A Look In My Closet: OOTD

It has been a really long time since I have taken pics of my OOTD.  I figured it was about time to give you a look into my closet to see what I have been wearing lately.  The weather here has been up and down with temps.  We have had some really chilly days and then some days that have been perfect in the 75-78 degree range (my fave).  The weather certainly affects what I am wearing.  These are a pretty good example of my overall fall vibe lately, though.  As always, I encourage you to use my outfits as inspiration for your wardrobe.  Take the pieces and parts you like and make it your own.  

Jeans (similar)/Top (similar)/Shoes/Bracelet/Earrings

Jeans (similar)/Top (similar)/Shoes/Necklace/Earrings

Jeans (similar)/Top (similar)/Scarf/Booties (similar)/Necklace/Earrings

Leggings (similar)/Top/Sweater (size down)/Boots/Necklace/Earrings

Jeans (similar)/Top (similar)/Shoes/Necklace/Earrings (Similar)

Jeans (similar)/Sweatshirt (similar)/Boots (similar)/Earrings/Bracelet

Anchored,

**This post contains commissioned links. Should you chose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

It’s Christmas Movie Time!

I am fully aware that it is only the middle of October, but I cannot contain my excitement because it is Christmas movie time!!!! That’s right! This month marks the start of Hallmark Christmas movies, which are my all-time favorites! Yes, I know that they basically all have the same plot, and I can pretty much predict how they all will end.   I have even seen most of them several times already.  I don’t care! I love them so much. They get me every single time.  I spend my weekends binge watching with tears in my eyes.  I don’t know why I get teary when I know how it is going to go, but I do every single time.   I cannot wait to watch all of my old favorites and the brand new ones released this year.  I fill my DVR with all the new ones, so I don’t miss a single one.  I even re-watch them all when they come back on in the summer for Christmas in July.  They are just that good. 

My husband can’t stand them and rolls his eyes every time he walks in the room and sees me watching another one.   My children think I am crazy, but I know that one day they too will love them as much as I do.  They do occasionally watch one or two with me, and I can tell that they love it and don’t want to admit it.  Seriously, almost every female that I know loves Hallmark Christmas movies. My mom, sister, and I have to watch at least one together when we are all home for Christmas.  It is tradition.  People even make shirts about it, so I know I am not alone in my obsession with them.  

I so have to admit that the Lifetime channel has upped their game, and they are putting out some great Christmas movies too.  Some are even right up there with Hallmark’s.  I added the Lifetime ones to my repertoire last year, and they are sure to be on my DVR this year as well.  I do know that their movies start this month as well, but I couldn’t find a complete schedule all nicely compiled into one graphic like Hallmark has, but you can find the full schedule here. Their Christmas movies start on October 23.

I know that Hallmark Christmas movies are corny, predictable, and a little sappy, but I love them anyway.  There is nothing like a good Hallmark movie to really get the spirit of Christmas flowing through your body. It makes me want to decorate the house already.  I am so ready! This year they have 23 brand new movies for your entertainment pleasure. Check out the schedule below for all of the new releases and get your DVRs ready! It all starts next week.

Anchored in the Spirit of Christmas,

Halloween PSA

It is that time again for my yearly PSA post about Halloween.  This is something that is so important to me, and I will continue to share it year after year.  My youngest daughter has a condition called Eosinophilic Esophagitis.  It is an allergic response to certain foods.  Her esophagus can become very inflamed just by eating her trigger foods, and it can cause irreversible damage.  When she was younger, this led to several dietary restrictions.  She couldn’t have dairy, eggs, corn, peas, or squash.  If you have ever read labels, you know that just about everything contains either dairy or corn.  This made her food options extremely limited, and Halloween became a source of much stress and disappointment.  I will never forget this one Halloween a few years ago when she went out trick or treating and got a bucket full of candy. That evening she sat on the floor, dumped out her whole bucket, and then began sorting through what she could eat and what she couldn’t.  As she sat there with tears running down her face realizing that the safe pile was getting smaller and smaller, my heart broke into a million pieces.  The pile of things that she could eat had less than 10 pieces of candy.  She just kept saying how unfair it was.  I felt utterly helpless because in that moment there was absolutely nothing I could do to make it better for her.   I snapped a picture to remind me of that moment and vowed to try to make a difference not just for her, but also for other kids with allergies as well. 

