On Being Burnt Out

I started this blog as a writing practice, to motivate me to write and to keep track of changes I wanted to make in my life but I would be lying if I said that I don’t sometimes dream of being a successful blogger or instagrammer. After all, it’s possible, the internet is full of success stories, right? Right?

Stevie, Ireland

I look at the older millennials (late 20’s to early 30’s) around me and we’re all in the same boat, more or less. We don’t know quite  how to navigate the world. Being academic minded I did well in high school and knew I was going to go to University as, I thought, all of my friends would. For as long as I could remember I wanted to study film but after my first year in University I discovered I hated film. Several of my friends and peers got married right out of a highschool and I ended up in University alone and very lost and lonely. After two years I dropped out and went travelling instead. Eventually I went back, changed my major to English and graduated much later than I anticipated. In the mean time I worked and travelled, learned another language and danced many nights away.

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I’m not unhappy with my 20’s but I still feel in some ways as if I’ve been duped and I don’t think I’m the only one. Many of my peers are unsettled and trying to find our place in the world. We are underemployed and changing careers isn’t the walk in the park that everyone lead us to believe. The internet would have us believe that we can-and should-make ourselves into a brand, side-hustle our way to wealth, that travelling the world indefinitely is a feasible goal for all of us no matter our income level and that every single moment of lives must be carefully curated so it can go on our social media “stories”. That we can meditate ourselves happy and that we can simply do away with aspects of our lives that we don’t like or that make us unhappy. Most of all, it seems to me, that somehow we are told to live in a way that realistically costs a fortune while shunning the methods that allow us to make an income. Blogs promote  courses and webinars to improve our lives that cost several hundreds of dollars. Travel everywhere no matter the cost, many a Instagram posts preach. Don’t get stuck in a 9-5 job blogs and pins shout. Sell this product at ridiculous mark up to your friends on Facebook or start a GoFundMe for your holidays or concert tickets.  I’m not here to rant about those things (more than I’ve already done) right now as I’ve done that before. Nor do I want to criticise any one of these things individually, I like Instagram, travel and meditation but I think they are working together to create a stressful environment for all of us and showing us something that is unattainable for the large majority of us. I’m not here to offer advice on how to deal with the pressure but if you can’t afford to go somewhere glamorous every weekend, if your Instagram isn’t a perfectly curated tribute to nature or your Scandinavian inspired home, if you don’t constantly throw fabulous parties and if your “side hustle” isn’t working then you aren’t alone. If you’re going into the future and don’t know where your going or how you’re going to get there, you aren’t alone.

5 Drugstore Buys I Swear By Right Now

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I love beauty products of all stripes and lately have been more interested in protecting and caring for my skin. Lots of time in airports, wedding planning stress, moving from dry climates to humid climates and late nights have made my skin very dry and sensitive so I have been on the look out for gentle, soothing products. I also love the thrill of finding a great drugstore product. Actually even though there are a few designer brands I love I tend to be more of a drug store girl anyway, what can I say! So without further ado, here are my latest drugstore finds. These are all under $10 and have helped my poor weather beaten skin get back to itself.

1.) Garnier Moisture Bomb Super Hydrating Sheet Mask (about €2/$4)

Sheet masks are all the rage and this is one of the best ones I’ve tried period. I was reluctant to try this range because usually “anti-oxidant” claims in beauty products are bogus as there’s not much proof that they do much and even if they do the amount of active ingredients found in most products are too small to really do anything. That said this is one of my favourite masks at the moment. Even high end masks didn’t leave my skin as moisturized as this one did. If you have dry skin this is a must try.

2.) Barry M Mist and Fix Make Up Setting Spray (about $6)

I’ll be honest with you…I’m not sure that make up setting sprays do all they say they do. BUT this drug store version comes in under $6 (I got mine at ASOS) and my skin has been more hydrated than ever and my make up lasts all day. Plus it claims to protect from pollution and comes in matte and dewy versions.

