Choose to love yourself this Valentines Day: A collaboration on mental health.

    Valentines day is coming up and for some reason this can be an emotional holiday for a lot of us. Maybe it’s because your single or maybe its because your relationship isn’t going as you had planned. However, what may be true for a lot of people is that Valentines day can make you wonder WHY things are going the way that they are. Its a day that can, for no GOOD reason, bring out the self- esteem issues in many. Whether it be body-image issues, anxiety about yourself, or depression about being lonely. Valentine’s day has a way of getting to a lot of people. So, whether or not you think Valentines day is a silly holiday please take a second to read this blog collaboration on Mental Health This Valentines Day.
    I teamed up with fellow Chicago blogger Jessa who is known for her Dollface Diaries blog (For link to her blog go to the bottom of the page). We decided not to talk about the consumerism of Valentines day but rather the most important yet unspoken part, self-love. Jessa shares her journey with self-love and body image and I know so many of you will relate to this.
Now lets hear what Jessa has to say:
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@itsjustjessa on Insagram
1) When did you first realize that you may have some issues with your mental health? 
“I don’t think I realized I had an issue until probably my junior year of college.  I feel like that’s when body image issues and the idea of body dysmorphia became a real topic. I would constantly pick apart my body all through high school and college, and even skip meals if I didn’t like the number I saw on the scale. It’s something I still battle today, and I think I will struggle with for the rest of my life.”
2) When you realized how did you start moving in a positive direction and begin to learn to cope with it? 
“It’s a battle every day for sure. I think the fact that bloggers and content creators are constantly preaching to love yourself no matter your size really helps, but my instinct to compare myself to others and that want for my body to be smaller/thinner/more tone will never go away.  How I cope with it is by working out and eating healthy and doing things I love.  I know if I fuel my body in a way that makes me happy and healthy I will start to accept the way it looks.”
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@itsjustjessa Instagram
3) When you are having a hard day what are some of your self-love practices?
“When I’m having a particularly hard day I love to go take a fitness class Yoga, barre and pilates are my favorites, and there are particular instructors that host such amazing classes that make me feel so positive and empowered by the end, I also think it’s a great way to take an hour and focus on something other than your stress. if I can’t find time for a class, then I love to read a good book in a bubble bath.”
4) What made you realize you are worthy of loving yourself? 
“I don’t know if I can pinpoint an exact ah-ha moment, I think over the last few years I’ve really started to realize it with the help of my amazing support system.  I have surrounded myself with so many beautiful and confident people, and they inspire me to love myself. I think blogging has also helped me find confidence, taking pictures on the street and posting pictures of myself daily on the internet can be terrifying.  But I go through those pictures and it really makes you realize what you see in the mirror isn’t always reality.  Beauty comes from confidence and passion, it’s not just what’s on the outside.”
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@itsjustjessa Instagram
5) What is advice youd give to other girls (and guys) with body image issues? 
“My advice to others is to be yourself and be proud.  Just because you don’t look like all those influencers online doesn’t mean you aren’t beautiful.  What makes you beautiful is that you are unique and you are you.  I also think using fashion to express yourself is the best way to push your boundaries and be yourself.”
6) What is one thing you wish you could go back and tell to yourself when you were struggling?
“I think my advice to younger me would be to focus on being healthy and find what you’re passionate about.  I let myself spiral, especially in college, it was a vicious cycle of hating my body and not being motivated to workout or be healthy, and just drinking and partying.  When I started really focusing on my health and finding activities I was passionate about like aerial silks and blogging that’s when I really started getting away from all the negativity in my life and replacing it with positive influences.”
     You can follow Jessa on Instagram at @itsjustjessa, the link listed below is her blog (which is fabulous BTW), and you can follow me on instagram at @alisonschulthesz . Let us know what you think.
     To go read my answers to Jessa’s questions click the link below to head over to her blog
     I talk a ton about my anxiety, how I deal with it, and I also hit topics of self-love.
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Top Beauty Products: By someone who DEFINITELY is not a beauty influencer

There are people who don’t wear make up and don’t know the first thing about it. There are people who wear a minimum amount of makeup. There are people who love makeup think its pretty but are not an artistic with it. Finally,  there are these goddesses who know how to transform themselves. I am in the loving makeup but not an artist category. However, I do like to wear makeup when I go out and am able to do some do some basic looks. Also with working in an office I do put some makeup on at least five times a week.

That being said if you are just looking for practical, yet quality makeup, that can double up for going to work or going to the club then read on. I want to give you the TOP beauty products that I use for my everyday look.

NYX Angel Veil Primer

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At $16.00 this primer is in the medium price range. I use this daily for work and not only does it keep my foundation on, but when mixed with the Morphe setting spray, I don’t have to ever reapply my highlighter and blush throughout the day. However, I wouldn’t say its a great 24 hour primer. I have used it for long nights maybe 8 hours at the most and while my makeup stayed on it isn’t as good compared to higher end primers. NYX is an AMAZING line for quality makeup at a lower price.

