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The Whiff Co. – Gifting Fuels Connection

April 14, 2017

The Whiff Co. is a modern-day gifting service that exists to make gifting part of our daily lives. Wole Ajabe, the founder of the Whiff Co., noticed that gifting is typically centered around holidays, where gifts can be seen as an obligation and therefore some of the value is often lost. The Whiff Co. aims to solve this by curating seasonal boxes that are appropriate for any occasion and can be sent for no reason other than to tell someone you’re thinking about them.

Inception

The idea, Wole says, was inspired by a friend of his who was sending a gift box to their partner abroad. He watched the level of creativity it took to make this package, and recalled never seeing anyone put so much care into a gift box before. He then recalls thinking that not everyone is inherently creative, but still might want to send a unique and high-quality gift to someone. This is where the Whiff Co. seed was planted.

Since its inception, the Whiff Co has evolved a number of times to become what it is today. First, he started the Cerulean Project, a blog that was a display of his thoughts that he wanted to “share with anyone who would listen”. He then fleshed out the idea of gifting and started The Whiff Co., with specialty cakes in jars that could easily be gifted. These cakes were influenced by the time of year and were given a personality and emotion (Strawberry-Lemonade made an appearance at our first annual Sunday at the Mill, which was a cake that celebrated summer). The creation of the cakes, along with photoshoots, art direction, and a short film, brought them to life.

While the cakes were enjoyed by all, Wole found these distracted from gifting—people were more interested in buying a cake so they could eat it themselves rather than to gift. He also spoke to logistical concerns about not quite wanting to make them to order, but not moving enough product to make large enough batches – Cakes can’t really sit around! Wole still felt passionate about gifting and wanted to find away to bring his mission to life.

Birth of the Gift Box

Last winter, The Whiff Co. launched their first gift box. This box featured custom-made succulents by Close Call Studio and an accompanying handmade card. This box took a big chance on a new concept for The Whiff. Co., but it paid off. The Whiff Co. now releases boxes about three times a year for the following seasons: Winter/Spring, Spring/Summer, and Fall. With each box, Wole says he learns a great deal about his business and is able to apply it to the next box. One of the biggest changes implemented from his learning experience seems to be the new tiered pricing options available with Blanc, which acknowledges that not everyone wants to send a $60 gift, but maybe they’ll want to send a $40 gift.

The gift boxes are inspired by the seasons and are timely, relevent, and meaningful. Wole believes that “seasons carry a lot of emotions” and his boxes succeed in personifying the seasons through symbols, choices of colors, and other imagery.

With Blanc, The Whiff Co. draws on the sense of renewal that comes with the end of winter and beginning of spring. He points to renewal meaning not only rebirth but also a sense of excitement and adventure. These emotions guided the direction Blanc took as the gift box was being curated.  The gifts in the box align with these emotions as well. The box features a handcrafted mug, featuring the White Stag from Hollow Work (he chose the White Stag to symbolize this sense of renewal and adventure), teas from Shafa Blends & Wight Tea Co., and stag pins from Shiny Apple Studio.

The box features makers from both Baltimore and D.C., as The Whiff Co. is uniquely positioned in between the two and has found a way to participate in both communities. Wole acknowledges that the creative communities in the two cities function pretty differently (as well as the way the two cities approach community) but finds that makers in both places seem to welcome the opportunity of working together. The Whiff Co. is open to collaboration and trying new things, and utilizing both of these locations has seemed to really help that mission.

How We Feel Matters

The Whiff Co. hopes that one day their gift boxes will change the world, and believes that lives are changed when people feel cared for in a meaningful way. Wole believes that connection fuels relationship and hopes The Whiff Co. is able to encourage people to connect meaningfully with the people they love. The Whiff Co. believes that how we feel matters, and they want to be a part of how we show how we feel about the people in our lives.

