Battling Boredom: My Go-To Activities to Help Me Stay Sane and Inspired

April 28, 2020

Photo by Victoria Bilsborough 

This quarantine period has been... weird. I've had days of crippling anxiety and fear, which is far from fun. But I've also had days of profound gratitude and joy because I've re-introducing things into my life that have helped me feel more consistently energized than I've felt in the past four years. It's kind of scary how easy it is to get caught up in the mundane parts of life and work and feel like your soul has been sucked away. I knew that if I didn't focus or prioritize adding happy activities into my schedule during this shutdown, I would seep into a deeper depression. Personally, long periods of boredom lead to heavy periods of depression in my life. It's a patterned I've noticed over and over since I've graduated college. And it's a cycle I'm committed to breaking. I knew I had to be proactive and push myself to do at least one fulfilling activity a day to stay in a healthy mindset, so that is exactly what I did. Here are a few activities I've been prioritizing during the shutdown to take care of my mental health. Since these habits have reignited something inside me, I plan to keep prioritizing these activities even when quarantine is over.

Color or paint while watching trash reality tv shows or any funny show.
Love Island (UK and AU version), ALL of the shows under the 90 Day Fiancé Umbrella and Marrying Millions have entertained me so much. I never liked reality tv until maybe a year or two ago but now I'm addicted. If reality tv isn't your thing, I've been loving uplifting comedy shows like Brooklyn nine-nine, Blackish, Schitt's Creek and The Good Place. Pretty much any show that can make us laugh should be prioritized right now. The more good vibes, the better.  And to avoid feeling like a useless slob while watching hours and hours of TV, I've found that coloring in an adult coloring book or using my watercolor paint kit has legit been feeding my soul. Guys, I feel so refreshed and relaxed while exploring my artistic side. Here are a few coloring/watercolor books I've been loving or  I want to buy (*affiliate links). Maybe I'll start a portfolio for my artwork lol.

Take an online class in a fun or stimulating subject 
I feel the most fulfilled when I am learning or improving a skill. That's why I love the art of dance so much. Exploring and learning new choreography is challenging, fun and gives me a sense of accomplishment. But I've also been spending a lot of time diving into finance courses (learning about money is really fucking fun, just trust me and try it) as well as career skill courses, fitness courses and hobby classes. I want to learn calligraphy, fashion illustration, improve my handstands and upper body strength, etc. Between my dance conditioning/flexibility classes, choreography classes, twerk and floor work classes, career classes and art classes... it's pretty hard to feel bored.

Have a dance party 
Dancing has been one of my favorite outlets since I could walk. Although I dedicate a lot of time to taking dance classes so I can train and improve my technique, blasting music and dancing in the privacy of my own bedroom is still one of my favorite ways to spend an hour or so of my day. Especially if I have a glass of wine or a Truly drink in my hand. It's freeing and it's not like anyone is watching so it really doesn't matter what I look like. It's just a form of fun and excellent cardio.

Play Sims Freeplay or Animal Crossing 
So I'm not going to lie, sometimes I get real addicted to video games... like on a "drop a lot of money and set alarms to finish timed tasks in the game" level. Oooopps. I'd like to think that I've outgrown that bad habit since I now limit how much time I spend playing games, but they are still hella fun. My quarantine roommate just got a Switch and now I kind of want one. Video games are an amazing way to escape reality for a little bit. As long as you aren't blowing a lot of money on games and extension packs (like I did in the past), go forth and conquer lol.

Go for a walk and listen to a podcast, call a friend/loved one... or drink
One of my roommates and I went for a walk by the water this past weekend and a few restaurants along the shore have cocktail stands. This was one of the highlights of my weekend. Something so simple and cheap was so uplifting. It's easy to fall into the trap that I need to spend a lot of money to have fun, but this quarantine has been a great reminder that I really, really don't.

