Places Around the World: Flathead Valley, Montana

In collaboration with a beautiful bunch of bloggers, today I’m writing about where I live and why you might want to visit the area. While this area is very culturally and historically interesting and offers all the comforts of the city we are, by far, known for what mother nature gave us.

My husband and I moved to Montana twenty-one years ago and I immediately knew it was one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I had just returned from Australia and had witnessed the most breathtaking scenery I could have ever imagined and this land of northwestern Montana still impressed me.

We moved here in the rainy season. It was spring time and the green was like nothing I had ever seen. We came from northern Nevada, a literal desert. All I had seen everyday for my entire life was brown and gray. The water is so abundant here and it was so beautiful! The deep shades of green in dense forests, bright green of the vast meadows and the blue of the sky hurt my eyes, they were so beautiful. It was like seeing color for the first time. There were lakes everywhere and it rained for days at a time.  I remember going for a drive and finding Swan Lake. We sat on the wooded banks of the lake in a drizzle looking over to the other side at the misty mountains just like a scene from Lord of the Rings. We are so nerdy.

This area of Montana is called the Flathead Valley. It is in Flathead County and extends from the northern tip of Flathead Lake, over near the gate to Glacier National Park in the northeast and to Whitefish Mountain in the northwest. We live in the valley but it is outside of the valley where the real fun happens.

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK

Did you know there is a glacier in Montana? I didn’t! Kalispell, Montana is just 45miles south of Glacier National Park. Our number one tourist attraction, the park is full of gorgeous hiking, rafting, lodging and driving opportunities. Going to the Sun Road is a one lane highway that climbs the mountain over the other side, showcasing the majestic mountain peaks and glaciers that still reside here. Rivers and waterfalls dot the way up the mountain with plenty of pull off areas to hike further into the gorgeous country. Wildlife is plentiful in the park and you are bound to see deer, moose, mountain goat, bear and a lot of birds and ground squirrels. There are several lakes, lodges, camping areas and a visitors center located within the park. Several outfitters in the area offer guided rafting, horseback riding and bus tours.

FLATHEAD LAKE

The largest lake west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake is another popular destination in the summer months. Comparable to Lake Tahoe, Flathead Lake offers over 200 square miles of open water for recreating. Charming towns pepper the coastline and are loaded with local food and fun. Polson, Lakeside, Somers and Bigfork are the main ports on Flathead Lake. They all incorporate amazing facilities and dock areas for boating, kayaking, paddle boarding or swimming off-shore. Bigfork has a gorgeous summer playhouse for your musical viewing pleasure and lovely dining options within walking distance.

SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING

This corner of northwest Montana is home to two popular ski resorts. Blacktail Mountain in Lakeside and Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish. I have never snowboarded or skiied before and I’ve only gone up to the ski resort in the summer, when they have gondola rides and amazing ziplines. But if you’re into that, you will have an absolute blast. The view from the top is unbelievably beautiful in any season. Winter activities include skiing, sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, hockey and much more.

Having lived here for two decades I can say it has changed a lot. The population has tripled and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. On top of our regular population, thousands of tourists visit the Flathead Valley every summer but the winter is also a treat with plenty of snow. I urge you to visit this gorgeous forest and lake habitat but I would advise you to plan well in advance and expect it to be crowded in July and August. This is just the tip of the iceberg! This area is home to miles and miles of lakes and forests to explore respectfully and nature’s beauty is literally around every corner.

Be sure to check out other posts about Places Around the World from:

Mind. Beauty. Simplicity.
AllThingsGeexo
Thecurlysunshine
Inspiring Positively
Blog Life With Erica
Faerie Lifestyle
Examine This Moment
Headphones Thoughts
Jessica Lasa
Korra Shay
Life Begins At Twenty
Growing With Spawn
Riyah Speaks Blogs
Sophia Patel
The Yorkshire Dreamer
Along Came Rosie
Victoria St. Michael
The Nutmeg Diaries
Alice Almeida
Simply Alex Jean
It’s Brit Life
Enviroline Blog

5 Things To Keep in Mind When Decluttering Tough Spots In Your Home

Mind. Beauty. Simplicity is one of my favorite blogs to follow and they have graciously written an article for my readers about something I am not that good at. Decluttering. Spring cleaning time is here and raise your hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed! 🙋‍♀️ Check out their website for more cleaning tips!

