My De-Stressing Nighttime Self-Care Routine

Between job hunting and working way too hard during my Fall internship, my mind and body have been just completely exhausted. Last week, I came home from a long day and not only did I hurt all over, I had a pinched nerve, my stress level was through the roof, and I just needed to “get away” for a little while.

Thankfully, I had everything I needed to relax right in my reach. So, I’d like to present to you, my stress relieving nighttime self-care routine.

First: Run a warm bath.

Recently, at our town’s Fall Festival, I purchased a large lemongrass bath bomb made by a local artisan and boy-oh-boy did it smell amazing.

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As you can see, it’s massive. I broke it in half, but could have easily used a quarter of it and been fine. The scent was delightfully strong, but not overpowering or bothersome. Also, it was fun to watch the bathtub fill up because the bath bomb made it look like lemonade!

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Because my muscles were so sore, I ran the bath much warmer than I normally do and let me tell you, as soon as I lay down in that tub… it was pure bliss. The bath bomb left my skin feeling moisturized, almost as if I’d put an oil in the tub, and that was a pleasant surprise. But, I skipped ahead.

Second: While the tub is running, light a candle.

Seeing as I already had such a strong scent with the bath bomb, I would not have wanted to overdo it with something else strongly scented. So, if I were you, I would opt for a lightly-scented option or even an unscented couple of tealights just for the warm glow. (I didn’t have any unscented candles on hand, but I did have an oil-warmer that emits light so I just turned that on and used the glow from that, sans oil.)

Third: Turn off your technology and turn on some relaxing music.

I use my phone as my source of music, so I put my phone in airplane mode, meaning no one could contact me and I wouldn’t get any notifications. Then, I turned on a wonderful Pandora station I recently discovered: Solo Piano.

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(Click here to listen. I highly recommend it.) The music was so intensely calming and drowned out any background noise my family might’ve been making out in the living room. It was perfect. I just laid back, closed my eyes, and let the relaxation just flow over me. (I recommend putting your phone out of reach from the bathtub so you’re not tempted to grab it out of habit or wanting to look something up.)

Fourth: Breathe.

As I relaxed, I worked on some mindfuless breathing exercises I’ve learned as those help calm my tense muscles and my overcrowded mind. I’ll probably do a post on those at some point, but if you’re interested, I highly recommend looking up some breathing exercises on YouTube or Pinterest. Meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation are keywords to use.

That’s pretty much it. It’s simple as to not stress me out even more, and it’s a nice, quiet way to escape for awhile without ever leaving your own bathroom! For some next-level pampering, add a face mask or some deep conditioner to your hair while you soak. I love using a calming cucumber-based mask for my face when I soak in the tub. Oh! Maybe follow the bath with a nice, warm cup of chamomile tea! Mmm…

As a sufferer of moderate anxiety and depression, nights like these are incredibly important to my overall health and wellness. It’s not feasible every single night, but taking a half hour or so every now and again has truly helped to improve my mental state. If you’re ever feeling like things are just too much, I highly recommend doing one or more of the tasks mentioned above. Especially breathing. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to remind myself to truly breathe. So much so, in fact, that this is my current phone background I found on Pinterest:

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Learning to deal with my anxiety has been something I’ve tried to work on lately and this routine is just one of the things I have found works for me.

What about you? Do you have a “treat yourself” kind of routine or things you like to do to relax? I’m always looking for ways to relax and improve my self-care, so I’d love some suggestions!

As always, thank you so much for reading.

Until next time! ❤

My Inspirations

For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may have seen that this past weekend, I was able to see an old college friend of mine in a show here in Texas.

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Joseph was always an amazingly talented performer and we all knew he would go far and be successful. He’s now moved to New York City to become a working actor and I could not be more proud.

Feel free to read my original Instagram post here where I gushed about Joseph, but I wanted to talk a little bit today about inspiration. I use this term a lot as I work in the creative industry of Theatre, and it’s also a term I tend to struggle with. There are days where I find myself confusing inspiration with motivation. To me, inspiration is more passive, internal; while motivation is more active and creates physical results. However, I’m starting to realize that that’s not necessarily true for either!

