Weekend Reads & What to Watch

Last weekend I talked about time management and using the Pomodoro Technique to GSD. But one facet of time management that I consistently struggle with is how I want to spend my weekends. I have been in isolation for 10 months now. I live alone and work from home. The days pretty much all blend together and the weekend doesn’t feel that much different than the work week, except for Monday-Friday I sit on my couch with a Dell computer and Saturday and Sunday I sit on my couch with a Mac Book.

If I wake up on Saturday morning and immediately start doing chores, I get annoyed that I have wasted 1/2 of my opportunities to be a slovenly slob and do nothing. If I lay in bed and relax, I get annoyed that I have wasted 1/2 of my opportunities to be productive and get things done. Sunday is essentially rinse and repeat.

For some reason, if I spend my days reading or consuming content on the Big Screen instead of the Medium Screen or Small Screen, I don’t feel quite as bad. As I have previously blogged about, I have really gotten into reading lately (I even downloaded GoodReads!) and have been watching lots of classic movies (that were not produced by or star Adam Sandler).


Because I have the attention span of a goldfish and so many competing interests, I am really bad about reading multiple books at once. Here’s what I’m currently reading:

Atomic Habits by James Clear

The cat’s out of the bag. I am a sucker for a good self help book. Some of them are, admittedly, better than others. This is one of them. I’m about half way through this book and am really enjoying it. What I appreciate about James Clear is that he’s able to meet you where you’re at. Okay, so you suck at managing your time or you have an insatiable shopping habit (yes, I do feel personally attacked, in case you were wondering)—those things can be fixed! They won’t be fixed overnight and there is no magic cure, but you can be mindful and intentional and change any bad habit you have or create any good one you want simply by making an effort. I appreciate that.

Blink: The Power of Thinking by Not Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

This book isn’t quite self-help, I would say maybe self-help adjacent? The short answer is that this book is about thinking—more specifically the way that we think without thinking. The longer, more accurate description of that book is that it’s intended purpose is to challenge your internal processes and unconscious mind; to illuminate rapid cognition—the split decisions we make in an instant without seemingly ever really considering anything—and give scientific and anecdotal evidence on why that can be both a good and bad thing. Admittedly, this book is harder for me to stay focused on than Atomic Habits.

Hidden Valley Road: Inside the Mind of an American Family by Robert Kolker

I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket and this sounded too good to pass up. This is the story of a midcentury American family with twelve (!!!) children, six of them diagnosed with schizophrenia, that became science’s great hope in the quest to understand the disease. Don and Mimi Galvin moved their family to Colorado after World War II so that Don could pursue his career in the Air Force. I’m only about 60 pages in so haven’t really gotten to the good part yet, but I already dislike Don. I think he’s a dickhead. And I feel bad for Mimi for having to give up on her dreams so that her husband could chase his. I am glad that the “good ‘ol days” are a thing of the past because you won’t catch me popping out 12 kids and moving to BFE for anyone.


The White Tiger

The White Tiger is a searing look at India’s caste system that follows narrator Balram from his childhood in a rural village in India, to his current vantagepoint as a newly minted entreprenur.

Balram is smart and ambitious, but destined to work his family’s tea stand and be married off to someone of his Granny’s choosing. When he sees an opportunity to learn to drive, he jumps on it, learns the ropes (i.e., the flattery that the ruling class requires of their servants) and ultimately lands a driving job for a man who is just back from the U.S.

This movie is based on the 2008 book of the same name. The first half of the movie is spent illuminating the caste system in India—the way that it’s rigged to keep the wealthy in their lofty positions while keeping the poor on the streets far below. After being insanely loyal to his masters (like a rooster in a cage), the movie takes a really dark turn when Balram is betrayed by his employers (I did appreciate that Priyanka Chopra plays a bad person both in real life and in this movie!).

After realizing the corrupt lengths his masters will go to to save themselves (and throw him under the bus), Balram claws his way out of the cage that is his servitude and rebels against the system to become a new kind of master—his own.

I spent a good portion of this movie feeling sorry for Balram because I think he’s a genuinely good person. I hated when he was made fun of. I hated when they mocked him for wearing the outfit that he especially picked out and called him “maharaja.” I thought that he looked so elegant and nice in his new kurta. I hated when Pinky made him feel bad for behaving a certain way in front of her guest. I felt so terrible when he says “why did my father not teach my to scratch my groin? Why didn’t he teach me to brush my teeth?” As a viewer, I felt the sting of betrayal when he realizes what his masters have done to him.

Adarsh Gourav did such a great job acting that I felt very invested in the film.

10/10 would definitely recommend—but only if you can give it your full attention as you’ll need to read the subtitles (I believe they’re speaking Hindi?)

Eat, Pray, Love

Can someone help me understand this? Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the eponymous book in 2006. The book ended up landing on Oprah’s Book Club and then skyrocketed to the NYT Best Seller’s list where it stayed for something like one million weeks (I exaggerate, obviously). It has since sold more than 10 million copies world wide. But…why? I, admittedly, haven’t read the book but I fucking hated the movie. It could not possibly be more self-aggrandizing if it tried to be.

First of all, I hate the way that she treated her husband. She decides she doesn’t want to be married anymore, seemingly because he wants children and she does not, but does a horrible job of communicating with him. She has no regard for his feelings, instead complaining to a friend that he “hates her.” TBH, I hate you too Elizabeth. When she supposedly is floundering, rudderless and hitting rock bottom, her editor gives her an advance on her book that funds her little trip around the world. Life is so hard.

The worst part for me is when she gets to Indonesia because, true to everything we know about her thus far, she is a self-centered asshole who cannot fathom a life that doesn’t, in some way, revolve around her. While in Bali, she meets a healer who is living in poverty and thinks that she can “fix” this woman’s situation by throwing money at her. The bottom line is that, despite her new-agey global trotting, she doesn’t understand other cultures and views it as something that is backwards and needs fixing. So, essentially, she tricks this woman into buying a home before she goes back to the States because it makes her feel like she did something good. This is precisely why people hate Westerners.

0/10. Don’t waste your time watching this. 2 hours and 20 minutes I will never get back.

Julie & Julia

I’m trying to watch movies I’ve never seen before and this was on the homepage of Amazon Prime so I thought, what the hell. Worth a shot. Surprisingly, I loved it! Amy Adams, Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci are wonderful in this movie.

Julia Child’s story of her start in the cooking profession is intertwined with blogger Julie Powell’s 2002 challenge to cook all the recipes in Child’s first book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” I loved the cinematography of this movie, the way that Julia’s life was juxtaposed with Julie’s and how similar they were—despite all of their differences and the time and space between them.

I loved that Julie challenged herself to get through the entire cook book in one year—524 recipes in 365 days—and that she blogged the entire experience. I also appreciated when she said that blogging feels like screaming into a void, because, as I can attest, it oftentimes does.

Also, another important side note: Stanley Tucci is so hot. He’s like a hot dad or a hot professor. I said what I said and I am not sorry.

10/10. Would recommend if you’re looking for something that is equal parts light-hearted and poignant.


