Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Letting It Go

If you have never heard of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) it is basically the rewiring of your brain. I was around this term a lot as the therapists that I worked for previously used it quite often on their clients. It wasn't until recently however that I realized how much I need to rewire my brain.

I have the Line A Day book that I write in every night before heading off to bed. It's a few blank lines that you can write a brief note/summary/thought of the day. (Highly recommend this, find it here.)

This past week I've had a happy home experience. Husband and I have been having lots of enjoyable nights of movies and time together. I even gave one of his video games a shot and surprisingly enjoyed myself. I've been more aware of my surroundings as well and have admired beautiful sunrises over the marsh lands and water on the drive to work. A beautiful flower here, a happy looking squirrel there. But my work life is another experience.

I'm having trouble fitting in and haven't had many great days in the past couple of weeks for various reasons. So much so that I've had quite a few days where I just felt like coming home for a good cry. And it is those experiences that I choose to write in the journal, without thought or intention.  When I open the book, I write the first thought and it's usually a work woe. "I don't feel welcome by coworkers." "A patient insulted me." "I made so many mistakes, I felt like a dunce." These are close to the things I've been writing.

And it wasn't until Husband called me out on it one night, looking over my shoulder, that I realized I write more depressing thoughts/feelings than happy ones. Having such a good row of happy days away from work... why was I solely focusing on that part of my life? Looking back in the journal, do I really want to read all of that again? Remember the loneliness and frustration at work? Or do I want to remember that leaf that rode home with me on my windshield. The laugh Husband and I had over a video we watched. The nice telephone call I had with my dad.

So today I will choose joy. And tomorrow. I will make a conscious decision, every day, to choose happiness over negativity. I will try my darnedest to let things roll off my back. To accept things as they are when I have no way of changing them. This day will never happen again. If I failed in finding my joy, I don't have to carry this day with me every again. Wrap it up, bury it and keep walking towards the sun.

Side Note: If you are interested in CBT, I find these worksheets to be helpful:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ipsy | January 2014

Side Story: I made the move to Ipsy recently after a 6 month relationship with Birchbox. Birchbox was my first subscription experience and I did a lot of research, which I won't expand on, before committing to their monthly box over any other. Birchbox has a fantastic rewards point system and I was always excited for the Sneak Peak videos. I will admit to a certain amount of sadness for having cancelled my subscription. I made that decision for two reasons: 
(1) I wasn't impressed by the samples as every month started to have at least one, if not two, samples in the pouch/plastic packaging. You know the sort, where you can only get one use out of it. I was starting to notice many other subscription boxes in the same price range being a lot more generous. (September 2013 was a low point with a pack of single use teeth wipes for wine stains.) 
(2) I received some sort of anti-aging product every month and that.. sort of was a blow. I'm not that old. Yet. Well, maybe I should start preparing for that old age as it's right around the corner but I didn't want to be reminded of it every month. Even the hair products were "youth renewal". I'm vain. It was a strike to my ego. On Birchbox, you can play around with your profile which is supposed to have an effect on what you receive and no matter how hard I tried to keep these samples at bay or at least, not every month, it never worked. 
To wrap this up, I made the decision and after having a few friends rave about Ipsy, I decided to give it a go and so far... it's not bad! I look forward to a new year with a fresh start.

About Ipsy:
Ipsy is a $10 monthly subscription box where you will receive deluxe samples and full-sized products related to beauty and health. For added fun, each month's products come in a unique "glam bag" that is great for re-use.
January 2014

I really enjoyed this month's bag. It's a sturdy canvas zip top that I will definitely use for traveling as it's just big enough to cover my makeup needs. The color is bright and cheerful and the zip has a large medallion type handle that's perfect to grab on to.

Balm Me Up Organic Sweet Cocoa & Tangy Body Balm   |   I wanted to like this but I was slightly dismayed at how oily this was. Even after washing my hands, I could feel it there, lingering. I will use this up for say, my feet which I always have problems with as I go barefoot so much but I can't see using it for much else. The scent is nice though!

