17 December 2016

HeadAid Natural Migraine Relief: Review and Giveaway!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know by now that I suffer from chronic migraines. I take preventative and abortive prescription medications but do welcome any form of natural relief.

HeadAid, for instance, is a natural alternative to prescription meds with proven ingredients that I was thankfully able to try out for free.

I’ve never really tried anything like this product to be honest. HeadAid is simple: it's an effervescent powder that you mix in with water, in the form of a convenient individual stick pack. One of the ingredients found in all three stick packs is magnesium. This is GREAT because many migraneurs are deficient in magnesium, and the lack of it can cause their migraines.

headache headaid natural relief migraine

On the day of a shopping trip,  knowing full-well it was going to be a busy and frantic ordeal, I placed one of the lemon ginger sticks into my purse in case I would need it. I am so glad I did that because--you guessed it--a migraine came my way. The lemon ginger surprised me by relieving the throbbing pain I get right before a huge migraine and basically knocked most of the migraine out. Awesome!

The lemon ginger flavor is called the "fast-acting day abortive" one because you take it at the onset of a migraine to help reduce symptoms during the day. It's probably my favorite even though I find the ginger a bit overwhelming. I feel like it works the best for me in that it really seems to be fast-acting, like its name says. AND the caffeine in it gives me a bit of a boost, not to mention my nausea eases off because of the ginger.

headache headaid migraine relief lemon ginger

The berry flavor (preventative) and the chamomile ginger (fast-acting night abortive) weren't samples I used nearly as much as the lemon ginger, but I did enjoy them--especially the berry. I just really wanted to emphasize the lemon ginger because of how well my body reacted to it. It really seemed to work the best for me out of the bunch. All three tasted well (something I was scared of at first), and they all shook up just fine in a water bottle. Simple, tasty, effective!

As for the giveaway...

I will be giving away three HeadAid trial packs to one lucky winner!
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am giving away three trial packs to one individual. The giveaway ends on January 12th. This is only open to entrants over the age of 18 in the US. Winner will be chosen by random and notified by e-mail. Winner must reply within 48 hours. The sponsor is responsible for mailing the prize. 

*I received this product to try for free but all opinions all my own.

26 October 2016

10 Must-See Horror Movies on Netflix & Hulu

Everyone needs a good list of horror movies to watch for Halloween. Or just to watch in general.
Here are ten horror movies I would recommend--some you may not know, some called "cult classics," and one in particular just there for comic relief. I'll bet you can guess which one that is.

The movies are in no particular order...just some horror/thriller/suspense films I know you can watch if you are able to get access to Netflix or Hulu. I had the idea to make this post when I read several other lists, most including movies I couldn't get my hands on because they weren't available to me unless I went out of my way to get them. And who has time for that?!

If you have any suggestions for me, comment and recommend them to me!
If you've seen any of these movies, let me know what you think.

1. Honeymoon (2014)

honeymoon movie horror

*available on Netflix*

A newlywed couple finds their lake-country honeymoon descend into chaos after Paul finds Bea wandering and disoriented in the middle of the night.

Honeymoon leans more on the sci-fi side, but trust me when I say that does not excuse it from the horror category. This is a nice little gem of a movie, and I hope you find it every little bit as exciting and horrifying as I did. 

2. Ginger Snaps (2000)

ginger snaps horror movie

*available on Hulu*

Two death-obsessed sisters, outcasts in their suburban neighborhood, must deal with the tragic consequences when one of them is bitten by a deadly werewolf.

The movie featured here, Ginger Snaps, is one that I've re-watched a million times since first seeing it in my younger years. Of course, it was much scarier then, but it still holds up now. There are so many different thoughts about what exactly is the meaning behind this unique movie. Watch it and let me know what you think. 

3. The Collector (2009)

the collector movie horror

*available on Hulu*

Desperate to repay his debt to his ex-wife, an ex-con plots a heist at his new employer's country home, unaware that a second criminal has also targeted the property, and rigged it with a series of deadly traps.

This movie got me. It was one of those "makes the hair on your arms stand up" kind of movies. The Collector just had a good storyline and a good execution. And a good "collector."

4. Chained (2012)

chained movie horror

*available on Hulu*

Bob, a cab-driving serial killer who stalks his prey on the city streets alongside his reluctant protégé Tim, who must make a life or death choice between following in Bob's footsteps or breaking free from his captor.
Chained is a bit...different. It's slow and it's unique. David Lynch's daughter is the director so if you know who he is, you'll know right away what "different" will probably mean. Either way, this is a good one. 

5. The Descent (2005)

the descent monster horror movie

*available on Hulu*

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

The Descent is a creature flick that probably isn't for everyone. You're either going to feel frightened or feel silly about it. I loved it because of how the characters' terror radiated through the screen; my friends on the other hand, hated it.

