Friday, April 29, 2016

Motherhood: Time is Passing

It's the end of April already and I feel like we just celebrated the New Year. Where has the time gone? Can it just slow down a little bit?

I am in awe of how fast Little Miss Sunshine has grown. When you're pregnant, everyone always tells you to enjoy it because it goes so fast. You hear it so much that eventually you're doing epic mental eye rolls.

But really, it goes fast.

It's not all sunshine, rainbows, Starbucks, and trips to Target while toting around your adorable little one who immediately falls asleep when you begin shopping--to tell you the truth it's pretty much never like that--but it certainly goes fast and you will find yourself yearning for the time to slow down. Except for when you're up in the middle of night cleaning up your hair.

Little Miss Sunshine has grown from an itty bitty baby who was losing weight during her first few weeks of life... an almost two year old as tall as your typical four year old. She has grown like a weed.

Being a parent is hard. You stress and worry about things you'd never imagine you would worry about.

When I was pregnant, I worried that I wouldn't naturally be a mother since I'd never really been comfortable around babies. I will tell you, without a doubt, that motherly instincts simply kick in. Maybe you don't know how to be a perfect mother (if one ever existed), but you will pour your entire heart and soul into motherhood and that's all that matters.

Sometimes I want to hold the baby version of her again. As a toddler, she doesn't like to sit still for more than a second or two and so those moments have slipped right through my hands.

I've said before that postpartum depression stole such an important part of my life from me. With all of that firmly in my past now, I can look back and still have some precious memories. Even if they are a little tainted with the darkness of depression and anxiety.

I know it sounds cliche, but I wouldn't trade this for the world. She is my little friend--always ready to give a hug or a kiss and to make me laugh. I look forward to learning more about this precious ray of sunshine that has warmed my soul--get to know her personality, her quirks, everything about her because I know I will love her forever.

These days, I find myself saying "no" about a thousand times a day--and some days infinitely more than that. She presses buttons, demands attention, lacks patience like her daddy, and has the temper of her mama.

Her eyes sparkle mischievously. Her quietness in the next room means trouble. Any other time, she never quits jabbering--happy chatter, most of which only she can understand. But her smiles and laughter brighten the room as much as her little tantrums in public cause my face to turn a warm crimson red.

I never expected that a heart could love so much, that my thoughts would constantly be filled with her, or that I'd be so protective of this little life I created with the love of my life.

She is my everything, even though she tries my patience over and over again. I want nothing more than to see her happy and content.

The days are long, but the years are short. 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

DIY Owl Garden Edger

I have been having so much fun working on little projects. I have always loved artsy creative activities, but just didn’t really do any of them for lack of time and energy.

My goal is to beautify the yard this year. I’m tired of everything getting overgrown and otherwise looking unkept. I have some ideas for sprucing things up and I’ve been hitting Pinterest for inspiration!

I want to add a few garden decor items this year. I added a wind chime and I love to hear the soft music. We fenced in part of the yard and it’s fantastic to have a safe area for Little Miss Sunshine to run around in.

I found this idea on Pinterest of making an owl out of a garden edger. Little Miss Sunshine loves owls, so I thought this would be perfect to make!

It was really simple.

All you need are garden edgers, a pencil, small paint brushes for little details, and paint that will hold up outside. This includes your color choice for spray paint for the body of the owl, yellow, white, and black. The black and white can be mixed to make gray for the feathers.

First, you spray paint the edger block. I used Rustoleum. I did this the night before I planned to paint the owl so that the spray paint had plenty of time to dry.

After that has fully dried, you can use the pencil to draw the owl onto the edger. I used a picture I found on Pinterest as a reference. You can see my rough sketch below.

I started with painting the yellow on the eyes and the orange beak. From there I moved on to the gray in the feathers, the black in the eyes, the white on the feathers, and then the white on the eyes. Basically, just wait for the paint to dry a bit before adding colors right next to one another that could mix and look messy. You will see smudges on my owls—a result of attempting this project with two toddlers.

This was the final product!

I spent more time on the blue one and was hurrying through the pink one. I love how they turned out though—they’re not perfect, but they’re really cute anyways!

These are my friend’s owls—love the eyelashes!

What a fun project!

Do you have any cute projects like this that you’ve completed lately or hope to do soon?

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Me Time

I could feel myself nearing the edge. My patience was beginning to wear thin. I was starting to pick fights with my hubby. Anger and resentment began to surface like little bubbles. Depression loomed ahead—I could see it and physically feel it taking over.

