Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Together We Can Find a Cure #CureForBayla

They say that people come into your life for a reason. Whether you know that reason right away or it takes a little while to figure it out is dependent upon the situation but regardless, every person you meet is meant to be there.

I first met Ashley of Crunchy Frugalista through a mutual friend when I went to Chicago for BlogHer 2013. We spent the day wandering around Chicago and enjoying the sights and not only did I meet a fellow blogger, I met a friend.

Hannah of The Wholy Trinity, Myself, & Ashley of Crunchy Frugalista

Not only is she a fellow blogger but she also knows the value and fragility of health from personal experience; initially I didn't know much about her and her daughter's situation, but once I started following her blog and their struggles, I was quickly filled in.

Bayla, Ashley's daughter, has severe food allergies and skin infections that nobody really knows the root cause. She's been dealing with poor health all her life but the last 4 years have been particularly rough and it seems to be getting worse instead of better.

Ashley writes, "her little body is fighting and having allergic reactions to more and more things. Sometimes her skin hurts so badly that she isn't able to physically smile or laugh. When tears roll down her face they leave streaks of white because even the light pressure of her tears causes her skin to react. We lay her little head down at night worrying that one morning she might be gone because her little body can't handle the fight anymore."

The worst part about this all is that Bayla is only 11 years old and has not really been able to enjoy her childhood like kids are meant to. Of course chronic illness is devastating no matter what the age of a person but illness in children holds a special place in my heart.

Most of my readers know that I was only 14 when I initially got sick so I understand what it's like to have your world turned upside down at an early age. Thankfully I was able to have a normal childhood a little longer than beautiful Bayla here but despite that, being ill makes you grow up extremely fast.

Unfortunately the last 4 hospitalizations for Bayla in the last 18 months have garnered very little answers and like any determined mother, Ashley is looking elsewhere for those much desired answers to help her daughter.

Thankfully, after a lot of up-in-the-air unknowns, they finally have a solid appointment for October 13th with the National Jewish Hospital in Denver, Colorado! That also means they have less than 2 weeks to raise the money to get there.

If this story resonates with you and you'd like to help Bayla get the medical care that could give her her childhood back, donate to the Help Find a Cure for Bayla fund. Even as little as a $1 goes a long way!

If you can't donate but still would love to help the cause, feel free to retweet the tweet below or share across your other social media channels.

If you have a website you can also grab the button below which leads the clicker directly to the Go Fund Me fundraiser page:

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Win It Wednesday(9/17)

Win It Wednesday is a day for showcasing, browsing, entering, and linking up contests-Have a contest that needs a little extra exposure? Feel free to link it up!

NOTE:: Linking up your contests on my Win It Wednesday linky below automatically puts them on my Ongoing Contest Linky.

DOUBLE NOTE:: You only have to submit your contest link ONCE because I manage the ongoing list myself, deleting contests as they expire.


Win a Beautiful One Fated Knight Leather Tote Bag!! 

Ends September 21, 2014

Enter Here


Win 1 of 3 Libre Black Brush Tea Glasses!!

Ends September 28, 2014

Enter Here

 Win an Essence of Beauty Naturally Indulgent Prize Package!!

Ends September 29, 2014

Enter Here

Monday, September 15, 2014

Namaste: 3 Forms of Yoga for a Healthy & Balanced Life #silkproteinpower

Ever since I became ill, my family and I have been heavily into healthy living, but last year is when I really started getting seriously involved in fitness. I tried (and enjoyed) many different types of exercise; weight lifting, hiking, kayaking, traditional gym workouts, walking, and more.

While I loved experimenting with being fit in different ways, two particular types of exercise really stuck out over the others...

Pole fitness and yoga. Hatha yoga to be exact.

I have only experienced the one form of yoga so far in my healthy living journey but there are many, many different forms and subsets of yoga out there; it's just a matter of finding one (or more) that you enjoy and that fits your personality and lifestyle.

Outlined below are just a few styles of yoga, but if yoga as a whole is an exercise you enjoy doing, I highly suggest looking into the other different types and trying ones that interest you!

Hatha Yoga is the most basic of the yoga styles out there and gives you a fantastic starting point if you're a newbie to the yoga world. Being the foundation for all other styles of yoga and the easiest to learn and use, Hatha incorporates Asanas (individual postures), Pranayama (regulated breathing), and meditation (Dharana & Dhyana) for a very refreshing and relaxing workout. Regardless of if you choose to do it on your own at home with video tutorials or in a class with a certified yoga teacher and fellow yogi classmates, the best part of Hatha yoga (in my opinion) is the fact that YOU can choose the pace! All asanas are modifiable so you're able to complete the posture without putting your body in any serious strain, the sequences you go through can be as easy or as difficult as you choose, and if you have any issues with your body, you can find several asanas that can help aid in your healing (I.E. back pain, menstrual cramps, digestive issues, etc).

