We started with Amazon but I know how much we all love a good Target run. Either in-store or online, amirite? So grab yourself a coffee, a glass of wine, a good snack, and let’s do some holiday shopping!
The items I’ve curated include some of my very favorite jewelry from Sanctuary Project, a recent fair-trade partner of Target, my can’t-live-without hair styling tool, some fun flannel for both him & her, kitchen gadgets, tech gadgets, the latest in must have toys, and more!
Simply click on the image below to be taken to where all items have been linked for ease of shopping! Once there, just click on the individual squares of products (underneath each collage) to look in more detail and purchase if it strikes your fancy!
While you’re there, feel free to hit FOLLOW on my LIKEtoKNOWit so you don’t miss any future posts!
Then hop on over to my Instagram at @shortgirlbigmood and let me know what you think of this guide. I hope it helps make your holidays a little more merry and bright!
Coming up next will be a gifting guide that gives back. Stay tuned!
It’s my favorite time of year… this anticipation of the holidays! All the planning and thinking about loved ones. It’s my jam.
Have you heard of the Five Love Languages? If not, check it out! There is a free quiz online that can help you. But a quick summary is that we all have favorite ways our love bucket is filled. We need all five of these in our life, but we probably have a couple that mean more to us than others. So if you really want to show your love to someone, you can learn what their love language is and meet them with what is most valuable to them.
The five are:
Words of Affirmation
Acts of Service
Gifts as a love language? SIGN ME UP! 🙂
I do love gifts. Receiving them, of course. I love knowing I was thought of and that someone put intention and action into that thought. But I also love giving them! So with giving in mind, I wanted to put together a holiday gift giving guide to help you out this year.
As I was researching, the list got loooooooong. What can I say? I enjoy even hypothetically giving gifts! So instead of making you scroll for days, I’m going to break the lists up by vendor, starting today with Amazon. I will also be sharing gift ideas from Etsy, Target, Walmart, Simple Switch, and several of my favorite fair trade shops like Sanctuary Project, Noonday Collection, Mercy House Global, and more.
Just remember that due to the pandemic and many more people relying on mail services, shipping times may be longer than usual. So even if you don’t usually start your holiday shopping in October, this year you may want to consider it. 😉
So… here… we… go!
Just click on the pictures to be taken to the listing.
Ironically, as I type this, I’m feeling pain that has nothing to do with my autoimmune issues. My left big toe h•u•r•t•s! Who knew that one toe could disrupt life so much? This is where I have been allllllllllllll week.
Anyway, the podiatrist said my joints are inflamed so we’re doing a little acute treatment and hopefully healing will come quickly. Say a little prayer for me because momma doesn’t need to add anything else to her body issue list! For the freakin’ love hahahahaha!
Regarding regular pain management, this is something that has taken me years to figure out and I still have to tinker with it. Autoimmune diseases are as unique to each individual as each individual is unique.
If you’re thinking, “wait, what autoimmune issues and why is she jumping into pain management because of one bum toe?” go ahead and hop over here to read part one of this post.
Now that we’re all caught up… here’s a quick run down of what I do daily to manage my* symptoms from Hashimoto’s, Addison’s, and Fibromyalgia.
First and foremost, is being mindful regarding rest, stress, and energy output. I am determined to live a full and inspired life and refuse to allow my autoimmune diagnoses to be my identity, but for that to be true, I have to plan, think things through (hard for my impulsive nature), and make accommodations. As an example, this momma is going to be at 👏 every 👏 single 👏 one of her kids events, but after an all-weekend basketball tournament, I need to keep my calendar clear the following Monday to give my body a chance to recuperate. Things like that.
I also hear that a healthy diet and exercise is helpful for those with autoimmune issues. Heck, I hear it’s good for everyone! I have not tried that yet… ha, jk… I have tried but I’m not the most disciplined at this. Now that I’m living this journey more out loud, maybe I’ll be inspired to be a better example. Maybe.**
I have a great team of physicians that support me living my best life. My boo, Linda, at Wiseman Family Practice oversees my care in consultation with my endocrinologist and rheumatologist. Below are the medicines and supplements we have determined work best for me each day. It’s taken a long time to get this mix right and it’ll likely have to be tweaked and changed over time, as well. Autoimmune isn’t one and done. Every day is a new day with new challenges, but right now this is my daily dose.
