Wednesday, June 14, 2017

JUNE PICKS: Fashion, Beauty, and Lifestyle

JUNE PICKS

Friends! I am excited to say I am bringing a new element to the Trista Ann Marie blog!
On top of my posts that get real about faith, chronic illness and my millennial confessions, 
once a month I am going to try to be bringing you my favorite
fashion, beauty and lifestyle picks.

I love the idea of working with small businesses that carry genuine product that help cultivate creativity, community, growth and that will provide you with some really amazing clothes, cosmetics and household items. 

Be sure to go to my homepage and click subscribe to make sure are up to date every month!
IF you have a small business or know of a product you think would be great to be featured here email me at: trista.eazell@gmail.com. 




FASHION PICKS:


JUNE is the beginning of all things summer.
Trips to the beach with a good book require comfortable and unique swimwear:
I adore this hand knitted bikini top from Hook and Needles!



I love June because it's the tail end of spring, it's getting warmer but the sweet flowers and gentle breeze of spring are still lingering and that makes this dress from Shop Sign Here the perfect end of spring/beginning of summer look. 
It is comfortable, light weight, and adorable. 


I think it goes without saying but TSHIRTS are a staple in the summer wardrobe.
Breathable.
Expressive.
Easy to throw on during a lazy day. 
I adore pretty much ALL shirts by Flybird Apparel
They won't break the bank and they will have you making a statement others with remember. 

A few other t-shirt brands you'll love

Mom Shirt Co. (No you don't have to be a mom to rock these ;) 




Clothe Your Neighbor As Yourself (Support a great cause, make a wonderful message and get ethically made products) :





Femme Boutique Boston






The Bee and the Fox 




Last but certainly not least, is this super fun truckers hat by The Foxy Llamas that is a great way to shield your face from the sun as you hang out by the river or a backyard BBQ:



BEAUTY: 


I am a huge fan of treating our bodies as the holy works of art that they are, and that means using beauty products that aren't full of toxic chemicals.
The problem is often finding natural products that truly work and don't charge you an arm and a leg.
And let me tell you Butter Me Up Organics  is the natural beauty company that fits the bill.
Their deodorant is aluminum free, and leaves you smelling fresh al day.
Their sunblock is paraben free and keeps this whitey from turning into a lobster.
The list goes on, their product is TOP notch.

LIFESTYLE: 

PERFUME: 

Smelling good is important, especially during sweaty summer days and these natural perfumes really do the trick:

MONTA (roll ons made of your favorite essential oils)


Smoke Perfume (made to be used as aromatherapy for yourself and those around you)



Next up we have this wonderful handweaved tapestry that sits right above my bed by Rustic Sage Designs:





Friday, June 2, 2017

All Things New



"You have gotten yourself a whole new life in a matter of weeks!" My friend Britton exclaimed last night.
And woah.
Yes.
I did.
I haven't really had a moment to let that thought sink in, let alone sit down and share all of it with you. If you have been following my blog for a while, or know me IRL, you might remember that October last year I put a dent in my head, dropped out of school halfway through the semester, and went on bed rest for three months. After that, I had to slowly put back the pieces of my life and face the things I felt God was calling to me.
During that time of rest, God called me to learn how to listen to the heartbeat of the world, to embrace the power of saying "no" to things, sometimes people, so that I could say "yes" to the direction He has for me.
This is HARD to do.
There is a lie that I believe so often: giving more of myself means holiness.
LOL.
I can audibly hear God laughing at me right now.
As I let my soul get used to resting, stillness, and prioritizing the tasks of getting back into the swing of school and of taking care of my body, I felt God stirring in me some very clear and obvious things that would require change, sacrifice, and hard work. 

1. Move: I had lived with six girls from my church for almost THREE years, and God wants me to...MOVE?  I thought that mean he wanted me to save money and move home with my parents...but he soon made it clear that wasn't what he was calling me to either.
God has a sense of humor.
I moved down the street  from one blue Victorian house in the heart of Downtown Santa Rosa, to another one.
And y'all, it was exactly what I needed.
Quiet. Vast. And it's forced me to change a lot of habits.
It's really strange leaving behind a phase of life and a place that holds stories that will fill my children and grandchildren's ears. What is a home, but four walls that belong to nobody in particular but we feel as if we belong to it? It holds no attachment to us, the house existed before I lived in it, and continues to exist without me in it; yet I, cannot and will never exist without those walls being a part of my story and my existence. And now I have a new place that will be full of new stories.

