Should Your Favorite Brands Really Be Texting You?

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Lily: Why is Stuad doing this now? That’s so weird???

Kate: LOL that’s a very interesting take on sending a promo code. It’s aggressive.

Lily: It’s so aggressive and I’m scared it’s a hack but also I 100% signed up. Other brands have been doing this too? like been asking if they can send me texts. It’s very futuristic and terrifying.

Kate: I feel like it’s because email is so saturated. But a text is a little jarring and disruptive.

Lily: Also, I think it may be because so many people shop from their phones. Like, once I said yes they sent me a click-through.

Kate: Oooo V true!! I get random texts from Express but no one else really, and normally it’a a short text with no pictures lol.

Lily: For me it’s been a lot of natural beauty and skincare brands. I think they hate the approach of a “I’m cute friend who texts you to tell you about sales,” but a lot of the time I’ve never signed up for these I just put my phone number in for packages so they can get past my gate or call me if there’s an issue. It feels like an abuse of power.

Kate: Oooh I get them from Ulta too for sales! As it is, I get so many texts a day that a brand trying to communicate with me over text is just going to be ignored. Instagram ads are the way to get to me.

Lily: Tooooootally. Instagram ads are the absolute best. Especially if they are shop-able and I can click on the little circle for the price and just go.

Kate: The prince thing is the best thing to ever happen to social media.

Lily: I don’t get why brands don’t get that? Like 90% of the time I want to buy something, it’s because I was scrolling on IG and saw it and want to put it on my body or my face. Unless these brands start using the algorithm to text me pictures of products I want…don’t text me!

I Can’t Stop Thinking About These UGG Slippers

It has been yeaaars since I owned a pair of UGGs. The last time I owned UGGs, their brand was limited to the classic shearling-lined boots and came in only three colors. This was before they offered a plethora of silhouettes and a color assortment that spans a 64 pack of crayons. Before Tom Brady made millions of bros hop on the UGG bandwagon.

It was a simpler time. I wore my short classic chestnut UGGs every day from October through March of my sophomore year of high school and my tall classic black UGGs every day for the fall/winter of my junior year. Everyone in US Weekly was wearing them, all the reality stars of the mid to late 00s owned multiple pairs, and before we knew it, UGG boots trickled all the way down to suburban American high schools.

By the time I headed off to college, I was wearing my boots less and less, reserving them typically for the days when I was too tired and lazy to put together a real outfit. They just seemed so basic. And ugly, which was painful to admit because for years all loyal UGG wearers had to suffer through older adults and annoying oafs saying “Do you know that the name UGG is short for ugly?!”

UGGs hadn’t even blipped on my sartorial radar until this year when I saw a number of Instagram influencers unboxing UGGs – but not just any UGGs. It was the aptly named FLUFF YEAH sandal – part sophisticated slingback, part fluffy slide (made famous by Rihanna’s FENTY Puma line), and part what unholy thing is this.

They make almost zero sense but that only increases their appeal to me. As a millennial woman, I am genetically predisposed to have an affinity for inappropriately fluffy things, as well as illogical footwear. I am weak to its power. The only thing stopping me from getting a pair is that I can’t decide which color I want. I don’t care that they make about as much sense as a paper bag for a raincoat. The heart wants what it wants!

 

The Zodiac Signs as Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Aries

Aries, you’re a dynamic babe, just like these butternut squashes with maple tahini sauce. The earthiness of butternut squash, combined with the sweet yet tangy surprise of maple tahini, is the perfect metaphor for you – it’s lively, adventurous, and a little bit of a risk but fuck it, it’s Thanksgiving!

Taurus

Roasted potatoes are hardly exciting but they more than make up for it by providing so much comfort and warmth, just like a Taurus. Potatoes are so reliable that even a novice cook attempting to impress their new boyfriend can’t fail with roasted potato! Sure, the turkey might be too dry or the stuffing ends up tasting like cardboard, but these good old down-to-earth beauties will stand the test of time!

