reading list · Uncategorized

Books Read in February 2021

Happy March 1st, and Happy Women’s History Month, friends! This post is going live super-late, because yours truly has a new set of nails and I’m typing extra slowly (don’t laugh, I’m serious!)

Anyhoo, let’s move on to the topic, which is the book list for February. I was, once again, a tad disappointed by how many books I read. But something is better than nothing, right? I’m learning to appreciate my progress no matter how small, but my old perfectionist ways still get the best of me sometimes. It’s a struggle.

Without further ado, here is my list of books read for February:

I’ll be able to devote more time to reading this month, as I’m already clearing my calendar for some major book time (no less than 30 minutes a day, every single day). I also started two books in February that I’ll complete this month, so I’m looking forward to that.

That’s it for my book updates. I’m anticipating some better news at the end of this month! I’ll talk to you all soon.

reading list · Uncategorized

Book Review – Elixir For Life

Happy Thursday, friends! Currently, there are a few regions of the United States experiencing severe winter weather, resulting in power failures and interruptions with water supply. I hope you all are staying safe and warm!

Today’s post is a book review that I’m excited to share with you all. The book is Elixir for Life by H. Benjamin Poke. Poke is native to my home state, so I consider him a local author. Also, I’m proud to share that this gifted poet is also my paternal uncle.

I will try my best to post an impartial review, but I’ll be the first to admit that it’s difficult for me to be unbiased. I know the labor of love that went into creating this collection of poems. I am also influenced by the author’s (my uncle’s) consistently loving and generous nature. Further, I’m partial because I know for myself how kindly he treats others, complete strangers as well as his family. He is one of the most genuinely warm people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He’s a loving husband, devoted father, and a beloved grandfather and loyal friend.

That being said, let’s get into the review. The book is written from a Christian perspective, so if you are not a Christian, you may not be able to relate to some of the content. But, as with my review of Synergy, I’d like to point out the fact that a difference in religious perspective may not detract from your enjoyment of the book.

I enjoyed each of these poems, written from the perspective of strong, steady supporter cheering for the readers to overcome daily struggles and align with a higher purpose for their lives. There are hundreds of poems in the book, which is why I cannot recommend just one for you. Each poem offers encouragement and inspiration, and it’s easy to find a poem that suits your particular struggles and circumstances. This is the kind of book that you pick up when you’re feeling low and need a kind word, or that you read when you just want to feel more connected with your higher power/spiritual source.

This book is a wonderful addition to any collection, and I’d put it up there against the words of famed poets Maya Angelou and Lucille Clifton. Make sure to check it out on Amazon (the link is here). I hope that you order it and enjoy!

That’s it for today’s post. I’ll talk to you all tomorrow. Take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

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!

reading list

Book Review: Synergy by C. O. Clark

Hi friends! After sharing that I’m a little behind on my book reading, I decided to buckle down and read at least ten books this month. So I’m already done with one book and working on my next one, four days into the month. That’s what I’m talking about!

This book is titled Synergy, written by C. O. Clark. This is a book of poetry that describes the experience of daring to live boldly and claim our authentic selves. The book description on Amazon states:

“Synergy is the third and final volume in the Equilibrium series. This three volume series is a poetic approach to articulating life, and emotions we bury; afraid of ridicule and rejection. Together we bring down the walls of what it means to remove the veil of being vulnerable — the false equating of vulnerability being weakness. We create a safe space to be authentic and to express our beliefs, fears, doubts, and all the what-ifs. We lay the foundation to voice our troubles, pains, and burdens.”

Because this is Black History Month in the United States, I am focusing specifically on works written Black/African-American authors this month. For the entire month, I am reading works by Black authors exclusively, and I’ll be featuring authors that live locally for this month’s book reviews. As it turns out, I attended the book launch for Synergy back in 2019, and the author read a few of the poems to us. I purchased the book that night, and I’m thrilled that I’m finally reviewing it.

