10 Ways to Boost Your Mood

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Over Labor Day weekend, I was mentally under the weather.  Sometimes, I hit these moods where everything seems useless, a waste of time, and unnecessary.  Getting off the couch takes physical exertion I don't have.  My mind goes foggy.  My boyfriend dragged me to the supermarket because I was so unmotivated to cook that I was up for eating the couch cushions.

I can't control these moods.  They come and go at the most frustrating times. I think of them like colds; when you have a cold you have to boost your immune system.  When I'm in a funk, the only way for me to fight back is to boost my mood.  Here are 10 ways that have worked to break me out of the cycle.

1. Exercise
It seems so simple, but honestly moving from the couch, changing into workout clothes, walking to gym (there are TWO in my building) is more energy than I'm willing to dole out.  So, I don't go far.  I play a yoga Youtube video to start.  Later in the day, heading to the gym is just a little bit easier.  But I make it necessary to go even though there are lots of bad thoughts battling inside my head.  Even if my workout sessions last 20 minutes, I've started to loosen up my mood and making me far more receptive to lifting my thoughts.

2. Reading
When I'm in a bad mood, I'm so into my own head and what's going on in my life that I desperately need a break.  So how do you get outside of your head?  TV and movies might seem like a quick fix, but I tend to surf my phone and not actually pay attention to the movie I'm supposed to be watching.  Plus, the director already created a scene for me.  My job is to sit staring at the story in front of me; I'm not engaged.  With reading, the set manager, costume designer, and director roles all fall to me.  I'm transported to another world that completely knocks out a lot of the icky feelings I'm going through.

3. Listening to Music/Dancing
As a wannabe writer and reseller, creativity calls to me.  Listening to music (not emo music even though it's my fave) that is upbeat and fun forces me to my feet.  Sometimes, I'm so inspired by the creative work of the artist that it actually gets my juices flowing. Other times, when I just can't get into it I start dancing.  In front of the sink, on the rug, in the hallway - just dance.

4. Bubble Bath
Okay, I know that seems more like a self-care option but let me tell you why this is a great way to boost your mood. Sitting in a tub of hot water allows you to calm down.  There are tons of health benefits, but steaming in the bathroom really refreshes your body and mind.  You can listen to music or even read to double up on some options. By the time you towel  off, you'll have an entirely new perspective. 

5. Having a List of Things That Make You Laugh
...which I happen to have right here. When I'm down, these 4 always make laugh - and laughing is the first step to getting out of a bad mood. Scroll the Humor section on Pinterest or have your own list ready so you can beat your down day.

6. Get Dressed
It is soooo tempting to stay in your PJ's - BUT GET UP PUT ON SOME CLOTHES AND DO YOUR HAIR, FRIEND. A little harsh with the caps lock on, but getting yourself prepared for the day, even if your day is starting at 6PM and you are going nowhere.  Putting clothes on will not only lift your mood, but is a tiny accomplishment to push you forward.

7. Call a grandparent (or friend).
Talking with my Grandpa always perks me up.  I lived with him for three years and hearing from him really puts my bad mood into perspective.  Plus, I know he's lonely so hearing from me puts him in a good mood too.  If you aren't close with your grandparent, this is an opportunity to try to become close.  If you're grandparents are no longer living, then try calling someone who would really appreciate hearing from you.  If someone is excited to talk to you, that energy is transferable.  And hey, Debbie Downer - there is always someone excited to talk to you.  Fact - don't let your brain fool you on this one.

8. Smile at Yourself in the Mirror
Ridiculous, right? Try it. You'll feel silly, goofy, and downright stupid for the first 30 seconds but push through for five full minutes.  Even fake laugh!  Fake it 'til you make it.

9. Play a musical instrument.
For me, it's the piano.  I'm self-taught so I am not skilled.  Pick up a new instrument and self-teach yourself. I play the same song over and over (Don't Wanna Miss a Thing - Aerosmith) but each time I play it transports me from my worries and stress and all I can do is focus in on the notes.

