Good Vibes. ✌️

WTF is up with crystals?

WTF is up with crystals? 800 800 fortheindoorsy
crystals for the home

Okay so before we even get started on this, I am just going to tell y’all I went to the library to research the recommendations on crystals for your home in this post. THE LIBRARY. It has been a minute since I used the Dewey decimal system and I basically got my exercise in because of the sheer number of laps around the building I took. I had fans cheering for me once I made it to the right shelves. I mean damn, Dewey.

Semi Precious Gemstone On Pink Background

So crystals

We recently went to Sedona and let me tell you, it was a trip (lol get it?! because it was actually a trip). Basically, Sedona is the center of what is thought to be all these electromagnetic fields (yes, science proves these exist) that elevate your senses and bring you into a higher state of being (science: “lol probs not”). But the folks in Sedona are super into crystals & stones. Between this and the fact that they’ve been so buzzy lately that Urban Outfitters is selling crystals for your home, the universe/the buyers at UO basically begged me to get the scoop on what’s up with them.

While many crystals and stones are said to have healing properties, let’s separate out what we mean by “healing” before you fall too far down a rabbit hole like me:

  • Physical & topical healing: the mineral deposits in rocks & crystals create some sort of observable reaction that our body benefits from, like iron, salt, calcium, etc. For example, salt has its own healing properties because of its ability to detoxify wounds through osmosis (wow, 7th grade biology really coming in hot right now)
  • Energy healing: no observable reaction occurs, but reactions may be felt psychologically, such as a change in mood or clarity when making decisions

So when you hear about stones & crystals with healing properties, let’s be clear that we are not talking about option number 1. Nope. Not at all. Salt is on it’s own.

But if you believe that the body does have energy centers (AKA chakras for those of you who have been to your yoga class lately), crystals might be your jam. Now I am not going to mislead you because the science on this is 99% non-existent, but if you’re cynical-but-curious (hi 🙋), it definitely won’t hurt anything to decorate with a few around your house (I mean you really need bookends anyway). So here’s a roundup of five common and intriguing crystals for your home.

Amethyst:

February babies know amethyst well since it’s their birthstone. It’s used to enhance creativity and open-mindedness, which is also said to help people dive deeper into their spirituality. It’s also apparently great for stress relief, but honestly this is a characteristic of a bunch of other crystals, too.

Quartz:

close up photography of clear crystal

So first of all, there are like a billion different types of quartz. And by a billion, I mean definitely at least 8. So, this is the clear quartz that is transparent/milky white, referred to as “faden” (meaning “thread” in German because of the milky white lines that run through the rock). It’s good for encouraging harmony in groups and supposedly helps pessimists (hi 🙋) by encouraging adaptability to changing situations, reducing stress, and increasing connections between people. Quartz in general is said to be an amplifier of others crystals, too, so throw it in with any of the others and you should be good.

Rose Quartz:

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Of course the rose quartz symbolizes love. You’ll find that this is often carved out in the shape of a heart and Miranda Kerr’s skincare line even sells a version that you rub all over your face (…I just report the facts, y’all). It is said to open you to accept love in all forms of your relationships and has ties to fertility and pregnancy. Basically, it’s the stone that’s most closely related to characteristics that are traditionally very feminine. So if you’re single and ready to mingle, this stone might help you thrive.

Citrine:

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A lot of people love this November birthstone because it is said to encourage optimism and action toward goals. It enhances folks’ control over stressful situations and encourages fresh perspectives and openness to new experiences. It also supposedly helps you move closer to your goals by increasing your clarity and creativity when pursuing them.

Aragonite:

So this crystal actually looks really cool. Apparently it’s known for connectedness to the earth and helps with conservationism (kind of ironic since I’m pulling said crystal away from earth to use as a decorative bookend). It also is known to be highly grounding and can help you stabilize your emotions and diffuse tense situations. Next time I want to gripe at Zach about his horrible dishwasher organization skills, I’m just going to pull out this bad boy. I rag on this rock, but it’s actually my favorite, so everyone calm down.

Ultimately, after researching and reading, I just don’t see how this could actually work (Time Mag pretty much agrees). But then again, maybe I’ll throw a few on my bar cart juuuussst in case.

