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!

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!

food · life curation · luxury

Learn About Tea – For Free!

On Facebook, I recently saw an ad from The Republic of Tea, offering a free email course about tea. Tea 101: An Educational Email Series promised to deliver, over a 6 day period, information about the “nuances and complexities of premium tea”.

I’m a sucker for nuance and complexity, so I happily dove into the emails as they arrived.

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The lessons cover the different aspects of distinguishing between and enjoying tea. The lessons are brief and to the point, so they are perfect for busy people.

I especially enjoyed the emphasis on the fact that herbal teas aren’t true “teas” (the only true “tea” is the leaf of the camellia sinensis plant). However, the company still took time to explain the benefits of herbal “teas” and blends. I also liked the description that Republic of Tea provided, regarding the caffeine levels in varying tea varieties. It was good to see which teas provide light, medium and heavy caffeine.

 

health

Fibromyalgia Awareness Day

I try to bring awareness to fibromyalgia every week via my Fibro Friday posts, but I wanted to spend this Tuesday, Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, as an opportunity to share some of my insights about my condition.

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My fibro journey has been an absolute roller coaster at times. There have been some intense highs (finding occasional relief and modifying my lifestyle to make things easier for me), and some dramatic lows (which I won’t be reliving here on the blog LOL!) In any case, I’ve learned so much from this experience, and despite the discomfort, I’m thankful for this condition.

Yes, I’m thankful for fibro.

If I hadn’t been diagnosed with fibro, I would have continued to overwork myself, abuse my body through inconsistent sleeping, and deny that a deeper part of myself needed healing. My fibro forced me to slow down, learn how to really care for myself, and start taking the steps to live an authentically healthy lifestyle. Fibro led me to relocating to my dream home (which is closer to my healthcare team), find work that wasn’t mentally draining, and gave me an opportunity to spend more time at home with my family.

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Fibro forced me to re-examine the balance within my life

Most importantly, living with fibro taught me to ask for help and to allow others to help me. I was so independent and “strong”: I never felt the need to ask for help. But now I’ve learned to rely on my wonderful support network and I can really appreciate the way that my love ones have rallied around me.

Fibro was the most painful gift I’ve ever received, and I’m grateful for it.

I can’t speak for everyone diagnosed with fibro, but as for me, I see the silver lining to this “purple cloud”. And I’m okay with how things are unfolding for me.

That’s all for today. If you know anyone suffering from fibro or another chronic illness, please send them some love today. Take care!

fitness · health

Fibro Fridays: Yoga for Fibro Relief

Happy Friday, friends! We’ve completed another week, and aren’t we happy for that? This first full week of May was pleasant, despite the fact that we’re all still adjusting to our collective new normal.

As a person managing fibromyalgia symptoms, I look for relief from multiple sources. I prefer to supplement my prescription and alternative medicine routine with physical activity that is gentle, effective and easy to do at home. For that reason, I turned to yoga tutorials on YouTube to help me to stay active and reduce physical pain.

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I’ve tried several different tutorials and I have a few that I can recommend. I hope that you can use these to get pain relief and feel better!

Firstly, Shima Flow Yoga’s Yoga for Fibromyalgia is the gentlest routine that I’ve used, and I always feel so good after I do it. It’s the perfect length (a little under 30 minutes) and doesn’t require any special equipment. I highly recommend this one!

Next, Sleepy Santosha’s Gentle Yoga for Fibromyalgia is a little longer than the previous video (a tad over 30 minutes) but is still a good one. This channel is really good because the yogi is a chronic pain sufferer, so she’s mindful of our physical limitations. I noticed that the routine is a bit more intense that the previously mentioned video, but I like that this channel does have multiple videos specifically for fibro.

Finally, when I’m pressed for time, I go to Shima Flow Yoga’s abbreviated Yoga for Fibromyalgia video. This video is less than 15 minutes and you can pace it as quickly or as slowly as you like.

Let me know if you try any of these videos, and how well they work for you. I’ll talk to you all next week. Take care, and enjoy your weekend!