10. Look at Pictures of Baby Animals
To be honest, this is my "when all else fails" option. Usually, I start looking at picture of really cute baby animals and eventually find myself looking at pictures of my cat Charlie when she was a kitten.  It brings back good memories and reminds me of that time in my life when I really, really needed her.  Looking at pictures of babies reminds you that there's always a fresh start on the horizon.

Let me know if you try out any of these options, and stay well my friend.

Reselling Lessons I Learned From Lorelai Gilmore

Friday, September 7, 2018

Lorelai Gilmore, a woman with a dream to one day own an inn - and she did!  She was a girl boss back when hashtags only stood for the number sign on your phone.  On top of being a single mom, she hustled her way into achieving her dreams when no one believed she could.  While she can be problematic in terms of her romantic liaisons, that's part of the humanistic features that make up this character.  She isn't perfect, her business is hard and long-fought for.  No matter what though, she always keeps pushing through.

Watching a rerun the other day, I thought about how a lot of Lorelai's advice could be applied to a lot of topics within the reselling community.

Don't Ask for Answers, Find Them
Too often, within the community, I see other resellers hounding "larger" resellers to tell them where to buy, what to buy, what price to buy at, and other information that is through tried and true experience.  Reselling is a hustle and a side job for most, but it's still a job.  It is certainly not a get rich quick scheme.  Expecting other people to hold my hand and tell me exactly what to do takes out the reward at the end.  If someone tells me what to do, then I work for them, not myself.  There's no pride in that.  If I want it, I have to work for it.  Shortcuts are nice, but there's a lot you miss when you take that shortcut including valuable lessons that could provide a basis for launching larger opportunities in the future.

Ride The Wave
Not everything goes according to plan.  Finding a Kate Spade dress out in the wild doesn't mean it will sell for full asking price the first week...or first month. Reselling is a constant journey and being within the fashion world it means that trends are consistently evolving.  Staying on top of those trends is key and I have to be able to shrug my shoulders when something I was sure was going to be hit, just quite isn't.  Then, I need to buckle down and do some more studying.

Take Time Off
I'm guilty of working to the point of burn out.  After I burn out, the next three days are a foggy haze in which nothing gets done and all of the hard work I previously accomplished is absolutely wasted. It's not healthy or productive for my business.  Taking time off, grabbing a cup of coffee with a friend, and ignoring my Poshmark notifications for a few hours do me a world of good.

Just Go
Being a reseller, even admitting that I resell clothing online, makes me feel vulnerable to.  I understand that it doesn't feel like a solid career choice and could sound a little crazy, but it feeds my soul.  I don't know where I'm headed on this journey, but I'm headed somewhere and that's much further than most people.

Summer Reflection

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

On the bus the other day, we passed an older Victorian home overflowing with a variety trees.  I noticed for the first time that some leaves fell and were piled up at the end of the driveway.  I hung my head. It's already begun.

The nights are cooler. There is no longer that humidity that demands refreshment near a pool.  Sweaters on Poshmark are starting to sell out and my Pinterest feed turns into a pumpkin scarf thigh-high boot filled autumn wonderland.

I'm not ready to let summer go.

This was the last summer in my twenties.  It was the last summer without a little baby girl running around, truly bonding my brother and sister-in-law for life.  This little being, who shares my own DNA, will magically appear just as summer turns into fall.  This will always be "the time before her."  I'm excited for her arrival, but I know that life has a balance.  With birth, something else has to die.

I managed to snag a few days in the sun, in between church festivals, a baby shower, traveling to Utah and Colorado, and in general running around so much I didn't notice summer was over.  But the kids are back to school and another year passes.  My Summer Bucket List lays crumpled in the trash can, none of the items checked off.

Is it silly to say I wanted this summer to be something bigger than it was? I wanted this last larger than live experience to close out my twenties.  I've tried it before.  When I was turning 20, I saw the death of my teen years and that month before I ran around Manhattan until dawn, getting my ear pierced by a shady guy so high he couldn't remember the last time he slept, train hopping, watching my friends sake bomb in places that didn't check IDs, and making decisions I thought were bad enough to justify as a teenager.  I also blew a LOT of money.

