September 2018 | Olive and Tate

Managing Anxiety and Social Media: What I Do To Stay Sane

Managing Anxiety and Social Media: What I Do To Stay Sane
photo by Ashley Cardoza, an internet turned real life friend

Gather 'round friends, today we're talking about the real deal stuff that's been churning on my mind lately. I've been very open about my journey with anxiety and recently shared some thoughts on how much negativity I come across as someone who spends quite a bit of time on social media. After a chat with another mom friend involved heavily in social media, I sat down to think about the changes I need to make in order to keep the noise of my favorite networks at bay. 

Let me be clear in that I do love the community I've built on my social media channels and that my role as a blogger wouldn't exist without them - but with that said, it can be a hot combo of emotions to mix all of the chatter on social media with an anxiety fueled brain such as mine. Slowly but surely, I've been putting small measures into practice and am honestly seeing a huge difference in how I feel, think and react to all things social.

As I think about it, I cannot believe I haven't been more thoughtful about all of this sooner. I tend to be hyper sensitive to what I watch on TV, what movies I see and what books I read, but for some reason, I've never set boundaries with social media. But times they are a changin'. Here's what I've been up to and what I've got in the works: 

1. Scrap The Facebook App
Ugh, Facebook. What a hotbed of opinions. I took the time a few months ago to slash the drama and deleted the Facebook app from my phone entirely. I of course still access it on my desktop for work purposes but I don't spend unintentional time during the day scrolling through all of that crazy. Without a doubt, deleting the misinformation/bickering/opinions and such from my right beneath my fingertips has made a huge impact on my overall vibe - if nothing else on this list speaks to you, I strongly encourage you to try deleting Facebook for 72 hours and see how you feel!

2. Streamline That Facebook Chatter
Did you know you can silence groups on your Facebook news feed? I get added to a ton of groups daily and while I leave most, some I stay in for networking and business purposes (or family/friend support). My news feed was filled with constant commentary from people I hardly knew and much of it was negative, a subtle humble brag or two, and/or controversial. So I turned them off. I went through and removed myself from a handful of groups and then  "silenced" the comments on every group I remained in. The silence feature means that I only see group updates when I manually visit the group page or if someone tags me directly in a comment or post. Downplaying just that small section of my news feed has allowed more updates from friends and family to shine through and lessened the mental impact of each scroll.

3. So Long Instagram, Hello Pinterest
Instagram is challenging these days - I miss the old days of chronological order, pre-set free feeds and the chance to post whatever I want, whenever I want. But that's the way of my chosen world so instead of stressing over it, I'm spending more of my mindless scrolling time on Pinterest. Before I go to bed at night, I love the chance to mindlessly scroll on my phone, listening to the silence of sleeping babies and soaking in a face mask. Pinterest has become my chosen platform because it leaves me feeling inspired and motivated. I mean, how can anyone have negative feelings about the best recipe for cookie butter brownies or finding the perfect shade of grey interior paint!? Thats the stuff social media dreams are made of. 

4. Be The Positive
I did this for the first time this week and it's going to be my new thing. From now on, when I feel bombarded by negativity on social media, I'm going to be the one putting positivity out there. And let me be clear here: that is not typically how I operate. I'm a realist, sarcastic and generally skeptical but I can't just let all of the commentary get to me. The only way I know to take control is to counteract all of the bad noise with good noise. On days that are particularly aggressive in my online world, I'll be talking about the good stuff I know and see, thanks to social media. 

5. Book It
I've started downloading both audio books and traditional books on my phone so that I have them available at all times - if I'm killing time in carpool or trying to drown out the sounds of my kids fighting, I'll pick up my book on my phone (currently re-reading the White Princess) or put in my ear buds (currently listening to Crazy Rich Asians via Audible). While I'm not soaking in Shakespeare, I'm also not soaking in anyone else's bad vibrations, so I'm calling that a win. 

6. Talk It Out
And finally, a tip I learned from my friend Hitha (a friendship formed on Instagram!), when I'm stuck in that anxiety thought circle, I open my notes app on my phone and voice dictate whatever I'm thinking. Getting that damn spiral out of my brain and downloaded onto something else typically helps me feel better immediately - and most of the time, I never go back and read what I was thinking about, instead I just delete the note a few days later. I also try to get work done this way when I don't have much free time (or free hands) and dictate notes to myself about blog post ideas, to-do lists and reminders so that I can free up a little brain space for all of the good stuff. Because there is good stuff out there, friends, I know it. 

