Why I’m Treating Myself this Valentine’s Day with a Unique Wood Watch

You’ll remember that last year I gifted my boyfriend Frank with a beautiful wood watch from JORD. He wears his almost every day and while I’m not the jealous type, it got me thinking–maybe I need one of my own. And my friends at JORD were like “Heck yes you do!” And I was like, “Duh! What have I been doing!?” So they sent me one to write about and now I have my very own walnut and vintage rose watch. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

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Keep reading to find out how you can win a $100 gift card to Jord!

Ok, that’s the short version, here’s the slightly more accurate version…

Before this wood watch, I had never given myself anything for Valentine’s Day. Sure, I buy a ton of chocolate and conversation hearts every year (don’t come for me, conversation hearts are delicious) but I never sat down and thought, “How can I show MYSELF love this year?” It was always about sharing love with my boyfriends, friends, family… I even make Valentine’s Day cards for my co-workers! I never made it about myself which is just crazy! Shouldn’t I be number one in my own life? (Shouldn’t YOU be number one in YOUR life too?)

So, I sat down to think about how I could really show myself love this year. And I thought about time and how awesome it would be if I could give myself the gift of time. More hours each day to do more, see more, and be more. Since hours are not purchasable I went with the next best thing — a wood watch. The thing is, I am typically running ten minutes late at all times and I swear that’s because once I flip my phone over to check the time, I have a MILLION messages to respond to (I am not really that popular, but I really do exaggerate). I hate having to check my phone for the time while I am in important meetings or when my phone is buried in my purse…

Clearly, a watch was perfect! I needed one and it was going to make my life easier and better. It took some time, but I selected the walnut and vintage rose Cassia ladies wood watch. I picked it because most of my jewelry is gold or rose gold, and the band was slender. I have super tiny wrists! (Also super fun fact about Jord wood watches: they can custom size the band to YOUR wrist. I absolutely took them up on this, and now my watch doesn’t slide around or slip off.)

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The Cassia style wood watch in walnut and rose gold was a beautiful choice, as it complements many of my outfits but also adds a little extra pizzazz too. (I’ve shared a few photos throughout this piece showing all the different ways I’ve styled the watch!) The craftsmanship of these watches always blows me away. Frank’s still looks brand new a year later, so I know mine will last too. 🙂

Jord wood watches are the perfect gift for anyone but this year I think you get a little selfish and give yourself a gift for Valentine’s Day. And good news! I’m hosting a giveaway for $100 toward any Jord Watch! All you have to do is CLICK HERE to enter! All entrants get a 10% gift code.

So treat yourself because you know how that saying goes… if you can’t love yourself, how can you love someone else?

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Real live photo of me loving myself in a Jord watch.

 

 

 

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5 Simple Ways to Maintain a Paper Planner

If you’ve already started your paper planner research you’re going to find some super intense camps. Folks arguing Erin Condren vs. Passion vs. BuJo… it can actually get quite intense and be pretty intimidating. And don’t even get me started on Pinterest boards. People turn their planners into literal pieces of ARTWORK, and it can very overwhelming.

If you have all those artistic bones in your body and decorating your planner every week is a form of meditation for you, than by all means go for it. But if you’re just an average Jane like me looking to make sense from the chaos of your life… I am here to help. Here are five simple steps to getting a paper planner, actually using it, and maintaining it!

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1. What do you need a planner for anyway?

First step should be to really think about why you need a planner. Are you looking to manage your side hustle better? Do you have kids and need to see their days side by side? Do you own your own business? These things matter when picking out a planner.

If you’re looking to methodically knock out new goals, Passion Planner is probably your bet. If you’re a teacher, one of Erin Condren’s lesson planners is probably for you. Before you do any research think about your own needs. Maybe even think of the sections that would make your life easier.

For me, I prefer having a daily task list, rather than specific times carved out throughout the day. But you may be different. And if you’re feeling really frisky, try a Bullet Journal (or BuJo) which I started doing this year for the first time. Using a BuJo essentially means you are using dotted graph paper to create your own templates from scratch. Every week I draw my schedule. So far, I’ve been enjoying it. If a format doesn’t work for me, I just change it the following week!

