Blowing in the Wind

This has been an exciting week. Along with all of the regular back-to-school stuff that comes along with the return of the teaching staff, I had some pretty big news: I have a new job. Yaaa!!! I am going to be moving to a nearby middle school campus, where I will work as the Academic Dean. I am SO excited! I am getting to move back to my first love of middle school, and I will be spending my whole days devoted to academics, curriculum, and instruction – the work that I want to do, where I believe I can shine. I’m pretty pumped – I’m looking forward to the new challenge. 🙂

However, as happens with most times of change, my heart is heavy about leaving my current position. I have spent the last four years here at my current school, and to say that it has become my home would be a tremendous understatement. The people who work here have become my family, and I respect them and admire them more than I can possibly state – I love them dearly, and think they are an extraordinarily talented group of educators. They’re awesome! Over the years, we have had our squabbles and our moments, but we have come together and supported each other through everything – and I will miss them. I had hoped to stay here for a whole bunch more years, but the past year hasn’t been so great…and I knew that it was time for a change. Change is good – I need to keep reminding myself of this. 🙂

Speaking of change, the coast of Texas is undergoing some massive weather this weekend – Hurricane Harvey will be hitting land soon, and staying for awhile…We’re expecting some wild weather here in San Antonio as well. Think happy thoughts for us as we prepare for this weather…I am praying for safety for everyone, especially the people down at the coast.

Be careful out there.

Xxx

PS: I posted this a couple of years ago prior to the start of the school year – I wanted to share it with you once again, it’s such a good reminder:

What Students Really Need to Hear

Posted by CHASEMIELKE on MARCH 8, 2014

It’s 4 a.m.  I’ve struggled for the last hour to go to sleep.  But, I can’t.  Yet again, I am tossing and turning, unable to shut down my brain.  Why?  Because I am stressed about my students.  Really stressed.  I’m so stressed that I can only think to write down what I really want to say — the real truth I’ve been needing to say — and vow to myself that I will let my students hear what I really think tomorrow.

This is what students really need to hear:

First, you need to know right now that I care about you. In fact, I care about you more than you may care about yourself.  And I care not just about your grades or your test scores, but about you as a person. And, because I care, I need to be honest with you. Do I have permission to be honest with you — both in what I say and how I say it?

Here’s the thing: I lose sleep because of you.  Every week.

Before I tell you why, you should understand the truth about school. You see, the main event of school is not academic learning. It never has been. It never will be. And, if you find someone who is passionate in claiming that it is about academics, that person is lying to himself or herself and may genuinely believe that lie. Yes, algebra, essay writing, Spanish, the judicial process —  all are important and worth knowing. But they are not the MAIN event.

The main event is learning how to deal with the harshness of life when it gets difficult — how to overcome problems as simple as a forgotten locker combination, to obnoxious peers, to gossip, to people doubting you, to asking for help in the face of self-doubt, to pushing yourself to concentrate when a million other thoughts and temptations are fingertips away.

It is your resilience in conquering the main event — adversity — that truly prepares you for life after school. Because, mark my words, school is not the most challenging time you will have in life. You will face far greater challenges than these. Sure, you will have times more amazing than you can imagine, but you will also confront incomparable tragedy, frustration, and fear in the years to come.

But, you shouldn’t be worried about the fact that you will face great adversities. You should be worried because you’re setting yourself up to fail at overcoming them. Here’s the real reason I lose hours of sleep worrying about you: You are failing the main event of school. You are quitting.  You may not think you are quitting, but you are because quitting wears many masks.

For some, you quit by throwing the day away and not even trying to write a sentence or a fraction because you think it doesn’t matter or you can’t or there’s no point. But it does. What you write is not the main event. The fact that you do take charge of your own fear and doubt in order to write when you are challenged — THAT is the main event.

Some of you quit by skipping class on your free education. Being punctual to fit the mold of the classroom is not the main event of showing up. The main event is delaying your temptation and investing in your own intelligence — understanding that sometimes short-term pain creates long-term gain and that great people make sacrifices for a greater good.

For others, you quit by being rude and disrespectful to adults in the hallway who ask you to come to class. Bowing to authority is not the main event. The main event is learning how to problem solve maturely, not letting your judgement be tainted by the stains of emotion.