6. The Others (2001)

the others horror suspense movie

*available on Hulu*

A woman who lives in a darkened old house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that her family home is haunted.

I added The Others because it's more of a suspenseful flick that is slow and less "in your face" while still keeping you on your toes. It's also something many people can watch because it leans on the "lighter" side of horror. However, it will--eventually--grab you.

7. The Blair Witch Project (1999)

the blair witch project horror movie

*available on Hulu*

Three film students vanish after traveling into a Maryland forest to film a documentary on the local Blair Witch legend, leaving only their footage behind.

When this movie first came out, so many people were fooled into thinking it was true. That's horrifying! When I first watched The Blair Witch Project though, I tried to fool myself into thinking the same. No wonder I still get shivers up my spine when I think about this one...

8. The Amityville Horror (1979)

the amityville horror 1979 original movie

*available on Hulu*

Newlyweds move into a large house where a mass murder was committed, and experience strange manifestations which drive them away.

An instant cult classic, The Amityville Horror is known for being loosely based on a true story. To me, that instantly makes a movie more creepy. This is up there with The Shining and The Exorcist for me. 

9. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

the silence of the lambs horror movie

*available on Hulu*

A young F.B.I. cadet must confide in an incarcerated and manipulative killer to receive his help on catching another serial killer who skins his victims.

Pretty well-known, I love how disturbing Anthony Hopkins is in this movie. He barely--if ever--even blinks. The Silence of the Lambs does a great job of focusing on not one, but two characters who will make you squirm in your seat. Especially when it comes to a familiar one-liner said by the infamous Hannibal Lecter... 

10. Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

tucker and dale vs evil horror movie comedy fun

*available on Netflix and Hulu*

Tucker and Dale are on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin when they are attacked by a group of preppy college kids.

Finally, for my last pick, a horror-comedy. You know...just for fun! Yes, it's actually pretty gory (going to go ahead and tell ya), but if you're up for laughs, Tucker and Dale vs Evil is PERFECT for you.

17 October 2016

Review: Axon Optics Migraine Glasses

Disclaimer: I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

axon optics jura style migraine glasses

I have been sensitive to light for a long time now. I also have chronic migraines. The two seem to go hand-in-hand. It’s such a mess whenever you feel like you can’t go anywhere with bright lights, or other certain types of lights, because they may trigger a migraine.

Going outside is an obvious problem. Big box stores are a HUGE problem because of the fluorescent lights. But what people don’t always realize is that staying indoors can even set off migraines with light beaming off of ceiling lights or reading lamps, and yes sometimes even the television, the computer, the smartphone… Things chronically ill people like myself depend on day-to-day for news, social interaction, work, etc

The company Axon Optics helped deliver relief for me with these JURA style migraine glasses.
Axon Optics offers glasses available for use in the home, for outdoors, and glasses than can be used for both purposes. I chose to review indoor glasses since that's where I spend most of my days (cue The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song).

I would wear these glasses when a migraine would first strike--even in a room that was only dimly lit--and I could easily notice less strain on my eyes with (for the most part) a usually milder migraine in the process.
I tried to wear these as a type of prevention for migraines as well, but found that to be a bit aggravating because I don’t necessarily want to wear these every single day of my life. If I know I am going to be in front of or around excess lighting, I try to pop these suckers on, but I just don't find the idea of wearing glasses for my every movement appealing.

I enjoyed wearing them when I was on my laptop. For me, this is the electronic device I seem to use the most and the one that generally brings about a migraine the most. To have a product that prevented a migraine or at least wore it down was awesome!

What makes these glasses so special? Well, they have what's called the SpectraShield FL-41 lenses in them. They sound like something James Bond would wear, but what they manage to do is "block specific wavelengths that are known to trigger light-sensitive conditions" What's more? You can only find these lenses as Axon Optics.

axonoptics glass migraine modelled

The glasses weren’t uncomfortable on me, just took a bit to get used to. Even then though, you still want to see through “your eyes” every now and then instead of through...rose-tinted-glasses. Ha!
I appreciate that they aren’t TOO dark; this works comparatively better than wearing sunglasses inside for me. Sometimes I thought, “Wow, these aren’t dark enough to do anything, they’re probably barely even working!” But then when I would remove them, I would notice the light flooding my eyes. So yeah, they work!

The style is not anything I had a problem with. At first I thought they looked like something a ‘50s rock-n-roll musician would wear, but then I thought...what’s wrong with that? I quickly adjusted to them, especially once I realized what wonders they were doing for my headaches/migraines. Whenever a product is working, sometimes you just don’t care if it looks silly or not. In this case, the Axon Optics glasses aren’t just made nice, they look nice too!

