The only place to go, is UP

Hey there! I really appreciate you taking the time to read our blog, it means so much to me! Justin and I focus a lot on positivity and mindset and I know sometimes it may get annoying. But I think that it is so important to spread positivity, and offer words of encouragement and support because it wasn’t that long ago that I was in a very dark place. There is so much stigma around mental illness in society today, but with 20% of adults experiencing some form of mental illness, it appears that just like teaching sex-ed in high schools -> if we don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist. Right?

So I have taken it upon myself, as a mission of some sort, to share my struggles with depression, anxiety, self-esteem, toxic relationships and anything else that I have experienced in my life that I feel others might be experiencing too. With the hope to do everything possible in my power to reach out to those who are hurting and let them know that they are not alone. So, with that I ask you (if you choose to consider reading) to please take a minute and let the people in your life know that you care about them (including yourself) and that you are there for them. Because even the happiest of people may be crying themselves to sleep at night.

The other day I received an email reminding me that I had opened my online journal account 4.5 years ago and made my first and only entry on that day. And When I logged in to delete my account, this journal entry opened up and naturally I decided to read what I had written:

November 27, 2014

November 27, 2014

Reading my own thoughts and feelings from so long ago really just breaks my heart. And it makes me so sad thinking about the fact that no one ever stopped to ask me if I was okay or if I needed someone to talk to. I have always considered myself as someone who is very good at interpreting other people’s emotional states and feeling what they are feeling. I was always more concerned with how other people felt and how I could make them feel better.  It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized that not everyone felt this way. I was always doing everything for everyone else, never asking for anything in return because it made me happy making other people happy. And I figured that by them being happy that was enough, but I often felt like I put in way more effort than I received and often was left feeling unworthy and taken advantage of.

Anytime I tried to talk about my feelings (and let me tell you as a teenage girl with raging hormones, divorced parents and two step families -> I had a lot of them) I was more often than not met with “you’re overreacting” or “you are misinterpreting what they are doing/saying, because they would never do that.” And I was left feeling even more unworthy after speaking my feelings than I felt before I had said anything. So I learned that it hurt me less (or so I thought) to just keep those feelings inside. I lived for so long with the belief that my feelings did not matter and that the only thing I gained from sharing how I felt was more pain. It was less that I was overreacting, than it was to hear from someone else.

All I ever wanted was for someone to care about and  validate my feelings and let me know they were there for me. It seems so simple, but often times people are listening to respond and not listening to understand. They were so focused on fixing things and forgot to ensure me that my feelings were understood and they cared. And it only takes so many times before instead of “they would never do that” you hear “your feelings don’t matter, so I stopped trying to ask for help. I now have come to realize that the only person who has the right to decide how you feel is yourself, YOU are the only one. Someone can decide that they didn’t intend to hurt your feelings or that their actions/words may have been communicated, but they have no right to tell you how you feel.

Unfortunately keeping everything bottled up inside wasn’t something I could sustain for forever, and I was slowly reaching my breaking point. I went from being able to live my life by putting forth a facade that I was happy to withdrawing from everyone around me because: 1) I didn’t want to explode all these negative hurt feelings onto some unsuspecting person and 2) I didn’t believe I was worthy of anyone’s time or attention. But, when I finally felt like I couldn’t take it anymore, not for one more day, not for one more second something inside me said “don’t give up.” In that one moment, it became so clear to me that the only person that I ever needed to be there for me was myself. I needed to believe that my feelings mattered. I needed to believe I was worth something. And I decided that I wasn’t going to live another moment on this Earth if I was going to continue to feel this way and I knew I had to decide whether I wanted to stand up for myself or not.

And over time I have crawled out of that deep dark hole I had once believed I had been destined to live inside for my entire life. And as sad as it makes me to see physical evidence of the feelings I once had, it makes me so damn proud of myself for choosing to stand up for myself and get out of that toxic place. So proud that I have worked through all that pain and hurt. I want to be that person that I needed, that person who is there to help others find their strength. Yes, the only person you ever need to validate your feelings is yourself, and everything that you have ever needed is inside of you but you are not alone on this journey.

