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what to do if you have the winter blues

I’m not a doctor, but I get especially gloomy as soon as the days get shorter, colder, and darker. I’ve never been diagnosed with SAD, but WebMD says I probably have it. Here’s what I do on particularly blue days.

go somewhere warm.

Tanning bed, sauna, bath tub, hot yoga (currently very into Sculpt at CorePower), or a tropical escape if you can spring for it. Find somewhere you can sweat out all those feelings and forget about your chapped knuckles.

laugh a little.

Yeah, I’ve seen every episode of The Office at least seven times, but I’m not stopping anytime soon. Watch a rom-com, favorite TV show, or stand-up special from the comfort of your cozy bed.

leave the house.

Though I definitely consider myself a homebody, I quickly start to feel cooped up during the winter months. Whether you bundle up and head to the nail salon, a pottery class, the book store, or a restaurant, it always feels great to get dressed and be a person.

make something good.

Winter is the perfect season to spend in the kitchen. From soups to sweets, the oven will warm your kitchen and the food will warm your heart.

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how to fall asleep at night

You may or may not know that I’ve had a decade-long struggle with falling asleep at night. From racing thoughts to crushing anxiety, being a chronic worrier can have a pretty negative effect on your REM cycle. My New Year’s resolution a few years ago was to put more effort into getting better quality sleep…and lately, I’ve been feeling pretty well-rested. Here’s what I’m doing at bedtime these days.

sticking to a routine.

Soooo lame, but so helpful. Every night I do the boring stuff like take my vitamins and brush my teeth, but I also massage on my face cream, light a candle, and do the daily mini New York Times crossword. I think having a very specific set of tasks helps create a ritual that now lulls me to sleep each night.

physical exhaustion.

I’ve been exercising more than usual the past few months…partly because I want to look good on my upcoming vacation and partly because I’m still hunting for the perfect gym near my apartment. Even though going to spin or barre after work gives me a rush of endorphins, by the time I get home, shower, and eat dinner, I can barely keep my eyes open.

a little lavender.

I was pretty sure there was no scientific backing to the calming effects lavender boasts, but I recently read an NYTimes article that says otherwise! Anyway, I’ve been spritzing lavender pillow spray for years because it’s my all-time favorite scent.

melatonin, baby.

I’m still a sucker for this stuff. If I got a not-so-great sleep the night before, I’ll pop one of these to knock me out.

some tricky breathing.

I heard about the 4-7-8 method from one of my favorite writers – check our her guide to it here. I usually use this method when I’m feeling stressed or anxious (not just sleepless) since it’s very meditative.

Do you have any tricks for falling asleep?

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pin-spiration

pin-spiration: kitchen

It’s no secret that I love food. I’ve also grown to love cooking and baking, especially when I get to share the finished product with my family and friends. I love the way food brings people together, and I think that the kitchen is the most important shared space in any home.

In my dream kitchen, there’s lots of light, a farmhouse sink, and plenty of space for people to gather. Here are some photos inspiring my future culinary space.

What’s a must-have for your dream kitchen? 

 

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my mental happy place

I’ve written before about my sleep struggles and frequent anxiety. These are two of my least favorite things about myself, and when they join forces at midnight, I know I’m in for a night of laying flat on my back trying to slow a racing heart, or scrolling through the “Discover” section of Instagram wondering why everyone else has a better life than I do.

I was at a Girl Scout sleep-away camp once, years ago, and felt ill-at-ease among the overly assertive counselors and cliquey girls. One of said counselors, who had nicknamed herself “Willow,” did her best to help me sleep, asking me to close my eyes and picture lovely things like waterfalls and open meadows. It helped.

Later, in high school, I occasionally went to a stress reducing/teen-focused yoga class after school. After going through the motions, we’d end class by laying flat on our backs, palms upward, lavender pillows over our eyes (still my favorite smell). Our instructor, Alison, would narrate some lovely meditation that pretty instantly made me fall asleep.

