TheraBox – A Subscription Box For Wellness!

As you know, I’m a huge proponent of self-care and wellness. It’s so incredibly important to take good care of ourselves – mental health is paramount to a healthy and happy life. TheraBox is a subscription box that is curated by therapists! The focus for it is health and wellness, and the products they choose for you are focused on these areas. Each box contains over $120+ worth of self-care goodies, and the boxes start at just $35! You can check it out at mytherabox.com to learn more!

TheraBox sent me their Summer June 2021 box to share with you! It includes so many incredible products that are excellent for wellness and self-care!

Summer – June 2021

Pivot by Pauline Caballero is a guidebook with five practices to support you through change! Published by Golden Brick Road, you can find even more of their titles here! www.goldenbrickroad.pub It also comes with a free 30-day membership to Power Yoga!

Glow Nectar finishing bronzing oil by Chiky Botanica – it smells lovely and feels incredible on my skin. This gorgeous blend of sunflower, jojoba and argon oil adds a shimmer a nice, light scent to your skin. You can find it on their website here www.chikybotanica.com to find out more!

Vitamasques Super Bamboo Light Day Cream is a nice, lightweight pollution shield for your skin. It’s fragrance free and is also anti-dust, anti-blue light and anti-oxidant. It’s great for calming sunburnt skin as well as treating a dehydrated complexion. It can be found at www.vitamasques.com

Earth Harbor’s Sunstone hair revive elixir. I personally love Earth Harbor’s serums and elixirs. They are non-toxic, synthetic-free, plant-based, ethical and sustainable. You can check out their array of products here! www.earthharbor.com

Wicks & Scents Lemongrass vegan bar soap. You guys, this soap smells INCREDIBLE. It’s formulated with ethically cultivated and wildcrafted herbs. Their soaps can be found here and they are all natural, vegan and cruelty- free www.wicksandscents.com

Jubel Naturals Outdoor Roll-On Oil is a plant-based and DEET free insect repellent. I’m a huge fan of more natural insect repellents, especially when it comes to putting them on my children. Learn more about Jubel Naturals and their products here: www.jubelnaturals.com

Soulistic Root After Sun Spray – I have to start by saying how much I love this bottle. It’s so pretty and it’s great packaging in that it sprays really beautifully. The scent is so fresh and delicious – and it feels incredible on my skin. I am very careful about applying sunscreen and block, so I’ve not had the chance to use it for that yet – but I’m keeping it on hand in our beachbag for when I do! Learn more here www.soulisticroot.com

Ultima Replenisher – Electrolyte Hydration Powder (6 flavors stickpack) – These mixes have 0 calories, 0 carbs and 0 sugar. They are an electrolyte powder you can add to your water for an easy rehydration mix! Order or learn more here www.ultimareplenisher.com

In all I really loved this box. The products are all wellness focused and entirely useful. The quality on them is high and I would say it’s absolutely worth the cost of the box! I’m especially excited about the Pivot book and yoga experience. If you are looking for a new subscription box to try, especially one that is truly focused on self-care, then I highly recommend this one.

The Irish Jewelry Company: Beautiful Claddagh Ring

The history behind the Claddagh ring is so incredibly sweet. Nestled in a love story, the Irish ring today still symbolizes love – but also friendship and loyalty. If you look at the ring you will see the heart in the center – representing love, while the hands represent friendship and the crown stands for loyalty. The Irish Jewelry Company offers this beautiful piece in Sterling Silver and an array of birthstones for you to choose from!

I happen to be part Irish, but you don’t have to be in order to love and wear the ring! My husband grew up in a primarily Italian area, and when I received my ring from The Irish Jewelry Company he told me about many of the girls he knew when he lived there wearing Claddagh rings. Some wore them as a sign that they were “taken” but many also wore them for friendship! The Irish Claddagh Ring can be a symbol of love or friendship. It can be purchased as a gift, or for yourself! Here are a couple of pictures of me wearing my ring. One up-close shot, and one from a YouTube video I made where I happened to have it on.

I love this ring. It’s incredibly lovely, as well as special because it houses my birthstone and it represents my Irish heritage. It’s extremely comfortable to wear and the cut of the stone is super sparkly! Visit The Irish Jewelry Store today and look at their beautiful jewelry! They feature the Claddagh ring but have so many gorgeous Irish and Celtic jewelry pieces that you’re certain to find something you love!