Leave your best tips and practices for minimizing the social media anxiety in the comments so we can all give them a go! 

The Best (Gender Neutral) Playroom Decor on Amazon

The Best (Gender Neutral) Playroom Decor on Amazon

There's no place like Amazon, am I right? Nothing makes my heart happier than Prime shipping and a well priced decor piece, especially when it comes to the most important room in our house: our playroom. I've managed to put quite a few Amazon products to the test (and by "test" I mean "at the mercy of my offspring" and am happy to report back with some of my faves and a few that are on our upcoming holiday wish lists! 

We believe in open bins and baskets for the small odds and ends that make up the crap that my children love, so we always have deep baskets on hand. In fact, the large basket/open storage system has helped us to encourage our kids to clean their play space up - we tell them to grab a "clean up basket" of their choice and fill that baby up until the floor is clean. Something about the visual of filling the single basket makes the task seem less daunting for my 4 year old and I don't care how the cleaning happens as long as it happens! This particular bin made the list thanks to it's sturdy handles and burlap material - tough is better around my crew. 

If you've been following my for awhile, it won't surprise you that this storage unit made the top of the list. We've owned one for four years, purchased a second two years ago and, despite their reasonable price point, all have survived multiple moves across state lines. We don't have a rhyme or reason as to how the toys make it into the chests, just as long as they make it off the floor. 

Tall bins are the best for medium and large sized stuffed animals, which keep showing up in my playroom, no matter how often I toss them out. The stuffies take up tons of space in the traditional storage units and toy boxes, so keeping them in tall storage baskets is the way to go. 

I love an acrylic chair and couldn't resist adding this pink, kid sized number to my list. It also comes in clear and let me just say this - nothing is easier to wipe down or hose off than acrylic. I'll just let you imagine what experiences have lead me to say that with confidence.

A LEGO table is nothing new in the world of playroom furniture, but this version not only comes with storage drawers attached (a harder find than you might imagine) but the LEGO top flips over and becomes a regular table top. LEGOs are a nightmare to store so keeping them in their intended play space keeps them from under my feet (hopefully). 

Some genius parent came up with the idea of creating an empty cloth sack that becomes a bean bag style chair when you jam it full of stuffed animals. Another perfect solution for the cumbersome stuffed animals and this time it gives your kiddos a place to chill (this one is on our Holiday list!).

The Best (Gender Neutral) Playroom Decor on Amazon

We purchased this grey, faux wood toned play mat flooring to cover the hardwoods in one of our houses and loved it so much we just continued to buy to accommodate our various play spaces as we moved around. The tone of the play mat is a soft, neutral grey and it really does take the sting out of the traditional child care style foam flooring. 

I feel like my kids are already climbing the walls so why not give them the tools to really do it? In all seriousness, this indoor/outdoor play gym set is perfect to burn energy especially if you live in a long winter climate. 

I dig the retro vibe and basic color scheme of this play kitchen - and I hear its not a complete nightmare to put together, unlike another popular play kitchen that shall remain nameless (hint: it's this one). 

If the foam play mat doesn't float your boat, then maybe the cork version is more your speed. Either way, I can attest to the durability of the play mat and the happiness of the hardwoods underneath. 

If you have the space and find the traditional play kitchen passé consider the play store as your next Prime order. Bonus: you're teaching those kids how to run the grocery check out for you so one day you can kick back and read magazines while they handle the heavy lifting on the family grocery runs. 

The Best (Gender Neutral) Playroom Decor on Amazon

I wasn't kidding when I said I believe in a ton of bins and baskets in a playroom. In all seriousness, this brand and version made my list because they come in two sizes that are small enough to fit in the storage chest upper shelves. We store baby doll accessories, matchbox cars and other small pieces in the tiny bins for safe keeping.

This one makes the list because it's huge. And a neutral white, which I know some of you are dying for in a kid plays pace full of carnival colors. I understand and you're welcome. 

I love our easel because it provides long stretches of entertainment rarely seen around here. Here's a tip - if you happen to snag an easel that has a dry erase side, snag a paper roll and thread it through the gap between the top of the two boards, draping it over the side you don't want your kids to use (sorry, but we aren't using dry erase markers around here). 

If the acrylic chair wasn't your speed, maybe a mini version of a classic mid century mod chair will fit the bill. We have these chairs and love them, mostly because crayon rubs right off of the plastic with a swipe of a Magic Eraser.

And finally, the classic coffee table sized train table, for the serious train hoarder. I do love that this table allows for a train set to be set up somewhere besides the floor, and that the track can be left in tact without providing a trip hazard for middle of the night bathroom runs. Bonus: it has tons of storage for pieces and parts!  