Teal Pumpkin

I don’t really know what Halloween is going to look like this year.  I know some people aren’t going to participate, but I know that others are determined to give kids something to look forward to in these crazy times.  I have seen people create candy tubes that you can shoot candy through from your front porch to the sidewalk to maintain distance.  I have also seen people taping sticks to the back of candy to stick in their yards for kids to easily grab as they pass.  It doesn’t really matter how you hand out treats this year.  What matters is that you have alternatives to candy for those children like mine who can’t eat the candy.  The Teal Pumpkin Project was started several years ago by another allergy mom, and it is such a brilliant movement that allows children with dietary restrictions or allergies to still be able to participate safely in Halloween.  All you have to do is to place a teal pumpkin on your porch.  You can paint your own or most stores now sell pumpkins that are already teal just for this purpose. The teal pumpkin is a symbol to those with allergies or dietary restrictions that it is safe to come to your house.   You simply get a few non-edible treats to pass out to those kids that need them.  DON’T mix them in with your candy because some people have contact allergies.  Just have a separate bowl of non-edible treats and allergy friendly candy. When kids come to my house to trick or treat, I simply ask them up front if they have any allergies.  If so, I offer them the bucket of safe treats.  You may only get one or two kids that need the safe treats, but I can’t tell you what a difference that small act will make for those children.  The good thing about it is that even if you have non-edible treats leftover, you can just pack them up and have them for the next year as well.  While my daughter is able to eat most candy now, I will ALWAYS have a Teal Pumpkin on my porch.  It saddens me every year when my teal pumpkin is the only one in our neighborhood, and my prayer is that one day every single house will have one. That is why I will continue to share about it over and over again.

Here are some inexpensive suggestions for safe treats you can purchase. 

Bouncy Balls/Spider Rings/Erasers/Rubber Ducks/Stickers/Bubbles/Silly Glasses/Crazy Straws/Mini Notepads/Mustache Lip Whistles/Vampire Teeth/Glow Sticks/Dum Dums/Finger Puppets/Stamps/Pencils/Slap Bracelets/Slinkies/Slime/Variety Pack

I urge you to consider participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project this year and every year to come.  It can truly make some child’s day, and keep some mom from worrying to death about her child’s safety.

Anchored,

**This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Friday Favorites: TOH Fall 2020 Collection

I am a partner with Trades of Hope which is a beautiful company that uses fashion as a force for good to empower women around the world out of extreme poverty and human trafficking.  We partner with artisans in 19 different countries including right here in the US through job creation.  We believe that business, not charity, is the long-term solution to solving the global poverty crisis.  Our artisans are given a job creating gorgeous, handcrafted, artisanal jewelry, handbags, home décor, and more.  They are paid a fair and living wage through fair trade, which allows them to provide for their family’s basic needs, get access to health care, job training, and therapeutic services. The work that we do is really making a difference in the lives of women all over the world. It is giving women the opportunity to truly change their lives. I am very passionate about my work with TOH and like to share some of my favorites each season because I love the beautiful work our artisans do so much.  Our fall collection, entitled Renaissance of Thought, was released last month, and I am so in love with the jewel-toned colors and the uniqueness of each piece.  Check out some of my favorites from this collection.

Bijou Bracelet

The Bijou Bracelet is made by women in Haiti who are now able to keep their babies instead of turning them over to orphanages because they can’t provide for them.  This bracelet is made up of hand-rolled and painted Haitian clay beads, natural sodalite stone beads, steel beads, and hand-rolled cereal box beads. That’s right, our artisans take discarded cereal boxes and turn them into something unique and beautiful.

Makensia is one of the artisans that creates the Bijou Bracelet.  Here is her story of hope.

Surrounded by the tropical beauty of Haiti, Makensia is also surrounded by extreme poverty. But neither poverty, nor the death of a child, nor domestic abuse have defined her. She has persevered through many challenging seasons and continues to pursue good things for her family.

 

While many mothers in her village have been forced to make the heartbreaking decision to give up their children to poverty orphanages to save them from starvation, this mother of five has been able to earn enough income to keep her family together by hand rolling beads and making jewelry from discarded cereal boxes. Your purchase helps Makensia continue to keep her family together. 

