Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween Decorations

Halloween is in just a few days and let me tell you, I'm so excited. Halloween is such a fun time, since it's a time for you to bring out your inner kid. I've been getting into the Halloween spirit by not only putting together a costume for myself (and my dog) but also by putting up decorations to get excited about the holiday. Since I'm hosting a mini-Halloween party, I've been really into decorating this year, so I thought that I would show off these decorations. 

Instead of scattering decorations around the house, I decided to put all of the decorations together so that there would be a larger "Halloween" effect, so that all the decorations together would make for a larger effect than just a few things. I decided to gather most of my decorations on the mantle of my fireplace. I put a few things on the mantle that were either fall-related or Halloween themed and then placed the bunting across the bottom. 

I got the trick or treat bunting from Target, they have a ton of really nice Halloween decorations and a variety of buntings that you can choose from. I picked this one because it's simple, but it has some really nice colors and design. It was also the perfect width for my mantle. 

On the mantle, I also put a little decorative piece that I got from Homegoods. It's essentially just for show, but it's a hollow sculpture of fake books with a skull on top, labeled "brews", "potions", and "spells". It even has a little light on the inside, so when you turn it on, the eyes of the skull lights up. I thought that this was super cute and festive. To go along and match with this decorative piece, I also picked up this bottle from Homegoods that's a fake potion bottle, with a little spider web and a jeweled spider on top. That served as the potions part, and I also have a little cauldron that's labeled, "witch's brew" which completes the spooky theme. 

I also have this cute little pumpkin stuffed toy that mentions different phrases when you drop it. It's such a cute little toy and goes along with the pumpkin patch theme. I'm not quite sure where I got it, I've had it since I was little, and I've always loved it, since I have a soft spot for stuffed animals and this pumpkin toy is no exception.

Although these don't necessarily count as decorations, I still included these, since they're Halloween themed and super cute. I bought this tablecloth from Target with little monster eyes that was only $5! It's not even that cheap plastic, it's nicer, thicker, and better quality. Plus, it's really adorable and Target has lots of different designs, spiderwebs, pumpkins, and more. In addition, I got these spiderweb paper plates to get festive with the food. 
Since at my Halloween party we'll be making some food, these treat bags that say "Boo" are not only adorable, but also versatile, considering that it'll be great for carrying little baked goods. The Halloween spirit isn't just something to decorate for, but it's something you can take with you, like these treat bags. I'm also not sure where I got these from, most likely the Dollar Store, but I bet you that Target has some similar as well. 

On the mantle I also incorporated some fall decorative pieces that I already had. I've had them for such a long time that I'm not sure that I remember where I got them from. On both sides I put similar decorative pieces with the same fall theme. One with little scarecrows sitting in a pumpkin patch, labeled "Welcome to Our Patch" that I think is super cute. The same little scarecrow design is also in the pumpkin patch, but the scarecrow is being held up on a spring, labeled, "It's harvest time". 

Lastly, I went DIY with these bat decorations. Since I already spent quite a bit of money on the other Halloween decorations, I wanted to decorate a bit more without spending money. I scrolled on Pinterest until I found an easy and do-able DIY until I stumbled upon these bat decorations. All I needed was black construction paper and some scissors. I sketched out a bat design that I copied off of the internet and then cut it out and used it as a stencil to make more. You can decide how you want to use them to decorate, you can hang them from the ceiling with string or you can do what I did, stick them on the wall. I scattered them around and had them all facing the same way, as if they were flying together. I started them low and then moved them up, like they're flying up together. This takes practically no time to throw together and adds some extra decor to the overall look. I made these bats while watching Netflix, so really I was winning both ways. 

Want more Halloween?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

6 Easy Halloween Costumes

Halloween is coming! I've definitely been looking forward to Halloween, it's so much fun! I love dressing up and getting into the spirit. Even if you don't have Halloween plans, you can still get festive and wear a costume or you can see these things to do for Halloween (post here!) Part of the fun is picking a Halloween costume. As you get older, you get a bit more lazy about costumes, but no worries, I have some costumes for you to wear that are easy to throw together and also lots of fun. 

