Author Archives: Theodora Blanchfield

Black Friday Sale Gift Guide

Thanksgiving is over. If the holiday season is tough on you, we’ve ticked one off. One down, one to go. To my friends who lost loved ones this year: it will never be the first Thanksgiving without your loved one again. It will always be hard, but the firsts are just so goddamn raw.

One of my favorite holiday traditions has always been sitting on the couch online shopping/browsing and writing a gift/sale guide. Warning: this is going to be fully all over the place.

Recovery Tools

As I’m getting older, I don’t recover as easily from workouts, which is really a huge bummer. You don’t need any of these, but they are enjoyable. One day, I’m going to write a full post on recovery stuff/tools I’ve learned about this year.

Theragun: I have this base level one, and I love to hate it. It’s $50 off today. (There’s also a Mini, which I just learned about!)

Yoga TuneUp Balls: OK, these aren’t actually on sale, but they are only $16 and have been a game-changer for me. My fave thing to do with them is put them on top of a yoga block to roll out neck tension. You’re welcome.

Trigger Point Massage Cane: I feel 37 going on 87 suggesting a massage cane, but it works WONDERS for tight shoulders/traps. From spending too much time on my couch with my laptop and all the emotional weight of 2020, my shoulders were even more rock-like than usual and this helps with that tension.

Tech

USB Hub for Macs: If you have a newer Macbook (2018 or later, I think), then you know the annoyance of not having USB slots. I have an external thingy that hooks into it but I just saw this one on IG, and this stays in the computer, so you don’t forget it when we get to travel again one day.

AirPods Pro: If you’re doing a lot of Zoom calls (who isn’t?), these are so, so good. The noise-canceling is so much better than I ever could have anticipated. It kinda feels like you’re shutting out the rest of the world…which feels pretty good in 2020.

Home

Instant Pot: I will be totally honest that I have used mine exactly twice, but it’s on sale for half off at Target.

Gray Malin: I am in love with his work, and I have the Manhattan Beach print, and I love it. Everything is 30% off with code TURKEY30. Last year, I used that code to pay for them to frame it because I knew it would just sit around forever if I were to get it framed myself.

Nespresso Essenza Plus: This is the fancier version of the one I use every day, and it’s $60 off. I am just so intrigued by the press-to-order-refills capability. (But pro tip: I really like Trader Joe’s pods, and they’re cheaper than the Nespresso brand ones. Original size only, though.)

West & Willow Pet Portraits!! One of my favorite humans in the world, Morgan, got this portrait of Lucy made for me because she is a saint. (Morgan is. Although Lucy is too.)

Clothes

Lilly Pulitzer: (Like I’d write a gift guide without Lilly.) So, they don’t usually have Black Friday sales but they do have lots of gifts with purchase with every $75 of spend, which is pretty easy to do. This dress did NOT work for me, but if you don’t have big boobs, please get it because it’s so pretty.

This is real real niche, but my fave Etsy shop to get Lucy Lilly harnesses is having a sale.

Natori Feathers Bra: It’s only in this weird purple color, but my fave bra is on sale for $30 from $68.

Oiselle: 20% off after $100. I’ve doubled down on the Roga shorts this year (I accidentally order more every time they are on sale and forget and I must have at least 6 pairs now, which is fine, because they’re basically all I run in)

Old Navy: 50% off everything. I love their workout gear. Not even just for the price point—I think it holds up nearly as well as some more expensive gear.

Glyder: my fave joggers for 40% off

Nordstrom: Up to 50% off. I like to pretend I’m cool every once in a while (not often!) and wear these Stan Smith sneakers. I think I paid around $100 for them; they’re on sale right now for $36.

Goodr: They’re not really having a sale but my fave running sunglasses company is offering a bunch of GWPs, and I cannot recommend these sunglasses enough. I probably have at least 10 pairs.

Athleta: 20% off your purchase, and I really like their masks, and they’re half off. 5 for $15 instead of 5 for 30.

Brooks: I’m currently running in the Ghosts, and this white/purple colorway is reduced to $84 from $130.

Beauty
SuperGoop Glow Screen is an excellent lightly tinted sunscreen that can also either act as a primer or worn alone. I love it because it gives me a little…glow. Hence the name. 20% off at Bloomingdale’s

Beautycounter: 15% off sitewide; I really like their Dew Skin when I do want a bit more coverage. It wears, to me, as somewhere between a tinted moisturizer and foundation

Small Business

My friend Erica will always be first here! Erica Sara jewelry is one of the most special gifts you can give someone. Many of her pieces are customizable and they are great ways to commemorate things, especially her race jewelry. (What’s a race?!) JOY10 for 10% off

Aur Jewelry: A Black-owned jewelry business that makes the most beautiful gem stone jewelry that changes colors! I have these earrings. Free shipping and 10% off on some pieces.