I see some of you quit by choosing not to take opportunities to work harder and pass a class, no matter how far down you are. The main event is not getting a number to tell you you are worthy. The main event is pulling your crap together and making hard choices and sacrifices when things seem impossible.  It is finding hope in the hopeless, courage in the chasm, guts in the grave.

What you need to see is that every time you take the easy way out, you are building a habit of quitting. And it will destroy your future and it will annihilate your happiness if you let it.   Our society cares nothing for quitters.  Life will let you die alone, depressed, and poor if you can’t man or woman up enough to deal with hardship.  You are either the muscle or the dirt.  You either take resistance and grow stronger or blow in the wind and erode.

As long as you are in my life, I am not going to let quitting be easy for you.  I am going to challenge you, confront you, push you, and coach you.  You can whine.  You can throw a tantrum.  You can shout and swear and stomp and cry.  And the next day, guess what?  I will be here waiting — smiling and patient — to give you a fresh start.  Because you are worth it.

So, do yourself a favor: Step up.  No more excuses.  No more justifications.  No blaming.  No quitting.  Just pick your head up.  Rip the cords out of your ears.  Grab the frickin’ pencil and let’s do this.

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Day Drinkin’

I spent a recent afternoon at a distillery. This, if you know me IRL, doesn’t sound like that far-fetched of an activity — but it kind of was at this time of year, when I am knee deep in preparations for the upcoming academic year, and I’ve been trying to do all that I can to be efficient at work and make my tough situation better. However, every now and then a girl has to just say screw it and go drink some vodka in the afternoon.

I had purchased a Groupon for a tour of Artisan on Alamo Distillery here in San Antonio a number of months back. After some email exchanges with a super nice guy named Nick, I had my booking for a 4:00pm tour. Upon arrival downtown, I walked in to a very cool, unpretentious looking small bar, with interesting seating and cool light fixtures (I’m obsessed with light fixtures). Nick introduced himself, checked me in and scanned my Groupon, handed me a set of souvenir glasses and said we’d be starting shortly. A few other people drifted in, making up our motley crew of vodka drinkers, and Nick began teaching us his art.

Let’s start with that, shall we? This dude is an artist….not just with the pieces he has created to decorate the place, but in the spirits that he’s making. He has come up with a way to make vodka out of the cacti that grow rampant around here. I’m serious. Cactus vodka. And, before you traditionalists turn up your sweet, snobby noses, listen to me for a moment: it’s delicious. And a brilliant idea. And I, too, am jealous as hell that I didn’t think of it. GREAT job, Nick! Anyway, I, getting ahead of myself – back to the tour.

Nick explained the theories and ideas behind the art of distilling, and how he came into this line of work. (I’m not sure if he refers to it as a calling or not, but he should) He answered questions, kept the flow going, and was an excellent host. He took us into the back area, showed us the cacti he harvests and uses, and demonstrated the fermentation process. Next, we saw the stills he had going, and he did a brilliant job of breaking down the chemistry of the operation into something that could be easily understood by a bunch of day drinkers in south Texas. From there, we went to his bottling station, where he filled a bottle, capped that bad boy, and had a label slapped on it in less than a minute. He explained that he does that part of the distribution operation himself, so no wonder efficiency is key.

Spike Vodka was the product made from prickly pear cactus, and it had a lovely taste, reminiscent of tequila, perhaps. He gave us taste samples of his products straight, which is the only way to taste vodka if you ask me. As well, he offered suggestions of different ways to drink them (he suggested Spike, for example, in a Bloody Mary, and let me tell you, I cannot wait to give that a whirl – except I’m Canadian, so I will be making mine a Caesar and using Clamato juice and calling it a day) and explained how the different flavors pair well with different things. The other vodka we sampled, Texas Pride, was a really delicious, straight forward vodka that didn’t quite have the richness of flavors that was present in the Spike, but would certainly be an excellent choice for preparing mixed drinks.

