Welcome to my blog. Each day of the week I post about topics that are important to me. Motherhood, beauty, baking and cooking( gluten free) recipes and products I love. Arts and crafts, books, movies, TV, music, internet and health & fitness. Friday's I will share my love for everything vintage as well as any new items that have gone up in my Etsy shop.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Let's Pick Up Where I Left Off.

Last post I was talking about how to heal cold sores. Super fun. Super sexy.

 That was 5+ months ago and a lot has happened since then, thankfully nothing to do with lip herpes. I've started several posts that have gone on for so long that I got tired of hearing myself talking in my head and gave up. I would like to continue writing on my blog regularly but it feels weird to pop back in after 5 months without even mentioning that I had a baby, so here is a brief over view of what's been happening.

May 30th I gave birth to our second son Louie. He was 8.1lbs and we all fell in love instantly.

He is now a giant 4.5 month old, in the 96% for weight and 91% height. I call him my mammoth baby. He is the smiliest baby I have ever known. Even if he is in the middle of a complete meltdown, (which he often is) if you smile at him, make a fart noise followed by a funny face, he will stop screaming long enough to give you a huge smile, maybe even a giggle too, and then continue screaming and crying.

He has revealed to me what true sleep deprivation is. I have nearly lost my mind entirely from it. But he has also made our lives so much more fun. We are constantly laughing and taking in his huge personality. Watching Louie and Henry interact has become my favorite thing. Louie has turned our lives upside down and when I'm not curled up in the fetal position, crying over being woken up for the 4th time in a 6 hour period, I am loving all of the craziness. I am obsessed with this baby. He loves to be tickled and whispered to. Even though getting out of bed to feed him feels like a trek to Mordor, once I sit down to feed him, I love the calm, quiet moments we have together. I smell his hair and kiss the bridge of his nose. When I was pregnant I would often lay awake at night panicking because I felt sure that there was no way to love Louie as much as I love Henry. Of course I was wrong. This baby, like his brother, makes my heart feel like it's going to burst from my chest.

Six weeks after Louie's birth we all headed to Washington state for the first time in nearly 3 years. I  don't remember much from the trip. I have to look at pictures to remember what we did. I was exhausted and hormonal and sleep deprived, but I  know I had fun and loved being with my family again.

Coming back to Georgia was harder than I thought it would be and Andrew and I have since discussed the possibility of buying a property up there and putting a mobile home on it until we can build a house after retirement. There is nothing like the PNW. I feel so sad that I am not there during the fall season but if there is one other place I'd rather be, it would be here, in beautiful Georgia.

Henry continues to be the most easy going, happy and sweet kid I know. I am thankful every day for the patience and forgiveness he gives me when I don't always have much to give. He is very sensitive to the feelings of others and he often has comforted me when it was obvious that I was overwhelmed or sad. He is a special boy who will do special things , no doubt.

 He started Kindergarten and is riding the bus to school. Just a couple of months in and he is already reading and learning math at a speed that astounds me. As a lover of literature, listening to Henry read out loud has brought me a joy that rivals his birth. I am practically jumping out of my seat waiting for the day that I can hand him the first Harry Potter book and watch his life change. I will happily hand him a flash light so he can stay up way too late on school nights to read them. I will totally fall for it when he says he's sick just so he can stay home to keep reading. And if he doesn't like Harry Potter, than I Andrew and I will have to build a fake stair case in our ranch style home because that is where Henry will be living his days, surviving on crusts of bread and only coming out to make us breakfast until he learns to love Harry Potter.

Andrew and I celebrated 13 years together, 8 years married, at the end of September. I recently found this picture of us from the day I introduced him to my Grandparents, just after we began dating.

We went over to help them with yard work and I remember my Grandfather telling me that he had never seen a young man work so hard. He kept his head down the entire time. If I remember correctly, Andrew re did the front entrance of their driveway. Hearing my protective Grandfather approve made me so happy. Andrew continues to be the hardest working man I know but he also loves family and fun and is generous with his time, even when he is exhausted.

Now here we are, 13 years later....1 mission, 1 marriage, several moves, 2 kids, 1 deployment later. Look at them. I am a lucky woman.