There's also this other part of me that wants my twenties to die slowly, as subtly as when you first realize the days aren't quite as long as they used to be.  I floated through a lot of my twenties, mostly on the arm of some guy I knew I shouldn't be with.  I spent way too much of it daydreaming.  I used to think daydreaming was a fantastic skill to keep my brain running creatively, but I'm now realizing I spent too much of my time waiting for things to happen instead of doing anything at all.

When I look at my thirties, I don't see the burning heat of a summer sun but a cozy spring morning wet with dew.  I don't want to give up on summer, but maybe summer's letting me go so that I can huddle inside for a while.  I need to learn what drives me, what makes me want to chase the sun.  I've been baking underneath it too long.

A few weeks ago, I took my boyfriend to see Dashboard Confessional (his first concert ever, clearly he lives under a rock).  So to complete my mourning over my summer loss, we'll appropriately end with the song I've listened to at the end of every August since 2004.

So long sweet summer,
I stumbled upon you and gratefully basked in your rays.
So long sweet slumber.
I fell into you now you're gracefully falling away...

July & August Reads

Saturday, September 1, 2018

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
by Mark Haddon
This has been on my TBR for quite some time so I was really excited to dive right in.  I was not disappointed.  I don't even want to say too much because I think it's so much better walking in not knowing what to expect.

Modern Lovers
by Emma Straub
Modern Lovers was a book donated to my church's festival and I snagged it out of curiosity.  I'm a "judge a book by it's cover" kinda girl. And I judged correctly.  This was a fun read, not completely light in it's material, but I loved the multi-narrative approach.

The Voice of Knowledge: A Practical Guide to Inner Peace
by Miguel Ruiz
I struggled to make it through this one.  I picked it up and put it down A LOT.  I read Miguel Ruiz's The Four Agreements and enjoyed the experience and took to heart a lot of his advice, but I guess the skeptical in me couldn't accept The Voice of Knowledge.  *insert girl emoji shrugging*

Charlotte's Web
by E.B. White
I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO READ CHARLOTTE'S WEB!! Sure, I saw the cartoon version as a kid, but as we all know - the book is always better than the movie.  When I was returning it to the library, a man stopped me and said, "Hey! I read that as a kid!!"

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir
by Jenny Lawson
She is such a goddess.  I sat on the plane to Utah (both ways) and laughed so hard I cried in front of perfect strangers.  I love you Jenny Lawson.

Thirteen Reasons Why
by Jay Asher
No, I have not watched the Netflix series, and I probably won't after chatting about it with my friend Ashley who indicated it differs greatly from the book.  It was a gripping read and reminded me how every action you make can affect someone - make sure it's a positive one.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
Oh. My. God.  This book blew my mind and broke my heart.  I tossed Henrietta aside a few times to stop up the tears rising in my throat. The story of Henrietta, her family, and the HeLa cells feels like it belongs in the world of sci-fi--but it doesn't.  It's real and so many of us are here because of Henrietta's death.

Life of Pi
by Yann Martel
I'm sorry you guys but...I hated this book.  It was so long winded and there was just too much philosophy from the author.  I enjoy those types of books too, but this one felt incredibly self-righteous.  Not enough plot, too much thought. (IDK IT RHYMES).

by Kalyn Nicholson
Kalyn Nicholson inspires the crap out of me.  I knew I wanted to support her first novel in any way I could.  I did enjoy Catcher, and I'm excited that it's a series because I really want to know what happens to Carson and Grey.  This definitely has a debut novel feel, and I think she's headed in the right direction.

The Last Black Unicorn
by Tiffany Haddish
Um. Yes. The world needs more Tiffany Haddish.  I finished this book in less than 24 hours.  I actually ended up late to a friend's birthday party because I couldn't put it down.

50 States Challenge: Colorado

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

August 7 - 8, 2018
Glenwood Springs / Denver

"There's the sign!" Ellen shouted as we crossed the border from Utah. Driving down I-70, we were officially just a tad under two hours away from our next destination - Hanging Lake.

