{Style Me Bloggers} My Favorite Hats…and Closet Sneak Peek

So this week’s Style Me Bloggers link up is showcasing our favorite hats!  I have lots of hats…but I’m not sure how many pictures of me wearing hats I actually have!  I at least found one…

Me, Tim, and Miss Georgia

Me, Tim, and Miss Georgia

My Favorite Hats

These are my favorite hats!

Baseball capsIn Washington, baseball caps are perfect for winter hats…to keep all the rain off my glasses.

Vertical Express for MS hatsThese hats are from the Vertical Express for MS at Crystal Mountain in 2009 and 2010.  I added my snowboarding helmet because it is signed by Jimmie Heuga the founder of Can Do MS (formerly the Heuga Center for MS).  If you want to know about Jimmie Heuga, check out this link…pretty spectacular man and I was blessed to meet him and he truly touched my life and he and the staff at Can Do MS helped me realize that I am more than just “Joy who has MS.”  I’m not just a list of symptoms and physical limitations.  I can do anything I put my mind too!

Not staying awake for Picture Troop Salute Hat GeorgiaAnd for the next two hats, here is Miss Georgia, #1 fan, looking tired.  The long crocheted cap was made by my mama so that is pretty special to me.  I love to wear that when the weather is cold and a game is on, because no one else has one.  The other Seahawks hat that she is wearing is a Salute to Service Seahawks beanie that I just got this month.  I always like when the Seahawks have gear that is directed towards military members and Veterans.

..bet you can’t guess anything about me by my choice in hats! 

In case you really can’t…I like sparkly things, football, shooting ranges, and I live with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.  I tried to learn to snowboard after my diagnosis…I wasn’t very good but it was fun.  (I haven’t gone since my mama passed away.)  I am a proud U.S. Army Veteran, and a recent graduate of the University of Alabama.  (I just completed my master’s degree in May 2014.)


And if you got this far, here is a link to my closet pictures that should have been included in the last link up!

Make sure you check out some other blogs and see what hats everyone loves this winter!


{Day 8} Committed to Saving

Wow, I’m just still under the weather and dragging through my days this week.

I had to take a trip to Costco to pick up a prescription, so I dropped $10 on that. I never mind picking that one up because the rest of my meds cost so much more.

While I was there I spent some cash on groceries and a couple trays of baked goods for a work potluck tomorrow. I stayed within my limit and was happy to walk out of there for less than $60.

I did slip up and ran through the drive thru so I could go home and finish some work and then climb into bed early. I really was having a bad day, and I think my emotions made me slip up thinking I deserved the ease and convenience but not a healthy choice, financially, emotionally, or physically. There went just about $10 cash.

So today’s lesson in The 21-day Financial Fast was about saving and the importance of an emergency fund and a “life happens” fund. In all honesty, I don’t have either right now. I have a retirement fund through work and an IRA that I add to every pay day. I need to build up my emergency fund, so I really need to critically assess my budget this weekend.

I also need to start thinking about my budget for Christmas. I’ve got some work to do this weekend!!

Do you have your budget done for holiday spending? Or maybe I’m just the only procrastinator in the world!

{Day 7} Building a Budget

Today my challenge for today was to begin putting my budget onto paper and being realistic about where my money goes each month. Budgeting is one of those things you don’t learn in school, but it is critical to personal success.

A good portion of my evening has been dedicated to working on my budget, so I don’t have a ton of time to explain how I’ve organized it today. I think I will share more about that this weekend.

For today, spending was $0…still convenient to have no energy and no desire to go out and run errands…saves me money, but really I’m getting tired of feeling sick and tired.

Until tomorrow…

Build Your Wardrobe Basics Challenge-Week 1

basics wardrobe challengeI’ve spent a bunch of time digging through my closet for yet another style challenge.

