Tag Archives: random

Distraction in the Modern World – Taryn the Dragon

Greetings to The Unsanity readers from Taryn The Dragon in South Africa. I work full time in the Data industry, study part time and blog on the side. I’m quite new to blogging and this is my first guest post. I’m super amped to have this opportunity. Thanks so much Koral Dawn.

dragonballWhat you need to know about me

I have depression and anxiety and a host of other chronic illnesses that have had a huge effect on my life. In 2019 I entered therapy to deal with all of the stress. I’m on a journey and I have had to take a deep look at myself and the world around me. There is an underlying theme that comes up often with mental health issues is that of mindfulness: Being conscious or aware and present in the moment.

Recently I have been watching videos that could help me become more in tune with myself. Observing people like Dr Gabor Mate, Alan Watt, Dandapani, in the hopes of understanding what mindfulness truly means. I know it sounds cliché but it has been quite a revelation. You can find my musings about this journey on http://www.dragonscodex.net.

Let’s talk about the world we live in

Adulting does not come with an instruction manual. Even great parenting does not quite prepare you for living in this golden age of technology. Information at the click of a button. Friends on WhatsApp (1 billion users) or WeChat (697 million users) or Facebook (1.59 billion users). Strangers on Twitter (320 million users) or Instagram (400 million users). Family just a Skype (300 million users) call away. [1] How do we actually get anything done? What I’m saying is that we now live for the thrill of ‘Distraction’. And this is why we need to cultivate a mind-set geared towards mindfulness.

How to move beyond distraction

Have you ever looked at your device and just thought “FFS ~ now what!?”. That’s a very good indication that you need to start practicing mindfulness for your own sanity. Let’s explore a few mindfulness concepts to aid you in your daily success.

Stop making excuses

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Do what you say you are going to do. If that means going to the gym at 5am, do that without fail. You are building trust with yourself and in so doing gaining confidence in your decision making.

Control your awareness

Multi-tasking is great but it splits your focus and actually makes it harder to allot sufficient time to a specific endeavour. If you’re working on a proposal put the phone away and close your emails. The world will not fall apart if you give yourself 20 minutes to do something. Focus on this one thing. If your attention drifts bring it back to what you are doing.

Meditate

Image by CadreLuxe from Pixabay

No I don’t mean go assume the cross-legged sitting asana and chant endlessly, unless that’s your jam. I mean have some quiet time to get away from the noise. Be still, sit with your thoughts, have a nice cup of coffee. Be comfortable doing absolutely nothing and being alone.

Get clarity

Know what you want to achieve. Know how you are going to achieve it. The easiest way to do this is to make a list or keep a journal. And always note your achievements as they keep you on the path you want to travel.

Walk away from energy vampires

Ain’t nobody got time for this! To quote Dandapani: “Treat energy the same way you treat money. It’s a finite resource that needs to be wisely managed and invested.”

Uplift others

Image by Grae Dickason from Pixabay

When stuck in your own mind or even your own world where things are not quite going according to plan, do something for someone else without expecting any benefit in return. By uplifting others you uplift yourself. You’re present in a beautiful moment that will keep you going through difficult times.

Embrace change

All of these concepts require some effort on your part. It means you need come to terms with changing your life. As for me, it has helped me find this lovely Zen spot where there is less stress, more energy and more love. I’m really enjoying it this balance.

[1] Attribution for stats: https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World – Zoe Thomson

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World

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Convenience is wonderful. Having everything at our disposal, all the time. Never having to worry about opening hours when we have online shopping, or missing a TV show when we have catch up and streaming. But when everything is available 24/7, it means we have to be too.

People apologise for taking social media breaks, we’re overloaded with information, and if you don’t keep up with current events you’re left behind. We’re under pressure to be plugged in all the time and it’s taking a toll on our mental health.

We’re exhausted all the time because we’re not allowed to switch off. Every waking moment has to be filled with something productive so we can make more money, work more hours, learn more skills. And then we experience burnout, and we’re even farther behind, there’s no way we can catch up. It’s hard not to feel like we were doomed from the start.

