How I’ve Stayed Productive In Quarantine

2020. Man, none of us thought that we would be facing a world-wide pandemic. I thought that 2020 was going to be full of exploring California, apartment decorating, and soaking up the sun at the beach. Then the world crashed, and here we are in the pandemic. I was working into the first two weeks of the quarantine. Dale and I eventually came to the decision that it was best for me to stop going to work. As a social worker, I’m taking clients to and from their homes to various places–including doctor appointments. You take that and add my immune compromised system and that’s a recipe for disaster. So, I’ve been home for two months now. It’s been so weird being back in this situation.

When we first moved to California, it took me about three weeks to find a job. That was the longest three weeks of my life. I applied to so many jobs, got a lot of interviews, got a lot of “You’re a good candidate, but so and so is more experienced than you. Sorry.” Eventually, I got my job as a caseworker with a company that assists adults with disabilities. It’s been an awesome job and I’m super grateful for it. It just sucks that my immune system isn’t strong enough to handle being around Covid-19.

So, what have I been doing with my life these past eight weeks? Lemme tell you.

Besides the six things I talked about in my last quarantine motivation post, this is what I’ve been up to:

I rediscovered my love for art & reading.

Over the years, I have kept my art to myself. Any time I’ve shown my art to friends or family, I get complimented on it. My style is a mix between abstract and contemporary art. I love painting and drawing animals, people, portraits, landscapes, and whatever else that inspires me. There are no rules in art. I have loved breaking in my old paints and rediscovering something that I am so passionate about. I am thinking about starting a website for my art. We will see if end up doing it. For now, you can follow my artwork at: @samanthaquinio.art on Instagram.

As for reading, Dale was kind enough to go with me to the storage unit to get some books. I have probably five boxes of books. We had three of them towards the front so it was pretty easy getting to them. I grabbed a good arm full of books and have been reading like crazy. I love getting drawn into a story. I also love holding a book. As much as I love technology, there is something about holding an actual book that makes me enjoy the story so much more. It’s not that weird, right?

I am focusing more on my blog.

You may have noticed that I have been blogging a lot more over the past two months. I’m in the process of updating my website (cause let’s be honest right now it looks pretty ugly) and will be giving my blog a huge makeover. I’ve gotten a ambassador deal with Rightly Royce, and am LOVING it. It’s an amazing company. Check out my last blog post if you missed my announcement.

I’ve been on contact with a social media manager on my blog. They think that it has a lot of potential to become a full-time job and if I can grow my following over the next year there may be a lot of opportunities in the future. I would love to blog full time. Especially on topics that I am so passionate about (food, health, fitness, and my life). Over the next few weeks, I am anticipating on adding more recipes, resurrecting old posts (gotta update a lot of files on my past blog pots), and creating more content. It’s been so much fun focusing on my blog. I really love writing and sharing my life in this community.Lots of exciting things are coming! Especially with a big secret that I’ve been keeping. Stay tuned!

I learned a few new skills.

You read that right! I learned so many new things since I’ve been in quarantine over the past two months. I learned how to do several different crochet stitches such as the bubble, and granny stitches. I also learned how to follow a pattern and made a unicorn for my half-sister Little A. I made her this GORGEOUS rainbow blanket with a unicorn on it. I’ll be mailing it to her really soon. I also learned how to make granny squares. They are so much fun! All in all, I have made three blankets, one purse, and one unicorn. It’s been an adventure and I have LOVED it. You can learn how to make the granny squares by looking at this tutorial off of YouTube.

I also learned how to use Zoom. I know, I know. I’m a Millennial that doesn’t know how to use Zoom! What?! Listen, not all of us are technology savvy, okay?

I deep cleaned my closet.

Spring cleaning fever is among us! I took the liberty to deep clean my closet. Even though 80% of my stuff is in storage right now because Dale and I are living with his parents, I still was able to let go of some stuff. I went through all of my clothes and made a pile of things that I can donate. I packed up two boxes to put into storage and I even convinced Dale to go through his closet. We have a lot to finish before we move out (which was supposed to be in two weeks but now we have pushed it back to the end of summer or whenever we can). But I am so glad that we at least have gotten started on getting ready to move.


I am so ready to be out of quarantine and to be back at work. I really hope that it will be soon. I’m super jealous of Utah right now because most of my family and friends are back at work. But for now, I’m just taking it one day at a time. I’m staying positive, productive, and trying to get ready for our upcoming (hopefully) move.

