Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Life's Little Speedbumps

Every so often, when life has been moving along at a swift but manageable pace, we find ourselves encountering challenges.  Speed-bumps, if you will.  Usually these are unavoidable things, but sometimes we can see them coming a mile away and painted in fluorescent yellow.  Yet somehow, even when we can see these issues coming, slowing down and bracing for the bump just doesn't happen. 

I say all of this because there have been many of these speed-bumps in my life over the past 6 months.  I had my daughter in August, and felt so, so blessed.  She's really better than I ever expected.  However, within 2 weeks of her being born, the speed-bumps started and haven't let up.

Since September, we've had water leak issues that led to mold remediation and the need to replace all of my kitchen cabinets, a terrible bout of bronchitis around the holidays that led me to an ER visit and feeling utterly helpless, my car air conditioner died, my house air conditioner is on the fritz, and my dog needed some major veterinary care.  In addition, Avery is growing and learning, my husband transitioned to being a Stay At Home Dad, and I've been working a lot to meet many expectations at my job.  Speed-bump after speed-bump, some foreseeable and others not, and it doesn't appear to be stopping any time soon.

Life has a crazy way to teaching us lessons.  Being prepared and able to cope with the unexpected and not see the many speed-bumps as insurmountable requires patience, optimism and persistence in solving each problem.  I am better in some of these areas than others, but my abilities can be impacted by my overall stress levels.

Then comes last week.  After 6 months of not seeing any real progress on replacing our kitchen cabinets, our contractor finally got started on our kitchen remodel.  But wouldn't you know it, there were issues!  We found mold behind a section of the previous backsplash, our cabinets had a number of critical issues mainly due to sloppy installation and decisions made by our general contractor without involving Hubs and I.  The cabinet installer who came out to review our issues kept lying to me about some of the problems and was rude to me when I called him out on that.  Mama didn't raise no fool, friends!  He finally committed to fixing the issues, so now we're playing the waiting game for new cabinets to come in and our countertops and sink to be installed.  Ugh.  So more hand-washing baby bottle parts in the bathroom sinks (tedious activity at its finest!) and not being able to cook proper meals at home.  Great, fantastic, perfect!  All of this sent my anxiety into overdrive yet again, and rolling over this speed-bump continues to be rough.

On top of that, as if I needed more problems, I have written blog 10 posts that haven't posted as scheduled.  I couldn't figure out why, but I just discovered that the ones that have posted were done from another computer (not my normal laptop).  I now have a computer issue to solve.  Yay, another bump!

But you know what?  Even after all of this, I feel optimistic and excited for the future, especially for how much better life will be after I work my way out from underneath this mound of crud.  I'm being patient, I'm focused on both short- and long-term results, and I'm remaining persistent.  I know that speed-bumps will occur forever and I'm taking these issues as lessons with the goal of improving my response and outlook in the future.  It will all be great in the end, I just know it!

In the meantime... Do you have any suggestions for an extended-weekend vacation for Hubs, Baby and I to take and unwind? 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Catching Up

Hey there, friends!  It's been awhile since I posted a good status update on things around here.  I figure that now's the best time, with so much chaos and things moving in a hundred different directions. 
  • Some of you have asked about my recent post on healthy and having a positive body image.  Apparently it was a smidge controversial for a few people, namely those who found it on Twitter.  (Imagine that!)  I'll be posting a follow-up regarding that commentary soon.
  • We're going to be remodeling our kitchen very, very soon!  After lots of starts and stops at the end of last year with unreliable contractors, we finally got some traction and the work should be completed within the next few weeks.  This is just one of several home renovation projects I've got in mind for this year.
  • Avery is growing like a weed (the cutest kind of weed of course... like a dandelion)!  She's 5 months old now and in 9 month clothes and pajamas because of her length.  She's long and skinny, and I know she doesn't get that from me!  She has started eating solids (veggies only at this point) and she's still a bit skeptical of it all--the food, the spoon, the highchair, everything. 
  • Work is CRAZY these days, but I did find time to attend a great blogger dining event recently in my city and see some friends.  Life is great, regardless of the stress and uncertainty at times!
  • My sister is having another baby, and it's a girl!  So, I'm going to be an aunt again, and my parents will be welcoming their third granddaughter in 3 years.  It's insane that they'll all be a year apart in age, but they'll be such great friends.
  • My 14-year-old Miniature Schnauzer recently had to have some teeth removed during her dental cleaning, a cyst removed from her forehead, and we found some tumors in her belly.  Fortunately, they were benign fatty masses, but it still scared me a great deal.  I love that dog like she's my own baby.
  • I barely watched the Super Bowl this year, but was glued to the television during the halftime show.  I loved Katy Perry, but I think Missy Elliott stole the show!!  I hope Missy's on her way back with some new material.
  • I've been missing my normal TV shows, but I've got The Mindy Project, so it's not so bad.  Can you believe the latest development on that show??  I'm NOT going to reveal any spoilers, but this is crazy.  I can't wait to see what happens next!
  • I'm trying to revamp my blog, so you may see some changes around here in the coming months.  I hope you like the new format!
  • I got some new books for Christmas, so I've got some reading goals, health goals and financial goals for this year.  Not that I'm trying to bite off more than I can chew or anything.... I just have to start somewhere!
  • I've got some beauty and subscription box posts back in the works after a number of you mentioned that you missed seeing those.  Gotcha covered, ladies!
I hope you have all had a lovely winter thus far.  I know February weather can be a beast no matter where you live.  Florida weather has been unpredictable but at least there's no snow to shovel! 

