UNREAL Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

I'm wrapping up February with my last Treat Yo Self chocolate. It's been a crazy month. So many things happened that were out of my control but I feel like I handled them better than I used to.

Having all sorts of chocolate everywhere in the stores was not helpful.

However, I did prepare myself with some healthier alternatives. Which BTW have you seen Gourmet Makes | Bon App├ętit's YouTube videos where they take "junk food" and make healthier versions of them. They are awesome and worth checking out.
If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your support.

UNREAL Dark Chocolate Almond Butter Cups
So these are not paleo. I would say they are a jot healthier than Reeses Peanut Butter Cups...and they definitely taste like them even with the almond butter.
However, they have actual sugar, it's organic sugar, but it's still sugar. Although, they don't have soy or dairy, and the sugar is less per gram than a Reeses. If fair-trade and also being vegan is somthing you are into, they have you covered.
They definitely have that nostalgic ripple on the outside, and yes, I bit off all the chocolate around the sides before eating the center.

I've had a lot of paleo treats this month and this isn't paleo, you can tell. It has that crack signal that sends it to the brain that it's extra delicious. This is one of the reasons why I don't eat sugar. It's addictive no matter what form it's in, organic or not. I'm definitely saving these for very special occasions only.

Yoga for Shoulders Part 2

As per the advice of my chiropractor and physical therapist I'm desperatly trying to strengthen my arms, traps, and romboids. All of the physical therapy is keeping me from my favorite activity, yoga.

I found out the hard way that I can't do my yoga practice and do PT. I'm as strong as they come, but this chronic pain warrior has an energy bank that zero's out when I do both.

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I kind of need to be able to cook a healthy dinner too. Stumbling to the kitchen in a daze to eat Annie's Organic Gluten Free Mac and Cheese is happening waaaay too much.

Behold my surprise when I found this gem of a yoga routine that I feel adquatly replaces my off day physical therapy "homework." Brett Larkin Yoga is one of my favorite go-to's. You should totally subscribe.

Yoga for Shoulders Part 2

March 2019 Bullet Journal Set Up

How is March here already?

I was telling my mom yesterday that all the grand plans for 2019 have not worked out at all so far. She laughed and said it's only eight weeks in.

"Not good enough!" screams my inner perfectionist.

March 2019 Bullet Journal Set Up

Without further ado, I actually got my March bullet journal done in advance so there's that. I'm going to give myself a pat on the back for that.
I'm still loving my new month view calendar format but I think I'm going to make room for the month title at the top if I can, in April.
I may have to draw up some practice sketches first.
I kept my weekly's in the same horizontal layout because I'm really digging the overall appeal on the page.
I got some amazing wreath stamps, not that I minded drawing my own in January and February, but February has been such a weird month I needed a bit of a breather and hand drawing wreaths was not in my wheel house.

The stamps are gorgeous and I just colored them in with a tombow to make sure that they didn't bleed through the paper.



I intentionally added a menu section on now that my Whole30 is over. I'm debating adding a grocery list on the page below. I used the space below in February for what crafting project I wanted to complete that week.
BT Dubs, did you know that March is National Crafting Month! So definitely look for my Chronic Pain Crafts posts this coming month!



My bubble emotion and energy tracker has been looking awesome in February. In fact, I think it looks like Jupiter. Not sure if February and Jupiter have a corralation, but it looks cool. I haven't picked my emotion colors for March yet...maybe I should go with a Mars theme?

I kept my main tracker page the same because I really like the fact that I've ordered each category in keeping with my daily schedule.

Hope this gives you some inspiration this month! Get out there are get planning.

If you don't have a bullet journal yet or are looking to start one, you can start at any point in the year.

Fun fact, I started my first one in March!

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If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your consideration.



When the Pain is Worth It

We've all seen the troupe in TV and movies where one of the characters does something stupid and then turns around and says, "Worth It."

http://www.dailyhaha.com/_pics/totally-worth-it.htm
There are times when it's worth it to me to be in pain or have the pain set in 24 hours after the fact.

I feel like this may be one of the most important posts I’ll ever make because too many chronic pain and illness warriors live in fear. Fear of the pain or the repercussions. I know I do.

