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The Welcomed and Dreaded Diagnosis

“I’ve been feeling off,” I started out. “You know, I mean, I work. And I have lots of kids. So that would make anyone tired, right?”

She cocked her head and pointed her head at me, but never lifted her eyes from the keyboard. She typed as fast as I do when I furiously putting together another briefing. I wondered if she did Powerpoint in her dreams. Like I do.

“So, yeah. I’m tired all the time. But to fall asleep, I have to take something. Well, a LOT of something. If I try to fall asleep on my own, even if I’m dead tired, I will just sit there and think. Worry, mostly. It’s like my brain is a ticker tape of things I didn’t get done that day or things that are looming over me later in the week or things that I haven’t considered even worrying about until right that very second. It will go on for hours. So I usually take something to fall asleep.”

She nodded.

“But, not like, a DANGEROUS amount of anything. I don’t, like, put myself in a drug-induced coma or anything. I can still hear the baby if he cries. And he does. A lot. He seems to wake up every 2-3 hours. Not really wake up, where you get him up or even really feed him anymore, more just like he fusses a lot because he’s crawled into a corner of his crib and can’t figure out how to roll over. It’s pretty stressful, I guess. Being a baby, I mean.”

Her eyes flicked up at me and then back down to the keyboard.

“So, yeah. The sleeping thing. Also the worrying. I mean, I love my job. I do. I’m always telling people how much I love my job, and man, do I. I work in the space industry, in human exploration. HOW COOL IS THAT. Super cool, that’s how cool. I love it. But it can be a little much sometimes. But, I mean, we all do that. We all are under that same amount of stress. I shouldn’t complain. It’s just a hard job. But I love it.”

She nodded again and pursed her lips.

“The thing is, I feel like I have to work harder, you know? I’m a woman in an engineering industry, and I’m a woman with no education. I have unmatched skills in a lot of areas and that should be enough, but I feel like I should still work harder. To prove myself, I mean. But I wouldn’t mind maybe not working this hard. Or maybe not stressing out about working this hard. But I love it! Man, I love my job.”

Her hands flew across the keyboard.

“My husband is pretty amazing. He helps a lot. He helps so much that I feel guilty; he’s easily got 75% of the responsibility of our household. That’s not fair to him. He’s so great about it all, though; he’s an amazing dad to the boys. And the boys are growing up so quickly! Now we’re in soccer and lacrosse season, which is a struggle, obviously, to juggle two separate sports and separate schedules. And now that Tony’s in school, he’s got a whole new list of things that I’m always having to miss because of stuff, so there’s that. He’s just a minature me. Emotionally, I mean. So incredibly sensitive and tentative. Not shy, mind you; obviously I’m not shy, right? He just.. he feels too much and it’s overwhelming. I know how that is. I imagine it’s a lot harder at 6 than it is at 33. I worry about him so much. And I feel like I’m not a great mom to him most of the time.”

She took a deep breath and took her hands off of the keyboard.

“Oh! Also! I’m tired of being fat. That’s really the reason I came today.”

She folded her hands in her lap and looked at me. She had an engineer’s gaze.

“I want you to try Lexapro,” she said.

“For weight loss?” I asked, incredulously.

“For your anxiety,” she said, clinically. “You’re vibrating right now. You’re having trouble sleeping and you’re anxious. I want you to try Lexapro.”

“But I have tried Lexapro,” I said. I wasn’t sure what I was feeling, but this sure was not the How can I qualify for a gastric bypass conversation I had rehearsed in the car on the way over.

“And why did you stop?”

“Because.. I didn’t need it anymore,” I said, maybe a little too decisively.

“There’s nothing wrong with medication to treat you,” she said.

In my head, I agreed. In my head, I happily swallowed that pill for three years when I had PPD after Tony’s birth. In my head, I agreed that if medication made you a better person, by God, take the pill. There is no judgement in letting yourself be a better parent, wife, person, even in a generic prescription.

