Archive for the ‘Useful Shit’ Category

So, I had a couple of people ask me about what sauces I use. Apparently, I referenced them in some post I recently did. Sorry for not disclosing at the time, guys!

When you try to eliminate carbs from your diet, you rely on alot more proteins. And, sometimes, those proteins get boring. Not everyone likes Googling recipes or pinning recipes on Pinterest for hours on end… (it’s an addiction)

Me? Well, I do both of those things… but at the end of the day, I am more of a dreamer. I wish I had the motivation and time to try all the awesome recipes I find but I just don’t. I’m fucking lazy. I like simple and quick. Sauces help to expand your options with minimal effort involved.

I have a shit ton of sauces. I keep 10-15 on hand at all times and I have a shelf of unopened new ones waiting in the wings. It’s almost an obsession.

I always, always, always have mayonnaise on hand… that should be a given… I buy it in the huge institutional size and eat it every single day without fail. That’s a no-brainer there… Here’s the others:

SAUCE1

 

SAUCE2

Like my super fancy “labels”? You would think I would be more ambitious… I mean, I have like a billion pins on my boards over at Pinterest. Surely one of those pins would teach me to be super crafty and make some super cute labels for my squeezy bottles, right? Yeah… screw that. 😆

So, the reason I have so many sauces is that it lends variety to average meats. I could cook up a whole 5 pound bag of chicken breasts to eat for the week and have new meals daily just by changing up the sauce. This makes things super quick, easy, convenient, and CHEAP!

And, I know ya’ll like CHEAP! 🙂

Hope this answers some of your questions…. keep them coming if you have them!

PEACE!!!

Hey, everyone! How is everything going? All here is fantabulous! 🙂

So, there were major lay offs this past week at my work… Whenever that happens (which is way to freaking often), I go into panic mode and try to plan out my life as if I actually know what in the hell is going to happen. I feel like I have escaped the axe so many times now that eventually they will have no one else to axe and here I am! I’m a sitting duck!

So anyway, I started panicking and trying to plan for what would happen if I get booted from my job of 20+ years. 😦

My husband and I have always bought separate groceries. That’s basically because he is a third shifter and eats meals completely separate from me. Plus, he has food weirdness… like, he will eat tuna sandwiches everyday for a month straight. That’s weird, right?

What all that means is that if I were to become unemployed, I would be on my own for food. Not that he would let me starve, but he might… you never know! 😉 I would still feel like it’s my responsibility to feed myself… so I mocked up a menu of my typical grocery list for a week to see how much it would cost me.

I see people online complain about the high cost of eating right all the time. And, I agree. If I was going to eat like shit as a single person, I could do it for about $20 a week. Hell, maybe even $10 a week! I have lived on Ramen before… 😐

But this is just one sample Low Carb, High Fat menu. I think I’m going to try to devise more “just in case”. Here’s the shopping list:

2 packages of the bigger leaf romaine lettuce (Wal-mart) $1.48 each x 2
1 – 16 oz. package of fresh spinach (Wal-mart) $2.88 each
18 Ct. Large Eggs (Wal-mart) $2.94
1 pound ground meat (Whereever on sale) $4 max
1 pound fish fillets (wherever on sale) $5 max
1 pkg. of Chicken Thighs – 8 to a package – (less than $1 a pound on sale)- $3 max
1 – 8oz. package Shredded Mexican Blend Cheese (wherever) $2.50
1 – 8oz. package of cream cheese (wherever) $1.50 max
2 cans of 4 or 5oz. Tuna (wherever) $2 max
1 bunch of fresh cilantro (wherever) $1 max
1 pint of Heavy Whipping Cream (wherever) $3 max
1 container of sour cream (wherever) $2 max
TOTAL $32.78

This grocery list would make 21 single serving meals. I actually don’t think I eat 21 meals a week… I do more like 15 or 16 because there are days where I don’t have time to fit lunch in. So, I may be able to get away with even less spent. I did try to add some variety but if I am hard up, I would probably have no problem eating the same damn thing over and over again if needed. Been there, done that.

Here’s the meal list:

The LCHF Week's menu

The number in parentheses is the number of times I would eat that particular meal in a week. As you can see, I love my Spinach Omelets! 🙂 And I am certainly not opposed to leftovers because I have a wide selection of “sauces” to change things up.