Picture courtesy of ToteLifestyle.com

Bikram Yoga incorporates the same asanas in Hatha yoga but there's a catch; only 26 poses, including two breathing exercises, are performed in the same order and repeated for exactly 90 minutes in a single class. Bikram classes are also renowned for being held in 95-105 degree ferinheight rooms, the heat helping to promote flexibility, detoxification, weight loss, muscular strength and endurance, and more. On a related note, hot yoga is nearly the same thing as Bikram yoga except instead of being restricted to 26 poses, hot yoga can be comprised of many different poses based on what studio or teacher you have, still in the same 95-105 degree environment. There are some precautions when practicing this type of yoga however; if you suffer from high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, or other chronic illnesses that are set off by heat, Bikram yoga might not be for you. You also will want to consume a lot of water during and after a class to replace the liquid you're sweating out and to stave off dehydration.

Picture courtesy of Unnata® Aerial Yoga

Unnata Aerial Yoga, also known as just aerial yoga, is fairly new to the yogi world and includes the use of a soft fabric hammock suspended from the ceiling to help support the weight of the yogi while they flow through their class. The hammock is positioned low enough to the ground so it allows the user to either partially or fully support their weight while practicing each pose. This type of yoga combines the traditional Hatha yoga asanas (positions) with the training of an aerialist, combining the two to create a unique, beautiful, and beneficial experience for any fitness level from beginner all the way to advanced. With all the benefits of other traditional yogas, Unnata aerial yoga also helps users achieve advanced yoga poses in less time with the extra help the hammock provides over possibly having to wait years with other forms of yoga.

Whether it's yoga you prefer or a different type of exercise you enjoy participating in, exercise isn't just the only thing you need to incorporate into your everyday life if you seek a healthy lifestyle. A well balanced diet is also a key to maintaining a healthy life!

Eating lots of fruits and vegetables, opting for organic foods, cooking a majority of your meals at home, and substituting healthier ingredients in snacks and recipes such as Silk Soymilk in lieu of regular milk in smoothies, especially before or after a good workout, are just a few ways to enhance your life for the better.

Speaking of soy milk, did you know Silk Soymilk has no cholesterol and contains plant protein? To learn more about the benefits of soy milk check out the About Silk Soymilk page on their website or follow them on Facebook.

Tell me, what do YOU do to stay healthy?
Have you ever tried yoga before?

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Spice Up Your Life with #TexasPete Hot Sauces (& Help Feed America)

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Texas Pete. All opinions are 100% mine.

 photo TexasPete_Logo_Simple_zpsb993442b.png


As I get older I start to appreciate foods I hated when I was younger. I never liked spaghetti sauce on my pasta; I always preferred the noodles plain with butter. Regardless of the circumstances I would go nowhere near sauerkraut. And finally, I was not big on spicy foods so I'd usually steer clear.
Let's say if the menu was based off a 1 to 5 chili pepper rating, I was a 1. Maybe 2 tops.

Fast forward to the past couple of years. I've actually been experimenting with more spicy recipes and menu options, which makes Texas Pete Hot Sauce perfect for a hot sauce newbie like myself!
About Texas Pete Hot Sauce:

"One taste and you will agree that you can't find a more fresh, flavorful, first-quality product than our Texas Pete® Sauces. We continue to ''make history'' with every batch – starting with critical selection of only the finest quality ingredients and following careful, consistent manufacturing controls to ensure dependable recipe integrity in every product that proudly bears our name!"
Not only does Texas Pete include hot sauces ranging form original to extra hot sauce, they also include wing sauces, chili sauces, cocktail sauces and even a few snacks.

Think of Texas Pete Hot Sauce as not just a condiment but an ingredient that spices up and transforms any everyday meal into something extraordinary!

Speaking of hot and spicy goodness, you can't miss Texas Pete Hot Sauce recipes section on their website! You can find everything from snack and appetizer recipes to a plethora of entrees to even a few dessert recipes.

Speaking of which here is just one of those great recipes to give a try!


Spicy Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad

(Makes 2 quartz)

I love me a good vinaigrette and that combined with this healthy and spicy roasted corn, black bean, red onion, and roasted red bell pepper salad flavored by CHA! by Texas Pete® will be a perfect snack or meal for anyone who needs to give their diet a little kick!

