Headbands are by far my most loved accessory. I almost always wear one when I’m working out, but I grab one just as quickly to finish off a top knot…because my hair is curly and anything helps.

Bando-Headband

Last week I added my Ban.do Twist Scarf on a whim because it’s pink (!), and I was in major need of something to brighten my day. I loved pulling a new look together while my hair was down, plus it didn’t hurt at all and cause me to want to take if off right away. In honor of my favorite accessory, I’m rounding up a few of my favorite headbands from across the web:

Accessorize-with-Headbands

For a Night Out: 1. Leather Braided Headband – Loft // 2. Coral Beaded Headband – Loft // 3. Beaded Head Wrap – Nordstrom

For a Classic Daytime Look: 4. Mermaid + Cream Twist Scarf – Ban.do // 5. Glitterati Jumbo Headband – Ban.do // 6. Blush with Gold Triangles & Dots Twist Scarf – Ban.do

For Working Out: 7. Under Armour Settle In Headband – Dick’s Sporting Goods // 8. Under Armour Multi Braided Headband – Dick’s Sporting Goods // 9. Navy & Pink Stripe – Banded

What’s your favorite way to accessorize?

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I’m thrilled to bring back Inspired By today with none other than Jessica Clinch from Simply Jessica Marie. Jessica has a thriving creative business that she started last year after attending Making Things Happen. She began by offering mini canvases and letterpress prints, but it wasn’t until she started offering custom watercolor paintings, cards, and logos that her business truly began to thrive. In addition to SJM, she also is the Lead Planner of Pretty for Amber Housley’s wedding planning division in Nashville. Let’s just say, she’s busy…and has the best title ever!

I adored reading Jessica’s Q&A, which you’ll be able to read below, because I loved hearing how she turned her lifelong passion for painting into a business; when she knows it’s time to step away from her work for a moment; and what she plans to launch next (plus much more)! Jessica is truly one of the kindest creatives I know, and I hope you love getting to know her today on Carly is Inspired:

CarlyisInspired_SimplyJessicaMariePhoto by Reaux Photo

1. Let’s get to know you! Explain a little bit about your background. How did you get to where you are now? Hey y’all! I’m Jessica, the owner and creative designer of Simply Jessica Marie. My shop is my creative outlet for watercolor painting, designing stationery and custom brand design. I have always adored painting. When I was younger, I was the girl who took art lessons instead of going to soccer camp, chose to take painting as my elective in school, and loved creating paintings to decorate my home. It is something that has always been a large part of my life, and always will be! So, last year I decided to turn my passion into a business, and began offering canvas paintings, art prints, and greeting cards. My shop really began to blossom when I started to offer custom paintings, invitations and logos, and I have loved working with so many wonderful clients on a variety of creative projects.

2. What are your favorite ways to stay inspired? Who inspires you? The beauty about inspiration is that it can come from anyone or anything! I can become inspired by reading a book, walking outside, seeing a pattern on a dress, or simply doodling while daydreaming. There are also a multitude of people who inspire me. Other artists and designers like Evelyn Henson, Victoria Austin Designs and Kylie Swanson who are true to their core and create unique products and designs inspire me to continue to be unique each and every day.

 

3. If you’re having a bad moment, how do you turn your day around? Honestly, bad moments often spur from working too frequently. I love my work, and I love every project I work on, but I need to know the limits of my mind and body and when to stop! So, once I come close to the point where I begin to feel frustrated or defeated, I usually step away from my computer or painting, and either call my mom or my boyfriend and simply talk to them. They both know how to bring my focus back to what is important, and keep me level headed, and I am eternally grateful for that!

CarlyisInspired_SimplyJessicaMarie_bridesmaidpaintingCustom Bride & Bridesmaid Wedding Illustration

4. How did you know you had made the right decision to follow your current path? Have you had a favorite moment? I knew I made the right decision when I started offering custom paintings and illustrations, and had a variety of people asking me if I would paint pictures of them and their loved ones for important moments in their lives! Having other people show interest in my work is such an indescribably beautiful feeling. Every time that a client tells me that I exceeded their expectations for their custom piece is my absolute favorite moment! 