This list also assumes that people have basic necessities and condiments, which I admit you would have to buy at least once every two months, maybe every month depending on your uses:

Coconut Oil (Wal-mart) $6
Louisiana Supreme Chicken Wing Sauce (Dollar Store) $1
30oz. Mayonnaise (wherever on sale) $4 max
Extra Virgin Olive Oil 16oz. (wherever on sale) $6 max
1 pound of Coconut flour (wherever on sale online usually) $4 to $5 max
Dill relish (Dollar store or on sale) $1 max
Garlic Powder (the cheapie container) $1
1 pound of butter (wherever on sale) $3 max
1 jar of salsa (Dollar store or make own) $2 max
1 bottle of low-sodium soy sauce (wherever on sale) $2.72 max
1 small bottle of pure sesame seed oil (wherever I can find it cheap) $3.48 max
Sesame Seeds (I found these in the cheapie section of the Dollar Store – hard to find but a super bargain) $1 to $4 max
TOTAL maybe $40 – depends on what you spend

Most of this stuff will last well beyond a month because you are only using it in small amounts. For example, the coconut flour you will only usually use 2 Tablespoons at a time.  And shopping around really helps to find the cheapest price. I tend to only buy stuff on sale, in season, or on clearance.  The dollar stores or Dollar Tree can be great but don’t count on them keeping favorite items in stock. Bulk buy when you find something you love.

The way I figure it is that I could easily eat healthy for $150 maximum per month on my own. Maybe even less as I haven’t given this oodles of thought yet. I’ve just been messing around with it a little. If I was cooking for a whole family, I could do it cheaper than $150 per person. My 2 year old tends to eat off my plate for breakfast, my husband makes his lunch, and he eats supper at the sitter usually. I sometimes buy “back up” food for nighttime meals if needed. He’s cheap… for now.

Like I said, I am going to try to do this on the regular now because I think it is inevitable that I will eventually lose my job. If I keep it, I will consider it a life bonus but I won’t be counting on it. 😦

Once I get enough chicken bones together, I plan to try making bone broth and replacing one meal a day with that plus butter. The health benefits and cost savings are almost too good to pass up. I am also considering oil pulling to improve gum health and possibly save on future dental bills, which are sure to be numerous.

Anyone have any other ideas for super duper cheap eats? Give me a holler!

PEACE!!!

Not as good as I hoped but still met my modest goal:

27.4 POUNDS GONE!

That is 5 pounds for the month, but get this… 8 inches overall gone in one month! So that’s positive right? I wish it was all in my waistline, but the majority of it was between my neck and my thighs so it all works out eventually, I guess. 🙂

I haven’t really been exercising much but I am starting to walk a bit. And we are getting ready to remodel the living room, so I hope that will burn off some fat. Of course, last year, I redid my entire rental property almost entirely alone until the end and I didn’t lose a damn thing! :/ Since this remodel is more for pleasure than necessity, I am hoping the weight loss will come with it.

Stress continues to make me appear pregnant. I am really having a hard time getting 8 hours of sleep in. In fact, I have not once gotten 8 hours in. I usually log 4-5 hours tops. Once in a blue moon, I will hit 6-7 hours. I have read that this is a major factor in belly weight. I really need to figure out how to make myself sleep longer!

I have tried melatonin 10mg and it really did nothing for me. I am scared to try anything stronger because I need to wake up and be alert pretty quickly. My husband occasionally takes sleep aids to catch up on sleep (he’s a third shifter) and he told me that it often takes him much longer to fully wake up after taking those.

I hear conflicting reports about exercising before bed. Most people say that energizes them and wakes them up. When I have exercised in the past, I am usually dead ass tired after. I thought maybe doing my walks (which I could turn into turtle paced jogs eventually) before bed may exhaust me to the point of being able to fall asleep right away and stay asleep.

I do think I have sleep apnea. However, my deductible on my health insurance is $1000. I don’t have that. So a medically supervised sleep study is absolutely not within reach right now. 😦

So, yeah… that’s about where I am at right now. Nothing exciting to report.

Some people have sent me comments requesting me to regularly post meal plans. I am kind of an irregular type of person so I don’t know about doing it “regularly” but I will try to remember to do it when I post a new menu on my frig. Here’s my current one:

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Sorry it’s such a horrible picture… I took it with my cell phone. But you get the idea. I have a few “emergency” snacks, which I use VERY sparingly. For example, the Russell Stover Toffee Squares I have maybe one or two squares a week. A full serving is 3. I eat 1/4 C. of pecans maybe once every 2 weeks, if that. I haven’t even had one of the Atkins shakes yet but they are in my frig and have been for a month now. The quesadillas will be limited because the tortilla has 9 gross and 4 net carbs… I am just trying to find a way to get rid of the package at this point…

I have had a lot of traffic on the blog lately so I have had a lot of newcomers ask why their comments don’t show up on my posts. I am pretty active in a couple of online communities and have a mirror post in one of those communities. I don’t spend an enormous amount of time online like I used to. Going through every comment was very tedious at one point. And some of my online friends are high maintenance (cough *nate* cough) so they like to comment. Alot.

