Good Advice, Health, Lifestyle

Simple Ways To Reduce Daily Stress

Are you stressed out? Are you worried or anxious most of the time? The secret to conquering daily stress is in how we start our morning routine.

In our busy, overscheduled lives it almost seems normal to walk around stressed and anxious all of the time. As soon as we wake up and turn on the news, we are bombarded with negative information which is not the best way to start the day. While listening to the radio on the way to work, we may hear more bad news while stuck in traffic. Social media isn’t any better for us. Whatever tragedy we may have missed on the news is right there waiting for us online. Thanks to the advance of technology, we live in an age of constant and immediate information, and that’s not always a good thing. 

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***


Every morning the first thing I would do after waking up was drag myself out of bed, make coffee then turn on the TV and listen to the news. It was my daily morning ritual while getting ready for work. I mainly was interested in hearing the weather so that could plan my outfit accordingly, but the depressing stories in between the forecasts always get me down.

Once I arrived to work, the same terrible news would make its way into chatter around the office. It seemed to follow me like a dark cloud, but then I thought to myself “Oh well, everyone starts the day off with this way.” But why do we do this? Yes it is important to know what’s going on in our world, but this isn’t the way we should begin our day. If you don’t believe so, think about the weekends and how you wake up. Automatically your mind knows to relax and let you sleep in a bit. That’s because our minds are conditioned to do so. 

Signs of stress.


For many years I struggled with anxiety and depression, so I can tell you from experience that these tips provided here today do really work. I have definitely improved the way I start my mornings. Daily stress needs to be reduced and managed. Remember that stress can eventually cause physical and mental health issues. So how do you know if you’re stressed? Chances are If you are walking absently-minded or too caught up in the drama in your own head to see what’s happening around you, then you’re stressed. Here are some physical symptoms of stress and anxiety that you should pay attention to.

  • Your stomach feels upset, achy or cramped
  • You grind your teeth at night
  • You get frequent headaches
  • You often have sleepless nights
  • You have panic attacks
  • You’re feel sweaty or achy all over 
  • Your face breaks out frequently as an adult
  • You have reddish skin or eczema
  • You have a low libido

When you are really stressed out, cortisol “the stress hormone” levels rise in your blood causing increased heart rate and blood pressure which puts your health at risk. Your hormones are out of control which compromises the immune system. Next, the body has trouble producing white blood cells that fight off diseases and infection. This leaves you susceptible to all kinds of illnesses and can also lead to chronic inflammation. If you are experiencing many of the symptoms listed above, then could be suffering from an anxiety disorder. You should talk to a doctor who might recommend that you work with a therapist, psychiatrist or psychologist. Stress is unavoidable, so our main focus should be how to manage it in better, more effective ways. 

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Chesapeake Bay Candle Scented Candle, Balance + Harmony (Water Lily Pear)

The best ways to reduce daily stress.

  • Start your day better by avoiding TV, the news, checking phone messages, social media, and emails. For many years I was guilty of waking up and immediately grabbing my phone which can cause instant stress, and who needs that first thing in the morning? Try leaving electronic devices out of the bedroom. If you use an alarm to wake up, try soft music instead of that annoying buzzing sound. For years we are programmed to wake up this way, so why not change to a less stressful morning routine? Take a moment and look outside instead of turning on the weather report. You can always check on this later, after you mind is awake and at ease.
  • Eat Breakfast. You must properly nourish your body in the morning and a cup of coffee alone won’t do. After a long night of sleep, our blood sugar and metabolism are lowest. A healthy breakfast re-energizes the body and get us prepared to take on the day. Say for example you leave for work without eating and then become hungry while on the way to work. You think about grabbing a bite on the way to work, but then suddenly you become stuck in traffic! Now not only are you late for work, but your still hungry and may not be able to eat until lunchtime. This creates instant stress, no it’s not your fault your stuck in traffic or late to work, but you will be able to handle the  stress coming your way better with proper nourishment. Instead of arriving to work hungry and frazzled, you can be ready to move forward, be productive and take on the work day. 
  • Start off the morning with positive thoughts. Your first thought in the morning should be “I’m going to have a great day.” You can think your way into a having a better day by telling yourself just that, even if it’s a lie. Even if you are dreading that board meeting or whatever unpleasant task you have to face. When it comes to positive thinking, think mind over matter. Scientific studies show that thinking positively can moderate your how you handle stress.
  • Just breathe. Practice mindful breathing to get stress out of your system. When you are faced with something unpleasant, just take a moment and take in a deep breath. It’s the quickest and most direct way to calm yourself down.
  • Get moving. Exercise naturally lowers your stress levels and increases your confidence. I helps you to settle into a state of well being by boosting endorphins. (The feel good hormone.) It’s a great way to start the day but if your time pressed in the morning try getting in a couple a quick stretches. Then exercise later on in the evening. It doesn’t have to be anything strenuous. One thing that always helped me during a long work day, was to take a brisk 15-20 minute walk during my lunch hour. This is a great way to get some sunshine during the winter season, when daylight savings time causes it to get dark outside early, or for those affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder. 

Remember that stress, anxiety and depression if not managed properly, can begin to affect your physical health. I was a stressed out child growing up which lead to severe anxiety and depression once I became an adult. I firmly believe that this lead to a diagnosis of chronic illness later in my life. I always wonder if could have done something better to manage my stress when I was younger. Maybe it would have prevented my chronic illness? Now I feel it’s my responsibility to warn others about the dangers of living with chronic stress. Remember that you are your number one priority in life, and to take good care of yourself. If you find this information to be helpful, or try any of these techniques for yourself and like them, share it, I wish you the best!

