Emotional Meltdown, Party of One

August 30, 2015

last week, i had a major emotional meltdown.  over my hair.  writing it out now seems totally ridiculous, but at the time, it really is what happened.  and it's not a first.

let me back up, in case you missed it in two prior posts - my hair has been falling out like crazy.  not normal shedding.  handfuls and handfuls of hair.  if i hadn't started with the horse's mane i did and instead had relatively normal or even fine hair, i would be bald by now.  i don't have any patches, it's just overall, from everywhere on my head, hair loss.  it started in march and i cannot figure out why.  i've been to 2 doctors besides my dad, and a dermatologist.  everything checks out normal; everything from iron levels to thyroid to my ana markers (whatever that means but apparently it's testing for lupus.)  the only abnormal things are a minorly lower level of vitamin b12 and a significantly low level of vitamin d.  according to my internet research, lack of vitamin d can cause hair loss, though my latest doctor is not convinced this is the cause of my problem.  regardless, we're fixing those two things but it will take at least 6 weeks.  it's been 2 and the lack of visible progress drives me bonkers.

which leads to the other major issue - my stress and panic over the situation.  stress leads to hair loss.  but i'm stressing about hair loss, which leads to more loss, and then more stress and... vicious, never ending cycle.  everyone's advice was 'just relax, it's no big deal, it's just hair, stress makes it worse' and that's all well and good and intellectually i agree with them, but emotionally that's just not how anxiety works.  there is not an off switch.  so my current doctor started me on zoloft to control the anxiety and my ocd.  like counting exactly how many (hundreds at a time) hairs fell out.  apparently that's not normal.  

so last week, i went to lunch with my friend who, as politely as possible after i grilled her about it, told me yes, you can notice a difference in the volume of my hair.  (don't worry, of course she was super kind in telling me 'you can hardly tell! you still have amazing hair!'  i, naturally, stopped listening as soon as she started being positive, because i'm an asshole and that's what i do.)  before that moment, it was only my parents, john, and my dermatologist agreeing with me that my hair was at about half it's usual thickness, so the fact that other people could actually start to notice made me panic.

i felt the tears stinging in my eyes, i felt the tightness in my chest and the sudden loss of oxygen.  i panicked that my anxiety medication wasn't working and i did mental math to figure out how many xanaxes i could take.

and then i bought $120 worth of volumizing and thickening hair care products at ulta.  emotional shopping is real, people.  i also called my doctor and had her increase my zoloft dosage because 50 mg is trix cereal.  and because emotional meltdowns over my hair leave me with the deep seeded urge to exert total control over absolutely everything else around me.

i'm ridiculously attached to my hair.  unexplainably.  sure it's pretty but i think it's just because it's always been there.  i've had long, thick hair since i was born, pretty much.  my mom rarely got it cut. and i liked it that way.  and now (well, before the massive shedding) it's my favorite feature.  i've got good boobs too, but i. love. my. hair.  so much so that i apparently panic over it to the point of needing medication.  when you think about all the other actual, real issues people deal with, it's all so insane, but i cannot stop obsessing about it.  emotions took over my logical side and i cried.  over hair.

i did do non-drug, non-shopping related things to calm myself down.  including visiting the field museum with john.  and drinking tea and watching netflix from my bed while i cuddled hawkeye and snowy, the stuffed bear i've had my entire life.  and decluttering my mom's house because nothing makes me feel better than discarding old crap and organizing a clean space.  plus my parents baby me and tell me i need to take vacations.  oh and i spent a ton of time on a post that goes up tomorrow that i love.  so i hope you love it to.

anyway, now here i sit, with a slightly better and more realistic view of the situation.  slowly trying to distance myself from my extreme attachment to my hair.  que sera sera.  or some shit.

p.s. in case you're wondering - best $120 i've ever spent.  everything i bought works.  so ask me if you ever want full, thick, fluffy hair, i've got the products for you.  as well as the info on about 40 hair related supplements.

p.p.s. and yes, i realize that this is a first world problem.  but let's be honest - i'm a 30 year old privileged white women who lives in chicago with a j.d. and works in a law firm.  who has no debt and no major health issues outside an unexplained shedding of hair.  to assume i've ever had anything other than first world problems would be wildly inaccurate. 

