How to Keep Yourself from Spiraling

In a semi-recent post I talked about how my life has been spiraling out of control a bit. It’s gotten a little worse, but this also spiked some inspiration. Eight hours of work, eight hours of play, and eight hours of sleep is a perfect example of an idea that sounded better than it actually turned out. I’ve been able to more accurately pin-point what it is that triggered all this and I am taking steps to fix it… but in the mean time this is what I’ve been doing to keep myself from freaking the fuck out.

Focus

It’s a lot easier to see things as an overwhelming intimidating mess when you look at it as a whole. I’ve found it calms me down immensely when I just pick one thing, and focus on it, and then move onto the next one thing. Before you know it, that bottomless list has a bottom and you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Take it a day at a time

With the idea of focusing on one item at a time, focusing on the 24 hours you have in front of you can also reduce stress. When you come to terms that things don’t change over night and that working through small daily goals will move you forward – things become more manageable.

Know that this is temporary

Knowing that whatever you’re going through won’t last forever doesn’t fix whats going on, but it helps to know that you won’t always feel this way. Whether it’s a shitty job, a break up, or financial instability – what you’re feeling is temporary, and if you’re doing something each day to move forward, that someday becomes a lot closer to reality.

Exercise

Or find any way to make some time for yourself. Exercise is good because it releases endorphins that help you put things in perspective and allow you to relax. No matter how high strung and high stress my days get – going on a short run will always put me back to a place of normalcy. Doing yoga and meditating are also pretty fool proof in forcing yourself to relax. The key is to make this something you want to do – that you’ve actually made time in your day for, rather than another thing on your list that you need to tick off in order to feel like you’ve accomplished something. Taking time for yourself shouldn’t be a chore – if you don’t have time to work out, don’t sweat it, but be sure to do something for yourself everyday. Otherwise, what’s the point?

And if all else fails, Stop.

There is nothing in the world more important than your happiness and sanity. And when you ignore this, things begin to spiral and all of a sudden that single problem has spawned off into a monster all it’s own that looks like something it isn’t.

Stop. Breathe. And try to put what you’re doing in perspective. Go for a walk, listen to music, or just close your eyes for a few minutes. There’s only so much we as humans can take, and it’s import to remember that we are, just humans.

“Don’t think about what can happen in a month. Don’t think about what can happen in a year. Just focus on the 24 hours in front of you and do what you can to get closer to where you want to be.”

We Were Liars

This book made me feel all kinds of crazy and I’m still tripping over it. This has been sitting in my recommendations for a really long time so I finally decided to read it, and I have to say I’m pretty pissed at myself for ignoring it for so long. It starts off with the perfect summer vibes with tales of the glamorous Sinclair family and their summers spent on Beechwood island – you can pretty much smell the beach roses. The novel follows the “Liars” over the course of two summers while the main character, Cadence, struggles to remember a pivotal event that happened Summer Fifteen.

Several times I thought I knew what to expect before I was thrown further into doubt. The twist in this book is so unexpected and perfectly executed that you feel somewhat content while also totally devastated.

A must read for anyone who enjoys John Green or Gone Girl.

I finished this book over the course of a weekend and it has become one of my all time favorites

3.14(2016) Calls for Apple Pie

To celebrate Pi day yesterday Joe and I decided we wanted to bake a pie, so we settled on the American classic.

I can’t take full credit for this recipe since I got it from taking a cooking class in 7th grade (it’s so good I have kept it all these years later) but we did make a few changes. This recipe usually calls for a homemade pie crust but due to convenience, time, and lack of ingredients we decided to just use Safeway store brand frozen crusts.

One reason this pie is so much better than traditional apple pies is due to the top being made from a crumble rather than another pie crust, and it is awesome. It’s sort of like an apple-pie-crumble hybrid

Anyway, we started off with 8 granny smith apples, which turned out to be way too many, so we were able to make two pies. And instead of cutting them in slices, we chopped them into small chunks (this probably also contributed to our giants mass of apples).

Next we added the lemon juice, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and just a little bit of nutmeg.

We added all of this to our two pie crusts before getting started on the crumble. (The order isn’t important and doesn’t really matter, we were just trying to minimize dishes)

You want to make sure you use softened butter for the crumble so that it creates a nice crumbly look that you can easily pour over and cover the top of your apples.

In order to make sure the crust was fully cooked and the apples were nice and mushy we put our pies in the oven for 15 min at 450 before reducing it to 350 for 35 more minutes, and we honestly could have left it in a little longer.

The finished product looked and smelled phenomenal. We waited a whole minute to let it cool before adding some Vanilla ice cream and digging.

Happy Pi  Day!