Revelon Full Cover Foundation

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This is by far one of my favorite foundations that I have used. It has a nice matte finish and when you get the right color for your skin it looks insanely natural. I know its cliche to say that it really provides full coverage of the skin but it does exactly that, provides full coverage. A lot of foundations claim to be full coverage but this is the best one that I have found. I got this at a Jewel-Osco for 13.00 but it varies from store to store.

Rimmel Stay Matte

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Here is where my total inexperience comes in. I like putting on this pressed powder after my concealer for a more blended look. I am 50 percent it might be setting powder supposed to be used for the last step in the application process but I put it on after my foundation! It’s essentially a sheer powder so you don’t have to worry about adding a whole different color on top of your makeup.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighter Palette

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This product is definitely one of the more expensive products at $40.00. However, she has a mixture of palettes with great colors that are great stand alone or can be mixed together. It last for a long time especially when you use primer and setting spray. The colors are deep and I like how it creates a consistent glow/sparkle. I know a lot of high lighters are kind of patchy and have glitter scattered all over versus a solid condensed glow (if that makes any sense as my complete lack of knowledge shows). It’s by far one of my favorite products it lasts a long time and is worth the money.

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Oasis & Paradise Highlight Palette

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I found an app called Hush, which gives you cheap makeup options that you may not find normally. It is here where I found this Oasis & Paradise Highlighter palette by Bad Habit for only $12.00. It lasts for an amazingly long time, especially for the price. I would say its comparable to the Anastasia Beverly Hills palate. I prefer to use this one for every day use since it is cheaper, lasts for a longer time, and it helps me to preserve my Anastasia Beverly Hills palette. Normally, I will just use a splash of any deep pink blush  right under my highlighter unless I am using a deep gold color or a pink color. Then the highlighter can stand on its own.

Morphe Eyeshadow Primer

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Eye-shadow primer is super important for when you want your shadpw to last through the night. Like any other Morphe products not only is this super affordable but its great in quality as well. It sells for about $10.00.I haven’t tested out for periods longer than 8 hours but I will say that it has lasted well in that time span. I also will add there’s been 2-3 times where I fell asleep with my makeup on and the eyeshadow WAS NOT still on when I woke up.

Morphe Eyeshadow Palette

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I LOVE Morphe Eyeshadow Palettes they are only 23 dollars and come with 35 colors in them. Like the Beverly Hills Palettes they are super rich, consistent, and deep in color. You can mix and match colors or you can use just a single color. Morphe has a ton of different palettes for different colors but this is one of my favorites. Their eyeshadow is as good, if not better, than eyeshadow palettes you bay upwards of 40 dollars for.

Real Technique Brushes

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Real technique brushes are AMAZING. They aren’t the cheapest but the best part of these is they can almost ALWAYS be found for a good price at Tj Maxx or Marshalls. The brushes are super soft and they do a fantastic job of applying makeup. Seriously if you are looking for some less expensive but HIGH quality makeup brushes then real techniques is going to be what you want to use. Price varies depending on the brush and where you get it.

Nyx Epic Ink Liner

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I am not talented when it comes to putting eyeliner on in different ways. I like a thin line on the eyelid with a bit of a wing. I can’t make dramatic wings and my biggest thing when putting on eyeliner is not making the line too thick. I love their eyeliners, especially NYX Epic Ink, because they have a super thin tip. This makes it easy to make smaller lines and wings for those who aren’t artistic when it comes to applying eyeliner. This usually runs for about $9.00.

Better Than Sex Mascara by Too Faced

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This mascara is not cheap, a tube of it is about $24.00 but it lasts for about 2-3 months. However, if you are craving INTENSE volume AND length then this is the mascara for you. It is absolutely amazing I get questioned daily about whether or not my eyelashes are fake because this product seriously enhances your eyelashes so much. It also stays on all day so you don’t have to worry about reapplying all the time.

Tarte Lip Paint

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I have searched long and hard for a long lasting lipstick. There is nothing I hate more than having to reapply lipstick frequently. I was so happy when I can across Tarte Lip Paint because they have absolutely gorgeous colors. Not only do these lip paitnts come in a variety of colors but they last a very long time and create a gorgeous matte look. If you want a long lasting Matte look then this is the lipstick you want. One container is about $20.00 dollars and it lasts for months.

Morphe Continous Setting Mist

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I have experimented so much with setting sprays because I cry everytime I have to pay $30.00 for Urban Decay setting spray that only lasts for a little over a month. Yeah, its a good product but I just don’t like it enough to spend that much on that, that frequently. When looking for a new setting spray at Ulta the lady recommended this to me and I have not gone back. This isn’t a spray its a mist. The mist ensures that it gets over your entire face and not just the section that you are spraying. It keeps your makeup PERFECT all day. It is better and beyond Urban Decay setting spray and it is only 16.00 at Ulta.

