A Different Kind Of Holiday List

Tis the season for making lists of gifts to buy, people to see, and events to attend but those lists aren’t the most important list you can make this season.

The most important list you can make this season I like to call the JOY list and it can save you from all sorts of roller coaster emotions this holiday season, or any season really.

A few months ago I called one of my best friends on one of those days that just seemed a bit gloomy for no reason. I explained to her that I was feeling down but didn’t really have a reason to feel down and didn’t really know how to get myself out of it.

She told me that I need to make a list of ten things that I know I love to do and when I get into this mood force myself to go do at least one thing on the list.

She is one of those friends that you can call with any type of problem and she always finds a great solution. Gotta love those types of friends.

So I made my list. Grabbing a coffee, going for a walk, going for a run, talking to a friend, reading a book, watching a favorite movie. A full list of things that always lift my spirit a bit.

To be honest, even making the list helped a little.

But now when I start to feel that down feeling I open my phone and pick something off my list to go and do. It doesn’t solve all the problems that are pulling me down but it always gives me a reminder to take a little time out to enjoy something.

This is something you can do all year round but I think it’s a great tool to have at your fingertips over the holidays when your surrounded by pressure to buy the perfect gift, answer the life questions (Are you getting married? When are you having kids?) and spend time with all different types of people.

Hope my joy list can help everyone not let the anxieties of the holidays take over all the special moments to embrace and cherish.

Happy Holidays!

 

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Perspective Check

Perspective is something I have been thinking a lot about and focusing on lately.

When is the last time you stopped to hear what that little voice in the back of your mind is saying?

Is it positive? Is it negative? Is it bitter? Is it sad? Is it happy?

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Time for a perspective check!

It is quite startling when you start listening to that voice and you realize that you have been walking through life with Negative Nilly in the back of your mind telling you how awful everything is and how bad something could go wrong.

 

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My grandfather recently passed away and he was really one of the first people that taught me how to take 5-10 minutes to check your perspective and give thanks for what you have.

Every Thanksgiving he would make our family stand around the kitchen island and say what we are thankful for. This tradition never took long but I never walked away feeling anything less than extremely grateful for the life I was living.

It doesn’t need to be Thanksgiving to do a perspective check.

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Every morning on my walk to work I take in my surroundings and say what I am grateful for.

  • How the sun is hitting a building
  • The joy my little pup gets chasing a leaf on her morning walks
  • That I can stop and get a good cup of coffee
  • My family
  • My friends
  • My ambition
  • My compassion

You don’t really realize how much power your thoughts have on your wellbeing and happiness until you start paying attention to how altering even a simple thought of waiting in line for coffee starts to make an impact.

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It’s not something that will happen all at once or you will be perfect at off the bat. It’s on a thought-by-thought basis. Incredible that you have the power over your own thoughts isn’t it?

So did you stop and take your perspective check today??

What The Heck Is Anxiety? Why Is The Feeling So Hard to Explain?

 

If you have never had a full blown anxiety attack before then I don’t blame you for not understanding it. It is a hard feeling to explain, let alone a concept to grasp.

I have always had anxiety but it hasn’t been until recently that it has really impacted my life.

I explain it in two parts.

The first part is that little annoying, doubtful, negative voice in the back of your mind that everyone has that questions your every move and assumes that people around you are judging and paying way more attention to you than they actually are?

Well, anxiety is listening to that voice above all else. It starts small but eventually that negative and judgmental voice is all you can hear and feel.

The second part is once that voice starts, it is next to impossible to stop listening to.

I like to call this part, “entering the black hole”.

Once you are in the black hole it is extremely hard to come out of it. The black hole portion is where the actual anxiety attack takes place.

It’s not that the situation or the reality isn’t what you are experiencing for the most part but that the intensity of how you feel or react doesn’t match the reality of the situation.

For instance, if a friend says the can’t make an activity you planned together for a certain reason they probably just simply can’t make it and didn’t want to cancel.