                                              Guest post by Mind Beauty Simplicity 

When downsizing your home, like a lot of things in life, there can be easy moments as well as harder ones. Clearing out a closet or a drawer can seem like a breeze. But when it comes to other areas, like storage rooms, garages or even sentimental belongings,  it can seem like a never ending battle. Today, I wanted to share with you 5 Things to Keep in Mind When Decluttering Those Tough Spots in your Home. Something I’ve discovered in this journey to minimalism, is there is a commonality to decluttering & with these concepts in mind, even the most cluttered areas can become more cleansed. 

Before I begin, I’d just like to introduce myself to Jessica’s readers. My name is B & I am a minimalist lifestyle blogger on Mind Beauty Simplicity where I talk about intentional living & ways I’ve downsized my life. Recently, I have started a series entitled, Messy to Minimal where I go from room to room & share my tips & tricks in decluttering to hopefully provide you with inspiration to do the same with your own homes. If that is of interest to you, I’d love it if you stopped by my blog. 

5 Things To Keep in Mind When Decluttering Tough Areas in Your Home:

  1. Decluttering Takes Time

If you know the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, this same phrase heavily relates to the decluttering process. Regardless of what you are trying to get rid of or downsize, understand you rarely will finish this task in a day (especially in these very cluttered areas). Be sure to take breaks & not rush yourself. We want to do this right & not throw out anything we may regret. Slow down & ease into the process. Recently, I helped my boyfriend declutter his childhood keepsakes. This has been a monthly process. But by the end, we managed to go from six large storage bins to only one. Although it can take time, the task is well worth it in the end. Go in sections & split up the items in smaller piles & slowly you’ll work your way through it all. 

  1. Ask Yourself The Tough Questions

Sometimes we have to be real with ourselves & ask why we hold onto certain items. When you show yourself a bit of tough love & truly reflect, you tend to realize the reasons you hold onto specific belongings may not be good enough. Let me give you an example. I’ve been downsizing my wardrobe pretty brutally this past year, but for some reason I still end up with a pile of questionable attire. These items include graphic t-shirts from events (sometimes free), holiday sweaters I only wore once or accessories I hold onto just in case. But the thing is all of these items have been just accumulating dust for years. I haven’t worn any of it lately. So I asked myself why  I hold onto these particular items. And my reason was because it reminded me of past me & I just couldn’t let it go. But this time around, I told myself to get a grip & to FINALLY donate these items. If I wasn’t going to wear them what was the point? This concept of asking ourselves those tough questions can be for anything you are trying to let go of & I promise you, this mindset is life changing. 

  1. The Clutter Will Just Keep Accumulating

Storage areas & garages are feeding grounds for clutter. Honestly, I itch just thinking about the mess these areas can make. But we kind of need a few areas to store seasonal belongings & miscellaneous items. I’ve just learned these areas can accumulate especially as years go on. So, keep this in mind & keep a routine of going through these areas of your home. Whatever you decide to store are things you will have to lug around & move. One of the reasons I strongly advised to go through my boyfriend’s keepsakes was the thought of having to move six storage containers of keepsakes when we decide to move to a different house. There was no way I wanted to do this. 

  1. Bins Are Both Helpful & UnHelpful

“Oh I’ll just put this in another bin & stack it with the rest.” No – don’t have this mindset. Bins & organizers can be useful at times but don’t let it get out of hand. Downsize your items first & then decide how you will store it all. I find keeping your items as visual as possible to be the better option. When items are stored in bins I tend to forget about them. If you need to store things in containers, opt for clear ones & label them properly. 

  1. Refrain From the “I Might Need This” Mentality

Let me let you in on a secret, chances are most “I might need this” item will NEVER be used – ever! A lot of us think saving certain items may save us money in the long run but really it just adds to the clutter. I’d much rather repurchase a few things later than hold onto old & potential things I MIGHT use one day. This mindset is where hoarding begins. And honestly, sometimes I would spend money on new versions of what I saved anyway because styles change. Get use out of something you just let it go. It’s that simple.

I really hope these tips help you on your next decluttering venture. And thank you Jessica Lasa for giving me the opportunity to guest post on your blog. Again, if you are interested in the minimalist lifestyle & want to learn more, please check out my blog

Happy Decluttering!

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Monat Obsessed!

Here I am, back with my latest obsession. Just when I had vowed not to partner with any more companies for affiliate sales I stumbled upon a product I truly believe in. This week, I am so excited to introduce you to Monat.


