17 December 2015

B-Healthy with NeoCell Biotin Bursts (Review)

Because I'm so sick all the time, I try pretty hard to take good care of myself.

How do I keep my body healthy when I can?
Here's a sweet little image for you... (love how the owl figurine in the background is photobombing the pic).

healthy life biotin bursts neocell vitamins

First of all, as you can see on the far right, I have my reusable water bottle. And not just because it's purple and pretty, but because it's convenient to use, good for the earth, oh right! and because I'm able to drink the right amount of water my body needs every single day.

The Garcinia Cambogia dietary supplement I reviewed already, and am mainly still taking for the energy benefits. I think if my body wasn't in such a fatigued state, it would be doing me even more wonders!

While I have been on probiotics for years, it seems like the kind of acidophilus I take has changed several times for...well...no real reason. At this moment I'm taking Hyperbiotics Immune & Wellness probiotics. I like them because they have 4 billion CFU. Since most of your immune system is actually in your gut, I want to have as much as that good bacteria in me as possible.

Even though the particular probiotic I currently take does contain Zinc, every now and then--particularly in the winter time!--I will dose myself with some extra Zinc. My immune system is too vulnerable at this time of year when all you have to do is step outside and get the cold or the flu. So I try to take extra, preventative steps!

Speaking of preventative steps...Feverfew and Butterbur extract are two herbal supplements I take to try to prevent migraines. My migraines are very frequent and pretty severe, so you might say these herbs do nothing for me, but I've noticed whether it's by coincidence or not, that when I do take the herbal supplements less, my migraines are pretty destructive.

Now...you're probably wondering what that pretty package is on top of my Lyme disease "medicine toolbox."
And I'm sure by now you've heard of the B vitamin Biotin. Well, these are NeoCell's Biotin Bursts!
Besides having a pretty exterior, the interior is unique as well. There's a sealed package inside with individually wrapped "vitamin bursts" inside! I love how this keeps them fresh and safe.

biotin bursts sealed fresh package

The flavor that I received--Brazilian Acai Berry--is so yummy. I think it's so smart to have both the packaging beautiful and the "treats" inside so yummy. You can't always get both of those, you know. The flavor is pretty sweet with just a hint of tartness (I like that though). That kind of makes it hard to take just one a day, but at least you'll remember to take them! And they're not just simple ole soft chews--they're GOURMET. The wording of that makes me feel like I'm putting the best of the best in my body.

purple gourmet chews vitamin b biotin

Biotin is supposedly the B vitamin that promotes hair growth, keeps skin healthy, and hardens nails. And what really got my attention about these purple bites is that they each contain 10,000 mcg of Biotin! WOW! I was not able to try these NeoCell Biotin Bursts out for as long as I would have liked (I've used them now for about two weeks); however, my facial skin has been somewhat softer. Not sure whether it's because of the gourmet soft chews or not yet.

I'm definitely going to continue using these until I've run out of the 30 day vitamins because I do want to see if these do anything--mainly for my nails that I pick at every day--but also because if I do notice anything, I want to come back here and update y'all on my progress!

*I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

26 November 2015

Thursday Threads: Classy Cable

Flying Through Fall

How's about a look for Thanksgiving today?!

Okay, so I'm pretty sure this is a cable knit sweater. The pattern looks like it anyway. I'd still buy it just because it's so chunky. Chunky sweaters for fall/winter? You betcha. OH, and do you like the tweed skirt with the knit sweater? I love how it's mixing both patterns and fabrics.

I chose the tasseled booties and the neutral crossbody bag to go with this outfit because I didn't want this to end up on the gloomy side, but also because I thought it made the outfit a little bit sweeter.

The ear cuff and the nail polish can take this to the dangerous side, and aren't they just divine? That shade of nail polish-- "Miss Independent"--seems perfect for autumn, and who can't tell me ear cuffs aren't all the rage right now? I picked this dazzling one because I thought it could be daring but not too over-the-top. Just right.

I did have trouble coming up with a perfume that would work with these threads. Any ideas?

11 November 2015

Service and Sacrifice

Never Forget

Honestly, holidays are a little bit weird. Like Valentine's Day, why should there only be one day out of the entire year where we really put forth a huge effort to express how we feel about someone we love or appreciate? I am even guilty of not thanking my veteran family members enough. Let's change that.

I was intrigued by this article I read today on Care2.
It talks about how much help veterans really need, and frankly, how little help they receive from the government.

Did you know that 13% of the United State's homeless population just so happens to be veterans?! 

I've worked with homeless veterans, and while I did enjoy the stories and meeting the men and women, I hated seeing what obstacles they faced. Drug abuse, lack of jobs, no family support, and of course...no housing.

When you think of homeless veterans, you probably think of older vets. Several that I worked with were as young as 19. All of them either had trouble with reintegrating into society or had PTSD. 

It's just tough. These people serve for various reasons--reasons we may not even think of--and risk their lives in the process. Every war has been different, but every war is the same. Savagery and destruction. These people are heroic because they've been there. They have served for the government, for their country, for their people.

You can thank veterans today--and I hope you do. But think about ways to help veterans in the long run. Make a sacrifice for them like they have for you.

I fight every day mentally and physically to try to keep myself sane and to not give into my disease.
These veterans have fought beyond anything I have ever been through--for you and for me. They have managed to fight the impossible, sacrificed all they have had and more, and announced, "I'm still here."

28 October 2015

The Top 10 Spooky Movies for Halloween

I'm a huge fan of horror films and have been throughout my life. When someone asks me, "Have you seen that one horror movie...y'know, the one where this one thing happens and then oh my gosh they decide to do that thing and then THAT other thing happens?" Yes. I have more than likely watched it.