5. What’s next for you? What are you most excited about right now? Oh my goodness, so many fun new products! I have a birthday card collection that will be in my shop next week coinciding with the first birthday of my shop, a Fall greeting card collection coming in September, and some products that I wish I could spill the beans about, but need to keep secret for now!

CarlyisInspired_SimplyJessicaMarie_bestfriendtopknotprintBest Friends in Top Knots Art Print

Five Favorites:

1. Song: Ooh, The Dog Days Are Over by Florence & The Machines is a song that always gets me pumped up and wanting to dance around the room!

2. Outfit: My tulle skirt, glittery J.Crew top, gold heels, a bright pink lip and fun cocktail accessories!

3. Quote: “The most wasted of all days is one without laughter”

4. Day of the year: Is it corny to say Christmas? I still love all of the joy that is felt and shared on Christmas, and especially love that I get to be surrounded by family and friends!

5. Ideal way to spend your day: I would wake up early, make a cup of coffee, and begin painting. I would continue painting throughout the entire day, and get lost in my work!

Thank you for offering such thoughtful answers, Jessica! Make sure to keep up with Jessica through her blog, shop, and Instagram! She’s definitely one to follow, and she’s a great source to turn to for custom pieces and cards.

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Summer is my all-time favorite season (anyone else?). I was thinking over the weekend how much time it seems like we all spend waiting for it to arrive only to see it speed by faster than any other season. Fall is pretty, winter is so cold, and the spring means I become allergic to all of nature. So, SUMMER! I’m definitely not ready for this season to come to a close, plus I’ve been loving a number of different things recently. I thought it was high time to share a few of my favorite highlights of summer with you:

Summer-Pink-Bike-with-Flowers

1. Reading: Since I posted this list a few weeks ago, I’ve already breezed through The Vintage Teacup Club (and a short sequel) and Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim. I highly recommend both! Next up is The American Heiress. Reading has become my new go-to whether I’m picking up a book before I go to bed, reading a few pages in the morning, or relaxing outside. Here’s to hoping my reading trend continues!

2. The Bachelor: Hello, Monday night fun! I started watching The Bachelor again last year. When I started, I thought it would be for one episode because I was researching for an article. I’ve now watched two seasons of The Bachelor, two seasons of The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise started last week. Obviously, I’m watching it. These shows might be slightly ridiculous, but my mom and I watch them together (because crazy is better watched with someone). If a show can make me look forward to Mondays, I’m all for it.

3. Lou & Grey: I talked about my love for Lou & Grey a few weeks ago, and the dress I purchased was absolutely worth it. It’s so comfortable, plus it’s a piece I can wear for just about everything  - work, dinner with a friend, weekend wear. I’ll definitely be revisiting this line!

4. Jack Roger’s: I had been admiring them for a few years, and I finally purchased a very classic pair of Jack Rogers. They’ve been in constant rotation ever since I received them! I’m a firm believer in less is more, which is why I’m fully on board with spending a bit more on clothes and shoes I’ll wear over and over again rather than purchasing something less expensive just because it’s less. Buy what you love and less of what you simply like.

5. Farmers Market Flowers: My town has what might be the world’s smallest farmers market every Thursday night, but I decided to stop by earlier this season anyway. I found flowers (shocking…)! Do you know what that means? It means I go back every week to the same stand to purchase a new bouquet. I crave chocolate. And flowers. Always. Plus, they’re $6. #winning

6. Biking: Because the mature thing to do at 25 is purchase a new bike, that’s exactly what I did. I say it’s because I want to cross train, but part of the reality is that I just really wanted one (and I seriously can’t run all the time). It’s hot pink, white, and yellow…with flowers…and a basket. Girly to the max! I’ve learned biking as it’s getting dark is one of summer’s little luxuries.

7. Traveling: I think I will forever associate summer with traveling even though I graduated from college three years ago. This summer, I’ve definitely seen more places than I have in year’s past. Between trips to Charleston, I’ve also been to Asheville, D.C, and Niagara Falls (Canada is so lovely). The funny thing about this year is I wasn’t sure it could top last year, but it definitely has in traveling alone.

What are some of the highlights of your summer? I’d love to hear!

