How to Feel Like A Queen, Even When You Don't

Happy Monday, babes. How're you holding up? Did you have a great weekend? Any berry picking? If anyone has any tips in the Portland area on where to go berry picking, let me know, I've been itching to recently!

 

But that's not what this post is about. This post, friends, is about something much more important: how to feel great even when it feels impossible to do so. I don't know about all of you, but this summer has been uncharacteristically stressful. I've definitely had some high highs and low lows, and if I'm being honest, I don't always know how to handle the stress and frustration. Little by little, though, I've found some great strategies for showing myself love and fostering joy, and I'm sharing five of those with y'all today. Let's dive in!

 

1) Make an Appointment

Okay, before you start rolling your eyes, hear me out. While I actually do believe that getting big-kid appointments scheduled and done with is stress relieving, I'm more so referring to making an appointment with yourself. It's easy for us to schedule coffee dates with friends, lunch with Grandma, visits to your hometown, etc, but why not schedule time for yourself to have an extra hour in the morning to read, write in a journal, or just contemplate? I don't know about you gals but I know that when my day starts out rushed and frantic, it's a huge hurdle to overcome. My mood is sour, and my disposition is just icky. But when I have even just an extra 30 minutes in the morning, I can get dressed for the day emotionally as well as physically. Sometimes I'm bad at doing this every single morning, but it's all about baby steps. 

 

2) Take Inventory of Your Time

Yes, I actually mean it. How many times in the day do we think, 'wow, if I only had more time in my day, I could finally practice _________ .' I'm super guilty of this. And the truth is that your much more likely to be overwhelmed by anything stressful in your life if you feel like you never have time for anything. Much like an eating journal, take a day and write down how much time you spend doing each thing. You can even blame me, I'll be the weird friend for you, it's okay! But write down how long you spend scrolling through Instagram. How long do you spend watching Netflix? How long do you spend cooking dinner? It might seem strange, but you'd be surprised how much time we spend doing mindless things. And while I love doing mindless things to decompress, it would reduce the stress in general to be conscious of the time you spend, and make you more focused and productive to take stock. And hey, who knows, maybe you'll finally discover you do indeed have time for that creative writing class on Wednesday nights or the wine and painting class on Tuesdays. You'll be surprised!

 

3) Have A Dance Party

In a phrase: shake your tail feather! Have you ever heard the saying that if you physically smile you'll feel happier? Well, I'm still on the fence about that specific example, but a similar principle applies to a good old fashioned dance party. Do it in your car, do it while you're walking to work, do it when you're brushing your teeth in the morning, HECK, you could do it at the mall! Who cares? It's amazing. I am not a scientist, but I can speak to my experience with this, and y'all, it is insane how much your mood changes after just 2 minutes of dancing like a crazy lady. You don't have to be poised and polished, just shake it. Shake it and you will feel better! Any music that pumps you up will be perfect. (My personl favorite dance-party-until-I-feel-more-jubilant music is anything from ABBA, Michael Jackson, Neil Diamond, and Stevie Wonder! What's your go-to playlist?)

 

4) Shift Your Perspective

This may sound painfully obvious, but it's true. It's scary how easily we can get caught up in dumb drama and have pity-parties. The world is suddenly crashing down if one insignificant thing isn't panning out the way we'd hoped. Well, newsflash: it could always be worse. And even more than that: there's always a new day. How we choose to look at our situations can completely shift not only the atmosphere of our day, but also the level of joy we're able to maintain in general. Did someone just cut you off in the passing lane? Deep breath. Did your sister just wear something of yours that you did not okay? Calm yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, life is indeed a journey. As we know from any self-respecting movie or book or tale of any kind, the hero always has to experience some hills and valleys along the way. It makes them who they are! If you choose to look at bumps in the road as learning experiences and opportunities to become a better version of yourself, those curveballs that life often throws your way are a lot less scary. 

 

5) Cut Yourself Some Slack, Queenie

Self talk is so powerful. I'll be the first to admit that I actually love using self-deprecating humor on occasion, but I definitely try to check myself and how often I use that because of the fact that words are powerful. And so is grace. Giving yourself a break. Absolutely none of us have it together at any one point. We're human, we make mistakes. Some seasons in your life may seem like a patchwork quilt of mistakes (mine currently), but that's the name of the game. This certainly piggy-backs on the tip of shifting your perspective, but I think it's incredibly important to give yourself a pass. We're our own worst critics. Only we ourselves know that those jeans fit a little looser last month, or that we didn't end up writing that letter we'd meaning to. And it's okay. It is. As long as you're trying your best (which we all are), that is all you can ask of yourself. 

 

I hope those are helpful to you! Life is far too stressful sometimes, but you know what? We're queens, and we can do this, together. What're some of your favorite ways to rise above a bad mood? Let me know in the comments!

Spring in New York

* Caution: Lots of lipstick and sass ahead. *

I can't believe it's almost August. Where does the time go?

But if you could, metaphorically close your eyes. Imagine a time last spring, when the La Croix and rosé weren't yet flowing. The sun was just beginning to peak out again after a long winter, and praise the Lord, parka season was coming to an end. This is where we lay our scene.

