Things 2 Weeks of Quarantine Has Taught Me

I have officially been in self quarantine for 17 days now. During this time, a lot has changed in my life yet sometimes I feel like not much has changed. Going through these times has taught me some serious lessons and I thought I would share them with you guys!

Before I get into what I have learned so far, I just want to say I expect to learn much more with the time to come. We are in some strange times now and in my professional opinion, we will be in this situation for much much longer. I hope to post another one of these later down the line, but this is just what’s been going on in the initial shock of this.


1. Everyone’s situation is different. Don’t try to understand it

This is something I always try to be mindful of when looking into the world. It can be so easy to jump to judgment (which I am so so guilty of) when we forget that no one looks at the world the exact same way we do. That same concept applies to this pandemic. No two people are going to react the same or understand the same. This is much more confusing to the average person than it is to a medical professional. It is much scarier for people who have lost their jobs or have to try to find food they can buy on their WIC checks. We have to be understanding even if we believe people are putting themselves at risk.

Yes sometimes people are just ignorant to the situation, but some people are just trying their best. We don’t need to justify why people act the way they act or do the things they do during this time. All you can control is the way you understand this, the way you act about it, and how you can move forward in this time.

2. People will believe whatever they need to believe in that moment

This has been the thing I have seen the most both within my personal and my professional life since the pandemic started. I’ll be the first to admit that I judge the people who don’t take this seriously or who don’t take the proper precautions during this time. Like I said before, some people don’t have the resources to understand, but some people just genuinely see this as the world’s biggest inconvenience to them!

If you want to believe this will end soon, you will believe it. If you want to believe this will end your business, it will. If you want to believe this will bring you and your partner closer, it will. You will never change someone’s mind, but you can help change their mindset. I hate seeing people looking at this as an inconvenience or a life ending event. Yes, it is a horrible time, but we can only do our part to help control the spread and otherwise all we can do is try to look at the good in this situation, stay positive, and work our butts off to get through this. If you want to believe otherwise, you will.

3. A little kindness goes a long way

I’ve noticed so much that the little things bring the biggest joy during this time. I’ve been running a lot around my neighborhood in the mornings during this and I always try to say hello to my neighbors. Now, my neighborhood is not particularly nice people usually. No one normally talks to each other or plans things together, but now I see everyone smile at me as I run and say hello. One man even see’s me everyday I run (I run at the same time every other day) and cheers me on! Giving a helping hand or just a smile makes all the difference during this time.

4. A schedule will keep you sane

I am a very schedule oriented person. I honestly think a schedule runs my life, but when this hit I felt like my life got flipped upside down *cue fresh prince song*. For a week I didn’t know what to do and I felt lost and all over the place. Then I sat down and wrote out a schedule for myself every week (I usually do this on sundays for the following week). I put a new daily routine into place that I could follow that was similar to what I had before the quarantine, but modified for my no commute no more life. Instead of getting up at 5:30 everyday, I get up at 6. I still exercise in the morning, I do my daily gratitude practice (which I have stuck with for 6 months now) and I start work by 8:30. It keeps me happy and on track to make the most of my days.

5. Clean space, less anxiety

I’m sure there’s some scientific thing behind this and maybe this isn’t for everyone, but when my space is clean my anxiety drops. I have to have the room I’m working in be extra clean to make sure I can focus and not be stressed about cleaning up the mess. Just keeping the house clean will help you with your sanity. I know a lot of people have been binge cleaning or organizing and I think it’s because we have to spend so much time in our houses finally that we realize how much it contributes to our sanity that our spices look nice 😂I have not organized yet. I did deep clean my washing machine, but just try to make 10-30 mins a day to clean up your space. It will make your days a little less hectic.


I’m sure once this whole thing is over, I will have a lot more to say or maybe not, who knows! All I know is that I hope you guys are staying safe, staying home, and staying healthy!

Cheers!

How gaining 50 pounds made me appreciate my body

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog post for awhile, but I haven’t because honestly I didn’t think anyone would read it. Well now we’re in quarantine and it’s my blog so I can do what I want (but I hope you like it).

