HOW I TRANSITIONED TO WASHING MY HAIR JUST ONCE A WEEK + MY MUST-HAVE HAIR CARE PRODUCTS
I have always had a ton of hair. For years thought I had 'thick' hair, but as I got older and got better hair stylists, I realized that my hair strands were actually really fine - I just grow a ton of it. Which explains why I'm also the kind of girl that has to shave everyday if she wants consistently smooth legs. Haha thanks Dad! Anyway, for years I totally fought against my own hair style and washed my hair EVERY SINGLE DAY. I had convinced myself that because I was an athletic kid, I needed to be washing my hair every day to keep it clean and sweat-free. So I'd get up every morning, take a HOT shower (I grew up in very cold Maine!), then blow dry my hair, straighten it, and then use a bunch of products to smooth down the frizz and flyaways my crazy hair always had. Here's what I was really doing: a LOT of damage. First, your hair doesn't need to be washed everyday. It only needs to be washed when it looks or smells dirty really, which sounds like some hippie sh!t, but bear with me. Your hair has natural oils that keep your scalp healthy and moisturized. These oils travel the length of your hair, obviously more concentrated at the scalp, to keep it moisturized and healthy as well. Because I was washing my hair EVERYDAY, my poor hair oils were getting stripped on the daily with no chance to ever repair; I was washing in super hot water, so my hair and scalp were drying out more they should be; I would get out and towel dry like crazy, rubbing that friction all around my wet strands, trying to get excess water out; I would then heat style my hair with no heat protecting products, and then head out into the freezing cold winter air in Maine and watch it just POP into frizzes and flyaways. And no wonder!
After years of poor hair torture, I met a stylist who really broke it all down for me. I needed to wash less, every couple days. I could style with heat but needed to use protective creams and oils first. I needed to take care of my hair! Especially as someone who doesn't dye or do anything crazy really, hair health is SUPER important to me - and I didn't understand how people with color-treated hair could have nicer locks than I did still! I realized I needed to overhaul my hair routine, starting with how often I was washing it. Even though the salon said every few days, I was having a lot of trouble transitioning from my once-daily washing at first. Because my hair had become so accustomed to my stripping it of it's oils daily, even washing a few times a week left me with greasy looking locks by day two or three. I HATED walking around with the 'greasy' look - I felt so unprofessional looking! - and went back to daily washing. I needed a better solution, and started doing a lot of research into once weekly hair washing online. The best advice I got was from other women who were experimenting the same way and trying to cut back on the 'poo. Their advice? GET OVER IT! Haha. Really! It only takes a few weeks for your hair to really adjust, so if you can be a little oily and wear a baseball cap for a few days, you can transition your hair to once weekly washing. I started utilizing dry shampoo and avoiding social situations for a few weeks, and before you know it, my hair started finding some real balance!
I'm not in the group that coconut oil bombs my hair before I wash because usually by that point in the week, my hair is pretty oily at the roots and doesn't need any help. The most helpful trick I found while transitioning my hair was to stick to a single day of the week for washing your hair - two, if you need it while you work your way down from daily washing. I still shower daily but keep my hair in a shower cap or high ponytail to prevent it from getting wet UNLESS I've been working out, then sometimes I'll rinse my hair clean and let it dry and style as normal. For instance, I might wash my hair on Sunday when I shower, but mid-week I will only rinse my hair after a super sweaty workout session. If I don't rinse my hair of product every two days or so, it gets greasier on it's own due to product build-up.
So, let's fast-forward to now! I am totally crazy about keeping my hair happy and healthy - and honestly it looks better than it ever has. I feel like I've finally gotten a handle (at almost 30) on how to take care of my hair properly, and how to make to look pretty good, too! Here's my current hair routine: I wash my hair on Sundays. I use Giovanni Tea Tree shampoo above to give myself a good scalp massage and really get my hair clean, then rinse really well before using the corresponding tea tree conditioner above, as well. I use each for about half the length of time it takes me to shower - which isn't very long - maybe two minutes on each. After I'm rinsed and ready to get out, I pull my hair into a low ponytail and squeeze all the excess water down the drain. I flip my head over and wrap it lightly but securely with a towel - not tousling at all. After a few minutes in the towel, I take the towel off and use a Bass wooden comb to gently help my hair part. It naturally parts pretty much right down the middle, but sometimes some of the hair is out of place, so I carefully use the comb so make my part where I want it. I DON'T brush my hair. (Literally EVER. I have pretty fine hair and I never need it. That said, if you have more texture in your hair and need a brush, brush gently and as little as possible. It causes breakage!) I then use my fingers to separate the strands of my hair and sort of arrange them how I want. The less I touch it the better - it dries with more natural wave that way. I usually spritz some Beach Waves Spray from The Gnarly Whale in and occasionally scrunch it in to create some extra waves. (They have a million scents for their beach wave spray and lately I've been hooked on birthday cake!) I always let my hair air-dry these days - I don't even own a blowdryer! Luckily we live in a warm place, but I always plan ahead and allow for dry time if I have to go somewhere. This also helps my natural wave develop as it dries.
Once my hair has dried, I have a couple options. If it's midweek and my hair is a little oily, I'll sprinkle in some Acure Dry Shampoo and tousle it around. Its my favorite dry shampoo that I've tried and it sops up oil in a second, leading you with fresh looking hair in no time! If I'm already feeling freshly washed with no need for the dry shampoo, I skip right to the Moroccan Oil Dry Texture Spray. It adds a ton of volume to my fine, limp locks and is especially helpful after a few days no washing - it makes my hair look like I've gotten a fresh blow out! To keep the volume and tame any flyaways at my crown, I like Aussie's Headstrong Volume Hairspray. It's probably toxic AF but it's one of the few hairsprays I've tried (and I've tried them all!) that gives me the perfect balance of hold and bounce without being too shiny. And that's it! Occasionally I still straighten my hair, but I really try and keep it to the ends or for touching up the crazy cow lick I get on the right side of my part.
And that's it guys! The secret to my hair. Haha, not that its a secret or an at all impressive routine - but I had been getting so many questions, I figured it was time to break it down for you babes. Hope this was helpful! Do you have any killer hair helpers you've discovered? Let me know! I'm always on the hunt for new, rad products!