Don’t let that handful scare you, only two are prescription. Each morning I take Synthroid to support my thyroid function (ha, like I have any function! but this helps my body pretend it does) and Cymbalta as a pain receptor blocker (bonus, it’s also an anti-depressant!) I also take an over-the-counter Allegra to help stop my overactive histamine production, a multi-vitamin, vitamin D, vitamin B, vitamin C, and zinc. Recently the biggest game changer for me has been upping my vitamin D. It’s given me an extra boost of energy! And this being the dumpster fire that is 2020, we’re alllllllllll drained and can use a boost, amirite??!
In the evening I only have one prescription…
And it’s my favorite prescription! At only 4.5mg, Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) helps reduce my pain experience and fights against inflammation. It’s a compound drug, meaning you’re not going to find it at Walgreen’s or CVS, it’s just not mass produced like that. I have a local compounding pharmacy make it for me. It’s not currently covered by insurance, but it’s worth the extra $$$ for me, and hubby agrees. He’s seen what I’m like when I don’t take it. 😉 I also pop a magnesium before bed, one Estroven (ugh menopause), and then depending on the day and how I’m feeling, I may add a couple Tylenol or Alieve and one or two Benadryl. The thing with having a compromised immune system is that once one issue is diagnosed, it’s not uncommon to discover others. The latest we are investigating is dermatomyositis ‘cuz this girl is super itchy all the dang time. I’m just a party, y’all. 🥳
With all of the above, plus the loving support of family and friends, a lot of Diet Dr. Pepper, and even more Jesus, I’m here, happy, and living a joyful life.
Whatever you’re facing in this life, I pray you are able to look for the joy.
Peace & hugs, Kelli
*what works for me may not work for you, please consult your physician before taking or changing any meds or supplements
For years I thought everyone felt like me. I mean, isn’t everyone tired? Yeah, I fell asleep at the stop sign driving the kids home from school, but I woke up. I got us home, helped with homework, cooked dinner, just gotta keep moving.
So my head hurts and I’ll get dizzy and fall down. But I live in Central Texas and allergies are bad.
Ok, I can only hang up half of my clean clothes before my arms give out. So weird, guess I need to get back to the gym.
Ouch, my back and legs feel like fire is running up and down through my veins. Getting older is hard.
It’s crazy how much of my hair is falling out. Goodness, thankful I have more!
So many excuses.
I don’t know if I was naïve or just simply obtuse, but none of my symptoms sent me seeking answers from a physician. Wanna know what did? My vanity! Ha! I had gained weight and nothing I tried would take it off. So THAT is why I finally made a doctor’s appointment. A simple blood test showed I had severe Hashimoto’s Disease and adrenal fatigue. WHAT?! The doctor starts asking me if I’m tired, sluggish, have a hard time remembering things, experiencing aches? Yes to all of the above. Who would have thought that was a problem??? 🤦♀️ But in my defense, I was a working mother with a husband and a home to care for, like so many others, and I just thought this was the result of life. It is not.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes hypothyroidism, or under-active thyroid. With this disease, your immune system attacks your thyroid, and since the thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system and produces hormones that coordinate many of the body’s functions, it’s kind of a big deal when it doesn’t work. Add to that my adrenals being drained of cortisol leading to brain fog, low energy, depressive moods, salt and sweet cravings (hey, at least I have a good excuse!), lightheadedness, and other vague symptoms, and well, I’m a whole party. 😉 Also, I haven’t lost the weight hahahaha.
Since my initial diagnosis in 2014, I have also discovered I get to survive Fibromyalgia, as well. WOOHOO! waaahhhh! 😭 What’s that saying about things making you stronger? 🙂 Fibro is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal issues accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. My husband is one lucky man! HAHAHA!
