Books Read November 2016

It has been a crazy month for the Jolley family, although I feel like I say that every month. We got moved into our new home in Ogden, UT and are loving it! The first 2 weeks of the month were spent unpacking, figuring out where things are, and trying to maintain my sanity despite all the changes. I barely read during that time, so once we were *mostly* settled, I popped over to the library and picked up a few books I've been reading on Amazon and got a couple books finished!

This post contains affiliate links, this just means if you purchase using my links, I'll earn a (small) portion of that income! Thank you for supporting my blog. Jack wanted to be in the picture. LOL. I love that little one-eyed dog!

Personally I really liked this book. The characters were all a little cuckoo, but it was a page turner! Some people say the ending is predictable but I did not see it coming and for that reason I loved it. The book had a little too much swearing for me, but it was easy to coast over and ignore. But just a warning if you don't want to deal with that! If you want something that will take your mind out of the real world and into a story, this book definitely did it for me. I read it in like two days!

I recently joined a network marketing company called Monat. My sponsor sent this to me. I was surprised that it wasn't full of sleazy advice like "message 50 people a day"! It was full of a lot of good advice. Like focus on education, not sales. If you're in any kind of direct sales, I'd recommend this easy read. I'm going to re-read but with a pen in hand next time!

It's hard for me to rate this book. As a future foster carer I wanted to read some stories of children in foster care. This book had some disturbing sequences. The poor young girl is emotionally disturbed in some of the worst ways and it is so heartbreaking. The story was told well, and I admire the couple so much! Foster care has also changed SO MUCH since the time of this book that it's almost not applicable to current experiences. It does have a happy ending though, which I was so desperately praying for as I read the book.

4. Get Over Yourself by Romi Neustadt

Although I may not 100% agree with everything in this book, I really enjoyed it and agreed with about 90% of it. It helped me understand the steps I can take to have a successful network marketing career. I feel so much more knowledgeable and ready to conquer. I need to get a notepad and put some action steps down though because this was a lot of info and I almost feel overwhelmed by it all. Oh, and it has some swearing... including in the title. Sorry :/


I read quite a variety of books this month, and this next month is looking just as crazy! Finance, popular fiction, vegan books, parenting etc. I'll keep ya updated! 

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A Life Update - Nov 2016

Well, we have officially moved. I can't even remember if I wrote on here about selling our house, but we sold our home in Magna and moved to Ogden, Utah two weeks ago. We've got just about everything unpacked and set up and it's starting to feel like home. I really like the area we live in and I'm especially grateful to live so much closer to my family. 

Since moving, my husband has gone fully remote for his job. He works from home all week 40 hours a week. He recently graduated with his Bachelor's in Accounting as well which I am SO proud of! He is such a hard worker. 

I had to quit my job as the Reading Intervention Coordinator which was really sad. I obviously had an emotional connection to that place because I keep having dreams about it. I really loved that job and it was so hard to leave. It was also hard to leave my home salon. I had really started building a clientele and getting things going and loved taking appointments there. 

So here's what I'm up to now. Right now I'm doing the social media marketing for an accounting and payroll company about 5 hours a week. I really enjoy doing that remotely and trying to help build that company. I also plan on putting another home salon in our new home but it may be a little while before we get things up and running again. Because I plan to do hair again in my home I also became a Market Partner with Monat Global! I've stayed pretty busy trying to get that business off the ground but I've loved trying all the products and learning about the ingredients and what makes Monat so unique and amazing. 

We still aren't pregnant. Which gets harder and harder every month, but we are getting started on becoming licensed for Foster Care again which is so exciting! We've been emailing with the ones in charge and will hopefully be starting classes soon. 

I think that about covers it! I'm so excited for the holiday season and also for 2017! Odd years are kinda my favorite and I'm excited to dig into the goals I have for 2017. Happy almost Thanksgiving!

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The Best Blanket in the World - Cariloha Review + 4 Winner Giveaway!

I've collaborated with Cariloha on two previous occasions. 

I've had such pleasant experiences working with them and was so excited to get the green light to collaborate with 4 of my blogger friends and do a review + giveaway on the same day! The sheets are heavenly, the towels are what I always reach for before a shower, and the blanket is one I haul with me wherever I'm sleeping/relaxing. 

I previously reviewed the blanket back when they made it in an Ocean Blue color which I loved. Unfortunately they've retired that color now, but they have 3 gorgeous neutral colors now that give me all the heart eyes! Almond truffle, Oatmeal and Graphite. (See colors below)

These make perfect Christmas gifts, especially for those people who are extremely hard to buy for. Can you really ever have too many luxury blankets? Nope. 

What I love about the blankets...

