How To Fall Asleep - 7 Steps to Better Rest

I have a history of sleep problems in my family, including insomnia, REM disorder, restless leg syndrome, sleep walking, and a few other things I can’t even remember… point being, I’ve had my fair share of problems getting some shut-eye! With the New Year coming up, I want to share my top five ways to help you fall asleep!

sleep, fall asleep, insomnia, rest, tired

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1. Drink more water. We know how important water is for our health, but it’s also very important in our energy! Did you know that unless you’re fully hydrated, your body can’t absorb or properly digest most of the food you eat? You’ll be really tired because you’ll eat a lot of food but not have energy. And because you didn’t expel enough energy and enough calories, you won’t be able to sleep. It’s a chain reaction.

water, hydration, sleep, health

2. Cut out all sugar and caffeine for two weeks and see if it makes a difference. Quitting cold turkey isn’t too hard, as long as you drink lots of water and take aspirin for the headache. I find that after the third day it isn’t too bad. I’ve gotten myself off of caffeine several times (for various reasons).

tea, coffee, sleep, nutrition, health

3. Sit down as little as possible. There are muscles in your back that run between the spinal cord (multifitis) and along the outside of the spinal cord (erector spinae) that keep your back straight. When you’re standing and engaging your abdominal muscles and breathing deeply with your diaphragm, they engage. When you sit down or lay down, they relax. Our bodies are programmed to go to sleep when they relax. Because we sit so much in our culture, we’ve turned off that programming. So by standing more, you can turn that programming back on, and you’ll be able to fall asleep when you hit the pillow!

health, exercise, sleep

4. Go to sleep at the same time every night, for a week (even if you’re just laying there, staring at the ceiling!) eventually your body will get used to it, and when that time rolls around, you’ll start to get tired. In Psychology, this is called Conditioning.

sleep, alarm clock, rest, health

5. Turn off all electronics 1-2 hours before going to bed. Consider this your wind-down period.  Avoid going to Facebook/forums/blogs right before going to bed. You use your phone as an alarm clock? Great, you can still do that. Put it in the bathroom and set it on loud. It'll help you get your lazy @$$ out of bed in the morning.

6. DreamWater.
Sometimes we have times where we’re wired for one reason or another, or super stressed, or upset, or just simply not tired, but you have to go to sleep. Maybe you have to wake up at 3am to catch a flight, and you can’t seem to fall asleep. For those times, I recommend Dream Water. It’s an all natural product containing high amounts of natural vitamins, and melatonin. Half a bottle puts me to sleep for six to eight hours, and leaves me feeling refreshed… even if I’ve been drinking coffee all day long! Pick up some Dream Water on

7. Give yourself a ritual. Again with the conditioning; if you have a different routine every night, you're shorting yourself hours of sleep. Once the clock hits the hour of your choice. begin your routine and don't break from it. Some ideas to include: Clean up in the bathroom, hot shower, brush your hair 100 strokes, stretch your legs and back, read a book for 10 minutes, etc. Doing the same thing every night will train your brain and body when it's sleep time. By the time you hit the pillow, you'll be dead to the world.

My ritual includes stretching, cleaning up in the bathroom, putting some oils in my diffuser, and calling my Fiance.

sleep, rest, health

Do you have any tips for falling asleep? Leave them in the comments!

5 Ways to Keep Your New Years Resolution

We've all done this multiple times now. Guess what. Next year coming up 3 days from now? You're still stuck with the same person you've always been. You'll be lucky to make any changes. You'll wake up Sunday and be like "Alright let's do this" and by Wednesday you'll quit.

resolutions, new year, 2017, goals, challenge

Sound familiar?

Yeah that's cause you're doing it wrong.

Major life changes are hard to implement. Especially when you've done the same thing every day forever. But it's not impossible.

Here are 5 ways to actually make a change in your life and keep your resolution!

