It’s Been a Rough Week

28471199_10156308125367386_107290412636456175_nI really try hard not to complain or to go on and on about the various trials and tribulations in my life. I feel like it’s negative to do so and some how is burdensome to others if I complain or talk about the challenges in my life.

But, my mission here with my blog is to talk about the tough things. To find a way to work hard and eat kind. To be kind to myself. I feel like this blog post is to get this out and to say, I can get through this. Mostly, I just hope if when you compare your struggle to mine, and you find them strikingly similar that you’ll keep going and follow along. We just have to live one day at a time. So here we go. Here’s the tale about my rough week.


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This week I went to the doctor’s office for the first time in over a year. I can typically manage most colds/flus and bumps or bruises myself without the attention of a medical professional. But over the last several weeks I had been breaking out in blisters on the right side of my arm and abdomen.

Turns out I have shingles. Yeah. At 30. The doctor said it’s most likely caused by an extreme amount of stress. I am motivated to make several changes in life and I’m trying to set myself up for success. I have been trying to de-stress and relax but the rest of my week made it rather challenging.


I had an interview this week for a job that would be potentially less stressful than the current position I’m in. I was beyond excited and things were moving so fast. I thought I rocked the first interview because they called me back for a second (peer) interview later that same afternoon. Sadly, I wasn’t chosen and received an email the next morning saying that they decided to keep searching.

I think the worst part of interviews is not getting any feedback so that you can learn from your mistakes or weak points. I keep thinking, maybe it’s for the best. Maybe there’s something out there that’s a better fit.

The people were absolutely lovely to meet. In the end, I was really grateful to find such nice people. Even though I didn’t get the opportunity to work with them, I’m trying to hold on to the positives of knowing there are some great people working in that place.


 

I knew with my diagnosis that it was probably a wise idea to try to up my vegan maximum this week. I chose some tofu tacos from Tacos 4 Life and a Chipotle salad for lunch this week. There’s just something about tacos that makes me feel better spiritually. I’m considering making my own version of these tacos because everybody needs some tofu tacos in their life every once in a while.

Choosing to eat wisely when you’re going through a tough time is, in a way, a form of being kind to yourself. It’s easy to binge out and eat a ton of junk food or down two pints of So Delicious Dark Chocolate Truffle Cashew Milk Ice Cream. I won’t say it’s better to not do that, but I feel like it’s kinder to look in the mirror and say… “We’re struggling right now but it’ll get better. Here’s how I’m going to help you.” Instead of wallowing in the depression, anxiety ridden pit of despair.


28796157_10156308125082386_8601572221880757725_n I received a “hate comment” on my YouTube channel trailer. I find, most often, that when I leave comments on bigger YouTuber’s channels that the trolls wander over to my channel to try and inflict their venom upon my considerably smaller channel.

However, it was very silly and I laughed considerably. After all the things I had been going through this week a silly (bad attempt) hate comment was just not something that could get me down at this point. So I chose to write back in humor. Humor has been my saving grace as of late. I slipped in the mud the other day and laughed. I nearly fell out of my chair at work yesterday, and chose to laugh. It’s these tiny little moments when we chose to laugh instead of despair that we change the pathways in our minds to seek the positivity and sunshine in life.


28468192_10156308125127386_3807296039453148368_nThe toughest part of this week was that the 1st of March is my Aunt Linda’s birthday. She passed away several years ago but I was very close to her. When I worked in the same town as she lived I would go eat lunch with her almost every single work day.

I miss her like crazy and I still cry on occasion because I wish I could just call her up or go visit her. I know she’d have a ton of old Southern wisdom and she’d lay it down in a way that I understood. There are many people who have given me advice in life but nobody does it better than her. I miss her singing and her goofy jokes. I miss watching her cook. But, I am so very thankful that she was a big part of my life for so long.


 

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To end on a positive note, because it’s really hard for me to sit here and write about all the tough things I went through…

I joined a new social media platform called Vero. If any of you have it you can follow me there and I’ll try to follow back. I’m still learning about it and all of the capabilities but the biggest bonus is that there is NO algorithm!

What does this mean? It’s not like Facebook and Instagram that make you pay to get your followers to see your posts, or hide people in your personal Facebook feed if you don’t interact with them as often.

I’m super excited to try this out. I also plan to be working on a small project to hopefully offer you guys in the near future.

 

 


If you’ve stuck around to this point, thank you for taking the time to get to know a little about my week. We all have bad things happen. We all have tough weeks. It’s how we bounce back that truly matters. Be kind to yourself even if you’re struggling. Go for a walk, eat some good food, talk to your friends, journal, write, draw, paint. There’s so many wonderful things to do to heal your spirit after a tough week.

