Pink Paw Print

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Guess What I've Been Working On!

YOU GUYS!!! I'M WRITING A NOVEL!! WOOHOO! A real, long novel. To be over 200 pages, in fact! *wiggles eyebrows with excitment* ahaha! :p I'm mainly used to writing short stories so this is an exciting change of pace, I'd say! I really don't want to give away too much of the plot just yet, because things could change, depending on how the story unfolds (I've found that much of the plot in the things that I write kind of writes itself and I'm not entirely sure how it's going to end until, well, it actually does, lol!) Buuuut what I will tell you is that there's a large element of fantasy involved (not in a corny way, don't worry, but in like more of a "Pan's Labyrinth" or "Snow White" kind of way, as it takes a look at the human response to the consequences of living in perpetual fear, and how one girl runs away inside of her mind with the help of nature to cope.) Or is she a girl? Perhaps she is already a woman. There's darkness and depth and beauty and hope and pain and unconditional love and illness and truths exposed. It's haunting in a chilling way, but at the same time many elements of it are comforting and reassuring in a nurturing way that feeds into our primal need as human beings to be loved. It also toys with the question of what it truly means to be "sane." It will be uncomfortable at times, because it pokes holes into the deepest, darkest corners of the human mind -- the places where id reigns supreme over superego. But it will be liberating because of the beauty that can come from escaping self-imprisonment. I've started a few novels in the past, but never continued on with them for one reason or another... but this one, I'm having a good feeling about. ~* #g00dvibes *~ haha!!

Also, I really hope you guys aren't feelin' grumpy at me for not including a picture in this post =0 <3!!!!... I was debating whether or not to include some stock photo image, and I decided against it. Often times, there's a blog post I really wanna write, and then I do in fact write it, but it never gets published because I don't have a picture for it. Stock photos are cute and all, but there's just something about including your very own photo in a post. If it's not my own photo, I'd rather publish a post that is photo-less! Ya know what I mean?? But sometimes I'll still use stock photos. I just feel a little "crummy" doing so hahaha.

You should write a novel, too! :D Let's encourage each other! Now go on and start typing yours out on Microsoft Word -- it doesn't have to be flawless or amazing or poignant or even anywhere somewhat decent at first... just write the story that you need to tell. You know which one I'm talking about. (The theme you immediately thought of writing about from reading this, and it made your stomach burn a little with excitement at the thought.) Yeah...that one!
xoxo, Brooke

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Life Updates A'Plenty! (New posts to come, my trip to Portland, and GOING VEGAN!?!)

Ayyyyyyy! :p ahahaha, I'm really sorry it's been several days since I've posted last!!! EEEK! But I was traveling up in Maine with my mom! Maine is so beautiful. I've been reluctant to let it into my heart (lmaoooo!) because of my loyalty to Connecticut, and Old Lyme in particular, but Maine has definitely beguiled me and won me over. We're remodeling our other, non-Old Lyme house that's in Freeport, Maine so most of the trip was spent hanging out in the nearby city of Portland which is without a doubt one of my absolute favorite cities (along with Savannah <333 and Boston!) There were so many cool boutiques; I'll have to do a post to show you some of the goodies I got while there!! I also visited a farm in Freeport, though, with such amazingly sweet animals. There were mama chickens and big cows and baby ducks and lots of tiny sheep and sassy AF goats!! Which brings me to my next point...

(Btw, new posts are deffz heading your way this upcoming week, just realized I forgot to mention this, but I'll make sure to keep my editorial calendar booked for y'allz! ;) ahaha! Definitely have some cool stuff in the works, and actually one or two sponsored posts but as you guys know I only write sponsored posts for stuff I actually really love!! :D <33) BUT BUT BUT for right now, I have an exciting new announcement..... I'M VEGAN NOW!!! I finally took the plunge after been pescatarian/vegetarian for a long time! I know that I am supposed to be sticking to the Candida diet for health reasons, but it is very very restrictive and incredibly tricky to do so (I kept getting Dairy Queen <333333 even though I can't have dairy nor refined sugar...) Vegan diets can actually cause Candida if you eat nutritional yeast too much (!!!), + if you continuously eat too many carbs or sugars (read: fruits + pastas). I ~clearly~ cannot eat nutritional yeast because of the whole Candida thing, even though the yeast tends to be a part of many vegan diets, but that's okay because you don't need nutritional yeast as a vegan! *happydances all around* Once I get used to a vegan diet, ultimately taking it a step further + adhering to some of the stricter rules of the Candida diet (no gluten, no alcohol, no refined sugar to name a few!!) will be easier because I'll be used to primarily eating veggies and beans, anyway. :p

