Browsing Category

LIFE, ETC.

LIFE, ETC.

Tips on how to Manage Seasonal Depression

Before I moved to Boston, there were times I threw around the word “seasonal depression” and after living through some harsh winters, I now realize I had no idea what I was talking about. Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or “winter blues,” is simply a depression that comes and goes with the seasons. Typically it starts in the late fall and goes away end of spring/early summer.

Although I was never officially diagnosed with SAD (if people even do?), I can say I’ve definitely experienced with it. And I don’t think I even knew it was a real thing that I needed to cope with. Flash back to my first winters in Boston, I definitely felt the difference in the winters I had experienced while living in San Diego. The days were short, you barely saw the sun..even if at all, and the temperatures were beyond freezing which I would imagine if I were a psychologist would be where SAD comes from.

Here I’ll be sharing what I learned to get you through the winter months in the best spirits!

Seasonal Affective Disorder

What this boils down to is that shorter days and less sunlight really do affect the brain’s chemical balance. This causes a circadian rhythm shift during the change in seasons so SAD is more common for people who live further from the equator which makes sense why I experienced it to a greater degree in Boston.

I also read that if you are already struggling with regulating serotonin SAD will be heightened/last throughout warmer/sunnier days, even though it is much less common.

Who does SAD affect?

SAD is more common in women, young adults/adolescents, and people who have previously struggled with depression and/or bipolar. According to studies I read, women are 4x more likely to be diagnosed and the most common age range is 18-30 years old.

Do you have seasonal depression?

Some of the most common symptoms of SA are having low energy, hypersomnia, overeating, weight gain (hmm maybe this is where the term winter weight comes in?) craving carbs, and even social withdrawal aka hibernation.

How to Manage Seasonal Depression

  • Take a Vitamin D supplement. It’s said that vitamin D can help increase your serotonin which is what is known to if you lack, increase the risk of depression. I was a firm believer in mind over matter with this one, because everywhere I read it states that more research is needed.
  • Brighten your day. If you sit in an office with no windows, make a point to move around and work from another area if you can for a few hours. If you have plants blocking sunlight, move them. Add plants (real ones) will also help your brain regulate yourself.
  • Get outside. Bundle up and brave the cold, especially on those cold but sunny days. And don’t forget to do this while you’re outside….
  • Move your body. I know it’s hard, and I’m the first one to come up with a million excuses but I am a firm believe in getting more endorphins. Working out, this could be simple from going on a walk, trying a new workout class, or even trying to follow a YouTube workout class. You won’t regret it when it’s done.
  • Focus on all things positive. When SAD starts to come in, it’s easy to want to just get in bed when it’s dark out at 5pm and cuddle under blankets. But focus on positive things, like friendships, weekend getaways, anything that brings you joy, makes you happy, and gives you something to look forward too.
  • Get a sun lamp. I love these because I hear them so often get called “happy lamps” and how can you not smile when you talk about them! These are literally lamps to promote happiness which are therapy lamps mimic sunlight to enhance mood, energy, sleep & focus – but without those UV rays.

Although this list did help me overcome and get through the typical winter blues, I am in no shape or form a medical professional, nor am I claiming to be. This is meant to give you some new ideas to see what works for you. If you think you need to, I would recommend reaching out to a doctor and get help.

Did you have something that worked for you to overcome seasonal depression? Let me know!

~ XOXO, the girl who’s forever fun of sunshine, Amanda

Here's to 2020 picture
LIFE, ETC.

My 20 Intentions for 2020

It’s already time to say au revoir to 2019 and hello to 2020! This year has been a whirlwind of a year that was filled with lots of hardships, trying days, but as well as new opportunities and lots of learning.

I feel like every year we get the chance to reset, to look within and outside and reflect. But this year I feel like there’s even more pressure. It’s the end of a decade after all. Heading into a new decade to me is both exciting and intimidating, I’ve long lost the idea for resolutions that are so easy to come and go. Instead, I’ve tried to set intentions. Intentions that will help live the best version of myself, small steps, every day. I try to think of intentions that are not only beneficial to me physically and mentally, but things I can stick to, actually achieve and turn into habits.

I won’t lie, some of these are bucket list items, things I need to do, and some are just plain for fun. This is my way to combine both my bucket list with my to-do list along with my big goals and take strides to achieve them.