I finally realized that what I really needed was some “me” time. Just a little space and time to myself—to breathe, to think, to just be.

I used to think that taking time for myself was selfish. I still feel a pang of guilt every time I leave for a couple of hours. I’m afraid of judgement—like moms are just supposed to continually give of themselves without rest.

Now I know that me time is essential. If I’m not taking care of myself, it makes it much more difficult to take care of my family. It’s not selfish if it’s making me a better mother, wife, and friend. It’s the “put the oxygen mask on yourself first, before you try to save others” concept.

I try to take a couple of hours per week for myself. This hasn’t happened in quite a few weeks and I hadn’t realized it. I’ve had appointments here and there, but not any real down time when the only person I had to take care of was myself.

Today, I met my friend at the gym and we walked on the treadmill and talked. After that, we both had a quick 10 minute massage. We followed it up with lunch. It was perfect. I felt so much better.

It was the first time I’ve been to the gym since maybe February. Oh my goodness. That’s far too long. I was reminded of how much I enjoy going and how much I need it.

I’m working on making a peaceful place in the back yard where I can sit this summer. I think it will be great during nap times. It is good for the soul to be outside!

So anyways, I am proud of myself for getting to the gym—but I’m trying to focus on the fact that exercise should be about loving myself enough to take care of myself and not some punishment because I am not good enough the way that I am.

My goal is to take care of myself, take time for myself, and get healthy because I love myself. I’ve been asking myself the question, “What would I do in this situation if it were about loving myself and not just an old, bad habit?” It will take time to change my thought process—but I’m working on it!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Self-Hatred & Eating Disorders

Do you know what it’s like to hate yourself? To feel trapped inside a body that feels out of control?

I don’t remember exactly when I started hating myself so much. It began in childhood. The self-hatred comes and goes in unrelenting phases directly corresponding to my weight or my perceived success to a weight loss or exercise regimen.

There is never a moment when I am not painfully aware of the fat which rests on my lap when I’m sitting, that widens my hips, that balloons my arms, and makes me feel like I make the earth shake with every step.

I avoid mirrors as much as possible. I don’t like to see the reality. It makes me hate myself more.

I know that my body will never be beautiful because it will always be scarred with stretch marks from my childhood days. I’m forever conscious of them, although I try to ignore them and feign confidence.

I try to stand tall and to at least appear to love myself, but the thoughts inside my head never stop. It’s my stomach, my arms, my legs, my face, my hair, my feet—the only part of me I don’t hate are my eyes.

I feel trapped, yet I’m holding the key in my hands. It seems that freedom is just a choice away, that it should be easy—it seems so straightforward. Yet it’s elusive. Sometimes I think I have both feet planted on freedom’s shore, only to find myself lost and shipwrecked on a solitary island—no sails to catch the wind, no vessel to float—nothing but me and my self-inflicted prison of fat.

I have learned that self-hatred is at the core of eating disorders. Some hate themselves so they restrict food, others binge on food and then purge, and then there are those of us who feel unable to stop overeating but don’t purge and rather build ever-growing walls of shame around ourselves.

Hate. Shame. Guilt. Despair.

Helpless. Worthless.

I am tempted to give up—to shove it all inside and continue to pretend that I’m ok, to stop going to therapy, and to resign myself to obesity. It would be so much easier. But I would only hate myself more.

It is hard to accept what I feel. It’s hard to identify what I feel. How can I be so disconnected from myself? It’s me after all— these are my own thoughts, coming from my own brain. Yet I don’t know myself at all. There’s an enemy residing inside my brain spewing negative thoughts.

Every negative emotion has been shoved deeper into my soul with every bite until my heart is like concrete. And then I hate myself more because of it.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Inspiration Sunday

Friday, April 22, 2016

Emergency Snack Kit with Lorissa’s Kitchen #SavvySnacking

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SavvySnacking #CollectiveBias

I’m the mom who packs a purse with all of the essentials and more. Whatever you need can likely be found in my purse if I do a little digging. I keep a bag in the car that’s stocked with extra diapers, extra snacks for the little one, wipes, an outfit, gloves, a hat, pacifiers, sunscreen, tissues, and more. I’m always prepared.

While I always have snacks packed for Little Miss Sunshine, I almost always forget about packing healthy snacks for myself. Before I know it, I find myself in the drive-through getting a drive-through quality snack. Epic fail for my weight loss and health goals.

So I came up with the idea of creating an emergency snack kit with healthy snacks that I can keep in the car or in my purse for when I’m on-the-go and hunger strikes.