 

Sources:

Crystals for Energy healing by Ashley Leavy

https://www.energymuse.com

https://www.crystalvaults.com

https://meanings.crystalsandjewelry.com

Love & Light School of Crystal Therapy

 

 

view of sydney harbor and skyline at night

How to Have Fun in a New City Solo

How to Have Fun in a New City Solo 3897 5845 fortheindoorsy
traveling by yourself

Traveling always seems fun. And when we picture ourselves traveling or moving to a new place on our own, we play it out in our heads like a scene from Eat, Pray, Love — wandering around a new city with the sun in our hair, riding a blue bike gracefully across a bridge overlooking a waterway lined with brightly-colored buildings, laughing and eating all kinds of pastries without gaining weight. You get it.

And while roaming around a new city can be as rewarding as what we see in the romcoms on Lifetime, it can also be hella uncomfortable. Going to a 4-star restaurant that has a cult following on IG feels pretty glamorous until you make your way to the booth side of your two-seater table and realize the amount of effort it takes to not let your ass, gliding over the brim of the table alongside yours, interrupt the v cute couple sharing dessert (who may or may not be noticing the small moth hole in your yoga pants at this point). And if you don’t feel awkward enough from the ass->arm contact that you just made with your new neighbor on the right, the pity smile and joke you don’t quite hear from the woman sitting 14 inches to your left will definitely do it.

view of sydney harbor and skyline at night

But while these moments definitely exist, there are plenty more experiences that are so unexpected and exciting that you start feeling a new kind of thrill and confidence that you might not have felt before. Traveling by yourself to new places ignites a feeling of fierce independence that you can’t get from other situations. But to get there, you have to be ready and equipped to handle the discomfort.

After traveling for months at a time on my own in both San Francisco and Sydney for work, I’ve felt both complete exhaustion and isolation as well as the-world-is-my-runway-level confidence. But the things I decided to do (or not do) solo completely defined my overall experience in those places; my memories and associations from each trip couldn’t be more different.

So after learning from my mistakes, listening to Beyonce’s “Me, Myself & I” on repeat, and living with legit FOMO and some serious feelings of lost time, I’ve outlined how to make the most out of traveling by yourself. These mantras have helped me build the confidence I want but never seem to have enough of and helped me push my hesitation and discomfort aside to actually live out the moving pictures I have in my head.

  1. You gotta accept it.

    Now, not to get too scientific on you, but let’s assume each experience has a max fun level, and experiences are measured on one of those High Striker carnival games where you try to hit some metal plate with a hammer and some other metal ball shoots up vertically toward a bell but falls just short of ringing it. The objective though is to hit said plate so hard that metal ball has enough momentum to reach the bell.

    So let’s pretend the bell is essentially the max amount of fun you can have when traveling. And if you’re like me, you’re probably thinking Max Fun Level is only achieved by going with someone else, so okay — let’s go with that.

    Let’s say max fun level is 10; your bell is at 10 and no matter how much stronger you get, you can’t go beyond that. So let’s assume that to ring the bell that’s at level 10 you have to have a combination of good company and a fun activity.

    So here we are, realizing that because we are solo, we might not be able to hit the max fun level and ring the bell. But how many times do you play high striker and think “I don’t even want to play this if I can’t ring the bell?” Answer: never. You play because you want to see how high you can get AKA how much fun you can have. If you have the former mentality, you are always going to be let down because you are betting against reality and certain circumstances — it is physically impossible to do something with your best friend and travel buddy you’ve known since middle school if you are traveling solo for work or if you moved to a new city where you don’t know anyone. So even if that is the ideal situation, it isn’t going to happen, and that is certain. So if you keep opting out of experiences due to the fact that said experience would be more fun with someone else, you will always be left with one option: to do nothing. And that’s because you are betting against your circumstance, and that is something you can’t change.

    So to win, even if you know you won’t be able to ring the bell, you have to at least try, right? So yes, while some experiences might not hit max fun level, they’ll ring a solid 8.87 and 8 is better than N/A right?

    If this carnival thing isn’t working for you, keep in mind that if you have an iPhone with a crack in it but you still use it, you are already operating with the same principle. Because clearly you value the experience of using it even if it isn’t *~*pErFeCT*~* (and if you have an iPhone without a crack in it, who even are you?)

