5 things: I use to [try to] ease my migraines

five things

On July 3rd, I had one of the worst migraine attacks I’ve had in a long time, bad enough to make me go to urgent care for a shot of pain killers and nausea relief.

When the doctor asked me if it was my worst headache ever, I didn’t have to think about it: No.

The worst was the one that was so bad my face went numb and I thought I was having a stroke. I was in my early 20’s. I was terrified.

This one wasn’t as bad, but it was persistent and I couldn’t keep anything down, even water. So I stayed home and got help.

Sometimes these posts are about things I use on the regular; sometimes they’re about things I’ve learned/habits/etc. Today, I’m sharing five things that bring the pain down sometimes, even if it’s just a notch. 

Advil migraine, 3 at a time, every 4-6 hours

If that seems like a lot, it is. But it’s one of the only OTC remedies that brings the pain in my head down enough to make me semi-functional.


Eden’s Garden Breathe Easier synergy blend

I keep a diffuser in the bedroom, another in the living room, and another at work. This blend opens up my nasal passages and helps me breathe through the pain. Sometimes its enough (in combination with the above) to get rid of a migraine for a few hours).
If I have foolishly run out, peppermint or eucalyptus with rosemary can do the trick.

These are my three diffusers: bedroom (pretty wood exterior), living room (simple with a color changing light), office (mini, usb charger)

Tracking my symptoms

I use Kindara to track my cycles, along with my chronic health issues. I’ve also become more conscious of my prodrome symptoms (the symptoms that come before a migraine—kind of like the calm before the storm). My prodrome symptoms include neck tightness, extreme fatigue (needing naps), and a stuffy nose that makes it hard to breathe and requires deep breaths. Sometimes, it looks like extreme energy followed by a depressed mood and difficulty getting the right words out.

Hot water bottle and ice pack

I already regaled you with my love for my hot water bottle. Sometimes heat on my neck, jaw, or the side of my head where the pain is helps. Sometimes a cold pack on my forehead helps. Sometimes I need both. Sometimes nothing works.

Arnica gel

Like the ice pack, sometimes I need to slap something cold on my face to relax the muscles around my forehead, or my neck, or my shoulders, or wherever I start to feel the first twinges of tightness. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t.

Bonus: Turmeric with bioperine

Sometimes, it seems that turmeric helps. Or maybe it’s a placebo. Whatever it is, if it takes the pain away without knocking me out, I’ll take it.

There are more tricks I use, but these are the most consistent and effective. It’s a guessing game each time.

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5 things by 35

five things

I turn 35 this month. Here are 5 accomplishments I will reach/have reached by the day my birthday rolls around.

grow out my hair

I’m a short hair girl. I begged my mother to bob my hair when I was 6 and never looked back. I’ve had long hair exactly 2 times in my life: in 10th grade and again in my last two years of undergrad. Last year, I decided to let my hair grow until I turned 35—not that I’m cutting it any time soon, I just needed a goal to ease the itch… Friends, I did it. Even with the awful Florida heat.

dive into the query trenches

I’m not one of those writers who needs to be published by a certain age, but I cycle my projects around my birthday, and this year I really wanted to start querying, even if it comes to nothing. Experience is a win either way.

take control of my finances

I’ve posted a couple of videos on my budget lately. I don’t have any major debts and have the privilege of a steady job, but there’s always more work that can be done. This year, I committed to taking serious control of my finances and being a careful steward of my money, which means…

(re)start investing

I’ve saved enough money to start investing. I tried my hand at stock picking some years ago, but that’s definitely not the way to invest. I’ve been reading a lot of finance books for this very reason.

use up a tube of lipstick

Not so lofty as my other goals, but for the first time ever I am going to use up a tube of lipstick and it feels like the most epic of accomplishments.

 

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5 things: writing implements

five things

I like pens. I’d say it’s a fairly common addiction among writers and academics (or nerds in general), and I am all these things.

I went through my collection and identified my pens of choice.

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In no particular order…

Stabilo point 88 (in mini and regular) – colored ink 

I’m especially partial to pinks, purples, and green in this range. I pick these up at my local Michael’s, but have also bought the minis on Amazon (if you have pen friends, the minis make great gifts). Will ghost through thin paper.

PaperMate InkJoy retractable ballpoint pens – colored ink

Bright colors and smoothie smooth ink. These are great for color-coding. I like the gels too, but the ballpoint pens won’t bleed through delicate notebook paper. I buy the 8-packs.

TUL retractable pens – black gel ink

I use these exclusively for my nightly journal. The ink is stark black and quick-drying. It will ghost through thin journal pages, but I’ve never had it bleed. All in all, A+. You can find these at Office Depot or Amazon (the white barrel was a special edition that I refill).

Sakura Pigma Micron 05 – purple and black ink

Microns are the darlings of ink-based artist (or so it seems). The 05 tip is the perfect thickness for a nice, bold line without scratching (common with the thinner tips). No bleed or smearing, but will ghost through thin paper. I usually buy these at Hobby Lobby or Michaels, but Amazon has them in packs.