Trades of Hope

Zanmi Earrings

These beautiful Zanmi Earrings are also created by women in Haiti who are working to be able to keep and feed their babies. They are made from lightweight, upcycled aluminum with hand-tied navy tassels. I love how they recycle items that we often discard.

Ismaella is one of the artisans that creates the Zanmi Earrings.  Here is her story of hope in her own words. 

“In Haiti, life is difficult. In an unorganized society, men often don’t respect women, and fathers often do not take responsibility for their children. Women have to become strong to survive and to support their children. 

 

We are a small community of strong women. We share good and bad times, and because we spend so much time together, we have become a second family. The opportunity to earn money allows us to become better than we could have imagined. We can go farther, and we can understand that we have potential for great things. We can take care of ourselves and our families.” 

Trades of Hope

Amara Necklace

This gorgeous necklace is created by women and men in India who are now able to provide for their families. Yes, we do sometimes have men that work alongside our women artisans!  The Amara Necklace features a paper clip linked adjustable chain, a handcrafted gold-toned filigree charm, and a genuine labradorite gemstone charm.  

Dulal is one of the men who helps to create the Amara Necklace.  Here is his story of hope in his own words. 

“When I was 19 years old, I wasn’t interested in further studies. My life was just sad. I was not aware of my abilities and was just in search of some work. I was depressed due to economic conditions. Then my friend introduced me to this work. My previous boss used to treat me very badly. Now, I enjoy my work! It’s helping my family and me. I’m capable enough to fulfill my needs, and I’m making all types of handmade jewelry. So overall, it’s a big achievement for me! I’m happy to be an Artisan. I have hope for a good life in the future!”

Trades of Hope

Aura Earrings

The Aura Earrings are created by women in the Phillipines who are rising up out of extreme poverty.  These elegant earrings are very lightweight and are created using natural capiz shells that are hand-cut by these women to create these geometric shapes. 

Emelyn is one the artisans that creates these earrings. Here her story of hope.

After financial struggles forced Emelyn and her siblings to drop out of school during her first year of college, Emelyn went to work at a fast-food restaurant. At the restaurant, she met the granddaughter of a local businesswoman who taught women how to make jewelry and art from capiz shells. Amazed by the Artisans’ creativity, Emelyn eagerly learned each step of the production process. Now, this twenty-four-year-old is able to support her parents, send her younger brother back to school, and buy land to build her family a home. She even co-manages the workshop’s entire capiz production process, along with the owner’s granddaughter! 

Trades of Hope

Rita Scarf

This intricate scarf is handcrafted by artisans in India using ancient Bagru block printing techniques and natural indigo dyes. It features a multi-color border with shades of crimson red, emerald green and gold. It is very generous in size and can be used in the traditional way around your neck, as a headwrap, as a vest, or even wrapped around your waist! The possibilities are endless. 

The Rita Scarf is created by women like Babli.  Here is her story of hope. 

Babli creates traditional Bagru block-printed scarves in a quaint family workshop in India. Her family takes great pride in being one of only a few workshops in their village who are able to create these unique designs without the use of machines.

 

Babli’s husband learned these skills after his income as a manual laborer wasn’t enough to provide for their essential needs. As their family grew, Babli wanted their children to be able to enjoy a good education. So Babli and her mother studied and practiced until they became master craftswomen.  

 

Babli’s work empowers her to send her children to school and save toward her family’s dream of owning their own home. 

Trades of Hope

Everyday Crossbody

The Everyday Crossbody is handcrafted in India by women who have gained freedom from sweatshops.  It is beautifully handcrafted from ethically sourced leather and features an expertly hidden exterior slip pocket, an adjustable strap, and an adorable cotton-lined interior with an additional zippered storage pocket.  

Women like Rafiqan work to create this beauty. Here is her story of hope.

Rafiqan lives near Jaipur, a city renowned for its legendary artisanal workshops. Extreme poverty in many of the surrounding villages often results in the exploitation of vulnerable Artisans – especially women – in sweatshops with unsafe workspaces, unreasonable hours, and unfair wages. Committed to empowering Artisans, this workshop trained Rafiqan in the art of leather crafting. She began as a materials cutter and can now make an entire bag – from start to finish – by herself! Now Rafiqan is able to earn a living wage in a safe clean workspace. Your purchase helps Rafiqan earn enough income to provide for her family’s needs and send her children to school. 

