Chapter 47: My Tips On Survival

A couple of weeks ago, I celebrated my 47th birthday. It’s been a rocky road… There have been a lot of good times and plenty that have just downright sucked. I started this list of thoughts and I just kept going. Before I knew it, I had to narrow it down to 47 and a bonus.

I thought I would share them with you…

1. Compliments are nice to receive, but they are also wonderful to give! Here’s a tip I have been trying get through to people… Complimenting someone else will in no way diminish any of your potential. Try it!!!

2. The right people will become more than friends, they will become your family.

3. Letting go of people who hurt you doesn’t mean you don’t love them anymore. You can love people, but set boundaries. You do not have to endure emotional abuse or blackmail, or physical abuse, just because you love someone.

4. Setting boundaries does not make you a bad person!

5. Standing up for yourself, and others, even if you stand alone, does not make you a bad person!

6. Sometimes it is just not worth the effort to try to explain things. Let people assume whatever they want and continue to live your life as you see fit.

7. The way you choose to live your life is none of anyone’s business.

8. No matter what you do, how kind and generous you are, some people will never like you. They just aren’t capable of seeing the good in others and it is not your fault.

9. I have written it before, but I will again, let them talk!!!!! Someone, somewhere, is always going to talk shit about you or someone you care about. Let them. You don’t have to listen.

10. Value your honest friends. You may not like what they have to say, but if it is the truth, swallow that pill, and thank them. You will end up thanking them one day anyway, whether you actually tell them or not.

11. The end of a friendship doesn’t mean you have to destroy that person’s character to others. Move on. Cherish the good times. Live your life. Let them live theirs. Don’t be a miserable little troll and trash them behind their back. At one time, they were special to you. Remember that. (OR you were pretending the entire time and using them. In that case, you SUCK! And still leave them alone!)

12. Distance doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. Sometimes, it is just distance. Sometimes, it is a painful necessity to preserve your sanity.

13. You can love someone with all your heart and not be a part of their lives. It may hurt, but again, it is sometimes very necessary for self preservation.

14. If you don’t lie, you won’t have to struggle to remember what you have said. Simple, right?

15. Never put anything in writing you don’t want used against you, because at some point, even if you think you trust the person completely, they will probably use it against you. This even applies to memes. Seriously. I have seen it done. In a legal setting. Crazy! I know!

16. Stop worrying about what people say behind your back. Worry more about the people who are listening to that shit, and report back to you under the guise of friendship, rather than defending you or shutting that shit down when it was happening.

17. Blood may be thicker than water, but it’s not a guarantee of loyalty or love.

18. If you want something done a certain way, do it yourself! Don’t stand over someone’s shoulder nitpicking!

19. No one owes you anything! Get off your ass and work for what you want in life.

20. Do not give expecting anything in return. If you are keeping tally of charity, gifts, or favors you will not get far in life.

21. You cannot discard people when you are done with them and expect them to welcome you back into their lives at your convenience.

22. There is a big difference in pride in your accomplishments and bragging. However, some people will always see your happiness for accomplishing something you’re proud of as bragging.

23. No matter how nice you are there will always be some spiteful and bitter little person cursing your name out of jealousy. Let them. They don’t matter. At all.

24. Be open to new experiences. It may look boring at first, but you may just find something you feel you won’t enjoy to be one of the best memories of your life.

25. Men and women can have platonic friendships. It is totally possible. Not everyone is dying to screw someone of the opposite sex. They might not even see their “gender” when they think of them. They may just see a friend. So, calm the hell down and let people be friends.

26. If two people are happy in their relationship, let them be happy! Don’t be a home wrecker! Please note that home wreckers are not always outsiders trying to get your partner to cheat. Sometimes, they are people who are masquerading as “concerned” friends or family members. Yeah… They sabotage relationships, too.

27. It is absolutely okay to be depressed, tired, not yourself, withdrawn, or feel however you’re feeling at any particular moment.

28. You don’t owe anyone any kind of explanation for anything you choose to do. None. If you want to give an explanation out of courtesy, that’s cool. However, you have no obligation for any reason to give someone some detailed explanation for your decisions.

29. Learn to be aware of your surroundings. The world is a dangerous place.

30. It is perfectly okay to say no. You are not obligated to agree to anything you don’t want to do and don’t let anyone or anything make you feel guilty for opting out.

