what i ate wednesday

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Happy Wednesday! Today is another 'what I ate' day, so let's get straight into what I ate all day yesterday.

For breakfast, I had a fruit bowl consisting of sliced watermelon, strawberries, and bananas topped with a bit of honey and unsweetened coconut flakes. I also had a piece of sprouted toast and sliced avocado. This is one of my favorite easy and healthy breakfasts to have during the week.

Lunch was a vegan BLT sandwich using my dad's recipe for coconut bacon. I just toasted some whole grain bread and topped it with Vegenaise, romaine lettuce, tomato, and the coconut bacon. With that, I had a peach-pear LaCroix and a homemade protein cookie.

For dinner, we had tofu dressed with Trader Joe's soyaki sauce, wild rice, and broccoli. Later that night, I had some popcorn with nutritional yeast and more LaCroix.

I swear, I pick the most boring days to document what I eat! One of these days, I'll pick a fun day. Haha!

the weekend list no. 37

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Hi, guys! I had quite a fun week.

For the first time since graduation, I went back to my old college town of St. Augustine. All this time, I had been really reluctant to go back but when I heard my friend Ryan was in town from New Jersey, I figured it would be the perfect time to get over my fears and go. As it turns out, he had felt weird about coming back too and we were totally on the same page. Because of that, he really was the perfect person to join me in overcoming the reluctance. It did feel weird to be there but it ended up being a good decision! Plus, we sat outside at a coffee shop near the beach and I had a good iced chai, so it was a win. 

Also, my best friend Caroline came over to visit and totally spoiled me with belated birthday gifts! I've already finished off the bottle of prosecco she gave me. She gave me a few things from our favorite Rifle Paper Company and made me realize that I'd never been over to their headquarters in Winter Park! Now, I plan on going sometime soon.

Okay, onto the links!

How cute are Lauren Conrad's new pieces for her Kohl's collection? I love the graphic tee and it's only $26!

The cutest overalls I've ever seen.

I've been thinking about a trip to London lately and looking back on these photos of Julia in the Cotswolds has been making the urge stronger.

Are you guys watching the Bachelorette this season? I'm actually finding it to be one of the better seasons I've seen in awhile. It's just been super entertaining and not as annoying. Full disclosure: I read all the Reality Steve spoilers, so I know everything that happens this season but it's still fun to watch it unfold. Loved the part of this Vulture recap where they say: "Blake looks like Andy Samberg if Andy Samberg were a Kennedy."

In other TV news, I watched RuPaul's Drag Race this week and realized there's a queen from Bushwick in the running! That's where I lived in Brooklyn so I feel as though it's only right if I root for Aquaria.

I just learned that PacSun has the cutest swimwear section.

Jorja Smith is gorgeous.

Of all the great articles about Anthony Bourdain, this one was my favorite.

self-care for mental health

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I was initially planning a post for today about how to get involved in the world (in short: make donations, contact your reps, attend town halls, volunteer, and stay educated), but I felt compelled to switch gears at the last minute and talk about mental health instead after hearing about Kate Spade's death this week. (EDIT: And now as of Friday morning, Anthony Bourdain as well which really hits home with me.)

I've been really proud to see so many bloggers and influencers sharing their mental health stories this week. Following the suicide of a prominent figure, it seems the public usually shares their condolences and nothing more. But Kate felt like a friend to so many, there's actually an important conversation being had about mental health. 

I like to think I've been relatively fortunate when it comes to mental health. However, I dealt with bad anxiety for many years as well as what I think was a mild depression. And I have to say, if what I experienced was mild---I have serious compassion for anyone dealing with severe depression. 

Luckily, I've done a lot of work to improve my own mental health and, while it is sort of an ongoing thing you have to be aware of, I've managed to really escape the kind of anxiety I used to have. I'm not a mental health therapist (although my best friend is) so I feel a bit reluctant making recommendations. But I did want to share a few things that have helped me and also just share my personal experiences in solidarity with everyone else who is making a point to let others know they're not alone and that it is more than okay to talk about. Okay, getting candid, here are the few things that worked for me.

seeing a therapist
I've been to three different therapists and have to stress the importance of finding the right one for you. I've had excellent, bad, and just okay. The greatest therapist I ever had was one who worked in the mental health center at my college. The center itself was a serene little cottage, his office was sunny and looked out over a courtyard, and he was just really great. He listened and empathized and validated the way I felt, but he also gave proactive advice and resources. From my own experience and what I've learned from my best friend (who I mentioned is a mental health therapist), it tends to be most beneficial if you work with a therapist who is actively helping you, not just one who lets you vent but doesn't give anything back. If you are looking for a therapist, here's a database.

