San Diego Girls’ Trip!

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Hey guys! So I am finally taking the time to write about my recent girls’ trip to San Diego! Although it was a short trip, we were able to squeeze in an itinerary of fun things. So without further ado, let’s get into it:

For starters, we decided to book our stay at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina. We were looking for a reasonably priced room, which was close enough to both the downtown area as well as the airport (since we had a friend flying in from NorCal). We totally lucked out with this find! I’ll break it down for you:

Pros of the Hotel

  • Affordable price (but also includes hotel/resort fee)
  • Only 10 minute Uber ride from downtown/gas lamp district ($5-$10 depending).
  • Literally across the street from the airport, with a free shuttle to/from every 15 minutes
  • Amazing view of marina from balcony
  • Room was clean and nautical-themed
  • Friendly and informative concierge
  • Fruit infused water in the lobby at all times
  • Live music downstairs

Cons of the Hotel

  • Parking seemed pricey. Hotel guests had to pay $32 per night to park their car.
  • Starbucks in lobby was WAY overpriced and lacked ample selection. Drink options were limited.
  • Check-out line was rather slow

Overall—totally recommend this hotel. Was very happy with it all-in-all, and give it an 8/10.

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Messin’ Around w/ Al on our balcony

So here are the places we went and my take on each:

  1. La Puerta SD: AMAZING MEXICAN FOOD and adorable venue. The food was very tasty and the wait staff was friendly and fast. We started off our order with the guacamole and chips (which was actually more like nachos since they were additionally topped with pico de gallo and mozzarella cheese cubes). They were a little on the greasy side, and I also would have preferred more salt, but overall rather good. We also ordered the house margaritas on the rocks. DAMN good margaritas, with the perfect blend of tequila. Our server also brought us some drink samples, which was super nice of her. I ordered the surf n’ turf tacos, which were a fantastic combination of shrimp and steak. Definitely recommend visiting this spot if you’re looking for yummy Mex food. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.
  2. Gas Lamp District: Definitely a fun place to walk around and shop/eat. This is practically the hub of San Diego, where all of the action lies. There are big stores like Urban Outfitters, and also smaller boutiques. Mostly all of the restaurants are one-of-a-kind, but are super trendy and modern on the inside. This was one of the main draws for me, and ultimately convinced me that one day I’ll live in SD…since I’m a big foodie and love the plethora of restaurant options.sd5.jpg
  3. Civico 1845: On our first night in SD, we wanted some good Italian eats. So we headed to Little Italy, which is super cute, to a little traditional Italian place called Civico 1845. Although our wait was nearly an hour, I ended up being very happy with the Salmon dish that I ordered. They gave me a very large piece of fish that was cooked to perfection. This was also the type of restaurant that serves bread prior to bringing out your entrees—SCORE. My friend Kaitlyn’s pasta dish was also really tasty, but we weren’t a fan of Ally’s mushroom pasta dish (WAY too mushroomy). The only other notable part of this restaurant is that it is EXTREMELY loud inside. They should have designed it differently to muffle the noise in some way. It almost felt like we were yelling in order to communicate across the table, and we were often deterred from telling a story since it took too much effort to relay our messages. I was more or less happy with this Italian restaurant, but I think if I were to re-visit little Italy in the future, I would opt to try somewhere else.sd9.jpg
  4. American Junkie: This is a bar/restaurant in downtown San Diego, with a dj and dance floor later in the night. The atmosphere is cool, and the place is spacious enough. However, we were there at about 11pm, and there was still no dance floor from what we saw. They had a game where people spun a wheel and then had to do the action that the spinner landed on (ie kiss a stranger, etc.), but only a few people were immersed in the game and it was boring to watch after a few minutes. The drinks were also expensive. Probably wouldn’t go back.sd10
  5. Mission Beach Boardwalk: Fun little spot to visit during the day. There are rides on the boardwalk, and little restaurants along the beach. There are lots of beach houses, and it was fun to walk alongside them down the coast. BEWARE: use a lot of sunscreen, since the sun is super strong here.