31. You are not obligated by any invisible bond to continue to stress yourself just to make someone else happy.

32. Being a responsible pet owner is one of the most fulfilling things you can do in life.

33. The love of a dog is unconditional. Do not take it for granted.

34. Help people, but watch out for those who will take advantage of your generosity. When you have nothing to give, take a look around. You will find yourself with very little company.

35. Beauty is skin deep, but evil penetrates the soul.

36. People will try to bring you down. It’s not you. They hate themselves and by trying to destroy others, they get some sense of satisfaction. Let them live in their delusional little world and keep doing your thing!

37. No matter how pleasing the mask someone presents to the world, eventually the people that matter the most will see what is hidden behind the mask.

38. Love does not guarantee loyalty.

39. Age is not a limitation. For anything. At all.

40. You can do it. Whatever “it” is… I promise. You can. It will probably be hard, and take time and a lot of effort, but you can do it!

41. Therapy helps. It doesn’t make you a pariah. It makes you a person who decided to deal with life in a strategic and healthy way. (It saved my life.)

42. You have nothing to be ashamed of if you have a mental illness diagnosis and if someone uses it against you, in any manner, THEY SUCK! (And probably recognize they have mental issues of their own, but are too cowardly to seek help. If you don’t like that, I don’t care.) It also does not automatically make you a danger to society and anyone who assumes this SUCKS!

43. No one is nice 100 percent of the time. Every single person on this planet has done or said plenty of things they regret. If they set themselves up to look like saints, don’t open their closet doors. You will be shocked by what they are trying to hide. If you decide to open that closet, move aside… You will probably get hurt by the shit that flies out!

44. It’s okay to like sex and express your sexuality. You have nothing to be ashamed of… Be sexy! Be you!

45. It’s okay to wear whatever you feel good wearing. If someone is critical of your clothing choices, THEY SUCK! And they are probably insecure and a little jealous because they don’t feel as confident as you.

46. Let shit go… Holding onto grudges and animosity will make YOU miserable.

47. Don’t forget your sunscreen. Start wearing it early. I don’t care if you’re 17-years-old and think you don’t need to worry about skincare. Wear sunscreen!

BONUS: Learn some sort of self defense. I don’t care what you choose to do, but learn to protect yourself. Everyone in this world today needs to know how to defend their lives and those of the ones they love.

If you made it this far, I want to thank you for reading. I have been blessed with 47 years of life. Have they all been full of sunshine and cupcakes? Hell no! However, there have been some amazing times and I am so grateful to still be here. I hope I have many years ahead of me, because there is so much left I want to do…. So many adventures to be had!

Until next time, hug your loved ones, cuddle your fur babies, read some good books, take care of your skin, and get out there and enjoy life!

Peace, love, and butterflies!

Friday Faves Volume II (My Shiny Teeth & Me!)

I have a bit of an obsession with keeping my teeth white. It’s an important part of my self care.

To be completely honest, my two front teeth are veneers and keeping the rest of my teeth as white is a chore. I also experience some sensitivity and it can be a nightmare. Traditional teeth whitening kits are just not the thing for me due to this. They can often be irritating. Who wants to suffer for the time it takes the product to work during the treatment duration?

Thanks to the White Birch Teeth Whitening Kit, I have found a new way to keep my teeth stain-free and sparkling without the mess of traditional charcoal powders or the pain of traditional whitening kits! Isn’t that awesome? And there is no black charcoal mess! This is the world’s first white charcoal whitening toothpaste. It was developed by a family of dentists with over 50 years of clinical experience.

The white charcoal absorbs and removes tough stains. Their signature toothpaste and gel serum work in combination to brighten your smile up to six times in as little as two weeks!!! No strips. No trays. No sensitivity. No mess. And it’s affordable! It’s also safe for use with crowns and veneers!

Just wet your toothbrush, apply the toothpaste, then add a thin strip of the serum over the toothpaste. Brush your teeth with this combination twice a day for two minutes each time and in 14 days… Voila! You can start singing about your shiny teeth! (It’s a reference to the character Chip Skylark from the cartoon The Fairly Odd Parents.)

