5 Easy Ways To Fight The Winter Blues

Have you ever heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) or the winter blues?!? Do you or someone you know get depressed in the colder months of year? If you do are you definitely not alone. In fact it is estimated that nearly 10 million Americans are affected by season depression every year

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Finding ME

Finding ME

I realized sometime last year that I have lost myself over the last few years. I am not the person I was seven years ago before I got sick. It didn’t happen all at once, but slowly somehow I disappeared. I no longer do the things that I used to love. And I would rather stay at home any day rather that going out.

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PRODUCT REVIEW- Carbon Coco Teeth Whitening System

I am sure that you've seen the recent big trend in dentistry all over the internet. The trend I am speaking of specifically is the use of Charcoal Toothpaste to whiten teeth and provide more benefits than other toothpastes. I hadn't done much research on these products as I was hoping the madness would soon die down. Leaving only the top products for more studies and testimonies from customers. In fact up until a few months ago I really had very little knowledge of what Charcoal Toothpaste did and why it had suddenly become so popular. That is until a few months ago when Meg With Carbon Coco reached out to me. They offered me an opportunity to try their product in return for an honest review & that is what I am going to do today. Being that, I had no real knowledge of charcoal toothpaste or Carbon Coco as a whole, I decided to do my research before I jumped on the bandwagon. I was honestly very impressed what I found and by their customer service. One thing I love about the company is that they offer free shipping WORLDWIDE, and they have a love it or leave it policy where they will refund your money if you see no results in 14 days. One of the big reasons I like this company and will continue to support them is that they do no animal testing. More about these offers can be found at the end under the link "Frequently Asked Questions".

According to the Carbon Coco website "Carbon Coco is your holistic alternative to oral health. We have carefully chosen 100% natural ingredients to safely whiten and polish your teeth, strengthen the enamel, detoxify your mouth, and keep your breath fresh without any risk what so ever from harmful chemicals or additives."

After visiting the website and researching their products And ready others testimonials, I was thrilled to get to try it. When my package arrived it contained THE ULTIMATE CARBON KIT. This particular kit comes with the Activated Charcoal Tooth Polish, the Activated Charcoal Tooth Paste and one toothbrush with Bamboo Bristles.

I will admit when I opened the Charcoal Tooth Polish and found it to be very black. At that point I was really starting to wonder if it work for me. I knew it would whiten my teeth, but I was concerned with the texture and taste. I have a major aversions to overly minty tastes and can gag easily from taste or texture. And neither of those are an issue for me.

The black powder is an oxidized version of charcoal and has been found that it works very effectively to whiten teeth. It works so well by removing external stains from the teeth without using any toxic ingredients that are often found in commercial whitening products. This way of whitening teeth helps to promote good oral health, and helps to reduce issues that can cause cavities, gum disease and bad breath. I was also presently surprised to find out that Carbon Coco is 100% natural. It also does not have any toxic preservatives that are found in other whitening products. Per the website the tooth whitener contains 100% Organic Coconut Shell Activates Charcoal with a hunt of bentonite powder and lemon myrtle.

The Carbon Coco's Activated Carbon Toothpaste has a unique formula. The toothpaste has an Activated Charcoal fluoride free formula, that fights cavities, plaque, gingivitis, bad breath, while keeping your mouth feeling refreshed and will replace your everyday toothpaste. Honestly, I'm not sure if the rates of other toothpastes, but this toothpaste reduces bacteria build up by up to 90% for 12 hours!

I was very impressed with the packaging of this kit! Not only were the items clearly labeled, they also provide a a card that had clearly worded instructions on how to use each product. Which you can see below along with pictures of the packaging and products.

Toothpaste Packaging

I used these products religiously for about two weeks. I didn't see any results the first few days. But by the end of the first week! I also started to notice that my breath was much fresher for much longer than any other toothpaste I've tried. And after a few uses my teeth felt as smooth as they do after I have them cleaned by the dentist.

I would not think twice about giving these products 5 stars. The only negative I can find with this product is the mess is makes. (And truth be told I'm sure I could brush my teeth without making as much of a mess!) One thing I did not mention is that there are different size kits that include different products. These kits can be found on the website that is linked below. Overall, I am very very happy with this product and the Carbon Coco team!! Below I am going to share before and after pictures. (It's really hard to get good pictures of your own teeth!). I will also post links to the main Carbon Coco website as well as a link to the Frequently Asked Questions.

Carbon CoCo Website

Frequently Asked Questions

I hope that you enjoyed this review and that some of you decide to try the product!!! If you do please let me know what you think!!!

* Disclaimer: Even though your teeth will feel good, clean and smooth, while also helping to reduce bacteria, a visit to the dentist regularly is still important!

With Love,

Amber

Pick-Me-Up, Pamper, and Prattle by Amy Nora

We will hear that taking care of ourselves can be overindulgent or that you are entitled to it in our society.  Tune out what society says, and as someone with a Chronic Illness here are the facts.  You must utilize self-care.  This means that you cannot run yourself ragged emotionally or physically.  You need to invest in emotional and physical health.  There are days that you must rest, this will prevent you from getting sick.  There are times that you will need to cancel plans; yes this is frustrating, but it is unfortunately our reality.  But, there are things that we can do to help invest into our emotional and physical health with give us strength to fight our chronic illnesses. Emotional health can involve going out with friends, getting away to that quiet place in your home that you love with your favorite beverage, and watching HULU, Netflix, or reading a book.  (I personally prefer a book, but to each his own. 😊)  Go to the movies, take a walk in the park or around your neighborhood, go pet a neighbors cow, or look at the birds that are flying overhead.  Make sure that whatever you do brings a smile to your face, heart, and soul.  It is proven that when sick laughter causes the production of serotonin; find something to laugh about!  Watch a movie, or find that TV series that makes you laugh.  Spend time with your pet, the joy they bring to you is great for your heart and sould.

Your Physical health does not mean that you need to run a marathon.  It can be something as simple as 5 minutes three times a day of some sort of easy exercise, or if you can handle it more.  Yoga, Tai Chi, Walking, Pilates, these are all low impact exercise options that help build strength and help with mobility.  Aquatic therapy is excellent for those with joint issues.  Check with your local community centers and churches, synagogues, or temples to see if they have classes if you are not sure where to start.

Another aspect of your physical health is eating healthy.  Make sure that you are getting 3-5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  Try and eat a healthy balanced diet.  Yet, when you feel awful or are down it is easy to hit that quart of chocolate ice cream (I brought up chocolate ice cream because I went through the 12 step program and I still have problems.  Apparently, they frown on ice cream for 3 meals a day.) in frustration.  Between prednisone and many of the medications that we take for our diseases, weight gain is easy.  While eating healthy won’t prevent it necessarily it does make you feel better.  If you want help with dietary suggestions, check with your local hospital which normally will offer a community class or go to WebMD.com

Remember that while you cannot control everything in life, you can choose to enhance what aspects of your life you can.  Decide today to do what you can to help make a difference.  Even a series of small baby steps over times makes a huge difference.

In Lupie Love,

Amy

What’s In My Hospital Bag- Spoonie Edition

Sadly over the last three years I have spent many days and nights in the hospital. I even took a trip to Mayo for a week and have had a couple overnight trips for treatment. That being said I have what I need in my bag for the hospital down to a science. In fact when I get home from the hospital, I wash the dirty things in the bag and repack it. That way it's always ready and I don't have to rely on my family to try and pack it in a rush. So let's just jump right into what's in my hospital bag. 1. Pajamas/yoga pants- I always have at least one or two full sets of pajamas packed in my bag. Whether I am able to wear them or not I want to have them. And I generally have sets for summer and winter. Because you never know if you will be in a room with a roommate who keeps it at 60 or 80 degree. I also keep usually two sets of yoga type pants and a pair of shorts in the bag, in case I'm on a ward where I can't wear anything but a gown. You just have to have bottoms on, no matter what kind. For me personally I don't feel comfortable wearing only a gown.

