Hello Again.

Happy Spring 2021!

I have been MIA recently; my last post was June 2020. Hard to believe it has been that long. Honestly, I wasn’t 100% sure I would pick up blogging back up any time soon, but you know what? I love it; I love writing. I have just been feeling lost. Content creation should bring the creator joy, and if it doesn’t, then we won’t be proud of it.

On a personal level, 2020 was a good year; I discovered some new passions and started down a few new paths that make me happy, even if they never turn into anything tangible.

I had to take a step back and see what I wanted to be on this little corner of the internet. I decided I want to be myself, that above everything else. I had been feeling a little bit of pressure to be that elevated, cooler, more exciting version of myself, and no, I don’t want to do that anymore.

So, let me reintroduce myself.

I’m Anna Grace; I am a child of God; I am a writer, I am a foodie, I have an invisible illness, I love to talk about movies and music among many other things. I want this blog to be a reflection of myself, a little introspective, a pinch of crazy, and a dash of sparkle. I want to go for quality instead of quality from now on, which means no more writing about things I’m not excited about to have a post up.

So there you have it!

I am still trying to decide what sort of content I want to share here, or what sort posting schedule I will be setting, but I wanted to check in and say hello.

How to Make Your Poshmark Sales Feel Special: noissue eco-friendly packaging

Collaboration with noissue.

Let’s face it, we all fall for cute packaging.
When it comes to packaging and shipping on Poshmark, you want to be quick and consistent with timing and quality. I typically ship the next day, except for the weekends. Just a little extra time and thought into the way you package your items encourages people to leave positive reviews and boost your seller rating! We all want to get those 5 stars!

The only problem is that so much of the mainstream packaging materials we use are bad for the environment; they take forever to decompose, or they never do at all. Using eco-friendly packing and shipping materials is something I really want to be more diligent about.

Here are some tips that I have found useful when I ship on Poshmark.

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noissue was founded to provide makers, brands and businesses of all sizes with custom, sustainable packaging.
They are eco-friendly and fully customizable and their products are compostable made from plant based and recycled materials. Their shipping bags can be home composted!
Sustainability has been getting more and more important to me over the past couple of years, especially when it comes to packaging. I am so excited to be able to share this amazing company with you all. If you have a small business I would recommend you consider noissue for your packaging needs.

Here are some helpful tips that I have learned when shipping on Poshmark that I want to  share with you.

Neatly Folded & Clean.

It may seem like a given, but I have seen both neatly folded and items just tossed in the package without much thought. When an item is neatly folded, I am way more likely to order from that seller again. It shows that they care enough to take extra time. I wash every item before I list it. If it has been in storage for a while I like to wash it again before shipping it out so it’s nice and fresh.

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Free Gift.

The gift doesn’t have to be anything fancy. I like to pick up sets of mini products or hold onto samples I get in skincare orders. I recently picked up a couple sets of sweet little hair accessories that I split up, adding one or two to each package. I only put gifts in with purchases over $10

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Thank You Note.

Sweet and straightforward is best. Thank the buyer by name, if any specifics were discussed about the purchase you can mention those as well. It adds a thoughtful touch that makes the package feel special.

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Wrap it securely.

Some items need more protective wrapping than others, but simple clothing items don’t require too much as they aren’t breakable. Just make sure it is secure enough that it will stay folded neatly.

Slide it into a mailer and pop it into your mailbox, and you are good to go!  
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There you have it! Super simple, just takes a few minutes but it makes a big difference, it’s worth the extra effort.

Whether you are a small business orsomeone who sends lots of things to family and friends, I would recommend you look into noissue. Most of us want to be more considerate when it comes to the earth, and there is no time like the present to start doing better.

 

My Tips For a Happy WFH Day |with Gabriella Catherine  

 

Understanding Fibromyalgia: The Basics

Happy Fibromyalgia Awareness Day!

I have been wanting to do this little series for a while, but to be completely honest, its something I’m a little insecure talking about. However, today seemed like the perfect time to shake off those insecurities because I feel like this is an important subject. Not just for people with FM, but for everyone, chronic disorders are surprisingly common but rarely talked about.

