From grouch to grateful – a nurse’s attitude adjustment

I woke up this morning feel defeated. The last few weeks things have been a bit rough. On top of that, I woke up at 4:30 for no reason and couldn’t fall back asleep. I got up eventually, got ready for work, and went there frustrated and grouchy. If I was being completely honest, I wanted to crawl into a hole and not talk to people. We all know those days, right?

Grateful Heart

Before I even got to work it was clear that things were not going as planned for the day.  Commence tiny violins playing in my head and the desire to crawl into a hole growing even bigger. Throughout the day I’m holding back sassy and sarcastic comments and trying to adjust my attitude.

In the middle of the day I was doing a dressing change on one of my young adult patients. This patient is younger than me and has had an extremely rough year. We’re talking about a lot of different things and out of no where she dives into a short spiel that went something like this…. “Erica just in case you’re wondering you make a difference in people’s lives every day, don’t every doubt that. You’re one of my angels.”

With tears in my eyes I told her thank you and that some days I do wonder. Some days I wonder if everything I’m doing really does matter. And some days, even though I know and witness plenty of people who have it far worse than me, I wonder why some things happen to me. And one of those some days was today.

So as I reflect on this Thanksgiving week, I’m reminded of one main thing, patients may claim I’m their angel, but in so many cases, these patients (and their loved ones) are my angels. Thanksgiving this year just got a whole lost sweeter.

 

Shopping Small this Holiday Season

If you’re like any member of the Anchor Drop team, just because Christmas is over doesn’t mean the season of giving has ended. Whether you didn’t get quite what you wanted or needed, have a few lingering gifts to give, or have some extra cash burning a hole in your wallet, we’ve pulled together a list of our favorite small and/or local shops we like to support. From handmade trinkets to gifts that give back, there’s something for everyone remaining on your list – no matter your budget! Check them out:

Brittany’s Picks:

Lauren Honaker – The Honaker Home Maker

Lauren is one of the craftiest people I know with a love for rainbow colors, glitter, and Christmas decorations. She even has her own craft room in her house nicknamed “the craft castle” that definitely lives up to it’s name (just check out her pictures on Instagram!). In the spring of 2014, she was looking for a way to make meaningful gifts within her budget for the ten weddings she and her husband were invited to that year. An idea was born in her craft castle to use string art to create name boards for each couple. Her beautifully intricate work has now expanded from name boards to custom boards with holiday phrases and inspirational messages. She can also create a string art board of virtually any object or creature imaginable, whether it’s a watermelon, owl, pumpkin, elephant, or snowman to name a few.

Lauren’s dream was to make crafting her full time job, and her business has become such a success over the past year that she’s been able to make this dream come true! I’ve ordered several name boards from her myself for wedding gifts and she never disappoints with the beauty of her finished product. Check out her Etsy shop at and follow along on Instagram @thehonakerhome to see all of her fun creations, but be warned, you’ll want to own them all! Side note: Anchor Drop team member Courtney was gifted with one of Lauren’s amazing string art pieces for her wedding. Both she and her husband love it!

Molly Morehouse – Made By Molly

When Molly and I met, she was in school working towards her degree in Elementary Education. So of course we instantly bonded over our love for kids and teaching. When Molly became a mom to her adorable little boy, Liam, she decided to take some time off from teaching and use her talent for sewing to create her own business making one of a kind clothing apparel for infants. She specializes in making the cutest leather mocs and comfy Henley Sweats.

Her latest line of leggings made with the softest organic fabric came in such adorable prints that I wish she made them in my size! In the two years since Molly opened her Etsy shop, what started as a small side business has turned into a full time career that has allowed her to stay home with her family (which has also grown this year with the birth of her second son!).

Check out her Instagram @madebymolly and you’ll often get to see her cute little guys modeling her newest creations! If you’re looking for something stylish and snuggly for the littlest ones in your life then head over to her Etsy shop now! You’ll be sure to find the highest quality of work and love put into each handmade item!

madebymolly made by molly

Krista Dunbar – Woven and Threaded

My dear friend Krista and I share a mutual love for all things Africa. It is our passion and one of the bonds of our friendship. Last year, Krista made her second trip to Africa and traveled to Uganda with her church to serve alongside Compassion International. While she was there, she had the opportunity to meet Wasswa, the little boy she and her husband sponsor through Compassion.