One // Doughnut

Doughnuts aren't just for eating, now they're for wearing! This doughnut costume is essentially just two fabric donuts connected by a pair of straps, that's all there is to it. I got this costume from Target, but it's definitely a little bit pricey, $30, even though I had a coupon. However, you can easily make your own. One option is to go out to print out big posters of doughnuts and then attach them with fabric straps. Another option is to get two poster boards, cut them out in the shape of a doughnut, and then either paint or draw out the sprinkles of the doughnut. It'll definitely take a bit more effort to make it yourself, but it'll take no sewing, just a bit of extra work. 

Two // Trophy

You deserve an award -- or in this case, you can be the award for Halloween! Break anything gold that you have and throw it together. I'm actually wearing a dress with a skirt over it, since I have this gold dress, but it was a bit too short to get that trophy look. I put the skirt on over, since it's longer and more elegant. The dress is from Forever 21 and the skirt is from Lulu's. You can accessorize in any way, with anything gold. I accessorized with an actual trophy and with a gold bracelet. I also added a headband, which is actually a gold necklace that I pinned into my hair. Feel free to add a sign on yourself titling whatever award you think you are. Use your creativity here and pick something that is funny, cute, and/or channels your personality. 

Three // Elle Woods

What, like it's hard? Wear all pink this Halloween while you bend and snap! I wore a pink blazer and a pink argyle sweater along with a pencil skirt. This Elle Woods outfit is super easy to put together, basically wear as much pink as humanly possible. If you happen to have a pink blazer like I do, then it's even better! You can go for quite a few different paths in this costume, but I opted for the "Elle takes Harvard" path. Bonus tip, add a pair of pink bunny ears to go for "Playboy bunny Elle" during what Elle expected to be a costume party. It's a costume in a costume!

Four // Breadwinner

This one is definitely the easiest out of the 6. All you need for this costume is some medals and a bag of bread. A baguette is preferable if you have one, but normal bread works as well. I just grabbed some multi-grain bread and put on some medals from when I was younger. You can wear literally whatever you want for this costume, the accessories are really the only part that matters. You can also carry a trophy as well if you would like to complete the look. 

Five // Blast from the Past

Pull out the vintage and the retro wardrobe! Dress in another era or in a previous time period to have a little blast from the past. Honestly, I'm not sure which time period I'm dressed from, I just went for a vintage or retro look. I got this plaid daisy shift dress from the thrift store, but since it's a little baggy, I wore a white t-shirt underneath it. I put on a scarf, which kind of has a 70s look to it, but since it's too long to wear as a headband, I turned it into a headband and a scarf. I tied the scarf around my head and then wrapped it around my neck, two-in-one! I love the styles of the 50s in particular, but any past era will do. 

Six // Peter Pan

When a holiday like Hallowen rolls around, sometimes you just wish that you had never grown up, as childhood Halloweens are so much fun. Celebrate Halloween by being the boy who never grows up, Peter Pan. This outfit is simple, just a green dress, a brown ribbon, and a bandana. Peter Pan has a hat with a red ribbon, but since I don't have one, I grabbed a red bandana and tied it as my headband. I also used some brown ribbon and wrapped it around my waist a few times. Don't worry about making it look neat, the sash is meant to be a bit messy. I then tied it into a knot. You can wear whatever shoes you would like, I wore a pair of brown booties, even though Peter Pan wears green shoes. 

Speaking of Peter Pan, have you been reading the Peter Pan diaries

What are you going to be for Halloween?


Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Moment for Mental Health

If you weren't aware, last Monday, October 10th was World Mental Health Day. Mental health is so important and is just as important as physical health. If your body is physically happy, then shouldn't you spend your life being mentally happy as well? I figured that this would be a perfect way to tie together an important day, World Mental Health Day, and the Peter Pan diaries. Unfortunately, mental illnesses often arise around the young adult years, when we're finally realizing that things aren't as easy as we once thought they were. Here's a brief summary of what the Peter Pan diaries are if you haven't been keeping up with the mini-series:

The Peter Pan diaries is a mini-series covering the various struggles, ups and downs, and giving guidance on the teen years. The Peter Pan series is for the people out there that are growing up, mostly aimed at the young adult years, but how they might not necessarily be ready to grow up yet, almost like Peter Pan. They're meant to help make the transition a little bit easier and also allow me to give my personal experiences and my perspectives on some struggles and controversial topics regarding teen life and being a young adult. 