XO Sam

P.S.

Comment down below and tell me what you have been doing to stay productive in quarantine AND do you have any guesses on what my big secret is?!

I’m A Rightly Royce Ambassador!

I’ve been keeping a secret!  I am now an ambassador for Rightly Royce! This company all started to honor the owners cute boy Royce after he passed away. Their mission is to bring comfort and strength to others experiencing difficult trials. It’s more than just jewelry, it’s jewelry with a purpose.

I am so excited to be apart of a company that encourages and strengths everyone. From infertility awareness to chronic illness and more. I am so excited to share my love for their beautiful jewelry and to keep sharing my story with my hubby, Dale. We don’t know what the future holds with starting our family (not gonna happen any time soon) but our first step is getting my health back on track. So stay tuned!

When you purchase their jewelry please use my code “SAMANTHA15” for 15% off!

Thank you again to Rightly Royce for this incredible opportunity!   




I am so excited to be apart of an amazing company. I cannot wait to see what cute jewelry Rightly Royce comes out with later this year, and to continue to share my journey with all of you. XO Sam

Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Days 3 to 7

Day 3 of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Fun Fact!

FACT: “The 18 tender points associated with Fibromyalgia occur in symmetrical pairs from the back of your head to your inner knees.” -Mayo Clinic

As I shared my diagnosis story yesterday, I briefly touched on tender/trigger points. When the doctor was testing my trigger points it was the weirdest pain I have ever felt. Since my diagnosis, when I have a flare up of the tender points I have found that warm showers, heat pads, shoulder massages, and essential oils help.

Day 4: Honoring your emotions vs. Victimization here. Day 4 was a bit of a longer post so I made a separate blog post for it.

Day 5 of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Fun Fact!

“Women are more likely to develop FM than men are.” -Mayo Clinic

Isn’t crazy how women are more likely to develop FM than men? I definitely did not know that until I started researching FM. No one knows why this is. Fibromyalgia is definitely a interesting disease that has a lot of weird quirks to it.

Day 6 of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: The Causes of Fibromyalgia 

“Doctors don’t know what causes fibromyalgia, but it most likely involves a variety of factors working together. These may include:

  1. Genetics. Because fibromyalgia tends to run in families, there may be certain genetic mutations that may make you more susceptible to developing the disorder.
  2. Infections. Some illnesses appear to trigger or aggravate fibromyalgia.
  3. Physical or emotional trauma. Fibromyalgia can sometimes be triggered by a physical trauma, such as a car accident. Psychological stress may also trigger the condition.” -Mayo Clinic 

Day 7 of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Fun Fact!

There is a thing called “Fibromyalgia Fog.” It is weird and if you know me personally, you’ve probably have experienced this with me. “A symptom commonly referred to as “fibro fog” impairs the ability to focus, pay attention and concentrate on mental tasks.”-Mayo Clinic

I don’t struggle with this as much as some do. However, on days that I’m having a flare up I can’t stay on task. It’s a little entertaining because I find myself trying to do six things at once and accomplish getting nothing done. 

That’s a wrap for week one for Fibromyalgia awareness month! I know that I have mentioned that I have a lot of blog posts coming with a little more detail on how I manage my disease. But I want to make clear that my blog isn’t going to changing a whole lot. Will there be some new content? Yes, but I still will be posting life recaps, recipes, and all of the other fun stuff!

XO Sam

Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Day 4

Day 4 of Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Honoring your emotions vs. victimization

This is a topic that I was going to talk about later in the month but with a few recent messages and comments from my posts from the past couple of days I think I should address this now because I’m not posting every day this month to come across as a victim. I do not believe that I am. Now, does that mean that having this disease isn’t hard? No. But how I honor and acknowledge my emotions and move forward is what matters. It is so, so, so important to honor your emotions and work through how you feel while finding a way to either re-frame it or make peace with it.

Accepting a challenging life-altering disease isn’t easy but it can be done. It is not okay to victimize yourself because that kind of negativity gets you nowhere.Now, before some types some nasty comment or DM me about how I don’t understand how hard a chronic illness is or that my heart is made outta stone, please hear me out.

Is having a chronic illness hard? Absolutely.

Are your feelings real and valid? Absolutely.

Is living a life full of medications, hospitals, unanswered questions, doctor appointments, and a thousands other medical-related things incredibly hard and emotionally toiling? Absolutely, no question.

