Life

2016: A Year in Review

2016

As we’re winding down yet another year, I’ve paused to reflect on the goings on of 2016. I had such promise for this year because I was at a fairly low point in the beginning. Little did I know, that “low point” would be the highlight of my year. Looking back on this year, I’ve realized that I’m not the same person I was when it started.

I’ve had countless conversations with friends whose year has been somewhat similar. They’re all just as over this year as I am. At least I’m in good company. Some relationships were lost, some loved ones didn’t make it, and some relationships were forged. I’m not going to go into details about my year; just know it was challenging. BUT – I’ve learned quite a few lessons.

What 2016 Taught Me

Although this year has been a huge pain in the rear, it did teach me some valuable lessons; lessons I’m certain I’ll never forget. This year has taught me, once and for all, that I unequivocally cannot be trusted with food. I’ve gained back almost every ounce of weight I lost after I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Talk about being disgusted with myself…ugh!

I’ve also learned the very valuable lesson of letting go. I had to let go of a few relationships this year and, sadly, my grandmother. I learned that not everyone has the same heart I have and that’s okay. Unfortunately, I experienced the agony of learning that even people you trust will use you the first chance they get. That should make me more cynical than I am, but it hasn’t. I refuse to let the actions of others change who I am.

Finally, this year has taught me that I’m much stronger than I originally thought. Granted, the events of this year have all but broken me, but they didn’t. I’ve managed to keep my faith and sanity intact. That’s a feat in and of itself!

What’s Next?

Well, I’m hopeful that 2017 is a much better year but I’m not expecting anything at all. Here’s how the new year is going to go for me:

So, tell me, how did 2016 treat you? What will you do differently in the new year?

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My Current Obsessions

My Current Obsessions

 

Obsessions – we all have them. It doesn’t matter what we call them; guilty pleasures, vices, etc. Sometimes they change and sometimes they don’t. But, the one thing that remains the same is that every single one of us is obsessed with something. I, myself, have several and I’m about to share them with you…right now! Note: this post contains affiliate links.

Skincare Obsessions

I have a love/hate relationship with my skin. I love the color but hate the blemishes (yes, I still break out at 36!) and scars left behind from when I was younger. My skin is also oily making it very prone to breakouts if I’m not careful about my routine. Throughout the years, I can’t tell you how many products I’ve tried but I think I’ve nailed my skincare routine….FINALLY!

Oxy Maximum Action Face Wash

I love this face wash! I always have it on-hand so I never run out. The active ingredient is 10% benzoyl peroxide, which works better for me than salicylic acid. It doesn’t foam up like other products and it doesn’t contain any scrubbing beads (these are really bad for your skin if you have acne scars). It’s smooth and odor-free, making it a perfect product for my skin. I use it morning and night and I’ve never experienced any irritation or over drying.

Dickinson’s Witch Hazel Pore Perfecting Toner

This is my toner of choice. Why? Because it works….and the price is right! I use this morning and night after washing my face and I love how it makes my skin feel so clean and fresh.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisturizer (SPF 15) 

Just because I have oily, acne prone skin doesn’t mean I don’t need a moisturizer or sunscreen. This moisturizer has sunscreen in it so I’m not lathering so much stuff onto my face each morning. I use about half to three quarters of a pump once a day. My face doesn’t feel oily during the day and there’s not much of a smell. And, because a little goes a long way, you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

Dead Sea Mud Mask

This is by far one of my favorite products! I’m not gonna lie, the color makes it look kinda gross but it’s an amazing addition to your skincare routine. You can only use it once a week so I use it every Sunday. This mask pulls all of the impurities to the surface and really gets down deep. My skin always feels brand new after using this mask. Of course, I follow up with my witch hazel after removing the mask.

Micellar Cleansing Water

I saw a commercial for this stuff awhile back and thought I’d give it a try. I used to use those makeup remover towelettes but they never really took off all of my eyeliner (I wear gel) or mascara. But, this stuff here gets the job done! I put some on a cotton round and it removes every bit of eye makeup. It does leave my skin feeling a bit oily (you can see that there’s some sort of oil in the water) but I’ve not suffered any breakouts from it…knock on wood. I don’t use this often because I don’t wear makeup that often anymore.

