How to Make a Self-Care Package

My days in the USA are numbered. That sounds really dramatic, and I mean, we hope to be back for Christmas, but the reality is that I’m moving to a completely unfamiliar country in 6 days.

As someone with an anxiety disorder – albeit somewhat successfully treated – I need to be careful to take good care of myself so that I can really enjoy the opportunities that are being presented to me. Yes, I’m scared out of my mind. But I need to remember that once all that fear passes and the unknown becomes more familiar, I’m going to have the time of my life.

So, I’m working on creating my own self-care package. I don’t want to replace or overshadow the amazing cultural differences I’m going to experience. I’m sure that at some point, I’ll have a German comfort food, a comfort spot, a comfort shop… But for now, and with my brain, I need to bring some comfort with me.

Start by identifying what makes you feel peaceful. We’re going to look at my list, but grab a pen and make your own.

1. A book. Or 6.

For me, a good book is the #1 best coping mechanism for anything that ails. If I’m sad or going through a hard time, I tend to choose familiar books, ones I’ve read and loved. If I just want to distract myself while waiting for news, I’ll read literally anything that’s around. I once gave an ex a week to think over our relationship and I ended up reading everything my mom brought home from the library.

Because I recently drowned my Nook in the bathtub, I’m hoping to pick up a Kindle before I leave for Germany. I’m not one of those people that wants to talk to you about what I’m reading if I’m just sitting in public tryna get my read on, so an e-reader is perfect for me. Plus, it appeals to my need to read RIGHT NOW, not when I have time to get to the bookstore.

My picks: The Wicked Girls (this review made me really curious), the entire Harry Potter series (can’t beat that for comfort)

2. Comfort clothing.

On a bad day, the first thing I do when I’m alone is change into something insanely comfortable. For me, that’s usually a t-shirt or tank top and underwear. For you, that might be flannel PJs or your fuzzy robe. Dress up, dress down, do you.

I was tempted to pack my “best” clothes in my carry on suitcase, but then I realized that I don’t necessarily want to look my nicest while traveling: I want to be my absolute most relaxed. What did I end up with? Tunics, leggings, maxi skirt, tee shirts, and the one hoodie I’ve allowed myself to keep since normally, they make me look about 15 years old. My goal for the plane is to be comfortable enough that what I’m wearing isn’t on my mind. I don’t want to worry about uncomfortable waistbands.

3. Body-care products.

Working at Lush has turned me into a true believer in aromatherapy.

It’s no question that a good shower can turn a day around, and there’s no reason that you shouldn’t have that good shower experience every. single. day. Most of my favorite products are from Lush, but don’t let that stop you from sharing your own, whatever brand they are. (Seriously, tell me in the comments. I’m a junkie.)

I like to have essentially two shower collections: Rev Up and Cool Down. Most of the time, I shower at night to take the grime of the day off before slipping into bed. To relax, I like nutty, berry, vanilla, or earthy scents. No, those don’t all go together, but who’s going to stop me? Ain’t no shower police. Find a smell and a handful of products that make you exhale all the bullshit, and make you shower a sacred place. You’ll step out clean, refreshed, and calmed the fuck down.

If you don’t have time for a shower, a portable version of your favorite smell should help. I have a lip balm that I find very calming (Honey Trap), and you can almost always find a travel size of your favorite lotion.

4. A huggable.

You don’t have to show this kit to anyone, so don’t be afraid to get a little embarrassing. I brought my favorite stuffed animal to college with me (holla at my girl Lydia the basset hound) and it helped a lot on those days when it seems like literally everyone hates you and you’re going to fail at life. Sometimes you just need a good hug, and when there’s no one around – or when you have issues being emotionally available – an inanimate object will do the trick. Don’t have a teddy bear? Let me introduce you to the stuffed animal page. You don’t even need to be seen in public buying one. You’re welcome.

To be completely fair, I’m taking Daphne with me, and she’s counting as my huggable. She’s a snuggle bug, and I can’t fit Lydia in my suitcase with all my clothes, shoes, and body care products. Do as I say, not as I do.


What would you consider to be your self-care staples? Any tips for traveling while anxious?


