a new adventure

hello from boston! we arrived in town last thursday night after driving through indiana, ohio, new york, and pretty much all of massachusetts. there’s nothing like a road trip to remind you how big & wide this country is!

we decided to make a little trip out of it instead of just powering through the 16-hour drive. we stopped for lunch in toledo, oh and stopped for dinner and the night in buffalo, ny. the next day we visited niagara falls (it was james’ first time!), stopped for lunch in utica, ny, and made it to boston in time for dinner at my in-laws.

I’m so glad we did it that way – we were both in need of a little break, and it was nice to be able to take our time and let ourselves take in the scenery along the way.

IMG_5378img_5393.jpgour little buick, packed to the brim

IMG_5381IMG_5380IMG_5379IMG_5383a food coma at tony packo’s (still dreaming about that stuffed cabbage!)

IMG_5391IMG_5413IMG_5402IMG_5401IMG_5404IMG_5411the original buffalo wings by night, niagara falls boat tour (aka, the site of jim & pam’s wedding) at the falls by day

IMG_5415amazing pad thai at a gem of a restaurant we found in utica

IMG_5416nothing says ‘welcome to massachusetts’ better than a bottle of polar

 

 

wearing my heart on my sleeve

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the future is female | woman up (similar) | introvert!

…or chest, rather. I’ve been wearing statement sweatshirts nonstop the past month or so. not only are they insanely comfortable, they’ve also been a way to let a little of my personality & thoughts shine through.

they’ve been the sartorial edition of conversation starters. I’ve gotten so many compliments from and engaged in conversations with so many people I don’t know. in these challenging times, talking to each other more can only be a good thing.

what have you been loving to wear lately?

p.s. the ‘introvert!’ one just kills me! I call it my ‘quiet jazz hands’ sweatshirt (said with the aforementioned jazz hands) , which makes my husband laugh like crazy. I’m totally digging the subtle irony. how very introvert of me. ;)

p.p.s. these shirts are great, too, and incredibly relevant.

new year, new post(s)

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september/october

one | my goddaughter turned 1. where does the time go?!

two | a little slice of country in the city.

three | found a new little coffee spot near my work.

four | go-to date night: sushi!

november/december

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one | hit the books hard.

two | coffee. always.

three | asian smorgasbord at h-mart.

four | alcohol-filled chocolates at christkindlmarkt.

january

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one | my current closet (aka, 50 shades of grey).

two | powerful read.

three | the best ramen of my life.

four | my life philosophy.

it’s been a few months since I’ve posted around these parts. here’s a quick summary of what I’ve been up to the past 4 months. I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and a wonderful new year so far. one of my resolutions? get back into updating my blog. :)

I plan on making some changes, in addition to some of the ones I’ve done already. I’ve added a little “ask me anything’ widget in the top & right menu bars, so if there’s a question you’ve been dying to ask or a topic you’d like me to address, ask away! also, I’ll be posting more nursing-related things since that’s a huge part of my life these days. anything else you’d like to see? let me know!

and as always, you can follow along on instagram: @lovelyhes.

the capsule wardrobe | fall 2016: clinicals

clinicalwardrobe

it certainly doesn’t feel like fall at all, but my academic year starts a week from today so I had to get started on a portion of my capsule wardrobe earlier than seasonally-appropriate. for this rotation, I’ll be required to wear business casual clothing at my clinical sessions. for my program, ‘business casual’ means no jeans, closed-toe shoes (with hosiery), and a semi-dressy top with a conservative neckline. keeping these requirements in mind, I took a good look at what I had in my closet and then pinpointed some pieces I needed to buy: some dressy shells, top layer options, more professional-looking flats, and a good pair of black trousers. some of the pieces above may look familiar because I highlighted them as things I was eyeing during the nordstrom anniversary sale. obviously, some things worked out!

one | the only item I purchased that wasn’t on sale were these pants. they were more expensive than I wanted, but they fit perfectly, are machine-washable, have good stretch but still structured, and highly recommended by my boss and several friends. I had planned on buying two pairs of trousers but ended up just buying just this pair because of the price and because no other pair came close in comparison.

two | I finally found a blazer that works for my body, so I bought it in three colors! they wouldn’t work for a completely business-attire environment, but for business casual, these are perfect. the knit is comfortable, and the open front is really flattering on me.

three | these flats are fierce, and I’m so glad that I guessed the right size before they sold out. this pair was a 2-for-1: I was looking to replace my pair of smoking slippers and for a pair of dressy flats.

four | these tanks are long enough on the bottom and high enough on the neckline to be appropriate, and I plan on wearing them underneath a cardigan or a blazer. they are a bit sheer open in the lower back, but I’ll have a layer on top to cover that detail during clinical. plus, that lets them be a great going-out option, too.

five | I was so pleased to find a long-sleeved blouse in a mixed-media design – the knit back is great for comfort & ease of movement. the neckline doesn’t come down too low (no hint of cleavage), and the tunic length & long sleeves make it a great piece that doesn’t require a top layer.

six | as for this cardigan, I wasn’t sure about the ruffles (I tend to like pieces that are a little more streamlined), but I was surprised to find that it looked really good on and added just the right amount of unexpected detail. the sweater part is the perfect light grey and is ridiculously soft.

