Ask Elizabeth

25 ways to feel less lonely

eeling alone is something that everyone goes through.  Whether it's because you just moved to a new place and don't know anyone, or if you're going through changes in life and feel like you're in a different place than all your friends, feeling alone is a common experience we've all had.  Being or feeling alone doesn't have to define you or keep you from enjoying life, though.  There are periods of time where life dictates a situation where you might be lonely but you don't have to stay there wallowing in the sadness, and sometimes loneliness can actually be enjoyed and capitalized on.  You can take advantage of the time alone by creating and working on projects, or going out and finding new passions.  Here are a few things you can do when you're feeling lonely to keep from getting stuck in the feelings of sadness that can stem from ruminating on your loneliness.

1. Go for a walk in the woods.

Being in nature can be grounding and refreshing.  Breathe in fresh air, listen to the sounds of plants and animals rustling around.   Reconnect with the earth.

2. Give yourself a facial

Replace stress with sweetness and try a natural face mask. Honey is a natural skin moisturizer, antibiotic, and also has compounds that reduce inflammation in the brain, meaning it fights depression and anxiety.

3. Meditate

Daily silent meditation per day can relieve stress and depression. Find a comfortable spot in a quiet place, concentrate on your breath, and feel your anxieties fade.  If you need some help (meditation can be hard!) try downloading Headspace, which will teach you how to meditate in small 10 minute daily sessions!

4. Binge on Netflix TV shows.

Sometimes it can be great to just hang out with fictional characters for a while to make yourself feel a bit less lonely.

5. Go to a new coffee shop and hang out for a couple hours.

Bring a book and park it for a while.  Just being around other people will make you feel less lonely and more inspired.  Chat with your barista and maybe try a new drink you wouldn't normally get!

6. Plan a vacation.

Maybe it's just a weekend getaway, or maybe it's the trip of a lifetime.  Sitting down and planning a trip can get your mind inspired and thinking about your hopes and dreams and bucket lists!

7. Skype with friends and family.

If you're far away from loved ones and missing their company, set up skype dates to chat and spend time with them.

8. Create a Zen Space

Make or find a space where you can go to relax. Get cozy in a big chair, put on some calming music, or light some incense and disappear for a while.

9. Find the Sun

Stock up on the vitamin D!  If it’s a sunny day, head outside to lift your spirits. Bright light can be an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, and can cheer up pretty much anyone!

10. Dance!

Get your body moving and your blood pumping.  Dance in your kitchen to Beyonce, or go take a swing or zumba class from a local dance studio.  You'll meet new people and have fun in the process!

11. Clean up.

Instead of spending time feeling lonely, invest your time into making your space clean and inviting.  Clutter and messiness can often cause feelings of stress and become overwhelming.  Take a couple hours, put on some upbeat music and clean up!

12. Do Some Yoga

Yoga is a great way to get out of the house and interact with others, while also helping your own body and mind to be more healthy.  If you don't have a yoga studio nearby, you can also do yoga in the comfort of your own home!

13. DIY Spa Day

Get a soothing bath soak, new nail polish, or skin/hair treatment and give yourself some love.  Light some candles, put on some relaxing music, and treat yourself.  I recently enjoyed a Lavender and Milk bath soak and Lavender Coconut Scrub from Sam Wish and it was so relaxing.

14. Write a journal

Just putting thoughts and emotions on paper can reduce anxiety and stress.  Get your thoughts out and process how you're feeling.

15. Try Aromatherapy

Drip some lavender, bergamot, sandalwood or another essential oil into your palm and inhale. The soothing scents stimulate smell receptors in the nose that connect to the part of the brain that regulates emotions.

16. Pick up an adult coloring book and start coloring!

I recently got an adult coloring book for christmas and it's so relaxing to just color in all the intricate designs.  There are tons of coloring books out there now geared towards grown ups with beautiful designs ranging from super fancy mandalas to animals, to random patterns.  

17. Join a gym

Before I joined a gym I was sure I wouldn't like a gym.  I preferred exercise at home, by myself (which is still a great way to get some endorphins flowing to help feel less lonely!).  But I found that when I joined my current gym, I really enjoyed the camaraderie of my fellow class members.  The gym I joined was a crossfit-esque type of gym where it had hour long circuit training classes, so I was always in a group with other people, and we were always all doing the same thing, which I think was a much better fit than a standard gym where you're on your own to run on the treadmill or just figure out a circuit/routine all by yourself.

