My Favorite Places to Shop Small in #LoveLansing

It’s Small Business Saturday! Did you know that small businesses drive more than 40% of America’s economy? In fact, for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., approximately 67 cents stays in the local community. Here are my favorite places to shop small in #LoveLansing.

Aesthetics Med Spa 

If I were to compile a list of the best decisions I ever made, setting up an appointment with Jennifer Edwards at Aesthetics Med Spa is definitely at the top of that list. I’ve written multiple blogs about it, but Jennifer has changed my skin and, as a result, my life. I have had microneedling, Secret RF, TruSculpt iD, chemical peels, the Forever Young BBL with Skintyte, Botox lip flips, and more.

In addition to the in-office treatments I’ve had done at Aesthetics, I’ve also started using medical grade skincare that Aesthetics sells. I love skinbetter science, and Revision Skincare, both of which are only available under the supervision of a doctor—which Aesthetics is.

For Black Friday/ Small Business Saturday/ Cyber Monday, Aesthetics Med Spa is having a bunch of special promos, including 20% TruSculpt iD + an additional $200 off, $25 off any BBL service of $300 or more, 20% of all skincare products (this literally NEVER happens!) and 30% off all Jane Iredale products.

East Lansing Threads

I don’t venture to downtown East Lansing very often but when I do, it’s to pop into East Lansing Threads (or Foster Coffee, but more on that later). East Lansing Threads was voted the best clothing store in East Lansing and carries a number of brands like Kendra Scott, Vineyard Vines and Free People. If you’re shopping for a young person (or are a young person), you’ll definitely want to pay them a visit. 

EL Threads is also having some awesome sales this weekend, including 70% off mens clothing, 50% off ALL handbags, 50% off ALL accessories, 50% off ALL denim and 25% off ALL jackets. 

Retail Therapy

I love Retail Therapy, and I love what they stand for. All of the clothing available at Retail Therapy is responsibly sourced, with the vast majority of clothing being cut to order and fair trade. Celeste, the owner, is not just focused on curating timeless, unique, artisan-made clothing and accessories—she does so in a way a very intentional and conscious way. .If you’re in the market for timeless and chic clothing, or specifically looking to shop Magnolia Pearl, Lack of Color, or Quay Australia, Retail Therapy is your destination

Arched by Allie

Arched by Allie is located in Owosso, so slightly outside of #LoveLansing proper, but I had to include her. If you’re interested in getting your eyebrows microbladed, I can’t recommend her enough. I recently had my eyebrows microbladed by Allie and I can’t say enough good things about the process, the results, or Allie herself. 

Foster Coffee Company

Ah, I love Foster Coffee Company. My friend Andrea introduced me to the OG Foster in Owosso a few years ago and I was instantly in love. I was thrilled when I found out that Foster was coming to EL and their new space is absolutely to die for. Not only is the East Lansing location so cozy, so inviting and so conveniently located—the owners are wonderful people and their mission & vision makes my heart sing. Fosters mission is simple but poignant: to “foster communities through coffee.” They do this by partnering with other local businesses, non-profit organizations, and civic entities in order to create overlapping networks that serve people and build stronger relationships within the community.  In short, they’re great people doing wonderful things to bring others together in a meaningful way. 

If you have a coffee lover in your life, I highly suggest picking up a Foster Coffee Company gift card as a quick Christmas gift—and maybe grab one for yourself while you’re at it. Plus, if you’re stopping at Foster, you might as well walk over to Threads and peek around!

Katie Dean Jewelry

Here’s the deal: Katie Dean Jewelry might not be made in Lansing (it’s handmade in California) but Katie was born and raised in mid-Michigan and still comes back to visit. In fact, she’ll be here next month at a pop-up with East Lansing Threads! She makes the most gorgeous dainty, feminine jewels that you’ve ever seen and she is also the sweetest, most genuine person I’ve ever met. I truly can’t say enough good things about her or her business.

Katie is running an insane sale this weekend, where everything on her site is 30% off (no code needed). On top of that awesome deal, you can also get a super cute blush pink jewelry case for FREE on orders of $75 or more. All you need to do is enter the code GIFT at checkout. 

Megan Emmons Lashes

If you’re interested in lash extensions, Megan Emmons is a lash queen. She’s been doing my lashes for a few months now, and I can’t say enough good things about her. I’m constantly complimented on my lashes and how good they look. I’ve recently had two friends go visit Megan based on how much they love my lashes, and they have raved to me about how much they love them. Getting lash extensions is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. They make my life so much quicker and easier and it’s so nice to wake up looking at least somewhat put together. If you’re interested in booking an appointment with her, you can DM her on Instagram

Old Town General Store

I’m such a sucker for anything made in Michigan or related to Michigan. Every time I need to grab a gift for someone, I head over to the Old Town General Store and grab something Michigan-themed, whether it’s a pint glass, a t-shirt, a card, a candle, or a  Michigan-made snack or bottle of wine. I even bought a Petoskey stone there once! If you’re looking for unique holiday gifts, the Old Town General Store should be your first stop.

Curvaceous Lingerie

As someone with boobs, finding a bra that fits is a necessity. For the longest time, I squeezed myself into bras that didn’t fit because I a) wanted to shop with my friends at Victoria’s Secret and b) wanted to buy & wear cute bras. The first time I went to Curvaceous I got fitted for a bra and was amazed to find out that the bra I was about a million sizes too small, in both the cups and the band. Having a bra that fits right has made all the difference in how I feel throughout the day (i.e., no more tiddies spilling out in every direction) and also, in how my clothes fit! I love, love, love, that Curvaceous is size-inclusive so whether you’re looking for small sizes or plus sizes (in bras AND lingerie) they have you covered.

Van Atta’s Greenhouse & Flowershop

If you know me, you’ll know that I LOVE plants. Recently, someone asked me how many plants I had and I guessed 25. I went home and counted and realized I have 62. SIXTY TWO! If you’re in the market for some plants, I highly suggest stopping at Van Atta’s. They have a ton of plants, including tropicals and cacti, and a very knowledgeable and friendly staff. 

Dear Ollie

I’ve never personally met Sara from Dear Ollie, but I absolutely love her work. I LOVE sending/giving people cards and handwritten notes but I prefer for them to be funny/witty/have some kind of random pop culture reference and she just kills it with every single illustration. She is an incredibly talented illustrator and if you share my love of cards and gifts, I’d suggest checking her out. 