 

Feel Good

Your Tea Tiny Tea Review

April 2, 2016

I love a good cup of coffee as much as the next person, in fact I’m drinking a nice strong cup right now,  but I also love tea and have an extensive collection of different kinds sitting on top of my refrigerator. Most of it is your standard green/lemon zinger/ginger honey/black type tea, but some of them are medicinal. I have one for sore throats, sinus problems, menstrual cramps and my favorite – Tiny Tea by Your Tea.

Your Tea used Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to develop a line of teas that help various body and mood functions – Skin Magic Tea, Fertility Tea, Hangover Tea, Happy Tea, Sleep Tea, to name a few. Tiny Tea was designed as a 28 day (with options for a 14 day) tea detox or teatox.  It’s intent is to help regulate and cleanse your digestive system in order to gently detoxify your body.  The blend of teas and medicinal plants that make up Tiny Tea have been traditionally used to treat bloating, indigestion, cellulite and problem skin and aid in weight loss.  Jue Ming Zi or Cassia Seed, has been used to relax the bowels and act as a laxative in TCM and alternative medicine practice. He Ye or Lotus Leaf, is used to clear heat and toxicity as well as improve spleen function. Shan Zha or fruit of the Crataegus plant, helps soothe the digestive system and is used to keep things moving, reduce bloating and help you release gas or stagnant energy in your system. Lai Fu Zi or Daikon Radish Seed, is used to treat indigestion, acid reflux and burping/gas retention. Chen Pi or Orange Peel is also used for reducing bloating/gas and helps with fullness and stomach aches. Mai Ya or Barley Sprout helps reduces bloating and relieve fullness, abdominal cramping and gas retention.

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I was first introduced to Tiny Tea and Your Tea via Instagram.  I don’t remember how exactly but most likely one of those home butt workout pages was promoting it and I got click happy and landed on Your Tea’s page.  I had gained a good bit of weight (20-25 pounds), wasn’t feeling happy with my body, felt lethargic all the time, and honestly was looking for a quick fix that didn’t involve working out. (I’ve since moved past this notion that I can change by body without some form of exercise – thanks Melanie and The Dailey Method!) We all know there is no such thing as a quick fix but that didn’t stop Tiny Tea from working it’s magic on me. The included instructions indicate that a cup of tea should be consumed roughly 30 minutes before or after a meal, three times a day. Drinking a warm cup of anything (even water) before you eat can help you trick your body into feeling fuller, resulting in consuming less.  But Tiny Tea also helped reduce my craving for sugar and junk food, also aiding in weight loss. It wasn’t the only thing I had to do to get my body and health back on track but it certainly helped and I did notice the effects right away.

I had more energy to actually get up in the morning, jump starting my day and giving me time to be productive before work.  I noticed the bloating and uncomfortableness  after eating reduce significantly.  I did lose all the weight but over a healthy period of time and with the aid of a better diet and exercise.  Previously in this post I used the word “gently” to describe how Tiny Tea cleanses your digestive system.  They use this verbiage and I do too because it’s the most accurate way to describe what the tea does.  Unlike some of the other ‘weight loss’ teas or detox teas, Tiny Tea does not have that heavy laxative effect.  Only once did I have a poor experience after drinking Tiny Tea where I went running to the bathroom and it was 100% my fault.  I decided to drink a cup on an empty stomach right before bed, not remembering that it does contain Cassia seed (that has a laxative effect), and woke up very uncomfortable a few hours later.  So pro tip: follow the instructions (duh, Shae) and consume with food – either before or after.

