Shows to Binge

The Internet is going crazy with things to do while quarantined, and now the quarantine seems to be mainly people who feel healthy but are are trying to *flatten the curve* since they could still be carriers. If you have not heard that phrase yet, please read this article on The Washington Post. It’s a really amazing illustration on why it’s important to use social distancing (another phrase that’s blown up this week) until we’ve got a handle on this. Luckily I am finding more people finally taking this seriously now that it’s really blowing up (WHY couldn’t we have done this a week ago?! You live and you learn, I guess).

In the meantime while we are being careful, being inside and away from our normal activities is incredibly difficult! I think back to when I first got sick with POTS and had to spend months finding things to do in a reclined position, and am realizing that it’s pretty ungrateful of me to be complaining about feeling pretty good and just being stuck in my house. As a former queen of television, here is a giant list I compiled of binge-worthy shows. I should note that you should just skip reading this if you’re not into reality TV, crime, or comedies.


NETFLIX

The Office, Comedy
This is a really obvious choice. Whether you’ve seen it a million times like me (It’s the only show I always know

Parks and Recreation, Comedy
If you like The Office, you’ll probably like Parks & Rec. Give it a few episodes. It gets good!

Fuller House, Comedy
I just realized I have not seen the newest season of Fuller House! It wasn’t the best show ever, but I’ll be happy to have something lighthearted to watch. As a side note, if you have Disney+, you should watch Boy Meets World. I never saw it until a few months ago and shockingly think it’s really funny, despite thinking it was going to be a show for kids.

The Stranger, Suspense
The Stranger is such a good show. There are only 8 or 9 episodes out right now, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching it a few weeks ago and 100% regret not saving it for a rainy day like this. If you like all things suspense, you’ll love this thriller.

You, Suspense
You is a little gross and super creepy, especially if you’re a girl who might be afraid of something like online dating. The main character, Joe, is

Love Is Blind, Reality TV
LIB has been super popular on all social media platforms the past several weeks. The idea behind it is simple — you go on the show to try to fall in love with someone you’ve never seen before, then end the show with a new husband or wife. A group of men all live together, and a group of women all live together. They take turns going on “dates” with each other in these little things they fondly call “pods.” A pod is basically a personal living room with a wall that divides the opposite sex’s living room from yours. You speak through the wall and learn about people’s personalities to try to fall in love with someone you’ve never seen before. It’s very interesting, has a decent amount of drama (Which I love), and is super bingeable now that they taped both the finale and reunion. No waiting around to figure out whether each couple ends up with one another!

The Circle, Reality TV
The Circle gave me Big Brother vibes, with a Love Is Blind twist to it. Basically, people are all in the same apartment building but can only chat with each other via a Facebook-type app. They have to vote to eliminate someone every couple of days, and the last (wo)man standing leaves with $100,000. Spoiler alert: your favorite person in this show is going to be Shooby.

Gilmore Girls, Drama
Gilmore Girls is kinda cheesy, but a good show to binge. I’m not going to watch it yet, because I think it will make me miss my mom, but saving it for a later date maybe!

Hart of Dixie, Drama
I watched this show a little with my parents a few years ago and first, I love Rachel Bilson, second, I liked having a lighthearted show that gave me Hallmark vibes to watch. I think this might be one of my next shows.

PRIME

Psych, Comedy with a side of crime and suspense
Psych was a show on USA when I was a teenager and I haven’t seen it in years, but it is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen. I love that they mix suspense along with two of the arguably funniest characters on television. Shawn and Gus are such a great dynamic duo; you’ll fall in love with their goofy, quirky ways. Plus there are a bunch of seasons, all of which are nestled on Prime!

Law & Order, SVU, Crime
Even though it isn’t true crime, some of the episodes were created after famous cases and I think it’s interesting to see how the detectives on the show deal with figuring out crime scenes. The show is heavily criticized by law enforcement, but being a regular civilian I enjoy watching it.

HULU

The Mindy Project, Comedy
PLEASE WATCH THE MINDY PROJECT. I’m telling you; it’s hilarious. If you like The Office and are a female, you’ll love this show. I wasn’t a huge fan of Kelly on The Office, but always loved Mindy Kaling. She has the BEST sense of humor and is so lighthearted and fun.