Here's actually my Facebook status from my personal Facebook account that if you know me personally (and therefore we are Facebook friends on my personal page, rather than on The Pink Lyme's FB Fan Page!) you have most likely already seen:

This has been long overdue, but I am excited to announce that after being a vegetarian/pescatarian since 2010, I am officially going vegan!!!😍💚this change is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time, but never thought I could do. But it seems every gloomy cloud does have its silver lining: due to health issues I'm not supposed to have gluten or dairy, as it is, + I'm also supposed to stick to a "low glycemic" diet (read: no refined sugars, alcohol, yeast, super carby things), so this seems like a natural next step to take. Although I have definitely slipped up ~*many a time*~ with my fave gurl Dairy Queen🍦👑 recently , ((my bad my bad~))...but this is going to end today. A plant-based diet just makes sense for me. Also, I eventually plan to switch over to all cruelty free makeup, & donate + no longer use leather goods (like designer purses, etc.) but I will be making this change gradually so I won't feel some big loss all at once! No, I do not hate you if you choose to eat animals, or anything like that, but for me, this is my own personal decision that I have made!!!! I am so excited to give back to the world + sweet innocent animal friends🐷🐮🐔🐠 in this way, and additionally make some lifestyle changes: more walking (even if I am a bookworm!!) + more dancing around my room (because Meghan Trainor's new album is just too good, okay!!!)...literally just anything to be more active, using less harsh chemicals in household products + makeup/etc., and getting more in touch with my spiritual side by doing more journal-writing + yoga-doing, things like that. For me, I personally believe a healthier life = a happier life!! Again, maybe this isn't the right choice for every single person and I don't judge. BUT! For Anyone else who wants to make a change for the better in your lifestyle, I highly recommend you go for it☺️because you CAN do it!! Just take baby steps, at first! (Don't worry, you don't have to eat tofu, I promise😂👌🏻!!)

I think it would be super cool if I do a little video about what I eat in a week as a vegan, to show you how easy it is to still eat yummy foods yet help save the animals! Whaddya think!?

Write more soon! <3
xoxo, Brooke

Monday, June 13, 2016

5 Best Asian Fusion Restaurants in Southeastern Connecticut

So, I called the list "Asian Fusion" because many of these restaurants offer multiple cuisines to their hungry patrons, such as Chinese food, Japanese/Sushi, Thai, etc.; however, please do keep in mind that some of these might only offer one type of cuisine, rather than the whole gamut! ;) ahaha! There are so many amazing restaurants that fall under this category in the area, and there are others I suggest too, but these are the classic staples in my life, lmao!!!

For amazing Hibachi at a decent price: Sushi Kawa (Groton, CT)
I get the Salmon Hibachi and the flavors, sauces and portion sizes are simply amazeballs. I'm obsessed with the veggie fried rice. You won't be disappointed.

If you're a fan of all-things teriyaki: Koto Japanese Steakhouse, Hibachi, + Sushi Bar (Groton, CT)
Try the Salmon Teriyaki Koto Box - but I'm not a fan of miso soup, so they give me an extra salad instead of the soup that comes with the Koto Box! The quality of ingredients is stellar, and the vegetable tempura is super-fab *cue sassy hand flip*! :p Just don't go for dinner because the prices get cray-cray; lunch is the way to go here!

For those who eat by the motto "Give me Thai or let me die!!!": The Spice Club (Niantic, CT)
*picture is mine! Love this avocado salad w/ carrot-ginger dressing!! :D <3
Great gluten free options here!! The Vegetable Pineapple Fried Rice (with brown rice instead of white) is usually my go-to, although the Vegetable Pad Thai is another go-to...but I almost always get migraines from the food here!? I can't figure out why necessarily, other than the high amount of carbohydrates consumed, maybe!? I'm thinking it's just my health issues, + not the food haha.

If you want to be able to buy a sandwich and french fries at the same place you get your (still hella-authentic!) Pad Thai w/ Sriracha sauce: Mindy K Deli + Catering (Old Saybrook, CT)
*my picture again!! Yummmmm :p !! <3
Holy YUM! Although it's closed at random times sometimes because of catering jobs, etc., if you get here while it's open, you've really lucked out. I really recommend the vegetable with peanut sauce wrap -- it's like a big, crunchy salad with Asian influence (or should I say "pizzaz!"), that just so happens to be in a wrap!

