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
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!
Once upon a time, I had another blog that I wrote on frequently. Now, I’m looking over those essays and cringing (nothing humbles you like looking over your old writing!) But, I think it’s worthwhile to rewrite those posts, because the points – while not fabulously expressed in the original posts – are still salient. Here’s a HEAVILY edited essay that I wrote nearly 12 (!) years ago. Enjoy!
This particular post will speak directly to two personality characteristics that are crucial to finding your own version of success: flexibility and focus. I decided to group these two together since they are a good example of polarity and interdependence: these are relative opposites but you can’t talk about one without at least touching upon the other. Flexibility implies a willingness to look at all of the options available, while focus generally refers to devoting one’s attention to a singular goal. It seems like the two cannot peacefully co-exist, but they CAN-and they SHOULD! In fact, one without the other can very well leave you unfulfilled and always falling short of your goals.
Why do some of us need to improve in the areas of flexibility and focus? Well, when it comes to flexibility, some of us have been given an overly simplified life formula-behave yourself, go to college, get a degree, get a career, get married to a man, buy a house, make a few kids, give freely to the church/mosque/synagogue/temple, and live happily ever after. The problems with the formula are its rigidity, and the lack of emphasis on QUALITY experiences and EMPOWERED choices. It also doesn’t allow for circumstances beyond a woman’s control or her personal choice. Not everyone is interested in attending college or working in a traditional career. Some women have zero interest in getting married at all, and those that desire marriage aren’t encouraged to accurately gauge the quality of their partners. Not all of us are interested in white picket fences and having babies, and, believe it or not, religion =/= spirituality, and some women have no interested in being part of a religious organization in order to connect to the Divine. Those that ascribe to the life formula commonly taught to women are often hyper-focused on accomplishing each thing on the “to do” list, to the detriment of a life that allows for magic and joy to unfold unexpectedly and organically.
In opposition to being hyper-focused, many women who reject the prescribed life formula mentioned above end up living life as a tangent of randomness, going here and there without a goal in mind and getting a whole lot of nothing accomplished in the meantime. This is often the case because life on the “fringes” is discouraged by society, meaning that those who reject any part of the aforementioned formula don’t get support for creating meaningful lives outside of the template they’ve been given. There are many women who are living purely in flexibility and not putting an adequate amount of time and energy into focusing their energy into a handful of things that will give them lasting satisfaction. Many will pour their energy directly into career or material possessions (nothing inherently wrong with this), without any forethought regarding what meaningful things they should be cultivating simultaneously.
It can seem like living in either extreme is the only option, but being focused and flexible at the same time should be a goal for all of us. Focus gives us direction and stability, while flexibility gives us depth, color and moments of ease in our journeys.
Here’s the best way to merge the concepts of flexibility and focus: find out what you want for yourself (get your focus together) then think of the many ways you can get there (exercise flexibility.) I’ll present an exercise that may be of use (I’ve done this for myself more times than I can count, and it’s not from a singular book I’ve read but, rather, a hodgepodge of ideas that I’ve picked up here and there.) First, name the things that you want for yourself. For this example, I’m going to use some really common desires: getting a degree, getting into your dream career, traveling, and getting married. Name whatever it is you want, no matter how crazy it sounds. It’s good to be very specific when naming what you want: getting a degree from Harvard, becoming a world renowned artist, traveling to Thailand, etc.,. This list can be as long or short as you like, but it helps to keep it brief (less than 5 things) – it helps you have more time to dedicate on the things that matter most.
After you name what you want, brainstorm various ways to get what you want. This seems a little daunting, especially if you’ve been taught to see things only in one way. People are always amazed when I tell them how I got into my prior career before I was awarded my college degree and without the advantage of an internship or nepotism. Unfortunately, many of us limit ourselves by having such a narrow view on how to get what we want. That’s the downside of associating regularly with damaged minds, pessimists, and perpetual escapists, who spend too much time keeping up with trivial things and not enough time doing things to increase their personal value and the quality of their lives.
Here are a couple examples of flexible thinking – both of these I personally have used:
If getting a degree is your goal, then take advantage of all sorts of learning opportunities. Going to college for 4 years, as soon as you exit high school, is not the formula for everyone. If it suits you, take credit courses here and there, looking into credit-for-experience programs (my book, Degree Hacking, gives you an actionable, inexpensive and easy-to-execute plan to accomplish this). Some schools even offer tests to demonstrate proficiency in certain areas; if you’re a student, you can take those tests at a fraction of the cost of a college course (my book discusses this, too). Also, remember all of the resources you have that can give you an educational edge up: local libraries usually offer free courses in a variety of subject areas; you can take free classes online in any area you can imagine; on the internet, you can preview course syllabi for any class you’re taking, and preread material that will be cover in the course (again, check out my book for more information about this).