-They are heavy! I read somewhere that heavy blankets can help calm your body in order to prepare for sleep. Everything you read on the internet must be true right? ;) But seriously, I love the heaviness of a good blanket.
-They are warm. I love climbing into bed and under my Cariloha blanket because it's instantly cozy and warm, and it really keeps the heat in. 
-Soft! With quilt batting in the interior core and a super soft outside, they are sooooo luxurious.
-Allergy free. Sometimes really fuzzy, soft blankets cause allergies/leave little fluffies everywhere but these blankets do neither.
-50% viscose from bamboo/50% polyester. 

Go check out all the colors and benefits- and then scroll down to enter the giveaway. FOUR winners will get to choose a blanket in their color choice. Treat yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Let's Talk About Anxiety- My Story

When I sat down with the therapist for the first time she asked me, "When do you first remember having these feelings of anxiety?" 

I had to think about it for a minute, but I have memories as early as 5th grade. I cried every single day of 5th grade. I came up with coping strategies that were ridiculous, like listening to Disneyland music on the way to school and pretending I was on the monorail and not a bus leading to my own personal hell. It was ridiculous, but it worked. 

Once I got to school I'd think to myself, "This really isn't as bad as I thought it would be, I'm OK, some of this is actually fun!" And then the next day it would start all over and the terror would hit. I didn't realize I was having issues, it was just my reality.

The best description I've heard for anxiety is this: "It is your brain confusing responding to an email, with getting chased by a hungry lion." It's funny, but it's true. And the chemicals in your brain don't know the difference. 

I fared pretty well in junior high and high school. Even though school wasn't super easy, I did well. I had good friends and I was really good at taking care of myself. I loved my curfew on the weekends because it meant I could come home and go to bed on time, I didn't realize at the time it was because unconsciously I knew that getting too little of sleep left me highly susceptible to my disorder. I was taking care of myself physically, participating in soccer, dance, cheer, gymnastics, etc. I completely forgot about the issues I had in 5th grade. 

Then college came. This time I didn't have a curfew set by my parents, so it got harder to say no when people wanted to stay out late. I stopped working out, I started eating a lot of junk food because that's just what you do in college! I remember joking with my friends and telling them once a month I just needed a good cry to cry out all the stress, fear and frustration that had been building up over the month. Surprisingly the cry never coincided with PMS, it just would randomly hit. I'd tell my roommates and friends I didn't feel well, and then cry all night. In the bathtub, in my bedroom, and silently in bed while my roommate slept. I'd struggle to breathe, I'd get dizzy and fall on the floor, I'd dry heave as if my body was trying to purge the feelings, I'd either over-eat or under-eat. I'd cry until I felt numb. And then the next day it would all go back to normal. 

After getting married, things worsened. I lost all of my friends, I struggled to make new ones, I gained weight and fell into a Binge-Eating Disorder. I'd get home from school/work and eat and eat and eat until I was sick. It felt good to eat, it was a release from the stress. I remember the night I went to Smith's, bought cupcakes and came home and ate almost all of them. When I finished eating them I realized I had no recollection of eating them all. No memory of it. It just happened, my body took over and ate them all and I was unaware. I hid them in the outside trash can so my husband wouldn't know. The next day I confessed and cried. I told him I had a problem and I was pretty sure I needed help. Only, I didn't get help. And it only got worse. 

Panic attacks became more regular. My triggers were usually a silly argument with my husband that I would blow out of proportion. Many of these episodes I have very few memories of. I'd remember my husband coming in to me and holding me and telling me to focus on the air, to breathe it in and out. He'd tell me he'd love me and that I was gonna be okay, that we were gonna be okay. 

The panic attacks went from happening once every few months, to once a month, to once a week, and then to multiple ones weekly. It started getting scary. 

One night, I heard my cat come in the doggy door and started to panic. Now, my cats have a bad habit of bringing things into our home. Mice, birds (dead AND alive), and even snakes... so the fear was valid. However, even once I saw she hadn't brought anything in, I continued to worry. I worried myself sick. At 3 AM I was still lying there awake after 5 hours of trying to sleep. I ended up getting up and went to my home salon to clean. I had nothing better to do in the middle of the night after all. At this point I started crying. I began to fall into darkness. That's the best way I can describe it. It's darkness that feels never-ending, like you might not make it out alive. 

My husband came in around 3:45 after hearing my crying and I could see how scared he was. He asked me what was wrong. I remember nothing after that. The last thing I remember was he eventually gave me a priesthood blessing and took me back to bed. I fell asleep around 6:30 am.

The next day I told him I was ready to get help. I scheduled time with a therapist and a doctor.

In April 2016 I was diagnosed with GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), Depression, Panic Disorder, and PTSD from two different experiences. (One was a car accident, and one was this experience in a movie theater) 

I went to therapy a few times with two different therapists before we moved. It was helpful,  I felt validated and understood. It was good to know I wasn't just crazy.

I got on an anxiety medication that helped significantly. I have not had a panic attack since. 