I can find inspiration in a song, a piece of artwork, or a play. Those types of inspiration are fairly typical and common. Going to a museum or listening to a complex, beautiful piece of classical music can very easily inspire people. However, as I grow older, I seem to be finding inspiration more so in people – particularly the people I have in my life.

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When I see my friends and loved ones doing well, being happy, the feeling that overcomes me is almost indescribable. I felt myself beaming with pride and enjoyment for almost the entire play as Joseph worked his magic on stage. He was electric, magnetic, and an absolutely delight. I thought to myself, “He and I started in the same spot. We both went through the same program and received the same degree. Look where he is now!” He inspired and motivated me to work hard and make it my goal to be in a place where I can say that I am doing what I love for my job.

My Theatre friends are not the only friends who inspire me. I have a friend who rescues dogs, one who volunteers for countless charities and special events, and even one who has battled multiple diseases only to crush every single one of them. How great is it to have happy, successful friends? I am so proud to know these people and if ever I feel down, I always want to remember, anything is possible with enough hard work and dedication.

What inspires you? Where do you look when you need a motivational pick-me-up? I’d love to hear your answers.

Until next time! ❤

Am I being selfish?

Wow. I would like to thank everyone for the hugely positive response I got on my last post. As some of you may know, I started a Facebook page in which I could talk about things I’m doing professionally. I am still job hunting, but I’m “interning” at a local community theatre and I am very happy for the doors it has opened for me. So, if you care to check out my FB page and follow me there, where most of my updates will me, here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/KacieThings/

 

So, last week I mentioned how I am working on being more self-aware and exploring the options of self care. It’s a long, hard journey but I am really learning a lot as I study on my own. My goal is to get a job, get insurance, and then be able to start going back to therapy where I felt like I was making great strides in managing my depression and anxiety. However, finding a job has been the absolute hardest part of my recent move back to Texas.

One of the things I’m doing during my downtime is learning how other people have dealt with their mental health and overall wellness. I follow many blogs and YouTubers who talk about things I’m interested in, but also explore some of the things I’m focusing on with my own mental health journey.

Last week, I stumbled upon a video that just jumped out at me. I literally said, “Yes!” to my phone screen as I was watching it because it resonated with me so strongly. The video was made by the wonderful Margaret Kammer, and I’ll share it below:

 

I have watched this… an almost embarrassing amount of times because I feel like each time, I connect with something different. I’ve always considered myself a people-pleaser, and I’ve always been pretty proud of it. I sacrifice I lot for friends and family, and I very often will ignore my gut to make sure I’m going out of my way to make someone else’s day easier. As Margaret says in the video, that’s not always a bad thing! It’s great to help others, and being a good human being means helping others when you can. However, like she says a little later, “Yes, you are a part of the world, but that doesn’t have to be your first priority. Your first priority can be yourself and your happiness.

This has *always* been such a hard concept for me to grasp. I always find myself admiring people who perform these grad gestures of complete selfishness, and when I am able to do something in that realm, I am always doing it under the assumption that it is what is right. There is no other choice than for me to say “yes” to something, even if I am exhausted, uncomfortable, or have already made other plans. I put myself last, always saying I’ll “catch up on sleep this weekend,” or “I really didn’t want to go hang out with friends anyways.” I need to find that balance.

I am completely terrified of being seen as a selfish person. I can count at least a dozen times during the day where I need to make a decision, but I have to make sure that I choose what I believe will be the least selfish option. However, I’m slowly starting to learn that it’s sometimes okay to make a selfish decision. If it’s not harming someone, and will lead to my improved health and happiness, then I need to remind myself it’s okay to make that decision.

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I’d have to say that my favorite thing she says comes at the end of the video: “We all deserve to walk through the world freely and confidently because you belong here just as much as everyone else does.” I think, deep down, this is where my problem is rooted. I assume that doing something for someone else at the expense of myself will make me a better person. It will shine a more favorable light on me and people will see and know that I am good. However, I don’t actually need that validation! For some reason, it’s almost as if I’m wired to assume that if people think I’m good, then I am good. That’s not the case! I know what makes me a good person and if I sometimes have to take a step back to rest and rejuvenate, then that’s perfectly acceptable.