I love the journey that Clark takes you on when you read her work. She goes through a range of emotions, from pain, fear and rejection, to joy, romantic love, and spiritual awakening. This is a wonderful book that I’m looking forward to reading again and again. I definitely recommend it!

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

This post contains affiliate links.

reading list

Book Review: Lunar and Biodynamic Gardening

Hi friends! I’m really excited to discuss today’s book with you all. As you all may know, I’m still a new(ish) homeowner, and I love flowers and gardening. So instead of waiting until March or April to start thinking about my garden, I decided to begin my garden planning now, so that I can hit the ground running after the first frost.

The book I’m reviewing is Lunar and Biodynamic Gardening by Matt Jackson. The book focuses on gardening in a way that allows you to create an optimum environment that supports the plants organically. This focus on healthy soil, working with nature’s natural rhythms, and disturbing the environment as little as possible makes it so that both the plants and all wildlife thrive.

Unfortunately, I got this book from the Dollar Tree and I’m unable to locate it on Amazon. However, the author has another book on Amazon that may be worth checking out (it covers the lunar phases and their effects on plants). Make sure to check that out if you enjoy this sort of content.

This book is broken down into six, easy-to-read chapters. The first chapter teaches the basics, explaining what lunar gardening and biodynamics are, and how these two differ from one another. The next chapter outlines what you need to start, depending on the size of your intended garden. The next chapters focus on soil and compost, growing food, growing flowers, and container gardening.

The author resides in the UK, so he is located in the Northern Hemisphere like me. But, he has generously provided resources for readers that may be in the Southern Hemisphere. He also shares resources to help readers get further clarification on certain principles.

I love how accessible lunar and biodynamic gardening approaches can be for novices. Jackson does a great job explaining how to work with various yard/garden sizes. My yard is medium sized, but my garden will be planned as if I have a small yard, and if I’m inspired, I will expand in future years. It’ll be great to start small so I can really master the concepts before I dive deeper.

In this world of law of attraction/conscious creation, it’s really easy to focus on the spiritual or esoteric sides of things to the point where we may not see the practical side of tuning into nature. But this book is a great reminder of how energy works, and how everything works together. I’m fascinated by the moon cycles, and I’m eager to see how these principles influence my garden’s success. I’ll be writing about this in upcoming posts, so look out for updates!

That’s it for today. I hope you all are staying safe and having a great day. Take care!

*This post contains affiliate links.

life curation · relaxation · words of wisdom

Review of Archewell Audio

Even though I adore ClubHouse and all sorts of webinars that are designed to be instructional, I am always looking for podcasts that offer something different and enlightening to me. In my recent search, I found something truly special.

My latest obsession right now is Archewell Audio, hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Harry and Meghan Markle. I didn’t know how this would go, since I was unfamiliar with the couple outside of what has been presented by the media. The media in the US has been pretty kind to the couple, especially during 2020. Here are my thoughts on this first episode of the show.

Simple. Tasteful. Focused on others. HUMAN and HUMANE. I loved it. This initial podcast offers a platform to a variety of people that offered their reflections on 2020 and the pain, joy, and resilience they felt during the year. I love that the Sussexes served as kindhearted moderators, gently steering the conversation without “overtalking” the individuals interviewed. I love how the couple interjected extra praise for the more modest guests, taking every opportunity to elevate the individuals interviewed.

This podcast is, simply put, beautiful. I cannot wait until the next episode, so I can listen to it while taking a walk on my treadmill. This is wonderful and so well done. Great job, Harry and Meghan!

beauty

Beauty Review: Kandi Koated Cosmetics Glaze Illuminating Lip Shine

When I first got my Kandi Koated products, I was excited to try them and let you all know how they work. I’ve always been a fan of a good beauty review, and these products don’t have eearly enough reviews online, so I knew I had to add my voice to the mix and make sure that I discussed Kandi Koated.

As promised. here is my review of the Kandi Koated Glaze Illuminating Lip Shine. I purchased it at the same time that I purchased the concealer. The packaging is the same gorgeous rose gold hue, and the applicator features a doe-foot tip. I purchased the lip shine in the color Corset (I don’t think this shade is currently available).

