health · life curation

Fibro Fridays – My Current Favorite Fibro Vloggers

Happy Fibro Friday! We made it to the end of another week, and what a week it’s been! I’m looking forward to a quiet and restful weekend with my family, because I need a little downtime.

But anyhoo, back to Fibro Friday. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite fibro vloggers. These lovely souls have generously shared their fibromyalgia journeys on YouTube, and I’m thankful for the knowledge, encouragement, and inspiration they’ve provided. A few of them have fibromyalgia-centered channels, while others discuss fibro occasionally, while vlogging about the rest of their lives.

If you’ve watched any of these vloggers, then you know that they have great content and are joys to watch. I hope this list of vloggers gives you some great ideas on how to manage your fibromyalgia symptoms and a heaping dose of encouragement.

In no particular order:

Grace at Home – she doesn’t post frequently, but she shares some really sound information on her fibro experience. The symptoms she mentioned are almost identical to mine. She was one of the first Black women fibro vloggers that I found on YouTube. That actually speaks to another issue when it comes to chronic illness (gross underdiagnosis and misdiagnosis of WOC, especially Black women), which I’ll discuss in a future Fibro Friday post. This video describes, in detail, how fibro feels. It’s great information for anyone that doesn’t understand the pain that fibromyalgia patients experience.

Marla Robinson – Marla’s channel has all sorts of lifestyle goodies, and I love the fact that she’s a mature YouTuber. Aside from that, she gives wonderful information on her fibromyalgia and other chronic illness journey, as well as the treatments that have worked for her, as well as what has been ineffective. She does a fabulous job explaining her journey, so for anyone that wants a very thorough explanation, this is a great channel to view.

Chronically Emily – While fibromyalgia is a devastating condition at any age, it’s especially disheartening to see younger people with the condition. There is a particular sadness that I feel when I see young people that are impacted so significantly by chronic illness, because I know that they won’t get to experience a pain-free young adulthood. However, dear Emily seems to take it all in stride and is living a wonderful, full life in spite of her pain. I enjoy hearing how she’s doing (she has multiple chronic conditions) and seeing her embrace new chapters and experiences in her life.

Olga Chronics – This charming channel centers around Olga’s chronic illnesses (mainly, fibromyalgia and IBS) but she also shares her other interests, such as reading books and spending time with her adorable pup. She goes into some of the ways that she is personally impacted by fibro, and she goes to great lengths to offer possible solutions to her subscribers. I also love that she gives her viewers a peek into how Portugal and its health system treats fibromyalgia patients.

Adventures with Fibro – Deena embodies living an active life while still taking care of herself and managing her fibromyalgia. She is an avid hiker and gives wonderful tips based on her 17(!) years of fibor experience. Deena does a great job of discussing some of the mental health aspects that can be affected by fibro (many people diagnosed with this condition also have to deal with anxiety and depression).

Lord and Lordettes – Nicola splits her channel between fibromyalgia-related content and family/lifestyle vlogging. She has a fibro-related post every Wednesday, and she takes her time to discuss a singular specific symptom in these videos. I also appreciate hearing how fibromyalgia is treated in the UK (as a US-based fibro patient, I’m always curious about which countries have better/more innovative care for invisible illnesses. US treatment approaches are mediocre in many ways, and absolutely nonexistent in other ways.)

A Life I Choose – This channel focuses on overall wellness, but the hostess, Emma, also discusses how she mitigated her fibromyalgia. I think that one key advantage that Emma has is a background as a psychotherapist, so she has extensive knowledge on how to condition the brain in a way that promotes healing and (possibly) minimizes pain. She has (if I recall correctly) successfully transitioned herself off of fibromyalgia medications and lives a normal life with minimal pain.

culture · fitness · goals · health · life curation

March Goal Updates – Finally!

Happy first day of April, friends!

I know that you all saw some post notifications yesterday, but those posts aren’t ready just yet. Bear with me: the past few weeks have been busy. Between my job, my side job, my family, and my school coursework, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends. I will be getting a much needed break this weekend, but that’s a couple of days away. In any case, I am ready to chat about my March goal update.

So, my goal list for 2021 is as follows:

  • Publish 5 books
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Manifest 3 international trips
  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses
  • Read 100+ books
  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo
  • Cure my fibromyalgia

I always discuss my book reading goal in a separate post, so I won’t talk about that until next week. However, I’m really excited to confirm that I’ve made progress on several of my goals for the year!