Okay guys, it took me 4 1/2 months BUT our Amsterdam Travel Diary is finally here! After our wedding, we spent the weekend recovering and packing and then left bright and early Tuesday morning for LAX where we boarded our the first leg of our flight to Reykjavic, Iceland and then over to Amsterdam for the first 5 days (technically 4 - we didn't get to our AirBNB until like 10 pm on the first night) of our 14 day honeymoon. When we first stepped off the train we were right downtown, just outside the Amsterdam Centraal Station. The sun was just beginning to set low in the sky - they're on about 20 hours of daylight over there in late June. We found our way to our AirBNB, not far from downtown but worth jumping on the metro. We checked in - our host was awesome and even had warm beer waiting for us - which apparently is how they prefer to drink beer in Europe. I had no idea...and my Dad is a US beer company executive! 😝
Since the sun wasn't due to set until around midnight, we were wide awake when we hit the AirBNB. Plus, we were just SUPER excited to be in Amsterdam! We used the HappyCow app a couple times during our trip to find vegan food, but mostly just used the incredible lost of recommendations you guys sent us on social media. I collected them all on a list and then starred all the places on Google Maps, so that as we were walking around cities I could see how close we were to our recommended places at all time! PRO TIP: You can download maps for offline use on Google Maps, so before our trip I downloaded maps for all of the cities we were visiting (Amsterdam, Brussels, Paris, and London) and then used them offline and without burning up data overseas while we walked and traveled through the cities. Since your GPS works without needing data, you'll even see where YOU are on the maps. Very convenient!
Anyway, after we arrived we went to a HappyCow recommended, vegan restaurant near us called Mezebar Bodrum that served a sort of Greek-inspired tapas that was truly phenomenal. The first real food we'd had in hours, sure, but we went back again and I can confirm that is truly wonderful. The owners were sweet and accommodating and gave us awesome recommendations of stuff to see all over the city, plus they literally served us dinner at like midnight. The best introduction to this super friendly city! After we ate we found a 'coffee shop' and tried our first joint in Amsterdam. We didn't really understand why it made us feel SO weird until later, when we figured out that spliffs in Europe are usually rolled with tobacco. For a California girl used to a regular old joint, it was an unpleasant surprise and a serious head rush. Ick. We walked it off around the general area of our 'home' for the week before calling it a night. We were staying in a cute 1 bedroom overlooking the East side of Rembrandt Park. It was a huge, beautiful green space not far from the more famous Vondelpark. The parks and green spaces like the Bos quickly became our favorite part of being in the Netherlands. That and all of the friendly, off-leash dog culture! So many chill dogs, it was truly amazing.
Day two we started early, grabbing bagel sandwiches at the Bagels & Beans nearest us. I got hummus and veggies - a welcome meal after all the traveling. They are a chain, so we were able to find them all over the city. Perfect in a pinch! (I did bring probiotics with me while traveling to help with my crazy wonky digestion - more on how I pack for trips in an upcoming post!) After food we walked the city - over 17 miles the first day we were there! I came back with THE best, strongest booty I've ever had. It was awesome. We perused the canals and hit up the Van Gogh Museum area, including the Park Museumplein where the I Am Amsterdam sign is. There were also a bunch of small eateries, touristy shops, and plenty of people tripping on mushrooms in the park. We also stumbled upon some super cool Banksy and Salvador Dali exhibits at the Moco Museum, just across the park. We even found some kombucha at a small grocery store! It wasn't quite the 'booch we're used to, but it was cool to try different flavors and brands. We tried to get one or two different brands in each country and definitely ended up finding our favorite brand, Jarr, while we were in London. The whole 'I Amsterdam' area was super cool and busy with locals and tourists, and we stopped for lunch after seeing a big sign advertising vegan hemp burgers. It was delicious, and awesome to see so many plant-based options in Amsterdam. I totally fell in love with that area, and we ended up walking through it again on day 3, too!
Because of my soy and dairy allergy and dietary restrictions, we ended up eating a LOT of bread. This was no problem since I LOVE bread, but I did start craving fresh veggies at every meal pretty hard early on into our trip. Luckily for Alex, a baguette a day is literally what he wishes he could eat everyday. Luckily for me, we walked 11 more miles on day two, so I could deal with the bread intake. And of course the freshly baked bread from real neighborhood bakeries was SO much more satisfying than the grocery store crap we have here in the States. That said, we were super excited to find Maoz Vegetarian (last picture in this post), basically the Chipotle of falafel in Europe. It was so convenient and easy to make your own pita pocket stuffed with things you actually liked, and nearly everything was soy-free. Score!
The 2nd night in town we ventured over to the famed Red Light District, or De Wallen. We found it near the Hash, Marijuana + Hemp Museum, among other coffee shops, boutiques, cheese counters and tourist trinket shops. It sure was something! The dark, thin alleyways were lit up so that you could see them before you arrived. After turning down the alley you are immediately greeted on both sides by matching glass doors, spanning the length of the alleyways. Each has a woman in the window, usually wearing a small amount of lingerie or waggling her finger at you as you pass by. It's kind of crazy to see, but in a country with legal prostitution and brothels, its certainly not out of the ordinary. Rumor has it that the woman are actually generally quite respected and have close relationships with city police. We saw that in action, with friendly ladies chatting up the local police patrolling the area, offering them a drink or letting them in to chat. It was a very professional way of doing things, really, and was wonderful to see the women so in charge of their space and presumably their bodies. As a couple we were smiled at a lot but I think they generally knew we were tourists just talking a look; we did see a few people enter the rooms and quickly shut the door behind them, but for the most part, everyone around were curious tourists, too. We even found a few tobacco-free joints in that area, and enjoyed those for the rest of our stay in the area.
Day three we decided to trek like locals and rent bicycles! That's how most of the population gets around in Amsterdam, and it felt only right that we participate while we were in town. We started early in the morning, trekking nearly 6 miles over to the Amsterdam Bos, a huge green space of over 2,500 acres with a full forest, rowing lake, and even a few small restaurant snuggled inside. It's over three times the size of Central Park! That was probably my favorite part of Amsterdam - the incredible swaths of bright green space. Not overly manicured, but full of people enjoying it. I wish we had more spaces like that here! We spent hours biking around, watching a rowing race, stopping at small cafes for rolls and fresh fruit, and just straight up loving being on our Honeymoon. For a late lunch we headed from the Bos back toward a place I'd been recommended on instagram called De FoodHallen, which was basically this amazingly designed old warehouse that has been converted into a community space for restaurants. There were at least 12 small cafes and restaurants in the space, and a bunch of long, community style tables in the center. Alex ordered a veggie temaki roll from Meneer Temaki and LOVED it, and I found and fell in love with a small Mexican place call Fento. They made killer jackfruit nachos and homemade iced teas, and I was really impressed that there was such good Mexican food in the middle of Amsterdam! Turns out Fento is owned by someone from LA who moved to Amsterdam and opened up this place - which is probably why it tasted to authentic and good to us. I totally LOVED it and highly recommend stopping by! After lunch we headed back to the AirBNB for a nap - those long days were killing us! - and then back out to a small, local hole-in-the-wall Indian spot for some chickpea curry for dinner. We returned our bikes and headed home. Renting bikes are enjoying the city really is a must-do while you're in the area, but know that the bike traffic moves fast and waits for no-one. Know where you're going before you start biking so you stay out of the locals way!
