Put the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

Being a huge nerd, I was recently involved in an epic conversation about who would survive a zombie apocalypse. Spoiler alert: I would not. According to everyone else present, the key to survival is to save yourself first. Always. But I know myself, and my first reaction would be to save my loved ones. Apparently that makes me a sucker and will get me killed.

Back in the real world, I don’t believe that gut reaction to put others over myself will ever actually get me killed- but it does take a toll. And I am working on making my needs and wants more of a priority. You could say I’m trying hard to be more selfish.


A Zombie Invasion would suck for nice people.

Growing up, my Grandmother was always the last one to eat. She was always the one who cleaned up. Taking care of the children was her job. Taking care of the house was her job. Looking back on it, I have no idea if she was happy. And even worse, I don’t remember ever even thinking about it. That was just how it was. I have never been selfless to the point of my Grandma, but I do see how it could happen. So how do you change something that is in your very nature?

I read a Blog over on LDHustle recently that talked about just that in regards to business, but I think her points apply here as well. Here’s the gist of what she had to say:

  1.  If you allow yourself to burn out, you’ve got nothing to offer other people. An empty lantern provides no light.
  2. It isn’t selfish- it’s common sense. Take care of yourself first, that way you are healthy enough (or happy enough, fulfilled enough, loved enough, etc.) to take care of your people.
  3. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. The only person you can be is you, and that is enough.
  4. Cut yourself some slack. It’s okay that your house isn’t perfect, or the cake you made for your son’s birthday belongs in the Pinterest Fail category, or the only books you read are about supernatural teenagers. It really is okay.
  5. If you focus on what you love, and what makes you happy, you are showing others that you are important. This one is mostly for those of us with kids. We don’t want to teach our kids that it’s okay for Mom to not be happy- or do without. We don’t want to teach our kids that it’s okay for Grandma to always eat last.
  6. Be realistic. Goals are awesome, but only attainable goals will change your life.
  7. Give yourself time to do nothing. Watch bad tv. Take a nap. Roam the aisles of Target aimlessly. Whatever makes you feel relaxed, do that.

I think the most important thing to remember is that if you are happy and fulfilled, you’re much more likely to make others feel happy and fulfilled and that’s all that really matters. (Unless you’re happy and fulfilled because you’re on Meth- that’s bad. You need to work on that.)

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up- assuming that ever happens

Ah, dreams. Aren’t they wonderful?

The other day my youngest said that when he grows up he is going to be a YouTube millionaire. (Apparently that’s a thing now.) I pointed out to him that of all the people who are on YouTube, only a handful of them become millionaires, and he replied, “Well, then I’ll be in that handful.” Okey-dokey then.

And the thing is, I totally get that. I’ve never really gotten over my dreams either- I’m still chasing that idea that I can do something I love and still pay the bills. I’m not there yet, but I haven’t given up. Maybe I should. I don’t know. I just keep coming back to the idea that if I just keep trying, eventually I’ll figure it out.


I’ve always wanted to be a writer and photographer. Technically when I was a kid, I wanted to work for National Geographic. That particular part of the dream was put to rest when I realized that I’m really not cut out for staring down animals that may or may not want to eat me- but the love of writing and photography never faded. I’ve written a novel- and then never really did anything with it because rejection is hard. I’ve attempted professional photography, and failed epically because you kind of need to be able to sell yourself to people in that profession, and I suck at that.

So yeah. I’m still dreaming. I’m still struggling to pay the bills. But eventually I’m going to stumble onto the thing that I’m meant to do-and I’m going to find it because I never let go. My life is a little crazy at the moment and the reality is that I can’t just step out of it altogether to chase the dream. But maybe that’s the trick- finding a way to make it all come together. Because why shouldn’t I succeed? Seriously, why not me?

One of the best things that I’ve discovered on the internet lately has been printable Lists. They’re so awesome. You can find them for daily To-Do lists, monthly To-Do lists, cleaning lists, contact lists, Goal Lists- you name it, you can probably find one. I’ve been working hard lately on a new business that will go along with this Blog (which is another reason why you should subscribe, if you haven’t already!) and the List has been a huge tool for me. I’m a very visual person, and I love to check those suckers off. They make me feel like I’m progressing, moving forward towards the dream in a real and productive way.

Here are a few things I’ve learned from my lists so far:

*You have to know what you want. Write that down- I bet it’s harder to put into words than you think.