I am really pleased with this kit. On a scale of one to five, I would definitely give this 5 stars! I love it!

After completing the kit with the serum, I have continued to use their toothpaste for maintenance and my teeth look and feel wonderful. I highly recommend White Birch products and am so grateful I was given the opportunity to try them. They have officially become a permanent part of my self care and a firm favorite!

Oh, Honey!!!

Do you ever use a product and just have that moment when all you can think is, “WOW!”

Recently, I did just that! I was kindly sent the ULTIMATE FACE & BODY CREAM from Honeyskin Organics Skincare, and a sample of the Tea Tree & Cucumber variety, and I am impressed! Really impressed! Hello hydration!!! My skin loves me for using this rich cream!!! It glides on beautifully, absorbs quickly, and leaves your skin feeling oh so smooth. I am a big fan of anything that incorporates honey and this one does not disappoint!

Honeyskin Organics Skincare ULTIMATE FACE & BODY CREAM is made with hand selected natural and organic ingredients to help achieve softer, brighter, younger-looking skin. It incorporates Manuka Honey which is known to help protect against bacteria, assist the body with healing, and help repair tissue damaged by infection. It also nourishes the skin with vitamins and nutrients.

Honeyskin Organics Skincare products are carefully formulated to nourish even the most sensitive skin. They are organic, contain no artificial fragrances, parabens, or sulfates, and are never tested on animals.

If you would like to give either of these a try…. And honey, I recommend that you do, head over to www.honeyskin.com. Be sure to use code STEF25 when you checkout to save!

🌼 🍯 🌼

Lie Down With Dogs…

There is that old proverb, “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.” For the most part, it is a warning about the type of people you surround yourself with. It is wise advice, but my dogs don’t have fleas. And to be quite honest, on most days, I prefer their company to that of most humans.

I don’t hate people. I just have a low level of tolerance for childish behavior and bullshit. My dogs, Horatio and Marisol, have never once left my company and proceeded to take anything I have said or done, and embellish upon it, while repeating it to someone else. Dogs are loyal. We all know that!

Horatio and Marisol are content with just listening and pick up on my moods. They offer me unconditional love and endless cuddles! I don’t have to choose my words so they don’t offend anyone. I don’t have to smile or laugh in the right places when someone interrupts me, only to proceed to tell their obviously much more interesting story… I mean, why would someone interrupt you in the middle of speaking otherwise? Right?

Wrong! It’s rude and selfish! I know everyone does it from time to time, but if you allow someone to consistently disrespect you in just the tiniest ways, like interrupting you constantly, it can escalate until you are practically their “go-to” person to heap criticism and abuse upon.

Dogs won’t do that. Dogs will always be excited to see you! They want to love you and be loved in return. Unless they have been treated poorly, then they become untrusting and act out. Who is at fault in that instance? A human!

Dogs will sit patiently, for the most part, and listen to your tales of sorrow and woe. They will be excited and jump around when you are happy. They don’t ask questions or criticize you. They don’t mock your sadness or try to diminish your happiness.

People do. They shouldn’t, but they do.

So, I guess I am writing all this to say, I would rather wake up with a few fleas than constant negativity.

Then again, just like fleas, you can prevent negativity from becoming an infestation in your life. You can’t take a pill or wear a collar, but you can set healthy boundaries. You can remove toxic people from your life. You don’t have to feel bad about either. You can do things you enjoy and you don’t have to feel guilty about it. You can make yourself a priority.

Like your dog does…

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit and get the message I am trying to convey. Feel free to leave me a comment or send me a message! I would love to hear from you!

Until then, as always… Peace, love, and butterflies. ☮️ ❤️🦋

Let Them Talk!

This week my post is going to be short and sweet. And to be perfectly honest, I am taking it from the caption of one of my past Instagram posts.

I think it is important to share, because there continues to be so much rivalry and pettiness, not just in the online Influencer community, but between women in general. It baffles me. I don’t know why we cannot support one another and be stronger together. Instead, there is a lot of shit talking and unnecessary criticism…

However, I say… Let. Them. Talk.

Love. Yourself. No matter what you do, good or bad, someone is going to talk about you.

LET THEM TALK!!!! Why?

You have done something to get someone’s attention. If they are saying something positive! Enjoy it!

