The Friday 5 | 2/15/19

Good morning and happy Friday! We made it through yet another week of bi-polar weather. This week contained the holiday of love that people love or love to hate, Valentine’s Day! Who is hitting the stores for the deep discounts on all the chocolate?? Anyway, on to today’s 5!

1. My Valentine’s Day

My husband and I had zero plans to celebrate this day of romance together for 2 reasons:

  1. He’s been working like a mad man. Even though he’s working locally (which isn’t the norm), most days this week he has gotten home after I’ve gone to bed and been up before me in the morning. There was no way we’d cross paths on Valentine’s Day
  2. We have so many celebrations in quick succession that we opted to move Valentine’s day to the middle of summer so we can make some random day extra special.

This means that the day of love was going to be all about me loving myself. I did do some work, including publishing yesterday’s blog post: 14 Ways To Be Your Own Valentine (Just because the day is over doesn’t mean these things don’t still apply). I treated myself to a much needed pedicure early in the afternoon, and then came back home to do other things (aka more work) until it was time to go to the gym for my usual Thursday evening Bodypump class. Our instructor (my friend, Nichole) made comments about how we (the class) are each other’s Valentines. The ranking goes: ourselves, our fellow pumpers, then our spouses. Based on the amount of time I’d be spending with my spouse, she wasn’t wrong. 😂While I was at the gym I was informed by FedEx that the special treat I ordered for myself to arrive that day, Baked by Melissa cupcakes, were delayed and they would not be there in time for me to enjoy them. This infuriated me, so plan B ended up being Portillo’s chocolate cake, so I stopped there after my workout to grab my favorite salad and some cake before heading home.

While in transit, my husband informed me he was on his way home, which was a huge surprise. I knew it wasn’t to see me though. He was exhausted and had hit his limit. After I ate dinner, took a shower, and got my cozy PJs on, I cuddled with hubby for a whopping 10 minutes before he fell asleep at 9:30pm. Poor guy. The romance was real, let me tell you. 😂 Luckily, I don’t need a special day to encourage the love in my marriage. We regularly do special things for each other and I know I’m loved each and every day. So, after hubby fell asleep, Gracie and I hung out and cuddled while I enjoyed Portillo’s chocolate cake and edited today’s video. Happy Valentine’s Day to me!

Incase you’re wondering, Baked By Melissa gave me a full refund on my order because it didn’t show up when it was guaranteed to. Amazing customer service and if I enjoy the product, I will definitely use them again.

2. Winter Scalp Like WOAH

Does anyone else have killer winter scalp issues this year? All of these sub 0 temperatures and the crazy bi-polar weather has my scalp itching and flaking like crazy. I know this isn’t a glamorous topic, but it’s real life, my friends. If you suffer from the same issues, what do you do to help? Outside of dandruff shampoo, I’ve tried several things, including purchasing this highly rated scalp serum, which helped a little, but not as much as I was hoping. As we speak I upped my game and have a homemade coconut oil + essential oils scalp treatment on, which seems to have helped a bit. It means I’ll be going to the gym with greasy hair, but whatever. I also read that you can make a DIY scalp scrub with epsom salts and coconut oil, both of which is sitting in my house as we speak. That’s a lot cheaper than one of the big deal scrubs, and I can make it at home?? Sign me up! I’m open to all other suggestions. Let me know!

3. Who are you and what did you do with MY Gracie??

For the last two days, Gracie hasn’t been shy about laying on my lap. This is a HUGE deal. My dog doesn’t cuddle. My dog doesn’t even want to obey the command “come” or have anything to do with me unless she is in the mood to play. Yesterday she actually fought her way onto my lap while my computer was there, so she had to sit awkwardly because I was working. Anyone with a small dog? If yours didn’t like to cuddle when they were small, how old were they before they became cuddlers? I’m loving this new change, but I fear it’s a fluke. I got Gracie to be a mommy’s girl and a snuggler, and instead I got a daddy’s girl who hates cuddling..until now??

4. Made For More

You all know my obsession with Rachel & Dave Hollis. Guess what! The Hollis Co’s documentary of the Rise conference is available on Amazon Prime! It’s an incredible documentary that will leave you feeling inspired and fired up about life, and I highly recommend you check it out. I might rewatch it tonight while my husband is at his guys night out at our church.

