Lessons from 2020

Yep you guessed it – this is the obligatory, cliche, overdone, yet necessary end of year post. I haven’t written much this year, simply because…what was there for me to write? This year I felt confused, lost, lonely, angry, nervous, and unsure. Writing felt like a daunting task I couldn’t even manage. My voice didn’t feel necessary. Mentally, I couldn’t take up space from people who had important things to say. We all know I just say whatever is on my mind each week, important or not (i.e. hot takes on dating apps or best pizza spots in town).

This year was hard. That goes without saying. Yet thinking back on this year, I learned some incredibly valuable lessons.

Adaptability

We have seen many curveballs, plot twists, and cancellations in 2020. Being able to roll with the changes, look at each moment as a new opportunity, is a skill I found so useful this year. I’ve been fortunate in my life to be skilled in adapting, but this year more than ever, I’ve been thankful for that. While I still struggled with the constant changes this year, I never reached a point of being completely overwhelmed (I came close though, so so close).

Work-life Balance

If you’re like me, you’ve been working from home since March. This was my actual nightmare at the beginning of this pandemic. I’m a people person and I get distracted easily. I was worried that bringing work into my home meant totally losing the balance I’ve worked so hard for. Yet, I sit here in December and realize how much I’ve grown. I’ve become a competent worker while in the house and have established strong boundaries for when the work hours end.

Managing burnout

Exhaustion is what I consider the word of the year. I became burnt out in not only work, but in my personal life. The mundane routine of waking up, working, then sitting at home, then sleeping, became too much for my brain. So I started seeking out new books, ways to care for myself, and new hobbies I could do from home (like making woodfired pizza!).

Connection is key

It was easy to fall into the pit of “I’m alone in this”. Choosing to not connect with people was the easy option for me this year and I felt like the excuses were simple “I’m too tired to chat.”, “I haven’t done anything interesting for us to talk about.”, “Work was absolutely draining, I think I just need a night to myself.”. This was not sustainable for my happiness. So I started working hard to connect with people again. I looked at my relationships with a critical eye and asked “who brings me joy, even when we have tough conversations?” And that’s where I focused all of my energy.

Dogs are the greatest gift

We all knew this, it’s not a lesson, but worth mentioning. This year has been special because of time with my dog, Baxter. He’s the best and I love him the most.

Thank you all for sticking by me this year. I hope you were able to pinpoint some lessons and moments of joy.

Cas

P.S. Here’s my instagram top 9 (as a tradition).

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Why is it so hard to admit you’re proud of yourself?

I think it’s safe to assume this year, 2020, has not been what anyone expected. I, for one, went into the year thinking “this is the year of Casie!”. It was going to be all about me. All vacations were going to be my choice. I was going to work hard, see incredible outcomes, and be rewarded in every aspect of life. This year was going to be the best one yet.

Then March happened.

Since March, everything has changed. I’m back living at my parents house so I won’t be  alone 24/7 at my apartment. I’ve had to say goodbye to colleagues who didn’t deserve to lose their jobs. I’m continuing to see the hurt of a community who deserves more than this world has ever offered them. I’m seeing the ugliness of human beings, while also seeing the humanity in others. In summary, this year has not been what we expected.

Through all of these changes, I was not immune to changes to my job. This summer, I was temporarily given the responsibilities that initially landed on three people (one who would be on maternity leave and one I would take over for good). My days quickly filled with meetings, phone calls, and extra long to-do lists. I found myself busier than ever, with very little time to take a breath. Some frequent visitors in my life were stress headaches, cracking my knuckles, a short fuse, and eating junk food.

Yet, against all odds and feeling set up to fail, I found my confidence growing and my time management skills strengthening. While I was stressed, I never once felt like I was a team of one. I saw my manager and colleagues do whatever they could to see me succeed, even if that meant listening to my bogus stories about life outside of work to give me a sense of relief.

And now I sit here, back to doing my new workload, and I look back on this summer. I somehow made it through and kept everything afloat. Not only that, I exceeded some expectations and made a name for myself around my organization.

