What I’m Thankful For This Year

Happy Thanksgiving folks! This Thanksgiving is a little different than Thanksgivings in the past as it’s the first without my mom. However, there are a lot of things that I do have to be thankful for this year. Here is what they are:

  • My mom: 

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Okay so this one is a weird one, because my mom passed away in February. However, I am thankful for all of the good memories that we did get to share together. I am also grateful for the fact that as a single mom, she always made sure that I had lights, heat and running water. She also made sure that I had a working car and that I graduated college without the burden of student loans — something that I am still grateful for today. Although it’s the first Thanksgiving without her, I still remember all of the good memories of her.

  • My Boyfriend: 

Going through the stages of grief is definitely one that’s not easy and is isolating. It is also overwhelming and sends me on an emotional rollercoaster everyday. I am going to be honest, it’s not something that many people would want to stand by me.

What I am even more grateful for is all that he does for me and Lucy. He has been so helpful with taking care of Lucy during the day by walking her, and taking her out. He also helps me with errands, and makes sure that if I need support or someone to talk to, I get it. I don’t like to swoon, but I think that I am a pretty lucky girl to have him in my life.

  • Lucy:

A little over two months ago, I adopted a crazy little beagle/Jack Russell Terrier mix named Lucy. In the past two months, she has definitely become my best pal. When I lost my dog Maggie last year, I never thought that I would get another dog. That became true when my mom died.

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As a dog lover, not having a dog was hard on me. Getting Lucy was one of the best things that ever happened to me because she helps me feel less lonely and she always manages to make me feel loved. I know that I rescued her, but in our situation, it’s a who rescued who kind of situation.

  • Friends:

This year, I have figured out who my true friends are, and am so thankful for the endless support that I have received since my mother’s death. I got the opportunity to reconnect with several old friends and strengthened some. I got to see a lot of my friends for both Friendsgiving, as well as my 25th birthday — something that I’m really grateful for.

  • Family:

This year, I’ve needed the support of my family more than ever. I was lucky to strengthen and reconnect with many of my family members at the time of my mother’s death. This makes me feel grateful, because I know I have people to turn to in my time of need.

  • Books:

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I am so grateful to have the opportunity to have as many books as I have at my disposal. Reading has become something that helps me destress during long days, and to learn something new. Furthermore, reading is something that changed my life because it gives me the skills to grow into a stronger person thanks to the many self help books that I read this year.

What are you thankful for? Please let me know in the comments below.

What I Love Wednesday: November 27th

It is the night before Thanksgiving and many of you reading this are home with family or on your way home to be with family. Meanwhile, I plan to spend the night watching It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown with my real life beagle, Lucy. However, I am looking forward to sharing some of the things that I am loving this week:

Garnier Skin Active Water Rose 24 Hour Moisture Cream:

I recently tried out this lotion after reading about it in Cosmo! magazine, and I really like it. The winter has taken its toll on my skin, and it caused me to have dry skin. However, I can never find a cream that works for me. Enter this in. I love how it makes my skin a lot more moisturized, and less dry. Furthermore, it also keeps my skin from feeling too oily – something that I really like.

Disney Plus: 

Everyone seems to love Disney Plus, and I am a part of that. I love having classic Disney Channel shows and movies, as well as classic Disney movies at my disposal. Needless to say, I’ve been watching this a ton to unwind. Enter nostalgia.

David’s Tea: 

I have been making more and more teas at home lately as a way to save money and time. I have been drinking a lot of the iced tea, the calming teas, and the seasonal ones such as the Gingerbread Blondie or the Peppermint. In addition to saving money, it also has a lot less sugar and calories than a pumpkin spiced latte.

Good As Hell by Lizzo: 

This song has been my jam lately. It is definitely one of those tunes that seems to put me in a good mood. Of course, it easily gets stuck in my head. However, this song is awesome, and I highly recommend that you listen to it.

Recent Reads: 

I have been reading a lot of really good books lately. I read Get A Life Chloe Brown and When The Stars Lead to You, both of which were Book of the Month picks. I’m currently What If It’s Us and that’s definitely one that I am enjoying reading. And, after a reading slump, this is a welcome change.

