Crappy 2nd Anniversary to Me..

Deep breath, it’s time to revisit, Because it’s true what they say about breakups lasting more than a hot minute.

Now it’s weird to think that two years ago was the worst day of my life, But now that I’m thinking about it, I’m glad I went through all of that strife.

Maybe that sounds odd or maybe you agree, But at the end of the day if I never learned from my mistakes, then I wouldn’t be “me”.

There was a lot to learn both as individuals and as a couple, And trust me when I say that we had to get through a fair share of trouble.

Starting back up rocky was not what I wanted, Especially when I was just fine without him coming back with all that he flaunted.

He had lived a rather “adventurous” single life within those five months, So naturally I was prepared for the people that would cause our relationship bumps.

But I meant what I said last year about not putting up with shit, And yea you better believe that when it came time to show my backbone, he didn’t give me much lip.

Now I know that sounds like I might have become a dictator of our relationship, But I think we can all agree that there are some things that you just won’t let sit.

After we had time to clearly define how this relationship would be going, I’m happy to report that now we are both glowing.

But I do want to focus more about me and my personal growth, I can’t speak for him but honestly he might be the one who has grown the most.

Upon starting our new relationship I still wanted time to do my own thing, It was nothing against him, I had just sprouted an independent wing.

Quickly I found that apparently it’s weird to have a life without your boyfriend, Constantly hearing things like “you don’t act like you have another heart to tend.”

I’m sorry, but when did it become a requirement to do everything with one person?, I think most married couples can agree that too much time together can make things worsen.

What’s even more important is that I have found a love for just doing things on my own, “I don’t need no man” is more closely related to just how much a girl has grown.

Because the fact of the matter is that I don’t need Cody to feel like I can lead a fun or successful life, But I want to have him in it and maybe one day be his wife.

Gaining a relationship shouldn’t mean losing who you are, And I had to learn that lesson the hard way with a break-up that left a nasty scar.

The best thing I did for my relationship, whether it was with Cody or not, Was learning to be my own best companion – and that’s something I had to live through to be taught.

Because until I could learn to be everything for me, myself, and I, Cody stood no chance to be the one to get me by.

This past year I have learned to be better at going out without him all the time, Whether that be hitting the bars with my friends or taking myself out on my own dime.

Because before I would think that we had to do everything together, But now I understand that we can do things separately and that has made us better.

Even more importantly is that I have learned that it’s okay to stay home when he goes out, Because before I would begrudingly sit at home and pout.

I have better things to do with my time then feel compelled to be social when I’m not up for it, And I’ve learned to trust the decisions he makes even if I’m not around to see it.

Any way I slice it, it all comes down to one important factor, That I’ve learned to be more than just an extension of some eligible bachelor.

So I’m raising a glass to the dreadful breakup of June 29th 2018, What can I say, year two looks better on me – it’s my Crappy Anniversary.



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April OOPS Day

April Fool’s Day has been a day that we use as a way to give people a little spook in good-natured fun! Whether that’s a prank pop quiz from a teacher, putting a whoopee cushion under your dad’s favorite chair, or swapping your friend’s water with vodka. All of those and more seem harmless right? And if anything, these could easily be done on any other day of the week just to lighten the mood or have some fun!

But there are some jokes that go around that aren’t really jokes at all because they cause a large number of people, primarily women, to sink in to a dark reality. What is that “joke”? False pregnancy announcements.

For this blog, I interviewed one of my friends, Amanda, who unfortunately is someone who struggles with infertility and has been hurt by this kind of April Fool’s Day joke. The reason I want to write about it today is because up until being friends with Amanda, I would have never thought twice if I saw a pregnancy announcement only to later find out it was a joke. I’ll explain why below.


Donna (Me): Good afternoon, Amanda! So right off the bat, I have known you a pretty long time! Probably around 4 years I would say. I have watched you go through some insane times, and one of those was your journey with infertility. It wasn’t until we started becoming close friends that I learned just how painful April Fool’s Day can be for some people – especially those women and couples who are struggling to become pregnant with their own ray of sunshine.