  • Publish 5 books

In the midst of the tragic shootings in Atlanta several days ago, I was moved to do my part in supporting the Stop Asian Hate movement. I stayed up late several nights, and I ended up writing and publishing two books to inspire children to learn more about Asian countries. I believe that hate is rooted in ignorance, and the cure for ignorance is knowledge. I plan to eventually write books on each of the countries of the world, but I decided to start with China and Vietnam, in hopes that what I publish will help educate children on the many ways that we are wonderfully different and surprisingly alike. My books are Let’s Go to China and Let’s Go to Vietnam, and they are filled with beautiful pictures and fun facts about these two Asian countries.

Now, these books were not planned at all, but I believe in working with inspiration as it strikes. Inspiration led me to write them, and I’ve done this sort of thing enough to know that I should never ignore a hunch. These two books bring my closer to my publishing goals for the year and, as a plus, I’m on target to meet this goal before summer begins!

  • Lose 15 lbs

A recent trip to the doctor confirmed that I have gained weight (more about this in tomorrow’s post). So I’m amping up my physical activity and revising my diet. I feel pretty good about the changes I’m making, and I’m confident that I’ll be able to shed the weight easily – so long as I stick to my plan. I’ll spill more of those details tomorrow.

  • Manifest 3 international trips

Part of manifesting my three international trips including allowing inspiration to point me in the direction of the right trips for me. Well, with some inspired conversations with my friends, as well as some fantastic evidence from the Universe, I’ve decided on one of the countries that I will visit this year! I’ll share more about this as I plan my trip, but I’m really excited that one of those international trips is in the works.

  • Earn 6 figures in my businesses

I’ve gotten several opportunities to earn additional money doing the things that I already do (like vlogging). I also have been selling some of my books (so exciting!) and having several people interested in a few of my little businesses. I’m not sure how much money I’ve made so far in my businesses, but I think I’ll calculate it next month and share it in my April goal update post.

  • Read 100+ books

This will be in a separate post, but I’m excited to let you all know that I read more books in March than I did in January or February. I’m so happy that I’m making progress toward my goal!

  • Luxury purchases – Hermes, Christian Louboutin, Sophia Webster, Ralph & Russo

I’m still floating off of the happiness of my Sophia Webster purchase. I haven’t recently checked the Hermes, Louboutin, or Ralph & Russo websites to decide on what items I want, but I’m sure I’ll have made some more progress toward this before I do my April update.

  • Cure my fibromyalgia

I’ve been feeling great recently! My medication seems to be at an optimal dosage, which makes me really happy. I’ve been dealing with fatigue, but other than that, everything has been good. I’ll discuss this more in tomorrow’s post, too.

So that’s it for my updates. I’ll be back tomorrow with my Fibro Friday post. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all soon!

*This post contains affiliate links.

health

Fibro Friday – A Tentative Wellness Plan

Happy Fibro Friday! I’m feeling pretty good today, and I’m looking forward to a warmer weekend ahead. I think that most states in the US are anticipating some sunnier, warmer days, and I’m grateful for that. This is a happy Friday for sure!

I recently shared my experience with the Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test, as well as my thoughts about at-home tests and their effectiveness. I used the food sensitivity test as a way to gather intel on how my body works. I’m combining the information that I gathered from that test with the results from the myriad other tests I’ve had over the years. I’m thankful for historical data from LabCorp as well as my insurance company: there’s no way I could have kept physical copies of every single test or doctor’s appointment I’ve had over the past three years.

Regardless of where you are on your fibro journey, becoming an expert on your body is a fantastic place to start. I can’t recommend it enough: get to know your own body! It’s crucial for your journey.

Anyhoo, I have formulated a tentative approach to resolving my fibromyalgia pain for good. As evidenced by the food sensitivity test, I’m starting with a diet-based approach, since I believe that this will provide the most immediate relief (as well as other numerous health benefits). I’m starting small, so I don’t get overwhelmed by the process.

I consulted two other sources for information on how to design a “get well” plan. I watched a video from the American Herbalist Guild last year, and I’ve revisited it. This video features a lecture by herbalist K P Khalsa, who has a fantastic herbal/natural approach to treating fibromyalgia. The video also refers to Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum’s approach (one of his most popular books, explaining his program for eliminating fibro symptoms is here). This video is a ton of information to absorb, which is why I’m rewatching in small, 20-30 minute chunks of time.