Mindfulness takes the autonomy away from our day to day lives, and helps us slow down and truly be present in the moment. Practising mindfulness sounds like an easy task, but nowadays with constant stimulation and entertainment around us, it’s a real challenge to be bored. How many times have you picked up your phone today?

We weren’t meant to live at such a fast pace. When we slow down and take in our surroundings, we appreciate so many people and things that we might have previously took for granted. It’s better for our health, and it’s better for our relationships. Practising mindfulness helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so we’re better able to manage them instead of getting overwhelmed. We’re more tuned in to our senses and surroundings and we’re less likely to do something on autopilot because our brain isn’t distracted – or it’s not desperate for a distraction anymore.

Mindfulness is easy to practice daily and doesn’t require hours of your time. You can practice mindfulness wherever you are or whatever you’re doing. If you find yourself being pulled in every direction and your thoughts are scattered all over the place, start with some mindful breathing. If you can, go somewhere quiet. Take one big, deep breath. Aim for around 5 seconds. Hold it for a second, and then exhale, releasing the tension from your brow, jaw, and shoulders. Imagine the hundreds of scattered thoughts and noise leaving with the tension, and allow yourself to start from the beginning with a clear mind.

There are loads of other great mindfulness techniques you can practice every day or just whenever you feel stressed.

Focusing on one thing, and not having your mind in six places at once, will reduce stress. The stress that used to pile up and eat away at you doesn’t have any power over you now; because you have control. You might eventually find that you don’t get as overwhelmed with the fast paced world as you used to, and you start doing things with intention, instead of just doing things for the sake of it. You might learn something about yourself, about what you need and what you don’t need. You’ll learn that it’s okay to disconnect, and go down your own path. The easiest way to win the game is to stop playing. Instant and autonomous works for robots; not people.

Zoe

Author bio: Zoe Thomson is a freelance writer living in Scotland with her boyfriend and one spoiled pug. She runs her own mental health blog, No Light Without Darkness, and has published work on The Mighty and I am 1 in 4. You can find me here: Blog, Twitter

Bi Polar Disorder and Anger – A Raging Lunatic Tells All – Jodie Sand

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BIPOLAR DISORDER & ANGER: A RAGING LUNATIC TELLS ALL

My rage is like an old-school boombox with fresh D batteries. I carry it around with me but the music isn’t a catchy melody. When it explodes from the speakers, it’s static that grates on the nerves. It makes zero sense.

Sometimes, a stranger will invoke my wrath. But more often than not, my temper is directed at the people who I love the most or spend a lot of time with. It has cost me friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, loyalties and a marriage.

Taylor Swift’s Blank Space lyrics come to mind:

Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storm
I can make all the tables turn
Rose gardens filled with thorns
Keep you second guessing like
“Oh my God, who is she?”

IT’S OK TO BE ANGRY

I’m not saying anger is inherently bad. My mom used to quote scripture about it: “Be angry and do not sin,” she advised (Ephesians 4:26). Popular psychology agrees about positive and negative methods to express your anger. I’ve been rightfully furious with disrespectful children, disloyal lovers, an ex-husband, friends and my family. But the volume and violence it feeds are shameful.

I spit eff-bombs and insults like an over-chewed piece of gum until my voice is hoarse. I’ve pushed, scratched and even thrown a series of punches at a man who gutted me with lies. Was my anger justified? Yes! Were the intensity of my anger and the cutting nature of my serrated words necessary. No!

Rage isn’t an emotion that shows up on lists of common bipolar disorder symptoms. Mood swings from suicidal depression to euphoric mania are the hallmarks of this tricky mental illness. In my case, these moods seem to be the key to the swells of emotions like stormy seas.

The hopelessness of depression makes me examine my life for toxicity and search for the root of my agony. I remember the people who I’ve loved who have gouged my broken heart. The bosses and coworkers who have sucked away my marrow. The comments from family who mean well but hack away at my façade of confidence and wellness. The friends who don’t call. The children who forget to do their chores.

This is the blame game I play. The blues don’t mellow me. They feed my festering rage until anger spews from my mouth like acidic vomit.

