My 2019 Fall Bucket List (Part 1)

Autumn is officially in the air! The temperature is dropping, the leaves are slowly falling and almost every store you walk into you’re met with Fall & Halloween decor. Fall has always been my favorite season. I think one of the biggest reasons why is because Fall is the kickstart to the best time of the year! Once it’s Fall, I know that soon it’ll be Halloween, Thanksgiving and then finally, Christmas!! Fall is also my favorite because there is always so many fun activities to do during this season. If you’re someone who suffers from chronic and/or mental illness though, sometimes it’s hard to truly enjoy all Fall has to offer. I know for myself, if it’s not because my body is in so much pain that it’s hard for me to really move, my anxiety takes hold of me a lot and causes me to be too scared to even want to leave my house. This often ends with me missing out on making so many memories. With how my health has declined this year, the fear of missing out on all my favorite season has to offer is strong. But I refuse to let my illnesses ruin my Fall. So I decided to write down everything that I wanted to do this Fall that I believe my body will be able to actually do. I then broke up that list into three different sections based on the energy level I feel is required to complete that activity. I think one of the most important aspects when it comes to doing activities with chronic and mental illness is thinking of ways that will help you to be able to truly enjoy those moments without pushing yourself too far. By dividing my list, not only does it help me to prepare for certain activities but it helps me to better plan out my Fall so i’m not doing two high energy activities too close to each other. This will hopefully prevent me from burning out my body and help me to actually enjoy this beautiful season. Below, you will find my entire list but the focus of today’s blog post will be on the first part of that list, Fall activities to do that require low energy. In the upcoming days, I will do the same thing but with the next two sections so stay tuned for that!

My 2019 Fall Bucket List

Low energy 

  • Have a Halloween Movie Night
  • Have a Scary Movie Night
  • Bake Halloween Pillsbury cookies
  • Read 2 scary and/or Halloween themed novels
  • Dress up in a cute but comfortable Halloween Costume
  • Listen to Halloween themed music
  • Create a Gratitude Jar

Medium energy

  • Carve Pumpkins
  • Decorate for Fall/Halloween
  • Bake a Pumpkin Pie
  • Go for a Fall foliage drive

High energy

  • Go Pumpkin Picking
  • Go to Fright Fest at Six Flags
  • Host Friendsgiving
  • Go to the Great Pumpkin Blaze
  • Have a Fall-themed photoshoot

As I stated above, today’s focus is on the first section of my bucket list, low energy Fall activities. I wrote low energy instead of no energy because, let’s face it, when you live with chronic and mental illness, even just breathing requires energy. For me, a low energy activity is an activity that is done within your home that does not require a lot of movement. So with that being said, let’s jump into each activity in more detail, as well as provide all of you reading with some tips to make these activities even more enjoyable!

  1. Have a Halloween Movie Night

One of my favorite things about Halloween time is watching Halloween movies! I absolutely love watching all the different spooky movies throughout October but this year, I want to take one day/night and gather all of my absolute favorite Halloween movies and watch them in one sitting. These movies include Hocus Pocus, Nightmare before Christmas, Beetlejuice and The Haunted Mansion. Some tips to make your spooky movie night even more perfect include:

  • Wearing comfy clothing or Pajamas (Even better if they are Halloween themed)
  • Cuddling up in a big comfy blanket
  • Drinking Hot Coco (or whatever your favorite hot beverage is)
  • Eating your favorite sweet or salty snack
  • Watching the movies with a friend or significant other (everything’s better with a buddy!)

Having a Halloween movie night is one activity on this list that I am particularly excited about because it allows me to have a nice cozy night at home with my husband while also celebrating everything that makes Halloween the amazing holiday it is!