Gemini

Little Gem, no one is thinking that you’ll bring a dish that is remotely traditional or expected. You’re straight up serving parsnip confit with pickled currants. We know you love a mix of high and lowbrow! After you’ve had your fill of parsnips and currants, you’ll kick back and soak up the confused looks and taste-test bites around you. Pfft, these people just don’t appreciate the culinary artistry before them!

Cancer

Sweetest crab! Thanksgiving is basically like the Olympics for homebodies so you’ve already got a leg up on the competition! While other people were partying on Thanksgiving Eve and wasting their November weekends with sports and outdoor fall things, you were at home studying up on recipes and hosting tips, and even made a diorama of the REAL first Thanksgiving. So naturally, your side dish is perfectly made stuffing – the piece de resistance, the side to end all sides, one side to rule them all!

Leo

Leo, let’s cut to the chase. You’re born to be the host of a massive Thanksgiving – you just want to spoil all your friends but also have the ability to maintain control over the entire meal while all eyes are on you when you reveal the turkey. In the event that you’re not fulfilling your hosting dreams this Thanksgiving, you’ll still be giving the people something that they didn’t even know that they wanted – perfectly roasted carrots that resemble those from the dinner scene in Mrs. Doubtfire. This little nostalgic dish will solidify you as life of the Thanksgiving party.

Virgo

Sweet Virgo, you’ve been practicing your side dish for the past two weeks, haven’t you? All those hours of work, research, and fussing will have paid off on Thanksgiving day when you arrive with an exquisite pumpkin pie. Just remember – you are truly your own (and everyone else’s) biggest critic. Eat your pie and be happy!

Libra

When a Libra doesn’t like a dish at Thanksgiving, they try to hide their uneaten food in the trash by covering it up with other plates and napkins. You’re certainly not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings but once they step out of the room, that’s a different story for Aunt Claire and her salty stuffing. So a Libra’s best strategy is to win over the crowd with a fan favorite mac and cheese. No one can hate mac and cheese! It’s a genius plan!

Scorpio

Warm and cozy isn’t really your vibe, little Scorpion. While everyone else is already feeling full and sleepy from the appetizers, you’re ready to bring a little mischief to Thanksgiving. After all, you’ve got to make this evening entertaining for yourself. Your first plan was deviled eggs because well you’re also a little devilish yourself but then you thought, no, dream bigger darling. And voila! Mulled wine!

Sagittarius

Sag, don’t forget Thanksgiving is coming up! We know that at a moment’s notice, you could be jetting off to the Iberian Peninsula for the holiday but just in case you can make it after all, you’ll bring along something inspired by one of your many excursions, like this sweet potato and meringue dish based on a classic Mexican dessert.

Capricorn

No one is more trusted with the cranberry sauce than a Capricorn. Oh sure, it seems like a simple thing to make but this dish requires precision and a serious, steady hand aka this is a job for a Cap. Who else has the temperament to babysit a slow simmering sauce waiting for sugar to dissolve but not burn?

Aquarius

An Aquarius can be found on Thanksgiving in their natural habitat – telling everyone that they will only come to dinner as long as everyone going acknowledges that the story of the first Thanksgiving is a lie. Also, please let’s make sure to preserve all leftovers so we diminish food waste! Now that everyone is in agreement, Aquarius will bring an untraditional take on the apple pie – a buttery, flaky, and glazed apple galette tart. Take that, fake first Thanksgiving!

Pisces

Oh darling Pisces, before you go getting yourself all weepy by thinking that your Thanksgiving party looks just like a Norman Rockwell painting, don’t forget to share your dish with all of your friends! It’s a little whimsical and a tad eccentric – just like you! Don’t get your feelings hurt if they tell you this isn’t a traditional Thanksgiving side – some people just don’t have any imagination!

November Horoscopes

Aries: You’ve been rushing into everything lately, not pausing to consider what implications are associated with your actions. It’s almost like you’re running as fast as you can so your past can’t catch up with you. The result of doing this one too many times has you feeling emotionally drained. It’s time to confront yourself, and your past, head on. Before we get into the hustle of the holiday season, November is the perfect month to take some time for yourself, little ram. Talk to yourself, reconnect with yourself, know yourself.