3.) Co. Bigelow Lip Cream (about $6 at Bath and Body Works) 

I am obsessed with these lip creams, they smell (and taste, strangely enough) amazing and are intensely moisturizing. Right now I’m using the Lemon and Pomegranate version and I can’t get enough.

4.) L’Oreal Fine Flower Gel Cream Wash (about €4/$6)

This delicate face wash removes everything including make up and leaves my skin super soft. Plus I love the  vintage-y packaging and scent.

5.) Dove Chamomile Dry Spray (about $6)

I mean…what can you say about antiperspirant?? This one smells amazing, lasts all day and like Dove’s other products contains moisturizing ingredients so you don’t feel itchy and uncomfortable.

Happy skin care everyone! ❤

A Pre-Holiday Reading List

black-and-white-christmas-starThe holidays are very important for my family and I and I always look forward to them. Getting dressed up, setting the table, eating dinner together and opening my stocking Christmas morning are some of my favourite things. But whatever holiday you celebrate-or don’t- most of us have a few days off and so I’ve compiled a reading list to get us through the holidays and into the new year.

One of the most important things I’ve learned this year is that sometimes it’s important to take a break from political discussions and especially that I as a white person need to understand that other people don’t always need to talk about the big issues. Even more importantly I’ve learned that the ultimate goal of any activism is to bring people (of course I mean people that can be changed not hate groups) into the fold not to alienate them.

In Let Us Love The Hell Out Of This World Chris Crass writes something I found very helpful. He writes:

And this practice isn’t just about being more kind and loving towards each other.  It’s a practice of moving us from a place of primarily seeing shortcomings and feeling defeated, towards seeing possibilities to become the organizations, communities, activists, leaders, and campaigns we need, in order to win.  It’s a practice of being able to see and name steps that people and groups are taking to move us towards our goals, and affirming the work making that happen.  It’s a practice of bringing people along rather then shutting them down and it helps prepare us to not just be protesters of the injustices of existing society, but to be co-creators of the society we are working towards.

On a lighter note look to  The Fresh Exchange-Setting The Table for some beautiful and simple table decor ideas. Or if you’re a Francophile this article will help you bring out your inner Parisian.  11 Secrets The French Know About Holiday Entertaining That You Don’t (from My Domaine) And if you want some astrological advice to help you navigate this week the Astro Twins have you covered. Astro Twins Weekly Horoscope

If you’re a knitter like me, might I suggest the seed stitch? It’s so easy you can do it while binging the Gilmore Girls. A seed stitch scarf looks good one everyone and is perfect for wearing untied (apparently the must wear style for this winter) or bundled up if you live in  colder climate. How To Knit Seed Stitch-Craftsy

I’m a longtime Star Wars fan and can’t wait to see Rogue One. However, I agree with this Vulture piece when it says that Star Wars is not appropriate  as a political metaphor.

Therein lies the special danger of seeing politics through Star Wars. The series is a manifesto for anti-incumbent fury, screaming that the good people never have enough power and the bad people always have too much. When you see yourself as definitionally outgunned, purity of conviction starts to seem like your most valuable weapon — hardly the healthiest way to be a citizen.

Vulture-Be Wary of Star Wars’ Politics of Violence

In case you missed it, this Teen Vogue piece is some of the most insightful and helpful commentary yet.  Teen Vogue-Donald Trump is Gaslighting America

I’m at home in Canada for Christmas and it is a winter wonderland here. Beautiful though it may be these minus 40 degree temperatures have me dreaming of the Mediterranean. This blog post is full of beautiful pictures of Positano, Italy to inspire your next trip or take your mind to far off places. 22 Things To Do In Positano-We Are Travel Girls

I’m no fan of the “if you skip your morning coffee you’ll be a millionare” line of thinking towards money, which does appear from time to time on Young Adult Money. That said, paying off debt, giving more to charity and buying ethically are on my to do list for 2017 and this list has some helpful tips.Young Adult Money-100 Goals To Focus On For A Successful Year

Last but not least, the end of the year is a time for reflection so as 2016 draws to a close let’s remember the good things, the way we’ve changed and think about how we can do better personally and globally for 2017. Gala Darling-10 Questions To Ask Yourself To End 2016 Feeling Positive And Powerful

Let’s go into the holidays and the new year with love and compassion for ourselves and for others.