*Big Life Goals look a lot more attainable when you break them down into steps.

*You can write lists all day long, but if you don’t then work them, they’re just paper. However, if you do work them- they make you feel amazing. There is no better confidence builder.

Don’t you want to feel amazing too? You know you do. Here’s one of my favorite To-Do Lists for you (Just Save and Print):




Pain Bomb

Chronic Pain is horrible. Let’s just put that out there. There are many different causes of chronic pain but regardless of the cause, the pain just sucks the life out of you. When you hurt, it is hard to focus on anything else. Many people turn to pharmaceuticals, for better or worse- I won’t get into all of that. I will just say that the drugs weren’t for me.

I have two kids that I have to be able to function for- and the only painkillers that actually take away any pain, also make me unable to function. That’s all there is to it. So when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and essentially told that I could manage it, but it was unlikely to ever go away- I knew that I was going to have to find something that would actually work for me.

So I did what I always do, I hit the internet. I read and I researched and eventually I came across an article about two hippy nuns in California who were growing and selling high CBD/low THC cannabis, making a topical salve from it, and selling it in their Etsy store. I had already read quite a bit about high CBD strains of cannabis being used for medical purposes. High CBD/ Low THC cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for pain and it is also legal- because it doesn’t have the psychoactive effects that are caused by the THC in cannabis. But I had also been reading a lot about snakeoil companies that were selling industrial hemp oil and claiming it did the same thing- it doesn’t. Hemp oil is great for your skin, but my pain would laugh it out of the room.

This article didn’t even mention the possibility that the Sisters of CBD, as they are known, were selling a fake product. The Etsy reviews were stellar- with people claiming that their lives had been changed by the salve. So, I decided to try it. What could it hurt? If it didn’t work, I could just add it to the growing pile of things that didn’t work (hello, emu oil).

Right at 10 days later I received my package. I opened it up to find the salve, a little sample size tin of the salve, and a letter informing any DEA agents that they had no right to confiscate the package due to statute blah blah and the fact that it was a totally legal product. I was excited. I promptly opened up the salve…and immediately closed it back again. It smells-very strongly- of marijuana. So strongly that I was afraid to use it because I had to pick D up from school, and I just knew someone would call DCF on me.

That was going to be a problem.

I waited until later that night, after all the running around was done and I was reasonably sure no one was going to show up at the door, and then I massaged it into my right arm- which is where my pain lives for some reason. And within ten minutes, my arm didn’t hurt. I was so effective that I thought I must be imagining it- until the pain started to slowly come back about 45 minutes later.

45 minutes without pain. That may not sound like much to you, but to me it was like a miracle. I could actually think clearly for 45 minutes. I could feel happy for 45 minutes. My life wasn’t all about trying to ignore my stupid arm and just keep going, for 45 minutes. Plus, bonus- reapplication gives you another 45 minutes! Score.

With the exception of that extremely recognizable scent, and the realization that applying it 32 times a day was going to end up being very expensive- it was awesome! So, I started thinking about a way to extend the efficacy of the salve and get rid of that smell. Enter Young Living Essential Oils.

I know, I talk about them a lot. But that’s because they’ve been such a game changer for me. Pain was my primary motivation for ordering my Premium Starter Kit. I’ve said before that it was a last ditch effort to get off my growing list of prescription drugs- and that’s true- but Pain, and his many friends, is what those drugs were supposed to be helping.

The very first thing I did when I got my kit was bust out the little bottle of Panaway- Young Living’s blend for topical pain. And it was okay- it smells fantastic, and I could see where it would be great on sore muscles. But it wasn’t going to be enough for me. I researched other essential oils that were good for pain and I made my own blend. Now, that was much better. It took about an hour to really kick in, and then it lasted about an hour. Not perfect, but better than anything else I’d tried- except the CBD.

So naturally, I turned my kitchen into a mini chemistry lab and went all Mad Scientist. The first batch was good- the last batch was “the one”. My own little blend of CBD oil and Young Living essential oils that I have now named the Pain Bomb. It’s been tested by multiple people- on multiple types of pain- and they’ve all said the same thing. Give me more. Now.

I’ve been using it for just over a month now, twice a day, and the pain in my arm is so much better that I don’t even think about it half the time. It isn’t gone- and if I don’t use the cream for a couple of days in a row, it comes back just as strong as ever. I haven’t discovered some magic cure, but I have discovered a way to manage my symptoms effectively without fogging up my brain. Plus, I have been able to stop taking any painkillers (even Ibuprofen) and my muscle relaxants- which is amazing.