All of that to just say… I’m fucking lazy. There it is, folks. I don’t approve posts because I am lazy. But I will try to stop being lazy. I tell you what… I will approve posts that I think are good and relevant (most of you newcomers are fine!). If they are comments touting your new and improved diet plan, your comment is OUT! If you are an EPer and you already made the comment on the mirror blog, I will not reapprove it here… If you are just being a pest and using excessive exclamation points and capital letters (cough *nate* cough), then I will NEVER approve your comment. Period. Because you are annoying. I love you but you’re annoying.

Also, I post about my personal internal struggles here, and people relate to that alot and send me comments detailing their own personal struggles. I probably won’t approve those comments. It’s not that I don’t love hearing from you, because I do. Please do NOT stop doing that! But, I really feel that there are many who give me a very intimate piece of their lives sometimes and I don’t know if you really want that on blast here. If you don’t care, tell me that and I’ll approve it, but otherwise, it will remain between you and me. Pinky promise! 😉

I’ll end my post with a recipe. I have sausage gravy and english muffins on my list above. I love sausage gravy and biscuits! I mean, really… who doesn’t? I’m not real trusting of all those almond flour biscuit recipes because there’s like a shit ton of almonds in one cup of almond flour. So I finally found an acceptable substitute using coconut flour in a Muffin-in-a-minute recipe modified from the recipe by Stacey at beautyandthefoodie.com. Here’s my version:

EngMuff3

Engmuff4
Instructions: Basically, dump it all in a PAM sprayed coffee mug (I just used a standard size mug) and nuke in the microwave for 1 minute. Mine turns out perfect but you may need to adjust the time depending on the power of your microwave. When it’s done, turn the mug upside down on a plate and it usually just slides right on out. I usually let it cool a bit that way. Then, cut in half and pan fry on each side. Perfecto!

My version is not nearly as sweet as other versions. I wanted a more savory muffin. And, although it looks eggy, it did not taste eggy. So don’t be scared! It tastes good! It’s not a real english muffin. It’s more dense. But it was perfect for this recipe. And only 2 NET CARBS!

Now, for the gravy:

sausagegravy1
Instructions:
Brown your crumbled up pork sausage in a regular old skillet over medium to medium high heat. Drain off all but 2 teaspoons of sausage grease (you’ll have to eyeball this, I guess). Once browned, sprinkle in the coconut flour and stir well to coat all the sausage pieces and soaf up some of the grease. Add the 1/2 cup of water and the dash or two of Worcestershire Sauce. Now add the 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream (that’s what 8 tablespoons is…). Heat over medium heat well. Once heated through, sprinkle the Xanthan Gum in 1/4 teaspoon at a time (I ended up using a full teaspoon) until thickened. It will take a minute or two for it to thicken up. I like mine pretty thick. If it gets too thick for you, just add a little water to thin it out a bit. Stir it up well so the fats don’t separate. Load 1/2 of the pan contents onto the awesome 2 slices of pan toasted muffin. Only 3 NET CARBS! MMM HMMMM!

sausagegravy3

So seriously awesome!

Disclosure: This is a high fat, high calorie meal at 701 calories and 63 grams of fat. However, it is what I would consider moderate protein depending on the sausage you use (17 grams total protein) and only 5 NET CARBS! Winner, winner, sausage gravy and biscuit dinner!

PEACE!!!

I know what you’re thinking, but… WRONG SCALE!

My newest “thing” to do is literally weigh everything that goes into my mouth. I have no idea why I am wasting so much of my energy and effort to do this. But I am doing it. :/

taco3

Weird, right? I may need like a Scales Anonymous meeting or something… Damn perfectionist OCDers! ARRRGGHHH!!!!

So, I figured I would post a new recipe. Lettuce wraps have also become a new obsession for me. I actually have some lower carb tortilla wraps from Buena La Vida (4 net carbs). My problem with them is that they taste doughy and the gross carb count is 9 per wrap. That’s too rich for my blood when I am currently trying to keep my gross under 25-30. And I like the quantity that romaine lettuce leaves give me.

So, tonight, after having a lunch of 5 BLT wraps (YUM!), I decided that the ground turkey in my fridge needed to be cooked pronto! What to make, what to make… TACOS! Of course!

Here it is!

 

taco2taco1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looks awesome, right? I have no idea why people aren’t making taco meat every damn day on Low Carb! If someone had told me how little net carbs are in these spices, I would have been all over that from day one!

