Our Very Happy Halloween

image1 (8)I can’t believe I am already writing my “Halloween post” again. Years always seem to go by pretty slow to me until the holidays roll around, and then I feel as if I was just celebrating these special days. This year, Derek and I dressed up as the milk man and a 1950’s house wife, I had to take advantage of that bump of mine because who knows if I will ever have another baby bump on Halloween!

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image6 (1).jpegOnce I thought of our perfect costume, I had to figure out where we were going to wear them. Instead of waiting around to get invited to plans or a party, I decided to throw my own! Kallista and I hosted a friend Halloween party last Friday, and it was one of the most fun Halloween celebrations I’ve ever had. We kept things cute, but also spooky. image3 (7)image1 (11)image0 (7)










image2 (9)We had drinks, food, dancing, and of course costumes, and the best part? Most of my favorite people attended.image1 (10) image4 (2)image1 (9)









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image4 (3)image0 (5)image3 (6)I’ve had a lot of friends and family ask me if is it different celebrating the holidays since I am pregnant, or boring since I can’t indulge in my usual celebratory wine. And to be completely honest… no. Being surrounded by loved ones,  good music, and good food, for any type of celebration or holiday, will always be my favorite thing no matter the circumstances. Plus, the party planning part of it all was just another highlight. image10

image6 (2)Other than our Halloween party, the only other celebratory thing we did this month was carve pumpkins with the Birds. Unfortunately I didn’t get photos of our end results, but we took these bump photos and they turned out way cuter than our pumpkins did anyways. Who wore it better? The ladies or the guys? image9image1 (7)image7image8And of course, I decorated our Dursteler abode. Decorating for the holidays is my favorite thing about our home. Plugging in our lights every night and lighting my fall candles day makes our home so cozy! image5 (1).jpegimage4 (1)image3 (3)

image0 (3)I’ve also indulged in way too many pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Being pregnant this year on the holidays is great because I am supposed to be gaining the weight that I’ve put on. And everything tastes better than it ever has. Little babe must know how content my heart is this time of year because she seems pretty happy with all of the cookies and sweets I’ve been shamelessly eating. 😉 image0 (4)image2 (8)Speaking of little babe, it is so weird to me that this holiday season will be our last of just Derek and I (and Harvey) This year is our 10th year of holidays together, so next will obviously feel so much different. I am so excited though! I can’t even comprehend the magic that having a baby, or kids in general, will bring to the best time of the year.image5 (2).jpeg As far as tonight goes, our plans are to order take out and play cards at Ryan and Amber’s, which is a usual week night thing for us. I am glad we have friends who still likes to socialize, but understand the tiredness (and hungriness) that comes with being pregnant. (and dealing with a pregnant wife 😉 ) image0 (6)I wish you all a Happy Halloween!

Onto the next adventure, Wren


Our Magical Night at Rise

image0 (4)At the beginning of this month, Derek and I attended the Rise festival. For those of you who don’t know what this is, it is an annual lantern festival held in the Mojave desert that promotes letting go of the past and setting new intentions for the future. It is a 3 night event with live music, food trucks, and a total of 6 lantern releases. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in or you want more information on it, here is the link:

https://risefestival.com/image1 (9)I’ve been wanting to attend this event for years, especially because it is so close to our home. Derek surprised me with tickets for my birthday back in March and to be honest, after our crazy summer, I totally forgot we were going until we got the “your event is coming up” email. Of course after being reminded, I felt like it was my birthday and got so excited again!image4 (2)image1 (7)

image1 (11)image0 (9)We attended the event Saturday evening/night. We drove down to Vegas that morning, checked into our hotel and ate dinner at a cute little diner. We even made it to 7 magic mountains along the way. I’ve always wanted to visit this spot as well, and even though we’ve passed it probably 100 times, we had never been. Isn’t it funny how we don’t take advantage of all the cool things and landmarks that surround us so close to home? It wasn’t anything too special, but it was cool to see nonetheless.image1 (8)image2 (5)image4 (1)

image2 (6)The event itself was amazing. We had such a fun night together in the desert surrounded by beautiful music, bright stars, no cellphone service, and thousands of like minded people. It was such a peaceful experience and such a nice little break for us to have together.image4 (4)image1 (10)image7image8 (1)









image9Our tickets each came with two lanterns to release. I wrote my absolute favorite things on one, and new intentions I’ve set for myself on the other. Derek wrote things that fill his heart on one, and drew his Aries symbol on his other one. (Since when did I convince him to be so into astrology 😉 )image5 (4)image2 (9)