Trades of Hope

Aren’t these all so amazing? Not only are they beautifully crafted, but the stories behind them are truly inspirational.  To shop for these gems or any of our other pieces or to learn more about our mission at Trades of Hope, you can visit my website here.  Every purchase is empowering women (and men) around the world to become the heroes of their own stories.  

Anchored in HOPE,

**This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Check Yourself

I am about to get real personal today. It may be a little long, so strap in.  I shared a small portion of this on my personal Facebook page yesterday and figured it was time to share it here too.  You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as consistently as I used to over the last 3 or 4 months.  Part of that reason was due to a lack of things to write about since my life has been pretty boring with social distancing.  The other part of that was due to a personal battle I was facing.  Back at the beginning of the pandemic, I had felt a lump in my breast.  It was not something that was unusual for me.  I found my first lump about 5 years ago.  That first time I felt one, I freaked out.  It scared me to death.  I went to the doctor right away and was sent for my very first mammogram.  It turned out to be just a simple, fluid-filled cyst that I was told was nothing to worry about.  They said it would likely go away on its own.  I had another mammogram 6 months later, and it was gone.  About 6 months later, I felt another lump on the other side.  I again went to the doctor right away and had a mammogram (my 3rd in a year).  This time, they told me that not only did I have the one I felt, but I also had 7 others that I couldn’t feel.  I was again told that they were just simple, fluid-filled cysts and that I was obviously prone to them.  I was just told to take Vitamin E because it had been known to help with breast tissue.   From then on, I was having mammograms pretty regularly.  Each time, they would see some cysts had gone away and new ones had appeared.  It was just becoming a normal part of my life.  

When I felt the newest lump back in March, I didn’t immediately rush to the doctor.  We were in the beginning of the pandemic and everything was shutting down.  I assumed that it was another simple cyst like all the others and that there was no need for me to rush to the doctor and risk getting sick.   It wasn’t until June when some things had started to open back up and I needed refills on some of my medications that I saw my doctor and told her about the newest lump.  Of course, she sent me for another mammogram just to make sure, thinking it was likely the same as usual.   It was another 2 weeks before I could get the mammogram because I had to wait for the records from my previous mammograms to get here from my doctor in Georgia.  I had not yet had a mammogram since we moved.  In my world, nothing is ever simple, and they had a very difficult time getting my records which is a whole other story in itself. Anyway, I finally got the records after multiple phone calls and was able to get the appointment scheduled.  Now, when you have a mammogram, it is typically followed by an ultrasound.  In my previous instances, the ultrasound tech would tell me where and how many cysts had been found and reassured me right away that they were nothing.  Well, this time was different.  As she was doing the ultrasound, she really wasn’t saying much.  I figured it was because we both had masks on, and it was difficult to understand each other.  Then she told me to stay right there and she would be back with the radiologist.  I thought that was odd because I usually don’t see the radiologist.  In the past, the tech told me what she saw to ease my mind, and then the radiologist would send a report to my doctor and I would get a call confirming what the tech had told me.  The radiologist came in and introduced himself and then instructed the tech to continue with the ultrasound because he wanted to see it for himself.  At this point I was starting the sweat.  This was NOT normal.  When they were done, he asked me to sit up.  He told me that I had several simple cysts in both breasts like usual but that the one that I had felt was different.  He told me that it looked much more complex.  There were none of the assurances that I normally get that everything was ok.  I could literally feel my heart pounding out of my chest as he was talking.  I was trying to pay attention and process all that he was saying, all while trying not to cry or panic in front of them.  He told me that I needed to schedule an appointment to come back the next week to have a needle biopsy.  I held it together long enough to get dressed, schedule the appointment, walk back to my car, and call my husband.  He tried to assure me that everything was going to be ok and that they were likely just taking precautions, but the fear had already set in.  

