Making New Friends as an Adult

Recently, I️ was listening to a podcast episode from This American Life on making new friends as an adult. I’ve been thinking about this topic for a long time because I’m currently low on new friends, so I really connected with what they were talking about. They were discussing how making new adult friendships is a lot like dating, and it was so relevant and striking to me that I️ wanted to share my thoughts as well. I’ll link the podcast, so you can listen for yourself. By the way, if you don’t listen to podcasts, you really should. There’s literally something for everybody, and I️ can’t survive the car ride to work without them. Full Episode- The Perils of Intimacy | Segment- “Why Can’t We Be Friends?”

So let’s talk about why this even matters to me at the moment, besides the fact that everybody needs friends. I’ve been married and living in a new town for about two and a half years, and I️ can count the number of friends I’ve made on one hand. I️ don’t think I️ even need all the fingers. Don’t get me wrong, since moving to where I️ live now I️ have met so many great people. There are a lot that I️ consider to be friends, but there aren’t many that I’ve been able to make that weirdly hard transition from I️ really like you to let’s actually hangout in our free time. The kind of friends I️’m talking about here are real, not just because of work, hang out on the weekend, talk about our problems-friends. The kind of friends that you make in high school and college…easily by the way.

Weirdly, now that I’m “grown” I️ sort of forgot how to make a friend. I️ think it comes so easily when we’re in school that it never occurs to us that one day we’ll have to do it differently. When you’re in high school and college, you’re surrounded by new people who are either all new or have all been there for years, so you have a ready made pool of options. No real work required. So, what do I do now that I️ don’t really now how to put in the work?

Your high school friendships just sort of naturally happen. You spend every day together, so circumstance allows you to put in the time friendships require. In college, everybody is looking for friends, so there’s not really any work that you have to put into finding your people. But what happens when you grow up and move to a town where you don’t know anybody? People are already established, of varying ages, and, especially in a small town, already have lifetime friends. No one needs new friends but you. Or, at least, no one is actively looking for new friends but you.

Why is it so hard to make new friends?

Back to the podcast for a second, the thing that struck me in the episode was how exactly right they were about the awkwardness of “friend dating”. Think about it. You’re always looking for potential friends everywhere you go– the grocery store, the gym, the bank, wherever. You see someone who looks like your type of friend, and you think I️ bet she/he’s cool. Ok, great. Now, tell me what the heck you do from there? I️ can tell you, probably nothing because hello what an awkward conversation that would be. “Hi, I️ noticed that you look like my type of friend. Would you be interested in texting and hanging out on a regular basis?” Cringe.

So, what do I️ do?

I’d like to pretend like I️ have all the answers here, but I’ve already told you the unimpressive numbers on my new friend list. However, I️ do think there are things we can do to make this an easier process for us. Consider trying these things and trying them along with me. I️ know that I️ have to put some of these into practice because all I’ve been doing is complaining about not having many new friends. I️ guess I️ expected the friend fairy to rain awesome people out of the sky like she used to, but, alas, the witch is no where to be found.

Join a Club

Every town, no matter how small, has some form of club or volunteer organization you can get involved with. I️ think the number one trick to getting friends is surrounding yourself with people, right? So, it has to be all about finding those people. For me, this feels weirdly out of my comfort zone. In high school and college, I️ was in just about every club and organization available. Why is it so different as an adult? Somehow, the fear of acceptance, for me anyway, gets worse rather than better. I’m a much more self-assured confident person than my high school or college self, but I’m more hesitant of how other adults might perceive me. What if you join a club and they think you’re a nutcase, and now you have to raise your children in a town where everyone thinks you’re a nutcase forever? Yikes.

Never fear, I️ don’t really think that would be the case. At least I️ hope not. Putting yourself out there despite the fear has to reap positive consequences, so I think it’s worth a shot.

Join a Gym

Working out can be a very solitary activity. Sometimes, I️ really like that it’s that way. However, it is nice to have a workout partner or to be part of a class. Again, by joining a gym you’re surrounding yourself with people. I mean the more people you see the higher your chances are, right? There will be a few people who go at the same time as you every day and eventually you can work up the nerve to start that initial conversation with one or all of them. In my experience, a lot of women like having work out partners, so people are open to sharing ideas, workout routines, and planning workouts together. Most people want to have an accountability partner for the gym, and that’s a wide open door for a beautiful friendship.

