Mental Health Books and Practices that Rock

   I couldn’t let May go by without saying something about mental health, not when it has been such a critical thing in my life.  The past year and a half I actually took off of school so I could learn more about my brain’s ways.   In that time I read a few books, and in reading them, I feel more in control.  Now that I’m back in school doesn’t mean I’m done learning though, it’s going to be a lifetime of learning and keeping my health in check.  As my contribution to this wonderful month of awareness, I’m sharing my thoughts on some books I’ve read and some things that help me on a daily basis that could help you feel more in control of your life too.

There are affiliate links in this post, which means that if you purchase anything through these links I’ll receive commission, which helps keep this site running.

ADHD According to Zoë: The Real Deal on Relationships, Finding Your Focus, and Finding Your Keys

This is the first book I read on mental health.  Zoë Kessler is an ADHD journalist and blogger who was diagnosed in her adult years.  In her book, at the beginning of each chapter she tells a story of an experience she has had.  She then ties it in with research and how it relates to her disorder in an entertaining way.  I enjoyed her book for her relatable stories, how she writes like she’s talking to a friend, and as a nice introduction into the ADHD world.  However, her book was more stories then facts so other resources are necessary to have a total understanding of navigating life with ADHD.

The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help

So I’ve talked about this book before in this post, and maybe it’s not technically a mental health book but this book opened my eyes.  I have the worst worst worst trouble with asking people for anything.  With a little help from this book and my unashamed partner, It’s been a lot easier to ask people things.  Sometimes you can’t just rely on yourself and Google, and you have to turn to people who will and want to help you, especially if you are a creative.  In her book, Amanda Palmer shares her own life experiences with asking for help, which include having the highest crowdfunded album of all time.

Hardcore Self Help: F**k Anxiety
The name of this book perfectly sets the tone.  Robert Duff explains anxiety in about 50 pages in a way that’s entertaining and on everyone’s level.  Inside is an explanation of the types of anxiety there are, ways of treatment and a killer breathing exercise will aid you against panic attacks.

Hardcore Self Help: F**k Depression

I actually haven’t finished this book, but what I have read has helped me.  This one is a bit longer, as it needs to be, at about 120 pages.  Dr. Duff approaches the topic of depression in the same hardcore tone (in an appropriate way), and goes very in depth on the many facets of depression.  On days when I am feeling depressed and realize it, I’ll pick up this book as an attempt to not sink any deeper into it.

The Bell Jar

This book shook me up.  It was written in 1963 by Sylvia Plath, who committed suicide a month after it’s publication date.  The main character, Esther, is going through some things mentally at a time (1953) when they didn’t handle mental illness very effectively.  In her story, she begins as a prominent University student, then her mental health takes a toll on her.  This book also exposed me to the history of posture pictures, and the fact that someone somewhere has a naked picture of Hillary Clinton.

Practices that Rock/How I Keep My Health in Check:

  1. Diet and Exercise
    It’s drilled into our heads for a reason that these are good things to do, my life is so much better when I incorporate some good food and move around.  I eat what makes me feel healthy, running is the best stress relief, yoga helps connect my mind and body (love my local place and Yoga With Adriene videos), and I love taking my dog on walks.
  2. Journal
    I used to journal all the time when I was younger, and I decided to pick it up again.  I went and picked out the beautiful journal below.  When I’m in the mood, I journal.  For me, journaling is a great way for me to sort through all the thoughts going through my head.  Also, it’s a nice way just to see that I have gotten through good days, as well as bad.
  3. Meditation
    When I hear something will help me, I like to try it.  I never imagined I would ever be someone advocating for, let alone actually practicing meditation.  Meditation helps me clear my mind, focus, relieve stress, and let go.  I started out using Headspace, something I would recommend if you want to give it a go.
  4.  Talking to Someone
    It’s hard to talk to people about sometimes, but it’s so relieving afterwards, whether it’s with someone who’s going through the same thing, someone who’s a great listener, or my psychiatrist.  There is also a wonderful online community.  I haven’t tried therapy before but I’d like to, and am looking into seeing if I could at my University.
  5. Learning
    I am always going to be learning more about my mental health because it interests me, but also because it helps me stay at the top of my game.  I consume YouTube videos, books, articles, websites, blogs, and ask my doctor questions.

I am not a doctor, these are just things that help me.


I’m glad to live in a time where it’s okay to talk about sensitive topics like this one.
If you have any questions or comments you can email me or comment below : )

What has helped you?  Any books or resources you like?

