I’m Proud of Myself

This was a difficult year! There is so much to be proud of.

Acknowledging my accomplishments isn’t something that comes easily to me. I’m not sure if it’s something women are conditioned (thanks, patriarchy!) or if it’s something else, but I rarely discuss my accomplishments or things I’m proud of myself for. I wanted to write this post, because there is a lot to be proud of this year. I hope it inspires you to take a moment & to reflect on what you feel most proud of this year.

I’m proud of myself. I’m proud of myself for teaching in the midst of a pandemic. For showing up daily & trying to be the best teacher I can be for my kiddos, even when it’s hard. I’m proud of myself for sticking it out through grad school; through late nights of writing papers & discussion posts, on nights I feel like giving up. (Also for getting an A in my most recent course!) I’m proud of myself for adapting & finding ways to cope with an anxiety disorder that has really been amplified in this pandemic.

I’m proud of myself for how I treat people; I’m mindful of how I make other people feel (although maybe a little too much so sometimes!) & I try my best to make others feel valued. I’m proud that I enjoy learning new things & challenging myself. I’m proud that I lift other people up instead of tearing them down. I’m proud that during a difficult year, I found strength I didn’t know I had.

As we wrap up 2020, there is so much to be proud of. I’m proud of you, for getting through a tough year; for reflecting on priorities & making hard choices, for making sacrifices & showing up. Maybe you suffered a loss, whether that’s a loved one, a job, big plans. There is so much to be proud of yourself for!

Walking into 2021 feeling grateful.

What are you most proud of yourself for?

Thank you so much for being here; for supporting my blog. You inspire me & I couldn’t be more grateful. Have a happy new year!

Love,

Danielle

My Current Favorite Ways to Unwind During Stressful Times

Theo & Phoebe hope you have a beautiful, restful holiday season!

Even in 2020, the holiday season can definitely add some stress. Making COVID-safe plans, online shopping for the perfect gift, work stress. It’s a lot! I’ve been feeling especially stressed due to grad school assignments. It’s important to find ways to unwind & relax. Here’s some of my favorite ways to unwind!

  • Go for a walk: lately, especially after a particularly stressful work day, I’ve been putting sneakers on & going for a walk around the lake near my apartment. The fresh air & sunshine does wonders!
  • Have a dance party: Whether John & I put on early 2000’s throwbacks while we’re making dinner or I’m performing my one woman show of Hamilton for myself in my car, I can feel the tension leaving my body when I’m dancing.
  • Write down a to-do list: To-do lists save lives! Maybe that’s dramatic BUT they definitely help with my anxiety & it always feels good to check off.
  • My personal favorite: spiked hot chocolate & Christmas movies! It’s hard to feel stressed when you’re that cozy!
Not the prettiest picture, but try adding coconut rum to your hot chocolate! I make mine with almond milk + add marshmallow fluff on top, so good!

I’m wishing you a happy, healthy, RELAXING holiday season!

Danielle

Making The Most Of The Holidays This Year

I’ll most likely be living in comfy clothes this holiday season! Sweatshirts, baking cookies, pet snuggles. So cozy!

The holiday season is different this year. There’s no getting around it; maybe you’re doing a socially distant Thanksgiving, or you’re celebrating Christmas just with your household. Maybe you’re used to cooking for an army of people, or you usually travel this time of year. The holiday season IS different this year, but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be great!

The holidays are typically a time for celebration & togetherness; those things might look different right now. You need to make decisions for yourself & your family, to stay safe & healthy.

I wanted to write this because I’ve spoken with several people who are feeling bummed this season. We miss our family & friends who we usually celebrate with, we miss traveling or other experiences & traditions. These feelings are VALID. All we can do is make the best of it, so I wanted to share a few ideas of how you can do just that!

-Make new traditions! Have a ginger bread house making competition, bake a new cookie recipe while listening to Christmas music, go for a walk to get fresh air & see Christmas lights. Do little things that help keep that holiday magic alive!

