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Mawige, is wut bwings us twogetha twoday…Or…How to Steampunk Wedding on a Budget. Part 1

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October 16, 2016 was the happiest day of my life. I got married again…it was the second time, but it felt like the first time…and every day since then has been great. We’re poor, we’re currently living in my mother’s basement….but you know what? We have each other, and that’s all that matters.

Our entire relationship has been a struggle to be able to -get- married. Four years in and out of a court room and my Sailor was FINALLY free. We decided to get married this year, about 4 months after his divorce was finalized. We weren’t going to wait any longer, and one of the months we picked was October.

I’d always wanted a Halloween wedding, but thanks to leap year, Halloween this year fell on a Monday. So we decided to look at my birth control, and see when I wouldn’t be on my period (no I’m totally serious) and we picked Oct. 16th, which also happens to be my cousin’s anniversary.

Our wedding theme started off as Steampunk….but sort of evolved into a Book theme with Steampunk and recycle/upcycled everything.

We were very short on cash, as this was all done in a rush. We had very little in the way of savings, but we both agreed we were NOT going to wait until next year. I had gotten a $500 check from my last job due to some time unpaid law suit, so that was the start of the budget.

We also had some very generous loved ones help pitch in….with out it we couldn’t have done it….well we could have, but it would have been much less awesome.

Part One is going to focus on the NON crafted items…items we had to buy because well…we couldn’t make them ourselves…

The Dress/Hair/Shoes/Makeup

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Can we just talk about my amazing dress? I love this dress so damn much. I paid…are you ready for this…? 60 dollars with shipping. Custom made to the measurements I provided. I bought this on Amazon from a seller called Romance Wang (yes I giggled for like 20min at the name, I’m super mature like that.) I read over all the reviews from several sellers that seemed the least shady, took a deep breath and ordered from the one with the most customer pictures…and cried tears of joy when I got it…of course I listened and sized it 2 inches up, and it shocklingly came 2 inches too big…good thing my mother in law is a professional seamstress, she ended up taking it in as I’d also lost weight since I ordered it in April.

I went barefoot most of the time, but the shoes I ended up paying 2 dollars for at an end of year sale. They were flesh colored jelly sandals. Nothing all that exciting. I wore them outside for the pictures and that was about it.

I did my hair and makeup/nails myself of course. The hairband I’m wearing was one dollar. The other bobbles in my hair were from my collection and painted, but all together the clips in the back cost me around 3.00. My earrings were 2.

The only new makeup I purchased was a LipTint/Stain from Amazon, which ended up costing me 3 dollars after I used a giftcard from the Job Spotter app. (Seriously, awesome app.)

The Rings

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We wanted something unique, one of a kind…and NOT gold or diamonds. We seriously looked everywhere….online (which was going to be our last resort because sizing issues), local shops, festivals…etc…etc…no luck. About a month before the wedding, we drove to the east side of Cleveland hoping maybe the place we bought our matching pendants from would have -something-. They didn’t. We went over to a shop across the street and FOUND THESE. The stone is a cubic zirconium and the rings are stainless. And we love them. And they cost us about 26 dollars after tax.

His Outfit

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He had a costume change…but his Navy dress blues didn’t cost us anything…so we’ll focus on this. Shoes were from the Navy. Pants he already had. Shirt = Walmart 9 dollars. Vest was hand made by his mother, which cost us nothing. Belt was also from the Navy, and socks and underwear he already owned. I had gifted him his cufflinks the first X-Mas we were together.

 

Venue

FREE. This mother works for the Massachusetts Autobahn Society, and we got the Worcester site free. It wasn’t the fanciest of places, but everyone really seemed to enjoy it. We didn’t have to pay for table or chair rentals either.

The table covers are from his mother’s fabric stock, and were returned there.

We also had a beaver, which I bitched about at first (taxidermy? At my wedding?) but decided to roll with…fancy hat and all. We ended up leaving the hat (forgetting it) and I guess the owners got a kick out of it the next day at their meeting.

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Photography

FREE. I had planned to just have pictures taken next year doing a trash the dress sort of photo shoot, but my cousins thought better, and acted as our photographers…and did AMAZING. I can’t thank them enough.

Cake

We had an apple spiced cake with cream cheese frosting and an apple butter filling. Seriously. YUM. The cake was gifted to us by someone very special who has asked for personal and family reasons to remain annon.

Here was the cake-spectation I found online.

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Here was our cake reality…though the frosting wasn’t as skimpy as above. To create the distressed look, our cake-spert used apple jelly smeared on the white frosting.

 

 

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Shimmy Mob #Hedoesnthitmebut ….

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Today is Shimmy Mob. ( http://shimmymob.com) To run it down real quick, it’s a flashmob of belly dancers that come together one day out of the year to perform a single choreographed danced. Like most flash mobs, we crash malls, events, festivals, beaches, where ever…but this is WORLD WIDE. It’s an honor to be part of it this year. I’ve wanted to take part in it for a few years now, but haven’t managed to “find time”. I think I’ve been avoiding it to be honest, for a few reasons…mostly because this cause hits very close to home for me.

