Wednesday, October 22, 2014

21 Day Fix Review

In my last post, I promised I would update about my 21 Day Fix journey. So why haven't I? Simple. I HATED 21 Day Fix. So much so, in fact, that I didn't even get past week 1.

Let me explain: I LOVED the workouts, and I still do them every single day. But that meal plan, the one that's supposed to reduce your cravings, just didn't work for me. I work from 9am to 5pm, so I don't have time to make a fresh meal for lunch every day. And after working 8+ hours AND working out, the last thing I wanted to do was make a fresh and healthy dinner. I know what you're thinking, "why not drink Shakeology?" Well, I've found that Shakeology is one of the few things that can keep me full in the morning, so I typically drink it for breakfast.

21 Day Fix left me feeling tired and irritable, and I had a headache that lasted all day. And although they say it's supposed to reduce your cravings for sweets, all I did was crave sweets the entire time. Because of this, I found myself cheating by the end of the first week.

Even after a failed week 1, I decided to "start over" and try again on week 2. But by Thursday of week 2, I was craving sweets, tired, irritable and hungry all the time. And the headaches were even worse than during week 1. I was having trouble concentrating at work, and I felt completely unproductive and useless.

So by the end of week 2, I decided that the 21 Day Fix just wasn't working for me. Because of all the cheating, I actually gained weight instead of losing it. This week, on what would've been week 3, I'm using My Fitness Pal to track what I'm eating, and I'm continuing to work out. I'm still doing the 21 Day Fix workouts, and I'm absolutely in love with them. Since Tough Mudder is a little over 2 weeks away, I'm running and doing a 21 Day Fix workout. So far, so good. In 3 days, I lost the weight that I gained when I attempted 21 Day Fix. My headaches are gone, I'm no longer tired and since I can have sweets, I'm eating them in moderation instead of binging.

21 Day Fix wasn't for me, but that doesn't mean other people haven't seen results. I've personally known several people who had awesome results with 21 Day Fix (largely because they were able to actually stick to the plan). I'm glad I gave it a shot, but in the end, it just didn't work out.

Interested in learning more about 21 Day Fix and other Beachbody programs? Visit my Beachbody site!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Time for a New Journey: 21 Day Fix

In one of my recent posts, I talked about signing up for a Tough Mudder and the beginning of my fitness and weight loss journey. With a little less than 5 weeks until the event, I figured that it was time that I stepped up my game.

About a month ago, I bought 21 Day Fix and Shakeology from my Beachbody Coach. Since I bought a challenge pack, I was able to sign up as a Beachbody coach for free, so I decided to take the plunge. Currently, I'm only using my coach status for the discount, but once I can truly speak to the effectiveness of the programs, I'll start coaching other people through their health and fitness journey.

The past month has been insane - I was in Boston for a week for the INBOUND 2014 conference and when I got back, the air conditioning at our condo stopped working, so we lived with Alex's sister for 2 weeks. After 3 weeks of eating out almost every day, I decided that it was time that I start the 21 day fix program.

So tomorrow, it begins.

Last week, I planned out all of my meals for the week, and yesterday, I went to the store and bought all of the food. It was an expensive trip, but I'm hoping it will pay off. I know the next few weeks are going to be insanely crazy, so I hope that by prepping my meals in advance that I'll be less likely to cheat.

Be on the lookout for posts about this new journey as well as my review of the program at the end. Even though I'm a coach, I can promise that I'll give my honest review and opinions. Honestly, there's no amount of money that could get me to give a false review about something. Seriously.

"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." -Earl Nightingale

Friday, September 26, 2014

3 Life Lessons from INBOUND 2014

A week ago, I was fortunate to attend my first marketing conference ever, and I was lucky enough to attend with my bosses and coworkers. I've always said that I have the best job ever, but this conference did a great job at proving it.

I'm still fairly new to the world of inbound marketing, so it was amazing to be able to attend the INBOUND conference that's hosted by HubSpot. Throughout the conference, I had the opportunity to listen to some amazing keynote speakers including Simon Sinek, Malcolm Gladwell, Martha Steward and Shiza Shahid.

I started this blog back in 2009 for myself. Writing has always been my escape. I started this blog as a way to write about my journey throughout this crazy life, which to me has always felt crazy and unreal, kind of like wonderland (hence the name of my blog). I never imagined that my blogs would be shared across social media or that people would tweet me, email me and send me letters saying that my posts inspired them. I've always known that sharing your story mattered, and deep down, I always hoped that someone would read my story and feel like there was hope. But it was never my intention. It was never why I started blogging.

