lip balm, haha!).

  1. Kylie Cosmetics Mini Liquid Lipstick Set (Ulta): $12

  2. Benefit Gimme Brow Mini (Ulta): $12 - coupon = $11

  3. Zoya Remove+ Nail Polish Remover (Ulta): $10 - coupon = $9

  4. Amazonite Om Bracelet: $28

Not pictured:

  1. Kylie Cosmetics Lip Gloss in Koko K (Ulta): $15 - gift card = $0

  2. Frank Body Lip Balm (Ulta): $10 - gift card = $0 This was the emergency lip balm I got for Kristin, so now we’re twins 👯‍♀️😂

  3. Tie dye tank top (Plato’s Closet): $8 - clothes I traded in = $0

  4. Real Techniques Travel Sponge Case (Ulta): $4

TOTAL: $64

I am seriously SO impressed with the matte Kylie lipsticks. I’m not a big matte lippie girl because they can feel so drying, but the Kylie ones are ridiculously comfortable! Honestly, I forget I have them on, which is a big big compliment for a matte! Plus, they smell like cupcakes (!!), and the two colors in the set are great nudes.

Glosses are really more my thang, hence picking up Koko K, which is a really pretty, surprisingly subtle nude (considering how pigmented it seems in the bottle). The downside is that it’s a bit too sticky, and the applicator is a total fail. (It’s like a brush that’s somehow only one bristle?? The matte minis don’t have this problem!) I actually like Kylie’s matte lipsticks more than her gloss, which I never expected!

I’ve had the Benefit Gimme Brow in the past (like way back when the packaging was different!), and I’m kind of meh about it this time around. I think I had it in a different shade before? I also have the Glossier Boy Brow, and I think I need to use that for a few days and see if I like it more than the Gimme Brow. (I don’t usually do my eyebrows every day, but I have been with the Gimme Brow, so yolo.)

GUYS. If you want a dream nail polish remover, get the Zoya Remove+. I tried to save some $$$ by just getting some cheapo nail polish remover from Target, and it took forever to get the polish off. So annoying. The Zoya Remove+ seriously takes polish off in two seconds, which is about how long my patience lasts!

Lastly, the om bracelet! Isn’t it so cute?! Even though purple is my ride or die color, I loved the mix of light blues, and I def need some more calming om-ness in my life. 😂 It’s from the yoga studio I go to on Sundays, and I actually attempted to buy it when I got my Lemongrass candle, but the bracelets are cash only (and I never have much cash on me), so I had to wait until this week to pick it up. (Luckily, the girl at the desk was kind enough to put it aside for me!)

What did you guys buy this month?


High Five for Friday: May 24


True confessions: this has not been a very sparkly week, friends. A lot got stirred up in therapy on Saturday, and it kind of sent me spiraling. To the point that I was walking around in an utter daze and having very dark thoughts… which only added to my angst as I was like, “AH! WHAT IS GOING ON? I THOUGHT I HAD A HANDLE ON THIS!!”

Luckily, this intense, emotional period only lasted about three days.

I’m starting to think that, at least for me, as much as my tendency toward dark, suicidal thoughts can go into a sort of “remission” as I develop other coping skills, because suicide-as-a-way-out is how I’ve coped in the past, my mind sometimes leaps back there if I become very scared and overwhelmed. So I’m trying not to beat myself up too much for it, or wring my hands like “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME AHHHH.” I felt a lot all at once, I really hate feeling, and I had a brief period of darkness. That progression makes sense. THANK GOD I have enough awareness now to know that dark thoughts can and will pull me under very quickly, but that they’re ultimately just thoughts—I don’t have to listen to them. And my emotions will stabilize in time. Stormy days pass.


ANYWAY, here are a few specific things that got me through:


  • Connection. Text with a friend about the “Lido Shuffle” and Tim Tams. (True story 😂) Go to therapy. Help a friend with a lip balm emergency. (Unfortunately, said friend had taken a nap by the time I got to her house with the lip balm, but she woke up while I was there chatting with her bf, so I got an “Are you in my house??” text—a hilarious first.) All of these things helped me to feel infinitely less alone in my whirling thoughts. And when I have darker thoughts, I’m usually feeling very alone, so this was clutch.


  • Go to yoga. Although I go to yoga every Sunday, I was not psyched this week because we had a sub, and I always feel weird about that when I’m in an emotionally raw state. (I feel so awkward crying in class when I don’t really know the teacher!) So I tried to “warn” her about this possibility beforehand, and she reassured me that it was totally fine, welcome even—setting the tone for a really great, calming class.

  • Pet an animal friend. This actually happened pre-therapy meltdown, but the video sure made me smile afterwards! This lil guy was even friendlier than the cat I saw a few weeks ago! What a cutie! He literally ran up to me, rubbed up on me, rolled around, and then bolted, ignoring everyone else in the parking lot! Considering the emotional meltdown I proceeded to have in therapy, it got me wondering if he sensed that I needed him, almost like how those trained dogs can recognize when their owner is about to have a seizure. In any case, there’s like 80% chance I’m gonna come home with a cat one of these days! Or that my therapist, who has never seen any of these cats, is making notes like, “Ok, Jess is seeing cats now…” 😂😂
  • Journaling and therapy. You guys know these are just a *chef’s kiss* as far as I’m concerned! An hour of journaling was honestly the only thing that calmed me down on Saturday night! My writing was, at times, more negative and spiraly than I would have liked, but for the most part, it helped me to make sense of my feelings and, as a result, I felt calmer and less crazy! And even though therapy is what started this whole episode, and led to me being very withdrawn in Tuesday’s session, when we met again on Thursday, I was finally able to speak to the vulnerability under all the darkness and reflexive pushing-away. Considering this all played out with my male therapist (who thankfully has the patience of a saint), it was a real breakthrough for me.

