Burnt Out

Fellow blogging community!

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been feeling a little lackluster with the blog posts feeling like I’m confined to this schedule of posting. I’ve also been feeling like my content is suffering and I’m just writing something for the heck of it. I know that this  is something I completely put on myself but when I decided I needed to make a schedule for more regular posting, I was the one who needed some structure in my life.

Thankfully, I’m in a much better place in my life where I have more of a balance between work and social. I feel like I’m finally comfortable with making baby steps into adulthood whether that’s making regular doctors appointments or buying a new rug for my living room. But it took a long time and a ton of patience to finally feel like I’ve achieved this balance.

I’ve decided that I need to sort of take a step back from blogging on a weekly basis and find the foundation of my voice again. I want to make posts that I’m proud of and excited to write about. I will continue to write about anything food related in my life and of course all of the awkward, weird and cool things that happen in my social life as well. That being said, I do have a few things so share over the next couple weeks, so it’s not a means to an end! I’m just exploring new ways to renew my inspiration and share it passionately with this community. Posts will still appear on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the future!

All of this being said, I think it’s important that us young professionals of the world figure out what that point of exhaustion is and how to avoid it. I spent the first year of my professional life sleeping 4-5 hours a night, working 2 jobs 60+ hours a week, regretting the fact that I didn’t have any time for a social life and only finding solace and control in my ability to go to the gym and write this blog. All of which felt very isolating and quiet.

I kept lying to myself that it was only temporary, that I was paying my dues in the food service industry and making a sacrifice for a better future. And while this is true, everything comes at a cost. I consistently made myself sick and caught colds left and right. I had anxiety about my job every night and would restlessly sleep for the few hours I could catch on a regular basis. I got pink eye from either the gym or the kids I used to babysit which caused me to miss days of work and worry about my paychecks. Not to mention, I got in two very expensive car accidents during the worst winter of my life attributing to my stress thus causing shingles to perpetuate in my body.

I cried by myself, to my roommates and my parents on a daily basis but refused to acknowledge that I had the power to make a change. Through lots of encouragement and persistence, I got a new job and the entirety of my life changed for the better. I cannot stress the importance of caring for and putting yourself first. It isn’t selfish and it isn’t weak. At the end of the day, no matter how much support you have in your life, you’re the only one accountable for you.

You have the power to dictate the way you live your life and seek out what brings you happiness. It’s 100% okay to be lost in that journey. That’s what makes it an adventure. But everything can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle. Thats the beauty of it all.

Happiness is not a limited resource.

 

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Post Grad Struggle Bus

Note from Abby: Perhaps Lexy will become a more than once in awhile guest blogger because she’s one of my best friends who also likes to write and I happen to find her extremely hilarious. She’s also sometimes full of sage old woman advice. For all of our fellow post grads out there, this one should hit home!

This May, I will be two full years out of college. Two whole years! That feels like a lifetime to me. When I was accepting awards and handshakes and congratulations from my undergraduate program, I knew that two years out, I’d be settled into my own classroom. Making a difference. Being the One To Watch, as I had been my entire educational career. It seemed like nothing could hold me down. For years, nothing could.

Now, I haven’t lost hope entirely on this dream. It’s just that the sunrays of reality are shedding some much needed light on the path connecting my current vista to where I want to go, up in the clouds. And let me tell you, it is all uphill. I’m no stranger to hard work: I worked three different jobs simultaneously in college, double-majored, and still found time to volunteer. I work two jobs now. I know how to work and still find time to live, even if I feel like I am barely clinging to life. But somehow, I did not ever guestimate that it would be this hard out in the “real” world.

It’s almost like nothing that happened in my life prior to age 23 even mattered. It’s just this unaccounted for time in my development into a post-baccalaureate “real” person. Like, might as well have popped out of the womb wearing a pantsuit or something, because nobody is going to hire me based on anything that happened prior to my college acceptance. It’s not like I founded my own start-up at age 12, or was a computer genius at age 3. According to my mother, it was most miraculous that I started speaking at 18 months, but then I never shut up, so even that’s not super exciting.

