Wednesday, September 28, 2016

SELFtember My Quit Story: If I Can Do It, You Can Too



It's hard to believe that summer is coming to a close. I've always said that it's my favorite season, so the end of summer is always kind of bittersweet for me. Part of that feeling probably has something to do with my kids going back to school - another year older and in a new grade -  I'm sure I'm not the only mom who feels a tiny tinge of sadness when packing up outgrown children's summer clothes to pass on to charity. That's the mother in me. But there's another side to the close of summer, and that's the bright promise of change. You know what they say: the only constant is change!

There's something energizing about the arrival of autumn. You can smell it in the air, and see it all around you. There's something that pushes and motivates us to change right along with the seasons. Fall is invigorating, and motivating! What better time to embrace the change and turn September into SELFtember™ - and do something important to take care of YOU? This season, choose change! One of my favorite sayings is, “sometimes you only have to change one thing, and then everything else falls into place.”

One of the biggest and most important healthy changes I've made for myself was to quit smoking. So when Nicorette® asked me to share my quit smoking story, I was eager to do so. I've never talked about it on my blog before, so this is a first.  I'm hoping my story can help motivate someone else to quit!

I smoked for a long time: over 20 years. Wow. Saying that, and seeing it in writing, it's hard to believe that I carried that bad habit for so long. I smoked about half a pack of cigarettes a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but that was my average.

I never smoked in my home, or around my kids, only when I was alone, outside, or out with friends in social situations. I enjoyed it and hated it at the same time. I hated the control that I felt that smoking had over my life. It felt as though parts of my life were built and arranged around the horrible habit of smoking. There were times when it was embarrassing and shameful. I smoked when I was happy. I smoked when I was sad. I smoked in the morning, as well as after every meal. I would even smoke after an hour of advanced cardio 3 to 4 times a week for years. My addiction to cigarettes had such a strong hold on me that at times it felt like it controlled much of my life. When you are a smoker you're not completely in control of your life. Your life revolves around having cigarettes, smoking cigarettes, finding other people who are smokers to smoke with, and finding places that allow smoking.


As you can imagine, it gets to be very trying, stressful, and anxiety-provoking living your life like this. I was highly addicted to cigarettes. While certain friends and family members seemed to be able to quit with ease, I struggled. At the same time, I was getting more and more tired of smoking. I was tired of the lingering bronchitis that I seemed to develop when winter rolled around. I was tired of spending so much of my hard earned money on something that was hurting me. I was tired of waking up in the morning with the wheeze. But most of all, I was sick and tired of the control that smoking had over my life.

I was determined to quit. As a matter of fact, I tried to quit four times, and each time I was very determined, and certain that that time I would be a success. There is no such thing as a person who can control their smoking and turn it on and off like it's an electronic device. Slip-ups are bound to happen. The important thing to remember is to not let one cigarette undo all the positive progress you have done. Staying both positive and realistic about quitting is the best mentality you can have.

Fast-forward another year when I found myself on the Internet, researching ways to quit smoking. I reached out to friends and family members who had quit and asked for their best advice. It was my sister-in-law, Chris, who gave me a life-changing, key piece of advice that changed the way I thought about the whole process of quitting. Chris told me that I had to see myself as a non-smoker, as opposed to seeing myself as a smoker who was trying to avoid smoking.

It wasn't until I made the conscious decision and that I was a non-smoker, that I was able to mentally separate myself from the habit of smoking. In each of my previous attempts to quit, I viewed myself as "a smoker who was trying to avoid smoking." That was probably the first real mental change that helped me beat my habit.

But I still had to deal with the other half of my struggle, the physical part, and that was finding a replacement for the nicotine that my body was so used to craving. After scouring quit smoking message boards and forums and reading how many people had success with nicotine replacement therapy (a.k.a. NRT) I decided to give it a try.

My doctor recommended that I start out with the NicoDerm® CQ® patches. I was amazed by how well NicoDerm® CQ® worked for me. I'm not going to say quitting wasn't uncomfortable, because it was. The first couple of days I really had to push through the cravings but it truly got easier every day.

I was amazed by how things changed within just a few days. The stains faded from my fingertips within a week. My hair and clothes now smelled fresh and clean. When I woke up in the morning I could take a deep breath without any wheezing. I truly felt like I was back in control of parts of my life that cigarettes had previously been in control of.

