sweetie

weekend

Mac, ma petite puce (my little flea), went to the vet for a recheck and got a B+. My final rabies shot was over a week ago so at this point I’d say we’re both “out of the woods.” Between the cat attack, my rabies vaccinations and Mac’s skin/ear problems, I’d like to avoid the need for any more doctor’s visits for a while.

We’re back to going on walks around the neighborhood but we steer clear of the street where it all went down. Mac is definitely feeling much better. He’s eating and playing and getting into trouble. He’s being a little bit of a baby and bossypants though, I’m sure he got used to the extra attention over the last few weeks.

I cut myself some slack this weekend and avoided chores. Sunday I was out “window shopping” with a friend, then we stopped for ice cream and it started storming outside. We watched the heavy rain roll over the parking lot while we inhaled our chocolate sundaes. We’re glad to see the rain, we hear thunder and our eyes widen gleefully; with all the wildfires in Georgia and Florida right now we really need a few more heavy downpours.

Tonight, I plan on having some quiet time, picking up the house (I made a wicked mess of it over the weekend), reading my new Magnolia Journal, with a big fuzzy blanket, some tea (Yogi: Bedtime) and my notebook. Maybe I’ll even do some (brain)stormin’ of my own.

How are you doing lately? How was your weekend? Were you able to get things done you’ve procrastinated or carve out some time for self-care? Let me know in the comments.

 

 

black days

Whatsoever I’ve feared has come to life
Whatsoever I’ve fought off became my life
Just when everyday seemed to greet me with a smile
Sunspots have faded and now I’m doing time
Now I’m doing time
‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

Whomsoever I’ve cured, I’ve sickened now
And whomsoever I’ve cradled, I’ve put you down
I’m a search light soul they say
But I can’t see it in the night

I’m only faking when I get it right
When I get it right

‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate? Yeah

So what you wanted to see good

Has made you blind
And what you wanted to be yours
Has made it mine

Don’t you lock up something
That you wanted to see fly
Hands are for shaking
No, not tying, no, not tying

I sure don’t mind a change
I sure don’t mind a change
Yeah, I sure don’t mind, sure don’t mind a change
I sure don’t mind a change

‘Cause I fell on black days
I fell on black days

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate?

How would I know
That this could be my fate?
How would I know
That this could be my fate?

I sure don’t mind a change

chriscornell-jameshance

James Hance has made this tribute available for free  – click to download

wild, wondrous and worthy

wild-wondrous-worthy©MOTHANDBLOOM.COM

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

“A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.”

Did you know?
Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S….43.8 million, or 18.5%…experiences mental illness in a given year.

Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S….9.8 million, or 4.0%…experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. 

Whether you are aware of it or not we come in contact with people dealing with mental health issues every day…your neighbor, coworker, cashier at Publix…me. I write often about anxiety, empathy, coping, mental wellness and the human condition…did you know that I am one of the 1 in 5 adults living with mental illness?

The average person deals with a multitude of stressors, hardships, and difficulties, yet not all of them are mentally ill. How can we tell the difference? Should we be afraid of the mentally ill? Why do some people choose to take medication while others do not? How do you know if you are mentally ill or really just “terrible at life”?

First things first…you are NOT terrible at life…if you feel you may have a mental illness, see a behavioral health specialist and/or a psychiatrist. Depending on your situation you may do really well with talk therapy and not need medication or you might try a combination of both. I’m not a doctor so I can’t say what’s right for you. My best advice about doctors is if you don’t find a person you are completely comfortable with then keep looking, there are some really great professionals out there…and there’s some not so great ones…when it comes to mental health (all health) concerns you have to be your own advocate and speak up when something isn’t working. Speak up and make sure they hear you!