That next week, I went back for the needle biopsy.  The radiologist cut a tiny slit in my skin. Then using an ultrasound as a guide, inserted a large needle through the slit and into the mass.  It wasn’t painful per se.  It was more just very uncomfortable.  He instructed a tech to push a button and the needle sucked a portion of the mass out through a tube.  He repeated this a couple of times moving the needle around.  Then he placed a “clip” near the mass which he said would show up in future mammograms, so they knew that they had done a biopsy of that particular mass before.  After tapping me up, he told me that my doctor should call me with the results in a couple of days.  The wait was excruciating.  I wasn’t sleeping and was so worried about it all.  When I hadn’t heard from my doctor after about a week, I finally called her to see if she had the results.  It turned out that they had switched systems and my results had been lost in the shuffle.  My doctor had never seen the results.  These things seriously only happen to me! Anyway, after eventually locating the results, I was told by my doctor’s nurse that my doctor would review them right away and call me back.  About 30 minutes later, my doctor called.  She was very matter of fact and told me that the biopsy results were ultimately inconclusive, but that it was possibly a phyllodes tumor.  She didn’t give any other details or information, but I felt like there was a sense of urgency in her voice.  She said I needed to see a breast surgeon right away, and that her nurse would call me back in a bit with an appointment.  Of course, I hung up and immediately began googling what she said.  It took me straight to the American Cancer Society page, and I freaked out.  I called my husband in tears.  I don’t think I will ever forget that moment and the pure terror that was racing through me.

I got those results on a Friday and four days later, my husband and I were sitting in an office at the Breast Cancer Center waiting to see the surgeon.  I was a nervous wreck.  I think the surgeon could see the pure terror on my face even through my mask when she walked in the room.  She immediately started reassuring me that I was going to be fine and that the chances of it being malignant were very small.  Wouldn’t it have been nice if my regular doctor had mentioned that little fact? She then began to talk to us about all the possibilities of what it could be and my options as she was furiously writing it all down for me.  I do want to go on record saying how amazing she has been throughout the whole process.  Anyway, she said that the tumor had to be removed to not only to confirm what it really was but also because we just needed to get rid of it.  She even drew diagrams for us to explain the whole process. She did tell me that I had to have a Magseed placed before the surgery, which was a simple procedure where they placed these tiny little seed-like things in or around the tumor to help guide her to the right location when she did the surgery.   I left her office feeling a little reassured and with an appointment for the Magseed placement in a week and a lumpectomy three weeks later. Even though she told me that there was only a small chance it was malignant, I still worried so much over those next three weeks.  Even little things would make me burst into tears.  I am not sure I have ever felt so afraid in my life.  

I had the surgery on August 19.  My surgeon told my husband that everything went well and that she would call with the results in about a week. However, if we didn’t hear anything, it usually meant that everything was ok. It was the whole no news is good news kind of thing.  I had a follow-up appointment scheduled two weeks later.  The pain following the surgery was way less than I expected, which was good.  I was obviously still worried about the results and I had some insecurities about what I would look like when I healed, but overall, I was doing pretty well.  In true Allison fashion, I never got the call with the results.  I took that to mean that I was ok, and I was just so glad it was all over.  Of course, I was wrong about one thing.  The whole nightmare wasn’t over.  When I went for my post-op appointment, my doctor immediately told me that it was a phyllodes tumor, but it came back benign. I was ok!  I had a brief moment of complete relief before she hit me with the next bit of information.  The results didn’t show clear margins all the way around which meant they didn’t get all of it.  I needed a second surgery to remove more tissue or the tumor was certain to return.  They would go back in through the same scar and take a little bit more.  I had my second surgery on September 16, almost one month after the first one.  This time the bandages stayed on a little longer than the first time, which caused me to have an allergic reaction.  I developed an allergy to adhesive a few years ago and tend to get hives that are extremely itchy when a bandage is left on for any length of time.  I ended up having to remove the bandages myself (they were supposed to fall off on their own), which caused some extreme pain.  The incision was VERY sensitive this time after being cut open twice.  With the large welts from the hives and the sensitivity of the incision, I was miserable for a couple of days.  Only me, right? Thankfully, this time I got good news at my post-op appointment.  They had finally gotten it all and this mess really was finally over.  I will see my surgeon again in March and then will have my next mammogram in June unless I feel another lump before then.  