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All of a sudden, it seems like my weeks are getting fuller and fuller. As much as I’m not complaining at all (ever!), I’m realizing the importance of making sure to get outside even more and making time for my little blog. My computer is always present, but the sun only shines for a limited amount of time each day. Plus, I’m so afraid we’re going to having another polar vortex – horrendously cold temperatures, but awesome skiing. A lose-win? Make sure to enjoy the summertime this weekend, friends!! And with that, my favorite links:

1. One Fine Day // The Styled Bride:

Lindsay and Dan's Pomme Wedding by Asya Photography. asyaphotography.com

Photo via The Styled Bride

Susan from The Styled Bride is my favorite Philadelphia based event planner. She’s so fun to work with, plus she plans killer weddings. Lindsay and Dan’s celebration is no different. I love the formal style, and Lindsay’s ‘maids’ are wearing a few of the best neutral gowns with hints of metallic I’ve ever seen. In just a few words: this wedding is stunning.

2. Stephanie Sterjovski:

Stephanie-Sterjovski

Photo via Stephanie Sterjovski

I definitely have a few favorite people to follow on Instagram, and a few blogs I truly look forward to reading each day. Stephanie is always so positive, and her style catches my eye every time. Her blog is much more about photography (her photos are always lovely), plus she is a graphic designer with her own shop. Definitely take a few moments and check out her site. You won’t be disappointed!

3. Dear Girl with a Daydream… // Carly is Inspired:

Dont-Give-Up-on-Your-Daydream

As always, I have to include one of my recent posts. I’m a girl with a serious daydream (I want to combine event planning and styling together with editing), and I’m so determined to make that happen. Over the past several years, I’ve learned the power of never giving up. And I don’t want you to give up either.

4. TOMS Desert Wedge Bootie // Nordstrom:

TOMS-Desert-Bootie

Photo via Nordstrom

I’m so undecided about these booties for fall because while I LOVE TOMS, I don’t wear heels often ever. I keep coming back to them though because they’ll make me taller (I’m 5′ 2″); they’ll go with just about everything, especially jeans; and I’ve stalked them now for over a year. Oh, and I’m a really big fan of boots. So, maybe this is the year that I’ll finally just “add to cart”. Thoughts?

5. Whitney English // The Lively Show:

TheLivelyShowWithWhitneyEnglish

Photo via Jess Lively

You’ve heard me rave about The Lively Show before, and I have to give another shout out today! I listed to Whitney English’s episode from last week twice. It’s not too long (45 minutes), and both Jess and Whitney provided such great insight into failure – how we should look at our failures, why failure can sometimes be great, and what we can learn from each experience.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! What’s everyone up to?

I hope you had a great weekend! Among other highlights, I watched “Frozen” for the first time. So much makes sense to me now. As in, I understand the backstory behind “Let It Go” – the song I think it’s safe to say we’ve all heard about a million times. If you haven’t watched “Frozen”, I highly recommend it. Even if you’re 25 like me, it’s still completely worth a watch (and maybe a re-watch). If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Am I right?

I had planned to publish this post on Friday, but I decided it was a much better post to read as you start off your week. It’s as much of a reminder for me as I hope it’s a call to action for you.

Dont-Give-Up-on-Your-DaydreamPhoto by This Modern Romance; Graphic by Carly is Inspired

The times that I’ve seen the quote “don’t give up on your daydream” might be starting to approach the number of times we’ve all heard “Let It Go”. And I’m not complaining. It’s become one of my favorite things to see and hear because it’s a serious reminder to just.keep.going. Even after spending another night working away until far too late…past the time when it’s really socially acceptable to send an email. Even when you think you’re out of ideas. Or you’ve heard no yet again. Even when you no longer feel motivated and are craving a break more than anything (this is me…a lot – PS: it’s OK to take a break and come back). Keep going.

That thing that you’re daydreaming about – booking your first client, working for yourself full time, landing a job in a field outside of the one you’re working in, going on a dream trip, enter your daydream here – it has worth because you think about it.

So work to achieve it.

That might mean staying up late (or getting up early), saying no to getting together with friends, and following  a really, really, really narrow path.

But if you’ll always wonder “what would have happened if I….?” It’s worth it to spend time each day working towards whatever it is you want to accomplish. In fact, The Everygirl just started a new monthly challenge to spend 20 minutes each day to advance your career. But I think you can translate that into any area of your life.