Taurus: A true creature of comfort, you’re definitely not known for shaking things up, my tiny Taurus. However, November will have you shirking steadiness and stability in favor of all things new and exciting. If you’ve been in the same job for a while, you’ll soon find yourself taking on a new role or responsibility. If you’ve been single and bored of the dating scene, suddenly a noteworthy crush will appear in your life. So many changes might overwhelm you at first but just go with it! Stay present and enjoy this.

Gemini: Darling Gemini, I know that you are counting down the days until the new year begins. You’re so over 2018 and all of the curveballs that it has thrown you. It feels like no matter what you’ve tried to accomplish this year (in love, work, friendships, and your personal development), something happens and all of sudden, your progress grinds to a halt. In November, just consider all that this year has taught you. Yes, it’s been frustrating but you’ve learned so much. Looking back, you’ll realize this has all made you so much stronger.

Cancer: My perfect little crab, November has only just begun and you’re already making room in your heart (and stomach) for all of the coming festive fun and foods with loved ones. This time of year makes you want to step into your full nurturing power because all you want to do is dote on everyone around you. Just don’t go doing too much too soon, because you’re bound to exhaust your friends and family before Thanksgiving arrives! And remember, it’s not that they don’t appreciate you, it’s just that their cup runneth over with your love and affection! So don’t go skulking away if they politely decline your third dinner party invite this month.

Leo: You’ve been feeling a bit out of your element, lovely Leo. You’re used to being the sparkliest one in the room, the one that everyone looks to for insight and inspiration. But you’re feeling overlooked lately – by friends, your partner, and at work. Do your best to not take it personally to avoid getting into a negative headspace. When you feel ready, talk to your boss, colleagues, friends, and partner to let them know how you’ve been feeling. I promise you that once you confront what’s been bothering you, you’ll be back to your sparkly self in no time.

Virgo: I have a theory that Santa is a Virgo. Think about it. The man is known for his list-making skills and his meticulous checking of said lists. His Virgo brand is strong! Just like Santa, all my Virgos are out here writing their holiday to-dos, painstakingly researching the perfect gifts for their loved ones, and already thinking about their resolutions for 2019. Try to not get fixated on perfecting the small details of everything, otherwise, you’ll miss out on all the fun that is to come.

Libra: You feel at your happiest when you feel equal with the people who matter to you. Harmony is something that you always strive for in your relationships and friendships but when others aren’t singing your song, you feel completely out of tune. Just because a friend or your partner doesn’t want to do what you want to do or doesn’t share your opinion about something, it doesn’t mean that your world is tumbling down. Do your best to break out of your co-dependent nature this month. It will only benefit you!

Scorpio: In the midst of Scorpio season, you’re at your most mysterious. You’re prone to equating your emotions as your deepest, darkest secrets that will never see the light of day. You’re only doing yourself more harm than good by keeping them bottled up. If you’ve been avoiding telling someone how you feel about them, there’s no time like the present. Open up new realms of intimacy and love! I promise you that it’s not as scary as it seems!

Sagittarius: Oh Sag, you’ve been too easy on yourself lately. Yes, I know that you’ve been feeling overwhelmed by every single little thing that going on but time for some tough love. You’re a Sag, goddamnit! Even if you’re not feeling very lucky, bright, or shiny, remember that if you put a little bit more effort into what you’re doing, you have the potential to turn everything around. Just keep pushing through to the other side of whatever you have going on. Don’t give up! You are on the brink of greatness.

Capricorn: This month, you’ll put your steadfastness and dedication to good use for a friend who has fallen off their path. They’ll be looking to you to be their example of how they can put things back together. Your perpetual stability and practicality provide so much comfort to others and of course, you’re more than happy to play the part of the friend who has it all together. Just don’t let them drain you of all your energy.

Aquarius: Let’s face it, you haven’t been doing the best job of taking care of yourself. In order to avoid a mid-winter physical breakdown, now is the time to change this. Start small – make a doctor or therapist appointment, buy some vitamins, meditate for 15 minutes. Then muse about how you can translate these small acts into healthy, self-care habits. You’re not one to back down from a challenge so let’s see what you can do!