I never want to return to that dark, unforgiving, unending Hell. I would probably do or say anything to not experience 2016 and 2017 again.

All chronic pain and illness warriors know what I’m talking about and if you don’t, you haven’t discovered that rock bottom has a basement, yet.

I have.

Surviving on pure desperation. Trying anything that might make you feel better.

Luckily, I did find many things that made me feel better, so I kept doing them. 2018 was an amazing turnaround year, and I feel 2019 will be better. However, that doesn't mean that I don't hesitate when it comes to doing certain activities.

When the Pain is Worth It


So when I say that sometimes you have to get out there and have fun despite the pain, you should really heed my advice.

Fun makes life worth living because that’s really what we are talking about here. A life worth living.

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What kind of fun are you talking about Adina?

Well, for example, I went boogie boarding in June of 2017 for a good hour and it was so worth it. I had horrible pain that afternoon, the next day, and the day after. In fact, I think for a solid two weeks I was hovering between 6-8 on the pain scale, but I got over it (because I kept doing the things that worked for my pain).
2017 wasn't a good year for me so I really risked it all that day to have fun. For an hour, on that beach, in the ocean catching waves, I was my old self again. I didn't have Adhesive Arachnoiditis. That's what I'm talking about. You need those moments to not just to survive, but to thrive with your condition. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough of those days in 2016 and 2017. However, I didn't give up on trying to reduce my pain whenever I could.
I also took trips. I wouldn't say vacations because I simply do not count spending time with family as a vacation. I didn't shy away from flights as long as they were 3 hours in length. That was my max. I could sit captivated by a movie, or at least on a plane, a good book on Audible and crocheting at the same time. As long as I had my ice pack from my chronic pain and illness go bag on my nerve pain, the activity kept me busy enough to sit with pain as long as I didn't go above a 6.

However, in late 2018, I went on my first vacation since having Adhesive Arachnoiditis with an eight hour flight, my bucket list vaction to Hawaii. Was I afraid? Yes, it was an eight hour flight. Did I have pain? Yes. Was it worth it? F-yes!

Just this past weekend #leohusband and I celebrated Valentine's Day. We switch off every year on planning our celebrations. This year was my turn and even though I knew it would hurt, I did something #leohusband always wanted to do. Virtual Reality Gaming.
I booked us a one hour experience at Omniverse VR and I had a blast. Did I totally wreck my back and my adhesive arachnoiditis? Yes. However, the fun and enjoyment I had with my husband was worth it. I iced my back as soon as I got home and kept ice on it, off and on, for the next 72 hours. Am I back to normal on day four? No. Do I regret it.

I regret not doing it sooner.

That's what it is folks.

I've always said I can be at pain at home or I can be in pain on a beach, or a vineyard, or a mountain. Either way, I'm going to be in pain. Might as well enjoy the view.

Get out there and have fun. Now, if you've been homebound for a while, please don't go out and ride a crazy rollercoaster because I said have fun. You do need to build up to that sort of experience.

Start small. We will discuss small ways to get out there next week. All about bringing in and choosing to live your painful life in Joy.

Instant Pot Tandoori Curry Chicken

#leohusband has been traveling to Asia a lot. Unfortunately, with my unpredictable pain flare-ups, not to mention the 24-hour flights, I have yet to join him. However, that doesn't mean I've tried to cook for him some of his favorites when he gets back. Paleo style of course!

This gem came up out of desperation and mostly not wanting to chop or do anything fancy. I basically used precuts from the grocery store, because of energy levels and pain. If you don't know what precuts are, and you suffer from chronic pain and illness, meet your new best friend.

There is a section in the grocery store in produce where you will see precut fruit...I'm sure you are familiar with that. However, they also have precut onions, green onions, bell pepper, carrots, and at least in Texas, cilantro.

Yep. Everything washed, chopped, and ready for your dinner. As I mentioned, your new bff.

Pair this with already riced cauliflower, fresh or frozen, and you've got an incredibly easy meal.

