December Small Goals

Wowee, it has been a LONG time since I joined in on Nicole's Small Goals Round Up at Writes Like A Girl.  We talk about our little goals for the month and support each other. Be sure to check out everyone else's small goals and get some motivation to end the year strong!

Normally I'd do a recap of how last month's goals went, but since I haven't participated in a while, here's a little round of up things I'm really glad I accomplished in the past few months.

Started listening to audiobooks. Since reading-reading is hard for me to fit into my schedule due to my tendency to get motion sickness if I try to read during my commute, I have been investing in audiobooks with Audible. I'm super happy with this decision!

Got cracking on my professional site. It's still under construction, but I'm really happy with the progress I have made on my first ever professional portfolio site. It's definitely been a challenge since I don't do tons of visual-focused work.

Led a career and internship talk at my alma mater. It was super fulfilling to chat with college students of a similar background to me about how to tackle things like internships, networking, parental expectations, activism, and career. It was super informal and really fun-- especially since I got to team up with my brother. I hope to do more panels and the like!

Found a great therapist. This is something I've been meaning to do for a while and I'm really glad I did. I found a therapist who is a great fit and I'm excited to have help tackling tough stuff and support in growing as a person. I feel like everyone ought to do therapy since I think the world changes faster than ever and most of us grow up without having been taught how to process things fully. We're dealing with a world our parents never had to deal with and so we don't have strong models for coping with it. If you have had a hard time coping (and this world has been pretty unbearable these days) I really encourage you to look into getting therapy!

Got new furniture. We upgraded a lot of our pieces that were very "we are scraping by and need a $100 couch" kind of things in favor of more functional pieces that fit our space and needs better. I love IKEA. I'm still reorganizing in the aftermath of my new functional furniture pieces (so much more storage in my room!)

Went gluten-free. It's still a lot to deal with and it makes eating out a lot harder, but I have to say, I'm getting through this okay. It's only been a month though, so maybe I'm not through the worst of the transition yet.

I really have had a ton of stuff going on these past few months! I can't believe 2017 is almost over-- but also I'm super thankful because this has been a super challenging year. Personally, politically, and I guess even medically. Here's what I'm hoping to accomplish in the next month.

Write and send all my holiday cards. This is a yearly event for me! I started sending holiday cards the year I graduated from college and it's been a great way for me to stay connected to people, reflect on my relationships, and generally commemorate the passage of time. I like milestones and I feel like I get fewer of them since school ended, so I make an effort to make them on my own time. This year I put out a googleform so that people had to sign up to get one (which eliminated guesswork and new address hunting) which is a really great system and I think I will continue to use it in the future.

Continue on and complete my room cleaning. Ever since I got my new furniture I have been slowly but surely working my way through my room, cleaning out the crevices, reorganizing, and decluttering. I've sent out two big bags of clothes to donate! I've gotten rid of tons of too-old cosmetics! It's all happening, folks! I just need to make sure that by the end of the month it's all happened.

Prep my new planner for 2017. I've got my beautiful new planner for 2018-- an Ink & Volt planner in purple-- and I love using planners to get ready for the new year. Having a nice planner helps you do more than fill in key dates ahead of time-- it also helps you think through your goals for the year. This planner breaks down yearly, monthly, and weekly goals (and has 2 bookmarks so you can reference them easier) and I'm excited to have something that will keep me on track in terms of goals and intentions.

That's it for my goals this month! What are yours? Be sure to check out the link up at Writes Like A Girl and see other cool bloggers making plans for December!

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Going Gluten Free

As you may have read in an earlier update, I have been finding out some new stuff about myself medically. Pretty much all good news in that a lot of things I thought were just aging or my personality-- getting tired and weaker, for example-- were actually a very common and treatable disease. So it turns out, I've got to go gluten free for my health. I was incredibly upset when I found out because I love pastries and pasta. It's been a few weeks and I'm already seeing some positive results. But going gluten free has been pretty difficult.

Content Warning: I'm going to talk about my relationship with food and body so if anyone has a hard time with that, please read with care.

I've never been super connected to my body. There have been some genuine benefits to this! I don't have significant body image issues and while I'm not always comfortable in my body, it has never felt like a factor in how good I feel about my value as a person or my worthiness in the world. These are things I'm really grateful for, because it's really difficult to be a woman in the world without letting your value feel attached to what you look like. Especially if you're not a small woman, which I am not.

All that said, I'm a little too disconnected from my body. I tend to not worry about it, or care for it the way that I should. It's made my relationship with food one that is foremost about flavor and convenience, rather than nutrition or health. Food is comfort, rather than fuel. I think both of these things can happen in harmony but I'm a long way off from balance.

I don't have a disordered relationship with food, but I certainly don't have a good one. I love food, but I don't care about what it does to me, in large part. I need to change that about myself, because factually, food actually does things to people. Having to go gluten free is really forcing my to break out of my comfort routines about food-- many of which have been unhealthy. I have to do research now and be intentional and plan things.

