31 December 2013

Influenster Jolly VoxBox

The Influenster Jolly VoxBox I received, free for testing, was full of useful yet pleasing items! 

The Skinny Cow candy, advertised with only 130 calories a "pouch," is a chocolate I've dug my face into quite a few times already (as you can probably tell) and it's delicious! With taste like that...especially considering there was yummy caramel inside mine...I can spare those calories every now and then. 

Some eye shadow was included, and although I was happy about that at first, I think it was because I thought it was Wet N' Wild. This is actually NYC New York Color HD Color Trio Eye Shadow. Phew. What a mouthful. I didn't find anything too extraordinary about it, my color I received being "Long Beach Sands." I wouldn't necessarily say that it's a bad product, it's just not anything I would pick up again, especially since it didn't stay on my lids long at all. 

And, going right along with the next beauty product... I got to try something I actually asked for as a Christmas gift but didn't receive--Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer, which I believe is pretty much the same formula as the Rimmel Apocalips? Either way, I was given the beautiful, rich pink color "Aurora." I love it! Especially when I apply some cream blush with it, it really takes my pale skin to a completely new level. 

The Puffs tissues I received were nice, especially because after using them, I was given the idea to buy another few packs to put inside the travel tissue holders I'm making as late Christmas gifts ;) 

When I saw I had some awesome Duck Tape (a Ducklings Mini Roll to be exact), I figured I could use it for my next home improvement task. It's a neat little pattern, although it reminds me of the '80s splat pattern you used to see everywhere! 

Overall, I can say I am pretty happy. I got some nice little goodies, and it was like opening a Christmas package--but that's how it ALWAYS is with Influenster. 

Are you a member of Influenster? 

30 December 2013

"On Top of Fort Macon, Surrounded By Sea..."

If you now have that "On top of spaghetti, all covered in cheese" song stuck in your head, don't blame me.
OK, maybe blame me, but it's actually the fault of my subconscious, or whatever, considering I woke up singing it this morning after hearing it in my dreams.

Putting aside songs and dreams, and the fact that Fort Macon isn't completely surrounded by sea, my last post was a brief note and picture of me letting you all know I was still up and kickin' and that I had visited Fort Macon in North Carolina (and loved it).

I have just a few more pictures to share with you all since I didn't have time to post them with my last picture. I was being rushed because we were actually getting ready to visit a yummy Greek restaurant that would have literally knocked my socks off if I ever had the pleasure of wearing socks. Gyros are one of my favorite foods, and I used to look forward to eating them almost every weekend up at Asheville. Since I'm no longer located there, it was nice being able to dive into one again--not only was it delicious, but it reminded me a little of college again.

Now, even though we were really hungry (the gyros came after the Fort Macon invasion), that didn't stop my family and me from taking a little time out of our day to enjoy the history that Fort Macon brings the public for free.

Visiting a restored Civil War fort was pretty amazing, in my eyes. You were able to see things like real soldiers' letters, their daily rations, weapons, etc. In a couple pictures below, you'll see uniforms as well as recovered drink and alcohol bottles. The fort also served as a prison during the Spanish-American War, and it was used again during World War II.

The first thing you notice about the fort (it's pretty hard not to notice) are the massive cannons set around the entrance when you first walk in, around the base of the fort, and of course, all around the top.
I had to snap a pretty quick photo here because about twenty children were about to climb all over this sucker. 

Like I just mentioned, the uniforms were AWESOME to see. There were little glass room set-ups with mannequins that I wasn't able to take a picture of because of too much glare, but you could press a button and an entire story would be told about the uniforms and why they wore which one, and so on. 

The weapons, of course, were neat to see. The gun display had some mega glare going on so I couldn't get a good picture of that one either. What amazed me was seeing the artillery shells. Some of them weighed 10 pounds--some of them even weighed 30 pounds! Phew. It was insane. 

One thing that really captivated me was this background image of men laughing and carrying on, drinking alcohol. I can't remember which war this was a part of, but I'm guessing it must have been WWII. There were old alcohol and drink bottles collected from the war which I always think of as being priceless. 

Finally, after checking out all the rooms the fort had to offer, we climbed some steps (or, as my mom likes to say, worked on the Stairmaster) and truly had ourselves had a view. My brother was more daring and climbed on top of the TOP of the fort. There was a bit of a breeze, so I was a little weary of doing so myself. I didn't want to fall off the other side! 

Looking down, I felt an immediate thought of, "Wow! How beautiful." But then a breeze hit me and that thought was followed with, "Wow! These soldiers must have hated winter up here!" 

I'm so glad I was able to visit Fort Macon with my family and share the experience with you guys. Although, I don't think pictures can really even grasp how intimidating the place is once you really strive to put yourself in a soldier's shoes at the fort. 

Did you visit anywhere special over the holidays? 

27 December 2013

A Glimpse of Fort Macon

First off, I should tell you guys I've spent the holidays with my family--having a really rich time. And I hope all of you have been experiencing the exact same!

