Thursday, May 17, 2018

prAna Organic Active Wear + 15% Discount Code

I come to you with a premise, and it is this: If you are wearing clothing that is at one with what you are doing and at one with the earth, amazing experiences can happen! This is what happened to me when I wore my prAna 100% organic cotton pants for the first time!

As many of you know, I work in a Middle School and it requires less than business casual. It results in a more utilitarian, casual kind of look. I'm so OK with that, and my look has evolved into just that for everyday! But I still want to look nice and I definitely want to be comfortable! I put on these awesome prAna Shala pants and the day went amazing! I didn't do anything different other than wear these great pants, so that's why I know it was these pants! They are so comfortable. They feel like brushed velvet, only breathable!

Anyway, the day was just so easy and I felt more of a reserve of energy than I usually do. Well, that was great! Right after work, I headed over to one of my all-time favorite spots, 'This Is The Place Heritage Park', where there is always something fun going on, yet plenty of space to just walk and see beautiful things. It happens to be Baby Animal Season and so I wanted to see those cute animals before they get too big! 

It was so beautiful there. May is the most gorgeous time of the year for me! There were quite a few little baby critters running around, but I was enchanted by the goats, and one in particular which seemed to be so calm and easily entreated by the likes of me. I sidled up to it and put out my hand. 
I was provided product to facilitate an honest and fair review. Affiliate and non-affiliate links may be present for reference purposes. Thank you for your support!
 At first it seemed oblivious to me, but then as I talked, slowly and non-nonchalantly, getting closer with my hand still outstretched, it took the bait, which turned out to be no bait at all. Perhaps it thought I was going to offer it a nice morsel of goat food (What do goats eat? I'm not sure, except maybe the labels off soup cans...). I had nothing to offer, which it soon found out. 
 I was hoping its mood wouldn't turn sour. I wanted to avoid being gored at all costs! But it stayed sweet and simply turned towards the camera and gave a sweet little goat pose before setting off to find more tasty and interesting pursuits. 
That might not seem like the most exciting and fun thing that has ever happened to you, but I just loved the feeling of nature, and peace with the earth, and friendship between human and animal. 
This spring and summer I'll be wearing more comfy and cute clothing from prAna, that are great for every kind of adventure because when I'm hiking or working with the kiddos, I want comfy clothes that allow me to move freely. That is what I get with prAna. 
I was interested to learn that organic cotton uses 71% less water than conventionally grown cotton! And organic cotton doesn't pollute the water it does use with toxic chemicals. So important! Just remembering to buy an organic cotton shirt when you need a shirt would be a huge contribution! There is something about wearing organic materials. They make me feel like I'm in tune with the earth and that I'm keeping its interests at heart. It's a good way to feel!

Make sure to check out prAna online and get 15% off all purchases using this code: TRGAS18

Monday, May 14, 2018

One More Healing Step + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

I must tell you about a wonderful day I experienced not too long ago in a little resort/retirement town called Midway! I was invited to be part of a council associated with something called 'Tribalry', a company dedicated to bringing like-minded, similarly motivated, and professionally associated people together to find common ground and to help build friendships and business connections. 
Image - Craig Jensen
I'm here to tell you that these people know how to do it! They had us gather in a big meeting hall, with tables seating 5 - 6. We gathered in our various tribes--health and wellness, bloggers, baby boomers, PR, financial planners, moms, event planners, etc. We were then told to tell a little bit about ourselves in about 2 minutes. We got to hear stories about everyone and it was a great time! We spent a lot of time talking, listening, and taking notes for the whole course of the morning and afternoon, just getting to know people and making connections! I felt like it was going pretty well and I heard lots of great stories, but then something happened. I took the next step, became vulnerable, and revealed more of myself than I ever thought I would. There was a group of women at one of my tables whom I had learned a little bit about previously and I instinctively felt that we all had experienced something similar in our lives. But not only that, we had managed to deal with those experiences in similar ways. I found myself admiring and being drawn to what they had learned. I found myself being inspired by their experiences. (Names changed to protect indentity)

Each one of these lovely ladies had experienced a great loss of one kind or another. But each one had managed to come back with grace and strength, and had adapted to their losses creatively and even profitably! Briefly, here are their stories:

Sarah unexpectedly had a stroke that paralyzed the entire right side of her body. She was left without the ability to care for herself or to even speak. Gradually, and with a lot of work, she was able to get back a lot of what she lost. Ultimately she did have to give up skills that had formerly been easy for her. But she was so grateful to be able to have what she has now and is very accepting of her limitations and is so positive that people around her are lifted by her gentle spirit. She is also very skilled at crochet!