But my heart was shattered.

I thought I had this under control! I thought I was hanging on to this, and I thought everything was fine! Hard, yes. Difficult, of course. Sustainable? Probably not. But I thought I was in the clear!

I have put on such a good, brave face!

My God, what have I been doing to my children? To my husband? To my coworkers?

I have let them all down.

“We’ll start with the lowest dose,” she said. “Just to try it.”

I folded my hands in my lap and took a breath.

“And take time for yourself, okay? Try taking a walk. Every day. Half an hour. I’m sure your office has somewhere that you can walk, even if it’s just around the floor. Just walk.”

I nodded.

“This will help you to sleep without any additional medication. You’ll be able to fall asleep and turn your brain off.”

My eyes flickered up at her and then back down.

“We’ll fix all of the other stuff once we get this nailed down. And we will. Get this nailed down.”

I nodded and pursed my lips.

I considered not telling anyone, not picking up the prescription. I considered just saying that I was waiting on blood work to see what to do next. (Part of that is true; I got poked in every possible location of a vein today.) I considered just trying to suck it up.

But I’m telling you. Since 2004, you have been my accountability partner. You must hold me accountable now.

Help me help myself.

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Resolution Update for My Non-Existent Resolutions

<<Well, here is where I was going to embed a video of SNL’s video “Resolution Revolution”, but Hulu is being troublesome and HEY, that’s why we won’t cancel DirecTV yet. GET IT TOGETHER, INTERNET TV.>>

ANYWAY, the gist of the song is that everyone makes these really crazy resolution – I’ll give up smoking! No more booze for me! I’m only gonna exercise and eat well FOREVER! – and then they get about two weeks into the new year and realize that yeah, no.

(This is why I form a To-Do list for the year. It seems more manageable and realistic.)

But! I have decided that while I’m completing said To-Do list, I’d also like to not be as fat. It’s this weird thing I have, where I’m tired of being FAT ALL OF THE TIME. Yes, I just had a baby, blah blah blah but JUST is seven months ago and you know? I’d like to be able to wear SOME of my spring clothes that I already have instead of having to buy MORE clothes because I’m too FAT.

So I’ve been INSANELY good. Look at what I’ve done!

I’m logging every single calorie that enters my gaping maw. Upon recommendation from the most trustworthy experts (i.e. my twitter friends), I downloaded the LoseIt app and I have to say – I love it. I had good success with SparkPeople back in the day, but that was before smartphones and widely available apps, and having to log in to a REAL LIVE DATABASE every time I ate was a hassle. But this app! This app is amazing. 1) It has a huge selection of already entered foods. 2) YOU CAN SCAN BARCODES. I literally pick up a pack of anything, scan the barcode, and the corresponding nutritional data is logged. You guys – this is straight up sorcery. It’s very Hogwarts up in my diet. I’ve been doing this religiously since Jan. 1, and I’ve gone over my daily calorie budget exactly three times. Three. (It’s worth mentioning that exercise gives you bonus calories to use, so days that I went over most likely mean I didn’t eat well and/or I didn’t move a lot.) Most days, I’m way, way under. It’s a free app, and I highly recommend it. There’s a paid, “premium” version that I’ll be signing up for when my replacement FitBit gets here – they integrate seamlessly. Speaking of FitBit..

I’m using our stairs. My job CAN be very sedentary, and the FitBit was a great motivator to remind me to get up and move. When I wore it. Which I tended NOT to do. I dunno – it was uncomfortable on my wrist? I type a LOT at work, so things on my wrist tend to bother me. (I can wear a watch without issue, which is odd. But the FitBit really, really bothered me.) My work has incentive points we get awarded through the year, and I used some of mine to order a FitBit One, which can be worn in a pocket or on my bra, so I have high hopes for that. BACK TO THE STAIRS THING. I sit on the 5th floor of my building, so the idea of only using the stairs can be daunting and easy to fail. So I’m sticking to the following:

  • If I’m going downstairs, I can only use the stairs. (If I’m carrying a lot of stuff, I may bend this rule. I’m a klutz on stairs.)
  • For two weeks, I use a lower floor for entry and exit. For example, I just finished my first week of using the 4th floor. I ride the elevator to the 4th floor and take the stairs up from there. One more week on the 4th floor, and then I use the 3rd floor for two weeks. By the time Lent rolls around, I should be using ONLY stairs.
  • I’m giving up the office elevator for Lent. (Again, barring safety hazards.)

