Monday, November 30, 2020

Philosophies Gained Through Twin Watching + #MyPostMonday Featuring The Week's Best Original Content

 "There they go, they're at it again....", I say to myself, as I try to intervene before too much damage is done. The two pre-teen boys in our classroom start to tussle violently, one of them receiving a solid punch in the face and withdraws, whimpering and defeated. He lays his head on his desk for an hour.

It happens so often that I can count on an incident every day with them. The difference with these two fighting and any other similar fight between non-related boys, is that with these two, everything seems to be forgotten within hours. 

The next thing I see is that they are laughing together at some private joke they have between themselves, that no one else will ever understand because it's the language of identical twins!

When one of them leaves the room for any prolonged amount of time and the remaining one doesn't know where the other one went, he becomes agitated and tries to leave the room to search for his brother. 

When one of them isn't able to get prizes from a rewards program because of his own negligence, the other one will step in and give his own prize to his left-out brother.

These boys haven't come from an abundant lifestyle, from what I can gather. They split time between their parents because of divorce, they don't have a lot in the way of clothing or extra "stuff". And of course they are in our classroom because of  some kind of learning disability. But they seem happier than most of the other kids, and their peals of laughter, mostly at inappropriate times, gladdens my heart for them. 

It has been really interesting and an education for me to be able to observe these 6th graders for as many hours as I do each day, in such close proximity. But despite the total closeness and kindred spirit type of bonding they enjoy, they do have definite differences. Some of them quite striking. 

They look so much alike that I'm sure early on the parents decided to let one of them have long hair while the other one wears his hair close to the head. It really helps to quickly identify them at school. Without that helpful hack, it would have been near impossible at the first of the year to tell them apart. 

I have learned to tell them apart and have noted a couple of significant differences! I have learned that one of them (Twin A) is more able to talk and be social with grown-ups. I like to talk to him because he is so interested in things and seems to have a genuine thirst for new information. At the same time he is more spontaneous than his brother. One day, I had about 10 of the students outside during a nice fall day for about 20 minutes. It was going just great....until Twin A suddenly pulled another boys pants down. The thing is, the other kid wasn't wearing any underwear! It was not cool at all! The rest of the day was spent sorting out what everyone did and didn't see, who might have been traumatized and would anyone be suspended? An incident like that requires a whole lotta paperwork. Yet. This is the one who, when given a reward like a bag of chips or candy, will go without so he can give it to his brother, after a fight in which he was trounced by said brother. 

Friday, November 27, 2020

Athia Skincare Anti-Aging Eye Roll-On Review

I'm excited to promote a company located really close to where I live. I love local companies that are less than 5 years old this one falls into that category! Athia is a skincare company that uses multi-peptide blends in their products that work synergistically to stimulate collagen production and protect skin from aging. These peptides replenish, smooth and plump the skin. I'm all about that! Whether you are an active gym girl who gets dehydrated skin because of working out, or a girl who is concerned about losing nutrients in her skin due to anti-aging, Athia may be for you!

 Right now you can get 50% off any product at Athia! It's the biggest sale of the year! Use code BlackFriday50


 

Why Athia

After an intense workout, your skin loses water due to evaporation, leaving it dehydrated and your pores are open. This leaves them exposed to harmful bacteria and pollutant buildup that cause breakouts and unhealthy skin. This can increase surface lines as well as dead skin cell buildup, which clogs your pores.  

 The Solution

Athia products are specially formulated to target the potential skin issues from high levels of activity. Athia products use highly concentrated amounts of antioxidants, electrolytes, amino acids, vitamins and essential minerals to cleanse, moisturize, detoxify and brighten. Additionally, our probiotic technology is masterfully formulated to provide healthier skin by fighting free radicals and other harmful bacteria, while replenishing the skin's essential good bacteria.

 Problem - Wrinkles and Loss of Collagen 

Loss of collagen is the primary cause of wrinkles. Alarmingly, we lose 1.5% of collagen in our skin each year after the age of 20. This can be aggravated by intense exercise. Athia stimulates the production of collagen and elastin through the use of peptides, retinol and plant extracts which help to restore lost collagen and smooth out tone and texture 

 Problem - Dryness

When you exercise, your skin loses water due to evaporation, leaving it dehydrated. Dehydration leaves your skin looking and feeling depleted and dry. Hyaluronic Acid is the gold standard in skin hydration. Not all hyaluronioc acids are created equal and that's why Athia uses a high molecular weight and high concentration that penetrates deep within the skin

 Guarantee  

If you're not satisfied with our product within 30 days, then neither are we and we'll refund you.