So as many of you know, I used to be a skinny little mini. 5 years ago, little baby Clark was just going into college and weighed a wopping 155 pounds standing 5’8” tall. I was very healthy and athletic and transitioning into college, but I also feel the need to mention that I lost about 15 pounds before I got into college because I went through a toxic breakup and coped with it by not eating much at all.

^^Das me home during my freshman year of college and my baby Colbi who is very old right now^^^

Now, I weigh about 200 pounds. I recently lost almost 20 pounds too. I gained all this weight over the span of 2 years. A lot of it was from stress eating from anxiety I was facing in college. My answer to a lot of things during my last 2 years of college was “Who cares?”. I didn’t feel like cooking? Who cares? I didn’t feel like working out? Who cares? I want to binge drink at home because I’m sad? Absolutely. I stopped working out as much and boom! There I was, graduating college at 220 pounds.

I don’t look much different from that photo almost a year ago (wow I can’t believe it’s been a year) and honestly, I’m not upset about it at all. I look back at that girl in the top photo and think holy cow you have no idea what your life is about to be like. I’m sitting here tearing up just thinking about it.

Gaining all this weight wasn’t helpful with the sadness and stress I was dealing with in my life. When I was graduating, I finally had the space to look at myself in the mirror and be like wow…. who are you? My body was so foreign to me and I was in the worst shape I had ever been in. I know I wasn’t at an unhealthy weight or obese by any means, I just had never been so unhealthy before. I was so weak and tired. I didn’t even know how to deal with this body and I felt so defeated.

I expected to graduate and spend the summer lounging on the beaches and looking hot and feeling amazing. Little did I know I would go to Hawaii and not fit into most of the clothes I had to pack. I didn’t know how exhausting it would be to go on a hike. I didn’t realize how uncomfortable I would feel in bathing suits.

Fast forward a few months, I have started my first adult job that I hate and I moved to city where I know no one but my boyfriend who is depressed and unemployed. My savings are dwindling trying to support us and not much has changed in our lives since graduating except a little more chaos. It was at this point something clicked inside of me that said, “WAKE YO ASS UP!” (If you don’t know this TikTok reference please get the app for the love of God it’s great).

I finally had the reality check that my life was passing me by. This time I was supposed to spend living my best life was being spent with me being lazy, self demeaning, and toxic. I worked hard to get healthy. I started reading again, I tried to get to the gym more, I started journaling, I started drawing more, I just did all the things I knew would make me feel good. It was crazy how from October to January I had become a whole new person.

Even just in a few short weeks, I saw how much I loved this new body I had been given (The 220 pound one). Today, I am down 20 pounds since the beginning of the new year, but the only reason I know that is because I’ve checked my weight twice. My goal is not to get back to 18 year old me! My goal is to grow into 23 year old me. That body back then was kept that way through hours of working out that I do not have anymore. That body did not have the hormones I have now that I’m older. That body hadn’t seen the horrible mess that would be older her. This body that I have now is so much better. It is curvy, it is healthy, it is strong, it is so so so smart, it is happy.

The body I have may look fat to a lot of the outside world, but this body is training for a half marathon. This girl is running several businesses. This mind practices gratitude and loves to draw and journal. These eyes have read more books in 3 months than they did in the last 3 years. My body now is not a size 6, but it is so beautiful as a size 14. It is so strong. It has seen some shit and it’s still going.

I am so grateful that I found out that I was worth working on. I work on my body not because I’m trying to get skinny. I keep doing this because I know I can and I should! You are the only person making excuses for why you aren’t doing it. It’s going to be hard, that is a given, but what will be harder? Being miserable or working on yourself?

-Cheers

My Struggle with Imposter Syndrome

This has been weighing on my heart lately and I’ve herd many people talk about it, but I think it’s hard for us to admit to it sometimes. For those of you that may have never herd of this before first, it is not a real “syndrome” it’s not medical or anything like that. Imposter syndrome is when you feel like you don’t belong. When you feel you’re too small for the shoes you’re in or aren’t good enough to run with the big dogs.

My imposter syndrome has hit me in many different aspects of my life. It hits me most at my job. I work with some of the smartest people in the world. I work with almost exclusively people who have PhD’s and many years of experience in very specialized fields. Most days I really don’t know how I got hired to the position I have, but I’m grateful everyday that I get to learn from some of the smartest people in this field.