On day four we walked all over the city one last time, hitting up all of the favorite spots we'd accrued over the previous 3 days. We went all the way across town on foot to get to Dophert, a restaurant we'd heard literally rave reviews about. It was pretty good, and a super cute spot - plus the staff was incredibly friendly. That said, like most of the places we visited on our trip, the soy-free options were abysmal, and the portions were pretty small. But Alex really liked his Fried Seitan Sandwich, and we ended up loving walking around that part of the city, so it was totally worth the visit. I even found and made Alex take my picture in front of 'St. Peterhalsteeg' street sign! We finished off our last day walking the canals and stopping by the Vegabond vegan grocer. They didn't have a ton of options for on-the-go eating, but had some great groceries to take back to the AirBNB and a quality selection of kombucha, too. That night we hit up Mezebar Bodrum one more time and crashed hard, and were up early the next day for our train trip to Brussels! Hopefully I'll get it together and have THAT travel diary up next week! 😝 Until then, check out the resources below to help plan your trip, and check out our IG posts from the trip for more on what we ate + saw!
Fall is HERE my friends, and we are so excited! While we don't get quite as much cool, crispy father here in Southern California as I might like, the temperature are still dropping slightly and Pumpkin Spice-EVERYTHING is available wherever you go. We've got a solid collection of some really great, tried + true Pumpkin-lover's recipes around here, so we assembled our favorites into one post for your enjoyment. We've got all the bases covered - everything from cookie, brownies and fudge to donuts, steamers + fresh pumpkin juice. You'll find something to make your mouth water + curb your Fall cravings for sure. Scroll on for the goodies!
1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies I'm gonna get really real with you for a second: these are fucking delicious cookies, but they're packed with butter and sugar. Again, SERIOUSLY SCRUMPTIOUS, but not seriously healthy. Just maybe don't eat 6 per sitting? I'm not even apologizing, just a warning for the haters. These are celebrating your birthday cookies. They're follow with a glass of champagne cookies. They're decadent and rich and insanely delicious. If you're on a diet, these are not for you. If you wanna have a fall-flavored mouthgasm, then these are definitely for you.
2. Baked Pumpkin Cinnamon Sugar Donuts These Baked pumpkin donuts are rolled in cinnamon sugared are literally are SO EASY to make that I thought I must be doing it wrong. From start to finish this was maybe a half-hour project, and I was so happy with how they came out. They so remind me of getting fresh donuts at apple farms when I was a little girl. These are the kind of donuts that give you street cred for being such a great cook. And you'll be like "Oh these easy things? I whipped these up lickety split!" and feel like a badass. So grab a donut pan and come bake with us!
Packed with citrus and seasonal pumpkin, this juice will brighten your day...and your skin! The beta carotene in the pumpkin is a powerful antioxidant crucial for normal skin cell development healthy skin tone. The Vitamin C found in the oranges, apples, and lemons not only builds a strong immune system and helps blemishes heal properly but also helps firm & tone skin, prevent free-radical damage, protects skin cells, and prevents signs of aging (like wrinkles!). And the mango? Delicious, yes, but also packed with beta carotene and Vitamin A- giving you that extra soft, smooth skin you CRAVE in this cool fall weather. Plus, what could be easier than cutting up your fruits and letting the juicer do all the work?
Its stuffed full of zucchini and pumpkin so its basically just a vegetable. Or at least, that's what I told myself after eating 3 slices yesterday. We're really trying to cut back on the amount of sugar we're eating lately too, so like our recipe for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, this recipe has about half the amount of sugar you'll find in a traditional zucchini or banana bread recipe. The pumpkin adds some sweetness and helps keep it moist, and if nuts are your thing I bet a sprinkle of walnuts before you tossed it in the oven would be kind of amazing. Either way, we think you're gonna like it.
Now as an adult, and one who watches my sugar intake at that, fudge isn't something we make often. But with this crazy hot weather we're still having in Souther California, I was CRAVING some fall. That being said, we all deserve a treat, and being freezer fudge, its easy to eat just a piece of week and preserve the goodness for months to come. Plus, I'm a SUCKER for pumpkin/ chocolate combos, and the velvety, rich pumpkin layer compliments the dark chocolate beautifully.
These cookies are perfectly fluffy and moist, and have an almost muffin-like texture. They're soft, chewy, and packed with oats and pumpkin spice. Plus, we cut the sugar way down so you can eat like six instead of one. (That's how that works, right?) They're easy to whip up and perfect for serving at parties or just binge-eating while you watch Hocus Pocus. They're also about to become your new favorite oatmeal cookie. Let's bake!
A frothy, foamy, sweet, pumpkin-y cup of steamed dairy-free milk blended with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. It's fall, all wrapped up in a mug. Topped with a spoonful of coconut whip would be lovely, but this drink stands just fine on its own. Its the perfect fall drink for those avoiding caffeine or who just want a kid-friendly version. We know you're going to love it.
This sweet, spiced loaf is the perfect breakfast OR dessert! And the maple vanilla icing makes the perfect topping. It screams Fall, and whips up super easily - it's a nearly fool-proof loaf. Perfect for taking to Holiday gatherings and sharing with the people you love...or hoarding for yourself - we're not here to judge!
These brownies make me think of words like rich, ooey-gooey, and decadent. And those are words I love. I also love chocolate, which is why we used bars of dark chocolate, cacao chunks, and rich cacao butter to make these brownies a trifecta of chocolatey heaven. The pumpkin was a brilliant addition. I mean it! It adds a soft, gooey pumpkin layer to an already sweet, fudgy bottom layer. The combination creates an almost cheesecake-like brownie that will make an appearance at Halloween, Thanksgiving, and daylight savings day too.
Don't these look scrumptious? Trust me, they are. We had some leftover pumpkin puree and some browning bananas to use up and came up with these little buggers. The fruit keeps the muffins moist and flavorful, while the muesli topping adds just a little crunch and texture. Ready to start your day off the right (and delicious) way?
We never planned on having a wedding video made. When we hired our photographer we were on a budget, and video just didn't make sense financially. I didn't think that it mattered to me until the day of the wedding, when all of a sudden I realized I really wanted some kind of video documentation that I could look back on and relive; there's just something about a video that evokes a million more feelings than a photograph could. To my surprise and sincere joy, Alex's brother Spencer had arranged for one of his closest friends, Ryan Todd, to come film our big day. We've known Ryan for years through hockey, so it was amazing to see him there and realize he'd be filming for us. And he killed it! Ryan and our photographer, Natalie, bonded and kind of hung together, catching shots and footage together all day. I couldn't be more thankful! It was the best wedding gift we received, and has made me cry every time I've watched it since. I love seeing all these people we love so much in one place. It was my favorite day ever!
