Being OK With Being Enough

Lately I’ve been struggling with self-worth. I’ve noticed moments of jealousy, comparison, anger, judgement, and frustration pop up. I know- even in those moments- that my reactions are a result of being unhappy with myself, but I have been struggling with silencing the negative voices and curing my insecurities at their root.

I can feel the spiral as it’s happening, which is incredibly frustrating because isn’t the biggest “cure” of anxiety or wild emotions the ability to be aware of your triggers and emotions as they happen? I am fully aware of them- sometimes I even say aloud, “Audrey, what is wrong with you? Chill! Why are you feeling this way?!” But they’re still there.

I’ve been advised to invest in the awareness route. I tend to shut down emotionally or dive head first into distraction when things become overwhelming. I know that’s not right or healthy, but it’s a comfortable band aid. I’m going to give the awareness approach a shot next month, though. We’ll be flying to Dallas and I plan to NOT distract myself into oblivion and, instead, embrace every moment of the flight. (WISH ME LUCK. WOOF.)

But it’s tough to apply this practice when it comes to emotions. I am OVER THE DAMN MOON for my friends and their accomplishments. I’m even happy for acquaintances and strangers who have good things happen for them. But every once in a while, usually when I’m overwhelmed with 15 other things, I feel envy or judgement creep into my happy heart and turn it bitter. It’s frustrating.

I want to be skinnier, good at my job, more charismatic. I want to write a book and grow my own vegetables and travel with friends. I want to kick my flying fear to the curb and cure my lifelong acne and enjoy coconut milk. And honestly, no one is standing in my way. But Bitter Betty is a sneaky b*tch.

I am a STRONG girls support girls & empowered women empower women advocate but I am a human, too. I can be a catty, mean person in my head and to myself at times. I’m always looking for a way to fix that.

All that to say, if you’re riding any certain struggle bus today we can share a seat. No one is perfect. You vent to me and I’ll vent to you, and together we can figure out ways to be kinder, gentler, graceful humans in this world of comparison.

*I know things are tough right now. Speak up, donate, and love your neighbor fiercely.

 

Love, Kindness, and a Little PRIDE

I had a different post scheduled for today but when something emotional happens to you and you’re a writer/blogger, you write about it. This weekend I went to my first Pride.

There is some bad bad bad stuff happening in our world country right now. It makes me physically sick to think about and read about and keep up with. The amount of goodness and love and support and joy that I witnessed on Saturday has renewed my hope and fire and energy. I’m an introvert and I was fully expecting Pride to wipe me out and exhaust me, but it did the opposite. Strangers shouting HAPPY PRIDE to one another, bright colors and countless corporations, politicians, villages, and small businesses sharing their love and support for the LGBTQ+ community, and having my friends around me (even in the +90 degree heat) was exhilarating.

It floors me that marriage is only recently legal. Love was outlawed and persecuted and HATED up until a mere THREE years ago. What the actual hell? One of my very best friends is gay and it kills me that for so long her love was illegal. Guys, she is a FIERCE love-giver. When she is on your side she is on. your. side. And for so long this country wasn’t on her side. I feel so damn overjoyed and grateful to have celebrated her love on Saturday. Pride was the most beautiful, freeing celebration of love. It was awesome.

I witnessed some off the wall stuff on Saturday. Topless women, a drag show, some incredibly colorful outfits. It was nuts, but nuts in the absolute best way. Everyone was happy. Everyone was kind. Everyone cheered for and supported everyone.

Actually, that’s a lie. For a moment, almost directly across the parade from us was a man in an anti-GAY shirt with a megaphone. I have no idea what hate he was spewing because a girl with a large bass drum kept following him around, making noise every time his pie-hole opened. It was glorious and I think she might’ve been a superhero. Eventually he gave up and left.

I want to note that I grew up and live in a conservative small town. Big cities intimidate me and diversity is not something that runs wild in my neck of the woods. I love my town, but how I wish I could bring all the color and love from Pride back home and educate the handful of fearful folks. Someday opinions will change, but to do that we must all embrace and love as strongly and fully as the LGBTQ+ community does. You don’t have to be a negative product of your environment- you can have a positive influence on that environment instead.