leaning on god
This could honestly be a full post in itself and I know it's not for everyone. I don't consider myself to be at all religious but I do have a personal relationship with God that I credit as pulling me out of that state of anxiety/depression. It was weirdly as simple as choosing to have faith everyday and give up everything to God instead of ruminating on it myself.

ayurveda + spiritual healing practices
There's a lot to this, but I've found that researching spiritual healing practices and ayurveda are really helpful. Whether it's kundalini yoga, crystals, reiki, breath work, meditation, nutrition, or chakra cleansing, there are a ton of ancient resources to help you. I know it sounds kind of out there, but these things have really worked for me. Here's an interview with some information.

medication
I feel like there is a huge stigma around medication which is totally unnecessary. There's absolutely nothing wrong with responsibly using medication as a resource to help you. If your doctor/psychiatrist/therapist thinks it could benefit you, don't feel like being on mental health medication means there's something wrong with your or that you're "crazy". Anxiety and depression, along with all other mental health issues, are just that: health issues. You wouldn't fault someone for being medically treated for cancer or an infection, so there's no reason to fault someone for being medically treated for health issues of the mind. 

natural anxiety relievers
These days, I love using Natural Vitality's Calm magnesium powder to relax. It's a non-medicinal, natural powder you mix into a glass of water and it helps to calm down your body. There are several natural options for anxiety now, from magnesium to CBD to kava kava and valerian root.

Anyway, just know that there is help out there for everyone no matter how big or small your problems may seem. I really think we need to get rid of the stigma around mental health and make people feel more comfortable seeking out support. Because honestly, everyone deals with mental health issues at some point in their life. You may not think they do, but they do. We're all in it together and if we act like that's the case, it could probably help us all survive a bit easier.

june entertaining tips

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The vision for this June party is super clear in my mind. It's one part French Riviera, one part Palm Beach. Very laid-back, chic, and European. I'm thinking rattan furniture, fresh oranges, and tortoiseshell. I think this party is meant to happen on a garden patio or inside the house with all of the doors and windows open. It certainly requires fresh air and a soundtrack of crickets.

MAKE IT EASY: Outsourcing Parts of the Meal
You've probably heard this tip from the likes of Ina Garten, but it's a good reminder. When you're having a big dinner party (or even just a medium sized one), making all of the dishes can get overwhelming, especially when you have appetizers, cocktails, a main dish, sides, and desserts to think about. To make things easy but still very special and high-end, choose one to three parts of the meal to outsource. You can pick up dessert from a local bakery, a pre-made appetizer from the market, a side dish from the deli, or even a bottled drink like sparkling lemonade.

DRINK OF CHOICE: Aperol Spritz
This is one of my favorite, refreshing summer cocktails and it adds an elegant, European vibe to your party. Just combine Aperol, prosecco, and seltzer then add ice and orange slices. 

HOSTESS GIFT: Citronella Candles
Remember the old citronella candles you'd find outside in the summer to keep the mosquitos away? They always smelled good to me but tended to be kind of ugly as they were often from hardware stores. There are so many cute citronella candle options these days and they make for a great gift. Check out this, this, or this.
 

DECOR STAPLE: Vintage Tableware
In Palm Beach a few weekends ago, we ate outside at Pizza Al Fresco and they serve their drinks in the most beautiful blue glassware. I love the idea of vintage blue glasses for this summer party, paired with gold candlesticks and other mismatched glassware. Pop into your local thrift store and you'll have no trouble finding some beautiful, inexpensive pieces to make your tablescape more interesting.

EASY APPETIZER: Marinated Mozzarella
This may be the easiest appetizer ever and it's so good. Literally all you need is mozzarella, olive oil, and herbs like oregano, rosemary, and thyme. Combine the herbs with salt and pepper in a bowl, then add olive oil. Drizzle this over the sliced mozzarella and let it marinate for twenty minutes before serving on its own or on crackers.

PARTY LOOK: 
In keeping with the blue-and-white look, pair a soft white t-shirt with a denim wrap skirt and flat leather sandals. To pull the look together, tie a patterned silk bandana around your neck or use it as a hair wrap. I chose one that's blue-and-white to keep the color palette going, but you can also use this as an opportunity for a pop of color with something like this or this