The Best Kept Secrets About Simple Ways To Cosmetically Fixing Up Your Home

The listing photo for my home pre-purchased

Buying your first home is probably the most exciting feeling in the world. If you’re anything like me, you have a vision for what each room will look like that’s straight out of the “For Home” ideas you’ve pinned on Pinterest. As time goes on you realize it takes time to do these things and unless your name is David Tepper and you own the Carolina Panthers you probably aren’t fixing things up as quickly as you think.

What we had to start with…

Just because you aren’t Rockefeller, it doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to cosmetically fix little things that can make a huge difference in upping the resale value of your home. We took that drab yellow color and painted it my FAVORITE paint of all time: Sherwin Williams in ‘Sea Salt’. Just the paint job itself brightened up the kitchen and gave it relaxing vibes.

It’s no secret my little family and I plan on relocating to the Carolinas in the not so distant future. Baring all other obstacles are met: finding a job, a town that fits the vibe of what we’re looking for, and of course building our dream home I look forward to taking you on our journey with us! There’s still so much to be done around here before we can move on to phase 2. Which makes me wonder: If beauty is in the eye of the beholder could otherwise budget conscious individuals still get top dollar without breaking the bank, more importantly exactly how powerful is curb appeal and cosmetic beauty in the eye of the potential buyer?

I set out to find just how to make the most out of a limited budget and I think you all will be pleasantly surprised with how you can fix up a kitchen for under $200.00! Cosmetic fixes, as I mentioned in my earlier post where I transformed my living room, can be the easiest fix when it comes to fixing up your space. Never underestimate the power of a good paint job, so when it came time to fix up my kitchen I knew just a few little cosmetic nip and tucks could make a huge difference in the future resale of my home.

Here’s a BEFORE picture of my kitchen as well as my checklist for what I felt the kitchen really needed to regain its identity and character:

As you can see from the picture, the kitchen situation we inherited wasn’t ideal. The dated, broken cabinets, tired looking beige stove hood and countertops gave this kitchen a rather deteriorated vibe which was in fierce contrast to all of the updating and bringing into the 21st century we’ve done. What I proposed to Tom was to fix these cabinets’ doors and give them a much needed facelift with some grey paint. I also wanted to replace that MUCH DATED stove hood and give the countertops a new lease at shelf life with some wax. The labor was FREE because we did it ourselves so bare that in mind that your total cost will probably reflect in your decision to DIY or have someone come to do it for you.

Our Checklist and Pricing Estimate:

▪️Paint (tax included) comes to $42.00

▪️Roller for cabinets comes to $8.00

▪️Hinges in fixing lazy Susan and pantry cabinet comes to $12.00

▪️Glosser (tax included) comes to $9.00

▪️Wax (tax included) comes to $5.00

▪️New Stove Hood (tax included) comes to $49.00

▪️Bringing the GRAND TOTAL to: $125.00▪️

Aside from the cost of supplies, the manual labor when spread out took us a total of 21 hours. This included restoring the cabinets to their former glory, using two coats of paint and gloss, as well as replacing the stove hood and waxing countertops. That said, it was all worth it when you see the outcome in these AFTER pictures:

As you can see, when it comes to simple cosmetic fixes, a little bit goes a really long way! Would you believe me at all if I told you these cabinets are the same cabinets in the before picture? We took these tired, off-white cabinets and fixed all the doors (some of which were pulled off and missing when we moved in!) before we painted them a cool neutral gray to give them a new and refreshed look. We plan on adding some knobs to give them an overall brand new look, I’ll add an updated picture to this post so keep checking back in the next few weeks to see how that turns out. We also took the beat up beige stove hood and replaced it with a sleek black stove hood to compliment the black and stainless steel stove. Finally, we waxed the countertops to give them a glossier, fresh, new finish.

I really hope this post helped for any of you who are looking to up the resale value of your home without breaking the bank. Please feel free to leave a comment below, and don’t forget to hit that follow button so you don’t miss any future posts!

*Please note both my Twitter and Instagram profiles are ‘request to follow’ if you’d like me to accept your request please send me a DM referencing this blog so I can accept you!*

The Advanced Guide to How To Get Rid Of Mom-centric Ads When You’re Childfree

Hello Fan Friends,

Greeting from day, I’m not really sure what day it is, in quarantine. More days in isolation mean more unmotivated days job hunting and social media browsing. I’m not sure about any of you other single or (in my case) married 30 something old years but I feel like Facebook makes rather bold assumptions that if you’re a female in your 30s your biological clock must be deafeningly loud.

When I tell people that Tom and I are happy dog parents with no intentions of procreating, I’ve gotten reactions similar to if I had told a nun I’d become an atheist. The shock of breaking such an intensely imbedded social norm is enough for me to feel like maybe, the purpose of this blog can be geared more towards showing I’m not hedonistic for not wanting to be a Mom. While I’ll always have recipes, home and lifestyle posts, tarot/spiritual DIY projects, I’d like to focus on branding myself and this blog as Childfree. Since it’s something I feel really strongly about, I feel like NOT writing more posts geared towards people with similar lifestyle choices as me is inauthentic. That’s not to say there wouldn’t be things my parent audiences won’t be able to relate to: after all, there’s plenty of things such as food, drinks and DIY home projects I will write about that you can relate to but if you’re hoping that within the next 5-10 years this will become a more “Mommy-Centric” blog, it’s not going to happen.

