Strange Currencies, Story 2

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Strange Currencies, Story 2

Here is the second installment of my “spooky” stories! (Go back to my first Strange Currencies post for more of an explanation.) 

I’m going way back to my junior high years. Ouija boards were never allowed in my house and were a taboo thing in my family. Naturally when a friend suggested we consult the Ouija board to find out if the cute boy the next block over liked either one of us, I was excited to see what the hype was all about. Secular rock music was also not permitted at my house, so when the same friend offered to dub the latest Def Leppard tape (yes, I’m old), I was down for that too. We set the tapes doing  their thing and got out the Ouija board.

At first I was pretty sure my friend was pushing the planchette. When whoever, or whatever, claimed to be that boy and even provided the right name,  I started feeling it a little more, but again I thought my friend was probably influencing that. She, of course, swore she wasn’t doing anything. I’m a skeptic by nature, but an open minded one. We asked for proof, like describing the house he lived in, which it did. Then we asked it to call us if it was real. That didn’t happen and eventually we ran out of questions to ask and we stopped getting clear responses. We ended it halfway through the tape recording and moved on to something else.
When the recording finished, we rewound it and listened to make sure everything had transferred. During the third song (which would have been right around the time that we asked the Ouija board to call us), we heard a phone ring six times. We looked at each other and were shocked because the phone had never audibly rang the whole time we were together that afternoon. We’d been waiting for it to and would have noticed. We thought maybe the song had had it in it and we’d never noticed before, so we listened to the original tape- there is no phone ringing.

We both arrived at the conclusion that it had to be connected. I was floored and weirded out, which is not crazy considering this was my first interaction with the Ouija board. My friend, who had used it many times and was pretty tough (for a junior high girl anyway), was equally shaken. The fact that she was so affected really freaked me out. To this day, I haven’t messed with a Ouija board again and I’m left with the belief that it is more than just a game. While my interaction was pretty harmless, I don’t want to open certain lines of communication, especially not knowing what’s on the other side.

I’m curious what other people think about  Ouija boards and if any of you have had odd experiences with them.

Working Out in Makeup?!

(Image via Snapchat- not gym wear.😉)

Right around the holidays, I ended up walking in the gym hallway with a lady who was somewhat new to our Zumba class. She said something to the effect of “I don’t know how you front row girls work out with all that make up on your faces.” It was said in derogatory way. I was very taken aback and didn’t know really what to say but said something like, “I didn’t put on make up specifically for the gym, I already had it on from earlier.”. She didn’t ask or comment further. It bugged me that she had the impression that I felt the need to get all dolled up for the gym. She herself has super short hair, wears no make up and dresses very masculine and I would never have a thing to say about it as I respect that that’s how she wants to present herself. It made me super annoyed that she felt the freedom to question mine. 

So let’s discuss. I do wear make up to the gym- and everywhere else I go. When I wake up in the morning, I take 10 minutes and get made up. I do this because my eyelashes and eyebrows are naturally white and I look sickly without darkening them and adding some definition to my face. I like the way I look with make up. That is how I choose to present myself and it’s part of expressing who I am. 

Mornings I go straight from the kid’s school to work and then straight back to get them. Once we are home again, it’s homework, household duties and dinner and then I’m off to the gym. Our afternoons and evenings can be nonstop. For me, removing all my make up before going to the gym would take three times as long as just powdering my nose and swiping on lipgloss on the way out the door. Some of my gym friends come directly from work. The majority of women at the gym, with make up on, are coming from somewhere else, not getting made up specifically for the gym.

Supposed someone did put on make up just for the gym though, why is that so looked down upon? Are we not at the gym to make ourselves look and feel better? For some women, makeup does this instantly!

There is also the stereotype of a woman with a face full of make up, very revealing clothes, who is just there for attention. It’s very obvious when a woman is attempting that. It’s the actions though that betray that motivation more than the make up. It’s wrong to assume every woman in make up is that stereotype. 

I really think this is an issue where we need to step back and say “You do you.“- and mean it! The gym is the place to focus on self and health. If one is looking around in disapproval of other people there, they are not going to enjoy the mental health benefits that working out gives. 

So what are your thoughts, make up at the gym, yeah or nay? Either way, let me know your thoughts in the comments!

30 Days on SeroVital

I just finished a month trial of SeroVital Advanced. I signed on to do the trial after noticing signs of aging in my facial skin, specifically redness and fine lines. The product description reads like these are miracle anti-aging supplements but I tried to keep my expectations realistic. Here’s my take of the pros and cons of my experience on it.

