Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sick Old Hag.

That's exactly what I feel like.

I have been sick all week with a summer head cold.

 What dinner looks like this week with green tea in my favorite mug from Samantha
Stuffy. Coughy. Hot flashy. Why do I always catch every virus?
Luckily the weather has been Fall-like and amazing so I can leave the windows open and endure my hot flashes as they come. Tasha's been stuck like glue to my side and we've been enjoying long naps in the afternoon. I've been trying to chug water and peppermint green tea as often as possible. It's just lousy to feel lousy.
After a few days of medicating my cold with over-the-counter drugs I feel massively stoned and totally out of it. No thank you. I'm trying to speed up the recovery process by ingesting a lot of garlic, breathing in red onions, and any other hippie dippie things I can find on the internet. I also spent yesterday evening smudging our house with dried white sage to expel negative energy and encourage a positive space. Yes, this is who I am now.
Do you have any favorite natural head cold treatments?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Happy Birthday, Ma!

Happy birthday today to my wonderful, beautiful, amazing mother Riya!
My mom and me in 1989
My mom is kind of the coolest. She taught me to be nice to everyone and not stand for bullshit from anyone. She never allowed my brother or me to call people fat or drink Kool-Aid and I thank her for both of those things. She wrote silly little notes on my lunch bag until my last day of my senior year in high school and I love her for that. She is super smart (like, MENSA smart) and is constantly working to better herself. She constantly supports me whether I'm starting a cupcake business or deciding my college major. I love her guts and wouldn't trade her for the world.
Happy birthday, Mom! You deserve the best day ever!

Monday, July 29, 2013

If I Had It My Way...

...every day would be the perfect day to wear a dress and black tights.
...most of the year we would have Midwest October weather with snow only on Christmas and New Year's Eve and bright, hot sunshine on the 4th of July.
...avocados would never go bad. home would always smell like fresh laundry.

...homemade chocolate chip cookies wouldn't have calories.
...high heels wouldn't hurt my feet.
...there would be a "pause" button on life so you could stop and enjoy tiny moments a little more.
...there would be a cable channel that only played my favorite episodes of my favorite TV shows.

...people would be more respectful of nature.
...Tina Fey and Amy Poehler would live across the street from me.
...bad hair days wouldn't exist. bike seat wouldn't hurt my butt.

...pomegranates would be much easier to eat.
...people would smile more.
...everyone would be eligible for one totally free vacation every year. would have a rad Monday.

Friday, July 26, 2013

When I Started Blogging About Weight Loss.

I repeat this to myself every dang day.
So, I'm on a weight loss journey and I'm going to blog about it. I know, I'm the first person to ever do that! ;)
It's a little weird that I've never really taken a deep diving into my journey on any blog but I was always so ashamed and embarrassed about it. Even on my 3 year old (now defunct) Sweetie Kiss Pie blog I just never really mentioned it despite the fact that I lost 50 pounds while blogging there (don't worry I gained it all back). In just over a decade I've lost weight, gained weight, tried every diet, and had many of those "Diet starts Monday!" moments. Seven years ago I was in the best shape of my life and since then I've been my heaviest and lost some and then gained it (plus a little extra) back.
Wanting to lose weight and/or being chubby has become my "thing" in the last few years and on July 1st I officially began to change that. I was tired of being self-conscious, not being able to fit into all of my beautiful clothes, and just not feeling like myself.  I've been reading health magazines since my early teens and I am obsessed with food/health documentaries. I feel like I know a lot and I don't put my knowledge to good use. After a few month health struggle and a few blood tests later, I got serious about my journey and I'mma blog all about this shit even though it mortifies me.
Since July 1st, 2013...
Pounds down: 10
Pounds to go: 90
That's right. I want to eventually lose 100 pounds. It's so embarrassing to say that but I'll deal with it in private...while I'm cringing in an empty bathtub sniffing chocolate cupcakes and thinking of anyone reading this. This is my body. I'm working to improve it, and suck it if you don't like it.
Five lessons I'm learning along the way (even though it's only been three weeks):

1.) Own It: I don't care to hide that I need/want to lose weight anymore. When I go to a party and someone asks why I'm not having a beer or taking a piece of cake I just politely say, "I don't want it" instead of saying my usual, "Oh, I can't. I'm on a diet! It sucks so bad...oh, you got me a Coors Light while I was talking? Thanks!! Pass the cake too, I don't want to be rude." Or, as I did at a recent family party, I just totally avoid it. They served desserts and I just slipped into another room far away.