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We are modern nature

Monat (maw-nayt) is short for Modern Nature. I came across Monat completely by accident just admiring the gorgeous insta-feed of @momitorial. She is a hairstylist and model in New York and has an adorable baby boy. Then I started noticing this brand popping up in her stories and she mentioned that she was a Market Partner for Monat. It was obvious she absolutely loved the products and it first appealed to me because it was described as “luxury vegan” hair and skin care. It certainly looked luxurious and I can now confirm, having used the products for three weeks now, hair looks and feels healthier using Monat.

Using scientifically-proven, naturally based, safe ingredients, Monat has cornered the hair and skin care market in every way. This innovative company has produced a highly effective product using clean ingredients and offers an amazing opportunity to work from home network marketing. This comes at a time when working remotely is more common than ever and consumers are no longer willing to use toxic chemicals on their bodies or environments. I think it’s time that all companies and factories have sustainable and ethical manufacturing processes as well as inclusive and supportive cultures.

why I use it

Just as important as what we put inside our bodies, is what we put on our hair, skin and nails because they are absorbed by our bodies or they build up.  After doing some research, I found that the most harmful ingredients in shampoo and conditioners are sulfates, parabens, formaldehyde and polyethylene glycol. These ingredients strip hair and skin of natural oils or build up on the surface blocking any nutrients from actually being absorbed. Many of these ingredients are also toxic to our environment when they are manufactured.

I could not be more excited to have found an amazing product that is safe to use, made in the USA, doesn’t hurt the environment or test on animals, gives me flawless skin and hair and makes me money. WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?

I just thought I was buying some shampoo! I actually received a community of business women meeting every night to help others spread the love. These women are so welcoming and share tips and even media to help you sell as much as you want to. The amount of resources is impressive on the Monat website. I could literally make a full time job out of watching all the material and marketing this product, if I wanted to. And that is the real beauty of this program, you get what you put into it. I am my own boss and I love that I can answer anyone’s questions about Monat and sign them up to start living healthier and making more money. My sponsor has helped me every step of the way and gives me tips and tricks on product use and marketing. I am so grateful for her and that is what I can do for you! Start living a healthier lifestyle using naturally based beauty products.


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“I thought i was just buying some shampoo!”

how i use it

Monat’s Rejuviniqe oil is their #1 product. A luxurious blend of 13+ natural plant essential oils and antioxidants, Rejuveniqe is highly compatible with hair and skin. This amazing oil can be used as a finishing oil, a few drops on dry hair to add instant sleek and shine. I also use it as a weekly scalp treatment, a few drops around the scalp massaged and left on for 30 minutes. I started putting it on my face and lips yesterday and already see more even skin tone and glowing skin. There are claims that it reduces stretch marks and scars, so I have started applying it to my belly and I will let you know! I mix it in with my lotion and basically slathered myself in it after a shower. It smells so good!!


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I’ve also been using the Renew Shampoo and Restore Leave-in conditioner. I have not been disappointed! I’m washing my hair every 3-4 days and it feels amazing! I also recieved the blow out cream, Rejuvabeads and dry shampoo. I’ve used these with great results. To see more details you can visit my Instagram reels or the Hair tab on my profile. Monat has an entire skin care and wellness line, as well. I cannot wait to try a skin care line and get some men’s products for my husband and sons.

how can you get involved?

HIT ME UP!!! Send me a direct message on any of my social media platforms or send me a message from this site. You should also jump on and take my Hair Quiz. Here is the link and it’s also on all my social media links. Take the Hair Quiz and I’ll send you personalized recommendations for Monat products perfect for your hair type. I’ll help you get a cart started and you’ll be on your way to healthier, more beautiful hair and skin.

There are 3 ways to join-

RETAIL

  • 30-day money back guarantee

  • Purchase+, meaning the more you spend the more you save!

VIP

  • Benefits of retail

  • FREE shipping on orders over $83

  • Customizable Flexship so you never run out

  • 15% off everything

  • Exclusive promotions

  • Only For You products FREE in every flexship order

MARKET PARTNER

  • Benefits of VIP

  • Earn 15-40% sales commissions

  • Personal and professional development

  • Ability to earn trips or a Cadillac

The Monat culture is one I immediately fell in love with: supportive, inclusive and ethical. I cannot express how inspired I am to live healthier, connect with others who share that goal and to help you make your dreams a reality. Just let me know you are interested and you can get started today!