I thought about putting this on my super secret venting therapy blog…but I made the choice to publish it publicly and share my own story.

If you might get upset reading about my late husband and how he treated me, then stop reading this right now. If you don’t want your image tarnished, close this page. If you don’t want a mark on your perfect memory of him, go back now. You’ve been warned.

In the last two years I’ve been comfortable enough in my life to finally be able to peel back the layers of my marriage to Jarod. Thanks to David (aka the Sailor) I’ve been working through all the baggage I was left with.

I’ve know of course that stuff Jarod did wasn’t right. I knew that for a long time while we were together, but I never actually thought of it as abuse. No one ever sat me down and went…. “Hey Nade, you know the way he blows up at you in public? Yea, that’s not cool. He’s an asshole and oh by the way, that’s considered mental abuse.” (I did hear the “he’s an asshole” part a lot. A LOT.) I can’t believe I lived eight years of my life with someone who was, for lack of better words, mentally beating me almost daily.

David was one of the first people to notice (or at least notice and point out) how deep it went. One of the first things he said to me that jarred me was “You don’t have to keep explaining yourself, I understand. It’s okay.” He knew. He knew because he’s been there too. That’s one of the things about he and I, we see reflections of each other’s struggles and hurt, and we understand that like most people can’t.

When he said that to me, I sort of looked at him and realized I do over explain. A lot. And I know why now. When ever I had to break even slightly bad news to Jarod, it was a big deal. I’d have to explain it five different ways and defend the bad thing making it “really not so bad after all” just to stop a blow up.

David would bring home “training manuals” from the Navy’s classed on domestic violence they were required to take…and not too long ago while cleaning I happened upon one and started flipping through it. There was this check list of abusive characteristics/tendencies. The list had 20 points on it. Jarod scored 17 out of 20…1 point because he never actually hit me. and 2 of the questions he missed because we never had children.

It was shocking.

Recently I’ve realized I tare down good things I have. Someone says “Wow your car is pretty!” I reply with “Thanks…but it needs so much work, I’ve got sun-damage on the paint and the locks are broken, and I need new tires, and a new belt, and the leather seats are cracking….and…and…”. I do it because if I bought something for myself, or was gifted something, I had to either hide it for awhile or make it seem not so great, or else there’d be a blow up.

I got use to walking on egg shells. Don’t do things to make him mad. Or there’ll be a blow up.

Keep him fed, or there’ll be a blow up.

Need the car for dance….better talk about how it’s so much work and not fun…because there’ll be a blow up because he’s not using the car….to go no where…because he never went anywhere…but that was my fault, because I always had the car.

Don’t tell him the show was a good time…it was long/bad/boring/same ol same ol…

and no I didn’t really make much money vending at the show either…

Don’t tell him you made new friends…

Don’t tell him you went out to eat with your friends after working hard at dance practice, because he’ll be mad you didn’t invite him/come straight home/bring him something.

Be sure you always have a good reason on hand for his bad behavior…He gets low blood sugar/tired/over worked/having issues with his boss/upset about car trouble/got a sun burn/is dehydrated/has daddy issues/didn’t sleep well/not feeling well/sensitive to…

I got use to working two or three jobs just so I could support two people if I wanted to go out and do anything….like the camping events he insisted on coming to even though 9 out of 10 times he’d have a terrible time…because Gods forbid I be trusted to go alone.

It got it’s worst two years before he died. He hit what I like to call a low point in his mental reasoning. We were at a camping event, and he had gotten sunburned and was dehydrated. He also refused to eat much at a pot-luck we had with our sister-camp. To make a long story short, I had gotten sick and went to my friend’s tent to get a soda to settle my stomach. I wasn’t there long, maybe 10 minutes total in walking down there, getting it, and coming back (God forbid he get the sick person a soda). I went back to our tent, he was out by the fire. I started to change and felt like I needed to go to the bathroom NOW. I pulled my skirt up to my chest and ran to the bathrooms….meanwhile…he thought I was having sex with a strange man in our tent. He went and told all my friends sitting at the neighbors camp that. Asked where I was, when they said they didn’t see me, he proceeded to tell them all I was having sex with some strange dude in our tent and he wasn’t going back in there ever….I found that all out the next morning when my friend asked me if I was alright. At the time I laughed it off…but now I see just how low he’d go.

In a way I got lucky. He died. I got out…I got set free, but not before the worst 6 months of my life. Things had started to take a turn for the better right before he got sick. It seemed like he was trying to be a better husband, and not be so controlling. He was coming to shows and taking part in things and seemed like he was having a good time. Even after he got diagnosed, he seemed grateful for my help until towards the end. The last two weeks were terrible.