Strange Matter Coffee

You might be thinking, “wasn’t there already a coffee shop on this list?” Yes! But that’s okay because there’s room for everyone. I LOVE Strange Matter. I have had countless coffee meetings at Strange Matter, both professional and personal. They have bomb ass donuts, amazing lattes, and great Instagram photo ops, if you’re into that sort of thing. I love that they carry Lansing Facts merch, because I’m a big #LoveLansing nerd and I wear that label proudly. I also love that they support local artists and creatives, including hosting an annual Super Best Holiday Extravaganza Eleganza to kick off the holiday season and support small, independent and local on Small Business Saturday. 

TL;DR

When we shop small and invest our money back into our local communities, everyone wins. Where are you shopping small today? Let me know in the comments!

Five Ways to Practice Self-Care That Cost Zero Dollars

Self-care is supposed to be anything that we deliberately do to care of ourselves—whether physically, emotionally or mentally. At its core, self-care is a pretty basic idea, but for some reason, it’s become an indulgent, over-the-top practice that’s only associated with fancy (read: expensive) things. As a beauty blogger, I obviously love a good face mask or mani-pedi and admit that, because I enjoy those things, they do make me feel better. But I’ll also admit that I’ve never applied a face mask only to wash all my problems away with it thirty minutes later.

Associating self-care with luxury makes it feel out of reach for a lot of people. If your idea of self-care is a face mask and a CBD bubble bath, there’s no judgment here. But taking care of yourself and prioritizing your mental health doesn’t have to come with a steep price tag. As the holidays approach, I wanted to put together a list of ways to practice self-care that are entirely free of charge.

Clean your house

Whenever I’m in a funk, the first thing I do is stop cleaning my apartment. And then I’m in a funk and I’m living in squalor, which just makes the funk worse. One way that I’ve learned to deal with this is dedicating 10 minutes to cleaning by setting an alarm and just starting. You’d be surprised by how much you can get done in 10 minutes. Sometimes, I’ve had enough after 10 minutes but typically, I’ll see what a difference a few minutes has made and I’m motivated to do even more. Having a clean living space does wonders for your mental health.

Phone a friend

I know that for anyone under the age of 30 making an actual call seems like an unorthodox way to use your phone, but it helps (for me, at least). If talking on the phone isn’t your cup of tea, reach out to a friend or family member in any way that you prefer—but I always find that I feel better after talking to someone I’m close with. You don’t necessarily have to talk about your problems or what (if anything) is bothering you—sometimes just catching up and shooting the shit is enough to lift your spirits.

Limit time spent on social media

As someone who works in social and digital media by day and also moonlights as a blogger, it might surprise you that I would suggest staying off social media. Here’s the deal: social media is not always good for our collective mental health—especially around the holidays. I can’t be the only person who feels like the Grinch as I scroll through Facebook (hate, hate, double hate). If you’re not feeling very merry this Christmas, the last thing you want to be bombarded with is millions of posts from people who are. Sometimes taking a break from social media—or blocking/muting/unfollowing accounts/people who you can’t deal with right now or make you feel bad about yourself is just what you need.  

Set healthy boundaries

This is something that I’m actually working really hard on because I really struggle with it. As a habitual people pleaser, I have the hardest time telling people no, so for me, boundaries feel really scary—and they make me feel really guilty. This holiday season I’m working on saying no without apologizing (i.e., “Now isn’t a good time;” “I really appreciate the invite, but I won’t be able to make it;” “That sounds like a lot of fun, but I’m taking some time for myself this weekend”) and setting boundaries (“let’s not discuss this topic at dinner;” “I’m heading to my room to get some quiet time.”) In really simple terms, setting boundaries means knowing and understanding what your limits are—and they’re key to healthy relationships.  

Write something

I (obviously) like writing. Of all the writing that I do, I think that journaling is my favorite. I’ve had countless “diaries” over the years, but in the last few months, I made a concerted effort to start journaling because it helps me feel better. The writing doesn’t have to be polished, it doesn’t have to be grammatically correct or flow properly—you just have to get your thoughts out of your brain and onto some paper (or a Google Doc, or whatever you feel like). There are a ton of proven benefits to journaling, mentally, physically and emotionally. You don’t have to be Shakespeare, just grab a 50 cent notebook from Target and get started. 

What ways do you practice self-care? 

I’ll Be There for You: 25 Years of Friends

Could 1993 BE any better? The answer is no, because it produced two of the greatest things to ever grace this planet: Friends and me.

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OH.MY.GOD.

In all seriousness, Friends is my favorite TV show. The first time I ever watched it was with my best friend Jenna in the 5th grade. Her family had the complete box set and we would watch it all the time, including in the car on the way to Kalahari because they had a DVD player in their backseat (!). Jenna and her family introduced me to a lot of things (grilled ring bologna, 50 Cent, my first college football game), but I’m mostly thankful that her older siblings loved that classic 90’s sitcom as much as I eventually would.

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My friend Jenna and I. This was taken circa 2010 when we were in high school, definitely not fifth grade. I was also definitely tanning too much. Yikes.

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I immediately became obsessed with Friends, which likely had to do with the fact that it a) took place in NYC (I was obsessed with big cities and getting out of the small town I lived in) b) focused on cool young adults making it on their own and c) covered a variety of topics I knew full and well I had no business knowing about as a 12-year-old.

 

Fun Friends Fact (FFF) 1: Friends was actually one of my first introductions to sex-ed because it taught me that condoms are “only like 97 percent effective.” So, thank you.

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MY LOBSTER

My love for Friends didn’t end after middle school (clearly). When I was in college,  I would come back from class or work and watch reruns of friends on TBS (and sometimes on Nick at Nite). Then, the syndicated show came to Netflix and I could watch it whenever and wherever my internet connection would allow. Above anything else, Friends is my go-to, show. It’s really hard for me to be in a bad mood when Friends comes on. How can you resist clapping along during the intro? And, of course, it’s even better when you have someone to clap along with.

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I’ve seen a lot of freezing-cold takes about Friends recently, about how the show is offensive, or Ross is problematic, but to me the show is just a feel-good comedy about six friends who are there for each other regardless of whatever happens. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?

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Fun Friends Fact (FFF) 2: In my middle school diary, I wrote, in painstaking detail, about how one of my so-called friends hit on my “boyfriend.” I referred to it as “kick-you-in-the-neck, spit-on-your-crotch fantastic.” It’s honestly a shame that Twitter didn’t exist back then. 

HOW YOU DOIN’?

In case you love Friends as much as I do and are wanting to celebrate the shows 25th anniversary by buying a bunch of Friends themed stuff you probably don’t need, look no further!