Take 20 minutes and use it to take a small step towards turning your daydream into your dream day. <– See what I did there? Corny, maybe. But true.

Every late night, no, and moment when you doubt yourself is leading you toward hearing a yes that might take you the path that you want to follow.

Dear Girl with a Daydream, You’ve got this. Follow it. And keep going.

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If you don’t know already, I have a complete obsession with stationery. Anything associated with office supplies is a win in my book, so naturally I am one to fall in love with all of the stationery pieces used at weddings – save-the-dates, invitations, menus, programs…you name it, I love it.

One of my favorite stationery companies is May Designs. There’s nothing quite like their personalized patterned notebooks, plus their customer service team is always so pleasant. When I started seeing hints that there was a new collection in the works, I couldn’t wait for May Designs to debut it! And, debut they did. They just launched a stunning and lovely new collection of Custom Cards.

May-Designs-Custom-Cards-6May-Designs-Custom-Cards-1

Within the new collection, you’ll find Save-the-Dates perfect for weddings (or any large soiree you might be throwing), Just Because cards that are completely appropriate to present to your bridesmaids with a sweet gift, Moving Announcements, and more. I have far too many favorites already, but Inline and Holy Matrimony! catch my eye every time from the Save-the-Date line, and Hello Sunshine and Painted Bars are so pretty and sweet from the Just Because collection.

May-Designs-Custom-Cards-5May-Designs-Custom-Cards-4May-Designs-Custom-Cards-3

Whether you opt to change the colors, choose a different pattern from the dozens of designs available, upload a photo from your engagement session, or even change the shape, you’re able to customize each and every option. An added bonus: these cards are reasonably priced for all of the custom features!

May-Designs-Custom-Cards-8May-Designs-Custom-Cards-7

Huge thanks to May Designs for providing all of these photos, and congratulations on the launch of a new collection! Brides-to-be (and fellow stationery fans), this is a collection not to be missed, plus you can pick up a Wedding Diary to use while you plan!

Tell me: what’s your favorite design from the new May Designs Custom Cards collection?

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If you happened to see this post, you’ll know that LOFT is one of my go-to places for affordable, yet still completely pretty and lovely fashion finds. I’ve been really interested in their collaboration with Lou & Grey for a while; however, sometimes the pieces tend to be a bit out of my price range. However, this weekend, I happened upon a sale (!!), so I was finally able to purchase possibly the most comfortable dress ever.

Lou & Grey encompasses LOFT’s lounge collection; however, the pieces are completely wearable (think: well beyond sweatpants and tees). The clothes are so comfortable, relaxed, and perfect for layering. Basically, all of my must-have qualities rolled into minimal pretty pieces that I can’t wait to collect and wear.

A few favorites from Lou & Grey’s current collection for LOFT:

Lou-and-Grey-Texture-Stripe-DressLou & Grey Textured Strip Dress

Lou-and-Grey-Striped-Summer-Sweatshirt-TeeLou & Grey Summer Sweatshirt Tee 
Lou-and-Grey-Stitch-SweaterLou & Grey Tile Stitch SweaterLou-and-Grey-Stripe-Tee-DressLou & Grey Stripe Tee Dress (This is the dress I purchased. It’s so comfortable, plus…POCKETS!)Lou-and-Grey-Open-CardiLou & Grey Microstripe Open CardiganLou-and-Grey-Mesa-TeeLou & Grey Mesa TeeLou-and-Grey-Linen-Cardi-JacketLou & Grey Linen Cardi JacketLou-and-Grey-Grey-Stripe-Mix-DressLou & Grey Stripe Mix Dress
Lou-and-Grey-Lace-RomperLou & Grey Lacy RomperLou-and-Grey-Chambray-DressLou & Grey Striped Chambray Dress

Have you ever purchased one of Lou & Grey’s pieces? I’d love to hear which one(s) you love! PS: Connecticut readers, Lou & Grey just opened a flagship. I see a road trip in my future. :)

I go through phases with reading. Either I’m working my way through one book and then diving headfirst into the next one, or I’m not reading anything other than blogs and articles online. The main thing that should be noted is that I really love to read. Browsing through Barnes & Noble is one of my favorite little luxuries (real books > digital editions), and reading outside during the summer is seriously my favorite.