My episodes of mania are no kinder. The false happiness of mania euphoria waxes and wanes, sometimes all in the same day. My grandiosity and endless energy and the rapid speech and big ideas are exhausting. I’m too tired to sleep. Suddenly my tongue is forked. My patience is gone and my temper flares with righteous indignation. The blame game begins again.

PSYCHOTIC DELUSIONS

Psychosis is “a serious mental illness characterized by defective or lost contact with reality, often with hallucinations or delusions” (Merriam-Webster). In my anger, I’m psychotic. I’m paranoid at 3 a.m. when my meds fail me and rest is elusive.

I tell myself: No one cares. Everyone sees me for the fraud I am. Life is unfair. Everyone is out to step on me on their way to something better. I can’t convince myself otherwise. I’m raging. Is my life punctuated with trauma or am I the source of the drama? I wonder.

Bipolar disorder is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. “For those who have anger stemming from bipolar disorder, it can range from mild to wild,” according to MentalHealth.net (source). Mine is a wild ride.

While the bipolar community can’t seem to agree about whether or not anger is a symptom of bipolar disorder, they do agree about how to get help.

KNOW YOURSELF

Identify your anger triggers. Certain topics of conversation, events, activities and even personalities or people may initiate irritability or rage. Be mindful when you begin to get upset and then limit or control exposure to those things.

When you do find yourself in a sticky spot, politely disengage. Resist the urge to be embarrassed. Tactfully end the conversation, hang up the phone with a pre-planned excuse or graciously excuse yourself and walk away. Don’t be shy about setting boundaries. You’ll really be embarrassed if your anger dominates the situation.

The second part of knowing yourself is identifying and engaging in activities or visiting places that calm and bring serenity. Make a list of your triggers and strategies to alleviate them.

Home is my haven and oasis. An afternoon of solitude is often where I find the most peace. Harnessing your bipolar disorder is not a mind-over-matter problem to be solved. Along with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder is the most dangerous mental health problem. If you suspect that you are bipolar or a diagnosis has been confirmed, you need medication!

CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

Bipolar disorder presents a very real risk of suicide. Don’t try to convince yourself that you won’t get that bad or you’ll know when to ask for help. Trust me; you won’t! You’ll also endanger yourself, your reputation, and other people if your behavior becomes reckless or impulsive.

If you’re taking lithium for your bipolar disorder and you notice irritability or aggression, talk to your doctor. These are not common symptoms of this mood stabilizer, but patients who are prescribed lithium have reported increased irritability, according to Healthline.com (source).

No matter what you’ve been prescribed to treat your bipolar disorder, don’t change or stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Unmonitored med tweaks can trigger dangerous depressive or manic episodes.

Even when you feel like your illness is well-controlled on medication, do yourself a favor and see a mental health therapist. A counselor can employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help. CBT is “psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy with behavior therapy by identifying faulty or maladaptive patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior and substituting them with desirable patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior” (Merriam-Webster). Anger management classes may also be helpful if group therapy is your jam.

Don’t forget the French proverb: “Anger is a bad counselor” (source).

SOURCES

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychosis
https://www.mentalhelp.net/bipolar/and-anger/
https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-anger#is-anger-a-side-effect-ofmedication
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cognitive%20behavioral%20therapy
https://www.quotes.net/quote/40350

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About the Author: Jodie is a chronic illness and mental health blogger who battles fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder I, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and gastroparesis every day. Her primary focus is fibromyalgia but her mental well-being her and gastrointestinal issues influence the way she deals with her chronic illness. She created CutTheChronic.com after job loss revealed she is no longer employable in a traditional way. Jodie is a former reporter and marketing professional with a degree in journalism. Reflecting on her skills, training and passions pointed her toward blogging as her next career move. Jodie finds writing extremely therapeutic as she searches for answers and hope for herself and other chronic illness sufferers. Means to living a better life reveal themselves in the process and inform her posts. She is fleshing out her blog with a body of posts that are educational, research-focused, inspirational, instructional, honest, raw and humorous. Jodie finds joy and strength in her husband Trevor and their blended family of three children. Her three loud and goofy hound dogs and a personality-packed flock of seven ducks provide levity. She’s a documentary junkie, novel reader (when she has time), car camper, stand up paddle boarder, yoga dabbler and runner. She’s also a foodie with a passion for home cooking. She is writing a low FODMAP cookbook to help her make peace with her IBS and gastroparesis and share with her readers. You can find her at her website Cut The Chronic.

