Don’t Get Depressed

I took a few days off last week because I was at a breaking point. Too many days back to back of constant pressure and non-stop phone calls, meetings and emails, and I’d maxed out. Looking back, I think the last day I really took off was my birthday – four months ago. 
Today I’ve been entirely disconnected from the office, but my work anxiety hasn’t let up. If I let up from my distractions for even a moment, my heart rate increases, my breathing gets shallow and short, and I feel a wave of panic rising up in my chest. It’s probably a sign that I need to take more days off – not less – but like most folks, I get trapped into thinking what I’m doing is the Most Important Thing Ever, and don’t take the time I need. 
Once upon a time I read an article about weekends and how the feeling of a wasted weekend is something that typically results from either too many activities packed into a two-day timespan, or too few. Laying on the couch for 48 straight hours tends to result in the same level of panic as running from a birthday party to a dinner out (remember those?!) to painting the living room and getting zero sleep. Neither one is a recipe for success. The key to a successful weekend (according to this long-lost article and my experience) is balancing Things with Rest, and landing on what, for you, is the perfect ratio. Since adopting this strategy I approach days off the same way – balancing marathoning TV shows with organizing my closet, taking a walk one day with a good solid nap on the next. So to prep for my days away from my desk and in an effort not to sleep until noon every day, I made a conscious list. It included, among other things:
  • Fix my blog (we’re back up and running!)
  • Organize my closet
  • Pull out my sweaters
  • Read at least one book
  • Watch some mindless TV shows
  • Take a walk
  • Return a few purchases
  • Mail a package
  • Make popovers
  • Don’t get depressed
Don’t get depressed. Now, I’m not for one moment suggesting that depression is a choice, but for me personally, I’ve noticed that in some of my down-time – even absent any other triggers – I tend to slide into a depressive state. A song on the radio, a stray thought, the nostalgia of a sunset, a missed phone call from a friend, a cool breeze reminding me of the transience of life and our tenuous connection to the earth beneath our feet… it doesn’t take much. I think it must be like when we get sick right as we’re going on vacation (as I learned in a recent “Unlocking Us” podcast, you don’t suddenly “get” sick – you’ve been carrying that sickness with you and your body has finally released enough stress to deal with the next urgent signal from your body and so you collapse into the flu or a cold or a sinus infection) – it’s something I carry with me always, but absent all my other distractions, there are fewer things keeping me out of that spiral. But sometimes when I start to feel the waves crashing up over my head, I can find a foothold at the edge of the pit and launch myself out before I slide all the way to the bottom.
Find a foothold, I was telling myself. Grab ahold of any rock you can get your fingers on and hold the hell on until you have the energy to pull yourself up.
And now on Monday, the day before a world-altering election and before I go back to work, I accomplished everything on my list, including not getting depressed. I am, however, full to the brim of anxiety, like so many are tonight.
If that’s you, may you find peace and footholds, quiet spaces or noisy distractions, whatever your heart needs (even if that means decorating for the holidays before Thanksgiving, because this is 2020 and there are no rules).
And if you need a good popovers recipe, try this one.

10.17.20 | Reading • Listening • Loving

I was commiserating with friends this week that it feels like time is flying by and standing still all at the same time. Somehow it feels like it’s always Wednesday, and yet here we are approaching the end of October.

Lake Como, 2019

I find myself daydreaming about beaches, mountains, lakes, little cafes outside of little Italian villages with little cups of espresso – all things that are on hold because of COVID, but no less at the center of my mind.

Instead, we’re making a food tour plan for this Saturday, so we don’t get end up taking down an entire bag of pita chips out of boredom. Coffee, breakfast tacos, donuts, then burgers. That’s the plan.

Anyway, here’s what I’ve been reading, listening to, and loving this week.


I finished Normal People a while back, and while I spun through it at a pace I hadn’t enjoyed since pre-COVID, I was disappointed with the ending. Right now I’m digging into Death in the Air, which, if you’ve seen Netflix’s The Crown, happens during those days where a debilitating fog blanketed London.