the last time I ordered they sent me a cute mug and tea tin too

the last time I ordered they sent me a cute mug and tea tin too

I did a whole teatox to start just to get my body and gut running smoothly again.  However, my work environment and schedule made it challenging to make and drink a cup of tea 30 minutes before I ate every meal.  Some nights I wouldn’t get home till 10:30 and didn’t want to wait 30 minutes before eating – I just wanted to eat and pass out! Some times I wouldn’t be able to step away from the sales floor to make tea before I took my lunch break.  It was a time commitment but totally worth it. I purchased another 28 day box that I’m moving through slowly and using as a supplement.  Every time I feel bloated or generally uncomfortable after having eaten something delicious/fried/dairy/something I shouldn’t have eaten, I drink a cup of Tiny Tea.  Within 15-20 minutes I feel better, my bloating is reduced or I was able to move that gas along (bye Felicia) and I can go about my day feeling comfortable instead of having to wait it out.  The Tiny Tea teatox box is a big commitment especially when no one can seem to accurately describe how it tastes.  I can’t really compare it to anything….maybe a little like a weak cup of black tea but that’s not all there is to the flavor either.  I remember it took me a few cups to get used to the taste – it was never unpleasant, just different. Nowadays I love the taste, possibly because I associate it with feeling better, but most of the reviews online share similar sentiments about enjoying it for it’s own unique flavors.  If you want to try it before you buy a whole box of it, email me at shae-li@30thandweldon.com and I’ll send you a bag from my own stash!

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Feel Good

Work Out for Free

February 21, 2016

The fact that it is February and we are still talking about fitness means that the resolution period is officially over. That also means that, most likely, gyms are starting to charge full price and those yoga classes you started going to may feel a bit more expensive. While we wait for our tax returns, it is time to optimize our funds (and spend them on like, rent and food. And wine). Whether you want to spice up your routine without spending any cash, want to start getting into fitness but aren’t ready to commit yet, or want a long-term free solution, look no further—below, you’ll find the best ways to work out for free.

At-Home Workouts

I don’t know about you, but I love being home. It’s probably one of my favorite places in the world and I’d rather be at home than at work, at the gym, and at the bar. What better way to work out than in my favorite place? Although I know some people who have a workout routine memorized and they do that at home every now and then, I need some motivation and variety. It’s helpful to have some equipment but in the end unnecessary. You could use water jugs for dumbbells, a chair as a bench, and you can jump rope without the rope! There are a few great ways to maximize you’re at home workout using some free resources.

YouTube

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Some of my favorite workouts have been found on YouTube, and if you’ve been reading for a while you may remember my YouTube Fitness Guide published this past summer. With video on YouTube, you still get the guidance of watching someone do each move. And because there is so much out there (toning, cardio, pilates, yoga, zumba, to name a few), you can add a lot of variety in your routine and stay away from boredom, if you’re susceptible to it while sticking to a workout.

Pinterest

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The fit community on Pinterest seems to be alive! I am very very new to the Pinterest game and I have been absolutely amazed by how many different workout routines are posted, and there seems to be something for everyone, whether you’re looking for cardio, yoga, or you’re trying to grow your booty. You can find workouts for days on Pinterest. If you need a place to start, check out 30th & Weldon’s fitness board.

Nike+ Training Club

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There are a lot of good fitness apps out there, and I’ve sifted through a lot of them. The Nike+ Training Club app is the best free workout app I have encountered. There are no free trials and no cost to upgrade—the app, and its contents, are 100% free. There are various types of workouts, including cardio, HIIT, pilates, and yoga to keep you excited and focused and, with the ability to choose your level and fitness goal, there is something for everyone. You can create a four-week training program or choose from popular workouts. Workouts on NTC are as long as 60 minutes and as short as 7 (to fit in with any schedule) and have been created and curated by professional trainers & athletes (like Serena Williams, for example) and the app allows you to track your progress. [iOS/Android]

Local Events & Community Classes

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Local businesses and fitness studios are a great place to get free workouts. Pay attention to Facebook and you’ll see restaurants and clothing stores hosting free yoga classes. Many fitness studios will offer free (or at least donation-based) community classes. My barre studio, The Dailey Method, has free community classes taught by teachers in training. We’ll also be partnering with TDM to offer a 30th & Weldon barre class in March, so stay tuned for that. Locally, I’ve seen stores like Athleta, lululemon, and sweetgreen host classes at their local Towson & Baltimore locations. Core Power Yoga has been offering a lot of free events recently that have been popping up on Facebook, and Free Baltimore Yoga offers free yoga classes every week.