If they are talking crap… Who cares? They are still talking about you. You are doing what you set out to do. You got their attention! They are probably grumbling behind their little screens because they are unhappy with themselves and projecting their unhappiness onto you! Let. Them. Talk.

Remember who you are Queens! You rule! No one can destroy your peace unless you let them. It took me a long time and a lot of tears to learn that lesson! Keep smiling and let them talk!!!!

Thank you for reading!

As always… Peace, love, and butterflies! ☮️ ❤️🦋

It’s A Human Thing…

If you search for the meaning of the word “empathy” online, the first result you will get is from the New Oxford American Dictionary. It defines empathy as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”

Let’s think about that a moment… How many people can really say they take the time to actually attempt to do just that? Understand someone’s feelings and share them? It may seem like a lot. It may even seem like a burden, but it really isn’t. Most of the time, it just takes a little bit of listening and a few words of comfort. Some of the time, you don’t have to say much of anything at all. You can just listen and let another human being know you are there for them and you care. You get me?

It is NOT hard to do. It is something more people should try to do. Or at least I think so. Especially in this world today, with all the many problems we are all facing. Have a little empathy for your fellow human beings!

Which brings me to the awesome sweatshirt I am wearing in the photo accompanying this post. There is a story behind it.

Oh, and that is my baby girl, Marisol! Isn’t she just the cutest?

So, about my sweatshirt…

When I was offered the opportunity to work with the company FerrisBuilt, I was thrilled. That is the company that sent me this incredible sweatshirt. Lindsey, the owner, reached out to me and gave me the choice of designs. This is one of the many she has to offer. I chose to include this one in a blog post because of Lindsey Ferris.

Lindsey had been working in the event production business for over two decades when the pandemic struck. For her, it was more than just a danger to her health and that of her twin daughters. It was the end of her career. What is a single Mom with two kids to raise supposed to do when there are no longer big events and that’s your business? Well, some people would probably still be trying to figure it out, but Lindsey is a go-getter. She put her knowledge and creativity to work! And thus, FerrisBuilt was born!

Lindsey has channeled her energy and skills in both business and art into creating a unique company that sells not only graphic apparel with contemporary messages, but also handmade wood art that she creates in her own home studio. And let me tell you, it is absolutely gorgeous! There are some pieces I have seen on her Instagram page that have blown my mind!

She has recently made the addition of mugs to the products available and I have my eye on a couple I definitely want to add to my collection for my daily tea and coffee!

Lindsey had been doing this as a side hustle for a while, but it became her main focus in July of 2020. And it works! Not only does it give her the freedom to express her creativity, a source of income, but it also allows her to organize her schedule to meet the needs of her children. If that is not setting an example of a strong and capable woman, I don’t know what is! In fact, I think she is phenomenal!

What started as an entry into a contest with FerrisBuilt, I feel has grown into something much more. I feel we are two women, in different parts of the country, who understand what it means to make a small business successful. We know how hard it is in this country to keep going when things don’t seem all that hopeful, but against all odds, we make it work. We are able to EMPATHIZE with one another, support and empower one another, and strive to help one another succeed.

In the end, isn’t that what it is all about? Helping your fellow human beings? I think so…

Thank you, Lindsey, for the awesome shirts and all the support you have shown to me. It is greatly appreciated! I admire you and am proud of everything you have done so far and what you will accomplish in the future!

To everyone reading, if you are interested in checking out what Lindsey has to offer, you can click the link below. There is something for everyone! You can find something that speaks to you or gift for someone special in your life!

FerrisBuilt https://www.ferrisbuilt.net/?ref=cotufvoqzns

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this blog! Stay tuned for more! As always… Peace, love, and butterflies.

☮️ ❤️ 🦋

Oh, My! Your Grace!

I am usually the person who likes to read a book or book series before I watch the show or movie. In my opinion, the written version is much better, and I love the added details often left out because of timing or budgeting restraints. However, I do very much enjoy seeing beloved characters and plots come to life on screen. It gives me great pleasure to put faces with the characters and see how closely they coincide with the vision I created in my own imagination.

Now, there is this show Bridgerton on Netflix. It is based upon a series of books written by Julia Quinn. The first season focuses on the book, The Duke and I, and follows the relationship of Simon, The Duke of Hastings, and Daphne Bridgerton, as they navigate the complicated society and marriage market of 1813.