Book of the Month Review: Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

It’s been a while since I wrote a Book of the Month review, so I decided to start the week off with one. This month, I picked out Get A Life Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert.

Get A Life Chloe Brown is about Chloe, who suffers from fibromyalgia. At the beginning of the novel, Chloe experiences a near death experience. At that point, she decides that she was going to get a life. She constructs a list, and she begins to get a life.

Well, kinda.

She first starts out by moving out of her parents’ house.

She then meets Red, the building superintendent by day and an artist at night. Chloe spies on him every night and watches him paint. At first, the two don’t get along. Over time, he looks over her list, and of course, the two fall in love with each in the process.

Now, let’s talk about the book. What I liked about this book is that it’s definitely a novel that is more diverse. I loved that it talked about fibromyalgia, which is something that definitely isn’t talked about more. I came away from the novel knowing a lot more about the disease. That is something that I truly love about reading – that I come away from the novel knowing much more than I did going into it.

The relationship between Chloe and Red was amazing and well done as well. I swooned as he began to fall for her, and as the two progressed in the relationship. At first, the two hated each other. Overtime, the two began to fall for each other – which was an amazing thing for the reader to see. However, what I liked about it is that it wasn’t overdone. Some novels the romance can be over kill, but this definitely didn’t have it.

I also loved how the two had a troubling past that they had to overcome. For Chloe, it was falling in love with Red and trying to grasp the fact that he’s not going to leave despite her disease. For Red, it’s learning to let go of his past and realizing that it’s okay to love again.

I also loved how nerdy Chloe was. Out of all of the books that I read this year, Chloe Brown was one of my favorite characters. She has this disease, yet she also designed websites and still managed to live independently.

One thing that I wish the novel portrayed more was the relationship between Chloe and her sisters since they were so close. I get it that it’s her point of view, but I thought that would have been interesting to see them interact.

Overall, I loved this book. If you’re looking for a good romantic read, be sure to check out Get a Life Chloe Brown.

 

Ways To Save Money

Lately, I’ve been trying to evaluate my spending and saving habits thanks to watching spending videos on YouTube regularly. Since then, I began to change how I spend my money to not only save money, but to use it in better ways.

One of the biggest challenges of saving is feeling deprived. But, if you’re smart, you can still feel fulfilled — just with more money in your piggy bank. Here are some fun ways to save money:

  • Have a conversation with yourself before you press add to cart: This is one of the struggles that I have constantly. It’s so easy to purchase items online without thinking about them until it’s too late. However, one thing that I have been doing is having an inner dialogue with myself about whether or not I need the item. I do this by adding to cart, and then waiting a day until I actually purchase it. Since Black Friday is coming up, I am trying to plan my purchases by researching all of the stores that I want to get stuff from, and trying to withstand all of the sales. But, the biggest conversation with yourself should constantly be: do I need this? Or, if you don’t, the answer should be whether or not treating yourself will prevent you from reaching your goals or paying your bills. If the answer is no, then do so. If the answer is yes, then hold off.
  • Coupon: I am the coupon queen. I try to buy more items on coupons and on clearance than anything else. So, if there is something that you want or need to buy, one thing that you can do is research coupons that the store has on the site, sign up for the email address, and get the apps. Trust me, you’ll find a lot of savings.
  • Make More At Home: One of the biggest money sucks is buying food. How many of us have a fridge full of food at home, yet decide to do takeout for whatever reason? Sure, it’s easier to do things that way. However, it’s not cost effective. The same is true with my Starbucks addiction. If a latte is $5 a day times five it’s $25. That’s $100 a month just on coffee. One suggestion I have? Make coffee at home, and eat the food in the fridge. Then, once a week, treat yourself to a night of takeout. Trust me, it’s worth it.
  • Start cleaning out your closet: My final tip is to go through your closet every once in a while. How many of us have stuff that just doesn’t work for us anymore? Or, items that you don’t even wear? I am definitely one of those people. One thing that I have been doing is going through my unused items, and then bringing them to be sold at the consignment shop. It’s good because it supports local business and I get a little extra cash. Win, win.

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?