AND THERE YOU HAVE IT

I won’t even pretend to be talented or know the first thing about makeup but I do like to get dolled up and feel good about myself. These are the products I use to do anything from a simple natural look to a night out on the town look. I tend to buy products that aren’t insanley expensive and last longer. So if you are a little lost like me than I highly recommend the products I have suggested.

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Making Online Shopping as Cheap as Possible

If you are like me then you much rather prefer shopping and finding great deals online over spending a lot of time in store. Online shopping can save you A LOT money if you do it right. Thats why I want to share with you tips for online shipping I use to save the most amount of money.

Lets start with a few ways that you can cheat the system and save money

Clear your browser history:

Most sites give you an option to put in your email address for around a 20 percent discount if it is your first time visiting the site. Clearing your history allows this offer to pop up as many times as you want it to, however be weary because SOME websites will let you use the same email and some websites require a new one each time! However, if it is a website that requires a different email each time you can usually work around this by unsubscribing from the email list. You can also just unsubscribe from the email list either way after you get the discount, which helps keep your inbox uncluttered.

Sign up for VIP Memberships and then CANCEL: 

A huge way I save money when I buy workout clothes or shoes is by becoming a VIP member for places like Fabletics, Shoedazzle, and Justfab. VIP members usually always get a discount on these sites, however I never keep my membership. This is a major major way to cheat the system and save hundreds of dollars depending on what you buy. When you set up a VIP account (you can use the same email more than once) they ALWAYS have a deal for first time VIP purchases such as 2 for 24 leggings or getting your first pair of shoes for only ten dollars.  I have gotten three pairs of shoes for 30 dollars before and I have gotten 8 pieces of workout clothing for a little over 100 dollars just by using this method. I generally wait till the order comes but when it comes I go ahead and cancel the membership. Be sure you REMEMBER TO CANCEL because if you do not then on the 6th of the month you will get charged 49 dollars. If you don’t want to make a new account each time and you want to remain a VIP member and get the savings you can skip getting charged that month by choosing “Skip this month” in the boutique.

If that fails or if you want an even bigger discount lets look at these possibilities. 

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Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Check for websites with discount codes or apps that give you deals: 

There are plenty of websites and apps that will search the web for discount codes. They usually find discount codes that previous users have used and had success with. In addition a lot of sites will let you know the last time that it worked for someone who used it. Here is a list of websites and apps that will help you find the best deal and I also included second-hand retail sites for those who don’t mind buying second-hand.

Websites

  • Retailmenot.com
  • Groupon.com
  • Freeshipping.org
  • Ebates.com
  • Coupon Cabin

Apps

  • Honey: This app doesn’t come out till Feb 2019 but I have the download on my laptop and it is super cool because the plug in will show up at the coupons section of check out and it will automatically run the discount codes right there on the site and let you know if you are getting the best deals.
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  • Ibotta

Some apps that you can buy second hand clothing are

  • Poshmark
  • thredUP

There are many more apps that you can buy and sell second-hand clothing at but these were the two I found that were the highest rated. I don’t use these apps as I just prefer to buy new but for anyone who doesn’t mind wearing second-hand clothes this can be a great way to buy cute clothes at a fraction of the price.

Check the clearance or sale section EVEN ONLINE:

More times than not I have gotten a bunch of cute clothes in bulk for under 100 dollars just by using this trick. For example, lets take one of my favorite places to shop (beside Tj Maxx of course) Charlotte Russe. I like them because they have cute reasonably priced clothing, their jeans fit me really well, and overall the quality if pretty good! It is more common than it is uncommon for sites to have an online sale going on. If you go to the sale section you often find sweaters for 10-15, shoes for 20 and up, jeans buy one get one fifty percent off. However, my favorite thing is going through the clearance section. I am not the type of person who has to have the fashion that is in THAT season, I wear what is cute and what makes me feel good. What I do is sort the price lowest to highest and go through and find what I like. It is a little time consuming but it is worth it for the cash that you save.

Do they have an affiliate program:.

A lot of places like meal prep companies, supplement companies, clothing companies, etc have affiliate programs, athletes, or sponsors. Check out the company on Instagram and see if they have affiliate programs. If they do you can usually find someone with a discount code in the tagged photos section. This helps both you and them because you get a discount and they get someone using their code.

Check Amazon for a cheaper but similar alternative

Doing this over the years has saved me a lot of money on clothes, products, books, and just random things. The key to shopping on amazon is reading the reviews. You want to read the reviews on not only the seller but the products as well. I am more trusting of reviews with photos of the product attached to them. I will also read the highest rated reviews and the lowest rated reviews. You have to look for patterns in the reviews, for example if there are a lot of negative reviews saying the same thing about the product but by different people I generally steer clear of that product. Again, this is time consuming but will save you money in the long run.

I HATE paying full price for things I can find for cheaper so I hope these tips will help you save money on your online shopping endeavors.