Today, while visiting my brother and my sister-in-law, my parents and I were able to be chauffeured to a little land of history we've never visited before: Fort Macon State Park, near Atlantic Beach in North Carolina.

I am a bit of a history lover, especially when it comes to anything even remotely war-like. I'm not someone who has all my history information memorized, but it is a subject that I love learning about.

I'll give more of a "tour" in my next blog post--along with more pictures!--but for now, here's a quickie of me smushed in-between my dad and brother with part of the fort (and a hidden cannon) behind us.

Hope y'all enjoy your weekend! 

23 December 2013

Macabre Monday: Christmas Chillers

If you think you've never watched a spooky movie with some sort of relation to Christmas, you're foolin' yourself.
Ever heard of a little movie called Gremlins? You know, the one where you absolutely, positively do not feed those critters after midnight? (But what happens anyway?..)
There is some sort of thrill with watching movies that like to interweave the macabre with extremely cheerful events...like Christmas. Gremlins is a baby's tale compared to some I'm about to list.

If you like Santa, but you don't like murder, maybe skip this Macabre Monday's list of Christmas Chillers.

Ding ding ding! My Prize Was Delivered!

I recently won a giveaway from the amazing Mary at her blog: Tutorials, Hauls, Reviews, N'at

I knew Mary was an awesome person, having occasionally chatted with her before through her Tumblr, but when I received a plump box in the mail, with literally EVERYTHING in it wrapped up, I started laughing hysterically. She must have spent so much damn time just making sure every little thing was covered, I'm surprised it was even sent out! Seriously, though, what dedication. It almost made me want to cry--what a sweet little person. It truly felt like Christmas!

Before you guys even get a glimpse of what wonderful prizes I was sent, I urge you to check out Mary's blog and Tumblr. The reason I started following her was because she gives really detailed, blunt, and sometimes pretty hilarious reviews--especially when it comes to the bad products. Definitely check her out!

Now...are you ready to see what I was gifted?
(Keep in mind these aren't the best pictures--sorry.)


What I was really looking forward to about receiving in this giveaway was the Naked palette. I'm sure some of you are already out buying the Naked 3 palette, but I've never tried any of the Urban Decay palettes, so you can guess I was pretty excited. What came with this giveaway was the Naked Basics palette.
I've only used a few colors so far, but I absolutely love it. I can tell why so many people reach for this brand now. I'm not the best yet at getting my eyeshadow quite right, but I love experimenting, so I'll be looking up some YouTube tutorials soon and seeing what's out there.

I also am a big fan of primer, so to see "that gal" brightening primer from Benefit included, I was stoked! I have been using Benefit's POREfessional, but I'd like to change my routine up a bit. 

As for the Got2B Powder'ful, I may use it, but my mother is more apt to need a volumizing product--I have extremely full hair. So I may just give it to her to try out and let me know how it works. 

I also received a TON of samples--including some perfume samples which I've already got sitting up in a cute little stand in my room (not pictured)--and the most adorable bobby pins from Julep. 
OK, I have really thick hair that generally does what I tell it. However, it HATES bobby pins. They just don't stay in unless I pack about forty in there just to hold up one braid or one section of hair. I decided I'd try one of these the other night, and guess what?--just one of these guys held up a braid! I was shocked. No idea why they worked, but I'm not going to question it or think too hard on it...

This cute little makeup bag was something I needed because mine was getting a little worn out. As you can see, I've already got it full of some little goodies that were part of the giveaway (such as eyeshadow, fake eyelashes, etc.).

A nice little candle (scent: Island Hibiscus) spruced up my end table a bit. I love adding pops of yellow to my room, and the scent was a really nice floral that wasn't overpowering. 

I'm super-duper excited about this little travel bag by Avon because now I'll have some place to put my toiletries and/or makeup when my family and I go camping in our RV. I have a feeling it's going to be incredibly handy! Plus, now I'll have some great smelling--and I mean this is one of my favorite scents from Bath & Body Works--shower gel to put in the camper as well! Some think Cucumber Melon is outdated. Well you are WRONG. 

Finally, I have found a new perfume that I actually really like. This S by Shakira perfume is one of the airiest perfumes I've ever had touch my skin. It's extremely light--to the point where you really only smell it when you move. But I love the scent of it--it's very feminine, very floral and fruity (smells like berries) with just a touch of creamy musk. I know some younger women hear the word "musk" and run for the hills; I used to be the same way. But I've learned that musk mixed with different notes makes for a completely different smell, and it also depends on whether the musk is considered a top note, a middle note, or a base note. Although musk is a base note in S, it's not overpowering. 
The perfume bottle also has a really cute charm that clips around the neck. I love decorative accents on perfume bottles. Call me a sucker, but it just adds to the whole atmosphere of wearing the perfume. 

And that's about it, folks! Can you believe I won all of this? Glorious! 
Once again, check out Mary's blog. She is such a sweetheart, you won't think twice about pressing "follow."