I'd be remise not to post about my trip to New York City last spring, because man oh man, New York City. I just find it magical. The sights, the sounds, the way the sunlight sparkles off the buildings at sunset, and this atmosphere of dream-chasing. The streets are covered in fierce go-getters wearing leather jackets and red lipstick, essentially the modern day Morticia Addams aesthetic, and I'm all about it. Ugh okay I'll stop, but I just love it so much. And I think you will too. 

So without further ado, I give you: Spring in New York.

Okay, to be fair, this view is from Hoboken, New Jersey, but in my humble opinion, it's the best waterfront view of Manhattan. 

My sister and my person, Alex, joined me on my New York City galavants throughout the week. She lives in Jersey, and she is probably the only reason I found my way back home, because DANG those subways are confusing. And I'm also thankful for the Aerobed. And for her sisterhood. It's a combination of thankfulness, you know?

 

LOBSTER BLISS. Located inside of Chelsea Market is one of the most delicious, vibrant fish markets in New York. Although their sushi bar is killer and all of their fish is fresh and sumptuous, we had to go for the lobster, served with melted butter, lemon and a petite plastic fork to get out all the lobster goodness. With two pale ales and a crab mac and cheese? Yeah, it was food coma status. The very best kind of food coma. 

 

(Pictured above: the natural progression of lobster lunch appreciation.)

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Views from The Highline? Top notch. 

 

 

 

Happy hour at The Park with friends? Yes please. My friend Kaily joined us for a little Pinot Grigio and reminiscing in one of the most gorgeous spaces I've ever happy hour-ed in. There were even birds chirping. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY. Bliss. Pure Bliss.  

 

 

 

Give me Artichokes, or... yeah, who am I kidding, just give me the pizza. 

I slacked on my food photography game this trip, but I'll just gush about this delicious pizza in lieu of more food shots. CRAB PIZZA, PEOPLE. Located right next to The Park (aka Pinot Grigio happy hour heaven), Artichokes Pizza hits the spot. And by "spot" I mean feels, and by "feels", I mean the feels only pizza can satisfy. Can I get an amen? 

Central Park! Did I see Amy Adams burst into song? No. Did I see J Lo and Ralph Fiennes strolling a la Maid in Manhattan? Not so much. But did I see a vibrant park? Absolutely. I was tempted to burst into "That's How You Know" when Amy Adams didn't appear in a princess dress, but I resisted and took pictures instead. No guarantees for next time though, the singing may come out...

 

 

 

 

 

Obligatory photo, because just look at this beauty. Grand Central Station, in the flesh. And no, no one lives in the attic of this station. Definitely not Colin Ferrell, because you know I was looking for him. 

 

 

Jersey Queens Lexie and Alex, featuring Juice Generation and all the smoothie goodness. 

 

 

Happy hour at the Lighthouse Bakery and Restaurant in Brooklyn. Because life is better with a few glasses of Syrah and good company, am I right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queens in DUMBO

How could we not make a visit to this famous, picturesque spot? The weather was unusually hot for the spring (we're talking 80 degrees Fahrenheit) but it was perfect for romping around Brooklyn. And yes, the trip is so worth it, the views in DUMBO are stunning to say the least. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hoboken, guys. It's beautiful. Seriously beautiful. 

 

 

Even though we didn't spend a huge amount of time in Hoboken, the time that we did spend was an awesome reprieve from the hectic vibes of NYC. And yes! We did see Buddy outside of Carlo's Bakery, but the picture was way too blurry to even post on here. But just trust that it happened, and many cannolis and lobster tails (the pastry this time) were consumed thereafter. 

Also, it turns out Hoboken has delicious oyster bars everywhere you look, excellent post-NYC-adventuring pizza, and so much charm. And come on, do I even need to mention those cherry blossoms? Swooning. Come to think of it, this whole trip had me swooning. I don't think I'll ever tire of traveling to NYC. But can you blame me?

 

 

Thanks for taking the journey with us. We had fun, did you? Did we go to your favorite spots? Where do we need to go next time? Let me know in the comments, babes. 

Podcasts: A Starter Pack

Good morning! It's great to see you. Let's hang out for a sec. 

 

Hey gals. It's Maddy here. It may come as no surprise that I am a massive nerd for all things podcast related. Being that I'm the slowest cook in the world, I listen to podcasts almost every day. They're such an awesome way to stay informed, stay entertained, and give yourself some brain food. Essentially, audible spinach that doesn't give your teeth that fuzzy feeling. (Am I alone in this? Spinach gives me some SERIOUSLY mixed feelings.) These are in no particular order, because they're all so different, but sit back, enjoy, and find your new favorite podcast. Let's begin!

 

1. The Moth

Image courtesy of The Miramar Theatre

Image courtesy of The Miramar Theatre

 

Okay, I know I just said that these are in no particular order, but The Moth may very well be my favorite podcast right now. Each episode is typically an hour long, and features storytelling from everyday people, from every walk of life. Some of the stories are hilarious, and others make you cry, but the common thread is that they're all true stories and they're all told with heart. The stories are shared at The Moth storytelling events that happen all over the United States and beyond, and the podcast collects the best of the best performances and brings them to your phone. How cool! Anyway, I'm a huge fan of The Moth. I think anyone can love and appreciate true stories and shared experiences, and that's exactly what The Moth delivers. All the feels. 

