Choosing my life

Writing about body positivity or the lack thereof actually helped reboot my own perception of my own body. I experienced another back spasm yesterday and I’ve been in a slump since then. But it’s because I want to find a fix and figure out WHY I keep experiencing this terrible pain. I’m frustrated because physically, I’m in the best place I’ve been in since developing Fibromyalgia. Except for this one section on my back. So for the next two months I’m going to dedicate time to figuring out why I keep having back spasms. Including going to see a naturopath as I have my suspicions about my gut health being out of balance. Mainly, my goal is to being consistent, take care of my body to the most of my ability, and protect my health.

I felt discouraged this morning about a few other things and yet, I have no desire to give up on anything. See, I’m a fighter. I always have been. Even in the darkest days of my depression, I’ve never been willing to give up or quit. My life has evolved around constant change and severe shifts. People are always coming and going in and out of my life. But I am always here. But I am constantly shifting as well. Maybe I have found the rhythm among the chaos. Or maybe I haven’t. Since moving to Colorado I have felt a stronger grounding than I’ve ever known before. While things have been shitty the last two months, I am still feeling grounded. My book is slowly starting to pick up again. I needed to step away for a month and a half. However, I am finding my flow again and the words are pouring out. I’m over 37,000 words now and that number is steadily increasing.

The biggest bright light in my life right now is Ender. I was once told Ender would live for being outside and the outdoors. Well, it’s true. Ender goes outside and we walk with him until he’s ready to go inside. He comes inside and is super happy, dancing, yelling, talking, and jumping around. Seeing how calm being outside makes him helps me want to the best person I can be. Being a mom has taught me more about accepting my body and myself than anything else. And I raised half of my siblings. I have found there is absolutely NO comparison between being the oldest and raising your own child. Watching my child figure things out and begin to understand the world around him is incredible. Ender is currently on the verge of speaking and I suspect it will be just like when he started walking. He’s going to just start speaking in full sentences. He took so long watching and studying walking that when he finally started walking, he was practically running. We watched Big Hero 6 the other night and he’s now walking around making a rolled “L” sound. Mimicking Baymax’s response to a fist bump.

Even though I am slowly finding my footing again after months of slipping, I still feel weird. I made the mistake of not fully threshing out my dreams a few months ago. Even though I still have long term goals, my dreams aren’t set. Having done even a little bit of the dream mapping I did two months ago, that’s seriously helped. Knowing my goals and dreams have kept me going when things have gotten rough. I do really like my life right now. Even when I am reminded of things I’d rather not remember, my life is pretty darn good.

We’re going back east this next week. I’m looking forward to seeing friends and family. But I know I’m going to eager to get back home. I do feel more peace about this trip back than I did last time in May. I am more confident in myself as a person and I can fully enjoy this trip. I am eager for Ender to see his aunties and uncles and for them to see him. He’s walking now and he wasn’t last time.

Well, Ender’s trying to help me type which means it’s time to wrap this up. Thank you all for your support and I gotta admit I like where I’ve shifted this blog. Enjoy your last two days of November!

Truth Talk – Body Image

– It helps, a lot, to be able to have a space where I can get out even just a little bit of what goes on in my head. Writing last week’s post helped me break down what was really going on in my head and process it. –

One of the things that’s been just hounding me mentally is my body image. All things “my body.” I’m short, I’m “wide,” I’ve always had stocky thighs or as my parents used to say, “she/you have very British thighs and calves.” I am sorry if that offends anyone! It’s merely what I was told while growing up. Coming to terms with my body shape, my weight, my face shape has been difficult. I think it’s safe to say it’s difficult for anyone, especially if their body doesn’t “fit” society’s predetermined perfect body shape, weight, and looks.

But here’s what I’ve learned; it doesn’t matter what your body looks like, it’s your body. You are the only one who can change how you view your body and how you feel about your body. I spent most of my childhood into my teens worrying about my body. I was never skinny enough; never tall enough. I had acne. Not only on my face but my back and shoulders. I spent the summer of my 13th year wearing jeans and sweatshirts because I was so self conscious. At my skinniest, I was in the height of my reenacting decade. I took great pride in having a 25″ waist. I could hide my big butt and pretend I had more cleavage than I did have (thank you, corsets).

Then I began working full time and my eating habits changed. I was severely depressed and I started gaining weight. I think I gained 30 pounds in one year. That was hard for me mentally and emotionally. Physically, I also felt really crummy. My pain levels were rising and it wasn’t until a few months after I got married that the pain leveled out. I started working out, as much as I could, and I vowed away any and all scales. I had to focus on feeling better more than looking good.