At the end of the tour, I ordered a couple drinks from the bar – it was Happy Hour, and I was damn happy to be there! The drinks were delicious (I had a coconut concoction that was so delightful from beginning to end that I weep at the memory of it), and the bar was really relaxed, a great place to end the day. I decided to buy a bottle of Spike to bring home (those Caesars and Bloody Marys won’t make themselves), and Nick was kind enough to sign the bottle for me. Love that. ❤️

If you’re in the area, please go and give this place a try – you won’t be disappointed. As well, you can buy both Texas Pride and Spike at Total Wine and other liquor stores, so please give them a whirl and support a local business. You’ll be getting a yummy product, and supporting your own community. Everybody wins!

Cheers!

Xxx

PS: Click here to read a San Antonio Current feature on this place – yaa!!!

For Real

I’m going to need you to look at this, and I’m going to need you to read it seriously-it perfectly expresses my feelings right now: 

(From Rolling Stone Magazine)

Republicans Must Tell Trump to Go – Now

History won’t judge them kindly if they stand by the president

 By Jesse Berney

Forget impeachment. Forget Robert Mueller’s investigation. Forget Russia. Well, don’t forget them, but put them to the side for a moment. Investigations and impeachments and Senate trials take time, and we don’t have time any more. The president has to go now, and it’s up to his fellow Republicans to get him to leave.

On Tuesday, the president of the United States said there were good people marching alongside the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

We can’t have a president who says good people march with Nazis. We just can’t. We have so much work to do on race in this country, so many people who need to understand the depth of systemic racism that pervades every aspect of society. We need dialog and understanding, but right now we’re in an emergency, and this guy has to go.

It can’t just be up to liberals and leftists to make this call anymore. It’s not enough for Republicans like Speaker Paul Ryan to issue generic statements denouncing racism. We have a racist president. Every elected official needs to denounce him by name.

But even that doesn’t go far enough. It’s time, after nearly 30 weeks with him in office stomping on the Constitution and basic human decency, to demand his resignation. Every time we thought there were no more lines for him to cross, he finds a bright red one and leaps over it.

This can’t be a partisan issue any more. At some point all but the most extreme Republicans have to be able to recognize a national emergency when they see one. If not now, when? If this president isn’t unfit for the office after what he said Tuesday, who would be?

Will it work? Would Trump go? It’s tough to predict, but never forget how sensitive Trump is to criticism. With enough pressure from the entirety of the political structure in this country, including a refusal to work with him, he might dig in – but he just might give up and go back to running his real estate empire. Even someone as self-delusional as he is can only face so much pressure to resign before giving in.

Hell, Republicans, you could even come out ahead in the political calculus. Making Trump resign would be a momentary embarrassment for the party, but you’d end up with Mike Pence, a bedrock conservative who will sign your giant tax cuts for the wealthy and not call you names on Twitter. I know you’re afraid of your party’s primary voters, but sometimes you have to do what’s right for the country rather than yourself.

It certainly isn’t a difficult moral question. What Donald Trump said in his press conference Tuesday was so awful, so contrary to all notions of basic human decency, that it immediately makes him utterly unfit to be president.

Sure, he’s been unfit all along – stupid and cruel and corrupt and craven. But this is different, and this is worse. It’s unprecedented in the history of the modern presidency. We’ve had presidents of both parties whose policies disproportionately hurt people of color. We’ve have presidents who use dog whistles and political strategies to appeal to white voters’ racial resentment.

But even these presidents could speak eloquently against hate and extremism when it reared its head. None of them ever looked at a crowd of racists bearing torches, shouting, “Jews will not replace us,” and declared there were good people among them.

A good person shouts back. Immediately. Trump took three days to denounce the most extreme marchers, then one day later undid what little good he had done with his reluctant remarks. He stood at a microphone and praised people who stood with neo-Nazis and the KKK.

There’s no question what’s right for the country. President Trump must resign as soon as possible. And he will not do so without political pressure from the people in his own party. History will look back at this moment, and it will not judge kindly the people who couldn’t muster the decency to do the right thing.

Republicans, if you believe in America, if you believe in the decency of our people, then your path is clear. Tell Trump to resign. Make the call so loud and so universal he cannot ignore it.

And if he clings to power in the face of massive pressure from all sides, then you can impeach his ass.

