Predicting the End.

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Oftentimes, relationships last in what people call “the honeymoon stage” for 6 months to a year (in my experience). When the excitement wears off however, the relationship can often turn sour rather quickly.

As an undergrad that double majored in Psychology and Communication, I spent a good deal of time studying relationships, and the ways individuals communicate to effectively (or in many cases, ineffectively) get their messages across to their partner. One of the most monumental researchers I learned about in school, Dr. John Gottman, has been of particular interest to me both within the realm of academia and in my own personal experiences or observations of others. Dr. Gottman has an approach to describe communication styles that can predict the end of a relationship. According to his research, there are four telling communication patterns that, when combined, lend themselves to what he calls the “Apocalypse of” the relationship.

Let’s look more closely at these 4 patterns:

  1. Criticism

Criticism is not the same thing as simply voicing a complaint. It is a personal attack that is not necessarily specific to a thing/behavior that your partner has done, or a mistake that they’ve made. Criticism of this sort involves dismantling your partner at their core, aggressively speaking to their character, or personality as a whole.

  1. Contempt

Contempt is an extremely volatile way of speaking to someone you care about. People that speak with contempt mock their partners, ridicule them, call them names, mimick them, eye-roll, or display other degrading body language to make their point. When people speak with contempt, they undermine any efforts they have previously made with their partner to show respect. Contempt is the ultimate way to degrade a person, thereby bringing their spirits down. Believe it or not, couples that are contemptuous of each other are more likely to experience illness as a result of a lowered immune system. So not only is contempt emotionally painful, but it also doubles as a hazard to your health. According to Gottman’s research, contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce in a relationship. If you are experiencing contempt in a relationship, it is important to recognize this pattern and communicate to your partner about the danger of continuing to argue in this way. If the contempt continues for much longer, it can only further erode at the relationship and wither any chances for improvement.

  1. Defensiveness

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been defensive at some point in our lives. However, this begins to be a problem when you are confronted with a form of defensiveness any time you try to voice your frustration, make a complaint, or describe your feelings about something. When people make excuses for their behavior, they are unwilling to take responsibility for something they may have been able to handle better. They are not validating their partner’s concerns or emotions, and find a way to turn the tables and blame them instead. Defensiveness is a roadblock for making progress. No progress can ever be made when someone is not willing to admit there was a problem that could have been avoided or diminished, and therefore not open to making changes for a better result in the future.

  1. Stonewalling

Last but not least is stonewalling. This phenomenon occurs when one partner decides to suddenly withdraw from the interaction. They shut down and close themselves off from the other partner. They refuse to answer or respond to anything that is said to them. It is as if a stone wall is standing between the couple. Obviously, this is not an effective way to communicate, as it disallows the couple to engage in a conversation that is validating and effective to fixing the problems at hand.

Why am I bringing this up? When we notice that a relationship is starting to veer off course and go downhill, we often panic and scramble to fix things at all costs. Our desperate attempt to ameliorate our issues immediately may result in worse problems. Patterns don’t fix themselves over night. Big changes take time, patience, and persistence. But, if you are able to notice negative relationship patterns ahead of time (and possibly before they become damaging enough), you may still have time to stop them in their tracks. Being knowledgeable and informed about these styles of communicating can help you when you’re confronted with a difficult situation and just want to feel heard. The most important thing to remember is to speak to others the way you would want to be spoken to. It may sound intuitive, be we often forget about this simple notion when we are in the heat of the moment. Have respect for people, and show your respect through your actions and behaviors. Thinking before you speak can only ever result in a better interaction. If you work on your patience, and will power to refrain from saying hurtful things while feeling worked up, you will notice your relationships drastically improving over time.

Words can be like daggers. You can really hurt a person by the things you choose to say. Some words leave scars, which may take a very long time to heal. Before leaving those scars on another, take a moment to consider whether your word choice is carefully selected, accurately portrays how you feel about someone, and is what you are trying to say. Will your message come across effectively? Do you think you will be heard? Will you be deliberately hurting someone in speaking your mind? There are many things to consider, and often not a lot of time to do so. So be careful what you choose to say. Your diction and delivery are everything.