Look at me, using quarantine to become more well-rounded. And it only took 10 months! However, in the midst of watching all these movies i’ve never seen, I did buy the 40 Year Old Virgin on Amazon. And I did rewatch some of Sex and the City. You can pry those classics from my cold, dead hands.

If you purchase any of the books I mentioned and you’re in Lansing or Grand Rapids, please considering supporting Schuler’s Books. I don’t get a commission or anything like that—they are just a wonderful local retailer.

Work Smarter, Not Harder: How To Manage Your Time More Effectively + Be More Productive Using the Pomodoro Technique

I am not somebody who is particularly good at managing their time. I get distracted easily, have too many competing interests, and like everyone else, am being pulled in too many directions at any given time. Determined to GSD, I have tricked myself into being productive by using the Pomodoro Technique.


What does that look like? Well, personally, it tends to look like a perpetually half-cleaned house (as in, I put all my clothes in a laundry basket but forgot to actually wash them), a million half-baked ideas and half-finished projects, and a constant sense that I am always doing something but never finishing anything.


I’ve been like this essentially my whole life. I know that I am capable of managing my time better because I did as a student and I do it as a professional every single day. I have meticulous to-do lists, color-coded calendars and regularly scheduled appointments with myself dedicated to getting work done.

Part of the problem, likely, is that I expend so much time and effort trying to keep my shit together as a professional, that when I have time to do personal things I am tired and have no real reason to want to do better. (Listen—I am nothing if not honest, okay?)


I’ve known, for years, that time management is something I could improve on. But having a mile long to-do list is overwhelming and makes me want to shut down before I even get started. A while ago, I started essentially bargaining with myself. I would set a timer, and if I could stay on-task for 10-20 minutes straight, I would consider that an accomplishment. It turns out, this is an actual time management technique called the Pomodoro Technique.


The Pomodoro Technique is a time management system that encourages people to work with the time they have—rather than against it. Using this method, you break your work into 25-minute chunks separated by five-minute breaks to promote sustained concentration and stave off mental fatigue. These intervals are referred to as pomodoros. After about four pomodoros, you take a longer break of about 15 to 20 minutes.

The idea behind the technique is that the timer instills a sense of urgency. Rather than feeling like you have endless time in the workday to get things done and then ultimately squandering those precious work hours on distractions, you know you only have 25 minutes to make as much progress on a task as possible.

Fun fact:  Pomodoro means tomato in Italian. It’s called the Pomodoro technique because in the late 1980s Francesco Cirillo, an Italian college student, was struggling to focus on his studies and complete assignments. Feeling overwhelmed, he asked himself to commit to just 10 minutes of focused study time. Encouraged by the challenge, he found a tomato (pomodoro in Italian) shaped kitchen timer, and the Pomodoro technique was born.


The biggest reason that this works is because it’s eliminating distractions. Rather than doing a little bit of work and pausing to scroll Instagram, you’re all in for 25 minutes. If you choose to use your Pomodoro to scroll Instagram, that’s okay. But for 25 minutes, the task at hand  has your complete and undivided attention. 

If you’re like me and your daunting to-do lists inspires procrastination, this works because it breaks everything down into small, practical chunks. A little tidbit of knowledge for my fellow procrastinators: research has shown that procrastination has little to do with laziness or lack of self-control. Rather, we put things off to avoid negative feelings and instead, turn to Twitter or Netflix instead to boost our mood, if only temporarily. However, when I break things down into smaller chunks, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming and I’m not as likely to put it off.

Another reason this works for me is because I am very competitive and this essentially gamifies your to-do list. (I kind of hate saying that because I think “gamify” is a current buzzword and I am finding it increasingly annoying.)


This works insanely well for me. For one, you’d be amazed at all the things you can get done in 25 minutes when you focus on only one thing and do it, uninterrupted, for that entire duration. However, once the timer goes off, I tend to just keep going. Once I see all that I’ve accomplished in 25 minutes, not only am I impressed with myself and my newfound time management skills, I’m determined to get even more done.

I’m not alone in customizing my pomodoros. If something seems really daunting, I’ll set a timer for 10 minutes. If I know a task is going to require more time, I’ll set it for longer—maybe 30-40 minutes. A DeskTime study found that a 52-minute focus and 17-minute break is the perfect balance. Others prefer 90 full minutes with a 20-30-minute break, based on Ultradian rhythms.

Bottom line: break them up into whatever way works best for you!


The Pomodoro Technique has helped me GSD both personally and professionally, and I hope that it can help you too. If you’re struggling to productive right now, you’re not the only one—and please know that your worth as a human being is not defined by the amount of things you can get done in a day.

If you think you are unable to focus or stay on task may be because of depression or other mental illness, please seek professional help


I have a confession to make. I hate the beginning of the year. From New Year’s Eve to resolutions—I despise all of it. Last year, perhaps for the first time I can remember, I decided to totally eschew New Year’s Resolutions in the traditional sense. Here’s how I’m making the most of the New Year without falling victim to stupid bullshit.


I don’t really get caught up in the hype surrounding the passage of a New Year. For years, I was swept up in the annual appeal of the holiday and all that came with it. From planning a special night, centered around the ball drop to choosing resolutions, I was all in, hook, line and sinker—and I was always, inevitably, let down. When I recently shared on Instagram Stories that I dislike New Year’s Eve (to which almost 80% of polltakers agreed!), someone responded and said it’s like adult prom. Way too hyped up and always disappointing. I can’t think of a better analogy.

The problem with New Year’s Eve and the first part of the year, for me at least, center around the big expectations. NYE is supposed to be the biggest, most fun night of the year—a farewell to the last twelve months and an opening ceremony for the next 12 that lie ahead. Resolutions are supposed to propel you into the New Year as a better version of yourself. However, at least for me, they last about two measly weeks before I fail and end up feeling worse about myself than I did before.

In recent years, I have started doing what I want on NYE instead of what I’m societally expected to do and it makes me much happier. I also no longer set lofty, nonspecific, unattainable goals as my New Year’s Resolutions. In fact, my new rule is that I don’t let social convention dictate what I do with my life, at the beginning of a new year or at any time.


There are some things that I like about the end of the year and the start of a fresh one. I get very retrospective and introspective around this time and having a December birthday only amplifies that. What was the year like? Did I accomplish everything I wanted to? What did I fail at? Am I happy with where I’m at? How can I be better? Do better?

This is something I have done for years and years—honestly as long as I can remember. Most of the time, my reflection is totally organic and just happens. However, there are certain exercises and apps that you can use if you’re interested in doing the same but not sure how or where to start. Reflection.App makes a good annual review—and this piece from Medium can really help, too.

In my opinion, reflecting on the past year is more valuable than making vague resolutions that will expire quicker than the milk in your fridge.


Arguably my biggest gripe with New Year’s is the marketing. I hate how we are bombarded with messages from October-December that the holiday season is upon us and we should indulge and enjoy ourselves. Then Jan. 1 hits and the messaging changes to, “time to drop that holiday weight, you fat piece of shit!” Even now, in the middle of pandemic!

I’m a proponent of people doing whatever they want/need to in order to feel good about themselves, but please be kind to your body. It has carried you through a pandemic. Who cares if you have a few dimples on your ass?