Monday, May 12, 2014

My Cold Sore Remedy

This last month has been super stressful. I am a laid back person who avoids a busy schedule. Actually, to be honest, I avoid schedules in general. I am a naturally anxious person. When it comes to stress there is no in-between for me. I go from 0 to 100 in 1 second and when that happens I  sometimes feel that awful tingling on my lip that most of the time indicates a cold sore is about to show up. I think the last one I had was just before my husband came home from Afghanistan last year. This time around it was the stress of multiple doctor appointments, a broken AC in 90 degree whether, the $1000 it cost to fix it and the sales booth and ultimate flop of said sales booth at a local community sale. Oh yes, and expecting a baby anytime in the next few weeks.

When the first blister started I went with the remedy I found on earthclinic.com that worked really well. It's not the best remedy as it is hardly wholesome but wow was it affective. Basically I just applied a q-tip soaked in acetone nail polish remover on the area every 15 minutes for an hour or so for the first day as opposed to the gross multi bubbling that is whitish/yellowish. the acetone basically killed/dried ( or lets be honest, burned) out the virus and went straight to a scab in a few days verses the 1-2 weeks it can take with over the counter creams.

This time around I decided to beef it up a little. I have recently educated myself just a bit on the help of oils. I already knew that coconut oil has antiviral and anti fungal properties so I wanted to start there. I also had tea tree oil so I looked up how it can be used for cold sores and as it turns out, it can be used in a really simple recipe of just 1 tablespoon coconut oil to 5 drops tea tree oil. I added that to my treatment list and then decided to try out a direct application to reduce the swelling. 1 crushed ibuprofen with a little water to create a paste. I applied that once in the morning and once at night to significantly reduce the swelling.

My total routine goes as follows.

1. Apply acetone by q-tips once every 15 minutes for an hour or so.

2 &3 . I know it's a big no-no, BUT, I went ahead and popped the blister to apply the coconut tea tree oil mixture. I wanted it to get right in there and work it's magic. I applied this mixture all day.

4 &5. In the morning I made a paste of baking soda and water and I gently scrubbed my lips, including the sore area. After I rinsed I applied the paste of ibprofen and water directly to the sore and let it sit for about 30 minutes.

6. After rinsing the paste off I went a head and reapplied the tea tree/ coconut oil mixture and did that all day.

7. At night, I applied the tea tree / coconut oil mixture directly to the sore and then slather the rest of my lips with vaseline.

My sore, which was huge, was already scabbing and healing within 72 hours. It started Tuesday morning and here is a picture of me on Thursday evening.

I'm lucky enough to be a SAHM who can basically work on the treatment all day. If you have to work, carrying a small jar of the oil mixture and a baggy of q-tips to apply it all day like you would chapstick.

Unfortunatly for me, between that stress and these blasted pregnancy hormones, while the first one started healing a second one popped up next to it. BUT, I immediately popped the thing and did an acetone treatment and  applied the oil and by the end of the day it was clear it was never going to be visible. By the next morning it was even more clear that the second cold sore would never fully form and by day three there i am having a hard time even finding where the tiny bubble was with my magnified mirror.

WARNING: When reading about these treatments I did read that several people had bad reactions to the acetone which makes a lot of sense since it is a chemical and if you have sensitive skin or even normal skin, if you are not careful with application you can end up with a chemical burn. From what I've read but have yet to try that Braggs Organic apple cider vinegar works just as well to dry out the sore. It wouldn't surprise me if it really does. I've used it for planters warts in the past ( I feel like a total leper now) and it really worked. The only reason why I didn't use it this time is that I knew the acetone had worked for me previously and I had two events coming up so didn't couldn't really afford the time for a possible failed treatment. But i do recommend going as natural as possible.

The same warning applies to using the ibuprofen paste. It's recommended for oral use only so it's always best to ask your doctor or look up a alternative natural treatment.

If I wasn't such a picker I probably wouldn't have needed to use the ibuprofen paste. I am though. In fact, if It wasn't for me constantly biting at my lip, I'm sure it all would have healed a lot faster. But I'm still so happy with the results.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Losing weight and loving yourself

Technically, I'm "In shape" since apple is considered a shape. Am I right?