  1. Have a Scary movie Night

Going along with the whole movie night theme, another fun idea for some is to watch scary movies during the Halloween season. Now I’m not a huge scary movie girl. I honestly usually hate scary movies and tend to avoid them at all costs. With that being said, this year I really did want to push myself out of my comfort zone and since my husband has been wanting to watch scary movies with me since we began dating, I decided that maybe now was the time. So to add a small twist to this, especially if you aren’t a fan of scary movies, you could have your significant other or a friend pick out 1 to 2 scary movies of their choice for you guys to watch. The catch is, you can’t say no. Tips to make this experience a little bit more enjoyable (and tolerable) include:

  • Wearing comfy clothes or Pajamas (Again, Halloween themed are the best)
  • Setting ground rules for what movie(s) can be chosen (For me this is no horror movies based on real life events)
  • Eating your favorite snack (Helps distract you from the terror on the screen)
  • Cuddling up with a big blanket (To hide under during the super scary scenes)
  • Watching with a buddy or significant other (Never watch a scary movie alone, plus you probably wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for them)

I won’t lie, this is one activity on my list that I am scared about but it’s also something I know my husband is excited for and therefore, makes it a little less terrifying…I think..

  1. Bake Pillsbury Halloween cookies

I don’t think I am alone in saying Pillsbury cookies are some of the best cookies out there! Not only are they delicious, but the fun designs really help you to celebrate the season. Now I will admit, they can be a tad pricey but I think it’s worth the price at certain times during the year, Halloween being one of those times. This year, I plan to pick up both a package of the pumpkin ones and the ghosts ones and take one night, probably the Halloween movie night, where my husband and I make and eat them. Even though you have to bake them, I consider this to be a low energy activity because all you have to do is take them out of the package and put them on a cookie sheet. This is just another reason I love them because since they are pre-cut, it is a lot easier to bake than other cookies. I really don’t have any tips for this one because it’s already pretty simple and easy but like before, baking these with a buddy will definitely add a little extra fun to the whole thing and wearing comfy clothes is a must. 

  1. Read 2 scary and/or Halloween themed novels

I have always loved reading. For me, reading allows me to escape my reality for a little while and when your reality is filled with being stuck in bed due to pain, sometimes being able to bury myself in a book is exactly what I need to keep my spirits high. Since it is spooky season, I decided I really want to read 2 scary and/or Halloween novels before Thanksgiving. Normally, I would say before Halloween but lately, my brain fog has made reading for long periods of time more difficult so I have given myself a more realistic time frame. Again, it’s all about adapting to make things easier for you. Some tips to make this one more enjoyable include:

  • Wearing comfy clothing or Pajamas (Especially fuzzy socks!)
  • Choosing a book you’ve never read before (Though re-reading books is always enjoyable, picking something new will provide you with a whole new experience)
  • Choosing an author you’ve never read before (Again, reading work from someone new provides you with reading a whole new style of writing which could be fun)
  • Read somewhere where you can be alone and not interrupted (Few things are worse than being interrupted when you’re in the middle of a good book)

I might not be a fan of scary movies but I do enjoy a good scary novel so this is something I’m excited about. Who knows, I may even discover a new favorite book or author along the way. 

  1. Dress up in a cute but comfy Halloween costume

One of the best things about Halloween is being able to dress up in costume. For one night (or multiple nights of the season), you can dress up as someone completely different than yourself and no one is going to judge you for it. Dressing up in costumes is definitely one of the main reasons why I love Halloween so much. But often in the past, the costumes I would choose wouldn’t be that comfortable or warm. Living in New York, wearing a tight, short dress with no sleeves isn’t exactly the warmest option I could have worn. I already knew that getting a typical costume this year wasn’t really an option due to both money and also just the way my health has been. But this in no way is going to stop me from dressing up. So what are my tips for choosing a cute but comfy costume? Well: 