Three on Thursday: Do, Try, or Buy

August 27, 2015

i'm experimenting with a new post idea.  i was going to wait and post it tomorrow, so it would be a 5 on friday kind of thing but... i thought of 3 things.  and i'm impatient.  and three works with thursdays because alliteration.  so this post, which i hope to make a semi-regular thing, is just like steph's monthly recommendation posts, which i love, and asked if i could borrow the idea for my own short weekly version.  because i have so many quick little things to share that don't require entire posts.  and nothing is ever affiliate linked, don't worry.

my ultimate goal is short weekly posts where i can share my top things from the week to do, try, or buy.  (or read, or watch, you know the drill.)  whether i keep it 3 things on thursday or switch it to mondays or fridays remains to be seen.  i'll get there eventually.  anyway,  onto my 3 for this week:

1. anthropologie lipstick.  which i realize is wildly overpriced but i can't help it, i love it.  (and i had a gift card.)  i got pomelo (left) and azalea (right) and they have a few more very flattering colors.  they have them available to swatch in store, and i'm sure that in store they had at least 1 if not 2 more colors that are not online.  i find them to be creamy, pigmented, smooth, and not drying.

2. 2016 weekdate calendar.  i will actually do a full post on this, but it just arrived so i need to take more photos.  if you're hunting for a purse sized 2016 planner, this one is a lot of fun.  check it out.  and check back here next week for more.

3. i do feel like everyone's watched this by now, but as i was chatting with people it started sounding like a lot of non-bloggers have not seen it.  (and a lot of non-bloggers read my blog, because i may or may not sign up my friends' emails to get my posts in their inbox, without asking them first.  hint: i do.  i'm surprised they still like me.)  anyway, i love this video.  watch it if you haven't.  and watch more of em's videos here, she's amazing at makeup and has the most adorable accent.

and that's my 3 for this week.  i'll have more next week but like i said, the exact format is to be determined.  because i'm busy and very important.  no that's lies, i'm just lazy and i don't totally think things through before i post them.  once i figure out my final format, i'll let you know and if you would ever like to be featured top 3-5 things to do, try or buy, just comment below, i'd love to have you.

5 Reasons Back to School Season is Better than Christmas

August 19, 2015

is anyone else totally psyched that back to school time is almost here?  i think i love it more than christmas, and i love christmas.  what's that you say?  "why stephanie, you haven't been in school for years, nor do you have kids!"  irrelevant.  i love back to school season.  sure, it's no secret that i do not like summer.  give me winter all year long.  but there's so many more reasons than just the impending arrival of snow in 3 months that make me love the last 2 weeks of august.

1. school supplies!  sure i may be 5 years out of school myself, but who doesn't love fresh school supplies?  planners and notebooks and pens, i seriously love the school supply section (and they're on sale!)  clothes are on sale too, another bonus.

2. tourist season is over.  i know living in chicago i just have to get used to tourists, but i am so glad when they're gone.  so much less traffic and crowds and people standing in the middle of the sidewalk so you can't walk anywhere.  i don't want to do touristy things all the time, but it's nice to be able to go to the sears tower (shut up it's not the willis tower) for the cocktails and free food at salseria for happy hour without trying to dodge all the people in line for/trying to find the skydeck observatory.  yeah you heard me.  free mexican food.

3. it's perfect time for museums and other kid friendly things.  john and i are hitting up the shedd aquarium for sure.  and navy pier.  no kids!  obviously the best bet is week day, during the day, when the kids are in school, but even the weekends in september are significantly less crowded, but the weather is still nice.  maybe the kids have weekend school related activities.  or homework.  either way, no one is scream crying in the penguin habitat and i couldn't be more pleased.

4. the best blog content.  first of all, blogs come back, in general.  summer seems quiet for new content, as if everyone is on a break.  second, it's usually my favorite type of content that comes back.  no, the crap about kids doesn't apply, but bloggers post things about schedules and organization and meal planning and i love all of those things.

5. and my personal favorite, college football!  back to school isn't just for kids.  colleges start back up and that means football.  hawkeye season is upon us, finally!  tailgate time has arrived.

yes we do make good choices, why do you ask?

what about you?  excited about all this back to school business?

People I Love

August 17, 2015

let's just be honest here - most of the time, i can't stand people.  sure i have those that i love all of the time, but people, as a whole, pretty much suck.  crowds of them in particular.  and while i could wax on about all the things people do to annoy the crap out of me, that's just too much for a monday morning (i'll save that for a friday.)  instead, i give you the people that i actually love.

i love people who...

... adopt pets from animal shelters.

... pick up and throw away trash that isn't theirs.

... appreciate terrible end of the world disaster movies on netflix.

... and have seen all 3 sharknados.

