Mental Health Blog is Up and Running

The mental health blog is up and running and you can find it here:

UPCLOSEANDPERSONALLAURIEL.WORDPRESS.COM

and there is of course an update there dealing all with my insomnia. Do take a look if you fancy it.

The next big project is going to be the football/sports blog but that may take another week or so. And this blog will hopefully pick up the pace soon, too. Baby steps, people, baby steps!

[Up Close and Personal/ Organizing my Life] KAUFSTOP! Liberation from Consumerism

As I am waiting for the construction workers to get ready in the bathroom so I can actually leave the house and get on with my life, let’s address a question that is going around with me for a while: I HAVE TO STOP BUYING STUFF!

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Recently I realized that I spend too much money on things I don’t really need. Like, who needs 6 foundations? I have just the one face and it is not like they are all doing different things. And let’s face it (no pun intended) I keep on coming back to the same ones, while letting the others collect dust and you know what the worst part is? Catrice is coming out with two more foundations that I really want to try. Why on earth would I want that? I have three foundations that I really love, two of them I will repurchase once I run out. I still really like the other ones, so I will use those up and let it be.

Here is my contract with you guys: I promise to use up all of my extra foundations, those that didn’t make the cut and not to buy any new ones. Absolute Kaufstop! (I love my language sometimes, basically translated directly it would be purchase stop).

The two foundations I will repurchase are MAC Face and Body which has a sheer glowy finish for summer and good skin days and Max Factor Facefinity 3 in 1 which does everything my beloved MAC Studio Fix Fluid does with a slightly higher spf (20 vs 15) and it comes in at less then half the price. 

Next stop: Blushes, Bronzers
I have 4 bronzers and more blushes then I care to admit and the worst part, they are all similar shades -.- Absolute Kaufstop here, too (even though not going for the MAC and Marge Simpson blush really hurts) I have more blushes than I can use up in a life time, I haven’t hit pan on any of them. What rationally would be the best here is to weed out blushes that don’t perform as well, and the nth dupe of the soft coral blush in my collection. It hurts. But it is necessary. I don’t need all this, I can’t use up all this. Maybe I’ll let my friends go through the blushes maybe they want to pick one for themselves and the rest will have to go. And this time I will have to take my MAC collection into account as well. Any drugstore blush that is a dupe for a MAC blush will have to go.

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Lipsticks/glosses:
Same thing. Dupes need to go, and I can’t buy any new ones. Colors that look funny on me need to go. I need to break it down to one lipstick for any shade. I will let myself keep different finishes of the same color though,

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We can go on like this for everything; Mascara, eyeliners, eyeshadows, etc. Fact is I have to stop. No matter how much I crave something. It doesn’t make me happy longterm. It is like an addiction. When I buy something new, especially color cosmetics I am happy for about 5 minutes and then I have to feed the beast again. This cannot be healthy. It is unnecessary luxury that I should spend on keeping my body healthy because if I have learned anything, it is that good food and excercise is keeping me happy and sane, not buying more eyeshadows that I don’t wear.

Please by all means, don’t take this as me telling YOU what to do, this is me telling ME what to do! Do whatever makes you happy and if that is going shopping go for it, hell, it makes me happy. But not happy enough. I can only be truly happy when I am on top of my financial situation and right now I don’t feel balanced. This has to stop. 

And yes, this has to extend to nailpolishes, too. I made my last purchase yesterday and that has to be it. Nailpolish is my ultimate craze, but I realized that there is barely a polish that I ever wear more than once. I would love the satisfaction of using up a polish and I don’t mean top or basecoat here, those are necesseties like skincare, which are obviously excluded from the buying ban. With this I cannot promise that I will STOP completely but I will definitely buy very selectively from now on. I may go into detail on the sisterhood blog.

Also no new books except for the ones that I have on my list which are Deborah Harkness The Book of Life, Rob Thomas Veronica Mars- Mr. Kiss and Tell and Ken Follett Edge of Eternity. No new music and dvds either, I have Amazon Instant which should keep me happy and there is no new music coming out from my favorite bands.

The challenge is on as of now and indefinitely. I scheduled the first update for a month from now. The hardest part will be to stay honest with myself. I will make a list of all unnecessary purchases aka The List of Shame and we will go through it in a month. Bear with me if you like. Again I don’t mean to go judgemental or preachy on you all, this is my journey but sharing with you helps me to stick with it.