Turn my meals into luxurious experiences
Now I understand why so many European cultures take their time eating meals. It makes the day so much more fucking fun. I wrote a post listing a few of my favorite ways to turn an ordinary meal at home into an incredible experience. I hope it gives you some practical, affordable and inspirational ways to enjoy your next meal.

I personally like to read books at night because I know I usually fall asleep if I read at home. I end up melting into the couch, chair or bed unless I'm drinking a cup of coffee while I read. But reading blogs and digital media articles is hella fun too. I love sipping on a cup of tea while I catch up on my favorite blogs and lifestyle sites. Such an easy way to take a mental escape for a little bit.

Work on my passion project aka this blog. 
I love writing and creating. I love curating collages and piecing together looks. I love having wine-filled photoshoots. I love having a platform that I can turn into a business with hard-work and dedication. I know that blogging is far from everyone's cup of tea, but I believe everyone has multiple things in their hearts that they have been dying to pursue. And one of those things has to be possible to do from home. The best part is, you don't need to try to be the best or figure out how to monetize that passion unless you really want to. There's nothing wrong with pursuing a goal just for fucking fun or to build self-esteem. I have friends who have been using some of their time at home to take their workouts to the next level, caught up on their reading lists, worked on writing books, researched more about their dream career fields, learned how to make fancy cocktails, taken their businesses to the next level, like honestly the list goes on and on. Doesn't really matter what you do, as long as it helps you feel energized and you see it as a way to escape as opposed to seeing it as a responsibility.

I hope seeing what I do for fun encourages you to add more fun to your daily routine. Just because something works well for me, doesn't mean it will work well for you. It's all about trial and error. But I'd love to learn what you've been doing for fun these past few weeks. The more ideas we share, the better. Thank you so much for spending a moment of your day to read this post. Your support means the world to me.

Evening Plans: Virtual (Or Solo) Dinner Party

April 27, 2020

Photo by Linus Mimietz 

Before the world went into disarray, I rarely cooked and ate dinner at home. My evenings consisted of dance classes in the city or picking up something quick to eat after a long day of work. That being said, I barely made an effort to turn dinner at home into a luxurious experience. But ever since lock-down began, I'm really starting to see and reap the benefits of a slow and lovely home-cooked dinner. And there are so many small, affordable, and impactful ways to take any ordinary dinner at home up a notch to make it feel like a treat. Here are a few ways I plan on turning more dinners at home into a warm and cozy experience:

  • Drink a glass of wine (or 420 it) and play music while cooking. TBH, this is the only way I actually enjoy cooking. I need to be entertained while I'm cooking or else it feels like a chore. 
  • Light a Candle and dim the lights. This is the easiest way to totally change the atmosphere and pretend like you are dining in a nice restaurant.
  • Pick up fresh flowers for the table. Trader Joes has such cute and cheap floral options. Plus you can shop stress-free since TJs has really great social distancing practices. 
  • Put on a classic movie while eating. There is something just so romantic and enchanting about old Hollywood movies. One of my favorites is Clue (1985). It's honestly hilarious, the fashion is fun and the movie is a little dark... aka it's right up my alley. 
  • Plan a virtual dinner party with friends and play a game. Virtual charades sounds hella fun in my opinion. You can assign everyone to teams and each player can donate $5 to go to a charity that the winning team gets to select. 
  • Add a fun dessert to the menu. There are so many healthy alternatives to our favorite desserts now so even if you are watching what you eat, you can find a way to indulge a little. 
  • Wear something you feel cute in. A white cozy wrap sweater and white cotton shorts make such a cute and comfy outfit. I personally feel a lot more inspired when I feel cute. Just adds a little more umph to my day, plus you're ready to take a thirst trap and send it to your Snapchat bae or IG story (don't act like you don't do this because we all do).   

This is a ritual I want to continue for the rest of my life. Obviously, it's impractical to tell myself that every single night I'll do this... but one to two times a week sounds easy enough. Cheers to enjoying the slower moments in life. Wishing you and your loved ones a cozy and lovely day.

