Monday, September 17, 2018

Both Beauty And Terror + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

Many Americans are living with the perspective that the glass is either half empty or half full. I'm not sure who gave this visual about how to look at life, but it's a classic U.S. philosophy. Of course, it teaches us that we should look at life positively rather than negatively. And it really is a great way to view general. When you're in the midst, though, of something earth-shaking, life- changing, and extremely hard to go through, I'm not sure that the half-full glass visual is what we're going to automatically go to for inspiration, because sometimes life just sucks!

There's no way to sugar coat it, no way to view it for anything than what it is.  As humans we are conditioned to avoid pain and suffering at all costs. But a quick check of the headlines shows that we can't avoid it. Poverty, illness, addiction, corruption, hatred, natural and man made disasters surround us on all sides.

Image - Jana Herzogova
It is easy to look at that, become fearful, and not be willing to take any kind of risks for fear that something bad will happen to you! But what kind of life would that be? 

My choice has always been to live life, have experiences, and take the random consequences of my own actions. Sometimes my risks turned out well and I had amazing and fulfilling adventures. Other times, my choices turned out to be not-so-great and I had to live through the consequences. 

For example, no one forced me to go with a group of experienced 4-wheel riders on my first-ever ride on an ATV. I had lived through enough adventure to know that a possibly really fun time was in store. Unfortunately for me, that ride turned out to be short-lived, as I crashed into a sand mound at a higher speed than what I obviously was able to successfully maneuver. My helmet, which was incorrectly fastened onto my head in the first place, flew off. My head was propelled forward, and my face hit the metal steering column at the same speed I had been initially traveling, about 50 mph, Nose shattered, blood spurting, and me screaming in pain was the result. 

My nose was shattered in multiple places, the skin totally peeled off the face, and unsightly, jagged cuts continued down to just above my mouth. 

I thought I was going to be a freak show for the rest of my life. But time has a way of healing, and most of the time no one even has a clue of the trauma my face went through 10 years ago. 

Granted, I've never gotten back onto a 4-wheeler again, which is probably a weakness on my part, but at least I can say that I've had the experience. 

I feel like I learned so much from just that one experience. I can take that with me and be able to empathize with many people who have gone through the same thing or even worse than what I went through. And I definitely have a sense of gratitude for a brain that wasn't damaged, a face that almost completely recovered, and a nose that is just a tad shorter than what it used to be! Not to mention, greater faith in the power of prayer and giving up control to God and letting Him decide what I might be able to learn through all of this. 

What have you decided to experience, regardless of the outcome and what did you learn as a result? 
Add caption
 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, September 15, 2018

A Hair Update at Amber René Salon & Spa

I finally got my hair cut, after promising my husband I'd do it at some point in the future. He had started asking me to think about cutting my hair shorter. "It's time...." "You would look so good with short hair!" "I can just picture you with your hair at this length...." (shows me with his hands at chin length) I told him that one day I would walk in and surprise him because my hair would be short. 

That day came at the first part of August. I was past due for my 6 week trim and was really sick of my hair. Plus, it was hot!! So I walked into my local hair cutting franchise, where you don't schedule an appointment, and get who you get. I told the stylist to cut some length off and make it more layered. Well, she went to town on the length, but left much to be desired with the layering. I went home devastated but self-righteous. "Well, I got my hair cut, hope you're happy!" was my attitude as I showed off my piece of work to my husband. 

A few weeks went by and I kept meaning to go get it styled at a "real" salon, where you actually meet your stylist and can come back if you like her. I finally made an appointment at a salon that I'd heard great things about, and had great reviews--Amber René Salon & Spa. 

Here's what happened, long story short! I went in with this:
And came out with this, thanks to Katelyn at Amber René!

This is me after a long day at work and not having time to do my hair to attend a concert.
So although I said good-bye to this,
I feel like I will really like this new shorter and sleeker style for now. I like the fact that I can always grow it out at some point! It feels sleeker, edgier, and it is so much easier. 

I really liked the atmosphere of the Salon, where it was bustling for sure, yet had a very relaxed and casual atmosphere. I loved my stylist, Katelyn, and I even met the owner and Salon Coordinator, Amber and Kaycee! They were so kind and posed for a shot!
I was given a free service in exchange for this honest opinion of my experience!

 I learned from this experience that a good haircut needs to be done by an experienced stylist and those stylists usually are found in a reputable salon such as Amber René Salon & Spa.

Of course, I live in Utah, so if you live somewhere else, make sure you get references and read the reviews to find a great salon. But if you live in my neck of the woods, I'd love to recommend Amber René Salon & Spa. If you are booking for the first time, you get 30% off your service! Make sure you mention that Helena, from A GAL NEEDS...sent you!
Find Amber Rene Salon on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

You Matter Too! + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

Have you known or been associated with someone who has committed suicide? I know it has certainly touched my life. My uncle, who served in the Korean War, committed suicide when he wasn't given a bed in the Veterans' Hospital Psychiatric Ward--something he was guaranteed as a veteran and a diagnosed schizophrenic. He knew he was having problems and when he tried to get admitted, he was turned away. He had nowhere else to turn and so he took his life. I was quite young and don't remember too much about the details. The one thing I do remember is how broken up my Dad was---I had never seen him weep before. He and my uncle had been extremely close as brothers growing up.
I have a friend who struggles with depression and it's not because of any diagnosed mental disorder. It's because she has had a very abusive, neglectful, and traumatic childhood. The things that happened to her have scarred her for life and sometimes the pain is too much to bear. She has survived several suicide attempts. She is currently doing well right now and because of her cries for help, she has many friends who have rallied around her and offer support. I'm so thankful that things are turning out OK for her. 