Home Decor, Lifestyle

The Ultimate Guide To Beach Cottage Style

Beach Cottage Style is discovering how to turn your home into a comfortable coastal style retreat. Following this simple guide will help you easily create a home that you love, even if you don’t live near the beach. When it comes to home decor, people always focus on trends, but before you start wondering about the latest trends and techniques, I can assure you this decorating approach will be a breeze. It’s all about creating fresh, clutter free spaces that are cozy and livable. Your home should reflect who you are and what you love. If you are reading this, then most likely you love the beach!

***This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, when you make a purchase. Please, see my affiliate disclaimer for more details.***

When I think of the beach, I automatically think about the sun, sand, sky, sea. pale yellow being the sun, tan and white represent the sand, light grays and blues represent the sky and the color aqua represents the sea. These are colors inspired by nature that are easy to incorporate into your home to give it that serene coastal feel. 

I am always amazed at how paint can change a room instantly. Choosing paint can be daunting for some because there are just so many colors! It doesn’t have to be, just keep it simple. Remember the colors of the beach and use that as your paint palette like in the sample below. You don’t have to use these exact colors, try creating you own palette and use this example as a guide.

Here is a guide to help you find the right style for your home.

  • Paint: First you’ll want to lighten up living spaces with fresh coats of neutral paint keeping the rooms light and airy, and always, always paint the trim in white. White trim adds nice clean lines to the room and naturally compliments and enhances the wall color. Paint ceilings in light tinted blues to make the room feel light and airy like the sky.
  • Flooring: Add a sisal rug to lighten up dark floors and make the room feel larger. If you have dark wooden floors, consider painting them a creamy white to lighten up the space and give the room a finished look. If your walls are painted white you can keep the dark flooring to add contrast.
  • Furniture: Next, add time honored furnishings such as a light slipcovered sofa that will keep the room bright and fresh. You can also find potential in things that you already own, for example try adding a fresh coat of paint to old furniture instead of buying new.      
  • Accessories. Add natural materials such as wicker and seagrass baskets for decorative storage. They are great for hiding clutter and warm up any space.
  • Decor: Consider adding subtle nautical decor such as lanterns, sea glass bottles, and coastal wall art. Display your personal collections of sea shells to add unique character to your room. Use memorable beach and vacation photos and have them framed. Surround yourself with the things that you love that make you happy, and remind you of the beach. 

Here is a room by room guide to beach cottage style.

The Kitchen

Your kitchen is the heart of your home, it should nourish you and feed the senses. If it is small and dark then I suggest painting it white to enlarge the space. If you have dark cabinets that are paintable, consider lightening them up by painting them in a cool coastal blue. Not only does it give your kitchen a breath of fresh air, but it will look fabulous against clean white walls.

Then update the hardware on your cabinets with nautical knobs such as seashells, and starfish as shown below. Next, choose window treatments in natural colors such as linen, flax, driftwood or bamboo. Add a sisal or sea-grass rug to tie the rooms together. Style your kitchen with open shelves, aqua or ocean blue colored dishes and accents, and large coral and shell displays.

Joyindecor Ocean Cabinet Knobs

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The Dining Room

This is the place where family and friends gather together to share a fabulous meal, formal dinner parties, or where crafting and homework is done. Make this a warm and welcoming space filled with lovely things to look. For furniture ideas, start with a large white or light oak table and lots of comfortable seating such as slip-covered or upholstered chairs. Mix and match fabric chairs with rattan or wood. If you have an open floor plan kitchen/dining room combo, you’ll want to stick with like colors in the dining room to tie the two rooms together and make it feel like one cohesive space. 

Upholstered Parsons Chair w/Cover

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The Living Room

Less is more when it comes to the living room. Beach cottage living is creating a cozy, open and inviting space that reflects you. Opt for flexible seating plans such as a large overstuffed sofa with surrounded by one or two comfortable armchairs. Add in some upholstered poofs or an ottoman with pop of color to add visual interest. 

There is no need to overcrowd the living room with furniture or too many things. A couple of nautical paintings and  artwork here and there and a striped rug will make the room feel very coastal. I personally love the look of a white white slip-covered sofa. It’s so versatile and easy to change up the look in any season. Add a large coffee table or sea grass storage ottoman in front of the sofa. Decorate the top with a large sea-grass tray and place sea glass bottles, flowers, candles and nautical shells. Curtains, drapes and pillows with the same or like colors will add texture to the space and define the room. When displaying collections, group items together for a more unified look.

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Bedrooms

It’s easy to create those dreamy coastal bedrooms we all see on Pinterest. Remember to stick with the nature’s color palette to create a soothing environment for rest. Furnish the space with things that are warm and soft to the touch. The main focus of the bedroom is the bed itself, so you’ll want to choose bed linens that add visual interest such as a nautical pattern or stripes. You can also use neutral coastal colors such as aqua, coral, yellow or sea blues, just be sure to use lots of fluffy pillows, textures and patterns. 

Choose colors textures and lighting that feel soothing and calm such as a sea glass lamp. Keep window treatments simple with curtains light enough to allow in a cool breeze. Heavy curtains and drapes way the room down. Try bamboo shades to add an appealing textural element to the room. Adding ship-lap to the walls gives them an instant nautical look. 

Nautical Floor Table Lamp, Aqua

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Bathrooms

If your bathroom is already a neutral color than its easy to give it a beachy look. If not consider painting it in an ocean blue color. If you bathroom is small then paint it white and add sea-blue candles and accents.  Then, accessorize your bathroom with apothecary jars filled with seashells, sea glass beads, or add starfish, anchors and nautical art to the walls. Add soft and fluffy navy, white or tan bath rug. Update lighting with nautical style wall sconces and vanity lights, and add a nautical bathroom mirror.

 Set of 3 Seashell Handle Clear Glass Apothecary Jars

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I hope you found this article inspiring, see my blog page “Cottage Decor” for pictures and more inspiration or follow me on Pinterest and check out my board, “Beach Cottage Home” for more design inspiration.