THE COMPLETE BOX SERIES

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The show is leaving Netflix at the end of the year, so if you’re anything like me and wondering how you’re going to occupy your time/fall asleep at night when it’s no longer there for you, then look no further. OR, if you’re not into DVDs or Blu-Rays (which I mean, it’s 2019, who wants to mess with discs) you can purchase each season digitally on Amazon for 9.99 each.

THE YELLOW PEEPHOLE PICTURE FRAME

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I just purchased this for my apartment because I have wanted one forever and I decided that I deserve nice things and wanted to treat myself. Classic.

HOW YOU’ DOIN’?

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Joey’s iconic catchphrase has been immortalized on a mug—and you need it! I actually really want this, so if any of my friends and family read this and want to buy me an early Christmas/birthday gift, look no further.

CENTRAL PERK COFFEE

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No, really. To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the show, you can buy a bag of ground medium roast ‘Central Perk’ coffee. I mean, need.

THE WHERE IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY

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My 26th birthday is coming up on December 9, if anyone wants to send me this card. Just saying.

COULD I BE WEARIN’ ANY MORE CLOTHES?

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If your lobster is a man (or any person who enojys a good pair of branded boxer briefs) look no further. If I had seen these like 4 months ago, I would have gotten them for someone. I digress.

A SWEATER THAT’S BETTER THAN LEATHER PANTS

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They’re no leather pants, but this Friends crew neck is super cute. It’s on back order at Urban Outfitters because, apparently, it’s what all the cool kids are wearing. BRB, gonna go order it right now.

I’LL BE THERE FOR YOU

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If you’re a sucker for coffee table books (and clearly, Friends) like I am, you’re going to want this. This book is full of quotes from the gang. The version from Urban Outfitters is slightly more expensive but comes with stickers. If you’re in the Grand Rapids area, Rebel Reclaimed has this in-store (and you should also shop local!).

APOTHECARY TABLE FROM THE DAYS OF YORE

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If you’re a Friends fan with some available living room real estate and a large disposable income, this is the Friends-themed product for you. It’s the Pottery Barn apothecary table that Rachel (and Ross) both have in season six. It’s going to cost you more than one and fifty dollars, though.

HE’S HER LOBSTER

Another gem from the PB collection. If you’re a Friends fan and also a hopeless romantic (like myself), you’ll probably enjoy this mug. If you’re those things and also all alone in this world (like myself) you should probably just get it for yourself as a gift because you deserve it!

FRIENDS LEGOS

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Lego sets are all fun and games until they’re put together and you have nowhere to display them—however, I think I could make an exception for this Central Perk set. Unfortunately, it’s all sold out.

THE CHICK AND THE DUCK

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Forget Lassie—the chick and the duck are two of the most popular pets to ever grace the silver screen. While I’m not entirely sure why one would need cups specifically designed to hold eggs, if you found yourself in need of one of those, I would choose this pair.

CRAP BAG

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Ahh, Phoebe. As much as I love Crap Bag Mike (Paul Rudd), I’ve always felt that Phoebe should’ve ended up with David the scientist. Even if you don’t like Friends or get the joke, I think most people who carry purses can relate to having a crap bag so win/win.

JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD

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The sky is blue, grass is green and Joey doesn’t share food—it’s just a fact of life. BRB, ordering this spoon ASAP.

CENTRAL PERK ORNAMENT

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My mom got me this for Christmas last year and it’s one of my favorite ornaments ever. If you have a friend/family member/coworker who loves the show as much as I do, you really can’t go wrong with this gift.

THANKSGIVING CARD

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FFF 3: Season three is the only season that doesn’t have a Thanksgiving episode! This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving episodes, followed closely by “The one with all the Thanksgivings” because I love flashbacks and “The One Where Ross Gets High,” because Rachel messing up the trifle is just classic.

THE POSTER FROM MONICA’S APARTMENT

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I honestly always thought that this poster was kind of ugly, but I didn’t realize that you could buy it on Amazon! If you’re trying to recreate that classic purple living room look, you’re in luck! Also, it says “buttes” so LOL.

TL;DR

Friends is the best show to ever air and we should celebrate it all the time.

Happy Adoption Day: Celebrating Two Years with Kramer

Somehow, Kramer and I just celebrated our second anniversary together. In the two years we’ve been together, we’ve had some really good times and some pretty bad ones. We’ve lived in two different apartments (he also lived with my parents while I moved!), gone through countless bags of treats and seen lots of plants come and go (RIP).

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He has made me incredibly angry by eating my plants, knocking things off any surface he can find and keeping me up at night—and he has also kept me company, entertained me with his adorable antics and acted as my emotional support animal when things have fallen apart.

STARTING THE SEARCH

Pretty much as soon as I got my first apartment alone, sans roommates, I knew I wanted to get a pet. At first, I really had my heart set on getting a dog, but after some serious thought and consideration, I realized that I wasn’t ready for that level of commitment.

When I decided that I wanted to adopt a cat, the Capital Area Humane Society was the first place I looked. I knew that I wanted to adopt a cat, instead of getting one from a breeder (or from somewhere like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace.)

One thing that I was really looking for was a cat without claws. I’ve paid a lot to furnish my apartment, and I didn’t want my new pet ruining it. I also think that declawing cats is kind of cruel, so I didn’t want to I would routinely look for pets online using the sea

LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT

I continued to stalk the CAHS website and Facebook each day, waiting for the right fit. One day as I was perusing the website, I found a cat names Lunar (who was front declawed!). He was black with a white patch on his chest and he looked both adorable and naughty. I fell in love with him.

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Kramer (née Lunar) was living in a cage at Soldan’s in West Lansing. I convinced my friend Jodi to go with me to look at him during our lunch break at work, and when I saw him in his cage, my heart melted. He looked scared and kind of pathetic and small in his big cage, but he was still in good enough spirits to swat at my fingers through the bars.

I talked with one of the employees about what the adoption process entailed and, as usual, was too indecisive to make a final decision during my short hour-long lunch break.

WHAT’S THE CATCH

I went back to work and spent the entire day trying to decide whether or not I was ready to adopt a cat. I decided that figuring out why Kramer was surrendered was important, so I called CAHS to find out. They told me that Kramer’s family brought him to the humane society because he was a) not using his litter box b) chewing on drywall and being generally destructive c) meowing incessantly at all hours of the day/night.

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WHY NOT?

Armed with the knowledge that Kramer was an absolute terror, I sought the advice of a few friends and coworkers who collectively told me I should definitely find another feline friend, I did what any rational person would do and went back to Soldan’s to see him again. An employee told me if I wanted to adopt Kramer, I was going to have to call CAHS to get approved, and do so within the hour because adoptions were ending for the day. I have never been an impulsive person, but I decided to go for it. In less than an hour, I was approved to become a cat mom.