18. Create a goal list

Instead of focusing on feeling lonely, focus on things you'd like to accomplish. Heck, if you don't have anyone to hang out with, that means you have lots of time (time that you might've spent hanging out with people and being social) to hustle and chase some of the goals you really want to achieve.  There was a period of time in my life where I had moved back home after college and didn't have any friends and it was a super productive time because I pretty much just worked and focused on working towards my goals.  I rarely went out or hung out with people, but I felt less lonely because I was constantly working on stuff I was passionate about!

19. Visit animals at the local shelter

Animals can truly improve our lives and help us feel less stressed and lonely.  If you don't have a pet of your own to snuggle with, visit a local shelter and love on some of the animals there (they need it!).  And if you're able, consider adopting one of them!

20. Find new blogs

Go on a rabbit trail search for new blogs!  See which blogs your favorite bloggers have in their blogrolls or sidebar ads and start clicking!  Or, explore the marketplace on Passionfruit or scroll through bloglovin's most followed blogs.

Find new bloggers who inspire you and offer a new perspective and voice.

21. Create a DIY project

You know there are tons of DIY projects you've pinned on Pinterest, so instead of feeling lonely, spend that time creating something fun and beautiful!  Even if your DIY doesn't turn out how you expected it, you spent that time being creative and making something!  If you're feeling even more industrious, invite people over for a pinterest party where you all create DIY's you've been wanting to do.

22. Start a new book.

Sometimes literary friends can feel just as real as our IRL friends.  Dive into a new novel and get caught up in a new world, whether its fantasy, mystery, romantic, or non-fiction.

23. Cook a recipe you've never tried before.

Again, I'm sure you've pinned lots of recipes on Pinterest.  Go pick one you've never tried to make and cook it!

24. Watch Ted Talks.

I always feel more a part of the human race and in touch with humanity after watching Ted Talks.  So much inspiration to treat people better, create a world I want to live in, and be amazed by the things that creative people are making.

25. Get in the car and drive.

Crank up some music and sing along and don't care if you sound good or not.  Roll down the windows and let the wind blow in your hair.  Enjoy the freedom of not having a destination and not worrying about how long it takes to get anywhere and just go.

BACK TO BASICS // jeans three

It's definitely starting to feel like spring when I get the urge to put on my flower crown.   Or maybe I'm just going through withdrawals from not having Poppy Girl rehearsals for Adventures in Oz anymore.  It's so strange getting back to real life after the whirlwind of last week.  Things are so much less... glittery.  It's funny how one late night conversation with one of Dan's coworkers culminated in performing in the biggest stage production of my life.  I think my favorite thing about the show has been the new friends, though.  Making friends as an adult who works from home is challenging to say the least.  I was introduced to a whole new group of people and got to spend hours with them every week, laughing and having fun while putting together a fantastic production.  Not only do I walk away from Oz proud of everyone for putting on an amazing show, I also walk away with new friends.

I got a Q+A question asking for advice on how to make friends in a new town (speaking of Q+A, I'm going to try to get back on that wagon soon!).  Truth is, I'm no expert.  I've lived in Tacoma for like three years now and I still don't feel like I have all that many friends.  One of my good friends was a coworker at the coffee shop I worked at when I first moved here.  I convinced my best friend from high school to move here, so I feel like that doesn't count.  I met Dan in college, so he doesn't count.  Dan went to high school in Tacoma and grew up in Washington, so quite a few of the people I know in town are people he was friends with before I moved here.  When I moved here I was basically just transplanted into his group of friends, so I at least had that as a new girl in town.  I tagged along with him to parties and met all his friends who became my friends/acquaintances.


lace top (similar)/courtesy of asianicandy :: floral top/courtesy of ruche 
short necklace + flower crown/handmade :: jeans/courtesy of modcloth
long necklace/courtesy of adorn by sarah lewis :: photos by Dan

Even though I'm no pro when it comes to the friend-making game I do have a few tips.  If you're an introvert I think the first tip would be putting yourself outside of your comfort zone.  You're just not going to make friends laying in bed watching Netflix (no matter how ideal a night with wine and netflix sounds).  So, once you get yourself out of the house here are a few things you can do to facilitate meeting new friends:

  • If you have the opportunity, work somewhere that facilitates meeting people.  I met lots of people working as a barista and made friends with my coworkers.  Obviously this isn't something that everyone can do, but I do miss being a barista sometimes simply because I was able to meet new people who were customers or coworkers.
  • Take up a hobby.  When Dan and I started rock climbing I don't think we anticipated becoming part of the rock climbing community.  It's fun for us now to go to the gym and climb with people who we consider friends.  We don't see them much outside of the gym, but with summer approaching we now have friends who we can climb outdoors with!  Think about what kind of people you want to meet and find hobbies that might coincide with that.  
  • Hang out at coffee shops.  I don't know if this is just a Northwest thing, but people hang out at coffee shops here for hours.  Most of Dan's friends in Tacoma he met while hanging out at a local coffee shop.  Weird but true!  If you're in school, maybe go to a coffee shop to do homework instead of hiding at home.  Take a book to a coffee shop and read it there, grab your laptop and do work there instead of at home.  
  • Meet other people's friends.  I already mentioned this, but since Dan grew up in the area, he already had a much wider base of friends.  Try to meet people who have been in the area for longer than you, they probably have lots of local friends they can introduce you to.  Go with them to an event or a party or bar and meet the people they know.  If you like them, you might like their friends too!
  • Volunteer for a cause you care about.  The other volunteers will likely care about the same cause as you and might have similar interests as you, since you're supporting the same cause.  Plus, since you're volunteering and working on something, breaking the ice is much easier.
  • Take a class or join a sports team.  Again, you're putting yourself in a situation where people with similar interests already are.  Take a class at the local community college or craft store.  Everyone is learning a new skill and it's easy to start conversation around what you're learning.  Dan joined an adult dodgeball team here in Tacoma a few years ago and it was a really fun way to hang out with people.  Plus, after games you all can go out and grab a drink or bite and continue meeting one another.
  • If you have a specific faith community, a church can be a great way to meet other people.  Churches also typically have events and groups that already exist which you can join to find people in similar situations as you (parent groups, college groups, singles groups, etc).
Or, you know, audition for a burlesque production.  You'll get real intimate with new people pretty fast.


Q + A // tips for getting into rock climbing

Tips for Beginner Rock Climbers

"I am very interested in climbing but I don't know anybody who is climbing and so I don't really know where to start. When you wanted to try it out, did you just show up at a gym and asked someone to help you? How do I know what kind of routes are good for me? Should I do any specific exercises before starting it?"

As with most things, I think if you want to start climbing you should just go for it.  It's kind of silly to think you have to be fit before going to the gym to... get fit.  You have to start somewhere, and most people start at the beginning, which means you're not going to be very good!  This is the same with yoga too.  A lot of people say they need to be more flexible before they start going to yoga... but yoga is a great way to get flexible, so why wait?

The thing about climbing is that almost anyone can do it.  At my gym they say if you can climb a ladder you can climb a rock wall.  All rock gyms have climbing routes that vary in difficulty, which means there will be routes that you, the newbie, will be able to climb.  It might be a bit difficult just starting out but those routes are designed to be as basic as possible and require very little strength or technique.  As you gain strength and technique, you'll find that those routes will become easier and you'll start to try routes that are labeled as more difficult.


jacket + leggings/courtesy of albion :: hat (similar)/the north face :: shoes/evolv
*get $20 off any purchase of $100 or more with code
 delightful20 at checkout! (exp 12/16/13)*

Something that I hear all the time, especially from women, when I mention rock climbing is, "Well, I have zero upper body strength."  While you do need some upper body strength, I've actually found that not being super buff in your upper body can actually be to your advantage.  Climbing well doesn't mean you're doing pull-ups all the way up the wall.  It's not a very economical use of your strength and oftentimes is evident of poor technique.  Because men typically have more natural upper body strength, I'll frequently see men who are clearly only relying on their upper body strength.  They lack the technique that would make them much better climbers.  Since women don't have this natural strength to rely on, I'll usually see women developing better technique sooner because they can't just do pull ups all the way up the wall.  All of that is to say, don't use your feminine body's "limitations" as an excuse.  There are plenty of women out there who are climbing just as hard as men.  It might be discouraging at first to see men climb up the wall using sheer strength, but once you can do the same routes expending half the energy by using good technique you'll realize that sheer strength isn't all it's chalked up to be.

Most climbing gyms will have classes for beginners that will tell you about techniques and safe climbing practices, and all should have knowledgable staff that can answer any questions you might have, and they're specifically there for you new folks!  Climbing people are pretty friendly so you can probably ask fellow climbers if you have any questions.  Most climbers are happy to help you figure out how to do a route, or answer any climbing questions you have.