Lifestyle

The Sea is Calling (For Our Help!!)

Our Oceans Are In Serious Trouble.  Did you know that each year over one million marine animals are killed as a result of plastic debris floating in the ocean? As a lover of the sea I feel compelled to write this article after watching a news flash showing tons of plastic floating in the ocean.  Pollution has pretty much taken over this planet, but now it’s affecting the sea more than ever! Our love of plastic convenience is killing the ocean, and now pollutes every corner of the earth.

What made me realize just how bad the environment has been affected was the recent ban on plastic bags in my state of Connecticut. There is now a ten cent charge per plastic bag.I have noticed lots of people refusing to purchase these bags now that we must pay for them, especially in a state where we are already overtaxed. But something good had come out of this after all. Less plastic is being put out into the environment. But is it too late?

Now the major stores and grocery chains are not innocent. I remember being given more than necessary shopping bags and double bags for even the smallest purchases. Yup, the major corporations are just as guilty! I feel they should be held responsible for this nightmare as well as consumers. 

Another thing I have noticed is just how much I don’t even need a bag at all. Many people are finally starting to bring reusable bags to do their shopping. But why weren’t we doing this all along? Why do so many marine life such as turtles, birds, and fish have to die for our carelessness?

Image credit The National Audubon Society
https://www.northernarizonaaudubon.org/?p=4791

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Image Credit: Forbes.com

I go to the beach often, and it just amazes me how people don’t care to clean up after themselves! I see people fishing in the lake or river where trash is thrown into. Don’t you ever wonder how someone can eat from the very thing they use as trash?  Don’t they ever think about where all of our seafood comes from. Plastic is being found in the digestive system of the fish we eat. That means we are also ingesting plastic.

My biggest fear is that someday we will no longer be able to eat seafood, swim in the ocean, or worse…all marine life will die. This is already starting to happen all over the world. People are contracting flesh eating diseases from polluted water, and due to highly dangerous bacteria some beaches are unsafe to swim in. Our water quality has greatly diminished, yet no one realizes just how much we need the sea.

As a society we have to do more than ban plastic bags in some states. We have to take responsibility and do our part as individuals to keep the ocean clean. If you are a lover of the sea, please share and do your part to help motivate others to save our precious ocean. 

Here are ways we can help.

 “The sea is calling for our help!”

I believe in the importance of teaching children while very young, the importance of keeping the ocean clean because the lesson will stay with them as they become adults. They will inherit this mess, unless we do something about it now. I have been passionate about this issue for many years  wrote about it here in this children’s book.

Pickles McNickles Day At the Beach is all about a boy who befriends a dolphin. In doing so, he learns all about the magic dolphin’s environment. Check it out here on Amazon, and if you make a purchase, thank you for your support.

Lifestyle, Travel

My Trip To Myrtle Beach Summer 2018

Crown Reef Beach Front Resort

Hello beach lovers! Have you ever been to Myrtle Beach? If not it should be on your bucket list! It has miles of white sandy beaches and gorgeous warm water that you can actually swim in. If the beach isn’t your thing, there are so many things to do in the city, like going to the amusement parks, golfing, endless seafood buffets or check out beautiful Myrtle Beach State Park. Here is a link on Things To Do In Myrtle Beach.

This was my first trip ever to Myrtle Beach last year and fell in love with this place. I am happy to share my vacation pics with you all though I am not in them, (camera shy). I still wanted to show you the beautiful pictures of the beach and the Crown Reef Resort. I know I’m like a year late posting this, but I didn’t have my blog set up back then. The views from the balcony and the ocean breeze was fantastic. The nightlife was pretty awesome too because our room was right above the DJ booth.

Balcony Night View

Here is the official link to The Crown Reef Resort and Waterpark. It’s a great family getaway place that the kids and adults love!

I spent seven days there exploring the local shops and mostly just hanging out on the balcony listening to the music. At night I did go down to check out the DJ and people dancing having a good time. The dance floor is right near the lazy river What I loved the most is how everyone got along so well! People were just so happy to be there. It must have been something in the salt water because everyone was having a good time and the parties went on every night that I was there. If you are thinking about visiting this place no matter which hotel you decide to stay in, don’t hesitate. It’s definitely worth it! I Hope you enjoyed these pics.

Good Advice, Health, Lifestyle

How To Enjoy Doing “Absolutely Nothing!”

Are you super busy? Is your life extremely hectic with no time for yourself? In life we are taught that we always need to be productive, and if we aren’t then we are considered to be lazy. The truth is that we don’t need to be doing something every single day. You need to take some time to rest and recharge. Overextending ourselves can lead to things like stress, complete burn-out, mental health issues, or chronic illness. We should never feel guilty for taking time off to rest and recharge. 

I used to be one of these people who felt like I needed to be doing something great all of the time. I used to work long hours and although I loved my job, I was always looking for an escape. I am grateful for all of those years of hard work, but now I am considered to be a professional escape artist. Sometimes the demands of life and the world can be very overwhelming for many people, (especially me)!

Now I have no problem turning off my phone, the news, or tuning out what ever I think will spoil my day of solitude. I think it’s funny because my family often accuses me of hiding from the world. But sometimes you just simply need a break, and I’m here to help you realize that there is so much more to life than the demands of our busy schedules. I’m not saying you should strive to do nothing all the time. I’m saying it’s good to create a healthy balance in life.

Here are reasons doing “nothing at all” is actually good for us.

  • Relaxation is good for the mind, body and spirit.
  • Taking time off fuel’s creativity.
  • Escape from everyday chaos.
  • Reconnect with yourself and clear negativity.
  • Create a calm, more peaceful day.

How to take a day off from life (with no guilt):

You may be wondering what to do with your time, but there are many great ways to fill up the day that make you feel good. I promise you won’t regret it. In Fact you may decide later that you will want to take a week or even a month off. But for now, take one day out of the weekend for yourself and..

