Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day. You either love it or hate it. I happen to be in the love it category. I’ve loved it even when I was not in a relationship (which was the first 21 years of my life). Some people hate Valentine’s day because they think it’s a holiday that can only be celebrated by people in relationships. I would say that is complete nonsense.

Valentine's Day
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I remember one year I was in middle school and I spent an entire snow day creating homemade Valentine cards. Mind you, in middle school we did not exchange cards with the class anymore so I was creating these cards for no reason in particular. I just loved cutting out the hearts, using the pink, red and white paper, creating different festive designs. Growing up we also had an I Spy book that I studied regularly. One of the pages I loved was a Valentine’s day setting with cards, candies, and decorations all over the place. Even in college I created some Valentine’s day decorations for my dorm room including a paper heart chain. I did all of these things without a man in sight.

I think part of the reason I love Valentine’s Day so much is because it feels festive. The excitement around Thanksgiving and Christmas is so much fun! And then the new year hits and everything just drops off. The slump of winter comes in full force and everyone seems down in the dumps. Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday to help turn that all around. It hints just a bit at spring with all the flowers and bright colors strewn around. You can indulge in sweet treats and decadent dinners. Cute cards and mementos are exchanged between friends, family, and lovers. Roses are great, but I really love all the great wildflower bouquets available right now as well. Plus I will begrudgingly admit that pink is my favorite color.

So if you are an anti-Valentine’s Day person, try to change your tune. Don’t think of it as a holiday for couples, instead think of it as a pre-party for spring! Hang garlands and streamers. Enjoy fresh flowers all over your home. Make a sweet berry pastry. And just choose to love not only yourself but the moment you are in right now. Pull yourself out of your winter blues and choose happiness, light, and love! Because that’s what we should be doing everyday, but since that can be hard to do, let’s make that the goal of this Valentine’s Day!

Nighttime Routine

I think I have decided I want to try to tackle one big goal each month of this year. Last month it was giving up alcohol. For February it is improving my nighttime routine. I have fallen into this terrible habit of staying on my computer watching Netflix or on Pinterest all night. I lose track of time and next thing I know it’s midnight and I haven’t even brushed my teeth or gotten into my pajamas. Since by that time it’s already so late I quickly change, brush my teeth and maybe rinse my face before popping my head against the pillow. Forget about properly washing my face, making my lunch for the next day, or getting in some reading.

Messy bed
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But no more.

I am determined to have a better bedtime routine. For starters I want to sleep more soundly. I am one of the worst sleepers. It takes me forever to actually fall asleep and when I do I constantly toss and turn. It’s normal for me to wake up 3 or 4 times in one night. I’ve heard time and again that looking at screens before bed messes up your internal clock and your sleep schedule. For that reason I am vowing to turn my computer and TV off by 9pm every weeknight. I would love to also avoid my phone, but that is a much harder task and something that will have to wait for a later time.

After I turn off my computer and TV it’s time to start winding down. I normally shower at night so I’ll do that. Then brush my teeth (maybe even floss!). I will also wash my face at this time. I wrote about my face cleansing routine here, but since then there have been a few additions. I’ve been using Neutrogena’s night calming makeup removing wipes before washing my face. For Christmas my mom gave me the Clarisonic Mia which I completely LOVE. I use it every other night. On the nights when I don’t use my Mia I’ve been using Burt’s Bees brightening facial cleanser. I’m not sure how I feel about it since it doesn’t get very foamy (and I kinda need that to feel like I’m actually cleaning my face) but it’s good for now.

After cleansing my face I make my lunch for the next day and boil some water for tea. I’ve been enjoying Celestial Seasoning’s chamomile tea since it’s very calming and relaxing. After I finish packing my lunch and brewing my tea and head back to my room to stretch for a bit. I find stretching can really help to relax me and just calm my mind. Plus I want to get back into yoga soon and I need to become more flexible! Once I do a bit of stretching it’s time to hop into bed and read for at least 30 minutes. I just started A Game of Thrones (after watching all of the seasons of the show) and I’m really hooked.

With this routine I’m normally in bed with the lights off by 10:30 or 11pm. I’m hoping as I get used to this routine and I start to fall asleep earlier I can translate that into an earlier wake up time! Ideally I would love to go for a short 20 to 30 minute walk in the morning when the weather starts to warm up.

What does your bedtime routine look like? Would you change anything about it? I would love to hear!

Ever Get Down on the World?

Is it just me? Am I the only one who really gets down on the world? Seriously, I read the news, watch documentaries, read books and articles and they all just hit me really hard. This world is an awful place. Humans kill other humans daily. Defenseless animals are slaughtered. People are vicious and cruel to the their peers via social media. The environment is being destroyed. Individuals across the globe are going hungry. Corporations use their billions to influence government in ways that aid big business and hurt nearly everyone else. Racism. Bigotry. Homophobia. Sexism. Cruelty. Hatred.

I get so sad when I hear and read about all these things. I feel helpless and hopeless. In a world so full of bad, how can the small amount of good I see ever be enough? There are days (my crazy days for sure!) that I just want to go live on a commune somewhere and forget the rest of the world even exists. Because it is so hard to reconcile my feelings towards this planet and the humans living on it. I want to do everything and anything. I want to conquer all the world’s problem. I want to fix them all! I want to fill the world with love and light and happiness. But I get so bogged down thinking about all the problems I see. How can all of them be fixed? How can any be fixed when humans are so polarized? When we cannot seem to agree on even the little things. When we conflate ideas in our heads and somehow we end up believing we are better than anyone else? How can I show every individual on this planet that there is nothing different about any of us? We are all the same. We all come from one. We are all part of this planet and this universe.

I struggle with these ideas a lot lately. I try to stay positive. I try to move forward. I try to spread happiness and joy. But even that can be a burden to bear some times. It takes real conscious effort to spread joy to other people. To be the best you can possibly be everyday. To give and not expect anything in return.

I am trying to work on this. To spread happiness and change the world a small bit at a time. I know I cannot tackle every issue in the world. All I can do is try to touch the people I see everyday. To make small differences and hope those things cause a chain reaction.

How do you try to change the world? What change do you want to see and how do you create them? I could really use some guidance!

How Do You Know When You’ve Made It?

I’ve read a few articles lately that have asked the question: how do you know when you’ve made it? I’ve seen the question mostly posed to powerful females; actresses, entrepreneurs, designers, etc. The most common answer I have seen is that they never want to know when they’ve made it. They always want to keep pushing and striving and working for more.

On the surface this seems great. Challenging yourself is important! You shouldn’t settle. You should always want to be better. But when I thought about the sentiments more I had another thought: when are we ever satisfied?

Of course we have all these dreams and ambitions for ourselves, but when we reach those goals, we just make new ones. We never get to the finish line because we continually push the finish line further and further back. How often do we celebrate achieving our goals before we start chasing after the next set of objectives?

I think it’s important to acknowledge and really savor when we’ve hit a milestone. When you finally land that dream job. Savor it. When you buy your first home. Savor it. When you start a family. Savor it. When you somehow find yourself working at a job you love, in a house of your own, with an adoring family all around you. Savor it all. 

I hope I am able to get to a place where I can say “this feels good.” I want to be able to acknowledge the happiness I have built, the life I have built. To look back on all my accomplishments and really feel good about them. To sit in my living room with my future children and soak in everything in my life that is good. And know in that moment I have, indeed, made it.