One Year Closer to 30 | Birthday Time

in , by RoyallyPink, 3:27 PM

Today is my 28th birthday and I'm unsure how I feel about it. I had an entirely different post planned today -- I wrote it yesterday and I was in a horrible mood so the post reflected that. Today I feel better so I didn't feel like posting something so horribly negative... I also need to learn to not put so much negativity into the world - maybe that can be a goal for the next 365 days. 

It's no secret that this year has been horrible and I've shared my feelings, especially over the past few weeks, on how I've been feeling. 

I don't feel particularly motivated, happy, or ambitious. My anxiety, depression, and intrusive thoughts seem to be taking over which is never good. I wasn't excited about my birthday and was experiencing a lot of anxiety about it. I felt depressed about not knowing how to celebrate, sad about how my life is playing out... I thought I'd be in a much different place by 28 years old, and just really sad about getting older in general.

How is it that I can remember my 21st birthday so clearly, feel like I was just in college and now I'm closer to 30 years old than that age? I almost feel like I don't recognize myself anymore... but is it me or is the pandemic? That is the million-dollar question.

That being said, I'm feeling much better today. I feel a little extra loved, and a bit calmer about everything. It's the worst weather we've had in NYC in a while and I almost feel like it was a little gift for me, because rainy weather is my favorite and it almost makes me feel better about my birthday? I know that sounds crazy but it's true!



As I write this, I just got back from a massage and I treated myself to some croissants this morning for breakfast. I'll be ordering in my favorite restaurant tonight, and having a Milkbar cake, along with some light work and maybe a Christmas movie. 

I have a lot of hope that I can make 28 a good year. At the moment, I feel hopeful but that is always fleeting. I'm ready to hunker down, make changes to my mental & physical health, and really try to live my life instead of letting it pass me by. 

Maybe 28 will be that year... maybe I can really make the changes. Here's to hoping! 

xoxo
B

Black Friday has come and gone and even though I said I wasn't going to buy anything, I ended up doing a bunch of shopping. I'll link some of my items in the 'What I Bought This Week' section later on in the post... 

Thanksgiving was super weird this year. It was only my sister, my mom, my mom's fiancee, and myself. It was really sad, I was in a really bad place and kind of hit rock bottom. It was probably the lowest point in my life, and I might talk more about it on Monday (my birthday post) but might wait a little bit. 

My birthday.... I am not excited but more on that Monday. 

Today I felt a ton better! I slept late, decorated my room for Christmas, went and got my first Covid test (oh my god, I can still feel that swab), did some freelance work, and commenced my annual viewing of "Gilmore Girls: A Year in a Life". I might have to do a post all about my love of Gilmore Girls because man, it is strong.

Right now, I'm watching Season 2 of Gilmore Girls, after eating pizza and sitting by my Christmas tree. The Christmas tree really makes everything so much better. 

I hope you all had a nice holiday and have shopped till you dropped today!


 

Links I Loved

What You Missed on Royally Pink

As I said, I bought too many things. These are the items that cannot be linked in the widget:

I have to admit, I have nothing I want to buy on Black Friday. I know, it's very shocking. I just don't need anything and I haven't really thought about what I want. Usually, I'm making Black Friday lists on November 1st but this year, I guess it's like with anything this year, it just doesn't feel right. 

Even though I say this now, a few days before Black Friday, I'm sure I will buy at least *one* thing. And just because I might not be shopping doesn't mean I can't share the best deals around! I've done these posts over the years but unlike other bloggers, I usually share the sales I'm going to be shopping or sales I think are really worth it. 

It's very easy to feel overwhelmed by all the sales that happen on Friday and over the years, the shopping week starts earlier and earlier. That's why I want to make this as simple as possible and focus on good deals and retailers that I really love. I also will include a section for small businesses that I've seen are doing sales.



Either way, Black Friday is no longer the only big shopping day but it is still fun to sit at home, curl up on the couch with Christmas movies and shop your heart out! 

Cyber Week + Black Friday Sales

Beauty

  • Sephora: 50% off daily deals until Friday & 50% off select items! 
  • Ulta: 30-60% off items until Friday + SO MANY other deals on the website

Fashion & Accessories 

  • ShopBop: 20% off with code SHOP20 - on Friday
    • They are also doing daily deals so check the website until Friday for more details! 
  • Coach: 50% off select items
  • Tory Burch: 30% off $250; up to 60% off sale items, with code THANKS 


Lifestyle + Wellness

Small Businesses

  • MyOhMySupplyCo: Up to 25% off on Friday, 15% off everything on Saturday
  • GrapeSodaCo: New launches & up to 50% select items (starts at 8 PM EST today) 
  • Zipadeetees: New launches + BOGO 20%
  • Letters & Lucy: New launches + sale (not defined yet) starting tomorrow at 12 PM CT

I'll try to update this post as the week goes on or link more in the coming days!

xoxo
B

Yesterday I shared Thanksgiving recipes and tomorrow will be Black Friday deals and then Thursday is Thanksgiving, so we're feeling all the holidays this week. 