From Selena with Love: A friend’s Etsy jewelry shop—she makes gorgeous crystal necklaces

Delancey Collective: Another internet friend who makes these ADORABLE resin alphabet bead coasters and barrettes. She does custom orders too!

How about you? Any fave deals?

Holidays Are Hard

Thanksgiving 2020 is going to be—or probably should be if you’re being safe—hard for a lot of people.

Consider yourself lucky if your hard is because you can’t see your family. It means they are still here, and you are maybe saving their lives, and the lives of those you’ve never met.

My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones this year, whether to covid or to other causes. Welcome to the club, it sucks, and you joined in a particularly sucky year. The good news (in my limited three years of experience) is that the first year is the shittiest, so hopefully you will never be grieving a loved one at a holiday during a pandemic again! (*see grief resources at the bottom)

I am not spending the holidays with my family for the first time in my 37 years on this planet. I managed to get home in September when things weren’t as bad, and I figured it wouldn’t be good at Thanksgiving, so I’ve had some time to adjust to Thanksgiving. Plus, I am able to spend Thanksgiving with my tiny pod—my dear friend/upstairs neighbor and her husband—which makes things a little easier.

But Christmas. Christmas. If you’ve read my blog, you know what a big deal Christmas has been to me, what a big deal it was for my mom. I toyed around in my head with a million scenarios of how I could have made it work. I would have quarantined at my cousin’s, like I did in September, been tested, etc…but in the end, it wasn’t worth the risk for me. At the beginning of the pandemic, my mental health was in a dangerous spot and I had a bit of a crisis, and I was really afraid of being alone for the holidays. But as Kate (friend/neighbor) said, “There would not be enough therapy in the world for you if something happened to your dad.” A wise woman, she is.

But that said, the holidays are hard enough without my mom. There’s a raging pandemic, and I can’t see my family. I’m incredibly stressed out with school right now.

So here’s what I’m doing to care for my mental health during this time:

  • Trying my best to be gentle with myself. I’ve heard so many friends saying: “Ugh, I don’t know why I’m so tired/have no motivation/energy right now.” I always answer “I don’t know, is there a global pandemic/ civil unrest, racism/[insert their own issue] etc. going on??” And yet, I have that same thought and continue beating myself up for not dealing with it. I’m trying to catch myself when I’m having those thoughts, and—this one is such a cliche—talk to myself the way I would talk to those friends.
  • Done is better than perfect. Going off the above, some days I am super depressed, some days I am incredibly anxious (lolol this is not pandemic/holiday specific!!)…but I need to get shit done. Rather than trying to make whatever I’m doing The Best, sometimes just getting it done is an accomplishment.
  • Not putting pressure on myself to ~make this a normal holiday~. For a normal holiday, I would get a big tree and decorate my apartment fully and try to force it. This year, I got a little bebe tree from Lowe’s to be delivered.
  • Recognizing whatever I’m feeling is valid. I was telling my therapist recently I felt bitter and envious about something, and she reminded me those are valid emotions. They feel like such dirty emotions that we aren’t supposed to admit, but they are super valid. (All feelings are!!) I’ve been seeing decorations up already…and they make me angry. And that’s OK.
  • Reaching out to friends/family when I’m really struggling. We are all going through our own shit right now more than ever which makes it hard to reach out sometimes, but most people want to be there for their people. I try to remember to ask if they have the capacity to listen at that time.
  • Not overcommitting: one of my tendencies is to overcommit to numb, but those feelings always find another way out! Literally sitting with feelings can be terrifying, but I’m working on it.
  • Speaking of literally sitting with feelings: meditation! I’m on a 28-day streak on Insight Timer so far. I am so resistant to it sometimes, and have been for a while, but it brings me a calm few minutes in my day.
  • Moving every day. Sometimes that will be a hard run or Peloton ride, sometimes that’s a long walk, sometimes that’s a short walk around the block. (I wrote “just” a long walk, but deleted it because a walk is very much still exercise—something I’ve been trying to internalize!)

You’ll get through this. We’ll get through this. When I was in treatment, I asked “wtf does ‘getting through’ mean?”

“Sometimes it just means getting to the next minute/hour/day,” the therapist said. One day at a time, and all of this won’t always feel this hard. I love you, whoever you are, reading this.

Here’s some grief resources I’ve compiled—and follow my friends @modernloss, who host lots of great events.

What are you doing to cope with the holiday season this year?