... give money to the musicians playing in the subway.

... sleep in on the weekends.

... vote.

... are iowa fans.

... post photos of their planners.

... share cheap and easy recipes.

... understand the importance of me 'pete wilting' every crack machine on the face of the earth (that means getting the entire high score board on the touch screen game naked girls photo hunt.  which, literally, i am the best at.  in the entire world.  period.  yes, pete wilt is me.  it's also my friend from law school who bailed on us to care for his drunk girlfriend and this was our revenge.  now i just can't stop.)

... are fellow hamcats.
... donate.  and volunteer. 

... don't think they're too cool for boone's farm.

... let you go first in line when you have less items to buy.

... post photos of themselves from the 80s. 

... tip well.
who's on your list?

Because Why Not 25 Movies?

August 7, 2015

i'm officially doing a fall movie watch challenge.  25 movies!  i'm a netflix addict, we can all agree, but i always just watch tv shows or really really bad straight to tv disaster movies.  when erin posted her list of movies she picked, i started thinking what i would do in each category.  and i figured what the heck, let's give it a try.

jenn does this fall film challenge every year, but this will be the first time i'm attempting it.  you can join and read over the rules here.  and i think you absolutely should do it, because there's prizes on the line.  (redbox and amazon gift cards!)  it starts september 1 so you have time to pick your movies.  and it runs until november 30, so it's not like 25 movies in 2 weeks!  plus that gives me the rest of august to finish criminal minds and yes i'm already halfway through season nine stop judging me.
so here's the categories (and some reasons why i picked the ones i did.)  it was trickier than i thought it would be, coming up with everything.  mainly, i tried to pick ones i could find on netflix.  so i don't have to search rentals and hard to find movies!  the fact that they had to be ones i've never seen and ones that have had a theatrical release made it tough.  but it's supposed to be a challenge.

one. any set in new york city. Shaft
two. any incorporating hot air balloons in the story. The Mummy 2 - saw the first one then stopped watching them.  i'm excited this apparently has hot air balloons.  (i googled it)

three. any featuring a child as the main character. The Big Green - it's on netflix, it's from the 90s, and i can tell by the cover it has one of the kids from the sandlot.  how did i miss this as a child?!

four. any disney film. The Sorcerer's Apprentice - i just never got around to watching this one and you know we weren't going to make it out of this list without a nicolas cage movie!

five. any set in egypt OR have an egyptian character OR star an egyptian actor/actress. The Scorpion King - yep, had a theatrical release, i checked.  the rock, how can you beat it?  i'm doing a full mummy/scorpion king marathon.
six. a close friend or family member's favorite film. Blazing Saddles - john's dad's pick.  john's pick is roadhouse.  we're doing a movie night and watching both.
seven. any with the word great in the title. The Great Gatsby - i love leo, i do.  but i loathed this book.  i realize i'll hate the story line but i heard it's a pretty movie.  i'll watch for the fireworks i keep seeing in that pinterest viral photo.

eight. any starring harrison ford. Patriot Games
nine. any featuring an idiot as the main character. Black Sheep - love tommy boy.  never seen black sheep.  it's time.
ten. any mentioned in levis strauss' list: denim in the oscars: a look at jeans in cinema. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - i just bought it on dvd for my dad for christmas, it's all he asked for and says it's his favorite movie.  he'll be thrilled to have me watch it with him.
eleven. a film about a knight. Braveheart - no, never seen it.  the only reason i kind of know some details is the dawson's creek episode where pacey enters the beauty pageant and gets up there all 'well i'm not william wallace, but i am pacey witter.'  'pacey witter's 7 feet tall!... so they say.' (no, just me?  i can repeat that entire scene.  and probably all of dawson's in general.)

twelve. a love story. Top Gun - again, no, i've never seen it.  not a big tom cruise fan.  but apparently it's a classic, and it's on netflix, and it was under the 'romantic' section so i say it counts.  because i freaking hate rom coms and this is as close as i'm getting to a love story.

thirteen. a movie about something miraculous. Miracle - well, the title couldn't be more obvious.  but i'll take it.

fourteen. any starring an actor/actress with the same first name as yours. You're Not You - do you know how hard it is to find movies with an actress named stephanie?  they're all on tv shows or porn.  it was rough.
fifteen. a film about the olympics. The Cutting Edge - legit did not know this was the original.  i've seen the christy carlson romano disney version but apparently that's #2.  so pumped there's a first one.

