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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Farewell my loyal friend...Luna you will be missed

Today, I came home from an outing with friends to discover that my cat, Luna, had passed away.  Luna has been in my life since I was 19 years old and she would have turned 19 this August.  She has been there for me for almost half my life. 



Luna and I have been through many things together and I am devastated by the loss of her, though I know she has had a long life.  I love her very much and will miss her everyday. 


In 1999, Luna came into my life when my first love, James, decided he wanted a kitten.  We were smitten with her from the start.  She was a skittish little thing but loved lap time and being near me.  He decided to name her Luna after the cat on Sailor Moon.  James and I didn't last for more than a year, but Luna stayed with me, and is one of the things I am most thankful to this relationship for.





Luna has been with me in 11 different addresses, 10 moves, including one across country from Florida to Arizona.  She spent 3 days in the car and hotels with me and my husband as we made the journey from Florida to Arizona.  She has been with me through four boyfriends, multiple dates and my marriage to my husband.  She seen friends come and go.  She was there during my wild times and my calm times.  She's been with me through college and graduation and five different jobs in 4 different industries.  She's been with me through illness and health.  She has been a sister cat to cats Tate, then Holly and now Fiona and Ringo as well as a slew of zebra and Gouldian finches and two hamsters. 




She has been a good kitty and friend to my step-daughters.  Many things have changed for me over the last almost 19 years, but Luna has always been the one thing that has stayed consistent.









Luna's favorite toy has always been the laser pointer.  She played with it up until almost the end.  She loved cat nip.  She is one of the cats that would eat it and not just roll around in it.  She loved wet food.  Seafood flavors were her favorites.  When we lived back with my parents for a year, my stepdad used to spoil her with tuna fish.  She got the nickname Tuna Tuna.  Some of nicknames I called her include Stellaluna, and Stellie Bellie.  Luna also loved to be held and picked up.  Often times I would be silly and pick her up and dance while she cuddled to my shoulder.  I also made up little songs I would sing to her.



I love taking baths and Luna would always be right there on the edge of the tub with me.  In her younger years she would lick the drops off the side of the tub after a shower.  In the last few years she would drink the water while I was still in it.  At the time this would annoy me but today I took a bath and she wasn't there and it was weird and sad.




Luna loved being cozy.  She loved sitting in the sun or curling up in a blanket.  She has always slept in the bed with me.  In recent years she has taken to sleeping on the pillow next to my face or else sleeping on top of my head and kneading my hair through the night.












She was especially loving and right there for me when I had my hysterectomy in December. 



She loved the clean laundry.  She loved being pet and brushed.  She loved having the spot above her tail scratched.  She loved laying on my books.



And hated the vet.



When I lived with my parents Luna used to love to nap outside on the screened in lanai area and also to sometimes chase lizards.

For a period of time I lived with my parents and also lived there, my mom had a home office with several employees.  Luna was friends with everyone there.  She would often come out and sleep on the desk while I worked or sometimes on the computer.  For all of my other jobs she was waiting for me at the door when I got home.






Luna was a good kitty. She never scratched the furniture.  She never ruined the mini blinds or shoes or anything else some cats can ruin.  Until this last month she never went to the bathroom on the floor.  She didn't bite or scratch people.  I couldn't have asked for a better friend or companion.  I will miss her dearly and I will never forget her.



A Short Prayer to Say Goodbye from ThoughtCo
You have crossed over now,
into the spirit realm.
May you walk with Bast,
and I will see you again some day.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

2018 Goals and Vision

Today I want to talk about my goals for 2018.  I don't say resolutions - because it has been my experience that resolutions are made to be broken.  I have made goals for 2018 - goals that have been broken down into smaller chunks and put into my planner.  I also made a vision board for 2018.  It's my first time every making a vision board, and a little on the ambitious side.



In 2018 I want to pay off and close at least one credit card.  I have a 5 year plan to be debt free, and I have been using the Avalanche Method to pay things off.  I plan to do this buy making an extra payment on one of my cards with the extra money I have from the cards I closed out in 2016 and 2017.  I also plan to put my work expense reimbursements towards paying off my cards.  I also had surgery in December so there will be some medical bills to pay off as well in the first quarter of this year.