My Intentions for 2020

1. Run 3.2 (or a 5k) without stopping. I hate running, like I loathe it, and would rather do any other workout. But I’ve always wanted to like it. So this year, I’m hoping to turn into a runner.
2. Invest more in my Roth IRA. There’s nothing like saving for a rainy day and preparing for the future. This is something I should become better at and making it more of a habit.
3. Read a book a month. I am notorious for buying books and then never finishing them or even picking them up.
4. See a new play. I love a good play, and it’s something I’ve done occasionally since I was young, and then, of course, becoming obsessed with the soundtrack.
5. Drive up the coast, the 101, and spontaneously find a city to sleep in. Does this stress anyone else out?! Dear Lord, I love to have a plan. But I am trying to be more open to going with the flow.
6. Update my San Diego blog. I made my San Diego bucket list blog, almost three years ago. There are so many new spots to see, places to eat, and stuff to do that I want to share with you all!
7. No more negative self talk. This is something I’ve always struggled with, and if we don’t love and appreciate ourselves, how can we expect anyone else to?!
8. Set foot in a new continent. There’s no hiding my love for travel, which is why this shouldn’t a surprise to anyone.
9. Try acupuncture. This freaks me out to no end. I hate needles, the thought just makes me queasy. But I’ve heard such great things about it – why not go in with an open mind and give it a try!
10. Make a recipe from every cookbook I have. I love to buy cookbooks (see a theme here?!) but rarely if ever, use them! And the recipes look and sound delicious – unless I fail miserably, how would they not taste delicious?
11. Find the perfect little black dress. This always seems so easy – and then I try on about 50 and give up. But I see them on everyone else. I want one too!
12. Watch 10 classic films. I am probably the person you can always count on to say, “I’ve never seen that!” And then slump in my chair in embarrassment. No more 2020, no more!
13. Find out my blood type. This may seem stupid, but it’s something I’ve always wondered. Now let’s just hope that I can find this out without giving blood.
14. Buy a piece of property. And turn it into my real-life Barbie Dream House (kidding…kind of). This has long been my dream and then my life has taken a different turn – but here’s to 2020 and making a long-time dream come true.
15. Go one month without shopping. But of course, buy the essentials of course!
16. Design a bar cart. I’ve always been a sucker for a cute bar cart, and would any Barbie Dream House be complete without a bar cart to go along with it?! That’s a rhetorical question, just in case you didn’t get the memo.
17. Journal every day for a month. EVERYDAY! Even if it’s a small thought, something mundane about my day. I used to be good about this, for a week on and off but never consistently. It was always so fun to go back and read!
18. Hit and maintain a healthy weight. This goes along with the no negative self-talk. But to me, I’ve always been driven by a number on a scale vs. how I feel. I want to be toned and to look in the mirror and be like DAMN GIRL, GET IT!
19. Plan a blogger event. I loved my blogging girls in Boston (MISS YOU!!!) and I want that in San Diego! What’s better to create this by planning a blogging event?!
20. BE HAPPY! This is huge. And this should be on everyone’s list of intentions. Except moving it up to the top.

I went on some amazing trips, lived life to the fullest, made memories that will last a lifetime, and today I am GRATEFUL for all the ebbs and flows, and the moments of 2019 that showed me so much. It showed me who my people truly were. It showed me what happens when after the burn, what rock bottoms is, and letting love in and out is always always worth it! so here is my final Goodbye 2019 – I am welcoming 2020 with open arms. ⁣

Now you tell me, what are your New Year’s intentions you want to work on?

~ XOXO, cheers to 2020, Amanda

Chakra Facial in San Diego, CA
LIFE, ETC.

I got a Chakra Facial & Here’s What I Thought 

Disclaimer: what I am about to tell you sounds very “SoCal” and I know, It’s a little crazy and I was a little nervous/skeptical myself. I am 100% a newbie and very naive to chakras and stones, the whole 9 yards. But why not try a chakra facial. I love facials, and if you’ve never had one..stop reading this and go get one. I’ve always been intrigured by chakras and getting them cleared, so why not with a facial?

Shadow Era Spirit & Beauty

I went to Shadow Era Spirit & Beauty for my first chakra facial because since I am such a newbie to this whole sphere I needed to make sure this wasn’t almost a fake/spam thing. One of my friends goes here for facials and lash extensions and she speaks highly of the place. I saw they have a chakra facial to get aligned and pampered – I thought immediately, “this is what I’m looking for.”

What is a Chakra-Balancing Facial? 

