hillarygayle: (Agent Happy)
 Recommendation time! I have recently ordered some skirts from eShakti (I've always wanted to, and some amazing father-in-law got me a gift certificate *cough*Augie*cough*) and some from Modcloth, since my friend Tashina recommended them. After a couple of snafus (I didn't measure for eShakti at first, and then I over-estimated my size at ModCloth) my skirts are all in, and I'm thrilled! 

They have the 1950s silhouette I can't find in mainstream clothes, and they fit like a dream! They are all extremely high quality, lined skirts WITH POCKETS. I know that's a big deal for everyone, but speaking from the perspective of a fat lady, that's the holy grail. High quality, pocket-having, classically fashionable skirts that FIT. So of course, by the "choose two" triangle of "fashion, quality, & low price," that means...

If you go to the sites right now, the first thing you're going to think is "WHOA, expensive!" and they are. However, both sites have sales quite often; in fact, all 3 of my ModCloth skirts were on sale for 70% off, meaning I spent less than $20 on each one. eShakti gave me a $25 gift card each time I ordered, as well as a $10 gift coupon each time I left feedback. That means I ordered 2 more skirts this morning & spent $12. I had to have the ModCloth skirts altered because I bought them on clearance & they were too large, but eShakti has a very generous return policy if you want to exchange: you pay to ship the items back, but they refund the full amount on a gift card so you can get new ones that fit.

My favorite thing about Modcloth.com is the wide variety of patterns & styles, & my favorite thing about eShakti.com is the customizability of everything on the site. You can even put in your specific measurements, in case you have a much larger than usual difference between waist & hips, for example. Also please note: your size may be MUCH different on these sites. I'm a size 16-18W or 1-2X in mainstream clothing, but when I order from eShakti, I am I size 26W, and from ModCloth a 3X.

So. All that to say: I have had a VERY good experience with both companies & I highly recommend them. Just remember to measure yourself first, do NOT freak out over the larger number sizes (the number doesn't matter--only how awesome you're going to look), and watch for the sales!
hillarygayle: (Elrond Serious)
Most of the people who read this already know me. You already know I'm in the fight against mental health stigma up to my eyeballs. Primarily I'm in it for [livejournal.com profile] asqmh , but I've had many friends & family affected by emotional & mental health disorders in my life. My maternal Granny had bipolar disorder with schizophrenic patterns during manic phases. I've had 2 uncles deal with severe depression and another who dealt with a tremendous substance abuse problem when I was in high school. One of my very good friends, Tashina, is getting her DNP in mental health nursing practice while I'm getting mine in acute nursing practice. So I'm all in, and I have been for quite some time.

I have told people & told them, a thousand times to tons of different people: if you need a medication for depression or anxiety or paranoia or ANYTHING--there is no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed of that. I have also shouted to the sky how that doesn't make a person dangerous or someone you should be wary of. I have reblogged & tweeted & Facebooked the statistics that support the true facts: people with mental health disorders are actually more IN danger than they are a danger to OTHERS. I have encouraged others who "came out" with their own mental health disorders or even just mental health struggles! I've been very open about my own ADD and my choice to medicate for that.

Well now it's my turn again. Yesterday I got a prescription for bedtime clonazepam at my ADD checkup, & I took the first one last night. I slept better than I have in ages, & easily woke up at 6am to pack Ganon's school lunch. I know I'm not REQUIRED to explain why I am taking it, but I think sharing my situation & how this helps might be helpful to someone else for their own situation.

Grad school is stressful. This is a thing everyone is aware of. :) "It is known, khaleesi." Since I started school last year, I learned exactly HOW stressful. I am in a very high pressure program, and if I might be a bit critical, the continual communication difficulties between professors & students in this particular program has added to that. There's a constant fear that we'll miss something because it wasn't communicated clearly, and there are extremely high expectations of us with very little in the way of specific guidance. Since this time last year I have taken many steps to decrease my stress. I cut my hours at my job, then I went to weekends. Then I cut my hours again. Finally, when the work environment became too much stress on its own, I quit my job. This summer I chose to hire someone to come and clean the house every other week as a way of helping me manage the stress of clutter in the house. I got a lot of things accomplished in the house during the break, as well, knowing that those things would make my life easier in this coming academic year. I started making lists of things I accomplished during the day. I understand stress, & I know how to manage it for myself.