My Current Obsessions

Makeup Obsessions

I love makeup; always have. My first experience with makeup was way back in 1985 when I stole my grandmother’s red lipstick and took it to school (I was in kindergarten). I put it on (all wrong) and, when the teacher caught me, I told her my lips were chapped….HA! Anyway, I’ve since mastered the art of applying lipstick

Lancome Miracle CC Cushion

I found this in a Makeup by TiffanyD YouTube video I watched and wanted to try it out. It’s expensive as hell but I love it! I use it as a highlight on my cheekbones. I have to be careful with highlighting because of my acne scars (highlighting tends to make them more prominent) but this stuff is perfect. The color I use is 03 Pinky Peach. It’s really light and fluffy so it doesn’t cake up.

Clinique Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen

I also found this in the same YouTube video and had to have it. I love liquid eyeliner and the point on this is pure perfection! When I do decide to wear makeup, this is my go-to liner. This pen is so easy to use and I always get a perfect line with it. There’s no running or bleeding; just a firm, black line. Well, black for me because I have the black one.

Nail Care Obsessions

My nails are perhaps one the biggest pains I endure. They’re thin, brittle, and break easily. I can’t ever seem to keep polish on them either. Well, that was before I found a diamond in Ulta a few years ago.

Orly Bonder

This stuff here is ahhhh-mazing! Instead of a base coat, I use this bonder to help “grab” the color I put on top of it. I was apprehensive about it at first because I’ve used so many other products that claim to increase the length of your polish. But, after using this once, I was completely hooked. My manicure lasts at least a week because this stuff! One piece of advice – let this stuff dry completely before adding color. If you don’t, it’ll all peel off and you’ll be pissed.

Now that you know what my current obsessions are, it’s time to share some of yours! Comment below with the things you can’t live without. I’d love to find a few new products to try! ­čśë

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My Winter Reading List

My Winter Reading List

 

I decided to create a winter reading list this year and I’m hoping it doesn’t blow up in my face. You see, I deal with SAD (seasonal affective disorder) during the winter months, making it difficult for me to focus on many things. The days are shorter and it’s so freaking cold! Many people argue that reading is a great way to help overcome SAD. While that may be true for some, I know it’s not accurate for me. I’m preparing for this winter to be a bit more difficult for me because I’m restricted to zero physical activity until the end of January due to my hysterectomy. Ugh – sitting around the house never seemed so unappealing.

Setting goals during the winter, for me, is very difficult because I have very little motivation. Why set goals only to let them sit and feel bad because I didn’t work toward them? I’m working on this in therapy and decided that I was going to set a small goal this year….hence this list.

That’s it…nothing else is on this list. If I decide to read more than this book, great. If not, I’m not disappointed in myself. It’s a win-win for me and that’s always a good thing.

What is one book you’ve been itching to read?

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Why I Had a Hysterectomy

Why I Had a Hysterectomy

If you’re a fan of my blog, you know that I’ve had some female issues for awhile now. I started seeking treatment with Mirena but that went south in a big way. The next step was eating 800mg ibuprofen every day, then it was a progesterone prescription to stop my period entirely. The latter was a huge pain in the neck because it caused acne. I was breaking out like a teenager; it seems I’ve had more acne as an adult than I did as a kid. Ugh! Anyway, from there, I was referred to a women’s health specialist for the next step – a hysterectomy.

The Process

I visited a women’s health specialist who took my history, listened to my complaints, and offered a solution. Originally, I was interested in an endometrial ablation but the specialist informed me that I wasn’t a good candidate for that procedure. Why? I’m too young (the endometrial lining could grow back, putting me right back where I started from). Go figure. A hysterectomy was recommended and away we went.

The Requirements

The pre-op testing for a hysterectomy is no joke! For me anyway. Because my mom had breast cancer twice and one of my great aunts died of ovarian cancer, I had to be tested for BRCA1 and BRCA2. I’ve gone back and forth about this testing for years and decided that I didn’t want to know. Well, my doctor wasn’t having that. Before she would schedule the procedure, I had to be tested. According to the doctor, if I tested positive, my ovaries would come out, but, if I tested negative, there would be no need to remove them. This is in addition to the chest X-ray and blood work. My chest X-ray showed some questionable spots on my lungs….enter a pulmonologist. She sent me for an CT scan with contrast. Translation, no coffee.

