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This Memorial Day

As the proud daughter and niece of veterans, I believe in observing the solemnity of Memorial Day. So many have dutifully served to protect us at home. In honor of those that served but are no longer with us, let us have a beautiful, benevolent Memorial Day. Let’s continue to keep them in our minds, thoughts and (if you’re inclined) prayers.

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I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care.

health · life curation

Fibro Fridays: A Thought on Spoon Theory

Happy Friday friends! We survived another week and here’s hoping that we are all feeling great as the weekend begins.

I was just thinking about how much things have changed since my fibro diagnosis last year, as well as the concepts and terminology that has become second nature to me due to fibro. One of the most fascinating concepts that I’ve heard about is spoon theory. This principle speaks to the finite energy stores possessed by the chronically ill, as well as how easy it is to fall into an energy deficit, resulting in the inevitable “crash” phase.

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The Spoon Theory essay was written by Christine Miserandino, and I love that this simple teaching has offered such an accurate visual representation of the daily reality of chronically ill individuals. Once we have used up our energy, the results of exceeding our limitations can be devastating in the days and weeks to come. Also, it illustrates how having casual/less active days can allow us to “save up” energy for anticipated intense days.

I’ve shared this theory with friends and relatives so that they can better understand what I experience. It’s hard to describe the specific feelings that I may have each day, but I can easily tell you if I’ve used too many spoons in the previous days, or if, on a particular day, I have a lot of spoons at my disposal. It’s very useful for quantifying my energy levels on any given day.

If you really want a better understanding of chronic illness, I highly encourage you to read the Spoon Theory essay for yourself. If you’ve already read it, let me know your thoughts in the comment below!

Those are my views on Spoon Theory. I hope you all are doing well, and enjoy your weekend!

 

art · culture · travel

Throwback Thursday Travel: New Orleans

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Laissez les bons temps rouler! (Let the good times roll!)

I went to New Orleans in 2011, a few weeks after I got married. So, this trip was almost like a honeymoon, though we had an official honeymoon trip several months later.

I fell in love with the Big Easy, and I hope to return within the next year or so. However, I’ll be sure to visit during the cooler months: the summertime is unbearable hot! In any case, here are some of the pictures I snapped during my trip. Enjoy!

I loved seeing the street names in the sidewalk

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A souvenir shop on Canal

Fun in the French Quarter

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I wish I had a chance to go into Harrah’s, but we were having way too much fun taking in all of the sights

 

As I look through my photos, I realize this post really needs a Part 2. So look out for some additional New Orleans pictures soon.

Have you ever been to New Orleans? I’d love to hear all about it. Have a great Thursday!

beauty · life curation

The Novice Gardener’s Digital Toolkit

untitled designAs this is my first year cultivating a true flower garden, I’ve been eager to learn as much about the plants surrounding my home as I can. Sadly, I don’t know much about plants and I don’t have any nearby friends or relatives that can easily identify the bushes and trees in my yard. Desperate, I reached out to my Facebook family, and they didn’t disappoint! They made some excellent recommendations to help me get the information that I need. So, since I have some great tools at my disposal, it’s only right that I pass them along to you!

PlantSnap and PictureThis have been my constant companions over the past few weeks. I love that I can take a picture of a plant and process the picture through both apps to get a good idea of what kind of plant it is. I find that PictureThis has more reliable results than PlantSnap, but I love them both and find them very easy to use. I really enjoy the fact that the apps allow you to identify plants for free, and PlantSnap even lets you know that you can identify 25 pictures per day before a paid account is required (I’m not sure how many pictures are allowed using the free membership of PictureThis, but I imagine that the number is similar). The biggest advantage to PictureThis (other than the higher identification reliability) is that it automatically keeps a log of the pictures that you’ve submitted, so you can easy review previously identified plants within the app. For PlantSnap, you have to manually save the photos to a collection in order to retain that information.

YouTube has so many great videos for learning more about the wild plants growing near you: I simply cannot list them all! However, you can search for wild edibles by clicking here and you will find the most popular videos on the topic. Of course, you may not be interested in plants that you can eat; however, edible plants are fascinating to me, and the fact that many “weeds” are also edible and nutritious makes it a topic that I think may interest some of you, as well. As I continue exploring various YT channels, I’ll make a post in the future listing the best gardening channels that I’ve found.

Finally, the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map has been one of my favorite references during this growing season. Viewing the zone map and using other USDA resources has taught me a lot about what kind of zone I live in, as well as the different zones within my state.

Do you have any digital tools that you use for your garden? I’d love to hear all about them!

culture · food · international

Snack Review: Mama Wu Mango & Sticky Rice Spring Rolls

While quarantined, I haven’t been enjoying takeout as much as I used to. However, I still enjoy trying new foods, especially snacks. So when I saw this food that combines two of my favorite snacks – spring rolls and Thai mango and sticky rice – I couldn’t resist. I had to try it!