Blogmas – Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

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Hello everyone and welcome to one of the last Unsanity #Blogmas posts for the 2019 season! I didn’t have the patience or time to write one blog per day, so I opted for 10-12 over the course of the month to give myself time to get them uploaded and scheduled.

I hope you’ve been enjoying them like I have been while writing them for you. There’s alot of good stuff in here, and it’s going to be hard not to want to duplicate some next year (yes, I plan to do it again! We’ll see how the year goes leading up to December haha.)

This post is all about Stocking Stuffers for you last minute shoppers who need small gifts for your co-workers or family/friends. All of these are under $10 USD too no less! (This is in no way an ad and I do not get any compensation for featuring these item’s on my blog whatsoever. These are items I have selected from personal interest.)

mad libs

Christmas Mad Libs to play with your family during the gathering.

sugar cookie

This caffeine free sugar cookie tea for the tea lovers to try during the cold winter months.

cherry bath bomb

Everybody loves surprises – give the gift of cherries and a surprise inside with this bath fizzer.

makers mark

Have a friend who loves Maker’s Mark? Get them this awesome sweater for their bottle you bought them for Christmas.

cake decorating

This Cake Decorating tip set from Baker’s Dozen should do the trick for the baking enthusiest in your friends group.

cremo

For the man in your life who shaves every day for work – this cream fights razor burn and nicks to keep him smooth.

salt scrub

Infused with Dead Sea Salts to give you younger smoother skin. Maybe stick with giving this to a friend vs a co-worker. They might get the wrong impression, lol.

unicorn slime

For the child on your list, or for a co-worker who needs something to occupy them on lunch.. this is the perfect fun gift to give!

Blogmas – Favorite Holiday Cocktail Recipes

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Christmas time is almost here, and what do you never see me during the holiday season without? A drink in my hand! With the stress and hard times that come with Christmas, gift giving, making holiday dinners and yet somehow still dealing with work and everything outside of it in your home life – you better believe that I’m going to need a nice strong drink to get me through alot of the holiday season this year.

I’ve curated a list of my favorite cocktails that I’ve actually made and tested out for you guys to try at home. Alot of them are super easy because I’m a drink minimalist (give me straight whiskey and I’m fabulous) but some have just the right touches like apples and cranberries to get you in the holiday spirit. (Most of these I’ve come across on Delish or other websites. Photos are not my own.)

Christmosas

This one is a personal favorite because it has fruit in it and it’s so simple yet so tasty to enjoy more and more of Christmas morning.

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INGREDIENTS
Granny Smith apples, chopped
1 c. whole fresh cranberries
1 c. green grapes, halved
1 c. pomegranate seeds
1 c. sparkling grape juice
bottle champagne, prosecco, or cava
DIRECTIONS

In a large pitcher, combine apples, cranberries, grapes, and pomegranate seeds. Pour over sparkling grape juice and champagne and stir, then serve.

Mulled Wine

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High Pressure BPD – theboywithbpd

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Borderline Personality Disorder and pressure wouldn’t be my first-choice of cocktails, yet here I am having a big old pitcher of the stuff every day.

I’ve been racking my brain on how to write this piece, what’s the best angle? But the only way I can write it, is to make it about me. Not in a showy off way, I’m not that vain, but I admit parts of it will come across so. It’s not really an inspirational piece either, maybe a little, more advisory, a little cautionary perhaps. A tale of two sides.

A brief history lesson into me, I’m 38, I have 3 kids, at the time of writing they are 7, 2 and 7 days old. I have been with Sarah my partner for 10 years this November and I have BPD. I’ve always known there was something ‘different’ with me but I was only diagnosed 6 months ago, mainly because of the little breakdown I had, but that’s another story.