2. T-shirts/Tank Tops- I always pack a T-shirt or two (usually short sleeved, maybe one long sleeve) & several tank tops in case they will let me wear them. Most of the time I am on a floor with a heart monitor so I have to wear a gown so they can reach it. But I always keep a couple just in case because to me they are much more comfortable than those darn hospital gowns.

3.Underwear & Bras - I will usually pack at least 6 days worth of underwear because that is the longest I have been in the hospital to date. As far as bras go if I think there is a possibility I will be admitted by my PCP, or that the ER will decide to admit me I will go in with a sports bra on! Then I generally try to pack 1-2 sports bras in my bag. That way I can change every couple days. Sadly, I have to wear a bra. It's uncomfortable feeling for me not to and can be awkward for the nurses if I don't!

4. Personal Care Items- I have a bag within my bag that keeps all of my personal care items in them. I always have deodorant, body soap, shampoo, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, and a hair brush!! I also keep some hair ties, and headbands in my bag as well so I don't have to deal with my hair in my face.

5. Slippers or Flip-flops- This isn't so much a comfort thing for me as much as a way to prevent walking on dirty hospital floor. Hospital/Hotel floors aren't really known for being clean. So I never leave my bed without something on my feet. And most hospitals won't let you walk in the room barefoot due to bare feet being a fall risk! I also always try to shower in flip flops! But obviously that's just a preference for me, and may not be something you need on your list!

6. Entertainment - Most of the time when I'm in the hospital I am in with a Migraine. That being said the TV is often to loud and to bright for me. So I always have my phone, and usually my IPad. Because I have those things with me I always have chargers for both and earbuds. There is also usually a book in my bag in case I'm in with something besides a migraine and feel like reading.

7. Comfort- I've been in the hospital enough times to know that I will find little comfort in their beds. Because of that I always have my own pillow and a small fleece blanket to help me get more comfortable so I can rest more easily.

8. Miscellaneous Items- These are items I don't always have with me for each admission, but are on my list for packing a bag. My CPAP generally doesn't come with me. But if you are in a hospital the expects you to, you should make sure that it is on your list of items to take. This may seem funny but I HATE wearing socks. So I generally keep a pair or two in my bag just in case I have a roommate that keeps the trim like an iceberg! A pair of cheap sunglasses are almost always in my purse or my hospital bag. This is because I generally end up in the hospital with a migraine. And I'm very light sensitive. So I try to always keep a pair in my bag. The last thing I keep in my bag is an old Walmart bag or unused trash bag, to put my dirty clothes in. Finally, one of the most important things I MUST have is an eye mask!

These are only items that I pack for me. Obvious everyone is going to have a different list for themselves. While preparing to write this I polled my friends who also have recently spent time in the hospital for their must haves. This is their list.

9. My fellow spoonies MUST haves: chapstick, Makeup wipes, fill-it-in book, crossword puzzle books, ink pen, maxi pads/tampons (just in case it sneaks up on you while you are in the hospital), cottonel wipes, cup for dentures, glasses and glasses case, contact solution and case if you wear contacts, coloring book and something to color with, a heating pad or rice bag that can be heated up. One friend also said if she is feeling like eating she will sometimes pack some snacks that won't need to be refrigerated.

I hope my sharing this list will help you to figure out what you need in your bag. Even if you don't keep one packed I would highly make a list of the things you would put in your bag should you need one. If you do choose to take some comfort items from home it will make you feel a little less like you are in a sterile environment. Having a list will also make it easier for your family if they should ever have to pack a bag for you. To be honest that was a big reason why I started keeping a bag always packed. It was just to difficult to tell my family exactly where things were that I wanted. And this way the don't have to be digging through my stuff!! That being said, packing a bag or making a list of what you would want in said bag, will make being admitted much less stressful or scary in the future!

With Love,

Amber

Special Thanks to Missy and Christall for sharing your personal lists with me!!

Finding Self Acceptance

In general a person's feeling of belonging starts with self acceptance! In fact a person's level of belonging, can never be greater than your level of acceptance. This helps you to believe that you're enough and also gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable, and imperfect!

Finding a feeling of belonging is hard and sometimes almost impossible until you can find a way to accept yourself. But how does one go about finding self-acceptance!?!? Since this is an issues I also struggle with, I wanted to do some research and find some tips that might help one find self-acceptance. The list below is what I found helpful and hope that this might be helpful in finding your self-acceptance.

1. Celebrate your strengths by writing them down.

2. Consider the people around you and if they are beneficial to you.

3. Find a support system.

4. Forgive yourself.

5. Find a way to quiet your inner critic.

6. Realize that acceptance is not resignation.

7. Speak to your highest self.

8. Be kind to yourself.

9. When all else fails, fake it till you make it!

I know that personally over the last several years I have really struggled with where I fit and where I belong. It's hard to find a friend group where you fit in because most people who aren't sick either don't care to figure out what's going on in your life. Or don't care to figure out where you are In their life. And you can't help but to assume that they are walking away or turning their back because of something you did. When in all honesty it has nothing to do with you. I also have struggled to find my place in the career realm of my life. When I was in nursing school and if someone had told me I would work for ten years as an RN, and then become too Ill to work, I would have laughed at them. But that's where I am, I am no longer working in the medical field. Instead I'm selling makeup to pay my bills, which I could never have imagined.

I have been using the tools I listed above over the last year. During that time I have found a way to accept myself for what I am and where I am in this show called life. And by doing those things I am slowly starting to figure out where I belong in this world. I have found a great group of ladies who support me in the least likely of places, in online support groups. I have also found way to bring in money and pay my bills without asking for any help from anyone. This hasn't been a quick process. It's taken a long time to figure out for myself. Another big tip I have for anyone who is struggling with finding self acceptance or finding where you belong is to use that time to try out new things you think would be a good hobby. If you always wanted to crochet learn to crochet. And once you are confident in your skills you could start making hats for newborns and donate them to the hospital. Or if you like to read you join a book club. In doing things like that you will not only be finding a place to belong but also self-acceptance!

I hope and pray that you can use some of the tactic I've discussed and find the areas where you belong and can find self-acceptance.

With Love,

Amber

How Having a Routine Can Be Beneficial

Are you one of those people who need a routine in your life?!? Do you plan out your day, every day? Do you obsess about making sure you accomplish everything on your list?!? I used to be one of those people. Especially when I was working, I would plan out my day at work and then plan my week around the things I needed to get done. But since I've gotten sick my routines have gone out the window!! I know I can't be the only one who has experienced this! Even though it is hard, it is important to find a way to keep some routine even when you are chronically ill.

When you are living with a chronic illness, nothing about your life is certain. Symptoms come and go daily, weekly or even hourly on bad days. Changes in your schedule are common due to having to cancel things or rearrange your day because of your symptoms. Due to the fact that nothing in the life of a person who has a chronic illness is promised or set in stone. However, it is essential to find a way to keep a routine.

Is having a routines the same as having a schedule? No!! A schedule is defined by dictionary.com as a series of things that need to be done or events to occur at or during time or period; a time table. While a routine is defined as common tasks, chores, or duties that need to be done regularly or at specific intervals; typical or everyday activities. The big difference between having a schedule that you stick to, versus having a routine is the time factor! A schedule requires you to do specific activities at specific times. Where a routine is a set of activities that are generally done regularly, but not at a specific time. You can think of it this way. A schedule tasks that need to be done at a specific times. Like going to a drs appointment! While a routine are things that you do habitually, things you do pretty much every day. An example of a routine would be brushing your teeth every night before you go to bed!

