August Shopping Picks

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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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6 Tips for Getting Started with Snail Mail


Last week I talking about why I love sending snail mail as an act of self-care. Today I'm giving you tips on getting started as a letter writer and snail mailer.

1. Get your friends' mailing addresses. This is probably the most involved step but it's the first! Tell your friends you're making an effort to send letters and cards every once in a while and that you can get them in on it. The holidays make a nice occasion to ask for this info if you'd rather wait til you have a good excuse! If you don't wanna keep a physical address book you can sign up free with Postable (which I know is what Mia uses) to create an easy, secure, online address book for yourself.

2. Start small with postcards. One of my favorite things to do is buy postcards and send them to friends. Post cards are great because they are cool art pieces that also take the pressure off you to write a ton. Staring at a blank page can feel like a whole lot of responsibility, but with more postcards leaving about about the same amount of space as a post-it note, you'll probably be able to send someone a quick, nice thought. Pro tip: go to the post office and ask them for postcard stamps! They're about half the price of a forever stamp and will get your postcard where it needs to go without you overpaying.

3. Buy some nice stationery. Nothing wrong with the rustic nostalgia of sending a letter to a friend on loose leaf but getting to write a cute card or on a fun piece of Rilakkuma paper really adds a little oomph to the thing, doesn't it? It's a little more motivating and it also means whatever you write is that much more fun/interesting.

4. Send thank yous. There's very little that is as good for your brain and your heart as saying thank you to someone. You can thank someone for a gift or a dinner or recommendation letter, but you can also just thank someone for being a friend, teacher, or smiling face. I try to always have a stock of thank you cards at my disposal since they never stop being useful!

5. Keep things simple. I try to always start and end letters with a well-wish. Talk about something you have in common, an old memory you have with that person, something they recently posted on social media that you loved, or something you experienced recently that they would like. For some people it can feel kind of weird to "talk" to someone without having a conversation, but I'll put it like this: what do you wish someone would send you? It's probably not that complicated or long.

6. Make time for it. If you can put aside an hour a month, or maybe during the weekends to sit down with a coffee, listen to some music, and write something to someone, you're doing great. It doesn't have to be an intimidating production. Just put an hour aside to write something nice for your grandparents or a far-flung friend. One or two less episodes of a show during a Netflix binge won't kill you.

Those are my tips for making sending letters super easy and non-intimidating! What are your biggest hurdles or tips for sending mail?

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August Small Goals



I completely lost July. I have been so busy with work things and trying to figure out how to get groceries and have a social life and sleep, but I'm definitely back on track again so I'm here to jump back in on Nicole's Monthly Small Goals round up.

Last time I participated it was June, so first let's get old business out of the way and see how I did.

Wear sunscreen more. I am definitely doing better at this! I wear sunscreen almost every day I leave the house. Now my big problem is reapplying, but since most of my days I get sun in the morning and not much after that, so I'm ticking this one off as a win.

Edit my wardrobe. I'm working through Nicole's Feel Good Dress Better Workbook very slowly but I'm already learning a ton about where I've been going wrong with my closet. I sent a ton of stuff to ThredUp and hopefully I'll get some change out of it-- if not the items they don't sell will be responsibly recycled so I feel really good using them. (Get $10 credit through this referral link.)

Read two books. I'm definitely failing here, but I have been spending a good amount of time outside work being social and sleeping, which is not a bad thing! So many people are in town so I've definitely prioritized going out over staying in with a book, but I'm sure I'll get through these books eventually. It might just have to wait until the sun starts to fade.

Update my about and contact pages. I've updated my about-- but not my contact. That's a half a win, right?

Alright, now that that (very) old business is handled, let's get onto my goals for this month.

Be more active on Instagram. Twitter is where I spend most of my time but I feel like I'm missing out on a lot by not being on Instagram, especially since more of my IRL friends are on Instagram than on Twitter.

Pack my lunch. I recently booked a trip to London and Iceland for this fall so there has never been a better motivation for me to figure out how to make packing lunch part of my everyday life.

Go to the gym. I've honestly been telling myself that I've been getting out more (which is true and great) so I don't need to go to the gym, but a big part of my getting out more has also involved food that leans more toward "irresponsible choice" than "responsible choice." Frankly, I love eating foods for their enjoyment value and nutritional value takes a back seat-- but if I'm going to live like that, I really have to be less sedentary. I'm eating myself into a cycle of sluggishness. I know once I start going to the gym, I'll be better motivated to eat garbage food a little bit less since it's a lot more noticeable when you feel bad at than gym than when you are watching netflix.

What are your goals for the month?

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4 Ways Snail Mail is Good for Your Mental Health



College was a pretty hard time for me, mental health-wise. It's pretty common for your late teens and early 20s to hit you pretty hard between the drastic life changes (new environment, vastly different living situation, new people, changing relationships as you go from kid to some kind of adult) and the general still-not-fully-baked-ness of the brain. I struggled with anxiety, panic, and depression-- and still do on occasion. But luckily for all of us, mental health-- like most health-- is about managing and coping with whatever conditions we're born with and/or develop in whatever way works best for us. I put contacts in my eyes since I cannot naturally see things, take a synthetic hormone supplement for one my body doesn't make enough of, pop an allergy pill in case I go outside or encounter a cat, and a million other little things to keep myself happy and healthy. One of those things for me is sending letters and postcards to friends-- and maybe it could be one of those self-care things for your brain, too! Next week I'll talk about tips for how to get in the habit of sending mail, but for today, let's talk about the why.