29 September 2016

Review: HoneyColony Equilibrium Energy Superfood

Disclaimer: I have been given this product as part of a product review through the Chronic Illness Bloggers network. Although the product was a gift, all opinions in this review remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.

You all know by now that I have a chronic illness that leaves me so fatigued that I have barely any energy (ever). So of course I was excited to be given the opportunity to try out a new product that could possibly improve my energy levels as well as my overall health. My mornings are when I feel my best, but slowly--no, quickly--I go downhill from there. I'm always looking for something that would keep "my best" moving forward throughout the day. That's where the HoneyColony Equilibrium Energy Superfood kicks in for me!

honeycolony energy superfood

The HoneyColony Equilibrium Energy Superfood did seem to give me energy, but at times it was more of a restless energy. The kind where you twiddle your thumbs and shake one of your legs. Like you’re in a doctor’s waiting room. I didn’t really like that part. Other than that, there were days where I could tell I did have lasting energy without the restlessness. Those were definitely good days. I found myself being able to hop on my stationary bike and ride, baby, ride! Okay...even if it was only for 15 minutes or so. That's more than progress for me!

But...please don't let the idea that it made me restless turn you off to the product. I really wonder two things:

  1. If I kept up with it for more than a month, would the restlessness subside?
  2. Was this just a "me" thing?...
The packaging is beautiful and looks quite professional, chic, and fancy. When you open it up however, you think, “What.is.this?” Some kind of yucky caviar knock-off? Ha! It may look a little strange, but trust me, the taste and the ingredients more than make up for it. You would be surprised what all are in this neat looking bottle!
Turmeric, for instance, was a big seller on my end. I was already taking a turmeric capsule for various reasons--one of them being in hopes that it would help my energy levels! ...One less pill for me now that it's included in the Equilibrium Energy Superfood! Hurrah!

The honey taste and SMELL partners well with the overwhelming ginger as well as the other ingredients that you may not taste, but that are definitely working their magic like medicinal mushrooms, blue algae, and prebiotics. Oh! And speaking of honey... included in this jar is 100% raw honey that is "pure, natural, and potent."

I quite enjoyed the taste. If you’re not a big fan of ginger or a strong bite of ginger aftertaste, I think you would need something to eat with this to cover that up with. For me, I smeared a bit of this (about a teaspoon or half a teaspoon) on a piece of toast. But it was just as good on its own!

Would I recommend this? Yes, I would.
I have to applaud HoneyColony for coming up with this superfood! It was a joy to eat, awesome to try out, and something I hope others will try so they can share their experiences with me.

25 August 2016

Thursday Threads: Boho Buttercup

Boho Buttercup fringe bohemian flare jeans

Boho Buttercup by thezorya featuring wood wall art

Just let me start out by saying I cannot get enough of flares this year, and I'm sure I'll be seeing them well into fall. So when I spotted these high rise flares? *Swoon* Love at first sight

I also paired wedges with jeans the last time I made a Thursday Threads post, but when I was faced with fringe + flare this time around, I knew I had to combine the two to equal bohemian perfection. It was fate, guys. (Not to mention the wedges almost match the beautiful lipstick I picked out!)

Of course, I had to add a nice little cotton shirt in with everything, and even though it might look plain, it actually does the outfit justice with its slight details. 

And really...what's a "boho buttercup" outfit without a SMILE?!

Are you still digging flare jeans? 

18 August 2016

Book Review: Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

behind closed doors ba paris psych thriller book

Goodreads description (x):
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better. But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart. Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows. Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

My rating: 5 out 5 hoots

hoots book rating five

I admit, when I first started reading, I thought this book might be similar to a couple others I've read in the past. However, once the pace picked up a bit, I understood right away why Behind Closed Doors was going to stand out from the rest...

I like to think reading a psychological thriller is--of course--going to be intense and nerve-wracking, but worth it. Especially when I can try to figure out what's really going on "behind closed doors" if the book calls for it. Not only did this book call out for me to strive to do just so while reading, but also while eating, cleaning, and yes--sleeping! The twists just kept me thinking night and day.

It doesn't take a detective to figure out what this book's about. However, that certainly doesn't take away from how enthralling it is. Once you dive in, you're immersed in Grace's world until you finally come up for air. It's hard to see what's headed your way.

Paisley was even intrigued by the book!

paisley dog book behind closed doors

And the ending... The ending is "perfect" as Grace's husband, Jack Angel, would say.

*I received this book for free from SheSpeaks in exchange for an honest review.