Me Before You-Book Review

picture of me before you in a review of the book

****Mild Spoilers Ahead****

The problem with Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is that what it intends to deliver and what it does deliver are two very different things.What it presents is a story about a young, working class woman who ends up in a job as a carer for a quadriplegic and they both end up learning more about themselves and what it means to live life fully. What it actually is is a story about a young working class woman who ends up in a job as a carer for a wealthy, vapid quadriplegic which allows her to live a life she would never have been able to before. The poor/average woman who finds a wealthy man who jets her around the world and buys her luxury clothing items which she had previously  mentioned in passing is a tale as old as time in the “chick-lit” genre. Those stories, though, don’t pretend to have a moral.

When Louisa Clark loses her job in a cafe she has to quickly secure another one to support her family, for which she is the sole earner. The job she finds is as a care giver for Will Traynor, a young and handsome quadriplegic with a bad attitude. Of course, she softens him up and when she learns that he wishes to end his life she attempts to change his mind by taking him on various adventures funded by his insanely wealthy parents. Okay. Even if we take out the extremely problematic idea that people are better off dead than handicapped this book still leaves us with a lot of problems. First of all the idea is that the characters change each other but this isn’t true. Will changes Louisa but absolutely refuses to learn anything from her. Secondly, there was a bit in the middle where I thought that the book was going to make an interesting statement about classism and ableism but then it…didn’t. Louisa is thrilled to be making £9 an hour which she uses to support her sister, nephew, parents and grandparents so when Will suggests she needs to live a fuller life it is actually mind boggling that we are supposed to nod in agreement with him. Certainly someone who is supporting their family and living in a council estate isn’t going to jet off on African safaris, attend classical music concerts, enjoy fancy restaurants every weekend or take up sky diving and yet we are supposed to accept Will’s criticism of Louisa for not “living fully”. Secondly, we are told of a traumatic bit of Louisa’s past that has hindered her from being more adventurous but instead of encouraging her to seek help, both Will and the book suggest she should just get over it. Those problems aside, the writing I found to be hit and miss. There were parts that I thought were genuinely good, excellent even. If this book had just been about the life of Louisa and her family I would give it five out of five and read all of it’s sequels. However, for no clear reason at all Will refers to Louisa as “Clark” like an old-timey business man and Louisa refers to Will by his full name. Some bits were filled with absolutely useless facts (Louisa uses hand sanitizer!) But the thing that really annoyed me was the fact that while most of the book is told from the perspective of  Louisa some chapters were from the perspective of other characters. This gimmick not only didn’t reveal new information but made the characters seem like completely different people altogether.

In conclusion: this book seemed like it wanted to teach us something, but that something seems to be that dying is better than being handicapped and poor people should feel bad for not “living more fully”.

5 Ways To Live Authentically

Happy Tuesday Lovelies! Hope you have some sunshine and strong coffee this morning!

This weekend I was wearing this Alexa Chung for Marks and Spencer dress and I love it. The fabric is so beautiful and comfortable. My shoes are ASOS own brand and I am equally obsessed with them. I definitely got stuck in the deck and in some mud in the but it was worth it. I have this great expression because I was in the middle of instructing  bf on picture taking techniques. Haha!

