baby, Opinion, Uncategorized

Don’t Put Your Faith Into Gender Old Wive’s Tales

A few months ago, my husband and I were over the moon delighted to find out we were pregnant! I faithfully used the Flo app on my phone to chart and analyze BBT and CM and all of these other crazy things that you just don’t think about until you’re really trying to conceive. I charted every menstrual symptom you can possibly have for the entire month of May (I really got down to being serious in May after no luck in March and April). Let me pause here. Flo is a free app. I downloaded it when I went off birth control in October and used it to chart my cycles, but this thing has a lot of features, and has some good articles based off of what you input into it. I know they have fancy gadgets with fancy apps now for tracking ovulation and getting pregnant, but before you throw down major bucks that you may not have – give Flo a try.

June 1st was calculated to be the first day of my period. I just so happened to have a digital pregnancy test handy at the house from where we had been trying so as I got ready for work, I took it. I didn’t think anything of it, I was so convinced I was about to start my period anyway (little did I know at the time that those period cramps I thought I was getting was really implantation) and low and behold I picked up that test and it was a BFP (Big Fat Positive!) I freaked out, I cried, my husband was still asleep in the next room. I took a picture of it on my phone because I didn’t believe it. I thought I was seeing things. I went to work, had a normal day, but rushed to Target as soon as I got off and bought another 2 pack of tests (Clear Blue – one with the old school plus sign and one digital). Did I tell anyone? Nope. I wanted more confirmation that I wasn’t crazy before I said anything. I took the old school test first thing the next morning and there wasn’t a lot happening with that plus sign. I ran some errands, got some food with my husband, and took the digital one around noon and as soon as the test got wet it popped back with a “Pregnant”. Again, another photo was needed. So I decided, that was all of the proof I needed – 2.5 positive pregnancy tests. I planned how I was going to tell my husband that evening and did so in the cutest little special way (to us at least). He was a happy shocked, he hugged me, I cried. The next day we told our parents. After my first doctor’s appointment we told my siblings and then after my first trimester, we told the world.

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I wanted a girl. I wanted a girl sooooo bad! My family wanted a girl. There are already 2 grandson’s and a girl was what everyone was waiting on. I wanted someone to do their hair, makeup, buy frilly pink things for, take to dance class, and be my Disney Princess who inherit my entire childhood full of dolls and collector Barbies.

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My husband said he didn’t really care, but I still think he was on team blue. My dad is an OBGYN and will tell you that no matter what you do, there’s a 50/50 shot on gender. Well, technically, there’s a 51% chance you’ll have a girl and 49% chance you’ll have a boy, but you get the picture.

I didn’t want to hear that there was nothing I could do to tip the scales in my favor. I researched and read every article that claimed if you eat this, do this, don’t do that, you’ll have a girl and followed them religiously.

When I got pregnant I started really paying attention to my symptoms and getting in tune with what was happening and here’s where the Old Wive’s Tales on Gender come into play. We’ve all heard them, some may be true for some but in all honesty, they’re just for fun and you can’t put an ounce of faith into them at all, but you can still hope and pray that there’s some truth to them.

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Morning Sickness: If you have it, it’s a girl, if you’re not sick, it’s a boy

 

They say if you have horrible morning sickness it’s a girl and if you’re lucky to escape it, it’s a boy. Well, first of all, let’s clarify “sickness”. You do not have to be throwing up everything but your shoes to have “morning sickness”. Morning sickness can be nausea and no vomiting. This was my case. I was so nauseous all day and night. I didn’t want to eat, the idea of food sometimes just made me more ill. I had a horrible aversion to meat. The thought of meat, look of it, smell of it, would make it worse. My husband grilled his food outside and ate it outside so I didn’t actually throw up. One day I had a burrito bowl from Chipotle and felt ok. I was going to take the leftovers for lunch and as I grabbed them out of the refrigerator the thought of guacamole and hard leftover rice consumed my soul and I thought I was going to throw up right then and there – I still feel this way about Chipotle – I will eat tacos and burritos from anywhere but I won’t touch Chipotle. I sympathize with women who spend a lot of the pregnancy (especially the first trimester) throwing up because that sounds like no one’s idea of a good time, but really, I felt like if I would have just been able to throw up I would have felt sooo much relief. Then I’m reminded of Kate Middleton and how she was stricken with horrible morning sickness in all three of her pregnancies and decided that maybe the nausea isn’t that bad after all.

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I give myself a big fat CHECK in the Morning Sickness Box: Girl

Baby’s Heart Rate: Anything over 140 is a girl, under 140, it’s a boy

At my first doctor’s appointment the heart rate was 170. At my last appointment when they were able to tell the gender, I was at 146. Please understand that your baby’s heart rate will be higher and will drop the more it develops – that’s normal, don’t be alarmed and think something’s wrong with the baby.

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Heart Rate: Girl

Carrying the Baby: High it’s a girl, Low it’s a boy

Alrighty, so I wasn’t a little skinny mini when I got pregnant, I already had a bit of pooch in my belly area (I like to think this is happy newlywed weight, don’t judge). When my baby bump started showing I was surprised that it seemed like I was getting bigger in the top of my belly rather than my lower belly considering that’s where the baby is. My husband touches around and above my belly button all the time saying “gosh, it’s tight! It’s like a drum!” For the record, my husband is allowed to touch the bump. I don’t know how I feel about others randomly coming up to me and wanting to touch my stomach.

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Position of Baby Bump: Girl

Mom’s Cravings: Sweet it’s a girl, Salty it’s a boy

FOOD! Oh it’s a pregnant woman’s DREAM, well, when you get past the feeling sick part.

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When I first got pregnant I wanted SWEET stuff and I wanted it ICE COLD. Think: popsicles, frozen fruit, juices with ice, cereal with ice cold milk. I had to run out and get a Berry Cheesequake Blizzard from DQ because it was the cold, icy, fruit sweetness that I craved and had to have. Then it started to progress into carbs and sweets: potatoes of all kinds, breads with real cream butter, danish, bagels, cookies, brownies, cake, cheesecake, donuts (but only from Donut Connection not those airy lack of substance Krispy Kreme ones). One night all I wanted for dinner was a corndog, cereal, and lime jello… so that’s what I did…

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Here lately the cravings have been for things of my childhood and things I haven’t had a for a long time: Big Macs, potato soup from Shoney’s salad bar, pan pizza crust from Pizza Hut (no other pizza will do and to be real, I just want the crust – that buttery delicious crust), Jello 1-2-3 (which is discontinued and makes my heart hurt), but I still want juices and all the sweets.

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I honestly don’t have a thing for salt. I think being pregnant makes the salt more pronounced so now if I eat anything that does have salt in it, it REALLY stands out like I just licked a block of salt. So gross.

Cravings: Girl

Sleeping On a Certain Side: Right it’s a girl, Left it’s a boy

This one I don’t put anything into because of my personal medical reasons. I HAVE to sleep on my left side. I have a pinched nerve or something in my lower back on my right side. I feel it all of the time, but it’s livable, however, when it flares up I can’t move. The only way that it doesn’t feel inflamed and like I’ve been shot or stabbed is if I sleep on my left side. I slept on my left side before I got pregnant and I still have to. I try when I can to get some right side in, especially now that I have one those glorious pregnancy body pillows. To no avail, it really starts to hurt and I have to switch to my left.

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Sleeping on the Left: Boy

Beauty: Stolen it’s a girl, Glowing it’s a boy

They say that little girls steal their mothers’ beauty. In my first and into my second trimester that could be correct. Or it could just be hormones. I feel like everything is just puffy – face, fingers, feet, belly, boobs… everything… I have that double chin thing going on and even my nose looks wider. I have more breakouts and they don’t just occur on your face either. On top of breaking out more, you can’t use acne treatment that has salicylic acid, BHA, Differin, Retinol, Tazorac, or anything related to these things in it because they’re linked to birth defects. I tried a cream cleanser from Burt’s Bees but I just don’t like it – it smells almost medicinal and doesn’t feel like it washes off clean. Also, you’re advised not to use cream hair removers and your skin is more sensitive so waxing may cause a lot more pain than normal. You get the pleasure of walking around like a zitty, hairy, puffy, monster.

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Beauty Has Been Stolen: Girl

Attitude: Moody it’s a Girl, Happy it’s a Boy

At my first doctor’s appointment, my husband asked the medical assistant when do I get to the point where I’ll become nicer. She said when the baby turns 18. I blame this one on hormones SO HARD. I cry at EVERYTHING. My husband pointed out how big my boobs have gotten and I cried feeling like a freak of nature. I cried at my kitchen not being clean to my standards. I have cried during the beginning of UP, during episodes of SVU, at the World Wildlife Federation commercials (but really, I cried at those before I was pregnant and I still got mad at the thought that some jackass is filming that snow leopard with it’s paw in the trap instead of helping it). I get SO MAD SO QUICKLY. I will go to zero to a hundred in .02 seconds. I will snap and say mean things. My tolerance for stupidity is non-existent. I am so easily annoyed and have no filter. But when no one is pissing me off and I’m fed I’m oh so very happy.

