Been Awhile…

Well… hello!

It’s been a bit since I’ve blogged, which is sad, if I do say so myself. I guess I got caught up with my surgeries, the holidays, school, etc… but here I am.

I honestly can’t even say I’ve been reading too much on this blogging hiatus either! I can’t even say I’ve read at all… I’m currently reading Accidental Heroes by Danielle Steel and am loving it. I purchased it right before flying on a plane… that was a bad idea, but nonetheless, it’s a great read so far. I’ll let you know how I feel about it in the end.

I am about to start my next round of surgery, but my goal is to not go on a hiatus from blogging, but rather use blogging as an outlet and a way to fill my free time. I promise to read too. I can’t remember the last time I went this long without reading a book… yikes.

Instead of reading, I’ve turned into a couch potato and have become a total Hulu and Netflix junkie.

I’ve binged:

Grey’s Anatomy (of course, not for the first time)

Friends (probably for the 19th time)

Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (yup, I know)

Real Housewives of New York (…this one too, yup)

The Fosters

Switched at Birth

I’ve started to watch:

Say Yes to the Dress

90 Day Fiance (that sh*t is crazy!)

Good Trouble

My 600-lb Life (yeah, those TLC shows are racking up here)

Movies I’ve watched recently (whether for the first time or the 90th time):

Ted/Ted 2

Bad Moms

Girls Trip

Forrest Gump

Saving Private Ryan

Dunkirk

I Feel Pretty

The Proposal

Princess Diaries 1&2

The Town

The Departed (I’m from Boston… 2 Boston movies in a row is acceptable)

The 40 Year Old Virgin

 

….That’s not even all of them… and it was a lot… I think I should hit the books…

What’s everyone reading??? I want to hear!

Happy Saturday!

Advertisements

Reviews of A Spark of Light and How To Walk Away

Wow, it’s been about a week since I’ve posted. I’ve been recovering from my surgery and busy with school and honestly hadn’t truly noticed how much time was passing.

Also, during this busy time, I’ve been reading, reading, and reading.

In the past 6 days I read Jodi Picoult’s A Spark of Light and Katherine Center’s How to Walk Away.

Both were complete life-sucking pageturners, so, clearly I’ve been occupied.

Here are my Goodreads reviews!

A Spark of Light

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a longtime fan of Jodi Picoult, I was pretty excited to pick up this one. Picoult writes a thrilling story that attacks a very controversial issue: abortion. I loved every character in this story. Wren, a 16 year old girl who’s just exploring the world of sexual activity and adulthood… Bex, Wren’s aunt who steps in as a motherly figure, only to find herself thrown into the woes of a gunman in the clinic where Wren asked to go. Olive, the 60 year old lesbian who is sweeter than apple pie along with Izzy the young nurse, Dr. Ward, the abortion doctor, Janine the activist and Joy who has just received her abortion and of course, Hugh McElroy. I love that each individual character was completely different, but all connected due to the subject of pregnancy, abortion, or and the clinic. This nailbiting story, I’m sure, hit hearts of many readers.
My only reason for 4 stars was due to the fact the novel was written in reverse order. I never quite understood the main reason as to why it was written backwards. But, nonetheless, great read!

How to Walk Away

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Can I give it 6 stars?
This novel made me laugh, cry, smile, and feel raw emotions that I’ve never felt.

Margaret Jacobsen is a 28 year old, hard-working MBA grad who has just (about) landed a dream job. Totally in love with her long-time boyfriend Chip, she envisions a beautiful life with him. Until tragedy strikes. After a lifetime fear of flying, Margaret is convinced by Chip to go up for a special ride in a Cessna, as he is just about to become an official pilot. As their life together is truly about to begin, they approach a storm and their new story begins.

Throughout the novel, Center provides readers with stories of healing, family drama, falling out of love and back in again, and my favorite, a sisterly love that recreates itself from shambles to an inseparable bond.

A story of love, heartbreak, tragedy, and family, this page-turner is worth every minute.