New Year’s is centered around cultural institutions that are in place to make you feel bad about yourself—and the companies that benefit from you doing so. I simply don’t buy into them anymore. Am I perfect? No. Are there things I want to change about myself? Of course. We all have room for improvement, in one way or another. But someone is benefitting from making you feel like shit—and spoiler alert—it isn’t you.


If you are someone who loves New Year’s Resolutions and is reading this and getting offended because I’m shitting on them, please don’t be. I love goals. I, myself, am an extremely goal-oriented person. So much so, that I wholeheartedly believe that you don’t need a new year or a new week to start something. Just do it! In the past, I have set really big goals for myself and ended up getting discouraged because I don’t reach them.

“Meaningful change doesn’t require radical change.”

James Clear – Atomic Habits

One of my favorite lines from the book Atomic Habits is, “meaningful change doesn’t require radical change.” I have adopted that mindset and it has totally changed my perspective. Instead of setting really lofty, unattainable goals, I am a big proponent of setting smaller ones that are actually achievable. Reaching those goals gives me a sense of accomplishment and boosts my confidence, and little by little, you can chip away at whatever pie-in-the-sky idea you originally sought after.


The truth of the matter is that the holiday season itself can be really hard—even during a normal year. This year, the pandemic amplifies those already big feelings, making everything feel worse and harder. New Year’s is a different kind of beast because of the emphasis on reflection. If you had a hard year—which so many have—ruminating on that is not pleasant. It makes things worse when your social feed is full of people celebrating their success. From promotions to engagements and everything in between, it can be hard to not feel bad about yourself and where you are in life. And if you feel that way, that’s okay.

Last holiday season I was so incredibly depressed I could barely get out of bed. Little did I know that life was going to get exponentially worse before it got any better. We are coming out of, arguably, the worst year in our collective existence. If you are not where you want to be career-wise, physique, money-wise, or in any other way that is okay. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Stop with the negative self-talk, have some compassion for yourself and take 2021 one day at a time. We’ll all to where we’re supposed to be, eventually.


What are your feelings on New Year’s? If you hate it, you’re not alone. Do you set resolutions? Let me know!

What I’m Watching: December 2020

I’ve been Home Alone with George and Kramer™ (which is also the name of my upcoming memoir. Lol, only joking) for a solid 9 months now. During that time I have watched a TON of tv shows and movies. However, if you know me, you’ll know that I’m not the best about actually WATCHING whatever I’m “watching.” This used to drive my ex-boyfriend insane, and probably, rightfully so. In the last month or so, I have made a concerted effort to pay attention and I have to say, I’m really enjoying it.

Here’s what I’ve watched, in no particular order:

The Undoing

Synopsis: A psychologist’s world falls apart when her husband is accused of murder.

I wouldn’t have previously considered myself someone who likes thrillers or dramas (I’m all about a good sitcom), but this show may have been a turning point for me. It was so good. I felt like I knew who it was all along, but also wasn’t willing to see what was right in front of my face. The English nerd in me thinks that this was an allegory, but maybe I’m just reading too much into things (both are very on-brand for me). Nicole Kidman’s coats are amazing (her Botox is not). It also reminded me how much I loathe Hugh Grant (but can’t put my finger on the reason why?).

The Flight Attendant

Synopsis: A flight attendant’s life gets turned upside down after she wakes up in a hotel room with a dead man but with no memory of what happened.

HBO Max did a hell of a job promoting this show. I only ended up watching it because it was being advertised everywhere I looked. I didn’t really think I would like it. For some reason, I thought it was going to be a little cheesy but it actually ended up being extremely good. It’s very suspenseful—lots and lots of twists and turns (most that I didn’t see coming, honestly). Cassie Bowden (Kaley Cuoco) is so self-sabotaging that I had a hard time not hating her until I understood why. Now I need to read the eponymous book by Chris Bohjalian and see which one is better.

Your Honor

Synopsis: A respected judge’s son is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices.

First things first: My God, Bryan Cranston is an amazing actor. His work in Your Honor is, of course, no different. There are only three episodes out so far, but every single one elevates my blood pressure to a level that is probably not even healthy. There are so many bombs that happen, so many lies to keep track of, the whole show reduces me to a ball of anxiety but I love it so much and need to know what happens. Also, I cannot stand the son in this show? He reminds me of Jesse Eisenberg and he pisses me off. Anyone else?


Synopsis: An American adaptation of the Israeli show of the same name, “Euphoria” follows the troubled life of 17-year-old Rue, a drug addict fresh from rehab with no plans to stay clean. Circling in Rue’s orbit are Jules, a transgender girl searching for where she belongs; Nate, a jock whose anger issues mask sexual insecurities; Chris, a football star who finds the adjustment from high school to college harder than expected; Cassie, whose sexual history continues to dog her; and Kat, a body-conscious teen exploring her sexuality. As the classmates struggle to make sense of their futures, the series tackles the teenage landscape of substance-enhanced parties and anxiety-ridden day-to-day life with empathy and candor.

I watched the entire season in one day because this show is so good. It made me a little uncomfortable because there’s lots of nudity, sex and substance use/abuse and the show is about teenagers, but it’s an excellent show nonetheless. If you struggle with substance abuse, I would suggest sitting this one out probably as it is likely triggering.

Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown

Synopsis: Anthony Bourdain had no reservations about a move to CNN. Shortly after concluding an eight-season stint at the helm of his popular Travel Channel series, the equally popular Emmy-winning host came to the news network searching for “Parts Unknown.” In the hourlong weekend series — similar in premise to Travel’s “No Reservations” — Bourdain explores the world to, he says, “eat and drink with people without fear and prejudice … they open up to you in ways that somebody visiting who is driven by a story may not get.” Enticed by the opportunity to experience cultures rarely visited by American TV, such as in the Congo, Libya and Myanmar, the chef and best-selling author also takes viewers to Colombia, Peru, Morocco and, closer to home, Koreatown in Los Angeles.

I love Anthony Bourdain and I’m very sad about his untimely passing. He was a phenomenal storyteller and I love his dry, often very dark, sense of humor. Watching this actually inspired me to buy his first book, Kitchen Confidential. I fell asleep watching this the other night and I woke up around 4 a.m. to hear Mr. Bourdain and someone else having a spirited conversation about tentacle porn. I couldn’t tell if I was awake or having some sort of fever dream. (Actually, it reminded me of Friends when Monica think Chandler likes shark porn.) I have yet to rewatch that episode during waking hours.

Crazy, Stupid Love

Synopsis: Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) is living the American dream. He has a good job, a beautiful house, great children and a beautiful wife, named Emily (Julianne Moore). Cal’s seemingly perfect life unravels, however, when he learns that Emily has been unfaithful and wants a divorce. Over 40 and suddenly single, Cal is adrift in the fickle world of dating. Enter, Jacob Palmer (Ryan Gosling), a self-styled player who takes Cal under his wing and teaches him how to be a hit with the ladies.

My friend Thomas recommended this movie to me and so I rented it on Amazon Prime one night when I had nothing better to do. I don’t normally like romantic movies and had been avoiding them like the plague for the last year and a half, but I found this one really endearing. I’m not someone who loses their mind over Ryan Gosling, but he was kind of an arrogant dick in this movie which made me like him more? Mhm, yes, I’ll jot that down for a future therapy session.

