Posted in Good Things, Wellness

Bringing the 60s back

Y’ALL. I checked my beloved weather app this week and it could get as low as 61 degrees at night. I am savoring that chill. I am imagining the fireplaces being used all around town because any weather below 65 degrees makes us Californians bust out the scarves and hats. I need my denim jacket at night and it is GLORIOUS. It makes me dream about my fall wardrobe which led me to scouring my go to websites Target and Gap and even checking out others (Eshakti). Hubby and I have three scheduled dates for fall and I need new outfits, right?

Foster the People concert

Since we like to do stuff as opposed to buying stuff, this concert is to celebrate our 12th wedding anniversary. Hubby would probably think something is wrong if I wore a dress and heels so jeans and a tank it is:

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Universal Thread Tank 

Gap Grey Girlfriend Jeans 

Silver Metallic Hi Top Chucks 

Pacifica Firebird Lipstick 

Baublebar Silver hoops 

Horror Made Here

This year we are braving the studio lot at Warner Bros for their horror event. I will be counted on to do lots of screaming and running so again comfort is key:

 

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Nightmare before Christmas T

Gap Cords (my top fall go to) 

I am dying over these penny loafers 

There is no more back to school for me (can I get an AMEN?) but I still need this backpack

Dear Evan Hansen

In November we will be going to see the musical Dear Evan Hansen in Los Angeles. As I type this I am trying to contain my excitement because it is SO FAR AWAY. While I wait I will have the cast recording on repeat and purchasing my theater (say that in a snotty tone to get the real effect) wardrobe:

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Have you heard of Eshakti? I was clued into this website by a brilliant group of women and all I can say is dresses with pockets (It also gives me that Marvelous Mrs. Maisel feel, which is my new favorite show if only for the droolworthy costumes but also because it is hilarious)

T Straps 

Baublebar Crawler earrings to make feel a little punk rock 

Gold Clutch

And just because I have a thing for overalls and stripes:

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Universal Thread Charcoal overalls 

Gap long sleeve stripe crewneck 

Gap grey ankle boots 

Are you excited for sweaters, jeans, and boots? Is it cold where you live yet? Tell me so I can live vicariously through you!

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Wellness, Word Therapy

You are not alone

The first time I tried I was in my teens. The second I was a mom to two babies. I had lost all hope and I couldn’t see life getting any better. Everything that could go wrong did. I tried to lock myself in the bathroom with a mouthful of pills. I was stopped by the person who loves me the most. I was told to look at my children. I was asked if I really wanted to do this. He called family, telling them he didn’t know what to do. I spit the pills in the toilet. Things did eventually get better. I was lucky.

Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, and countless others that we don’t know but don’t make them any less important. They took their own lives, no matter how happy they looked to us. “Within the past year, about 41,000 individuals died by suicide, 1.3 million adults have attempted suicide, 2.7 million adults have had a plan to attempt suicide, and 9.3 million adults have had suicidal thoughts.”-NAMI

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month. If you read or watch the news you know mental health is a hot topic. Finding help and getting the coverage for it is stigmatized. Speaking about it makes people uncomfortable. But we have all felt despair at times in our lives. Imagine feeling so hopeless that leaving this Earth feels like your only option? Here are some stats from NAMI that alarmed me as the mother of two kids with their teenage years around the corner:

  • 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 live with a mental condition
  • Suicide is the third leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24
  • 37 % of students with a mental health condition at age 14 and older drop out of school

Follow this to know what the 10 common warning signs are.

As much as I talk about anything and everything, I don’t like to talk about how I got to a place where I tried to end my life. Depression has definitely affected me my whole life but I never thought during those two times that it would lead to making that decision. It came on suddenly with such an overwhelming feeling of desperation. I wanted to do something drastic so I didn’t have to feel what I was feeling anymore. I am grateful every day that I failed. With my medicine, writing, and exercise, I can now identify when I am feeling bad and why. I can see things with perspective. I know I am strong enough to handle whatever is thrown at me. I didn’t before. Back then I felt all alone in the world. But I wasn’t then and I’m not now. None of us are. And if you don’t feel that you can reach out to friends or family, here are some places that you can:

NAMI

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Trevor Project

You are loved.