I never realized just how many people struggle with infertility – it was never something I was taught in school! So April Fool’s Day to me was just a day. To me, it wasn’t really a day that could cause emotional pain. But you changed that perception and I want to help those people that may not know what kind of pain that playing a “joke” on April Fool’s Day might actually cause. I was uninformed, and I could have accidentally caused someone pain. You, however, have been educated on this for quite some time and I am hoping you can give more people information on the sort of do’s and don’ts of April Fool’s Day.

So first off, can you give me a little more information on why people shouldn’t joke about being pregnant on April Fool’s Day?

Amanda: First of all, Iโ€™m so excited to be on your blog! Weโ€™ve known each other through a screen for years and Iโ€™m glad to be able to share my story!

The thing that a lot of people donโ€™t know is that 1 in 8 people struggle to get pregnant. And 1 in 4 women will have a miscarriage. These things arenโ€™t talked about a lot so Iโ€™m glad to shed some light!

On April Fool’s, Iโ€™ve seen people post about being pregnant as a joke, or have insinuated it (thereโ€™s a โ€œjokeโ€ that goes around every year about being pregnant with twins). What a lot of people donโ€™t realize is that these jokes are incredibly hurtful for those of us who are just wishing they could get pregnant or have a successful pregnancy. I now have a 3 year old, but it took us 2.5 years to become pregnant with him. In those years, and to be honest a lot since having him, seeing pregnancy announcements can hurt. And to see people make a joke about something so many people want badly can be extremely hard. Iโ€™ve gone through many emotions when I see pregnancy announcements over the years, but it certainly isnโ€™t something to joke about.

Me: Honestly those stats are shocking and it really is something I think more people, including sex-education classes, should talk about! I would like to think that people aren’t joking about this to intentionally hurt people. Do you think if this topic was discussed more that people wouldn’t joke about it?

Amanda: Itโ€™s astounding to me that I never learned anything about infertility growing up. Especially since it effects so many people. Iโ€™m sure that people would still joke but the number would be far less. And I donโ€™t think people do these jokes to hurt people. Itโ€™s truly that they donโ€™t know how it could effect other people! 

Me: That’s so true. So my last concern is that some people may just roll their eyes to this and say that those people that get offended need to stop being so emotional and just let a joke be a joke. I’m sure most people can sympathize with the hurt someone could feel with wanting to be a parent and not being able to. But for those people who don’t understand, can you explain a little further as to why this joke isn’t a joke? Maybe using your own journey as an example?

Amanda: From my own personal experience, and I know this sounds horrible, but I would be so angry and cry when Iโ€™d see yet another pregnancy announcement from an acquaintance on the internet. I would verbally say โ€œwhy them? And why not me?โ€ It literally cost us thousands of dollars to get pregnant with my son and from the outside, it seemed that no one else struggled and just took their pregnancy and straight miracle for granted. So when people would joke about being pregnant or make a โ€œoh yeah Iโ€™m so glad weโ€™re not having more cause thatโ€™d be a handfulโ€ it can be upsetting for those who would give anything just for a chance to have children. My heart has healed a lot in the past 3 years that I donโ€™t feel so bitter towards pregnant people, but my heart does still sink a little bit seeing pregnancy announcements when weโ€™re wanting and trying and praying so hard for another miracle thatโ€™s coming to everyone but us. I know how truly blessed we are with our son and if itโ€™s just us 3, itโ€™s more than I could ever ask for. But that want is still there.

Me: Do you have any other topics that you think we shouldnโ€™t joke about based on peopleโ€™s individual hidden struggles?

Amanda: I think really anything about disabilities should be avoided. Jokes are supposed to be funny. Making fun of a disability of any sort is not okay. There are so many tasteful jokes to make. I think with whatโ€™s going on in our world today, joking about being sick with the corona virus should also be avoided. Itโ€™s a real issue going on in our country. Stick to saying you won the lottery, putting a rubber band around the sprayer on your kitchen sink, and plastic wrap on the toilet. Messy, but wonโ€™t hurt anyone. 