So why do I bring that up? Although this conference was all about inbound marketing, I left learning a little bit about inbound and a whole lot about myself. I left the conference inspired. I was also reminded that our stories matter. The things we go through and the struggles we face all matter. I was reminded why I started this blog in the first place.

You are stronger than anything you are afraid of
My favorite speaker at INBOUND was Shiza Shahid, the founder of The Malala Fund. The talk she gave moved me to tears...literally. If you haven't heard of Malala Yousafzai's story, read it here. Now. The purpose of the Malala Fund is simple: to empower girls through education and to make them positive agents for change. But for all of that to happen, Shiza needed to take a leap of faith. She left her dream job to become an advocate for what she believed in. She knew that everyone deserved an education, and she set out on a journey to make that a reality for anyone who wanted to learn. During her keynote Shiza said, "we are the ones we have been waiting for." It was a reminder that we all have the power to make a difference, and we shouldn't wait for someone else to make the change for us. You don't need to have everything figured out, and it's okay to be afraid. But at the end of the day, you are stronger than anything you are afraid of. It's important to take your passions seriously because you never know where it may lead you.

What if I never fail? 
Another favorite speaker was Dan Pallotta. During his bold talk, he talked about fearlessness. He reminded everyone what I always remind myself: it's okay to be afraid. The more terror you feel, the more likely it is that something amazing is about to happen. I believe many people avoid doing things because they are scared. I've done it before, and it has led to many missed opportunities. When I was still working at ITVantage and was looking for new jobs, I was terrified. So terrified, in fact, that I almost didn't apply for the job at Impulse Creative. I saw them posting all over social media and thought it would be an awesome environment to work in, but I didn't think I was smart enough or qualified enough to work there. So for a few weeks, I didn't apply. And then one day I said, "the worst thing that could happen is that they say 'no.'" So I applied and eventually interviewed and got the job. But what if I was so afraid of failing that I never took the risk?

A lot of people always worry, "What if I fail?" I don't know anyone who's never failed. At some point in our lives, we all fail at something. The real question is: What if I never fail? What if I never take a chance? What if I'm so afraid that I never take a risk?

Leaders eat last
Simon Sinek rose to fame after his TED Talk, Start With Why. At INBOUND, his talk was on a different subject - leadership. The concept "leaders eat last" came from watching Marines eat at mealtime in the chow hall. He noticed that the officers went to the back. He was told, "officers eat last."

When you apply this to work, it's true that the best leaders eat last. They put their employees before themselves and when they do, their employees are my loyal because they feel that their leader will defend them when things get tough. The best leaders share their vision with their team and encourage and coach them to reach that vision too. The best leaders don't sit on the sidelines and watch us succeed and fail from afar - they're right there with us every step of the way. All of this leads employees to feel comfortable and secure. Ultimately, employees perform better when they believe that they're safe and that they're not at risk for losing their job.

I know this to be true. I've had a job where I didn't feel like my boss had my back, and I was constantly on guard. I kept a list of all of my accomplishments because I felt I would need to use it when my boss told me that I didn't do anything for them. I felt disposable and insecure in my role with the company. But now, I'm in a work environment where I feel safe. I don't have my guard up, and I can focus on doing remarkable work instead of worrying about if I'm going to get in trouble tomorrow. I feel safe because the I believe the people around me have my best interest at heart. It's incredible what happens when leaders are willing to share the same burden and risks as the rest of the team.

I can't say enough incredible things about this conference. It was truly an incredible experience, and I'm so thankful I was able to attend. A HUGE shoutout to my amazing bosses, Remington and Rachel, for taking all of us up to INBOUND. It was exactly what I needed in that moment to feel the value in my role at Impulse Creative and to feel confident that I knew my stuff. THANK YOU SO MUCH for everything you two do for me. Seriously, I'm forever thankful.

Monday, September 22, 2014

What Does it Mean to be Fearless?

What does it mean to be fearless?
One of my graduation pics from U of Alabama.
In August 2012, I moved to Alabama on my own.
We live in a world that tells us we should never give up - that no matter how hard things may seem, we should keep going.  This world also tells us that we need to overcome our fears in order to live a happier, more fulfilling life.  But what if those things aren't true?  What if it's okay to give up or to still live in fear?  And what if those things do in fact make us better?

I like to think that's the case.

We give up because we're scared.  Maybe we're trying to lose weight and nothing is working, so we go back to our old ways because it's easier that way.  But why did we give up?  Was it because it wasn't working or were we scared that it never would?  It may be a little of both, but in my life, I've noticed that more often than not, I give up because I'm afraid.  I'm terrified of seeing the results if I give it one more day.  So instead, I give up.