16 July 2016

{Widened Horizons}

I love learning about new things--and discovering new things in particular. From music to literature to film. Home decor, fashion...you get the idea...
Even if not necessarily "brand new," it can be from the '20s and still be NEW to me. So when I find something that really grabs me, I just have to show someone else; it makes me feel appreciated!
Here's where you guys come in.
I like to think of this as some form of mutualism. I benefit from being able to share with the world (ahem...the readers of my blog) what I've recently discovered, and all of you get to look upon all these neat things and maybe even own them! Hurrah!

Keeping that in mind, I figured a new Widened Horizons post was in order!
You don't have to raise your glass to that, but it'd be nice. Actually...if you prefer instead to keep your glass on the table, these lily pad coasters could be just your thing!
waterlily coaster ceramic coaster

Now THIS is too cute...a planter for your bicycle! You just clip it onto the handlebars, add in your favorite flowers, and you're ready to take off!
planter flower geo bicycle coral

I've seen so many watermelon and other fruit bags lately but THIS is the CUTEST of them ALL.
watermelon suede crossbody bag cute

I have never laughed so hard at a coffee cup. Need this UFO mug NOW.
funny ufo coffee mug

If you're a Game of Thrones fan like I am, then you'll probably get a huge kick out of this House Stark "Tea is Coming" teapot.
tea is coming house stark game of thrones

The owl find of this post is charming and practical... it's a key holder!!
owl cabinet key holder wooden

Here's to a good day full of magic.
magic alice in wonderland quote

Quick Links:

28 June 2016

What's Your Poison?: Botox for Migraines

Head in Hands migraine chronic pain
This guy feels my pain

I have a longstanding history of chronic migraines.
Ruthless migraines.
They were the first symptom of my Lyme disease and unfortunately, they've stuck with me just like the Lyme disease has.

I have suffered from migraines since I was around 15 or 16 years old--but back then, I thought it was normal for everyone to have a headache every single day! Of course, my migraines were nowhere close to being as severe back then as they are now.

Several medications have helped here and there, but nothing seems to be the one.
I've found Imitrex to be a complete savior when one of those migraines comes around that just completely knocks you down. The only thing that would save you would be sleep, but the pain is so bad you can't sleep. In those cases, Imitrex pretty much saves the day.

If you suffer from migraines like I do, you know it's not "just a headache."
It can range somewhere in-between a feeling of being in that scene from Psycho to pulling an 18-wheeler truck from chains attached to your forehead. Yeah, I went there.

When you're in that much pain daily, you'll do almost whatever you can in your power to take the pain away. Right?!

My neurologist had actually suggested Botox a while back but I mildly brushed it off, thinking oral medications should and would work. Then I basically forgot about it--mostly because I just didn't think insurance would pay for it.

But on my most recent visit, as I came stumbling in with dark sunglasses covering my sickly face, about to vomit over anyone or everyone due to the massive migraine I was experiencing, she turned me again to the idea of Botox. This time, I couldn't say no. Especially when insurance decided they would pay. Even though you usually need to have Botox treatments 3-4 times a year, I would STILL take that over medicine that was barely even working 1-3x day!

When I first saw the eye doctor, he was pretty straightforward and thorough as to what would happen with the Botox procedure.
He even drew me out a little chart showing me where the Botox would be inserted. I don't know why, but I found this oddly reassuring before I went in for the procedure a few weeks later. I felt prepared. Like, "Yep. Gonna get some needles here. A few there. I'll be good." I guess it was because my eyes were going to be closed and for the most part, I'm so used to seeing  what's going on with a lot of my medical procedures. I know this was NOTHING compared to what I've gone through before, but when anything is near my eyeballs, it freaks me out a bit.

Now. You're probably wondering. DID IT HURT? 

To be honest, I figure it really depends on where exactly in your face you are getting the shots. For the most part, around my eyes and forehead, it just felt like someone tweezing my face. Some places were a little more painful...it wasn't quite like a bee sting...it was more like a fire ant bite.
The worst for me was around the arches of my eyebrows, actually. You know where you can press down on your eyebrows for sinus relief, and when you do, it really hurts but at the same time it feels really good? Yeah well this just really hurt.

So...what about relief, right??

It's been about a week, the time frame of which the eye doc said the Botox would probably kick in. A family member asked me the other day if it had been working and I started to tell them I didn't know yet, but then I realized I hadn't had a headache or a migraine the past two days. I have no idea if it's a coincidence or not yet, but I'm excited to see! Fingers crossed, I'll keep you all up-to-date on this journey of mine...

23 June 2016

Thursday Threads: Heat of the Moment

Thunderstruck by thezorya featuring ross simons earrings

It's been hot, humid, and let's face it--downright sticky. 
This outfit was inspired by me trying to find something I could wear casually for a date.

