And the Nominees Are…

 

After being recently nominated for the fantabulous Versatile Blogger Award, it is now my honor to present to you 10 intriguing, intelligent, and otherwise completely cool blogs worth looking at. Some of these are writing related, some are not, but all are completely awesome. Ready? Here we go, in no particular order:

 

 

  1. http://delilahpaints.blogspot.com/

This is Delilah S. Dawson’s blog. A great romance writer and hysterical Twitter-er.

 

  1. http://laughingfrommysickbed.blogspot.com/

A must-see type blog for any spoonie out there.

 

  1. http://tuneintoyourautoimmune.wordpress.com

Another inspiring and though provoking blog for anyone dealing with autoimmune issues.

 

  1. http://foodmancingthegirl.blogspot.com/

If you’re at all a foodie (which I completely am, can’t lie… love getting my creative vibe going on in the kitchen) then this blog is definitely worth checking out. I’m nowhere near Charleston, but still get a major kick out of the extensive food porn on this blog.

 

5.  http://terribleminds.com/ramble/blog/

While absolutely on the NSFW side, this blog has some of the BEST writing advice I’ve ever come across. “Finish your sh**.” Enough said.

 

6.  http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules

This blog from the editors of Writer’s Digest is full of insider advice. A must read for new and experienced writers.

 

7.  http://www.simplyforlovers.com/blog/

Well sure, this blog mostly makes the list because I am the new official writer for it. BUT, I feel the need to let you all know that it’s actually quite full of fun and sexy ideas, tips, tricks, and steamy fantasies. (Also, NSFW, obviously)

 

8. http://www.lamebook.com/

Everyone needs a laugh break. When you should be working but would rather be cracking up, check out these hysterical Facebook status FAILS blog.

 

9. http://myhusbandisannoying.com/

This blog, where a woman bares her soul to the Internet in an attempt to avoid divorce or homicide, is not only relatable, it’s hilarious.

 

10. http://theinvisibledisease.blogspot.com/

A fantastic blog for anyone living with or supporting someone who has an invisible illness.

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Versatile Blogger Award WOOHOO!

 

Among the fabulous comments and notes I received during my little hiatus from the blogosphere, I was thrilled to find that a fellow blogger (and fabulous fibro chick) had nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award!

 

You like me… you really like me!

 

Now this is awesome on several fronts. Thank you very much, Miss Chrissy Faery, for the nomination. Y’all should probably go check out her blog, because it’s pretty effin cool. So winning this distinguished honor comes with two responsibilities: telling your readers 7 fun or interesting things about yourself, and nominating 15 other awesome bloggers for the award. I have decided to split this up into two posts, in order to completely milk the awesome good feelings for all they’re worth. Er- I mean to give both aspects of my nomination the respect they deserve. So here we go, ladies and germaphobes – seven things you didn’t know about me!

 

  1. I want to write a killer romance novel

I absolutely love the idea of penning a sexy, smart, witty romance or chick lit novel. Which is actually pretty surprising to those that know me, because I tend to be a bit of an anti-chick. I’d rather watch the Exorcist than the Notebook. What can I say? Which brings me to…

 

  1. I’m fascinated by the paranormal

Ghosts, hauntings, possessions, Santeria, mediums, spirit communication… anything that gives us a clue as to what happens when we leave this physical world has always fascinated me. I love Long Island Medium and American Horror Story, and writing paranormal fiction is on my writer’s wish list.

 

  1. I’m a complete audiophile

Whether I’m writing, cooking, cleaning, or mindlessly updating my Twitter status, I’ve almost always got music playing. Sometimes I think my Skull Candy earbuds are an extension of my physical being. My tastes are pretty eclectic, too. A quick glimpse of my recent playlists reveal everything from Frank Sinatra. Train and The Sex Pistols to Pink, Maroon 5 and Martina McBride, with a million things in between.

 

  1. I love to cook

Getting my kitchen on is an awesome way to let my creative freak flag fly, and I’m all about it. I’ll try new things all the time. And I love to make up my own recipes.

 

  1. I can be really mean to myself.

There are things I can control. There are also a lot of things I can’t. But just because something is completely out of my control doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t beat myself up over it. This is especially true of things that limit me, like my lupus and fibromyalgia. If I’m too sick to work as much as I like, or if I have to put something off for later or leave a function early, I take it tough and immediately get down on myself. I’m working on this.

 

  1. My cat is as clumsy as I am… and that’s saying something

I have an all black cat, named Onyx. I love her. I really do. I think she might need glasses. Her depth perception is way off. She falls off of things, like the bed, on a regular basis. The other day she fell into the bathtub where I was soaking. I’m still wearing the battle scars. The thing is, I completely understand her. I once set my own hair on fire. I have clumsiness issues of my own. So, really she’s more of a familiar than a pet.

onyx 001

  1. Despicable Me is one of my favorite movies, ever

You could say that I have a very young aspect to my personality. That being said, I absolutely LOVE those “children’s” movies that have as many jokes geared towards adults as for kids. Despicable Me is possibly my favorite of these. My boyfriend gave me my own minion (stuffed, sadly) for my birthday. His name is Dave and he rocks.