But no matter how good I am at dealing with stress, no matter how many compensation mechanisms I develop & how many things I do to alleviate some of it, there's one that has always nagged me, and it's gotten worse with graduate school. My brain doesn't turn off in the evening. In fact, it ramps up. The most stressful part of the day for me is the evening, when I should be winding down. It's when I start thinking about all the things I still need to do, but it's a bad time for that because you can't DO much about anything in the evening. Fretting about running by the bank, making a shopping list, deciding I need to read one more chapter--all that stuff is either much harder or impossible in the evening. Even making my "accomplished" lists isn't totally helpful, because each thing I accomplish makes me think of something else I have yet to do.

That failure to wind down leaves me in bed every night, looking at my iPhone, making lists, thinking about all the things I need to get done tomorrow. I'll lie there & think about things I read that day. I'll think about when I begin clinicals, or berate myself for forgetting to do my 30 minutes of activity. I cannot switch off until midnight or 1am, and I'm not sleeping well after that either, because I wake up exhausted in the morning. I'll sleep until 10am if I can. I came to realize I couldn't afford crappy sleep: it made it near impossible to get up & get Ganon's lunch ready. If I slept until 10am, I was wasting several hours of empty, quiet house time that were perfect for studying & taking tests & thinking graduate school thoughts.

So yesterday I asked for a prescription of something that could help me turn my brain off at night, and I was given a prescription for clonazepam. It's a tiny little dose that Q declared "adorable," but it's the first anxiolytic I have ever taken in my life. Taking it felt a bit like the first time I took methylphenidate: a bit of apprehension, some curiosity, & a healthy dose of resentment that I needed it at all.

This morning I woke up at 6am, completely rested & ready to get it started. Made Ganon's lunch, drank some coffee, came to my "study cave" in the basement & immediately knocked out 4 case studies for the directed study class. Because my brain got some SLEEP & didn't just stay half-awake all night thinking about what it should've done. It made me wonder why I'd pushed against it so hard--why I had done literally every other thing I could think of before I tried this. And I came to a conclusion which made me feel like I needed to write this.

You see, I know why I pushed back so hard, why I tried everything else. It's the stigma. No matter how much I told other people "It's perfectly fine for you to need this" and "This isn't a failing on your part, it's chemistry," I didn't believe that for myself. I pushed because I thought if I could just push a little harder I wouldn't need it. If I could just suck it up a little more, I could fight the stress down on my own. That's ridiculous. I am carrying more than I've ever carried in my life. Trying everything else doesn't mean I now "deserve" this, either; that's another thing a lot of people do. I'm glad I tried all those things, because they do help on their own; their effect will enhance the good nights' sleep & help even more, but they weren't hoops I HAD to jump through before I admitted the need for some nice chemical help.

I guess defying one stigma doesn't necessarily translate to comfortably defying another. I feel the same feeling as when I first got into body positivism. I had to train myself to weed the fatphobia out of my thoughts then. I had to pretend to be perfectly okay with wearing sleeveless things until I actually WAS okay with it. It wasn't a conscious thought, but I think I figured since I have come so far in conquering fat stigma, that I should be fine & dandy with mental health stigma. It wasn't true. I had to defy that one from square one, as well.

I'm putting all this out here in case it helps someone else. If you're thinking about an anti-depressant or an anxiolytic or even not thinking of anything specific, just thinking that you don't like the way things are going & you need SOMETHING, don't let the stigma stop you. I will be right here with my nice bottle of clonazepam & my good night's sleep, giving stress & depression & anxiety & mental health stigma the finger, & doing whatever else I can to help you get what you need.
hillarygayle: (Hottie Camera)
Something that keeps me from journaling every day: it seems like things happen all the time that make me think "Oh I should put that on LJ!" The problem is, then the NEXT thing comes along I feel like I should blog, & I get so caught up doing bloggable things that I never actually sit down to write about them!

Today is the first day of school for Bryan & Ganon. They're off, Bryan to teach & Ganon for his first day of 3rd grade. I woke up early so I could pack his lunch & then get an early start on my own school stuff.

