Life Lately: Candid Happenings

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Tap, tap, tap. Is this thing still on?

I took an extended break from blogging again while I “found myself” *vomits*. Because working full-time PLUS another part-time job PLUS trying to manage my anxiety was too much. The winter was very rough for my mental health and I just now feel like I’m recovered from it. The skies are clearing up for summer and so is my mind. I’m feeling rejuvenated at work, at home, and with life in genreal. And I have tonnnsss of new ideas for posts.

So what has been happening? What’s the 4-1-1? What’s the hot gossip?!

I turned 25 in March! Happy birthday me! Sorry I missed my 25 Things About Turning 25 post, but you can read about 24 and 23 things I’ve also learned from years past. They’re pretty much the same, honestly. Maybe I’ll do a retroactive 25 things once I hit the 25 1/2 mark. I’m assuming I’ll be wiser then, but I really don’t feel much wiser now. I celebrated my birthday by buying myself presents and going to brunch with my friends. It was glorious. There was a boozy milkshake with a giant birthday candle involved, so what more could you want?

I bought a bunch of new make-up! I successfully completed my 2017 no buy make-up ban for January and February, then went HAM in March on account of “Birthday Month.” And by HAM I mean spending a sum of money at Ulta that I am uncomfortable admitting aloud. (But my Ulta Points account looks AH-MAZING!) I’ve been testing the products I purchased and am planning on doing some reviews soon– including some skincare products I got that were suuuper disappointing.

I took a break from make-up to concentrate on my skin! To totally waste all the money I spent on make-up, I have taken a break from it while I explore new skincare. I am currently trying out Curology, a prescription skincare subscription service. I won’t go into full details because I have an entire post planned, but it’s essentially an online dermatologist. You get paired with a medical professional to assess your skin and they cultivate a topical medication to treat your issues. Though my results have been slow and steady (and not without set-backs) I am very happy with how things are going. More soon!

Speaking of skincare, I have taken a serious rededication to my health. Part of busting out of my anxiety hole included busting out of my bad habits hole, and I’m pretty sure my clear head is partly due to that. I am eating much more nutrient dense foods, am back to exercising regularly, and have set new goals for myself. I’ve successfully lost 20lbs (!!!!!!) since April 1st, and am really enjoying getting back into cooking healthy meals and watching my progress. I went to school for health and wellness, but you wouldn’t know it by how I acted. I figured it was time to start living like I valued my life, ya know? You can look forward to more healthy eating posts coming your way. And maybe some exercise posts too?

That sums up my 2017 so far. Aside from raging against the political machine and continuing to let my cat rule my life, things have been good. And I’m excited to get back in touch with my blog.

So tell me, what do you want to see from Candidly Kelsey? Make-up? Skincare? Food? Bad jokes? Let me know! And leave a comment with what you’ve been up to recently!

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21 Self-Care Activities for When the World Feels Like It’s Falling Apart

Self-care activities and ideas. / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Recently I had a popular tweet– well, popular for me at least. It was a moment of panic and feeling totally helpless that seemed to resonate with other people too.

Self-care activities / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

If you struggle with your mental health– or hell, even if you don’t– what is going on in the United States seems super scary. At the time I tweeted this (and many times after) I felt frozen in my own anxiety thanks to the direction or government is taking. And the only thing that has been able to pull me outta those feelings is a little self-care.

For some, self-care can seem daunting and overcomplicated. But it definitely doesn’t have to be. There are many different ways to self-care so I thought I’d share some easy ones. If you ever feel like the world is falling down, stop and give yourself a little love with some of these self-care activities.