I hope my audiences, even those with kids, read all my posts with an open mind and realize womanhood isn’t one size fits all. I love kids, they just aren’t for me. Which makes me wonder: Are social media outlets giving up on pushing the advertisement of individual interests verses the interest of what society deems acceptable?

I recently joined two childfree, closed Facebook groups. It was really nice to meet likeminded individuals who faced similar scrutiny from society from going against the grain. Charlotte* (name changed to protect the identity of this member) made me aware of something I didn’t know I could have control over and that’s my Facebook ads. I noticed, probably in my mid-twenties, as friends of me I grew up with or grew apart from during college began embarking on parenthood I got more ads for diapers, children’s stores, and just overall Mommy-centric ads. I would usually hide them or mark them irrelevant until Charlotte* recently posted on how to manage my ad preferences and my life was changed forever.

Here’s how to do it:

🌀Change your ad preferences!🌀

In the Privacy Shortcuts menu: scroll down to Ad Preferences, and click on Review Your Ad Preferences. Next you should see something entitled Hide Ad Topics. Now, before you ask this isn’t completely fool proof, but I put ‘parenting’ in which helped cut down on a lot of unwanted ads!

🌀Remove your off-Facebook activity🌀

Once you’re in the Privacy Shortcuts menu: scroll down to Your Facebook Information, View or Clear your off-Facebook Activity, and hit Clear History. After this, under More Options, go to Manage Future Activity and switch it to off. * This actually stops Facebook from using what you look at off of Facebook to do targeted advertising as well as allow you to keep your privacy!*

🌀Change your personal information🌀

In the Privacy Shortcuts menu: scroll down to Your Facebook Information, then Access Your Information. Scroll down to Profile Information – here you can change/remove details such as your age and gender to prevent FB algorithms targeting your profile for certain ads.

🌀Finally, hide any irreverent ads that do sneak in!🌀

This system isn’t perfect but it can safe you the hassle of bombardment on a regular basis. You can do this by clicking on the 3 dots in the top right corner of the ad in question and then scrolling down to “Hide ad”. Mark it as irrelevant– this helps Facebook to ‘learn’ what ads to not show you in the future.

I really hope this helped for any of you who wanted a more personalized experience on their social media platforms. Drop a comment below, and don’t forget to hit that follow button so you don’t miss any future posts!

*Please note both my Twitter and Instagram profiles are ‘request to follow’ if you’d like me to accept your request please send me a DM referencing this blog so I can accept you!*

April Radio Silence Brings May Updates-and; Chili’s 🌶 Skillet Queso Recipe!

Being in lockdown sucks. Literally. I mean the fact that I’m out of work and home 7 days a week sucks food right out of my fridge. I have a confession. We’re friends, right? I haven’t weighed myself in over a month. It’s not that I’ve been awful in my eating habits, more that I’ve been very inconsistent and wanting comfort food. With COVID-19 reeking havoc on my home state here in the United States I’m trying not to focus on the scale right now and just get though this difficult time. I’m Carolina Dreaming. That some time, within the next year or possibly two, I can leave my Jersey roots behind and embark on a new adventure in a new state. It’s May and we’re struggling with maintaining temperatures in the 60’s let alone significantly warming up. Moral of the story? The closer you are to Canada the cooler your temps stay longer. It’s not ideal but since our stay at home order statewide has been in affect I haven’t necessarily had to deal with it too much.

I turned 31 earlier this month, and I had a virtual birthday party on Zoom. It was a lot of fun I must say but also can we talk about how sad it was not to being able to hug my friends and family? That said, I wanted to post about something exciting…mainly food. This nifty recipe became famous at a restaurant here in the US called Chili’s. It’s usually served with warm, salty tortilla chips and while it’s not healthy or keto-it’s very good for the soul.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 16 ounces Velveeta Cheese
  • 1 cup milk (preferably Half & Half if you have it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 15-ounce can no-bean chili
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • juice of 1 lime juice (about 1 tablespoon)
  • tortilla chips, for serving
  • Here’s what you’ll need to do:
    • Cut velveeta cheese into cubes. (optional. If you don’t, it will just take a little longer to melt, no biggie) Add all ingredients (except for tortilla chips) to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours or on high for 1 hour.
    • Stir until everything comes together. Cook on low for 30 minutes – 1 hour (As much time as you have before serving)
    • Serve with tortilla chips & Bon Appetite!
  • I really hope you enjoyed this recipe and that you’re all staying safe during this pandemic.
  • Message from Our Guides 4/13-4/17 2020

    A message from our guides and angels for the week of 4/13-4/17 2020:

    This is the week in which we are being called to examine our lifestyle patterns. St. Raphael reminds us to stay hydrated and avoid processed or chemical filled foods & beverages. It is easy to feel cooped up and go with what is easiest to prepare but the reward for eating more fresh and organic produce will mean more energy and productivity to devote to our dreams, desires, families, health and overall life purpose. Raphael is our guardian angels’ “boss” or “manager” so to speak his name literally means “He who heals”. He is the Saint who is overseeing and protecting us here on Earth in terms of health and is a patron Saint of all those in the medical field. He is watching over and guiding them.