Fibromyalgia-noun

fi·bro·my·al·gia | \ ˌfī-ˌbrō-ˌmī-ˈal-j(ē)ə \

Fibromyalgia (FM) is a medical condition characterized by widespread chronic pain and heightened pain response to pressure.

I was diagnosed a little over two years ago, after many years of chronic pain, tests, and trying different medications and treatments. It was pretty much a self-diagnosis after tons of research and talking to other people with invisible. I took what I learned to my doctor and asked what she thought. 

As nothing wrong ever showed up on blood tests, CT scans X rays and spinal taps. I had the majority of the classic symptoms, she agreed that it was a good possibility. As I had all 18 of the key tender points that were used test for FM, it seemed that we finally had our answer!

I think what took us so long to get there was my search for a cure for my chronic migraines. Beliving that my headaches were the most significant problem and ignoring the rest because they were always there. Anyone who has had a migraine before knows that they will not be ignored. Learning to treat them as a symptom and not as a cause has been a game-changer. 

When I was diagnosed, I was lead to believe that it is was an autoimmune or musculoskeletal disease. Further studies have now shown, it is, in fact, a neurological disorder. It affects a person’s sensory processing system. From what I have read, FM does not involve inflammation or damaged joints and isn’t usually brought on by physical trauma. Brain imaging and studies have shown that fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central  The brain and spinal cord in people with fibromyalgia process pain signal differently than in other people so that they have heightened sensitivity to pain.”

What does fibromyalgia feel like?

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer; it changes from day to day and even multiple times in a single day. The 

Here is a list of symptoms based on personal experience, research, and talking to other people living with FM.

  • Fatigue 
  • Pain and pressure points
  • Sleep problems
  • Concentration and memory problems, known as “fibro fog.”
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression
  • Morning stiffness
  • Numbness, and tingling in hands, arms, feet, and legs
  • Headaches
  • Photophobia/ Painful Light Sensitivity
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Painful menstrual cycle.
  • Sensory Overload
  • Post-exertional Malaise
  • Temperature sensitivity 
  • Food sensitivity 
  • Hypervigilance
  • Hyperesthesia
  • Sensitivity to Changes in barometric pressure
  • Scarring easily 
  • Slow healing

What a list! Thankfully they are not all at once, every single day, and not everyone has all of them. Personally, I don’t suffer from IBS or depression. Still, I would say I have at least seven to ten of these symptoms on a daily basis.

 In this series, I will be talking about a bunch of these symptoms more in-depth. Also, Fibro Flares, the Spoon theory, and some of the things that help me cope.

My Tips For a Happy WFH Day |with Gabriella Catherine

Hello everyone!

I am so excited to share today’s post with you all! It is a collab with my fellow New Englander Gabriella from GabriellaCatherine. I met Gabriella through Instagram, she is a ray of sunshine, and just a lovely human, I hope we will be able to meet in person before too long. Be sure to check out her post as soon as you are done reading this one.

We have collaborated to bring you our tips for a happy and productive work from home day!

Whether you are only doing it temporarily because of the current state of things, or you have been doing it all along, being able to work from home is such a blessing. But does come with its own set of challenges. Home distractions, lack of motivation, keeping weird hours, and being tempted to stay in your pajamas all day.

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 Good Evening Routine

I am a creature of habit, and if I don’t do my evening routine thoroughly, I notice a big difference in my mood and focus the next day. I like to take me time in the evening, spending time on my skincare routine, I do stretches and strengthening exercises. After that, I tidy my room and take a little time to quiet my mind before going to sleep.

Clean Space

physical clutter adds to mental clutter if the first thing I see when I wake up is a pile of clothes on the floor and makeup out on my vanity. That means I have to deal with it before I can start working, and it just not ideal to have to do with first thing in the morning. SO as part of my evening routine, I try to make sure everything is in its proper place, especially my desk and dresser top. What way I can’t get to work quicker, and have a clearer mental space.

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Get ready for the day

It makes me feel so much better to feel pulled together, some good athleisure, a cute, comfortable dress, whatever makes you feel confident. I may or may not be wearing an oversized sweater, yoga pants, and heals while I’m writing this.