    Okay now that we understand the core logic for anything else to make sense, here are the top ways you can have fun in a city that doesn’t quite feel like home (and yes I will limit further analogies and parables cuz clearly I’m not as good at it as Jesus was).

    ocean water and rainforest view from the water

  2. Say no to fast food and delivery.

    Food is the easiest way to gain insight into a new culture. When you eat out more, you’ll see more people, notice trends across different menus, and you’ll overhear similar conversations. All of these things help give you context when navigating a new place and give your great material for conversation topics. For example, Aussies love their burgers and their rivalry with the New Zealand All Blacks in rugby is palpable. While the Quarter Pounder at McDonald’s is both a staple in diets both at home and far away, branching out to try foods you haven’t tried before is an experience in itself. When calling in takeout, it isn’t rare to eat while watching TV in your hotel room — all of which your brain registers as common and similar to the way you normally eat. With such similar experiences lasered in your memory, you’ll leave the trip feeling like you didn’t do anything new or adventurous. And if you don’t believe me, believe science.

    If you’re looking for confidence when eating alone, OpenTable recently noted that dinner reservations for 1 person have gone up 85% since 2015. EIGHTY FIVE PERCENT.

    If you want to do what’s best for your bod, there are multiple studies that say eating with or simply around others helps you eat healthier (oddly, it’s mostly because you eat more veggies when you’re with people — which makes sense I guess because that plate of yellow I load up with 97% carbs and 3% bacon is always slightly embarrassing for me). And being more relaxed when eating and drawing those positive vibes from the people around you can also increase your heart rate variability and activates your parasympathetic nervous system to allow your body to better absorb the nutrients from the food you’re eating. In addition to controlling digestion, this system is also in charge of that sexualllll heaaaalllinnn’ Marvin Gaye sang about. So oysters being an aphrodisiac — yep, that’s your parasympathetic nervous system. Wow — look at all the facts!

  3. Do normal, boring things in public.

    Take a book and read at the local coffee shop, grab your notebook and go to the park to start writing the outline for that company brief you have to work on, or grab a drink while writing in your travel journal. Whatever the boring thing is that you need to do, make it a little less horrible by going somewhere new and working on it in public.

    Personally, I think this was super effective because it helped me see and do as much as possible outside of my hotel room, which is essentially the whole purpose of traveling (I mean let’s be real, if you’ve seen one La Quinta, you’ve seen ‘em all). It also gave a purpose to my outing and allowed me to avoid feeling self-conscious by sitting idly or scrolling mindlessly through my phone as I waited for my food/coffee/drink/second glass of wine order. And if I did have work that needed to be done outside of my standard hours, I wasn’t bitter about being cooped up in a hotel room.

    girl reading book above cityscape

  4. Ease in with shopping.

    Okay, if you aren’t quite ready to fly solo at dinner, there is literally nothing more socially acceptable than shopping alone. This is a good way to explore a new city by yourself and see what the style is in another country (because surprise: socks and flops are apparently a thing). It’s always a bonus when you get to a place where the salespeople have regional accents, too because you’ll pick up on new terms you don’t typically use. Case in point: sliders can in fact be a type of sandal and not a miniature burger.

  5. Call your pep squad.

    So I went to a James Bay concert by myself. I actually had so much fun and I swear I am not just saying that (because srsly if it sucked, no one would ever know and I could just not ever mention it — trust me I have thought about this). BUT I think the reason it was great was because I went to it with pretty shit expectations (expected fun level: 2.47)

    To get the courage up and to decide if I should even do it or if attending would validate my lameness, I called my ultimate pep squad: the ‘rents. Talking to the people who encourage you to take risks and want to see you living your best life is the ultimate way to pump yourself up because — in case you haven’t noticed — the person that gets in the way of Operation: Best Life the most is yourself. So listening to my parents who have my best interests in mind was kind of like using the phone-a-friend helpline from Who Wants to be a Millionaire. They provided rational perspectives on the best and worst case scenarios and gave me a dose of confidence that allowed me to walk directly out of my comfort zone and into one of the most memorable experiences I had. I walked out of the venue with a level of confidence I really haven’t felt before and absolute sureness that no experience on my trip would have to be sacrificed because of my solo-ness.

    view of bondi pool from above

  6. Research local events and classes.

    Until you’ve gotten to know people, finding something to do on the weekends is probably the hardest part of traveling to a new city by yourself. But lucky for us globetrotters (lol not the basketball kind), there are platforms to help with this, like Eventbrite. Let. me. just. say: Eventbrite is so great for this. They have classes on essential oils, bread making, macrame, languages — literally everything. I took a Food Styling course with For Foods Sake, and in addition to making some of the most beautiful waffles of my life, there were some really cool people I got to talk to.