Have a great day! xo

21 December 2013

{Widened Horizons}

I've compiled a post of some of the most crucial things floating around this week: pretty, shiny objects; bits of information, including groovy quotes; and some newly discovered, beloved websites. 

Ready, set, go! 

1.  Dear Teen Me
Dedicated to teenagers around the world (but for us nostalgic folks too), this website is basically a place where authors of all genres gather to share their teenage year stories, hoping to reach out to adolescents. Most of the stories that I read were pretty funny--ripe with awkwardness and horrible clothing choices--and it's a great way to get to know an author and possibly look up their work. Plus, the consistency of the material makes for an up-to-date website that you know you'll keep coming back to, if only to reminisce on your Buffy the Vampire Slayer years, or to feel relief as you remember you trashed that Picasso-looking jacket years ago. Either way, give it a looksy! 

If you're a Game of Thrones fan, then you HAVE to get this candle from etsy seller bubbleandgeek. Personally, it's on my wishlist. The soy candle is described as a blend of "garden mint and vanilla." Mmm...I can even smell a hint of Jon Snow in there! ;) 

You just lost a friend...your best pal...your pet. I get it, you want to keep something of him/her forever. I did something similar when my dog died last year. It was an extremely emotional time for me--not just because my best friend had just been put down, but because it happened the same day I was to start back at college, my senior year. My memories as a senior will always be intertwined with the death of my friend. 

I really wanted something as a keepsake to remember him by because we were so close. My mother was crafty enough (and thoughtful enough) to make me a locket with just a curl of his hair in it. It's something that is extremely dear to my heart, and that I literally wear close to my heart. 

The ideas from this link--and the images accompanying them--are pretty creative. I'm not going to knock any of them, because any one of you out there might have an emotional reaction to one of them, and that's OK. Pets are curious critters. We welcome them into our house and somehow they end up in our hearts forever. 

4.  Quote by K.L. Toth:

“One of the greatest tragedies in life is to lose your own sense of self and accept the version of you that is expected by everyone else.”

When I'm writing, this is the easiest thing to succumb to. I self-edit myself to the point where I'm not writing anything that brings me joy or is me. I begin to have my relatives' voices in my head, abashed at my poetry and my elaborate detailing of certain events. But every writing professor I've ever had has told me to bluntly get over it! I'm trying. I don't want to lose myself. And whatever your passion is, please don't let your own critiquing or others' critiquing get in your head too much. 

I might be obsessed. 
These bars have "unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices" in them, "made from whole food," with "no more than nine ingredients"! They're delicious and the best part...they have AMAZING flavors. 

Would you rather go through the hassle of making blueberry muffins in the morning or grab a Blueberry Muffin LARABAR?! I know my answer...
Craving a Key Lime pie? Uhh...why waste all those calories when there's a Key Lime pie LARABAR?

Peanut Butter & Jelly, Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte, Pecan Pie, Cashew Cookie (my favorite), and omg Snickerdoodle. The prices are extremely reasonable (usually about $1.79/bar) considering the taste, the nutritional value, and extra goodies thrown in with some like the Cashew Cookie having a fair amount of Magnesium which I really, really need. 

Anyhow, don't take my word for it, as they say...

6.  Funny Weather Men-- ::Mark Mathis::
Late last night, my family and I were talking about a former local meteorologist who used to make us laugh our pants off. Unfortunately, he was fired from working with Charlotte years ago, but is still active in the news business--in Texas. I found a clip of him on YouTube--although any clip of him is worth watching. 
I'm telling you guys, he was crazy. But he actually made me want to watch the news. 

That's about it for this week--I've got to finish knitting (or knit-picking, as my friend calls it) some scarves! 

Have a lovely weekend xo

19 December 2013

Christmas Is for the Dogs

I've come across so many wonderful images of dogs celebrating Christmas and wintertime that I just had to share the best from Pinterest with you all.

Note: The idea of this post (along with my mother's thoughts) has made me consider writing future "featured dog breed" blog posts. So I'm just going to go ahead and say it--I'm terribly sorry if you're not a dog person.

Look at the cute little scarves these pups get to show off! (They are probably really uncomfortable and really unhappy that their parents made them wear these extremely long collar things.)

A doe a deer a female deer!

I have an obsession with pugs. And pug hugs.

He's smiling because he just peed on that tree.

The Internet cannot get enough of Corgis. And neither can I--look at this cutie!

I just want to kiss him and tell him the holidays will be over soon.

And finally, if you refuse to go out in the cold, and you're too cute to dress up for the holidays, then simply stay inside underneath the covers:

Thursday Threads: Rescue Me

Houndstooth is one of my favorite patterns, and I love pairing it with beautiful dark colors such as the envelope collared pea coat above. High waisted skirts are a dream come true for me; this might be because I'm feeling the vintage vibe from them, but it's probably also because they're just hot

I've noticed a lot of sheer blouses on street style websites, and while browsing your blogs ;) so I thought, what a great addition!