I wanted to share my Christmas clothes roundup before December 1st hit so we can all share in the merry spirit for as long as possible. Also, you might want to pick these up on Black Friday if they're on sale so why not spread a little Christmas cheer early!

I already picked up two sweaters to wear while I WFH by my Christmas tree in December but I might have to treat myself to one more! The ones I picked up were the Eloise at Christmastime from My Oh My Supply Co and a Grinch sweatshirt from Zipadeetees




Below are a bunch of other adorable tees, long sleeves, and sweatshirts to choose from this holiday season.



xoxo
B

 Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday ever. I love the spookiness of Halloween and the joy of Christmas but something about Thanksgiving makes me incredibly happy. Maybe it's because it's the start of the holiday season, maybe it's because my birthday is always a few days after it, or maybe because the food is just my favorite. 

I started a new tradition a few years ago and that's experimenting with different drink recipes to serve on Thanksgiving. My family usually sticks to their classic drinks but I wanted something fun and festive! 

I figured what better time to share those recipes than Thanksgiving week. The holiday this year is going to be different, and probably smaller for a lot of us but you can still have traditions, and you can still make the best of the day. 

Below are my favorite recipes to make for Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, and really any other fall gathering. 

Apple Cider Mimosas

I love mimosas of any kind. Mimosas are my favorite alcoholic beverage of all time so how could I not love a fall mimosa? These are the simplest drink on the menu so you can easily make them in a flash.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bottle of Champagne or Prosecco 
  • Half a bottle of Apple Cider (or more, depending on how strong you like mimosas) 
  • 1 TBSP of Cinnamon
  • 1 TBSP of Sugar
  • 1 apple, chopped
Mix the champagne, apples & cider in a pitcher. 
Combine cinnamon and sugar in a small plate
Wet rim of the glass and dip in cinnamon sugar mixture
Pour & enjoy! 

Fall Sangria



This is my family's favorite recipe and it has really become the go-to traditional Thanksgiving drink.

Ingredients 

  • 1 bottle of white wine 
  • 1/2 cup of Peach Brandy
  • 1/4 cup of honey
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bottle of seltzer 
  • 2 TBSP of sugar
  • 1 TBSP of cinnamon
Mix everything in a pitcher and serve with the cut-up fruit! 

Apple Cider Sangria 

I've made this a few times but my family prefers the Fall sangria recipe. However, we did make it during a family Oktoberfest this year and it was a hit. It's so delicious, not too strong, and you can really make it any way you want.

Ingredients 

  • 1 bottle of white wine
  • 2.5 cups of apple cider
  • 1 cup of ginger ale
  • 1/2 cup of liquor
  • 2 small apples (diced)
Mix everything together in a pitcher and when serving, make sure to get a few apples in your glass! 

These are simple, delicious, and can be adapted to your liking, depending on how strong or light you like your drinks!

What do you drink on Thanksgiving?
xoxo
B

 Happy Sunday! Happy Thanksgiving week! This is usually my favorite week of the year and this year, well, it's melancholy. I'm trying to remain in the spirit as best as I could but I know we're all feeling a bit 'meh'. The good news? We put up our Christmas tree over the weekend and it is definitely brightened up my mood.

My birthday is also in a week, I'll be 28 and I'm just not feeling it this year. I don't know if it's because of Covid, or because of my breakup earlier this year but I kind of wish I could just skip over it. Maybe it's because I'm two years away from 30 and I'm having an identity crisis? It's just really weird, I feel weird and need to try to get my shit together.

Crisis and holidays aside, I watched more of The Crown season 4 last night, followed by a documentary on Princess Diana, and wow, it just brought up a ton of feelings. I've been obsessed with the royals for a very long time since I was a little girl (I mean, my blog name is named after them) so I've always known a lot about Princess Diana. However, seeing it play out in fiction, and just reliving the stories I've always heard is really heartbreaking. I could talk about this for hours and just might in another post or newsletter. 