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Today I’m thinking about authenticity. I think most of us want to be true to ourselves. I don’t think we can ever fully be authentic because there are societal pressures and unfortunately the need to make money but I want to strive to do the things that mean the most to me and to say no to things like competitiveness, jealousy and the “keeping up with the Jones’s” mentality that hurts us all. These are the steps I’m taking to be my better self. black heart

1.) Saying yes and no
Saying yes and no is hard for most of us (especially women who want to please everyone all the time) but it is vital to living authentically. Saying no doesn’t mean that you never do things you don’t want to do but rather refusing to do things that harm you. It’s about asking for what you want and not feeling bad about it (this one is hard for me particularly)
2.) Get to the heart of the matter
I’ve been following The Millennial Shift this past week and one of the bits of advice I especially loved was to stop looking for your “passion” and just do your best wherever you are at the moment (hopefully you will discover something when you’re not looking).I love this and I think before making any big choices ( a big trip, job change) we have to ask ourselves what we’re willing to sacrifice in order to get it. I wish I had done this more in the past and it is my hope to do this more going forward.
3.)Know when to settle
We are terrified of the word “settle. We don’t want to settle for the wrong partner, the wrong job, the wrong city. On one hand this is a good thing at least as it pertains to partners that might be abusive, selfish or wrong for you. The problem is that we have instagram and pinterest (both things I love by the way!) and we are inundated with pictures of beautiful houses, year long backpacking trips, expensive macrons in airport lounges, Sephora sized make up collections and magazine worthy weddings. Unforunately, at least for most of us if we can’t have it all (if anyone has managed this, and you aren’t a Kardashian, please let me know how ). Having a house and marvelous career don’t generally work that well with long term travel. Sephora size make up collections don’t go on backpacking trips that well either for that matter. Good news! Most of us don’t want everything, or at least we want one thing more than the other. Decide what you want most, what you absolutely can’t live without and pursue. Settling in this case means realising that when you go down one path another one is closed to you. And that’s okay. Settling also means, that giving up one thing for now doesn’t mean you will never have it.
4.) Stop the glorification of busy
Since I’m unemployed now I could handle a bit more busyness but this hasn’t always been the case. In my last job I was in work 7 days a week and tutored on the side. I was exhausted. If I wasn’t at work I was a zombie, lying on the couch and staring blankly at the screen or going for a manicure just to spend a few minutes on myself. I can count on one hand the number of things my boyfriend and I did for fun.  It was not great. I honestly am not happy with myself for doing that. Even though I left that job in January I am still burnt out. I don’t want to do that again. I think we are all encouraged to be busy, to be at fabulous parties and weekends away and coffee dates and so on. I want to slow down and live life my way, without needing to prove to anyone that I’m cool enough.
5.)Go slow and do 1 thing each day to get to where you want to be
I am the kind of person who is either frantically dashing about trying to do 80 things at once and failing at most or sulking because I haven’t accomplished anything I wanted to. My mission now is to take baby steps everyday to accomplish the things I want: to write more, be happy and get rid of debt.

 

What steps are you taking to be happy and authentic?

Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Travel

Hey guys, I don’t know if you’ve read that article that’s making it’s rounds that says that people who travel are only doing it because they have nothing better to contribute to society? I’m not linking it because it’s absolute crap and the point of it seems to be that time spent travelling could be better spent on “making a contribution to society” and saving money which are pretty abstract and maybe questionable beliefs. That said, I think that underneath that ridiculous article was a good but very poorly made point. We’ve all read or seen those articles and heard from our friends about the importance of travel about how your education isn’t complete until you live abroad. About how you can’t be open minded and how living a boring life (ie: one where you work a 9-5 job and I guess do normal good things like I don’t know, supporting your family and friends) is the worst fate possible. I have a huge, HUGE, issue with these articles for a lot of reasons.