Drooling over horror movies like I do, it's such a delight when October rolls around. The month brings a lot of things to the table. My favorite weather arrives. It's time to enjoy activities like hayrides and apple picking and corn mazes. Decorations are to be made in abundance. But mostly, I'm in it for the scares. I pretty much turn into Beetlejuice in that if someone even BEGINS to say "scary movie marathon," I appear in their room. Except...you know, saying that phrase 3x is a little excessive; Beetlejuice was just a bit of a narcissist.

Keep in mind that for me to narrow down my choices for this list gave me quite the headache. I wanted to post about 300 movie titles because I want to share the scares, but I tried to be realistic. Which is something most of these movies are not. I also tried to keep these movies relatively "new"--so none of my favorite '80s flicks were involved. Maybe another time!

Now here's your choice...either keep reading for some Halloween goodness, or shut down your computer and find a brightly lit room to keep your eyes open at all times in!

In no particular order...

The Bay (2012)

spooky scary halloween movie horror the bay parasite

Chaos breaks out in a small Maryland town after an ecological disaster occurs.

I really do not like found-footage films that much--I have vertigo enough as it is. However, I like it when certain movies like The Bay manage to not only pull from what is supposedly found-footage but also from news footage, webcam conversations, and simply the cinematic shooting itself. This film stuck with me because it has to deal with an eco-disaster that could actually maybe possibly take place, who knows? It's a pretty creepy, shocking, gory movie with a nasty little monster at work. If you know me, you know I hate parasites. That is to say, this movie freaked me out.

13 Sins (2014)

scary spooky horror creepy halloween movie 13 sins

A cryptic phone call sets off a dangerous game of risks for Elliot, a down-on-his luck salesman. The game promises increasing rewards for completing 13 tasks, each more sinister than the last.

The several times that I've watched this film now, I've never walked away unfulfilled. I say that because it's scary, it's exciting, it's suspenseful, it's action-packed, it's gory, it even has some humor, and it really leaves you thinking...what would I do?

The Descent (2005)

horror creepy halloween movie the descent

A caving expedition goes horribly wrong, as the explorers become trapped and ultimately pursued by a strange breed of predators.

Blood, blood, blood. Darkness, darkness, darkness. CLAUSTROPHOBIA.
All of these elements combine to make a movie that still gives me the same creeps as it did when I first watched it (and that was years ago!).

The Loved Ones (2009)

scary horror movie halloween the loved ones

When Brent turns down his classmate Lola's invitation to the prom, she concocts a wildly violent plan for revenge.

You might have already read my review on The Loved Ones--and if you did, you should know just how "precious" it is to me. As you can see in the picture above, the film is a little bit gory (OK...a lot). It's creative, though. And the femininity of the character Lola juxtaposed with all the blood and violence makes for something I find really neat. But that still doesn't mean this is a "neat" film. It's quite messy. You probably will want to take a shower afterwards.

Jennifer's Body (2009)

jennifer's body megan fox halloween scary horror

A newly possessed high school cheerleader turns into a succubus who specializes in killing her male classmates. Can her best friend put an end to the horror?

I saw this movie in theaters when it first came out. I relish that because honestly, I don't get to see a lot of movies when they are first released. Jennifer's Body was really popular at first, I think, because well...Megan Fox. And I don't blame anyone for doing so--her acting, along with every other cast member, was great. Along with the spookiness of the film is the cheesiness. But I loved that! The dialogue is absolutely hilarious in some places. And I seriously cannot listen to the song "867-5309/Jenny" anymore without getting goosebumps.

The Children (2008)

horror movie halloween spooky kids the children

A relaxing Christmas vacation turns into a terrifying fight for survival as the children begin to turn on their parents.

I just really hate any scary movie that involves children. That's basically it. Children + horror = me hiding under a blanket. And being glad I don't have kids. They're scary enough in real life anyway.

Jeepers Creepers (2001)

jeepers creepers creepy scary halloween

A brother and sister driving home for spring break encounter a flesh-eating creature in the isolated countryside that is on the last day of its ritualistic eating spree.

I love the creature of this film and how unique it is. Definitely the main reason I bought this movie (and I rarely buy movies). Jeepers Creepers has some really fun parts to it, some twists, and the characters make things realistic for me. I would watch a bazillion sequels of Jeepers Creepers just to see what this icky monster thing has up his sleeves next. And yeah, I've heard there's a Jeepers Creepers 3 coming out. So maybe my dream will come true.

Slither (2006)


A small town is taken over by an alien plague, turning residents into zombies and all forms of mutant monsters. 

Craving a horror-comedy with a wonderful cast and disgusting creatures? OKAY! Here you go. I really did get a kick out of this movie. I was skeptical going into it because I figured it would be painful to watch with a lot of CGI and horrible B-movie acting, but c'mon, Merle from The Walking Dead is even in it! You can't say no to that.  

You're Next (2011) 

scary horror movie halloween youre next

I wrote a review for You're Next on my blog a while back as well! I fell in love with the main character, the soundtrack, and just the mood. It's scary with a bit of funny with a bit of "whoa"!

Evil Dead (2013)

evil dead new 2013 halloween

Five friends head to a remote cabin, where the discovery of a Book of the Dead leads them to unwittingly summon up demons living in the nearby woods. The evil presence possesses them until only one is left to fight for survival.

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of Bruce Campbell and his Evil Dead doings. However, I went with a buddy to the theater and saw the 2013 version of Evil Dead and was blown away. We were the only ones in the entire theater and I cringed--yes, cringed--at so many scenes that I could not understand why so many people had beef with this film. No, I don't think it's supposed to be a remake, but I'm glad it does use some of the same elements of the original. And talk about an ending...

Well, let's just end it and leave it at that!

Happy Halloween!  

24 October 2015

Midori Spring Matcha Green Tea Review: Whisk Me Away

In college, I had extreme fatigue. I tried several different options but nothing seemed to work.
Then, my doctor recommended I try matcha green tea.

Besides actually upping my energy some, there were other benefits from the tea.
I noticed myself paying more attention in class.
And then... there was the serious detox that came with it.