Nathan for You, Comedy
NFY is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen. I haven’t watched it in a few years now, so want to start watching it before I go to bed now. Nathan is super awkward, super goofy, and super funny. He kind of is a mix of Michael Scott and Jim Halpert, but even more extreme. Watch it if you need a good belly laugh.

Seinfeld, Comedy
Wait, Seinfeld is on Hulu?! What?! I always just watch it when it’s on cable, but it would actually be fun to scroll around and find some of my favorite episodes to rewatch. Noted.

The Bachelor, Reality TV
This season of The Bachelor was a little controversial, but overall got decent reviews from viewers I think. Peter was not the best bachelor we’ve seen, and we figure out why in the last few episodes. In my opinion it was the best season we’ve had in years.

Catfish, Reality TV
Guys, I just discovered that Hulu has 7 seasons of Catfish!!! This show is great for a little bit before taking a break to something more lighthearted. I always feel so bad for the people who get tricked online, and sometimes even for those who are pretending to be someone else. It’s fun guessing whether or not someone is real or a catfish, and some of us can even relate to being catfished on a dating app.

90 Day Fiance, Reality TV
Still haven’t watched this, but several people I trust have said I would like it, so I’m excited to see the series on Hulu. From what I understand, people meet each other and have 90 days to get married. I don’t know how or where they meet, and if they’re set up with a bunch of people or just one, but it involves love and reality TV, so I’m all for it. Will report back after binging some!

Keeping Up with The Kardashians, Reality TV
Don’t judge. There are 8 seasons of Keeping Up on Hulu right now, and this is great mindless background noise. Plus, there’s something soothing about the show that is perfect for a pre-bedtime routine.

And finally, I saved the best for last,

ON AN APP

Big Brother Canada, Reality TV
Obsessed with Big Brother in general, and BBCan is basically the same as the US version of the show. Big Brother is the best show to start following right now because if you’re not watching the normal episodes, you are able to still watch the live feeds of the show! I will post a link to the show when I find a good way for anyone to watch it. This season is so good so far; I’m only on the 5th episode, but am eager to catch up!

For those of you who don’t know what Big Brother is, it’s a reality show where the contestants are taped 24/7 and all locked inside the same house. It’s kind of like Survivor, but indoors! The players compete for $500,000, and each week they vote someone out of the house. There are a million different strategies, and it’s a great social experiment. The interesting thing about this season is that none of the players have a clue about the pandemic that’s going on in the outside world. They’ll definitely be shocked when they get out of the house. They’re also the safest right now since nobody new goes in to the house!


That should all last you a few weeks. Add video games and board games to your itinerary and you’ll be good to go! I’ll write more about other things to do later, but let me know if you watch and like any of these shows. Stay healthy and safe. Wash your hands and don’t go out unless necessary!

Working Together

I have a Coronavirus post I wrote yesterday, but first I wanted to share a much shorter sentiment today. I am so thankful that so many people are cooperating and trying their best to stay inside and avoid, not only getting the virus, but spreading it to others.

Every flu season since getting sick with POTS I get the flu shot and wash my hands like crazy to avoid unnecessary complications that could come with the flu. It’s always so freaking annoying when you get together with someone who informs you that they’ve been fighting off a fever or cold all week, and you wonder why the heck they didn’t just stay home and not infect everyone else. This Coronavirus is a small taste of what immunocompromised people* deal with every year in trying to stay healthy.

One of the biggest problems in China and Italy is that people who carried the virus kept going out and contaminating the rest of the community. One person who is carrying the virus can do a heck of a lot of damage if you think about how many people each of the people (s)he affected go contaminate too. If we would all just stay at home for two weeks — the incubation period of the virus — wouldn’t it maybe just stop here?

I honestly am not an expert and not pretending to be. I’ve kept up with some updates from my POTS doctor, as well as followed the local news on Coronavirus cases in our area.