Building a Home for Homeless Teens

The Sparrow’s Nest of Northwest Montana is one of my favorite local charities. This nonprofit organization was founded in 2014 and receives no government funding.

“Dedicated to ensuring safe, supportive housing and resources for unaccompanied homeless high school students in the Flathead Valley, enabling them to graduate from high school and become productive members of our community.”

To qualify for placement, teens must be drug-free and have no other place to live. Homeless children, as described by the McKinney-Vento Act, are those “-who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.” This includes children living in shared living situations, campgrounds, vehicles, substandard housing or public areas. The Sparrow’s Nest cannot accept students in the foster care system or students who are parenting a child.

Students who live at The Sparrow’s Nest receive food, clothes, a home and, maybe most importantly, supportive staff who care, listen and teach them how to be successful.

Darby Duval, Developmental Director, was gracious enough to answer a few of my questions. The Sparrow’s Nest is able to accommodate eight teens. Currently, there are four open spots at the home and students can be referred using the online form on the website or by calling directly. There are still many children and teens that are neglected, abused or living in unsafe living situations that are not in the foster care system. These teens would be ideal candidates for placement. Darby also explained how when a child turns 18 they no longer qualify for foster care and may have had a hard time finding placement in their last few years. The Sparrow’s Nest can house 18 and 19-year-old teens and help them complete their education while teaching valuable life skills. There is also a Program Coordinator who ensures students receive the necessary physical and mental health care.

“Our goal is to use safe and sustainable housing as a mechanism for empowering unaccompanied homeless high school students to develop the personal and professional skills required to graduate high school and become productive, contributing members of our community.”

The Sparrow’s Nest always needs volunteers and you can apply on their website. Volunteer opportunities include yard work, office work, teaching life-skills and public outreach for community events.

Donate, donate, donate! The Sparrow’s Nest is run 100% on donations. I donated through the Whitefish Community Foundation’s annual Great Fish Challenge. The Sparrow’s Nest also holds an annual event called “When the Night Comes” where you can sponsor staff as they spend the night outdoors, to bring awareness to the challenges homeless people face. This just took place February 6th and the community donated an incredible $40,000 to help these children in their development.

There is a “Needs List” on the website if you’d like to donate something specific and there is a printable receipt for tax write-offs. Here is the link to The Sparrow’s Nest of Northwest Montana.

I hope that I have shed some light on a social issue that every community faces and I encourage everyone looking for a way to give back to their community to look up homeless resources in their local area. Every child, 0-18 years of age, deserves a safe place to live.

 

Self-Care for Men

This week we have a guest post! A huge THANK YOU to Joey with concealedvoices.com for spreading this positive message to my readers. Please don’t forget to follow him on Instagram and Twitter!!

*This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on an item and purchase, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

 

 

Hey all! My name is Joey and I am the owner of Concealed Voices. A blog to educate, inspire, and motivate men across the world. I was invited to write a guest post for Jessica over at https://www.jessicalasa.org/ to talk about men and the benefits of self-care and appreciation. If you’re interested in reading more of my work then head over to https://www.concealedvoices.com and follow me on social media! 

As a man, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of self-care? I bet you imagine some of the following – pedicures, warm baths, and massages. And guess what? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with any of them! Although there is more to it than just a visit to the spa..

Let’s be real: self-care is genderless.

Self-care, as defined by Google, is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s health. A set of procedures to recharge, embrace positivity, and boost self-esteem. But how many men take the time to focus on themselves? I doubt many as self-care is predominately marketed and practiced by women.

Let’s be real: self-care is genderless. We should all find the time in the day to focus on our mental and physical health. The problem is most men are burdened by the image of toxic masculinity thus the foundations of self-care don’t fit the stereotypical agenda. In reality men who share this mindset are becoming a dying breed in society (about damn time too!)

So, here are my 5 ideas to get you started on becoming the best version of yourself.

Get Fit

Easier said than done I know, but the rewards are worth it. Physical activity releases endorphins (a similar chemical to morphine) in your body that help trigger a “feel good” sensation. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain – awesome!

The good news is you don’t have to fork out on a gym membership to benefit from the psychological satisfaction, although I do encourage you to join a club if you can. Not only will you lose weight and get in shape but you will sleep better, reduce depression, and have a more positive view of life.