Salad Ingredients:

• Salad
• 4 cans of corn (drained well)
• 3 Tbsp. olive oil
• 4 cans of black beans (drained well)
• 1/2 a red onion (minced)
• 2 cups roasted red bell pepper (diced)
• 1 bunch Cilantro (fresh, roughly chopped)
• 1 bunch scallions (sliced thin on a bias)
• Salt and pepper to taste

Dressing Ingredients:

• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1 lemon; juice (fresh squeezed)
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• 1/2 cup olive or vegetable oil for salad dressing
• 4 Tbsp. CHA! by Texas Pete®
• 1 tsp. Cumin
• 1 tsp. Chili powder
• Salt and pepper to taste


Step 1: Turn on the oven broiler. Drain the corn well and place it in a mixing bowl. Toss the corn with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Place the corn in an oven-safe dish and place under the broiler for approximately 5 minutes or until the corn has lightly charred. Place the corn in the refrigerator to chill.

Step 3: Once the corn is cold, place it in a large mixing bowl. Add the black beans, minced red onion, roasted red bell peppers, cilantro, and scallions. Combine well.

Step 4: Place all ingredients for the salad dressing into a blender and puree until smooth. Pour the dressing over the corn and black bean salad and mix well.

Step 5: Season the salad with salt and pepper and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

If you're interested in whipping up one of the recipes on their website or are creative and choose to create your own spicy masterpiece, you can find Texas Pete Hot Sauce on their website store locator and have at it.

When you're done don't forget to share your unique recipe on social media including the hashtag #TexasPete!


Texas Pete will also be donating $1 to Feeding America (up to a $5,000 total donation!)  for every social share including the hashtag #TexasPete throughout the campaign.

I've made sharing a tweet easy for you; all you have to do is copy and paste the tweet below and replace the empty space with what YOU want to spice up with Texas Pete Hot Sauce:

"I'd like to spice up my _______ w/ & donate $1 to Feeding America! "


 If you choose to tweet out a message (or share on other social media) make sure to leave a link so I can support you by commenting, liking, retweeting, etc!


Visit Sponsor's Site

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Win It Wednesday(9/3)

Win It Wednesday is a day for showcasing, browsing, entering, and linking up contests-Have a contest that needs a little extra exposure? Feel free to link it up!

NOTE:: Linking up your contests on my Win It Wednesday linky below automatically puts them on my Ongoing Contest Linky.

DOUBLE NOTE:: You only have to submit your contest link ONCE because I manage the ongoing list myself, deleting contests as they expire.


Win your Choice of Shoe from Rejuve by Propet!! 

Ends September 15, 2014

Enter Here

Win a $75 Walmart Gift Card!! 

Ends September 19, 2014

Enter Here


 Win the Complete Season of Hey Arnold!! 

Ends September 20, 2014

Enter Here

Monday, September 1, 2014

I'm a Bitch. A Book Bitch.

I never was one to do many extracurricular activities when it came to school because of my illness but there was one club I belonged to starting in 7th grade and stretching all the way through my senior year of high school.

I was in book club.

I think this was my club of choice because I was and still am, of course, an avid reader and I had started going to this particular club before I initially got sick, so when I started missing a lot of school in the beginning and throughout the school year of 2004, my fellow book club members did their best to still incorporate me into the activities of the club.

That hospitality never really stopped throughout the years and regardless of how many meetings I missed, I was welcomed back with open arms when I was healthy enough to attend.

Something I really missed about book club was the special bond we all shared. Those who are avid readers understand the one I'm talking about; when you come across another book lover who happened to have read one of the same books you have and instant conversation starter about characters, story plots, the author's writing style...you go into that book's world once again with someone who got to know the characters just as well as you did.

Fast forward nearly 6 1/2 years later and I'm part of a book club once again lovingly named by it's founder and one of my close friends, Book Bitches.

And this time around we've got wine. Lots of wine.

As you can see, our first book was Stephen King's Bag of Bones which is a 752 page book that I proudly finished in 3 days. Unfortunately a few of my fellow Book Bitches weren't able to finish the whole thing due to life, understandably, but we all still had a great time discussing everything about the book from the characters to the plot twists to even the TV movie inspired by the book.

We incorporated a ladies brunch into the club meeting as well so there was also plenty of delicious food and beverages contributed by each of us. Did I also mention plenty of wine?

My contribution were my famous gluten free lime cupcakes with a special book club accessory (no books were harmed in the making of these cupcakes):

Since we were having a ladies brunch and that usually leads the mind to think 'fancy' and 'sophisticated', we all decided to get all dressed up for the occasion as well. There are so very little chances to dress up these days that it's nice to be able to do it every now and again!

From the food contributed to the book chosen to the hours spent laughing and joking among friends, I think the first meeting was a huge success! Since some of us had issues finishing the first book we decided the second book would be below 300 pages. After a few books were suggested, we voted and decided upon Rachel Caine's Glass Houses.

Now to just wait until our second meeting to repeat the fun festivities!

 Speaking of books, what are YOU reading?