annie f downs, author and all-around all star, talks a lot about how we should just feel what we feel. stop making it seem like what is going on in your life isn’t happening. stop making yourself feel smaller by comparing your circumstances to someone else’s that are maybe more “extreme”.
you have a right to feel your feels.
you’re sad? feel sad. you’re jazzed about life? get jazzy. you’re giddy about the future? WE NEED MORE OF THAT GIDDINESS!
i just couldn’t agree with her more. i think our society makes us lukewarm. we’re supposed to be chill. we shouldn’t care too much, be too much, feel too much.
well funny story: i do all the above.
i am not chill.
i care about people so much my close friends need to remind me that i shouldn’t have anxiety over other peoples’ happiness. i struggle with being viewed as ‘too much’ – i am too into my dreams, my faith, my passions. i feel everything deeply, from worrying about family to worrying about a homeless man i see once to worrying about whether my future husband will like taylor swift.
so this summer was really hard on me. between graduation and moving home, going from having a whole campus of friends to zero, and the precarious health of my mom, i felt like i was on an endless roller coaster of emotions. add on the stress of finding a job and it was almost too much.
but honestly? i mainly just felt like i was the only one going through this rough transition. i felt, and sometimes still feel, so lonely. no one ever talks about how hard the hard stuff is. how hard it is to take care of a sick family member and all the tension, stress and sleepless nights that go with. how hard it is to see someone you love so much struggle and live too far to help them. how hard it is to graduate with such big dreams and then get continuously crushed with rejections.
we see these lukewarm lives on social media, lives of “couple goals” and “squads”, and we get brainwashed into thinking we shouldn’t feel the feels. that everyone else has it together. that we’re the only ones that has ever moved back in with their parents and worked retail to keep their sanity. that we’re the only ones who sometimes cry over a lost friendship or dances to throwback jams when they’re getting ready.
i had convinced myself at some point along the way that no one else feels these feels. but people do. actually, everyone does.
we’re not made to be lukewarm. we’re made to love deeply and act passionately. so even though my blog and instagram are often beautiful edited photos, i hope you see that i am trying. i just really love editing photos but i will not edit my feelings.
at the end of the day, doing this is not really for you, but for me. i am trying to rewire myself to feel what i am feeling instead of pretending to be this chill gal who doesn’t care. because i do care. A LOT. about ALL of you. about my future. about my family. about flavors of ice cream. and i love that part about myself.
so if i seem overly into this whole blog dealio or if i seem like one of those “really” catholic girls or if i seem like anything too much, that’s because i am. i refuse to be lukewarm.
will you join me?
vibed to more like love by ben rector while writing.
okay so today got COMPLETELY away from me. however it is 10:26 p.m. and i refuse to go back on my promise to have a post out everyday this week.
i wanted to elaborate on the recipe i posted to instagram for my trader joe’s tuesday series because you NEED this salad in your life.
so go buy*:
red bell pepper
corn (you can use canned but if you can grill it the night before and chill it, it’s SO good)
salt + pepper
*i am not including quantities because it kind of depends on what you want from the salad! but if you maaaaaade me, i’d say 1 cup barley and a bag o’ kale. the rest is genuinely up to your taste buds. consult them.
rinse and dry the kale to making it spankin’ clean. then take a little sea salt and some olive oil and massage the kale. this will make the kale soft and better in the salad! put in a big bowl and place in the fridge to chill overnight. cook the one cup barley and chill overnight as well.
chop kale into smaller pieces and combine with barley. mix in the chopped bell pepper, corn, onion and cucumber. take the kalamata olives and cut into fourths – mix that right in. crumble feta cheese in (lots of that, let’s be real). then mix with olive oil and balsamic plus salt and pepper to your preference. mix mix mix.
enjoy. eat the next day for lunch. enjoy again. eat the next day for dinner. enjoy again. make the next week and repeat.
vibed to the finale of so you think you can dance while writing. #longliveJT
back in january (you guys, another new year is in 3ISH MONTHS…WHAT???), i made some new year’s resolutions and i actually stuck to them. it’s funny – i think i just assumed i would never stick to new year’s resolutions because i always see things on instagram or memes about no one ever doing theirs so i have never tried! #thatsdumb
i kept my resolutions simple and small with a quote to tie them together so i could easily remember them. my 2016 goal overall is to minimize comparison so as to eliminate jealousy. but more on that in three and a half months when i do a wrap-up on what i’ve learned in 2016…
i often talk about goals and dreams, etc etc but i have a hard time actually remembering what those are. for example, i have this “bucket list” i often refer to but i couldn’t tell you what’s on my bucket list because it doesn’t really exist anywhere on paper – ya know what i mean?
