Category Archives: Lifestyle

I was chatting with someone the other day about furniture shopping and home design. We both have expensive taste and certainly enjoy the finer things in life. She was about my age and income level so I figured we both got our inspiration at Restoration Hardware but shopped at Target for home decor. She pulled up this gorgeous set of nightstands she wanted to buy for her bedroom – the price tag was around $500 for each. I assumed she was just doing a little dreaming, but she had plans to purchase soon. This got me thinking, am I the odd one out when it comes to how I spend my money?

Talking About Spending Habits

Everyone is entitled to spend their money how they see fit. And admittedly, sometimes I wish I could just drop some cash and buy the things I really want! But I just can’t, my common sense won’t let me. I think our spending habits and financial management comes from our life lessons and what our parents taught us. My parents hate credit cards and try to pay them off as soon as they can. I have an equal aversion to them. So let’s approach financial responsibility from a fresh perspective!

Don’t Buy a New Car

It always makes me scratch my head when people by brand new cars. While some cars retain their value fairly well, most do not. If you can afford to make it rain money, then enjoy! However, when you’re saddled with student loan debt and other expenses, it just makes more sense to find a used car in good condition that’s affordable. I for one, do not like having a car payment!

My future sister-in-law was getting rid of her old SUV and she sold it to me for $500. Why was it so cheap? It needed a new engine. So all in, I paid a little over $4000 with repairs and engine work. Is it my dream car? NO. But, I’m saving for that!

Live on 2/3

Many people live paycheck to paycheck. Sometimes this is unpreventable. However, for many people including myself, living paycheck to paycheck is by poor money management. When we’re spending every dollar that comes in, of course our paychecks are going to seem small and money will seem tight! Many financial experts advise that we should live on 2/3 of our income and save the rest. Which brings me to my next point.

Pad Your Savings Account

When our paychecks drop, 1/3 of that money automatically goes into our savings account. We don’t even miss it because it wasn’t in our checkings to begin with. Whether its $100 or $1000 that goes into your savings account every month, it all adds up! Having a healthy savings account has been important to David and I for awhile. We both grew up in homes where it would be hard to pay for an emergency car repair. We are bound and determined not to have that problem!

Meal Prep

If you go out everyday to grab lunch, then you’re doing it wrong! I love a yummy lunch out to break up the monotony of my work day, however the cost and calories keep me from doing so. Instead, I use my trusted Crockpot to meal prep for the entire week! This saves me at least $50 every week, so roughly $200 a month.

My favorite thing to throw in the Crockpot is a mix of corn, black beans, rice, lentils, chicken broth, a few spices, and chicken. You can make a ton of it and then freeze for later!

If this was helpful for you, please share with friends! If you have additional advice, I’d love to hear it!


recovering from depression

Hey everyone! In an effort to be the most transparent life and style blogger I can be, I always like to share the good and the bad parts of my life with you. Everyone sees highlight reels for the most part and while those are nice, they aren’t realistic. As much as I enjoy Instagramming my shopping finds or the brunch I’ve had, it just doesn’t show the real me. So this post is real and raw because I’m talking about my recovery from depression!

When I say “recovery” what I mean is how I’m learning to cope and slowly navigate the waters that are depression. I refuse to fall into the rabbit hole that is depression, I’m pulling myself (and hopefully others) out! As many of you are probably aware, I quit my job last month because I was quite simply miserable. The constant fog of depression and trembling fits of stress weren’t worth any amount of money. Since quitting, I started a new job and have since been lifted out of that fog. However, the recovery is still going strong and here’s what I’ve learned.

Depression Never Fully Leaves You

It never does, at least in my case. Most of my days are full of sunshine, smiles, coffee, and lovely people. Unfortunately, when I least expect it, I feel this darkness creeping through my body and straight into my mind. It’s heavy and difficult to lift. Depression and all of it’s fun symptoms come out of know where! I can’t anticipate it and I can’t run from it, my mind and hormones just let it do it’s thing.

For example, I was in the car with David the other day just enjoying our Saturday afternoon and then very slowly I felt something in my mind shifting. My face turned downcast, I stopped talking, and grew increasingly tired. I knew what it was of course and it took me several hours to get past it.

That’s the biggest thing I’ve learned while recovering from depression, or maybe I should say coping with depression. It never fully leaves you. Some days I feel like I’m past this awful disease and then I’m reminded that its still there even if I can’t feel it.

