yellow dead end sign during day time

How To Survive Your Quarter Life Crisis

From my blog archives with a few updates, DEAD END DREAMS was originally posted on September 23rd, 2016. Originally dedicated to my brother, but now dedicated to anyone currently going through their quarter life crisis. you got this!

 “I’ve got nothing to show for these dead-end dreams. My heart will ache again, it seems. Cause you’re not in my arms & all I want to do is keep my promises to you.” Dead End Dreams by Man Overboard

A week before I turned 26, I heard this song sitting in the passenger seat of my brother’s car for the first time. My brother & I don’t necessarily have the exact same taste in music, but this song will forever resonate with me as the anthem of my quarter-life crisis. Today, I’m sharing my advice on how to survive your quarter life crisis.

Growing up, I imagined that I would be so much further along in my life by the time I was 25. I thought I’d be married, ready to start a family, with a thriving career. Instead, I still held the same bank teller job that I got right after graduating from college, & I had just broken up with my boyfriend of one year. It was the absolute lowest point of my existence.

Every day, I felt anxious & panicked, & I’d constantly berate myself with questions: 

  • Why am I still a bank teller?
  • Will I ever find a career that I love?
  • Why did I break up with him?
  • Is what he did to me really THAT BIG of a deal-breaker? 

Instead of enjoying the career opportunities that still awaited me and celebrating my new freedom as a young single woman, I was left frozen, questioning whether or not I was good enough. I felt absolutely worthless and pathetic. Up until this point in time, my life was a series of joyous accomplishments. I lived each day with optimism and positivity. I’d set goals, crush them, and make new ones. As someone who grew up so idealistically driven, it was only a matter of time before the reality of the economy and workforce I had been thrown into would catch up to me. It was the first time I had ever genuinely felt depressed about where I was in my life.  

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

If you’re experiencing your quarter-life crisis right now, the key thing to remember is: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Experiencing a quarter of a life crisis is inevitable nowadays. I went through it. My family & close friends of mine went through it. I even know others who are going through it right now.

TALK ABOUT IT

Most of the happiest and successful people I know have had their own quarter-life crisis stories to tell, which leads me to my next piece of advice: TALK ABOUT IT. I personally LOVE stories! Talk to your friends, family, a therapist, or even random strangers from all walks of life. Everyone you meet has a unique story to tell, & I enjoy hearing the experiences of other people’s lives whenever the opportunity arises. What was your childhood like?How did you become the person you are today? What inspires you? What do you want to achieve in your lifetime? 

You may not be where you want to be right now, but talking to people who have been in a similar situation can help a lot. You never know whose story may inspire you or lead you to your next venture. The way I see it is things tend to balance themselves out over time.

THIS IS TEMPORARY

You can only pull an arrow back so far before it has to be released and launched, which brings me to my next point: THIS IS TEMPORARY.
Once I accepted that my situation was only temporary, I focused on strengthening my emotional intelligence. I became more self-aware of how I dealt with my emotions, & I did my best to empathetically and judiciously weigh my decisions involving others. I wanted to understand why I felt the way I did, and I wanted to accept them as they were, without letting them control me. 

 As long as you keep moving forward, new opportunities will present themselves in time. You don’t have to have everything figured out right now. Believe me. I sure didn’t have anything planned out the way I wanted it to happen. But with time & deciding to live mindfully and enjoying my life exactly as it was. 

EMBRACE WHO & WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY

When I was 25, I started my YouTube Channel, created this blog, & found an amazing job in the Beauty Industry. The next steps you take in life will reveal themselves in time. The lyrics of “Dead End Dreams” still resonate with me to this day, but they have a different meaning now than they did when I was 25. I want to keep dreaming, even if I have nothing to show for it. I’m not afraid of getting my heartbroken, because I’m strong & I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. I want to keep my promises to everyone that I love, especially the promises I’ve made to the person I love most, MYSELF

XO Denise

golden gate bridge san francisco

Daily Positive Affirmations

From my blog archives with a few updates, FOR EVERY NEGATIVE THERE IS A POSITIVE was originally posted on September 13th, 2016.

