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build your bliss

Wait, did I already miss an entire month of blogging? Oops…

I’m going to jump right out and say that I [undoubtedly] chose the most inopportune time ever to start up here again. Did you expect anything less?

Moving back to LA has been a whirlwind of excitement, anxiety, thrill, fear, joy, sadness, and everything in-between. I should have known it would be but, honestly, it all happened extremely fast and I didn’t have a chance to sit down and mentally prepare myself for it. But you know, I’m going to call that a blessing…if I’d had time to process and prepare for it all, I probably wouldn’t be here today.

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All that being said, I’m ecstatic to be back in this crazy city and thankful that I’m rediscovering a part of me that was left behind. And I apologize that I wasn’t more diligent about documenting the journey.

I’ve just come to terms with the fact that blogging as an adult is TOUGH unless it’s a source of income. Juggling a full-time job plus freelance editorial work plus a long-distance relationship plus a social life plus blogging takes a LOT of organization and dedication. Could I put blogging higher on the priority list? Sure. But frankly, it isn’t my number #1 priority.

At one point in time, all I wanted was to be a “well-known” blogger. I spent countless hours in front of my computer screen – writing posts, following/commenting on other blogs, researching blog-growth techniques, snapping pictures of my entire life – my world revolved around it. And you know what? It’s just not that important to me anymore. I’ve tried to convince myself that it is, hence me starting and stopping over and over again, but there are so many other things I find more rewarding.

After a 50hr work week, the last thing I want to do on my day off is stay holed-up in the house by my computer. I want to be out doing things and meeting people. I want to work on a side project or start the book I’ve been saying I want to write for years. I want to cherish every moment with my boyfriend, family, friends, puppy, etc. I want to embrace every moment of every day and live. 

I’ll still be around to post whenever I feel so inclined…maybe once a week, maybe once a month…who knows. I would LOVE if you all stay subscribed to check-in whenever that is but, if you don’t, no hard feelings. The blogging community will always hold a special place in my heart.

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Here’s to a full, busy, beautiful life…

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Based on my life experience thus far, the best way I can explain being in your 20s is that it’s like riding a ferris wheel. You get on, expecting a leisurely ride and killer views, but quickly discover that your seat won’t stop swinging, you feel dizzy and nauseas every time things shift, and you just really want to GET OFF but it takes an eternity to make it around to the other side.

Sooo yeah, your 20s can be rough (ahem, super rough), but at least you’re not alone. None of us are. We’re all on this ferris wheel, anxiously awaiting the bottom and putting our feet back on solid ground…and we WILL get there eventually. But until then, it helps to remember a few key things…

  1. You’re still young. Yes, you’re the oldest you’ve ever been, but nobody expects you to have it all together. It’s okay to still be shifting from job to job, still searching for “the one”, still trying to find your place in the world…it’s okay.
  2. Debt sucks but it’s the reality. Student loans, car payments, credit card bills…they haunt a strikingly large majority of us. You are not alone.
  3. Your parents are proud of you, regardless of where you are in life. They love you.
  4. On that note, embrace your independence but don’t push your parents away. They love you.
  5. You do not, I repeat – DO NOT – have to get married and have children right now. Even though the engagement/wedding/pregnancy facebook posts seem endless (believe me, I get it), there’s no rush. Take time to be alone and learn to love yourself first.
  6. That being said, if you’ve found “the one” and marriage/children/etc. are what you want, don’t let anyone hold you back.
  7. It’s okay to lose (& gain) friends right now. Find people you can trust and hold them tight.
  8. Trust your intuition. If something feels right, go for it. If it doesn’t, don’t. That simple.
  9. Surround yourself with positive, motivating, uplifting people. They will influence you.
  10. Be positive, motivating, and uplifting. You will influence others.
  11. Read books. Lots of books. Self-help books, if you’re into that sort of thing. Keep learning.
  12. Try new things and go on adventures. Lots of them. Those are what you’ll remember forever.
  13. Don’t give up. Work hard for the life you want. Your journey will be far from linear but, if you keep your dreams in sight (and in perspective), you’ll get there. Believe that.

Cheers to being 20-somethings…screen-shot-2016-07-16-at-2-27-48-pm

 

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I’ve missed you! No really, I have. I’ve contemplated returning to blogging roughly 53829472 times over the past year (& actually started a new blog at one point which I never made public, ha!). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to return here or start fresh and that uncertainty led me to procrastinate blogging at all for months. Oops. But after much contemplation, I decided to revive Build Your Bliss and continue on with my new lifestyle, struggles, triumphs, and excitement for life.

So here we are…

To save you from reading 365 days worth of happenings, I’ll just give you a few bullet points:

  • I’m still dating my wonderful boyfriend and couldn’t be happier (see here)
  • My “amazing” job did not work out as planned…be careful who you work for, people
  • Bentley has grown from 3 pounds to 7 and is still the cutest thing I’ve ever laid eyes on (biased)
  • I’ve continued to work out & eat healthy(ish) but my life FAR from revolves around it
  • I’m moving back to LA in 4 days! 

