My Mother, My Friend

Weekends. We love them, work all week praying they will come sooner, and then are bummed when they’re over. That is EXACTLY how I feel right now at 9pm knowing I need to be up at 6:30 tomorrow for work. My mom was able to visit this weekend for the first time since Christmas last year and it was seriously the most therapeutic time for the both of us. We are both battling situations beyond our control (the unpredictability of med school is draining and Lupus sucks, to put it bluntly) and spending a weekend together was the therapy that we needed to refresh our outlooks on life.

We ate lots of Chinese food. We baked cookies and proceeded to eat almost all of them within 12 hours. We went thrift shopping until the little bit of cash in my wallet was gone. We took our dogs to the humane society where they were adopted to show them off to the workers who so diligently loved and cared for them until they came to their forever homes. We did yardwork and for the first time I actually enjoyed it; thank you mom for buying me gardening gloves that fit and pruning shears I so desperately needed. We hiked 7+ miles and enjoyed views so beautiful that it’s hard to believe they were real. Most importantly, we laughed. When life hits and you get depressed to the point of simply going through the motions, it can be so hard to remember what happiness feels like.

Go outside. Breathe fresh air. Hug your cat, walk your dog, or do both if you have five pets like I do. Call a friend. Exercise. Take a bath. Hug a loved one. Do something that makes you smile. For me, seeing the struggles my mother endures daily as someone who suffers from Lupus makes me admire her even more. Spending time with her this weekend made us both smile again, and for that I’m eternally grateful.

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My mother, my friend.

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Formerly unwanted and now forever loved pups!

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They adore her too 🙂

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View from Blue Bend Recreation Area

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Poshmark!

Just a quick note to let you know that I decided to start selling my unworn and unwanted items on Poshmark, an online store where you can go through people’s “closets” and purchase items that are either brand new or gently used. I am constantly clearing out my closet, so I am sure I will be frequently adding to my online shop in the future. I enjoy thrifting and love showing others how awesome it can be!

Come shop with me!

@lekiloui

*Some of the items available are shown below.

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Wedges worn one time. Made in Italy. Size 7.5.

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NWT American Eagle kick boot jeans, size 6.

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Beautiful stretchy bracelet.

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Two pairs H&M shorts, size 8.

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Cargo highlighter. Brand new with packaging.

A Slice of Heaven: Blueberry Pie!

One of the best things about summer is picking your own blueberriesSeriously. If you’ve never done it, find a place nearby and go right now. White Oak Farm, located in Renick, WV, sells pick your own berries for $1.95 a pound. I may or may not have picked eight pounds and froze five of them. Can’t wait to have fresh berries in the wintertime! Berry picking is a fun activity for the whole family to enjoy, affordable for those on a budget (or those who simply want to save money), and gives you tasty blueberries to savor all year round.

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What is the obvious thing to do with blueberries? Make a pie of course! Now before you assume I’m Betty Crocker, I confess I bought a store-bought crust. You know what? It did the job and that worked for me. I may not be Betty Crocker, but her recipe was delicious. Easy enough for the two of us to figure out!

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We bake with the best company.

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Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the first blueberry pie Matt and I have ever baked! It won’t be the last either. Blueberries are high in antioxidants, so obviously that means it’s healthy right 😉 If you have any recipes for us to try, please let me know!

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A Few Of My Favorite Things #1

I order from Vitacost at least every other month to ensure we are well-stocked on products we love. I’ve made quite a few purchases there recently, and thanks to $40 in coupon codes, I couldn’t pass up getting some of our favorite goodies. Below are five items that my husband and I simply cannot live without:

  1. The perfect base to a delicious smoothie. friday fave 1I still very much love the Garden of Life Raw Meal protein powder, but this whole meal shake is the bomb dot com. We mix it with some unsweetened chocolate almond milk, hemp and chia seeds, PB Fit powder, a banana or two, and a handful of greens for a morning meal that really does hold us over for a few hours. The ingredients are so simple, and yet the taste makes you wonder what it is in it that makes you want more.
  2. A healthier Oreo. friday fave 1 I know I know. Why buy a fake Oreo when the real ones are so good? Don’t get me wrong; Oreos are delicious, but I also know how terrible they are for my body. Palm oil, enriched flour, and high fructose corn syrup are not things I need to ingest when I want a treat. These Newman’s Own cookies have replaced Oreos in this household, and the best part is my husband actually prefers them! #wifewin
  3. The perfect dry shampoo. friday fave 1Truthfully, I have lost count of all the dry shampoos I have tried. Batiste, Psst, and Not Your Mother’s are just a few, but I have also tried plain cornstarch and baby powder as well. Nothing works as well as this one by Acure Organics. My hair is chemically treated, blonde, fine, and oily all at the same time, which makes finding products that work a challenge. I bought this on a whim a few months ago and love it. It actually gives my hair a bit of volume, and although it falls flat by lunch, I’ll take a few hours of successful second day hair than none at all. Depending on your hair type, you will either love this product or hate it, but for my thin hair, it works better than all the others I have tried.
  4. A clarifying shampoo that works in hard water. friday fave 1My husband and I moved to West Virginia three years ago, and my hair has never fully adjusted to the horrible hard water we have in our area. I have invested in expensive Malibu clarifying shampoo, a chlorine removing one by Paul Mitchell, and tried simple baking soda and apple cider vinegar, but nothing worked. In fact, the Malibu shampoo destroyed my hair to the point I went through two deep conditioners before it felt like hair again. This one by Avalon Organics cleans my hair without stripping it of its natural oils, and if I follow up with a deep conditioner, it actually looks good air dried. When that happens, a product is automatically a win-win in my book.
  5. A perfect price point body lotion. friday fave 1When it comes to body lotion, I don’t want anything sticky, heavy, or too fragrant, yet it has to work. I have went through three bottles of this lotion and will continually repurchase it. Not only does 32 ounces last six months easily, but the hydration lasts all day. The ingredients are trustworthy too, which makes me feel more confident in the product since the skin, the largest organ in the body, is what’s absorbing it.