Which brings me to the present.

I was able to try the Midori Spring's Ceremonial Gold Matcha for free in exchange for my honest opinion. Since I was familiar with it, I knew what to expect in terms of both flavor and benefits.
However, what I forgot was the normal amount to consume! And boy did I take a beating.

You see, like I said above, the matcha tea is a GREAT way to detoxify your body. So, it's a great laxative. Instead of taking, say 1/4 of a teaspoon like I should have to begin with, I took a whole teaspoon. I regretted it immediately.

My doctor had specifically told me to work my way up with the green tea. It's a powerful tool, so beware how much you take the first time!

Because the tea is extremely bright green, one might expect the flavor to be really rich. However, this tea is just slightly bitter. That's why I typically mix it with a bit of milk (water works fine too) and use a bamboo whisk with it! You can add sugar if you like, or even things like cinnamon!

matcha green tea owl creature whisk bamboo

I typically use a large mug or bowl and stir the matcha around really well. It's typically a little bit clumpy but that seems to be normal with the matcha I've tried. When you start to whisk, you need to go at it pretty good! ;)

When it's nice and frothy, you can enjoy your tea and the energy and wellness it brings. Awesome, right? I think so.

*I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.

Are you big on drinking tea? What's your favorite kind? 

22 October 2015

Playlist: "Free Falling"

fall autumn trees leaves beautiful 

The leaves are starting to change here in North Carolina, especially in the mountains, and it's downright beautiful. Definitely the perfect weather for a ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I've been sitting outside on the porch, enjoying some leisurely reading, or listening to some new music!
Ready to hear what I've found recently?

This alternative pop song is so deep and dark--if you listen to the lyrics--but you can't get it out of your head! Just listen and see if YOU can pass the test of avoiding its appeal!

I'm so surprised I haven't heard of this artist before! Rationale has captivated me with this song. Like a lot of online reviewers have stated, "The Mire" sounds like a song straight from the '80s--and that's probably why I like it so much!

I can't believe I haven't heard this song yet either! It's so bubbly and catchy and just right for a day with the girls!

I honestly thought the singer from Bastille had started a new band when I heard this song from Regions. Tell me if you think I'm crazy, but their voices sound so familiar to me! Either way, "Divided" is a great song. You should really check out this band. I predict big things for them!

15 October 2015

Garcinia Cambogia Review: Does This Pill Make Me Look Phat?



Garcinia Cambogia...
The name is super weird, right? And you probably don't even know what this super weird named thing is. 
I mean, I didn't until a month ago.  

Before GC (that's what I'm going to nickname it from now on) becomes a weight loss supplement (which, trust me, I thought I would never use), it's actually a fruit. Huh. Cool. 

There's a whole lot of research goin' on about GC--even Doctor Oz is in on it--but what you mainly need to know is that this...fruit...has what's called HCA in it (hydroxycitric acid). HCA promotes weight loss, increases serotonin levels, and may have other benefits as well. 

So did I try this GC fruit pill thing? 
Yeah I did. The first weight loss supplement I've ever tried with a name that reminds me of something I'd call a part of the brain in my college psychology class.

I was offered this particular GC product:

garcinia cambogia bottle pill weight loss 

It is SUPREME (yay) meaning it actually has 1100mg per serving. That's impressive. 
I like that it's made in the USA with no fillers and that it does have the highest HCA concentration. 

So my thoughts after a little longer than a month?

Well, of course I was a little skeptical at first. I mean, I had never tried a weight loss supplement before, so I didn't know how it would work, and you hear so many cons... I just didn't think it would work for me. 
There's also the fact that I have a chronic health condition. Would that set me back? Would the fact that me not being able to lose weight easily make this supplement useless to me? All those questions and skepticism were swept away when after the first week my energy was increasing! That amazed me because I do have fatigue. And if my energy was increasing, that meant I could start exercising more. 

I made sure my doctor knew I was taking this and that it wouldn't interact with any of my meds. It may sound silly to some since it's just a weight loss supplement, but trust me, anything you put into your body can mess with whatever else you're putting into your body.  

So I did start exercising more (about 3x a week), I made sure I was eating a balanced diet with lots of water, and tried to keep myself stress free for the time I was taking these pills. It's important to have a routine with GC. I took two pills about 30 minutes before eating with an 8oz glass of water twice a day, which is the maximum way to take the pills. 

With that in mind, I did lose about 10 pounds! That's so impressive for me. I had no side effects at all. My energy levels increased, like I said, and my mood even became slightly elevated which is incredible. 

I'm really glad I was able to test out my first weirdly named fruit weight loss supplement and I can't wait to see what happens in the coming months. 

*I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.  

What are your experiences with weight loss supplements? 

08 October 2015

National Poetry Day: Hip Hip Hooray!

It's come to my attention through Twitter that it's National Poetry Day!
I haven't been writing much lately due to so much brain fog, or I would make your day with a poem of my own. Even writing this post is taking a great deal of energy and making my head hurt.
Ah! What we do for poetry.

In my spare time, I enjoy browsing random online literary magazines. A website I regularly go to is called NewPages.
Work by former college professors has even been in several magazines--pretty cool, right?
But it's also cool to find something new. Refreshing. Something that just clicks with me.

Even though it's not what I would call a literary magazine by any means, I love to visit the Poetry Foundation site for both old and new pieces of work.

Today I came across a poem that fascinated me from the very first stanza. I can't quite put my finger on what I actually think is coming across from the author, but I do get hints here and there. If you want to tell me your thoughts on it, please do! No thoughts are silly or stupid. I appreciate any insights.

Seeing for a Moment by Denise Levertov

I thought I was growing wings—
it was a cocoon.

I thought, now is the time to step   
into the fire—
it was deep water.

Eschatology is a word I learned
as a child: the study of Last Things;

facing my mirror—no longer young,
       the news—always of death,
       the dogs—rising from sleep and clamoring   
            and howling, howling,

I see for a moment   
that's not it: it is   
the First Things.

