The Monthly Tea โ€” June 2020

Whew, honeyyyy. I know you have already asked yourself this, but how are we already halfway through the year?! It really seems like yesterday was the beginning of quarantine and we all thought it wouldn’t last that long. 2020 has really been putting us through it!

Today kicks off a new series on the blog called “The Monthly Tea.” This will be a round-up/recap/rundown where I take a second to share about what’s going on in my life, reviews of products I did or did not like, and other info from the past month I want to chat about! So grab your favorite glass of tea โ€” sweet, unsweet, hot, or iced (I prefer mine to be diabetes sweet) โ€” and catch up with me. ๐Ÿฅค

Products I Am Loving & Loathing

  • If you follow me on Instagram, you have seen this hat. I purchased it for the beach, but I have worn it so much more than I anticipated! It is seriously that good! It is outside of my normal style comfort zone, but I wish I had discovered it sooner. Very affordable and UPF50+. A win-win! (It’s $10 off today, so run over to Amazon & add it to your cart!)
  • At-home manicures are becoming the new normal for a lot of people! I have always been more into doing my nails at home versus spending a ton of time at the nail salon. The Essie Gel Couture line is a gel mani without the trouble of the light and it only takes two steps! Plus to remove, it only takes the swipe of nail polish remover and doesn’t ruin your nails the way salon gel polish does. I think I am going to pick up the color “Sunset Soiree” next! ๐Ÿ’…
  • I ordered this cover-up via Prime before my recent beach trip because I desperately needed a new one. I was very excited to find a simple and chic look, but it didn’t come in time. Once I tried it on, I was honestly glad it didn’t! It just didn’t do anything amazing for me and is sheerer than I wanted. However, I did find this replacement one on accident and I am so glad I did! It says in-store availability only, so if you can’t make it to your nearest Walmart, I am linking this one as an alternative.
  • Last, but certainly might be my favorite are these raffia sandals. You seriously can’t beat this deal for such a trendy summer shoe! Plus, they’re less than $20 today! ๐Ÿ‘ก

What’s In My Cart Right Now

  • No Touch Tool. Not much explanation needed here other than germs are literally everywhere and we all need one of these! ๐Ÿ˜ท
  • 3-in-1 Home Air Purifier. I live in an older home where the dust collects in corners faster than you can clean it. Plus with Finn shedding everywhere, I think it is time I add one to my bedroom!
  • This tee and this dress from Z Clothing. This boutique is owned by a fellow Alabama gal and I can’t wait to support her business!
  • New slippers. Mine have been chewed on quite a few times by a sweet little pup so I think it’s time I pick up a replacement. ๐Ÿถ

Going Green Necessities

Because of my health condition and the desire to improve my overall well-being, over the last two years, I have slowly started making the transitioning to a cleaner, greener, and more non-toxic lifestyle. It is a switch that can not be done overnight. After reading about all the chemicals and harmful ingredients in products we use every day, you will be tempted to throw it all away at once. But the best way to do it is to start with small changes, like swapping dryer sheets for wool dryer balls. Read more about switching over on my favorite blog by Amanda Scott. Two products I purchased recently include:

  • Reusable makeup remover pads. These are just like the cotton rounds for removing your makeup, but reusable and more earth friendly! Just toss them in the washing machine when you’re done and they’re ready to be used again.
  • Paperless paper towels. These super absorbent cloth towels are perfect for replacing you paper towel habit! I still use traditional ole’ paper towels for big messes and whatnot. But these are perfect for using as a cloth napkin, to wipe up a quick spill, and can even be used to make a mask during the pandemic because the fabric is so breathable. These are great quality and the seller had super fast shipping. I will definitely be purchasing more of these!