I so hope you guys enjoy re-living a bit of our big day! Special thanks to Ryan Todd for filming and editing the video, to Spencer Owens for making it happen and for generally being the best brother (in law!). Check out both of their sites to see more of their creative work - they both rock. And enjoy the video! ❤️
If you missed our first post, Planning Our Plant-Based Wedding, go back and start there! I cover booking a venue, picking a theme and colors, choosing a photographer, deciding on food and drinks (including our highly coveted cannabis-infused wedding cake), our FULL playlist, finding a dress and shoes (and the groom's outfit!), and a little sage advice from this happily married gal. There's a ton of great info there if you're planning your wedding - especially if you're looking to keep it plant-based and under $10k! Here I'll break down some of our smaller (but JUST as awesome vendors) and share way more of our gorgeous photos from Like morning Sun Photography. And next week - I'm sharing our WEDDING VIDEO! It'll be like you were there. Except I didn't save you any cake...sorry guys.
We chose to get ready as close (and cheaply) as possible to the venue, so I got ready with my Mom, sister, a few friends, and my hair stylist, Kady, at our small house in Downtown Fullerton. Alex headed a few miles toward the venue to our friend Marce's place to get ready with the boys. All of our outfit info is on the last wedding post, but here is a close-up of Alex's rad Insecta shoes, my gorgeous flower crown and matching bouquet from The Crown Collective, and a sneak peek pf Alex tying his bowtie on the big day. Beneath, a snap of our vow books (I got them on Etsy here) and our matching rings from PointNoPoint Studio - I'm obsessed with their custom, unique designs! The vow books were the most helpful and looked SO much cuter than notebook paper up there at the altar!
Alex's mom helped us hugely with her design skills and essentially created all of the tablescapes and arranged decor for us. She made the space look SO incredibly beautiful - with lots of help from our other friends and family, too! She used a lot of fresh produce and greens cut right from her own backyard. We didn't have a ton of flowers on site, but enough to make the space look beautiful without spending too much money. We found that baby's breath was the perfect accent floral and was really cheap - like 10 HUGE bunches for $100 at our local florist. Jen, Alex's Mom, also used lots of lace and natural color fabrics to accentuate the greenery and our hanging macrame at the altar. Air plants and antique blue glass ball jars studded all the tables. It was gorgeous! I couldn't have designed it better myself. Our altar space stayed empty until the ceremony was over, when we moved our couples table there for the duration of the party, which gave us a great separate place to eat and connect throughout the ceremony. We had gorgeous, hand-lettered signs made by Katie of DottieSoul - everything from our entry sign to our Photo Booth signage, plus a few flavor signs for the donut bar and of course, our instagram hashtag sign! (#mainecalifornia ✨)
In the picture above, Alex and I are literally RUNNING to get food as soon as it was announced to the wedding that it was ready. Traditionally the bride and groom eat last - NOT US! We beat everyone there for first dibs on everything. We love food, and we really love Falasophy - and we wanted to be well fed. Haha. One of my favorite pictures, for sure.
If you're curious about our gorgeous, cannabis-infused wedding cake, you can check our last post for the details. It was AMAZING! One of my favorite parts of our wedding were the giant jenga sets and corn hole game we had. Th giant jenga sets we knew were coming but the corn hole was a hand-made gift from our woodworking friend Eric Gianetti at EricBuilt. Alex's brother Spencer customized them for us with some hand-lettered 'A Team' designs. So cool, and we'll have them for life. One of our favorite wedding gifts! And jenga was a HIT - we've played a bunch now that we have the sets in our backyard, too!
I'm just so in love with all of the photos our photographer, Natalie, took! She is queen of the candids. There are so many great photos of us and our guests. And I find new favorites everytime I scroll through them! She makes our venue, The Riverbed Farm, look even more magical than it did on the big day - and it looked pretty darn amazing. I so hope you guys have enjoyed this little wedding photo share!
The last few photos are the wrapping up of the wedding; a shot of us singing our marriage license with our marriage officiant and my best friend, Devin, on the right and our witness and the person who introduced us, Ingmar, on the left. One of my favorite shots and something I didn't necessarily think would get photographed - but I'm glad it did!
Next, some of our guests - mostly Alex's 'hockey boys' hanging out as the sun set, and some of the early photos from our bumping' reception dance party. Such a blast! The wedding ended before we were ready (isn't that ways the way?!) so we grabbed a bunch of friends and headed to downtown Fullerton to hit the bars with our friends. We ended up at HopScotch, a whiskey bar, until closing time. The after party was just as fun as the wedding - and the perfect way to keep the party going for a few more hours! Plus, we didn't pay for a single drink - perks of being the bride and groom! 😝
What an amazing day! It was the wedding of my dreams, and it stayed within my budget. The sparkler exit may have been my favorite part. In the end, I walked away having married my very best friend! I'm going to call that a win-win-win. Feeling pretty lucky over here that I get to spend my life with such a rad dude. If you missed the planning stages, you can read up on Planning Our Plant-Based Wedding here! My biggest takeaway: just enjoy it. It flies by, and you'll always wish you had more time. Enjoy what you get and cherish those memories!
It took us eight years to get here, but that happened to be just the right amount of time for us to get it together and plan ourselves a wedding. We were engaged for a total of a 18 months and I felt like planning took up every second. How does that happen?! Weddings are crazy guys, I'm not going to hold any punches there. They're crazy and stressful and beautiful and magic, all rolled into one. But man - am I glad it's over! I didn't start going into full on plan-and-panic mode until about 6 months before the big day. Before that, its hard to get other people interested in accomplishing anything. "It's still so far away!" they'd say, as I'd be obsessively reloading my email hoping for a response from a vendor. Here's my biggest advice for you: DON'T wait until the last second - on anything! The more you plan ahead, the more you can relax on the big day. I wasn't even stressed to get married - that was the best part, to me! Marrying my best friend and biggest supporter wasn't the stressful part - it was making sure everyone ELSE was where they needed to be, and that all the people who needed to be paid, got paid - on time. But they did, and it went off without a hitch! Okay, that's not true. Our speakers blew mid-reception and I literally ended up having to go bra-less, unexpectedly, in my wedding dress all day. But would we even remember the day if everything went smoothly? Probably not as well nor with as much fondness for all of the things that did go right. So without getting into too much madness, I'm going to break down how I planned this crazy thing and in a follow-up post we'll go over the event itself. I've broken up my planning into stages by vendor essentially, since that's how I went about planning. Now, we kept our wedding under 10K. How? Being smart + thrifty, whenever we could, and using any and all resources available to us! My Mom, Dad, and Alex's parents each gave us a little money to spend on the wedding, but we mostly paid for it ourselves. Look, getting engaged is the hardest part - the second is finding a venue. So we'll start there!
