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excerpt from my journal no. 43

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

it has almost been a year since i posted a journal excerpt, which is actually really hard to believe. i don't remember why i stopped posting them. so i guess to make up for it, here is a poem i recently wrote about red lights (inspired by the song "red" by miki ratsula).

01/28/18 untitled
i want to kiss you
at every red light
both figuratively and literally 

i want to kiss you
when life gets hard
and when shit happens

i want to kiss you
in the 30 seconds we have 
at each intersection

i want to kiss you
always. 

okay that is it. lol bye. it's not about anyone in particular so don't ponder on that too much (or is it? i guess you'll never know)

xoxo, aubs

caffeine dreaming

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

a college student's key to success: coffee + tea + energy drinks. but are all these things really good for us? is it good to constantly feed ourselves stimulants or is it really making things worse? should we really be proud to say we had six cups of coffee or three red bulls? or should we actually be worried? i think we should be worried about our caffeine consumption.

the majority of college students suffer from some form of mental illness, most commonly, anxiety and depression. and did you know that caffeine and sugar are two of the leading causes of anxiety? isn't that crazy that we constantly consume things that can increase our anxiety?

i mean that's what happened to me. i was drinking about five or six cups of coffee a day; three to tame the headaches and two to three to keep myself awake and alert. but i was also ridden with constant anxiety. i was overdoing it for sure. my anxiety was so bad that my therapist from maven said i should try cutting back to 3 cups a day and work myself down to one or none. (yo, check out maven for real. it's such a great service! use my code for a 10 min appointment credit GRANDVALLEYAS) i don't like to do things half way, so i just decided to cut coffee out of my life all together. that was in october and now it's january and i maybe have a cup of coffee once a month. in october when i gave up coffee, i felt so many withdrawal symptoms and it even made my anxiety and depression worse for a while. i was making dumb decisions (nothing dangerous, just dumb). but soon the caffeine withdrawal symptoms subsided and i felt like a human again. i woke up feeling less anxious (it wasn't gone, because as you know anxiety doesn't just disappear) and i even started sleeping better. it's crazy how much better i feel without caffeine.


now i'm not saying caffeine is bad because sometimes you really just need it to get through the day (like right now i'm consuming a red bull because i got 4 hours of sleep last night, i have to work a closing shift, and because red bull sent me some in the mail), but i am saying that it's not good to depend on it. caffeine isn't good when it becomes something you're addicted to, when you need it to get you through the day. caffeine is a drug, an extremely addictive one, that not many people think about. are you addicted to caffeine? are you ridden with anxiety? do you feel like a robot? yeah? you might want to think about cutting back on caffeine. you might start to feel more like yourself again.

christmas eve eve

Saturday, December 23, 2017

hey friends! it's been awhile, but i'm back. i don't know about you, but winter kind of puts me in a deep hole. i mean it is scientifically proven that winter can make depression and anxiety worse, hence why i haven't blogged since november (oops).

but like seriously, does anyone else feel like the holidays are just about the busyness, stress, chaos, craziness, etc? i mean it's Christmas eve eve and i still haven't ordered my dad his Christmas present, i haven't given my secret santa the second half of her gift yet, my face is breaking out like there is no tomorrow, my eczema is attacking me, and don't even get me started on my depression. i just feel like i've forgotten why we even celebrate Christmas. can you relate? i'm sure you can, because you are human, aren't you?

i don't want to just talk about stress and depression, because that's not what this post is for (peep a future post maybe). i want to give myself and maybe you some steps you can take on this Christmas eve eve to center yourself with God and remember the reason why we're celebrating.




before i give us these steps, because we are in this together, let me just set the scene and tell you the story of Christmas. so now imagine you're sitting in your snowflake pajama pants, sipping on a warm beverage. the tree is adorned with soft white lights and ornaments from your childhood. the fire is crackling and Christmas classics are playing in the distance. you spot the manger under the Christmas tree, portraying the greatest event of all time, the birth of our Savior.

approximately 2020 years ago, a baby was born. this baby wasn't just any baby, He was born to a young virgin woman, in a manger, surrounded by animals. this baby was God in the flesh, He was to be light in a dark world. He came to save sinners, to love the broken, to take the punishment that we all deserve. yeah presents are pretty cool, but what's even cooler is that God came down to earth in the most vulnerable form, a baby, to give us the gift of salvation.

so now that you've been reminded of the greatest thing that has ever happen, let's move onto some steps you can take to remember this everyday of the year, but especially through the next few days when chaos tries to overwhelm you.