Maybe I’m a selfish person, he was dying after all, but the mental stress he put me through was breaking. He’d force me to sleep downstairs. He’d make me be in the same room/area with him at all times…I was so exhausted one day, I just wanted to sleep, but he refused to share the couch or try and go upstairs to bed, so I ended up on the floor…exhausted. When we did get a bed for him downstairs, he wouldn’t let me sleep upstairs, even having a baby monitor. I still had to work the next day, and take care of him.

He threw his walker across the lawn once, but didn’t have enough strength to get inside.

He snapped at me, yelled at me…I understand he was struggling with his own mortality at that point, but it’s still painful considering the history we had.

I should stop here, because I want to enjoy Shimmy Mob today…and next week’s performance is actually my telling of the relationship I had with Jarod…but that’s another show, another day.

I do want to fill in hashtags though…so here we go…

#HeDoesntHitMeBut…I walked on eggshells every day because it was easier than listening to him yell.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut… I learned to dodge keys being thrown.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut …I learned to over explain everything in an attempt to make things not so bad.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut …I got good at down playing good things that happened to me.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut …he taught me to lie about places I’ve been or people I’ve talked to, even if nothing was going on, because lying was easier than him being angry about nothing.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut I learned I could hold down three jobs just to be able to go on vacation because he couldn’t be bothered to find a new one.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut I was made to feel guilty about things I loved.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut if I used the car for a hobby/work he made me feel like crap because I “was always using the car, and he wasn’t allowed to have a life because I was selfish” even though he never went anywhere, even when he could.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut he’d threaten to kill himself if I left.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut he’d tell my friends lies about me.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut he’d blow up over the littlest mistakes.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut he’d ruin your good time if you were having fun and he wasn’t.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut he had no problem fighting with me in public, even if I kept trying to keep my voice down.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut he expected to have things provided for him, like gifts, toys, games, vacations, and never helped contribute.

#HeDoesntHitMeBut he made me think I couldn’t cook.

and lastly…

#HeDoesntHitMeBut the blow ups were epic…deep into the night wake you up for no reasons to yell at you because you ate the mac n cheese a month ago…then storm out into the snow with no shoes and no coat, throw your wallet and keys into a snow bank, walk for five miles and expect you to chase after him/find him…epic.

 

I really could keep going.

Be aware people, and support others that are struggling. I don’t show it every day, and I don’t talk about it a lot…people say I changed after Jarod died, and it’s true. I did. I became bolder, stronger, and yea…I’ll go with bitchier and bossier…to quote a certain someone. I own that now, because I wasn’t allowed to own it before.

So today I dance for myself and all those other men and women who are held down, held back, and are now marked for life. I used to say this jokingly…but I say it seriously today.

“Not everyone is as lucky as I am, not everyone’s husband up and dies on them.”

 

 

 

Here’s the Skinny…

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Hey get it…Skinny? HA!

Okay, I’ve had a lot of friends and coworkers  asking what I’m doing.  So I figured I’d do a blog post, and put it all in one place for ya’ll. I’m in NO WAY an expert on this, and I’m still learning myself…but here’s what I’ve been doing, and I’ve had good results so far.

Results- 20ish lbs in under 2 months. Down 2 sizes. Off all diabetic medication, blood pressure medication removed and lowered (was on a mix with hctz, the hctz has been removed). Thicker hair, nicer skin, more energy. When you get sick, you don’t get as sick as usual.

Diet Name- Keto, Ketogenic, or Atkins, though Keto and Atkins are different.

What it means- Ketosis is when the body burns fat for energy. On this diet, our body stops using carbs for energy, and turns to our fat stores.

Basics- Remain under 20 carbs per day during the first two weeks of the diet. Cut all as much processed food as you can. Eat as much organic as you can (although my wallet can’t handle it). Eat no grain. Eat no sugar. Eat no fruit.

After the first two weeks, some people can raise their carb intake to 50. Some people can add in berries and other fruit.

Pretty much read every damn label, and google everything you eat… “How many carbs does a …….. have?”

If something has over 3 carbs per serving, I try to avoid it.

You eat fat, lots of delicious fat. I honestly don’t keep track of mine, but it’s suppose to make up a large portion of your diet. You need to stick to natural fats, like butter, bacon, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil (which honestly I can’t stand anymore).

People will talk about Net Carbs vs. Carbs. During the first two weeks “induction” I stayed under 20 grams. Now, I weigh what makes up the carbs and make a choice from there….Net Carbs are…. Carbs – Fiber – Sugar Alcohol (NOT SUGAR, Sugar alcohol, which is usually just found in sugar free products). Now, when looking at a nutrition label, under CARBS will Be FIber, Sugar, and then Sugar Alcohol if it’s in there…. If a product is made up of mostly fiber, I’ll think about eating it, because the Net carbs would be low….but if it’s made up of sugar, I avoid it. Sugar Alcohols are a grey area for me. I try and stay away from them, because they can cause you to stall…they can also cause you to poop. A lot.

So, what have I been eating?