SOOOO to keep myself accountable for 23 being a rockstar year, i wrote a list of 23 things i want to do by august 5, 2017. if it worked for 2016, i figure it’ll work for 23 too. i have a private list of a few more personal ones but these are quantifiable and i can physically check them off my list as they are completed which i am ALL about.
anywho, you can follow along as i try to cross them all off over the next 10.5 months!
ps the bold numbers are ones i have already completed!;)
visit new york
make my own ice cream (holiday flavored? i am thinking pumpkin or cinnamon…or both…)
(finally) buy glasses i love to wear (for once in my darn life)
go on a road trip to an outdoorsy location (to vitalia: insert yourself here)
shoot an engagement photography session
spend intentional time with Him everyday for at least 15 minutes
bake a cake for no reason and top it with flowers
launch a blog
read one self-development book per month
make plans to travel internationally either in year 23 or 24
go to confession once a month
go home to colorado and visit my brother
go thrift shopping at least once a season
make a terrarium
learn how to transfer my writing onto the computer to make my own lettering
make a desktop background to share
design a mock-up for a planner (this is a serious pipe dream of mine)
make a diy holiday wrapping paper post
shoot a family photography session
schedule a wedding as the main photographer
use first names whenever possible (grocery store, flight attendants, the homeless, etc.) to promote dignity of life
volunteer at least three times (more would be great!!!)
get 5,000 followers on my instagram account
a few tips for those of you who want to make a list for yourself: keep it manageable, post it in a place where you’ll frequently see it and make each item something quantifiable. for example, instead of “read more” you can do “read 3 books every month”, etc.
23 has already been challenging and blessed. i feel like this is the year that god is just completely breaking me down to build me into something better because i am being tested and am reevaluating so much of what is important to me – which of course includes all of you!:)
tell me you don’t love a fresh new iPhone case and i will most certainly not believe you.
if you follow me on snap chat (@ania.sullivan), you saw my reaaaally long story yesterday about my realization that i replace things way too often that are neither broken nor entirely used.
planners (first time finishing one will be this december)
….and iPhone cases!!
so i did a little experiment with myself and told myself that i could not buy one until it broke. AND IT FINALLY BROKE! i should not be this excited seeing as though i now i have to buy a new one but i haven’t loved how my clear one has become so gross looking so HELLO FRESH CASE WAZZUPPPPP.
i research phone cases all the darn time so here’s my top contenders for this week’s fri-yay ten:
1 | i have a veryyyyy strong attachment to marble lately so this decal + case is quite tempting
2 | sonix has the best cases for whimsical little graphics – can you not with these cute cacti?
3 | still obsessing over ferns so this one is not leaf-ing the contest anytime soon
i am a dreamer. i seriously have it in my head that if you put your mind to something, it’s possible. but this summer i realized i was holding myself back from reaching any dream, big or small, in a real way. and i actually have been for the last 23 years of my life.
i have been praying and thinking about this idea that location does not determine success for a couple of weeks. right now it’s 9:12 p.m. and i am scratching my other post for tomorrow to make way for this one because i just really need to tell you all what’s been on my heart, mainly because i have a feeling many of you might be limiting yourself in the same way.
i want this to be clear so here’s the bottom line: i have been looking for a ‘place’ that will give me the red, sparkly shoes for my dreams to come true. as i look for a job, i have a bit of a tunnel vision on big cities like LA, San Francisco, New York. i dream about spending my mid-twenties in some high-rise apartment, paying my dues by drinking tap water and eating ramen while working 70 hour weeks. i don’t see any other way to get to where i want to go other than this path.
it was the same when i was looking at colleges. when i chose slu, i chose it over a school in sunny california. i think i always thought that since i didn’t go to school in california, i shouldn’t even try the fashion or blogging side of me because i thought it would only reach dead ends in a city like st louis. to be honest, that’s not the most fun realization to have.
then the other day i started thinking about what i want. like seriously what do i want from life? i think this started as a result of my mom’s scare with cancer and resulted in me giving serious thought to where i want to live, how close i want to be to my family + friends and what i just couldn’t live without.