As for the questions you may have about those of us living with mental illness, they are a lot harder to answer. Mental illness operates on a spectrum…and we all fall in somewhere on that spectrum. There can be coexisting conditions, and mental illnesses can improve or get worse…or even seem to go “dormant.” Some people go years without an episode, and just as suddenly find themselves in a psychosis. What I’m trying to say is there’s a lot of layers to mental illness. If you care about someone, and want to get to know them, tell them you care and ask them about their diagnosis. The tricky part about that is it’s really difficult to talk about mental illness with “new” people. There’s still so much stigma surrounding mental illness that people will downplay their struggle or go as far as pretending to be “normal” until they’re alone or with people they feel are “safe.”

Sound exhausting? Yeah, it really is.  So exhausting that we avoid people and places and isolate ourselves when we don’t feel strong enough to keep up the facade.

I’ve always felt my slightly overdeveloped sense of empathy comes from living with or around mental illness. My father was manic depressive but diagnosed very late in his life (around 50) which means I was exposed to all the terrible things that can happen when mental illness is left unchecked; self-medication, risky behaviors, instability, conflict, violence, abuse – a lot of suffering.

Awareness has come a long way since the 90’s but we have to do better; be better humans and let people know that just because they live with a mental illness it doesn’t mean they’re broken, fundamentally unlovable, or lost – and they definitely don’t have to go through it alone. ♡

If you want to learn more on this topic go to nami.org and here’s some books by Jenny Lawson that have helped me cope with my own mental illness:
Furiously Happy
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

credits:
Artwork © Aimee McEwen. Personal use only. Not for commercial use.
Photo: Alisa Anton   Mental Health Statistics via nami.org
If shared, please link back to this post.

hello french toast

joseph-gonzalez-192345

French toast, also known as eggy bread, Bombay toast, German toast, gypsy toast, poor knights, or Torrija, is a dish made of bread soaked in milk, then in beaten eggs and then fried. – Wikipedia

Back before I knew gluten was a problem for me I would go almost every Sunday morning to my favorite breakfast place and order French toast, 3 strips of bacon and black coffee. Breakfast is my favorite food. Breakfast for dinner is my favorite thing ever…TBH

Sadly, my breakfasts nowadays are without bread of any kind. After about 5 years of no (or very little) gluten I do my best to keep things simple. Trading out gluten filled foods for gluten free (GF) alternatives (like GF bread) leaves me feeling disappointed (and poor, since GF bread is like $5 a loaf and it’s a tiny loaf at that.) So, I usually skip it and stick to foods that are naturally GF (meat, fruit, veggies).

But, I’m not super human for gawdsakes. I can only go so long without some kind of cereal or bread item. GF flatbreads are pretty good substitutes for crackers and most of the GF breads are okay if you toast them. Mmmm, toast.

I’ve tried using sheer willpower to say goodbye to breads and baked goods forever but you know how that goes…you feel deprived and end up wanting it more, or worse, you make terrible food choices, and even worse design choices. Really, I once mocked up an entire website and bought the domain name for hellofrenchtoast.com. It would focus on my quest for decent GF French toast, my life as a notorious introvert, a little crime fighting, and pics of my dog, of course…but mostly the French toast thing. It was gonna be HUGE…so huge it would inspire a chain of dog cafés that served French toast a million ways (along with the requisite 3 strips of bacon and coffee) which would then inspire a novel, and a screenplay, and well…you know the rest…all proceeds to homeless pets, my teeth are magically straight, I’m thin…but not too thin…and I end up married to a gorgeous Irish guy, obvs.

You probably think I’m joking about all this, but I’m not:

HFT-mock-up

Why am I telling you all about this? Maybe it’s because I really, really, really want to make GF French toast for dinner tonight. It might be completely terrible…but I think this is one of those times I gotta just go for it…at least it’ll be cheaper than a domain name.

Oh, and if anyone wants hellofrenchtoast.com it’s available – I KNOW! I can hardly believe it either! ♡

click here for recipe I’m using
Photo Credit: Joseph Gonzalez

new day

new-day

Write it on your heart
that every day is the best day in the year.
He is rich who owns the day, and no one owns the day
who allows it to be invaded with fret and anxiety.