I may not know you personally, but if you are currently or are ever, feeling like you are worthless, helpless, stuck, numb or whatever it is that you are feeling. I want you to know that I will always be here for you. I am not telling you this because I want your pity or because I want attention. I am sharing this because if the person I was when I wrote that journal entry was to stumble across something like this, I would hope that she would feel slightly less alone.

And I’m also writing this for you all because regardless of your mental health, past or present, I want you to know that you are important and you are enough. I want you to know your life is worth living and realize that you want to live it, and live it to the fullest capacity.I want you to know that your feelings are valid and you deserve to be heard. And I also want you to know that it is going to be hard, nothing in life comes easy, but you don’t have to do this alone. Things won’t always be this way, you didn’t come this far to only come this far -> you just have to have a little faith. You have survived 100% of your worst days thus far and that is something to be so proud of. You are strong. You are a warrior. You can do this.

~ Kylee

Herbal Dynamics Beauty - Review

I have been fortunate enough to be graced with Herbal Dynamics personal care products and I just have to share how amazing they are! For starters, who doesn’t love a company that is focused on formulating botanical-based products that are paraben-free, sulfate-free, phthalate-free and cruelty-free? And the best part about using their products is they not only look and smell good, but they work too!

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My skin has never been easy to figure out, I have the worst dark circles ever, sun spots and an overly oily T-Zone but dry cheeks. So naturally I wanted to try out a few products that were aimed at helping out my problem areas and received the following:  

Volumizing Lip Scrub & Mask Duo These two products smell so amazing and they have worked wonders on my dry lips. The scrub is made with acai and mango oil, vitamin E, aloe, and shea, coco and mango butters. After using the sugar scrub your lips feel refreshed, exfoliated and ready for some lipstick or their lip mask. The mask uses the extract of the Kiss-me-now flower to naturally plump up your lips and stimulates hyaluronic acid synthesis to help soften your lips.

Vitamin K & Green Tea Brightening Eye Cream This product works for dark under eye circles and bagginess like nothing I have ever tried before! It is a very soft, lightly scented cream that can be used both morning and night after washing and toning your skin. It is packed full of Vitamin K to boost circulation and kick those dark circles to the curb. Both green tea and gingko biloba help reducing puffiness while avocado oil hydrates and plumps your under-eye area to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It is so soothing and I have noticed an improvement after using it morning and night consistently.

Prickly Pear & Vitamin C Moisturizer Okay so this stuff smells SO GOOD and makes my skin feel so hydrated and silky smooth. Prickly pear and Vitamin C both help to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. Watermelon extract contains Vitamin A which helps boost skin cell repair and Hyaluronic Acid delivers lots of hydration while still feeling light weight. With watermelon, prickly pear and oarweed extract no wonder it smells so great!

Vitamin C 25% Rejuvenating Serum Vitamin C is a powerful weapon against skin discoloration and sun spots. It helps to stimulate collagen production and this serum also contains organic green tea extract to help fight off the signs of aging. A must have to repair any sun damage and keep your skin looking bright and plump. Need I say more?

I use all these products daily and you can check out their whole website here or click on any of the titles above to learn more about the individual products. I have personally only dipped my toe in the Herbal Dynamics line of products but I cannot wait to try more!

~ Kylee

A Few of My Favorite things

Sometimes the world around us changes so quickly and the ‘next best thing’ materializes before our eyes and it is so hard to decide when something is truly our favorite when we are constantly thinking of what is coming next. However, I have put together a list of a few of the things that I absolutely cannot live without, and thought it was worth sharing! With Christmas just around the corner, and other occasions such as Valentine’s day, Graduation, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day in our near future, it doesn’t hurt to know some tried and true items that the special someone in your life might love!