 My Experience

I ordered the Energizing Eye Renewal in a roll-on bottle. This product is so cooling and soothing! It glides onto the under eye area easily and doesn't leave any tell tale sign of application. It instantly absorbs into my skin. It is small enough to carry in a small make-up bag or purse to use when needed, as a pick-me-up! It has lightened up the under eye shadow so that it isn't as much of a problem as it used to be! The eyes are really all of my face that is representing me in public! I say that since most of my face is covered up with a mask at work and out in public that it is really important to have my eyes in as good condition as possible. I highly recommend this product.

I just recently ordered the Anti-Aging Eye Cream and the Daily Facial Cleanser. I'm really excited to try both of these products and I'll let you know how I like these as well. So far, I'm really liking this company and its commitment to the best skincare for active women of all ages and skin types!

Photo credit: @athiaskin

Gorgeous Jewelry From Agape Studio Makes Sense As A Great #BlackFriday #GiftIdea

 I've always loved simple and comfortable jewelry for everyday! I love these 'Timeo' earrings that I purchased from Agape Studio the other day. They are a new company, just 13 months old, based in Paris! I'm sure that they are there to check out all the amazing art there and are being influenced in an amazing way. 

Close-up view. I added the stud

Today for Black Friday they are giving everything on their site a 30% discount with free shipping! That is the same discount I received when I purchased my earrings!

 Here is a bit about their philosophy--

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Change A Room From Functional To Restorative With Wall Art + 25% #DiscountCode To PhotoWall

 

“The magic thing about home is that it feels good to leave, and it feels even better to come back.”

I really can say that I enjoy my job. Especially after the periods of time I've spent not being able to work because of...you know....Covid. Then I like to return home. I like the feeling of being able to come back and leave the work day behind.  I can forget about what stress and craziness happened. I can rest up and go back the next day with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Home is so important. It's important to make it your sanctuary, however that looks to you. 

 For a long time the upstairs bedroom had been bothering me. It was a rather nondescript room. It has an adjoining bathroom--nothing fancy--a shower, sink, window and toilet. The bedroom also has a walk-out patio with a sliding glass door overlooking the rest of the neighborhood, houses with similar floor plans, just different colors of paint outside to express their rustic appeal. So the view isn't too exciting, especially right now after the leaves have all fallen, but it does let in the fresh air during the spring and summer, which is actually really nice!

Winter Blahs
 

The white walls in the room seemed so utilitarian, stark and plain. Yet, this is the place I go to regain my equilibrium after a crazy day at work. I love my job, but I need a place to go unwind before I begin the 2nd phase of my day, which includes interacting with my husband and my father, who very much remind me at times of the 6th - 8th grade boys I work with, with the amount of attention they crave! But I love them, so I don't mind one bit (OK, maybe just a little bit!).

Many thanks to PhotoWall for the collaboration opportunity and product received for review purposes
 

Another problem with the room at one point was that the 2 full-length sliding glass doors let in the light from the street, along with the neighbors' porch lights when I was trying to sleep and it created a real problem. I finally got some nice blue, full-length, light-blocking curtains, which have helped so much!! But they serve a very functional purpose and therefore, aren't the most decorative things in the world.

Even though I have plenty of furniture, dressers, bed, stools, etc. I felt like my room wasn't pulled together like I wanted. The overall color theme of the room is blue. I have the blue bedspread, and the blue curtains. So what to do....

I thought about the possibility of wallpaper, but nothing really wowed me. And then I found Photowall, a Swedish wallpaper company with a vast selection of Wall Murals, Photo Wallpaper and Canvas Prints. I looked through their selections and I loved how they show the wall art the way it might look in an actual room. They have several room scenes for every wallpaper, mural and print. It really gives a great sense of the overall effect the wall would have in your own home.

Since I was trying to pull together a room which already had some
blue accessories, I decided to stay with the current color scheme and find something that would pick up the blue and possibly pull the whole thing together. 

Another thing that I noticed on the PhotoWall site was that they have 18 different themes that one might be interested in. Within those themes are 6 - 15 sub themes. I found several amazing and fun themes that I almost decided on, but steered myself away because I wanted to stick with my color and the theme I chose. 

For instance, under the Religious Theme I found these amazing wings titled, "Watch Over Me". How fun would it be to be able to pose for a blog photo in between those amazing wings? 