 

So there you have it, guys. Seven things you probably didn’t know about me! Next post, I will give you all my list of 15 Versatile Blogger nominees, so that you can go out and explore their fantabulous blogs on your own! Till then… ASSEMBLE THE MINIONS!

Where There’s a Will…

 

 

Late the other night, I was awake and in pain and perusing ye olde Facebook in an attempt to find entertainment and, perhaps, something that would miraculously lull me to bed. Instead, I stumbled across something that both angered and hurt me. Here’s how it all went down:

 

I noticed that someone had posted something on the fibromyalgia support page. She was asking if anyone was familiar with the side effects of certain medications often prescribed to FM. It just so happened that I had tried all three of the prescriptions she mentioned, and went ahead and shared what I knew about Cymbalta, Lyrica and Savella. And then I saw it.

 

Amidst the many comments and questions was a woman who said that medications don’t work for things like fibromyalgia, and that really, all that the original poster needed to do was “breathe deep and will the pain away.”

 

Normally, I would have just dismissed the ignorant comment. But I was feeling particularly defeated, and something about her statement really hit me in the gut.

 

Here’s the thing, guys. When people make statements akin to “all you have to do is set your mind to it…” it implies that a person’s symptoms are all in their head. Or that they’re exaggerating. Or that they can simply will away their pain. Which would be awesome. I mean, if I could take a deep breath and suddenly not be in agony every time I move, I’d be all over it.

 

But I can’t.

 

Telling someone with a chronic condition to stop taking their medication and just will themselves better is not only insensitive, it’s downright dangerous. I’ve had people tell me I just need to get out more, or that a good night’s sleep is all it would take to make me right as rain. I’ve had people tell me that everyone feels achy sometimes and to stop being so dramatic about it all.

 

And every one of those statements is another tiny chip at my well built-up armor.

 

So here’s the thing, everyone. Before you assume that someone’s condition is all in their head, or that they are faking the extent of their symptoms, simply take a quick peek online. A little research, a peek at an online forum, even a gander at some Tweets will probably be all it takes to give you a better idea of what it’s like to live with something you are unfamiliar with.

 

You’d be surprised at how much it means to someone when you take a few minutes to try and see what they’re going through…

What Was I Talking About Again?

 

So Saturday night, I was in my kitchen, baking a cake to take to a family Mother’s Day celebration the next afternoon. And I was confused. Seriously confused.

 

Sure, I had flour in my hair and a vague handprint on the butt of my shorts, but that’s not what was confusing me. Hey, that’s pretty much par for the course for me when it comes to baking. I love to get all creative in the kitchen, and can cook a five course meal without a problem, but can’t seem to create a dessert without creating a subsequent mess all over myself. No, my befuddlement was a direct result of simple math.

 

See, I was doubling the recipe for cake batter, in order to create a two layer cake for my grandma. And that meant I needed to figure out what 2/3 of a cup of melted butter was, twice. Pretty basic calculation, and on any other day I would have quickly melted up a cup and a third and been on with my mixing and mess-making. Only that’s not how it worked. I was just standing there, butter dripping onto my socks, concentrating as hard as I could to figure this out. And the harder I tried, the cloudier my thoughts became. It was like trying to add simple numbers with a head full of oatmeal.

 

Fibro fog. Brain fog. Cognitive dysfunction. Call it what you like, it’s one of the most frustrating and difficult aspects of fibromyalgia to deal with. Whether it comes from the sleep disturbances that accompany fibromyalgia or as a result of your brain’s response to all that pain, or another reason altogether, doctors still aren’t sure what causes the memory loss, clouded thinking, confusion and panic attacks that come compromise fibro fog.

 

For me, brain fog is also one of the hardest symptoms to try and explain to other people, as well. How do articulate that your mind seizes up and simply won’t work? How do explain that you walked into the same room four times and still can’t remember what you’re doing there? Or that you suddenly can’t remember how to spell basic words or add 2/3 and 2/3? And that the harder you try the more likely you are to fly into a blind panic about the whole thing?

 

I guess you just try your best. And, when you can’t add measurements, remember that Google is your best friend.

A Little Awareness Coming At You

So May has arrived, and seeing as though ‘tis the month of lupus and fibromyalgia awareness, and seeing as though I carry the badge of both lupus and fibro warrior (I’ve got the scars to prove it!) I thought I’d share with you some websites and blogs that are doing a whole lot to increase awareness and funds to fight these two big bad diseases.