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It is so good, in fact, that I’ve decided it is too good to keep to myself. (Mostly because people kept asking for more of it!) Hence my new Etsy Store LemonDrop Remedies. You can get there though the link on the sidebar of this Blog- or here’s another one here:

LemonDrop Remedies- Home of the Pain Bomb!

*If you’re local to Tallahassee and want to try it, feel free to message me to order. That way you don’t have to pay shipping.

**If you’d rather just go with the CBD salve from Sisters of CBD, because you like the idea of Hippy Nuns or crave the smell of really green pot- it’s an amazing product as well and I totally get that. Here’s a link to their store:SistersofCBD

***And finally, if you want to order yourself some Young Living Essential Oils because you’re tired of hearing about how amazing they are and you want to see for yourself- Here’s a link for that: Get yourself some Essential Oils!



Parenting With a Capital P.

I am a muller. At least with the big stuff. As a parent of an autistic child-and a naturally impulsive person, I’ve had to learn to be. I research and I worry and I debate until finally I hit a point where I realize the decision is already made-and then that’s it. There’s no going back.

Last night I had one of those realizations after getting yet another tone deaf message from my son’s school, and it literally made me sick. Seriously, I vomited. But then I felt this relief that just settled into my whole body. I had been stressing over this one particular decision for so long that settling it felt like the 100 pound tumor that had built up on my back and shoulders had finally fallen off.

After a few hours, with the kids in bed and the house quiet, I couldn’t stop thinking about how crazy it was that making this one decision could affect me so deeply. I was still pretty emotional, even after my trusty concoction that I’ve named Oily Xanax, and I was still feeling the physical relief that had washed over me. That was when I realized that I was so affected because this decision hadn’t been about me. At all. In fact, it may very well end up being detrimental to me (although I really, really hope not).

This decision was entirely about my son, and it was going to have lasting implications for him with no real way to know if I was doing the right thing. And that, my friends, is Parenting with a Capital P. And it is hard.


I know that people are going to disagree with my decision, and some of them will outright judge me. There’s no need, I already know that it may turn out that I’ve made the wrong call, and I should’ve…well, if I knew what else I should’ve done then I would have done it. I also know that there will be people who will support me, and know that it was a really hard decision that they are glad they didn’t have to make.

I’m not trying to be intentionally vague, or writing this to get a bunch of sympathy comments from people wanting to know what’s going on. I’m not getting into what the actual decision was because that isn’t the point of this post- and it would take over if I started talking about it. My point is all about the decision making process, and how it can take over our lives and actually make us physically ill. There is absolutely a place for caution- and researching your options before rashly making major decisions- but there comes a point when you have to make a decision and take action. Otherwise you’re just letting the stress build up like that horrible tumor.


I delayed that moment for far too long on this particular issue, and I hope to learn from that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have paperwork to fill out before I lose my nerve again.

Life Lesson #5-Girlfriends

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One of the things that I’ve learned since becoming a parent, is just how easy it is to lose touch with your friends. And that’s a mistake. The happiest people I know are the ones who maintained their friendships, and made them a priority in their lives. Girlfriends supply a much needed support system, and make drinking vast amounts of wine socially acceptable😉

I’ve been trying to slowly mend some of the friendships that I allowed to fall into disrepair. I’ve also been trying to actively make new friends- which is something that I was never very good at-I’ve always been the quiet one in the corner with resting bitch face. Most women I know have either kept their lifelong friends, or have friends from work or mommy groups. But I don’t work in an office anymore, and I never felt like my little family fit into the Mommy Group niche – I tried briefly, but it was, well it was a whole other post. My point is, finding kindred souls hasn’t been easy. I suppose it isn’t really supposed to be.

Real friends are like unicorns-sparkly and awesome and rare. Your friends know you better than anyone else, and they like you anyway. Your friends let you vent viciously about your husband/wife/kids/whatever and don’t question  your love for them. They are Aunts to your kids just as they are sisters to you. I know that sounds incredibly cheesy- straight off a Hallmark card cheesy- but it’s true. No one listens like a friend.

So, if we used to be friends and we’ve lost touch, I’m sorry. And if we’re new friends-I hope we turn out to be unicorns because unicorns are awesome. And if we’re still totally friends, and you’re reading this all like, “What am I, chopped liver?” To you I say, come visit me bitch.