We all have fears.  Some people are afraid of heights, small spaces or falling.  Others are afraid of snakes, sharks and even pickles.  We hear all the time that we have to face those fears in order to be happy.  I don't know about you, but I'm perfectly okay with not coming face to face with a shark.  In fact, my life will be perfectly content if I never encounter one.

I believe fear is okay.  Maybe even great.  I believe that fear pushes us to be better and to do more.  However, people let fear consume them instead of drive them.  When we look at fear from a different perspective, it can change the way we live our lives.

When I was in college, I realized that fear wasn't such a bad thing.  So I made a decision to be fearless. Before you say, "Wait, fearless means the absence of fear, but you're saying we should live with fear. What gives?"  Let me explain.

To me, fearless is not the absence of fear.  To be fearless means to do things despite how much they scare you.  I've always believed that the more fear you feel, the more amazing the outcome will be.  When you live your life being fearless, you're committing to go out and do something that scares you every day.  Whether that means making a phone call, moving to a different state or trying something new, being fearless means doing the things that scare you to death.  It's not always easy, and sometimes, even for me, it causes great discomfort and anxiety.  Stepping outside of your comfort zone is terrifying.  But the best things in life happen when you step outside your comfort zone.

So here's my challenge to you: This week, do something that scares you.  Talk to your boss about that raise, share your story on a blog, start a new workout program.  Whatever it is that scares you, do it anyway.

What have you done today that scared you?

Friday, September 12, 2014

We All Have a Story. This is Mine.

We all fight battles that no one else knows about, and we all have a story to tell.  Some of us choose to keep our stories private, while others share them with the world in hopes that our struggles and our recovery will inspire someone else.

For me, I choose to share my stories with the world.  I know the power a story of hope and recovery can have.  For myself, the stories of others has played a significant role in my long journey with depression, anxiety, self-injury and suicide.  I wonder where I would be if I hadn't heard the stories of others.  But then again, I try not to think about it too much.

My story started when I was 13.  I had just moved to Florida, and almost instantly I felt my world falling apart.  On my first day of 8th grade, I was pushed down the stairs just because I was the new girl.  Throughout the year, I was bullied and harassed.  I went home every day just wishing I could end the pain.  I turned to self-injury to try and numb the pain.  I replaced my emotional pain with physical pain and scars.  I tried to escape the bullying, but it just never seemed to end.  Eventually, the year ended.  But the bullying never did.

I started high school hoping for a fresh start and an escape.  I chose to go to Gateway because the school was just opening, and I figured that there was less of a chance I'd be bullied.  Within a month of school starting, cliques had formed, and I somehow found my way right into the hands of the bullies.  When you're being called names are told that you should die, you begin to feel like there's something wrong with you rather than with the people around you.  I once again turned to self-injury, and by Thanksgiving, my entire arm was covered in cuts and scars.

Things continued this way all throughout high school, and when I was a junior, I reached my lowest of lows.  Up until that point, I felt that I had reached rock bottom so many times before.  I guess I never really knew what rock bottom was.

March 23, 2007 was the day I decided my life wasn't worth living.  That the pain I was dealing with was too much to handle.  It was day I attempted suicide.  If you've never sat in the back of a van on the way to the hospital and listened to your sister cry and scream while you thought "I don't want to die this way," then you have no room to judge the decisions that led to that moment.

As much as I try to forget that day and the days that followed, I've never been able to.  Sometimes, I wake up in the middle of the night crying because I have a nightmare where I re-live the entire thing.  Other times, I find myself wondering what life would be like for everyone if I had died.  The days and weeks that followed were the hardest and most trying days of my entire life.  It felt impossible to keep going when all I wanted to do was to give up.  It felt like I would never be able to smile or laugh again, and I forgot what it was like to be happy.

What I know now is that my best days are ahead, and that this is not the end of my story.  I know now that I'm not alone and that people need other people.  I know that I'm loved more than I'll ever know.  I know that hope exists and that hope is real.

I still suffer from depression and anxiety, even though I try to convince myself that I'm better.  Even on the worst of days, I remind myself of where I've been and where I am now.  My struggles, my pain and my rock bottoms have all led me to this moment.  Sitting here on my couch writing this blog for you.  Suddenly, it all seems to have a purpose.

No one else can play my part because only I know where I've been and where I want to go.  No one can be a better version of me than me.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

No One Else Can Play Your Part

Yesterday, a husband and wife were found dead in their trailer in Fort Myers, Florida.  They were apparently the victims of a murder-suicide.  A call was made by the male stating that he and his wife "could no longer stand the pain and that they were leaving."  What led them to this point?  What dreams did they have that they never accomplished?  Who are they leaving behind?  What stories do they have that will never be shared?