This can’t be a coincidence. Though I prefer to ease my anxiety during the daytime hours with more realistic, rational solutions, bedtime is for dreaming. Over the last decade, I’ve really honed in on my happy place – the dream world I create in my head, a life I fantasize about. It’s not exotic or anything special, really, but it’s something I continue to come back to, and for whatever reason, it makes drifting off to sleep so much easier.

I live in a small house by myself, in the woods, but walking distance from town. I bake a lot of bread and go to the farmer’s market often. I don’t have a computer. I read and paint a lot. I mainly wear dresses and silk nightgowns. I have a garden filled with plants I’ve managed not to kill. Sometimes it’s raining and I plop myself in front of a fireplace or in the giant clawfoot bathtub. (As I’m writing this, I feel kind of pathetic because most of these things are totally doable. We’ll see.)

Every once in a while I’ll scroll through Tumblr or Pinterest and see a photo that instantly transports me to my constructed happy place. Here are a few of those.

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five summer footwear staples

It shouldn’t be a secret that I love shoes. Especially of the open-toe variety. So, I pretty much live for warm-weather footwear. I really think women’s shoes have been having a renaissance, and these are some styles I’m lusting after this season.

White Leather

Something about smooth white sandals is just so appealing this time of year. These would look just as great with a t-shirt dress as a pair of cut-off denim shorts.

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hot, hot, heat. SCAMP in white patent. ☁️

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Feminine Flair

Brother Vellies makes a similar shoe (the Burkina sandals) and I love the understated femininity of gathered fabric in a pastel color.

Block Heel

Ah, a style I will NEVER tire of. I own so many sandals and shoes with a block heel, and I adore them all. It’s the chicest and most comfortable way to add an inch or two to your height.

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Pink Jardin Heels

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Woven Elements

If you’re over espadrilles, take a gander at summer shoes that incorporate raffia/straw or something else that looks like a picnic basket for your feet.

Something See-Through

Channel your inner Kardashian and find a sandal with some kind of plastic-y element. Tip: these Who What Wear shoes are literally $30 at Target. They have a higher-heeled version, too.

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things i spend too much money on

Boutique exercise classes.

Mostly spin. I actually own a stationary spin bike, but I feel like I get a better workout when someone is yelling at me. Plus…your health is your wealth!

Coffee.

I’m a sucker for a really, really good espresso drink. My go-to is a simple soy latte, but I also love iced mochas and anything caramel-flavored.

Footwear.

Actually, I think I spend just the right amount of money on shoes…but admittedly, a large portion of my disposable income goes in this direction.

My hair.

Getting highlights six times a year is definitely an unnecessary expense, but it’s become worth it to me. The maintenance for lightened hair is also pricy – I spend an insane amount of money on purple shampoo and color-protective masks.

Skincare.

Lately, I’ve been really into skincare. When I worked at magazines in the past, I got a lot of free samples, which was great…except it got me hooked on boutique beauty brands.

What about you guys? What’s your biggest indulgence??

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elements of a dream job, according to me

It’s been kind of weird realizing that work is, in fact, “work” and isn’t always fun. As I spend more time in the workforce and have gotten to peek in to various office environments, I’ve started keeping a mental list of everything there would be in my dreamy perfect corporate environment (though I doubt I’ll ever find a job with these elements). What’s on the top of your workplace wish list

An office dog.

I once worked in a dog-friendly office building and seeing pups in the elevator every day made me so happy.

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Somewhere to take a nap.

Or at least a daily nap-time allotment. Being an adult is exhausting, ok?!??

Diet Coke on tap.

Or seltzer. Along with plenty of ice. One place I previously worked had a whole soda fountain available for free…but it was disappointingly stocked with Pepsi products.

The ability to do my nails at my desk without feeling self-conscious.

When I was an intern, the girl who sat next to me used to do this and I always thought it was ballsy AF. Honestly, I’d probably do this now if someone would invent scent-free nail polish.

An expense account.

Remember that Seinfeld episode when Elaine goes a little nuts with her corporate card? That’s what I have in mind.

 

 

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