Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January Favorites 2017 || Natural beauty, home decor, monthly bill organizer ||

I'm going to *try* to publish my favorites every month.  This month has a range of items, from beauty products to home decor.  Hope you enjoy!  (This is not a sponsored post and these are not affiliated links.  I only share products I truly love.)

Lucas Paw Paw ointment is a cult-classic out of Australia.  But when I did some research I realized that it contains a lot of harmful ingredients, including petrolatum.  I try to avoid anything with petrolatum in it (yes, including vaseline!).  So I came across this alternative.  It is still made with paw-paw extract, but it is a more natural version of the Lucas ointment.  It is certified organic and contains other ingredients such as honey, beeswax, and coconut oil.  I LOVE this balm.  You can use it anywhere on your skin (as a lip balm, for cuticles, rough skin patches, etc).  My lips always feel super smooth after I slather them with this stuff.  You can order it here.

I wanted a better way to organize my monthly bills.  I found this awesome binder on Etsy.  It has space to write down your bills and when you pay them each month.  It also has convenient pockets to organize each month's paid and unpaid bills.  You can buy it on Etsy here.

I picked up these cotton rounds completely by accident.  I was in a hurry and just grabbed the first thing I saw (that happened to be on sale).  I'm so glad I did.  I love these organic cotton rounds.  They really are the smoothest cotton rounds I've ever used.  They don't tug at your eyelids when you are removing your eye makeup.  They are so soft.  And it just so happens they are organic.  I will definitely be repurchasing, on purpose this time!

I finally found a natural deodorant that actually works!  This one is aluminum free and is made with organic beeswax and organic cornstarch.  It's scented with peppermint essential oil.  It works really well at keeping me odor-free all day.  The only cons are that if I use it every day in a row it can sometimes make my armpits itchy.  It also makes my armpits feel cold (that's the peppermint oil in it).  You can buy it here.

 My Christmas gift to myself was a 3-month Birchbox subscription.  I had always wanted to try it but never had.  My first box came with a lot of things I enjoyed, but this Hey Honey Take It Off Exfoliating Honey peel-off mask was my favorite.  I don't know much about the brand or the product itself, only that I really love it!  It doesn't make my skin feel dry or tight after I use it, and yet my skin feels super smooth and nice after.  I might use my Birchbox points to buy a full size of this!  If you'd like to try Birchbox, you can get 50% off your first box if you use this link: https://www.birchbox.com/invite/alonewithmytea (This is referring link and I will receive points if anyone uses my link to join Birchbox.)

My last January favorite is another Christmas present.  This one was from my dad.  He made this vase!  Isn't that awesome!  That isn't painted - He actually used two different colors of clay to get the marbled look.  I think it's totally cool and I'm trying to convince him to sell his ceramics and pottery items online!  Comment below if you think he should open up an online shop!

Ok that's all for now.  What did you enjoy this month?  Also do you think I should make "favorites" a monthly thing?


Other posts you might like:


Monday, January 30, 2017

What dog breed are you?

I was originally supposed to include this with my January Favorites that I was planning on posting today, but I was having some issues with the pictures I took, so that will have to be rescheduled.  

It's no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that I'm obsessed with my dog.  Just look at him! He's so cute!  Recently the people over at Puppyspot.com created a flowchart called "Find Your Perfect Dog Breed."  I thought this was super cute and wanted to share it. *This is not a sponsored post.*  Take a look at this flowchart and let me know what dog breed you are!

My dog is actually a mutt, but I think he has part dachshund in him.  He is definitely a little cuddle bug and a Loyal Companion.  Just what we wanted!

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for January Favorites coming soon.  And thank you to everyone who expressed concern after my last post.  I will post a health update after my next appointment.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Health Update

The other day I put out a prayer request on Facebook because I was going to the doctor and I was desperate for them to find an answer.  Many people were concerned and I wanted to update everyone but felt like this was too much to put on Facebook.  So here it is.

I've been going to the doctors for several years suspecting either a thyroid disorder or an autoimmune disorder and they keep telling me I'm "fine."  But lately my symptoms have gotten worse and worse.  I wake up after 8 - 9 hours of sleep still feeling exhausted.  I work a normal day and feel relatively ok during the day.  Sometimes I feel tired in the afternoons, but I'm able to work 8 - 9 hours a day.  But as soon as I get home I "crash."  I can't do anything.  My head will ache, my body will ache, and I can barely get up the energy to eat dinner and take my dog on a short walk.  All I can do is lie in bed.  (This is not every day.  But it is the majority of days.)

The doctors always an excuse.  "You're just stressed," or "You're just paranoid..."

I don't think this is normal.  I'm not stressed or depressed.  All my blood work is "normal," yet something is not right.  I can just tell.  I think people can tell when their body is not quite right.  I was put on a 30-day hear monitor after my most recent appointment (I've been having tachycardia and palpitations, but again my stress test and ecco all came back as "normal..."), and I've been referred to a rheumatologist due to possible irregular ANA results.  I always thought I had low thyroid, but now I'm suspecting it might be high.  My TSH levels were on the low side and my T3 levels were on the high side (of "normal...")... and those are indicative of hyperthyroid. I also have EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM of hyperthyroid (except for weight loss... I'd be in the 10% of people who actually gain weight with hyperthyroid...).

I'm thinking I might have to travel several hours to find an endocrinologist that will see me without a referral, since my general practitioner seems to think my thyroid is "normal" and won't refer me.  

Anyway long story short is that I'm finally at my wits end about this.  I'm emotionally exhausted and anyone who knows me knows that I don't cry easily and I very rarely let myself cry.  I can tell you the exact last time I cried, and it was in May of 2015...  So the fact that I'm sitting in bed about to cry my eyes out is a big deal... The fact that I'm posting it on Facebook is a big deal...