In addition to the above side effects, each of these conditions also cause pain. Sometimes it’s just a nuisance, sometimes it’s more, and even more times it’s debilitating. There’s an estimated 50M Americans suffering from chronic pain, according to the CDC. For 8 percent of those (I’ll do the math — that’s 19.6 million adults), the pain is bad enough to frequently limit their daily life or work activities. That is certainly the case for me. I no longer work full-time. I have to manage my activities and regulate my energy output. That has not always been easy to admit. It’s taken me yeeeaaarrrsss to come to terms with my reality. I’m an honest person and I hope you take me at my word regarding my health journey. My family and friends have been so completely wonderful and supportive. But that’s not everyone’s situation. Often those living with chronic pain aren’t believed. Since it’s an invisible illness, out of sight, out of mind, I guess? Which is why we need things like September as Pain Awareness Month.
Raising awareness about invisible illnesses is one of the best things you can do for your friends who suffer. Help them (or yourself!) accept that it’s not “just in their head” and that there are resources that can help. No one should simply be left to suffer.
Everyone experiences pain differently, so each individual’s regimen to treat and manage that pain should be personal, too. The US Pain Foundation has created a survey tool to help those in need discover a personal pain management plan at mypainplan.org.
Because there’s not a test to determine level of pain, developing a strong relationship with your care providers is key. I adore my medical team and through lots of trial and error I am on a very manageable path.
Come back next week when I post about what I do to create and maintain a high quality of living despite my chronic illnesses.
Even with masks and sanitizer and shields and distance… I was recently able to do the most normal, non-essential, but very essential, thing I’ve done in seven months.
Four of my dear girlfriends and I got away to the Texas Hill Country over Labor Day weekend and visited several local wineries on that Sunday. Le sigh, it was wonderful.
When you think about Texas, your mind may first go to BBQ and beer. We like those, too. But search the web for the best wine regions in the US and Central Texas will pop up on every list. The Texas Hill Country wine region spans 9 million acres, making it the second-largest wine region in the nation. You read that right. So we had a lot of vineyards from which to choose.
We started at Grape Creek Vineyards, one of the area’s first. It’s gorgeous with its Tuscan decor and rolling hills of full of beautiful vines. Even on a busy holiday weekend, we were able to get into a tasting with only about a 10 minute wait. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and we had a lovely time. To me, Grape Creek is exactly what comes to mind when you think of a traditional winery experience.
Next up was my personal favorite, Barons Creek Vineyard. I loved the more modern European aesthetic and the open-air interior courtyard. The day we visited we enjoyed a live band, plus they had large patio games set up for a more festive feel. There was also plenty of outdoor seating available, even though they were quite busy. But the best part of all? They have villas you can stay in on-property, and they are stunning. I’m already planning a little anniversary getaway for me and the hubs next year!
We ended the day at one of the newest wineries in the area, Bingham Family Vineyards. In fact, they’d only been doing tastings for three weeks! Maybe because of the newness, or maybe just due to an emphasis on details, I felt this is where the most attention was given to our group by staff. The vineyard has also partnered with Yee Haw Ranch to provide a wonderful shopping experience for guests. I would highly recommend a tasting here for the friendly experience.
If you’re thinking “wait a minute, she hasn’t talked about the actual wine yet!” you’re very perceptive. And that is because I can’t, ha! Full disclosure, I don’t actually care for wine. However that makes me a wonderful friend to have because I will gladly be your designated driver on a day-long winery tour! Also, all the money I save on wine tastings I get to spend in gift shops, and that’s my kind of high! 🙂 But I will tell you that my friends enjoyed all of the wines tasted throughout the day and purchased several bottles to take home of the Bingham wines.
So if you find yourself in Central Texas, I encourage you to take time to visit the Texas Hill Country and the many wonderful wineries and cellars it has to offer.
If you can do it with your girlfriends, even better. Thank you, beautiful friends, for bringing joy and light into my life. And thank you Chad, my love, for encouraging me to go. It was a good day.
Peace & hugs, Kelli
P.S. All accessories worn in pictures are from the Sanctuary Project and you can get 15% off their entire site using code KELLIH15