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HERE WE GO

As I was waiting for my approval to go through, I went through the store and picked up all the things that I would need for my new cat. That included a litter box, litter, a scooper, wet food, dry food (grain-free because only the best for my cat son), treats and, of course, toys. One of the toys I got him was a taco stuffed with catnip, which remains one of his favorites to this day. Like mother like son, what can I say?

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I also had to get something to take him home in. Rather than spring for the expensive plastic carrier, I opted for the cheap cardboard one. Joke was on me though, because Kramer is so freakishly strong that once the Soldan employee and I collectively stuffed him inside the box, he broke the cardboard and escaped.

Once Kramer was inside his sturdy plastic carrier, it was smooth sailing. He didn’t make a peep the entire way home. I was a different story entirely. I called my mom on the verge of the tears because I was worried that I was biting off more than I could chew, you know, caring for another living thing and all. She told me I would be fine, and reminded me of the fact that I had been kind of lonely and had been wanting a cat for years. Pretty much from that point forward, it’s been me and Kramer against the world.

HOME SWEET HOME

Kramer was really scared when we first got home. He camped out between the wall and refrigerator for the first few hours and didn’t want to come out. I lured him with many different types of food and treats, but he wasn’t budging. I finally admitted defeat and decided to sit on the kitchen floor and talk to him.

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THE FIRST NIGHT

Once Kramer came out from behind the fridge he quickly asserted his dominance. Everything in my apartment became a toy, including my plants.

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I tried to keep Kramer out of my room at first but quickly realized that wasn’t going to fly. Kramer is king of the castle and he likes to sleep in my bed. Another thing to adjust to was the fact that my body became a jungle gym, especially when it was time to sleep.

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. It took some time to adjust to being woken up to loud sounds and seeing something looming over my head.

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It also took some time adjusting to seeing Kramer sitting on top of my kitchen cabinets. I don’t want to jinx it, but he doesn’t climb on the cabinets at this apartment.

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CRAZY CAT LADY

I got Kramer when I was single and I was kind of afraid of becoming a weird, crazy cat lady spinster. At this point, I’ve just accepted it. Plus, you can’t die alone if you’re surrounded by cats and plants!

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Kramer and I have been through a lot together in two years. We’ve spent hours (more like days) curled up on the couch watching Friends. We’ve gone through countless cans of cat food, bags of treats, and cans of catnip spray. Sure, I have to keep my plants up high (especially the ones that are dangerous for pets) and I’m constantly covered in hair, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

TL;DR

Having a cat is the best. 10/10 definitely recommend.

Making the case for medical-grade skincare

I’ve written blog post after blog post about my skincare, ranging from products I recommend to in-office procedures that I’ve had done. I’ve learned a thing or two on the journey to skin free of acne and acne scars. After years of trial and error, and after spending thousands of dollars, I’m no longer purchasing luxury skincare. 

SKINCARE 101

There are different levels of skincare: drugstore, luxury and medical-grade (also referred to as pharmaceutical grade or “cosmeceuticals”). As someone who has had bad skin for the better part of their life, I’ve purchased my fair share of the first two. I pick up random masks, scrubs and treatments on almost every single Target run, and I strategically stock up on luxury skincare during Ulta sales, Sephora sales, and Nordstrom’s semi-annual sale.

I always assumed that luxury skincare was better than drugstore. For one, luxury skincare costs more (like, a lot more). Between the price tag and the packaging (I hate myself for how easily influenced I am by sleek, chic packaging), it seemed like a no brainer to me that it was better in quality. It turns out that probably isn’t the case.

WHY AM I LIKE THIS

Despite the fact that I have poured thousands of dollars into drugstore and luxury skincare, I have consistently still had issues with skin. For a long time, I struggled with cystic acne. Even after that cleared up, I still found myself struggling with regular, run-of-the-mill acne, severe redness, and lots and lots of scarring. I was religiously using a concoction of drugstore and luxury products last November when I finally bit the bullet and scheduled a microneedling appointment with Jennifer Edwards at Aesthetic Med Spa to help get my scarring under control.

CHAMPAGNE TASTE, BEER BUDGET

I was amazed by the results of the microneedling, but was still pretty stuck in my ways when it comes to skincare. I didn’t really matter to me, because my skin was looking amazing thanks to the microneedling. Then, a few months ago, I randomly started breaking out really badly (probably due to the stress of my life falling apart, but that’s really a story for a different day). I went in and saw Jennifer and she asked about the products that I was using. Let’s see: Dove bar soap, Meijer 10% benzoyl peroxide lotion and Cetaphil moisturizer. I also used a Tula toner (which is actually good), and had a whole rotation of masks in my line-up.

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I thought that poor Jennifer was going to have a heart attack. Here’s someone (me) willing to spend money on in-office procedures, but not willing to spend a little extra money on products to sustain and enhance those results.

Here’s the thing: medical-grade skincare is an investment. It might cost more upfront (depending on what products you currently use, it might not cost much more than luxury skincare), but it’s going to a) last longer b) be more effective and c) produce actual results.

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LUXURY SKINCARE VS MEDICAL-GRADE

So what’s the difference? Here are a few important ones.

  1. Medical grade products have a higher concentration of active ingredients.

    All active ingredients in medical grade skincare must be 99.9% pure. A higher concentration of ingredients means products penetrate deeper into the skin. Drugstore and luxury products are full of fillers and preservatives, (non-active ingredients) that sit on top of the skin and don’t produce any kind of real results.

  2. Medical grade skincare is subject to FDA-regulation and is backed by clinical trials.

    Luxury skincare—and even drugstore skincare—feel nice on your skin, and often smells really good. That’s because it’s designed to—it’s designed to be a sensory experience and not offer much more than that. Medical-grade skincare is backed by clinical research to guarantee that products effective.

  3. Each product is developed for a certain skin type or skin issue and is made to give visible results.

    Because medical-grade products have a higher concentration of active ingredients, you need less product—and the product is able to penetrate deeper into your skin, giving you more effective results.

  4. Medical grade skincare must be sold under a doctor and prescribed by a trained medical professional/licensed skincare nurse or aesthetician.

    Because of their potent formulas, medical-grade products can only be sold under the supervision of professionals. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not knocking the employees at Ulta/Sephora/high-end beauty counters, but they certainly don’t have the same expertise and training as a doctor, nurse or aesthetician. Your skincare professional will be able to give you advice on the products that will work best for your skin.

