12.28.2017

Things I Loved About 2017

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New Years resolutions and I do not mix. While it can be fun to think of things you’d like to accomplish in the next year, it takes away from reflecting on all the things that you have to be grateful for. Here are some of my favorite things from 2017!

Favorite Podcast: My podcast obsession only got deeper this year with the discovery of The Love Bomb by Nico Tortorella. He did his final episode a couple of months ago, but there are so many great ones you can go listen to. He talks all about love and relationships of all kinds (gay, straight, trans, monogamous, polyamorous, etc.). It’s super interesting and enlightening.

Favorite Book: You know a book is good when it makes you cry. I read all the time, but my fave from this year was The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. It follows the story of two teenagers who have absolutely nothing in common, but end up meeting and falling in love – all in the same day. If you’ve ever experienced falling in love in an insanely short amount of time, this one will hit home for you. The writing style is very unique too. It switches between Natasha’s view, Daniel’s view, and the Universe. It’s amazing and will give you all the feels!

Favorite Movie: Beauty and the Beast, of course! The remake was everything I wanted and more. I got to see it with my mom, one of my best friends, and my god daughter, which made it that much more special!

Favorite TV Show: This is Us. It’s not even a contest. This is the literal best thing on TV! If you haven’t seen it yet, binge it immediately.

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12.15.2017

Writing Career Spotlight: What Is Proposal Writing?

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So what do you do for a living?

I do proposal writing for a local government contractor!

Cool! So what does that entail?

Uh…well it’s kind of hard to explain…

This is usually how every conversation I have about my job starts out. I’m pretty sure that even my friends, family, and husband have no idea WTF my job actually consists of on a daily basis. In fact, I’d say most of the people outside of the business development department at my company don’t really know either. And I totally get it! I had no idea about proposal writing or the world of government contracting until I worked here either. It’s not a writing job that gets talked about very often. Let’s be real, it doesn’t sound as impressive as saying you’re an author (which I also am!), but proposal writing is a reliable and financially rewarding career path – which is something many writing jobs can’t claim. Writing majors get flack for not picking something that’s stable (insert eye rolls here), but proposal writing is one huge area that IS.

There are all kinds of contractors that need solid proposal writers on their team. In my case, I work for a government contractor that specializes in training development, information technology, equipment repair/maintenance, and professional support services. The first thing I was worried about when I interviewed here was if I had to have specialized knowledge in these areas or at least be familiar with government processes. Luckily, it wasn’t necessary! That won’t be the case with every company, but it’s worth applying for these types of jobs even if you don’t have the exact experience. As long as you’re a strong writer with a willingness to learn, you’ll do just fine!

So, what do I do all day?

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12.06.2017

Best of 2017: Skincare and Beauty

How are we already in the final month of 2017?! This year has flown by, especially these last couple of months. Worsham and I are closing on our first home later this month! If you’d have asked us this time last year if we were going to buy a house anytime soon, the answer would have been “hell nah.” But after a few insane events at our apartment this year (such as witnessing our neighbor’s literally insane girlfriend off of her meds at 3 a.m. on Halloween), we decided it was time. We’re so excited to finally have our own place together, and one that needs no updating and has a storm shelter at that!

Anyways, the end of the year always gets me thinking about my fave skincare and beauty products! You may have read about some of these on here before, but there are some new gems on here as well. Enjoy!

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Skincare

Cleanser: CeraVe Foaming Cleanser

This is a more recent purchase of mine, but I’m loving it! I’ve been a fan of their PM moisturizer for a while now and this cleanser doesn’t disappoint. It’s simple, gentle, and has helped my face to get less oily throughout the day.

Moisturizer/Makeup Remover/Oil/Bath Bomb/Everything: Kopari Coconut Melt

THIS! Kopari’s Coconut Melt is probably my favorite discovery of this year. You can use it for literally everything and the jar lasts forever! It’s worth the higher price tag. I use it to take off my mascara, in my bath as a bath melt, as a scalp treatment, as face lotion, as body lotion, on cat scratches, as lip balm – you get the idea. It’s good for everything.

Acne Treatment: Rodan & Fields Unblemish Dual Intensive Acne Treatment

This stuff just can’t be beat! This is the power player of the entire Unblemish line. If you can only afford one item, get this one. I can’t stop buying it despite the price tag and the fact that you don’t really get that much product. It’s still worth it! Bye, pimples!