Word after word
floats through the glass.   
Towards me.
Tell me what you think of the poem above 
or comment below with your favorite poem
 and happy National Poetry Day! 

25 August 2015


Mailboxes - Canyon Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Reading: A postcard my friend sent me from when she visited her boyfriend's family in Kentucky! (Or as she called it, Corn-tucky.) I love receiving actual mail. And educational postcards bring out the geek in me.

Writing: A letter back to my friend of course! I've also been listening to some neat podcasts as of late and jotting down some notes of anything I find interesting or that might make a good topic for an upcoming blog post.

Listening to: Rdio. It's a streaming music station that I like so much better than Pandora. I recommend it to everyone I talk to about music!

Thinking: About barely anything because I keep drifting in and out of sleep. It's time for my power nap. Or my essential nap. I mean, whatever you want to call it.

Smelling: My lavender & lemon candle from Candelles. It's subtle, which is surprising considering almost every lavender candle I've purchased in my life has been a little sharp.

Wishing: I felt better from surgery! I am still sore which I think is a little unusual, but my body is unusual so what's new, really?

Hoping: That this whole Bachelor in Paradise "text blackmail" shenanigans becomes resolved soon. C'mon!

Wearing: Lounge shorts and a blood donation t-shirt from my high school days. I'm never fancy anymore unless I'm going to the doctor, it seems.

Loving: That I had a great weekend with my brother and sister-in-law! Even though I looked horrible in every single photo that was taken of me, it didn't even matter because I was so happy. Sibling love, y'all.

Wanting: A Starbucks frappe, some of my grandma's quiche, and a RuPaul's Drag Race marathon.

Needing: A massage. I wouldn't be able to stand it because of how sore I am, but my back is hollering right now.

Feeling: Oddly enough, if you wave away the grumpiness just a bit, I do feel happy. I'm starting to get back to my old self.

Transitional beauty products
What a "great day" means to a person with chronic illness
The best dressed girls on TV
Lemon berry basil mojito 

20 August 2015

Book Review: The Mind's Eye (SYNSK #1) by K.C. Finn

*If this review is a bit jumbled, it's because I'm still recovering from my surgery and am on pain pills. That is all*
Goodreads description (x):  
At fifteen, Kit Cavendish is one the oldest evacuees to escape London at the start of the Second World War due to a long term illness that sees her stuck in a wheelchair most of the time. But Kit has an extraordinary psychic power: she can put herself into the minds of others, see through their eyes, feel their emotions, even talk to them – though she dares not speak out for fear of her secret ability being exposed.
As Kit settles into her new life in the North Wales village of Bryn Eira Bach, solitude and curiosity encourage her to gain better control of her gift. Until one day her search for information on the developing war leads her to the mind of Henri, a seventeen-year-old Norwegian boy witnessing the German occupation of his beloved city, Oslo. As Henri discovers more about the English girl occupying his mind, the psychic and emotional bonds between them strengthen and Kit guides him through an oppressive and dangerous time.

My rating: 4 out of 5 hoots  

rating book owls hoots 4 four hoots

I think we all know by now of my interest in war books--especially when it comes to anything related to WWII.

K.C. Finn's The Mind's Eye does a great job of going back and forth between both being a war story and focusing on the life of a young girl and her personal (fictional) story.

I didn't know how well I would become immersed in a young adult book considering I hadn't read one in a while, but overall, I really enjoyed myself and the book apart from a few hiccups here and there.

Kit, the main character of the story, has both a disability (juvenile arthritis), and psychic powers. So it's no surprise that I fell in love with her right away. I mean, someone I can finally relate to AND who has some cool ass attributes? Sign me up!

I definitely sympathized with Kit and how much pain she was constantly in. I easily felt anger towards her doctor, Bickerstaff. How he treated her with such disdain took me back to memories of doctors of my past. UGH!
Kit's feelings of being a huge burden on everyone because of her disability was like a smack in the face for me. Whether you have a physical or mental disability, you know what it's like to be helpless and feel like you're being a burden--even if you're really not. It's a struggle and I completely understood Kit's emotions. The author did a great job of describing what the main character was going through.

As for Kit's psychic powers, they definitely took over the story, which was nice because then the book didn't focus mainly on Kit's disability. Being able to see through the eyes of Kit's..."target"...was interesting and I was surprised that I never became confused when Kit was in the head of someone else. Everything was written in a way that was easily understood.

Some of the minor characters--even if you didn't get in their heads from Kit's perspective--were easy to care about. This isn't always something a writer achieves, and I really appreciated that with Finn. Sometimes I don't even feel for the main character in a story! But I remembered and had feelings for almost every single character in this book.

Speaking of characters...
I enjoyed the romance between the two main characters. But I also didn't. 
It was just overplayed a bit. You knew what was going to happen, basically, and I didn't like that. I wish there had been more ZING to what they experienced, although what they went through together at the beginning was definitely exciting! The rest of the book had a lot of great twists and turns; it was a bit disappointing to see the romantic sub-plot go a bit flat.

It's no secret that I suffer from a chronic autoimmune disorder.
Or...chronic Lyme disease.
So when I read that the author, K.C. Finn,  had  M.E./CFS, it struck a chord with me and made the book even more special. I realized Finn could lend a piece of herself towards the main character. Yes, Kit had a severe disability in the book, and yes it plays a major part, and yes it is discussed heavily. But that's not the part she plays. She's not just the token disabled kid. She's so much more, and I love that.

(I did have a weird feeling about the ending, but that's neither here nor there in this review.)

So, cheers! Praise, praise, praise! Go read, read, read!
(BTW, the Kindle edition is free on Amazon so.....)

10 August 2015

Macabre Monday: The Loved Ones

the loved ones title 

I truly haven't watched many Australian films. 
I've watched even less Australian horror films. But the one that has stuck with me the most has been The Loved Ones (2009). 