  • A small treat. I’ve gotten much more disciplined with my shopping habits over the past five years of budget posts, so I was shocked by how impulsive I was over the weekend—it was like the pleasure centers in my brain were screaming to be fed! WILD. As a result, I couldn’t talk myself out of a few unnecessary purchases, one of which was a candle at the yoga studio. However, lighting my candle has given me something to look forward to every day, and the lemon scent has helped to ground me in the present. (Plus, the whole experience convinced me to steer clear of stores for the rest of the week!)
  • BONUS SIXTH THING: The triumphant return of Self-Care Nails! Not only is it just fun to have pretty nails, but it takes a good 30-45 minutes for me to paint my nails, and you have to have some degree of presence and focus to do it without being sloppy. So it was almost like a meditative act, in the sense that it pulled me out of my thoughts for a bit.

So that’s how I got through a rough week. What do you do in these stormy times?


Hope you have a great weekend! xo


High Five for Friday: May 17


TGIF! Let’s see what brought the sparkle! ✨

  • On Friday night, Russell (Inspector Gadget) came over to jam with Pops (they both play guitar), and I got roped into the action! Who cares that I can barely hold the ol’ emergency bass, let alone play it! 😂🤟🏻 But we all played a song of Russell’s together, and I actually contributed a few notes! What a delight! It seems like you don’t have to do a lot to add something with the bass… which is perfect when you have no idea what you’re doing! 😂
  • I addressed the “ergonomics” part of my wrist issue with some cute desk accessories from Amazon! (Definitely cheaper than X-rays and physical therapy!)
Ergonomics, but make it fashion:  Wrist support and mouse pad  (“Crystal-2”) |  Wireless mouse

Ergonomics, but make it fashion: Wrist support and mouse pad (“Crystal-2”) | Wireless mouse

wrist support  (“floral leaves”)

wrist support (“floral leaves”)

And what do you know—MY WRIST DOESN’T HURT ANYMORE! It’s almost like my doctor knows what she’s talking about! 😂😂 These changes + avoiding weight-bearing yoga poses seem to have been the key, just like she said!

  • On Monday night, I came home to an empty house and took full advantage, watching old Days in my comfy cat pjs! (I’ve finally resumed the original WilSon storyline… and already, multiple people have been kidnapped and held at gunpoint! Aka a normal day in Salem.)
HI WILL. #restingcryface

HI WILL. #restingcryface

  • Speaking of Days, even though I barely know Ciara as a character, I follow Victoria Konefal on IG, and she posted this total gem this week:

I tend to choose numbness, so when I do feel, it’s often overwhelming, and I’m not always sure where the feelings are coming from. Hence finding this little chart helpful! Knowing my assorted inner children definitely helps with this too. When I’m feeling something that doesn’t necessarily make sense to the 32-year-old me, I can usually trace it back to an inner child who’s scared or not getting her needs met. Which is pretty darn cool to discover, honestly. 💖

  • Lastly, who’s suffering through watching Game of Thrones with me? UGH, SUNDAY’S EPISODE. I have no problem with that turn of events, but it could have been 1000x better. Ever since GoT moved past the books, it’s felt maddeningly plot-driven to me. ANYWAY, if you too are struggling with season 8, you might enjoy this GENIUS retooling of Sunday’s ep as an ‘80s movie. Actually, if you’ve never watched GoT but don’t mind some spoilers (that you’ve probably already heard anyway), you might also enjoy this because it’s set to “Love Is a Battlefield” and features tons of ridiculously longing looks. 💯

Hope you have a great weekend! xo


High Five for Friday: May 10


Let’s see what brought the sparkle this week!

  • On Friday night, I went to ecstatic dance for the first time in months! It wasn’t totally ecstatic, though…  I know I’ve been going the 🎶conceal don’t feel🎶 route lately, so I guess I needed a safe space to let myself feel some things, and that’s what happened. There’s this one song that the facilitator often plays, and it just cracked me wide open. I cried some perfect mascara tears and got to release some of the fears I’d been pushing down. 💖


  • I went to Kristin’s on Saturday, and look who jumped directly into my lap!


As if that weren’t exciting enough, Kristin’s bf recently went to the Instruments of Rock ‘n Roll exhibit at the MET and had a million pictures to show us, so major classic rock geeking out ensued. 👌🏻

  • On the topic of music, this week’s totally random musical deep dive has been Van Halen, thanks to Pops’s total guitarist crush on Eddie Van Halen. “Dance the Night Away” has never been one of my faves, but that might have changed now that I’ve listened to it like 87 times this week! Especially this live version:
  • It’s been an excellent week for flower creeping! Look at these beauties I found on Monday morning! What a delightful way to start the week! 😍
  • So my wrist started bothering me out of nowhere about a month ago. I’ve had tendinitis in the past, but it didn’t feel quite like that and has been getting increasingly painful, so I was starting to worry that it was something more serious (like carpal tunnel EEK). On top of that, I was getting increasingly uneasy about this weird skin discoloration/rash that’s been on my arm for literally a year. DOUBLE EEK. Well, I finally made a doctor’s appointment this week, and she told me that my wrist issue is likely just overuse (typing, yoga with my frail little arms, etc.), and my rash is not a big deal at all. (I actually correctly Google diagnosed it, so just call me Meredith Grey!) THANK GOODNESS!! I hate making doctor’s appointments for things that aren’t capital I Issues, but it feels pretty good to have some peace of mind now.

Hope you have a great weekend!


High Five For Friday: May 3


Let’s see what brought the sparkle this week!