A Tactical Tool For Finding Happiness Right Where We Are

April 24, 2020

Photo by Brigitte Tohm 

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite tools for getting out of my head and finding joy/contentment with my current place in life. I have to admit that I do not use this tool nearly as much as I should, but every time I do, I usually feel so relieved.

If you are anything like me, you have a million thoughts buzzing around in your mind most of the time. I know personally, there are a billion things I want to see, experience, overcome, and achieve during my life. Sometimes those thoughts seriously overwhelm me. Kind of to a point where it's crippling... then I end up lying on the floor, staring at the ceiling and having a despair party (which is different than a pity party because I don't feel like a victim - but instead, I feel like a loser who is self-sabotaging my life). Long story short, these episodes are always caused by the same destructive thoughts:

  • "I'm not good enough." 
  • "I'm not doing enough." 

Oy, Nia. We've been down this road soooo many times. I know those thoughts are not facts. I know they don't serve me. I know I've dedicated a lot of time in the past to overcome them... but the shitty thing is, I will constantly have to overcome these same two limiting beliefs. And so will you. That's just how life works, unfortunately. The fact that self-doubt will always be something I battle isn't really the issue. Bad thoughts come and go. Bad days are inevitable. It's only a problem when I let these thoughts consume me and let them rob me of being present or finding joy throughout the day. And my favorite tactic to prevent this from happening is to sit down and do something called a "brain dump".

Eventually, I want to develop the habit of doing a brain dump every single morning because this is one of my top anxiety-fighting skills. But hey, I'm far from having my shit together all the time, so I give myself grace (another thing I want to do much more often). In a gist, this is how a brain dump works. Every single thought swarming around in your mind, you write that bad boy down. That includes everything on your to-do list, that random book you've been wanting to read, things you want to cook for dinner, all the mean thoughts you've been telling yourself, that new job/career industry you think you want to explore, that dating interest you want to tell-off because he/she ghosted you.... literally every single thought that is draining your energy/focus. Write it down, in no particular order. Just as it flows to you (or record yourself talking if you don't feel like writing). I like to start with one big, messy list, and then take multiple sheets of paper and create categories such as: blog, fitness, dance/pole, career, cooking, mental health, entertainment, finances, love life, home decor/cleaning, etc.

Now after you have all of those thoughts out of your head, no longer distracting you, the fun part begins. It is time to prioritize that list! Yeah!!!!! Wooooo!! Why is this so fun for me? Because it helps me calm down and realize that I do not need to accomplish everything on this list so quickly. And it helps me pinpoint what actually matters for that day. I personally only choose 1-7 things to focus on each day. On days when I'm really depressed, I only have one priority and I'm ok with that. It's not like I've ever gone through a covid-19 total shutdown before. On other days when I feel really energetic and healthy, I can mindfully commit to tackling 3-7 of my top priorities. It ebbs and flows.

Check-in with your emotions and take note of what your emotional/physical and financial needs are for the day. Are your basic needs met (food, shelter, transportation, utilities)? Do you feel sick or injured? How emotionally drained are you? Do you have enough money to buy food for next week or pay rent? Do you have extra energy that you can dedicate to a small task such as cleaning your room, doing a 10-minute workout, or having a 5-minute journaling session?

Once you have checked in and reset your perspective, you can prioritize and pick a few things to focus on. Here is a short example of my braindump today:

  • finish Financial Peace University before free trial runs out (3)
  • write and publish blog post (2)
  • fill out one page of my "52 Lists of Happiness" journal (4) 
  • update budget (4b - can do tomorrow if I start feeling too drained)
  • *note to self: take a mental break from dating apps because talking to all these fuck boys is draining me instead of being a source of entertainment/fun. (5)
  • write down my reading wish list (7)
  • vacuum apartment (1)
  • at-home mani/pedi (6a - do at the same time as #6)
  • promote blog post on Pinterest and IG (2b)
  • start Pinterest marketing course (9 - can start next week) 
  • catch up on Blackish (one of my favorite tv shows) (6)
  • read for 20 minutes tonight (8)
  • *note to self: skip dance classes today because my shoulder really hurts (5b)
I make comments next to a lot of the items on my list so I can provide myself with space to push them off to another day. This is important for me to do so I don't feel like a failure if I don't follow the order of my list. 