There is no denying, I am and have been apple shaped for more than half my life. Discovering I was insulin resistant and have PCOS at age 21 helped me understand why I struggled with my weight, why I couldn't eat like everyone else and why I suffered from depression and chronic fatigue. You would think getting a real answer for nearly all of my health issues would put me into immediate high gear to lose weight, eat right and get healthy but here is the thing; Breaking 21 years of habit is hard. So much so that 9 years later, while I have definitely improved, I really have not made the change essential to get to a healthy weight.

 If I'm being honest, the real difficulty with losing weight isn't giving up foods or even getting in regular exercise. I eat bad foods and hide from exercise because of a short list of mental barriers that keep me from doing what I have to do.

Patience- I have to have more than most since my PCOS and Insulin resistance makes it a slower journey but I have found that I am not alone in this. I know so many women who struggle with PCOS, hormone imbalances and thyroid issues. Our minds are racing towards the finish line while our bodies are miles behind. Our minds stand at the finish line, jogging in place, routing our bodies on while our bodies take one step forward and ten steps back. And just when our bodies find a rhythm and start showing results, our minds start to feel the exhaustion and eventually fall over and pass out for the next 3 months until we find the strength to get back up and try again. Mean while our bodies are not where we left them. They didn't even go back to the start. Mostly likely they are 10 miles behind the start line. It is a frustrating process.

Fear- Developing an adult female body by age 12 was scary as hell. Male attention was often aggressive and unwanted. As an adult, every time I start losing weight and the attention comes, I run straight for a bag of candy and go hide in my house. There are two things I want from men who are not my husband. I want to either be invisible to them or I want them to fear me. FEAR ME!!!! Well, ok, not fear me. But respecting me would be nice.

The Sag- this is in the fear category as well. It's hard when you live in the Internet age. You see all these before and afters and you get it in your head that when you lose this weight you are going to be a tight body. But then, you step out of the shower, look in the mirror and realize that your stretch marks and aging skin are not going to let you look like anything but a hairless cat. Wrinkled and saggy. So which body do you decide to love to hate? Which is more important to you? Do you keep your overweight and unhealthy body simply because it fills your skin out, or do you choose your health and deal with the loose skin. Sure, I could get a tummy tuck but I've already had my breast reduction and feel like Frankenstein most days. Between the scars and stretch marks there is so little of my smooth skin left. Which one will make me hate my body the least?

Self Love- That's where the hardest choice comes in. The choice to just love myself no matter what. Fat, fit, stretch marks, scars.

If I can learn to love myself, to treat myself kindly, I will find the patience that I need, the strength that I need and the desire to keep going until I am healthy. Not skinny, not hot. Just healthy. Beauty is  nearly useless at this point in my life. It is merely a hobby, not a necessity. My health is essential to being with my family as long as possible. It is essential to my mental stability, to keeping my family healthy and to set the right example for my boys about what is truly important. If I don't want my boys to search out vain women than I need to stop treating myself like my only worth comes from being physically beautiful.

That doesn't mean giving up make up or dressing nicely. I have found a new love for makeup and I know that looking good can help you feel good. It just means making it clear to yourself and your children that those things are an afterthought to the real happiness that being healthy can bring.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Beauty- March's Ipsy Bag

Catching up! I know it's not on the right day of the week but I want to post quickly about March's Ipsy bag since April's should be here in the next day or so.

I really loved March's Ipsy bag even more than February's, despite being only 4 products rather than 5 this time. I saw that a lot of people complained about that but when you sign up it clearly states that you will receive 4-5 products a month in your make up bag. And considering the quality of products received, it's kind of silly to complain.

Here is what I got in my lovely bag designed by California artist, Klari Reis:

The Chella eyeliner came in Indigo Blue. It's really pretty and the application tip is amazing. I plan on shelling out the $24 for one in black because it really is worth it. I have never had such an easy, mess free experience putting on liquid eyeliner.

Wearing Chella's Indigo Blue eyeliner

The Pixie flawless beauty primer gives my skin a really pretty glow which I desperately need as I have very pale skin. It's shimmery but not obnoxious. I'm a 30 year old Mom who wants to look good without looking like I'm trying to be 21. I don't like sparkles but I do like a subtle glow and Pixie's beauty primer is perfect for this.