Upon returning to the States, she decided to use her talent of knitting to open her own Etsy shop and give back a portion of each purchase to help with the sponsorship costs for Wasswa. Krista uses quality, locally sourced yarn to create adorable booties and beanies for babies and stylish custom knit hats for adults.

If you’re looking for something to keep you warm and stylish this winter or the perfect gift for a girlfriend, check out her Etsy shop at here and follow her on Instagram @wovenandthreaded. While you’re at it, check out her website www.wovenandthreaded.com to learn about her brand new consulting business. Krista is an amazing writer with a gift for sharing stories of how God is weaving a greater story through each person’s unique purpose.

Courtney’s Picks:

Lively Athletics

When I moved to Chicago, I was desperate to find an athletic/active community similar to the one I lived in Indianapolis. When my now husband (yay!) and I moved to Oak Park, IL, my first stop was the women’s athletic boutique I had been dying to visit since we decided to move – Lively.

I was running the Chicago Marathon in just over a month and needed some gels, but when I walked in the door, I was blown away by not just the awesome selection of gear (not just gear, but amazing quality, cute gear), but by the incredibly supportive staff. I walked out of the store with way more than just my gels – I walked out with four hand-written note cards directing me to the nearest and safest trails, a schedule for the weekly group runs out of the store, and an invitation to join the Women’s Running Club Best Foot Forward.

Lively is so much more than a store – it’s a community institution that helps women lead healthier, happier lives. Visit Lively on Facebook here.

Re:Find Joy

Ok, so Janelle and re:Find Joy aren’t necessarily a shop, but they are a small business that offers exceptional service. Janelle and I have been friends for almost eight years and she was the “lead designer” (re: lifesaver and master of everything) along with my mother-in-law (also master of everything) for my wedding this past October.

From floral to signage, props to general design direction, she made everything come together perfectly – and that’s just for a wedding! As her real job, Janelle (who is re:Find Joy) is a brand and space stylist, as well as a graphic designer and prop rental studio in Portage Park, IL, but she does work all across the U.S. Find out more about her work on her website and be sure to follow her on Instagram and Pinterest!

Erica’s Picks:

Fresco Spice Blends

My sister began telling me about Fresco Spice Blends a little over a year ago. I admit I was cautious at first, but I was hooked as soon as I tried them. They are actually out of my hometown Fort Wayne, Indiana, which gives me hometown pride (and I know my dollars are going to a community of people I know and love). Whenever I use them to make something people are always asking me how I seasoned or flavored something. Sometimes, if I’m honest, I don’t want to give my delicious secret away, because it really has nothing to do with me!

My top three favorites are Vanilla Apple Pie Spice for anything baked good, City Grille for burgers (oh my gosh I can’t even begin to tell you how good burgers taste with this), and Sweet Red Bell Pepper and Garlic is especially delicious on roasted vegetables. I also appreciate that they are very conscientious about the products they use. If you are looking for great gifts for the cook of your family, these come HIGHLY recommended!

I use Fresco Spice Blends all of the time when cooking. Check out these recipes that I’ve made so far:

Pumpkin Chia Seed Pudding
Corn-Free Nachos

A Taste of Michigan Cherries

I found this little gem of a business last summer at the Arlington Heights farmers market and fell in love with their products. As someone who reacts negatively to many foods, I appreciate how careful and thoughtful they are with their ingredients. I also know they consult with a R.D. on what ingredients and changes they should be making. Not to mention their stuff is nothing short of delicious and amazing!

Of Dust and Wonder

I have incredibly talented friends, and Erin is one of the most talented people I have ever met. She isn’t just talented, but full of wisdom and vision. When she does something, it is with her whole heart and it is well researched. Recently she has started on a new adventure of making bags. I’ve seen these in person and they are absolutely adorable and of high quality. She recently spent time under a professional shoe maker learning techniques with leather and is using her skills on the handles for these bags. In case you have a thing for vintage clothing, she also finds vintage clothing, rehabs it, and sells it as well. Visit her Etsy store here.