What's happening in this movie is the main character Brent--whose name is really only briefly heard by the way--makes the mistake of (politely) turning down a quiet girl named Lola to the school dance. Apparently this sort of rejection isn't new to Lola, which is unveiled to Brent after a series of events take place allowing him to realize just how crazy quiet ole Lola--and her papa--really are.

sad party knifed the loved ones

It is pretty gory. I'm used to gory; I invite gory. But the torture scenes still got to me. However, it was well-made and not some B-movie made just for the torture scenes. There was emotion involved. There was character development. And so, so much more. There are definitely parts were I cringed and then I cringed even harder. There were parts where I gasped, and parts I didn't even see coming. I love me some twists and turns!

The transformation that we see in Lola--from meek, shy school girl into this insane, crazed "Princess" takes the cake, and is also extremely well-acted. Brent also goes from considering whether or not he wants to keep on living to fighting for his life. What a turn of events.

Lola Stone was such an interesting character, though. She's both innocent and evil at the same time. For instance, you get to see her handmade scrapbook, and her bright pink dress and glittery makeup that radiates how girly she is. But then there is a scene where she twists off the top of a bottle of salt and throws it onto a wound of Brent's--pure nastiness.

gif lola stone crazy the loved ones

There's also the soundtrack that added to the atmosphere of the movie. There were not many songs included, but the ones that were had a great effect. The song "Not Pretty Enough" by Kasey Chambers is bittersweet. Innocent sounding...but creepy considering what's going on in the environment. I heard it later on after watching the film and it gave me absolute chills. It's also an easy song to get stuck in your head so...be prepared for that.

One scene that really stuck out to me is where they are all sitting down for supper. It is SO MUCH like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I love that though! Way to go, director Sean Byrne for putting that subconsciously in our heads.

tcm homage the loved ones supper

The only real thing I disliked about this movie was the ending.
It just kind of...floated off on its merry way. I didn't want a typical cliche kind of ending, either, but something stable would have been nice.

The Loved Ones seems like an underrated movie to me. I have watched it several times now since it came out and it still gives me goosebumps. Because of that, you should definitely check it out!

09 August 2015

Playlist: "Musical Garden"

Flowers and Mountains

It seems like the summer has flown by. In fact, I realized I hadn't posted a playlist since April!
No awesome summer playlist? Well.......even though this may not be what you or even I had in mind, these are the tunes I've had circling around in my head for the past couple weeks or days or so.

Enjoy them whether you're tanning out by the pool
or just
blogging and keeping cool.

XOV is completely new to me--and I'm beginning to think I've really stumbled upon something special here. Not only have I found a song in particular that I've become fond of, but I've become astonished at the life and background of XOV (a.k.a. Damian Ardestani) as well. You should definitely read about it after checking out this song.

This is one of those songs you can listen to in all its glory or you can play it in the background and be fine with that too. I personally love listening to songs of this type while I write in my diary or maybe fool around with some light poetry.

With such sweet vocals, a whole lot of soul, and that hand-clapping that I live for, this one has been on loop for weeks now. Who cares about being alone when you've got this song for company?!

You know I love a good cover of a song...
...Especially a Spice Girls cover!

Say you'll be there for my next post! ;)

05 August 2015

Wordful Wednesday//Tech Me to Your Leader

You have no idea how many times I've run across something lately covering the debate between whether or not technology is "good or bad" pertaining to many different aspects. Most of these articles, podcasts, whatever, coming to a rather inconclusive decision on the certain component at hand.

What still intrigues me is the idea that technology is crossing some huge line whenever it comes to our social lives. There are people--mainly the old timey folks, let's just say it--who believe technology is "taking over." There are also the younger generations who feel that technology has led to great advances and is really just a better way of doing most things.
I can understand the frustrations of those people who came up with the inconclusive results just mentioned because there really are great points to be made for both sides.
However, I am going to be pretty biased considering I am a person with a chronic illness and technology--mainly the Internet--is like my sidekick. So yeah, I'm pretty much PRO-TECHNOLOGY, yo.

I have noticed just recently (although it's definitely not a recent habit!) that I'm on my phone dilly-dallying way too much. More than I think is healthy. And I'm sure that's true for the majority of us. It's mainly me checking social networking sites over and over again, too. I'm not even checking them because I'm just so extra popular and have just so overwhelmingly many notifications to check--nope. It's just a nonsensical habit. So I'm definitely trying to put my phone out of reach more frequently so I can bump that habit. BUT, it's also kind of important for me to have my phone nearby in case I need my doctor or my mother. If I feel a seizure coming on, I can usually send my mom a blank text and she knows what that means. That's kind of like her bat signal, so she can come help me out. Without my phone, I wouldn't be able to get her attention.

Then you have the days. Those days... Many, many, many--ok, most days--when I just lie or prop up in bed. That's what I do and basically all I can do whether it's from fatigue or pain or recuperation from a seizure or all of the above. So watching TV or reading an e-book or, yep, going online, are what I have to keep me company. You can understand that if you've had a snotty cold or the flu or something else temporary, right? It's the same with a chronic illness.
How comforting is it to be in your own bed with a bowl of Mom's homemade soup curled up in front of Netflix? Well it's also comforting for me to do as little as possible while my body works to restore itself and just...manage. Hence one reason I'm almost always on the Internet. Being online is amazing, too, because you can do anything from listen to a podcast on how corsets are made to watch a funny video of goats fainting to read blogs (yay!). But the Internet can also be a perfect way to waste time. So if I had a responsibility looming over my head, sometimes I just want to go back to my comfort zone and watch those adorable goats fainting or browse Amazon for some shoes I'll never buy. And that's no good, is it? I do crave more responsibilities though, small ones, so maybe if I had more of those...

