The Nordstrom’s Fitting Room Ruined My Independence Day

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The 4th of July calls for a tradition of hot dogs, chips n’ dip, beer, and good ol’ American apple pie. It’s all about the red, white, and barbeque. No one counts calories on this day, because to do so would be asinine. I mean c’mon, on this day one man singlehandedly scarfed down 74 hotdogs. If that doesn’t prove how glutton-heavy this holiday is, then I don’t know what would!

Coincidentally, it is also a day to dress scantily—if you are a female that is. Short shorts, bathing suits, crop tops, you name it. Not only is it a scorcher, but it’s also a day to prove to the media world (insta, twitter, facebook) what type of body you have. It’s an opportunity to show to the world the gains you’ve made over the course of the winter/spring in light of the summer months.

Go figure.

The day started out for me as good as any other. Went to workout, drank my protein shake, and headed to the mall to make a quick return. The sun was shining bright, and the insta feed was already poppin’. The day had started off with a bang, in much the same way that it would end.

After finishing my return and perusing the aisles of Nordstrom’s, I came across a plethora of cute finds that I simply needed to try on. Bathing suits, crop tops, and the like. With the help of an eager attendant, I made my way into a room to try on the discounted one-pieces I grabbed. I slipped them on, and was appalled by what I saw: my body looked horrendous—a splotchy bumpy surface covered the back of my thighs and butt cheeks. It was as if a firework of cellulite went off on the lower half of my body, spewing its explosion of  clumpy texture all over my 25-year-old legs.

Now of course, I knew that I had cellulite prior to this moment in the fitting room. I’ve seen it for years, and have learned to accept it. HOWEVER, here in the fitting rooms at Nordstrom, it was as if gravity took a whole new turn for the worse. The cellulite appeared to be 3x worse than ever before, and I was SHOOK. Even Alexander Hamilton would have thrown in the towel at the sight of this.

While I normally would have scoffed at this abysmal observation, cursing Nordstrom’s lighting specialists for choosing the least flattering lights for the most pivotal buying decision time-frame, this time was different. Every ounce of my being wanted to blame this corporation for making me look FAT, but the truth was, this was really me. The cellulite belonged to me. It was not photoshopped on, and it could not be photoshopped off.

I sat on the bench in the fitting room, fighting back tears. I am 25 years old. I work out hard 4-5x per week. I have been on a highly-devoted gluten-free diet for nearly a month and a half. Yet, I had nothing to show for it. I have always been taught that if you work hard in life, it will pay off. This was the ideology I have lived with for as long as I can remember; it makes sense. Nothing good in life is simply handed to you, and if you want to experience results you HAVE to be willing to put in the work. But with cellulite, this belief was null and void. None of it held true.

The day wore on, and I continued to be reminded of this malady. A sea of shorts-wearing, cellulite-less females flooded my consciousness and berated my psyche. What a cruel world we live in, where hot dog eaters could grace the world with their beautiful legs, but the hardworking, breadless folk were stuck sweating in long jeans to hide the nightmarish skin dents that were ever-apparent on their flesh. Let freedom ring? I think not.

I had ordered a salad for dinner that night, and skipped the rolls at Woodranch BBQ (I repeat, skipped the rolls at Woodranch BBQ), only to find myself crying at the harbor with my boyfriend only minutes before the Fireworks show began. ‘I feel ugly. I feel fat. I don’t feel good enough. None of my efforts are paying off. I am SO discouraged.’ I couldn’t bear to see all the smiling, laughing girls my age mindlessly enjoying Independence Day, while I was caught up focusing on my body image, and nothing more. My 4th of July was indeed tainted by what all began in the Nordstrom fitting room that morning.

Today, only 2 days later, I look back and realize how RIDICULOUS I was being. Are you kidding me? I had a loving, sweet, caring, thoughtful boyfriend by my side, the privilege of watching the fireworks in a beautiful, and safe neighborhood, and God’s good grace all around me, and yet all I could focus on was the cellulite on the back of my legs. What a tragedy. I wasted a beautiful moment that I’ll never get back worrying about something that was essentially out of my hands.

More women have cellulite than those who do not. It is part of being a woman. It is part of being healthy. Society has decided that it MUST GO….but what if we decide that it can stay? What if we decide that it is normal, that it is expected, and that you are STILL beautiful? What we see in the media is modified. We are surrounded by images of flawless women, and made to believe that flawless is the only type of beauty that exists. In reality though, even flawless women do not exist. Public photos are edited and enhanced. Models are airbrushed and contoured. No imperfections are exposed, and the normal, raw beauties are the ones who pay for it.  Where is the justice? Where is the morality?