As I sit here on Sunday afternoon, watching Youtube videos and nursing a horrible migraine, I'm looking forward to a short work week and Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday. Let's get into the wrap-up...



Pink Positivity of the Week

I had Friendsgiving on Thursday and it was great! We had delicious food, decorated cookies and it was nice to be with friends. *I've been seeing my friends socially distanced for a while and we pretty much know where everyone has been. I also don't see anyone outside my house so I'm not concerned* 

Also, has any noticed the NEW blog layout?! I've been struggling with the branding of Royally Pink and what I wanted this blog to look like, but finally found something that really fits. It might look a little confusing but to me, it looks more professional. I hope you like it! 

Links I Loved

What You Missed on Royally Pink

I ordered 2021 planner inserts from Cloth and Paper; a monthly calendar and weekly/daily inserts 



xoxo
B

I've had a few Riley Sager books in my queue ready to read, and after Final Girl. I knew I couldn't wait too long to read another one. Lock Every Door is one of his newer novels and I had purchased it a few months back when it was on sale, so I figured this was a good place to start. 

This was a weird book, in all the best ways. It was sad, twisted, dark, mysterious, and very creepy. It had everything you could want out of a thriller and it kept my attention until the very end.




Publisher's Summary

No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan's most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.

As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story . . . until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.

Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew's sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.

My Thoughts

From the first page, I was immediately gripped. Jules was trying to escape from The Bartholomew and we have no idea why. Even when you find out why she was trying to escape, it doesn't feel real. It was incredibly far-fetched but sometimes, those are the best kinds of stories.

I felt really bad for Jules throughout the book. Her life was sad and she was at rock bottom... you feel for her and want her to get back on her feet. That's why the position she takes at the hotel sounds so great for her, and you could understand why she needs it to work. It did sound creepy and as a reader, you knew there was a catch but you had no idea how severe it was.

I'll be honest, as much as I enjoyed the book, there was a lot of 'free time' where the story was kind of stalled. It felt like Sager put you on a wild goose chase trying to find out just what the secret of The Bartholomew was. Was it ghosts? Was there a serial killer on the loose? What was the secret? I just wanted to know! This story really took its time playing out... 

As you continue to read, and more pieces start to unravel, your mind is racing and truly you just want to find out what the deal is. Where is Ingrid? Why do they even need apartment sitters? And is Jules even safe? 

The actual secret, what was actually going on at the residence was unlike anything I could've ever imagine and I don't know how anyone could possibly dream up that scenario. It was so out there, so gruesome, so horrible... it was intense. It was also sad once you find out what happened to the other people and how they preyed on the vulnerable.

However, at the end of the story, you see Jules really come out stronger and it was such a good ending. I felt so satisfied with the outcome, as horrible as the journey was.

The writing in this book was exceptional. Sager is a true genius when it comes to psychological thrillers; the way he pairs gruesome stories with a relatable background story and likable characters. The way the story is set up, to purposely make you think something else is going on, it's incredible. 

I've read enough thrillers/mysteries to be able to figure out the ending but Sager is such an excellent storyteller that it is nearly impossible to predict where the story is going. It's everything you want in a novel. 

Home After Dark is the next Sager book I'll be reading and I'm sure it will be incredible.

What are you reading today?
xoxo
B


In 2016, my dad passed away and my world was changed forever. When I think about it, nothing has ever felt the same, felt as happy, or as good as it did before 2016. The one thing that definitely didn't feel the same was the holidays, or any celebration, including my birthday.

At the beginning of this year, my family was dealt with another hard card when my aunt passed away and we've been dreading the holiday season ever since January. It's also the first holiday season I'm single in a few years, so there is loss all around because loss doesn't just mean death. 

I've been thinking about this post for a while and in a way, this is the perfect year to talk about it. We're all going to be celebrating the holiday differently and you might find some comfort in having to deal with your loss in this vastly different holiday season rather than if everything was merry and bright. 

These are the tools that have worked for me over the years when it comes to celebrations and the holiday season. I'm not an expert nor am I a doctor but wanted to just offer advice to anyone who needs it. I am also someone who loves the holiday season, despite everything, so I am pretty good at dusting myself off and powering through... if you are not that kind of person, please don't take offense to any advice offered. 


Days Leading Up to the Holiday

Let Yourself Feel

The first Thanksgiving without my dad, I woke up crying. I could cry thinking about it now. I cried for the majority of the day and would sneak away into my room to sit and cry, thinking about how everything was different and how much I missed him.

I think my mistake was trying to make the day feel normal. I did all my normal things: woke up, had coffee, snuggled up to watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade but at some point, it hit me that nothing was normal and that I was suppressing my feelings. 