It seems so cheesy, but as RuPaul states so eloquently: “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”

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Now, can I get an “Amen?” Haha.

This is still a daily struggle for me. I have no idea if I’ll ever truly grasp the idea of being okay with saying, “No” to someone or going with my gut when it comes to making decisions that benefit myself, but I’m working on it. Slowly, but surely.

I encourage you to check out Margaret’s channel if you enjoyed her video. I’ve always really liked what she does and I bet you will too! If you would like to see me talk more about mental health and self-care, please let me know as I have amassed a pretty decent amount of resources in my time.

As always, thank you so much for stopping by.

Until next time! ❤

Howdy, folks. I’m back.

Wow… It’s been four months since I last blogged. Where in the world has the time gone?

Well, I can tell you that my entire life has taken a complete 180 since we last spoke… so I guess I’ll give you the highlights:

 

June

I got to go home to Texas to watch my little sister graduate high school. (Still can’t believe it…) Afterwards, my family and I had a super-duper wonderful time at Walt Disney World.

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We were in Orlando during the horrible week of Christina Grimmie’s heartless murder, the horrific Pulse shooting, and the tragedy of the little boy lost to an alligator. It took a toll on my mental and physical health and I decided to take some time off and come back home to Texas to clear my head and practice some serious self-care. So, I fortunately got to spend an entire month with family. It was absolutely wonderful.

July

I was in a super awesome wedding in Minnesota with some of my dearest friends!

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As you can see, we had an epic time and I was so glad I got to help one of my best friends celebrate her special day.

Pokemon GO came out and AHHHH! My little 10-year old self was elated with this thing. It’s had some issues and bugs but I still play it every. single. day. Let me tell you, it’s SUPER awesome getting to walk around Walt Disney World catching Pokemon.

During this time, I was still a bit shaken by the events of June and the amount of hatred and death that was just in my backyard. That, combined with some other daily stresses started to weigh me down and I had a sort of revelation while I was struggling with everything. I wouldn’t do anything about it until August, however.

August

The month of August proved to be pretty miserable in Orlando. The weather was abhorrent, the tourist traffic hadn’t let up, and I was becoming increasingly unhappy. Depression and anxiety were the rulers of my every day life and I found it hard to function as a human being, let alone one working at the “Most Magical Place on Earth.” After months of thought, discussion, and a whole lot of soul-searching, I decided it was best to end my time as a Disney Cast Member after almost five years. It was the absolute hardest decision and I still wonder if it was the “right” thing to do. However, in my soul-searching I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that there’s not always a right or wrong answer. Things aren’t as black-and-white as I sometimes wish they could be.

So, on August 20th, my time at Walt Disney World came to an end.

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August 26th was another day of giant life changes. That was the day I flew home. I’m now back living in Texas.

Fast-forward to today. It’s somehow almost October and had you told me I would be where I am right this second even six months ago, I would have laughed in your face. I never *ever* thought I would be back in Texas. When I left home back in 2009, I just knew I was meant to travel the world and create my own path… But boy, does life have a way of reminding you that it doesn’t really follow your plans. So, for those who followed my blog looking for Disney posts, I apologize but I won’t be posting much about that anymore. I have a few reviews and things I can still do, but I won’t be able to go to the parks like I was before and share all of the wonderful new things Walt Disney World has to offer.

I’ll write a post about the craziness that has been the month of September sometime, but for now, I’m going to leave you with a quote I randomly stumbled upon that has my name written all over it. It’s helped me so much and as soon as I get to where I can create a vision board, I want to put this quote in big, bold letters. I want to see this quote every day and use it as fuel for my journey.

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Until next time. ❤

Vacation!

Hi friends!

As you’re reading this, I’m either on a plane or already to Texas to visit family. I’m not sure if I’ll get any downtime during my vacation, so I wanted to let you know that posts will most likely be infrequent, if they happen at all between now and June 15th.