  1. My skin did look more supple. While the redness did not completely go away, it did somewhat diminish. See my pictures at the bottom of the blog.
  2. This has a bit of caffeine in the morning pills and it gave me way more energy than my usual coffee ever did.
  3. I monitor my sleep on my Fitbit and it keeps track of how much I am awake or have fitful sleep at night. Day one of using SeroVital cut the awake time nearly in half! I noticed that my sleep was much more restful, again, from day one.
  4. I don’t remember reading if this was also part of the advertisement for it, but my hair got thicker and grew faster. This is major as my hair never recovered after my post pregnancy shed.
  5. The packaging for this makes it simple to keep track of what you need to take. I found the gel caps very easy to swallow even if they kind of tasted dusty.
  1. For me the biggest issue was the absolute energy crash that happened every afternoon. The morning energy is fantastic but not worth the absolutely debilitating tiredness that kicked in right around 2:30 p.m. each day. It killed my productivity at home.
  2. Part of my weight-loss efforts is intermittent fasting. I usually eat from 3:30 pm to maybe 10:30 p.m.. The first dose of SeroVital must be taken with food so I had to eat breakfast. That woke up my appetite and I ended up snacking all day and into the evening- and I ate three large meals every day. This formula is supposed to help with weight loss and I have to say that even with all the extra food, I gained maybe half a pound over the 30 days. 
  3. The evening pills must be taken two hours after you’ve eaten dinner and you can’t eat for two hours after you take them. It was a huge pain in the butt to carve out four hours, especially on weekends trying to go out to dinner with friends. It doesn’t seem like it would be a big deal, but if you want to have a cocktail at 10 PM then you literally had to wait until midnight to take these things. And I was so hungry all the time on this that stopping eating four hours before I went to bed was challenging. 
  4. A 30 day supply of these is $120. It’s not cheap, but it does have a very high-quality ingredients, so one would expect to pay a little bit more than a normal supplement. Still, that’s a very decent chunk out of my budget.

When I wrapped up the 30 days, I really thought about my experience the last 30 days. While this is a pricey item, if it made noticeable improvements to my appearance and my daily life, I could conceivably see cutting back on other things to afford it. Today was my first weekday off it so I paid attention to my energy levels and how I felt being back on my intermittent fasting regiment. I quickly arrived at the conclusion that, while I am grateful I was able to try this product, I much prefer life without a complete afternoon energy crash and I preferred to plan my eating around what works for me and not what taking pills requires. This is a good product and I could see how it could help some women, but it’s just not a good fit for me. Let me know what you think about my before and after pictures though!

Go Workout, Mom! (And Don’t Feel Bad About It)

Fun Halloween themed Zumba night

There are a lot of things that there is mommy guilt over, but working out should not be one of those things. I’ve had people question me about my gym schedule and how I get away for that much time and I just laugh and say I carve and guard that time out vigilantly and it’s been good for me and my family. These are the reasons why.

First of all they don’t see their dad until he gets home from work. The nights that I am at the gym gives them time with him. It lets them know that their needs can be met by more than just mommy. My kids are used to it, but kids will come up with a lot of things that they want mommy to do and a lot of reasons why you should stay with them. The reasons are often valid and sweet, but at the end of the day, someone else can do those things as just well. I think it’s good for dads to share responsibility for the children and our routine is that when I’m gone, dad does bedtime. It’s a good thing. It’s a great example for my boy and my girl that marriage is teamwork. That includes kid duties, house duties, work, etc..

My biggest reason is that a healthy mom is a happier mom. I had some pretty big bouts of depression in the past. At one point my son was playing “mommy“ and he laid on the couch and wrapped his head in a blanket and that just floored me. Kids pick up on these things. I have a lot more patience and a lot less down days when I get those exercise endorphins. And physically being able to keep up with them and have more energy for family time is no doubt a benefit.

I also want to set a good example for the kids. A lifestyle that includes physical fitness is something that I hope they will follow in their lives. The mental health benefits as well as the physical health benefits of routine exercise are undeniable. My kids have not hit puberty yet, but I have struggled with weight issues since I did and working out has helped so much to keep that in check. Since both of them are so young, I’m not sure what their metabolism and genes will do, but I like to think that the expectation that exercise is part of life will help them with whatever that ends up being.

One of the biggest benefits that I’ve seen, especially when I was doing the stay at home mom thing, was that it gave me an outlet for meeting other adults. I craved adult conversation and just meeting people that also made working out a priority. I’ve made so many friends and people I never would have met otherwise. Many of these people have become good friends and so many fun social opportunities have opened up. Some people prefer to run or do more solo activities, but even if you are not doing group classes like I do, you can still find a supportive community amongst others who do the same.

There are lots of other reasons, but I’m going to end it by with saying that carving out time for myself has allowed me to maintain my personhood. I like being a wife and mom, but I am still a whole person apart from that. That’s another example I want to give the kids. I can still be a partner and parent without completely sacrificing the things that I enjoy. Too many moms make themselves martyrs and think that they’re giving their family a magical experience by doing so when in fact it just leads to a stressed out, thankless serfdom. And what is left when the kids do grow up and move away? Claiming time now and having them acknowledge that mom is also a human being teaches them how to treat people and themselves when they are grown. 

