Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Okay, any girl that says they don't like Valentine's Day is probably lying a little bit. Even me. I love heart shaped items! Who doesn't love LOVE?

Kevin and I have never really been big on celebrating since his birthday is on the 10th, and usually he's out on tour anyways. This doesn't mean I can't buy MYSELF some super cute Valentine's themed presents! (I can justify just about everything these days!)

I wanted to share a few of my favourite Love themed items so you can either drop hints to your special someone, OR buy yourself something cute to celebrate how great you are! Here are a few of my favourites for her & him (because we SHOULD find something for those men in our lives too, I guess).

Chapters/ Indigo has some AWESOME Valentine's themed gifts this year! We're talking everything from candles and journals to water bottles and tea cups. I can't get enough of their gifts and one of my favourites is their Striped Reading Socks. They're adorable high socks lined in soft fleecy teddy bear fluff! Perfect for lounging around the house with a good book and a cup of tea or coffee, even a good snuggle! They're a little pricey at $34.50, but they are made really well, so I think they'll be perfect for use until well after the snow melts! They come in grey and white or pink and white.

They have cute little pink hearts on the heels! 

They have cute little pink hearts on the heels! 

What lady wouldn't want some custom, frilly unmentionables? My friend (and old neighbour) Sarah runs OhhhLuLu and sells the most beautiful custom lingerie. Here's my favourite, the Swan Romper! You'll never find someone who puts more love into each piece than Sarah! She makes everything by hand, now that's true love!

For the coffee lover, why not try a Shoppe815 Coffee scented soy candle. Each one is poured with love in Burbank CA by my sweet friend Katy! The candles last for 80 hours and smell like coffee with hazelnut creamer. If coffee isn't your scent, they also carry candles in scents like campfire, oakmoss, spruce, and for the men in your hearts - gasoline, motor oil, leather and tobacco. 

I am a water drinking junkie, so naturally Swell Bottles are on my list. I use mine everyday and they live up to the hype. Pour water into them and it stays cold for 24 hours. I love filling it with cold water before bed, so waking up thirsty I get the pleasant surprise of icy water, every time. Yes, they're $40 BUT I'm telling you, they really are worth the price. And come on, how cute are the little hearts, arrows and red lips on the bottles? (Scroll right to see more colours and designs!)

One of my personal favourite places David's Tea has so many cute things to offer the tea lover. I LOVE their adorable Valentine's Day line! You can grab up a tea or two, a heart-shaped infuser, glass travel mug with hearts, or even their adorable Love Tokens coupon book! You give the gift of 5 free cups of hot or cold tea to your sweetheart! They just hand in the coupon in store for a drink on the house! How sweet for your tea lover!

Lastly, who can resist the cuteness of Shop Ban.do? No one, that's who. My pick is the That's a Wrap Band.do Scarf in Extreme Supercute Heart. It's all in the name, I don't have to explain it anymore.

- Carlybellexo

I have a Confession

Just like the title says, I have a confession to make to all of you. 

I must confess that I've given into my dark side, I've lost my motivation. I mean, truthfully, I could feel it slipping away the past few months, but now, at the time when everyone else is gearing up to change the world, here I am, sitting on my bed in my underwear, watching Netflix, trying desperately to not get distracted (thanks Instagram for all the recommendations for pictures to look at),  and FINALLY post something of substance on my blog.

I like everyone else wants to put my best foot forward in 2016. I want to make all the right choices, transition into all my hopes and dreams for myself. I just need to find the motivation to do so. 

They say you can't change until you're ready. Well girl, you've waited too long, even if you're taking the lifestyle of the sloth to heart, you're going to be making yourself ready. 

I've decided to change my Monthly Goals tab to The Challenge. I'm still going to be posting goals, but I think it will be much more fruitful to make ONE challenge and try to attain that, instead of several things and overload myself. Failing on more than one front always brings you down more, so focusing on one aspect I want to change, that will be so much more attainable, at least, I think so. 

So in the upcoming days, please check out my Challenge tab. Maybe you'll want to participate, we can talk through these challenges, send pictures and little words of encouragement. We can challenge ourselves to be the motivation we can't find inside, for someone else. 

Will you think about joining me in my year long quest to use this newfound motivation and become the person I know I can be?

- CarlyBellexo

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2016!

HAPPY NEW YEARS! Can you believe it, it's 2016 already! I feel like 2015 just FLEW by! 

I had a pretty good year personally in 2015 and I'm hoping to make even more memories in 2016.

There are so many things I didn't get to start in the past year, so I'm going to plan on making 2016 a year filled with commitments and excitement. 

Like everyone, I want to better myself. I strive to do this every year so that's nothing new. We tend to challenge ourselves in January each year and then fizzle out before we've even gotten started. This year, I'm going to challenge myself to not give up on me.

Keep your eyes peeled for some new Challenge posts from me in the coming week. I'm excited to share my journey with you!

What do you hope to get done in 2016?

- Carlybellexo

Favourite Christmas Songs

Can you believe there are only

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Man, this year it REALLY doesn't feel like Christmas! It's partly because of the amazingly mild weather and no snow in sight, but also because of the lack of decorations in stores and around town in general. 