I have been for the first 37 years of my life what you call ‘high-functioning’, meaning from the outside you wouldn’t have clue if I was depressed, suicidal, manic or somewhere in between. I also haven’t told many people of my diagnosis, only 12 to be precise. None of which I work with. I was the master of bottling things up. On one side you could say it’s served me well in my career, on the other you could say it caused my breakdown. Eventually that pressure has to go somewhere right?

For any of you that work in Recruitment you will know how tough it is, for those that don’t, I don’t have the word count to explain, you’ll have to just trust me. I specifically work in Technology Recruitment; it is very sales and target driven. It is also very cut throat, I have worked in places where if you don’t hit target for 3 months you are fired, no ifs or buts. Fired.

Yet somehow here I am 12 years in the job. I also manage 4 teams, I am a Billing Manager, which means not only do I have to hit my own personal sales target, I have to make my teams do also. Combined I am responsible for a target of just over £1m.

That is a big number with a lot of pressure.

I hate it. I fucking hate it.

But let’s start with the good stuff, the showy off stuff. The money is good, I’m not a millionaire, I’m not rich, but good enough that Sarah doesn’t need to work, the kids don’t go without holidays and any new toys they want. I was also able to buy my house with no outside help. We generally do what we want, within reason.

Great right?

Yeah, but it has come at a price. And that price is me. My job is the main cause of my depression, there are not many days that go by where I don’t think about jumping in front of that train. I have lost count of the times I have sat crying in the toilet, or holding back tears as I walk home. Every day I want to cry. Every damn day.

The worst part?

It’s all by my own design, I am held hostage by my own circumstances. I am in a position where I don’t know how much longer I can cope with my job mentally, but I also have the responsibilities that come with it, and the mortgage my job has allowed me to have. It’s not like I can just quit and start again.

I didn’t lie, this piece is not an inspirational one, I suppose you could say I have managed to hold down a well-paid and high-pressure job with my BPD which may inspire others to believe they can do the same. But then you have to take the cautionary side into consideration, the pressure and the damage it has done.

There is a third option, the way that I would like this story to be taken if I had my say. You could, use it as a metaphor for not judging a book by its cover. From the outside I have ‘nothing to be depressed about’, you never can tell what someone is coping with, especially if they don’t want you to.

For the gods of mental health, we are a walking buffet, everyone is up for grabs, BPD and other disorders have no prejudice, we shouldn’t either.

Author Bio: I am theboywithbpd. I was only recently diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, I’ve always known there was something, ever since I was a kid, but it took a breakdown to find out. I am 38 years old and have three kids with my partner Sarah. I am now finally trying to do the things I’ve always wanted to, writing being one of them, you can read my blog here https://www.theboywithbpd.com/

Blogmas – The Ten Best Holiday Treats to Make This Season

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So, it’s Friday the 13th… in December… and it’s #Blogmas! I don’t think it could get any better than this for a sweet treat post for the holidays. I know alot of you may think Friday the 13th is meant to be bad luck, but I think it’s good luck because it’s in December near Christmas – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’ve scoured the internet for the most fun, easy and best Christmas themed treats that you can make for a holiday party or co-workers this year. Anything from mini cakes, to Oreos, to fudge – alot of these in this list I have also tried myself in the past and have great sucess with recipes like these.

Sit down, put your Christmas music on, and take a read through these simple and fun recipes you can try at home this month. 

10. CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY CHRISTMAS MINI CAKES (VEGAN, GLUTEN-FREE, NUT-FREE) For those of you wanting a vegan, gluten free and nut free option that (almost) everyone can eat, this is the recipe for you! These delectible little cakes are adorable and easy to construct with the help of the online instructions. (Photo from linked post with recipe.)

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9. CHRISTMAS SUGAR COOKIE BITES These delicious cookie bites will look pretty in a bowl at a Christmas Cookie Exchange or on your Holiday dessert table at your family dinner table. These simple and easy to bake sugar cookie bites are an easy way to get into the holiday spirit. (Photo from linked post with recipe.)