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Attitude Moody AF: Girl

Mayan Calendar: Both Even or Odd it’s a Girl, One Even and One Odd it’s a Boy

Ok, so the Mayan Gender Calendar predicts gender based off of your age at conception and the number of the month in which you conceived. If your age and month are both even or if they’re both odd then they predict you’ll have a girl. If your age is even and the month is odd (or vice versa) then you’re predicted to have a boy. Age of conception for me was 33, month of conception is 5 – both odd numbers.

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Mayan Prediction: Girl

Chinese Calendar

I don’t even know how to explain how the Chinese came up with this chart for predicting gender… and I’m not going to try… so I’ll just post it up here:

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Chinese Prediction: Girl

Key Test: Grab by the Narrow End it’s a girl, Grab by the Wide end it’s a boy

To me, I think this should be reversed, but hey, that’s just me. They say to lay a key on a table and if you go to pick it up and you grab the key by the narrow end (the part that goes into the door) it’s a girl. If you grab it by the wide end (the part you hold to turn) that it’s a boy.

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Key Test: Girl

Ring Test: Circles it’s a girl, Swings Back n Forth it’s a boy

This one fascinates me. I think it’s because the ring can be completely still and then suddenly start to move. Now that could just be the fact that I don’t have steady hands, but that’s ok. I’ve also seen some predictors that say it will circle for a boy and swing back and forth for a girl so who’s to say who’s actually right in this case. So I’m just going to go with the one above. The tale is that if you put your wedding band on a piece of string (some even say a strand of your hair) and place it over your baby bump that it will begin to move and whether it circles or sways that it will predict the gender of your baby.

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Ring Test: Girl

Hands: Soft and Warm it’s a girl, Dry and Cold it’s a Boy

If your hands are soft and warm (especially warmer than usual, bonus if your feet are hot too) then it’s said to be that you’re having a girl. If your hands are cold and dry and you feel yourself running for the hand cream, it’s a boy. My extremities have been warmer and I thank my Cherokee heritage that they’re soft from our naturally oily skin. However, keep in mind that the more pregnant you become and the more frequent your bathroom trips become, your hands are probably going to get a little dry from frequent washing.

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Hands Warm and Pillowy Soft: Girl

Out of 12 of the most famous Old Wive’s Tales for Predicting Gender we have:

11 for a girl       1 for a boy

Good thing I didn’t run out and start buying all pink based on these because we just found out we’re having a BOY!!!

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I think everyone was worried about me being disappointed that it was a boy. Hell, I was worried that I was going to be disappointed that it was a boy because we had all wanted a girl so bad. My husband says he didn’t care as long as it’s healthy, but I secretly think he wanted a boy all along and my FIL in over the moon that it’s a boy and his last name will carry on. But when you feel that little baby move for the first time and you’re sure it was a movement and not just indigestion – a real flutter of movement and you see their little hand on that screen wave at you and their little heart beating, it really doesn’t matter what color you’re painting your nursery. In the end, you’ll have a happy healthy baby – the only person alive who knows what your heart sounds like from the inside and that’s just beautiful.

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Opinion, Romance, Story

It’s All About That Right Wedding Music

My husband and I got married back in October. To this day, people are still talking about my wedding playlist and asking how we came up with such an eclectic assortment. I didn’t want the norm, I can tell you that much. I didn’t want to be a cookie cutter bride with everything looking like I bought it at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. In fact, I made the majority of my centerpieces. I had a Disney themed wedding, each table with a different Disney movie or park attraction theme. I had no bridesmaids or groomsmen but a single flower girl who wore a sweet simple pink dress and a floral and wire Mickey ear headband that I had made. My husband’s tie clip had a hidden Mickey on it. My husband was a very sweet sport about it, considering all little girls start planning their wedding from childhood and we all have a vision of what we want. As long as we took our honeymoon at the beach, anything for the wedding was free game.

The “Sit Around and Wait” Music

I am not one of those people who is going to make people sit for God knows how long listening to classical music. A boring sonata or two may have given people the impression that this was an uptight, elegant affair. What better way to give people a glimpse into the theme and suck them in than having this music that’s normally boring and stuffy turn into music that played on my theme? I opted to have classic Disney tunes on piano play.

Parents Processional

My father in law walked my husband’s stepmother in, my nephew walked my mother and my mother in law in to “When You Wish Upon a Star”. At the beginning of all Disney movies, they play a rif from this song while you see the Tinkerbell and Cinderella’s Castle. I knew it was perfect and sweet and went along with the theme.

Flower Girl Processional

I wanted my flower girl to have a sweet special moment to herself. I had her walk down the aisle to an instrumental version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”. Why you may ask? This one had special meaning to me and my husband. One of my favorite movies of all time is The Wizard of Oz. When my husband officially asked me to be his girlfriend, he took me out to dinner at one of the fanciest restaurants in all of Charleston. When we went home, we cuddled up and watched The Wizard of Oz and during the movie, he officially asked me to be his girlfriend (aaaawwwwwww!!!!!) So it was very important to me to have this song in our wedding.

The Bride Processional

I’ve never been one to conform to traditional in what people would probably expect. I was not walking down to the damn wedding march or Cannon D. Nope, not me. I’ve been to too many weddings where that has been the song of choice and the majority of them have ended up with people being miserable or just ended. I chose to go with a song, written by my first love George Harrison, that has often been said to be “the most romantic song a man could sing to a woman” and man do I agree! I didn’t want words sang though as I walked down the aisle because what happens if I start singing??? What happens if I end on a weird part of the song??? We didn’t do a rehearsal so I wasn’t chancing weird things happening. Instead what I got was a sweet moment with me and my dad. I tried not to cry, and I didn’t get teary eyed until he gave me away and gave my hand a firm squeeze before he sat down (and QUE the waterworks now as I write this!)

The Recessional Music

There’s that “send off” moment when everything is said and done and you’re now legally wed and you just need a song that ‘gets’ it. This song for me was “Cupid” by Sam Cooke. I remember watching Innerspace when I was younger and having such a crush on Dennis Quaid (don’t act like you didn’t for a minute either). He was so handsome, and the moment this song starts playing and his towel gets caught in the cab door and he’s left to stand in the middle of the road naked while his true love leaves :::sigh::: but I feel like this song kind of resonated with me and my husband. When we met, I wasn’t looking for a relationship and I was very naive on picking up on those “Hey, I really like you” signs he was laying down. I almost feel like he said a little prayer to Cupid for me to get it.

Announcing the Bridal Party

Yeah, I went a little hipster I quess with this. “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars is just FUN and it’s like “Hell YEAH” we’re about to have a great time!!!! That and the fact that our parents are in their 50’s-70’s made it that much more hilarious on my part to see them enter with this. Oh yeah, and my dad also got a little preview of the music and did a hilarious little jig to this on his front porch, so, yeah, it just had to happen because that’s all I was going think about when this song played.

Bride and Groom Entrance Music

Did I really Rick Roll my wedding? Depends on how you look at it. “Never Gonna Give You Up” is actually mine and my husband’s song! Who knew right?! Where did we come up with that song???? Well, we were watching Family Guy one night and it was when Peter and Lois meet and go to the dance at the country club and it’s a very Back to the Future type of moment. It dawned on me while they’re talking about “songs” that me and my husband didn’t have a “song”. I didn’t know if people even still had “songs”. Brian is starts belting out Rick Astley and my husband lovingly says “that’s it!” What????? Really??? YES!!!! I loved this song since my childhood and he liked it too and it just made sense. 80’s one hit wonder becoming our song? Done…

First Dance

Anyone who knows me, knows my life long obsession with David Bowie and Labyrinth is REAL. Like, I watch that movie at least 10 times a year, I have a Jarreth doll, I wore out my VHS copy, the soundtrack was the first CD I ever owned, the nickname for my dog is Lady Dinnimus because she looks a little like Sir Dinnimus. She just does… I had also recently turned my husband onto David Bowie as he believes Lazarus is one of the best, trippiest music videos he’s ever seen. It just made sense that our first dance had to be to “As the World Falls Down” by David Bowie.

Father Daughter Dance

Get me right in the feels with a special wedding moment. Here in West by God, a lot of girls choose overly sappy songs like “Butterfly Kisses” or some sad as hell country song that will make most guests slit their wrists with rusty spoons and hang themselves by their burlap table runners. Again, not me! I didn’t pick out my Father Daughter dance song, my daddy did and I think that it has soooo much more meaning that way. His song of choice was “Pretty Maids In a Row” by The Eagles. Honestly, I think he chose this song because we both love The Eagles and because it has lyrics such as “why must we grow up so fast?” “and the story book comes to a close, gone are the ribbons and bows”.