I suppose it is exciting that I’m currently employed, and even though my jobs make mediocre use of my talents, I get paid money. That’s cool. I’m sure in 15 years, I’ll look back on my current foolishness and wish I was more grateful. And I am grateful. But I find myself frustrated often at the Universe that my life doesn’t look like My Life did in my head, despite my best efforts all along to be realistic and practical. I fear frequently that the narrative of get-good-grades-go-to-college-get-a-job is horribly inaccurate and only serves to make money for the people who write and promote that narrative, but that is a radical idea that makes me unpopular at dinner parties and in certain political circles.

I know that I am talented. I have this innate talent for teaching and a sincere love of young people, however complex their background or what brings them to me or my classroom. I am patient and gentle and kind, even though when not in the presence of young people, I swear A LOT. I just don’t know yet what type of job will pay me to be these things. Or worse, I will have to work a job that never pays me to be these things, and these qualities will become my “after work hobbies.”

Abby: For the time being, we’ll all have to live in this in-between state of knowing what we’re doing and PRETENDING like we know what we’re doing. Does being an adult get any easier? Do taxes become easier to understand year after year? Every day presents a new challenge and most likely, a new Google search is enterted to figure out how to fix a situation. But at least we’re in it all together, right? All aboard the struggle bus!

Who else is out there feeling the same way? Any suggestions on figuring out your passions and how they can fit within a fulfilling career? On Food for Thought Thursday, I give an update of our winter dessert menu at the Taj Hotel in Boston! You won’t want to  miss it!

Advice from my foul mouthed friend

A note from Abby: Another exciting guest post from one of my best friends, Lexy! She is previously known on here for her hilarious dating post about horse girls and is back again to grace us with her presence! Make her feel welcome and be sure to tell her how much you like her in the comments below! Onto the post grad struggle!

I am the kind of guest you never want in your home. For starters, I am raucously loud. I have a distinct laugh that can be heard for a 10-mile radius. Everything about me is big and dramatic and overdone like a New Jersey boardwalk caricature. I’m from the suburbs of Philadelphia, so I say “fuck” almost as much as some other more genteel people say “please” or “thank you.” Which isn’t to say that I lack manners, that’s not it at all. But I do have a crippling flaw that I’ve recently come to grips with: I am a chronic complainer. Maybe in a relatable way. Definitely in a funny way. But I absolutely complain. All the time. Complaining gives me life. It is like I am verbally transferring the weight of my struggles to you, and you, and you. When we all share a slice of my struggle pie, I don’t feel obligated to eat the whole thing myself and then wallow in my shame.

You see, I feel this intrinsic need to complain. I feel that I must.

“Because,” I think to myself, “if I bottle all of this up, I am going to pop.”

The last time I guest-wrote (because Abby still graciously accepts me into her life, blog, and home), I complained. I complained to you guys about how lame being single is, and how lame dating apps are. I complained about how lame the last girl I dated was for breaking my heart.

Here we are, several months and a brand new year later, and the landscape of my life has changed slightly. I met a girl on that dating app I was complaining about, and we’ve been dating now for several months. I complain to her all the time, and like a fucking saint she listens to me and says sweet things like “I know” or “I understand.” She listens to me complain about my two jobs when she also works two jobs, and she listens to me complain about how I want an apartment together. She will read that I wrote this long complaint about complaining and offer nothing short of encouragement.

And you know what?

She never fucking complains. I have never seen someone work with such steadfast, quiet resolve. She buckles down and gets stuff done. While I’m winding up a good whine, she’s thinking about everything she’s gotta get done between tonight and tomorrow.

Here’s the thing I realized: it’s one thing to blow off some steam. It’s a totally different thing to let all of the water vapor evaporate, because that steam is the energy to power your engine.

As newly-minted adults, we’ve got a lot of shit to complain about: we’ve got jobs where we get treated like shit, or sometimes even actually have to clean up literal shit. We don’t make nearly as much as we expected to, or feel that we’re owed (especially when you have to clean up literal shit). Not to mention the seemingly insurmountable precipice of student loan debt threatening to avalanche in deferment and crush us at any moment we stop our frenetic work pace.

But take a hard look for a second: what’s your conversion ratio of complaint-to-action? Do you ever act on the things you complain about? Do you know who is at the source of your unhappiness? Who is actually in control of the how you look at the events in your life?