VENUE: The venue was the biggest part for us. The first real decision to be made, and the first expensive thing we'd be paying for. We decided on The Riverbed Farm in Anaheim, CA for three main reasons: first, it was close to where we live, about a 15 minute drive from our house. That made it easy for us to get there for set-up, easier for our friends and family who live nearby to attend, and easy to bail at the end of the night! Second, we'd done a cooking event there months before so we were familiar with the venue set-up and employees. Third, the PRICE! I'm all about being transparent, so I'll be honest when I say we rented the space for just $2,000. Cheaper than almost ALL the places we looked at, and way nicer! We were only the 2nd couple to book a wedding here ever, so the price was still pretty low when we did. No guarantees what it is now - it's become a busy spot since we booked, nearly a wedding each weekend in the summer! We loved this space because as a working hydroponics farm, all vegetables and eggs raised on the property from the roaming chickens are donated back to the community. Schools and church crews regularly volunteer time here, as it's a totally non-profit organization. The space was about half-filled with guests and tables and decor and about half-filled with rows of towering, growing vegetables and ladybugs. We loved it! It was the perfect blend of our Maine and California lives. We set up a dance floor on a deck to the left and set up our ceremony and couples table on the deck at the front of the farm, so we could easily see our guests and socialize between snack breaks. All of the decor in the space was provided and arranged by Alex's Mom, Jennifer. We were so lucky to be able to use her design skills to make the farm into our perfect wedding venue!
PICKING A THEME / COLORS: This is really a preference things, obviously, but there are a few things to consider before you decide. First, consider your location. If you're having a wedding with lots of green and brown - like ours - maybe you pick a more neutral, earth tones-based palette with lots of wood and natural decor. If you're getting hitched by the ocean, maybe you lean into blues, greens, and glass accents instead. Or maybe your favorite color is pink and you've always envisioned your wedding PINK. Then do that! I wanted to pick colors that both played up our outdoorsy theme and accented my skin tone and dress, personally. I have green eyes, so I wanted some green in there somewhere to help them POP in photos. We got married on June 10th, so I envisioned a light, summery color scheme. It was easy then to add cream and blush pink to our colors, and a bit of dusty yellow and maroon for contrast. I also used gold as an accent - no silver at our wedding. It's just not my fave! In the end, we had a gorgeous palette that wound in colors from from our venue and outfits, and looked beautiful in photos. We stayed as natural as possible with the decor. Since our colors were summer-inspired and our tones muted, we accented with a lot of lace + burlap, as well. We bought a few pieces - garland and hanging things, mostly - from Etsy, but the rest was conceived and brought to life by Alex's Mom, Jen. She's an interior designer, and we were so lucky to have her help decorating the space. She completely handled the tablescapes full of fresh fruit, greenery, blue glass jars and wood accents herself - and we loved how it turned out!
HOW TO PICK A PHOTGRAPHER: If you can't tell by this post, I LOVE my wedding photos. I'm happy to show them off because our photographer did SUCH a great job! Her name is Natalie, she runs Like Morning Sun Photography, and she's a recent college graduate who lives here in the OC. I found her through Instagram (the best!) and we chatted through email before meeting in person. I found a LOT of great photographers on Instagram, but I was immediately drawn to Natalie's photography because of her unique use of natural light. Her photos are bright and romantic, and she captures candids beautifully. Also, she was affordable. People pay an INSANE amount of money for wedding photos. And I get it! They're forever, and you want them well done. Plus, it is a lot of work for the photographer - they're often justified and fair in their pricing. But we were having a smaller wedding at smaller venue and we didn't need all the bells and whistles (video, 2+ photographers, ect), and we just couldn't see spending more on the photography than we had on the venue + food combined. Nat gave us a fair rate for her work, and then went ahead and exceeded our expectations over and over again. Her shots came out beautifully, and her energy and presence at the wedding were wonderful. Our family and friends raved about her afterward, and I just hired her to do the new shots here for the site. If you're looking for a phenomenal photographer, she's your girl!
DECIDING ON FOOD + DRINKS: This was my favorite part - and maybe one of my biggest stressors in the beginning! As someone who LOVES food, I was pretty set on having really great vegan food at our wedding. We even got a little kickback from Alex's family at first about keeping the food vegan - but we quickly reminded them that it was our wedding, and that frankly, they could choose to eat one great vegan meal or skip dinner - not our problem. And honestly, that's how it has to be; You can respect your guests dietary preferences without sacrificing your own!
Luckily, we're blessed with all kinds of great, plant-based food here in Orange County, so I hit up one of my all-time favorite food trucks, Falasophy, for a tasting. They killed it, and we were happy to hire them to feed our 100 guests. They ended up serving two main dishes, a falafel-stuffed pita bahn mi and spicy falafel tacos, and served them right from the truck. They also provided a range of apps for us and our guests, including tabbouleh, dolmas, pita + hummus, which went straight to the tables.
For desserts we had both a wedding cake and a donut bar. Our wedding cake, something I originally thought I'd make myself, was handmade by Meghan from Dr. Raw Organics. She made us a custom marijuana-infused edible 2-layer white cake with strawberry frosting that she decorated beautifully with edible flowers and topped with a matching garland. I am still OBSESSED with it! We let our guests know it was medicated, should they choose to enjoy some, and also set-up a 6-flavor donut bar across the venue for those who'd rather not indulge in cake. The donut bar was something I saw become trendy a few years ago and loved the idea of. We called up the best vegan donut purveyor in the area, The Caffeinated Kitchen in Long Beach, to help us make it happen. We decided on 120 donuts in 6 flavors: matcha, blueberry coconut, strawberry sprinkled, churro, blood orange, and cookies and cream. Alex's mom set up the table decor and it was simply gorgeous - the donut bar was the busiest spot at our wedding for sure!
When it came to deciding on drinks, we kept it cheap and biased. Haha. We don't drink much alcohol (read: any, really) and din't want to spend a ton of money on it at the wedding since we wouldn't be partaking. So we opted to just buy two kegs of beer (Golden Road Hefeweizen and 805 Pale Ale) and then served Whalebird Kombuchaon tap, as well. We let our friends know ahead and a few decided to bring small flasks with them for their own party enjoyment. Since we also had an edible cake and we didn't want everyone getting toooo screwy, we kept the rest of our drinks for the evening non-alcoholic. We had wheelbarrows around the venue packed with ice, bottles of water, HonestTea in two flavors, and fresh juices from 1915 Organic - which kept everyone hydrated and happy in the June heat. My rec: have a variety of drinks! Our friends still drank plenty and we ended up moving the after party to a bar later, anyway. Plus, everyone was well hydrated and no one needed to call a cab. It was a win-win!