I don't know this couple, but their deaths happened where I live.  They are unknown to me, and yet they both faced a struggle I know all too well.  It's a struggle that I faced for many years, and one that will follow me throughout my life.

On Monday, To Write Love on Her Arms launched their campaign, No One Else Can Play Your Part, for National Suicide Prevention Week.  The couple who died on Monday in Fort Myers represents thousands of others who die by suicide each year and the millions of others who suffer from depression.

We live in a world where we're told to play it off like everything's okay.  We're told to "fake it 'til you make it" and that if you try hard enough, everything will get better.  We're led to believe that depression and mental illness are something to be ashamed of.  We're constantly told that we shouldn't be unhappy because there's someone else out there who has it worse than you do.  But those are all lies.  Here's the truth: You matter.  Your story matters.  The pain you're feeling is real and it's validated by the things you've been through.  Your struggles are nothing to be ashamed of, and they're all part of your story.

The pain of your past is not an indication of what tomorrow looks like.  Your pain is only part of your story, but there's so much more to you than that.

This week, I'm joining thousands of people around the world to talk about depression, suicide and mental illness.  These issues are very real to me, and anyone who has read through my blog knows that.  If there's anything I've learned from my struggles and my journey, it's that I am important, and that no one else can play my part.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

July/August 2014 Beauty Favorites

July and August have been "slow" months in terms of trying out new makeup.  I used a lot of the same products in July and August, so I figured it was easier to combine this blog into one post rather than two.  Here are my 6 favorite beauty favorites from July & August!

Urban Decay Perversion Mascara ($22 at Sephora)
I got this as a sample from Urban Decay prior to the product being released, but I wasn't really all that excited about it.  Truth is, I own a few other high end mascara brands and I just don't find them to be that special.  I also know that what really makes a mascara awesome is the brush.  When I first used this mascara I looked at the brush and thought, "no thanks!"  I decided to use it anyway, and I was amazed at how well it lengthened my lashes and added volume.  A lot of mascaras make your lashes feel stiff, but what I love about UD Perversion is that it doesn't have that effect.  I'll definitely be purchasing the full-sized version once my sample runs out!

Bare Minerals Matte Foundation - shade: Medium Beige ($27 at Sephora)
Last month, I LOVED the Revlon Colorstay Foundation.  As it gets hotter and hotter this summer, I've found that liquid foundation just won't work for me because of how much I sweat (gross, I know).  What I love about the Bare Minerals matte foundation is that it doesn't break me out, it doesn't feel heavy and it looks natural.  I think of it as "my face but better."  Plus, a little goes a long way.  I don't wear foundation often, but this is my summer staple for the days I do.

Makeup Geek Eyeshadow ($5.99 per eyeshadow pan at
I've learned to do my makeup by watching YouTube videos, and Makeup Geek eyeshadows are a favorite among many beauty bloggers, including Jaclyn Hill.  From all of the reviews I've read, people say that they're similar in quality to MAC eyeshadows but at a fraction of the cost.  I don't own any MAC eyeshadows, so I can't speak to that.  However, I do know that these shadows are so pigmented, they go on smooth and they blend well.  I still plan on trying out MAC eyeshadows some day, but for now, I'm in love with my Makeup Geek shadows.

NYX Slide On Eye Pencil ($7.99 at Ulta)
I haven't been using a lot of eyeliner pencils lately, especially since it's summer.  Usually eyeliner pencils melt right off, but not this one!  It stands up to the heat and is truly waterproof.  Proof: One day at work I had a major meltdown and cried my eyes out for a few hours (sorry boss!).  I expected to go into the bathroom and see my eyeliner all over my face...but it didn't move.  All of my eyeliner (and mascara) was still there.  I couldn't believe it!

LAQA & Co. Sheer Lip Tube Pencil ($18 at Birchbox)
I got this lip pencil as a sample in my July Birchbox.  They sent me the purple shade, and at first, I was like, "Purple?! Oh hell no! They have me all wrong."  I tried it one day after work because my curiosity got the best of me, and I was in love from the moment I put it on.  The color is completely buildable and doesn't go on harsh or overwhelming.  It has a minty taste and slight tingle when you first put it on, which I loved!  I've used it a few times since then, and each time I fall in love a little more.

Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette ($29 at Sephora)
There's not much to say about these shadows except that they're matte and are great for those days when you want to wear makeup but still want it to look natural.  The shadows aren't chalky and they blend beautifully.  This palette has been a favorite of mine lately!

Are there any beauty products that you've been loving lately?  If so, let me know!  I'm always looking for new products to try!

Monday, August 11, 2014

RIP Robin Williams

don't often write about the death of a celebrity. In fact, I don't think I ever have. But tonight, my heart is heavy with the death of Robin Williams.

