Family

Summer Reading List

summer-reading-list

It’s almost August (already!) and I’ve been working on my summer reading list. I haven’t be working on it as diligently as I should have but progress is progress. Each year, I participate in the GoodReads reading challenge, and, unfortunately, I’m way behind. I think I’ve finished one book. Blah…

My Summer Reading List

I Am That Girl* by Alexis Jones
Living Successfully with Screwed Up People by Elizabeth B. Brown
A Family Affair: The Wish by Mary Campisi

Yep, there’s only 3 books on this list because summer, for me, is all about the pool. I wish I could read while in the pool but that’s not possible with my guys.

Reading is one of those activities that I don’t get to do very often. I’m starting to make more time for it because it’s something I truly enjoy. My goal is to create a reading list for each season with just a few books so that I can enjoy one of my favorite activities.

What’s on your summer reading list?

*This post contains affiliate links.

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Living with Mental Illness

mental-illness

Mental illness is part of every second of my life. Not only do I suffer from depression and anxiety, my oldest son has ADHD and intermittent explosive disorder (IED), and a good friend has borderline personality disorder (BPD). Living with your own is hard enough. When you add other people’s illnesses, well, that’s a whole other ball of wax. But, I think I’ve managed to handle it well. What I’m so sick of is the damn stigma associated with mental illness. Get over it already – it’s a real thing and it needs to be treated as such!

How to Cope with Mental Illness

It’s hereditary or brought about by traumatic events. Double whammy for me because I have both. Over the years, my depression has decreased while my anxiety has increased. My work seems to help me cope because part of my job is to write blog posts for psychiatrists. I learn a lot about mental health, strategies to cope, and how to help others.

My therapist, whom I love dearly, is amazing! I don’t know what I’d do without her. Here’s the kicker though – therapy ONLY works if you’re brutally honest with and about yourself. So many people think therapy is about going in there, talking about your feelings, and having the therapist “fix” you. Please excuse me while I laugh. Therapy is fucking hard! If you’re not ready for it, you won’t get it.

I’ve also learned, in recent months, that exercise helps me feel better. Not just physically, but mentally. It’s better for me when I get outside in the sunshine and semi-fresh air (I live near a lot of farms). Vitamin D works wonders for your health.

How to Help Those You Love

This here is where I get myself in trouble. You see, I’m a fixer. I love helping people and, sometimes, they don’t want my help. When it comes to helping my son, who’s almost 18, it’s really difficult because he’s a teenager who thinks he knows it all. According to him, I’m the dumbest woman walking the face of the Earth. That’s typical of teens so I don’t let it get to me.

Helping my Kid

I’ve been fighting for him since before he was born and I’ll continue to fight for him until I take my last breath. Quite a few years ago, while watching a program on TV, I heard about intermittent explosive disorder (IED). I looked it up on the Mayo Clinic’s website and realized that my kid had many of those symptoms. I printed out the info and took it in during his next therapy session. Unfortunately, it was years later before he was actually diagnosed with the disorder. It really pisses me off how things work because we’ve all gone through hell only to come back to where we started. Once he was properly diagnosed and began his new treatment, things have calmed down a bit.

Helping a Friend

Helping a friend is much different than helping my kid. Obviously, I talk to my friends differently than I talk to my children, but not by much. 😉 It’s important to always remember that depression, anxiety, or any other psychiatric disorder is out of that person’s control. When anyone calls me with a problem, I automatically go into “how can we fix this” mode. I’m all about lending a helping hand, or ear, so other people can feel better.

I always offer suggestions, advice, or whatever you want to call it to those who are dealing with something. 9 times out of 10 I’ve been where they are and I advise based on my own experiences. I’m never short of opinions, as everyone close to me knows, so people know I’m going to offer an opinion when they talk to me.

All in All…

The best thing you can do for anyone coping with a mental illness is to be there for them. Never shy away from comforting and supporting them. Learn as much as you can about what they’re dealing with so you have a better understanding. Find alternative methods to help. But, most of all, listen to them…closely. It’s important to pick up on cues if this person is suicidal so you can get them help quickly.