After my daily brain dump, I feel like I have a mini-game plan that aligns with my priorities. I can relax and focus on one thing at a time. Obviously, things always pop up throughout the day that we didn't plan on, so flexibility is key. The point of this exercise isn't to crank through a to-do list, but to allow ourselves the mental space to find peace without throwing our dreams out the fucking window. Living a fulfilling life will look different for each of us, and it will consist of multiple things/categories. Once we take note of where we currently are in life and remember that growth is really just made up of smaller actions, we can start to enjoy the process again and give ourselves a break.

 I don't need to have accomplished x,y, and z by now just because Suzie on IG already did. We are different people, with different paths and experiences and I'm focusing on creating a life that I love while she is doing the same. The more I remind myself of that, the easier it is for me to be happy here and now while pursuing my goals in a healthy and mindful manner. That's my wish for all of us: growth and fulfillment in a healthy and mindful state. Wishing you all the contentment and joy this week in the midst of this chaos. Thanks for taking a moment to read this post. I hope this activity brings you just as much peace as it brings me. Until next time, my friend. 

The Monday Muse Edit

April 20, 2020

Photo by Carlita Benazito

Hi friends,

 Today has been a weird day. I started off being pretty productive, calm, cool and collected, but as the day etched on, I found myself slipping into multiple anxiety episode. My strong ass anxiety cocktail was 1/3 financial stress, 1/3 “you’re not using your time the best way possible” bs, and 1/3 “wtf is the “right” next (financial/career)step for me. I don’t want to make the wrong decision and I don’t want to waste my time by focusing on the “wrong” priority” train of thought. 

After I had this little panic attack, I knew I needed to go lie down so I could breathe, reflect and stop draining myself. I just needed my mind to RELAX. And I have come to discover that a fun way to quiet my mind is to seek out beautiful photos for inspiration. 

The photos below are a source of hope for me. I like visual reminders of how beautiful life can be simply by indulging in little luxuries. And this feeling of scarcity/fear will not last for all eternity. I can do this. You can do this. We all can do this, because we are in this together. What are a few simple luxuries that always make your day brighter? 

Sending you all the love, health, a wellness wishes. Thanks for stopping by to read this short post. Your support means the world to me. Until next time my friend.

5 Things making me smile right now

April 18, 2020

Photo by Loverna Journey 

Fun pjs
This cute pj set from boohoo. It was so affordable but I feel so fancy in it! For some reason, I just want to lounge around drinking tea and eating British biscuits when I wear this set... might have to make that a reality real soon.

Candy Striper PJ Set  and HERE again in more size options

Virtual panels
We all know I am addicted to learning/self-growth. There have been so many amazing virtual panels, conferences, Q&As and IG Lives from thought leaders in my professional industry and other areas I'm interested in such as mental wellness, exploring new hobbies, coping with Covid-19, pop culture panels. These virtual sessions always leave me feeling inspired or entertained. This week, I attended a  live panel featuring Kerry Washington where she discussed Little Fires Everywhere... yeah, my week was made. No matter what subjects interest you, you can find live, interactive virtual events featuring them.

Tackling my burnout
I still feel burned out despite having a break from work because I've been emotionally draining myself more than I realize. I keep thinking " I have to be productive so I don't fall behind. I have no excuse not to use this time to build the life I want. I'm going to be a loser if I don't use this time to accomplish x,y and z".... yeah, that neurotic mindset caught up with me real freaking quick. It's important to push ourselves, but I need to learn how to do that in a kinder way. So now I am focusing on monitoring my thoughts and emotions more and realizing that my definition of a well-rounded, fulfilling life keeps evolving.  This video helped me soooo much. I want to do a better job of nurturing my spirit. I know exactly what makes me happy, so now I want to be better at doing those things more often.