Depression is a very real and dark struggle. My heart aches for his family. I can't imagine the pain his family must be going through. I think about all of the unanswered questions they have and the memories that will never happen.

I think about the millions of lives that Robin Williams impacted and the joy he brought to so many people. He made people laugh and smile in ways that most people can't. Although I can't say this for sure, I can only imagine that he saved so many lives.

I don't believe that suicide is selfish. It must be one of the hardest decisions that anyone could ever make. And it breaks my heart that someone felt like their pain was too much to handle. They say that the people who bring great joy also know great pain.  For Robin Williams, this must've been true.  The world lost a talented, hilarious soul today. The world is grieving. Our hearts are heavy. 

Robin Williams' death is a reminder that people need people. No matter what you're going through, you are not alone. 

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. There's someone on the other line waiting to help. You are worth it. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

From Couch to Tough Mudder

At my heaviest weight in August 2012 right before I moved to Alabama
I'm running a Tough Mudder on November 9, 2014.

There, I said it.  I signed up for the race at the end of June.  Up until now, it's mainly been a secret to most people (minus my boyfriend, sister, best friend and coworkers).  To be honest, I've kept it a secret because I was scared that I'd fail.

For as long as I can I remember, I've been saying that I was going to lose weight and get into shape.  But it never happened.  Every time I try to lose weight, I gain it back.  Every time I try to get into shape, I quit after a month.  So this time, I thought it would be best not to say anything.  But then I told my boyfriend.  And my sister.  And my coworkers.  And when my boss asked me to set goals for myself after my 90-day review, one of them was "To complete a Tough Mudder."  This time, I will not fail.  And I have other people helping me and encouraging me to make sure that I don't.

It's been hard getting back into working out.  On most days, I don't have any motivation to go on a run or press play on Turbo Fire.  But I do it anyway.  On most days, I don't see the results of all of my hard work.  But some days, I try on clothes that haven't fit in over a year and I realize that it's working.  Most days, I feel tired and sore.  And quite frankly, I want to give up.  But I don't...because I signed up for this Tough Mudder, and I'm going to conquer this thing.

Up until this point, my training has mainly consisted of running (I'm using the Couch to 5k app).  I added in Turbo Fire a few days ago, and next month I'll be adding in strength training.  On my first day of C25K, the intervals were run 1 minute and walk 90 seconds.  I could barely get through it and my legs ached.  Tonight, the intervals were run 5 minutes and walk 3 minutes.  And you know what?  I made that workout my bitch.  I was running at a pace that felt impossible to me that first day, and I kept the same pace the entire time.  I was exhausted when I was done, but it felt incredible to complete that run.

At my lowest weight since junior year at FGCU.
Taken on August 9, 2014
With all of this training, the weight has started to come off.  It's been a slow journey, and for a few weeks, I was gaining weight instead of losing it.  Since March, I've lost 17 pounds.  However, I didn't start seeing results until a few weeks ago.  After losing 10 pounds, my clothes still fit the same, and I was starting to get frustrated.  It wasn't until I had lost 15 pounds that I started seeing results.  Now, my clothes are looser, and I'm more comfortable wearing shorts and fitted shirts.  But what's really been amazing is watching my confidence grow.  I'm still not where I want to be, but I feel amazing!  I wear compression shorts when I run, tank tops to work and shorts on the weekends - and I don't give a damn what people say about it.  When you feel amazing, nothing can stop you from working toward your goals.

This journey is far from over.  There's still 90 days until Tough Mudder, and I have so much work to do before then.  But I believe in myself, and there are other people who believe in me too.  There are days when my legs are sore, and I'm tired beyond belief.  There are days when I finish a workout and all I want to do is cry because I didn't do as well as I could've.  There are days when I think, "if I didn't give up last year, this wouldn't be so hard."  But the love and encouragement from my boyfriend, family and coworkers is what keeps me going when all I want to do is quit.  I refuse to let them down.

The best things in life aren't given.  They're earned.  
I Will What I Want - Under Armour Women

Saturday, August 9, 2014

What it REALLY Means to be an ISFJ

Yesterday at work, we all somehow got on the topic of personality types.  It made me think, "this would make an AWESOME blog post!"  So here it is.

I first took the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) personality type test back in 2011.  I was just elected as Student Government Senate Secretary, and we were getting ready to go on our annual Student Government retreat.  Before we went, we were all sent a link to the MBTI personality type test and were told to take it and email the SG coordinator a screenshot of our results.  So I took the test, and at the end it showed me my Myers-Briggs personality type: Introversion, Sensing, Judging, Feeling - otherwise known as ISFJ.

