I finally transitioned to a self-hosted blog and would love for you to follow me over there!
I finally transitioned to a self-hosted blog and would love for you to follow me over there!
As I’m sure most of you know, Brussels (my current city of residence) was struck by a horrible terrorist attack last week, March 22nd. The city is slowly getting back up on its feet, and people around me are trying hard to go on with their day-to-day lives. I am not going to elaborate on terrorist attacks, the media, or anything related to these events (because a quick google search will get you immediately caught up), but I would like to reflect and expand on the fellow humans that surround me.
I am currently sitting in a popular coffee shop that is only about half-occupied. On any other day before the attack, this place would be packed, but alas, empty chairs are a-plenty on this particular Tuesday. Up on the speakers are the soothing and uplifting sounds of The Beatles, and around me I can hear various quiet conversations. Some people are quietly discussing current events, and others are deeply consumed by their books and lap tops.
It’s very easy to get consumed by fear. Take it from a girl with generalized anxiety disorder (I am also prone to panic attacks) – the easiest thing to do right now would be to lock myself up at home and feed into dark thoughts. But alas, that isn’t what I’m doing, and I can see that my fellow co-habitants of this city are also resisting the urge to do so. Most people around me seem hopeful. There’s a glimmer of hope everywhere, from the baristas that are managing to keep a smile on their faces and are brightening everyone’s day, to the quiet boy who is blatantly cramming for exams. Life just keeps going.
Recently, I have started dedicating chunks of my day for guided meditations. “Insight Timer” is a free app that my best friend just introduced me to. If you’re a meditation pro, or if you’re a newbie like me, you’re going to love this app. It has an awesome community component, so you can see how many people in the world (or even in your city) are meditating at the moment, and you can message people and thank them for meditating with you. I couldn’t rave about it any more if I wanted to. I wholeheartedly recommend it to everyone, especially all of you great people that are prone to getting sucked up by your own thoughts.
To my fellow people of Brussels, there are plenty of peace-loving humans around you that are going out of their way to create more harmony in this crazy world. If you’re reading this today and you desperately need to get out of your home and to a safe place, there is a mindfulness meditation session at Bon Jour Bruxelles tonight. I’m including the facebook event riiiight here:
With thoughts of love and peace, I sign out today.
This week during my travels I made a cat-friend and took a nap in a museum (okay, maybe not a full-on nap, but you know).
Co-writing a blog with my best friend – COME SAY HI!
You can find me over at http://www.beyondnoco.tumblr.com for the next week or so. My best friend and I are adventuring around Europe, and there are photos and posts galore.
Come say hi!
The sun is slowly starting to show its face more and more frequently, and with that come little shopping trips where you get things that aren’t (necessarily) necessities, but they make you smile. Today I’m writing to you from my balcony, as I soak up the sun on a gorgeous weekend in Brussels.
Yesterday I discovered a store called “& other stories”. There were a lot of gorgeous pieces of clothing, although a bit on the pricier side (but nothing too extravagant). What really caught my eye was their sleek and minimalist skincare collection. I left the store with one skincare item, one accessory, and all the willpower in me to not spend all of my money in there.
First off, I got these really cool sunglasses! They have clear frames, they’re mirrored, and I feel like they fit my face perfectly. I was in desperate need for sunglasses, but I kept passing up buying any because they didn’t feel right. These, on the other hand – they’re beautiful, and edgy and I’m in love. Also, they were 15 euros which is a total steal.
I couldn’t find the exact ones on their site, but you can have a look around at the other models they have:
Next, skincare. I wanted to try everything they had in the store but I convinced myself that I needed to try the formulas first before committing to buying everything that looked magical (which was everything, to be honest with you). I opted for the Moroccan Tea Body Soufflé and I couldn’t be happier that I did. It smells like mint, and tea, and cinnamon. The scent is clean, soothing, calming, and it has insane staying power. I applied it all over my body after a bath last night, and I woke up smelling amazing. I’m certain that the contents of this pot are going to vanish quickly. It’s 12 euros, which again, not exactly the cheapest, but we’re definitely not talking high end.