It’s time to stop the insanity, to right our wrongs, and to put this country – and world – on a peaceful path. It’s time. All of us, regardless of color, deserve it.
Xxx

Teach Me Tonight

It's not terribly surprising that I have worked most of my life in Education, as I am a person who absolutely LOVES learning. I am always trying to pick up something new (whether I've talent or aptitude for it at all), and I can't imagine a day without learning something. I have done yoga off and on for years, and I've decided that I would like to kick my yoga practice up a notch (and kick my fat arse in gear at the same time), so I'm thinking about embarking on my yoga teaching certification. I highly doubt that I will EVER use it professionally (I somehow doubt people will want to sign up for a class taught by someone as fluffy as me), but I think it would be fun, and good for my soul….and there ain't nothing wrong with that. 🙂

Something else that I want to learn is the art of lettering – like this:

Despite my mad love of all things art and artistic, I have next to no skills in this department, so this is stepping WAY outside of my comfort box! However, those are the things that make me feel most alive – when I am hanging on a ledge with no clue what I am doing, I feel like my heart is actually beating for a purpose…and I LOVE it. There is an introduction class currently available online from Brit+Co, and I am going to sign myself up for that one. It's safe to try something new in the privacy of your own home, where no one is around to catch the feeble early efforts. I'm excited! Who knows? Maybe I will have some wild inner talent for this and will soon be able to decorate my home (and yours!) with pretty projects??! Okay, I know it's not very likely, but…it sure is fun to dream. 🙂

What kinds of things are you learning, ,friends? If you happen to be mastering the fine art of cooking, please be sure to let me know…I promise to offer my taste-testing skills any time you want! 🙂

Xxx

Vincent


Vincent Van Gogh is my very favorite artist of all time. I have traveled far and wide to see his works, and I never fail to be moved to tears by the beauty of his artistry. The Irving Stone bio of Vincent's life (Lust for Life) is one of my all-time favorite books, and I read it religiously at least once a year…and I cry every single time. I could talk about Vincent, his life and his work (the two being practically interchangeable anyway) for hours – so imagine my absolute delight when I heard about the upcoming movie 'Loving Vincent', told entirely through animated oil paintings…check out the trailer below, it's going to be incredible:
https://youtu.be/k8xcLdOjX6w

I cannot wait! I bet I will cry again….oh well…. 😉

Xxx

Remember When

I made a super-quick trip home to Canada this past weekend for my nephew’s wedding, and let me tell you I made the absolute most of my 56 hours in the country! I slept less than 15 of those hours (apparently sleeping is for wimps when I’m home), leaving me with about 41 hours to enjoy my peeps! I spent time with my spirit animal Soupsie, I saw my other BFFs (EJ, G-NA, etc), caught up with my favorite cousins, and was reunited with my Wee One for the weekend. Yaa! Of course I got to see my brother and his fam jam – I really love the family that he has made, and I absolutely envy what they’ve got going on there. They are a lovely family – I’m glad that he has that.

The most interesting thing that I noticed this weekend was that I become a completely different person when I am at home – this was the first time that I REALLY noticed it, even though I’m sure it has always been that way. I become the very best me that I think I have inside, and I wish that I could keep that up all the time. Maybe the thing is that I don’t feel like I have to try as hard as I do when I’m here, as I will be surrounded by unconditional love regardless. As well, I love the collective sense of humor up there – these folks get my jokes without requiring an explanation complete with hand gestures and interpretive dance moves. I love that.

I managed to catch a few snippets of the news whilst at home, which delighted my soul. Watching the American television coverage of the disaster that has become the government in this country is pretty much guaranteed to ruin your day. However, the impartial eyes of the North bring a lot of clarity to the insanity down here – I’m going to continue to try to stream my beloved CBC (and BBC) online. It’s time to Susan Powter this shit and stop the insanity.

Here’s a quick look at some of the things that I saw:

Overall, it was such a good weekend, and I absolutely sobbed when the plane pulled away from the terminal on Monday morning. I love being home, and I so miss the people and the – actually, I miss the everything. I will just leave it at that. 🙂

Before I go, here’s Ed Sheeran singing about his home – he gets it. 🙂

Have a good day, friends!