“Focus on feeling better” became my mantra and has been for the past 5 years. I said I was working out, doing yoga, because I wanted to feel better. While yes, this is mostly true, I was also trying to feel better about my body image. A friend once told me that if I stopped picking at food after a meal I would lose weight. I have never forgotten when she told me that. It rang in my head for a long time. Yeah, she was probably right. But how she said it made me feel shamed.

My dad used to make comments about me needing to lose weight after I got married. I never felt like I was allowed to not be okay with my body. I had to have a good body image. That’s what I thought part of being a feminist was. I started a habit that forced me to at least learn to love my body. Every time I look in the mirror I find ONE thing that I absolutely love. I started doing this several years ago and I still do it today. It helped. But then I got pregnant. Then I had a baby. Then I had postpartum body. I lost weight really quickly after having Ender, but it didn’t stay off.

Truthfully, it’s been paying attention to fashion, understanding my body shape, and what compliments it best, that’s made me able to mostly accept my body. I’ve noticed whenever I’m having a flare up with my fibromyalgia I struggle the most with my body image. When I’m in pain, my body becomes severely claustrophobic. I feel like my body betrays me. I hate feeling uncomfortable, I hate feeling out of place in my own body. This is why comfortable clothes are the most important to me. The next is feeling good about how I look (greatly helped by fashionable clothes and makeup).

I wrote this a few days ago to try to understand why I was so stuck in my head. Keep in mind, this is legit truth talk….

“I’m stuck. I’m stuck in my head and I don’t know how to get out. I’m not entirely sure why or how I got so stuck here. There are so many things pummeling me. I have nowhere to hide. I try to hide, try to duck out of the line of fire, but that doesn’t help. I feel lost. I feel like I am barely keeping myself together. Thoughts of feeling like my body sucks. Feeling like how I look is terrible and I keep imagining what people must think of me when I walk by. I want to hide, but I’ve spent so much time working on being proud of who I am, it’s all muscle memory. I walk confidently, I walk knowing my clothes fit well. But then I catch a glimpse in the window and my heart sinks, my footsteps falter. I think I have an unrealistic expectations of how my body looks. I am short. I am rounder. I am heavier than I want to be. I’m trying to change that. I’m trying to adjust my expectations but every time I see a reflection of myself, or a picture of myself, I crumble. I went running on a treadmill two days ago and there were mirrors on either side of the treadmill. My heart sank the more I tried to push myself, the worse I felt and the harder it was to keep going.”

I have been upping my workout routines recently and after two months of that I am starting to see results. I know it takes 4 weeks of consistent working out to personally see results. It takes 8 weeks for friends to start noticing, and it takes 12 weeks of the rest of the world to notice. After writing what I did above, I took some major time to take care of myself. I hadn’t had a good cry in a long time. I talked with a close friend for awhile. And I got rid of clothes that weren’t fitting well and I was nostalgically holding on to. I’m feeling better about things as I’m settling back into working through this current flare up. Sometimes, I have to break down and hate how I look. This is so I can then remind myself of how much I love various things about my look, face, and body. I’ve spent enough time working hard to look in the mirror and love one thing, I can’t not do that anymore.

So here’s to pushing forward. I am a short, round person who is constantly trying to love my body. I am teaching and have taught myself how to angle and position myself for a good picture. I am working on learning what my best angles are.

I learning to not feeling awful when I see a not so flattering picture of myself. I know pictures are not accurate representations of a person. You can’t see movement, the quirks of a person’s nature. I truly do want to feel better and I am learning once again to enjoy food and to eat until I’m full but no more. I don’t want to count every calorie. I don’t want to be mentally weighing myself with each bite. I am stepping on the scale every day nowadays because I want to see if I can lose 10-20 pounds by March. I have a long term goal, I am enjoying my food, my drinks, and I am enjoying exercise. I am not focusing on (not trying to) the set backs I know I will encounter. Heck, if I lose 5 pounds, I’d be completely happy!

Now, I’ve gotta ask; what are the things you do to take care of yourself and to feel good about yourself?

Open the Door

I adore all things fall (except for PSL – yes, slay me now!). But as soon as the weather shifts with the transition between fall and winter, I hit a wall. I start to fall apart physically, emotionally, and mentally. I have flare up after flare up, my depression starts seriously spiking, and it’s a lot harder to keep up with exercise of any kind. Physically, this fall has been one of the worst I’ve had in a while. Thankfully with seeing a chiropractor, I have help so I am not going through this alone.