For those who just can't get enough of really good Chinese takeout: King's Garden (East Lyme, CT)

THE BROCCOLI IN GARLIC SAUCE THOUGHHHHHHHHHHH. Also, the vegetable fried rice is the bomb dot com. It's perfection in a big white carton. Not the biggest fan of the lo mein here though... it's a bit too "umami" for me, like it's very "earthy" flavored because of the mushrooms and tastes almost meaty, if you're into that...ahaha!

Happy eating, friends!! :D

What's your favorite Asian fusion restaurant, whether in Southeastern Connecticut or not!?
xoxo, Brooke

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Being Honest + Coming Clean

Hey you guys,

I've been really on top of my game with posting recently up until this week... Something you may not know about me, especially if you're a new reader of this blog, is that I actually have pretty extreme Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I'm really good about keeping it hidden from others and keeping it in check, but sometimes it can become very overbearing when triggered by a variety of causes. This week, on top of it all, it already t'was the ~*lady time*~ so I was feeling all of the feels from that, too. A very not great week, we can leave it at that. Even though talking about depression and anxiety has become widely accepted in mainstream culture, there are other aspects of PTSD that you never really hear about that are incredibly frightening. Only very few people know the whole of it all for me - some family members, some ex-boyfriends. So, rather than actually tell you a whole bunch of my personal first-hand account which is too emotionally overwhelming to get into details about, I'll just leave this link here so you can get some ideas of the more hidden side of Post-Traumatic Stress you might not really hear about as much. Maybe if you or someone you love experiences this as a result of previous trauma(s), it will be a comfort to know you are not the only one who deals with it. Some of the ones on this list I haven't necessarily experienced or I've actually experienced in a slightly different way, like for example the point that says recent events seems like distant past is actually the opposite for me; the distant past tends to feel eerily like recent events -- ya know, like blink your eyes and you could be back there. But these are very scary and very painful feelings to feel, such as particularly the panicky + alert yet so detached "life isn't real" feeling or sometimes you don't feel like you're a real person, because it's like you're just going through the motions instead and feel detached from yourself (which probably won't make sense to you unless you've actually experienced it, I know), even though you are obviously aware and can clearly make the distinction between reality and non-reality. Its not that, it's just that you just feel so... removed from it all. You've put up the distance and the detachment at the time the initial trauma(s) happened, yet that coping mechanism pops up sometimes even now when triggered, although it's no longer needed and certainly not wanted. I've definitely been suffering, but I've suffered before, and I've come back victorious fighting against it. It's a lot like treading water in a pool, just emotionally -- you gotta keep treading and make sure your head is above the surface, being careful not to let it fall too deep under the water and drown in what haunts you.

I definitely feel pretty embarrassed about admitting what I go through, and I'm horrified to press the "publish" button on this post  -- like literally, feeling like I have to puke right now --  but I'm publishing anyway because I don't want others who deal with it to have to feel embarrassed. Because hey, guess what - you can show up to the world, as you are, and there's no need for shame about it. You're you, whoever that may wind up to be, and that's awesome. Bad things can happen to good people. Remember that. Bad things happening to you doesn't make you bad, in any way. It doesn't pollute you. It doesn't make you unlovable, or dirty, or ruined. Bad things can happen to good people. And you're still just as good and lovable after what happens to you has happened.

I will go back to posting quite soon, whether that's tomorrow or in a few days, we'll have to wait and see, but it will be soon.

I thank you for being understanding about the lack of posts during this time. Love you guys.

xoxo, Brooke

Monday, June 6, 2016

Mindfulness Monday! (with a Surprise!!)

I'm excited to announce that from now on "Mindfulness Monday!" is going to be a 100% totally free (!) weekly email newsletter sent straight to your inbox every Monday morning, first thing (think: pretty much at the ass-crack of dawn, ahaha! :p)

This way, I can personalize it to you even more than I already do, and it rewards ~*the most loyal of readers*~ with this extra specialized personal treat that nobody can see unless they sign up for Mondays!, too. Oh yeah... so you're part of the super exclusive elite who's not only devoted to living a healthier, happier life start each Monday of the week but you get FREE!!!!! "secret" content that only subscribers get access to. Talk about living a life of bad-assery, amiright!? ;) ahaha!

I've been working with Mail Chimp to set up a list where you can enter in your email address to get the Monday email newsletter designed to help you have a positive + healthy + inspirational start to your week! :D Buuuut the thing is, it's being stubborn about getting set up because I use a Gmail email address and Mail Chimp has issues with people who use Gmail (for delivery purposes, sometimes the emails sent out may be accidentally marked as spam! :0 not good, friends, not good.)