5. Let It Go

I’m just going to leave this here. Are we excited about this?? I can’t decide, but I think I’m excited. What are your thoughts?

Sick Husband and No Sunshine | The Friday 5 2/8/19

Last week there was no Friday 5 because I procrastinated and then couldn’t come up with anything. At least I’m honest here, friends. It’s been quite a week in the Diva and the Divine household, and I’m hoping that something resembling normalcy returns soon. On the bright side (quite literally), we haven’t seen the sun in days until this morning. That in and of itself makes it a glorious day.

1. A Sick Husband

You’ve all heard of the man-cold, right? A man and a woman can catch the same cold and somehow the man’s life is ending while the woman takes a decongestant and nothing else about her day changes? Well, at first I thought that’s what my husband brought home, but then several days of the poor guy getting worse and worse, he finally uttered the words “I need to go to the doctor.” This is a big deal because my husband will rarely go to the doctor for something like this. After a trip to immediate care, he was given some antibiotics and alas, 24 hours later he said he started to feel like himself again. Goodbye bacterial sinus infection, you are no longer welcome here.

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Friday 5

Okay, whoever angered Elsa seriously needs to go and apologize! As I sit at my desk at 9 am typing out this week’s Friday 5 because I didn’t have time to do it yesterday (that’s just the kind of week I’m having) it’s currently -6˚ outside! What’s even better? According to the Weather Channel, it feels like -26˚🥶 I mean, at what point exactly is cold just freaking freezing? Does the body even know the difference between -6 and -26? Probably not.  Anyway, whoever Elsa is mad at had better set things straight because this is ridiculous. Anyway, let’s move on to the Friday 5.

 #1. Save Yourself From The MOST Stuff

If you haven’t seen them already, Oreo put out a new cookie called “The MOST Stuff,” which (as the name implies) contains Oreos with the most cream filling they’ve ever offered. This is a very slippery slope for Oreo cream lovers such as myself. Clocking in at 110 calories and 11g sugar per cookie (3pp/5pp) this is basically a sugar addict’s dream and worst nightmare all wrapped up in one delicious little package. The last 2 days PMS hit me really hard and for me PMS= craving all the sugar. Learn from my mistakes. If you have any sort of self-control issues around sugar, do not (I repeat: do NOT) buy these cookies!!  That being said, if you’re an Oreo cream lover like me, these are awesome… Read more

The Friday 5 | 5 Things That Happened This Week | 1/18/19

Well, my friends, we made it to Friday!  Hallelujah and happy, happy day! In an effort to post a little more regularly on the blog, I thought it might be fun to bring back a series I did ages ago (we’re talking back when I started the blog in 2013) called “The Friday 5.” Basically, every Friday I’ll give you the low down on anything that’s on my mind from that week. New products I’m trying, life events, things on my mind… whatever comes to mind when I start to write. Hopefully, it’s a series you will enjoy. make sure to leave your feedback in the comments.

The Friday 5 | 1/18/19

1. I couldn’t escape the cold

I thought I was in the clear after still feeling okay days after Erik caught a cold, but alas my immune system eventually crapped out and I’ve felt pretty crummy since Tuesday. I really thought Tuesday was simply because f my all day Alice adventure, but a runny nose was a dead giveaway. I had to enlist my cold essentials to help me survive the rest of the week. What are my sickness essentials? I’m so glad you asked:

  • Sudafed- Generic brand is okay, but it has to be the drug that is now only available behind the pharmacy counter, pseudoephedrine. The other drug that is now in the aisles is crap and doesn’t work half as well as what I call “the good stuff.” It’s not expensive or anything, but apparently people figured out you can make meth or something with it (what the actual heck?!) and so they now have to regulate how much you take home in a given time period. Way to ruin it for the rest of us, guys.
  • Zicam- These tablets make everything you eat and drink taste terrible (diet friendly bonus??), but I do think it does its job of shortening the duration of my colds. I’m pretty sure it’s just zinc, but anything that helps is a winner in my book.
  • Afrin nasal spray- This has been in my life since I was young. Again, the generic brand is fine, but this spray will open up even the most stuffed nasal passages. Beware: Do NOT take it for more than a few days and no more than the recommended dosage because it can really mess things up if you abuse it. I know a woman whose nasal passages look like she was a regular drug snorter but she had never done drugs in her life. It was from taking Afrin far too frequently! I learned this in high school and have been careful ever since. 
  • A super hydrating cream for my lips and nose- My nose gets super irritated as soon as I have to regularly use tissues. We’re talking red, dry, and peely, kind of like a sunburn. Using a super hydrating cream is my saving grace. This time around I am using Lano Multi-Purpose Balm and it’s working really well on taking care of my lips and my nose, which is great because I’m pretty sure I will have gone through an entire box of tissues by the time this is over. 