A schedule is important for kids bc they need the structure. But do adults benefit from having a schedule like kiddos? Yes, the average adults does. But, adults with chronic illness DO NOT get the same benefits from living by a schedule. Living with a chronic illness means that we have to learn to deal with the unexpected changes in plans. These changes are common for the chronically ill, not because we don't want to do things, but because our bodies won't allow us to do those things. You may be hit with anxiety or depression, or even a flare which may occur without any warning. These are the things that make living by a Schedule almost impossible at times.

Routines are very beneficial to those living with a chronic illness. A routine is like having a schedule but without time constraints. Having a routine can help you get more quality sleep which is an essential for those with chronic illness. It is also beneficial because it will help you remember to take your medications and supplements when they are due.

What are other benefits of living by a routine? A routine provides you with the ability to come more EFFICIENT. By keeping a routine it creates a structure of our day to day tasks. A routine also reduces the need to make certain decisions. Thus you can save time planning and you have extra room for things that might come up Unexpectedly. A routine can also BUILD CONFIDENCE. Sticking to a routine gives a person a huge sense of satisfaction, and helps to build ones self-Confidence. Having a routine can also REDUCE STRESS. Which is important for those with chronic illness as stress can cause a flare of any condition. By having the routine is gives you more flexibility to be able to deal with issues that may pop up. Thus knowing you have tings under control will significantly lower a person's stress and enabling them to focus on other things that need to be done.

We all have a routine that we keep. Mine for instance in the morning is to get up, stop off in the bathroom and then get some breakfast and take my morning meds. After that I spend time catching up on social media and looking at emails. This is just an example of my morning routine. This routine ensures that I take my medications that I need. If I falter from that routine I will forget something.

If you are able to establish a routine and try to stick to it everyday no matter how you feel then in the long run you may actually feel better. If your body knows that you are going to get up and eat and then stretch and take a walk, your body won't revolt as much when you try and do those things. Your routine also helps you conserve energy because you can adjust your activities so you may be able to get out and do the things you have scheduled and not have to cancel them so often. Having a routine may make you seem more credible to your friends and family. Which may ease any conflict you may have with those people over your canceling plans. So living by a routine is the best way for the chronically ill to live their lives.

If you feel like you need some extra help figuring out your routine and getting it set up there are a ton of apps that can help you. You can simply download them in your smart phone or tablet. They can help you scheduling, prioritizing and even relaxing. Below is a picture from the Apple store that I found doing a search of "Routine." The ones I chose to show you had the best reviews of al the ones I found. I hope this is helpful.

With Love,

Amber

Depression....5 Tips for Overcoming

Depression is real! Not just for those who are chronically ill but also for those who aren't! This time of year is especially bad for depression because it's cold and you don't want to go out. And if you are chronically ill you don't get to go out as often because of all the cold and flu going around. Especially this year with the flu shot being approximated to be only 10% effective. So what can we do to handle depression in the winter months that doesn't involve medication. Let's look at a few options. 1. Find and stick to a daily routine- This is so important especially for those of us who are not working. The days run together and you don't know what day it is or even what time of day it is! So finding a routine that you can stick to everyday will help keep your days less blah.

2. Set Goals- When you are depressed you feel like you can't get anything done. So set small goals for yourself EVERYDAY!! Some that you know you can accomplish and mark off this list. I don't know about you but for me I love being able to cross things off a list. There is such a feeling of accomplishment. (For information on how to set goals see my previous post on goal setting)

3. Exercise - To many spoonies this is the most annoying topic to discuss at a drs appts. When you feel like crap the last thing you want to do is exercise. But it's proven that exercise releases endorphins (the feel good chemical), and it will make you feel better. Even if you can just get in 10 min two or three times a week. And it doesn't have to be some great big workout with weights and sprints. Just walking around the block or doing yoga is plenty. Just something to get that heart pumping.

4. Take on some kind of responsibility- I know from experience that the last thing you want to do when you are depressed is commit to anything. But especially for those who aren't working or going to school this one is important. Try and take on something like cooking meals for your family one or two nights a week. Or find some place to volunteer a couple days a month. Much like setting goals if you you can accomplish something it will make you feel better overall and help to counter the depression.

5. Try to have fun- When you are depressed usually the last thing you want to do is stop sulking and have fun. But try anyway. If you enjoy reading pick up a new book, if you're a movie person go see the movie that you've been wanting to see. If your favorite things still don't seem fun just keep trying. Eventually you will get out of that rut!

Depression is hard and frustrating. And something that everyone deals with at some point. But there are ways to fight depression other than medications. If those non-pharmacological methods don't work it might be time to talk to your doctor. There is nothing wrong with taking medication if you need it and don't let anyone make you feel that way if you need to go that direction. These are just a few ways to help fight depression, there are tons of options and books you can read on the matter. Because one option isn't going to work for everyone. If you feel like you are slipping to far it's okay to reach out for help from a friend or family member. Remember, depression sucks but it is only temporary!

Setting Goals For The New Year!!

Happy NEW YEAR Friends!!! I can't help but sit here and reflect on all the things that happened in 2017. There were ups and there were downs, sadly this year was full of downs and not so many ups. But that's just life. The world throws all sorts of things at us all the time and it's how we deal it that really matters!!! I also can't help but think about what I want out of 2018. I won't be setting resolutions because I seem to never follow through. So this year I will be setting goals. Both short term and long term goals so I have something to always be working on. And I want to share with you how I set my goals.

When I set goals I use the acronym SMART to set them.

S- Specific - what exactly you want to accomplish. What is you want to do. For me a specific goal would be that I want to do some sort of exercise for 10min 1-3 Times a week.

M- Measurable - This means how you are going to measure your accomplishments and how you will know when this goal has been achieved. For example, if your goal is to make $10,000, make sure you have a time frame. I want to make $10,000 by December 31 so it is measurable.

A- Achievable - Make sure you set goal that are achievable and not so far in left field that it will never happen. (For example, don't set the goal to run a full marathon in three months when you can't run 100ft currently. A more achievable goal would be to say you will walk/run a 5K by the end of summer.)

R- Realistic - Make sure your goal is something you can actually do. For example, setting a goal to become president of the United States for most people would not be realistic. A goal of become a local representative or sitting on city council. That would be more realistic.

T-Timely- This one is the easiest. Simply when do you want to accomplish your goal? One month? Three months? A year?

I'll give you an example of a smart goal. I want to start exercising 1-3 times a week for at least ten minutes, by doing yoga or walking in the house (too cold right now to be outside). I want to be doing this in full by March 1st!

That is just an example. But I have several long term and short term goals that I will be working on. Another bit of advice I have for you is to write your goals in a place you will see them. For me, my goals often are out of sight out of mind. So I will write them on a dry erase board that I see every day. You could even write them on a mirror you use everyday. Just put them somewhere so you can be reminded of them daily.

I can't say that I'm sad to see 2017 go. It was one of the harder years I've had with all the health issues I have had. And losing the ability to drive due to my health has really been hard. I feel like I'm 15 again and have to ask someone to take me everywhere. I know many of you have had a rough year as well so we are going to take 2018 and make it ours. I am going to do everything in my power to make this a positive year both with my business, and in my personal life. And I encourage you to do the same!!! Set goals, and use them as a point to work toward. I feel like if we don't have something to work toward we become stagnant. For us spoonies it is so easy to focus on the negative. We have so many bad days and get bad news often. But if we can focus on something positive, Life might be a little more positive. I know you are thinking that it is easier said than done, but it will really make a difference. I will be honest I get stuck one the bad things all the time. But this year I am going to work on being positive!!! And I am here to help you with your goals if you need me to and help encourage you along the way!!