Use Natural/Organic Skincare Products

Start taking better care of your skin by using natural and organic products rather than processed junk from dodgy laboratories that still use animals for testing. You will notice by avoiding harmful ingredients that your skin will flourish and prevent irritations/redness

 While some skincare products can be expensive, they are worth the investment. I tend to use organic lavender because I love the smell. Go ahead and pamper yourself, guys. 

Start A Reading Schedule

Self-care isn’t always about your reflection in the mirror. It’s also about how you take care of your mind. I love reading before bed because it allows my mind (and body) to relax before going to sleep.

Reading enhances sleep quality, reduces psychological strains such as stress and anxiety, and improves problem-solving skills. All of these are beneficial to growing a positive and healthy mindset.

Organise a morning routine

Taking care of yourself in the mornings is vital to maintaining happiness and positivity as you prepare for any challenges ahead. I use the time to pamper myself so I walk out the door full of confidence. My morning routine is as follows:

  • I open the windows and look towards the sunlight to absorb vitamin D.

  • I read a chapter in my book to switch on my cognition and focus. I also spend a few minutes playing a game called Elevate, a fun brain training game.

  • I jump into a warm shower and rub myself in natural body (and hair) liquids. I especially love cocoa cream moisturizers. I tend to pour too much because it feels so good on my skin! 

  • My confidence is through the roof when I leave my front door in the mornings. I’m glowing and feel like a supermodel. 

Keep a journal

I love writing my thoughts and achievements in a journal, although I sometimes memorize them rather than filling a page. Any type of journal is a wonderful and useful task to stay organized and in control of your life. A journal inspires creativity, allows you to self-reflect on your decisions, and keeps your memory sharp.

I read that women write journals more than men. I don’t need to post facts to prove why – because women are more in tune with their emotions than men. Our outdated caveman instincts mean we struggle to understand and deal with issues. We’ve been raised to push aside our problems, otherwise we get viewed as weak by our peers. 

However, there’s a shift changing in society. Now more men than ever are expressing their feelings unlike any other time in human history. If you’re one of those men, like myself, then good for you! You might not know it yet but you are inspiring a man without a voice somewhere in the world.

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guys

Thank you for reading! What is your favorite self-care ritual? Would you consider trying any of these things?

comment below!

guys

The Only Overnight Oats


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Overnight oats are simple to make, versatile, convenient and healthy. I almost forgot, they can be absolutely delicious. I cannot tell you how much I love overnight oats but it was NOT love at first bite!! I’ve seen overnight oats everywhere and the picture always looks great but never really turns out that way. I’ve tried three recipes before this one and did not like any of them.

Two things are important in overnight oats: texture and flavor.

texture

Overnight oats are meant to be eaten cold for convenience, so I prefer something creamy, not lumpy or chewy. For just the right texture you have to have the ratio of oats, milk and yogurt right. I think this recipe is perfection.

flavor

The maple syrup in the recipe ensures sweetness but you can easily cut it out if it suits your taste. I can do without it, personally. I always just make the basic overnight oats and then mix in 2 Tbsp of the flavor I want to add.

  • peanut butter

  • fresh or frozen fruit and 1 tsp cinnamon

  • coconut

  • chocolate chips or 1 tsp cocoa powder

  • pumpkin and 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

BASIC OVERNIGHT OATS

ingredients

1/2 cup old fashioned rolled oats

1/3 cup plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup milk (dairy or dairy-free alternative)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 Tbsp maple syrup

pinch of sea salt

directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir.

  2. (Optional) Mix in extras for more flavor!

  3. Carefully pour into a jar, seal with lid and refrigerate. Oats will be ready to eat in 6-8 hours.


Frozen fruit and cinnamon on the left and peanut butter on the right! Yummmmm!Frozen fruit and cinnamon on the left and peanut butter on the right! Yummmmm!

Frozen fruit and cinnamon on the left and peanut butter on the right! Yummmmm!

There is nothing better than having a delicious, healthy breakfast or snack ready to grab out of the fridge when you’re busy!

Comment below to let me know if you try this recipe! Did you like the texture? What are your favorite add-ins for flavor?

Reign Boutique

Today I want to introduce you to Reign Boutique. They are based in New York and carry the hottest styles in women’s fashion and accessories. These are the items from my first order and I was so surprised because I loved every, single thing!


 - This sweater is a Large and I love the detailed knit. The thread is so soft and good quality. The jeans are the Midrise Skinny in a 29 and they fit perfectly.
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This sweater is a Large and I love the detailed knit. The thread is so soft and good quality. The jeans are the Midrise Skinny in a 29 and they fit perfectly.


