Learning & Accepting Your Limits

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As I get older, I realize more and more that there simply is not enough time in a day. Over the course of the last few years, I have discovered what is largely important to me to feel happy and complete inside. Among these are the following:

Spending quality time with my best friends and family

Working out regularly (mainly for the emotional benefits and stress relief)

Reading for pleasure (to quiet my mind at night and continue to self-learn)

Maintaining outside camaraderies with my coworkers

In order to see to it that I accomplish these goals on a weekly basis, I find that my days are jam-packed! I leave the house at 7:30am for work, and oftentimes don’t return home until 8pm or later. By the time I eat, shower, and prepare myself for the next work day, there is little time for tv or reading before turning in and going to bed before 11pm (which is what I tend to aim for on the week nights). From an outsider’s perspective, it looks as though I am running around like a chicken with my head cut off. But to me, this has become pretty much the norm. I have grown accustomed to having a busy life, and for the most part, I don’t mind it.

There come times however, where I must acknowledge my limits and take time to preserve my energy and nurture my mental well-being. For instance, I try to plan my workouts for the upcoming week on Sunday so that I can make my other plans around these time blocks. In many cases, this works well for me as I have made it a HUGE priority for myself to work out at least 3 days a week in order to combat depression and the onset of stress. In fact, since I’ve been working out more routinely, I’ve noticed a decline in my susceptibility to illness. Not only is my mental well-being gaining strength and resilience, but so is my body and my immune system. WIN-WIN. However, I would say that at least one day a week I finish work and realize that I just simply do NOT have the energy, and would be better off skipping out on my pre-planned workout. In these cases, I feel that it is important to listen to the signals my body is sending me and take time to rest and recover. Although I’m always a little bummed out that had to forfeit my workout, I know that I am doing my body a favor by listening to it. This is a prime example of knowing my limits.

Sometimes I’ll have a friend ask me if I am available to hang out on a weekend night or do something fun on a week day night. While I always feel a strong inclination to want to accept any invitation to spend time with my friends, sometimes I have to take time to deliberate whether I have the resources to. What do I mean by this? In many cases, I have already planned at least 2-3 hangouts with different friends during the week, and while I might be available during the time that they’ve requested to hang out, it might be the better option for me to just relax and take a breather. In other words, I don’t need to (and probably shouldn’t) book every free minute of my day. Sometimes it is nice to be able to recharge during the weekends and get a good night’s sleep. While it is tough to decline a fun hangout, sometimes it’s what my body and mind truly need. This is another example of knowing my limits. Despite my desire to stay busy and continue to nourish my friendships, I also allocate time in the week to block out for rest/recovery.

If you know me at all, then you know how much I love to read at night before bed. Some days, however, I am just so exhausted from a jam-packed schedule or mentally arduous work day. While it somewhat disappoints me to have to skip a night of reading, I understand that sometimes my brain needs a rest from thinking. For this reason, there are times where I forgo my book and choose to be on autopilot while watching a mindless tv show or series. It is so fulfilling to sit back, relax, and be entertained without having to put forth any effort in return.

I chose this topic to write about today because I am starting grad school in exactly a week, and I know that once I do, I will have to re-learn my limits and adjust accordingly to my new challenges. While I am cutting down my work hours from 40 to 20 per week, I realize that classes and homework will account for much more than what I’m surrendering. I will likely have to make sacrifices in order to accomplish my responsibilities. This might mean less workouts per week, getting less sleep, spending less time with friends/family, or even putting ‘on pause’ my pleasure reading. While it is hard to anticipate how drastically my schedule will change and exactly what kinds of sacrifices will be in order, I am prepared to be flexible and morph into my new role as a student again. I am working towards my professional career, and that often does come with some sacrifice. I simply cannot wait until I am finally a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, whatever that may take!

Since the inception of my blog in January, I have been doing my best to continue adding new posts at least once per week. I will continue to try to update my viewers with new posts, as my journey is only just beginning! Please be patient with any inactivity for the next few weeks as I try to re-learn my boundaries, adjust to my changing schedule, and allocate time for this very important blog. I appreciate all of the amazing comments you send me, and the extreme level of encouragement to continue. You all are the best!

xx allie

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Wednesday Review: Annabelle Creation

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Alright guys, if you like scary movies at all, then this blog post is for you.

I’ve always loved horror/suspense movies, but unfortunately it’s always been tricky to find friends that like them too. I remember I would have to force my friends to watch the scary scenes, or they’d bury their heads into a pillow and sheepishly ask what’s happening.