Where to Go From Here

Whenever I have a little episode of depression, I ask myself where can I go from here? Is there something I can do to get out of the fog quicker? Is there something that triggers the sadness? Can I detect the next episode? I think identifying the factors that play into a bout of depression can make it easier to move on the next time one occurs.

If you suffer from depression or even anxiety, write down how you feel before, during, and after your episode of depression. Write down any details that might be important in what you’re experiencing. Take what you’ve written to a counselor who can help! Mine is amazing and makes me feel normal and more importantly, hopeful!


engagement ring

Hey everyone! Happy almost spring! A lot has been going on lately with me starting a new job and now David and I are getting ready to move so I’ve just been hanging on for the ride here lately. In other news however, the subject of getting engaged has finally come up! I’m not sure when, where, or how but we like to be on the same page about everything and this is something you can’t just be nonchalant about.

Not gonna lie, a few months ago I went into a jewelry store and tried on a ring or two (more like 10) just for fun whence the photo above. For clarification purposes, no the ring in the photo is not mine, Kay Jewelers let me try it on and dream a bit! I’ve been talking to engaged friends and reading every Wedding Bee article about engagement etiquette and that sort of thing, so for ladies that are getting engaged soon, here are 5 things to do before you get engaged!

Make Sure You Both are on the Same Page

Almost every girl I know is just a tad more excited to get engaged than their guy is. Not that he isn’t excited at all, but ladies just enjoy finally making their wedding Pinterest boards a reality! So don’t jump the gun on wedding planning just yet, make sure you’ve talked about it and agree on a time frame and other details.

Look at Rings Together

While you don’t have to go into an actual store (although that can be fun too!) be sure to browse ring styles together so you both know what you like. More importantly, decide on the appropriate budget. Every couple will handle this important subject differently but since finances are a big part of marriage, you may as well get the hang of it with this major purchasing decision.

Set Realistic Expectations for Yourself

I tend to dream when it comes to major life events like this, which is totally fine! However, reality often dictates how life goes. Before you even get engaged, understand that friends’ and family’s financial status might inhibit them from celebrating the engagement, attending parties, or even the wedding.

I’m a firm believer that no one that’s in or attending a wedding should go into serious debt for it. As much as someone may love you, understand that going to (or even throwing) the bridal shower etc. might be too costly for them. This will save you from any hurt feelings down the road!

Keep Those Nails Manicured!

It’s my worst nightmare that my nails are gross when David asks me to marry him. You can’t take a good ring photo when you have dirt under your nails. Just ew. If you don’t want to keep paying for professional manicures, my advice is to keep them clean and tidy with just a clear coat on top and regular nail filing!

Answer all the Big Questions

Big questions like how you’ll handle money, if you’ll go to church, or whether you’ll have kids are pretty important things to talk about. So talk about them to make sure you at least know where each other is coming from and what expectations they have for your future together. Its better to know the answers to these things before getting engaged rather than being surprised after!

Hopefully, you’ll be hearing more from me on this subject in the future! Until then, leave a comment with your best engagement advice! 

 


Last week I blogged about depression and what to expect when you love someone with it (if you missed that blog it’s here!) This week I’m sharing part 2 of the blog series on how to love someone with depression. I received a lot of great feedback from the last blog and definitely see a need for this subject to be talked about openly, especially in the context of a relationship.

What You Shouldn’t Say

Everyone puts their foot in their mouth from time to time. We say the wrong thing trying to help or just don’t understand the situation. While I’m sure most people with depression have had others unintentionally say the wrong thing to them when talking about it, it can still hurt. So if you’re dating or married to someone with depression, here are a few things you shouldn’t say.

  • “It’s all in your head.” – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, depressed people aren’t crazy and we know better than anyone that depression isn’t something we make up.
  • “It’ll get better eventually.” – In some cases, depression can resolve itself but often times it doesn’t. We get that you’re trying to make us feel better but this isn’t particularly helpful.
  • “Just try to stop being depressed or snap out of it.” – Ummmm that’s not how this works. No one wants to be depressed and its next to impossible to just “stop.”
  • “It’s miserable to be around you when you’re like this.” – We totally get that. Depressed people are depressing to be around. However, saying this makes us feel like we have to hurry up and feel better only for the comfort of someone else.
  • “You don’t need medicine.” – First of all, unless the person saying this is a doctor, they have no business telling me what I do and don’t need. And second of all, sometimes depressed individuals DO need medicine to balance out their hormones.
  • “Get over it, a lot of people are sad and learn to move on.” – Depression isn’t the same thing as sadness. You are sad because your pet died or a friend hurt you. An unfortunate event doesn’t have to happen to make someone depressed. You can get over a pet crossing the rainbow bridge, you can’t get over a chemical imbalance.