You are not growing and learning if you are the smartest person in the room

-Michael Dell

The problem with this is that I constantly feel like the biggest idiot in the room. I did not do great in college. I struggled through my courses, I got them done and got my degree. I came into this job with minimal lab experience and a positive attitude and some of my coworkers treated me like I was a complete waste of their time. The culture of my work environment is very hostile to begin with (everyone is there for themselves and not there to help you) but it was especially hard when from the get-go I felt inferior to all of them. I’m not saying I measure up to them, but now I feel better about my job. I see the role I play, how I contribute and how smart I actually am.

How did I get to this point? Well… a lot of self pump up and some little wins.

Imposter syndrome can strike in so many ways. I feel it in my fitness journey, I feel it in my body type. I feel it as a private researcher in an industry I am just entering. I feel it as a spouse and as a podcaster. I feel it everyday! Does that stop me from exercising, showing off my curves, doing the work I love, or writing these blog posts? HELL NO!!!!!

There is no one out there telling me I don’t belong in any of these spaces. I have never once had someone tell me my blog sucks, I am a terrible chemist, that I’m not a hard worker, or anything like that! I am the only person telling myself that I don’t belong. Even if I did have someone else telling me that I don’t belong, unless it is someone who I deeply care about their opinion (which is approximately 5 people in my life), I would not let that stop me.

We talk ourselves out of so many things because we don’t believe we are capable of them, yet we never go out and try them! If we’re not monumentally successful we don’t see it as success! You have to love the small wins. The small wins will keep you going when the negative self talk comes up. You’ll think back to the time your best friend told you how smokin’ hot you are, the time someone told you how amazing the work you’re doing is, or how proud they are of you for following your dreams.

Putting yourself out there is hard, especially if you’re around the same age as me. I get told all the time that I “don’t know anything yet”, which is true. I don’t have the same life experience as anyone older than me, but even my grandmother could have felt imposter syndrome. We all get scared, we all feel not good enough at some point and that’s okay!

My advice is to give yourself grace, remind yourself of the small wins, and keep on going. I know on the days I suffer with this I feel so terrible, but I keep going and it got me from an Etsy store to a blog to college degree to a podcast and to a business. I hope it takes you to your dreams too.

Cheers!

My Favorite Relationship Advice

I may not be very old, but I consider myself moderately wise. I pride myself on always reaching for a better relationship, not just with John, but with anyone I have a relationship with. With it being Valentines day, I decided I would share some of the best advice I have gained over the years on how to improve the relationships in your life.



You have to show up for yourself before you can show up for others

This is my most important advice I can give. I try to tell people this all the time and so many people just don’t get it. Especially when it comes to a romantic relationship, you are not together to make the other person whole. You are not the yin to the yang. You can be very different people and be in a thriving relationship, but you do not add anything to the other person.

Relationships are about two people going on a journey together. Before you start that journey, you both have to be whole, individual people. What I mean by this is you have to accept yourself for who you are, know who you are, and know what you stand for. So many people get into a relationship and hope that the other person will give them something they don’t have. This is unhealthy and it’s called codependence.

Have your own likes, interests, loves, fears, hobbies, friends, and share those with your partner. Engage in each others lives and live them alongside one another with so much love. If you don’t know who you are, how is your partner supposed to know for you?

Understand the people you are in a relationship with DEEPLY

Something I have done in the last year that has really helped me understand my personal relationships is trying to figure out the people I am close with on a deeper level. For example, I know almost every single one of my friends and families enneagram number, tendency, and love language. (If you don’t know what these are just DM me)

I know how they want me to express love to them, how I should apologize to them, why they react to the same situation differently than I do. It helps me connect with them more. It helps me understand that they are different than me. They have different needs than me and I can show up for them accordingly.

The deeper you understand the important people in your life, the happier you will be and the happier they will be in a relationship with you. If they are an especially good partner, they will do the same for you.