    Although we live in a scary time, we are being called to be brave. This card is being brought forth to remind us that we are being protected and guided during this time of uncertainty. Do not give in to the media machine of spreading fear-instead be courageous and rely on your inner and personal strength to get through. Be the light in your friends and family’s lives by focusing on the positive within this situation. Did you wake up healthy? Are your families remaining safe and together? Give thanks and praise to your chosen higher power for this in and of itself is a miraculous blessing. Do your best to see God in everyone, including yourself, during this time. This is an opportunity to grow spiritually and develop a higher sense of self-esteem. Do not hide from the negativity, face it with grace, love and prayer. Prayer for the world is powerful doing this will help the conflict to resolve itself in a miraculous way. Your role is to remain positive, speak only truth and be brave.

    We can look to Saint Michael to help us shore up our confidence so we can fearlessly face this crisis together. St. Michael is with us, protecting us from negativity and helping us to remain positive and filled with faith. He is ensuring that only people and situations of the highest integrity can come to us. He is calling us all to have faith in God’s power to keep us safe and secure. As we navigate through life right now it’s normal to feel intimidated by the situation at hand. Remember God doesn’t bring anything to us that we are unable to get through together. Heaven has sent us powerful companions (such as Saint Michael) to aid us in all ways so that we’re never alone. Michael is also our guardian angels’ “boss” or “manager” so to speak his name literally means “He who is like God”. He is the Saint who is overseeing and protecting us here on Earth in terms of spiritual protection and is a patron Saint of all those in law enforcement. He is watching over and guiding them.

    The final card is a call for us to move our bodies and stay active during this time. It’s very easy to get lazy and be inactive during this time of self isolation but we must stay moving. You can do this by dancing to music, playing with your children, exercising, and so on. This movement will aid you in ushering in a fresh new start and keeping your body healthy during this time.

    Hope this uplifting message from heaven gave you all a sense of peace. Xoxo

    5 Things You Can Do During A Pandemic

    Because sometimes the more the media harps on something the more fearful the public becomes…

    Remember on New Year’s Eve when we all thought that 2020 was going to be the best year for all of us? Yeah, I do too. With the news spinning an apocalyptic narrative and more and more people getting sick with the coronavirus it can be very easy for people (like me) who suffer from severe anxiety to be more and more prone to panic attacks. Panic attacks (when severe enough) can mimic heart attacks. Chest pain and heart palpitations are not uncommon in people with crippling anxiety. The worst thing someone with anxiety can do is to listen to the news and all the other posts on social media which suggest the world truly is ending.

    If you suffer from anxiety, like me, I’ve put together a nifty little five-step list that you can do to take your mind off of everything that’s going on. While this is not to downplay the severity of those that are part of the at risk group of people whose lives could be threatened by this virus, it’s rather something you can do to keep your own sense of sanity during this period of time. 

    1. Go for a walk-One of the best things you could do is re-connect with nature get outdoors and take a walk. Take time to appreciate nature. Spend the energy you would use worrying about things you can’t control (namely other people’s hygiene habits) and just focus on what you hear and what you see around you. A squirrel climbing a tree? Birds chirping in the sunlight? These things will help you to center yourself and reconnect with whatever higher power you believe in.
    2. Read a book-when I was young my favorite book to read was Harry Potter. I loved being able to insert myself into another world to get my mind off of my life for a little while. Reading a book can be a great way to take your mind off of what’s being read and written about in the news. The key here is to use your imagination to focus on what the characters are going through, imagine that in your mind, and go for it. You will be surprised to find how much time will pass that you spend not worrying when you pick up a book and read.
    3. Practice social distancing and spend time with the people you live with-This is a really good time to sharpen up your monopoly skills against those you live with in your home. Instead of going out to restaurants and bars consider instead ordering takeout and hosting a game night with the people that you live with. Not only will this take you back to a simpler time when winning a game was the most important thing, but it will also help you to appreciate your loved ones and spend some much needed time with them.
    4. Watch some movies-While this is not the time to go to movie theaters, this IS a really good time to catch up on watching some of your favorite classic movies. Gather your loved ones, the ones that you live with, and watch some of your favorite movies. Each night have someone else in your home pick the movie to watch and then talk about it afterwards. What did you like the best? How did you feel about the ending? Having these discussions will keep your mind off of what’s going on in the outside world at least for a little while.
    5. Wash your hands and pray-While the world is having a melt down pray that whoever you believe in (no matter what your faith is, even if you have no faith at all) heals the world. Keep your hands clean and pray to God or whomever you place your trust in, to keep you safe and healthy. Put all your worries and fears in their hands and keep the faith that tomorrow will bring forth a better day for all of us.
      As a bonus something you can do to help is also keeping a journal. Keeping a journal is a good way to release any fears or concerns that you have about what is going on. One of the worst things someone with anxiety can do is simply to keep it in you have to let out the toxic thoughts someway and journaling is a good way to do this. Going back at what you’ve written, you can look at your fears and legitimate concerns and see what is warranted and what is not.
      Remember to exercise caution, my friends, by washing your hands and practicing social distancing. Know that you are only in control of your own personal hygiene. You cannot control the way others take care of themselves only how you care for yourself. 
      Stay safe, stay healthy and above all: stay calm. We’re all going to be okay in the end.
  • February Favorites

    Originally for this post, I was going to review some new make up products I tried that I have been very interested in for the month of February. However, after careful thought, I wanted to do something different for this month’s February Favorites that I’ve never done before. I spent most of this week pondering how I was going to do something different, it was Wednesday before I decided I was going to review two of my favorite television shows that I highly recommend for you and your family to watch.