I will admit I don't have much of a social life. If I did have more of one, I think I'd be more apt to have more motivation to spend time offline and to have more inspiration for the things I want to achieve. However, the Internet is also a great way to find a social life in its own way. I have discovered great sources of support systems online and have made friends who also have Lyme disease or some other chronic illness. A few I have been friends with for years! If not for the Internet, I would not have been able to vent to these friends, to laugh along with these friends, or to meet such strong, compassionate people. And that's extremely special.

Because I also have an anxiety disorder, the miracles of the Internet are becoming more and more helpful and awesome to me! Going into a crowded area is a challenge for me. Sometimes even talking on the phone is a big deal. But wait--there's e-mail, that's something I can get away with quite often. We can have live chats or IM or even if I'm feeling it, Skype! And now...wait for it...online food delivery! I can't even list all the other cool things you can do on your phone now. But seriously, anything that boosts my social interactions while not spiking my anxiety through the roof, works for me!

There seems to be a common saying now (from guess who?) about how all the young ones seem to have their noses stuck in their phones or their faces behind a screen or something like that. But if they had the same technology at their age, how would you think they'd be reacting to technology then? Probably embracing it like we are today. I just cannot stand it when people are constantly talking about "the good ole days before technology" yet they are watching TV, while they're on their phone, while their partner is on an e-reader. GET IT?

I love camping and getting away from (most) technology for a while. Because I'm on the Internet almost every single day, it's nice to try to enjoy life without my daily source of news, entertainment, socialization, etc. for a week or so. At the same time, I enjoy my technology and know I couldn't give it up completely.

This doesn't make me lazy, this doesn't make me addicted to the Internet, and this doesn't mean that I'm completely sheltered indoors and that if I go outside I will immediately burn down into ashes and die (I camp, remember?!)
But it does mean I'm sick and limited with what I can do right now. Especially at the moment as I'm seeing some symptoms increase more and more. So that may mean I'll be seeing more Internet usage...who knows?

*Also, I have nothing against the elderly, I swear!

What are your thoughts? Are you stashing your phone away as we speak (maybe you don't even own one)? Or are you too busy texting to even read this question?

26 June 2015

My Sick Life Illustrated Through Buffy Gifs

Being a vampire slayer takes guts.
But so does being chronically ill.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer has a special place in my heart for being one of my favorite TV shows but also because I can relate to many of the situations that take place--and to many of the characters. That sounds silly, I know, because what could I possibly have in common with a witch or a werewolf or a BUFFY?

Well, don't be so harsh to judge. You might just find some similarities yourself...

What I have to say to someone who tells me how "lucky" I am to have nothing to do all day since I'm sick all the time.

buffy btvs vampire slayer lonely comeback

If I have anything to be "lucky" about, it's that I'm alive and still have...well...some good health left. I don't have anything to do all day because I'm in so much pain all of the time. There's also not much to do when you don't have much of a social life because your illness has destroyed that.
Would you rather choose to be out on a lake having fun with your friends after a day of studying, even though you had to study, or would you choose to stay at home all day long in tremendous amounts of pain with idle hands by your side? I have a good idea of what you'd pick...

You're sitting in the waiting room, minding your own business, when the nurse comes in to tell you that, "Unfortunately, five people are now ahead of you," and asks, "Would you like to wait?"

buffy btvs no sass

Just give me a heads-up. Please?!

When someone uses that quote: The only disability in life is a bad attitude.

buffy bite me btvs mad

Do you really want to go there? You are more than welcome (OK, not really) to look through all of my health records, to go to every doctor's appointment with me, to hang out with me for just a day, or to trade places with me even. I would be glad to experience life in a new body. Freaky Friday, anyone?

When I'm in a painful situation that would knock someone else down to the ground, but barely phases me because I've become so tolerant.

buffy btvs vampire slayer superhero lol

It's funny because I'm so weak, I'm strong. Don't misunderstand, my body sucks and hurts and sometimes I cannot even hug someone without making a face because the pain is there. But I've endured so much pain at my age that I don't even understand how I haven't crumbled. I don't mean emotionally or anything like that--how has my body not just gave way?
I could list symptom after symptom but I will only give you one since it came up in conversation the other day. Migraines.
I have had a migraine almost every day since high school. I'm talking, let's hide under the sheets where it's dark and there's no sound and everybody can just go to sleep, kind of migraines. My friend had one of her first migraines the other day and was in so much pain she missed work for two days. She told me she didn't know how I did it. I don't know either. Superpowers, I guess.

When you're trying to ward off a new symptom...

buffy btvs vampire slayer cross

My list is long enough, OK? Doctors give you about _______________________ that much space to fill in what symptoms you have. When I went to my first Lyme Literate Medical Doctor, I had over 100 symptoms.

This is pretty morbid, and that's why I saved it for last...but it's something I do have to deal with it. It's something many people with chronic illnesses have to think about--and often. It's sad that so many of us are so young and are already thinking about whether or not we might not wake up tomorrow. But it's reality. Like I said, morbid.

buffy btvs death die sad

But I think this is why I connected in a way with Buffy. I'm no "chosen one," and I definitely don't go slaying vampires (or do I?), but Buffy and I deal with the thought of death constantly and especially how it will impact our loved ones.

For the time being, however, I think I'll focus on keeping myself happy and healthy if I can.
Because if I learned anything from Buffy Summers, it's that I'm a fighter, I'm worth something, and...that I need to live.

buffy btvs live alive

21 June 2015

My Pop on Father's Day

I have been ridiculously lucky to have the presence of a father in my life.
Not only that, but to have an amazing father. One who is always at my beck and call.

father day yay love dad

 I still remember the time I was a freshmen at college when I woke up for class and tried to start my car. Kaput......nothing happened.

Now, I wasn't THAT far away from home, but I was still far enough to be a nuisance for just a short trip and back.
My dad's a mechanic so of course I called him straight away. He dropped everything (although I definitely remember hearing some grumbling and mumbling), and came up to my college to fix my car.
There was a flood of anxiety that had been hanging over my head that just completely vanished as I saw his figure come up the steps near my Ford with his red shop towel hanging from his back pants pocket. I was SO relieved. Daddy was there to save me--just like he always is.