Me: Great point! And VERY relevant to what we are dealing with right now! I really appreciate you taking some time to chat with me about this and I am hoping this information will be helpful to someone else who may not have known the impact of a possible joke. So thank you very much. And thank you for giving me a few new ideas on how to play a few jokes tomorrow!



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A Different Method in Dealing With Anxiety

“Oh baby, why don’t you just meet me in the middle! I’m losing my mind just a little..” Catchy song, right? It almost makes you want to play the song right this second! But what if instead I had put…

“It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all. It’s a small world after all. It’s a small, small world!” Now this song is also unfortunately pretty catchy too. But it has the reverse effect on us in that we definitely don’t want to listen to it longer than we have to, but it’s more likely to be what will get stuck in our head the rest of the day!

You might be wondering how this relates to anxiety, and the connection is quite simple. Sometimes songs come into our head rather randomly and based on whether we like these songs or not usually depend on how much they affect our day.

If we like a song, odds are that we welcome the song into our head and more often than not we have the urge to listen to the song! And shortly after listening to the song, it is no longer stuck in our head, we have a great day, and we go about our business!

However, if it’s a song that annoys us, we try our best to block it out. We get frustrated when it keeps popping up in our heads and it takes a lot of time before it finally leaves our head.

Anxiety acts in the same way.

Anxiety is defined as distress or uneasiness of mind caused by fear of danger or misfortune. In other words, they are the thoughts that come to mind that you didn’t ask to be there, that usually aren’t caused by any substantial evidence, and are usually irrational or outlandish.

So let’s get this straight – anxiety is a bitch. I have talked about it before in one of my other blog posts discussing tactics to maintaining a healthy mental lifestyle, but we haven’t talked about the topic head-on.

So let’s.

My own journey with anxiety actually started about two years ago when I finally came to the realization that I had it! I know this sounds like nothing new – most people do have some form of anxiety at some point in their life. I just remember sitting in my bathroom with the door locked, sobbing on the floor because I was beyond stressed about my financial situation. Then out of the blue, one of my friends texts me and asks how I was doing and if I was okay – maybe he had some sixth sense to my duress! But I texted him back and told him what was going on, and about what I was thinking and feeling. And he simply responds with “oh you’re having a panic attack.”

UM – WHAT?!

But over that next week, I made a doctor’s appointment and they told me what my friend had already figured out for me. I had anxiety. After that, I started to reflect a little more on how this may have been affecting my life without me knowing that it was anxiety-based. And the truth is that it had actually come up multiple times in my past relationships, friendships, and life situations. I looked back on some hard times and realized that WOW, I actually had experienced more than one panic attack since I was about eighteen years old.

Now that I am writing this with about two years of knowledge about my own anxiety, I have a great way of handling it! In the first year of knowing and living with it, I tried to shut down the thoughts that were coming to me. What if my boyfriend wasn’t truly in love with me? What if I would never bounce back from my failure with my small shop? What if I couldn’t salvage my life into something lovable and livable?

What I found, which is what I think many people find when trying to not think about a song that they hate that got stuck in their head, is that TRYING to shut down those thoughts DOES. NOT. WORK.

By trying to not think about it, you end up thinking about it more and feeling worse. It ends up stressing you out! And the final result could end up being a panic attack.

So instead, what I am going to suggest is to treat every song/thought (good or annoying) like a good song. What does that mean? That means accept the thought, take control of the thought, and let it pass.

So if I am being completely honest with you, my biggest annoying anxiety thought is that my boyfriend isn’t in this relationship as much as I am. I think about him going out on his own and what he could be doing or who he could be doing it with. Unfortunately he has earned that mistrust. No he has never cheated, but he has done things that broke trust and when trust is broken in any aspect of the relationship, it makes your thoughts wander to other aspects of the relationship.