Instant Pot Tandoori Curry Chicken


Ingredients:

2 T tbsp ghee
5 t of minced garlic (pre-minced in the jar)
1 inch of grated fresh ginger or 1/2 t of ground if you don't want to take the time to grate
1 large yellow or white onion diced (precuts for the win)
2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Two 14 oz. cans of Rotel
1/4 c full fat unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 T of oil of your choice
1 bag of frozen riced cauliflower
2 large sweet potatoes
Chopped Cilantro for Topper

Curry Mix:
1 T tandoori masala
2 t smoked paprika
1.5 t cumin
2 t curry

Equipment:
Instant Pot
Small bowl and whisk
Microplane grater
Immersion Blender or Blender
Food processor or hand mixer
Oven and foil lined baking sheet
Stove and large skillet
Instructions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub sweet potatoes, pat dry, and place on a foil lined baking sheet in the oven for an hour.

Go relax for 30 minutes, if you bought your oh so fabulous precuts, or start prepping the onion and ginger.

Combine the curry seasonings in a small bowl, whisk, and set aside.

Press saute on your Instant Pot and add 2 T ghee. When the ghee is melted, add the garlic, ginger, and onion. Season with a pinch of salt. Saute until onions are translucent. Add the curry seasonings and saute about 10 seconds to warm up the spices. Turn off Saute.

Add 2 cans of Rotel and scrape the bottom of the pot to get that lovely browned vegetable and garlic taste into the curry. Add the salt and pepper. Stir. Add chicken and cover each piece with sauce. Seal the lid and pressure cook for 10 minutes. Finish with a 10 minute release.

While the chicken cooks, warm up 2 T of oil of your choice. I prefer avocado, and saute the cauliflower in a large skillet over medium heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the cauliflower is soft and toasted with a nice golden brown color turn the heat to low to keep the cauli'rice warm.

The potatoes should be just about done. Pull them from the oven and check to make sure they are soft throughout. If so, cut open the skins and scoop out the insides into a food processor and blend until smooth.

If you don't have a food processor an old fashioned hand beater works great too. Just put them in a beater safe bowl and whip them. Cover to keep warm.

The Instant Pot should be finishing up right about now.

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the chicken. Add the coconut milk. Puree the sauce using an immersion blender until creamy and no lumps remain. Shred the chicken with two forks or dice the chicken up and add them back to the instant pot. Stir the shredded chicken into the tandoori curry sauce. If my kitchen helper is around, I have him shred the chicken while I finish the sauce.

Plating:

I like to serve these in bowls. I put a generous scoop of the sweet potatoes in the bottom of a bowl and make a donut shape with it. In the center, I put a large scoop of the cauli'rice and then top with the curry. The cilantro on top really makes the dish so don't forget to garnish the top with cilantro!

This makes enough to feed 6 - 8 people depending on appetites. I froze half for #leohusband and me to enjoy on a day I'm in too much pain to cook.

Heavenly Organics Paleo Chocolate

I know last week was Valentine's and you are probably chocolated out...however, that doesn't mean you can't treat yourself, paleo style.

Heavenly Organics Paleo Chocolate

I ordered these at Christmas and completely forgot about them until I found them cleaning up from the holiday. Ugh! I can't believe I forgot about chocolate! Especially, chocolate that has no refined sugar, sugar alcohol, rice syrup, and cane whatever...

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I love these because here are the ingredients:
Raw Organic White Honey (Fair for Life Certified Ingredient), Unsweetened Organic Dark Chocolate (Fair for Life Certified Ingredient), Natural Peppermint Oil. (For the mint ones)

It doesn't get any simplier than that.

The outside chocolate shell is quite bitter but when eaten with the inside, they mix so well in your mouth that the bitterness goes away.
Now are they Reese's Peanut Butter Cups? No, but since I haven't had a Reese's in 3 years, my taste buds have changed so much that I don't care. They were delicious to me.

They are the perfect treat yo self Paleo treat that you don't have to bake or cook for yourself. Get some!

If you shop through any of my links in this post, you help support this blog at zero cost to you. Thank you for your consideration.



How to Fix Your Posture

This morning I was talking to my Chiropractor about my extreme shoulder issues. Insert eye roll here. Seriously, I feel like I'm taking 2 steps forward and 3 back. I was telling him how every time I do the shoulder physical therapy exercises I piss off my rhomboids and traps. Come on, cut a girl some slack. I just need a win!!!

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I will say he agreed with my physical therapist that my problem is too much flexibility and not enough strength. If I start practicing proper posture, keep up with the trigger point exercises from last weeks post, and continue to strengthen, I should see some relief in 6 weeks.

So how does one practice proper posture?
How to Fix Your Posture


Well, I'm going to go back to my new BFF Tone and Tighten on YouTube. Seriously, subscribe to his channel!

Chronic Pain Crafts: Learning to do Brush Lettering

One of my goals for 2018 was finally sitting down with the Brush Lettering course I ordered in 2017 and learn how to do all the super fancy brush lettering you see all over Insta, Pinterest, and Bullet Journal fanatics.

I initially wanted to learn hand lettering for my bullet journal to be pretty. However, it turned into something to do while I was stuck in my chair (or the bear chair as #leohusband calls it) in pain and the distraction of a funny TV show was not enough to take my mind off of the hurt.

I do crochet and it's a great distraction, too great in fact. I tend to get sucked into my crochet project and forget to take breaks where I walk around. Even when I set timers I tend to usually turn the timer off with the intention of getting up when I reach the end of a row, and I hardly ever do.


Chronic Pain Crafts: Learning to do Brush Lettering

Brush lettering or hand lettering, whatever you want to call it, is beautiful. It harkens back to the days where handwriting meant something. Penmanship was a goal everyone wanted to obtain and get this, they practiced it and kept it up because there wasn't phones or cell phones or the internet. Even in the 1980s, where I grew up, long distance phone calls were still really expensive so people wrote to each other. *Gasp*

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So if you have zero clues as to what I'm talking about here are some examples:




Get it now? I actually love that hand and brush lettering are becoming popular since they just don't teach cursive in school anymore. The last year I taught, 2014-2015, I actually had kids not be able to read my comments on their artwork because they couldn't read cursive. There will be a whole generation out there that won't be able to read historical documents because of this, and if you can't learn from history you are doomed to repeat it.

Again, this is why I'm excited that people actually seem to be into this.

So hand lettering vs brush lettering, what's the difference?

Hand lettering is usually done in pen and then you draw the weighted part of the letter on.

Brush lettering is done with a brush. You can get a refillable water pen and use watercolor paint or liquid ink in the chamber.




Or you can use a brush marker, like a Tombow Brush Pen, etc.




I have both, but for practice, I like my Tombows because they don't require clean up.

Now, where to learn...

As I said before I initially downloaded a practice sheet program from Random Olive. I did like it because it had weekly goals but it wasn't really doing it for me for some reason. I may go back and use it now since I'm a bit more used to the practice now.

I think I didn't like it because I'm visual. I need to see someone do it first. That's where Skillshare comes in. I love Skillshare and if you are into everything Internet you have probably heard it on YouTube ads or seen ads for it on Insta or Facebook.

If you are interested, use my link and get 2 Free Premium Months. Signing up under my link is no cost to you at all and helps a starving health blogger out. It's so worth it, not only did I learn hand lettering, but right now I'm also learning about Podcasting, WordPress, and Audacity. Remember how I was talking about crochet? They have that too. Thousands of classes!

The class I used to learn my awesome new skills was Hand Lettering: 4 Easy Steps to Modern Calligraphy by Peggy Dean, The Pigeon Letters | Lettering & Illustration.
She had simple straightforward instruction and printables to help you practice. She starts with a pencil and pen and then takes you through to using a brush marker.

If you have thought about learning this new skill and especially if you are stuck in a chair or in bed this is a great way to work your brain. Learning something new speaks to the soul and that is one of the best medicines out there.

Chronic Pain Treatment and You Are The Placebo

In January of 2017, I had enough of the pain I'd been in since July of 2015. My back surgeries made it worse. The epidural injections I had in pain management sent me to rock bottom. Lyrica showed me that there is a basement below rock bottom.

I decided on my own that I was going to get better because my only other option was not one I wanted to take.

My journey has been long and hard. Two steps forward, three steps back. I've done and tried just about everything in my quest to feel better, to have days without pain, to reclaim some of my life that I had lost.

About 20 months into that quest, I started seeing a clinical psychologist and it was the right decision, at the right time, with the right person.

Chronic Pain Treatment and You Are The Placebo


In our second session, she told me to read You are the Placebo by Dr. Joe Dispenza.

This book has changed my life and I haven't even been able to put it into practice yet.

I do not want to go into the book heavily because I honestly want you to read it. What I will tell you is this, the human brain is capable of amazing things. It can hurt you or heal you if you are open to it.
Dr. Dispenza goes over the history of the placebo, why placebos work, and documents several medical studies (not just one) to support his findings. He's appealing to the type of audience that needs to logically work out this concept of healing through your own brain. He also appeals to the spiritual side of an audience that may believe in miracles. I feel that he brings enough information for each camp of science vs spirituality to appeal to both.

Now, I will say that the language of this book can be daunting at times but don't let that discourage you enough where you put the book down and walk away.

When discussing some of the science behind his theories, he talks about quantum mechanics. I was in the groove for it, because I had just read What We Talk About When We Talk About God and that talks about science and quantum mechanics as well. Plus, I was totally into The Universe when it came on The History Channel back in the day. I'm such a nerd.
Stick with the book even if it is high minded!

Around the end of the book, and in conjunction with my psychologist visits, I had a real breakthrough. I actually felt joy. I was happy. Happy is the start of healing and it's such a wonderful start. Check out my 7 Steps for Learning to Live with Joy.

I wouldn't have had my breakthrough without this book and I hadn't even started his meditations. Which, by the way, I will start Thursday because that's when my current Headspace pack wraps up. I can't wait to see how much more I'm going to grow when doing his exercises, and that's exercises for your brain y'all!

If you have chronic pain or illness, this book, if put into practice will absolutely change your life. I feel like it should be required reading for every patient by every pain management doctor in the United States.

Paleo and Whole30 Butternut Squash Meatball Soup

Need a hug in a bowl?

It's February and that usually means all things couples. Sticking with this month's theme here is a great recipe to cook together (but very easy to do solo too). This savory meatball soup is not only easy to prepare, it delicious.

As usual, I will have some chronic pain and illness warrior tips.
Paleo and Whole30 Butternut Squash Meatball Soup

Grab a buddy if you have one available.

Ingredients:
1 large yellow onion coarsely chopped
4 carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then cut into 1/4" half moons.
1 bag of frozen butternut squash
1 T of tomato paste
1 can of Rotel
1 4oz can of Green Chilies
4 cups of Chicken Bone Broth
1 bunch of fresh cilantro
1 lb of ground beef
1 lb of ground pork
1 egg
1 lime
1 bag of shredded coleslaw mix
1 cup of pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)




Meatball Spices
1T of cumin
1 t of granulated garlic
1/2 t of Mexican oregano
1/2 t of smoked paprika
salt and pepper to taste

Make it!

If you have a buddy, have them prep the meatballs while you are chopping vegetables. Regardless, prep the Meatball Spices. In a small bowl whisk together the meatball spices and set aside. My Mother-in-law recently mentioned she couldn't find Mexican Oregano in Georgia so here is some if you can't find it in your store.




In a large sauce pot on med-high heat, warm about 2 T of avocado or olive oil until hot. While oil is heating coarsely chop the onion. Add the onion to the pot and stir occasionally while peeling and chopping the carrots. Add the carrots and the bag of butternut squash to the onions and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook vegetables until soft and then add in 1 T of tomato paste. Stir to coat the veggie in the tomato paste. Add in the Rotel and green chilies. Stir. Add in the chicken bone broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 5 to 6 minutes.

While waiting for the soup to boil, prep the meatballs (or have your partner do it while you work on the soup).

Drain any excess liquid from the beef and pork and then pat dry. In a large bowl, using your hands mix together the beef, pork, egg, and spice mix. Form into 2-inch meatballs, just a smidge smaller than a golf ball. The meatballs make 2 servings, approx. 40 meatballs. We put 20 on a baking sheet covered in wax paper and froze them for a repeat meal later on.