Diving into watercoloring
 I want another coloring book, blank canvases and this really pretty watercolor paint set so I'll have more colors to paint with!! 

Waking up early to tidy up, dance and drink coffee
I know. This makes me sound like such a grandma. But I smile from ear to ear every morning after I've cleaned my space and can sit and enjoy my coffee or tea in a clean, serene environment.

I hope you discover 5 things this weekend that put a smile on your face. Thanks again for taking a moment out of your day to read this post. Wishing you lots of love and joy!

Covid-19 Financial & Mental Wellness Resources 2.0

April 14, 2020

Photo by Paweł Czerwiński 

I wanted to share a few more helpful resources I’ve stumbled upon over the last few days. I know that my personality compels me to research things like a maniac. Knowledge is power after all, and if I’m spending all of this time going down research rabbit holes like crack-head, I might as well put my anxiety to good use and share whatever I find with you guys. I hope these resources help you as much as they helped me! And if you've found a great article, funny meme or think of anything noteworthy that’s been helping you navigate this insane time, please leave a comment below or DM me so I can include in another post! The more resources, the better. 

This is such a moving interview from a holocaust survivor who is also living through the coronavirus pandemic. Perspective is truly everything. Must Read: My Cousin Jack Survived the Unimaginable. Here’s His Advice for Right Now.

It’s hard to know exactly what to say in a period of tragedy/grief, but this video by Marie Forleo is a pretty good reference for navigating heart-breaking situations. 

On Loneliness - obviously it’s increasing and that freaking sucks. But Katie Couric interviewed Dr. Murthy (who was the surgeon general under President Obama) on how to feel less alone at the moment. This is a podcast I’ll be checking out ASAP 

Dealing with Unemployment and depression at the same time? This article is a must-read by a freelance writer going through the same thing. We really are never alone. 

Disclaimer: This is a heavy episode to listen to (and kind of made me feel blah) but this episode of Planet Money dives into what's next for all of us as unemployment continues to sweep across the nation. Very relatable and eye opening. 

Make money honey… from home! 
    1. There’s gonna be a virtual career fair for remote jobs on April 16th!!! 
    2. Freelancers can apply for a Coronavirus Paycheck Protection Loan - and it seems like the loan can be forgiven after 8 weeks if you abide by the requirements. 
    3. I’ve been meaning to check out these two videos for inspo on making money right now during coronavirus because it seems nearly impossible, but in the words of Marie Forleo, “everything is figureoutable”. 
      1. How to make $$ during a recession
      2. How to make an extra $1K a month by starting a side hustle  
    4. James Nord dives even deeper into the PPP Loan program in this Drink with James Episode
    5. Tech companies are hiring like crazy right now
    6. I'm following the #GetHired movement on LinkedIn. From job openings, virtual bootcamps, helpful networking tips and free webinars, this # is a hub for resources. 

This pantry challenge looks like a fun way to save money and stop wasting so much food. 

My friend Katie sent me this song all about chilling out and remembering that (if we are lucky enough to live a long life) we have the rest of our lives to shape it how we want it to be. Refreshing. 

I would just keep checking the NY Times money hub because it keeps getting updated with helpful info.

We should be able to check when we will get our stimulus check according to this article! Starting April 17th, you can check the status here on the IRS site.

My mental health has not been in a great place tbh. It's not like the worst state... but I'd be lying if I said I haven't cried at least once a week. Which is totally expected. Here are the best resources I've been relying on to process everything/ shift my mindset back to a positive state: 
Helpful Videos 

I think it sounds like such a blessing to have a committed partner right now. We all need strong support systems. I have no idea when I'm going to find that guy, and that kind of freaks me out. I like being able to work hard and achieve my goals but there's literally nothing I can do to control when I will meet the right guy (not just a guy, but the right one because we don't settle my friend). Here are a few helpful and funny videos I've been watching (or plan to watch) to help me chill when it comes to my dating life.  