Ticonderoga pencils

Who does not love a Ticonderoga? I prefer pens, but when I want a pencil, I reach for these. I am especially attached to the ones I find around campus (it’s like the fry at the bottom of the bag).

 

Are you a pen addict? What are you favorite brands? Let me know 🙂

5 things – tools for [writer] productivity

five things

 

Evernote for writing, plotting, notes, story details
I fell in love with Scrivener but hated the lack of cloud-ability (there was no app when I started using it and I’m still leery of the Dropbox option for reasons). Cue, Evernote.

I create a notebook for each project and add sub-folders for Characters, Settings, Details, Research, and Drafting. I then create individual notes per element (some, like minor characters, are part of a single “character bible”). I return to this method again and again because I can access it from anywhere and it gives me the all-in-one-file feel that Scrivener provides.

Google Calendar/Happy Plannerfor time-blocking (scheduling time to write)
I rely on Google Calendar for time blocking, which is essential for me. Combined with the Happy Planner (link to video/post) that I use for work, it keeps me on track and helps me plan for writing when life gets in the way.

Spreadsheet – for wordcounts
I keep a long-running spreadsheet in OneDrive, started when I first started drafting Crown of Ice, which helps me keep track of my words on a single manuscript over time. I have individual spreadsheets for each project, but I combine final word counts by project in a single, yearly spreadsheet that helps me track progress over time.

Trellofor planning and content creation
In an effort to create more content and maintain a steady post schedule, I decided to give Trello a try (I used it once for work,  but it didn’t catch on). It’s perfect. I use it as a content planner, and organize projects for the podcast, details for querying, and more. It’s an all-around win for me.

HB90 methodfor quarterly [writing] project planning
Whether it was serendipity or the magic of algorithms, I stumbled up author Sarra Cannon’s Heart Breathings channel and all the wonders therein. One of these wonders is Cannon’s dedicated planning method for writers (HB90), based on a 90-day quarterly system that encourages writers to think of their work in terms of goals, projects, and tasks. It’s brilliant and I’m using it to plan/track my current writing project, as well as the query process, and future plans for a story that needs editing.

5 things: habits

five things

We’re well into the new year by now and I’m making some serious progress on my 2019 goals or, rather, habits. That’s right. I’m making ch-ch-changes this year, especially when it comes to spending.

Here are 5 things [habits] I adopted in 2019:

budget tracking and cash flow

I’m not a huge spender, but I’ve become a bit lax when it comes to being accountable for my spending. I decided to change that and adopted a new cash flow app (EveryDollar), combined this with a paper tracker (the Happy Planner budget insert), and returned to a system that worked for me a few years ago: cash budgeting. I don’t use cash for every purchase, but by sticking to a budget, I have a better sense of where my money is going and the purchases that serve me well.

not buying coffee (unless I make it worth my while)

I mentioned this in a previous post, but I’m brewing my own coffee while at work. There’s a Starbucks in my building. The temptation is real and one that led me down the debt rabbit-hole when I was a low-paid college student with a caffeine habit and a credit card for “emergencies”. I’m not saying lattes will destroy your credit, but it’s such an easy habit to adjust. At home, I have a milk steamer/frother and all the coffee-making implements I need for a bougie blended drink. At work, I have a french press, a pack of instant (for when I’m lazy), and my favorite creamer. If I really want a latte, it has to be worth the $5 for the non-dairy milk.

meal prepping

Meal prepping comes with an added benefit: time-saving. I was a big meal-prepper when I was working on food intolerances a few years ago, but I fell of the wagon. Hard. Food is one of the areas where I spend the most money and it’s another one that’s easy to change. Part of my cash budget includes restaurant-spending, so I’m setting a limit that covers me for a few meals/dates each month. All other meals are prepped at home, usually with the help of my InstantPot (a life-changing bit of magic). Going mostly plant-based has also helped because cheaper, faster meals.
re-finding a fitness routine

Much like the meal-prepping, I fell off the regular fitness habit. I have reasons, mostly physical, some mental-health related, but overall, I just felt too tired and achy to workout much when my hormones were out of whack. Now that I’m feeling better (better, not perfect), I’ve started walking longer distances, running (occasionally), and reviving my relationship with yoga. I’ve also been doing the LoveSweatFitness Daily 10 routines on days when I only have enough energy for 10 minutes of physical activity.

outfit tracking

@lifeingminor is a project with a purpose – to document how I use the pieces in my wardrobe and develop a conscious relationship with the clothing that I own. I’ve been posting consistently for the last two months and recently started adding my project pan  updates. It’s another way to take control of my spending and better appreciate the pieces I bring into my home.