I also got the NYX Love in Rio Pallet eye shadow trio which is nice but a little dark for me. I don't wear eyeshadow often and when I do I try to stay away from darker colors because they make my eyes look droopy and small. I did end up using it and was impressed with it's stay and it didn't seem to fall under my eyes like other shadows Ive used in the past. I think the problem for me is that I lack a knowledge in eye shadow application. But I did like it and I'm sure I'll use it on special occasions.

The one product I was disappointed in (or rather, disappointed in getting) was the Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie lip stick in Get Ready. HOWEVER, as I've said before (or maybe not) I am not a fan of lipsticks. They make me feel elderly and in my opinion, only emphasize how small my upper lip is. I put some on anyway and was not a fan of the color for me but the actually lip stick is rich and creamy and has a good stay.

Considering that Ipsy cost a total of $10 a month, the Chella eyeliner alone cost $24, illustrating just how great of a deal you get with your Ipsy subscription. If you are interested in signing up follow THIS LINK. You'll do me a solid by helping me earn Ipsy points to use towards free products. In full disclosure, you may or may not be put on a waiting list. Ipsy has been allowing people to get off this waiting list by either providing a link to simply post on Facebook or by giving you a link that is a sign up referral link. If you have any friends and family interested in signing up, they can follow your link to do so, getting you off of the waiting list and helping you to earn extra IPSY points towards free products.

Also, it's important to say that after you get your bag, if there is something that you wanted but didn't get, or in my case, something you loved and want more of, Ipsy provides you with links to the products along with promotion codes to get discounts or free gifts on purchases of that product. So when I want to buy my Chella eyeliner in black, I can use the promotion code they gave me to get 25% off. I've seen codes for up to 50% off of products for that month as well.

Off topic from Ipsy and back on the subject of lipsticks; even though I don't wear lipstick, I have come to appreciate and wear a lot of tinted lip glosses, butters and balms. Recently on Pinterest, a friend pinned Revlon's Colorburst Lip Butter in a pretty color. When I went to buy it, I forgot which shade I wanted and ended up buying it in Sugar Plum.

I didn't realize until I got home and opened it, how dark it was but it's lip butter so it doesn't go on like regular lipstick so I ended up loving it and wear it everyday. If you are like me and want a little lip color but don't like lipstick, I definitely recommend this product.

That's it for today. I'll post about April's Ipsy bag this Tuesday.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Off Topic- complaining just to complain.

I have not abandoned this brand new blog. I have many plans to use it for many things. Rather than talk about DIY's today, of which I have 3 started that are all half finished, I would like to release into the world my current stresses so I can focus on something else.

Today Henry and I said goodbye to Andrew for the next 6 weeks. ZERO contact. I can't tell you how nervous that makes this 30 week pregnant lady. What makes this particular separation harder than his 2 year mission, basic training, multiple TDY's and even his 6 month deployment is that it will be the longest we have ever gone in 12 years without talking to each other by any form of communication. I can't even express how terrifying that is for me. He is the Yin to my Yang. When I'm stressed he listens to every single word of worry and bullshit and concern that comes out of my mouth and directs me through it. When I'm pregnant he is even more sympathetic, helpful and support.

Seeing Henry say goodbye to his Dad, his best friend in the world, it was hard. Especially knowing that by the time Andrew gets back, Henry will only have his Dad all to himself for a few more weeks.  That's one of those things about turning an only child into a big brother, really without his consent, you have to prepare for the transition that might include some resent, sadness and anger. He's such an easy going kid, I would like to believe that it won't be an issue but I know that I can't ignore the reality that he is going to struggle. Even as excited as he is to be an older brother, he may feel some insecurities about his place in the family. I'm preparing for Louie's arrival by talking to Henry about everything he can do with Louie and I think the trip home to visit family will help too.