I’ve not read The Duke and I. Yet… I have every plan to do so. Posthaste, if you will! However, Bridgerton, the show, has quickly become one of my all time favorites.

The show has been brought to life by producer Shonda Rhimes. Her name may sound familiar to a lot of you. She created, wrote, and produced one of the longest running and most popular medical dramas on television: Grey’s Anatomy. She is also well known for it’s spin-off, Private Practice, and the political series, Scandal.

I haven’t seen one episode of any of the above named shows. I don’t know why. They just weren’t my thing. Bridgerton is another thing all together.

I cannot rave enough about this show. Besides everyone looking incredible in their costumes, the sets being absolutely beautiful, and the wonderful racial diversity, the main thing that draws me into watching it one more time is His Grace, The Duke of Hastings.

Be still, my heart! Has there ever been such a man? So noble. So beautiful and yet so tortured. Misunderstood, but so good underneath it all. And dear God, Rege-Jean Page is an absolutely flawless specimen of male human being! You know when they describe people as having a smoldering gaze? This man. He definitely can start fires with a look!

Okay. I will stop gushing. Even though, I can’t help it. I have a major crush on this fictional character. Look out Damon Salvatore! You have some competition! (If you don’t know who Damon Salvatore is I will be writing about him at another time. Stay tuned!)

I want to mention what I feel was something so cool and unique. It surprised me and I absolutely loved it! THE SOUNDTRACK! The music is beautiful! Popular tunes are playing at balls with classical instruments and it is absolute perfection! I will admit I now have the version of “Thank U, Next” from the soundtrack as my ringtone!

More about Bridgerton itself…

This show is full of twists and turns. It is narrated by the mysterious Lady Whistledown, who gave me 19th century Gossip Girl vibes. There is a conspiracy about who she actually is and an investigation to expose her. When the identity of Lady Whisledown was revealed, not to the show’s characters but to the viewers, it was who I had suspected. I hoped it would go in another direction with the mysterious gossip writer, but I was not disappointed because I was happy this particular character was stronger than one would originally have guessed.

Also, there is the backstory of Simon, who is just stepping into his role as The Duke of Hastings at the beginning of the show. It is sad. It will rip your heart out and piss you off at the same time. I felt for him. Truly. I know it was fictional, but I am aware of people in life who have been treated so poorly when all they want is the love and approval of their family. Because of his mistreatment, it set the course for how he dealt with many relationships. Including his relationship with Daphne Bridgerton.

This is where things may get a little controversial. If you don’t agree with me, I am perfectly okay with it. I am not quite sure if I like Daphne or not. After I read the book, I may change my mind, but her actions in the show, without giving too much away, were a bit selfish and at one point, extremely over the line. She was completely disrespectful of her husband and his wishes without understanding his reasons. She ultimately did something I found appalling. And she did it after insisting they marry and accepting his terms of marriage. Until that point they were happy. Thus, we have the dramatic plot twist that drives the wedge between the star crossed lovers.

Speaking of lovers… There is a lot of sex in this show. A lot. It’s pretty hot and it’s not a show I would watch with younger kids. Trust me on this one. Even in the first few scenes, you will have some explaining to do. It’s not raunchy sex. Or vulgar and distasteful. And it’s not there just for the sake of having a graphic sex scene thrown in. It flows with the plot. However, its just not something I would let the little ones take in unless you want to tell them exactly where babies come from!

There are so many characters in this show. Some you will love. Some you will despise. Some you will pity. But it is a show everyone can enjoy. I think it is beautifully done. Obviously, I do, because I have watched it about five or six times all the way through now and eagerly await the next season!

Until then, I will be reading the Bridgerton series and dreaming of the Duke of Hastings…

You can watch Bridgerton on Netflix and the Bridgerton books are available on Amazon.

This post is not sponsored in any way. These are my own thoughts about a show I enjoyed.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Stay tuned for more! Leave a comment and let me know if you have seen Bridgerton or read any of the series of books based on the Bridgerton family…

Until next time, as always, peace, love, and butterflies! ☮️ ❤️🦋

An Apple Cider Vinegar Gummy A Day…

For a few years, I had known the benefits of taking a shot or two of apple cider vinegar each day. I had read all about it and decided I was definitely going to make sure I made those shots part of my daily routine.