2. Mom For A Day

On Tuesday I was mom for a day. My dad is currently unable to take care of Alice due to having an emergency eye surgery, so family and friends are coming together to manage childcare. I got her all day on Tuesday. We played, I must have said “no” or “stop that” no less than 250000 times, we watched half a movie, we threw a few tantrums.. you know, the joys of hanging out with a two-year-old all day. By the time I got home (after going straight to the gym, which I gave myself major props for), I showered, ate the most low key dinner ever and started struggling to keep my eyes open at 8:30 pm!  Oh my goodness what kind of black magic do toddlers have that somehow drains every last ounce of energy from your body??? Between that and the beginning of my cold, I was in bed by 10 pm and passed out all night long. Mom for a day was hard for someone who is inexperienced. You mamas are the real MVPs! 

I was feeling victorious when all kids under the age of 2, including the pups, went down for a nap.

3. Two New Skincare Items

I’m trying to not buy a whole lot of beauty products until I use up a lot of my current collection, but I did make a small purchase at Sephora while they were offering 2x points on skincare. My first product was the Fresh Beauty Black Tea Kombucha Essense clocking in at $68 for the bottle, which hurt a bit, but it’s such a raved about product I was dying to try it.  Here’s Sephora’s description:

The silky essence gives skin a luminous glow, helps fades fine lines, minimizes pores, improves elasticity, smooths its texture, boosts its healthy tone, and hydrates for up to 24 hours. Kombucha, fermented black tea proven to fight wrinkle-causing pollution and free radicals, is the star in this product.

Sounds like a winner, right? The other product I picked up was the thing that really broke the bank. Clocking in at a whopping $5.90, I finally purchased my first serum from The Ordinary. I got their Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% serum which is supposed to help with acne. Niacinamide was an ingredient found in the formula that was custom made for me by Dermacare, so I knew it worked well for my skin. I figure for less than $6 I might as well give it a shot. Full reviews will be coming later on. 

4. Sweat it out?

I want to know: When you have a cold do you stay away from physical activity or do you try to sweat it out? I haven’t skipped a workout yet this week, despite feeling a bit crummy and being totally hopped up on cold medication. I must say, I definitely don’t feel any worse for sticking to my workout routine. What would you do?

5. My Heart Will Go On

Many of you tell me you want to hear me sing. Well, I posted a video of me singing in the finals of “The Voice of the Ocean” while we were on our cruise over Christmas. It was a really cool experience to be able to sing with the live band on the main stage of the cruise ship. I once had aspirations to be a cruise ship performer, and now I can officially check that off of my bucket list. Pretty neat! In case you missed the video, you can see it below.

Oh, Hey There 2019…

 

Just like that another year is gone. Done. Finished! It’s hard to believe that 2018 is behind us. I know for many people 2018 was a challenging year for many reasons. While my 2018 wasn’t all sunshine and roses, I am so very thankful for everything that came to pass this last year as I was able to learn and grow from many of my experiences.  It’s these learning experiences from 2018 that are going to help me jump into 2019 with energy, focus, and an even greater understanding of myself to better aid me in achieving my 2019 goals. 