  • Wear a onesie (This is the option I am 95% sure I will be choosing this year. Not only are onesies extremely comfortable and warm, nowadays you can find onesies for every character or theme you can think of! Plus, when Halloween is over, you can still wear your onesie at home which makes it a more practical option and cost effective option) 
  • Don’t wear anything too tight (If your costume is too tight, you will not be comfortable and therefore, you will more than likely not be able to enjoy your Halloween night as much as you should)
  • Choose a costume that is weather appropriate (Again being too cold or too hot can cause you to be uncomfortable which will affect your night. Often with chronic illness, extreme temperature can also cause pain or flare-ups and that’s definitely no fun)
  • Choose a costume you feel comfortable in for long periods of time (Not comfortable=not a fun night)

I have known since Endgame came out that I wanted to be spiderman this year. I haven’t fully decided yet whether I will chose the spiderman onesie as my costume or purchase an actual spiderman bodysuit but either way, I know my whole body will be covered and both options will be much more comfortable than costumes I would have chosen in the past. Dressing up is something I am super excited about this year and can not wait to show you all how my costume comes out!

  1. Listen to Halloween music

Music truly is the best medicine. I would be so lost in this world if I didn’t have music in my life. One of my favorite things to do each holiday season is create a themed music playlist on Spotify to listen to throughout that season. So of course, making a spooky playlist is a must do on my list. Instead of tips for this section, here are just some songs I’ve included on mine to give you an idea. They include:

  • Anything Rocky horror
  • Anything Nightmare before Christmas
  • Thriller
  • Classic Halloween songs (Monster Mash, Spooky Scary Skeletons, I put a spell on you, etc)

Music is a way to express oneself and what better way to express your love for this season than with some spooky music. My go to places to listen to my Halloween playlist is at home when I’m cleaning and any time we are in the car. If you would like me to do a whole post about every song I’ve included on my playlist this year, let me know in the comments below.

  1. Create a gratitude jar

This activity is actually one that I won’t begin until the first of November. I had seen something similar on Pinterest and thought, with everything that has happened this year, creating a gratitude journal is exactly what I could use right about now. So basically, every day leading up to Thanksgiving after November 1st, I will write down one thing that I am thankful for. Than, on Thanksgiving night, I will open up my jar and read all the things I wrote. It’s very easy when you live with chronic and/or mental illness to lose sight of all the good things in your life. But even on our worst days, there are always things to be thankful for. Some tips I have for this include:

  • Decorating your jar (You can choose to decorate it for Fall or any other way you would like)
  • Choose bright colored paper (Bright colors just ignite more joy than plain white)
  • Really think about what your thankful for (Nothing is too little)

By creating this gratitude jar, I will be reminded of how lucky I am during a season where nature even shows us how beautiful it is to be alive.

So there you have it, the first 7 things on my Fall 2019 bucket list that require low energy. I hope you enjoyed this post and if you did, please hit that like button! If you want to see more, especially the next 2 parts of this series, please give me a follow that way you know when my posts go up. 

Alright, until next time my darlings,

Kaylee D’Ascanio ❤

8 work desk/home desk essentials!

pexels-photo-1020323.jpegHey everyone! Recently my current supervisor informed me that she wanted to hire me as a temporary program assistant for the summer! I got to be a temp. last summer and during the fall semester but once the spring semester started and student accounts officially combined with financial aid, I was forced to return to working as a student worker. Up until a few weeks ago, I was getting very upset at the thought of having to leave this job since my college career at DCC would come to an end in May and I could not work past June 30th as a student worker. Since this is the only job I have known since starting back in 2014, knowing it was ending was not only scary but sad because I have become so close to my co-workers. This is why when my supervisor informed me they wanted me to be a temp. again this summer, I couldn’t believe it! Normally they wouldn’t need a temporary employee but due to the one director having personal issues going on in her life that are keeping her from her work and my supervisor going out on maternity leave, they need someone there to help out the third director. However, once my supervisor also learned that the woman who handles residency paperwork was leaving to go to another office, I was also given the job duties she had and would serve as the temporary residency person until someone new could be officially hired. Which brings me to the whole point of this blog post. Since I am now a new position, I got to move my current cubicle to a much bigger cubicle! While moving everything today and organizing my belongings, I thought it would be fun to share with all of you the 8 essential things I believe you should have on your work desk/cubicle. Don’t have a work desk/cubicle? No problem! These essential things can also work on your desk at home or just in your room in general! So if you would like to learn more, keep on reading! 🙂