Seek Out Friends Through Connections

You know how when you’re dating you’re kind of a part time stalker? Don’t pretend like you don’t. You look up your love interest on social media, plus check out their friends, who they interact with, who they’re tagged with, etc. Mild stalker behavior, but socially acceptable. It’s the same principle with friends. You might actually need to be a bit stalkerish…in a non-threatening, non-creepy way of course. Smh.

You’re going to meet great people wherever you are, and one of these people might turn into a true friend. Great! That’s friend list plus one. Assuming your new friend is not also a new girl in town, they’re going to have a list of friends you can stalk and steal from! Side note: I️ don’t make a habit of encouraging such wacky behavior, but all’s fair in love and friendship. Also side note: by stalk I️ mean casually look through social media profiles to find people with like interests who are connected to your friend. Once you start doing this, you’re building a circle. Everyone knows friends come better in circles.

Get Over Yourself

This is my favorite one, and the one I️ need to work on the most. Making new friends is hard, but it really would be so easy if I️ could just chill out. If I could stop focusing on myself so much, I️ might actually find time to get to know someone. So many times what stops me from reaching out is a weird fear that no one else wants a friend but me. I️ tend to think that everybody already has their people, and I’m somehow intruding by pursuing a potential friendship. But, I’m sure no one would find it intrusive to initiate a genuine friendship. They will, however, find you to be an oddball if you just start running up to the random people on the street and asking them out on a friend date. I️ haven’t resorted to that yet, but you never know. I may eventually get desperate.

script quote- good things take time

 

I can’t help but wonder, in a world where everyone has 500+ facebook friends, how did it get so hard to make real ones? Oh yeah, maybe because we have 500 virtual ones. It’s suddenly normal to be internet friends without having a real life relationship. The intimacy of a face to face relationship is gone. And when we don’t know anyone to befriend on social media, we have to establish that intimacy through initiating personal contact. See why it’s so hard?

By the way, I️ still have wonderful relationships with my high school and college friends. I️ love them dearly, and I️ see them fairly often. But, they just don’t live in my new town, and everybody needs a few lunch buddies.

Let me know in the comments how you’ve found new friends, and help me out! Also, check out my previous blog posts on marriage and beauty. And please like this post and share on social media if you’re feeling friendly!

Marriage Advice: Having A Servant’s Heart

 

Have you ever thought about what makes your marriage work when it’s working good? Like really good. Those times when everything is clicking and you and your partner are truly happy and in sync. I already know that love is the main thing that makes it work, but I’m talking about on a smaller level. Recently, I’ve been wondering what changes on the days when everything just gets on my nerves, or everything just gets on his nerves. Thankfully, those days are usually few and far between, but who wants to ever have those days, amiright? One of the things that hit me was that I actually change. My personal attitude shifts, and it shifts a lot because, hey, I’m human.

Recently, I’ve tried to be more aware of those shifts and see what the constant was on the good days and the best days. I realized that there were several constants, and that really these should be my personal rules to a happy marriage because I’ve proven to myself that they work. Consider these “rules” marriage advice from someone who doesn’t claim to know much about marriage, but does have a happy one and hopes you do too. The first piece of marriage advice that I want to share is to try and have a servant’s heart.

What is a servant’s heart?

Growing up in the South, I’ve heard this expression most of my life, but I never really thought much about what it means. Having a servant’s heart is when you put another person’s needs and wants over your own. It requires a humble heart and a giving spirit. You, simply, aim to serve another person. By no means am I talking about degrading yourself or allowing someone else to do that. Rather, consider the strength of character and kindness it takes to focus less on your pleasure and comfort and more so on another’s.

gold love script on a pink background. Marriage advice leahelizabethblogs

How does this apply to my marriage?

I’m sure this answer is obvious. When we bind our lives to another’s, we have a responsibility to preserve and care for that person’s happiness. Sometimes that’s really easy. Sometimes, it take a little more concentrated effort. Let’s talk about practical ways to try out this marriage advice/servant heart thing.

1. Take care of your responsibilities with no whining.

This one gets SO HARD for me. I work a full time job as a teacher, and sometimes the dishes are just too dang much after dealing with the perils of the classroom all day. I can spend a good fifteen minutes whining to my husband about dishes and the laundry and the yada yada yada. Then, since I’ve been whining so much about the dishes and such, I secretly hope that my husband will take it upon himself to do them for me. And sometimes he does, but when he doesn’t… flames of fury. All of a sudden I’m even more mad about the dishes than I was before. Twisted, right?