  • I don’t know what got into me on Saturday, but I was craving some nature in my life, so after therapy, I went to a nearby state park and just wandered around! I hoped to see some flowers, which didn’t pan out, BUT I did get to hang out with some horses! I really loved this brown pony with the white face. I kept a safe distance, so as to not spook them (they were just chilling in a field), but this guy kept inching closer and closer to me! 😍😭
  • Also, because I know you’ve all been DYING for a fanny pack update (😂😂):
  • Here’s another animal friend I made this week:


I had just gotten to therapy on Tuesday and was standing outside my car, texting Kristin assorted rants about GoT (insert her eye-roll here), when I saw a CAT’S reflection in my car window! What the what?! He totally came out of nowhere and just ran right up to me and started rubbing up on my ankles! What a cute smooshy gingy boi!! Sadly, he was not interested in coming to therapy with me, but I did see him hanging out in a sunny garden when I was walking back to my car afterwards, so he was clearly living his best life!

  • Here’s the Positively Present illustration that I chose as my May phone background! I love this one so much—I think it’s the first one I saved! As I mentioned in my Rebirthday post, I struggle so so much with what I’m doing (or not doing) at 32. So this picture is a great reminder. I need all the reassurance I can get that I’m okay and right where I’m supposed to be!
  • Lastly, if you’re looking to create a chill vibe in your life, may I suggest the Petit Biscuit mix on YouTube? So I follow the gorgeous and adorable Priya Blackburn on Instagram (she played Freddie’s sister Kash in Bohemian Rhapsody), and she used a Petit Biscuit song in one of her IG Stories last week, and I loved its mellow electronic sound, so now I’m hooked! I find his music especially nice to play in the background as I go through my nighttime routine. Apparently, this genre of music is called “tropical house.” Who knew that was a.) a thing and b.) my jam?!

Hope you have a great weekend! xo


April 2019 Budget


I didn’t buy too much in April, because all of my money went to either annoying adulty things (like my car ugh), or therapy, or fun in Chicago! (And I don’t count things I buy on vacation against my shopping budget since I don’t travel all that much.) So here’s what I did pick up:

  1. Zoe + Liv Moon Phases t-shirt (Target): $15

  2. La Roche-Posay Rosaliac AR Intense serum (Target): $40

Not pictured:

  1. Zip-Up Sweatshirt (Primark): $9

- $14 because I did end up returning the NARS concealer I bought last month

TOTAL: $50

I already mentioned the moon tee here, but again, isn’t it so cute?! I love the vintage tarot card vibes.

Of course, when I’m stressed about my life, I start picking my skin apart, so this month, I’m back to obsessing about facial redness! I don’t think I’ve tried anything by La Roche-Posay before, so I’m curious to see how this works! It feels nice on the skin and doesn’t have a fragrance, so I’m happy about those things already!

And the Primark hoodie is just cute and comfy. I really wanted to find a plain gray zip-up hoodie, since I somehow don’t have one and can wear hoodies to work, but there wasn’t one in my size at Primark, so I got a pretty blue-gray color instead. Full disclosure: Primark’s sizing can be kind of weird. Like, I had to get a 2XS in this hoodie because an XS was way too baggy and long. Weeeeird.

What did you buy this month?

High Five for Friday: April 26


What put the sparkle into this week?!

  • Let’s start with what is clearly the most exciting thing that will ever happen to me on social media (aside from chatting with soap actors obvs): being regrammed by A CAT CAFE!! 😮😻



Yes, I bought a shirt from the Windy Kitty Cat Cafe when Timmi and I were there because HOW COULD I NOT?! That’s only the best name ever, and the logo riffing on the Chicago flag? GENIUS.


  • Friday was a rough anxiety day for me. Trying to do things differently than I normally would led to an avalanche of anxiety—surprise! As much as I love using music to self-soothe, it doesn’t always work when I’m really anxious. Chatter seems better in these situations, so enter the Freddie and Alyssa Show podcast! I’ve mentioned them before on here—he’s on Days, she’s his fiancee, and they talk a lot about ways to create a happy life. I also follow them on IG, and I find Alyssa’s IG Stories to be particularly helpful when I’m down—she’s always so bubbly and cheerful! She also survived a horrific car accident a few years ago—like, she had to relearn how to walk and almost lost an eye—so I really admire her ability to be so positive!


  • Kristin and I joked about doing a “Cobra Kai and crystals” day on Saturday, and whaddya know?


We only watched the first ep and a half before being derailed by GOT, but it was pretty good! With my love of The Karate Kid, I miiiight be the target audience, but Kristin liked it too!


  • If you celebrate Easter or Passover, I hope you had a wonderful day last week! It was absolutely gorgeous here, sunny and 60s, so I was living my best cat-in-a-sunbeam life! (Actually, “cat-adjacent-to-a-sunbeam” because sunburn, yo.)


We went to Easter brunch at some family friends’ house, and they had THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PURPLE TULIPS I’VE EVER SEEN. I seriously made a beeline for them. If there aren’t cat friends available, I guess flower friends will do! ☺️

  • Lastly, check out this cute shirt I found at Target a few weeks ago! All I really want to wear anymore are moon/mystical-related clothes, so this is perfect, haha!


Hope you have a great weekend! xo


High Five for Friday: April 19


Let’s see what brought the sparkle this week!

  • Saturday was totally gorgeous here. Sunny and ‘70s! Therapy + a stop at a mystical shop made for a lovely day!


  • On Sunday, I accidentally went a bit nuts at Five Below and ended up with this haul! Yes, it does include a fanny pack! 😬🤦🏼‍♀️ I guess I finally got one after all!