Will You Be My Unicorn-

Essential Oils and Science


This journey of mine has been prompted by many different factors. Some of them are obvious, like my weight and my ever increasing anti-sociability. But some of them were less visible to my loved ones, like just how much pain I was in and my ever increasing pile of pharmaceuticals. In fact, I would say I’ve done a pretty good job of hiding just how miserable I’ve been. Most of the time, anyway.

So, part of this adventure had to be finding a way to get off some of those damn meds. Now, I’m a believer in the power of western medicine-but I am also a believer in its limitations. I’ve been reading a lot about alternative options to the prescriptions that I am currently taking. And I’ve come to the realization that there is only so alternative that I am willing to go. When the conversation takes a turn towards my aura, and how I store my memories of past traumas in my liver- I’m out. No offense to anyone at all, but I just can’t do it.

Aromatherapy, however, is not that kind of alternative therapy. There have been a lot of studies that show really positive health benefits from using high quality essential oils. And they aren’t just emotional benefits, which I admit is what I originally thought of when I heard the term. I’m not going to even try and list every benefit that you can get from essential oils- and it is important to remember that just like with a medication, an oil may have a different effect on you than it does on your neighbor (but unlike with medications, they have no real side effects- unless you blatantly ignore common sense rules like don’t drink that whole bottle and don’t pour that undiluted peppermint down your pants.)

Let’s look at a couple of different body systems, and how aromatherapy can be used.

The lymphatic system is a large network of vessels that carry lymph toward the heart. It plays an important role in the immune system and is responsible for naturally detoxing the body. Lymph moves through the body based on several factors: muscle movement, and involuntary movement of the  valves and arteries. This movement is crucial because it determines how well the immune system and waste systems work. There are several oils that help to boost lymph movement through the body: spearmint, lemon, lime, grapefruit, lemongrass, lavender, peppermint, helichrysum, sage, tangerine, cypress and sandalwood. (This is why they tell you that if you put a citrus oil into your water every day it will help remove fat- it literally does, just not in the diet way that we are used to thinking of.)

The endocrine system consists of the glands in the body that secrete hormones and enzymes. The major glands in the endocrine system are the adrenal glands, hypothalamus, pancreas, parathyroid gland, pineal gland, pituitary gland, thyroid gland, ovaries and testes, (which are also part of the reproductive system). Essential oils help regulate the hormones in our bodies, sometimes they do this by mimicking a hormone, but most of the time they stimulate a specific gland to secrete the hormones we are in need of. Think of the pineal gland, which secretes melatonin. Melatonin helps to regulate sleep- that’s pretty important for your health in general.There are several oils that are known to specifically support your pineal gland when applied topically: frankincense (one of my personal faves), cedarwood and spruce. There is so much more research out there on oils and the endocrine system- but like I said, I’m not going too deep here.

Finally, let’s look at the immune system. Everyone knows that the immune system is responsible for keeping us healthy- that’s Bio 101, right? However, the details of how it does that and what happens when it begins to go wrong are a good bit more complicated. Essentially, our immune system detects foreign organisms and substances in the body and determines if they are good or bad. If they are bad, it sends out the troops and attacks. If our immune system is out of balance, either too slow or overactive, we get sick. Some oils that are known to boost the immune system: clove, oregano, eucalyptus, lemon, ravensara, melaleuca, and again Frankincense.

There have been some really good scientific studies on essential oils – in fact, if you’re into it, I really recommend checking out some of them- even if you just read some of the sources at the bottom. That said, there is still a long way to go before people start to view them as truly medicinal. And that’s just because of public perception as far as I’m concerned. I’ve done my research, and I’ve tried them, and now I’m a believer. I truly believe that in another 20 years or so, we will see oils being used much more prominently for medicinal purposes.


Sources used in this article:

O’Sullivan, Jen (2015-09-02). The Essential Oil Truth: The Facts Without the Hype (Kindle Locations 915-1081).

PubMed Health (2015). Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0032645/

Reichling J, Schnitzler P, Suschke U, Saller R, Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants with Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, and Cytotoxic Properties – an Overview. Forsch Komplementmed 2009;16:79-90



The Health Wars


When I first started this blog, I began to do a lot of research into modern health. Actually, I am only a few credits short of completing my degree in Health Science, so this research was serving a dual purpose. And let me just say that I am absolutely not against modern Western medicine- even if I may sound a little “crunchy” at times. Modern medicine has come a long way, and it makes our lives so much easier in many, many ways.