The cotton shirt is a must in this heat. Anything silky is just out of the question for me right now so I'm sticking to light fabrics; this top looks sweet and cool--especially with the fringe! 

I think nude heels with jeans are a great look right now, but these wedges really caught my eye. They just shout out summer to me! 

Lastly, to "spruce up" the outfit a bit, I added a nice clutch and drop earrings. It's not over-the-top but it does the trick. 

What would be your ideal outfit to wear for a summer date night?

14 June 2016

Playlist: "Breathe Happy"

A Sunflower's Dream

How HOT has it been as of late? 
I can barely justify going outside right now because of the heat. So like the hermit I am, I've been doing nothing but watching movies, reading, and yes--turning up some tunes! (And the AC.)

So with that being said, let's just see what I've been listening to...

The Dø have come out with some great songs. And this is one of them! Olivia Merilahti's voice is just beautiful. Just beautiful. And while the song has a sense of gloominess to it, it is overshadowed by purity. 

This song, "Full Circle," by Half Moon Run is not new but certainly new to me. It's very indie-folk and honestly, reminds me of something Band of Horses would be singing; it's similar and that's not a bad thing by any means.

Okay, when you start listening to this one, you'll think...this sounds familiar. And you're right! It's a cover of Jennifer Paige's "Crush" from the '90s. But amped up. And I love it.

Even though the lyrics of this song clearly say, "I'm not gonna leave the best for last," I might just be doing so. This song makes me so happy; it's catchy and dreamy and if you don't want to get up and dance to it, then at least do like me--sway your head while you're lying in bed ha!

07 June 2016

Book Review: Fragments of Isabella by Isabella Leitner

fragments isabella holocaust jew

Goodreads description (x): 
On May 29, 1944, the day after Isabella Katz’s twenty-third birthday, she, her family, and all the Jews in the ghetto in Kisvárda, Hungary, were rounded up by Nazi storm troopers, packed into cattle cars, and deported to Auschwitz. There, Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death, scrutinized the family and decided who would live—for a time—and who would die. Isabella and three of her sisters waged a daily battle to survive, giving one another strength, courage, and love, promising themselves that they would cheat the crematoriums and end each day alive.

My rating: 4 out of 5 hoots

owl rating

I believe I've it said before on this blog, but to reiterate, I am and have always been interested in war. I don't think I'll truly be able to grasp the horrors of WWII and the Holocaust, but learning about it and educating others—especially through literature—can be a great thing. 

When I was asked if I would like to read Fragments of Isabella, I agreed. Auschwitz was one of the worst concentration camps of the Holocaust, so to be able to read a memoir from someone who was there would be, I knew, raw and emotional. 

It is a short read, with short chapters, and even for the most part, short and concise sentences. 
This makes for a one-day read that is overall, powerful and touching. 

Josef Mengele is mentioned a few times, and I was astonished that the author actually came into contact with him. Of course it wouldn't be impossible, I just haven't read a memoir yet where the author spoke about actually being in close proximity with Mengele. There was just such indifference towards him, which was odd considering how he was notorious for being truly awful—even nicknamed the “Angel of Death.” Leitner was one tough cookie. Irma Grese was also briefly talked about and how she would choose specific women to be punished, mainly based on how attractive they were to her. 

Because the chapters are so short, sometimes the book confused me as to where the characters were physically at, and the events take place so quickly that it's hard to wrap your head around what exactly is going on all the time. Most of the time you can regain your footing, brush yourself off, and realize what it is Leitner is describing. But a few times, you're still left lost. 

I admit, Isabella Leitner's writing was a bit hard for me to read at first. I was enjoying the story, but not her too-short sentences or what seemed to me like almost apathetic emotional responses to the situations at hand. Trust me though when I say you need to read just a few more chapters—or even one more chapter—and you will read what I and others have read and thanked Leitner in our hearts for sharing. 

What gripped me almost more than what happened in the camps to the Jews, was what happened outside and around them when they walked the streets and passed by everyone. Leitner says of this:
  “But the Germans never saw us. Ask them. They never saw us. Come to think of it, they really didn't.” 

One of the saddest quotes I found was Leitner telling herself, “...I don't know yet how people live, I know only how they die.” The author and so many of those members of the Holocaust had to watch their family members be murdered. Be burned right in front of them. Be shot down. So for Isabella to have survived—how wonderful! But how painful, to carry all those memories for the rest of her life.

With that said, you must read what her husband has to say on her account in the epilogue.
It can be a small and terrible world.

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

01 June 2016

Wordful Wednesday//Bond, Parental Bond

Shaken, not stirred, right??

Okay--let's move away from Mr. Bond and towards what this post is really about: the bond I share with my parents.

