First Vitacost Haul

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Vitacost Haul | Sense of Sunny

Give me snacks and I’m a happy girl, but give me HEALTHY snacks and I will love you forever. I recently posted about my newfound obsession with Vitacost on Twitter and just needed to share all the goodies I received in the mail last week.

If you’ve never heard of Vitacost, it’s an online store that sells vitamins, supplements, health foods and about 1 billion other things at mostly discount prices. To make things even more magical, if you sign up using my link or the code RFZQN3ZS, you will receive $10 towards your first $30+ order. Vitacost offers free 2 day shipping on all orders over $49! Aside from the great selection, free 2 day shipping really pushed me to order my first box. I placed my order Monday night and it was waiting for me by lunch on Wednesday. For me, the worst thing about online shopping is the long grueling delivery time, and I loved that Vitacost only made me get through one full day of agony. And boy, was it worth the wait.

My first Vitacost haul:

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Favorite Things 2.0

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Favorite Things 2.0

Hi, friends. Long time, no see! It’s been a little hectic around here this summer. Between short trips, long days at work, being in a wedding, and only having 24 hours in a day, I’ve found it quite difficult to work up the gumption to formulate cohesive words to share with you all. Despite all of that, I’m never gone for good. And this time around, I have words. So many words! It’s funny how quickly one small discovery can change everything. For me, these changes are coming in the form of living a more natural, chemical-free life. While I promise to go into more detail about this in a future post, I just had to share with you all the tip of the iceberg–my favorite things lately.

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On My List: Healthy Living Cookbooks

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On My List: Healthy Living Cookbooks | Sense of Sunny

On my pursuit of living well, I am always on the lookout for new ideas to come to life in the kitchen. Cooking for one is definitely not always easy, but getting to decide whether it’s mac and cheese night or something-cooked-with-wine night is an unparalleled luxury. At a very young age, I learned the art of Food Network marathons. In my very old age, I over-pin to my “bon appĂ©tit.” Pinterest board when hunger strikes. However, before cable TV and the Internet, there were good ol’ fashioned cookbooks.

With many of my summer celebrations now over, it’s time to get back into sustainable healthy habits. Food seems to be the easiest way for me to start fresh. These five cookbooks are in a sea of billions, but their focus on guilt-free healthy living caught my attention.

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The 8 Letter Revolution: Self-Love

The 8 Letter Revolution: Self-Love | Sense of Sunny

February is a funny month. The aisles of your favorite stores get decked out in flashy pinks and reds. An article in every magazine gives you never ending gift ideas for that special someone. Date nights are planned, messages of love are scripted and chocolate becomes really important.

But a midst this fanfare, an important notion of love remains quiet and void of recognition.

The practice of self-love is among the greatest and most fundamental human revolutions. It is the investing in the core of what allows you to live and give your best self. Self-love is finding and accepting your worth. Self-love is the simple regard for your own happiness and fulfillment.

Don’t let love be the thing that you only reserve for others. Make it yours, too. Because you’re deep like the great ocean and worth more than the stars in the sky.

4 Ways to Practice Self-Love

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Why You Should Be Journaling

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Why You Should Be Journaling | Sense of Sunny

As a self proclaimed writer, I have broken my fair share of pencils, dried up lots of ink, and scribbled through countless notebooks. This all began the year I received my first lock and key diary. The keeper of my secrets.

While those pages were filled with notes on the really important events of my day (i.e. Recess and school…in that order) and the names of boys I would never have the nerve to speak to, it was also a special look into my perspective of the world, albeit limited. It was a window into my young soul.

The act of writing is no new age experience. Back in 3200 BC, the peeps in Mesopotamia were doing it. Before it was cool. Writing is something we’re all taught and do on a daily basis. We write to-do lists, we write emails, we write messages in birthday cards.

But when was the last time you wrote something for yourself, to yourself?

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That Failure Feeling

That Failure Feeling | Sense of Sunny

The feeling of failure comes with the territory of being an authentic, compassionate, real human being. I’d like to think that most of us are all of those things, therefore, I bet you’ve felt a little bit of failure in your life time. Maybe you’ve let that resolution go. Maybe you’ve been working on a mile long to-do list that never seems to get done. Maybe everything just feels a little blah.

Failure is a feeling, but it’s not what you’re doing. Because failure means that you’re done. That it’s over. That you’ve reached the end of all potential. And of course, that can’t be true.

The expectations we set for ourselves are often huge. As in we’re wading through a giant forest. We’re running towards our visions and our goals, but while we’re looking 20 miles ahead, we’re tripping on roots. We’re running into trees. We’re getting rained on and birds are pooping on our head. We feel like we’re failing.

But we’re still in the forest. We’re still moving. It’s not over.

So, what do you do when you get that failure feeling?

