I can’t believe I’m writing this post.

For the past 3-years, I’ve always been honest here…but that doesn’t mean I’ve always been completely transparent. That’s the beauty and the beast of the internet isn’t it? We can pick and choose which parts of our lives we want to share. We can be “open” and share struggles…but leave a few out. It’s easy. It helps your image. It makes you “more inspirational”.

Yeah, I’ve done that. And I’m done doing that.

So, this is it. This is the post that will lay it all out on the table and share exactly what I’ve gone through personally and continue to deal with. I’m done hiding the not-so-pretty parts of my life.

As many of you have probably noticed, I’ve jumped from job to job and career path to career path over the past 5 years and nothing has stuck. It has been extremely frustrating and confusing because, growing up, I thought I had my whole life figured out. Well, fate had other plans.

It has taken every minute of struggle, pain and loss to understand why nothing has ever felt “right’. The reason? I never allowed myself to just be me. I buried my flaws and poured all of my energy into fitting a mold (whatever it was at the time) and killed myself to achieve “perfection”.

But where did that begin?

In high school, I remember being happy. I’ve struggled with self-image problems for the majority of my life but the thoughts were quiet during those 4-years. I dreamed of being a famous actress and invested every ounce of energy in theatre productions, choir and the drama department at school. Did I really love it? I don’t know. I think I did…but it became more of a lifestyle than a true passion. I was the “drama kid” and, deep down, I loved being the best at something.

So, I did what any die-hard aspiring actress would do and auditioned for the Acting Conservatory of my dreams, was accepted and packed up my life [a semester] ahead of my peers and moved to Los Angeles– the city that was sure to make my dreams come true.

My desire to be the best continued. I spent 2 years giving that school everything I had. I never once missed a class, I was always prepared (except for one day in Shakespeare class which still mortifies me) and came out with a 4.0 and the ranking of ‘top student’ in my class. I was proud of that. Once again, I was able to work hard enough to be “the best”.

Unfortunately, another issue began to arise during those two years. I gained a little weight at the start of college (as most do) which made me uncomfortable. Was I unhealthy? No. Just average…and, sadly, that doesn’t cut it in the entertainment industry. So in an attempt to lose the extra pounds, I took on a bet proposed by a very influential person in my life– who could lose 15lbs the fastest. 

That was all it took. In yet another attempt to be the best, I became obsessed. I went from eating normally to cutting out “unhealthy” foods left and right. My long-time vegetarian diet became a strict, mostly-raw vegan one. The more pounds that fell off, the more praise I received and the more determined I felt to be just a “little bit better”. I began skipping out on social events that included food and rarely (if ever) ate out. I prepped every, single freakin’ meal with this meticulous precision that makes me sick to think about now. I had to have my food laid out certain ways, on certain plates and consumed in certain areas of my apartment. I exercised excessively. I would literally get to the gym at 5am, run on the treadmill for 2 miles, take a 60-min conditioning class and then do abs and the stairmaster…then go BACK in the afternoon for round 2. What the f*ck? My OCD habits skyrocketed and I would freak out at the drop of a hat over nothing. Everyone annoyed me. And as disgusting as it sounds, I thought it was because I was better than them because I “had control” and they didn’t.

Looking back, I can’t believe that person was me.

I lost friendships. I pushed people away. I stopped caring about anything except food and exercise.

As you would expect, my weight plummeted and my normal, beautiful body became a skeleton.

I didn’t understand. I was doing everything “right”. I was following all of the diet and exercise rules and even going above-and-beyond and I still wasn’t happy. I was trying to be a fitness blogger and a food blogger (on my old domain) and preaching balance without taking my own advice and living it. I knew I needed change or I was going to deal with lifelong consequences…if I didn’t kill myself first. But I was terrified. Terrified of what losing control would feel like.