Face Mask: Herbivore Botanicals Blue Tansy Mask

I wanted to branch out from my usual masks designed just for acne, so I snatched this up at Sephora a while back! It does help with breakouts, but also exfoliates and helps fight signs of aging. Also it’s 100% organic and the jar will last for the rest of time. You barely need to use any product! My face is so soft after I use it.

Beauty Tool: Mount Lai Jade Roller

Jade rollers have been all over the place this year! I decided to cave and see what the craze is about. They’re so popular because of their ability to increase lymphatic drainage and the fact that they just feel good. It’s basically like a massage for your face. It could be all in my head, but I feel like my face looks thinner and my eyes look less puffy when I use it. Plus it’s an ancient Chinese beauty secret, and clearly they know what they’re doing.

Shampoo: Redken All Soft

An oldie but a goodie! This used to be my favorite in high school and I rediscovered its greatness this year. Still magical.

Probiotics: Garden of Life Raw Probiotics Women

Any skincare junkie knows that good skincare actually starts from the inside with a great probiotic. I had a probiotic-related breakdown this summer when my beloved PB8 changed up their formula and made my face explode with acne. I’m still pissed about it. If your face is being a douche and your probiotics have chicory root inulin in them, throw them in the trash immediately. BYE. Luckily, I tried out this gem and love it! It is on the pricier side (like, $50 I think), but well worth it. It has a million different vitamins in it too.

Collagen: Dr. Axe Multi Collagen Capsules

Another amazing find this year! In my quest to destroy cellulite, I came across these bad boys. I can honestly say I’ve seen a difference taking these every day for the past few months. Is my cellulite totally gone? No but it’s definitely improved. It also helps my occasional knee pain and helps keep my face clear. Also, I have to admit – I tried “fascia blasting” earlier this year too and all I ended up with was some bruised apple looking legs. Worsham called me “13 bruises why” for a while! I’m sure it would probably work if you’re consistent about it, but honestly who has time for that? Just take some collagen and be done with it.

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10.30.2017

Eureka Springs Travel Guide

One of my favorite places in the world is Eureka Springs, Arkansas. For those of you who are unfamiliar with northwest Arkansas, you’re probably thinking “ew, why?” But Arkansas, and Eureka Springs in particular, is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Eureka Springs is a bit of a tradition for my family. We started going to the 1886 Crescent Hotel for Thanksgiving back when I was 9 and have come back off and on for years. When Worsham and I started thinking about where to spend our first anniversary, Eureka Springs was an easy pick! We’re in the beginning stages of buying our first house so we wanted to go somewhere close (it’s under 3 hours from my mom’s house in Tulsa), affordable, and beautiful. Here are my Eureka faves:

Where to Stay

The coolest part of Eureka, in my opinion, is the Crescent Hotel. It’s a mountaintop hotel and spa with a crazy history. It was built back in the late 1800s as a swanky, invitation-only resort and was one of the most popular destinations of the time. The Crescent also saw its days as “Crescent College” – a girls-only school – during parts of the year. The weirdest part of the Crescent’s past, however, was when Norman Baker (a deluded psychopath “doctor”) bought the building around the Great Depression to open his cancer-curing hospital. He cured no one and many people died under his care, if you can call it that. Given the deaths that occurred during the building’s construction, one of the school girl’s apparent suicides, and all of the people who died in the hospital, the hotel is haunted AF. It’s one of the most haunted hotels in America, in fact. My husband would tell you otherwise, but I’ve had so many weird encounters there over the past 18 years that I have no doubt in my mind that some of the Crescent’s inhabitants never left. It’s a great place to stay if you’re into ghosts or just want to step back in time. The hotel has been preserved very well and looks almost exactly as it did back in 1886. Also, they have a resident cat – Jasper – who I love to see every time we visit. He’ll let guests pet him and even took a walk with me and Worsham one night. It was the cutest thing that’s ever happened.

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If you go, I recommend staying in the annex, which is also one of the most haunted parts of the hotel. It’s where they took all the near-death people to hang out until they died so no one would hear them screaming in pain and realize Dr. Baker was a total fraud. It’s also right above the morgue. Yes, there’s still the original morgue down the basement.

Anyway, I’ve stayed in the annex twice now (once during Thanksgiving a few years ago and this past time with Worsham). It’s definitely the nicest area I’ve ever stayed in at the Crescent. It’s spacious yet cozy and his a GIANT jetted bath tub in the middle of the room. That bathtub alone is worth the extra money! Worsham said it’s the first one he’s been able to fit in since he was a kid (he’s 6’3). The bed is super comfy as well.