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8. CREME DE MENTHE CREAM PUFF TREE What’s better than normal cream puffs on Christmas? How about these tasty Creme de Menthe Cream Puffs that your family will destory in a matter of mere minutes? Now THIS screams holiday party to me! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)

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7. PEPPERMINT SWIRL FUDGE 1 and a half pounds of peppermint fudge? Sign me up! This simple recipe takes roughly 15 minutes to put together and then the hard part of cooling comes into play when it’s all done. But not to worry – you can hold out just a little longer for this delicious treat! (Photo from linked post with recipe.) 

peppermint-fudge

6. CREME Brûlée SUGAR COOKIES Now for this one, you’re going to need a kitchen torch. If you don’t have one, go out and buy one right now because you’ll be wanting to make dozens of these for every holiday party you’re invited to this season. Carmelized sugar? Creme Brûlée? What could be better? Oh yeah, adding in sugar cookie to the name! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)  

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5. CHRISTMAS POPCORN This Christmas popcorn has M&Ms, bits of candy cane, white chocolate and red and green drizzle all over! It’s a great alternative for Santa for Christmas Eve instead of cookies, or as a neighbor gift during the holiday season. It’s super easy to make and goes a long way. (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

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4. EASY CHRISTMAS TREE BROWNIES With only six ingredients and lots of fun sprinkles, how can you say no to brownies that look like Christmas trees?! This cute fun recipe I found would be great for a holiday center piece of a dessert table, or for a work party (if you can make enough!) (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

Tree-Brownies

3. STRAWBERRY MOUSSE DESSERT CUPS Another easy dessert for the holiday party at work you can make to please almost everyone! This recipe only calls for 7 ingredients and takes only 25 minutes to prep. Isn’t that magical? If you decide to make these this season, please let me know how they turn out! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

Strawberry-mousse-cups

2. REINDEER TREATS You’ve probably seen these all over the place around Christmas if you have children or if you have friends that have kids. This super simple yet adorable recipe can be completed by a 5 year old and they will be damn proud of themselves! If you need a break from baking, have them help make these with you to enjoy! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

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AND FINALLY

MY PERSONAL FAVORITE & NUMBER ONE TREAT…

1. OREO TRUFFLES I picked this specific recipe because this is almost identical to what I make roughly 6 times a year for friends and family. They absolutely LOVE them and always ask for more, especially my mom! These are the best damn things to grace this earth (oreos, duh) and whoever came up with this recipe deserves a prize! (Photo from linked post with recipe.)   

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Blogmas – Frugal Winter Date Night Ideas

MERRY BLOGMAS

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Winter is usually full of snow (depending where you live, if you’re in PA like us, it’s FULL of snow and staying in most times) and cold temperatures. With the holidays around the corner, and buying gifts for the family and others in your life, sometimes there’s less money in the budget for enjoying the things you and your significant other like to do to wind down.

Remember, not every thing needs to cost money to enjoy each other’s company, but you also want to be mindful that you need to keep your mental health in check during the stressful holiday season. Winding down with some cheap, easy and fun things to do with your S.O. when you can, will definitely help. What I’ve done is curated a list of 10 cheap and fun date ideas you can do during the cold winter nights.

  1. Play the board games you have! You can make it a fun competition with some sort of prize or where the loser needs to do the laundry for the week or clean the bathroom for a month.
  2. Go sledding. Sledding was the highlight of winter during our childhood, so hit the hills to go sledding again this winter. Sometimes all you need is a little rush to make you feel like a kid again or take away the stress for just a bit.
  3. Decorate your tree together. Either pick out a real tree or set up your fake tree together. Turn on the holiday music and get cozy as you prepare for Christmas the right way! Even putting up for decor outside can help decrease stress.
  4. Make/test cocktails for holiday parties. Google some recipes and put all those bottles that are sitting on your mini bar cart to good use. Test out the recipes and pick the best ones for the upcoming holiday party you’re hosting!
  5. Build a snowman. Get all bundled up and hit the yard to make a snowman or snow angels! Even if it’s only for a half an hour after work one day when you have a bit of time together, it will still bring back some nostalgia to your day.
  6. Go to trivia night. Test out your knowledge while drinking beer and cocktails. It’s a great way to have a competition with your partner and see who can come up as the winner of all!
  7. Make an indoor picnic. Some of you may like the cold and want to picnic outside, but if the temperature is -5 below zero, you may want to think of an alternative! Put a blanket in your living room or on your bed even and make some picnic food and enjoy an afternoon in!
  8. Cook food together. Cooking together can be fun, so long as you can agree on the meal. Once you pick a meal, grab a drink and enjoy each other’s time and learning a new recipe that will hopefully turn out great.
  9. Have a boozy snowball fight. Grab your flask or a bottle of wine to split and conjure up a snowball fight with forts and fight to the death (no, not really!) The more the merrier, see if any local friends want to come over and enjoy the snowball fight too.
  10. Go bowling. This one came to mind because my husband and I love bowling and we usually turn it into a friendly competition. Some alleys have drinks, apps and pizza that you can enjoy or even bowling packages for the winter months. Get out and have fun!