Your feelings are valid, always remember that, but when it comes to personal loss, your feelings are more than valid -- they're raw and real and warranted. In the days leading up to the holiday, let yourself feel those emotions. Try your best to not push them down or distract yourself... feel them and let yourself cry. Throw a tantrum, scream into a pillow and let it all out. You will feel so much better afterward and it is your gateway into 'normalcy'.

Write It Out

I'm working on another post dedicated to journaling but wow, writing out your feelings really does wonders. When I'm feeling down about my grief, I write it in my journal. I might frame it as a letter or just let out my frustration about how they aren't here anymore.

Honor Your Loved One

I like to take a few personal moments to honor my dad (and this year, my aunt). Whether that's just saying a prayer, talking out loud to them, or wearing something that reminds me of them,  it helps me feel close to them and helps me channel my grief in a physical way. 

My dad & I


On the Actual Day

Focus on Something You Enjoy 

On the day of the holiday, whether it's my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, I always wake up feeling a little 'blah'. I might cry and let it out, but then I get into the holiday spirit because I know that's how my dad would want it... it's also just who I am. I love the holidays so much and I have tried to not let my grief change that. 

I do all the things I love and that really brings me joy, whether it's a delicious holiday breakfast, helping to cook or bake, or watching a movie. In a way, I have started my own personal traditions (outside of what my family & I do) because it helps me deal and put my energy toward something that is specifically for me. It makes me feel happy, centers me, and helps me stay in the moment. 

Take Time Away from the Celebration

As I mentioned before, on the first holiday without my dad, I needed a lot of time to myself. I am an introvert and even being around my family for too long mentally exhausts me so I always am hiding (whoops) but on the day, if you feel yourself getting overstimulated or just sitting in sadness, excuse yourself and be alone. It'll help recenter yourself and if you feel like you need to cry, let yourself cry. It's ok.

Don't Retreat

However, in the same breath, do not retreat into yourself. Participate (as much as you feel as you can) in festivities and be with your other loved ones. Be as present because staying within yourself might do more harm than good. You need to be around others, even just a little bit, and your other family and friends want to be with you and help you through this. They might even be experiencing the same feelings you are, and you all need each other at this moment. 

What I Don't Do

*One thing I try to NOT do on the day because it makes me feel horrible is to tell stories about my dad. I do not like reminiscing because it feels like a dark cloud on the day. This is a very personal thing and I know won't work for everyone but I felt like I should tell you. However, the first holiday season, I think we did talk a bit because it was weird *not* to, if that makes sense. It makes it much more real when I'm trying my best to enjoy the day. I'm also not great at containing my emotion in front of others so if we're eating dinner and we start to talk about my dad in a 'he's not here' kind of way, I kind of lose it. 

If you are someone who does not want to talk about your lost loved one, make that known, or just remove yourself from the situation. Don't feel embarrassed or guilty for not wanting to talk about them on a day you want to try to keep upbeat and happy. It is your right as a grieving person to deal with how you see fit. 

If you're not dealing with death but a different type of loss...

Acknowledge the loss. Don't bury it and let yourself feel sad about that person not being in your life. But also, try to not focus on feelings of guilt or wondering what they are doing. Don't reach out to them if you haven't been in contact and acknowledge that the chapter is over. Be present in what you are doing with the people still in your life and maybe ask a family member to tell the others to not bring that person up. Next year will be better and you most likely have put that relationship completely to rest at that point. 

I know some of this advice is common sense or might've sounded repetitive but I just felt like everyone could use a little extra help this year.

xoxo
B


Since quarantine started, my makeup wearing has been at an all-time low. Some days I will apply a little concealer and mascara to feel put together but most days, it's just all skin. Also, like most people, I've stepped up my skincare routine during this time. To me, my skincare routine is a form of self-care so it's natural that I would want to spend more time on it, and revamp it with better products. It also made sense to stop buying makeup and invest in skincare products, which I definitely have been doing. 

My skin has been changing a bit thanks to the lovely new concern of 'maskne' aka mask induced acne so I've needed to try to find products that work to help combat blemishes. As the weather changes and gets colder, I always switch up my skincare routine because my skin gets extremely dry and flaky during the fall and winter. 

All of that being said, I figured this was the perfect time to talk about my morning and nighttime skincare routine! 

*It looks like the last time I did a a skincare routine post was in 2017 so it is much needed.