I wish I could list all the things I love about my dad and why he is just so charismatic.
He's hilarious--he could take a simple story about a grocery store trip and turn it into a story about something that would make you belly laugh. He's handy and too smart for his own good. I don't think we've ever really had someone come out to repair something on our house. If so, A) I'm sure he would be really pissed, and B) He would probably be right beside them trying to fix the problem. He looks really tough--and he is--but the man is sweet, and he always tries to do right by people. He's just a good person. He just is.

Dad is so fun-spirited and open about everything. We can talk about anything without me feeling embarrassed or like I have to hold back. And I know that's a blessing. We can be ourselves. We can act childish and foolish. And that's what makes us US. It's what makes us have inside jokes and it is how we bond.

dad funny father day love you funny

 My dad means so much to me because he has taught me so much. Whether he's meant to or not.
I am me because of my father. Yes, we have petty little fights sometimes, but as that saying goes, we get over them and we never go to bed without saying sorry. We also never go to bed without saying, "I love you."

sweet childhood beach trip dad father day/

His endearing nicknames for me never go unnoticed and when we are in the middle of laughing at something that is so funny, we just can't stop laughing, it makes my love for him grow even more than I thought possible.
Because he's my dad. He's my dad.

30 May 2015

Put A Sock in It: Hot Sox Review

I am not the typical person who wears socks in any kind of weather except for the fall or winter seasons. BUT, when it comes to the combination of bedtime and really really awesome socks, I will succumb.

I was given the opportunity to try out and review a pair of unique Hot Sox from SocksMax all thanks to Tomoson.
So of course I picked these beauties:

hotsox socks birth of venus cool

Don't they just look so neat and artsy? Of course, you can't really see Venus' head yet...but you get the picture so far. Which is...I love them! And you do too, right? I can see it on your face if not Venus'. The answer is YES. You might even say...you desire them... (You know what's coming don't you?)

(Sorry, I just had to throw this song in here.)

Back to business...

These socks went on comfortably, which I was worried about since my calves are a little large. The only problem was that the ankle was a little tight--which is actually really strange. I've never in my life had socks where the ankle part was tight. They did stretch easily, however, and the best part is that the top stayed up. Not one time did these socks start to fall down. MIRACULOUS. Thanks, Venus.

Really, truthfully, the one thing that actually bugged me about these socks was that I would probably never wear these out. Why? Because they have such a strange length going on about them. I know they're crew socks, but they need to be either a little shorter, or probably more reasonably, a little longer. If they were knee highs, they would be killer.

chilling with my venus socks hotsox

They're so cute (if you can't tell already), and even though I've really just worn them lounging around, I've gotten so many compliments. I've gotten picked on too, but those people have actually said they thought they're too funny or too unique not to be cool.

So, like socks that will give some stranger a chuckle or a grin? Maybe you're really into Venus and the color purple? Well then I'd say, with my professional unique sock advice, that you should check out the Venus (or other ridiculously cool socks) up for grabs at SocksMax--which are all about $8.00 by the way. GO GETCHA SOME.

22 May 2015

Book Review: Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons

fat girl walking cover book

*I received a free copy of this book from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads descriptions (x): 
Told through a series of larger-than-life snapshots, a hilarious memoir in essays about love, sex, marriage, motherhood, bikinis, and loving your body, no matter what size you are from the acclaimed blogger and body image advocate.
Fat Girl Walking isn't a diet book. It isn't one of those former fat people memoirs about how someone battled, and won, in the fight against fat. Brittany doesn't lose all the weight and reveal the happy, skinny girl that's been hiding inside her. Instead, she reminds us that being chubby doesn't mean you'll end up alone, unhappy, or the subject of a cable medical show. What's important is learning to love your shape. With her infectious humor and soul-baring honesty, Fat Girl Walking reveals a life full of the same heartbreak, joy, oddity, awkwardness, and wonder as anyone else's. Just with better snacks. 

My rating: 5 out of 5 hoots 

rating 5 hoots owl book review 

Brittany Gibbons is a blogger of brittanyherself which, unfortunately, I was never introduced to until reading her book. However, I actually like the direction of Gibbons' book better than her blog (I know, slay me now, bloggers). Gibbons does say the book is in a different layout than her blog, though, so maybe be gentle with me. 

Both Brittany's blog and her book are so blunt and honest. The book in particular will allow anyone easy access to relate to her many essays and funny anecdotes. One in particular would have made me uncomfortable in a different voice, but Brittany's friendly tone made me laugh at the horrific event. 

There are a few things that break up the book nicely, like a list of pros and cons of being pregnant as well as bullet points of what to say to annoying people while you're pregnant. Even if you've never been pregnant, you can still laugh out loud at these lists. 

I honestly didn't expect Fat Girl Walking to make me laugh so much or for me to relate so much to it. Yes, I'm a plus-size gal. But even if I wasn't, I could still relate. I'm not married, I'm childless, and I'm not in the same age range as the author, so I didn't know if the book would really be my thing. But the way Brittany Gibbons writes her experiences MAKES everything easy to relate to. Or so hilarious that you keep reading and feel as if you're a part of her life. Either way, you can't put the book down.

Issues covered in the book--that I actually wish were tackled more--are sure to make plus-size people nod and others think hard about what they say/think. 
...You don't get to make wild accusations about my health based on how I look because you are not a real doctor, you are a pretend Internet doctor. Not the same thing. 
I like how Fat Girl Walking speaks to all women. Not just women who are overweight, but women. Women. All women. And one quote really spoke to me that I've been trying to put into words for a long time:

If we don't say enough and stop the race to the beauty-standard finish line, the casualties and the resentment women have toward each other will grow. 
 Yes! We are women. (Hear us roar?) Let's stick together instead of constantly looking each other up and down or challenging each other to a race of the fittest. Instead, help each other out. Why scold someone for being overweight when evidence shows for one, it doesn't work to help motivate them to do anything you're trying to get them to do, and second, just why? Why question anything about another women or be judgmental? That's a part of what this book is trying to say along with--why question yourself? Let's just...not. I'm paraphrasing for Gibbons here, but stop criticizing others and yourself when your body is beautiful. You have to think of every part of your body as special--like a part of a scrapbook.