So last night, when I went to see the new movie Annabelle Creation, I found myself especially captivated by the previews prior to the flick starting. I am so pleased to say that MANY more scary movies are coming out soon…and they look HELLA good. Just to name a few:

  • Jigsaw (If you love the Saw movies like I do, you may find this one interesting)
  • Stephen King’s It (Every single trailer of this is phenomenal. This is going to be epically scary)
  • Happy Death Day (Had never heard of this before last night, but it looked pretty good. Watch trailer here)

Now to review Annabelle Creation:

I entered into this movie with very little idea of what to expect. I believe I had seen the trailer on one occasion, and I hadn’t read any reviews. I like to be completely surprised by the films that I see in theaters, so I try not to update myself on any of the buzz that’s spreading about anything I’m planning to see. I’m really glad I had no idea what to expect, because I was pleasantly surprised by many things about this one.

The Acting: There are a number of younger girls in this movie, some less established in their acting career than others. I was rather impressed by how believable their acting was for their ages, as they were captivating enough to cause the viewer to suspend reality and get wrapped up in the film. There were many occasions where I jumped, flinched, or covered my mouth in shock, partly because it was so believable that I forgot I wasn’t actually there! The camera angles were worked nicely, adding just the right amount of suspense as we waited to see what was behind someone or around the corner.

The Plot: Although there have been many movies about dolls or girls that get possessed by an evil spirit, this one didn’t seem too mainstream. There was enough variation in the plot, and memorable turning points, that I couldn’t always anticipate what was going to happen next. The movie is almost two hours long, but it is well enough done that all scenes seem to flow smoothly into one another, with little room for any removal. The movie gets going rather quickly, and progresses at a fast enough pace all the way through. I, personally, was also impressed with the CGI, and did not think that they went too over the top with it. Perfect amount. The imagery was terrifying and realistic-looking. Ending could have been better, and a little less abrupt, after all of the build-up, but it wasn’t terrible.

Overall: I was pretty impressed by this film, and definitely think that it lives up to the scariness that has come to be expected by recent-day horror films. I give it an “A-“, mainly because the ending could have been better and this wasn’t as good as the “Conjuring 2” which I still view as “A+” quality. The “Conjuring 2” literally gave me a headache from all of the stress and anxiety I experienced during the course of the film. And while that doesn’t sound ideal, to me that is a blatant success (since I find that I am particularly difficult to scare).

If you haven’t seen this film yet, and you can appreciate a good horror flick, I suggest paying the money to watch it in the theater. The large screen and quality surround sound definitely add to the experience. You won’t be disappointed.

After watching this movie, I can hardly wait for the Halloween Season! I’m ready for scary movies, candy eating, pumpkin patches, costumes, and of course..Halloween Horror Nights. Only a month and a half to go.

xx allie

 

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

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

The Bachelorette Finale–Exposed

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Last Night’s Season Finale: Convo between Rach and Peter

As many of you probably know, last night was the Season Finale of the Bachelorette. Before I get into my thoughts on the conclusion of the show, there are a few points that I would like to take a moment to make. There are a large number of people that believe The Bachelor/The Bachelorette is entirely staged and made up. Many people believe that the drama is created by the producers, and the ‘love’/feelings are an act. While I am not an expert on the production or directing of these two ABC shows, I do have several strong beliefs that negate these claims:

First off, when you put a large group of men or women in the same living space for an extended period of time, and tell them they are all ‘competing’ for the same person, there’s no need to add on extra drama. That scenario presents all of its own drama. Jealousy and insecurity are undoubtedly at play. For men (especially) who are ‘competing’ for the same woman, displays of aggression, masculinity, and hostility are also often at play. Drama is naturally inherent in this type of competitive situation. This is a show however, and there is editing of footage. Therefore, I am sure that editors pick and choose scenes which will portray the most excitement, drama, embarrassment, etc. We are definitely shown only a small percentage of the entire footage, and are only exposed to certain aspects of peoples’ personalities, giving us a very narrow view of what these people are actually like. It takes an artful finagling of footage to mold the show in such a way that is entertaining, dramatic, and influential…and trust me the editors of the Bachelor/Bachelorette have mastered this.

The people on this show are not actors. They are regular people that are selected by submitting an application and showing up for casting calls. Although the term “casting calls” may sound like an “acting” type of interview, I am sure that producers are just trying to determine whether these people are reasonable enough to air on television, or are a good potential match with the Bachelor/Bachelorette. Bear in mind though, that ultimately the casting directors are in charge of selecting the people that will be on the show. Therefore, they probably choose a handful of silly, outrageous contestants that will likely just add entertainment value to the show.

The feelings that are expressed on this show are real (although, of course, the nature of the show intensifies emotions), and several of the couples that resulted at the end of these seasons have progressed into marriages and families with children.  If you really think it’s all staged and acting, then how far does that go? Why are many of the couples still together? Of course, not ALL of the couples have lasted. Can you really expect them to? Going on extravagant dates on helicopters and yachts doesn’t last forever, and a lot of the excitement wears away as soon as the show ends. Real-life problems begin to arise for the couple, which is not yet familiar with working through these types of issues. But honestly, if 50% of these relationships do end up working out, then that’s about the same odds as real life these days anyways…no? Also, not every person who comes on the show is looking for love and marriage. There are many people who come on the show for the wrong reasons—such as fame. It is not until halfway through the show that we begin to realize who these people are, and what they are there for. So probably only half or less of the original contestants are actual, reasonable contenders for the purposes for finding love with the Bachelor/Bachelorette.