Morning Skincare

First,  I wash my face with either Simple Micellar Water & a Shisedo cotton pad or use the Summer Fridays Super Amino Gel cleanser. Both are extremely gentle which I appreciate in the morning. I started using an actual cleanser a few months ago because I felt like the micellar water just wasn't doing the job I needed it to do. I want my skin to feel as clean as possible without any tightness which is exactly how the Summer Fridays leaves my skin feeling.

After cleansing, I will try to apply a toner; I was using the Thayers Witch Hazel but recently made the switch to the First Aid Beauty Wild Oat Hydrating Toner to give myself an extra layer of hydration. 



Once the toner is absorbed, I will apply my Tula Glow & Get It Cooling Eye Balm to moisturize, soothe and brighten my tired eyes. I go in with actual eye cream after my moisturizer...I have been using  the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Light. I was in desperate need of a new daytime moisturizer and I wanted something very hydrating yet lightweight. It's an added bonus that it has SPF. Since I spend most of my days inside, I feel comfortable having the built in SPF and not applying a separate one. 

I'll do a full review of the Magic Cream at a later date as it's still new to me but so far, I really love it. My skin feels incredibly moisturized all day long, without leaving a greasy residue behind. 

After my skin is moisturized, I try to remember to apply my eye cream, either the Boscia Indigo Eye Cream or Belf Moisturizing Eye Bomb . Both are hydrating, cooling, and feel very nice on the skin.

Once all my skincare is applied, it's time to start the day!

Nighttime Routine

I start off by washing off the day with my Soap & Glory Face, Soap and Clarity Vitamin C Facial Wash. It is incredibly refreshing, invgoriarting and deeply cleanses the skin. My face never feels as good as it does after washing it with this cleanser. While it's gentle enough for daily use, it does have a nice exfoliating feel, while also purifying the skin and pulling the dirt out of your pores. 

After cleansing, I apply my Fresh Rose Hydration Oil Serum. To apply I just shake a few drops into my hands and press them into my skin. This is an extremely light weight serum that sinks deeply into the skin to hydrate and plump. It also feels really refreshing and moisturizers layer great on top of it. 

Once that is fully absorbed and my skin is dry to the touch, I apply my active ingredients. According to Cosmo, you should be applying retinol and active ingredients last and going forward I will but for the sake of this post I'll keep it real.




I just started using the Olay Retinol Serum and it's been working great, but now I have finally incorporated the Drunk Elephant TLC Framboos Gylcolic Night Serum into the routine. I splurged on this last minute during the Sephora VIB Sale after wanting this product forever. I can definitely feel my skin purging from

Once the active ingredients are absorbed, I go in with either two of my nighttime moisutirzers: Innis Free Orchid Youth Enriched Cream or Josie Maran Hydrating Milk. Both have different textures but are equally hydrating and leave my skin feeling great. As final touches, I add eye cream (either the Boscia Indigo or First Aid Beauty Retinol) and my Glossier Balm Dot Com. 

*If I have a breakout, I apply a spot treatment, like this Pacifica one or a pimple patch... which I'm doing an entire post on later this week! 

My skincare routine is very important to me, and even though some nights I am too lazy to do it all, I always try to apply retinol and/or moisturizer. I want my skin to always be hydrated during the cold weather months, and yet, still looking it's best.

Shop the entire routine here: 



What is in your skincare routine this season?
xoxo
B

 It is November 14th and I have broken many of my self-inflicted holiday rules. I have not decorated for Christmas yet but I have bought Christmas snacks, candles, and baking supplies... however, I haven't used any of these yet. As I write this, I am currently watching Home Alone 2, after watching Home Alone and that is my biggest rule of all: no Christmas movies before Thanksgiving. 

These rules are very silly and are a personal inside joke, I'm well aware it doesn't matter if I watch Christmas movies in early November but I'm such a fall person & I love Thanksgiving so I like to continue the fall season as much as possible. However, this year, I think I need some of that Christmas joy a little early this year. 

I'm over my pumpkin spice habit and I'm ready for all things peppermint mocha! 

This week was hard, again but not as hard as the previous weeks because well, the election is over *contrary to popular belief*. I am though, back to worrying about Covid... please just wear a mask & social distance. It's the least we could do and IT WORKS! 

I'll get off my soapbox before I get too preachy, and get right into the post!



Pink Positivity of the Week

I ordered so many books this week! Of course, I always like reading but sometimes I get in the mood to read 100 books and just absorb every story I could find. I've also been in a self-help mindset so I ordered a few books I've had my eye on... more on that later. Reading brings me such great pleasure and joy, and right now I need to surround myself with every bit of joy I can find. 