In addition to your typical facial (steaming, cleansing, extractions, etc.), chakra balancing facial will use crystals to cleanse and help you open up. This is supposed to help you release any stifling energy. So first things first, I got my face steamed while she read my chakras. 

What are the 7 Chakras?

Root – Safety & Stability

Sacral – Emotions & Stability

Solar – Power & Self-Esteem

Heart – Unconditional Love

Throat – Espression & Communication 

Third Eye – Intuition & Vision 

Crown – Spiritual Connection

By placing all the chakras down your body, it helps align the spine from the base to the crown of the head to help energy to flow through your body properly. The goal is to keep the chakras opened and aligned. 

My Chakra Facial

So first things first, I got my face steamed while she read my chakras. When she was telling me “your root chakra is open” I kid you not, I would be like “what does that mean?” for every one. That’s how naive I am to this, so I was very interested in learning each of them and trying to relate it to my life. All of my chakras were open, expect the heart chakra which was closed (surprise surprise). 

The purpose of reading your chakras first is to help your esthetician/healer use the specific scents, crystals, and massage techniques that you need to help your overall self. Since my heart was completely closed, I held throughout my facial a large heart quartz and was surrounded by watermelon tourmaline quartz. 

My esthetician, Megan, went straight into the facial from there. I started with a coconut papaya enzyme which she chose because I have sensitive skin and this enzyme has a low tingle, I personally don’t mind a little tingle. It was a clear mask that added a calming aspect, it also had a little extra collagen to help with pigmentation and anti aging. After that, we added a serum to get the skin hydrated. After that, I got an arm, hand, and shoulder massage. 

Then was my favorite part, who else LOVE extractions?! She used a “skin scrubber” which you can even buy on amazon. I told her I wanted to buy one and she said it’s best to do it after you take a shower because your pores are open and make sure to leave water on your face. The skin scrubber is great because it removes dead skin and blackheads, it also takes out any dirt and excessive oil. EW!

After the Facial 

I was given an affirmation to say every morning when I wake up and before I go to bed, “I am open to receiving unconditional love.” I think for chakra readings to really help you get aligned and balanced you have to have an open mind, this was completely different than anything I’ve ever done and crystals is a whole new ball game. Knowing that I don’t want my heart to be closed off forever, I was fully in the game. 

Would I recommend one? 100%! 

Thank you Shadow Era Spirit & Beauty for the chakra facial! 

~ XOXO, the hippy guru, Amanda

LIFE, ETC.

Self Date Ideas for the Single Girl

If you’re like me, then you probably save your cutest outfit, the place you’re dying to go to, or the new chic restaurant you’ve been wanting to try for a hot date with a cute guy. Why do we all do this?! This is almost like us saying, “I’m not good enough unless I am being desired by another human.” You’re single and doing the “same ol same ol” can get pretty mundane, and instead of hating men and their asshole tendencies, why not just date yourself!
After all, the most important relationship you’re ever going to have is with yourself. So how do you date yourself? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered with lots of ideas! Keep on reading.