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image4 (5)The actual lantern release was magical to say the least. I’ve seen plenty of photos and videos of these things, but I was blown away by the beauty of it all. Derek and I were both at a lost of words for a while and I may or may not have even cried. 😉  It was such a beautiful moment that I highly recommend every one experiencing at least once. We’ve already talked about going again next year!image3 (7)image0 (6)image4 (3)image3 (5)We ended the night binge watching cable TV and eating way too much pizza in our hotel bed, slept in the next morning and headed back home. I love all of our extravagant travels and adventures, but something about our short weekend getaways together fill my heart in a way that airports, beautiful beaches, and fancy airbnbs could never.image5 (1)

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image3 (3)Side Note: Since I am on the topic of travel and a lot of people have asked… Yes, we have a couple travel plans before baby comes. We will probably leave for the holidays, and hopefully have one more “vacation” before her arrival. We don’t like the idea of a “baby moon” because we plan to still travel a lot with our future little ones. The main difference being, we’ve both agreed to never leave Harvey again for longer than 2 weeks, so looks like we won’t be gone too long for the next 10ish years. 🙂image6 (2)image5 (3)

And with that, I’ll leave you with the words I wrote to the stars…

Here’s to: Adventure, Change, Memories, Happiness, Growth, Beauty, Gratitude, Love, Feelings, Being aliveimage2 (7)

Onto the next adventures (grand and small), Wren



Lessons I learned From Spending a Summer Abroad- #2

image0 (1)Like I mentioned before, Derek and I both had a lot of growing and life lessons learned while we were away for the summer. I’ll never be able to explain how temporarily leaving reality for a few months changes you, but I try to do my best to give you an idea through my words and these posts.

The second lesson I learned from living in the Dominican Republic this summer was,

Disappointment can not exist without expectations.

This lesson can apply to just about every single thing in life, but after being in charge of a group of 30 volunteers, and listening to constant complaints, this lesson became more apparent to me, and I took it to heart. Since being home, I’ve thought about this certain lesson a lot, and my whole perspective on life and my “problems” have changed.image6While we were in the Dominican Republic, one of our duties as a head teacher was to act as a “counselor” for the volunteers that needed it. This meant to constantly check up on each volunteer, listen to their personal problems, keep it all confidential, and try to help them in the best way we could, so that they would enjoy their experience abroad.

To be honest, I absolutely LOVED this part of my “job”. If you know me personally, you know I am always willing to provide a listening year, a shoulder to cry on, and any advice, even when I know it may not help.

But as I listened to each volunteer talk about the experiences, their complaints, and their expectations, I learned that the volunteers that were struggling the most had very HIGH expectations going into this experience, which led them to feel disappointed, let down, and even depressed. Some of them even went as far as breaking the rules and sending themselves home because this experience was “just different than they thought it would be.” I constantly found myself thinking “well what did you expect?”

image5I am not trying to say that having expectations is a bad thing. I think it’s important to have them when taking an opportunity, forming and connecting relationships, and starting something new. However, like with most things, I think there is a fine line that can be crossed when having too high of expectations can lead to unfulfillment and unhappiness.

After observing this all summer, I started thinking about my own personal expectations and exactly where they are with the things in my life. My own experience abroad, my marriage, my relationships with family and friends, my career, myself. I think It’s important for all of us to know where our expectations are, so that we can prevent ourselves from feeling let down or like we “settled” for something we didn’t want.image3 (2)For example, if you have expectations of being comfortable, having a set schedule, and feeling like all things should always go as planned, I do not recommend moving out of the country for a few months, or even traveling out of the country, unless it is on a guided tour.