Xxx

Love Story

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I have a good friend from work who is madly in love. He and his lady have been together about four years, and they are more into each other now than ever. He is crazy about her – a picture of her is his screensaver on his phone, he talks about her all the time, he moved heaven and earth to help her find a job this spring (that part actually made me feel a bit weird, tbh – she’s a competent woman, she could do that on her own…but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t want someone to help me!)…he proposed in grand fashion last November (I wrote about it here), and they decided to have a legal common law marriage enacted while they were saving for their dream wedding, as it made things easier for combining finances etc, but mainly because he didn’t want to go another day without being able to call her his wife. It’s unbelievable how romantic these two are. And I can hardly get a man to acknowledge me in public and return my texts. Huh.
Some folks are really good at expressing love – others, well, not so much. Psychology Today offers this suggested list for those people:
10 Ways to Express Love
Keep love alive from wedding day to every day with spouse, family, and friends.

Love is a choice as much as it is a feeling or a decision. Those who give love receive love. Recently we have seen research talking about conflict resolution and conflict recovery in terms of lasting romantic relationships. Each of the studies had me rethinking the work of Elizabeth Schoenfeld, a researcher at the University of Texas, Austin, who revealed that men and woman show love through affection – but that each takes a different tact.

Wives did so “by enacting fewer negative or antagonistic behaviors, husbands showed love by initiating sex, sharing leisure activities, and doing household work together with their wives.” Love Knows No Gender Difference – Health Information – Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Ten Ways to Express Love

Here are 10 ways to express love to your special someone, your friends, family, children. By expressing love we bring ourselves joy knowing that love is not just a Valentine moment, but an ongoing, free flowing experience that enriches our lives.

Express gratitude. Tell someone how much you appreciate their presence in your life.

Send flowers for no reason other than to say “Thank you for being you.”

Set aside time to give the gift of listening. Make a date if you must, in your own home or at a quiet little neighborhood place, for coffee or a drink and just listen to each other’s thoughts.

Keep anger at bay. During stressful times think of this image. If an ember flies from a fireplace onto your rug, it will burn a hole. Flick it off immediately and the rug is safe.

Be thoughtfully generous with gifts. Remember what is special about a person in your life and buy gifts that are unique to them. I had to forgo a trip to Paris because it conflicted with a business meeting in San Diego. My sister purchased a designer umbrella picturing the Seine, the Pont Neuf, and the Eiffel Tower as a reminder that there will always be another time for Paris.

Order fortune cookies with love sayings or Italian Baci candies with love notes and keep a glass jar in your home filled with them. You might also intersperse with gratitude sayings.

Offer an act of kindness. Say to your love or someone you care about, “What can I do for you today that will make your life easier and less stressful?” Then do it.

Write a note and send it via the U.S. Mail. Here’s a simple start: “I am so grateful that you are in my life. I love you for a million reasons. Here are the top three.”

Make time to be together for events that bring you both pleasure.

Be forgiving. We all have quirks. When one surfaces that makes you want to scream, either gently say something or switch to the positive-quality channel.

In the book, “Around the Year with Emmet Fox: A Book of Daily Readings,” Fox challenges us to make this commitment by saying: “I have chosen the path of Love. My own heart is to be my workshop, my laboratory, my great enterprise, and love is to be my contribution to humanity.”

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All of these are good ideas, most of them not exactly earth shattering…but I am pretty crazy about the idea of the “positive-quality channel” – I kind of love that, don’t you. It’s so easy (way too easy) to get sucked into the negativity drain that seems to be everywhere around us, instead of focusing on the things that are going right. This is something that I have been working so hard on – I don’t know if I’m making progress or not, but I am trying. I really took it to heart when I heard this gem: is it better to be right or to be happy? I’ve always HAD to be right (because I usually am 😜)…being right mattered so much. I wanted to be the smart one who does everything right – and I’ve no idea why I ever cared. Being right fills me with indignant satisfaction, which can feel nice in the moment – but happy makes me fuzzy and lasts a much longer time. I like happy.