  • Turn off the phone and tell everyone you’re unavailable.
  • Leave the kid’s with the sitter and declare a “Me” day.
  • Go to a relaxing spa and get a massage, manicure and pedicure.
  • Spend a day at the beach just looking at the waves.
  • Learn to enjoy spending time alone and tune out the world.
  • Take a drive, explore and see where the day takes you.
  • Make no plans and spend the day listening to your favorite music.

In life we often encouraged to remain busy and have many goals, because we think if we don’t work so hard we won’t be successful. Every achievement is celebrated, but why can’t we take a day and celebrate doing absolutely nothing. It sounds strange right? Why isn’t it okay to celebrate someone who is taking a little time off to rediscover what life is really all about? Spending time in solitude is important, because during this time you may realize that you want to take a different path, change your life’s direction, or try something new. After taking a day off from life you will be ready and even more energized to tackle the next project that you are working on. You will also be more motivated and ready to deal with whatever challenge you are facing. After all, finding balance in life is they key to our true happiness.

Finances, Good Advice, Lifestyle

What’s In Your Wallet? Everyone Know’s Thanks To Capital One!

Hello Everyone. If you are one of the 100 Million Capital One Customers affected, then this post is for you. I am also one of these unfortunate customers, and I’m very angry! I hope this post reaches the top executives at Capital One, as if they even cared! The reason I know they don’t care about their customers is because I called customer service to find out some answers and guess what? They had none! All they could say is “We are still investigating.”

Are We Really Secure?

First off I want to say that most of their customer service representatives are overseas, so they couldn’t care less what’s happening here in America. They are just happy to have a job. So here is a list of questions you may want to ask yourself and Capital One’s customer service before trusting them again. 

  • Why are secured card customers the only ones affected? Are we less important than regular credit customers?
  • Why are there different security regulations for non secured customers?
  • How do we really know that they caught the woman from Seattle in time?
  • What if she has already sold our information and will be sitting on a nice payday when and if she is ever released from jail?
  • What is Capital One doing to prevent incidents like this from ever happening again?

I am seriously considering transferring my balance to another bank, and cancelling my credit card with Capital One. If you have a secured card, Capital One is pretty smart about having you payoff the balance before getting back your security deposit. Why not just apply it to the balance owed? That would certainly speed up the process of closing the account, and of course they don’t want that! I also am not very happy with the lax apology statement from Capital One’s CEO quoted below.

While I am grateful that the perpetrator has been caught, I am deeply sorry for what has happened,” said Richard D. Fairbank, Chairman and CEO. “I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected and I am committed to making it right.”

See the full letter here: https://www.capitalone.com/facts2019/

I’m sorry, but 100 Million people affected is just too many, even one person is unacceptable. To these corporations and CEO’s we are just numbers! Numbers that make them money! After about two weeks of seeing all of the bad news in the media, Capital One posted this downplayed link on their website: Learn more about the Capital One cyber incident. That’s it? Really? They forgot to tell customer service about the incident too.


I also found out that Capital One lied to me in the very beginning when I opened up the secured credit card. Yes I needed to rebuild my credit. (Don’t judge me.) I had thousands of dollars of medical bills cleared away from my credit report and settled with 3 hospitals after becoming chronically ill. I thought it would be a good idea to use a secured card to rebuild my credit and lift my score.

They lied to me by saying that as long as I paid my balance on time every month for six months I would be eligible for a credit line increase. Well they kept that promise, and I did get a slight increase. But then only one year later when my pet was sick and I requested another increase, they told me that secured cards are not eligible for increase. I have never missed a payment with them in three years and there was no notice to this policy change!


I am really starting to like Dave Ramsey’s idea of closing all of my credit cards and putting a permanent freeze on my credit reports. He also says that the debtor will always be a slave to the lender. Now i can see why. As long as you owe money to anyone they can basically do whatever they want.

These companies can no longer be trusted, in fact this whole incident is just another reminder of the Equifax data breach. In September 2017, the credit reporting agency announced that breach compromised the identifying information of over 143 million Americans. Personal data like Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and addresses were accessed. How can we really keep ourselves safe if the very company’s that house our data are subject to hacks themselves??

Just the fact that I had to hear about Capital One through the media first  was enough to get my blood boiling! One week later there were still no answers, and for that Capital One, YOU FAILED MISERABLY! I will also include a list of ways to protect yourself online, if that is even possible!

Capital one makes millions of dollars in interest and they can’t even use some of that money to protect the people they rip off! Should you payoff all credit cards then close them? It’s up to us to protect ourselves, and here are the best ways to do so.

As a Capital One customer, and someone who worked in the banking industry for over seven years; I felt it was necessary to share this information. I felt the need to point out the lack of security and just plain carelessness practiced by some of these major financial institutions today. If you can close your account or transfer your balance to another back consider doing so. Once the big financial giants start to lose most of their customers, maybe they will pay better attention to the people that matter, instead of the bottom line. I know this first hand.

Does anyone remember First Union National Bank? They were certainly giants when I started working there many, many years ago with banks all across the eastern seaboard.

Now they are non existent! Do you see where I’m going with this?

Now I Definitely need a day at the beach!!!


Lifestyle, Travel

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

Today I’m going to do something different. I’m going to reveal 10 things about me you may or may not want to know, but hopefully you do. In my previous blog one thing I never did was share anything personal, but in doing so I also didn’t connect with my readers. It’s still hard for me to open up because I was a shy kid growing up, but I still made friends easily. Well… I’m still kind of an introvert, so here goes the list. Maybe you will be inspired.