 

 Since I love to get out and hike in the mountains and sometimes even end up at alpine lakes, I decided to choose a nature theme, with water and/or mountains. Here are some murals I seriously looked at before I made my final selection. 

Watercolor Mountains


Western Sketchbook

 

Pale Mountain Silhouettes
 

 

 I finally made my decision based on how I felt when I saw this mural.  I felt absolute peace and calm.

It was like I hit the jack pot when I found "The Fisherman". It has such a serene feel to it. I was in love. I was willing to take the risk of it being "over the top". But frankly, I didn't see how I could lose on this design.

I was a little nervous about how I'd pull this off. I actually had a professional come in and do it for me and he did a great job. I might not have though, if I had found this how-to video beforehand and actually saw how easy it is to do yourself. You just need the right tools, which are very easy to find. 

Sneak peak of my wall in the mirror
 

Now that it is finished, I feel like I've got a house on the lake, with my window looking straight out on the water, the mountains in the background. I think I got the vibe I was looking for. 

Room With A View!
 

The Fisherman
 


Next project - restore the antique dresser


I've got a 25% discount code for you, if you decide to go the route I did, and brighten/calm your space with the feeling you get when you see the perfect design. One mural really can change the mood in a room. Use agalneeds25 at checkout through December 20th! I'd love to see what wallpaper, mural, or canvas print you choose! Message me @ info@agalneeds.com or message me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook!



My peaceful space

 







Monday, October 19, 2020

A Language Understood By All + #MyPostMonday Linky Featuring The Week's Best Original Content

Have you ever had a favorite teacher who inspired you to do more than you ever thought possible? An example of pure motivation during my elementary school years was Mrs. Dietrich my 6th grade teacher. She most likely motivated me to do more than any of my other teachers up to that point. And believe me, that was hard because school in general bored me. Her reading group was more than just a monotonous reading group. We not only read the stories, but she had us make something tangible to represent what we were reading. It intrigued me. I remember one time making a wooden bed and fashioning a little pillow to represent something from a book we were reading. I know that I must have been motivated because I never did homework, until this special reading group.  I thought about schoolwork beyond the time I was actually in school....which turned out to not be a whole lot after 6th grade.

Another teacher that motivated and inspired me, even shaping my life for the better, was my piano teacher, Auldine Dycus. She was the most patient teacher ever! She never got upset--not even stern--if I came back without having practiced much, but she carefully taught me all that I was willing to learn under her tutelage. I learned about the circle of 5ths, major and minor scales, arpeggios, chromatic scales, relative minor keys, and other music theory. I learned the 'Moonlight Sonota' by Beethoven, 'Fur d'Elise' by Debussy, 'Liebestraum' by Liszt, and other beautiful songs. But what I learned most was because of her kindness and charity. 

I was an independent and strong-willed child during my middle school years. I would ditch school any time I could, despite knowing that my grades would suffer and that I would be looked upon with disapproval. I felt like I'd fallen through the cracks. I wasn't in honors classes and I wasn't on any particular teams or clubs. I didn't have many friends, and the ones I did have weren't really close. So I left. I'd end up at the craziest places---anywhere but school. Sometimes I would walk for miles to Mrs. Dycus' home and ask her if I might play on her piano and practice. She said I certainly could and let me stay there while she went and ran errands. I'm sure she told my mom about it, although it was never mentioned. Eventually I was sent to a private christian school that was out of town to finish 8th and 9th grades. It was a day prep school that had a great choir program. I thrived there. I think I stopped piano lessons soon after that. But I know that it was the kindness and influence of Mrs. Dycus that got me entrance into that amazing school for 2 years.  And  because piano was never something that felt like drudgery to me, I continued my interest in music and eventually minored in music in college. 

Of the two teachers I've mentioned here, I have to say that Mrs. Dycus had the more far-reaching effect. Although both were very motivating, something extra happened with Mrs. Dycus. She was kind. She heard me. She gifted me grace. 

Saturday, August 29, 2020

A Red Dress For Fall, Ya'll!


 
I hope you're having a great weekend before Labor Day Weekend! We don't have much planned but I know I'll be making zucchini bread because that's what I do when I have any extra time! I bought a tiny little plant, no bigger than my little finger, and it turned into a Jurassic Park monster plant! So many zucchinis, so little time. But zucchini bread is one of my all-time favorite treats. 