What You Should Say

To avoid saying something you shouldn’t, here are a few things you should say to your loved one!

  • “I wish I understood how you feel but I’m sure it’s hard.” – It’s totally ok if you don’t understand what depression is like, the important thing is that you let the other person know that you sympathize with them even if you don’t know how it feels.
  • “Can you explain it to me?” – Simply asking your loved one to explain their symptoms or what it feels like shows them you care and gives you a better understanding of depression and how it impacts them.
  • “I may not be able to help but I’m here to listen.” – Sometimes just a listening ear can be incredibly helpful and personally, I’m always thankful for it!
  • “I’ll be happy to go to the doctor with you.” – For those that see a doctor routinely for treatment or general help, it can be really eye opening to go with your significant other and talk with the doctor. He or she can explain depression and even offer tips on caring for someone with it.
  • “How can I help ease your symptoms?” – Sometimes there really isn’t anything you can do, however offering to go on a walk with them or get some fresh air can be a nice gesture that shows you want to help.

Helpful Tips

David and I’s relationship has been through job loss, moving around, and distance. But nothing has been quite the challenge like my depression. It’s been hard for him to understand it because he hasn’t experienced it. By explaining how it feels and making sure he understands it isn’t his fault (or mine), its been a bit easier on both of us.

Every aspect of a relationship can usually be improved with open, honest communication and mental health is certainly something to be honest about. If you and your loved one struggle with this, try writing letters to each other to explain your feelings. David and I have found this to be a lot easier.

Ultimately, just be there for your significant other! Open the curtains for them and let the sunlight in! Sit down and just chat about something funny that happened during the day. Sometimes the little gestures can mean the most when you’re depressed.

 


 

santa-monica-pier-in-february

Hey everyone! David and I just got back from our little getaway and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I left my heart in California! I can’t get enough of all the sunshine, palm trees, fresh seafood, and happy people. David wasn’t sure if he would like it there but he quickly fell in love just like I did. There’s just something about the LA area but I can’t put my finger on it.

The photos above were on the beach in Santa Monica! I was so ready to get some sun on my legs that I decided to wear these cute ripped denim shorts I just got at Target for $16.99! Seriously, I’m obsessed with Target’s Universal Thread line- its affordable and very trendy! I also wore this one-shoulder ruffle top from J Crew (similar style) and a warm scarf, the beach breeze was a tad chilly!

Where to Eat in Santa Monica

Every vacation for me starts and ends with eating! Let me just say we ate our weight in seafood and fresh guacamole and it was worth it! Our Air BnB was up in Glendale just outside of Los Angeles and the first place we went to eat Sunday morning was at this restaurant called Delia’s and oh my goodness! Freshly squeezed orange juice, made to order burrito, and bistro seating on the street that couldn’t be beat! It was pure bliss!

When we headed over to Santa Monica for the day, the first thing we did was hit up the pier for guacamole and margaritas. Mariasol Cocina Mexicana on the pier was delicious! We ordered table-side guacamole and they made it right in front of us. David and I Instagrammed the heck out of that moment! Besides the chubby pigeons waiting for a tortilla chip to drop, it was great!

We walked the pier and beach for another 2 hours or so and then went to work off our meal by renting bikes! We rode a few miles down the shore to Venice Beach before turning around and trading in the bikes for a cold one at a neat British pub by the water.

For dinner Sunday night, we went to Water Grill – Santa Monica. Holy smokes ya’ll, this place was divine! David and I ordered a bit of everything including fresh crab cakes, wedge salads, mac & cheese, brussel sprouts, coleslaw, fresh swordfish, and the yummiest rolls ever! If you ever want a nice meal by the ocean in Santa Monica, this place can’t be beat!

What to See in Hollywood

Right after our flight landed at LAX, we took an Uber to our Air BnB to drop off our luggage. Then we headed over to Hollywood to see the sites! Of course the first thing we did was grab a bite to eat at Stout’s- delicious veggie burgers and loaded fries can be found there! After filling up, we walked down Sunset blvd before making our way to the Chinese Theater and the walk of fame.