In 2018 I want to be healthy.  To me this means eating clean and gluten free.  I am someone who has a legitimate health issue with gluten, but I do good for a while and then slip up and it all goes down hill from there.  I ended up bloated and feeling ill but I keep eating it because my body has become addicted to the taste of it again.  So in 2018 I want to make this a permanent way of life.  Being healthy also means getting plenty of exercise, sunlight, taking my vitamin D (prescription strength), and meditating.  I also really want to get back into yoga not only for my health, but I would someday like to get certified to teach.  I would like to do Tough Mudder in 2019 - so as soon as I am healed from my surgery my husband and I both need to work on strength training and running.

In 2018 I would like to travel and have more experiences than material things.  To me, this means utilizing the library instead of buying books.  It means that I really have to curb my impulse buying - because impulse buying and to an extent retail therapy have been weaknesses of mine.  I have made vast strides in eliminating retail therapy from my life but the impulse buying has been a slightly harder habit to kick.  This also means drinking coffee at home and packing a lunch rather than eating out or getting coffee at Circle K or worse - Starbucks. 

I would like to do a lot of mini in-state experiences that don't have to cost a lot.  Some ideas are touring the Japanese Friendship Gardens, Montezuma's Well, hiking in Sedona, look for crystals at Quartzsite, visit the airplane graveyard in Tucson (a la Can't Buy Me Love) and checking out the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff.  For out of state trips I'm planning to get back to Florida to take my broker's course.  I'd also like to spend some time around the holidays either with my cousin in Columbus or my brother in Atlanta.  My husband may get to travel somewhere for work this year - and of course I love to tag along and check out new places.  In 2017 it was Memphis and we had a great time.

In 2018 I want to focus on creativity.  I haven't made much time for it over the last couple years.  I started this year by making a vision board.  I also have some collage and art journal pages that I'm planning on making.  I have the materials to make slime with the kids and to make bath bombs, flowered bath salts, candles, lip balm, solid lotion and salves.  I'd love to make a dream catcher and a terrarium, some wind chimes, a crystal crown, flavored butter and infuse my own vodka.  I have some photo books and some scrapbooks that are way overdue.  And as soon as we get our oven fixed I want to try out some new recipes.  I bought my husband a multi-tool that does wood burning and leather work and soldering.  I plan to see what I can do with that as well.

In 2018 I want to read 175 books.  I read 166 in 2017.  I want to read at least 1 non-fiction book a month.  I want to do reviews at least on all the NetGalley and Edelweiss books I have.  I want to read several books to improve my business and also books to increase my spirituality.  I'm participating in several challenges on Goodreads and I want to follow them to completion.

In 2018 for personal development and growth I plan to plant a garden.  I want to take a cooking class. I want to take some herbal classes at the apothecary.  In the fall I want to get Reiki certified.   I also want to be better at doing the Questions to Empower Your Day and Evening Power Questions from my Law of Attraction Planner.  I want to continue to have time with my Tribe and I also want to make time for family fun and date nights with my husband.

What are your goals for 2018?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Book Review: Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen


I received a copy of Optimists Die First by Susin Nielsen from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description (From Goodreads):  
Life ahead: Proceed with caution.

Sixteen-year-old Petula De Wilde is anything but wild. A family tragedy has made her shut herself off from the world. Once a crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula now sees danger in everything, from airplanes to ground beef.

The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class. She has nothing in common with this small band of teenage misfits, except that they all carry their own burden of guilt.

When Jacob joins their ranks, he seems so normal and confident. Petula wants nothing to do with him, or his prosthetic arm. But when they’re forced to collaborate on a unique school project, she slowly opens up, and he inspires her to face her fears.

Until a hidden truth threatens to derail everything.