Later on, I put on some KUWTK and had a grand old time dusting/Swiffering/tidying up my room! #lit

  • I love me a delightfully cheesy ‘80s bop, and this week, we’ve been building this city on rock n’ roll! Starship, man. I just can’t resist.

This video is a REAL TREAT. Somehow, I didn’t see dancing Abe Lincoln coming!

  • I don’t even know how I found this IG account (ok, let’s be real, it was probably via Alana, as she is a goddess of positivity!), but I love it! I just love the artist’s style and sentiment. This pic is actually my home screen background on my phone right now because I def need to accept this idea!
View this post on Instagram

All that noise keeps me quiet. 🤐

A post shared by Dani DiPirro (@positivelypresent) on

  • I’ve been trying to insert little fun things into my life in lieu of creeping on/obsessing over social media. The current fun thing? A beloved video game of my childhood: Final Fantasy VII! (Yes, you can get it on iOS!) It’s been fun to jump into a fantasy world for a little while instead of hopping on IG or Facebook and constantly comparing myself to others. If you’ve been able cut back on social media use, how did you do it?


Hope you have a great weekend! xo


High Five for Friday: April 12


I had an absolute blast visiting Timmi in Chicago last weekend, so let’s recap some of that sparkle!✨

  • Day one combined three of my fave things: my dear Timbertoes, donuts, and cats! We pregamed with old-fashioneds at Stan’s and then headed over to the Windy Kitty Cat Cafe (best name ever?!?) for quality time with some precious kitties! So I basically died and went to heaven right off the bat!

Cherry for me, double chocolate for Timmi!

Cherry for me, double chocolate for Timmi!

This precious tuxedo kitty was trying to nurse and knead everything in sight, including me. 😭

This precious tuxedo kitty was trying to nurse and knead everything in sight, including me. 😭

Such fancy paws 😭😭

Such fancy paws 😭😭

Discovering the treat dispenser helped us to make MANY friends!

Discovering the treat dispenser helped us to make MANY friends!

  • Day two started out with a stop at a mystical shop near Timmi’s apartment. After stocking up on some books and crystals, we planned to go to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, but whoops, we got hungry, so we ended up lunching and shopping more in Andersonville instead!



That night, we met up with a few of Timmi’s friends for a belated birthday dinner and then drinks at The Violet Hour, a speakeasy in Wicker Park. Out of doors at 11 PM… and at a BAR?! WHO EVEN AM I?! (I did get a mocktail, so that’s on brand at least.) We did some tarot readings in the speakeasy with Timmi’s BALLER new Philly Tarot deck!

🎶Life of the club, arrogant like yeah🎶 Seriously, though, how hawt is Timmi in that smoking jacket? 😍

🎶Life of the club, arrogant like yeah🎶 Seriously, though, how hawt is Timmi in that smoking jacket? 😍

Yes, I got the Ten of Cheesesteaks! 😂😬

Yes, I got the Ten of Cheesesteaks! 😂😬

  • Day 3 started off with brunch with Timmi’s friends (they are seriously the nicest!), and then a few of us went to the Chicago Wolves’ game with some of her teammates. (Timmi just took up ice hockey last year, and her team recently won the championship! 🙌🏻) I used to be super into hockey, so I had a blast! Bonus that the Wolves’ goal song is “Kickstart My Heart” by none other than Motley Crue! 😂



  • Day 4 was the most beautiful weather day—60s and sunny—so we walked down to the lake for a quick tarot reading and photo shoot. 😂😂 It was so unbelievably gorgeous there!

🎶It started when we were younger, you were mine, my boooo🎶

🎶It started when we were younger, you were mine, my boooo🎶

SERIOUSLY HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE. And repping the Tigercorns, Timmi’s hockey team!

SERIOUSLY HAVING THE TIME OF MY LIFE. And repping the Tigercorns, Timmi’s hockey team!

Then, Timmi’s friend Nora picked us up and whisked us off to the Blackhawks’ practice facility for ice skating! (Ugh, I really wish Chicago had a different NHL team. How can a Philly girl ever not hate them for 2010?!) Timmi and Nora are such good skaters now—they can even skate BACKWARDS, which is basically magic as far as I’m concerned! They inspired me to try skating backwards too, and I was able to get a nice wiggle going! 😂 After that, it was time for one last trip to Stan’s and then back to the airport. 😭😭 On the plus side, my flight wasn’t full (!!), so I got to sit and play Final Fantasy VII in a row by myself! #blessed

🎶Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down🎶

🎶Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down🎶

  • What more can I say? It was such a wonderful, life-affirming, mood-boosting trip. I really needed a break from my daily life and the endless drone of paralyzing anxiety. Timmi is so good at gently showing me how fun life outside of my anxiety bubble can be.💖💖

Hope you have a great weekend! xo


March 2019 Budget


Let’s see what I bought in March!

  1. Morphe Lip Gloss in Freebird (Ulta): $8 - coupon = $7

  2. Alex Steinherr x Primark Plump and Glow Facial in a Stick (Primark): $7

  3. Electra Backpack (The North Face): $55

  4. Blue Cropped T-Shirt (Primark): $6

  5. ColourPop No Filter Matte Concealer (Ulta): $6

Not pictured:

  1. PS Strobe Cream (Primark): $5 on sale for $2

  2. Lavender Cropped T-Shirt (Primark): $6

  3. Mini NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (Sephora): $14

  4. Brushed Ribbed Hat (Primark): $3 on sale for $1

  5. Marble Claw Hair Clip (Forever 21): $3

  6. Hair Clip (Forever 21, can’t find online): $3

  7. ColourPop Creme Lux Lipstick in Lay Over (Ulta): $7 - coupon = $6

TOTAL: $116

Can you tell I love Primark? I really need to stay away, although I did show remarkable restraint since they sell 8 million inexpensive things! Obviously, my lewk of the moment is a cropped tee, and I love the two I got from Primark. And apparently, I need all of my skincare to come in a stick, so I’m loving the Facial in a Stick! The first time I put it on, I felt like it noticeably toned down my redness, but now, I’m mainly obsessed with the stick component! And it does seem quite hydrating too.

