What I Love Wednesday: November 20

Happy Wednesday everyone! It is the week before Thanksgiving, yet everyone seems to be in full on Christmas mode. However, seems like everyone is in full on Christmas mode. With that being said, here’s some things that I am loving this week:

Jillian Micheals Beginner Shred: Since my knee healed, one of the hardest things was getting back into working out. I have been doing light Zumba, and Yoga, which were a great way to start. But, I missed the feeling of a hard workout. And, I began to notice that I began to put some weight on, since I wasn’t working out hard. I’ve only been doing it for a few days, but I already can notice a difference in my arms and abs.

I’ve tried to complete the original shred, but I kept on getting hurt or bored. So, I am hoping that I can stick with this for the entire 30 days to get back to kickboxing.

Flippy: Now you may be asking, what is a Flippy? Well, good question. A Flippy is a little tablet/e-reader stand pillow. I got it for myself and two others, and I absolutely love it. I use it for my Kindle and my iPad. What I like about this is that it holds the device for you. This is awesome when you’re drinking to drink coffee, read a book or something, and you have a dog. Now, you can use it for reading an actual book as well, but I have yet to try that out.

Rose Gold: Lately, I’ve been obsessed with mixing rose gold with silver. I love silver and it’s been my favorite for years. However, I love rose gold. One of the ways that I mix is with my Mantraband bracelets. I have a mixture of silver and rose gold and they look awesome. I also have a few rose gold rings that I mix with my silver ones, which I love.

Current/Recent Reads: On Sunday, I finished Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren, and I loved it. Christina Lauren is one of those authors that has become an auto-buy for me. Twice in a Blue Moon is definitely up there with my other favorite, My Favorite Half-Night Stand. It is about Tate, who mets Sam when she is on a trip to London when she was 18 years old. The two fall in love and she shares her secret — that she is the daughter of a famous actor. A few days later, he leaks her secret and it turns her life upside down.

Over ten years later, they met again at the set of a movie that Sam wrote and Tate is set to star in. How awkward. With that being said, it was a good read.

I am currently reading Get A Life Chloe Brown, which is about a girl who has an almost near-death experience and realized that she needs to get living. She meets Red, the building superintendent, who she has a love-hate relationship with. This book was my Book of the Month pick, and I am loving it so far. I’ve had some weird luck with Book of the Month, so I’m happy that I was able to find a great book.

Rose Quartz Bracelet: When I went to pick up a Mantraband and a diffuser from the Paper Store last week, I found a rose quartz lava bead bracelet. I love Rose Quartz, because it assists with healing, love, and emotional balance. I do have a couple of rose quartz bracelets that I purchased from California, but I love this because it’s smaller and can be paired with my Apple Watch.

What are you loving this week?

Grief and Holidays

It’s almost the holiday season. One week until Christmas and little over a month until Christmas time.

For me, this holiday season is going to be a lot different than the ones in the past. This is the first Christmas without my mom.

Since my mom died in February, there are so many firsts that I experienced without her. First Easter without her. First Mother’s Day without her. First birthday without her, and first time not buying her a present for her birthday.

Now that Christmas is rolling around, it’s starting to hit me that my mother is truly gone. Not that it hasn’t during the last few months, but it’s cutting me a bit deeper now than ever before. For the first time, I am not buying ten bottles of Bath and Body hand soap and body sprays. I am not buying the latest Cape Light novel (her favorite) to read. And, she won’t be decorating our Christmas tree with her beads this year.

And, it makes me miss her more than I have in a while.

I am going to be honest. If you asked me last year that this would be the last holiday I would share with my mom, I would have thought that you were crazy.  My mom was only 57 when she died, so I thought there would be more time left with her.

Many people call this the most wonderful time of year. For those who are grieving and going through the grief process, it’s the hardest. It is especially hard for those who are experiencing a “first” like I am. This first is all a part of the new normal that I am creating for myself. This year, I am most likely not putting up our large tree — although I will admit that is in part of the fact that I have a puppy and I am afraid that she’s going to knock the tree and the glass ornaments down. This year, my mom and I will not be eating cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Instead, I will be starting my own traditions.