Absolute! Makeup Cleansing Tissue   |   Yay! I love face wipes. I have oily skin and these really come in handy, especially during the summer months, to feel refreshed. I've used  a couple from this pack so far and my experience is that while they are great for the above mentioned use, I didn't feel they worked so well with removing eye makeup. I gave up with trying to rid myself of mascara. The pomegranate scent wasn't too bad though I think this opinion ranges from person to person.

(MALIN+GOETZ) Mojito Lip Balm   |   I just... couldn't like this product. It's been chucked. I am a fanatic with my lip balms and creams and conditioners but I haven't ever come across anything like this. It's in a tube which you must use your fingertips to apply. That's not so bad. It's do-able. But it's thick and reminded me too much of Vaseline. I can't give an opinion on how well it moisturizes because I had to wipe it off, I could't get over the texture. My least favorite item in the bag.

Benefit the POREfessional   |   Ahhh! Excitement! This is something I have been curious about for ages and have wanted to try so badly but never could bring myself to purchase it. Rather pricey and what if it didn't live up to the hype? Well, let me tell you - it lives up to the hype. I don't wear foundation, I have oily skin, but this... is just perfect. It's sort of a matte when applied and it makes my skin feel so smooth, so lovely. It keeps the shine at bay for most of the day due to my body's production of oil (especially the T Zone... so bad!) and I will now recommend this to everyone. It's magic in a tube.

yaby Liquid Foundation (Buff)   |   Rather silly to post anything on this as I said in the previous paragraph, I never wear foundation. I applied it out of curiosity but it doesn't match well to my skin and seems like most foundations out there. (For what little I can say of them having probably tried 2 or 3 my whole life.)

Overall, a great month from Ipsy! And a great way to start the year. There are a few that I didn't like that well but I believe those to be mostly personal preferences and not something against the product itself.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


I have a slight obsession with calenders. In December, I start my search of the perfect calenders and perhaps in my OCPD I get a little too carried away because I can spend days, hours agonizing over which calenders I want/need.

I have 4 calendars. A wall calender in my kitchen as well as one in my bedroom for easy access to dates and such. A printable calender in my home organization binder. And a small planner I keep in my carry-all. I like the calenders that give space to jot things down. I nearly broke down and bought a line-a-day desk calendar but I didn't want to get too out of control. Four is a good number, I think.

So below are the calenders I am currently using as well as the desk one I stopped myself from purchasing. I hope you find these useful if you haven't yet purchased a calender for the new year or are wondering what sort to buy.

Wall Calender #1 (Kitchen)

Buy :   |   $14.99

I love Beatrix Potter and these pictures really cannot do the calender justice. It's just beautiful and my favorite wall calender to date. The illustrations are lovely and bright.They trail down and cover the bottom of each page and there are little bits along the dates such as a bird or butterfly. The only flaw I could find is that the printed holidays and events were so faint, you couldn't really read them so I had to rewrite the important ones. But every time I go into the kitchen, my eyes wander over to enjoy how beautiful this is.

Wall Calender #2 (Bedroom)

Buy:   |   $14.99

Fun! This is a calender that you could save the pictures and frame them. (A child's nursery or play room would be a fantastic idea.) It's a very cute and whimsical calender that I enjoy waking up to every day.

Printable Calender (Home Organizer)


I previously used iMom's 2013 calender which, I believe, looks the exact same. But I enjoyed it so much and it fit perfectly into my binder that I had to use it again. I'm so happy she made one for 2014! I love the colors and the patched/sewn detail adds a nice charm to it. I highly recommend this one because it's FREE.

Planner (Carry-All)

Buy:   |   $10.22

I think I was most excited to buy this one. The drawings are cute with positive thoughts to fit in perfectly. The planner has a nice amount of these which I'm happy for because I was worried about there being any, if few, as the preview for Amazon didn't show any. Everything about this planner delights me. The colors, the words, the quirkiness to it. I enjoy writing in it and thumbing through it on a daily basis. It's just brilliant and I now want the book. Hah!

Page-A-Day Calendar (Desk)

Buy:   |   $14.17

Ah! Here we have the almost-but-didn't-but-boy-I-wish-I-could! I am a sucker for the subway art on Pinterest and this! This is that but a new one every day! How exciting to rip off a page to find that beautiful art waiting for you every day. And I would definitely save the pages to recycle in some way because they are just too pretty to throw away. If you are a page-a-day sort, please do look into this one.