Lessons Learned in Loss and Love

My stepmother and I had a complicated relationship. This was mostly due to her mental illnesses, the worst of which was her crippling anxiety. Because of that, we had a lot of discontent in our family. It’s hard in the moments to know how to handle things sometimes. Mental illness causes so many hurdles and problems for the people around us in addition to ourselves. I know this first hand since I, too, suffer from anxiety and OCD. Luckily I have recently found a medication that has helped immensely. My stepmom never got that lucky. It wasn’t for lack of trying, believe me. She tried every medication they suggested, tried every self-help book and article’s advice. Nothing helped. When her anxiety wasn’t at it’s worst, usually in the evenings, she would come up with fun things she wanted to do, ideas she wanted to try, and goals she hoped to accomplish. But come morning, the anxiety would come back, rendering her incapable.

A lot of that I didn’t know. When she was alive I only saw the frustration that she caused us. I was crippled by the abuse she inflicted on me, and my brother, in our childhood. In adulthood I didn’t know if she was trying hard enough to push past her anxiety. I didn’t understand why she was so controlling of every aspect of everything. I knew she had anxiety but I didn’t really understand how hers was different from mine. A year and a half ago, she died. She was young, only 61, and she had a sudden heart attack. It was a shock to everyone, and in the moments, and days, leading up to her death, I prayed that she would live. I hoped that maybe she would get a reset. I hoped that, while in a medically induced coma, her brain would rewire and she would wake up without that part of her. Maybe she would get another chance – we all would. But she never woke up.

The loss hit me harder than I could have ever imagined, and I realized I was grieving for many, many things. One of them being that we never had the relationship that we both wanted. Another being that she didn’t get to live the life that she had always wanted. And by talking more with my father, by going through her things, I got to know her in death, feel closer to her and more understanding of her, better than I could in life. I consider this a huge blessing and I have faith and hope that she knows it. I hope she has heard me and seen me and knows that I love her, and that I learned to understand her. Finally.

Her anxiety led to a lot of things, and one of them was the beginning signs of hoarding – which is a facet of mental illness. She would purchase things in hopes of one day using them, but never did. When she died my dad asked me to go through the things she had placed in my old bedroom. Bags of brand new items, just sitting there in their bags, with their original receipts, unused. Clothing, home decor items, sunglasses, even presents for my children. Things she bought for the future she hoped for – the one she never got. We donated a lot of the items, some we gave to family members and close friends, but some we kept. Some of them I kept, to have a connection to her I suppose. But also so that they would be used. Be cherished. She bought these things because she loved them but she saved them. She set them aside to use for a day that never came.

Just the other day I was telling my husband that I wanted to get new silverware. We have had ours for many, many years. We didn’t get any because he didn’t want to spend the money when the silverware we have works just fine, albeit a little bent and scratched. Yesterday my dad stopped by and dropped off a huge set of silverware – 80 pieces. It includes serving sets and dessert forks, and it’s truly lovely. Brand-new and still in the box. She had bought it to use one day. A few Christmases ago I bought her a gorgeous silverware box to put her new silverware in. It was something she said she wanted and must have purchased the silverware around that time. When my dad dropped off the silverware he also dropped off that box – and once again I was thrown into that feeling of missing her. And of feeling so sad that she never got to do all of the things that she wanted to. To never use all of the beautiful things that she bought.

So I got our “nice” silverware set and brought it into the kitchen to use as our “new” everyday set. And her lovely set is out of it’s packaging and in the wooden box I bought for her years ago. It will be in our dining room and we will use it, each time in remembrance of her. In addition to learning more about her and coming to a better understanding of her, I have been able to forgive her. And with that, I have the relationship, and love for her, that we couldn’t get to while she was here. I continue to grieve and have cried while writing this – but I do so with less regret and more compassion. She always loved my writing and was so proud of me when I started this blog. I hope that wherever she is she will see this and know how I feel. And that I am cherishing her things like she never could. And every time I use that silverware, look at that box, wear her sunglasses, or let my eyes fall upon some of the decorative items my dad has dropped off over time, I’ll think of her. And I’ll remember not to wait for the right time to use something or to do something. I’ll do it now. I think that’s how she’d tell me to live. I love you Mom. And I miss you. So many of us do.