Eggs, Bacon, Mayo, Pork Rinds, Steak, Chicken, Pork, Sausage, Cheese, Almond Milk, Coffee, Tea, Salads, Cauliflower, Broccoli, Chives, Tomato, Avocado, Heavy Cream, Sugar Free Jello, Cream Cheese, Summer Sausage, flavored waters, sour cream….I made pancakes the other night with protein powder…I eat a lot of pickles.

There are SO many recipes out there, honestly this way of eating is very easy. Yes, it’s a pain to give up sugar and wheat…but honestly you won’t miss them. If you get desperate, and you don’t have a wheat sensitivity like I do, you can order things like Carb Quick, which will let you make low carb goodies like bread, pancakes, muffins, etc.

When I first started, I had what they call Bullet Proof Coffee every morning to help keep me full…these days I’m in the phase where I just don’t want to eat anything…which sucks…so I haven’t been making it, but I digress… It’s coffee, heavy cream, 1tbs butter, and sweetener (I use equal). I use to put coconut oil in it, but I can’t stand the taste anymore of it. I would also add protein powder in the beginning, and throw it in the blender to make a frothy coffee smoothie.

A lot of this is about meal prep. Have a plan, it makes things more simple. If you don’t plan ahead, you can still eat out if you need to. Fast food is easy, just get rid of the bun, side salad, and get either water or unsweet tea then use sweetener. Like today, I went to Arby’s for lunch. I had a Ruben, got rid of the bread and put the meat cheese and sauerkraut atop my side salad.

So, what’s the catch? Because you KNOW this diet works, you’ve seen me every day (assuming you’re a friend reading this…if not, I promise someday very soon I’ll post some pics). So, it’s too good to be true, right? Only a little…there are some cons…Here they are.

It’s expensive in our area. I’m not going to lie, my bill for 2 people a week to eat has gone from about 80 to 150. My fiance decided to join me on this diet because I was pretty much just cooking it nightly, so he had a choice to join or diet otherwise. It’s a lot of meat, and a lot of veggies, and a LOT of cheese. Cheese isn’t cheap. If I were back north, I’d shop at places like Aldi’s or Save a Lot. They’re just not around here, so it’s hard. I shop sales (like Publix for bacon, they have buy one get one sales), or I go to Wal-Mart early Sunday morning when they mark the meat down.

You’re going to feel like serious shit the first two weeks doing this. Some people go through it faster. I was so sick from the diabetes when I went through induction, I didn’t really notice any difference from the “Keto Flu” to what I was going through. You will feel lethargic, and cranky, and like shit, you may get headaches too and muscle pain. Once you’re through induction, you’ll feel a million years better. I promise, it’s worth it.

You need to drink a lot of water to keep the ketones flushed…which working in a place like Express Scripts isn’t the easiest thing to do.

You do need to eat, even when you don’t want to. And you have to get your fat in. On weeks I slack and don’t (like this week for example) you may gain a little, or not lose at all. We have to eat the fat to keep our bodies from eating our muscle…so eat the damn fat to burn the fat. (Google fat bombs)

You may poop a lot. All the fat keeps your intestines nice and lubed up, so be prepared for that.

You may not poop a lot…and this SUUUUUUUUCKS. Constipation is a struggle on this diet, and I’ve had it myself (TMI, sorry trying to be real). If I don’t take my magnesium supplement daily, I’ll get back upped, and then I have to spend the night with Miralax…and that sucks ass. It takes a week to get myself back to normal again and my stomach hurts the entire time.

Leg cramps suck. You’ll get them. Some people fight them with pickle juice, others with supplements.

Odds are you’re going to have to start taking a daily vitamin if you’re not already. I take a women’s multi, magnesium, and Vitamin D (unrelated to the diet).

Your hormones are going to get fucked up, even if you’re on the pill. I had my period twice this month. and I’m on the pill! So be prepared for that. When your body burns fat, it releases stored hormones in that fat, and it’s going to happen, and there’s not much you can do about it except deal with it, and know it’ll even it’s self out in a few months…fun fact, your fertility can go up too during this diet. Don’t worry, your birth control is still working, so don’t panic.

So that’s pretty much been my life for the last two months. It really is easy, don’y be scared by having to cook, or try new things. There’s so many fantastic recipes out there, all you have to do is search for them.

Do some more research about it, you’ve got the name and the basic info now. Make a choice for yourself, and I’m happy to help. It’s not for everyone, and sadly doesn’t work FOR everyone. If you’ve any sort of health condition that’s made worse by inflammation though, this is worth a try. It’s worth a try for hormonal conditions too (Hello like most of my friends have PCOS too.). Do the research, see if it’s right for you. Talk to your MD if you feel the need to.

Why Keto Sucks

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So, in contrast to my last blog about why the Keto way of life is amazing…I’m going to present the down side to Keto. I try and be realistic in life after all, and with all pros come cons. Some of these are funny, serious, annoying, and could be a little TMI for some people…so you’ve been warned.

