Good Reads for All You Bookworms

Do you prefer curling up in a comfy chair or bed with a good book on a rainy day instead of binging on a Netflix series?

Well, I DO!

Here are some great books I’ve read in the past year that I thought I’d share!

This site does contain affiliate links.

  1. Danielle Steel – Blue – Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 1.31.21 PM.pngDanielle Steel knocks it out of the park with this one. I couldn’t put it down! It’s a heartwarming story of a woman who meets a homeless boy and takes him under her wing. Through triumph and tribulations, this story will bring you laughter, tears, and will make you feel like you know the characters.
  2. Ashley Prentice Norton – If You Left – Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 1.40.40 PM.pngNorton is a fantastic writer. Through a true love story, raising a child, and mental health issues that bring a windstorm to the marriage, this story is one that keeps you wondering after every page you turn.
  3. Allison Leotta – A Good Killing – Screen Shot 2018-09-20 at 1.44.58 PM.pngI read this one in about 24 hours. A true page-turner, Leotta writes a mysterious story that keeps you on your toes. Who killed the beloved high school coach?
  4. Jude Deveraux – As You WishScreen Shot 2018-09-20 at 1.38.11 PM3 completely different women end up in the same summer home. Is there crazy girl drama or does a friendship form? …or both?
  5. M.O. Walsh – My Sunshine AwayScreen Shot 2018-09-20 at 2.13.00 PM A mysterious random attack on a young, popular athlete in a small, quiet town. I promise, you won’t regret this addictive read!

I have a LONG list, but I want to hear any feedback on these (whether you’ve read them already or if you read them after me!)

 

 

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New Year, New Me? No.

It’s that time of the year. It only comes once. The one-month span where everyone’s like “New year, new ME!” all over your social media feeds.

 

Shut up. Get real. Y’all woke up the same on January 1st as you did on December 31st.

Except you might’ve had a little more of a hangover that day.

Then there’s the whole “new year resolutions” cliche too.

 

If you ask me, these ideas that come with the new year are actually just filled with PRESSURE. 2017 sucked (for myself), more or less, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to slave my mind over making 2018 the greatest year that ever happened. You can’t plan a year. You can barely plan tomorrow. Nothing is ever guaranteed. So instead of trying to make 2018 the best year of your life, try to make TODAY, this MINUTE, the best.

Here’s a long, long, yet still abridged story of my life the past 5 years. My proof as to why you can’t plan shit these days.

I grew up making plans for myself. Plans that I thought I could see being accomplished as clear as day. I wanted to be a dancer – go to college for dance, open my own studio, perform on big stages with professional companies… OKAY… So the first part happened. I went to college for dance back in 2012. The master plan I’d had since the age of 5 was officially on its way.

Remember how I just said “you can barely plan tomorrow?”

One month into my college career as a dance major, I fractured my ankle. Who needs ankles to dance?! Oh yeah, everyone. So that sucked.

A month later after I recovered and was back in the studio, my grandmother passed away 3 days before Thanksgiving. I found out over a phone call and was the only grandchild who didn’t get to say goodbye.

Let the depression strike – round 1.

I came home from school and told my mom I wasn’t sure if I wanted to return. I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to dance anymore. My heart just wasn’t in it. This was a shock for EVERYONE, including myself. I ate, slept, breathed dance. My mom tried to pick me up and tell me to take on second semester head strong and give it my best.

So I did the whole “new year, new me” thing.

I went back to school in January for second semester and was struck with mono within my first 2 weeks. After that, I stopped going to classes…

I was notified that I was failing – something I’d never heard before in my life. I grew up as an Honors student. Cried if I got even an A- on a test. I was THAT kid. But ok, so they tell me I’m failing and push me to see a school counselor who then advised me to take a medical leave of absence for clinical depression. So in March of 2013, I withdrew from my first year of college, and my dream school.

Wow, this new year new me thing was going REALLY well, don’t ya think?

Fast forward to May of 2013. I COULD NOT STAND NOT BEING IN SCHOOL. All my friends were in school, I felt dumb and like I was losing knowledge by the minute, but one thing I didn’t really miss… was dance. Maybe this was a new me?