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My Horrible Experience with Mirena

mirena

Almost 2 years ago (August 2014), I reluctantly decided to have Mirena inserted into my body. I don’t need birth control because I had a tubal ligation almost 10 years ago. So, why did I get Mirena? Well, at the risk of sharing too much, I got it to control my heavy, very heavy, monthly flow. You see, what doctors won’t tell you about a tubal ligation is that you bleed like a stuck pig every freakin’ month and drop clots like you’ve just given birth. The pain associated with this mess is unreal and completely unnecessary.

After dealing with that for almost 9 years and being on 3 different types of birth control to control it, I decided to opt for the Mirena. I’m limited to what I can put into my body because my mom is a 2 time breast cancer survivor. Her cancer was estrogen and progesterone positive. What are the hormones in birth control? Ding, ding, ding – you got it! I “aged” out of the pill because I’m over 35 and I’m a smoker.

In the beginning…

When I had this sucker installed, it was the worst experience ever. My GYN told me I had to be on my period to make it easier and less painful to insert. Kiss my ass! I was coming up off that table and I cried like a baby. Check this out – I’ve had 2 c-sections so I know what pain is. That shit was horrible! I cramped the rest of the day and for weeks after that.

About 3 months into it, my body started to adjust. I no longer had to clear out the feminine hygiene aisle at Walmart and the cramping was minimal. I still had PMS though, much to my husband’s chagrin. That’s what he gets for not getting a vasectomy…just sayin!

A Year In…

Fast forward to September 2015 and shit started hitting the fan. My body was doing all sorts of things I didn’t tell it to do. There was severe cramping that doubled me over, chronic leg pain, and an irregular cycle like I had just gotten my period for the first time. I didn’t know what the hell was going on.

The cramping was fast and furious, just like contractions. The pain would go down my legs and my feet would sometimes go numb. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been doubled over because the pain is so severe. I felt like I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything. I tried to track it, like a good little patient, but there was no rhyme or reason. There was no pattern whatsoever.

Fortunately, I saw my GYN that month for a “string check” (glamorous, huh?) and told her about it. Her answer to me was, “Wait until spring to see if your body adjusts.” Well, I did and it didn’t.

A Year Later…

I called my primary doctor last month hell bent on getting this thing removed. It was a particularly bad day when I saw my primary and she saw first-hand just how severe my cramping was.

She did a physical exam to see if that little bugger moved but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary. She also ordered an x-ray just to make sure. From there, I had an ultrasound and a transvaginal ultrasound. Up next was an MRI. Apparently, my insides are perfectly normal and the mirena hasn’t moved. Wtf?! I’ve been on prescription pain meds since that visit. Lovely, right?

My Relief

I finally got that bitch removed Friday morning. I’m back to where I started, buying up tampons and pads like they’re going out of style. At this point, I don’t care because the pain is gone! During the removal, literally felt the pressure leave when the mirena was gone. I can’t put into words how amazing that felt! I was really nervous about having it removed, especially when the nurse came in with ibuprofen for me to take beforehand. I was pleasantly surprised that I only felt one twinge of pain before the sweet release of everything. There was very little cramping after and no spotting. I felt fantastic!

I guess the hormones were out of my system come Sunday morning because I woke up to my period. Eh, oh well, it happens. But, what I didn’t wake up to was horrible, stabbing pains that doubled me over. Gotta take the good with the bad.

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My Morning Routine

morning-routine

Being a freelancer means I have to have dedication and discipline to get my work done throughout the day. It’s up to me to get done what needs to get done every day, and, if I don’t, there’s hell to pay. I still have deadlines to meet, a business to run, and a family to handle. With that said, my morning routine isn’t much different than any other freelancer’s; I just wanted to share it with you.

During the school year, my routine is rock solid, but, now that summer vacation is here, things get a little crazy. During the week, I roll out of bed at 7 am. Sometimes earlier but I try to grab as many z’s as I can.

From 7 to about 7:30 I’m checking my social media, catching up on email, and planning my day. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see my many morning planning sessions there. If I have time, I play a round (or 2) of Candy Crush while the dogs are outside.