I can’t exactly pin-point when the shift happened because I don’t remember a good portion of this time in my life; partially because I was so severely underweight and partially because I chose to block out the darkest days. But at some point, I finally decided I had had enough. When my family life back home began to crumble, things started to finally come back to perspective. Starving myself wasn’t going to fix anything– especially not my family– and I had missed out on the last few years of my family being together because I was too pre-occupied with my body and maintaining control.

IMG_7482So, I started the process of recovery. I didn’t go to treatment or work with a therapist. I just did it.

It was hard as hell.

I have no words for how much I struggled. It was just hard. But I told myself every day that it was going to be worth it. That one day I wouldn’t have to think obsessively about every morsel of food I put in my mouth and every minute spent at the gym. I believed in my strength, more than I ever had, and I pushed through even when I desperately wanted to recoil into my life of comfort and control.

The stream of tears has been non-stop since I started writing this post…

Nearly 3 years after I hit rock bottom, I’m finally beginning to taste freedom. True freedom. Not the “freedom” I talked about in posts 2 years ago when I was obviously still in the heart of the struggle. At long last, I’m free enough to open up and allow all of my cracks and crevices to surface. To share how and why I lost all control in my desperate attempt to achieve it. To reach out and hope that my journey can help someone, anyone, get through theirs.

For the first time in my life, I’m learning to love myself…and that’s not something I could have honestly said 3-months ago. Sure, I was physically recovered by that point but, mentally and emotionally, I was still in pain. Depression has hit me hard time and time again and I’m here to admit that it’s something I’ll probably always battle. But I’m learning to love my laugh and my smile and my curves and my weird+sarcastic personality and my flat-as-hell hair and my social awkwardness and working out because I want to not because it’s part of my ‘image’. All of the things I spent years trying to hide are the very traits that make me, me. Imperfection really is beauty. 

This post has nothing to do with being preachy or saying “look what I did, guys”…no. I still have bad days. I still feel ashamed of the past and I still fear the future. I still have walls built up that I’m, slowly but surely, chipping away at. I still have problems that I deal with every. damn. day.

But I’m real.

No metaphors or super positive, inspirational quotes or forced-smile selfies or whatever else…

This is Emily.

IMG_7282Of all the different paths I’ve taken, I finally feel like I may have found the right one.

I want to share my story in hopes that someone won’t have to feel another day of pain. Life is hard. Being vulnerable, letting go of control…it just doesn’t come naturally sometimes. Life can feel completely hopeless and tomorrow can look even darker than yesterday. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m here to tell you that you can smile. Whatever demons haunt the darkest corners of your brain can be destroyed by the light within you. Surrender your facade to the person buried underneath it and joy will begin to surface…a joy that you absolutely deserve. We all do.

You are not alone.

If you want to talk, vent, ask a question, reach out for support…anything…email me. Whether you’re struggling with an eating disorder, depression, anxiety, stress, self-hatred, ocd…I’ve been there.


Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @ missemmmysue


It’s October.

Changing leaves, cooler weather (if you don’t live in CA like me…), sweaters, boots, warm drinks, pumpkin everything…and lots of candy and comfort food. AND it’s almost Christmas time. Yeeee!

For many of us (myself included), maintaining a regular workout schedule during the holiday season is really hard. Between travelling, spending time with family and simply enjoying good food and relaxation, it tends to end up on the back-burner and that’s okay. While many fitness websites and blogs advocate following a typical strict regime “no matter what”, I’m here to disagree. Yes, I think exercise is still important, but not as much as finding a healthy and happy balance.

Exercise when you want to and how you want to. Making memories with your friends and family is so much more significant than forcing yourself through a workout or turning down grandma’s famous homemade bread because you might “gain weight”. Because, let’s be honest…in 50 years, is missing a couple workouts even going to matter. No. Missing out on beautiful memories will.

My plan of attack this holiday season is to kick things up a notch during October and November (still enjoying plenty of candy at Halloween and delicious food at Thanksgiving, of course) and to really utilize this pre-holiday time to exercise regularly, eat healthy and kick my metabolism into high gear. Having that mindset will allow me (and you!) to approach the season feeling great and with the ability to jump back into a routine after all of the excitement is over.