Mom’s silverware in her Reed & Barton box

Our Place: NEW Knives and Cutting Board!

Our Place is one of my favorite brands – their company is a small business that gives back to the community. Their products are created with the best quality and are customizable to suit your kitchen decor! I’m sure you’ve heard of their Always Pan – but in addition to that and many other incredible products, they’ve added knives and a gorgeous cutting board! They recently sent both to me and I want to share them with you now! I will also be sharing a video so you can see them as I unbox them, as well as a code to get 10% off your entire order!

The beautiful cutting board is made from walnut and doubles as a serving board and/or charcuterie board. It has a juice trench to keep juices from leaving the board, and the black walnut is so pretty I want to keep it on display in my kitchen!

Walnut Cutting Board

There are three different knives currently in the collection: The Precise Paring Knife, Everyday Chef’s Knife and Serrated Slicing Knife. What’s extra exciting about the knives is that you can choose the color of the handle! They are currently available in Steam, Char, Blue Salt and Spice. My collection pictured here is in Steam.

The knives are made with a patent-pending handle for the perfect grip and the blades are made from premium German stainless steel. (They each also come with their own storage sheath). Here are the additional colors they are available in, so you can match them with your Always Pan or to your kitchen design!

I’ll place a link here for you to order and if you use the code MEGANG10 you will get $10 off your order! If you plan to get all three knives, then search the site for the bundle. You will save an additional $25 that way, along with the $10 from my code! https://www.pntrac.com/t/2-443206-183572-217808

Here is the video of my unboxing of the products. Let me know on YouTube if you have any questions!

Again, the code is MEGANG10 and the link is https://www.pntrac.com/t/2-443206-183572-217808 – you can use the code for your entire purchase, regardless of which products you choose!

The Littlest Things

I have 4 beautiful, incredible children. Each one is so unique and brings me so much joy and happiness. There is a 15-year age gap between my oldest and the next one. For a long time I didn’t know if I’d ever have another baby, and then the next three came, every two years, until we decided our family was complete. Our daughter, our youngest, was adopted, but only 8 days old when she came home to us. I was always very careful to pay attention to the end of something. After reading a post about never knowing when it would be the last time you would pick your child up, or nurse them, or lay them in their crib because they grow so quickly, I made sure I paid close attention and marked each occasion in my mind. I couldn’t stand the thought of never knowing it would be the last time. So today, when I realized a milestone had happened without me noticing, it caught my attention and has me thinking. I realized that we no longer need the staple that has been by my side for the last seven years: the diaper bag.

I think it’s safe to say that most of us are pretty choosy when it comes to the diaper bag. After all, it will be with us pretty much ALL of the time if we aren’t at home. For me, I wanted something stylish and timeless, that I’d be able to use for years. I chose one from https://kalencombaby.com/ – Kalencom is a company based out of New Orleans, LA – the city my granddaddy hailed from and one that’s close to my heart. My husband and I Honeymooned there and so, when I saw the bag I loved and where it was from, I knew that was the one. The bag I chose was this one, and it lasted this whole time:

Amazon.com : Kalencom N'Orleans Tote Choc/Blue : Baby

I thought it would be perfect for a boy or girl, and the quality was there. So for 7 years, through 3 babies, this was the diaper bag. It made every single trip with us. It was there for the zoos and the hotels and the car rides. The shopping trips, the holidays and the fun adventures. It carried the supplies for my three youngest babies. And then, apparently, without me even noticing – it became obsolete.

I suppose 2020 could be partly to blame. We didn’t really go anywhere over the last year, and during that time our youngest turned 3. Now she’s almost 4. As I said, I was always very careful in marking milestones. In making sure I didn’t miss a thing. It was important to me. I guess it’s not a big deal to a lot of people, but my babies didn’t come easily – so I wanted to make sure every moment was cherished and acknowledged.