Love Your Melon

If you’re looking for adorable hats with a noteworthy cause, this is it! All the hats are made in America and the organization is run by a group of college students. But the coolest part is that their goal is to provide every child battling cancer with a hat! So not only do you get a super cute, super comfy and super unique hat, but a child in need gets one, too! I encourage you to the check them out and pick some up for your favorite people.

Megan’s Pick:

Sweetie Baby Boutique

As a stay at home I have many friends who run their own small businesses. One of my favorites is Sweetie Baby Boutique. Julie, the owner and fabulous friend, designs adorable and affordable headbands, clips, chunky necklaces and leg warmers. She started the business in June 2013 after some encouragement from her husband (who also inspired the name) and has used Etsy and Facebook to steadily grow. Julie is a Navy wife and mom of three beautiful girls who lives with her family in Poway, California. She stays busy with her girls and still manages to produce amazing products.

Each item is handmade and done with impeccable quality. Julie is constantly sending out orders and strives to satisfy each customer, doing her best to always deliver on time if not early. She is frequently selling to bridal parties and families for photo shoots. Holidays provide a busy time for her as she has adorable seasonal headbands. To top this off, Julie is an all around fabulous person and I am blessed to call her a friend.

sweetiebabyboutique

Catie’s Picks:

Ambre Blends

Ambre Blends is a women owned and run business out of Indianapolis, Indiana. They have an online shop as well as several distributor locations. I like them because they are local, use pure ingredients and they work. Their products are unique and oh so wonderful. I personally am using their natural deodorant. I have put the natural deodorant to the test, too! I did some days of a 21 day challenge and didn’t stink or feel like I was lacking confidence.

I would recommend finding a distributor and testing each kind of sent out as they will adjust to your natural chemistry and create your scent. Each will smell differently with your skin. I have received so many compliments.

Live Crude

Live Crude was created by Master Esthetician Denise Cartwright who struggled with finding the right regimen to help her keep her skin normal and balanced. She developed this product based off the oil-cleansing method. To start, you might consider a Starter Kit.

I also have personally used this product and can vouch for the results. It worked well in keeping my skin moisturized and soft. They have a lot of tutorials and how-to’s on their site. All ingredients are naturally derived and the French clay and green tea detox masks are wonderful. Upon using it, I don’t feel the need to wear make up daily anymore. I just have this natural glow now.

Bite Beauty

Bite Beauty originated in 2009 out of Toronto Canada by founder Susanne Langmuir. Her guiding philosophy? “You eat what you put on your lips, so your lipstick should be good for you.” I love the fact that all of their make up is food grade ingredients and antioxidants.

I originally was looking for a good lip exfoliate. I came across Bite’s Whipped Cherry Fruit Scrub. It smelled and tasted like candy. It worked extremely well on my chapped lips. It was better than anything else I have tried on the market. Their lipstick/gloss collections are brilliant and wonderful colors.

Dr. Dan’s Lip Balm

Dr. Dan Viders, a Dermatologist in central Massachusetts, is the creator of an amazing lip balm which will help soothe and clear up any lip irritation. He has a very cool story actually. My cousin recommended me try this as her irritated lips were cleared up in 2 days. Perfect for the winter time. Dr. Dan is now working on formulating a chemical-free lip sunscreen which is pretty exciting! Pst: for more of my favorite make-up suggestions and more about Dr. Dan’s Lip Balm, check out this post.

It’s Valentine’s Day!

Today is Valentine’s Day. The one day dedicated on the calendar to this little thing called love. You may have heard of it once…or twice…No? I think this holiday gets a really bad rap and all people seem to remember is the over priced roses, wearing pink, hearts/cards galore and gushy-mushy (Christmas Vacation meter overload anyone?). You catch my drift? That doesn’t mean that is what it has to be about for you!

vdaybloggraphic copy

Some of my nearest and dearest friends have traditions to where their fathers give them a pretty flower or a nice note on Valentine’s Day. Others, their significant others will bring home flowers and cook them dinner. And some of my darling single friends will have an Anti-Valentine’s Day celebrating love among friends. They don’t let being single get the best of them. Jimmy Fallon even created a segment for all singles this week #whyimsingle Seriously though, hop on Twitter and just search #whyimsingle…it will instantly make you laugh and feel better. Promise! Continue reading “It’s Valentine’s Day!”

