Treat Yo Self

Last week I followed in the wise footsteps of Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle.

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That’s right, I treated myself.

After a very stressful past month and a half, I was feeling out of sorts. I was having trouble trying to find my way back to equilibrium (and honestly I’m still trying to get back there). Although a large portion of my anxiety had subsided, there was still that underlying feeling of uneasiness and anxiousness. I didn’t know quite how to shake it. That’s when I decided it was time for some self-care.

I am pretty careful with my money and I do not tend to spend frivolously. I carefully budget my spending each month and I very rarely go over my limits. I am certainly not a hermit and I go out to eat or get drinks with friends. But beyond that, my “fun” spending it pretty limited.

My “treat yo self” week started off with a huge purchase. My dear friend is currently living in Paris. Back in the fall, our other mutual friend mentioned to me a possible trip to Paris to go visit her this summer. At first I brushed it off. “I can’t spring for that kind of trip. I need more time to save and prepare. It’s just not something I can afford right now.” But after the events of the last month, a few of my other vacation plans fell through and soon the idea of a European vacation seemed extremely appealing. After a few discussions and some planning, I decided that a trip to Europe was exactly what I needed! And so my week of “treat yo self” started off with the purchase of plane tickets to Paris and Santorini this July!

My week continued with an unexpected weekday visit from my boyfriend on Wednesday. Since we live 2+ hours apart we typically do not see each other during the week so Wednesday was a nice surprise. He met me for lunch on my break and then stayed the night at my apartment. We made a delicious dinner and watched Netflix. Even simple things like feel like I’m treating myself when I get to spend them with the person I love!

Friday evening came and I stopped at Whole Foods after work to pick up ingredients for dinner. I am obsessed with Whole Foods, but I typically do not shop there since it’s so expensive. I made myself a gourmet pizza with goat cheese, red onions, apples, thyme, and arugula on top. I had some wine and went to bed early and enjoyed a full 8 hours of quality sleep.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetPink house with ivy. Georgetown is wonderful.

Saturday was my big self-care day (Self-Care Saturdays should absolutely be a thing). I woke up early, made myself a healthy breakfast. I drove into Georgetown, one of my favorite places in the city! Although it was cold, it was a sunny day and I enjoyed just seeing all the beautiful buildings and homes. I bought a new dress from Madewell (on sale!). I also stopped into Lush and picked up the Fly Fox shower gel and the Brazened Honey fresh face mask. After enjoying one of the best cappuccinos I’ve ever had from Dolcezza, I made my way back to my apartment where I applied my new face mask and enjoyed a relaxing hot shower. After a quick nap, I met friends out for dinner and drinks.

I cannot say how much the last week truly lifted my spirits and put me in a better state of mind. Besides the plane tickets, all of my actions seem simple and small. A new shower gel. A cappuccino. A night of Netflix. A gourmet pizza. But to me they add up to truly taking care of my soul. Those small moments feed my joy. They make the light inside of me grow. They help to bring me back into balance.

Self-care is something we often forget about. We get wrapped up in careers, families, friends, obligations, that we forget about truly taking care of ourselves. We forget to feed our joy. We forget to create happiness within ourselves. When we do take the time to pamper ourselves, even in small ways, we are more able and energized to help those around us.

So take some time for yourself. If you’re feeling bold, make self-care Saturdays a weekly routine! You deserve to put yourself first every once in awhile.

The Importance of the Outdoors

I recently came across some startling news. Words such as acorn, buttercup, otter, and fern were being removed from the Oxford Junior Dictionary and are being replaced with the likes of chatroom, blog, voicemail, and celebrity.

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Why is this so startling to me? Well the Oxford Junior Dictionary is geared towards children, those around 7 or 8 years old. When updating the dictionary, they came to a consensus to remove these words related to nature and replace them with words related to technology. They felt these new words were more relevant to children nowadays.

Now are you starting to understand why I am so startled? Children cannot find relevance in their lives to acorns but do find relevance with celebrities? Children don’t know what buttercups are, but are familiar with blogs? What is happening to our future generations that they such strong ties to technology but so little connection with nature?

Now I am not some hippy-dippy person who is all about communing with nature. I have Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. I spend a lot of time on the internet. I read a lot of blogs (and duh, I have a blog of my own that you are currently reading). I have an iPhone which I carry with me everywhere. I am not swearing off technology by any stretch of the imagination. And even as a child I was fascinated by technology. I desperately wanted a computer growing up and I used to pretend an old cooler was a computer (the top of the cooler had little squares on it that looked like a keyboard). I loved playing with walkie talkies. I had little learning devices that looked like laptops. Technology was very much an interest of mine.