From 7:30 until 8, I’m held hostage by my Keurig; enjoying every minute of it. I usually take my coffee outside so I can listen to the birds sing. It’s always nice to start the day with something beautiful.

When the clock strikes 8, it’s time for breakfast. I have my usual (egg whites with a whole grain English muffin) with another cup of coffee. By this time, at least one of my kids is up and asking me a million questions. I have my breakfast at the dining room table so I can update my Filofax as necessary.

I’m usually done with breakfast by 8:30, which leaves me 30 minutes to get some things done before heading to the office. I start a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher (and add my breakfast dishes), take the dogs out again, and wipe down the kitchen counters.

You see, my morning routine probably isn’t much different that yours. Unless you commute to work, in which case my routine is much different than yours. I’d love to sleep in every day since my kids are on summer break but that’s not conducive to my goals.

What’s your morning routine like?

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Pinterest Recipe: Cheesy Chicken Broccoli & Rice

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice

I’m all about trying new things because eating the same shit day after day gets old fast. While I was busy pinning some things, I found this Pinterest recipe for cheesy chicken broccoli and rice.

At first, I was nervous about making it because of the onion and garlic. I love garlic but I’ve never used it in a dish like this. Well, I’m so glad I was adventurous because this was absolutely delicious.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli & Rice
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c. red onion, diced
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 c. long grain brown rice
  • 2½ c. broccoli florets, cut in bite-size pieces
  • 2½ c. low-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 c. finely shredded cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, saute onion in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Season chicken with salt and petter.
  2. Once onions soften, increase the heat to medium high and add chicken to the pan.
  3. Brown chicken and add garlic. Cook for about 1 minute.
  4. Push chicken to one side and add additional tablespoon of olive oil to the other side.
  5. Add uncooked rice to the olive oil and cook for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add the chicken broth and bring mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cover.
  7. Cook chicken and rice, covered, for 12 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle broccoli evenly over the mixture and stir to combine.
  9. Cook covered another 8 minutes on low, or until broccoli and rice are tender.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in half a cup of cheese.
  11. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top and cover with lid, let sit 1-2 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 413.6 Fat: 25.2 Saturated fat: 11.7 Carbohydrates: 14.7 Sugar: 1 Sodium: 885.2 Fiber: 1.9 Protein: 30.2 Cholesterol: 96

This recipe was adapted from Christy Denney.

My Thoughts

I know it may not look like much (some people actually told me it looked like it was regurgitated), but, trust me, it was GOOD! If you’re looking for a quick recipe that’s filling and delicious, this is the one!

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The Shit I’ve Wasted Money On…

wasted money

Sometimes I sit back and take stock of the shit I’ve bought and can’t believe I’ve actually wasted money on it! If my husband only knew I’d be in deep shit for years, but, fortunately for me, I’m the one who handles the bills around here. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days and decided what the hell – it’s time to put it out there.

Wasted Money #1: HAPIFork

You read that right. I bought a damn fork – ONE fork! Why? Well, it’s supposed to help you eat slower so you lose weight. Damn – I’m a fucking idiot! I think I used it twice. My husband found it yesterday while we were trying to (laughably) organize the basement. This bitch was $80!

Wasted Money #2: MyHydrate Water Bottle

This isn’t just any old water bottle – it keeps track of the water you drink. Because counting for yourself is just too fucking hard. I’ve used this a grand total of 3 times. The damn thing was $40; I spent $40 on a water bottle because I didn’t count my glasses of water. Talk about stupid.

Wasted Money #3: Books on Dieting

If there’s a book on dieting, I’ve either bought it or wanted to buy it. But, here’s the thing – of the ones I’ve bought I’ve read….0! I found 2 of them over the long weekend and couldn’t believe I paid money for them. What the hell is wrong with me?! Cost? Hundreds of dollars.

Wasted Money #4: Weight Loss Supplements

We all want immediate results when we’re losing weight and I’m no different. I’ve tried almost every weight loss supplement out there and guess what? I pissed that money down the toilet! They don’t work and God knows what they actually do to your body. Cost? Thousands of dollars.