I did what anyone would. I went out and bought what was considered the best apple cider vinegar. You know the kind… With the Mother. I started choking back shots. Was it the worst tasting thing in the world? No, definitely not. Was it the best? No way! And like everything else that isn’t exactly personally pleasant, I eventually just got out of the habit.

I had been seeing ads all over the place for apple cider vinegar gummies. I was definitely intrigued, but life is life, and sometimes things are forgotten. They fall between the proverbial cracks.

Then, one day, I received an email from one of the kindest Influencer Representatives from Goli Nutrition. She offered me the opportunity to try Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies. I jumped at the chance and I am so happy that I did! I can tell you, my personal experience, has been one hundred percent positive!

I started taking Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies in October of 2020. Since then, I have been having less tummy issues. My appetite has been under control. I have more energy than I have had in a long time. The best part, for me, is I have lost weight!

Wait! Before you start making assumptions, I am in no way claiming this is a miracle weight loss supplement. It’s not! It’s the combination of adding this to the things I was already doing that helped jump start the process of dropping those stubborn pounds for me. I am someone who has always struggled with my weight. I have gained and lost all my life, but for once, I feel like I have all of the tools I need to get to and maintain a healthy weight! Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies are one of those tools!

Let me tell you a bit more about the benefits of Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies… First of all, the are gluten-free, vegan, Non-GMO, and do not contain gelatin. They help with healthy digestion due to the enzymes in apple cider vinegar and the pectin fiber by supporting the growth of good gut bacteria. Because of the healthy gut bacteria, gut microbes in turn help support a healthy immune system. Apple cider vinegar also helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Therefore, it aids in maintaining cardiovascular health. Due to the natural acids and enzymes in apple cider vinegar, appetite can be reduced and combined with a well-balanced diet, it can support weight management.

Sounds good, right? It is! There is an added bonus! Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies taste Great! I mean… They are really good! I take two in the morning and two in the evening. To me, it’s a treat! Much different from dreading taking a shot the old fashioned way!

Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, it did! Goli Nutrition introduced a new product! ASHWA! Goli Ashwagandha Gummies! These are brand new to me. So new, I just started taking them this week. I can’t give you a proper update on my experience just yet, but I will write a follow up to this post soon and let you know what I think about them. I will say this… The science behind them is very promising and I am optimistic.

As far as Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies, I am all for them! They will be a part of my daily routine from now on. I am extremely pleased with my experience and the continued benefits.

If you would like to try either Goli Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies or the new ASHWA Goli Ashwagandha Gummies, you can check out my Discounts & Links page. There are links for both and you can use my code “IFSTEFSAYSSO” to save some money when you check out. They always have awesome deals!

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this post! Stay tuned for more! And as always… Peace, love, and butterflies! ☮️❤️🦋

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be medical advice. These opinions are my own. I am sharing this for informational purposes based on my own experiences. It is not intended to replace the advice of medical professionals. Please consult your physician before you begin any supplement. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, seek the help of a professional immediately.

Disclosure: By using the code provided and clicking the link for Goli Nutrition to make a purchase, Stef Jordan, the blog owner, earns an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Though Stef Jordan, is an affiliated partner with Goli Nutrition, the opinions expressed in this blog are her own.

New Year, Same Me?

I kept promising myself I would write more. It was one of my main goals in 2018. I didn’t do it. I made the very same promise to myself in 2019. I let myself down again. I could list a hundred depressing excuses, including depression itself, but what would be the point? I just didn’t do it!

Why is this year going to be different? This 2021? The year when we all are supposed to overcome so many things worldwide… Because I know I am capable of doing so! I found strength I never knew I had. It was hiding inside of me. Just waiting for me to stop hesitating and holding myself back.

I spent almost an entire year away from social media and it was refreshing. Actually, it was just the thing I needed to gain some perspective about how I wanted to spend my time interacting with others online. I also gained valuable insight about the time I desperately needed to spend offline. The time I needed to focus on myself and my family.