Blogmas – DIY Gift Guide

IT’S BLOGMAS TIME!

Happy Blogmas everyone! It’s that time where we all get into the gift giving spirit, and go hunting for the perfect item for your loved ones. Personally, I love making gifts and DIY-ing alot of stuff. For my entire family last year (aunt uncles etc) I made them a simmering potpourri kit with directions using cinnamon, dehydrated fruits and spices. It was super easy to make and I found everything in bulk in my local Winco (out in WA – we don’t have one here in PA, so I’m going to have to find something different to do..)

I’ve spent some time researching and using my past experiences and DIY things I’ve made to curate this special list of easy DIY gifts for holidays that you can create. While I didn’t have time to create them all myself and take photos of them all like I wanted to, I have linked every single one I’ve used to give proper credit for creating wonderful tutorials to be shared. I hope you enjoy!

  1. Stove Top Potpourri I found this adorable set up of something I similarly did last year for my family, as mentioned above. While this tutorial is a bit simpler than what I used, that’s okay because it’s meaningful and easy to use for the receiver! (And can be used whenever you just miss that Christmas feeling.) Photos from post by Delia Creates.                                                                               stove-top-potpourri-69-of-711124
  2. Sweater Wine Totes  I came across this online because a few members in my family like to have wine at every party… including my mom and I haha. This tutorial is simple and easy to complete if you have left over or thrifted sweaters that are stretched out that you don’t wear anymore. The only thing you need to know how to do is sew! Photos from post.                                                                           DIY-Sweater-Sleeve-Gift-Bag-for-wine-at-thatswhatchesaid.net_thumb
  3. Christmas Tea Tree This is an awesome idea! Both my husband and I love tea and so does my best friend and mom, so I was thinking of maybe making one of these for them this year as well as little added piece for them to enjoy some holiday blends. This DIY tutorial shows just what you need to make these festive little trees. Photos obtained from tutorial page linked above. christmas-tea-trees-14-1024x1024
  4. Homemade Soaps Do you know anyone who loves soaps and is always constantly buying new smells, textures and kinds? How about you make them some this year instead! It’s very easy to do and the thought of personal soaps will strike their fancy. In this tutorial, we see how to make a Grapefruit Lavender soap and a Coconut Mint soap for the soap and bath lover in your life.Photos obtained from tutorial page linked above.                                                                                     grapefruit_lavendar_soap_DIY_a_house_in_the_hills
  5. Rose Hibiscus Whipped Body Butter Now this is something that I have also tried to do for family and friends for holidays and birthdays once or twice. It was a big hit (I tried different smells than this one though) and they always wanted more. This is a non-edible gift that will make someone feel like they need a pampering night or a home-spa day. Photos obtained from tutorial page linked above.                    021015_HB_PT_BodyButter-Step5

  6. Flavored Salts Do you have a food lover in your life? Someone that is always cooking no matter what? Here’s an easy tutorial from PopSugar that shows you how to make flavored salts to use in cooking! I’ve made some of these before myself, and let me tell you – it’s such a satisfying gift to give someone. Photos obtained from tutorial page linked above.6c0c478e6716d201_salts2EG.preview.jpg