While these new traditions are great, it still reminds me of the fact that my mom is gone. Even though it’s been about ten months since she died, it still hurts. And, I am allowed to feel sad about loss.

So, if you know someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one this holiday season, be sure to reach out to them during this holiday season. Please understand that these days may be hard for them. Please let them decide what is right for them, versus what you think may be right. For example, my grandfather when he first lost my grandmother last year didn’t want to celebrate the holidays because it was too hard on him. I am pretty sure I want to be surrounded by family, because being alone is just a reminder of what I lost. Please remind them to self care and to express their feelings. Do not make them feel like they could not feel their emotions, because they are perfectly valid.

While my holiday plans are up in the air, I do plan to visit my mom’s grave this holiday season so I can have a few moments with my mom. Maybe I’ll even bring a cinnamon bun.

 

 

Ways That I Practice Self-Care

Happy Monday everyone! Since this is the start of a new week, I wanted to try to create a goal for to incorporate more self care in my daily life. Like everyone out there, it’s been something that I always want to include in my routine, but always put everything else first. Which is sad. However, there are so many different ways to practice self care. Here are some ways that I do so, and will hopefully do more this week:

Exercise: One of the best things that anyone can do is work out. As Elle Woods said: “Exercise gives you endorphins; endorphins make you happy and happy people just don’t shoot their husbands!” And, it’s true. I always feel good about myself when I work out.

However, if you’re like me, chances are, you dread working out. Therefore, it’s important to me to make sure that it’s something that you like to do. For me, it’s Zumba and sometimes running. I also enjoy walking Lucy, so that’s something that I do as well.

Making Time For Things That I Love: How many of us have a list of things that we wish that want to do, but since we don’t have the time, we just don’t. For me, that’s reading and knitting.

One way I can do this is to make sure that I have time to read in the mornings with a cup of coffee. I used to do this all of the time. Since getting Lucy, I don’t have as much time to do so, which is fine. However, I want to try to do that at night with a cup of tea in the efforts to take some time just to do what I love.

Essential Oils:

I am starting to get into essential oils. I used my diffuser a few times already with my lavender oils and I found that it already relaxes me. Furthermore, I also use the essential oil collection that Bath and Body Works had as a pillow mist and gel. I also bought the Love scent that they have in their essential oils section as well, and that has been working well for me. Sure, the oil doesn’t cure all of my anxiety and stresses. But, it does help me, so I can’t complain.

Yoga: I do yoga on and off. I prefer cardio, but yoga is helpful for me because I can do it even as I recover from a sprained knee. I like yoga because it does calm me down during a stressful day and it’s something that I do even when I’m not motivated to work out. And, when I finish a yoga session, I always leave with good vibes.

Drinking More Water: I am working on trying to drink more water, because it makes you always feel good about myself. I often forget about drinking water throughout the day no matter what I do, so I want to try to work on this more to be healthy and drinking more water helps with anxiety, too.

Have self-care days: Finally, the best way that I can practice self care is to give myself a single day to just relax and rest. For me, it’s Sunday. Some Sundays I just sit and watch TV all day and get stuff done. By the end of the day, I’m pretty relaxed. I highly recommend that for anyone who is stressed to just take a day to rest at home and don’t go anywhere. Trust me, it’s worth it.

What do you do to practice self care?

Fashion Friday: First Luxury Small Leather Good Unboxing/Review

For me, Louis Vuitton was something that was only for celebrities. However, I’ve been watching a lot of videos, and fell in love with the key pouch.

Only problem?

It’s always sold out on the Louis Vuitton website.

One day while I was home with my sprained knees, I decided to check out the website to see if it was in stock. And, it was. So, I bought it because I knew if I didn’t, it would sell out again.

A few days later, I went to my local store and picked it up. And, I’ve been using it ever since.