Goodwill Hunting

Synopsis: Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves a difficult graduate-level math problem, his talents are discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), who decides to help the misguided youth reach his potential. When Will is arrested for attacking a police officer, Professor Lambeau makes a deal to get leniency for him if he will get treatment from therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams).

I started watching this once with someone and ended up falling asleep. I was awake for the scene where Robin Williams and Matt Damon are sitting near the water and I never forgot it. It’s one of the most poignant scenes I’ve ever seen and makes me cry, without fail, every single time. “You don’t know anything about loss because that only occurs when you love something more than you love yourself. I doubt you’ve ever dared to love anybody that much.” Oof. I watched this movie, without being on my phone, doing anything else or being distracted in any way, and loved it. One of my favorites, for sure.

The Titanic

Synopsis: James Cameron’s “Titanic” is an epic, action-packed romance set against the ill-fated maiden voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic; the pride and joy of the White Star Line and, at the time, the largest moving object ever built. She was the most luxurious liner of her era — the “ship of dreams” — which ultimately carried over 1,500 people to their death in the ice cold waters of the North Atlantic in the early hours of April 15, 1912.

I first saw the Titanic at a sleepover in 2002 when I was in third grade. I remember it very vividly for a few reasons: 1) the movie was so long it came on two separate VHS tapes and 2) there were boobies and I think that was the first time I saw nudity on screen. (I told my therapist I saw this when I was 9 and she responded, “you watched the Titanic when you were 9? So you were always going to end up in therapy, huh?”).

Despite the fact that I wish that I wasn’t, I am a hopeless romantic. I was rooting for Rose and Jack the entire time. Cal had money and could elevate Rose (and her mother’s) social status, but Rose and Jack really loved each other. I sobbed when Rose got off the lifeboat and ran to Jack and he said “you’re so stupid!” Also, despite what everyone on the internet thinks, there was NOT enough room on the door for both of them. It wasn’t an issue of room, it was an issue of weight. Not feasible. Case closed.

Forrest Gump

Synopsis: Slow-witted Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) has never thought of himself as disadvantaged, and thanks to his supportive mother (Sally Field), he leads anything but a restricted life. Whether dominating on the gridiron as a college football star, fighting in Vietnam or captaining a shrimp boat, Forrest inspires people with his childlike optimism. But one person Forrest cares about most may be the most difficult to save — his childhood love, the sweet but troubled Jenny (Robin Wright).

I’ve seen this movie many times but for some reason it affected me differently when I re-watched it this time? It made me so, so sad. Forrest loved Jenny so much and she just shits on him all the time. Everyone he loves leaves him. I was wrecked after watching it. Despite the fact that this movie heightened my clinical depression, it is a classic and was beautifully made. The single feather in the beginning and then the birds chirping at Jenny’s grave? Again. Wrecked. I did leave me with a question that I have been fixating on: Is Jenny a bad person? I can argue both for and against that case.

21 Jump Street

Synopsis: When cops Schmidt (Jonah Hill) and Jenko (Channing Tatum) join the secret Jump Street unit, they use their youthful appearances to go under cover as high-school students. They trade in their guns and badges for backpacks, and set out to shut down a dangerous drug ring. But, as time goes on, Schmidt and Jenko discover that high school is nothing like it was just a few years earlier — and, what’s more, they must again confront the teenage terror and anxiety they thought they had left behind.

I saw this movie when it came out in 2012. It’s nothing life changing but it’s funny and silly and a good way to escape reality for an hour and half. I needed a break from heavy and serious movies and this did the trick. I did leave this movie still not quite understanding why women lose their minds over Channing Tatum? He does nothing for me, although I do enjoy his acting.

Crazy, Rich Asians

Synopsis: Rachel Chu is happy to accompany her longtime boyfriend, Nick, to his best friend’s wedding in Singapore. She’s also surprised to learn that Nick’s family is extremely wealthy and he’s considered one of the country’s most eligible bachelors. Thrust into the spotlight, Rachel must now contend with jealous socialites, quirky relatives and something far, far worse — Nick’s disapproving mother.

I absolutely loved this movie. Give me more movies where white people are not the protagonists, please. This movie made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me angry (for Rachel). I will definitely be re-watching this at some point in the future.

Heavens Gate: The Cult of Cults

Synopsis: An examination of the UFO cult through the eyes of its former members and their loved ones; what starts with the disappearance of 20 people from an Oregon town, ends with the largest suicide on U.S. soil.

I am fascinated by cults. Actually, when I watched The Vow (another HBO cult doc), I realized that I am likely one very good marketing pitch away from being suckered into joining one. Heaven’s Gate blows my mind because unlike other cults like NXIVM which recruit members based on the ploy of personal and professional development this one recruits people who want to leave earth to be with other aliens? And the way to do that is to commit mass suicide. No, thanks. The movie itself was incredibly interesting, however.


I have watched a shameful amount of TV recently. If there is something I should watch that isn’t on here, please let me know!

Sephora Holiday Savings Event: My Purchases & Recommendations

This year has been insane—and this week is no exception. Honestly, I think I would argue that the first seven days of November have felt equally as long as the entire month of March. Anyone else?

If you’re doing some ~stress shopping~ like I have been, or just wanting to take advantage of the annual Sephora Holiday Savings event, here is a list of things that I bought or recommend.

The sale runs through Monday, 11/9, and you can use the code HOLIDAYFUN to save between 10-20% depending on what tier you are.


This isn’t my first rodeo. By now I have the Sephora sales down to a science. If you’re really methodical, you should plan ahead and have all the stuff you want in your cart BEFORE the sale starts. Then once the code is active, simply checkout. That doesn’t really apply at this point, but is something to keep in mind for future sales.

The key to getting the most bang for your buck is to score expensive, big ticket items that do not normally go on sale. Here


If you have been wanting to try a Dyson hair dryer, now is the time! These rarely go on sale. Most of the time when other things go on sale, Dyson products are excluded. I have had my Dyson hair dryer for over a year now and have nothing but wonderful things to say about it. It is expensive, it’s definitely an investment piece, but to me, taking care of my hair and limiting the amount of heat damage I do is important. If you’re on the fence, I say go for it.


Fragrance is another thing that rarely goes on sale and it is crazy expensive. I absolutely love fragrance and so I always take advantage of the sale to snag some things while they are discounted 20% (come on, of course I’m Rouge). This sale I bought Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille because I love a sexy, smoky unisex fragrance. Some of my other favorite fragrances are: Replica By the Fireplace, Yves Saint Lauent Mon Paris, Armani Beauty Si and Jo Malone Vetivier and Golden Vanilla. If you have a man (or are a man!), the Dior Sauvage cologne is amazing—and so is this cologne sampler! You get nine samples and a coupon for a free full size bottle of whatever is your favorite.


I’ve written about my makeup recommendations many, many times and for the most part they don’t change (you can read my past recommendations here and here). I thought it would be more fun to talk about the things I bought during the sale and give them my honest review while there is still slightly over 24 hours left to shop.