I’m not saying I meditated on a rooftop and emerged refreshed and swore off complaining and carbs and butter and instead plan to wish everyone “love and light” and eat a “raw” diet. That doesn’t work for me, and I’d complain about it. Instead, I want to try to complain less and do more. Make myself mindful of my complaints and then take whatever opportunity comes my way to turn things around, and in doing so, take action on the things I complain about.

So often, I paralyze myself in scenarios that are ultimately changeable. “I hate getting up for work, I hate going to work, I hate my job.” If that’s your internal mantra, listen to the complaint and then act on it. This job is not for you, and that’s okay. I’m not saying give up a reasonable, well-paying 9-5 to become a subway musician (or do it, I won’t stop you, you’re an adult), but try looking for a different job that allows you more flexible hours. Be willing to compromise with yourself, work harder to accommodate yourself, or accept the things you cannot change. Don’t sell yourself a hard life, because life is more than willing to throw lemons at you ALL. DAY. LONG.

It’s so easy to get caught up in a cycle of complaining. I would know; I literally wrote almost two pages about it. But this year, I plan to make it a year of action. I hope you choose to, too. A year of deliberate thought and purposeful verbiage, as opposed to a year of unleashing your verbal garbage upon the nearest person in some kind of drive-by-word-dumping. It’s okay to blow off steam, but save some to power your engine on to bigger and better things.

Lexy works hard so you don’t have to. She currently resides in Pennsylvania with her Honda Civic, Hazel Grace.

 

 

Sticking It to the Man

There are days when I feel like an adult and days where I feel like I can barely feed and dress myself. This past summer, the second floor in my apartment was undergoing renovations before new tenants moved in.

I’m not an unreasonable person, but we were having a lot of issues with the construction. Our hot water went out multiple times, the electricity went on the fritz and set our fire alarms off, our toilet was leaking into the second floor whenever we flushed and there was a dumpster in our parking space for at least a month. Not to mention the countless mornings I was woken by noisy construction day in and day out.

I was fed up, my roommates were fed up, the other housemates were fed up and we wanted some sort of retribution. Our landlord and his brother own the house and split the rent between apartments. Most of the time we had been dealing with the brother when things went wrong. However, we tried to get in contact with our actual landlord to talk about taking money off.

Long story short, we got in multiple screaming matches and angry phone calls and were not coming out on top. It seemed like a sinking ship. We were getting ready to give in and write our rent checks the next day when the brother came to say he cut us a deal: $200 off our rent and continued use of the laundry machines in the house.

Without wanting to delay paying or making anyone angrier, I wrote a check to take to my landlords convenience store and have him sign an adendum to the lease. I explain to him that I just want our agreement in writing when he says, “But my word is better than having it in writing”

OH NO MAMA DIDNT RAISE NO FOOL.

So I looked him square in the eye aand said “Well, you won’t have a problem signing it then if that’s true”. He just chuckled, signed the paper and then looked at me. He then asked, “What do you drink? What’s your poison?”

Wait what?

“uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I usually drink vodka or rum…”

He then goes over and picks up a handle of Bacardi and hands it to me!!!! He then says, “We’re okay, yeah? Have a drink with your roommates!”

WHOAAAA. Did I just sort of win this battle? Did I impress him by sticking to my guns and not letting him walk all over us?!

It was the most unusual of circumstances but hey! I got a free bottle of booze out of it!

I’ve quickly been learning that there isn’t a handbook to adulting teaching me how to handle situations like this. But slowly and surely, I feel like I’m coming into my own! Perhaps this was a small win, but I’m still taking the victory!

On Food for Thought Thursday, I’m giving out another recipe! This time it’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins! YUUUM. Until then! Thanks for reading!

Providence Guide 4 of 4: Prov Bar Scene!

Providence is definitely a place I call home. I spent four years living in Prov/going to school there so once I turned 21, I couldn’t wait to check out their bar scene. From mixology bars to music venues and clubs, Providence has it all. So check it out!

Wickenden Street Area:

Whisky Republic– This is a total college bro bar. A lot of people like it when they’re in college or very newly post grad because it’s full of drunken people and dancing. It’s also got a cool location right near the restaurant Al Forno’s and Hot Club!

The Hot Club– This place sits right on the harbor and overlooks the water on their outside bar. They also do industry nights for anyone who works in food service and puts their drinks at a discount!