I used Passion Planner for many years but finally felt strong enough to go it on my own with BuJo, and create the sections that work for me. After all, there is no wrong way to plan, other than not planning at all. (Oh wow, something actually quotable coming from the blog, yay!)

2. Start With the Facts

Just like solving a crime (at least I think that’s how you do it), start with your facts when planning for the first time. You can get crazy with colors and pens and everything later.  When do you go to work? Do you need to write your shifts in? When is your doctor’s appointment? Fill in the basic things you know today. Depending on what planner you get you may need to fill in a monthly or yearly calendar, fill it in with what you know. A vacation, birthdays etc. Then start with your first week, nailing all the easy stuff.

As you’re doing this you’ll realize how much random stuff you store in your brain! Storing that stuff takes up brain power. Write it all down and you will feel the weight being lifted. (Such an awesome feeling!) You’ll have the focus to do other things and you no longer have to keep track of 15 slips of random paper or notebooks. All your lists and to-dos are now in one place. Hooray!

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Photo by Hey Beauti Magazine on Unsplash

3. Fill In the Rest as it Comes

Don’t get carried away filling out the planner right away. I know it looks pretty bare upfront, but you will fill it over time. You’ll have bills to pay, new friends to meet, old friends to call. All of these things will come up as they always do, write them down then.

I remember when I first started trying my Passion Planner, I’d scramble to fill up my weeks with goal oriented items and to-dos. Then the days would come and I’d realize how much I had misjudged and overwhelmed myself. Let your days and weeks take shape. You can certainly nudge them along, but don’t get crazy.

4. Use Your Planner as Your Main Source of Information

This may feel off at first, especially as so many of us maintain calendars online with our e-mails, but you gotta trust me and trust that planner. If your girlfriend sends you an invite on Gmail for a girls’ night, write it down in the planner, too.

If you are doing a BuJo like me, where you don’t have weeks ready to go in advance, sit down and do a calendar review at the beginning of each week. I go through my Google calendar and write down every event there into my planner. I transfer everything. When they match, I’m done! It allows me to carve out my side hustle work around my regular day job and social commitments.

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Photo by Hey Beauti Magazine on Unsplash

5. Make Awful Mistakes

I know it sounds corny but go into planning with an open mind. It is going to take time to come to a rhythm that works for you. Planning is different for everyone, and while you can pin inspiration all day long, at the end of it, you’re still responsible for the methods you select and making sure they work for you.

Do your research but also always go back to number one on this list: What do you need the planner for anyway? Keep answering that question with how you keep it. If you forget to write something down – learning experience! If you’re messy – who cares? You don’t need to share it with anyone but yourself. And, if you’re like me, a paper planner will help you with your handwriting. Be okay making the mistakes and find your own rhythm.

I hope these steps help you to feel confident in starting your journey with paper planners. Let me know if it was helpful, and what else you’d like to see in the future as it relates to goal setting and paper planners. I have more to share!

Long Term Goal Setting 101: How to make goals manageable and keep momentum all year long

Hi all my Courageous followers! 🙂 In an effort to create content that has meaning I’ve set my sights on organizational to-dos, goal setting tips, and all around motivation. Giving my life structure and focus after I graduated college (*gulp* 8 years ago) was one of the hardest things for me to overcome. It took years for me to figure out how to successfully goal set and stay motivated, especially as I have had countless side hustles along with a full-time job.

A pain point for me was all of the nonsense I found online. I’m not here to bash anyone, that’s not my style, but I couldn’t get over how much of the focus on organization was pretty planners with straight up ART in them. I aspired to be so organized that I would spend my Sundays with rolls of washi tape and stickers and creating beautiful, mystical maps of my life I could follow each week. To anyone that has that kind of skills, by all means, get creative, but for me and I imagine a huge chunk of folks, it’s just not what I was looking for.