Now, here’s a little background on my opinion on Louis Vuitton. Their items are nice, but too expensive and boogie for my liking. And, to be honest, I am just not a fan of leather handbags because they are too heavy. Since I was in college, I always go with nylon tote purses because they are light weight and can fit everything. So, while they are nice, they just aren’t for me.

However, for wallets and stuff, I do like to have leather because I beat the living crap out of my wallets. I also use them everyday no matter what purse I am using or where I am going, so I don’t mind spending a little more for the wear.

Review:

Since unboxing the key pouch, I’ve used it everyday. I like it better than my Coach ID case because it’s small enough to fit in the pocket of my Longchamp le Pliage purse, as well as my collection of crossbody purses I use on the weekends for keys and my phone. It’s also really thin, which makes it so easy to grab.

But don’t let size fool you. This little thing holds so much. I’ve seen it hold up to 10 cards. I use it for cash and coins, as well as ID and my credit and debit cards. Many people clip this onto their car keys, however, I don’t personally like that idea. Sure, the piece is just meant to be a method to ensure your bags aren’t ruined from your keys. My car still has a key versus a remote, so I am just concerned about the weight of the pouch as I don’t want to make my keys too heavy. But, if someone has a key fob versus a key, this would be perfect to make sure that they don’t lose the key.

Overall, I love this piece. I love not carrying my big wallet anymore, I love the size and I can tell that the quality is all there. So, if you’re looking for a new wallet that’s a bit on the small size, I highly recommend this one. And, since it’s a classic piece, chances are it won’t leave your collection.

For my first Louis Vuitton piece, you can say I’m pretty happy with my purchase.

What I Love Wednesday: November 13th

Happy Wednesday everyone! This week is a shorter week, because I had Monday off because of Veteran’s Day. Here are some of the things that I have been loving this week:

Panera Turkey Chili:

Ever have a set of favorites when you’re eating out at a restaurant? Well, I am definitely one that is afraid to try new things once I have an established favorite. No, I am not very adventurous. Last week, I was tired of the same old chicken noodle soup. I recently began to eat chili, so I figured why not? I loved it, and I ended up eating it three days in a row. I tried it in a bread bowl too, and that was so delicious.

Alex and Ani Polishing Cloth:

Alex and Ani post cleaning.

This is a weird thing to love, so hear me out on this one. I had a ton of Alex and Ani that I got back when they first became popular. Over time, they turned black to the point where they no longer were wearable. I tried everything and it didn’t work. On Saturday, I was in the Paper Store buying a Mantraband with my coupon and I saw the polishing cloth in the Alex and Ani section. For $6, I figured why not? It was like magic! It removed all of the tarnish on my bracelets. They even looked like new again. So, if you have a lot of tarnished Alex and Ani, it is very much worth the investment.

Essential Oil Diffuser:

I recently got into essential oils. I tried to once, but then I lost the little pads and the plug that you put into it. I recently got one off of Prime, and I love it. I’ve been using lavender to help calm my anxiety. It’s been working, at least a little bit. My goal is to now try to plug it in as soon as I get home from work. I am also looking for new essential oils for energy as well to use in the morning, so if you have any recommendations, let me know.

Pillow Mist:

Keeping up with the essential oil theme here, I have been using some of my pillow mists again as well. I have two that I use – Bath and Body Works’ Lavender one and their Love one. Depending on the day, I like to interchange them. So far, I like them.

Podcasts:

I discovered podcasts for the first time yesterday, and I love listening to them. I have been listening to Lauren Conrad’s Asking For a Friend, and have enjoyed the first few episodes. I am also planning to listen to Rachel Hollis’ one, as well as Lisa Lampenelli’s new one. I like these because it gives me a chance to learn something, which makes me really happy.

 

PSA: You Are Not Obligated To Respond to Text Messages

With our iPhones always at our fingertips, it’s almost as if we need to be available 24/7. This is why if many of us often think the worst when someone didn’t respond to our text, or why we feel like once we get an incoming message, we forget that we have the choice on whether or not to respond.