Piano Bar– So. Much. Fun. This place has a cover most nights which makes it a little on the pricy side but it’s awesome for a friend’s birthday! Follow them on Facebook too, and you can get a free shot of the night! They’ll play anything you want if you tip them and you can also pay to have a message written on the board aka throw your friends number up to “have a good time”. Occasionally throughout the night, they also have a wheel to spin which makes you feel like you’re on Wheel of Fortune or Price is Right. But it might land on “give a lapdance to a stranger” or “Win $20!”. I’ve tended to find that the crowd there is on the older side but it’s still a blast regardless.

Federal Hill Area

Ogie’s Trailer Park– This just opened a couples months ago! Totally kitchsy and themed, I can’t wait to try it out again over the summer. They have a huge patio out back with firepits and cutouts of trailers to simulate a 50’s trailer park. Their menu is really simple but you gotta try their tater tots! You can’t go wrong!

The Avery– This place is one of the most hipster bars you’ll ever encounter. A little dark and a little speakeasy-esque, it’s got a real secretive kind of feel which is cool. Also, it’s right across the street from a North (a super great restaurant!) so put yourself on the waiting list there and grab a craft cocktail at The Avery!

Downtown

The Eddy– Hands down, my all-time favorite craft cocktail/mixology bar. This place is so great despite it being super small. The bartenders are really knowledgeable so if you’re adventurous, try the bartender’s choice! You might get a drink that used egg as an emulsifier but trust them, it’s bound to be delicious! Or you can try their house punch for a cheaper drink!

G Pub/Providence G Rooftop– I have mixed feelings about this place. G Pub is underground and hidden which makes it pretty cool with the exception that when it gets full, you can’t hear shit down there. They do have a couple private rooms where they do parties or karaoke, so overall it’s pretty popular! G Pub is in the basement of an apartment complex but they also have a rooftop bar! It shows a beautiful view of the city and has tons of lounge chairs and couches however it’s on the pricy side. I almost felt too young for the crowd there but it was still a cool experience.

Congress– Across the street from G Pub, Congress is super low key and a definite spot for people in the industry to hang. It’s got good vibes with good people! Definitely a place I’d check out right in the middle of Provi.

Trinity Rep– This place has a great craft beer selection. It’s also two levels with billards in the basement. Food is decent too, so it makes a great place for a casual dinner!

Aruba Steve’s– Oh Lordy, this place. Across the street from the JWU downtown campus, this place is always crazy on the weekends but especially on Tuesdays. They do karaoke there every week and it’s so popular! The same old crazy man comes week after week to sing “New York New York” and he’s hilarious. Aruba’s also is known for their fishbowls! You can get individual fishbowls for about $14 and it probably equals 2 ½- 3 drinks worth of booze. Don’t order anything off of the menu though! I don’t trust their kitchen!

The Dorrance– OOOH YOU FANCY HUH. Never technically went to this place yet, however I’ve walked by it a thousand times. You always see bridal showers or just people dressed in suits there. Maybe I’ll go one day and pretend to be a real life adult who has their ish together.

Thayer Street

Shark– This is a super trendy place up on Thayer Street which is right near Brown. They used to do hookah there but I’m not positive that they have the permits to do so anymore thanks to state ordinances. But they also do GIANT fishbowls but those are definitely to share!

The English Cellar– I’ve known the cellar to be packed wall to wall with all the “of age” college kids from RISD, Brown, JWU, etc. They also have pool tables and such in the back, but overall I’d consider this place to be semi-hipster. It’s definitely one of the bars that we considered one of our watering holes.

Tortilla Flats– Now this place brings back SO many memories. This was what I would’ve considered our real watering hole. We’d always snag a corner table, order pitchers of margaritas and get tons of nachos to share. I also went on a first date here once and sat around the bar which was also great because you can watch the tvs or people watch if it’s really dull! Their margs are really strong- so take that as a good or bad thing depending on your style!

I hope you enjoyed my incomplete list of bars around Providence that I frequented back in my college days! Providence will forever hold my heart so it’s great that it’s just a short drive from Boston! While you’re there, maybe you can hit up Allie’s Donuts like I had previously suggested! Have a great weekend and check back on Tuesday for another (non-Providence) blog about my post grad life!

