A Note on Mental Illnesses

If you don’t suffer from a mental illness, sometimes it can be hard to understand what your family and friends are going through. I can’t speak for anyone besides myself, but I thought I’d give you an idea of what depression and anxiety can feel like.

Depression…

It creeps up on you at the most inopportune times, right before big papers are due or before finals week. It robs you of your will to keep going, of your motivation, sometimes even of your will to live. It makes you hide in your bed for long hours, avoiding texts, phone calls, class, homework, eating, … pretty much anything. It locks you inside on sunny days and tells you not to reach out for help. It makes you feel like a failure and a burden. It lets you know that since you can’t do this one thing right that there is no point to go on. On the worst days, it leaves you numb, feeling like you are unable to move or speak. It has the tendency to grab hold of you and can be very hard to shake off. For someone who suffers from depression, they can’t just be happy or let it go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. So be patient with them and encourage them to seek out help, because nothing is worse than suffering alone.

Anxiety…

Anxiety is not just being nervous, it is when the worries and fears you have are so strong that you interfere with your life. There are so many different types of anxiety and they all affect people in different ways. I suffer from generalized anxiety. I can worry about anything and everything. From whether I locked my car to if the headaches I have are from a brain tumor. Sometimes it can be as simple of a feeling of panic arise anytime I do something new, different, or wrong. Being late to class can bring on a feeling of uncontrollable panic. Sometimes it starts as a little voice in the back of your head and then slowly or not so slowly begins to make you feel on edge. Often the voices just get louder and louder until something is done to fix it. And like depression, it often starts at the most inopportune times. Just last quarter my anxiety went from manageable to a near panic attack in my lab final. It can be difficult to learn to manage and I’ve often pulled away from doing anything new to avoid my symptoms of anxiety. I’ve canceled countless plans due to my anxiety and I’m sure that people probably thought I didn’t want to see them. But in reality, I was too afraid to reach out and tell them that I was feeling anxious. So again be patient and please encourage them to seek out help, because suffering alone is horrible. I would know, I did it for years and years.

Mental health is a touchy subject still, it still isn’t treated like real illnesses. If you broke your leg and had to cancel plans because of it, people would totally understand. But if you say you can’t because you are feeling depressed or anxious, it is likely you will be told you’re fine or just get over it, or it will be fun, don’t be such a downer… etc. When people say these things it just makes it harder for people with mental illnesses to reach out and get help. I’ve often heard a little voice pop up in my head telling me what I am going through is not real and when I get shut down, it just is like pouring gas on a little spark. Something so tiny is turned into a roaring fire. So I plead, for me and other people who suffer from mental illness to be patient and supportive.

If you have ever contemplated suicide, just know that you are not alone. You are not bad for having those thoughts, you are by no means damaged. You are a beautiful human and I beg to you seek out help and support. Call a friend or family, call your campus hotline, call the police, call the national suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), just please call somebody. Your life is too precious to end it, the dark days, although they feel long, will pass and the sun will come out again.

Side note, don’t forget to use person first language when talking about people and the mental illnesses they suffer from. So instead of “she is autistic” or “she is depressed”, switch your language to “she suffers from autism” or “she suffers from depression”. It can be surprising the difference it can make it people’s lives, to know that they are more than the illnesses they suffer from.

 

June Favorites

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Since last month, I finished my freshman year of college, turned 20, and opened my first Etsy store! It has been a busy month, but definitely a good one. Now, let’s get into the favorites for June!

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First up is this basket I got for my birthday from Salt Shoppe. At first, I was surprised by its size, but soon I fell in love. It is a large basket, but it makes it so useful! I can even fit my beagle inside. 🙂 It is perfect for trips to the produce stand, beach, thrift store, post office. Literally anywhere you need to transport a large amount of stuff. I would 10/10 recommend this basket!

Next is a collection of mostly food that were favorites in June… here we go!