Links I Loved


What You Missed on Royally Pink

What I Bought This Week




Have a great rest of the weekend! 
xoxo 
B

I have been waiting to write this review for months and we are finally here! I received an ARC of "The Girls of Brackenhill" earlier this year and finished the book sometime in the summer. It was finally released last week and I'm so excited to tell you how much I adored this book! 

If I remember correctly, I flew through this thriller/mystery novel pretty quickly and it kept me engaged on every single page. 



Publisher's Summary: 

When Hannah Maloney’s aunt dies in a car accident, she returns to her family’s castle in the Catskills and the epicenter of childhood trauma: her sister’s unsolved disappearance. It’s been seventeen years, and though desperate to start a new life with her fiancĂ©, Hannah is compelled to question the events of her last summer at Brackenhill.

When a human bone is found near the estate, Hannah is convinced it belongs to her long-lost sister. She launches her own investigation into that magical summer that ended in a nightmare. As strange happenings plague the castle, Hannah uncovers disturbing details about the past and startling realizations about her own repressed childhood memories.

Fueled by guilt over her sister’s vanishing, Hannah becomes obsessed with discovering what happened all those years ago, but by the time Hannah realizes some mysteries are best left buried, it’s too late to stop digging. Overwhelmed by what she has exposed, Hannah isn’t sure her new life can survive her old ghosts.


My Thoughts:


The moment I started this book, I knew I was in for a wild ride. The first line is jaw dropping and hooks you... from that first page, you know you're in for something good.

As you read the first few chapters, there was just so much to digest, so much that you knew was coming.  We knew there was a mystery about Hannah's sister's disappearance, something was definitely up with the way her aunt died, and the situation with her uncle seemed a little off. 

I felt like Hannah knew more than she was letting on, which was true... she had repressed a lot of memories but it felt like a little more than that. I struggled with rooting for her and wanting her to just get on with it. The home, Brackenhill, was such a central point in the novel which really adds that extra layer of plot. What happened in those walls? What were those walls hiding? It was extremely intriguing and that's the past that reminded me of another book I recently reviewed, The Last to Know. 

The story was very slow but in a very good way. It didn't bore me, it didn't feel like it was dragging on for no reason. The pace was very intentional and I can appreciate that. Every word counted.

Of course, there was a love story intertwined with the gruesome plotline and that is where police officer, Wyatt, comes in. Wyatt & Hannah had a past and it stirs up some trouble in her current relationship, but also in the investigation into Hannah's aunt's death, and in turn, her sister's disappearance. 

I can't write much more without giving most of the story away but things are discovered, leads are tracked down and secrets are uncovered... secrets about Hannah, Wyatt, Brackenhill, and Hannah's family. 

The ending was intense. I sped through it (in a good way) because I simply couldn't wait to find out how it played out. It definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and I held my breath for a lot of it. The ending, for lack of a better word, was creepy and wonderful. 

As I said, I read this book a while ago and if my memory serves me correctly, I felt satisfied at the ending. Questions were answered, mysteries were solved and we got a solid 'The End' feeling. 

I truly loved this book... I'm comfortable putting this in the top five thrillers/suspense/mystery novels I read this year. If you enjoy a slow burn story, with more than one plotline, and a protagonist who has her own secrets you will LOVE "The Girls of Brackenhill."

xoxo
B

I am not a doctor, let me get that straight. I am not a medical professional of any kind so take my advice with a grain of salt. What I am is a 27-year-old woman who has been dealing with anxiety attacks for almost 10 years so I know a little bit about how to deal with anxiety and/or panic attacks.

The past few weeks have been probably some of the most stressful of 2020... not just for me but for everyone. There was a lot of uncertainty leading up to the election, the spike in Covid cases across the world, and now post-election stress is going to be mixed with the holiday season. It's just not good for anyone's mental health.

I have definitely experienced a spike in anxiety attacks over the course of the past few months and have found a few new ways to deal with them. I figured I would take you through every step of my anxiety attack and how I resolve them.

For reference, I am on anti-anxiety/depression medication that I take daily but that doesn't mean my anxiety is completely gone. It just means I can function on a daily basis. I still have triggers and still need to navigate an attack... this is what works for me.

Credit


At the First Sign of Anxiety

When I first feel the anxiety coming on, I try to take a few deep breaths. No matter what I am doing, I take a moment to close my eyes, put my hand over my heart, and deep breathe. It helps me focus and center myself, without getting distracted. If I'm working, I will briefly shut the computer so no blue light is coming in & turn off any podcasts or music I am listening to so I can sit in silence. The silence really helps ease me because sometimes the anxiety is just brought on by overstimulation. 

