How I deal with anxiety

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I’ve struggled with anxiety in some way or another since I was a kid. However, since my early twenties I have had an increase in panic attacks and general anxiety. I think it has come as I have gained more responsibility and gotten older.

I think when some people hear the word “anxiety,” they tend to associate it most by being afraid to be in public or antisocial. And to be honest, that’s not what I experience at all. Anxiety is different for everyone.

I am now able to work through panic attacks fairly privately because I know the symptoms right away. My heart starts to beat faster and/or irregular, I feel a sinking feeling in my chest, I have trouble swallowing and I feel like I’m disconnected from myself. I know when I start having these symptoms that I need to breathe deeper, get up and walk around and get something to drink. If I do those things, I can usually keep the attack at bay.

My anxiety typically comes from fear of the unknown. Starting a new job, project, etc. always brings it on. Another thing that always triggers it is being put in stressful situations, such as work deadlines or financial stress.

I also fear the loss of a loved one or friend and have an extreme fear of having a medical emergency or life-threatening illness.

I also always assume the worst has happened. If I don’t hear from someone when I’m supposed to, I worry they have been in a car accident. If I bump my head or have a pain in my body, I fear the worst.

I am by no means an expert on this, but there are some things that I know to be helpful. However, it’s always best to speak with your doctor if you feel like you have concerns about anxiety and how to manage or treat it. Below some ways that help me.

Continue reading “How I deal with anxiety”

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Tasty banana nut bread

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Happy Monday!

Over the weekend I got the biggest craving for banana nut bread, so I got out my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook and made a batch. I love using my Better Homes and Gardens cookbook because it reminds me of helping my mom cook when I was growing up. I love seeing the pages of a worn cookbook, thinking about how many memories have been made while using it. So many holidays and family dinners that leave the pages stained with oil and dusted with flour. I look forward to seeing what mine looks like in 20 years.

I adapted the recipe just a little bit by skipping the nutmeg and adding extra cinnamon, and leaving out the baking soda and adding an extra ½ teaspoon of baking powder. I topped it with a little bit of extra cinnamon and sugar.  I used way more than ¼ cup of walnuts. I probably used closer to ½ a cup. A tip for not spending a fortune on walnuts is to get them from the bulk section of your grocery store if it has one. I paid less than a dollar for a decent small amount of walnuts. Way cheaper than buying a whole prepackaged bag and I only bought what I needed.

A bonus of making banana bread is it makes your whole house (or apartment in our case) smell so delicious. Below is the recipe that I used.

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Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

2 eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups mashed banana (5 medium)

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cooking oil or melted butter or margarine (I used vegetable oil)

1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of one 9x5x3-inch or two 7-1/2×3-1/2×2-inch loaf pans; set aside. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

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In a medium bowl combine eggs, banana, sugar, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan(s).

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(Check out my tiny, tiny kitchen)

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes for 9x5x3-inch pan or 40 to 45 minutes for 7-1/2×3-1/2×2-inch pans or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (if necessary, cover loosely with foil the last 15 minutes of baking to prevent overbrowning). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing.

Makes 1 loaf (16 slices).

At home manicure essentials

Nail

I used to be really terrible at painting my own nails. I would often end up with polish all over my fingers and give up half way through. I love getting professional manicures, but the cost adds up pretty quickly. A few years ago I decided to really get serious about learning the best techniques to an at home manicure and I’ve been able to get pretty good at it. Here are some of my go-to products to make it a little easier.

  1. Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover: This stuff works great at removing your cuticles in a gentle way instead of cutting them with the tool they use at the nail salon. It makes it easier to push them back as well.
  2. Cuticle pusher: This goes hand-in-hand with #1. I prefer the cuticle pushers with the rounded end that fits right to your nail instead of the more flat cuticle pushers. This makes the nail bed nice and even to make polish application easier.
  3. Nail buffer block: I love using these four-sided buffers. They file, buff, polish and shine the nails to make sure they are even and no ridges will make the polish look bumpy.
  4. A good file: I love to have a really rough file that you don’t have to put a lot of work into to get the nail filed down. Nothing is worse than a dull nail file.
  5. Orly Bonder base coat: This is a rubberized base coat that really grips to the polish. I have found that a good base coat really makes a difference in the longevity of your polish.
  6. Seche Vite top coat: This is the best fast-dry top coat I’ve ever used. It literally dries in only a minute and is so shiny. This combined with using the Orly Bonder is the ultimate long-wear combo in my opinion.
  7. OPI polishesOPI polishes: These are hands-down my favorite polishes to use. They are easy to apply and last the longest out of any other polishes I’ve tried.

A couple of honorable mention items:

Pure acetone: I know this is more drying, but nothing works as well as pure acetone for removing polish. I don’t use any other kind of polish remover.

A small brush: This makes cleaning up mistakes so easy. You can just buy a cheap ELF brush for $1 and it will work wonders. You can also use q-tips, but sometimes the little fibers can get stuck on the polish.

Pittsburgh Eats: Pittsburgh Juice Company

I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I love supporting local businesses.

When I sit around and day dream about what I’d like to be doing I envision myself and Eric running a small used bookstore and cafe. Buying a building and living in an apartment upstairs while running the business downstairs. So, all that to say I really, really admire people who take the huge leap of faith and open their own small business. Because I know it’s not easy and there’s a lot of cost and risk involved.

Pittsburgh Juice Company has been open for a couple years and I’m glad to see they are doing well. I actually wrote an article about them opening when I was in grad school and got to see the behind the scenes of how they  make the juice.

They offer all different types of fresh pressed juices from fruit and green juices to smoothies and almond milk. They also offer smaller elixirs and shots like wheat grass and immunity boosters. The prices range from a few dollars for some of the smaller shots up to around $10 for the larger juices.

One thing that I absolutely love is that the juices come in glass bottles that you can return to receive credit toward your next juice. It’s such a win-win because it’s better for the environment and it provides an incentive to come back.

I recently stopped in to pick up some juices to have as my breakfasts and lunches because I’m trying to get more nutrients and eat better. I thought having some juice on hand would still give me what I needed, but give my digestive system a bit of break from all of the deep fried stuff I’ve been eating lately.

I picked up the berry-watermelon, green juice, witch’s brew and the green goddess smoothie. The berry-watermelon is the easiest to drink. The green juice is really good, too. It’s made with cucumber, apple and baby spinach. The witch’s brew is a lot more intense because it has all the ingredients of the green juice with celery, kale, lemon and ginger added to it. I didn’t care for the smoothie. It was really, really thick and I just couldn’t get into it.

I definitely suggest checking them out if you are looking to try some fresh pressed juices.