If I would choose to just do the stupid dishes without complaining I probably would have a more pleasant evening. And I also wouldn’t be stewing for no reason.  Better yet, what if I chose to do those dishes with a good attitude? Does that sentence make anyone else laugh? Seriously though, what would it take to just focus on how doing that one task happily will positively affect your relationship. When we don’t work with favors or expectations of praise in mind, we don’t get disappointed when they don’t happen. Try instead to focus on how what you’re doing is making life a little more pleasant for the person you love most.

2. Do some unsolicited favors.

I’ve found that this one goes a long way in my personal happiness as much as my husband’s. When I do something for him that he didn’t ask me to, I actually feel good about myself. I have a sense of satisfaction that’s like, hey, I’m actually pretty good at this wife thing. What’s something that your husband hates doing? Taking out the trash? Dropping off dry cleaning? Maybe you could find time to do one of those things for him as a small surprise. I’ve never done a favor like that for my husband and NOT received a sweet text or call or even a favor in return.

3. Try to think a few steps ahead.

If you know your husband has something important coming up like a big project at work or a cool opportunity, try to think ahead of ways that you can help. You may not know a thing about the intricacies of what he has going on. No problem. Because you do know that the printer is going to need lots of paper to print those sheets of legal documents or spreadsheets of figures. That’s where you come in! How about making a trip to the store and buying enough paper and ink to keep the stuff spitting out of the printer? Your husband never has to stop, and you just prevented a potential annoyance. Yay, you! He may never think twice about it, but we know you did it. And we are dancing with you.

 4. Try to view things with a positive attitude.

I think this is one of the greatest acts of service we can do for our spouses. Actually, even for ourselves. Who wants to come home every day to a negative attitude? No hands? Didn’t think so. When we try to be positive, it creates good energy in our hearts and homes. It’s really hard to do sometimes, but give it your best effort.

We don’t always get the best news or have the best day. Sometimes, we don’t even like hearing about someone else’s bad day. But try to be the positive spin on the things that come up in your household. If your husband has had the worst day, or is just feeling negative like we all do from time to time, show him the positive that he’s overlooking. He may not want to hear it, but I guarantee you it makes an impact. Think about it in the reverse. You getting annoyed by his negativity or adding negativity multiplies the negativity. Writing that word that many times is depressing much less living out that scenario. When you bring the positive outlook, you’ve challenged your husband to change his attitude and served him on the sly. Nice.

 

Let’s get real…

Are these things possible 24/7? Well gosh, no. I can’t say it enough. We are human, and we are flawed. I’ve probably messed them all up in the last 5 minutes. But, can I try to put at least one of these tips into practice at least some of the time? Of course I can, and so can you because you’re awesome. Try them out or at least think about this perspective and see if it makes a difference.

Comment below and let me know what you think, or if you try it out. Also, share with your friends and start a conversation about what makes your marriages/relationships work when they’re at their best.

If you’re new to my blog, check out my first post and my about me page.

Best Skincare at Sephora and Ulta

Today, I want to share with you the best skincare at Sephora and Ulta. These are my absolute favorite skincare items. It can be a real challenge when you’re trying to figure out what products you need to take care of your skin. And you DO need to take care of your skin. However, there are so many choices, and it’s easy to get lost down the rabbit hole. Let’s face it, Sephora and Ulta can be totally overwhelming. You walk in to rows and rows of gorgeous products that all claim to work miracles for you and cost an arm and a leg. How is a girl supposed to decide? Shopping online isn’t much better. In fact, it just makes it easier to spend too long scrolling on your phone through all the products. That’s where I come in. I do spend countless hours in the stores, online, and on youtube filtering through the madness, and these are my tried and true recommendations. Hopefully, this list can save you some headache, time, and money!

I’ve grouped the products in the order you might use them in your skincare routine and links are provided in each description!

1. Philosophy- Purity Made Simple Cleanser

This might be my favorite product out of all of them. You might be surprised how much a good cleanser will do for your skin. If you want a gentle cleanser that takes off all the dirt and makeup and leaves your skin soft, then this is the one for you. I use this cleanser at night after a makeup wipe to get rid of my excess makeup. After I’ve lathered, I can rub this cleanser all over my eyes to remove mascara traces and it does not sting or burn. Hallelujah! This is not a foamy cleanser. It actually has a texture more like a gel lotion than a typical cleanser, which I think makes it feel gentle and creamy. You can buy this cleanser in multiple sizes, but I like to go for the bigger ones. I buy the 24 oz for $44, which seems expensive, but I’ve had my bottle for over a year and still have well over 1/4 of the bottle left. Honestly, I would buy the $55 32 oz with the pump if they had it at my Sephora or Ulta.

