7 Ways to Beat Depression

I don’t really get depressed. At least, not anymore. I’ve had a few times in my life I’ve struggle with real, get-you-down, can’t-get-out-of-bed, sad-for-weeks depression, but that honestly hasn’t happened in years. The older I’ve gotten, the more tools I’ve developed to manage my moods. I’ve also just become so incredibly grateful. It’s hard for me to get down when I wake up every day feeling fortunate.

Last week, though, I got into a funk. It started off with something stupid, an expensive mistake that I took kind of hard. But then of course my depression got bigger until it’s wasn’t really even about that anymore. It wasn’t really about anything.

Less Depressed

Here are some of the things I like to do when I’m down to help right the ship.

Be proactive (and then let it go)

This can be hard when all you want to do is curl up and hide. Identifying ways you can solve your problem or even help yourself feel better about it can go a long way towards lifting your “I’m a victim” mood. Unfortunately for me, I’m kind of the opposite – I become OVER proactive and kind of obsessive. When something goes wrong or is bothering me, I get this huge itch to do everything I can to fix it. After I’ve been proactive and tried to improve my situation, sometimes I just need to accept there’s nothing I can do at that moment and let it go.

Go to your happy place

I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean literally! Get out of the house (unless your home is your happy place, haha) and go to a place that makes you feel safe, comfortable, and alive. For me, this place is this dog beach near my house. I bring Ru, I watch the dogs play in the water, I stand in the sun or watch the sunset, and suddenly 45 minutes later, I feel better. I guess all that happy, wiggly doggy energy rubs off on me!

Write about it

I’ve been an on-and-off journal-er for years, but sometimes just jotting my thoughts down can help me work through them. I can rant, be petty, and not worry about sounding crazy or overly sensitive. I suspect for many of you, blogging provides the same outlet. Plus, it comes with the bonus of an awesome support network of blogger friends who are always there to lend a kind word or say something positive!

Reach out to friends

This one can sometimes be tough for me because I’m such an introvert. When I have a bad day, my knee jerk reaction is to go eat ice cream by myself, not call a girl friend. That being said, I was blown away by the outpouring of support when I posted something on Facebook about being down. Friends commented, texted, messaged, and called. Of course, sometimes you need to be the one to reach out to someone in particular and say “hey, I’m having a bad day, do you mind if we talk for a bit?” As long as you don’t over-burden them (like needing to talk for two hours or every single week), I’m sure there will be someone available.

Treat yourself

This one is my go-to when I’m having a bad day. I love to order some Chinese takeout, run a bubble bath, or splurge on a scarf or shirt I’ve been eyeing. Of course, depression eating and shopping can be really dangerous if it happens regularly (bubble baths are probably pretty safe, haha). But as long as you use it sparingly, a special treat can help turn a day around.

Get creative

I kid you not, I actually recovered from my last depression by getting really, really into canning. It’s a weirdly therapeutic project, kind of like knitting or pottery, and it lulls you into a kind of trance. Instead of getting off work and moping around, I would pick out my new recipe, grab the ingredients, and spend the rest of the night boiling, chopping, mashing, stirring, and pouring. After a few weeks, my cupboards were full of jams, pickles, and syrupy fruits, and my heart was no longer quite so heavy.

Exercise

Over three years ago, when I graduated from college and moved to Berkeley, I knew I was going to have a rough go of it. Reg moved home and we started doing the long distance thing, and none of my friends lived here. In preparation for what I knew was likely an imminent depression, I began going to the gym every day. And you know what, it worked like a charm. I would wake up feeling low and hallow, but by the time I worked out at noon, my entire rest of the day seemed brighter. Doctors often recommend exercise as a coping tool for people suffering from chronic depression, and I couldn’t agree more with that advice.

What do you like to do to turn a bad day around or manage your depression?

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Kale, Kielbasa, and White Bean Soup

Kale, Kielbasa, and White Bean Soup 1Kale, Kielbasa, and White Bean Soup 4Kale, Kielbasa, and White Bean Soup 2Kale, Kielbasa, and White Bean Soup 3I’m obsessed with this soup. Obsessed in a way I haven’t been with a recipe in a while. I kid you not, I’ve made it every weekend for the last three weeks. It’s healthy and filling, yet still tastes like a total treat thanks to the salty kielbasa. It’s also one of those incredible dishes that actually tastes just as good if not even better as leftovers. Full confession: I’ve been known to eat it for dinner, and then breakfast and lunch the next day. It’s that delicious.

We’re really into kale right now in the US, particularly in California. Although I like it in smoothies, I find it less palatable to eat even sautéed, let alone raw. I’m honestly not a fan of bitter flavors. I just found a new technique that has totally changed my kale experience (and it’s going to sound so incredibly “Berkeley” of me) – massage your kale. I kid you not, just rubbing it with oil for five minutes before chowing down or cooking it helps “pre-digest” it, making it soft and removing a lot of that bitter flavor. I kneed it almost like I would kneed bread, rubbing it against the cutting board with the “heel” of my palm. Try it – you will never eat kale another way again.