The Results

I tested negative for BRCA1 and BRCA2! Now this doesn’t mean I’ll never get breast or ovarian cancer; it doesn’t even decrease my risk much if at all. It did mean that my ovaries didn’t have to be removed. The spots on my lungs were also ruled out after the CT scan and surgery was still on schedule. I checked in to the hospital at 6:30 am on Wednesday, November 23….the day before Thanksgiving.

The Procedure

There was some question as to whether or not my hysterectomy would be performed robotically or through an incision. This wasn’t determined until they “got in there” to see how bad the scar tissue is (I’ve had 2 c-sections and a tubal ligation). According to the doctor, it would take about 3 and half to 4 hours. Fortunately, the surgery was completed robotically but with an extra incision on my abdomen. I’ll take that any day over being cut open again. I was knocked by 7:30 am and in the OR by 7:45. My husband posted on Facebook just before 11 am that I was out of surgery and in recovery.

The Aftermath

Apparently, I don’t handle anesthesia well because the nurse had to bring my husband back to calm me down. I was a bit “combative” and “abusive”. I felt terrible when I learned that and wanted to track down everyone and apologize. The anesthesia finally wore off around 3 pm and I was able to stay awake longer than 10-15 minutes. I was put on a morphine pump for pain but I only hit that magic button twice. I was up and out of bed by 4 pm walking around my room. My pain level was at a 2 after surgery; it was more discomfort than pain. I was back home by 11:30 am on Thanksgiving Day. I was sent home with 600mg ibuprofen and vicodin, explicit instructions of no sex, baths, or exercise for 8 weeks, and to not lift anything heavier than a gallon of milk or driving for 2 weeks.

The End Result

It’s been 2 weeks since my hysterectomy and I’m pretty much back to myself. I did experience some hot and cold flashes and night sweats the first week, which drove me crazy. I was washing bed sheets every day; because I don’t have enough laundry to do. I’m now off of the lifting and driving restrictions and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’m back to walking fully erect without the use of a pillow when I need to cough or sneeze. Oh! Let me tell you – you do not want to sneeze after a hysterectomy. Holy hell…that was an experience!┬áThe pain was minimal and there was no bleeding. Glue was used instead of stitches and it’s starting to fall off. There was more discomfort using the bathroom than anything else. All of that is gone now and my belly is itching, which is a good thing. I have my post-op check up a week from today.

Now that I’m back to my version of normal, I feel fantastic and I’m anxious to get back to my every day activities. I feel lazy because I’m not able to be as active as I’d like to be. I’m trying to be patient but patience isn’t one of my virtues. Ha ha! I was ever so elated to throw away all the tampons, pads, and period underwear – never to look back.

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My Fall Reading List

My Fall Reading List

I always have a running list of books I want to read. I generally keep this list in my Filofax and on GoodReads but I wanted to share my Fall reading list with you. I’m trying to break my books down into seasons; it makes me feel like I accomplished a good bit of reading…..if I get to actually read the books on my list. This happened with my summer reading list; I didn’t finish one book on that list but I’m still plugging away. I’m hoping I’ll have more time to spend reading since I’m going in for surgery tomorrow (yes, the day before Thanksgiving). I ordered a new book specifically for this occasion and I can’t wait to dive in. So, without further ado, here’s what’s on my Fall reading list.

  • I Am That Girl by Alexis Jones (a carry over from my summer reading list and I’m half finished)
  • Chaos by Patricia Cornwell (this was just released on 11/15 and I ordered a signed copy. Can’t wait to read it!)
  • The Gifts of Imperfection (because self-improvement never goes out of style)
  • A Family Affair: The Wish by Mary Campisi (another carry over; it’s on my iPad that I’m not on much these days)
  • Living Successfully with Screwed Up People by Elizabeth B. Brown (another carry over)

My goal is to spend my recovery time catching up on my leisure reading since I won’t be doing much of anything else. The biggest issue is going to be staying awake long enough to get any reading done. But, that’s what Chaos is for – I can’t ever put the Kay Scarpetta series books down!

I’d love to know what’s on your reading list. Comment below so I can get some ideas of what to add to my winter reading list!

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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┬áparticipate 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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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 – ┬álaundry 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. ­čśë 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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