Cindy loved dancing as a girl and young adult. She was looking towards becoming a dance major, graduating in dance and dancing professionally. She lived and breathed dance. But tragedy struck when she was involved in a serious car accident that rendered her immobile and unable to move, much less dance. She never regained her ability to dance. With the evaporation of her dream, she had to find other interests that were within her abilities. She found that she was good at writing. She developed her skill and is a  published author of at least several books. She is a public speaker. She makes beautiful jewelry and she is a traveler. She also is a Life Counselor who is very generous with her hints and tips. I took one of her tips to heart to make my own professional and personal life richer and more meaningful!

Bethany's world was her husband and family. Married to the love of her life for many years, he unexpectedly betrayed her and ruined their marriage. It ended in divorce. He then stole her intellectual property and used it for his own financial gain, giving her nothing in return. She has had to pick up the pieces of her own identity, which was so intertwined with her marriage and what that represented. It hasn't been easy and she has been tempted to take the path of bitterness and revenge. But instead she has chosen to be positive, build from the ground up, and state her intentions of growth. She is adamant that she wants to be married again and is positive that there is love waiting for her at some point, even though she isn't young anymore. She is so positive and upbeat and faces the world with dignity, courage and hope! I know that her positive vibes will attract what she is seeking!

When I started learning about these women, my guard was let down and I started to feel trust in them. That is a strange emotion for me. My own life's experiences have not been ones to foster that particular trait. Trust doesn't come free with me. I realize that not everyone can relate to where I have come from, a divorcee whose husband not only unexpectedly left her, but took everything, including her precious children and was successful in keeping them despite many and repeated efforts and finances to gain them back. I was taken by surprise, destitute, broken, and unable to navigate the curve balls dealt out to me.Thus I was never able to raise them as a true mother, and the role of "mom" was taken from me. Even my own family looked at me like I was some kind of failure for many years, ostracizing  and criticizing me. So why should I expect anyone to believe or relate to my story?  I eventually was able to rebuild my life, re-connect with my sons, and become identified as something more than a "birth mom". 

When I realized that these women experienced loss that completely took away their former identities, and yet they were able to rebuild, it was so empowering! I felt such a sense of healing. They could understand me because they had lived through similar experiences. I'm thankful that I was able to experience yet another step in my lifelong recovery from the one trauma that could have destroyed me personally forever, but didn't!
This certainly isn't a sponsored post, but I can tell you that this controlled and empowering experience was life-changing for me. If you hear about 'Tribalry', you should definitely check it out! 
 Today is "My Post Monday!", a curation of the week's best original content. It's all about posts from Crafts to Camping, Wellness to Wealth, Fashion to Food, and whatever else is on the brain!  I  open up with a post of my own and then follow it up with a linky of the week's top original blog posts! It's all about what the writer thinks, believes, and knows--in other words, they are active, writing blogs. If I happen to find a great original, non-sponsored post, I'll link it up and share it with you here and on Twitter via the #MyPostMonday hashtag!  I can miss some amazing posts, but I don't want to!  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize(Affiliate links welcome) 

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Real Time Pain Relief Review + Giveaway

I am a firm believer that much of the pain we experience can be alleviated by natural means and without the use of drugs! Casually using drugs for pain relief is so dangerous! Before aggressive measures are undertaken I feel that that one should do as much research as possible to take charge of their own health and not leave it up to a drug or the healthcare system. But that's as far as I will go in telling anyone what to do or how to do it. I can only give suggestions, such as the products that I am about to review here!