Those thoughts have plagued me for a very, very long time and I have always felt so guilty for thinking the worst in him when he hasn’t done the things that I am thinking of him doing. And in the past, when I would think these things and end up subconsciously treating him like a criminal, he shut me out, he got upset, and he felt like I was accusing him of things he didn’t do.

So instead what I do is quite simple.

This thought of him cheating on me comes to mind. Instead of being nervous about the thought, I welcome the thought. “Oh so we are thinking about this? Alright let’s go. Let’s give this hoe-bag a name. Let’s set the scene. Where did they meet? How long have they been talking? How are they sneaking around? And better yet, oh, let’s have me catch them in the act and let’s think about what I would do and say.” You better believe that I think of everything! Instead of the thoughts controlling me, I’m controlling the thoughts. I am taking control of where the thoughts go. If they want to be in my head, then fine let’s give the thoughts a good seat of the movie screen. Let’s focus on the details.

And you know what ends up happening? I think about it…. and then I don’t. It’s the same thing that happens when “The Middle” starts playing in your head and then you play it on Spotify real fast. You think about it, you listen to the song, and you move on with your day!

What ends up happening is that since I took control of the thoughts, I led the thoughts where I wanted to go. What ends up happening is that I get to the end of the scenario and I think wow…. that took A LOT to make that thought happen. And more often than not, my loving boyfriend texts me, or walks into the room, or he cuddles me closer at night at the moment that those thoughts start to pass, and I smile. And then I start having a new thought. I think of the day we get to go on a nice vacation together with our puppy, or I think of the day he asks me to be his wife.

I know anxiety comes in all forms and the thoughts are even more varied so maybe this method isn’t for everyone. I know it’s scary when these thoughts come to mind so the idea of thinking about them more may be intimidating or overwhelming. But I encourage you to stop trying to make them stop. Instead take control! Try to create the ENTIRE scene and play it out in your head and remember to include how you will come out of that situation stronger, better, and more badass!

Because at the end of the day.. wouldn’t you rather live in your reality than the nightmares that you have created in your head?


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How Losing 11,000+ Followers Made Me MORE Successful

If you have been keeping up with the algorithm changes to Instagram and Facebook, then you know that when you post content on these platforms, your post is only sent to the feeds of about 10% of your followers. Once the post is deemed “popular” to the algorithm’s standards, then it will start showing up in more of your follower’s feeds. Seems unreal, right? It’s a little harsh but it is true.

Over the last couple of years, the algorithm changes caused my page to stay at a complete stand still. In 2018, I only gained an increase of 600 followers to my page. By the beginning of 2019, I had about 28,900 followers, but was only getting an average of 500-700 likes per picture and an average reach of about 10,000-12,000.

I’m sure that sounds amazing to you! But honestly for someone who had as many followers as I did, this was actually a nightmare. I should have had FAR better likes and reach based on the amount of people that followed me but I just couldn’t break through the noise. So what exactly was bogging me down? I mean, I can’t blame the algorithm for all of my problems even though it truly seemed like it was the main cause.

“My posts aren’t being deemed as popular. Why? Is it the content or picture quality?” I thought about this for a bit and had wondered why in 2018, I still saw a decrease. It really can’t just be the algorithm. And then it dawned on me. In an attempt to try to break through my rut of stagnant followers, I had started doing those huge sponsored loop giveaways in 2019. By doing one or two of those giveaways a month, I had gotten my page to around 33,800 followers by October 2019. Over those 2019 months, it was definitely an increase in followership but it caused my page to go down in engagement.

Living in a Fantasyland is a whole lot easier when wearing my coral Disneyland Spirit Jersey. I had the best time matchig the aesthetic by Dumbo the Flying Elephant ride at Disneyland.

How?

Because those followers I gained didn’t give two flying farts about who I was, what I was posting, or anything that I posted. They had followed me simply to get free stuff out of me. I don’t blame them – that’s their hustle and I got them to follow me because of it. But what was happening was that those followers were reaping the rewards of being chosen as part of my 10% of followers that were receiving my posts in their feed. And what did they do with my post? Nothing.