Holy concealers Batman! So the NARS one is my go-to in terms of being a good match for my skin tone, but I never feel like it fully covers my dark circles… hence picking up the ColourPop one. (PS How did I not know that some Ultas carry ColourPop now?!) So I might return the NARS one if I end up loving the ColourPop one more.

The backpack was a bit of a splurge, but I was looking for a smallish, comfy, cute backpack for when I travel, and Kristin recommended this one. Its maiden voyage will be this weekend’s Chicago trip!

What did you buy this month?

High Five for Friday: March 29


Happy Friday! Let’s see what brought the sparkle this week!

  • I don’t often go to Trader Joe’s, but I needed some body wash and wanted to try their Tea Tree Tingle one (since I already have and love the Tea Tree Tingle Shampoo). Because everything is like $4 max, I miiight have ended up with a few other things:

The hair mask smells AMAZING! I used it tonight, so I’m curious to see how my hair looks once it dries (in roughly 24 hours #thickhairprobs).


  • Okay, ‘fess up: who’s watched The Dirt on Netflix? I saw it this week, and I kind of loved it, and I kind of hate myself! 🙈 I guess music biopics are really my jam. Also, Ramsay Bolton as a curmudgeonly ‘80s rock star was everything I didn’t know I needed in my life. Oh, and I now know what a Machine Gun Kelly is, so, bonus!
  • Speaking of music, because I know you’ve been anxiously awaiting an update on my burgeoning career as a bassist 😂:

Pops and I went to Guitar Center over the weekend to see if we could find a smaller, lighter bass than the “emergency bass” I inherited. We were successful! …but I didn’t actually buy anything. I’m in that catch-22 situation of not being good enough to justify spending money on this interest, but I’m also not super motivated to try to learn on a bass that’s way too big and heavy for me. Oh well. We’ll see what happens!


  • Did anyone else love the Final Fantasy games as a kid? The main ones I played were VII and VIII (👵🏻 IT ME), but VII especially has a place in my heart. I’m a real “talk to all the townspeople and romp around on my horse” kind of video game player, but I actually beat VII! Its apocalyptic vibe always kind of freaked me out  (I was 11-12 at the time), so I haven’t revisited its music as much as some other games, but that all changed this week! Some of its songs are prettier and more soothing than I remember. I’m trying not to be too concerned that my fave one right now is called “Off the Edge of Despair”...
  • Lastly, another quote that I very much needed from the “Anxiety Therapist” IG account I mentioned last week:
View this post on Instagram

Love this reminder 💕

A post shared by Anxiety Therapist (@amandaplmhc) on

Hope you have a great weekend! I’ll be in Chicago next weekend, so I’ll catch you in two weeks! xo


High Five for Friday: March 22


Well, this week just flew by, with lots of sparkle along the way! ✨✨

  • In this week’s edition of #selfcarenails, we have this absolute stunner by Illamasqua: Jo’Mina! 😍

My bffl Sophie bought it at Sephora when she came to visit me in 2012, and I loved it so much that we went back later that week so I could get my own bottle! And now I’m glad I did, as Sephora no longer sells Illamasqua!

Jo’Mina fan club 😂😂 

Jo’Mina fan club 😂😂 

  • On Tuesday, I went ice skating for the first time since December! (I think having to risk life and limb among millions of kids that day traumatized me! But this time, there were only four other people, so HOORAY!) I was shocked to find that I was not very rusty, despite the months off. It was a blast and much-needed: I have to get my skating legs back before I go visit Timmi in Chicago in April!
  • Wednesday was my sixth rebirthday: the anniversary of the day I decided to go inpatient for my recurrent suicidal thoughts. This year, the first day of spring fell on the same day, and the symbolism really hit me. Moving out of the darkness and into the light. I still have a ways to go, but I’m getting there. PS- Thank you all so much for your very sweet comments on my rebirthday post! They really made my day that much sweeter! 💜

  • On Wednesday night, I went to a lovely new moon/spring equinox meditation with Alana! It’s so wild to think that, six years ago, we were just “liking each other’s pics on social media” kind of friends. And now, we chat all the time about this wild healing journey, and send each other supportive quotes, and go to moon meditations together! Thank goodness, because she is a light in my life.
  • Lastly, someone (I’m guessing Alana?) recently introduced me to this IG account. It has tons of encouraging quotes and suggestions for coping with anxiety, but I especially loved this post:
View this post on Instagram

Love this reminder for today 👏👏

A post shared by Anxiety Therapist (@amandaplmhc) on

Hope you have a great weekend! xo


Rebirthday #6



Five years since inpatient felt like a big deal. Six… doesn’t feel like much of anything. I didn’t even want to write about it! Like, okay, yay, I did a thing six years ago. What am I doing now, though?

Clearly, there is a part of me that beats myself up for not being “further along” on this whole healing journey (even though I know full well that healing is non-linear). I’m also super aware that I’m not checking the boxes of a typical 30-something: marriage, kids, house, some combination thereof. I try to remind myself that I’ve never been one to do things on the “typical” timeline (hello, driving at age 27!), but I do get there eventually… which I guess means that my forties are gonna be LIT! 😂

In all seriousness, I don’t feel ready to check those big boxes. But that’s not as healthy as it sounds. Rather, I feel like I will crumble under the stress and uncertainty that come with those momentous life changes.