Additionally, I’ll be implementing dietary changes in line with The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder, CN. Addressing nutritional deficiencies is key to any wellness program, so I’ll integrate some principles from this book and see how it goes. I’ll probably do a review on this book soon, so watch out for that.

I suspect I’ll feel major changes just by implementing the recommendations from the AHG video and the Beauty Detox book. I’m excited to embark on this journey! If you’re interested in seeing my YouTube video on this topic, you can view it here (I’ve also embedded it below).

That’s it for my Fibro Friday post! I hope you all have a wonderful and safe weekend, and I’ll talk to you all soon. Take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

health

Fibro Fridays – The Latest Fibromyalgia Research

Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you’ve had a pleasant week with minimal pain and lots of joy!

There are two things I want to share with this post. First, I decided to spend a little time reviewing the most recent fibromyalgia research. I usually get my fibro updates from mainstream news outlets or medical websites. But this time, I wanted to look at what has been published in medical journals during the past year.

Here’s the problem (*steps onto soap box*): most of the journals will charge you anywhere from $20 to $80 to access a SINGLE article. I understand that the publishers need to be compensated, but none of that money goes to the researchers (if I’m mistaken, please let me know in the comments below). Which is why I believe in contacting the researchers directly to ask for a copy of their research, and offering them some sort of gratuity out of appreciation. Many of them complete their research due to grant funding, and they often live off of stipends. And most researchers are happy to share their work for free, which is why I feel strongly that offering some sort of “love offering” is a good gesture. *steps off of soap box*

Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest, let’s get to the articles. There are two that I want to share in this post, and both of them can be accessed for free. The first article is all about T cells, the white blood cells that relate to the body’s immune response and how the body reacts to certain pathogens. This article explores the role of T-cells in the “neurological and inflammatory symptoms of fibromyalgia”. This is a long read, but enlightening if you have the time and interest to learn more.

The second article covers current pharmacotherapy options for fibromyalgia, as well as potential future research opportunities. This article does a great job of explaining how certain commonly prescribed medicines (personally, I take two of the drugs listed in the article) work on fibromyalgia symptoms such as pain, insomnia and even depression and anxiety. If you want a thorough primer on how certain fibro medicines work, this article is a fantastic place to start.

Now, onto the second item. Last week, I posted about my Everlywell Food Sensitivity Test experience. I also posted a video about Everlywell on my YT channel. I received a comment that asserted that the food sensitivity test was a bunch of bunk, to put it succinctly. The commenter also provided a link to a doctor’s video, explaining why food sensitivity tests are unreliable. I must thank the commenter for sharing this with me. However, I had a host of other reasons why this test wasn’t a waste of my money. If you want to hear my explanation, you can check out the embedded video below.

That’s all for today’s Fibro Friday! I hope you all have a great weekend and take good care of yourselves. “See” you all on Monday!

beauty · culture · life curation · luxury

Five Easy Ways to Be More Like Meghan, Duchess of Sussex

Happy Monday, friends! I hope the beginning of your week is pleasant and everything that you need it to be.

Recently, I reviewed Archewell Audio, the podcast project started by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan. I’ve been fascinated with Meghan for quite some time: I love that she is graceful, elegant and intelligent, and she uses her influence to create positive changes in society.

As part of learning more about this brilliant woman, I read a bit about her and found that there are many things that she’s done to position herself as a woman of status and influence. I made a video highlighting five of those qualities.

The qualities I discussed are as follows:

  • Learn a foreign language
  • Take up a luxurious hobby
  • Eliminate or reduce meat from your diet
  • Wear blush
  • Start a blog

By engaging in one or more of these activities, you can live a little more like Meghan.

Do you have any Duchess-worthy tips? Let me hear about it in the comments below!

health

Fibro Friday : My Magical Body Balm for Muscle and Nerve Pain Relief

Happy Fibro Friday, friends! I sincerely hope that you’ve had a great week, and I hope that your weekend is amazing!

Recently, I shared with one of my favorite vloggers, Deena from Adventures with Fibro, that I make a body balm that helps with both muscular and neurological pain. I also promised her that I would make a video. And yes, I kept my word.

If you have fibromyalgia, you are already intimately aware of the pain that occurs due to the condition. But if you don’t have the condition, I’ll try my best to explain it to you. The pain that comes from fibromyalgia is often diffuse: it’s not usually concentrated into just one spot. And the pain goes beyond just soreness (as if you overused a particular muscle group): the pain can include stinging, burning, prickly, tingly, or throbbing sensations.