-Focus on gratitude. There is so much to be grateful for; the health of my loved ones & myself are at the top of my list this year for sure! We might be missing some traditions this year, but if everyone is healthy & doing well, that makes me so happy.

-Connect with loved ones, virtually! Host a Zoom happy hour where you make festive holiday drinks, FaceTime your family & eat dinner together, watch your favorite Christmas movies. Just because things are different, doesn’t mean we can’t all enjoy this season!

I’m sending you a giant virtual hug & hopefully some holiday cheer!

Danielle

It’s Not Always Rainbows & Butterflies

I wish I could tell you that the journey to body confidence is all rainbows & butterflies. I’m the first person to say that it’s hard! Some days, your favorite jeans aren’t fitting how they used to. Or you get out of the shower & don’t like the way your stomach looks; maybe your thighs are rubbing together more. It doesn’t seem to matter your body type or age, we ALL have days when our bodies feel as though they are betraying us. Let’s shout it from the rooftops: IT SUCKS!

I’ve been having some really negative thoughts about my body lately. As much as I’ve made progress in the way I view my body, sometimes my my brain automatically goes to “You only have a few months left to lose weight for your friend’s wedding”, or “You gained weight & now you have to size up, great”, or “You can’t post that, look at your double chin!” (Some more recent examples, unfortunately).

Does having to size up in my clothes make me less valuable of a person? Will being my current weight for my friend’s wedding in January make the day any less special? The answer is no! How my body looks or how much I weigh should literally be the LAST thing on my mind on a day as special as my best friend’s wedding.

Maybe part of the beauty of striving toward body confidence is meeting yourself where you’re at; whatever stage of life or imperfection you’ve noticed. This truly is a lifelong journey; I wish, for your sake & mine, that there was a magic answer. That I could wave a wand & love everything about my body every single day. Unfortunately, not going to happen. Sometimes I can focus on the things my body can do, I can make myself feel better by throwing on a pretty dress or going for a walk. Other days, I strongly consider restrictive eating & exercising as a punishment for the weight I’ve gained.

I never, ever want to give the impression that it is an easy task to love & accept our bodies. At least, for me it isn’t, & I know that’s the case for so many of my friends & family. The beautiful women in my life, who are so perfect in my eyes, have days where they feel blah too, only able to focus on the things they dislike about themselves.

I’ve said it a million times before, but sometimes we just need to be reminded. You are worth so much more than the size you wear or what you weigh. Make beautiful, wonderful memories with people you love. That’s all that matters at the end of the day! I’ve been hateful & mean toward my body the last few weeks; the same one that let me dance with my sister via Zoom for hours after we got the election results. The same body that carries me through every stage of life, both good & bad. Today, I ate a healthy, filling breakfast. Then, I took my puppy for long, peaceful walk. I’m taking steps toward loving my body more.

Cheers to being more loving & kind to our bodies,

Danielle

Stepping Outside of my Comfort Zone

Wear the clothes you want to wear!

I kid you not, one of my favorite outfits in 4th grade was a white skirt with black & white polka dot leggings underneath. In 5th grade, I wore a hot pink blazer with a pink & orange floral top under it. Bright colors, sequins, bold patterns, I would wear it all. I never had an issue wearing exactly what I wanted to wear, no matter how daring or out there it was.

Then, society began to tell me to wear what was “flattering”. I was told to wear dark colors, they were far more slimming. I was told to not wear stripes, they would make me look wide. Don’t wear anything form-fitting, don’t wear anything sparkly. There were so many rules & suddenly, I was only focused on making myself look smaller. On wearing what would “flatter” my body.

I’m starting to see trying new trends that I love as a form of self-care. It’s so easy to get into a rut & only wear what we are used to, what makes us feel the most comfortable, what makes us look the smallest. It’s fun & feels like a way to celebrate my body, to try out a new trend like this utility style jumpsuit. I’ve seen jumpsuits like this on women with smaller bodies, but have been a little afraid to try it out for myself.