Be Nice to Your Friends!

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Your friends more than likely can help you get your workout on, whether they are a member of a gym or have a fitness center in their building. Most gyms across the country offer various types of guest passes. Some memberships will give you unlimited passes, some will allow you to invite your friends to certain events, and some will even give your friend a trial period (where they don’t even need to bring the membership holder). This is the time to hit up your friends—if you hear someone  talking about their workout, find out where they go and coyly ask about a guest pass. If they say their building has a fitness center included in their rent, see if you can sneak in and workout with them! If you have to butter them up, take them out to coffee. The $4 spent on their latte is worth it. Working out with a buddy can also bring added motivation, which is cool too.

Outdoor Workouts

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This one may seem obvious but still worth noting. As the weather gets warmer, head outside and treat the world like your gym.

The most popular way to get an outdoor workout in is to run. I don’t know about the rest of you but running is weirdly intimidating for me. I always see runners outside making it look effortless, for a long time I was discouraged to try it myself. Then I found the Couch to 5k app [iOS/Android], which does exactly what the title suggests—helps you get running in a manageable way. Your first run will consist of a 5 minute warm-up walk, followed by alternating 60 seconds of jogging/90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes. Totally doable! The program is designed for you to get 5k ready in 8 weeks, and each week you’re runs get longer and walks get shorter/less frequent.

You can also turn things outside into workout equipment for assists in various exercises. Head to the nearest playground and use the monkey bars for your pull-ups and use a park bench for both step-ups and tricep dips. You can even take some of the Pinterest guides with you above and perform them at a local park.

What is your favorite way to get a free workout in? Comment below! I’m also planning a post on some great cheap workout options, so post some of your favorites below too.

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Feel Good

10 Best Lip Balms (For All Budgets!)

November 19, 2015

I have terrible dry skin that follows me all year round and my lips are no exception. When I was a kid, my lips (and the area around my mouth) would be severely chapped and now I make sure to always have a lip balm on me. If I leave it at home, my lips sting by the end of the day and I’m not above using body lotion/hand salve/aquaphor on my lips in a pinch. I have tried many many different lip balms throughout my life and have found quite a few that work for me. From the checkout counter at CVS to more-than-I-make-an-hour, I’ve curated a collection of lip balms to fit any budget—whether you’ve got some #treatyoself money lying around or you are strapped until next payday. I have had experience with all of these at some point in my life and don’t think you can go wrong with any of these best lip balms!

Burt’s Bees, Beeswax Lip Balm, $3

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This is the lip balm I am most loyal to, I’ve been using Burt’s Bees on and off for more than a decade. This is my go-to if my lips are already severely chapped and need a quick revival. The beeswax moisturizes well while the peppermint gives my lips a nice tingle. Sold virtually everywhere, it’s always easy to pick up a stick. Can sometimes be a bit too waxy and I tend to only really like this one in the winter.

Jack Black, Intense Therapy Lip Balm, $7.50

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This is the newest addition to my lip balm repertoire and is quickly racing to the top as one of my favorites. The lip balm is incredibly hydrating and, for me, is a perfect every day lip balm. I first heard of this balm i n Danielle’s ‘Surviving Winter‘ post and it really is a must-have for this season. I also love that it is SPF 25! The only downside of this so far is it can be a bit sticky when first applied but this wares off while the moisture lasts.

Kiehl’s, Lip Balm #1, $7

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Another great one for when your lips are dry, Kiehl’s Lip Balm #1 is another go-to for me when I’ve done lots of damage and need some good restorative work. This is the least waxy of them all and really absorbs into your lips. I find this one doesn’t last as long as others though, and the scent may be off-putting to some (it kind of just tastes like petroleum jelly mixed with olive oil). It is a bit greasy but boy does it heal!