Quarter Life Crisis

Quarter life crisis is a term I learned about while I was in college from my friends who had just entered the post grad world. You spend your whole life wondering what your future will be once you hit “adulthood” and you end up looking forward to it. When I was in college, I couldn’t wait to turn 21 so I could go to a casual bar and meet new people all the time because that’s just how I thought it worked. When I was a senior, I couldn’t wait to be graduated because I was tired of dealing with the stress of homework, classes, a job, all of my school involvement, etc. I thought that being an adult would be less stressful because you really only had to worry about your job. OH MAN WAS I WRONG.

249Hence the quarter life crisis. Basically at some point in your twenties, everyone will experience the whole “Whoa wait a sec, what the heck am I doing with my life?” question. Do you live in the right area? Do you like your job? How do I file my taxes? You mean my health insurance and car insurance won’t be covered by my parents anymore??? HUH?

I’ll admit, I’ve been fairly stressed these past couple months between being the Bad Luck Club president, working two jobs and then being hit with both pink eye and shingles. 2015 hasn’t liked me too much so far. However, it’s all about keeping your head above the water. I have no doubt that at this point next year, I’ll feel like everything is smooth sailing- I won’t have to worry about changing insurances, I’ll know how to file my taxes, I’ll be working a job that I’m more content with, and hopefully will be more adjusted to living in a totally new city. I’ll look back and laugh at myself and just be glad that I made it through thanks to the help of my very patient friends and family who have listened to me gripe for the past couple months (and you guys too!).

These types of things are totally normal- so I’m told. Not everything just falls into place magically. You may not always like your job or roommates. You might have to suck it up and live in a crap-hole for a year until you can save enough money to afford a nicer place. You might have to be brave and go out by yourself to meet new people and make friends (which of course, isn’t as easy as it sounds- I KNOW). My advice is this:

Take a chill pill. Take a step back from an annoyingly stressful situation, take a deep breath and know that it’ll be over soon. You can’t afford to internalize the stress; it really does take a toll on your body by not sleeping or always feeling on edge. In my case, it caused pre-mature shingles SOOOOO I’ve been there. This is something I’m still working on too.

Find your people or person, and thank them endlessly. I honestly couldn’t be more grateful to my parents or my roommates because I’d probably be a puddle of tears unable to do anything without them. Whether your best friends are near or far, they’re there to support you and hear you out when you tell them the most ridiculous thing that happened to you even if they want to roll their eyes. That’s true love, right there.

Schedule time for you to do things for yourself. I’ve joined a gym and really pushed myself to go as often as I can. I use that hour or more to really only focus on that one thing, bettering myself FOR ME and forget about everything else that’s too stressful. Maybe your stress reliever is binge watching some Netflix. Hey man, I do that too. My current suggestion is the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, produced by Tina Fey. Totally corny but worth the giggles!

Get organized. Maybe you’re also a Type A personality like me, and really enjoy making To-Do lists and calendars to help organize your life. Maybe you’re like my roommate who is “messy but loveable” who just throws her clothes all over the floor. Pick them up and straighten something that might make you feel the tiniest bit less overwhelmed. Making a plan has always worked for me because I end up feeling pretty horrible if I use one day being totally unproductive.

Make a good meal for yourself. I tend to feel like I’m too busy to make food for myself which is why I end up eating cereal and grilled cheese a lot (yay carbs!). But on that one day where I find that I have an extra hour, I’ll blast some Spotify or put on Netflix while I cook a meal that I can eat for a couple days. That way, on days where you feel extra lazy, you already have some sauteed veggies to eat and keep you from over carb loading and feeling extra heavy.

Overall, I’m just saying BE NICE TO YOURSELF. It’s definitely something that I’m still struggling with and slowly learning in my post grad life. If you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will!
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Things are on the up and up, friends! Nicer weather is on it’s way too! THANK GOODNESS. I could use a little more vitamin D in my life. Check back on Food for Thought Thursday where I talk about secret kitchen lingo!

Until next time!

I Pick Things Up and Put Them Down

For the last 6 months, I’ve been going to the YMCA to work out a 3-5 days a week depending on my mood. I’ve NEVER been a fan of working out; I always preferred activities that replaced the gym like playing tennis, taking dance lessons, walking around new cities, reaching for the remote when it’s on the opposite side of the couch, etc.