 

xx allie

Life on Life’s Terms

serenity

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and the wisdom to know the difference.

The serenity prayer has helped millions of recovering alcoholics to accept life on life’s terms, and cope with the everyday struggles that are sometimes out of our control. Whether you are an alcoholic or not, chances are that you could also benefit from the teachings of the 12 Step Program. I am lucky to say that I have never struggled with having a problem relating to alcohol, but I have a whole heart of compassion for the people who have. I honestly believe that the 12 step recovery process is a life changer for anyone (alcoholic or not) who commits to the principles and seeks to live a satisfying, honest, and accepting life.

Undoubtedly one of the most difficult things to accept in life is that there are many things that we have absolutely no control over. It is important to recognize those things, and learn to accept our powerlessness over them. We should expend our efforts and energy towards the things that are within our control, allowing us to reach a greater level of satisfaction, pride, and meaning once our influence has proved successful. Learning to live life on life’s terms means that you are willing to accept the ups and downs that the universe delivers, without putting up resistance or acting out as a means of coping.

I recently starting reading the NY Times Bestseller, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson, and despite what you may think from the title, it’s actually been a pretty eye-opening read. The premise of the book is that life sucks sometimes, but it’s better to just admit it, shrug your shoulders and get over it. Manson says that we should really stop kidding ourselves and acting as though nothing but positivity surrounds us. He says we should just honor the fact that the world is shitty, and then make the most of what’s left of it. In other words, accept life on life’s terms. It’s important to remain level-headed through all of life’s shitty, unfair moments, and continue to give fucks about only the things that truly matter. Be honest with whatever your situation, and be honest with yourself. Life gets better once you accept the things you cannot change.

xx allie

You Look Tired Today

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You hit the snooze button for the third time this morning, and roll out of bed. You forgo your eye shadow for today,  scarf down your half toasted bagel, and run out the front door leaving your packed lunch behind absentmindedly. Despite the struggle being real this morning, you make it to work on time. As you are about to pat yourself on the back in your mind, your coworker leans over your desk and says, “You look tired today”.

If you’ve ever be told this line, then I feel your pain. WHAT? I am sorry to say that unfortunately this blog post is going to be somewhat of a rant. Personally, I feel that this comment is entirely inappropriate for a number of reasons. Let us count the ways.

  1. Excuse me, but did I ask you for your opinion on how I look today? Was your feedback welcomed in any way? If I didn’t ask, then maybe it’s because I don’t care to know. And who made you the expert on what I should look like, and whether I’m up to par with your expectations?
  2. I look tired, you say? Oh really? What gave it away today? Was it the bags under my eyes? My messy, half put together hair? My outfit choice? Am I pale? Do I look sick? Do I look like shit? Thank you for noticing. Something about me is not right, which is why I look tired today according to you. Well, out with it! What are you trying to tell me exactly?
  3. Okay, so I look tired. Is there something you want me to do about it? What’s the point of telling me this, other than to make me also FEEL like crap in addition to looking like it?
  4. How am I expected to respond? I immediately feel awful now that you think I look tired. Should I make up an excuse for a reason why? Should I agree that I put little effort into my appearance today? Should I go in the bathroom to reapply my makeup? What is the proper response? TELL ME.

Okay so basically, a word to the wise: DON’T ASK THIS QUESTION TO ANYONE. It’s just not nice, and doesn’t come across well. If you think a person looks tired, maybe just keep that thought to yourself. Save your personal feedback for positive affirmations and compliments. Build the world up, don’t knock it down. The world is tough enough without you telling people that they look tired. End rant.

xx allie

fabfitfun Summer Box Review

 

fabfitfun box

What’s up guys! A few days ago, I received my summer edition of the fabfitfun box. I gotta say, it did NOT disappoint. I’m really obsessed with these boxes, because I can’t get over what a great value they are. They come loaded with season-specific products that are name brand and high quality. Let’s review the contents of my box:

  • Michael Stars Ruana Scarf/Sarong: I knew that this was going to arrive in my box, since it was the spoiler product prior to its delivery. I wasn’t too excited for it initially, but after receiving it, I absolutely love it! It is super soft and thin, and I love the black & white color that I got. It looks trendy over a white blouse, or can be tied to your handbag or used as a scarf. It’s literally the perfect summer garment. Retails for $54.