I bet you’re wondering exactly what those goals are, aren’t you? Well, fear not. You will get an entire blog post on them (and a video for my Youtube subscribers), but today is just little brain dump about the new year. Right now it is 5:14 pm on January 1st, and I’m sitting here embracing what’s left of my vacation before reality sets back in and the Mister and I are back to business as usual. I felt the need to stop binge-watching Manifest (which is incredible so far, just in case you’re wondering) and reclaim my computer to write for a bit because this is honestly one of my goals for this year: to write. I’m sure you’ve noticed by now that this little website of mine was not very active in 2018. The truth is my focus flipped to my Youtube channel for the year, and while I cranked out content over there at least 3 times per week, my poor blog suffered. 2019’s goal (well, one of them anyway) is to bring back the blog, so here I am making sure I’m sticking to that on day 1. 

I actually have 10 goals that I’m focusing on this year, but some of them are more like categories that can actually contain smaller goals within the one big picture goal. I’m using the Cultivate What Matters Powersheets as my goal planning tool this year and rather than letting them just sit and take up space on my bookshelf I fully intend on actively using them regularly. Imagine that… 🙄 The Powersheets prep I did before I left for vacation really helped me dive into what I valued and what areas of my life needed focus, and the 10 goals I came up with are things I’m truly excited about cultivating in my life, and I am so looking forward to sharing every step of my journey with you all. 

However, since this in fact not a blog post about my actual goals for the year, I thought that I’d instead share what my words of the year are.  Yes, I have multiple words since I can’t seem to narrow it down to just one. In the Powersheets, they actually tell you to brainstorm a bunch of them and I ended up with so many that I loved that it was actually really hard to imagine picking just one word, so I came up with a few instead:

Fit, Focused, & Fabulous

What does this mean exactly? Well, “fit” should be obvious, but I’ll elaborate anyway. This year my health goals are less about weight loss and more about health and fitness, strength, muscle building and fueling my body well. If I’m focused on my fitness, the weight loss and body changes I desire will follow in time. It’s time to embrace the journey of becoming my healthiest self and not my skinniest self.

“Focused” is also obvious. I want to truly focus on these 10 goals of mine, which will help me become a better version of myself. A better blogger and Youtuber, a better wife, a better Christian, and a better human being. I am a professional procrastinator and time waster, and this year I will use better focus to spend time more efficiently doing the things I need to be doing. 

Fabulous is a word I chose primarily for the alliteration, I’m not going to lie, but it can very easily have the perfect application to helping me be the person I want to be. When I think of someone who is a “fabulous” person I think of someone who is full of light, life, and joy; someone who is unapologetic about who she is and is always trying to grow to become an even better version of herself. Someone who wants to reach goals and exceed what they think is their highest potential. I want to be that person, and this year I have every intention of making that happen. 

I am so excited to embrace this new year and everything it has to offer. Am I the only one that feels like January 1st is the most perfect clean slate that leaves you feeling like anything is possible? Maybe I’m just an eternal optimist, or maybe it’s the fact I started the new year away from my cold, wintery home, but that’s really how I feel about 2019. There’s something different about this year, the last year of another decade. It’s going to be a year full of making things happen, love, joy, faith, and so much more.  Will there be challenges? I’m 100% positive there will be. No one’s life is totally smooth sailing, but even in the challenges that 2019 throws at me, whatever they may be, I know that the good will outweigh the bad. When I know that starting from day 1, it’s hard to have a negative outlook on the new year 😃

So, with that being said, I’m here to wish you all a very happy, healthy, and joyful 2019. I’m looking forward to sharing the next 365 days of adventure with you, and hopefully, you’ll come with me as we create the best year ever. Are you ready? I am! 

 

#Last90Days

It’s October!! We are officially in the last quarter of the year. Now is the time where we start to embrace fall, think about the holidays (say what now?!), and if we’re being honest, we’re thinking about all of those New Year’s Resolutions that we made all the way back in January that we haven’t accomplished yet. 

Did this post just get a little depressing?  Sorry, but hear me out.

The last quarter of the year is not only the time where we start to panic about not reaching our goals, but we also end up getting lazy, letting ourselves get away with things we normally wouldn’t (hello too many holiday treats and pumpkin spice lattes), and ending up moving further away from those goals instead of making the final push to achieve them.  Well, not this year, my friends. 

You all know by now that I am a huge fan and follower of Rachel Hollis, author of the bestseller Girl, Wash Your Face. She and her husband are taking the self-help world by storm and inspiring so many people to get out there, work hard, and accomplish their goals while reaching for their best possible lives. Rachel is hosting the Last 90 Days challenge, and I want to encourage all of us to join in.