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7 Ways to Get Better Sleep Tonight

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7 Steps to Better Sleep | Sense of Sunny

If I learned anything in college it was that no amount of Tervis’ full of coffee or sugar-free Redbulls can make me as positive and productive than getting a quality night’s sleep. I am not an advocate of all-nighters and I believe deeply that your bedroom has the power to change your life. Laying in your bed at a decent hour, however, is only a fraction of what it requires to fall asleep and wake up well-rested.

Sometimes the routine stresses in our lives can quickly take hold of any well to-do intentions we have to getting a good nights sleep and can often lead to bigger and badder problems. Not managing routine stress can lead to serious issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, and anxiety disorder. Tackling our responses to routine stress can help alleviate its effects on our energy levels and ability to get that sweet heavenly 8 hours. Just let it go, y’all.

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Feeling Wabi-Sabi

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Feeling Wabi-Sabi | Sense of Sunny

At the ripe old age of thirteen, I spent a lot of time cutting up magazines and browsing the shelves for clothes that would distinguish me from the teeny-bopper demographic that I found myself. I added safety pins to t-shirts and called it creative. I hung brightly colored doily coasters on my bedroom wall to add further to this aesthetic. I haven’t always been in tune with the latest fashion or home decor trends, but golly gosh if I didn’t make up my own.

Fortunately for me, many artifacts of my past are long gone. Much of this is due to my yearly pile making, a courageous effort to dispose of unused and unwanted items I’ve accumulated throughout my life. There’s usually one *I’m never getting rid of this* pile, one *I could probably find a use for this* pile, and one *what was I thinking* pile.

More recently, the thought of all my stuff was beginning to weigh increasingly heavy on my mind. Emotional stuff, meaningless stuff, unnecessary stuff. I’ve come across a lot of articles on living minimally, creating the perfect capsule wardrobe, and “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” but none of these methods seemed to give meaning to the struggle I was experiencing.

Two weeks ago, I chose a stressful and overwhelming day to create the piles of 2015. Which essentially means that all of my negative energy was fueled into chucking handfuls of unworn sweaters across my room. A little aggressive, but it got the job done and I was feeling great!

Actually, I was feeling so wabi-sabi.

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On Being Good To Yourself

On Being Good to Yourself | Sense of Sunny

It’s Monday night. I’m wrapped in a blanket on my couch, catching glimpses of the flickering flame of my teak wood candle, and drinking warm tea from a mug that once declared “seize the day.” The world inside me has felt like anything but complacent lately, while the world in which we’re all present has spun on just the same. My alarm wakes me up every morning. I make my coffee, halfheartedly choose what clothes I’m going to wear, and slowly (but always surely) slide out of my door to start the day. Minutes become hours and at least 14 more pass before I feel okay to drop my drowsy eyes to start it all again.

Maybe this sounds like you, too. This kind of mundane, hustle and bustle, cyclical series of events in our lives makes it really all too easy to forget. Forget the freedom in the air we breathe. Forget the warmth of the sun upon our backs. Forget the gentle breeze that provides us relief in the same way it surely guides ships to their harbor. Forget the complexities and delicacies and fragility of our beings.

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Pep Talk Tuesday

Pep Talk Tuesday | Sense of Sunny

Ya’ll, this week is no joke. I contemplated way too many times the thought of avoiding this blog over the next few days, because if I’m being honest, real life me feels like a complete mess on the inside. My words are jumbly, my brain is frazzled, and my thoughts and actions don’t seem to be synchronizing very well. It’s so easy to yell say HECK NAH to everything when life gets a little off-kilter.

But, you know what feels a whole lot better? Saying HECK YEAH to the things that make you smile, the conversations that make you laugh, and the people who lift you up. So, that’s what I’m doing. I hope that no matter what’s happening in your life, that you join me in smiling, laughing, and lifting your self and others through the week. May these articles serve you in overcoming whatever battles you’re fighting this week, as they’ve lead me through mine.

“How to Get Over Imposter Syndrome” Have that.

“How to Follow Your Gut” Doing that.

“How to Finally Make a Decision” Yep, still working on that.

“Pushing Past Your Comfort Zone” Past it.

“How to Find Motivation” Finding it. Somewhere.

Never forget the boss lady (or man) you are. If you need a few reminders, subscribe to the Career Contessa newsletter here to receive a few more rays of sunshine to your day and inbox every week.

Because we all need a little pep talk every now and then.


Navigating Your Non-Negotiables

Navigating Your Non-Negotiables | Sense of Sunny

I don’t mean to be a buzzkill and remind you of the frigid dead of winter that seems so far away, but I do want to remind you that 7 months ago you probably started a new routine, made new goals, or felt like the future was full of abundant possibility. I’m a lover of New Years Resolutions, however, I think there is just as much (if not more) value in assessing your life mid-year.