I’m used to seeing people be very nonchalant about getting sick because they’ve never been chronically ill before, but this is a new phenomena. People all across the country are quarantining themselves, only going out to get groceries and the apparently hot commodity that is toilet paper. People who are completely healthy young adults are staying in, not just to avoid the virus themselves, but also to avoid spreading it if they are actually carrying it and show no symptoms. This includes celebrities, politicians, athletes, and people who are in the public eye. My Instagram and Facebook feeds are flooded with posts about being locked up at home and canceled plans until we get through this. People are asking for TV shows to binge, games to play with significant others, and treating this like it’s a big snowstorm in which you can’t leave your house for a few weeks. This is absolutely amazing. I really hope we continue to try to fight this pandemic and end it in America. Stay in, get lots of rest, and snuggle up to a pet, loved one, or fluffy blanket to ride this out with the rest of the country. Here’s to hoping and praying for all of the at-risk people, the amazing doctors and nurses who make a million and one sacrifices for each and every one of us, and everyone else, too. ❤

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*The verdict is still out on whether or not Dysautonomia makes me immunocompromised, however POTS patients struggle when they do get sick because our bodies already have a very difficult time finding homeostasis. On a daily basis I try to find the right balance of salt and electrolytes with water so that I’m not constantly dehydrated and battling debilitating headaches that last for days. Ask my husband — when my head hurts I think he has to say something three times to get it to fully process.

I like to write things like this because I also have a bunch of friends now who do have serious chronic illnesses that wouldn’t just cause complications if they got sick — it could be a lot worse. People need to know how their actions affect others, and I don’t think staying in for a few weeks will kill anyone. It could, however, be problematic to those who are at risk.

Pupper Doggo

Man, I’m tired. I am having more pain tonight because I’m a huge goof and haven’t taken care of myself the past few days. I’ve been wrapped up in trying to get work done (Have I mentioned on here I have been working from home? I started it in October and it’s been really great) and been slacking on my mobility work. My neck hurts, my shoulders hurt, and the muscles between each of my ribs hurt.

I got POTS over 6 years ago, which means I’ve had chronic pain for most of that time. It’s gotten better and better the more I’ve worked on it and gone to physical therapy, but it’s still freaking weird knowing that if I’m a 2 or a 3 on the pain scale, that one day it will likely spike, even if for a short period of time. I don’t really know what causes all of my flare-ups, but I feel frustrated when I cause them by neglecting taking care of myself. It annoys me that I have to focus on my health so much while still in my 20s, so sometimes I do rebel and take a few days off. I always regret it, but sometimes I just need a break.

One thing always makes me so so happy, though, and that’s dogs! Here are some of my favorite dog pictures from this month. Hopefully they’ll make you smile as much as they do for me.


Here’s my handsome little man at the P-A-R-K.

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I took this picture of Macy right before leaving the house. She was all snuggled up and happy in her PJs, and I always think of her as being my little angel.

macy

This picture of Jax isn’t by any means “good,” but it cracks me up because I pulled out a bag of pretzels at 2 in the morning a few weeks ago when I wasn’t feeling well. It was hilarious seeing how quick he was to lunge onto the bed to steal some of my snack. He had been sound asleep on the floor until then.

jax

Luckily, Jax usually sleeps in bed with me when I’m alone. Here is another favorite photo at bedtime. I typically have to shove him to the side a few times in the middle of the night because he likes to hog absolutely everything.

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And here’s a throwback gem to my sweet little angel, Gracie. These pictures all make me so happy. :’)

goodnight wiht gracie

 

 

Seven – Memories

I haven’t wanted to write very much lately, but at the same time I’ve been writing more for myself than I have in months. So much has been going on lately and I’ve written six different blog posts that I didn’t feel were very good, or were far too personal to share. This is number seven, and I’m going to post the draft when my fingers are done playing on the keyboard.


I dyed my hair brown this weekend. Well, actually, my best friend who is the most talented hairstylist on planet earth dyed my hair for me, but my point being, I went from having a 29 year streak of being a blonde to turning into a brunette for the winter. I just needed a change and it was a semi-permanent hairstyle versus a very permanent tiny tattoo on my wrist, so the hair won by a landslide.

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Hair and makeup both by Audrey!

Sometimes when I feel like life is getting away from me and I can’t control things that are happening, I will find little things I can do that offer choices. I love doing my makeup when I feel anxious, or going out and meeting new people. I love learning, cooking, or honing in on a new skill to keep my mind busy.