My review: 

Optimists Die First is a sweet contemporary young adult book that focuses on mental illness.  The main character, Petula de Wilde (what a name!) is obsessed with the dangers that could be lurking around every corner.  She fills her time with collecting newspaper articles about freak accidents and memorizing statistics.  This is Petula’s way of dealing with the death of her younger sibling.  Her mom copes with the loss of her youngest child by collecting cats – literally becoming the crazy cat lady.   Petula’s parents fight and she does everything she can – including clean up after all the cats – in hopes of preventing a fight or her parents having to do anything around the house.

Petula has to take part in an art therapy class which she hates and thinks is lame until Jacob joins the class.  Petula starts to make friends and starts to face her fears and actually have fun, until she learns something about Jacob that feels like a betrayal and sends her on a tailspin, back into her morbid behavior.  Does she reconcile with Jacob, her new friends and former best friend?  Does she let go of the morbid behavior?  I won’t spoil the surprise for you – read the book – it’s quite lovely.

I really liked Petula and her weirdness – both before and after Jacob joins the group.  Her obsession with death is understandable and her quirkiness is relatable.  I also liked learning about the motley band of kids in her art therapy class and her idealistic and somewhat silly art teacher – who wanted to work with younger students.  I love the range of emotions and the depth to the characters plus the growth each character shares along the way. 

This story was very sweet and a great read.  I gave it 4 stars.  I recommend it to adults and teens who like quirky characters and who have an interest in mental illness.

Book Review: One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus


I received a copy of One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Description (from Goodreads): The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.


Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app. 

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them." 

My Review: 
One of Us Is Lying is a young adult mystery told through alternating viewpoints.  Each chapter is from the point of view of one of the students that was in detention with Simon when he is killed.  Each person feels they shouldn’t be in detention – all having been caught with phones in class – phones that aren’t theirs.  It is all very mysterious and then Simon dies.  I won’t spoil the surprise on how he dies – but each person in that room comes under scrutiny as a suspect in Simon’s death.

As the story unfolds we learn more about the characters that were in the room as well as their secrets and possible motivations for wanting Simon dead.  You see, Simon published a blog about the secrets and scandals of his classmates and everyone – no matter how innocent they are have secrets to hide.

I really enjoyed reading this story and learning about the characters.  It was interesting to see how they became unified by this single event.  It was interesting to see how their stories unfolded and how someone continued with the blog posts after Simon was gone, throwing suspicion on different characters.  It was interesting learning their secrets and just how far each could be pushed.

The ending was not something that I could ever have guessed, which I found very refreshing.  I hate it when you already know who committed the crime and why before you’re even half way through the book.

I rated this book 5 Stars because it entertained and it kept me guessing.  I highly recommend it to anyone that loves a good mystery. 

Recollection of my first nightmare....(writing assignment 750+ words)

I remember my first nightmare.  I was about five years old.  I know this, because my grandfather was still alive and he didn't yet have cancer.  I was always afraid of the attic at my grandparents house.  If I was still able to go back to the house, I probably would still fear it today.  There was a darkness - an energy so dark and thick you could feel it - that emanated from the attic.  As a child, I never wanted to follow asleep up there by myself.

I believe that this darkness contributed to my nightmare, for the things I dreamed about were not something that would come to a five year old's mind - at least not on it's own.  I wasn't exposed to scary movies or dark and ugly things at this age, so the only place it could come from is the darkness that lived in the attic.

I don't remember all of the details of the dream just the overall theme and the darkness of it and how I woke up screaming and threw up rainbow popsicles (I had eaten several).  In the dream, some bad men had taken my family - all of them - my parents and brothers, my grandparents and aunts and uncles and cousins and they were feeding them into a machine that ground them up and made them into sausages, all while I was forced to watch - restrained and helpless and terrified.

Later, when I was older and my grandfather had passed away from colon cancer, my uncle took over that house.  We often spent whole summers there in Ohio while my stepdad sold sweet corn from his mom's house, and us kids would make some extra money selling home grown produce in front of the farm.  After my grandfather had passed away there were numerous experiences where people claimed to have seen him or spoken to him - some not knowing he had passed.  The summer I was fourteen, my whole family, and my best friend at the time, Heather stayed at the farm house. 