I’ve been shutting down though. Depression is always very close and its hands are always trying to get a better hold on me. Phil keeps mentioning how I’m just not talking. I think part of it is being an introverted mom to a wild toddler who I interact with all day long. By the time Phil gets home from work, I’m all talked out and have very little energy left for conversing. I feel stuck. It’s that feeling of being pushed under without knowing why. Depression hits when I least expect it and I get pulled under with very little warning. I always keep going. Being a part of Nerium helps a lot. I have a goal each day, and I push myself to hit my individual goals I have for the month. But I don’t want to. I want to curl up, cry my eyes out, and get buried in my Pappy’s hug.

I think part of this emotional downturn has been hugely affected by my physical flare ups. I started running roughly a month and half ago. I felt great! I was out running with a jogging stroller and by myself twice a week. My chiropractor was really happy with my progress, my posture has continued to improved, and I had no negative reactions to running. Then I had one of the worst back spasms I’ve had yet. I felt it coming too. I tried to get an appointment before it hit, but I couldn’t get in. That spasm has put me in a pit and I am still trying to find a way back out. Running is almost excruciating now. If I wasn’t taking EHT, I wouldn’t have any energy left. Thankfully, it is helping keep me going. I know I would feel 10 times worse than I physically do now if I wasn’t taking it.

I don’t even know what else to say. It’s a weird place to be in when you can step outside of yourself and see what’s messing with your head. Even though I can see what’s messing with me, I can’t take care of it or remove it from me. Also struggling with feeling like my body is betraying me is so hard.

I’m glad conversations about depression are being made more “normal.” Being stuck within the depression cycle is debilitating and to go it alone makes it even worse. It helps to have people to talk to and to get hugs from. My best friends were in town last weekend. It was a whirlwind of a weekend but it was so good to have all three of us in the same room! I’m really missing them now. I don’t like being separated by almost 2000 miles.

I’m hoping my body will adjust soon to the colder weather. I don’t think I expected to be thrown off so badly. I have been stuck in my head and am having so trouble trying to get out. I want to talk more with my husband. I want to figure out how to escape the things battling me in my head. They’re heavy, they’re pushing me down so hard, and my footing keeps slipping.

Saying it’s been a rough past month and half is an understatement. Yes, there have been so really good times mixed in. However, for those good times there have been just as many really hard times.

So, here’s to getting better?

Give someone a hug today if you know they’ve been struggling. Depression is so hard to go alone.


My in laws were in town visiting us this weekend. We couldn’t have been happier to show them the Colorado we’ve grown to love! During the weekend I enjoyed having conversations with my mother in law and I realized something kind of ground breaking to me.

Growing up, I was often told, and believed, that non-Christians only lived for works. I hadn’t really thought about this as I moved through the whole transitioning period over the past few years. But as I was watching and listening this weekend, really paying attention to everything around me, something clicked. I’ve never felt I had to prove myself through my actions. I never felt like I had to fulfill a certain amount of works to get the free pass into heaven, the afterlife, or whatever you believe there is after death. I fill my quotas as a Christian because I felt like that was what God said I was supposed to do. Yes, I think some of it had to do with wanting to please an easily angered God.

As I’ve walked away from all of that and have become one of those “non-Christians,” my entire goal for life has shifted. My big shoe dropping moment was realizing I desire to live authentically. I want to respect myself, those around me, and other’s belief systems even if I don’t agree with them. I want to live life to the fullest and respect the spiritual realm that surrounds me. I have no desire to use my works or efforts to prove I’m a good person. I have to live true to myself and honestly before those around me. To live any other way would be inauthentic and would be a lie. Everything I do has a continually running theme under it of “is this me? am I being true to myself?” I will not step forward with anything until I am sure.

Thinking this way has helped me feel so much more at peace with my life and who I am. I love the person I am becoming. I love the way I see life and the world and I can appreciate the things around me in a brand new light. I have stopped taking pictures of Ender as much. Besides the fact that’s getting harder to get clear pictures because he never stops moving, I just love watching him! He’s teaching me about living life to the fullest and I couldn’t be happier with what he’s teaching me.

So how are you living authentically? What are the things that help you be true to yourself?

Celebrating Samhain

I have never gone trick or treating and used to spend Halloween shut in the basement so no one saw the lights were on. But this year I decided to do something different. I have celebrated a few of the major holidays on the Wheel of the Year and I just happened to remember Samhain before it was too late. So we celebrated this over the weekend by making a big feast on Saturday and enjoyed the setting of the sun and the reminder of a healthy and healing harvest.