There are so many books that I should read (ie: the classics), but I’m always drawn to books that are either funny, slightly romantic, or a little bit adventurous. Basically, your classic beach read is what’s typically on the docket. In an effort to continue to stop spending so much time flipping between social media apps and develop an official reading habit, here are five books that are topping my summer reading list. PS: I definitely judge books by their covers (and fonts). Anyone else?

1. The One & Only by Emily Giffin: 

Summer-Reading_List-2014-2

A summary…

Why I want to read it: I’ve read a few of Emily Giffen’s novels before, and I’ve always enjoyed them. This pick though has a lot to do with the fact that it’s a.) set in the south, b.) sounds like a page turner (!), and c.) has a cover that’s caused me to pick it up about three times so far.

2. The Vintage Teacup Club by Vanessa Greene

Summer-Reading_List-2014-5

A summary…

Why I want to read it: There’s a wedding involved (all of the weddings), it’s set in England, and vintage teacups play a main role in the entire plot. It’s basically my dream book.

3. Have a Nice Guilt Trip by Lisa Scottoline & Francesca Serritella

Summer-Reading_List-2014-1

A summary…

Why I want to read it: Lisa Scottoline writes a weekly column for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and my mom and I both love it! Sometimes Francesca will pen the column in lieu of her mom, and her writing is just as poignant and funny. I’ve read both of their other memoir style books, and I always end up laughing out loud. I don’t expect this mother-daughter duo to publish anything less!

4. The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand

Summer-Reading_List-2014-3

A summary…

Why I want to read it: Elin Hilderbrand is one of my favorite authors. Her books definitely lean more in the direction of romance than anything else, but none of her books are completely predictable. I’m always surprised at the twists and turns, and each book I’ve read thus far has quickly turned into one I don’t want to put down.

5. The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

Summer-Reading_List-2014-4

A summary…

Why I want to read it: Similar to The One & Only, this is another book that I’ve picked up numerous times. I’m not a huge history buff, but The American Heiress seems to lean more in the direction of Downton Abby (an obvious hit!) than anything else. So, I’m open minded.

That’s my reading list as it stands right now. Recently, I loved reading I Just Graduated…Now What? by Katherine Schwarzenegger and Uganda Be Kidding Me by Chelsea Handler. I highly recommend both! What are you reading?

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Last weekend was filled with an extended trip to Virginia. My parents and I always visit the same resort in Northern Virginia’s wine country, and I love each and every one of our stays. We stopped at the National Harbor, enjoyed wood-fired pizzas at a restaurant housed inside of a converted train station, saw fireworks, and enjoyed some solid time by the pool. I loved every minute. As much as I love weekends away, I’m looking forward to staying home this weekend as I have another trip planned next weekend! Summer is the best season.

An engagement session that is pure perfection, the sweetest wedding, a monogrammed tee that is my favorite running accessory, a few tips, and a song I cannot stop playing. A few of my favorite links:

1. Monogrammed Anchor Tee // Marley Lilly:

Marley-Lilly-Anchor-Monogram

I love anchors, navy, and hot pink, so there was absolutely no stopping me when I saw this boyfriend tank on Marley Lilly’s Twitter account! Plus, this picture made me laugh because it received so much attention on Instagram.

2. Beach Engagement Session // A Lowcountry Wedding:

Southern-Beach-Engagement-Shoot

Photo via A Lowcountry Wedding

This engagement session is EVERYTHING. The light, the photos, the couple, the beach, each photo is captured in such a lovely way. I’ve been thinking about this session ever since it was first posted.

3. Five Tips for Living with Anxiety // Carly is Inspired:

Five-Tips-for-Anxiety

To each and every one of you who read this post (there’s quite a lot!), THANK YOU. When I first realized I had anxiety and later worked my way through my first panic attack, I never dreamed I would be able to reach a point where I might be able to help someone else. There’s always hope and a light at the end of the tunnel. Please be kind to yourself as you navigate these waters! See all five of my tips here.

