Autumn is My Favorite Color

If there is one thing to know about me, it is that autumn is my favorite time of year. Pumpkin decorations and treats, riding boots, crisp morning air, changing of the leaves – I have always felt that fall offers a fresh start, a new beginning. And, this year I hope to make it the very best yet!

While I realize that autumn hasn’t officially arrived yet, but I couldn’t help but share this fall bucket list for Southern Belles! Stay tuned for The Glitter Guide’s seasonal bucket list that I love to share each time is comes out! Until then, I hope you’ll join me in checking off all the things to love about this time of year.

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When Life Gets in the Way…

Wow! It is absolutely amazing how quickly time can fly when you’re in a caught up in the Summer haze. Looking back, I guess I could pin point when the madness started and that would be after I returned from Hawaii. Truly, that’s when I started getting sick. I thought I was on the fast track – my exciting new job in North Carolina, my boyfriend finally getting his release date and my health on the up swing! Think again…

I don’t think I will ever be able to forget that phone call. After having a MRI on my spine, my doctor informed my that my transverse myelitis had returned. This villain of a disease had taken so much from me before – my hair {thanks to treatment} and my ability to walk. After being admitted into the hospital with so many unanswered questions, all we could think to say was “at least they caught it early.” Comforting, right? Moments like this will make your fast track come to halt and you’re left feeling helpless, angry, and lost. I have always tried to be a positive person – the girl who views the world as her oyster, a believer in everything happening for a reason, always sipping from the glass half full – while finding hope in any obstacle.

Staying in tune with my insane medical history – transverse myelitis {TM} is a rare disease. Frankly, there isn’t much research out there and course of treatment is a fine line. Living this life is enough to make someone lose their self. Having your legs tingle with too much physical activity and the most recent side effect – my hands are tingling too. This feeling of not having any control of your body is mind numbing and indescribable. I would never wish this feeling or sickness upon my worse enemy.

My life is currently run my a treatment of prednisone and chemotherapy, in “hope” to reverse the damage done to my body. Just this week my hair has started falling out. I know that means I need to start looking to wigs to hide what TM has taken from me, but “at least they caught it early” {right?}. I returned to work pretty soon after getting discharged from the hospital and luckily, my life seems fairly normal from that outside. One thing that has been steady throughout this process is my faith and my family. Without these two things, I wouldn’t be able to put a smile on my face everyday and find hope in any situation when life gets in the way.

DIY Darling: Grow Your Own Succulents

It’s no secret that succulents are one of the hottest flora on the scene this season. Whether you’re a June bride and planning to host immense succulents in your bouquet or just want to jump on this trendy bandwagon, growing your own is fun and easy to do! Similar to the Christmas cactus your boyfriend’s Mom gave you over the holidays, this green plant is semi-drought friendly. Feel free to take a week long vacay and not worry about returning home to a shriveled up plant.

Planting Process.

Step One. Purchase a large, sturdy clay pot. Fill it to the brim with potting mix and top off with gravel. With a touch of water blend the potting mix and gravel together!

Step Two. Remove the succulents from their home and cluster them together in the pot according to their sizes and shapes.

Step Three. Sprinkle colored aquarium gravel around each plant until the soil mixture is covered.

Watering.

This is the part that I have the most trouble with when it comes to any plants! Succulents and Sunshine breaks this step down perfectly and I strongly suggest heading over their website to read up on How to Water Succulent Plants.

Happy Planting!

Skin Cancer: Dear 16-Year-Old Me

As humans, we are flawed in respect of our thoughts of invincibility. Disasters, infliction and even cancer, are something that we believe will never happen to us…until it does. May is Melanoma Awareness Month and just this week,the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund released this PSA on skin cancer, Dear 16-Year-Old Me. With a strong family history of this horrible disease, I visit my dermatologist annually to get checked. Even if you don’t go to the tanning bed, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t still at risk.

Watch this extended version of the David Cornfield Melanoma Fund production, and make your appointment to get checked; because skin cancer doesn’t discriminate.

To learn more about the effects of skin caner and how to prevent it, browse here.

Fab Find: Five Beach Must Haves

I am fit to be tied with all of this beautiful warm weather we’ve been blessed with in Virginia! Without a doubt, my mind has been consumed with Summertime and beach adventures. Today’s Fab Find is inspired by just that and hosts some of my absolute favorite must-haves of a day at the beach!

