Friday Favorites: Blue Light Blocking Glasses

I think it has been well established by now that I suffer from migraines and have for years.  I take two different medications daily to help and sometimes even that doesn’t work.   I have tried many different things to help prevent me from getting them. Some of those things work well, some work for a while and then quit working, and some don’t work at all.  It is a constant trial and error thing with me to try to get relief.  I also have several triggers that will bring on a migraine, and I do my best to avoid those triggers. One of those triggers is light. Bright lights really bother me. They make my eyes hurt and feel strained, and I start to get a headache right behind my eyes. When I was a teacher, I used these awesome florescent light filter pads that covered the overhead lights and cast a soft blue light throughout the room.  Many of my students with autism also had sensitivities to light so this helped them and me.  Score! Other teachers would come hang in my room all the time because it was so peaceful. When I am at home, I often don’t turn the lights on.  I would rather sit in the dark than to have the blaring lights on. We also very rarely use our overhead lighting and use lamps with soft lights instead.  

Blue Light Blocking Glasses/Earrings/Necklace

The light from screens bothers me too.  My husband always gets annoyed when he uses my phone because I have the screen brightness turned down really low. He swears he can’t see anything on my phone.  I do the same thing with my computer and turn the brightness down low.  Otherwise the screen really bothers me.  I don’t know why, but it does.  This brings me to one of my favorite things.  I decided to order a pair of blue light blocking glasses several months ago to see if that would help with my migraines.  I had read a few articles from people saying that it helped them.  Since I already knew the screen brightness bothered me and I am on my phone and computer most of the day, I thought maybe it would help me. I chose a decent looking pair from Amazon that had good reviews and ordered them.  I know you are thinking that I already wear glasses so how could this possibly work? Well, I wear glasses because I am nearsighted.  I can read and see things up close just fine. It is distance that I have a problem with.  I don’t really need glasses to see my computer or phone.  I can totally see fine with just the blue light blocking glasses on to do my work.  Maybe it is all psychological, but they do seem to help me.  My eyes don’t feel as strained when I wear them, and I don’t feel the headache behind my eyes as often as I was.  Blue light blocking glasses were originally created to be used before bedtime to help with sleep.  I do think they help with that too, but I think that wearing them during the day when I am on my computer and phone a lot helps too.  If you suffer from migraines and are on your phone or computer a lot, I would highly recommend that you try them.  Go with the inexpensive ones on Amazon versus the higher priced ones on Instagram.  They work just fine for a fraction of the cost. 

Cole Hann Studio Grand Purple Horn Glasses (CH5019) /Earrings/Necklace

Now, recently I went to the eye doctor for my annual checkup and needed a new prescription because my vision had gotten worse seeing at a distance.  My close-up vision is still perfectly fine.  Anyway, I needed a new pair of glasses.  When I was ordering my new pair, the lady asked if I wanted the blue light blocking lenses.  I had no idea that this was now an option for my regular glasses.  Of course I said yes so I won’t have to change my glasses out several times a day.  The only drawback to these though, is when pictures are taken of me or I take a selfie. My lenses now have a purple tint to them in pictures unless I find the right angle.  I guess it is worth the sacrifice of trying to get great pictures in order to not get as many migraines!


Bring on the BTS Photos!

I keep seeing all of the back to school pictures all over my Facebook and Instagram feeds over the past couple of weeks.  It is hard to believe that summer is ending.  My kiddos head back at the end of next week, so we have just a few more days of summer.  I know that some get annoyed by all of the back to school photos filling their social media feeds, but I have to say that I love them.  Sometimes it is the only way I get to see my friends’ children.  I love looking at them and seeing my friends’ faces reflected in their kiddos’ faces. It takes me back to memories of days gone by. I also love seeing how the kids are growing.  So much changes in a child in the span of a year as they grow and change.  It’s incredible.  I look at previous first day of school pictures of my own kids as they pop up in my Facebook memories and reflect over how much they have changed. You don’t always notice the change when you are living life with them day in and day out.  Then when you actually compare two pictures side by side that are a year apart, you start to see all the differences.  I love reflecting over the previous year and all the things that we did together and all the things they have accomplished. Those BTS pictures give me the joy of memories, so I say bring them on!