Kid and family proof? Yes! Unless they say the content of a story is mature, The Moth is safe for all ages. 

Tear proof? No! Get those tissues out. Preferably the ones with lotion. 

 

2. Dinner Party Download 

 

Image courtesy of allaccess.com

Image courtesy of allaccess.com

 

Also known as "DPD", this is a podcast that has something for everyone. As the name denotes, the theme is a dinner party. It's difficult to explain it, but the podcast is structured by the outline of an actual dinner party. Hosted by Brendan Francis Newnam and Rico Gagliano, the episodes start with small talk, then move to a dinner party playlist (typically put together by a rad musician), cocktails, guests of honor, etc. It will make sense when you listen to it, I promise! But it's an awesome arts and culture podcast with fun interviews featuring artists like Tegan and Sara, Nick Offerman, Ru Paul, Allison Janney, and everyone moving and shaking in the industry right now. Episodes are typically published once a week, unless there's a bonus episode with interview extensions and such, and each episode is an hour long. Perfect for that work commute!

 

Kid and family proof? Yes! 

Tear proof? Yes! Unless you cry at lighthearted interviews? You should be okay. 

 

3. Modern Love: The Podcast

 

Image courtesy of The New York Times

Image courtesy of The New York Times

 

For those who aren't familiar with the New York Times, Modern Love is a column that has featured some of the most raw and honest personal essays about love in every form. The essays range in topics, from online dating to familial relationships, taking care of grandparents, all of it. Due to the fact that the podcast is able to draw from over a decade of essays, there's a rich well of essays that they can choose from. One of the coolest things about this podcast is that the essays are read aloud by awesome actors of stage and screen, which ends up giving the essays even more power. Each episode typically runs about 30 minutes, so it's just enough time to prepare that Trader Joe's Orange Chicken and white rice. It's all about the multitasking! 

 

Kid and family proof? Yes and no. Depending on the age of your kids, it might be good to listen to the episode beforehand just to double-check that it's okay. The essays can get pretty heavy so it's better to be prepared if kids will be listening too.  

Tear proof? NO NO NO. There are a fair amount of comedic essays, but the majority are very emotional!

 

4. 2 Dope Queens

 

Image courtesy of The New York Times

Image courtesy of The New York Times

 

Comedy babes Phoebe Robinson and Jessica Williams bring the laughs and the sass to every episode of 2 Dope Queens. This is a newer podcast on the scene (they just wrapped on their second season a month ago), but it's gained a cult following, and there's no question why. Williams and Robinson are the hosts of the podcast, but each episode features standup comedy from live recordings in New York City and beyond. The featured comedians take on topics like race, sexuality, pop culture and being a millennial in a way that is guaranteed to make you accidentally pee just a little bit every now and again (you have been warned). The Queens also interview actors and actresses from various shows and movies, including the likes of Kevin Bacon, Fred Armissen, Carrie Brownstein, Connie Britton, and need I even go on? Each episode is about an hour long, and during their off-season, they post bonus episodes featuring comedians they couldn't fit in the normal episodes. So if you need a laugh or a distraction from the crying babies on the plane or in the next room, download the Queens. 

 

Kid and family proof? In my opinion, no. Unless your family is collectively okay with crude humor, I'd recommend listening to this privately or with some of your girlfriends. Unless you have a very liberal toddler. But even then, maybe just keep this on the down-low. 

Tear proof? Yes and no! There is a very high possibility that you'll cry from laughing at some point during the season, but tissues aren't necessary. 

 

5. The Splendid Table

 

Image courtesy of The Washington Post

Image courtesy of The Washington Post

 

This one goes out to all the foodies. Hosted previously by the sage Lynne Rossetto Kasper and currently by Francis Lam, The Splendid Table is an hour of cooking advice, food trend-spotting, fascinating interviews with chefs and cookbook authors and everything you could possibly imagine in between. If you spend hours in the cookbook section of bookstores or are constantly looking up recipes for the best roasted chicken, you may have just found your podcast soulmate. This is an especially fun podcast to listen to whilst cooking dinner or enjoying a little charcuterie and wine, as a side-effect of listening to people talk about food for an hour is naturally, well, hunger. The only caveat I will say is that this is a fairly easy podcast to zone out during. Whether it's the tone of the host's voices or the soothing, warm feelings that come from talking about the perfect carbonara on the Amalfi coast, I can't say, but I'd advise listening to this while you're still mentally present. 

 

Kid and family proof? Absolutely. In fact, I think this is an awesome podcast to share with the family. In an age of fast cooking and fast food, only positive things can come from a little culinary education. 

Tear proof? Yes, unless you're cutting an onion at the same time. Then definitely not. 

 

 

Already addicted to podcasts? Did I leave off your personal favorite? Let me know in the comments below!