So let's start simple. What is mental health? Mental health is essentially deals with your emotions and how you feel. This includes your mood, thinking, behavior, basically how you think, feel, and act. Physical health deals with your physical body, while your mental health deals with your mind. Often, mental health is not something that can be controlled. There are some cases in which it can be affected biologically and some cases in which your mental health can be affected due to your experiences and surroundings.

What is probably the biggest issue today is the mental health illnesses that all kinds of people struggle with, at all ages. I think that the biggest issue with mental health is that people dismiss it. It doesn't seem nearly as life threatening as a chronic heart condition or breast cancer, but in some ways, it can be just as dangerous. It tends to be like you're carrying a heavy weight, but as you go through life, small things join onto that weight, more and more, until it's impossible to stop it from falling out of your hands, out of your control.

Did you know that 50% of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental condition sometime in their life? Half of these people will develop these conditions by the age of 14. 

This means that 25% of Americans will have met the criteria for a mental condition just by the age of 14. Going through any mental health condition is scary. No one is ever ready for it, but going through it at fourteen years old, even before that in many cases, that's terrifying. Mental health is around all of our lives, whether we want it to affect us or not. Chances are, someone you know and maybe even love has suffered or suffers with a mental illness. Either that, or they likely have poor mental health. As aforementioned, mental health seems like it's not important, but that's not true at all. It shapes so much more lives than we would like to think.

So why do we ignore it? As much as we would like to, we can't pretend that these mental illnesses like depression, anxiety, OCD, anorexia, bulimia, and other mental illnesses don't exist. Because they do. They're serious issues that won't go away unless we take action against them. These mental illnesses can be treated and suicide can be prevented. All we have to do is take action against them. This means getting awareness out so that people can learn about them, note early warning signs, get treatment, get help, change their attitudes, prevent suicides, and learn how to maintain positive mental health. As the infographic mentions, 20% of young people suffer with a mental illness, but only 30% of those people get diagnosed and receive proper care. What about the other 70%? Do they just go on living, not loving their life, or do they turn to suicide? We need to make these statistics change. Maybe just telling someone about the early warning signs of depression or anxiety or any mental illness can save a life. Sometimes people don't seem to be having issues with their mental health, maybe someone that you think looks perfectly happy is actually broken inside. The thing is that we don't know what is going on in others' lives. We can only do our best to raise awareness for this issue and look to create more accessible pathways to help those that are going through this all.

The worst thing that you can do if you think that you may have a mental health condition is to just let it sit there. I think that it's easy for someone like me, who doesn't have a mental health condition (to my knowledge) to say that to other people, because I don't know what it's like to live with one. And although I have never been diagnosed, that doesn't necessarily mean that I haven't had my fair share of ups and downs as well.
There was a time in my life a few years ago where things seemed really bad. I was worried that I may have had depression and things just didn't seem to be looking bright for me. I was unhappy all the time with my friends, my accomplishments, my choices, and I just didn't like the way that my life was going. During that time, I know that what I should have done was talk to someone, get people to help me be happier, be more positive with my life, but I didn't. I will never know if I truly did have depression during that time in my life and maybe I did, but I never had enough courage to speak up about it. I stayed quiet, I put on a smile and told everyone that I was okay, even though I was absolutely not okay. And although I never spoke up about it, there was one thing that I did right. I didn't let my unhappiness just sit there. I actively did my best to try and not let this unhappiness dictate my life. On days that things didn't seem to be going right, where maybe I wasn't giving my all, I started to stop giving myself a free pass. I think that when things seem grim, I sometimes tell myself that it's okay that I'm not doing so well, because I'm so unhappy. I used it as an excuse for not succeeding. But it wasn't one. Poor mental health should never be used as an excuse for not changing your life for the better. At the end of the day, the only one holding you back is yourself.