Feel free to share some of your goals in the comments. If you share your goals with others I feel that you are more likely to work to accomplish them! So share with us!! I hope and pray that all of you can make 2018 a positive year!

With Love,

Amber

Let’s Talk.........Leggings

It's not big news to you if you know me or others who struggle with chronic pain or Fibromyalgia. Or that when we dress, most days it's purely for comfort. The general rule is that the more tight and uncomfortable the clothes are, the more uncomfortable we will be throughout the day. So yes many times we choose to dress for comfort over fashion. And yes, sometimes that means we look a bit slob like or dare I say lazy. But I can guarantee if you asked anyone struggling with the pain of Fibro (or other chronic pain) and the struggles of clothing, that they don't mind. Anything we can do everyday to make our lives a little easier or pain free we will pretty much do. That is within reason of course. Sorry aover the course of the last few months I've been on a search for the "PERFECT" legging! And today I want to share what I have found! Searching for the perfect legging can be long and arduous at times. And just plain frustrating. Okay, arduous, may be a bit of an exaggeration. However, the experience can be frustrating!! One of the biggest frustrations for me along this journey was to find leggings that not only fit but didn't make me look like a whale, and didn't break my pocket book! Another frustration with leggings in general is the looks of judgement or even disgust that one might receive. Just because I am dressing in leggings in public does not mean I am lazy!!! It simply means I am having a crappy day filled with pain and I don't need your judgement or to explain why I chose my attire!!!

There are a few guidelines I feel ANYONE shopping for/wearing leggings should follow. They are as follows.

  1. Wearing your TWEETY BIRD or SPONGE BOB pajama pants in public is NEVER okay!! For everyone's sake please take a moment and throw on some real pants before leaving the house!!
  2. When wearing said leggings I ALWAYS encourage ladies to buy and wear shirts that are long enough to cover your behind. It's a much better look overall.
  3. Lastly, NEVER EVER wear nude color leggings!!! This is not a good look on anyone!!!

So now that we have talked about the guidelines for wearing leggings, let's discuss my TOP 5 brands. These are my personal favorite leggings from 5 different retailers, and at different price points, in no certain order.

g1. Faded Glory- Fleeced Lined, Full Length Leggings. $9.99 (2 pack)~~ These leggings are PERFECT for the winter and for anyone who gets cold easily as they are lined with fleece. PROS- very warm and cozy, great price point, does not shrink if accidentally put in the dryer. CONS- Can cause the person wearing to get too warm! The waist band is an awkward width, it is not the standard wide waist band that most leggings have so it can sit easily in a person's folds.

2. Women's Leggings Old Navy- Price Range-$10.00- $32.00. They have a variety of lengths and styles. PROS- very soft and comfortable, thin waist line (the pair I have is a thin waist band, they have varying waist band widths available). CONS- will shrink if dried in dryer, fabric begins peeling after only a couple wears. Can be found in store or on Online at Old Navy.

3. Maurices- Ultra Soft Legging. Ranging in size from 0-4XL, with various styles and color. The original black ultra soft leggings are $18.00, & $20.00 for plus sizes. Right now they have a site wide sale, fBuy One, Get one 60% off! So now is the time to buy!!! PROS- VERY soft, great quality fabric that doesn't shirk in dryer or peel after multiple times wearing. CONS- For ME these are much to high waisted, to the point the waist band is up under my breasts. I read reviews and did not see many complaints of this. So I believe it's just my shape. These leggings can be found in store and on their website.

4. Agnes and Dora- In order to shop this companies options, it's best to find yourself a distributor. My distributor is Sarah Clawson, she keeps some stock on hand and has a Website (click the hyperlink to shop) on which you can shop. Sarah is super easy to work with and is always willing to go out of her way to find you what you are looking for. Leggings are ALL $22.00. PROS- These leggings are very very soft and warm. They come in multiple colors, patterns and sizes. Sizes range from XS-XXXL! Sarah routinely posts new inventory on her Facebook site so her customers can see all the new things coming in! CONS- I really love these leggings and the only con i can come up with is the width of the waistband. I prefer a WIDE waistband, and these are more of a skinny waistband. Sarah's website is linked above but you should also check out her Facebook Group here!

5. Last but certainly not least, a brand I feel confident in saying you have probably heard of and may actually own some. LULAROE. This is another company where you need to find a distributor to purchase from. The LLR distributor I have become loyal to and buy all my LLR gear from is Rebecca Weddle. If you search Lularoe Rebecca Weddle on Facebook you can find her VIP group. In that group she offers frequent sales and discounts. Now to the leggings!! They come in sizes Tween(size 00 and 0), OS (one size, size 2-10), TC (Tall & Curvy, size 12-18) and TC2 (Tall and Curvy too, size 18+). PRICES are $23.00-$25.00, and they come in countless colors and patters! PROS- Fabric is super soft and stretchy, the fact that they come in countless colors and patterns as I mentioned above. And these are quality items and will last a LONG time. The patterns do not fade and they can be dried if necessary, but it is not recommended! I also love the WIDE waist band that feels like it is holding everything in where it should be! CONS- Can be pricey, but like I said they hold up really well! Also it is almost impossible to get a plain colored legging through LLR!

This is just a quick overview of my favorite leggings I have found. I know you may be thinking this is a silly post. But until you have a condition that causes pain everywhere which can be made worse by clothing you won't truly understand! Leggings can really feel like a lifesaver when you have to get out of the house but the thought of having to wear "real" clothes makes you want to cry! I hope this guide helps you to chose some better options as far as brands and distributors. Please leave me a comment letting me know what you thought of this post. But please be nice!!

With Love,

Amber

Working as an RN with a Chronic Illness

Working as a nurse is HARD. While TV shows and movies make it look very glamorous and fun, it may not always be that way. It's often very physically and mentally demanding. Especially to those with chronic illness. You have to be running on all cylinders at all times in order to keep the patients safety and well-being above all else. So what can you do to make working as an RN and having a chronic illness a little easier?

The following are 6 tips to make working while chronically ill more of an option

1. Find alternative ways to deal with the pain- There are just going to be days when you have to work and your pain is unbearable, and when you are on shift taking narcotics is not an option. So you will need to learn alternative ways to deal with the pain. Like deep breathing, meditation, or stretching.

2. Dealing with “The Fog” - The Fog is real and can make your workday longer and more frustrating. So you will need to learn to write everything down, even the things you think you would never forget. The truth is when The Fog sets in, you don’t know what you will forget. So to cover yourself make it a habit to just write everything down.

3. Take periodic breaks- It is essential when you are working that you take moments throughout the day for you!! Even if you don’t feel like you have the time you will have to take some time to sit periodically! So try to schedule in breaks off your feet throughout the day. Even if that’s just to sit while you chart, or make a call to the physician. Those breaks will make your day much more doable!!

4. Make time to eat and hydrate!- It is imperative that even when it seems like there is absolutely no time in the day to eat or drink that you make time to do so. So take your snacks and bottle(s) of water with you to work. This will ensure that you at least have food and drink on hand in case you don’t have time to run to get anything.

5. Take time to rest on your days off- Even though it might not be the most ideal way to spend your time off, you need to rest. If you want to make it through your long shifts, you have to take time on your days off to rest and recoup!