  1. simple mills grain free gluten free crackers – I swear these have crack in them, they are so addictive
  2. Garbology – a book I am reading for my environmental studies class, I highly recommend.
  3. bouldering – the act of climbing without ropes, such a good workout and something that I’ve dearly missed and rediscovered during June
  4. strawberriesssss – fresh, in season, local strawberries were definitely consumed in large quantities. And when they started to go bad we turned them into sweet sugary jam
  5. Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe – If you are ever in Seattle, go to Chaco Canyon. This place is hands down my favorite cafe ever. It is vegan, healthy, tasty, and has tons of gluten-free options… just prepare for it to break your wallet. It is pricey but soooo worth it. 10/10 would recommend.
  6. Miyoko’s vegan cheese – last but not least, Miyoko’s double chive vegan cheese is amazing. Also, it is $10, not friendly for a college student’s budget, but definitely one of my favorite treats during my birthday month.

Etsy Roundup – Feminism

Etsy is one of my favorite places to shop. I like being able to support makers and creators while also finding really unique and beautiful items. So in honor of my love for Etsy, I thought I would start a series to share some of my favorites that I find on Etsy. Lately I’ve been in love with all the feminist related items on Etsy, so this weeks theme is all about the advocacy of women’s rights.

T-shirts

  1. feminism is gender equality (youth)
  2. grl power
  3. boob shirt
  4. the future is female (toddler)

Pins

  1. Girls Just Wanna Have Fundamental Rights
  2. Ruth Bader Ginsburg
  3. Pussy Hat
  4. Full Time Feminist

Jewelry

  1. Badass gold cuff
  2. Feminist rectangular necklace
  3. Feminist bar necklace
  4. Feminist gold cuff

These are just a few of the great feminist themed items that you can find on Etsy. You can find just about anything by searching the item you want + feminism.

*This post is not sponsored by Etsy, although that would be cool if they did sponsor me…

Weekend Links 7/14/17

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After a fast paced and wonderful week in Bellingham, I am home for the weekend. My family pupper, Bella the beagle, has been living in Bellingham with me as an emotional support animal. Let’s just say that she is quite pleased to be home, apartment living isn’t her thing. So this weekend we are going to enjoy our big yard, comfy couches, and endless amounts of food. In between all that we might check out a trail nearby and hit up the local farmers market. What are you up to this weekend? Let me know! Here are a few links from around the interwebs for your weekend…

Things that should exist for single people

Hehe

Interesting stories about parenting around the world.

Speaking about parenting…they do have a big environmental impact.

Tasty + healthy + another way to eat cherries this summer

Cuteeee

A pin I need for my new thrifted jean jacket because RBG is bae.

Also, this tote bag is perfect, thank you, Etsy.

Sunflowers are my fav

Shameless plug for my favorite item in my Etsy shop

 

Sprout Wrap

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This wrap makes is easy, delicious, and transportable! And who doesn’t love sprouts?

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I made this recipe when I was eating eggs, but you could easily substitute the scrambled eggs with tempeh or tofu.

Ingredients

  • wrap – my favorite is Mountain Bread wraps
  • Alfalfa sprouts
  • scrambled eggs or your choice of protein
  • kale slaw
  • Brianna’s French vinaigrette salad dressing

Cook your protein source, mix the dressing with the kale slaw, then stack it all into the wrap and roll it up! It is that simple!

 

May Favorites

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I feel like I say this every month, but it feels like May has slipped through my fingers. I can’t believe that it is already June! June is probably my favorite month, something about the weather, all the delicious fruit that starts ripening, oh and my birthday…! Anyways, this isn’t all about June yet, so let’s get back to my favorites for May.

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Beauty

  • Uncle Harry’s toothpaste – This toothpaste has been absolutely amazing. I picked it up when I was starting to run out of my old toothpaste that came in a plastic tube. This comes in a glass jar, which I love, but when I first started it using it, it felt a bit strange. The essential oils make it extremely minty and the texture is quite different, but now I wouldn’t imagine going back to conventional toothpaste. My teeth have never felt healthier and it does an excellent job at leaving your teeth sparklingly fresh. I’m sad that I am nearly out, but before I rebuy it I am going to attempt a DIY version. But I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for a pre-made zero waste or a natural version for conventional toothpaste.
  • Nubian Heritage Mango Butter Scrub – This body scrub is a m a z i n g ….. It makes your skin feel and smell amazing! I like to pair it with some baking soda to cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize my skin. I honestly can’t get over how soft it makes my skin. It is another one that I would love to attempt a DIY version so I can avoid the plastic packaging, but I don’t think I could recreate the amazing smell. I would definitely give it a try, especially if you have dry skin. ( I have oily skin, so that is why I pair it with the baking soda)
  • Shea Butter African Black Soap (lemongrass citrus) – I just started using this soap towards the end of the month when I ran out of my liquid body was from Alaffia, and Oh Mah God. This stuff is amazing. I was looking for a new body soap that didn’t come in plastic packaging but wanted to stick with this brand, because I absolutely love their products. This soap delivers my friend, it is cleansing, yet still moisturizing and leaves me wondering why I didn’t switch to this bar soap sooner. For added benefit, I hang it in a mesh cotton bag, which keeps it contained and also exfoliates my skin. And it comes in wrapped in paper, which is pretty good as far as zero waste beauty products go. 10/10 would recommend, especially with the mesh bag.