Go work hard, and eat kind.

Comment below your favorite way to be kind to yourself after a tough day/week/moment.

 

Valentine’s Day Craft with the Kids

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It’s been a busy life ever since I started a full time job last year. Eight and a half months ago I took a job in a very busy office for a very busy company. The hours are crazy and inconsistent and I rarely get more than one day off in a row. All three kids are officially in “big kid” school. Madison and Rylan are in second grade this year and Mark is in Kindergarten. My babies are growing up so incredibly fast and it just seems like time will not slow down.

The time is flying and I felt overwhelmed with some events of late when I got a notification that my friend Gina from over at Desperately Seeking Gina was live on Facebook. I happened to be home so I decided to look in and see what was going on. She was doing a craft project live! Madison and I watched all of the nifty and creative crafts Gina was making.

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She was making “Love Bugs” for Valentine’s Day. She used google-ee eyes, wire, pom poms, and hot glue to create the cutest little love bugs and even stuck some wrapped mini-chocolate bars on the back with double stick tape. You can find a replay of her Facebook Live crafting here and find her original blog post here.

I was so inspired to make some time on my next day off to craft with my kids that I ran to Hobby Lobby on my lunch break during the week to pick up some felt hearts, wire, and a hot glue gun. I was, admittedly, in a hurry and forgot pom poms and google-ee eyes. I realized this late and decided to look about the house for some cute alternatives and I think the kids and I enjoyed these little jewel stickers.

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The kiddos picked out their hearts and were able to stick their jewel stickers where they wanted them to be. I asked them how they wanted their antennae to look and asked if they wanted some smiley faces. They loved getting to design their own.

Away I sent my good little helpers after they had designed their love bugs… I totally made a tiny one myself. The time had come! It was time to use the hot glue gun and from previous experience, I knew I didn’t need three kiddos bumping into the table. As they went to play, I enjoyed a little quiet time sitting at my kitchen table hot gluing away on our cute little crafts.

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We plan on making a few more crafts before Valentine’s for some special people in ours lives and we wanted to share so that you might take some time and enjoy a good craft. It really did my soul some good after such a whirlwind of craziness this last 8 and a half months. It’s good to stop and spend time together and most of all… It’s always a good time to be kind and plan to make others smile with a wonderful craft you made yourself. While I love crafting, I’m not the most creative… I’ll leave that crown to Gina so I hope you’ll go check her blog and social media places for inspiration on living a more creative life. I know she’s been a huge inspiration to me!

No matter how busy life is, try to stop and think of these creative ways that you can spend time with your family. I know you and your kids will be glad you did.

Why Cruelty Free Makeup Is Important To Me

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Today I’m uploading my very first “Chit Chat Get Ready with Me” video on my YouTube channel. I used mostly cruelty free brands and it’s had me thinking about why Cruelty Free makeup is so important to me.

You see… I have struggled so thoroughly with maintaining my vegan diet due to my hypoglycemia. Yes… I have seen doctors and heard all the pseudo science from all the random vegans who would love to give me terrible advice. But you see… The one thing that I forgot was my true connection to veganism. The unnecessary use of animals for animal product testing.

When I struggled with my vegan diet, I always could trust in my other ways of being vegan. Because, believe it or not, veganism isn’t just about abstaining from eating animal based products, ridiculous graphic phrases for conventional words (enter hen’s periods instead of egg), and a heaping helping of guilt tripping with a t-shirt. (I see you “meat is murder” t-shirt wearing friends.)

I think a true struggle in the vegan message is to those of us who find a perfectionist vegan mentality just doesn’t come naturally. We are not generally sympathetic to miscellaneous animals we’ve never met. We have health issues that are difficult to manage on a vegan diet (which happens whether you believer it or not).

How do we promote a message of acceptance and tolerance to encourage others (like myself) to keep doing the best they can with where they are at? A family member of mine once said, “You have to live where you’re at.” I think that applies in so many ways. Furthermore, you must also meet people where they are at. I think that also means pointing out what people do right; not just what they’re doing wrong.

“So you were hungry and gave in at work and ate that non-vegan donut. Okay… We can all relate to how tough it is to deal with such temptation. But, you’ve done good the rest of the week. You’ve also been doing better to buy vegan textiles, switching your makeup to cruelty free… That’s a lot of stress and a lot of big ideas to manage. It’s okay! Don’t just throw in the towel over one donut… Or a week of donuts. You’re still doing the best you can.”