Kale, Kielbasa, and White Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale (or approximately 5-7 stems)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 ounces or .75 lbs of kielbasa
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 15-ounce can of cannellini beans
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)

Instructions

  1. Start by rinsing the kale throughly and shaking off excess water. Remove the center stems and roughly chop until there are no large pieces.
  2. Put kale in a pile on large cutting board and drizzle one tablespoon of olive oil on top. Massage kale with your hands for approximately five minutes, or until it's soft and shiny. The pile of kale will be much smaller once massaged.
  3. Heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Thinly slice the kielbasa crosswise, and then add it to the pot. Cook for approximately seven minutes.
  4. While the kielbasa is cooking, prepare the leek by thinly slicing the white and light green part. Once the kielbasa is done, add the sliced leek and cook for three more minutes.
  5. Add the kale and cook for an additional three minutes.
  6. Add the chicken broth and cannellini beans. Bring it to a boil, then cook for ten more minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Ladle into bowls, then top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!
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*Recipe adapted from Steven Raichlen’s “Man Made Meals.” Serves approximately four people.

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Best and Worse Lush Cosmetics Products (Plus a $200 Lush Giveaway!)

All you UK ladies are so familiar with Lush, but it’s a relatively new phenomenon over here in the States. I think I only visited my first store a couple of years ago, and when I mention it to girl friends, most of them just give me a confused look.

Still, it’s a welcome change from the sterile, chemically environment of Sephora. Don’t get me wrong, I love the mecca of makeup, but I do feel better about putting a bunch of fruits, veggies, natural cremes, etc. on my face, especially if they work (and boy, do they!). Let me tell you about some of my favorite Lush products and confess the ones that didn’t really work for me.

Lush Cosmetics

Here’s my “must have” Lush products I can’t recommend highly enough:

  • Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask – Honestly, I’ve had some pretty fabulous experiences with most of Lush’s face masks (check out this post for my favorites), but this one is the ultimate.
  • Fresh Farmacy – If there is one acne fighting product I could recommend beyond all others, it’s this one. Not too expensive, not too harsh, it’s truly the rockstar of my skincare products.
  • Popcorn Lip Scrub – Delicious! This lip scrub is both effective, especially when applied before putting on lipstick, and also quite tasty.

Here’s the ones that I felt generally didn’t impress:

  • Tea Tree Water – Although I generally like tea tree in general for skincare, I’ve never had much luck with toners. Honestly, this didn’t feel any more effective than spritzing water on my face.
  • Vanishing Creme – I don’t think too highly of Lush’s face moisturizers. They’re quite pricy, and honestly less impressive than the good ones you can pick up at the drug store.
  • Cupcake Fresh Face Mask – As much as I sing the praises of Lush’s fresh face masks, this one didn’t do much. Sure, it smelled delicious, but I didn’t feel like it did much for my skin.

What Lush products have rocked your socks? What has flopped?

Lush Giveaway

Also, I’ve teamed up with some other bloggers to bring you a giveaway with an amazing prize for one lucky reader! We’re giving away a $200 Lush gift card. You can enter daily over the next two weeks and earn bonus entries by sharing the giveaway with your friends on social media. Good luck!

Prize: $200 Lush Card

Co-hosts: The Missing Niche // Jenn’s Blah Blah Blog // Nail Polish Anonymous // Oddly Lovely // Benedique // Ashley Brooke // Bless Her Heart Y’all // WorldWideStylista // Makenzie Emma

Giveaway organized by: Oh My Gosh Beck!

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter daily. Giveaway ends 11/7 and is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Burgundy Autumn Dress

Autumn Dress 5Autumn Dress 1Autumn Dress 3Autumn Dress 4Typically I’m a believer in quality clothing – I love picking up my favorite jeans from Lucky Brand once a year, a nice sweater or peacoat from JCrew, or splurging on a $100 pair of boots. But every once in a while you find a gem at a more budget-friendly item at a place like Forever 21 that is so frickin’ adorable and miraculously seems to last years. And that’s exactly how I came upon this dress.

Because of my pink complexion and strawberry blonde hair, red is not typically a color I look very good in. The exception seems to be these kind of deep burgundies and wine reds. Isn’t it the perfect color for fall? It looks wonderful with brown (the color that mostly makes up my wardrobe), plus it perfectly matches the color of the ribbon I regularly wear in my hair.

Do you prefer to buy more quality clothing at establishments like JCrew or Lucky Brand, or do you prefer to save your money at places like Forever 21?

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9 Tips for Bringing Your Dog to Work

Ru OfficeIt is one of the greatest joys of my job that my pup Ru can come with me into the office every day. Honestly, I’m not sure I would have adopted a dog if she had to stay at home alone. Ru is immaculately behaved, and I’m confident that a large part of it is because she has constant socialization with people and supervision by me.

I knew from the minute that Ru curled up in my arms at the shelter that she would be a perfect fit for my company. She was so calm and gentle, even in the stress of the kennel and all those barking dogs. I began bringing her into the office slowly. First it was Friday afternoons and then for half days. After only a couple of months, she became a constant fixture, scouting the floor for crumbs or swinging by someone’s desk for a scratch.I love that she’s always curled up under my feet while I write, and keeps me going on long walks on our lunch break. It’s hard for me to imagine the place without her.