6. Ask for help - You may not want to share your illness with your coworkers and that’s okay. But when you are struggling or getting behind, ask for help!! There is no reason you have to drown when others can help! This applies to work and home.

These tips will not guarantee that you will be able to keep working. However, they will make your days at work a little easier. Healthcare professionals are known for putting their own needs behind those who they are caring for. However, if you want to continue working you will need to take time and focus on you! Even if the things you do are small it will make your shifts easier in the long run. And your career longer lasting.

With Love,

Amber

My Favorite Black Friday Deals!!

Black Friday Shopping has been a favorite thing of mine for many years. This year however it was done all on the computer. Being sick this year really put a damper on my Thanksgiving dinner with my family and my shopping. But that is just part of living the life I live. I do have to share some of the deals that I found that I am super excited about. I did a little shopping for myself as well as my family. I wont be posting the gifts I found for my family because they do read this blog and I do not want to ruin their surprises. I think my favorite things I got I actually found on Jane.com. I had never really shopped there but they had some amazing deals. Are you familiar with Jane.com? I was not until i recently saw it mentioned on someones instastory.  Basically Jane.com is a website for all sorts of companies to post their items. Its kind of like renting a both in retail space only online. So you can literally find anything at this one stop shop website. I found electronics like headphones and charges for my electronics. I found clothes of course, and I found all sorts of fun things. The only downfall is that if you buy multiple items from different vendors you do have to pay shipping to each different vendor.

Now that I have explained Jane.com I will post some of thbe deals that I found. I will start with the items I found on Jane.com

First I got a 10Ft bungee changer for my Iphone, for $3.99. They are available for Iphones and Samsung phones.

I also found some great deals on t-shirts. Not that exciting however necessary.

First is the Long Boyfriend Pocket Tee, in sizes S-2XL. I got one for $12.99

And I also got two Hi-Low Oversized Tees. They are available in size S- 2XL. I got them for $9.99 each.

This next one I am super excited about. It is a 22 piece makeup brush set from Coastal Scents .I read the reviews and they were Fantastic!!! Normally a brush set of this size would cost $40 or more. I got this one for $14.99!!! They are still on sale and their whole website is 50-80% off through 11/28/17 at 11:59pm. So definitely go check them out!!

22 Piece Brush Set

The next item I got that I am super super excited about is from A shop on ETSY called BOSSBOOK!! They make business planners, workbooks and notepads!! They can customize them for your business. Right now they are offering FREE SHIPPING on any order over $50! The planner I got is specialized for makeup and beauty consultants. If you have a a team and want planners for all of them they do offer group discounts. And Kaitlyn is great to work with and her customer service is amazing!!! So go check them out!

These are my favorite items that I got on Black Friday and I just wanted to share with you all so you can also go check out these awesome websites.

Hope you all have had a great Thanksgiving and found some amazing Black Friday deals.

Amber

Product Review- Jennifer Lynn Naturals

UPDATE: Jennifer has graciously given me a coupon Code for all of you!! Enter Amber20 and receive 20% off your purchase!! This past week I was given the awesome opportunity to receive some amazing beauty products to review. It's no hidden truth that I'm a Senegence girl through and through. But sometimes I like to try other makeup. And I'll be real honest sometimes I just want to grab a tube of lipstick just to wear around the house or throw on to go to the store and not have to remember to remove it in 10 hours.

Jennifer was kind enough to send me a lipstick, a lipgloss and face/lip scrub from Jennifer Lynn Naturals. Her makeup is ALL natural. No parabeans, vegan friendly, no gluten etc. per her website Jennifer states that her "lipsticks are highly pigmented and that their all natural lipstick blends organic oils and butters."

I found that it had a very creamy consistency once on my lips and seemed to be very moisturizing to my lips. My lips didn't feel dry at all while using the product. Right now the lipstick comes in three colors: 1. Brownie beige which is a nude shimmer, 2. Nude Mauve, and 3. True Red. Her fourth color Pinky Promise is currently not available. I felt like the lipstick stayed on a fair amount of time. I have discovered I am lip licker personally, so that cuts down on how long lipstick will stay on. I feel that her products are well priced considering how pigmented they are, and how well it stays in place. I would give this a 5 🌟 review. I also found her packaging to be very cute!!

Below at the bottom of this post you will find a picture of me wearing the Lipstick. In my package I also received some Apricot Lip Gloss. Per her website "The Lip Glosses are infused with organic butters, botanical extracts and natural mineral pigments. She says that every shade provides rich, Super shiny gloss that lasts!"

Just like the lipstick the Lip Gloss is highly pigmented! It goes on VERY VERY smooth. it also left my lips feeling very soft and smooth. I feel like it lasted just as long as any other Lip Gloss I have tried!! Her gloss comes in Racy Rose & Juicy Apricot. Bronze Goddess is not currently available. Just like the Lipstick, I would also give the Lip a Gloss a 5 🌟 review. Jennifer Lynn Naturals also has BB Cream, shadows, & blushes that like all her product has great reviews. But as of yet I have not tried them so i can not provide an accurate review. She is currently in the testing process of a facial scrub that you can also use on your lips. I'll be honest I was a little nervous to try it out on my lips, if it also was going to work on my face. However, I did go ahead and apply it to my face and lips. And scrubbed it in, let it sit, washed it off and was THRILLED at the results. It was a gentle scrub but left my face and lips feeling like freshly washed baby skin. And had a soft but lovely and not overwhelming smell!!

You can find Jennifer Lynn Naturals on Etsy, Instagram or you can find and purchase her amazing products on her website: Jennifer Lynn Naturals Jennifer Lynn Naturals Discount code! She is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on any purchase over $50!! So go check out this amazing NATURAL BEAUTY PRODUCT!!

Below are pictures of her other products.

Gift Guide For The Chronically Ill

Christmas time is upon us and gift buying is always a struggle. Not just for us, but also for those who are buying for us. So I took some time and put together a gift guide for those struggling with chronic illness!! I've chosen everything that is under $75.00, and can all be found either on Amazon or online. I will let you know where each item can be found.

First let's start with one of my (and my fellow spoonie friends) favorites.

1. The Throw Blanket - Not only is it gorgeous, but it keeps us warm. This specific blanket comes in 24 different colors and is available in Twin and Throw size!

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: $23.99 - $29.99

One of a Spoonies biggest problem at night is not being able to get comfortable. So the next item helps with just that.

2. The U-Shaped Body Pillow - this pillow will provide comfort and support for all parts of your body. (Yes, it also works during pregnancy)

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: $42.95

3. The Heated Throw

Along that same line here is a great option for a heated blanket that does more than keep us warm. It will help tremendously with pain.

This specific Throw is a best seller and Sunbeam is the best selling manufacturer. This model is comes in multiple colors and has a lighted control

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: $34.99

This is another option for a heated blanket. This one pictured is twin sized (however you can find them in queen and king size as well) and is perfect not just for you. This option (in twin size) will also be a hit with your spouse if they don't want to sleep with a heated blanket. It features a foot control and an automatic 10 hour shut off.

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: $52- $62

While we are on the topic of heat. Let's take a look at a heating pad.

4. The heating pad- these are good when you have an area that needs heat but you don't want to lay under a full sized heated throw.

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: $16.37

There is nothing better than a soft and comfy robe to wear around the house. Which brings us to our next gift idea

5. Robe - This is a microfiber fleece hotel spa robe with pockets. This particular robe is One Size Fits All and comes in 10 different colors.

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: $34.89

Another great idea for Spoonies is the perfect pair of lounge/ sweat pants/leggings. It's important that nothing is too tight, because depending on the condition tight clothes can make things worse.

Leggings are a big hit among most Spoonies bc they are soft and feel good on the skin.

