reading list

August Books Follow-Up: Observations and Reflections

Hi friends! I mentioned last week that I would be giving some additional thoughts about my August reads (you can see that post here). I had to split this into two posts because I was way too busy last week to share all of the thoughts I had about the books I read.

Firstly, I’m still a huge fan of doing lots of audiobooks, since I frequently find myself short on time. And all of my August reads were audiobooks that I found for free on YouTube (though, my September list will have some non-audiobooks on it).

Last month, I dove a bit deeper into Wayne Dyer’s work, which I found to be invaluable in modifying some of my thoughts about myself and how I show up in the world. I also loved the quick reads that provided tips on accumulating and maintaining wealth. Sometimes, it’s just really good to get a refresher, and to remind ourselves that we have more control over our resources than we may believe.

Additionally, I finally got a chance to read The Art of War in its entirety: I am really excited to think of practical ways to apply the strategies listed in that book. A lot of people think “war” refers strictly to engaging in battle against an army, using weapons and hoping to survive and win. However, all of our lives have elements of “war” to them: the more we understand about the various ways to guarantee success, the better we can equip ourselves to create the success we desire. And, military strategy is just as helpful for navigating our regular lives as any other strategic philosophy out there.

Have you all read any good books recently? I’d love to hear all about it!

goals · writing

Writers Wednesdays – The October Writing Plan

Happy Writers Wednesday! Recently, I’ve been thinking about the remainder of this year, and how I’ll be approaching this time frame as respects my writing practice. And to be clear, this is DEFINITELY a practice: I’m aiming to make it more of a consistent habit going forward. Fortunately, I’ve already been improving my writing consistency over the past couple of weeks and seeing the results.

That being said, I found myself taking an hour long ride with one of my friends, and I mentioned, very briefly, my October writing plan. It was such a succinct, easy way to vocalize how I envision some of my works-in-progress (WIPs) moving forward. So, here’s my little plan, as I would like for it to play out:

  • Finish a book (Part 1)

This part of the plan is all about finishing a rough draft of one of my WIPs. This isn’t about editing; as any writer will tell you, trying to write and edit simultaneously severely impacts your speed and disrupts your creative flow. So, I’ll just be writing the ideas as they arrive, with the focus on completing a story. I’m really excited about this, since I have several books that have fallen into my creative purgatory of sorts.

  • Complete the first round of edits for a book (Part 2)

This is my focus for one of the books that initially completed several years ago (2013, as a matter of fact). I’ve started doing the edits a while ago, but never made it past the first few chapters. It’ll be nice to see this book finally get the full editing treatment. I know this is only the first of (what I anticipate will be) multiple rounds of edits, but I can’t get to the finished product until I do the editing process to my satisfaction. This will probably be the most intensive part of my plan, but it’s also the part of the process that I’m most looking forward to completing.

  • Publish a book (Part 3)

I could do a really simple book (like another children’s book), just to ensure that this goal is met. However, I’d rather take the time to actually publish something that I have already edited and that has been waiting to be released into the world. I have one book in mind, but if I don’t choose that book, there’s at least one more book that is pretty much ready to go (outside of some light editing, and some formatting magic).

I’m anticipating that I will spend roughly 10-12 days on part 1, 15 days on part 2, and 3-4 days on part 3. But, those are just rough estimates, based on nothing more than what I expect will take me more or less time. I could easy finish all of these things before the end of the month, but I don’t want to rush myself (in case I have a day or two when I really don’t want to be bothered). Also, I know that I’ll likely hop from task to task, based on inspiration, and any given day could include me working on all three parts of my plan. Time will tell what this actually looks like in practice.

That’s it for the October plan! Do you all have any writing plans for October? I’d love to hear all about it!

life curation · style

Welcoming Autumn

Well friends, it’s the first day of autumn. Some of you may be quite happy with this, while others among us (namely, me) are sad to see summer end.

Yes, I know that unbearably hot temperatures are challenging for most people, especially those that live in my region (Mid-Atlantic USA). But I love the hot days and steamy nights. I love having sunshine until nearly 9 PM every night, leaving my home with no need for a jacket, and seeing the plants around me bloom and hit their annual peaks. Summer is undoubtedly my favorite season, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.