If you want to travel, the first step is really easy: get a passport! It’s good for 10 years and you don’t have to be outside of the country to use it. Start setting aside a small amount per month to fund your dream trip (even $10 a month will get you there eventually.) This gives your focus (travel) some energetic momentum without having to commit a large amount of money up front. Consider buying a token that symbolizes your travel goals (like a travel journal). Join interest groups that will feed your desire to travel (meetup.com and local colleges can help with this, as well as the myriad Reddit, Facebook and Discord groups out there) or feel free to create a group of your own that indulges your travel desire. Check out travel websites regularly to find deals on flights, hotels, and rental cars – keeping up with the costs can help you to figure out how much you need to save. This research also crystallizes what things you actually want and need for your trip. Also, remember that, depending on how much travel you desire, there are many organizations that will pay for your airfare and lodging in different locales if you are willing to either teach English or help with humanitarian efforts.
Having a particular focus doesn’t mean that you can only achieve your desire in a singular way. I dreamed of attending an Ivy-league university, but I had no interest in pursuing a full degree. I ended up taking a grant funded program in a topic that really benefited me. I could have never anticipated that would be how I’d get my Ivy-league experience, but because I’m flexible, my desire was met with ease. It’s important to remember that it’s not the lack of options that causes problems, it’s when you lose sight of all the ways to get to your goals that discouragement sets in. People get discouraged when they see no way out: if you creative, though, you won’t feel discouraged for long.
I recommend, no matter what you do, that you get in contact with someone that can help you. You won’t always have every resources you need to get what you want. You have to make connections with people who will assist you on your path. You should not automatically feel entitled to their assistance. It is usually easier to ask for assistance from those who required to assist (school counselors or customer service representatives, for example.) However, the most powerful individuals are normally people who don’t owe you anything – convincing them to assist may be more challenging. If you can get one of these heavy hitters on your side, it will make your path infinitely easier. It should go without saying that showing your appreciation to everyone who helps you is a must. Being appreciative will 1) give you great karma and 2) make it easier for someone else who, later on, may ask for assistance from these same individuals. Showing appreciation can be a thank you note or a gift (be careful with gift-giving: you don’t want anything that can be misconstrued as bribery.)
That’s it for today, friends! I hope you’re having a fantastic day. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!
Hi friends! I hope you all are doing great. You all already know how much I love the new year: it is literally my favorite day of the year (even more than my birthday!). The energy of the new year inspires to do retrospective, introspective and future-gazing exercises. In the spirit of looking forward, I asked myself a simple question,
What do I want to do with Bronze Butterfly?
This blog has been my pet project for several years, and I want to set a theme for 2022 that will guide and inspire my writing. I thought about the things that matter to me right now, and what I want to explore more in the future. I think of my previous posts as reflecting a sort of larva stage (staying with the butterfly analogy here): I consumed a lot of information, engaged in a lot of activity, and I had a chance to use some of that knowledge but not to the maximum expression. I want to enter a bit of a chrysalis (cocoon) and eventual butterfly phase with this blog: reducing information consumption and instead being focused on using my energy stores. I will use this energy to actively craft the life of my dreams, instead of simply theorizing and experimenting here and there.
On that note, here are some of the things you can expect from the blog in future posts:
More interviews and deeper conversations – I had one incredible interview this year, and I want to add more to this space. I want to get the actionable tips, wise counsel and pure inspiration that comes from interacting with people that have done “hard things” and succeeded. So look out for more interviews in the upcoming year.
More Kibbe discussion [with a twist] – I think of how much our wardrobe reflects the times we live in, the things we value, as well as how we want to be perceived by the world. I really want to explore what certain Kibbe-verified celebrities expressed through their wardrobe, both pointedly and inadvertently. So that’s another topic I’ll be sharing more about in the months to come.
More book chats and writing tips – This is a continuation of the past couple of years of Writers Wednesdays, but here’s hoping I can share even more about the writer’s life and events that are relevant to writing. Also, I’ll be going back to doing book reviews (which I put on hold over the past couple of years, for the most part). I’ll be focusing on books that impact my life significantly, not just reviewing books simply because I read them.
Diving deeper into curating a beautiful life – This is also a continuation of the past few years, but I want to go deeper than the surface, and discuss the underpinnings of high quality living and all of its components.