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  1. Cotton Snaps. A modern version of your standard croakies, this must-have is magnetic and won’t mess up those adorable beach waves you worked so hard to create! I first purchased a pair last year and after getting sun soaked, I couldn’t wait to purchase another this season. From Presidential to Seersucker, Cotton Snaps need to be in your beach bag this Summer!
  2. Monogram Floppy Hats. Because who doesn’t love a fashionable way to protect your scalp and hair from the damaging sun?! Marley Lilly has by far the best selection of monogram floppy hats in any color that you could possible imagine. My personal favorite has to be the Derby Hat – Floppy Light Aqua Outline. Aqua goes with just about any monogram thread color and will look super swanky poolside.
  3. Maui Babe. First off, I can’t believe that I am sharing one of my biggest tanning secrets; secondly, it really isn’t a secret, but this product is heaven! Oddly enough, my boyfriend introduced me to Maui Babe last Summer when I went to visit him in Hawaii. I was a bronzed goddess after day one and as you can image, completely hooked! Now, this product has become my go-to tanning lotion and I couldn’t imagine laying out without it. {Please stay protected against skin cancer and  remember to Practice Safe Tanning!}
  4. Beach Spiker. Imagine that you just made an icy cocktail on the beach and you set your cup down in the sand for just one moment. When you crave your beverage and pick up your glass, your hands (and basically everything around you) become smothered in sand. Best way to prevent this? Purchase a beach spiker from Etsy or your local boutique to save your self and your cocktail from being consumed with a sandy coat.
  5. Moroccan Oil. I try not to complain about how hot my full head of thick hair makes me on a day at the beach. However, once I dive into the salty sea or cloudy river my hair becomes one big knot! I have learn to combat this tangled mess with lathering my mane with Moroccan Oil before taking part in water activities. This product has saved my hair so many times it is unreal and I couldn’t imagine a day at the beach without it.

I hope today’s Fab Find has you ready to fill your beach bag with lots of Summer goodies! Together these must-haves will make the perfect beach day and will turn you into the mermaid we all secretly long to be. Enjoy!

Fab Find: Evelyn Henson

Do you love modern art filled with colorful palettes, patterned details, and fancy fancy all topped off with a feminine touch?! Well you’ll just adore my most recent “Fab Find!” I first discovered Evelyn Henson on Pinterest when her Richmond Map Print caught my eye. I was lead to her website and stumbled upon an inventory full of artistic treasures! From personalized paintings, lucite trays, and budget friendly prints there isn’t a single detail of Evelyn Henson’s work that I wouldn’t want hanging on my walls. Whether your looking to brighten up your office space or searching for the perfect conversation piece, I guarantee you’ll find it in her online shop.

Here’s a peak of a few of my favorite Evelyn Henson designs:

If you love Evelyn Henson’s work, but haven’t found your ideal piece – look into her Commission Paintings to personalize your experience! Happy Shopping! Xo

Spring To Do’s By The Glitter Guide

As I am sure you are well aware of, yesterday was the first day of Spring – Hooray! In light of this joyous occasion I couldn’t help but share The Glitter Guide’s Spring To-Do List. I stumbled upon this yesterday when I was trying to find a little Spring inspiration for myself and I couldn’t wait to share this treasure with you.

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While “sparkle every day” and “plan a picnic with girlfriends” are probably two of my favorite “to do’s” on Glitter Guide’s list, I absolutely plan to do all of these wonderful suggestions!
I sincerely hope that you’ll join me!

The Quarter Life Crisis

I am 24-years-old, in my “prime” as some would say. In less than three months, I will be graduating with my master’s degree and the world is my oyster. I could take a job hundreds of miles away, I could start my own company, I could travel the world…the options are limitless. Many people, around my age, are consumed with the hustle and bustle of life, trying to aspire to be the best person they can ultimately be. But, when do we become so consumed to “what could be” that feel overwhelmed and gravitate toward things that will bring us the most security and comfort? This is the idea of having a quarter life crisis.

It’s always been my personal goal to achieve big dreams and not settle for less. Now, the opportunity to do those things is knocking on my door and I am at a cross road. Everyday I wonder if I should take a big job in the city or move back to my hometown and wait for my significant other to return from the military. There are so many positivities and negatives to each that it has driven me to insanity! I just want someone  to say this is what you need to do and you will achieve goal A, B, and C. In reality, I know it isn’t that easy and will never be, but boy do I wish it was!