I really wanted to go back to school. But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do since for as LONG as I could remember, all I ever wanted to do was dance. I really didn’t know anything else. I started searching local schools to see what might interest me; found nothing, besides nursing, but I couldn’t afford to do that kind of schooling. (That’s a WHOLE other ball park of a story)

My psychiatrist mentioned studying Dental Hygiene to me. It was a quick degree – could get your Associates OR your Bachelors. She introduced me to Mount Ida College in Newton and I fell in love. The campus was beautiful, the hygiene clinic was stunning, the student body was small (which I prefer), and I even had eligibility to be an athlete.

I applied (very late) to Mount Ida with a warning that I probably would not get in due to the timing. Within 3 days of my application, I was accepted into the Pre-Dental Hygiene program and was so ecstatic to start this new journey of mine that fall. It really was a new me!

Fast forward to September 2013 – I began school at Mount Ida. I had tried out for and made the cheerleading team and was making new friends. I felt good! I also worked outside of school so I could pay for gas and food and a life. It worked out fine for me.

 

Then… I met a boy. BAD IDEA, GUYS. BAD IDEA.

I can joke about it now, years later. But it so wasn’t a joke then.

I completely fell head-over-heels for this boy. I say boy because he’s so far from a man I don’t think he will ever become one. This boy was a master manipulator. He had a way about him that was charismatic and charming that pulled you right in. Once you were in, you were trapped.

 

I was abused. Physically. Emotionally. Financially. And I let it happen. I didn’t know any better. I was scared to tell or I’d get hurt. I was always on the defense for him saying how great he was. All the abuse happened behind closed doors. I would’ve looked like a liar if I had said anything to anyone.

Fast forward to 2015. At this point, I had been accepted to the Dental Hygiene program, elected class president, treated over 14 patients in the clinic, and removed from the Dental Hygiene program. Throughout all of my schooling, I worked 4 jobs to keep myself afloat. This caused me to “fail” a course by 0.01 point… a 72.9% out of 73%, which was a passing grade. I was removed from the program. For the record, I was still with the boy at this time. I was “punished” for my “stupidity.”

I worked extremely hard. I never could have “planned” for this to happen. It just did. It was fate. So I had to decide what the hell to do next. So I changed to a Pre-Medical Biology major, as I had already taken many of the courses that are involved in the degree and I was pretty close. I was doing really well until March 2016. One fine snow day that March, the abuse from the boy went too far. He broke into my dorm room and basically took away my dignity and strength.

It took everything in me to bring myself back after that. I found myself an advocate, went to court, got my safety and dignity back and finished the school year strong. I was proud to have finished the school year at all. I had a full semester and then a part-time semester left to graduate and was finally on my way to getting the degree I worked for.

 

That summer, all of my college finances were taken away from me (long story, but safe to say, wasn’t planned) and I was not able to return to school for my last year.

 

I felt absolutely DEFEATED. I lost everything I worked for. Dance major? Gave that up. Dental hygiene major? Got kicked out of that for all my hard work. Pre-Med? Had no choice but to give that up.
So here I was in 2016 – 4 rocky ass years of college, no degree, and no one to help me finish to get it.

 

Fast forward to 2017. I couldn’t take not being in school and having no degree. It was impossible to find a job outside the realms of the food service industry or retail. SO NOT ME. I decided to take my education into my own hands.

 

You see all those cheesy commercials from SNHU of people receiving their degrees, like, in the middle of nowhere, because they received their degrees online. A degree is a degree. I looked into it, decided to spend my last $50 I had in my bank account to apply for any health related program I could, wrote an essay pretty much like this blog post, honest and to the point, and was accepted a week later with a financial aid package that covers my courses each term. Did I plan that at the beginning of 2017? No. Did I plan on going to school online ever? No.

MORAL OF THE STORY…

My life has been a ROLLER COASTER. I’m only 23. I have so much life left to live and I want to live it happily. I’ve been knocked down like bowling pins time and time again, but I won’t let it defeat me. New year, same me, just different goals. You can’t plan everything because you never know the unexpected or unknown. You can’t fear the unknown, though. You have to run into it head on with no fears. Take what life throws at you. It might suck some serious nuts, but you’ll get there!

 

NEW YEAR. NEW OUTLOOKS.

What is “anxiety”

Ever experienced a time where there was just so much on your mind you couldn’t even stay asleep through the night? The constant worry is just there in the back (front and sides) of your mind and it can actually alter the way our body functions.