  7. Compound Butters Another treat for the chef in the house or family, are these adorable recipes for simple compound butters. Instead of giving something sugary for Christmas this year, give them something they can use to cook their steaks or spread on bread to enjoy with dinner. This tutorial also comes with a free printable! Photos obtained from tutorial page linked above.                                                 Sweet-and-Savory-Butter2
  8. Peppermint Candy Cane Sugar Scrub This is actually one of my FAVORITE things to make for the holidays! I made this two years ago for friends and they absolutely loved it. It’s great for softening up winter dry skin and it helps moisturize as you use it. It should last up to three months in a sealed jar, perfect for the length of the holidays for you to enjoy! Photos obtained from tutorial page linked above.  candy-cane-sugar-scrub-theidearoom-10-1024x683
  9. Hot Chocolate Mix Ornaments This one is great for kids! I actually did this one about 3-4 years ago while working at a small company in PA and they were a huge hit, I actually ran out with people asking me for one. Best part is, you can add any type of powdered hot cocoa, sprinkles and marshmallows or peppermint bits for a great winter decoration and drink. Photos obtained from tutorial page linked above.  hot cocoa2

40 Blogmas Ideas for This Holiday Season

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It’s that time of year again! Most would say it’s the most wonderful time of the year… Personally, I love the holiday season (minus the snow.) making people smile, festive recipes to test on the family and learning how to deal with new holiday stress.

I’ve never participated in Blogmas before, and I thought I would give it a try this year and do my own 12 days of Blogmas. I can’t really commit to 25 or 31 days of December at the moment, but I know I can at least do 12 of them and spread them out throughout the month of December!

If you don’t know what Blogmas is, it is a blogging challenge which consists in publishing a blog post either 12, 25 or all of the month of December. As its name suggests, Blogmas is the conjunction of the words ‘blog’ and ‘Christmas’ and anyone who has a blog can take part in the activity. This can give you consistent content, and help with daily views and publishing; not to mention to help you become a better writer than you already are. It’s good to have challanges in life, and a simple one like this can make the whole world of difference in your online presence.

Remember to have fun with this! It’s not meant to be stressful and if you find yourself not being able to keep up, you can always change the way you go about it like I am, and only committing to 12 days vs more than I know I can handle. Afterall, it’s YOUR blog and you can do what you want!

So on that note, I’ve decided to make a list of 40 Blogmas ideas that you may want to write about this holiday season. I’ve done a bit of research, and have curated this list based on what I personally would write about. 12 of these listed will be featured on my blog this season, you’ll just have to wait and see which ones! (These are in no particular order, I just wrote down whatever came to mind at the time.)

  1. Holiday Sales
  2. Home Decor
  3. New Years Resolutions
  4. Winter Self Care
  5. Gifts for Husbands
  6. Gifts for Wives
  7. Your Holiday Wish List
  8. Favorite Holiday Drinks
  9. Favorite Holiday Treats
  10. Favorite Holiday Dinner Components
  11. Winter Date Night Ideas
  12. 12 Days of _________ (gifts, giving, cookies etc.)
  13. Journal Prompts for Winter
  14. Gratitude Journal Prompts for Winter
  15. Gift Guide for Gifts Under $20
  16. Gift Guide for Gifts Under $40
  17. Winter Bucket List
  18. Christmas Day Routine
  19. Best Holiday Memory
  20. DIY Christmas Gifts
  21. New Years Blogging Goals
  22. Favorite Holiday Scents
  23. Gift Tag Printables
  24. Christmas Journal Printables
  25. Christmas Recipe Cards
  26. Stocking Stuffer Ideas
  27. How to Handle Holiday Stress
  28. Write Your Own Letter to Santa!
  29. A Guide to Christmas Events in Your City
  30. Top 10 Christmas Songs
  31. Holiday/Christmas Quotes
  32. Christmas Giveaway
  33. New Years Giveaway
  34. Unique Gift Ideas for Anyone
  35. December Goals/Blogging Goals
  36. Color Scheme Ideas for the Holidays
  37. Books to Read This Winter
  38. Top 5 Things You Love About Christmas
  39. Christmas Finances (with printable!)
  40. Top Unique Cookie Recipes for Christmas