Looking forward to sharing more with you this year!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Indulgences

As a busy working mom, I'm always looking for ways to relax and indulge after a tough day or a long workweek.  While some mom's love to go out for happy hour, take a long solo run, or read a book, I've found some of my own little happy spots in recent weeks.

Wine & Sweet Treats


I love a refreshing glass of white wine (in my unbreakable plastic wine glasses, of course) with a sweet treat.  I recently discovered these #DiscoverBrookside Crunchy Clusters, and I'm obsessed with them.  The best part is that one serving is generous at 22 pieces, and the calories and fat aren't that different than a cup of my favorite yogurt.   Winner, winner, chicken dinner!


Spa Treatments


One day I realized that the only time I'm ever really alone anymore is when I'm driving to and from work.  While I love my family and my work, I have to find some time to recharge my own batteries.  Massages have been a good opportunity for this.  They're helpful for loosening my stiff and sore mom muscles.  I also love a good facial, which is necessary now that Winter is here and my skin has become incredibly dry.  I can't wait to have my massage and facial after work next week!


Walking


Walking is wonderful, so I've been taking some time during lunch at work to take a walk around campus with a coworker.  We both agree that our walks help to clear our minds and get out our anxious energy.  We've walked a couple of times a week for the past two months, and our goal is to increase our frequency and length of walks this year.  I just need some new sneakers, then we'll really be in business!


Beauty Products

A soothing mask, a long shower using new or favorite products, and trying super luxe new products can make me feel like a million bucks.  Finding time may be tricky, but taking advantage of those quiet moments means the world.  Also, trying new products also makes me feel giddy and excited.  I received some great new products from Allure and Glossybox recently, so it's been play time for mommy when the baby's asleep and the husband is working in the yard.  I've even found some fun and surprising new HG products, so the indulgence has been worth it.


How do you indulge these days?  
Do you find that enjoying your indulgences makes you happy, or do you feel guilty for not doing other things?


I received the Brookside Crunchy Clusters for free to sample from Brookside and Crowdtap.  
As always, my opinions are my own and were not swayed by having received this item for free in exchange for an honest review.  The Crunchy Clusters happen to be delicious, but they didn't require or expect me to write that.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Being Healthy & Being Overweight - They're Not Mutually Exclusive

It's absolutely no secret that I'm a larger woman.  Plus-sized, overweight, plump, fluffy, "more to love", chubby... fat.  It's that last one that seems to sting the most.

Isn't it funny how some words or phrases in our language hurt more than others?  It's usually because the ones that hurt most are the words that are hurled at us as insults or intentional slurs with the greatest regularity.  Somehow, being called "fat" is enough to send some people into an abyss of hysterics and eating disorders.  Being called "overweight" isn't exactly a glowing compliment, but it just feels less offensive.  Am I right?

When I tried online dating many years ago, I was called all kinds of awful words to describe an overweight woman once these guys found out I weighed more than 150 lbs.  It was awful and I'm still surprised that I tried again (which is how I met Hubs!).  I can understand why so many women vow to never use online dating sites again.  Women have also said things like this too, usually to be catty.  All of that shit's got to stop.

As one who has owned a mirror throughout her entire life, I know what I look like.  I can state factually that I am a larger woman, overweight, or whatever else, since I'm a realist.  I'm not being mean to myself by calling out that I'm heavier than my 125 lb friend who insists on telling me how fat she is all the time.  (Which I find insulting in it's own right.)  I'll call a spade a spade, and there's no use in my pretending that I don't know that I'm plus-sized.