If you have expectations of having a love story like every romantic comedy you’ve ever seen, and finding a real life guy or lady that looks good 24/7, doesn’t have any personal issues, and always treats you like a queen/king, I do not recommend dating and just sticking to watching those romantic comedies. 😉

If you expect to start a new job, move out of state, or meet new people and be completely comfortable without any learning curves, I promise you you will be disappointed or let down at one point or the other.image2 (4)My point is, I think it’s important for us to find what expectations we have, and do our best to avoid situations that will not meet them. Obviously, we will all be let down or disappointed from time to time. And sometimes, we don’t learn what our expectations are until this happens (like when we move out of country for 90 days and think WHAT THE HELL DID I DO). But on the other hand, I also think these experiences can teach us to lower our expectations, and we can learn to find happiness and fulfillment in even the shittiest and uncomfortable of situations.image4I’ve personally applied this lesson a lot since being back home and I feel way less disappointed by the things that would normally stress me out. Yeah my check engine light is on, but what do I expect from a car that is 15 years old? Yeah my dream job didn’t want me to come back to work, but what did I expect after leaving them to travel out of country for 90 days? And yeah, I can’t do the yoga pose that I had a goal of accomplishing by this time, but my body is growing another human, so its OKAY… And so on. I am all about living my life with the less amount of stress as possible. And even though stressful situations will always be there, I’ve felt a lot more content after learning to lower my expectations of things.

If you personally find yourself in a lot of stress, or stressful situations, try finding where your expectations are and either lower them, or do your best to avoid situations that you know won’t meet them. I promise it will help!image0(this selfie was taken at the Rise festival, that post will be next!)

Onto the next adventure, Wren



Our Summer in the Dominican Republic- Video

Here it is, Finally!

Our video of our most adventurous, most life changing, and most beautiful summer yet.

3 things about this 3.5 minute film:

It makes me so emotional to watch it. Like most videos I make, they make me nostalgic for the moments in them, and also so happy and thankful that I live this life that I do.

I can’t believe that at one point our days looked like that.

And…I really miss the ocean.

“Run with the feeling of being alive while we’re still young.”

Thanks for watching, xo

Onto the next adventure, Wren


Second trimester update and some exciting milestones

Happy October!IMG_8555I am officially down to the “5 more months” mark of this pregnancy, and I am finally starting to feel like myself again! I know it is different for everybody, but it has been true for me when they say that the second trimester is easier on the body than the first. To be honest, I think most things that I experience will be/ and are easier on my body than experiencing the first trimester I had. 😉IMG_8533In the last week, I’ve experienced some amazing milestones. One of them being receiving my blood test results back to confirm baby’s sex. Since I announced it on my social media accounts today, I wanted to write a little second trimester update on here- for anyone who cares, and for my future self, of course.

  • First things first, and one of the most exciting… It’s a girl!!

IMG_8545IMG_8587Growing up with only sisters, and having only nieces so far, I always pictured myself as an “all boy mom”. I always thought that I’d be completely content having all sons, but the second that pregnancy test came out positive, I knew my little one was going to be a girl. I just had a strong intuition that I was going to have a daughter.IMG_8544When the doctor told us at our 14 week appointment, I wasn’t at all surprised. Derek was actually more excited and shocked than I thought he would be, probably because he was surprised at how right my intuition had been. 😉 Since it was still early, we told family and close friends, but didn’t announce it. But I got my blood test results back yesterday, and baby is still a girl. And we are so excited!IMG_8557

A few other fun milestones and updates in the last couple weeks:

  • I can’t remember the last time I threw up a meal, and I can make it through a day without a 2 hour long nap, meaning I haven’t felt this good since June. Now that I finally feel better, I can’t believe how sick I actually was!
  • With that exciting milestone, I am finally starting to gain some weight back and am very proud of it. Right now, I am one pound away from my pre-pregnancy weight and I am happy that baby is finally starting to grow at a faster pace.


  • I felt baby girl kick for the first time, and my belly finally started to pop. Both of these things have made the pregnancy, and the fact that I am going to be a mama, feel more real.
  • Baby girl’s official due date is February 29, 2020. Meaning she is due on leap year! But if she arrives 5 days late, she will be born on my 26th birthday. Whatever day she arrives, she will be an emotional, sensitive Pisces like her mama. (sorry Derek 😉 )


  • We have a name that we really like, that we occasionally call her, but we will probably wait to meet her before we make it official. PS-why are names for dogs so much easier than they are for humans?


  • Derek’s sister, Shara, is due with a baby boy in January, meaning she will have a cousin just 8 weeks older than her, and I finally get a nephew! It’s been so fun being pregnant together.