I am participating in another Style Me Pretty Challenge courtesy of the fabulous Alison Lumbatis at Get Your Pretty On and this time she is teaming up with Cyndi Spivey of Walking in Grace and Beauty.   This challenge is called the Build Your Wardrobe Basics Challenge.Build Your Wardrobe Basics BannerAs my closet has been spilling out everywhere, I decided that I would take on this challenge without hitting the stores for some new items.  I need more help building a wardrobe with my basics, as opposed to purchasing more basics.  I am also working on a little personal challenge of not spending frivolously for 21 days.  (Today, I am only on day 7…two more weeks to go!)

So since things are just getting started, I only have a couple outfits to share with you.

Day 1:  Alison and Cyndi’s Rx-boot cut jeans, striped long sleeve tee, tassel necklace, neutral satchel purse, and some leopard flats. 

I added a sweater because as much as I love my stretchy striped shirt, it is a little too clingy around my tummy!

OOTD day 1

This is a signature look for me…I call it my MS-lean. (Maybe that is only funny and expected if you have MS.)

OOTD day 1_1

Miss GA looks so sad in this picture!

Day 2: Alison and Cyndi’s Rx-Chambray shirt, black slacks, black boots with a heel, leopard belt, and black and gold earrings. 

My commentary…button-up shirts are one of the hardest things for me to find because of problems with fit.  I paired my shirt with black cords since I was working from home.  I am so all about not having to have my black suiting slacks dry cleaned unless it is really a worthy cause!  I added a statement necklace and black suede wedge booties (…only for the picture because I worked at home today).   This wasn’t my favorite outfit, but it was what I grabbed and I stuck with it for the day…except those shoes…they are comfy and stylish, but not 100% MS-friendly.

OOTD day 2

Just in case you want to join along, you aren’t too late for the Build Your Basics Challenge…but there is also a Winter/Holiday Challenge coming up soon!  I really don’t have any parties planned, but I would love to figure out how to put together a couple outfits for going out during the holidays.  I also can’t wait to cuddle up in sweaters and layers of clothing.  I don’t think I will need to buy much for a winter challenge, but it will be fun to find new ways to pull the items I have together.  I am slowly breaking free of my yoga pant and hoodie sweatshirt ways!

Winter/Holiday Style Challenge Banner

Coming up this week, I will be linking up with the Style Me Bloggers and we are showing off our favorite winter hats!  I also thought I’d include a couple pictures of my closet status post purge…since I didn’t post any closet pics at the last link up.  So if you are interested in seeing the progress in my closet (i.e. no more 73 dresses), or checking out some great winter hats…we will be linking up again this Friday!

Don’t forget to stop by the blogger link up for the Build Your Wardrobe Basics Challenge.  The ladies have some great outfits to share!

Deena | Joy | Dee | Leslie | Patty | Shawnee | Shaunta


{Day 6} Contentment, Gratitude, & Large Household Appliances

Today is day 6 of my personal challenge to spend less.  I’m still home sick, so it is definitely easy to not go out and spend any money!  Today was a $0 spent day…except for an auto-debit for my car insurance payment.

I am currently reading through Michelle Singletary’s book The 21 Day Financial Fast.

Some days being content is difficult.

The last few days, I was side tracked by a little bit of a household maintenance dilemma.  This blurry picture, below, stopped my Sunday in its tracks, and managed to completely throw off my laundry schedule this week.

the remains of smoldering dryer lint

My son and I were washing bed linens on Sunday, and we started to smell smoke.  Thankfully, we were both in the laundry area!  I yanked the plug out of the wall as fast as I could and grabbed a wrench (Note:  I keep a screwdriver and wrench, that is the right size for the screws and bolts, in a container next to the washer and dryer for easy access.  I was very thankful for this little stash of tools on Sunday!!)

After quickly yanking apart the dryer…side note…nothing makes you forget you have a serious head cold faster than the prospect of an impending house fire…I found lint smoldering on top of the blower unit and near the element.  SCARY!! 