In my opinion, if things aren't looking too bright, whether or not you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, you need to get up and do something to change that. It will do you no good to sit there, unhappy. During that low point in my life, I started to focus on myself. I realized that it was time that I stop relying on other people for my happiness and I began to work on myself. I began to learn to love spending time alone with myself. I started finding new friends that made me happy. I learned to be independent, so that I could still be happy, even if I didn't have a security bubble of friends surrounding me. During this time, my blog came around. I began to take joy in expressing myself, since I was always quiet about my true feelings. It was then that I started to build for myself the life that I wanted. Looking back on it all, that low point was in a way a blessing. I managed to turn my life around and focus on being happy and only doing things that make my life better, not the opposite. Today I am happy. Obviously, I continue to have ups and downs, but I'm happy for the most part. That dark time made me into a more independent person and it's one of the reasons that I'm such a strong advocate for self-love, because learning to love myself was one of the best things that I've done. Maybe I did have depression during that time, but the important thing is that I'm not sad anymore. The storm will pass and you never know whether or not there will be a rainbow at the end of it. 

I've pulled some excerpts from Rupi Kaur's book, milk and honey, that perfectly captures the essence of it all, dealing with the challenges of poor mental health. Pain is always hard. But she captures just the right motivation to remind you that the storm will pass. Although today things seem like they're too much, like the pain will never go away, but eventually, it'll fade and the rainbow, the happiness will outweigh it all.

Even if you don't think that you have a mental illness, that doesn't make your mental health any less important. Maintaining positive mental health is an incredible thing to do. This means that you take time to connect with others, get a great amount of sleep (one hour extra can literally change your life and your attitude), try to stay positive, work on your self-care, doing things that will help to keep up your mental health. Sometimes we all just take a moment out of our busy lives and think about our mental health. Are you sad more than you are happy? Do you wake up in the morning, loving your life or do you dread leaving your dreams and heading into reality? How would you describe your emotions right now? Take a moment, a moment for mental health, to evaluate yourself. What are your emotions and if you don't like the way you feel, how can you change that? I challenge you to take a moment for mental health every week and think about what you can do to gain or maintain positive mental health. Because sometimes that's all it takes, one moment, to make a positive difference in your life and sometimes even the lives of others. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

What To Do for Halloween When You're Not a Kid Anymore

Let's be real, Halloween is the best holiday for every child (at least I hope). Candy, fun costumes, incredible decorations, candy, trick or treating, candy, and the novelty of it all. I used to always go trick or treating as a kid and I would have so much fun decorating the house and planning my costume. But what do you do when you're "too old" for Halloween anymore? Not that you can ever out-grow Halloween, but sometimes there are some aspects of how you previously spent Halloween that you just might need to modify. Because sometimes it feels a little strange, like you're too old to part-take in some Halloween festivities, but you're just not ready and/or to let go of the holiday. (Sound familiar? Check out the Peter Pan diaries - a series about the struggles of letting go of childhood) Not that trick or treating when you're older is a bad thing, trust me, free candy is always a perk of Halloween, but sometimes it's just time to change things up a bit so that you can still enjoy Halloween, but in a different way. 

One // A Murder Mystery Party

Get your spook on, starting with a murder. Because what's Halloween without the talk of the dead? I had a murder mystery party for my birthday a few years ago and it was so much fun! Not only can you wear costumes to get into character, but it's a ton of fun trying to guess who the murderer is. It's essentially like clue, but much more interactive. Get a murder mystery kit, there are tons of themes and plot stories that you can pick from, and you can pick a spooky one to fit the festivity of Halloween. The kits come with everything you need for a great night, character descriptions, instructions, evidence and/or forensics reports, menu options (so that your food matches the theme) and costume ideas for you to really get into character. For my birthday party a few years ago I used the "Class of '54" murder mystery party kit, where the theme took place in the 50s in a class reunion. 
This murder mystery party kit is super cute and Halloween themed if you're looking for one, and this one looks interesting to me as well, about the gangs of Prohibition-era Chicago. 