On another really exciting note, Ru is a semi-finalist in the Fast Company Top Office Dog competition! It would be so awesome if you guys could help us out and go vote for Ru in the “Face of the Company” category. There’s no need to sign up or give your personal info, so it should take no more than a second. Just head to this page, click “vote” under Rumi’s picture, then scroll to the bottom to submit!

Bringing a new dog home

If you’re thinking about turning your well-behaved pup into an office dog, here’s some ideas on how to start:

Make sure your dog has flawless manners and is a good fit for your office. Only well-behaved and mellow pups should be allowed the privilege of spending time at work, since dogs who are prone to barking, running in frantic circles, or even being aggressive to visitors will be at best distraction or at worse, possibly dangerous. Don’t forget, your pup will be representing your company to the public!

Get the permission of your manager and all your coworkers. If some of your coworkers are afraid of dogs or have horrible allergies, an office dog wouldn’t be fair to spring on them. It’s one thing to get hired knowing there’s an office dog already there, but resentment might build if a new dog is brought in and other employees have no say.

Make sure everyone is on the same page as far as rules and behavior. Will the pup be allowed to roam or should he stay behind a baby-gate? Is he allowed in meetings? What behavior is unacceptable, like excessive barking? Make sure everyone agrees, and that the consequences for not following the rules are clear.

Introduce your dog to the other office dogs outside of the workspace. Most dogs do better when they meet one-another on neutral territory. Instead of bringing the new pup straight into the office, meet nearby and take them on a walk together, switching who is walking in front and who is walking behind. If all seems to be going well, let them meet on loose leashes, then bring them into the office together. It’s a lot easier to do everything right from the start than have a fight break out and try to repair their tarnished relationship!

Set up a positive space for your dog with his bed and non-squeeky toys. The office is going to be your pup’s new home-away-from-home, so make sure he feels comfortable and safe. Put out his favorite bed and toys, the ones that already smell like him, so the new space feels more familiar.

Start slowly with half-days during hours you know you can afford to be distracted. There’s no need to rush into a 40 hour work week. Start by bringing your pup in for just a few hours when you know you can be keeping a close eye on him.

Keep your dog contained (at least at first). Until your dog know the rules and recognizes the office as part of his territory, it’s likely he’ll get into trouble like pulling some goodies out of the trash or having an accident. It will be easier to keep a close eye on him if he’s not free to roam, so try keeping him leashed to your desk or behind a baby-gate.

Have mentally stimulating activities on hand to keep your dog entertained. Just like humans, dogs get bored. One of the best things about bringing your dog into the office is there’s more going on than a quiet house, but a young dog will enjoy some activities to stay busy. Try filling a Kong toy with peanut butter or scheduling in a 2-minute game of tug-o-war.

Continue being diligent about training and discipline. At the office, it’s more important than ever that your pup be under your control. Reward your pup for good behavior like welcoming visitors politely and practice recall regularly so you can contain him if you need to. I even suggest brushing up on your training with a refresher dog class (bonus points for getting his canine good citizen certificate!).

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How to Pick a Flattering Lipstick Shade

Lipstick Shade

First, a basic truth: every woman looks gorgeous in lipstick. There’s a reason Parisan style is so famous for a bold lip and otherwise simple makeup. It’s truly chic and timeless. The most difficult aspect of lipstick is picking out a shade that looks stunning on you. Despite the fact that you may be drawn to more blue-based or purple truth reds, the truth is that might not flatter your skin tone, lip shape, or the shape of your face in general.

Here’s some thought-starters on how to pick a flattering lipstick shade:

1. Always shop for lipstick in a well-lit area and go when you’re wearing little other makeup, since it can distract the eye or even change the appearance of the lipsticks.

2. Consider your lip shape - dark shades make lips appear thinner, so stick to softer ones if you’re concerned with creating a plump, full lip.

3. Pick a lipstick two shades darker than your natural lip color for a natural and everyday look.

4. Match your lipstick’s undertones to your skin’s undertones. Warm skinned girls look better with orange undertones, cool skinned girls look better with blue undertones.

5. Try picking shades the opposite of your iris color on the color wheel, in order to make your eyes pop more. For example, if you have blue eyes select a more coral based shade.

6. Hair color can also serve as a starting place for lipsticks. Blondes often look best with pink shades, while redheads do best with violets.

7. Some complexion guidelines (but not rules!): when buying a red lipstick, fair skinned ladies look good in cherry undertones, olive skinned ladies look good in fire-engine red, and darker skinned ladies can rock deep reds.

8. More complexion guidelines: fair skinned ladies should stick with apricots, pinks, and corals. Medium skinned ladies do best with roses, mauves, and berries. Darker skinned ladies look pretty in plum, chocolate, and red.

9. Choose to emphasize either the lips or the eyes when selecting a lipstick for a specific look. Occasionally both look good together, but only if neither is emphasized too much.

10. Ask for help from a sales associate if you’re not certain. After all, they’re the experts!

Do you wear lipstick? What’s your favorite shade?

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