How to Date Yourself

Go to the movies. This is a timeless date idea and now you get to go to the movie you want to go to, you don’t have to share popcorn, and the movie will fully entertain you. You get to enjoy the film and yourself.
Wine & dine yourself. How often do you open a recipe book, buy all the ingredients and make a meal? Probably not too often. Pick a recipe, head to the store, and don’t forget a bottle of wine…or two. A homemade dinner + a bottle of wine = the perfect night.
Pamper yourself with self-care. Have you been wanting to do your nails? Put on self-tanner? Whatever it may be do it.
Splurge and stay at a hotel. Sure, romantic getaways are wonderful. Getaways with your girlfriends are so much fun. I know it may sound weird to go check into a hotel for just yourself but trust me, there’s nothing like sleeping in a huge perfectly made bed by yourself, ordering room service, sitting by the pool & having a cabana boy bring you your next margarita, and taking advantage of all the hotel amenities.
Have a photo-shoot. Don’t pretend like you don’t do this anyways, but do your hair, your makeup, and put on your cutest outfit. Learn how to work the self-timer and take 5,000 photos that almost look exactly the same. And waaaaa-laaaa, here’s a new picture to show off on every social media platform.
Get flowers. Go to a flower shop, your local Trader Joe’s, or farmers market and buy yourself some flowers. After all, you are a strong independent woman who doesn’t need a man to buy you any flowers. *insert hair flip*
Go to a coffee shop. I always find this to be a fun activity. I love going to a coffee shop with a notebook and jot down my latest thoughts/feelings, a planner to actually *try* and plan my life, or even my laptop to catch up on blogging. The general rule of thumb is to order the biggest cup of coffee you can, a snack is optional, but you don’t get to leave until the coffee ground smell is your new perfume.
Take a bath. Buy the salts, the bubbles, the wine holder that sticks to the side of the bath, and the candles. And soak away all the worries. You’ll get out of the bath feeling refreshed and ready to climb into bed for the best nights sleep you could ever imagine.
Binge watch Marie Condo. Then “Marie Condo” your whole house. This is one of the most satisfying things I have ever done. You’ll be able to breathe again, especially when you didn’t even know you couldn’t before.
Take a long walk. And do this with the intent of thinking and relaxing vs. burning calories, because at this point that’s just an added bonus.
Declare a “naked day”. Go about your normal chores, daily activities like cooking, and anything else (inside) in the nude. Just remember to keep all the doors and blinds shut so your neighbors don’t get a front row seat.
Ride down memory lane. Maybe this includes watching old home videos, going through old photos or yearbooks, or even watching an old show/movie you used to love. Taking yourself back to your childhood often brings back the fondest memories.
Do whatever you want. Even if that means doing nothing at all. And even if you’re in a relationship, that doesn’t mean you can’t date yourself. If you find another awesome date idea for yourself, please share it with me!
~ XOXO, the single (& couldn’t be happier) Amanda
Fall scarecrows & pumpkins
LIFE, ETC.

Exploring San Diego in the Fall

*This post is written as a guest blog post by author, Rachel Crawford*

When was the last time you visited San Diego? San Diego is known for its beaches, parks, and year-round sunshine, but most families travel here during the peak summer months. Traveling to San Diego in the fall months will shave off quite a bit on the travel expense, and you still get that sunshine you’ve been dreaming of. Your savings will increase if you visit with your family during Kids Free San Diego which lasts throughout the entire month of October. Explore San Diego by land, by sea or through your belly, the choice is yours. Staying at the Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on Mission Bay will put you and your family, friends and loved ones at the epicenter of it all. The recently renovated hotel was featured in TODAY as the #2 Best Family Resort in the USA as of June 2019.

Explore by Land

The Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa is part of Mission Bay Park, a 4,600-acre aquatic park that is dedicated to leisure and active sports. Located to the south of the hotel is Tecolote Shores Park which is a preferred park by families with small children looking to swing, slide and climb. To the north, you will find De Anza Cove Park which has a lifeguard protected beach to dip those little toes into. Venture a little further away from the hotel to discover all of the walking trails connecting you to the real beauty of San Diego, nature. While there are plenty of trails within 5 minutes from the hotel, Balboa Park Loop is favorited by locals and visitors alike. Balboa Park is also home to the World Famous San Diego Zoo. Kids get in free throughout October with each paid adult and parking there is always free. The park is also home to the Botanical Building and Lily Pond, and the Japanese Friendship Garden. 

Explore by Sea

Mission Bay offers ideal conditions for paddling, kayaking, or sailing. Rentals are available year-round through Action Sport Rentals located on the dock of the hotel. If you’re looking for a tour out on the water, Flagship Cruises & Events offer up to 6 children free with each paid adult throughout October. For a little more adventure, the SEAL Amphibious Tour combines both land and sea with a unique experience you will never forget. Kids ride for free in October with each paid adult. 

Explore Through Your Belly

Kids eat free at Acqua California Bistro which is the year-round restaurant at the resort. If you can’t make it back for dinner every night, be sure to start your day off with breakfast overlooking Mission Bay. If you are out exploring San Diego, there are a lot of other restaurants that are also participating in Kids Free. For a list of participating restaurants, or for more ideas on exploring San Diego, check out the San Diego Tourism Authority’s website. 

No matter what interests you and your family, you will be sure to find it in San Diego!

 

Beautycounter Clay Mask
LIFE, ETC.

The Busy Girl’s Guide to Self Care

I’m the girl who doesn’t know how to relax, how to shut off, how to turn off. I can lay in bed listening to my rainforest pandora station (Yes, I know no one uses Pandora anymore) and my brain is still going. And yes, I know self-care is important. More important than we all know, probably. So I spent a week, consciously thinking about taking care of my self, my body, my skin, etc. And here’s what I did and how I felt at the end of it.