It’s easy to assemble a kit of your own. It’s literally only two steps!

Step 1: Choose a Bag

I found my bag in the cosmetics section. I love the bright chevron pattern. Pick out a bag that’s small enough to fit into your bag and large enough to contain your favorite healthy and portable snacks. Choose something fun so that you are motivated to carry it with you.

Step 2: Choose Your Snacks

Choose a variety of snacks for your Emergency Snack Kit. Think of the cravings you often have and prepare accordingly. Prepare for sweet, salty, and everything in between.

{Sweet Granola}

A healthy version of a granola bar can be a great way to satisfy a sweets craving. This specific granola bar is even made with Chia. Be sure to check the ingredients to make sure your granola bar choice meets the requirements of your eating plan.

{Pack a Protein Punch}

I try to add as much protein into my diet whenever I can. It helps me feel full and satisfied longer. There aren’t a lot of options for portable protein snacks.

I love Lorissa’s Kitchen Korean Barbecue Beef premium protein snacks. It’s super moist and flavorful, low in carbs & fat, has no MSG or preservatives and is also gluten free. That’s a snack I can feel good about packing in my Emergency Snack Kit.

I found them at Walmart by the checkout area.

There are also Lorissa’s Kitchen Sweet Chili Pork and Szechuan Peppercorn Beef flavors- these are definitely for spicy food lovers!

There’s a Lorissa’s Kitchen sweepstakes with the chance to win a $100 Walmart gift card which is running through 5/20—think of all of the emergency snacks you could buy with $100. That’s a lot of free groceries. You can enter below.

Lorissa's Kitchen #SavvySnackingSweepstakes

{Gum: Chew on That}

As I am working on overcoming my eating issues, I have been advised numerous times to chew on gum when I feel the urge to want to eat and I’m not really hungry. These are more emotional cravings. Chewing on gum can keep your mouth busy and can even help with your sweet tooth.

{Get a Little Nutty}

There are times in life when going nuts is perfectly healthy. I’ve found that it’s better if I have a pre-portioned amount of nuts rather than snacking out of the container. The 100 calorie packs are super handy for this reason. Nuts contain healthy fats, protein, and the extra crunch can fulfill that need for something to munch and crunch on.

{Hydration Inspiration}

I love water. I drink it all day, every day. Ounces and ounces of crystal clear goodness. In the afternoon I’m often looking for a little something sweet. There are so many options for flavored drink drops to give a little flavor to your H2O. The awesome part is that these are super portable and they will save you tons of calories.

{Salty & Sweet}

You have to be really careful with trail mixes because they can pack in a lot of calories into a very small serving size. But sometimes you need that perfect mixture of savory saltiness and indulgent sweetness. I like this tropical blend which includes dried coconut—yum!

{Minty Fresh}

Pop a peppermint in your mouth and chances are that the strong flavor will leave you feeling satisfied. Let’s face it, your friends, family, co-workers, clients, and customers will thank you for popping one of these in your mouth before your next meeting. Two jobs. One peppermint.

If you fail to prepare, then prepare to fail. I can tell you that statement is 100% accurate. I’ll be tucking this handy little Emergency Snack Kit into my purse and will prepare to succeed!

What will you pack in your Emergency Snack Kit? What flavor of Lorissa’s Kitchen premium protein snack would you choose?

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


At my last appointment, my therapist recommended a new kind of journaling. She gave me these instructions. I finally had time to sit down and do this and I think it’s a great activity.

Writing has always been a great outlet for me. I haven’t been sitting down to write as much lately and I really need to start again. Tonight was beneficial in turning my thoughts around.

Basically, you pick an emotion that you’re feeling today. The instructions above give you a series of questions to write about which help you think through your emotion and make sense of it.

Today, I felt ashamed. I am ashamed of myself for many reasons—the top reason being how overweight I am. I wrote about these reasons.

By the end of the activity, I realized that while I may have imperfections and struggles—I have many positive attributes too. It comes down to what I’m focusing on.

It’s time to stop focusing on the negative and begin focusing on the positive!

Monday, April 18, 2016

What’s Happening Lately (in pictures)

The last couple of weeks have been busy—but a good busy! I have a good feeling that this summer is going to be a fun one.

We have been lucky to have my dad working in the area. My mom tags along and that means we get to spend some time with her.

That also means that we get to go swimming at their hotel every once in a while.

Now that the weather has gotten nicer, we have been spending a lot of time outside! It’s wonderful. Finally! We had a picnic with a friend and enjoyed a nice walk.