Nécessaire The Body Serum

I love Necessaire products. I use both the body lotion and the body wash (unscented because I like wearing perfume) on a daily basis. I had been wanting to try this out for a while because hyalauronic acid is a magical, life changing thing. I use it on my face, why not use it on your body? So far this has not disappointed. I will definitely be repurchasing when it runs out.

Huda Beauty #FauxFilter Skin Finish Buildable Foundation Stick

Spoiler alert: I absolutely hated this product and already returned it. First of all, this product should have already been on my shit list for having the longest, most unnecessary name ever. I tried Huda’s other foundation, the liquid one, and didn’t like it because it was so heavily fragranced. I had read that this one wasn’t, and I was excited to try. It’s marketed at being full coverage, but I had to keep building it up and it ended up looking extremely cakey. It also clung to dry patches and broke up around my mouth and nose—on a day I didn’t even wear a mask. 0/10—I do not recomend.

Hourglass Mini Ambient Lighting Edit – Sculpture Unlocked

This has been my favorite Sephora Holiday Sale purchase so far. I talked about it (in detail) on my Instagram story the other day. It’s the perfect quad. It’s big enough that you likely won’t ever hit pan on it (unless you use it excessively) but small enough to be easy for travel (whenever we can do that again). It has almost everything you need: a setting powder, blush, bronzer and highlight. It’s beautiful, has great color payoff and isn’t powdery. If you buy one thing during the sale, I would recommend this.

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat Lip Liners

I have repurchased these so many times. They are great lip liners and I would advocate that every person that uses lipstick/lip liner needs to own at least one. I always buy the shades Pillow Talk and Iconic Nude. They are two of the ultimate YLBB (your lips but better) shades. Don’t even think about it—just add to your cart.

Natasha Denona I Need a Nude Lipstick

SIGH. I wanted to love these so badly, I really did. I bought the only two shades that Sephora had in store — Andrea and Maria. Andrea is a neutral beige undertone while Maria purports to be a neutral pink. Both looked like concealer on my lips. Truly the worst lipstick shades I had ever put on my lips. I do love the idea of the collection, though. The range is really impressive and there is sure to be a color that works for everyone—I clearly just didn’t find that in Maria or Andrea. The formula was good so I do plan on trying another shade that doesn’t make me look like a corpse.

Natasha Denona I Need a Nude Glow Highlighter

A champagne nude highlighter—revolutionary! Honestly, I probably have 30 other nude champagne-y highlighters. I have an entire drawer dedicated to highlighters. This seems to be packed pretty hard, so you do have to kind of work to get any product on your brush but once you do it’s a really pretty highlight. It gives a subtle glow on the cheeks and can be built up to be more intense. Is it the best thing I ever bought? No. Is it nice? Yes. Should you spend $42 on it? I would probably opt for something else instead, honestly.

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder

Every time there is a sale, I stock up on this. I use it every single time I do my makeup (which is less now than it used to be). Lightweight. Smoothing. Truly makes you look airbrushed. Can’t go wrong.

Tom Ford Tobacco Vanille

As I mentioned before, I love a warm and spicy fragrance. I kind of waffled between this and a Byredo fragrance, but since I could save 20% off this, I ultimately chose the less expensive option. Hilariously, when I was looking at reviews, the Sephora comment section was full of Harry Styles fans who found out this is the fragrance he wears and went out and bought it to I guess feel somehow connected to him? Lol. Weirdos.

Wander Beauty Baggage Claim Upgrade Eye Masks

These eye masks work really well. According to Wander Beauty the gold foil helps retain heat and prevents the serum below from evaporating, which allows for the maximum amount of absorption into the skin. The middle layer is elastic to prevent the masks from slipping, and the third is a cellulose fiber that condenses and delivers key ingredients efficiently, giving you all the skin-loving benefits you need. I got the jumbo set of 18 for $45 (minus 20%) compared to the normal $25 set which contains 6 eye masks.

PATRICK TA Major Glow Face Gloss

I am a sucker for a Patrick Ta product. This face gloss is in the shade She Gives Me Life, which is a glistening gold intended to give you glossy shine (it only comes in one shade). I have not had a chance to test this out yet because I haven’t worn makeup since I got it, but I will update when I do.

Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Hydrating Makeup Primer

Armani claims that this a smooth, hydrating primer that preps skin for makeup, nourishes, and moisturizes the complexion for noticeably softer, supple, and more radiant skin. I have pretty oily skin (that lately has also been dry and flaky in some places, so much fun!) so I’m not entirely sure that this primer will work for me, but either way I am excited to test it out.

Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Face and Under-Eye Concealer

I love the Luminous Silk foundation so I was super excited to grab this on sale. I haven’t tried it yet, but planning on doing so tomorrow!

Hourglass Ambient® Lighting Bronzer

For some reason I remember the first time I ever bought a Hourglass bronzer. Ironically, it was during a Sephora Holiday sale. I bought another one of these because they are arguably one of my favorite bronzer formulas. Not too matte, not too shimmery/glittery. They give you a beautiful sheen and make you look more alive. They are pricey, but I highly recommend.

DERMAFLASH DERMAPORE Ultrasonic Pore Extractor & Serum Infuser

This has not come in the mail yet but I am so excited for it to get here. Dermaflash claims that this is a unique, two-in-one ultrasonic skincare device that unclogs pores and infuses your favorite skincare products, resulting in the appearance of smaller pores and a healthier-looking complexion. I have seen people on Instagram and YouTube use it to get a ton of gross stuff out of their faces, so I can’t wait to put it to the test.


Charlotte Tilbury Mini Iconic Matte Revolution Lipstick Trio

I bought this trio on a whim because it includes three minis of the Matte Revolution Lipstick in nude-pink Pillow Talk, berry-rose Walk of No Shame, and taupe-nude Very Victoria. I have and use all three of those shades and was thinking that some day in the future, quarantine will be over and we will be able to go out in public again, without a mask, and I can throw one in my purse and it will take up less real estate. It was my most optimistic purchase to date.

Sephora Favorites Men’s Cologne Sampler Set

I got this for my brother as a Christmas gift, which I feel comfortable saying because I know he doesn’t read my blog. It’s a great deal and I think makes a great gift. I’m sure he’ll like it.

Benefit Cosmetics Great Brow Basics Pencil & Gel Set

I love Benefit brow products and this is great all-in-one set to fill in and define your brows.

Maison Margiela ‘REPLICA’ Deluxe Mini Coffret Set

This is such a good deal that I honestly kind of want to buy it for myself. I love Replica fragances. They are unisex and smell good on anyone, regardless of gender. A few years ago I bought my boyfriend a Replica set with three travel sized fragances and he actually used all of them. Long story short, these make great gifts, whether for yourself or someone else.

Tower 28 Beauty Mini Juicy All The Way Lip Jelly Set

These are the best lip glosses ever. Let’s be real—who ever actually uses up an entire lip gloss? This is such a great way to try Tower 28 lip jellys and have them in nearly every single color they offer. I am definitely buying one of these for myself.


Have you shopped the sale yet? If not, I clearly did enough shopping for the both of us. What are your go-to items that you pick up while they’re on sale?