How to Indulge in Self Care

Monday: Day 1 – Learning to not dread Monday’s

Monday’s are always a lag for me. I dread them, not because I hate my job. Or hate my days – it’s so ingrained into my thoughts. “Ugh, Monday,” so today, I didn’t let myself go there. I didn’t let myself have a few extra minutes in bed after my alarm went off. I got right up because I was excited for the day (hey, mind over matter right?). Gatsby and I went to our typical morning park, with our typical crew – but instead of hating the cold – I let the brisk winter air wake me up.

After work, I normally have a quick dinner and go straight for the couch. Today, I decided I’d try a new recipe. This is something I would NEVER do on a Monday – because LOL who has time!!!

Tuesday: Day 2 – Taking a break from the day

Work for me is normally straight through lunch – not because my company doesn’t allow “lunch breaks” been there, never doing that again. But because I mentally think I’m that busy! Today, I took the hour out of my day to treat myself to lunch and sit there and eat it not in front of my computer screen.

Normally in the afternoon, because I’ve been there all day long – I feel drained and at max capacity but this day was different. It didn’t happen at 3 PM – it happened at 4:45 PM. And BAM! The workday was done.

Wednesday: Day 3 – Face mask & Chick Flicks

Beautycounter Clay Mask

I love a good face mask. And I love a good chick flick. After work tonight, I made my favorite dinner – which is currently the cauliflower gnocchi and turkey meatballs from TJ’s. Put my favorite Beautycounter Charcoal face mask on once dinner was done and popped in one of my FAVORITE chick flicks – The Devil Wears Prada.

I even poured myself a glass of wine, after all, it was #winewednesday and with that it was almost 9:30 (my bedtime these days) and I was off to bed, chuckling about everything Miranda says.

Thursday: Day 4 – Continuing to make time for your friends

wine flight in Boston, MA

If you’ve been following my life for a while now – you know that I have the best friends. And I am a firm believer that you’re nothing without your girls standing behind you.

We all have busy days – and our to-do lists are never-ending. But at the end of the day, you just have to prioritize your time. And you can always find time for the people in your life that you want.

So today, my girls and I did some wine tasting at City Winery in Boston! Wine flights? Yes, count us in!

Friday: Day 5 – #girlsnightin

As if I didn’t get enough of my girlfriends the night before, we decided to have a game night. Ordered pizza because #dieting & made some fun and very #instaworthy drinks. It may not be glamorous but it is fun! I can never say after a night (or two) with my friends, that I wish I didn’t do it. I wish I had been anti-social or went to bed.

Saturday: Day 6 – Coffee & Magazines

Please don’t tell me that I am the only one who drinks their coffee on the go. Whether that’s getting ready for the day, on the way to work, or while doing work. How often do you sit down and actually enjoy the cup of coffee? I sat on the couch, sipped my coffee (while it was warm!!!) & caught up on the copious amounts of magazines I always get sucked into buying.

Sunday: Day 7 – Move That Body

I got outside and worked out, especially I treated myself and did a workout class outside. I am always so much more inclined to workout in a class and since I’m a competitive person, I want to work out harder or faster than the person next to me. Breathing in the fresh air while getting endorphins from a great workout was everything I needed that morning.

Self-care is different to everyone. You have to find what works for you, and not forget about it. I always think I thrive on the busy life and the pressure I put on myself. But maybe I work best, am the best when I remember myself.

It also worked great when I did a little here and a little there instead of trying to cram in everything about self-care I can think of in one day or one night. I think self-care truly works when you focus on it every day, every week, month in and month out. If you’re anything like me, you’ll take care of everyone before yourself, and I’m sure you’ve heard something along the lines of, “how can you take care of others when yourself isn’t taken care of?” It’s true.

Focus on YOU

Now, I’m going to challenge you to try to incorporate just one thing of self-care for your life this month. And it doesn’t have to be something that worked for me, or that I did. Remember, this is about you. After, tell me what you did & how it went!

~ XOXO, the zen-ed out, Amanda

LIFE, ETC.

How To Get Over a Breakup

If you read my post about being broken hearted you’ll have an insight into how I felt, and I won’t lie, there are still sad, depressed, or heartbroken moments – whatever you wanna call it. And I’m human, it’s a daily choice not to stay there though. The image of the woman sitting in her robe, eating ice cream, with mascara running down her face – DON’T let that be you (for long) in a breakup.