 

  1. A big wall calendar that has the boxes with the dates big enough to write in as well as cross off.

I don’t know why, but there is something so satisfying at the end of the work day about crossing off today’s date on my calendar. Having a big monthly calendar in front of me allows me to see exactly what I have going on that month, including any meetings or assignment due dates that I need to get done. It also has any appointments I may have that month as well as special events and birthdays. It’s a great way to just keep organized and be sure you won’t forget something very important. I also make sure to color code each of the events on my calendar but more on that later.

 

  1. A 365 day desk calendar

Okay, I know you are all probably saying, why do you need a wall calendar and a desk one. You don’t need both but my desk calendar is more my enjoyment calendar. What I mean by that is since I wanted a wall calendar big enough to cross off dates, I couldn’t get a fancy or cute calendar with pictures like I have in my room due to the small amount of space I have available on my cubicle walls. Instead, my desk calendar provides me with a new picture every single day and is small enough that it fits perfect next to one of my computer monitors. In my case, I have a 365 day dogs of instagram calendar and it always puts a smile on my face seeing the cute dog of the day first thing when I come in. A desk calendar is also great because they make them for literally anything, meaning you can have 365 days of animals, Disney, cars, and really whatever makes you smile on your desk. I love it because even on my most stressful days, looking at my calendar helps put a smile on my face and really that’s a great thing when it comes to a rough day at work.

 

  1. Hand sanitizer, preferably in a cute case.

Hand sanitizer is something you should have in your purse, in your bag, and especially on your desk. Especially with cold and flu season, having hand sanitizer on your desk helps to keep you healthy. What’s even better is Bath and Body works (not a sponsor) always has these adorable hand sanitizer stands for your desk. Just helps to make something as simple as hand sanitizer become a pretty decoration near your computer and something that may also bring a smile to your face even on your worst days.

 

  1. Colorful pens

As most of you know, I am a very colorful person so having just boring blue and black ink pens on my desk just wouldn’t be me. Instead, I have pens with pink, purple, light blue, red, and green ink displayed in a nice pen cup on my desk. Not only does writing in colors bring a smile to my face but it also helps me to color code my wall calendar. For example, things written in red are important due dates, deadlines or appointments. Stuff written in light blue have to do with my wedding and wedding planning and anything written in purple or pink are other events that I have going on that month. It not only makes my wall calendar look pretty, it also makes it easier for me to distinguish what events I have going on what days with one quick glance.

 

  1. Post-it notes

In my job, it is an essential to have a ton of post-it notes on your desk. We basically use post-it notes for everything and if I had to guess, I would say I use about 10-12 post-it notes a day. Not to mention all of the post-it notes I have on my cubicle walls with little notes on them that have to do with work, such as phone numbers, extensions, emails and other important information.

 

  1. Hanging file folders

This is something that I just recently got to have in my new space and I already love them! They easily hang on the back wall of my cubicle and make it super easy for me to organize and grab any residency paperwork I may need. Instead of having to reach down, open my drawer and pull them out, I simply have to just spin my chair around and grab whichever folder I need. Being organized is very important to me and now having these folders will make doing that much easier!

 

  1. Pictures of loved ones

I feel like this is a given but no desk, cubicle, or home office area would be complete without a picture or two of your loved ones. At my old cubicle I only had room for one picture of me and Tom but now at this new cubicle, I plan to have pictures up of my pets and family as well. Just another thing you can look at for a smile when work makes you feel like you want to tear your hair out.