Meanwhile at my house …

However, since my ability to bend time, space and nature hasn’t fully developed yet, I will have to contend with the seasonal changes that come from living in this region. And, instead of being resistant to the point of obstinance, I felt that my best approach would be to embrace the change and make it feel festive. After this past year or so, who doesn’t need to feel more festive?

In honor of this seasonal change, I filmed a YouTube video featuring the autumn wreath I made for a family member. Also, I included a picture of my own autumn wreaths above (I had to make two since I have double doors). The video is a very easy and inexpensive DIY that can add a darling touch of autumn to your doorways, signaling the change from hot days to cool breezes, and lush green foliage to brilliant displays of gold, copper and cranberry. I hope you enjoy and, if you decide to make a wreath of your own, please let me know! I’d love to know how it turns out for you.

Have a great day, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

reading list

Books Read in August 2021

This post went out a little earlier than I wanted, since I was too busy last week to do any writing. However, here is my list of books that I read during the month of August:

Sun Tzu, The Art of War

P T Barnum, The Art of Money Getting

Andrew Carnegie, The Gospel of Wealth

Wayne Dyer, Pulling Your Own Strings

Wayne Dyer, You’ll See It When You Believe It

Wayne Dyer, Your Erroneous Zones

Wayne Dyer, Wisdom of the Ages: 60 Days of Enlightenment

Seneca, On The Shortness of Life

Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth

I loved these books and the things I’ve learned. I’ll follow up with additional insights soon!

goals · health

Fibro Friday – The Wylde Protocol

Happy Fibro Friday! I’ve been working on a few things behind the scenes, but I couldn’t end this week without sharing another protocol that I saw recently on YouTube.

I know that you all may be a bit weary of Fibro Friday protocols by now (I’ve reviewed 6 so far), but I have a few more to share, then I’ll be doing this far less frequently. I’m really focused on providing as much information as possible, so that there is a consolidated list of ideas for effectively treating fibromyalgia.

Also, as you all know, curing my fibromyalgia is one of my goals for the year. I want to get as much information as possible so that I can create a plan that eliminates my symptoms and helps me return to good health. So I’m doing my research so that I can craft a plan that really helps me to feel my best and finally get my symptoms under control.

Today’s protocol is the Wylde Protocol, as promoted by Dr. Bryce Wylde. Dr. Wylde is a Canadian alternative medicine expert who take a functional medicine approach to treating fibromyalgia. While Dr. Wylde has spoken extensively on a range of health conditions, I could only find one video where he specifically addresses fibromyalgia. I’m linking the video below.

Some of Dr. Wylde’s recommendations are:

  • Avoid sugar, gluten, nitrates, nitrites, aspartame, and nightshades (such as tomatoes and potatoes)
  • Try elimination then reintroduction to determine if there is a food allergy or inflammation at the root of the pain
  • Supplement with d-ribose, chlorella, fatty acids, and magnesium
  • Seek out functional medical practitioners to determine the root of the fibromyalgia

I find that Dr. Wylde’s recommendations are in line with some of the other protocols that I’ve reviewed (particularly, the PainFreeKitchen Protocol and the Mandell Protocol). Elimination diets are always a good idea, especially since these offer a way of determining whether there are food sensitivities that may aggravate fibromyalgia symptoms. Also, supplements are really good for ensuring that the body is getting the raw materials it needs to function better on the cellular level.

That’s it for today. I hope you all are having a great, pain-free day, and I wish you a fantastic weekend. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

beauty

Review: The Ordinary Foundation and Concealer

You all are aware of my undying love for The Ordinary skincare. But, when the company strays away from offering skin actives, things tend to go left (as you may remember when I reviewed The Ordinary sunscreen).