After I sit like that for a few minutes, I will chug some water and maybe rub a little lavender oil on my temples, just to set the mood. I'll also try to get up and eat something because even though it sounds silly, sometimes anxiety can be mistaken for hunger (at least in my experience!) 

However, sometimes the pausing and breathing are just not enough...

After the Anxiety Really Sets In

So some focused breathing didn't work *it rarely does* and now I'm in the midst of what I can tell will be a full-blown anxiety attack in a little while. With my breathing still maintained, I turn to my Headspace app and will do a guided meditation, or three. It helps focus my attention on something other than the panic I am feeling. It also helps ground me in the present and listen to my body... it's so hard to explain but goodness it really helps.

I have also been really into ASMR videos, specifically the ones from Lottie Loves ASMR. Her role-playing (is not as weird as it sounds) combined with her soothing, British accent is truly a match made in Heaven. I get lost in the feeling of watching these videos and it instantly calms me down. 

In conjunction with the Headspace app and/or ASMR, this is the moment that I will usually pop an Olly Stress Gummy or a Big Chill pill from HUM Nutrition. These are my lifesavers and have been for years. They really knock the stress out of you if you're on the verge of an attack. 

At this point, I also have gotten into the habit of writing down why I'm feeling this way. If I know the trigger, writing it out helps so much; if I don't know the trigger, writing down my physical symptoms as well as my thoughts still make a difference. I keep a little mood journal on my desk for these moments and it has helped immensely over the past few months. 

When I'm Having a Full-Blown Anxiety Attack

I rarely get to this place but if I'm in the midst of a full blown attack, where I simply cannot get control of my thoughts, am crying and hyperventilating, I completely remove myself from the situation at hand. This is going to sound strange but just listen... when I'm feeling this way, I lay on the floor in my bedroom.

This is something that started in college and was a funny joke between me and my friends; when I was feeling really stressed or having a bad day, I would just lay on the floor of our dorm. It helped me feel grounded and the hard surface provided a weird sense of comfort. 

Now, when I'm freaking out, laying on the floor is sometimes the only thing that helps. Depending on my mood, I will either lay in silence, play another Headspace meditation, or an ASMR Youtube video. Usually, after I cry it out and have a few minutes to myself on the floor, I feel a little better and can get back to work or whatever I was doing.

Even if I have already taken stress gummy, I will probably take my medication at this stage because I might be too far gone for anything else to help me. 

Once I come down from the anxiety attack, the feeling might still linger so I try to take better care of myself for that day. Maybe I'll spend a little less time on my phone, won't work on the blog after work, and might just spend the night reading. 

With every anxiety attack I have, I learn more about my triggers, my body, and my response. I definitely know how to deal with them better than ever before but it is a struggle every day. 

I mentioned a few products & services that help me during anxiety attacks but there are so many other things I use on a daily basis to help care for my mental health, even when I'm feeling good. Below are a few of my top picks:


I hope this helped, even just a little bit! If you have any other mental health questions, feel free to contact me (email or Instagram), and let's chat! 

xoxo 
B

Little Loves, Vol 10

in , , by RoyallyPink, 6:30 AM

 It's a new week with a new President-Elect and I'm breathing a huge sigh of relief that (hopefully) everything is behind us. No matter what, we should never have to experience what we did last week. Onward and upward!

I wanted to start the week with a lowkey post of things I've been loving & doing lately! 







On Halloween, my friends & I took a day trip to Sleepy Hallow. We walked around, did some sightseeing and ate lunch. It was the perfect fall day and such a nice way to spend Halloween. 


I told you that I bought the Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream Light Moisturizer during the Sephora VIB Rouge sale and wow, I have been loving it. Upon application, my skin instantly feels less dry and tight, plus it really keeps my skin moisturized all day long. I've only used it a few days so more updates at the end of the month! 



I went to brunch for the first time in months a few weeks ago to celebrate my Big's birthday and wow, it was such the perfect day I almost cried. It felt amazing to be with my sorority sisters who I haven't seen in a while and I left there feeling whole. College was important to me, I grew up there and those women were part of it, so whenever I see them, I'm reminded of who I truly am at heart. 


It seems like every Friday it ends up raining in NYC but I'm oddly thankful for the gloominess, it makes working a little easier, especially when I have endless amounts of coffee.