Yet, saying I’m proud of myself feels wrong, unearned, and boastful. 

Why is that? There’s no way I’m the only person who can easily say I’m proud of you to a friend or colleague, but not myself. Looking in the mirror or to my manager during a check-in saying “I’m proud of myself” seems like the most difficult and unattainable task.

Then, like the universe wanted to talk to me, I saw an Instragram post about the Impostor Syndrome. This is the internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. Simply, I sit here after accomplishing so much and still feel like a phony, like I don’t belong where I am and I only got here because of dumb luck.

And wow if that isn’t me. 

My entire life, I’ve struggled with self-doubt, being unable to assess my competence and skills realistically, berating my performance through self-deprecating humor, and being fearful I won’t live up to what others expect of me.

When in reality, I’m awesome. I work hard, I empathize and connect with people, I communicate well, and adapt to situations quicker than most.

I’ve been underselling myself for years by thinking that being humble is better than making others uncomfortable with my success. And maybe I still think that way. Throughout this entire post, I’ve struggled to not include some type of self-deprecating joke to soften the mood.

If you’ve ever felt this way, know you’re not alone. I’m right there with you and we’ll figure out a way to comfortably and confidently say to ourselves that we’re proud of us. I’m here to say, it’s okay to be proud of yourself, but can’t quite say it to others. That’s a battle for another day.

Thanks for reading,

Cas

P.S. It’s good to be back on the blog. I was hit with inspiration and had to get it out of my head. Lately, it hasn’t felt right to write. So I took my time. Who knows when I’ll get another post out there. 

26 Things I’ve Learned While 26

Today is my 27th birthday. Which is wild to me because I can still so vividly remember my birthday last year…sitting in an airport, crying pretty regularly. Yet, that birthday seems so far away, too. This last year has thrown in some amazing ups and a few major downs. I’ve witnessed friends get married, welcome new babies into their lives (human or fur), and take the next steps in their careers. I’ve personally adopted my first dog, Baxter (y’all know), my job has changed drastically in the last few months, and I’ve grown to be a better, more understanding, patient person.

This year taught me a lot. It taught me many surface level things and made me look a little deeper into myself and my preconceived thoughts and ideas. Here’s 26 of the things I learned this year:

  1. Figuring out health insurance isn’t easy
  2. I’m not invincible
  3. I don’t understand loans or interest rates
  4. Being in a wedding party makes a wedding really, really fun
  5. Reading to escape is my favorite way to read
  6. Being a single dog mom has it’s challenges
  7. I THINK I found an almost perfect pair of jeans, but I don’t know
  8. Keeping a running list of things you learn is a lot easier than trying to come up with it two days before posting
  9. Life can change in an instant
  10. Animal Crossing continues to be addictive even 18 years after first discovery
  11. Anti-racism work happens daily, hourly, minute-by-minute
  12. My dog is my favorite part of this world
  13. Baking is rewarding
  14. I can handle more than I give myself credit for
  15. It’s okay to let friendships go when you’re learning and growing in different ways
  16. Working from home isn’t as nightmare-ish as I thought, but it’s still not ideal
  17. Mornings with Baxter are the best parts of my day
  18. Wood fired pizza is the greatest food of all time
  19. It’s okay to not have a timeline in life
  20. Folding laundry is maybe my least favorite chore?
  21. Early summer may be my favorite time of year… will update when fall comes around
  22. I’m a decent leader
  23. Going to bed early is the bees knees
  24. Routines make me feel comfortable and safe
  25. Talking about the future stresses me out
  26. This was not even close to the year I expected

I never expected 26 to be a good year. In fact, I predicted this year to not even be close to a decent year. And honestly, I was kind of right. This year brought a global pandemic, peak racism and visibility to the social injustice Black people face every single day, and the loss of my sweet Mungo.

However, this year has also brought a new confidence in myself, a movement toward a better tomorrow because Black Lives Matter, and more time with my family while being quarantined together.