There may be more ‘organizing my life’ posts going up soon. I am going deep into my thesis now and I need to stay organized and focused, planning like this helps me a lot.

Sunday Round Up #29 With A Side of Up Close and Personal

This was about the hardest week I had to endure in a long time.
I hate it when things are out of my control and I have to have faith in other people. This week I had to trust people to get the documents for my Master application ready and of course there was a shitload of drama involved. I’m not going to go into detail because it’s pretty pointless, suffice it to say that I got everything I needed but I had to put up big fight. If someone tries to tell you Germany is organized and punctual and shit; No we are not, especially not the authorities. Absolute disgrace for a reasonably developed country, just saying.

Either way I survived. And a lot better than I thought I would. I managed to stay positive throughout the whole week. I did have a panic moment on thursday (because of course everything accumulated on friday), but I did something about it by writing an e-mail and making a plan how I would tackle friday. Staying organized always helps me. It was a brief moment and didn’t  paralyze me for long like it used to. I managed to find ways to treat myself right and take the edge off the pressure. Working out helped but I have to say when the stress hit me hardest I skipped two days because I just didn’t have the time or the energy to do it. I allowed myself yolo food, stressfree reading, a wee bit of shopping and some light weight tv-watching (more on that further down). The insomnia didn’t hit me all that hard. I fell asleep relatively easily throughout the week. It may have helped that I worked 4 out of five days. Long story short, I found a way to treat myself right without completely falling apart and over-compensating. I drew a lot of strength from little happy things like my colleague saving me a chips container to put away so I had something ‘easy’ to do after the mildly annoying drugstore container I had to put away, my boss complaining about the drugstore aisle but being stopped short when my other boss told him it couldn’t have been a recent mess up because little old me worked the drugstore aisle this week. You know, the little stuff. And looking forward to hanging out with my bestie on saturday really helped.

So here’s to a mini Sunday Round Up:

Make up-wise my skin was finally healthy enough again for me to go back to MAC Face&Body. I had major hormonal break outs and cystic acne induced by the Nivea Protect and Bronze face cream that I talked about earlier, not gonna wear that again then. Instead I went back to my trusted Diadermine Lift+SPF cream, in fact I had to buy a new pot this week. I just love that stuff. BTW my face still tans despite the SPF 30 but it doesn’t burn.
I also got my first Real Techniques brushes, as they were sold at my local TK Maxx. I got the travel essentials set with the essential foundation, domed shadow and multitask brush. I have used them all already and they are SO good. Even the essential foundation even though I am usually not a fan of flat foundation brushes. I think I won’t use it for foundation but for concealer and eye primer. The domed shadow brush is denser than any brush I own and I am still playing with it, but I really like it so far.

Media-wise I finished City of Lost Souls yesterday and yep, I still like it. The book got me safely through the week. It is not particularly deep or demanding and therefore a really nice companion for a stressed mind like mine. I am currently reading J.R.Ward’s Lover Mine part one (book 8 in the series). I accidentally started to read that before reading book 7 and I didn’t even notice. So much for the quality of that series. It is rather entertaining though and I’ve gotten that far so I might just continue reading.
I marathoned Mistresses and really liked it. It is a show with Alyssa Milano whom I really like, lovely Lost lady Yunjin Kim and a dear old friend, Brett Tucker aka Dave Brewer of McLeod’s Daughters fame. The cast is great in this show, the storylines are somewhat predictable but still entertaining. To be honest for me it is really the cast and characters that make the show not so much the storylines. Other than that I started Suits last night and it may grow on me.+
Music-wise I am really in love with my black album by Metallica. The older I get the more I fall for Metallica, especially the old stuff is great.

Anything else? I think that was it.

I hope your week was not as stressful as mine and let’s hope I can finally manage to get a new rhythm to my days and get stuff figured out. Everything is moving at the moment and I have a little trouble to get a routine down, and we all know, not having routines makes me antsy. On thursday I have another appointment with my professor about the thesis and they are usually really inspiring and motivating.
Let’s all go into this new week with a positive attitude, don’t let anything strike you down, we got this!

Read you soon!