DIY Eyebrow Tinting

Happy National Eyebrow Day! It’s funny that such a small amount of hair can command so much time and money in a person’s life—yet here we are!

I have talked pretty in-depth about my eyebrows on my blog, including my experience with microblading, my tips & favorite products for filling in your eyebrows and what I use to wax my eyebrows myself at home. Today, I’m going to show you how to tint your eyebrows at home using Just For Men beard dye.

Disclaimer: This product is not intended to be used on eyebrows or eyelashes and can cause permanent damage, including blindness, if it gets into your eye. Please proceed with caution and do so at your own risk.


The first thing you’re going to want to do is choose a product to tint your brows at home. I’ve tried many products, from henna to demi-permanent hair dye from Sally’s and always end up coming back to ol’ faithful: Just for Men.

I always buy this product from Target (it’s $8.99) and I always get the shade Dark Brown. You can get whatever shade your heart desires, but I would always recommend going with whatever is closest to your natural hair color.

This kit comes with a tray to mix it in, and I would suggest also purchasing a cheap double sided brush—the kind with a spooly on one end and a pointed brush on the other. This one from elf is a great option and only $4.

Put equal parts color base and developer into the tray and mix it together with the bristle end of your brush. Once it’s fully mixed, we’re ready to move onto the next step.


Let’s not put the cart in front of the horse. Before we apply the dye, we have to make sure that our brows are ready, which means they are clean and oil free. If you’re a newbie and afraid you’re going to royally mess this up, I suggest putting Vaseline on the areas outside your brows where you don’t want the dye to end up.

You’ll apply the dye just like you would any other brow product. I suggest starting in the middle and doing the front of your brow last when there is less product on the brush. It gives a more natural apperance and makes it less likely that you’ll mess up.

Like I suggest in my Brow 101 post, I suggest doing swiping, hair like motions in the direction of the hair growth for the end and tail of your brow and short, upward strokes in the front.

When the dye is first mixed, it will be pretty light in color, however it will get darker the longer it develops. Once you have all the product you want on, set a timer for 10-20 minutes and go about your business.


Rinsing this off is arguably the easiest part of the whole (already extremely simple) process.

I put soap on my finger tips and wet them with warm water. Then I rub my eyebrows back and forth, creating a gray, sudsy mess and making sure to get any and all product off. Then I take a warm, damp wash cloth and wash it all off.

The key here is to not use too much water because you don’t want any of this getting into your eyes. I’ve been doing this for at least three years, way before it was a Tik Tok trend and back when the box didn’t have a warning label on it. I was much more willy nilly with how I washed it off, because I didn’t know it could potentially have averse consequences. Now that I know, I routinely worry that maybe a tiny Just For Men molecule may have snuck into my eye while I was washing it out, and I panic that I can feel my eyes burning, and subsequently, my vision blurring. I am extremely dramatic, so that’s probably a personal problem, but—in all seriousness—please be careful.


After you wash the dye off, you’re left with beautifully defined brows. I find that this lasts between 1-2 weeks, depending on how often you wash your face, sweat, etc. I like doing this at home because, honestly, I think its fun. It’s also extremely cost effective. I’ve only ever had to repurchase JFM because I lost tubes, never because I used the product up. For an up front investment of less than $15, you’ve got tinted eyebrows for 6 months to a year.


Tinting your brows at home is quick & easy, even if you only do it a pinch! Have you ever tinted your brows at home? If you do, let me know what products you use!

Bonus tip: if you’re in Lansing and not looking to do-it-yourself, or you’re looking to have someone wax + shape your brows, I highly recommend seeing Riley Vanness.

Weekly Roundup: Dyson V11 Vacuum, Melt Cosmetics + More

My weekly round up is kind of all over the place this week. From cleaning products to makeup and more, here are the random things I tried this week!


I have wanted a Dyson vacuum for the longest time but have always shied away from the extremely steep price tag. I got this at Costco for less than normal retail, which is how I justified the purchase to myself.

I have to say, it felt like Christmas when I came home and pulled this out of the packaging. I’ve been testing this out for about a week to see how well it works, how long the charge lasts, how it compares to my previous vacuum, etc. So far, I love it. I want to keep testing it out and eventually do a full review on it, so stay tuned.


I knew that I needed this blush duo as soon as I saw it. I got it in the shade Queen, which is a bronze and gold duo (which functions as more of a bronzer than a blush on my skin tone) and is so pretty. The product itself has a honey comb pattern and bee stamped directly into—and it’s actually so cute that I don’t really want to use it because I know it will ruin it.


If you’ve been here for awhile, you’ll know that I am obsessed with the Tower 28 lip gloss. They recently launched a new lip gloss formula, the Shine On Milky Jelly gloss, that is more opaque than the previous versions. I got it in the shade Cashew which is a very pretty brown-y nude. It’s very much a “your lips but better” shade, because it adds a hint of milky color without being entirely opaque. Bonus: it’s only $14 (just like all of their glosses!). Seriously, you can’t go wrong with these.


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#mejuri @mejuri

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I have seen these braided, rope style earrings on Instagram for the longest time and always wanted them. I decided that I was going to buy them and narrowed it down to two different earrings from two different brands. Ultimately, I went with Mejuri because shopping with them is always such a wonderful experience (I talked about them in my Favorite Online Jewelry Brands blog). They shipped almost immediately after I purchased them, arrived within three days and had to be signed for. The earrings themselves are so chic and cute, can be dressed up or down, and go with everything. These are a bit of a splurge, so I’m trying to find a more affordable option for different price points. Stay tuned for that!


The last time I picked up a grocery order from Kroger, they gave me a goody bag with a bunch of different samples in it (in a reusable grocery bag!). One of those samples was melatonin, which I almost didn’t try because melatonin has never worked for me. It ended up working extremely well. I fell asleep fast and stayed asleep all night, which literally never happens, so I immediately went out and purchased a full bottle. We’ll see if I keep seeing the same results, but for now, I’m a big fan.


I started watching Season One of PEN15 a long time ago (not sure how long ago, but it feels like forever) and thought it was the most hilarious thing I had ever seen. The show centers around two middle school aged girls who are best friends, and depicts very honestly what that time in your life is like. I have to say, the thong episode is honestly one of my favorites and I laughed so hard that I was nearly in tears. If you experienced being a girl in middle school, I highly recommend.


If you missed it, these were the blogs I posted this week!




This weeks list is such a random hodgepodge of things. Do you use or have you tried any of these? If nothing else, bookmark the PEN15 suggestion and circle back this winter when we are undoubtedly still quarantined and you need something funny to watch!

Fall Trends I’m Loving

Fall is here! If you’re looking for something to inspire your makeup routine, these fun trends might give you a reason to break out your brushes.


It’s no secret that I love a good glossy lip. Fall has traditionally been a time for dark, matte lips but you can pry my lipgloss from my cold, dead hands. I am loving the Pat McGrath Lip Fetish Divinyl lip glosses, as well as the new Tower 28 Beauty milky glosses. Can’t go wrong with either!


I am so obsessed with graphic liner. I honestly think that this started as a Tik Tok trend but has since made it’s way to the general masses (and was even on a lot runways this season, as you can see in Gigi Hadid’s IG post).

