5 Simple Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts

cake-pops-286198_1280I’ve always enjoyed Valentine’s Day, even when I was single. I would bake treats and give them to friends with a handwritten note saying how much I appreciate them. Some boycott and say it’s a made up Hallmark holiday, but why not just jump in and celebrate love with all of our fellow humans?

Here are five easy last minute Valentine’s Day gift ideas in case you’re feeling a step – or several steps – behind this year. (Believe me, I am not judging. I made resolutions in February and just packed up my Christmas decor this past Sunday.) Show the special people in your life how much you care! Continue reading

Of House and Home: Holiday Table Settings

holiday table setting

When I was a little girl, I set the table for family meals like it was my job. Well, it kind of was my job,  at least for the holidays, but I loved to do it! Eagerly referencing the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook table setting section, I just adored the various setting options ranging from simple to very formal and multiple ways to fold a napkin. (nerd alert)Much to my dismay, that section has pretty much vanished from the cookbook.

While planning our Thanksgiving table this year, I was nostalgic for the yellowed papers of the one owned by my parents since mine is a new version with very clean white pages and only one measly diagram on the topic. Alas, I was very pleased with how our table turned out, even if I forgot to put down the chargers for the meal and never did break out the crystal wine glasses.

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How to Cope with Anxiety

As I’ve gotten older, I find myself worrying more and more about things that never seemed to bother me before. Part of it is my constant struggle for perfection in certain areas. Note: I say certain because this usually does not apply to my appearance. Things like hair, nails or clothing somehow manage to slip by in a hot mess sort of way most of the time! When planning for an event or a big project at work (basically anything that involves logistics and multiple moving parts), I age myself at least five years. Even when something significant is happening to people around me – like on closing day – I tend to get what my BFFSM Olivia calls nervous stomach.

Nervous stomach is the worst because it creates this perpetual feeling of, well, nervousness. No one likes that feeling. I tend to have an aversion to all foods, and I love food. Sleeping becomes extremely difficult because the mind continues to race with the never-ending list of “to-dos.”

The anxiety can be almost unbearable at times, so I’ve been practicing these ways to keep it at bay.

  1. Breathing: Similar to yoga breathing, I take a few moments to pause and focus on deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, hold for several seconds and then slowly release.
  2. Chamomile or Lavender: Drinking chamomile tea (like I am right now, photo above) or surrounding myself with the scent of lavender is very calming.
  3. Music: Sometimes I play very mellow tunes and other times I jam out! Music can help you transfer your mood from one state to another. Depending on how you feel and how you want to feel, there are so many options! My Pandora station list is super long and each one is used for a different outcome. Right now I am listening to the “Pat Green” station :)
  4. Lists: I have always been a list maker and high stress times are no different. It helps to organize thoughts and also make them tangible.
  5. Distractions: After you’ve made your list to get a real grasp on the task at hand, take some time to distract yourself. I find that reading is really helpful because it’s an escape from the “real world.” I guess some may argue that this is running away from your problems, but I think it’s good for a short period of time. Speaking of running …
  6. Exercise: I always feel so much better after going to CrossFit, but even just a walk or jog around the block can release endorphins, which (we all know from Legally Blonde) makes people happy! If you aren’t familiar with the scene or need a reminder, watch the video below.
  7. Friends: Talking to friends makes a world of difference when I’m feeling pressure in pretty much any aspect of life. Everyone at some point or another has felt nervous and it is a relief to know you’re not alone. Sometimes even just expressing your feelings out loud can make them a little less scary. I am so fortunate to have wonderful friends I can talk to about anything. Olivia is always there to listen and provide support, advice or a bottle glass of wine. Lately we’ve both had a lot to chat about in the “anxiety department” since she is in the final stages of wedding planning, which is both exciting and stressful! (Update: Olivia and I both decided to write about stress and anxiety today since we’ve both been feeling it. We didn’t read each other’s posts until after we wrote our own. Check out her post here!)

Do you find it easier to become stressed as you get older?
How do you cope with anxiety?
What are some natural ways you’ve found to relax?