1. Connecting to other people is a really good thing for your brain! We're social animals--isolating ourselves isn't healthy, but if you're depressed, anxious, or otherwise not feeling good, you're probably doing just that. You might be having thoughts that no one wants to talk to you or feel so ashamed or sad that you don't want to be around other people. Luckily for you, you don't need to be around anyone or even directly engage them over text or chat to send them a letter. It's a way of connecting to people without the pressure of responding immediately or making eye contact or any of the stuff that might be scaring you about interacting with people.

2. You're probably going to make someone's day-- and knowing that is a good feeling. When you get a piece of mail that's not junk, a bill, or a legal summons, it's a really great day. Most people rarely get mail, and whether it's a close friend or even a far flung one they aren't the tightest with but still care for, it's really great to know someone was thinking of them. Getting out of your own head to think about how someone else will feel is a positive thing when you are down in the dumps or just feeling "blah." It takes you out of your own sadness and gets you thinking about how you are a very small and manageable but also very real catalyst for good feelings in the world.

3. Writing letters without expecting reciprocity is an act of selflessness. Some people really believe that a letter must be reciprocated-- in some circles, that's just the etiquette. Personally, I don't like to follow that mindset, because it turns letter writing into something transactional. It's very easy nowadays to quantify everything, and while in many cases that can help us optimize our lives, it can also frame the way we see the world in terms of how much we give versus how much we get. And frankly, if you're anything like me (and in this way I think most people are) seeing the world in those terms makes you feel sad, unfulfilled, angry, and even cheated simply because you are noticing a lack of balance in numbers. We don't process everything we encounter or experience, and it's important to use that to our advantage. If you're focusing on a conversation with a friend at a coffee shop, you might not notice how many people come and go-- even if you saw those people somewhere in your field of vision-- because that brain energy is better spent going towards your goal of having a great conversation. In the same way, giving (or in this case, sending a letter) just for the sake of giving is a lot more fulfilling that giving in order to receive. Hanging on to an unnecessary expectation makes you sad or hurt or resentful, so why have one? Not only are you better off without it, but you start getting in the habit of choosing not to expect things in return and thus experience far fewer disappointments in life.

4. Snail mail changes how you perceive time and space for the better. Not to get all trippy on you, but time and space are very relative things. There are instances where a hundred miles is not too far to stay connected to someone, and others when a room apart feels like an ocean away.  There are times when a week feels like a day and when a minute has lasted for hours. Things are so instantaneous now, it's only natural that we've lost patience. I get frustrated if Amazon tells me my stuff will take more than a week to get to my apartment (I pay for Prime for a reason, dammit!). We spend a lot of perceived time waiting as seconds stretch between a sent text and a reply, minutes and hours become millennia as we watch our inboxes. We agonize over lengths of time that are actually very little compared to how we experience them. Writing and sending a letter changes the way you think about time and distance by making you feel closer and more present to people who are far away by sending them something physical and tangible, while at the same time dialing back your perception of time to remember that seconds and minutes don't have to be your primary frame of reference when it comes to time-- you can also think in days and weeks and still be totally okay. Maybe even better.

Basically, sending letters is really good for your brain-- especially when you are stressed, anxious, sad, or just finding that the pace of life is too burdensome. If you haven't done it in a while or ever, definitely give it a try! Next week I'll be giving tips on getting into letter writing because sometimes it's intimidating.

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Catching Up



It's been a while since I've posted and a lot has gone down. So let's catch up! In no particular order here are the big things I've got going on... it's a lot.

I started working at a new job! I think I've posted about this before, but it's both a big deal and a pretty big reason why I haven't been able to post as much. I started working at a really awesome company called Remezcla. We publish awesome content by, for, and about Millennial Latinxes. I work on the Revenue team and I love it but it's definitely pretty tiring between the occasional late night and the longer commute. I'm trying to get things sorted out in terms of how my routine runs. I've signed up for Amazon fresh, for example, so I can get groceries without having to go out and get them. Still nailing stuff down but I'm getting there, y'all!

I got started on Nicole's Feel Good Dress Better workbook. It's making me take a long hard look at my shopping choices! I've always loved fashion but I'm not most focused shopper-- I like pieces even if they don't always make sense for me or my wardrobe. This is helping me become a more focused shopper and I got rid of like 20% of my wardrobe for better pieces.

Booked tickets for my first trip to Europe. I've never travelled solo or abroad before so I'm both excited and anxious! I'll be meeting up with friends during the trip but the actual flights are gonna take forever. The farthest I've ever travelled before is Los Angeles. If anyone has tips or resources about traveling abroad, or more specifically to London or Reykjavik, send them my way!

What's new with you?

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