    Typically I don’t consider myself a television person. I am more of a curl up on the couch with a book type. However, every now and then a certain show will catch my attention and draw me in when this happens I feel like it’s definitely something worth writing about.

    My February favorites this month, aren’t just my favorites FOR this month but rather they have been my favorites for quite some time.  I’m talking of course of NBC’s This Is Us and TBS’ Miracle Workers: Dark Ages. These shows are two totally different genres but they tell the story of characters (which really pull you in) and help you to become emotionally invested in their journey. As someone who is a writer them selves, a great show has to have a specific recipe: Top-notch writing, a talented cast, and great chemistry between the cast. It’s very rare to find a show that really has all of those components. Most shows will start off good, but eventually different factors will cause the audience to lose interest. It really takes more than decent writing to keep audiences engaged and that’s where the talent of the cast comes in.

    NBC’s This Is Us

    This Is Us tells a heartwarming and emotional story about triplets, their struggles and their amazing parents. Without giving too much away, the series follows the lives of siblings Kevin, Kate, and Randall (known as the “Big Three”), and their parents Jack and Rebecca Pearson. It takes place mainly in the present 2016-2019 and uses flashbacks to show the family’s past. Kevin and Kate are the two surviving members of a triplet pregnancy, born six weeks premature on Jack’s 36th birthday in 1980; their brother is a stillborn. Believing they were meant to have three children, Jack and Rebecca, who are white, decide to adopt Randall, an African American child born the same day and brought to the same hospital after his biological father abandoned him at a fire station. The show tackles very real issues such as: alcoholism, self-esteem struggles, anxiety and loss in an honest way. It portrays the ups and downs of relationships from those with your siblings to those with your spouse. It deals with life’s ups and downs in a way that everyone and anyone can relate to.

    The Pearson’s seem perfect in every way but the viewer gets to see just how flawed they are and how they work through these flaws. When the amazing Patriarch, Jack, dies from smoke inhalation when his children are 17, his wife Rebecca finds herself alone with three teenage children and the show deals with grief and the journey to coming to terms with loss. The time jumps from past to present show life goes on with Rebecca later marrying Jack’s best friend,Miguel. Randall becoming a successful finance professional and married to college classmate Beth; they raise two daughters and adopt a third. Kevin becoming a successful actor while struggling with alcoholism and to be taken seriously. Finally with Kate, after lacking direction much of her life, how she meets and marries Toby, pursues a career in music, gets a degree, and becomes a mother.

    What I love most about this show is the chemistry between all the actors. This show makes you feel so much. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry,and more importantly you’ll let into your hearts a family of fictional characters who all feel very relatable and real. The show’s portrayal of anxiety through the character Randall is extremely raw and honest. I found myself crying so many times being able to relate so much to that character having suffered from anxiety my whole life. Kate represents something to relate to personally also having spent most of my 20s battling my weight and dealing with self-esteem issues I can absolutely relate with her struggle to love herself and come to terms with the things that she can change about herself and the things that she cannot. While I can go on and on about the way that I see myself in each of the Pearson’s, I will not because I’d much rather you watch the show and see how you can relate to each of the characters yourself. 

    This Is Us, airs Tuesdays at 9 PM on NBC and I highly recommend you keep a box of tissues on hand for the ups and downs of the Pearson’s story.

    PBS’ Miracle Workers: Dark Ages

    While This Is Us definitely pulls at your heartstrings, this particular show will make you laugh until you cry while challenging the way you think. The premise of the show follows Alexandra (Al) Shitshoveler, a bright young woman who aspires to more than following in her father’s footsteps as a, you guessed it, shit shoveler. The show also spends significant time with Daniel Radcliffe’s Prince Chauncley, the rather soft son of a ruthless tyrannical ruler, King Cragnoor and Lord Vexler, an ambitious social climber, as they try to broker peace with a nearby hostile tribe of outsiders.

     The show will have you laughing from the minute it begins to the moment it ends but it’s also very raw and honest and ties into today’s political and social ignorance. On the one hand, you have Al’s dad (played by the talented and hilarious Steve Buscemi) who believes that it’s a great time in history where everybody knows their place, and on the other you have Al who wonders: ‘is there more better way to live than this?’

    Dark Ages is like Game of Thrones meets Monte Python. What I really love about this show is that it never allows any of the characters in the story to be purely unlikable, which I find rather refreshing. I believe that everybody in my generation can relate to Al in wanting to make the world a better place while trying to survive in a world that is less ideal both politically and socially. Prince Chauncley’s character teaches us that it is never too late to change he learns the meaning of compassion. It also deals with that fine line between following tradition and ushering in change. The theme of the older generation wanting the younger generation to follow in their footsteps as a means to keep with the status-quo is both relatable and accurate to the modern age we live in. The cast will have you laughing while also challenging the way you think about the world as it is today.