Food

  • Nature’s Bakery Strawberry Fig Bars – I know, doesn’t really fit with my movement toward living a less wasteful life, but they are so good…. They are a way tastier version of fig newtons and they’ve definitely been a life saver on days when I am too busy to pack food to take to campus. They are a still going to be a favorite, despite the waste they create. But I definitely need to a find a better solution for next month.
  • Home Brewed Kombucha – If you are a kombucha lover, then I highly recommend searching your local craigslist and investing a few dollars in a scooby. Brewing your own kombucha is really simple and in the end is so much cheaper than buying it at the store. And it also is way less wasteful because you can buy your tea and sugar in bulk, brew it and store it in glass jars. If you live in the Bellingham area, let me know if you need a scooby, with each new batch I end up with more babies than I know what to do with.

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Fashion

  • Still Water Earrings – I picked up these beauties at the farmers market, and they are the first pair of earrings that I actually love. They are dangly, yet simple, and most importantly comfortable and cute! Unfortunately, you can’t purchase them online, but if you are ever in Bellingham on a Saturday, hit up the farmer’s market and check out the jewelry stalls. There are tons of options and they are all handmade!
  • Merrell Mix Master Move Glide Trail Running Shoes – Does this even count as fashion? Probably better suited in the health category, but whateverrrr. These trail running shoes are my new fav closed toed shoes. Lab day was painful before these beauties entered my life and I hiking ceased to exist before I got these. I was a lucky duck and got these on sale at REI, but these shoes are so good that I would probably pay full price now that I know. They are minimal, yet still, give support and there was no “break in” period. You know, the time when you get ugly blisters and question if it is really worth it? Anyway, these are the first pair of running shoes I’ve ever loved whole heartedly. Summer trail runs here I come!

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Home

  • Salt Lamp – I had been curious about salt lamps for a while, but not due to their supposed health benefits, but rather for the warm and comforting light they emit. I bought this one off of a friend who was moving away and I’ve loved it ever since. It’s perfect to turn on in the evenings right before bed because it is a dim warm light that doesn’t mess with your body. I would highly recommend getting one if you are looking for some nice dim room lighting.

Entertainment

  • Rabbits – I stumbled across this podcast and I was instantly hooked. If you are into mystery and intrigue, definitely give it a listen. For added fun, listen to it while walking to it alone it the forest. Definitely, adds to the scary element.

    “When Carly Parker’s friend Yumiko goes missing under very mysterious circumstances, Carly’s search for her friend leads her headfirst into a ancient mysterious game known only as Rabbits. Soon Carly begins to suspect that Rabbits is much more than just a game, and that the key to understanding Rabbits, might be the key to the survival of our species, and the Universe, as we know it.”

  • S-Town – Another great podcast, which I promptly completed in a couple of days.

    “John despises his Alabama town and decides to do something about it. He asks a reporter to investigate the son of a wealthy family who’s allegedly been bragging that he got away with murder. But then someone else ends up dead, sparking a nasty feud, a hunt for hidden treasure, and an unearthing of the mysteries of one man’s life.”

  • Ponzi Supernova – These episodes are so short its a crime, but nevertheless it is another captivating podcast. It is still coming out, so a great podcast to start for the month of June.
    Bernie Madoff Speaks.
    “Was his $65 billion fraud a freak occurrence, or destined to be repeated? An exclusive audio investigation into the dark interior of our financial systems.”