The Betsey Johnson pumps kind of came to me at the last second--I love Betsey Johnson (except I'm not too crazy about some of her jewelry). These scalloped sweethearts just screamed "winter" with a touch of "flirty" and I knew they would take some of the edge off of the fabulous, but harsh, House of Harlow necklace. 

What do you think about houndstooth print? 

18 December 2013

Wordful Wednesday//Let's Talk About Lyme, Baby

Have you ever been out with the most gorgeous guy ever, at a nearly empty movie theater, watching an extremely gory remake of one of your favorite horror movies when suddenly you feel it coming...the quick editing and flickering of lights on the movie screen suddenly conjuring up dread in your stomach?

You first feel the slight tremors in your hands and legs along with your face becoming quickly flushed.
Trying to speak to the guy beside of you to tell him you'll be right back is impossible--your lips won't move and if you don't act soon, your legs won't move either.

So you limp to the bathroom, the bright lights nearly making you pass out, and fall--just in time--into a stall where you can peacefully have your seizure.

Of course, "peacefully" here means being alone for about two seconds. While you're sprawled out on the floor (at least you remembered to lock the stall's door), legs jerking all over the place, women are filing into the bathroom like maniacs. Jumping over each other to apply lipstick, attacking each other for the handicap stall, gossiping about Shelby's hooker dress--my god, did you see that? Bless her heart.

I can hear it all because when I have a seizure, I'm usually conscious.
Your muscles begin contracting, relaxing...contracting, relaxing. When my muscles contract as hard as they can, almost to the point of a cramp, it feels like that burn that affects your muscles after a good workout. Except, this is a horrible workout.

My right ear almost always goes deaf--a scary experience which can precede the seizure itself, allowing me to act before my legs give out or I pass out (which can happen--I'm not always conscious).

The scariest thing for me is the loss of control. My body, this thing I've controlled the movements of for years, suddenly decides NO! your legs don't need to work or your legs should jerk really quickly right now, you should start rolling and twitching your neck, and well, maybe you should just go ahead and pass out right here in the middle of Bojangle's while you're eating.

So why do I have these vile things? Lyme is the answer.

Because I've been afflicted with what is defined as chronic Lyme disease, I have neurological symptoms because the Lyme has been able to pass through my body (via the blood-brain barrier) into my brain. Seizures are just one of the neurological symptoms I deal with, but are easily one of the hardest to deal with.

Now, if you're wondering whatever happened to me, the cute boy, and the scary movie...I ended up brushing myself off, walking bravely (albeit a little shakily) back into the theater to sit down next to the boy who then asked, "Where did you go? You totally missed this girl cutting her own arm off."

Man, what a night.

17 December 2013

DIY Upcycled Crafts {Magazine Edition}

Ever since I was young, I have loved working with magazines. The feel of the glossy pages against my hands is therapy itself, which is why it's not surprising that magazines are a great component to art therapy.

When I took a class on "The Art of Art Therapy," we would not only learn some of the psychology that went along with art therapy, but we would also participate in actual art as well. This meant drawing mandalas, painting, writing, working with yarn, and of course, playing with magazines. We made everything from "magazine coasters" to inspirational collages to our very own magazines made out of magazine materials. So as you can image, I have a deep love for magazines and everything you can create from them.

Since the Christmas holiday is upon us, I thought it would be fun to find some crafty, spirited items you could make at home out of old magazines you might have lying around.

The first DIY item is an envelope made out of a magazine page.

Isn't it gorgeous? 

It looks incredibly simple (although I wouldn't use a post-it note as an address label!) and I'm sure you could find some truly stunning images to make your envelope out of. This would be a perfect way to send those Christmas cards, especially if you can find a magazine page full of holiday cheer! I'm definitely going to have to try this one out.

Next up is a unique way to decorate your gift boxes...a gift bow made out of a magazine page!

This project may be a bit trickier, but the tutorial on the page looks like it should have just enough directions and images for you to wrap up this festive little bow in no time! 

Lastly, if you're really in a cheerful mood, you can try your hand at a magazine Christmas tree

These are adorable, and although probably the most time-consuming of the three projects, are quite popular this year. I would imagine the repetitive folding becomes relaxing after a while and the eventual ripping of the outside of the magazine you're using is pretty enjoyable. I think these would look so cute lining the table runner of a dining table!  

Do you know of any other great magazine crafts? 

16 December 2013

Macabre Monday: Introduction & Black Sunday

When I was browsing Kate Flint's blog, The Minted Beauty, I came across something I just knew I would have to steal from her: Macabre Mondays.

Kate's summary of "Macabre Monday" includes the idea of posts concerning book reviews, movie reviews, scary stories, and "general down right creepiness."

I have a feeling that I will gravitate more towards movies (and possibly some funny reviews of horror movies), but anything is really up for grabs as long as it spooks me but won't scare you guys away ;)

Like Kate says in her post, I will put up a "read more" for Macabre Mondays, simply because I know they are out of the ordinary, a little scary, and not everyone's taste. I will also alert you to spoilers if reviewing a movie or book, and will try to put up trigger warnings when necessary.