Posted in Calming the Voices, Not Today Anxiety, Wellness, Word Therapy

Today

Last week marked the one year anniversary since I started taking Prozac. I have changed so much in that time. My brain before Prozac was the house that lay dormant with sheets covering all of the furniture. Prozac has gone around and turned on all the lights, removed the sheets, and aired it out by opening the windows. The more sunshine that comes in, the more I feel myself. I feel as if the parts of me that needed fixing are starting to mend. I have more patience, I am more open, and I am not beating myself up on a daily basis. When anxiety starts to build up I am more often than not able to reign it in.

It’s exhausting being defensive and thinking that when a friend, family member, or even a stranger acts negatively towards you that you automatically think you did something wrong. But I did just that for 42+ years (and honestly don’t know how I’m not taking a nap right now). Having that disappear gives me the opportunity to be empathetic. I’m taking my time back and using it for more positive things. Prozac and mindfulness have done that for me.

Social media is still and probably always will be a struggle. There are days where I want to share my life, good and bad. I want to engage with others, other days I just want to hide from it all so I can’t be judged (which is mostly coming from inside my own head).

I want to be an author first and always. I have focused on getting through my anxiety by writing. When I get overwhelmed with mindfulness, putting thoughts down on paper has helped. But I also have felt selfish and self centered by writing about this. Who am I to play the victim and be sad about life? But ultimately I have realized I needed to go through this to come out on the other side. I sometimes still feel alone in my feelings. Prozac has taught my brain that is not the case but my heart still feels different. I am not pushing for a change of heart as I know that wall will become even stronger the more my brain tries to huff and puff it down. It will change in time and that will have to be enough.

The Should and Shouldn’t Have families are starting to wear out their welcome as I am putting on my pajamas to give them the hint. Just in the last few weeks I have started asking, “Well, why can’t I do that?” or “Why do I have to do that?” It sounds so corny and cheesy but I am starting to like myself. It’s a foreign feeling for someone who is constantly thinking of new ways to improve herself. I definitely should have sought help sooner but strangely I don’t have any regrets. I am just so happy that I finally feel “normal.”

I have learned that my emotions will change day to day. One day I will feel on top of the world, ready to accomplish anything. Others I will be frustrated with life and feel like I will never achieve anything. I know I am not alone in this and that in itself is huge. Now I can focus on finding the strength to keep going. I know I can write a book that will be successful. It’s holding onto that thought day in and day out, that is my goal.

I don’t know if I will change anybody’s mind about mental health, but getting the help I needed has been life changing for me. Thank you for reading.

Posted in Wellness, Word Therapy

Vacay

I love how you can be sitting on the beach in pure sunshine and calm waves when all of the sudden it starts to rain so fast it’s like mist when it hits the sand. Five minutes later the sun is back out. We spent a lot of time on the beach, only going up to our room to eat lunch in our condo and watch the soap opera Another World. The sweet smell of pineapple still makes me crave a fruit boat. Whenever I see St. Elmo Fire is on television I remember walking around the village of our hotel and stopping into the movie theater to watch it (Saxophone playing Rob Lowe is second only to Soda Pop Rob Lowe). I proudly wore my Puka shell necklace my parents bought me from Lahaina and the t-shirt that sported the round cat playing soccer. We ate lots of shaved ice and were greeted by beautiful exotic birds when we visited the Hyatt Regency. It was summer of 1985 and I was 10. My parents had brought us to their favorite vacation destination, the Hawaiian island of Maui. And even though it had its mishaps (lost luggage, broken down rental car, and stomach flu for me), it was still one of my favorite trips as a kid.