01) sit and listen. right when you wake up just sit and listen. don't say anything. just let God speaks to you. we typically grab our phones and see what everyone is up to before we can even hear God's voice. He might have something really important to tell you, so take a second and breathe.

02) open your Bible. try opening to a random page and just start reading. underline anything that stands out to you. ponder on words that you need to hear.

03) grab a pen and some paper. write out your thoughts. i'm not a good talker, but i like to think i'm a good writer. maybe you'd rather just talk to God, either way, He'll hear what you have to say. He wants to spend time with you.

04) go to church. attend a Christmas eve service or even a Christmas day service. if you're in the metro detroit area check out northridge church tomorrow. and if you're in the grand rapids area check out crossroads tomorrow or on Christmas.

05) ask for help. many times we feel like we're weak when we ask for help, but i think we're more weak when we pretend we're fine. we are all broken, so seek help if you need it. talk to a pastor, talk to a friend, or talk to a mental health professional(use code GRANDVALLEYAS). God gave us resources, it's time we use them.

so i hope these helped you out, because now i'm gonna go spend some time with the man who started this all, Jesus. hopefully i'll be back to blog after Christmas, if not it'll be after passion (oh yeah I'm going to passion in dc! if you'll be there tweet me, or tweet me even if you're not going.) anyways, Merry Christmas friends! love you all lots.

xoxo, Aubrey 

fall thoughts

Thursday, November 2, 2017

is it seriously the beginning of novemeber? where in the world has the time gone? also, where have i been? I haven't blogged since september 12, and i'm just going to say sorry and move onto this blog post. so it's fall and i've just been doing some thinking, so here are my most random fall thoughts.

01. cafe miel is the best espresso drink in the world. it's basically a latte, but it's made with cinnamon and honey. it's just the perfect warm drink for the cold weather. you can't get it at starbucks so don't even try. but you can find it at most independent coffee shops. if you live in the gr area, madcap and the rower's club both have it + they're my favorite places to hang. try it and love it. 

02. a la croix a day will keep the sadness away. i mean it won't actually make your problems go away, but it will make you feel some happiness for the amount of time it takes you to drink it (aka 5 seconds). 

03. if you can complete one tiny task a day you should be proud of yourself. make your bed, brush your teeth, brush your hair. start your day out doing something, even if it's mundane, you still did it. go you! 

04. leggings are pants. don't let real adults tell you that leggings aren't pants. pants suck in general and if you try telling me that the comfiest pants aren't actually pants, then bye! 

05. you gotta splurge a little sometimes. pay your rent and celebrate by buying something you really want. go to trader joe's or go on redbubble. get some food or some stickers or anything else you really really want. 

06. Jesus wants to hang out with you. i struggle with talking to Jesus because i don't want to bother Him with my problems, but for real, He wants to hear about your problems because He's really the only one who can help you with them. He's never bothered by you. 

07. when you put struggles into a Christian, the end result is beautiful. this past weekend at church, my pastor talked about struggles and how we grow from them so yeah, your struggles will have beauty in them, i promise. trust me, i know how hard it is to see beauty in brokenness, but it's there. 

08. spend money on cups. @ all my friends who tell me that i spend too much money on cups. i like my cups, they are pretty. my cups make me happy so, i will continue spending my money on cups, good day. 

09. there is nothing i love more than worshiping my Maker and Redeemer. i've been trying to worship Him more everyday, whether it be diving into His word or spending time in prayer. worship is the one gift that we can give to Him. don't you think He deserves this gift, especially after all He's done for us?

10. i'm almost 20 and i want to not. i do not want to be half way to 40. i do not want to be an adult anymore. can i just not please? let me just switch the 2 and the 0 and be 02 because being 2 years old is a lot easier than being 20.

i know these thoughts were random, but it's what's been going on in my head. hopefully i'll be back soon, or maybe i'll take 2 months again.

xoxo, Aubs

i am where i am

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

right now, i'm sitting in the marketplace starbucks at gvsu. i'm taking a break from my huge load of homework to write this blog post. it doesn't seem like a very great idea to stop doing my homework, but i just feel like God is pushing me to write this right now.

i'm sitting here in athletic shorts (even though i never actually do anything athletic), a little mermaid t-shirt, my hair is damp, and i have a massive zit on my forehead that not even 3 layers of concealer can cover. i'm trying to plan out the rest of my week, mainly my free time because i find it hard to relax unless i schedule it in. i'm pondering on some things that are hard to comprehend and having a lot of anxiety around them and just daily life. i miss my people back home, but i love being here as well. i'm feeling a little stuck in a rut. but hey, i am where i am for a reason.