    The plot of the show, along with its star studded comedic cast will certainly have you coming back for more each week. Miracle Workers: Dark Ages airs at 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

    That’s all the time I have for today, with that said I hope you enjoyed my February Favorites! I hope you have a wonderful week and I’ll be back next week!

    February Update: New Writing Schedule!

    So you will have to forgive me for my lack of updates, my personal life and professional life outside of this website have really picked up so I’ve had to put updating on the back burner while I’ve really focused on that. I know that I had mentioned this a few months back but I wanted to just reiterate I’m going to be changing my posting schedule indefinitely. On Fridays, I am going to try to upload a video into a post. Unfortunately I’m not the most savvy when it comes to things like that so it’s taking me some time to learn which platform I want to use and also if I need to pay for this add on to add it to my site.

    The problem is I’ve been delayed with work picking up and being so busy that it doesn’t leave me with a lot of extra time to sit and think about what I want to write and begin drafting it. Even the video portion, which I will be doing with my husband, takes time and planning. I’m not somebody who will ever half ass a project especially something that I take a lot of pride in. To be honest, a lot of the times I come home from work and I’m just really too tired to think about posting much of anything. I can promise you through that despite these writing slumps that I go through I will (at the very least) certainly be posting at least once a month my favorites for the month. The problem with being a writer is a lot of the time you are at the mercy of your muse and right now my muse is missing in action. There were some months where I had material to write about every week but as of lately there really hasn’t been much I felt driven to share.

    I believe that I mentioned in many of my posts from the past that I suffer from anxiety. One of the downsides when it comes to having anxiety is wanting to do something but just not having the drive or the energy to do it. This may also fall under mild depression. For me these slumps always seem to happen in the winter. Despite this I do have some exciting news to share with regards to my writing schedule.

    Writing and updating going forward will mostly be done on Sundays now, as Tom has a brand new schedule which allows him to work days while having Fridays and Saturdays off. The trade-off is that he has to work until till mid-afternoon on Sundays. This, however, will allow me time to wrap around planning for the next week and writing where I could be totally uninterrupted. I think that updating on Sundays will be much more realistic for this blog going forward. I feel like this will help me become a better more dedicated blogger and writer when I have just a full day dedicated and to myself to plan out the coming weeks. Next Sunday, I have already begun drafting my February favorites which I will post next week I just wanted to update you all on what has been going on and when you can expect a new post. I will also update you all on when you can expect the Friday videos.

    A lot of my friends have asked, “Brittany, if you are going to be posting on Sundays now shouldn’t you change your name to: Are you there Sunday it’s me Brittany?“ The answer to that question is no, because most people aren’t excited for Sunday knowing they have to get back into the week on Monday.

    Here are some exciting topics which I have planned for the month of March: Lent and how what the Lord says is relevant in modern times (this will feature my husband, Tom) , Recipes, and Makeup reviews. Looking forward there is going to be a lot of exciting things on the horizon that will definitely inspire me to update more, particularly my trip to North Carolina in July where Tom and I are going to visit some of the towns and make a decision about possibly moving there in the future. I will be reviewing restaurants, fun activities and a lot of these posts will feature my Godson, Luke. I’m not sure yet if I will be posting every day for that week or if I’ll just do one big long post on the drive or fly back home back to Jersey. I’ll keep you updated.

    My point in telling you all this as well things seem kind of uninspired at the moment the next few months are really going to be picking up with things that are going on that I’m definitely gonna want to take you on these adventures with me. Until then I will catch you next Sunday with my February Favorites.

    January Favorites 2020

    Hi Fan Friends!

    This January definitely felt like it dragged on and on. I’m not sure about you but between volunteering at my church and catching up with friends for the New Year it seems that every weekend has been incredibly busy! My Grammy always used to say ‘idle hands are the devils playground’, and while to some degree I do believe her wisdom holds true, sometimes being too busy leaves me a lot less time for things I love…like remembering to post and share on here. Disclaimer: this post is not going to be a long post but it’s going to be a January round up of sorts. Beginning at the end of every month I’m going to share with you some of my favorite things and products! I am in no way being endorsed by any of these products but I’d like to some day! Let’s begin…

    January Meal Plan:

    BREAKFAST: Atkins Milk Chocolate Delight Shakes- are DELICIOUS and if you don’t believe me maybe you’ll trust Rob Lowe would not endorse these little gems if they weren’t absolutely amazeballs! If you are not exactly a breakfast person (like myself) you will absolutely love these Atkins shakes. They are chock-full of protein and flavor with none of the guilt or sugar that comes with ordinary chocolate shakes. They can be found in the dietary aisle of your local grocery store and YES they’re gluten-free!

    Sold for $11.49 at Walmart, Target and most grocery stores!

    LUNCH: Cucumber Salad! I chop up two baby cucumbers, slice 1 small sized sweet onion, and approximately six cherry tomatoes (halved) before drizzling a half a cup of my secret dressing!

    DINNER: often varies are usually save my carb points for the meal I share with my husband at the end of the day. Tom and I enjoy a variety of things from burgers, chili and taco salads to keto chicken Parmesan! The key is to keep variety in the mix!

    January Makeup Favorites!