I found this jumpsuit on Thred Up, but it’s originally from Old Navy. I’ve seen some similar styles at Target & Madewell too, if you’re looking for a jumpsuit like this. It’s comfortable, HAS POCKETS, & feels just outside of my comfort zone; enough that it feels fresh & fun to style. It’s no polka dotted legging, but it’s a tiny step toward that bold, confident self from 4th grade; before society taught me that taking up less space meant that I was worth more.

Comfy + has pockets= always a winner in my book!

Wear what you love, regardless of whether society deems it “flattering”. Regardless of if a magazine told you you’re an “apple” or a “pear”. Maybe I’ll do a blog post soon about categorizing women’s bodies into types of fruit, because I think it’s kinda bullshit. Wear what you love, because your body deserves to be celebrated.

You only get one life, don’t spend it in clothes that don’t feel like YOU.

Danielle

My Experience with COVID

This past Wednesday, the thing I’ve had nightmares about for months happened. It had been the cause of many sleepless nights & many anxiety attacks. I received a positive COVID-19 test result. My hope is that sharing my experience might help someone!

First of all, I want to say that I’m thankful. While I do have asthma & have struggled at times with my coughing & breathing, I’m thankful that my symptoms have been fairly manageable & as mild as I could ask for. This virus has impacted so many people. It has taken lives & loved ones. It has caused so much pain & suffering, all around the world. For me to be able to work from home, to be able to call my parents & sister, to be feeling a little better each day, I just feel so, so thankful.

My immediate reaction after receiving my results was to call my sister & cry; I was terrified & particularly worried that I had accidentally spread it to my parents. My dad is older, so we have been extremely careful since March to protect him from getting the virus. I’ve felt more relief each day, since I haven’t seen my parents in a little while & they haven’t shown any symptoms. I wore a mask and stayed over 6 feet away from them when I saw them, but that was definitely my #1 fear when getting that test result.

I left work early last Wednesday; I felt feverish & was getting out of breath just walking around my classroom. I went to an urgent care facility the following day & had a rapid results test done; it came back as negative. My symptoms worsened over the next few days. I developed a severe, deep chest cough & was getting winded just from walking from the bedroom to the living room. I was told it was bronchitis & was given a steroid & antibiotics to treat that. My cough got worse & worse. I lost my sense of taste & smell completely a few days after that, & had trouble breathing especially at nighttime.

I had another test done, this one at CVS where I swabbed my own nose for it (the test is uncomfortable but I wouldn’t say it’s painful, hope that’s reassuring for you!) This is the test that came back positive.

As of today, I have had symptoms for 11 days. I’ve seen a huge improvement in how I’m feeling the last two days! I did take a sick day off of teaching from home on Friday, which I think is exactly what my body needed. I needed to give my body some time to rest & start to heal.

There’s a lot of emotions that come along with this; gratitude for sure, like I mentioned! There’s also frustration, because I have been so cautious since March. But, you can be exposed to the virus anywhere, whether it’s at work or wherever. It’s feeling unsafe in your own body. It’s a lot.

If you get a negative result but are still having symptoms (especially with a rapid result test!) please consider getting another test. Apparently it’s not that uncommon to get a false negative, which I was unaware of!

Take this virus seriously, please. Take precautions to keep you & your loved ones safe. I wouldn’t wish this virus on anyone.

This is a long post, apparently I have a lot to say! I did want to include a few things that have been helpful with managing my symptoms.

  • Thankfully I have an inhaler for my asthma, which has been so helpful!
  • Vick’s vapor rub-I put this on my chest & back & then take a super hot shower.
  • Mucinex, DayQuil, NyQuil
  • REST!!!
Puppy snuggles help, too! Theo has been the sweetest boy taking care of his momma. 💕

If this is something you are dealing with, I’m so sorry. I’m sending you healing & love! I’m also going to link the CDC’s website here, as it’s a good resource for information.