Finish every day and be done with it.
You have done what you could.
Some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in.
Forget them as soon as you can, tomorrow is a new day;
begin it well and serenely, with too high a spirit
to be cumbered with your old nonsense.

This new day is too dear,
with its hopes and invitations,
to waste a moment on the yesterdays.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

credits:
Artwork © Aimee McEwen. Photo: Sandra Chile
Personal use only. Not for commercial use. If shared, please link back to this post.

five favorites

Sharing some of my favorite things at the moment before I call it a day and go raid my craft stash to figure some type of DIY project I can “relax” with Saturday while my pup is getting his ear procedure done. fave-TAZA

As much as I try to love tea…I’m totally a coffee person. But my blood pressure (and nervousness) lately has been a concern and I need to cut down on the caffiene…so I just bought this Taza Chai Vanilla Caramel tea a couple weeks ago to replace some of the coffee (too much coffee) I’ve been drinking.  I don’t add milk or sugar to it even though it would be AWESOME with either of those two, I’m sure. I quite like it all by itself. I got mine at Target, where, TBH, I pretty much get everything.

fave-Birchbox.png

In a previous post I mentioned I’m a Birchbox fan(atic) and it might just be because the boxes they send are pretty fricken adorable, but the products are decent as well. If you’ve not done the whole subscription box thing before, there’s some initial setup involved but Birchbox has their sh*t together so the procedure is painless. You register your account, take a quiz to list your preferences, and setup your payment info ($10, shipping included). You get 5 products, one of them is full size. I’ve received my box consistently around the same time each month, nothing is missing and usually my samples are spot on as far as my preferences/beauty profile goes (which I cannot say for some other services, like Ipsy). I subscribed to both Birchbox and Ipsy for twelve months to compare services. In January I canceled my Ipsy and kept Birchbox. After you sample the goods you can go online and leave reviews…each review earns you points toward purchases on the site. I saved quite a bit on hair stuff last year using my points. ‘Nuf said.

fave-Palmers

I really don’t do much with my hair anymore…or maybe I should say: it does what it wants. Currently, I’ve got curly moppy lob situation going on…my hair is fine but there’s a bunch of it (thankfully). Right now I’ve got highlights camouflaging most of the white hairs. I’ve been using this Palmer’s Coconut Oil Hair Milk Smoothie as a leave-in treatment after I shampoo/condition (once a week) and then in the morning I spray a mixture of the stuff plus water all over to perk up the curls I completely wreck overnight and that’s all I do, really simple. You can get it at Walmart, Target or other drug stores. It’s super affordable, like $6.

fave-Gloss

This one’s a bit, um, interesting. It’s a lip plumping lip gloss. My lips are not small to begin with…I also would not call them full…so I like to think that lip plumping gloss is helping me out…honestly though…I like this stuff because the color (spun sugar) looks nice on me and it’s glittery. It won’t burn your lips off but there is a tingly feeling like most plumpers. This gloss also doesn’t smell weird. I’m a big on the products I use smelling nice or not smelling at all. This one kind of reminds me of cocoa butter…which reminds me of chocolate milk a little. So, yeah, I don’t mind that at all. Another reason I like this gloss is the tube is see-through so I know when I’m out of it or about to be out of it…I’m notorious for losing lip gloss though so I can’t say I ever really run out of the stuff…I’m more likely to misplace it than run out. I got mine at Target, not sure where else carries Soap & Glory products – but here’s their website.

fave-insta.png

Daughter of the Woods

Saved the best for last. I LOVE MICHELLE’S INSTAGRAM. Go there now, it’s GORGEOUS. It’s animals, and forests, and flowers, and all kinds of charming. I also enjoy her blog and YouTube channel. I’ll put links below. It was pretty random how I found all her stuff, just scrolling around on Instagram, letting my mind empty and there was a forest image that grabbed my attention; trees that looked like they touched the sky. Michelle is completely lovely; an exquisitely sweet, insightful and gifted young artist.