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Mama Wu Mango & Sticky Rice Spring Rolls were easy to prepare. The rolls had a crispy exterior after baking, and I was excited at how the texture of the baked spring roll was similar to a fried roll. I was concerned that the roll would be a tad bit soggy, but it was crispy, crunchy and delicious.

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A perfectly crisp spring roll

Now, when it comes to the filling . . . Let me qualify this by saying I’ve had many different mango and sticky rice desserts. I’ve eaten at over a dozen different Thai restaurants in different cities and I usually have my mango and sticky rice at each one. So, I feel really comfortable saying that I know what the dessert should taste like. This interior was not as tasty as I’d hoped. It was especially chewy, and the mango flavoring wasn’t as prominent as I’d like. So the filling wasn’t as delightful as the exterior, unfortunately.

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The interior wasn’t as tasty as I hoped

Here’s the rub: I was looking forward to the filling more than the outside, yet the outside was the best part of the snack. But, I don’t think that this product is a complete fail: in fact, I can think of a few ways that it can be improved. First, the company should tinker with the rice recipe to see how to prevent the rice from getting too “tough” when baking. Also, a little more mango would be wonderful. Finally, this needs COCONUT SAUCE! These rolls practically begged to be dipped into a creamy, sweetened coconut sauce to amp up the flavor and to add a contrast to the crisp exterior.

Would I try this again? Sure, especially if I had my own coconut sauce (or if the company started including sauce with the rolls). I’d be sure to have some additional mango to accompany these rolls, too.

Have any of you tried these before? Or, do you have another Thai dessert that you prefer? Let me know all about it in the comments below!

beauty · style

My Boohoo Wish List

It’s been quite some time since I discussed fashion on this blog. I take it that this means that I’m starting to feel more like my old self (which is a good thing!). I still love fashion, though it took a backseat to my physical and emotional health over the past 18 months.

However, a recent haul video done by the lovely Jessica over at Wigs and Wanderlust reminded me of my love of Boohoo clothing. The clothing is, as I’ve heard it described, “cheap and cheerful”, but the designs are cute and last a while when you take good care of them. So I decided to see what beauties Boohoo had for me. I wasn’t disappointed with what I saw!

Full disclosure: I adore midi length dresses, so pretty much everything will be a little longer than many of the designs offered on Boohoo. I will occasionally wear a shorter length, but something about midi-length dresses make me feel sleek and more elegant.

This square neck midi skater dress is dreamy: it looks cute and summery, and there’s a lot of potential to dress it up or down. I’d love to get this one in a couple of colors.

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The pleated bodice on this midi dress is so dynamic, yet the overall silhouette is controlled and sleek. The pleated top bandeau midi dress is a great option for a summertime cocktail party.

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The puff sleeves may sound a little silly, but paired with the structured bodice and sweetheart neckline, this organza mesh puff sleeve midi dress is a stunning study in harmonious contrasts.

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The blue version of this dress reminds me a bit of a design offered on Boohoo a few years ago that I adored. However, I like the white version of this bust detail porcelain print midi dress. I’m not sure if the print is visible in person, as it would be white-on-white. But if it has a slight contrast, it could be very pretty when viewed in real life.

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These are just a few of the designs that won my heart over at Boohoo. I don’t have anywhere fancy to wear them, but at this point, I love dressing up to walk around the house LOL!

Have you been making any wish lists recently? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

 

beauty · luxury

Bath Bombs: The Finished Product!

Happy Friday, friends! I’m skipping Fibro Friday since I wrote about my fibro experience a couple of days ago, which was Fibromyalgia Awareness Day. So, instead, I figured I’d used this Friday to post an update of the bath bomb project that I mentioned previously.

I looked at a couple of recipes, all of which had a basic set of shared ingredients. I ended up using this one posted on the Byrdie website. I purchased everything I needed from the Dollar Tree and Amazon. I purchased a bath bomb/ice cube mold but, if I may be honest, I don’t think you need it. Decorative mold trays are much better, as are the inexpensive condiment containers (usually with 8 or 10 containers in a pack) that you can purchase at the Dollar Tree.

Here’s the bath bomb mold I used: I preferred using a condiment container as a mold instead. I’ll end up using this for large ice cubes instead.

I used the basic recipe as shown on Byrdie, then I added my own twist to it. I put in 4 drops of yellow food coloring (just to give a hint of color) and several drops of lemongrass essential oil. I also unraveled a single chamomile tea packet and threw the contents into the bath bomb mix, for flair.

Here’s the finished result!

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I love the intoxicating smell of lemongrass. If you love citrus scents that have herbal/grassy notes, then lemongrass is one that you should try for yourself. This bath bomb smells heavenly. I’m not concerned with it being moisturizing: I really made it for the aromatherapy benefits. However, the bath bomb also has coconut oil, so it shouldn’t leave my skin feeling stripped and dry.

I’m excited to try this! Have any of us you tried anything similar? Let me know in the comments below. Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

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