THE PLAYLIST: It's all about the music! From getting you down the aisle to grooving the night away with your guests, you want music that'll keep the party going all night long. I've included an upload of our full playlist below, but I should note that about 1/2 of our music didn't get played because the speakers blew at our wedding...TWICE. We had a big span in the middle with no music - which no-one seemed to notice except me, of course! We did have a DJ, but I can't really blame him for that. He did a great job getting the party going as soon as the speakers were working again!
In case you don't want to dig through the whole playlist, I'll highlight the best parts for you: While I walked down the aisle and while we exited after the ceremony, my best friend from childhood, Emma, played live violin to the tune of Jeremih's 'Paradise'. Alex walked down the aisle before me to Childish Gambino's 'California'. Our first dance was to 'Breathless' by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.
FINDING THE DRESS (+ SHOES!): It only took me visiting 4 different salons before I found my dress. That may sound like a lot, but I promise it isn't many. I tried on a few dresses as each place and fit like none of them seemed worthy of the big day. Luckily, I kept searching - I knew I wanted a lace, floor-length dress with sleeves - and found mine at a tiny showroom nestled deep in the Hollywood Hills. Kite and Butterfly is a funky space overlooking the Hollywood Sign and literally own by two sisters named Kite and Butterfly, a set of long-haired whimsical twin ladies with an eye for gorgeous, unique dress designs. Their showroom was full of sunlight and I tried on about 3 dresses before this one. I didn't exactly have a "THIS IS MY DRESS" moment; more like I put it on and was like - yeah! I look good! And these sleeves!! Haha. My dress was handmade and unique in that way, but we customized it a bit more by taking out some of the bottom layer of the dress and lowering the neckline an inch. I ended up losing a lot of weight before the wedding because of the sheer amount of stress I was under, and my last fitting ended up being about 8 weeks before my wedding. I should've waited. On the day of my wedding, I tried on my dress and the bra I had bought to wear with it only to realize that my breasts had gotten SO much smaller, the bra didn't fit any more. I was SWIMMING in that top half of the dress. It was annoying, but I ditched the bra wore the dress by itself on the big day. And it worked out just fine!
The shoes were a little harder to find. I hate wearing high heels, and because of the soft ground at our venue I was pretty adamant about wearing flats or something at least under a 3-inches. I wanted to be able to dance the night away, not complain about blisters and sore feet all evening! I looked online a lot without any luck, and one day while driving through Silverlake realized MooShoes was down the street. I stopped in - no expectations - and walked out with my wedding shoes! They were about $80 and have a low, wooden heel. I liked the cut-out accents and that they matched my dress - PLUS were the kind of shoe I could totally wear again.
And since I know you'll ask: Alex's outfit! He put to together himself, mostly. His pants and shirt are from Zara, the suspenders from Express. He owned the bowtie already, and he bought the shoes super last minute (thanks for the rush shipping!) from Insecta Shoes. They make really cool, unisex shoes that we totally love. He found a pattern with some florals in our wedding colors, and they worked out perfectly. Oh! And the flower crown, bouquet, and boutonniere were all custom creations from The Crown Collective here in LA. Carolyn made them to order based on my descriptions and our color scheme an they literally could not have come out more perfectly. They MADE our outfits!
USE YOUR RESOURCES! Use who and what you have! Your friends and family are going to be so happy and excited for you - and they'll want to be involved! Give them small jobs here and there to relieve your own stress, and if you have a wedding party (we didn't - oops!) then DELEGATE! You can save a lot of time and money by reaching out to your inner circle before jumping online to try and search through thousand of reviews from people you don't know. Alex's mom ended up decorating nearly our entire wedding and my Dad was totally in charge of arranging the keg arrival and set-up. That doesn't speak to the tons of friends we had helping us arrange pick-ups, set-up, and break-down. It was less for us to worry about, and our parents and friends were glad to help. If you have those people, use them! Then thank them profusely and give them all the hugs for getting you there. We all need a support system, and you'll be far less stressed if you tap into yours early.
As most of you probably know, we just got married! After 8 years of being in love and putting up with eachother's weird habits, we finally did it. It was so wonderful, and so fun - but the lead up was truly awful. The amount of stress near the end sent me into a anxiety attack - I wouldn't wish wedding planning on anyone...ha! I'm kidding, mostly. I should've hired more help. The one thing that saved my sanity the week before the wedding might've just been these Veestro meals; This is a sponsored post but all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. Veestro is a plant-based, organic meal delivery service that offers meal packs, juice cleanses and dishes a la carte on it's website. They have several different types of meal packs, including a 21-day kickstart, protein pack and lunchbox pack. I was excited to check out their unique Wedding Prep pack, which normally comes with lunch and dinner for 30 days, for either one or two people. We tried just a 5-day version, but it was so nice to have the option of NOT cooking the week of our wedding! All of the meals are clearly labeled, so I was easily able to avoid the dishes with soy, and the offer gluten-free dishes as well. The meals are actually quite affordable, starting at $7-8 per meal, and a decent sized portion at that. The meals are shipped on dry ice straight from the prep kitchen here in Southern California. I loved that they came frozen because it gave us the option of picking and choosing, and if you ordered a larger pack - the full wedding pack with 30+ meals, for example - would allow you to save fridge space as you took out and defrost the meals one at a time. We don't own a microwave, so we had to make sure to take our meals out the night before to defrost before reheating the next day, which was the only downfall for us. That said, we were impressed that all of the packaging was either recyclable or compostable ad BPA-free and it stayed frozen, even after sitting on our front step for a few hours.
The meal variety was awesome, though I forgot to tell them I was allergic to soy (I'm still getting used to it!), so more than half of the meals we received became Alex-only meals. He didn't seem to mind! And he really, really loved them. Here's the full list of meals we received: Morccan Melange, Beluga Lentil Braise, Veggie Empanadas, Veggie Lasagna, Spinach Pie, Country Fried Chick'n, Thai Chick'n Stew, Roasted Beet + Kale Salad, Indian Kamut Stew, Portobello Steak Dinner and Raspberry Cheezecake. Alex's faves ended up being the Empanadas, Country Fried Chick'n, and Cheezecake, and I liked the Lentil Braise and Indian Stew next. Next time we order, we'll try different options - there are a bunch to choose from!
These meals are perfect for vegans and non-vegans alike, because the ingredients are simple, clean, and most important: recognizable! Yup, all the ingredients are real , whole foods - things I would cook with in my own kitchen. A lot of the meals come with sauces to spice them up, and it was easy to add our own fresh accents, like cilantro or parsley, when we wanted to make the meal feel a little more homemade. One of my favorite things about these meals were how fresh they actually tasted on their own - it didn't feel like we were being lazy or eating "frozen dinners". The meals were creatively and thoughtfully prepared with health and a real focus on vegetable in mind. Did I already mention there are NO preservatives? Because that's a pretty big deal. That's how you know it's fresh. I was especially thankful for the Wedding Prep pack because it took SO much stress off of me in the week before the wedding. So much less to deal with, plus we didn't want to buy many groceries just to be leaving on our honeymoon days later. Veestro made it easy! And if you're someone who's looking to stick to a lean, plant-based diet leading up to your big day, this may be the perfect option. To see all their menu options and meal packs, head over to Veestro.com!