Mother Son Dance

My husband is not big on this kind of stuff, he’s not big on dancing, sappy songs, or anything that is traditional wedding. I played him 100s of songs and the one we settled on was “In My Life” by The Beatles. We’re both fans of The Beatles, and let’s be real, it’s just a good song.

CAKE!

I did do corny with my Cake Cutting song, not going to lie. I like Maroon 5, I like happy sweet poppy goodness. I just think of weddings when I hear “Sugar” by Maroon 5. So I chose this song, it was our cake cutting song, and months later is when my husband tells me he hates Maroon 5…

Bouquet Toss

Most people would choose “Girls Just Want to Have Fun” or “Single Ladies”. I love me some Cyndi Lauper. I hate Beyonce. That’s right. I said it. I think Beyonce is overrated, overhyped, and I just can’t. “Single Ladies” reminds me of being in my 20’s and watching lonely single girls feel better about themselves. Not my cup of tea. Instead, I went with “John Wayne” by Lady Gaga. My mother pointed out that this song really don’t have anything to do with being single or whatever, but I didn’t care. I wanted “Move Bitch” by Ludacris and she told me it was too vulgar. She never really listened to the lyrics to “John Wayne”, but to me it described how I felt when I met my husband. I was sick of the everyday guys because they had been all the same and now I have my wild as hell husband who knows no fear is forever keeping me on my toes. Like when we ended up at the hospital getting his face stitched up on Easter… or when I come home and he’s bought a $550 weight set… constant surprises. All girls want that right?

Garter Toss

How can you have a “sexy” moment in a wedding and have it NOT include Prince??? Is it even a wedding if Prince doesn’t play??? I don’t think so. So not only did we have Prince, but it was “Kiss” because of course it was. Do I really even have to explain in depth why you need Prince in your wedding? Didn’t think so..

Sweet Moments

When planning your wedding, people will tell you it goes by fast, and they’re not kidding. I feel like there was half of a room of people I didn’t get to talk to, my grandfather snuck out at some point and I don’t know when that happened, people will pull you in 5,000 different directions for photos and event moments, and speeches and people don’t want to stay at a wedding for the full 6 hours you paid for the DJ. So you need to take a few moments to yourself and those you love. I did this with a few songs. One was “September” and “Land Down Under” for my oldest nephew because they are inside jokes between the two of us and that child decided he was “too old” to dance at a wedding with his aunt.

Another moment that I loved is when my aunt and I hit the dance floor to “Marry Me” by Dolly Parton. It was the only country song that played and I know it came out of NO WHERE for people so let me explain. My original theme for my wedding was kind of like a Sweet Home Alabama feel. My grandmother, who unfortunately passed before I got married, introduced me to Dolly Parton and we loved watching her movies so Dolly has a special place in my heart.

Another band that I absolutely love is Fleetwood Mac. Stevie Nicks is my inner witchy gypsy soul come to life. I love her version of “Crystal” that she did for Practical Magic and when that song came on, I found my husband and pulled him to the dance floor and made him dance with me because I felt like after all of the photos and little traditional wedding get together times, that we had not spent our reception together at all. I needed my husband and I needed him with my Stevie

So there you have it. My wedding soundtrack. I hope that answers some questions for those who have asked, inspires some who are freaking out over these details, and makes those of you who weren’t there feel like you were.

Opinion, Story, Uncategorized

Mother’s Day When You’re Trying To Become a Mom

Mother’s Day is suppose to be a time to celebrate the sweet ones who birthed us or raised us. Sometimes though, it’s a painful reminder. If you’ve lost a parent, lost a child, or are trying to have a child, seeing all of these cheerful posts can hurt.

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After my mom lost her mother in 2014, she had us stop celebrating Mother’s Day with her. It was a painful reminder to her that she couldn’t call her mom, send her a card, or tell her Happy Mother’s Day. Almost four years later, it’s safe to say she’s still in the Anger phase of grief, I can’t blame her – but more on that later. My mom tells us that she doesn’t need a special day of the year to feel our love and I fully agree with that statement.

When Motherhood is a sorority that you’re desperately trying to pledge to, rejection can be hard. I read an article this morning that if you’ve only been trying for 8 months that you have no cause to complain, but I’m going to have to disagree.

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Trying to plan a pregnancy is hard, especially when you have so many items that could be going against you. They say look at your mom and her pregnancies to get an idea of your own. My mom took fertility drugs to get pregnant with me because she didn’t ovulate and she desperately wanted to get pregnant. With my brother, she wasn’t planning, didn’t think she could with all of the difficulties she had with me, and of course when she wasn’t trying or thinking about it, she got pregnant.

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I was also on birth control for 21 years. Yeup, that’s correct – 21 years. I was put on it when I was 11 to regulate my cycles because 4 periods a month was more than me or my parents could take as I was a little angsty. I tried several different oral contraceptives, but was on the Nuvaring for like 9-10 years. Naturally, I was naive thinking everything I read about “oral birth control” wrecking havoc on your body couldn’t possibly have anything to do with me because I wasn’t on oral birth control.

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When my husband and I got married, I took out my Nuvaring and never looked back. You hear all of these wonderful things about how you’ll lose weight and your body will go back to normal, you’ll have a sex drive again. Well, some of these things are true. In my case, I gained weight, my hormones have gone crazy, acne, facial hair, emotions are all out of whack. If your sex drive goes up and through the roof then you cry thinking your husband will have nothing to do with you because you’re a fat, hair, pimply, wildebeest.

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I went off in October. I had a normal 28 day cycle in November and December. In January I was late. I was nauseous, my breasts hurt, my back hurt, I could smell everything, I peed all the time, every sign in the world was pointing to “you’re pregnant AF”. I ran out and bought all different kinds of pregnancy tests. All of them came back negative.

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Confused and defeated, I was told “well, maybe you tested too early. You need to wait a week”. I waited a week, tested again – first thing in the morning – negative. I didn’t get my period in February either.

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I began to freak out. What was wrong with my body? I started to research the internet, anything I could get my hands on. I kept seeing articles where if you had been on birth control, it could take a year or more for your body to begin ovulating again. That the periods I could have had in November and December were flukes, they were left overs from where my body had been on autopilot for so long. I finally got my period back in March. In April when I started feeling those same familiar feelings of nausea and fatigue, I took more tests… all negative.. then I got my period.

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Everything still pointed to “it’s going to take a year for your body to go back to normal”. At 33, I didn’t want to hear that it could be a year before I could even really begin trying to have a baby.

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This isn’t how I planned things. Life never goes as planned though right? In my 20’s I thought I’d be married by like 27-28, have my first baby or at least be pregnant by 30. I didn’t like the idea of being an “old mom”. In my 20’s, I finished college, started a long “career” in retail due to an economy collapse which made PR jobs a nightmare to land, especially in a non-urban area like in WV, and completed a master’s degree. I started going to bars and living that life – all of my friends went to bars, I dated here and there until I met someone who I thought was going to be “real”. Turned out he was a real loser – no career goals or ambition, a drug problem he tried to hide, cheating he did an even worse job of hiding, verbally and emotionally abusive, and just made a fool of me for 4 years.

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When I finally found my inner bad bitch and walked away I felt… free… I didn’t have someone blowing up my cell phone accusing me of all the things they themselves were doing. I didn’t have to question every girl who was on his Facebook or the Plenty of Fish profile he told me hadn’t been active in 5 years (coughlifecough) or any female who bumrushed him in public really… most importantly, I was no longer the “crazy ‘ex’ girlfriend who refused to believe it was over” or whatever lie he was telling girls as to why his relationship status hadn’t changed to single. I was FREE for the first time in 4 years and it felt AMAZING. I felt like a crippled bird who learned to fly again.

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I was going to do ME for a change. I started working out and losing weight. I quit smoking. I wasn’t going to bars as much as I was hanging out with friends and re-connecting with people. If a rebound happened in that then oh well. I needed to find ME again and did what I had to do to feel something for myself again. I also started to think about my future. I made appointments to see houses as I was in the market for real estate.

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I showed up to my first ever real estate appointment and when I was expecting an older guy with a potbelly and several grandkid photos in his wallet and ended up meeting a young athletic guy with blonde hair and bright blue eyes and a killer smile. I thought this guy has to have a girlfriend so any romantic thoughts were kicked out of my head. At the end of our appointment, he Facebooked me. I started receiving text from him that I could have sworn were meant for his friends and not me. It really did not dawn on me that this guy was into me at all. Even our first date was not something I was suspecting as a date. Maybe it was because I wasn’t use to being thought of in any real way. Maybe it’s because I never thought a guy would try so hard to get me to come over to make dinner for me.