This year I have a lot on my plate. Some things are exciting, others are not so great, but 2020 is definitely setting itself up to be a whirlwind. I thought a lot about choosing a word for the year. The past 2 years I had the same word — “fearless.” The year before that I chose “strong.” It didn’t look like I chose a word in 2016, but if I were to have picked one at the end of 2015 for that year it would have been something along the lines of “giddy,” “bright,” or “beautiful,” because that was the year I really fell in love.


Maybe it’s because it’s my time of the month right now, but I’m feeling pretty nostalgic, so I am turning back the hands of time by reading some of the old blog posts I stumbled upon. Writing is a cool thing because you see just how much you change over time. I’ve kept journals ever since I could write. I have dozens of books filled with incredibly boring entry after entry like,

“Went to school today, then got BBQ chips and a Slurpee at 7-11 after. Great day!”

or,

“Went to Nicole’s birthday party and they gave me a hamster to keep! I’m not good at holding him, though, because his feet tickle my hands too much.”

These journals are some of the most boring reading material of all time, but they make me smile because I remember a lot of the feelings I had behind the entries. I highly recommend writing down things that are on your heart, because in the words of Andy Bernard, “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

We spend so much freaking time wasting our lives worrying or putting off loving others because we are too busy with the unimportant details. Life is so short, and my biggest fear has always been not having enough time to show people how valuable they are, how loved they are, and how big of an impact they make on the world just by being here. I truly think that there are so many people in the world who feel confused or lonely, and I wish we could all just come together and realize how not-alone we really are.

Back to Andy Bernard, though. I am quite certain the good old days haven’t come and left for me, but the sentiment I like behind the statement is that you need to enjoy every single moment of life, because you never know when that chapter of the book will close for you, and everything left is just a memory.

Some of my old blog posts make me cry. I get to go back and read about the third date I went on with my now-husband. I can read about funny moments we had together and remember the way he looked when I knew he was falling for me. I can read about how free I felt getting over a breakup, how much my family and friends mean to me, and all the really silly things I’ve done just to make other people laugh. I can still remember the pain of deployment without having to read about it, but my body feels numb when I read about pulling to the side of the road to catch my breath after seeing a blue F-150 on the road on a particularly difficult day.


This year I want my word to be “present.” I struggle with anxiety, so this is not an easy word to choose, but I want to learn how to appreciate little things in the moments where I feel like I can’t breathe because my mind is a million miles away worrying about something else. I want to give the best parts of myself to the people I love, and I want to give myself the best version of me. This is going to be a year of finally learning the things I’ve been dying to do, it’s going to be the year of reading books that make me a more dynamic person, and I’m going to try my absolute best to enjoy even the littlest things in life instead of letting the little things get me down.


Thanks to my writing I will always be able to pull up a little visual of what it was like falling in love, and remind myself that you can never appreciate a moment too much because one day it will just be a memory. This year I want to have stories that are worth remembering, but even more than that I want to have beautiful feelings to write about — whether or not that will be on here.

Wear Your Retainers and Other Advice for the Next Decade

2019 really got away from me. New Year’s Eve feels like it was forever ago, but I kind of can’t believe it’s about to be a new decade.

This year has been crazy and filled with lots of new adjustments, but I haven’t felt like writing about much of it on here. My journals are filled, though, so one day maybe some stories will eventually make the cut. I have a very boring one today, so it’s unfortunate I don’t post on here more often, but I’ll do a very exciting (and kind of funny) Trader Joe’s post on Tuesday to make up for it.

I went to the dentist recently and he told me my teeth looked beautiful and were cavity-free. Great! We did see, though, that my teeth are shifting. Apparently that can happen over a decade after getting your braces off? Since I was about 14 when I got those suckers taken off, I didn’t really consider that at 29 years old I would be revisiting how to straighten teeth. Apparently this is a common problem for people my age since they weren’t doing a lot of the permanent retainers until a little more recently…? I digress.