Today, when I was cleaning some things out of the back of the minivan, I went to move the diaper bag back into it’s usual resting place, in the back, behind my son’s seat. And that’s when it hit me – I didn’t need it anymore. I stood there for a moment wondering when I had even used it last and I couldn’t recall. My daughter has mostly potty-trained and only wears a diaper at night now. Gone are the needs for having diapers nearby or a change of clothes. The need for Curad to soothe a diaper rash or nursing pads or bottles. The security of having a pacifier, rattle or teether nearby. Those days are over. I felt a funny pull of sadness when I went through the bag. Not much remained inside, but there was a tube of ointment for rashes, a far-too-small diaper, and even a baby spoon. I tossed the baby spoons long ago, so seeing that bright little plastic thing kind of got to me. There was also a bib inside, and a small toy dinosaur.

Don’t get me wrong – I don’t want another baby. I’m well into my 40’s and, as I said earlier, I truly felt a completeness the day we brought our daughter home. The past few years have been a wild ride – full of fun and laughter and love. And believe it or not, I don’t miss having a baby. I said to my husband, just the other day, that I’d been changing diapers for seven years straight. Seven years! And I am ready to be done. I look forward to my daughter finishing out her potty-training and moving on from that phase of my life. And I wouldn’t want to go back to the nighttime feedings and the no sleep and the constant attention that they needed. But for the first time in awhile, I suddenly missed it.

I realized that, while I’ve been careful to cherish the moments, it won’t be possible to catch them all. Because I can’t always know when it will be the last time. Even with very careful watch and planning. Because they truly do grow up so very fast. And because, like all things in life, I don’t have complete control. It was a nice reminder to me of a time that, while not long ago, is definitely over. And that hurt, just a little bit. Because while I’m proud of how well they are doing and how much they are learning and how big they are getting, they will, in so many ways, always be those tiny babies that I worked so hard to bring into our world. That I held and fed in the quiet of the night. That I love so incredibly deeply, beyond measure. And realizing that that part of my life, of Motherhood, is over, feels a little sad.

I cleaned the diaper bag out and I added it to the pile in the back of the van that’s going to be donated, along with the clothes my daughter has outgrown. It feels odd to have such an attachment to objects, doesn’t it? To touch and see them and be taken right back to another time? I love the magic of that. And I loved that diaper bag. I’ll try to pay a little bit more attention from now on, so maybe I won’t miss the next one. But who knows? These kids keep me pretty busy.

FASHOM Styling Service – Ready For FALL!!

Fashom is an online clothing service that offers you a one-on-one styling session with a personal stylist. You create an account and give them a sense of your style. You can describe it, share a link to your Pinterest page where you have samples of your style, or even have a video call with your stylist! When you want to try some new items, you put in a styling request. You then choose 5 items to try out and they ship them to you. If you keep at least one item, then your styling session fee is waved. You very first styling session, however, is free.

One nice thing is that the more you keep, the more you save. So if you keep 3 items then you will get them at 25% off. If you keep all 5 items then you will get them at 30% off! Anything you decide not to keep can be sent back in their return bag, for free. Shipping both ways is at no cost to you. Since we are entering Fall, I decided to pop into Fashom and get styled for some new Fall pieces! Here’s what I chose, and my review of each item.

If you’d like to try Fashom you can do so here and receive $10 OFF your order!

https://invite.fashom.com/wYBjxs1lbab

The first item is this beautiful sweater. It’s made with Cashmere and Wool, and was super cozy. Unfortunately, the sizing was off and it was definitely too big for me. I think if it had been in a medium it would have been a keeper, but as such it ended up getting sent back.

This one ended up being a favorite. At first I wasn’t so sure about it because the back design is not something I am normally into. But the reason I love Fashom is because they suggest things I wouldn’t normally get and help me to expand my wardrobe with different pieces than what I’d normally choose! The fabric on this was cozy but not heavy. This went into the KEEP pile!

This top is adorable and I LOVE the sleeves and top portion of it. I think if that part had been longer then this would have been a keeper for sure. But because the white, flowy part was so prominent, I decided to pass. It just wasn’t a style I felt comfortable in. I’m not sure it suite my body type since I have a rather long torso.

This one was the toughest decision for me. I’m REALLY sucking my belly in here! But I love the fabric, it’s so soft, and I also adore this color. So I decided to keep this one as well. I’ll just wear it under wraps, or maybe one day I’ll actually get around to exercising my belly away!