 

  1. Cell phone stand

I’m one of the lucky ones who is allowed to have her cell phone out at my job. As long as I am answering the phones and doing the work I need to get done, I am allowed to have my cell phone on my desk. This is why many of the workers, including myself, have a small cell phone stand on their desk where they can place their cell phone during the work day. This way, if an important call or text comes through, you can easily see it and be able to respond to it. I also find by having my cell phone on this stand, I’m less likely to just pick up my cell phone for no reason which helps to keep me focused on the work in front of me. I find this helps a lot at home when I am trying to get homework done as well.

 

So there you have it, my top 8 essentials to have at your desk. Of course you also need pens, paper, notebooks, maybe binders and other normal office supplies but these 8 are ones that I feel are sort of unique but have helped me a lot at work. What is one thing you must have at your work desk? Answer in the comments below, I would love to see what you all have to say! Thanks again for reading, I hope you all enjoyed this post!

 

Until next time my darlings,

Kaylee D. ❤

 

Simple date night dinner recipe idea

Hello my darlings! I hope you all had a wonderful week! Since my grandma works on Friday nights, that is usually Tom and my at home date nights since we have the whole house to ourselves for a few hours. Normally, Tom and I will cook dinner together but tonight I decided I wanted to make dinner for him all on my own. Now let me just inform you guys that I have never made dinner completely by myself before so to say I was nervous about it is an understatement. Still, 6 months from tomorrow I will officially be a wife so cooking dinner on my own for my family is something I need to be able to do so why not start now! Well, I am happy to report not only was dinner completely edible, it was actually delicious and I didn’t burn the house down! Tom even said that the baked potatoes I made were the best he has ever eaten! So for tonight’s blog post, I thought I would inform you all of the dinner I made and how I made it so maybe you can recreate it for your own family one day! 🙂

So to start off, I decided yesterday I wanted to make honey BBQ marinated thin pork chops with baked potatoes and vegetables. I knew we had potatoes and vegetables at my grandmas so I just picked up some pork chops from the store on my way home last night. Now I don’t like the really thick pork chops. Instead, I prefer the thin ones so I picked up just two thin pork chops from my local Tops.

To begin the actual cooking process, I started with the potatoes.

  1. I preheated the oven to 300 degrees F before washing the potatoes. After rinsing them off, I placed them on a baking sheet that I already covered with tinfoil. Once on the sheet, I took my fork and I poked each of my potatoes (four in total) with my fork 5 times. Next, I smothered them with olive oil and salt before placing them in the oven and setting a timer for 30 minutes.
  2. While the potatoes began to bake, I took my pork chops and placed them into a cooking dish. Next, I covered each pork chop with olive oil, salt, and finally the honey BBQ sauce on each side.
  3. After the 30 minutes were up, I placed the pork chops into the oven next to the potatoes. I raised the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and set the kitchen timer for another 30 minutes.
  4. While that cooked, I put the frozen mixed vegetables in a pan and set it near the stove. Once about 20 minutes went by, I put the pan on one of the burners and set it to 6.
  5. Once the timer went off, I took the potatoes out of the oven and slit each one of them open. I then stuffed each potato with butter and shredded cheddar cheese before placing them back into the oven.
  6. Once another 10 minutes went by, I took both the potatoes and the pork out of the oven. I also drained the vegetables before placing each food item on both Tom and my plate. Once I was done, it looked like this! 31404136_1886130448064058_5094390301833822208_o

And that’s it! Quick, easy and delicious dinner that took about an hour and 15 minutes in total to make. Obviously, you may want to add more BBQ sauce or even use different spices because not everyone has the same taste buds but for me, it was the perfect amount. I know some of you are probably wondering why I feel so accomplished at making such a simple dinner but it’s more the concept that I was able to do it all on my own. For some one with anxiety, being able to cook a full dinner without any help, is a huge accomplishment and one that I really am proud of! I hope you all enjoyed this post and if you do decide to recreate it, let me know how it turns out! I already know this is going to be one of my favorite date night dinners to make but I want to ask all of you, what is your favorite date night dinner? 🙂

Until next time my darlings,

Kaylee D. ❤