I remember seeing the word "introversion" and thinking "Oh hell no. There's no way I'm an introvert."  So I took the test again.  And you know what the result was?  The same exact thing...except this time, I my numbers leaned even more towards introversion.  So why was I so upset to see that I was an introvert?  Because my whole life, I only heard the word "introvert" used in a negative way.  I heard that introverts were shy, anti-social and cold.  I never saw "introvert" being used in a way that was positive.

When I read more about my personality type, I realized that it wasn't bad to be an introvert and that there was a reason behind who I was.  It all started to make sense.  Suddenly, I didn't feel so different or weird.  I had a deeper understanding of myself, and in turn, I felt like I had a purpose.

Here's a breakdown of what each part means:

Introversion: Get energy from within, quiet, reserved, humble, thoughtful and calm 
Sensing: Concrete information rather than abstract theories, practical, traditional, observant and factual
Feeling: Devoted, caring, kind and principled 
Judging: Organized, methodical, dedicate and persistant 

Being an ISFJ

Being an ISFJ is unique.  Our qualities often defy what it means to be each individual trait.  Although we're introverts (I), we have well-developed people skills.  Although we have the Feeling (F) trait, we're also highly analytical.  We're Judgers (J), but we're also receptive to new ideas and change.  We're more than the sum of our parts, and it's part of what makes us so unique.

ISFJs are kind, sometimes to a fault.  We're enthusiastic about the things we love.  ISFJ's are humble, and we hate being the center of attention.  We'd rather be rewarded by seeing the true impact of our work.  Sometimes we underplay our accomplishments because of this.  

We are perfectionists but sometimes procrastinators.  However, you can always rely on us to get the job done on time.  We take pride in our work and take our responsibilities seriously - we go above and beyond what's expected of us to make other happy.  

ISFJs have a crazy good memory - not to retain data, but to remember people and details about their lives.  We remember things like birthdays, what you like, your hobbies and specific events that impacted us.  Some people think it's weird how we can remember so many little details, but that's part of being an ISFJ.

We are very aware of our feelings as well as the feelings of others.  However, we don't usually express our feelings, especially if they're negative.  ISFJs tend to bottle up their feelings instead of telling people how they feel.

We take pride in our work, but home is where the heart is for us.  We love being around people we care about, and we love being able to care for people and spoiling them.  We're selfless and rarely take time to think about our wants and needs.

Famous ISFJs

  • Rosa Parks
  • Robert E. Lee
  • George H.W. Bush
  • Mother Teresa 
  • Kate Middleton
  • Laura Bush
  • Queen Elizabeth II
  • Tiger Woods
  • Kim Kardashian
  • Mitt Romney
  • Halle Berry
  • Jimmy Carter
  • Nancy Reagan 
  • Naomi Watts
  • Bruce Willis
  • Christopher Walken
  • Jessica Simpson
  • Christopher Walken
It's been over 3 years since I took the MBTI test, and I've taken it several times since then.  My result is always the same: I'm an ISFJ.  It took me some time to come to terms with what all of it meant, and for awhile I tried to hide the fact that I'm an introvert.  Only recently have I realized that it's not something to be embarassed about and that I should be proud of who I am.  Now, when I tell people that I'm an ISFJ, I say it with confidence.  I'm no longer ashamed of being an introvert, and I've truly learned to love who I am.

Monday, July 28, 2014


In the world of social media, today is #mcm (otherwise known as "Man Crush Monday").  I try to avoid posting pictures of my #mcm in order to avoid being sappy and cliche, but today, I couldn't help myself.  And for some reason, I want to extend my overly mushy love on my blog.  But it's my blog, and I can do whatever I want.

You're my best friend, but you're more than that.  You're my best friend, partner in crime and court-appointed friend (inside joke!).  You make me laugh until I cry or almost pee my pants.  You laugh at me when I deserve it, you encourage me through all of my crazy endeavors and you're my number one fan through it all.  You support me in everything I do - trying to lose weight, signing up for a Tough Mudder, switching jobs and finding my passion.  You push me to be better, even when I don't appreciate it.  You cuddle with me even when you'd rather lay alone, you let me be the big spoon sometimes and you always tell me I look beautiful in the morning.  You're honest in a way that no one else is.  I don't always like to hear it, but just know that I appreciate it.  You're the cheese to my macaroni, the peanut butter to my jelly (in an uncrustable), the Crown to my coke.  You're the icing on my cupcake, the chocolate chips in my cookie and you make everything in life so much better.  You don't complete me - you complement me.  You make me better.  You're everything I'm not and everything I aspire to be.  Baby, you're my better half.  You're the love of my life, and I'd be so lost without you.  Thanks for a truly incredible two and a half years.