So let's begin with a black and white movie from 1960: Black Sunday. 

14 December 2013

What You Should Reach For...When It's Raining

Book-loving cat by bibliothekarin

Besides listening to music or catching up on some zZz's, what's better to do on a rainy day than to read a good ole book?

Like I mentioned in a previous post, my favorite place to venture into an alternate universe is curled up in my comfy little corner chair. I always have a hot mug of tea handy--preferably chai in the colder months--and either a book removed from my bookshelf, or my trusty Kindle in my hands. (I swear, that gadget gets so much use, every time I turn it on I'm scared to death it's going to finally die.)

I. love. reading.

If I'm not reading, I'm reading to others, or trying to convince them to read--usually by helping them find a book that suits them. (Should I have gone to school to be a librarian instead...?)

When there's nothing really worth doing, and you're too sluggish from the rain (or lazy) to do it anyhow, reading is the bee's knees.

I read a wide range of genres, and my favorites have changed as I've grown into myself, but horror/thrillers have remained a true friend of mine. I read Stephen King's "It" when I was in fourth grade--I was hardcore. I still love fiction as a whole, however, and recently, non-fiction has become a favorite. Who would have guessed?

Here's a diverse list I've compiled of books I would recommend to readers on a rainy day, and why. You might not finish them, but you'll certainly be spellbound for the time you would have otherwise spent probably pretending to clean or lying on your bed, ruminating over your college years.

This book has such a magical quality to it, you know at once who the author is (if you are familiar with Neil Gaiman's work). You feel quite like a child once more, reading a fairy tale that is hard to decipher between reality and make-believe. It's beautiful.

In this incredible novel about a couple figuring out how to raise their disabled newborn, all while newly relocated to France in a house that's not really fit for a mouse, you will cry and laugh and gasp and--well, I won't spoil anything. The author gives the characters an edge about them when it comes to the baby's disability, and I liked that. Being labeled disabled myself, I was nervous about how this book would handle a disabled character and the characters around her; I'll let you decide for yourselves how "well" she did this.

This book is so funny and so charming. It's easily a book that can be finished quickly and read without any thinking really going on--which isn't a bad thing! It's still really well-written, I promise. Let's go over this again: funny, quick read, you can be lazy, and ooh some romance in the mix too? Get to the bookstore and have the cashier plop this paperback in your hands now!

I'm going to lead the way and pick up where I've left off in the book I'm reading now, a ~zombie~ novel which I'll have a review up for soon. Now get out there (or stay in?) and enjoy some one-on-one with someone you truly love--a book. 


Rainy Day Playlist

Since it's been nothing but a yucky rainy day, I put together a humble little playlist with some songs that are soothing, a little bit indie folk, and some on the side of slightly depressing...I couldn't help it! I just went with my mood, sorry people. There's also one of my favorites from the '90s meshed in there, so if anything, at least listen so you can enjoy it and feel some nostalgic vibes ;)

So check out my Rainy Day Playlist on Grooveshark, and jam it up (or, sleep it off).

13 December 2013

Personal Aromatherapy

Just a quick disclaimer: I am not a professional by any means when it comes to aromatherapy, holistic medicine, etc. Also, aromatherapy may not work for everyone, but at least it is enjoyable if you like the scents!

Now, here's the thing...we work off of something called the process of...smell. What is so intriguing about aromatherapy is the psychology behind it; once your olfactory system (found in the nose) senses the smell at hand, it stimulates the brain and triggers some sort of response (psychological, physiological, etc.).

...But. From what I've studied, it's hard to have a psychological or physiological reaction to a scent if you haven't come across it before. For instance, my mother's favorite lotion, Twilight Woods by Bath & Body Works, smells to me heavily of vanilla and sweet fruit. There was a certain day when I had a particularly bad seizure. I couldn't open my eyes, every muscle felt tight and painful, and I was fatigued to an extreme degree. My mom kept placing her hand on my cheek, and the fragrant scent of her lotion would calm me.

Even now, when I smell my mom wearing the same lotion, a sense of calm, comfort, and love sweeps over me. It may just be for a second, but it is there.

If I had never had this emotional experience, I would not have such a psychological reaction to this scent, and even to other similar vanilla scents.

Aromatherapy has been associated with allowing relaxation from daily stress and aiding in sleep, but it also can help provide energy, and possibly ease pain. Most people who actually know what they're talking about when it comes to aromatherapy will throw out the idea of using lotion as a calming scent because the scent is artificial. Essential oils are natural--they're made from plants, whether that means the plant's leaves, its roots, fruit, or anything else that makes up the plant. It's the real stuff, people. Which is why you're supposed to dilute the oils with water if you want to use them on your skin (be extremely thorough about this process--look it up on the company's website or talk to a professional before using!)