This morning at a back-to-school event, I ran in to a woman I used to work for. She’s the devil incarnate, and I cringed inside as I saw her approaching me. The look on her face as she saw me, though, was pretty much the best thing ever: she looked like she was looking for a hole she could disappear in, as that option was preferable than having to face me. She looked so miserable – which kind of made me happy. I know that I should never take satisfaction in the misery of others, but I kind of did this morning. She looked like she felt something at the sight of me – I doubt it was remorse for all of the massively shitty things she did to make my life a living hell, but…it was something. Which is good enoug for me. 🙂

 

Wherever you go today, I hope that you are loving someone…and that they are loving you. Out loud. With a picture of you on their phone and everything. 🙂

xxx,

If You Could Read My Mind

I’m a voracious reader, always have been. This summer alone, I’ve read about 20 books – only one of them pertained to work/educational matters…the rest were for pleasure. How delightful!! I read a lot of online publications as well, including New York magazine...which I find pretty great most of the time. I am, however, becoming more and more obsessed with The Strategist, their shopping/style/everything you need in your life guide – you must check it out!

Here’s a recent post of theirs on the Best Back-to-School stuff, and another on stuff that their editors are buying – I am constantly finding new products and new ideas at every price point. Love! Today, they posted some stuff that Lena Dunham can’t live without (I do enjoy how real her list is, bless her heart):
What Lena Dunham Can’t Live Without
By Lena Dunham

If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked Lena Dunham about the Joe Boxer underpants and Glutino whole-wheat crackers she can’t live without, on the occasion of the August 1 release of Jenny Zhang’s Sour Heart, the first book from Dunham and Jenni Konner’s new Lenny imprint.

So the way I got into Joe Boxer underwear was that I was staying at a hotel — there was some construction happening at my house — and I needed to Postmates some underwear. I ended up ordering from Kmart, and I said, “Just bring me a six-pack of anything.” What arrived was a pack of Joe Boxers. I love a slightly baggy, but fun underpant, and that is what came to me. Joe Boxer was cool and hip when I was 12, and now it’s a Kmart property. Leaving aside the ethical implications of that, I fucking love the underwear. I now order the string bikini brief in a large, even though a medium might be more supportive of my butt, but this gives me a little tail. A six-pack of three solids and three patterns for me is the perfect balance.
BUY
Joe Boxer Women’s 6-Pack Low-rise String Bikini Panties — Assorted
$7, Kmart


I am not in a position, at the age of 31, to be limping around Manhattan in a French slide that is actually causing me massive blisters. I just can’t pretend anymore. These Cole Haan sneakers have taken over my life. I wear them basically every day. They look like a cute tennis shoe, but they have a very supportive insole. You can throw them in the washing machine. And they finish any outfit off in a fun country-club style. I have them in black; they’re kind of the equivalent of a little French child’s shoe, which is a look I’m always chasing. They don’t have ostentatious branding either; I don’t need that in my life right now.
BUY
Cole Haan Women’s GrandPrø Tennis Sneaker
$130, Cole Haan


This was sent to me as a celebrity freebie, and I went through a phase, it was so dark, where I would just eat things that could support this ghee: a hamburger with some ghee on it, rice with ghee in it. Because ghee is used in Ayurvedic medicine, it felt sort of healthy, and my boyfriend had to be like, “You know you’re eating straight butter.” I gained like ten ghee pounds, but it was so delicious, especially the Himalayan-salt-flavored one.
BUY
4th & Heart Himalayan Pink Salt Grass-fed Ghee Butter
$9, Amazon

I’m very into snacks. I need to eat while I write, and this is something I feel like I can eat throughout the day and feel a little less deranged about — as opposed to, say, if I were just eating Cheetos. Things I put on my Glutino crackers include Kite Hill dairy-free cheese, almond butter — sometimes I eat a Glutino cracker by itself and wash it down with ginger ale, which is just the most luxurious in-bed combination.
BUY
Glutino Gluten-Free Crackers, Multigrain, Pack of 6
$30, Amazon


I like anything that’s a shortcut to being clean. I don’t want to shower that much; I don’t want to wash my face. When I’m shooting, I can’t be expected to get home at 11 p.m. and do a full facial cleansing. But I can wipe the crap out of my face until it’s bright red with these delicious natural cleansing wipes. They come in a chic little black package, and I keep them in my purse. I love that it’s founded by this woman who has a really cute and sexy Instagram — it makes me feel like I’m part of a whole “I don’t want to wash my face” movement. I’ve also been known to use them in my armpits.
BUY
Lauren Napier Facial Wipes
$20, Revolve Clothing


