Out of sorts

I’ll be quite honest: As driven as I am, I sometimes fail.

Right now, I’m not feeling very organized. I’m going through the process of learning a new organizational strategy (the Bullet Journal!) but naturally picked the busiest time at work to do it.

Basically, my life is a disaster of papers and things to do.

So unfortunately, Wanderlust Wednesday and my blog is taking the back burner. I just need to develop a new plan and then I will be back at it! Don’t write me off just yet – my goal is to be back up and running by next week!



Thursday Therapy

It’s almost Friday, but I’m struggling. My PVSD (Post Vacation Stress Disorder) is in high-gear and I’ve been playing catch-up at work all week. I’m back to my usual busy schedule and as much as I love it, sometimes, we all need a little pick-me-up; some motivation to get through the week.

Sometimes,wp-1472082041241.jpg that pick-me-up comes in liquid form, consumed with coworkers during happy hour.

Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks and billionaire investor on Shark Tank, is the King of Snarky Wisdom.

He’s also a major investor in BeatBox Beverages, one of my favorite (alcoholic) drinks.

I’ll warn you here; I’m a bit biased. 

Basically, if you like wine, cocktails, or candy, you’ll love this. It’s a fun, unique concoction designed to share.

Don’t just take my word for it; Take Mark’s, too. And if you happen need a few inspirational words to get you through the week, check out these Motivational Mark Quotes To Live By (compiled by yours truly) on the BeatBox Blog!

“I create offbeat advice; I don’t follow it. I rarely take third-party advice on my investments.”

– Mark Cuban

More Mountains


I’ve never thought of myself as an ‘outdoorsy’ kind of girl. I guess I’m still not…not really, anyway.

But man, is hiking fun.

I don’t know if it’s just that landscapes and nature are some of my favorite things to photograph or if it’s the peacefulness…maybe it’s just everything.

One way or another, hiking in Boulder, Colorado was one of the best experiences I’ve had with nature.

What’s life without a bit of wandering?

When my mom was a kid, her family went on one vacation each year, to the same old cabin on a lake in Minnesota. As much fun as she had with her family on the trips, she always had that itch to go somewhere new. So, she promised herself that when she grew up and had a family of her own, she’d take them to new places each year.

She has certainly followed through on her promise, and I’m extremely grateful for that.

I actually give my mom a lot of credit for my own wanderlust, because I think I have it in the best way. It’s not merely a yearning to travel, but reminiscence on places I’ve been, and an increasing desire for adventure.

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Sunsets in the Keys

It’s a broadening of the mind. 

I don’t think I could ever choose a favorite place or a favorite trip. We’ve been to some incredible places, and (especially since the “dead vacuum in the elevator” incident in our San Diego hotel) it seems like each vacation is better than the last.

Since I’ve just returned from the most recent “Carlson-Schneider Family Vacation,” I guess I’m just feeling a bit sentimental. I’m excited to be back in my reality, but also feeling very thankful for my mom and for having the means to travel.

Love to travel? Join my Travel Team and be a guest blogger.

It’s far more fun to go places together. 

Heart for the ocean

Aloha Beaches!

Travel Takeover: Meet Stef Sanders.

A midwest girl, most at home on the beach. Here are a few highlights from her recent trips to Fort Meyers, Florida and San Diego, California.


“People spend their whole lives looking for happiness. For me, happiness is cruising along the shore with the salty breeze rippling through my hair.”



“Little beach towns gives me a big smile! The colors, the people, the overall atmosphere… I absolutely love it!”

Photo: Stef Sanders @its_stef_with_a_f
Action shot! By far, the coolest picture I’ve ever taken. – Stef Sanders @its_stef_with_a_f

“But really…can you ever take enough palm tree pictures?” 


Goal: To live a life I don’t need a vacation from.



Things to know about depression

…from someone who’s been there.

I’ve been dealing with depression since early adolescence. I’m not talking about bursts of sadness because your dog died or you failed a test; I’m talking about a chronic mental illness. It took a long time, but I finally started treatment about two years ago, and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned things about myself, the people I surround myself with, and of course, the mental illness itself.

I’ve faced a series of highs and lows. One thing that I’ve noticed, which I’m sure is not surprising, is that the cliche “hard times reveal true friends” is sadly, true. And I get it, you know? It’s hard to be around someone you love when they’re sad and complaining. You don’t want them to be sad, and you don’t want to feel sad because you’re around them. Maintaining that bond is beyond difficult, especially if it goes unaddressed. 