I love you, Alex.  You're my #mcm, today and forever.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

June 2014 Beauty Favorites

Let me start out by saying this: I'm not a makeup artist.  Or a beauty blogger.  But I do love beauty products, and I'm sure there are many of you out there who feel the same.  Lately, I've been trying out tons of new beauty products, and I figured it may be fun to add beauty favorites to my blog every month.  Some of these products were suggestions from beauty bloggers on YouTube, and others are products I heard a lot about and wanted to try.  Each month, I'll feature 5-7 products from the previous month that I loved, and I'll include pictures, links and all that fun stuff.  So here we go!

Urban Decay Naked Palette ($54 at Sephora)
I bought this palette a year ago, and it was my first real high-end beauty brand purchase. At the time, I had only been buying drugstore brand products, so this was a whole new world for me.  Over time, I developed a huge love for this product, and I used it like crazy last month.  Some of my favorites are virgin, sin, sidecar and toasted.  These eyeshadows are so pigmented and easy to blend, and they go on so smooth. If you're looking for a new palette to buy, I'd definitely recommend it!

Maybelline Pumped Up Colossal Mascara ($7.99 at Ulta)
Jaclyn Hill, my absolute favorite beauty blogger on YouTube, mentioned this product in a couple of her videos, and I trusted her opinion enough to try it out.  I've been using Maybelline Falsies mascara for YEARS, and I was super reluctant to try a new mascara.  I'm glad I did because this one is amazing!  It really adds volume a
nd length to my lashes.  It doesn't clump, and it's easy to add on more layers.  The wand makes it so easy to get every lash, including those stubborn bottom lashes.  Yeah, this stuff rocks.

Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser Dark Circle Treatment Concealer ($8.99 at Ulta)
Another recommendation from Jaclyn Hill!  I've been using the Maybelline fit me concealer for about a year, and I was so in love I thought I'd never try anything else.  I decided to pick this one up in a shade lighter than my skin tone so I could use it as a highlighter.  What a great decision!  The weird ball sponge at the top can be annoying at times since I don't always feel like enough product comes out.  But after a little bit of patience (and twisting), I always get it to work.  I don't really have under eye circles, so I can't say if it works well for that.  I do use it as an eye primer sometimes, and I will say that it works really well.  This is definitely a great drugstore concealer!

Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray ($30 at Sephora for the 4oz. bottle)
Are you noticing a trend here?  I obviously love Maybelline and Urban Decay!  At first, I was hesitant to spend $30 on a makeup setting spray, but living in Florida, I figured it was a necessity.  Holy moly this product is incredible!  I mist it on my face after I've applied all of my makeup, and even in the Florida heat, my makeup lasts all day and doesn't move.  This has just become a staple in my makeup collection.

Revlon Colorstay Foundation for Combination/Oily Skin ($12.99 at Ulta)
I have oily skin, and living in Florida doesn't make it any better.  I usually don't wear liquid foundation because of this since everything just seems to crease or melt off my skin.  I bought this foundation back in April, and I recently bought another bottle in a darker shade.  Paired with a primer and setting powder, this foundation doesn't budge on me!  I also use Urban Decay's makeup setting spray afterwards to give it some extra hold.  I usually apply it with a Real Techniques sponge (a dupe for the Beauty Blender) or a Sigma F80 brush.  I love that the coverage is buildable, so I can have as little or as much coverage as I'd like.

What products did you try last month that you absolutely loved?  I'm always looking for new products, so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

New job, new outlook

It's hard to believe that it's been two months since I started my new job at Impulse Creative (wait, did I ever mention this new job?!)

Hold on.  Let's back up a second  After I left my job at ITVantage/T3, I spent a week in Minnesota with my family.  When I got back, I started my new job at a marketing and branding agency in Southwest Florida called Impulse Creative.  I work as an inbound marketing consultant to create remarkable content (blogs, social media, emails, website content, etc) for a set of clients.  My job is pretty sweet...I'm not going to lie.

The best part of my job is that even on the worst days, I still love going into work.  The worst part is that I have to go home at night.  I love what I do, and I'm proud of the work that I produce for my clients.  It's not always perfect, and sometimes it doesn't always work the way I had hoped - but that's how you learn.

Three months ago, when people told me that their job didn't feel like work, I thought they were full of shit (excuse my language).  But now, I get it.  I have a job that doesn't feel like a job, and it certainly doesn't feel like work.  It feels like I'm learning while doing something that I love.  I'm so thankful I was given this opportunity, and I can't wait to see where this takes me.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Thanks For The Memories

Today marks my last day at T3 Communications/ITVantage.  I have mixed emotions about all of this.  If I could describe how I feel in one word, it would be “bittersweet.”