That may or may not have come from person experience. (LOL)

The video I posted today truly remind me that I am incredibly passionate about vegan makeup, promoting textiles that are readily available that are vegan (like in this video here that was my first look book). It’s more than just food. It’s your life!

Don’t forget the reason you believe in veganism. Even if it’s not the same reason I’m vegan. Remember that one (or fifty) slip ups are not a reason to just quit. It’s so much more than a non-vegan donut… A health issue, a number on the scale… It’s doing what you CAN do to live a more compassionate life that seeks to harm others LESS. The truth of the matter is just existing in the world causes some form of damage in some sort of way be it sentient life forms or inanimate objects.

Cruelty free makeup products are so important to me because I can reduce the suffering of these animals by making a choice with my dollars. This choice, to me, is an easy way to be vegan. While every dollar won’t be perfectly allotted to the perfect place, with perfect vegan employees, with perfect vegan homes and perfect vegan lives… It does mean the world to me and something that I know I can DO right to the BEST of my ability. I will always encourage you to do the best you can do, where you’re at.

I love you guys so much. Thank you so much for reading this today.

Leave me a comment below with your favorite cruelty free brands, textiles, makeup products, or anything else you think that would be helpful!

** If you watch the video you can find links to websites that will give you more information about cruelty free makeup brands. **

 

All the Things I Have Going For Me

thick thighs and sarcasmI’ve mentioned my situation recently in a YouTube video, and I feel like it’s time to let everybody know. My husband and I have separated. We haven’t lived together for over a month now. I’m looking for a new place to live and moving closer to family. Why am I talking about this publicly now? Eh… Who knows. Probably because writing is therapy for me. I also like to think that you might be reading this in a similar situation and might need some encouragement. That helps me get through these difficult times.

I can sit here and say it’s been sunshine and rainbows, and it’s all for the best… But I’d be lying. It’s gotten easier, the longer time has progressed. There are still times when I cry and really miss my family being all together under one roof.

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about all the things that I do have! I saw this shirt. Here’s a link if you’d like to buy it. No, I’m not affiliated, just trying to be nice since I used their photo for inspiration. I feel like I could’ve written this shirt myself.

I think it’s important when going through difficult situations to remember what you do have. I’m not talking about those glitter, sparkle, rainbow people who can be thankful for breathing, or being alive, or counting your blessings. Count the things you’re good at. Good for. Count the things that let you feel like you are enough, even when others try to convince you that you’re not.

Frankly… My resting bitch face has gotten me a lot of looks lately. I’m naturally a very friendly person, but I just have no expression to give you that information when I’m deep in thought or meandering through a department store. However, it has helped me avoid confrontations before though. I’m really thankful I’m 5’10” with a killer resting bitch face sometimes.

Thick thighs. I go back and forth on this one. I’ve been so self-conscious about my thighs since I was a little kid. I don’t like to show them off. But, recently I’ve realized, this is where my strength is. My legs are my largest muscle group. So yeah… I love my hella thick, hella strong thighs.

Sarcasm. I remember when I was kid being told that sarcasm was a sin… Well isn’t that just grand. I thought I was going to go to hell for sarcasm. You can see that really didn’t work on me and I’ve been letting it flow a little more freely in my writing. It’s part of who I am. I sometimes take things lightly because I’m very prone to being way too serious. It works! Who am I to challenge that?

I refer to what was on the t-shirt as examples but really.. This could be anything! It could be your sense of humor, your creative spirit, or your sassy attitude. Don’t let people hold you back from who you truly are. The person who decides if these things need changed or aren’t appropriate is you my dear friend.

Regardless of what you’re going through, I want you to find ways to help you get through them. So often, we look to food, other people, or down right ignore the problems we’re facing and call it “dealing with it.” We need more than that. I have an upcoming YouTube video that I’ll link to when it’s published about how to keep a positive environment during tough times. I’m also going to make a printable page below so that you can make your own list. What do you have going for you? Think of all those things and remember them daily. I hope you’ve enjoyed this little encouragement/rant of mine. I hope that even if you aren’t in a good place right now, that you’re well on your way to getting to head in the right direction. Stay positive and try out this page. I’m sending you all my good vibes and hugs.