i started to think about all the flashy cities i had been so set on living in and why i was clinging to that idea. and this was what i realized: i thought that my location would determine my success. i thought that if i ‘settled’ and lived in a smaller city, that i wouldn’t find any creative outlets, that i wouldn’t be successful and that i wouldn’t be as happy.
and i think that’s a big load of baloney.
as i mentioned above, my happiness doesn’t honestly come from my career. it comes from my relationships, from my ability to find beauty anywhere i live, from the joy i feel in building genuine community.
so what if i was actually closing the door on a great plan He has for my life by not considering anything but what i thought was ‘right’ for me? what if that was actually me saying no to my greatest happiness? that’s a pretty crazy thought, that i could be saying no to a family He has dreamed out for me (that i really want), a dreamy future hubs, a big backyard for hosting get togethers.
maybe god knows my heart and is trying to lead more towards it. but what if i miss it because i was set on living where it all happens?
what i realized this summer is that ‘it’ happens everywhere. people create businesses out of their garage on an online shop. bloggers become famous because of their passion and ability to create good content. and what about non-career success? what if my greatest success in life is that god leads me to a smaller city but a dreamy husband that also wants a gajillion kids? because that would make me the happiest of all and i don’t think being a mom would make me any less successful than a killer career.
does this mean that i wouldn’t accept a job in new york? not at all. it means i am now trying to be more open to His plan because i just want to be happy and He knows my heart better than anyone. i don’t want to limit His plans for my life because of my need for control. i want to be as open as i can but truthfully? it’s scaring the heebie jeebies out of me.
i like to think i know the path to my happiness. but it has given me such a genuine relief that i don’t have to have this white-knuckled grasp on my life. knowing that He has a wonderful plan for my life as long as i am willing takes so much pressure off of me and my location. that means i can be happy and successful anywhere He places me.
i guess what i am trying to say is that you can have success anywhere and in any form. i have met amazing creatives where i work at anthropologie, met christian women who i know i’ll be friends with forever and have found places to photograph in fresno, ca which is not a super hip, glam town by any means. it’s normal. it’s the suburbs. but now that i am open to its opportunities, i see them. now that i have let go of the thought that this farm town could never bring me happiness, it’s bringing me just that.
so if you’re a mom in one bedroom house nursing a baby or a college grad who landed a job in your dream city or you’re picking herbs from your garden at 7 am like me: we can all pursue our dreams because your location does not determine your success.
have you ever heard someone say that they hate Instagram because all they see are perfectly curated lives, plates of food or bodies?
okay so quick confession: this is one of my biggest pet peeves. and not because that isn’t true – because it totally is! something you must ingrain into your mind is that a lot of those photos of mothers frolicking in grassy meadows with their chiseled husbands and cheery children are shot by professionals on s u p e r nice cameras. these people do it for a living so of course it’s going to look splendid! if my income was off a fitness account on IG, i’d be hitting the gym twice daily too!
i think the reason i don’t completely understand that complaint is that no one is forcing you to follow those accounts that make you feel insecure! UNFOLLOW THEM! i go through the people i follow on IG at the beginning of every month and just clear out accounts right and left. either their content isn’t something i love or i just get too jealous seeing those photos. i have no problem unfollowing people because 1. they probably will never know and 2. refer to previous.
instagram should be fun and full of photos that inspire you, make you laugh or make you drool…
…speaking of drooling! i am starting a little series over here called “instafollow” where i’ll be posting my favorite accounts that you should def follow instantly. i love going on instagram because i feel like i have really refined my feed to some of the best!
this week will be focused on food + drink accounts but there will be others! i think i will probably do six (ish) categories for the next six weeks on mondays with them being: lifestyle, photography, wedding, food/drink, fashion and accounts with some religious aspect whether it’s the author of a book, an online christian magazine or just someone who loves the Lord loudly on their IG. because praise hands for praise hands on social media, can i get an amen?!
these foodie accounts are actual cooks. so this is not some account of random food photos that they find on the interwebs. these boss ladies create the recipes and run these accounts off their own imagination. and thank goodness they do! 😉
1 | broma bakery : she is one of my favs for sureeee. i appreciate her photography skills and also, she’s so personable on snap chat. YES FOLLOW FOOD BLOGGERS ON SNAP CHAT. honestly will do so much good for you and your meal inspiration. also foodie people are the best people.
