Sunday, February 28, 2021

The art of body positivity & how to love yourself at any size

Written for the Life According to Steph audience by Maggie Hammond. Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.

The body positivity movement is gaining huge amounts of traction in society today. The notion of self-love and acceptance are increasingly being promoted as a way to embrace a healthy self-image. The truth is, we’ve spent years seeing slimness as a beauty ideal, but that is certainly changing. Many initiatives and individuals are seeking to challenge our perceptions of beauty to fit a much broader spectrum of people, especially women. 

This article seeks to outline the ways we can all incorporate a little more body positivity into our lives. Whatever your shape or size, it is important to be able to take pride in your appearance and who you are.  

Make Daily Reminders
A vital part of having a body positive attitude and learning to love yourself is reminding yourself of your worth on a daily basis. This can be something as simple as leaving a post-it note on your mirror reminding yourself that you look great today. It is important to remind yourself daily of the worth you possess and what makes you unique and fabulous. Remember though, these shouldn’t always be physical reminders. Remind yourself of the reasons why you are fabulous beyond appearances too. 

There is an increasing number of movements, such as the Embrace Project, that exist to promote women’s body positivity. Such movements can be a great source of motivation and inspiration towards your self-love journey. 

Move Your Body
An often-overlooked element of body positivity is making sure you move enough. We’re not talking about exercise with a goal to lose weight or change your appearance, but something that takes a more holistic approach. Yoga, for example, can be a great way to get your body moving while focusing on your headspace at the same time. Renowned for its ability to connect mind and body, such forms of movement can be a great way to get in touch with your true self. 

Taking part in forms of exercise that focus on both the mind and the body can help you become more in tune with your physical self and allow you the freedom to truly get to know your body. This connection between mind and body is a vital step towards a more positive outlook. 

Find Clothes that Work for You
Another way to improve your relationship with your body is finding the right clothes for you. Your shape and size do not have to dictate what you wear. Whatever your individual style, there are a multitude of options to fit your look and your budget. Brands such as Froxx provide stylish options for those sized UK 16 and up. 

Finding stylish clothes that are well made and fit your body can provide a huge boost to body image and help you feel fantastic in your skin no matter the occasion.

Body positivity is picking up momentum and it’s not hard to see why. For too long we have lived in a society that only promotes a very singular idea of what beauty means. Loving yourself and your body is something that is much easier said than done; however, there are steps you can take to reach a place where you are comfortable and happy with the body you have. Taking some of the steps above can be a great start on your journey towards a more positive self-image. 

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Collagen Induction Therapy: Does Microneedling Work?

Written for the Life According to Steph audience by Maggie Hammond. Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.

Microneedling is a dermatological treatment procedure that can produce impressive, cosmetic results while treating melasma, hyperpigmentation, dark circles, scars and even baldness to some extent. However, due to the relative novelty of this procedure, confusion and rumours often end up misdirecting individuals who can really make use of it. To clear confusions regarding the microneedling treatment process, its applicability and expected results, go through the brief discussions, as stated below.

Are Microneedling and CIT the Same Thing?
Collagen induction therapy and microneedling are terms used to describe the same core set of processes, so the answer is yes, they are the same thing. However, depending on the clinic or the dermatologist, there could be minute differences between how the treatment is carried out. For example, Dr. Liesel Holler has a unique procedure where the microneedling process’s efficacy is maximised by combining it with nanotech peels. More information about collagen induction therapy with nano peels and its superiority over regular microneedling can be found on

What Conditions Can Collagen Induction Therapy Treat?
CIT is a minimally invasive, surgical procedure which can be used to treat:
  • Scars
  • Melasma
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Cellulites
  • Sunspots
  • Enlarged skin pores
  • Flaccid skin
  • Stretch marks
  • Wrinkles and fine lines
  • Baldness (differential results)
What Exactly is the Microneedling Process?
A microneedling pen is used by a trained dermatologist to prick tiny, pin-sized holes into the skin of the patient to initiate or improve the skin’s natural collagen growth. The pen is used with special care, ensuring that the holes are created evenly. Before the treatment begins, a local/topical anaesthetic will be applied to prevent the patient from feeling any pain. Post-procedure serums, creams, peels and other topical medication might be applied to improve the treatment’s possible results, as well as to prevent any chances of an infection. Multiple sessions will be necessary to complete the treatment though, but only your dermatologist can tell you how many you will need.

What are the Possible Side-Effects?
Side-effects post microneedling are minimal, and they can be listed as the following:
  • Irritated, red and inflamed skin (this is a normal effect, considered to be a crucial part of the treatment)
  • Increased sensitivity to sunlight (this is also a normal effect, but the application of a sunscreen is highly recommended)
Possible Complications
Aside from the usual side effects, certain complications can also arise if:
  • The patient was still using a retinoid before going in for a session of microneedling
  • The patient was pregnant and failed to inform the dermatologist
  • The patient had other skin conditions which do not allow for microneedling, such as psoriasis
  • The patient went through radiation therapy in the recent past.
Bleeding post procedure, severe bruising, skin peeling and skin infections are extremely rare, but when observed, should be treated as a sign of concern. Contact your doctor immediately to have it looked at and taken care of.

Now that you have all your facts about CIT straight, making an informed choice should be much easier. It should be noted that there is always some degree of risk with any treatment process, but compared to alternative treatments, CIT is a much safer promise. There was even a post on the promising future of microneedling tech published by the Harvard Medical School back in 2019 if you want to read further into the topic.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Friday Five 2.26.2021

1. I've been spent this week at night. Too much time in front of the computer and my body is recovering from the awesome free up in muscle and nerves it's feeling from my acupuncture appointment on Tuesday. The only thing I've done aside from loll on the couch is laundry.

2. I've been in Philly longer than I planned to be and for longer than usual. The old dogs don't mind. Less walking here. Since it's going to rain tomorrow I might just stay until Sunday morning and get a bunch of shit thrown out here, which I've been threatening to do since May 2020 but haven't been around to do. I forgot to bring my vitamins from the shore which bums me out but oh well. 

3. Comfort food, one of thy names is won ton soup.

4. We've been watching the Cecil Hotel thing on Netflix but one or both of us keep falling asleep. 

5. Today would be my mother-in-law's birthday. It's the first one without her, and MFD last saw her around her birthday last year before corona kicked in and we thought after two weeks when we flatten the curve (LOL) we'll move down the shore and take care of her. The plan was then for her to move up here with us through the end of her life but the curve was of course never flattened and the end came a little faster than anyone expected and by April she was no longer with us. Since we did not do the normal funeral, it still feels not exactly real. I'm still expecting her to be in my basement moving shit around puttering like she liked to do. It's been a hard year for MFD & his siblings and us as a family on top of the worldwide hard year. That's true for so many people. Sending love to all. 

It's Friday and I'm really, really happy about it. 

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - getting strong now, won't be long now

1. I was at my office yesterday for the first time since a quick pop in in October. I had to go to the dentist and acupuncturist so I lined them up to do both in one day. Having all of my docs in the city for over 10 years has been amazing to take care of things at lunch or before work. Having all of my docs downtown in a global pandemic when I'm never down there is not as great. I miss the art and signs and little stickers. 

2. I miss seeing things. The little things at my feet and in the sky, through store windows, across the way. In parking garages. Ferris? 

3. I miss walking around noticing how the light is hitting the buildings. It was so nice to do that yesterday when the temps were hovering around 50, ice melt was dripping off roofs, and the sky was wispy. 

4.  I've been feeling buoyed by people getting vaccines despite a difficult to navigate vaccine registration process (hey federal govt, create some fucking jobs where people solely make appointments for others) but seeing the central business district largely quiet almost a year later is still hard. And operating in a semblance of how I used to is exhausting. Businesses there operate based on people coming into town to work. And most of us are still not doing that. Some closed temporarily. Some closed for good. It was a visual reminder that we have a long road ahead to rebuild to any sort of semblance of up and running. 

5. Thanks for indulging my love letter to Philly. I was totally in my feelings about it yesterday. I also saw my niece and nephew, had no cavities which is rare with my trash teeth, and got totally fixed up by the acupuncturist - my last appointment was in October and my sweet spot to maintain mostly pain free is every five to six weeks so that was such a major relief. I am sore today but crazy better. Next time I go back it'll be time to do my whole body skin cancer check so I'll schedule those together. I did not miss the commute - I drove in and it took me a fucking hour to get home due to an accident. MFD ordered chinese and I vegged on the couch and did not a damn thing last night. We started the Cecil Hotel thing but I fell asleep early and stayed that way. Sunset from my brother & Aubrey's, chinese food from my dark living room. 
6. Ben has been playing with his big as him hippo and Mae has been torturing Bruce. Immediately after this photo she pushed him out of the pink princess bed so she could lord over it alone. 

7. I love when light hits things just right. 

8. We are coming to the end of the designated Black History Month and about to begin the designated Women's History Month and this is a reminder that Black History is every month and Women's History is every month and Black History is our history and Women's History is our history. All of ours. 

9. Reminder, via

10. E-cards: 

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is the theme from Rocky - Gonna Fly Now by Bill Conti

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

More than words, or no words. Same diff.

This weekend on Instagram Alyssa  posted a tweet something about the world being out of things to say and I replied I have absolutely nothing left except things that make me sound like I've eaten a bunch of acid. Like things I'd not normally discuss, or that make little sense, have no importance/aren't even interesting, just going off on tangents about nothing. I've got nothing. Nothing going on, nothing new. I am looking forward to things, but that's not a cure for the same ol' of today. It's also different to carry on a virtual conversation with someone versus being in person and having conversation flow naturally. 

Do I mind being home most of the time? No. However, I do gain inspiration from being out in the world, so I  lack that now and have for quite some time. Many of us draw inspiration from being out in the world and some people probably didn't realize that until this past year. Even the most self-proclaimed anti-social not people persons among us suffer from such limited social interaction and lack of proximity to actual humans in the same space, both strangers to observe and also humans we love and see often. We are not built for so much solitary time, even those of us who love it and prefer it (meeee). When I do see people, I am reminded that I have to learn how to be with people again. Coming up on a year of a life much different than most of us have always lived, the strain is real right now, even from places of privilege. If you are a person who creates or shares content for a living or because you like to personally via blogging or social media, it is not an easy content creation time. It's not just about the creation of actual content - the inspiration, writing, graphics - it's knowing the people you're serving it to aren't that hungry, or they've already eaten that this week. You don't necessarily feel like reading or writing a lot of things and you can definitely feel the mood that people don't feel like receiving them. 

Combine that with hitting the grisly over 500,000 dead from covid in America milestone, all the political and social unrest that's not left us alone and the knowledge of the work ahead to dismantle systems, the frustration over vaccine availability and rollout, the gray and cold and precipitous weather for most of us in the northeast, the devastation in Texas and other southern states from a climate crisis weather event, and it's certainly straight put your head down and get through the day status right now. A more quiet period. A collective period of don't have much to say - not just me, and not just you. Maybe a period where we let that be and don't try to fill silence because we think we have to or should. A break from the constant posting and scrolling and consuming and feeding and scrambling. 

I read this on the Ladies Pass it On facebook page on Saturday and thought yes. Yes. 

You’re not imagining it, nobody seems to want to talk right now.
Messages are brief and replies late.
Talk of catch ups on zoom are perpetually put on hold.
Group chats are no longer pinging all night long.
It’s not you.
It’s everyone.
We are spent.
We have nothing left to say.
We are tired of saying ‘I miss you’ and ‘I cant wait for this to end’.
So we mostly say nothing, put our heads down and get through each day.
You’re not imagining it.
This is a state of being like no other we have ever known because we are all going through it together but so very far apart.
Hang in there my friend.
When the mood strikes, send out all those messages and don’t feel you have to apologise for being quiet.
This is hard.
No one is judging.

Donna Ashworth

Hang in there friends. We're almost through February. The vaccine rollout is happening, albeit not as quickly or as easy to understand as we'd like. We'll be spending more time outside again soon, which made it so much easier to socialize last year. You're all invited to bring a blanket and sit with me on the beach. 

Monday, February 22, 2021

TWTW - the one that felt five minutes long

Friday was a fire drill all from 8 am on, broken up by a delicious grilled cheese. I tore out at 4 to get my eyebrows cleaned up for the first time in 11 months. It felt human and normal. And honestly nice to not worry about my breath since I had the mask on. LOL. I also went into Target for the first time since November I think, I usually order for delivery or do curbside. Of course my first big day out off the island in a while and it was a wintry mix of BS weather so the drive home was not as carefree as I like. When I got back I said fuck it to dishes (aren't we all saying fuck it to dishes right now?) and ate jalapeno poppers on paper plates leftover from Thanksgiving even though for personal use with no  gathering I am anti-paper plates. Aren't these amazing though? Carol found them. 
Saturday I slept in until 9, 8.5 hours of straight sleep that were fucking amazing. After walking the dogs and showering, I cleaned, purged, and organized our apartment. MFD and the old dogs arrived just after noon. We went to the beach and walked down to see the Playland fire. He also found what we think was a fox skull on the beach and wanted to bring it home and hell no.  
 I went to ACME, MFD picked lunch up at Bennie's, and he watched Gold Rush and napped while I read. I made taco meat for dinner, finished my book and started another, and we were all done pretty early.
Sunday No one wanted to get up, which has been a theme on Sundays. I don't mind, I stayed in bed and read. We eventually got up of course, and I finished a book, went to get Gus's CBD, took the best friend dogs to the beach, ate leftovers for lunch and started a new book, threw together dinner (sauteed mushrooms, potatoes in the air fryer, artichokes/chicken/tomatoes/EVOO/balsamic/seasonings in oven), MFD started the small bathroom wall covering project we're doing, and we watched Nomadland.
In the middle of those things, we stopped and did a family sunset walk. Zero out of four dogs respected the order to avoid the tide pools and all four came home wet. My discerning nose detected a hint of spring on the underside of the air, so we've got that going for us.

I guess we're doing this again. Monday. Is it just me or do weekends feel all of an hour long? 

Here we go. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Tips for a better night's sleep

If you find it hard to get to sleep at night, you are not alone. In fact, About 70 million people in the United States suffer from sleep disorders. It is a difficult thing, because although you might feel tired, you get into bed and suddenly feel wide awake. You could spend the rest of the night tossing and turning and no matter what you do, unable to get that shut eye you so desperately crave. It could be that your mind is consumed with the day you have just had, particularly if you are in a career such as a criminal defense attorney and have a case to prepare for, or that you are worried about your family. Or your mind just doesn't shut down, which happened to me twice this week. No matter the reason, it is not fun. Luckily, there are a few things that you can do which can help you to have a better night's sleep. Here are just a few things that you can try.

1) Avoid eating or drinking for two hours before you go to bed
While you might be peckish in the evening, try to avoid eating or drinking anything other than water in the run up to your bedtime. This is because your body will be trying to digest your food and can keep you awake. Also, if you have food with sugar in it then it can make you feel jittery and experience a sugar buzz that can keep you awake.

2) Don’t look at a screen before sleeping
By looking at your screen and scrolling through instagram or other apps right before you go to sleep, you are making your mind active and your eyes awake. Instead, it is a good idea to do something that will calm your mind, such as reading a book. This is much calmer on your eyes and soothing to help you sleep.
3) Invest in high quality bedding
If your bed is a comfortable haven that you can’t wait to get into each night, you are much more likely to get a good night's sleep. You spend half of your time in your bed after all, so you want it to be something that is really comfortable. Invest in a soft, high quality mattress, pillows and bedding that is just right for you.

4) Do some journaling 
It is a good idea to clear your mind before you go to sleep so you don’t lay awake worrying all evening. You could do some journaling where you write down all your thoughts of the day and what is essentially a “mind dump” physically writing down anything that is stressing you out. This act of just sharing something from your mind can be a good way of clearing it before you sleep.

These are just a few simple ways that you can help yourself to get a better night's sleep. Whether you decide to implement all of them to your routine or just a couple, you are sure to experience the benefits in no time at all. What are some ways that you find to help you sleep at night? Let me know in the comments. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Shall we go camping?


There are lots of fantastic places to go camping across the country, and therefore, this has undoubtedly become a popular activity for many who are looking for a fun-filled weekend away. However, a weekend of camping would simply be incomplete without the right gear. 

Why should you consider going on a camping trip?

Some people go on camping trips all of the time. There are then others who don’t like the sound of going camping at all! If you fall into the latter category, you should definitely give it a try. Camping can be as wild as you want it to be. You do not have to go out into the wilderness and hunt for your own food if you don’t want to! You may have heard of the “glamping” trend that has become popular in recent years, and you may want to give this a try instead of going down the traditional camping route. 

When you consider the disruption that has been experienced in terms of travel over the past year, it is not hard to see why more and more people are going to be enjoying staycations close to their local area. We simply cannot travel to a lot of places at the moment, but this does not mean that we cannot have a great vacation, does it? There are a lot of excellent places in our local surroundings, we simply need to explore them. This is what camping gives you the opportunity to do. You have the chance to explore the amazing nature that is around you - something that you may not do under traditional circumstances, so this really is a great opportunity to capitalize on. A lot of fun can be had!

Choosing a camping retailer with care

Camping gear is easily available off the Internet for purchase. There are several online retailers that sell official merchandise made by popular camping brands. By opting for brands like this, their quality is aptly represented through all the products and merchandise they have to offer and, therefore, you can rest assured that the camping gear you purchase will be of the highest standard.

What sort of camping gear do you need?

If you have a look online then you will see that there is a vast selection of camping gear to select from and therefore all of your needs will be catered to. There is a great range of mugs and flasks to accompany you on your camping trip. You will also have lots of clothes too, after all, who doesn’t need a fleece for their trip in the wilderness. One of the best items worth purchasing is undoubtedly the tough phone. This phone is practically indestructible. Thus, you can drop it in the mud, throw it off a tree, set it alight in the campfire and your phone will still be standing. Although it is definitely not advised to give any of these a try that’s for sure. 

Another piece of equipment that you may want to purchase for your camping trip is a GPS. A GPS is imperative because you will be able to explore the terrain and make sure that you do not get lost. A great handheld GPS is a must when you’re camping! After all, the last thing you want to do is get lost while you are out exploring all of the natural beauty and wilderness in the location.

The fun-filled camping products don’t stop there either. There is a great selection of backpacks and overnight bags for you to select from. You can keep all of your gear inside of one of these whilst being safe in the knowledge that they are made from high-quality material and can withstand heavy weights and a lot of usage. There is even a range of camping bikes. This is ideal for those who like to take their bike with them to explore the mountains and the rest of the terrain. After all, this is undoubtedly a popular choice of activity for anyone looking to go on a weekend of camping in the wild. And if that wasn’t enough, you also have compasses, torches, and everything else you could need for your trip away. 

So there you have it; if you are looking for a vast selection of high-quality camping gear then you should look no further than the Internet. You should have no trouble finding all of the camping equipment you need for your fun and exciting weekend. 

Friday Five 2.19.2021

Another gray day. I have my sun lamp out next to my face, but I'm going to need more than that. February is always a difficult month for me - I always feel like busting out, and this year is brutal with busting out options limited. But I'm safe, warm, with running water and access to food unlike many of our fellow citizens in the southern states right now. Still, five things I'm doing today to take my mind off the Februaryness of it all, the Groundhogdayness of it all, the winter restlessness of it all: 

1. Change of scenery. I'm working downstairs in the morning on my ottoman desk using the Focus Keeper app - it sets up in 25 minute increments with five minute breaks. When I use it, I write down what I'm doing in those increments so I can move from task to task (or work through a larger task) and I make sure I get my ass up on those five minute breaks to walk around and do a little stretching.

2. Starting a new book. 

3. Facing the day wearing undereye concealer, eyeliner, mascara, and lip balm.

4. Getting the fuck out of this house to get my eyebrows waxed. It's been 11 months and I've been thinking about it for months. I saw Kate post about it yesterday and I'm doing it. I'm also going into Target instead of doing curbside pickup. I need to see people I don't know. 

5. Refreshing my grocery store flowers. 

Happy weekend! What are you up to?

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - But the patterns of the rain and the truth they contain have written my life on your skin

1. Yesterday we saw sun, and after many days without, it was fucking glorious. We went out at lunch and again at sunset. It was cold, but the wind was down and we stayed out as long as we could both times. Don't speak to me of weather apartment has a separate entry from the main house, and my desk is set up on the dining table in the main house. Since I've been up here, we've gotten freezing rain and the last time I went down the steps I almost died even though I had put salt down so I'll be stuck up here/taking my life in my hands next time I go down.  Which is a bummer because I started work early and planned to shower at lunch and you know how when you don't shower, then all you want to do is shower and it looms over you? No? Just me? 
2. We've been to the beach in straight gray and edge of the horizon not gray this week too, of course. The sunny days just feel better. Regardless of sky Ben rolls in dead things every single time, once this week was a whole big ass dead bird and I was not okay. 

3. I plucked a library book off the shelf for the first time since last February. I've been going to the library, but putting all of my books on hold ahead of time and doing a straight pickup. That's how I do it most of the time in non-pandemic times too, but yesterday I wanted something I knew they had that I had not put on hold in advance, and I did a little browsing and it felt good. Which was a mood boost after my Tuesday coffee shop visit where it never feels good to see it empty.

4. Did I need to go to the library at all? No, I did not. I have untold amounts of books I own - digital and print - sitting unread. I have at least 15 books from Netgalley with publication dates fast approaching. One was this, which I also won a physical copy of in a goodreads giveaway. I was freaking pumped to win a book, first time in over five years of entering them. Of course it was one I already had digitally but it's FINE and the book was surprising in a good way. I stayed up until 12:30 to finish it Tuesday night, then started another book. At 12:30. Why am I like this.

5. I feel terrible for the people in Texas and am fucking furious on their behalf. I like to joke with my FL friends about "FL cold" compared to our cold up in the Mid-Atlantic states, but all of us who live in climates that are used to cold and snow should grasp how Texans could individually be unprepared for this. People - many of them, especially lower income people, don't have appropriate clothes for cold weather. Or shovels or generators. In general towns do not have snow plows and they don't stock rock salt. In addition, their elected officials have failed them - they are on a separate energy grid and it cannot sustain the amount of energy they need right now. They deregulated private utilities because they are greedy fucks and they're trying to blame the fucking Green New Deal which isn't even a fucking thing. It is outrageous and people are suffering because of it. Citizens are without heat, power, water, food (or have food but no way to cook it), and many of them have nowhere to go and no way to get there if they do. And of course as always the marginalized communities are hit the hardest. Get these people power, water, and federal aid. If you can spare money to donate, please consider doing so. Also please consider why the government - state and federal, both of whom have money for all sorts of things that are not actually saving people and their lives and homes, are not coming in and blanket taking care of this. Stop crying about socialism and worrying someone will get something they don't deserve. If that is you, what is wrong inside of yourself that you need to see other people suffer to affirm whatever you believe? There is a super easy way to fix this without regular citizens funding it. But that's not the world we live in, so if you have $ to spare, please give to these organizations working on the ground, info can be found here, and here (both of those links will require you to go to the link in profile or to just go to Venmo or Cashapp and send $) and so many other places. UPDATE TO THE SECOND GRAPHIC FOUND HERE. Also FUCK TED CRUZ FOREVEER FOR FLYING TO FUCKING CANCUN WEDNESDAY NIGHT FOR VACATION while people in his state suffer - AFTER he incited a fucking insurrection in January. He was listed as standby this morning to return because obviously this blew up on the internet.

6. It's been cool to watch them extend the 14th Street Fishing Pier out into the ocean this winter. By the end it will extend an additional 125 feet seaward.

7. Nails this week are Essie Tide of Your Life. We've also reached the point of the year where I feel I need bronzer, which I will actually not use but feel better having. I bought some from LimeLife, my friend of 20+ years Gwen who you may know as the woman behind Confessions of a Gila Monster has been wearing it for a few years and just started selling it. I always wanted to try one of their skin care products in particular but only knew someone who was unable to say Black Lives Matter out loud that sold it so I'm happy Gwen (who can say Black Lives Matter out loud) is selling it. The cleanser is on its way to me but I got bronzer, undereye concealer, and two lip products (I do use undereye concealer and lip stuff at least three days a week) that I'm excited to try. Cruelty-free. Gwen's link is here
8. Here's my bougie candle shit of the week: Rhubarb smoke from Boy Smells. The candles are $$$ but the smell is unique and divine and we're approaching my birthday month. They tunnel a little, but I can deal. Small queer-owned biz. 

9. Reminder, via Iuliastration

10. E-cards: 

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Jungle Love by Steve Miller Band

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Fat Tuesday Haikuesday

Fat Tuesday donut.
A year without Mardi Gras.
Go away, Covid.

Pandemic diet:
We ride the sugar dragon.
Sweets daily. I know.

Groundhog day again.
This is pandemic life now.
Will it ever end?

Coffee intake down,
like losing my religion.
Call up R.E.M

Every day hydrate.
Slamming 100 ounces.
Hey, water water.

Gone candle crazy.
Rose gold candle tray of tools.
I am extra now.

I miss restaurants, 
seeing people on the street.
Many things. Not you trains.

Remember hugging?
Carefree coming and going? 
Now, a production.

Looking for balance.
Days run into each other.
Do calendars help?

Skincare regime up.
It gives me something to do
that feels like progress. 

Joy is not cancelled,
though some days hard to find.
Go play hide & seek.

February gray
can go away whenever. 
You are not welcome.

I used to Haikuesday every Tuesday. It felt good to revisit today.

Today is Tuesday, right? 

Monday, February 15, 2021

TWTW - gray gray gray

Friday I hit the grocery store in the late afternoon and made salad, birders in the air fryer, and root veggie fries for dinner. Gold Rush for MFD - same as nine years ago, apparently - and reading for me. I was asleep early. Last week took it out of me. 

Saturday More shite weather, finished a book, Gold Rush including MFD confessing that he has been on a Gold Rush fam page. Who am I married to? It was wet, cold, icy. Salad, spaghetti with veggie meat sauce from the freezer, and garlic bread. I was up until 1 reading. 

Sunday No one wanted to get up, I literally made the bed with Bruce in it. At 9:30 I picked up bagels, homemade pop tarts, and macarons from Dead End Bakehouse. We took unshowered selves and the dogs to the beach in the late afternoon and nearly killed ourselves sliding down the icy ramp being pulled by dogs who did not seem to be sliding. I almost wet my pants laughing. Gus's 16th Valentine's Day, whooop! I made a roast, asparagus, and baked potatoes (tried them in the air fryer and they were great). I finished a book (Every Last Fear comes out March 2, put it on your list), started another, and wondered how TF another weekend slipped by with no projects done and seemingly no time gone by.

Presidents Day. I’m not off, I've never been off since I started working a real job in 1999, but at least I can observe it again. After a week of mostly gray with one sunny day, I'm dying to see the sun too. It doesn't look like that will happen early this week. Not into the first true winter we've had in years. 

Well, it turns out this was not the weekend I'd get my ass up off the couch and do things. Next?

President’s Day. I’m not off, I've never been off since I started working a real job in 1999, but at least I can observe it again. After a week of mostly gray with one sunny day, I'm dying to see the sun too. It doesn't look like that will happen early this week. Not into the first true winter we've had in years. 

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Top Ways to Make Your Home Super Cozy

Your home is your castle; it is the place where you relax and unwind. Most likely, your home is where your family and friends spend time, and it is also where you make and share memories. Quite often, though, it can be hard to dress rooms and make them feel warm, loved, lived in, and cozy without going over the top and making them feel a little bit cluttered and messy, this can be tricky, but it is not impossible. 

Begin with your windows
Dressing your windows can really set off a room. Letting in natural light can make any space feel bigger and warmer, so try not to use heavy and dark fabrics and materials, especially if you have a small window, as this will make a room feel gloomy and dark. Window dressings can make or break a room’s style and design, so make your windows one of your top priorities. If your windows have seen better days and they are letting out more heat than they are keeping in, then it might be worth contacting window manufacturers to install some lovely new windows that will set your room off. Dressing your windows in warm and neutral tones provides you with flexibility as it allows you to change your color scheme as and when you want.

Focus on the lighting
How bright or dim a room is can affect both how it looks and feels. Dim lighting at night creates a feeling of calm and comfort, whereas bright white lights (daylight bulbs) can make rooms feel cold and clinical, especially at night time. Table lamps and wall lights can help make a room feel cozy, as they can light up spaces that ceiling lights just cannot reach.

Use different textures 
To give a room depth and coziness, it is wise to use a variety of fabrics and textures. Layering cushions will help sofas look sumptuous and welcoming, and layering rugs make even cold tiled floors feel warm and snug. Consider using throws and blankets over sofas and armchairs as these create the illusion of snug and cozy winter evenings.

Add personal touches
Not everything you add into your home needs to be store-bought or mass manufactured. Take some time to frame some family photos or make an ornament that you can display within your home. Personal touches create focal points that can start interesting conversations; they also help create the feeling of warmth, which is what a cozy home is all about.

Introduce some scents
Family homes are busy, and sometimes it can be hard to shake certain smells, so to ensure your home smells cozy and welcoming, why not introduce some fragranced and scented products, including candles, diffusers, or incense sticks. The scents you use within your rooms can conjure up feelings and emotions, so introduce warming and soothing scents such as lavender and warm berry. If you use scented candles, the light that they provide will also help to create a pleasant mood and ambiance.

This post was written for the Life According to Steph audience by Lucy. There's not much Lucy doesn't know about her two passions: fashion & interior design! Having worked in the fashion industry for six years, she has a keen eye for all things on-trend, with a focus on new developments in both the interior design world and on the world's catwalks.

Friday, February 12, 2021

Friday Five 2.12.2021

1. My favorite seasoning hands down. It is expensive and it is worth it.

2. Who loves love of all types yet dislikes the commercial nature of Valentine’s Day but has ordered tons of sweets from all small businesses? Meee. Including this orange and dulce de leche cake roll I ordered through Kouklet Brazilian Bakehouse in Philly. It is delicate fucking perfection and they ship everywhere. The flavor was a Feminist Flea special. 

3. I got myself this neck pillow for Christmas and it helps a lot. Stretch for 10 minutes a day, nice nice. Then I slap on some Biofreeze like a proper elder and get on with my night. (affiliate links in this one)

4. My nails were a hot mess last night. I quickly did a little pink and red job because that’s my business  When they were all painted I realized  I never buffed or filed them. Next week. 

5. I am through with the snow but I don’t think the snow is through with us. This is like actual winter for the first time in years.

Speaking of small biz, South Fellini is having a sale - half off orders over $35 using the code HOAGIELIPS. Philly friends will get that jawn. They have the best tee-shirts, super soft, especially if you're from Philly.

Happy weekend! What are you up to?

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Thursday Thoughts - And you ask me what I want this year and I try to make this kind and clear

1. How much is that doggie in the window? Bruce sits there for hours while I work, waiting on the world to change.

2. I'm also waiting on the world to change. I'm not here to blow smoke up anyone's ass. This week has been a struggle. I had to postpone my acupuncture appointment due to the last big storm and my neck is so jacked up that my eye twitches constantly. I'm still over a week out from that rescheduled appointment. I’ve lost some motivation and I feel like I have nothing to show for this week aside from work work. I miss seeing my people. Winter is suffocating me. I was up shoveling this morning and Bruce absolutely refuses to go to the bathroom thus far today. 

3. So those things this week, in addition to 11 months in a pandemic; government giving citizens and businesses literal fucking crumbs financially and with vaccine rollout; living in a country where a violent cult is trying to seize power, half of the people in government don’t feel that is alarming or punishable, and half of the citizens who previously were like fuck your feelings we own the libs you’re all demoRats would now like the rest of us to care about their very special feelings while we sit in a circle, ignore systemic racism and white supremacy, braid each other’s hair, and sing songs about unity. Fuck all of that.

4. Also, fuck whoever packed this paint. Come on! All over everything else in the box, me, my shirt, and another box. But this is a good color. It's for a dresser. Hopefully the replacement arrives intact. Amazon: I'm going to refund you without asking you to return anything. Me: NO SHIT, THERE'S PAINT ALL OVER EVERYTHING. 

5. Over on the Good Ship Lollipop, I spied this big mama in the water at Dog Beach and ventured in to get her. If the big ass fillable lamp I bought from Target doesn't open, I'm going to have a problem. 

6. I’ve spent a fair amount of time out on the beach this week with the best friend dogs just walking it all off. It’s been grand. 

7. I scored amazing advanced reader copies from Netgalley, my Girl Scout cookie order arrived, and I got a new AND CHEAP (under $50) stick vac that works well out of the box. I'll use it for a while before expanding.  

8. How you know Ben was here. 

9. Reminder, in case you have not unlearned this:

10. E-cards: the rooms are virtual but the annoyances are the same

What appears beyond the hyphen in Thursday Thoughts titles is what I'm listening to when I'm starting this - this week is Better Days by the Goo Goo Dolls

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