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  • BKR Little Water Bottle (glass): Since I workout often, I am constantly looking for a clean water bottle to take with me to the gym. This one is cute, girly, and convenient. Retails for $35.

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  • Ultra Light Hydrating Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50: When I go outside to tan, I use tanning oil spray for my body (that is a 15 SPF). However, I know I’ve been needing a face sunscreen that is more protective and sensitive. I really like this lightweight blend, as it is not oily at all and mixes very well with my foundation. Retails for $24.
  • Cargo_HD Picture Perfect Highlighter in Bronze: This is a very subtle highlighter (less of a bronzer), that really just gives my face a nice glow. It kind of sets my makeup and leaves me looking awake and renewed. Retails for $30.

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  • Juice Beauty Smoothing Eye Concentrate: I love eye creams and concentrates, because you can never start your anti-aging regime too early. It doesn’t just soak right in and dry up. It lasts for hours, leaving the skin around my eyes to feel soft, moisturized, and supple. Little bit goes a long way. Retails for $29.
  • Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk: I haven’t tried this out yet, but it looks like a higher quality dry shampoo, and it comes in a sizable bottle. It’s supposed to help you regain volume and texture, without leaving a white residue. Retails for $20.

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  • Ready, Set, Create Art Set: Honestly, I wasn’t too too stoked with this item. I’ll probably regift it, or give it to a child I know. There were some other item options that I would have preferred to receive here (too bad its random sometimes!). I really liked the Himalayan salt kit, and also the body massage oil. Retails for $22.
  • Kris Nations Mystic Gemstone Bar Necklace: Aside from the Michael Stars Ruana, this is my favorite thing in the box. I love handmade dainty, girly necklaces, but this one is special to me because I received the moonstone which is helpful for harnessing positive energy. Goes with literally any outfit. Retails for $58.

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  • Collagen Peptide Stick Pack and 20% off Coupon: I’ve seen collagen inspired products before, but never in an ingestible powder. They aren’t kidding when they say that it’s odorless and tasteless. Initially, it seemed like a HECK of a lot of powder to put inside my coffee cup, but it dissolved right up and was indiscernible upon drinking. I felt good having it in the morning, as it was 9 extra grams of protein, and collagen is great for joints, bones, skin, hair, etc. I might just have to buy some more and use it on the daily.

Basically, this box was WELL worth the money I spent. It’s original price is $49.99, which is a steal…but if you use my code, you’ll get an additional $10 off your box…making it only $39.99!!! (which is less than the retail price of the Ruana itself!)

My code is: fffa2p6

GO GO GO GO GET YOURS NOW!

xx allie

milk and honey

milk and honey 2

Recently I have been seeing a lot of buzz about a #1 New York Times Bestseller called, “milk and honey” by Rupi Kaur. It is a collection of poetry and prose discussing the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. I decided to make a special trip to Barnes and Noble to purchase this book (which lucky for me, happened to be 20% off—yay!).

Seeing as I was able to finish the book in about an hour’s worth of time, I’d like to be able to say that it was an easy read. But truth be told, I’d be lying if I said it was easy to read. This book was dark. It was hard to read at times. It discusses in great detail some of the most bitter moments in life. It’s like a punch to the stomach, of every awful feeling you’ve ever felt condensed into one small novel. But it doesn’t just leave you to feel like you’ve gotten the wind knocked out of you. Kaur finds the sweetness in even the most bitter of moments, reminding anyone who is willing to read that there is sweetness everywhere you look if you are open to seeing it.

Aside from the main idea of the book, there were a few noteworthy aspects that I’d like to touch on. First, it was a little difficult to read in the beginning, as Kaur does not follow the rules of the English language in her writing. For instance, she refrains from using capital letters entirely. This was odd and off-putting at first. It makes you feel a subtle sense of chaos, and disorder. This was not an accident. I believe she wants the reader to feel this way. Perhaps she is delicately reminding the reader that chaos exists inherently, and that everything that is, is not without a sense of disorder at its roots. The words make a more pronounced impact when they are written in this style. The use of lowercase words is also ironic as she is making impactful, colossal arguments with only the use of the most subtle letters. The words she strings together are impossible to forget, as they haunt you in the most familiar places in your heart….and it doesn’t take much–only the mention of these feelings that we work so hard to suppress, and fail to ever articulate.