Here’s where you can find her:

Instagram

Blog

YouTube

Music

Not a sponsored post. All opinions expressed are my own.

you are loved

Today I spoke briefly with a naturopathic doctor. I’m working on their marketing materials and we were discussing revisions over the phone. She mentioned wanting to translate some collateral into French and we both agreed that it would help broaden her reach to French speaking Canadians. I let her know I’d need her help of course because my French is not so good. She laughed and mentioned that my name is French and it means “loved.” I told her that nobody pronounces my name the “right” way though and she told me something about energy.

She said calling someone by their given name is better for their energy and, conversely, calling them another name (i.e. Bob instead of Robert), or mispronouncing their name, interferes with their energy. Interesting, aye? She promised from now on to always call me Aimée (in French). I have no idea how this all works, but wasn’t that sweet of her to say?

I’ll take all the help I can get, honestly.

My energy – since visiting the ER so many times in 2 weeks and my little beagle’s own health issues – has been, for lack of a better word, waning. I spent the two weeks before the cat fight with insomnia and now it feels like I can’t make it through an email without nodding off a little. To be sure, I’m exhausted by the imbalance of my life. I remind myself that however out of place I feel, I’m really not much different than anyone else. Our lives are not meant to be always simple, or predictable…our lives are meant to be a source of love, of learning lessons and finding a way to make things better. If you’re feeling alone, at least know that we’re all going through this process together.

Always ♡

credits:
Artwork © Aimee McEwen. Personal use only. Not for commercial use.
If shared, please link back to this post.

printable memos

hello-Mothers-Day-mothandbloom

Here’s some printable 5″x7″ memo pads, or note sheets if you prefer. I designed them to coordinate with the Mother’s Day card I’ll be sending up to my Momma in New York. The pads I put together are 50 sheets and there’s actually 4 different designs; one to-do list(lined), a notes page(also lined), then two separate note sheets(unlined). All you need to do is download the PDF, print (8.5×11 paper) and trim on the marks provided.  If you’re a Birchbox fan(atic), like me, you can use one of their decorative boxes to house the loose sheets. More specifically, the lids of the pretty boxes that Birchbox sends their goodies in are perfect for these 5″x7″ size sheets:

note-sheets-MOTHANDBLOOM

I got my padding compound here, if you want to try it out. It lasts forever. Oh and I use a chipboard back on my pads but you can use any card stock or even cut down a cereal box if you prefer upcycling.

Here’s what Mom’s card looks like this year. It’s 18″ x 6″ and z-folds to 6″ x 6″ square. ♡

MOM-CARD-2017-2

Click here to download the printable memos.

Have a wonderful Mother’s Day! I’ll most likely being celebrating with my furry babies and eating gelato, probably…maybe I’ll work a nap in there somewhere.

credits:
Artwork © Aimee McEwen. Personal use only. Not for commercial use.
If shared, please link back to this post.

cat fight

big-bird

Long story short, I went to the ER last night for the first in a series of rabies vaccinations.

Short story a little longer: I was bitten by I stray cat while walking Mac around the block. The cat went after my dog and I was caught in the middle. Once we escaped, with the help of a neighbor, I noticed my injuries and performed triage; body check on dog, scrubbed my own bleeding areas, peroxide, antibacterial ointment, bandage, freak out, body check dog again…and again…and again.