I’m turning comments off today. I don’t think much more needs to be said on this topic. The world is filled with hate and you won’t find any of that here today. Take care of yourselves, friends. And take good care of others ❤

Come On Get Happy

I’m feeling a little uninspired this week. As I’ve mentioned, spring is not a happy season for me so I think the in-between temperatures and rain and allergies are getting to me. The weekend was also a little exhausting. K was away on business, which doesn’t usually bother me but this was my first time alone in the new house, and I freaked myself out that first night. Thanks a lot, anxiety.

Anyway, today I decided that I’m simply going to list some things that make me happy.

Cup-a-Soup

Planners & calendars

Harry Potter

Dogs of all shapes and sizes

Having K home

Having a weekend alone

Good comedies on TV (The Office, Superstore, The Good Place)

Iced coffee. From a jug. That I didn’t have to make myself…

Reading in the sunshine (even especially if I’m under a blanket)

Finding the right playlist for my mood

A clean bathroom

Fresh sheets

Sage

Seeing people stand up for, speak out for, and fight for their beliefs

Seeing Enzo prance around the room with his fox in his mouth

Listening to Lylee snore

My travel mug- it’s AMAZING at maintaining temperature
(this is it – not an affiliated link)

Sitting around & drinking wine with my husband’s family

Cards Against Humanity

Mario Kart

A revitalizing church service

Sundays

That’s probably enough for now. I’m already feeling a little happier. Tell me what makes you happy!

Live Your Best Holiday Life Finale

As I mentioned earlier this month, Alexandra and Shea hosted this mindful month-long challenge and I decided to participate. Their LYBHolidayL challenge was a relaxing and healing way to take on November and the holidays 🙂 Now that it’s over, here’s how I finished the month out! (Check out the first half here!)

To kick us off, here’s the second half of the gratitude log:

November 16 – Set a bedtime alarm to prioritize sleep.
We dropped the ball on the 16th because we were catching up on the last few episodes of The Mindy Project, but we’ve been going to bed around 10pm every night which has been good for us!

November 17 – Share a gratitude quote on Instagram that speaks to you, inspire others!

November 18 – Take a load of items you no longer use to Goodwill/another thrift store!
After the move I made a pile of donation items. Of course I haven’t done anything with them. Until today 🙂

November 19 – Go for a fall walk
This day was m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. I definitely didn’t go on a hike. I went shopping. Ha. But next month I’m doing a girls’ weekend at a cabin with my friends & I’ll take my fall/winter walk then!

November 20 – Allow yourself a small indulgence this week (a sweet treat, a long bath, an item from your wish list)
I might have grabbed a Three Musketeers while checking out at the grocery store.

November 21 – Give yourself a manicure or pedicure
My nails are partially gelled (because I picked some of it off), but my toes were holding on to polish from… September? I didn’t repaint them, but I did strip the polish off my feet and give my toenails and cuticles some love.

November 22 – Unexpected color combo: pumpkin & blush
I had no blush items in my closet. K and I tried to take a mirror selfie just to record my outfit for the day, but we obviously need some practice. Lylee looks straight up lost.

November 23 – Put your phone away and just be present today… Facebook and Instagram can wait
Sooo… I kept my phone away as far as texting, IG, and FB were concerned… but Animal Crossing just released their Pocket Camp app and I’d be lying if I said I avoided that all day 😉 In my defense, I bonded with my cousins and K’s siblings and cousins over the app!

November 24 – Take a few minutes to look at old photos and reminisce
I’m in the process of setting up my office at home and every time I open a box or folder I find senior pictures of friends or prom pics of K and me. So sweet 🙂

November 25 – Have a hot cocoa date with your significant other, best friend, or other loved one
K and I woke up early to hit a hardware store. We swung by Starbucks for some cocoa (for him) and a latte (for me) before we made the trek!

The gel on my thumb is still intact so it makes for good pics 😉

November 26 – Call, text, FaceTime, etc. a friend or family member that you are not able to see this holiday. They’ll be glad to know that you are thinking of them!
As strange as it sounds, almost all my family lives near me. My uncle lives in St. Louis but he was home and we had a Thanksgiving lunch with him this day! Coincidence? I think not!

November 27 – Hand write a letter or note telling someone how grateful you are for them & why
Done!

November 28 – Discuss with family existing ideas for new holiday traditions, planning ahead will make pulling it off next month easier!
My brother & his wife live two hours away but come home for Christmas Eve and morning. This month we discussed his plan and now I know when he’ll be around and what dates we’ll have him in town for celebrating! (They head to her family for Xmas night and the days that follow.)