Kids grow up so fast. I have been thinking about my oldest a lot lately as we get ready to enter a new school year.  She only has 3 more years before she graduates and moves on. It is hard to believe that the little 4 lb. 8 oz. baby that entered my world all those years ago is now this young woman who is almost as tall as I am.  I have watched her grow up a lot, especially over the past 3 or 4 months. I’m not talking about height, although I swear she grows an inch a week. I’m talking about in maturity.  She has always been the goofy, clueless blond who is slightly immature for her age.  In fact, my husband and I worry all the time about how in the world she will handle the real world on her own.  However, she has given me a little hope over the past few months as I have finally seen her start to mature and take some responsibility for herself.  Don’t get me wrong, she is still the goofy immature kid who loves to play up her cluelessness with her friends as they shake their heads and laugh at her, but I see her changing.  I see her growing.  I have a glimmer of hope that she is going to be ok when she leaves the nest. No, I am not ready for it by any means, but I know it is coming.  I know that there are only 3 more back to school photos to post online for the world to see.  It makes me sad.  I truly cannot imagine letting her go, and it hurts my heart to even think about it. All of the back to school photos remind me that the end is near.  

Parents, I urge you to take those pictures year after year even if your teen begs you not to or your kindergartner won’t stand still. Display them proudly for all the world to see. One day soon, you aren’t going to have a BTS photo to take anymore, but I can promise you those memories of years past are going to come up year after year in your Facebook feed.  You are going to be thankful that you have them as you look at them reflecting on old memories.  You are going to remember how much they have grown and changed. You are going to miss those grubby little faces. Hold on to that moment forever, and take the darn picture!


Becoming the G.O.A.T.

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably seen post after post in your social media feed recently about the great Simone Biles.  I assume that it is probably more in my newsfeed than many of yours because we are a part of the gymnastics world, but I am pretty sure that there are few people in the US that don’t know who she is.  She is considered the greatest gymnast of all time (the G.O.A.T), and I would whole-heartedly agree.  She, in fact, has not lost an All-Around title since 2013! The things that she is able to do with her body are unheard of.  This past weekend she made history again as she was crowned with the gold at the US National Championships.  She landed two skills (one on floor and one beam dismount) that have never before been done in competition. I won’t get into the technicalities of what those skills are because most of you wouldn’t know what I was talking about.  Let’s just say that is was incredible to watch. It is like she is literally flying in the air.  

Simone Biles is one powerful female! I don’t just mean that in reference to strength, either. (Have you seen her muscles, though? Wow!) I mean that she is powerful also in who she is as a person and as a role model for young girls everywhere.  I would even go as far as saying that she is a role model for me, and we can all learn something from her.  She is the picture perfect example of what hard work and dedication looks like.  I know what it takes it be a gymnast of her caliber and it is not easy by any means. It takes time, skill, determination, courage, mental grit, and more work than you could ever imagine.  

Hard Work

I can promise you that she spends hours at the gym every day.  She will work a particular skill over and over again until her brain and muscle memory can take over and she can do it without effort.  She will spend nights awake running the skill through her brain thinking of how to make it better.  I can bet you that she is also a perfectionist.  She will continue to push through until she can’t even move to get a particular skill just right.  It could take years of working a skill before it is perfected to the level that she feels she can perform it. It takes more blood, sweat, and tears than you can imagine. Am I willing to put in that level of work to reach my dreams? Until about a year ago, my answer would have been no.   Now I am more aware of what it takes to get to where I want to be.  I know what I want and I am finally willing to put in the work it takes to get me there.  I am ready to give it all I’ve got.  


Simone’s body is shredded day after day.  As a gymnast, something ALWAYS hurts.  The human body isn’t made to do the things she makes it do. She is forced to fight through the pain every time she steps into a gym, yet she gets up every day and does it again and again for hours on end.   That kind of dedication prevents you from leading a normal life.  It means missing out on big things, and it means that you spend a lot of time to yourself.  She knows what it takes and she goes for it. She is willing to give up everything else to reach it. She does it because she wants to.  It is her dream. No one is forcing her to do that to herself.  She wants it with every fiber of her being. What would it look like if we all got up each day with that level of commitment to go after our dreams?  I’m not sure I can imagine it.  I can tell you right now, that I don’t wake up that way every day. I would say that I don’t wake up that way most days.  It is hard to fight through sometimes, and it is easy to give up.  I do it time and time again. I am slowly learning what commitment really means and what it takes to really go for it. 