Utah exhausted me. I was feeling burnt, but also (if I'm going for true honesty here) feeling like I was making my way towards the end of a marathon.  There was a bit of a runner's high.  I was this much closer to this being over.  This much further from my fears.

Initially, when Ellen and I discussed a vacation idea, we were really hoping to head to Glacier National Park in Montana but I'm lazy and flights were just too high to justify by the time I was ready to commit.  We settled on traveling from Salt Lake City to Denver where she lives.

We heavily planned our first three days but grew pretty relaxed on the final two.  Ellen tossed in the idea of hiking in Hanging Lake in Glenwood Springs.  I shrugged and said sure, as long as it didn't involve any intense ledges.  She assured me it was "just a hike up a mountain."

With a 1.2 mile trip (one way) and boasting 1,000 feet in elevation, Hanging Lake trail was definitely a hike up a mountain...but it didn't have any ledges just a steep climb to the top. After being in the red earth of Utah for so long, vegetation was a welcome sight.
 Along the trail, we talked with those climbing down and discussed their strategies on the way up. One of the first groups of climbers we spoke with were two women and a teenager.  They told us there was a Spouting Rock we had to see but that it did involve climbing up some rocks.  They assured me I could do it, as with every other climber we spoke to.  I felt confident that today, I could best my fears.
Thumbs up for THE LAST HIKE EVER
But then we got to the end of the trail which did involve a climb up some rocks.  There was a metal railing that was the only protection between you and the edge of a mountain.  I watched a girl climb down on her butt and I knew I would happily do the same.  Immediately, I was angry and frustrated that I'd once again been suckered into doing something I hated so much.

And then...I made it to the top.
I was shocked.  I didn't know what to expect, but the water was so clear you could see straight to the bottom - just like Glacier National Park.  It was a full circle moment.  Ellen wanted to see Spouting Rock but with my nerves appeased for the moment I told her I wanted to stay at Hanging Lake and that she should make her way up.
My eyes could not soak in the cool water enough.  In fact, I missed Ellen waving frantically at me telling me she was done.  I wanted to stay there all afternoon.
Eventually, it was time to climb down.  But first, I had to best that big pile of rocks.  And I did...on my butt.  I encouraged others to do the same.  Unfortunately, it left my legs weak after the adrenaline fear pumped into my body and I needed to walk slowly or my feet would fly out from underneath me.  While there was no concern of falling off a ledge, I was still worried that moving too fast would lead to slipping and cracking a bone on one of the many rocks.  Ellen was eager to get down so I waved her on and completed the last 30 minutes by myself.
I stopped a few times, talking with other climbers as they made their way up or down.  I took in the view, the smell, the sound of the little stream next to me.  I didn't want to leave.

Meeting Ellen at the bottom, we grabbed the last of the 5 ham (for Ellen) and 5 turkey sandwiches (for me), settled into the car, and made our way to Denver.

Two hours later, after traveling through Vail and other mountain resorts (super weird to see in the summer!), we rushed into Ellen's apartment, showered, dressed, and called an Uber to grab dinner downtown.  We shared our Uber with a woman heading to the baseball game where she informed me the Rockies were playing the Pirates.  The friggin' Pirates were in town too.

Coincidentally, dinner was right across from Coors Field.  After we had our fill, exhausted and unable to stay up late on a weeknight, I dragged Ellen to the front of the field and begged for pictures.  We wandered around before heading home and promptly bed quite soon after.
Thrifted Zara top NWT ;)
The next day we ate brunch at Jelly Cafe and with sore legs we settled on seeing The Incredibles 2 at the movies.

Getting on my flight that night, I was ready to head home, ready to hug my cat, and ready to hide my hiking shoes for at least a month.  I settled in with Thirteen Reasons Why and let the West fade away.

50 States Challenge: Utah

Thursday, August 16, 2018

August 4 - 7, 2018
Salt Lake City / Arches National Park / Thompson Springs

Driving down UT-128, Ellen closed her eyes in the passenger seat, attempting to stop the burning sensation in her eyes.  With the Colorado River on my left, I explained to her my 50 States Challenge.