I have endometriosis, which I am very vocal about, and this heating pad is my biggest pain-reduction tool. It’s more expensive than your average heating pad, but it has a real weight to it. I’ll wrap it around my whole torso, and since I’m cold all the time, sometimes I rest it under my feet, which is a real luxury. My mom actually introduced me to it — she had shoulder issues — and she was like, “Welcome to the world of Battle Creek.” Anytime I have a friend diagnosed with endometriosis, I send them one of these.
BUY
Battle Creek Heating Pad
$58, Amazon


I wouldn’t recommend anyone stay at the hospital for 17 days, but I would say the primary benefit are the socks they give you: They are amazing. So soft. They feel like they’ve been worn 1,000 times, even when they’re fresh out of the package. They’re terry cloth, and they have treads, so you don’t slip on the hospital floor when you’re taking a constitutional. The thing is, who doesn’t need that in their apartment, too? They’ve replaced slippers for me 100 percent. You just can’t be bothered by the slightly morose aspect of it.
BUY
Silvert’s Senior Care Nonskid Hospital Socks
From $8, Amazon


My friend Paul introduced me to Salonpas strips — they reduce inflammation if, say, you pull your back out, or have cramps, or if you do something on set and hurt your wrist or ankle. I love anything that involves a tingle — like if you take a B12 vitamin and your face turns red, or eat shellfish and get a slight allergic reaction. That’s what this feels like.
BUY
Salonpas Pain Relieving Patches
$10, Amazon

Here are a few of my favorite new things this month (not nearly as diverse/random or entertaining as Lena’s, but…she’s light years ahead of me on the hip scale):

This new hoop I got in my daith piercing the other day:

The doctor told the Wee One that she needed to take a Calcium supplement – I need to do so as well (because aging sucks), so we tried these chocolate chews…they’re yummy:

My obsession with gummi vitamins continues…check out these Vitamin Cs:

This lotion is hands down the best thing I have EVER used to combat my stupid dry skin:

I got two sets of Turkish cotton bath towels – one in pink and one in black. I used these when I lived in England, but had forgotten just how crazy much I loved them:

Finally, I bring you this joy:

I know, I know…will I ever grow up? (It’s doubtful)

Happy Wednesday, friends! 🙂

Paperback Writer

I am a BIG lover of the Bullet Journal concept – I’ve been doing this for about a year, and I feel that it has helped my organization immeasurably. I like having everything all in one place, and I like the visual system that the Bullet Journal model provides. However, I need to do a better job of utilizing some of the long-range planning features of the model — which will be a goal of my upcoming school year, methinks.

Check out this webpage for some insanely creative and beautiful ideas for your Bullet Journal:

These Inspiring Minimalist Bullet Journals Will Brighten Up Your Monday, Stat

by Lindsay Kellner, mbg Sr. Wellness EditorJuly 10, 2017 5:17 AM

Another week, another Monday, midsummer at that (for those of us in the States, anyway)! For many of us, Monday Blues are even more palpable in the summer. After a weekend of sun-soaked fun, it takes every last ounce of willpower to rise early and go into the office, peeling ourselves away from the warmth and sunshine.
Even the best of us need a little inspiration to keep it going. After being seriously inspired by our bullet journal how-to video from this spring, it’s safe to say that minimalist bullet journals have become a new obsession. We pulled the best wellness-forward journals, focusing on technique, goal tracking, and of course a minimalism vibe to give you some ideas on how to tackle all your projects, from the big-picture visionary stuff to the day-to-day to-do lists:
1. A monthly dashboard.
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Photo Credit: @journalspiration

One way to manage your life big-picture—is it time to check back in on those resolutions?—is to create a monthly dashboard. This way, you can carve out some time monthly and make weekly goals based on how your larger goals are changing each month. “Goals” are what you’d love to do, and “Important” is what you have to do or need to remember.
2. A wellness or yoga tracker.
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Photo Credit: @journalspiration

If you’re trying to start a new habit, it takes a renewed commitment every day. Having a tracker that visually shows your progress is like the gold star method, version 2.0.
3. A to-do list and thought container.

Photo Credit: @thegiverwrites

If you watched our video, you already know how to create a basic bullet journal to-do list. On the opposite page, create a catchall for the thoughts you have throughout the day, especially if you’re juggling more than one project. Chances are that productive thoughts pop up about Project B while you’re still working on Project A. Plop them here so you don’t forget and can keep chugging along without stopping to deliberate.