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Why a “health/wellness” New Years Resolution can potentially be toxic:

With the New Year resolutions coming a vast majority of you will make a resolution to create more healthy lifestyle habits, which is AMAZING! However, this industry is a BILLION dollar industry. As in any highly successful industry it is about the MONEY. You will get a million and ten people offering you ways to cut the work in half and they will blind you into thinking that that is possible. You need to step into this industry with CLEAR goals, plenty of research, and a purpose. You can’t be innocent and vulnerable you HAVE to stick up for yourself. I used to be a part the fitness industry, I used to work with others in the fitness industry, I am dating a former body builder/personal trainer who left the fitness industry, I have walked away from the industry with others. I can tell you (we can all tell you) there are plenty of good people in the industry, however there are double the bad people. THIS IS NOT TO TURN YOU AWAY FROM BETTERING YOURSELF BUT RATHER TO ENCOURAGE YOU TO JUST FOCUS ON YOURSELF AND IGNORE THE INDUSTRY.

Do you truly understand there are NO (none) shortcuts:

Okay, lets start with this. Losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle is HARD work but it is some of the most rewarding work. That being said there are million short cuts out there (diet pills, fad diets, detox teas, etc) that will be offered to you and it will be tempting to take them and you may even try them before you really get to a lifestyle you sustain. However, none of these things WORK and help you actually lose weight you can keep off. They are filled with things that are toxic and harmful to your body. Trust me because I have found my sustainable lifestyle but only after years of chasing fads. I bought into Doctor Oz articles, diet pills, skinny/detox teas, and I tried them time after time. I even landed myself in the hospital after taking some fat burners, which got my heart rate so high it was simulating an anxiety attack for me again and again. It was horrible. I tried the products, sometimes I lost weight, and sometimes I didn’t lose weight. However, in the moments I did lose weight I gained it RIGHT back. There are absolutely no short cuts.

I think the hardest thing that you need to understand about weight loss is it’s not supposed to be a quick process. In fact the faster you lose large amounts of weight the less likely you are to keep it off. Losing weight to fast usually is done so through extreme diets, unhealthy measures, and a whole bunch of water weight loss methods. The best way to lose weight is at a slower and sustainable rate. You want to make sure that you are losing it in a way that you can keep up with. Thats why huge caloric deficits and extreme workouts won’t work in the long run. I know you want to lose that weight fast but you also want to keep it off. The way you lose the weight is a HUGE determinent in you keeping it off or not. Stop taking shortcuts and buckle in for a long and rewarding ride.

There are so many people (like SO SO MANY) that will take advantage of you: 

If you want to hire a coach or trainer, I get it, I pay good money each month for a coach. However, there are a few things you should take into consideration when looking for a coach.

  1. Certifications: Certifications are by no means necessary to be a coach. A lot of people have tons of workout knowledge without the certifications but you have to make sure it is clear to you what their knowledge is! For example, my coach has worked with competitors and the common crowd. She has over 15 years of fitness experience and she does extreme research on her own time. She requires you to fill out a 4-5 page application asking questions that might effect how your body functions in terms of your fitness goals. She also sends long emails, like paragraphs long, explaining to you why she wants you to do what she wants you to do. That is the type of coach I don’t mind paying a lot of money for because I trust her and she hast yieled me great results.
  2. Money: NEVER make finding the cheapest plan your top priority in search of a coach. There are a million people out there who will sell you a cheap program but usually this is because they don’t have the qualifications to charge you for more. Cheaper programs usually mean less hands on experience and the loss of personalization. Every single body is different and if you are not getting a plan customized to you then you really aren’t getting the best plan.
  3. That being said about money don’t think that if you pay more that it means you will get quality service. Please read up on the person who you are buying a program from. Search their name in Facebook, Instagram, google, BBB, etc. See if they have client testimonials and what their qualifications are. There are to many coaches out there who offer “personalized plans” for a high price yet they truly are scamming you out of your money. Do not just go to someone who has a bunch of followers on social media and go to their website and buy a plan. FOLLOWERS DOES NOT EQUAL QUALIFICATIONS.

If a person pushes their discount code or a link on you then chances are they probably don’t want to help you (not true for all but for a vast majority and its hard finding the good ones). If they send you short emails and ask little about you then they probably don’t want to help you. If they don’t have satisfied clients then they are probably in it for the money. BE CAUTIOUS and do your research, which leads me to my next point.

Do your damn research:

Make sure you can wade your way through what actually is total crap and what is true. Study form, study proper nutrition, study SUSTAINABLE fat loss, etc everything that you want to do RESEARCH IT. I can’t tell you the amount of times that I have spoken with someone who only stays with a trainer because said trainer isn’t explaining to them WHY they are telling them to do what they are doing. A coach can provide some great guidance but at the end of the day their goal should be to teach you and eventually cut you loose with the knowledge on how to do it yourself. To many coaches create fear and don’t educate so they can keep you coming back to them. There are so many resources out there but make sure you are reading scholarly articles versus just something that you googled and found on a website pushing their own agenda. There are also a LOT of educated people on instagram but I have to tell you 9/10 the person with the most followers on instagram is NOT the most educated. A lot of people assume since they lost weight they have what it takes to tell others how to lose weight and quite frankly that is just not true. Ask yourself what are this person’s credentials? Are they roping you in by selling a solution to a problem? Do they seem like they post more to educate or to sell products? These are genuine questions you have to ask yourself.