View all my reviews

Friend/follow me on goodreads! (Click the widget on my page)

Today I’ll be delving into my schoolwork like a ravenous beast because it’s the end of the term and all my final papers are due! After that I will continue reading The Identicals by Elin Hilderbrand, which I’m sure I’ll be hooked on as well.

Happy Thursday!

xo – liv

Time Management… Any Planner Tips?

*This page contains affiliate links.

BOY am I HORRIBLE at time management.

Mostly attirbuting to my laziness or carelessness, but also greatly due to lack of motivation.

I’ve been obsessed with planners/agendas my entire life. My go-to planner for years has been the Day Designer for Blue Sky. I find it affordable for a planner (they can be upwards of, like, $70! I love planners, but I kinda love my bank account a little more). Not only affordable, but definitely has a lot to offer! There are sections for yearly goals, achievements, monthly plans and reviews, contacts, birthdays, and more. There are monthly calendar layouts and also weekly layouts. I’ve been using this planner since the beginning of college (circa, 2012) and love it!

If I weren’t a broke college student, I would definitely purchase the Erin Condren LifePlanner. They can be purchased on Amazon or you can personalize one online on her website ErinCondren.com.

Now… some people might be thinking, “what about bullet journals?”

LOVE the idea of bullet journals, but my artistic skill level is subpar to that of a preschooler’s. I’m constantly scrolling Pinterest and looking at/re-pinning bullet journal pins and I’ll sit there and drool over them. Then I will make up this idea in my head that I will start one! The minute I begin to come up with an idea and put the pen to the paper, it’s game over. I can’t draw. I’m not creative. I may be creative and eloquent with words, but not artistically with drawing, painting, crocheting, none of that.

Physically, I was an artist my entire life. I was a dancer – I attended college for dance. So yes, I’m creative, but not when it comes to creating images on paper.

How many of you out there make and follow bullet journals? I’d love to see your ideas and hear your inspiration!

When it comes to my planner, I’m always really excited to fill it out, but I’m really bad at actually following what I wrote down. Any tips?

I sometimes become lazy and recently, since my surgery, I’ve become very isolated and lonely and my depression has kicked in. My motivation and time-management are totally depleted. Any advice?

I’d love to hear from some of you and see your ideas!

Happy Sunday!

xo – liv

What Day is it? HUMP DAY!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

We’re at that mid-week point (for those who don’t work the weekends) and getting ready to finish up the week!

I feel like hump day hasn’t existed for me for awhile.

Since I go to school online, assignments are due on Thursdays and Sundays. There’s no physically going to class, there are assignments due on the weekends… so hump day for me is… no where. I also used to work every other weekend since I work in the nursing field – so hump day, for me, changed by the week.

Now that I’m not working (due to my current medical status), every day blends together, I forget the date half the time, and I’m really not on any sort of schedule. I need to change that!

My post about my morning routine is one I revisit often for motivation and encouragement. Certain days, I wake up and feel like I have no purpose since I can’t work, can’t go out and exercise, so I’m basically a sitting duck. I’ll wake up and say “let’s try again tomorrow.” I’d say I’m getting depressed.

Something I’ve learned over the years is if you’re not happy, the only one with the power to change it is you.

So… I’m blogging, keeping up with my schoolwork and housekeeping, and trying to find new hobbies that will make me feel like I have purpose.

So, help a sista out! What hobbies do you all enjoy at home?

I love to read (as many of my readers already know), but even sometimes I say to myself, “I just can’t read another page.” You know, cause the words start to blend together on the page and you feel like you’re going blind…

I enjoy coloring, but I’m not too artistic so I can’t draw. My stick figures are questionable, so anything further than that would be kindergarten-grade work.

I own crochet needles, some yarn, and other crochet tools. I’m not crafty. I suck. Can’t follow anything, not even a YouTube tutorial. I’m a lefty (yup) and everything I learn, I have to learn backwards. When I was in dental hygiene school a few years ago, there were 4 girls out of the 36 in our class that were lefties. Those 4 of us had to learn separately in another clinic with another instructor. That’s how special us lefties are. Let me tell ya.

What other hobbies are out there?!

Talk to me!

Happy Hump Day!!!!

-Liv

 

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…