While I try to portray myself as positively as I can, I’m human & prone to pessimistic thoughts. From psychology, I learned that it’s a common symptom of emotionally intelligent people. I overthink things & list out every possible pro & con before making any final decisions. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it makes certain aspects of my career & building interpersonal relationships difficult. I usually find myself teetering at the edge before making the final necessary leap, & that’s why I wanted to share my daily positive affirmations.

Growing up, success came very easily to me. I usually always thrive with plenty of others cheering me on. Now as an adult, that’s not always the case. There are people who will enter your life with their own agenda, & I unfortunately found out the hard way that the more you look outward for approval & validation from others, the more unhappy & lonely you become. Through failure, rejection, & toxic relationships, I’ve grown to love myself & build myself up more than anyone else possibly could. 

Before conquering the world each day, I look at myself in the mirror while I’m getting ready, & I tell myself the following positive affirmations:

I am brilliant, bright, & beautiful.

Brilliant & bright have several connotative & denotative meanings. All of which I’m proud to be. I am radiant, clever, & I shine in the spotlight. To me, true beauty encompasses your mind, & this is why I choose to use these words together. 

I forgive those who have harmed me in the past & peacefully detach myself from them. 

In the past, I held onto the pain & frustration caused by others for far too long. It’s weird how you want to hold onto the shattered remains of what once made you happy, because it’s all you have left. Rejection & heartbreak will change you. It takes a huge toll on your ego, but once you come to terms with the truth & redirect yourself back on the right path, you gain clarity. 

You have no control over the actions of others, but you do have control over how you react, how you take an unfortunate situation, & how you learn from it. I actively remind myself to forgive those who have hurt me. I don’t want to let the decisions of others affect my happiness. If they don’t appreciate my presence, it’s in my best interest to let go.

I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.

Building a successful career has always been important to me. I know that I have to work my way to the top, & I know my journey will be unique. When I’m in boss mode at the office, I channel my talents & confidence to make my presence known & lean in at every Zoom meeting. 

Creative energy surges through me for new & brilliant ideas.

I need to stay creative at work as well as when I’m creating new content here on my blog and on my YouTube channel. Sometimes I feel like I’ve completely depleted my creative juices, so I like to remind myself to stay inspired. 

I am blessed with an incredible family & wonderful friends.

This one is self-explanatory. 🙂 

I acknowledge my own self-worth. My confidence is soaring.

How I perceive myself is more important than how others do. I’m not afraid to walk away from people who don’t appreciate my presence. I’m good enough exactly as I am, & I don’t need to prove that to anyone. 

Happiness is a choice. I base my happiness on my own accomplishments & the blessings I’ve been given.

Some days are harder to be happy than others, & that’s expected. When I force myself to think about how far I’ve come on my journey & how my life is filled with amazing people and experiences, it’s easy to choose to be happy every day. 

My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless. My potential to succeed is infinite. 

There’s always going to be bumps along the road, but I know I can handle them all. Whatever life throws my way, I’m ready & I’m willing to take it on. 

If you’ve never used daily positive affirmations before, I recommend you start immediately, especially if you’re lacking in self-love. It seemed weird for me at first, but I find that the more I recognize the greatness within myself, the more I’m able to love myself & openly share love & kindness to those around me. When I’m having a bad morning or if I’m running late, this morning ritual is invaluable. You don’t have to feel unhappy & alone. You can choose to be happy. We’re all worthy of love and happiness, & I refuse to let anyone feel the way I once did. I only hope that the love I have for myself inspires others to love themselves as well. 

XO Denise

down angle photography of red clouds and blue sky

Healing Childhood Wounds

A common conversations among my siblings & I is: “How do you think our lives would be different if we didn’t have loving & supportive parents?” I am incredibly blessed & grateful to have two amazing parents who gave me the best childhood. It’s common knowledge that your upbringing affects your behavior & habits as an adult. That’s why healing childhood wounds is so important.

Our brains are wired to choose romantic partners based on how you were treated by your parents or primary caregivers. Because of this, we tend to attract partners who possess similar qualities as our parents. So unless we proactively choose to avoid toxic traits & heal our childhood wounds, generational trauma is destined to repeat itself.

Identify Your Childhood Wounds

In my blog post about emotional triggers, I explain my fear of abandonment. I’m happy to share that I’m not afraid of abandonment or losing people that I love anymore. But know that it is important to recognize that the things that happened to you as a child can be carried into adulthood if you don’t take the time needed to heal that trauma. 