Yep, you read that right. 4 days. [cue all of my anxiety…]

My decision to move came about fairly suddenly which, in all honesty, makes it more overwhelming but also very exciting. I’m a firm believer that if you open yourself up to opportunities, they’ll work out when the time is right…and that’s exactly what happened with this move. A job, an opportunity with the magazine I used to work for, and a perfect place to live all presented themselves within a matter of 30 days– if that’s not fate, I don’t know what is.

And that’s where this chapter of the blog is going to begin, folks! With my move, the return to life down in Los Angeles, and the journey of taking on a long-distance relationship (hopefully short-term!) with my boyfriend– terrifying but I also have no doubt that we’ll get through it. ❤

Oh, and since you missed a year’s worth of photos, here’s a few to get you up to speed…

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Here’s to a new journey here on Build Your Bliss…

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After this much time, I bet you never thought you’d see me here again. To be honest, posting has been the last thing on my mind for…well, months. And while I apologize for dropping off the face of the earth, I’m not sorry about where it has landed me.

This blog has served a lot of purposes over the years; an outlet, an escape, and a place to build friendships. It led me to discover how much I love writing and how passionate I am about helping girls around the world discover a life that they are proud to live. But it also held me back from a lot of things. It helped me to justify seclusion, an obsession with controlling every aspect of my life, and my disordered lifestyle itself. It helped me publicly put on a happy face when all I wanted to do was crawl in bed and cry. It was my ultimate excuse.

I look back at old posts, the ones where I’m convinced that I’m “healthy” and “balanced” and am reminded of a lifestyle far from what I portrayed. Sure, I had made progress from the darkest days, but was I healthy and balanced? Hell no.

My life has flip-flopped all over the place for years because I was convinced that the right job or the right lifestyle or the right friend circle would make me happy. Guys, that’s not how it works. No amount of money, no person, and no social popularity can fix the insecurities that live deep within us. We have to face those and deal with them before we can find happiness.

It took me hitting rock bottom mid-2015 to finally turn things around.

I won’t go into the details of that horrible time because it’s not worth discussing.

All that matters is where I’ve ended up.

1915442_10205422462189547_3217571950825871324_nFirst and foremost, I met the love of my life. Some may say that it’s too soon to be sure, but I am. When you know, you know. This man has brought more joy and light into my life than I ever thought imaginable and I will never be able to thank him enough for all that he does for me. IMG_8777Second, I found a job that I genuinely LOVE. It appeared out of thin air when I was jobless and virtually homeless back in November 2015, and it has been one of the best things to ever happen to me. If you feel like you have no where to turn and all hope is lost, trust. God has a way of ensuring that everything works out – usually in a way you never could have imagined. 12294666_10205179036704062_2263463058332434128_nThird, I stopped hating myself. I know that sounds so cliche and ridiculous but it’s true. I stopped pushing away good things because I thought I was unworthy of them, I stopped despising what I saw when I looked in the mirror and I stopped searching for external validation. I started to love myself and the beautiful life I have been given…and that is the most important thing of all.

So will I continue blogging??

To be honest, it’s not in the cards right now. I’m not going to delete this page because I think it serves as a huge representation of my journey, but I won’t be posting on here anymore – at least for the time being. I want to focus on the beautiful life in front of me, not the life hidden within a computer screen. There’s so much to be seen, felt, heard, experienced…and I want to enjoy it, completely.

To all of you who have followed and supported me for the past 3 years, I thank you. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. You all mean more to me than you will ever know. If you ever need to reach me or just want to talk, I am always available at emily.dryden(at)yahoo(dot)com and you can also follow me on instagram @missemmmysue ❤

Here’s to the future…

-Emily

So if you read my last post, you know that I’m currently pumping the brakes on my high-intensity workouts and focusing solely on low-intensity, body weight style training. Over the past 5 days, I have incorporated light yoga and pilates (working on breathing, meditation and stretching rather than strength), walking, and other forms of low-resistance steady-state cardio…and yesterday I did something that I don’t do nearly enough– took a complete rest day.

I feel amazing. 

My body feels healthier and happier than it has in quite some time, my flexibility is slowly but surely coming back and I’m more and more at peace with the idea of low-intensity workouts. Today I wanted to activate my muscles a little more and decided to throw together a variety of body weight exercises with a higher rep range than I ever do. I completed each exercise just one time through and really focused on performing them slowly and with controlled, proper form. Holy burn.

I was honestly surprised by how well this routine worked for me and I plan to continue training like this on a regular basis. Plus, since it requires no equipment, it’s a perfect way to sneak in a little exercise while travelling or on days when getting to the gym just isn’t an option.