    Now that you have a general idea of what I like to eat on a daily basis it’s time to get to my favorite part of this blog post, I’m talking of course about my make up! Lately I have been saving more overly glammed looks for date nights and game nights with friends. I had a really bad reaction to Tartes’ ‘Shape Tape’ concealer and Too Faced’s ‘Born This Way’ foundation. I can’t recommend these two products for people with dry or sensitive skin because not only did it dry my skin out completely, The lack of moisture made my face red, itchy and very blotchy for quite some time.

    Normally I am all about full coverage foundation but lately to work I’ve been going with subtle/natural glam. Enter Revlon photo finish BB cream and Maybelline’s ‘Fit Me!’ foundation, which I highly recommend. While it isn’t exactly full coverage it is buildable and when set with a decent setting powder or spray it will last you all day.

    Can be purchased for $8.95 at Walmart🤗

    Can be purchased for $5.95 at Walmart! 😲😁

    For under $15 dollars at Walmart, you can purchase these products and put together a low-key and natural glam look for the office. Usually I rock my ‘Basic Britt’ look five days a week and only glam up if I have weekend plans. I hope to be posting a day-to-day as well as glam makeup routine videos sometime in February for my ‘February Favorites 2020’ post. Until then, I’d like to thank each and every one of you for your continued support and interest in what I have to say on here. Having such awesome fan friends like you definitely motivates me to post as frequently as I can.

    Be sure to follow me on social media and if you’re requesting me on Instagram please reference this blog in a DM so I know who you are and can accept you!

    

    Spending An Afternoon In My Mindset

    Have you ever come across something that you just automatically relate to? It could be a photograph or a meme that you just look at and think “wow that’s me!”. The picture above is definitely one that I can relate to.

    I have had anxiety my entire life. The word anxiety and even the word depression has become so mainstream that I feel like so many people say that they have it but living with it isn’t as simple as just waking up and feeling sad. It’s a very consistent feeling of wanting to take on the world but not having the energy to do so. Even as I sit here and write this, I would love nothing more than to be able to post every week but there are some weeks where even something as simple as writing a post is a challenge. This is something that I enjoy. This is something I truly love to do and something I feel as though I’m really good at. Anxiety is wanting to post, it’s having a lot to say but not having the energy to get it out.

    For many years, many people have suffered within their minds silently. I hope if this blog can do one thing it’s to encourage people to talk about it. To bring anxiety and depression out of the shadows and speak. Anxiety is horrible, there have been many times I could be having a panic attack and nobody would even know because it’s an inward thing. It feels like I’m malfunctioning and I can’t process my own thoughts. It feels like I’m running out of breath and living in a self imposed hell. Many people who do not have anxiety, think it’s as simple as saying “just stop thinking that way” or “just think positively”. What they don’t realize is it doesn’t always work like this. Thinking positively does not always equal the end of an anxiety attack.

    I liken myself to a total oxymoron, I am one of the most social butterflies you’ll ever want to meet and yet I have social anxiety. I refuse to go somewhere alone whether it be to the grocery store or a doctors appointment. I constantly feel the urge to say something along the lines of : “do you hate me?” or “are you mad at me?” and my favorite one: “I’m sorry.” It isn’t because I don’t trust people in any way, it’s because my brain is literally telling me that all the time. I apologize for things, even things I have no control over because my brain is telling me I should be sorry.

    I feel like society in general has a huge misconception of anxiety and depression. You can be confident and have anxiety. You can smile and make jokes yet have depression. Sometimes the people that have everything in the world going for them are the ones that feel nothing. It’s important to check on your family and friends, and to remember that kindness goes a long way.

    For the people who suffer, having depression and anxiety is really scary. You literally push everyone away simply because you’re afraid of getting hurt by having them getting sick of you and leave. Yet, that’s when you need caring people the most. You’re sad most of the time and don’t even know why. It’s a vicious cycle that eats you alive. I can tell you from experience, the right people always stay. When I am in the throes of a panic attack my husband is usually the first person to take me in to his arms and hold me until I feel OK enough to either sleep or move on with my day.

    As someone with a mild to moderate social anxiety disorder I will never get tired of hearing my loved ones say:

    “I’m here for you”

    “I love you”

    “I care for you”

    “I value you as a person”

    “Your opinions matter”

    “I’ll go with you if it’s too scary”

    “Your feelings are valid”

    This is especially true when I’m feeling anxious. Talking about anxiety is not attention seeking. It is bringing into the light a very dark part of the human mind. Sometimes our own worst enemies are not those who surround us but rather our own minds within us.

    While I have had my share of the classic and stereotypical anxiety attacks, it’s important to note there are different types of anxiety attacks. They aren’t always hyperventilating and rocking back and forth but are also :

    • Random bursts of irritability

    • Obsessive behavior

    • Hypersensitivity

    • Pacing

    • Silence

    • Zoning out

    Keep this in mind when looking for signs with your loved ones. The best thing that somebody could do for someone during an anxiety attack is to speak words of comfort and genuinely be there for that person in their time of need. Anxiety suffers often feel like a burden to those around us. We do not mean to be difficult or have these bouts of sadness or irritability or crippling fear. It is often the part of us we hate the most and wish we could change with every fiber of our being. 