But that begs the question: Is throwing it in people’s faces and playing the victim okay? No it’s not.

Here’s why:

The victim mentality thrives off of three things:

1. Bad things happen and will keep happening.

2. Other people or circumstances are to blame.

3. Any efforts to create change will fail, so there’s no point in trying.

Playing the victim leads to nowhere. It leads to a path full of negative emotions and a life where all you see is the bad stuff. Now, I need to make it very clear that I am not invalidating what you’ve been through or how difficult it is. It’s hard. It can feel like you’re going to break. Sometimes it feels like it breaks you.

But how I see it, everyone gets to a point where they have to make a choice. You have to choose what space of mind you are going to live in. You have to choose to accept that your body is broken but that doesn’t mean that your spirit is. You have to choose to find the joy.

Life is so short. We all know that. We all can think of people who should’ve lived a longer life but it was stolen from them because of their health.That’s what we sometimes forget: Every life matters. Everyone has value. You’re journey, your experiences, and everything that makes you YOU—it all matters. For those who love and support you, you matter to them.

So, let’s stop this negativity. Let’s come together and find the good. Let’s practice patience with ourselves and remember that everyone’s journey is different. Let’s also find cures for awful diseases such as Fibromyalgia. Rant over.

XO Sam

How I Got My Fibromyalgia Diagnosis [Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Day 2]

All but two of my missionary companions.

My diagnosis journey started in 2013 while I was serving as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The day I came home, January 1, 2014, is one that I will never forget. So many different emotions were running through my head. I was terrified, humiliated, excited, nervous, sick, happy, relieved, and a million other things. Coming home six months early from my mission was super hard. I had been sick on and off for about half of my mission (I served for 11.5 months out of 18 months). I was serving in the Baltimore, MD area and LOVED sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. I had incredible experiences and met some of the most incredible, Christlike people. As much as I wanted to be there and to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, God definitely had another plan for me.

Reunited with my family at the airport. Pictured: Joe, Mom, Meghan, Garrison, Grandpa & Grandma, Cami, Jamie, Dad, and Will.

The decision was made over the Christmas holidays that I had to come home early because I wasn’t getting better. The doctors in Maryland had no idea what was going on with my body. In fact, my mission president didn’t even do an official exit interview with me because he was 100% positive that I would be back. Well, that didn’t happen because my primary care doctor said that there was a good chance that I was going to get sick again and that it could really impact me for the rest of my life. Little did I know that those words were so true.

I was so frustrated that I came home early. I hated that I couldn’t give anyone a direct answer on what was going on with me medically because I just didn’t know. Plus all the doctors didn’t know. To capture what was going through my head back in 2014, I posted this on my blog:

As most of you know, I came home six months early from medical reasons. Unfortunately, those reasons have yet to be solved. I keep getting pneumonia or bronchitis and for some reason, I can’t get over it. Many doctors have called me a “medical mystery” and have told me that there isn’t anything that they can do. But I’d beg to differ. There is always something that can be done.

I went to the doctor’s SEVEN times last year because I had bronchitis/pneumonia . This year, I’ve gone three. Three years ago, I went twice. Year before that three times. So on and so forth. You get the picture. It hasn’t been easy and believe me when I say that I’ve gone insane just sitting around watching Netflix. But the one thing that has been consistent is the Lord’s hand in this whole thing.

–My blog post titled, “Lord, Give Me Mountains to Climb”. [2014]

So, being the ridiculously assertive and control-freak that I am, I took matters into my own hands. I gave up on going to the doctors once they told me I just had a bunch of food allergies (molds and a mild chicken, apples, and walnuts allergy) which lead me to going gluten and dairy free. I researched, and researched, and researched during 2014 to 2016. I learned how to eat healthier. I joined Beachbody, and worked as a coach that ran fitness and nutrition groups. I learned about organic foods. I learned how to eat clean. I learned how to actually cook something that wasn’t in a box. I joined my university’s swim team and eventually made captain for marketing. I worked full-time as a supervisor at a girl’s residential treatment center. I dated a lot and broke a few hearts. I was having the time of my life. I loved 2014-2016. I had my challenges like any college student, but I really enjoyed that time of my life.

Then one day during my fall semester of 2016 all of the symptoms came back. The same symptoms that I had while on my mission. My knees started to blow up out of nowhere. My hands were swollen. I was loosing weight rapidly. I was in pain all the time. My legs, hands, arms, shoulders, back, and joints always hurt. It was the weirdest thing I had ever experienced. I stopped exercising and tried to take it easy for a few months. But nothing was helping me. So, I was back at square one. It was so frustrating.