  • Derek is obviously very excited to have a little girl. He always greets me with a kiss, a kiss on my belly and a “how are my girls?” and I can’t wait to see him become the best daddy.


  • Harvey is still just as obsessed with me as ever, he loves resting his head on my stomach and is already the best big brother. I just hope he loves her this much when she keeps him up all night and takes his spot on the couch.

IMG_8560IMG_8559IMG_8547And with that, I want to say thank you for all of the love and support we’ve received with this new chapter. Our lives have changed so much this year, and to bring this adventure into the mix of it all makes me think even more that things do happen for reasons and that timing is always right, even when it doesn’t always feel that way.IMG_8554Here’s to this beautiful changing body of mine, the rest of the wonderful second trimester, and to officially being parents to a daughter!

Onto the next adventure, Wren



Lessons I Learned from Spending a Summer Abroad- #1

IMG_8296We’ve been home for almost a month now, and I have enjoyed every single minute of it. Yes, I still have ocean withdrawals, but I can’t think of a time in my life when I haven’t wanted to be on a beach, so I am slowly getting used to not living within walking distance again.

Like our first experience abroad, Derek and I spent this summer focusing on our ourselves and each other. Time away from home means unfamiliarity, being uncomfortable, and a lot of changes in perspective and mind set. With all of these changes, comes a lot of life lessons learned. I think learning these type of lessons and having the personal growth that I’ve experienced is my absolute favorite thing about traveling, or living in a different place. I absolutely love coming home with a new outlook.

Like my China experience, I am going to share the five main lessons I brought home with me from living abroad this summer. Each lesson is just as important as the others, but knowing myself, I have a lot to share,  so I will be posting each one separately.IMG_8292

Lesson #1- You never realize how great your comfort zone is, until you don’t have it

I think most people go through life feeling quite comfortable. Obviously, there are the occasional moments that bring us all discomfort: public speaking, job interviews, learning something new, the first day at a new place or school, meeting our in laws, etc.

And then there are the more serious things that bring us discomfort: being laid off from a job, going through divorce, dealing with physical and mental health issues, totaling our cars, natural disasters, death of loved ones, etc.

But overall, I think most people are able to live a comfortable life even when they are dealt with uncomfortable situations. They may think “my life is horrible” or “I have bad luck” but I hardly ever hear of someone saying “I am constantly uncomfortable” because I think as humans, we tend to make things work, and find comfort even in the most unfamiliar situations, or we eventually find our way back to the things that make us comfortable.IMG_8291IMG_8290And that leads me to lesson #1. I knew that moving to a different country would force me out of my comfort zone. I knew I’d have to live without the things I was used to like my car, my house, my favorite foods, and being in close proximity to family and friends. I expected to not have hot water or air conditioning, and I obviously expected to be uncomfortable.

see lesson #4 from my China experience—> https://thestellarstories.com/2018/01/24/lessons-i-learned-from-living-abroad-4/

I’ve always been one to like change and unfamiliarity, so I jumped into this opportunity expecting a lot of feelings of discomfort. Like I mentioned before, I personally enjoy the self growth and lessons that come from those situations. What I did not expect is to have such a strong realization of just HOW comfortable I was back home.


IMG_8294I didn’t have this realization until about our half way mark, when all I wanted was something familiar and to feel comfortable again. I was over not having air conditioning, living off food I didn’t love, and not being able to take a hot bath. These are all little things, but for the first time in a very long time, I longed for the feeling of my comfort zone. After spending a good 7 weeks out of it, I really started to miss it and I had the realization that comfort zones aren’t always a bad thing, most of us just tend to take them for granted.

Since being home, I have enjoyed every single minute of being comfortable again and I have focused on the appreciation of all of the little tings I missed while I was gone. The sounds of Harvey’s feet on our hardwood floor, the creaking of our air conditioner. The smell of my candles, and our coffee pot. Driving in my car alone with the windows down, the feeling of my own bed and my bath tub! Practicing yoga in my yoga room with Harvey breathing next to me, cooking in my kitchen while blasting music. Even pulling my weeds and planting flowers. I’m usually far from a homebody, but stepping away from all of these ordinary, every day things gave me a new appreciation of them, and I’ve enjoyed doing each of them more than I ever have.1

I had this similar realization when we came home from living abroad the first time and I learned to not take these little things for granted, but it was much stronger this time around. It took me being VERY uncomfortable, for a long period of time. It took every ounce of my mental strength, patience, and “my first world problems” to disappear completely, before I realized that I actually enjoy being comfortable, and I have it so good at home.