Don’t jump into this whole process vunerable, make sure that you do know the basics so that you can succeed and wade through the bullshit.

Finally, choose a gym WITHOUT getting taken advantage of: 

If you are just starting out you don’t need an expansive gym membership or a huge gym with tons of equipment. In fact it is possible to do this without a gym membership at all, I’ll be it, it certainly helps depending on what your goals are and what you are willing do. Again, it’s a money industry, and guess what the gym is no different. If you have someone who is used to the gym maybe have them go with you to navigate what you need for a membership. For starters you can go to a basic gym and get the most basic membership. There are a lot of huge fancy gyms out there with a lot of fancy amenities they will try to sell you on. You can always always UPGRADE your gym membership but most gyms lock you into a membership so you cannot downgrade. So start small and you can always go bigger. Think of it this way, say you want to buy a super expensive product but you don’t know if you’ll like it so you want to try it out first, what would you do? You would buy a sample size or ask someone for a sample. Take a basic membership at a gym as the same thing, trying it out before you commit to a huge part of it. That being said, TONS of gyms have free trial passes so before you even sign on for a gym membership at all shop around for a gym you will like and feel comfortable in. So literally don’t pay a DIME before you see if you like it.

In conclusion: 

This is a subject I am really passionate about. Fitness helped me get over my eating disorder but I also learned the hard way the industry also greatly contributed to it in the first place. There are so many good people looking to change others lives in the industry but sadly there are also so many bad. I know this blog seems harsh and a little bit of an attack on the fitness industry but I type it because I wan’t everyone to be able to better themselves without getting preyed on. Choosing to live healthier is one of the best things that you can do for yourself and unfortunately a lot of people know that and take advantage of it. I just want to warn you about what IS out there so you can push right past it and start working on the best version of you.

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for apartment living when on a budget

Three weeks into living with my boyfriend I quit my job. Now, I was able to do so because I have saved very responsibly but let me tell you it is still scary not having that paycheck when living expenses pile up. I was fortunate to get another job instantly. However, even before getting this new job (and a real nice bump in pay) I wasn’t making as much as I wanted. My boyfriend and I are both determined to save money as much as possible and therefore I wanted to share the tips that we came up with for apartment living on a budget.

Budget Apps:

Right off the bat lets talk about things that can help you if you are not good at financial planning. There are plenty of apps out there that you can link your bank account to, you can input your monthly income and expenses, that track your spending, etc that can help you. If you are not good at making a budget yourself then rely on an app to help you. Perhaps the top two apps my boyfriend and I use are:

  1. Mint: You can link your bank account to this app and it will categorize and monitor your spending
  2. Daily Savings: This you plug-in your reoccurring expenses, your salary, and it will basically tell you what your daily spendings can be and let you log it

This really helps you keep up with what you are spending each day and hopefully cut back on unnecessary expenses.

The big bad “monthly rent” 

Clearly the BIGGEST expense when living in an apartment is RENT especially if you are not splitting the costs with someone else. However, rent does not have to be so scary if you do it right. The biggest thing I do and make my boyfriend do is put a portion of the rent away with each paycheck. Rent can certainly wipe you clean if you don’t save any of your previous paycheck and use a whole paycheck to pay it. Putting some of it aside allows it to not be such a financial burden. This can also go for utilities as well!

Need random things for around the house?

To some extent you should utilize stores like “Family Dollar”, “Dollar General”, or “Five and below”. You can get some very basic essentials from these stores such as: pens, decorations, candy, books, DVDs, cards, toys, even makeup! The reason I said use it to an extent is that in life you do need to realize that cheaper is not always better and a lot of times you get what you pay for! However, things like decorations are nice to get from the dollar store and where me and Elliot got a few of our Christmas decorations! Also, these stores do manage to sell some brand name stuff for a lower price and you can get well known names from them for a low price and save a major amount of money.

For times you want to be a little classier then the dollar tree: 

Lets face it none of us really want to get EVERYTHING from the dollar tree but we still want to shop somewhere reasonable. Stores like Tj Maxx, Marshalls, and Bed Bath & Beyond are amazing for the essentials in your apartment. My boyfriend and I got all of our glassware, kitchen knifes, silver wear, towels, utensils, etc. from these stores and we didn’t pay more than a few hundred dollars for a LOT of items when it was all said and done. They have such cute stuff at affordable prices (which I am pretty sure is their motto) it makes filling your apartment with the things you need affordable!

Utilize stores like Sams Club and Costco: 

If you have a membership or know someone who has a membership at these stores you can really save money here. My suggestion is to by the things you use regularly (I.e. paper towels, napkins, tissue, toilet paper, dish washer detergent, laundry detergent, etc) in bulk at these stores. When you buy these things in bulk you save yourself the re-occurring expenses of having to buy them weekly or more than weekly. It is super helpful and most bulk products last for months. You can also buy food in bulk here as well. If you have something that you eat quite often it may be much better to by it in bulk versus buying it multiple times a week.