This is a screenshot from my Instagram story yesterday but I have to say, I'm in love with my mini cozy tote from Stoney Clover. I used it for the first time this weekend and it easily one of my favorite bags in my collection. It's comfortable, the perfect size to just throw your items in but not lose them, plus it's adorable. I cannot get enough! 


Another IG story screenshot but I had to share. When Dunkaroos announced they were coming back, I was ecstatic. Just like every other millennial born in the 90s, I adored these snacks. I finally found them in my local Shoprite and well, they aren't as good as I remember but they sure brought back the nostalgia which is always welcome. 


This is so random but a new local coffee shop opened in my neighborhood and I ordered it on Friday for breakfast. I got a Chai Tea Latte and a breakfast biscuit... this biscuit was the best breakfast sandwich I have ever ordered, I could've eaten 10 of them. It's called Etto Espresso Bar and wow, simply divine. 



I have been ordering from C&C Luxury for a while now and I recently picked up this ring, which I love. The packaging has been upgraded a few times over the past few years but this is my favorite -- it's so classy, so cute, and I love the packaging that can be reused again.



Red cup season is finally here! 

Have a great week everyone!
xoxo
B

Royal Round Up, Vol 3: Week 45

, by RoyallyPink, 11:49 PM


It's Friday night... we still don't have a president-elect, and it's starting to get annoying (LOL) sorry but it's true! I understand, we need to count all the votes but wow, what a goddam week.

It was filled with a lot of emotions, uncertainty, self-care, and weirdness. I feel like this week was 15 days long. At first, I tried to step away from the news... Tuesday night I went to sleep at 9 PM and woke up every hour to text messages from my friend giving me updates. But after Wednesday night, I figured we'd be in this for the long haul, and here we are. 

As I write this, it's actually the first time I put on the news... I've always been the type of news consumer that likes to read the news instead of listening or watching it. It's clearly the college journalist and writer in me. I've been following a few key journalists who are updating purely on the numbers and refreshing The New York Times every 5 seconds... no lie. 

Serious news aside, the memes have been on point. TikTok is on fire and it truly has brought me so much joy. In times of despair, the Internet can seem like a really horrible, dark place but if you look in the right places, you can find a lot of humor and levity. 

All of that being said, I'm really ready for the weekend because I need some sense of normalcy. I just want to go to the gym, run some errands, and get my life in order. I feel like life was put on hold *again* this week and I need to just get it together. 


Sale of the Week

Ok, let's get into it...but first, Stoney Clover Lane is having a 20% off sale tomorrow, Saturday, November 7th. It starts at 10 AM EST and ends at 10 PM EST. They NEVER do sales and this is replacing their Black Friday sale so it's the perfect time to get something or stock up! I've done two posts about SCL, filled with inspiration for pieces, recently, for their fall collection & the cozy collection, and have a few more posts in my LikeToKnowIt, so check it out and treat yourself.

Pink Positivity of the Week

I got *too many* online orders delivered but man, it felt good to be excited about material things! In reality, it felt good to go out and vote this week. I got emotional and it was so nice to see so many poll workers in good spirits. It was really wonderful. 

Links I Loved

What You Missed This Week:

What I Bought This Week

Oh dear, where do I start... I bought this crystal pen set, a new BBW candle, and everything below:



xoxo
B

It's The Last Day to Vote | November 2020

, by RoyallyPink, 10:02 AM

I can't believe we are finally here. I can't believe it's almost over. I wasn't going to post anything today... and was considering taking the week off (I probably still will) but I just wanted to come on here and tell you to VOTE. 

It is our right as Americans to vote... and we're voting for more than the president. There are tons of local representatives on the ballot, senators, and other government officials. I would argue that those are even more important than the president because that's where we see real change. 

I voted this morning at my local polling place, down the block from my house. I waited for today because honestly, early voting was a little confusing to me. I tried to do it on Sunday but the location was super crowded, there was no direction and it was raining. I felt much more comfortable in my local place where I've voted before.


The line was not as long as I expected but much longer than past elections. A lot has to do with Covid, a lot has to do with the fact that this election has record breaking turnouts. The entire process took me 40 minutes and I was near tears leaving, praying for change in our country. 

I will spend the day working, trying to distract myself from what is going to be a make or break election. I'm honestly terrified so work is a good distraction. Tonight, I will not watch the news, read a book, and take some CBD gummies to hopefully pass out by 9 PM. 

Tomorrow... we'll see what we wake up too. Let's hope it's positive change. 

For now, get out and vote like your life depends on it. 

xoxo
B

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