Let me just say this: just because someone send you a text, you are not obligated to respond.

With that being said, sometimes when we are upset with someone, we don’t want to give them that response. Even though they sometimes feel entitled to that very response. We can choose when we tell them how we feel — or even if we tell them how we feel. Sometimes, we may choose not to, because we feel as though it would go ignored.

We have that choice. And, don’t let anyone forget it.

Having that choice is good for us. It is practicing good mental health. It is putting ourselves first — which by the way, is super important.

I’m not encouraging ghosting here. I am saying though that we sometimes forget that we don’t have to dignify every message with a response. And, sometimes not responding right away can be beneficial. It gives you a breath to breathe. I don’t know about you, but I always say something that I almost always regret when I’m angry. Needless to say, that break will help me clear my head so that way whenever I choose to tell the person how I feel about the situation at hand, I can do it with a clear head.

This is why taking the time to just breathe can probably save relationships.

So, while that notification may ding in your pocket with your friend that you’re mad at/significant other that you are arguing with, it may be worth it to leave them on read. For now at least. After all, there’s always tomorrow — or whenever you’re ready.

Why It’s Important to Have a Positive Attitude

It’s Monday, but I’m still recovering from last week. Last week was one of those weeks. You know, the kind that always seem to drag you below water, when you’re fighting to just float to shore. One of those weeks where everything that could possibly go wrong, well, goes wrong and you just want to crawl into a corner and cry for days on end.

During these times, it can be so easy to be negative about your circumstances and experiences. For many, it’s their go to. It’s easy to go on and on about the things that are not going right, it is almost as if it overshadows the super awesome thing that happened earlier in the day.

Case in point, on Wednesday, I won a giveaway at my local Starbucks for a free holiday drink and a holiday cup. For me, that was like hitting the lotto, because not only do I love the fact that holiday drinks have arrived for the next few months, I also love the fact that I got a free reusable coffee cup so I can try bringing coffee in from home without using my ceramic one. Or, even better, leaving the cup of coffee at work for coffee.

Needless to say, I was excited.

That little moment nearly made my day. Keep in mind, this was a terrible day. In that moment, I was choosing to be happy about that one little positive outcome, that I nearly (okay not really) forgot about my awful day in the first place.

In my yoga practice, one of the videos tells viewers to recall a moment in their day that did not suck, because truthfully you did not have a bad day, but an event in your day that made it bad. The video goes on to say that our brains have a negativity bias. What does that mean? Well, we tend to overlook the ten positive things that happened in our day, and go directly to the one negative thing that we were told.

In my opinion, having a negative attitude towards things never helps with anything. For instance, the more you dwell on the negative things that happened or the fact that nothing seems to be going right, then you are less likely to focus on the fact that there are some good things that happened in your day.

So, I am going to stop this blog post and ask you all to recall a positive thing that happened today. Even if it’s just a free cup of coffee from the local Starbucks.

Christmas 2019 Wishlist

Can you believe that the holiday season is upon us? Well, the official holiday season begins Black Friday, but with every store out there pushing their Black Friday sales earlier and earlier and every coffee place debuting their holiday flavors, it’s officially the Christmas season.

Now, I’ve watched so many of these videos on YouTube, and I wanted to create my own, because why not? I’m not expecting to get any of these from anyone, but maybe I’ll look to cross these items out to treat myself with. Or, this can also serve as a good reference for someone who is looking for gift ideas for the holiday season.