(for one pie)

Filling

  • 4 Granny Smith Apples
  • 1 whole squeezed lemon (or 1 tbls lemon juice)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 pinches of nutmeg

Topping

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter

 

The Good Girl Review

I’ve been on a bit of a dry spell lately and haven’t had any time to read. Partially due to actually not being able to but mostly due to a lack of motivation and will… it’s been a shitty month. Anyway, as a result this book took me almost three months to finish and it’s not particularly long – but that’s besides the point.

This is a novel that is split into three distinct time slots; Before, Christmas Eve, and After. That being said, it does not flow in a chronological order. You get glimpses of before and after before you ever find out what happens at the pivotal point of the story on Christmas Eve. And just when you think you figured out with the twist is in this novel, you get hit with an even bigger one that I for one, did not see coming at all.

This thriller will appeal to fans of Gone Girl and The Luckiest Girl Alive. And although it does not appear to be in for production for a movie currently, it has been confirmed that the rights have been bought.

 

On a side note: If anyone has any similar recommendations please leave them in the comments!

My Yogaworks Review

So I have been doing yoga online at MyYogaWorks for about two months now on a free trial and I can happily say that I will continue with their programming once my trial ends on Saturday. As someone who enjoys yoga but doesn’t have the time or disposable income to commit to a studio, this provided a no excuses way to get a kick ass workout every morning.

I alternated between picking my own videos and doing a few of the “Journey Series,” and these provided not only motivation, but also a series of workouts that worked together and really felt like a cohesive group. Two of my favorites were the New Years Yoga Reboot and Summer Ready, which I am participating in now. These Series are split up by skill level so you won’t be expected to do workouts that are too far above or below your abilities. I found that intermediate was a good spot for me seeing as I’m fairly athletic, but not that experienced with the practice of yoga.

Another awesome feature of this program is the ability to pick the length of each of your practices (unless your participating in a Journey Series). So if I was in a rush on the weekdays I would just throw in a quick 15 min workout, and then balance it out with a longer 60 min one on the weekends. I told myself that I would work out everyday no matter what – and the best way to guarantee this actually happened was to pick a work out that fit my time schedule so I couldn’t make the excuse of being too busy.

Additionally, since it’s been pretty stormy over here in Northern California, all I needed to get my workout done was an internet connection and some space. So by eliminating all of these excuses I was forced to work out. And realistically – yoga itself isn’t very intimidating when it comes to working out – so it’s not very hard to get all your ducks in a row for this one.

So, having only ever really attended one yoga class, I was curious to see if this would provide enough of a workout that I wouldn’t have to do anything else – so for two months I did just that, and I have to say, it totally worked! I felt surprisingly sore after some of the more involved workouts, and I am definitely more flexible than I was at the start of the year!

Over all this is the perfect no-excuses programming to keep the pudge at bay during the winter months and keep the SADS and stress under control with some deep meditation and reflection. I will definitely keep this in the rotation even once the weather starts to brighten up!

Would definitely recommend to those like myself with little motivation when it comes to shitty weather and a busy schedule.

 

2015 Book Review

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Looking for Alaska has gained a lot of noteriety of the last few years, and for good reason. This was the first book I read on my kindle and I finished it within days. Given that I read this over a year ago – it still is one of my favorite books and leaves me feeling oddly nostolgic when I think about it. It’s currently in pre-production to be made into a movie likely to drop in 2017, so if you havent read it yet – read it before you read anything else on this list.

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Queen of Tearling is book one in a trilogy that will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones alike. It set in a futuristic monarchy type setting with all the fantasy and betrayal of the afformentioned series’. This too is being made into a movie with Emma Watson as the lead, aside the same team that made Harry Potter, so you know it’s bound to be good.

 

6690798I ended up reading The Passage after both my boyfriend and my Kindle kept recommending it to me – and it was not at all what I expected. The description makes it sound as if it is an unlikely journey between a lost little girl and a federal investigator through the harsh wilderness of North America, so I was pretty confused when it took a turn towards to post-apocolyptic. It might have something to due with the fact that it took me a very long time to read this hefty book – but it felt to me as if it was broken up into two seperate stories. However my boyfriend absolutely loves it – so for those into the post-apocolyptic, Walking Dead, sort of thing – this is for you!

 

After reading Looking for Alaska, I was looking to get my hands on anything written by 51hgkNew+XL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_John Green so Paper Towns seemed like the natural next step seeing as it was being made into a movie shortly after. And it did not disappoint. Reading this made me want to forget all of my responsibilites and go on an amazing adventure for no rational reason because I related so strongly to Quentin and wanted to be Margo. It’s a great coming of age novel and makes you oddly nostalgic about highschool and the kind of ironic freedom you had.

 

allegiant-by-veronica-rothAllegiant is the final book in the Divergent trilogy, and in my opinion, the best one. There isn’t as much need to construct the scene in this one so it really focuses on the characters and their relationships. I ripped through this one faster than any of the previous two and it played my emotions like a fiddle. The final movie is being split into two parts with the first part set to release during the Spring of this year.