November 29 – Schedule 15 minutes to de-stress, break out that grown up coloring book
These are my favorite kind of puzzles to do. I can sit and fill these in for hours. De-stressing with a fill-in puzzle is the perfect 15 minute break!

November 30 – Try a new coffee, tea, or coffee creamer
I bought a new amaretto creamer! I don’t usually put anything but milk or half&half in my coffee, but it’s been a nice treat!


Thank you so much, Alexandra and Shea, for hosting this challenge! I definitely fudged some stuff in the second half, but the daily challenges were a reminder in self care and preservation. I definitely needed that this month.

Next month they’re keeping the fun going with these prompts!

I’m excited to join in when I can 🙂

To My Friends & Family

I am head-over-heels in love with this season. I enjoy dreary weather, I like the cold, and I live for the last three months of every year. I know there are plenty of people like me out there, but I also know there are not.

In addition to the daily chaos and hardships of life, the holidays add stress for people. Moms and dads feel pressure to make their homes magical for their kids. Bloggers see pictures of other bloggers’ decorated trees and hearths and homes. Instagram is filled with tightly wrapped presents and perfectly decorate cookies. I saw Bad Moms Christmas in theaters a few weeks ago and the premise- people (moms) are under a ton of stress to make the holidays perfect- is so true. Hell, people are under stress 365 days a year to make their lives (seem) perfect!

Right now I feel like a lot of my friends- real life and in the blog world- are fighting their way through tough ass seasons. Unfortunate health diagnoses or slow healing-injuries, parents pulling their hair out over rebellious toddlers or cranky babies, sick pets and struggling friendships or relationships and turmoil within the family… Everyone is going through something and it hurts my heart to see my loved ones plagued with these struggles.

I struggle with that fact that some people just aren’t happy. We only get one life to live and the idea of mucking our way through in a state of constant unhappiness makes me so upset. No one can be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but in general I want people to be joyful. I’m one of those people who feels like the weight of everyone’s happiness falls on my shoulders and, while I know that’s untrue and unhealthy, it affects me deeply when my friends are down and out.

I can’t control you or your life or the things that happen to you, but I do know that what you’re going through is a season and seasons pass. The Christmas season is a wonderful one for me, but it won’t stick around forever. The next season will be better or worse and have it’s own arsenal of curveballs, but it will arrive and I will deal with it and, eventually, it will pass. And with every season we learn something new.

So, my friends, don’t fret. This season will pass. Whether you wait it out or turn the page yourself, you will come out on the other side and things will be different. Perfect? No. But it’ll be different and you can look back (or not look back), and be grateful for where you are now. Love yourself and give yourself grace along the way. Practice kindness and accept help from others. I guarantee you are loved by someone (possibly me!) and that person is rooting for you- whether you know it or not.

If you’re reading this and you’re a close friend and you feel like you’re struggling, I hope you’ll reach out. I know the holidays can get dark and overwhelming but I promise I’m always free for a phone call or text exchange or mailed Christmas greeting. There’s always room around our holiday table and I definitely don’t mind a dinner date with a friend ❤︎

Try not to spend the holidays (or your life) faking a smile- find a way to crack a genuine one. You don’t have to have a perfect tree or a perfect home or a perfect Instagram. You’re loved just the way you are and you’re doing a great job. Life is difficult and you’re doing it- be proud of yourself.

Live Your Best Holiday Life Update

(or LYBHolidayL from here on out.)

Alexandra and Shea are hosting this wonderful, mindful, month-long challenge and I’m doing my best to slow down and participate. October was a hectic & rough month for me. I had fun, but it was at the expense of my patience and sanity. I’m determined to finish out the year in a better state mentally. Alex and Shea’s LYBHolidayL challenge has helped so much with that. Since we’re halfway through, I wanted to share an update!

November 1 – Make an effort to write down one thing you are grateful for every day or week

November 2 – Read this article about raising Thankful kids

November 3 – Do something to welcome the Thanksgiving season
I packed up the Halloween decor and brought out the fall and winter stuff (but nothing too Christmasy yet). We have some Thanksgiving-themed decorations so I’m letting those hog the spotlight for a while. 🙂

(also includes day 1 & 2 of gratitude!)