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10.27.2017

How I Combat Menstrual Pain with CBD Oil

 

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For the past 500 years (it seems like), I’ve been searching for products to help with my terrible periods. I’d tried everything – progesterone cream, progesterone oil, copaiba, frankincense, basically everything else Young Living makes for pain, and birth control pills. The only thing that helped was the year that I was on Yaz in college. Unfortunately, it messed with my eyesight, which is a sign that it can eventually cause heart problems. My doctor had me stop taking it and told me she wouldn’t feel comfortable prescribing me any birth control pill without extensive heart tests. I decided the potential long-term effects weren’t worth it and accepted my fate of monthly doom.

The way I’ve dealt with my pain since then has been to pop mass quantities of Midol, relax on a heating pad, and slowly die in the bathroom. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s always been really painful and inconvenient. I was convinced I had endometriosis because the pain was so intense in high school that sometimes my mom would have to come find me in the school bathroom and take me home. That wasn’t it though according to my doctor, and I still have no idea why I can get so sick.

“Popping dollies” (as my husband nicknamed it) was my way of life. While they can take forever to really kick in, they worked better than anything else I’d tried. It always bothered me knowing how terrible taking that many Midols on a monthly basis is, but I didn’t have another choice – so I thought.

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10.10.2017

Three Lazy AF Fall Recipes

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I don’t always cook (read: basically never), but when I do you can bet that it’s one of these three recipes. They’re super easy, super good, and will last you for days on end. What more can you ask for? I found these gems a long time ago on Pinterest and they do not disappoint.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tortilla Soup                            Effort Required: Basically Zero

1 can of pinto beans

1 can of kidney beans

1 can of black beans

1 can of corn

1 can of original Rotel

1 can of diced tomatoes

1 can of hatch green chiles

1 packet of ranch seasoning

1 packet of taco seasoning

Directions: Dump everything into a crock pot, stir, and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. It’s so easy an infant could do it. As it should be.

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09.30.2017

The Benefit of Being Someone’s Second Love

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Natasha doesn’t say what she suspects. That meant to be doesn’t have to mean forever. They kiss, and kiss again. When they do finally pull apart, it’s with a new knowledge. They have a sense that the length of a day is mutable, and you can never see the end from the beginning. They have a sense that love changes all things all the time. That’s what love is for. – The Sun is Also a Star

My most-viewed blog post ever is one I wrote 3 years ago – The Difference Between First Love and True Love. For some people there is no difference; they end up with the people they were meant to be with forever on the first try. But as for the rest of us, we are someone’s second (or third, or fourth…) love. That doesn’t sound as magical to the true romantic in us all, but it is. It’s the perfect combination of magic and practicality.

My husband and I were talking about past relationships last week. Somehow in the past 5 years, I hadn’t thought to ask him if I was his first love! It was pretty obvious what the answer would be given that we met when he was almost 25, but I wanted to know for sure. He said no…and I was happy about this. It sounds weird, right? You would think a wife would want to be her husband’s first love, but I’m glad I’m not. I’m his second love and he is mine. It’s just one more thing that we share, and one more thing that makes our relationship even stronger. Here’s why being each other’s second love is the best:

It’s scarier in the beginning, but gets smoother with time – When I fell in love the first time, it wasn’t scary. The thought of it not working out didn’t even enter my mind. It was like “oh, I love you. This is it. I’m done.” In my mind, that was just the way it was. If you love someone, it will work. If you don’t, it won’t.

That wasn’t true. The more time passed, the more difficult and scary our relationship became. I knew exactly what was at stake and had a looming dread that it would all end terribly…and it did. First love is almost always followed by first heartbreak.

With second love, the opposite is true. Falling in love with Worsham was scary for me, and it had nothing to do with anything he did. He was, and still is, as close to perfect as they come. He was always patient with me. But I was so hurt by losing my first love that I couldn’t imagine having to go through losing someone again. I was afraid it would literally break me if we fell in love and it didn’t work out. I had to remind myself constantly that Worsham was nothing like my first love – that he wasn’t going to cheat on me, wasn’t going to lie to me, and wasn’t an asshole. My mind was super irrational for the first few months that we dated until he finally gained my trust. From then on, things were smooth sailing. Second love is like good wine – it just gets better and easier with time.