Chances are, you've been to Heather's beautifully designed website YumUniverse. If you haven't yet, drop everything and GO NOW! Everything she does is gorgeous - including her website layout. So clean and user-friendly, which makes it a perfect extension of her cookbook as a useful tool for creating delicious meals! Her plant-powerful, gluten-free, whole food recipes are always thoughtfully presented and beautifully photographed, and definitely drool-worthy. Her website is a treasure trove of over 500 recipes, meal plans, do-it-yourself projects, and brilliant e-books. Heather is NAILING it! Her new cookbook, Pantry to Plate, is a testament to her skills as a chef and her creativity in creating delicious, exciting new recipes...this time with foods you already have in your kitchen! This book is teeming with 30 flexible recipe templates plus over 100 recipes that show the templates in action and keep a focus on whole foods and flavor. The book is as much a guide as it is a cookbook, with thoughtful substitutions and pairings laid out amongst gorgeous, hand-painted art and beautifully shot photos. With sections like Breakfast Cookies, Bites & Tots, Tacos & Wraps, and Hand Pies there's something for everyone in this book. I made the Sriracha Mac recipe Heather's shared with us below just before we left on our honeymoon and it was PHENOMENAL! Spicy, tangy, cheezy - perfect.
Heather began her journey into healthy cooking and eating as a way to help heal her body of health issues that started in her early 20's. As someone with a lot of unexplained sickness, I totally understand- that's why I went plant-based, too! Heather keeps it real and is super relatable in her writing and her simple approach to creating meals that appeal to everyone. These are meals I feel like I could confidently cook for my meat-eating family with no complaints. Pantry to Plate is more than a cookbook- its a must-have for anyone with a desire to get more of the food in their pantry, and to stay healthy while doing it. Scroll all the way down for Heather's Sriracha Mac recipe AND a chance to WIN her new cookbook!
Sriracha Mac Serves 4+
One 12-ounce (340 g) package gluten-free macaroni noodles
½ cup (70 g) raw, unsalted cashews, soaked for 4 to 6 hours, drained, and rinsed
1 garlic clove
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons unrefined coconut oil
1 teaspoon nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
1 teaspoon Sriracha (or any similar style hot sauce), plus more to taste
½ teaspoon peeled, minced fresh ginger, or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
4 scallions, sliced
Toasted sesame oil (optional)
Instructions Get a large pot of water boiling and prepare the macaroni noodles according to the package instructions.
While the noodles cook, combine the squash, water, cashews, garlic, lemon juice, coconut oil, nutritional yeast, salt, Sriracha, and ginger in the blender and purée until ultra-smooth. Taste and add more Sriracha if you like. Transfer to a large pot heated to low.
Drain the noodles and dump into the pot of sauce; add the scallions. Stir together, seasoning with more salt if necessary. Drizzle with toasted sesame oil if you like and serve warm.
Hi friends! This post has taken me a lot longer to write than it probably should have, between my crippling anxiety that dealing with this particular event gave me and the fact that my wedding was Saturday. If you wanna see some sneak peeks from our gorgeous, perfect wedding (posts coming soon!), check out my instagram page + story. If you're interested in reading more about my anxiety attack and how I am learning, in an ongoing way, to deal with it, you can check out my recent post on both subjects here. If not, then I'm going to dive right into this post and focus on the good: because that's really how I'd prefer to remember it! It wasn't a perfect weekend, but it was pretty great, and I'm really lucky that I had people there that had my back.
The weekend kicked off in a caravan to Palm Springs and a visit to the Palm Springs Art Museum to see the new Jeffrey Gibson installation in the sculpture gardens. Our ultimate goal that afternoon before our AirBNB check-in would be to visit Desert X, his other running installation just a mile from where we were staying in PS. The sculpture garden was really neat, and I particularly loved the amount of blown glass artwork they had - so cool to see!
After the museum we headed a little further into town to the Palm Greens Cafe, one of my favorite places to grab a meal whenever I'm in town. They have a great, super vegan-friendly breakfast, brunch, and lunch menu, plus a board full of fresh juices and smoothies that'll keep you cool in the hot desert weather. My favorite is their Pineapple Jalapeño Cucumber juice - it's sweet, spicy, and super refreshing. We met up with most of the rest of our group at the restaurant for lunch, and texted final grocery and alcohol orders to the stragglers meeting us at the house later. At this point I was getting super excited to see where we'd be staying and to finally head over to the Desert X exhibit. We headed to the AirBNB for check-in, and were a little surprised at how small it was; cute - totally! But also super much smaller than it looked in photos (isn't that always the case?) and a little dingier. But it would do the trick! It was a strange setup - like a house with most of the rooms combined, plus two attached in-law apartments. A strange structure that made for even weirder sleeping arrangements, but it had a pool and hot tub! Not even the semi-creepy on-property manager (yeah, that definitely wasn't in the listing) could kill the vibe.
We split into rooms, my sister and I splitting one of the larger and more personal in-law apartments, and then headed back to the outskirts of town towards Desert X. The exhibit is basically a large house made entirely of mirrors - and it is super cool! Only about half the group made the trip, but we all thought it was rad and made sure to get plenty of cool photos. I mean, we had to! It was incredible to be alone in an entire room of mirrors - which you might've seen behind the scene footage of if you're following my instagram stories. 😉
Since I want to be super transparent and honest with you guys, you should know that I was lucky enough to have some really great brand support the weekend through product donation from the following brands: Dandies, Eat Pastry, Harmless Harvest, YumEarth, Organic Gemini, Tater Tats, Larabar, Ozery, Juicero, Hippeas, NadaMoo and Utopia Farms. I want to give them all a HUGE shoutout for being involved and for sharing their products with us for the weekend. They kept us fed, hydrated, full and ready to party, and for that I am so thankful. I love and support ALL of these brands, and recommend their products for real: no paid advertisement needed!
The snacks made the weekend a freaking blast - and saved us a bunch of time and money. Our fridge was fully stocked - it was truly a thing of beauty. I wish I'd gotten a better picture, but the lighting info ur AirBNB was total crap - lots of shade to block out that hot desert sun. There's a picture of every product on here, but the Ozery + Juicero (in the bottom right of the first photo set) are unlabeled - though were maybe the most eaten products! 😝
We loved using Organic Gemini's tigernut-based protein for our morning smoothies along with some fresh fruit (especially those that indulged in alcohol the night before, haha!) and munching on Larabars all day long between meals to keep us full-time on healthy fats. The Harmless Harvest and Juicero kept us hydrated around the pool, and the Dandies, Eat Patsry, YumEarth and NadaMoo made delicious desserts! Most of the attendees had never tried Hippeas before and they were and instant hit at the party. Utopia Farms provided the medicated edibles - which was AWESOME for me because I don't really drink, and Tater Tats gave us the temporary tattoo entertainment!