I’d love to hear thoughts from you on this topic as well!

Why I Write

I see my blog as practice for writing with the ultimate goal of maybe one day writing a book. I’m not going to say I had a horrible childhood. But some of the things I’ve experienced as a girl, specifically in my preteen and teen years, I think many girls would still relate to and if I’m honest, I’m still affected by these things and I think other women might be too. The kind of book I want to write is going to be aimed at girls in the younger part of their life. I want to encourage those who are having a rough time and questioning their worth and kind of make a How to Survive those years type book. I’ve also thought about writing a book about female friendships. That would be more of a musing sort of book as I am far from figuring that out entirely. The problem is I don’t have a lot of confidence about my writing. My grammar is sketchy and sometimes I have a hard time putting my thoughts together in a conversational and well plotted out manner. That’s what I’m trying to work on.

Sometimes friends will get concerned about things I write. I have a list of topics that I draw from. It could be things from many years ago. It could be things I’m currently going through. It could actually be something inspired by someone I know socially or things I see on social media. I try to go about it from a self analytical place as there’s nothing worse than being overly opinionated and completely un-self-aware. My favorite moments are when a phrase will just repeat in my head and I can form a small poem about it or have it as the centerpiece of an essay.

I wrote this particular post mainly to say don’t take everything I write as being reflective of what is going on in my life in that very moment. If it strikes a chord with you, I’m glad, I want to write things that are relatable. If I say things you disagree with, that’s OK too. I hate arguing, especially online, but I respect that we each have different backgrounds and opinions. I reject the idea that we are all perfect (don’t confuse that with being of worth) just the way we are, so know that upfront. I think we all, our entire lives, have things we can work on to improve. 

Do You Like Me? Check Yes or No

Have a friend that you like so much but you’re never quite sure how you stand with them? It’s the sort of thing that keeps you up late at night. It’s the sort of thing that makes you read into the smallest of gestures. It’s a thing that amplifies your doubts about who you are as a person and your worthiness of being their friend. But it’s not the sort of thing that you can express to that friend without sounding needy or like a junior higher asking Do you like me? Check yes or no. And so you  hang back, maybe, or you do everything you can to express the depth of your devotion to them. Maybe you talk about it to other friends. They may offer reassurance but deep down you still doubt. It’s amazing how long these “complicated“ relationships can draw out. 

At some point though, you have to leave the decision up to them. You have to stop letting your insecurities control your thoughts and actions. Instead give your time and thoughts to improving your own life and being good to those who you know are there for you. 

I think of this mental picture often when friendships are struggling, or just coming together, or falling apart. It’s the difference of trying to hold water in your hand with a clenched fist and a cupped hand. In a fist, it just slides through your fingers and is gone. An open, cupped hand will hold the water steady and gently. In times of abundance- we’ll call it rain- a closed hand receives nothing while an open hand may overflow with fullness. Friendship is the same- squeeze it too much and it’s gone and in trying to to hold on, we close ourselves to good things in other relationships. Be more open and, not only do we keep our friendships, but they become more- more fulfilling, deeper, more secure.

So back to that person that you so desire to be friends with- no matter how bad you want that friendship, if it doesn’t come about organically, you will never be at peace with where you stand with them. Be friendly, be present, but don’t be obsessed! Let them get to know you over time and let it play out naturally- and be at peace knowing that whatever happens, you are worthy of good friends and the right ones will want and include you and nurture you. Yes, that is what you deserve!

Strange Currencies, Story 1

I’ve really gotten into podcast lately as I can listen at work. I love the spooky story ones the best. Now I am a skeptic- ask my coworkers because when we listen together I’m always debating the side of “it could be their imagination“ or trying to find ways to explain away the supernatural. I don’t know why I do this, especially when I myself have had some interesting supernatural happenings. I actually question my own experiences, but it’s fun to share, so if you’re a little skeptical too, I can’t blame you or take offense.
I’m going to share something that happened to me that was very meaningful. I actually have three or four stories that I’m going to share over time but I just really want to start with this one because it was so sweet and timely. Also, it’s not very spooky or scary which also makes it a nice one to start with.
My grandmother died around my birthday. I was involved in a theatrical production at the time and could not leave that or afford to go up to her funeral. I felt terrible about not being there to support my mother or to be able to say a final goodbye. I thought about it a lot and was very emotional about that.
About a month after she passed I had an incredibly lucid dream. I was at her house up in Missouri. It was the house that my mom and her siblings grew up in, that they ran the family business out of it. I was just sort of wandering around and I happened into a room where there was a TV. The TV was turned on but just had static on it. I stood there for a minute wondering why it was on and then I distinctly heard my grandmother’s voice. She told me that she felt so good now, that she was so happy to be rid of her horrible migraines. I was speechless, but she continued that it was fine that I wasn’t at her funeral. She’s then said she just wanted me to know and that she had a few more things to do before she went but that she just wanted me to not beat myself up about not going. That was the end of the voice. 
I went back to the next room and my grandfather was sitting on the couch and I smiled at him. And he said to me, She came to you too? I was so overwhelmed that I wasn’t the only one that I could only smile at him and we just shared a moment.