God has put me in this place, without showing me the way out, but he's doing this for a reason. i am right where he wants me in this moment. it's hard to believe that God would ever want me stuck, but i believe He is doing it to teach me something. i am in a place that no one posts about on social media, that no one has glamorized, that no one really talks about. but hey, i am talking about this place because i strongly believe God wants you to know that someone else (me) is in a rut just like you. that hey, we are both going to get out of here. that, we're going to get those bricks off our chests soon. that, your panic attack or depression or loneliness or feeling of rejection; isn't where you have to stay forever.

now, i don't exactly know how to get out of the rut i'm in, but i also know that i don't need to get out of it at this exact moment in time. i know that maybe this rut is where i'll meet someone else in a rut and we will help each other out. that, maybe this rut will help me grow closer to God. that this rut has a purpose, other than being utterly annoying. this rut is where i am right now, and hey, that's okay with me.

xoxo, Aubs 

uteruses before duderuses

Friday, September 8, 2017

"ovaries before brovaries"


girls only from this point forward, unless you want to learn about periods...
"what is more cuterus than your uterus?"


I'm casually quoting every instance Leslie Knope mentioned female reproductive parts before I dive into talking about periods. Let's be completely real here, periods suck and they will always suck. And if your period doesn't suck you can leave the period club.

But for those who have periods and care about what they put into their body, this post is for sure for you. If you have a period and could care less about what you put in your body, you should still read this post because it is very important.

TAMPONS! PADS! HAPPY WOMEN FROLICKING IN THE FIELDS!

LIES! LIES! MORE LIES!

Periods suck, but tampons and pads make them suck even more, especially since they aren't officially regulated. Tampons and pads can be made with synthetics, bleach, random cancer causing agents, fragrances that are nerve distributors! The FDA doesn't care what you're sticking up there, because they don't care that you have a period. But there are a few people who care about people with periods, and they have even made organic products for us. WOO THEM! So I made it easy for any of you who are interested in organic tampons and pads, I tried them out and rated them for you down below (no pun intended).

So why go organic when it comes to tampons?

1. Because organic is better for you and for the environment.
2. Any synthetics, dyes, pesticides, etc. that make up a tampon are being absorbed through one of the most absorbent parts of your body.
3. You are less likely to develop TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) when using an organic tampon.
4. The chemicals used in conventional tampons are linked to cancer, endometriosis, and other health hazards.

I have tried everything from playtex, tampax, and now I'm at kotex. Seems weird to me that they all end in ex, maybe because they suck as much as our exes? Or because soon they will be our ex-tampons? Enough about those overrated options, let's talk about the superior ones!

I took these photos unlike most product photos. I wanted them to seem real because real people use them.

I have created an extensive (not at all) rating process. My ratings are based on comfort, price, and level of environmental friendliness. 5 is the top rating, while 0 is the lowest rating. I'm so excited to review for you! So let's begin, shall we?

This is L. 



This product came in a clear container, so that you can see exactly what you are getting. I purchased my first box from Target because I was very intrigued by them. The price is pretty good considering they are organic. On their website you can select up to 3 products for $10.95 a month or you can buy a box at Target for $6.99. These tampons are amaze-balls. They are also BPA free and the packaging is all recyclable. So let's move onto the ratings.

Comfort: 4/5
Price: 5/5, same price as U by Kotex.
Environmental friendliness: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Cora 



These tampons are kinda cute, like the packaging. I would actually love to flash these around to people like I'm super sophisticated or something. There free trial only costs $3 for shipping which is pretty great, so you don't have to purchase a whole entire supply before you try, but their subscription is $18/month. They are super comfy. They're vegan, and BPA-free. Pretty awesome, if you ask me!

Comfort: 4/5
Price: 2/5, maybe better if I wasn't in college
Environmental friendliness: 3/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

Lola 
These were the very first organic, subscription based tampons I heard about and I was amazed! Kinda shocked that I never realized how awful tampons are, but amazed! 1. Didn't get to try, so can't rate comfort. 2. Price is fairly reasonable. I mean $10 for one box or $9 for 2 or more boxes, seems too good to be true! 3. So environmentally friendly, it's insane! I mean they're GMO free and bio-degradable (I can compost these in my composter, which is so crazy to think about and kind of strange!). So let us move on to the ratings.