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I wanted to make my life easier, not harder. I wanted the time I took to organize myself to be valuable for organizing. I wanted to save artistic expression for other areas. But it was truly hard to find information and support for “simple” and “basic” life organization. If it wasn’t gorgeous planners, it was goal setting that required me to get less sleep. And I love my sleep! At peak insanity I was trying to write a TV Show, write poetry, post blogs everyday, create a social presence, retrain my dog, get abs, learn French, and cook Pinterest meals every night. I was LITERALLY losing my mind and constantly stressed. I don’t remember actually pausing to enjoy my life or to notice it had gone off the rails.

I’m here to say that goal setting and organization does not have to be nuts! You do not have to tackle all of life’s goals this year. You do not need to HAVE IT ALL. As long as you have a system that works for you (and I will reiterate this until I go blue in the face) it doesn’t matter what it looks like to someone else. It’s your private system built to make life easy for you, not harder.

I recently asked my Instagram followers to chime in with what they wanted to learn about organization and planners. I got a handful of answers but I thought the one pertaining to long term goals would be the best place to start.

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How do I set a long term personal goal and stick to it?

Ah the beginning of January… there’s hope. We can start afresh, become new people, achieve all our greatest dreams.

Nah.

In reality you’re still the same person. BUT you can put processes in place to become the version of yourself you’ve always imagined. (Notice how I didn’t say BETTER.) I am not here to sling cheap motivational quotes about hard work. We all know dreams take work, it’s that we don’t always know how to start or how to move forward from each step. Hopefully I can make this easier to understand and help you set a long term goal.

I live and swear by REVERSE ENGINEERING. There are a million and one articles about reverse engineering out there. I read multiple ones a few years ago because they can differ, but here is a pretty good general post on it. To Reverse Engineer you need to do the following steps:

  1. Determine your goal (Try using the SMART method)
  2. Be realistic about where you are starting from (No shame!)
  3. Work backwards from the goal, breaking down into smaller more manageable goals
  4. START with Basic Goal #1

Determine Your Goal

I don’t always use the SMART method when I goal set (and honestly I really should) but if you’re just starting out this is a great way to stay focused and come up with something tangible and achievable.

SMART stands for: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time Bound

To be Specific think of why you want this goal, what/who you will need to achieve it (certifications? a co-owner?). A Measurable goal is that one that has an “end’. Is your goal to open a bakery or is it to open a bakery that hits the black after year one? Notice how Measurable and Specific are intertwined? Achievable goals are ones you’re being realistic about. Could you really go to space this year? Or is a better goal going back to school for Physics? A Relevant goal is one that means something to YOU and no one else. I once thought that to be a writer I had to be a journalist but then I quickly learned I don’t want that and there are other ways to be a writer. Time Bound goals have due dates. To be an astronaut one day isn’t going to cut it, but be an astronaut by 2020, does.

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Be Realistic About Your Starting Point

This takes less words to understand. If you’re goal is to run a marathon by next year, but you’ve never run before, don’t start a training plan for runners who have already completed a 10K. You’ll hurt yourself AND get discouraged.

Work Backwards

Once you set your SMART goal, work backwards from it and start to break it down into smaller goals and different milestone dates. If you want to save $30k for the down payment of a house by 2020, calculate how much you will need to save each month, and then from there, what you can cut down on each month to help get you there. Or if you want to lose 50 pounds. Start with doing push-ups at home, advance to running, advance to attending classes. Same with cooking, aim to cook one night a week at home, then two, then three. Don’t EVER start all out, you’ll drive yourself crazy!

Start

This might be the hardest part. The small basic goals can seem minuscule and not worth celebrating. When I started my book last year, it felt hard to celebrate 5 pages. Really. But if you change your mindset to “that’s 5 more pages than yesterday” you’ll find yourself in a steady work state, getting a little more done each day.

Be Okay With Failure

Listen, you may reverse engineer incorrectly. You may think you can get to 12,000 words a month but maybe you overestimated the time you had free that month. Or maybe you thought running would be a breeze but you discover you have asthma or an injury. Setbacks WILL happen. It’s not an IF. Be okay with going back and adjusting your goals or your timeline. You aren’t losing if you’re paying attention and adjusting. It is when you give up, or refuse to give yourself a break that you’ll get stuck. I know this from experience. I spent YEARS doing this to myself. Don’t. Do. It. Keep moving, always!