Well, I decided to try their foundation and concealer. It wasn’t my first rodeo with their foundation, but since the line has expanded its offerings, I figured I could find a better color match now. I was incorrect. However, the concealers weren’t too bad: I liked the color, texture and the coverage. For the price, it wasn’t a bad experiment overall (the products are very affordably priced). I bought the following items:

  • Coverage Foundation in shades 3.0Y, 3.1R, 3.1Y
  • Serum Foundation in shades 3.1R and 3.1Y
  • Concealer in shades 3.1Y, 3.2N, 3.2Y
(photo courtesy of The Ordinary)

The Coverage foundation is formulated for oily skin, and the Serum foundation is for drier skin. The concealer is formulated for all skin types. I swatched the products and did a whole YouTube video on it. You can watch it here:

Have you all tried any of The Ordinary’s color costmetics? What were your thoughts on them? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

writing

Writers Wednesdays – Success!

Happy Writers Wednesdays! This week will be another short post (similar to last week’s). Likewise, this post is a follow-up to last week’s.

I mentioned last week that I would be working on a booklet to offer for free over on my business website, Bronze Butterfly Books. And I’m happy to announce that I have the content for my booklet all written out: all I have to do now is format it and turn it into a PDF. I anticipate that I’ll be able to publish the booklet sometime next week.

I actually fell short on my goal of having the finished product ready by today. But I have the content, which is more than I had last week. I’m learning to be gentler with myself, and avoid criticizing myself when I don’t quite hit the mark. Progress, not perfection.

For those that are curious, the booklet will help aspiring writers tap into their unique skill sets and customize a practice that inspires them to write their best works. I’m proud of what I’ve created, and I’m excited to share it with you all soon.

That’s it for this edition of Writers Wednesdays! Are you currently working on a writing project? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

life curation

Becoming Thomas Hobson, Or How to Accept ONLY That Which You Want

This post feels like it should be a reblog, but, oddly enough, I never wrote about this topic on my now defunct blog. However, this topic was too important to ignore, so I had to share it over here, and I invite conversation about how you all have either seen this or applied it in your own lives.

Back in a previous life, I worked as a paralegal (fabulous work, by the way). I remember sitting through a hearing and a few of the opposing attorneys mentioned the term “Hobson’s choice”. As soon as we had a recess, I looked it up, because I didn’t want to be confused over what it meant. I felt some relief when I realized that the attorneys I worked with had also not heard of “Hobson’s choice”.

In short, a Hobson’s choice (named after stable owner Thomas Hobson) is a “take it or leave it” scenario. It often presents itself as two options, but in reality, only one option is feasible, and this option is always in favor of the person presenting the offer. Most of us present Hobson’s choices to our families regularly: in the case of dinner, instead of saying “take it or leave it”, we’ll say, “You can either eat the dinner I prepared, or you can cook your own meal, and clean up afterward.” See how the option creates a win-win scenario for the offeror?

One of the challenges of stepping into my personal power is interacting with people that intentionally or inadvertently attempt to undermine my boundaries. It’s natural for humans to advocate for their own preferences or to try to sway others to their points of view. However, it is never okay for someone to overstep the boundaries of others, or to treat other’s preferences dismissively.

The question is, then, how can we become Thomas Hobson? It starts with listening to our gut, and learning to trust our visceral reactions. Instead of ignoring how we feel, we have to learn to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge when we hear something (or are offered something) that we don’t like. Becoming Thomas Hobson requires that we realize when our heart and gut say, “No” to an offer, and opt to NOT judge ourselves for saying “No”. It’s hard to not judge ourselves, especially since we live in a culture that thrives on people’s inclination to second-guess themselves. But learning to silence our inner critics is key to embracing our inner Thomas Hobson.

After we recognize that we feel an authentic “No”, we can start experimenting with how to offer solutions that give us a subtle win-win situation. The key to this is subtlety: no one wants to accept a “hard bargain”. We have to become skillful at offering solutions that have the appearance of being somewhat fair, while still offering us what we prefer, regardless of the solution being chosen. The best solutions make the offeree feel empowered, respected, and acknowledged: the moment we can offer ourselves win-win scenarios that generate these sort of feelings in the offeree, we have mastered the Hobson’s choice.

I’m still learning how to do this, but on the few occasions when I’ve gotten it right, it felt AMAZING! I encourage everyone to start experimenting with this concept and see how it works in your lives.