Breakups are devastating, I’ve been there, I’ve watched my whole world fall apart in front of my eyes, and then watched them walk out the door. No matter what kind of break up you’ve been in they’re hard – one-sided, mutual, clean break, messy, long & dragged out, they are all traumatic. But! I’m alive, I didn’t die, the world went on, & you can too. Here’s how to get over a breakup:

Recognize that you have to grieve that person

I thought this was crazy, honestly. But it was so true – this person was dead. Yes, not literally. But in a sense. You’re going to cry, you’re going to be angry, you’re going to be in denial, you’re going to bargain with your head, and all of that is okay/normal. In a breakup, we’re not just losing the person, but we’re also losing our idea of the future we planned with that person, and maybe you’re losing their family, and you’ll probably lose a few mutual friends. Something that you have (or I had/have) to remind myself is that: you are worth it, you’re worth giving and receiving love, and you are enough.

Go through all the reasons why your life is better now

And yes, we all know there are reasons. You don’t have to deal with _____. You don’t have to be up all night with snoring, or their bad habits, or whatever it may be. You get to drive your life now, and there’s no one in the passenger seat to bring you down or take over the steering wheel. The most important aspect of this is that you need to go back to feeling not only good but confident, about yourself. He didn’t see the good in you, and that’s his loss. Welcome back, self.

Don’t go through every single detail of your relationship

Which can be so hard not to do especially if you didn’t want it to end or if you are confused as to why/how but you are only torturing yourself because focusing on the “what-if’s” doesn’t change this present moment. If someone is not willing to reciprocate our investment in them, we must take this as a blessing in disguise. And remember that we are not responsible for their actions/immature behavior.

No social media stalking

I was SO bad at this, and sure for the first few times I didn’t care, but then moments later – it would all hit me. Trust me, ignorance is 100% bliss. You won’t have to see that they’re out at a bar, out with someone new. Whatever it may be the case that they’re doing – CLOSE THE DOOR. And as hard as it is to come to terms, they don’t matter. What they do, doesn’t matter.

You have to make the choice to put one foot in front of the other

I focused on segments at a time, I couldn’t think about the future at all, because I’d go down a rabbit hole that I couldn’t get out of. My day was, wake up do my morning routine, get to work, do work, do my nightly routine. And do that every day. Nothing else.

Understand that it will come in waves

But let it happen. I literally thought I was bipolar, I was worried about myself. Because I would be totally fine, and the next moment, be hysterical. HYSTERICAL. But I think it’s because your brain is processing through every single thing and working through the harder times.

Rely on your support system

They were probably your support system before him, throughout this whole relationship, and they’ll be there through this. Most of us have all been through a hard breakup in our lives. We’re not alone in how we’re feeling and it’s important to work through it with people you love. **shout out to all my loves for answering my millions of sobbing calls at every hour of every day***

And most of all, don’t forget to breathe and always remember you will get through this.

~ XOXO, the stronger every day, Amanda

Two girls cheersing on a rooftop
LIFE, ETC.

How To Keep a Long Distance Friendship

It’s no secret that I’m from San Diego and now I live in Boston. And moving away from home means leaving friends that you’ve known forever, and literally couldn’t replace if you tried. Regardless of the why, sometimes we get separated from our BFFs which shouldn’t mean that they’re lost to you, it just means that you may have to work a little harder to stay just as close and do things a little differently.

I learned fast that everyone who had been at the base of my support system, the girls I spent “Bachelor Monday” with, the new brunch spot we needed to try out, and the girls we did life together with were no longer that for me. Luckily for me, I’ve made GREAT friends in Boston but here’s what my friends and I have done to maintain our relationships:

Don’t “know” Their Life by Their Instagram

Everyone posts what they’re doing these days on their Instagram story, which means you are virtually there. You know where your BFF went to dinner last night & what they ordered. This can feel like a strong connection in the moment, but when it comes down to it and as more time passes, it’s a sign of a fleeting friendship.

Never let a “like” on Instagram or a reply to their story replace your friendship. A few words with an emoji doesn’t replace or keep up a friendship.

3 girls drinking wine in Dallas

Pick up the Phone

This seems like an easy thing to do, after all you did it all the time before. But with both your personal lives, work, time differences, this can get hard! It helps to know each other’s schedule, “great you get off at 5, I’ll call you then when I’m walking the dog.” This way, it’s set and you aren’t then playing phone tag. You’ll be surprised that hearing someone’s voice can be so reassuring even in times when you didn’t even know you needed it.