WHAT I’M USING

After my come-to-Jesus  intervention, Jennifer got me started on a really good regimen that is working wonders on my skin. I use the skinbetter science Oxygen Infusion Wash both morning and night.  In the morning, I follow with the skinbetter science Alto Defense Serum, and at night I follow with skinbetter AlphaRet Overnight Cream. At least once a week, I’ll use the AlphaRet Exfoliating Peel Pads, which are arguably my favorite skincare product of all time.

TL;DR

Medical-grade skincare is expensive—and it can produce some serious sticker shock when you first start testing the waters. Like pretty much anything in like, you get what you pay for. Yes, drugstore and even luxury skincare products are less expensive, but medical-grade skincare is worth every penny when you break down what you get for the price.

 

 

Plant Parenthood: Easy to Care for Houseplants

It’s National Indoor Plant Week! If you know me at all, you’ll know that I love plants. I couldn’t pass up an excuse opportunity to make a trip to one of my favorite local greenhouses and celebrate by buying plants.

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There’s a theory that millennials love houseplants because we’re not having children and need something to nurture (LOL). While I’d love to talk about my deep-seated and unmet needs on the internet, I’m not sure that it’s that serious. I primarily like houseplants because they’re pretty and fun to grow and take care of. 

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I started collecting (?) plants during my senior year of college. My aunt gave me something she called “hens and chicks” which I later learned were succulents. From there, I started accumulating plants at an alarming rate, which was only accelerated when I learned about the Michigan Cactus and Succulent Society and attended their annual show at the University of Michigan. Basically, the rest is history. 

For a while, I primarily just loved the way that plants looked but did a terrible job of taking care of them. Then I met Wajid, an actual plant scientist (!) and he taught me how to properly care for my plants and showed me how therapeutic and enjoyable it can be. Since then, taking care of my plants has become a point of pride and my plants are nearly as spoiled as my cat.

If you’re considering dipping your toes into the plant parenthood, and in honor of this special week, I decided to put together a list of my favorite easy-to-care-for houseplants.

Monstera

My monstera plant was the first plant that I got that wasn’t a succulent or cactus. I saw one on Instagram (lol) and started calling around to local greenhouses to see if they had any in stock. Luckily for me, Van Atta’s did, and I made my first trip there to pick it up. It was much, much larger than I was anticipating. 

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How to care: From what I can tell, Monstera plants are happy pretty anywhere with indirect sunlight, but will do best if they have If they don’t get enough light, they’ll start reaching toward the sun. 

Snake plant

If you have a black thumb, a snake plant is your best friend. I think I have three or four different snake plants (aka sansevieria) scattered around my apartment because they add a touch of greenery to any room and are almost impossible to kill. We also have snake plants at the office that get literally no natural light and have maybe been watered a handful of times in the year and a half since we bought them and they’re still alive and kicking. Bonus: NASA research has shown that these bad boys purify and clean indoor areas.

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How to care:  Snake plants will survive almost anything and are known for their adaptability. They can withstand full sun and handle low light—though they do best in indirect sunlight. When it comes to watering them, easy does it. They really don’t require much water, and prefer to completely dry out before watering again. Depending on the amount of light they’re getting and the humidity in your house, they really only need to be watered every 2-6 weeks. 

Toxic to pets? Yes.

Pothos

To me, there’s nothing as aesthetically pleasing as a trailing plant. I have three different pothos plants: two marble queens and a golden pothos. Like the two earlier plants that I mentioned, pothos are pretty easy to care for. In fact, they’re often referred to as “the devil’s ivy” because they can survive without light and are nearly impossible to kill (not to be confused with the devil’s lettuce. I have no experience in growing that). 

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Photo courtesy of @crazyplantguy

How to care: It’s true that pothos can survive in low light, but they grow faster in medium to bright indirect light. They don’t do well in direct sunlight because the sun burns the foliage and results in brown burnt spots (I learned this the hard way, RIP plant friend). They like their soil to be kept on the drier side, so water enough to keep the soil slightly damp, but let the top 50% of the soil dry out before watering again.

Toxic to pets? Yes.

Succulents

Ahh, succulents. My gateway drug. In the time since I became a hobby horticulturist (lol, I’m joking) succulents have become as popular among millennials as avocado toast or craft beer. A lot of people purport that succulents are super easy to care for, but I don’t like to make generalizations like that. A lot of it is going to depend on a) what kind of succulent you have b) the state the plant was in when you got it and c) the environment that you keep it in. 

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How to care: Succulents need to drain well. If you purchase one from a greenhouse, they’re going to be potted properly and in the right soil. If you get one from Meijer, probably not so much. Whatever pot you keep them in, it absolutely needs a drainage hole. If you overwater them, they will rot and die. With that said, they liked to be soaked and then completely dry out before being watered again. They also need A LOT of sunlight. If your succulents start to look weird and “leggy” it’s because they’re not getting enough sun. They do best in bright, indirect sunlight. I tend to keep mine on my windowsills, but they also do well on my bookshelf (with grow lights).

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Toxic to pets? Depends on the kind. 

Cacti

There are thousands of different varieties of cacti—and they’re all beautiful. I have a number of different cacti in my home (and my office!) and just bought one more yesterday because why not? While I love all plants, I will always have a special place in my heart for cacti and succulents. My personal favorite cactus is my euphorbia (which is actually technically a succulent, but looks like a cactus) for sentimental reasons.

How to care: When it comes to how to care for cacti (and succulents), there are three main factors that affect their rate of survival: light, water and temperature. Too dim or too bright light, too little or too much water, or too cool or too hot temperatures (and often a combination of all three) will make your succulents and cacti unhappy and start behaving strangely. Depending on the type of succulent or cactus, symptoms of mistreatment vary dramatically.

Much like its cousin, the succulent, cacti need soil that is well aerated and fast draining. For me, what that translates to is only watering once in a while, so they end up being pretty low maintenance. (Which is a huge bonus if you’re forgetful or lazy like me). They also like a lot of sunlight (I mean, duh, they come from the desert). Pro tip: don’t mist! Cacti like to be soaked, just like succulents.

TL;DR

It’s National Indoor Plant Week! Go buy some plants and circle back here if you need tips on how to care for them.

I Tried the Botox Lip Flip

I’ve been obsessed with beauty and cosmetics for as long as I can remember. Because I grew up in a time and a town where Ulta and Sephora didn’t exist, and long before beauty bloggers and YouTubers were a thing, I was often left to my own devices when it came to getting ~glam.~ Always a self-care maven, I routinely made DIY lip scrubs, face masks, teeth whiteners and exfoliators from whatever my mom had on hand in the kitchen. I even used to use Elmers Glue instead of Biore strips. I am nothing if not resourceful. (And I know that my aesthetician is going to cringe if she reads this).