I was provided samples of the following products, so I can give you my honest opinion about them. Affiliate and non-affiliate links are provided here for reference purposes. Thanks so much for your support!
Real Time Pain Relief is an American owned and operated company in business since 1998. They offer homeopathic, safe solutions for pain of all kinds. 

Hemp Oil Plus. The other night was a case in point. I had some weird excruciating pain in my left shin. It was a deep pain, which I thought might be associated with my veins. I was really hoping that it wasn't leading up to varicose veins, a painful condition indeed. At any rate, I couldn't sleep because it was a sharp pain and it would jolt me awake with its intensity.

I had just been provided with Real Time Pain Relief's Hemp Oil Plus so decided to give it a try. It smells wonderful! I love the way it smells so natural and fresh, with all kinds of homeopathic ingredients like Arnica, St. John's Wart, Calendula, Nutmeg Oil, Wasabi Extract, Witch Hazel, Coriander, Aloe Vera, Turmeric, Peppermint, Willow Bark, Emu Oil and more! They have blended all these natural ingredients perfectly, so that they smell amazing!

I applied the lotion and was able to get some relief for a bit, but then the pain started up again after an hour or two, so I re-applied and got relief once more for a period of time. I repeated this process a couple of times until morning. I didn't get as great of a sleep as I'd have liked, but it definitely helped keep the pain at bay.The next day the pain lessened and by the evening, it had totally disappeared. I still don't know what might have caused it, but am grateful that I escaped more of the same!

One of the main things I was impressed with was the smell. Now, I find myself actually looking for any kind of pain at all, just so I can apply the lotion so I can use it for aromatherapy purposes! It's definitely not your typical pain cream smell.

Homeopathic Lip Therapy. I am a total lip balm snob. The British Aristocricy would be proud of me! I'm sorry, but I don't use the grocery store brand, plastic-y feeling stuff. Usually when companies are giving away free swag in goodie bags, more often than not it will include a lip balm, the kind I won't use. So I have all kinds of lip balms, chap sticks, lip healing agents hanging around my house, waiting for I don't know what, 'cause I won't ever use them. But I try them in the hopes....leaving them used and wasted. I need to come up with a clever idea to make use of all the opened, used one time lip balms I have accumulated!

I'm happy to report that Real Time has got a really good lip balm! It's for the dry, cracked lips that people get for various reasons. However, I use this lip balm for everyday use, along with my other lip balms of choice. I usually have one in my bag, my makeup mini-bag, my bathroom, my dresser, my first aid kit, on my desk, and in my kitchen drawer. The ingredients of the 'Homeopathic Lip Therapy' sink into my lips, not hanging around on the surface. It smells wonderful, "using a low amount of Menthol, Camphor and Peppermint Oil, which gives it a minty smell and creates a light, refreshing zing on the lips." It is free of artificial fragrances and also contains Lavender Oil, Chamomile Oil, and Jojoba Oil. It comes in either a jar or a stick!

Pet Formula. Our dog is part of our "pack" and we believe in treating her well, especially since she is getting older (she'll be 10 in December). 

The Pet Formula is perfect for when she gets a rash or a hot spot on her skin. When you spray it on, it feels cool and gentle. Ingredients include Aloe Vera, Menthol, and Arnica, with absolutely NO Parabens, SLS, or dyes, so you can apply it worry-free on dogs, cats, horses, and pets of all sizes!
There are many great reviews of this company, both on the site and on their Facebook Page. I love this one! 
" I have been using Real Time Pain Relief since January 19, 2016, and I left the Pain Clinic, came off the narcotics which were causing problems with my kidneys and liver. It was the only cream which I was not allergic to. The Pain Clinic helped me research it for a few months to make sure it would not cause blisters on my skin because I suffer from Scleroderma. Along with RA and Lupus. I use it every morning and every night. I start to hurting when I start to run out and begin using it sparingly. My husband says, "don't run out", and it is placed on the house hold budget when my own budget is limited. We can see a difference in my work performance, ability to sleep, irritability, and pain levels should I not use Real Time Pain Relief. I give out the little packets to my co-workers, because I hate to see others suffer when I have the means to relieve it. People keep telling me to "save" my little packets for myself, but I just have to share, it is just how it is. You find something amazing, you want to shout it to the world. I HAVE FOUND SOMETHING THAT WORKS!"
I am an enthusiastic supporter of this great "made in the USA" company and will definitely be a repeat customer!