Madison

DIY Death Costume for Free Comic Book Day

Last year was my first time attending Free Comic Book Day.  I quickly read my comics, and wanted more.  My partner, Ty, is really into comics and he suggested I read Death by Neil Gaiman as my first.  As you might have guessed, I loved it!  Death is a beautiful character, she’s got so much heart, is so chipper, and as she would say, is peachy keen.

When I attended Free Comic Book Day last year I dressed up as Harley Quinn, which was exciting because now I had two holidays during the year where I could dress up in costume.  After I read Death I had already decided on my costume for this year.  Here’s my take on Death (the character).

I am part of Amazon’s affiliate program, this means if you follow the links on my site and make a purchase, I’ll receive commission, which helps keep this site running.

The Outfit
Luckily, Death is a pretty basic dresser, and I have a lot of pieces she owns.  Since Death’s wardrobe consists of only black clothes, you could get away with just about any black outfit.  I found that I had every piece of one of her outfits and I chose to mask that one.  To entirely pull off Death, you need to have an Ankh, her signature piece.  Long ago, I actually made one for myself, and you can get one in my shop here.

 

Hair
Death’s hair is black, and mine is purple.  As someone who has tried every way of temporarily coloring their hair, I knew how to pull it off.  I did it by doing the hair chalk method Kandee Johnson‘s way.  This is the method I use the most to temporarily color my hair as it produces bright colors, works well on dark hair, is budget friendly, and comes out within one or two washes.  You can find the video explaining this method here.  I only did the top part of my hair, because the chalk can get on your clothes or your skin.

Makeup
For makeup, I covered my face the way I normally do, with moisturizer, powder, and blush.  Then, I put a nude color on my eyes, a nude lip liner around my lips, and put on some clear lip balm for moisture.  Next, using a liquid liner(I love my pencil liner/liquid liner pen), I tried to follow a You Tube video for doing my eye makeup, and when my line game proved sad as usual I just filled in the corners of my eye with liner.  In addition to her Ankh, Death has a signature swirl under her eye.  To create this I used a picture of her I found online and drew the swirl very carefully with liquid eyeliner, keeping in mind I was using a mirror.  For my lips, I didn’t want to buy any black lipstick so instead I put on some dark purple lipstick, dabbed some black eye shadow on, and put clear lip gloss over it.


I’ll be spending this Free Comic Book Day at my parents this year, so I’m definitely going to bring my little brother with me, and this will be his first time attending.  I’m crossing my fingers they’ll have a copy of Sandman: Volume 2 so I can continue the series.

Any other Death fans in the house?
Are you dressing up for Free Comic Book Day?
Comment below : )

☮ Madison

Independent Bookstore Day 2017

I love this time of year, there are three very special Saturdays three weekends in a row.  Last week there was Record Store Day(and Earth Day!), tomorrow is Independent Bookstore Day, and next Saturday is Free Comic Book Day.  I’ll be making my rounds at one of our local Avid Bookshops tomorrow.  Independent bookstores are wonderful because they house so much literary culture and are such a special experience to peruse.  I love our bookstore because they are an active part of the community, house secret signed copies of books, and they have handwritten notes under some books with their personal reviews.  In honor of this day, I wanted to share some books I recommend, as well as some I’ve been itching to read as of late.

This post isn’t sponsored or affiliated with any company, but I want to encourage you to support an independent bookstore tomorrow, whether in person or through a purchase online.

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? -Maria Semple


This was the book I found last year on this day.  On trips before I had noticed it, read the message of recommendation but decided it was out of my reading comfort zone.  For that reason, this time I decided to get it and I’m glad I did.  I took it along on my vacation, a cruise, not even realizing I was bringing along a book about a family that wins a vacation on a cruise to Antarctica.  The book is organized into letters, emails, and memories along with those told from the viewpoint of 15 year old Bee.  It’s in seven parts, each dedicated to telling a part of the story of the disappearance of Bee’s mother, Bernadette.  Bernadette is a different mother than those around her, and she clashes with the die hard school affiliated, structured, event organizing mom’s that operate around her.  Her past has something to do with this, and Bee hunts for any evidence to tie what happened to her in the past to what is happening to her in the present in order to find out why she disappeared the day they were supposed to leave for their much awaited and anticipated cruise.  Throughout a series of events, they find out Bernadette isn’t so different from the other mom’s after all.

The Art of Asking -Amanda Palmer


I find inspiration in other people and seeing how they accomplish their goals.  I didn’t know much about Amanda Palmer, except that she was married to Neil Gaiman and makes music, before I read this book.  I hadn’t even seen her Ted Talk which has a lot to do with the premise of her book.  She was just an intriguing person to me and my partner, Ty, had just finished reading her book and recommended I read it.  I found so much in reading her book, especially as someone who has so much trouble with asking for help.  Amanda is truly a free spirit and a gifted writer.  Her experiences have been catered by asking, dreaming, loving, hurting, and never giving up.  She has shaped a life unlike any other I’ve known and is someone I very much support and admire.