This is a great inexpensive eyeliner to try if you’re wanting to experiment with graphic eyeliner without the costly commitment.


There are few things in life that I love more than terra cotta makeup looks. I wear some variation of a terra cotta shadow on my eyes every single day, regardless of the season. I love these Natasha Denona palettes (the face + eyeshadow palettes!) and I also am obsessed with these Rare Beauty lip souffles (the shade Brave is my favorite). Terra cotta is flattering on essentially every skintone and is such a fun and easy way to transition into fall.


If terra cotta isn’t your thing, it’s hard to go wrong with a rose look. Right now, I am obsessed with rose-hued monochromatic makeup looks it looks so beautiful, trendy and put together without really putting in an abundance of effort. Charlotte Tilbury’s Walk of No Shame collection has everything you need for a monochromatic rose look, or if you’re looking on a budget, this Color Pop palette is only $8 and is crazy good quality. Pair with a rosy lip (you know I love CT Pillow Talk but this Flower Beauty lipstick in Spiced Petal is almost an exact dupe for a fraction of the cost.


If you follow me on Instagram (which you should!), I recently talked about bronzer and blush placement (and how you should place them horizontally if you’re going for a truly sun-kissed look). Draping is basically the opposite of that. Do you remember a few years ago when highlighting got rebranded to “strobing” and was used exclusively instead of bronzing/contouring? This is similar. Draping is when you don’t use bronzer to contour, you use blush to bring structure to your face. To “drape,” you’ll want to place your blush on your cheekbones instead of the apples of your cheeks, and blend out toward your temples. This can look super high fashion if you use an intense color or really intensify the pigment, but I think it’s really pretty when done correctly and I actually especially like it combined with the monochromatic rose look.

Sidenote: My mom has been draping since the 80s, so I’m going to need to let her know she’s a trendsetter!


From PDO threads to shaving off the majority of your eyebrow, people have gone to extreme lengths to get the Hadid-inspired fox eye. Turns out, you can get a similar effect with just eyeliner! There are tons of tutorials on social media from Instagram to Youtube, but the basic idea is to use a soft brown liner and false lashes to create an elongated shape.


Fun fall trends have me inspired to try more than just new makeup products, but new looks and techniques too. Since I’ve spent the better part of the year at home with a bare face, this is a welcome change of pace. Any new looks you’re interested in trying? Let me know!

I want to see a therapist. Now what?

We’ve heard it a million times in the past six months—we’re living in unprecedented times. While that phrase is now the bane of my existence, it’s true. Our lives collectively changed in March and even the most stable, mentally healthy people are having a hard time. This stuff isn’t normal. It’s OK to be scared and stressed and at the end of your rope. It’s OK if you’re looking for a little help with managing the stress of COVID (or just the problems you already had before this all started).

I see a therapist once a week—and I have for a year. When I first started seeing a therapist, I went into the whole situation blind. I had no idea how to go about finding a provider, or what to expect, so I decided to take all my lessons learned and pass them onto you, the reader, who may be interested in therapy but unsure of where to start.

Let’s walk through some common questions and concerns that people have when they want the help of a therapist, but don’t know what to do or what to expect.


The American Psychological Association suggests considering therapy when something causes distress and interferes with some part of life, particularly when:

  • Thinking about or coping with the issue takes up at least an hour each day
  • The issue causes embarrassment or makes you want to avoid others
  • The issue has caused your quality of life to decrease
  • The issue has negatively affected school, work, or relationships
  • You’ve made changes in your life or developed habits to cope with the issue

The more honest answer is: there is no magic ticket for therapy. Whether you’re going through something difficult, or searching for better ways to cope with the stressors of everyday life, therapy is for everyone and anyone. Here’s the deal: there’s nothing wrong with needing help—or with admitting that you need help. Honestly, recognizing that you need support is one of the biggest hurdles. So if you’ve already done that then, kudos. You’re well on your way to taking better care of yourself.


Spoiler alert: no one has to know that you’re seeing a therapist because it’s no one else’s business but your own. Seriously. When I first started going to therapy, there were maybe like 3-4 that I shared that with. It simply wasn’t something that I felt people needed to know. I wasn’t necessarily embarrassed about it, per se, but I wasn’t wanting to shout it from the rooftops, either. Now, I talk very openly about seeing a therapist, including routinely uttering the phrase “my therapist said…” LOL

If you’re feeling embarrassed, I get it. There have been huge strides toward normalizing mental health care, thanks in part to hilarious tweets like these, but unfortunately there is still a stigma attached to it—despite the fact that half of us will have a serious psychological problem at some point in our lives.

If you’re feeling embarrassed at the thought of sharing your struggles and issues with a therapist, don’t be. I found it really difficult to open up to my therapist at first, but she was patient with me and made my experience worthwhile. A (good) therapist will never make your problems feel small or insignificant. They might not be able to solve all your problems, but they’ll help you to think more objectively and (hopefully) see the cause and effect behind your behavior, actions and feelings.


Once you’ve decided that you want to see a therapist, you’ll need to find someone to actually see. This part can be really daunting and was one of the biggest hurdles that I faced. If you feel comfortable, you can reach out to friends or family members who may be able to recommend someone to you. If that isn’t something that you want to do (no judgement) or that isn’t an option, you can find providers on the Psychology Today website. All you have to do is type in either the city name or zip code of where you want to see a provider and choose an option from the drop down, and you’ll be given an aggregate list of providers in your area.


There are a lot of things to consider when you start looking for a therapist. Do they accept your insurance (if you have it)? If you don’t have insurance, do they charge on a sliding scale based on what you can afford? Would you feel more comfortable with a male or female provider? Are you looking for someone faith-based? (I specifically was looking for someone who was not faith-based.) You want someone who is going to meet your needs and make you feel comfortable, so these are things to take into consideration.

My first therapist was not a good fit for me. She spent most of our sessions talking about herself, her children or her online boyfriend who lives in India. She gave me very bad advice, violated HIPAA on more than one occasion, and just overall was not helpful to me. Despite the fact that I didn’t know anything about therapy, I knew it was not a good fit.

My current therapist let me know right away that she had worked with many clients who were dealing with the same issues that I was. She talked to me about her credentials, her training and what I could expect. Most importantly, she let me be myself. I swear all the time in therapy. I make constant pop culture references, i.e., “I just feel like Rachel Green when she said…” and I feel comfortable. That’s the biggest goal: to be able to be comfortable, honest and authentic with your provider so that they can help you!


I remember my first therapy appointment clear as day because it coincided with one of the hardest, saddest days of my life. I walked into her room, sat on her couch and burst into tears. Not only was I having a terrible day, I was scared shitless. I had willing signed up to sit on a strangers couch and tell them my life problems while they took notes. I calmed down (a little) and told her between sobs what was happening and why I was so profoundly sad.

The first few therapy sessions are mainly just to gather history. It starts out pretty general and will get much more in-the-weeds as time goes on. You’ll talk a lot about yourself, your family, friends and close relationships. You’ll talk about whatever is bothering you, or whatever the specific issue that brought you into therapy in the first place is. You’ll talk about your feelings, your thoughts and your behaviors, but you’re mainly just getting to know each other for the first few sessions.