1. I’m a nomad. Yup, I’m kind of a free spirit. I like to spend my time roaming the beaches of Connecticut and just about anywhere near the sea. I don’t like to stay in any one place for very long because I get bored easily, My friends often ask me “Where are you living now?” I think it’s kind of funny but why should anyone just stay in one place all of their lives? There is a whole big wide world out there to discover! Plus I believe that travel broadens the mind. You can learn so much about people and different cultures. To me that’s real living. My free spirit used to get me in trouble when I was younger, like skipping school to go to the beach! Thank goodness I never got caught because the beach really is my happy place!

2. I’m a Goofball. I really believe that laughter is the best medicine! People often tell me that I have a twisted sense of humor but I would rather laugh than cry. At times I often find inappropriate things really funny or laugh out loud at the wrong times. Life is too short to go around being all serious all the time. When I was younger, (Like in my late 20’s I spent way too much time working instead of living life and and having fun. I didn’t know it then, but life needs balance, so laugh more and take vacations often. Remember to make time for your friends and family because you won’t want to lose that bond. 

3. I battle a chronic illness daily. This one is a little bit interesting yet complicated. I was diagnosed with Severe Rheumatoid Arthritis in my early 30’s. I had plans on becoming a nurse, but life had a different plan. So here I am. I wouldn’t change a thing because my illness made me who I am today. Plus I am also and advocate and I enjoy helping others who also battle with RA. The beach blog is basically the escape from the reality of my daily battle. Make no mistake this disease will NOT win because I am a true warrior! I am stronger than I have ever been. So if you also are battling chronic illness, I want to let you know that you are not alone and you can reach out to me anytime.

4. I am an author. No, I’m not a millionaire lol, but I did publish self-help books related to living with RA and one children’s book just for fun. Of course it’s about the beach. I believe in the importance of teaching children about keeping the ocean clean. Now if only we could get the adults on board. I started writing as a hobby and before you know it the books were created, and then that lead to blogging which is something that I really enjoy doing.

5. I am happily single, never married and no kids! Yes, you read that right …happily! I do have a wonderful man in my life, but If I were married, I couldn’t be who I wanted to be and do what I love. I used to regret not getting married and starting a family, but as I got older I realized that I am free to follow my passion. I am not saying that you aren’t free if you do have a family though. In fact I desperately wanted children, but my chronic illness did not allow it. Plus it wouldn’t be fair to my kids to have a mom who is sick all of the time.

6. I once lived in Puerto Rico. About fifteen years ago, I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I decided to quit my job and explore the island of Puerto Rico. Everyone thought I was crazy and some people were just plain jealous, but it was the best thing I ever did. No I am not Puerto Rican; but at that, time “La Isla Del Encanto” had some of the most perfect and beautiful beaches unspoiled by man in the world. So I went exploring. I have no regrets! Just great lifetime memories. I took a one year sabbatical away from the american lifestyle of working, being worried about bills, and chasing the almighty dollar. I only left because I was homesick for Connecticut, but I did try to bring back the entire island in my suitcase! HAHA! Of course I carefully saved and planned for my trip. If you need and escape, plan it but then do it. Life is too short, plus now that I am chronic my travel is limited. I am so glad I did it when I was young and healthy! After seeing the video below, you will know why my favorite color is Aqua.

My Favorite Beach

7. I am bilingual, and I like to hide it. I speak Spanish as a second language. Not perfect Spanish but I did learn a lot while living on the tiny island of Puerto Rico. I also had great friends who taught me the language. The most valuable lesson I learned was how to slow down and appreciate life. I like to hide the fact that I speak Spanish because it’s nice to listen to see what others are saying about you…and then if they say something bad, you can let them know you understood perfectly! Haha Gotcha!

8. I want to move to London. Yes, I want to move to a place that I have never been, but I am too scared to take the 7 hour flight. Okay, I’m a chicken. I would have to move there because If I hate the flight going over I already know I’m not coming back. It just looks so beautiful and I want to explore the beaches of Great Britain! The history, The Queen, The Architecture, The Cotswolds, it all looks so amazing! I want to see Liverpool! One day I will get the courage to go, but until then there is always Pinterest! lolol

Castle near The Sea in Great Britain

9. I’m a “Huge Beatles Fan”, and in another life, Sir Paul McCartney is my husband. Okay, there you have it! I shared my celebrity crush and fantasy life! Haha! Oh how I wish I was born in the 60’s. Check out the funny video below, and Paul in his prime! I still see that same gorgeous man in his eyes now! I think women will swoon over him until he’s 100 years old. At least I will… If you don’t know who “The Beatles” are, then you are too young for this post!  If you want to know who they are, see my post about “Why I love The Beatles and you should too! Oh and by the way, they are the reason I want to go to Liverpool England!

Young hot Paul McCartney

10. I’m an animal lover. Especially DOGS! I have a soft spot for dogs! I just lost my precious yorkie-terrier mix in April of 2018. Ever since then peoples dog’s walk up to me to give hugs and pet them. It’s weird because it’s like they know that I am still grieving her loss. I firmly believe that animals: (all except for snakes) are a gift from God. BTW snake lover’s I’m sorry but those things just terrify me! But, I do love and appreciate most other animals more than ever. If you have recently lost a pet, see my article…..Surviving The Loss Of A Pet.


I hope you enjoyed reading these 10 silly things I shared about me. If you can relate to anything here I would love to hear from you, and remember to “Be yourself because everyone else is already taken!”- Oscar Wilde


Lifestyle

“My Summer 2019 Movie Review”

Do you ever go to the movies alone? For A while I struggled with going anywhere by myself, but now I love it! If you have never gone to the movies alone, I dare you to do it, you won’t regret it!  “Just for fun” Here are five movie reviews of some the Top Summer Movies I have seen. My favorite types of movies are either Horror or Action, so here’s a warning; there are three horror movies on this list, and I promise no spoilers!

1.