A few months later I met with my doctor to talk about the medication. When I explained to her how much I had improved she asked me what symptoms I still had. I chatted with her about the fear, the worry, the sleeplessness, the constant tightness in my chest, clenched jaws, awful bowel movements, my avoidance of freeways, taking off work because I couldn't cope, etc. She told me, "If this is an improvement, I can only imagine how horrible you must have felt prior to medication. I want you to love your life again." I was prescribed emergency Xanax (which I have used twice since and was SO grateful for it!) and we upped my dose on my daily medication. 

I started doing yoga at home and now at a gym. I started meditating multiple times a week using the app called Stop, Think, Breathe. I plan nights for me to stay home. I don't over-commit myself. I give myself grace when I fail. And I still have hard days. I checked out lots of books from the library about mental illness and even purchased a few from Amazon. I learned A LOT that has helped me come up with my own "treatment plan" that doesn't just include medication.

Dealing with anxiety is something many people have to do every day. It is really a process of trial-and-error to figure out what works for you. I wanted to avoid medication at first, but now I am SO glad I got on it, I finally feel pretty normal. 

Some days I wake up with the feelings of fear. The kind that make me want to curl back under the covers and never get out. Sometimes I still blow fights with my husband out of proportion, but now I can give myself a 15 minute break, shed a couple of tears and then we can make up. It doesn't take 4 hours to calm me down anymore. 

I wanted to write this post so you could understand a little more about anxiety/mental illness. It looks SO different for so many people. But this is what it looks like for me. If you have your own mental illness, I wrote this to encourage you to seek help. Therapy helped me for awhile, and then I felt okay without it, and instead gave time to other things (like reading, yoga, mediation, early bedtimes, temple trips, etc). I gave up gluten, which didn't make a difference. And have now given up meat (which HAS made a big difference!). I drink more water, and less caffeine. I try to put  my phone down more often and focus on reality. 

I chose to not write about the physical/medical side of anxiety in this post. I've learned so much about the different chemicals/hormones in our brains, the stress cycle and what causes anxiety, however, I didn't want to cover that today, this post is long enough! But knowledge is power! Learning more about my illnesses has helped me in unimaginable ways. 

I hope you find the strength to make your life something you love. I hope you accept help from others, even if you do not have a mental illness of your own. I hope you know, in those darkest moments, when you almost hope you don't make it out alive because the pain and turmoil is too much to bear, that you are loved. You are important. You make a difference. You are NOT defined by any illness, and most definitely not a sickness in your brain. 

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Books I Read In October 2016

It has been a CRAZY November. We are finally moved into our new home and are getting settled which means unpacking for days! I'm still attempting to complete by goal of reading 1 book a week until the end of the year. I'm just a little bit behind but I should have time to catch up once we are settled, plus I have so many books I want to read!!

But for now, here's an update on what I read in October!

Perfectly Imperfect: The Art and Soul of Yoga Practice by Baron Baptiste 

3/5 I kinda wish I could give this a better review because I was really hoping for it to be good but honestly it was pretty boring. Yoga has been really helpful in managing my anxiety and I wanted to read more about it but it was slow and super repetitive. I will admit it had some good stories and advice which is why I still gave it a 3 out of 5 but it was not a page-turner by any means.

Love Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton

5/5 I can't imagine a more beautifully written memoir. We are all broken and we all live messy lives. I'm so grateful for Glennon's heart and for being vulnerable enough to share her story of her husband's infidelity. Something about reading a memoir with such raw emotion encouraged me to be more vulnerable in sharing my own messiness, which hopefully I will get around to soon on this blog.

No Ordinary Women by Elaine Dalton

5/5 I purchased this on audio book with some birthday money back in September and finally got around to listening to it last month. This book will help remind you that you play a unique role in this life and that God & the world needs you!

You've Got This: How to Look Up When Life Has You Down

I did a full review on this book HERE. 

See Me by Nicholas Sparks

5/5 It has been awhile since I sat down with a good old romance novel and I must say I enjoyed See Me! It was a little longer than more Nicholas Sparks book and had an air of mystery to it which I liked. If you're not into his books though I'd say pass on this one because it's got a similar feel, but if you like his other stuff you will love See Me!

I've been reading lots of different types of books this month so I'm excited to share those with you at the end of November as well. What books have you been reading lately??

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You've Got This! How to Look Up When Life Has You Down - Book Review

I was sent You've Got This- How to Look Up When Life Has You Down to review and I must say I truly loved it! The book is made up of multiple popular authors, speakers, bloggers, etc. It is aimed at teens but everyone can benefit from the stories and lessons in it. 

One thing I really like about the book is each story only took 10-15 minutes to read. Which is perfect for winding down at night or taking a social media break to read something uplifting. 

All of the stories were uplifting and really helped me understand trials a little better. I feel like I learned how to look a little harder at my trials and see some silver lining. We can find joy in the messiness of life and this book is a perfect reminder. 

It's the perfect stocking stuffer for teens so pick one up from Amazon today! 

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