Climbing gyms will also usually have rental gear available for you, so you don't really need to bring anything, other than yourself and clothing that's easy to move in.  For me that means leggings, a sports bra and a tank top (the leggings and jacket I'm wearing in this post is my new favorite climbing outfit!).  They'll rent you climbing shoes, a harness, a chalk bag and anything you might need to climb.  If you realize you want to climb a lot, it's probably best to buy your own gear, simply because new gear will be much better than the stuff that's rented out, and it'll be more cost effective than renting gear every time.  Again, climbing gym staff will be able to help you figure out what kind of gear would be best for you to buy.


In terms of doing workouts before starting to rock climb, I belong to the school of just doing something and not using the excuse of, "I'm not XYZ enough to start yet."  That being said, being fit all around does help with climbing.  I haven't been working out daily for the past few months and I can tell that not having that overall strength and cardio has kept me from climbing as hard as I know I could be.  Climbing uses a lot of muscles, not just your arms.  There's tons of core, back, and leg work, so working out on top of climbing will definitely help, but as I've said before, it's not necessary to start climbing.  When I started climbing I hadn't worked out in years.  If you start getting really into climbing and you want to be climbing at your peak, training through yoga, cardio, and other fitness regimens will definitely be something you'll want to do, but just starting out, it's certainly not a requirement for being able to climb.

I absolutely love rock climbing.  It's one of my favorite ways to "work out" mostly because it doesn't feel like working out.  It's fun and challenging and climbers are a wonderful group of folks to hang out with.  I enjoy climbing because I can choose whether I want to have a solo day projecting routes on my own, or be social and hang out with other climbers while working on routes together.

I've written about climbing a couple times in the past herehere and here, if you want to read more about my rock climbing experience!


Q + A // styling a lace top

Perhaps it is untimely to do a post about styling lace on the cusp of fall and winter, but looking back through my archives I've probably worn my lace tops just about as much in the colder months as I have in the summer.  The few lace tops I have in my closer are some of my favorite items to remix.  Lace can tend to either veer into matronly territory, or be a little risqué and see-through, but I've also found it to be easy to layer in funky, eclectic, and cute ways!

While it might be a bit too revealing for some, I actually rather like styling my lace tops with only a bra underneath.  The two looks below both are styled with just a bra underneath, no cami, but I didn't feel self conscious or scandalous in either outfit.  If you want to get the same look, without baring the skin, you could always wear a nude cami underneath to mimic the look.  I really love this look on hot summer days because it's so breezy and light.

One of my favorite ways to wear lace tops is by layering them over a dress.  This can easily change up the look of a dress and is a great way to give some of your old dresses a new look.  By layering a top over a dress, you're essentially wearing the dress as a skirt, but with a lace top you still get the peek of the dress underneath through the lace pattern.  This is also a great way to start layering if you want to style lace in the winter.  Start by layering a lace top over a dress, then you can add a scarf, a cardigan, tights, etc.  You can also keep layering in the summer by doing this. 

You can also layer a bit by tucking the lace top into a belt at your waist.  This gives the waist a bit more definition than just wearing the top sans belt.  I also find that I really like wearing lace tops with a long necklace or a scarf.  

You can also tuck lace tops into high waisted skirts for a more tailored styling than the more bohemian look of having it layered over a dress.  Of course, if you want to go for a more undone look, you can always tuck just the front and then layer necklaces or a scarf over top, or even throw on a cute cardigan to make it more fall friendly.  
Lace is one of those fabrics that can function in a ton of ways.  It can be sexy, or bohemian, or grandma, or eclectic.  It can act as a neutral or a print.  I tend to style my white lace tops on top of lighter colors, so it functions more as a neutral than a print, but I also mix prints like it's nobody's business, so perhaps I just am not aware of how I'm actually print mixing.  Layering a lace top over darker colors does make the lace pattern pop more, though, so be aware that your lace will function more as a print when you pair it with a darker base layer.  When it's worn on top of a lighter color, the lace pattern is much more subtle, which makes it easier to wear with other prints.  