After graduating with my master’s degree, I spent months looking for a job, and eventually I was hired as the marketing coordinator for T3 and ITVantage.  The job came with a lot of difficulties and struggles, and at times I just wanted to quit.  There were days where I thought “I can’t take this anymore.”  But at the end of the day, it all made me a better marketing professional. 

I was forced to step outside of my comfort zone to learn all about telecommunications and IT (two fields I knew nothing about).  I was tasked with projects that most entry-level coordinators would never see, like writing content for an entire website.  But I did it all.  I pushed myself to learn new skills and to implement those skills on the job.  I wasn’t perfect, and I certainly made my fair share of mistakes, but I never gave up.

I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given at T3 and ITVantage, and I’m so thankful that my boss took a chance when he hired me.  I can only hope that I didn’t let them down, and that my work mattered.  I want nothing more than to see them succeed (and to be ranked #1 on Google).

I’m excited for this next chapter of my life, but it’s bittersweet leaving my first job behind.  Thanks for the memories, T3 and ITVantage.  You’ll be missed.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

TWLOHA Matters. My Story Matters. I Matter.

Today, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) turns eight.

I first learned about TWLOHA on Myspace.  I think the year was 2007.  I learned about TWLOHA at a time when I felt alone, lost, discouraged and hopeless.  My life was spiraling downward, and I didn’t see a way out. 


From the moment I read the story that inspired the movement, I myself was moved.  TWLOHA gave me hope and inspired me to take my recovery seriously.  It wasn’t always easy, and there were times when I was moving backwards.  But I never gave up because I knew that recovery was possible.  I learned that people need people, and we need to share our stories.  The stories of hope and recovery were what got my through it all.  I don’t think I’d be here today without those stories.

Eight years after TWLOHA was founded, I still struggle.  I’m not 100% better, and I don’t think I’ll ever be.  But I’ve always known that.  I always knew that even when I was better, I would still struggle.  And that’s okay.  But now I know when to ask for help and when to lean on others.  I know now that I don’t have to go through it alone.

I’m so thankful for everything TWLOHA has done over the past eight years.  From concerts to blog posts to speaking engagements.  All of it has mattered.  Their story matters.  Their mission and vision matter.  And because all of that, I know I matter too.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from TWLOHA’s vision statement:
“The vision is the possibility that your best days are ahead.  The vision is the possibility that we’re more loved than we’ll ever know.  The vision is hope, and hope is real.  You are not alone, and this is not the end of your story.”

To learn more about TWLOHA or how to get help, visit

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Get me out. I'm stuck.

It’s been awhile since I’ve felt this way.  For anyone that’s read my blog, you know that I’ve suffered from depression and anxiety as well as struggled with self-injury (cutting) and suicidal thoughts.  Although all of that’s “behind me” (it’s never really behind you), lately, I’ve been feeling like I’m back in that place of pain, sadness and helplessness. 
Don’t get me wrong – I am NOT saying I’m depressed or that I want to hurt myself. But I’ve been thinking about it all a lot lately, and if I think about it long enough, I feel like I’m back in middle school and high school.  I feel like I’m back in the place where I was being bullied and tormented because I was different.  The place where I took an x-acto knife to my wrist and made small, shallow cuts from my wrist to my elbow.  The place where I just wanted to end my life because I didn’t see the point of living.
And then, the feelings fade.
I’m not really sure how to explain it.  And I don’t know why it’s happening.  Recently, I came to the realization that I’m not happy with my job.  I don’t know if it’s that I don’t like what I do or that I don’t like where I work.  But when I go to work, I’m miserable.  When I come home, I’m happy.  It’s almost like I live two different lives.
All of this has made me think about other times in my life when I’ve been unhappy, and the first thing that comes to mind are all of those things I listed above.  I think to myself, “how did I get over it back then?  At what point did I say ‘something needs to change,’ and at what point did I change it?”  THAT is when I go back to that place.  THAT is when I remember all of the pain I’ve been through.  But THAT is also when I remember that I can get through it, and I will figure this out.
I’m stuck in a rut, and right now I’m having a really hard time getting out.  Given my past, I know it’s going to take time.  But in the meantime, I need to find a way to cope.  Because I can’t go to work and be snippy and bitchy with my boss and coworkers.  It’s not fair to them.  And it certainly isn’t going to help my career.
I wish I could snap my fingers, figure out what I want and make it happen.  But I can’t. What I can do is figure out what’s making me unhappy and then fix it.  It won’t be easy, and it may involve me making some hard decisions.  But I owe it to myself to be happy.  I deserve it.  I know I do.