By seeing my posts and doing nothing with it, they were actually hurting my page! Yes, my page looked legitimate because of the amount of followers I had, but then again my page also looked fake AF because my likes and comments per picture did not reflect the amount of followers I had.

So I started my investigation – I started going through my followers and looking to see just how many people were following me for giveaways. And wow did I find a lot more than I expected. Not only did I find an insane amount of giveaway accounts, I found a ton of ghost accounts, accounts that hadn’t been used for months or even years, spam followers, spam retailers. I soon found that lots of my followers weren’t even real. So I then started expunging my account of all of those fakes.

“This is seriously going to hurt my reputation due to my number just plummeting. But who of my followers actually tracks my amount of followers? It’ll be fine.” I thought that if I could get closer to a TRUE followership, then my account could look more authentic when it came to my likes and comments.

I deleted about 10,000 followers from my account. Shortly after this change, I decided to finally make the switch on my account to a blogging account and thus changed my handle to @donnagail.bby. From that change and up until right now, I have lost yet another 1,000 followers and counting. Every day I lose an average of 20-50 followers.

A quick look at a classic Mickey Mouse style outfit behind Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland. I matched my white tank, red shorts, and black plaid long sleeve with a Mickey Mouse bandana from Walmart!

At this point you must be utterly shocked that I would give up such a huge amount of followers when at this day in age it is so hard to gain a following. But you know what hasn’t changed? My number of likes and comments. You know what has increased? My reach, impressions, and even more surprisingly, my Story views. On average I have two times as many people watching my Stories than when I had those 11k+ followers, and right now I’m actually getting close to having it be three times as many! My engagement is staying steady if not beginning a slow rise, and my impressions are keeping a solid steady as well.

If for some odd reason, someone out there is actually tracking my following into a downward spiral, that’s fine. Yes it hurts to see so many people hit the UNFOLLOW button every single day. But honestly, they are doing me the biggest favor of getting the flicka-flocka off of my page. They are making it so that my content is going to the people that actually care about me, my content, and my journey.

Watching the number decrease time and again will never be easy – I will not for one second try to act like it doesn’t matter to me. And yes there are plenty of times that I just want to scream “BUT WHY ARE YOU SO MANY OF YOU UNFOLLOWING ME??” But time and again I remind myself of the good that it means for me building my brand. It means that my engagement goes up. It means that I can become closer to the people who actually support me. It means that my page can look like a true icon for companies who may want to work with me because I can prove that my page makes content that is worth their time.

So here’s a toast to every single person who unfollowed me. Thank you for making me more successful. You have truly been a driving force behind everything I do and every new thing that is coming my way.

Standing in front of the Millennium Falcon in Galaxy's Edge at Disneyland. I'm sporting my Star Wars Style with my Porg plush backpack, a star and moon hair clips, and my Star Wars denim jacket.


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A Simple Guide to Keeping Your New Years Resolutions

Recently I was scrolling through Instagram and I saw one of my favorite Instagrammers, Golden Aimee, post one of the funniest captions to her pictures: “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolution”.

Obviously I chuckled! None of us want our troubles to last long, and more often than not our New Year’s resolutions don’t make it past January. In fact, a study conducted by Strava indicates that January 12th is the day that most people give up! But did you know it also only takes 66 days for a new habit to become automatic?

66 days! That’s a little more two months! Are you prepared to put in the work?

If you are, then let’s begin! Not only will it take a short amount of time, but I have a simple guide for you to follow to make sure you can start 2020 strong and end it even stronger.

I will go over some of the most popular resolutions people make and how you can go about them in a way that will surely lead to success, but before I do, let’s talk about some of the biggest mistakes people make when making their New Year’s resolutions.