Working out or dancing with other people via IG lives and zoom classes has hands down been my saving grace. It keeps me motivated because the classes are live and it's a nice way to catch up/ chat with others. I know my mental state would not be nearly as stable without these classes.

Here are 3 funny Tik Toks/IG Videos my friends have sent me or I found. Tik Tok is dangerous. It will suck up all your time lol, but its the bit of comedy we need. 

My friend MaryAshlynn sent me this tik tok and I died!! IceJJFish takes me BACK. 
Here is the iconic music video by IceJJ if you've never seen it. 

I’m obsessed with Jessica Wang. I pretty much want to be just like her when I have a family. I think all of her videos are so entertaining such as this one and this one

Here are a few finance videos I want to check out so I can use this time to understand the finance world a little better. No one is going to fix our finances for us. Even if we do receive help from our parents, significant others or the government, that's all temporary. We gotta learn how to take care of our financial lives all on our own, and I know we will master this skill sooner than we think. 

Thanks for taking a moment to read this post and for supporting my blog. It means so freaking much to me. Hope you and your loved ones are feeling healthy and staying safe. 

Weekend Staycation: Easter Edition

April 11, 2020

Photo by Annie Spratt 
I really miss my childhood Easter celebrations… and by celebrations I mean getting an Easter basket from my mom (aka little gifts and candy), wearing a fancy dress and sitting down for a delicious meal. I know that there is a lot of fear and anxiety right now, but I am grateful to be able to see another Easter. Even though this is a highly religious holiday, I think everyone can embrace the spirit of spending this Sunday being grateful for something no matter what your beliefs are. Most of us are all chillin inside, but here are a few ways to make this Easter Sunday a little more special and on a limited budget. 

Watch a Livestream of a church service or an inspiring movie/documentary/Ted Talk.

Pretty much every church has lifestream services right now. I know church sermons usually give me a new surge of hope and positivity. But if you aren’t religious, I find that watching something inspiring is a great way to connect with your spirit and nurture your soul, so to speak. I’m really passionate about fashion, so Fashion Films or old classics are usually my go-to's when I want a little escape. Anything with Audrey Hepburn usually puts a smile on my face. But here are a few fashion films I want to check out. I’ll be pouring myself a glass of rosé and watching one of these on Sunday. I still haven’t seen Phantom Thread! 

Set aside time to craft!! 

Paint, needlepoint, draw, color, tie-die, trace something in a book or on the computer and then use a watercolor kit to paint it. All of these things help us feel more connected to our creative sides. And if you get really good at it, you can start selling your crafts lol. Here’s a link to my quarantine crafting Pinterest board if you want a little inspo.  

Make a fun brunch dish 

Make bunny-shaped pancakes or bunny egg bowl. How cute are these! I’m totally making this with eggs and turkey bacon. It’s cheap, full of protein and easy to make aka, it’s right up my alley. 

Get dolled up. 

Looking like a slob for a month straight doesn’t help anyone feel their best. I will be wearing something colorful around the apartment on Sunday because it’s fun. And if I’m getting a little dolled up, I might as well turn it into a party and drink a little. If you are quarantined with roommates or family, it’s very easy to turn this into a group activity. And if you are hanging solo, just plan a virtual brunch or happy hour with some friends. Also, everyone is having Easter weekend sales so as long as you put money into your savings before shopping, treat yo self just a little. And, all of our social calendars are gonna be PACKED when this is over. 