 It was 90 degrees outside today, yet It's almost at that transitional time, when summer turns into fall and some people say that white is out. I don't necessarily say that, I just feel like the colors turn from being more pastel or neon to the warmer tones. But then there's red. Red is a color you can wear in any season and any occasion. But you do have to feel a bit sassy to even feel like wearing it. 

I own a few red dresses and I recently added this one to my collection! It's really versatile and honestly the price was amazing as well! I'm an Amazon affiliate and you can click through here for red dresses. If you decide to buy, I'll get maybe a few cents, which honestly would make my day just because you appreciated the fact that I helped find you an amazing dress! 

Let me say that this dress is long on me, which I don't mind. I'm 5"4ish and so if you have some height on you, this would be amazing! But I love it at the length it is. It runs true to size, I'm a medium and that's what I'm wearing. 

We always have fun, hubby hubs and I, when we go exploring to find a good place to take a few pictures. He's been really cooperative lately and I'm very appreciative! Sometimes I have to take my own pictures, which can be a pain.  So  I'm enjoying the good luck while it lasts! Do you enjoy wearing red at times? Let me know in the comments!




It doesn't have any zipper or slits. It simply slips on and it's fairly easy to do. It's light, yet not transparent. It ties in the back.



Monday, August 24, 2020

The High Road + #MyPostMonday Featuring The Week's Best Original Content

I'm an off-season kind of gal. If it's a high traveled, well-attended, often frequented place, that is where I won't be. I crave the solitary. The less traveled. The undiscovered. 

I also think that civility is not a well-traveled road these days. The high road is not somewhere many people want to go. Maybe that's where I should be going. There's less traffic!


Today is "My Post Monday!", a curation of my picks 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, August 22, 2020

Followers and Fans Appreciation #Giveaway - $50 PayPal


 

Welcome to the Followers and Fans Appreciation Giveaway! 

I've decided to do another appreciation giveaway and do them more regularly. Why? Because you have been awesome! Those of you who are still with me have patiently put up with some of my inconsistencies because of seasonal depression when I post less frequently, my mistakes along the way, my rants, my philosophical reveries, and so much more. 

As a blogger for almost 11 years, I've seen a lot change and I realize that things aren't the same as when I first joined up. The main reason I became a blogger is because I have a strong writing/documenting instinct. I've had the bug since I was in elementary school and owned my first diary. I found it cathartic to be able to record feelings and events. I kept a journal for many many years. Then I found blogging. Not only could I record events and feelings, but I could also share with others and maybe have a little bit of influence along the way. Then when I found out that I could also help others to discover products right along with me and that sometimes I might even be able to give things away or offer special discounts to others in exchange for promoting a company, I was so excited! Winning on all sides!


Thanks for sticking around for the past year, 2 years, 5 years, or even the almost 11 years I've been doing A GAL NEEDS.... This is for those who are with me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest or are on my e-mail list (right side-bar), on LinkedIn, or on Bloglovin' or YouTube. This is for you! If you're a new follower, welcome! You can enter now if you'd like, and if you stay, you'll be eligible for all entries that are available in subsequent giveaways! I'm tired of giving money to people who want to make a quick buck off of my desire to improve my blog, with very little return. It's time to give more to the ones who matter most! YOU!

So today I'm going to open it up to all current followers and if you would like to start following now, great! You'll be eligible for most of the entries! I promise, I'll make it worth your while if you do follow me now! And especially if you are interested in health, wellness, fashion, beauty, and original content creators like me. I love to feature as many original content creators as possible on #MyPostMonday. Bloggers like me write because we love it, not solely for the financial reward. If that comes, well then, great! We are also usually working another job in addition to blogging. (I've worked in the school system for 20 years now and love it. I'm seeing a lot of change there too!)

So here you go, welcome to the Follower/Fans Appreciation Giveaway! One winner will receive $50 in PayPal cash. There are plenty of entries for all followers. If you are new, please make sure that you follow on one of my social medias before you enter! My long-time followers (those who have been with me on at least one of my social media channels since before this giveaway) are welcome to all entries on the Rafflecopter. New followers may enter the entries labeled with NF. Thanks so much for entering, good luck and let's have some fun! And remember, more follower appreciation giveaways are coming! Make sure that you can claim all available entries by continuing to follow along after the giveaway!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

 