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My anxiety does not like vacations. I can’t sleep in hotels. It’s very hard for me to relax. I like my routines at home. When hubby and I went to Europe after college, I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I wanted to. I was overwhelmed, didn’t give a rat’s ass about all the beautiful art I was seeing, and even got sick and missed out on going to Nice, France (I’m such an idiot). When I think back on that trip I do have fond memories (I know I sound like a privileged asshole ) but wish I had appreciated it more.

These days vacations are easier. Medicine clears away all the nonsense and helps me be in the moment. Planning ahead and checklists still help. And knowing that I will be surrounded by family that I adore is the best part.

On Monday my family of four will board a plane for the first time together. We are meeting family in Seattle for the better part of a week with a one day trip to Portland. I like to joke that we are trying to hit all the cities with the hipsters (Austin was our first). We will do touristy things like the Space Needle and nerdy stuff like the Pop Culture Museum. When Curls and I visited New York in March, one of favorite places was the New York Public Library. I now want to visit the library in each of the cities we travel to and Seattle Public Library has astounding architecture. In Portland we will hit up Voodoo Donuts and Salt and Straw to satisfy the sweet tooth and the Japanese Garden to calm the mind.

I know we will return from vacation having a new city we love and can’t wait to revisit (like Austin). My wish for the future is for us to take a RV trip with stops in Zion and Yellowstone and a vacation to Tokyo.

Where do you like to go on vacation? Do you like to travel?

I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Good Things, Wellness

Adult Daycare

Can I ask you for your honest opinion?”, I asked the lady with the black hair, cool Buddy Holly glasses, and denim shirt. “Of course,” she said as she stopped and gave me her full attention. I held up the silky grape colored shirt with the muted flowers on it. “Is this too old lady?” Without missing a beat she answered with confidence, “Yes. Go with stripes.” She patted the striped shirt pile of A New Day tops. I laughed out loud and nodded my head. “Oh girl. I have yet to meet a stripe I didn’t like. Thank you so much! Have a good day.” She smiled at me and said, “You too!” We both continued to browse the t-stands, tables, and displays of women’s clothing.

img_8840Golden Girls or Palm Springs Chic-YOU DECIDE

Self care is a hot topic right now, especially for women. Taking time for ourselves. Getting a massage, a manicure and pedicure, or getting your hair done. Doing yoga or going for a run. As I have gotten older I have been better about taking care of myself. Exercise helped my anxiety (even if if I didn’t know it) before I took medication. Massages and mani/pedis are nice but I get them for special occasions. But every Thursday morning at approximately 915 am, I pull into the covered parking garage for my self care appointment: Grocery shopping at Target.

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UNDER HIS EYE

The white bullseye and red background greets me as I enter through the automatic sliding glass doors. I take the stairs to the main floor and marvel at the cart escalator, no matter how many times I have seen it. I go to the Starbucks counter and order my iced almond milk cinnamon macchiato. While I wait for my order I peruse the Dollar Spot where if I am lucky I can get out of that section for less than $10 (Curse you seasonal items! Why yes, I do need an inflatable cactus ring toss, a pineapple tic tac toe, and the cutest little greeter you ever did see)

With my drink in hand I get my cart and give it a bath with the provided blue wipes. I hook my environmentally friendly shopping bags on one side and my Amazon purchased cup holder on the other. I select an album on Apple music on my phone and put my earbuds in so I can not only hear the music but also so I can block out the noisy cart that I always pick.

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I am methodical with shopping. I go straight to the grocery section and get what is needed and leave a little time after to check out the beauty section, women’s clearance, and kids’ clothes.

Target has always been there for me in my time of need. Need new clothes for Curls and Red? Cat and Jack has adorable apparel with empowering messages. They also have a one year warranty for when your 8 year old boy comes home with rips in his knees. Art Class has unique designs that appeal to my aspiring artist tween.