Mental Grit

Maybe I don’t want to reach my dreams as bad as she does. Maybe I’m lazy. Maybe I’m scared.  Maybe I don’t have what it takes. Maybe I’m not good enough.  That is where the mental grit comes in.  I don’t know Simone Biles personally, but I can assure you that her mental grit is strong. What do I mean by mental grit? It is perseverance, strength, passion, toughness, resiliency, and courage all rolled into one.  It is the ability to overcome obstacles and failures.  It is getting back up on the horse after it has thrown you off.  It is standing up for yourself against your own self-doubt.  It is facing your fears.  It is ignoring every single person who says you can’t. It is the ability to tune out all distractions.  It is pursuing your dreams all day, every day without ceasing.  It is never giving up.  Can you imagine it? Can you imagine being that strong mentally? My mental grit is weak, but I am working on it.  I am working to turn away from my own self-doubt. I am trying to make myself tougher. I am attempting to retrain my brain. I am worthy of reaching my dreams, and I have to keep telling myself over and over again.

Simone Biles is the G.O.A.T. and she deserves that title.  I am not saying that we all have to be like her.  I am saying that we are all capable of great things. We are capable of reaching our dreams however big or small they may be.  We can all follow her example and achieve success.  Just like she once said, “I’m not the next Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps. I’m the first Simone Biles.” Be your own first. Stand out for who you are.  I know I am not likely to reach the status of G.O.A.T like her, but I can be successful at reaching my dreams if I put in the work, if I am committed, and if I have mental grit.  I can be the first Allison Clark. You can be the first you. Are you ready, willing, and able? The answer has to be yes if you really want to go for it. Let’s do this!


Fashion Finds: Amazon

Amazon is getting better and better with their clothing options.  I used to be afraid to order clothes from there, but lately I have found several things that are really good quality pieces.  Now, I will admit that there are still those times when I order something and it turns out to be cheap and not good quality or nothing like the picture, but for the most part I have been pleased.  I have found that you really have to do your research when ordering clothes or really anything from there.  Read the comments. Don’t just read the top few.  Go several pages deep and read.  Look at the pictures of people wearing the pieces in the reviews. This really helps me.  

Check out these adorable pieces I found while “window shopping” on Amazon. They all have great reviews and come in a variety of options/colors.

Graphic T-Shirt

Bell Sleeve Blouse

Leopard T-Shirt

Amazon Brand Skinny Jeans

Cropped Paper Bag Waist Pants

Belted Dress

Casual Button Down Dress

Straw Bag


Acrylic Earrings

Happy Shopping!


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

Friday Favorites: Top 5

It has been a while since I have done a top 5 post.  These are the top 5 things that I am loving right now.  Some are totally random, but they help make my life easier.  

1. HGTV Magazine

I have been obsessed with this magazine for a while and always buy it when I am standing in line at a store and see it.  I finally broke down and got a subscription with some of my airline rewards points. I  just got my first one in the mail, and I’m in love.  I have a slight obsession with the HGTV channel anyway, so the magazine is just the icing on the cake.  I love looking at the decorating ideas, the bright colors throughout, the tips and tricks, and so much more.  

2. Toothpaste Tube Squeezer

I told you all yesterday how the OCD person in me doesn’t like toothpaste tubes because I can’t stand the half squeezed tube.  My solution is this tube squeezer thingy.  It keeps the tube squeezed at just the right level and prevents you from wasting any toothpaste.  I add it to the end of the tube and press it forward each time I brush.  It makes it look much more orderly.

3. Shark Rocket Vacuum

I love this Shark vacuum to clean up quick messes, all of my hair in my bathroom and closet, and for the stairs.  It is so lightweight and easy to use. The top piece comes off and can be used almost like and old “dust-buster” my mom had back in the 80’s.  It is also easy to lift and use for high spaces.  This is such a great vacuum.