Living with your parents in your 20s is different from when you are that moody teenager. I am actually not as independent now as I was then; the responsibility for me that falls onto my parents is practically greater now as well.

There's nothing wrong to be said about people that need or choose to live with their parents. But it was not in my original plan. I mean, I didn't think I'd be sick either, but look what happens in this world. Your planning can go wrong in a second. Or if you're me, it can go wrong from a bite by something the size of a poppy seed.

I am thankful I do have this strong and secure bond with my parents because being sick without that support would be excruciating. From hearing what other people have had to say about their experiences with the lack of parental support, I know how blessed I am. My parents have never really treated me like a burden, which is what I have always been fearful of them doing. They have treated me as sick when I've needed them to be there, but they also treat me as a person because that's what I am.

When first ill, experiencing horrific symptoms, my mother never doubted me. She never brushed it off as something less than it was even when she was told by others that nothing was wrong with me. She would demand second opinions, and when she could tell I was too frazzled to question a doctor or speak up for myself, she would do so for me.

At first, my father was not so quick to jump into the pool of my diagnosis, the doctors, and overall, trying to understand the whys and hows of my sickness. He would constantly ask me why God would make me this sick. He could not fathom why I suddenly went from relatively healthy to bedbound.

While he seemed to have troubling doubts with his faith, my doubts too were like a pendulum swinging. Some days I would curse God and cry out how unfair it was. Why me? I couldn't understand why my happiness had been taken, leaving me miserable.

Other days, my love for God soared. I was grateful for what he had given me, even with a major illness taking parts of me and my life away. Just look at the family God had surrounded me with!

So here's to my mother. My father. And of course, the higher power. I am grateful for all the parents I have in my life.

18 May 2016

Wordful Wednesday//Not a Happy Camper

Camping. Hiking. Nature.
Being outdoors. 

It's frustrating knowing what all I have taken for granted. It's frustrating knowing now the slim chances I have of me enjoying those activities again. 

I took a big leap of faith this past weekend and went camping with my family. 
Yes, on Friday the 13th. Yes, in the mountains--and near a lake. No, it thankfully wasn't named “Camp Crystal Lake.” 
But it was frightening all the same. It was my first real camping trip in...well...years! Of course, I stay in the RV with my family every year when we visit the beach but it's not the same. There's never really anything to be scared of at the beach in my mind. It's just a mixture of having sand stuck in your flip-flops and everyone drinking margaritas and loud country music playing on the only radio station that works. And that's fine by me. I don't care because I still feel safe. 

The same can't be said for our stay at the mountains. 
After the diesel engine of the truck died down and Dad said, “You can get out now,” I could feel my stress already begin to take over. I wanted this to be a mini-vacation for me. Something to ease these daily migraines. But it was there in the back of my mind—okay it was screaming at me—TICKS TICKS TICKS. 

I stepped out on a patch of grass, just one tree shading our campsite. It looked slightly cleaner and clearer than what I remembered as a child and young teenager, but it was still familiar and...sickening. I could feel things on me that were not really there. TICKS TICKS TICKS. I started crying immediately. This is where I camped with my family for over 10 years. Possibly where I was bitten, even. Possibly where I developed the disease that would change my life forever.
I did not feel safe at all.

The rest of the weekend was spent with me in the camper—upset on my stomach, sick to death with a migraine, or just plain crummy sick. I used to hike or bike these trails. I used to skateboard and play basketball here. I met amazing friends and random people that I will never forget at this place. 

Yet it seems that this weekend I could barely even step out on a patch of grass.

*May is Lyme Disease Awareness Month.
Check out prevention tips here as well as basic info about Lyme from ILADS here

15 April 2016

Bedphones Review: No More Sore Ears!

I used to love falling asleep to music. I could never, ever go to sleep with complete silence looming about. That would mean turning on the TV or a fan. But honestly, nothing beats a soothing song, right? 

I have tried listening to different headphones but they are so uncomfortable for me, or they just make falling asleep with them on impossible. I stopped wearing over-the-ear headphones a while back because as much as I toss and turn at night, I cannot keep them on, and they've made both my ears and my head sore in the past. In-ear headphones became a problem soon after not only because they also leave my ears sore, but because I pierced a part of my inner ear, leaving absolutely no way for them to fit in my ear. What to do, what to do??

Bedphones! They allow me to listen to music without rubbing against my ear piercing or causing it pain, the sound experience is pretty good, and no sore ears!

bedphones box comfy blue

They really are surprisingly comfy against my ears. For some reason, the word "cloud" comes to mind when I wear these. I think it's because you don't have that much of a physical feeling with the Bedphones. It feels like you're wearing, in a way, a very thin...cloud.

wearing bedphones headphones

The main problem I had was first figuring out how to put the headphones on (even though the instructions that come with them are pretty clear) and I ended up applying the wire part a little too tight. No worries, though; right after that, I messed with it a little and everything was good to go.