picture of Paris in an article about things to consider before you travel

First of all because travelling does not ensure open mindedness. I’ve met quite a few ignorant people travel and met another few open minded ones at home. Being a compassionate, thoughtful person is not contingent on travel. Secondly because travel, too, becomes mundane. I’ve lived abroad and sure there are those thrilling moments and fun adventures but they are as few and far between as when you’re at home. The truth is that if you’re living in another country you’re probably working and if you’re not working you’re not going on mad adventures daily, you live the same life you had at home. You grocery shop, you go for coffee, you find a restaurant that you frequent. Life can’t be an adventure all the time. Even if you are on one of those trips where you sold your house and now visit a different country every week, you will get tired and burnt out, you will cry, you will sit in a Starbucks and read all day because you can’t stand the thought of doing anything else. Thirdly because the most important thing in life is family and friends. Staying home and working and investing in these relationships is the most valuable thing you can do, travelling puts a massive strain on friendships and for some those are too important to lose. Plus living a “mundane” life is fun. If I look back at my life over the last decade, the happiest moments have been working and spending time with friends at after work drinks, silly runs to the shop, dinners with my family and so on. Lastly, and this comes back to the aforementioned article, when you travel you put your life on hold, it’s impossible not to, unless you already have a transportable career and for some this isn’t worth it. Having a career is something incredibly valuable and changing or starting a career later is not an easy feat despite what a lot of pinterest posts say. That said, if you are considering travel I would suggest asking yourselves these questions.

1.) Can I afford this? I mean, really afford it.
2.) Am I willing to put my career/education/friendships on hold for this trip?
3.) Will I be willing to go home if things don’t work out?
4.) Do I feel obligated by friends or society to take this trip?
5.)Is there secretly something I’d rather spend my money on?

What do you ask yourself before travel?

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First Steps to Getting Out of Debt

picture in a post with tips for getting out of debt

Hey, here’s a surprise! Like most of my peers I have debt, it was very easy to get in and is very hard to get out of-especially after moving twice in two years. However, we are determined that this is the year to get out of debt. I am not an expert at money, unless spending it on make-up makes me an expert? There are a few traps that I routinely fall into and that I am trying to change this year.

1.) First of all, letting my emotions rule my bank account.  This is a huge weakness of mine (and, I suspect, a lot of people). Not just in the sense that I’ll spend money to make myself feel better (although, I do that as well) but in other ways as well. I tell myself I deserve a new lipstick or top because I work hard, even if that money would be better used to reduce debt. Or I’ll look at my friends and feel that I have to keep up with them by buying the same brands. The truth is that there will always be people who have more than you, and always those who have less. Some of my friends had parents pay for their university, others make more money than me and some haven’t spent all their money on travelling. This is life and unfortunately trying to keep up with others almost never works out well.

2.) Secondly, I tell myself“I’ll never be out of debt/be able to afford ‘x’ anyway”.This is a trap I fall into a lot as the slight drama queen I am. I’ll be trying to decide whether I can afford something or not. More than once I have said to myself “oh well you have so much debt anyway what’s $10/$20/$30 more? Or thought, well it doesn’t matter anyway, I’ll never be able to save up for that trip/outfit/etc. This kind of thinking is so dangerous. It’s easier to save when you already have some savings and the same with debt. But you have to start somewhere and that’s the hardest part.

3.)The third mistake I tend to make is not watching where my money goes. I have a chronic habit of picking stuff up on the way to the check-out, getting a snack on my way home or getting a to-go coffee. Sometimes I’ll leave the house with a 50 to go for coffee (this actually happened the most when I lived in Spain because a problem where everyone including the cash points give you 50 euro notes and absolutely no on will change them for you) and end up at home with nothing. It’s so easy to spend cash when it’s in your wallet. Throwing all your change into a jar, not hitting download on that song on itunes and asking yourself if you really need that diet coke on the way home.

So that’s what I’m up against. But as I said I’m very stubborn so I have no doubt that I will be able to use this year to become debt free. However, since I am not yet a money expert, I am sharing some links that I am using at the moment to keep me motivated.

12 Financial Moves to Make This Year

Snowball Debt Worksheet

Quit Fucking Around and Build Yourself a Fuck Off Fund

12 Month Savings Challenge

10 Bizarre Habits Making Millennials Richer

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