I’m excited to be 27. I’m excited to be one year closer to 30 (yes, I’m excited for 30 – I genuinely think that’s when I’m going to thrive, so get on board). I have hope that this year will bring necessary change, both internally and in the world around me.

I also never liked saying “I’m 26.” For some reason 27 just sounds more legit.

Thanks for reading,

Cas

P.S. I lied on my list, I’m sure it would have been easier to think of 26 lessons, but I forgot I was making the list after about….number 9.

Favorite Things: Quarantine Edition

Anyone else continually grasping for the good in all of this? COVID-19 has brought on a lot of hardships, stress, distance, and isolation than anything we’ve ever experienced. So I find myself searching for anything good each day to hold on to, mainly because I don’t think I could handle life if I didn’t.

I’ve always been on the optimistic side, so searching for the good is not uncommon for me. Yet lately, I see myself sometimes holding onto the not so good, the things that make me feel sad and hurt. Then, I force myself to change. I find the things I’m now saying are my favorite things in quarantine. The things that bring me joy of any amount. Here’s my list:

Baking

Weirdly enough, I really, really enjoy my weekly bake offs with my sister. I never thought I’d say it, but I look forward to it. I look forward to learning something new and seeing if it’ll turn out. Luckily enough, everything has turned out as edible, which is a win to me.

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Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Yes, I was one of the people waiting outside of Target when rumor spread they were getting a shipment of Nintendo Switches. I grew up playing Animal Crossing and all I’ve wanted during this time is to escape to my own island, pick weeds, and create a cute little community. And Facetiming with my friends while we visit each others islands is a nice break from talking about work or the hardships of life.

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Aztec Secret’s Indian Healing Clay

I figured my skin would be glowing without makeup for months on end and I was very, very wrong. This face mask has been helping get my skin clear again and lessening new break outs and I am so thankful!

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Flossing

Listen, I know as I enter my 27th year, I should have been flossing more before all of this. I get it. But I didn’t, okay? Now that I floss every day, wow do I see a difference in my teeth and I’ll never go back. The routine is really nice as well.

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Thoughts of a Dog Calendar

Greatest. Gift. Ever. I’m so thankful for this daily reminder of something good. Dogs are the greatest things to ever exist and this calendar proves that. Would recommend for 2021. Catch up on 6 months and buy the calendar now!

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Walks

When one of your only options to getting out of the house is walking your dog, you quickly begin to appreciate them so much more than you ever did before. We’ve found so many new routes and I have seen Baxter’s confidence and excitement with walks grow so much these past two months, ya can’t help but smile.

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Some Good News – John Krasinski

If you haven’t heard of this series, are you okay? Blink twice if you need help. This little series providing good news and only good news will bring a smile to your face no matter what. The series is over now and has been picked up by CBS (which is great, but also mildly concerning) so catch up, rewatch, and enjoy!

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Outer Banks

I didn’t think I was going to like this show, but once again Netflix made me a fan of something new. This cast, the shows concept, and the journey you go on is so unexpected and filled with every type of emotion. I can’t stop talking about it and have already watched it through twice.

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Brooks Ghost 12

These shoes have been my saving grace for all of the walking and running I’ve been doing. I got them right before quarantine and know I’ve already put so many miles on them, I bet I’ll need a new pair by August. They’re comfortable, light, and just my go-to shoes since I was 16. Check them out!

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What are some of the things bringing you joy right now? What do I need to add to my list to try? Tell me the good things in your life. The things that bring you unwavering joy. Take a second to breathe, forget how crazy the world is, and focus on the good. We have the time to focus on every aspect, but don’t forget to give yourself at least 5 minutes of joy.

Thanks for reading,

Cas

Quarantine Competitions: Great Bake Off Style

I think it’s safe to say everyone has jumped on the baking train during this quarantine. Even me, the world least confident baker. I don’t like cooking, as many of you know, and I find baking to be tedious and impossible. That’s why when we realized this pandemic wouldn’t be over in two weeks, my sister and I decided to begin the Great Kamph Bake Off (yes, we’re big fans of the Great British Bake Off…who isn’t?).