I am excited to partner with Real Time Pain Relief and give away 1 of the items I have reviewed, winner's choice! Enter in the Rafflecopter below! Open to U.S. no P.O. Boxes, +21 years of age, one entrant per household please.
Disclaimer: Open to U.S.!  A GAL NEEDS...received product from this sponsor to facilitate the review of this product. Affiliate links may be present. No Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, nor any other social platforms are involved in any way! This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and must have a valid mailing address, no P.O. Box.
Must be 21 or older to participate, 1 entrant per household, Winner will be contacted by e-mail
after 05/29/18.  Must respond within 48 hours.
After notification, winner will be asked to acknowledge their win by contacting sponsor on Social Media and letting them know of their win.
Entrants with invalid entries will be disqualified.
Sponsor, Real Time Pain Relief is responsible for delivery of prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 7, 2018

A Reliable Fashion Photographer And An A-Line Skirt

Today I'm going to discuss the reasons why fashion bloggers need a reliable and skilled photographer ready to take amazing photographs on a moments notice. It will be discussed, along with commentary on this A-Line skirt.

Affiliate and non-affiliate links may be used in this post for reference purposes. Thanks for your support!
For a great photography session, one should schedule out at LEAST a week in advance but even then, an in-demand photographer might, without notice, produce a reason to postpone or cancel the session. NBA play-offs, errands, or a need to nap may suddenly overcome any reasonable request for a scheduled session.

I love this spring skirt. I believe my mom used to have one similar to this. It had flowers and had a large A-line flair to it. It made her waist look so tiny. I feel like I'm so much more substantial than she ever was. But I can see why I saw her in it so often. The skirt feels good, it feels feminine and it is quite forgiving!
A photographer needs to be able to find good angles that aren't always straight ahead shots. But in getting those other angles, one must be able to get the whole body in proportion, so that it doesn't look as though you have no legs!

I found a denim jacket that had been languishing in my closet for awhile just because I didn't like the cut when worn with pants or skirts. I thought it might work out well here because it would bring out the subtle blue tones in the skirt.
A good photographer has an eye for the best locations, the best backgrounds, and is able to be creative with those selections, mixing it up and always keeping it interesting. My photographer likes trees and greenery, most of the time. When I told my photographer that a wall might be a nice change, my photographer winced, like there was something in his eye. There wasn't anything in my photographer's eye.

I feel like this kind of skirt would be perfect for an outside luncheon, a wedding, going to church, or a recital! And I love the pockets!!

An excellent fashion photographer should never roll their eyes when the subject of the photos makes suggestions about what might make a good photograph. They should be able to work with said subject and make the subject feel good about themselves, their ideas, and their annoying idiosyncrasies. It's probably in their best interest, because they want to get good references and get paid really well, don't ya know. 

I really liked the shoe that I chose to wear with the skirt, a high heeled gladiator sandal. It's neutral and doesn't clash with the other colors. 
A competent photographer should have their own equipment, ready to adjust to any situation at hand. It's best-practice to have a handy carrying case with the basics and some extra lighting equipment in order to capture that one awesome shot. My photographer had an excellent android phone of which he carried in his back pocket, but trust me it was good. The photo was definitely captured 'cause that's all you had to say was "Capture"!

The material for this skirt is 100% polyester but feels like satin. It is hand wash in cold water or dry clean. To get out wrinkles, a steam iron should be used on the inside of the skirt only.
All in all this was a good photo shoot, and I do know my photographer extremely well, since he's my husband...and heck, the price is certainly right!