Pisces: You know that big project that you’ve been daydreaming about forever? Time to make it a reality, dearest Pisces. Everything will be aligned for you to fulfill your goals, as long as you can prioritize your efforts. If you can keep yourself motivated, there’s no limit to what you can accomplish. As much as the world will try to distract you, just stay the course.

This Food YouTube Series Helps Me Cope With My Anxiety

A major part of coping with anxiety is assembling a collection of self-soothing mechanisms and tools. It’s almost like you’re Ariel from The Little Mermaid but instead of whosits and whatsits galore, you acquire a treasure trove of comforting artifacts and rituals that you can utilize whenever you feel a wave of anxiety building and ready to break inside your brain, your heart, your body. And yes, therapy, exercise, and medication are important but they don’t always work for everyone, based on a variety of factors not limited to time, money, and resources. There are countless forms that anxiety soothers can take – it can essentially be anything that helps you feel just a little bit lighter, mentally. And it doesn’t have to cost you a lot of time or money to be effective.

Many people I know, including myself, food is one way to cope with anxiety. There’s clearly a reason why the phrase “comfort food” exists. As one of the greatest universal calming tools, food represents something more than what it is on the plate. For me, I find the most comfort in food when it’s being made. As an admittedly bad and clumsy cook, I find it really relaxing to watch other people make food. Like when my mom makes Sunday dinners that warm up the whole kitchen, creating condensation on the windows in the winter. Or when my boyfriend puts together a Greek salad for us after work a few times a week.

Or when I watch cooking shows, like the Great British Bake Off, which is a tried and true calming mechanism for me, especially when I am trying to fall asleep and can’t get my brain to calm down. The dulcet British accents, cozy baking tent vibes, and cheery and cute contestants all make it easier to slip into sleep. I discovered GBBO a few years ago in the middle of a few particularly anxious months and it made such a difference in my day-to-day life during that time. It will forever be a part of my anxiety-relieving treasure trove.

One of my latest additions to the myriad of things I use to help with my anxiety is a series on the Bon Appetit YouTube channel called It’s Alive with Brad. I stumbled across it only a week ago and I already have recommended it to five people. If you like cooking shows but can also appreciate mishaps and bloopers that you lose with a traditional and edited show, this series is for you. The videos star Brad Leone, BA’s test kitchen manager, as he explores “living” foods like kombucha, miso, mushrooms, oysters, honey – the list goes on and on. The other star of the series is the off-camera Vinny who actually films the series and whom Brad constantly refers to throughout the videos. Earlier episodes show Brad in the BA test kitchen creating these living foods but the series evolved to now include episodes of Brad (and Vinny of course) traveling around the United States meeting with local food makers. A recent investigation of both Brad and Vinny’s Instagrams tells me they’re in Italy so I’m already excited for the episodes to come. Overall the series is equal parts light, educational, funny, and comforting, making it a welcome addition to the anxiety relief rotation.

Here’s a few of my favorite It’s Alive videos:

 

Your October Horoscopes

Aries

Change is definitely in the air and it’s not just because the leaves are turning. Darling Aries, you’ve been feeling a bit out of your element and low energy lately, which isn’t you. Your fierce independent streak would forbid you from admitting this but deep down you know you’re exhausted from pushing yourself a bit too hard these days. Spend time with the people who help you feel recharged – they’re here to remind you that it’s not necessary to do it all on your own! We get by with a little help from our friends!

Taurus

As much as you radiate assured and chill vibes, you’re no stranger to getting caught up in a spell of self-doubt. This is one of those months when unchecked self-doubt could send you into an emotional tailspin and that is something you want to avoid, lovely Taurus. Get realigned by putting your energy into one of your many creative ventures (we know that you have multiple projects dreamed up!). Doing so will help reaffirm all of the wonderful things that you know about yourself!

Gemini

Sure, everyone has been complaining about how dramatic 2018 has been but this sentiment hits particularly close to home for you, Gemini. Over the past few months, Complications have basically become an unwanted house guest in your life who has overstayed their welcome. But fear not! October brings plenty of opportunities to get out of your head and leave Complications at home for the night. Say yes to every Halloween party invite! Dressing up in a costume will let you feel like someone else for a bit and provide a much-needed mental escape from everything. Just know that bad times can’t last forever.