A quarter life crisis is not the end all – be all existance to our very being. It’s a fact that no one wants to make a wrong decision or take the wrong opportunity and simply settle for a life of “what ifs’.” Overcoming the quarter life crisis is a leap of faith; like turning in that final exam or getting over a bad breakup or even dealing with grief. We all go through it and I believe there are two things you can do to take this crisis by the horns: encourage and inspire.

To encourage others you’re helping others to take the plunge and accept that big job in Atlanta or  start up their own consulting firm. In essence, you are encouraging them to not be scared to take a chance and that settling for status quo just isn’t acceptable. Knowing that being a hypocrite simply isn’t suitable, this has encouraged me to do the same. Be encouraged, be vulnerable and know that it’s okay to not have it all together.

To inspire we can drive a sense of motivational success in ourselves and others. Whether you choose to be a leader or follower, inspiration comes from so many angles that we just have to open our eyes to all that life has to offer. By not letting the idea of a quarter life crisis consume you, you’ll be able to make decisions based on what you want and be the inspiration for others as well. Take a step back from the big picture mentality and look at each puzzle piece in front of you.

Life is full of twists, turns, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, and dreams. There’s no such thing as perfect timing and you’ll never know if something if worth it unless you do it. We hold the ability to encourage and inspire ourselves by being living testimonies.

Must Read Monday: The Choice

We are faced with thousands of choices everyday. From deciding if you want a venti or grande latte to whether or not you should take that jobs hundreds of miles away from home; it’s a simple fact. Nicholas Sparks’s novel The Choice brings up on of the most “heart-wrenching” choices of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

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Travis Parker seemingly has it all – great career, friends, life and a beautiful North Carolina home that looks over a lake. There truly isn’t anything he could want more, until Gabby Hollands moves in next door. As the reader, you are taken through their love story and will get a first-hand account of their journey as it unfolds before you.

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The inspiration behind The Choice is another novel by Nicholas Spark you may know, The NotebookThat is the one reason why I decided to pick up The ChoiceIf you think that this novel mirrors The Notebook, it truly doesn’t. Sure, it is a love story and there is some turmoil…but isn’t that every Nicholas Sparks novel? The town, the story and most of all the characters in the novel completely stand on their own in a charismatic way;  you would have no idea it was influenced by one of Sparks’s most popular novels.

While the movie release date has not been announced, The Choice will hit the big screen soon! Stay tuned!!

125 Years in the Making

This time four years ago my body became inflicted with pain and my legs grew so weak that I had to crawl up the stairs to get to my bedroom. Being in college in Alabama, I remember being so scared not knowing what could possible be wrong with me. Little did I know, during those painful moments what would be in store for the upcoming months. Upon flying home to Virginia I was immediately sent to this hospital were my life became consumed with tests, misdiagnosis and doctors who’s faces offered a sympathetic look that meant one thing: I wouldn’t walk again.

After weeks of simply laying in a bed, motionless from the waist down, a doctor came in with the answer I had been waiting for. The last option to try to cure the autoimmune disease attacking my spine would require an aggressive form of chemotherapy and a move to Sheltering Arms Hospital. By the grace of God, my Mom never told me I was going to Sheltering Arms to learn how to live my life in a wheelchair and there wasn’t hope that my legs would move again. From day one of physical therapy I was determined to walk again and willing to push as hard as I could, because I was not willing to give up the promising future I believed I could have. And then one night, my leg moved.

From that night forward, I worked even harder to gain my strength back and learn how to walk again. Less than six weeks later I walked out of Sheltering Arms. While my story has been aired in local television commercials and even a documentary, I cannot say that it is completely my story. Without the hard work of my physical therapist, my amazing doctors, motivation from the Sheltering Arms team, the nurses who became my best friends and my faithful family, I would not have a story. I owe so much of who I am today to all of those people who motivated me to learn how to walk again to kept me sane during times when I wanted to give up.

Tomorrow evening I will be attending Sheltering Arm’s 125th Anniversary Celebration with fellow former patients, doctors, physical therapists, and other members of the Richmond community. It is such a wonderful feeling to know that I was small part of this wonderful hospital’s history and I look so forward to celebrating finding the Power to Overcome.