The first and probably most horrific thing about the Keto way of eating is the dreaded “Keto Flu”. It’s very much real, and it very much sucks. I was so sick when I started keto, I honestly can’t tell you if I suffered from it myself, or if I was just in my “normal” state of unhealthy suck. This “flu” is the result of your body detoxing from sugar and carbs. As your body moves into the fat burning stage of Ketosis, you feel like death. For some people it’s much more serious than others, but most experts suggest keeping activity levels low during the first two weeks of induction, because you just won’t have the energy. Most everyone agrees this is the worst part of Keto, but once you’re past this stage, you feel like a light goes off inside you, and you’ve more energy than you’ve ever had.

Body Smells…oh gosh…I don’t know if it’s because my sense of smell and taste have heightened more than their already natural high levels…but oh Gods, I’ve become hyper aware of my body scents. You pee starts to stink from the ketones being burned, and you start to panic, thinking you’re turning into that smelly person in the office bathroom. Being a lady, when your pee smells, your lady parts smell too, so of course you become paranoid about that too. No one wants their junk to smell funky…I’m not sure if men really have this issue just due to the way our parts are shaped. I’ve started carrying wet wipes with me to keep daisy fresh. Your arm-pits also start to smell funky. Some people much worse than others. More than a few ladies I’ve heard from in support groups have reported having to switch to prescription strength deodorant to handle it. I’ve been fortunate on that part so far thankfully.

Your periods will get messed up. Doesn’t matter if you’re on the pill or not, it’s going to get messed up. Mine came 4 days early and lasted 2 days longer than normal, and I was miserable. It was heavier than normal on the pill, and sucked big time. As your fat is burning, it’s releasing stored hormones, thus it can give you surges, and poof, f-ed up cycles. Most women report this only lasting for a few months.

From here on out…they’re less gross…

Itchy arm pits. OMG make them stop itching.

Things you once loved taste like crap. I was just out at a Mexican place, and decided to have 1 chip with some Salsa. I ended up eating only about half the chip. It tasted like shit. I’ve had this problem with other foods I decided to have one bit of. They’re just not the same…which brings me to the next point…

You seriously mourn the foods you once loved. I miss loving pasta…I miss loving french fries, mashed potatoes, bread, bagels, donuts…etc…But the thing is, I don’t miss eating them. I just miss loving them. I know they don’t taste the same, and that it’s a waste of time for me to even try to eat them.

Shopping takes three times longer now, because you have to be super aware of what’s in your food. You’re constantly paranoid about hidden carbs or sugars in your food. You read every single label, and find yourself becoming rageful that there’s randomly sugar in things that don’t need it. I’ve found myself slamming a block of Wal-Mart brand cream cheese down and going “WHY THE FUCK IS THERE SUGAR IN THIS?!?!” Out loud…mind you it was 7am in the deep south on a Sunday, the store was empty so no one saw me, but still, what the hell? After awhile you’ve learned what you can and can’t buy, what’s safe and what’s not, but that first month sucks, and if you switch stores to search for new Keto friendly goods your shop time goes right back up.

Speaking of food…it sucks because you’re not hungry. You have to remind or force yourself to eat at times. If you don’t eat, your weight loss can stall, this has been my problem lately. I haven’t been eating what I should be, because I haven’t been hungry. So this week, I haven’t lost at all. This is a serious problem for people with bloodsugar issues. Before I got off my medications, my sugars would plummet because I hadn’t eaten, and no matter how much I would eat, the carb count would never be enough to bring my sugars back up.

Sweet things become too sweet. If you do make the choice to have a little something, like chocolate…ow. Just ow. I use to keep a couple pieces of Hershey brand chocolates on my desk from an award I’d gotten at work. I’d use it in an emergency if my blood sugar dropped. Holy shit, did that stuff end up hurting my teeth the couple times I had to use it before I sucked it up and got glucose tablets. I’ve since switched to 90% dark chocolate or higher. I actually do love milk chocolate, so I’m planning to make my own.

You start to become a little snarky about other people’s health and body. Even if you’re no where near in perfect shape yet, you become hyper aware of others. You see someone else over weight eating like crap and go “OMG! How are they eating that shit, don’t they know what it’s doing to their body?” or “OMG, that person is a metabolic time bomb!” I actually had this thought about a new co-worker when I went to clock in. I’ve had to remind myself not to lecture, or judge. I’m not thin (yet), and I feel bad having these thoughts about others, but they happen constantly.

You start to notice things in your body, and you wonder if you’re just wanting to see them, or if they’ve happened. So you wait and wait and wait for someone to say something just to known you’re not paranoid.

You stare longingly at clothing stored away in your closet, and the anticipation of fitting into that piece of clothing is crushing. On the flip side, the victory when fitting back into it is amazing, then you move on to the next shirt or pair of jeans and it starts all over again. I’ve one dress I keep trying on weekly. I can fit into it, but don’t feel comfortable in it, so I keep trying because I want so badly to wear it comfortably for the first time.