This post serves to remind you women that you are BEAUTIFUL, no matter what shape, size, or color. You are beautiful, because you are you. We (myself included) need to stop focusing on our imperfections, and instead begin to recognize our blessings. I am lucky to have two hands. I am lucky to feel healthy on a day-to-day basis.  I am lucky to have long, luscious hair. I am lucky that my vision is not impaired. I am lucky to be alive, and loved. The list goes on and on and on… THAT, my friends, is what truly matters.

So with that, I’ll leave you with one final piece of advice—Sun’s out, Buns out! Get to it.

xx allie

 

 

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Depression & Creativity

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Hello everyone. I’m sorry that I haven’t written in a while…truth is, I haven’t really had the motivation to. I’ve thought of a number of topics (even started to write about them), only to realize that I wasn’t passionate enough about the subjects and therefore could not write a post that would be worthy of your attention.  So thank you for being patient with me and not ‘unfollowing’ during this period of stagnation.

These days, I do not experience depression. And while I am grateful for that in several ways, I also miss my emotional depth and creativity. When I am depressed, I am motivated to discuss several topics, and inspire others with my words and reflection. I am more compassionate, more in-touch with nature and my senses, and even more grateful for the tiny blessings that occur in a given day. Everything becomes more acute, and it is as if a new ability to experience heightened awareness floods my body. For lack of a better way to describe it, it is a beautiful sadness.

 When I am ‘normal’ and happy, I am on autopilot. I plow through my day more effortlessly and with less thought/attention to detail. While life like this is easier and less taxing, in a strange way it also feels less meaningful. I am less provoked by stimulating events, and less likely to cry during emotionally-laden conversations. Things don’t shake me in the same way that they used to. In fact, I cannot remember the last time I shed a tear…and I seriously believe that’s a first. That’s not to say that I don’t care about things. I definitely still do.

That being said, I am still 100% thankful for my continued happiness and stability. Lexapro is killin’ the game, even at my 5mg dose.

A few more things to note about it though:

*My blood pressure has dropped considerably since I’ve begun this medication. I think that may be attributable to the pill’s potential to reduce salt levels in the blood. Since I know that I don’t drink enough water, dehydration is likely causing this drop in blood pressure.

*My memory has worsened. Everyday stories and details are forgotten much more easily. This isn’t adversely affecting my work, school, or personal life. It’s just a bit frustrating when things need to be told to me more than once.

Although life without depression is less intense, it is also much easier. With nothing holding me back, I feel like all of my professional goals are attainable. Heck, I’m even considering pursuing a PsyD in the future! It’s exciting to feel like my life is on track, and that I am on the path to achieving an independently secure future that I can feel proud of. Life is kind of crazy, and I’ve gotta admit, I’m loving it.

 Until next time ❤

xx allie

The AA Movement

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As most of you might already know, I am in graduate school studying to earn my MS in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy. As part of my program, I am enrolled in a Substance Abuse and Dependency course that requires me to attend at least one Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting and one Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meeting.

In the past week, I have attended two AA meetings and one NA meeting.

While I walked away from each meeting feeling like a better person than I did when I entered, the Friday night meeting felt the most impactful to me. This meeting was an AA open speaker meeting, scheduled for 8pm this past Friday. Coincidentally, 8pm on a Friday night is a typical hour for people to begin to ‘turn up’ and pre-game before hitting the bars and clubs. But not here. Not at this church. A community of over 200 people joined on this night to celebrate the ‘birthdays’ of alcoholics.

What is a birthday of an alcoholic? It is another year of sobriety. It is another year of willpower, temptation, good days, bad days, cravings, and mastery. Mastery of another year without a sip of alcohol. Mastery of sobriety.

At the beginning of the meeting, the speaker asked all alcoholics to raise their hands. Every person in every pew raised their hand. You wonder, how do all of these beautiful humans walk among us and work beside us, without us having any knowledge of their membership to the AA program and the insane struggles that they have faced? There is an entire community of alcoholics that are a large part of every city, and the average person exists entirely devoid of this knowledge. We are naive to it. We are ignorant.