 

Don’t know much about lupus or fibromyalgia? Don’t feel too bad… neither is very well understood, or spoken about much. And despite the fact that lupus affects more people every year than AIDS, MS, Sickle Cell Anemia, Cystic Fibrosis and Cerebral Palsy combined, there is actually very little happening in the way of research and new treatment options. In fact, the last major advancement in lupus treatment was about 50 years ago. I will be adding some more info throughout the rest of May on Lupus and Fibromyalgia. For now, here’s a look at some websites that are representing the fight.

 

Metal Mama Designs on Etsy

http://www.etsy.com/listing/130342621/spoonie-pendants-awareness-jewelry-for?ref=shop_home_active

So, the problem with most awareness jewelry is that it’s, well, ugly. Sure a purple rubber bracelet is ok and all, but it’s not really a new and inventive concept any more. Nor is it winning any fashion awards. This Etsy site has all kinds of cool handmade spoonie jewelry that’s cute, fresh and downright pretty. Plus the creator will personalize absolutely anything for you. It’s all surprisingly affordable, but for an extra 10% off, use the code AlannaRocks.

 

The Spoon Theory

http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/wpress/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/

 

Anyone who’s ever tried to describe what it’s like living with an illness or chronic pain has probably struggled with how to tell their friends or family about their daily fight. The spoon theory, written by Lupus fighter Christine Miserandino is hands down the best way I’ve ever found to explain my situation. (It’s also where the term “spoonie” comes from.)

 

Tune Into Your Autoimmune (Facebook Page)

So I was lucky enough to meet this page’s mod, Lena, via Twitter. She’s a feisty chick who doesn’t let her MS or her fibro stop her. Plus we share an off-beat sense of humor and she bakes zombie cakes. So yea, cruise on by the FB page and say hi to her. And if you know anyone who’s dealing with an autoimmune disease, send them there. Now. Do it, I’ll wait…

 

Hurry Up!!!

 

Ok, so that’s my starter list for awareness pages that rock. I’ll be adding to it as the month rolls by, so if you happen to know of any pages, blogs, or other sites that are fighting the good fight, let me know! Otherwise, go give these pages some love.

Why Richard Simmons is a Cool Guy – No, Seriously

So I have some weight to lose. (What, you’re perfect? Stop judging.) I figure gnawing on twigs and branches instead of eating dinner will only get me so far, and heading to the gym just isn’t an option. No big deal, right? I’ll just work out at home.

Only, I have lupus and fibromyalgia and the whole low impact/high impact thing makes a difference. A big difference. A ginormous difference, as it turns out. I came to this realization rather abruptly on day two of Denise Austin’s three week body boot camp. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m sure Denise is a perfectly pleasant (if overly peppy) person, and I’m undoubtedly speaking from a place of pure, unadulterated jealousy. But somewhere between minutes 18 and 19 of this 20 minute video I found myself reaching for the remote in an effort to SHUT HER UP.  Why wasn’t she the least bit out of breath? Why weren’t her knees crumbling and weeping blood as mine surely were judging by the throbbing, searing, aching pain emanating from them? Why on Earth was she so damn PERKY as she did one armed push-ups with a small legion of brick toting monkeys perched on her impossibly firm butt cheeks?

At any rate, I finished the video, and paid dearly for it with a fibro flare of epic proportions in the days that followed. Time for a new plan. A plan that included the words “low impact.” A plan that wouldn’t kill me in my quest for biggest loser-dom.

Wrapped in my heating pad, I crawled face first towards my laptop and pecked my way over to Amazon. And was more than a little surprised to find that the low impact workout DVD selection is pretty scarce. There’s a handful of yoga and stretching vids, which seem like they’d be nice for warming up or cooling down your muscles but don’t exactly look like they’re going to burn up much in the way of fat and calories. Lord help me, Denise Austin has some 12 minute workouts called the Daily Dozen that I ordered. I was afraid that I was stuck with this crazy b— err, lovely aerobics instructor as my only option in the battle of the bulge. Then I saw it.

Turns out some of the best selling – and highest rated – exercise videos on Amazon are actually by none other than that whacky, cheesy, king of fatties himself: Richard Simmons. I read the reviews. I laughed. I scoffed. I mocked him with my boyfriend. And then I ordered one anyway. (Disco Sweat).

The day it arrived, I put the DVD in and rolled my eyes. The video begins with a parody of Saturday Night Live that includes the Simmons selecting his tank top to wear for the evening before heading to the disco for the night. But then the workout begins and you’re off. Ok, yes, it’s cheese with a capital C. Moves like ‘Travolta Arms’ and ‘The Hustle’ had me making sure that my door was locked and the shades were tightly drawn.

But here’s the thing. It’s a helluva workout. No joke, it kicks butt. A solid hour of sweating and working. And because it’s broken into songs, I can squish it into my work day (I work from home) and squeeze in 2-3 20 minute workouts a day. The impact on my joints is waaayyyy easier. Obviously, exercise makes you sore (hey, that’s how you know it’s working, right?) but I don’t feel like I’ll never be able to walk again. Most importantly, I’ve lost about 9 pounds so far.

And Richard? Eh, the little guy grows on you after a while.