I took a stab at creating a short little playlist, in case you’re looking for new tracks or something to listen to while mowing the lawn/putting away dishes/thinking about the contradicting feelings of time.

The podcast episode that rocked my world this week was by Brené Brown, who interviewed Emily and Amelia Nagoski about their book Burnout. I should state for the record that I love everything Brené does, including this podcast, but this one was such a timely reminder of what we need to do to get rid of all that stress coursing through our bodies, before we collapse. Find it here.


Lounge sets. This one, from Target (top, bottom). This one, from Nasty Gal. This one, from Free People.

Chobani yogurt with oatmeal. Maybe not your thing if you’re adverse to certain textures, but the peach is my go-to.

Speaking of oats, this oatmilk is my favorite for cups in the morning with this brew.

This Hamilton Peloton ride with Robin was one of the highlights of my week.

It’s finally getting cold enough to bust out the sherpa fleeces. Nick says I have too many already, but I’m eyeing this one.

Have a great weekend, everyone. Stay safe out there.

September Empties

Thanks to COVID, I now have more time than ever to devote to mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. But that, like everything else in this season, has shifted with my priorities. I’ve narrowed down the scope of people I follow to those who use their voice to speak out about things they truly care about, like social injustice and racial inequality, affordable healthcare, mental health awareness, sustainability, mindful consumerism, climate change and immigration reform. Bloggers and influencers who tone-deafly threw up a black square on IG and went back to regularly-scheduled content were quickly unfollowed.

As the 2020 waves crash and break on our mental shorelines, I’m looking for legitimate connection on social platforms, including creators who are open to authentic engagement, and those who are shifting their buying habits to support Black, LGBTQIA+, and Indigenously-owned businesses, consciously identifying privilege and working to make the space more equitable for those who haven’t had the same opportunities.

That said, I still love a good empties video. Hearing what products people loved and would repurchase, or loved and won’t repurchase because of unethical brand practices, or hated and wished they wouldn’t have bought, helps me evaluate my own buying choices and make better decisions moving forward. I hope to bring the same kind of transparency to the conversation.

Empties from Sept. 2020

Now, let’s talk empties.
1. Farmacy Beauty – Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm ($34 USD) – I’m way behind the pack on getting into cleansing balms, but after getting a 100-point sample of this from Sephora, I was hooked. Something about rubbing a balm onto my face and watching mascara, blush, foundation, sunscreen, eyeshadow and lip tint all wash smoothly away is so therapeutic to me. I’d been doing same-product double cleansing for a few months, but if you’re new to double-cleansing and need a gateway drug, start here.

2. Krave Beauty – Great Barrier Relief ($28 USD) – I never, ever, ever want to be without this serum ever again. That’s a lot of “evers,” and I mean it. I’ve been breakout-prone since I was a teenager, but at the beginning of 2020, I was over-exfoliating, over-using actives and acids, and had seriously damaged my skin barrier. I needed to hit reset in a big way, and that’s exactly what the Great Barrier Relief did – like a miracle in a bottle. I noticed immediate results, and that’s not something I say lightly.

When my skin is super stressed, I cleanse, put this on, and go to bed. When my skin is in a good place, I incorporate it into my more expanded routine as a next-to-last step every other night or so. This may be my first “empties” post, but this is my third Great Barrier Relief bottle, and like I said – I never, ever want to be without it. Plus, I love the company’s commitment to sustainability.

3. R+CO Spiritualized Dry Shampoo ($28 USD) – There are days when my hair is technically dirty, but manageable, and then there are days where I know I’m pushing the no-wash limit. Full disclosure, I wash my hair once a week (that’s once every 7-ish days, not like a Monday/Friday situation), and the rest of the time I’m using dry shampoo to make it through. Seven days may sound like a lot, but I’ve spent a good chunk of time getting my hair to do what I want it to, so that even after working out every morning, I still push it to the 7-day mark every week (more on the how behind this sometime soon – I promise). But on mornings when I’ve sweat and my hair is on the questionable side, this R+CO spray is my saving grace. It’s micellar water that sprays on wet (so it works perfectly with damp, sweaty, post-ride hair) and dries down to release powder that you can rub into your scalp. Hit it with a blow-dryer to really rub it in, and you’re set. I’ve ordered a replacement for this, and it can’t get here soon enough.

