Monday, July 28, 2014

Christmas in July Book Swap

This month I participated in the Christmas in July Book Swap over at The Book Monsters


If you've never checked out this blog before, you should! I love it! Co-bloggers Kristen and Kate have tons of book reviews, author guest posts and interviews, reading challenges, and discuss what they are currently reading for pleasure! I love seeing what they're interested in :) I met co-blogger at The Book Monsters, Kristen, through an educator swap this past year and couldn't wait to participate! 

For this swap, I got partnered with Christina over at Books Are Life Reviews.

Books Are Life
I had so much fun getting to know Christina! She is so sweet, and I have LOVED catching up on reading her blog! She reviews books and talks about what she's currently reading. She also has author interviews. So much fun!

For this swap, you get to know your partner and at the end of the swap, send your partner a book off their wish list as well as one other item. Each of us made a wish-list of 10 books from which our partner could choose to send us. That way the book we received would be a surprise. Here is a link to the wishlist I sent Christina: Amazon wishlist.

I was SO excited to receive my box from her! I had been wanting to read the book she sent me for awhile! And now I don't have an excuse not to! It sounds so interesting! And Christina actually got a chance to meet the author! So jealous :)

Here's what she sent me:

I can't wait to read Every Day by David Levithan. Here's a link to read about it on Amazon.

I also got some new post-its! Yay! And some mechanical pencils! I run through post-its and mechanical pencils like it's my job, especially once school starts.

I got a coupon to get a free Chick-Fil-A sandwich and two awesome bookmarks! Here are the bookmarks up close:

This swap was so much fun! Thank you so much Christina!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Friday, July 25, 2014

Tried It Tuesday on a Friday!

First off, I know it's not Tuesday, but I really wanted to get this post up this week! So here it is! It's been a busy few days. The time I thought I had to get this done Wednesday escaped me, so here are my finds from the past few weeks!

But before I get into those, I officially wanted to announce the winner of my 100th Post Giveaway! The winner is Amanda over from Third Grade Fabulous! She is my June/July Slantbox partner, and I am sending her a super-fun box of goodies for our summer teacher swap soon! You can check that swap out over at Lessons with Coffee if you're interested! I was so excited to send Amanda her prize, that I forgot to take a picture of it before I mailed it! So, I am going to borrow Amanda's picture of the prize once it made it to her place!

Congrats Amanda!!

And now on to this week's installment of Tried It Tuesday...


Chobani Yogurt

I tried two new flavors of yogurt this week. I know, super exciting! ;)  They were both Chobani yogurts. I found them both at Fresh Market. They are new flavors for Chobani too. The first one was--get this--watermelon! And, oh my goodness, it was amazing!!


This yogurt has just a subtle hint of watermelon, and it's so smooth and creamy. The color is so beautiful too. It's a beautiful light pink color. This is probably my new favorite yogurt flavor. It's a limited batch summer edition, so go find some before it's all gone! I'm going to run and get some more! These were on sale at Fresh Market for $1.

I also tried one other new flavor from Chobani. It was Pineapple Coconut:

Pineapple Coconut

I love Chobani because it's yogurt that doesn't taste like it's full of sugar and artificial flavors. They make it from natural ingredients. The flavors aren't overpowering either. This one has a subtle taste of coconut and pineapple that is very nice. My only complaint is that there are small chunks of shredded pineapple mixed into the yogurt. I am not a fan of having chunks in my yogurt, but that is a personal texture thing, I think. The flavor is really nice.

Chobani has a few other new flavors out as well. To view them, click here

Roasted Chicpeas

Bjorn and I also tried a new snack this past week. We roasted our own chickpeas! Admittedly, I am not a big popcorn fan. I hate getting popcorn kernels stuck in my teeth and my throat. I don't like having to wipe off my greasy hands after every other bite of popcorn too. The taste of popcorn is less than desirable to me. It's just not my favorite. Bjorn, however, does like popcorn. He always forgets that I don't like popcorn when we have movie nights. I think he gets excited because he asks me often if we can make popcorn. I have nothing against him making popcorn; I think he doesn't want to make a big bag of popcorn just for himself.

So...instead of popcorn for movie night, we made this:

All you do is take some canned chickpeas (we use reduced sodium), drain them, season them, and roast them! I am linking our recipe below! Next time we're thinking of using curry powder. Let me just say that these only lasted about 20 minutes into the movie!


