health · life curation

Fibro Friday – How I’m Getting Better Sleep

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I hope you all are having a great week and, if not, I hope your weekend is full of whatever you need to feel better.

This is a brief post, because I’ve already discussed the three biggest things I’ve been using to improve my sleep over on my Youtube channel. Anyone that has fibromyalgia, or any other chronic illness or chronic pain condition, knows that sleep is necessary to restore ourselves and to feel as good as possible. We also know that being in pain often means that sleep rarely makes us feel refreshed. So, anything that can improve the quality of our sleep can make the difference between feeling amazing and feeling awful.

The three things I’ve used that have helped me get deeper, more restorative sleep are weighted eye masks, magnesium supplements, and turmeric supplements. I’ve talked about magnesium and turmeric supplements (I’ve reviewed turmeric here and here) on this blog before, but I’ve never discussed eye masks. I’ll post my videos about each tool below, but if you’re short on time, here is the TLDW version:

  • Weighted eye masks help block out light (obviously), and the weight of it acts similar to weighted blankets: it provides a cozy feeling that helps with sleep. (I use the one by IMAK)
  • Magnesium is a muscle relaxer and a sedative, so it helps reduce pain while also giving you deeper sleep. (I use Nature’s Bounty magnesium supplement).
  • Turmeric supplements reduce inflammation and I take it at night, so it can do its work while I’m resting. For me, less pain means better sleep. (I use turmeric from Doctor’s Recipes and VitaBreeze: I alternate between the two).

More about weighted eye masks –

Why I use magnesium at night –

My daily turmeric and collagen supplements, and how the two I use measure up against each other –

These three things are the building blocks for improving my sleep, and I’m recommending these in hopes that they will help you, too! If you’ve tried any of these, or if you’re curious about any of them, please let me know in the comments below. Take care, and have a great weekend!

beauty

Saying Goodbye to Beem Box

Yes, you read that right: the Beem Box is no more. The owner of Beem Box decided to cease operations back in June, and I’ll be the first to say that I’m so sad to see them go. I hope that the owner eventually brings back the brand and starts doing subscription boxes again. Until then, I’ll just smile at the wonderful memories of learning about brands that I’ve never used, and trying products that I never knew existed. So long Beem Box: I hope to enjoy you again soon! Here are some of my previous Beem Box reviews from the past year:

books · life curation · reading list

Writing Wednesday – Five Books That Changed My Life

Several weeks ago, I shared a video on my YouTube channel, highlight five books that changed my life.

I realize that was a very bold claim, and it could be interpreted as the most important books I’ve read in my life. However, that interpretation would be incorrect. Books that change my life =/= favorite or most important books. Some of the books that rank as most important to me are books that haven’t actually “changed” me, but have entertained me thoroughly, or reminded me of something rare or precious, or that are just stellar examples of writing mastery. So, books like And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith haven’t necessarily changed my life, but they rank among some of the most important books I’ve read.

That being said, we’re talking about life changing books that I think could be useful to some of you. These books helped me with money, love, conscious creation, friendship and more, Without further ado, here are the five books that changed my life:

  • Ginie Sayles, HOW TO MEET THE RICH for Business, Friendship, or Romance – A couple of years ago, one of my favorite role models, Ginie Sayles, gave me an endorsement on her author’s page, after I shared that her book, Writer’s Block is a Crock, helped me write and publish my first book. I was so excited that I made a post about her generosity and support. Well, as much as I love “Writer’s Block is a Crock”, there’s a book by Ginie that I love even more . . . and that’s “How to Meet the Rich”. Having your own vast resources is a wonderful thing, but your ability to do good and really change the world is enhanced when you have a network with high net worth! I love how she not only shows ways to meet the rich, but also all of the ways to nurture reciprocal relationships with these individuals. This is a great book for networking with various goals in mind (either business, friendship/social, or romantic ends).
  • David Bach, Start Late, Finish Rich – Similar to Ginie, David Bach has been discussed over here previously. I sing David’s praises because his work was fundamental in providing me with an excellent foundational education in personal finance. No matter what your age is, Start Late Finish Rich is a great book to introduce yourself to his strategies for creating financial freedom. I highly recommend any of David’s books, but this is a great one for starting on the path to wealth.
  • Helen Gurley Brown, Sex and the Single Girl – This book was fundamental in understanding the joy and pleasure of being a single woman. I learned so much from Helen regarding all of the perks that you can enjoy before saying “I do”. I got to reconnect with some of those delights when I divorced! Despite this book being published 60(!) years ago, so many of the tips are still relevant today. It’s still a fun read!
  • Shelley Branch and Sue Calloway, What Would Jackie Do? – I love all things Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and this book was a fabulous addition to my Jackie book collection. What Would Jackie Do is a combination of self help, biography, and etiquette lessons all in one. I often refer to this book when I need to recall how to make the perfect alfredo sauce from scratch, or how to approach my interior decorating budget, and even what I should do to enhance my career. Yes, it covers all of these topics and more. Fabulous read – highly recommended (naturally)!
  • Dr Henriette Anne Klauser, Write It Down Make It Happen – I won’t rewrite my review of this book, because I’ve already talked about it here, here, and here. I come back to this book again and again because every time I read it and try some of the writing exercises mentioned, my life shifts in significant ways.