And I have saved the best for last! This is the best item in the box for me. Nothing says ‘Fall’ like a flannel print! This shirt is so cute, and it fit perfectly! The good thing about Fashom is that they choose the clothing based on your sizing, because – as we know – a size can be very different depending on the shirt. For instance, this one is a Large. I’m typically a medium, but it fit perfectly, and a Medium would have been far too small.

Again, if you want to try Fashom, your first styling session is free, and you can get an additional $10 off your order using my link https://invite.fashom.com/wYBjxs1lbab I’m definitely happy with my session and plan to do another one soon!

So in all I decided to keep 3 of my items. The other two will be getting shipped back, and they will only charge me for the 3 I decided to keep, and they will be 25% off! Then, the next time I want a personal stylist to help me refresh my wardrobe, I’ll just log back into my account to get started! Happy Fall!

Our Place’s Always Pan is AMAZING – And Now Available In This NEW Color!

You won’t be surprised to read the next few paragraphs if you know how much I love Our Place! I’ve stated these facts before, but here they are again if you haven’t seen them yet! There’s a lot to love about Our Place’s products. They recently sent me their newest Always Pan, and here’s why you will want one too!

ETHICS

I love Our Place because they are a company of people who care. One of the co-founders, Shiza Shahid, co-founded The Malala Fund and now works to celebrate and highlight the multi-cultural cuisine that Americans embrace. We are a land of immigrants, and Our Place recognizes that and focuses on how our cultural landscape weaves and intertwines. Our food is one of the major ways that we embrace other cultures and honor them. Our Place knows that, and seeks to bring us even closer.

In addition to their insight, they focus on ethical labor, using responsible materials, and the real stories that make people across America so incredible. Based in Los Angeles, California, Our Place has partnered with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council and is currently working to help people gain access to good food. Not only that, they are environmentally conscious in their packaging. All of their boxes are packaged with biodegradeable and recyclable corrugate, without any bubble wrap or plastic product involved.

INCREDIBLE PRODUCTS

I have several Our Place products in my kitchen. But my absolute favorite product is their Always Pan. Here are some of the specs on it!

  • Exclusive non toxic, nonstick ceramic coating made without potentially toxic materials like PFOAs, PTFEs, other PFAs, lead, cadmium, toxic metals, and nanoparticles.
  • Nesting beechwood spatula with integrated spoon rest
  • Custom stainless steel steamer basket
  • Sturdy aluminum body for fast, even heat
  • Lightweight construction (3lb body)
  • A modular lid to let off steam when you want to and lock it in when you don’t
  • Pour spouts, because nobody likes a mess
  • Dishwasher safe (please hand wash your spatula)
  • Compatible with all cooktops
  • 10” diameter, 2.7” depth, 2.6qt capacity

Photos by Our Place, shown here in ‘Spice’

While it states that it is dishwasher safe, I’ve always just washed mine by hand. It literally takes 2 minutes – everything comes right off, I’ve never had to scrub at it or soak it. The pan is available in Spice (pictured above), and the following colors as well:

You can order it here and use my code, MEGANG10 to get 10% off today! https://www.pntrac.com/t/2-443206-183572-217808

Our Place states that you can replace your fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest with the Always Pan. I can tell you with complete honesty that this is my all-time most preferred pan, and the one I reach for every time I’m going to cook! I’ve had it for 7 months now and it’s my absolute favorite. And launching TODAY, Our Place has added this BEAUTIFUL Lavender color as well!! It’s available starting today, and if this is the one you want, I’d order it. The new colors tend to sell out quickly when they are released.

You can use the Always Pan to braise, sear, steam, strain, saute, fry, boil, serve and store. What I love most about it, aside from the fact that nothing sticks to it, is that the sides are so high. It’s replaced my need for my skillets! I only keep them around in case I need to cook more than one thing at a time. It’s also SUPER light, which is great for my arthritis. In addition, they look GORGEOUS hanging in my kitchen!