IT’S NOT JUST MAKEUP, KYLIE

Not surprisingly, in addition to wanting clear skin and white teeth, I also wanted bigger lips. That’s right, I wanted bigger lips long before Kylie Jenner started lying about overlining hers. At the time, I was naively unaware that people used fillers to enhance their looks and were not, in fact, just naturally blessed with perfectly proportional, beautifully pouty lips. For years, I tried everything I could think of to get bigger lips, including the cult-favorite Too Faced lip plumper, the OG DuWop Lip Venom, and my own homemade concoction that I made with a mix of cayenne pepper and Vaseline.

FAST FORWARD

Fast forward 10-15 years and now everyone—myself included—knows that injectables are the reason that everyone looks so good. If you don’t spend your free time looking at before and afters on Instagram, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but celebrity transformations are not just the result of good lighting, Photoshop, makeup or puberty. It’s filler and neurotoxin and we all know it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but just call a spade a spade. As I like to remind myself: you’re not ugly, just poor.

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THE LIP FLIP

I went back and forth on the idea of getting lip filler for a long time—and then I learned about this magical alternative called the lip flip that uses Botox instead of filler to give the lips a more full look and I was all in.

Lip augmentation is normally done using a hyaluronic acid-based filler, like Juvederm or Restalyn. During a lip flip, Botox is strategically placed into the orbicularis oristo muscle to paralyze it, subtly flipping the lip outward and making it appear fuller than it is.

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THE PROCESS

I had no idea what to expect. I’ve always heard that lip filler is quite painful, but Lisa did such a great job of explaining the process to me that I didn’t feel nervous at all. As a side note, Lisa has been a nurse injector for over 18 years. She is kind and hilarious and I can’t recommend her enough.

Lisa had me sit in the chair and make a kissy face. Once my lips were puckered, she marked the two spots on my top lip where she would be injecting me with Botox.

She had me keep my lips puckered as she injected the muscle. I felt a quick poke as she made each injection, but it wasn’t awful and it was over within a matter of seconds. All in all, the process took maybe 3 minutes. If you’re interested, you can watch a video of the entire experience here or on their Facebook page.

NOW WHAT?

Like any procedure using Botox, it takes 14 days to see the full effects of the neurotoxin. That being said, within two or three days, I was already noticing a subtle change. I noticed the most when I would smile. Previously, when I would smile my top lip would entirely disappear. Now, when I smile I still have two lips! Check out my before and after.

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THE RESULT

As the Botox starts to kick in and the muscle becomes paralyzed, you’ll notice your lip starts to feel a little funny. I first noticed it was kicking in when I was trying to eat some a bowl of cereal, and realized eating from a spoon felt funny. It doesn’t hurt or limit what I can or can’t do at all and I’ve had it done twice now, so it clearly doesn’t bother me!

I love my lip flip. It was quick, easy and relatively painless. This is easily something you could do over your lunch breaks and the results last somewhere between 4-6 months. The cost will vary person-to-person, depending on how much Botox you need, so you’ll need an in-person consultation to say for sure, but I would guess the price would be somewhere between $50-$100.

TL;DR

I got a Botox lip flip done by Lisa at Aesthetics Med Spa and now my lips look even more fabulous than they did before.

 

 

IN GOOD COMPANY: PUTTING COMMUNITY OVER COMPETITION + COMING TO TERMS WITH YOUR OWN BULLSH*T

Social media is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s a place to connect with friends, be introduced to new people, exposed to new ideas and inspire creativity. On the other hand, it can quickly become super toxic and leave you feeling like a giant pile of shit.

I’m keenly aware of that, and as such, I’ve become much more stringent with who I allow in my social media circle, if you will. I no longer follow accounts or people that I don’t like, that publish content I don’t enjoy and/or make me feel bad about myself. IMO, life is too short to willingly consume content that isn’t good for your mental health!

KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES’

I have spent a lot of time curating my online community to be a place where I go to connect with friends and feel inspired—and I am incredibly fortunate to have a plethora of kick-ass people in my life (both in “real life” and online)—but even so, I sometimes still find myself comparing myself to others and feeling very Holden Caufield-y, which is to say: like a phony. (p.s. Catcher in the Rye is one of my favorite books of all time and, no, I am not a serial killer).

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I know I’m not alone in feeling this way. When we see other people sharing their highlight reel of accomplishments through rose colored-filters, it’s easy to feel like you don’t measure up. Couple this with the fact that, as a culture, women are constantly being pit against each other, it’s not difficult to understand how easily we can get consumed with the modern-day equivalent of “keeping up with the Joneses,’” and how that distorts our expectations of ourselves and others. Even when we use social media with the best intentions, it can be super easy to look at what other people are doing and feel jealous, insecure or inadequate—and wonder where you fit in on any given platform or in any given space.

SOCIAL MEDIA + IMPOSTER SYNDROME

For me, social media-fueled imposter syndrome often goes hand-in-hand with scarcity mindset, especially when it comes to marketing myself as a blogger or content creator. For a long time, I’ve operated under the belief that there will never be enough. Everything is a trade-off and if someone else is being afforded an opportunity it effectively means that something is being taken away from me. It wasn’t until very recently that I realized I even felt that way. In a weird way, it was a subconscious belief that was operating in the background but was, in part, shaping the way that I see the world. Now that I’ve recognized that feeling, and acknowledged it’s rooted in fear and not reality, I’ve decided to actively combat it by using my platform to highlight other people that I adore and admire in a new series I’m calling “In Good Company,” which I plan to start rolling out next month. YAY!

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IF I’M SHINY, EVERYBODY GONNA SHINE

There are a few recent things that have a) made me come to terms with my own shit and b) got the wheels in motion to actively combat it. The first thing that happened, was joining west Michigan Diva Babe and Mindset Coach™ Topsie VandenBosch’s Facebook group. If you don’t already follow Topsie on Instagram, you absolutely need to. I started following her because my friend Andrea Kerbuski of Blonde Bedhead raved about her and I. Am. Obsessed. Every single time I watch her IG stories I feel like she’s talking directly to me, whether it’s hyping me up and reminding me that I’m 100% that bitch, or calling me out on my own problematic mindset and habits. I can’t say enough good things about her.  She recently released a freebie (!) about how to “say #byefelicia to imposter syndrome” and it really resonated with me (clearly).

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Another thing that solidified the fact that I want to be doing things to intentionally build community was meeting a local #LoveLansing business owner and long-time social media friend, Daelynn Shafer. We had brunch at the People’s Kitchen (which is amazing, 10/10 recommend) and one thing that we discussed was the idea of community over competition—and the cool things that she is doing to bring women together right in mid-Michigan. I left our meeting feeling inspired and reminded that the world, and specifically Lansing, is full of amazing, talented people—and that there is enough opportunity for everyone.