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5 Things NOT to do as a Vegan During the Holidays… (Explicit)

The holidays can be a stressful time for all. Who are you buying presents for? Where are you going? How are you going to fit all of the relatives in with only one day? Oh…And yeah… You’re vegan so there’s of course the looming dread that we all feel during family focused holidays… Food. What will we freaking do!? Our families are not even remotely vegan and don’t even know what tofu is…

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Here are 5 of my recommendations of things to NOT do or to avoid doing while celebrating the holiday season… Of course… You’re able to make your own choices. Just don’t come back to me and complain when everybody hates you and you’re banned from family social occasions if you don’t follow my advice. May the odds be ever in your favor, friend. Here we go…

1. DO NOT wear your “MEAT IS MURDER” shirt to Grandma’s House…

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While you and your Whole Foods shopping, Vegan YouTube activist friends may all go twinsies on a regular basis… This is NOT appropriate for sitting at Grandma’s dining table. In fact, it’s quite rude. Let’s save this for something less sensitive? Fourth of July maybe? You are not going to convince people that you are a genuine, caring human being by passive aggressively attacking people with your shirt. Just…Don’t do it. Or wear it under that ugly sweater. Enjoy your family please. Some people aren’t lucky enough to have a family to nag about eating more plants.

2. DO NOT start telling everyone you see within’ 10 feet that you’re Vegan…

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Okay…I may steadily be limiting your holiday wardrobe choices… But seriously my friends… We know you’re vegan. It’s okay. Calm down. Time and place my friend. The holidays are made for enjoying the company of friends and family. How would you like it if your Paleo cousin to got a turn to start preaching the wonders of eating bacon? Don’t worry…I’ve been that person… I’ve been that annoying preachy family member who won’t shut up about gluten. Let people leave your presence feeling happier. Be kind. If it comes up…Sure! Give it a polite chat… But DO NOT stand on that damn soap box my friend. Don’t do it… No… Pulpits aren’t welcome either…

3. DO NOT expect Everyone to Know How You Eataunt-voula

Veganism may seem to be growing in popularity…But I constantly get the question…Well… Do you eat eggs? Is that like vegetarian? I think my best advice for this is to talk to your family ahead of time or I don’t know…Do it yourself? Ask your family over and cook for them? If they want ham or turkey maybe they could bring it and you make all those delicious vegan meals on the side? Come on! Put in some effort. Or just eat all the vegetables on the side. Don’t be an asshole. Most people will notice you NOT eating…but they won’t be checking your plate for meat as long as you’re eating… Again… This goes along with 1 and 2… No need to shout out to everyone that you’re vegan. Enjoy your family and eat those Brussel sprouts! As my Aunt Linda used to say, “If you go home hungry, it’s your own damn fault.”

4. DO NOT offer up those “Handy” Health Facts we all know you have Memorized for the Right Occasion…

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We all know you’re just aching to tell that weird Uncle of yours that the dangers of his tailgating habits of steak and butter will only lead him down a woeful and sad path to heart disease and cancer. But, I doubt your “facts” will be taken seriously as he gobbles up some more turkey and chugs down another brewski. In fact, they may take you less serious because…Who’s rude enough to point out someone’s bad habit as they’re doing the bad habit? Do you think this is the time of year for people to be receptive and health oriented? Ready for change? You’re a few weeks ahead of schedule dude…And frankly… Nobody asked you how many people die of colon cancer every year… Nobody wants to hear about colons at the Christmas dinner table! Nobody!

5. DO NOT Miss out on Being With Family Just Because You’re Vegan (Or Plant-Based)!!!

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I’ve seen people pledging to not participate with family gatherings if there are animal products being used. But, if I’ve learned anything…You need to fiercely recognize how family DOES care and that they CAN surprise you. My mother-in-law kindly made me a gluten free AND vegan dessert for Thanksgiving that was amazing! Give your family a chance. They might not jump on the bandwagon and buy Jesus Sneakers and Hippie Skirts… But they love and care about you. Don’t be so selfish that you can’t deal with the world as it is. Be happy. Be kind. Most of all, spread around that compassion to humans…Not just the animals. Then you might see that people aren’t such assholes and maybe, just maybe eat a vegan meal and not throw up in their mouth at the thought of that many vegetables. Do your best and remember that the holidays should be about family, community, and friends. Not your diet. Or you. Or that ridiculous “Kale Yeah, I’m Vegan…” T-shirt… It’s cheesy. Really… Just stop.


I hope you have enjoyed this light hearted advice of 5 things you shouldn’t do during the holidays. It’s all in good fun my friend. From one vegan to another.. .Don’t isolate yourself. Do the work to make sure you can go out and have fun and be merry. Enjoy your holiday season no matter what you celebrate. Happy holidays from my family to yours.