I know this post is getting mighty long, but I thought I would mention a few other noteworthy things from the month of June before I go! Last month I had my post-op appointment from my surgery in May. It was a lot of information to take in, but I was able to hear about all of the endometriosis my doctor found and removed which was a huge relief! Because my illness is not physically seen, you would be shocked at how many people brush it off. And honestly, it has made me doubt myself in the past. Like, am I making all this up? Is it all in my head?? Am I actually insane?! So hearing that my doctor did physically see what has been causing me so much pain was the affirmation I needed. Even though my body is continuing to heal and I am learning more about navigating another condition they discovered, it was a moment of happiness for me. On top of that, I got to introduce Tom (the cute boy in this picture) to my favorite place ever โ€” Florida beaches! We had a wonderful time and I am hoping I can convince him to go back sooner rather than later. ๐ŸŒด

Now that I’ve spilled, I want to hear more about you! Share some happiness during these dark times and tell me what the best part of June was in your world!

 I am wishing you a week filled with joy and peace. I am off to refill my tea glass!

takin’ it easy

takin’ it easy

Between work from home life and post-operative recovery, I haven’t worn pants that actually button in quiteeee some time. Raise your hand if you don’t even want to think about putting jeans on again.

Even though I have had surgery for my endometriosis previously, I scoured the web for tips and tricks for my second recovery. I wanted to feel as prepared as possible! Honestly I thought I was overbuying and wouldn’t use half of the stuff I had packed away in my bag. But I was wrong! Today, I am going to cover some must have necessities for tackling the tough days (and weeks) after surgery so you can take it easy!

  1. Ice packs: I had three in rotation! I used my largest one the most but I do recommend buying them in various sizes if you can so you can target specific areas when needed.
  2. Pillow & blanket from home: Nothing is as comforting as having your own pillow and blanket when you wake up for recovery. If you are recovering at home, this won’t be a problem. But if you are traveling out of state, make sure to put these items on your packing list! Also, using a pillow over your stomach on the car ride from the hospital is crucial to lessen the pain of all the bumps along the way.
  3. Hard candies: The breathing tube from being under anesthesia will really give you a dry, scratchy, terrible throat. I was under longer than I anticipated and whew my throat felt terrible when I woke up! Thankfully I had some mints in my bag and they helped so much! The IceBreaker sours are my personal favorites!
  4. Mesh/high waisted undies: These are not that fashionable. Okay, they aren’t fashionable at all. But, they are necessary. You will not want to wear normal undies due to your incisions and these are comfortable and will not cut into your skin! Trust me, you need them (and you might just continue to wear them after you recover)!
  5. Pajama dresses/oversized shirts: PJ dresses, oversized t-shirts, whatever they’re called, you NEED them – as long as it isn’t pants! I’m linking one a girlfriend sent me from Target, but I also found a few at Walmart for less than $10. I would also recommend a comfy robe to throw over your lazy pjs if you have anyone over to visit or just to make yourself feel more put together in general!
  6. Loose fitting sweats/joggers: Since I did eventually have to travel several hours home, I had to find pants that wouldn’t be uncomfortable on the ride but would also let me look put together when we had to stop along the way. Highly recommend the ones I linked here!!
  7. Baby wipes: You can use these for a multitude of things, obviously! But I kept them bedside to wipe my hands before/after eating, to take quick “baths” when I didn’t have the strength to shower, etc… You get the idea!
  8. Notepad/Pen: I gave a notepad & pen to my dad to write down notes from my nurse in recovery because I knew I wouldn’t remember anything. I also used it to write down when I took medications so I knew when to take the next dosage
  9. Slippers or another slide on shoe: You’re going to need a comfortable shoe that you don’t have to put effort into when putting them on. I wore mine to the hospital (no one will judge you, I promise).
  10. Socks with grip on the bottom: When you get to the hospital and have to give all of your personal belongings up (including your glasses when you’re as blind as me), it is nice to have one thing that is yours. I wore my own socks with grips on the bottom, but they will give you some if you forget them! Also, if you are required to stay in the hospital after surgery, they require you to wear something with grip on it!
  11. Abdominal binder: I had never heard of one of these and there is no way I could have worn this the week after surgery, but it has been nice to have it as I am moving around more!
  12. Heating pad: For the love, don’t put this on/near your incisions. But for back pain and shoulder pain from the gas, you will be glad you have a heating pad nearby.
  13. Books: I got tired of watching television and it was nice to have the time to fully commit time to read. I recommend reading & watching Little Fires Everywhere!
  14. Large cup or water bottle: Pictured below is a huge cup I picked up at Target for $10. Works just as well a Yeti without spending all the coins!
  15. Small basket: I used this small basket from the Target dollar section to keep everything I needed together and close to me so I wouldn’t have to get up so much. I put my medications, the tv remote, lotion, you name it!