The cables tangle pretty easily, which really is a bit of a problem, so I think I'm going to try to rig up something to hold them in place somehow. Everything else definitely makes up for that. I mean, really.

Like I said, the sound is pretty good. About average, I would say. I like that it's mainly acoustic because I don't want anything with heavy bass. Other headphones would wake me up in the middle of the night with a loud song, scaring me, but wearing these soothe me and are honestly just the right quality to sleep with. No headbanging here.

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

28 March 2016

Playlist: "Strong Soft Songs"

Sunny leaves spring beautiful 

I've been listening to so many great artists lately but I haven't put up a playlist in a good while!
I was listening to one of the songs I'll be featuring today and thought, Today is the day.
That sounds a bit dramatic... But sometimes music can be dramatic too. I wonder if any of these songs will bring out some emotions in you today? Hopefully some good ones! Sing one in a pronounced opera voice. That's always fun for me.

As you've probably noticed, I like indie pop. It's just a nice kind of music. I listen to it when I'm happy, when I'm sad, as background music when I'm working or resting. It's good.
What I like about this artist, Beth Moore, is that her voice is lovely but also has a bit of a growl to it.

I love me a lot of '80s music, and what's best about this song is how much it sounds like it came out of the '80s. Plus, her voice just pulls me in...like what happens in that A-ha music video. Okay, let me return to 2016.

I was talking about the previous artist, Beth Moore, growling....well...check out the lead singer of this band and her growl. Rawrrrrrr.
This is the song I was listening to when I realized more people just had to listen to it and spread it around. It's a song I have been enjoying way too much but I know I'll keep enjoying it because it's too great for me not to.

This next and final song isn't exactly what I'm used to, but for some reason, it grabbed my attention; it made me happy! I hope it makes you happy as well on what is becoming a beautiful spring day here in North Carolina.

23 March 2016

Wordful Wednesday//I Need a Vacation from Being Sick...

My whole life is some whacked up version of

"I feel horrible, I slept at a hotel last night."


You know when you travel and nothing is actually in your complete control? For instance, no bed is comfy enough because it isn't yours? And when you finally make it back home, no matter how great the vacay, you just can't help but let out a giant sigh of relief as you flop down on your very own made-for-you bed. 

Here's the twist: my life is a vacation of sorts. But not what you're thinking; I can tell you're making that wrinkled face of confusion so let me explain. 

I feel like I'm lost in a foreign country with no map, unable to speak the language, with no one bothering to help me out. This is how it feels when I examine my body--myself--knowing I don't even understand what's going on with me half the time. In fact, most of the time I'm utterly confused. And worst of all, like the people in my comparison, doctors don't want to help me either. 

The whole loss of control bit is what scares me the most, and I dwell on it more than I should, and I know this. It fuels my anxiety, and it makes me question how my future days will be spent. Which, of course, leads to hopeless thoughts and cycles of chaos and depression. Opposite of how bubbly my character once was. 

My actual bed is really comfy. I can't complain there. It's where I tend to--no, have to--spend all my time, though. I have to rest. I can't overexert myself. I can't be stressed. I can't do anything. But at least my bed is comfy! 

I used to go camping what seemed like every weekend with my family. Our adventurous vacations thrilled me and revitalized me. They were also the most likely cause of how I contracted Lyme disease. Even so, I look back on the memories fondly. Mainly because I'm unable to participate in family camping anymore. But also because I remember what it felt like when we returned from camping, unlocked the door to the house--filling our nostrils with its sweet, special smell--set our bags down to be unpacked, and each went to our own rooms. I was able to lie back on my bed and breathe that familiar sigh of relief. This is my bed and I missed it. 

It is the same with my sick body. I will see photos or remember how it used to be with my previous life. An aura surrounding me, filled with happiness and a carefree energy. A skinny girl with a wide smile who could run and dream--full of energy, full of life. I catch glimpses of my former self and I think...This was my body. And I miss it.  

11 March 2016

Peplum: Pepped Up or Struck Out?

I'm a huge fan of the TV show Project Runway.
But it seems like on every single season, a contestant makes a peplum outfit and every single time, the judges DESPISE it.

If you're not familiar with the term "peplum," it's basically a bit of a skirt on top of a garment. It's popular for accentuating the hips as well, but sometimes it just...doesn't.

I think the reason so many people are so against peplum is because it takes them back to the harsh '80s peplum party dresses!

peplum party dress 80s peplum blue prom dress 80s polka dot red peplum dress 80s

I can see why with some of them, although if we're being completely honest here, I dig how unique a lot of the designs are! You can still see how we've built upon them with our peplums today.