Let me know what you think of this post. It’s much LONGER and more formal than my usual stuff so the feedback is most appreciated! Did you learn anything? Was it total garbage? Let me know so I can adjust my goals. 😉

 

Las Vegas Travel Recap: Where to buy cold medicine and watch men dance

It’s been a bit since I’ve done any pieces about travel, which is weird considering I travel every month, but let’s not talk about the past. Let’s talk about VEGAS, BABY. Vegas has been on my list for a number of years but it seemed like a place that I needed a really good reason to visit. And finally my boyfriend, Frank, gifted me (and 10 of our friends) with that reason: his 30th birthday. So we all got on like 5 different flights (even though we were all coming from NYC) and descended on Vegas for a weekend of gambling, dancing, and drinking.

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At the airport w/ hot water and lemon

Now, I already did a podcast episode on this trip which you can listen to here, but that’s not so much a travel guide as it is a reflection of our time. Including, how sick I was. I want to steer away from that just a bit because I’ve a) already covered it and b) talking about my insane head cold is really no fun at all. I did however love everything about my CVS experience so I am totally going to highlight that. You can judge me but that’s why you come to me and not other bloggers right? I’m giving you the real deal here.

Also, this is a quick and dirty rundown, I know you’re busy. 🙂

THE RESORT

We stayed at the Wynn, because I had always heard vaguely good things about it and I found an amazing deal on Expedia. Done and done. It is toward the end of the strip, so if you’re looking to be in the thick of it, I wouldn’t stay here. But truthfully, you are going to end up taking a car to EVERYTHING. There’s a bus route that you can take, but once you put on your four inch heels, the bus just doesn’t feel right. More details on transportation later, but if you think you want to be on the center of the strip for walking purposes, I am not sure it’s worth it.

The Wynn has a casino, which means the casino floor has smoking. The rooms we had were non-smoking and you couldn’t even tell we were in a casino with that much smoke. Our room was gigantic. The bathroom was the most impressive part, it was probably the size of my first studio apartment and had a bathtub built for two, a separate shower, two sinks, a vanity area and a TV.

Since I was super sick day one there was literally nothing better than watching Friends in the tub and then ordering room service. I also won $100 that night on roulette!

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The service was great and I felt very much at home. Especially since I wound up spending so much time there. It has an incredible amount of outlets (F&B, shows, clubs etc.) and super luxe stores. I cried walking by the Alexander McQueen store everyday hoping I hit it big on the tables so I could buy a beautiful bag.

RESTAURANTS

The weird thing about LV is that you don’t ever feel that guilty for never leaving your hotel/resort. Sure there is plenty to see and do, but realistically all of the casinos kind of look the same, so sometimes it feels easier to stay put. We ate a good amount of meals at the Wynn and had essentially no complaints.

The Buffet @ Wynn

The hype is very real. The buffet at the Wynn is as good as they say. Picture every food you’ve ever loved and then picture it all for the taking in a single room. We ate this probably 3 times which could be embarrassing if wasn’t so amazing. They even brought me hot water and lemon to clear my sinuses at every meal. Oysters, chicken and waffles, candy apples, chia seed pudding, prime rib, mac and cheese, lox, danishes, sundaes, congee, sushi… on and on it went. My stomach actually just made a sound thinking about it. Even if you don’t stay at the Wynn, it’s worth the trip. Pro-tip: Go before 9:30am to avoid the line.

If you’re asking yourself “how do I wake up at 9:30 in Vegas?” don’t forget it’s 3 hours behind the East Coast. You’ll be awake. If you’re from LA, sorry I can’t help you. 😉

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Not at the Wynn but I died laughing when I saw it.

Rose. Rabbit. Lie.

What an incredible experience this was. I found it difficult to find a restaurant on the Strip that wasn’t also a restaurant in New York City. A lot of them are repeats from NYC (or Miami) and for a group traveling from there, it seemed weird to go to a place we could go to any time. (Even though we don’t, ha!) So I came across Rose. Rabbit. Lie. I was intrigued by their “supper club” vibe but was immediately sold when I found the vegetarian and gluten-free menus they offer. The restaurant is in the beautiful Cosmopolitan hotel (my second choice for our trip!) and it is an actual supper club. We saw about 6 performances throughout our meal of talented dancers, singers, and musicians who danced all over the room and on top of tables. The food was excellent, the cocktails were strong and overall while it was one of our more expensive meals, it really didn’t break the bank. Highly, highly recommend.