So without further a due, here’s my 2019 wishlist:

  1. Pandora Charms: In July, I bought a Pandora charm bracelet for myself and started filling it up with some of the newer charms that they had. I had always loved Pandora bracelets, but wanted one that has charms that are important to me now, versus a few years ago. What I like about Pandora is the meaning behind it. My old charm bracelets tell me a story. I can tell you who gave me what charm, and when they gave it to me. And, while I no longer wear that bracelet since it’s too big on me, I still wear one that my mom had, as well as the one she gave me for my 20th birthday. This year, I am loving the paw print heart charm, the cancer sign, and of course, a holiday charm.
  2. Pandora Open Heart Ring: I love the new open heart ring from Pandora (notice a theme here?). Pandora Jewelry for the most part is inexpensive and it lasts a while, and some of their rings are pretty cute. Therefore, I would like to try to add this ring to my collection.
  3. Stuff for Lucy: I of course will be spoiling Lucy this year, as it’s her first Christmas in my new home. This is on my list because she’s just so important to me. For her, I am planning to buy her a coat to keep her warm on our walks in the colder months, and a stocking full of toys. In the past, my mom and I have always given Maggie a bone for Christmas, and I am thinking that I will do the same for Lucy.
  4. Ring Video Cameras: One of the things that I really want for my home is Ring Video Cameras. I want this because since I do live alone, I hear noises from outside and get nervous about them. What I like about these is that you can look from your phone to see, which makes me feel safer. Furthermore, since I have an Echo Dot in my bedroom. I can see what’s going on outside without having to get out of bed.
  5. Moon Necklace: For our first year anniversary, my boyfriend gave me a necklace with the moon with the date of our anniversary, October 10, 2017. I wanted to eventually get a second one with my mom’s birthday, June 28, 1961 so I can have her close to me whenever I need her.
  6. Alex and Ani Pumpkin Spice Bracelet: I go through phases where I either really love Alex and Ani or they sit in a box. I did see this bracelet last year, and did not get it for whatever reason. This year, I want to try to get this into my collection.
  7. Tiffany Elsa Perretti Bean Necklace: I love the meaning behind this necklace, which is why it’s on my list. I like it because it signals new beginnings, which is what I want 2020 to be.
  8. Coffee: This is a weird one, so please hear me out. I love holiday and fall coffee, so I used to ask my mom every year to put pumpkin spice K-Cups in my stocking so I can drink it until about April. Pumpkin spice is my favorite flavor, so that’s why I have a ton of it to last me for a while.
  9. Laptop Accesories: During the pre-Black Friday sales, I bought a new MacBook Air. I needed a new computer because my older MacBook Pro (which was the older model back in 2014 when I purchased it), was having trouble accessing some sites and needed updates. My biggest fear of updating it was losing all of the data, which included many priceless photos and documents. I also wanted a computer that was more lightweight so I can use for work. I currently use an iPad for clerking and stuff, which is helpful, but I do prefer Microsoft Word over Google Docs, which is what I use on my iPad. The only downside to the new Apple Computers? They don’t come with a disc drive. Or a USB-C drive since Apple computers don’t have . Therefore, I want to get these in due time, since the main purpose of the computer is for blogging, writing documents for work, and the portability aspect to.

As a reminder, please don’t think that I am expecting anyone to actually give me any of these things, but rather these are things I am looking at and wanting to treat myself if the opportunity arises.

So, what’s on your wish list?

Why Getting A Dog Was The Best Thing I Ever Did

I believe that love is a four legged word. Dogs have been a part of my life since the day was born. Growing up, I had two dogs — a beagle named Carla, and a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Maggie.

I’ve written about Maggie when she died last year. Losing Maggie was devastating for me. Since I had gotten her when I was 10, she practically grew up with me. I mean, she was there during my wannabe goth stage.

Since last November (about a month after Maggie died), I wanted to get another dog. It felt like a huge part of my life was missing. While I knew that Maggie truly could never have been replaced, I wanted another furry friend to keep me company. My mom said no, because she wanted to wait until next spring to find a dog, so we did. That is, until my mom passed away in February.

During the first few months after my mom’s death, there was one thing that always seemed to make everything better — visiting my boyfriend’s dogs, Maya and Nala. Dogs have an incredible way of detecting sadness, and they were truly no different. After a while, I began to want one of my own.