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Almost five years later we have: bought 2 homes, become landlords, adopted a doggie, made career changes, started businesses, suffered loss and tragedy, gotten engaged, gotten married, and began planning a family. I never thought 5 years ago that I would have someone in my life that I wanted all of this with after everything I had gone through. My husband is truly my best friend, my other half. He’s my person. Words cannot describe how in love I am with my husband. A little of him, a little of me would make one gorgeous creature. We have discussed baby names, nursery themes, we agree 100% on how we want our children to be raised…

And every time a pregnancy test comes back negative it’s a soul crushing ‘oh wait… not your turn”.

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I have loaded up on prenatal vitamins, Vitamin D, and as we’re trying to have a girl, I’ve taken to a gender friendly diet (at least according to 1000 different articles on the internet), I have red raspberry leaf tea on my next grocery list. I have 2 different ovulation trackers on my phone and log BBT, cervical mucus, all activity, and all symptoms.

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Still, I feel bitter. I feel jealous. I feel a sense of unfairness that some figure from above has decided it’s not the right time for me… I feel pissed that medical professionals say “well, you haven’t even been trying for a full year yet so…. you can’t be upset…”.

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I know that we have yet to be labeled “infertile” or “reproductively challenged” so others may be shaking their head telling me I don’t know heartache in this department yet, but maybe you shouldn’t be so quick to judge because you either haven’t been here or worse, you have been here.

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I hope that this is the last babyless Mother’s Day, and my thoughts and heart are out there to all of the hopeful Some Day Mommas.

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Opinion, Romance, Story, Uncategorized

Musical Budget Date Night Idea

Why is it that some of the best “date” nights really just involve basically staying at home?

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My husband and I are not the people who like to go out on date night once a week or twice a month or whatever people do. We work Monday-Friday and because he owns his own business, the work never truly ends. When I get home on Friday I don’t want to go out. I want to put on comfy pants and rescue my boobs from boob jail and have a beer or a glass of wine or a glass of whatever strikes my fancy at the time. Saturday is the busiest night ever to go out and I don’t want to deal with crowds of rude people. We’re not a chain restaurant people anyways. Going out can also be fancy and expensive. Getting all dolled up to spend $100 at dinner or $50 on a movie is just not my idea of a good time.

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As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized what a homebody I really am. I also realized how much I like cheap tasty bad for me food. When I was starting to diet and exercise for our wedding, we started doing a once a week cheat meal on Fridays. I’ve cooked all week, I’ve worked all week, I want a night to relax with some guilty pleasures. This is our night to get pizza, Chinese, Mexican, to go from one of our favorite local restaurants (I *will* but doing reviews on our favorite local spots) or the one fast food staple we’ll actually eat, Taco Bell.

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Random side story on Taco Bell. As I stated before, we are not really a chain food people, we’re not even really fast food people. Our idea of fast food is Panera. I hadn’t had Taco Bell in probably 5 years or something crazy like that. All of a sudden, I started seeing commercials for their $5 Cravings Box. I don’t know why but I wanted one. I wanted one so bad. Little did I know, my husband’s dirty little mind was thinking the same thing. We drive to Taco Bell and order the Cravings Box and this neat little fast food present was full of nacho chips, a burrito supreme, crunchy taco, and a cheesy gordita crunch. All of that plus a drink, it’s SUCH a good deal and SO much food! I however I’m not a big fan that they now replaced the nachos with cinnamon twists and swapped out the burrito supreme for a 5 layer beef burrito. I DEMAND the ORIGINAL! My Taco Bell is also pretty on point with their presentation too. Every item looks like it needs to be photographed for their menu so I can appreciate the additional love they give their food.

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So as corny as this may sound as a “date” night, you could actually make it really fun, special, and meaningful. It’s not about saving money, that’s just an awesome benefit. It’s about hanging out with your chosen person and enjoying their company and cutting loose!

We go and grab our Friday Night Special. No matter where we go, we drive together to pick it up. Our fav Chinese and pizza places allow for online ordering which is very convenient because as soon as you hit “Submit” on your order and jump in the car, it’s ready by the time you get there and you don’t need to worry about additional delivery fees.

We will open our feast and yes, put it on plates. We’re not total cavemen. Grab a glass of wine or a few beers and park our butts on the couch. Then, we grab the remote and turn our Firestick to YouTube (or most recently the internet browser since Google and Amazon can’t play nice with each other). We then will spend hours watching music videos! Crazy right?! Lord knows MTV isn’t going to show these gems. However, we have learned to appreciate and love each other’s favorite artist. My husband is like 4.5 years younger than me and had a different upbringing when it came to music than I did. I was fortunate enough to be born in the mid eighties and get to be fully conscious of the 90’s where I submerged myself in alternative music, but I’m still my parents child and was raised on The Moody Blues, The Eagles, Alice Cooper, etc… I’m a fan of anything I can sing and or dance to.

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My husband has said that some of his favorite times with me has been me educating him on music through the videos on our “date” nights.

So how can you really make this “special”? If you know your significant other’s favorite artist, try creating a playlist in advance of their music videos. Play the videos of  songs that have importance to you: song that was playing when you first met, had your first date, had your first kiss, etc… For example, I have a playlist of our wedding music.  It was special to us and whenever I hear those songs, it brings such happy memories. (I have had people ask about our music choices so I will dedicate a whole new post to going over it.)

This is a night to discover new music, new artists, new songs from your favorite artists, or that the songs Family Guy inserts for comedy effect are real (yes, my husband had to learn through me that “Rock Lobster” by the B-52’s was a real song, not something Seth McFarland made up). Dance in your living room, perform for your date, get as crazy as you want to – er, just don’t get the cops called for a noise complaint…

Here’s a few of my favorites that have become his favorites:

Opinion, Story

Workplace Etiquette – Bathrooms

I’m sure this is bound to be a multi-part post, but for real, what is it about sharing a *work* space that turns people into the most disgusting pigs of all time? Or are people truly like this in their every day life too? If so, this is what’s wrong with the world.

My number 1 Workplace Etiquette Pet Peeve is probably other people’s bathroom habits.

When I worked in retail, I expected the bathroom to be a place of whoa’s. At one of the stores I worked in (thankfully on my day off) it appeared as if someone had taken Alli and ate too much fat in one meal and blew the bathroom up. Honestly, I’ve never heard of such a thing being true, it was always said in expression, but no… a lady had gone into the women’s bathroom and had massive explosive diarrhea and it wound up in the toilet, on the toilet, on the floor, on the wall behind the toilet, and the shitty panties were left in the trashcan… EW. Yeah, in my experience, most ladies who use the ladies room are not ladies in the manners and etiquette department…

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Now, I work in a professional office with professional people and I swear, the bathroom behaviors truly are not any better. I question things a lot… like how hard is it to flush all your business down the toilet? Flush it twice ok? A courtesy flush…

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Why is there soap in the floor? Running down the wall? Is this the building that drips soap?

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Why do you feel like you have to announce to the office that you’re going to the bathroom? If you make a mess in there of any kind, we now know who to blame…

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Why is there shredded toilet paper? I know we have to keep buying this cheap horrible 1 ply toilet paper because it’s cheap. It doesn’t help my life when you struggle to tear your portion of it off properly and it’s mangled or if you’ve just let it go down to dirty floor. No one should wipe themselves with floor debris toilet paper.

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Who keeps buying these horribly scented air freshener sprays? Do they think they’re working? They’re not. All I smell is stale apple cinnamon potpourri that’s been sitting on Aunt Edna’s coffee table for 5 years mixed with poo-stank. No one thinks pina colada poop is a pleasant office smell. “Shit the Bed Fred Clean Linen” shouldn’t be a thing. Maybe we can stop wasting money on sprays to mask what you did and get some of that essential oil spray to spray in the toilet before the darkness happens..

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Why is there water EVERYWHERE?! Did the toilet overflow? Did you shake your wet hands all over the place trying to dry them before you grabbed a paper towel? Did you shower in here? Please… at least tell me it’s water…

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Normally, I’m one of the first people here. I also work in a predominately female office. We have two single person bathrooms – one for the public and one that is employees only with a pass code lock on it. As being one of the first people here, I can safely say I know that I’m one of the first people to use the bathroom – the first if the seat is up because that means the custodian scrubbed the toilet and left the seat up as his sign to say “ladies, the toilet is clean, please be the first to touch the clean seat.” At least, that’s what I hope he’s saying….