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

When I think Christmas, I smell warm candied yams, delicious ham right from the heat radiant oven, and the ambiance of good conversation. Music playing in the background enhances the warmth of this time of year. One of my favorite songs to listen to would be Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Music has a way of touching the soul in ways that create lasting memories.

Take a seat. Make yourself cozy. The Anchor Drop Crew wanted to share with you a few of their favorite holiday and Christmas traditions. Continue reading “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Happy Hostess: NYE Style

If you’re like me, from the end of November through the end of December, holiday party invites take up a lot of weekends. Let’s be honest though…some parties a severely lackluster in their presentation, the host is running around with a perpetually furrowed brow, and someone forgot to plug-in the crockpot with the little sausages. It doesn’t have to be like that! With a little planning and attention to detail, your NYE party will receive applause.

Healthy Holiday Recipes to Feed a Crowd

We’re coming upon the end of the holiday season, and if you’re anything like me, you’re already sick of cooking. That, or you’ve run out of things to cook/are sick of everything in your cookbook. Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, birthdays and dinner parties – in the past three weeks I’ve spent more time in the kitchen than probably the past three months.

If you’ve read my most recent posts, you’re aware that I currently serve as lead blogger/community manager for Lifeway Foods. Over that past few weeks, I’ve been hard at work (with an awesome team) pulling together new and old recipe round ups for the holidays (Christmas and Hanukkah, respectively). The goal was to put together not only dishes that incorporated Lifeway products, but dishes that are delicious, nutritious and versatile. Continue reading “Healthy Holiday Recipes to Feed a Crowd”

I’ll Be Home

I’ll be home for Christmas, you can count on me…

It is a familiar song and one my Grandma always said made her sad as an adult. I didn’t fully understand why, until I was unable to be “home” for Christmas.

My first home and the place I will always think of when asked about home is Indiana. It’s the house where I grew up with my parents and two brothers. My heart aches for that home during Christmas. That comfortable place where so many memories are. I can picture the tree, the stockings, the decorations and all the love that exists. Continue reading “I’ll Be Home”

Frosted Sugar Cookies (Corn-free)

I have a tradition during the holiday season that I started 5 years ago while living in New Jersey. That tradition is this: every year I invite a group of friends over and we make from scratch homemade sugar cookies, cute them out, and decorate them. The memories I have from these time with so many friends are priceless, and yesterday I was blessed to add even more memories.

However, since I started this tradition, my intolerance of corn has been increasing. It took me over a year, but I have finally perfected my corn free recipe to carry on this tradition, and it is delicious! One of my favorite things about this dough, is that it doesn’t take any refrigerating AND is super easy to roll out.  I have the girl in the little yellow polka dot bikini to assist me in talking about this recipe as well.

Corn Free Sugar Cookies and Frosting

Continue reading “Frosted Sugar Cookies (Corn-free)”

DIY Gifts For The Whole Family

When it comes to Christmas, I am all about making gifts for my friends and family. Not only do I like saving the money, but I also like to make their gifts extra special and personalized. For those of you new to the DIY scene, do not fear; there are so many gifts that are super simple to make. Today I will share just a sampling of my favorites, but definitely search on Pinterest for more ideas (just a warning: you will most likely get more results than you ever dreamed of and therefore want to make them all).

RuthDIY

Continue reading “DIY Gifts For The Whole Family”

Intentional Gift-Giving

The art of gift giving is sacred in my mind. There is joy in finding a perfectly matched gift for someone who is exhilarating to me. My gift giving strategy for birthdays and holidays does not consist of running into a store just prior to the gifting. Throughout the year, as I take the knowledge of and experiences with my loved ones into account, as I see items that would fit those individuals, I purchase and save them. When you find a perfect gift, you can’t pass it up!

Contrary to the methodology that I employ in gift shopping/giving, culture inundates the population at large with flashy “must have” items for any gift recipient. Since before Halloween, ads with Christmas gifts have been circulating in the newspaper inserts and have dashed across the tv screen. There are things that I didn’t know I “needed” before seeing them in ads (marketing works!), and many lists have been made off of catalogues in my lifetime.

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