Tonight’s Sweet Tooth Dinner

 Toasted PB&J with whipped cream, frozen berries, and wine…from a straw.
Watching cartoons…specifically, Bojack Horseman.

This is the kind of adult I’ve always wanted to be. On a budget – calorie and budget wise!

Calories. (Estimated, as I did not measure my servings and was a little heavy handed. In other words, you can absolutely do it with less calories than the one I just made.)

  • 200 calories. = 2 slices whole wheat bread.
  • 190 calories. = 2 tablespoons peanut butter.
  • 90 calories. = 2 tablespoons jelly.
  • 15 calories. = 1 serving whipped cream.
  • 100 calories. = 1 cup frozen fruit.
  • 135 calories. = 1 glass of wine.

= 730 calories, for a meal that makes you feel like an absolute fancy goddess with little to no effort. And any piece can easily be taken out of substituted.

Easy substitutes?

Whipped cream for powdered sugar and cinnamon. Jelly for bananas. Jelly for strawberries. Peanut butter for Nutella. Frozen fruit for your favorite fresh fruit or other favorite side. Wine for milk or juice or water. All in the same calorie range.

With the exception of the whipped cream, I should mention this meal is entirely VEGAN. With the whipped cream, it is still VEGETARIAN.

Budget.

  • $11 – Wine, from my wine club.
  • $2.99 – Eco-friendly paper straws, from grocery store sale.
  • Under $10 – frozen fruit bags, peanut butter, whole wheat bread.
  • Gift – Jelly, homemade from the grounds of the Longfellow House in Cambridge.

Total (with tons of every single ingredient left): $23.00. I could maybe make 10 – 15 meals from these ingredients with none of them going bad or expiring. The wine may only last 4 meals. Or 2…or 1…depending.

Happy indulging, everybody!

Now.

(TW: Suicidal thoughts)

I spent my entire childhood living in the future. B10479967_10152175234393441_2655413404531716318_ny 9, I had picked the area I wanted to go to college. By 15, I knew where I wanted to get married. By 18, I was in school and had to figure out the rest of my life. I was always okay with my plans changing along the way, but that’s what I’ve always done and been good at doing.

I’ve spent the past 3 years being unable to give up pieces of the past.

Getting a grip on the fact that my parents got divorced when I was 2, and my father, as much as I wanted him to be, would never be as close to me as a father who was around every day of my childhood. Dealing with the severe depression and anxiety that had been building up for years without my realization. Allowing myself to move on after romantic relationships have ended and bitterly regretting losing friends along the way.

I’m 22 now.

I thought when I was finishing school, that all I would be able to do was just to let go of my past burdens and just burst into adulthood, this thing I had worked for my whole life. And it sucked.

I spent most of my time planning for the biggest disappointment of my life thus far: adulthood.

And since I’ve gotten to adulthood, all I can do is focus on my regrets from the past. Why did he have to go? Why wasn’t I better?

I also started to focus on what I was looking forward to. Certainly not just getting up for work again the next morning. Children? Not for at least 10 years. A wedding? No thanks. A promotion? Well I had just been hired. A raise? I’m not kidding anyone, I’m just happy to be employed. What else is there? Where I’m moving when I retire? Nursing homes?…Death? I worried that there was nothing left for me to be excited about for a while.

Was death just – a better place to be? Was it the end goal? Would I be excited about what was to come when I finally crossed the finish line? After thinking about death for a while, I wasn’t that afraid of it anymore. Looking over my life, I do not have much I was proud of. I had left school, and had become an ordinary person. I have overcome more personal trauma than I would ever wish on my worst enemies with nothing to show for it. If death was my next goal, why was I waiting?

Does that make any sense? I don’t know if it does to me now.

Because now – is..now.

I don’t know if I’ve ever lived a day of my life in the present.

I didn’t enjoy anything I was having, because what I had could never be enough. There was never any crying, because it wasn’t worth the hassle of fixing my eyeliner.

I don’t know what today means. I don’t know what it’s like to not be planning for something. I don’t know how to enjoy a moment. But for now, I am trying. Art, yoga, time alone at night, blogging. Soft reflecting.

I’m going to start caring about now.

So I got a haircut this weekend…

My hair had been dyed dark mahogany brown for a long while, over my natural mouse-y brown.

Then, I decided to go blonde. So I bleached it. A ton. Then used heat products on it without caring.

My hair started to fall out.

The hairdresser yesterday referred to my hair as being ‘gummy’ – and she was absolutely right. Have you ever touched gummy hair?! We mutually decided that the best thing to do would be to cut it. All of it.

So welcome in, Pixie Cut. I’m going to get a keratin treatment on my bangs on Thursday.

11781778_10153039318663441_1950283283608514796_n

I HATE budgeting apps. Instead, I follow these 5 rules.

I hate budgeting apps. My spending varies too much from month to month, and I spend based on what I have in the bank.

But even without a strict budget, I have some fairly strict rules. For those of you who don’t know, I’m 22, paying rent on a great (read: expensive) apartment, paying off student loans, and struggling with high costs of city living. Even if it’s only in the back of your head, you need to have control of your finances.

Rule 1: Check your checking/savings and credit card accounts when you check your email/social media.

I like to start my day knowing exactly where I am financially. How much money is mine? How much have I spent of my last paycheck? How much spending have I done on my credit card this month, and do I need to slow down?

If I notice I have a little extra money, I might treat myself to lunch or some online shopping.. Either way, knowledge is power. You want to know what is in your bank account at all times.

Rule 2: Never, ever, ever spend more than what you can pay back next month on your credit card.

Because if you make this mistake, you pay for it. In interest, and in a decreased credit score. I use my credit card knowing that I’ll be able to pay it off at the end of the month.  And hey, that worked in my favor – after just a few months of use, they upped my credit limit.