IMG_8287Since being home, I have enjoyed the simple things like being surrounded by people who I love. I’ve enjoyed driving on familiar roads, and having a routine. I’ve enjoyed the places and the little things that I missed so badly, and I have finally consciously enjoyed the feeling of being comfortable in my comfort zone. Even though I know I will eventually crave stepping out of it, I’ve learned to never take it for granted again.

Onto the next adventure, Wren



Using Social Media in a Healthy way, so it Doesn’t Have to Become a Bad Thing

Two words: Social Media.

Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

We all have our different opinions on this topic, and I think most of us would agree that like anything else, it can be a good thing if we use it correctly and in moderation. But what is the “correct” way to use social media? And how much is considered too much before it becomes a “bad thing.”

I think about this topic just about every day. And after spending 90 days living abroad with a group of 18-24 year olds (mostly girls) for the second time around, I decided to share my opinion on the matter. Because, as you all know… I really like sharing my point of view on things. 😉

I’ve loved social media since I first got my Bebo account at the mere age of 12. After that, it was downhill spiraling effect of Tumblr, Myspace, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Pinterest. Not all of these accounts are still active, but I have loved them all at one point in my life, some a little too much. They’ve brought me new hobbies, new friends, inspiration, and sometimes embarrassing to admit, self worth and validation.

So…what’s wrong with loving social media?

My answer is nothing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having social media as a hobby, just like there is nothing wrong with having video games, or binge watching episodes on Netflix as a hobby. But like I’ve mentioned before, and like most of you will agree, there is a line that can be crossed when a hobby becomes unhealthy, and I’ve personally crossed that line.

Fortunately, I’ve been able to teach myself over the years how to get away from that line as soon as I find myself using social media in an “unhealthy way” or having an unhealthy mindset about it. In good ol’ Wren fashion, I want to share some of those lessons I’ve learned over the years, so that maybe you can change your perspective of thinking social media is a bad, unhealthy thing. Or change your mindset because you feel like you’ve personally crossed that unhealthy line. Because just like most things, it can be a really good thing if you use it correctly.

1.Post because you WANT to, not because you NEED to.

I’ve heard it many times “I need to post that photo that I took today. I need to edit that video, so that it is up in time. I need to post something right now, because it is a certain time of day, and the algorithm will mess it up if I don’t.” Unless you have turned your social media accounts into your career, there is no reason to feel the pressure of having to post. Wouldn’t it sound silly if you said something like I need to watch my Netflix show today, instead of wanting to? Just like any hobby, posting and using social media should be a fun thing that you do in your spare time. I’m guilty myself for thinking this way, but I’ve learned to remind myself that there is no timeline, or restrictions on when I post. I post for the sake of posting. Because I want to, not because I need to.

2. Ask yourself if you would be “doing this” if there wasn’t anywhere to post it.

Another helpful tip I’ve learned to get out of the unhealthy social media trap is asking myself if I would be doing the thing I am currently doing, if I didn’t have anywhere to post it. I think of this a lot as I am taking pictures, or recording videos. Would I be eating this same meal if the food didn’t look as pretty? Would I be wearing this outfit today, whether it matches my feed or not? Would I even be taking this photo or capturing this moment?? Or I am just doing all of these extra things for the sake of pretty content and likes…?

I can remember a time in my life when my friends and I would get all done up, and take pictures for fun. We would spend hours doing our hair and “re- doing” our make up just to go outside to take a million photos of each other. But that wasn’t the fun part. The fun part was editing the photos, uploading them to our Myspace profiles and watching the notifications flood in. We would spend hours reading photo comments, comparing the number of likes to each other’s, and telling our selves that we could do better next time. This was very fun… until it wasn’t.