(Oh, I will add a pic later so that it’s not such a dry read.)

[Up Close and Personal] My Experience with the Blogilates Beginners Calendar

I’ve been thinking a while about posting this, because I didn’t know if I would actually be able to pull through, but I did and here we are.

About five or six weeks ago I realized I had to do a little more than just change my diet (which I am struggling with occasionally) and do something to strengthen my body. Being healthy is good, being strong and healthy is better.
I knew right away that the gym, etc. were no options because I simply don’t have the time to travel a lot at the moment. And frankly I don’t want to share my hot and flustered, tomato-red self  with the public while attempting (and probably failing) to force my body  into all sorts of contortions.
I had heard about blogilates before and I thought I would just start there and give her Total Body Work Out for Beginners a whirl. Pilates works with your own bodyweight which means all you need is a mat, sometimes a strap, dumbells or a pressure ring but Cassey usually gives alternatives for that. Pilates aimes at strengthening the core and the whole body.
And so I did. Let’s just say my first round of doing it was miserable as expected, but there were also some things I was not too bad at, so I decided to do this work out every day for the next couple of days.
The first time I realized I got stronger was on the third day when I was able to hold the pilates stance longer than before, by the way my muscles felt a little tight but I wasn’t hurting all that much (that being said, I have a heightened tolerance for pain, so you may wanna take this with grain of salt). So I did this for about five days a week, two weeks in a row and then I got bored.

I knew, though, that I liked Cassey’s personality. Cassey Ho invented POP Pilates and started the blogilates youtube channel. She is a certified Pilates instructor and personal trainer and it feels like she knows what she is doing. She is a very happy, positive girl, and while she is able to push me to hold on a little longer or do one more rep than I feel I can do, she also gives a lot of modifications for beginners even in her regular work outs, she never makes me feel like a failure.

Either way, I found out that Cassey had put together a beginners work out calendar that would stretch over four weeks and I went for it. The beginners calendar has work outs for six days of the week (the sixth day is a lot of stretching, though) the seventh day is a rest day, 2 to 3 days of the week have cardio blasts, the rest are pure pilates work outs. The work outs are usually a total of 30 to 40ish minutes per day and Cassey has the playlists on her page blogilates.com.

In the Beginners Calendar Cassey manages to show different varieties of Pilates, (e.g. stretching with a strap *yowza) but she also repeats certain work outs which helped me at least to see my progress. The work outs get gradually harder every week and every day but I never found them too hard or impossible to do.
Every day of the week has a specific focus like lower body, abs, total body, etc. All in all I found that all of my muscle groups were targeted evenly .

So how did the Beginners Calendar work out for me?
Welp, I didn’t miss a single day, that pretty much says it all. I found it really easy to incorporate the work outs into my days. I usually work out at night before I go to bed. I like getting my heart rate up and the sweat running before I go down to sleep. I had a little progress every single day and in the end I guess that is what kept me going.
I never did this to lose weight, all I wanted was to get stronger and I succeeded with that. On sunday I wrote I didn’t know whether my body has changed all that much over the last 5 or 6 weeks of working out but it has, very subtly maybe but it has. My arms are more defined than they were, my quads, abs and obliques (thighs, stomach, sides) are much tighter and stronger. It is less visible for others than perceptible for me. So much for the physical benefits.
Another important reason for me to start working out was to benefit my mental health. Mens sana in corpore sano. A healthy mind lives in a healthy body. I knew from the start that this would be one of the most demanding years of my life and that I would need to stay healthy  physically and mentally to survive this and for me a big key to stay healthy physically is to stay healthy mentally.

Did the Beginners Calendar benefit my mental health?
I think it did. I’m going through a lot of anxiety at the moment. I am currently trying to get my shit together to apply for my master program, while writing my thesis, while working my regular classes and trying to keep my job under control. I am not complaining. All I am saying it is a lot and I need to stay strong and I need to stay focused. I know I can do it. I know I will do it but I need to fight for this. And I am ready to put in this fight.
Before I started working out my body was this vessel that I was logging around with me, I didn’t have a good if at all a relationship with my body, this has changed fundamentally. During the work outs I became a team with my body as weird as that sounds. I felt my body respond to my wishes and kind of help me out, setting free more energy than I thought I had, bending quite literally to my will. The most important thing I take away from the last weeks is that I fell in love with my body. It is not the prettiest or the most perfect but it is my body. My lovely powerful miracle of a  body.
Short term the work outs do take the edge off of the anxiety at least for a while. While I work out I get distracted and I relax, it is like a little oasis in my day.