Stripburger 

We went to this little outdoor burger place for lunch when people started to land from their flights and we weren’t a complete group yet. It’s in walking distance of the Wynn and was surprisingly good. They even made me a hot toddy! So expect a full bar, and a good meal. Also when I say outdoor, I mean outdoor. There is no interior, but they have heat lamps. It was a little chilly, but great atmosphere. Awesome waiter as well.

Pink Taco

Definitely not the highlight of our trip. The margaritas were good and the service was decent. But the tacos were really heavy and weirdly thick? I ordered them thinking they’d be light and they came out super heavy. The guac was ok, but pretty generic. I will say, we were able to get a table for TWELVE at the last minute so it’s good for that. Also it’s in the MGM, so it was in walking distance of our show at Magic Mike.

BARS, LOUNGES & CLUBS

Surprisingly, we didn’t do that much bar hopping. Like I said, it’s a bit challenging to get around as a large group. Also, they give you free drinks at the casino so…

Chandelier Bar

Inside the Cosmopolitan, we went here after our dinner at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. The setting is beautiful, it’s basically a two story lounge designed to look like you are inside of a chandelier. Other than that it’s your run of the mill lounge. My friend did get a pretty interesting drink that was Alice in Wonderland themed and turned different colors, but for those of us less adventurous. It was pretty basic.

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In the Chandelier

Corduroy 

Old Vegas & Freemont street were some of my favorite highlights from the trip. It felt just much more my speed. Picture an easier going Brooklyn with neon lighting and you’ve nailed it. We saw a bar advertising habanero pickle backs so we ducked in. What we found was an incredible little bar, designed to look like an old dive but definitely brand new, good picklebacks and awesome service. Also they had a selfie room that’s worth checking out.

Hakkasan 

The biggest joy of Hakkasan is that my friend new someone who could get us in for free and with free drinks and no line. I will say though, even if you do pay to go, it’s a beautiful space and vibe, while a definite Vegas nightclub, didn’t feel like too much. I usually feel overwhelmed or skeeved out, but it was a super nice place, plenty of room to move and dance, and I felt safe. We had fun dancing here even though the hip hop floor was closed and we were forced to dance to EDM.

SHOWS & MUSEUMS

Magic Mike

We went to one show and one show only. Magic Mike. I don’t want to spoil too much of it, because I think part of the joy of going is discovering it for yourself. (I didn’t take videos or pictures like some of the other women were, it felt super weird and also like it would take me out of what we were witnessing.) This show was 10x better than any of us could even believe. Seriously. We went in excited but left blown away. These guys are seriously talented, the host is hysterical, and the whole event was super fun, charming, and truly empowering. Pro Tip! Sit on the floor by the bar. They are cheaper than the bar seats and MUCH better. I promise you. They’re amazing. Message me if you want the exact seats. Best seats in the house BY FAR.

Neon Museum 

If you had told me I was going to go to a museum in Vegas I would have never believed you. But I did! And it was wonderful! We went to the Neon Museum. It was so fun to get outside on a nice day and to also learn about Vegas through some of its most iconic neon signs. The museum is beautifully curated (it’s not just a bunch of signs junked together) and the tour guides are knowledgeable and super kind. If you go during the day you can choose to talk to them or meander on your own. I highly recommend chatting, they know cool stuff! If you need a break from the booze and gambling, come here.

CASINOS

I really wasn’t much a gambler but I will say this. I loved the Wynn Casino. I won there (haha) and also everyone was pretty friendly. The Golden Nugget was terrible and I’d never go back. The El Cortez was fun in an old school way. It’s the oldest operating casino in Vegas. Go for the quarters, stay for the guy playing a piano.

BONUS: CVS

I am not crazy. This was the greatest CVS ever. Not only could you buy cold medicine here, but they sold HARD LIQUOR. Sure you can get wine and beer. But you can also get gin! Fireball! Anything! I was beyond. Also just outside the door is sports betting. We went here like four times and I don’t even feel ashamed.