My business partners and I had a gathering to share our products. It turned out really well and was really fun! Definitely going outside of my comfort zone, but I made some new friends in the process so it was worth it.

A new friend came to spend the weekend with us and it was a lot of fun! We actually grew up knowing each other but she’s a bit older than me so we never really connected. We have a lot in common—so that’s good! We spent a lot of time outside, relaxing, and chatting.

Little Miss Sunshine’s second birthday is coming up so we’ve been looking for an outdoor play set. I was looking at new ones but realized how expensive they are for a nice sized one. I did a little searching and I was able to find a used Little Tykes climber for $30! It is in great condition because it was always kept indoors.

Little Miss Sunshine just loves it! She goes down the slide over and over again.

We had a picnic with grandma today! Another beautiful day meant we had to spend it outdoors. The rest of the week is supposed to be rainy.

This was Little Miss Sunshine’s first time playing in the sand. She absolutely loved it. It was pretty cute.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! I feel like so many areas of my life have improved. I’m getting out more, making more friends, going outside of my comfort zone, and otherwise feeling more fulfilled.

But what is it about this struggle with my weight that makes me feel like I am worthless? I’ve got to get this figured out. I do know that I’m taking the steps to do that—it’s just a process.

What have you been up to?

Friday, April 15, 2016

Binge Eating Disorder: Uncomfortable with Emotions

I had another therapy appointment this week. I journaled my food and my feelings for two weeks to try to figure out what my “triggers” for emotional/binge eating are. It was insightful.

But when I told my therapist about how each time I was unable to control my urges to eat, it had been preceded by some kind of

“feeling”, she then asked what feelings I was having.

And then I was stumped. Sometimes I didn’t really know what I was feeling, but it was uncomfortable and I didn’t like it. So while I might have felt stressed or anxious, those are umbrellas of feelings which include numerous other feelings and emotions. They’re very broad terms.

I felt kind of silly when she then handed me a paper with various facial expressions and the name of the emotion listed below each picture. She asked me which emotions I felt comfortable feeling. To my surprise, there were very few which I felt comfortable with—they were all of the more positive emotions.

A few that stuck out to me as being the most uncomfortable were anger, frustration, guilty, ashamed, overwhelmed, nervous, and shy.

And then she began explaining a concept called Emotional Intelligence. We measure how much we know by IQ, and similarly we can measure our emotional intelligence (EQ). It is something that is often overlooked but is extremely important.

Whether we know it or not, we have been conditioned to accept some emotions as acceptable, “good” emotions and others as “bad”. We all know someone stoic, who seems to be without emotion—and often it seems to run in families.

Believe it or not, being “stoic” (often wrongfully thought of as “strong”) is actually very unhealthy and can manifest in health problems. It is a good thing to be able to have emotions, to recognize the emotions, and then process the emotions. This is called Emotional Intelligence.

I feel like I have a pretty high EQ, but on the same note I struggle with my own emotions. I am aware of the feelings of others and can identify their emotions. Sometimes I think people like myself are too in tune with the emotions of others that it can have a dramatic affect on us. You could call it emotional sensitivity—it’s a great attribute to have because it makes us considerate of others, but it can also be a nightmare because we essentially “feel” too much.

But here’s the kicker, while maybe I have a high EQ—I am not comfortable with certain emotions. And so, in an effort to avoid feeling the emotions, I stuff them inside. I do anything to avoid “feeling”. As my therapist said, I “self-harm” by certain behaviors including binge eating. This causes me to zone out because, in some odd way, these self-harming behaviors are comforting to me. Of course, this makes me feel ashamed.

It makes perfect sense.

For example, the other night after a stressful “event” I thought I was hungry. So I grabbed a bowl, Cheerios, milk, and some fresh fruit. When hubby saw me, he asked “are you hungry or are you eating for an emotional reason?”.

I realized I wasn’t physically hungry. And so, one by one, I put each item away. I left the kitchen and I began to feel emotions come over me like a huge wave. I didn’t like it—it made me very uncomfortable. And so, I distracted myself by doing something else. I never truly felt the emotions, but at least I didn’t eat.

This is a pattern that happens over and over again. I know without a doubt that this is why I’m overweight.

My official diagnosis is a moderate Binge Eating Disorder. I have been listening to podcasts about eating disorders in general and the psychological similarities between Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge Eating are incredible. However, Binge Eating Disorder is not commonly talked about as being in the same camp.

For me, treatment means identifying the psychological reasons that I want to compulsively eat. I am learning more about myself the more that I pay attention. There are definite patterns.