The thing is though, I kinda sorta really need to get a list together for you to enter in your email so I actually know how to get your Mindfulness Monday! email to you!! Because you deserve it :p!! ahahah! <3 While that whole shenanigans is being worked out, I figured out another way for you to enter in your email *strokes thinking cap lovingly* lmaoo!!

Please enter your email + first name into the Survey below to sign up for Mindfulness Monday! in your inbox every Monday!
Create your own user feedback survey

So excited to have you along for the ride with me!! :D
xoxo, Brooke

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Why Summer Rainy Days Are Secretly The Best

I'm definitely one of those people who appreciate the sunshine during the summer months. There's nothing more mood-brightening than waking up with the sun shining and the birds chirping, knowing the beach and a good book is just waiting for you after you grab some breakfast! On that note, I think gray/white skies and gloomy-feeling weather is the absolute worst! If there's no rain, I feel like it might as well just be sunny out, instead of some uncomfortable in-between. It really can make my mood plummet because going outside isn't as cheery, and if you go shopping or out to eat on a day like that, everyone else seems to move pretty slowly. There's just a whole lotta lack of energy on days like that! But today, it's pouring outside. For my summer work, I took on an additional shift with my digital copy editing job at Odyssey, so I spent time today snuggled up on the couch near my dog (Pep's pretty old so he does better chillin' on one of his doggy beds rather than the couch with me!) while completing my assignment for the day.

Even though it's not sunny and happy with bright blue skies and puffy white clouds and rabbits and squirrels romping around the yard per usual ~* #SoConnecticut *~, the buckets and buckets of rain pouring down is pretty... majestic, really! I'm awed and humbled by nature and science and the beauty of the things humans cannot control. Personally, the only thing I think that could make this weather even better would be if there were a lot of thunder and maybe even some occasional lightning. Let me just say this: I FRICKIN' LOVE THUNDER. Especially summer thunderstorms. They makes me feel so incredibly cozy, and all I wanna do is grab a book and some slices of pizza with some yummy-smelling candles lit in the background in case the power goes out.

So maybe even after reading that, you're still wondering how can rainy days during the summer compare with sunny beach days (or pool days, if you're into that... but chlorine is an endocrine disruptor, so I stay away ;) !!), games played out on the lawn, hikes at state parks, or any other outdoor activity that can pretty much only best be enjoyed on sunny days? I don't know about you, but during the regular academic year I'm constantly "go-go-go!" Ya know what I mean?? When it's stormy out, you have a great excuse to just sit around and stay in. Although we live in an era and culture where more is more and less is less, and we are always encouraged and expected to always be doing something, sometimes it's nice to pull away from that world for a short bit. I am one of the hardest workers I know (but my father is undoubtedly the hardest worker I know!!), and I usually forget to actually take. a. break. for a change, and do some of the things I love the most :p!! Reading anything + everything, binge-watching "The Amazing Race" on Netflix, learning the Russian language on Duolingo (!!! Yes, I'm currently learning Russian! I'll be sure to write another post about this soon, lol!), coloring in adult coloring books while playing calming music or ASMR videos in the background...allllllll that good stuff is so perfect to do during a summer storm.

Rainy days in the summer, more specifically, allow you to partake in these things without feeling guilty about takin' it easy for a change, or about being a bit of a homebody because it's the summer so... It also conveniently prevents any guilt that you might feel if you spent a sunny day indoors, which is something that I get panicky/cranky about, haha! So this post is for some of my readers out there who love being all introverted (yes yes, I know I'm an extrovert, but I'm the most introverted of the extroverts...) and staying snuggly in pajamas for the whole day (#LUXURYYYYYY) as much as I do, and let this serve as a reminder to us that summer rainy days are actually just as awesome in many ways as the stereotypically beautiful sunny weather days!

Like many things in life, what can originally seem like a bummer (rain, wahh!) can lead you to the greatest of days, yet (intellectual stimulation or relaxation, yeahh!!!!) Ahaha! :p

Anyone else as passionate about summer thunderstorms as I am!?
xoxo, Brooke

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Feeling Moody AF Lately? It Might Be The Chemicals In Your Makeup...

You might check to see how many calories are in your morning granola bar breakfast, but do you also check the ingredients of your mascara to see if there are mood-altering chemicals in it?

I found myself having to write this post, because after experiencing this firsthand, I never want anyone else to go through this, too. In fact, if you love wearing and experimenting with makeup on a daily basis like I do, you might be going through this and just be unaware. It is important to note that the chemicals we're about to examine are more harmful in higher doses than in smaller quantities. But the saying "It's all the little things in life that matter" unfortunately also rings true in this case: if you use these products daily, or even worse don't take your makeup off before you go to bed at night (I'm so guilty of this -- sometimes I would keep my makeup on for two or even (*gulp*) three --yes, three-- days on at a time because I was too exhausted at night to take it off and because it's waterproof didn't come off in the shower and it still looked damn good :p !) the harmful chemicals add up, polluting your body.