I don’t wear that much makeup when I’m home, but making sure my hair and face aren’t too scary is very important for me the work productively. It’s always good to be prepared for a FaceTime or Zoom meeting. I have found that wearing jewelry triggers something in my mind that makes me feel more business-like.

Make lists

Ideally, make yourself a list before you go to bed; having tasks physically written down on paper helps seal them in your mind. I typically have to lists, one for the big goals that need to be accomplished, and one for the less important things that I would also like to get done but aren’t a top priority. Cute notebooks and journals make lists more fun too. My current blog notebook, where I write out all my talking points. And my monthly planner or both from Eccolo.

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Eat well & stay hydrated

This is something I have always had trouble with when I have a task that has a time limit, of I’m excited about, just what to jump right in. Then before I know it, it’s 3:30 in the afternoon, and I haven’t had breakfast yet, and I wonder why I feel tired and cranky.

Even if you don’t particularly feel hungry, your brain-body needs healthy nourishment if you want them to perform the way they should. Get some fruits and veggies, and a little bit of protein, it boosts your mood and gives you more energy.

 Limit distractions

Turn off those notifications, put the cat out of the room, whatever you need to do. It’s a bit tricky because Instagram is one of the biggest distractions, but it’s also part of the job as a blogger. I keep my Instagram and blog notifications turned off, so I don’t get sucked in every time my phone dings.

There is only so much you can control but regulate what you can and work around what you can’t.

Set a timer

I love time timers, and time crunches are my friend when it comes to productivity. If you are a master procrastinator like me, having set amounts of time for each task will definitely help you out. For example, I’ll give myself two hours to work on blog content, then an hour for photography. Then twenty minutes to a half-hour to answer DMs and emails. Timers help me stay on track and make the most of my time.

Make time for treats

Take time to make a yummy drink, and have a snack, watch a YouTube video, read some blog posts, whatever is a treat for you. Got to keep that mood up, stay caffeinated, a little positive reinforcement never hurts.

Some of my current favorite treats are Dalgona coffee, matcha lattes, and popcorn.DSC_0002

Change of Scenery

I’m at my desk the majority of the time, but in the afternoon, if it’s a nice day, I like they sit on the deck to get a little fresh air. Some fresh air and different surroundings usually give me a little productivity boost. I’m looking forward to being able to sit in the coffee shop and work for a few hours again too.

Make yourself a great playlist

Music is such a powerful tool it can change your mood, make you feel more motivated, and a good beat is excellent for typing along with. Also, as I mentioned, I’m very distractable. I need a steady sound for part of my brain to focus as the other part focuses on work, then both parts wander off.

Spotify premium is the best $9 a month I could have spent, and I have playlists for pretty much every mood, time of day, and task. I have made one specifically for getting me going in the morning. It is an excellent blend of fun, motivational, and uplifting, and I’m so happy to share it with you today!

Productive Morning Playlist

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Gabriella Catherine is a seventeen-year-old author and blogger. She grew up in New Hampshire with her big family (three brothers and two sisters!), and loves leopard print, early mornings, and chai lattes!

Gabriella published her first adventure/romance novel, Escape the Woods, at age sixteen, and is currently working on book two in her series. On her blog, called GabriellaCatherine, she shares fashion, faith, and lifestyle posts. She strives to live her life with joy and passion, and hopes to encourage others to do the same!

 

Make sure you check out Gabriella’s post!

 

 

Speak Kindly to Yourself.   9 Ways I’m Coping with Quarantine.     Simple Everyday Self-Care Tips

My Most Rewatched: Animated Movies

Happy Friday!

As promised, I’m here with part 2 of my Most Rewatched series.
I talk about movies a lot IRL, but I haven’t done much of it here on A Sparkle Of Grace, so this has been fun for me.
Today we are talking Animated movies!

 

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Inside Out (2015)

Riley is a happy, hockey-loving 11-year-old girl, but her life turns upside-down when she and her parents move to San Francisco. Her emotions led by Joy, try to guide her through this stressful time. However, the stress of the move brings Sadness to the forefront. When Joy and Sadness are unexpectedly swept into the far reaches of Riley’s mind, the only emotions left in Headquarters are Anger, Fear, and Disgust. Throughout the movie, different parts of Riley’s mind begin to fade, family, friendship, hockey, honesty, and fun. The emotions have to learn to work together to restore Riley to her family and a new version of herself.