Here is my video reviewing the books mentioned above:

What books have changed your life? I’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

culture · festivals · international · life curation · music · travel

My Time in Portugal, Part 2 – Rock In Rio Lisboa

In the middle of my time in Lisboa, I got to attend the Rock in Rio Lisboa concert. The event was held at Parque da Bela Vista on June 25th. This major music festival featured Bush, A-ha, UB40, and Duran Duran, along with numerous other artists from around the world (including the one and only Ney Matogrosso).

It. Was. AWESOME!

I wish I could have taken you all there with me. But, then again, given the size of the festival, maybe you were there 🙂 Here are some of the pics from the event. Enjoy!

books · culture · international · life curation · travel

Becoming Bilingual – 5 Free Language Resources That Aren’t YT, Duolingo or Podcasts

As an aspiring polyglot, I’m always reviewing language tools and resources that can help me fast track my mastery. Naturally, I dove first into Duolingo, YouTube and various podcasts. But, there are limitations with those resources, and sometimes you just want to try something different.

If you’ve been trying to learn a language but you want to go beyond YouTube videos, podcasts and Duolingo, then this is the post for you! I’ve located five other language learning resources that can help fast track your language learning, give you some much needed variety, and are all completely FREE! I discuss these options in a YouTube video (the link to the video below).

  • Amazon Kindle ebooks – This gives you a great source of free ebooks in various languages, as well as some free instruction books, too. To find them, search for books in a particular language, then filter by price (lowest to highest). Filtering by price shows the lowest priced books first, so you can quickly identify free publications.
  • MIT OpenCourseware – If you’re interested in college-level language instruction, this site is excellent. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) archives resources from courses taught during prior semesters. The courses include syllabi, worksheets, exercises, and links to other great resources. To find these courses, look under the Global Studies and Languages department.
  • Foreign Service Institute (FSI) Free online course material – This page speaks for itself: it’s the material developed by the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) to instruct diplomats before assigning them to foreign posts. These classes are developed to quickly acquire mastery at the highest levels of language. The link has lots of languages available, especially some that are somewhat rarer and harder to study online.
  • Alison & FutureLearn – Both Alison and FutureLearn offer language classes that are paced and offer certificates of completion at the end of the course (the documentation of completion has a cost). This also gives you the advantage of participating in group discussion and other ways of interacting with other learners.
  • Internet Archive – There is a host of free archived materials on this website, including movies, music, books and newspapers. Find the kind of material you want and filter it by the language that interests you.

Here’s my video, discussing the ways to use these resources:

Those are the five free resources I can recommend for language learning, outside of the most popular recs. Do you have any language resources that work for you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

health · international · life curation · travel

Fibro Friday – Travel-Sized Flare Kits

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! We made it through another week, and I’m excited that I get to share with you some tips that served me well when I traveled several weeks ago.

Because I was traveling for a few weeks out of the country, I had to be mindful that my normal conveniences *may* not be available. The reality of traveling anywhere is that, if you have chronic illness, it’s imperative to have things you need, in case your symptoms flare up.

I was fortunate that I didn’t have any flares while traveling (yay!) though I did feel ill upon returning to the States. To my credit, I prepared well and that probably created enough energetic “relief” that I was avoid a flare due to stress. Part of my preparation included packing a travel-sized flare kit.

I mentioned my self-care kit a while ago, and I added things to the kit to make it suitable for treating my emotional as well as my physical health. I took an abbreviated version of this kit with me on the road. The contents of my travel kit were as follows:

  • ginger mints and ginger tea
  • journal and pen
  • resistance band and stress ball
  • pain relievers
  • dream water
  • room spray
  • aromatherapeutic oil

I discuss the kit a bit more in this video:

Have you ever prepared a mini flare kit when traveling? What items do you recommend that I add? I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

beauty · life curation · style

Perfume Review – CLEAN Warm Cotton vs CLEAN Fresh Laundry

It’s a perfume review, my friends! As a huge fan of CLEAN perfumes, I had several bottles lying around that I hadn’t reviewed yet. So, I decided two review two at once!

In this review, I compared CLEAN Warm Cotton with CLEAN Fresh Laundry. I decided to compare these two because the names of these scents sound like they’d share some common traits (cotton, laundry, you get it). I figured that it would be fun to see what they share, and on which notes they diverge. There are some similarities but also some stark differences that I noted.

First, let’s start off with the notes. Warm Cotton opens up with bright citrus and lemon verbena, blooms into a combination of sea notes, orange blossom and fruit essence, then dries down to the scents of musk, fern and amber. On the other hand, Fresh Laundry hits you with notes of grass, Brazilian orange and Mexican lime, before blossoming into the essence of jasmine and rose otto, then finishing with the fragrance of musk, heliotrope and woody notes.