I’m drinking entirely too much water for one human/non-camel. Part of my “reading more” to-do chore for 2014 is reading a book that outlines 52 little changes you can make to your life that will add up over time, and the first one was hydration. It had some fancy math calculation about how much water you should drink and mine added up to be 90-100 oz a day. THAT IS A LOT OF WATER, GUYS. However, since I spent New Year’s Day passing a kidney stone, I’ve gone whole hog on this one. I carry around a 30 oz bottle of water and refill it AT LEAST three times a day. (I also spend a lot of steps getting to and from the bathroom, because MAN. SO MUCH PEEING.)

I’m planning meals weekly and cooking every night. This is not a 100% thing – but we’ve gone from eating out 5 nights a week (I am ashamed, but this is entirely true) to cooking 5-6 nights a week. It’s a PAIN IN THE REAR, but I’ve SO missed us gathering around a table to something that I’ve made for them. (Except for the night that we made the two oldest boys eat ONE bite of potato and they both spontaneously vomited. I’M NOT EVEN EXAGGERATING. Bryan and I just silently sat there, then cleaned up and sat back down to eat.)

So here’s the big reveal – the part where someone has outlined their plans and their efforts and they tell you the big result where you can see the payoff.. DRUMROLL PLEASE….

…. NOTHING. NOT A FREAKING THING. I feel like crap, I’m exhausted in every way, and I’ve GAINED TWO POUNDS.


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To-Do List: 2014

The time has come (..”the Walrus said, to talk of many things..”) for me to figure out what I’d like to fail spectacularly possibly succeed at in 2014. Instead of concrete resolutions, I do a vague-ish To-Do List so that I’m not bound by time constraints and can try and work on them all year.

I typically toil and slave over these, but this year, 2013 wanted ONE MORE opportunity to ruin our plans and Tony woke up vomiting AGAIN today, almost two full weeks after we thought the stomach bug had left us. BASTARD YEAR. So here is the list that I’ve slap-dashed together to get in before midnight. THIS BODES WELL FOR 2014 PLANNING, YES?

Cook three weeknights a week. I have gotten terrible about cooking lately. I used to be great about meal planning and getting home-cooked meals on the table every night. But since, oh I don’t know, JUNE, I’ve really sucked at it. My waistline shows it too. We’re gonna get back on track. (BUT WE’RE REINSTATING THE RULE THAT I DO NOT COOK ON MONDAYS.)

Read more than I did last year. This should not be hard. Last year, I wanted to read one book a month. I read four books, if I recall. So hey! FIVE MAKES ME A WINNER.

Round out my marketable skill set. If I may say so, I am DAMN GOOD at what I do. That’s great, and it helps that I love what I do. But I’m ready to grow and learn a couple of new talents that will round out how much value I can bring to the table. I’ve found a couple if areas that I would enjoy learning and would make me an even more valuable asset.

ADVOCATE. Still on the work front – I think I’m pretty vocal about how I love what I do. But if there’s a single reader here who doesn’t know what I do, I’ve not done my full job. I’d like to be more of an advocate for the Space Launch System, so you guys can get as stoked about the return of human space flight as I am.