The Fast & The Furious Present: Hobbs & Shaw

This movie is a blast! Not only is the casting excellent, but what more do you need when you put “The Rock” and Jason Statham together? I love the way their two complete opposite personalities play off of each other and you will too! First off I want to say that while I am not all “gaga” over Dwayne Johnson’s muscles like most women are (don’t shoot me), I like soft squishy men. But I have to say I really did enjoy his acting.

Hobbs & Shaw is so awesomely packed with action you will be hanging off the edge of your seat. I found myself holding on a couple of times lol, along with some other people in the theater. People were shouting and clapping, and throughout the whole two hours, and not one person got up to use the restroom because they didn’t want to miss anything! 

Idris Elba is perfection at playing the sexy villain, and the stunts are just amazing. I have seen at least six of the “Fast and Furious” series and I really enjoyed this one. I give it 5 stars and I am going back to see it again. I came out of the movie theater all hyped up and ready to fight, but then I remembered that I hadn’t taken any karate lessons, so I would probably get my butt kicked! Haha!  If you like action, hold on to your seat, because there’s definitely plenty of it this movie!

2.

Annabelle Comes Home

Oh Annabelle, you little creepy doll, you should never be let out of your glass case!  (Really!!) If you know anything about the history of Annabelle and the movie series, I can tell you that some of it is true. The fact is, Annabelle is a Raggedy Anne doll. (I owned one just like her as a child), not that porcelain nightmare you see on the screen. I actually live and grew up in Connecticut (love my creepy beautiful CT) and although I never met Ed and Lorrain Warren I always heard about them, (thanks to The Amityville Horror) and I was saddened by her recent death.

I think this movie was a quickly made tribute to her which made it quite predictable. I also think it was a warning for people looking to get their hands on The Warrens collection now that they are both gone! Although it was a fun night out, the pace of the movie was just too slow. There were a couple of good scares, but it didn’t live up to the other Annabelle movies, so I give it 3.5 stars. The only thing that really scares me is that now that The Warrens are gone, is “Who is going to keep their cursed collection locked away from the public?” We don’t need any those objects getting out! Especially not Annabelle!

3.

Brightburn

Ok, let me start off by saying that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from this movie. I have seen the trailers thinking it was possibly a superhero movie, but boy was I wrong! More like a superhero from hell. This sweet and innocent baby comes into this couple lives, and … well… I will leave the rest alone if you choose to see it to avoid spoiling it.

I love Elizabeth Banks, and as far as I know, she doesn’t make any bad movies which is what prompted me to go and see it. Her acting is excellent throughout the whole movie, in fact I did enjoy it, but critics gave it some really bad reviews (which I always ignore) because if I like the actors in it, I’m going to see it anyway. It’s kind of gory and wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be, so I will give it 3 stars. 

4.

Avengers Endgame

Attention Marvel Fans!! All I can say is wow, what an amazing three hours of pure entertainment with just about every Super Hero and a cliffhanger ending that I didn’t see coming. Packed with action, I did not miss one minute of this blockbuster. This is one movie that the adults and older children will enjoy as well, with a positive message of  love, duty, honor, and loss making the characters legendary. I give it 5 stars, and plan to buy the DVD!

5.

Midsommar

Ari Aster is one twisted person. (no offense to him) I had seen his other movie Hereditary last summer and frankly was scared enough not to want to go back to see it again. (Yes it was that good) but I’m not sure how I feel about Midsommar. I never want to see it again… in a bad way and thanks to Mr. Aster, I never want to go to Sweden. To be fair to the Swedes, the movie is set in such a beautiful place with lots of sunshine and daylight, it makes you think “What could be scary about that?” Everything!! Kudos to Mr Aster for making us afraid of the day light!

Midsommar is a real Swedish Festival. Just not the horrific pagan cult that was portrayed in the movie. It does make you think about some of the true pagan traditions that are even scarier! I honestly don’t even know what to rate this one because I left the theater in shock at what I had just watched and feeling like I need Jesus. (not sorry non believers!) Besides, after talking to some of the other movie goers, they felt the same. Warning, this movie will really mess with your mind.

Going to the movies all by yourself is a great escape! Not only do I enjoy spending time by myself, but I meet lots of other people in the theater who are alone and also enjoying themselves. I find that during a hot hazy day, instead of sitting home blasting my air conditioner, I would rather be in a nice cool movie theater instead. I should add that I recently have had a lot of free time on my hands since I quit my job.

See my post, Confessions of a Serial Quitter!

For many years while I was single, I was actually afraid to go alone. The first time I did, the confused look on the cashiers face when I ask for just one ticket didn’t help. Haha! But I overcame it and now I have a great time! They say that movies are a nice escape from reality. I hope you enjoyed reading this because although I am not a professional movie critic,  I hope I at least made you laugh!

Good Advice, Health, Lifestyle

Surviving The Loss Of A Pet

About a year ago, I lost the love of my life. No not my significant other, my furbaby. Her name was Cookie. She was a Yorkie-Terrier mix, which means she was all attitude and a whole lot of endless energy and fun. I have owned other pets, but no other pet has impacted my life the way she did.

The Aqua Cottage

Our Story

My dog Cookie came to me at a time in my life when I was losing everything. I was diagnosed with severe rheumatoid arthritis, and had just been ordered by my doctor to stop working. I had not owned any pets for several years because I was always working, but when I stopped I invited one into my life again. Now I had the time to devote to a pet. One day while visiting my sister, I saw 3 of the most gorgeous little pups running around her neighbors yard. They were so friendly! in the loved these dogs and often stopped by to give them toys or treats. The owner didn’t mind, so I visited them too and fell in love. That’s when I got the surprise of a lifetime. He told me that they weren’t puppies but fully grown, and the female was expecting. Immediately I told him I wanted one, so he told me to come back in about 2 months. I waited patiently for my furbaby to be born! 