2. Boscia- Balancing Facial Tonic

I hate toner. There’s something about searching for a cotton round, pouring out the liquid, and applying it to my face that irritates me. Weird, I know, but true. Tah-dah! Solution found. This is a toner that you can mist all over your face. It feels amazing, and no cotton rounds needed. I spritz this on my face after my cleanser. The Boscia tonic is supposed to help hydrate your skin while it purifies according to its Sephora product description, and I think it definitely does that. If your skin tends to feel a bit tight after cleansing, this is a refreshing boost that will help out with that, all the while balancing your skin. Ulta, unfortunately doesn’t carry the Boscia brand. If you’re on the lookout for a non typical toner like me, this one’s for you.

3. Drunk Elephant- T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum

Let me just say, this product costs a pretty penny. There’s no denying it, and it pains me to add it to the list. It pains me to buy it. I truly believe that your skincare is an investment. If you want your makeup to look good, your pictures to look good, and your skin to feel good, then you have to put some time and money into your skin. I’ve been hearing about this product for so long, but the price tag scared me away from it. 1 oz of this product will set you back $90. I know, my wallet weeps with you. Thankfully, over Christmas, Sephora had gift sets with sample sizes for $20 that I snagged to see if it was worth the hype. As much as I hate to say it, it is a game changer for my skin. If you have large pores or texture on your skin, this will work wonders for you. When I use this product, my texture is gone and my pores truly vanish. It really is that good. It’s actually a chemical exfoliator, so this would be something to add to your routine 2-3 times a week. Do you absolutely need it? No, because let’s be real, most of us (including me) can’t afford to spend this much money on a skincare product. However, if you have a chance to treat yo’ self or if texture and large pores are your main problems, you might want to consider this serum. By the way, Drunk Elephant is another brand sold at Sephora and not Ulta.

4. Origins- Original Skin Renewal Serum

If you don’t want to go for the Drunk Elephant serum, another great one is the Origins Skin Renewal Serum. This is the one I use regularly. This serum is aimed at helping younger skin (20’s-30’s). It targets fine lines, skin brightness, and pores. I do see a difference in all of those things when I use the serum. Actually, I use it in the morning as well as in my nightly routine. One of the best things about this serum to me is that it works as a good base for your foundation. It’s not a primer and won’t help with the longevity of your foundation, but it helps with the application. I always find that when I put this on before I get ready, my makeup goes on and looks better. It diminishes the appearance of my pores and smoothes my skin out to an even, clean slate. Ulta carries the Origins brand, but for some reason they don’t have the Original Skin line. No fear though, because you can find it here at Sephora.

5. Origins- Eye Doctor Moisture Care for Skin Around Eyes

You’re going to see Origins a few more times on this list. There is nothing that I’ve tried from them that hasn’t worked exactly like it claimed and been good for my skin. This particular product helps with tired looking, dry under eyes. It also plumps up the skin, helping with fine lines. Anything that improves my makeup is a plus, and concealer doesn’t settle into my fine lines when I am consistently using this moisturizer. Keep in mind this is to hydrate your under eyes and doesn’t have anti-aging power. But, if you need the moisture, go with this one. I’m all for an anti-aging eye cream, whatever your age, but those can be quite pricey. Besides, any moisture that you are giving your skin is helping aging and appearance. So, for now, I’m saving a few coins and sticking with this eye cream. Luckily, this is an Origins product you can snag at both Sephora and Ulta.

6. Clinique- Moisture Surge

If there’s something that makes your foundation look better than a good moisturizer, I don’t know what it is and you need to tell me. This might be my favorite product from the entire list. I fully believe in the power of a good moisturizer for your skin for so many different reasons. My grandmother used the Clinique “yellow lotion” for years as her primary skin care. She lived to be over 90 years old and she didn’t look a bit of it. The yellow lotion doesn’t work for me, unfortunately. I prefer a moisturizer to have a more gel-like consistency and find the creamier ones to be too heavy for my skin. The moisture surge is the perfect solution for me. It really feels like gel and makes your skin feel so soft and plump. Did I mention foundation glides on like a dream? I have combo skin, and it doesn’t make me produce any excess oils during the day either. Do yourself a favor and go grab it here. You can find the 72 hour and Intense formulas at Ulta, but I’v only tried the intense and like the original better. And, I know this is a Sephora/Ulta post, but you could also buy this product from your nearest Clinque counter when they’re having a gift event!