Two // A Halloween Themed Bake-Off

Halloween treats are so much fun. I've been seeing them all over Pinterest and I want to try them all out. Invite some friends over and have a Halloween themed bake-off. Have everyone bake a sweet treat that is Halloween inspired, or break off into teams. May the best baker win! Currently swooning (and drooling) over these gingerbread skeletons (bonus tip: turn them into pumpkin gingerbread for even more Halloween fun), cookie dough mummies, and oreo eyeball truffles. It's a double whammy, you get the joy of making the treats and eating them. I personally love the decorating aspect, especially since they all have the Halloween theme. Plus, there's the adding bonus of spending time with friends, but you can always bake Halloween treats on your own if you're not spending the night with friends. 

Three // "Blood Bath"

Not a literal blood bath, but a nice warm bath with a red bath bomb. Of course you don't necessarily have to be limited to a red one, but using a red bath bomb will turn the water red like blood, right along with the festivity of Halloween. Lush also has some absolutely adorable Halloween bath bombs and bath melts and soaps that you can use to make bathtime more festive. Eat some candy while in the bath and just relax. This is the perfect thing to do if you don't have any Halloween plans. Just because you're at home doesn't mean that you can't still celebrate with a nice hot blood bath.

Four // Halloween Dog Costume Parade

I'm not sure if there is one everywhere, but check to see if there is a local event around you for a Halloween dog costume parade or something similar. There are lots of parades of dogs wearing adorable Halloween costumes, sometimes handmade if their owners are super committed, and it's so cute. If there's no parade around you, no problem! Host your own Halloween pet costume parade and invite all of your friends to bring their pets and have them dress them up. Make it even more fun and have a costume contest to see which pet has the cutest costume, to encourage your friends to go all out. When it's time for Halloween, it's not just you that needs a killer costume, but your furry friend as well!

Five // Carve pumpkins

Okay, this one is kind of simple and straight to the point, but as a kid I didn't really carve pumpkins very often. However, now that I'm older, it's so much fun to carve them! You can use stencils or go freehand, but you can get creative with your design. It's easy and a great way to spend Halloween and get in the festive mood. A couple years ago I did a Snoopy design and it was SO cute. It's a great activity to do with friends or with your family, or even by yourself. It's a fun journey to carve a pumpkin and the end result is so satisfying.

Six // Trick or Treat Scavenger Hunt

Go out among the trick or treaters and have a scavenger hunt. Before heading out, write a list of things that you need to find, like 5 kids dressed as Elsa, a Frankenstein carved pumpkin, a person handing out Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate, a ton of random things that you need to find while you're either a) trick or treating or b) roaming around on the night of Halloween. Make up some specific things on the list that are a bit trickier to find. The person or group that finds the most of the things on the list gets a prize. It's a fun way to either change up trick or treating or just spend your evening. This way, you're still enjoying the festivities of Halloween and it adds that additional competitive edge to make the night even better.

How will you be spending Halloween?

Saturday, October 8, 2016

What to Do When It Feels Like Nothing Is Going Your Way

The thing about growing up, is that suddenly you realize that life isn't as easy as you once thought. One second, you're a careless child, and the next, you realize that you have a thousand problems that you couldn't possibly handle. And you do your best to tackle those problems, but there are times that it feels like nothing you do is good enough, that nothing is going your way, no matter how hard you try. And it's scary to go through, especially as a young adult, because you feel isolated, like you're the only one that is going through it. Welcome to the second post of the Peter Pan diaries! If you didn't know what the Peter Pan diaries are, here's a brief summary of what the diaries are about. 

The Peter Pan diaries is a mini-series covering the various struggles, ups and downs, and giving guidance on the teen years. The Peter Pan series is for the people out there that are growing up, mostly aimed at the young adult years, but how they might not necessarily be ready to grow up yet, almost like Peter Pan. They're meant to help make the transition a little bit easier and also allow me to give my personal experiences and my perspectives on some struggles and controversial topics regarding teen life and being a young adult. 