Easy Weight Watchers Swaps (save the points, drink the wine)

Easy Weight Watchers Swaps (save the points, drink the wine)

Let's be real, the reason Weight Watchers is a successful plan for yours truly is that I'm able to eat what I what, when I want, no questions asked. Cocktails, fast food and treats are all in my plan, and I'm here for it. Of course, with that said, I do have to make smart choices but if I want a glass of wine at the end of the day, you best believe that I can and will pour it. 

I've learned that I'm willing to make a few simple swaps to shave off a few points here and there throughout the day to create room in my daily points for that glass - and that I can do it while still snacking and hitting the drive thru.

Behold, my fave easy Freestyle swaps:

Easy Weight Watchers Swaps (save the points, drink the wine)

Pringles v Ritz Crisp and Thin Sea Salt
I honestly think the Ritz Crisps are amazing. Kinda like a chip, not really anything like a cracker, they hit the craving spot for me when I want something salty and crunchy (so, always). You can eat 16 of the Ritz Crisp for 3 Freestyle Points compared to 16 Pringles at 5 points (those 2 points get you halfway to a glass of wine!). P.S. Crunch up the Ritz and top chili with them, I promise, it's delicious.

Chick-fil-A Original Sandwich v Chick-fil-A Nuggets (8 count)
I'm never going to live a life that doesn't include Chick-fil-A so knowing my point values are crucial when I hit the drive thru. Ditching the buttered bun of the sandwich for an 8 count pack of nuggets will save you 6 whole points. The classic sandwich clocks in at 12 points while the 8 count nuggets will cost you 6. My personal go to order is an 8 count nugget combo with a side salad, no dressing (I use my own, listed below) and a large Diet Dr. Pepper.

Kraft Classic Ranch v Bolthouse Farms Yogurt Classic Ranch
And now that I've mentioned dressing, let's talk about Ranch. Holy crap, ranch dressing will murder your point total for the day. One packet/serving/2 ounces of Chick-fil-A ranch is 10 points. Yikes. I do love dressings and finding a good light ranch is basically impossible, or so I thought. Good news, I've tried them all and have found the one worth toting in your purse, if you're that kind of girl (I am). Compared to 4 points for 2 tablespoons of Kraft Ranch, the Bolthouse Yogurt Ranch is a steal at 2 points for 2 tablespoons. Carry that baby with you, you know you want to. 

Provolone Cheese v Mini Babybel Light
Truth: I prefer the taste of the Light Babybel cheese to the regular flavor of Babybel, so that's a win from the start. Traditional cheese slices like Provolone will run you 2 points per slice while a Mini Babybel Light will only tap 1 point per round of your point total. 

Keep reading for more swaps but don't forget to check out this post with my fave Weight Watchers friendly meal!

Honey Mustard v Dijon Mustard
Mustard of any kind is your friend on Weight Watchers. Clocking in at 0 points, yellow mustard, dijon, deli, spicy and all mustard varieties except Honey Mustard should be your go to. Honey Mustard will cost you 2 points for 1 tablespoon, so ditch it from your dip selection ASAP.

Sara Lee Soft and Smooth Bread v Sara Lee Delightful Bread
Light bread is another tricky pantry staple to find - but the Sara Lee Delightful line is honestly really delicious. To me, it tastes no different than regular wheat bread but will save you major points. Traditional bread like the Soft and Smooth will run you 4 points for 2 slices while the Delightful breads will only cost you 2 points for 2 slices. Get on that. 

Easy Weight Watchers Swaps (save the points, drink the wine)

Another go-to secret of mine is to avoid cooking in sauces like basting chicken in BBQ sauce (which can be high in points if high in sugar), but hit that spice rack instead. We love the Trader Joe's Chili Lime Seasoning on grilled chicken and 21 Seasoning Salute on pork. 

Want more Weight Watchers Tips? Check out my 7 Tips To Survive Your First Months of Weight Watchers 

Dig in, friends, and report back with your fave swaps below! 

Easy Weight Watchers Swaps (save the points, drink the wine)

Instagram Round Up: September

How we're almost two weeks deep into September is a mystery to me, but I'm finally settling the babes into their new school schedule and am able to come up for air in regards to all things blogging/social media. I sat down to answer my Instagram DM's and realized many of them were questions about sources and sizing on my daily outfits and my kid's ensembles, so today I'm rounding up the last two week's worth of story goods. If you've had a question about something you've seen on my hot mess stories, I think I've got you covered today! 