Man, this was a really good summer. Got to do the Texas Two Step DMB shows, Wakarusa was fun (even if we did leave a bit early & hated the camping), week at the cabin, Blanchard Springs Caverns, trips to Texas, getting Q's car. We also got a lot of stuff done, like the sink in the basement & FINALLY hired someone to come clean the house bi-weekly. It was busy, but it was all good & it was the brain break I needed.

Now it's back to school, and to go along with the stress, I seem to be having symptoms of a gastric ulcer. Pretty textbook. *sigh* On the other hand, what we do to treat peptic ulcers (either gastric or duodenal) is pretty easy to do on your own: I'm doing a 2 week round of a PPI (like pantoprazole, omeprazole, lansoprazole, etc) and laying off the spicy & acidic foods. I guess in my head I knew that I ate a lot of spicy & acidic things, but I didn't realize exactly HOW much of my diet we were talking about. Almost everything I eat has red pepper or a spicy sauce in it. And of course coffee & juices are my favorite drinks & oh hey there, acid! I have cut myself down to a single 6 oz. cup of coffee per day, and no spicy foods. I ate noodles last night and only put like 3 drips of Sriracha in them.

It's nice having friends who have been through something similar or otherwise have super useful knowledge. Q & Jess are both way into tea, and Jess has definitely done this ulcer thing before. They both tell me that maté is a tea with about as much caffeine as coffee. It's quite a lot easier on your stomach though, so after my daily cup of coffee, I switch to a maté/black tea blend I've got from Celestial Seasonings. It's called "Morning Thunder." Next time I'm somewhere close to a Teavana, I'm going to pop in for some Samurai Chai Maté, which is a super delicious tea they always drink when we're there.

One week from today I'll be starting clinical with Dr. H at NEA Baptist Memorial here in town!

The caffeine has kicked in, so it's time to start on the directed study module for this week.

hillarygayle: (Agent Smith Not So Bad)
Thought I'd do a post for those who are always complimenting me on my makeup & hair. I get quite a few questions about specific things I use (probably my eyeliner is the most commented on!), so I figured a list was in order. Here are some of my favorite, won't-do-without products involved in my beauty regimen.

Nyx Liquid Eyeliner, Noir Collection: This is a very close duplicate of Urban Decay's 24/7 Liquid Liner in Perversion, only the Nyx brand costs about a third of the UD. I have several colors of the UD, but I noticed that the black was my go-to, and I always ran out of it first. I went through several brands trying to find an acceptable dupe: L'Oreal (brush wasn't good), Makeup Forever (also crazy expensive & I didn't like the applicator), ELF (runs & transfers when you sweat). The Nyx turned out to be almost identical. It will easily wear 14 hours without transferring, running, or flaking. Love it.

Nyx Mascara: I am a mascara connoisseur. My preferred mascara look is volume: I want it to look like I have a veritable fur coat of thick eyelashes. Currently, I'm working my way through all the Nyx mascaras to see which ones are my favorite. So far, Full-Figured wins for my favorite waterproof. Le Provocateur is thus far my favorite non-waterproof, but Voluptuous (which I tried for the first time today) is possibly in the running. Again, these are about a third of the price of something like Urban Decay or MAC, and easily as good.

Urban Decay Primer Potion: I have never found an eyeshadow primer that works as well as this one. For those of you who've commented on the vibrancy of my eyeshadow, this is the secret. I use this on my lids & my eyeshadow remains very true to color and it will stay easily for 14 hours. I use the anti-aging formula, which doesn't have much color at all on its own; it's a sheer wash. If I need the color to show up a bit more brightly, I use...

Maybelline Color Tattoo or Nyx Eyeshadow Primer: Over the top of the primer potion. If I'm using Color Tattoo it's the very pale silver/white metallic color, or if it's the Nyx it's matte white. This gives me a perfect blank slate for the super, ultra bright colors.

Fresh lip balms: These come from Sephora, and they're one of my very few "must haves" among the really pricey makeup brands. These babies are $22 a tube, but I have never found anything that remotely duplicates the beautiful, sheer color wash or the incredible soft feel. They aren't sticky in the least. I wear these usually when I've done one of the extremely bright eye makeup looks. They feel incredible, they look amazing, and they are extremely good for your lips.