So let’s get sweating! 

This Candy Sweat workout is a Lower Body + Core routine that incorporates lifting weights with plyometric movements to tone your lower body and get your heart-rate pumping! Complete the 3 supersets and triset at your gym or at home with a pair of dumbbells and get ready to sweat!
candy sweat

If you aren’t sure of an exercise leave a comment below or send me an email (email in sidebar!) and I’ll be happy to help you! Also, be sure to check out the other workouts I have listed on my Build Your Body page and let’s jump-start this holiday season feeling healthy and confident. Who’s with me?

Here’s to sweatin’ for the sweets…


Follow me in Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

FullSizeRender (3)

I know I can’t be the only one who has spent the majority of my life in horrible fear of vulnerability.

It’s scary.

Opening ourselves up and exposing who we really are feels like a sure-fire way to get hurt. When we’re living underneath a facade, being judged, unaccepted or unloved doesn’t have quite the same effect…because the person being hurt isn’t really us.  So we live a life of “pain-prevention” , build up walls around our hearts and minds and allow very few [if any] people to ever get a peak inside.

Because what lies behind those walls is vulnerability.

But that’s not all that we’re hiding. Without the ability to feel pain, we also numb ourselves of the ability to feel joy and happiness. We seclude ourselves into a safe-haven of comfort and certainty and refuse to open up…refuse to truly feel. The confident, care-free and comfortable soul we had and shared as children becomes hard, reclusive and defensive. Because it’s easier. There is no uncertainty. There is no unbearable hurt…but there is also no unbelievable joy.

So, today I challenge you to slowly start breaking down your walls. It’s a process that surely won’t happen overnight…or even in a matter of days, weeks or years. Actually, we will probably never rid ourselves of them completely and that’s okay. Just break off a chip. Smile at a stranger. Hug your parents. Tell your friends you appreciate them. Allow yourself to love and be loved.

If nothing else, challenge yourself to stop watching your life from the sidelines and jump in to feel it. Even if only for a moment. That moment will lead to two and three and days and weeks. So, take a breath, count to three and give yourself permission to break free.

I’ll be right there with you.

Here’s to breaking down the walls…


Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

So, I did something over the weekend that 98% of the people in my life have said was “unpractical”…

I got a puppy. 

IMG_7099Meet Bentley. He’s a 10-week old, 2.75lb ball of joy and sweetness.

I found out about him on Friday, decided within an hour that I would adopt him and brought him home Sunday morning. I’ve had him now for 24 brief hours and he has already stolen my heart.

When I say that this is something I’ve been wanting for a looong time, I’m not exaggerating. I’ve literally been praying, hoping, wishing and begging for a puppy to call my own since I lost my last baby, Clifford, over 3-years ago. There’s just something about having a dog that makes me feel “whole” and, even though the timing may seem impractical, I think it was absolutely perfect.

IMG_7110Over the past few months, I’ve alluded to the fact that my mental health is struggling. It’s something I’ve dealt with for the majority of my life; however, in the last 6-months it has worsened for reasons I can’t really seem to identify. My stress and anxiety has increased and “sad” days are happening much more frequently. It’s hard. Anyone who has battled anxiety and depression understands that sometimes it just feels out of control…no matter how hard you try to fix it.

Last Monday, I decided to sit down and make a list of all the things that bring me joy. This is something I’ve done before but not for some time, and not since I moved out of LA. I quickly realized that animals trumped nearly everything else. I thought it was very interesting and decided I would finally adopt the puppy I’ve been dreaming about if and when the opportunity came and it felt right. Little did I know that moment would come in a matter of days. :)

FullSizeRender (2)While it may appear that I adopted Bentley for selfish reasons, it’s actually quite the opposite. I adopted him as a reminder to be selfless. He’s a place for me to pour all of my love and a reminder that life doesn’t have to be so complicated. All of my stresses suddenly seem manageable because I’m focused on loving and caring for him. No matter what happens, I will make sure he is fed, walked, healthy and happy…and that gives me a purpose outside of my own mind.