This movie has the cute factor for sure, I can’t really see it being for little kids. The theme of a happy little girl dealing with a huge life change, learning how to process new emotions as she is growing up is quite interesting for a kid’s movie. I feel like little kids will enjoy the fun, and the rest of us can appreciate the psychology of it.
It’s a heartfelt gem of a movie.

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WALL-E (2008)
Short for Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, WALL-E is the last robot left on Earth. He spends his days tidying up the planet. During 700 years, WALL-E has formed a personality, and he’s more than a little lonely. Then he spots EVE, a sleek bot sent to Earth on a scanning mission. WALL-E embarks on an adventure when he follows EVE across the galaxy.

This is one of my all-time favorites! I just watched it again after not seeing it for a couple of years, and it’s still just as good. I would never have thought I could love a little robot quite so much, but WALL-E is so adorable, and all he really wants is to hold someone’s hand.

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Up (2009)
78-year-old Carl Fredricksen is about to fulfill a lifelong dream. Tying thousands of balloons to his house, he flies away to the South American wilderness. Grumpy Carl’s worst nightmare comes true when he discovers a little boy named Russell is a stowaway aboard the balloon-powered house.

It has everything, a sweet love story, humor, adventure, and a dog named Dug. If you haven’t seen Up yet, what is wrong with you!
I still say squirrel every time I or someone I’m talking to gets distracted.

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Secret Life of Pets (2016)
Max is a spoiled terrier who enjoys a happy life in New York until his owner adopts Duke. During their walk, they encounter a group of alley cats. The end up in a truck bound for the pound. A bunny named Snowball swoops in to save them from captivity. In exchange, Max and Duke join his gang of abandoned pets on a mission against the humans who’ve done them wrong.

Its bright, ridiculous, and charming, the little details of Chloe, and Norman get me every time. It’s just pure fun and laughs. Its one of the most-watched in our household that nobody gets tired of.

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Big Hero 6 (2014)

Hiro is a Robotics prodigy. His older brother, Tadashi, has created Baymax, a robot whose sole purpose is to take care of people. When a devastating turn of events throws Hiro into the middle of a dangerous plot. He transforms Baymax and his other friends, Go Go Tamago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon, and Fred into a band of high-tech heroes.

The first time I watched this was on an airplane, and it made me laugh and cry, I probably looked a little crazy. A super sweet robot gets me every time. Big Hero 6 also has kinda an Avengers/ comic book feel to it.

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How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Hiccup is a Norse teenager from the island of Berk, where fighting dragons is a way of life. His appearance and weird sense of humor make him a misfit, even though his father is chief of the clan. Tossed into dragon-fighting school, he endeavors to prove himself as a true Viking. When he befriends an injured dragon he names Toothless, he has the chance to plot a new course for his people’s future.

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How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014)

Five years have passed since Hiccup and Toothless united the dragons and Vikings of Berk. Now, they spend their time mapping the island’s territories. During one of their adventures, the pair discover a secret cave that houses hundreds of wild dragons and a mysterious dragon rider. Hiccup and Toothless then find themselves at the center of a battle to defend Berk from a power-hungry warrior named Drago.

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How to Train Your Dragon: Hidden World (2019)

All seems well on the island of Berk as Vikings and dragons live together in peace and harmony. Now the Viking leader, Hiccup, faces the pressure of being a young leader trying to prove his ability, both to himself and those he loves. When the evil Grimmel launches a devious plan to wipe out all the dragons, Hiccup must unite the clans to find the Hidden World. This unknown land holds the key to saving Toothless and his flying friends.

I couldn’t decide which one of these was best, so I had to include them all! This is one of the few trilogies I’ve seen where all three are equally good. They are nothing like the books, but that doesn’t bother me. The animation is stunning, they are action-packed and funny. Dreamworks did a fabulous job with these.

 

 There are a lot more that I love but these were the top of my list.

What are some of your favorite animated movies?

 

My Most Rewatched: Action Movies.   Speak Kindly to Yourself.   9 Ways I’m Coping with Quarantine