1. Set specific goals. You can't meet a goal if you don't know exactly what you want. 

  • "Eat Better" becomes "Eat veggies at least once a day"
  • "Work out more" becomes "work out twice a week."
  • "Read more books" becomes "read 1 book a month."
specific goals, resolutions, new years

2. Set realistic goals. You can't cut out all sugar, alcohol and fast food immediately and expect to stick to that... you're gonna binge. For example,

  • "No fast food" becomes "Fast food once a week for the month of January, then fast food once a month from there on."
  • "Work out every day" becomes "Work out twice a week."
new years, resolutions, change

3. Make your goals long-term, baby-step, bite-size chunks. Don't throw yourself in all the way immediately, you will hate your guts.

  • "Get fit" becomes "Work out twice a week for 20-40 minutes for 2 months, and then contact personal trainer to re-assess workout plan."
  • "Drink less coffee" becomes "Cut coffee intake from 3 cups a day to 2 cups a day for the next 2 weeks, then bring it down to 1."
  • "Get more sleep" becomes "Set an actual alarm clock, and put phone downstairs every night for the next week, so I don't stay up on my phone too long. The next week, shower/brush teeth/prepare for bed by 9:00 every night."
  • "Get up earlier" becomes "Set alarm for 10 minutes earlier than normal every day for January. Then move it 10 minutes earlier than that for February." etc.

resolutions, 2017, change, new years

4. Write it down. Even if nobody sees the notebook/journal/planner, writing it down helps you face yourself.

new years resolution, change,

5. Stay accountable. Whether it's a friend texting you, a Facebook resolution group you're a part of, or making YouTube videos documenting your progress, find a way to hold yourself to your resolution. Success is achievable within a power group!

new years resolution, accountability, team, teamwork, group

Good luck! What are your new years resolutions and goals this year, and what is your plan of attack to achieve them? 

My goals for January are: work out 5 days a week during lunch break, prepare my lunches ahead of time on Sundays, and eat what I pack for lunch! Just making that change will save me time, energy, money, and help me be healthier!

I Can't Fix My Own Problems

Sometimes I feel so silly. So ignorant. So hypocritical.

I’m a teacher. I’ve been teaching since I was about sixteen. One of the things that irritates me is when I’m trying to teach someone, and a parent or assistant another classmate jumps in and tries to help me teach them. As a student, when you have two or three or five different voices telling you to do things and trying to help you, it doesn’t help at all.

Addiction, Finger Picking, Compulsion

How To Build A Killer Resume

I have a degree in Professional Writing and Editing from WCU. One of the most important things I learned while there is Resume building. Here are some bits of advice to help you out!

(note - this article was originally posted on my personal blog. It has since closed and I'm moving the articles over to this site)

1. A Resume is whatever you want it to be. YOU are the one you’re publicizing. You have to show your employer what you can do and who you are. Don’t think you have to make it look like a series of bulleted lists.

2. That being said, make it reader-friendly, and keep it on one page. Nobody wants to read three pages of skills and former job descriptions. Use phrases instead of complete sentences, write in active voice, and don’t use the word “I.” It’s a report on your experience, not a journal entry (of course if you're going for a different vibe, go back to point number 1).

You can also make it one page by messing with margins and the space before and after paragraphs, using shift+enter instead of just enter, and adjusting word/letter kerning. Once you know how to do all that, you can also add to said resume that you are proficient at Microsoft Word.

3. Don’t use a template. For the love of all things Chocolate and delicious and financially stable, don’t use a template. Figure out how to use Microsoft Publisher and Microsoft Word properly, and then do it on your own. Or google some attractive templates and get ideas, and then do it yourself.

4. For your references, only put their names. Make a note that their contact info is available on request. On a separate sheet, called “References,” put their name, how you know them, the dates you worked with them, any other important info, and all the contact info they are okay with you handing out to strangers. This ensures your references info doesn't end up floating around the internet/get thrown away at the office and picked up by someone who wants to take advantage of the information. Please note you should always ask before using someone as a reference. 