Another point to mention is her excessive use of periods, when we would typically expect commas. She doesn’t appear to use commas at all, and prefers to indicate pauses through the use of periods instead. I am still not entirely sure what her intention is…but I would expect it to imply the harsh nature of life, and its unwillingness to slow down. Perhaps she is conveying the concreteness of reality. This is just a speculation.

As I read through the book, I found myself dog-earring every other page. Almost every point she made resonated with me, and verbalized an emotion that I’ve never dared to enunciate before on my own. She is brave enough to say the things that we fear to admit to ourselves. She is brave enough to go one step further. There are over 20 different passages that I absolutely LOVE. But one that I’d like to regurgitate today is as follows:

i am a museum full of art

but you had your eyes shut

YESSSS. This passage is money. It’s such a simple line, but oh is it significant. After a breakup, I used to always wonder why I wasn’t good enough. What was it about me that didn’t suffice? Why was I tossed away, without so much as a second glance? My older sister has always helped me to understand by telling me, “You can be the juiciest, most ripe, sweet, and delicious peach in the entire world…but there is still going to be somebody that doesn’t like peaches”. You can have it all, and still not be what someone is looking for. You can be the perfect match for someone, but not necessarily for everyone.

This passage by Kaur felt similar to me, as not everyone is open to the beauty in others. Not everyone is ready to accept what you have to offer. Not everyone is brave enough to risk being vulnerable. It could be the timing, it could be their past, it could be their incapability to feel deeply. But whatever it is, it is not a deficit in you as a person. You are a museum of art. You are beautiful in all of your perfections and flaws. You are a masterpiece. But, that doesn’t mean that everyone will acknowledge you as such. Beauty is only open for those willing to look. Absolutely mind blowing. Remember this passage, as it will provide you with a sense of power when you are feeling worthless, ignored, or taken for granted.

I have been wanting to discuss milk and honey since I read it two nights ago, as it goes where not many have dared to go before. It is eye opening, yet beautiful. If you’re looking for a new read, I highly suggest this one. But be ready for a serious reality check.

Happy hump day all, make it a good one.

xx allie

Pro Lexapro

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About a year ago, I remember searching the internet left and right for individuals’ personal accounts on their experience with taking Lexapro. I remember feeling like no amount of information was enough to tell me with absolute certainty whether I should start to take this antidepressant or not. While some people rate it with 5 stars, others give it a 1. I knew that I wasn’t happy. I knew that I experienced what appeared to be an abnormal amount of anxiety. I knew that day-to-day life shouldn’t be as difficult as it was. But who was to say whether Lexapro would help, or alternatively make things worse? Apparently, it was a risk that I was willing to take at the time.

Today, I wonder where I’d be without my daily dose of Lexapro. Would I still be crying every day on my drive to work? Would I still be angry, and lash out at people who said the wrong thing, and got on my nerves? Would I still feel hopeless, and wonder whether I would ever be able to find positivity again in my life? I may never know. But one thing I do know for sure is that my 5mg dose of this antidepressant has completely changed my life.

While I’m not usually an advocate of medication, I am an advocate of taking medication when you truly need it, and have no other options that you feel will suffice. I am writing this post on my experience with Lexapro because there are so many people that suffer with depression, but refuse to try taking medication for fear of a dependency on it, or the negative stigma that is unfortunately associated with these types of mental health pills. I remember having the same fears. I remember wanting to feel better ASAP so that I could stop taking them immediately and resume with my medication-free, ‘normal’ life. However, today I feel 100% stable and happy, and I can’t imagine ever getting back off. Life is different now. Life is better. I can breathe again, and not be bogged down by the occasional sadness and disappointments that are an inherent part of being human.

Lexapro has changed my outlook on everything. I am positive. I am optimistic. I see the good in even the bad situations. I am finally who I was meant to be. I am reaching my potential. It is amazing how effortless life begins to be, when you get rid of the constant cloud that is burdening and weighing you down in everything you do. I feel like I am finally on the same playing field as those around me. I feel that my emotions are not as charged, or volatile.