If you read my Mother’s Day post, you know I love Target’s women’s fashion. They always have new collections that I am excited to check out. I am currently in love with their Universal Thread line and have bought a pair of jeans (so stretchy and soft!), a romper, and a baseball hat. The jewelry line BaubleBar did a line for Target called Sugarfix and the colors and designs are bright and fun.

Target has continued to expand their beauty section and a lot of their locations just finished a remodel. They now look like the floor of a Sephora (and a hell of a lot cheaper!). Everything is lit up, clean, and simple to make products easy to find. They even have a beauty specialist on hand at certain times throughout the week to answer any questions you might have.

I could probably go on for another 1000+ words but I am pretty you sure get the idea. I have loved Target since my mom took me to pick up my Cabbage Patch Kid off of layaway when I was Curls’ age. My local stores has employees like Anita and Clifton who stop whatever they’re doing to help me find an item. And all the others greet me with a smile as I go from aisle to aisle, scanning my cartwheel app and placing my goods in the squeaky red cart.

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I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Good Things, Wellness

Fashion Queen

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An outfit for Christmas. A dress and shoes for Easter. Whatever I want for the first day of school. An outfit for a concert, a play, or a football game. My mom taught me there was always an occasion, no matter how big or small, that called for a new outfit. This ensured we always had an excuse to go shopping on the weekend as we headed out the door to the swap meet or mall.

Watching my mom get ready for work every morning is a memory I will always hold onto. Her drawer of Avon makeup added to her lightly freckled skin and hazel eyes. Her bathroom counter’s gold flecked Lazy Susan was filled with perfume bottles of Obsession by Calvin Klein and Opium by YSL that she would spritz before heading out the door. I would joke that she looked like Don King when she teased her permed hair, her southern roots showing.

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My love of fashion is embedded in her getting dressed for her case management job Monday through Friday at the hospital. Pantyhose, tea length skirts, fancy blouses with shoulder pads, and conservative heels made her the most put together woman I knew.

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I have a degree in Apparel Merchandising that I am proud of. I’m not as sophisticated as my mom is but I love putting an outfit together for any event. So I did some “research” this week for summer fashion. Add that to the bucket list and we are ready for 90 degree weather with an ocean breeze (thanks OC), long days, and vacation:

VidCon:

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Beach/Waterpark:

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Pacific Northwest:

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LA:

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Fair/Knotts:

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Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you.

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I hope you find passion and happiness this weekend!

Posted in Wellness, Word Therapy

Happy Mindfulness

Today I turn 43. Not a special birthday. A day where I think about all that has happened since the last April 12th and the changes my family and I have been through. So much changed for the better in this last year. We are back at home, I can say with confidence that I am a writer, and I feel the most settled than I ever have.

Mindfulness is definitely the word I would use to describe this year. I’m learning more why I act the way I do and the actions of others around me. I stop and think more, which has made me a better parent and wife. I take life one day at a time with a lot of letting go and deep breaths. It has brought peace to my soul that wasn’t there before.

It is easier to be grateful these days. I appreciate the outdoors when I walk my dogs, go on Sunday bike rides with my family, and sit in my backyard and write. Listening to music helps me to sit still and relax.

I am taking a hold of aging and attempting to be graceful. I got bangs to cover my forehead wrinkles but I don’t think I can rock a beard like Keala Settle to cover up the jowels. I refuse to subscribe to the thinking that I should dress according to my age and wear what I love, jeans and pop culture t-shirts (with a little bit of preppy thrown in). I haven’t found the perfect Mrs. Roper’s muumuu yet but I will track down that unicorn.

My brain tries to sabotage me weekly. It seems the harder I work to overcome my obstacles, the louder the negative feelings become. But I know that these are only temporary and will pass.

I don’t know if my writing has gotten better. I have become more truthful, which is just as important to me. I have found my process. I have worked my way past the voices that tell me everything I write sucks, and just write what it is I need to say. I know I am going to have to read a piece at least five times and edit the hell out of it before I can feel satisfied with it. I feel freer to write and the judgment I imagine that is forthcoming is not as scary.