There are about a million times in my life that I've felt like nothing goes my way. One second, I'm working crazy hard, and the next second, I'm failing miserably. There are some things out there that I try my hardest at and somehow still fail. And it feels hopeless. It feels like absolutely nothing is going my way, no matter how hard I try. Some of the things that have hopeless to me have been blogging or in some of my tests. The blogging part can come as a shock I bet, but the thing is that I'm not always feeling happy blogging. There's nothing wrong with creating, most of the time I love it, but sometimes it feels like no matter how hard I try to make my posts creative and unique, it doesn't always pay off. And it hurts, because it feels like no matter how creative my post is, it won't get nearly as many views or shares as the next blogger, and I have no idea what I am doing wrong. It sometimes feel like I work harder than everyone else, not just in blogging but in other things as well, but even though I do, I still do worse than them.
However, what tends to be one of my most hopeless, what never fails to make me feel like I'm worthless, is seating auditions. I play the cello, which I rarely speak about on the blog, but I wanted to make sure that people know the truth about some of the struggles of hopelessness. If you don't know what seating auditions are, they're basically like tests for instruments that tell place you in rank of best to weakest player. And I hate it, I feel like it just causes unnecessary competition and either boosts confidence or pushes it down. And for me, it dragged me down, for years. I was always the very last seat, aka the weakest player. And I would always try my hardest, not to even be the best, but just to be not last, somewhere in the middle. I would practice for hours every day just so I could be mediocre. And it never worked. And it felt like the people that were consistently in the front, the strongest players, rarely practiced, didn't put as much time or effort as I did. But then when I managed to make second to last chair, honestly that was a great day. Which in other people's eyes may seem pathetic, but to me, it was a victory. I guess that what I'm trying to say is that I too have gone through those moments when it feels like nothing will go my way, but you don't always have to feel that way. 

All the time, I try to keep up a good front. I smile and pretend that everything is okay, but in reality, it's not. I think that's the trap that most people fall into, especially as a young adult. We feel that we have to look our best, not just our physical appearance but the appearance of our personality and emotions. We find it important to appear like we have it together, and I totally get that, because we don't want people to know that we're not necessarily perfect. So when things don't go right, we put on brave face and pretend to be okay, even though in reality, everything feels grim, hopeless. The effect of our need to appear happy, despite the fact that we're far from it, causes loneliness, it makes people believe that they are the only ones going through it. Let's put it this into perspective:

Sally is going through a rough time, she studied like crazy for her chem test, went to tutoring studied for hours, slept well, ate well, took great notes, but still somehow failed it. All her friends said that they thought it was easy and aced it. Her friends, after seeing their A-grades, turn to her and ask her what she got. She smiles and said that she did great. After that, she goes home, feeling dejected, and like she will never be good enough. At the same time, Jenny, an acquaintance of Sally, got a C- on her chem test as well, and also studied for ages, doing everything right. She hears Sally talking about how she got a great test score and also goes home sad, feeling hopeless. 

The thing about putting up a good front is that it carries on, it's a chain reaction. It makes other people believe that everyone besides them has it together, is going through life like a breeze, but in reality, it's not like that for anyone. The truth is, we're all going through the same ups and downs and when things don't feel like they're going right for you, it's important to know that other people are going through the same feelings. You are not the only one that feels hopeless, like a failure. Although it may seem like everyone around you is living a carefree, perfect life, they're going through the same struggles that you are going through. 

It starts with getting the conversation going. Being honest, being real. Being authentic in your failures and victories, being vulnerable at times. That is the number one key to helping out other people, getting the conversation going, and letting people know that they're not the only ones out there going through rough patches. That no one is living a carefree, perfect life. That is how you help other people. But what can you do for yourself, to feel better? To be less hopeless? 

one // refresh. 

Most of the time, it doesn't benefit you to instantly keep trying, pushing yourself, even though you feel hopeless. It'll leave you to feel nothing but more loneliness. The important thing to do is to refresh. Have a moment to stop thinking about whatever is plaguing you, think about something different for a change. If you're left constantly stressing about whatever you're worried about, then it'll do you no good. You need to take a break, take a breather, do something different for a change. Maybe that means having a party for one, maybe it means indulging in something that you love, maybe it means spending time with friends, whatever will get your mind off of it and help you find new motivation. You can return to your goals later, but sometimes there's no pain in taking a detour, as long as it helps you with your personal growth. 

two // talk to someone.