Blotting papers: These are awesome. Instead of using more powder when you get shiny during the day, you use one of these papers to blot the oil off your chin/nose/whatever. It keeps you from looking like you caked a lot of makeup on. These come in a million brands. I got a LOAD of them last Christmas when Target had the ELF brand in 3-packs, and I'm still using those up. Nyx has them as well.

Nyx Matte but Not Flat powder foundation: I use this over moisturizer or BB cream in the summer. It lays down just enough color to even out skin tone, but isn't heavy enough to melt off my face when I sweat.

Nyx BB Cream: Favorite tinted moisturizer, & I've tried MANY! Feels very light on your face, but will even out skin tone even if I have the whole redness/irritation thing going on around my nose or chin.

BH Cosmetics: Eyeshadows & blushes! Their palettes are INCREDIBLE deals! So are their brush sets. They have wonderful sales quite often. This is a perfect way to get a wide variety of colors all at once for a really low price. Their shadows have far more pigmentation & color payoff than anything you can get in a drugstore, but possibly slightly less than Urban Decay. However...drugstore price. :) So it balances out. Their brushes are not to be missed; soft & durable. From BH, I have the Galaxy Chic, blush duo, professional blush, 88 cool matte, 120 1st edition, & Take Me To Brazil palettes, bronzers in Diva & Starlet, and the 36 piece red snakeskin brush set.

Maybelline 24/7 Longwear Lipstick: Nurses, ever wanted a lipstick that would last your whole 12 hour shift? Found it for you. This is what I wear when I'm going to work & I want my lipstick to look perfect all the time, but I don't wanna mess with it. This stuff doesn't come off unless you take it off. It can be very, very drying, so if you have problems with cracking lips you're gonna want to miss this one. It's hardcore.

It's a 10: Leave in hair treatment. Works as a detangler, strengthener, conditioner, you name it.

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry: Spray it on my hair before I blow dry it, and it shaves a good 10 minutes off my normally 25 minute drying time! It also seems to keep my hair straighter until I wash it again. It primes the hair as well so it's less damaged by the blow dryer heat. I really wish this hadn't worked so well, because it's a bit expensive. :(

Suave Keratin Infusion Dry Shampoo: Do I think there's a difference between this one & Suave's normal dry shampoo? Nope. This one just smells better. I wash my hair every 3-4 days, since it's incredibly time-consuming to wash, condition, & blow dry it, and if I don't blow dry it, it will stay wet for 10-12 hours. On the 2nd or 3rd night, I will spray my hair with this before I go to bed. It's an aerosolized powder that absorbs the oil & refreshes your hair. I don't think I'd recommend it for curly hair, & I certainly don't recommend it for dry-ish hair, but if you have long hair that tends toward the oily side? Give this a try.

hillarygayle: (PP Molly kicks ass)
Lot of talk out there about suicide right now, thanks to Robin Williams. I'm horribly sad that such a bright, amazing, and by most accounts kind & generous person died this way. That he felt there was no way out but to opt out of living, after having given SO MUCH to so many people. I am grateful it's started a conversation about mental health, depression, & suicide.

But WOW, for the first time in my life, I think I understand why some people use the term "armchair activist" in a pejorative way. I have always been favorably inclined to the very young, very vocal people shouting about their particular pet issue on Tumblr & Twitter. If nothing else, they're raising awareness, & many of them are not only doing that. Many of them are involved in wider movements to address the issue they feel strongly about. I've used the phrase "Tumblr Aunt" to describe my fondness for all the social justice warriors raising awareness of so many important issues, & I'm grateful to them for doing it.

Please understand as you read the rest of this: this was written by someone who knows & understands what it's like to prevent a suicide, but not someone who has ever had suicidal thoughts. I cannot speak to that, & would not take the mic from those who have been in that dark place.

But right now I feel like an old lady out on the porch wanting to yell at these kids to get off my lawn. I have to wonder how many people retweeting the suicide hotlines & saying "You're loved & needed in this world" have truly participated in suicide prevention? Do they understand what it takes to actually prevent a deeply, chronically depressed person from killing themselves?