Treat yourself to a budget-friendly easter basket

Who doesn’t want to spoil themselves a little, right? We are doing our part. We are staying home. So why not reward yourself for getting through another week of quarantine? This is what my ideal Easter basket would include: a luxe face masque, hair masque, foot cream, cute pjs (probably pink) fancy hair clips, a new watercolor set, ceramic easter eggs to decorate, the new coloring/paint book that Danielle Bernstein just released, chocolate eggs and sparkling rose. Oy, a girl can dream, right.  
Photo: Country Living

Get Drunk

Honestly, you’re already home so it's the safest place to be. And it’s been a long freaking week. Why not let loose and have a bottle of wine. I hope you guys have a wonderful Easter weekend 

The Sanity Edit: Everything I've Been Loving For A Mental Escape

April 6, 2020

Photo by Dan Russo 

Here are a few things that have been keeping me slightly more sane and helping me tackle the daily anxiety caused by RoRo (that's coronavirus for all my non-ebonics speaking pals... lmao) 

One: Virtual Workouts and Dance Classes 
I miss my workout classes and dance classes so freaking much. But technology is amazing and there are so many great free workouts on IG and Youtube. They have been such a blessing right now. I'm really into this Dance Body resistance band workout - it's short but really freaking hard! I also really like all of the full-body workouts Revolve has been sharing on IGTV in collab with fitness gurus. The workouts by Katrina have been my favorite because I've followed Tone It Up for years and she is really motivational/pushes you to keep going through the workout and I NEED an extra push to power through a workout lol.

And OMG my literal prayers have been answered by all the virtual choreographed dance classes. I'm obsessed with these three routines to some of my favorite songs like Skin, Girls Need Love and Captain Hook. I will probably purchase one or two over the course of the month because they are super cheap (btw $5-$10) and are the best parts of my day hands down.

Two: All The Grilled Food
Whether you have a real grill or even just a mini George Foreman, I highly recommend grilling any and everything in your fridge. From pineapple to sweet potatoes, or from seafood to burgers, there is something about grilled food. It adds an extra sense of fun, flavor and sometimes luxury feel to every meal. My favorite meal at the moment is grilled salmon paired with grilled zucchini. Uh, I'm so hungry right now.

Three: Cute Loungewear During the Work Week
I've been loving wearing a mix of loungewear and cute outfits. Cute outfits have been reserved for weekends, running to the grocery store biweekly and nature walks.  But when I'm being productive, I'm all about the cute loungewear. Here are a few pieces that I have my eye on or own. Although I am currently furloughed and pretty anxious about money right now, I did treat myself to a $10 lounge set from Boohoo (sold out now) and a $20 pink striped PJ set (linked below) last night because I wanted to reward myself for being so productive this past week, for previously setting aside money for an emergency and for pushing through a pretty insense depressive state. And I know I am significantly more productive (and have more positive thoughts) when I feel cute vs. when I look and feel like an underbridge troll.

Four: Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu
Kerry Washington AND Reese Witherspoon... do I even need to say more? No, I don't. I'm completely and utterly obsessed and this is the exact escape I need each week. Thanks, Hulu.

Five: Short Guided Meditations to Stop My Anxiety Attacks in their Tracks
So I have this natural ability to really work myself up in a completely unhealthy and sometimes paralyzing manner.

There are a million fearful thoughts running through my mind like.... (prepare for an anxiety rant in three, two, one and skip this paragraph if you think it might trigger you) how the fuck am I going to pay rent this summer if I'm not working by then? Are my mom and brother going to be safe since they are both high-risk? If they get sick, will I even be able to travel there to take care of them or be there if they don't beat the virus? How can I keep paying down debt or pay any of my bills after my emergency fund is gone if unemployment checks are severely delayed? How many people are going to pass away from this virus before a vaccine is ready? Will I have to give up on my dreams and move away from my beloved NYC if this doesn't end soon? What if there is something wrong with my unemployment application and I'm denied... how will I even afford food after my emergency savings run out? Is my career field obsolete since I work in the fashion industry? Is all my hard work from the past 4 years and the promotion I worked my ass off for just gone down the toilet now? Will I be able to afford my dance and pole classes at my gym because they are one of the best things in my life? And the list of fears continues; just like I'm sure your list of fears is ever-growing right now.