YOU CAN SIT WITH US

Building community is important for everyone, but it feels especially important for women. I am incredibly lucky in that I know so many awesome women who are busting ass in their respective careers, side hustles, passion projects and lives, and I can’t wait for you to get the chance to meet them, too.

TL;DR

Community over competition should be more than just a trendy catchphrase. The world is full of awesome people and there’s enough opportunity for everyone.

Our Weekend in the Windy City: My First Trip to Chicago

Despite growing up in a small, rinky-dink town in mid-Michigan surrounded by trees and cornfields, I have always been obsessed with big cities. I’ve been to New York City twice, and despite the fact that Chicago is just across the lake, I had never been (and I had wanted to go for almost as long as I can remember).

Unfortunately, no one in my family shares my love of big cities. Somehow, none of my close friends do either. Or, if they do, they never have the time or the money to go. My cousin Chad lives in NYC and has been gracious enough to let my stay with him and show me the city on two different occasions, but I that still left me in a little bit of a pickle when it comes to traveling to other places. Long story short: Chicago has always felt so close, but so far away.

THE BEST TRAVEL PARTNER

I met Wajid in December of 2017 and we have always talked about going to Chicago together. Despite the fact that he’s from Kashmir, which for reference is over 7,000 miles and an ocean away, he has been to Chicago a bunch of times to visit his close friends who are currently working there as post-docs. He knew the ropes of getting there and navigating the city, including fun places to visit, the best restaurants to eat at, etc.

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The funniest, smartest, most patient man I’ve ever met.

Because Wajid is here on a scholar Visa (which sounds very fancy, but is fitting because he is truly the most brilliant person I have ever met!) our time together is finite. If there was one thing I really wanted to prioritize before he has to go, I wanted to experience Chicago with him and I am so genuinely grateful we had the chance to do that. It was a weekend and an experience that I will always remember.

BOOKING THE TRIP

Scheduling the trip was kind of tricky because we’re both super busy people. He works at MSU as a post-doctoral researcher and a lot of his work is very time sensitive—i.e., running experiments, working on getting papers published, etc. He also is the most hardworking person I’ve ever met, so as much as I wanted to go, I knew that, ultimately, his work had to come first and I didn’t want to stress him out about it. 

If getting a trip planned around both of our schedules wasn’t hard enough, the weather this spring was throwing another wrench in our planning. We finally were able to nail down a date in late April and from there he booked the train tickets and I booked the hotel and bought our City Passes.

HERE WE GO

I spent the weeks leading up to our Chicago trip planning things out. I bought a ridiculous amount of new clothes, made sure that my nails were done, my lashes were filled, etc. Not only had it had literally been 10 years since I had been on a trip, but I’m also naturally the most ~extra~ person ever so I had to make sure that every detail was accounted for.

As our trip started getting closer and closer I started feeling increasingly overwhelmed. I was stressed out about the logistics of the trip, I was stressed out about the work that I needed to get done before we had to leave, I was stressed out about what I should pack. I got so overwhelmed that I started feeling like I shouldn’t have even bothered planning a trip if I was going to feel so stressed the entire time.

Wajid has always been the yin to my neurotic yang and was able to help me relax and reassure me that everything would be okay and I that I would get everything done I needed to and have the best trip to Chicago ever—and he was right.

(Side note: I’ve become less reactive and much more pragmatic since I met him, so hold on to your hat because I’m going to be a hot ass mess without him).

PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES

I was so excited for our trip that I couldn’t sleep the night before. I literally felt like a kid on Christmas. 

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I had never been on a train before and it totally exceeded my expectations. I had no idea that there would be wifi on the train or that there would be a place to charge my phone and computer. I worked the entire train ride, so it went by so fast. The closer we got to Chicago, the worse the weather started getting and by the time we reached Union Station it was snowing and sleeting. 

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To be entirely honest, there could have been locusts swarming Chicago and I wouldn’t have cared. I was so excited to be there with him, it didn’t matter to me what the weather was doing.

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#TREATYOSELF

I was in charge of booking the hotel and, naturally, I chose the fanciest hotel possible. We stayed at the Chicago Athletic Association and, while it was a great hotel and we loved our stay, I would probably opt for something a little less expensive/pretentious on my next visit there. 

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January, February and occasionally late April!

DAY 1

After we dropped our things off at the hotel and took a little break, we headed out for our first tourist-y experience: Shedd Aquarium.

I had always wanted to go to Chicago and I had always wanted to go to an aquarium so I literally could not wait for this and it didn’t disappoint.

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We spent hours and hours there exploring the whole place and it was a great way to kick off our trip. I absolutely love how excited Wajid gets about seeing and learning new things, and his enthusiasm and willingness to always try new things makes him the greatest companion for museums and adventures. 

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After we left Shedd Aquarium we headed back to the hotel where we hung out for the rest of the night, with the exception of making a trek out in the shitty weather for some Nando’s, which was a first for me. We tried taking a stroll after we ate dinner but it was freezing cold and sleeting, so we decided to call it a night.

DAY 2

We had the absolute best weather on the second day of our trip. We genuinely could not have asked for a more beautiful day. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and blue and it was not too hot or too cold. It totally made up for the shitty snow the previous day, not that either of us were bothered by it anyway.

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We started our day at Goddess and the Baker because I had seen it on Instagram and wanted to try it. Wajid is literally the best sport about going along with stupid things I’ve seen on the internet.

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After we had breakfast we walked over to Millenium Park where we got photos in front of the Bean (!!!) and Michigan Ave. God bless his soul for always taking a million gratuitous photos of me and making sure they hit all my good angles.

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We spent a lot of time wandering around the park, taking pictures and taking in all the sights.

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I bought this Gucci bag specifically for this trip, so yes, you will see it in every single photo and no I am not sorry in the least.

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Our next step was the Navy Pier, which was one of the things I was looking forward to the most.

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We did just about every quintessential Navy Pier thing you can think of, including an architecture tour of the city, riding the Ferris wheel, walking the pier and shopping. Bonus points that they have a botanical garden of sorts!

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After we left the Navy Pier we went back to our hotel for a while before heading out for the Skydeck. We tried to do some shopping in between because I ripped my pants (because of course I did) but we spent too long at Sephora (because of course I did) and I ended up not having any time to get new pants before all the stores closed.

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Seeing Chicago at night was amazing, no matter how long we had to wait in line (or how many times) and God bless Wajid for putting up with my grouchy ass.