21 Simple Self-Care Activities:

  1. Exercise. Stress or anxiety can manifest itself into physical tension that can easily be released through exercise. If you’re a gym buff, then get there and burn off some steam. If you want something more stationary, try yoga videos on Youtube. Anything to help you move your body and momentarily distract your mind. Plus the post workout endorphins aren’t bad.
  2. Listen to a podcast. 
  3. Take a really long shower. Turn your bathroom into your personal music video and go nuts. Plus that hot water feels good.
  4. Laugh. Netflix comedy specials are fantastic, as are old standby sitcoms like Will & Grace, Friends, and Modern Family. Also never underestimate the power of Youtube (can you tell I love Youtube?) for even older shows like Who’s Line is it Anyway? or content creators like Grace Helbig, Caspar Lee, or other comedians.
  5. Meditate.
  6. Deep breathing. If the idea of meditating is too overwhelming then just focus on breathing. Take three deep breaths, inhaling for 5 seconds and exhaling for 8. Feel your lungs fill with air, and then slowly express it. If it feels good then do 3 more.
  7. Read a book.
  8. Wash your sheets and then lay in your bed. Fresh, cozy sheets FTW.
  9. Help someone. Doing an act of good can make you feel good. Donate $5 to an organization that is important to you. Send a loved one a nice message. Write a nice message on a post-it note and stick it in a place others will see it. Let your mind wander with ideas for how to make someone else feel great.
  10. Read a book. Immerse yourself into a book you love and forget about the rest of the world.
  11. Cook something delicious.
  12. Eat something delicious.
  13. Unplug. Turn off all your electronics and step away from the news. Do whatever you want to that isn’t related to social media, the TV, our computer, iPad, or anything else electronic.
  14. Clean your home. 
  15. Write in a journal. Better yet, start a compliment journal by writing down 3 good things about yourself per day. Use this time to focus on your positive attributes and what you think you excel at. This is a double-whammy activity because it’s a great self-esteem booster as well.
  16. Craft, or do a DIY project.
  17. Pamper yourself. Do a face mask, paint your nails, do your hair, play with your make-up or go get a massage. Just do something to make yourself feel good.
  18. Have sex. Or masturbate. (Sorry not sorry, but I had to say it. It’s not just for dudes!)
  19. Dance it out. The Girl Power playlist on Spotify is BOMB.COM.
  20. Have a glass of wine.
  21. Call a friend and just chat. Tell them what’s bothering you or just talk about nothing in particular.

The possibilities for self-care activities are really endless but these are my favorite. The key to self-care is just doing something you enjoy, or that gives you an pleasant feeling. Just make sure you are taking time for yourself.

Got other self-care activities you love? Share them in the comments!

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How to Contact Your Representative

How to Contact Your Representative / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Hello, hi, howdy and welcome to my first official political post in which we discuss how to contact your representative. Regardless of what your political opinion is, it is very important to know how to contact your officials. Your voice doesn’t end with voting for your president and it’s important to stay in contact with your officials. But unfortunately, not everyone knows how to talk to them– or even who their representatives are. So let’s change that, huh?

Let’s just start by saying that this is a non-partisan post. I obviously have political opinions (follow me on Twitter and you know exactly what those are) but this post is not for that. The point of this post is to make sure each person is armed with the knowledge of how to stay in contact with their officials, regardless of their ideologies.

How to Contact Your Representative:

  1. Know your elected officials. Your senators and representatives are JUST as important as your president. This website is the official US Gov site on contacting your officials, but (in my opinion) isn’t as user friendly. WhoIsMyRepresentative.com can help you find who your representatives and senators are by searching via zip code or by state. It will also link you to their webpages and contact info.
  2. Learn their stance on issues that are important to you. The internet has tons of great resources to find out more about them and their voting record. VoteSmart.org and OnTheIssues.org are great sites to learn about their stance on important issues and how they’ve voted in the past.
  3. Write them a letter. They represent YOU. Let them know what issues are important to you. If you don’t agree with their record, you can tell them– but be respectful about it. They’re not likely to pay attention to a letter full of expletives. Explaining your points and why you feel that way is a much more valid argument than just telling them they’re wrong. Even if you do agree with their record, tell them, and tell them why. About.com has a great article on tips for writing a letter, and although this other template is about biology, it’s a great example of the format a general template for writing to your representatives. Just take out all the science stuff and replace it with what is specific to you.
  4. Stay updated on what is happening. Whatever happens in congress is public record, and is archived. The best places I found to read about the legislation in the senate on Senate.gov, and the House of Representatives on Clerk.House.gov. The websites aren’t super user-friendly, so take some time to explore them. Each bill has a name, so you can watch pieces of legislation as they are updated. You can follow specific pieces that are important to you and track their progress. And although the news covers them, you can also follow Executive Orders signed by Trump on WhiteHouse.gov and read them for yourself.
  5. Continue to voice your opinion. If something happens that you are happy about then write, email or call your representative’s office. If something happens that you don’t like, do the same. They are YOUR representative. And the only way they can represent you is if they know how you feel.