If you're looking for a lace top similar to the ones I've styled in this post, I got them a couple years ago so I'm pretty sure they're not in stock anymore but you can find some similar ones here:

Oasap // Yes Style // Alice & Olivia


Q + A // getting over a break up

Ways to deal with heartache

Going through a break up is one of the worst things to cope with.  Dealing with the pain, the broken trust, the expectations that were disappointed, and the loss of someone you love is never easy, regardless of how good or bad the relationship was.  You feel like you've lost the last few years of your life, you feel like you've lost your best friend, you feel like you've lost the future you'd imagined with that person.  It's ... rough.  If you guys have been around the blog for a while (like a long while), you'll remember one of my posts about getting over the hardest break up I've had.  It took me nearly a year after the break up happened to be able to write that post.  In a lot of ways people expect emotional pain to be easier to "get over" than physical pain.  When I went through that break up, I felt like I had been in an emotional car accident that had left me in the hospital in traction.  It was almost debilitatingly painful.  It's important to realize that, like being in a bad car accident where you'll need physical therapy in order to regain your ability to walk, emotional pain similarly needs time to heal and return your heart to where it was before the break up.  

You can't expect to get over it and move on immediately, but in many ways dealing with the pain and heartbreak post-break-up can be a wonderful time of healing as well as a time to get to know yourself and really work on you.  It's unlikely you'll be ready to jump right in to a new relationship, and oftentimes that's an unhealthy move to make, hence the stigma surrounding the "rebound" relationship.  In many ways a rebound is about avoiding dealing with the pain of a breakup, and merely puts a bandaid on a broken bone.  This isn't always the case, but it's a safe rule of thumb to avoid the rebound.

 Give yourself space.  It's hard to jump right back into your social life, especially if people constantly are asking about what happened and making you relive the pain.  If you need space, give yourself that.  Maybe hang out with a couple really good friends who will aid in the healing process, but you're especially vulnerable, so avoid spending time with people who won't respect what you're going through. 

 Focus on healing your heart.  They call it a broken heart for a reason.  In many ways your heart truly is broken.  It doesn't know how to trust anymore and has a very difficult time opening up to people for fear of being hurt again.  It's a slow process and learning to trust again doesn't happen overnight.  

 Cry.  Let yourself cry.  Ugly cry.  Scream.  Mourn.  When I went through my break up I told myself I wasn't going to cry, and I didn't for about 3 or 4 months.  And then something snapped and I cried almost every night for I don't even know how long.  It was almost as if holding it in had made the dam breaking even more powerful.  Let yourself cry.  Dealing with the loss of a relationship is worth tears.  If you have to wear sunglasses to class, do it.  I was the weird kid in the back of my chemistry lectures wearing sunglasses inside at 9 am, but it hid my puffy cry-eyes and in many ways it felt like a form of armor or protection, even though they were just sunglasses.  

 Do yoga.  It forces you to look inward and confront your pain and acknowledge what is happening in your heart.  Plus, it's a great work out and an excuse to get out of the house.


 Let yourself binge on ice cream.  I don't understand it, but ice cream has a healing power.  Rebound with Ben & Jerry, they understand.  

 Exercise.  Moving your body and getting your blood pumping can give you a little boost of endorphins that will help you feel better.  Wallowing in bed can feel great, and pillows are great for soaking up tears, but you'd be surprised how much better your heart will feel when it's had blood vigorously pumping through it.  Also, it'll get rid of all those ice cream calories.

 Surround yourself with people who genuinely love you.  Family, good friends.  Make sure you're around people who you can trust and who will support you through your recovery.

 Journal.  Get all of your thoughts and emotions out on paper.  Word vomit.  It's cathartic and healing.  

 Spend time away from your Ex.  Perhaps this is not geographically possible as you might work together, live in the same town, have the same friends, etc.  Do your best to get as much space as possible.  Don't try to be "just friends" immediately following the break up.  If you guys want to be friends still, you can definitely do that, but doing so immediately following the break up will oftentimes make it much harder to deal with the emotional fall out of the break up.  Give yourself space to heal and have clarity.

 Do something nice for yourself.  Buy yourself flowers, get a massage, 

After my big breakup I moved home to Alaska to be close to family (thankfully this was possible as I'd just graduated college), got jobs as a graphic designer and a fashion merchandiser, went to NYFW twice, dyed my hair red, bought my Brave, quit my job, and drove around the country.  The time after a break up can actually be a great time for you because you can wholly focus on yourself.  You're no longer focusing on compromising for your significant other, you can do what you want to do.  Go on the adventures you've always wanted to go on, chase the dreams you want to chase.  No one is holding you back.  For a long time I wanted to wait until I was with someone who wanted to go on my Winne trip with me, but I decided to stop waiting and just do it on my own and it was the best thing I could've done.  I'd love to do it again now that Dan and I are married, but that time in the Brave, on the road, solo, was one of the most healing times of my life.  

Do you guys have anything that helps you deal with heartache?