 - This loungewear top is a cashmere blend with extra long sleeves. It is a Medium and is the coziest thing EVER!!
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This loungewear top is a cashmere blend with extra long sleeves. It is a Medium and is the coziest thing EVER!!


 - This was my favorite top until I washed and shrunk it. LESSON LEARNED! Read the care tag!! I love the flowy boho vibes and the details around the collar and sleeves. This is a Medium.
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This was my favorite top until I washed and shrunk it. LESSON LEARNED! Read the care tag!! I love the flowy boho vibes and the details around the collar and sleeves. This is a Medium.


 - This animal print top is a Medium and fits perfectly. I love the draping neckline and delicate straps.
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This animal print top is a Medium and fits perfectly. I love the draping neckline and delicate straps.


 - This off the shoulder top is a Medium. I love the billowy arms and the beautiful colors in the floral design. It’s a very romantic vibe.
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This off the shoulder top is a Medium. I love the billowy arms and the beautiful colors in the floral design. It’s a very romantic vibe.

I can’t tell you how excited I am to order another haul from Reign Boutique! Check out their website and use my code JESS10 to get an extra 10% off you order!!! Here is the link ——> Reign Boutique.

What do you think? Are you a fan?

Poetry Review

****Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.

I got into poetry when I was small. As soon as I could read, I was checking out all the books mom had in the bookcase. She had a handful of poetry books and I read them all but I found my true happiness in creating them. I wrote gobs of poetry in my youth. Most of it about my friends because that is what I held dearest at the time. Then, eventually about love and loneliness; about depression and addiction. And then I just stopped. There came a day when I thought the real world had no time for creativity. I tried to write poetry but there was nothing whimsical or artful about responsibility. Everything became very heavy and I stopped writing poetry.

Finally, my failure to get accepted into nursing school and the pandemic and probably other things I’m unaware of created a perfect combination of stepping stones that led me to the realization that I could, and perhaps should, provide by creating. When I first started my website I was going to do a post called Is Poetry Dead? but then, in researching the topic, I found that it is very much alive and well. I couldn’t wait to contribute and read other people’s work.

In this post, I will review three poetry books I’ve purchased from the writing community and share with you my favorite pieces. Poetry is an artform and, rhyming or not, it evokes emotions much like music. Whether it’s a nursery rhyme, a limerick or a rap song, we’ve all heard poetry at some point in time. Poetry can be perceived by each one of us differently much like with music or books. My taste in poetry may not match up with yours. Each of these three poetry books are very different in terms of theme but all talented poets. I hope you find something that you enjoy!

Metamorphosis

by Laura Schmidt

What Is This? The founder of one of my favorite websites, Voyage of the Mind, recently published her book, Metamorphosis. This is an intriguing collection of short stories and poems including themes of family, grief and loss. Laura is not really a rhyming poet but more of a well structured, rhythmic placement of words.

What Do I Love? “Like a Flame” is my favorite poem. It illustrates raw emotions and a confusing pain after losing a child. “I Found Solace in Birdsong” is another beautiful poem. This collection includes a handful of post pandemic pieces, revealing her struggles with isolation and depression.

Following the strong family theme, my favorite short story is “The Lion Boys” retracing the journey of a family going through a child’s gender reassignment. Laura is a talented and insightful writer who is consistent with great work. There are a ton of fantastic articles on her website, Voyage of the Mind, and I would encourage everyone to check that out, as well.

Why Do I Love It? Laura does a beautiful job depicting some really hard emotions. Her writing is so intelligent and I love all the elements she uses in her storytelling. If you are a fan of literary depth, I think you will be pleased with these beautiful poems and stories.


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👆 BUY HERE!

Where Darkness Meets Light

by Sabrine Elouali

What Is This? This book is a collection of poetry meant to shed light on the journey through mental illness. This collection contains so many poems, more content than I was expecting. It’s a great collection to read ten or so and then come back another day for more. Sabrine’s poetry is beautiful and pure. I love how honest it is and I can relate to many of the struggles she writes about. I can really relate to always questioning my own decisions and wondering what might have been.

What Do I Love? “OCD and me.” is an absolute raw and emotional piece depicting what it’s like to suffer from OCD. The emotions are so well represented, I felt absolutely trapped, as someone with OCD must feel. There are many short poems that I love like, “Blame.”, “Paper.” and the hopeful “Rose Tinted.” “Prevention.” is one of my favorites because it’s all the things I’ve had to tell myself over and over just to function day to day.