5. Don’t make just one Resume. Make five. Or six. Or however many you need. Then, save them as PDF files and never email the Word document, only the PDF.

For example:

  • I have a Professional Resume with all my basic work experience (every job I’ve had since High School) and a basic list of skills.
  • I have a Dance Teacher resume with specific education on ballet, classes I took in college that pertain to my teaching, different styles of ballet I’ve studied, and a list of famous dances I know.
  • I have a Ballet Dancer resume with a lot of the same info but one focused on me as a dancer, not as a dance teacher.
  • I have a Professional Writing and Editing resume with all the pertinent info about me as a writer: Articles I’ve written and published, companies I’ve worked with as a guest blogger, novels I’ve completed, websites I’ve designed.

I have two of my resumes on my website. The others I only print off when I need them.

6. Make a text-only resume. These are great for when people want you to “Upload your resume” or copy/paste your resume. If you try to copy/paste or upload from a Word document it can cause formatting issues! So save yourself the time and get it ready ahead of time. Use line breaks, all caps, dashes, plus signs, etc for your formatting. Save it as a .txt file and call it LASTNAME_TEXT_RESUME. Here's a little clip of mine, and here's a link to the full thing if you want more details.

Good luck!

The Hair I've Always Wanted

Ever since I was about eight, I've wanted red hair. I thought it was the best color in the world.

But my hair is dirt-brown.

And since I'm allergic to basically everything, and I know how dangerous it is to load your scalp up with poison, I figured I'd be stuck brown forever, or at least until the grey won out.

A few weeks ago I got a packet of Henna hair conditioner for review. I learned a few things while researching it.

henna, hair dye, natural hair color
image from

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Henna is made from a plant whose leaves are dried out and crushed. You add water and it makes a green paste that smells like grass, but it stains red. The henna I got is a conditioning treatment, and it colors the hair as a side effect.

I mixed half the powder with water until it was a thick paste, and let it sit for a few hours, as per the instructions. Then I separated my hair out, worked the henna in one section at a time, and covered it with a plastic bag and a headscarf and let it do it's work for a few more hours (it was an all-day event).

I washed it out with hot water and soap, made a huge mess, and ended up with the perfect color.


(the photos aren't great, I apologize!)

Also my hair had this great texture, and felt thicker and stronger. I did it three weeks ago and the color was starting to fade (I use a very rough soap) so I did it again this weekend.


 In these photos, I was experimenting with my Remington curling brush/wand, so my hair has some shape. More on that later.

All in all, I'm super happy with it. My hair looks and feels great. it's made it stronger and healthier (and definitely thicker) and the color is gorgeous. #finallyginger.

The only issue I found is how messy it is! You have to be careful not to get it on your scalp, or on your hands. It stains orange. It would probably look great if someone had done it to me, but I don't have anyone to do it.

But I love it, and will continue doing it! It's super affordable, and I love the result! This is the henna I used. I also just bought this henna as well, and I'll let you know how it works after I use it!

Audiobooks Helped Me Pass High School, and College!

Since forever I've loved books, reading, and adventures. As a kid my mom would read stories out loud to us: The Hobbit, Huckleberry Finn, Tom Sawyer, Little House, and lots of other stories. We would fold laundry while she would read out loud and it was amazing. It was so much better when she read out loud.

audiobooks, high school, college, learning styles

In Middle school I had to read a very interesting and exciting book; Robinson Crusoe. It's a great book and I enjoyed it. But Lord knows I'd fall asleep as soon as I started reading. There was something about the process of reading that put me to sleep. The only way I could get through it was when my mom read it out loud to me.

Same thing happened in High School; I had to read Crime and Punishment (which is a huge book, by the way), Dante's Inferno, and some other classics. And it wasn't that I didn't like the books; Even Pride and Prejudice put me to sleep! It wasn't the story, it was the process. I wasn't fast enough to keep up with my mind, and the reading made me tired. I remember standing, trying to read the words out loud just to stay awake. Nothing worked.