I was moved as I watched individuals of all ages, ethnicities, and professions blow out the candles on their cakes and proceed to tell their stories. These people were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc. Drug dependency is no respecter of peoples. It can affect anyone, at any time.

But what was amazing to me was the camaraderie that had been formed amongst all of these people with a common desire: the desire to live. The desire to gain their lives back. Here they had come to make, quite possibly, the toughest decision of their lives. The decision to abstain from a substance that had succeeded at running (and ruining) their lives. Here they had come to gain control back. To take the control away from the substance and to work hard every.damn.day. to live a clean and sober life that at first felt unfamiliar, vulnerable, and scary. Here they had gained the support that they lacked, when they lost all of their family and friends from their addictions.

One of the hardest things that all AA members must come to accept is the notion that “once an addict, always an addict”. An older gentleman was 33 years sober, and yet still an addict. One lady said in her speech–“I will be an addict until the day they lower me into my grave…but the one thing I will not be, is a drunk”.

One addict explained how, even after 9 years of sobriety, every time he walks through the liquor aisle in a grocery store it feels like he is walking through an aisle of explosives. He then went on to say that he fears the day it ceases to feel that way, as he knows it will be a very bad sign for him.

He mentioned that alcohol continues to come up in a number of life scenarios. People cook with alcohol. There is alcohol in medicines. Do these things count for the alcoholic? It’s a fine line, but it’s questionable. Addicts must be mindful and wise in their decision-making if they do not want to relapse.

It felt ironic that alcohol could be the absolute enemy for all of these people in the church that night, while at the exact same time, hundreds of other people would turn to it as a way to unwind from the week and let loose. Alcohol is powerful. As one alcoholic put it, “choosing to drink is like playing with fire”. It’s never a problem at first, but eventually things can get out of hand. Before you know it, you hit bottom and lose everything that matters.

It is because of programs like AA and NA that people get their lives back. Alcoholics Anonymous instills hope. It brings about change, and positivity. It is a catalyst for miracles to occur. AA is a community of love, faith, non-judgment, and friendship. AA meetings can be found in every 5 mile radius, nearly every hour of the day. It is ALL OVER, and widely available. These meetings will gladly welcome anyone, and everyone. It is a movement…and an absolute beautiful one at that.

Although I am not an alcoholic myself, I have been able to gain a great deal of insight and perspective from the meetings that I have attended. And even though I have fulfilled my requirement for my course, I intend to continue attending meetings. They make me want to strive to be a better person. They put life into perspective, and remind you just how fragile it can be. These meetings give us reasons to be thankful for wherever we are at in our lives. I think that if more people (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic alike) were to attend these meetings, the world would undoubtedly be a better place.

I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone, and attend one. You will be surprised what you can learn from others.

xx allie

2017 Reflections

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Luckily, I had much to be grateful for in 2017. This past year was a year of personal growth. I spent a good deal of time and effort bettering myself and working on my shortcomings. It was a year of recovery from depression, personal psychotherapy sessions, reading self-help and psychological novels, and coming to know more about who I am as a person and what I am looking for in a future. I have come to acknowledge and accept my weaknesses, and have discovered the potential I have to be a great therapist nonetheless.  Because even therapists are not perfect. Because even therapists do not have all of the answers. We are all human, and we are all susceptible to the obstacles inherent in being alive.

Through trial and error, and hardship and hurt I learned about what I am not looking for in a relationship, and consequently the things that I value most. I learned that no amount of love for a person supersedes compromise or respect. I learned that not everything can be fixed, and that sometimes letting go is the best, albeit the hardest, solution.

I learned that people who block your path to betterment and success are better left behind…not with anger or hatred, but with compassion toward their self-set limitations. When you are ready to let go of the people who are holding you back, beautiful things begin to happen.

After letting go of my last relationship, I was able to divert misused energy and passion to something that truly mattered: my education. Gone were days of tears, anger, bewilderment, and betrayal, and instead came feelings of self-fulfillment, gratitude, and pride.  A sense of completeness came over me, as I felt more whole on my own than with anyone else. Nothing had the power to upset me now. Nothing had the power to knock me off my feet, except my own exhilaration and momentum in life.

I started graduate school in August of 2017, and began to surround myself with anything and everything that steered me closer to my goals. For the first time in years, I found myself sitting down to write papers at coffee shops on weekdays—my absolute favorite thing to do. I could immerse myself in the topics and literature that fed my passions and left me itching for more. Everything felt right again. Everything felt purposeful. I completed my first semester with nothing but ‘A+’s, and I couldn’t be more proud of the hard work and countless hours that I devoted to earning those grades. Nothing came before school. Nothing served as a distraction. For that, I feel lucky.