Now, I am not going to wax all poetic and pretend my time away was perfect and full of sunshine and cotton candy. Hell no! I spent a lot of time depressed. I neglected to take care of my health and gained about forty pounds. I barely moved off the couch unless it was absolutely necessary. I was social distancing before it was necessary. Things were rough even before the pandemic, but just when I thought there was no hope of anything getting better for me… It did.

It didn’t happen overnight. It was a progressive sort of thing. It started with our house. We had moved in August of 2019 into a new home. Well, a new home to us. I was excited at first, but the excitement wore off rather quickly. Somewhere along the way, it started building again.

Though we had wanted to move to another state, somewhere warmer, I fell in love with my house here in Indiana and started to decorate. I added the little touches I had always dreamed of having, and on the day our new sofa was finally delivered, after months of delay due to COVID, I took a nice long look around. I realized this wasn’t just a house in a state I really didn’t like at all. It was a home. It was OUR home and I love it. I had made it into everything I dreamed of and I take pride in it.

From that point, I realized there were other things I loved so much in life and I had not done them in a long, long time. Reading, for example. I used to consume books. I could easily read an entire book in a day, and think nothing of it… Other than I was satisfied for having done so and disappointed because it was over! Therefore, I began reading again. Before I knew it, I had read over twenty books in a month! I was so surprised! Why had I waited so long to escape into the prose of the brilliant authors I loved so much? And I discovered new authors and more books. I am still, to this day, reading as much as possible. I refuse to give up a hobby again I enjoy so much.

Then during one of my many sessions with my trusted and beloved therapist, she suggested I start journaling. Journaling had been something I had done most of my life. I had stopped over a decade before she suggested it. I don’t know why exactly. I just didn’t do it anymore. I still had stacks of journals dating back to when I was a teenager. Others before then had been lost or thrown away. I am not sure what happened to them. I guess it doesn’t really matter now. So, the next time we were out, I bought an inexpensive journal. Nothing fancy. And I began to pour years of pent up emotion into this cheap, multi-colored book. It helped. Before long, I was recording the events of each day. Unloading all my frustrations and memorializing all the happy times. It was just what I needed. It jump started a transition into a kind of healing and motivation to take care of myself!

Taking care of myself became a priority. I knew, in order to survive, not just the pandemic, in general, I had to do more… More for me. I had to find a reason. For once in my life, that reason couldn’t be anyone else. The reason had to be me. My own health and happiness. I got off my butt and I started eating better and moving more. I drank more water. I got more sleep. I started saying no to things I would feel obligated to say yes to in the past. I set boundaries and removed as much toxicity from my life as possible.

I felt guilty, but I pushed that aside and I found the strength to keep going. I started doing everything I loved again. I did my makeup. I got my hair done. I bought some new clothes. I laughed at silly things. I held my husband’s hand more often. I sang in the car. I watched old shows I loved. And I kept on reading and journaling.

Finally, I found the courage to return to Instagram. I was so afraid at first. I had been away so long and I had basically disappeared at the end of 2019. I didn’t know how my return would be received by others. Fortunately, I was afraid for nothing, because I was welcomed back by a lot of my old friends and I have connected with a whole new group of amazing people. I have been enjoying my time creating content for Instagram again. I love what I do. I had forgotten how much satisfaction I get from creating a post about a product or makeup look and sharing it with everyone. It’s not even about the likes. I mean… The likes and comments don’t hurt. Everyone wants engagement! And I love the feedback, but the whole process and interaction with others is what gives me the most satisfaction.

Now, here I am… It’s the beginning of 2021. I have lost the weight I gained and then some. I have cut my hair shorter than it has been in years. So am I the same me after all? Maybe not. Perhaps, I have been working towards a better me for a while now and 2021 will be the year when I just keep making the changes I need to live the life I deserve. The one I owe it to myself to live. My best life!!!!! Isn’t that what everyone really wants?

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more… I plan to stick to my goal of writing regularly. I hope you enjoyed this blog entry. And as always…

Peace, love, and butterflies! ☮️❤️🦋

(Please note that I do take what is happening in this country and worldwide very, very seriously. I do pray daily. If prayer offends you, I will not apologize. That is my personal way of dealing with the stress and sadness of what is happening. However, it is my personal choice to refrain from directly discussing anything political at this time. Thank you for your understanding!)

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