In another blog post, I highlighted trauma bonding & all the ways you can recognize if you’re trauma bonded to someone. If your parents wanted to control your every move, you may seek a life partner who behaves the same way. If your parents put you on a pedestal, as a shiny trophy, for everyone to envy. You may seek a romantic partner who does the same.

If your current relationship reminds you of the relationship you have with your parents, take it as a red flag. Does your partner want what’s best for you, or do they actually want what will work best for them? 

Don’t ever spread yourself too thin for someone who doesn’t consider your well-being in addition to their own. Are you just choosing love based on what your parents taught you love was?

Treat Others How You Want To Be Treated

Growing up, my friends loved to tease me about how I had a “perfect family”. As a child, I was embarrassed, but now as an adult, I can recognize that they were honestly jealous. Instead of thinking that I’m not normal for not constantly fighting with my parents & siblings, I’m proud to say that I love my parents & my siblings are my best friends, because it’s a huge factor of who I am

My parents are never hypocritical. My siblings & I respect our parents, because they respect us. We love & trust each other unconditionally, and we set boundaries as needed. 

My father never yells at me or my siblings. When we do something bad or get in trouble, he speaks to us calmly, expresses his disappointment, talks through how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Because of how my parents raised me, I don’t tolerate disrespect. My time & attention is valuable. I firmly set my boundaries, & I’m not afraid to stand up for myself, without needing to yell, curse, berate, or humiliate another person.

Because of my upbringing, I’ve never said I love you & not meant it. I’ve never insincerely sweet-talked or manipulated someone to get what I want from them. To be loved by me is to be given complete freedom & trust. Your behavior when I’m with you or even importantly, when I’m not around, will tell me everything that I need to know about your level of care & respect of me.

Take the Time & Get the Help You Need to Heal

Once you’re able to identify what you need to heal & proactively try to be a better person, take the time to heal. Depending on your level of trauma, you may even want to get professional help. Through my blog, I’ve reflected on a lot of my childhood, & it’s helped me tremendously. By healing my childhood wounds, I know who I am, & I know how I deserve & want to be loved.

XO Denise

white ipad on the table near small clear glass jars

What I Learned In My Twenties

From my blog archives with a few new edits, I originally wrote this on December 26th, 2016. Enjoy!

I woke up this morning as I do any other day. Sleepily rising from my bed & wiping my eyes, as I unrolled my pink yoga mat & laid it out on the floor. Sun Salutations (Surya Namaskara) followed by 20 minutes of meditation allows me to set my intentions for the day, feel at one with the universe, & just fills me with positive vibes overall. But as I eased out of my meditative state, reality struck me. It is exactly one week until my 30th birthday!

I’ll be in Vegas on January 2nd, probably drunk & filled with all you can eat sushi. It feels as if it was just yesterday that I was blogging about being 29 & doing things that scare me. This year has been a whirlwind of adventure & immense personal growth. I am so happy to say that I am nothing like my insecure, overly-cautious, early 20-something-year-old self.

In this past decade, I started my own YouTube channel, blog, & built my own personal brand from the ground up across many social media platforms. I’ve also entered into a career in the Beauty Industry, which I never thought I’d do.

If you’re in your early or mid-20s, struggling with finding yourself & forging your own path, don’t worry – I’ve been there too. I’ve learned that the universe tends to unfold as it should, so there’s no use in getting too anxious or worried about what your future will hold. Stay positive, keep moving forward, & never give up hope! If you still don’t believe me, here’s a list of the most important things I’ve learned in my 20s in no particular order.

WE ALL DESERVE TO BE HEARD WITHOUT JUDGEMENT. 

At an early age, my dad instilled the importance of developing my arguments. During family dinners, we would discuss various topics, & I’d only be allowed to participate in the discussion if I was able to provide reasoning for my beliefs & be open to hearing the opposing point of view. I’ve learned that the common phrase “everyone is entitled to their opinion” has become shorthand for “I can say or do anything I want.” This is often why 20-somethings engage in unnecessary arguments ultimately leaving opponents unable to reconcile. Even if you disagree with someone, you should only be entitled to your opinion if you can back it up with good reason.

YOU DON’T NEED TO EXPLAIN YOUR DECISIONS TO ANYONE. 