Linking up here: By LaurenM, More Pieces Of Me, Shoe and Tell, Beauty By Miss L

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Pampered Mom Spa Day Giveaway by Aribella Spa (ARV $70)

Mother's Day is coming up and one of the best gifts a mom can receive is some amazing pampering at a wonderful spa! 
Aribella Spa in Lehi, UT is just what mom needs, not only during Mother's Day month, but every month! Mirabella is a full-service salon/spa, with 3 nail techs, 3 hairstylists, and 3 massage therapists, and a Master Esthetician who also happens to be the owner of the business! Sherri Climent, owner, is very hands-on and is in the spa every day! Just take a look at these amenities!

Monday, April 23, 2018

As Prescribed + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

It's a struggle when you have something pulling on you, relentlessly telling you to give in, to go ahead and give up and get relief, whatever that may be. For me, it's an unconquered addiction to.....wait for it.....sugar. I don't think I could ever totally give up sweets. #guiltypleasure

Image - Leanne Kartchner

Saturday, April 21, 2018

'Yes To Fresh' $20 McDonald's Gift Card #Giveaway

Have you had a McDonald's Quarter Pounder recently? They are so good! Disclosure: I do eat meat occasionally, especially during the colder months. I was able to have exactly 3 Quarter Pounders in the past several months. The opportunities came up, usually as a result of being on the run and not having prepared well enough to bring something good to eat from home. There are more McDonald's than any other food stop on the planet, it seems, so it's great to know that I can go to McDonald's in a food crisis and there are things that are quite healthy on their menu. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Who Would I Be If I Stayed? + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

I go to work from 9 - 2 everyday to play---play with the most joyous, alive, innocent, mischievous, honest, and savage individuals ever. They are a group of  12 - 14 Middle School Mild/Moderate Special Education students. They belie the title of Special Ed. With totally normal appearance, gestures, clothing, and interests, they transcend any labels people may put on them. They come to school and continue the transition from child to eventual adult. They won't stay this way, but while they are in this stage, I'm so lucky to be able to "play" with them, all in the name of work! They are not quite out of childhood, yet halfway into adulthood. It's so funny to see them act like they are the most knowledgable of experts on any given subject, but then one minute later do something hilariously childish. 

This stage of life only lasts but a year or two. Some people say that it is the hardest stage to raise, as a parent. And I'd have to agree. But I'm not a parent. I'm an educator! I get to take them as they are, make helpful suggestions, even dole out consequences. But mostly, I support them in their hopes, their dreams, their likes and dislikes. I suggest other options. I suggest alternative ways to look at things. I even play devil's advocate. Of course, ultimately, my peers and I let them decide what they are going to do. Some of them will end up being successful and holding down a job and raising a family. Some of them, unfortunately, will not be so lucky. Some of them may even end up homeless. That breaks my heart, because I know they are trying so hard to make a success out of life. And they have so much energy and optimism. 

That same energy and optimism make the most enthusiastic and well-meaning of adults tired. That's why after 5 hours, I am done playing, relieved to leave and do my other jobs consisting of wife, mom, pet-owner, errand-runner, home maintenance worker, gardener, blogger, and elderly care-giver. 
Image - Celeste Camomile
 The end of the school year is fast approaching and I think of the oldest students in our class. They will be moving on to high school, leaving this stage of their lives behind. I realize that although I have developed a fondness and special bond with them, I may never see some of them again. It reminds me of the exchange between Wonder Woman and her mother, Hypolyta. Hypolyta says, "You know that if you choose to leave, you may never return." Wonder Woman replies, "But who would I be if I stay?" 

So it is with my friends. Their journey needs to continue. They can't stay. And I may not know where that journey eventually leads them. But I'll know that when our paths met, we laughed, smiled, played, and learned. And they gave richness to my life, without even knowing they did.
Today is "My Post Monday!", a curation of the week's best original content. It's all about posts from Crafts to Camping, Wellness to Wealth, Fashion to Food, and whatever else is on the brain!  I  open up with a post of my own and then follow it up with a linky of the week's top original blog posts! It's all about what the writer thinks, believes, and knows--in other words, they are active, writing blogs. If I happen to find a great original, non-sponsored post, I'll link it up and share it with you here and on Twitter via the #MyPostMonday hashtag!  I can miss some amazing posts, but I don't want to!  So, in addition, if you'd like to link up yourself, you can do that too!  I'll visit your site, comment, promote and publicize! (Affiliate links welcome!)      

