Monday, April 13, 2015

Life Advice for My Teenage Self

Last year was full of a lot of ups and downs. I had some hard mountains to climb, namely depression, but I feel like I'm on my way back out of the water. Dealing with the emotions associated with depression was probably one of the biggest challenges I've faced, and I have been through a lot in my life. Whether it's because it's something that I've never experienced before and wasn't equipped to deal with or the plain fact that it hit me upside the head out of the blue, I'm not sure. I hope that I can continue to find the strength to keep forging ahead, although the going may get rough. This past year, for many reasons, has taken a lot out of me. 

I decided at the end of 2014, after learning so much more about myself, to combine everything I've learned in a letter to myself as a teenager, imparting wisdom on a girl who could have used it then--hindsight and age are valuable commodities in this life. 

As a teenager, I think, so many of us feel awkward in our own skin, unsure of who we really are, and afraid to stand up for who we are and what we believe in. At least I was. I believe that too many of our teenage girls today feel like this and need to know that they're not alone. 

To myself, as an awkward, shy, unsure, teenage girl:

Life is full of ups and downs. I know it seems like the end of the world when something doesn't turn out the way you plan, but don't worry! It's just life. Take a deep breath and keep going. That old adage "when life gives you lemons..." is true. It's not what happens to you in this life that defines you, it's what you do when adversity faces you. Don't worry; you'll survive. The good things in life seriously outweigh the bad. It doesn't always feel like it, but it's the truth.

You are amazing. Don't let anyone else tell you otherwise. It doesn't matter if someone doesn't like the clothes you wear, the way you cut your hair, how you take your time and think before you speak, but don't let it bother you! You do not have to change who you are to fit it. Other people will care about who you really are inside, and those are the people who matter. You will have plenty of true, fabulous friends in your life who love you for who you are. They are amazing people; don't worry if it takes awhile to find people who really understand you. It's worth the wait.

Don't be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help doesn't show that you are weak, that you don't know what you're talking about. Getting advice from other people give you new knowledge and offers new perspectives. Just ask. I know it's scary, but you can't do everything on your own. 

Nothing is wrong with you. You think differently than other people. You don't enjoy being in front of other people; it is work for you. That's okay. You don't have to be like everyone else. Be okay with you--you're perfect just the way you are, no matter what anyone says about who you are.

I know it's hard to not become overwhelmed with life, but life can be overwhelming. Try to take things as they come. One thing at a time, and know that you will get through it. Trust me, you will. It may not be easy, you may not like the outcomes of some things, but you will survive.

Be happy. Do the things that you love and don't worry about what others think of you. If you need to say no to people to do something for you, it's okay! You are important, and your happiness is important. Life is too short not to be happy. 

You are enough. You always have been and you always will be. 

What would you tell your teenage self?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Monday, April 6, 2015

I'm Book Swapping It Up!

I am so excited that I actually made the sign-up deadline for The Books 'n' Bloggers Swap over at Chaotic Goddess Swaps! I completely missed their 12 Days of Christmas Swap :( I always remember to check out their blog right when the deadline passes for entering. Well, not this time!

They always have the most fun swaps. This one, to me at least, is the most fun because it involves books! 

For this swap, you get paired with another blogger and you get to send them a box of love filled with books! How fun! In your box of loveliness, you must send:

1) A book from your partner's wishlist,
2) A book you have read and loved, and
3) A book you haven't read, but think looks interesting.

And of course, you can send book-related odds and ends with your package too!

I love sending book love to other people, and it's so fun to get a box of books that some else picks for you in the mail! I have also met so many great, new friends through swaps, blogging, and my bookshop--this is another great way to meet fun new people who share my love for books!

Looking forward to meeting my partner and taking part in this swap.

What would be some books on your swap wishlist?

Lots of love <3 Holly

Friday, April 3, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Thrifted Finds

There is no denying that I love thrifting. I call it "the thrill of the hunt." I love not knowing what treasures are waiting to be found on a good thrift hunt. One important thing to keep in mind while thrifting, however, is that you have to keep an open mind. You can always change thing, get them altered, or wear them in unconventional ways. The same goes for housewares. You don't have to use them for their intended purpose. Think outside the box and get creative :) That's the fun part! Here are a few of my favorite thrifted finds over the past few years.

Clothing and Accessories

I found this adorable ivory button-down shirt for $2.99. It has a funky, western feel to me with that button on the collar. But by rolling up the sleeves, adding a fitted vest, some chunky jewelry, and black skinny dress pants, I felt like I looked pretty cute! What a deal :)

I also found this AMAZING, vintage Coach cross-body purse. It is my go-to when I'm going out or going shopping. The best part is that I scored this beauty for $4.99! It's the perfect size for a small wallet, my phone, and any other small odds and ends that I need. Many times, the more "expensive items" at a Thrift Store (worth more money) are in a glass case or behind a counter where you have to ask to see an item. There are some times, however, where a gem of an item gets missed (there is a lot of inventory going through a thrift store; it's easy to miss something if you don't know what you're looking for). Keep an eye out for gems like these. I've found some pretty great finds that I've scored for $.99 to $5, but are worth much more than that!