"What are you going to name this blog then?"

Without a pause I replied, "Unwild."


Looking over Salt Lake City from the plane, I thought it was flat.  It was almost 2 AM EST back home, officially Saturday, but Salt Lake City was still enjoying the last few moments of Friday.  Thousands of lights littered the view below me.  Ellen was waiting for me when I arrived and I told her I was shocked at how flat the city was.  She laughed and told me I'd change my mind tomorrow.

The next day, we wandered the city.  Our Airbnb was conveniently located two blocks up from Brigham Young's home/office.  We toured Temple Square and the many museums set up in the area.  We wandered long into the day, before breaking for a trip to Target, prepping ourselves for the next few days of hiking.

We ended the day, watching the sunset over the Capitol building, which happened to also be up the street from us.  Some teenage girls were sharing a camera and posing together with the mountains in the background.  It made me really nostalgic for my old high school group of friends, fondly named "The Crew."  I wondered where some of them were and if they ever looked back on our old photos and remembered what it felt like to take them.
I really don't know why, but it felt completely necessary to take this picture
The next morning, we pulled ourselves out of bed and made our first top at the Great Salt Lake.  And it smelled...off.  It was really difficult to stand too close to it.  I don't know if it's the salt that makes it smell like that or we were in an off season, but we were pretty bummed. Our expectations were high.
FYI - Thrifted this top for $3
Ellen suggested we might as well stop at Utah Lake on our way to Dead Horse Point State Park and I agreed.

It was beautiful.  The water underneath the cloudless sky was stunning, people were boating, swimming, paddle boarding, and fishing.  Utah Lake happens to be located in Provo, UT - hometown of Bert McCracken, lead singer of The Used.  THIS WAS A MAJOR MOMENT FOR ME.
Regretting the fact that we did not have swimsuits, we set our sights for Dead Horse Point State Park.  Yes, that is the name of the park because back in the day some travelers basically corralled off some horse on this mountain and the only options for the horse were to starve or hop off the edge.  Pretty gruesome.
When we arrived to our campsite - because I was camping for the first time in my entire life - we immediately set our sites for the Western Rim trail, closest to our campsite. It was a little less than a 5 mile hike.  Did I also mention this was the first hike I'd ever taken?  This was the type of vacation that really pushed the boundaries of what I was comfortable with.

Stepping onto the trail just a few feet, I was first shocked with how loud the silence was.  Repeatedly, I asked Ellen to stop walking so that even the sounds of our feet couldn't destroy that perfect silence.  An antelope hopped away from us.
I couldn't get enough of these water holder thingys - Ellen and I dubbed it my pacifier
The Colorado River

A few clouds provided some coolness, but when they blew away the heat stifled me.  I wasn't used to the altitude, the heat, or the constant movement in my legs.  By the time we reached Dead Horse Point, I was exhausted and frustrated by my inability to continue.  Ellen walked out to the point and I sought a seat underneath a shelter the park created.  I sat on a rock and ate a Cliff bar as a French family took pictures in front of me.  I sucked in the cool air and gathered myself for the second half of the trail.

I begrudgingly finished, struggling to find that feeling of awe when I first stepped on the trail.  But it was gone.

After we finished, we headed back to our campsite and ate the sandwiches we prepared earlier in the morning.  We set up the tent provided by Ellen's sister far more quickly than we expected.  We were slightly proud.  As the sun went down, we settled in to sleep with the goal of waking up early and making our way to Arches National Park before the heat of the day could start.  Ellen fell asleep immediately, but under the heat, the rocky floor, and all of my anxieties and fears about camping colliding, I tossed and turned until I finally gave up at 1:30AM and stole Ellen's keys where I slept on and off until Ellen woke me up a little after 6.
 The night before, we gathered all of our trash and left it near the car so that we would remember to drop it off at the dumpsters on our way out of the park.  Ellen picked it up, and tossed it in the backseat where we also had quickly decamped and tossed all of our camping gear, knowing we could spend the time putting it back together during the heat of the day when it was not possible to hike.  About 15 minutes outside of the campsite, I noticed an ant crawling on my sleeve.  During the night, I cracked the windows open for air and I bemoaned my stupidity. Minutes later, a dozen more ants made their way onto the dashboard.  I turned to the backseat to find a full on city of ants, scurrying all over.  They were pouring out of the trash bag Ellen forgot to toss.  At the first pulloff, we jumped out of the car, swiping at ants.  Ellen dragged the tent out, shaking and tossing ants in all different directions.  I swung the trash bag around as I ran from side to side seeking a trash can.  For the next half an hour, we opened windows and released countless ants into the wind.