And now, as I check one of the quit smoking apps that I have on my phone, I see that I have been a non-smoker for one year, six months, 3 days. Be sure to check out and register for the Nicorette® and NicoDerm® MyQuit, which is an email support program based on where you are in your quit process and customized for your chosen product - because the support you need in your first week is different than the support you need in your last!  Remember to continue following all product directions though!

Register today for the MyQuit program, and get a $5 coupon via Quit.com website! 
BONUS – Coupons.com is offering a separate $10 coupon, available for download during September/October that can be used at any retailer that sells Nicrotte® and NicoDerm CQ® on the MyQuit website!

Do I still get cravings? On occasion, but only very rarely. I have a friend who still smokes and I can sit across from her and it doesn't bother me at all. I have no desire to go out and buy cigarettes. I will never go back to smoking again. I know all too well the struggle of the smoker who wants nothing more than to quit. I will never go down that road again. There's an amazing sense of freedom that comes from quitting. I am so happy to be a success, and I truly thank Nicorette® and NicoDerm® CQ® for the help. 

*Behavioral support program increases chances of success. Use as directed.
Visit Nicorette® on Facebook, on Twitter: @Nicorette and @NicoDermCQ and YouTube.

How did you quit smoking? Did you use NRT? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.
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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How To Cut A China Plate With A Manual Glass Cutter - Video!



Hi Friends! I'm excited to say that I finally added a new video to my YouTube channel (if you're not a subscriber, be sure to click here to subscribe and be notified whenever I create a new video tutorial) ~ it was kind of an impromptu filming, I thought I'd show those who are interested how to cut a china pottery plate with a manual glass cutter. (click here to watch!)

This is a great method to learn if you want to cut your own pieces for broken china jewelry or to cut china mosaic tiles. 

I think this video turned out really well because...
 #1, you can really hear the tearing sound when I cut the plate (that is a sound that you want to hear because it lets you know that the cutter is correctly scoring the plate) 

and

 #2, it is a great example of what its like to cut a ceramic pottery plate because unlike porcelain or bone china, pottery is a lot more crumbly - as you will see in the video! 

Next I will have to make a video showing what it's like to cut a porcelain plate because the materials are very much different. 

I think it's really important to learn how to use traditional hand tools. Maybe you want to cut your own plates up for scrap but don't have an electric glass saw - this is a great way to get started. This is how I learned - by teaching myself - way back when I started years ago. 

Now, please keep in mind you won't get precision shapes with this method, but knowing how to cut plates by hand can save lots of wear and tear on your saw blades. I hope you enjoy the video. 




Have a great week!
Love,
 Laura

Creative Ways To Display & Store Your Coffee Cup Swag

That's right, I said coffee cup swag. And if you're a coffee addict like I am, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Those cups. Mugs. Whether they be stoneware, ceramic, porcelain or pottery, they are one of the coffee lover's favorite (and most used) items. Many of us land up amassing a small collection of them. And let's face it, they can start to take up a lot of kitchen cabinet space after a while, especially if you are akin to collecting them for fun. Check out these smart and attractive ways that you can store and display your beloved coffee mugs!






Shelves of mugs. Image via arquitecasa.com.br












Which is your favorite?

Have a great week!
Love,
 Laura

Monday, September 19, 2016

My Favorite Autumn Color Palettes

Yay for autumn! 

My 5 favorite things about autumn...

1. The crisp, cool air and the smell of autumn. 

2. Sweaters & hoodies and cozy fall clothes.

3. Campfires and bonfires - there is nothing like a marshmallow toasted over a campfire! Yum.

4. Autumn foods! Bring on the stews, cream soups, and autumn roasts!

5. The colors of fall! 

Okay, so to be honest, I have a lot more than 5 favorite things about fall...but my whole point of this post is to celebrate the colors. For this, we look to nature, and to food. Trees, woods, the changing colors of leaves, autumn fruits and vegetables, and spices to name a few. 

Check out these great autumn color palettes and be inspired. Happy fall! 











Autumn leaves color palette from ColorPalettes.net









Which is your favorite?

Have a great week!
Love,
 Laura

Sunday, September 18, 2016

DIY Autumn Wreaths That You Can Make

What better way to welcome autumn and the change of seasons than to create your own fall wreath?

