Break On Through (To The Other Side)


This is a post about feeling depressed — and then digging out. Since today marks the first day of spring, I thought I’d honor the gradual return of more light, in a figurative sense.

While it may not always be detectable to others from the outside, because I’m still forced to work, look presentable, and function overall — when a depressive episode does hit, it can feel exhausting to fake a smile or complete simple tasks.

Although everyone’s experience is different, I’ve implemented some new habits that help me feel lighter and more in control.

1) Cleaned my house.

The condition of my house tends to be a pretty good reflection of my mental state. And the embarrassing piles (er, mountains?) of laundry that had accumulated over the winter months are no longer occupying various rooms in my apartment. Clearer space = clearer mind.

2) Cut off toxic friendships.

Trying to make me feel bad about myself? I don’t have the time. Bye.

3) Fighting negative thoughts.

I forced myself to become painfully aware of some of the constant negative thoughts I perpetuate internally. And then I would interrupt myself — “dude, stop” — to replace the bad thought with something more pleasant. Whether it’s repeating the opposite as true, or picturing something that makes me happy. The demons might still return, but they no longer dominate my headspace all day.

4) Minor physical activity.

Maybe someday I’ll make it to a gym, but in the meantime, I started to incorporate some very light exercise — extremely short jogging — during nighttime walks with Saki.  I also added stretching and basic yoga to my daily routine.  Even 15 minutes is enough to feel more relaxed and energized.

5) Self-care!

I’m no stranger to the concept of #treatyoself. But lately, I’ve indulged in various forms of more deliberate self-care. Whether it’s making extra time to relax, like using a face mask with weird ingredients … or giving myself something to look forward to, like planning that aforementioned solo trip. (More on that another time!)

It’s all pretty simple, but these minor changes feel much better. What helps you?

Dress: Target. Booties: TJ Maxx, old.

(Yes. Post title was inspired by this song.)

Fake Valentine

Life, Style


“Our culture has taken romantic relationships, a good thing, and made them into an ultimate thing.

Put relationships back in their place, and take a look at just how expansive your life is; it might be in flux, but it’s complete — romantic partner or not.”

Wow. This really hit me when I read it.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, or happily (or unhappily) married, here’s an important reminder: You are enough.

Yes. You. By yourself. Are enough.

I’m telling you this because society does this thing. It fosters this romanticized idea that another person automatically makes you appear more valuable to others; that a relationship immediately attaches more meaning to your life. Suddenly, it’s more “complete.”

This is a fake concept! This is unhealthy! Stop thinking this right now!

Yeah, I am kind of yelling because I believed in that falsity for a long time. I would feel defective or inferior when I was single, or hopped from one relationship to the next, too fearful to be alone.

This lack of self-worth was driven by my own negative thought patterns, but common social interactions casually reinforce unhealthy or irrelevant expectations literally all the time.

Sometimes (oftentimes?) it happens during an innocent conversation with a relative, acquaintance, or stranger:

“Are you dating anyone?”

If the answer is no: “Really? I don’t understand why someone like you would be single, you’re so pretty/successful/(insert adjective here)!”

If the answer is yes: “How long have you been together? Is he/she “the one”? When are you going to get married?”

…Like it’s some rush to complete this perceived, proper life to-do list, and you’ve failed if you haven’t checked all the boxes.


People have been conditioned to think these things matter so much, when they actually don’t. And as for the perceived need to justify the answers… it’s really not anyone else’s business.

Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be a day to justify your current life, either. Whether single or taken, you’re enough on your own.

Dress: Vintage, estate sale (but this tan midi is an option for spring). Jacket: Express. Boots: Steve Madden (similar and 40% off here).

A weekend in New Orleans


Famous cemeteries, voodoo, and ghosts? Yep, I can get down with that!

I visited New Orleans the first weekend of October. It was the perfect way to kick off my favorite (haunted) season, but the spirits of NOLA live year-round.