Saturday, April 14, 2018

The Power Of Board Games + Collector's Rummikub Tin Edition #Giveaway

As a blogger and social media influencer I feel like I am in front of a screen a lot! As a matter of fact, too much! It seems to grab me and pull me in, even when I am technically not working. There seems to always be something needing to be done, something to respond to, more catching up to do. And during the course of working, things grab my attention and I spend time just wasting it! And wow....for one who remembers the days when talking on the phone was the only social media and it meant stretching the phone cord into my room and shutting the door, talking for hours---well, things have really changed! 

My husband is the same way. He comes from a family who was really into card games like Rook, Cribbage, and played Backgammon as well. They would have big family gatherings where everyone would play Rook into the wee hours of the morning. Things got really competitive and it was loads of fun. He has very fond memories. Now, none of his siblings really like to play because they are all hooked to their phones, playing their games online. What he has noticed is there is so much less interaction between everyone. Whereas people used to take the time to send birthday cards or call on the phone, now it is limited to a Facebook post saying "Happy Birthday"  or a quick birthday text over the phone. 

Recently we took the time to go back to how things were back in the day. We went off grid for awhile, got out the board games and started playing some of the games we used to play and tried out a few new ones. We talked and joked more than we have done in quite awhile, it seems.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

100% Organic Skincare #Giveaway by 'Hug Your Skin'

'Hug Your Skin' is a company with a mission to deliver the best 100% organic skin care products to you! "The organic way is the only one that protects both planet and the living creatures who live on it." They have chosen Dr. Mariana Speizia, the acclaimed 21st-century beauty alchemist at InLight Organic Skincare, a company in the U.K. as their main supplier. Although fairly new to the U.S., the product
is hugely successful and popular in Europe because there it became certified as the first truly organic product of its kind. It also has been awarded global Cosmos organic certification. The goal is to get the word out so that it will become as beloved here as it is across the pond.

Below is an infographic of exactly what 'Hug Your Skin' does!
 Read my review of the Inlight Under Eye Revive, which contains 100% organic ingredients to calm puffiness and discoloration. I was literally amazed at how well it worked. It kind of shattered in my own mind the myth that natural ingredients aren't as effective as chemical ingredients and, while optimal, they still need the chemicals to render them effective. Silly me! Use discount code Helena15 for 15% off all products!

Another product that tends to be touted more in chemical terms than in natural is the Chocolate Face Mask. Dr. Spiezia says, "I formulated this most intense nourishing mask to transform the appearance of the skin without the action of harsh, chemical peels, which damage the protective mantle of the skin, causing it to secrete extra sebum, making it appear oily and sensitized." 

Also, visit Hug Your Skin to look at the wide selection of 100% organic products, all of which are water-free, so a little goes a long way! They do wonders for your skin, from top to bottom! Free USPS Shipping to all U.S. orders! Use discount code Helena15 for 15% off all products!
A GAL NEEDS...has teamed up with 'Hug Your Skin' to award one winner their choice of 'Inlight Chocolate Face Mask' or 'Inlight Under Eye Revive'. Make sure to enter in the Rafflecopter below and enter daily for more chances to win! Ends 4/26/18!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Open to U.S. and Canada!  A GAL NEEDS...received product from this sponsor to facilitate the review of this product. Affiliate links may be present. No Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, nor any other social platforms are involved in any way!
Must be 21 or older to participate, 1 entrant per household, Winner will be contacted by e-mail
after 04/26/18.  Must respond within 48 hours.
After notification, winner will be asked to acknowledge their win by contacting sponsor on Social Media and letting them know of their win.
Entrants with invalid entries will be disqualified.
Sponsor, 'Hug Your Skin', is responsible for delivery of prize package.