Anyways, I got to the office one day and noticed that the toilet seat was up (so it’s clean) but someone had gone into the bathroom and washed their hands and threw the paper towels in the floor… In. The. Floor. right in front of the trashcan. Then I walk in far enough to see the inside of the toilet, it’s been used and there are fecal streaks running down the bowl and there’s still a few solid pieces in the toilet. GROSS! I flushed the rest of this person’s business down the toilet and walked to the other side of the room to wait. There are two trashcans in this bathroom and they’re both empty, as the paper towels this animal used are in the floor. When I feel it’s safe I return to the toilet, do what little business I needed to do (all this work for so very little..) I reach for the toilet paper and notice it’s a brand new roll… I’m the first one to use it… and here’s where the questions come in:

Who poops with the lid up? Did you poop and then put the lid back up? Were you in such a hurry that you forgot to put the seat down? How did you not fall in? Did you do a hover poop?

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Why am I using a brand new roll of toilet paper, but there’s not an empty roll in any of the trashcans? Did you not *use* toilet paper? What kind of savage are you?

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Would it have killed you to put the paper towels in the trashcan? You were so close, why would you have left them in the floor??? Did you use paper towels instead of toilet paper? Did you leave them there because you didn’t want to pick them up and risk touching your own dirt?

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Seriously???? WHY DO I HAVE TO HAVE THIS MANY QUESTIONS WHEN IT COMES TO USING A SHARED BATHROOM!?

Story

You Will Never Have a Non-Issue Wedding

When all little girls begin planning their wedding in their toddler days with a pillow case on the back of their head as a veil, they never imagine all of the issues that could arise.

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When women get engaged and begin sharing their news and photos of the ring with loved ones near and far, they never imagine all of the issues that could arise.

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I have determined that no matter how prepared you think you are with your wedding planning – even if you’ve hired an event planner – you will still have issues that you never in a million years expected. Things will be much harder than you anticipated and the best advice anyone can have is to “breathe”.

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I recently got married and the day of the wedding, no one knew what all issues had come up or that there was ever a problem to be had. I did not have an expensive extravagant wedding. It was low-key, less than 100 guests, and low-cost too, but it was sweet and personal and that’s what weddings should be.

So, what could have gone wrong during such a small intimate affair?

  1. Save the Date Curse – I picked out my Save the Dates, had them printed, they were beautiful and simple and in my wedding colors. We had gone over the guest list what seemed like 100 times. As soon as I put my Save the Dates in the mailbox, it was like it cursed people’s relationships. Several relationships, including my cousins, imploded for one reason or another – cheating, boredom, both… some of it was heartbreaking, some of it was drama, and some of it was probably for the best. However, what’s a person to do when they’ve invited both partners and they’re no longer together? You break a “wedding etiquette” rule and you have to pull the invite from one or both parties. It may be rude, but when you’ve shelled out a lot of money on the biggest day of your life, you don’t need someone else’s drama looming over top or causing an issue for anyone. Image result for break up gif
  2. Minister Mishap – When it came time to choose someone to marry us, I went to a friend who was ordained. They knew us both and I thought they would be perfect to do so. What I got in return was a bunch of questions: what are the colors, the theme, the required attire, and if their significant other I had never met was invited. Hm, ok, a simple yes or no would have worked, but I told them to take a few days and get back to me. The very next day my future mother in law asked for us to get married by an actual minister from a church – not someone ordained from the internet. That seemed to be doable considering my friend never (I repeat, never even to this day) told me if they would do it. We received the names of 3 different ministers who might be able to marry us and not.a.single.one contacted us back even if it was just to tell us they couldn’t/wouldn’t – not very Christ like if you ask me. My sister had a friend at work who was ordained and said she could marry us. 3 weeks before our wedding she tells us, she’ll be out-of-town, so she gave us the name and number of someone else who could possibly marry us and her response was, “uh, yeah, I can if no one else will”. Seriously?! Is that something a bride wants to hear? Someone basically saying that they have no desire to do it? I was in tears on my bed and my loving fiance wasn’t having that so he picked up the phone and started making calls. By some grace of God, one of his nearest and dearest friends who lives out-of-state had to be ordained for their job on their military base and was able to do our wedding. Not only was he available and legally able to do it, but he said “I’d be honored” and that meant the world to me and I bawled my eyes out with happy tears. All of the disappointments along the way, led us to the perfect person to marry us. A friend, a true friend, who knew us, made it personal and became a little wedding planner in his own right. Image result for priest gif Image result for priest gif
  3. Freakin’ Florists – I originally planned on using the same florist who put together my grandmother’s funeral flowers. However, at some point between my grandmother’s funeral and the wedding planning period, this woman had lost it – became a cougar and lost control of her business. People often didn’t get their flowers, or they’d get someone else’s flowers, no bill and then received it months later with huge late fees. I just couldn’t trust that this woman could pull through. A friend had suggested one of her family member’s so I went to their shop and I should have just turned around and left. There wasn’t a single flower to be had but just a bunch of primitive knickknacks and a tanning salon. When I finally got to speak with her, I expressed I didn’t want anything that was in the FTD books, I had ideas with me and wanted something different. She took pictures of what I wanted and stated she’d have to put some things together and the price would be based off of the flowers that she used. 2 months went by, 2 moons had passed and I hadn’t heard a word from her so I went to a different florist. This woman sat down and talked with me, took notes, made copies of my flower inspiration photos and everything. She asked me how many grandmother corsage I was going to need and not being prepared for such a question as I no longer have either one of my grandmothers, I cried – I cried in the flower shop. I was quoted a price and the shop was paid that day. The shop wasn’t open on Sundays (which is when my wedding was set to happen) and we had discussed meeting early in the morning to pick up the flowers the day of the wedding. I called the Friday before and was told that there was no order for me. Are, you, freaking, kidding me!? No flower order? For flowers I had already paid for??? At that point I was about to cry on the phone and the owner told me not to cry, she was going to make it right. What would have happened had I not called???? I would have been flower-less. When I did receive my flowers, they weren’t what I had wanted, but they were pretty except for some huge gaudy bows. Like sheer ribbon bows the size of Texas on my bouquet and on the handles of my flower girl basket. I was ripping off bows 2 hours before my wedding before I would let flowers be photographed. Image result for florist gif
  4. That Tech Didn’t Nail It – I had taken Friday before my wedding off work. I needed to get my nails done, meet with our minister, and pack all of centerpieces up so yeah, work was the last thing I was thinking of. I go to a place I normally go to get my nails done because it was close to home. I got there close to opening and had to wait to be seen, but whatever. I wrote myself in for a mani/pedi and selected my toe nail color. I was going to do blue as one of my wedding colors was blue and I thought it could be a cute “something blue” but then I saw *the* color, “Mimosas for the Mr. and Mrs.” by OPI. Done deal. I went to the blessed massage chair and got comfortable when a nail tech I had never had sits in front of me and asks me if I wanted her to trim my toenails. “No, ma’am please don’t touch the talons. At the same time don’t buff the centaur boots I call feet either, considering that you’re asking me if I want you to actually do the service I’m paying for.” Whatever. I let her do her thing which quite honestly was probably 50% focused on me and 50% focused on The Price is Right which was playing on the TV beside of us. I was texting people and coordinating things and answering 1000 questions, I honestly wasn’t paying attention to her. It wasn’t until on my honeymoon that I noticed that she hadn’t painted the nail to the edge and had only put one coat on my baby piggies.  So, forward to her asking me what I want done to my nails. “Well, they’re jacked looking so I will need tips, I *hate*the harsh white line of traditional French tips so I want them ombred”. I did not think that this would be a huge ordeal honestly. It seemed like a simple request. I had never had my nails ombred, but the owner had just done an ombre set on the girl before me so I knew that they knew what I was talking about. I just had never had anything like that done before so I didn’t know what to expect. Everything was going pretty normal until she started slapping white polish in a very aggressive way on the tips. Seeing as how I had no clue how the ombred effect was achieved, I just assumed that this was normal. Nope, nothing normal other than she was giving me a normal basic blah harsh white tip. She started cleaning up the polish into a harsh line and I spoke up and said, “ok, so when does the ombre happen”. She sheepishly looked up from my nails and told me that she (wish I was lying) zoned out on what she was doing and in order to do an ombred look she would have had to do something completely different from what she had done and so now I have this, but not to fret because she was going to be putting a thick line of glitter between the white and the pink. Um…. NO! I just told you I hate white tips and you’re giving me harsh white tips and drawing even more attention to it by throwing glitter, the HERPES of the crafting world on my nails… I’ve shown you a photo of what I’m paying for my nails to look like and you’ve offered me the glitter white tips of a stripper named Cinnamon. I then sat there while she tried to fix the error. 3 hours later I finally left the nail salon, pissed off, not relaxed, angry that I was still charged full price for all of the crap I had to sit through, my nails still weren’t to my liking, and the acrylic was over shot on a nail or two so I had to go home and FILE my nails that I just had done so they wouldn’t be digging into the flesh of my finger. Lesson learned, I will continue to only get SNS gel nail dips done at the salon near my work I had my engagement nails done at. Image result for nails gif
  5. The Walking Undependable – There are some people that you just can’t depend on… or you can depend on them to be undependable, so take that however you want to. I was very thankful for those who gave up their Saturdays to help me decorate. Lord knows I needed a young priest and an old priest to just calm my mother down. However, there were people who said from day one that they would help and they were no where to be found, instead, calling and saying “oh, but I need to do this today… sorry..” you’re not sorry, you had something else you wanted to do instead of owning your word to someone. My mother screamed and cussed people out that day and I still have yet to figure that out because it was the people who actually showed up to help. She over reacted and became very dramatic. So much in fact that I just couldn’t deal and began to feel physically nauseous (actually that’s my new response to people being overly dramatic for no damn reason in my presence, I want to throw up). My mother also took on so much that I asked her not to that she became overwhelmed and had a lot of freakouts. I should be use to this. It happens at every family gathering we have. With that being said, please understand how much I love my mommy and that anything I’ve said here, I said it to her face awhile ago. At least she’s dependable right? Related image
  6. Rain on the Parade – A week out, my outdoor wedding forecast showed it would be 75 degrees, sunny but with cloud coverage (which the photographers said was the optimal weather situation for photographing an outdoor wedding. 6 days out that changed to a slight chance of rain to 100% chance of rain all day. It rained when I got up, it rained when I got my hair done, it rained when I got ready, it rained during my first look photos, and it rained during the ceremony that we had to move into the reception space. I was so upset about the rain in the days leading up to the wedding, but they day of, I didn’t care. Was it what I had envisioned? Nope. Not at all. By the time the wedding day rolled around, the only thing that mattered was that I was marrying my best friend and anything else seemed trivial.Image result for wedding rain gif
  7. People Will Make it All About Them – I said if anyone got engaged at my wedding, I would purposely give birth at their baby shower, or die at their funeral, ya know, whichever. I can’t stand people who try to take everything away from someone else. No matter what, someone will try. Whether it’s an outfit that draws all sorts of attention, someone gets sloshed drunk, ruins photos or photobombs every freakin picture you’ve paid to have taken, or tries to do so insensitive that no one believes it when you share the story because it’s just too much. It might be a friend, it may end up being a family member, but be aware and forwarned that someone will do *something*, can’t say what because it’s different for everyone. Image result for selfish gif Image result for selfish gif Image result for selfish gif
  8. Missing FOB – My wedding was due to start in meer minutes. I had taken first looks, everyone was getting lined up, my mouth was crazy dry, and I was getting nervous (mainly that I would do something stupid like lock my knees and end up passing out during my vows or something). That’s when someone has to tell me that my father is not there. He had driven back to the house because he thought he left the garage door open and should be on his way. Not only was it the Father of Bride that was MIA, it was my brother, and my nephew who was escorting my mom and mother in law down the aisle. No wedding has *ever* started on time. If you find yourself in a similar situation, realize it’s normal and everyone *WILL* wait on you because you *ARE* the bride.  Image result for father of the bride gif