4. Drybar DETOX Dry Shampoo ($23 USD) – Oh, DETOX, my holy grail of dry shampoos. I’ve tried just about every aerosol dry shampoo on the market (no, really – test me), and I keep coming back to you, baby. Of course I’ve reordered, but I doubled down and got the new giant size from Sephora (7oz for $34, instead of 3.5oz for $23).

5. Glossier Stretch Concealer in G8 ($18 USD) – Before I get into this concealer, I would be remiss in acknowledging the problematic issues within Glossier. They receive funding from Thrive Capital (see more from 2014, here), owned by Josh Kushner (note that this doesn’t mean they align with the politics of their owners, and Josh Kushner is known not to align with the politics of his brother, Jared, but it’s become harder to separate the politics of a brand from the brand itself), and have recently faced criticism from former employees about toxic work experiences affecting Black, POC, and LGBTQIA+ team members (read Outta the Gloss’s posts on Medium here, and Glossier’s response, here). As far as Glossier’s recent actions, they’ve created a $500,000 grant program for Black-owned beauty businesses, continue to evaluate sustainable options in their packaging, and have created their own voting campaign in advance of the 2020 election.

Personally, I’m evaluating how much I purchase from Glossier and continue to watch for how they’re evolving to meet the current moment. Is it a brand you should purchase from? Do the pros outweigh the cons? That’s on you (and me) to decide.

Product-wise, the Stretch Concealer is one of my favorite concealers, and I’ve struggled to find a dupe that I like as much or better. It’s somehow light enough for the days when I just need a bit of color correction, and yet full-coverage enough for days when I’m experiencing breakouts or dark circles that look like they’re a part of a Halloween costume. For now, I’m continuing to repurchase this item from Glossier, but if you’ve found a dupe for the Stretch Concealer that you love, let me know. I’d love to try it out.

6. Youth to the People Superfood Cleanser ($36 USD) – The 8oz size of this cleanser is enormous, and has lasted me an entire year, but I won’t be repurchasing. My skin is on the drier side, and this felt very stripping to me, leaving me with skin that felt unbalanced and more reactive. This cleanser would be great for anyone who’s oily and doesn’t experience the dryness issues that I do, but for me, it’s a one-and-done.

That’s it for September! We’ll see how many empties I’m able to run through in October, and in the meantime, I’ll round up a few current product faves for early reviews.

That First Post

There’s no two ways about it – cranking out the premiere post for a brand-new blog is a little intimidating. Search on Pinterest for “blog tips,” and you’ll be inundated with advice from every corner of the occasionally-helpful internet, anxious to tell you how their way is right, and what you thought you were going to do is 100% wrong.

Here’s the thing.

I was an English Lit major in college, and I’ve been writing my entire life. The hardest part of writing isn’t putting it all together, it isn’t coming up with a convincing third paragraph, and it isn’t figuring out a catchy byline. The hardest part of writing (and of doing anything, really) is getting started.

I learned a long time ago to just get it out, then edit. So maybe this blog doesn’t look right now like it will in the future, and who cares? If you let it, self-doubt can be a real punk. It makes you wonder who would possibly care about what yet another blonde blogger has to say.  It makes you second-guess and delay taking up space and breath in the world. I let those thoughts delay the start of this project for a long time.

All self-doubt is really doing is trying to put your view of yourself underneath the covers of What Everyone Else Thinks and What Everyone Else Feels and the really big, soundproof, YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH blanket that doesn’t let a single good idea escape. Well, we’re done with that.

You (and I) deserve to take up space and breath in this world. We deserve to put good ideas out there (and sometimes not-so-good ideas) and try to get water from stones, because sometimes it works. We get to do the big things, the fun things, the hard things,  the small things, the real things, and we get to put forth an effort for all these things unapologetically.

So if you were wondering what this space is, it’s this. It’s space. It’s room. For all those ideas and things.

Welcome in.