The first big mistake people make is that they dream WAY too big and have the deadline be “the end of 2020”. Although it’s great to have one big goal to achieve, what’s even more fulfilling is actually achieving milestones along the way. Not only is this a great way to get started, but it is something that you can change and increase/decrease throughout your journey so that you are always working towards a doable goal. Not to mention, since people make their deadline for the end of the year instead of making milestones, it’s easier for them to give the excuse “oh I still have a few more months, I can put it off for tomorrow.” This is what we are trying to avoid!

The second big mistake is that people are determined to start or quit something RIGHT AWAY. For example, if you are trying to start working out, then you’re thinking that you need to be at the gym every day, right? Or if you’re trying to quit smoking, then you’re thinking that you need to quit cold turkey, right? Both of those are dead WRONG. Going to the gym every day is only going to make you super sore, then you’ll have to take a week off for recovery, then by the time you are able to start again you are going to feel so unmotivated because of the pain you felt that you will never go to the gym again. It’s the same with smoking – if you try to quit by jumping off of the ladder completely instead of taking one step down at a time, you will find the detox to be so harsh, so uncomfortable, and guess what? You’ll be back at it in a week or two. This all goes back to trying to achieve milestones as opposed to making one big goal!

Lastly, the other big mistake people fall into is actually trying to do too many things. Your life can only balance so many things so why are you trying to be better at all these new things that you promised yourself on top of trying to maintain your normal home and work life?

By knowing these common mistakes, now you are even more prepared to start!
Working Out

This is the most common resolution! Gyms see a spike in membership and attendance in January only to see it come back to normal by February. So what you need to do to stay on top of it is simply by making small, achievable goals. Once you complete that first goal, increase your goal a little bit! If you want to run a marathon by December 2020, then start by making the goal to run 15 minutes at a time. Once you can do that, then maybe change the goal to being able to run a mile in 10 minutes! It’s all about making small, achievable goals. That will keep you motivated to keep coming to the gym and accomplish your resolution!

Quitting (insert thing here)

Whether it’s smoking, biting your nails, drinking too much coffee, etc, these are all attainable through milestones. Start with a baby step! If you know you drink 5 cups of coffee in a day, then you’ll want to cut it back to 4 cups a day, but maybe have a cheat day of 5 cups a day once a week. Sooner or later, you’ll find that it will be habit to only have 4 cups a day. Once that habit has formed, then move down the ladder inch by inch. Success is measured through progress! And the more you can progress, the better your chances are of achieving your overall goal.

Saving/Making More Money

This one is a tad harder since the act of saving is not immune to emergencies or random expenses like your car breaking down. It can be hard to save money in these circumstance because you may even have to take out money from your savings to pay for these things. And that’s ok! This resolution shouldn’t be about a certain amount – it should be about the act itself! If you can put ANY amount of money away per month, that’s a win! In terms of making more money, this is going to require you to continually work harder at your job. Put in those hours, get more one-on-one time with your boss, prove that you are an asset to the business you are in! Maybe your success will be measured in getting more hours at work. I mean, it’s not a pay raise per se, but you are getting more time at work and that’s still technically making more money.


Overall, you need to remember that it’s the small wins that account for your success. New Year’s resolutions are hard. If they were easy then it wouldn’t be something we, as a society, put such an emphasis on.

My goals for 2020 are to save and make more money, work with more companies (any number would suffice!), and to lower my debt. I am telling you this because by sharing my resolutions, I will feel more inclined to work harder at them!

To make sure I can accomplish these goals, I will:

  • Put in $100 per month for savings
  • Email at least three new companies a month
  • Keep to my current schedule to pay off my credit cards until such a time as I can afford to pay off more

I don’t want to box myself in too much with these goals. If I can save any amount per month that would be a win, and even just paying off the minimum on my credit cards still qualifies as lowering my debt. These milestones are small but they are notable to me because they are still accomplishing my resolution to myself.

Only you can hold yourself accountable for your resolutions. Keep yourself to it and don’t cave under the pressure! Make 2020 your year to make changes in your life!



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