Bonus: Always, always, always fact-check yourself. Don’t blindly share things that you see online. There is such a thing as “fake news” and it’s unfortunately all over social media pages. A quick Google search to see if something is real will save you from spreading false info. It’ll also keep you from looking dumb, which is nice.

There are tons of other ways to stay updated with what is happening in our government, but this is what works for me.

If you have other ways you like to contact your congressman, or other ways to stay updated on what is happening in congress, please leave them in the comments for others to see. Let’s make it a little easier to make our voices heard.

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Netflix Original Stand Up: Jim Gaffigan “Cinco” Drinking Game

Brand-new Netflix Comedy Special: Jim Gaffigan's Cinco Drinking Game! / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com
Image credit to NETFLIX

Guess who’s back-back, back again… Jim Gaffigan!

I looooove Jim Gaffigan. The audio recordings of his other 4 hour-long specials regularly get me through the work day– AKA make me giggle like a fool at my desk so my coworkers question my sanity. And I couldn’t be more excited that he has a new special coming out on Netflix on January 10th. The special is appropriately named “Cinco” as it’s his 5th comedy special and a lot of his jokes center around his five children and I can’t wait.

In celebration for the comedian that doesn’t drink, I decided to create a drinking game for his special. Take a drink every time he references some of his favorite topics, and finish your drink whenever he mentions my favorite bit.

I tried to stay on the “safe” side so you don’t end up so inebriated that you can’t remember his special, but Mr. Gaffigan has his favorite topics, so I hope this game will be fun. So sit back, pour a favorite cocktail, and enjoy. If you need recipe ideas, check out Elle Talk for some bomb cocktail recipes.

Enjoy!

Brand-new Netflix Comedy Special: Jim Gaffigan's Cinco Drinking Game! / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

*This is 100% not sponsored by Netflix or Jim Gaffigan. I’m just a fan who loves spending Friday nights with a glass of wine and a comedy special. Pls don’t hate me, Netflix.

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2017 New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Let's talk about our 2017 New Year's Resolutions! / www.CandidlyKelseyBlog.com

Happy New Year! Anyone else waste the first day of the brand new year on the couch? No? Me either. Let’s not talk about it. But you know what we should talk about? Goals for 2017– also known as New Year’s Resolutions. Those are fun and not at all soul-crushing come October of said new year and you realize that you’re still fat, broke, and single despite making a drunken declaration as the ball drops.

So fun! Let’s do them. Below are my New Year’s Resolutions. Don’t forget to share yours with me in the comments!

  1. Eat better. I am going to start taking my lunch to work, and making an effort to cut down on unnecessary calories, like sauces, dressings, and anything else that makes food edible. But I will probably take a cheat day once per week. Give myself a chance to have something delicious. Or maybe I’ll take two per week, just to be safe. Or three. Ya know, I won’t really know until I really get there. Maybe a cheat meal… like, per day. We’ll see.
  2. Exercise more. Maybe I’ll do Pilates. Or yoga. Or Pi-Yo. Or Pi-Yo-P90x. Or just blend up a yoga mat with some kale and drink that while staring at a women’s health magazine. Probably same effect, right? And it’s healthy!
  3. Save money. I am going to start keeping a log of everything I spend my money on. Including the hundreds that I personally donate to GrubHub each month in exchange for semi-stale and cold food to be delivered to me on my couch. And stop taking Ubers when I already pay for a bus pass. Except when it’s cold, or my feet hurt, or the bus is going to take longer than 8 minutes to get to me. I have to draw the line somewhere.
  4. Be more responsible. Do my laundry before the pile casts a shadow over my kitchen counter. Buy toilet paper before I completely run out. Bring my own reusable bags to the grocery store. Stop shopping as a way to fill the emotional void. Ya know, just be smarter with my choices.
  5. Find a boyfriend. I have decided to finally give into the social construct that a woman is not allowed to be single by choice. Even though dating makes me want to throw up, and I work two jobs and like to spend my downtime on my couch as opposed to at bars that also make me anxious, 2017 will be the year I find a mate. No lesbian jokes at Thanksgiving 2017, no sir. Not this year!
  6. Accept the current political climate, hold onto my reproductive rights, feel safe walking down the street alone at night, personally identify who the Zodiac Killer is, solve world hunger, pass an Illinois State budget, and finally match up all my socks. If I have time after yoga, that is.

Happy 2017! Cheers to a new year and a new you! Good luck on your New Year’s Resolutions! #Werk

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