Don’t be afraid to forge your own path. Not everyone will understand the choices that you make, but they don’t have to. It’s your life, & you’re the only one in charge of your happiness. Don’t ever feel guilty for doing what you think will be best for you. And even if others continue to dissuade you,  you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes. (Don’t let anyone hold your mistakes over your head either!) Be willing to fail early & often. It’s better to take risks while you’re still young.

BE YOU. 

Be unapologetic of who you are, because, at the end of the day, you’ll be happier. You should never feel the need to hide any parts of yourself. What works for one person won’t necessarily work for you. So don’t try to force it if it doesn’t feel right. Be genuine & authentic. The right people will still be around & like you for who you are.

APOLOGIZE AND FORGIVE. 

Holding onto our past mistakes causes a lot of unnecessary turmoil. I’ve learned that holding onto these negative emotions only makes you complacent and petty. Don’t be afraid to apologize to anyone you’ve hurt & forgive anyone who has hurt you. Letting go & taking the high road allows you to grow & become a better person.

TRAVELING IS THE QUICKEST WAY TO REALIZE HOW INSIGNIFICANT YOUR PROBLEMS ARE. 

The life you lead is minuscule in the grand scheme of things. In France, I saw miles of Syrian refugees with nowhere to call home. It made not being able to afford to buy my own home before turning 30 pretty trivial. With so much pain & suffering in the world, be grateful for what you have.

I’ve learned & grown so much in this past decade. I can’t wait to see what my 30s have in store for me. Whether you’re in your early, mid, or late twenties, what are the most valuable things you’ve learned?

XO Denise

a romantic setting in the bathroom

My Secret To Having a Productive Week

“A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.”

Since my life has gotten so busy, I always make sure to block out time for Sunday self-care. If you lead a busy life, I hope that sharing my self-care Sunday routine will help remind you to take time out for yourself when you need it. It’s my secret to having a productive week!

Prayer

After walking & feeding my pug, Pogi, I start every morning by praying. But on Sundays especially, I make sure to thank God for everything I’ve been blessed with & for guiding me through another week. I then say my Catholic prayers: Our Father, Hail Mary, & Glory Be, because prayer keeps me grounded & humble.

Breakfast

Next, I enjoy a delicious breakfast. I’ve mentioned before that breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. Whether it’s actual breakfast or brunch, I usually cook myself something delicious, such as a veggie egg scramble or a spinach, mushroom, & feta wrap with a side of fruit. Last Sunday, I had blueberry waffles with bacon, along with a cup of coffee & a small glass of Simply orange with pineapple juice.

Spiritual Cleansing

The proverb “cleanliness is close to godliness” resonates with me 100%. On Sundays, I like to run my iRobot Roomba, do my laundry, & deep clean my apartment. I hate clutter & mess, so I like to start my week with a clean home. Once my apartment is dirt & germ-free, I spiritually cleanse & raise the loving vibrations within my home with my Camaya Healing sprays.

Next, I will clean & pamper myself. First, I take a shower. I shampoo & condition my hair with OGX coconut curls then apply a deep conditioning hair mask. I wash my body with my cleansing gloves & body wash. I’ll also do a body scrub, if needed. Then, before getting out of the shower, I give my bathtub a good scrub too.

Upon getting out, I pull my tub stop up, then I start drawing a bath. Depending on my mood, I’ll do a lavender bubble bath, a LUSH bath bomb, or a LUSH bubble bar. While my bathtub is filling up, I whiten my teeth with activated charcoal. Then, I’ll wipe down my sink & mirror, because it gets everywhere. I also wash my face with Biore pore unclogging scrub & apply Simple micellar water.

Then, I keep my hair up in a Kitsch towel scrunchie or an after spa hair towel wrap, light a few candles, & find a sound bath from YouTube to listen to while I relax in the bathtub. Before getting in the tub, I also put on either an under-eye mask, a sheet mask, or a mud mask on my face. Once I’m done with my bath after about 20 – 30 minutes later, I drain the tub & rinse out my deep conditioning hair mask.

Curly Hair Care Routine

Next is my curly hair care routine. While my curls are still damp, I use an OGX leave-in conditioner & It’s a 10 Haircare Lite Leave-In. Then, I scrunch curl cream into my hair. I’ll either use a diffuser, or I air dry my hair & slowly let my curls come to life!