What I learned through all of this is that life is so precious, and it can change at any moment.  I also learned that I am much stronger than I thought I was.  I cannot imagine what would have happened if things had turned out differently.  Not many people knew what I was going through over the last 4 months because I kept it all in, but I am so grateful to everyone that did know and prayed for me.  It truly was all in God’s hands and he carried me through it each step of the way.  It is only by his grace that things turned out the way that they did.  My heart and prayers go out to everyone that didn’t get the same outcome and have fought or are fighting for their life.  I know that what I went through was very minor in comparison.  Self-checks and mammograms are so important.  Please make sure you are doing them regularly.  No matter what age you are or whether or not you are at risk, you should be doing regular self-exams at home.  They are so easy to do, and they could save your life.  If I wasn’t doing them myself, I would never have found that first lump 5 years ago or the ones that followed.  If you are 40+ years old or have a family history of breast cancer, you need to be getting mammograms at least once a year.  Yes, they are uncomfortable and a little painful, but they are all worth it if it saves your life.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and we are all reminded of the importance of regular checks, but we don’t need to forget about them the other 11 months of the year.  I cannot stress how important this is.  If you take nothing away from my story than this, please check yourself! 

I am still in the healing phase and am self-conscious of my big scar, but I couldn’t be more grateful that I am ok. I have been truly blessed.  There is no guarantee that this won’t happen again or that the outcome next time would be the same, but I know that God has me in his hands and will carry me through whatever the future holds for me.  

Click here to purchase a Mighty Warrior Bracelet.

Anchored and Well,

Fashion Finds: Boots

As I have mentioned about a million times, I have an obsession with the fall.  Not only because of the perfect weather and gorgeous colors, but I really love all things fall clothing.  I have an obscene collection of jackets, boots, scarves, and sweaters, and I can’t stop buying them! I am definitely a shop-a-holic when it comes to fall clothing. I just love it all so much.  You also know that I have an obsession with Target.  It is by far my favorite store.  I think Target is a great place to shop for affordable and adorable boots for fall and winter. They recently released all their new fall shoes and some of them are so good.  A few of them were repeats from last year that were favorites.  I love Target for boots because they are affordable, and they typically hold up really well for me.  I tried to pull a few that I really like this year, but there are many more of all different styles available online and in stores. I also tried to include all the color options for you as well.  Seriously, how cute are these? I am really trying to practice some restraint! 

Amalia Fashion Boots

I bought these Amelia Boots last year in Cognac and was obsessed with them.  I wore them like every day.  I am seriously considering getting them in black and taupe this year! 

Katherine Lace Up Wedge Fashion Boots

I almost bought these Katherine Lace Up Wedges several times last year in Taupe (They have a slight olive green tint to them to me, which I like.).  They are super cute and trendy. 

Cianna Heeled Slouch Bootie

Jayden Double Zip Ankle Bootie

I am totally obsessed with these Jayden Booties in the snake print, which is super on trend right now. 

Briar Block Heeled Bootie

Laniee Heeled Scrunch Fashion Boots

These Laniee Boots were super popular last year and were another one I almost bought several times.

Marlee Knee High Heeled Fashion Boots

I am not sure I love these Marlee Boots in the animal prints but the solids are great options! 

Beatrix Cut Out Heeled Bootie

Cari Cut Out Ankle Bootie

Calyn Puffer Collar Winter Boots

Lilyan Platform Bootie

Callie Lace Up Lug Hiking Boots

These aren’t exactly my style, but I just thought they were fun.

Jayla Heeled Tall Fashion Boots

Gretal Faux Leather Over the Knee Fashion Boots

Happy shopping!

Anchored,

**This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.

Friday Favorites: CAUSEBOX Fall 2020

My Fall CAUSEBOX arrived yesterday, and I couldn’t wait to tear into it.  While I mentioned my disappointment for the delayed shipping of my summer box back in August (COVID strikes again), I am happy to report that my fall box came right on time! If you are new here and don’t know about CAUSEBOX, it is an ethical, quarterly subscription box that includes beautifully curated pieces from brands that are socially conscious, cruelty free, and/or are sustainably made. I love that it is full of products that support a cause and artisans around the world.  It is all about lifting women up and supporting women owned businesses.  This is my fourth box since becoming an annual subscriber, and I have loved every single box I have gotten. My fall box is no different. I love everything in it.  My only complaint this time is that my box was missing one of my choice items.  I quickly sent an email and have been assured that the missing item will be on its way soon. This box came with 6 items total.  I was able to choose 4 of my items and then there were 2 items that came in every box.  Check out what I received.