Why Do I Love It? I love it because it comes from a pure place. It’s beautifully written but the fact that she shared it to help others really gets me in the heart. Sinking and suffocation, doubt and self-sabotage are all issues I have struggled with, as well.  “A serial offender.” accurately describes the struggle within us and all the questioning. Sabrine sharing her poetry and reaching out to help others with their mental illness has definitely inspired me to share more of my own writing. If you have struggled with mental illness or just want to be inspired, Where Darkness Meets Light will not disappoint.


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👆 BUY HERE!

Fascinate (Twisted Poems for the Depraved)

by Simon Warwick Beresford

What Is This? This is one of four poetry books Simon has published and the first time I have read his work. I was drawn to this collection because of a review and the Amazon description of fantasy, erotic horror. Edgar Alan Poe is my favorite poet and I was excited to read something spooky, gruesome and graphic. Simon’s poetry usually rhymes, which I like.

There is mention of gods, witchcraft and haunting ghosts. All popular themes for poetry but also of sluts and rotting corpses, monsters of the material world and some that are only our minds. Rape and murder make appearances. Everything in moderation they say and there may have been a few pieces in this collection that grossed me out or disturbed me. However, I was overwhelmingly surprised at how well these poems flow and how creative Simon’s tales were descriptively woven.

What Do I Love? “Vibracea”, “Zidricdrake” and “Sister Maria Luisa” are some of my favorite story poems. “iCandy 2.0” could be a blockbuster in theatres about a robot with artificial intelligence that ends up killing her owner. I heard myself explained in “Paradox” and “Discarded” better than I could have done myself. I am deeply impressed with the female elements of his poetry. It is horror but there is depth, back story, emotion.

Why Do I Love It? I love Simon’s writing because it’s clever and imaginative. It’s Halloween every day of the year. His imagery really does evoke deep emotions in “Fragments” and “Childless?” but it’s the visuals that make it amazing. It’s like watching a horror movie and his lines are so good! Simon is an absolutely brilliant writer, in my opinion. I cannot wait to read every single one of his works. If you are a fan of horror, his work is a MUST!


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These writers have definitely inspired me to share more of my own work. I’m considering publishing a poetry book but for now you can read some of my work here on my Poetry Page. I hope you enjoyed my poetry review. Tell me what kind of poetry you like in the comments!

The Sunshine Blogger Award

****Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.

I’ve been nominated for The Sunshine Blogger Award!! I want to send a huge “Thank You!” to Lindsey, creator of Sunsetsbooksandwine.com, for nominating me. I would not be here without her, seriously. When you think, there are A LOT of blogs out there but then you get into it and you realize that literally everyone AND THEIR DOG, hamster, lizard, you name it, has a blog and all the social media to go along with it. It is so easy to get discouraged by all the great content out there and just want to give in but thankfully there are still friendly people in the world, like Lindsey, who reach out and speak to you on a personal level, just so you know the world has room for you. That’s why I wrote a glowing review of her website last month! I appreciate all the support and friendly people I have met and I look forward to making more friends!

 

I’m honored to receive The Sunshine Blogger Award nomination because I do try to portray positivity in my online presence. My poetry can be a bit dark but I have been to dark places in my life. That is why I have made it a point to be open about my struggles and my journey through this life, to encourage others to look at things as opportunities rather than obstacles.

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link to their blog

  • Answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you

  • Nominate 11 people and ask them 11 questions

  • Notify the nominees

  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award image in your post

 

My Answers

1 – What is your favourite series of all time?

This is such a hard question! ALL TIME? That is crazy. Probably Grey’s Anatomy! But what about Game of Thrones? The Sopranos? Freaks and Geeks? Love them all.

2 – What place/country will you travel to next?

The next place we travel is going to have a white sandy beach. I have wanted to go to Maui THE MOST for the longest time. However, my husband has a thing about planes. Especially, planes flying to a tiny chain of islands in the middle of the ocean. I would be willing to compromise and we have discussed Florida, Texas and even the Bahamas which is also an island in the middle of the ocean, but I really want to see those swimming pigs!

3 – What would be your perfect day/night if money was no object?