After that last appointment, I felt hopeful about overcoming this. I am also beginning to understand that the struggle will never “go away”, but I can learn how to cope with my emotions better.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Baking with a Silicone Muffin Pan #BakeMaster12Cup

I received this product free of charge in exchange for a review.

First of all, sorry for all of the reviews lately! I’ve had the opportunity to try out quite a few different products and it seems like the deadlines were all around the same time.

I had to throw away my muffin pan because it was getting rusty and unhealthy to bake with. This isn’t the first pan I’ve had to toss for this same reason. It seems like the dishwasher causes them to rust out pretty quickly.

I was excited to try out the BakeMaster Silicone Muffin Pan Silicone Cupcake Pan because I knew there was no way this one could rust out! I also looked forward to being able to bake muffins without having the dreaded task of scrubbing the pan afterwards.

I baked cupcakes to give this pan a try. The pan seemed very flimsy and I was nervous that the pan would easily bend and batter would spill when I was putting it into the oven.

Mistake number one, I filled the muffin cups too full and this is what I ended up with—no fault to the pan itself, just user error.

To my surprise, it was very easy to clean up all of the run-over from the pan. It didn’t stick at all. However, the bottoms of the cupcakes stuck to the pan. I was only able to take one cupcake out without it sticking. The rest of the cupcakes broke in half when I tried to take them out after cooling.

So that was a disappointment! This was my first time to use a silicone baking pan, so I’m not sure if it was this specific brand or if this is normal with silicone—either way, it wasn’t what I expected!

Some of the great features this muffin pan touts: 100% Food Grade Silicone, BPA free, Microwave and Dishwasher Safe. The product has a 5 star rating on Amazon, so maybe it was just me! However, I give this a 3 star rating.

Do you use silicone bakeware? What has your experience been?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wednesday Review: Valentia Eternal Youth Exfoliating Scrub #naturalbeauty

I received this product free of charge in exchange for a review. Opinions are mine alone.

I like to use an exfoliating scrub on my face at least once per week if I have a scrub in the house. The scrub gets rid of dead skin cells and leaves the skin looking brighter and feeling softer. (Does anyone else have this TLC song in their head right now? Hello, 90s!)

Anyway, I was excited to try out another Valentia product because I’m always impressed with them! The Eternal Youth Exfoliating Scrub -Natural and Organic Ingredients with Green and White Teas + Tropical Butters was no exception.

This product lists ingredients such as green and white tea, aloe vera, jojoba beads, olive, avocado, and kukui butters. All natural ingredients which yield great results. Together, these ingredients: have potent antioxidants that provide anti-inflammatory, anti-irritant, anti-aging effects, moisturize the skin, and firm the skin.

I prefer products that I can just use in the shower during my morning routine—this is one of those that I can easily incorporate without taking up too much time.

One thing I wasn’t particularly fond of was the smell. It was kind of minty—it definitely had a freshness but I’d prefer something a little less “smelly”. It had a slight burn to it that reminded me of using Vicks.

Overall, I recommend this product if you’re looking for a natural exfoliating scrub. I have used better scrubs but they were not made with natural ingredients. A definite win for the Eternal Youth Exfoliating Scrub.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Surprise Brunch Retirement Party

Last Thursday, I hosted a surprise party to celebrate my friend’s retirement. I planned a light brunch, which was perfect because it wasn’t too early but it also didn’t interfere with Little Miss Sunshine’s afternoon nap.

Party planning is so much fun. I love shopping for party supplies and decorations, trying to get good deals, and finding a theme to work with.

I wanted this party to be bright and cheerful with a springtime feel. While a retirement is the end of a career, it’s also the beginning of freedom.

The guest of honor thought she was coming over to my place for coffee and had no idea what I had planned. She was so surprised!

I filled a tiered cupcake stand with mini breakfast bakery items—cinnamon rolls, donut holes, bagels, and muffins.

There was a yogurt bar with vanilla Greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and granola. This isn’t pictured, but I also made a ham and potato casserole. It was all delicious!

Guests had a choice of water or orange mango juice—and coffee, of course. The drinks were served in Frappuccino bottles which I had removed the labels on—these were being reused from Little Miss Sunshine’s first birthday party.

I found the tray in the Target Dollar Spot. All of the decorations are from Target, including the colored straws. The bucket below is from the Dollar Spot too!

The party went well! I just had a small group of women and it was just the right size.

Now I’m planning Little Miss Sunshine’s 2nd birthday party!


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