Speaking of large quantities of food:

Here is my BIGGEST tip for when buying food in mass! This part has a few aspects to it. First things first, it is INSANELY cheap to buy frozen vegetables and they last longer. I strongly suggest that if you eat large amounts of vegetables to buy them frozen you can cook or microwave them when you are ready to eat them. THE BIGGEST THING that has helped us save money in our household is buying meats in mass and FREEZING them. Elliot and I buy the large packs of meats and what we don’t cook we put in the freezer. This saves us a ton of money from buying small amounts of food more often, which again it

You truly don’t need cable: 

While internet is pretty necessary in your apartment you can totally make do without cable, which adds a good 50-70 dollars to your monthly bill bringing it to over a hundred a month. If you get the most expensive subscriptions to Netflix ($13.99) and Hulu (without live TV, which is $11.99) you will only be spending $25.98 a month. In addition to that you can also get Hulu with live TV for $39.99 a month, which is $53.98. Even if you just chose the Hulu option you are still paying way under then you would be for cable.

So there you have it: 

Those are my tips to save money while apartment living! There are plenty of useful tools out there to help you save money! A great resource with tons more articles is :

https://www.thepennyhoarder.com/

I will be sure to post more on saving to come! If you want more of my content be sure to follow me on Instagram @alisonschulthesz

 

 

 

Frustrations with pop culture events and society’s assumption of mental health.

Okay, so this blog comes from a place of disgust, pain, and hurting. Lately a few tragic events  have occurred. Here they are listed

1) Demi Lovato overdosing and, thank God, going to rehab

2) Mac Miller overdosing and dying, which is an absolute tragedy.

3) Everyone blaming Ariana Grande for Mac Miller’s death

The negativity that has stemmed from these two/three  situations has genuinely upset me to the point of tears. So I’m going to go into how these situations are speaking to our society and I’m going to try my BEST to put a positive spin to it but this is a blog that just needs to be put out there if not for anyone else, for me.

I started typing this blog when these incidents were a little more relevant, however I went to England and since it is such a deep topic I had to lay off on typing it while spending time with my granddad but now I am ready to attack this topic.

People are a little torn between finding the connection in mental health issues and addiction and just outright saying addiction is a choice. I won’t go into detail but I will say that as someone who struggles with mental health and has a loved one who is recovered from a horrible addiction MENTAL HEALTH AND ADDICTION ARE CONNECTED. If that offends you, SORRY again we are NOT meant to connect. So lets launch into why I am so passionate about this topic.

Demi Lovato: 

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This one is hard for me. Around a week after she overdosed memes started surfacing making fun of her. I can’t tell you how sad this made me ALONE but then I started reading comments justifying it. Comments like “Since she’s a celebrity and didn’t utilize her resources it’s all her fault”, “Listen to sorry not sorry clearly she didn’t care about her problems”, “Its her fault addiction is a choice”.

So I want to address some of these things. First off, ADDICTION isn’t ALWAYS just addiction. A good percentage of the time there are HUGE underlying mental health issues behind addicts. For example, someone who is depressed may drink their problems away.  The thing about MENTAL HEALTH and ADDICTION is it is not just as simple as identifying a problem and saying “Oh, I have a problem let me seek out help for it”. No, I WISH it was as easy as that. We would be living in a much happier and better society if those who had problems were quick to admit it and seek out help for it.

Lets look at this from an eating disorder standpoint. A LOT of people who have bulimia and or who are just binge eaters without the purging have an underlying addiction, food. Just from experiencing an eating disorder, advocating for those who still have one, and talking with those who have one 9/10 said person will NOT seek out a therapist. They are terrified the therapist will tell them they need to go to treatment, or they will make them eat more/less food, change their ways of lives, etc. Another good chunk of them when go to a therapist because they just believe that they are “fat” and that they don’t have a problem. They have it in their mind that these are normal weight loss habits. My point in this analogy is when you have a sickness or an addiction you are more than likely in denial of that addiction till something happens to you where you admit to yourself you need help.

So, for all of you who are saying that she had all the resources in the world so you don’t feel bad for her, resources or not she needed this rock bottom to seek out help. She is a human being who has her demons like I know every single one of us do. She is going through a hard time, she is seeking help now, and the fact some of you want to make memes out of it just for a laugh is a large part of why people with these issues don’t COME OUT and talk to others about it or even seek help. They are afraid of being JUDGED.

We need to extend our sympathy to those going through this and encourage them to get the proper help they need.