I've always been more of a casual eater in every sense-- I eat what I want, when I want to. It's not a terrible way to be, but I've also been a huge emotional eater and stress eater, which means I wanted to eat the wrong things too often.

Due to my illness, gluten has likely been making me sad and tired... which has driven me to such gluten-filled delights such as donuts, pizza, and pasta. A vicious cycle of tasty treats.

Since I've stopped eating gluten, things have been tough-- I cried to my sister over the phone for an hour, mourning the loss of my ability to eat chicken nuggets, pastries, and pastas. She tough-loved me for an hour and didn't hang up (that's love) while I wailed. She cooked me gluten free things while I was home for Thanksgiving and told me all about how to be gluten free. I complained a lot. I still complain, but less now.

Since I've gone gluten free, my skin has started clearing up, I'm less lethargic, and my hair fall out a lot less. I'm still figuring things out, but things are looking up, despite now having to forgo croissants and muffins in most cases. Supposedly my skin will stop being as prone to dryness and my joint soreness will go away too-- y'all, I really thought I was just the worst and fastest at aging.

I'm really excited for what's to come. I am super sad about not being able to eat anything made with wheat or barley or soy sauce (although I can have tamari, which is gluten free soy sauce). But hopefully, I will be less sad in general.

Tell me if you have any gluten free recipes or resources you'd like to send my way, let me know! I need them.

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Recent Faves

It's been a while since I've done faves! I usually do them in a video but since I'm short on time with the holidays to prepare for, I'm going to tell you all my favorites here instead. Some of the links in here may be affiliate links which means that if you click or buy something through them, I might be compensated at no additional cost to you. It helps me continue to be able to blog here.

1. Fenty Matchstix Trio. Believe the hype, y'all. I'm obsessed with my set in Medium 200 and have bought additional Matchstix in Yacht Lyfe and Blonde. Each trio comes with a highlight, contour, and concealer and has a value of 3 for the price of 2. Crazy lightweight, buildable, and easy to use. I love the magnetic, hexagonal packaging as well.

2. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. This book was a lot of fun to listen to! I got the Audible audiobook and luckily for me, the great writing was complemented by great readers. It tells the story of Dimple and Rishi who are being set up by their very traditional Indian parents. Rishi is a dutiful son and is excited by the prospect of meeting a (potential) life partner. Dimple is not as aligned with her parents' traditional ideas and wants to focus on her career. This is why, when both families decide to send the two soon-to-be college students to the same summer program for web development to get to know each other, Rishi's parents tell him about his potential mate and Dimple's parents... do not. If you're looking for a fun read about two kids falling-in-love maybe and coming-of-age definitely-- and are really tired of only reading stories about white people-- check this book out.

3. Audible. Speaking of listening to books, I just started up with Audible and I love it. As someone who wants to read more but had trouble making space for it given my issues reading on trains (I get motion sick!) this has been a fantastic solution. I can read books while on the train, cleaning my apartment, or while drifting off to sleep. It's $15/mo and each month you get a credit for a book-- so as long as your book is $15+ on Audible, you've made your money back. You own the books so you can keep them in your library to re-listen to whenever and they also allow you to roll credits over to the next month or return books if you realize you're not that into them.

4. NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment. This is a new favorite formula and the chocolate brown Done It Again is definitely my Fall Look. Non-sticky, has great hold, highly pigmented, and on top of all that, it's not heavy at all. I might have to get more of these in different colors.

5. LUSH Montalbano Shampoo Bar. My cousin Caroline recommended this to me and I'm obsessed now. It's a citrusy, all natural, cruelty-free shampoo that I love. I'd never tried a shampoo bar but I have to say, I'm sold on it and I might never go back. My hair feels so clean and the scent energizes me!

6. Cellphone Rings. As a clumsy person with small hands who drops everything, this sucker has really changed the game for me. Stick it on your phone and you've got a ring to help you hold your phone or to stand it up on surfaces. I like the flower one a lot and I find them more useful than popsockets.

Tell me what stuff you're loving, especially books I oughta try on Audible!

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Zero Energy PSA

I've been away a while. Granted, I did literally go out of the country for a bit, but that's not the majority of why I haven't been posting. Frankly, I haven't had the mental capacity or energy. That's in part due to a hormone disorder I have called hypothyroidism. It started effecting me around 19 and while I improved a lot with treatment, it turns out I haven't actually geared up to the necessary dose I need. Basically my body doesn't have enough thyroid levels so I have to take synthetic versions to make up for what I lack, and apparently I'm not taking enough. Luckily, I have recently found this out, and plan on gearing up my dosage with my doctor so that I can function better.