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    Even the Dogs Surf Here
  6. Coronado Brewing Company: We stopped here while at Mission Beach to get some drinks/appetizers. I got a margarita (of course), which was pretty good and also kind of strong. We also shared the pretzel bites, which did not disappoint. I don’t like beer, but my friend said that her IPA was pretty good from here! This was a great place to eat by the beach and people watch.
  7. kait and alSandbar Sports Grill: For lunch at Mission Beach, we stopped at Sandbar Sports Grill. This was a rooftop restaurant, with a nice view of the beach. I got a margarita, but was SUPER disappointed with it. I love salt, but this drink tasted like I was literally drinking the ocean. It was WAY too salty. Salt on the rim is great, but salt in the drink is just nasty. I sent it back, and was given a second one. JUST AS BAD. So I ended up getting a pineapple vodka drink instead. Now THAT was good. 3rd time’s a charm, I guess. The tacos I ordered were great though, couldn’t complain.
  8. Henry’s Pub: This was a cute little Irish pub that we went to for dinner downtown. I enjoyed our experience here, because we got to watch the entire restaurant play a trivia game while we ate. We got to quietly participate at our own table as well. I ordered the popcorn shrimp, which was actually very good/fresh. Ally ordered their mac n cheese, which looked delicious to me (although she wasn’t blown away by it). Kaitlyn ordered a salad, which I tried and LOVED. It was basic, but tasty. Unfortunately though, they used a lot of iceberg lettuce. Word to the wise Henry, try some real leaves next time!
  9. The ShoutHouse SD!: An adorable little piano bar downtown. For a Sunday night, I was impressed to see that it was a full house. The performers started off really good. They were great singers, talented pianists, and played a lot of popular songs. We were captivated for a solid hour and a half. When they switched the performers out though, their song selection got a lot more dated, and we ceased to be able to sing along. I guess your experience somewhat depends on the performers for the night, and the age of the audience. Overall, I’d definitely go back. There was no cover charge, and also no drink minimum. However, it was not AS impressive as my last experience at “Howl at the Moon” in Studio City, where the performers played at least 3 instruments each and took on risky songs like, “Bohemian Rhapsody”.
  10. Ghiradelli: Chocolate, Icecream, Brownies, and Cookies. Open late. Need I say more?

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    She’s excited..duh.
  11. Snooze, an AM Eatery: Last but not least, we dined at Snooze in the morning for our goodbye brunch. This was my second time going to this restaurant. The last one I went to was in Denver, CO. If you ever go here, you absolutely have to get their Hot Chocolate. I don’t care if it’s 100 degrees out, you still need it. They have a fantastic selection of pancakes here, as well as eggs benedicts, coffee drinks, and other specials. The food is always top notch and the wait is always long. Decent prices. Definitely a good place to try if you’re ever in the area.

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    Summer Dress Sunday

Well that’s about it folks. If you ever go to SD and try out any of these places, feel free to let me know what your experience is like! I’ll definitely be returning soon, as I was totally impressed with this laidback city that is the perfect blend of Los Angeles and Santa Barbara life.

xx allie

Happy August!

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Is it just me, or is 2017 flying by at cheetah pace? I honestly cannot believe that summer is already nearing its end. It seems like it just started! Am I right? While I do enjoy and appreciate the summer months, I would be remiss if I did not mention my absolute favoritism for the Fall season. Who doesn’t love the brisk October mornings, yellow/orange afternoon sky, and pumpkin spiced lattes that comprise this time of year? While I am already stoked for the transition into Fall, I am actively trying to make the most of the rest of the Summer. After all, it is my last ‘free’ month before entering into graduate school!

So let me regale you with the accounts of my summer, and the still-coming events that are to ensue:

While I was planning to take a lavish vacation to the Caribbean islands this summer, I instead decided to stay somewhat local, and save my lavish trip as a reward for completing a year of grad school. Still pending then is a Europe trip in the summer of 2018. Woo! Since I’ve already been to Ireland, England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal, France, Holland, and Italy, I decided that this trip is strictly a visit of Eastern Europe. Plan is to visit Germany, Poland, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Austria, and Greece. If you have any advice or places to suggest, please comment on the blog!

Moving on…

Palm Trees

My first trip this summer was to the hot and steamy Palm Springs in Southern California. At only 3 hours from home, this spot serves as the perfect little weekend getaway. In an attempt to vacay the “right way”, we booked a high-floor room at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort. This resort is absolutely beautiful. Surrounded by a lovely golf course, and lines of palm trees, I swear it wasn’t even a mirage! A manmade lake also sits behind the hotel, and boats travel into the lobby! The pool was spacious and there was even a fabulous DJ, jammin’ his beats all day outside. This place isn’t exactly Vegas, but by the looks of the pool, you’d never be able to tell. The crowd was young, the girls were scantily clad, and the alcohol was flowin’. Definitely a hot spot summer destination!