Spent the next morning trying to get in to see my doctor, got a tetanus shot, antibiotics and a few compliments on my first aid skills. Called the Health Dept. and they said to be safe I’d better go to ER and do the rabies vaccinations (it’s EXTREMELY RARE, they said, buuuuut…..stray cat and all)…actually they told me to go look for the cat and observe its behavior…and I was like “…do they think I’m a fricken cat whisperer or some kinda rabies expert?” I know it’s hard to believe, but I am neither…which means 4 rounds of shots. Apparently the worst bit is the first round (which was last night) and then three more shots for the next two weeks…and sometime in May it’ll all be over with and I’ll celebrate briefly as I will be making my final car payment around that time then swiftly applying those no more car payment payments to hospital bills. Convenient, aye?

I’m not posting images of the bloodied areas (my left calf and left middle finger) because there’s already too much of that stuff on the internet. Trust me, I’m pretty sure I clicked on all the images already, which was completely unhelpful. I’m also not going to talk about how depressing it was to get discharged from the ER and have to go home to an empty house and worry that you’re going to have a bad reaction to one of the 4 things you were injected with that day…or have a heart attack from worrying about all of it – while your family and friends text you their best “rabies jokes” or skip your plight altogether just to complain about how much laundry they have to get done. Literally, they are having some kind of laundry EMERGENCY…hey, I just left the ER…and not one person was standing there with a basket of laundry in a panic, screaming “HELP!! WE HAVE NO CLEAN UNDERWEAR!!” – but, like I said,  I’m not going to even talk about THAT.

I would like to talk about one thing…and that’s SIDE EFFECTS or, rather, the list of side effects that the pharmacy gives you every time you pick up new meds. The list of possible side effects is always absolutely horrifying, right?? Blindness, internal bleeding…actual DEATH. I’m reading this thing thinking “who wrote this shit, Donald Effin Trump? This is poorly written.”…it was very bad, so very, very bad, terrible. My favorite part was at the end it said something like “possible at the time medication is taken OR MONTHS LATER.”

MONTHS?? What kind of sneaky shit IS this??

Of course I also read up on the initial symptoms of rabies and I could very well have already had rabies before the bite…that cat could of caught rabies from ME…JUST SAYIN’
Fever
Headache
Nausea
Vomiting
Agitation
Anxiety
Confusion
Hyperactivity…etc…

It’s not funny, I know. It’s serious…I’m taking it seriously…I dragged myself to the ER and rambled on nervously to three nurses and a P.A., pretended to read a magazine (no worries, I brought my own germ-free magazine – note to self: burn magazine) while the lady in the next room screamed in pain, the poor thing (severe laceration to her foot) then I pretended to watch HGTV. I may have prayed, just a little. My blood pressure was a extremely high (147/95) and I was fighting off an anxiety attack, the worst part of the whole ordeal is my anxiety. That’s why I’m telling this long/short story to strangers on the internet. Maybe it will help calm me down and I’ll feel less alone than when I came home from the hospital to nobody. I mean, Mac was there of course, I’m never really alone…I snuggled him a little and did another quick body check (on both of us) before giving up and going to bed.

End of story…for now. I’m totally okay, everything will be alright (deep breaths).

I hope you guys have a safe and relaxing weekend filled with so much clean underwear and zero need of bandages. But maybe you should check in on your own at-home first aid kit anyway and make sure it’s fully stocked…because, you know, stray cats

Essential Oils Quick Reference Guide

About two years ago I started working on this “quick” reference guide for essential oils when I was  just beginning to try out aromatherapy for my anxiety issues. Click below to download/view the PDF. It’s for newbies like me that are curious to see what benefits/properties of certain essential oils. I use the basic essential oils (sweet orange, rosemary, lavender, tea tree, peppermint, patchouli, geranium, lemon) at home in homemade cleaning products, body scrubs, treatments and I bought a neat little diffuser that has a USB connection. You add just a few drops of essential oil to distilled water, plug it into your computer and off you go.

Please, if you download the guide, read all warnings and considerations on page 2. Thanks!

click to download/view PDF

credits:
Artwork and Essential Oils Quick Reference Guide PDF © Aimee McEwen. Not for commercial use. Personal use only. If shared, please link back to this post.