2. Hey Trista, I know you wanted to just travel the world after graduation, BUT I want you to apply to try and get into Divinity School for your Masters. 
Y'all. I have always wanted to go to school for theology, but it didn't seem very practical.
I thought it was a lofty dream, that I would pursue when I was 65.
I have tried to envision myself as a high school teacher, but I found most of my teaching classes lacked soul. I wasn't in love with it.
I thought maybe I should use my writing skills and go into marketing.
I applied for internships and none of them came through. Even ones that I was overqualified for.
I thought maybe God wanted me to pursue nonprofit work, but God soon showed me he didn't desire for that to be my main pursuit.
OK God what do you want me to do??
What was the thing you have wanted to do since you were 15?
Go to Divinity school.
Yup.
Ok. 
AND since then he has given me so much help, confirmation, and overwhelming peace.
Maybe I won't go to Divinity school. But right now that's the direction I feel led towards. So I'm dedicating my summer to studying and writing to get ready for applications in JANUARY.
Folks. I could be moving across the country in a year.
I've lived in Sonoma County since I was 8.

3. Stop eating meat. 
The same month that God made it clear to me that he wanted me to pursue grad school, he also asked me to stop eating meat. IT CAME UP EVERYWHERE over and over and over. Articles. Instagram posts. Conversations.
I felt convicted ethically, as only 2% of meat is farmed sustainably, and red meat in paricular contributes to large amounts of water waste which is a huge contributing factor in poverty and harsh effects on the environment,

It's the only food I have never tried to cut out for my health. It was worth a try to see if my fibromyalgia, anxiety and endometriosis saw an improvement.

WELL. The verdict is in, and I have had less painful symptoms, and I am sleeping so much better.

I am not going to say I will commit to this forever, but as long as I feel it is sustainable for my health and the world I will.

I used to think that change was something you had to endure, not embrace, but God showed me something last year.

When you walk hand in hand with the creator of the universe, when you listen to the heartbeat of the world He made, when he resurrects your soul: you can walk forward in confidence.

"If we are obsessed by God, nothing else can get into our lives— not concerns, nor tribulation, nor worries. And now we understand why our Lord so emphasized the sin of worrying. How can we dare to be so absolutely unbelieving when God totally surrounds us? To be obsessed by God is to have an effective barricade against all the assaults of the enemy." Oswald Chambers 







Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I want to be a blogger, now what?


A little over year ago I began my blogging adventure; just an English major with a love for words, for God, and a desire to use my words to connect my own story with others.  I went from 500 followers to 8,000 in a year and five months-and I have gotten several messages from other aspiring bloggers about the best way to begin their own blogging adventure or to go deeper into the blogging world. 
I must say that I still am quite new to this whole world but I am happy to share with you some of the things I found to be important and helpful. 

1. What are your goals?
I think this is always a great place to start when diving into any new creative project. There are many ways to set these goals out. A Dream Board(my personal favorite version, I have a cute chalk board from target), journaling, or getting a scheduler are all excellent ways to list out your goals. 

Why do you want to blog?
There is no wrong answer here. What is motivating you to share your ideas and thoughts? 

What is your message? 
Branding is a big part of blogging, and being consistent is important.
Are you writing about life as a Mom?
Are you a political activist?
Are you a photographer or artist?
Are you going to share how to DIY projects?
Are you going to write about your faith? Your chronic illness? 
Are you going to share your favorite meal plans?

Yes, you can definitely be a blogger who has many messages, but I would recommend picking two or three things that are your main topics. Something that you are passionate about. 