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Found a RiteAid…so obviously got icecream at 10AM
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Lobby Pics with Al
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Bathing Suit is from Andi Bagus
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Friends who travel together, stay together 🙂

While in Palm Springs, we went to dinner one night at a restaurant called Las Casuelas Nuevas. I would argue that this may have been the best part of the trip. The food was FANTASTIC. I got chicken and shrimp fajitas…and a house margarita on the rocks! HOLY GUACAMOLE. It didn’t disappoint. The live mariachi band was exciting and enticing. They played popular music and sang songs like, “Despacito”, encouraging guests to chime in and sing/dance along. It was a lot of fun. The service could have been a bit quicker, but everything else made up for it!

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Best Marg I’ve had

The weekend after the Palm Springs trip, I headed to Bend, Oregon for a business trip! While I must admit that this was my first trip that was not for pleasure, it sure ended up being quite pleasurable nonetheless! I was lucky to be able to visit a quaint and charming town in a beautiful state. The businessmen I worked with were fun and engaging, and we definitely had our fair share of good meals and nice talks. I am lucky to work for a company that grants me this type of opportunity. Although I didn’t get to explore much of Bend, I already know that I’ll need to visit again. This destination is packed with beautiful hiking trails, waterfalls, natural rapids, and much more. We stayed at the Doubletree Hotel in Downtown Bend, which did not disappoint with their classic, warm chocolate chip cookie at check-in. The location was also prime, as we were literally a (less than) 5 minute walk from the downtown shops and restaurants. If you’re looking for a pretty and relaxing place to visit, look no further than Bend.

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Riverhouse on the Deschutes

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My last trip of the summer will be in San Diego, California this upcoming weekend. While it should be a low-key trip, I am looking forward to eating good food, visiting some trendy spots, doing a bit of shopping, and spending quality time with my best friends. We will be staying at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina. More to come on this trip very soon!

Well folks, that’s all that I have to share with you today. Hope you enjoyed this blog, and feel free to share some hot vacation spots you’ve visited or are visiting!

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

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

Moments of Happy

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Happy Monday all!

A practice that I’d like to share with you is one that I think works therapeutically to help you be more mindful and considerate of all the good, simple pleasures that surround us.

It is a good idea to start a list of all the things that make you happy. Big, small, or barely there. Anything at all that gives you a feeling of happiness, peace, safety, etc. As I realize new things that make me happy, I add them to my list. I’ve been working on my list for several months now, and I am very proud of how accurately it defines the person that I am and the things that I love in life. These things provide meaning and value to my life. They are the little things that make life worth living for me. I have fully articulated the very things that make life beautiful to me.

I’ll share my list now (in no particular order):

  • Rainy days/falling asleep to the sound of rain
  • Spotting a full moon
  • Coffee in the morning
  • Dancing in a room of united ladies (zumba)
  • Falling leaves
  • Peanut butter & chocolate icecream
  • Hearing the words, “I love you”
  • Home cooked meals
  • Pay days: the benefit of my hard work
  • Sunday morning cuddles
  • Sitting in the passenger seat
  • Massages
  • Fresh manicures/pedicures
  • Face masks
  • Starbucks comfort drinks
  • Bubble baths
  • Chocolate candy dispensers
  • Continental breakfasts
  • Donuts/cinnamon rolls
  • Travel
  • Going on quiet walks
  • Seeing movies in theaters and getting popcorn
  • Writing poetry
  • Doing a makeover/new makeup
  • Colorful winter trees (orange, red, yellow)
  • Psychological thrillers
  • Surprises
  • A glass of moscato
  • New restaurants
  • Baking yummy treats w/ glass of milk
  • Peonies/roses
  • Frozen chocolate bananas
  • Bean n’ cheese burritos
  • Acai Bowls
  • Wildflowers
  • Sunbathing
  • Jacuzzi
  • Morning Hikes
  • Birds chirping after it rains
  • 90s music from  my childhood
  • The sound of my footsteps on pavement
  • The smell of a cigar
  • Spotting lizards
  • White peaches
  • Perfect temperature days
  • October afternoons
  • Genuine, heartfelt smiles
  • Studio Barre
  • Self-help books
  • My chilly down comforter when I’m hot
  • Tennis
  • Netflix series
  • The Bachelor/Bachelorette
  • Finding great sales
  • Chicken Noodle Pho
  • Good puns
  • Monthly mailed subscriptions

What’s on your list…?

xx allie

 

 

 

 

milk and honey

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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