This is us:

My sister lives in the Washington D.C. area and I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 1,125 miles apart and now we’re not even allowed to fly to see each other. She’s the sister who loves to learn and is adventurous in her cooking. I’m the sister who tries to cook a new recipe maybe once a month (probably more every three months) and prefers something quick and easy. We’re consistent in our differences, in every aspect of life.

When my sister texted me the recipe for week one saying “Casie, I’m making this this weekend, you should too and we can compare!” That’s when the weekly Great Kamph Bake Off began.

Week One: Lemony Turmeric Tea Cake – Alison Roman

We started off with one of the prettiest tea cakes I’ve ever seen and I was honestly excited to make it. However, as I moved through the process of zesting a lemon, trying to make a lemony sugar, and then lining a pan with parchment paper, my confidence started to fade. I knew as soon as I took my cake out of the oven, my sister was going to win. But boy, did it taste good.

 

Winner: Molly

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Week Two: Giant Crinkled Chocolate Chip Cookies – Julia Moskin

These were the most tedious cookies to bake. You bake for ten minutes, then from there you take the pan and literally slam it down every two minutes to create the crinkles. I decided to make eight massive cookies, then the rest would be normal sized cookies. I ended up cutting up my chocolate bits too small and made the cookies a chocolate cookie, with no chips. Once again, my sister won.

 

Winner: Molly

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Week Three: Cheddar Biscuits – Reese Witherspoon

Then, my sister had the brilliant idea to lean on our southern belle Reese Witherspoon for the week where I thrived. I hated every second of mixing this dough. I learned I do not like the feeling of sticky dough on my hands. My shoulders were quite familiar with my earlobes by the end of it. BUT, due to my somewhat following instructions, I actually made the most beautiful little biscuits that won me the week.

 

Winner: Casie

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Week Four: Garden Focaccia Bread – Amelia Nierenberg

When we saw the trend for the prettiest little paintings on focaccia bread and we were sold. I can honestly say this is the most pressure I’ve felt the entire time. I wanted so desperately to have the most perfect bread, with the cutest garden, and I think we both accomplished the prettiest breads. I would say we tied this week, however, we must have a winner & we decided Molly took the garden this week.

 

Winner: Molly

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Week Five: Herby Everything Cheddar Swirl Buns – Half Baked Harvest

Coming into week five, I had yet to suggest a recipe (indecisive queen over here), so when I saw another friend baking this on instagram, I knew that was what we needed to do. I learned a lot during this recipe. It was pretty simple, but needed love and patience. I learned I should take the time to spread the filling out, instead of just dumping it into the middle. However, once again, because I’m pretty decent at following instructions, we determined I was the winner for the week!

 

Winner: Casie

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It started off with the intentions to grow my confidence in baking, but it quickly became a tradition my sister and I love. One that keeps us connected in a time when we can’t see each other, especially now. However, I still don’t love to bake, but I keep on trying!

And through this we’ve determined…we can’t do anything without it being a competition.

Thanks for reading,

Cas

P.S. I will say my sister and her boyfriend have better cameras than me to take pics of our creations, which I think gives her an advantage. Just sayin.

Dear Nonprofit Worker,

The world has been suffering for a long time, now more so than ever, and you’ve always seen it. You’ve seen the broken sectors of the world and you jumped in to help. You saw your communities hurting, you saw people you love or strangers suffer, or your heart exploded when you realized your passion could be your job. You found a cause you believed in and you made sacrifices along the way to fight your good fight.

Today, you’re fighting an uphill battle. You understand, there’s a more urgent battle to fight now, but you see your fight, your cause, falling to the side. You’re seeing people suffer in new ways, new communities hurting, or your communities hurting in new ways. And while you try your best to find new, innovative ways to combat both battles, you’re struggling and that’s okay.