There you have it: Five products my husband and I cannot live without. What are some of your favorites?

*Vitacost referral link: http://goo.gl/ykAyVW

 

Mother’s Day 2017 Thoughts

Mother’s Day. It’s a special day honoring the women whose love and influence has shaped us into who we are today. This is my mother, the strongest woman I know. She is a business owner (shameless plug here), lover of the outdoors, and has taught me the importance of loving animals. She has always been the perfect balance of friend and mother, and if I can someday be half the mother she is, I’ll consider myself a good parent. I’m so grateful to have had her support over the years, including my MSW graduation THREE years ago today.

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Bottom line: Treasure the time you have with your mother, because only when you move away will you realize how much having her close by was so wonderful.

Mother’s Day can also be a very rough time for those who have either lost their mothers or desire to be one and it hasn’t happened yet. It is easy to feel alone when you’re scrolling Facebook and see everyone’s Mother’s Day posts. You know what?

You’re not alone.

There is someone else out struggling just like you are.

More often than not, someone has endured a hardship and kept silent about it.

Lastly, stop scrolling.

On this particular Mother’s Day, I was fortunate to be surrounded by my husband; my church family; lunch with neighbors who took us under their wing and act as surrogate parents; and my fur babies, all five of them.

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This dog has the good life.

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So content in her special spot.

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So many personalities in these felines.

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Until the time comes for me to be a mother, I will savor every moment of my fur baby motherhood and always cherish those who have made a difference in my life: My own mother, my grandmothers I lost too soon, and my mother-in-law. Thank you for all that you are to me. I love you.

Shelter Spotlight

5.14.17-ADOPTED!

Meet Elsa!! My husband and I met this pretty little lady while walking dogs at our local humane society today. I love walking dogs and interacting with them just as much as my husband does, but I love being behind the camera and trying to capture their personalities too. This darling Boxer was a gem to walk and clearly not afraid of a few photos 😉 I mean, seriously. Who could resist that grin?!

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If you are interested in learning more about Elsa or any of her available sheltermates, please contact the Greenbrier Humane Society at 304-645-4775. We are located in Lewisburg, WV.

A Spring Salad

Gone are the heavy days of winter where I want to snuggle up in a blanket and eat warm soup and butter bread. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still a carb lover at heart, but my diet tends to change when winter ends. With the days getting longer and the sun shining 75% of the time, I don’t want to spend an endless amount of time in the kitchen slaving over a stove. I prefer fast, yet satisfying meals. My friend, this spring salad has it all. Protein, fiber, dairy (a cheese substitute can be used instead if you can’t have dairy, even though I’m lactose intolerant and have no issues with feta), antioxidants, vitamins, and so much more. Trust me. You want this 10 minute salad.

  • Romaine Lettuce: Only contains 17 calories per serving and has high water content, which is perfect to help control your weight.
  • Carrots: High in beta-carotene, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, and good for your cardiovascular health
  • Strawberries: High in fiber and potassium, not to mention they are delicious
  • Walnuts: An essential fatty acid that contains manganese and Vitamin B
  • Craisins: Honestly, just provides enough sweetness to appease my occasional craving of junk food
  • Hemp Seeds: Contains 10 grams of protein per 3 TBSP; contains iron and other essential minerals needed in your body; I buy mine here.
  • Feta Cheese: A Greek cheese made primarily from goat or sheep’s milk; has a salty, tangy flavor; lower in calories than traditional cheese from cow’s milk; nutritional in moderation due to the salt content; tastes delicious and a staple in this Greek woman’s household
  • Olive oil and red wine vinegar: Used as the dressing, but feel free to use any vinaigrette of your choice

Now, I am by no means a nutritionist, so I encourage everyone to do their own research when it comes to their diet. Know your needs and approximate calorie intake each day and stick to a plan. I wouldn’t eat this salad five nights a week, but for my size and weight, once or twice is ideal. My husband even loves it and he despises vegetables.

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Go ahead and savor this spring salad. 

I had two pups watching me as I made the salad and couldn’t help but snap their pictures. They’re my forever sidekicks!

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Leia, the watcher of all food making activities

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Miner, the one who expects food because he knows he’s cute.

If you try this salad, let me know what you think!