Many of the products available for pain address the muscle component exclusively. So the neurological pain (or neuropathy) remains unaddressed. You usually have to use medication prescribed by a neurologist or a rheumatologist to alleviate the nerve pain. Sadly, these medicines do a poor job of offering relief, and can have a range of awful side effects.*

So I opted to create a product that could give me relief for both body systems (musculoskeletal and nervous). In this video, I give a nice, customizable recipe that can offer you some relief and hopefully make your flare days a little more tolerable. I’m writing out the recipe and instructions on this post, to be followed by a link to the video.

Magic Body Balm (makes 4 ounces (120 ml) of product)

  1. A few weeks prior to making this balm, purchase dried arnica and place 1 or 2 ounces of the dried plant into 2-3 ounces of avocado oil. Let it sit for several weeks in a dark, cool spot, gently shaking the oil every couple of days.
  2. Start by placing the nut butter into the glass bowl.
  3. Fill the bottom of the shallow bowl with less than 1 inch of boiling hot water. You only need enough hot water to cover the bottom of the shallow bowl.
  4. Place the glass bowl with the nut butter into the shallow bowl, allowing the hot water to heat the bottom of the glass ramekin and start melting the butter.
  5. THIS IS CRUCIAL – Avoid getting any water into the liquefying nut butter, the oil additives, or any other ingredients. This will prevent bacteria from growing in the balm.
  6. While the nut butter is melting, strain your arnica infused oil. (Skip this step if you’re using pure arnica oil that you purchased).
  7. Once the nut butter is liquefied, combine it with the arnica infused oil (or the pure avocado oil and arnica oil drops), copaiba oil, davana oil, and fragrant oil of your choice (I prefer tangerine, lavender or peppermint oil). Stir well.
  8. Pour the mixture into the container of choice. Place in a refrigerator to let it cool and set (roughly 1-2 hours). Remove and use on achy, sore body parts.

This recipe is mostly relying on eyeballing the measurements, so if it isn’t exact, try adjusting individual ingredients until you get the consistency you prefer. I’m linking the ingredients and tools above, so you can easily get what you need. I hope this helps you! Take care, and enjoy your weekend.

* Disclaimer: I use two medications for neurological symptoms. I weighed the efficacy versus the side effects, and I determined that it was worth the risk. Discuss the options with your doctor to see what is recommended for your condition.

This post contains affiliate links.

life curation · Uncategorized · writing

My Latest Projects

While taking a hiatus from this blog, I decided to delve into some other projects of interest. I decided that the best thing for me would be to figure out what lights me up, and to focus on doing that for a while, even if the joyful feeling faded quickly.

The point of the exercise wasn’t to find a long-term passion project, but to put my energy into whatever made me happy, so that I could be in a better mental space for future creation. As it turns out, this short-term projects were just what I needed to relight the spark in me. And, because I had the spark re-lit, some of these short-term projects will be around a lot longer than I initially thought.

For starters, I worked on revising a book that I originally released late last year. The book was (in my opinion) a fantastic workbook for creating lifestyle changes, but because I titled the book “2020 Vision”, I knew that it wouldn’t be a popular selection for 2021. So I changed the title to more accurately reflect the content, and thus “Create Your Vision” was born.

When I tell you all how proud I am of this book . . . It really was a labor of love. I poured my best intentions into this text. And my author’s proof was so pretty, I knew that it would give someone a lot of joy! If you’re interested in getting a copy for yourself, you can click here or on the photo above. I created 25 different covers for this book, so if you’d like to see another design, you can visit my shop at Bronze Butterfly Books, or my shop available through this blog (just click here).

Along with re-releasing my book, I got inspired to work on a series of books that address a need that I (and many other women) have. I’m keeping the details under wraps for now, as I flesh out the concept more and figure out if I will need collaborators on this project. I will be announcing more details soon, so look out for that.

During the past few weeks, I also started a YouTube channel. I’d been wanting to do this for a while, but I finally had the time and energy to start on it, and I’ve been loving it so far! It’s an extension of the ideals of this blog, and I’m very excited to share it with you. Here’s one of my favorite videos, where I share some easy ways to be more like the Duchess of Sussex herself, Meghan Markle.

So those were my major projects for the past couple of months, and it looks like these projects are becoming a permanent part of my life. I’m excited to see where these take me, though if I feel overwhelmed, I will have no problem reducing or eliminating these projects to help maintain a sense of balance in my life.