In 2017, I was able to adhere to a good routine involving a number of various exercises per week. I lifted weights, took Zumba, played tennis, and became a new member at Studio Barre in Newbury Park. The community at Studio Barre, paired with the physical challenge, kept me coming back and actually looking forward to it. Exercise ceased to feel like a hassle, and therefore I kept it up. This year I experienced less “phases” and more of a hard-wired lifestyle.

I have managed to hold on to all of my best friends, despite occasional tiffs or disagreements. Again, I was graced with another year of proof that my friendships are solid and shatterproof. The health of the ones I love is, for another year, pristine. There is nothing that is more of a blessing to me than this.

Wealth has entered into my life in many forms. But monetarily speaking, I cannot say enough great things about the cryptocurrencies that I’ve invested in during 2017. I feel that good earnings will continue to come, and I truly encourage people to educate themselves on these types of investments and join in while they continue to rise!

It is true that 2017 brought with it a few unforeseen endings. However, with endings come new beginnings…and I can’t say enough about how excited I am to embark on the new beginnings that have recently entered my life. I feel good vibes heading into the new year, and I am excited to be carried by life’s waves of spontaneity and good grace.

Happy New Year to all. Let’s make it the best one yet.

xx allie

 

 

December Faves

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Happy Wednesday Everyone!

Hope everyone is having a good day.

I just got demolished by a final…but it’s okay–time to study for the next one! I forgot how draining it is to study for finals. I’m done with 3 of 4 now, and I swear, I’m not cut out for this. My brain is slacking on everyday things this week, as I’ve been diverting all of my mental energy on psychopathology, research methods, family systems therapy techniques, and psychotherapy theories. Help.Me. I am counting down the hours until I’m done with tomorrow’s class and I can finally celebrate the Winter break and my birthday weekend! No more school for another month! WOOHOO.

Anywaysssss—

This Christmas season is an unusual one for California. As you might be aware, it’s been a white Christmas season….and I mean white with ash. If you live in an affected area, then you have probably seen the ash layering the streets, your car, your roof, etc. This makes me so sad. There are many people I know that have lost their homes or have been evacuated as a result of the fires. I, for one, truly miss FRESH AIR. Tempted to take a hiatus from California and head to Washington for a nice, long weekend. I could really use some forest beauty and R&R. I’ve always wanted to be spontaneous one day and just UP and GO. Maybe I’ll do it this winter break….

I’ve been meaning to write a blog post for A WHILE, and unfortunately I have not had the time to sit down and just DO IT. But today, since I am braindead from my final a few hours ago, I figured I’d sit down and finally write one before getting back to my studies.

Happy December Folks! Here are a few of my DECEMBER FAVES!!!

  1. ADVENT CALENDARS: If you know me at all, then you know this is a Keyser Family tradition. There is no December without an advent calendar. Why do we love these so much? Because you’re guaranteed chocolate every day. Also because it’s a countdown to Christmas. Need I say more? I get mine from Trader Jos. They never fail.img_8074-e1513225042235.png
  2. WINTER SCENTED CANDLES: YES YES YES. The one I’m burning this precise moment is “Evergreen” scented and it’s from Bath & Body Works. It literally smells like a forest of Christmas trees in my room right now. They have a ton of different scents to choose from, and it’s so much fun to explore them all! I always aim for the Soy wax candles..since they emit a healthier smoke into the air than just your average candle.
  3. HOT CHOCOLATE: I don’t feel guilty about drinking empty calories if it’s during the holiday season (or lets be honest…pretty much ever). If I enjoy the drink…then no regrets. If you’re in the market for a fan.tas.tic hot chocolate, then look no further then Starbucks Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate drink. (disclaimer–you don’t even have to like caramel to LOVE this drink)
  4. CHRISTMAS MOVIES: This might be the only time that I recommend Hallmark movies…but if you’re going to watch them at all…then I guess it’s permissible in December of all months. You must also watch “The Grinch”, “The Santa Clause”, “Elf”, and “The Holiday”. I just purchased a 50 inch HD 4K tv for my room, so you can bet that I’ll be spending my entire winter break snuggled up binge watching everything that exists.
  5. BABY CHRISTMAS TREES: Trader Jos comes in clutch with these too. I bought a baby  tree for my room, equipped with silver confetti sparkles for decoration. It is literally adorable on a bedside table and doesn’t take up much space at all! I think mine cost about $3…but they have a special “Grump” tree that is SO freaking cute. I recommend it.