I write this blog to process what I am going through. I want others to be able to understand what somebody with anxiety is going through. Or maybe they see themselves in a post. The more people I interact with those that have anxiety, the less alone I feel. Social media (particularly Instagram) has helped with that. And sure, I would love to have followers in the thousands. But it is also exhausting to make yourself relevant in this world. Going viral, using the allotted 25 hashtags, and following someone back because they follow you are all tricks of the trade but once you are in the spotlight the question is for how long?

I have accepted that when I have highs they are in the sky and when I have lows they are below the ocean bed (Kind of like this post). Prozac has brought me closer to the middle and given me balance. I also think feeling at home has been a factor. Happiness is achievable and I intend to keep running towards it.

Please celebrate my birthday with me by reading about and/or donating to

https://www.thetrevorproject.org/#sm.0006isoco1aj1es6wm62lmqtzuku9

https://www.aclu.org/

https://everytown.org/

Thank you!

Posted in Not Today Anxiety, Wellness, Word Therapy

Reading About Anxiety is Giving Me Anxiety and I Can’t Stop Looking at My Jaw

Last week was the fourth week. What that means is that in addition to managing my anxiety, I also have to deal with emotions that are already on high alert the rest of the month. I feel like a teenager who is having her first bout with PMS. Barbecue chips and dark chocolate better be in the cabinet. Tears flow during the training of the rescue dogs for the Puppy Bowl. A loud sob forces me to take a seat when the Puppy Bowl referee canoodles with Shirley the Sloth, the other referee.

I am on birth control. Not because I am trying to prevent a pregnancy but because I am prone to ovarian cysts. With the birth control pills comes the wave of hormones. The first week comes with heightened sensitivity and nausea. The second week is definitely the best week. I feel lots of joy and am grateful for feelings that I know are fleeting. This is how the medicine works and it can be frustrating. Having the knowledge that I will have one week in the month where I will feel pure happiness can be kind of a bummer (the irony I tell ya). The third week is a mini version of the fourth where I know I am going to be bitchy so analyzing every emotion and movement is key.

The fourth is my anxiety going into overdrive. I can’t make myself sit down and write because I am convinced it’s going to be garbage. I make myself exercise but I don’t get the same joy out of it and the endorphins don’t help as much. Motivation is almost non-existent, procrastination wreaks havoc and prevents me from accomplishing anything. I also whine a lot more and try not to look at the effect age and gravity is having on my face (remember two weeks ago when I didn’t care??).

Times like this I think about successful people and how they got there. Hard work and talent, sure. But confidence and strength are key. Nobody forces me to sit down, eat all of the tortilla chips and salsa, and go down the rabbit hole of Instagram stories. Getting distracted the fourth week is much easier as my defenses are down and I would rather pine for somebody else’s life than propel myself to better mine. I then feel pathetic for doing that and keep the cycle going.

Doing online research about anxiety and the different kinds can feel triggering but I push forward, knowing how important it is. I wish that I could not be as hard on myself but all that energy I normally have has checked out. Even being aware, which normally keeps my chin up, seems to fade into the background.

I know this has been a post of self pity. I try to allow myself that in order to move past it. And even though I am not writing all of the thoughts down, my brain doesn’t shut off (clearly). As the days keep coming a lot of what I am thinking will find it’s way out so I can continue to move forward as a writer and speak my truth, for better or worse.

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This picture was from the fourth week when it was too early for dinner but I was really needing (okay, wanting) an In-N-Out grilled cheese and fries. So Curls, Red, and I had first dinner by splitting one of each. I suspect in the future this is what I will remember and not all those negative feelings that want to rule my world. They will not succeed if only because of these smiling faces.

