Monday, July 21, 2014

Summer lessons - thus far...

This Summer has been an interesting one - beautiful, fun, busy, and exhausting.  I've learned that while it's gorgeous outside and there's a lot of fun stuff going on, that it goes by SO fast and it's not a time of recharge (for me).  Summer (at least in Seattle) is such a busy time.  People are constantly going on outdoor adventures, organizing events, and schedules fill up so fast.  While I am thankful for the weather, I yearn from the more peaceful, quiet, Fall days.

Until then, I wanted to reflect on some of the things I've learned during "the busy season."  Hopefully they can serve as positive reminders for the rest of the season and beyond...

1.  Take care of yourself - seriously!
When things get busy, I tend to stop taking care of myself in large and small ways - grocery shopping (and eating healthy), working out, putting myself together in the morning, getting sufficient sleep, budgeting time to myself, etc.  Whether this means scheduling 20 min power walks or treating yourself to a manicure now and then - it all adds up and influences your energy levels, happiness, and who you bring to the table when you are around others.

2. Go to the places OUTSIDE that bring you PEACE
This Summer I'm trying to be as intentional as possible about spending time outside.  Simply put, I am so much happier and at peace when I'm surrounded by natural beauty and fresh air.  Whether I'm sitting on a patio, going on a neighborhood walk, or doing a trail run at the park it all adds up.  Countless studies have shown that spending time outside contributes to energy levels, your mood, and overall happiness.   I also feel the most connected with my spirituality and faith when I'm outdoors.

3. Don't wait too long to recharge!
This year I waited until July to take an official vacation.  Prior to leaving town I was sick for THREE weeks.  It was bizarre, exhausting, and beyond frustrating.  I had nausea, bad headaches, and fatigue every single day.  It impacted my social life, work performance, and exercise routine.  When I got on the plane to Colorado I felt instantly better - it was as if my sickness disappeared along with the stress (no coincidence).  Needless to say I realized that I can't wait six months to take my next vacation - I need to be actively thinking ahead and budgeting time for recharge, because I deserve it and my health depends on it. 

4. Skip the makeup now and then!
This Summer I've gone (a little) out of my comfort zone by going sans makeup as much as I can.  Yes, even at work and when getting together with friends.  I realized that I need to accept myself for who I am without makeup, and save my time for more important things.  I now only wear makeup when I really want to, and feel more authentically myself.  I also have been focusing way more on taking care of my skin - using nice moisturizers, wearing my favorite new face oil, and applying SPF like no one's business!  My skin will thank me both short and long term.

5.  Remember to stop and look at the flowers
Seriously - they are so pretty! The Spring and Summer can go by so fast and there is so much beauty around us.  I have been obsessed with going on walks to capture the flowers around my neighborhood (nerdy? YES).  The photo above is of the prettiest pink flowers I've ever seen! (Yes, I am dying to get a matching pink dress :).

6.  Spend time with happy people who lift you UP!
This year I've experienced some transitions with friends.  It hasn't been easy, but it's been an invaluable learning experience that I know I will apply later in life, that will make me (and my friends) happier in the end.  There is no perfect friend (and I am far from one myself), but I do deserve to be around people who are happy and lift me up.  Our free time is limited and when we are around others it should be life giving. Period

I have learned that it's okay to be protective of my time and how I spend it.  Taking a break from a friend does not mean that it's permanent or that you don't care about that person - it just means that you need to take care of yourself, prioritize your needs, and let that friend grow on their own.  In the same vein, going through these experiences has made me learn to cultivate more self awareness and work on being a better friend and my own personal growth (it's a 2 way street after all) - a win win in the end.

My cousin Robin (pictured above) is the most wonderful friend I have - enough that I visit her and her family in Colorado 1-2 times a year.  The positive energy we have when we're around each other has such a special ripple effect that extends for months after I'm home, and the memories really last a lifetime!

What has been your greatest takeaway from this Summer?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Latest beauty product obsession: Bobby Brown Face Oil

This Summer I've heard a lot of buzz about face oil and how good it is for your face.  Some people assume that it makes your face break out everyone I've spoken with says that is not the case!  If you use the right kind, face oil is absolutely awesome for your skin and important for retaining moisture, especially during the drier months and when you travel. 

A couple weeks ago I went to Bobby Brown to look for a new foundation option, and the woman used their Skin Foundation Stick on me, which I loved (it's seriously the most practical and effective way to apply a foundation to your face).  The interesting part was she first put their Face Oil on my skin around the areas of my face that are are more dry, let it absorb for a few minutes, and then applied the foundation.  My face was glowing the whole day and my coloring was so even!  I really loved the look. 

So, I decided to splurge and am so glad I did.  I used the face oil while I was on my recent trip to Colorado and loved it.  The air is very dry there so I would use an evening nighttime moisturizer (loved the sample I tried: Philosophy miracle worker miraculous anti-aging moisturizer).  In the morning I'd start my day with the face oil, let it absorb, apply sunscreen, and then apply the face oil again later in the day after I was at home for the rest of the evening.   It really made a difference!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quit thinking, get on your walking clothes, and head out the door!


Last night I got home from work and was in a weird mood.  I felt tired, stressed, lonely, lazy, and in a funk.  It was my first day of work after a long vacation and I did not want to go to work that day.  I sat around moping and contemplating how I should spend my evening, and I concluded that 1) it was an outrageously beautiful summer day outside that I should not waste, and 2) that if I sat around on my couch watching TV I wouldn't feel much better in the end.

I decided that I needed to just quit thinking, get up, get on my walking clothes, and head out the door.  I had an urge to drive away from my house and go to the water, so to no surprise I headed to Discovery Park - my special haven in Seattle.  When I'm there I always feel so at peace because I am removed from noise, distractions and stress triggers at home and at work.  I get exercise, breathe fresh air, feel the sun on my face, and after I leave I feel 10x better than I did before.

My plan for last night definitely ended up being the right one.  When I got home I didn't feel nearly as stressed.   I felt proud of myself that I sucked it up and just headed out of the door so that I could manage my stress in a healthy and productive way.  Lucy was definitely happy with my decision as well :).  We found an abandoned, brand new tennis ball on the trail and since hardly anyone was there, I ended up playing catch with her along a stretch of the walk - it was too much fun. 

My evening concluded with candles, a really nice glass of red wine, and an episode of Mistresses (a horribly ridiculous yet wonderful show that's one of my guilty pleasures).  It was the perfect end to my day.  I felt very thankful to go to bed feeling happy and stress free.