But despite that interest I still found myself outdoors all. the. time. I would create little “houses” and “forts” for myself out in the woods behind my house. I found flat stones to create the floor of my outdoor home. I used sticks and rocks to create tools. Leaves became my bed. I dreamed of living out there one day. I also pretended I could speak to animals. That I was a fairy queen. I put flowers behind my ear and frolicked around my yard pretending that I could influence the weather and plants around me. I looked for salamanders under rocks. I hid among the tall grasses and ferns. I tried to catch butterflies. I scooped up caterpillars regularly hoping I would see them bind themselves in their cocoon. Some of the clearest memories I have are the ones where I am imagining and playing outdoors. The ones where I took nature and created a world of my own. Where the top of an acorn became a plate for a fairy. Where a rabbit wasn’t just an animal but a friend. Where a clearing in the bushes became my home.

I loved playing outdoors and imagining all these wild adventures for myself. And it breaks my heart to think the next generation of children are losing that connection to nature. That they won’t hold a buttercup under a friends chin and ask “do you like butter?” That they won’t pick a dandelion and blow to make a wish. That they won’t use the leaves of a fern as a makeshift fan. Instead today’s children will spend their days being captivated by celebrities. Be fascinated by YouTube. Be enthralled with blogs and chatrooms. And be cut off from the wonders of nature and imagination.

I know I have an undeniable appreciation for nature due to my experience with it in childhood. I can only hope I will be able to instill the same kind of wonder and awe of Mother Earth in my children one day. Until that day comes I will do my best to appreciate it myself and share my appreciation with those around me.

The Problem with the #Hustle

I read a lot of blogs. Seriously, like a lot of them. I just love blogs. Which is a big reason I started this blog.

All of the women behind the blogs I read seem so crazy accomplished. They are running their own businesses, raising families, creating products and art. I am in awe of their talents and capabilities. And I know it’s hard. There are nights where they don’t sleep. There are weekends spent in the office or at their desk. There are vacations they don’t get to take and dinners with friends they have to cancel. There are endless emails and projects. But a theme that seems consistent throughout is that the #hustle is worth it.

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That’s right the #hustle.

I’ve seen art prints with hustle on them. I’ve seen shirts and bags. I’ve heard of side hustles (in reference to side businesses). I’ve heard of weekend hustles and vacation hustles and everything in between. These powerful ladies, these entrepreneurs and CEOs, they are all about the hustle.

And I’m just not.

These women talk about the not so glamorous side of running a business or climbing the corporate ladder and it does not seem appealing to me. I think about my dad. My dad owns his own business. It’s a family business that he inherited from his father. Running your own business is tough. But all throughout my childhood my dad was always home by 6:30pm. We had dinner as a family. My dad rarely worked on weekends. He was around for our peewee soccer games and our middle school choral concerts. He was not checking his emails or on his phone. When he was home, he was with his family. And that was that.

That’s how I want my life to be as well. I know I need to work to support myself. Ideally I want to work for a company that holds the same values as me and somewhere my talents can be utilized. But at the end of the day, my job is just that, my job. It’s not my life. When I come home after work I want to be home. I want to pursue my interests outside of work. I want to spend quality time with friends and family. I don’t want to be constantly worried about that work email that popped up on my iPhone. I want to be present. 

In this day and age, we are always connected. Always on call. It is expected of us that we will have our phones strapped to our sides. That we will answer a call or text or email at a moments notice. That we will drop anything and everything to deal with a work issue. That we will stay as late as our boss needs. That we will come in early and spend 12 to 14 hours in the office. That we will dedicate ourselves fully with no reservations to our jobs. And only then will you be acknowledged for your hard work. Only then will you get the promotions you are after or the projects you want.

When did we get like this? When did we put our careers before everything else? When did we start valuing our time at our desk more than our time at the dinner table with our family? I don’t want to be stuck in this wheel constantly running along chasing after that next promotion and forgetting about the things that matter.

I don’t think there is anyone on their deathbed saying they wished they spent more time at work. That they wished they responded to more emails or answered more phone calls. At the end of our lives we are going to wish we spent more time with our family and friends. We are going to wish we pursued more of our interests. We are going to wish we had more real memories.

So no I’m not a fan of the hustle. Because I am not going to wait until the end of my life to have regrets. I’m going to live my life right now, day after day, full of intention and mindfulness of what truly matters.