Who is your audience?
Who do you want to read your blog? Moms? Christians? Atheists? Republicans? Social Activists? Millennials? Fellow military wives? Stay at home fathers? 
Who is most likely to read what you are writing or sharing?  This is important to be able to write and present things in a way that is appealing to the audience that you desire to connect with. 

2. Content! 
Once you have figured out your goals and what you want your blog to be you need to pick a website in which to host your site. I recommend if you are serious about your blog to pay for your own domain. 

Here are some popular blogging sites: 
www.blogger.com
www.wordpress.com 
www.wix.com
www.squarespace.com (I am most likely going to be transitioning here very soon) 

As far as design is concerned, I think that simplicity and personality is key! Pick a layout, color, font and pictures that really represent your personality but also do not overdue it. You want it to be inviting, personal and not cluttered. 
If you can afford it, hiring a web designer would 100% be worth it.

How often are you going to post to your blog? Weekly? Biweekly? Monthly? Pick an amount and commit to consistently posting content to your blog. 

Are you a writer?
Now it's true you do not need to be an excellent writer to be an excellent blogger. For instance you could mainly post photos, videos, recipes etc., but I do think that honing in writing skills is definitely going to make your blog more appealing. If you have the time take an English or Creative Writing Class, or hire a tutor to help improve your writing if you feel lacking in that department.
A book I personally love on writing is On Poetry by Glyn Maxwell. While that book is specifically on how to write poetry the author gives some really wonderful exercises at the end of each chapter.  Journal everyday, write letters, and I cannot emphasize this enough: read as much as you can. 
Read the writers that you admire and desire to be more like and I promise it will show in your writing. Examine what it is about the way they convey things that engages you. Can you imitate it? 
When all else fails you can hire a copywriter, which is someone who writes content for you website. 

Professional Photos and/or Design
I would suggest hiring a professional photographer to take lifestyle shots of you/the things you are writing about, or finding someone to design images for your content. This will make your website look professional, and will come in handy with other forms of social media (which I will discuss later). 

3.  Tags, Instagram, and Facebook
Ok great, you have your goals, content and now you need to get the word of your blog out! 
In your blog you should be able to label or tag subjects that you are writing about.

I have found that the majority of my readers come from Instagram (this is where those wonderful professional photos will come in handy) and using hashtags of subjects you are writing on, from online communities that you are joining, and use those consistently.  

Post cohesive pictures on Instagram, similar colors, shapes, and photos. 
Follow similar accounts to yours, and engage with them, get to know these fellow bloggers and be in online community with them. 

Share your posts publicly on Facebook and even ask if your friends who like your posts, if they would be willing to share it.

4. Have fun, be yourself and be kind. 
The internet can be an overwhelming place and I think the most important
aspect of joining the online community is to make sure you are enjoying yourself, that you are able be  your authentic self (you don't need to try and be anyone other than your beautiful self) and always remember to be kind, never say something that you wouldn't say to someones face. 

I am available to hire for Social Media Consulting or Copywriting if you'd like support on this journey and a more personalized game plan. Email me at: trista.eazell@gmail.com for pricing and to connect. 

Happy Blogging! 



Photo Credit: http://www.alyssaluzaichphotography.com



Friday, February 17, 2017

chronic illness: my struggle with endometriosis


hey friends, thank you so much for taking the time to read this today it truly means the world to me. 
many of you have been so wonderful in sharing in my journey the past year and a half as i have navigated some really rough waters with my life and health and your prayers and encouragement has meant the world to me. i have always desired my blogging and media to be a place where i am truthful to real life as i know what it is like to feel alone in my struggles and i want others to know that they are not alone. but I must confess: this post has taken me almost a year to write. 

as many of you know i was diagnosed with the 'invisible illness' of fibromyalgia at a young age, and have dealt with chronic pain and a compromised immune system for the majority of my life. this has been in many ways my cross to bear and even though it has made life very difficult it has also taught me the sacredness of every breath. it has forced me to learn to quiet my body and soul and to be ok with observing the world when everyone else is moving rapidly around me. i came to peace with my circumstances many years ago. i stopped looking for a miracle and learned to just exist as i was.