1.     The Loopy Case

You can eye roll all that you want that this is the number one thing on my list, but you guys this case is literally something I cannot live without. I heard about this case from a friend, and I didn’t immediately buy one… but once I did, I was sold. This phone case comes with a built-in, interchangeable loop that allows you to hold your phone more comfortably in all situations. The case is designed not only to protect your phone from being dropped, but also as protection in case of a drop. Being someone who literally is always dropping my phone, this case really was a no brainer and no surprise when I instantly fell in love. And on top of the amazing case design, they are just gorgeous! Also, the company features many different designs from plain color, marble to even a Teakwood design; there is something for everyone. And if phone protection, comfort and design weren’t enough they have the best customer service I have ever experienced. If these few words have sparked some interest, you can check out the cases here and I promise you won’t regret it!

2.     Herbal Dynamics Beauty: Volumizing Lip Scrub & Mask Duo

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So as far as skin care products go I have tried SO many different brands and often end up disappointed. It is so hard to find something that works well with my skin, is made with all natural ingredients, is cruelty free and doesn’t cost me a fortune for a container of moisturizer. Queue Herbal Dynamics Beauty, a full line of skin-care products that are plant-based and affordable (sounds too good to be true, right?).

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Well I am definitely IN LOVE! My absolute favorite product that I have from them is their Volumizing Lip Scrub & Mask Duo. These two products smell so amazing and they have worked wonders on my dry lips. The scrub is made with acai and mango oil, vitamin E, aloe, and shea, coco and mango butters. After using the sugar scrub your lips feel refreshed, exfoliated and ready for some lipstick or their lip mask. The mask uses the extract of the Kiss-me-now flower to naturally plump up your lips and stimulates hyaluronic acid synthesis to help soften your lips. These two products together are such a dream, and a must have in my opinion! You can find this amazing lip duo here, and feel free to explore their site and let me know what you think in the comments below!  To see my full review on all their products I have tried, head on over to the full blog post here.

3.     Lively Bralettes

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Now this one is just for the ladies, but these bralettes are literally my favorite piece of undergarments that I own! They are so comfortable; the straps don’t slip off your shoulders like others do and the lace makes them virtually invisible under all your clothing. Not only do I love their bralettes, but they also have amazing undergarments of all kinds. My favorite thing about this brand is how no matter which bra or bralette I am wearing, I forget that it is on! I have never been so in love with undergarments before and I am so glad that I found an affordable brand. The customer service is also amazing, returns are easy and if you are unsure about sizing or the fit just send them an email and they are there to help. If you have not heard of Lively or are wanting to check them out, you can visit their website here and save $10 off your purchase through that link!

4.     Ritual Vitamins

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The whole idea behind vitamins is to fill in any gaps in your diet by providing you with the nutrients in pill form. However, most vitamins don’t taste good and are not formulated with the right kind of ingredients. And since the FDA does not regulate supplements, you may be wasting your money on a vegetable capsule filled with hydrogenated oil and synthetic dye (yuck!).

However, Ritual Vitamins has developed a women’s daily vitamin that is vegan friendly, gluten and allergn free, non-GMO and contains no colorants, no synthetic fibers. And if you are like me and vitamins make you nauseated sometimes, the capsule is designed to release in the less sensitive area of your gut and is essence with mint so they don’t taste like vitamins! They contain the 9 most essential nutrients that most women are not able to get from their diet and the difference I have felt since taking these vitamins in my energy levels, sleep and overall feeling of wellness gives these vitamins a  well-deserved, spot on my must have list! Check them out here.

5.     Hydroflask

Okay, so maybe I am a little bit biased towards this item because I live in Arizona, but I honestly could not live without this. And it isn’t just the fact that it is a Hydroflask brand but you have got to have some sort of insulated water bottle, especially when you live in Arizona! Plus, I drink so much more water when I am able to drink the water through a straw and constantly have it with me without spilling it anywhere. And they come in fun colors or you can customize them on their website and make it truly your own! If you choose to purchase one as a gift don’t forget the straw lid, it’s really a must-have!

If you check out any of these products, have tried them before, or have any things you would like me to try myself let me know in the comments below! Happy shopping :)

~ Kylee