Additional small luxuries to have:

  1. Wedge pillow: This thing was so great to lean on in bed since it was painful to be completely flat. You can also use it to prop your feet up. I can’t get enough of it!
  2. Sheet face masks: It was nice to be able to pamper myself a bit to lift my spirits. There’s no mess involved in these, just apply to your face for 20+ minutes then toss in the trash!
  3. Lip balm: My lips always feel so dry after anesthesia and it was an additional little luxury to have on-hand.
  4. Silk scrunchies/hair ties: I have been wearing my hair up so much since I haven’t the ability to do much with my hair (including washing it). These are comfortable and lessen the damage to your hair caused by normal ponytail holders.

Things you need that no one wants to talk about

  1. GasX/Phillips Milk of Magnesia/Miralax/ Senokot S (Actually all of the above)
  2. Vaseline
  3. Peri Bottle (listen you can literally use one of those reusable condiment bottles. I promise it works just as good as the $15 name brand ones)
  4. Flushable wipes
  5. Overnight pads: Try these HoneyPot ones! Once you try them, you will never go back to normal pads again!

If you’re preparing for surgery or just coming out of one, I wish you the best! You are stronger than you could ever imagine and you can get through this! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions, I am happy to help!

strong, but exhausted

It has (unfortunately) been a few months since I sat down to write. It was completely unintentional.

I’ve honestly just been too tired to devote my time to my small corner of the internet. It sounds like a very lame excuse, but my body and mind have been too tired to do much of anything outside of my day-to-day responsibilities.

My endometriosis has flared back up even though I had surgery a little over a year ago. It has been back with a vengeance and my symptoms continue to affect my day-to-day life. I feel out of touch with my body, I get nauseous to the point of vomiting at least once a week, and I am exceptionally tired more often than not. I feel like I am constantly cancelling plans and trying to explain to friends what’s going on. I always feel like I’m bringing everyone down when I do push myself to follow through with plans even though I am feeling bad.

Late last year I realized how terrified I was of not being able to live my life and goals to the fullest because of my health. I needed to pursue other options and I started seeking doctors out-of-state. This can be especially scary because we all know surgery in general can be expensive much less possibly going to someone outside of your insurance’s network and all the other associated costs with traveling to seek treatment.

After some thorough research, I realized how uneducated and naive I had been when it came to my first surgery and the things my then doctor told me. I soon concluded I would need an excision surgery next. The previous surgery essentially cauterized any small areas my doctor could find. This can cause many issues, but as endometriosis grows back, it grows over that burnt scar tissue, making it even more painful. Excision cuts out the endo and any other tissue under/around it that could be effected by it. Alabama actually has no endometriosis excision specialists. It feels like we are always behind.

So my next best option was a well-reviewed surgeon in Chattanooga, Tennessee! His next available appointment was a whopping five months away. While I wanted to just give up because that wait seemed unbearable, I planned a much needed birthday celebration trip around the appointment and it ended being such a wonderful time. Chattanooga is modern and progressive, but not quite as crowded as somewhere like Atlanta or Nashville. I can’t wait to be back for a multitude of reasons!

The number one reason is my scheduled surgery for May. Because this is a more intrusive procedure, I feel like I should be more nervous or fearful. But I have so much hope for a better quality of living that I can’t be anything but excited.

While I was there, I was able to visit Beast + Barrel (pictured above), a rustic-chic gastropub where I had one of the best charcuterie boards ever. I highly recommend a meal (or two there) if you are in the area.

I hope my continued chronic illness journey inspires someone else to keep pushing for a well-lived and enjoyable life. If you don’t have any type of chronic illness and you know someone with one, try to learn more about that person and what their day-to-day life is like. Just because you can’t see their illness, doesn’t make what they are going through any less than.

I will continue to keep you updated on this journey and share some fabulous outfits along the way! Keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I prepare for surgery and the recovery.