I've also gotten a lot of use out of vintage sweaters. This one I found for $3.50. I've worn it for casual days with jeans and over dresses. It is super comfy and in great condition. It's funny because at the time, I saw a similar sweater at Target that was 8 to 9 times the amount of this thrifted find.

sweater from

If you go thrifting with outfit ideas, colors, or items in mind that you would like, it is sometimes easier to sift through the many, many items laid out in the store (it can be overwhelming). You may not find what you're looking for the first time, but eventually, you'll find something similar to what you are looking for!

I had this gray maxi skirt for awhile and didn't have a shirt that looked good with it. I wanted a shorter shirt, but a lot of those available that I found would have shown my stomach. I was not about to bear my midriff! Instead, I found this shirt a few sizes larger than I wear. The way that this shirt is cut, it most likely, in my size, would have been a midriff revealing top. I'm glad I found one a little bigger that came right to the top of my skit. I thought they looked perfect together and no tummy gap! Sometimes it helps to look in other sizes that you wouldn't typically search through at regular stores. You never know what you may find: an over-sized, slouchy sweater to wear with skinny jeans, a nice, comfy flannel, or a boyfriend blazer. 

At first, I wasn't sure if I liked this dress. It looked a little dated on its own. But when I paired it with a belt and a leopard print sweater, it looked great! Sometimes thinking outside the box, especially about styling your finds, will have you try out different styles and trends that you may not have before. 

One item I love to find thrifting is a good fascinator! I am in love with these little gems. Not that I wear them out anywhere, but I do collect them and have some I'd like to hang on the wall. 

Odds and Ends

I also love finding busts that I use to decorate my house. I use them as bookends and shelf decorations. My dad loved presidents, and having these around, make me happy. I smile when I see them because I think of him. So far I've found an amazing Eleanor Roosevelt bust in addition to these above!

I also love to find vintage art. I have found a few great pieces to decorate my house. The woman who sold this piece to me asked if I was going to use this to decorate for Halloween! I was like, "What?!!?" I told her that I was going to hang it in my living room. My sister thinks she's creepy, but I think she's fabulous!

I've also found many a thrifted piece of furniture for my house. This desk is one score that I absolutely love and use almost every day. I got it for $40. I've also found another desk, a few chairs, a few side tables, and some other odds and ends. Maybe I'll do a post about the things that I've found around my house :) Never pass up the furniture if you're looking for it. I've found some great deals thrifting!

Thrifting is a great way to find unique items to wear or for your home. It may take some time, some digging, and some patience, but if you're up for it, you should try it!

What are your favorite things to thrift?

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Irrational OCD Thoughts #1

Yesterday I just had to laugh at myself. As someone living with OCD, I have a lot of random and crazy, nonsensical thoughts. No rhyme or reason, they just pop into my head from time to time (much less than they did in my previous years). But I still have OCD. They're there; I just know how to deal with them now. And I know how not to feed into my OCD thoughts.

Yesterday afternoon I bought a few tennis balls to help rub some knots out of my back to relieve my stiff neck. The only tennis balls that I could find were doggie-playing tennis balls like these:

The first thought in my head was an OCD thought. Here is what my brain said, "Maybe I should give Remy the orange one and keep the blue one because blue is a calming color and blue will help calm my muscles. If I don't use blue, I won't feel calm. So I better not use the orange." All of a sudden, negative feelings started to become associated with the orange-colored paw prints on the tennis ball. I can't keep thoughts like those from popping into my head; it's what I do with the thought that matters. 

I told my brain to shut up, silently, of course, handed the blue ball to Remy, and proceeded to lay on the tennis ball with the orange paw prints and rub it around my back. OCD thoughts squashed!

The problem with OCD irrationalities like these is that with OCD, you convince yourself that these thoughts are true. Years ago, I rationally would have known that the blue paw prints had nothing to do with relaxation and loosening muscles, but my OCD brain would've convinced me that it did. I would not have been able to get this thought out of my head. I would not have been able to use the orange tennis ball, thinking that my back would never feel better as a result of the color of those silly paw prints.

I get it--it sounds ridiculous. But OCD plants these tiny, irrational thoughts in your mind that you just can't shake. Even if you question them at first, OCD has a way of getting you to question your common sense, your ability to rationalize. It makes you believe it. That's the tricky part.

Today I am able to see it for what it is--nonsense--and move on. I know it will be something that I will always have to live with. Of course, I do have bad days where the thoughts last a little longer than I'd like them to, but I am so very proud of myself for being able to squash OCD in its tracks when it's trying to derail me. 

Lots of love <3 Holly