Fresh, Sugar Lip Balm, $22.50

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Oh, how I love this lip balm. I wish I could buy it every time I needed lip balm. Sugar by Fresh is not waxy at all and is very light—a little goes a long way. It absorbs well into my lips and it really is tackling the root of the problem. This lip balm is SPF 15 and comes in a variety of colors which is great if you are looking for something tinted that is still top quality. I find there isn’t a lot in the tube and I have to reapply often so if this were my usual I’d be buying it way too often. Great as a tinted lip balm but for something standard I usually go with one of the other less-expensive options.

Smiths, Rosebud Salve, $6

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This is the most versatile lip balm I’ve ever used—while great for chapped lips, also does wonders on dry cuticles, elbows, and knees. I appreciate Rosebud because it only contains four ingredients (all of which I can pronounce). A bit sticky & glossy but gets the job done and lasts a really really really long time.

C.O. Bigelow, Mentha Lip Shine/Breath Freshener No. 502, $7

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Smooth and long-lasting, Mentha Lip Shine by C.O. Bigelow keeps lips moisturized for a good part of the day. This is the first moisturizing lip gloss I ever used and adds a nice amount of shine. The minty shine also freshens breath and feels great on chapped lips. Although shiny, Mentha Lip Shine is not sticky at all!

Blistex, Lip Medex, $2

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A classic, tried and true lip balm. Blistex Lip Medex is one of the most recognizable lip balms out there—and for good reason. This lip balm is perfect all year round and is incredibly soothing. Who can beat the price? This is the lip balm I usually buy when I run out of/lose a more expensive one and don’t feel like spending a lot of money again. I find I need to reapply a bit more often but at $2 a tin I can absolutely afford that. It definitely tastes like a medical lip balm but at this point I am used to it. More healing than moisturizing, it is not an everyday balm for me.

Clinique, Superbalm Lip Treatment, $16

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Clinique’s Superbalm works to repair cracked lips and replenish moisture. A bit thicker than some of the lip balms listed above, this balm from Clinique is great for moisturizing overnight as well. A balm/gloss hybrid, Superbalm is a bit shiny after application.

Nuxe Rêve de Miel, Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm, $19

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If you’re looking for an overnight lip cream, look no further than this one. The formula is a bit too thick for daytime wear but is perfect for getting your lips moisturized over night. The lip balm is gritty and when rubbed into lips it almost exfoliates them. A jar of this Nuxe Rêve de Miel lasts awhile and is worth the steeper price.

Nivea, A Kiss of Moisture, $3

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I was very impressed with how long-lasting this lip balm is. For the price, it is an incredible deal. It feels high quality and adds a ton of moisture to my lips. The scent/taste is very mild and I don’t have to reapply often. It is strong enough to use on my driest days but also mild enough to use all year round. This is the most balanced lip balm I’ve used so far. Also I find it the best option to use under lipstick. Because it isn’t waxy, it doesn’t change the texture of the lipstick but still locks in moisture. Creamy but not greasy, this lip balm is good day or night, all year round.

 

I hope this winter brings hydrated lips with the right lip balm, no matter your budget. Have a favorite lip balm not listed? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

Feel Good

So You’re Having Trouble Sleeping…

September 19, 2015

200Alrite real talk for a minute. I’m an anxious kid. I started having full blown panic attacks in college, but it took me a number of years to realize that my insomnia growing up was not just me being a teenager and a brat but was a result of said anxiety. There are still nights that I lie awake and stare at my ceiling for hours, sometimes till dawn starts to peek through the darkness, wondering why I can’t just turn my brain off, as it seems to be so easy for others to do.

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As a kid, maybe 9 or 10, I was staying up until 2 or 3, sometimes 4 in the morning. I’d sneak down to the TV room and watch infomercials or cooking shows until I couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. As a teen I would sit in front of the computer until I was so tired I couldn’t possibly keep my brain going any longer once I fell into my bed, but which made getting up at 5:30am for school nearly impossible (because I had gone to bed about an hour before that.) In college, I started the real joyful experience of having panic attacks in my sleep – and would wake up crying and/ or completely paralyzed. Don’t even get me started, it was as horrible as it sounds.