The Always Pan has sold out 10 times. It’s truly the best one out there. Again, you can get 10% off of yours here using my code MEGANG10 https://www.pntrac.com/t/2-443206-183572-217808

Three Novels That Are Better Than The Movie

I recently wrote a blog about some films that I enjoyed more than the books they were based on. I think typically we tend to enjoy the book more than the film, but not always. And the three I discussed in that blog far surpassed the story in the book for me. But that’s not typically the case. Today I was thinking about a particular book and it’s film and it inspired me to write this blog. These have been around quite awhile, so not new information, but they were three easy examples for me to write about. As usual, I will try to give my opinions without giving anything away about either story so as not to ruin them for you if you’d like to go back and visit them.

The Tommyknockers

The first is one of the first Stephen King novels I ever read. This was probably over 20 years ago. As you can see, my copy has some wear and tear. This is a fairly scary story, and one that I recall being a page-turner. I read it fairly quickly and really loved it. So when the movie came out I was really excited to see how it translated. I really loved the interpretation of The Stand – but if I recall correctly, that movie is 6 hours long. It’s not easy to get one of King’s books to translate well because the things he puts into your head are far more horrifying than I think can be brought to life at times. Not only that, but his stories are incredibly lengthy sometimes, and it’s tough to get all of that information into a movie. Even knowing all of that, however, and not expecting a miracle, I was sorely disappointed in the movie. I just didn’t feel it was that well done, and it didn’t do the novel – or its characters – any justice.

Beloved

I love Toni Morrison’s books. No one writes like her and her stories truly take you on a journey. I cried reading Beloved – I was so moved by the characters and the hearbreak. The fear and the uncertainty. This novel moved me so much that even now, over 20 years after reading it, I think about it from time to time. I only read it once. I don’t think I could take reading it a second time. I keep it in my library at home though. It’s one of the most moving things I’ve ever read. So when I learned a film was coming out, I was beyond excited. Hearing that Oprah would be in it made it all the more exciting. At the time, I loved Oprah. We went to see it in the theater. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to my expectations. It’s not that it’s a bad film. But as you often see in interpretations, things get lost. The film isn’t bad, but the book is so, so much better. The emotions and experiences are easier to absorb when you read Morrison’s words – with this one something is definitely lost in translation.

Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark

Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark is 100% one of my all-time favorite books. It is truly horrifying. The stories are terrifying and the illustrations are so disturbing that more recent publications feature newer, less unsettling imagery. Apparently someone decided it was too scary for its intended audience – children. I read it when I was in 4th grade. I couldn’t ever remember seeing anything like it. I wasn’t like most kids though. I was a fan of horror films and looked everywhere for scary books too. This one blew my expectations out of the water. Years ago my brother bought me this one, with all of books in one. Luckily he got his hands on it before they changed the illustrations. Our favorite part. So you can probably imagine how excited we were when we learned that a film was in the works. We were curious how the would take a bunch of short stories and poems and turn them into a movie. Well, it turns out, they didn’t. They chose a few of them and built a story around a group of kids. I won’t say more than that because I don’t want to give anything away. The movie just came out in 2019 and my brother and I went to the theater to see it. We were definitely not disappointed. It is a well-done film. The acting is good and it’s just scary enough. I even let my kids watch it at home, on DVD. But there is no possible way to truly capture the horror of those original stories and illustrations. I just don’t think it’s even possible. In this case, I did like the movie. Enough to go and buy it even though I’d already seen it, and I’ve watched a few times. Of the three discussed, this is the one film that, while it didn’t live up to the book, it definitely didn’t disappoint. In fact, a second movie is in the works with the same writers and director signing on and I absolutely can’t wait to see it!

The Our Place Essential Collection – Main Plates

Last month I shared the tumblers from the The Our Place Essentials Collection. This month I wanted to talk to you about their beautiful plates! The collection is a line of beautiful dinnerware that is not only gorgeous, but also fully functional. I’ve partnered with Our Place to show you what they have to offer, as well as tell you about what an extraordinary company they truly are.

ETHICS

I love Our Place because they are a company of people who care. One of the co-founders, Shiza Shahid, co-founded The Malala Fund and now works to celebrate and highlight the multi-cultural cuisine that Americans embrace. We are a land of immigrants, and Our Place recognizes that and focuses on how our cultural landscape weaves and intertwines. Our food is one of the major ways that we embrace other cultures and honor them. Our Place knows that, and seeks to bring us even closer.