I do. You see, I understand on a visceral level what it's like to prevent a suicide. I have done it several times that I'm aware of, and I KNOW there are times I've done it when I wasn't aware. I have also dealt with the aftermath of suicide attempts in my career as a critical care nurse.

What it takes to prevent a suicide isn't a hotline or a pithy captioned photo on Facebook or a blanket reassurance on Twitter that this person loves all 3,000 followers on their Twitter list & doesn't want them to die. What it takes is a deep, continuous relationship with a suicidal person, and that's one hell of a lot less comfortable than the previous options. A suicide hotline is a tourniquet. It stops the hemorrhage in the short term & it may prevent that suicide from happening TONIGHT. A person who is depressed & has become suicidal, though, rarely stops at once. They're going to go there again. Many times, depending on life situations, mental health maintenance access, and other influences. Preventing suicide requires an ongoing commitment from you as the person dedicated to preventing it.

I'm almost not sure suicide can be decreased in a general, mass population way. There are many diseases that CAN be decreased just through awareness of risk factors, such as we've seen happen with lung cancer. Unlike lung cancer, however, suicide is not caused by the same thing in every person. The triggers are incredibly personal, and the situations are extremely specific to each person at risk for suicide. Unlike many diseases faced by public health advocates, I'm convinced suicide prevention has to happen on a very personal, one-on-one way. It has to be about the day-to-day presence of a reassuring, supportive person or group of people who affirm the worth of the suicidal person.

Edited to add: It's been pointed out to me that a lot of folks may assume I'm lumping online relationships in with the blanket RTs & captioned photos. That's absolutely not the case. If you're the kind of friend who lives across the country & carries on a long-distance friendship with someone via technology (many of my friends & I call it "living in each others' pockets), that's a relationship. I'm not discounting that because you're not sharing the same air as someone. I'm also not not knocking actual conversations that start with the blanket tweets & witty pictures.

There are many things we need to do to ensure better mental & emotional health care in this society. We have to erase the stigma of emotional & mental disorders. We have to ensure access to mental health care providers to EVERYONE. And to really prevent suicide, we have to BE the networks & relationships for those people with depression & other mental health disorders.
hillarygayle: (With Chopsticks!)
I realized I have not been keeping LJ updated on the continuing saga of our microwave. I told it in bullet points in an email this morning, & I like that format so we're gonna continue it here.

Leave for Wakarusa
Get a phone call from Q saying the microwave is dead.
Come home, microwave is indeed dead.
Check outlet, check breaker (both of which Q had already done, of course).
Microwave is dead as a doornail.
Being the search for a new microwave. Don't find one.
Take a trip to Hardy.
Come home, buy a floor model microwave at Home Depot.
Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.
During installation, find that we are missing one vital piece for installation.
Go to Home Depot. Receive exactly no help & piss poor customer service.
Come back home.
Take microwave back to Home Depot. Receive better service but still no part.
Return microwave.
Do not find any other in-stock microwaves that are acceptable.
Go to Lowe's.
Find a great, brand new microwave on sale for $160 down from $260.
Buy it.
Wait 2 days for Daddy to install.
Open microwave, find buckling & denting consistent with very hard drop or fall.
Scream.
Take microwave back to Lowe's.
Customer service lady insists on return.
Bryan suggests exchange would be easier.
Customer service lady insists on return.
Return microwave.
Find that they have the same one in stock.
Take it to register, find that the sale is over & it's again $260.
Inform manager of issue.
Manager honors sale price.
Manager asks customer service lady "Why didn't you just do an exchange?"
Scream.
Bring home.
Wait one more day for Daddy to come install.

That's where we are now. So we have been an entire month without a microwave, and let me tell you, I did NOT realize how much we used it. Especially for leftovers. If you don't have a working microwave, leftovers are not nearly as convenient.

In other home improvement news, my basement has a sink! I have always been confused as to why it didn't have a sink in the first place. The laundry has always been in the basement from the time the house was built in 1979. With the house being that old, I can't imagine why they didn't put a sink down here in the first place. In the 70s, there were a lot more hand-wash clothing items & pre-treating stains was much more labor intensive. Plus, if you ever have to rinse something off or pour something out, you had to go upstairs. Not anymore! It took the plumbers only from 8am-10:30am to finish it, too. We were concerned it might be complicated by the fact that the tiny basement corner that contains the washer & dryer (and thus the water & drainage lines) is a reinforced concrete safe room. There was a possibility that drilling through the wall was going to be a giant pain, but it was ok. They had to use what they called a "hammer drill" but whatever. It worked quick, & I got a sink! It will allow me to rinse things out before laundry, pour out my cold coffee when I'm studying (I use the basement as my school "office"), but most importantly: the dehumidifier!