    In addition to Eventbrite, I swear I have also never looked at promotional materials more critically than when I was in Sydney. Posters at coffee shops and flyers tacked to street lights at crosswalks became regular reading material, so keep an eye out for those too. And even though you might think the local magazines hotels pass out are completely stupid, they are super helpful for learning about events happening in the area, so take advantage!

    girl reading local magazine

  7. Do it for the ‘gram.

    Instagram has been giving me some v weird recommendations for videos to watch lately (no, I actually don’t want to watch someone making tiny food or cutting through playdough with a chopstick … *5 minutes later* … “oh my god those french fries are SO SMALL!!”)

    IG, as much as I take these weird recommendations personally, I still love you because you appeal to my shallow lower self. And now that I am aware of that lower version of myself, I will exploit it as frequently as needed, so thank you.

    So if you need a reason to get out of your hotel room, even when you don’t have anything to do, even if you’re afraid you’ll look like a total loser going solo, tell yourself you should do it for the ‘gram.

    man hiking through forest

  8. People kinda don’t care about you.

    So this sounds harsh, but it’s catchy and kind of true, so just indulge me for one second.

    I had one of my very wisest friends call me out on my shit one time and I will not ever forget it. I was in a workout class feeling like an idiot, and as I was mentioning how dumb I felt like I looked, I remember her saying “do you really think everyone walks around all day thinking about you?” I hadn’t really framed it that way in my head, but omg did I just get slapped or what. She was totally right. People didn’t wake up at 5:30 AM to go to that class so they could watch me swing a kettlebell, and it’s pretty self-indulgent to think that. The same principle applies when doing things alone.

    If you haven’t had someone tell you, here is the truth: people care 0% about what you look like sitting by yourself while waiting on your food. They just don’t care. And they have other things on their mind besides you. Most people are constantly focused on their own experiences, and as soon as you are able to do the same, the more fun you’ll have. And I really promise, it is so worth it in the end.

 

6 ways to make your life more ‘grammable

6 ways to make your life more ‘grammable 150 150 fortheindoorsy

It’s summer!!! AKA the #1 time to do things outside. Long gone are the days of being curled under a blanket watching cheesy holiday movies on Netflix. Those days have been replaced with me scrolling through Instagram thinking about all the cute summer things I should be doing and reflecting on how I should have been working out all winter instead of watching cheesy holiday movies on Netflix.

Ah, summer. But while one of those goals is long gone, the other is still within reach. All those cute summer things that make you want to go out and live ‘gram your life are actually pretty attainable.

styling a party on a budget // how to have a perfectly 'grammable event

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m addicted to the scroll as much as the next person, but I don’t think lying in bed doing it makes me feel good. Passively engaging with other people’s lives makes me crave real engagement in my own life. And as I’m scrolling through the photos of social influencers laughing with their best friends while eating funnel cake and standing in front of a ferris wheel at a parking lot carnival, I can’t help but have this feeling that I’m missing out.

And as quickly as that FOMO enters my mind, I realize I freakin’ hate parking lot carnivals. They are shady as hell (the sound of a creaking ferris wheel is what my nightmares are made of) and on what planet would I ever willingly buy a $12 funnel cake that makes me feel sick afterward? So no, I actually don’t want to spend $30 going to a sketchy AF carnival to hold a funnel cake as a prop, fake laugh for 30 minutes, and snap a few staged pictures while the dude selling hot dogs laughs at me from inside his food trailer.

 

styling a party on a budget // how to have a perfectly 'grammable event

But why does the picture still get me? Because the picture makes the experience look fun — it makes me nostalgic for an event I didn’t go to and elicits happiness even though I know the experience would actually be slightly miserable.