Your sense of smell and taste become heightened. Now, I’ve always had a crazy sensitive nose and tongue. I can smell people entering a room, and I can taste something, and start to break down the seasonings for you and other ingredients…welcome to my world, people. It’s both a blessing and a cruse.

This one’s super annoying…People will start to ask you “OMG, what are you doing? I need to lose weight myself and you look amazing! Whatever you’re doing is working, you have to tell me!” So you start to tell them, and get one of two responses, but they’re always the same.

  1. A look of horror- followed by: “OMG, I can’t give up carbs, that’s crazy!”
  2. A look of horror-followed by: “OMG! You’re crazy, I was told/read by/that (fill in the blank) that your diet is super unhealthy and will (fill in horrible thing here) to you!”

And seriously people….You JUST said how fabulous I look, clearly this lifestyle works.

The last one…

You’ll start joining online support groups. They’re mostly great! You can find like minded people, all doing the same plan and going for similar goals. You can swap recipes, which is seriously the best thing ever when you’re new to the plan. The down side…you start to roll your eyes at people, and become a little snarky. This far, I’ve been able to keep my mouth shut on forums and posts…but OH MY GOD….here’s an example of one post I had to stop myself from commenting on…

“I’m addicted to soda, and don’t want to change what I eat so don’t try and stop me. But what can I do to do this diet and lose weight fast?”

What can you do to succeed on this diet? Nothing, because you’ve already stated you’re changing. Quit now, move on, save yourself the trouble because this is about changing yourself and your way of life, not about a quick fix. It’s a life style change, and those who do succeed on Keto, then go back to eating crap, do regain the weight.

Other questions that annoy the crap out of me are from people who don’t bother reading intro posts. 99% of questions are answered in files on pages and forums. They break down the basics so everyone doesn’t have to keep answering the same questions over and over and over again. READ SHIT PEOPLE. I swear if someone asks what WOE means one more time…or asks the difference between Grams and Net Carbs, I might scream. JUST READ.

So there you have it…some of the reasons that this Keto plan is just the worst thing ever. People should be prepared, I mean I wasn’t warned about some of this stuff when I started the program, mostly the snarky thoughts that start to come with it…

Oh, I forgot, there’s one more drawback of Keto… You seriously can’t stop talking about Keto.

Lucky 13

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I’ve lost 13lbs. I owe it all to Ruby, because with out that little Evil Eggplant, I never would have discovered the Keto Diet. I love keto, no I seriously love keto. I never thought I could -love- a diet, or a Way of Eating (WOE) as they call it. It seems so strange to me, someone who’s been so happy being fat…well…not always happy, but content at least…could LOVE a “diet”.

What is keto? It’s short for Ketosis….which is the act of the body burning it’s own fat for energy. Some people worry this is a starvation mode, but using a Keto diet keeps you healthy while allowing your body to burn it’s own fat stores. It’s a diet of high fat, low carb (between 20 and 50 per day)….People start to freak out when you talk about this diet, it’s very opposite of everything we’ve been taught was healthy or good for us. Eat fats? Eat whole cheeses? Eat meat? Don’t eat too many veggies or grain? What? You want me to eat….real butter? SAY WHAT?! But honestly, this works…and it works really well…and I feel AMAZING. Amazing enough I have to blog about the positive changes in my life since I started low-carb a month ago. I don’t want to get too much into the science of this diet, because I’m still very much learning myself.

My story…

On July 7th, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I was in the very early stages of this disease….I was early enough that it could be fixed, but it was already starting some very serious and concerning health issues. I was also diagnosed with very low Vitamin D, and a mildly fatty liver. What scared me most, was the Diabetes. I did NOT want to go on an injectable, and when my PA wrote me a RX for Bydureon I freaked out. No, it’s not insulin, but I was NOT going to be on an injectable. Something had to change in my life, and now. My other issue was high triglycerides…my other cholesterol levels were actually low. Hmm. Interesting, but makes a lot of sense. My diet was high in carbohydrates, and after a little research, I found high triglycerides were due to things like sugar and carbs. I knew what I had to do…I had to change at last, I had to drop the carbs and sugar if I wanted to live.

I have a lot of things working against me…my biggest is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. This wonderful little disease sets me up for weight gain…and diabetes…as well as infertility and things like acne and body hair growth, but that’s not what this blog post is about, so we’re going to focus on the first two: Weight Gain and Diabetes. I’ve never been able to lose weight easily thanks to this lovely little disease, and having recently gone through old photos of myself, I’ve notice as I started to become a woman, that’s when the weight started packing on, and wouldn’t come off. I can’t tell you how many diets I’ve been on, starting as early as 14. I have a very vivid memory of coming home after a summer of visiting my grandparents, and my mother being shocked at how much weight I gained, and instantly putting me on Weight Watchers…which didn’t really work. I know mom meant well…but yea. It didn’t work and I was miserable. And the weight never really came off.