Comfort: N/A
Price: 4/5
Environmental friendliness: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5

Sustain Natural
These tampons are all about you and the world. This company is very much about making sure what you put in your body is also good to put on the earth. I mean their whole name revolves around sustainability and natural living! They are for sure the most eco-friendly product I have looked at thus far. I unfortunately didn't get to try these, so I can't rate comfort for you.  At $8.95 for a box of 12, they're a little bit out of my price range, but yet again, they are organic. Ratings time!

Comfort: /NA
Price: 2/5
Environmental friendliness: 5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Kali

At first I was worried about trying these tampons because they have cardboard applicators and I hate cardboard applicators, but once I figured them out they weren't that bad. I just can't seem to get over my hatred for cardboard applicators though! They're environmentally friendly, which is just perfect for a "granola head" like me (just a name my uncle recently called me).  They're pretty pricey, at $16.99 for 32 tampons; if I was rich, then maybe I'd buy them. Kali also sent me some other products to try out. Their wipettes are very nice along with their panty liners, I definitely want more of these. I don't typically use pads, so I didn't try those, but they did sent them as well. All in all, Kali is a great company.

Comfort: 3/5
Price: 2/5
Environmental friendliness: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3/5

She.



Besides having super friendly customer service, these tampons actually rock! They pretty comfy, but it didn't feel like they weren't there. They're made with 100% organic cotton (as are all the others) and the applicators are BPA-free. These tampons are also 100% biodegradable (compost 'em!). These are super duper awesome tampons made by super duper awesome people! They have two price options, $10 for 18 and $15 for 32. Now let's move on to the ratings.

Comfort: 4/5
Price: 3/5
Environmental friendliness: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4/5


Now that the ratings are all done, I am not going to declare a winner. But I would encourage you to try these tampons out for yourself and make a decision. Periods are all about personal preference, pick the comfiest tampons girls! These companies all rock, I mean they're making periods a tad bit better (if that's even possible). So that being said; turn on your heating pad, grab the chocolate, take some advil, and try out some organic tampons. You got this girl!

love you all!

xoxo, Aubs

things i learned the summer before sophomore year

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

this summer has blown by, like i'm serious, where did it even go? one minute i was checking out of my dorm room and the next thing i know, i'll be picking up the keys to my apartment. i'm freaked. although this summer was way too fast, i still found time to learn some valuable lessons.

01. although you think you can take an online math class, you shouldn't.

i took stats this summer and i wanted to quit so quick, but i still pushed through it. honestly, stats is one of the hardest classes for people, but it makes it even harder when it's online and you must teach yourself everything! i am never going to take a math class online ever again, and i don't think you should try to ever.

02. take chances and let God guide you.

i had my whole summer employment planned out and then it didn't actually work out how i planned, like at all. so here i am, working this internship that i LOVE, but not actually babysitting twice a week like i thought. so what do i do? i don't have money, i have student loans, i want to panic about everything. so i pray, a lot. i apply to shipt, and i get the job. i don't do it a lot, but at least i've made some extra money and hopefully i'll be able to pay my loan off in full by the end of the year. God will provide and He will make it all work out, just take that chance.

03. your friendships won't be the same.

you've changed, even if you don't think you have, you have. everyone changes, especially when they leave high school, go away to school, and then come back. you've made new friends at school and you've become who you're meant to be. you all know what you want, and typically, it's different things in life. it's okay if you're friendships have changed, you don't have to hate them because you never see them. let your friends do their thing, and let them know you still love them from time to time.

04. embrace chaos.

chaos is everywhere and the longer you hide from it, the more it is going to bother you. relax, tell God He is in control, and let it happen. chaos isn't all bad, i promise.


05.  k-cups are too expensive for me and probably you.

okay k-cups are great and all, but also cost a lot of money and are horrible for the environment. my mom bought me a french press and now i'll be making good coffee from trader joe's in my fancy french press. $13.99 for wake-up blend at trader's, heck yes!

so i didn't necessarily learn anything that was extremely important and life changing, but i did learn some things that were pretty good. i hope you take my lessons and use them in your life.

-Aubrey