My love language

I always joke that my love language is food. Seriously, you know the saying “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”? The way to my heart is definitely through my stomach. My idea of affection is someone making me cookies, then leaving me alone to eat them. That’s pretty weird for an extrovert, I’ve been told, but it’s the one sure way to woo me.

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That’s an earl grey, three sugars, with milk. The best way to calm me down when I’m stressed. The best way to cheer me up after a long hard month? A fancy dinner.

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So, since my love language is food- whether it’s making it for people or eating it myself- and my husband’s language of affection is doing small things for people or doing activities together. So we’ve figured out a pretty great way to strengthen our relationship, other than our weekly date out.

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Once a week, J and I have a nice steak dinner. He does most of the cooking, because he enjoys it, and I help out by pouring drinks, prepping the broccoli, and setting the table. The time in the kitchen together is an awesome way for us both to unwind and reconnect, and the resulting meal is always one of the things we both look forward to the most each week. In fact, our favorite part of grocery shopping together is looking for new ingredients for our favorite side dishes!

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Since I’m sick and he’s busy, it’s hard for us to plan huge outings or weekend trips. However, that doesn’t give us an excuse to get complacent in our relationship. Our weekly steak dinner is our solution. Shopping at Aldi makes this affordable, especially since there’s only two of us, but the menu isn’t what’s important. It’s the act of cooking together, for each other, and enjoying each other’s company.

It’s really the little things that keep our relationship happy and strong.

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Juices: my latest obsession.

I have to drink a lot of liquid every day. I’m pretty good about it, really! I have about two liters of water a day, sometimes more if I’m feeling especially POTSie. The only problem I have is my undying hatred for plain water. I just don’t like it! I drink it, sure, but I’m always looking for some other ways to get my liquid intake up.

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I allow myself one glass of earl grey or green tea a day, because I can’t handle very much caffeine. Sometimes I add in an herbal tea, like Chamomint Moon by Higgins and Burke. It’s a nice change from plain water, and I’ve already talked about how warm beverages make me concentrate better. (It’s a mental thing, I know.)

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Lately though? I’m loving these fresh juices from Grocery Bar. This week, lemonade with cucumber was on sale for two dollars, as was watermelon juice. That’s a great price for fresh, cold-pressed juices, so I picked a few up. They were awesome, and I might have replaced breakfast with them a few times when my stomach just wasn’t feeling up to real food. After I finished them, my husband and I headed back to pick up a few more while they were still on sale.

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While we were there, I saw the Juice of the Day and knew I had to try it out. It was a mix of carrot, apple, orange, and ginger. I’ve been a fan of carrot-apple juice for years, so this was right up my alley. It was $7, which still fit in my budget, so that was pretty neat.

I love the packaging of these juices. The glass jars and minimalist logo are absolutely adorable, and I’ve repurposed them in my house as flower vases. A single long stem daisy in each of the bottles in a row in the window is a cute look and a great way for me to recycle!

If you’re in the Chattanooga area, and you want fresh juice, check out The Grocery Bar! I’m also looking for the guy who does juice from a bicycle, which seems like a really cool concept even if I can’t remember the name of his business right now.

Since I hate smoothies, juice is the next best thing when it comes to nutrients! I’m loving fresh juice as a water alternative, and just in general. Who’s with me??

Style and Spoons

Being stylish and chronically ill can be pretty hard. I’m guilty of falling back on sweatpants and a tee shirt so much that if I were a cartoon character, that’s what I would be drawn wearing. Now I know I’ve talked a lot about Joggers in the past, but I never talked about how to style them. So let’s look at how I’m wearing them!

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Joggers are an exercise pant in theory, so there’s nothing better than the combo of a loose tank, tight Joggers, and some cute tennis shoes. Whether you’re running errands or running a mile, this look will get you around town with no problem.

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However, if you’re feeling a little more boho, try styling joggers the same way you would normally wear palazzo pants. I like to add a bright top to a pair of loose joggers for a great look- bright printed Joggers get compliments everywhere I go, making this perfect for a Sunday at the farmer’s market or a local cafe. You could also add a tight tank and a loose kimono or cardigan.

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Shoes are make it or break it with Joggers. I like my Tevas with the boho look. However, if I’m styling it up with a cute top, especially a peplum (a bright pink one from Rue 21 is currently my favorite to pair with some slim-fit grey joggers) a pair of cute flats is a must. Pairing casual Joggers with a dressy top is a bold move, but if you do it right, it’s a great one! (Plus peplum hides bloating, perfect for those prednisone months or any time you’re having stomach symptoms.)

Clothes that are cute and comfy are a necessity in anyone’s wardrobe, but especially the chronically ill. I feel a lot better when I look cute!

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Style Sunday

When my best friend, Taylor, asked me to take a professional photo for her LinkedIn account, I sprung at the chance for a photoshoot. We used to take photos of each other all the time in high school, but after we moved apart we had a lot less time for goofy shenanigans. Yesterday was the perfect time to reconnect and have some photo fun- especially since we got to use my mom’s Canon Rebel.

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Taylor has always had a really cool sense of style. For our photoshoot, she brought a maxi-dress that she said was “her favorite” for her trip to Mexico, because she could “dress it up or down with different shoes and accessories.” The dress totally exemplifies what I’ve always liked about her style- it’s cool, it’s casual, and it’s totally her.

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Even though it was stormy and humid, we got some really great shots.

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It was great to goof around in front of a camera again! Taylor and I learned photography together, using her old point-and-shoot.

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Of course, we had to make time for an outfit change!