6. Leggings - these come in 10 color options and have a 4.5 start rating.

Where can I find it: Kohl's/Kohl's.com

Price: $14.99 (currently on sale from original price of $20.00)

Women's Plus Size Leggings also at Kohl's on sale for $17.99, regular Price $24.00

Spoonies in general deal with being cold and having cold extremities. So the next item is perfect for that

7. Warm Socks- This specific item is a 5 pack of thick knit wool. They come in 6 different color options.

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: $12.99

8. Maybe my most favorite item on the list. Bath bombs!! These particular Bath bombs come in packages of six, are Vegan and made with essential oils.

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: $17.95

9. Foot Spa - This vibrating foot spa comes with foot controls, so there is no bending over to turn it on and off. And comes with one attachment. And it's just what your feet nee after a long day!! These are also great to use if you are doing home pedicures with the kids or young adult in your life.

Where can I find it: Amazon.com, Walmart

Price: $17.69

The next item goes right along with the previous two. But this not only feels good but it helps to ease sore muscles.

10. It may not be a fun gift but it's practical. Epsom Salt makes taking a bath when you are in pain so much more pleasant. Always a good gift for a spoonie.

Where can i find it: Amazon.com, Walmart it most pharmacies.

Price: $15.99 (However, prices will vary depending on kind, size of bag and where it is purchased.)

Now that we've covered the big items, let's talk about a few stocking stuffers.

11. Adult Coloring Book- Who doesn't love to color and it's been proven that it's a good way to relieve stress!!

Where can I find it: Barnes & Noble, Walmart, Amazon, most book stores

Price: $8.99

If you are buying an Adult Coloring Book then the next item is a MUST HAVE!!

12. Markers!! You have to have a way to color your book and these dual tip brush pens are AMAZING!!

Where can I find them: Amazon, Walmart, Art Stores, any where markers are sold.

Price: $12.99

**the set pictured is found on Amazon**

13. Mani Moo Hair Ties- These hair ties are no crease and no pain. So if you have someone in your Life with headaches these are a MUST have!!

Where can I find it: Amazon.com

Price: 10.00/6 Hair Ties

14. Gift Cards: Gift cards are always a good stocking stuffer. Whether they are to A store or a restaurant, they will give your friend or family a good reason to get out of the house!!

Where can I find it: Any store, restaurant or online shop!

Price: Varies

When you have a lot of pain in your hands and use your phone a lot this next item is a MUST!

15. Popsockets- Not only do these make it easier to hold your phone when your hands hurt. They also make great stocking stuffer ideas. They come in all kinds of designs and you even have the option to create your own!!

Where can I find it: Popsocket.com, Amazon, and many other retailers.

Price: $10-20

16. The Eye/Sleep mask- This will be a great gift for anyone with migraines or who just have problems sleeping. I provided two price options for this gift.

1. The Spa Collection Mask is a great gift bc it allows for heat or cold to be an option. It also comes in two colors.

Where can I find it: Bed Bath and Beyond

Price: 24.99

1. This option is just the plain basic option but completes the same task of keeping the light out of ones eyes. I find it helpful to keep one like this in my hospital bag in case I lose it.

Where can i Find it: Bed Bath and Beyond

Price: $6.99

I hope this gift guide provides you with some ideas for your Chronically Ill friends or family. May you all have a Merry Christmas and happy shopping!!

Amber

10 Ways to Survive The Holidays With Lupus

We’ve made it through Halloween and it’s almost the holiday season again. For most it’s a joyful time, but for those with chronic illnesses it can be quite the opposite. It can become a time of worry and planning. Planning how to make it through all the parties, the cooking, the crowds etc. A time of worry about the germs we will be exposed to, if we will get sick, when we can squeeze in naps, and how far in advance we can prepare dishes so we don’t have to do marathon cooking! The holidays are just plain exhausting, and for many don’t carry the excitement that they once did.So what can the chronically ill do to make it through the holiday? It depends on the person and what illness they deal with. That being said the following is a general list of things we can do to get through this season. 1. PLAN AHEAD- One of the best things we can do to get through this season is plan ahead. Know what you have when and plan accordingly. If you know you have events several days in a row or an event that is long you can plan the remainder of your week so you can rest. You can move your schedule around so you have plenty of down time so you have the energy to get through your events. 2. TRY TO STAY AWAY FROM THOSE WHO ARE ILL- I know this is much easier said than done. But it is essential to getting through the holidays without getting sick. It never fails We go out shopping or to a party and come home sick. So don’t be afraid to wear a mask when leaving the house. I know you feel like you stand out and you get stared out. But really it’s for Your Health!! 3. REST, REST, REST- I touched on this above but to make it through the holidays rest is going to be essential. Between the cooking and the shopping and the parties if we don’t rest we won’t make it through the season unscathed and somewhat healthy!! 4. DONT FEEL LIKE YOU HAVE TO ATTEND EVERY EVENT YOU ARE INVITED TO- It never fails that during the Holidays there will be tons of events and people who want to get together. And that’s great and grand. But not at all plausible. So pick and chose the most important ones and decline the others. People will understand! 5. IF YOU ARE HOSTING A PARTY OR DINNER, DELEGATE! - There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking others to bring side dishes or dessert. Ask someone to come over before to help you, and start the party early!! Also try and plan dishes that can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or placed in the freezer till right before the event! Don’t be afraid to ask others for help to clean up!!! You don’t have to be the Lone Ranger! It’s okay to ask for help! 6. DO SOME OR ALL OF YOUR SHOPPING ONLINE- In order to conserve energy and preserve your Health do your shopping online. There really aren’t many things you can’t buy online. And most places will even do your gift wrapping for you!! Online shopping is the perfect way to shop for those of us chronically ill. If you are worried about additional costs, the prices are the same as in store, and with a few Google searches you can normally find an additional online coupon code to take a percentage off. 7. PLAN THE BEST TIMES IN THE STORES!- If you are a person that prefers to shop in the store or have an item that is only found in stores, that’s totally understandable. That being said try to pick the best times to be in the stores. Meaning when the crowds aren’t as heavy and the parking lots aren’t full. These times are generally first thing in the morning when the stores open or right before they close. If you have to be in the stores try to get to it before the huge crowds appear in the weeks immediately leading up to the holiday. Don’t be that person fighting the crowd on Christmas Eve. 8. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF/DONT FEEL BULLIED- Plain and simple you just can’t do it all. There is no way that you will be able to attend every party or gathering, do the cooking, the shopping etc. so stand up for you and what’s right for your body. And don’t let anyone bully you into changing your mind when you know it’s wrong. They don’t have to live with the consequences of pushing yourself too far.  So do what you know is right and feels right for you!! 9. BE WISE IN YOUR CHOICES OF FOOD AND DRINK! The holidays are known for being a time in indulge, or over indulge for many on all the great foods we don’t have all year. It is also time to be merry and have an adult beverage to celebrate. That being said if you know eating certain foods or drinks are going to make you sick be careful. No matter how good it may look and smell it’s not worth the result they may cause. 10. Last but definitely not least. FIND TIME TO TREAT AND PAMPER YOURSELF- I know the Holidays are meant to be a time of giving to others, but you need a treat now and then too. The stress of the Holidays and others attitudes can really bring a person down. So take sometime in the coming weeks to do something for you once a week. Whether that’s soaking in a hot bath, or getting a massage, or something a simple as curling up for the evening to watch a favorite Holiday movie. DO IT!! You’ll thank me later. These are just 10 simple ways to make this time of year a little easier on the Chronically Ill. These are things we all may struggle with but we need to really focus on during the Holidays to help us make it through as healthy as possible. No one wants to be down and out while everyone else is celebrating. Personally I love a good hot bath with a good bath bomb. Or reading a good book or watching a movie and just relaxing with my heated blanket!! May you all have a Happy Holiday Season and hopefully you will find these tips helpful. Happy Holidays! Amber

 PRODUCT REVIEW!! Senegence’s Newly Formulated Concealer! 