Bathen Waffle Bathrobe (Choice of Mint or Charcoal)-a fair trade, handwoven robe crafted by women in Panipat, India

Artisan Direct Milky Way Lantern-beautiful golden lantern created by artisans in India

The Green Co. Set of 10 Reusable Facial Rounds-a sustainable alternative to cotton balls or cotton facial rounds that come with a laundry bag for washing, use these two sided rounds to take off your makeup or apply products

Aromatherapy Associates De-Stress Muscle Gel (my missing item)-a rub that cools, warms, and comforts tired muscles, ethically sourced ingredients include black pepper, ginger, and aromatic rosemary

Core Bamboo Serve Set-organically grown and FSC certified bamboo serving board, tongs, and spatula

Way of Will Brightening Face Serum-a serum made with vitamins A and C that fights free radicals and hydrates your skin for a dewy glow

Get a PMD Microderm Classic for FREE for a limited time using this link.

I think I am most excited for the facial rounds.  I had actually been looking into something like them for a more sustainable and economical option for my skincare routine, so these arrived at the perfect time.  I am also a bit obsessed with the soft comfy feel of the robe.  I am a total robe girl and am pretty picky when it comes to mine.  This one is a great addition to my collection. I seriously love it all! Since I have now received a full year of boxes, I can honestly say that I highly recommend this box if you have been thinking about trying a subscription box. It think the products are a great quality and I love what this company represents.  For a LIMITED time, sign up using this link and receive a FREE PMD Microderm Classic like the one above valued at $159 in addition to your first box of goodies! 

Anchored,

Blog-iversary

Wisdom Necklace

It’s my blog-iversary! I have been writing this blog for TWO years now.  Can you believe it? I am honestly proud of myself for sticking with it and continuing to show up here even when I didn’t want to sometimes.  Of course, this year has been like no other and has resulted in days where I just had nothing to write about, or I felt like I was writing the same thing over and over again.  Sometimes I sit here staring at my computer for hours typing sentences and erasing them because I can’t come up with something that I feel is worth sharing.  When you are not going anywhere or doing anything, your life becomes pretty boring.  Those days when I couldn’t complete a post are days that I felt like I let myself down and broke my commitment.  Initially, I was beating myself up for all the days that I didn’t publish something, and I even thought about quitting.  Thankfully, I eventually realized that in the grand scheme of life, it wasn’t that big of a deal if I didn’t post 4 days a week, every week of the year.  No one really cared about that but me, and I was beating myself up for silly reasons.  I also realized that I wasn’t ready to give up on something that has brought me so much joy and has challenged me in ways I never expected.  

Writing this blog has forced me to take a big look inside myself.  I have discovered weaknesses that I need to work on and areas of strength that I didn’t know I had.  It gives me the excuse I need to analyze the person I am and then strive to be a better version of that person every single day.  That is what I want for all of my readers too.  My goal with writing this blog has always been to help women, and helping myself has just been an extra bonus.   I want other women to know they aren’t alone in the world, and I want them to feel better about themselves as a whole.  It is important to be ANCHORED in who you are.  That means standing up for yourself and trusting in the person God created you to be.  While being anchored in who you are, also never stop learning, growing, and challenging yourself PIECE BY PIECE.   I strongly believe that you are never too old to stop growing as a person.  We should always strive to be better than we were the day before.  This blog has allowed me to grow into a person that I am proud of, and I want the same for all of you.   

While my second year of blogging wasn’t all that I wanted it to be, I have continued to show up, pour my heart out, and share some of my passions with all of you. For that, I am proud and so grateful. Thank you to all of you that have consistently shown up to read what little old me has to say.  It means the world to me.  The messages and comments I get are what motivate me to keep going.  If something I write resonates with just one person and helps them to feel like they aren’t alone or helps them to feel better about themselves, then it is all worth it.  Here is to another year of growing and learning and sharing my little world with all of you!  