Balance my Mom Guilt. Bryan and I talked about this at length last night. I said I want to find more work/life balance – which I say every year – and he asked what I thought I was lacking. “Sarah,” he said, “You’re not a stay-at-home mom. You work. You LIKE working. That’s okay.” And I realized that maybe the problem is ME. So I’m going to figure out how to make peace with the fact that I am a mere mortal who cannot be in two places at once. If I can’t pick up Tony right after school, that’s OKAY. I’ll do something cool with him that weekend. Because I ALWAYS DO.

Get stronger. I miss my strong body. I was never, like, Army strong or anything, but I could run a couple of miles a couple of times a week. I could hold my own through Zumba. I could plank for a minute or so. While I don’t want to set a hard and fast goal around this, I would like to start finding that Me again. I need accountability – dude, ideally I need a partner to guilt me! – so I will be reporting on this. OFTEN.

Leave Huntsville. We did not leave town in 2013. GUYS. That’s terrible. I would like us to get out of town this year! Maybe for more than one night! Maybe FOR TWO NIGHTS.

Focus on my marriage. Bryan and I are incredibly fortunate. We have a really strong marriage and we genuinely enjoy eachother’s company. (I hate saying things like that out loud. Not because it’s not true, but because I feel like I’m testing fate, you know? ANYWAY.) As much as we like each other, we don’t always leave time for us. The kids come first, jobs second, life third, and we as a married couple run a distant fourth. So this year, I’d like to schedule time for us to get away and just be adults around each other. Maybe even find stuff to talk about that don’t involve the kids or jobs! December of this year will be ten years that we’ve been together, so might as well make something of that. (.. maybe ballroom dancing lessons?)

Learn to play an instrument. I dunno. I just want to. I’m pretty damn good at the triangle.


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2013 Wrap-Up

2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008   As always, inspired by the always inspiring Sundry.

1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? I have a problem answering this almost every year, and I think it’s because I’d love to be able to say something life-changing – “I jumped out of an airplane” or “I visited a foreign country”. But I haven’t done any of those things – ever. And we’re getting to the point in my parenthood that even firsts with Tony are things that I’ve done with/for Jack. I do new things at work all the time, but they’re not career-altering. I did land my first national campaign this year – for Huggies – and that was a pretty cool little deal.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? In 2011/2012, I decided to make myself a To-Do list for the year, rather than concrete resolutions. Those tend to work out better for me. I did okay with my To-Do list – we failed miserably in weekend adventures and getting the boys to play frisbee golf, but the rest of them pretty much got checked off. I’ll definitely make more in the next year, because I am STARVING for some goals.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Nah.

4. Did anyone close to you die? I didn’t attend any funerals, so that’s how I’m answering this question. (If you know me and you died and I didn’t mention you here, I’m sorry.)

5. What countries did you visit? I… am having trouble recalling a time that I even left Huntsville this year. THAT IS SO AWFUL.

6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? TIME. Oh, sweet baby Jesus, we need more time in our house. Do you know how much time three kids can suck out of your schedule? Like, A LOT. Bryan and I have agreed that our focus in 2014 needs to be time focused on each other. Cause we really, really suck at that. (This is not to say that we suck at focusing on each other, but we’re terrible about filling every minute of our days with stuff to do for kids.)

7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? January 17th was when we found that we were having a boy, and later that night, we lost my oldest dog, Mabel. April brought Tony’s first soccer season, which was coached by Dude, and was a fun family gathering. Obviously June 7th was a big day. August 19th, Tony started kindergarten. October 15th, I got promoted. Later that week, I learned I was going to be an aunt! Pretty much everything in November and December needs to be forgotten, though.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? Juggling, by far. And I keep thinking to myself to catch the eggs. Let the balls drop – catch the eggs.

9. What was your biggest failure? My baby (although not my TECHNICAL baby) had his first show this year, appearing as a toy soldier in a production at his school. This was no mere school play; no, this is BEN HUR FOR BABIES, and they had over 10 performances to sell-out crowds. Since I was also in a show – across town – I didn’t get to help at all with his show. The Mom Guilt is still pretty strong over this one.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Not injury, so much. I mean, y’all, my swollen feet were ridiculous. But still. As far as illness.. well, it’s a funny thing. I’ve found that even if I’m not the one that’s ill, I can still suffer from it. (Reference earlier note to November/December being awful.)