At the end of the day, everything was fine. We were married, it’s legal, I’m a wife, and I’m married to my best friend (I’ll write another blog on why I truly think that everything out there who says your husband shouldn’t be your BFF is wrong in my humbled opinion). I got to have my first dance to David Bowie, I got to dance with my father, the rain was only like an annoying misty type rain, everyone raved about the decor of my Disney themed wedding and how my wedding was just perfect – they laughed they cried it was laid back and everyone enjoyed themselves. My husband is stuck with me until death do we part.

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Health, Opinion

10 Scale-less Victories

That time of the year is creeping upon us… bathing suit season. I haven’t been in a bathing suit in years. I haven’t had time to sunbathe or be in a pool since my mid 20’s. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not just pale, I’m becoming transparent. It’s probably not healthy to be this blindingly white.

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A lot of folks make that New Year’s Resolution to themselves to start January 1st to get back in the gym and start to lose that weight to be bikini season ready. This is why you’ll see your weekly ad for Target the week after Christmas, but before New Year’s will always have gym clothes, workout dvds, water bottles, weights, yoga mats, and FitBits on sale. They know people will buy this stuff with good intentions to workout, but really, the gym clothes see more action running errands than running laps and that FitBit will be in a junk drawer in a month. This is also the week you won’t see your normal gym goers because they get annoyed by the New Year’s peeps who flood their gyms.  No worries from me, I don’t go to the gym… they have mirrors and people who judge.

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I had a whole different perspective on things. I started with good intention a year ago to try to start slimming down in hopes my boyfriend would propose and I didn’t want to be scrambling trying to lose weight quickly and in an unhealthy way to try to be wedding dress ready. I started with Weight Watchers (doing it on my own with low cost apps and Pinterest recipes because I’m not paying and arm and a leg to join something that’s meant to be motivation….  and the only Weight Watchers near my house is beside of a McDonald’s, that’s just mean). I lost a few pounds and fell off the wagon.. hard.

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My boyfriend, now fiance (yeah that did happen) had heard of the Keto Diet and while he didn’t have much to lose, he convinced me to try it with him. He shed a crazy amount of weight that I wasn’t aware he possessed. I lost a few, but felt so deprived and like I was no longer walking, but gliding on a grease track from the amount of coconut oil, butter, and bacon grease I was consuming. I was drinking Bulletproof Coffee, people (coffee blended to frothy perfection with coconut oil and butter). So again, I jumped off the wagon and went back to the land of breads and pastas.

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Currently I try to stay under 1,500 calories a day (suggested through My Fitness Pal) and I finished a 6 week combo of Beachbody programs: Cize and PiYo. Shaun T and Chalene Johnson are amazing for motivation! I am currently in my 3rd week of Jillian Michaels Body Revolution. Talk about getting your ass handed to you! While I’m back on track and have been for weeks, the scale isn’t budging the way I was anticipating, which is completely infuriating. I’ve had to calm myself down from going into total fits of rage and emotional breakdowns by reminding myself that it’s not all about the number on the scale.

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So here are my Top 10 Scale-Less Victories 