Additionally, not all organic or "all natural" products are mood-friendly substances. This is really shocking, I know! I was like, definitely disturbed for the rest of the day after I first learned this. You'd think that anything natural or organic is 100% safe, right!? Well, this is not necessarily true. Sometimes, these products contain natural ingredients that are still "endocrine disruptors" -- how sneaky of them!! ;)

"Endocrine disruptors" are substances that cause an imbalance in the levels of the hormones you have, which is just incredibly yikes. For example, if your endocrine (aka hormone) system in your body was a metaphorical rum + coke drink, an endocrine disruptor might cause too much of the coke, and not enough of the rum! Simply put, this is because the molecules of the endocrine disruptor substance (whether "natural" or not) can mimic the shape of your hormones' molecules, so your body thinks that the substance molecules are actually your hormones :0 ! So, if a product you use frequently contains an ingredient that mimics estrogen, the "female" hormone, you can have mood swings, tenderness in the boobage region, intense headaches, and a whole bunch of other unfortunate symptoms.

Although this was a Snapchat from one night when I was stuck in traffic, this certainly applies here, too!! Ahahah :p !

These are just a few of the nasty chemicals you want to avoid in your makeup (check those labels, friends!!)...

Sodium Laurel Sulfate / Sodium Laureate Sulfate 
It can cause symptoms of depression, launch panic attacks in those with anxiety, cause irritation reactions on the skin/lungs, and give some people ~*diarrhea*~. Fun times all around, with SLS it seems!! -___-

Retinyl Palmitate 
It's supposed to be an anti-aging antioxidant, but in the presence of sunlight, it actually speeds up the development of cancerous tumors :'( !!

Parfum/Fragrance is particularly sneaky because companies have the right to keep their secret scent formula, well... secret. This means that there's no way to tell if they've snuck in some chemicals that they would otherwise get in trouble for using if they actually listed it in the ingredients individually rather than summing it up as part of this mystery "fragrance." The truth is, friends, your beloved "cherry blossom" scent is not merely created by cherries and blossoms (lmaooo!); there can be a multitude of potentially harmful chemicals to acquire a desired scent.

Dibutyl Phthalate
It is a hazardous air pollutant and disrupts the balance of your hormones. So, not only does it harm you, but it can harm other creatures that might be sharing that air with you, ya feel me!? 'Nuff said.

Propyl Paraben
This mimics estrogen, and also can be harmful for reproduction/ reproduction development! So if you wanna get preggers or already are, seriously avoid!! :/

This seriously alters estrogen levels, and can even screw up gene expression...Not cute, butylparaben, not cute!!! *furiously shakes heads with disapproval*

So now that we know this, what are some tricks and tips for those of us who still absolutely love makeup and can't bear to cut it out of our lives for good? Other than merely just avoiding those chemicals listed above, these are some practices that I've implemented into my life that seem to help me, but ~*disclaimer time*~ everyone is different, so I can't 100% promise that they will help you as well. If you find things that work for you, please do let me know!!

1. Avoid wearing makeup during your period. 
Your hormones might already be going a lil' cray-cray, so this will prevent even further mayhem to occur!
2. Always take off your makeup before going to bed, no matter how sleepy (or drunk... #SaturdayNightzz!) you are.
Get those chemicals off you, ASAP!
3. Eat a diet that is also low in endocrine-disrupting ingredients.
For example, soy sauce (!!!) is an endocrine disruptor, so be sure to go easy on it the next time you grab sushi for dinner! The more level your hormones already are, the less of an effect you might notice from the chemicals in your makeup.
4. Get more sleep. 
This takes a lot of inner strength; with all of the Netflix shows, interesting books, text messages or emails to answer, it can be difficult to take a time-out for some much-needed Z's. But getting enough sleep at night can help to regulate your hormones, so treat going to bed earlier in the same way you eat chocolate... (hint: an everyday occurrence!!!)

Aaaand here is a great site about these topics if you want to learn more! It has a database with the ingredients lists of your favorite cosmetics as well as a ranking from 1-10 as to how dangerous the cosmetic product is, overall. Life is a precious thing -- let's choose to live ours healthily!

Because knowledge is more beautiful than wearing makeup will ever be.
xoxo, Brooke

(Pssst... feel free to send this along to a makeup-loving friend/loved one! <3 The more educated we all are, the better choices we can all make.)