Plant Collection |6/5/17|

IMG_0216I’ve always loved plants and the idea of taking care of something beautiful and living. When I was younger I used to spend long hours outside helping my grandpa garden or even just looking at a plant. Now I find myself completely enthralled with plants. It seems crazy that something so simple can be so fascinating. I often find myself stopping along a trail to look at a plant that I’ve never seen before. Even if I don’t pursue a career in botany, I’ll always be a botanist at heart.

IMG_0217I definitely went through a phase where I killed all my indoor cacti and succulents, but this year I’ve finally mastered indoor gardening. My plant collection is ever growing and each month I am discovering new ways to better care for my plants. So here is my little or maybe not so little plant collection as of now.

A Pothos, loving named Phil

Succulents back from the dead

A Moondrop Schefflera that never stops growing

Three other cool plants that I’ve yet to identify

Two Spider plants

A Coleus plant that I grew in lab

A can full of lettuce seedlings

And a discounted Yucca tree from Lowes

P.s. If you ever have any dying, sick, or unwanted plants I will gladly take them!

Weekend Links 6/2/17

 

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Oyster Dome Hike 6/1/17

 

It is finally June! I can’t believe summer is just around the corner, I just have to make it through my first finals week at Western. This weekend I am hoping the weather clears up a bit so I can go paddle boarding on Lake Whatcom, but if it doesn’t I’ll probably end up at a coffee shop drinking tea and hitting the books.

8 life tips from graduation speeches to commemorate grad season

A simple olive oil cake, perfect to go with fresh summer strawberries.

These dogs are so cute!

Something funny to lighten up your weekend.

My takeaway, from my Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies, beautifully illustrated.

I’m obsessed with this youtube channel, beautiful healthy food for days.

Greyhounds…I can’t even. So cute.

Also, I think orange tabby cats are the cutest. Always have, always will.

The US sliding backwards on climate change, not what I wanted to hear this week as a student in an environmental studies program.

One person can’t stop climate change, but collectively reducing our impact on the environment can…here are a few ways to stop climate change.

A little reminder for your weekend.

Have a good weekend everybody!

 

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding | A Note on Sugar

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It has been said that sugar is the cigarettes of our generation and honestly I didn’t really realize how addictive it was until I tried to stop eating it. And this is even after I’d given up most refined sugars. I’ve always had a sweet tooth, but I’ve always preferred more natural sugars. I’ve had several birthdays during my childhood where I had half a watermelon as my cake, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t consume my fair share of sugar. I often load up on lots of “natural sugars”, like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, dates, honey, coconut sugar… And even those are unhealthy if consumed regularly. So in the spirit of health, I’ve decided to share one of my favorite sugarless recipes that can still qualify as a dessert.

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

  • 1 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 water
  • 6-9 tb chia seeds*
  • 1 lemon zested
  • frozen or fresh berries

Blend the coconut milk and water until smooth. Pour out into a container and mix in the chia seeds and lemon zest. Pour into storage jars and leave in the fridge until the chia seeds have soaked up all the liquid and expanded. Top with fresh or frozen berries.

*depending on how thick or thin you like your pudding

Acai Bowl

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Acai Bowls are one of those standard hip health food things, but they can be really expensive if you buy them at a smoothie bar. Making them at home is less expensive and allows to you make them customizable to your own taste and preferences. It’s taken me many packets of pureed acai to get to this point, but I think I have finally figured out the perfect acai bowl recipe.

If you can’t afford the acai puree, just leave it out. I’m sure that if you had the right combination of blueberries and strawberries, you could totally fake the color and nobody on Instagram would know that you are a poor college student.

Ingredients

1 packet of acai puree (Sambazon is my favorite brand)

1.5 frozen bananas

1/2 frozen strawberries

1/4-1/2 of apple or orange juice and a little small of water

toppings: chopped fruit, buckwheat groats, coconut flakes, chia seeds, granola, flax seed meal… are just a few of my favorites.

Defrost the acai puree under hot water and pour into the blender. Chop up the frozen bananas and add in, along with the strawberries. Start with a small amount of juice and water and blend using the tamper. If your blender is struggling add more liquid. My advice is to start small with the liquid because once you add too much you can’t really take it back. When it is fully blended, transfer into a bowl, and place in the freezer while you get your toppings ready. Then decorate if you so please, otherwise just toss it on and enjoy!

Let me know if you have a favorite acai bowl recipe.