Long-Overdue Instagram LIfe

I haven’t posted pictures from Instagram in at least a month, maybe two!  I hope you’ve missed them as much as I have.  I’ve been posting regularly on Twitter and Instagram itself, but they haven’t made it to my blog in a while.  (If you want to keep up with me, you can find me on IG @nicetobelieve!)

My dad’s an architect and sometimes likes to design and build model buildings.  This one is my favorite!

Page Dairy Mart!  If you’re ever in Pittsburgh, I seriously recommend grabbing some ice cream.  They have crazy soft serve flavors and the most amazing sundaes ever.

Blogger cliche #1,956,783: Froyo and toppings, shot from above.  So good.  Every bite.  Taro yogurt, raspberries, mochi, and graham cracker crumbs.

Every time I go into Madewell, I just leave wanting all of the things.

No Instagram post is complete without a shot of the fluffy pup, Dmitri!

Shrimp fajitas from Mad Mex?  Yes, please.  I was kind of shocked by how excellent they were as leftovers the next day.  College kid working 8 hour retail shifts win.

The flowers outside of my parents’ house attract the most adorable bumbly bees.  I can’t get enough!

Steve and I have taken to laying on his roof and watching the sunset, sometimes with dinner in hand.

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New Job Announcement + Instagrams!


I know it’s been ridiculously long since last I posted, and I even neglected Lazy Sunday (because ironically, it wasn’t lazy at all).  I’m a failure.  Except I’m not a failure because I’ve been working at my new job for around 25 hours a week!  It’s pretty fantastic, and now I can actually tell you about it!

I just started at Adam & Eve Pittsburgh!  If you’ve never heard of Adam & Eve, it started in the 70’s as a mail delivery service for condoms, and grew until it became a well-known and trusted brand for toys, contraception, and even lingerie.  The Pittsburgh store is pretty heavily lingerie based, and caters particularly to women and couples.  In the two weeks since I started, I have to say, it’s been a great experience.  I’m loving the staff, I have fun at work, and I really feel like I’m helping people in an under-served niche.  If you’re in Pittsburgh but you’ve never been to a “sex toy store” or you’ve been to Adult Mart and found it just a little too skeevy for your tastes, I think you would like Adam & Eve.  Full disclosure: The store did not pay me to write this, and I do not receive any special perks for it.  I legitimately am really enjoying my new job!  

Ready for some Instagrams??


I totally forget what this is called, but it’s delicious. //  I hung out with lingerie models at my new job.  Nbd.

Fresh mozz and roasted tomatoes on bruschetta.  //  Me, in the car, being washed out.

My new 1970’s era typewriter.  It needs some TLC.  (No Scrubs)  //  My faaaavorite flowers are yellow roses.  So pretty.

I finally learned how to use a framing app for my Instagrams!

Whew!  Be back soon with more, including an actual real Lazy Sunday post!



Big Ole Whoppinghuge Post-a-Rama Instagram Links and Love

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Why did it never occur to me before to address my posts with “Darlings?”  What the balls is wrong with me?



I took a week and a half long hiatus from blogging, not because I wanted to or because I got bored, but because life has kicked my ass this semester.  I am so, so glad that I started Marvelous Darling when I did, and that I threw myself into it with typical Scorpio gusto, but at this point in my life my schooling has to come first.  Luckily, I am one week away from being done!

First thing’s first: I know you’re all dying to see pictures of the dog I had for a couple of days.  So, below the cut, you’ll see approximately 8 million pictures, and the story of Cheese Queen in its entirety.

Also below the cut:  Instagrams of my Daily Life, and some very special Links of the Week!  So please, follow the cut!

Excitement and End of Semester Blues

Pretties and handsome gents!

It’s been a crazy-ass time over here.  I had a dog for a couple of days last week, and in tomorrow’s Instagrams post (look forward to it! …please?), you’ll see a lot of the little cutiepie.  I was alerted to more than 50 bomb threats because I go to the amazing University of Pittsburgh, which is currently being straight-up terrorized.  I made a glittery iPhone case which I’m considering selling in my own online boutique this summer (!).  And last but not least, I’ve been hit hard by end of semester blues and highs.

Can we go ahead and share our semester lows and highs?  Join me in the comments, please!