One thing that I wasn’t prepared for when I started going to therapy was how exhausted it made me feel. I would feel so incredibly tired after each session, all I wanted to do was go home and crawl into bed.

Another thing I wasn’t prepared for was how sad I would feel afterward—and sometimes I still do. I always thought that going to therapy would make me feel better—and overall, it does—but it’s hard work and it requires an intense amount of vulnerability. Sometimes when you’re doing the hard work and digging deep, you’ll tap into emotions that you may not even realized are there.

When I started seeing my therapist it was because I was going through something extremely difficult and having a very hard time processing it. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with her during our second session. She asked me if I had noticed anything different that week.

“Yes, I did,” I told her. “I can’t stop crying.”

“Do you know why that is?” she asked me.

“I have no idea,” I said through tears.

“Emily, it’s because you’re sad.”

It sounds so dumb. I knew that I was sad. That’s why I went to therapy in the first place. But it wasn’t until I started talking to her and really exploring those feelings that I allowed myself to feel as devastatingly sad as I truly was.

If the idea of feeling worse before you can feel better is slightly freaking you out, please don’t take that as a deterrent. If you’re tapping into those things, it’s a sign that you’re doing the hard work required to feel better and it’s actually a really good thing (believe it or not, those tough emotions are likely already popping up in your life in other ways, whether you realize it or not). As you continue to talk to your therapist, you’ll eventually start to feel better.


For a long time, I was operating under the belief that going to therapy was like paying someone to either a) tell you what you should do or b) tell you what you want to hear. Turns out, neither of those things are true!

Basically each therapy session is an exercise in problem solving. You’ll tell your therapist what’s bothering you and how it makes you feel, and they’ll use their expertise to help you reach a solution. They won’t say “oh, you should definitely choose A instead of B.” If that’s what you’re looking for, a therapist might be able to help you unpack why you someone to tell you what to do/validate your choice in the first place.


Because of COVID, many appointments have shifted to online (although some therapists are seeing patients in person again at this point). I was a little concerned about the switch from an in office visit to a video chat, but I realized that there isn’t much difference. However, at the end of the day whether or not this is a good fit for you will depend on your personality and preferences.


The only reason that I ever sought the help of a therapist was because I had people in my life who saw therapists and talked openly and honestly about it. There’s nothing wrong with going to therapy and you should never feel awkward, embarrassed or ashamed. If you ever have any questions about therapy, please feel free to reach out!

If you’d like to find a therapist, search Psychology Today for providers in your area. If you’re feeling suicidal, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention lifeline by calling 1-800-273-8522 or by visiting their website.

Weekly Roundup: Detangler for long hair, Violet Grey order + more

I routinely do a monthly favorites post where I talk about the things that I have tried and loved throughout the month. That post only ever captures the products or things that stood out as my favorites—but I use and try so many other things that I don’t end up talking about that I decided to start doing a weekly spotlight in addition to my monthly favorites. Keep reading for my first roundup!

Long Sexy Hair Luxe Nourishing Leave-In Detangler

I have long hair—and a lot of it—but it’s very fine and it gets tangled very easily. A few years ago I discovered 7 Seconds by Unite haircare and promptly stopped searching for anything else. It was a the end-all-be-all of leave in conditioners. Long Sexy Hair gifted me their new detangler, the Long Sexy Hair Luxe Nourishing Leave-In detangler, so I started using that this week. I had very low expectations but I was blown away by how well it works. It was made specifically for people with either long natural hair or extensions. It works really well and also smells really nice. I’m going to keep testing this out, but I haven’t reached for 7 Seconds in almost a week (which is unheard of because I have used it every day for at least 3 years).

Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation

I had terrible skin for years and as a result only wore the thickest, most full coverage, most matte foundations I could find. I was basically waking up and spackling my face every morning. Thanks to my friend Jennifer, my skin is completely changed and I wear all sorts of base makeup, CC cream, BB cream, tinted moisturizer, medium-fo-full coverage foundation—I have so many choices now. For some reason, when I saw the Nars Soft Matte Complete Foundation, I was like, “I need that! It’s everything I want in a foundation.” My friend Taylor, the manager at the Sephora in Eastwood Towne Center, was like, “just so you know this is matte. Like, really, really matte,” and I thought “ok, no problem!” Turns out, she was right. It is much more matte and much more full coverage than I am used to wearing now. I think if I mixed it with a moisturizer or used a glowy primer I would like it much better. I’m going to keep testing out because I haven’t used it enough times or tried it with enough different products to really give my final verdict on this yet. Stay tuned.

Pat McGrath Lip Fetish Divnyl Lip Shine

I bought this on a whim at Sephora one day, mainly because I was so excited that my Sephora had anything Pat McGrath. I got it in the shade Nude Venus because you really can’t go wrong with a good nude lip. Honestly, this is one of the best lip products I have tried in forever! It is so good. It is so shiny, so moisturizing, so buttery. It makes your lips look so plump and juicy. I think I’ve worn it every single day since I got it. This is going to be a favorite for sure.

Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlight

Coming in at a mouth-dropping $75 for 0.14 ounces of product, this is officially the most expensive highlighter that I own. I got it during the Violet Grey sale, so I saved some money but still. Westman Atelier is a luxury clean and cruelty free beauty brand owned by the iconic makeup artist Gucci Westman. The brand claims that they “cater to those looking to enhance their complexion while elevating their vanity.” I got this highlighter in the shade Peau de Peche (which I found out translates to peach skin lol). Everything about it is extremely luxe. The product itself comes in a leather dust bag. The component is black with gunmetal accents. It’s only 0.14 ounces of product but it feels like a brick—very heavy and substantial. The product itself is just *chefs kiss.* It is so gorgeous. I have only used it a few times, but I know that it’s going to be a staple—and listen. We appreciate a pretentious luxe moment around here, okay? Life is short, you have to indulge sometimes.

We Should All Be Mirandas

If you know me, you’ll know that I love Sex and the City. I have every season on DVD (the one that came in a pink velvet collector’s box), I went on the SATC bus tour when I was in NYC, I have a t-shirt that says “abso-fucking-lutely” and I rewatch the show at least once a year (and always when I’m sad). The show is nothing short of iconic and I won’t apologize for how much I enjoy it. The women behind the IG account @everyoutfitonsatc wrote a book called “We Should All Be Mirandas” and it is just as wonderful as you might imagine. If you order the book right now, you also get a magnet that looks like a sticky note that says. “I’m sorry. I can’t. Don’t hate me” for free! I consider this to be one of my best purchases to date.

Gum Drop Grapes

Speaking of luxe. I recently ordered some grapes from Kroger that I later realized are called “gum drop grapes.” They are from the same grapery as Cotton Candy grapes, but far superior. They literally taste like candy. As someone who is watching their diet, these sweet little succulent grapes have become my daily treat. They are expensive (about $3.49 per pound) but they are so, so worth it.


In addition to my monthly favorites, I’m doing a weekly roundup of things I’m trying, using and loving (or not). Have you tried any of these things? I mean, TBH, if you get one thing make it the grapes! I need people to talk about the grapes with lolol.