One day, while we were selling produce, sitting on the porch playing games and waiting for customers to come, my youngest brother, Brian, yelled out "there's grandpa."  I jumped up and the two of us ran into the house and proceeded to follow "my grandpa" up the stairs.  It - whatever was impersonating my grandfather - went into the attic.  I did not pursue it further.  I knew because it went into the attic that it was not my grandfather.  No, the things that we pursed was pretending to be my grandfather - or took on it's form for some nefarious reason.  I know this because it went into the attic - a place that I knew in my very being was dark and evil.

My cousin, Val, had a crazy experience in that house as well.  She and her family had to live there on the farm with my uncle while their house was being built.  She was usually afraid there, though, as I found out recently, she was more afraid of the basement, and she informed me that someone died down there before we were born.  Anyway, she was home by herself after school and she was on the phone with her friend, Joy.  She said that she had this intense feeling of being watched and it was not a positive feeling at all.  She said it became so intense that she went and locked herself in the bathroom.  While she was in there, my uncles cat started to scream and something rattled the door knob.  Joy heard all of this through the phone.  My cousin, now terrified, went out the bathroom window and remained outside until her parents came home.

When I was about fifteen I had another terrible nightmare and it was about the farm - specifically the basement.  In my dream, I was outside and was looking for my family.  I couldn't find them, and I went inside the house.  I still couldn't find them and was calling out for them.  After searching the house I started to descend the stairs to the basement.  I had to stop suddenly when the stairs disappeared.  The basement was gone and instead there was a cavern with a river of flesh running through it.  I was terrified and horrified.  I looked further and melted faces were stuck along the walls of the cavern including those of my family.  I again woke up screaming.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

On My Wishlist - Fragrant Jewels

Have you all heard about Fragrant Jewels?  Fragrant Jewels sells candles, bath bombs and other products that contain a gorgeous ring inside.  Each ring also comes a code to win a ring up to $10,000 in value.

I received one of the gold bar bath bombs as a gift and it had the most amazing smell.  The smell was long lasting and lingering, which I thought was great.   The ring inside was a beautiful Swarovski crystal 3 stone ring.

I really want to order more!  They just added two new sets to their site.  Check them out:


This set is called Pineapple Dreaming and is $39.95. 
Fragrance Notes
Top: Juicy Pineapple, green galbanium, melon, fruity orange and peach, with sweet anise
Middle: Lily of the valley, rose, and hint of ginger spice
Bottom: Sweet vanilla, musk, and coconut


This one is called Wish You Were Here and is $39.95.
Fragrance Notes
Top: Rain Accord, Lemon, Pink Cyclamen, Fresh Cut Stems
Middle: Apple Peel, Water Hyacinth, Desert Rose, Star Jasmine
Bottom: Palm Fronds, White Musk


Earlier this month they added this set Pink Champagne which currently can only be bought if you belong to their Inner Circle (you get a set like this every month, at a discounted price).  It is $32.95 through the Inner Circle. 



Fragrance Notes
Top: Rose Petals, Sparkling Effervescence, Ripe Raspberry
Middle: Brandy Orange, Cinnamon  
Bottom: Jasmine, White Flowers, Blooming Honeysuckle, White Star Jasmine, Spice


These last two are sets that I have been watching for a while.  The De-Stress set sounds so lovely.  It is $39.95.

Fragrance Notes
Top: Cool Peppermint, fresh Eucalyptus, citrus notes of Orange and Lemon
Middle: Fresh Air, with Rose, Violet, Lily of the Valley, and Jasmine
Bottom: Amber, Cedarwood, Sandalwood, and Oakmoss


This last set, Starry Night is another Inner Circle exclusive set at the moment.  They sold out of all the individual sales due to it's popularity.  They have videos of the bath bombs swirling in the water, and it looks so pretty.