You can get it here:
And last, but not least – let’s talk clothing. I’m a curvy girl, and lately – my body has gone through a lot of changes. I’m happier, I’m healthier, and I feel way more comfortable in my body. I even got a top that I was always told wasn’t for curvy girls. Oh yes, the dreaded horizontal stripes. They might not be the most flattering, but I don’t need to look the thinnest version of myself in order to be the happiest version of myself. I love the fit, the crazy sleeves, and I think the stripes are cute!
I picked it up from Pull&Bear:
Cool, I think that’s all I’ve got for you today. Remember to do little things for yourself because you’re worth it, damn it.
Yep, that’s definitely all of it.
Airplanes: my one true love, and my absolute worst nightmare.
I am an adventurer with a bold spirit. I love mountains and rivers, valleys and hills, cities and streets, shops and parks. I love the beach, and I love the snow. New places excite me to no end. I used to be unable to sleep before flying, from the sheer excitement of embarking on a new adventure. I used to dream of soaring through clouds made of cotton, and floating mid-air with nothing but the sun above. I used to.
Somewhere along the way, something changed. On a flight from Philly to Vegas, I sat stiffly in my plane seat and waited for take-off. My heart was beating way too fast, my palms were sweating, and worst of all – I felt like there was an elephant sitting on my chest. Like someone was gripping my lungs with their bare hands. Where were these feelings coming from?
Nobody enjoys turbulence, but I used to just be able to ignore it. Seriously, the plane could shake however much it wanted to, and I would just look out the window, or scribble my way through a sudoku. On this particular flight, everything felt wrong. The moment we hit a rough patch right above Vegas, I broke down. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t talk, all I could really do was cry. Tears were streaming down my face as turbulence shook the seat under me, not even that severely. All I wanted was to be safe on the ground where I could fill my lungs with the air they longed for. My parents tried to calm me down, but couldn’t understand why I was acting in this strange manner. I’ve flown frequently my whole life, often traveling overseas, and often traveling alone. Turns out, this was my first in-flight panic attack.
That was half a year ago, and since then, I’ve flown 9 more times. My life has always consisted of movement and travel, and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Unfortunately, the panic and fear got worse before it got better. I’m well aware of the fact that, yeah – airplanes are safer than cars, and yeah – turbulence isn’t a life-or-death situation. Reading reassuring fact on the internet did not help me one bit. I tried tackling the problem (and failed) so many times before I made some fairly minimal progress.
What makes me feel better:
I don’t want to lie and tell you that my flight anxiety is cured, because that would be a lie. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to manage it (for the most part). A piece of cloth with lavender essential oil on it (it relaxes me and calms me down), a pair of headphones (to make the plane noises softer, rather than for music), and breathing exercises. The most important of these is definitely the last one.
Breathing exercises have been a life-saver for me. Breathe in for 4 counts, hold it for 7, breathe out for 8. In 1-2-3-4, hold 1-2-3-4-5-6-7, out 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. Simple, but effective.
I also prefer to travel alone. While traveling with someone can be comforting, I find that when people worry and care for me, it makes me all the more anxious. A stranger on the other hand, is someone you can make a fool of yourself in front of, because you’ll probably never see them again. I can’t even fathom the amount of wonderful strangers that have held my hand as I’ve tried to take control of my anxiety. Thank you, you nice people.
*Pro tip: if you inform the flight attendants about your anxiety beforehand, they’ll give you free alcohol, which is never a bad thing.
If you take anything away from reading this post, let it be one thing:
Fear attracts fear. The moment you learn to control it, is the moment you’ll learn to be free.
Now, go hike those mountains. Play in the sand, run through the snow, spend the day at central park, or make love under the stars. Just try not to get caught.
I’ve hit a wall where it seems like all creativity has ceased to exist. This is nothing new, it’s actually been a thing for a while now. Starting today, I am taking the initiative to change that.
The only way to make something of quality, is just to consistently create. Between this blog, and my youtube channel – I’m ready to start creating on a somewhat regular schedule. Come say hi on youtube if you’re into that sort of thing!