Mac Miller & Ariana Grande: 

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What REALLY angers me about this is that the same world that has no sympathy for Demi Lovato was so angered by Mac Miller’s death that they took that anger out on Ariana Grande. They put Mac Miller on a pedestal of remembrance, which I understand because he was an amazing soul. However,  they then think that she should have stayed with him at his lowest to “fix him”. That is where my issue lies. Yes, Mac Miller died but other than that what is the difference between that and Demi Lovato? They were both suffering

What I am about to say goes for both addiction AND mental health issues. It is NOT anyone else’s job to fix YOU but YOURSELF. While I have sympathy for those with these issues you cannot rely on others to make you better. You and ONLY you can do that. There is nobody who can make you stick with the therapy, there is nobody who can be there EVERY moment you feel like relapsing, there is nobody who can physically stop you from taking the drugs, there is nobody who can read your mind when you are secretly planning to act on your addiction (again look at it from the eating disorder standpoint a person with bulimia doesn’t say they are going to the bathroom to purge). While there actually may be a person in your life that is WILLING to do all those things it will not do anything if you aren’t willing to do those things for yourself.

No girl or man needs to stay in a relationship that is not SERVING them or that is DRAINING them. A purpose of a relationship is to be in love with each other in a mutually beneficial way. Will it be uneven at times? Yes. Will there be hard times? Yes. Will one have to carry the other sometimes? Yes. However, THIS SHOULDN’T BE FOR THE MAJORITY OF THE RELATIONSHIP. You can try to fix someone with these issues till you’re blue in the face or till you even develop your own problems, but as I mentioned before if they aren’t ready to do change it is not going to do s***! Ariana’s decision to leave Mac Miller because his addiction was draining her IS NOT why he died. He died because he was suffering from a DISEASE. You cannot put that blame on anyone else. It is extremely wrong of society to say someone has to stay with someone when they are in the lowest of the lows. I am all for being with someone who supports you through your issues, I have that right now with my boyfriend, but I don’t take him down with me. It is not fair to tell someone who is being dragged down to unhealthily stay and not seek a better life for themselves. You wouldn’t tell anyone in an abusive relationship to stay to help the abuser through their problems and this is absolutely NO different.

Mental health and addiction:

I wanna address ONE more thing. It speaks to the more sympathetic and humane people supporting these celebrities. So many people have sympathy for someone who is famous when they are going through these issues but they NEVER support anyone who isn’t famous. They may run the other way, they may avoid the conversation, they may judge them, see them as worthless, and this double standard HAS TO STOP.

Just because someone is in the public light doesn’t mean that they are more worthy of love and support than any other person who is struggling. I am not saying that you shouldn’t support celebrities with problems obviously that is the whole point of this blog. What I am saying is if you can find a place for sympathy for them you most certainly can find a place of sympathy for everyone.

I strongly stand behind people who say “I don’t know anyone who chooses addiciton”. Yes, some responsibility may lie on them for trying the substance out in the first place but what happens after that is beyond their control. Again, I have seen a loved one go through the rock bottom of addiction. It is dark, it is nasty, it is full of desperation, it is full of lying to those you love, it is full of feeling like there is no point in living, and it is NOT SOMETHING ANYONE CHOOSES.

Support those going through addiction and mental health issues BUT if it is dragging you down and taking you into a dark place know it is okay to walk away. You can root for someone, love them, and support them from a distance. All in all you have to protect yourself first. There is nothing wrong with that.

So that is my take on this whole situation it may be short but if I go much deeper into my thoughts you may be reading a more negative and rant filled blog. I just want us to understand the places that people are coming from with their diseases. Being more sympathetic as a society can truly help others who are struggling. I am so tired of seeing the underbelly of society lately I want to see more strangers rooting for others and I just want to see more love going around.

I hope that you read this and support what I believe in and spread love.

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Relationships with Food: Where am I now

Under my old blog I wrote a post called “Viewing Food as the Enemy” In it I talked about overcoming an eating disorder and developing a great relationship with food. Lets go over a few things. Did you overcame an eating disorder like I did? Do you just assume since you are working out, eating healthy, looking good, etc you have a great relationship with food? Sound familiar? Let me tell you, if this is true for you and you do feel you have a good relationship, GREAT. However, it is okay for you to admit you don’t. It took a TON TON TON of soul searching but I finally realized that I was lying to myself. While I certainly have made significant strides I hadn’t fixed my relationship with food completely.

So I don’t want to blog about JUST eating disorders, I do want to be a lifestyle blogger, but on top of doing that I do feel like it is my duty to talk about mental health every once in a while and blog my opinions about it. I say that because I am willing to talk about it and open up about it and people need that.

With that being said, this is not always going to be my blog content, but please read on.

Its not that simple:

This may sound ass backwards to those into fitness and it may be hard to understand but in order for one with an eating disorder to completely restore their relationship with food they cannot view ANY food as BAD. For me I see it as multi-step. Step 1, they truly must understand that food is not the enemy, things in moderation will not hurt you, you can eat what you crave, feeding your body is loving it, etc. Essentially, in this step you need to know that there is NO food that you must restrict yourself from. Once this is understood you really have repaired your relationship with food. Then you may choose to not only choose foods that nourish your body and that are good for you but ALSO indulge in things that may not be good for you. If that is what you truly desire.