7. Belif- The True Cream Aqua Bomb

This is another one of my favorite moisturizers for the same reasons as the Clinique Moisture Surge, so I won’t go on too long about this one. It’s also a gel formula. Did I mention that I love gel formulas? This one has an added bonus. It feels cooling to the skin, which is so nice and refreshing in the mornings. I use this moisturizer at night and during the day when my skin is not overly dry. Honestly, I don’t think you need the Belif and the Clinique, so check them out and see which one speaks to you. The cooling effect of this one is hard to resist though. Be on the lookout for gift sets, so you can try more than one product from their line and get more bang for your buck. Find it here.

8. Origins- High Potency Night-A-Mins

If you have dry skin, I think you’ll love this moisturizer. As you can see by the name, it’s specifically a night time cream. Unlike, the previous moisturizers on the list, this one is a thick, buttery consistency and not a gel. I know, shocking. It’s not at all greasy, which makes me forgive it for not being a gel. I find that when I use this moisturizer my skin is not only plump and supple, but it’s also smooth and radiant. Something about this product also helps with my texture and uneven tone, which I didn’t expect from a moisturizer, but happily accepted! I especially love this product for the colder, drier months. This is one of the Origins products that you can find at both Sephora and Ulta.

9. Origins- Original Skin Retexturizing Mask with Rose Clay

I wasn’t kidding earlier, I love Origins skin care. I’ve never been one to mask, but I can’t stay away from this one. It’s from the same line –Original Skin– as the serum I recommended earlier in the list. The mask is all about getting your skin back to its youthful origins… See what I did there. Be prepared to look insane and take jokes from your husbands, boyfriends, roommates, etc. The mask is a thick, pink cream that dries to a thick, pink hard mask that basically will freeze your expressionless face. Trust me though, the jokes are worth the results. My skin is so smooth and soft after this mask. If you’re feeling like your skin is not looking its best, try this mask out and see the difference it will make for you. It’s from their Original Skin line, so it’s at Sephora only.

If you have made it to the end of this list, you have my undying gratitude and mad respect. Thank you for reading about the best skincare products at Sephora and Ulta (in my humble opinion), and I hope that these recommendations work for you like they have for me! You can, of course find these products from their brand websites. But, I figured that it might be easier to shop online or in store at Sephora and Ulta. Feel free to share this post and have a spa day with your friends and your new products! Comment below and let me know if you’ve tried these products, if they work for you, or share your recommendations with me!

The Beginning

First of all, I am so excited to start this blog. I have been wanting to blog for such a long time, but for one reason or another (excuses), I’ve never done it. Correction: I have sort of done it. My blog lasted all of one day and one post four years ago, and I don’t even remember what the name of it was or what I thought I was going to be writing about. All my life I’ve been a writer. When I was younger I always kept a journal. I sometimes wrote poetry, a 13 year old’s hilarious version of poetry, but mostly I just tried to make sense of the world around me. I have always kept that interest in writing. I even have two degrees in reading and writing. Eventually though I had to grow up, and I stopped writing. When you become part of the world and you have to figure out a career, it gets hard to take time for yourself and the things you love doing. But I AM DOING IT. I apologize if the capitals were very shouty, but your girl is excited.

When you start a blog, the thing that every website and every person tells you is to find one super specific thing to write about and stay in your lane. I have too many things I like to talk about and think about to pick just one. So, I hope you don’t mind if we talk about a lot of stuff here. For example, I love makeup. Seriously, I love it. I have way too much, and I want more. I also love my husband, and my dogs, and my family, and traveling, and Netflix, and my friends, and you get the point. We’re going to call this a “lifestyle blog” so I can just write about all of it. Pretty clever, if you ask me.

Sometimes I like to pretend I’m a deep thinker, and sometimes I think I’m really funny. I’m probably neither. You be the judge. I need somewhere to write and here it is. I want to share with you, and I want you to share with me. Maybe together we can make sense of the world. Or maybe we can figure out the best eye shadow pallet of 2018. I’m game for either.