Not, that they hate you and don’t enjoy spending time with you or any other negative thought that could come as a result of that action.

You’re allowed to be sad about not being able to hang out with your friend but the intensity of that sadness or negative feeling is where the “anxiety” takes place and you end assuming or feeling like they don’t want to be friends with you or don’t like you anymore, which is not the case.

Of course, that is a very simple example. Life is way more complicated and complex than that and so is anxiety.

It’s not an easy thing to explain or any easy concept to grasp, just ask my boyfriend who has been learning all about dealing with anxiety right alongside me.

So a little shout out to everyone who is battling this fun thing called anxiety and a special shout out to everyone who stands next to us and supports us and reminds us that black holes are our choice to jump down and helps us climb back out!

Of course, as I said this is my own personal take and experience with anxiety. I want this to be a place where people can open up and have honest conversations and ask questions about it.

Would love to hear how other people explain their anxiety.

-A

 

Let’s Be Honest. A Love Letter to My Latte Lovers

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Well, the truth is life as a 23-year-old tends to be A LOT easier to write about and share than a 30-something.

From challenging break-ups, questionable career decisions, falling in love, making new friends, losing old friends, moving to the city of my dreams with the man of my dreams, battling anxiety and depression, and stressing about getting older, you name it I have been through it and it has brought my writing and my blogging to a complete HALT.

WHY? Because sharing that information with the world is scary. You have to be confident enough to throw all that out there and be okay with any negative comments that come your way and I just haven’t been in the mind space in the slightest, until now.

Recently, I have been battling some severe anxiety and a little depression. I have started a journey of figuring out how to manage it and climb my way to a happier place. The funny thing is the more I open up to friends and family about the place that I am in, the more people open up to me about the challenging places they have been.

Which made me realize I am not the only person going through something and that we are so tied to putting out a positive and happy image that we are living two lives. One that is portrayed as happy and fulfilled and one that is fighting the realities of life.

We all put on our happy faces every day and post our Instagram posts about how much we love our life but behind closed doors, we are fighting demons that no one knows about, which leaves us feeling alone, depressed and not hopeful for the future.

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So I have been asked to start blogging again and share the honest truths about the conversations I have with my closest friends and people about what crazy life challenges we are all facing. I hope to encourage real conversations about how real life can be but also be the place people can come for inspiration and be lifted up.

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So as a 30-something I am saying if you want to judge then judge away. I am sick of reading blogs about how perfect life is and how a new face mask will make me look young forever. This is real life and real life is NOT fun to go through alone. So let’s talk about it. Let’s have real and honest conversations and find ways to build each other up or at least remind each other we are not alone.

Stay tuned…

-A-

SOUL CYCLE: OBSESSED!

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I was given the opportunity recently to try two free weeks of Soul Cycle in D.C., thanks to the Washington Women in Public Relations group I belong to.

I have been a few times in the past, but never consistently (because its a bit pricey) but found myself being SOUL obsessed!

For me Soul Cycle adds that little bit of motivation/inspiration that I usually get from a yoga class into spin.

Each Soul Instructor brings their own flair to helping you find your soul and have a fun  and challenging workout throughout the class.  (My favorites at 14th Street Studio in DC: Rachel R., Jared, and Sunny Mae).

Its a no brainer: A good work out plus a little spiritual replenishing is one powerful combination.

My first class of the two weeks, was the Saturday after I was offered a new job ( we will get to that in the coming weeks) but the instructor told everyone to let themselves just feel how we were feeling for the next 45 minutes.

So for the first time in way to long, I let myself actually feel fully happy. Crazy, how sometimes its harder to let yourself just feel happy but I did for 45 minutes and it was exactly what I needed.

Sometimes you just need someone to remind you its okay feel something, good or bad. To remind you that its okay to take 45 minutes out of your day, JUST FOR YOU.

So don’t be scared to try it! They always impress me with how they make sure new people are set up on their bike’s and make sure they feel comfortable and good to enjoy the class.