2.) Utilize Any Available Tools: I track all my food, water intake, and exercise on (the totally free!) MyFitnessPal website and mobile app. Does it take time and effort? Of course, but it has helped keep me mindful of my body and reminds me to be good to myself. When I am bored or feeling unmotivated I hit the message boards. Pinterest is another amazing and obvious tool and I love finding new healthy boards to follow.

3.) Drink Up: "Drink your water!" is an obvious tip but seriously. I notice a big difference in my energy level and motivation to eat better when my innards are swimming. I use a mason jar instead of a regular glass since it holds more of the goodness. I fill one up before bed and chug it the second I wake up in the morning. I try to drink a big glass before and after every meal. I also dump tea down my throat like I'm getting paid for it (well I'm usually at work when I do that so, like, maybe technically?).

4.) Detox: After my morning water, I chug down hot water with lemon juice. For a chub, I'm weird about toxins and getting my life all cleaned up. Here are some great tips for everyday detoxing. I've also tried to cut out most processed food since everything seems to be processed with ten levels of icky.

5.) Find a Motivator: Everyone knows I'm in love with Jillian Michaels (see quote above). She really motivates me (as well as her Biggest Loser success story Danni Allen) and I thank her for that as she counts her money. I saw her speak live in May, I own most of her books/DVDs, and when I am down I turn to her podcast for motivation and a few laughs.  I'm also motivated by those around me--friends who have gotten healthy, family that are also on a similar journey, and my type 1 diabetic Rhyno who never fails to be supportive.

What are your best tips for adopting a healthier lifestyle?

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Endless Summer Bucket List.

August will be here next week, can you even believe it?
 I feel like this summer kind of whizzed by and I forgot to do a big chunk of the things I wanted to. Don't get me wrong, our summer has been a blasty--we hosted 4th of July, visited the local farmer's market, enjoyed some bonfires with our neighbors (who also happen to be our BFFs!), ate barbequed goodness, and I tackled the outdoor chores that summertime requires. But there are still some things on my summer bucket list I'd like to see through before we slip into the most amazing season ever, Fall.
1.) Kayak: I am very lucky to live in a "water town." We are surrounded by rivers and there is excellent kayaking, swimming, canoeing, fishing all over the dang place. In the next town or so over there is a top rated kayaking class and you can rent one for the whole day. We are definitely doing this before that Fall weather comes a-knockin'.
2.) Soft Serve: I mean. I've been enjoying two or three cones a week but I'd love to have more...
3.) Barbeque My Brains Out: I plan out our dinners for the entire week during the weekend so I can shop appropriately and check calorie/nutrition counts on recipes. I am planning NOTHING but things that can be barbequed for the upcoming week.
4.) Bonfire: We have a close, darling circle of friends and one things we've always done? Bonfires. We have yet to host one at our house so I'd like to dust off our fire pit, set out some chairs, and get things going before September sets in. I'd love to have more outdoor get-togethers since our yard is one of my favorite things in the universe. Seriously.
5.) Hit Up All the Sales! This is probably the most important one--I need to go to every garage or estate sale in the surrounding area while I can. Oh, the treasures to be had!
6.) Spend One Full Day Just Relaxing: Summer is the time for kickin' back, right? Back in Spring Rhyno and I hit up a local estate sale and found the weathered and worn lawn chairs below. After a deep clean, a couple coats of paint, and making friends with some outdoor pillows, drink stakes and an ice bucket; these bad boys are heavenly. I plan to pick up some quick reads at the library and spend an entire day until the shade of our apple trees.
Before and after

And after after, when they got new buddies
Is there anything left on your summer bucket list?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

In It to End It.