When I was a kid, my anxiety—especially about situations outside of my control—was at times accompanied by big emotional and physical reactions: not eating, not sleeping, crying all the time, obsessive worrying... so I started to avoid anything that would potentially set off that avalanche of symptoms. The only problem is that I’ve learned that coping skill very well over the years. If anxiety makes every one and every thing seem scary, how do you get yourself to do anything? Not to mention that a trigger can show up in all sorts of unexpected ways.

Traditionally, I would only do a “scary” new thing because I was forced into it (by, say, a graduation, or someone else’s life changes). But this past year, I’ve actually chosen the “scarier” option a few times, and although the situations wouldn’t seem like that big a deal to an outsider, they were momentous to me.

In one instance, I initiated a very difficult, emotionally vulnerable conversation with a friend who I would have normally ghosted (so as to not have said difficult conversation). I also started seeing a male therapist, a scenario I typically avoid due to some unresolved guy issues.

These experiences are teaching me that I can handle more than I think I can. Did speaking so honestly with my friend leave me feeling incredibly exposed? Yeah—I felt like I’d ripped off my own skin.

But I survived.

And when I made the initial appointment with the male therapist (a suggestion from a different therapist who was leaving their practice), it was just to cross it off—to confirm my belief that I would be too triggered seeing a male and thus can only see female therapists. But that didn’t happen. (Full disclosure: this particular therapist has a very calm and gentle way about him, and that helps a lot.) Being emotionally vulnerable with a male does freak me out, don’t get me wrong, but it’s giving me a chance to talk about these feelings with a trained professional as I’m experiencing them. That just wouldn’t happen in the same way with a female therapist. It also gives us the chance to try to make sense of what I’m feeling, instead of me just running from the feelings by default.

I guess I need to remind myself that growth and change come in all forms. It’s not always the big box life events or the celebratory moments you’d post about on social media. It’s driving somewhere new when driving isn’t your fave. It’s being your authentic self with someone who loves you… and being brave enough to do it when you’d rather run away screaming. It’s continuing to show up for a situation that scares you. It’s the willingness to look at what is going on in your mind and your life so you can understand it better.

It’s one hell of a ride. The fact that I’m still on it at all, I owe to the girl in the ER six years ago and her very powerful decision. 💜


High Five for Friday: March 15


Happy Friday! Let’s see what brought the sparkle this week:

  • This week’s nail polish of choice is Essie Penny Talk. Like, WOW. 😍 I can’t even remember when I bought it, but I never used it til now because I am a FOOL! It’s absolutely gorgeous. I think I was hesitant because I expected it to be more of a copper color, but it’s really this beautifully pigmented (not frosty) metallic pink. 10/10 would recommend. 
  • On Saturday night, I stopped by Kristin’s, and the minute I walked in, her bf started playing Jim Croce on their HomePod. 😂😂  So we ended up chatting about him for a few hours (poor Kristin!), and Rod sent me home with his Jim Croce Greatest Hits CD—what a wild Saturday night!

  • RIP Hal Blaine, session drummer extraordinaire, who died on Monday. I already knew about his stellar work on Pet Sounds but forgot that he worked pretty closely with Simon and Garfunkel too. Strangely enough, we were just talking about “America” by S&G at work last week, and it became my “play all day on repeat” song—and what do you know, it features Hal Blaine on drums! (I love analyzing songs and learning about the different session musicians and their unique styles—it even seems to calm my anxiety sometimes!)
  • It’s been a real S&G kind of week around here! I’m really feeling pretty acoustic vibes these days, I guess. Paulina and I used to play the Sounds of Silence album a lot in college, and I forgot how darn gorgeous it is! “A Most Peculiar Man”? “Leaves That Are Green”? “Kathy’s Song”? “APRIL, COME SHE WILL”?! After listening to that song all day at work on Wednesday, I came home and was basically Paul Rudd in This Is 40, yelling about Art Garfunkel—”He’s got an amazing voice!” (It’s true, though!)
  • Lastly, here’s some General Hospital feels that no one asked for: Oscar and Drew having “the talk.” I love the tender father-son relationship they’ve built over the past year, and this scene absolutely melted my heart. Billy Miller being paternal, and Garren Stitt cuddling up to him?! TOO MUCH. 😭 Bonus that this video includes Joss speaking everyone’s thoughts about Carly being pregnant: “Aren’t you kind of old to be pregnant?!?” 😂😂😂 (Carly’s “CLEARLY NOT!” is also 💯.)

Hope you have a great weekend! xo


High Five for Friday: March 8


Wow, Friday already?! Let’s see what brought the sparkle!

  • My dear blog mom Lisa posted this in her IG stories last week, and boy, was it a message I needed to see!

I’ve been in a glass case of emotion lately… and I loathe having feelings… and the only thing worse than feeling feelings is letting other people see those feelings, so YEAH, I’m doing great! 😂 In all seriousness, I do know that all this ~feeling~ is ultimately a good thing, but I just don’t love being in the middle of it. I started seeing a new therapist in January (in addition to the two other therapists that was I already sporadically seeing because #yolo), and we’re sifting through some heavy stuff right now. But the new therapist is very encouraging about me feeling and expressing things (because even in therapy, feelings still freak me out!). My default reaction is to be ashamed of my feelings and want to hide them, so I definitely need to hear this new concept a million more times!