“Samhain (pronounced /ˈsɑːwɪn/ SAH-win or /ˈsaʊ.ɪn/ SOW-in Irish pronunciation: [sˠaunʲ]) is a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year.”

I made an apple cider roasted turkey breast, and mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and stuffing.

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I don’t have many ancestors I care to ponder as we reached this holiday. However, to me this entire year since we moved has continued to signify my healing from my past. My book is still slowly progressing, but even beyond my book, this has been a huge year for me. The summer has ended, the fall is more than halfway through, and winter is right around the corner. The fall has always been my favorite time of year, and this year it’s been rougher than usual physically, but that hasn’t dampened my love of fall. I love the feeling of buckling down and preparing for winter. I love watching the trees change colors and drop their leaves in preparation for spring. I get a feeling of leaving behind the old and waiting for the new.

I am truly loving to cook again, and creating this feast was a fun experience. I enjoyed preparing the turkey (first turkey I’ve made myself!!). It turned out to be insanely moist and I highly recommend this recipe for Thanksgiving or Christmas this year! I now will be turning the rest of the turkey into a soup once I pick up celery and carrots from the store. I’ll probably get some orzo noodles and put some bay leaves into the broth as well. There is nothing better than warm, homemade chicken or turkey broth to sip on a cold fall or winter’s day.

Well, that’s it for now!

Review of Ipsy Vs. Birchbox

I posted this over at Lashes & Rouge today but wanted to repost it here as well.

I heard last week that Birchbox was having a deal where you signed up for the October box and got a few box with it. All for the price of $10. Which I didn’t know Birchbox was the same price as Ipsy! Since I’ve been disappointed with the past two bags I’ve gotten from Ipsy, I decided to give Birchbox a chance. Both of my boxes came yesterday and I must say I’m pretty much sold on switching to Birchbox. But, let me explain the differences between the two companies and what I like or don’t like.


I first heard about Ipsy from my cousin who started posting about her Glam Bags about a year ago I think. I didn’t think much of it until Riley and I started thinking about this blog. So in July I got my first Ipsy Glam Bag. I fell in love with it. The bag was an adorable summer print and it was a soft almost linen like fabric.


That Octavia sea salt spray is hands down one of the BEST sea salt sprays I have tried yet. I still need to get some more since I ran out (then tried to find other sprays to replace it – nothing compared!). I still use those tweezers (my favorite ones now) and the Bliss highlighter/eyeshadow. This was definitely a huge success of a bag. The only thing I didn’t like in this Glam Bag was the moisturizer. I never used it and when I tried it, it felt weird on my skin.

I figured since the first bag was so good, Ipsy must be pretty awesome. I got my second bag in August; I hated the bag itself but I absolutely loved all 5 of the products!


I am still squeezing the bottle of the Marc Anthony Argan Oil hair treatment to get every last drop. This was another success! Then I got September’s bag.


I only liked two of the products in this bag. And my bag came with slices in it. Like someone had cut open a box with all of the bags and caught the tops one with a box cutter. This is when I started looking around for other options. My bag for September also took an entire week longer than usual to get to me.


This is my October Glam Bag. I got it this week and haven’t really played around with the products yet. Being sick and getting new things kind of doesn’t mesh very well. The bag is okay, I’m not terribly fond of the matte lip color from The Balm Cosmetics. I like Mica Beauty Cosmetics, but haven’t tried out the bronze eyeshadow cream yet. And I have absolutely no clue what the Go Away Gloomy Day stuff is. I need to get on Ipsy’s site and see if I can find information about it.

Okay, so here’s a break down of how Ipsy works.


  • 5 products and a makeup bag for a flat fee of $10 each month
  • customizable bags – beauty profile can be changed whenever and you can pick what kinds of products you want or don’t want
  • earn points for reviewing your bag
  • points can be used to get individual products up for grabs that month
  • referring someone earns you 250-500 points (500 only when Ipsy is having a promotion)


  • the customizable part isn’t always reliable – neither Riley or I have had much success with changing the products we wanted or didn’t want
  • earning points only goes so far – it’s hard to rack up enough points to actually get a product
  • referral system only benefits the referrer – the person using the referral link doesn’t get anything
  • bags aren’t always the best material nor will last
  • samples will really only be as big as the bags allow
  • Ipsy doesn’t have an online store but provides discount codes to use at different product’s home pages – although half the time the codes do not work



I have heard whispers of Birchbox over the past few years, but again hadn’t paid attention. I knew it was bit like Ipsy but when I saw they were doing a deal with 2 boxes for the price of one, I decided to jump on it.