If you're going to walk your ass off there's no better place to walk than gorgeous Chicago.

I mentioned here that earlier this summer I completed the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer: Chicago. One of my best and oldest friends, Cara, suggested we walk together and before I knew it we had formed our tiny team, named it Blush & Bashful, and were officially ready to walk.
We each needed to raise just under $2,000 to be eligible to walk (little known fact, if you don't raise it you can't walk it). I had an amazing group of supporters that helped me meet and exceed my fundraising goal (and they were handsomely rewarded with homemade care packages). If you ever raise money for charity I promise you will be pleasantly surprised by all the giving, supportive, wonderful people you know. It made me all warm and mushy-gushy and pretty much in love with everyone I know.
Our weekend started with a powerful opening ceremony that included stretching, jokes, and speeches from survivors and fellow walkers. One speaker who I wanted to hug so hard was a recent survivor who was walking for her first time all alone. I can still hear the beauty of her opening statement, "I had breast cancer but breast cancer did not have me." I'm basically obsessed with her.
Three miles in and feeling good! The blisters didn't start until around mile 10 or so and we were lucky to have GREAT first day walking weather.

It rained all night Saturday! Our tent was drenched and everything smelled like yuck but I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Cadillac is a Walk sponsor and if you raised a TON of money you had the chance to win Cadillac tenting with personal airbeds, fans, AND concierge service. I am determined to win one next year.

One time, in a heightened sense of living like there's no tomorrow, Cara painted her entire face pink.

With this photo our team for next year had a name...

Day 2: mile 11 for the day, mile 37 overall. When you walk for so many miles the delirium sets in and there is an emotional rollercoaster. At mile 3, we were elated. At mile 9 we were tired. At mile 15 we hated everything. At mile 26 we were thankful for everything. At mile 37 we wrapped ourselves in complimentary space blankets (it was raining and we were freezing!) and laughed uncontrollably.

Fun with face paint! No makeup, no sleep, no problem.

At the finish line feeling proud, emotional, and TIRED!
The walk was life-changing in the best way. I learned to value my health, work hard to improve my body, and be grateful for what I have. It was exhilarating, miserable, fun, and emotion all at once. Will I come back for more? You bet your beautiful ass!
See you in 2014 Avon Walk: Chicago! Cara and I will be reppin' our new team, Space Kittens Hate Cancer!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


My office is a calming and productive place. I love having all my clothes and makeup and, oh yeah, work stuff in one place. It's my own little corner of the house. No boys allowed.
And then sometimes I let it get really bad--like really messy and really disorganized and really terrible. I find that since I take care of the rest of the house, my own little sanctuary gets neglected. I'll run a vacuum through there and spritz some (homemade) Febreeze but that's really it since I'm the only one who goes in there and I'd rather spend energy on the more publicly beneficial rooms. When I know we're having company I scrub the front room, kitchen, and bathrooms. My office? Not so much. I've read before that a lot of the time women put themselves last to care for others, I think I did just that with my office.
Within the last week, in an effort to rid our entire house of dust and unneeded junk, I tackled my office. I spent SIXTEEN hours cleaning my office--going through every box of mementos, organizing every financial document, and tossing every dried up nail polish or expired tube of mascara.
Sigh, so bad.
The closet was awful...because when I was cleaning other rooms I could just shove all the junk in the closet and shut the doors. Out of sight...not so out of mind. It drove me crazy knowing I needed to organize my space and get things back in order!
My vanity...this was actually after I had already straightened it up a little bit.

