Sunday, November 22, 2009

A few of my favorite things

Good morning all,

I am spending my day packing for my vacation to my sister's home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  It will be a wonderful trip, beginning with a road trip with my parents to the wilds of North Carolina for Miss Harley and I, the hubbs flying in for just before the holiday as he has to work this week, and then the four (five) of us road tripping back on Friday.  It will be a joy to spend time with my sib and her family over the holiday- we can start by being thankful for that which puts us right in the spirit. 

Today I want to highlight some of my favorite blogs, websites and reading material.  Some of them are repeats, some are new even to me. 

**The first section is about our adopted home town of Louisville.  As much as I am a fan of national stores (Sephora, Whole Foods, Vickies) and some national chain restaurants, it is easy to rely on them when you move to a new town or visit an area.  Blogs like these show us the "real" city from an insider's view and allow us to find places beyond those we stumble upon (Oh FABD, how we love you) when we do our semi-weekly explorations of the city and give our money to local concerns and help our local economy.  Should you ever visit "The 'Ville"- read these first! Kudos to these sites also for pointing the readers to other sites and blogs that we can explore.  The lack of pretention is one of the things I LOVE about this area.

My Loueyville gives a fresh view of what is happening right now in Louisville.  When I found this blog- I sat down and read the first year without realizing that so much time had passed.  This witty and informative blog mixes personal experience with the city's offerings and when you read, you feel like you know this writer personally.  By going back and reading through I have noted several yearly events that have piqued my interest and I will watch for in the coming year, I have read about markets that interest us both and we can't wait to check out and- best of all- through twitter communications with the author- we FINALLY found a pizza that does it for us.  If you follow me on facebook you know that I was ready to weep with joy when we had Spinelli's pizza yesterday.  Yeah- it's that good. 

Consuming Louisville Supports all things Louisville .  Restaurants, Shopping, Events- it is all covered on this website.  I especially love Michelle's "no negative reviews" policy.  That tells me that if it is listed on her site- it is worthy my limited spending budget.  As someone who has spent her working life in both hospitality and retail- I know that negative reviews can be based on everything from the true experience, to not finding exactly what you want (ask my hubby how many times that happens to me and how it ticks me right off!) and to your mood.  I respect that Michelle does not publish these and appreciate that I can scroll through her site and find all sorts of neat things and things we have been looking for info on (like Frankfort Ave Final Friday's!) in a positive manner.

Louisville Hot Bytes is the go-to site for any foodie.  What I love about this site is that not only does it cover Louisville but it recognizes that there are places on "our side of the bridge" (aka- Southern Indiana) that are unique and worthy coverage.  Sometimes we just don't feel like dealing with traffic and want to stay close to home- and Hot Bytes is a place we can go to find a balanced review on all types of restaurants. 

**Next we will go to my favorites for anyone living with a chronic illness.  When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness, it is incredibly overwhelming, as you begin to explore and settle into life with that illness, it helps to know that you are not alone.  The blogs show you that not only can we live with our disease- but we don't have to let our disease define us.  Please note that the blogs are based toward Rheumatoid Arthritis- but anyone who is chronically ill can see the possibilities.

The Mayo Clinic   I cannot say enough about the Mayo Clinic's website.  For years I relied on WebMD but once I found Mayo- I never went back.  It is by far the most comprehensive, most user-friendly and most understandable medical website out there amongst a plethora of medical websites.  The page I directed you to is their disease index.  A great starting point for someone who has just been diagnosed with an illness you know nothing about. 

The Arthritis Foundation I cannot leave out the Arthritis Foundation.  As someone who has both Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, the foundation is a wealth of information for both of my illnesses and a host of other autoimmune disorders. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy  If you read nothing else- you have to read his 60 Second Guide to RA.  It is the perfect way to explain to your loved ones and others what this disease is and means for you.  If you stick around, you will enjoy the tour of his daily life and his musings.  He is blatently honest about his different struggles and you share his victories with him.  Men are definitely outnumbered in the RA world- but our own RA Guy has a voice loud enough for all of them.

RA Warrior  Mixing education with thought provoking posts and a healthy dose of positivity, Kelly not only shows her warrior side but makes you feel like a warrior too.  Many of her posts will educate you while entertaining you, whether you have this disease or not.  Check out each of the posts on the nav bar- from RA 101 to Onset Stories, each section is a must read.