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After we left the Skydeck, we hoofed it back to our hotel to eat Shake Shack and watch Game of Thrones on my laptop because the hotel didn’t have free HBO, but not before stopping at the Chicago sign on the way back because I really wanted to see it and Wajid is the sweetest and always humors me.

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DAY THREE

Our third and final day in Chicago started with coffee at the coffee shop in our hotel, followed by the Field Museum, which was arguably one of the best experiences of the whole trip. I am a huge museum nerd, and this was honestly the coolest museum I have ever been to.

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I am definitely not everyone’s cup of tea to travel with because I enjoy doing super touristy things, spending all day at museums, etc. Thankfully, Wajid enjoys museums just as much as I do and was happy to spend all day wandering around learning. Science, bitch!

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We had to hurry through the museum because our train left at 4 p.m., but we could have easily spent all day at the Field Museum taking everything in.

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I honestly owe Wajid an apology for taking the absolute worst pictures ever. He takes the best pictures of me and I am the worst.

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You’re Joe Meteorite, and I’m Joe Dirt!

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Wajid does a lot of work with tobacco plants so I asked him nicely to pose in front of this fake plant for a picture, which I know he didn’t want to do but did anyway.

After we left the Field Museum, we headed did some more shopping (the Michigan Ave. Sephora was the most glorious Sephora I have ever been in and I couldn’t stay away—plus it was during the spring sale, so I bought way more than I should have. You can read my blog post about it here). 

After that, we got some Thai food and headed back to Union Square to catch our train.

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Looking much less enthusiastic on the way home.

TL;DR

I had the best time ever in Chicago. This trip exceeded every single expectation that I had and is something that I will always remember. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip or a better travel partner. 

One Day at a Time: Creating Healthy Habits that are Sustainable

Back in November, I decided that I was going to make a concerted effort to be healthier. I was having some health issues and knew that my lifestyle, diet and exercise habits (or lack thereof) were not doing me any favors. It was time for a change.

As someone who hadn’t stepped foot in a gym or made any attempt to be any semblance of healthy in a solid 4 years, I knew that the most important thing was to make small changes that would be sustainable. I didn’t set out trying to lose weight, fit into a specific size or look a certain way. I literally just wanted to be healthier and feel better — mentally and physically.

POUR IT UP

The first change that I made was committing to drinking more water. It’s funny to me how something so simple, and so important for the function of our brains and bodies is so difficult for me to do! I am terrible about making sure that I drink enough water because I really just don’t feel thirsty throughout the day. It’s not that I was drinking coffee, pop or energy drinks in lieu of drinking water—I really just wasn’t drinking anything. 

I bought a 24-ounce tumbler and started making a conscious decision to refill it at least twice throughout the day and it worked! I’m not sure if its the tumbler, or the fact that I get to drink through a straw (for some reason, I am more likely to drink water if it’s through a straw, anyone else?) but I’ve been a) drinking more water and b) using less plastic so it’s a win/win in my book.

WORKIN’ ON MY FITNESS

Despite the fact that I had had a Planet Fitness Black Card for a year and a half I had never stepped foot into a single Planet Fitness location and I decided that it was time. When I was in college I went to Anytime Fitness and loved it, but life got busy and I made lots of excuses about why I didn’t have time to go to the gym so I stopped.

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I kept telling myself that I would start going “this week,” but in all honesty, I was really afraid to go to the gym. As someone who doesn’t work out and is visibly plus size, the gym can be extremely intimidating. But, I powered through and went away. I had been operating under the assumption that people would look at me or judge me, but that wasn’t the case at all. Once I got there I realized that no one cared what I was doing except me. I’ve been going between 3-5 times a week now for almost 6 months and I’m amazed at how much better—and stronger—I feel.

LAY OFF ME, I’M STARVING

I can force myself to spend an hour a day in the gym, but it’s the other 23 hours that really test my willpower because all I want to do is eat junk food. Ever since I moved into my new apartment I have been so much better about cooking my meals vs. getting takeout or fast food, but there is definitely still room for improvement. One of the areas I was struggling with was not eating breakfast.

When I first started trying to make healthier choices, I started bouncing ideas off my friend and coworker Andrea. She knew that I didn’t eat breakfast and told me that I should really make an effort to start doing that. Since she’s basically Lansing’s own Sporty Spice, and Martin Waymire’s health and fitness authority, I decided to take her advice.

RUNNING LATE IS MY CARDIO

As much as I wanted to take Andrea’s advice, I still had a big issue. I am not a morning person. I am also habitually late. Those two things were really hindering my ability to make breakfast in the morning. One day I was at the Old Town General Store (for the sake of full transparency, I was buying beer because balance lol) and I saw a display full of BRITE bites. BRITE bites are probiotic snack bites. They were created by a Michigan State University student (go Green!) and come in three different varieties. Every bite is hand-rolled in East Lansing and all bites are dairy-free and contain one billion CFUs of Live Probiotics.

I knew about the brand and the product through social media but had never tried them because I’d never seen them in a store before. I bought a bag of the original BRITE bites, based on the recommendation of the cashier, and was so excited to try them that Wajid and I literally opened them in the car on the way home.

PROBLEM SOLVED

I am a picky eater. I’ve gotten a lot better about trying new things in recent years, but I still tend to have the palate of a child. I was a little nervous about trying them at first because they look healthy and are chock full of healthy ingredients—but they are delicious.

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I found myself munching on them as a snack throughout the day but realized they would be ideal for breakfast. They’re healthy, they’re easy, I can eat them on-the-go, in my car or at my desk and I don’t even have to cook anything. Praise the old gods and the new.

As someone who has a sweet tooth, the chocolate ones are my absolute favorite, but you really can’t go wrong. All three varieties are delicious and surprisingly filling! As someone who used to consider cold pizza or Lucky Charms a decent breakfast, it feels good to do something good for my body first thing in the morning. 

ONE STEP AT A TIME

When I first started making healthy changes in my life I knew that I wanted it to be just that—small, sustainable changes that would help me feel better both mentally and physically without feeling deprived or burnt out. As I come up on the 6 month mark, I’m super proud of myself for sticking to it and I’m blown away by how much drinking a little more water, making a conscious decision to eat healthy food and moving your body can do for you.

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Have you tried BRITE bites? Let me know you’re favorite flavor and how you incorporate them into your diet! And if you have any tips for being healthier, eating better or moving more I’d love to hear them!

TL;DR

I’ve been making a conscious effort to incorporate healthier alternatives into my life by drinking more water, eating less junk and moving my body more—and BRITE bites have helped me immensely.