I have a problem and it’s time for me to seek treatment. Not only am I an emotional eater, apparently I’m an emotional spender, too. I’ve got issues, I tell ya. It’s high time I take stock of what’s really important and stick to a damn budget. To hell with all this crap that’s supposed to make losing weight easier. There’s no such thing!

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I’m a Failure and Why I Don’t Care

Most of us have this innate fear of failure; especially those of us who are Type A personalities. That would be me. But, after the transformation I’ve been on the past few months, I’ve realized I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded. It’s been brought to my attention, especially in recent weeks, how much of a failure I really am. I may have failed to some degree but that doesn’t make me a complete failure.

Failed at Staying Connected

My work has picked up tremendously over the past 2 months or so and I’m enjoying every minute of it. However, I’m told, almost daily, that I’m a horrible friend because I don’t have as much time as I used to. Do I have time to shoot the shit at 10 in the morning? No. I’m working. Do I have the time to take an entire day off, neglect my bills and the needs of my family, and lose a day’s pay to hang out? Absolutely not. This isn’t a matter of priority either; it’s about asking me to do something you’re not willing to do. To these people, I have failed.

Failed at Being Consistent

When I first began this blog, I updated it regularly and worried myself sick about what to write. I basically made it my entire life. I haven’t been updating this as much as I should and that’s okay. I also haven’t been consistent with my weight loss progress as of late, which has caused me to gain a few pounds. Guess what? I’m okay with that. I’ve learned that everything isn’t going to be good at the same time and I have to accept that. When I first began my weight loss journey and this blog, I made it my entire life. I wasn’t working much, if at all, and it became my top priority. My priorities have since changed a bit. I’m not saying my health isn’t a top priority anymore; I have to find that balance and that’s eluded me thus far. I’m always going to be a work in progress, as are you, and that’s okay!

Failed at Making Others Happy

This is the one that kills me every time. In the past 2 weeks alone, I’ve managed to piss off someone every day, and I’m not counting my kids or my husband. Guess what? Your happiness is not created by anyone but you. You don’t have be happy with everything I say or do; I don’t care. Don’t get your panties in a knot because I’m not doing or saying what you think I should. This life is mine to live how I see fit. Can you have an opinion? Of course you can! Just understand that your opinion, while considered, isn’t gospel and I choose whether or not it matters to me.

Failed at Being Perfect

I’m not perfect. There, I said it. It’s taken me a long time and a lot of talk time in therapy to realize this. I don’t have to be perfect to be loved. In fact, it’s mywhiteboard imperfections that bring me the most joy. This week has been one of those weeks where nothing went right. Seriously – it was a week of Murphy’s Law. I bought a new whiteboard for my office and forgot to take off the film before I wrote on it. On another day, I thought I was charging my phone until I realized the charger wasn’t plugged into the wall. And, yesterday, I went to sit down at my desk after lunch, my chair moved, I didn’t, and my butt hit the floor. See what I mean? My house is a mess –  laundry is piled up, clean and dirty, the sink of full of dirty dishes, the dishwasher is full of clean dishes, and I need to vacuum. But, I’m sitting here writing this post because I’m not perfect.

Why I Don’t Care

No matter what I do, say, think, or how I choose to live my life, someone is going to judge me. I don’t have time for that kind of stuff and I’m certainly not going to make time for it. Life happens, situations change, and people need to learn to understand that. I’m always going to fail at something according to one person or another. Oh well. Let’s not point out anyone else’s “failures” without fixing our own first.

In order for me to practice good self-care, I need to accept what is and move on. There’s no need to dwell on it because I can’t change anyone. I’m pretty bad ass but even I don’t have that kind of power. 😉 Here’s what makes me a bit different; I accept people for who they are – warts and all. I get my feelings hurt, I get disappointed, but I don’t hold it against them.

The next time you think you’ve failed at something, remember this post. I “fail” on a daily basis and there’s nothing I can do about it. Well, unless I want to live my life for other people and, trust me, I won’t be doing that! I’m not interested in changing who I am just to make a handful of people happy. If you truly love and care for me, you accept me for who and what I am and not just when it suits you.

 

What’s one of your “failures”? Share in the comments below!

 

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