The Single Gal's Guide to Rheumatoid Arthritis  Sara is our "face" of RA.  Young, single and lovely, looking at her you would never know that she lives with this devastating disease.  What I love about Sara's blog is that you don't have to be young (I'm not) or single (I'm not) to be able to relate to her experiences and enjoy her blog.  She is funny and fabulous- much like the girlfriend you want to hang out with- she just happens to have RA.  That makes her a perfect "ambassador" for our world. 

My recommedation is to explore each of these three sites- and then follow their links to other bloggers and find the ones that fit your style.  My personal bookmarks list is so long that I could type for a week and not be finished.  The RA blogger world is extensive and we all have our strong suits.  You will also see that some of the same blogs are listed on each site- give those special attention.  I guarantee that they are on my list. 

**Simplicity and Inspiration- Part of my quest for living a positive and grateful life has included finding inspiration and living a more simple life.  These websites are a wonderful help in that direction.

Zen Habits  Leo's website focuses on simple productivity.  These columns come every day to my email and very often I end up forwarding them to my work email and printing them to keep. 

Happy News The tag line here is "Real news.  Always happy."  I start every morning with the news- and GOODNESS is it depressing!  Happy News is the antidote to that.  A fun read, it will put a smile on your face. 

Think Exist  I shouldn't give away my secrets- but I love this website.  It is where I find many of the quotes that I post on facebook to start my day in a positive way.  Put in a keyword and quotes will abound!

**Recommended Reading

Real Simple Magazine  I read quite a few magazines.  For the most part, I sit down with a magazine, rip out the stories I want to read, the tips that I want to get back to, recipes I want to try and pitch the rest.  Not Real Simple.  There is always so very much of this magazine that is good content that I stopped tearing it up and started collecting the whole magazine (fortunately- my mom not only gets it- but gave me a subscription the last two years).  At this time, I have almost a whole shelf of these wonderful magazines and I look forward to accumulating them for many more years. 

O Magazine You don't have to be a fan of Oprah (though I am) to enjoy the magazine.  Included in each issue are stories of people overcoming great odds or triumphing after tragedy.  There are things to make you stop and think about your own life, to give you hope, to make you look inside and to show you that things really aren't so bleak.  This magazine stirs my spirit with each issue. 

The Chicken Soup Series With almost 200 titles in print co- authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen have at least one title that will fit anyone's life.  I don't know how many of these books I own, or how many I have read over and over but it is a lot!  In each reading I laugh, I cry and my faith in humanity is restored.  If you have never read a Chicken Soup book, I dare you to go to your local flea market, used book store or yard sale and pick one up and read it.  If you are not touched in any way, well I just wouldn't know what to say. 

Elaine St. James' Simplifying Books  Ms. St. James books are all about simplifying the various aspects of your life.  Straightforward and easy to read and implement, Ms. St. James ideas at both times make you say "Ah-HA!" and "Why didn't I think of that?".  I recommend each of the books in the series and they have a place on my shelf next to my Real Simple magazines. 

I hope that at least one thing on this list strikes a chord with you.  I love sharing them and I am thankful that I have this medium to do so.  I am also very grateful that you give me the time that it takes to read this blog.  I hope you all have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving Holiday. 

When I return- I am hoping to have new ideas for a new series to take me from Thanksgiving to the New Year and I am looking forward to sharing it with you.  Your feedback means the world to me.  Thank you!


RA Guy said...

Good luck packing - I hope you have a WONDERFUL holiday week. If you get lots of rest, eat plenty of food, watch lots of football games, and some shopping here and there, you can't go wrong!

MissDazey said...

Great list of blogs, thanks for sharing. One you mentioned had a "no negative review" policy, wish all did.

Does Miss Harley like to travel? Enjoy your trip. You know, I think you are going through some of the most beautiful parts of the USA.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing some of your favorites. Happy Vacation and Happy Thanksgiving.

Jules said...

Thanks folks. RA Guy- my hubby lucked out, I am not a shopper unless it is for groceries for the most part.

MissDazey- Harley LOVES to travel. We say the word "Ride" and you would think she was a puppy not a 6 year old she gets so excited.

I hope each of you has a terrific week. May you be blessed with many things to be thankful for.