The last 90-day challenge starts today, October 1st, and is encouraging all of us to basically change our mindset. Instead of taking these last few months of the year to slack off and take steps backward, why not treat these last 90 days as you would the first 30? You know what I mean. On January 1, we all wake up inspired, motivated, and ready to kick off the new year with big goals and we are ready to work for them. How great would it be if we did that these last few months too? How powerful would it be for us to start 2019 having had 3 months of “new year’s mindset” under our belt already? Read more

Where Were You?

Today is September 11th. 17 years ago today the world changed. 17 years ago today, as a freshman in high school, I learned how very real terrorism is. As a young, naive little 14-year-old girl, I never had to think about it. I never truly realized. I lived in my own little bubble.  Then I went to school on 9/11/01 and walked into 1st period.

I can’t remember the exact chain of events that happened during that period, but what I remember is this: our choir director that year was a man that expected nothing less than perfection from all of his choirs. Even the freshman girls who had only been in session for a few weeks. Rehearsals were not a time to mess around. They were a time for focused rehearsal and getting things done. Nothing was more important than rehearsing and getting ready for whatever performance was coming, even if it was weeks away. He was teaching us how to be good choir members and good performers. For those 48 minutes first thing in the morning, there was nothing more important in our little freshman world.

On 9/11, Mr. Swanson stopped rehearsal and turned on the tv to the newsfeed covering what was happening all over the country. I repeat: Our director stopped rehearsal and turned on the tv.  This simply did not happen! This is how I knew something was up. I didn’t really understand what it was, but I knew that it was important enough that Mr. Swanson stopped rehearsal and we watched whatever the current newsfeed was.  I don’t remember exactly what was on the screen and I don’t remember what time it was exactly, but this choir nerd (in high school there was nothing more important than choir and show choir to me. This didn’t change all 4 years) took Mr. Swanson’s reaction to mean it was a big deal. 

I honestly don’t remember what happened the rest of the day. I recall the tv being on in most of our classrooms, but that’s about it. I happened to be one of the people that didn’t lose someone close to me that day, and I know how lucky I am to have that be the case because so many others did. Having a husband that gets on an airplane every single week, I can’t begin to imagine the panic I’d be feeling if it was this year instead of 17 years ago.

That’s what I remember about September 11th. Where were you? What were you doing? 

 

What I’d Do With A Million Dollars

Imagine that you woke up this morning and discovered $1,000,000 in your bank account. Not a million dollars that the government has to take a large chunk of for taxes or anything like that. Just a strait million that you were gifted and was all yours to spend however you wanted.  Can you picture it?

What would you do with it?

I don’t mean what will you tell people you’ll do with it to make you look good or anything like that. What would you honestly do with a million dollars? 

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The Good Old (Labor) Days

It’s almost 10 pm on Labor Day and I’m just sitting down to write. In my bed, with the new season of The Great British Baking Show playing in the background. This is real life.

Today was a rainy and gloomy day, making me feel rather sad for people with any Labor Day plans that took place outside.  It was a pretty standard Monday for me with getting to the gym, uploading my monthly favorites video (full transparency, that was also the post that was supposed to go up today, but I ran out of time and the mental bandwidth to get it done today, so here we are), spent time with my husband before he left for his week’s travels, spent time talking final wedding plans for my baby sister’s big day next Sunday, and even saw a friend. It was a busy, productive day, but it wasn’t my typical Labor Day. Truth be told, I haven’t had a typical Labor day in several years.

You see, for me and for my family, Labor Day has only ever been about two things: a cookout and having our eyes glued to the annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon. 

Do you remember watching that? I certainly do.

As at least some of you probably know, the Jerry Lewis MDA Labor Day Telethon was a 21-hour telethon that contained hours of top-notch entertainment as they raised millions of dollars over the years for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Fact: even though Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (aka what I have) is a nerve disease and not technically Muscular Dystrophy, the MDA supported CMT under the MDA’s umbrella. Throughout the course of my childhood, I was personally impacted by the work of the MDA in the form of years of visits to the MDA clinic downtown and several memorable summers spent at MDA camp, which is a free camp for MDA patients.