A place for everything and everything in its damn place.
Oh my gosh, there was a closet under all that mess!
Last time I was grocery shopping at Target I picked up a few tiny, colorful bins. My makeup used to be in the vanity drawers...and in a small container...and in the bathroom medicine cabinet. I separated everything by category into different bins and put everything together where I could see it.
From my office alone I dragged out SIX bags of trash/recycling--getting rid of old birthday cards with no sentimental meaning, old college papers (I found one where I very seriously quoted Eminem and laughed for a full ten minutes), and notes from friends who I no longer talk to. I tried to be ruthless because I have a habit of holding onto things for sentimental value when there's no need to hold that sentimentality anymore. I feel so much lighter and rid of that junk in the trunk...well, not my actual trunk but you know...
I'm so happy our home is now purged of junk and sparkling clean!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just a Monday Thought.

I came across this quote while perusing Pinterest and share it on this beautiful Monday. So often we complain about "the Mondays" or about our workday or the chores that need to be done or the alarm clock that didn't go off at the right time or the dinner you burnt.
It just happens. Roll with it and smile about it as much as you possibly can. Enjoy the start to a fresh week full of possibilities, the paycheck, the satisfaction of chores that are completed, the extra winks of sleep, and the burnt food that gives you free reign to order pizza with all your favorite toppings for dinner instead. After all, we were created to be happy and enjoy being alive.
Have a happy Monday!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fridays are So Rad.

Happy Friday!
Fridays are the best, right?
I am currently...
....eating soft serve vanilla ice cream cones from McDonald's. It is far from clean eating but I splurge once or twice a week...I mean you are required to eat soft serve in the summertime, right? That's why summer was invented.
...making some tennis-themed cupcakes for a graduation party on Sunday. Us gals at Bite. love a good theme!
...on my To Do list cleaning every inch of the house and getting rid of the clutter! I've been going through each room with a fine tooth comb (the kitchen took me 13 hours over three days!) and gathering things to sell at a garage sale.
...listening to so much AWOLNATION. I can't stop. I made a mix CD and when I played it for Rhyno he said, "So it's the entire AWOLNATION album with one song by Ke$ha?" Yes, I'm balanced like that.
...reading Jillian Michaels Unlimited. I know, I know. I was curious so I checked it out from the library, it's pretty good. Gone Girl is next on my list--I've heard so many good things!
...watching Parks & Rec all day long. It never fails to make me laugh and I love that Leslie Knope!
...loving neon. All neon everything all day everyday. Summer was made for neon nail polish and hot pink clothing (and soft serve ice cream).
...thankful to have Fridays off! I really enjoy having a day to myself to get things done and it helps leave the weekend open for all the fun things.
...wishing you a wonderful weekend!
If you also partake in Currently posts, please link up in the comments!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Belly Laughin'.

I love to laugh. You do too, right? I thought you did. If you don't like laughing then you are probably a pet rock or a terrorist or a liar.
Touching on yesterday's post, I have felt a bit of chaos and disorder in my universe in the last week-ish. This can be a nightmare for someone who thrives on organization and a schedule such as myself but, like I mentioned, I'm learning to lean into the swerve and accept things as they are and enjoy them best I can. I am organizing the disorder piece by piece and quieting the chaos as it allows.
One way I quiet the chaos? Watching all the funny things and laughing hysterically. For example, I'm a sucker for Aziz Ansari and over the weekend I watched both of his stand-up specials. I laughed my ass off the whole time and put me in such a good mood.

Some of my other go-tos for a jolt of insta-funny and a guaranteed mood boost:

I stumbled upon Grace Helbig's YouTube channel a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love. I typically catch up on all the videos while eating breakfast on Saturday mornings. She is dry and funny and adorable (she also has 700+ videos in archives so you have quite a bit to choose from when you need a chuckle or five).
Much like Daily Grace, her friend Mamrie Hart's YouTube channel never fails to make me laugh (and each video has a built in drinking game!). Honestly, if she posted every day I'd be happy as a clam. Mamrie is hilarious and makes some delicious looking cocktails (I've yet to actually make one but I think I'll add it to my to-do list).
Twitter is full of hilarious people (and some people who just think they are hilarious like I do). Some of my favorites are @mindykaling, @bjnovak, @kellyoxford, @jennyslate25, @jennyandteets2, and @dysalexia. I love following hilarious people!