Cancer

What is it about October that always makes Cancers feel so sentimental? Maybe it’s the arrival of the chilly fall air, making your Stay At Home vibes even more pronounced. Or it might be the nostalgia for the Halloweens of your youth, full of kitschy decorations and cute, homemade costumes. Or maybe it’s just because baby, you were born this way. No matter what, October is a great time to indulge in your love of nesting so treat yourself to that Target splurge on new throws, candles, assorted teas, and an autumnal wreath. Tis the season!

Leo

Leos, you can’t deny your love for all things October. You’ve got all your best fall outfits ready for cute, seasonal Instagram ops. Your rotation of Halloween costumes has been on lock for the past two months. You’ve been keeping current with all the new shows premiering so you have something to discuss at all of the parties you’ll be attending. Just make sure you’re not getting so caught up in all the festivities that you forget about your other priorities, like work and relationships!

Virgo

Virgo season might have just ended but that doesn’t mean you’re still not doing the absolute most in October! You’re in problem-solving mode and this month, you’ll be paying extra attention to your love life and relationships. Not so great things that you chose to overlook about a partner or friend will come back to light this month. This time though, the tension will get the better of you and force you to work through the issues at hand. Just remember to speak your truth! Even if you have to rehearse the convo in your head or analyze the hypotheticals, don’t back down from saying what you need to say.

Libra

Happy birthday Libra loves! You’ve been looking forward to celebrating for months now and you already have multiple parties, dinners, and drink outings planned with your wide circle of friends. But something is missing. With each birthday comes fun but also a sense of growth. One year older and you’re still feeling like you’ll never figure it all out. But don’t fret away the fun by wondering “Who am I?”! Just be sure to pay attention to the signs that the Universe is sending you because they will point you in the direction you want to go.

Scorpio

My spooky Scorpios! October means you’re in your mysterious element, which is where you feel most at home but it also can produce some confusion and miscommunication. Your tendency to brood is usually quite pronounced, especially if you’re doing a lot of reflecting on your past but now isn’t the time to shut out the people in your life. Opening up can help you realize the potential of what you could unlock! Trust me, I know this doesn’t come naturally to you but just consider the positive things that can come from letting people in a little bit closer. You can unlock a whole new level of intimacy – do I have your attention now, you freaky little pumpkin?!

Sagittarius

Dear Sag, for the love of Goddess, please do yourself and everyone else a favor and hit the pause button in October. Feeling like there is SO much you want to do and not enough time to do it all creates strife for a Sag. This results in you burning and churning through your work and social life to the point that you need a weekend to recover from the weekend! Take a few days in October to say no to everyone and everything, and use this time to focus on yourself. Think long and hard about how you really want to be spending your time and energy.

Capricorn

For Baby Caps, October brings a new wave of career and professional development – your favorite! All sorts of social connections will open up for you and create exciting opportunities for the backlog of projects that you’ve got brewing. Just make sure to vet the new people showing up in your life – you’ll want to make sure that they align with what you consider important otherwise it will be a short-lived partnership.

Aquarius

Oh Aquarius, you’ve been running ragged at work. You wake up each morning wondering what fresh hell awaits you today. You might feel like you’re the only person who has to deal with this but just remember that every single job in the world has their fair share of mishaps and bullshit. October is a great time to reflect on what you can change, instead of focusing on everything that seems out of your control. Use your natural charm and cleverness to negotiate better terms or perks at work. When it all ends up in your favor, you’ll be kicking yourself for waiting so long to do it!

Pisces

Dearest angelfish, get ready because a past flame is coming for you this October. This is certainly going to pose some sort of emotional temptation for you because a Pisces might forgive a lover but they never forget. You might be inclined to let bygones be bygones but deep down, you know that they need to air the grievances that you’ve been holding onto. This will definitely make you feel better in the long run but just be mindful to not let every single emotion run wild like a forest fire. After all, you’d rather build a bridge than burn one.