If you use your credit card the right way, it can be totally worth it. I get lots of great rewards that help to fuel my online shopping addiction, but it lets me get some of the things I’ve been eyeing for FREE.

Rule 3: Price shop. Always, always price shop.

I love using shopping apps. If you don’t have a memory like mine (I remember how much EVERYTHING costs), it’s worth it to get an Amazon.com app – or something similar. Check out what prices are online versus what they are around you. Are you spending too much on your wine? Scan the label on Vivino and see how much the bottle is really worth.

Use coupons. Google search for coupons before you check out online. Keep your CVS/similar frequented store coupons that come with your receipt, and use them.

Compare prices across websites before you buy, even on something small. Is it cheaper to buy the 3 pack of shampoo on Amazon? Probably! If I have the money for it, why not stock up when the price is cheap? (See – this is why I don’t like having a budget app. The budget app will yell at me for having spent more on shampoo this month than I did last month. Well, of course I did, you dumb app.)

Rule 4: Keep a list of upcoming mandatory expenses.

I use Evernote for this – because I can update it from my laptop or from my phone. I keep track of the next 6 months. Where is my money going?

An example:

“September Expenses
Note: First month rent is already paid
– $XXX Loans
~$XX Utilities
– $XXX Yoga yearly membership
_______
~ XXX

October Expenses
Note: n/a
– $XXXX Rent
– $XXX Loans
~$XX Utilities
_______
~ XXX

If you have seen your future expenses written out, you’ll be able to prepare months in advance for them. I pay once a year for my yoga membership (it is cheaper that way, after all), so it helps to have a visual reminder that this expense happens each year in September.
Rule 5: Save what you’ve got when you’ve got it.

At the end of the month, every month, I calculate what needs to stay in my checking account for rent, bills, loans, and my credit card payment.Then, I look at what’s left. If there is more than $250, I dump the excess in savings (or towards my loans).$250 is not an arbitrary number. It’s what I have learned I can live comfortably on between paychecks. It is enough to buy groceries, go out at least once, and have something left in case there was an emergency.

This method helped me save a few thousand dollars in a year’s time. It’s amazing how much money we waste when we see that we have it in our bank accounts.

This Facebook post got more attention than anything else I’ve ever posted.

10635708_10152376131673441_5932093784434038141_n“Hello Facebook,
I was hospitalized at McLean Psychiatric from 11/14-11/20 for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and suicide ideation.

It is not something I am embarrassed by. I am a strong person, a hard worker, and an accomplished scholar, but I needed help. Most of us do, at times.

Since I have left Mclean, people have treated it as if it was something to be ashamed of. Instead of welcoming me back, they give silent looks and avoid asking questions. When I try to bring up a story from the hospital amongst friends, suddenly the room becomes silent and uncomfortable. People change the topic quickly. I sometimes feel the urge to lie to people about why I had been missing for so long.

But why?

I spent a week of my life in a very interesting place, a place only a limited number of people ever see the inside of. I saw many fascinating things behind those doors. I’d love to share my story and talk about my recovery with others.

For most people, I understand the first instinct is to not talk about something to someone out of the assumption that they may not want to talk about it. But in most cases, people want to talk about what’s going on with them so that they don’t feel alone.

If someone doesn’t want to talk about it, they will let you know. Chances are, they want to talk; even if they didn’t, they will never think less of you for caring about them or being curious about what was going on.

I want to be as open about this as possible to prove that we should never be ashamed of what we are, and also to set precedent for others to speak up about their own struggles. To ask for help takes the utmost strength for many of us, so why should we be silent?”

10 Things I Want to Be.

Mom (left) and me (right) around the same age.
Mom (left) and me (right) around the same age.

This is to remind me I have things to work for every day.

1. A mother as strong, influential, caring, and passionate as my mom. I also want to talk to my kids about sex and mental health, and not make those taboo subjects.
2. A friend. A better friend than I have been. My mental health struggles have allowed me to be too selfish, and I want to be better. I want to give my friends the attention they deserve.
3. Healthy. I want to fill myself up with good things – more fruits and vegetables. And burn them off with workouts I enjoy – I’m forcing myself to go to barre this Wednesday. For me. Because I want to.
4. Happy. I’ve only a few times in my entire life been truly happy. I want to be happy someday.
5. In love…with myself. You don’t have the mental health struggles I’ve had if you like yourself. I’m trying to learn to like myself again.
6. Working a job I love, not just because I have to. I’m lucky that I love my job right now. I want to always love my job. I don’t want to dread Mondays or clocking in, ever.
7. Forgiving. I want to forgive the people I hold useless grudges against. More than that, I want to forgive myself. I still hate myself for things I will never be able to change, and I should not be ashamed.
8. Able to speak. I choke on words too often, and avoid conflict because I want people to like me. I want to be able to get over my anxiety, and communicate clearly with the people in my life.
9. An advocate. I try to speak with my friends very bluntly about my past with mental health. Many of them get shy about it, and some politely will ask “are you okay to talk about this?” but it is nothing I am ashamed of. I want it to be part of the conversation where it is appropriate. I want other people to know it is okay to have these feelings. Someday I’d like to do something real about it. I’d like to make a difference to someone like me someday.
10. Someone who makes people smile every day. I make a point to compliment strangers when I’m at a bar. I told one girl that I loved her hair, and we had a short conversation about it, and she was all smiles. I told another girl that I loved her outfit. They were silly comments to me, but by the way their eyes lit up, it was clear to me that I had made their day just that much better. What’s stopping me from complimenting at least one person every day? Nothing.

Bonus: Positive. I’d like to be positive.