We have a dehumidifier in the basement. I notice when it's running, the entire house feels less humid. Problem was, without a sink down here, we had to use the dehumidifier basin & then empty it out in the washing machine as it got full. This meant it would never run more than 6-8 hours before needing emptied, at which point it would either turn itself off or leak (only a couple of times). Now we can set it beside the sink & run a hose so that it's constantly emptying into the drain, and it can run continuously!

We've actually been doing a LOT of great organization around here. Bryan is very good at thinking of organizational systems. We both create them. Then I am very good at maintaining those systems & tweaking them as our needs change. Ganon has gotten to the point where he can help us with things, like picking up & sorting his toys without being told each step to take. He can make his own bed now, as well. We made a toy organizational system in his room and we put a new set of closet organizers in mine & Bryan's room. It helped with a LOT of stuff.

I've also gotten someone to start cleaning my house every other week. This took a lot of hemming & hawing & wincing on my part. It triggers a LOT of feelings of inadequacy: why can't I keep my house as clean as I want it? The truth is, when the house is clean & organized, I feel much better. My mind is much clearer, I am less distracted, & I feel less foggy. That said, I'm not a very good housekeeper. I let things get cluttery a lot. When we clean up, we do a surface clean on an urgent basis, usually because people are coming over. I don't think about moving furniture to clean under it. I don't clean things up unless I can SEE the mess and it bothers me, or it's stopping me from doing something. I do feel bad that I'm not the Tazmanian Cleanliness Devil my mother is. I feel guilty about it. But the fact is I'm not, and I decided to grit my teeth & shoot a text to a nice lady who came very highly recommended by 2 of my former coworkers. Any lady recommended by 2 nurses (especially 2 that I know personally) is probably a good fit.

Thus did Hurricane Olga come to hit my house yesterday while I was out. I figured she would be good, so I wasn't too fazed by the price she set me. When I came home, I realized I'd gotten one HELL of a bargain. The floors gleamed. Every horizontal surface was shiny. The bathtubs were so clean you could eat off them. The toilets looked immaculate. EVERYTHING looked immaculate! I was SO impressed.

She's going to come every other week. I feel like this is a great arrangement. So I'm not that great a housekeeper under normal circumstances: fine. But with Olga coming every 2 weeks, I will have a reason to keep the horizontal surfaces uncluttered (so she can wipe or dust), things put away, & laundry not overflowing onto the floor. Every 2 weeks it will be exactly this clean once again, and when something starts out clean, it makes you less likely to mess it up. Ganon made his bed this morning, & so did Bryan & I. I think this is going to be a worthwhile expenditure.

Yesterday I drove Alice to the airport. She has a convention where she's going to sell jewelry in Nevada. There was a lot of going back & forth with asqmh & Bryan about things that Olga needed, & whether I knew where they were, etc. on the drive. But we got her there on time, & then Ganon & I went off to get my annual drug test for school.

We arrived at LabCorp (what a difficult place to find!) and went to the 7th floor...where they told me I couldn't have my drug test because Ganon was with me. What? It is apparently their policy. It's too "dangerous" to leave him in the waiting area by himself, but he couldn't go back with me & stand outside the door or come into the testing bathroom with me. I think the ladies genuinely started to feel bad for me when I asked why he couldn't just come in with me. "Because you might have him pee in the cup!" I must have looked as astonished as I felt, because they kinda started to sadly laugh.

"I guess if that's the policy, you must've actually had someone TRY that?!" I asked incredulously. They said they had.

Hating the world at that moment, I stomped angrily down to the lobby (Ganon apologized that he made me miss my drug test, & I told him it certainly was NOT his fault) and fired off some very colorfully worded texts to Q & Bryan to get my frustration out. Also Bryan usually has some great ideas. He was asking about Jess, since she lives in Little Rock. "She worked last night. She's asleep," I told him, not wanting to wake her up. She sleeps little enough as it is, and when you wake her up she almost never goes back to sleep. Just as I hit send on that text & went back to scowling at the world...Jess walked in the door of the lobby.