This book was made for anyone to read because it's full of wisdom, quirkiness, and experiences (mostly crazy) that the author has gone through so you don't have to. The author has a clear, strong voice and it's obvious she wants to convey a message of empowerment. This will be a great summer beach read (as long as you can control your emotions--laughter and tears). 

funny quote fat girl walking gibbons brittany
My new favorite piece of advice

The idea behind this book is great. To read about someone who is plus-size, who is REAL, and who is more than OK with their body and self--but who doesn't deny the trials of how hard it is to fall in love with their body--is special to me. And I think it will be to others as well.

I don't think I have to say anything else. I loved, loved this book. I recommend it to anyone and everyone.

12 May 2015

Influenster Bella VoxBox Review

I love being a member of Influenster. It's allowed me over the years to sample free products and in return, give my honest opinion of how I feel about them. I always feel so lucky that they pick me to receive a box of goodies to try out. Because that's really what I do!

Influenster, for those of you who are clueless right now, is a site that's free to join, where you basically just write reviews for things like beauty products to books to household products. There are other fun things on the site like articles to read, ways to interact with the community, and uh...free full size products and coupons or discounts! If this sounds like your thing, you can sign up (for free, remember?) using my referral link.

Now...down to business!

influenster goody free bella voxbox

  • Okay, I have to confess something. If you're wondering why is that package of Dove chocolate flat? The answer is: because I ate them all before I could take the picture. Which is to say, I ate them all almost right after I opened the box. I'm going to shame my mom here and say she contributed to this as well. The Dove Fruit was good or else I wouldn't have munched on all of it, but there was a problem. I received the flavor of dark chocolate with blueberries. However, it really just tasted like chocolate covered raisins. Luckily for me, I love chocolate covered raisins. But, why buy some chocolate fruit that tastes like something I love when I can just buy the thing that I love? Sorry, Dove. Raisins > You.

  • My absolute favorite from the bunch was the EcoTools Complexion Collection Mattifying Finish Brush. I have a really oily t-zone, and this brush works wonders with pressed powder! It's exactly what I've been looking for. And for $8.99, well, it's a little steep for something I would normally pay (I'm a little cheap when it comes to makeup brushes), I know many of you beauty bloggers would be more than happy with that price!

  • The second item I fell in love with right away, Rimmel London Scandeleyes Mascara by Kate Moss, has become my sidekick. The wand was unique and worked in a way that obviously lengthened and brought volume to my lashes. Plus, because it's different, it's just fun! Well worth the $6.99 price!

  • Another Kate Moss beauty product left me with no complaints. Especially not for something that has a price tag of $5.49! I applied lip scrub before using the lipstick, and the color went on beautifully and without any difficulty. It also lasted quite a while! So if you're looking for a new lipstick to try out with various colors, I'd suggest Rimmel London Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss

  • The one product I wasn't sure about was the Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs. It just isn't something I would use, nor would I typically buy--the full size is $13.99--eep! I was gifted with a travel size in the shade of "medium." While I did use it to cover up a bruise on my leg, that's about it. However, my sister-in-law told me she used it while out at the beach in summer months to regularly cover up imperfections and especially varicose veins. I had never thought of that! What a great tip to pass on, no? 

  • I have only tried out the Not Your Mother's Deja Vu Do Style Extender once, but it did impress me--to an extent. The product, at $9, is supposed to help keep your hair clean so you have more time in-between washes. I like the idea. It's like a one-time dry shampoo that's actually a cream. The first noticeable thing about this hair product is the SMELL. Anyone who uses this will tell you how great it smells. The scent is not overpowering; it's just--right. The problem I had with this is that it didn't really give me any volume and it didn't necessarily extend my "do." I noticed that it did leave my roots a little less oily, which is why I was a little impressed. I love the brand's sea salt spray, and that stuff really works for me, but this product didn't live up to the scent--I mean hype. 

Notice any products that you've tried recently? Would you try any of these products? I have a feeling some of you would! 

I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

10 May 2015

Happy Mother's Day to Mine and Yours and You

Happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there keeping it real through the rough times, through the glorious times, and through it all.

I like to brag about my mom a lot because, well she's my mom, but also because I've never met anyone else like her.

my beautiful mom

We have that kind of bond where it's friendship, but it never crosses the line into us giggling and gossiping and having sleepovers--you know what I mean? She's not the cool mom from the movie Mean Girls. She's my friend, but she's my mother. And I love her for being able to play both parts without getting carried away with one or the other.

twins mother
Back when we accidentally dressed alike

I've made a post about my mother before: Letter to My Mother  and touched on her lovely energy a few times in other Lyme disease posts, especially mentioning how she so selflessly cares for me. Yes, I often feel like a burden on her. But does she ever let on to that? No. Having a chronic illness really does put strain on everyone, and if you say it doesn't affect those around you, you're a liar. I've seen my mom cry because of me. Straight up bawl. But I've also seen how strong she is; the strength that emanates from that woman is a divine light, let me tell you.

My mother is beautiful in all sorts of ways.
I love seeing her garden. How passionately she digs into the soil to allow a new life to flourish.
She did the same by giving birth to me, and I can never repay her for that.

Instead, all I can say to her and all the other mothers reading this is that I am grateful for you.

So Mom, if you read this, I love you. I cherish all the moments we spend together. Not one thing you do ever goes unnoticed. And I appreciate you more than you know.

Happy Mother's Day xo