According to the Kandi Koated website, the lip shine is described as, “Ultra-rich lip gloss that can be worn alone or layered over your favorite lipstick for added color and gloss! Delivers a bright and beautiful shine.” The description is correct: the lip gloss is shiny and adds a brilliant tint to your lips. This product has a lovely iridescence that looks both pink and purple at the same time.

Swatch of “Corset” by Kandi Koated Cosmetics

I love that the product is non-sticky and unflavored, so it can be easily layered with other lip products, but it’s lovely enough to wear on its own. This product is lightweight and VERY wearable.

Would I recommend it? Absolutely! It’s reasonably priced and performs well. I’ll certainly purchase it in additional shades in the months to come (I have to use up some other products before I can justify buying more makeup!).

fitness · health

Fibro Fridays: My Fibromyalgia Library

Happy Friday! This week has been pretty good overall, even though the weather here in central Virginia has been gloomy and rainy. I suppose I should be thankful for the rain that keep my flowers growing, but can we get a little sunshine, too? I know the sunnier days will return soon: I just have to be patient.

This week’s Fibro Friday will be all about the books in my “fibro library”. While the Internet has been a fantastic resource for learning more about this complex condition, I still enjoy reading books that can give me some insight into fibro. I have several books that I’ve used in learning about fibro as well as ways to give myself some relief from the symptoms. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with this condition, perhaps these books will be helpful to you.

My first recommendation is Career or Fibromyalgia, Do I Have to Choose? by Karen R. Brinklow. This book was one of the firsts that I read on my fibro journey. It’s actually what inspired me to hire a fibro coach last year, to help me manage this transition into a new lifestyle. My coach, Julie, was fantastic and instrumental in helping me to see that fibro can be managed and my life can still be full of fun and meaning.

This next book, 12 Healing Herbal Recipes: Herbal Medicine The Delicious Way by Mary Thibodeau, is a light read that I enjoyed tremendously. The book has little facts sprinkled through it, and has information about foods and spices that can help heal the body. I love the emphasis on the fact that we can use food as medicine, and, by giving our bodies the nutrients that they need, we can alleviate some of the symptoms that we experience.

Next, Beyond Powerful: Your Chronic Illness is Not Your Kryptonite by Lala Jackson is an inspiring read about the many “superpowers” that come to the fore when you’re faced with a chronic illness. Jackson doesn’t have fibromyalgia, but her examples and advice easily apply to any chronic condition.

Finally, Taking Back My Health and Happiness: Hope and Healing from Chronic Pain, Fatigue, and Invisible Illness by Marie Anne June L. Tagorda is an inspirational book that also outlines a step-by-step wellness plan that can be used to improve your health. This book does a good job of addressing the physical and metaphysical aspects of illness. I’ll admit: I’ve read the book but haven’t committed to completing the steps yet. But when I do, I’ll be sure to share my results on this blog!

That’s all for my fibro library! I hope this information helps you to forge a path to wellness, or, if you don’t have fibro, I hope that these books will give you additional insight into this condition so that you can better understand the symptoms.

Have a great weekend, and take care!

These are affiliate links featured in the post, but rest assured, I purchased each of these books with my own money and I’m only sharing what has worked for me 🙂

beauty

May Empties

It’s time for another empties post! I’m still committed to using all of my excess/duplicate products and documenting my progress in minimizing my “stuff” and only replacing items as I completely use them up.

Yesterday, I discussed the Pixi Rose Tonic that I enjoyed, so that empty won’t be discussed here. However, there are several other empties that I’m going to mention today, as some of these are items that I will purchase again, while others are items that have been discontinued or that I don’t need to replace.

I’ll start off today’s post with a supplement that I’ve been using for several weeks now. I’ll be discussing this supplement in this week’s Fibro Friday post, but for now, just know that I have already purchased another bottle of chelated magnesium. Magnesium is essential for normal body functions and nearly 70% of the population are magnesium-deficient. I have enjoyed using this supplement to support my fibromyalgia relief regimen.