  • On Saturday, I got to meet up with my college roommate for dinner! (She’s basically Carmen Sandiego IRL—I never know where she is, or if she’s even in the US!) We ended up going to Outback because she was dumbfounded (as most people are) that I’ve never had a Bloomin’ Onion (the name of which I almost had to look up right now 🙈). Said Bloomin’ Onion was really good! I think I might have let 32 years of hype build it up too much, though, because I expected it to be mind-blowing, haha.
  • I didn’t gush about it enough in my February budget post, but I am LOVING this cropped sweatshirt from Primark. It’s super comfy and cozy, but the cropped hem keeps it from looking too schlubby. And it’s only $7, I mean COME ON. I got it in light grey, but I can’t seem to find that online—so just know that it does come in non-neon colors!
  • So Jim Croce has been the soundtrack of the past week! My fave jam of his (since eighth grade) has been “Operator,” but I hadn’t listened to “Bad Bad Leroy Brown” in a million years, and let me tell you, it is a BOP. I can’t get enough! I mean, there’s clapping, a jaunty chorus, and a boogie-woogie piano—what’s not to love?

Possibly the best part about this renewed interest in Jim Croce is that it prompted Pops to go, “Yeah, you know, I saw Jim Croce… he opened for Woody Allen in 1972.” Like, WUT. Pops was the coolest teenager (Led Zeppelin is among the bazillion concerts he went to in the ‘70s nbd), and he’s now the dadest dad… it’s hilarious. Also, I did the math, and Pops would have been 16 in 1972. I was def only doing homework at 16, haha!


  • Lastly, “Simply the Best” came on while I was waiting in line at CVS, and I was PSYCHED because all I could think of was this:

Hope you have a great weekend! xo


February 2019 Budget


Oh boy, I kind of bought everything in sight! 😬 Nail polish, headbands, clothes, lip products… YIKES. Thank god February is the shortest month!

  1. Zip Top Crossbody Bag (Old Navy): $30 on sale for $10 + Super Cash = $7

  2. Frank Body Send Nudes Lip Tint (Ulta): $12 - gift card + $0

  3. Memebox Mini Disco Kitten Face Mask (Ulta): $4 - gift card = $0

  4. Zoya Nail Polish in Saint (Ulta): $10

  5. Rockstar 27/7 Released Hem Super Skinny Jeans (Old Navy): $45 on sale for $10

Not pictured:

  1. Super Stretch Skinny Jeans (Primark): $15

  2. Crop sweatshirt (Primark): $7 (I got it in light grey, which I couldn’t find online)

  3. Wild Fable Mock Neck Cropped Pullover (Target, sold out online): $18 on sale for $5

  4. Relaxed Vintage Crew Sweatshirt “Adventure Together” (Old Navy, sold out online): $30 on sale + Super Cash = $6

  5. Mudd Burnout Tee (Kohls): $14 on sale for $10

  6. Relaxed Classic Soft-Brushed Twill Shirt (Old Navy): $27 on sale for $7 (I got a navy and green plaid that doesn’t seem to be available online anymore)

  7. Slim-Fit Luxe Rib-Knit Top (Old Navy, sold out online in grey): $20 on sale + Super Cash = $6

  8. Queen Hot Space t-shirt (Amazon): $20

  9. Ribbed Infinity Scarf (Old Navy, can’t find online): $17 on sale + Super Cash = $3

  10. Card Case (Old Navy, can’t find online): $5 on sale + Super Cash = $.62

  11. Metallic Lurex Knot Headwrap (Claire’s): $8

  12. Space Galaxy Headband (Claire’s): $8

  13. Mauve Jersey Headwrap (Claire’s): $8

  14. Shimmer Twist Headwrap in gold (Claire’s, can’t find online): $8 on sale for $5 - Buy 3 Get 3 Free = $0

  15. Ribbed Knot Bow Headwrap (Claire’s): $8 - Buy 3 Get 3 Free = $0

  16. Velvet Knotted Headwrap (Old Navy, can’t find online): on sale for $1

  17. Aquis Lisse Luxe Hair Towel (Ulta): $30 - gift card and Ulta bucks = $4

  18. Ulta Super Blender Sponge: $5 - gift card = $0

  19. Lanolips 101 Ointment in Strawberry (Ulta): $14

  20. Weleda Skin Food Lip Butter (Target): $7

TOTAL: $156.62

Considering everything I got, that’s not a bad total. It’s even less than the total I originally designated for my monthly shopping (clothes, accessories, non-drugstore beauty) budget, which is $170. But the question is, do I really need to be spending so much money on stuff? And do I need all of (any of?) these things? That’s always my dilemma these days. It’s interesting how my attitude toward shopping has shifted over the years from “BUY ALL THE THINGS!” to “Maybe try to only buy some of the things? Particularly those things that you actually need or will use.”

Some of the things I bought this month (like most of the Ulta buys) were fun gift card purchases, and I’m okay with that. I like to spend my gift cards on treats that I would normally talk myself out of. Y’all already know that I’m obsessed with the coffee ice cream smell of the Frank Body lip balm. The Lanolips was a re-buy. (I actually ended up returning the Lano Superbalm I talked about here because I just didn’t like it as much). The jury is out on the Aquis towel. I’ve seen people rave about them, so I was psyched to find one at Ulta… that is, until I got to the cash register and found out that it was THIRTY FREAKING DOLLARS. For a towel?! Am I just cheap? (Maybe—see below.) If I’m spending $30 on a towel, I want my hair to look like I’m about to walk the red carpet… and that hasn’t happened yet, so I’m just meh at the moment. 😂

The Primark jeans are a tried and true fave. With this month’s purchase, I now have three pairs of them! (I thought I ruined one pair and panicked, hence buying this third pair!) They are pretty much my favorite jeans—although I do really love the Old Navy Rockstar jeans I bought this month too, mainly because they’re super soft and feel even more like leggings than the Primark ones. If you can find them at your local Old Navy for $9, POUNCE! ($15 is really my upper limit price for jeans apparently!)