(I have to say that my husband has been amazing throughout this.  He has been so helpful and empathetic.  I am very grateful.)

So that's the update.  Thanks for reading and thanks for caring.  And if you're the praying type, I'd really appreciate if you'd remember me in your prayers.

Friday, January 6, 2017

How to have a perfect house in 6 steps || Nailed it

Step 1
A gorgeous kitchen sink

Via http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2016/12/at-home-with-kelly-christine-sutton-in-golden-texas.html

Step 2
A "dreamy" dining room

Via http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/6-stylish-steps-to-a-your-dreamiest-dining-room-yet-214574?preview=true&crlt.pid=camp.moe1GOVq6P6T

Step 3
A classy, curated bookshelf

Via http://www.refinery29.com/homepolish-upper-east-side-apartment?crlt.pid=camp.5xwC6rFT9KoO&amp&crlt.pid=camp.5rs3cDqvqWsg&crlt.pid=camp.hu9uAYh1jKzv&crlt.pid=camp.HofFU8QDgR0C#slide-11

Step 4
A functional, organized home office space
Via https://www.scrapbook.com/gallery/?m=image&id=5554645&type=scraproom&start=40

Step 5
A cozy, welcoming guest room

Via http://www.zdesignathome.com/cozy-chic-guest-room-retreat-update/

Step 6
A sparkling fresh bathroom counter

Via https://www.decorpad.com/photo.htm?photoId=127378

So that about sums it up!  Have a great weekend and don't forget to nail it!

Monday, January 2, 2017

Things I want to do in 2017

Yesterday I published a recap of my 2016 goals and how I did/didn't do at completing them...

Here are all the things I want to do in 2017!

I would like to write and publish an ebook or emagazine.  I have absolutely no idea what to write about... so if you have any suggestions on what you would be interested in reading, please leave a comment!

Another cross-over goal from last year is to get a handle on my health issues.  Find a doctor who will actually do something about my crazy symptoms, even though my blood work is "normal."

Be more active - make healthier choices.  Do more yoga and pilates, eat more fruits and vegetables.

Seriously look into a PhD program, and maybe apply.  This is something I've wanted to do for soooo long but just haven't taken seriously.  Mostly because I have been back and forth on what I actually want to study.  I think I've made up my mind that I would like to study musicology (instead of conducting, which is what my Master's is in)... but the thought of "giving up" conducting is very scary, so I'm not convinced yet...

Blog more.

Organize my office/art supplies.  Well we're 2 days into the new year and I've already made some good progress on this goal!  High five!

Purge and have a yard sale.  We seem to collect so much junk around my house.  I need to just get rid of it!  I'm going to donate what I can and have a yard sale for the rest.

Decorate my bedroom.  It's half-way there.  Just need a few more finishing touches.

Sell at least one thing, either on Etsy or Society6.  I have so many designs that I want to create into notebooks or notecards or art prints... I just need to do it!

"Downgrade" to part-time work, or at least find a job where I can work from home.  We haven't been in a place, financially, to be able to do this.  But after this school year I would like to make this happen.  I think a lot of my health issues stem from the fact that I'm so exhausted and stressed out from my job.  I want to seriously make this happen.

And, finally, find balance.  2016 was a rollercoaster of ups and downs, emotional highs and lows, for various reasons, but mostly related to my job.  I really need to find a way to find balance in my life and be able to "shut off" work when I'm at home and just be able to relax and enjoy life.

WOW that's a lot of goals!  I hope I can follow through on all of them!
What are your goals for 2017?

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 Goal RECAP

Last year I gave myself some resolutions, or "goals," as I called them.  Let's see how I did.

1. Get my health in order.
I tried.  I really tried.  I saw many doctors, had many appointments, had much blood drawn, peed in cups, all that fun stuff.  But nothing was resolved.  And now I have a few more issues that are creeping up.  Argh.

2.  Create a capsule wardrobe.
Didn't happen.  I wanted to wait until my weight fluctuations were manageable, which I thought would happen once I got my health issues figured out.  But as you know from #1, that hasn't been resolved yet...

3.  Do more yoga.
I did this!  I also did Pilates quite regularly for awhile.  Then my schedule got so busy that I had to drop it.  But I still kept doing yoga.  I want to do even more this year!

4.  More local tourism.
I think I did this.  Well, I don't know if it's "local" but we did a road trip and got to see several different states... does that count? (Summer Vacation Part 1 and Part 2)

5.  Pay off some debt.
Accomplished.  Still have a bit more to pay off, but I was happy to check off a few items from our list!

6.  Make time for things that make me happy.
Done.  I spent the summer finding beauty in different art forms, and it was very therapeutic!  I spent some time in my art journal, and I allowed myself to rest.  I bought a piano!  It has been so wonderful to be able to play whenever I want!

What else did I get up to in 2016?

I had another career breakdown.  Ugh.  Not fun.

I wrote down some "life hacks" that I love.

I found beauty all around me.

I wrote down my favorite literary quotes, which turned out to be quite a popular post on my little blog!

I discovered a new way to remove makeup.

I got very philosophical after my New York trip.

I offered some free stock photos.

I made a video of making tea.

I finally got to visit Whole Foods again.  Man, I miss that store!

I also got to stock up at Trader Joe's.  Miss that store even more!

I redesigned and relaunched my other blog.

I discovered my new favorite product.

I shared an easy curly-hair updo.

I learned a little bit more about myself, from my husband!

And, finally, I reassessed my version of "culture shock" of living in The Deep South.

All in all, 2016 had some major ups and downs, many of which I did not share on here.  I'm grateful for a new year and a fresh start.  2017 Goals coming at ya tomorrow!

Thanks for reading!