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Thank you for understanding!

Until next time!

Morningstar Farms Roasted Garlic & Quinoa Burger – Review

Hi friends!

I wanted to come to you today with a review of a vegan purchase I made at Target.

Morningstar Farms Roasted Garlic & Quinoa Burger

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I’ve been trying out various frozen foods that I can just heat and eat quickly in the morning before I go to work, and now that I’ve found some good breakfast options, I decided to try more lunch/dinner foods. According to the label on the packaging, this burger is:

Vegan, Non-GMO Project verified, and made with red quinoa, lentils, carrots, brown rice and bell peppers.

When reading these ingredients, I decided to go ahead and try it as I do tend to like all of those things. Boy, am I glad I did! I absolutely LOVE the flavoring of this burger. Like I said before, I’ve been trying quick heat-and-eat style foods so I’ve only ever tried this microwaved, but even then, it’s super moist and has a really nice texture. I don’t even feel the need to add any sauce or condiments to it, which is great.

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This is a not-so-subtle “hidden Mickey” I thought I was clever, *eyeroll* but it shows you what the patty looks like after being in the microwave, vs. the top picture which is still frozen.

I even got my carnivorous boyfriend to try it and he was shocked at how much he liked it. No, it’s definitely not a substitute for the taste of meat, nor does it claim to be. However, the taste and texture was really pleasant and I’ll definitely be adding this as a staple to our freezer. I also want to start getting a little more adventurous and trying out different breads to put it on and see what I can do to enhance the flavor. Also, I’ll try other ways of cooking it as recommended on the packaging.

The only thing I will say is that, for me anyway, I’d recommend pairing it with a side if you’re looking for a full-on meal as it’s not the most filling. However, I like to eat lighter meals in the evenings, so it’s perfect for my dinner.

As always, any recommendations or suggestions for other foods and recipes to try are more than welcome!

Thanks so much for stopping by.

Until next time! ❤

Sprinkles Vegan Red Velvet Cupcake – Review!

Howdy, friends! I hope you enjoyed your weekend. I know mine completely flew by. Don’t you just hate that? Why can’t the work weeks fly by as quickly and the weekends just be… well, longer? Haha.

Anyway, today I wanted to do a little review of a vegan treat I had while out recently. If you follow anything about Walt Disney World, then you’ll have heard all about the new Town Center that has opened up at Disney Springs. It’s slowly opening up in stages, but as of May 15th, a large number of shops and eateries opened their doors.

The most popular of them all, by far, has been Sprinkles, the cupcake shop!

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My friends and I were first in line the day that we went and as soon as I saw that there were vegan options on the menu, I jumped at the chance to try one of my favorite pastry/cake flavors: Red Velvet! According to Sprinkles’ website:

Sprinkles goes vegan! Traditional dairy products are substituted with vegan friendly ingredients, including all natural soy milk, tofu-based cream cheese and pure coconut oil. The result is a cake so moist and frosting so rich, it just might inspire your friends to go vegan too!

Just look for the red V to know it’s Vegan Red Velvet!

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Holy Moley. This cupcake was like actual heaven. If it wasn’t so humid that morning and the icing melting all over me, I would have tried to savor every last bite. The icing, as stated above, is made with coconut oil, which was the strongest flavor of the icing, in my opinion. I wasn’t expecting the red velvet and coconut flavor combo, but I was very impressed. They tasted delicious together. The cake itself was moist and delicious and I really *REALLY* wanted to go back for more.

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… and now I’m craving this cupcake again. Great! Haha. This was the only vegan option that I saw on their menu, but they do say to always ask and see if they have any other flavors that might not be on the menu. So, I will make sure to ask next time if they have any other vegan options.

Alright, I’m going to have to stop talking about sweets soon or I might go jump into my car and drive over there just to stuff my face with vegan treats! Haha.

I hope you enjoyed this review. I’m definitely looking forward to finding more places with vegan options in my area so if you have any recommendations or favorites, please let me know!

As always, thank you so much for stopping by.

Until next time! ❤

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