This is October’s Birchbox. While yes, it doesn’t come with a makeup bag, I was impressed when I opened the box. The packaging is quite classy and I didn’t feel any loss for not having a bag. Not feeling a loss probably had to do with the samples being almost full sized. Here’s the bonus box I got as well.


I have been wanting to try Harvey Prince Hello perfume and was so thrilled when I opened the box and saw I had gotten a sample!! It smells as good as I’ve heard it does. Again, I didn’t feel like I needed the bonus of a makeup bag. Both the eyeliner from the bonus box and the mascara from the October box are quickly becoming favorites.


  • 5 samples for a flat fee of $10 a month
  • almost full sized samples, greater variety
  • refer someone and both you and friend get $5 – friend gets $5 off first box and you get 50 points=$5 to spend in the store
  • Birchbox isn’t just for women – they have a man’s box too
  • Birchbox also isn’t just for makeup and beauty products – they offer snacks, fashion tips, and home items as extras for their boxes
  • review your box and get 10 points for each product. 10 points = $1
  • Get 100 points = $10 to use in the store (that’s referring two people or reviewing two boxes worth of points)
  • Birchbox has a store where they have monthly/weekly deals and a whole butt load of products that ship free each week
  • Often gives out 20% codes off order of $25+


  • no makeup bag
  • they messed up and sent me two of the same boxes which actually what I was supposed to be getting. I got a total of three boxes; two October boxes and my bonus box. I still liked the box a lot but I don’t know what this means for future boxes.

I really don’t have any more cons for Birchbox. I will probably find more later, but so far my consensus is Birchbox outweighs Ipsy. Even if only because of Birchbox’s referral system. It bothers me when I refer someone to Ipsy they don’t get anything, only I do. With Birchbox I’d love to refer everyone just so they get that first box half off. So I am about 99% sure I am switching to Birchbox instead of Ipsy. At the very least, I’ll switch to Birchbox for a few months then see how it still compares with Ipsy after that point.

Let me know if anyone has had the opposite experience or why they like Ipsy better than Birchbox! Also, I am currently trying out another company called Le Tote. It is a company a lot like Stitch Fix but has a different way of doing their boxes. I will let you all know once I finish my month of Le Tote about how the two companies compare with each other!

I’m Dreaming…

Have you ever taken the time to dream? Like really dream about what you want your life to be? I never felt allowed to dream. Dreaming “outrageous” dreams only meant disappointment. Or at least, that’s what I was told growing up. I was talked out of so many dreams by my parents. I had to settled for only what I was given, nothing more.

I have since learned the importance to giving yourself a reason to keep pushing forward. My dreams have continued to grow over the past two years and they are only continuing to get bigger. I have found that if I put my mind to it and do serious work, I will progress towards my dreams coming true. The biggest part though is learning to wait and use the waiting time productively.

I used to tell friends about some of my dreams and they would laugh. Some even told me “you’ll never do that.” Then when they would tell me their dreams, I would quietly sit there mentally saying the exact thing they told me. There is great importance in helping each other achieve their goals and dreams. Without other’s support, I wouldn’t be sitting here today. I wouldn’t be able to say with confidence that I am willing to work my butt off to reach the places I want.

When I seriously considered joining Nerium, I took into account how many people I knew who despised these sorts of companies. I realized that I was letting other people’s opinions keep me from being happy and from doing the things I truly wanted to do. I have found that those who are striving to dream and work for their dreams are the ones who are going to come along side and say “you can do it!!” The people who aren’t willing to wait, have patience, and accept the rough spots are the ones who will drag you down and cast shadows on all of your dreams.

I have spent the past week specifically putting together a dream board. A big sheet of paper where I am slowly tacking and gluing pictures and quotes related to the things I want to accomplish. It’s fascinating to me what’s coming out of this project. I am seeing the things I’ve been told come true even as I lay out the board. I am willing to be a constantly growing person, ever striving for the dreams and goals I want.

So here’s what I want to do. I want to support anyone around me who has dreams. We all should have dreams. We all should have something that drives us forward each day. I don’t care if you’re a part of another company and you’re dreaming big dreams of advancing through the ranks! I want to support you no matter what. I don’t care if your dream is to make it to the end of the year in one piece; mentally, physically, and emotionally. I still want to support you.

What are your dreams? What are the things that are driving you? What gives you a huge smile each day no matter how hard life gets because you are willing to sit through the hard to get to the good? Tell me! I’d love to know. I’d love to offer my support and help give you a boost when you need it. You all have been supportive of me throughout the past three years, and now I want to return that favor!