I've fought being overweight since I was 6 years old, and have had varying degrees of success in this fight.  In 2007, I set out on a journey to lose weight and lost nearly 100 lbs using Weight Watchers.  By 2012, I had gained half of it back.  By 2014, I had gained all of it back.  Then, I had a baby and added some weight to that number that still hasn't come off 5 months after giving birth.

So, I'm heavier than I've ever been at this very moment.  And you know what?  I don't really care.

I don't hate myself for being overweight.

I don't look in the mirror and think that I look grotesque, disgusting, or ugly.

I truly believe that I'm beautiful on the inside and out.

Anyone who doesn't see that is a fucktard.  (Pardon my French.)

I care about my desire to improve my overall health, and losing weight is a part of my plan for Balance this year.  But losing weight isn't the end-all, be-all.  Good health is what's important to me.  Right now, I'm healthy, but I need to get healthier.  Improved stamina, strength, flexibility, and agility are things I know will be important in helping my little girl grow up.

It's also important to me that my daughter has a mom who is loving, confident, happy, comfortable in her own skin, and promotes health over a fear of being "fat".  A parent's words about the importance of weight and health will shape a child's perceptions of themselves and others for many years, so setting a good example from the start is critical.

A person can be over a doctor's recommended weight but still healthy.  My physician has agreed with this and affirmed my commitment to health rather than a number on the scale, which felt great.  Having a doctor who gets it is worth its weight in gold!

You don't have to be skinny to be healthy.  Skinny people are not necessarily healthy.  While your odds of good health may increase when you weigh less, being overweight and being healthy are not mutually exclusive.  You can be both!

Most of us would concur that losing weight is incredibly difficult.  It's frustrating to work hard all week and not see a change on the scale, or for your clothes to not fit any differently.  You have to make the commitment every day and be accountable, which is the hardest part of all.  I'm certain that I'll continue to work on losing weight throughout my life, but striking a good balance now will be the most important step I can take.

In the meantime, I'm loving every square inch of myself, inside and out, and getting to work on improving my lifestyle.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcoming 2015 - The Balancing Act

Happy New Year, friends!  We're now comfortably in 2015, with a whole new year with a fresh outlook. 

As I've said before, I'm not big on resolutions, but my friend Becca inspired me to find a word to focus on and strive for each and every day.  I have decided that my word is Balance.  I want to balance everything in my life so I can be the most successful I can be, whether that be as a mom, a wife, an employee, a leader, a friend, and a family member.  I want to balance a healthy lifestyle with those enjoyable indulgences that I just can't quit.  I want to balance work and home responsibilities, balance time with family and time with friends, and balance my needs with those of my husband and daughter. 

I think we all love the idea of balance, but I don't think we're all so great at actually doing it.  We often find ourselves living in the moment, doing what is fun or exciting rather than what is necessary or responsible, and spending time, energy, money, etc. doing things for short-term gain.  And what does that often get us?  A lifestyle that is out of whack with what we really want both now and in the future. 

My primary areas of focus are going to be on health, relationships and finances.  I go in spurts of great balance, and then I revert back to my old ways too quickly and easily for my liking.  It's going to take work, but breaking a cycle (or pattern or habit) always involves that.  And it's not as easy as a once-a-year resolution.  These are decisions and choices you make each day, even minute-by-minute at times, to choose wisely and ensure that balance is achieved.

Balance is the name of the game, I'm damn it, I'm going to win this year!  Happy 2015!

Monday, December 22, 2014

My Time with a Psychic

*This is a sponsored post, but my experiences and opinions are 100% my own.*
 
Not long ago, I had an opportunity to have a psychic reading courtesy of PsychicSource.com, and I jumped at the chance to speak with a psychic could tell me more about my family and new baby.  While I was skeptical about the true abilities of a psychic, my natural curiosity led me to exploring something new and different.  I thought it would be a fun experience if nothing else. 

About 7 months ago, I met a woman at a friend's party who claimed to be psychic, and she shared some information with me about my future.  While it was interesting food for thought, I remained a skeptic.   After being offered this opportunity, I hoped to find out whether Psychic Source's psychic shared similar statements about my family and future to match what I'd heard previously.
 
I set up my appointment with Christine, a popular psychic on their website, with a gift for clairaudience.
 
 
 
My primary questions for Christine were regarding my current and future children, as well as my family and personal health and well-being.  We chatted on the phone for 45 minutes, but it seemed like only a few minutes had passed.  Christine was helpful and personable, but didn't pry into my personal business or ask me to reveal anything that I didn't want to share.

I first asked Christine about my new baby's personality.  She told me that our new baby would be laid back and relaxed as she gets older, as well as very smart, a great student, and incredibly honest.  She said she would be someone who other people go to for advice, and someone with a natural inclination to help and support others.  She then called out that this was more of my personality than my husband's.  That part was spot on.  She also mentioned a mother figure who watches over Avery, and mentioned that this was Avery's grandmother who had passed not long ago.