My perfect day and night would be with my husband, of course! Kids for most of it. It would start with a sunshiny day on a resort with a pool and room service. I would definitely not be cooking! We would walk in the warm sun and lay in the sand soaking up the warmth and I would read. We would go out to dinner, so I could wear something sexy, and then dance. To end the perfect evening, home to kiss the kids.

4 – What was the best thing to happen to you last year?

I was able to quit my job. Healthcare was a passion of mine for almost a decade but it was nice to shift my priorities back home.

5 – What did you read most recently?

Still reading a book called The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn. I haven’t been reading much lately but I won’t give it up. It’s a good thriller and I’m still not sure what is going to happen. I’ve also been reading some poetry that I will be reviewing in a blog post soon!

6 – What do you first notice about someone when you meet them?

I first notice if they are polite. Meaning, do they seem to care what I have to say and don’t cut me off? First impressions are important and I feel like, why would you be rude to a complete stranger? I notice if they seem warm and welcoming or cold and off-putting.

7 – Favourite place in the world?

Somewhere on the beach! I don’t care if it’s the lake, the river or the ocean. My favorite place is near the water. My favorite place that I’ve been to personally would have to be the southwestern Australian coastline. I just loved Australia because it was warm all the time but it still rained. I was always by the ocean there and it always smelled like eucalyptus.

8 – What is something you wish you could be good at?

I wish I could play an instrument well but I also would have to read music well. I wish I could read music like a book and play anything I see on the piano or guitar.

9 – What is one goal you are determined to achieve in your lifetime?

Someday, I will learn to play at least one song on the guitar. I’ve even considered getting a ukulele.

10 – What is your biggest strength?

Empathy. Or is it my biggest weakness??? Sometimes I wonder. It is really rewarding when you can connect with people in a way that you understand each other and they feel heard. However, it can easily become an emotional burden and I really have to have boundaries for my own health and so that I’m not taken advantage of.

11 – What is your favourite food?

PIZZA!! I could eat it every day and I don’t care what toppings although my favorite is pepperoni and black olive. Some people prefer a particular pizza place but I have no preference. It’s all delicious!

My Questions

1. What is your favorite book?

2. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

3. Favorite place you have visited and why.

4. What is your favorite animal and why?

5. What is something you are proud of yourself for?

6. Tell me one of your favorite scents (i.e. apple pie, Eternity cologne, fresh cut grass).

7. What was your first job ever?

8. Favorite holiday and why.

9. What is the first song that pops up on your usual playlist?

10. Do you have any pets?

11. Do you know how to drive a manual transmission?

 Nominations

1. Voyage of the Mind

2. Bournemouth Girl

3. Life With Lyv

4. Amber Carlson

5. All Rosie Writes

6. Corona Comedy Blog

7. Nyxie’s Nook

8. Mind. Beauty. Simplicity.

9. Invincible Woman on Wheels

10. Laureny Loves

11. Cozy Stylist

 I hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about me. If you have already done this and I nominated you, be sure to tell me in the comments so I can pop over and read it. If you’re not into this sort of thing, that’s okay. Either way, please tell me something about yourself in the comments below!

 

Homemade Dog Biscuits

****Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.


Valentine’s Day is coming up and who better to give a delicious gift to than your favorite furry friend!?

We have two dogs in our family, a pup and a mature dog. Sometimes it’s hard to find toys or treats that are suitable for both. The pup will basically eat anything but is very sensitive to some food allergies. Our older dog is a picky eater and has sensitive teeth, preferring softer treats. These peanut butter dog biscuits are perfect because they contain all natural ingredients and they are soft. My dogs literally could smell these baking and would not leave the kitchen! They had some warm out of the oven and came right back for more!

Chloe, our Australian Shepherd mix, turned 8 years old last Friday!! My daughter actually came up with the idea to make these special birthday treats.

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour (rice or coconut flour can be substituted)

1 cup of water

1 cup of peanut butter

2 tbs of honey

1 egg

1 tsp baking powder

RECIPE

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix to form dough.

  2. Roll out the dough about 1/2” thick. Use your favorite cookie cutter to cut out as many cookies as you can.

  3. Transfer them to the baking sheet. Using a fork, press straight down to make a little design stamp on your dog cookie.

  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 18 minutes.


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These dog biscuits are so easy to make and the dogs loved them!! I’m dead serious when I say, I’m never buying dog treats again. In fact, I’m going to make up a batch for our doggy friends and give them away in pretty Valentine bags.


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Happy Birthday Chloe!!!

Are you going to try these out? Let me know how it goes in the comments below!


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