So after my quick tear apart and cleaning, my dryer looked like this:

01d11d8ccd91c7a279ff9dc7b08461548e7b72c75c 0100b58b10f48f921930fe0c025a3813352c1ce873

It took a bit of time to clean it all up, and I just couldn’t get the belt back on correctly.  I had my son help me, and we accidentally snapped the grounding wire.  I am all about trying to fix things if I can, but dryers and wires, and recent black and smokey lint made me nervous, so I called my dad.  Except Tim and I are both sick, so we can’t have him come over and fix the dryer just yet!

Man, if this isn’t a lesson in patience (and the need for annual dryer maintenance), I don’t know what is!

Now I could sit around and be frustrated (full disclosure: there may have been a door slammed to the laundry area after we snapped the grounding wire…but I definitely held my tongue) or I could even be angry that I have to figure out these things for myself.  However, I am truly, truly glad that my son and I were standing there when we started smelling smoke.

And how is this for gratitude…I even made a little bit of money…

dryer money

So my recommendations today are that you do the following:

1) Check your venting to your dryer and if you haven’t performed maintenance on your dryer, today’s as good as any other day to do it!

2) If you don’t have a fire extinguisher in your laundry room, go out and get one…and while you are at it, check to see that the smoke detector in your laundry area is working.

3) Remind your teenage son to check his pockets before doing his laundry! (oh that might not apply to everyone!)

I still don’t have my dryer up and running because my son and I still have the crud and I am not spreading those icky germs around more than I have to.  But today, I am grateful for the gentle leading of the Holy Spirit that nudged me to get up from bed when I wasn’t feeling well, go downstairs, and check on the progress of the laundry, even when I knew that my teenage son was fully competent to wash, dry, fold, and repeat.

{Day 5} Cultivating a Heart Focused on Gratitude

So today I spent $10.94 on my monthly Photoshop CC subscription. I calculated this into my business expenses for this 21-day period. I’m happy with not spending more than that.

My son and I stayed home and made a simple meal of burrito bowls for dinner…it usually goes over a little better, but today’s conversation went something like this…

I asked Tim, “How’s your dinner?”

His response, “Average.”

I asked him, “You don’t like it?”

Tim’s response, “It’s keeping me alive.”

So it wasn’t the best meal I made…it is actually my go to quick weekday lunch. Black beans, corn, brown rice, and salsa, all warmed up together and topped with cheese. Apparently to a 14-year old boy, it is completely a most basic, boring form of sustenance to be consumed solely because nothing better is available. I’m fine with that, because I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I also thought his answer about dinner was creative and honest. It made for a fun dinner for me.

I’m grateful for a simple meal with my son and a day filled with authenticity and simplicity.

I also love having a well-stocked pantry to make weeknight meals easy. I’ve kind of held onto an entitled belief that after a long day of work, and dealing with MS fatigue, that it was okay to get take-out or order pizza. It is destroying my budget, and it has been impacting my family’s health and wellness. I’ve made an effort to commit to making food at home instead and it isn’t as time-consuming as I’ve convinced myself.

What are you grateful for today?

Restful Slumber Diffuser Blend

Hmm…it may seem like I am obsessed with diffuser blends today.  Okay, so really I am…today and every other day.  I use a diffuser in my home office and in my bedroom.  I haul it all over the house if I need to.  When that self-imposed spending freeze of mine is over, I might just buy a couple more and save me the room-to-room haul! 

So I’ve been following @simplyoils on Instagram.  Toni, of A Bowl Full of Lemons, is having a photo-of-the-day challenge for November.  Today’s post is supposed to be sleep.  Sleep is hard to come by when you battle MS…which is weird because fatigue is one of my worst symptoms.  Anyhow, I love to diffuse essential oils in the evening, and as I am falling asleep.  Most nights I have a bit of insomnia, so I just turn my little diffuser right back on when I wake up.