Although at first, it may feel a little embarrassing to talk to someone about a problem that seems like it's only your own, but you never know what it could lead to. Sometimes talking to someone could b what helps you get your motivation back. Maybe talk to a parent, a friend, a teacher, anyone that you feel comfortable talking to. And sometimes it's okay to be vulnerable with someone, because they can help you work out your problem and remind you that you're not alone. Because sometimes it feels like you are, in reality, you have lots of potential supporters that can help you out. Let them know what you're dealing with and ask for their advice. They can help to console you, make you laugh, change your attitude, endless possibilities. 

three // get lost in a good book or movie.

There's no better way to escape from your life than with a captivating book or movie. Take some time to stop stressing and escape your issues, even if it's just for an hour or two. When nothing seems to be going your way, the worst thing that you can do is dwell on it, because that will just amplify everything, make you feel even more hopeless. Sometimes it's just nice to get distracted for a while so that you don't make yourself feel worse than you already do. Who knows? Maybe you'll find new motivation and/or inspiration. Books and movies can have huge impacts on our lives, let them shape your life into a more positive aspect, so stay away from the depressing stuff. 

The young adult years can make it feel like these moments of hopelessness are unique to just us, that we're the only ones struggling, but we can defeat that illusion, let people know that failures are natural. That some days you'll have ups and downs are inevitable. So let's get the conversation going. Let's not make hopelessness something that we have to struggle through alone, because there are so many people out there going through the same emotions. 

If you're a brave soul, share a moment in the comments about how you once felt like nothing was going your way and what you did about it. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Autumn Essentials

It wasn't until recently that I realized how deep my love for Autumn runs. The totally basic (but soooo fun) apple orchard pictures, cozy sweaters, hot cider, plaid EVERYTHING, boots, warm-toned colors, I love so much about it. So in order to get into the Autumnal spirit, I've gone over my Autumn essentials in this video! 

What are your Autumn essentials?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Peter Pan Diaries: The Young Adult Phase

When people talk about growing up, we think about becoming more "adult". We start talking about cooking and cleaning and doing taxes, adult responsibilities. What we usually don't talk about it becoming a teenager. Obviously, we all go through our thirteenth birthday, when you finally add the word "teen" to your age and swear up and down that you're no longer a "tween" but a "teen", even though you probably are still a tween. However, there's no guidebook preparing you for your teenage years. You see, your teenage years are still a part of growing up, but I've learned that as you become a teenager, you become more and more aware of the adult world. However, by the adult world, I don't mean the sophisticated adult world that's well put together, but things like sex and drugs and alcohol. Things that separate teenagers and young adults from children. Even though I'm well past the age of a child, I still feel like a kid all the time. I feel like I'm around ten years old, but recently, I've becoming more aware of the fact that I'm not a kid anymore. 

When people talk about the young adult years, they say that it's the time where you prepare for adulthood. The google search results would bring up financial tips, health care, career finding quizzes, etc. However, being a young adult isn't just about becoming more adult, but it's also growing up in a new way, losing that childhood innocence and realizing how crazy and scary the world really is. You see, being a young adult is very different from being a child, and as I've grown up, I've begun to realize the benefits of that childhood innocence. Things change, and I'm not necessarily sure that a) I'm ready for the changes and/or b) whether or not I want these changes to happen. The thing is that life isn't like the movies, and the young adult years aren't always as hyped up as they seem.