That said, it isn’t perfect. We are still a relatively young species, and we are learning new things everyday. Some of those things contradict things we previously considered facts- no problem- that’s what Science is all about. Neil Degrasse Tyson, everyone’s favorite living scientist, said this about the human brain, “Everything we do, every thought we’ve ever had, is produced by the human brain. But exactly how it operates remains one of the biggest unsolved mysteries, and it seems the more we probe its secrets, the more surprises we find.”

So yeah, we don’t even know how our own brains work. The trick is to just keep trying to figure it out.

Now, that all sounds very logical- right? Unfortunately, there is a huge section of our population that does not seem to get logic. They get crazy.

One of my biggest discoveries on this journey of mine has been Young Living Essential Oils-I can honestly say I’m not quite sure how I lived without them for so long. And now that I have used them, and a couple of other high quality brand oils, I have to say I don’t really understand the controversy that surrounds them. But man, oh man, is there ever controversy.

I’ve read articles that say they’re pagan, they’re snake oil, they’re the product of a baby killer, and on and on. And the scariest part is that all of these articles seem to be written with such passion and vitriol. Really? Dude, it’s lavender oil. And it works- just hush for a minute and try it.

And that is hardly the only health war you can find out there.  Read some of the stuff put out by the anti-vaxxers or the Food Babe fanatics, or hell, even some Essential oils people- basically anyone who refuses to yield their position to newer facts. These people should be labeled dangerous and avoided at all cost. We should never let them dictate the direction of the conversation.

Because when it comes down to it, there is no one way. We are all still stumbling around in the dark, clicking on lights when we find them- and if we refuse to learn then we’re doomed. We’re nowhere near there yet. We are still vegans who smoke cigarettes, and hippies who take multiple prescription drugs. As long as we aren’t anti-vaxxers who still go to the doctor when we get sick (explain that to me people, I dare you) then we should consider it a win.

I guess my point is that there is a place for western medicine right next to holistic medicine.When done properly, they’re just different approaches to the same thing. We need to keep an open mind, and realize that new things are being discovered every day- and some of those things are going to require an open mind and willingness to change.

Life Lesson #4: Dream Boards- what are they, why are they important, and why Pinterest doesn’t count.

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Making a Dream Board is one of those deeply personal craft projects that I’ve always had a difficult time with. I never really stopped and thought about why they were so important until one of my new life gurus (Is that a thing? If not, I’m making it one.) said that I needed to do it. So, because she’s had such good advice so far- this Blog only got published because she said to get a blog- I decided to listen to her. However, because it’s me, and I can’t seem to do anything without really, really overthinking it- I spent the night researching them first.

A Dream Board is a visualization aid that is meant to be placed in a prominent place, so that you will see it regularly. This is why Pinterest doesn’t really count- if you’re anything like me, you pin all of those amazing things that speak to you, and then promptly never look at them again. That doesn’t work because psychologically, you have to see the board regularly. That is the part that makes it effective.

Visualization is one of those brain exercises that sounds pretty hokey, but is actually a very powerful tool. Olympic athletes have been using visualization techniques since the 60s, and a report by Psychology Today that looked at the brain waves of weightlifters when they were actually lifting, and when they were simply visualizing lifting, showed that the same brain wave patterns were activated (Levan, A., 2009). Visualizing what you want, on a regular basis trains your brain to believe you can do it. And so you do.

Now back to that Dream Board. One of the most important things that I read about them is that you should make the focus emotional, rather than physical. In other words, choose your images based on how they make you feel when you look at them. You can still put that dream house on there, of course- just don’t fill the board with material things. Other than that one rule, however, anything seems to go. It’s all about you- your style, interests, and abilities will dictate what your board becomes.

So I’ve cleared off a shelf just beside my door, and I’ve pulled out a pretty picture frame that I am going to use as a real-life pin board. And from there, it’s just collecting images and tokens that will help me visualize where I want to be in life. Easy peasy, right? I’ll post a picture in the comments when it’s finished, and I would love for you to do the same- share away please!

*D just came in to read my post and he wanted to know if he frames a picture of Batman and looks at it everyday, will he become him? I said yes, for what I’m considering a parenting win.