11. What was the best thing you bought? MY VAN. Guys, I know I fought that damn thing kicking and screaming because No, not a minivan! That makes me a lame old mom! but that thing is AMAZING. The doors open BY THEMSELVES. The kids can watch DVDs and I NEVER HAVE TO HEAR THEM. I can fold all the seats down easily and have the bed of a covered truck. I FREAKING LOVE MY CAR.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My family, by far. What with me being all knocked up (and bedridden for almost the last month due to crazy contractions plus a major UTI) and everything, my family was AMAZING about helping out with the other kids. Add in just the other amazing stuff they do (Dude coaching, Gee helping out with makeup at Tony’s show, Mom & Dad giving Tony some one-on-one attention when he needs it), and I am one blessed lady.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Facebook. Okay, not the actual program, but what I see on there – almost on a daily basis – is just hateful. I’m a hippie! I love discourse! And conversation! And dialogue where we can talk about why we think differently! But what is so often posted is narrow-minded, hate-fueled and awful. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve hidden a good 1/3 of my friends.. not because we think differently, but because I cannot abide by some of the very divisive things that they post. (Example: I don’t agree with the food stamp program because I believe it creates dependency and sometimes the program is fraudulent. – FAIR THING TO SAY, even if I disagree. I don’t agree with food stamps because you know black people just use it to buy alcohol. – SOMETHING A “FRIEND*” OF MINE SAID IN A PUBLIC FORUM.)(*no longer a friend of mine)

14. Where did most of your money go? “Mortgage and daycare.  Daycare is such a rapist.” – 2009.  “SURPRISE, 2010 WAS THE SAME!” – 2010.   “SAME HERE” – 2011. “Surprisingly – we paid off a LOT of bills this year. Looming unemployment will do that to a person.” – 2012. Most of our moolah this year paid for hospital bills (having babies is expensive, y’all!) and food. We ate a LOT of takeout/fast food/restaurant fare this year.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I mean, yes, I was excited for Vinnie to exit the uterine premises. And I was excited for Tony to start kindergarten (thusly ending ONE daycare payment). But really? I was just excited for 2013 to be OVER. It’s been a long, hard year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2013? “Carry On” – fun

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Exercising. My body now is soft, and I don’t like it. But I’ll need to re-evaluate my schedule to make time for exercise. Like, literally, my day is scheduled down to the :15 mark 5-6 days a week.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Covering asses. That’s kind of blunt, yes? I constantly have this battle that I could let someone fail spectacularly or I could just fix it for them. I tend to do the latter, which would be fine if it was a one-time happening. But most often, they see it happen that first time, and then kick up their heels because HOORAY! SARAH WILL DO IT FOR ME! And that.. guys, I just don’t have the patience for that BS anymore.

20. How did you spend Christmas? This year was the Christmas that almost wasn’t. With presents not arriving until 12/23 (.. um, because I did not order them until 12/21), and the massive stomach bug that circled our family mid-December, we were just happy to have any Christmas this year. (I’m sorry, Vinnie. I failed you. Luckily you won’t remember this Christmas and how you were almost forgotten.)

“B .. T .. J .. S .. oh, wait. WE NEED ANOTHER STOCKING.”

21. Did you fall in love in 2013? Every year, man.

22. What was your favorite TV program? I really loved Orange is the New Black (Crazy Eyes is my homegirl), and I binge-watched all seasons of Downton Abbey while on maternity leave. I recently found an indie little show that HBO produces called Getting On and I hope come along!