The idea of going to the gym used to terrify me. I always hated the idea of knowing that other people’s stamina lasts so much longer than mine or the fact that they can lift so much more than me.But I decided that enough was enough, and I needed to move forward doing something that began to make me feel better- both emotionally and physically.

When I was in high school, we had to run the dreaded mile every year in gym class. This was the truly embarrassing moment when the sporty, cool, fit kids would excel and the rest of us would pathetically run/walk a 12-15 minute mile. Then we’d laugh it off and pretend like it wasn’t a big deal. Which was kinda true because, hey. It’s gym class in high school. Who actually gives a damn?

When I started going to the gym a couple months ago, I definitely started SLOW. Sloooooooooooooooooow. I would run for like 5 minutes on a 5.6 speed which is equivalent to almost an 11 minute mile and then tire out and have to walk for another 5 minutes before I could muster the energy to try another spurt. And then of course, you do that sneaky side eye peak to whoever is on the machine next to you to compare how fast they are or how long they’ve been on the machine and who has burned more calories than another. It’s obviously a competition and hello, you’re the one losing Abby!

I know I can’t be the only one who feels this way. Part of me is still feels like I want to just go home after work, crawl into my bed and never move unless my roommate happens to magically bring me a donut. Then I’ll be truly happy. Let’s face it, I’m never going to NOT eat a donut. But at least now I have the gym to counterbalance some of my bad habits! Here are a couple pieces of advice to kick start a journey to the gym!

1. An ipod/playlist is so important. You have to make a playlist that is so kickass and keeps you in a good mood while you work out. No sad, slow songs or you aren’t going to want to move. Or if you’re into podcasts or tv shows, download short versions of these and don’t stop doing cardio until the show is over! I definitely have a couple go-to artists on my ipod that I dedicate solely to the gym. Work This Body by Walk the Moon perks me up mid-jog on the treadmill. I’ve also been really into Fitz and the Tantrums too! Check out the YouTube links below if you’re interested!

 Work This Body- Walk the Moon

Out of My League- Fitz and the Tantrums

2. Wear something you’re comfortable in. I once wore leggings to the gym because they were nice and warm and stretchy, however, the second I started running, they consistently slid down which was SO distracting and made me stop sooner than I wanted to. Do a check at home that your clothes will stay put!!

3. Start slow and don’t let anyone judge you. First of all, I look so scuzzy at the gym whenever I go. Sweaty? Who cares. My hair is doing that flippy thing that looks terrible? OH WELL. I go to the gym for me and not for anyone else. If you can only run on the treadmill for 5 minutes at a time, make it the best five minutes you can muster. Eventually, those five minutes will turn into 6 which will then turn into running a mile without stopping. YAY MILESTONES!

4. This is a totally subjective point, but I tend to switch up my workouts each day. I always start with 20-30 minutes of cardio (usually the treadmill now, but I’m also a fan of the elliptical) followed by a workout of either arms, legs or abs. This is when I utilize the weight machines at the gym (especially arms or legs) for maybe 20 minutes and then end with another 20 minutes of light ab work on the floor without any equipment and stretching. But I try not to do all the same stuff every day to avoid excessive soreness!

5. Set goals. And I don’t necessarily mean weight goals because I’ve been going to the gym for 6 months and haven’t dropped as much weight as I’d like (however I have dropped a pant size!). But rather, say that you’ll run for 11 minutes straight at a 5.8 speed on a 1.0 incline. Or you’ll do 60 reps on each machine you do. Or that you’ll take the time to try and learn 3 new machines that seem daunting and difficult. By the end of you’re workout, you won’t leave feeling unsatisfied!

But all in all, don’t be too hard on yourself! My roommate reminds me saying that I’m “lapping everyone sitting on the couch“. And that couldn’t be more true!

If you aren’t a member of the gym and are a big fan of never leaving the house (like me!), check out PopSugar Fitness on YouTube for some great workouts!

I do find that after a frustrating day at work, I leave the gym feeling much more calm and energized. Horray for endorphins! Not to mention a confidence boost! You do you, people!

Until next time!