In the past 24-hours, I have smiled and laughed more than I have in months and I have Bentley to thank for that. He and Lionel are my everything and I feel so blessed to be in a position where I’m able to open up my heart and home to two precious little fur babies.

IMG_7153For anyone struggling mentally or emotionally, animals. Love them. Care for them. Pour yourself into them. The love, loyalty and light you receive in return is unlike anything else in the world.

Here’s to puppy love…


Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

Okay, you people that manage to blog when life gets super unbelievably crazy, I SALUTE YOU.

It is hard. Really hard. But I’m trying. I’m beginning to see how much using an editorial calendar helps me stay on track. So I’ve got a new planner in hand and some serious motivation. Let’s do this.


In the past 24-hours, I’ve thought long and hard about WHY I started this blog almost 3-years ago.

I truly believe that bliss looks different for everyone and that it is within reach for all of us. I’ve gone through my fair share of hardships and struggles in my short 23-years and, while I wouldn’t wish those things on anyone, I know I’m not alone. You aren’t either. Life is really hard sometimes and feelings of exhaustion, defeat and depression can hit us hard, take us down and keep us there easier than we’d like to believe. Humans are fragile by nature, so how we handle pain and adversity is what defines us. We either let it break us, weaken us or strengthen us…and if my words and past experiences can help one person become a little bit stronger, it was all worth it.

At it’s core, that’s what buildmybliss.com is all about. I’ll continue to share the same variety of content that I always have, but I want the underlying theme to always come back to one thing…

You can do this.

Whatever you’re facing…no matter how lost or hopeless you feel, you can [and will] get through it. There is more strength within you than you can even imagine– it’s a matter of learning how to utilize it. Your strength is your power, your kindness is your gift and your happiness is your bliss.

I also want everyone to know that I’m always an email or text away. If you’re struggling, need a friend or just need to vent for a few minutes, I’m here. I’m far from perfect and I’m still learning myself, but finding a person who understands your struggle can be one of the biggest building blocks to freedom and success. Email me anytime, 24/7 at dryden.emily(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Here’s to bliss…


Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

By now, I’m sure that many of you have seen (or at least heard about) the controversial video that was posted by YouTube “comedian” Nicole Arbour last week.

The rant-style video entitled “Dear Fat People” has caused quite the uproar and [allegedly] also led YouTube to temporarily suspend her account (read about the other speculations here). Whether or not YouTube actually did step in, the harmful nature of the video speaks for itself…

8bbf40d95d926740861f3ca3f553b0feI’m not going to get into the technical inaccuracies of the video. We all know that there are a variety of health issues that can cause a person to gain weight quickly and unexpectedly and that a person’s health isn’t necessarily defined by their jean size. Every person has a past that has led them to where they are today and it is ignorant to assume that every overweight person excessively eats McDonalds and Krispy Kreme Donuts every chance they get. That’s just not how it works.

But like I said, that’s not what I’m here to talk about…

What I want to talk about is WHY this type of thing would ever be considered “funny”.

In a world where children, teens, young adults and grown men and women are constantly falling victim to depression, self-harm and suicide due to prejudices and bullying, why would anyone think it’s okay to then shine a judgmental spotlight on the overweight population? Who does it benefit? No one. Cyber-bulling is still cyber-bullying whether it’s coming from an anonymous instagram account or a very popular YouTube star. It’s painful, hurtful and dangerous, no matter who the source is.

As someone who has dealt with body-image issues my whole life, I can say that hearing overweight OR underweight people shamed for their bodies makes me sick. It’s hard enough to love ourselves in this overly-critical world and and I can’t believe than anyone (let alone a female) would come along and choose to make it even harder.


We should be loving, supporting and encouraging one another through the good times and the bad. We should encourage those around us, no matter what size or shape they are, to nourish their bodies and find a weight that makes them happy and healthy.

We should live to inspire others through positivity, not criticism. 

Here’s to never-shaming, ever-loving…


Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue


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