This isn't going to stop me. I'm going to blast my Christmas jams and bake all the BEST Christmas cookies! I decided to make you a list of my favourite Christmas songs.

Growing up my grandmother lived with us and she was ALWAYS singing. Most of the songs (and a few of the singers) on this list I love thanks to her. They are the perfect Christmas memories for me! 

She & Him - Baby It's Cold Outside

Elvis Presley - Blue Christmas 

Otis Redding - Merry Christmas Baby

Bing Crosby - The Christmas Waltz

Frankie Ballard - Run Run Rudolph (Chuck Berry Cover)

And lastly, what kind of Christmas song list would this be if it didn't include a little Mariah. 
Mariah Carey - All I Want for Christmas is You

These are just a handful of my favourite songs for the holidays, what are yours?

-CarlyBellexo

Diagnosis: Silent Sinus Syndrome

For as long as I can remember I've had horrible allergies, sinus infections and congestion. I get at least 3 sinus infections a year, and I'm always stuffed up all winter long. 

After YEARS of allergy medications, nasal steroids & alternative and holistic forms of medication, I asked my family doctor to refer me to an ENT Specialist. I was really sick of the anxiety I was getting from putting who knows what kind of chemicals and damage to my organs from all the medications. I just wanted to feel better.

My appointment was made for 3 months later, so I sat and waited. Had good days, had bad days.

The day of my appointment I was SO excited and hopeful to get the confirmation and answers. I was SO disheartened by the end of the appointment. I don't think I'd been more frustrated. 

The specialist was VERY cold. He blew into the room like he was being held up for something more important (I immediately started to get defensive, which to me, was warranted). He did a basic exam by putting a scope into each side of my nostril and down into my throat. Upon taking it out he said he didn't see anything wrong with me, and that I didn't sound congested at all. I told him my family doctor noticed my right side was restricted and that was why he sent me. He thought it was a possible Deviated Septum

The specialist kind of laughed, but I kept informing him that I never felt like I wasn't stuffed up. He reluctantly decided to send me for a CT or CAT Scan.
(To be fair, he probably sees A LOT of patience that think they're sick and they know what's wrong when he doesn't. BUT that's no excuse for a poor bedside manner, at least in my opinion)

Three more weeks go by and I get a call for an appointment at the specialist's office to review my
results.

Now, I was going with very low expectations that they had found anything, and that again he would tell me he saw nothing wrong. I had been planning all the things I was going to ask him. Should I see an allergist? Could it be something in my diet? Well, I got quite a surprise with the appointment. 

It began with my CT scans. I was shown exactly what was going on with me. I was diagnosed with Silent Sinus Syndrome.

(NOT my scan) Image from:  radiologyinfo.org

(NOT my scan) Image from: radiologyinfo.org

What this typically means is that the maxillary sinus (the one in your cheek) spontaneously collapses, bringing the orbital floor (the floor holds your eye in place) down, causing the eye to sink back into the skull, giving a person the appearance of a sunken eye and droopy eyelid. (see below)

Former 'Dance Moms' Star Chloe Lukasiak famously suffered from Silent Sinus Syndrome and had the surgery after her eye noticeably fell.

Former 'Dance Moms' Star Chloe Lukasiak famously suffered from Silent Sinus Syndrome and had the surgery after her eye noticeably fell.

Now, this is where I differ from a normal case.

I didn't have the physical manifestation of Silent Sinus because my right maxillary sinus never fully developed. Essentially this means I have a very tiny (the size of say, a pencil eraser) sinus. So the constant pain from fullness happened daily, because it just couldn't drain anything.  

And that was only the beginning. 

Next we moved to the left maxillary sinus to find a cyst (think golf ball) filling up space, making that sinus a fraction of the size it was supposed to be. So all that time spent being stuffed up and uncomfortable? Yah, there was good reason. 

Third on the list of findings was that my septum is severely deviated to one side, making it (surprise surprise) restrict air flow. 

So what's next? Well the only way to treat Silent Sinus Syndrome is surgery. The same with the deviated septum. And because my syndrome is a little different my surgery will involve creating a bigger sinus where there wasn't much of one at all. 

The wait time is about 4-6 months, but I am so thankful to finally have some clarity with my problems. Am I nervous? Hell yes! Did I watch every nasal/orbital floor surgery/septum reshaping surgery I could find on YouTube? You know I did. 

Unfortunately with the long wait for my surgery and the approaching winter season, I can count on several more sinus infections before I get this taken care of. But the good outweighs the bad. In a years time I will (hopefully) be free from all the pressure and sinus infections and finally leading a healthy life!

Lastly, I would like to stress to everyone reading this the importance of trusting yourself. NO ONE knows your body better than you do. If you know something is wrong, don't give up until you figure out what you need to make things right. I've been suffering for years with this problem and no one thought anything of it until I started asking for more. 

If you have any questions for me, don't hesitate to ask! I'll do my best to help you!

- CarlyBellexo