Intimidated by the thought of crafting your own autumn wreath? Don't be! You can collect plenty of free materials from nature - many in your own backyard (think leaves, acorns, twigs and branches) and there are many materials that you can purchase at dollar stores (wreath bases, glue sticks, craft adhesives, craft flowers) for the price of a fancy coffee or two. Even better, create your own fall wreath using salvaged and repurposed items found in your own home (painted newspaper, old encyclopedia pages, etc).

Best of all, you can create your own autumn wreath to match your own home and decor in as little as an afternoon. So round up your supplies (think glue gun and wreath base to start), and check out this collection of DIY fall and autumn wreaths and maybe you'll be inspired to create your own! Not in the mood to create your own? Some of those I feature below are available for purchase from Etsy sellers...click the link in the text to visit their shops. Happy Fall! 
Who? wouldn't love this cute owl wreath? from AdorabellaWreaths via Etsy


Autumn season wreath from desfeervantoen


Love! Simple grapevine wreath with a few peacock feathers from My Blessed Life



Fall gathered wreath tutorial from Tilly's Nest



Moss and mini pumpkin wreath with burlap bow



Suitable for any holiday, this book page wreath (found here on Pinterest) could be autumn-ized by tipping some of the page edges with glue and brown glitter



Handmade paper feathers and leaves can be made from old newspaper and book pages and make a unique addition to your fall wreath.





Have a great week!
Love,
 Laura

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Painting Feathers - How To Make DIY Metallic Painted Feathers


Over the summer I collected a few feathers that found their way to me as I sat and worked in my backyard. This morning I thought I would try to add a little bit of paint to them...here's how I did it...



Assemble your supplies. I used an old plate as my work surface, a paper napkin as my palette, and chose two small craft paint brushes: a medium ovalish flat brush and a standard round brush. I put a dollop of metallic gold craft paint onto my paper napkin. I chose two feathers to paint; one small and gray and one a bit larger and tan. 

Work in the morning sunlight, it will make you feel great :)


The first thing I did was gently use my fingers to smooth the vanes of the feather so that they laid flat and neat. You do this by working from the center rachis of the feather and smooth the vanes outward. The bottom part of the rachis on a feather is called the quill. The vanes of the feather that are directly above the quill are downy. 



I love metallic paint! I used what I had at home; gold and purple acrylic craft paint. Yes, this is the type of paint that is about 99¢ a bottle.  


The first feather I painted was the smaller gray one. It was not as firm as the tan feather so I thought I might have trouble painting it. I was right. This feather was too soft and downy-like and did not hold it's shape well, so when I painted it, the vanes immediately shrunk, separated, and stuck together. 

Note: I am holding the feather up in the photo but I painted it by holding it flat against the plate and I used a very small amount of paint and a very delicate touch when I painted it...still, it separated and did not hold the paint well. 

I also tried both paint brushes and found that the flat brush worked much better for this job than the round brush. I kind of expected that but thought I would try both brushes anyway. 



Next I painted the tan feather. Again I used my finger to hold the feather flat against the plate and with my other hand I applied a thin coat of a very small amount of paint to the end of the feather using my flat brush. I painted from the rachis out to the tips of the vanes. I held the feather in place on the plate for about a minute before I lifted it from the plate. 


I was pleased to find that the feather held its shape and the paint looked great. 



Yay!



Once the paint on the feather dries, you can apply another coat if you like, just be sure to use a very small amount of paint and apply it in a very thin coat! I really like the gold-tipped look because it shows the contrast to the natural feather, but you can paint as much of the feather as you like. You can also paint the reverse side of your feather once it is completely dry.

All in all, this project cost me absolutely nothing. I had the paint and brushes at home, and I found the feathers in my backyard. If you were going to buy supplies, it would at most cost you $5, and that's for the paint and one good brush - and you would have enough paint to paint feathers for the rest of your life! 

Wouldn't this feather be pretty in an autumn wedding bouquet or added to an autumn door wreath? 

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, please leave a comment below! 






Have a great week!
Love,
 Laura



My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase at https://www.etsy.com/shop/dishfunctionldesigns


article and images ©Laura Beth Love 2016 all rights reserved.