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6. STRING LIGHTS: These add the perfect holiday touch to any room. I found mine at Target for only $5 (batteries not included). They are super cute, perfect length for my windows, and have little rose gold bells attached.

7. STOCKING STUFFERS: Stockings are (hands down) my favorite part about Christmas morning. It’s so much fun to explore your stocking…because every goody is such a surprise! Some ideas for stuffers: nail polish, face masks, little gift cards to Starbucks or In-N-Out (if you’re Californian), chocolate, fuzzy socks, lip gloss, hand creams, etc.! Be creative… and maybe even a little quirky.

Okay that’s all the time I have for today guys. Keep your eyes out for more posts….as I am about to have SO MUCH MORE TIME!

xx

allie

Black Friday Consumes Thanksgiving

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Happy Tuesday everyone–it’s almost Thanksgiving! I hope that everyone is excited for turkey, Martinelli’s sparkling cider, and good ol’ pumpkin pie. We all know that year after year we consume over 5,000 calories in that one Thanksgiving meal alone! Only this year it’s different. Thanksgiving itself is being consumed. Hide yo kids, hide yo wife.

If you’ve done your research at all on the Black Friday specials of 2017, then you may have noticed that the major door-busters begin at 6pm on Thanksgiving night. 6 PM!!! What in the name of Christopher Columbus?! I thought black Friday starts on Friday?

Isn’t it true that Black Friday used to start at precisely midnight following Thanksgiving?!

Over the years, black Friday has continued to creep closer and closer to Thanksgiving night. Last year I remember that a lot of the doors opened at 9 or 10 pm…. and even that was pushing it. BUT NOW 6PM? If you’re like most Americans…then chances are you are just sitting down to eat your Thanksgiving feast with the fam at this time. And now what? Instead of enjoying and appreciating quality family time, we are all supposed to be running off and finding the best deals on expensive items? Blasphemy.

What about everyone that must show up to work at 6pm on Thanksgiving, just so that people can barge their way through the doors and save money on a TV or game system? Hath America no soul?

At this rate, I would not be surprised if Thanksgiving goes extinct in the coming years. Black Friday will become Black Thursday, replacing Thanksgiving once and for all. I digress..

I honestly refuse to be at the door-buster sales this year, and I highly encourage all others to do the same. Instead, I will be embarking on a CyberMonday shopping spree from the comfort of my own home. In fact, I am hearing that CyberMonday is supposed to be even better than Black Friday….so there.

This Thanksgiving…don’t lose sight of what is truly important. Family, friends, and thankfulness. ❤

…and if you do decide to shop this Black Friday, then may the odds be ever in your favor.

xx allie

 

 

Shaken

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All day today I have felt shaken. I simply cannot get the vision of Sunday night’s catastrophe out of my head…and yet I was not even there. Thankfully, I did not attend that concert. Thankfully, no one that I personally know was hurt. But tonight I lay in my bed thinking about the many thousands of people who lost someone dear to them unexpectedly on that night. I wonder how many people will cry themselves to sleep, grieving over the loss of their son or daughter, their husband or wife, their cousin or best friend. Nobody could have foreseen the events of that night that left us all in disbelief. Nobody can undo it. My heart breaks to know this.

As I studied today in a public place, I felt an overwhelming sense of anxiety as I imagined how it would feel if suddenly I were challenged with the daunting task of running for my life amidst an avalanche of bullets. A feeling of panic overcame my entire body as I stewed in fear at the thought of its possibility. To think that at any moment one could be caught off guard and introduced to the stark contrast of life and death.

There is nothing in this world that will remedy the tragedy that occurred on Sunday in Las Vegas. But when tragedies of this sort happen, it is important that we do the only thing that we know how–look for the light.

There were many heroes that rose to the occasion when those bullets were fired. Incredible people jumped in front of bullets to save others they did not know. On that night, we saw the sinister act of one highly disturbed person. But in contrast, we also bore witness to the truly compassionate nature that resides within the very same species. We were reminded, albeit traumatically, of the extremely divergent conditions of the human mind. The devastation that can result from that of a deeply troubled mind, versus the heroic altruism that comes from the same network of neuronal connections.