4. Second Time Love // Southern Weddings:

southern-wedding-colorful-bouquet

Photo via Southern Weddings

My grandparents are two of my favorite people ever, so whenever I see photos posted of an older couple, I’m always eager to see and read more. I adore these two. They had been friends for years, and when each lost their spouse suddenly, they helped each other through their losses. Their friendship strengthened, and then they realized they were meant to get married! Make sure to hop over to Southern Weddings to see the entire feature!

5. A Sky Full of Stars // Coldplay performed on Ellen:

I cannot stop listening to this song. And I LOVE Ellen. Enough said.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! See back here on Monday!

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I had a completely different post planned for today. I’ve been living in maxi skirts, and I wanted to share a fun roundup of a few that have been catching my eye recently. But the idea for this post keeps coming back to me. When I had half of it already written in my mind while running earlier today, I decided that I needed to publish it. So, again just like this post, I’m writing from my heart with the idea that it might help just one person. I’m not a doctor; however, I’ve dealt with this intensely for over 10 years.

I have anxiety and am prone to the (occasional) panic attack.

Without fully realizing it, I’ve definitely grown and changed since I first started really diving headfirst into how to best deal with anxiety and panic attacks. From my experience, here are five tips to help you take a breath and live, really live, your life even though anxiety and panic attacks may play a part:

Five-Tips-for-AnxietyPhoto via Pinterest // Graphic by Carly is Inspired

1. Find a third party to talk to: Whatever you’re feeling or thinking is far better off said, in my experience, than it is swirling around in your mind. So, find a third party who will listen completely to any and everything you need to say. The important thing about a third party is that they are a middle man. My mom and I talk about everything together, but sometimes I really need an outside party to weigh in that I don’t talk to and/or see on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Doctors, family members, friends, professors, coworkers – someone you trust is key.

2. Find a hobby (or a few): When I first started really learning about how to best live with anxiety, I learned very quickly that having a hobby meant always having a go to when I felt the need to stay busy. For me, this means fresh air and lots of it. I go for walks, run, ride bikes, read outside – truly anything that will allow me to spend time in the sunshine. Find something that you love, something that will keep your mind occupied that also allows you to have fun. If you are ever panicking, try to get outside. Breathing in fresh air with space around you always helps.

3. Patience is a virtue you really need to have: This may sound strange, but one of the greatest things that was ever said to me is that my anxiety is never going to go away. Instead, I’ll learn how to recognize and solve the problem that is making me anxious much faster over time. For such a long time, I wanted to do whatever it took to make myself into someone that wasn’t anxious. I was frustrated (and let down) that I couldn’t seem to reach that point. But hearing that it wasn’t something that I was failing to do calmed me down completely and changed how I view things. I’m never going to be completely free of anxiety. Certain things will always bother me. But I will (and have!) learn(ed) how to cope and cope quickly. Be patient. You’ll get there.

4. Be kind to yourself: Similar to the above point about being patient, please remember to be kind to yourself. I’ve learned there are so.many.people who have anxiety and panic attacks, but they might not talk about it outright. You’re not alone. Also, don’t force yourself to do things that you know make you upset early on in your journey (or ever, quite honestly). In my case, I try to stay clear of super crowded bars (and other scenarios), articles and books that I know talk about things that will definitely bother me, etc. When anxiety or panic sets in when I do have to do something (ie: flying!) that I know makes me nervous, I remind myself (sometimes out loud if I’m completely by myself) that I am, in fact, OK.

My final tip applies to anyone who lives with anxiety or knows someone who does…

5. Be reassuring: Whether you’re anxious or having a panic attack, always remind yourself in the moment that this, too, shall pass. Talk to someone, write everything down, listen to music that will stop your train of thought and help you to calm down, breathe, find fresh air, drink water. Remind yourself that you will be OK again in a short while. The same is true for a friend who may be witnessing a panic attack. Listen (don’t stop listening!), try to remove her from the situation and step outside, offer water, and try to talk as calmly as possible. PS: Saying “you’re going to be OK” tends to work and sound a bit better than “calm down”. Calm is currently unattainable, but most people will realize that they are going to be OK again once they power through the panic.

While anxiety and panic attacks definitely aren’t fun, I wouldn’t trade either. They’ve taught me strength and bravery, and I feel lucky to have learned so much about myself through my journey. Work through it (because it’s definitely work), and at one point you will hopefully realize that you’re content…and happy. There’s always a light to be found.

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