So you finished the Beginners Calendar, what now?
I took the plunge and  moved on to the regular work out calendar that Cassey posts every month. Yes, it is harder then the beginners calendar, but during the beginners calendar you learn a lot of modifications, and I just use those. I do as many videos as I can but I don’t get upset when I have no energy to do all five and just do four. The regular work outs are between 45 and 60 minutes. I take on the challenge every single day and it feels good. The regular calendar makes me sore but hey, sore today -strong tomorrow. Regular calendars go for 7 days a week but I may keep sunday as my rest day we’ll see. I find it increasingly hard NOT to work out. I read somewhere it becomes something like brushing your teeth. I may be on my way there.

Over 1300 words on working out. Didn’t see that coming. I hope this helped some of you.

Sunday Round Up #19: Mini ‘Up Close and Personal’

Hey guys,

unfortunatly I will have to integrate some Up Close and Personal in this Sunday Round Up because the realization that I am going through stuff (again -.- ) is overshadowing everything right now. I tried to ignore it for weeks, I just pushed on, thinking that if I pretend it’s not there it will just go away. Today or actually last night, I reached the point where I just couldn’t overlook it anymore. I think it’s some sort of depression/anxiety combination, because actually I don’t feel completely numb and broken like I normally do when I’m under, this time it’s more as if someone has been sucking all the energy out of me. I am constantly stressed, I sleep in weird patterns, I am heartily exhausted, especially of myself. I overthink everything, I keep on falling short of the expectations that I have of myself as a human being. You know I am not fishing for sympathy or compliments here, that is not how UpCloseAndPersonal works. I am merely showing you where I’m at at the moment and where I want to go.

So, at the moment I feel like I am not a good friend at all. I am self-involved, easily distracted and unable to show feelings properly. Like how grateful I am for the friends that I have, and how wonderful people they are.
I know that this will blow over, that I will get a grip on myself and be a better person again, but right now 9:05pm in Germany I am down, I am exhausted and I don’t like myself.

I built myself a cocoon today, cranked up the heating, hid in bed (2 duvets, 2 sheepskins, roughly 10 pillows) and watched silly rom-coms ( I Give It a Year: pretty decent; The Sweetest Thing: complete shit, no nicer way to put it). I haven’t done this out of sheer need for a while. Actually I haven’t done that ever since I returned from Bayreuth. Not like that. I am not desperate or hurting, like I said, I am just exhausted and I feel like my caffeine overdose earlier this week ties in with that. Apparently I operated under the assumption that when I just cram enough caffeine into my body I will feel better. Nope. Just gives me headache, nausea and severe dehydration.

Where to go from here? Accepting that something is wrong is the first step, I think. This coming week is going to be stressful. I am catholic and this is the week leading up to Easter. As stressful as this week is I normally love it. I love Palm Sunday with its celebration but also the first shadows of what is to come on Good Friday, I love Maundy Thursday, where my whole parish gets together after mass to have a meal and then Good Friday. There is something so bleak and miserable about this day, no organ, no flowers and the crosses are covered up and for a little over 24 hrs the world seems to come to a standstill. My family fasts this day, so no meat, no jam, no candy basically just butter and bread and some fish for lunch, and one heck of a lot of easter preparations. On saturday then the Easter Night celebrations, my favorite part: Arriving at a completely dark church, then bringing in the Easter fire from the yard in a procession and then the church is slowly lit by candles, no artificial light until the big Gloria where all the bells are rung. And after mass more eating and drinking with the whole parish. Man, I love this week 🙂

Either way I’ll try to cut myself some slack, I won’t put too much pressure on myself, one step at a time and be them baby steps. And I will try to do things that are good for me. Catch some sun, rest, eat right, drink enough and re-focus. I guess I’ll try to just survive. I have the week after Easter off, that should help me to get better.

If you got this far and you are interested to get into the normal Sunday Round Up stuff let’s do that.