Posted in California Livin', Hiking, Nature, Wellness

Friday Favorite: Fullerton Loop

Sunday is a day of rest.  Sunday is the last day of the weekend when you are supposed to dread going back to work because MONDAY.  Sunday is for reading the paper, drinking coffee, and watching football.  That’s not me.  Sunday to me is getting ready for the week.  Figuring out what I am going to wear, maybe write, and definitely exercise.  Running and yoga are usually the norm but I have been trying to get the whole family to be active on Sundays.  This past Sunday we checked out the Fullerton Loop, a hiking trail that you can also bike and run.  It was a beautiful day and even though we only managed to do 4 miles round trip, we got outside, the kids were loud and rowdy, and I had to pee the whole time (which is pretty much the story of my life).

While Dad figured out where we were going, the kids did an obligatory pose/dab:

Fullerton Loop Dabbing

We started off strong with Scarlet leading the way with her confident stride, not yet annoyed by her brother’s antics

Fullerton Loop Confident Stride

Then Wesley started running up and down the hills, trying to make this “boring” hiking trail (not every hike is Joshua Tree kid) fun

Fullerton Loop Wesley please dont run up the hill

Followed by me asking him to come down as my anxiety tried to take over, whispering he could get hurt or bit by a rodent or snake

Fullerton Loop Thank You Wesley

We stopped at a bench and it was very polite and cordial

Fullerton Loop Bridge Sign

About a quarter of the way in the kids were still smiling so I captured the moment under a bridge

Fullerton Loop Bridge

Wesley has his “I’m the King of the World” daily stance

Fullerton Loop Wesley King

One under a bridge, one on top of a bridge

Fullerton Loop Bridge Smiles

Wesley telling me to find him

Fullerton Loop Bridge find Wesley

Happy they found not a Christmas but a Stranger Things tree

Fullerton Loop Stranger Things

There was some complaining/whining/yelling about needing water and being tired but I know the kids will be up for another hike on one of these upcoming Sundays.  And I will be too.

I hope you have a go to list of things that make you happy and you get to enjoy them over the weekend.  Thanks for reading!

Posted in Pop Culture, Wellness

Friday Favorites

I am knee deep in purging, packing, and panic over here and haven’t been able to properly sit down and write a decent blog post. I’ve written down some topics: Ode to Tacos, Woman Crush Wednesday (Stephanie Beatriz, aka Rosa from Brooklyn Nine-Nine), even just pictures of furniture that I am eyeing for the new house. But then I dismissed them all under stupid or no one cares (I have a long list of those that my brain likes to remind me of). So here’s a list of what is making me happy right now. I hope you have a list of your own (maybe one of these is on there!) and are able to take the time to enjoy them.

Music: Miley Cyrus’s “Younger Now”

Miley is an old soul. This video is rockabilly adorable and her smokey voice has only gotten stronger as you see her becoming the person she is meant to be.

Movie: The Big Sick

If you have read about The Big Sick, you know that it is touted as being a sweet and funny romantic comedy that you will love. And that is all true. The plot is based on the real life love story between star Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, who is played by Zoe Kazan. Along with It, The Big Sick is one of my favorite movies of 2017.

Hulu Binge: Top of the Lake China Girl

This second season of the Elisabeth Moss crime drama manages to improve on the first. Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones) and Nicole Kidman as flawed but strong women join the cast as Moss’s Robin tries to find the killer of a young sex worker who washes up on the shore of Sydney, Australia. Jane Campion (The Piano) doesn’t shy away from dark subject matter but it is always compelling.

Book: Stephen King’s The Stand

This is my first Uncle Stevie novel and I have read over and over again that this is his best one. I am about a quarter of the way in and all I can think is:

Yes, I knew before that Stephen King was awesome. The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are two of my all time favorite movies that are based on stories by him. But as a writer/reader, his level of description is mind blowing. I feel like Captain Obvious typing this but seriously, why did I wait so long?!

Movie Trailer: Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs

Dogs, Japan, animation, and Wes Anderson. And no matter how weird it looks, it will be AWESOME.

Have a wonderful weekend!