I think the most ironic and shocking incident happened when I was working at an alternative high school that was for troubled youth who were falling behind and getting lost in the shuffle. We were just beginning to observe Suicide Prevention Week, when our principal's son turned up missing. Later that week we learned that he had been found, dead from suicide. It was so tragic to learn of this and so ironic that it happened during the actual week of what we were trying to prevent....suicide. It brought way too close to home the fact that suicide knows no boundaries.

Even children think about suicide. During a news conference Utah Lt. Governor, Spencer Cox, talked about his childhood, when his parents divorced and how he was also teased and bullied at school. He thought about suicide and shared how a great scout leader helped him through his darkest time.

Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day and all of September is Suicide Prevention Month. According to the World Health Organization, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds globally, with more than 800,000 deaths due to suicide each year. That’s approximately one person every 40 seconds. Many more attempt suicide.
Image - Nichole Jensen
 With those alarming statistics it's high-time that people unite and set aside differences they may have. This past weekend was the National Weekend of Prayer for Faith, Hope, and Life. It was for people of faith from all denominations to join together and use the power of combined prayer to help those whose lives have been touched with suicide and those struggling with thoughts of suicide and mental illness.  

Prayer is a wonderful way to unite people of faith and it also facilitates action! For the rest of the month, watch for articles on events and ways you can get involved to help prevent someone from doing the unthinkable. There is help available and we can be part of someone's decision to choose life! Here are some organizations that can help someone in crisis.

Monday, September 3, 2018

The Catalyst For Change + #MyPostMonday The Week's Best Original Content

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This past week has been a little bit crazy because we had family from Oregon come to stay for a week while they settled their 2 sons into their college dwellings. Their sons are a several years apart. However, one just returned from an LDS mission and another one graduated a half year early and has decided to attend a year of college before heading out on his own mission, so they are both going to BYU (Go Cougs!) at the same time, as freshmen. 

This is the sister that I don't get to see too often because they have been really busy raising their family. In addition, she has worked part-time as a nurse and my brother-in-law is a psychologist with his own practice. But that all changed when they dropped off the boys. They will officially be empty-nesters! It was really great seeing them, even though I was heading off to school each morning, as I started work on the 22nd.

Among other things, we arranged for the family who lives around here to come visit and catch up on everything that has happened since they last saw them. I was so grateful for my Instant Pot and the fact that I had finally started using it earlier this summer. It had languished in my pantry since Christmas because I couldn't handle the quick release valve. It stressed me out about as much as a firecracker in my face, so I waited to work with it until I had less stress to deal with, after school got out. Now, it's the greatest thing I've ever done for the development of my meal prep skills. I can create amazing meals in such a little amount of time that I feel like I've been released from cooking prison! I never liked being tied down in the kitchen, cooking meals, while everyone else was visiting, or doing whatever they wanted. It just seemed unfair, albeit easier than trying to organize an assembly line of vegetable choppers, kettle stirrers, and errand runners. My ribs were to die for and my sauteed green beans were the bomb! Throw in a watermelon and some deli potato salad and you've got a dinner done in less than an hour!

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

'National Dipped Fruit Month' #Giveaway by Edible Arrangements

This post is in partnership with Edible Arrangements
Summer is the time for all the fruits! (I really do love summer!) And August is the month for dipped fruits, 'National Dipped Fruit Month', to be specific! Edible Arrangements has got that down to both a science and an art. 

"At Edible Arrangements® we have thoughtful, unique gift baskets, fruit bouquets and fruit arrangements for every occasion from birthdays to baby showers. Shop our entire collection, including our signature fruit arrangements, legendary chocolate dipped fruit and more!"

This month Edible Arrangements is celebrating 'National Dipped Fruit Month' with dipped fruit gift boxes at 50% off! It's a great time to see for yourself what all the fuss is about! 

And for one Gal Pal, it's going to be on us! Yes, you will receive your own personal delivery of an 'Edible Arrangements' 12-piece Chocolate-Dipped Mixed Fruit Box! You're going to love it! It will make your day sparkle!!

So if fruit isn't your thing, or chocolate isn't your thing, this giveaway probably isn't the one for you (we love you anyway!). But if you like fruit and chocolate, like me, you'll love this prize! Enter in the Rafflecopter below and complete the mandatory entry of commenting on my review post here. All other entries are optional! Ends on 8/29/18.
  a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: 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. Winner will be contacted by e-mail
after 08/29/18.  1 entrant per household please and must be a resident of U.S. Must respond within 48 hours. Entrants with invalid entries will be disqualified. Sponsor, Edible responsible for delivery of cash prize.  