23. This question has been deleted (2010). 

24. What was the best book you read? I read “Gone Girl” and “Sharp Objects” (both by Gillian Flynn) this year, and the latter was my favorite. (I didn’t DISLIKE “Gone Girl”, but the ending made me RAGE.) I also read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg, and I enjoyed reading that, even though some of it felt common sense-y. That, my friends, is all I read in 2013, because I suck. (Ooh, I got through most of “Tiny Beautiful Things” by Dear Sugar, and THAT was a great book. Just not hormonal, pregnant kind of reading material.)

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? SiriusXM Satellite Radio.

26. What did you want and get? A healthy and beautiful baby boy.

27. What did you want and not get? I really wanted us to get into a bigger house this year, so that the two oldest boys wouldn’t have to share a room, but that just wasn’t in the cards. In the meantime, we’re just all playing sardines over here.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Did I see anything in the theatres this year? Or a new release at all? I don’t think I did. We watched Despicable Me 2 the other night and that was fun. I do love Steve Carrell.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 33 this year, and we did not a damn thing. (Work was killing me.) You realize you’re getting old when you’re totally content to just have a quiet night at home.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? “A 25th hour in the day.” – 2008.  “Ditto.” – 2009.  “Hells yes, gimme some of that.” – 2010. “WHERE IS MY HOUR, FATE?” – 2011. “Better use of the hours I have.” -2012. 2013: Better just rehash some of that older stuff again.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013? Elastic, second-hand and waaaaay bigger than I wanted it to have been.

32. What kept you sane? My wedding ring. Bryan bought it for me in 2012, and he fusses at me all the time because I fidget with it all the time. It’s heavy, and I like the way it feels on my finger. It grounds me. It’s kind of my totem from Inception. When I need to recenter myself, I play with it.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Jennifer Lawrence. Aside from the fact that the girl is drop-dead gorgeous, she’s just such a refreshing figure in the crap that is Hollywood life. She makes me laugh out loud. A lot. I’m totally rooting for her to make it, you know?

34. What political issue stirred you the most? POLITICS, YOU SLAY ME. What stirred me the most is how little most voters knew about ANY of what was happening, and how INSISTENT they were about remaining ignorant. “Obama has lost our jobs!” Have you checked the polls lately? Unemployment is actually at a record low and .. “LALALALA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU BECAUSE I HAVE IGNORANCE CLOGGING MY EARS.” I’m pretty sure that’s just earwax and you can clean it yourse.. “BENGHAZI. THANKS, OBAMA.”

35. Who did you miss? Guys, I miss MY DAMN DOG. I MISS HER SO MUCH. I adopted her in 2000, and she passed early this year. She was deaf, and plucky, but so so so sweet, and not a day goes by that I don’t miss her. I miss the HELL out of that dog. I thought time would ease some of that, but every day just hurts a little more because she’s not here. (Sorry for the downer.) We even have two other dogs! Who are great! BUT THEY’RE NOT MABEL, AND I KIND OF RESENT THEM FOR THAT. (.. I would be awful in Sophie’s Choice.)

36. Who was the best new person you met? I might be speaking out of turn, but I think we are all kind of smitten with this guy right here.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. Vincent VanGogh. Everyone said to him, “You can’t be a painter! You only have one ear!” And do you know what he said? “I CAN’T HEAR YOU.” – Dinner for Schmucks

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. I’m sorry, but I can’t. Instead, I’m going to show you funny stuff I found on Pinterest that makes me laugh till I cry, even today. That’s much more meaningful to me.

And one meaningful one to grow on ..

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Let’s Talk About Some Stuff I’ve Invested In

This would normally be my “Some Stuff I’ve Bought Lately”, but none of these are things I’ve actually bought. You’ll understand in a minute.

(These all – except the last, because it’s in the future – required funds, though. Let’s not be crazy.)

Okay, so I’ve accepted the fact that I’m firmly in a Plus Size category now. I fought it long and hard, INSISTING that my post-baby body would be a size 10 or 12, which was where I happily was. But the truth is – I’m now in a 14/16. That’s life. I’m moving on.