Nala

One weekend in September, my boyfriend drove me to the animal shelter to look at a few beagles. I liked beagles because they were both small, and because of Charlie Brown. At the shelter, there were two dogs I was looking at — Abby and Freckles.

When we got to the shelter, I told the volunteers I was looking at both animals and wanted to meet them. They told me that Abby had separation anxiety, and recommended Freckles. When she was brought out, she ran right up to me, and jumped on me. My boyfriend and I took her for a walk, and she was somehow obeying me on the lease already. I loved her — and after she had calmed down, she began to cuddle up to me.

Meeting Lucy for the first time!

So, I decided to put in an application for her.

A week later, she came home with me.

It took us both a little bit of adjusting at first. The biggest was getting used to having to walk a dog pretty regularly since Maggie used to sleep on the couch 90 percent of the time.

All things considered, Lucy has become my best friend. For the first time in a while, I look forward to coming home, just because she’s there waiting for me. On bad days, she is there with puppy kisses. At night, she snuggles up to me and sleeps. And, in the morning, we are always walking around the neighborhood. She makes me laugh when she runs around the house showing off her favorite toys.

Furthermore, she is loved by everyone that comes in her path. My boyfriend considers her to be his own dog, and the three of us spend every weekend together. He also helps me out with her whenever I have to work late — something that she loves. She has met my father’s dogs and bonded with them as well.

I can not truly explain the depth of the relationship between a dog and their human. But, I can say that having a dog has changed my life for the better. Many — including my own mother — have said that dogs are better than humans. Because, during their short lives, they are the most incredible beings. They are empathetic and loyal — and not to mention just downright cute. Not many human beings have that combination, which is why she brings me so much joy. Lucy never took away the grief I am dealing with, but she brings some happiness back to my life.

As I write this, Lucy is running around the house with her ball and bones. Yes, I said bones. I make sure that she has more than enough toys. In our case, it was truly an instance of who rescued who. Which is why bringing her home is one of the best things I had ever done.

Eating My Way Around CT: The Hop Knot

Picture it: a restaurant that has nothing but pretzels. And, this place has all kinds of pretzels — s’mores pretzels, pretzel sandwiches, and flavored pretzels with dipping sauces. As a pretzel lover, this is my idea of heaven. Thanks to the Hop Knot, that place is now heaven on earth.

Recently, the Hop Knot moved into a Hamden location. For all of you Hamdenites out there, this is where the old Duchess and Bruegger’s Bagels is located. The place opened in the last month or two, and I finally had to have a chance to try it one rainy Sunday afternoon.

Now, this isn’t the first time that I had been to the Hop Knot. For those of you who haven’t been there before, they have locations in Southington, Middletown, Storrs, and one in New Hampshire. I went to the Middletown one and I loved their cheese-less veggie sandwich and pretzel Oreos.

This time, I had the Caprese pretzel with sauce, and the s’mores pretzel. The s’mores pretzel was the perfect thing to have on the rainy day, because it was ooey, warm, and gooey. The Caprese one was mixed with pesto and tomatoes. Normally, it has cheese in it, but since I’m lactose intolerant, I did not have it.

Both pretzels were out of this world amazing.

The Hop Knot has a menu that really does have something for everyone. They have ‘knot-dogs,’ which are hot dogs with pretzel, combo pretzels with all different things, and the dessert pretzels. If you’re looking for a regular pretzel, they do have plain ones, garlic basil pretzels, cool ranch, cinnamon sugar, and Asiago Parmesan. This is a good restaurant for the healthy ones, the sweet tooth, and those who carve something salt.

What was also cool about the Hop Knot was the atmosphere. This is not your typical bar. It’s somewhere the family can go to — as it has board games throughout the venue. Furthermore, they are a cool place to go to Sunday night football, as nothing goes with football better than pretzels and beer.

The bottom line? The Hop Knot is one of the most versatile places to go. So, if you’re looking for a different place to eat in the Hamden area, check it out.

*Post Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post, and all opinions are all my own.