This is one of my favorite sleepy-time blends…you might notice it is a little non-traditional.  Most seem to use lots and lots of lavender.  My mama showed me how to use chamomile when my daughter was colicky way, way, way back in the day.  I love how restful and calming chamomile is, so I included it in my Restful Slumber Diffuser Blend.

restful slumber diffuser blend IG

If you have any questions about purchasing or using essential oils, feel free to visit my doTERRA site, comment here, or email me.  I am a Wellness Advocate for doTERRA because I wholeheartedly endorse and believe in the quality and ease of their products.  My mama used to self-study aromatherapy long before it was cool (1980s-90s), or maybe just long before I ever truly understood how cool it was…and I gleaned some great tips from her.  Also, for more tips, tricks, recipes, and photos of using essential oils in everyday life, visit me on Instagram.


…Oh, and speaking of Toni and her wonderful Instagram page…if you follow her blog, A Bowl Full of Lemons, you might have noticed she has teamed up with Becky at Clean Mama and Becky of Organizing Made Fun for a fabulous giveaway that you definitely shouldn’t miss.  If you are interested in essential oils, or want to learn more ways to use them in your own home…this is definitely the giveaway to enter!!  These ladies are all fantastic, so even if you aren’t entering the giveaway (YOU SHOULD), you may want to bookmark their sites and check back often!


Now get out of here and go enter!!!  You don’t want to pass up the opportunity to win this great giveaway!

Clarity, Concentration & Focus Diffuser Blend

Clarity-Focus Diffuser Blend

Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
A decision to use/not use this information is the sole responsibility of the reader.
Please see your trusted doctor or health care professional for medical evaluation.

{Day 4} Another Long Day

This week hasn’t been the smoothest running week ever. Between the water in the basement, not feeling well, and an MS flare, you might think I had enough on my plate.

Well today, my son and I were doing some laundry and we started to smell smoke. I immediately unplugged the dryer and started taking it apart. Inside, we found lint starting to smolder on the box over the heating element. YIKES! I guess I wasn’t thorough when cleaning it out last time.

My dryer was in pieces, but is now somewhat put back together, after a thorough cleaning of the inside. I was very thankful we were right there when it started. I was having a bit of trouble getting the belt back on, so my dad is supposed to stop by tomorrow and help me with that. I hate asking him for maintenance help since he is enjoying his first year of retirement.

My plan for today was to lay in bed and get some rest and get over the crud I’ve got going on. Instead I was busy playing repairman.

For day 4 of my financial fast, I spent no money at all. It is pretty easy to save when you are laying in a pile of lint, dust, and dryer pieces. I guess that is a pretty good thing.

So when was the last time you made sure to do basic dryer maintenance and get all that extra lint out? If it’s been a while, you might want to make it a priority.

{Day 3} Money Spent…

Today is just a quick post because I am not feeling well, but I am committed to being accountable for these 21 days.

It is day 3 of my spending challenge and I did spend a bit of money:

T.J. Maxx $21.89 (planned spending for a gift swap)

USPS $7.15 (priority mail for swap…for a dollar more, two-day shipping rather than 7-10 days. Benefit outweighed cost.)

Target $11.33
At Target I bought the following:
Saline spray $4.99 (+$0.47 tax)
Campbell’s soup (2 each) $0.79
Frozen orange juice concentrate $2.29
Starburst $1.00*
Chessman cookies $1.00*

*the starburst and the cookies were treats for my son that were planned on the grocery list before I headed to store.

So my grand total for spending today was $40.37 in cash.

Most of my spending today was for a swap that I signed up for prior to deciding to get a better grasp on my budget. I’m pretty happy with this and I was glad to keep my debit card in my wallet…not to say I wasn’t tempted while shopping at T.J Maxx earlier. There were a couple of fantastic, soft, and cozy scarves. I think not feeling well was helpful because I had very little interest in being out running around.

After my recent experience of having my checking account hacked, it does feel good not to worry about using my debit card!! Using cash also kept my spending in check today because I left the house with only $50 allocated to spend.

Have you gone to cash budgeting/spending?