BUT! That doesn’t mean I’m all muu-muus and QuackerFactory wear. (Sorry if you’re a fan of the Factory.) I found Gwynnie Bee by chance – it was a suggested Facebook ad, believe it or not – and I LOVE THEM. I have found myself describing them as Netflix for clothes, but then I realized that no one uses Netflix for DVD rentals anymore.

But basically, it’s 2005-Netflix for clothes. Lemme splain.

You basically go shopping on their site. They have a large variety of plus sized clothes from really cool designers and their models – praise be! – are actually plus-sized too, so you can see how the clothes look on a real person. You pick the clothes you like, stock up a closet, and they send you three pieces to try and wear.

You wear them – as long and as many times as you’d like – and then toss them in the prepaid mail bags to return. They’ll take care of the cleaning and restocking. And if you like the item? Shoot them an email and they’ll give you an insanely discounted prices. (The two pieces I’ve had quoted were about 60% off of retail.)

The prices feel kind of steep initially (although you can use this link for a free trial month!), but it’s a limitless rotation every month. I know that – right now, especially – clothes that make me excited and feel good about myself are totally worth the price. And the good news is that Gwynnie Bee stocks clothes starting at a size 10, so even if I do get down to prebaby weight, I’m still in the right place. I HIGHLY recommend.

I have just given up on food. I’m tired. Period. But the idea of having to sort through endless Pinterest pages of recipes on a weekly basis to try and plan out our week of meals was KILLING MY SOUL. I whined on Twitter one day about how frustrated I was with this process – especially since I’m trying to stay on a low-carb/South Beach-y/Paleo-like diet. Someone suggested (Chelsea, I think?) that I try TheFresh20.

It’s not a huge expense, and it’s not a whole lot different than other online recipe services, but I thought I was willing to pay the small fee for my sanity. And it’s been AWESOME.

The last two weeks, my weekly grocery bill – using their supplied grocery list plus whatever else the house was needing – has been about $120. To feed four people. And we usually have enough left over for one of us to eat lunch the next day. The recipes use fresh produce, are easily modifiable, and there’s little to no waste in my shopping cart. I’M A FAN.

Every Friday, I get emailed with a link to the next week’s recipes and shopping list. I decide which recipes I’m going to make (I usually make four out of the five that they supply) and head to the store. Actually – the best part? Since I’ve started using this, I can hand Bryan the list and he can go. THIS IS A NEW THING.

Tonight we’re having baked chicken with roasted cauliflower & sauteed zucchini and squash. The leftover chicken is used later in the week for a chicken pot pie and the leftover cauliflower goes into a mash. EVERYTHING GETS USED. It’s just pure genius.

I’m a fan. And it’s saved my weekends.

Now for the most important topic:


Guys, for real. It’s getting dire up in here. My hair is crazy long (.. for me, anyway) and Vinnie is at the age where he delights in grabbing a big ole handful and just YANKING AWAY. Something’s gotta change. My hairdresser is at the ready, but I’m unsure of what to do. Thoughts?

Let’s browse the options on my Pinterest board, which is what I doooooo.

At first glance, I want to go THIS SHORT. Look at how pretty and soft but defined this looks! But I have thick, sort-of-wavy, sort-of-curly hair. It probably wouldn’t look like this.

I love the color here, and would ask for something similar (in red, obviously). And this more of what my hair would do if I didn’t straighten it. But the length isn’t short enough here. ARGH.

This is more the length.. sort of. I don’t like the creeping down the back of the neck thing that’s happening here. Also, if I go short, this is more of what my hair will do. But because it’s curly here, I have no idea what kind of cut to ask for.

I LOVE-LOVE-LOVE this cut and it even takes my bangs into account. But I can’t see the back. I CAN’T SEE THE BACK, Y’ALL.

And yet. As much as I want to go short, I love the play on colors here and the length may be more do-able while I have fat-face going on. I DON’T KNOW.

Now comes the part where you tell me – what should I doooooooo?

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