 

Ready Player One -Ernest Cline
This book is quite dear to me, it helped me to rediscover a love of reading I had forgotten.  Thank you uncles for recommending and letting me borrow.  If you have a sentimental spot for the pop culture of the eighties or love a great book about adventure and alternate realities, this is the perfect book for you.  I love the world Ernest Cline creates in Ready Player One, a virtual reality induced way of existence.  Ready Player One is the story of  Wade Watts, a boy who is not at all noteworthy, until the day when his name shows up on the top score list of a worldwide contest for the complete estate of the person who gave everyone the virtual world they exist in.  His world is turned upside down, as he now has to fight for his life and the world’s fate as he tries to win the contest.  This was one of those books I was so sad about finishing, because it was such a great read.  In March 2018 the movie comes out and I can not wait to see it.

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) –Mindy Kaling


A lover of The Mindy Project, I wanted to know more about Mindy Kaling.  Her book is so funny, I had to read aloud some parts to Ty.  It’s an easy read, and inspired me to watch the office, which she helps write, and is fantastic (just get through the first season).  Her humor and wit are similar to that you’d find on the Mindy Project, as her character is based on herself.  It was nice to figure out how she became who she is and this is a very entertaining and light read.

 

My Reading Wish List:

1. Make It Up -Marie Rayma
A week or two ago I stumbled upon an A Beautiful Mess article suggesting this book.  I’ve been wanting to make my own makeup for a while, I’ve been leading up to it by making my own body care items and collecting ingredients.  I’d love to have this book just to have a physical guide on how to make my own products, plus it seems Marie Rayma has already gone through the experimenting process.
2. The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo -Amy Schumer
I love what Amy Schumer does in the world of comedy and her movie Train Wreck is so great.  I’ve been wanting to read this book since before it came out, and still am very much interested in reading it still.
3. Silent Spring –Rachel Carson
Next month I’m taking an Environmental Studies maymester and I’ve decided to spend the month learning more about humanity’s impact on the environment as it’s something that interests me.  I’ve always wanted to read Silent Spring, so I thought it would be perfect timing and not a bad idea to have a book for reference.
4. Today Will Be Different -Maria Semple
I liked Where’d You Go Bernadette, and I want to read another piece of work Maria Semple has created.

Reading is something I’ve always enjoyed doing and benefit from every time I do.  I may not end up picking up any of these tomorrow, but I’ll get to them, besides the fun of going to Independent Bookstores is picking up something you didn’t expect to.

Be my Goodreads friend! I’m on there as Madison Kourajian.
Follow me on Instagram to see what I pick up tomorrow : )
What Independent Bookstore do you love?
Any environmental books you’d like to recommend?
Comment below!

Madison

March 2017 Income Report

Why am I sharing this information?
When I was thinking about starting to blog, I got inspired by reading other’s income reports.  An avid reader of blogs, I was curious about how people could make enough money to support themselves while they did this cool thing.  I was particularly inspired by those who shared from the very beginning so you could see they too had months at the beginning where they made next to nothing.  It takes time to see real profit, and that can be discouraging.  Most reports I see are published by full time bloggers,  and I decided I wanted to share my income reports so others can see what it looks like to make money blogging part time from the very beginning.  

Why do I blog part time?
I am a student with a retail job and I run an Etsy shop.  I love to spend time with my family and friends, travel, volunteer, move, craft, garden and engage in other hobbies.  I like blogging, and I don’t want to get burnt out on it.  Also, I want to make sure I always publish quality posts, which for the first month each post has taken 4-10 hours before I hit publish.  I like to make sure I have enough time to promote, update my posts, and take financial initiatives.  I’m always trying to limit the amount of stress in my life, so blogging part time is the most suitable option for me.

All things must begin.  In my first month of blogging I made $0.00.
Keep reading and I’ll share my secrets ; )

Income Sources:
Affiliate Programs
Amazon: $0.00

Bluehost: $0.00

Starting out, these two are great.  The application process was very easy for both.  Amazon is easy to use, I just attach a link to their site with my username embedded to any item I discuss in my post.  If anybody clicks through from my post and makes a purchase, it doesn’t have to be the item I talked about, I get a percentage of income as soon as the item is shipped.  The more items that are purchased through my link, the higher percentage I receive.  When I’ve accumulated $100,  I can receive payment.  With Bluehost, you receive $65 per referral, which means if someone purchases hosting and doesn’t cancel it during the first month you receive payment.  For this reason, you get paid three months after the initial purchase.  This is just another reason why it takes time to make money blogging.