None of us were interested in pursuing careers in modeling or photography, so there became a point when we stopped “taking pictures” for fun. Obviously, I continued to capture my life, and pose for photos in the days and moments I want to remember. But my mindset changed when I started asking myself, would I be doing these things or capturing these moments even if I had no where to post them? Most of the time, my answer is yes. I am glad that I have photos of my vacations, my birthdays, my holiday parties with my friends. Even though I post a lot of those photos, I know that I would still be capturing those moments even if I never had social media to post them on.

3. Ask yourself if you would take this picture even if nobody else saw it.

A lot like the prior, I ask myself would I be taking this photo if I was the only person who would ever see it? If you think about the million of selfies you’ve taken just to get that one “good one” this question might make you laugh.

There are so many photos I have that bring me back good memories, remind me of good moments, or just make me genuinely happy looking at them. And if I was the only person to ever see those photos, I’d still be very happy to have them.

On the opposite end, I could do without the hundreds of bad selfies so I don’t waste time taking those anymore. Because if they aren’t making ME happy, then why spend so much time taking them? However, I am not saying I am not for a good selfie. If you are feeling great about yourself, or your having a good hair day, capture it. Just remember to ask yourself if you’d be happy with that photo if you were the only one to ever see it.

4. Post for yourself, and nobody else

In addition to tip number 2 and number 3, this tip is to remind you that in order to get in a healthy mindset of using social media, post for yourself. And yourself only. Not for anyone else. If you are spending hours getting ready, finding the perfect outfit, getting frustrated with your friends for not getting the perfect angle, and taking hundreds of “not good enough” photos, just to delete them for not getting enough likes… you are crossing the line of using social media in an unhealthy way.

5. Connect to connect.

This one may be difficult for some of you, but it shouldn’t be. Social media was created for connection. Which is why it is called SOCIAL media. I come across so many accounts that are filled with beautiful selfies,  and people who get their comments and likes, and that’s that. If that’s how you want to use social media, so be it. I just think after awhile you’re going to be spending time scrolling through beautiful photos of beautiful people and wasting time feeling sorry for yourself and your life because you didn’t get a similar amount of likes as a super model.

Personally, I like to use my social media accounts to connect to others. I like to follow accounts that communicate with others, ask questions, do polls, etc. because if I am not connecting or getting my point across to others, what is the point of spending (or wasting) time on these apps? I’d rather spend all that time connecting, then feeling sorry for myself and I think you would all agree.

6. Unfollow non thought provoking, uninspiring content.

I know I know, you don’t want to offend that girl that once sat by you in 8th grade by hitting the unfollow button. But this tip is probably the most important! Do you listen to music that you don’t like? Do you watch movies that you don’t like? Or listen to podcasts you don’t like? Exactly. My point is, social media is a hobby and if you are scrolling through content that isn’t speaking to you in a way that you enjoy, then why are you even logging on?

A little thing I do that has helped me, is keep those “friends” of mine from middle school on Facebook, but only follow accounts on Instagram that really inspire me. This way they are separate, and when I care to see how the babies of my middle school peers are doing, or who is getting divorced, I scroll through my Facebook. (which is rare). My Instagram is filled with content that gets me excited for future travels, makes me think, inspires me to get off my phone and practice yoga, redecorate my house, dive into a new hobby, or that simply just makes me happy.

I am not saying all of the content you follow should be thought provoking and inspiring, but a majority of it should be. After all, you are choosing to open these apps, spend time on them, and look at this content. You should at least enjoy what you’re looking at.

7. Like posts because you actually LIKE them

Just like choosing the content you follow, you can choose the content you see the most. I understand liking posts because you’re supporting your favorite photographer, or because your sister’s selfie deserves more likes. But you actually like that content right? (I hope you like your sisters face. 😉 ) I’ve never understood liking photos just to “like” them.  Again, you get to choose what you fill your feed with, so why not choose things you enjoy?

If you are constantly liking videos of pig slaughter houses, just because you want to support your vegan friend who constantly shares them, then your feed is going to slowly become filled with pig slaughter houses. And I don’t think anyone would enjoy logging into social media if it was filled with those horrid videos. Personally, I stopped following super models and girls who had “perfect bodies” because those posts weren’t inspiring me, they were making me feel bad about myself and I didn’t like seeing them.