A group of girls in bikinis in Malibu

Girl’s Trips

Yes, visiting each other’s city is fun, but planning a girl’s trip is so fun! Plus it lets you both explore a new city together. As long as you’re all together, the plans will all fall into place. There’s nothing better than a weekend with your BFFs.

Girls drinking wine in San Diego

Don’t Stop the Group Chat

The group chat used to be where you’d be spending happy hour and hoping that someone (or everyone) would join. Or about weekend plans, things that you all could do together. Now it’s not, it’s changed, and that’s okay. It can be about opinions on if you should buy this (because you used to only shop together) or about the crazy thing that happened on the commute home. Whatever it is, just don’t stop it.

Girlfriends on the beach in San Diego

 

Always Have a Plan

If the next time you will see eachother will be home for Christmas, or for someone’s birthday, or adult spring break. Just plan it. Make it happen.

Two girls drinking beer in Fenway park at a Red Sox game

Don’t Forget the Friendship

Long-distance friendships take time and effort, but there’s a reason you have these life-affirming friends that you can’t look back and smile on the memories you share together. The friends who remember memories just as well as you, have laughed with you when times were amazing, and who cried with you when times are tough. They’ve been with you for the monumental things that have shaped you into who you are and will still be there for the monumental things that are going to happen.

My friends from my hometown are some of the most cherished people I have in my life. I know that they’re my lifelong friends, no matter where life takes us. We’ll always have each other, and when we need each other we’ll be there.

Winery outside of Washington DC

~ XOXO, the BFF loving, Amanda

P.S. Yes these are (some) of the people in my life, that I left behind when I moved to Boston/graduated college and still love love love with my whole heart.

A girl sitting by a window wrapped in a weighted blanket
LIFE, ETC.

Here’s What Happened When I Slept Under a Weighted Blanket

You may have heard the new “trend” or “fad” with weighted blankets, and I won’t lie, I was intrigued. Point blank, I’ve never had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep until the worst breakup of my life which you can read about here. Moving on – I couldn’t fall asleep, my mind would race, I would wake up in the middle of the night with anxiety attacks some so bad I thought I almost needed to call 9-1-1 because it felt like I was having a heart attack. I literally thought my heart was coming out of my chest. And I was barely sleeping at night.

Anyways, I came across Mosaic Weighted Blankets – and I was desperate so I thought, “Why not give it a try? What’s the worst that could happen?” I started doing my research and people said it felt like you were getting a really big hug, all night. I found out that people are benefiting from a weighted blanket and it wasn’t a placebo effect. Here’s what happened with me:

Do weighted blankets really help with anxiety?

The theory behind weighted blankets come from deep pressure touch or DPT which help with a lot of different mental aspects, stress included, and we have had enough of that in our everyday lives. One of the biggest benefits is that, it helps the body release serotonin which is the happiness hormone and decrease cortisol which is the stress hormone. At the same time, it calms the nervous system. I think personally, that it brings you back to when you were swaddled as a baby and comforted by your parents feeling safe.

Not only do they help with anxiety, they are known to help with all of these too:

  • Any condition with chronic pain like endometriosis & fibromyalgia
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Brain Trauma Injuries
  • Down Syndrome
  • & people with anxiety for any reason.

Are weighted blankets safe?

The first point to make them safe is to buy a blanket that is 10% of your body weight and you want it to be smaller than your bed because it’s not supposed to hang off. AKA if you are going to try someone else’s blanket, don’t make it someone who is double your size.

What Happened to me

When I first got my blanket it came with little sections with little beads inside it, I thought it would be rough when I was sleeping but it wasn’t. Overall, I was and a still am a big fan of these blankets. This is what I noticed after I used it consistently for the first month: I only spent one night not under the weighted blanket where I had trouble falling asleep, my thoughts drifted, and I had a little bit of anxiety/stress.

It lessened my anxiety

In the month I used my blanket I only had one anxiety attack and when I woke up, I was able to be calmed by my hugging blanket. I didn’t need to call people in the middle of the night to talk me off a ledge and I was able to use this blanket to self soothe.

I would fall asleep right away

As I used to be able to, it was easy for me to fall asleep again. I was no longer laying in bed for hours worrying, overthinking my life, or trying to relive every moment to analyze everything that brought me to this moment here.

I remembered more of my dreams

I have always been a dreamer and I would remember my dreams here and there. But after sleeping under my blanket, my dreams became vivid. It’s proven that weighted blankets take you into a deeper sleep and for longer. You stay in REM sleep, the dreaming aspect longer and more frequently.