Television & Books
I love TV and I have zip-zap-zero shame about it. I have a ton of favorite comedies that always make me laugh. To name a few: I Love Lucy, Ugly Betty, Friends, the Mindy Project, Parks & Rec, The Office (mostly the Michael Scott years), Modern Family, The Middle, and (embarrassingly enough if I was embarrassed about these types of things) Snooki & J-Woww. I just kind of think Snooki is funny and endearing in a bizarre way, plus she says very off the wall things. I think I have pretty good taste in a lot of things and I read A LOT so I feel like that helps balance out this one trashy TV pleasure.
If a book makes me laugh, it'll hold my heart forever and I will re-read it whenever possible. Some of my favorite funny authors include: Susan J. Gilman, Mindy Kaling, David Sedaris, Cynthia Kaplan, and Sloane Crosley. See a pattern? Funny short stories, that's my jam all day every day.

On our honeymoon...yes, he got his face painted...

Rhyno (and a bunch of other hotties, too)
This dude is a living cartoon character in the best way. I frequently post bits of his wisdom in Life with Rhyno Facebook posts, I have seriously considered compiling them into a book because they are hysterical and somewhat demented. Oh, you demand an example? Life with Rhyno. 10:24am Me: "Hey, come look at the albino squirrel in the back yard." Ryan: "Ooooh! I need to grab my glasses first! Ooooh! I feel like I'm in Narnia!"

I also only have friends who are really super funny, come from a high-larious set of people, AND I work with some of the funniest, goofiest gals I've ever met.
What always makes you laugh your butt off?

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Not So Sunshiney Times.

Warning: wordy post ahead
Stress blows. Probably the most eloquent statement you've read all day, right? I know.
I've made it my mission to be happier/healthier and honestly? I think I'm doing a great job and I'm really proud of myself. Then yesterday I had a really bad day--after a morning of struggling with Tasha, I had to stay home from work and take her to the vet only to find out they believe she had a mild stroke (or two) before/during her surgery. This coupled with the financial hit the veterinary bills have thrown at us the last three weeks and the fact that I'm not working as much as usual made me freak out a little. And by "freak out a little" I mean "sit on the stairs and sob uncontrollably for an hour and a half." In my quest for enjoying my life I've always struggled to strike a balance between saying, "Eff it, I'm pissed off and now I feel guilty for not being happy 24/7 and that makes me double pissed off" and completely suppressing my feelings.
But then I remembered, you are allowed to have your feelings, even the really cruddy ones. Not every single day is going to be rays of sunshine and rose scented candles, sometimes shit just sucks. I'm allowed to freak out for a hot minute, it doesn't mean I'm not a happy person or that I'm failing to enjoy my life. So I leaned into the swerve and cried it out. Then I remember my mom exists and I called her.
If you don't know my mom you don't know that she is a really positive person, she'll bright-side the shit out of a given situation and I've always been thankful for that. I sobbed about the vet visit and how unfair it was that everything is so difficult and how I hated that Tasha's old owners got 8 years with her and then threw her away like she was garbage. My mom simply said, "You can look at it that way or you can remember that, if nothing else, for over a year she's had owners who love her like crazy and take her to swim therapy and take care of her. You can go give her a hug and just enjoy her for the rest of the day and wait to hear from the vet." I think there's some law that says you have to listen to your mom no matter what so I did just that.
When I am stressed or anxious or feeling like a popped balloon, I've always had two go-to moves.
1.) Wallow in sorrow. Then drink and eat everything.
2.) Talk it out and then do something cathartic and/or productive.
I have usually gravitated toward option one. Then I'd wake up the next day feeling even worse (and probably hungover) and guilty that I transferred my bad mood to other people. Yesterday I chose to chug some water, enjoy a few sips of Rhyno's apple ale, vent for a moment to some supportive ears, and get to cleaning. I cleaned our kitchen with a toothbrush and a Q-tip for four hours. I put some dishware and cooking knick-knacks (really, why do I own not one but TWO bloomin' onion makers?) to the side to sell at my mother-in-law's garage sale in a few weeks. When I finished I was happier and things didn't seem as overwhelming. I snuggled T-Dolla for the rest of the night, watched a couple two tree things that made me laugh (I'm a sucker for Marcel the Shell with Shoes On) and made sure to get a lot of sleep. Know what? Even though the situation hasn't changed overnight, I feel so much better about it. And I'm not hungover either.
Any tips for dealing with stress or anxiety?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Seven Years...What?!