Then one day out of the blue, I thought about Listening to books had to be different, right? I could knit, wash dishes, go on a bike ride, etc.

audiobooks, knitting, crime and punishment

Crime and Punishment was one of the first audiobooks I listened to, and it was a life-saver. I could not sit down and read that book but I tore through the audiobook and loved it. I actually went back and listened to it again later because it was so good. In college, I listened to all my homework assignments; Bleak House, Emma, Canterbury Tales (hard to find), Dorian Gray, and some others. But listening to it made it come alive, and it kept me awake.

And I got my Christmas gifts done on time.

If you struggle with reading but you love stories, audiobooks are your life-saver.

So just because I'm convinced audiobooks will change your life, I'm going to help you out.

Head over to these two websites: and Both of them offer a free audiobook. Sign up through my links!

Thanks for visiting! Just so you know, The Life and Lies is an affiliate of several websites, and may collect a fee for your clicks, purchases, and subscriptions. Any item featured or reviewed may have been received free or discounted, nut in no way affects my review. Thanks, and enjoy!

Patch me up with Patchouli Oil

depression, anxiety, sexual health, scarring, skincare, reduce inflamation


Patchouli is in the same genetic family as mint, sage, and lavender. It has a lot of the same health benefits, and is amazing for aromatherapy and topical use! Here are just some of the benefits for Patchouli essential oil.

1. Reduces inflammation and swelling - can be used for sore muscles, fevers, and infection

2. Helps stop depression by boosting moods and stimulating hormones.

3. Reduces scarring and helps accelerate the healing process by boosting healthy cell growth. It's also highly useful for relief for bug bites.

4. Helps reduce insomnia - I tried this awesome blend last night and I am totally in love with it! It is so relaxing and soothing, and is a great blend for evening time.

lavender oil, peppermint oil, patchouli oil

5. Diuretic - it will lower blood pressure and help pull toxins out of your body. This is awesome in incorporate when you have a cold or a fever. Flush your system out with a drop of Patchouli oil in your tea!

6. Known to help treat sexual problems for both men and women. The oil acts as a hormone stimulator, and has been known to treat ED.

7. It's also been known to help with dental health, body odor, and treat fungus and other infections!

Make sure you add Patchouli to your essential oil collection ASAP! 

Thanks for visiting! Just so you know, The Life and Lies is an affiliate of several websites, and may collect a fee for your clicks, purchases, and subscriptions. Any item featured or reviewed may have been received free or discounted, nut in no way affects my review. Thanks, and enjoy!

20 Last Minute Knitting Patterns

It's 16 days until Christmas!!!!!1

Terrifying. Mostly because I'm only about halfway done with gifts. Lord have mercy.

So to help you out, I've put together a collection of some of my favorite quick knitting patterns for you to whip out! Cause I don't know about you, but I'm planning on knitting my weekend away.

Thanks for visiting! Just so you know, The Life and Lies is an affiliate of several websites, and may collect a fee for your clicks, purchases, and subscriptions. Any item featured or reviewed may have been received free or discounted, nut in no way affects my review. Thanks, and enjoy!

Please note: some of these patterns are free, some you have to buy, and some are just photos for inspiration. 

Mittens for everyone in your family!

fast knitting, chunky knitting, quick patterns, easy patterns

Relax and Clary Up!

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I've heard a lot of great things about Clary Sage, and I was excited to try it when it came in my mix pack from Radha Beauty!

It has a very light smell, gently earthy, and would blend well with anything sweet or floral. Right now my favorite blend is Clary Sage, Ylang Ylang, and Lavender. Oh goodness it's so nice.

antiseptic, insomnia depression, stop seizures, pain relief

Clary Sage has some awesome health benefits!

Like most essential oils, Clary Sage is usually steam distilled from a plant, and is highly concentrated. It is antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti inflammatory. It has been known to relieve stress, pain and cramps, and help with insomnia and depression. It has also been known to calm and relieve seizures.