Coconut Water Spray

I love organix hair products. I use their hair paste to make my hair have that messy feel to it when I style it :), and I recently repurchased a product that I haven't used in awhile. I forgot how much I love it! It's Organix Weightless Hydration Coconut Water and Coconut Oil Spray. 

OGX Weightless Hydration Oil Coconut Water

I love this spray. Sometimes in the summer with the humidity and my short hair, I get flyaways at the base of my neck. I spray this on my damp hair and then blow dry or air dry. It keeps my hair smooth and makes it shiny! Once I'm done blow drying, sometimes I spray a little extra to add a little extra shine. I used to use the one with bamboo extract. That was a little more oily for me, though. I like this one better mixed with the coconut water, no bamboo extract. I picked this up at Walgreens. It's much lighter.


I love Bath and Body Works candles, but I only buy them when they're on sale and I have a coupon :). Last week, I stopped in to see if they had my London Calling candle on sale (they usually do this time of year) because I had a 20% off coupon. They did at 1/2 off, but I also found one other new scent that I like that was also 1/2 off! It's called American Boardwalk. It smells like freshly cooked kettle corn! Now I know I said I don't like popcorn, but I have to say, I will eat fresh kettle corn if it's around!

I'm not sure if they have any left, but if you see any at your Bath and Body Works, check it out! It smells wonderful!


I am seriously in love with the show New York Med. Does anyone else watch? I watched last season, and this summer, besides So You Think You Can Dance, it's really the only show I really watch! (Oh, besides catching Good Morning America when I can in the morning, since I can't during the school year!) The show follows the happenings of ER doctors, nurses, and surgeons in Manhattan's New York Presbyterian Hospital and Newark's University Hospital. Not only do you get to see the doctors and surgeons deal with their patients everyday, but you get to know them and who they are as people. I love the doctors and their stories, and they truly are kind and caring people. If you haven't seen it, you should watch it! It's on Thursdays @ 10 pm on ABC. Here is a link to the New York Med page on ABC. On this site you can watch previous episodes of the show.

Here's a link to an article in The New York Post about one of my favorite doctor's on the show, Dr. Debbie Yi, and why she became a doctor.


I love Sam Smith. On the way home the other day, I heard him cover Whitney Houston's "How Will I Know" on Sirius XM. Oh My A.MA.ZING. I don't even know how to begin to describe this. You just have to watch this and fall in love with him again :).

Ok. I love Lionel Richie. I love Darius Rucker. I found this gem from Lionel's "Lionel and Friends" Concert. Lovely.

Have you tried anything fun this week?

Have a great Friday!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

My Life with Migraines Update

I know I promised an update on my migraine situation. I'm not going to drag this out. Those of you who know me, know I've had a long struggle with migraines. They've continued to worsen my whole life. I'm at the point where I get on average 17 migraine days per month. Sometimes my "rescue" medication takes away the migraines, and sometimes it does not. 

Bjorn snapped this of my one night.
This is what happens when I get a migraine.
Take some medicine, put a heating pad on my head, and try to sleep.

I know a lot of my food triggers, and I try to stay away from those. My everyday life triggers are a little trickier. I tend to get a migraine almost always after working out. The heat seems to be a trigger (even if I do drink more than my usual amount of water for the day). Really bright lights and seriously loud noises can get me when I'm already on my way to a migraine. 

This past year has been a year full of taking new medication that haven't helped. They've made me exhausted, overheated, not myself, and gain some weight, among other things. I have not felt myself this year. I am also taking a lot of supplements, which I'm okay with. I am now taking some medications that help me get through each day with little side effects. I also recently started giving myself injections when needed to help deliver my rescue medication more quickly at the onset of a migraine. This allows me to get back to everyday life more quickly because the medication takes effect on my migraines way more quickly than taking any pill could. I have also found a new medical masseuse, who is amazing! She really helps keep my back and neck loosened up!  

The biggest news, I guess, is that on Monday, I will be starting Botox injections for my migraines. As I write this, I get little anxious butterflies in my stomach about it. I debated for a long time about getting this treatment done. I wasn't sure if it was right for me, but I literally feel like I'm at the end of my rope. I have taken almost every migraine medication that can be prescribed to patients, to no avail. My current medications keep me going mostly, but don't diminish my migraines. I don't want to know how many migraines I'd have in a month without them! 

After serious consultation with my doctor and much research on my own, I have come to the conclusion that I need to try this. If Botox, in any way, can give me a better quality of life, than I need to try. So that is where I am. I am hopeful that this will give me some relief. If you're interested in hearing more about how it goes after my first treatment, let me know. I wanted to keep this update brief.