Ok, this may not be a popular opinion but… I wasn’t that impressed with Hollywood. I felt like I should have been wow’d but it was dirty, stinky, and the people cosplaying as their favorite characters made me uneasy. If you’re planning a trip to Los Angeles, just plan a half day in Hollywood. The Chinese Theater offers tours which I’ve heard are neat and the walk of fame can be cool if you’re on a scavenger hunt for specific people. Otherwise, there are great views of the Hollywood Hills and sign!

Pressing Onward After Vacation

There’s nothing harder than coming home from a needed vacation only to have reality hit you in the face. I could honestly move to California I liked it so much… the price of living keeps me from moving out there though. Anyway, it was a great trip and one I’m glad I get to share with you! Next Monday I start my new job and I couldn’t be more excited! 

*ps. affiliate links present

 


Mental health, ya’ll- this is never an easy thing to talk about but I’ve blogged on this subject before and I got a great response from it, which tells me more people want to have this conversation!

As someone who deals with depression, or battles rather, I can tell you how hard it is to explain how you feel to someone who’s never experienced it. It’s even harder to explain when the other party already thinks its “all in your head” or that you can just choose to be happy instead. However, when the person you love doesn’t understand it, it can be heartbreaking.

My boyfriend David is learning to deal with my depression and how to help me, but its definitely been a struggle! So this post is for the significant others of people who are depressed to help explain everything as best as I can and more importantly, tell you how to love them unconditionally.

*Note depression can impact people in many other ways than what I’m going to describe, this is purely based on my experience.

Depression is Unpredictable

Depression is a strange thing. Some days I can function and then other days it hits me like a ton of bricks and it hurts to get out of bed. Certain times of the day can be worse than others too. Mid-afternoons and late evenings are usually the worst. Typically, when depression does hit me, it’s there to stay for awhile. Unfortunately, I can’t control when it happens and neither can the person you love. If we could, don’t you think we would snap out of it as its so commonly suggested?

Symptoms Vary

Depression symptoms vary from person to person. Web MD notes that the most common symptoms include hopelessness, guilt, irritability, loss of interest in hobbies, lack of energy, trouble concentrating, change in appetite or sleep habits, and aches & pains.

My boyfriend can probably attest to my irritability. Random things will set me off and then right after I’ll feel guilty and just turn into a sobbing mess. Your significant other might have other combinations of symptoms but this gives you an idea of what’s common.

Depression has Many Causes

If you’ve spoken with many people who are considered clinically depressed, you’ll notice that the causes of their depression tend to vary. Sometimes its the stress of their job, like it has been for me, other times their genetics can also play a large part. Sometimes there might not be a clear cause, its simply a hormonal imbalance. In a case like this, its particularly frustrating because often enough, medication is the only thing that can “cure” the depression.

Regardless of the cause, it’s important that you understand that depression is unique to the person experiencing it. Even more so, it’s vital that you don’t suggest to your love that the cause isn’t something that should make them depressed. This is, quite possibly, the most frustrating thing they can hear from you, which brings me to my next point.

It Isn’t Always Rational

My job made me incredibly depressed and anxious. I was constantly worried I’d be yelled at by my boss or that I’d be fired, which in turn made me more depressed. Trying to reassure me, my boyfriend said its just a job and to forget about it when I shut my laptop at the end of the day. As rational as that was, to me it was more than just a job and  depression wouldn’t allow me to think rationally about it.

An important thing to understand is that depression often takes you down a rabbit hole where one thought leads to another and rationality is thrown out the window.

Medication Doesn’t Mean Crazy

In my own battle with depression, I’ve taken several kinds of medication that would help balance my hormones. Sometimes they worked and other times not so much. Unfortunately, people who take depression medication are often given the “crazy” label or told that they don’t actually need it because “its all in their head.”

That line of thinking doesn’t help anyone. If the person you love has chosen to take medication, don’t brush off their hormonal need for it. While there certainly are cases of prescription drug abuse (which should be addressed immediately), the majority of time its just someone like me who wants to feel better and that’s likely the case for your loved one.

How to Love Them

Now that you have a better understanding of depression and how it impacts regular people like you and I, its important to talk about how to help and love them. Lucky for you this is a two-part blog series, which means next week I’ll be sharing tips and suggestions on how to love someone with depression. Hint: its’ not as hard as you’d think.

Stay tuned!