4. Young Living Easy Breeze Awakening Shower Steamers

I am obsessed with these.  I love to use them on the mornings when I wash my hair because that means I take a longer shower.  They are super relaxing to me and just amp up my shower time.  Smells of eucalyptus and peppermint permeate the shower, and it smells so good.  I think they really help with my migraines too on mornings like today when I wake up with one. They come 4 to a pack and are totally worth every penny to me.  

5. Fiskars Paper Trimmer

I use this thing all the time.  I use it when I am crafting, working on my vinyl creations, making things for the girls, creating fliers or invitations, and so much more.  It is much easier to use this when I have to cut something in a straight line than it is to use scissors.  Again, my OCD comes in to play here with making things perfectly straight. 

That’s a wrap on my current top 5 favorite things. What are you loving these days?


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

Another One Bites the Dust

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I started thinking about all of the things that I have loved over the years that have been discontinued or closed.  The thing that got me thinking about it was a new tube of toothpaste. My husband and I both used Mentadent Advanced Whitening toothpaste for years.  It was a good toothpaste, it tasted ok, and we just liked it. I really liked that it wasn’t in a tube.  The OCD part of me doesn’t like the messiness and unevenness of a tube.  I know I’m weird! Anyway, the point is that we really liked that toothpaste.  Well, out of the blue a few years ago, they just quit making it.  We searched and searched and couldn’t find it in any stores. Since that happened I have been trying toothpaste after toothpaste to find a replacement, and I just can’t seem to find one that I like.  I feel like this happens to me a lot.  I find something that I really like and then poof, it’s gone.  Then I spend years trying to find a replacement.  Do companies do this to us just to annoy us?  Thinking about the toothpaste started me down a black hole of long gone favorites.  

One thing that I am not sure I will ever get over is a shampoo that a friend introduced me to in high school called Agree. It left your hair smelling great for days!  I used it all through high school, college, and the early days of my marriage. Then suddenly it was gone. I cannot even tell you how much I loved that shampoo.  It smelled heavenly.  I can almost still smell it just thinking about it.  Oh what I would give to have it come back.  I am crazy particular about how my shampoo smells and have tried hundreds of different ones since my beloved Agree went away.  It is so hard to find a shampoo that smells good AND actually works well with my hair.  I do have new favorites, but even those will never compare to my Agree shampoo back in the day.  Can someone please bring it back???

If you haven’t figured this out yet, smell is very important to me.  I don’t know if it is because some smells trigger my migraines or if I am just obsessed with smelling good.  Whatever the reason may be, smell matters to me.  Hence the next long lost product that I miss.  I am a Bath & Body Works user. I use their shower gel and antibacterial soap every day, and I sometimes use their lotions.  I have my trusted favorites that I have used for years that have stood the test of time.  I like Vanilla Bean Noel, which is only available during the holidays so I have to stock up, and I like Beautiful Day as my travel shower gel.  Those are good scents that I like, and they have been around for years.  I keep waiting for them to disappear too, but, so far, they have stuck around. About 5 or 6 years ago they came out with a new scent called White Mango Chill.  Oh my goodness! It smelled soooo good.  I quickly fell in love (along with my oldest daughter), and it became my go-to scent.  Well guess what? You guessed it! They discontinued it. I was so upset! I couldn’t get it at all in the stores, but it was available online for a little longer. I stocked up with as many bottles as I could afford at the time.  Now they are all gone, and I am still longing for that scent.  

I could go on and on about things I have loved in the past that are no longer available, like Band-Aid Friction Block, Kissing Coolers (yes, I’m old), Chick-fil-a Cole Slaw, Chi Chi’s Mexican restaurant, and so much more.  I really wish that all of these things were still around.  I know some say that they went away to make room for bigger and better things, but I just can’t think of anything better than those things I loved so much.  It seems like whenever I really love something, it gets taken away.  Then I struggle forever trying to replace it.  It’s a sad cycle. What are some things that you loved and lost? 