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How to Do and Be Anything

We Are What We Repeatedly Do | Sense of Sunny

Our good friend and Greek philosopher, Aristotle, made a pretty good point when he threw this #truthbomb out to the world–“We are what we repeatedly do.” Our habits, the things we say, the way we spend our days, that’s us! That’s our life! The prospect of the future can weigh down so heavily on our minds that we easily forget about the possibility in the “now”, the only guarantee of time we’ll ever have.

It is all too often that our conversations go in the direction of what we want to get done (if someday we had the time), the places we want to go (if someday we had the money), the things we wish we could do (if someday we could learn), or the people we want to be more like (if someday we were just a little different). As an obsessive list-maker, I can attest to the importance of dreaming about the future. However, we can have all of the intention in the world and not a single purpose. Without assessing what we repeatedly do, we’re circumventing who we already are.

So, let’s change the end of some of those conversations.

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Survival Weekend

Some times when life is getting you down, you just need to take a Survival Weekend. Like a straight up avoiding-the-real-world type weekend. You can watch as much Netflix as you want, eat as many cookies as you want, stay up as late as you want, read as long as you want, and consume as much coffee as you want. You can abandon civilization and escape to a private island…or you can travel 4 hours to sleep on your parent’s couch. The possibilities are truly endless!

Although I’m generally optimistic and have no problem getting a little dirty with life’s messes, I also think that sometimes it’s necessary to take a little break, walk away, and clean yourself up. My creativity was diminishing, my excuses were multiplying, and my energy was depleting, so I took matters into my own dirty hands. My Survival Weekend included, but was not limited to…

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Whatever…Love is Love

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We are all constantly "becoming." That is one of the joys of life. | Sense of Sunny

One day before my last birthday, I decided that I needed to start giving some more thought to how I was living my life. On February 12th, I attended my first ever Book Club meeting. Small steps, guys. This month we are on our way to completing our 5th book, Whatever…Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves.

Although my terrible habit of never completing books is still being worked on, I wanted to talk a little bit about our most recent read. Do you ever just feel so randomly passionate about something and it takes you by total surprise? I loved the way Maria Bello told her story in a way that was so easily relatable. Chapter after chapter kept addressing themes that have found themselves swirling around in my head.

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The Art of Living Well: Day One

The Art of Living Well | Sense of Sunny

Once upon a time, I plunged into my 20s, fearfully graduated college, and discovered that no degree could prepare me for any of my overwhelmingly unanswered questions. In the process of navigating appropriate post-grad attire (hint: not sorority formal t-shirts), lofty learning curves (Excel and rude people), and the outer aisles of my local Kroger (why is healthy food so expensive…), I’ve come to realize that maybe the answers I’ve been seeking are not found in the places I’ve been looking.

I am very familiar with the tricky condition, Analysis Paralysis. What do I want to do? Who do I want to be? What do I want to say? I’ve always known that I wanted to use my words for something meaningful (because, let’s face it, I have plenty to spare). So, I created this blog and spent very many hours analyzing the many forms that my vision could take outside of my head. I researched, tested, and envisioned colors, layouts, and designs. I drafted my first post. I doodled fonts and images on post-it notes, to-do lists, and in empty notebooks. I recruited my closest friends to give me their honest advice.

Then the questions came back and I became paralyzed. Again. When is a good day? What am I waiting for? Who will find any of this meaningful?

The funny thing about time is that it passes through our lives so freely. Suddenly the seasons have changed and the worries we once had are only dust along the road. Along this dusty road, however, are distractions that can blind us from the answers we may be seeking.

The topic of the post I crafted and let sit so many weeks ago was titled “Living Well” and included much of what you’re reading right now.  Fast forward to one week ago where I was sitting in a wobbly chair, underneath a shady tree, and in a crowd of so many people. I listened to a commencement speaker talk about the very art of living well.

Living well is a bunch of things.

It’s striving, staying persistent, laughing, crying, wondering, exploring, loving, truth telling, feeling deeply, forgiving others, and saying thank you. Living well is downward facing dog after a long day. Living well is drinking a large margarita. Living well is calling an old friend. Living well is finding something you like doing and doing it as much as you like. Living well is knowing that when the universe gives you a sign, you take it and run.

So often we focus on the who, what, where, when, and what if’s that sneak their way into our wildest dreams. We think forward and we look back without taking much time to consider that what may be beneath our feet and inside of our hearts is sometimes enough.

When we stop to listen, sometimes the answers find us.

This dream of mine no longer needs to sit inside and wait for a sunny day. I am not fearful. I am not inadequate. I am not alone. Sense of Sunny is my journey in living well. I hope you join me as I stop to take a look around.