 i am about to share something that has a lot of stigma around it; women often feel as if they will make men uncomfortable or receive judgement from other woman who cannot understand, and I desire to make this an easier conversation to to have with all who share in our human experience. men, please read on and don't feel weird about any questions you may have, and women who don't understand-i hope that you can empathize with the feeling of loneliness that an isolating event can create. April of 2016 i woke up in the middle of the night with the sharpest of pain shrieking through my abdomen into my uterus  and down my legs. i couldn't move and felt as if i was either going to throw up or pass out. i have experienced a lot of bad pain in my life, but nothing quite as severe as this. my period started a few hours after that pain and i made an immediate appointment to see an OBGYN. it is not uncommon for a woman to have cysts develop in her uterus, erupt and cause extreme pain. i assumed that was what had happened. the doctor ran tests and asked me a lot of questions. they performed an ultrasound to see if a cyst had erupted. there were no signs of cysts.

the doctor then very calmly and gently explained to me that my symptoms sounded incredibly like endometriosis. endo (I will call it that from here on out) is an autoimmune disease and chronic pain condition that affects about six percent of women. the skin that sheds and is within your uterus for an unknown reason begins to grow outside of the uterus and causes extreme pain (it feels like a million little swords stabbing you from the inside out and like an extra weight of gravity is pulling you down to hell), exhaustion, premenstrual dysphoric disorder  (moodiness, depression, and depression that is directly correlated with your cycle), it can create scar tissue, sex can be painful, in some cases it can prevent a woman from having children of her own, and there is no known cure. 
I
at first, i hoped that it was a misdiagnosis. that i just had a really bad month with my fibromyalgia. but the symptoms did not go away or get less...then got worse and more consistent.

the  following months were h a r d. i often had to call in sick to work or school, changed my diet severely and had a flood of new emotions that made feel as if i lost complete control of my self. now, dealing with an invisible and incurable disease is not new to me. that part wasn't what was difficult. however, having the exhaustion and frustration of baring two chronic pain diseases is not something i would wish on my worst enemy. i knew how to live with one, but two? i suddenly became the girl who couldn't commit to anything (I hated that kind of girl) and had to schedule my every day around the severity of my pain. i couldn't sleep. i also felt so awkward talking about what was wrong with me. women problems still did not seem like something that was safe to talk about. if i bought "woman products" at the store and the clerk was a guy, he would refuse to make eye contact with me. i did find ways to open up to people around me about what was going on, and i got a variety of answers. many men were uncomfortable BUT they often did seek to understand it better and I found that many women that i loved dearly dealt with the same pain secretly. 

it is weird that in 2017 this is something that isn't talked about much. we all (well hopefully) understand biology and that women have a beautfiul and complex reproductive system that can unfortunately have many things go wrong. with each and every passing day i have felt the fear i have surrounding sharing how this disease has changed my life-begin to fade. i never want fear to keep me from sharing something that may help others feel as if they are not alone. if you struggle with endo or any other illnesses email me and i would be happy to share the things that i have found be helpful and or just be there to hear your fears and thoughts out. we are never as alone as we think we are. 

i would like to tell you that it is a journey that gets easier with time, but i'm not sure i can honestly give you that answer. there are some days that are much easier and some days where i can't get out of bed, am frustrated and am the worst friend in the world. i am trying many different treatments and have to stay on a pretty strict diet. that never gets easier. god's grace has been my key to survival and it's only in learning to be ok with the fact that there are many days were i am NOT ok that i have been able to find the push to keep moving forward. there is no right or wrong way to feel about having your world crumble, you just feel it and you crumble with it. and then you get back up. you have no choice.  

life is really complicated isn't it? there are never going to be moments in life where everything
is perfect but thats what makes us human. we aren't god. we are flawed and beautiful. life is built up of light, darkness and every shade of shadow in between. we cannot be in control of what happens to us but we can learn how embrace it all with hope that like fireflies we will store up the light and let it go when the darkness sets in. our light may not dissolve the night, but it does make it more beautiful. 

thank you so much for reading all of this; it's scary being this vulnerable. ask me any and all questions that you may have.

 may god bless and keep you.

trista ann marie eazell