On top of Henry having to say goodbye to his dad this morning he has a 102.7 fever. He was so talkative and energetic when we woke him up this morning. His mood suddenly shifted and I took him out to breakfast before school thinking he was sad about saying goodbye to his Dad. I thought he felt a little warm but he wasn't complaining. I took him to school and when I picked him up he was even warmer. When I dropped him off at school that morning I told his teacher that he was having a hard morning, otherwise I think she would have checked his temperature since he is typically more animated. I'm really hoping this bug doesn't involve throwing up. Between Andrew leaving, my being pregnant, and possibly dealing with the 2 of us being sick with spring break around the corner, combined with doctors appointments and trying to take it easy so this baby stays in while Andrew's gone; it's all a little overwhelming to think about. Not to mention I've been having several panic attacks every day for the last 2 months. If there was ever a time to be drinking it would be now. Thanks a lot baby.

I haven't been posting as planned this week because I've been hiding out. When I prepare for something difficult, like separating from my husband, I prepare in the worst way. I shut down. This time around I was better than usual. I still spent time with friends and distracted myself with some projects but the laundry has been neglected and I haven't felt like updating like I planned and the kitchen sink is full of dirty dishes. To add to the already Everest size pile of laundry, the cats peed on Henry's bed this morning so I've got another full load to wash. As annoying as that is, it's a motivator to get it all done. So a big thanks to my cats for supporting me the only way they know how.

On a more positive note. I had a OB appointment today and Louie looks good. In fact, he is already looking pretty plump which makes me excited. Kind of. I think I would rather deliver a runway model than a 8+ pound baby. But fat babies are the best so even if he is over 8 pounds at delivery eventually my complaining will be replaced by the sound of nibbling on some chunky baby legs.

More great news today is that because I check my blood sugar weekly my Doc said that I could skip the 3 hour glucose test. I thought he mentioned that in the beginning of my pregnancy but when I mentioned it to the nurse at a later appointment and then to another Doc while my regular was on vacation, they both said I still had to do it. I was really happy to hear my Doc reconfirm that I didn't have to drink that crap.

I'm thinking after this emotional day+ sick and sad kid, if Henry is up to a quick run down the road, I'm going to go pick up some ice cream and order in some pizza.

I did find some great stuff at the Goodwills this week so I think I'll be back to regular posting tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Food-Kinnikinnick Gluten Free Donuts

Last week was a current favorite recipe and today is a quick mention of one of my favorite gluten free indulgences. At some point I will get to something healthier but that day is not today.

In the beginning of going gluten free I was (and I'll admit, I still am) intimidated by all the strange ingredients needed to make a baked good. Xanthan gum? Rice flour? Huh?

When you are first starting out with gluten free baking it's a lot of trial and error and time and money. It's more expensive to bake gluten free. If I start reading a gluten free recipe and the ingredient list puts me to sleep before I can finish reading the recipe, than it's safe to say I'll never actually make it.

When I saw Kinnikinnick donuts in the freezer isle at Earth Fare I decided to give them a shot. The price? Over $6.50 for a box of six. As far as store bought baked goods go, especially ones in the freezer section, it was very little for a lot of money.

the perfect start to a lazy Sunday.

I brought them home and let them thaw and then tried my first one. A vanilla glazed. I almost cried tears of joy. Not only was it delicious for a gluten free product. It was just delicious for any product. It tasted and had the texture of a regular old fashioned donut. Pop one in the microwave for a few seconds and you've got something really special. These amazing donuts come in vanilla glaze, chocolate glaze and cinnamon. The glazed ones are sweet enough that I don't usually go for a second one. The cinnamon ones are less sweet but still great.

Beauty- Lets Pretend It's Still Tuesday (Gel Polish Kit)

I didn't forget about yesterday's post. I simply got to the one second at the end of my day when I had some time to write it out and chose to pass out instead. The nesting phase has come and I was a tornado yesterday, organizing while simultaneously creating an even bigger mess. Before I could finish I had to pick Henry up from school. Thankfully, after my husband came home from work, he and Henry called a friend to come over and lift so I had a few more hours to finish up.

What I really wanted to write about yesterday was my love for my gel nail polish LED kit, so that's what I'm going to do.