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I included brief descriptions of the less-common exercises but feel free to comment below or email me if you still have questions! Mind-Muscle Connection is a huge part of workouts like this– focus on the specific muscle that you’re trying to work and squeeze into it with each rep. Also, move through the list in any order you like…but I wouldn’t recommend doing the wall-sit right after your squats. 😉

I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

Here’s to body love…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

First of all, I just have to say thank you so much to everyone for all of your support on my last few posts. They have been some of the hardest for me to write, but seeing how many of you can relate is absolutely unbelievable. My hope is that, no matter where you are in your journey, my posts can serve as a reminder that you are not alone and you are so, so strong.

Ever since I published my [real] story, I’ve been thinking, praying and writing about what is next for me. How can I continue to implement kindness and self-love into my life on a daily basis? I have come such a long way over the past few years; however, I’m the first to admit that I still struggle. I still have comfort zones that I want to escape and negative thoughts that I want to silence. I still have work to do but who doesn’t? This journey of self-love and peace takes time…for everyone.

This week, exercise has been on my heart and mind a lot.

I’ve been working out consistently for 6, maybe 7, years now. I’ve gone from running long distances, to high intensity circuit-style training, to heavy weight lifting and back again. Over the years, I’ve pretty much tried it all and prided myself on how “hard” I work in the gym. Now that’s great, don’t get me wrong, but my body just isn’t responding anymore…It feels like I’m just working myself to death with no results other than fatigue, extreme soreness and a grumpy attitude. What gives?!

While reflecting over the past few days, I’ve realized that my exercise routine always revolved around “intensity“. How hard could I push myself? How much could I sweat? How sore could I be? Always. Whether I was running, lifting, dancing, whatever, I always pushed myself to my limits. Now that’s great in moderation but consistently for 6+ years? That’s excessive.

Our bodies are fragile. They can be pushed but they also need to be nurtured and loved.

So, it’s time for a change for me.

IMG_7687For the next few weeks, I’m going to focus on low-intensity workouts. I’m going to revisit yoga, pilates, stretching and walking…the types of exercise that I once loved but “haven’t had time for” in years. I’m going to steer clear of pushing my muscles with heavy weights and get moving with body-weight exercises instead. Does that feel totally against the grain for me and contradictory to the “lift heavy” mantra that everyone seems to be preaching right now? Yes. But right now, it’s right for me.

The thought of not having to kill myself in the gym for a few weeks makes me feel anxious…and relieved, which is exactly how I know it’s what I need. I’m breaking down another mental wall that I’ve built up over the years and I’m ecstatic at the thought of what life will be like on the other side.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts and feelings throughout the journey and I encourage you to join me, especially if you have been pushing yourself through intense workouts for a while. Your body does so much for you…it deserves a few weeks of being nurtured, nourished and truly loved.IMG_7591When was the last time you took a break from intense exercise? Favorite low-intensity workouts?

Here’s to healthy changes…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

I kind of hate the word perfect.

But, at the same time, I idolize it. I crave it. I dream of it. I spend half of my time fantasizing about how much “better” life would be if I could finally achieve it and the other half wishing I could destroy the concept all together. It haunts me.

The burning desire for perfection seems to consume some people more than others; though, I think it’s rooted down somewhere in all of us. For me, the dream of a perfect life, perfect body, perfect career, perfect boyfriend, perfect everything managed to take over my mind for longer than I’ve ever been willing to admit. Over the years, many of the times I claimed to have found “freedom” from the burden, I was actually just changing direction to obsess over something else.

Through my experiences, I began to realize that “perfect” was a figment of my imagination.

I starved myself down to my “perfect” dream body and found discomfort and unhappiness.

I dated guys who were tall, ripped, rich a “perfect” and found emptiness and loneliness.

I pursued the “perfect” career that I thought I was destined for and found absolute misery.

It didn’t make any sense. I kept getting all of the things I wanted and still never felt satisfied, let alone happy. The discoveries eventually led to depression. If I wasn’t able to be “perfect” or “the best” at everything I did, what was the point? What could possible be my purpose? Mediocrity?

That’s the problem with perfection. It convinces us that these outward things will brings us bliss. That if we just try a little bit harder, we’ll get there and everything will fall into place.

It doesn’t work that way. 

Perfection doesn’t exist and happiness isn’t found in the world around you. If we ever truly want to discover bliss, we have to let go of those notions and shift the focus to the beauty, strength and kindness within ourselves. It’s all in your control.

12096168_10153362854079753_1831635123174899083_nTrust your body. Eat well and move often and you will settle into your happiest weight. Stop looking for the love you think you’ve always wanted. There is someone out there beyond your wildest dreams. Listen to your heart. Allow yourself to fill your days with things that make you joyful. Those are your passions. Don’t be afraid to pursue them.

When the desire for perfection is removed, your mind, body and soul are free to become what they should have always been…and that is far more  remarkable than perfection could ever be.

Here’s to beautiful imperfection…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue