Blog 29 May 2017

Sometimes the shuddering of the wind outside my window motivates me.

On days like today, where I feel helplessly down, I like to open up all my windows and curtains and let in the outside world.  There’s something soothing in feeling wind inside our little space.  Makes me feel like I am already moving.  Makes it feel like it easier to move.

One of the most terrible effects depression and depressive moods have on people is the ability to draw out their energy.  It feels like it escapes through every pore of your being filtering through the command center:  the brain.  And here is where I dawdle.

But my favorite time of day gives me hope.  When I can see the tree leaves shaking under the sunlight, it reminds me that small things are beautiful.  Cheery even.  And it doesn’t ask anything of me.  I simply just choose to accept it.

~*~

My head is feeling a bit lighter.

After talking to Sam, I feel much lighter.  We talked and I felt more reassured.  There are some days where I just feel hopeless and down.  That’s the lightest way I can say it.

And I also thought about how sore I feel.

Yesterday we worked out together for the first time in a while.  Just something small to get me started back up again – arms and core.  Mostly core.  The working out didn’t last longer than 25 minutes, warm-up included.

It felt good.  It felt good to be working out even though I could tell that I’ve grown tremendously weak since I’ve stopped working.  My previous job as a truck unloader did much to keep me in some shape, but we just stopped working out regularly.

Thinking back to that time, which is a year ago now, I don’t think I appreciated what all that working out did for me.  I was once capable of more and it was fun in a very exhausting way.  I’d like to get back to that.

My body just felt right after last night.  Like that feeling of going on a long hike through some beautiful scenery after rejecting nature for months.  My lungs may have been a bit clearer (dern allergies!) but that elation after physically pushing your body to its limit is perfection.

All those endorphins running through your body.  It felt great to lay on the floor all spread out just taking deep breaths in.

~*~

One of Sam’s coworkers came over this weekend and brought over his recording equipment.  He had wanted to make a video for a while with Sam.

It was the first time I had seen a video capture device and a fancy mic in person.  Very exciting.  I ended up joining in because I couldn’t find a way to really enjoy myself without saying anything.

In the end, we had fun I think.  Sam was pretty tired after it all but I thought he did a good job recording for his first time.

~*~

Now that I hear the crickets and my eyes are rough and dry, I think I will lay myself down to just try and take it easy.

 

 

How To Do Things You Hate

a.k.a. being an adult.  Really.

I don’t know how many things now I have done that I especially hated but simply needed to be done.  My worst enemy?  Dishes!  And how they come back multiple times a day.

It’s mind boggling.  (Not really)

But really, this can be overcome rather easily in 3 steps!

Step 1:  Find a task you hate.

This shouldn’t be hard to do at all.  I bet if you took five seconds to look around you, you could find at least 3 things that need to be done that you’ve been putting off.  Start with one.

Step 2:  Decide if you want to actually do it.

Also very easy.  In fact you’ve probably come up with the same answer:  “no YOU don’t want to do it, but man it sure would be nice if SOMEONE did it”.

Step 3:  Do it.

Turns out, that someone was you all along!  Congrats, you survived!  You didn’t melt from being productive, you didn’t die from overexposure to cleanliness, you are a warrior.  Now go be a warrior and conquer another task.


Chores.  Let’s face it, how many of us really like doing chores?

They’re such a drag, they take up too much time, you could be doing something so much more fun, so much more worthwhile!  Consistently putting off menial tasks like doing the dishes or putting away the laundry can have some dreadful drawbacks.

Eventually you may want to invite someone over, someone you want to impress.  It’d be a lot easier if they didn’t have to wade through last months’ laundry and hop over weekend trash in order to snag a seat.  If there’s a spot that’s not taken over by dishes or pizza boxes.  If you are a good host you will ask, “Would you like anything to drink?”  No matter they’re answer, it is heaven-sent if you find a clean glass.  Period.

~*~

For now, I’m going to part ways with the exaggerations.  Why is it so hard to do things that we don’t like?  Easy.

Because you get in your own way.

We gnash our teeth, we whine and we moan, but that task ain’t getting done until someone puts their nose to the grindstone.  Simply thinking about how much we dislike/hate something gets our blood flowing, fires us up.

But we are going to have to move past that.

Matt Abrahams said it beautifully in his lecture “Think Fast, Talk Smart:  Communication Techniques” – You want to view this as an opportunity, not a challenge.  (That video is gold and I highly recommend you watch it).

I have to repeat that:

“View this as an opportunity, not a challenge.”

By speaking to yourself in such a way you can change your perception.  And if you can change the lens with which you regard a task, you increase your chances of actually doing.

So instead of, “I hate doing the dishes” say something like, “I love the way the kitchen looks after the dishes have been done“.  You’re giving yourself the opportunity to make something you enjoy happen, instead letting yourself feel deflated by the task.

You still might not enjoy the doing, but you will surely enjoy the outcome.  Similarly to working towards a goal, reminds yourself of why.  (Hint:  the reason is because you deserve it).

Stop choosing to “put the dirty clothes in the hamper” later.  Choose to do it now, and leave it and your thoughts of later in the hamper.  Choose to be free of “I’ll get it done later”.  Choose to be free.


Do you think this guide is too simplistic?  In writing it, I sometimes think that as well.  However.  It really is that simple.  I think we put up with our mental gymnastics too much and let that stop us from living a fulfilling life.  Do you have an overactive “I should do” list?  Or are you a “get ‘er done” person?

Leave a comment below!

 

Dealing With Burnout, Get Re-Motivated!


I finally quit college after the first semester of my third year.  I had re-enrolled after dropping out the semester before for two main reasons:  pressure and shame.  My family and friends had expectations I would finish because I was so “smart” and it was the “right” thing to do.  I felt shame because I was failing.  My depression from relationship heartache was compounded by my lack of desire to attend school.

Leaving the second time was harder.

Even though I had switched majors to something I was more personally interested in – Graphic Design and Art – I still struggled to keep my attendance up.  Often I thought I could be teaching myself these very same concepts.  For cheaper or even at times “free”.  While I enjoyed my professors’ expertise and insights on different topics I felt out of place.

Did I really want to be in classes from 8 – 3 every day?  Did I need to earn a grade to feel fulfilled?  Why do I even dread the idea of being at this school?  Is it important enough for me to take time to deal with my underlying mental health issues or should I persevere through them?  Does this mean anything?  Is it more important for me to meet my parents expectations for a successful life over mine?

~*~

Burnout can be caused by a mixture of things but they lead to the same things:  physical and mental exhaustion.

How do you get there?  While there are certainly more ways to reach the burnout state, the two biggest contributing factors are stress and overworking.  While there are things that happen that are out of your hands, there is a great deal you can control.


Why are you feeling burned out?


Take a deep breath.  And another and another.  And try to clear your mind.  When you are ready or you’ve reached the point where you mind id mostly clear, slowly start to invite thoughts back in.  Ask yourself, “What is causing me distress at this point in life?”  When you are finished let those thoughts go.  Ask yourself another question.  “Is whatever is causing me distress worth holding onto?”  If you answered yes, keep going:  “What can I do to help manage that stress?”

 

~*~

 

College represents a lot of my failures in life.  My failure to finish is small compared to my failure to listen to what I actually wanted.  At that point in my life, I was an expert in ignoring what I wanted.  Now that I am older and I have this understanding of what brought me to that point in my life.  Easily, I can sum it up in this statement:  I did not hold authority over my own life.

The best way to recover from burnout is to be honest with yourself.  Take a long, hard look at your life and the circumstances leading up.  What were you doing?  What were you thinking about?  What were you feeling?   And then, why were you feeling that way?

Normally you can follow a long chain of thoughts down to the source(s).  It’s a simple task but it is not always easy.  I mentioned that I dropped out of college twice right?  That was purely because I was unwilling to accept my answer.  I was unwilling to accept that I wanted to do something so different from what was planned for me.  And let me tell you.  Aside from the mental/emotional stress, it also hurt my financial health.

So please be aware that sometimes the answer you are seeking is not the answer you are wanting.  Sometimes it is painful to do things that are actually good for you.  Things you have been putting off.


How to Take a Vacation When You Can’t


Because reasons.  Reasons like school or work.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with really nailing down my niche.  I mean this site has gone through some crazy changes in my opinion all geared towards seeking that perfect item I can write about.  And while I do believe in the things I wrote, it was not something that I wanted to write about everyday.  But I threw myself at it.  Day in and day out I was surfing the web eating up all the knowledge I could find and unsurprisingly, I sat down to write some article and just… couldn’t.

Then I stopped.  Slowly, I started being honest with myself and what I wanted and starting making changes to reflect that.  I still do research into my original niche – which was “how to make passive income through affiliate marketing”.  It wasn’t as frequent as before, but I still hung out on the fringes.

Even though I began writing more consistently after several weeks, what actually made me feel better was Wim Hof and crochet.  Wim Hof is the coolest example of what a human being can accomplish, and crochet was a thing I did that recently is becoming my addiction.  I started teaching myself more complex stitches and pushing myself to make things (like a set of gloves at the moment).  This little bit of fun, away from technology, away from really most of the world, I found the best joy in.

Crocheting is probably one of the most monotonous things I’ve done.  But you can accomplish so much by stringing together those monotonous events and suddenly, they become something beautiful.  The more I practiced, the better I got – naturally.  And the more I just started to enjoy the process.  And while I am crocheting, I mostly think about nothing.  I have to focus really hard at times to make sure that I don’t mess up.  Yet, even if I mess up, I can just unwind it.

 

Take time to do something you find fun and/or soothing.  Let yourself have that.  Even multiple helpings percolated through out your life.

Falling off the wagon doesn’t mean we still can’t make it to our destinations!  It just means we have to adapt to new circumstances and keep moving on.


While I hope you haven’t, have you had experiences with burnout?  Mention it in the comments below as well as any feedback you might have?  Like why these are almost always 1000 words long.

The Trip to the Barcade

It’s loud.  Pushing through the waves of people seems like a chore.  But there’s a goal.  A tangible objective.  It’s that machine in the corner!

Some much beloved friends invited me to a bar with an arcade.  A “barcade” if you please.  And unlike my last bar trip (which you can read here) it was a legitimate establishment.

If you have a craving for some incredibly retro games, this is the place for you.  If you wanted a place to meet people with mutual interests outside of drinking, go here.  If you just needed a moment to get your bearings and that meant rolling a ball up a ramp and into a hole — you get the point.


Every. Last. Quarter.


I am an indulgent person.  Treating myself is one of my hobbies.  And really when I discovered all the ways I could do that (oh my goodness – food) I may have went a little overboard.

At this moment I may be eating a pan of lemon bars I made last night.

Video games are potent.  Hardly anything compares to the elation of discovering a new city that defies conventional physics or unfolding an intricate plot in a story-driven RPG.  It really shakes up my brain.

On the few rare trips my brother and I took to the arcade I’d be obliged to spend every last bit of allowance I had.  My poison?  Gun games.  My brother and I would hit up House of the Dead and Time Crisis machines religiously.   We played so many our parents actually bought us an Area 51 game for our Playstation!

We moved away and stopped visiting as frequently.  The tiny brush ups that we had with arcade games were limited to a handful of machines at restaurants or stores.

What good times.  One of my most favorite accomplishments was a 2nd rank Co-op score my brother and I got at a Time Crisis machine.

After Saturday night not much has changed.  Two of us pre-gamed to cut down on our alcohol costs and shared a pool of change to tackle some games with.  I spent nearly every quarter I had except $3 worth because – well, I have more responsibilities now!  Between the four of us  we must’ve spent maybe… $20-$25!  On games alone.  That’s a lot of quarters.

It went mostly to this machine:

Worth it though, am I right?  We even got 1st place!


For Adults Only


This is, of course, a bar.  A real bar that serves beer and liquor!  To kickstart our night it was the Cinnamon Toast Crunch shot.  A crazy mixture of Fireball + ??? + Rumchata.  From the kindness of my friend, he asked the bartender to sub it out for something not creamy because I’m a) lactose intolerant and b) I’m vegan.  Mine got extra doses of Fireball and did that get my heart pumping.

Later on, I learned that the idea was actually from the sign next to us, and not my friend’s knowledge of drinks.

Another cute idea?  Remember winning tickets for prize exchanges?  While my favorite games didn’t spit out tickets, we’d still play a couple every now and then.  We’d play the Tornado game with our mom and skee-ball.

Apparently… you can earn drinks here too!  We actually didn’t test that out but were so tickled by the idea.  It beats cheap plastic toys (except that frogs) and candies.  It’s so… awesome.

~*~

Ah.  Sometimes when you walk into a bar, they have a bouncer waiting at the door with a stamp in hand.  Just a quick little system.  After checking our IDs, we were cleared to go.

I went to the bathroom and just wanted to make sure that the door with Princess Peach was actually the Ladies’ Restroom.  As soon as I approached the bouncer to ask, a girl walked in and nonchalantly strolled past him.  He, being a good bouncer, stopped her and asked to see her ID.

She said, “My ID is on my phone which I left in here.”  Cue some incredulous looks.

“Do you have a stamp?”

“No, I got in when the other guy was at the door.”  After admitting she didn’t have a stamp there was even more suspicion.  He probably stopped her because I heard her throw a fit:  “I’m 26 years old!”  It was then I turned on my heel and went for the Princess Peach door.  It was better than standing there awkwardly.

Perhaps because I grew up around military bases and went to school on them, I was completely used to the idea of always carrying my ID around.  It’s hard not to!  Unless you had someone sign you on you weren’t allowed to be on base.


“I Don’t Like to Dance”


Upstairs was another bar owned by the same person.  In fact, there’s a way for the bartenders to go between places.

While I am not particularly fond of dancing (it makes me witlessly scared) I have many friends who are.  So that my friends may dance without worry, I always offer to babysit all our items.  I like listening to music anyway. ; )

Towards the end of our stay, this guy sitting near me tried to start up a conversation.  Which would have been fine if we could hear each other and I was interested.  Being nice I decided to hear him out which boiled down to asking if I had a drink and wanting to know if I wanted to “sober dance” with him. I politely said, “I don’t like to dance” and stopped looking in his general direction.

It makes me feel awkward.  Being asked to dance by people I don’t know who think they are doing me a favor.

I hardly dance with my boyfriend in the comfort of our own home (sorry Sam!).

I feel so vulnerable.  While my self-esteem is a lot better, I lack a lot of body confidence.  My fear of also being made fun of and making a fool of myself creep up into my head.  And sometimes that leads to depression because dancing can be fun.  When I sit down and think about it:  my fear is preventing me from doing things that I want.

It’s been something that I’ve been working on.

Overall, I really enjoyed the night.  Playing games with friends, listening to some all right music and just jovially strolling down town streets is fun.  Even being dragged out to the floor wielding bags and jackets galore was mildly fun as my friends tried to get me to dance with them.

~*~

Was there ever a time that you stopped yourself from doing something out of fear?  How did that make you feel?

You can leave a comment below or email me at teisha@cozy-at-home.com !  Take care dears.

Big Sis: Giving in to Adventure


Hey Little Sis, it’s Big Sis!

Are you as excited for summer time as Sam and I?  I keep turning over to the produce sections of our hometown’s grocery stores to check the prices on various things.  To our delight – yes, some seasonal fruits and veg have dropped in price.

We have a pretty mundane life.  We get excited over saving money on groceries, getting to stay in, playing board games with friends and so on.  And it’s awesome!

Every now and then we’ll find or discover something extraordinary and terribly different!  This is one of those times.


Nameless Cave Adventure


It sounds a bit like an RPG area, doesn’t it?  “Nameless Cave”.  So mysterious.  So not what I expected.

Ginger asked if I would accompany her to a friend’s show at a bar in the next city over.  Curious and not having any other plans that did I agreed.  Not even the interview I later scheduled that noon would deter me!  But my lack of sleep threatened to.

I woke no less than seven times in anticipation and steadily watched minutes tick by, unable to relax.  While my chest was tight with fright, I still had a bad case of nerves to thank for keeping my mind boldly awake.

The interview went well by the by. : )  But this is a story about a bar!

Afterwards I blobbed myself onto the couch clutching a freshly pressed cup of coffee (delicious adult fuel).  My attempts at napping failed and here was the alternative.  Drinking caffeine while mindlessly consuming cooking videos to keep awake.  The first two hours were the hardest!  And I really thought about calling it quits.  But I couldn’t let Ginger down!

~*~

Our expectations for the bar were small:  it was in the city, it was decorated like a cave, and there was going to be four bands on the set list.  Simple but not entirely true…

Looking back I am amazed that the fact we merely drove through the outskirts of Rapid didn’t tip me off.  As we neared our destination the city grew more distant.  Our nerves were a little tickled but we persevered.

Eventually we were creeping up this winding road that snaked between really rundown houses.  Civilization was a remote residential segment.  A distinct lack of commercial buildings.  After passing armies of deers that leered at us we reached our destination:  a “dead” end.

Ginger and I parked after spying the telltale 7770 on the house plate.  Cars were parked neatly along the walls though there was a lack of people.  We only saw two other souls who didn’t seem terribly friendly (perhaps from hauling equipment).  So we waited until we did have reception – and proceeded to get ahold of Andy, Ginger’s friend.

It took about five minutes before we were able to send the text and a couple more for Andy to
come walking down and find us.  Then, and only then, did we leave our car.  Andy walked us up into the valley to reveal a small building with an outdoor bar and deck to the right of it.  Behind you can actually find trails for hikes and nature walks which we hope to later check out.
Inside had the vibe of your mother’s basement, couches tucked into the corners and amps, speakers, on the far side.  Walking past all that was a crowded area full of other band’s stuff and even further still was probably the most awesome surprise:  a cave.  There was a legitimate cave on this property and had been wired for lighting!

Talk about an adventure!  Going down made me feel like I was haunting some bandit encampment’s footsteps.

Faintly, we coud hear the band from upstairs during the first half of the cave.  Inside was icy cold: our breaths a testament to chill we felt inside our clothes.

Water echoed in the walls around us.  Few pools and streams were visible and someone had made a walled in basin.  Further inside the caves were covered with what looked like light layers of skin and felt waxy, bending a bit lit cartilage.  I had my fun!


Local Musicians


Since as long as I can remember I have thoroughly enjoyed listening to music.  Some people feel inclined to dance, I fall into back into my body and just feel it reverberate through my bones.

We only listened to two bands (both Andy’s) and Purple Honey really ate through my heart.  It was a fantastic feeling!  Not often do you have front row seats to a sound that you’ve been chasing through other artists.  Cozy and in the corner, I listened intently.

For me, listening is just such an intense state of being.  I like it more than the buzz after drinking.  I don’t always hit that ecstatic “high” where the world feels good and you can taste the passion in the air.  So every moment is always a cherished moment.


Do you enjoy listening to music?  What kinds of music do you listen to?  This happened to be a “punk rock” show which I suppose is a genre I enjoy.  Typing that I can almost feel the angst.

Leave a comment or drop me a message!

Your Boss is a Jerk


For my dear sister.  This is a story I have yet to tell you.  It was amazingly… sad to actually recognize what now happened.  But somehow, I hope this helps you to understand me a little better.  Or at least my rage~!


You may remember that my boyfriend Sam and I used to work together.  We did so quite happily and many things worked out beautifully because of it.  We asked for the same schedule and to go on breaks together because we shared one vehicle and didn’t have a lot of discretionary income.

Despite working as a truck unloader, I found great fun in it.  It was like working out everyday and that was a blast because it’s always on my to-do list.  Not to mention that we worked in the backroom for at least half of our shift and that meant less dealing with customers.  After working in fast-food where I was constantly engaged in contact with customers I just wanted something more low-key.

Most of the team was young and male which is understandable given the position.  It just sorted of worked out that way.  And while I want to say the fact that I was female had no effect on how my other coworkers saw me, that would be a blatant lie.

My first day of work I was introduced to a “not-so-popular” manager who turned to Sam during the meeting and asked, “How do you pronounce your girlfriend’s name?”  Every gave him hell for it because I was literally standing closer and even said, “You could just ask me.  I’m right here.”  While he was trying to save himself some embarrassment he really just made himself look more like an moron.  And it gave me this sense of “invisibility”.

I shrugged it off.

There were many percolated moments where after I had become more experienced, that same particular younger manager would constantly check up on me.  And while I was more welcoming of it when I first started it quickly became distracting.  It led me to eventually believe that I wasn’t doing such a good job because he would ask me repeatedly if I understood something that I had been doing or offering some advice on how to do things (that I already practiced having been trained by some excellent workers).  I should have said something.


~ Breaking Point ~


Eventually there came a point where this manager expected Sam and I to go to lunch at different times.  Without saying anything, just expecting that we would listen to him.  Unsurprisingly, when he came around to say that it was time to go to lunch and I had talked to Sam who was not going to lunch, I kept working as was usual.  When the manager came around he was obviously upset I was still working and demanded to know why I was still there.  I simply said, “I’m waiting for Sam because we always go to lunch together.”  He became even more irate and flamboyant in his gestures, storming away while also reprimanding me –

– “So you I’m going to have to have someone else pull your stuff?  Great.  Nice.”

That really shook me.  One, I know I didn’t deserve to be treated in such a way.  While he may have had a point I was supremely disappointed that he didn’t care to mention this plan to either Sam or I before it was supposed to happen.  When I had originally gone to work there, I explained to the management why Sam I needed to have the same schedule and they okayed it.

I became even more infuriated when I learned from Sam that instead of coming back to actually talk to me about it, he talked to Sam.  Making me feel even more insignificant because we had the altercation.  Not Sam and he.  Even more salty was the fact that he tiptoed around Sam instead of getting in his face with an attitude.

I seriously considered not coming back from lunch that day.  Sam had also let me know he understood if I didn’t, he wasn’t going to pressure me.  But I also had a social responsibility to myself, Sam, my coworkers and the managers I actually liked to come back to work and finish.  I’ve always disliked picking up the slack for other workers but I do it because it’s work that needs to be done.

Upon returning, things were painfully awkward.  I tried to keep positive but the event earlier really ate at my heart.  I felt sick, anxious and could barely keep a conscious mind afloat.

When it was time to go on our fifteen minute break, I helped Sam and an awesome co-worker clean out their aisle so we could all go on break.  This of course made me late and when I returned, the manager came back.  He walked through the expanse of my aisle, looking at his watch and tapping his feet hard against the floor.  “So did you go to break on time or late?”  I honestly didn’t know what time I had gone to break so I gave him a quick estimate of 1-2 minutes.  It was his attitude that I wanted to part with.  “So, it’s this time now.  So you should have been back at this time right?  So you’re late.  That’s half a point.”

Do not accept treatment like this.  Ever.

Not only is that an unprofessional way to reprimand an employee for being late, it was uncalled for when I had no history of being late.  No one had talked to me about it before, no one had brought it to my attention, it was basically a non-issue.  And here he was picking a fight with me.

Eventually, I ended up quitting/getting fired for technical reasons that I will explain later.

I’m kind of reeling back because I tried to give him a chance.  Yeah, he’s kind of unprofessional but he’s also young (19).  He is still learning the ropes on how to manage people.  I didn’t want to assume that a young person would believe something so stupidly… backwards.  I didn’t think it would affect me ever honestly.  Because while I read about these social breaches, it feels so far away.

Good riddance though.


Recently he told Sam, “I’m not sexist but I do believe there is a difference between men and women.”  Ugh!

Have you ever had a moment where someone treated you as if your opinion didn’t matter?

Benefits of Drinking Peppermint Tea

Peppermint Tea


With a recent delve into less than wholesome things my stomach has taken a real beating.  Oreo after oreo I’ve chased because I can’t stop at one… or two… or a whole line sometimes.  Lately Sam and I have also been watching “The Great British Baking Show” which has really brought out the baker in me.  Cakes, cookies, breads…  I’ve made so much I thought my stomach was going to explode.

Excess amounts of sugar and really processed foods tend to make me bloat and constipated.  This also tends to happen to me when I eat beans sparingly.  Here comes peppermint tea to save the day!

Peppermint is a really digestion friendly herb.  It’s carminative properties help relieve gas and promote flatulence which can help with bloating.  Due to its antispasmodic and analgesic nature you may wish to drink it to help with upset stomachs, heartburn, or more severe cases like colic and IBS.

The benefit leaks over to you muscles and head too!  That’s one why of the main ingredients in Icy Hot is menthol.  Though, go lightly at first because the chill can be real!  I also suggest if you have peppermint essential oil you mix it with a bit of a carrier oil, like say coconut or almond.

If you’ve ever had a nasty cold or cough you’ve might have dipped into chest rubs or vapor rubs.  They also contain menthol!  Inhaling the scent of peppermint can be pretty soothing on your airways and breaks up mucus.  One of my favorite things to do is make a hot herbal infusion of peppermint and while it cools to a drinkable level, inhale some of the vapors.  Having the humidity and menthol tickle my dry, irritable nostrils really hits the spot.  And while the vapors rise up they have a chance to return some moisture to my often dry face!

There are a lot of really neat uses for peppermint!  While this information is not meant to replace any prescriptions or treatments from our doctor, I find it really fascinating.  I hope that if you choose to drink peppermint or use a peppermint essential oil you would experience relief for whatever ails you.

Please note that peppermint is not intended for young children or babies or pregnant women.  Also note that some people might experience heartburn from drinking peppermint and if you have allergies to menthol you should definitely stay away.

~*~

Some of my most found memories are remembered through really fragrant teas.  Peppermint holds a dear place in my heart:  soothing, cool and minty.  Recently I learned peppermint is actually a cross between two different plants:  water mint and spearmint.

There’s something I must confess however:  I used to hate peppermint!

The hatred came from a bitter realization eating candy canes.  One year my parents started buying delicious, fruity sweet candy canes.  Oh my!  For my childish sensibility they were the TRUE candy cane.  Not to mention they came in lovely pinks and blues and greens with dandy little stripes in rainbow arrays.  I’d just as quickly pick them off the tree or pry them out of the box to get my fix.  Such a good time.

Now that I am adult I don’t flourish under the thralls of sugar like I once did.  I’ve stepped away for the most part to protect my health and nourish my body.  As a result, my palette changed.  I started to consume more vegetables and fruits (which I had always loved) and took more care in what I put inside my body.  In the search for more delicious things to drink than water to cure the persistent dehydration I put myself through, I looked to a forgotten past-time:  tea drinking.

What are your favorite teas?  Do you prefer them hot or cold?  I prefer them hot, hot, hot!  Please leave a comment down below!


P.S.  If you would like to know more about herbal remedies, you can check out the book “Herbal Remedies…” by Anne McIntyre for a beginner’s guide.  Highly recommend!

Women’s Day and a Day Without Women

Today is Women’s Day.  It is good to remember those that sacrificed comfort to progress our rights as women, our stance as women.  Please always remember the past so that you may step forward into a brighter future.


According to the womensmarch.com, the purpose of the strike is to recognize the value women provide socially and economically.  That those who are non-gender conforming, or transgender face more transgressions and discrimination.  They have asked that women…

  1. Women take the day off, from paid and unpaid labor
  2. Avoid shopping for one day (with exceptions for small, women- and minority-owned businesses).
  3. Wear RED in solidarity with A Day Without A Woman

Today I am wearing red and signing onto social media to see what my peers have to say.  I’ve been reading the rhetoric on Reddit and was surprised to see a long list of complaints and criticisms.

A great number of people have named the strike as ineffective on the grounds that a true “strike” lasts until the demands are met.

People have also said that the focus of the march is too broad, too unfocused.

Critics have also said that only “privileged” women will be participating.  They are the only ones that can afford to protest.  That the other women protesting will be inconveniencing them because now they can’t send their kids to school because teachers have fled.  That now they can’t send them to child care because a number of services are closed due to not enough workers.  That this is all ineffective, silly, and trite and the march is for white women with power who make much more money than the average low-income mother.

That deeply disturbs me.

We wear red to share a common-ground.  We wear red to share our support with those of us who can afford to take those risks.

When I heard of the march, I didn’t think of all the ways that it could impact my life.  Indeed, in the grand scheme of things I didn’t think to calculate in what would happen to all those women who would not be participating.  To the partners that picked up the slack and maybe even called in to take care of the children.  To answer the number of women who would lost their jobs for participating.  To the number of men showing support who could lose their jobs for also not showing up to work to take care of the children.

What do I say to all of them?

I’ve sat here boggled by the sheer negativity I’ve read about something that I feel so good about.  And know that I am criticized for participating because I’ve posted a picture to Instagram to share my support.  That I’m one of those people who apparently does it to “feel good” about activism and sticking it to the man.

I am one of those privileged women who does not worry about whether or not she is going to be fired.  I don’t have a job, instead I have a passion.

I am one of those privileged women who does not worry about the money I am missing out on.  For a whole days wages, I once made $80.  Pre-tax.  Now I make nothing but I hammer away at my little keyboard.

I am one of those privileged women who doesn’t have to worry about child-care.  Regardless of if I go to work or not, I will not have to worry about children for we have none currently.

I am privileged because I participate.


Am I privileged?

Until recently, I was under the poverty line.  Even with this past job, working part-time, I didn’t make that much more.  Enough to just be low-income but by no means flying through life.

I sacrificed a lot of habits and behaviors and lifestyles to the fires of my dream to no longer be in such a state where I constantly questioned where I was going to pull money for rent from.

I’ve never had paid leave.  I’ve never had a job with benefits.

Am I privileged?


But here I am, home like always.  In red. 

And I am sure many will think I’ve missed the point.  That the strike today is just an attempt at egomania.  That those people who pointed out how the world would really be flopped on its head if all the men stopped working reinforce the idea of what women contribute is diminished in the faces of men.  How that would be more effective.

And this breaks my heart.

We are valuable regardless of our background.  We demand recognition that reflects our inherent equality.  For I am reminded through the discrimination of my peers what inequality looks like:  no choice.


I think this cause is a good cause.  That to have a movement is better than inaction.  That some representation is due.  We should keep moving in a direction that progresses us as a nation, as a whole people.

While you may disagree with this strike, that is unfocused (because gender justice is a rather large umbrella) then I invite you to ACT on your beliefs.  Organize a movement you can believe in and march in.  Make things better.

What would you do differently?  What do you think of the strike?  Are you or are not you participating and what are you reasons why? I made this post, so odd for my site, because I wanted to have a conversation about this topic.  Leave a comment below.  I’ll respond.

No matter who you are, I hope you have a good day.  I hope that you are able to reach your goals and find happiness.

 

The Tool Belt of an Affiliate Marketer


I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on how to be successful as an affiliate marketer.  Being new what else can I do?  Let me tell you, there is so much information out there including authority sites revolving around one specific niche (good for them).  And what is the main difference between me and them?  Resources.  Successful affiliate marketers have their own dispatch of tools that they use to ensure success.


Keyword Research Tool


This is probably a no-brainer and I myself have been using Jaaxy.  If you’re going to try and capture traffic, you’re going to have to know what keywords to target.  In fact, the primary goal of generating ranked content is to target certain keywords within your specific niche.  So a tool is always useful.

There are quite a few “free” ones out there:  Jaaxy, keyword tool, etc.  Eventually you will have to pay for them or pay to use the whole service.  Not really wallet friendly if you are kind of broke like me at the moment without a lot of money to spend elsewhere.  But you know what is free free?  Google.

You’ve probably noticed that whenever you type a search term into google, it auto generates some suggestions for you.  Google is an effective way to get a sneak peak at what people are interested in!  Hence why the Alphabet Soup method is one of my favorites to generate at least new content ideas.

Let’s do a fun example.  As a hopeful-future pet owner, maybe I would like to know what kinds of food are the best for my puppers.  Specifically, I want to feed him something organic and without fillers or preservatives or weird chemicals that is also vegan.  Pretty specific right?  But, bet your bottom dollar someone out there has that market tufted out enough to generate a review for me.

And in fact some have:

Seeing that highlight there probably proves to you that I already looked at it (couldn’t resist).  But I wanted to mention a few things.  Namely, this was the 4th entry, but the FIRST non-paid ranked page.  You’ve probably heard that you can pay some money to have your page show at the top but as a tendency, I’ve always just skipped past those.  ALWAYS.  You might not, but as a consumer I suppose I just always wanted to find a review written by a person with my best interests in mind.

I’d also like to show you something else:

Though you won’t reach exact numbers using the alphabet soup method, you can indeed find a rough estimate of your competition.  This particular person is ranked over 3 million others!  Good for them.

Later, in the future you may want to consider purchasing a membership from a more premium service.  I’m still debating which keyword tool I would enjoy the service of when I do have more money at my employment.  I’ll probably have a go at Jaaxy just because that is what I am more familiar with and the pricing was decent.  Be sure to check back in the future for a review on Jaaxy!


Content Creators


Now not all successful content creators have a team of writers behind them.  I’ve recently gained awareness of the idea of purchasing the service of a content writer from time to time from sites like Fiverr.

Isn’t that a neat idea?  It’s also another avenue of making money online.

Writing can be hard.  Writing effectively is even trapper for many of us.  How do we communicate our points to our audience?  How do we tip the scales for “conversion” as affiliate marketers?  This can be remedied by finding a good writer.

But it is not always a viable path for those weak on cash.

I don’t have a tried and true method for writing content.  In fact I am still getting into the habit of perfecting my own routine.  But I will say that this comes with an old cliche:  pick a niche you are passionate about!  Or at least interested.

For a while you may be the only content writer for your website. And life can get incredibly dull if you have no care for writing about your niche.  So find something you can stay committed to and are itching to communicate with people about.

You can write good content!

Looking around, what are some problems that you deal with on a daily basis?  Weekly?  Monthly or annually?  I’d like to start with a personal one:  eczema.  Sometimes I will be sitting there minding my own business when I start to feel the itch crawl up under my skin.  It makes me feel frantic – I begin to gnaw and claw at myself during a bump of discomfort.  Naturally when I am reading reviews on ways to relieve my eczema, I’m finding myself gravitated towards people whose content reflects my pain.  And I’m confident that the articles that impact you the most do the same:  they appeal to you or your situation.

People love good content.  And you can learn to write good content.


Backlinks?


Depending on what you have read this next bit might seem controversial.  I recently learned about backlink services that aim to game the Google algorithm.  If that sounds shady to you, then I’m right there with you.

Quite a few articles I read from very successful websites mentioned the use of PBN’s or Private Blog Networks.  To my understanding, you would essentially buy expired domains and then create links from those sites to the site you are monetizing.  You can read more about back linking and PBN’s at nichesiteproject.com.