Bring the soup back up to a boil and carefully drop in 20 of the meatballs. Reduce to a simmer, cover the pot and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.

While the meatballs cook prepare the lime and cilantro.

Cut off the two "pointy" ends of the lime and then cut into wedges. Wash and coarsely chop the cilantro. Get out the coleslaw mix and the pepitas.
When the soup is done, serve in bowls topped with the coleslaw mix, a sprinkle of pepitas, and garnish with cilantro and a lime wedge.

Serves 4. I'm going to adapt this for the instant pot so I will have an update out when I do!




Enjoy!






8 Last Minute Ideas for Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! As I mentioned last week, I used to hate Valentine's Day. However, after meeting #leohusband I have come around to love it just as much as the next sap. He used to be all things in charge of Valentine's because he loves to surprise me but since I've started working from home that has made surprises difficult. A couple of years ago I suggested that we switch back and forth each year as to who plans Valentine's. Type A personality, yours truly, of course I've already planned out our Valentine's....

You totally forgot to plan something for Valentine's didn't you?

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Oh Snap!


I know some of you out there may be scrambling for ideas last minute to celebrate so without further ado, I'm going to dive in.

8 Last Minute Ideas for Valentine's Day


1. Forgot to Make Reservations???

Offer to Cook Dinner for your Spouse that night. Whichever partner does the cooking...let them take the night off if you didn't make dinner plans. Look up a recipe on Food Network or Pinterest, leave work early, stop at the grocery store and pick up the ingredients, and head home. I'm not assuming this one is just for the men to do the cooking because we have a couple bff where he is the main cook.

Most places have an oven so try my super simple Paleo and Whole30 Pork Chop Sheet Pan Dinner or my Sheet Pan Smoked Paprika Chicken

2. Picnic in Your Living Room

Pick up some to-go food from your favorite place, grab a blanket and a bottle of wine. Lay the blanket out in the living room and have an indoor picnic. No fireplace? Pick up a variety of candle sizes or a bunch of tea lights and float them in mason jars around the two of you. All of which you can get at WalMart or the dollar store. Just don't burn the place down! Safety first!

It's cute, intimate, and thoughtful.

3. Enough with the Chocolate, Ugh!

I'll clue you in on a teensy little fact, if I want chocolate, I'm a grown ass woman, I can get chocolate whenever I damn well please.

Our first Valentine's my husband got me a variety of cake pops which was awesome because it's something I'd never just go out and get for myself. So if you are going to go with yummy treats as your last minute gift, get something original. Stop at a bakery, not the grocery store, which will make it seem as you put more thought into what you are getting. Hell, even Starbucks has cake pops.
4. A Rose By Any Other Name

Did you know that flower's have meaning? Check out Wiki's Plant Symbolism chart and find something original and unique to describe your relationship and then head to a florist, an actual florist (or call around first to see if they have what you want) and pick it up on your way home.
If it's a new relationship then go with Daffodils since it means new begginings and tell them that. It will seem much more meaningful than the grocery store stock red roses, even if it's last minute. They'll never know.
Hot and spicy? Red Tulips for Passion
Your 40th Valentines together? Lavender for Devotion

You get the idea...see it's not hard to put a little thought into it!
5. Forgot to Book the Baby Sitter?

I'll be honest this one is for the ladies, usually because they end up being the caregiver, but I have ideas for Mr. Mom so hold on tight.

For the mom's: Get the kids involved in pampering Mom by just leaving her alone for an hour. After dinner, go draw her a bubble bath or bath bomb, whatever they are into. Light some candles and steer her into the bathroom. Let her know she gets a completely undisturbed hour or more, again whatever, to relax.

You take the kids and for Pete's sake don't let them near her.

For the Mr. Mom's: What do they love to do interrupted, other than that, because sexy time is probably happening anyway after your kids go to bed. Xbox? Reading? An hour of uninterrupted social media binging? Give it 5 minutes of thought and it will come to you.

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6. Conquer That To Do

Is there something your significant other has been asking you to do for days, weeks, months or even years? Do it.

It may not seem like a gift but just getting something off their plate that they have been asking for, for eons, will show that you A. Care B. Listen and C. Give them peace of mind that they do not have to bother you about it anymore.