July 16th is such a cool date.
Seven years ago today, my (at the time) friend Rhyno asked me to be his girlfriend and I made him clarify his statement and lay down specifics of his proposal for a relationship. I said sure and we've been together ever since--getting closer and closer to a decade!
Our first photo together as a couple...also that time that I just bared my non-existent cleavage because you can do that at gay dance clubs without a ton of judgment.
 I know once you're married it's weird to celebrate your dating anniversary but it's still pretty special to me. It was a day that changed my life and made crazy, ol' Rhyno a permanent fixture in my atmosphere. July 16th was cool and in the following two weeks we met one another's families for the first time (when I met his mom I got my high heel stuck in a heating grate and his uncle had to pry it out, so that was awesome and didn't make me want to crawl in a hole and die at all). Within six months we were engaged and then a billion years after that we got married! Love is so rad.
So happy!
So emo!
Here's to you, July 16th and to seven years of mushy, gushy, makes-you-barf-cause-it's-so-dang-cute love!
Together at Pride right before our first anniversary in 2007. I call my hairstyle the "I'm hungover as shit and it's hot as balls out here" updo.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Over the weekend I housesat for my adventure-seeking folks while they zip-lined around Georgia. I should house sit professionally because I'm really good at playing with the dog, taking dips in the hot tub, and spending time in the home gym in the basement (yes, they turned my old bedroom into a gym). My parents designed every inch of the house and built it about ten years ago. It's been so cool over the years to see how they've changed it and really turned a plain plot of land in the country to a home with lots of little details. One of the details I most envy? The tiny gardens all over the 1.5 acres they own.
My parents both have a total green thumb that I don't think I inherited at all (I've killed two cacti in the last 2 years, whattup). When they began building the house there were already quite a few trees and two ponds on the lot. My folks are constantly adding to the number of plants and creating tiny gardens all over and it is so gorgeous when everything is in bloom.
Pops of color here, there, and everywhere.

I wish I was someone who was crazy into horticulture. I am not. I know my favorite flowers are peonies and that's all. If you say, "S. Guff, what type of flower is this?" I'll say, "Purple kind."

Don't know what you are, sirs, but I sure do enjoy you.

I have a blog so I HAVE to like succulents, right? That's the rule, right? ;)
Whoa, levitating flower basket! It IS magical out here!
Okay, geese are not plants BUT aren't they beautiful? Yeah, and they're also jerk offs. I was doing the "morning chores" (feeding the pets, watering said plants, filling the bird feeders) and out of nowhere one of these chumps ran up on me with wings stretched and honking like a lunatic! So, like any calm person, I threw the pitcher of bird seed in the air, screamed, and ran onto the porch as fast as my chubby legs would take me.
Happy Monday, don't get beat up by a goose today!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Friday is Surgery Day.

Happy Friday!
Tasha Boo goes into surgery in about an hour. I am so nervous.
My little gremlin angel clown that floated down from a heavenly cloud. Ugh. Let's take like 6 shots of something strong and take a nap until my little bubba is awake and back home where she belongs.
Here's to crossed fingers and nervous guts.

 UPDATE: T-Dolla's surgery went well and she is back home recovering! After a very rough morning pre-surgery and a long day of waiting, Rhyno and I were so happy to see her wag her tail and attempt to jump off the transport cart when she saw us. Thank you for all the good vibes and sweet thoughts. :)