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08.31.2017

My Favorite Self-Care Tools

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If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete. – Jack Kornfield

August has been an emotional doozy with so many planets in retrograde and the Great American Eclipse taking place (which was so cool)! Everything has just felt a bit off. For me, some days have been super chill and content while others have brought up past hurt that I thought I’d already processed 5 years ago. So if you’ve felt extra teary, cranky, or just meh for the past few weeks, know you’re not alone. This too shall pass! I’ve always been a big self-care person and never feel the need to justify getting a massage every month or spending a night doing absolutely nothing. Here are some of my favorite tools for when I need to chill the eff out.

Journaling – This is the number one thing everyone needs to do. Writing is one of the most therapeutic activities on this earth. It helps you figure out what you’re upset about in the first place and get that energy out of you. According to researchers at the University of Texas, regular journaling is shown to strengthen immune cells and can even decrease asthma and arthritis symptoms. They believe this is because writing helps you come to terms with events in your life and therefore reduces the impact they have on your physical health. Plus keeping a regular journal is hilarious to look back at when you’re older! I’ve written in mine religiously since I was 13, so you can imagine the greatness that is in there. People always wonder what to write about, but honestly it doesn’t matter! That’s the best part – you can write whatever you want/need to because no one is going to see it. Sometimes I’ll just write about my day/things I want to remember and other times I’ll write letters or poems of sorts. You’d be surprised what kind of insight you get just from reading your own thoughts.

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08.03.2017

Essential Oils 101: Starter Kit Oils

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One of the best deals that Young Living offers is their premium starter kit! You get your choice of diffuser, 11 full size essential oils, and a bunch of samples for $160. It’s a huge savings when you consider that just buying those 11 oils by themselves would easily run you over $200. Here’s what I love about each of the oils included in the starter kit:

Lavender – Lavender is the OG of essential oils. Everyone needs it and everyone loves it! It’s one of my faves to put in my bath, on pillows, in my mascara (it helps condition your lashes), and on cuts/bruises.

Peppermint – Peppermint is a staple in my purse! It comes with me everywhere because of how versatile it is. Forgot to brush your teeth? Peppermint. Have a headache? Put some peppermint on your forehead, or if you don’t want to mess up your make up then put it on your neck and behind your ears. Feeling dizzy? Put a drop in your water. Peppermint is the ultimate ride-or-die.

Lemon – Lemon is another great one! If your allergies are bothering you, diffuse it with lavender and peppermint. I love to put it in my water too. It’s weird because I hate actual lemons in my water, but lemon oil tastes magical to me – probably because it’s a ton of lemons in one drop. It’s great for immune support since it’s high in vitamin C. If I feel like I might be getting sick, I take a few drops of lemon and a few drops of thieves in a capsule.

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07.19.2017

From Miss to Mrs: Name Change Guide

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It’s the final step in the annoying yet beautiful process that is getting married: changing your name – you know, assuming you want to do that. For me, I’d never considered not changing my name…probably because my given last name (Gwartney) is so weird. Then again, Worsham is right on par in terms of weirdness! It’s fine though…odd British names are my calling.

Here’s what to remember in the name changing process. The whole thing does take a little while, and will likely vary depending on where you live, but rest assured it’s way less annoying than wedding planning.

Things to Do Before the Wedding

  • Set up a new email – This is something fun and easy to do while the countdown to the wedding is on! You know you’ll need a new email eventually, so you might as well set it up now.
  • Change your social media handles - Most people wait until after they’re married to change their Instagram and Twitter handles, but I recommend doing it as early as you want! You would think I wouldn’t have any problems with a name like Kylee Worsham, but shockingly that handle was already taken on Twitter. I just used an underscore in between my name instead, but I’d imagine if you have a common name that might not be available either.
  • Get your marriage license – Duh. Not only is your marriage license what proves you’re married, it also proves to the government what your legal married name will be. Make sure you get several official copies – you’ll need them later. For Oklahoma, you can’t get your marriage license until the week of the wedding and then you have 30 days to turn it in. Make sure the person performing your ceremony can legally perform weddings in your state. We almost missed the deadline to turn our license back in because of this! Shout out to the State of Oklahoma for not caring that my cousin wasn’t registered here until after our wedding. People always say that the more problems you have during the wedding planning process, the easier your marriage will be – so far this is definitely true! ;)

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