The day I met her, I cried as the owner placed this tiny being in my left hand. She fit perfectly. I cried because I loved her so much and I knew one day she would break my heart. Her mother barked as I wrapped her in her new blanket, and I leaned over to tell her “Don’t worry, she will have a good life with me. I promise to take care of your baby.” She was still so little that I had to bottle feed her, waking up at 3 am just like a real mom would feed her own baby. I should add that I don’t have children due to my chronic illness.

We had 5 amazing years together until she became sick. One day I noticed her having problems digesting her food. Then I noticed a lump so off to the vet we went. He found 2 more lumps on her belly and the look on his face was grim. My heart sank as he gave me the news. She was diagnosed with cancer. He said with her 15 lb weight they could start chemo but most likely it would kill her. I knew what my RA meds did to me, so I didn’t want to put her through that. I cried for about 2 days because I he told me she would live about another year or two. I declined chemo, but agreed to bring her in more often to keep her comfortable. I wanted to make sure she didn’t suffer. I dedicated my time to taking care of her and immediately stopped all dog foods and treats. It turns out she was allergic to the red dye found in most dog treats which also caused her seizures. I cooked for her daily, healthy batches of organic fruits, rice, vegetables and meat. Her digestion improved immediately and the seizures stopped. I supplemented her vitamins and spent a ton of money on Amazon, but I didn’t care. My baby was now terminally ill. I would do anything for her. I can’t tell you the amount of sleepless nights and vet visits but I have no regrets. She was my world.

You see the only time we were ever separated is when I was hospitalized. If I traveled far, she was always by my side. My little road companion loved car trips. Every time I came home my baby was there waiting for me. She slept near me always, and when I was sick she knew. She was the smartest, funniest little dog I had ever met. What a personality, and everyone instantly fell in love with her. What I didn’t realize is that now I was so focused on her health, mine actually improved and I began to go into remission. But life is so unfair, because here I was now finally getting better but my baby’s health was getting worse. As I noticed her health declining, I packed up my belongings and decided go and stay with my mom so I could afford to admit her to the animal hospital when necessary. I took her to the vet to make sure she would survive the 12 hour car ride. He said sure she’s great, she only had a slight ear infection and he gave me some drops and pain killer. Off we went to my moms house. During the trip she began breathing funny. I was so worried I must have drove 100 miles and hour to get her to the vet near my moms house. When we arrived she curled up next to my mom, and my mom said to her “I know you don’t feel good” as she lay her head in her lap. The vet thought she had asthma from breathing in toxins on the road. She gave her a breathing treatment and send us home.

Saying Goodbye

The next night I woke up at about 11 pm and noticed my baby struggling to breath. Back to the 24 hour vet hospital we went. He put her on oxygen and said that she had developed aspiration pneumonia. He did a chest x-ray and we found out that one of her tumours had burst causing her breathing problems. She would not survive. That night I had to make the unselfish choice to end her suffering. I walked into the room seeing her on oxygen, and even though she was still alive the light was already gone out of her eyes. I told her that I loved her very much more than anything. I told her she was the love of my life and I thanked her for being my guardian angel.

 I gave the vet the ok to give her the shot and put her to sleep sending her back to God. Then they took her off oxygen and she was put into my arms asleep. I nearly lost my mind as I carried her to the car. We took her home and I put her in my bed, I curled up next to my baby and she looked so peaceful. I had no idea what I would do with her body. I couldn’t bury her, I tried; but there was no way I could put her into the ground and walk away.  I had her cremated instead. Even in death that little creature still demanded to be near me.Taking her to be cremated was the next hardest thing to do as I nearly lost my mind.

 I thought I would never survive it, and my family became worried for my health. When I got her ashes back they handed them to me in my left hand. It was her complete cycle of life,  and i instantly remembered the way her mom’s owner handed her to me when she was born in that same hand in a tiny package. I was overwhelmed with grief and my heart was broken. Cookie taught me so many things about life and because of her I now appreciate all kinds of animals. I still have not gotten another pet because she still has my heart. I’m not ready to give it to a new creature. I felt guilty for a long time, wondering if I really did all I could to save. I recently me a wonderful nurse who put our who experience into perspective. She said “That little dog came into your life to save you, and now her job is done. I don’t think you would have ever gone into remission without her.” How amazing, I never thought of it that way!

How To Cope With The Loss

You will find the courage to go on. My only comfort is knowing that my beloved pet is no longer suffering. People tell me I was a good mom, lol and that she only survived to be 7 and a half because of the way I took good care of her. Here are some ways to cope.

  • Remember the love and all of the things they taught you! The funny moments get me through the tough days.
  • Make room in your heart for a new furbaby, but only when you are ready! I still am not so its ok if you aren’t too!
  • Don’t listen to anyone about how to grieve. Take all of the time that you need. I was told by many people that I should be over this by now. (I think they are heartless)
  • Spend time with other peoples pets. It fills helps to fill the void a little. I often see dogs in the park and they come up to me. I pet them and instantly feel better.
  • Talk to you beloved lost pet. I still talk to Cookie as if she is still here. I still tell her Love her everyday because I do! I believe their spirit never leaves us. I can often feel her around me the first few months that she passed I often would dream that she is right near me. I would wake up and smell her.
  • Remember that your bond is forever and that one day you will see them again. I firmly believe with all my heart that I will see every pet I ever loved on the other side. That is what keeps me going, and that is how I survive the loss.
  • Remember you did the best that you could for them. They know when it’s time to say goodbye, and that the love remains forever.

Here She Is! “My Little Love”

If you are reading this and still have your furbaby is still alive, thank your lucky stars! Know that when that day comes to say goodbye you will become super strong to be by their side. I waited for her birth and in the end I waited for her death. Knowing that she died peacefully in my bed  is my comfort forever. Thank you for reading this. It has been more than a year before I could even begin to write about “my little love.” I want the world to know what an angel she was, and how pets can save your life. If you like this article or find it helpful, please share it.