Before my husband and I had kids, he worked as a truck driver and I worked as an adoption coordinator. We were making really good money and other than making sure our few bills were paid we could do pretty much whatever we wanted. It wasn't unusual for me to go get my nails done then. I liked going into the salon, the smell of acrylic, getting pampered, the feelings of a freshly done set of nails. I've never been kind to my hands though so my sets never lasted long. I'd pick at them, or decide to start a new hands on activity that beat them up or I would do something and accidentally rip one off with my real nail attached. When we planned and conceived our first kiddo we were excited, but the economy was tanking and my husband lost his job. He got another job but with half the pay and then lost that one too. I was still working and the plan was to bring baby to work with me after he was born since my boss was amazing and we worked in a really casual environment out of a small house. Unfortunately, by the time Henry was born I also had to be let go. Giving up an occasional manicure was the last thing on my mind. I wasn't sure how we were going to afford a baby with one job and our income cut by 3/4. My husband and I had been discussing for a while the idea of him joining the military and it looked like it was time to make the decision. We did and it's the best decision we ever made. Even though we are still on one income and expecting our 2nd baby in June, we are older, wiser, have savings accounts and budgets.

Yes, we have a specific budget, but fun is included in that budget and I had been eyeballing the Sally Hansen and Sensationail LED kits for a couple of months. My husband was overseas and I had been having a hard time and decided to do something nice for myself. So I purchased the Sensationail LED kit at Target for about $50. That's the cost of 2 sets at the salon. I've done at least 15 sets since buying this kit, only spending extra money on new colors and one box of cleanser. The polishes run the same or a bit more than OPI polishes and I find them on sale regularly. This kit is not for applying acrylic tips but the polish is thick and hard and allowed my nails to grow really long so that it appeared as though I was wearing acrylics.

Click here to purchase on Target.com

I think my 2 main concerns about spending the money on this kit were number 1, that it wouldn't actually last as long as they said it would (up to 2 weeks)  and number 2, that I didn't have steady enough hands to get a professional look.

As it turns out, I do have a steady enough hand AND it really does last up to 2 weeks. As long as you aren't a picker like I am. And I've learned not to be. The manicure lasts so long and is so easy to do that I get impatient to try another color and end up removing it by week one. But don't be fooled, this is a very strong polish system. Right after I did my very first manicure using the LED gel polish, I went out and started building my garden by moving and stacking cinder blocks. I was hard on my hands and after it was all done I didn't have one chip. I just had some light scratches in the top coat and ended up quickly brushing on a new clear coat and curing it which took about 60 seconds.

Here are some things I've learned by trial and error with LED gel polishes.

You can mix gel polish kits. I have Sally Hansen, Red Carpet and Sensationail polishes. I've used Sensational polish with Sally Hansen, top and bottom gel coats and vice versa. This also goes for Red Carpet brand. All the primers work with the above mentioned polishes. Not sure about Gelish polishes because I have yet to buy one and I believe Gelish is set with a UV light and I just realized that I have no idea whether or not UV lights will set get polish the same way LED lights will. I'll have to investigate that.

Also, you can use your regular polish with the LED light but not for the purpose of drying them. An LED will not harden your regular polish. However, if you want to use your favorite color of non-gel polish, you can follow the instructions for your LED kit to put on your clear base coat and cure dry it with the light. THEN you can apply your regular polish. The trick to making it work is to apply a thing layer, let it dry completely, apply another layer (or however many you want), let that dry completely then use the clear gel top coat, cure dry with the light and you are done.

The key to getting a nice looking coat on your nails with this process is to let the regular polish thoroughly dry, otherwise when you put that top coat on and light cure, you will get ripples and possible bubbles in your polish. Also, make sure to cap your nails with the clear polish to keep it all from chipping.

One more tip is make sure your hand is being held flat while you apply polish. Try not to tilt them up to look at them before you dry them, otherwise the polish will float back to your cuticles and make an unpleasant edge around the bottom of your nails.

I cleaned my nails off with the intention of trying out a new color I recently bought for this post but never got around to doing it yesterday and my feet are currently in mourning as there was a freak accident involving moving furniture and I ripped my entire big toenail off of my right foot.

But here are some pictures of past pedi's and mani's.

Look at that glossy shine!

And finally, just to illustrate how long this polish can last, here is a picture of my toenails about 2 weeks into a pedicure. This was taken after I ripped my toenail. RIP big toe nail. You are really missed right now. Especially with sandal seasons coming so soon.

That's it for this week. Next week I'll post about my March ipsy bag.