I know you’re exhausted. You’re wishing every night there was more you could do. You’re seeing organizations like yours having to make difficult decisions. You’re willing to sacrifice pay, PTO, anything you can to those in need. You’re begging to make sacrifices to see your cause, your battle fight another day.

I see you. I feel for you. I am you. My heart continues to break for those on the frontlines of COVID-19. My heart crumbles for my cause and yours, where people can no longer give or volunteer because this virus continues to take and take.

I see your resilience, your passion, and drive. I understand your sleepless nights, wondering how this virus is affecting your hurting communities. I know at times you’re feeling helpless, the world feels helpless with you.

But you have the heart of a nonprofit worker. You are selfless, genuine, and kind. Passionate, brilliant, and unique. You are the good the world needs, whether it’s for your cause or this new battle we face. You will come out stronger. You will make it through.

This too shall pass.

Thanks for reading,

Casie

P.S. Friends, if you’re able, please support your causes. Donate to nonprofit organizations who are still fighting for their communities – whether it’s COVID-19 related or not. If you’re in the US and received your stimulus check, remember you can donate $300 (if able) to a charitable organization and put it on your taxes next year. More information: As Coronavirus Spread, the $2 Trillion Economic Relief Bill Makes Donating to Charity More Convenient Than Ever

5 ways to help during a pandemic

I’m officially in week three of working from home, and quite honestly, I’ve been feeling pretty helpless when it comes to contributing to society in the wake of a pandemic. I’m doing my part and staying home. I don’t go out unless absolutely necessary and when I’m walking my dog, I avoid being close to people at all costs.

(being an extrovert is tough right now)

So lately I’ve been wanting to find ways to give back or help when there are people on the front lines risking their lives daily for all of us. I think a lot of people are getting to this point, so I wanted to share a few of my ideas.

Reach out to your friends, family, & acquaintances

You may already be doing this for your sanity, but have you thought about how this is helping others? Check in with people, ask how they’re doing and actively listen. Offer kind words, thoughtful advice, or just an understanding ear. My best friend Jennifer, recently posted for people to share what color heart they aligned with that day and then reached out to each person. It was so thoughtful and kind.

  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233

Deliver groceries or other items to those at risk

Some people literally cannot go to a store or leave their homes. They aren’t able to even come close to unsanitary products. Offer yourself up for deliveries or grocery ones to those in need. Bring someone a meal and a clorox wipe.

Become a Pandemic Penpal

Many people who are living in assisted living facilities are not allowed to have visitors. Imagine how lonely this becomes. Find a local assisted living home near you and write some notes to residents. Become their Pandemic Penpal.

Sew face masks

As many know, face masks are in high demand for health care professionals. Those working the front lines need ways to keep themselves safe. If you know how to sew, make some masks. Can’t find the elastic you need? My friend thought to use the elastic in a lightly used fitted sheet (#genius) and now she’s able to create masks for those in need.

Donate to a nonprofit

Nonprofits and their services are quickly cutting back resources with lack of fundraising right now. Many people are being affected by this. Think of the kids who cannot get their meals because school is closed, think of the people who are stuck now in abusive homes and are unable to leave, think of the cancer patients who can’t confidently go into their treatment facility without the fear of being exposed. People need your help. Here are some organizations I love:

Everyone can give back in various ways and it doesn’t always have to involve money. Be there for each other, spread constant kindness, and understand everyone is experiencing this pandemic differently.

I am thinking of each of you, lovin’ ya from afar, and hoping you’re doing well. If you’re feeling stir crazy, check out my last two posts: 10 things to do in Quarantine and more things to do while distancing.

What are you doing to give back right now?

Thanks for reading,
Casie

 

More things to do while distancing

Last week I wrote a hard-hitting piece on 10 Things to Do While Quarantined… this week, I did it again, but not 10 things.