Alright, so as a women you all the importance of a good concealer. In all the years I’ve been wearing makeup I’ve never found one that I felt did a good job. They seem that they either don’t cover the bags under my eyes, which is a MUST for me. Or they aren’t the right color, they may be too yellow or to orange so they don’t match my skin tone. Or it takes so much product that you fee like you have a large amount of makeup on just for concealer.   That is Until NOW!!! I’ve finally found a concealer that meets all of my requirements. The cosmetic company Senegence just released their new concealers about two weeks ago. They come in three colors which should cover just about everyone. They come in light medium and deep (we also have natural and green concealers available in the same new formula). Being that I am Casper the ghost pale,  I chose the light. I was thrilled when it arrived, not only is the color fantastic but the consistency is so creamy and wonderful!  And for the first time since I started wearing makeup I don’t feel like I have to cake on layer after layer of concealer just to cover the bags under my eyes or the redness in my cheeks! A task that is nearly impossible for most makeup to complete. This new concealer actually covers everything well enough that I would feel confident applying this and only this and leaving the house.  Here are some before and after pictures so you can see my results from applying one layer of concealer to my problem areas!!As you can see it does a phenomenal job and is at a great price point of $25.00. And you only need a small amount so this small sewing tube will last a LONG time!  (That of course is depending on how much produvtvyoubyse each time!). I would definitely give this product a 5 ⭐️ star review!! If you are looking for a new concealer you should definitely give this one a try!  

Disclaimer- for those of you who don’t know I am a Senegence distributor. That being said if you have followed me for very long you know I have no problem telling it like it is when reviewing products. Meaning this is a truthful review, not based on my employment!  

Working From Home...,,

Okay so I don’t have a "real" job anymore thanks to my Health. But honestly, what is a "real" job anyway?  Is it real because you have to get dressed, do your hair and look presentable? Is it real because you actually leave the house to do said job? Is it real because you have coworkers that you interact with in person, or because you have an office?  All those things don’t make a job "real."  They are just things that happen when you have a job OUTSIDE the home.  So does working INSIDE the home make it any less real?!?  Not in my opinion. If you stil get paid and get the requirments met for your specific job it shouldn’t matter where you work.  According to the Nee York Times last alone nearly 43% of employed Americans were working from home at least part of the time. So now you are probably thinking "Man I need to be one of those people!  But what kind of jobs allow one to work from home?"  Well according to the same article the following industries allow work from home. 

Finance/insurance/real estate, Transportation, Manufacturing or construction, Retail, Healthcare, Computer/information, systems/mathematical, Law or public policy, Arts/design/entertainment/ sports/media, Community/social services, Science/engineering/ architecture, Education/training/library 

Working from home sounds all wonderful and grand.  But it to has its fair share of downsides as well.  The biggest downside  being how easy it is to get distracted when your in your own home. Where the dryer may buzz or the dishwasher ding. Or that show you’ve been trying to catch is finally on when you can catch it.  And if you are a parent you may not have a babysitter on the days you are at home. So you may have children climbing on you, asking for food or a drink, needing a diaper changed. Etc.  Sure you think oh if I was working from home I wouldn’t let myself get distracted but that’s much easier said than done. 

Many say being a Stay at home MOM isn’t a job. But it’s a FULL TIME job in my eyes. When you are meeting every need of you child/children and your spouse. While keeping a clean house, cooking dinner, doing laundry and doing all the things that need to be done in the house. You are busy ALL the time. You may not get paid financially, but in hugs, slobbery kisses and I love you’s for the kids. In my mind having never been a mom those positive affirmations and love from your kids and spouse is just like a pay check (minus The money of course). That being said being a stay at home mom is in my eyes a full time job!!!!

I suppose selling Senegence/Lipsense via social media, co-managing an online chronic illness support group and  blogging are not considered working to some. But the cosmetic company is what pays my bills.  Since my accident I really haven’t been cleared to work and have no means to get to an outside job currently.  Due to the fact that I can no longer drive, and shouldn’t be walking long distances on my own. So I had to get creative. I had to find a way to pay the important bills.  Do I get the luxuries now that I did when I worked outside the home? Absolutely not! But I have the enssnetials and that’s what matters. 

The other bonus to working the jobs I do  are simple. I can rest when I need to and for as long as I need to. Because I am often totally exhausted and need to sleep a LOT. If for some reason I am hospitalized (which seems to happen at least 3-4x annually for me) my work will wait for me till I am better. And as corny as if may sound, One of the biggest benefits I’ve found is that I have found a true sisterhood with Senegence, unlike any other company I’ve worked for. The are so sweet and have the biggest hearts and will always help when I need it. It’s truly like anything I’ve ever experienced. 

Do I, or am I able to work everyday? NO, absolutely not.   There may be days or weeks when I don’t work. And that’s okay!! Because my health comes first. And some days I may only work an hour or less because I feel poorly. And that’s okay too. My senesister will make sure by business doesn’t suffer. My co/administrators will make sure the support group continues along without issue. And my blog..... well if I haven’t written in advance it will wait patiently until I return. 

Yes, working any job from home has its benefits but there are also disadvantages. What could they possibly be you are probably thinking.  To me the biggest disadvantage is that  you don’t have the daily interaction with people right in front of you like you do when working out of the home. You don’t have that comraderie that you build with your coworkers when you have a job outside the home.  And you may feel lonely or even depressed. There is a big difference in talking to people and building that team relationship in person as opposed to over the phone or internet. And you don’t get that a lot of one-on-one personal interaction when working from home. Simply because most of your communication is over the phone or internet.  But sadly, that’s just something you have to get used to when you are no longer able to work outside the home. 

Working in the home had its advantages and disadvantages like described above. And it’s not for everyone. But once you’ve lost the ability to work outside the home due to issues like health issues,  and still have bills to pay, you have to get creative. And you may even find yourself doing something you never thought you would. That being said working for Senegence has been such a blessing, even though it’s something I never thought I would do. When I was working outside the home, I signed up with Senegence just to get a discount off products. But then ended up needing an income of some kind and this fell in my lap. I would highly highly recommend any lady (or man) who enjoys or has a passion for makeup, and needs any level of income to look into Senegence. It’s not your typical MLM( if it was I wouldn’t be working for them) they treat everyone so great and they are not afraid to let it known that everyone could have a 5 figure monthly income if they work work their business right!  I am far from that and probably won’t ever get there, but I am just so glad I found this opportunity so I can work From home. 

Amber  References:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/us/remote-workers-work-from-home.html

My Senegence Page: https://m.facebook.com/groups/1426452860768009?ref=bookmarks

Senegence home page; https://www.senegence.com/SeneSite/Home.aspx

Support Group: Lupie Groupies on Facebook!