2 | How Sweet Eats : if you don’t fall for jessica’s cooking, you’ll fall hard and fast for her tiny, red-headed son. she has also started to do more videos on her IG so as if i needed another reason to be obsessed with her, here i am – obsessed. she also does some other posts on her blog, like beauty product recs (nothing sponsored, just her opinion) and i love that she adds that in!
3| Half Baked Harvest : her food combos make me go crazy. she is INSANELY good at putting things together and leaving you wondering how you never thought of that. also, she makes full recipes on her snap chat, start to finish, and i LIVE for them. go follow her immediately @hbharvest.
4 | Smitten Kitchen : again epic. i don’t know how much more glam things i can say about these foodies…i just love food accounts so so much….
5 | Bev Cooks : she. is. so. funny. i. cannot. deal. also her twins ARE SO CUTE GAHHH. my mom really digs her recipes so that’s gotta be a sign of something great ya know what i mean.
6 | Ambitious Kitchen : i love her because her recipes are healthy and she is rad. nothing that you’d have to go to the ends of the earth to find the ingredients for. do you know what i mean though? sometimes these food bloggers are like “then harvest one quart of goat’s milk mixed with berries found only in Norway” and you’re like okay, no, i will eat PB&J instead.
7 | The Kitchn : okay so the real moment i fell in love with this account was when i made her sticky lemon rolls with lemon cream cheese glaze for my sister’s baby shower and i thought that my calling was to make them for the rest of my life. they were INSANE. i can’t even think about them anymore right now. i have all the heart eyes for this account.
8 | Pinch of Yum : okay so i’ve loved this account for a while but now that she’s doing more videos, i am almost an addict. almost…
9 | Against All Grain : danielle is a BOSS. she has some diet restrictions so her recipes are all grain-free. she is also just an all-around great human and keeps it real. her cookbooks are like works of art.
10 | Minimalist Baker : all of Dana’s recipes are 10 ingredients or less AND most gf which was a great bonus for me before i found out i wasn’t allergic to gluten. BUT her recipes are bomb.com nonetheless so follow away!
okay i am cutting myself off at ten otherwise this post will be a novel. do you have any favorites that i should follow?! comment below! i love foodie accounts so the more, the merrier!
vibed to the sound of my parents’ movie next door while writing this. #livingathome 😉
1 | my good pal sonya sent me this article about why sunflowers turn to follow the sun. maybe i’m a weirdo that loves reading about flowers but maybe you are too?!!
2 | jenna and i have decided we need this sweatshirt. might start a petition to have topshop lower the price.
3 | alsooooo i have been recently obsessed with the chainsmokers and this song has been on repeat for 48 hours straight. it makes me feel 10x cooler than i probably really am. but where do i listen to this new album everyone is talking about?!?! halp.
4 | you all lurved my post about the breakfast bowls i have been making all summer – snap me a pic @ania.sullivan on snap chat if you make one! i have been brainstorming fun recipes to share with you guys and top of the list are those stuffed green peppers i made on snap chat two weeks ago. stay tuuuuuuned.
5 | this sale on jeans is happening for a limited time! i have a pair of these black jeans that i bought in san fran when i was too broke to buy a pair of designer jeans and was v impressed.
6 | my mom couldn’t eat cashews (her fav snack) before her surgery last week so she tried to assimilate them through her nostril as a joke. just please picture that and lol to yourself.
7 | i tried coconut on my breakfast bowl and was VERY into it. but here’s the thing: a cup of coconut flakes is 200 calories. like WHAT?! so i did some measuring and did the math for you to find out a reasonable proportion for my bowl without selling my soul to coconut. my result is 1 teaspoon = 25 cals ish = perfect for a topping on anything! i love those little white flakes but i also do not have the metabolism of my middle school self anymore amirighttttt
9 | ben rector continues to be one of my fav artists. i have seen him twice in concert and would go see him a million times more. watch his new ‘music video’ and let your heart be pierced my friends.
10 | starting to edit photos from a little shoot i did of three besties in san diego. and i booked my first engagement shoot. baby steps are just as good, people. tell yourself that if you’re not seeing fast enough results in something!!! i am constantly.
happy weekend! i shall be drafting my first style post for you all so get pumped. eeeeeeek not used to seeing myself on the other end of the camera so much!!!