The first morning we woke up and everyone was a little hungover - except me - so I practiced a little yoga and made morning smoothies for the group. The rest of the day was the perfect pool day - lots of sun, drinking, poolside snacking, and floating around in fruit-shaped inflatables. I brought along a tie dye kit and we made rad, very nineties souvenirs take home. Turns out you can get a super easy, 30-dye kit with easy apply nozzles at Michaels for like $20. It was so worth it! The evening was a blur of games of Cards Against Humanity, late-night hot tubbing, and some serious dance sessions. We headed to bed late and got up early the next day for our 11 am check out. Everyone was sleepy, a little hungover, and tired of being in the sun.
Lots of long and loving goodbyes later, we were on the road home. I was exhausted from the weekend emotionally and physically, and was so ready to get home to see (my now HUSBAND!) Alex. We cruised back past the Cabazon Dinosaurs and home. Over - a great weekend. My tips? I've got a few!
Plan activities that everyone can actually commit to. My morning yoga mesh was a major bummer for me because everyone else was hungover and uninterested.
Bring lots of healthy snacks! We wee lucky that we had help from such great companies. But buying healthy snacks in bulk is a great way to DIY on the cheap.
Make time for you and your needs during the weekend. I didn't do that enough, and ended up feeling sad and stressed because of it.
Ask friends to keep it vegan (or veg-friendly, or whatever your thing is!) because it's your weekend. It's okay to be selfish!
Make sure you stay hydrated! That's half the battle in the heat.
Accept that things won't always go as planned. And that's okay.
And once it's all over, just remember - no matter how it goes - you are that much closer to marrying your partner and that part is so, so worth it. A snapshot of the crew below - thanks to all my friends for sharing my bachelorette weekend with me!
Last week, I suffered from my very first anxiety attack. Before writing this, I considered the terms 'panic attack' and 'anxiety attack' interchangeable. Turns out, there are subtle differences. For the purpose of this discussion, I will consider my attack that of the anxiety variety, which usually includes a direct stressor - i.e., an event or situation - as opposed to a panic attack, which is often unprovoked and unpredictable.
It was last Thursday, the day before my bachelorette party. I was about an hour out from leaving my house for LAX to pick up the first of the weekend's guests - my cousin, Devin. I had been cleaning the house all morning, wiping up stray water drops and scrubbing things no-one but me would pay attention to. I was already frustrated, knowing how little time I had left to prepare. As a crazy perfectionist, I generally can't relax until everything feels perfect. Which it never does, which creates a really shitty cycle of me hating myself for not reaching impossible expectations I set for myself. That morning was particularly hard, as I was also silently dreading going to my own bachelorette party. Don't get me wrong, because I'd really hate to some off as a bridezilla here; it's not that I didn't feel lucky to be having one, or that I didn't think it was grand enough for my expectations. Rather, as someone who generally considers herself an introvert, I was dreading dealing with the social pressures of making sure everyone at the party was socializing, happy, well fed. Things a host does. Things you'd think, just by following me on social media, I'm probably great at. But that's sort of the wonderful illusion of social media - I can show you everything I want and nothing I don't. And as honest as I try to be here and with this audience, I don't normally advertise how hard it is for me to be social. It feels likes it only makes it harder, pointing it out. And makes me feel awkward. If you're an introvert, you get it. If not - imagine social anxiety as one of your greatest fears in place of heights, spiders, or whatever normally gets your heart racing. That's what it feels like - like something you just would reallllly rather avoid if you could.
So, Thursday morning was stressful and feeling heavy and impending, and I don't remember when I started crying. It might've been after my cousin called saying his flight landed an hour early, it might've been when I realized I was leaving my sweet dog for a full weekend, it might've even been when I started packing my overnight bag. All of sudden, I was just a pile of stress and tears and extreme sadness. I've struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety my whole life, but this just felt different. It was like a wave, overtaking my throat, choking my breath, my tongue getting thick and sluggish in my mouth. My shoulders seized up my body was shaking as I just broke down. I sobbed for so long and so heavily it felt like I would never stop. I couldn't catch my breath or open my eyes, and everything hurt. I moved to the back yard and back into the bedroom, with Alex finally wrapping me in a blanket while I just lay there choking on my own snot. It was a mess. It took me about an hour to calm down, from start to finish, and I still feel nearly a week and a half later like it could happen at any time. I knew immediately it was anxiety attack because I'd seen people have similar instances before, but I really, truly thought that somehow (white privilege? societal constructs? all of the above?) it couldn't happen to me. I like to think of myself as well put together, strong, able to handle my shit - but this kind of rocked me. I hated not feeling in control of myself completely, and feeling like my emotions and stress could overwhelm me in such an abrupt and upsetting way.
I'm working on a recap of the bachelorette weekend now, and it should be ready in a couple of days for you guys. It took me a while to sort through my emotions about it, because it went neither like I wanted it to or like I expected it to. And that's okay, just frustrating. In the meantime, I've been spending as much possible time on self-care and things that make me happy as possible. I wrote a post on instagram about how yoga invasions have been helping me deal with stress lately, but I wanted to give you guys a few suggestions for dealing with your own anxiety and stress and hope you'll give me your suggestions in the comments below as well. I think the best part about this platform is the ability it gives me to connect with so many of you who are in the same or similar situations; We have so much to offer each other in terms of support and education!
Here are just a few ways I like to relax + practice a little self-care:
hard workouts - anything that makes me sore is great for clearing my head
Now that I've had the anxiety attack, the scariest part is anticipating another one. DON'T DO THIS! Haha. It just stresses us out more! If you do feel an anxiety attack coming on try taking deep, regulated breaths (ujjayi breath in yoga), and think about something that makes you genuinely happy. Or just work on clearing your mind - its up to you to find which works best for you. I also try to be super honest with Alex when I'm feeling like this. If you're lucky enough to have an awesome partner, they want what is best for you. Let them comfort you and keep them in the loop when you start feeling more anxiety-ridden so they can help you. If you don't have alive-in partner or aren't comfortable getting super real with them yet, give yourself an outlet. Whether its a close friend or therapist, I'm a big fan of talking it out. Do what you gotta do to keep yourself happy + healthy. And I will too! While I'm sure a lot of stress will leave after the wedding, I'm still considering getting into therapy again. It's so nice to have a neutral outlet when you need it!
So I want to know: how do you practice self-care? How do you deal when you feel an anxiety attacking coming or strike? Let me know in the comments below! ❤️