Lastly, thank you to my family & friends who have been checking in with me every day since I found out. I’m a lucky girl!

Danielle

Someday…

I could wear a bikini, if only I’d lose 25 lbs. I could start a blog, once I learned everything there is to know about blogging. I could go on a fun weekend trip, if I worked out five days a week for a month. I’d bargain with myself. I was limiting myself, depriving myself. I was waiting for certain things to happen to start LIVING.

We only have so much time. To do things we’re passionate about, to wear clothes we love, to explore & challenge ourselves. I think it’s wonderful to set goals for ourselves, to strive toward something. But I don’t think we need to put our lives on hold in the meantime. Sometimes we put things off due to fear, self doubt, comparing ourselves to others.

Doubting ourselves takes up an awful lot of time; too much time wasted that could be spent on things we actually want. Instead of waiting for someday, let’s live today.

What’s something you would love to do if your own thoughts didn’t hold you back?

Danielle

Current Obsession: Midi Dresses!

I love midi dresses for so many reasons! They’re super versatile & can be dressed up or down with whatever shoes you want. I’ve been wearing mine with sneakers + a cardigan for work, but can’t wait to style them with booties & jackets if the weather ever cools down!

This first dress is from Old Navy! I love the colors; I’ll probably wear it for Thanksgiving! The second dress is SO comfy & from Aerie. The last dress is a favorite of mine from Target!

I’ve been finding cute, affordable midi dresses & had some requests to share them with you! Wearing these dresses, I feel confident & comfortable; I want the same for you! I made sure to link these three from the video.

I hope you’re having a great weekend!

Danielle

A Quick Mental Health Check-In

Hi there!

I wanted to just do a quick mental health check in. I hope you’re doing okay & hanging in there! I’m hanging in there but I’ve also just felt like I’m not functioning at my best.

I feel tired. I feel good some days & am having terrible anxiety the next. I have happy days with my students & then other days where I get home feeling tense & overwhelmed by the weight of it all.

I haven’t been moving my body or eating nutritious food very often; actually, I’ve been turning to take-out food for comfort. I’ve noticed some weight gain which I’m trying to come to terms with. It’s hard to maintain a positive body image when I’m not taking care of my body very well. I’m working on taking some small steps toward nourishing & moving my body. After all, it does so much for me & I should really take care of it!

This morning, I woke up early enough to cook breakfast, drink matcha, & play with Theo before leaving for work. Those small moments of self-care set the tone for my day.

Even in dark times, I have so much to be grateful for. Here’s a quick list!

I love him 😊
  • John 💕 I’m forever grateful to love & be loved by him. Even in my anxious, irritable moments, he makes me feel so loved.
  • Teaching my students how to be kind human beings.
  • A happy, healthy puppy who greets me with so many kisses every day when I get home!
My baby is getting so big!!

It feels like we’ve been in this pandemic for such a long time; let’s remember to be gentle & kind to ourselves. Weight fluctuates, productivity comes in waves, & some days we just need to order Chinese take-out & binge a show on Netflix (these may or may not be my plans for the evening!)

Sending you a virtual hug,

Danielle

You’ll Get There.

I hope this post encourages you!

I know I can’t be the only one who sometimes feels like my goals are JUST out of reach; close enough to almost touch & yet so far away, all at the same time.

Working on a graduate degree that will help me achieve my DREAM while navigating teaching during a pandemic feels hard. It feels nearly impossible sometimes. I find myself feeling a little discouraged lately.

But I’ll do it! Progress is progress, & I have to remind myself that I’m further along in this journey than I was, whether it feels that way or not. The late nights & early mornings; the frustrated tears while I finish an assignment. It’s all going to be worth it someday, when I finally reach that goal.

I just wanted to remind you that you’re doing it. Even if you’re at a crawl, you’re still making progress & moving toward your goal. You’re closer to it now than you were yesterday!

We’ll get there!

Danielle