Chocolate Dipped Fruits by Edible Arrangements

This site receives sample items and/or compensation for review purposes. Affiliate links may be present. Thanks for your support!
 It's the peak of summer and the fruits are all at full maturation! Check out our overflowing nectarine tree--it's so full that we are resorting to holding up the branches with rakes and shovels, anything we can get our hands on to prevent the branches from breaking under the weight of the fruit! 


And I have such fond memories of growing up in the San Joaquin Valley in sunny California. During the peak fruit season, I was able to eat my fill of apples, apricots, berries, strawberries and so much more! It was all for free, since it either grew at my grandma's home or in my own backyard, 5 short blocks away! Those were the days!

And with all of that fruit ready to harvest, there are so many ways one can use it! 'Edible Arrangements', a company that makes beautiful fruit bouquets and other creations, is fully aware of all that bounty right now. They are celebrating 'National Dipped Fruit Month' in a big way! Through August 31st you can get any size of Chocolate Dipped Mixed Fruit Box for 50% off! That's starting at $9.50! Order online, call or visit your local store to take advantage of these steals!

This is a special I can certainly get behind because, as my profile accurately states, I love chocolate! I can't help it! I've tried so many tempting and luscious flavors, but I can't seem to get around chocolate. I always go back to chocolate. It's my lifelong temptation.

When I received my box of 12 dipped chocolate fruits, I was really impressed! The fruit was so tasty and the dipped chocolate was delicious! It made my day sparkle and I felt so spoiled!

The box contained 4 dipped apples, 4 dipped bananas, and 4 dipped strawberries! So much fruit, so little time! But don't worry, I managed to take care of it all before it went to waste and I even shared one with my husband. (Am I sweet or what? ...Must be because of all the dipped fruit I ate!)  Summer bouquets are the sweetest! 

Visit your locally owned and operated Edible Arrangements to cool off with a creation of your choice (they even have smoothies)! Send a sweet summer surprise to say thanks, or congrats!  What fruit would you love to eat dipped in chocolate?
Keep connected with Edible Arrangements through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Benefits Of Basil Everyday + Recipe

If you could only grow and use one herb, which would it be? I've decided that, for me, that would be basil. Don't get me wrong, I love all the herbs. This season I've got chives, rosemary, and mint along with my basil. I shouldn't play favorites, but I do.Why?  There are a few reasons!
 It smells so good--the smell of fresh basil sends me! It is so sweetly aromatic and pungent. It puts me in a good mood every time I inhale. And yes, basil used as an essential oil has vast benefits, among them aromatherapy.
 I can cook so much with it - It adds a nice Italian flair to almost any dish! One of my most favorite spreads is pesto! Anything with a good pesto on top is going to be delish! Basil is one of the main flavors in this amazing spread!

Astonishing health benefits - One of the most compelling but lesser known reasons to love basil are the many health benefits. Basil is so powerful in terms of antioxidant protection that a little bit is going to go a long way. Just a few leaves chopped up can give you at least 20% of Vitamins K and A and the minerals manganese and magnesium.

Including basil in your salads and salad dressing can inhibit dangerous bacteria that have been known to lurk on the leafy greens we love to include in our salads. Washing your greens in a 1% solution of basil oil will greatly diminish dangerous bacteria such as Shigella, a dangerous diarrhea-causing germ that could result in significant intestinal damage.

Another amazing thing is that eating basil can help prevent cancer! It contains phytochemicals that are amazing for that reason!

Unfortunately, basil can't simply be harvested and eaten like the lettuces we eat raw. Don't bother, I tried! It's not tasty at all. But something happens when it is infused into soups, salads, dressings or lightly sauteed with various foods.

With that in mind, I wanted to make use of the several basil plants growing on my porch and garden plot. These beautiful herbs need to be ingested and not simply looked at and sniffed. 
I thought about what I am already eating a lot of--something that might go along well with basil and the answer came quickly enough.

It is my sautéed vegetable and eggs breakfasts. I will now be
adding basil to the mix. This is how I do it. It is so easy, just how I like it. I don't believe in making essential nutrition something that is hard to do. I love being able to incorporate powerful hacks, nutritional or otherwise, into things I already do. Why complicate our lives that are already full to the bursting point? (See how I incorporate probiotics into my smoothies)

Sautéed Veggie And Egg Skillet

Ingredients - Olive Oil, Red Bell Pepper, Onion, 5 large Mushrooms, 2 eggs, 10 basil leaves, chopped

Chop the pepper, onion and mushroom into bite-sizes pieces.

Place the onions and peppers into a large skillet and

sauté until onions are tranparent and peppers are soft.

Add the mushrooms and stir into the mixture. Sauté for 2 - 3 minutes. Add the basil and sautee until limp. 

Add 2 eggs and cook them to taste, adding salt and pepper as desired. Top with cheese if desired! Enjoy eating healthy!