Fragrant Jewels also sells candles and bath bombs individually.  Candles are usually around $25 and bath bombs are just under $15 each.  It's a pretty good deal, when you consider some bath bombs are $7 to $8 but these come with rings.  Also Fragrant Jewels regularly has specials and discounts on Facebook and via email.  For example, they have a spin the wheel type deal going on right now.  You can get a free extra ring and code to win the bigger prize, $10 off the De-Stress set, or 15% off your entire order. 

Have you tried Fragrant Jewels before?  What did you think?  Which one did you try?  Which one is your favorite?

Book Review: Labyrinth by A. Corrigan

Some of you probably know what a huge Labyrinth fan I am.  I watched it several times a week when I was growing up.  Now that I am an adult, I still watch it regularly - just not quite so often.  I even have a Labyrinth tribute tattoo. 



When I saw this book, Labyrinth by A. Corrigan,  essentially Labyrinth told in sonnets, I knew I had to read it.  A. Corrigan broke the film into fifty-five sonnets.  I think this was cleverly done.  I really enjoyed reading my favorite movie broken into poetry.  I highly recommend it for fans of Labyrinth.



Labyrinth
A. Corrigan
62 pages

Description from Amazon:  Labyrinth: One classic film, fifty-five sonnets retells the cult classic film in the form of Shakespearean sonnets. It was inspired by A Corrigan’s love of the film and the fact that she wished the novelisation had been more poetic, and physically resembled the book in the film more closely. She started writing the book late last year, intending it to be a celebration of the film’s thirtieth anniversary, but it has now also become a tribute to its star, David Bowie. Many of the poems were composed at Bowie shrines; titles of various Bowie songs also found their way into the text. Labyrinth: One classic film, fifty-five sonnets is written in the form of Shakespearean sonnets, to reflect the fact that several of the lines Sarah quotes from her book in the film resemble iambic pentameter, but the language is intended to be more accessible. The book is aimed at Labyrinth aficionados, as well as fans of David Bowie and people who like sonnets and/or traditional rhyming poetry. A Corrigan takes inspiration from the works of Tolkien, Tanith Lee, and Neil Gaiman, and was specifically influenced by Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ and Lewis Carroll’s ‘The Hunting of the Snark’.




Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Valentines Day Is Just Around the Corner - Are you Prepared?



It's that time of year again!  Valentines Day is right around the corner - are you prepared?  I've put together some items I think are awesome and would love to receive so much more than candy or flowers.  Check them out below and let me know what you think.


I have been spending a lot of time on Instagram lately, and finding all kinds of fun and interesting things.  One of people I discovered on Instagram, is @modernmud_ceramics  She makes these gorgeous ring holders, that look like crystal clusters.  They are very unique. I have never seen anything like them, and they have certainly been added to my wish list.

 These ceramic and 22kt gold crystal ring holders come in four colors - pink, turquoise, purple and white.  You can purchase them at her etsy shop for only $76.00.

 This gorgeous purple striated version can be purchased in her etsy shop for $86.00


I recently stumbled upon I Heart Makeup's Unicorn Heart highlighter at Tambeauty.com,  It's only $8.99 with $12.00 shipping from the UK.  While you're on the site, look around, as there are some other very cool British make up brands at a reasonable price.  I'm putting in an order with some friends so we split the cost of the shipping.  I love the rainbow shimmer of this palette.



While we are on the subject of unicorns, have you seen these unicorn makeup brushes? 


 This version is available on Amazon for $12.99


Another one of my Instagram Finds is @roughandtumbledgems.  She had a really clever idea to fill a heart shaped candy style box with crystals and polished stones.  You can get these in various sizes in her etsy shop: GemsRoughandTumbled. They range in price from $8.50 up to $39.50




Next up, the best brownies that I have ever had - ever!  Fairy Tale Brownies out of Phoenix, Arizona has many different options and prizes for delicious brownies in a variety of flavors.  Have you seen The Boss with Melissa McCarthy?  I imagine that the brownies that Darnell's Darlings sell might be close to this good.  Give them a try - you won't be disappointed, I promise.



What are some of your suggestions for awesome Valentines or Galentines day gifts?



 
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