For balance I’ve provided a counter argument from Kyle at Wealthy Affiliate.

In my opinion, seeking out backlinks through services like that is underhanded.  While I would enjoy more traffic to my sites I am genuinely frightened by the many warnings of being “penalized” by the big Google machine.

We are each our own, and I have chosen to follow the advice of Kyle and seek to write content that begs to be shared.  It is what I also urge people to do because I cannot recommend something I don’t do, but also because establishing a PBN can take money and time.  Personally I feel that all those resources could be dedicated to building up the content on my own website and paying for my bills.


Before we go, I want to say with much cheese, that you are the best asset to your website.  In so many ways, you are the driving force, the mastermind, and the creator.

Continue to make good content that people would share with their friends.  Keep seeking out better keywords to help people find you and your helpful content.

If you have any suggestions or questions please feel free to leave them below!  If you have heard of back linking, and have an opinion you would like to share I’d like to hear it!

As always, be cozy!

How to Pick a Niche

Oft times, when you set out for the affiliate marketing world (or just business) you are tasked with coming up with a niche.  A niche can be defined as a group of people looking for something.  That something could be:  help, information, or a product.

Now, “how do you find a niche?” Many times I’ve asked myself that when picking out my own niche for this very website.  Let me walk you through the steps I took when it came to picking out my own niche, as well as some of the thoughts and reservations I had.  For I posses a very doubting soul.


 

We’ve already defined what a niche is, and touched on what a niche could be, but how to find one?  Let’s start our search by defining some parameters to consider our niches by:

  • an interest/passion
  • specificity

Firstly, pick something that you are interested in.  If you are going to pick your work, make it something you can enjoy!  Here’s the list of things I came up with:

  • drinks
  • video games (specifically strategy and co-op)
  • Yoshi (from Nintendo)
  • horror stories
  • drawing
  • eating
  • food
  • vegan
  • thriftiness
  • making money
  • not being depressed

Now, any one of these could evolve into a workable niche but some of them are too BROAD.  From the earlier list, I mention specificity.  Gazing at my list of things I just downright enjoy, many of them are too broad.  Except for maybe that Yoshi one  That one might be a winner.  : 3

But let’s expand on “making money”.  As you can tell, this is already too broad.  And in fact it is what I searched before I got into this whole shenanigan of making a business myself.  What a hoot.

My brain was really scrambled (it still is).  Started to slip down the depressive mountain once more and in the rediscovered silence of my day I noted how much time I was spending on the computer.  It wasn’t anything new – but I did so love it.  I was a massive consumer of knowledge and that kept me perky when I came across affiliate marketing, and later Wealthy Affiliate.

It lit a fire in me.

My heart burned with this hot desire to figure this path out.  The idea that I wouldn’t have to deal with crummy supervisors, surviving a workday in physical pain, or even just not dealing with people when I was depressed was really strong.


People are always looking for ways to make legitimate money.  People are sick of being scammed, especially people like me who have already lost money.  (Try my entire savings of a whopping $600).  I wanted to capture my feelings of wanting to make it and balance it with not being scammed.

So this site was born:  help people find legitimate ways to make money in comfort.  And what I chose to extrapolate on was:  making money with affiliate marketing.

I’m a huge homebody – there is really no place quite like home to me.  You could say that this is my lair, and I get some pretty sweet bonuses to being here as opposed to being in the outside world (D&D 5th?).  In fact I have a hard time thinking about much else except being home and just doing what I want to do.


Let me summarize in this little chart:

got fired > researched making money online > found Wealthy Affiliate > learned about affiliate marketing > started website targeting people who want to make real money at home with affiliate marketing

What a mouthful!

Niches are simply:  groups of people looking for something.

When coming up with a niche, try to pick something that you already have an interest in (either by doing like a hobby, or by learning).  If you are stuck, brainstorm!  Think of a problem you currently have or have had that required a lot of work to get through.  Is there a way you can build content based off this?  For example, I have eczema and am interested in natural remedies.  Therefore, I could make a website dedicated to “natural remedies for eczema relief”.

If you are stuck, I suggest you take a mental break and see if you are suffering from the following ailments:

  • I don’t think my niche is good enough
  • I don’t think it will attract visitors to my site
  • Everyone has already done my niche before

Quick work of advice:  stop that!  Now, keep reading…

Selecting a niche shouldn’t be an end-all be-all.  In fact, if your first niche doesn’t pan out, you can seriously select another one.  Sometimes you just need to go through the motions to figure out how to do something before you apply it to something.  Your first niche might be too broad, and you will realize this when you start writing content.  You might even find your special place after writing several articles.  This is all a learning experience!  There is a PLANET full of people.  You just need to resonate with a couple of them to make things work out.


I hope this article helped you out when it came to selecting a niche.  If you are still having trouble, leave a comment down below and I’ll help you out.  If you would like to receive more training on niches, or affiliate marketing in general, you can opt into this free trial at Wealthy Affiliate by clicking on this link here.

Be cozy dearies!