I had some success over the years, and managed to grow into that fat over the next year or so with out gaining much more. The most successful diet I ever had was when I was 18. I became a vegetarian, and was taking diet pills. After returning to eating meat and dropping the pills, I of course gained all the weight back, plus some. I graduated at about 200lbs…and then slowly over the next 14 years packed on the pounds to be my highest weight at 264 when I got married.

After that, I yo-yo-ed back and forth between about 238 (for a very short time) to 250 before I moved down south, and gained 14lbs due to both lifestyle (do you know how hard it is to eat healthy down here? EVERYONE is overweight, which makes you less self conscious at the beach, but seriously…) and my hormonal condition worsening.

When I say I’ve done all the diets…I kinda mean it. Over the years I’ve done diet pills (Metabolife, Alley, among others I can’t recall the name of…), Weight Watchers, The Blood Type Diet, The Daniel’s Fast, Juicing, The Flat Belly Diet, as well as trying to eat Organic, and other combos of things people have said are healthy and work for them. Nothing’s worked, nothing’s been successful (except the Metabolife-Vegetarian combo, but the minute I stopped, back up went the weight). Anything I’ve tried I’ve gotten some results with, but the results were hard to maintain, and so was the diet.

Ok…enough about my diet history and health…here’s why I love keto…(yummy and does some kickass things for me!)

What makes Keto so different for me? I wake up every day excited for food. I’m excited to cook! I get to eat delicious things! I fricken LOVE steak….like I LOOOOOOVE steak. Steak is amazing. I love meat (sorry my vegan friends!). So a diet that wasn’t going to limit me in meat was a good thing, especially since I had to give up my beloved carbs. Meat, and cheese…yes please. Whole delicious cream? Oh yes…yes to that too. (Meat = 0 carbs btw!)

What a normal day looks like for me meal wise…

Morning coffee. We call it Bullet Proof Coffee…still not sure where the name came from… It’s coffee with butter and heavy cream in it…I love butter in my coffee, it’s seriously amazing. I’m not a big food eater in the morning, so I add a scoop of protein shake to mine.- Carb count = 3.

Lunch varies for me, depending on my mood. I usually pack leftovers from dinner…but I also pack lunch meat, cheese, and boiled eggs to snack on (though I’m needing snacks less and less as my blood sugar evens out). I can also be found with a salad (depending on mood), or a cheeseburger with bacon, no bun.

Dinner is my favorite meal…The night before last we had tacos….ground steak, green pepper, onion, cheese, and sour cream. It was DELICIOUS. We also used a product called Shiritaki, which is formed into noodles or “rice”. About 10 carbs in this.

I get to EAT! I get to eat GOOD food…did I mention we had cheesecake for desert, with whole whipped sugar free cream? No seriously, 0 carbs. (Swap real sugar for sweeteners)

I can eat like this…satisfy my inner fat kid…and loose weight…and loose inches!! And even when the scale doesn’t move, the measuring tape does.

Here’s some of the amazing things besides weight loss that has happened to me…

  1. Illness…now it didn’t make me sick, but I’m talking the impact of getting sick now vs. getting sick before starting this WOE. My -wonderful- coworker used my desk and headset while she was sick and I was off…I got sick needless to say, but rather than feeling like death (I mean she was seriously sick with a head cold and fever), if you compare me to her? I’m dancing on air. I’ve a slightly sore throat and mild headache. My voice is in and out (which means I can’t work, no talky no worky on the phone)…but I’m feeling pretty good. A year ago, this would have taken me out for days…hell 6 months ago…3 months ago..
  2. My blood sugar is WAY down. Post meals I’m at about 100 with NO MEDICATION…only about a month and a half later! Look at that. I’m managing a life long disease with no medication…medication that was painful for DAYS after injecting (hell I think I still have a lump from that damn Bydureon…I just don’t do well with it in my right leg…left was fine.)
  3. My skin has cleared up…which means my hormones may be regulating. Which is amazing.
  4. My periods are lighter, even with being on the pill. I’m interested to see how this continues after I’m off the pill in a year or so.
  5. My skin is softer.
  6. My hair is fuller.
  7. My lips are moist and soft.
  8. My allergies are better.
  9. My muscles feel stronger (my abs in specific. They’re always wanting to “engage”.)
  10. My tastebuds and sense of smell are stronger…still trying to figure out if this is a good thing. I could smell people entering a room before this started.
  11. My brain fog is clearing.
  12. I’m not tired all the time anymore. I honestly thought I had Lyme disease or hep-C before I made these changes I was so tired all the time.
  13. My drive to do things is back. ORGANIZE ALL THE THINGS!
  14. I’m happy again. So happy, and so full of life and energy
  15. I can eat and feel full sooner and for longer. I feel satisfied! It’s so nice!
  16. My knees don’t hurt like they use to! Neither does the rest of my body.

There have been so many positive changes after the first 2 weeks of this plan (won’t lie…induction kinda sucks). I woke up on day 15 and felt like a light was switched back on inside of me.