It’s an incredible experience that allows kids that have many various levels of disability (we’re talking from kids more mobile to me to others that are wheelchair bound and have machines that help them breathe) to have a week away from family, surrounded by others just like them and an amazing crew and staff that make every single camper feel special, loved, and NORMAL. Camp was always an incredible experience for me, and I was always so sad to leave.  Even now, years later, I have a few young teenagers that follow me on Instagram that also have CMT, and they messaged me telling me about how excited they were for camp, and also followed up when they got home saying it was an amazing time. It makes my heart so happy to know that this camp is still making such a huge impact on kids lives, even after the telethon got canceled. 

Yes, you read that right. They canceled the telethon. The MDA telethon started way back in 1966. Actually, Jerry Lewis started hosting telethons to benefit the MDA back in 1952, but it wasn’t until 1966 that the telethon I grew up loving and appreciating came into being. The 21-hour telethon began the night before Labor Day, ran all night long, and until 6 or 7 pm on Labor day, and it was such a joy to watch. Broadway shows, famous singers, and celebrities from all different genres graced the TV screen as they performed, entertained, and help bring in millions of dollars worth of donations. It was a joy to watch, not just because it was raising money for a good cause, but I was one of Jerry’s kids. My family was one of the families impacted by this show. Fun fact: one year I was actually on a local segment of the telethon, as I got interviewed on camera one of my summers at camp.

When Jerry Lewis was no longer a part of the telethon in 2011, it was so sad to me, as he spent most of his life supporting the MDA. The show began to change. They made it shorter, and it felt a lot less magical than in years past. 2014 was the last year of anything resembling the telethon, and my Labor Days have been boring and a little sad ever since. 

It’s funny how something as seemingly small as an annual television broadcast could make up so many of my Labor Day memories, but it does! As I was writing this, I actually asked my mom if they only started watching the telethon after our family was diagnosed with CMT or if they watched it before. It turns out my family always watched the show, even before I was in the picture, and it just got more meaningful once we learned we were linked to it. How cool is that?

Why such a long post about something that doesn’t even exist anymore? Well, for one, I promised to publish something every day this month, and this happened to be on my mind this evening, but more importantly, I want this blogging challenge to help you get to know me better. In case you haven’t figured it out by now, having CMT plays a big part in the woman I grew up to be and on Labor Day, we always focused on this show, this cause, and the amazing things it did for patients all over that were just like me and my family.  The show might not be on anymore, but the memories of watching it at my grandparent’s house in between rounds of swimming in the pool, at home, and even in my college dorm room, as Labor Day weekend was also move-in weekend, are all very strong in my mind and in my heart.

Do you have any Labor Day traditions or favorite Labor Day memories? I’m also dying to know: Did you ever watch the MDA telethon? Let me know!

30 Day Blogging Challenge?!

As of late, I’m often mentioning how my blog, the place where my Diva and the Divine brand all began, had taken a major backseat to my other methods of content creation (primarily my YouTube channel).  Since my channel often has easy reasons for me to create content, especially during vlogging months, it’s no surprise that my video content is more plentiful, but I truly want that to change.

Enter: the September 30 day blogging challenge!

There are plenty of month-long challenge out there, so I figured there had to be one for blogging as well. I popped it into the Pinterest search bar and a ton of results popped up with various prompts and writing challenges that last all month long, so I decided to jump on board! There are 30 days in September, and I want to publish a blog post of some kind for every single one of them.  Challenge ACCEPTED!

These posts will take on different forms. Listicles (articles that are written in list form), my normal content, fun things you didn’t know about me, and diary-type entries are just the tip of the iceberg. The possibilities are endless!

What I’m hoping to gain from this challenge is a little bit more motivation to really get cranking on my website. My hope is that I feel inspired to write, share more about myself and that I also figure out how to balance my time a bit better with a more emphasized focus on written content. I’m already getting better about waking up earlier, so the goal is to use the energy and time I gain from that to truly embrace the blogger lifestyle.  

That being said: 30 posts in 30 days! What would you like to hear about? Do you have any topics you’d like me to touch on? Do you have any questions about me that you would like me to answer? It’s an anything-goes kind of month. Come along for the ride! It will be a blast!