“Anxiety” and “depressed” are such  lay-terms in this day in age. Everyone will say, “I’m having some anxiety over this…” or “I’m just so depressed over this…”

It’s one thing to be anxious or sad or down in the dumps, but that doesn’t mean you have anxiety or depression.

Anxiety and Depression are medical terms used to diagnose patients with mental illness.

I, unfortunately, happen to suffer from both. I have days where I just do NOT want to get out of bed. My mind says “get up, don’t be lazy, just shake it off,” but the rest of me says, “forget about it – nothing great will happen today.” That’s the depression talking.

I overthink everything. I constantly think I’m doing something wrong or that someone is out to get me or that someone is mad at me for something I may have done, even though I didn’t do anything at all.

I have times where I just feel like my mind has so many thoughts at one time I just don’t know how I’ll ever stop and come to some peace. One thought turns into another two thoughts and those two thoughts branch out into just a forest full of thoughts and, usually, worries or fears. Then once you have that forest, you try to find your way out of the forest of thoughts and worries and fears and just as you start to make some progress…

a forest fire.

THAT, folks, is anxiety. I hope that someday people will stop using these terms [depression, anxiety] as lay terms and realize that there really are some people suffering out there.

 

With mental illness comes coping mechanisms. Most people see a psychiatrist to talk about their feelings and find some sort of medium in their struggles. Many may also take prescription anti-depressants or anti-anxieties. But aside from those, there is also the aspect of self-help which I am a BIG advocate of.

When you’re all alone and you’re having these feelings of doubt and despair, are you going to sit there and wallow? You might. But eventually you’re going to have to pick yourself up and conquer the inner demon that’s eating you.

I’m a big fan of books. Especially self-help books. One book that truly inspired me and kept me on track to getting my degree and just keep persevering is You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. Sincero is a phenomenal author who writes with true integrity and a splash of humor and she has that ability to really grasp the reader. I’d consider this book a good one for those of you who really need the help, but have no motivation to get it. She will inspire you! To do GREAT things! And will really explain to you why we should all understand that we are worth something. We are all here for a reason.

If you’re feeling down and you’re sitting around watching Netflix and eating you’re feelings, go buy that book! Then take it to a park and read it in the fresh air!

 

Seriously, I did it.

 

Twice.

 

🙂

These are a few of my favorite things..!

I am a huge fan of Pinterest and I tend to search random things on it when I’m bored or feeling funky. Usually I end up scrolling and saving a bunch of DIY ideas that I think are super cool, but I know for a fact I will NEVER do.

Or maybe that will be a goal?! Something to look forward to?! Actually do one of those DO it YOURSELF things…? That’d be cool.

 

So… anyways… I was on Pinterest earlier and I was searching “blog ideas” and one of them was to write about your 10 favorite foods.

WELL… this is a blog about seeking happiness and food does WONDERS for the happies inside (at least for me, anyway), so I guess I could do that!

Seriously, though, I love food so this will be fun. Not to mention I also have a board on Pinterest of about 200 recipes that I definitely will try one day when I have my own place (goal!).

Ten foods… hmm… is “foods” in reference to meals? or individual food items? Let’s go with individual.

 

  • 10. Cereal – call me crazy, but hands down, cereal is a GREAT go-to for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There are bazillions of cereals out there (some diabetic shock-inducing, some really great for ya, and some inbetweeners). There is ALWAYS a different option to choose from.
  • 9. Burgers – now… some may say, ‘how is that only #9?!’ … two reasons. First, while I love a good burger, I have a GI condition that restricts me from red meat consumption, so I’ve decided to try and dislike burgers (tried…) and secondly, ever since I was VERY young, I’ve always hated when my food falls apart or makes me messy. I used to cry when my PB&J would leak from the bottom or a wrap didn’t stay together… burgers can be greasy and sometimes can fall apart, so call me weird, but that is definitely a reason I leave it at #9.
  • 8. Pizza – I’m Italian. It’s a staple. No matter where on the list, it’s a favorite.
  • 7. Smoothies – does this qualify as food? Well… sure! To me they do. I love anything frozen, but especially smoothies because they are fruity and made with yogurt. I like my milkshake here and there, but I’d rather a smoothie (plus, you can add whey protein and make it a meal if you’re on the go!).
  • 6. Veggies – any veggie. Most veggies can be eaten raw or cooked and they can be cooked in so many different ways! They make a great snack, side dish, or main course. Versatile and full of color!