I woke up feeling refreshed

I’ve always been a morning person, but I never felt refreshed or that I got enough sleep. I would wake up and be ready to start the day. I was more motivated and excited.

I do think my weighted blanket helped a lot. I would recommend them for anyone, after all, if you are already getting a bad night’s sleep – I would do anything to at least try and make your body and mind get a good night’s sleep. It’s worth trying.

~ XOXO, the well rested Amanda

A girl writing "an open letter" in a notebook
LIFE, ETC.

An Open Letter From My Broken Heart

Sometimes it’s really hard to share the messy parts of who we are. Those parts we’re not proud of…those parts that we’re insecure about. It’s tough to share those things with the people closest to us, let alone with people on the internet. So with that being said, I’d like to start this blog post off by saying two things:

  1. This isn’t going to be like most of my blog posts. I’m going to treat this more like a journal entry, and with that being said I’ve debated posting this. It’s vulnerable, puts it all out there. I’m not always the best at being vulnerable. But if this can resonate with someone, one person, and make them feel not so alone – then that’s why I wrote it.
  2. If you have a broken heart, I’d like to say I’m sorry. It sucks to go through, it really sucks. This is the worst feeling, I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

The it’s not you- it’s me, the lies, the slap in the face, the kicks when you’re down, the self-blame, self-guilt, replaying every fight, every cherished moment. The torturing yourself to the point where you have to run to the nearest bathroom to ball your eyes out. To the feeling where you knew your eyes were puffy for weeks. I’ve been there.

You deserve better, you’re better than him. I heard that a lot. A lot, a lot. And it doesn’t sit well. Like great, I deserve better, but I wasn’t good enough for that as*hole? PERFECT.

And then your mind goes to the how could someone who loved me, who cared about me have done this to me? But shitty people do shitty things.

You think you know someone but in reality, you don’t. You’d think others would have respect towards you, but they don’t. Not everyone has the same heart and you’ll end up real disappointed if you think people will do for you as you would do for them. Respect isn’t mutual, communication isn’t mutual. Shitty people do shitty things. And that isn’t on you.

One day I’ll realize, I am good enough for a love I deserve.

I know I deserve certain things in a relationship, as does everyone. Someone where you should always feel like the feelings are both respected and reciprocated. A relationship where know the effort you are putting into this relationship is reciprocated and appreciated. A relationship where you shouldn’t have to question if someone is cheating or lying, and where you feel reassured in every aspect of it. And mostly, where you feel loved, and you can love freely.

The Blessing in Disguise

I’ve tried to see this as a blessing because that wasn’t always my relationship. But I know I can look back and left nothing on the table, nothing I could have done differently.

So why does it hurt so damn bad? Why do I feel so worthless? So unloveable? And the worst: not good enough. I knew it was all going to be okay, I just didn’t know how I was supposed to get there. Why do I feel bipolar being completely fine one minute and a wreck the next? Sometimes, I can go from the I hate your guts, to the fetal position balling in a matter of seconds. To how I have to focus on one thing, one moment or else I get overwhelmed with anxiety. Why do I let my mind wander until the weeee hours of the night, fall asleep crying, only to have a nightmare within a few hours and wake up with an anxiety attack where I have to wonder if it’s actually a heart attack and I should rush to the emergency room.

It’s all confusing, and still is, I don’t understand. And I probably never will. Instead of searching for answers, I know I have to be okay with no answers. I have to be okay for myself. Because the way I’ve been living, the way I’ve been treating myself is not okay.

Looking back, even just writing this brings up all the real and raw emotions. But what I’ve learned and what I will always take with me: trust your gut. Trust your intuition. And when your significant other calls you crazy or tells you that you’re being psycho and tries to turn the blame onto you – realize it. Don’t look the other way. And definitely, don’t question it.

I’m waiting for the day that I can look back and smile, knowing why this happened for a reason. Where I can let go completely of the person who I thought I knew, and who I thought I loved.

Which leads me to this moment, and this is the moment. No more wishing of the unhappy I was because it’s less unhappy than this. No more of the self-doubt, or the negative self-talk. No more replaying every moment to see if there was something, some clue, some moment of clarity that I missed and then I could have not been so blindsided.

Moral of the story: always trust your gut & no matter what you do, shitty people will do shitty things.

~ XOXO, the girl who’s stronger (on most days), Amanda