Living vs Surviving 

You know the question..... We’ve all asked it, and all thought carefully about how to answer. The question is nothing life altering to most and seems simple enough. But to many the answer is FAR from simple. Now you are probably wondering what question I might be speaking of. Well..... the common probably the most common and generic question asked, “How are you?”     To most that’s not a big question and gets a simple answer of “Okay,” or “Fine.” But how many of us with a chronic illness ever answer this truthfully? When was the last time you answered and said “I had a really horrible night l, my pain is at a 9, my head is pounding and I think I’m going to lose my breakfast and I’m barely surviving?”  Probably never! No one is ever that truthful and no one ever expects that kind of answer. What would you honestly do if someone you hardly knew all laid that on you? This leads me to my topic for this blog. The difference in living and surviving. And how truly different those two things are!!  If you were to define living what would say? To me living is just that, being able to go about your “normal” life with little to no pain. Not really thinking about your illness because if is not effecting your daily life. You can come and go as you please and not have to think about your daily spoon use. You can go do the things you enjoy and the drop of a hat with no second thought. Or do nothing at all. But you have the decision because you feel GOOD!!

On the flip side surviving is just that. You are just getting by. You may be working and doing all the things that are required of you but that’s all you are doing. There are no extra events or fun activities because there is no energy. Even the activities that should be simple like showering or doing makeup are to strenuous and must be skipped to save energy for things later in the day. And when you are in survival mode you are definitely thinking about your spoon use! 

I asked some of the women in a support group that I help run about their definition of living vs surviving and this is what they had to say! 

One fellow Survivor said this “Living is being able to enjoy and do what you love. It is exploring, traveling, dropping everything and with no plan getting in the car and driving for the weekend and exploring back roads and meeting people. Surviving is figuring out if you can drive to your doctors appointment without killing others and not caring if you die. It is living on yogurt and eggo waffles because cooking is to hard. It is knowing the house or apartment is trashed but you can't do anything about it because the friends and family have given up because there is no "getting better." “

Another had this to say, “My husband always tells doctors that I am alive but is not living. I think you can substitute surviving for alive. What he means is I'm breathing, but I have no life beyond my bed. So to us, surviving is just getting through each day, while living is doing all this things I took for granted before I got sick...going out to eat, seeing a movie, going on vacation, watching my son play baseball. The list is endless.” 

Both of those are so true. They both do an excellent job of explaining what it means to live versus survive. And how different those two ways of life can be. Living is enjoying life and doing what you want when you want. While surviving is truly finding a way to make it through each task with the end goal of getting back to bed or the couch as quickly as possible. 

So what do you do to get through those times when you are just surviving? Those times when people ask how you are and you wish you could really be honest, but instead you just tell them you are doing fine! Here are a few simple tips to get through those times when you feel like you are just simply surviving. 

1. Do only the things that are essential! The bathrooms, the vacuuming and dusting can be put off for a few days until you are feeling better. The things like showering, dressing and general activities of daily living are more essential and those tasks should be focused on first. 

2. If you have someone available ask for help. If you have a spouse, kids or even coworkers (not always an option I know) who can take over some of the tasks that for you are too hard to do at this time. 

3. Rest, Rest, Rest!  Take any and every chance you can to rest. Even if you can only take a 15 min power nap to close your eyes and recenter yourself, use that time to so so. If you can schedule in a 2 hour nap then do that. Just rest. Whenever and however you can. 

4. Even during the good times make sure that you take time for you. Whether that’s something as simple as a nightly bath by yourself after the kids go to bed.  Or something a little more elaborate like a mani/pedi and a massage once a month. Whatever it is is FIND TIME FOR YOU!!  

5. Last bit definitely not LEAST. Find someone you can confide in. Someone who understands the daily struggles and will be there for you to lean on emotionally. Whether this is your spouse, your bestie, a counselor or someone you’ve never met but have connected to in an online support group. Whoever it may be, having someone to talk to will really help when you are struggling. 

So as you can see there is a definite difference in living versus surviving. This may not be something you’ve ever thought about if you don’t live with a chronic illness that causes you periods of poor health and exhaustion. But it’s a real thing. Yes, technically we are all living but you have to look at quality of life as well. That’s where the term surviving comes into play. At times when you are doing just that. Just simply making it through each day alive. Remember there are groups out there with others going through situations similar to yours and they will be not only great Resources but they can also be a place where great lifelong friendships can be made.  

PRODUCT REVIEW

In March I was lucky enough to get to work with Sandrah owner of the ETSY shop Little Stuff 4U Pute Mineral Makeup & Natural Skin Care. She has a WIDE array of mineral makeup and natural skin care for amazing prices. As I was looking through her shop I have to admit I was a little skeptical. I was wondering just how good could her products be for those prices. Boy did she prove me WRONG!! Her products are downright AMAZING!!!  I actually had a hard time deciding what I should order. So I ordered a couple things and she added a couple of her other most popular things for me to try.  So I ended up with: 1. Aloe Vera Setting powder. Which is amazing. Makes your skin super super soft and sets your makeup really really well!!

2. Dragonfly Minersl Eye Shadow- This one really impressed me because of how pigmented it is. You don't think it's going to be that way. But let me tell you a little goes a LONG LONG way!!!! So the small bag she sent me is still going strong bc you just don't need much for each use. 

3. Ultra Rich Face Cream. I can not say enough good things about this.  I think I have used every last ounce of product out of this container bc it is just so good.  It is so luxurious and makes your face feel so darn soft. Probably my favorite product in this bunch for sure.  

4. Vintage Rose mineral face color- also very pigmented. Great color for blush. Also works nicely for eye color.  Also goes a long way. 

5. Antique Ivory Liquid Cream- this stuff is fantastic!  This provides great overall coverage without making your face feel full or cackey. Was a very good match to my light complexion.  

All of these products were amazing. I really liked Each and every one of them.  It's not often that I receive a group of products where I like  The whole group of products. So that shows just how great this product line is.  I highly recommend if you are looking for a natural skincare or mineral makeup line that you go check this Etsy shop out!!

-Amber

PRODUCT REVIEW

About a month ago I worked with  Gabriella  and her awesome ETSY shop ForeverGreen Healing.  Everything she offers is just that Green. Totally natural. And that's what attracted me to her shop.  She has everything from toner to boby butter to joint salve  and more. After spending time searching her site I decided what would benefit me most and I chose: The Flower Power Toner, Arthritis & Joint Salve, Sweet as Honey Face Mask, Magnolia Mint Whipped Butter, & Whipped Butter for Glowing Skin.   I loved every single product except for the Sweet as Honey Face Mask. I am not sure that I didn't just receive a bad batch. But mine was very hard and not pliable. I was unable to apply it to my face. I was sad about this. But all the other product WELL made up for it. I did however enjoy the Flower Power Toner. It worked well on my face and made my face feel nice. 

I think my favorite product of the bunch is the Magnolia Mint Whipped Butter. I have used it mostly on my feet mostly and it has made them soooo super smooth.  I have also found that when I have a cold it works a lot like Vic's does when you apply it on your feet and out socks on.  This does the same thing. I don't know how or why. But it seems to help!!  And I've had a lot of cheat congestion and coughs lately so I have used a lot of this!!! I will definetky be buying more of this.  

I also super enjoyed the other Whipped Body Butter. It goes on really smooth and leaves your skin feel really smooth for hours afterward. And the part that I like is that there is no strong smell. Being that I have severe migraines I can't do strongly scented lotions. So I greatly appreciate lotions that are not strongly scented. This is also a product I will be buying more of. 

Ohhh I can't say enough nice things about the Arthritis & Joint Salve.  Being that I have so much Joint pain I have love having this around. It has a smell slightly similar to an Icy HOT but not nearly as strong. And it feels good on the Joint.  But It doesn't have the typical Icy HOT feel. Definetly something I can appreciate from the migraine standpoint and the pain front. 

Overall I give this shop ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️!!!  Gabrielle the owner is great to work and overall the shop is fabulous!  All the products were amazing and I can't wait to use up what I got and purchase more in the future.  Please take time and go check out this shop!! You won't be disappointed!!

-Amber