 

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If you haven’t heard about Girl on the Train, you need to stop reading this and go pick it up right now. It’s set in modern day London with a protagonist that is in the most simplest of terms… pathetic. But her drunken blackouts and lack of a moral compass are key to this mystery and will constantly have you shaking your head at her misguided and ill-advised choices. This, like most of the others on this list, is being turned into a movie set to be released on October 7th of this year. Emily Blunt will be playing Rachel and I have to say, I was hoping for someone who fit the description a little more (ahem! Melissa Mcarthy!)

 

the-selection-seriesThe Selection Series is one I started while I was in Europe since I had so much time to kill on various forms of transportation. Fans of the Luxe serious or the Hunger Games might enjoy this new series that follows one girl through a gameshow like competition to win over the prince of a Illea (previously North America, but there’s some war back story on that.) Think the Bachelor, but with a royal spin and a younger selection pool. Anyway, good YA series and a pretty easy read.

41dmcwlqdnl-_sy344_bo1204203200_An Abundance of Katherines was a result of my craving for another John Green novel. This showed up in my recommendations a few times but the description never piqued my interest enough to actually buy it. And that will be the last time I make that mistake. I guess you could say this is technically a love story, but more importantly it is a story about an adventure and discovering yourself – similar to all of John Green’s novels. I have somehow fallen in love and related to all of his protagonists and we have virtually nothing in common. This book just makes you feel good about life.51hmfl5xx9l-_sy344_bo1204203200_

 

ATTENTION FANS OF GONE GIRL & GIRL ON A TRAIN: Read this book. I finished this 350 page novel in four days and I wish I could just keep reading it. The Luckiest Girl Alive alternates between the present and about 13 years prior when the protagonist was still in high school. This story all surrounds this one horrific event that happened in the past that you don’t even learn about until half way through and it was the most wonderfully irritating thing. I feel like I can’t say anything about it without giving something away so just read it. Read it.

UPDATE: Just found out this too is being made into a movie produced by the same people as Gone Girl. No release date yet.

200px-extremely_loud_and_incredibly_close_largeExtremely Loud and Incredibly Close is one of those books that has been around for a while that I myself had just got around to reading due to lack of recommendations and motivation. And it totally makes sense why it’s so popular. This story takes place right after 9/11 following the sweetest little boy (potentially autistic?) named Oscar on a wild goose chase around New York City. It tugs on all the heart strings and really makes you think about life before and after 9/11. You can’t help but fall in love with Oscar and his resilience for a truth that may or may not exist.

 

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I was somewhat reluctant to add this to my list, but this was my trashy read of the year so give me a break. What Once was Perfect drew my attention because of it’s Christmas story and my desperate desire to get in the spirit. It’s a trashy semi-erotic novel about high school sweet hearts reunited and all of the complication that comes with it. It’s a good book if you’re looking for something to turn your brain off too while you’re curled up by the fire.

How I got everything I ever wanted and lost complete control of my life.

I am sitting at my own desk, at the ground floor of a rapidly growing start up, getting paid far too much to do easy daily tasks…and I am losing my mind.

A year ago, this is all I ever wanted. I was working my ass off everday to try and have this life that seemed so unatainable, I was taking on extra classes so I could graduate early, I was taking on multiple internships at a time, I was spending every free minute researching and trying to find out the secret to what it takes to get ahead… and then I got it.

Everyone warned me that I would miss college if I graduated early, and I didn’t doubt them, but this constant undying need to succeed and surpass my peers overcame any skepticism I had about thrusting myself into the post-grad corporate world.

Now just to be clear – this was not the life I had in mind a few years ago. I never wanted an office job. The idea of sitting at a desk and staring at a computer for eight hours a day was far what I considered desirable or glamourous. But as I pursued my degree and became more familiar with what a job looked like in my field, that became the only option.

I shot for what was realistic rather than what I really wanted to do… and now I am stuck.

Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly lucky to have this job and I know how awesome it is for someone who just graduated from college, but I, like many other new grads, seriously fucked up. And I am freaking out.

Working 9 – 5 sucks. And maybe it’s just because this is my only experience doing it, but that is a shit ton of your day, which turns into a shit ton of your week, which turns into a shit ton of your life. Some days are better than others, but for the most part I feel like I am being completely absorbed by my job.

The worst part of this whole thing is when you take a second to step back and you realize that this is your life, and for the forseeable future, this is your whole life. And if I dont do something to change it, it is never changing.

So I guess what I’m really pissed about is, why didn’t everything I ever wanted turn into what I thought it would? And what exactly did I think I wanted? How did the life I had pictured differ so differently from this one?

And how the hell do I fix it.