I’ve now been physical distancing (I don’t believe in social distancing, because you need to be social during these times) and working from home for two weeks. Which is absolutely crazy to me, but I’m so thankful I’m able to do so. I’m getting bored of just sitting around watching TV, so once again, I’ve come to you with more ideas of what to do with your home time. Here’s this weeks list:


Color in a coloring book

I was on a two hour work call the other day and needed to busy myself while I was listening, so I decided to whip out one of my adult coloring books (childrens coloring books work as well) and just get to it. It was so relaxing and I felt somewhat accomplished after I finished it.

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Go outside & clean up litter

On my walks with Baxter, I’ve noticed so much litter since the snow has officially melted. I’ve decided to start bringing a bag with us on our walks and pick up what I find. I’m already not touching my face or anything as I’m walking, so as soon as I throw it away in my apartments dumpster, I head to my apartment and diligently wash my hands. Win for the environment, win for protecting against COVID-19, win for exercise!

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Virtual happy hour with friends

I don’t enjoy drinking alone, but I really love wine. So to fix this issue, I’ve set up virtual happy hours and drinks with my friends! It’s been a great way to unwind, talk to people for real, and feel like you have company over. 

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Play hide & go seek with your pet or housemate

I can’t tell you the amount of times Baxter and I have played hide and go seek. Mainly because I have to do it when he’s least expecting it, otherwise he follows me so closely I can’t hide. It’s fun, it makes you giggle, and it’s a good release from all the scary things happening.

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Start that passion project

Been wanting to start an instrument, planning a business, writing a book, or something else wild and crazy? Well, now’s the time to get it started. You have time to play out every scenario, big or small. Put together the outline, business plan, chorus. Whatever you need to do to spark joy and passion…do it.

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Take Yale’s most popular class – for free

Y’all is offering it’s most popular class, The Science of Well Being, and you can join me and millions of others who are now taking the course for free. Learn about the true basics of happiness, where your own happiness lies, and see it transform when you take intentional steps during this 10-week course (yes, I wrote that myself, I watched many videos on it this morning). Your mascot is a bulldog and you can spend $49 to earn the certificate FROM YALE.

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Virtually Visit or Learn from the Smithsonian 

With a commitment to support teachers, many museums are offering virtual classes, visits, etc. I know a gal who works at the Smithsonian (sup, sista?), and she let me know of all the amazing things people can experience and learn during this time. You may even find a lecture from my sister on there (wink, wink). Check out what the Smithsonian is doing to promote Distance Learning

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Travel Virtually

My friend Michelle is probably the most experienced, intelligent traveler I know. She recently started her own blog (which is incredible) and shares what she thinks are the best tips and tricks for travel. Her most recent post talked about traveling virtually, so I say check it out instead of reading about it on my blog (then give her a little follow)!

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Minnesota officially goes into Shelter-In-Place starting this Friday, March 27 until April 10. While this doesn’t change much for how I’ve been living these past few weeks, I know this will make a major impact. But I feel confident in our state, our local government, and the decisions being made. 

If you’ve already been practicing shelter-in-place, THANK YOU. You are truly doing your part and helping curve the spread of COVID-19. We’re all in this together. And that means brainstorming ideas to keep ourselves entertained.

What are you ideas for hanging out at home and keeping yourself entertained? Send me photos, comments, or connect with me on instagram! 

Stay well, thanks for reading, & cheers,

Casie

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10 Things to do in Quarantine

Hello from COVID-19 social and physical distancing! I’ve been working from home for the week, isolating myself from any and all humans, and really becoming best friends and a walk-o-holic with my dog. If you’re anything like me, this is a very difficult time for you. Being an extrovert is not usually something people feel concerned about. You excel in most situations that scare people. You feel confident when you talk to people and feel energy from spending the day in meetings or chatting with co-workers.

And now you’re stuck at home, with only texting, facetiming, and phone calls are your connection to people you know and love. Otherwise, your main human contact is apologetically smiling and nodding while walking your dog as he pulls like a crazy doggo toward the stranger.

So I’m here to help you (but mainly me) with ideas of what to do with your time while you’re social distancing, or better yet, physical distancing.