My friends have told me that I'm "innocent" in the fact that I haven't indulged much in "teenage activity". And I am. However, I believed that everyone else was like me in the fact that they also had not done those kinds of things, that since I went to what I call a "nerd school", the people didn't indulge in those things. I don't know if it was because I still felt like a kid or I believed that everyone else was just like me, but I guess that I was ignorant to all of things that were happening right beneath my nose. In reality, the typical high school movie rings some truth to it. Crazy house parties do exist. Some people will try out drugs. STDs and teen pregnancy are possible. Over the past year, I've had more and more exposure hearing about drinking, drug use, sex, all of those kinds of things, growing up into the young adult years. And even though I haven't had any direct contact with any of these things, I've been learning that people that I know, that I see every day, even some people that are my friends, have been indulging in house parties, drugs, sex, things that I'm not ready to face, even though I haven't had any direct interactions. It's more like the idea that everyone else around me has been doing these things that makes me realize that I'm not a kid anymore.

In addition to that, the young adult years hold other, less exciting things, like dealing with low self-esteem, peer-pressure, depression and feeling isolated, college applications and grades. The young adult years can be a crazy time. Yes, there are definitely a lot of things like drinking and sex that people often associate the teenage years with, but there are also other things that lie within the shadows, that people don't talk about, that they deal with alone. I am guilty of this. We go through ups and downs as teenagers, each moment low moment seeming like the end of the world, but we need to remember that it never is. The teenage years aren't the end of the world, they're only a small portion of your life. As teenagers, it's easy to feel stressed, like every tiny thing that goes wrong is more like an earthquake, one shake of your world that resonates and spreads, causing destruction. The point of this series is to let people out there know that they're not alone. Sometimes it's scary growing up because we don't realize that these problems exist. As children, we're blissfully unaware of everything. We didn't care what other people thought of us, we didn't dwell over the bad moments, we didn't have a sea of stress overcoming us. As you enter the young adult phase, like what I mentioned before, it's like the rose tinted glasses are coming off, because suddenly you're aware of all the bad in the world, all of the struggles that are unavoidable, and it feels like too much. 

The thing is that there are a small number of things to do with growing up that are in our comfort zones. It's rarely comfortable to grow up. Things feel unfamiliar, different, scary. As we grow up, we need to step out of our comfort zones, which isn't easy. Growing up is kind of like heading through the fog, at first you think that you've got this, that you're ready, but everything in front of you is unclear. You have your ideas for what to do and what might be in front of you, but you're not exactly one-hundred percent sure. As you get closer, it becomes clearer, but the future is still fuzzy and you don't know what is heading your way until the time comes. Since the process is scary, unclear like fog, this is the reason that I've created the Peter Pan series, to be a guiding light in the fog, and help you get outside of your comfort zone and understand what might be hidden.

My point is that even though I may be technically in my young adult years, I don't feel like I'm a young adult. I feel like I'm a kid. And maybe I'm in-denial about it, but something about all of this feels a bit of a shock to me, to know that people that I know, even some friends (not super close ones) had been going out and drinking without me ever knowing. A part of me just isn't ready to for any of this yet, even though I'm already growing up. My mind just isn't catching up with the time.

That's why I decided to create this mini-series, which I decided to call, "The Peter Pan Series", since it's going over the things that I've been dealing with in the young adult world that I'm not ready to face. 

I feel like a child that doesn't want to grow up. The Peter Pan Series will discuss all kinds of topics that teenagers struggle with, including my personal experiences with these topics. Remember my post on my Thoughts on Alcohol? The posts in the series will be kind of like that one, since the idea for this series kind of spiraled off of that post. I'm going to try and incorporate my own individual experiences, beliefs, and ideas, but also be aware of the experiences of others. 

Some of these topics will be subjective. And I am completely aware of that, but I think that these are things worth sharing. I would have loved if someone out there could have prepared me for the emotions that I'm feeling now, someone besides a health teacher, someone like a friend. And that's where this series comes into play. The Peter Pan Series is designed in order to allow me to share my opinions and also help people who are in this same transition, because let's be real, middle school and high school health class doesn't resonate too much to most people. I'm currently thinking about discussing thoughts alcohol more in depth and from a different perspective, not knowing what you want to do with your future, feeling like nothing is going right, and more, depending on what I can come up with. Posts related to the mini-series will be posted on Saturdays, each with a different topic, because sometimes we're just not ready to grow up, and need a little help with it, even if it's with something small. It's hard to realize the reality of the teenage years, because they're not always easy.

So what scares you most about growing up?