Good Advice, Lifestyle

Why You Should Quit Your Job Right Now!!

The Aqua Cottage

Do you hate your job? I hope not, but if you do then you should find another immediately. Life is too short to not be doing what you love!

I recently quit my last 2 jobs within 3 months. That’s right! I went to lunch and never looked back! I know it’s totally unprofessional, but so were the places that I worked, so I call it even. I should add that I don’t have a degree, but I did attend college. I could not finish college because of my health. About 12 years ago, I had a great job as a human resources assistant. We worked well together as a team in our tiny office, and respected each other as human beings.

I loved that job, the benefits were awesome including tuition reimbursement. I took advantage of those benefits because I worked for a medical center and I wanted to be a nurse. Sadly after being diagnosed with a chronic illness I was unable to work for about 10 years. The past couple of years I have been healthy enough to return to work. With no degree thanks to my health, I worked in customer service which is what I had done for over 15 years. So you could say I have plenty of experience.

Now here is where things get tricky. Back in the day (like 15 years ago) there was such a thing called (OJT) or On The Job Training. Companies actually cared about the service their employees were providing to their customers. Employees felt confident in their work (because they actually knew what they were doing) and it was a more productive work environment.

 I have only been out of the workforce for about 10 years, but I realized how everything has changed (and not for the better). These new corporations don’t seem to care who they hire, or about training them. The attitude I have experienced in my last 3-4 jobs has been “Lets throw them to the wolves, and if they get it, then they can keep the job.” Kind of like when someone throws you into deep water unprepared and you either “sink or swim”.  Sink and “You’re fired!” I don’t agree with “fake it until you make it”.

Not only does this ridiculous idea of treating your employees like crap and not training them properly for the job create a highly stressed work environment, but it creates a high job turnover. Sadly some companies purposely create a hostile work environment wanting high turnover so that they don’t have to pay benefits. You are doomed if you stay!  If you are companies please understand that while profits and the all Mighty Dollar are very important, people are important too! Stressed out employees create stressed out customers. Is that the ultimate goal? What customer would ever want to return to your miserable establishment to do business? Eventually it will fail.

Another big problem is hiring one employee to do the job of three. Dumping the entire workload on one person creates burnout, which is exactly why I went to lunch and never came back. I was completely burnt out after only 2 weeks on the second job, and doing the work of 3 people. Many employees would leave early and were always calling out “sick.” That’s certainly not somewhere I would want to be to all day to earn my money.

The supervisors were useless, there was no team effort, and some even yelled at untrained employees for making simple mistakes. Um …hello? You should have taken the time to train them instead of belittling them! All they ever did was complain about how they had no help! Gee I wonder why? 

This needs to change and if you are working for one of these companies I advise you to start looking elsewhere immediately! Here are the reasons to quit your job soon!

  • They lie about training: Have you ever been told you would train for 2 weeks or a month? All of sudden you are working all alone after 2 days with no help or no clue as what you are doing? Quit!
  • Lack of respect: You walk into the office and the boss can’t even lift up his head to speak. Apparently a simple hello or good morning is too hard. The employees are yelling and swearing at each other and there is no team effort. Quit!
  • You are doing the work of 3 people:  Did you ever find yourself working a double shift covering for someone all the time? There is a reason everybody keeps calling out of work. They are tired of being overworked. Quit!
  • They don’t listen to your ideas: Let’s say you have a brilliant idea and you bring it to your bosses attention and it just gets brushed aside. Quit!
  • No room for advancement: This is huge because there are many people who have no college training and start at the bottom to work their way up. If your company doesn’t have any room to grow chances are you won’t either, and you don’t want to be stuck in a dead end job. Quit!
  • High employee turnover: You ever notice how a certain company is always hiring? Constantly advertising how they are “growing” yet people are leaving as fast as they are hiring? Well of course, it’s such a horrible place to work nobody stays. Quit!

Now, i’m not unreasonable at all. I completely understand if you have responsibilities and it may not be that easy to just quit, but my advice is don’t find yourself trapped in one of these situations. You may never be able to get out and start doing what you love. Have you ever heard stories about people who were laid off from a job, or all of a sudden find themselves unemployed and they are devastated? Only to find out later that it was the best thing that happened to them? Through lack of employment they were forced to find their passion or start their own business. They realized that some of the best failures is what created their success.

After I quit my most recent job, I took some time off and spent the weekend on the beach. I needed to get away and clear my head from that horrible work experience. It was there I met a wise, wealthy woman who owned one of the beach houses and she gave me some great advice! She was really friendly and sat down near me with her dog. As we talked about enjoying the ocean breeze, eventually she asked me what I did for a living. I told her how I had just quit my last 2 jobs and how poorly I was treated. She said “I absolutely don’t blame you for quitting.” I was completely surprised by her response. Then she said “Don’t you notice a pattern here?” You quit because you are not doing what you love!” The money doesn’t matter because you need to work for yourself, you need to follow your passion.”  

It was then that I remembered what I loved, which was writing and helping people! I have been so happy since I took her advice. I started blogging again and I have never been happier. I can’t wait until I see her again so that I can thank her. That day I made a decision, I refuse to work for anyone else again but myself. With my new found freedom, I have had time to meet some really nice people. I know I was meant to meet her.

I am sitting on the beach (my new stress free office) as I write this article, and I want you to know that I won’t ever go back to a miserable job again to earn a paycheck. I refuse to be just another replaceable body, because I am unique, and so are you! I hope I have inspired you to figure out what it is that you love to do. Go after your dreams and find a way to make money while doing so, and quit that miserable job! If you liked this article, or know someone in this situation please share it.