Thankfully, these occurrences are few and far between these days but sleepless nights definitely still crop up every now and then. (Usually caused by a sick puppy – dammit, Albie.)

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The National Sleep Foundation considers insomnia chronic if it occurs 3 or more nights a week for at least 3 months at a time. Thankfully, it is no longer that bad – pretty sure the introduction of wine into my life in college has helped significantly on that front – but “acute” insomnia has probably happened to every one of us at some point. Those nights that jet lag or stress keeps you up staring at the ceiling, wishing for sweet, sweet sleep.

Well I’ve had a lot of practice, and I’ve picked up a few tips and tricks for helping you get to sleep or back to sleep. Now, I’m no doctor or medical professional obvi, so I must give the disclaimer that I have essentially no idea what I’m talking about and you should seek medical advice if you believe you have a problem. That’s what our lawyers told me I have to say. sidenote: Julie & Shae – do we have lawyers? Does google count?

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First things first: if this is not just a one-off on a random night, but is an increasingly regular problem, caffeine should definitely be cut back on or out completely. There was a point in my life when I couldn’t have any caffeine at all, but thankfully the coffee gods have smiled down upon me once again. I do in general try to keep my caffeine intake to before 4pm, however. I know I’ve got friends who say caffeine doesn’t effect them, but biologically it does. If you’re having trouble sleeping, start with cutting out that afternoon cup o’ joe.

Bedtime routine: The more routine you are when it comes to going to bed, the easier it is for your brain to know its time to go to sleep.  I know it can be tough nearly impossible for us kids with “abnormal” work schedules to keep to going to bed around the same time and rising at the same time, but it can really help if you can pull it off. More importantly, establish a routine set of actions that you complete before bed no matter what time it is. Even something as simple as washing your face, brushing your teeth, then doing a few simple yoga stretches – in your bed! This helps your brain adjust from wake mode to sleep mode more easily.

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Lights, cameras, sounds, oh my: This one is the TOUGHEST for me. It is widely known that looking at the bright lights of our smart phones / tablets / computers / etc. make it more difficult for our bodies to adjust to falling asleep – but the internet. so many wonders to behold. Guilty as charged, I fall asleep with my iPad in my bed more often than I care to admit – cough, every night, cough. But if I’m really having trouble sleeping, I turn it off. I keep a couple of the books I’m working on and a book of poetry that I like on my nightstand at all times. That in conjunction with having some christmas lights around my bed that are low light enough not to keep me up are my secret weapons for combating restlessness. The temperature of the room is important too, your body temperature being too high can have a significant impact on the quality and length of sleep. I need a fan year round, and keep a light weight blanket near my bed if my comforter is feeling to hot or constricting.

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The final countdown: the last trick I have is truly the best one. Most of the above is probably not new to you if you’ve ever googled “having trouble sleeping.” The last one is counting sheep on steroids, if you will. It’s a mind game. Find a comfortable position, all lights off and room as cool as possible. Starting with your toes, imagine them falling asleep. Once you’ve got them sleeping move up your feet, concentrating on each part falling asleep individually – i.e. your instep, then your heel, then your ankle, and so forth moving all the way up your body to your head. Here’s the real kicker: if your mind starts to wander from the task, then you have to start over. I know it sounds really stupid and you’re probably thinking Danielle, you’ve lost it. There is no way that would actually make me fall asleep. But I swear it works. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever made it past my fingertips before I fell asleep. If you’re mind is running a million miles an hour, this simple task makes it focus on one thing, and not those thousands of thoughts, to-do lists, and tasks for the next day.

I could probably talk for days on this topic – but I’ve clearly written a novel already. Sleep is so, so important to maintaining both physical and mental health, and I’ve done a lot of research. Guys – I basically cited sources in this blog post. Puttin’ that history degree to use amiright?! But really, I just hope all you little babes get lots of dreamy beauty sleep – so I hope I’ve helped a little bit. I’ve never really talked about my anxiety in such a public forum, any one else deal with these kinds of problems? I’d love to chat in the comments.