    Through the years I’ve learned that there are things that can make my anxiety worse:

    Irregular sleep-When I’m not getting enough sleep its a breeding ground for anxiety attacks although it’s a little counterintuitive considering most of the time I get irregular sleep is when I wake up in the middle of the night from an anxiety attack. Trying to keep a consistent schedule of going to bed and waking up has helped cut down on some of these more crippling anxiety bouts but it doesn’t stop them completely.

    Watching & reading a lot of negative news-many people see my refusal to speak about what’s going on in the world today or my views on politics as me burying my head in the sand. This is not the case. As an empathetic anxiety sufferer, I tend to feel things so deeply that when I watch and read a lot of what’s going on in the world today my anxiety is that much worse. Protecting myself as well as my mental health is not ignorant. Nobody has to live in my skin or yours so therefore nobody has the right to tell me or you what we should and should not focus on.

    • Too much caffeine consumption– nothing gets me going in the morning quite like a cup of coffee. Consequently nothing else gets my heart racing faster or keeps me up most at night than a cup of coffee.  I used to drink 2 cups of coffee a day before work, now I limit my consumption to 1 cup a day and only between the hours of 6 and 8 AM. Drinking coffee in the afternoon for someone with anxiety is a sure way to make sure you’re up all night worrying about absolutely everything you have no control over. Caffeine in general is a mind stimulant I feel my most anxious while wide awake from coffee. 

    • Eating too much sugar-Let me begin by saying I really love ice cream but I only have it once a week and only on Saturdays because too much sugar when you live with anxiety is always a bad thing. Very similar to caffeine, sugar not only gives me a temporary sense of energy but it also stimulates my mind to be more anxious. I have found that my worst panic attacks come after a birthday party when I indulge in a slice of cake or maybe two.

    • Saying yes to too many things-The part of me that is the social butterfly loves having things to do on the weekends. Being active helps me to focus my energy on other things other than my anxiety and allows my brain to focus on something other than tormenting me. However, when I have a series of weeks where there is much to do and no time to relax and recharge my batteries I feel as though my anxiety becomes overbearing. For someone with anxiety, we need our time to regroup just as much as we need people around us. Taking on too many social events or tasks can really make someone with anxiety feel bogged down and trapped. I’ve learned over the last five years to say no to things. Self care is just as important as caring and being there for others. Remembering that I can’t pour from an empty cup reminds me to take time for myself doing things that I enjoy.

    Dealing with stress & conflict– stress and conflict is especially difficult for anxiety suffers. Already in our minds we wonder if we are a burden or if we are liked however when dealing with stress and conflict this can make matters worse. For me I have always been more passive aggressive in my confrontations with others. This is because I do not like direct confrontation. It is the quickest way to rattle me and send me into a panic attack. This doesn’t mean I don’t know how to assert myself. It just means I would rather say my piece and allow people to simply disagree with me rather than fight me. Meditation and writing are ways that I manage my stress and my feelings when they get too much and too intense for me to feel. I tend to avoid people and things that are overly negative and leave me feeling emotionally depleted. It’s not a knock against anyone in particular but rather it’s me protecting myself.  I’ve learned to pay attention to how I feel when interacting with certain people and if I do not feel positive or good after speaking with them I tend to limit my time and interaction with them for the good of my own stress levels.

    • Too much social media-When speaking of limiting your time and interaction with people and things that may or may not make you feel good, I find that limiting time on social media is an important part of my emotional well-being. I have a whole post in which I discuss how damaging being exposed to everyone else’s so-called “perfect life” can be. You can read about it in my post about my social media hiatus I took. I tend to keep a limit on the time I allow myself to be on social media I used to find myself checking Facebook very often and now I find I very rarely use it at all. I check in about once a week, see what my notifications are and log off. There are other social media outlets that are much harder for me to stay away from, namely Twitter and Instagram. However, making sure I do not spend all of my free time on these apps have helped me to be less exposed to the negativity often found on these platforms. That is not to say there is no good that comes from social media, I have met a lot of wonderful genuine people through these platforms however I have also been exposed to the other side where people who are judgmental and out right cruel to those who do not think as they do are waiting in the shadows to attack you for everything and anything you may post.

    Consuming alcohol-Sure, going out and having a few drinks with friends is fine and fun but it can also be extremely counterproductive for someone living with anxiety, such as myself. Alcohol is a depressant and depressants for anxiety suffers are never a good thing. I found as I’ve gotten older I don’t really enjoy the feeling of being drunk or in any way impaired.  anxiety already makes you worry about things you have absolutely no control over, alcohol inhibits that control you feel of any situation which often makes matters worse, at least for me. limiting my alcohol consumption to once a month or once every two months has helped me tremendously in managing my anxiety. 

    Stop isolating myself – while time away from social groups and obligations are a good thing, too much isolation is a bad thing. One of the worst case scenarios for any anxiety suffer is to be left alone with their thoughts for too long. Being married to my best friend has helped me, we see our friends a healthy amount of times a month but we also take time for us both to recharge our batteries. However, living with each other allows us to be alone but not completely isolated. Having Tom to talk to one on one, gives me that relaxed feeling without being isolated. Most of the time we order takeout and watch ‘I Love Lucy’ re-runs, we can laugh and talk with each other but also find comfort in saying nothing at all and just snuggling on the couch.