I Will Rise

Do you ever have those days when you are feeling so overwhelmed that you could scream? That is me this week and it is totally my own fault. I have procrastinated on a few jobs that I knew I had to do but didn’t really want to do.  I know that you are thinking that I am the one who preaches organization and having my stuff together.  How could I be a procrastinator? Well, I tend to be a procrastinator when it comes to doing things that are out of my comfort zone. This is when my introverted self likes to sabotage me.  I am really good at hiding behind my computer or phone in my house and not talking to people, so when it comes time for me to have to actually step out of that comfort zone and interact with people I really don’t know well in a formal capacity, I freeze up.  I put it off until I can’t put it off any longer.  Thus resulting in the conundrum that I find myself in right now.  It is crunch time and I am forced to do it.  I have anxiety over having to do the tasks and am completely overwhelmed.  I am now at the mercy of the other person or group that I didn’t want to interact with in the first place because I have waited until the last minute.  Why do I do these things to myself? Why do I risk it all because of fear? These people aren’t going to do anything to me, and they could probably care less about their interaction with me.  I know this, so why am I afraid? What is it that I am really afraid of? What do I think will happen? I really can’t answer that.  I honestly don’t know what I am afraid of, but I am afraid just the same. Logically it makes no sense, and, clearly, fear is illogical.  Fear leads to anxiety and a loss of courage. Those are exactly the feelings I have all the time. 

There are only two ways that I know of to help overcome your fears. Now, I’m not talking about fears like a fear of spiders.  I’m talking about the fears that hold you back from doing what you need to do.  One way to overcome fears is to face them head on and the other is to pray.  Those are exactly what I have been doing.  I am forcing myself to step out of my comfort zone every single day in little ways.  It’s excruciating at times, but I do believe that it is helping. My hope is that the more times that I do it, the more comfortable it will be.  I want it to become second nature and something that I no longer think about.  I also pray daily for courage.  I pray for peace within my head. That’s where fears come from.  They come from this belief in your head that you can’t do it because it will cause you harm. Fear is closely connected to your insecurities. Those are the negative things that you tell yourself in your head. This is why I pray for peace in my head. I need God to wage the war against those insecurities that I replay in my head all the time. 

I don’t want fear to rule my life, and I surely don’t want it to prevent me from living my life to the fullest.  I don’t want fear to cause missed opportunities.  I want to find my voice.  I NEED to find my voice. I want to be able to speak up and speak out. I am getting there slowly but surely. Of course I have setbacks like this week, but I will not let it discourage me from facing my fears head on. I will continue to press on towards the prize. I will continue to fight for me. I will rise!


Looks for Less: Loft Outlet

Sometimes you walk into a store or you see a top or a pair of pants that you really love but you have no idea what you would wear it with.  If you have trouble putting together outfits, it is your lucky day! I have done all of the work for you. Today I have 10 complete looks for you from one of my favorite outlet shops. From the clothes to the shoes to the accessories, I’ve got you covered. The good news is that TODAY ONLY everything you see here is 50% off + and extra 15% off with the code SISTERS! Those are deals that can’t be beat! Hurry over, as some pieces are already limited in sizes. 


Top/Shorts/Flip Flops/Earrings










Friday Favorites: TOH Fall 2019 Collection

I know that you are all probably getting tired of hearing about Trades of Hope these days, but it is such a huge part of my life now that it is hard to not write about it.  I promise this will be the last time for a little while.  We just launched our Fall 2019 line entitled Shades of the Savanna, and I have to share with you my favorite pieces from the line.  They are all so good, but I have managed to narrow it down to my favorites in each category.  This line was inspired by a visit to Africa by our founders and is comprised of elements that could be seen on a journey through the African Savanna.  Things like feathers, various stones, hammered metals, and leather are seen throughout the collection. Each piece is beautifully handcrafted by our artisan partners who are working to change their lives every day. These pieces give them hope and power to rise up and live a better life.

Earrings: Trove Earrings

I am totally obsessed with these earrings created by women in Asia who have been rescued from brothels and sex trafficking. They feature tan, brown, and black shades to mimic the pattern of a leopard or tortoise shell in this cool geometric shape. They are extremely lightweight and very much on trend right now. We even have a Trove Cuff that matches them perfectly. 

Bracelet: Sanctuary Bracelet

Women in Haiti create this bracelet with its vibrant colors. These women are now able to keep their own babies instead of dropping them at an orphanage because they had no means to care for them.  This bracelet is created with hand-rolled cereal box beads and hand-painted Haitian clay. This clay is the same clay that they have had to use to make cookies for their children because they didn’t have anything else to feed them. Through this sustainable business they are now able to provide real food for their families and provide for them in ways they never could before.