Country Life Chelated Magnesium

Next, I FINALLY finished off this ancient jar of moisturizer LOL! I found this unopened jar of Far Away by Avon among my mom’s old products and decided to use it and see if it was still fresh/uncontaminated. The product worked just fine and I used it up in less than a month. I typically do not like Avon fragrances but due to the age of this product, the scent had faded tremendously and I enjoyed the much lighter concentration of the fragrance.

Avon Far Away Perfumed Skin Softener

Hourglass Cosmetics Vanish ™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick in the shade Almond was my go-to face product in 2016. I loved how it looked on my skin and I really liked the fact that a little product went a long way. While I love the product, I won’t be replacing it soon, as I already have a TON of foundation and concealer that I need to use before I justify an additional purchase. However, in the future, if I decide to get another stick or cream foundation, this is the one I will purchase.

Hourglass Vanish ™ Seamless Finish Foundation Stick

Another Avon product that I found in my mom’s old product box was the Sunny Splendor Hydrating Shower Gel in the Strawberry & Guava fragrance. I loved this light, fresh fragrance and I really enjoyed the fact that it didn’t leave my skin feeling too dry and stripped. I don’t know that I’d go as far as calling it “hydrating” – I didn’t feel that significantly added moisture to my skin – but I feel that it worked well and didn’t aggravate my somewhat dry skin. This isn’t an item that I’d seek out to use again, but it was fine and performed as expected.

Avon Naturals Sunny Splendor Hydrating Shower Gel in Strawberry & Guava

Finally, I used the last of my Mary Kay (MK) Timewise Night Solution. MK has changed their product lineup and this item is no longer available, but since I enjoy using gels and serums, I continued to include it in my routine along with my many products from The Ordinary. I like how it kept my skin hydrated overnight without making my skin feel greasy. If it ever becomes available again, I’ll certainly repurchase it.

Mary Kay Timewise Night Solution

Those are my May empties! I’ll be back next month with a whole new bunch of empties to discuss. Take care, and I’ll talk to you all tomorrow!

This post contains affiliate links.

beauty

Review: Pixi Rose Tonic

I will be showing a bunch of my May empties tomorrow, but today, I wanted to spotlight one noteworthy “empty”. This is a product that I’m certain I will purchase again.

The Pixi Rose Tonic is a refreshing product that I tried for a few days in May. For those that have been here for a while, you all know that I use a slightly modified version of the Korean ten-step method, which calls for a toner (to balance the skin and remove any traces of makeup or cleansing product) and an essence (to add additional nourishment to the skin). So this rose tonic was intriguing to me: I wanted to see whether it was more like a toner or if it was more similar to an essence.

Pixi Rose Tonic

This gentle, alcohol-free product combines the features of a toner with some of the benefits of an essence. Yes, it is a toner: it will help to balance the skin, neutralize the skin mantle (this prevents the mantle from being compromised, which can result in damaged, more sensitive skin), and remove any remnants of makeup or previously applied skin products. However, the product contains aloe vera, chamomile, elderberry, tea extract, and the extracts of several different rose variations (including Rose of Damascus and dog-rose). These act as skin soothers to leave the face feeling clean yet hydrated and nourished.

One of the ingredients in the tonic is dog-rose essence

My bottle was a sample size, so I didn’t have enough product to use for longer than about 10 days. However, I LOVED the way that this made my face feel. My skin felt hydrated and not stripped at all. I also love that this product didn’t conflict with any of the other products that I use on my face.

My sample was teeny-tiny but I was still impressed with the product

Would I recommend this? Absolutely! I intend to purchase another bottle as soon as I’m done with my current toners. I looked at a few vendors to see who had the best price, and the cost on the Pixi website is significantly less than Amazon, and a bit less than Ulta. This is NOT a sponsored link, so if you’re curious about the product, please know that I’m endorsing it without any personal motivation LOL!

That’s my review on Pixi Rose Tonic. Have you tried this product before? I’d love to hear all about your experience with it!