I defend this WOE. I had a hard time last week because of low LOW blood sugars. I was overly medicated. I had started off with Bydureon 1 time a week and 500mg of Metformin twice a day. My PA warned me to keep an eye out for this, he admitted to treating me thinking I wouldn’t change. He was happy to see he was wrong. So first I cut one of the metformin, then I cut the byudreon the next week…last week I was down to 1 metformin a day, and I was still experiencing blood sugar lows of 70-80 AFTER meals. I stopped the metformin…and 4 days later the extreme lows have stopped, and there have been no highs past 110….ANYWHO…I got into a talk with a coworker who’s diabetic. I don’t know him well, but a friend called him over because he’s been managing his diabetes for years.

He of course, told me Keto is terrible, and I should be having up to 40 carbs per meal…the thing is, that’s for someone who’s on medication. Yea, if I ate 40 carbs a meal, I wouldn’t be getting lows on my medication. I’d be “managing” the disease. I don’t want to “manage” this disease. I want to kick it’s ass. My goal isn’t healthy numbers ON medication…my goal is healthy numbers OFF medication. And since I’ve stopped my meds? BOOM healthy numbers. I swear, the education people are given when we’re diagnosed helps keep us ill. (I should post about my own experience in another blog…it was entertaining.)

People who tell me this isn’t healthy can blow me. My blood pressure is the lowest it’s been since I got on medication. My blood sugar is perfect. I feel so amazing. Everything we’ve been taught about being healthy has been BS. I love Keto, it’s given me my life back, and I could seriously talk forever about how much I love this way of eating.

I’m Engaged!! How he did it…

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I’m engaged to the most wonderful man in the entire world…it’s been 3 years, and all the baggage and wait was worth it. He asked me to marry him on my birthday, knowing there was nothing I wanted, except him. We had an awesome day of adventure, doing whatever I wanted to because it was my birthday.

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We started off with a local craft faire, then traveled down to Jacksonville, FL to explore the Cummer’s Museum of Art and Botanical Gardens. The museum happened to be right next to the Riverside Arts Market, so we walked over there and had lunch. After that, we headed to Jacksonville Beach, but not before I found a World Market and made an “emergency” pit stop…hey, it’d been almost a year since I’d set foot in one… Jax beack was really crowded, and we walked on the pier, and watched the fishermen. Got to see someone catch a shark, but the line snapped before they could get it reeled in. After the pier, we walked the beach for a bit and gave up, it was just way too crowded.

Since Jax beach was a bust, David asked if we could go to Fernandina Beach…I had a feeling something was brewing, because he wanted to be there at sunset, because it’d be romantic. So we drove an hour north to Fernandina, and stopped to have some Frozen Yogurt before heading to the beach.

By now, it was around 8, and the sun was setting and the beach was windy. We set our things down, and walked a few yards. He started to get stiff and stopped walking. I turned and asked if he was ok (He’s been having a lot of knee problems and is getting simvisc injections). He pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to me.

“Here. This is for you, but you have to read it out loud.”

Our love is like the ocean blue

A never ending beach.

No matter coast or continent

There’s no land it cant reach

It’s full of fascinating sights

And wonders lurk the deep

An endless ‘scape to uncover

And loves riches to keep

The waves crest high and glisten too

Your perfect silver touch

The sunsets colors demonstrate

How I love you so much

It’s gentle like a rising tide

My soul soaked like the sand

So when it’s time to be apart

I still can hold your hand

The sapphire of the Middle Sea

If our love had a hue

And like it our bond’s deep richness

Leads me only to you

Our love is like the oceans blue

As endless as the sea

I cant live my life without you

“So will you marry me?”

I looked up as he said that last line himself, and I cried, and cried. And I nodded my head. And we hugged and hugged. He didn’t get down on one knee…And told me the reason was he was too nervous, his head said go, but his body just didn’t listen. I don’t care…it was perfect.

David had my mother’s ring resized for me so I could wear it again. That beautiful star sapphire ring means so much to me. It was given to my mother for her sweet 16, and she passed it down to me when I turned 16. I wasn’t able to wear it for long, the stone started to become loose, and soon my fingers were too big for the ring, so it’s sat in a jewelry box lonely for at least 15 years.

I’m so happy to be wearing it again, it’s such a beautiful ring, and now it means so much more to me.

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Holiday Nail Art: Round 2 Candy Cane Swirls

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I’m not really sure how I feel about this one. When I thought up the idea, I felt it’d be a fun different candy cane design, and I don’t know, in practice I’m not sure I’m digging it. I think it’s the thumb that’s bugging me the most, but I haven’t quite narrowed it down yet. Either way, I figured I’d document this.

Polish Used:

Base- China Glaze: Love Letters

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Design- White- Wet n Wild Wild Shine- French White Creme, Green-China Glaze Holly-Day (From 2012 Holiday Collection I believe), and Red- China Glaze- Pointsettia (2012 Holiday Collection as well).

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