Now that the peplum has regained its strength...which seems to happen in fashion a lot, history repeating itself, right?...it's interesting to see the controversy surrounding whether or not it's "in" or "out."

Please don't think this post is about whether or not you should wear peplum. Wear whatever you want. I'm speaking about the controversy behind it all around, the design itself, and well--just fashion!

What really makes me think peplum is here to stay--or will continue to pop up--is the fact that it is not just confined to dresses.

From tops like this comfy but chic one from Saks.

peplum top classy

To skirts like this amazing printed one.

china white blue printed peplum skirt

And dresses, of course cannot be left out. This Torrid dress is amazing!

plus size peplum dress

Lastly, there are plenty of jackets, swimsuits, who knows what else, and oh yeah! WEDDING DRESSES! Marchesa has does it again!

marchesa wedding dress peplum beautiful

After all of this, I'm asking, what are your thoughts on peplum?

01 March 2016

February Favorites

How is it already March??

This year has flown by, and it's just not fair. Sure, I didn't really enjoy the cold weather...and I'm definitely ready for springtime...but months have passed by and I really haven't noticed it until now. I just can't even begin to grasp that.

While I hope March is a good month for me and for you, I do have to say even though February went by extremely quickly, it was pretty great.
And one thing (or a few things) that made it so great was finding all kinds of "favorites" to enjoy!

This is my first "monthly favorites" post so bear with me!

First of all, February is my birthday month and I turned 25 on the 28th! Yay!

My mother bought me a gorgeous bouquet with some lovely purple flowers thrown in. Purple is both the color of my birthstone AND my favorite color. Very fitting.

bouquet birthday purple

My parents and I set up what started out as a popcorn bar and ended up as the former as well as a bar for someone with a huge sweet tooth. One thing I really loved that my mom made was something called zebra caramel popcorn. Even my dad liked it!

sweet tooth party bar birthday

I managed to win two BEAUTIFUL Henry London watches from Erin Howard's blog Happily Howards. I gave one to my mom and kept the other for myself. This is a rich, deep, dark purple and I absolutely love how well-made it is!

henry london giveaway purple watch

I bought this Nourish body butter in the scent "Wild Berries" from the shop called One Twine. I know it's currently out of stock but maybe it'll be back!
Honestly, I like this stuff better than my L'Occitane hand lotion! It's not greasy at all and the scent is subtle but still very berry scented. I've been using it a lot--when my mother isn't stealing it away!

onetwine body hand lotion wild berries nourish

Lastly, and most importantly on this list of favorites, I just have to add my puppydog Paisley.
She's been doing better when walking and she's not hyper 24/7 anymore so I can actually hang out with her and cuddle with her while we both watch TV. She's a good dog and cuter than me so I just have to give her a shout-out!

paisley puppy shorkie

Hope your February was great and that your March will be even better!

06 February 2016

{Widened Horizons}

The rainy weather has really taken a toll on my body here lately.
But it has also meant lots of tea for me to consume!

With that being said, you need to check out this really cool tea product my sister-in-law bought for me and that I've enjoyed with every cup of tea I've made!
I love that it holds my tea bag's string in place--that's one of my favorite features. However, it also: keeps your tea hot, allows you to squeeze the tea bag, and holds your teabag after use. I couldn't recommend it more.
tea bag buddy awesome cool

I don't know if it's because I've been watching the new X-Files or what, but this evidence pouch definitely reminds me of that TV series.
evidence pouch zipper

I'm all for big scarves, but I don't really like blanket scarves. Enter: chunky infinity scarves. I love how you can make this scarf a bit versatile and the leather cuff accessorizes it perfectly.
chunky infinity jersey scarf leather

I kind of have a quirky thing for coasters. I don't have many (several are vintage, one set is Game of Thrones related), but I do like to check them out every now and then. These comic book coasters featuring female superheros rock my boat! I especially love the fact that they added in Dorothy from Wizard of Oz!
comic book coasters female superheros fun

I love seeing what Etsy has to offer in the form of makeup. There are some really neat pieces that could fix me up in no time and leave me feeling better about what I'm putting on my face. I'm especially intrigued by lip products, like this bright red vegan lipstick called "Damsel." It's a good price too at $9.
vegan lipstick red damsel

OK, brace yourselves...the owl find is a little aged but it's SO COOL. They are said to be owl paper clips but can be used for other decorative ways. I wish I could come up with a fresh way to incorporate them into my already owl-filled bedroom! Give me ideas!
owl paper clips vintage cool

Now...go be kind!
kindness confetti be kind

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