I know people’s heart were in the right place when they said this but one thing I couldn’t STAND was “The craving will only last so long the guilt will last for a while”. Like thanks for the encouragement to stick to my plan but also you don’t understand how my brain works. Someone says that, it doesn’t matter who, and that food becomes the enemy. Those who have had EDS don’t have that logical thinking of “One thing won’t make me fat” we often think “This one thing WILL make me fat”. Those who currently are battling ED 100 percent do not have that logical thinking. I am not trying to contribute to an overly sensitized and offended world but God sayings like that push my buttons.

First off, you’re implying that we eat food not to enjoy the taste. Sorry, but food is MEANT TO BE TASTED. Period. Yes, it is meant to fuel our body. However, in this world we have endless options to eat things that are good for us and we ENJOY the taste of. Nobody should be forcing anything down their throats just to look good when they do not enjoy the taste. This line of “dedication to your goals”  and “having a shit relationship with food” are constantly crossing. I hear people all the time who eat one food so much they become physically sick from it and they can’t eat it anymore. Hell, I have done this with many foods myself.

Second off, you’re promoting the harmful diet culture. I understand what a “diet” is but honestly that is NOT what we should be calling it. The best term is a lifestyle change or even “a temporary caloric deficit” would be better. You are not supposed to be in a caloric deficit for long periods of time and diet culture definitely does not address that. Diet culture is CONSTANTLY promoting a certain look, certain harmful diets, etc. We refer to it so often that even if we aren’t intending to play into it we definitely are. At the end of the day NO FOOD in this world is bad for us in MODERATION (In absence of allergies or health conditions). So stop telling people what they can and can’t eat and if you don’t agree with this philosophy then you and I were not made to connect in this world and that is okay. However, I refuse to tell someone something is bad for them and play into the fear of food.

Even preaching what I did I was darkly behind the scenes falling into diet culture: 

“Eating this will completely ruin my results”, “Not doing this last bike sprint is going to hinder my progress”, “If I eat this much then I will look a certain way”. It is ALL bullshit but yet it is CONSTANTLY promoted. Naturally, I couldn’t even realize I was subtly falling a victim to it because it is so dang normalized. I didn’t still have my eating disorder but I also didn’t have the healthiest view on food. I think people now have a harder time coming to the fact that they have a disorder because diet culture now promotes disordered thinking as healthy. Coaches are out there giving barely any food to their clients. Young girls are having a harder and harder time getting over their eating disorders because they can’t even recognize what they are doing is disordered. A large part of this is due to the diet culture and the “lifestyle” a lot of us are promoting on social media. We need to take a step back and REALLY push more mental health self-care as well.

So where am I now with my relationship with food?

While my relationship with food CERTAINLY is not perfect, it is in the process of being healed. I don’t know how long it will be before I stop having any fears of food all together or before I NEVER have an irrational thought in regards to foods and calories, but they are occurring less and less.

Right now, I am working on being more forgiving, enjoying what I am doing, and not focusing so much on the food. After all the experience should be what its about not the food. For me, its more important to focus on the company I am with than whats going in my mouth. Does this mean I binge? Absolutely not. I am very sensible but it is a different mindset. It’s not consciously thinking of every little bit and piece that goes in my mouth and trying to add up how many calories in my head.

In taking this approach and being more forgiving I feel like it has opened my eyes to how ridiculous I was being before. I still have fitness goals, I still wanna eat healthy 80-90 percent of the time, but I am not letting it eat me alive. We can’t let ONE thing consume us so much. Think of it this way, say you are trying to grow a brand. In growing that brand you rely on another brand or industry solely to make YOUR brand succeed. Well what happens if that brand comes crashing down? You go with it because you didn’t focus on just you. You essentially were just a walking advertisement for them. YOU need to be the walking advertisement for your mental health. You can’t put ALL your health and sanity into JUST fitness because when that changes, you hit a wall, etc. you won’t know what to do with yourself because you have so deeply associated your health with that. The best thing you can do is learn how to develop and flourish your mental health and do what things make you mentally better. This may be fitness but it may also be OTHER things. For me, it may be reading, it may be having some wine with friends, writing these blogs, choosing what type of content I get to put out, and really all of that helps me to be a better me. NOT JUST FITNESS, while I do love fitness I am not relying on it solely for my mental clarity.

When all is said in done I did what I needed to do in order to have my healthy relationship with food and be happy with my life. I think one of the most important things in this world is a healthy relationship with food. Whether we like it or not our lives are going to be centered around food. Whether it be for energy, to get better, or in social situations. So if you don’t have a good relationship with food, and fitness or anything else you may be obsessing about isn’t fixing it, then you need to reevaluate your approach. I highly suggest doing what I did and taking a step back and being honest with yourself. It is not easy, it is not comfortable, but nothing worth it is.

That is my thought for the day, so if this spoke to you at all I am very glad and know you can always talk to me about it.

My Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook Page are below! I am usually most responsive on Instagram if you need to talk.

Happy Friday my people, its a wonderful life 🙂