  1. Post Workout High – Some days, no matter how much I love Shaun T, Chalene or Jillian, I don’t want to workout. I’ve had a long day at work, the commute home has pissed me off because people don’t know how to drive, I’m sleepy, and/or I can think of so many other things I need to be doing. In all honesty, none of my workouts take very long – all are less than an hour. Sometimes I just have to push myself to press play because I love the way I feel afterwards. I get that “Post Workout High”. I’m sweaty, I feel like I did something good for myself, I burned calories, but I feel electric light bursting out of my pores. I feel happy, I feel more energized than I did before and I like I can take on the world! Once you start getting that feeling on a regular basis, you don’t want to take rest days and you’ll push your tired, yet fabulous, ass off the couch and get some of those feel good vibes.Image result for post workout high meme
  2. Feeling Healthy – I think it’s the work of a subconscious genius at work that makes you start to make healthier eating decisions when you workout. Almost a little angel on your shoulder whispering, “why do you want to undo everything you just worked for by eating a large pizza dipped in Ranch by yourself?” I’ve started eating healthier breakfasts, the new Marketplace Lean Cuisines and fruit is my go-to for lunch, and dinner normally consists of a grilled meat of sorts, brown rice, and vegetables. Nothing is bland, things taste good, and I started taking vitamins for good measure. However, if they didn’t want people to overdose on vitamins they shouldn’t have made the gummy vitamins so damn delicious. They say the workout isn’t the hard part, the “diet” part is way harder. I agree. I can move my ass, ok? I don’t always want to keep in mind the amount of calories I’m actually consuming. Tracy Anderson had it right, you have to have a good relationship with food. Working out is something you have to do, but it’s bad to use words like “cheat” or “diet” because it weighs heavy on your relationship with food because you feel like it’s forbidden or bad. Aside from making healthier food choices, I’ve also noticed I’m drinking more water, have better strength and flexibility, and am sleeping better.                                                               Image result for healthy eating memeImage result for healthy eating meme
  3. More Confidence and Higher Self-Esteem – When you’re overweight, you feel like you’re constantly being judged. You’ve had people tell you, “oh you’d be so much prettier if you lost weight”, you have felt the eyes on the back of your head (or on your ass) when you order what you really want at a restaurant, or people assume that you must eat anything and everything in sight to be as heavy as you are. When you start to workout, that starts to go away. I don’t care if people look at me when I order that burger and fries or a plate of nachos. I know I burned off the calorie equivalent to that donut that’s sitting pretty on my desk this morning. I know what I eat because I track it. *Side Note: Yes, it is a pain in the ass to start food tracking because they will be times you forget to track your meal or you won’t have a calorie count at your favorite local restaurant, but apps like My Fitness Pal make it really easy and after a small amount of time, it’ll become second nature to track* I know that I workout and while I may not be a size 2 (I’m a large frame build and 5’10” and personally think I’d look sickly if I was ever that small) I know I’m getting healthier and sometimes that means more than the size of my jeans – which will never be universal because that would make sense if all brands were consistent in their sizing.Image result for self esteem gif
  4. Fun Workout Communities – One of the greatest keys to success is support. It’s hell being the only person in your household or out of your group of friends who is working out or trying to eat more healthy. Sometimes it feels like everyone is out to sabotage your efforts, “You don’t need to workout today! Just be lazy!” “It’s one cheat meal, it’s not going to hurt you!” Oh, if they only knew that the one cheat meal they were referring to makes the scale jump 2-3 pounds the next morning and takes a couple of days to come back off the scale. One of my friends created a Facebook Page of her friends so we could all motivate and congratulate one another. It may sound “nerdy” and “uncool”, but it’s nice to have a place where people want to be supportive of one another is refreshing compared to the body shaming we get in every day encounters. Image result for workout communities gif
  5. Becoming Inspiration for Someone Else – I’m not saying it’s cool to be placed on a pedestal because that’s weird, but sometimes it’s nice to have your hard work admired by someone else in a similar position. I have friends who have inspired me to get off the couch and try something new and see my own results. I’ve also had others tell me I’ve done the same for them. Maybe it’s just the word “Inspire” that does it for me…. ya think? Image result for inspire meme
  6. Compliments – This could easily go for number 5 because it is a compliment when someone tells you that their hard work inspires them, but sometimes a compliment can be taken negatively too. I recently came back to work with people I hadn’t seen in about a year and they all said, “Wow! You look great! Such a skinny mini!” Sooo, was I a hippo before? Fatty Fat Fat? I wasn’t sure how to take it, so I took it with a pinch of salt and shot of tequila. It does feel good that while the scale hasn’t moved in weeks, people are noticing that you look smaller. My fiance told me last night, “you’re really starting to look more toned.” I was so focused on losing fat I hadn’t noticed the added bonus of toning up and adding some sexy muscles to the party. Related image
  7. Loss of Inches – I started keeping track of inches lost because when the scale fails, I often see a loss on the tape measure. I hate the saying, “Muscle weighs more than Fat”. No… no it doesn’t. Which weighs more? A pound of feathers or a pound of lead? They weigh the same. It takes way more feathers to equal that pound and just a small little piece of lead and fat and muscle is no difference. Fat takes up more room and muscle is more dense and therefore doesn’t take up as much real estate on your ass, but a pound is a pound. If you’re interested in the areas I measure weekly it’s: neck, right and left bicep, chest at the armpits, chest at the nipples, diaphragm (under bust around the rib cage), waist at the most narrow point (about an inch above your belly button), abdomen (lower abs), hips at the widest part around the booty, right and left thighs, knees (right above the knee cap), and calves (fullest part of your calf). Trust me, it’ll be that scale-less victory you will treasure.Image result for where to measure body measurements
  8. Fitting Into Old Clothes – I have some really pretty clothes that I bought in my skinnier days and I haven’t worn in years. I use these as a gauge for success. It’s like obtaining a whole new wardrobe without the cost! Yay for Saving Money!!! However, if you find yourself not liking the old clothes, even though you fit in them again, please consider donating them. I suggest a homeless shelter or clothing closet at a church. Goodwill sounds like a great idea, but really, most of the time the associates who work there pick through it first and it’s not going to those most in need – if you can pay for it, you’re not the most needy population.Image result for clothes meme
  9. Cute Workout Clothes – I love shopping for workout clothes. It’s like a little treat to myself. Between Marshall’s and Target, you can get some cute and yet durable workout clothes. Now, I did have my favorite sports bra. It was my favorite because I never used it for it’s intended purpose which is to keep the girls down during the workout.  When I started doing Cize and PiYo, I realized that while cute, this sports bra was freaking lame! It was for those women who only want to be seen in sporty clothes at the grocery store. I couldn’t get into Downward Dog or do the Cize Bounce without my ladies popping out. Not cute. When I realized that my workouts were becoming more regular, I splurged a little on a new sports bra and it was worth every penny! There is no crazy jiggling, there’s no pain, and no more having to spend half the workout adjusting the goods.Image result for workout high meme
  10. Not Feeling Dessert Guilt – I just burned almost 400 calories. Trust me, I earned those few sweet bites of gelato or that glass of wine. I know, I’m not a dog and don’t need to reward myself with food. I don’t see it as a reward. I see it as me living my life and my life includes guilt free dessert. My dad has always had a good outlook on food and what seems to be a healthy relationship with food. He eats breakfast every morning, loves vegetables, eats a variety of cuisines, and he’s not big on sweets. He claims it’s good to have what you want, “in moderation”. This is coming from someone who is not a dessert person – he’d rather have key lime pie or some sort of fruit cobbler as opposed to ice cream, cookies, or cake. I had hoped his views on food would rub off on me, but alas, they did not. I have a huge sweet tooth and love the savory just as much. I refuse to feel bad over my love affair with coconut cake. After all, there are 2 “s”‘s in dessert for a reason.                                                        Image result for dessert gifImage result for dessert gif
Story

Am I Being Punk’d?

I have seriously thought about writing a book about all of the crazy work related stories my friends and I share. It would be just some sort of long essay or collection of short stories if I chose to write about my experiences only.  While I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of cringe worthy tales or daily annoyances in the work world, I thought I would share one of my greatest “WTF” moments I’ve ever experienced on the job. Hopefully once you read about this totally true and horrifying tale of human stupidity, you’ll feel better about having to come up with a cheesy reply to, “well if there’s no price tag, that means it’s free right?!”

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Years ago when I was in college, I took a summer job at a local pet shop. Looking back on it now, I don’t know why I ever got involved with a pet shop. I’m against designer dogs and want to throw up at the thought of someone spending $1,000+ to finance the dog when you can go to your local animal shelter and save a life as well as find a new best friend.

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This particular evening, I wasn’t scheduled. I went in because I was waiting for a co-worker to get off work so we could catch a movie. That’s how innocently my evening began. The shop phone rang and the manager looked puzzled as she asked the caller to hold. She looked at me and said the phone call was for me. What? No one knew I was there. She asked me to take the call since they called for me personally. What ensued next could have never been imagined in my wildest dreams.

Phone Conversation:

Me: “How may I help you?”                                                                                                                 Customer: “I don’t know if you remember me or not, but I bought a rabbit from you about a week ago.”

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Ok, so I thought it was innocent enough, but honestly, I had no clue who this man was. I worked at a pet shop and we sold a lot of bunnies. I immediately went into panic mode as I thought, “great, this man is calling me to complain and raise all kinds of hell because the damn bunny was probably sick or had wet tail and died.” I collected myself.

Me: “No sir, I’m sorry, I don’t recall you specifically. Is there an issue with the rabbit?” Customer: “Well, I don’t think so. It’s like this you see. We bought the rabbit and set it’s cage up and everything’s been fine. We had company over yesterday and they brought their kids with them. We were all sitting around and having a good time and they got real upset when they peered behind us into our utility room. They grabbed their kids and told us that they were leaving and not coming back until we got control of our animals.  We had no idea what in the world they were talking about until we looked into the utility room and see our Rottweiler trying to get to the rabbit through the cage… you know… sexually…. in any event, I was calling to see if there was any kind of spray or something that I could spray on my rabbit to make my dog not want to mate with it.”

My facial expressions do a really poor job at hiding my reaction thoughts. I know this. What I wasn’t aware of how my face went to pleasant,

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to concerned,

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to horrified,

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to “you’re so stupid I’m now having to squint to deal with this conversation”

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in no time flat. I also wasn’t aware that my facial expressions had drawn a crowd of my co-workers dying to know who I was speaking to and what had caused my face to go out of control.

Me: “Sir, they make behavioral sprays for animals to keep them from chewing or biting and possibly to train them to not bark, but for that specific purpose, no.”                 Customer: “So you’re telling me there’s nothing?”                                                                      Me: “Sir, I’m going to ask you a question, but I think I already know the answer to it. Is your dog fixed?”                                                                                                                       Customer: “What do you mean fixed?”                                                                                              Me: “Did you follow the advice of Mr. Bob Barker at the end of every Price is Right and get your dog spayed or neutered?”                                                                                      Customer: “Well, I don’t know.”                                                                                                        Me: “Not to be rude, but how do you not know something like that?”                               Customer: “I got him off a buddy of mine and he never mentioned anything. I know I haven’t done anything to him.”                                                                                                         Me: “I’m going to go out on a limb and say that your dog isn’t fixed. You will need to make an appointment with your vet office and have them examine the dog and possibly make an appointment to get him fixed.”