In addition to their insight, they focus on ethical labor, using responsible materials, and the real stories that make people across America so incredible. Based in Los Angeles, California, Our Place has partnered with the Los Angeles Food Policy Council and is currently working to help people gain access to good food. Not only that, they are environmentally conscious in their packaging. All of their boxes are packaged with biodegradeable and recyclable corrugate, without any bubble wrap or plastic product involved.

INCREDIBLE PRODUCTS

Now let’s talk plates! Our Place’s Main Plates are beautiful, ceramic, hand-painted plates. One thing I love about these plates is how lovely they look when they are stacked (see the picture I took on the right below). They will look so beautiful in glass cabinets or open shelving!

Our Place sent me their Main Plates in Spice, but they also come in two other colors – Char and Steam. So you can match them to your decor, or mix and match them for fun! They are also both microwave and dishwasher safe. This is a major perk for me, as our dishwasher uses far less water washing our dishes than washing them by hand does. I am always happier to find dishwasher-safe tableware for this reason. Here are a couple of pictures I took of my plates!

AND SO MUCH MORE

I encourage you to check out Our Place’s website. See what other items they offer, but also read about them, the good they are doing in the world, and the incredible stories they have to share. Our Place also regularly partners with various charities, so check out their site and see who they are working with now! Use my link here to save on your first order with the code MEGANG10 and make your kitchen happy! https://www.pntrac.com/t/2-443206-183572-217808

Be Gentle With Yourself

Things are stressful right now. If you have a mental illness, for me it’s anxiety, then the added stressors can cause flare-ups in your condition. It’s really no different than running on a twisted ankle. If you apply extra pressure, you’re going to feel it.

I think that the world is opening up more and more about mental illness, its effects on us, its consequences. So many people who are famous have shared their battles, in hopes perhaps of showing us that we are not alone. It helps to remember that. And it helps to be gentle on yourself.

Mental illness is tricky. It’s no different from a physical illness, but you can’t see it, and because of that it can often be overlooked. But the consequences of dealing with the Novel Coronavirus have put a spotlight on mental illness once again, especially depression. We’ve seen stories of people who have tragically committed suicide. Perhaps the solitude was too much, the burden too great, the loss too heavy. It’s hard to know. But I think that it’s important that we remember that not one of us is perfect, and that we actually don’t have to hold ourselves up to perfection.

The world is stressful enough without the added pressures we put on ourselves, so I’m asking you to stop doing that. If you are overwhelmed, say no. Say no to additional obligations that you really don’t want to have to deal with. Say no to dealing with people in your life who only make things worse. Say no to comparing yourself to others and hurting yourself because you don’t think you measure up. You aren’t them. And you aren’t required to be anything more than what you are.

Some days you will feel productive and some days you won’t. Sometimes you might feel on top of the world, and other days you might feel the weight of it resting on your shoulders. Some days you could find that you can hardly stop smiling, and others you may find that you can hardly stop crying. And inside all of these ups and downs I urge you to be gentle. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t feel as though you are less than. Don’t think that you are worthless or broken. You’re not.

You aren’t alone, and you aren’t bad. You are a complicated, beautiful soul. You are loved. You are precious. You are the way God made you, and if you aren’t religious, then you are the way the Universe made you. None of us are perfect, and our imperfections make us human. They make us unique and beautiful. And sometimes they make things hard. And knowing that, it’s more important than anything else that we know how to take care of ourselves. What matters is that we are capable of handling ourselves with patience and forgiveness. Without judgment or negativity. Because we are all going to have bad days. But when you struggle with mental illness, it can make those bad days really, really hard.

Each day when you wake up, leave your negativity out of your thoughts. If it creeps in, push it away. I can’t speak for everything, but for me it’s sentences that begin with, “What if…” – this is what is called an “anxious thought” and it’s not a real thing. It’s a fear. So when my brain starts a sentence with those words, I have learned to label it and dismiss it. I have to work harder some days than others when it comes to anxiety. Sometimes it’s barely a whisper, other days it brings me to my knees. I’ve found that the best thing I can do for myself is to be gentle. To be kind with my thoughts and my words. To say the things to myself that I would say to someone I love, and that I will say to you now.

You did great today. Everything will be alright. Tomorrow will be better. I’m proud of you. You can do this. You can beat this. You are strong. I love you.