One: Clean your living space

Yes, I’m telling you to do chores. BUT, if we’re being honest, we’ve been putting off the vacuuming, dusting, sanitizing, etc. So get to it. Wash your dogs dishes, wipe those counters down, and for heaven’s sake, dust your bookshelf.

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Two: Cook something new

I know grocery stores have been tough to navigate, but pick out a recipe you’ve been wanting to try and get to cooking! Afraid to hit up the store? Many are bringing your groceries to your car or will deliver. No excuses today, my friends! Still not wanting to purchase something? No worries, look in your pantry, and make something new! Get creative and let’s hope it’s tasty.

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Three: Read

Who has an entire bookshelf of books you’ve been wanting to read? (Yes, I have a full pile in my to-read list). Now’s the time to hunker down and welcome yourself into a new universe, story, or world. Enjoy the time away from the TV, news channels, and work space. Some books I enjoy:

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Four: Watch a movie

Netflix is releasing movies constantly. Disney+ released Frozen II three months before it should have. Hulu is releasing new binge-worthy shows as well. Enjoy that time of binging and give your mind a break from all things COVID-19.

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Five: Call your family or friends

Facetime, give them a ring, whatever you need to do to feel connected. Instead of eating lunch in front of the TV, set up a lunch get together through Facebook. Enjoy a glass of wine with friends over the phone. Pop some popcorn and watch a movie on netflix with your people on the other line.

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Six: Go for a Walk

Having a dog has made this easier for me, but get outside. We’re being encouraged to go on walks and be outdoors. Take breaks from sitting around and just go around the block. Find a park and pick a random trail. Enjoy the ability to be outside right now.

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Seven: Do a YouTube workout

Yoga With Adriene. That’s it, that’s my paragraph. Enjoy her videos. Take the time to relax, build strength, whatever you need to do – in the comforts of your home.

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Eight: Learn a Tik Tok Dance

I’m new to the Tik Tok world, but let’s be real, there are so many dances and trends on the app. I have no idea how to do any of them, so I’m going to learn one…maybe. It’s a list of ideas so we’re trying new things people. Give it a go and let me know how you do!

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Nine: Do a photoshoot of your pet

If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with your pet. They’re probably the bestest looking boy or girl out there. So find the good lighting in your place and get to portrait moding. If you don’t have portrait mode, use the normal camera and have some fun editing.

Ten: Wash. Your. Hands.

For the love of all things good and pure, please just wash your hands. If you go out in public, wash your hands, use your bath and body works hand sanitizer from seventh grade, and protect OTHERS. Listen, I know we live in a world where we like to think about how you’re affected first, but please, think of others right now.

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BONUS, Eleven: Support small businesses

So many local restaurants and stores are doing everything they can to make it easier on you to support them. Order some takeout, ask a store to pick out some items from their selection for you, do what you can to support those people who are still working and trying to keep their paychecks healthy. Do your part.

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Now I know, not everyone is able to stay home and be quarantined. I want to say THANK YOU to those on the frontlines, treating patients in hospitals, checking people out at stores, restocking shelves of the supplies people are buying, and serving meals to those who need them. Nothing has been put more into perspective than how hard you all work and how undervalued you all are. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

While there are so many concerning things happening right now (i.e. the rich being tested over the middle/low class, people losing their jobs or not getting the pay they need to survive, and fear purchases). But, let’s find some silver linings of the virus:

  • Pollution lessening across the globe
  • People singing together to find community
  • More time with our pets
  • Recognition of notable companies who are taking care of their people
  • Finding the “helpers” in our communities

Together, we will get through this. And I have a feeling, we’ll all be better because of it. Maybe not in every aspect of life, but definitely as people, we will be better.

Thanks for reading – share in the comments what you’re doing during this pandemic!

Cas

P.S. Here’s me and Baxter, quarantining at the apartment!