Necklace: Radiant Necklace Set

While this set is more on the expensive side of our products, it is absolutely gorgeous.  It features 3 separate necklaces of varying lengths that can be worn together or apart.  They feature hammered discs, labradorite stone, and a blue topaz crystal drop.  These necklaces are handcrafted by women in India rising up out of extreme poverty. 

Scarf: Patrika Scarf

This scarf is so unique and versatile.  It is created by women in India using a hand blocking method.  Wooded blocks are carved to created the desired design. Then using natural dyes, these women use the block to stamp the design onto the fabric. How cool is that? Each scarf has slight variations due to the hand blocking technique.  This scarf is large in size and can be worn as a vest, bathing suit cover-up, head wrap, or as a regular scarf. 

HandBag: Rabia Bag

Women in India who are escaping extreme poverty handcrafted this gorgeous genuine leather bag. It comes with a detachable crossbody strap. The inside is lined with a beautiful blue-stripped fabric. It features an interior slip pocket and a zipper pocket. This bag does not even look handmade, but it is.  It looks like any designer bag you would get at a department store, but this bag is handmade and sold through fair trade to empower these women out of poverty. It is so beautiful.  Check out these adorable giraffe and zebra handbag charms that you can add to this bag made by our artisans in Guatelmala.

Home Decor: Batwa Basket Set

These baskets are handcrafted by women from the Batwa Tribe in Uganda who have been forced out of their native land as a conservation effort to protect the mountain gorillas. These people are treated like animals. Their partnership with TOH has given them dignity and a means to survive. These women weave each basket by hand using tall grasses and natural materials as dyes.   It takes 2 weeks to complete one basket!   Aren’t they adorable?

To check out the entire Fall 2019 collection and more, you can visit my website.  These truly are some of my new favorite things and the stories behind them melt my heart.  Aren’t they all so great?


You Are Going to Miss This

I cannot believe that August has arrived.  This summer is totally flying by.  Some of you are starting school this week or next, and some of you still have a few weeks left like us.  Time really does fly by.  Sometimes I regret not savoring every day.  It is always that thought of hurry up and get through today or this thing or the next thing.  We often do not take the time to just be present in the moment.  We don’t take the time to enjoy every second.  I know that this is especially true for me.  My whole life has been a big rush. Every day is a rush to get to the next.

“I can’t wait until I grow up and am an adult so I can do whatever I want.”

Now I miss those carefree days with no responsibility.

“I can’t wait until I graduate from high school and get away from this place.”

Now my memories of that time are fading, and I can never get them back. 

“I can’t wait until my baby sleeps through the night.”

Now I miss all those sleepless nights when we just cuddled and she looked up into my eyes as I held her until she fell asleep.

“I can’t wait until the terrible twos and trying threes are over.”  

Now I miss those chunky little toddlers and their grubby little hands all over the place.  

“I can’t wait until summer vacation is here and school is out.”

Now I long for the structure of the school year.  

 “I can’t wait until my children are out of my hair and back at school.”  

Now I miss the days of binge watching shows together on the couch all day long. 

“I can’t wait until my kids are old enough to take care of themselves.”  

Now I miss them needing me and now I barely see them. 

“I can’t wait until I can quit this job or retire.”

Now I miss every single person I worked with who made my job bearable and worth the heartache. 

I can’t wait until (you fill in the blank). 

I am trying to make a change in my life.  I am trying to not rush things and long for them to be over.  I am trying to be present in the moment, to savor it.  Life is so short.  It can be gone in an instant.  Tomorrow is not promised, today could end abruptly, and yesterday is gone forever.   Memories fade, age takes over, and people grow and change and go away.  Life is so precious.  We are lucky to have it and are blessed to live it.  Don’t take it for granted. It is that old cliché of stop and smell the roses. It’s true. We should all live that way. Find joy in the mundane, peace in the trials, and love in those around you. Don’t wish it all away because it will be gone forever.  You will long to have it back.  Slow down.  Don’t rush through life.  Remind yourself every day when you wake to savor it all.  Take it all in, and don’t blink because you ARE going to miss this. You are going to miss this time in your life. You are going to wish it wasn’t over. You are going to want it back. Don’t let it go by fast.