I'm also going to spill the beans on some of the new items I've purchased and have been loving and the pair of shoes that I'm obsessed with but returned anyway....

Let's get started, shall we?

| shoes |

I am obsessed with these gorgeous leather slides. The color is the perfect shade of brown, they're flat and easy to throw on, perfect for my lifestyle. But, despite all of that, I returned them....because I saw the same shoe in store in a gorgeous shade of blush, stamped with a subtle lizard pattern and I couldn't stop thinking about them. The price point is so friendly that I may go back for the dark leather, but I honestly think the blush is perfect for the transition into Fall (and will be perfect some Spring as well). The fit true to size and are very comfortable. 

This outfit is my go to look (jeans and a tee), elevated, but with little to no effort. A wardrobe of basic pieces with a few special twists and classic accessories is how I can  manage to get dressed in the mornings! This tee is old, from Nordstrom, and no longer available but I've found similar versions here and here

My jeans are my newest obsession - a treat I bought for myself for working that Weight Watchers program and needing a new pair that fit! They are extremely high rise but the button front breaks up the visual of denim up to your low hanging mom boobies (just me? never mind, then) and the solid dark wash is the most flattering in the business. I'm in a 29 tall, with the hem tucked under, so that I can wear them with heels, too. They run true to size and I've never seen them in-store, so I had to snag them online. 

I know you've seen those sandals all Summer and they're still hanging on, but barely. I've put them through the ringer so I'm not super upset that they'll need to be trashed after the weather officially cools off, but am glad that I snagged them on sale and didn't pay full price. Would I buy them again? You bet. 

See what I mean about my go-to elevated tees and jeans wardrobe? This is literally the same outfit, just with a different top, and I feel put together despite spending twelve total seconds getting dressed. This tee is also old but here's a similar version from the same shop! 

On Friday's, Clemson fans wear Tiger gear, so this my attempt to be a supportive wife to my husband's crazy fan obsession. My tee was sent to my by Sugar Boutique a few years ago and they have a great Clemson section but sadly, no longer carry this tee. I did find it online in other colors, the white is super cute! My jeans are my "low" faves from my white denim guide, which you can read here. 

My favorite game of make believe, represented by the outfit above...the leggings are a go-to of mine (they made the black legging round up as the "low" version) and the tee is insanely soft. Sadly, the tee is old and no longer in stock, but the same brand has this version currently available. The sports bra does the job for running around town but I haven't put it to the real test of running around the track. I'm in an XL in the bra, in case you're in the market for one. 

Ah, my Mom Power Outfit. I know I've worn this top one million times since I brought it home, but I can't help it, it's just that good. In this pic I'm wearing my dark skinny jeans from the capsule (a crazy good deal at under $55) and the blush version of the leather slides! 

I took my Capsule Wardrobe out for a night on the town - I just swapped my sandals for heels and my mom bag for a smaller, less sturdy version and out the door I went. Prepping for date night is usually a super quick affair, as it happens during the kid's dinner/leaving notes for the babysitter/husband rushing in the door for work, so I try to make my regular clothes work and hit the door as soon as the sitter pulls in. For my locals, we went to Merchant and Trade for one drink and to take in the views and then downstairs to Angeline's, our fave spot in town. 

Oh man, organizing my make up has been on my to-do list since we moved into this house (so, five or so months) and I finally got around to it this week. I am obsessed with this acrylic organizer, mostly because it's three separate pieces that can be stacked or stand separately on their own to fit your space. I have the highest tier off to the left in this photo and love the layout. The price/Prime shipping doesn't hurt either! 

| shoes | backpack similar |

So many of you reached out about Georgia's tiny purple seersucker backpack and I totally understand why, I'm obsessed with it, too! Believe it or not, I got it from a kiosk in the mall (they monogrammed it, too) so I wasn't much help when you guys wanted to snag one. I did a little searching and found an identical version here! Also, her shoes are sparkly and grape scented, so I'll just be over here living all of my girl mom dreams. 

All of the blue patterns is this pic! Lot's of Q's came in about Gray's bedding and you can see his entire Big Boy Room here. Funny story: my best friend reminded me that I flew a pink clock across state lines to design his room just the way he wanted in a fit of parental guilt over moving and that's a story worth reading if you haven't seen the post. His pajamas were sent to him by Lila + Hayes and are monogrammed perfection. 

Ok, gang, I think that catches us up! If I missed something that you asked about, leave me a comment here and I'll share ASAP!