When asked about future children, Christine said our next child would also be a girl, who would have more of my husband's personality traits.  She said that she will clam up when upset and will butt heads with her dad, since they're so much alike.  She said that if we decided to have a third child, it would be a boy, and he would be a real handful.  She also mentioned that he would be a lot like my dad and I'd have to watch him every minute because he will be sneaky and a bit devious.  She did note, however, that although the boy would be sneaky, he would be a natural comedian and bring tremendous joy to our lives.

Christine predicted some interesting things for the next year of my professional life, so I can't wait to see how that develops.  She also noted that my sister and I would eventually live closer together in the future, which I'd love.  I also laughed when Christine described my niece as a natural leader and a Type A personality who would naturally lead my daughter around in the future.  She already does this when we get together for family functions, and apparently does this at her daycare as well!

One thing I appreciated about Christine was that she didn't just tell me about the good things, but seemed to be a realist.  She said that we would never be rich, but we would always have enough money to live comfortably.  She also said that we would have struggles with a member of our family who means well but his communication is poor and he believes the world revolves around him.  She said this family member would come to stay with us for awhile but wouldn't live with us long term.  Not great news, but not awful either.  It was mentioned as a point of caution, but not as though it would be anything life changing.

Christine gave me some tips on what my family should look out for health-wise, and shared a little about my husband's professional changes in the coming year.  It was a thought-provoking discussion, to say the least.

After the phone call, I recalled my previous meeting with that friend of a friend who said she was psychic.  Every single thing she told me matched what Christine told me in that phone call, down to very small details where I thought, how could she have known?  This added a layer of legitimacy and comfort to a process where I had been so skeptical.

The discussion helped me to feel more excited about the future and possibilities it holds, as well as feel more eager to get to know the growing and evolving personality of my little girl.  Christine didn't give me any promises, guarantees or spectacularly bad news, and that's just how I hoped it would be. 

If you're interested in learning more about the psychic services offered by PsychicSource.com, please check out their website!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Avery's 3 Months Old!

I can't believe my baby turned three months old at the end of November!  Where has the time gone?!?!  She's still my adorable little nugget, but she's getting bigger.  She started wearing her 6 month clothes recently, and we had to pack up all of her newborn and small 3 month clothes.  I admit, I cried.  I mean, she hardly wore some of those teeny tiny clothes, and now they're packed away in a box.

One good thing about her getting bigger is hitting milestones, like her 3-month mark and other milestones.  She can now roll over from front-to-back and back-to-front, so that means no more swaddling.  She's now a sleep sack girl, and she's loving it!  She can also stand up when supported and loves to stretch and stiffen her legs.  She loves to smile and giggle, and has discovered the wonders of TV (not that she watches much at this point).  Avery still eats really inconsistently, but is gaining weight well.  She's now 13 lbs, 9 oz and 25.5" long.  I love my growing girl!

For babies, getting pictures taken every few months or so it a rite of passage.  Avery's 3 month pictures were taken about a week ago, including some of her donning red and silver for the holidays.  She was so adorable, but we had several meltdowns to work through.  She was cranky, then hungry, then cranky again.  Good times.  In the end, the pictures turned out very, very cute, and Hubs and I were proud that we only had one little stress-induced spat.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures...










That little giraffe outfit was a gift from my sister at my baby shower, and everyone in the studio that day went nuts over how adorable they thought she was in it.  Then she had a crazy, screaming baby tantrum, which was fixed by a bottle.  The picture above was taken right after she realized that she didn't have to freak out anymore.  Hence, the scowl.

The rest are just too precious for words.  At least to me, the proud, very biased mom.

My only beef with the pictures was that they didn't have ANY Christmas props available, as they were being used by other families in the studio.  Grrrr...  I'd have killed for Avery to be in a little Christmas basket or hanging out underneath a Christmas tree... but I digress.

Here's to many more family holiday pictures in December!

My Photo
Tampa, Florida, United States
I'm a wife, daughter and amazing twin sister. I'm a mom to my adorable dog, Bella. Loves: Shopping, cooking, baking, good grammar and Dave Matthews Band. I'm also a Bath and Body Works addict, a Michigan State Spartans fanatic, and an iPhone aficionado. I see beauty in simple things and little things make me ever-so-happy. Welcome to my world!


La Bella Vita

Designed By:

Munchkin Land Designs Elements by Crisdan Designs

Categories

 
Designed by Munchkin Land Designs • Copyright 2012 • All Rights Reserved