As far as actual aromatherapy goes, professionals are the best if you want a good massage or just a good relaxation day or atmosphere. But if you have some kind of diffuser you can put essential oils into, or if you're up for dabbing some essential oils on yourself, then give aromatherapy a try by yourself.

Heck, they even make aromatherapy diffuser necklaces!

If you just want to start out slow, and you're having trouble sleeping or you want to be prepared for a time when you will be having trouble sleeping ;) there are lavender eye masks, microwavable pillows (that you can even make), and my favorite: pillow mists!

And you don't have to stick to humans! Apparently you can hang a cloth sprayed with some lavender oil in your car when traveling with your dog so you aren't freaking out the whole ride about your dog freaking out. According to Cesar Millan--yes! the "Dog Whisperer"--you can simply rub it on your hands and let your dog smell it.

Lavender is probably one of the most popular scents and one of the first scents that comes to mind when someone mentions aromatherapy.

There are of course, your oils like patchouli and sandalwood that many people associate with hippies, but are actually in many perfumes and are very sensual. Tangerine, rosemary, and bergamot are all really energizing for me. That bergamot might be one reason I like Earl Grey tea...
Trust me, you can do a lot of mixing when it comes to essential oils!

The best part of aromatherapy is finding that scent. The one, you know it.
It brings back a memory you had forgotten, or you thought you had forgotten.

Recently, I smelled the sweet, sweet floral scent of ylang ylang. It's hard for me to describe, but, it's a floral smell alright. When I was younger, in a relationship, happy, and the healthiest I can remember being, I had a chapstick with ylang ylang in it. This sounds so silly now, but it was my favorite chapstick because the scent was so alluring and...it was a good chapstick. When everything was taken away from me--my health and happiness, my once stable relationship, and my former carelessness of youth, I sank into depression. It sucked to say the least.

When I smelled ylang ylang again, tears welled up in my eyes. All I could think about was how happy I used to be. How young and smart I was and how much potential I had. I used that chapstick full of ylang ylang so much and at so many memorable moments that just the scent of it, more than five years later, brought up so many memories and emotions that I almost dragged myself down into another who-knows-how-long depressive state. It took everything I had to remember I need to concentrate on the present, not the past, not the future.

Scent is all about memories.

Today I'm going to fill my room with a soy candle made of lavender and patchouli to help ease my anxiety and keep me feeling "grounded" in the present.

What are you more likely to try--a diffuser, essential oil massage, or a candle?

12 December 2013

Thursday Threads: Magic Rendezvous

The main reason I like this little outfit that I've put together is because I really want this skirt. (And the purse because...look! there's an owl on the clasp.) I don't believe I've ever worn a skirt with tulle before, but this would be a perfect place to start, don't you think? The color is magical and the cute little sash just makes me want to grab some random baby's cheeks and SQUISH. 

I also would really want to try on that shirt because I've never worn anything with a peter pan collar, either. They were all over the place for a while, so much that I thought we were being overrun by Japanese school girls, but I think people are slowly backing away from them enough for the collars to become enjoyable again.

Can you believe every item on here is under $50? You gals better get on your tushes and grab some of these deals--especially the honey colored cardigan. You'll find out soon enough that I'm a cardigan connoisseur (not really), and that is a darling color that reminds me of vintage cardigan colors but still remains a color that is being shown off by everyone in style right now--particularly your indie folk. And loved by, well, everyone else as well. It's just a great color. 

11 December 2013

Wordful Wednesday//Dream Poem #1

The peacock is flogging me with wings of every color
as the chicks flee, my hands no longer outstretched
to catch them.
As if someone has pulled me by the hair,
I look up at waving clouds and begin to be lowered backwards,
the work of some unseen hand,
and sink sluggishly into the pond.
All of my hair is wet now. Electricity is shooting down my spine.
the water can't reach all of me--
I do not drown.
The mercy of the mother feels for me
and I spy her--the melancholy peahen--atop the fountain
as peace stretches over me before the rest of the water can. 

10 December 2013

Interiors//Chairs: I Like Sitting

I'm no interior designer, and I don't really consider myself much of a "decorator," but when it comes to searching the Internet all day long for what I could maybe possibly do, I'm an expert.

Today's post is all about another thing I'm not so good at but love doing: sitting. In chairs.
I don't have the best posture... But I love trying out chairs! They are amazing--the world does not have enough. And if you're curious about what MY favorite personal chair looks like, keep reading!

Have you all got a glimpse of the ghost chairs by now? I'm fascinated, to be honest, but I do have a question. It's valid, trust me. What if someone sees your buttcrack? Frankly, I'd be scared to sit in one. I guess this is yet another situation where a good, colorful, THICK lumbar pillow comes into play.

Isn't the art in the picture above pretty? One way to accentuate chairs and keep them looking fresh, especially if you don't want to add pillows, is to hang artwork above the chair. It's possible to change the art every so often; you don't need to think on the expensive side unless you just want to. Discount stores, thrift stores, and consignment shops are several places to look, just to be curious. I have found some great pieces at Ross Dress for Less and HomeGoods, actually, but I still crave some seriously priced artwork.