I said goodbye to cheese for a month

Every February I challenge myself to give something up that I love. It all initially began when I missed the memo on “dry January”, so I figured I’d give up alcohol in February instead. I felt like a genius because February is the shortest month of the year. So no, this is not religiously affiliated, this is me literally trying to test my willpower and internal strength. It’s sick, I know.

Last year I gave up my one true love, french fries (you can read all about it). With that being incredibly challenging, I knew for 2020 I needed to take things to the next level.

My final three options were:

  • Sweets
  • Eating Out
  • Cheese

I had to rule out eating out pretty quickly because I was going to be traveling for work and I literally wouldn’t be able to avoid it (unless I wanted to be very prepared and we all know I can’t do that). And since I’m unable to make a decision on my own, I took it to a vote with my friends and they all said, “try to give up cheese, I couldn’t do it, but I bet you might be able to.” The confidence in me was insane.

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I really wasn’t sure how difficult giving up cheese would be. I started to panic the week before because I had no clue what I would eat for the month. My regular diet is pizza, grilled cheese, cheese based soups, salads that include cheese, you get it. Once I started to evaluate what my daily intake was with food, I realized how integral cheese was to my diet. It was going to be a lot harder than I thought.

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Then the month began. I felt like I was going to be okay. I started thinking about new foods I could try. I thought about how this would ultimately make me feel better. How I would have a clear face by the end of the month since my dairy intake would be significantly less. But I forgot that I would actually be giving up my all time favorite food…pizza.

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But it was okay, I was heading to Denver, all would be well, and my strength would overcome any cheese craving. Wow did no cheese put me into a state of denial. My first meal in Denver I ordered a chicken caesar wrap “and just please leave off the cheese“. The wonderful waitress took it down, then quickly came back to ask if the cheese in the dressing was okay. I was already feeling defeated, so I just said okay. Eleven days into the month of no cheese and I had already mildly failed. I mean, WHO KNEW THERE WAS CHEESE IN THE DRESSING? I didn’t.

Throughout the rest of my time in Denver, I successfully picked around the cheese in our taco bar, avoided the pizza, cheese dip, nachos, salads with cheese, and every other bowling alley food with cheese known to man. I even went to a sandwich shop and asked for no cheese and the server looked at me and goes “wait…seriously? I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone ask that before…” to which I sadly stated, “yeah, I don’t doubt it. I’m crazy and gave up cheese for the month…he chuckled, I didn’t.

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By the time I was at the airport to fly home, I was hungry and quickly realized it’s difficult to eat fast food without cheese, (or maybe I really only like fast food with cheese). You tell me, because again, my denial is still making me think I was never in the wrong. I started to mentally make a list of places I could easily avoid cheese, but still keep it quick. Chipotle, Noodles & Company, Arby’s, and Chick Fil A. Thankfully, it made me want to eat out less, because I couldn’t eat what I was actually craving.

Just days before March 1, I was realizing how glad I was to have challenged myself. I missed pizza like crazy, was craving a mcdonalds cheeseburger, and was annoyed my face wasn’t clear of all blemishes, but I was so happy to not be craving every cheese, all the time.

And just because life likes to keep me humble, I want to remind everyone that this year was a leap year. Usually I am pumped for an extra day and living life up! But this one hit a little differently…

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Even though I had to delay my cheese intake with an extra day, I had to admit…my body was feeling better, I lost a little bit of weight, and I was reaching for healthier options majority of the time.

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But, as soon as March hit, I was ready for pizza.

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My takeaways from a month of no cheese:

  • My face didn’t clear up like I hoped
  • I crave cheese a lot less now
  • I’m excited to hit up some of my favorite food places
  • I need queso very soon
  • I want to continue eating less cheese

Thank you to those who listened to me while I constantly complained about missing cheese, or having to listen to my reminders of giving up cheese. Everyone was so encouraging, but want to know the most common line I heard?

“I couldn’t ever give cheese up.”

If you did this experiment, what would be the thing you loved most that you’d have to give up?

Thanks for reading!

Cas