My friend Kara was down for the trip, and we fit in a ton of stuff over a long weekend.

Day 1: French Quarter

We ditched our suitcases at the hotel, Hilton Homewood Suites – Rampart St. and immediately started walking around the French Quarter. We meandered through the streets, admiring the architecture and wandering in and out of shops.

Our first official stop was (seemingly appropriate) Pat O’Brien’s for a notoriously boozy hurricane. Be sure to check out the dueling piano bar inside. Feeling tipsy and confident, Bourbon Street was next.

To be honest, I don’t even know the name of this karaoke bar on Bourbon Street. I just know we went inside, and made a beeline for the stairs to the balcony to look out to the people below.

It was the middle of the afternoon, so Bourbon Street was still pretty tame. However, the general public’s sobriety visibly started to disappear with the setting sun. Take this twerking old man, for example.

That’s when we strolled down to Jackson Square. It was filled with fortune tellers and local artists. Before I purchased a print, I was able to talk to the artist about the piece — her inspiration and my interpretation — which made the #supportlocal buy feel more special.

Another staple: Cafe du Monde. Beignets and iced coffee. Sooooo good. As we were eating, the street in front of us shut down for a random parade, complete with colorful floats, jazz bands, and beads. It felt very quintessential NOLA.

Dinner was at Napoleon House. The atmosphere inside the historic building (read more about it here!) is dark and feels quite European. It’s also pretty affordable. We kept it signature with Muffuletta sandwiches and Pimm’s cup cocktails.

How could you not stop and pay tribute to the infamous voodoo priestess? Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo is a requirement, out of principle. However, my favorite and seemingly most authentic shop was The Voodoo Bone Lady’s Voodoo Shop on Royal Street.

As far as psychic readings go, you can get one inside any mystic shop or on the street. We made a reservation at Earth Odyssey because of their variety of options.

Day 2: Garden District (& more!)

You could say Lafayette Cemetery #1 was my own strange and unusual version of heaven. Call me creepy, but I am totally fascinated by cemeteries, and there was something rather spellbinding about this famous, above-ground “City of the Dead.” Our walking tour of the Garden District included a stop here, along with a rundown of burial practices — and why going “six feet under” isn’t much of an option.

A two-hour tour of the Garden District, put on by Two Chicks Walking Tours, might have been my favorite part of the trip. On top of the cemetery, we weaved through neighborhood streets, admired historic homes (Anne Rice’s former home pictured above!) and learned about the famous people who lived, currently live, and supposedly still haunt the neighborhood.

Our tour guide, Loki, grew up in the Garden District. He was a compelling storyteller who incorporated the perfect balance of real history and folklore.

Does this sidewalk mosaic look familiar?!

It’s outside Miss Robichaux’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies! …Well, technically, it’s the beautiful and historic Buckner Mansion, but I also refer to it the AHS: Coven house. It was the final stop on our tour.

Just around the corner was District Donuts, which our Lyft driver suggested. It’s worth mentioning because of a Monte Cristo donut sandwich, topped with raspberry preserves and powdered sugar, that kind of changed my life. I didn’t take a picture, but trust me on this one.

A photo can’t quite capture the vibes at Bacchanal’s, but it’s basically a big backyard party in the Ninth Ward. You pick out your own bottle of wine, meat, and cheese. The staff then creates a charcuterie board with complementary pairings, so you can snack and drink while watching live music in an outdoor courtyard.

We capped off the night on Frenchmen Street, several blocks dedicated to live music. (Again, I didn’t take pictures here. I was doing this weird thing called “trying to live in the moment.” ) We only went into bars that didn’t charge cover.


Near the end of Frenchmen Street was a small, open-air art market with local vendors, including a “poet for hire.” We told him what we were in town for; he asked a few questions and started typing away. For a $10 donation, it was a perfect, one-of-a-kind keepsake to commemorate the trip.

Day 3: Last Day

We wanted to scope out the options before going crazy on impulse buys, so shopping was saved for the final day.