We wonder what caused such a psychotic break. What compelled this man to follow-through with the deadliest recorded mass shooting in US history? The sickly part is that we may never know. We may never determine what caused him to snap. This shakes us even more.

But if we can learn anything from this tragedy, let it be this: spread kindness. 

We cannot know what people are going through behind the scenes. We cannot know how our interaction with a stranger might affect their decisions–and how those decisions might affect others. We cannot truly know even the people that we think we know. The best defense against this act of violence is just simply to spread kindness. It doesn’t take much, but it makes all the difference. Do something to make someone’s day. Start a chain reaction. Show the world what us humans are really made of.

#prayforvegas

xx allie

A Grateful Wednesday Morning…

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As I sip my regular hazelnut latte in a local Coffee Bean at nearly 10am on a Wednesday September morning, I couldn’t feel more in my element. It’s calm and quiet in here, aside from the background music that’s playing, and to my right is a fall-themed poster hanging on the wall, advertising their new pumpkin cold brew almond milk latte. This morning is calm and peaceful. There’s something magical about it, in fact. Today I feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude.

For today, I’m not in a hospital. I’m not at a funeral. Today I’m not amidst a natural disaster. Today, I made it to the coffee shop without being pulled over or getting into an accident. I looked in the mirror this morning and saw nothing that was cause for concern. I woke up today in my bed, calmly and without being startled by a major earthquake. I used my credit card to purchase my coffee, and it didn’t get declined. Everybody that I know and care for, to my knowledge, is well and happy. Today is a beautiful day.

This morning I am living the life that I’ve been envisioning for a while. I am enrolled in grad school, working to become a professional mental health clinician. Week days can now be spent focused on the subjects that interest me, and capture my heart. Effort can now be expended in activities that will catapult me into the career that will complete me and fulfill my soul.

Sitting here in this coffee shop, about to endeavor on my readings for the week, is exactly where I want to be in this very moment. I could think of nowhere else that would empower me more. I am in my element, doing the very things that I’ve been wanting. I am where I need to be, to get to where I want to go. There is absolutely nothing more comforting than that feeling.

If you aren’t living your life in your element, I highly encourage working towards it. Absolutely nothing compares. Follow your dreams, and more importantly follow your heart. A waiter once told me, “if you follow your heart in life, then you’ll never be disappointed“. I remember when he said these words, I screenshotted them in my mind. I knew that there was validity to this statement. I knew that this guy was speaking from experience.

I think his statement was true for anything. For love, for education, for careers…for life. If you do nothing else worthy of noting, then do this one thing–follow your heart.

Happy Wednesday, blogees. Stay beautiful.

xx allie

 

Welcome Fall

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Alright, so I know that it isn’t “officially” fall yet, but I can’t help the fact that it sure does feel like it. And quite honestly, I couldn’t be more excited for the change of season. I always look forward to the start of fall, but when it actually arrives it ends up being SO much more satisfying than I even remembered.

Every morning that I wake up in the fall is a glorious one. Why? Because the lighting is different; there is a slightly orange filter that blankets the town making everything seem literally kissed by the sun. The wind feels different, and the leaves start to fall. There is no season, to me, more beautiful than that of fall. The beauty of the earth is just too powerful not to notice. It overwhelms my senses in the best of ways.

Starbucks has begun to serve their seasonal drinks again (hallelujah!). Pumpkin spiced lattes and salted caramel mochas, and I just can’t get enough. I spend too many hours per week inside a Starbucks establishment, and yet I don’t regret a minute of it (although admittedly, my bank account does). The taste of fall invigorates my taste buds, activating every pleasure center in my brain.

I woke up to a pumpkin on my kitchen table this morning, and immediately I felt energized by the realization that my favorite season is again here. Once the heat wave passes through, it will be time for scarves and boots, leggings and sweaters. It will be time for rainy nights, and hot cocoa. Thunderstorms and lightening skies.

There is something intimate about the fall. There is a peaceful undertone, that hums in the background of every day. There is a whisper of hope in the air. It is hard to describe the feeling of enlightenment that I get from experiencing the beauty of a fall day. It is a feeling unlike any other. I am awakened by it, and reminded of my extremely fortunate life. I am at harmony.

I challenge you to cherish every day of the season, and to be grateful for the life you live despite any trying circumstances you may be experiencing. If you are healthy and alive, revel in that. Seize the day, and make it count.

Happy Fall.

xx allie