So, what sort of calender are you using this year? Please share them with me!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Smelling great for a new year.

Since I was a teenager, I have been a huge fan of body sprays and mists. Bath and Body Works is my weakness. I cannot walk past that store without going in and I cannot go in that store without buying something. I think there should be support groups for that sort of thing. Anyhoo, I never had worn perfume because I preferred the soft and whispy hint of scent given by body sprays rather that the bold statement I saw perfumes as parading around as. That was – until this past month in which I feel head of heals over two perfumes that I have been wearing since opening them. And I wanted to share these with you.

First we have Vera Wang’s Lovestruck Floral Rush. This is a 2012 perfume that I had sampled way back that year. You know the drill. You go into a department store; they attack your senses at the beauty counters. This one, I didn’t mind. I just couldn’t bring myself to pay so much. Going from a $12 Body Mist I could coupon down to $5 vs a $40 bottle of perfume. I couldn’t wrap my head around it. But! With luck and wonder, I received this as a gift for Christmas. I was ecstatic. I feel so fancy now with my first true blue – not a sample size – bottle of perfume. Like an adult!

Scent: Champagne accord, apricot blossom, pink passion flower, cashmere woods, sheer musk, pink pepper, marigold, freesia and white amber.

Second, Victoria’s Secret Sheer Love Eau de Toilette.  I went into Victoria’s Secret right before Christmas with the intent of restocking on Love Spell which has been my favorite VS scent for a very long time. I have to say… it’s very dangerous to browse because I spotted this bottle. I noticed pink lily stated on the front and, being one of my favorite flower scents, I decided to try a spritz. It’s a very soft scent which I really enjoy. It doesn’t over power your senses but it lingers longer than a body spray would. There is a downside to this one as the lotion, body wash, and other products of the same scent didn’t smell the same! It wasn’t just me. I had a friend see if I was going crazy but she assured me I wasn’t. Either the eau de toilette is off or else everything else is but I didn’t enjoy the other products at all while I was wrapped in delight over this little bottle. I bought a small 1 oz bottle in case I later regretted my decision. I have not!

Scent: Fresh white cotton and luminous pink lily.

What are some of your favorite scents? Any one in particular that you are bringing into the new year? Please let me know in the comments below!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014


Hello again Friendlings!


My, it was last year that we last spoke! How long ago that sounds. 2013 was a very hectic year and one that I am, frankly, glad is over. The last few months were especially difficult and I do feel terrible about that as I had grand ideas for my blog during the holidays. It just didn't turn out the way I had hoped. And I sort of went MIA. All that we can do now is keep the past behind us and move forward to a new year with new opportunities and dreams. Are you as excited as I am?

Usually, I come up with my resolutions for the new year around the end of December but I purposefully did not think of any until the start of the 2014 in the silly idea that, by doing this, I won't be carrying anything (bad luck included) over to a fresh year.

My 5 New Year's Resolutions are:

1)  Become better organized. Once upon a time, I was highly organized. Books and movies were categorized. All papers were where they needed to be. Even my food cupboard was neat and tidy. 2013? It felt like a hurricane went through my house. Everything was just thrown anywhere. I was never able to find anything I needed. It was a complete mess. And having my house messy meant that my life was messy. It left me frazzled and frustrated. I plan for 2014 to be a lot better and one way to accomplish this is to...

2)  Downsize. My main adventure for 2014 is moving house. It will be happening at the end of summer (hopefully) and with that being 7ish months away... it's opened my eyes to how much junk and nonsense I have to move with me. I made a post in Autumn about my mother downsizing her life to fit into a camper. I won't be so extreme but I really would like to own less. Not only will it be less of a burden in packing, but it is senseless to own things I have never used or had even forgotten I owned.

3)  Read 25 books. This was one of my resolutions last year and the one I am most sad to have failed at. I love reading. That feeling when you find a book you don't want to put down. Opening yourself up to new ideas and emotions. It's my greatest pleasure. So why didn't I read very much? I convinced myself I didn't have time. And I could have - should have - made the time. I once was able to read over 50 books a year. I feel 25 is a nice non-threatening number.