I got my Clary Sage from Radha Beauty, and they have an amazing 16-oil set! 

you can also get your Clary Sage from any of the links below!

My Prescription has 4 legs

The first time I had an anxiety attack was a few months before I went to college. I hadn't danced in months (I'd quit the year before, one of the hardest times of my life). My dad hugged me and read Psalms to me and prayed with me until I could breathe again.

Catman2 shelter

The second time, I was at university. It was the third week of the second semester; I'd spent over 5 months at school. Being away from home was amazing and awesome. The introvert inside me was so happy. It came out of nowhere and I still don't know what caused it. I went to the on-campus nurse and they gave me a half a pill to calm me down. I don't know what pill it was. It was the first time I'd taken any kind of medicine besides pain killers like advil or motrin. I passed out for several hours and woke up with a clear head. It was like the clouds were gone.

There were several other times as well. Eventually I went to the doctor and started taking an anti-anxiety medicine. It is one of the lowest doses you can get and it's just enough to take the edge off.

Of course now that I'm dancing and working out again, that helps a lot too.

But sometimes the stress of life is just too much, and I break down again.

And you know what stops those attacks?

my cat.

Cat, Catman2, ESA, Emotional Support Animal, Therapy Cat, Panic Attacks, Anxiety Attacks
After having Ariel about 6 months.

Cat, Catman2, ESA, Emotional Support Animal, Therapy Cat, Panic Attacks, Anxiety Attacks, depression,
Ariel lays on my fiance.

Yeah. Seriously. She sits on my chest when I'm sad, she lays on my lap when I'm depressed, and she sits on my hip, back, or leg when I'm in pain. She knows when I'm tired or upset or hurting. She licks the tears off my face and rubs her nose on my chin and licks my hair line. In fact sometimes when I'm frustrated she comes and sits on my lap, and digs her claws into my jeans so I can't kick her off. She knows I need her.

Cat, Catman2, ESA, Emotional Support Animal, Therapy Cat, Panic Attacks, Anxiety Attacks
Ariel cuddles with me every night.

I don't know the science behind cats stopping panic attacks, but I know one thing: When I adopted my sweet cuddly lap kitty 3 years ago, I had no idea I was adopting a creature who would love me and care for me and bond with me, one who would sleep by my side EVERY night with the exception of one night a few weeks ago (someone downstairs was ill, and Ariel slept by her that night. She knew she was needed). She follows me around, grooms me (or tries to), and refuses to leave my side when I'm stressed.

Cat, Catman2, ESA, Emotional Support Animal, Therapy Cat, Panic Attacks, Anxiety Attacks
evening cuddles

Ariel regularly sits on my hips (which get swollen and sore)

If you or a loved one is suffering from social anxiety, panic attacks, depression, etc. I seriously suggest an animal (cat or dog; my mom has a poodle who is basically her Emotional Support Animal). They will change your life.

Catman2, No-kill shelter, Sylva NC
Kaleb at the Catman2 shelter, cuddling a scared kitten
Harold, the founder of the shelter

Please consider supporting Catman2 cat shelter in Sylva NC. I adopted Ariel from that shelter, and Kaleb puts in an amazing amount of work to make those cats happy and comfortable.

The Catman2 cat house

It's a kill-free, Cage-free shelter where the cats get to roam around a wonderful cat-house with climbing trees, toys, and an outdoors porch and lots of windows. Not only that, it's a sanctuary for them... meaning if they don't get adopted, they're "safe for life." The shelter also has local students and retired folks come and volunteer to help with the animals.
Cat, Catman2, ESA, Emotional Support Animal, Therapy Cat, Panic Attacks, Anxiety Attacks, no-kill shelter, cat shelter

If you can't adopt from Catman2, please consider supporting them in honor of a loved one over this holiday season.

This post is not paid for or endorsed by Catman2 Inc, and is completely my own opinion. I promote them because I love and support what they do!


Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.