 

 

Strategizing and Goals:

Yearly Goal: break even

Monthly Goals

Writing
This first month I wasn’t focusing too much on the financial aspects of my blog, I spent my time working on my writing.  All in all I missed one week, due to unforeseen circumstances.  This is why I want to create a backlog of posts.  I want to get to the point where all my blog posts for the next month have a framework and photographs by the time my posting day comes around.  I want to do anything that makes me less frantic when it gets closer to posting day.

1. Have a backlog of three posts
2. Post by 3 PM
3. Photograph all posts in one day

 


Social
I use Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook to promote my blog, as well as staying on top of my SEO game.  My main goal is to have real followers/friends, for this reason I’m not aiming for a specific amount of followers.  The people I admire most on social media aren’t in it for the number of followers they have.  I recently watched a live interview with Summer Tannhauser where she gave out some of her Pinterest tips during The Passive Income Summit hosted by Caressa Lenae, and I’m going to incorporate them into my posts on that platform. 

1. Increase followers on all 3 platforms
2. Optimize Pinterest posts

 

 

Financial
My main focus is on my writing, but I always want to be taking steps to progress the financial status of my blog.  As I learn more information about the world of blogging I want to continually update my Bluehost post to be more helpful.  Regularly updating posts improve SEO as well, Google likes sites that do this.  Before I approach higher paying opportunities with companies or affiliate networks I want to have a more established site with more traffic to offer these organizations.  For now, I’m going to be using networks that will work with just about anyone.  I recently got approved by Google Ads, and I’m going to be incorporating a couple of them into my site.  I don’t know how I feel about them, but I want to test it out.

1. Update Bluehost post
2. Place Google Ads

 

 

One Day : )

Some of my favorite reports:
1. The Extra Income Project
2. Just a Girl and Her Blog
3. Boho Berry

Cash Flow Diaries fantastic list of reports

Any other new bloggers in the house? Any income report recommendations? Any tips for this new blogger?

☮ Madison

Spring Style Wish List – Under $30!

I have no idea what is in style.  I am not a fashion expert (even though I’m well read* on the subject), nor do I claim to be, but it’s so much fun to put together outfits.  My closet is mostly made up of thrifted, gifted, and handed down clothing and I love it.  I am a very picky shopper and I like to collect special pieces that I can wear in a variety of ways.  One day I would like to learn how to make my own clothes, and revamp clothing like Coolirpa does, but for now you’ll find me headed straight for the clearance section.

*If you decide to get this hilarious book, I’ll receive commission  : )

Image result for laci grey swimsuit adore me
Grey Strappy Swimsuit
 It is very difficult to find swimsuits that cater to my size.  I have yet to find one that fits me well in all places and holds everything in, at least at a reasonable price.  It limits my options, but this simple swimsuit is cute but sexy, and I love the extra straps.  Additionally, the bottoms look like they will actually cover everything and are included with the top (Who decided swim pieces needed to be sold separately???).

Laura Cross Back Pinafore Dress
Pinafore Dress
This dress may resemble an apron, but I don’t care.  It would be a very versatile piece to have, and easy to accessorize with.  Bonus, I could get away with wearing it year round if I styled it right.

White Sleeveless Asymmetric Hem Flare Dress
White Asymmetrically Hemmed Dress
It terrifies me that this dress is white and I can only imagine the stains awaiting it if it ever becomes a part of my closet.  Regardless, I love the way this dress flows, and it would be super easy to style.


Detailed Harem Pants
These pants look super comfy, and comfort is the most important thing to me when I dress.  I hate wearing outfits I’m constantly adjusting, or skirts I have to pull down repeatedly.  If I’m in a dress or skirt, I will always have yoga shorts underneath it, because frolicking shouldn’t be limited by your outfit.  I don’t currently have any harem pants, and I need to get my hands on a pair of these as well as a pair of palazzo pants.

Silver Leg Chain
One day a couple of years ago, I was raiding the clearance rack and found a leg chain for $5.  Of course, I snagged it and had no idea how much I would end up wearing it.  It’s broken now, but I fixed it and made it work as long as I could, through the use of safety pins, ribbon, and my trusty glue gun.  I got compliments on it all the time, and it added a lot to my outfits.  I would love to have another one to wear out in the same manner.

Gold Hair Crown
This is just beautiful, and it would add a little extra something to any outfit.  I love how Sunaina added an elastic headband, because these things are not easy to keep on sometimes.

 

I didn’t expect to write this post today, but I had fun doing it.  Now I’m off to catch up on life, decorate my dreads, and create some things for myself and for you on Etsy.  What are you excited to wear this spring?

☮ Madison