If you ever got to know me in real life, you would never guess that I’m on Lexapro. You would never guess that I was once depressed. I am normal on medication, and a little less normal not on medication. I have learned to accept that I am better with the help of this pill, and that therefore I need it. I am learning to accept that I have depression, and that my brain chemicals may very well be naturally ‘off’. That’s okay. I am happy to be who I am, as I feel that I can appreciate a happy life so much more now that I’ve experienced the darkness.

I often write about my experience with Lexapro, as I still have trouble believing that such a little dose of this pill can have such an incredible, long-lasting effect on my life. I feel grateful every day that I have given it a chance to help me.

If you think you may be struggling with depression, it might be worth it to visit your health professional. Changing your life is a function of your willingness to take control of your life, rather than letting it take control of you.

xx allie

P.S. –Please remember that this is my personal experience on Lexapro. Lexapro may not work for everyone, and may not be right for you. Consult with your physician before attempting to take any antidepressant for the first time. Often medication is recommended with therapy. I have been seeing a therapist regularly, which helps in tandem with the medication.  Please do your research before deciding to make any significant changes to your life, in this respect.

The Number on the Scale

summer

For those that live in the northern hemisphere, summer is finally here! Woohoo! For you Aussies that follow the blog—this post may not necessarily be time-relevant for you. But feel free to give it a read anyways!

If you’re like most people, then you may get nervous as summer approaches since hot weather equals less clothes, and therefore less coverage. The media enforces this further by promoting 10-day rapid weightloss fads, slimming juicing diets, and chiseled abdominal techniques. But let’s be honest, the average person doesn’t get the rocking body that we see in the magazines and on tv overnight. But IT’S OKAY, since those are unrealistic expectations anyways!

This post is one of the few reminders to you that it’s more important to be healthy, than to be skinny. American standards of beauty are next to near unattainable…and for crying out loud it’s just ridiculous! Who says that a beautiful girl has to be 110 lbs (50 kgs)? Beauty is not measured in pounds or kilograms.

As I matured into a young woman, it was hard for me to accept my weight of 140 lbs (63 kg). Most of my friends were much tinier, and wore much smaller clothing sizes than I did. While I am lucky and never struggled with an eating disorder, I noticed that I would judge myself in photos and when looking at my reflection. “My arms are too big, I don’t have a thigh gap, and my face is getting rounder.” The negative self-talk was relentless at times. But with the years, came emotional maturity and personal acceptance. I’ve always been a fan of the gym, and to this day I continue to work out 4-5 days per week and eat a balanced diet. I am healthy and strong, and proud of my curves and density. I have learned to appreciate my assets (both the good and not so good), and be grateful for them.

No two people look exactly the same (well unless you’re an identical twin), and we should embrace our unique appearance and distinguishing features. Of course it’s okay to have fitness goals and to work towards them, but once it turns into an obsession be careful. If you’re happy and you’re healthy, then it doesn’t matter what the scale says. Ditch it! Try not to be hard on yourself when you ‘splurge’ and have a burrito or scoop of ice-cream. Part of life should be about enjoying the occasional indulgence, and fluctuation is very much normal. Balance is key.  

Most importantly, be confident! There is absolutely nothing more striking and sexy than a person with confidence. Remember that beauty starts from within.

Stay beautiful, folks.

xx allie

 

 

When Life Gives You Rotten Lemons

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Not every day can be a good day, but there is good in every day.

This past week has been a challenge. It feels like the universe has taken every opportunity to knock me down and watch me squirm, for the sheer purpose of reminding me how to get back up. I like to believe that things happen for a reason, so I am doing my very best to be grateful for even the recent adversity that has come my way.

[Sidenote: This is my second time writing this post, as the first time I accidentally closed the document without saving. Nice one, Al]

When the world seems like it’s messing with you (at your expense), the only way to fight back is to take time to notice the heartwarming moments in every day. Revel in them. Let their effects be long-lasting.

What do I mean? If a day is shitty, then what is there to revel in? STILL SO MUCH.