And I know I’m not alone with this. Ultimately, what we need to set us straight on Instagram, is to have the emotions that the photo evoke match the emotions from the actual event.

styling a party on a budget // how to have a perfectly 'grammable event

When we look at influencers’ posts and we weren’t there for the event, we infer that the photo is reflective of the event itself (logical). So when we see a picture of people having fun, we assume the event was fun (makes sense). But what we know and have to keep reminding ourselves of, is that this assumption isn’t always true — but it’s hard to convince ourselves of something other than what we see.

So instead of doing not-fun things that look fun (ferris wheels are boring and we all know it), I think it makes more sense to keep doing the fun things that aren’t naturally picture-perfect. As a photographer, I am drawn to visuals. And as a millennial who wants to hang on to experiences, I want photos as evidence and reminders of these experiences (if you don’t have a photo with a caption #takemeback what are you doing with your life?). So, to get the things that are truly fun to actually look fun, we just need to make them a little more photogenic.

styling your food effortlessly // how to have a perfectly 'grammable event

And you know what’s actually fun? Hanging out with my friends in my backyard while getting drunk off rosé and talking about podcasts, side hustles, arch nemeses at work, and the latest documentaries we saw on Netflix. But there are no neon lights or carnival sounds here, no cotton candy or funnel cakes, and no perfectly-styled outfits.

So to hang on to these experiences through photos and make the photo look as fun as the event actually was, I get creative and pull some blankets together, collect a few rugs, grab some existing household items, and style the space. And as we can all agree, all good things center around food, so with that I have a perfectly ‘grammable event that kicks the ass of any carnival in a Wal-Mart parking lot.

styling your food effortlessly // how to have a perfectly 'grammable event

Here are some seriously easy tips for making your next hangout totally ‘grammable:

  1. Add color and texture with textiles.

    Textiles are just a fancy word for blankets and fabrics. Layer them as tablecloths, grab some cute napkins, or even grab a curtain or sheet set to add fun patterns and visual interest to your event photos.

  2. Plate your food.

    Even if you are eating $5 delivery pizza, you’d be amazed how much of a difference that plating can make. My go-to styling tool is a wooden cutting board. Grab some pieces, sprinkle some crumbs, and stack ‘em up and you’re all set for a styled shoot.

    styling your food effortlessly // how to have a perfectly 'grammable event

  3. Parsley on everything.

    I would say it’s just me but I know it’s not. The reality is this: everything looks better with some plants. Whether it’s your house, your picture, or your food. Throw some sort of fresh herb or parsley because it’s cheap AF and you have food that looks real fancy.

  4. Photograph movement and real emotion.

    As a photographer, I hate posed photos. I like the real, candid moments that help you preserve the memories of the night you had. Sometimes that means the lighting is wrong or that the person you’re taking a picture of is blurry, but as long as you have the emotion, you’ll love the photo. Aim to get pictures of people laughing, moving, dancing, whatever. Because that’s what makes life fun and those are the things you want to remember.

    taking the best photos of your guests // how to have a perfectly 'grammable event

  5. Natural light or bust.

    Nothing ruins your photos like artificial light. Even if you think the photo is dark (iPhone, I’m looking at you), keep it that way and brighten it up afterward. The yellow from artificial light, especially when mixed with sunlight can be super tricky. And if you want a pro-tip, I generally avoid harsh direct sunlight when I can, meaning I try to shoot in a shaded area where shadows aren’t casting down in weird ways on people’s faces.

  6. Don’t obsess over the photos.

    Photos should be reflective of the experience, but they shouldn’t be the experience itself. And yes, there is a difference!

styling a party on a budget // how to have a perfectly 'grammable event

Whatever you do, have fun with it. Because summer nights are those nights that I live for, and even if my pictures aren’t 100% perfect, the feelings behind them are authentic and true. And at the end of the day, I would much rather have these experiences with friends than scroll through the ‘gram with a severe case of FOMO. Let’s channel that FOMO and have it drive us to action — call the friend you haven’t seen in awhile, invite your neighbor over for a glass of wine, or take your bike out and head to the closest park. And if you need more convincing to step out of your comfort zone, do it for the ‘gram.

Cheers,
Bailey