Another perk: If you were a dancer growing up, an extra bonus is all the rides are to the beat of the songs played, and kinda gives you that dance class feel as well. If you weren’t, they don’t care, they just want you to ride and have fun!

So I would highly suggest it! If anything, it is just a good way to re-motivate yourself to getting back into the gym!

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Well Hello Again..

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WELL HELLO AGAIN!

It has been quite awhile since we last connected. I took a bit of a blog-life hiatus.

BUT I’M BACK! And BETTER THAN EVER!

This past year has been quite the journey for me. There has been lots of up’s and down’s and many, many lesson’s learned. But now I feel I am in a place where I am ready to be connected with the world  and share my insights and love for life again.

This time around I am excited to have a few guest bloggers that will be joining me to share their insights and love for life as well, so stay tuned!

I have no doubt we will get to the sappy, my lessons learned stuff later but for now here is a little recap of my past year…

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Moved into the city!!

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Made amazing new friends!

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Had the unforgettable opportunity of meeting my Grandfather at the Korean War Memorial in D.C. while he was on his Honor Flight.

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Spent three days in Breckenridge, Colorado with my sorority sisters. I can never get enough good quality girl time ❤

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Spent ringing in the new year celebrating my cousins wedding with my Illinois Family 🙂

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My girl-lobster (a.k.a bestie) flew out to celebrate my birthday!

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Attended and celebrated one of my best friends weddings in gorgeous Vail, Colorado.

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Spent a few incredible days in San Diego with my family after my brother returned from deployment in the Navy. So happy to finally have him HOME!

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Paddle-boarded for the first time EVER with my adventurous Sarah! Don’t worry we did not fall in the Potomac River 🙂

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Traveled to Charlotte, NC for work and got to spend some good quality time with my sorority sister who took me out on the town. This was my favorite view hands down!

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Taylor Swift concert with my partner-in-crime was unbelievable. I am T-Swift obsessed!

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A bestie weekend to end October was exactly what I needed. Fall leaves, boots, lattes and my lovers ❤ ❤ ❤

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Attended the CNN Town Hall on gun control with the President of the United States and watched my big sister have the opportunity to ask him a question!

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Survived the DC blizzard!

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Was accepted and joined the Washington Women in Public Relations (WWPR) Board!

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Last but not least, I flew out to Colorado and surprised my dad for his 60h birthday!

It has been an incredible year and I can’t wait share with you what I have learned and the woman I have fought so hard to become and to see where sharing my life with all of you takes me this time!

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Eastern Market Saturdays

GOOD MORNING!!!!!

I know that was a bit overkill, but I have been seriously sick for the last week and today is the first day that I have felt like a HUMAN again! So I am a little extra excited that I am alive and kickin.

But after a week indoors and isolated from the world, this morning I woke you rested and not coughing (a major plus) and in desperate need of a latte.

So I bundled up and headed out to Eastern Market, a market near my new house in DC for a latte and a stroll.

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Eastern Market is DC’s oldest continually operated fresh food public market, it has been around since 1873!

Fun fact: Similar to the local public markets found in Paris, France, Pierre L’Enfant designated space for such markets when he designed Washington, DC in the late 1700s.

Kinda cool right??

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Outside they have a ton of pop-up tents selling art, jewelry, scarfs, really anything you can think of!

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Little mirror selfie… plus I am in love with these mirrors! Saving to buy one this spring!

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Ran across these cashmere scarfs and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!

Ten bucks each, I’ll take them!

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Cute local coffee shop sign! Thank you for making coffee for us because we LOVE drinking it!!

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Last stop on my journey… Peregrine Esspresso for a Vanilla Latte.

If you are ever in Eastern Market, I highly suggest stopping by Peregrine Esspresso. It is DELICIOUS!!

And they make cute designs in your latte. Who doesn’t love that!

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Hope you all decide to find an adventure this weekend, even if its just to a local market.

Happy Saturday!