As I was getting my car washed the other day, the man who was drying it off with towels decided to clean my tires with product (a service that I would normally be charged for) for free. Out of the goodness of his heart, he threw in something extra just because. While it didn’t take him long to do, and I’m sure he didn’t think much of it, I’ve thought about it every day this week so far. His small, kind gesture seriously made my week.

Every day at lunch, I sit outside under the sun and eat lunch with the new employee. From our conversations, I’ve learned that she is going on 62 years old. While at first I was bummed to have to share my table with someone that I didn’t really know, I have grown to really appreciate our time together. I have grown to really appreciate our conversations and her attentiveness. She follows-up, and makes me feel important. She tells me that she thinks of me and our conversations later on once we’ve parted ways. Although I don’t have the opportunity to see her much at work (since we work on different floors and in different departments), I always look forward to seeing her at our table at lunch.

As I mentioned before, I just started a new workout called Studio Barre, a little over a week ago. On my first day in, I introduced myself to the owner. On my third time in, she said goodbye to me using my name—when admittedly, I had already forgotten hers. I know it’s her business to be friendly and kind, but I felt like her salutation was genuine. I was impressed and flattered by her memory, and it left a lasting positive impression.

These are just a few of my personal examples for the week. Although they may not seem like much, I have allowed them to leave impressionable and positive impacts on me despite the bigger picture bad week that I’ve had. Life doesn’t always give you lemons fit for lemonade. So when that happens, what do you do? You throw them away, and make a freakin’ margarita. Cheers to better weeks ahead!

xx allie

 

On Ambivalence

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Lately I have been feeling an overwhelming amount of ambivalence. From it, I am beginning to realize just how uncomfortable the feeling of ambivalence is. It is tough to feel conflicted. It is difficult to have opposing views on the same matter. Often we have what I like to call ‘fleeting ambivalence’, as we try to make a decision between two choices, or narrow down what we want to do on a Friday or Saturday night. It is a short-lived emotion that does not provide noteworthy levels of stress or frustration. However, when the ambivalence is long-lasting, it’s quite a different story.

Long-lasting ambivalence is painful. When you can’t decide how you feel about something or someone, you feel anxiety. You feel discomfort. Cognitive dissonance eats away at you, leaving you to feel, for lack of a better word, “off”. When you’re experiencing long-lasting ambivalence, there’s little you can do to offset it. You find that the only solution is to sit with it, acknowledge it, and try not to let it bring you down. Not much of a solution after all, huh?

Sometimes we have to accept feelings and emotions that are difficult. We have to remember that they are transient, and will eventually change, like anything else. We have to be patient. We can try to fight them, but we’ll only end up more troubled and conflicted than we would be otherwise. We can try to deny them, but then they’ll just resume at a later date and a greater intensity. We can try to make reason out of the emotions, but even that can be difficult if you are truly experiencing ambivalence. Ambivalence is nonnegotiable.  

One thing that can help, though, is keeping occupied with healthy distractions. The key word here is: HEALTHY. Coping with troublesome emotions is often a struggle and for this reason, some people turn to drinking or drugs to numb the way they feel. This is very much ill-advised. So how, you ask, have I been implementing healthy distractions into my life?

Opt Out of Familiarity:

One of the most proven and effective ways to combat depression is through exercise. I have made exercise a standard part of my routine, but lately I’ve been trying to find new ways to get my workouts in (eek–sorry for ending this sentence in a proposition). For instance, I decided to try our local Studio Barre, which I found to be a fun and exciting way to tone and strength train. I am really enjoying the change of scene and the new exercises and props (weights, workout bands, etc .) that allow for focused muscle targeting. I seriously feel the burn in my abs, booty, and arms during the class and I very much appreciate the challenge. I even tried a workout at 5:45am before work. Not bad!

If you read my blog at all, then you know how much I love Zumba. Since I rave about it at work and am seriously considering becoming a Zumba instructor this summer, I convinced my coworker to try a class out with me. We found a dance studio in Ventura (midway between our cities) and joined for a day to take a class together. While I prefer my usual gym and instructors more, I was very impressed with the welcoming and genuinely kind community at this gym. Everyone was quick to start conversation, introduce themselves to us, teach us the culture of their gym, and encourage us to visit again soon. It was a very heartwarming experience, and I was proud to show my coworker just how awesome the Zumba community and culture truly is. Basically if you’re crazy and outgoing, you’ll fit right in.