Read more of my recent blog posts here:

the burden is not light

The girl in the pictures above looks happy, light, and care free. But it has taken quite some time to feel comfortable in who she is, flaws and all.

Talking about mental health and working through those issues is hard. But discussing it in the south, seems even harder.

Almost two years ago I realized my anxiety was something I couldn’t control on my own anymore. No matter how much I tried to remove stressors from my life, practice self-care, or pray about it, I just couldn’t do it on my own.

I was worrying over minute details. I was always exhausted, but couldn’t seem to find any rest in my body or my mind. Concentrating on tasks at work was hard. I became irritable over the strangest things and would allow these moods to ruin my day because they were controlling my life.

I finally decided to do something about this and sought medical help for a prescription. While it took some trial and error with different medications and took my body some time to adjust, it improved my day-to-day life tremendously. I could finally function again.

But oddly enough, I felt embarrassed I needed help. I felt ashamed every morning I pulled my little green pills out to take one. I grew up learning people who sought assistance with something like anxiety or depression basically just needed to toughen up and pray about it.

Many will say, “Oh God is just testing you, He never gives more than you can handle!” or “Your mental illness is a punishment for sinning.” I prayed and pleaded with God for so long. I felt as if something were wrong with me or I was doing something wrong and that is why I couldn’t shake the feeling of anxiety constantly overwhelming me. So why wasn’t God “fixing” me?

The prevailing culture of silence along with misguided attitudes and erroneous expectations often cause suffering believers to feel shamed, blamed and very unsupported. *raises hand*

It look me quite some time. But I finally became PROUD of myself for taking the initiative to do something. Through this journey, I have even found a therapist I love (who I should definitely visit more often.) I know some people laugh that I pay money to express my thoughts and concerns with a “stranger” every few weeks. But whew it is money well spent!

I encounter this stigma around mental health often living in the south. The idea that the disruptions in our brains can be simply solved with prayer. I have to pause and say that my faith is very strong and real and I believe in the healing powers of Jesus. But He also created modern medicine and the will and sense to utilize these resources. We get confused when we think we canโ€™t take a prescription because it would mean we donโ€™t trust God enough.

So friends if you are going through it or have been there before, please know you are not alone. I am so proud to see how progressive the mental health movement has become and the openness a lot of my friends and I have about needing a little extra “help.” Let’s continue that momentum and encourage others to take care of their mental health in whatever capacity they need.

baby got goals

Did you make a resolution at the beginning of the year? Did you โ€œfailโ€ a week in or not even try at all?

Just because we only have four months left in 2019, doesn’t mean it’s too late to get started. Instead of waiting until next January to crush your goals, why not start now?

Improve Health and Wellness

Health and wellness go beyond your physical body. It also includes your mind and soul, so be sure to think beyond your waistline as well. Do you need to start practicing more self-care? Have you been struggling with depression or anxiety? Don’t wait until next year to take care of yourself! I started doing yoga earlier this year and dropped all of my other gym memberships because not only is it good for my body, it is also good for my mind. It also is more feasible for my body to do multiple times a week since endometriosis makes a high-impact workout painful!

Save Money or Get Out of Debt

This is something I started doing mid-yearish. I knew I wanted to save more and spend LESS! I looked at my bank statements to see where I was spending all my money! You may not think much about a $3 burger here or a $4 coffee there, but these little things add up quick. I started doing the Dave Ramsey envelope system and now I see what all the hype is about!!

Get a New Job

If you loathe your current job or have been wanting to make a change for years, start doing things to get a new job today! Don’t wait around several months and continue to be miserable when you could be doing something about it!  Freshen up your resume. Update your LinkedIn. Make a list of the companies that you would love to work for and reach out to them or sign up to get job opening alerts.

Making SMART Goals

Whew, I hear about SMART goals all the time in my professional life! But they are the key to accomplishing any of these goals. SMART goals are goals that are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Time-Based

Keep track of your progress month-by-month and take pride in each and every step you take. As you achieve your mini goals, reward yourself well. Do you have goals you’ve made progress on lately? Or are you setting new ones before the year is over? Let me know in the comments!

This is the only life youโ€™ve gotโ€”letโ€™s finish this year well no matter how it started!