Make the effort and show up well

This one is tricky for me to discuss because I genuinely believe there is a fine line you have to walk with this one. This advice can get ugly and cause a lot of resentment in relationships. For example, you have a friend or family member who will keep in touch, makes plans with you, remembers your birthday, etc. Thats great! They make the effort and it shows very much! The problem is they don’t show up well. They flake on plans. They’re on their phone at dinner with you. They’re not interested in talking about you, only about themselves. They are not showing up well for you.

I absolutely can’t stand this and it’s something I discovered a few years ago that helped me cut a lot of people out of my life. People who show up well and put in the effort do not have to show up often. They just have to show up in the best way.

A positive example of this can show up in any relationship whether it be a spouse, a family member, or a friend. Friends who you don’t see much, but they make the trip to see you and want to get dinner and talk for hours and hear about your new job and your new cat you got! Family who you only see at holidays, but they give you such a thoughtful gift and give you the biggest, genuine hug and tell you how much they miss seeing you, but are happy they get this chance. A partner who works long hours, but makes sure to sit with you at the dinner table and ask about your day and helps clean up the dishes, even if it’s the only 20 minutes you see them everyday.

You can’t just make the effort. You have to make the effort, and show up well. One without the other is never enough.

Express Empathy

Look, we all go through tough shit in life. We all also have ego that makes us look at other peoples lives with judgment and compare whose life is harder. I understand because I used to think like this all the time.

In a relationship, you need to have overwhelming empathy for the other person; not sympathy, empathy. Sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone else. Empathy is when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. By putting yourself in their situation, you can understand why they don’t ever text you, why they spend all their time with their boyfriend and not you, why they never help you with the chores.

When you step back and look through the other persons perspective, it makes a lot more things understandable than a problem worth fighting about. Romans 12:15 says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Even if the person who is weeping is weeping about how they spilt diet coke in their limited edition Louis Vuitton bag and you know they’ll get a new one tomorrow, just remember they are still upset that they ruined something they didn’t want to ruin and they probably feel really bad about it. Meanwhile my biggest problem is the purse I’ve used for 9 year finally has a hole large enough my things fall out of it…. you get my point.

Always work to do better

We are all bound to make mistakes. We are not perfect. We are not even moderately close to getting through life (at least I’m not. I like to think I’m not alone). If you are not striving to always be a better partner, friend, sister, daughter, coworker, boss, or whatever, you will never grow and have exceptional relationships.

If you are always looking at the other person as the problem, you are never going to have a good relationship. Remember that you can always do better, that sorry isn’t enough, and you need to always work to grow, improve, and be the best you can be.


In the last year, being more aware of these things has improved my relationships all around. I am closer with my close friends, I cut people out of my life who were not showing up well for me, I have a partner who I absolutely adore and pursue everyday, and I love and appreciate my family more than anything in the world.

Even though today is Valentine’s Day, show the people you love that you love them everyday. Always remember that they could not be here tomorrow and if they weren’t would you be happy with the way you showed up for them?

Cheers.

How Freckled Finn Came To Be

As some of you may have seen from my bombardment of posts on Instagram, John and I finally got around to launching our DREAM COMPANY!

We have been working on this for months and this idea has been in our heads for years and it has finally come full circle! I wanted to write this blog post to not only explain what our new business is, but to explain why this is something I personally wanted to do and how it’s affecting the direction my blog and other things in my life are going.

So… Let’s start with the story!

I have always been a big dreamer and when I met John I think that was something he really liked about me (or at least I hope. I actually don’t even know if he likes me half the time lol). We met in college, as many of you know, and we used to always ask each other, “If you could do anything, what would you do?” and John’s response to me was always, “I would run my own fishing company”.

We would sit there and talk about how we would do it, what we would do, what our biggest, craziest idea was for this company, and eventually he started letting me add in my crazy ideas too (they usually involve a taco stand, but he goes along with it). When we finally got out of college, I had some money for us to take this idea and turn it into a reality. I was so pumped that we could finally get started and John pushed it off and said it wasn’t the right time.

This went on for months with me, honestly getting really pissed off about it. I must admit John and I get into fights a lot because John is so practical/numbers/data oriented and I live my life off hope. I was mainly frustrated because I believed in this company that didn’t even exists yet! In my mind all I could think was, “Do you not believe in us? What about our big dream? Why don’t you trust me?”