**I’m sure my first 3 food choices make me look like a seriously unhealthy eater, but I do care about what I put in my body! Everyone should.**

  • 5. Yogurt – Full of probiotics, calcium, vitamins, and protein! Great source of the nutrients we need and also beneficial for the digestive tract (especially for people like me with GI issues). It can be eaten alone, but also used for dressings, dips, smoothies, and more.
  • 4. Fruit – I like all fruit and am blessed to not have any allergies. I love being to explore the different types of fruits out there. If I had to pick favorite fruits out of the hundreds, I’d say apples, oranges, bananas, and berries.
  • 3. Cheese – that is all.
  • 2. Coffee – not a food, but a BIG part of my daily intake 🙂
  • 1. PASTA  – again, that is all.

 

Well! It’s been fun! Hopefully someday when I accomplish one of those DIY’s or recipes I can share with you, but until then, I’ll keep living vicariously through Pinterest. Hope you enjoyed my food splurge. I’m hungry 😉

 

Later!

 

 

Another day, another…

Here we are – Labor Day.

Feels like just yesterday we were ringing in the New Year and coming up with our resolutions. How are we almost done with 2017? Did any of you accomplish anything you said you would?

I feel like I’ve done NOTHING this year!

 

I want to do something great. Something that makes me feel accomplished and complete. Something that gives me a purpose! I go to work sometimes (I’m a nanny) and swear to whatever higher power is out there that I have absolutely NO purpose. I love being a nanny, don’t get me wrong… but when the parents are home and the kids are sleeping where is your purpose?

 

I’m seeking stability – a stable home, stable income, stable relationship, stable emotions… but I’m not sure where to find it.

 

And that’s why I’m here on this journey and sharing it with you (whomever this audience may be).

 

I’m hoping this Fall I make progress and come closer to what I’m looking for and working for. Fall is my favorite season – the air cools down, the leaves change colors, not to mention Pumpkin Spice Lattes are just… (call me basic, I don’t care). I’m trying to find joy in the changes I’m seeing and feeling and I feel like Labor Day always marks the start of a new season. Some people say, “No! It’s Summer for another 3 weeks!”

Don’t hold on to the past! Move forward with a spring in your step as we fall into the new world of color and light. I look forward to the upcoming season and hope I can come back with positive vibes in the next few weeks!

Another day… another step on this walk of life…

Word Vomit

I’ve had this thought in my head for awhile…

Actually, I have a lot of thoughts in my head and figured a blog is a great way to lay them on the table. Writing things down by hand (to me) can become redundant and boring, and besides, if you’re writing in a journal or a diary, no one will read it unless you say, “hey, read my diary” and who says that? And I like to share my thoughts, especially since I enjoy feedback.

So – where to begin…

 

I’ve experienced a LOT of change in the last two years.. I stopped going to college full-time, I joined and quit a lot of jobs, I escaped from the realms of a suffocating abusive relationship, and the biggest change of all… I moved out of my childhood home and my mom moved out of state to the other end of the east coast.

Now, that’s just the gist of it.

 

Throughout all of these events, so to speak, I have found myself in a bottomless pit of depression. With losing my college career, I never got to finish and obtain my degree after four years of hard work. With joining and quitting jobs, I’d say that stemmed from the depression, I haven’t had a steady income. Escaping that abusive relationship – that’s a story for another day. Moving away from home… That has to be the biggest weight on me right now.

 

My whole life, I always wanted to be independent and on my own. Here I am! And I suck at it. I can’t make enough money to keep up with my life, I can’t keep a job because I’m too depressed to commit. On the upside, I’m in school through SNHU (Online) which I applied to and worked out all on my own and am able to do through loans (thank you FAFSA). So, great! I’m working towards that degree… how do I not sink in the process?

 

My outlooks have been a little brighter knowing I’ll be starting school in the upcoming week and finally taking the last steps towards my degree, but I really need to get my butt in gear and get a job! I apply and apply and apply and then I just can’t bring myself to go to these interviews. Why? Am I homesick? Am I that depressed that I can’t function?

 

Usually I’m the friend with words of encouragement and joy! Now I’m reaching out for help…

 

Hoping I can move on with this Blog with more happy posts, but I’m here to take you on my journey to that happiness.

 

Thanks for reading!