4)  Blog better. I started Spark of Chatter September 2013, after 10 years of blogging on a previous site. I had high dreams for this blog. For myself. I wanted to mark a place on the internet where I could share things that I loved. Without constraining myself to what others expect or might want. And I didn't do that so well last year. I became stressed with the idea of putting myself out there in public view. I judged myself based off other, better, blogs. I want to do better. My small goal is a post a week and by spring, be up to 3 or 4 a week. I want to find my voice again.

5)  Be healthier. Oh the slippery slope! In 2015 I will be 30 years old and it has gotten me to think on how poorly I care for my body. I still eat like a teenager. Fast foods and snacks. I dropped exercising halfway through 2013 and I feel it. I feel sluggish and not as flexible as I once was. Embarrassingly, it takes my breath to lace up my boots. I want to do a better job in caring for myself. Walking, yoga, veggies and water... any small thing that can help me live a better life. One were I feel better.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

5 Favorite Christmas Books For Kids

I have fond memories of Christmas books and movies from childhood. The classics that held on year after year, never diminishing in their charm and wonder - the welcoming presence that celebrated Christmas alongside of me. I wanted to share 5 of my favorite holiday children's books. Some are new, some old friends but I believe each has a personality and unique story that can bring delight to any child (or adult!). I have a longer list of family movies - coming soon - so I wanted to make the book list a bit shorter. Each of these give me a wave of happiness every time I read them and really help in making that Christmas spirit sparkle and shine.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
Dr Seuss

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before! 
What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. 
What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!” 

The Night Before Christmas
Clement C Moore

"Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there."

A Wish to Be A Christmas Tree
Colleen Monroe 

"Every year as traditions go,
they get in their cars at the first sign of snow,
and head to the farm at the edge of town,
to cut the family Christmas tree down."

The Polar Express
Chris Van Allsburg

"ON Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed. 
I did not rustle the sheets. I breathed slowly and silently. 
I was listening for a sound - a sound a friend had told me I'd never hear-
the ringing bells of Santa's sleigh."

Snowmen at Christmas
 Caralyn Buehner

"One Christmas Eve I made a snowman,
Very fat and jolly.
I dressed him up in red and green.
And trimmed his har with holly."

What are some of your favorite books to read at Christmas-time? Are there any that bring up nostalgia from childhood? Please share them with me! 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Roundup

Well, hello! I have been very bad in updating for the month of November. A total of four posts! Whoohoo! All-time lowest number! I should have an award.

I had a lot of ideas that I had wanted to post but life, as always, seemed to get in the way. I have been away from home for the past 6 days, visiting family for Thanksgiving and before that I....(drumroll)…... GOT A NEW JOB. Wow! Excitement.

Loads of work on that. Going from a small business to a corporate setting... I am slightly in awe at the amount of work there is in being set up as an employee. I have a car sticker. I will wear a name badge. That sounds like silly things to be excited about. I do want to explore this topic further and will write up a post later this week as this post is...


{ Monthly Favorites }

Book: None  (See below)
Event: New job!
Movie: Miss Potter
Pinterest Pin: Harry Potter Monopoly
Product: Sheer Love Eau de Toilette from Victoria's Secret
Purchase: Dirty Dancing from $1 at Black Friday
Site: Cupcakes and Cosmetics
Song: Royals - Lorde
YT Video: Careoke 2013 with Louise and Zoe

{ Goals }

1. Finish October Budget Sheet
2. Plan and Prep for Thanksgiving Holiday
3. Knock of 3-5 Christmas Gifts
4. Write up book review for:   Brain on Fire, Rewind
5. Find dessert for Thanksgiving


{ Events }

2:    Baby Shower
11:    Job Offer #1
15:   Accept new job. (3rd time is a charm.)
28:   Thanksgiving

{ Books Read }

None finished. Three halfway done.

{ Movies Watched } 

1. The Matrix
2. Whisper of the Heart
3. The Heat
4. Star Trek – Into Darkness
5. Miss Potter
6. Looper