The shared notes of citrus on top and musk at the base means that these two fragrances are channeling the same brightness as the opener, and a fresh but earthy base. The difference shows up most with the mid notes and the differing base notes: Warm Cotton relies on the essence of brisk ocean notes and zesty orange blossom and fruits in the middle, while Fresh Laundry leans heavily on classic “soapy” notes, with jasmine and rose, as its middle. Finally, the base notes of fern and amber give the warmth to Warm Cotton, while heliotrope and woody notes add a powdery touch with some heft to Fresh Laundry.

Here’s the video where I discuss these scents a bit more:

Again, the notes are as follows:

Warm Cotton – Top notes: Citrus and Lemon verbena Mid notes: Sea notes, Orange blossom, Fruits (floral cotton) Base notes: Musk, Fern, Amber

Fresh Laundry – Top notes: Grass, Brazilian orange, Mexican lime Mid notes: Jasmine, Rose otto Base notes: Musk, Heliotrope, Woody notes

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Have you tried either of these, or any of the other fragrances from CLEAN? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!

books · business · writing

Writers Wednesdays – July Writing Accomplishments

As i reflect back on the month of July, I feel so much pride. I made PROGRESS with my writing, and my books are inching closer to completion. I love it!

I did some more editing to my main work-in-progress (WIP), and set a launch date of November 1st. I’m really excited, since that book has been my passion project – the one I’ve been most protective of – for months now. As the release date draws closer, I will share more details and, of course, there will be some sort of giveaway to celebrate the launch!

Now, I’ve promised, multiple times, not to start any new works. I was determined to focus on completing projects before starting new ones. I’m so proud that I kept my word to myself: I didn’t start any new works. However, I did, on a whim, compile several WIPs that were loosely related as far as subject matter goes. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that I had enough material and structure to create the book I’d always envisioned that I would write! Now I’m fleshing out my ideas and doing some additional research on a few things. This is so exciting, and it’s using so much content that I’ve already written!

Those are my writing updates for July. If you’re a fellow writer, what are you working on in August? I’d love to hear about it!

culture · international · life curation · style · travel

My Time in Portugal, Part 1

Admittedly, this probably be more pictures than words, but I had so much fun on my travels that I had to capture as much as I could via my camera!

I started the first leg of my journey in Lisbon, Portugal. A beautiful city with all of the charm of old Europe but an abundance of modern amenities, I found myself spellbound by the city “built on 7 hills”. I’d long held a fantasy of tooling around in Lisbon . . . And I got to live my dream.

While it was uncharacteristically cool in Lisbon during my time there, I still loved what I saw and experienced there. I can see why so many American expats have chosen Portugal as their forever homes.

While in Portugal, I went to Rock in Rio Lisboa 2022 (an incredible music festival), as well as the towns of Sintra, Cascais, and Estoril. I will share more about those experiences in future blog posts. But for today, here are some of my pictures from my time in Lisbon proper. Enjoy!

beauty · international · style · travel

Where My Travel Wardrobe Went Wrong . . .

Happy Monday, friends! Tomorrow, I’ll start discussing the highlights of my trip, beginning with my first stop (Lisbon, Portugal, and the surrounding towns). But today, we talk travel fashion.

When I prepared for my trip, I began by adopting a capsule wardrobe approach. I knew I wanted to function with one piece of luggage, and one wardrobe that had everything I needed to mix and match my ensembles. By the time I packed for my trip, I had the following wardrobe list:

If you want to see the ensembles in motion, here’s the video I posted, showing some of the outfit combinations and accessories:

Now, I’m overall pleased with the items I selected. But, looking back a bit, I realized there were a few things that could have created a better capsule wardrobe:

  • Instead of my taupe flats, I really needed flat shoes with better grips on the soles. I had to walk very carefully when we toured, because my flats were slick on the bottom and I could have used the extra grip for touring on those well-worn stone surfaces.
  • Denim shorts would have been a fantastic addition to this wardrobe, especially if they were tapered and knee-length.
  • Another button-down top would have given me a little extra polish: it would have been even better if it was a sleeveless button-down so I could stay cool while I tooled around.
  • Because Lisbon was unseasonably cool, I needed more long-sleeved tops. Having few long-sleeved options was a problem for me.
  • Also, a jacket or cardigan would have been great and given me some additional wardrobe options.
  • I really wish I’d thrown one other color into the mix, aside from yellow, white and royal/navy blue.
  • As a Kibbe Soft Classic (SC), I would have benefited from a few pieces that had a bit more structure and symmetry. Less structured items = more comfort, easier maintenance, but opting for structured pieces would have ensured that I felt more like myself as I toured, and more put together.

I am glad that I had a capsule wardrobe that worked for my travels but, like anything else, there was room for improvement. I’ll do it even better next time!

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