When I woke up I had such a feeling of peace and comfort. Since that dream I’ve never felt a moment of sadness or regret when I think about her passing or funeral. Maybe a dream is just a dream, but this was so real- it really felt like a message to me. I don’t know if it was from her or God or my subconscious but I needed it so badly. It was truly a gift, however it came about. 

Brand Ambassador: Great Gig or Scam?

So this topic has really come about organically. My friends and I took an awesome trip to Las Vegas and took some super cool shots and that’s led to one friend becoming a brand ambassador for a sunglass company.
The first question everybody ask is what’s the catch? With a reputable company, it is a win-win situation. I’ve had the pleasure of representing a couple companies now and thoroughly enjoyed it and even made a few bucks. Here are some tips and some warnings as well.

How to get found:
Hashtags! A lot of these companies look on Instagram and, utilizing vague but appropriate hashtags, this can go a long way as far as being found. You do you want to make sure that the company makes a product that you actually use or have interest in. If there’s a specific company that you already like and would like to rep, look at their pictures and see if they use brand ambassadors. Don’t be afraid to directly contact them and mention your interest. You also want to make sure that if you already own some of their product, that you tag them in photos that feature the product (and make sure your pictures are nice!).

Making sure it’s legit:
If you are approached, the first thing you want to do is ask them the details. If a company ask you to buy in or make a purchase and spend your own money, walk away. I also advise searching that company and the Better Business Bureau online and see what comes up. Sometimes you can find a wolf in sheep‘s clothing that way. Also look at what they’ve already posted and see if they’re pushing just a lot of random stuff or if they have good brand identity and most of their posts are similar in nature. (Never give out credit card information and I would actually insist that they go about paying you, if it’s a paid opportunity, through PayPal or Venmo or some sort of agency where you have a little protection.) Some companies will just give you free products, others will have opportunity for you to get paid for your promoting.

Being a good ambassador :
Once you have the product in hand, you want to make sure you inspect it and make sure it’s in good and as advertised. If all is well there, start snapping! This is advertisement for them so you want to make sure the pictures are good, clear and pay attention to little details like backgrounds. Shows the best to you in a way that shows the best of their product as well. You want to make sure you utilize any tags and hashtags they request. Make sure that your post is public. A couple of the companies that I’ve worked for have offered discounts to my followers, so you may have to come up with a coupon code. You want to make it something easy like the brand name and your first name or profile name. Usually that coupon code is how they track sales to you and if it’s a commission opportunity, that is how you’ll get paid so make sure to promote that heavily on all your social media. Remember, they are the ones paying you or giving you product so be sure to follow their guidelines and hold up your end of the bargain.

Feel free to post in the comments if you have other questions or suggestions. I’d love to hear other brand ambassadors’ experiences as well!

Support, Not Competition

 Originally posted on Facebook on February 2, 2019:

If you view life through a competitive lens, prepare to feel like people don’t support you. Because it’s hard to be supportive of someone who is always looking for angles and ways to show everyone that they are The Best. I have always loved the verse “When others are happy, be happy with them, and when they are sad, be sad.” (Romans 12:15 CEV) Competition strips away compassion and empathy- and what are relationships devoid of those things? If we adjust our thinking away from competitiveness to wanting the people around us to thrive and be their best selves, it becomes a beautiful system of support. Rooting for each other becomes second nature. And couldn’t we all use a cheering section?


Well, here we go! I am reviving the blog and supplementing it with short YouTube videos and Instagram tie ins. To what end? I’m not sure entirely. Part of me would like to write a book and I know that takes discipline and I think short blog posts and just trying to write and put out content frequently would be good practice for that. The other reason is that my son really wants an online presence and identity so I feel like I need to wade those waters and just experience what that is like these days. 
See the intro to my YouTube channel here: Subscribe if you like! You can find me on Instagram @thericharmedlife. 

I’ll say upfront, I am opinionated. But you should also know that I am open minded and I don’t expect everyone to arrive at the same conclusions as I have. To be upfront, I’m not looking to spend all my time online (especially not arguing and defending myself) so I free myself of the expectations of responding to comments. Now,  I know myself and I probably will respond, but if it’s something that I feel is just baiting an argument or is openly hostile, it’s probably going to get ignored. 

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