Souvenir shops in the city are literally everywhere, but I liked Voodoo Mart on Canal Street. It’s nothing special, but it did seem to have the widest selection of gifts priced a little cheaper than the same items in the French Quarter.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our last meal in New Orleans. Mother’s Restaurant is an old-school, no-frills diner in the Central Business district. And holy shit. I’m still thinking about the jambalaya.

How I saved money: As far as getaways go, this mini vaca was very affordable. I used my Hilton Honors discount to book a hotel with free breakfast. We walked pretty much everywhere, and only took Lyfts when needed. I also packed snacks in my suitcase to keep in my purse while out exploring. Taking in the culture of New Orleans costs nothing, but the next time I go, I’ll mostly budget for more food!


Use Your Illusion

Life, Style



“I want something else. I’m not even sure what to call it anymore, except I know it feels roomy and it’s drenched in sunlight and it’s weightless and I know it’s not cheap. Probably not even real.”

I read that passage on one of my favorite art/poetry sites last week, and it’s stuck with me ever since. It resonates with this feeling I constantly carry; this unexplained instinct that always feels… kind of unsettled.

Because I do feel like I’m endlessly searching for something else, when “something else” is hard — maybe even impossible — to define.

Whether it’s a sense of excitement, adventure, happiness, love, passion, comfort, depth in another person, deeper meaning. A fleeting emotion, a feeling, a purpose.

Perhaps it’s a side effect of daydreams, when overt curiosity collides with too much introspection. Searching for the meaning of life, some would say.

I would love to know exactly what I’m looking for, and if or when I’ll know that I’ve found it.

Sometimes I wonder if it’s like chasing a mirage.

There are times when it feels like it’s just out of reach. But maybe what I’m reaching for… just isn’t real.

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Dress: Cato, kinda similar here. Hat: Cato. Boots: Kohl’s. Velvet choker: for $6 here!

Trial By Fire

Style, Travel





There’s this universal piece of advice when it comes to personal growth. Do something that scares you.

Well, I find this to be absolutely terrifying: traveling alone.

I consider myself pretty independent. But as much as I enjoy my alone time, I’m sometimes too intimidated to be in public by myself. It’s something that’s kind of embarrassing to openly admit, but I typically need someone to motivate me to get ready and get out of the house.

Call it anxiety. Call it depression. Call it laziness. But I’ll shrink away from experiencing something cool if it means doing it solo. I’ve skipped out on meals, concerts, events, certain hikes — and vacations.

News alert: Fuck. That.

So I’m putting myself up to a massive personal challenge this year (and no, it is not joining a gym).

I will travel alone in 2018.

Because I am done with feeling like I’m missing out. And I’m especially done waiting on other people.

This applies to family members, partners, or friends. Reality check: Of course we all operate on limited time, money, and vacation days. (A perk of modern American living, isn’t it? Ugh.) But in some cases, I’ve suggested various excursions for years — only to be consistently shut down. So I guess I just won’t go.

But hold up. Why should someone else’s bullshit excuses suddenly become mine? What’s the point of sacrificing hurt feelings when I can just… do it myself?

As a woman, traveling alone can seem vulnerable, and scary, or maybe not so smart. But it can also be an exhilarating life experience that stretches one’s perceived capabilities. I’ll go with the latter.

So whether it’s a weekend or a week. Domestic or international. This year, I will travel somewhere alone. And it will likely scare me. But I will document it on this blog. Hopefully, you’ll hold me to it… but I’m already researching destinations.

Here’s to girls doing whatever the fuck they want in 2018. Either join or be left behind.

PS — To my adventurous friends, where do you want to travel this year? (Let’s plan something?!) To the solo travelers, shoot me a line with your advice!


Sweater: Gifted (Thanks, Mom!), but this one looks super comfy. Jeans: Kohl’s. Boots: Kohl’s (major bonus: ortholite comfort insoles), similar here. Hat: Target. Bag: Thrifted, Goodwill.