 

5 things: minimalist transitions

It’s a little more than 3 years since I decided to adopt a simpler, more minimal approach to life and consumption. I was already interested in green initiatives, but, naturally, this led to an increased interest in low waste, DIY, conscious consumerism, curated collections, and introspection. Like many, I started with a copy of Marie Kondo’s Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up and took off from there. The book really was life-changing, altering my philosophy on home, spending, and happiness in general. My initial goal in reading the book was to inspire my mom to change some of her own habits and overcome her fear of letting go, what I found was a new outlook that resulted in a happier, simpler me.

I filmed a few videos describing my early experience with “sparking joy” (I’ll be restarting that that series soon, re-titled “minimalist transitions”), but here are 5 things that facilitated the process and/or inspired me to think about what I consume.

5 things: minimalist transitions

the book

This is the book that started it all for me. I borrowed it from my library and learned so much, I wanted to share it with everyone. I still apply KonMari’s philosophy and strive to surround myself with things that spark joy — in life, work, and home.

KeepCup

I have a coffee habit, and while I’m still working on minimizing my use of disposables, this was a start. KeepCup has since become the cup du jour among the cool kids.

I am not a cool kid, just a posh nerd.

Fjallraven Kanken (classic and mini)

I have two of these – the classic in red and the mini in brick. I work at a university and I have a lot to carry. I also travel for work and love Swedish design. These bags hold EVERYTHING and don’t make my back hurt (joy all around); they also helped me re-evaluate what I carry, and learn that I value comfort and practicality above all. I wear a Kanken on most days and have gotten sooo much use out of them. Fun fact, I used my amazon reward points to purchase both of them. I paid $0 for each.

Lesson: use those credit rewards!

tieks

I’ve talked about these before (here, here, here, and here). These were the 1st big, well-researched fashion purchase I made after re-evaluating my spending and shopping habits. Purchasing a pair of $175 shoes is an investment and not one I made lightly. This purchase forced me to re-evaluate my relationship with fashion, and appreciate the quality and durability of well-made shoes. Two years on, my first pair is still one of my most-worn items.

Another happy side-effect, I was able to let go of all the shoes that made my feet hurt. I reach for tieks whenever I’m not wearing my Lotta’s (another purchase made for comfort and durability).

Note: I have the luxury of being able to afford these. This is a luxury that I did not have once upon a time, but one that I am aware of. Buying secondhand, quality items that live up to their value is always an option. Quality does not always = $$$.

project use it up

Not a thing, but a concept – “project use it up,” or tracking my empties, has resulted in a greater understanding of what I buy and use, which leads to fewer impulse buys and more selective purchases.

some thoughts…

Do you need these things to adopt a lower waste/minimalist philosophy? No. Do they help? Sometimes, but you can find your own joy sparking alternatives. The items listed are items that I love and appreciate for their style and purpose; they have a classic, timeless style and will serve me for years to come.

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5 things: music to write to

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted a 5 things, and with the death of Polyvore, I’ve been thinking how to create new themes.

For today, I give you 5 of the Spotify Playlists I listen to when I need to focus on writing, or while working on projects where I crave no distractions.

Thor: Ragnarok soundtrack

This album is electronic, atmospheric, and just the right amount of adrenaline-pumping to get me going. Really good for writing action.

Late Night Jazz

This playlist works for me at any time of day, but particularly when I want to relax into writing and forget about everything else. I also enjoy this playlist when settling in for a good reading session.

The Dark Knight Rises soundtrack

Like the Thor soundtrack, this one is atmospheric enough to get me going, but smooth enough when I need to focus on words rather than pacing.

Ambient Chill

I listen to this at work. It’s my version of office muzak. Unobtrusive and easy to listen to when working in an office.

Femme Fatale

Sometimes I need something dark and sexy to set the tone.

5 things I have been loving lately

5 things I have been loving lately

 

Kosas cosmetics lipstick in Rosewater

NOW Hyaluronic Acid serum

Katie Dunlop’s Hot Body Sweat Guide workouts

teapigs. Popcorn tea after lunch

The hilarious and poignant “Into the Twilightpodcast on Soundcloud, which is bringing back all the angst, feels, and trashy wonder of Twilight.

5 things: unexpected love stories

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I rounded up 5 of my favorite, unexpected, slightly unconventional, but totally magical love stories.

5 things: unexpected love stories

 

Lovely, easy breezy reads with a twist. A Song for Summer is a historical romance set against WWII, while The China Garden is set in the English countryside sometime in the ’90s (I haven’t read it in a while, but I think it’s aged pretty well). UprootedShades of Milk and Honey, and Rose Daughter need little introduction. Excellent, magical girl fantasy for all.

5 things: making me happy right now

I feel the need for a little lightness. Here are five things that are making me happy right now…

5 things: that are making me happy right now
My Lotta clogs, because this color is just perfect. Turtle necks, because it means it’s not a 100° outside and they make me feel like a French girl. Almond milk lattes, because Starbucks finally made my non-dairy dreams come true and I don’t care if they’re not Whole30 approved. My Kanken mini, because it’s orange and Swedish and the perfect blend of modern and retro. RMS diabolique, because it’s the perfect blush and if I go overboard, I look like a Flapper.