clinicalwardrobe1

these are the pieces that I already had, rounding out my 16-piece clinical capsule wardrobe.

seven | I couldn’t find this exact turtleneck online in the black but it comes in a bunch of other colors, and this is a thicker option. I like the tissue weight because it lies flat and makes it really easy to wear under other pieces of clothing.

eight | this cashmere sweater is actually from the men’s section. I prefer the way their version drapes on me as opposed to the women’s version.

nine | this cardigan is a great basic and is a workhorse staple in my wardrobe in general. the wool is warm but thin enough to not be too bulky.

ten | this is an old pair from via spiga that I scored at a great price at nordstrom rack a couple of years ago, but this is a similar pair in classic leather with a work-friendly kitten heel.

eleven | this coach bag was a christmas present a couple of years back. it’s such a great classic shape in a not-too-big but not-too-small size. sadly, coach no longer makes this exact style, but this, this, and this are similar.

twelve | aside from a watch and my wedding band, the only jewelry I’m allowed to wear is a pair of stud earrings. these are one of my favorites. I love that the raw cut of the herkimer diamond gives a little edgy twist to an otherwise classic earring.

thirteen | every nurse needs a watch with a second hand. I prefer to wear a watch with a metal or silicone band because it’s easier to disinfect and I don’t need to worry about getting it wet every time I wash my hands. this watch has a really versatile shape, and the pink second hand is a nice touch.

are you ready for fall?

let’s talk | dealing with depression

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I’ve talked about having depression on the blog before, but awhile back and not in very much detail. that’s a conscious decision on my part, since I don’t want to put every thing about me and my life out there on the web, even if I am taking part in the blogging community. but I am talking about it today here on the blog, because it’s very much a part of my life right now, and if I can’t share it on the space I created to share my thoughts, what’s the point?

I got diagnosed with major depressive disorder about 2 years ago, but I’d been depressed on and off since I was around 11 years old. I come from a family and a culture where mental health isn’t really discussed or even acknowledged as a condition. my parents came from very hard backgrounds, and to them, there was nothing wrong with “being sad” – life is hard, after all. and so I dealt with the depression on my own and without professional help until James finally convinced me to go.

I still remember sitting in the doctor’s office and hearing my diagnosis. as the doctor began explaining all the hallmarks of major depressive disorder – fatigue, lost of interest, cyclic episodes, constant sleeping, low self-esteem – I kept nodding along, feeling like he had taken a snapshot of what I called my “bad days”. I began a medication regimen, and I noticed that my “bad days” were becoming few and far between. when I did have one, it was nowhere near as low as the ones previously. I would feel a little bit down as opposed to drowning in a toxic sea of guilt, shame, and hopelessness. things were getting better, and I felt so much more vibrant and engaged and in control of my mental life than I had in a long time. so when the opportunity came for James to go back to boston for what seemed like a great job and he came to me asking if I’d be ok if he took it, I said yes.

I hadn’t had an episode in over a year. we were doing well. we were happy. was happy. I wanted to show that I was truly better.

but I wasn’t. 3 days after James left, I had an episode. in hindsight, it shouldn’t have been surprising. I was working full-time while in nursing school, which was undeniably stressful, even if I was enjoying myself most of the time. I was also planning a wedding. with the additional stress of a long-distance relationship, I was done. the move wasn’t the sole cause, but it was, I think, what broke the dam.

and I’ve been treading water ever since. there are days when I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above the water, being engulfed by a darkness and hopelessness so pervasive that it’s hard to stay awake, much less get out of bed in the morning. my mind feels hazy, as though I’m in a daze I can’t get out of. on better days, I make it through the day without crying, functioning & surviving, but never quite thriving. I think back to the other extended periods of depression in my life – 6 months during senior year of high school, 2 years in college – and I am paralyzed by the fear that this tunnel is nowhere close to ending. I know I have help now, and I know how to deal with some things better, and yet, I’m afraid.

I’m afraid because I know my illness makes people uncomfortable. I can see the discomfort in their eyes, and I just withdraw even more, which makes people think I’m cold or distant or weird. I see how it embarrasses my husband to have to explain to his family why I’m unresponsive or why things are not ok, and I withdraw that little bit more, choking on shame and guilt. I’ve always found it funny that people have mistaken my depression as coldness, because nothing could be farther from the truth. my mind isn’t cold – it’s frenetic, it’s chaotic, it’s unceasing, it’s on the verge of overheating. I’ve come to realize that my parents are not alone in their mistrust and ignorance of mental illness – the misunderstanding is pervasive, and it makes the journey that much more lonely & solitary. I sometimes wish I had something tangible to point to, so I could say to people, “here, here is the manifestation of my depression” and they would understand, they would believe. but I can’t.

so I write instead, finding the words on paper that I can’t find the voice to say out loud. I write sentences to make sense of this tangle of feelings I can’t untie and set right within my head. I write paragraphs to simultaneously explain and maintain the walls I’ve put up between me and judgmental questions. I write thoughts to give what I’m experiencing a corporal existence.

I write to give life to the atrophy I’m feeling. I write because it’s the only way I know how to live my way through the dark.

thank you for reading.