It’s at this point in time that I’m completely unaware that I just opened Pandora’s Box. Maybe I had this coming to me. Maybe I should have just hung up after the first 20 seconds of the conversation. However, had I done that, I wouldn’t have this juicy story to share with all of you.

Customer: “I don’t have money for a vet and that sounds kind of expensive. Is that just something I can do myself?”

Related imageMe: “NO! No! You can *not* do that yourself sir. Do you understand what I’m saying when I say ‘get your dog fixed’?”                                                                                               Customer: “Honestly, no not really. I’ve never really had a dog.”                                           Me: “Sir, do you know what a vasectomy is on a human man? Well that’s kind of what they’ll do to the dog… but they’re going to remove them all together.”                           Customer: “OH! Oh.. good Lord… I’m glad you told me that! I would have f*#%ed his world all up if I would have tried to do that myself, huh?”                                                    Me: “Ya think? Sir, if you can’t afford to have the surgery done, maybe you should reach out to your local animal shelter or even to the vet’s office. Maybe they have a discount program or know of someone who will work with you on a payment plan. Just to re-cap our conversation: there’s no spray for your rabbit and it’s not a problem with your rabbit, it’s a problem with your dog, a problem of which he needs surgery to correct.”

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At that point I don’t remember saying good-bye to this man. I just think I was in shock. Is this real life? Oh yeah, real life. It would only happen to me. Was this a local radio station playing a prank? Was it someone who worked there trying to see how far I would go with the conversation? Apparently, in the name of good customer service, I’d go pretty far to not hang up on what could have been someone’s ultimate Punk’d prank.

I would love to be able to tell you all that this was the end of this story. Unfortunately, this man had the brass balls to call me a week later to just “check and see” if anyone had come out with a spray to deter his dog from the rabbit… I wasn’t so nice the second time around. I may have made mention that he probably didn’t need to own animals if he couldn’t be a responsible pet owner…. but that’s just a “maybe I said it.”

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Thankfully, I’ve never had to discuss inter-species erotica with another customer in the past 12 years, so that’s something… right?

Restaurant Review

Rollin’ Smoke BBQ

West Virginia is known for a lot of things: scenic beauty, Coal Country, Civil War history, the Hatfields and McCoys, The Greenbrier, and being the home state of Jennifer Garner. One thing that people would probably never think could come out of West Virginia is amazing BBQ. However, I beg to differ.

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The original Rollin’ Smoke BBQ is located in Big Chimney along the Elk River. Imagine an eclectically decorated carnival food truck and huge black smokers with a porch and now seating built around them on the side of a mountain overlooking a beautiful river. That’s where Rollin’ Smoke BBQ sits. If you blink, you could pass it. Once I was introduced, I fell in LOVE!

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My fiance had already been to the location a time or two taking the advice of a friend’s grandfather. He looked at my fiance (who was single at the time) and said, “Are you married?” to which my fiance replied, “No, not married.” The man nodded and said, “Good, go to Rollin’ Smoke BBQ and get the brisket.”

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One evening my fiance said, “Do you have an issue with restaurants that look like nothing much?” “Are you kidding!? They have the BEST food!” So for date night, he took me to the carnival food truck on the side of the road. I decided that since it came so highly recommended, I would order the brisket as well. The dinner came with 3-4 thick cut pieces of brisket, 2 sides (I chose coleslaw and macaroni salad) and a dinner roll with butter – we live in WV, all dinners should come with a dinner roll and some butter.

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At the time, this location did not offer much seating for dining so we drove down the street to Coonskin Park. We found a picnic table that overlooked the duck pond and as I reached into the white plastic “Thank You” bag, I was surprised by how heavy the To-Go boxes were. I opened my box up to be greeted with a heavenly aroma smoked meat and a sweet and smokey BBQ sauce. I have eaten BBQ in some of the most talked about BBQ joints in the South and I have never had a brisket so tender and moist (yes I cringed as I typed that word). It’s been a love affair ever since.

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This past weekend, we made a visit to our favorite little red carnival style food truck to discuss the possibility of them catering our wedding. Yes, I am not ashamed to say I am not a “Fru-Fru” $50 a plate bride. I’m low key and casual and BBQ is where it’s at! I decided if I’m going to serve my guests BBQ pulled pork sandwiches, I may actually want to try it first. Normally, I go for the brisket or Cornish hen. This pulled pork sandwich was HUGE and served on a fluffy, yet strong, bun.  The meat was sweet, but rich in smoke flavor – real wood smoke people, not that crappy liquid smoke that some BBQ joints will douse their food in. The potato salad was made of big pieces of red potatoes and they weren’t sopping with mayo. Their baked beans are the things of dreams – thick, rich, decadent. I didn’t want to stop eating, but at some point you reach the “full” point. Just thinking about it makes my toes curl. An employee stopped to ask how everything was (which really, if you had seen the look of joy on my face, the question wasn’t necessary). All I could manage to say was, “This is the kind of BBQ Prince would sing about.” I meant every word.

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If you are ever in the Charleston/Sissonville/Elkview/Pinch area, you have GOT to at least go there once in your lifetime. Seriously though, try to go as much as you can! Friendly staff, delicious food, hearty portions for not a lot of money, and some of that famous beautiful West Virginia scenery.

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Story

Hell is a Clown…

I have never really been a fan of clowns. What better day to discuss why I now suffer from coulrophobia than the day after the new Stephen King’s IT trailer is released.

I wasn’t always this way. I remember being little and going to see the circus and I even dressed up as a crazy clown one Halloween – looking back it was like a mix of Heath Ledger’s Joker and Jem from Jem and the Holograms. Then I turned 6.

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What could have possibly happened to a 6 year old that would have traumatized them so bad that they now suffer from a phobia??? Stephen King’s 1990 made for TV movie, IT. That’s what happened.

When you have older sisters, you want to do what they’re doing. Naturally when they wanted to watch a clown movie, I wanted to watch it too. I should have taken a hint that when they lined my bed with every stuffed animal in our shared bedroom for protection that something bad was going to happen.

In 5 minutes I had seen the face or pure evil and horror and screamed when I realized the little girl who was just singing the “Itsy Bitsy Spider” was dead. That seemingly harmless clown hanging out in her mother’s laundry fresh on the clothes line just ate her. How was this a movie that was shown on ABC? Just how!?

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I sat in pure terror not even able to blink for about 2 hours. I have not been ok with clowns since. I can get down with some Killer Klowns from Outterspace as they just seemed silly, but it was real legit Ringling Brothers clowns that would forever haunt my dreams.

I would have night terrors that Pennywise the Clown was at the edge of my bed or I would see him on the cover of the book (my parents bought the book with the stupid movie poster on it, good one folks) and see his facial expressions slowly change from a frown to a sick twisted smile or he would even leap out at me!

One might say, “OK, so you don’t have coulrophobia, you just don’t like that specific clown.” Nope, don’t even go there with me.

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When I was in my mid-twenties I took a trip to the beach with my parents. They had a mini van with a TV/DVD player built in. As I was hanging back with my nephew enjoying a little flick, my mother tells me not to look out the window. How dare she tell me that! I’m an adult! We’re passing by Lake Norman (which is absolutely beautiful) so how could I not look out my window. It’s at this time, I look out my window to see a clown in full makeup, shaggy powdered wig, a hobo type outfit, looking like he just walked out of my private circus hell, driving in the car beside us. As if it was an image from a movie, he turned his head to look at me, smiled, waved, and kept trucking until he got off at the Davidson College exit. I screamed, threw a beach towel over my head, cried and hyperventilated a little, and didn’t move until we were in Charlotte.

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As I got older, I started to wonder if clowns were really just perverts in disguise, sort of like mall Easter Bunnies and Santas. That’s come across everyone’s mind at some point right? The fact that these grown adult men have chosen to sit on a chair for hours, getting sore butts, with the possibility of being sneezed, thrown up, or peed on, just to have children sit in their laps all day… let it sink in if you’ve never thought about it. Is that part of the creepy factor? Underneath they’re all just a bunch of Herbert the Perverts parading around as John Wayne Gacies?

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Maybe it’s the painted on expressions. They are really dark, hollow, sad, sick, and/or twisted and we would never know because there’s a jolly lying expression that’s glaring back at us, masking their true feelings… or intent… Whatever the cause, it still doesn’t change the fact that every time I see one I break out into a cold sweat, my heart beats out of my chest, my stomach leaps into my throat and I feel paralyzed. Good job Stephen King and Mr. Tim Curry. You successfully gave a whole generation of small children everywhere coulrophobia with some white face paint and rotten razor blade teeth.