    Having anxiety is not easy to live with. Every day is different and brings new obstacles which you must face often silently with a brave face. I am very lucky that my anxiety does not completely debilitate me and my ability to function each day. While not for everyone, my faith in God and prayer has enabled me to get through whatever negativity my mind tries to throw at me. If you do feel completely crippled by your anxiety, please do not be ashamed to talk about it with a doctor or a professional. If you feel like your ability to enjoy life is impaired, please know that you are not alone and your feelings are valid but it is also your right to a beautiful life and talking to a medical professional may help you do that.

    If you or anyone you know suffers from anxiety, please know that talking about it it’s OK. If you’d like to leave a comment below please do so I do enjoy hearing from each and everyone of you and do my best to respond to each and every one of your comments and feedback.

    

    Dear cold weather, I think we need to see other seasons

    I got a frozen cocktail in my right hand & a bowl of piping hot soup in my left.

    Hello Fan Friends,

    I’m not sure about you, but once that weather starts to turn cold I love nothing more than to curl up with a cozy blanket and a hot bowl of soup. Did I mention I still love a nice cold cocktail in January? Well, I do. Oxymoronic? Maybe. Totally me? Definitely!

    I was going to write up a makeup review but what I really want to discuss is ‘Winter Blues’ because they’re a very real thing and also more common than you think. I didn’t realize there were others like me, those who experience a mood shift during the colder, darker days of winter. Lately, many, like me, feel more lethargic and overall sad. While feeling more gloomy than usual, the winter blues typically don’t hinder your ability to enjoy life.

    I want to raise awareness to SAD, which happens when winter blues start affecting all parts of your life — from work to relationships. See, this SAD isn’t the feeling like we learn about in preschool. This SAD is a recurrent type of depression associated with the change in seasons. It typically starts in the fall and persists through the winter months.

    Through research I learned that SAD happens as a result of lower levels of natural sunlight common in fall and winter. It can affect how happy you feel, mess with your internal clock and affect your sleeping patterns. SAD affects both mood and sleep.

    The most common symptoms of the winter blues are general sadness and a lack of energy. Other symptoms of the winter blues include the following:

    1) You find difficulty sleeping

    2) Feeling less social than usual

    3) Difficulty taking initiative

    The hallmarks of SAD are sleeping too much and overeating. Other common SAD symptoms include the following:

    • Your mood that is down or depressed most of the day, nearly every day

    • You’ve lost of interest in activities you typically enjoy.

    • You’ve been withdrawing and isolating yourself from friends and family.

    • You’re struggling to focus and perform at work or home

    • You feel constantly fatigued and lethargic.

    • You feel hopeless about the future.

    • You’re having suicidal thoughts.

    Now for me, winter blues began around High School, around the time I got my first Part Time job. I found it hard to fall asleep at night and focus during the day. My mind felt like one of those proverbial hamsters on a wheel. The days that I did have off, I wanted to sleep and not socialize much with friends.

    While I’ve never been diagnosed with SAD, and suicidal thoughts and hopelessness for the future weren’t ever a thing with me, the struggle to be motivated-even to write this piece-is very real. The constant feeling of tiredness and lethargic-ness is common. I do feel less socially inclined to make and even resent still keep a plan and I have no drive.

    Combating winter blue is something I’ve learned through the years, the biggest way I’ve learned to cope is transforming my mind through my actions. Here are a few ways I’ve helped myself deal with the winter sadness:

    • Be Active in the Wintertime Outdoors-I began this with trepidation during the blizzard of 2018. Much like I did as a child I started walking and hell even playing in any snow we’d get, I began having fun with the icicles that would form on our car, and building snowmen. Once I tried to channel my inner child and stopped resisting the cold temperature, the better I tolerated it.
    • Wear Bright Colors– Okay, so I have no research to actually back up this theory, but I’m quite convinced there is a link between feeling optimistic and sporting bright colors. It’s in line with the “fake it ’til you make it” desperate attempts to trick your brain into thinking that it’s sunny and beautiful outside — time to celebrate spring! — even though there’s a sheet of ice and sleet causing some major traffic jams. Personally, I tend to wear black every day in the winter. It’s supposed such an amazing versatile color but yet the result is that I appear as if — and feel like — I’m going to a funeral every afternoon between the months of November and March. So I make a conscious effort to wear Panther blue, purple, red, and cream colored clothing to lift my spirits considerably.
    • Ditch The Junk Food- Instead of reaching for a bowl of ice cream, reach for a bowl of fruit. While this may seem kind of silly, sugar can sometimes worsen episodes of depression or anxiety. With sugar, you get an immediate high but once you crash you are more prone to depressive traits-not to mention sugar is a sure way to pack on unnecessary pounds.
    • Write Down Your Thoughts-Writing down your thoughts can have a positive effect on your mood. As someone who has struggled with anxiety for my entire life I found that getting my negative thoughts out onto paper helps move me forward and rid my mind of any toxic energy. I usually sit down with a plan to write for about 20 minutes on most days of the week, sometimes I sketch too. I include my thoughts, feelings, and concerns. The best time is at night so that I can reflect on all that happened in the last 24 hours.

    If all else fails do not feel too afraid to go speak to a doctor about how you are feeling. Nobody has to live their life in a constant depressive state, speaking to somebody can help you in gaining insight to patterns with what is going on. 

    Do you feel like you have winter blues? Leave a comment below. Let’s talk!