My very swollen hand.

I made an appointment with my primary care doctor. He ran some blood-work and guess what? They finally found something. I was terrified. My doctor referred me to a rheumatologist and then the testing began. I was poked so many times that my really good vein is now hard to find. The results came back inconclusive. Meaning, my c-reactive protein, ANA, and sedimentation rate indicated a inflammation problem but there was nothing definitive. The doctor thought that I had Lupus, a autoimmune disease that attacks your healthy tissues. Since my ANA test was positive, he ran it again to verify the results but they came back inconclusive. This was the moment that having Dr. House around would have been very helpful: “It’s NOT Lupus!”

2017 was the year that I never thought was going to end. Since my ANA was a false positive, and I was still having chronic pain issues with the inflammatory response, my doctor asked me to come back into the clinic for further testing. When I came back, I was expecting more X-rays, needles, and whatever. I was right about some of the testing. He ran an X-ray on my hands to see if I had any damage in my joints which I didn’t. He ran my blood work again and the same CRP and sedimentation rate came back positive. Nothing else showed up. Then the worst part of all the testing happened. He started pushing on my joints. I held back tears as he pushed on my shoulders, hips, hands, feet, and knees. Finally, he took a step back and smiled. He said, “Well, the good news I know what’s wrong with you. The bad news is it’s Fibromyalgia.”

To be continued.

XO Sam

Fibromyalgia Awareness Month: Day 1

As many of you know, about four and a half years ago I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. May is national Fibromyalgia awareness month. For the next 31 days, I will be posting about Fibromyalgia, and how I manage it in my daily life. I hope to bring awareness and provide helpful information for my friends and family to better understand this disease.

I hope that my sharing will encourage you to donate to research and foundations that advocate for Fibromyalgia. I also hope that by sharing I can express how I am able to manage it, maintain a positive attitude, and live such a full life. I’m very blessed to have it under control; I know that is not the case for many. But I hope that by sharing over the next month, I can shed some light on some of the struggles I’ve had over the years.

So, let’s begin with the basics: What is Fibromyalgia?

“Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.”-Mayo Clinic



My name is Samantha Quinio. I am a Fibromyalgia warrior. I will be sharing information and my Fibromyalgia story each day for the next 31 days.


Please share, comment, and like these Fibromyalgia Awareness posts to call attention to this disease that impacts 2 to 4 percent of the population. Comment with questions, your story, or if you know a Fibromyalgia warrior. Let’s call attention to this disease and fight for a cure!

XO Sam

Blueberry Lemon Muffins [Gluten & Dairy Free]

This is a perfect recipe to make on Mother’s Day! So, with that in mind, a mini tribute to my mama: One of my favorite things to do growing up was to bake with my mom. I loved the smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies hitting my nose when I came home from school. I loved having the long conversations with my mom while enjoying those cookies. Anyway, since those days, I have continued my love for baking. I have learned so many baking tricks from her, and I’m so grateful that she’s taught me so much. I love you Mom! ❤

Anyway, I came across several recipes for this muffin that I made yesterday and converted (and changed a few things) it into a gluten & dairy free version. If you’re not gluten and dairy free, it’s very easy to swap out a few ingredients to make it full of gluten and dairy.

Here’s what you’ll need for the muffins:

  • 2 cups of gluten free all-purpose flour with xantham gum in it
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of coconut oil
  • 1 cup of almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons of lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 11 oz of fresh blueberries (wash and remove steams)

For the glaze:

  • 1/2 cup of powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Mix wet ingredients into bigger bowl (egg, lemon juice, lemon zest, coconut oil, almond milk). In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients (GF flour, salt, sugar, baking powder) and then slowly combine the dry ingredients into the wet ones. Add the blueberries, mix well, then add to the muffin tin. Bake for 15-25 minutes. This will make 12 muffins. This is a thicker muffin so I did have to bake mine for about 22 minutes before they were done–it just depends on your oven. Once they have baked, let them cool for an hour or two. Make the glaze, then drizzle the glaze on top. ENJOY!

After these were baked, I had my in-laws and husband try them. They are not gluten and dairy free like I am but they gave the muffins a 10/10. Yay! I hope that you enjoy this recipe! Be sure to tag me in your photos! I’d love to see them!

XO Sam