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Since it had been a while since Taylor was behind a real camera, she got some shots of me as well.

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The rain eliminated a lot of props we wanted to use, but we did find a step ladder!

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We had so much fun showing off our style that we’ve decided to do it again soon. After all, it’s her senior year of college, so she’s due for some super cute senior pictures, right?

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It was great to do this stylish shoot with Taylor, and it was cool how willing she was to be on the blog. I guess some people are just made for fame! 😉

Tea Time!

I love tea. I think it started out as a Southern thing, because I was raised on tea sweeter than hummingbird spit. However, when I moved out if the south for college, I had to develop a taste for other kinds of tea to get my fix. Unsweet tea, herbal tea, earl grey, it doesn’t matter. I love tea. However, in the summer, which seems to last five or six months in my part of the country, I can’t deal with hot water. Boiling things on the stove is a sure way to make me pass out, and tea never tastes right if I microwave the water.

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As you know, I’m a little obsessed with my Keurig lately. But I’m about to show you why. There was an amazon sale on a K-cup variety pack, and since my husband and I both drink hot tea and coffee drinks several times a day, we splurged. It wound up costing us 66 cents per drink, which is better than what the husband was spending on coffee and tea drinks at gas stations when he had to rush out the door in the mornings.

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What I like about the variety pack is that we have got to try a lot of drinks we wouldn’t have otherwise ordered. One of the herbal teas I originally scoffed at has turned out to be my new favorite drink! Meanwhile, J likes to wind down at night with a cup of hot apple cider.

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If you’re feeling uninspired by your usual coffee drinks, I highly recommend checking Amazon for Keurig sampler packs. Not only are they a lot cheaper than in stores, I’ve found a lot of drinks that aren’t available around here.

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The teas we picked out were eligible for Prime so we got them delivered in two days, for free, which was another great bonus.

Plus, if you shop through Amazon Smile, your k cup obsession can help the charity of your choice at no cost to you! Our contribution goes to the Blind Cat Rescue Society, but there’s a variety of charities to support.

So, for me, it’s tea time! And for a blind cat, hopefully my purchase is providing a bit of a better life.

Friday Five

Once again, it’s time to share the five things I’m loving this week. I’m really excited to make this post this time because it’s been a great week and I could think of way more than five things to share with you. However, I’ve set precedent with myself, so I’m going to stick with the five best of the best. Without further ado, I present the Friday Five!

1. Wild-caught Georgia Shrimp

When presented the chance to eat some fresh Georgia wild-caught shrimp, your answer should always be yes. It’s not just because I’m a Georgia resident, Georgia wild-caught shrimp really is the best. So when my husband’s store had some in stock, there was only one thing to do! We had a shrimp boil.

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Shrimp boils are one of the best ways to enjoy wild-caught Georgia shrimp, and they’re super easy. Definitely a highlight of the week.

2. Secrets by Mary Lambert

This is my go-to feel good song at the moment. I love Mary’s voice, I love the message, I love the beat… There’s not a thing about this song I’m not into! Plus it’s on spotify so I can listen to it whenever I want!

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3. Heir of Fire

I’ve been waiting for this book for so long. I keep saying I’m going to post a full review on the blog, and I will, but for right now, I’m just going to revel in how great it was. Seriously, I read it in one sitting. If you’re looking for a young adult fantasy novel with a female lead, this series is fantastic. There are a lot of female assassin novels out on the market now, but this is the best. And I would know because I’ve read most of them.

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4. NYX matte lipsticks

It’s getting closer to fall, so I’ve been pulling out darker lipsticks again. Yeah, I know, between my jogger obsession and my willingness to pull out winter makeup, you’d think I was ready for summer to be over! I admit I’m not looking forward to winter, but fall is my favorite season because it doesn’t make me pass out. Plus I can wear my favorite lipstick ever: NYX matte lipstick in Alabama. It’s a quintessential deep red, and looks good on a variety of skin tones. You can use it with a NYX lipliner to make it last longer, or alone if you’re daring.

5. Hammocking

I really need to get an eno. My hammocks are cool but they aren’t portable, and I think taking a hammock with me wherever I go would be just about the coolest thing ever. As it is though, me and Minnie the foster dog like to hang out and read or nap in the two backyard hammocks. If these storms ever blow over, I’m heading back out there so I won’t be pale anymore.

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Okay, okay, I know I said five things. But here’s a bonus “family photo” of my husband, me, and our two youngest cats. Aren’t we adorable? I love that my husband was willing to pose for photos with me and the cats until I got a few I liked!

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A Tale of Two Kitties

We had three cats. That was a good number for us. They were all bonded, they loved each other, and they were okay with the dogs. We weren’t looking for any more cats. And then we got the phone call.

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A friend of my husband had a conundrum. Someone had dumped a crate of cats outside his apartment and could we please take them? The mama cat had ran away when they opened the crate, and they could keep one kitten, but that left three little homeless kittens who were definitely not going to our local kill shelter.

We agreed we would take them for a short while. We found a home for one right away, but the other two lingered on.

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When our cat, Fuzzy, died suddenly, that was that. These kittens were staying. We renovated the attached garage as a cat haven and they moved in.

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Around the same time, a stray we had been feeding was injured. We took him in, nursed him back to health, and got him neutered. So he moved in too.

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Now, we have a thriving household of five cats. It’s amazing how different all their personalities are! Spunky Charlie, loving Echo, destructive Monster, aloof Jupiter, and lazy Zeeba. We love them all, but with Fuzzy gone, it’s hard to pick a favorite.

I’m hoping that with time one of the kittens grows on me!