My Skincare

Once my curls are all set, I move onto my skin next. I already washed my face in the shower, applied micellar water, & did a mask. To keep my skin glowing & well-moisturized, I always put lotion on my body after showering. Next, I apply eye cream, retinol serum, & moisturizer. I love letting my skin soak in all the products. It’s what gives me my youthful glow!

Planning

Up next is prepping & planning my week using my Happy Planner, colorful felt-tip pens, & stickers. To me, there’s something magical & special about physically writing down your goals & plans for the week. It makes each goal feel like a firm commitment, rather than just a thought at the back of my mind that I might get done. In my planner, I record everything that I’m doing that week & set goals for myself in 3 main categories: Health/Wellness, Career, & Personal

Health/Wellness
  • Workout (4x)
  • Meditate
  • Pray
  • Drink lots of water!
  • Nourish your body
  • Floss, flouride rinse, & charcoal!
Career
  • Project ABC
  • Project XYZ
  • Meeting Prep
  • 1:1 Prep
  • Etc.
Personal
  • Groceries
  • Laundry
  • XO Denise Joyce
    • Film
    • Edit
    • Write
    • Schedule content

Watching Feel-good Movies & Baking

I wrap up my Sunday evening by streaming one of my favorite feel-good movies (Shrek, UP, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, Mean Girls, etc.) on Disney+, Hulu, or Netflix & baking. I love enjoying dessert on Sundays. And I feel like I deserve my dessert even more if I take the time to bake the tasty treats myself. lol

I bake banana bread, cupcakes, muffins, peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, or I can even prepare a no-bake cheesecake. Since all of my recipes are made with love, it’s a fun & very relaxing way to wrap up my day.

Again, I love the quote “A Sunday well spent brings a week of content.” Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week because I spend the day pampering myself & enjoying everything that I love. That’s my secret to having a productive week. Do you have a Self-Care Sunday routine? What are some of your favorite ways to enjoy your Sunday? Please feel free to share in a comment below.

XO Denise

round shaped clock hanging on wall above wooden cabinet

Complacency is Dangerous

From my blog archives with a few new edits, I originally wrote this on March 8th, 2017. Enjoy!

“For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Once upon a time, I was a miserable bank teller. For three years, I put on a fake smile to engage in meaningless small talk with customers while handling their money. I woke up each morning desperately hoping for a change of pace & a new opportunity to present itself. Just as I was about to give up hope, I decided to change my mindset instead. Because there’s no point in waiting for new opportunities, when we can create them ourselves. This is how I learned that complacency is dangerous.

Complacency is Dangerous 

It’s easy to get lost in your day to day routine. Don’t settle for a life that is comfortable but not fulfilling. It’s in the moments that we actively choose to take risks that allow us to grow. Perusing through YouTube in May 2011, I stumbled across the Beauty Vlogger Community & decided to start my own YouTube channel. Through something as simple as watching YouTube videos, a new fire started within my soul. I knew I could start a successful channel, if I just decide to be brave enough to go for it. 

My passion to learn more about all things Beauty grew exponentially in a matter of days. Strangers have the power within them to positively affect the lives of other individuals that intrigued and inspired me to follow in their footsteps. I suddenly had a new outlet to express myself, while receiving endless amounts of love and support from viewers that have never even met me in person. Though I don’t upload as often as I once did, my decision to put myself out there and risk ridicule, judgement, and criticism was the greatest decision I’ve made thus far. I still get reminders from my subscribers, friends, & family to start filming videos again. 

From taking that first risk, I’ve learned that each decision you make in life is essential to your story. There are small victories in each and every day. Whether opportunity presents itself or you create your own opportunity, be aware and grateful for it. Three years into my career in the Beauty industry, working for IPSY, I can honestly say that I love my job. I was actually given the day off by my CEO & other female leaders within the company for International Women’s Day, which inspired this blog post. 

Do you think complacency is dangerous?

I challenge you to take a good look at where you are in your life, & if you’re unsatisfied with it, I hope you find the courage within you to make the necessary changes to create a fulfilling, happy life, because you deserve it. Love yourself enough to take risks and live fearlessly. 

XO Denise