I now know a lot of that was stemming from his fears of crunching numbers and also just fear of us being in such a crazy place in our lives with just having graduated college. Around November of 2019 I finally said, “It’s now or never”. I had made a plan for him, I explained how I would get things done, I drafted up our website, and he finally gave me the okay.

So here we are, one month in. I would have to ask John exactly to know what he thinks, but based off our conversations so far, I think he’s glad we finally took the jump. Yes, there are things we didn’t expect, but they are good and bad.

This has been the best experience in the first month. This company gives me so much joy to work for it and watch it grow, even in the short lifetime it has had. I can’t wait to see where it goes in the future.


Now, you may be wondering where my part in all of this came from. Well you can check out our website or watch the Youtube at the bottom of this post to learn what we’re all about, but it actually worked out perfectly for me to fit right into this company.

I have been passionate about the environment for years now. I have always wanted to do something to change the planet. I first really got my heart lit on fire by this two summers ago when I was working in an entomology lab (yes that’s the study of bugs) where we were doing sustainable agriculture research. I learned so much about farming, crop growth, organic farming, and ag in general. Then I graduated and got the most boring job on the planet!

Now I must mention this job in the entomology department was HARD. It was outdoors in Maryland in the middle of the summer in fields of corn and soy beans and broccoli and peppers. It was farm work and lots of counting bugs and lots of dirt and rain and chicken poop and guess what? I loved every second of it. My job now is in an indoor lab, I have a desk, I get to wear what I want, I can work from home some days and I hate this job with a passion.

I know this job is not for me, but I know learning and helping change the planet is for me. I know I was so happy at that other job and I know with Freckled Finn, I can do that work and more. I can do the work I want to do and make change.

I want to focus more on this company and these ideas and less on typical “blog” things. I will be taking a step back from this and it will be heading in a new direction, but I’m not exactly sure what that will look like yet. I hope you guys learn something from watching us grow and change and I hope you come along for the ride with us!

-Cheers!

My Word of 2020

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I sat and thought long and hard about this word. I know to many of you this seems really cliche, but I wanted this word to be my guide through 2020 and into the decade. I have really huge dreams for 2020. My mind is always moving a million miles a minute and in 2020 I wanted to bring many of those dreams to life.

I started by writing out my dreams for the year, but I wrote them as if they have already happened. A few of them are…

I do not give up, even when times get tough

I am healthy and at peace with my body

I radiate positivity

I work for myself

After I wrote these down, I thought to myself, “What is the theme between all of these?” I wanted to make sure I had a mantra for when life hits (because guess what queen it always does) that would refocus me on my goals. That word… is RISE.

I almost didn’t pick this word because of how it is very strongly associated with Rachel Hollis (who I love, but she coined it first). I didn’t want people to think I was just stealing it from her but honestly, I couldn’t think of a better word for the message I wanted to tell myself in this new decade.

I have barely been alive for 2 decades. I will turn 23 in June and I know this decade is going to be HUGE for me. In my short two decades of life, I have found that the thing that holds me back the most is fear. Fear is just an idea. Our fears are taught to us. We fear others’ judgment because we see how we judge others. We fear heights because we know they can hurt us. We fear loneliness because we know what it feels like to be alone with our thoughts and have the horrible FOMO of watching others be together.

In 2020, I say no more. Every time someone tells me I need to fit into their idea of success, I will rise above them. Every time I make a mistake in my business I will rise above it. Every time we struggle to navigate our crazy relationship, we will rise together.

I am bigger than fear. I am bigger than other judgments. I am bigger than my failures. I will rise above all 2020 because I have a mission to fulfill. What does the sun do every day? It rises! It radiates! It shows up everyday! Even when it rains, the sun is behind those clouds! I have an obligation to myself to rise every day just like the sun, and in 2020, I will do just that.

I am so empowered to chase my dreams and you should be too! Your word for 2020 doesn’t have to be the same as mine or it doesn’t have to be any word at all! What I really want is for you to stop doubting yourself. 2020 is our new decade. It’s your first leap into the next 10 years. Don’t just take a tiny step, JUMP!

-Cheers