  1. A series of daily goals.
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Photo Credit: @productiveandfree

If your monthly vision is set in your mind, write down a series of daily goals to get you at least one step closer by the end of the month. Even if the daily goals are super small, like “spend five minutes reading about personal finance,” every little bit counts! Consistency wins, always.

  1. A running weekly to-do list.

Photo Credit: @journalspiration

Pictured on the right-hand side, this running to-do list of things needed daily that come to mind and can be written in as you think of them. This is helpful if you’re extremely busy, if your days and weeks look different, and/or if you’re a “list person” who just needs a place to keep track of it all.

  1. A food diary.
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Photo Credit: @daintilynoted

This bullet journaler has been trying to get into shape, starting with diet and a daily goal of walking 10,000 steps. Making it beautiful provides even more motivation to get those steps in!

  1. A daily log…or work of art.


Photo Credit: @feebujo

All right, we know—not everyone is going to have this kind of skill. But we like the idea of adding a little something extra to our daily lists; whether they’re purely decorative or a functional reminder of the “end goal,” a little beauty goes a long way.

  1. A list of happy news from around the world.


Photo Credit: @kacplanner

This one is seriously fantastic. With all of the hardship in our personal, professional, and global lives, it’s too easy to lose sight of our progress. “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times,” is a great reminder.

 

Aren’t these gorgeous???! I know! I don’t have anywhere near the artistic skills that are needed to pull off something like this, but my mind has been whirling (more like creaking along some days!), trying to figure out how I can adapt these ideas and make them work for me. That Happy News idea is friggin’ brilliant, eh? Wow. Love it.  🙂

 

Happy Tuesday, mes amis. – hope your day is off to a great start! 🙂

xxx

Vacation

Hey strangers! Welcome back!

It’s been way too long since we’ve seen each other – and I am sorry about that. Part of the problem was technical difficulties (which I am sure will still take me awhile to get fully fixed — maybe it’s a sign that it’s time for a redesign?), but the bulk of the problem was me. These past few months have been so difficult and so stressful that I didn’t feel positive inside about much…and I didn’t want to inflict that on you. So I stayed quiet, and retreated inside my mind. I’ve spent a lot of time at home, hanging and cuddling with my Wee Muppet. I’ve made significant headway in getting caught up on all of my favorite TV shows on Netflix and Hulu. I’ve embarked on a massive Kondo-style (almost) decluttering of my home (she is totally right about that shit being liberating, btw….but what a nightmare of a process) – while not finished, I’ve made significant progress this summer. I’ve applied for dozens of new jobs – and, while I’ve not had any great results yet, I am trying to be optimistic…as it only takes one person to hire you and change the course of your life. Happy thoughts, friends…happy thoughts. 🙂

How have you spent your vacation, mes amis? I hope that you’ve found wonderful ways to soothe your soul – whether it’s through travel or fun and relaxing staycations. We haven’t ventured far this summer, as we are heading home to Canada later this week for a family wedding – yaa! I’m unreasonably excited about the voyage to the homeland, even if I will only be there for the weekend. Since we had this trip coming up, we didn’t do much for travel this summer other than a quick overnight to Houston, a couple of day trips to Austin, and a visit to the lake about an hour away. Hopefully we will find time to head back to the coast before school begins at the end of August – I always enjoy my trips there so much. I can’t remember if I told you this or not, but back in late April, I decided on a whim to make a quick day trip to Port Aransas/Corpus Christi area…that turned into one of the most fun adventures! We found a new restaurant / hole-in-the-wall with AMAZING food on the island, had a beautiful drive, took a ferry ride (and saw dolphins!!!), and ended up spontaneously deciding to stay overnight in Corpus! Despite the fact that I had no change of clothes other than the random t-shirts in my car, a great time was had by all — especially me. Happiness is heading out on an adventure, with nothing more than a cooler full of ice and Eastciders Blood Orange Cider (heaven, if you are interested in knowing what that tastes like). Happiness. 🙂

I guess I will sign off for now, but I promise to be back super-soon. We will get back to talking about the lovely things in the world around us – something that seems more important now than ever before, don’t you think?

Xxx