I went home and jammed my retainers in, per the dentist’s recommendation, and they still kind of fit. The lower one is more comfortable, which is shocking because those are the teeth that look a liiiiitle more shifty. The truth is, I was always great at wearing my retainers until I got sick with POTS. Ask any of my college roommates — I had a lisp every night when I went to bed because I wanted to take great care of the expensive smile I had received as an all-too-unappreciated middle school graduation gift. POTS makes me very dehydrated, which made it very difficult to wear retainers that made my mouth feel even more dry. I stopped wearing them regularly, and I kept letting it slide for six long years.

The point of this post isn’t to bore everyone to death — though I’m really sorry if you’re already there. It’s to make the very important point that some New Year’s resolutions should be habits that you plan on forming and keeping as healthy lifestyle changes. This year I am going to create very realistic, doable resolutions that I want to carry through the next decade. I started with a vague, “I want to start doing yoga,” to making the resolution that I will work out 3 times a week, whatever that looks like. I’m already 1 workout down for this week from a Pilates class I took at home this evening.

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Jax was initially very concerned with the fact that I was lying down on the ground, but eventually realized he didn’t need to keep monitoring me so closely.
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So then he fell asleep, but stayed close in case I needed anything. Such an angel.

Another resolution was going to be, “blog twice a week,” kind of like the 2019 resolution I broke. Instead, I am making myself write every single day, but in whatever form I’d like. Whether it’s writing even just a sentence or two in my journal or doing a long essay on here, I want to keep my creative juices flowing and keep recording my memories. I tend to write either when I’m really happy about something or upset in one way or another. I would like for my writing to reflect more of my everyday life, which is probably more of just boring old contentment.

I have a million other things I’d like to do this year, but I’m keeping my resolutions simple and realistic. I am still formulating my realistic goal for “eating better,” but I’m going to figure something practical out that will still make it easy to enjoy life while being a healthier version of myself. Maybe I’ll sub a few salads into my weekly meal routine or cut back on processed foods for special occasions only. I’ll figure it out.

The new year always feels like such a beautifully fresh slate, but I don’t want this year to be like my Planet Fitness membership and only get used at the beginning of the year when I’m excited about all the new promise it offers. I want to keep my goals, continue to find new adventures to go on, and create a healthy lifestyle, rather than have an enormous bucket list of things I’ll forget about come March. That way, instead of waking up one morning with shifty teeth, I’ll have settled into good habits that keep my body and mind sharp for the long run.

Happy New Year everyone, and I can’t wait to hear about all the other goals and ideas people have for the new decade!

October – November

Hi! It’s been awhile, but I’ve been pretty busy.

I started my first consistent normal-ish job and am working from home now! I’m doing editing and publishing for a PR company. It’s been really fun, but has also kept me busy, and I still only have a certain amount of time I can spend on a computer without my elbows or neck beginning to hurt. I am making leaps and bounds of progress, though, and am so freaking happy about that! It’s sometimes funny to think about, but I honestly think I’m more thankful for my body now that still is not working the way it should be, than I ever was for my body pre-POTS. Before I got sick I played just about every sport, could run 6 miles no problem, and a half marathon with just a little bit of soreness after. I had a seemingly endless supply of energy and would wake up early, go to bed late, and made time for work and play almost every day. Looking back I don’t know how I didn’t realize how lucky I was. This is just how life works sometimes, though.

I never in a million years thought writing would ever be difficult. Mentally, yes, but physically I should have been able to write for decades before anything became remotely difficult. I have a hard time finding outlets for my feelings sometimes since running has been off the table, and even writing things down can be painful sometimes.

Anyway, I haven’t been able to write for fun very much lately, but there’s not a lot I’ve wanted to share. I’ve become much more private with my life in the past year or two; maybe I’ll explain why one day, but I’m not ready to right now. In the meantime, I am going to get back to my Trader Joe’s Tuesday posts because I have a very deep love for that grocery store. I’ve loved being a stay-at-home dog mom, and think I’ve become a very good cook this year. I figure I share my recipes with my closest friends each week; why not write about it a little too?!

I hope you all had a very nice fall. I’m not doing a very good job coming up with words right now, so I’ll save all of us some time and keep this post short. Have a great Thanksgiving if we don’t talk before then. ❤

Let’s Talk About Anxiety

I woke up this morning in a sweat. My heart was racing as I jolted awake from some sort of nightmare. I immediately started thinking about things that make me nervous about the future, and how the heck I’m going to get through it all. My stomach dropped deep down into my abdomen as my heart leapt straight through my chest. Apparently you sometimes can’t even escape anxiety in your dreams.