I know you might be thinking, what makes this girl so qualified to talk about low carb diets? Has she lost 100+ lbs? Is she some huge success story? And you know what? I’m here to tell you that no, I have not lost copious amounts of weight, and I’m actually still on the diet itself. I’m making my way through my journey, day by day, bite by bite. What I do have though, is experience – and if you’re looking to start a diet such as Ideal Protein, Axodiet, Eurodiet, Protekal, etc (depending on where in the world you are), or if you’re simply in a rut – I’m here to share my experiences with you.
I learned about Ideal Protein while I was living in the US, and I had met a few people that had amazing results from it. I’ve never ever (ever) been a fan of diets, so as exciting as Ideal Protein seemed, I was also dreading it from the start. To clear this up, my eating habits are generally fairly healthy. The problem I have is that my body creates (or used to create) nine times the amount of insulin it needs. This is scary for many reasons, but mostly because once your insulin runs out, it’s out – and that’s it. The other reason my insulin spikes were unfortunate was because whenever I would manage to lose weight by diet and exercise, I would always regain it back almost immediately. These were the moments that I would lose all hope and give up, stuff my face with junk food for a period of time, and walk away from the experience both unhappy and disappointed.
I decided to give Ideal Protein a go in July of 2015. I was determined and pushed through two months of the program, losing about 25 lbs in the process. At that point in time I was living with my boyfriend, and temptation was everywhere but I was sure that this would be the last diet I would ever be on. Fast forward to September, things happened (quickly) and I was on my way from Wisconsin to Brussels, Belgium. I abruptly stopped the Ideal Protein diet (I didn’t phase out – bad idea), and went on to indulge in everything Belgium has to offer: Waffles, Fries, Chocolate and Beer (all capitalized for their holiness). In about two months, I gained back 15 of the 25 lbs I had lost and I was miserable. All of the determination I had built up beforehand got lost along the way, and if you know me, you know that I’m not a quitter. I researched and researched, and found an identical diet here called Axodiet. I started this diet on January 5th, 2016, a month and a week ago. I am currently down 20 lbs from that mark (so technically 35lbs down from the summer, and nearly 55 lbs down from my heaviest). This results are coming along twice as fast now, and I will happily share what I’m doing differently.
Let’s talk about the first few days on these diets, because they’re truly horrible. The night before I started my diet I had my parting meal, which consisted of a piece of baguette and Nutella. Don’t ask why, I wouldn’t know how to answer. I started my new life the next morning, and while the first few hours were fine, at around 1pm I found myself in bed with the worst migraine of my life. Going from Nutella to absolutely no sugar was a huge shock to my body. The migraines lasted about 48 hours, and they were accompanied by emotional breakdowns. Something I later learned was the fact that there are hormones in your fat cells and during the process of entering ketosis, your body releases them and goes absolutely nuts. I cried a lot and said that I was going to quit this diet – but I never did. Once these few days are over, you drop a large amount of weight (mainly water and some fat), but oh my goodness does it feel amazing. This is the moment you get hooked and decide that it’s worth it. Try to keep this feeling around as much as you can because you will doubt yourself in the process.
Things that make have made me more successful (this time around):
Somehow this video never made it to my blog. In any case, this is still my go-to summer routine. So easy.
Let me know what you think!
Okay, this is not really an ode, as I am awful at writing in any sort of lyrical sense. In any case, let me tell you about one of my favorite products of all time (!!!). I love make up, but when it starts to get hot I tend to wear so little of it… I really prefer when my face can breathe. So an easy everyday thing for me is to dot on some concealer, throw some color on my cheeks and smother my whole eyelids with a champagne-colored eye shadow. A little bit of mascara, and I’m out the door!
But I hate, hate, HATE when my eye shadow creases. I like to put it on in the morning and make sure that it stays there all day, and the only product I’ve come across that REALLY does the trick is the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion. Seriously friends, this thing is magical. Somehow, somewhere, in some sketchy basement, there were witches and a cauldron and this concoction was created and TA-DAAA (probably not, but shhh)!
The tiniest tube of this is about $12 at Sephora, but it’s so SO worth it. You only need the smallest amount of product and it ends up lasting a long time. UUUGHHHH so much love in my heart for this little tube thingy.
I’m back, I’m back – ladies and gents, I AM BACK.
Do you know of any other kick-ass primers? Wanna blow me away? Wanna just say hi? DO IT. COMMENT SECTION. DO IIIIT.
Till next time,