If #leohusband is reading this we have a ceiling fan and bidet attachment that have been sitting in our bedroom for over a year that needs installing. Hint Hint.

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7. Adopt

Been thinking about getting a furry friend for a while?

Make this Valentine's Special by bringing home a new buddy. Check the hours for local dog adoption shelters or events and go get a wonderful new addition to your family. It will be a Valentine's to remember for years. I remember as a child getting our family poodle on Valentine's when I was 6. That's a memory that will last and also benefit someone else, with fur.

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8. Delay Celebrations

You can always postpone Valentine's to the weekend to give you more time, but make sure you get a card and plan something good!

10 Things to Try for Knots in Your Neck and Shoulders

Knots in your neck and shoulders, we all have them, and lately because I've been working on healing my rotator cuff injory, mine are really talking to me.

There was one night this past week where my traps were so tight and my knots so painful I couldn't even lower my shoulders. All I wanted to do was stab something into this spot of tension between my shoulder and neck.

I knew something had to give because I was not backing down on my shoulder physical therapy. Remember the "to the cloud" commercials? I always think that when I go to YouTube.

To the YouTube!

10 Things to Try for Knots in Your Neck and Shoulders


Seriously though, they have everything. Want to knit a hat? They've got it. Learn to prepare eel? They've got it. YouTube is amazing and it's no wonder Google owns it. For me it's the new Google, mostly because I learn visually, to watching a video is a sure fire way for me to make sure I've got something down.

I found this gem in a moment of despiration and after doing all the things listed in the video I actually did feel temporary relief. I also made a reflexology appointment, chiropractor, and acupuncture appointment. Did I say I was so over my shoulder pain because I sure as hell meant it. Anyway, this guy is brillant. Like his video, subscribe to his channel Tone and Tighten, and click the bell to get notified of his new videos. I can't wait to dig through his library to see what else he has.



5 Favorite Bullet Journal Supplies

I'm now in my third year of bullet journaling and loving it. It really has brought so much clarity to my life, my health, and my production.

One of my old students is doing one and texted me to ask what my favorite supplies are because I guess he was so over using highlighters.
I get it, you've invested your initial time into a bujo and realize you're hooked. Now you want to upgrade and invest in your supplies.

I'll be honest, you can sink quite a bit of money into one. I went crazy when I first got mine. I bought stamps, ink, markers, washi tape, stencils, etc...

The list could go on and on but by my third year, I know what I use on a consistent basis enough where I could actually give away some of my bujo planning items I used in the beginning. However, now that I actually have a desk and a place to journal, I may use some of those more tedious supplies again.

If you are looking to bullet journal on a budget check out 5 Ways to Bullet Journal on a Budget.
5 Favorite Bullet Journal Supplies


These are my go tos for bullet journaling every setup and on a daily basis.



1. Tombow Markers


Tombow's are beautiful markers that do not bleed through your bullet journal pages. They blend amazingly well and are self-cleaning. What do I mean about self-cleaning, well remember when you were a kid and someone used your yellow Crayola marker on something dark and it was ruined for life? Well, that is not going to happen with these.


2. Sakura Pigma Micron Pens

These pens come in a variety of nib sizes from super small to large bullet tip and brushes. They are permanent archival ink and have the blackest blacks I've ever seen in a pen. They also last a decent while if you take care of them.


3. Staedtler Fine Liners

These super fine markers come in a beautiful 36 color pack. I love these for doing detail drawing work in my bujo. These are for everyone but I definitely recommend them for anyone that likes to get creative in their bullet journal with designs and doodles.


4. Compass

There are a lot of stencils out there but I use this one for just about everything. It has a straight edge that I can use to keep my lines crisp. Makes circles look awesome from large to small. I also feel it gives you that professional touch to the overall look and feel of your journal.



5. Get a Weekly Layout Stencil

I know I get bogged down in trying to figure out dimensions, spaces, and dots. Sometimes it is tiring just figuring out what to put where and how to evenly space it. There are so many weekly layout stencils to choose from on Amazon and Etsy. Look around and find one that you like.