If you don’t know what’s going on in the world of a depressed person, being there for them can be even more difficult. Empathy for the situation is one thing, but actually understanding is another.

If you are trying to be there for a loved one who’s battling a mental illness, here’s a bit of insight and ways to help, based on my experiences.

What we want you to know

We might not always appear sad.

Many of us don’t match the stereotypes often associated with depressed people. Some of us are in denial. Some of us just don’t want people to know. Whatever the reason, we suffer silently; we fake a smile, we laugh, and do our best to go about our daily lives. We mask it, but we’re dying on the inside.

Understand that living with depression is living in a state of complete disarray.

We can’t find the “bright side” of things. We may be cognitively aware that a “bright side” of our situation may exist, but it’s not enough to make us feel better. It’s not enough for us to even see it as something that’s good.

You can always point out the positives in whatever the situation is, but don’t be hurt or surprised when your friend doesn’t exactly see it the same way.

Credit: healthyplace.com

We don’t mean to lash out.

We might not even realize what we’re doing or comprehend that know that it hurts you – but we’re sorry. It sucks, and many of us try not to do it because we love you…but sometimes, it happens. We’re just a little too sensitive. It may hurt, but as hard as it is, try not to take it seriously. 

Don’t assume we just want attention.

There are few things worse than hearing that you’re just acting sad to get attention, that you’re a drama queen, or that you’re intentionally blowing your feelings out of proportion when you are suffering from depression. You may think that something is trivial, but belittling our struggles just tells us that our feelings are invalid.

We don’t want to feel this way.

And we are probably more frustrated with ourselves than you are. Unfortunately, we can’t control our emotions. With depression, comes a lot of self-loathing. Do you think we like to feel like crap all the time? No, but we can’t just turn it off.

As a friend, you should understand that you can’t control how we feel, either. While there are certainly things you can do to boost our spirits, at the end of the day, our feelings are what they are.

You might need to ask us how we cope.

You don’t need to be a therapist, or even to act like one, to help a friend cope with depression. Everyone has different ways to cope, and as long as they’re not hurting anyone, it’s important to accept that different coping mechanisms work better for different people.

I’ve learned how to tell my friends what kinds of things help me cope, but not everyone can do this. You may need to ask if they just need someone to listen, if they are looking for advice, or if they don’t want to talk about it at all. Maybe they just want a friend to be there to watch Breakfast at Tiffany’s with them. To simply not be alone.

Avoid being critical of our coping mechanisms.

Really, just avoid being too critical, period.

With the exception of anything harmful or dangerous, respect that how we cope may be different than you, and may even seem a bit odd. But hey. If it helps, it helps.

You can always offer advice based on your own experiences, but avoid communicating it in a commanding way. Telling us what to do is frustrating, and it’ll be frustrating to you if we don’t take your advice.

We might isolate ourselves.

When we get very low, many of us convince ourselves (without really trying) that those who love us don’t actually care. Gently remind us that we’re wrong; You do care.

But don’t just say it. Don’t just tell them that you love them and they can call any time, prove it.

Please, be patient with us;

No matter how hard we try, we can’t manage this on our own.

It’s not always easy to be friends with us at our low points. We’re essentially battling ourselves. Even while in therapy, a support network is crucial.

If you’re struggling to figure out how to handle your specific situation, you can always call your local suicide hotline. They have a different approach to helping people with mental health that’s different than a peer, and in my opinion, somewhere between a therapist and a friend. It may also help you to get your struggles about the situation off your chest, and luckily, suicide prevention hotlines are open 24/7.

One final note:

At the end of the day, you need to accept that what you’re friend is facing isn’t their fault, and it’s not yours either. All you can do is to just be there for them. You can’t control what they do, who they see, and you definitely can’t control how they feel.

Offering your shoulder to lean on is invaluable.

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From GOOD.com

Forever a city girl

I’ll always be biased when it comes to my favorite city (Chicago forever, duh) but I can always appreciate anywhere metropolitan.

In high school, my family took a trip east. We hit the Jersey Shore, Hershey, Gettysburg, and of course, New York City.

I don’t know how we only spent one day in Manhattan, but it was an amazing experience. We joined the commuters on the ferry from New Jersey. We went to the top of the Empire State Building. We meandered about Central Park. We saw Ground Zero. We hit up Times Square.

And I’m pretty sure we got lost at some point, too.

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