The light shining on the art in the picture below just makes it.

Big, chunky knit throws seem to liven up chairs as well. Plus they're great to cover up with while you drink some hot tea, read a magazine, and tell yourself you may get out of pajamas by noon.

I love white chairs for the ability to rotate accessories in and out. For example, you can change the color of the pillow(s) on the chair from anything to a matching white to the 2014 color--orchid--to a patterned lime green.

I love a nice white chair. From a wing chair to a plush armchair, I'm all for it. If you have a room with a dark color on the walls, a white chair next to it simply "pops." But then again, if you find the right chair that stands (haha) on its own and speaks to you, it will have no problem showcasing its unique self.

Which do you like better: the wingback chair or the luxurious armchair? 

De Sede armchair

In my bedroom, you will find the most adorable (but chic!) white corner chair with button tufting. I call it my reading chair because I always gravitate towards it when I want to sit for a long period of time but still be comfy. The pillows that I usually have on it are actually for my bed, and my mother picked them out--what a good eye, right?--but I think they really stand out when they're placed on the chair, and hey, that lumbar pillow feels reeeeallyyy good against my back.

This picture shows the pillows actually on my bed! As you can see, against my purple accent wall, my white corner chair seems to really suck up all the attention. You can thank Huntington House...and my mom! for the beautiful furniture and pillows. Even Missy Robertson from Duck Dynasty buys her furniture from there. Makes me feel like a cool kid.

Do you have a favorite chair in your space? What do you do to spruce it up?

08 December 2013

Dream On: Little Red Riding Hood...& Sex?

Last night I had the most vivid dream about Red Riding Hood.

It was nothing like the recent animated version of the female character, however. There was nothing innocent about the aura which surrounded this hooded figure.

I understand it was only a dream, but hear me out--I'm on some tough medications. Not to mention Lyme disease itself will give you strange dreams. It's not uncommon to have overly-realistic dreams, Alice in Wonderland-type dreams, or nightmares that you will probably never forget...ever.

If you've had the flu before and suddenly shot up in bed--straight as an arrow--not sure if you just had a dream or a horrible occurrence, then welcome to my neck of the woods.

So what I experienced was this colorful (but foggy) dream where I believed I was playing some sort of hide-and-seek game with THE Little Red Riding Hood. Except she looked more like Famke Janssen. And her crimson cloak trailed behind her like the train on a wedding dress. And...get this. She was carrying a bouquet.

As I kept following her, the atmosphere of my dream world became gloomy and so dark that I could no longer see her face--I could only follow her by the sounds of her cloak trailing along the forest floor. I was just about to ask her where we were going to meet the wolf at when she was suddenly there, at my face, with her finger in front of my lips. She hushed me with the loudest "ssshhh!" possible, dropped her bouquet, and vanished. Something behind me snapped a twig, and of course, I woke up.

I researched the story of Little Red Riding Hood a little bit today, and what the character of Red could possibly stand for. I kept thinking What is this dream supposed to mean?

In the original version, the grandmother and Red are eaten by the wolf and no one is there to save the day. Harsh, like most fairy tales actually originally were.

There were so many articles and stances on the sexuality of the story that I couldn't just let that theory escape me. For instance, the red hood that is worn is thought to possibly mean multiple things: "sin," "blood," "menstruation," while the wolf is supposed to represent Red's loss of virginity.

There are also connections to Sigmund Freud's Oedipus complex, disapproval of prostitution, and fear of the woods.

What I most found interesting was the idea of using the wolf as a symbol for men who try to seduce innocent girls.

Maybe that's where women eventually got the term "dogs" for men. 

Overall, I think I just need to remember that:  1) Dreams don't always have a meaning. I tend to overthink what my mind could be trying to tell me, when really, what the hell do you make out of a Little Red Riding Hood dream?  2) Even around the 14th century, sex was on our minds a lot.  3)  I'm never reading my kids fairy tales. Ever.

So why do you think we still pass on this tale to our children? Give me your take in the comments below. 

06 December 2013

Upcoming Movies//Movies to Eyeball

I'm really psyched about a few upcoming films next month. As a major fan of all things cin-e-ma (said in a Jenna Maroney voice), I like to keep tabs on what to expect entertainment-wise so I'll know whether I should save up for movie tickets or shoes.

For those of you into comedy, Will Ferrell should be more or less familiar by now. And if you haven't quoted Anchorman--especially Steve Carell's character, Brick, then where DO you get your quotes...the toilet store?

You can either go there or to your local movie theater on December 18th to catch what's next in line for Ron Burgundy, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

As for the film that I've had my eyes on for over a month now and would love to see on the big screen, you can view the next Ben Stiller film, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, on December 25th.

And of course, the "last but not least," we have the simply-titled Her, a Spike Jonze movie in which the main character (a mustached Joaquin Phoenix) begins to develop feelings for his new female-voiced operating system. I would love to see where Spike Jonze takes this movie. It is going to be more of a sci-fi, a sappy indie, or will it be another film demonstrating the horrors of technology?