To read more about Botox Treatment with Migraines, Click the Links Below:

WebMD Botox for Migraines
Botox Treatment Website

I am extremely nervous about the whole treatment. Mostly, I think, because I know this is one of my last serious options in getting potential relief from my migraines. I feel somewhat emotional about the prospect, anxious, and nervous. Please send positive vibes my way on Monday, if you can. I would greatly appreciate it. The treatment consists of 31 injections in my forehead, head, and neck. (Orginally, I remembered 38! I'm glad that number is a little lower in reality!!) I would appreciate your positive thoughts! 

Love and happiness <3 Holly

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tried It Tuesday (on a Wednesday morning)

This week's Tried It Tuesday is really "Tried It Wednesday," but that doesn't sound fun! So-the title's not changing. Today was migraine city up in here, so we'll just ignore the fact that it's really Wednesday, that I can't sleep, and that I have to tutor in eight hours and counting. Seriously, I don't know what is with me lately! I really do love writing these Tried It Tuesday posts, though, so I am not letting one fall by the wayside!

This week, I don't have a lot of things to tell you about, like I have usually, but I do have a few fun finds to share! Happy reading!

Sweet Treat

I am not a big candy person. I prefer a nice desert--tiramisu, creme brulee, ice cream, etc. My husband, Bjorn, does, however, like candy. He's a big Red Hot and Swedish Fish lover. I can eat one or two and then I just feel this weird sugary take-over feeling throughout my body. I just don't like it. 

My husband calls himself a beer snob; I guess you can call me a dessert snob. The other night, we ran by Walgreens to pick up a few quick toiletries that we realized we were out of at the last minute. You know, toilet paper, nothing important or anything. We decided to also pick up a little something for dessert. Walgreens is not my idea of the best place to pick up a "my-kind-of dessert," but I made due. I picked up a dark chocolate Reese's cup, and Bjorn convinced me to try this black licorice: 

Good & Delish Aussie Style Liquorice Black

It's called Delish Aussie Style Black Liquorice. Now I am normally not a black licorice fan. My mom and grandma ate it growing up, and I always thought it tasted disgusting. I don't know what I didn't like about it. The kind my mom always bought had a strange bite to it coupled with an overdose of sugary sweetness, and I just couldn't stomach it. 

This black licorice is delicious! It doesn't have too sharp of a bite (for black licorice), it isn't too sweet, and it has this great subtle flavor. We found it hanging in the candy isle at Walgreens. 


Bjorn and I have watched a few really great movies lately. We've been wanting to watch these two for awhile, but just kept forgetting to watch them!

The Monuments Men

Fabulous move!! So many good actors! I love this story. I love German history. Definitely a must see. It's not a battle-filled, action-packed movie, if that's what you're looking for. This movie is based on the story of the Monuments Men and of their passion to save the world of its culture and history that was being stolen and destroyed by the Nazis.

Enough Said

Wow, did I love this movie!! I think this is one of my favorite movies of all time! It is funny, witty, sweet, touching, and so well-written. You have to watch this movie. Bjorn and I loved it!


I love kooky earrings. I have all different kinds: umbrellas, pigs, bicycles, buttons, cameras, and I recently picked up these adorable fish earrings from Target. Aren't they cute? They make me think of Koi fish. I do love my kooky earrings! These were $7.99 at Target.

Fish Post Earrings - Gold


School/Office Supply

I also picked up some new mechanical pencils this past week, and I'm really enjoying them. (Remember, I am a teacher!) Lately whenever I use my mechanical "normal" pencils, I press too firmly and end up breaking all my lead. It was starting to annoy the poo out of me! Supposedly, these pencils have stronger lead, are easier to hold, and are more comfortable to write with! We shall see, pencils. They're pretty cute looking to. I will let you know the final verdict, but I really like them so far!

Paper Mate Mates 1.3mm Mechanical Pencils, 8 Colored Barrel Mechanical Pencils (1862168)

On these pencils are $3.99 for a pack of 8. I got mine at Target for $2.29.

That's all I've got for this week! Happy Tuesday (now Wednesday)!

Have you tried anything new this past week?

Don't forget to enter my 100th post giveaway where you could win a $25 giftcard to Target and some of my favorite Tried It Tuesday goodies! Click here to enter!

Love and happiness <3 Holly