I just stared at her for a second before my brain kicked back into gear. I called her name, and then she stared at ME for about the same amount of time. We both asked what the other was doing there, though in retrospect I'm the one who deserves that question more since she actually LIVES in the town! We were both there for a drug test! Hers is for the agency she signed on with for travel nursing. I know she made my day for sure, and she told me that it made her day 1000% better that she'd met up with us.

An incredible accidental meeting like that certainly deserves lunch. We ate at Panera. :)

Tomorrow, Q & Bryan & I leave for the Lake of the Ozarks to spend a weekend with our friend Rob & his wife at their lake house! I'm pretty excited. It sounds like a lot of fun. SWIMMMMMMMMING! Games! Nintendo 3DS! Rob's cooking!
hillarygayle: (DMB Rings)
The good thing about all of this traveling is ADVENTURES! The bad thing about all of this traveling is zero down time.

On Wednesday, I am taking a friend to the airport while the cleaning lady does my house. This Friday, we are headed to the Lake of the Ozarks with a friend of ours to stay at his cabin for the weekend. Next weekend is Layla's birthday party at the cabin, leaving me just two weeks before the first week in August: on-campus week...when the school year officially begins & my break is over.

I don't feel like I've gotten much rest. If we are not on adventures, I'm home solving problems. I like that I am able to solve problems, and trusted to do so, but I would like a small break from it every now & again.
hillarygayle: (Default)

Before work...
Originally uploaded by Hillary Gayle
As the days get longer & the weather warmer, I get some time before work to hang out with my boys & enjoy our awesome back yard.

Surprise flower update: we're thinking tulips. There are more now, they look a lot heartier, & they're going darker green.
hillarygayle: (Default)
It's time for some fatshion! Hung out at the park today with Bryan & Ganon. I didn't want to be cold, but it got all the way to 59 degrees today, so I did want to be SLIGHTLY springy. Enter my long skirt! Old Navy had these last summer, & I don't know what crack they were smoking, because after years of being pissy because I couldn't even fit into some XXL things there, the summer 2010 stuff fit in an XL! WEIRDNESS, I SAY. Whatever. I took advantage.

What we have here:
Earrings (green hoops from Earthbound Trading)
Jacket: Torrid (winter 2010)
Cami: Lane Bryant
T-shirt: Old Navy
Skirt: Old Navy
Shoes: Sanuk Scribbles (tho you can't see them because I'm not wearing them here!)
hillarygayle: (Default)

Snowy Morning
Originally uploaded by Hillary Gayle
This was at the corner of Main & Highland this morning at about 7:30am. It was coming down pretty hard; visibility wasn't the best.
hillarygayle: (Default)

King cake!
Originally uploaded by Hillary Gayle
Complete with Mardi Gras beads & cinnamon filling! Got it from our local Kroger. Not as awesome as the ones with cream cheese filling you find in Louisiana, but I'm in northeastern Arkansas & this will do. ;)
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And there's my favorite person, all slumped in the couch. Our couch MAKES you slump, btw; it slowly tries to consume you over time.
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New iPhone decal
Originally uploaded by Hillary Gayle
I put my new iPhone decal on today! It was between this one or the black with white vines & colorful twitter birds, & it's so close to Valentines day that I chose the red & pink one.
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Peanut butter bonbons
Originally uploaded by Hillary Gayle
Momma makes these & they're beyond awesome. Want to make friends? Bring a plate of these to the party. Sure, they'll just be using you to get to the delicious treats but HEY. Quit being so picky!
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These were our opening sentences this morning in church. I don't know who chose these sentences, or whether they meant them to be so pertinent, but they resonated with me like a huge bell.

I'm going to type them out for people using screen readers.
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...I think I'm scaring them. :D
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Onyx!
Originally uploaded by Hillary Gayle
Went 3 shades darker on the hair to the darkest color they had: onyx. I'M SO THRILLED WITH IT! It's absolute jet black; the color of the sky between the stars at midnight out on the farm.
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