November 4 – Make pumpkin waffles for breakfast/brunch/breakfast for dinner
Kyle doesn’t like pumpkin flavor so he got french toast.

November 5 – Shop your closet and try to come up with a couple of new outfits from old pieces
I’ve seen other bloggers try this. It was fun to take the time to put these together!

November 6 – Give back this month: decide as a family how to “give back” to your community
It’s not much, but this year when Christmas shopping I will say “yes” any time a cashier asks if I want to round up my change or donate a dollar to xyz organization. Also, our holiday cards came from paper culture and they plant a tree for every order 🙂

November 7 – Schedule in 30 minutes to curl up with a good book
This was great timing. We left on the 8th for a business trip so I needed the reminder to just STOP and relax for a bit with a book.

November 8 – Take a Break: Get your Hygge on
I bought both the Hygge book AND this activity book a while ago. I worked on some puzzles during our drive to Indy since I couldn’t do anything in our home while on the road.

November 9 – Let go of one thing you feel obligated to do, attend, or complete this month.
There’s a Christmas tree festival in my town that happens every year during this week. I try to go every year and I feel like I missed a crucial party of preparing for Xmas when I forget about it or don’t have time to go. This year I’m just saying the heck with it 🙂 I don’t want to go so I’m not gonna.

November 10 – Treat yourself to a new, yummy-smelling candle
I had to postpone this one until we were home, but I finally lit my new Spiced Apple Toddy candle from B&BW!

November 11 – Clean out your fridge & get it holiday food influx ready!
I actually did this one early! Before we left I cleaned out the fridge for the house/dog sitter!

November 12 – Give someone an unexpected gift
We came home from Indy with extra stickers and lanyards so I took them to my grandma’s house and gave my cousins some of our new merchandise.

November 13 – For today, clear your to-do list of all the non-fun things unless they are absolutely essential!
Since we spent 5 days on the road with customers and clients we decided to nix the alarm clocks this morning. I consider waking up to an alarm to be very un-fun.

November 14 – Start making a holiday gift list
Already started the list AND the shopping 🙂

November 15 – Get started on an Advent calendar, or a similar project for another holiday celebration!
Stephanie shared some AWESOME advent calendars… so I think I might need one of those. I’m also brainstorming some other cute Advent or Christmas countdown activities!


At the end of November I’ll share a final post 🙂 Until then, I invite you to join in (even just for a day or two) and slow down this holiday season!

A Daily Dose of Laughter

I would venture to say that the majority of my friends and family would not describe me as “jolly.” On the contrary, I tend to be an awkward mix of volatile and passionate. I’m not a fan of physical touch and I infuse sarcasm in 95% of my conversations. While I firmly believe I am (mostly) a good time to be around, I also know that I’m not the always-smiling, always-bubbly girl at the party unless there’s lots of alcohol. (I’m usually the quiet one on the floor in the corner with 8 dogs.)

All of that to say, if you’re like me and not in the habit of joking around and smiling on a daily basis (especially during these dark times), I believe we should be. We all deserve to have at least one big belly laugh a day. Not a polite smile or a forced chuckle- a genuine, outburst of laughter.

True to my introvert ways, I often find something hilarious to laugh at when I’m all alone. Jimmy Fallon videos, inappropriate Reddit threads, dog and cats videos… All of those are total winners for me. That said, laughing alongside my husband or best friends is my most preferred laughter outlet.

Some people laugh a lot (is it weird that I’m jealous of those folks?) and this is an unnecessary reminder, but for those of you who go a day or a week without fully utilizing every part of your lungs for a laugh, try to change it up. If you only have three minutes watch a Youtube video. If you’ve got a few hours pop in a comedy or meet your funniest friend for lunch. (Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2, yet? I was gasping for air, crying & laughing.)

I don’t do it as often as I should, but laughter does the soul good. We could all benefit from a little more joy. Tears from laughter always trump tears of sadness or anger or fear. (Pun possibly intended…?)

*Suggestion: While SNL is killin’ it right now, avoid those clips during your daily dose of laughter. Personally, those clips make me smirk- not belly laugh. They’re awesome and hilarious and so on point, but they can stir up outrage, too, and that’s not the emotion we’re going for in these few moments of hilarity.

So if you’re like me and you forget to make laughing a priority in your day-to-day schedule, this is your gentle reminder to sit down for a second and enjoy something funny. The heavy stuff is always going to be there and sometimes we just need a break!