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1. Make Up Shizz
I don’t like my make up at the moment. It is never quite like I want it to be and even though my skin is as clear and as healthy as it will probably ever be, I feel like no matter what foundation I wear, it is blotchy and weird and don’t get me started on my eye make up. I’m still trying to find a way to make it all work. I am currently wearing my Catrice All Matt Plus again. It is slightly too dark at the moment but it’s not too bad. I actually started to apply this with my fingers (yep, weirded me out, too). I’m still no fan of getting make up all over my fingers but, the outcome is actually nicer and the coverage is better than with a brush (whysoever).
On my desperate search for a blush that was not too in your face, didn’t piss me off and was no bronzer I dug out my MAC The Perfect Cheek. It is probably the nudest most natural blush color there is. It saves me from looking like a ghost without making me look like a clown.

2.Media Shizz
Music-wise I am still listening to the new Delain and Subway to Sally albums and Epica has actually released a new song from their upcoming album which is called Unchain Utopia and it is just about as awesome as Essence of Silence. If all the songs on The Quantum Enigma are like this we have found ourselves a new all-time favorite album. And as per usual the lyrics are brilliant!
I have been catching up on Hart of Dixie, which is a testament to the state I am in at the moment and I am about to start season 4 of Friday Night Lights. Both are total pick-me-up shows for me (borrowed that expression from Snowhoney and find that it is perfect).
Book-wise I am about to finish Dark Secrets by Hjorth&Rosenfeldt and I have the second one in the Sebastian Bergman- series sitting here. So far it is a good solid murder mystery but not spectecularly awesome (Man, A Song of Ice and Fire has ruined me -.- or at least set the bar ridiculously high for what a good book is).

Other than that there was not much going on this week other than that I have worked five days (which also didn’t help much with my exhaustion)

Up Close and Personal: Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014

Oh you guys. This was supposed to be a very perky, happy, let’s all embrace 2014 and make it the best year we ever had-kinda post and now I am so sad.

One of the biggest blows of 2013 came right at the end of it. I’m getting a new boss at work, which obviously means I am losing the old one. To me that is a bit of a tragedy because my boss was one of the people who believed in me and watched out for me, supported me (quietly) when nobody else did. In a way he was my rock and now this rock is gone. His company is moving him to a new spot (where he says he doesn’t want to go), but the way it all went down makes it even more painful than it already is. I won’t go into more detail here, but I am very heartbroken right now. I know I will feel slightly better tomorrow but for now I am on the brink of crying when ever I think about it again. I never realized how much I relied on him protecting us, how much I took him for granted.

So yeah. Much like 2013 2014 starts with heartbreak.

Other than that 2013 was kind of okay. I had deep darkness as much as brilliant highlights. Highlights for me were taking control over my life to a much bigger level. I feel for once that I am on top of things, I sorted out a lot of stuff in 2013 that I had been running away from previously.
I started to see results in mental healing. I overcame fears that I had had for a long time and I relished it. Overcoming fears is one of my favorite things ever, because afterwards I feel like I am on top of the world 🙂
I am stronger now. Unforeseen obstacles don’t throw me for a loop anymore, I don’t panic as easily as I used to.
I learned to cry again. This is another sign that I am overcoming my depression. For years I simply wasn’t able to cry and when I did it was because I was f*cking furious and/or felt helpless. I can cry now because I am sad. After years of being dead inside. I am slowly, gradually learning to feel again.

The darkness in my life were anxiety, loss, pain and depression, anger, disdain and fury.

2014 will be an important year. I will graduate from college in the summer and move on to do my masters degree in the fall. This year I want to change my diet, live more healthily: mens sana in corpore sano. I will need all my strength and focus to achieve my degree without completely losing my mind, pushing everything off to the last minute and panicking in the end.
I want to be more proactive, stay on top of things. I want to move on to a job in my field in the fall.

I know there will be set backs, a lot of them, there will be more anger and tears, there will be panic and there will be insomnia and depression. I will take life one day at a time, though. I will let myself feel, allow myself time to grieve and heal.

Thank you, all of you that have been reading and supporting my Up Close and Personal-posts. I know they come kind of irregularly but I only want to post when I have something to say, I hope you are okay with that. I would love it if you came along in 2014 and joined me in my journey of getting a little better every day.

What are your goals for 2014? What do you take away from 2013?