Disclaimer: Sponsor, A GAL NEEDS..., is responsible for delivery of prize package. Winner must have valid PayPal e-mail. Disclaimer: Open to U.S. and Canada A GAL NEEDS...is the exclusive sponsor and host of this giveaway.
Must be 21 or older to participate, one entrant per household. Winner will be contacted by e-mail after 09/3/20.  Must respond within 48 hours. All entries are validated.
Entrants with invalid entries will be disqualified.This is a followers-only giveaway. To claim all entries you must be a follower of A GAL NEEDS...on at least one social media channel before the beginning of this giveaway. New followers may claim all entries labeled with NF. Winner will be selected by random draw from Rafflecopter.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

3 Ways To Wear a Crew Neck T-shirt + #DiscountCode

            
My school work schedule is back on track, albeit a few changes like mask requirements, distancing and sanitizing routines. But it's all good. We will make it work somehow! In the meantime, I've had plenty of time to make sure my casual wardrobe is on point, with or without a mask. (This is a partnered post--product was received for review purposes.)

The t-shirt is one of my staples. But not just any t-shirt. It has to be oh, so soft, and moisture wicking is an extra bonus plus some antibacterial action comes in handy these days as well. That's why I am choosing to wear bamboo material t-shirts. Bamboo meets those requirements and two more----they look great and they are easy to care for!

Coming up are my 3 fashion variations featuring my first choice of tees---the Cariloha bamboo crew t-shirt. There are so many more ways to wear them, but I know you can take it from where I leave off! It's just a reminder that the humble crew t-shirt is still very much a part of casual fashion everywhere--especially if it's made from bamboo!

Why Cariloha Bamboo?

Cariloha Bamboo fabric is twice as soft as cotton! They have a special manufacturing technique that brings out the natural potential softness of this wonderful plant. They also ensure that no harmful chemicals are used during the manufacturing process, in compliance with OEKO-Tex Standard 100. They are certified to be chemical free!

Cariloha bamboo clothing is 3 degrees cooler than cotton. "Every fiber has a thermostat and Mother Nature turned bamboo's way down." On top of that, it wicks moisture away from the body and is also an odor and allergy repellent.

Do you see why I just love Cariloha t-shirts? And let's be honest, I'm a fan of all of their amazing products---sheets, bath towels, athleisure wear, or anything else....I'm the first in line when I hear of something new, like their crew tees. 

So without further ado, here are my 3 variations on how to wear a crew t-shirt! If you like them, you can order thru September 2nd using discount/promo code: GAL20 for 20% off all purchases, including sales.

Variation 1: Wear a tee with a printed pant, dressed up with some bling on top and a comfortable sneaker!

Color - Navy Heather. Size - Medium

Variation 2: Wear a tee with a printed skirt and some cool heels! 

Color - Tropical Teal Heather Size: Medium
 

Variation 3: Pair a tee with a jumper and heels or flip flops!

Color - White. Size - Medium


I'm really happy about how I can stretch my wardrobe with a few very simple and comfy teeshirts. Hopefully this will give you a lot more ideas about how to werk it with some tees! Use the discount/promo code: GAL20 for 20% off all purchases (including sales) at Cariloha. 

Follow Cariloha on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


Monday, August 17, 2020

When Life Revolves Around Food + #MyPostMonday - Sharing The Week's Best Original Content

 There are several times in a year that my quest for healthy eating and improved physical fitness are in the utmost danger. Those times are the trifecta holidays (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas) because they are all so close together and all of them involve food. Then later on in the Spring there is Easter because those Cadbury Eggs are simply irresistible! And finally in mid to late summer comes the zucchini harvest, at which time I make a whole lotta zucchini bread. It is mandatory that we grow one plant per season. That is when we give to neighbors, friends, relatives, and of course, we eat it as well. I love it with chocolate chips. I can't deny it, I plan on this like I plan on any other event in life when it revolves around food!

 

Just when I recover from one holiday and get the pounds under control, here comes the next holiday or event. It's a never-ending carousal that I don't care to get off any time soon. I've resigned myself to being an average height, average weight American woman, by American Standards, certainly not European and most definitely not Parisian standards. 

And rather than hate myself for enjoying the bountiful plenty that I have been afforded, I am so thankful for the food that I am so fortunate to enjoy. It's one of the greatest pleasures in life to taste a great desert or food that you love. 

But other than those several times in the year, I do try and eat well. I am very careful about not eating too much sugar and I never drink soft drinks or straight candy or even pastries. I think that if you can be reasonably good most of the time, you can afford to cheat some of the time. I won't ever be thin, but I will definitely be happy!!!

What is your relationship with food? Do you have a love/hate relationship or do you struggle with any aspect of food? What is your food philosophy?

Today is "My Post Monday!", a curation of my picks 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)