Anxiety is a cousin of depression. They’re close in the sense they both can be based on fear and uncertainty, but they give two very different feelings. Depression is hollow and dark. It feels like a rainy day in a swamp, with fog as far as the eye can see. You know it’s a wide open space, but you can’t muster up the energy to move around freely. You are curled up in a ball, only vaguely noticing that there is a world around you. I think often with depression, the person in the middle of the fog can really only see a few feet around them and can’t tell that there is light and beauty outside the dark swamp. In fact, there are still beautiful flowers and little glimmers of light while you are there, but they can be difficult to see if you give up and stay curled in your little ball. Rays of light come in the form of good friends, puppies, working out, and helping others. There is always a reason to keep fighting, but everyone understands if you need to take a break for awhile. It is exhausting when you feel like you’re alone and don’t know how to pull yourself up off the ground.

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Anxiety paints a different picture. Instead of being a more introverted feeling, anxiety is the craziest extrovert you’ve ever seen. It is wild and red, and hot to the touch. Anxiety makes you feel claustrophobic in your own body, and creates a strong desire to run away from yourself. With depression, you would rather be able to get back in to your own body and figure out how to find yourself again. Anxiety makes you want to forget everything there is about you and run away to create a new life. You want to turn your brain off to stop thinking about anything and everything and find a way to sleep again, but you can’t take a vacation from your thoughts. Both depression and anxiety can create a pit in your stomach, but they’ve often settled there for entirely different reasons.

I have tiptoed along the line of depression sometimes, but I think having some down days is part of the human experience, so it’s very different than it was being in the darkness I have only been in once before. Anxiety is a much more familiar feeling I let sneak into my heart. It starts by catching the door with its foot, then shoves its way in guns blazing. “You’re not good enough,” “You won’t be able to handle the future,” and, “You can’t do the thing” are all lies anxiety screams as loudly as it can. It makes up elaborate and unlikely stories of what your future is going to look like, but speaks them with confidence and as truth. It’s a lot easier said than done to choose not to believe the lies, as a simple, “just don’t worry about it,” or, “calm down” won’t ease an anxious person’s heart. It is possible to find peace, but takes a lot of swallowing your own pride, accepting help from others, and being gentle with yourself.


Anxiety and depression are both so prevalent in today’s world. I don’t know if the age of social media has caused a rise in mental health issues or we’re just more open about them now, but I’d say more people than not have had a taste of these feelings, even if they haven’t been officially diagnosed with anything. I think we underestimate how not-alone we are in the world and how similar our feelings are to one another.

Talking about anxiety makes me anxious. I still think people are quick to judge, label, and make assumptions about people they don’t know. Despite genuinely believing most people have a good headspace about talking about mental health, I know there is still ignorance and confusion in this space of the world. I know that therapy is still stigmatized, and that people don’t always love and support things they don’t understand. So many people, though, who you would never guess are fighting difficult battles by themselves. Sometimes the most beautiful, smiley rays of sunshine have a darkness that is clouding their heart, and I am so thankful that celebrities and people in the limelight who have platforms are speaking up about their struggles more. Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, Mindy Kaling, and Stephen Colbert are all people who live to make others laugh, but struggle with anxiety. Jim Carey, Owen Wilson, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sarah Silverman have all been very open about dealing with depression. It isn’t just comedians who struggle with mental health, though. There is an enormous list of people who range from athletes to astronauts who have been affected by depression or anxiety. Even Abraham Lincoln is thought to have had severe depression and anxiety; they just didn’t have a word for it then.

My purpose in writing this is because I think it’s so important that we realize we are never alone in our thoughts or feelings. People need to be taught from a young age that it’s okay for everything to not be okay sometimes. People should realize that we all have battles we’re fighting, that we can share our struggles with our loved ones, and most of all, to be kind to everyone we meet. I am not “Instafamous,” do not have a large group of followers, or a particularly captivating life to share about, but I want to open my heart to the people who do read this in hopes it makes someone feel less alone. I see you, and care about you. We need you here, and you are important. Please don’t ever forget that.