But my favorite purchase of the month? That would be the Old Navy crossbody. I tend to use my Longchamp Le Pliage on weekends/days off, but it can be a pain at times with its penchant for slipping off my shoulder. The roomy, inexpensive ON crossbody has been a great solution! I can easily fit my wallet, a water bottle, and a notebook with room to spare! Plus, it has POCKETS GALORE! (Well, that may be a stretch but IT HAS POCKETS, which is a real design flaw of the Le Pliage.)

Well, I don’t need to go through every purchase in-depth because then we’d be here all day! 😂 So what did you get this month?

High Five for Friday: March 1


Maybe someday, my weeks won’t be so dull. Nah, that seems unlikely! 😂 Here’s what brought the sparkle this week:

  • I found this gem at the mall on Saturday! Did anyone else love Polly Pocket (like, original, choking-hazard Polly Pocket) as a kid?!

I would have 150% bought that keychain, if it came separately! 


  • I also might have bought five headbands on Saturday? I was at Claire’s, embarrassingly enough, and was buying two headbands (one for a friend, I swear), but they had a “Buy 3, Get 3 free” deal. Well, twist my arm and GIVE ME ALL THE IRIDESCENT HEADBANDS YOU’VE GOT! 💃
  • I usually don’t care about the Oscars, but my love of the Bohemian Rhapsody cast meant that I had Oscar coverage on almost all day. OY! How do people do this every year? I guess it would be easier if I didn’t like such randos—the really important people just seem to roll up like 30 minutes before the ceremony! Anyway, congrats to Rami—both for winning and for not seriously injuring himself when he fell off the stage afterward! (What the what??) 
View this post on Instagram

12 years of friendship. Bring it home kid. #oscars

A post shared by Joe Mazzello (@joe_mazzello) on

Thanks Joe, like I wasn’t already in a glass case of emotion!


  • Emilia Clarke was my fave Oscar lewk. Purple + shimmer? A DREAM. 😍
  • Lastly, I’m kind of obsessed with this Frank Body lip tint I got from Ulta a few weeks ago… mainly because of the smell! It smells like coffee ice cream, and I’m way into it! 🤷🏼‍♀️

Hope you have a great weekend! xo


High Five for Friday: February 22


Let’s see what brought the sparkle this week:

  • The weather was GORGEOUS on Friday—I think it even got up to 60 degrees! Not having to wear a jacket in February is The Dream (for me anyway)!

  • To celebrate the lovely weather (and because Pops was away, meaning that I didn’t have to rush right home), I went to the mall after work! I hit up Aerie and Primark, did the whole bra-fitting/trying on 80 different bras song and dance at Aerie, and ended up buying five of them! Mainly because I don’t want to have to go through all that again anytime soon! And bras were 40% off!

  • On Saturday, I went to a little ayurveda workshop at my fave local yoga studio! There were only four of us, so it was super intimate and fun! I knew a little bit about ayurveda, so it was nice to get a refresher on how we can most effectively channel our energy.

  • I had ordered this Queen shirt back around Christmas, and when it arrived, the fit was disappointing, as it often is in these situations. Like, I don’t want to order a women’s shirt because they’re so extremely fitted, but a men’s shirt can be too baggy or weirdly long (which is what happened here), so UGH. After consulting my resident seamstress Timmi and a few YouTube videos, I cropped it in about four minutes! And I’m so happy with how it turned out!!! Sorry the picture isn’t better!

Hot space, let’s go!

Hot space, let’s go!

  • Lastly, this is not inaccurate:


Yeah, I am pretty Joce-y. Not gonna lie, though, I was disappointed I didn’t get Alexis because I do love her fashun, particularly this velour (?) kimono-esque dress. And her array of bejeweled headbands. 😂


Hope you have a great weekend! xo


High Five for Friday: February 15


Let’s see what brought the sparkle this week!

  • Tapestry has been a big mood. “Home Again”? Such a sweet gem. “It’s Too Late”? Surprisingly effective at scaring off the crickets in our basement. And don’t even get me started on Telemachus, that iconic tabby on the album cover!
  • Does anyone else have a lot of feelings about the Opportunity Rover?! POOR OPPY 😭😭. I had read an article last year about how NASA was using music to try to wake Oppy up and didn’t realize that it had never responded. Or that its last message was THE SADDEST EVER. 😭💔😭
credit: Becca Farrow @rfarrowster on Twitter

credit: Becca Farrow @rfarrowster on Twitter

  • On Tuesday, I had to drive to therapy in the snow/slush/ice and was basically clutching the steering wheel the entire time. When I finally (safely, thank god) made it home, an Amazon package was waiting for me. I was like meh whatever, thinking it was just the (obviously super cool) retainer container I had ordered on Sunday. Instead, it was THIS:

A present from my bffl! What a sweet surprise! I’ve only been bugging her about Bohemian Rhapsody since November (and she still hasn’t seen it lol). It definitely brightened up an otherwise stressful day!

  • On the topic of BoRhap, Ben Hardy posted this video of Joe Mazzello dancing after the BAFTAs, and his dorky dance moves have been giving me life? 

  • Lastly, here is something that is so incredibly dumb but just cracks me up. (Can you tell it’s been a slow week?):

The phrase “rocking my fave salamander fur” accompanied by that ridiculous dancing gif just kills me every time. (So when I saw said video of Joe Mazzello dancing, my immediate reaction was ROCK THAT SALAMANDER FUR, BAE, like any sane person.)


Hope you have a great weekend! xo