Happy New Year!! I’m so excited for a New Year ~ a New Decade! I’m not one who usually makes New Year’s Resolutions, when I do I don’t typically share them with anyone – especially on social media for the world to see. I guess I feel like a failure when March rolls around and I’ve already forgotten what my resolutions were! Don’t get me wrong, I love that people start a new year with great intention and with plans to ensure the best year possible. This year I have resolved to set New Year Goals! I’ve taken time to reflect on the last year; reflect on where I am personally, emotionally and professionally; what I’ve learned and how much I’ve grown; and of course I’ve taken a hard look at the development of my side “hustle’ and how far we’ve come.
I have been wanting to do a photo shoot for some time now to promote me, my business and my blog. I started doing research, scouring the internet, looking at hundreds of branding photo shoots, and of course I spent lots of time searching Pinterest for ideas because it’s my GO-TO for everything (check out my Photo Ideas for Personal Branding Board)! I ended up with tons of ideas, examples and inspiration on what I wanted my personal branding photo shoot to look like and what I wanted it to portray……there was just one problem, I didn’t want to pose for photos! I am not confident at all and the thought of me doing an entire photo shoot to promote myself was very scary and intimidating so I just kept putting it off. It wasn’t like I didn’t have the means, my daughter is a photographer for Pete Sake! We talked about her doing the shoot and she kept telling me to let her know when I was ready but I wasn’t sure I was ever going to be ready.
Today I thought I would share my top 10 Amazon finds for a warm and cozy fall and winter – I am not a big fan of cold weather but I do love cozy slippers, soft blankets and of course a nice warm sweater. These are just a few of my favorite finds and even better…. they are affordable!
Cozy Cable Knit Throw Blanket: This blanket has amazing reviews and it comes in tons of fabulous color options. This natural/light gray color fits in perfectly with my fall decor.
I would not describe myself as an activist or even see myself as outspoken or opinionated. I have never participated in a protest, demonstration or marched for women’s rights but I do have strong beliefs about women and their strengths. When I look in the mirror what I do see is a woman who has strong beliefs in many issues and causes and strives to be the best version of herself. I see a broken girl who has worked hard to embrace her scars and flaws.
It does not seem possible but it has been 31 years since my life changed and my world was turned upside down. One moment in time single handedly shaped my future and dictated who I would become. I was 16 with not a care in the world, except for what I was going to do for the weekend. I had a part time job, a car and an on-again off-again boyfriend. I cannot say that I was popular, beautiful or witty but I was carefree and loving my teenage years. Then the unspeakable happened and everything changed. I became a mother, a kid myself, I had no idea what I was going to do; I was scared and did not know how I was going to survive this. I had disappointed my family and changed the course of my life in an instant. (Read more about being 16 and pregnant
”What is Fibromyalgia?” “You Don’t Look Sick” or “You Look Fine”….. How many times have I heard those words?
I have become a pro at “pretending” to be OK or just telling people that I’m fine because it is easier than explaining to them what pain I am experiencing today and at what level, why my skin feels like it’s on fire or that I am so tired it is hard to move or breathe. I do not blame those around me for looking at me and wondering why I say I am not feeling well because I do not understand it myself. So why “pretend” to be OK? Well I guess it is just that I do not want to explain why today it is my neck that is so painful when yesterday it was my knee or explain why I cannot remember the words to complete my sentence or explain why I’m just too tired to socialize. I’ve never liked to hear people constantly complain about how they are feeling or complain about how tired they are so I guess in my mind I’m justifying withholding the truth so that I am not “that person”. Living with this disease affects every aspect of your life because it affects so much of your mind, body and soul.
When my heart is breaking all I can do is turn to a blank page and fill it with my thoughts, fears, and pain with my words. So with this being one of the most difficult things my heart has endured I’ve decided to share the story of my best friend- Bentley. The Moment I looked into his eyes I just knew…he was the one! That cute little face, button nose, wrinkled body and that tight corkscrew tail were all just perfect; he was exactly the bulldog I had wanted for so long. I never could have imagined how much my life would change the day we brought him into our home. So let me start by saying that I am an animal lover and I knew that I would love him, spoil him, and take good care of him; but I had no idea just how much he would take care of me in return.
It has been 30 years since I was 16 and pregnant but I remember it like it was yesterday. It doesn’t even seem possible to me that my baby girl is 30 years old and a mother herself. Reflecting back on that time in my life, so many emotions come rushing back. I now realize that one single moment in time had changed my future and my life forever.
At 16 I had the world at my fingertips with endless possibilities for my future. Life was about boys, friends and weekend plans. I was shy, awkward and reserved with just a small group of close friends. I wasn’t popular, athletic or overly smart. For the most part, I was happy but totally oblivious to what I wanted to do with my life. I lived for today and believed that life was about having fun and finding love, boy did I have a lot to learn.
I worked part time in food service at our local community hospital; I made just enough money to pay for my car, insurance and some new clothes here and there. One afternoon my parents received a call that I was in the ER because I had gotten sick at work, not the first time they had received a call like this. As I lay there in the hospital bed with my parents at my side, a doctor walked into the room and blurted out “she is fine, she is just pregnant”. It felt the air leave the room and I immediately noticed the disappointment in my parent’s eyes. I honestly can’t recall what happened over the next couple of days, but what I do know is that I was completely terrified and had no idea what I was going to do!
In a world where technology is at our fingertips, available at the push of a button on every phone, watch, TV and computer, it feels as though our lives are spinning out of control. Reading a printed newspaper, using a map to navigate, having face-to-face conversations and talking to one another on the phone have seemed to become obsolete. Today’s generation will grow up not knowing what a phone booth is, what it means to use an encyclopedia to look up information, what a rotary phone looks like…..heck, I’m going to guess they probably do not have a home phone at all! To them this is normal life and it will only get crazier as technology continues to explode.
In this crazy rat race, I find myself multi-tasking 10 things at a time and worrying about the next 10 things coming at me. How do we find the time to slow down, enjoy our lives, embrace who we are, where we are going and what we want out of life? I guess that is the million-dollar question!
Being creative is my addiction, my drug, my outlet and my stress reliever. Over the years I’ve learned that there is so much more inside of me than I ever imagined and sometimes I feel like I am going to explode if I don’t let it out. Over the past five years or so I’ve really become more in tune with myself and I’ve realized that being creative is a part of me, I’ve also learned that I have used multiple outlets to express myself and my feelings over the years. Sometimes I create to release stress, pain and sadness or frustration, other times it is my way of sharing a piece of me and then there are times that I just need to create something to feel whole. I write poetry, I journal or take to writing a new blog post; I create beautiful things for weddings and events; and sometimes I just design a new product, print piece or revamp my website. By learning more about who I am I’ve also realized that I can tap into my creative brain to calm myself down or express myself more accurately. Now that I’ve discovered this about myself I think that I may be taking it to the extreme…. I mean I’ve started my own event planning and designing business, I opened an Etsy store, I’ve become a Pinterest Queen and I started a blog…..wow I’m tired just listing them! I’m always looking for ways to be creative; I mean I literally start to withdraw if it has been too long since I’ve been creative in one way or another!