So, only double tap or thumbs up the posts that speak to you in a healthy way. Do you enjoy looking at this post? Does it inspire you? Can you relate in some way? Or does it simply just make you happy? Go ahead and like it, sis. If not, keep scrolling. Fill that feed with joy.

8. Remind yourself that every post is “good.”

I hear it way too often. “that picture isn’t good enough” “I need a better caption” I won’t post this one because it’s not “instagram worthy.” What does that even mean??  We already live in a world that makes us feel not worthy, and the pressure of being “good enough” shouldn’t come from a dumb little hobby that we share online. If you find yourself thinking these thoughts about your self, or your content, take a step back from that fine line. (you know, the unhealthy one.)

If you capture a beautiful moment, or a memory from a special day and you want to share it, DO IT. Whether it’s your best head shot, or the worst angle you’ve ever seen of yourself. If you want to share it, it is good enough.

9.  Don’t look for validation and self worth through social media.

Ahhh the most difficult tip of all. This is so much easier said than done. And if I wasn’t guilty of this one, this blog post wouldn’t even exist. You may have read number 8 and thought “no Wren, it isn’t good enough” and if I heard you say that, I would ask you “why do you think that?” And your answer would be “well because the people of social media didn’t think so. I only got this many likes.” And that’s what brings us to number 9.

Once you start to change your mindset and tell yourself that it doesn’t matter how many likes or views you get, because this is just a dumb online hobby, and not the deciding factor of your whole self worth, you will stop caring how many likes or views you get. Once you change your source of validation from social media, to other real life things (genuine connections, accomplishing goals, etc.) you will stop caring about getting likes from social media, and your self worth won’t be affected by it anymore.

And let me tell you, it is the most freeing feeling once you do this. I remember getting 40 likes on a post that I really liked, and do you know what? I didn’t erase it, or tell myself it “wasn’t good enough” I just looked at the photo, reminded myself of that great day, and felt happy about sharing it on my feed. The post I posted after that one, got 180 likes. And I felt the exact same way about that one as I did the prior.

I finally taught myself to stop looking for validation and my self worth in numbers and through this online hobby. And even though it took about 10 years of practice to do so, I have never felt more free to post what I want, when I want to, because I want to.

10. Disconnect when connecting.

This is the one I focused on most this summer. I constantly notice that people (mostly the younger generations) are so attached to their phones that they don’t know how to make genuine connections in real life, which is why I think of the topic of social media so often. I understand that things change, and times are different now, but this tip is a simple reminder to disconnect from your phone while connecting in real life.

I could sit with someone over coffee, tell them everything I love about them as a person, thank them for being a great friend, etc. But if they leave that coffee shop and log into their social media and see that their post didn’t get the likes they were hoping for, or that cute guy didn’t snap chat them back, suddenly they’re not enough. Which leads to blaming social media for depression, suicide rates, etc. I don’t think it’s social media’s fault at all, it’s the fact that this person didn’t feel good enough through a real life connection and their self worth is based off their life online.

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I personally think human connection is the most important thing in this world, and I think it is the stem for all self worth and validation.

Maybe you need this small reminder, or maybe you don’t. But next time you’re with a loved one, listen to them, pay attention to them, communicate with them. Next time you’re with your grandparents, don’t take a photo of your food, or scroll through memes. Instead pay attention to their old hands, and their stories that they love to share with you. Next time you’re in bed with your lover, put your phone down. Pay attention to the way they breathe, and the way you feel curled up to them. Nothing is going to give you more validation or the feeling of being enough like genuine connections and love do.

I hate to see a world that people don’t understand this, and it’s happening so fast. So, I hope this small tip gets through to at least one of you.

Some of you may have read this novel (really, that’s what this is at this point) and thought to yourself, I don’t need any of these tips, I do all of these things. But most of you who are reading (and are still reading) clicked on this post for a reason. Maybe you want more out of your social media accounts, maybe you feel as if you’ve wasted a lot of time online for nothing, or maybe you feel yourself close to crossing that line and thinking that “social media is BAD” or that you need a break.

Take a break if you need to, but eventually you will get back to using social media, and get back into the bad habits and unhealthy mindset. And it’s not going to take long before it becomes a bad thing in your life again. Instead, take these tips into consideration and try to change your mindset and habits while using social media. After all, it is just a dumb online hobby. 😉

Onto the next adventure, Wren