But, as we all know, letting thoughts like these control our minds only hurts us. So when I get in this anxiety tornado, I roll out my yoga mat, lie down, focus on breathing and listen to a short guided meditation or calming video/podcast. This usually helps me reset and calm the actual fuck down in five to ten minutes. TBH, I even did this when we were all still working in an office because I keep a blanket at my desk.

One positive thing that has come out of this craziness has been the increase in free mental health resources for us. I know this is a crappy freaking time but we are badasses and pretty resilient. We are gonna emerge stronger than ever after all this. Sending you all the love, and thanks for taking a moment to read this post. Your support means the absolute world to me.

DIY Beauty Treatments + Plus Luxe Beauty Products On My Wish List

April 3, 2020

Photo by Holger Link 

If you have been living life anything like me right now, you’re probably drinking a lot more wine than usual. And for me, the surplus of sugar in my diet (and the insane decrease in physical activity) is causing my skin to freak the heck out...yay me. Since my main source of income is currently on pause, I need to save every penny I can. Because I’m living a little more frugally right now, I decided to research a few DIY skincare treatments that I can make using the ingredients in the kitchen. But I’m not a freaking dermatologist or beauty expert, so if you decide to make any of the beauty treatments below, make sure you freaking spot test them and google if the ingredients you are using are good for your skin type/you aren’t allergic to them. I know that I have pretty sensitive skin, so I know what to gravitate towards and what to stay away from. 

But if you don’t feel like turning your kitchen into a chem lab, I’ve linked to a few products I’ve heard great things about or have used myself. Because if you have the funds (and have emergency savings), why not treat yourself to a nice skincare product. Everything is freaking on sale right now, so might as well take advantage of them if you’re in a healthy financial place.

Pro Tip: I have the Rakuten (was previously called Ebates) chrome extension so I pretty much get cash back from every purchase. It's kind of crazy not to make a free account. I need to download the mobile app so I can save money when I shop on my phone.

OOOOHHH, and please leave a comment below letting me know what your favorite at-home beauty treatments/products are. I’d love to add some things to my beauty wish list/to-do list. Wishing you a day full of tranquility and luxury… from the comfort of your home lol.

DIY Beauty Treatments 

Exfoliation scrubs via YouTube
I want to try this Coconut oil + sugar scrub. I can tell that my skin needs to be exfoliated real bad. And this would be a fun face and full-body scrub. Plus, I don’t have to worry about sun damage post-exfoliation because it’s not like I’m spending much time outside. 

This person uses normal white sugar for her scrub, so I think whatever you have in your kitchen will work.

This two-ingredient coffee scrub looks awesome too! I'm trying both of these scrubs this month. 

Moisturizing serum 
This honey and coconut oil serum sounds lovely! I imagine it would smell like heaven. Apparently, you pair it with this apple cider vinegar toner to balance the PH of your skin.

P.S. apple cider vinegar is a basic staple for me. From stomach issues to lady who-ha issues, apple cider vinegar usually fixes my ish real quick. 

Detoxifying Masque 
This Green Tea & Raspberry Masque sounds pretty luxurious. I'm very excited to try this.

Acne treatment 
I like to use toothpaste or ice to spot treat pimples. Both usually get rid of pimple inflammation for me pretty quickly. Ice works faster for me, but it’s way less pleasant. I used the toothpaste trick this morning and after 30 minutes, the redness was significantly reduced.

Hair Masque 
This avocado hair masque sounds dreamy!! I know this would be hella messy, but half of the time when I buy avocados, they go bad before I can eat them so this will help me be less wasteful.

Lip Treatment
My boss gave me this super luxurious, high-end overnight lip masque for my birthday but I left it at work before the country lockdown!! I love it so much and actually used it during the day too. So now I need to make a lip scrub to use while we are quarantined, and this overnight one looks pretty legit.

Luxe Beauty Products to Try

Thank you for taking a minute to read this post, and extra special thanks to anyone who shops the affiliates links in this post. I only make like 30 cents from a sale, but 30 cents is waaaaayyyy better than nothing. Wishing you and your family happiness and health. 

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