Anchored for Another Year,

Fear

FEAR. That is a big word these days and something a lot of people feel and are talking about in this crazy time we are living. One of my friends and I had a talked about fear last week, and we were trying to make sense of why fear was affecting so many people that we know when we feel so differently about our current circumstances.  That conversation got me thinking a lot about that word more.  There are people that I know right now that are living in complete and utter fear, and it is ruling every single decision that they make. For some it is debilitating because they have allowed it to completely consume them.  Those people are struggling in ways they never have before.  They don’t know how to manage the things they are feeling, and it is leading to erratic behavior that isn’t doing anyone any good.  I am not at all trying to downplay the risks of this virus or the seriousness of it.  What I want to talk about is how we cannot let the fear of it completely take over all of our thoughts and emotions.  

In our conversation, my friend and I came to the conclusion that our lack of fear was because of our relationship with God, and that is something that those we know who were struggling don’t have.  I truly believe that fear is the absence of faith…faith in a mighty God who has total control.  I have seen women of incredible faith navigate an illness like cancer with unshakable strength, grace, and gratitude. While those women may have had some fears, they were able to manage them knowing that God was ultimately in control.  That knowledge alone was enough to sustain them and give them peace in the midst of the darkest times in their lives.  On the flip side, I have also seen women without faith go through the same illness all while crumbling into pieces. They had no one to cry out to in the depth of their fear and despair to bring them peace and comfort.  They lived in fear and darkness with very little light seeping in.  It is the same when it comes to this virus.  My friends who don’t know God are struggling with it so much more than those that know him. Those with faith are rolling with the punches and continuing to live their lives.  Yes, we should all be taking precautions, but we still have to live.  I cannot even imagine going through something like cancer or this pandemic without my faith…without the belief that no matter what happens, God is with me every step of the way.  

Thinking of fear as an absence of faith helps me to understand those that are struggling right now a little better.  I know why they feel so lost.  They have nothing to place their trust in. That is what leads to their fear the most.  The only way to get rid of the fear and to be filled with peace is by placing your trust in the all-seeing, all-knowing God.  He is the only person that can truly take away the fear and distrust. Locking yourself inside and isolating yourself with your head filled with worry is not going to make a difference.  It may keep you from getting the coronavirus, but it isn’t going to keep your from becoming sick from the anxiety it causes.   The fear is always going to be there unless you give it all away to the one who is ultimately in control.  He alone can take away your fear. I’m not saying that the cure to all anxiety disorders is faith.  Placing your faith in God isn’t going to magically cure you.  However, it will fill you with a different kind of peace…the kind of peace you have never known. That peace is the key to healing. 

Fear is a liar.  It will steal your joy and rob you of so much.  Living your life in fear is no way to live at all.  If there was a way to rid your body of all that turmoil and uneasiness, wouldn’t you take it? It is right there in front of you.  All you have to do is grab hold and let it fill your body, mind, and soul with the peace that passes all understanding.   Take that leap of faith, place your trust in God, cast your fears into the fire, and watch them melt away. I truly cannot fathom going through life without my faith.  It truly is the answer to facing your fears. 

Anchored in FAITH,

Fashion Finds: Fall Purses

I know that people aren’t really going many places still, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a cute fall purse anyway. LOL! I can come up with a reason for just about everything when it comes to shopping! You have to be ready when the time comes that we can venture out again, right? Plus, I firmly believe that you can’t have too many bags. Who cares if people call you the crazy bag lady? I certainly don’t. Anyway, I found some super adorable bags that are perfect for fall and on into winter, including animal print and plaid!  For the past couple of years, I was on a big crossbody kick. While I still do love all my crossbody purses, I am starting to love some of the bigger tote bags again. Really, though, I just love them all!

Monogrammed Classic Plaid Tote/Magnetic Closure Handbag/Cheetah Print Tote Bag (+20% off with code FALL20)/Reversible Tote Bag/Soft Tote Handbag

All Over the World Animal Print Tote/Monogrammed Cheyenne Purse/Eperia 3-Piece Tote Set/Everyday Crossbody/Oversized Clutch

Anchored,

**This post contains commissioned links. Should you choose to purchase items using these links, I may earn a small commission.