Expensive Alternative Wellness Treatments I Want To Try

Somatic Breathwork

I’m terrible at breathing. My deep breaths are laughably shallow, to the point that I’ve convinced myself that I either have small baby lungs or a deviated septum. Sure, a medical professional would have probably diagnosed these things by now if they were real health problems but it is a dream of mine that I will be vindicated the next time I have a physical and my doctor sticks that little light up my nose. Also, I have somehow trained myself to HOLD MY BREATH during any form of exercise and that just seems dangerous.

So what the f is somatic breathwork? According to the Power of Breath Institute (who even knew that existed?!), somatic breath therapy is a “highly sophisticated form of conscious breathing that teaches you how to breathe fully, getting more oxygen to your brain and body.” It turns out oxygen is really important to be a functioning human being. I for one am shocked.

The number one thing that the PBI claims breath therapy can do? “Help you take control of your life.” I screamed a little seeing that right at the top of the list. So you’re telling me that learning how to breathe better is gonna help me get my shit together? My body is ready. A few of the other minor, trivial things that somatic breathwork claims to do:

  • Reduce stress, anxiety, pain, and panic
  • Focus your attention to have more passion for what really matters
  • Become more aware of your body and feel good in your own skin
  • Integrate leftover “stuff” from your past that stops you from being authentic

So how much will this set me back? I found an online course that will teach me how to breathe for $50 but a private 60 minute consultation costs $150 ($225 for 90 minutes).

Likelihood of me actually doing this? I would totally consider doing the online course but the private consultations are a bit of a reach right now, at least to do regularly. I saw one website say that you start to feel life-changing results after 7 sessions so it will be a while before I can commit to that lump sum.

Spiritual/Astrological Counseling

I’m no stranger to therapy but I can guarantee that it would be 10000% more enjoyable and less of a bummer if I could just shoot the astrological shit with my therapist. I want to be able to vent about my shitty day and for her to say, “Well, you know Venus is currently five houses away from where the moon was when you were born and this angle represents change and separation.” It’s so much more interesting and fun to think that the planets have a role in my shitty day, rather than just me not addressing my procrastination issues stemming from my childhood or whatever.

What’s the damage? A 60 minute FaceTime session will set me back $250 but an abridged 30 minute session is $125!

Likelihood of me actually doing this? I’m already really into astrology and check the my horoscope and the planetary alignments on the Co-Star app more than I check my credit card balance on the Bank of America app. It seems like it would be really fun to do one time as a birthday present to myself but probably wouldn’t do it on a regular basis – I could put that $250 towards like four regular run-of-the-mill boring therapy sessions.

Custom Flower Essences

Turns out flowers are more just a purchase you make impulsively when you forget that you don’t even own one single vase! Did you know that flower remedies are a thing? The website of Alexis Smart, who creates custom flower essences, says that these essences can be used for “deep healing when you are out of balance” and to “raise your vibration and help maintain positivity.” Basically, they are tinctures that you drop under your tongue a few times a day to help you achieve peak wellness!

Alexis Smart sells remedies categorized under things like “Confidence”, “Heart”, “Focus”, and “For Kids” – even kids are getting into alt wellness these days! Her standard essence offerings are $37 but what I’m really interested in is a personal consultation to create my own custom essence. Alexis says that in a 60-90 minute consultation, you “talk about your personality (have you always been shy, or are you a perfectionist, a dreamer, etc.), as this will be the foundation of your formula.” Customized anything, especially in the realm of health/wellness is so appealing to me! I also love to be categorized by a third party – this sounds like a joke but there is nothing more satisfying to me than when someone says something like “Oh, that’s such a Sagittarius thing to say”. I FEEL SEEN.

So how much is it? Prices are not listed for the private consultation, which comes with a two month supply of your custom essence, so the mystery factor alone intrigues me. Let’s take a highly uneducated guess and say it’s between $125 and $200 bucks.

Likelihood of me doing it? I would be interested in trying some of the standard Focus essences to start my flower remedy journey before I graduate to the next level of custom floral tinctures. The Focus remedies have great names – Brain Drops, My Personal Assistant. and Soul Purpose – and help if you’re feeling scattered, dreading work, or haven’t found your calling aka that’s me every single day. Sign me the hell up.