Tennis anyone? Most people that know me also know that I play tennis! I played Varsity in high school and have always enjoyed hitting around for fun since then. Making tennis plans with coworkers after work is something that I just recently began to do. It is a fun way to bond with my fellow peers, and to play the game that I love. Although I was initially drawn to the sport for their adorable girly outfits, I ended up being smitten by the game itself. While it can be played by just about anyone in the most simple of ways, it can also be so technical if you are willing to learn the ins and outs of the game. When I play tennis, time slows down. I don’t get that feeling with anything else.

Learn:

100% of the time, I will always feel better about myself after I’ve learned something new. For this reason, I seek out books from our Barnes and Noble and make a point to allocate at least 20 minutes a night to reading before bed. Reading before bed calms and settles my mind before I enter into dream territory. Although my Lexapro causes me bad dreams 90% of the time, I at least like to think that my reading accounts for the other 10%. 🙂

Productivity and Relaxation:

Learning to balance productivity with relaxation is the key. 80% of my days are booked (sorry for all of the percentages–guess I’m kind of a mathematical person). I spend the majority of my time at either work or the gym, but I also spend time meeting my friends for dinners/desserts, massages and other beauty appointments, grocery shopping, car washes, etc. There is just simply not enough time in a day! But seriously, if you remember nothing else from this post, remember to always make time for r.e.l.a.x.a.t.i.o.n. If you have no downtime, then you will most likely go insane. Everybody needs the opportunity to rest their brain. Watch tv, meditate, play an instrument, get a mindfulness coloring book, do a facemask…WHATEVER IT TAKES. But there’s no substitute for some hard-earned and much deserved relaxation.

Gratitude:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again and again. The universe provides. It picks up on your energy, and grants you the things you need ( and sometimes even the things that you want). It is important to notice and be grateful for the gifts the universe provides. Some blessings come in small, seemingly insignificant packages. Others are more obvious. Be grateful for even your challenges, as they provide opportunities for growth, wisdom, and maturity. When you start to feel thankful for the things that you have, it matters less and less about the things that you don’t have.

Even an awkward and uncomfortable feeling like ambivalence can be turned into a catalyst for change and growth. Notice your emotions and give them some credit. You are having them for a reason, so try not to be hard on yourself. You are human. You are not, and will never be perfect. All you can be is you.

Have a lovely weekend, all.

xx allie

The Beauty of Today

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This morning I woke up early, before my alarm went off. I always love when I wake up at 5am, as it’s the best feeling knowing that I still have an hour and a half more to sleep. Today is also the best day of the week—it’s Friday…and for the next two days I don’t have any responsibility. I am trying to appreciate my free weekends right now, before I am occupied with papers and homework once I start grad school in August. The sun is out and about today, even along the coast, meaning it’s going to be a great weekend for tanning/hiking.

As I drove to work, I came across zero accidents. Phew. I checked my snack drawer as always, and noticed that someone had left a “Take 5” candy bar inside. I’m not sure who put it there, but I am absolutely grateful for their generous gesture. I always try my best not to purchase candy bars at the store (despite my contact desire to), but since this one randomly appeared in my vicinity…I am stoked. Thank you Universe.

Quick aside: I came across the most adorable succulent garden last night at Trader Joe’s, and simply cannot get my mind off of it. I will be going back this weekend to purchase those potted plants for my room. I love to add life to my living space. They literally look like this and they’re only $6.99 apiece:

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I am leaving work early today to go make a business relationship, and try samples of nuts and dried fruit (strange I know). Things like this make me grateful for the job. (Also so stoked for my solo business trip to Bend, Oregon next month! Woo!).

Tonight is a fun event, as Ally and I are headed to an LA Rooftop movie w/ wine and popcorn included. We are definitely going to get trendy and dolled up, as we rarely have a reason to go downtown on a Friday night. More to come on this..

Today I am full of energy and liveliness as it’s a beautiful day to be alive, and I am SO stoked for all that is to come. I am ready for the next chapter that the Universe delivers. I am ready for new adventures and learning experiences. Bring it!

xx allie