Is she really going to end on CVS? (Yes, she is.)

It’s Not Overreacting if You’re in Pain

Hey, did you pass a girl on the street crying in SoHo last Friday? Not a big deal, but it was me! When I started this blog I promised I’d be honest about my life, even the embarrassing parts. Which is why I knew I had write about last week and the emotions that overcame me.

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I Judge Myself Too Hard

Here’s the set-up: I don’t like going to group fitness classes. They make me anxious, nervous, and extremely self-conscious. Group fitness classes take me back to middle school when I was uncoordinated, a little chubby, and not at all athletic. I remember one particular day when the PE teacher made us dribble a basketball from one side of the gym to the other in front of our classmates. It was torture. Basketball is my least favorite sport and DEFINITELY takes too much coordination. I felt awful, but like I always have, I played it off like I didn’t give a shit. When I was younger, I’d rather take some heat from my teacher for being disruptive, than look like a fool.

Now I am nearly 31 years old and I get the same anxiousness before a workout class. My stomach turns into knots, I often think I’m going to throw up and not make it in. My heart rate is already up before I enter and once I do, I am overwhelmed. Often, my hands shake so badly I can’t lock the locker properly for a few minutes. I glue my eyes to the floor. I do not meet new people. I hate the mirrors that reflect how terrible I am at every move, how stiff my hips always are, how my knees fold in. I am never good enough.

And that’s usually what my lack of comfort with working out in a class format comes from, I never feel good enough. And I am immediately sent back to me at 13 years old. It’s so strange to me because I have overcome almost every other aspect of my younger self that held me back. I was terribly shy in social settings, now I can walk into a bar and meet new people. I was afraid to share my thoughts and now I am at my new job making mistakes nearly every day but still coming in and being vocal and brave. I am trying to be sure of myself. And that’s relatively new for me. I post my poetry on the internet for all to see, instead of squirreling it away like I have for 20 years of my life. I have changed. But this one thing, these fitness classes, brings it all back.

I kind of resigned myself to working out at home for the rest of my life. I take the occasional class, but it takes effort and an incredible amount of planning. For the class last Friday, I went and bought brand new $75 workout pants because I needed to feel prepared.  I signed up for an early morning class and was ready to go.

But then I left 10 minutes later than I should have and the subway took 20 minutes later than it should have. I arrived on the street of the class 1 minute after start time. Could I have gone in and tried to negotiate my way in? Maybe. But I couldn’t face the rejection, I was so afraid they’d tell me no. That I didn’t belong. I know it sounds totally mental, but this is how I was feeling. I had failed. And then almost seemingly out of nowhere, I started sobbing uncontrollably on the street. Because of a workout class. At first I wanted to suck it up and tell myself I was overreacting. (Omg you are so spoiled, you are crying over a workout class.) But I realized it was so much deeper than that. It was everything.

It was the feeling that I had gained weight over the past two months. It was the feeling that I hurt my back because I was afraid to go out and have my form corrected. It was the feeling that I had again wasted money. It was the feeling that I was again late to something. It was again that I am not good enough. It was again that I had failed at bettering myself.

That’s a fucking lot to take in, right?! It WAS a lot so the best thing I could have done for myself was tell myself that I wasn’t overreacting. I corrected that narrative. I was allowed to feel sad for all those things and it was a normal reaction. It eventually calmed me down but I felt terrible almost the entire day.

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I’m sharing this because I had forgotten. I had forgotten how much I carried around on a daily basis. I forgot how much YOU carry around on a daily basis. I forgot about all the negative things I say to myself every morning. I forgot about just how debilitating real anxiety can be. It reminded me to be gentle with my friends or family when they’re afraid to do something new or challenging. It was a wake up call for me in many ways.

So hey, if there’s something makes your chest heavy, your hands sweaty, your heart pound, reach out to me. I may not be able to fix it but maybe I can go with you or just talk to you. I’ve been there, and sometimes a gentle voice on the other end of the phone is all you need to take a step back. And remember, you aren’t overreacting if you’re in pain.