Anyways, let’s get to the good stuff…So about last night:

I have to say, from the very beginning of the show, I was rooting for Peter. I saw instant chemistry between Rachel and Peter, and I could tell that Peter was very sincere and genuine with his feelings toward Rachel from the very start. Peter was honest throughout the progression of the show, and he was open and willing to find love. He was respectful of Rachel, and also respectful of all of the other men in the house. He never started drama, or provoked it. Peter was there for the right reasons, and was looking to find a wife.

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So freaking cute

I do believe that Peter is ready for marriage, however he felt that the 2.5 months that he had known Rachel was not enough to know, with certainty, whether he was ready to commit to spending the rest of his life with her. I think this is totally fair and respectable. Sometimes people can fall in love quickly, and Peter was in love. However, he wanted to propose one time in his life, in the same way he hopes to only ever be married one time in his life. He didn’t want to make this gesture unless he was absolutely 100% certain that this was the woman he wanted to be with forever. He was not asking to break up. He was asking for more time. If Rachel was more confident in what they shared, then she probably would have accepted his request for more time before an engagement. However, I think Rachel was SO fixated on ending this show with an engagement that she gave up a very sincere and loving man for someone who was ready to commit the very. next. day. Peter and Rachel’s breakup was devastating, and if you think they were acting, you’re kidding yourself! Watching that breakup was tough, and undoubtedly provoked a number of familiar feelings for many of the viewers. I cried just watching it. It is clearly evident that Peter and Rachel were in love, and in fact, I have to believe that Rachel may have chosen Peter if he were ready at that time to get down on one knee. So did Rachel make the wrong decision? I personally think so, but I suppose only time will tell.

Do I think Bryan and her are happy together? Yes. For now. However, I believe that he was ultimately the wrong choice for a husband. Bryan seems to me to be less genuine and sincere. He never expressed any ounce of doubt that Rachel was the one, which I think is somewhat unrealistic when placing importance on the prospect of marriage. Having doubt is normal and healthy. It’s okay to feel unsure in ways. I believe that Bryan was afraid to even give the feeling of doubt a chance to surface, which I feel will eventually lead to their relationship’s demise, among other things. Although of course, I wish them the best (moreso for Rachel’s sake).

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Rach and the new fiance

Last but not least, I’d like to make a note about Peter and Rachel’s interaction on the “hot seat” in the studio last night. Yet again, devastating. It truly doesn’t feel like their relationship is over. More words need to be spoken, and more points need to be addressed. It was absolutely obvious that the love was still present between them, and that Rachel still had feelings toward Peter. It was upsetting to me to learn that Peter reached out to Rachel, but she rejected having a conversation with him. Let’s face it, we all wanted them to kiss and make up…which COULD have happened if Rachel gave him the chance. However, I am sure she refused this conversation out of respect for her new fiancé, Bryan. In this case only, I can respect her decision. Peter mentioned during the show that he felt somewhat “attacked” by Rachel. Although he couldn’t verbalize or elaborate on that feeling, I could see what he meant. I thought it was a low blow for her to outright say she’s “living her best life now”, after he apologized for a comment he made in the heat of the moment of their breakup (which was not even a poor choice of words in my opinion!). The comment was: that if she chooses not to be with Peter, she may be choosing to live a life of mediocrity with someone else. Totally an acceptable thing to say during such a dramatic, and monumental decision. He was only trying to sway Rachel toward having patience for him, and faith in them.

All in all, I feel sorry for Peter. I think he was the perfect husband material, and could have been great for Rachel. While I don’t feel as strongly for her connection with Bryan, I hope that their relationship works out in the end. I hope that my intuition about Bryan’s insincerity is wrong. Truth be told, even though Bryan proposed, the risk is all still there. A proposal isn’t definitive. Whether she chose to be with Peter or Bryan, risks that the relationship would not work out are inevitable. I guess she just chose to have that risk with Bryan over Peter. Sigh.

It was, yet again, a good season of the Bachelorette, and I’m already looking forward to watching the next Bachelor. Wonder who it’s going to be! Any speculations?

While I’d love to see it be Peter, I am skeptical that this method for finding a wife is for him. He deserves to find love in a natural, organic way.

Well, that’s it for now!

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.

Bend1
Riverhouse on the Deschutes

Bend2

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

You Look Tired Today

tired

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.

ruana

  • 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.

water bottle

  • 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.

highlighter.jpg

  • 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.

necklace

  • 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

simple pleasures

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