So that’s what I was up to while I was gone. I have a few other things in the works, but I’ll share those in the weeks to come. Until tomorrow, take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

life curation · writing

Revising and Republishing My Essays

I think I’ve mentioned it previously, but in case I haven’t, I used to write on my (now defunct) personal blog several years ago. I discussed a variety of topics, but my main focus was life improvement. In short, that blog was a bit of a precursor to this one.

A couple of weeks ago, I talked to to one of my good friends of several years. She specifically mentioned some of my writing and how she wishes that she could view those essays again. As a special favor to her (and because I think that some of those essays have aged VERY well), I will be revising and republishing my essays over here.

I’m excited to revisit the topics that used to interest me, and I’m eager to share those discussions over here! What will really be fun is reflecting on the actions that I planned to take back then and comparing those intentions to the things that I’m currently experiencing. I can comfortably say that I followed a lot of my own advice and those decisions have paid off for me.

Look out for those revised essays starting next week. Also, if you have any topics that you would like to see discussed on this blog, please don’t hesitate to let me know!

life curation

New Goals for 2020

Even before COVID-19 upended our collective plans and intentions for 2020, I knew that I was taking a completely different direction than I had for the past few years.

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Every year, I focus on very tangible goals. My goals could be easily quantified, because I believe in goals being SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound – and I tied my personal value to the achievement of a SMART goal.

But now, my goals are shifting . . . And I like it. Yes, to a degree, my goals are still SMART, but they all aren’t as dynamic as before. I will always have a couple of dynamic goals (that’s my nature) but some of my other goals are more fluid, and allow me room to be gentle with myself. I’m starting to fall in love with my “new normal”, which include practices that support my emotional and mental health, and goals that focus more on who I’m being as opposed to what I’m doing.

With that in mind, here are some of my new goals for 2020:

  • Practice yoga weekly
  • Finish writing and editing two of my books
  • Complete my herbalist certification (did that earlier this week!)

Have you had a chance to revisit and rethink your goals? What direction do you think you’ll be going this year? I’d love to hear all about it!

beauty · luxury

Review: Kandi Koated Finesse Concealer

Here’s another beauty review! I have a few items that I’ve purchased over the past few months that I’m eager to review, and I’m sharing one of those products with you today.

A few months back, I was introduced to Kandi Koated Cosmetics by local entrepreneur Mesha Cousins. She was professional and it was such a treat to work with her. These cosmetics are developed and branded by Kandi Burruss, singer and reality TV star. I ordered two items from the Kandi Koated collection: a lip product (that I’ll review in a future post) and the Finesse Concealer, the subject of today’s review.

Screenshot 2020-05-24 at 5.01.22 AM

The stunningly beautiful Kandi Burruss

I was excited to get my products quickly, and in a gorgeous package to boot! I wish I had taken a picture of the packaging: it was girly, pink, and fabulous! In any case, I quickly tried the products and was excited that they performed well and looked great. The product itself arrived in a stunning rose gold tube, and it looked very beautiful and sleek.

In the case of the concealer, however, some disclaimers are needed. Yes, this product absolutely conceals well and the shade – Mocha Deep – was flattering on my complexion. But, it’s worth noting that Mocha Deep isn’t a deep shade at all: it’s more of a dark beige/light brown hue. When it comes to brown skin, this wouldn’t be considered a very “deep” shade at all. Also, Mocha Deep isn’t available on the Kandi Koated website, though it may still be available through individual cosmetic reps (like Ms. Cousins, mentioned above).

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Swatching the product

This product isn’t super-creamy like LA Girl HD Pro Concealer. Because the formulation is a little “drier”, it is a much easier product to control, though it probably isn’t ideal for delicate undereye skin (that generally needs a creamier formulation). I used this product to sculpt my brows, and I loved the subtle highlighting effect that it creates. I apply, gently tap around the edges to blend, then set with powder. It lasts all day and looks fresh without needed touch-ups. Though I haven’t tried it yet, it would also work really well for reverse highlighting the hollows of the cheeks, as well as providing a smooth, even colored surface for the eyes.

Do I recommend this concealer? Absolutely! I love it though I didn’t think it would work that well under my eyes. I also wish that the company had more colors available, so I could see if I can get an even better color match.

Have you used any of the Kandi Koated Cosmetics products? Let me know in the comments below!