sixteen. a film on time magazine's list: the top ten newspaper movies. Welcome to Sarajevo
seventeen. any with a question in the title. Are We There Yet? - not excited about this one, but what other movies have question titles?  if you think of something, let me know.

eighteen. any with a score of ninety percent or greater on rotten tomatoes. Snowpiercer
nineteen. a film about a superhero. Hellboy
twenty. any with subtitles. Ragnarok - come away from this without one bad netflix disaster movie?  never.  it's in norwegian and it was released in theaters.  i checked.
twenty-one. any incorporating unicorns in the story. Stardust
twenty-two. a film about a personal victory. The Maze Runner - i didn't want to read the whole storyline and ruin it, but i assume it has personal victory in it.  plus i gotta watch it before the scorch trials comes out, because that looks cool.
twenty-three. a film with black or white in the title. Little Black Book
twenty-four. any set in a country you would most like to visit. Scott Pilgrim vs The World - i could have lied and picked something in london or paris but... i hate travel.  i want to go nowhere, you all know that.  so i picked canada, because at least i could drive there.  it says this movie is in toronto so i'm going with it.
twenty-five. a film set in a zoo. We Bought a Zoo - no idea how many zoo movies there are, but it's not a lot.  this was easy enough, and it has matt damon.
since it starts officially september 1st, i have a bit of time if i decide to tweak my list.  most i'm pretty set on, but i'm considering changing maybe two.  we'll see.  (seriously if you can get me out of watching an ice cube movie, you let me know.)

will you be taking part?  anything on my list you've seen and loved or hated?  any other ideas for me?

Forming Habits

August 5, 2015

forming good habits is not easy.  eating better, exercising more, remembering to wash my makeup off before passing out on saturday nights.  it's hard.  of course, bad habits are easy.  watch more tv?  eat more nachos?  don't track spending?  you got it!

i started reading gretchen rubin's newest book, better than before.  have you read it yet?  she's the same author of the happiness project and happier at home.  i generally like her books and her writing.  she can be pretty self aggrandizing with her constant mentions of all the reading and research she does (we get it, you're really smart and hardworking and research the crap out of your books.  move on.), but i ignore those parts.  anyway, the newest book is all about forming good habits - how to do it, when to start, why it's hard for people, etc etc.

the part i liked the best comes right in the beginning.  she described everyone as falling into one of four categories.  four tendencies, she calls them.  according to her research, people all respond to expectations in one of these four ways; expectations being both things others expect you to do like homework or stopping at a stop light, and things you expect of yourself, like eating salad for lunch or getting to bed on time.  she named the four:

upholder - you do everything.  things you expect of yourself, things others expect.  you like checking things off the list and you're going to finish the to do list no matter what.

questioner - you'll do it, but you have to have a reason.  you don't follow arbitrary rules without asking why they exist.  sometimes you can't make a decision because you feel like there's always more information out there.

obliger - you're only going to do something if you're accountable to someone else.  you don't like letting people down, so if you rsvp to something, you're going.  if your friend wants to go running, you show up, but you wouldn't go running on your own.

rebel - you do what you want, when you want.  the more someone tells you to do something, the more you resist.  habits make you feel fenced in.

"An upholder stops at a stop sign at 3:00 a.m. in a small deserted town; so does an obliger. A questioner decides whether it’s safe to stop. A rebel rolls through the stop sign at 3:00 p.m. in traffic.
An upholder can train with a trainer or exercise on her own; a questioner can do either if he thinks it makes sense; a rebel will do neither, because the fact that she has an appointment or an item on her to-do list makes her want to disobey; an obliger can meet a trainer, but can’t get to the gym on his own."

very few people fall into categories 1 or 4.  i fit, when it comes to habits and goals and expectations, pretty well into the obliger category.  it's why i post my goals online and why i only eat healthy if my friend megan is doing it with me and why i only walk so much because hawkeye needs to get outside.  i wouldn't do anything if someone wasn't counting on me to do it.  i do still need to have a good reason (questioner) but mostly, i'll do it if someone else wants me to.  it's why i have a hard time with self-imposed goals that no one else is tracking.  even when they're ones i really want to do.

i think it's a good thing to know about yourself, which tendency you are.  if you struggle as much as i do to form good habits, it's helpful to know which way to approach them to have the most success.

you can take the quiz here to find out which one you are, if you can't decide.  my answers were surprisingly more all over the board than i thought they would be, but in the end the answer was still obliger.  i accept it.  i'm going to work with it.  even if it means demanding that my loved ones keep tabs on me.

which one are you?

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