That’s it for today. I hope you all are doing well! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow.

life curation · relaxation · style

Making a House a Home

Happy Monday, friends! I trust that your weekend was safe, happy, and relaxing. It was another hot weekend in Virginia (my favorite type of weather!) so the weekend started and ended on a great note, as far as I’m concerned.

Today’s post is the first domestic one that I’ve done in quite some time. There would have been far more of these sort of posts this summer, but I ended up not planting my garden, so there were no flower or herb pictures to share. Also, a lot of my time during the pandemic was spent care for my grandmother and great-aunt. For that reason, I didn’t have much time to focus on the “fun” domestic activities that I’ll be talking about today.

That being said, my life is returning to normal. My grandmother and my great-aunt returned to their home, my health started to improve, and I finally had more free time to explore my creativity leanings. This newfound time freedom gave me the space to play around with craft ideas that, at one time, I didn’t think I’d have the time or energy to do.

So, in the upcoming weeks and months, I’ll be sharing all sorts of domestic posts and videos. I have an upcoming video where I feature a do-it-yourself autumn wreath that is beautiful, easy and inexpensive. I’ve also been tinkering with some foraging and wildcrafting recipes that I’m eager to share with you all. Today, however, I’m going to share a super-simple autumn-inspired tea recipe that I filmed last year, that will be perfect once the air starts to cool and the leaves start turning to red and gold.

I hope you all enjoy the video! I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

goals · health

Fibro Friday – The PainFreeKitchen Protocol

Hey friends! My apologies for the premature posting of this blog post: last week was far busier than I anticipated. However, this topic was far too important to skip, so here it is, a week later!

As part of my review of different fibromyalgia treatment approaches, I want to make sure that I am exposed to a variety of perspectives. I want to ensure that I go beyond the points of view of medical doctors and naturopaths, and also put a spotlight on the regimens that are promoted by laypeople that actually have fibromyalgia. Besides Dr. Liptan (whose protocol was among one of the first that I reviewed), all of the other doctors and health professionals that I’ve reviewed have not been diagnosed with fibro. I value their opinions and research, but I find myself more motivated to try a recommendation from someone that has experimented on themselves to find a solution, as opposed to someone whose work is limited to theory or results as reported by their clients.

That being said, today’s protocol is not from a medical doctor or naturopath. Rachel of PainFreeKitchen successfully minimized her fibromyalgia symptoms to the point of complete elimination. In fact, her doctor confirmed to her that she was in “remission”, since she no longer showed any of the symptoms of fibro.

So, what is Rachel’s secret? Here’s a video, describing exactly how Rachel cured her fibromyalgia.

I highly recommend that you watch the video in full, especially since Rachel is very direct with her answer, and the video is less than 10 minutes long. But, for your convenience, here is a summary of the PainFreeKitchen Protocol:

  • Try a gluten-free and dairy-free diet (Rachel recommends The Whole 30 diet)
  • Prioritize rest (she offers a few recommendations for improving rest, like purchasing blackout curtains or taking sedatives to assist with obtaining deep sleep)
  • Reduce stress levels dramatically
  • Begin a yoga routine and weightlifting (or, for that matter, any other exercise that feels manageable)

The PainFreeKitchen Protocol does have points that are seen in some of the other protocols. However, she is the only person that I’ve reviewed so far that specifically recommended The Whole 30 diet and weightlifting.I think that her recommendations are reasonable and certainly worth a try. Prior to my diagnosis, I loved doing fitness classes, especially ones that involved the use of kettlebells. Now, I find myself really “pushed” by even gentle yoga routines. It would be nice to eventually return to working out with weights, but I will be patient and gradually strengthen myself until I’m back to full health.

As far as my personal opinion goes, I think that the PainFreeKitchen Protocol could be an excellent starting point for wellness, especially in the cases of people that are newly diagnosed and unsure about where to start with rebuilding the body. However, I can also see where this would be great advice for someone that has been treating fibromyalgia for many years or decades.

That’s all for today! I hope you all have a great and safe weekend, and I’ll talk to you all soon. Take care!