More finance discussions – This is a topic that I’ve touched on briefly here and there, but I really want to dive more into this, exploring how to live well regardless of your current income, as well as how to increase your income to the level that you desire.
On a side note, I’ll be incorporating more of my previous blog content, my other active blog (which is finance centered) as well as my YouTube channel content into this space, as some topics are best explained via video.
Whew, I think that’s enough for one day! I’m so looking forward to you all joining me on this deeper journey into the Bronze Butterfly world. Thank you all so much for your continued support, and I’ll chat with you all tomorrow. Take care!
Happy Fibro Friday! I hope you all are doing well and feeling great as we wind down the year.
I’m reflecting on my 2021 health journey as respects my fibromyalgia, and BOY has this been a ride! I’m thankful that I filmed some of my experiences, and I’m sharing those videos here, with you all, as a kind of log of my journey. Here’s some of the Fibro Friday videos I’ve shared in 2021!
I started off the year by outlining some of the unexpected things that happened when you have chronic illness:
Next, I discussed a massage roller tool that I found gave me some relief:
Then, I shared a recipe for a body balm that helps tremendously with nerve and muscle pain (I love this stuff!)
Next, I discussed an action plan for improving my overall wellness.
I talked about things I wish I knew before I was diagnosed (or, that I wish someone had told me about the process of getting diagnosed:
Finally, I talked about my transition off of prescription medication and how I’ve been dealing with my symptoms:
Those are some of my favorite fibro videos for this year, and so excited to see what 2022 has for me! Next week, I’ll be sharing my health goals for the upcoming year and some ideas on how I will reach them.
Did any of you have a favorite video or topic related to fibromyalgia? I’d love for you to tell me about it in the comments below!
Have a great holiday weekend, and I’ll talk to you all on Monday. Take care!
As we embrace the upcoming holiday season, we may find ourselves in need of delicious wines to accompany our family dinners. One thing that I like to do is make sure that I have a mix of high/low cost wines to offer with meals. For those that choose to indulge, wine is a wonderful complement to a variety of meals, and can really enhance the flavor profile of all the foods that have been prepared.
The advantage to having wines in your home during the holidays is that you can use the wine in certain recipes, adding a rich and intensified flavor to certain dishes. I love cooking meat dishes with red wine, or crafting exquisite sauces or gravies with white wine. When cooking with wine, the alcohol cooks (or burns) off, leaving flavor with no traces of alcohol content left behind.
I realized that I’ve done several wine reviews over on my YouTube channel, but I hadn’t shared those reviews over here. So, here you go:
Also, if you want to keep track of the wines that you try, you can use what I use: the Wine Tasting Notes journal is perfect for capturing the details and your impressions of every wine that you taste. And for $5, it’s so affordable!
I’ll be adding more wine reviews in the months to come. Do you have a wine recommendation for me? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!
Happy Monday, friends! This is a quick post, because I just want to let you all know that I resumed posting videos on my YouTube channel. I have a few weeks worth of videos filmed and scheduled, and I’ll be sharing a few of them on this channel as different posts. Here’s my most recent video, for your enjoyment. This is a review of some Harlem Candle Company candles that I purchased this summer, as well as a little catch-up/chit chat.
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!
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.
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!
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!
Happy Monday, friends! I hope you all are doing well and making a smooth transition into the work week.
I have been spending some time reflecting on the things I need to prioritize. I’ve already classified my goals (per the six month preparation post). One of the things I put on my list was working more consistently on my business. Just like clockwork, I was advised by one of my business mentors that I need to promote my businesses more, since I’m always so busy promoting everyone else. She made some great points on how to continue showing up consistently in my business, in a way that isn’t spammy/scammy (which I HATE) and that is also comfortable for me.
Her advice was so timely. She didn’t know what exactly was happening with my business, but she quickly reminded me how important it is to continue putting myself out there, so that I can create the life and income that I want. So, I’ve been putting more time into the marketing and promotion aspects of my business, which is easy but occasionally time-consuming. I’m gonna get it done, just gotta focus and buckle down a bit.
Along with that, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a few books that I’d like to publish before the beginning of August. I have some great ideas for additional books and I would like to get a lot of those done before the end of the year, so that requires me to get some of my current projects done first.
However, I have so many GREAT blog posts coming soon! Seriously: the inspiration has been flowing nonstop! So look out for some really good stuff in the near future. I’m bringing ALL of the strategies, wisdom and case studies I’ve used to improve my life, so that you all can benefit from what I’ve learned. I can’t wait to spill all those details!