When we finally arrived at Arches, we changed in the Visitor's Center and refilled our water bags.  Our first stop of the day was a short trail which included Turret Arch, North Window, and South Window.  Feeling bold, we decided to tackle the longest hike of the day to see Delicate Arch.  Clocking in a little over a 3 mile trip, I was confident after my 5 mile trek the day before that I could smash this.
It was beautiful, but my first obstacle was a massive rock hill with no real footpath.  People were crawling their way in various directions.  Making it's way into a vertical, my heart flew into panic mode and I pushed and pushed my way up without looking down.  I left Ellen behind until I reached ground that felt flat.  My alarm bells were off and the lack of sleep disoriented me.  As we continued, the hike required walking along ledges.  Admittedly, they were pretty wide but once my mind psyched itself out, I was a goner.  I clung to the rocks next to me as I walked my way up, encouraged by strangers along the way to take my time.
Delicate Arch was gorgeous, but I couldn't enjoy it.  I perched on a rock, one I was convinced I would fall backwards on to my death.  Brave souls overstepped some boulders and worked their way closer to the Arch for a photo opp.  I clung to my backpack and kept my black sunglasses over my eyes.  Ellen toured the area before coming back and sitting down next to me.  The longer I sat there, the more my fear grew.  With tears falling I told her I wanted to go.  The idea of climbing back down broke me.  I knew I wasn't making it back down.  If there was an "I'm Out!" button, I would have slapped that thing and waited for a helicopter to pick me up.

Strangers were again very kind to me and stepped aside, cheering me on as I made my way down.  I wanted to crawl on my hands and knees.  The closer to the earth I was, I felt the better my chances, but due to the popularity of the hike it wasn't really an option.

Finally, we made it to the bottom and I was elated.  The heat of the day was starting to bear down so we pulled over to a picnic area and ate our lunch, relaxing in the shade of some trees.  I was frustrated with my breakdown during the Delicate Arch hike.  Booking this vacation, I really thought I was going to find some inner peace or clarity, the way that the goddess Cheryl Strayed did in her Wild adventure.  I was far from it. Instead, I just wanted to go home and go to bed.

We burned a few hours and around 3:30 we made our way to our final trail, which included Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and Landscape Arch.  My legs were worn and shaken from my anxiety attack earlier, but the hike was mostly easy with very few hills to master.
On our way out of the park, we noticed Skyline Arch boasting 0.4 mile roundtrip.  We could see the arch from the road and decided to close our day with this last arch.
Completing our day in Arches, Ellen insisted we travel UT-128 which followed the Colorado River up to I-70.  It put us about half an hour away from our VRBO for the night in Thompson Springs, but Ellen was determined.  Unfortunately, two days of sunblock were dripping into her eyes and burning them out of her skull.  We switched positions and I drove past dude ranch after dude ranch.  The landscape started to change the further we drove from Arches.  The mountains became less red, more brown and spotted with greenery.

Arriving in VRBO, I was beyond pleased.  A little loft with a second bedroom, Ellen found her way to sleep immediately.  I showered, watched the finale of The Bachelorette (friggin' Garrett, man), and found my way to bed.

Still not having fully adjusted to the time difference, I woke up early and made a pot of coffee.  The VRBO had rocking chairs on a cement porch overlooking the Ghost Town it was set up in. Mountains dominated the view.  I rocked quietly, enjoying the view and calmness.  I sighed; this was what I was seeking.
 Ellen woke up and we packed the car with out eyes set on Colorado.

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