Hypothyroidism causes a host of things including muscle and joint weakness and soreness, dry skin, lethargy, fatigue, memory loss, hair loss, slowed heart beat... basically it makes everything about you feel very slow. I used to think it was really normal to just want to be asleep all the time but apparently people genuinely enjoy being awake most of the time. Who knew! (Not me, obviously.) My condition was really severe in college so in comparison, I totally thought I had this handled, but this just goes to show that "better" is very relative. I'm really excited because this means that all that fatigue and depression that I have been dealing with will improve a lot just by taking a pill every day! And you know, all the other symptoms too, but the fatigue and depression are going to be the big game-changers for me.

I say all this to let you know a few things:

Firstly, if you are having these problems, too, go get tested for hypothyroidism-- it's a super simple blood test and it's very very treatable. It's especially common in women. I wonder how many of my peers have this disorder without knowing and haven't yet found ways to deal with their depression or general tiredness. (PS: Your depression might have multiple causes which could include this or a host of other things. It might not be just one thing and that's okay! Work with a doctor to figure out how you can manage your own unique stuff.) I bet a lot of us are totally ignoring our suspicions and/or blaming ourselves like I did for a while in college, thinking I was just useless. More recently I totally suspected a lot of my hair was falling out but I have so much hair (my ponytail is 3 times thicker than most people's) I thought "maybe this is just proportional." Turns out, nah. My initial "oh my god am I dying??" every time a wad of hair shed off me was... well obviously not completely warranted-- I'm a pretty dramatic person, let's be real-- but correct in my gut instinct that something was Not Right.

Secondly, I am totally going to continue blogging and hopefully making youtube content as well. It's just been super hard with all this going on, but I'm not giving up on this. I'm just really, really tired. Most notably from this, but there are other changes in the world of Harper that take precedence over this blog. Hopefully I will have more energy within the next few months and get back on schedule!

Thirdly, I will eventually get all my content up about my trip to Europe and other things. In the meantime however, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, which are much more manageable for me at the moment. I'm @harperyi on both.

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August Shopping Picks

This post contains affiliate links. That means clicking a link or purchasing something though the link may result in a small amount of money coming my way at no additional cost to you. My opinions are always my own. Thanks for helping this blog keep running!

This month I'm covering some things I've already bought alongside some things I wanna buy since it's been a while since I've done a wishlist post. It's just something it doesn't make sense to even think about when you are looking for work, you know? But now that I'm back on my feet, I must admit that I've been shopping with a bit of a vengeance. Here are my picks for this month!

1. Gold & Black Embroidered Reversible Bomber - One of the things I realized when I was working through Nicole's amazing workbook, Feel Good, Dress Better's first chapter is that I love bomber jackets-- they are super versatile, more put-together than hoodies (an adolescent fave), and they actually make me feel more confident in other outfits on days when I just wanna be a little more covered. I'm working toward getting them in all my main colors. So far I have baby pink/white, blush, burgundy, and black with pink and purple florals. This one is next up on my list! Black and gold, and it's reversible which really means it's two jackets in one.

2. Anastasia Beverly Hills' Subculture Palette - Look, I know I said the Two Faced palettes met most of my needs, which they do, and then I said I needed the Limited Edition Urban Decay Full Spectrum Palette for my intensely colorful looks, which is still very true, but this palette, I'm positive, is also going to be a very valuable add to my collection. It's got golden undertones which on a fairer person might be grungier, but on me, I'm thinking it won't be so grungy and will just come off looking very complementary to my tan, warm skin tone.

3. BASU Sound Grenade Personal Alarm - I'm a huge fan of safety, and personal alarms are a must-have in my book. Unlike weapons which can be difficult to obtain and can be turned against victims of crimes, personal alarms de-escalate dangerous situations by making loud noises that will send an attacker running the other way. This sound grenade is super compact, easy to attach to your keys or bag, and all you have to do to activate it is pull the colored part off the black pin. It emits a very loud alarm sound and doesn't shut up until you put it back together or it runs out of batteries. It's super easy to use and comes in a variety of colors. They also make great gifts! I bought the Sound Grenade+ which is larger but has 2 clippable ends (great for setting trip wires when camping or traveling), plus it's pink (always a plus in my book). I got a matching one for my sister and the compact one for my brother.

4. Tarte Rainforest of the Sea Aquacealer - I really like liquid concealers and Mia recommended this one! It works well and it's vegan and cruelty-free which is always a bonus. I'm currently using the Tarte Amazonian clay concealer but I'm frankly not a huge fan of the stick formulation (surprising because I'm a stick makeup person). At some point in the near future, I'm definitely switching over!

5. Studio 1 Short Sleeve Fit & Flare Dress in White & Coral - I'm a huge fan of coral and I've learned that I need more pieces I can wear for more social events. (Thanks again to Nicole's great workbook-- I'm really learning where the weaknesses of my closet are.) I'm really excited about this one because the colors make this a piece that can be worn day and evening to parties, brunches, dates, etc. The lines are super flattering and have a lot of bounce to them. I placed an order for a few dresses on JC Penney to take advantage of a sale and this was in the mix!

What are you lusting after this month?

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