We'll find out next year!

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And while you're exploring that link...

Perhaps check out this article about the number of Lyme disease cases in the U.S. as well.
You might be surprised to find out Lyme is much more common than you would think.

04 December 2013

Book Review: 3 Gates of the Dead by Jonathan Ryan

Goodreads description (x):
Conflicted with his faith in God and the hypocrisy of the church, Aidan Schaeffer, a young assistant pastor, is in a constant state of spiritual turmoil. When Aidan learns that his ex-fiancĂ©e is the first victim in a string of ritualistic killings, he finds himself in the middle of an even deeper fight. Tormented by demonic threats and haunted by spirits, Aidan throws himself into investigating Amanda’s death; all the while supernatural forces have begun to attack the people around him. The more questions he asks, the more he is drawn into the world of a mysterious Anglican priest, a paranormal investigation group and a rogue female detective investigating the murders. As the gruesome rituals escalate, ancient hidden secrets and an evil long buried threaten to rip Aidan’s world apart.

My rating: 4 out of 5 hoots

I have to say, I think many of us can relate to the main character, Aidan, and his struggles with faith. Talking to many people stricken with Lyme disease, I've noticed how many of us have had our lingering questions about whether or not it was even worth it to believe in someone who would purposefully make one ill. The realization has struck me that most of us come out on the other side with an even more pronounced claim to faith. I've been through my fair share of battles, and I believe each has forced me to look closer at my faith for a reason. Aidan has just come crawling out of an emotional warzone, it seems, but is hesitant to admit it. He's blaming God for everything that has happened to him lately. He's acting human, which makes his character so relatable. 

The rest of the characters in the book were not just thrown to the side, though. Even if the book went long periods of time without any interaction from a certain character, you could still probably imagine what they were doing in their life from former details. In fact, so much detail was given, I was so scared something bad was going to happen to every single one of them. I guess I've read too much of George R.R. Martin's work. 

I wasn't crazy about some of the dialogue, especially between Aidan and his college buddy who he spent time chatting with on the Internet, but I understand sometimes you have to have that interaction or else it would just be the main character talking to himself in his head for, like, five pages. There was also a pet peeve of all the other characters repeating for Aidan to "be careful" to the point where it was as annoying as a fly buzzing around my nose. 

One thing I cannot complain about, though--it was well-written! I loved the imagery and how effortlessly the words seemed to flow. It helped me to have a picture of the crime scenes in my mind as the characters went on this scavenger hunt of sorts. I wanted so badly to figure the mystery out with them (or before them). And I have to say...I love it when a book can give me goosebumps. I haven't read anything with even a hint of the supernatural or anything related to horror lately, but this book--theology and suspense mixed into one--really took me for a spin. 

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

02 December 2013

We had just finished a round of jumping jacks and sit-ups. The coach called for everybody to take a breather and I headed to the water fountain, wiping sweat from underneath my nose.

As I looked down at my sneakers, I suddenly realized I didn't know if I was really in the body that was controlling them, making them move forward. The fluorescent lights overhead pricked at my eyeballs, suddenly sore, forcing me to close them tight.

When I re-opened my eyes, everything was made up of stars. It would have been beautiful if I didn't feel the oncoming threat of a fainting spell. Bumping into the water fountain, I more than welcomed the stream of water into my mouth...as everything went black and I plummeted down, hitting my head on the steel as I fell.

Waking up, I felt so blank. Even though I had a headache, I was pretty sure that was vomit on my tank top, and my eyes were so sore I didn't dare move them, I felt no emotion. I was getting used to being sick, I thought.

But that was just the beginning.

01 December 2013

Everyday I Have the Blues

I may not be in the kind of blue funk as musicians Count Basie and Joe Williams, but believe me, I've got the blues alright...the splendid, shiny, sparkling blues! I'm all about earrings, and lustrous blue earrings pair so well with the winter season--especially teardrop earrings. While you're free to drop nearly a grand on these beauties below from Nordstrom, there are plenty of other options, and most you can find under $50.

If you're still set on some bright blues like above, try some alternatives from etsy like these Topaz drops from the etsy shop SilverManiaStudio:

Or these Aquamarine drops from the etsy shop PhaedoraJDesigns:
I think blue can be a very under-appreciated color when it comes to accessories, but it doesn't have to be. There are so many associations we make with the color blue (the sea, the sky, eyes, etc.) that just looking at and wearing a certain shade of blue earrings can drum up a specific mood for you. When I'm wearing mine, I feel very calm because the color blue makes me think of the ocean and the sound of the waves. Even though you can't really see yourself wearing the color, you position yourself a certain way with each color you wear and the connected memories, thoughts, or mindset. 

(Plus, you can wear them with a pair of jeans or your New Year's Eve dress!)

When you wear the color blue, does it churn up anything for you like it does for me?