Instructions: Brown the ground turkey over medium heat on the stovetop in a regular skillet. You may need to add some fat if it’s extra lean like mine was. I used 1 tsp. of bacon grease leftover from my lunch. I didn’t count it above, though, because I figured most people aren’t as lazy as me people may use different fats than me. Anywhooo… brown the meat. Add the spices. Add maybe 1/2 cup of water. Keep the heat on medium for the stove. Stir it up real well, heat thoroughly, and make sure all the spices are blended into the meat good. Serve in a lettuce wrap! Or whatever your current wrap obsession is… Servings – 8 – 1/3 cup servings approximately.

DISCLOSURE: I should also tell you that this meat is intensely flavorful. I think that’s better when I am using something like lettuce as a wrap. You could probably cut the chili powder and cumin in half and it would still taste just fine. And, you may be able to eliminate the onion powder as well. I only added it because I thought I would not be using onions in the wrap but I did… because I love onions. It’s a flaw, I know… 😛

Here’s the final product:

taco5

Holy freaking YUM, right??? It was sincerely awesome. The whole two wrap meal was 420 calories, 38 grams of protein, 26 grams of fat (this could maybe be higher, but I’m using ground turkey… next time I’ll use beef), 10 grams of carbs with 3 grams of fiber = 7 NET CARBS. That’s with the meat, lettuce, salsa, cheese, onions, and sour cream! I thought about maybe doing a squirt of a chile infused oil of some sort… to up the fat… Or maybe avocado?

If you’d like to see what I’m eating and doing, you can friend me over at myfitnesspal. My name is reneeroling over there and I am a loser with no friends. Maybe because I’m obnoxious, but it still gets lonely. 😦

Tomorrow is weigh in day and I am feeling pretty pissy PMSy so we will see how that goes. This next month, if the weather would just cooperate, I am going to start walking. Which reminds me that I need to go order my stun gun flashlight so people don’t EFF with me… Small town folk, ya know? 😆

PEACE!!!

 

I can’t believe how many emails, messages, and comments were left for me after my last post on my face plant after divorcing my husband of almost 20 years. I am so moved by all of your stories of strength and equally embarrassing face plants. I feel surrounded by so many strong and beautiful souls! 🙂

I also received so many questions… I tried to reply to everyone but some questions kept coming up over and over again so I didn’t answer them all. I just mulled them over and decided to post my answers to reach as many of you in one shot as I could. Hopefully, I don’t offend anyone. (Screw that… I’m sure I will…)

The most often asked question was for me to tell my story. I will give you the short version here for time’s sake:

I met my ex-husband when I was 14 years old. We dated for four years through high school and I was married to him shortly after high school. I was 4 months pregnant at the time. I should have known what I was getting into… he cheated on me all through high school and had a major affair just 2 months prior to getting married. 😐

(I KNOW!!!!)

So, anyway… we went on… had two children, lived our super stressful lives… Along the way, we moved several times. We were never really stable but I thought we were happy. We ran a business together that was extremely stressful for me but was what he wanted and he was good at it and loved it. We had a stable home, two great kids, a dog, a cat, a boat, and two cars. Living the dream…

Then, one day, 11 years later, he decided he didn’t love me anymore. A month later, he left me. Another month later, much to my relief, he came home. We revamped our lives, moved again, and started over. Five years later, he began another affair while I was at my mother’s bedside as she passed away from breast cancer. The affair lasted a year. I was in shock when he confessed and didn’t know what in the fuck to do. I let him stay. I stayed. (I was so stupid.) We continued on and tried to rebuild.

In 2007, my son graduated high school. I saw pictures of myself at his graduation party. I was the fattest I have ever been and I looked miserable. And I was. I started reading self help books and blogs online. I started losing some weight. I started to care about myself again. I began educating myself on how to take care of me. I began seeing everything in a different light. The only redeeming reason that I could think of to stay in my marriage at that point was our family (HIS family… not mine… as I later realized…).

By the beginning of 2008, I began to start freaking myself out. I knew the signs now of the precursors of my ex-husband’s infidelity. He began showing signs of it again. Little things. Not taking his meds for his bipolar disorder, taking me for granted, being selfish with our finances, treating me like I was always the bad guy… I assumed that pretty soon he would start another affair. He wasn’t yet. And I know it was wrong to assume… but I did. I talked myself into it. I just knew I was in for it… I was convinced.

By the time he had a heart attack in the Spring, I was done… I knew that I was just done… When I look back now, I realize I was done when he confessed to the second affair. I just was not a strong enough person to recognize it at the time. 😕 Aaaannnd… I really, really, REALLY loved my family… (aka HIS family… not mine… once again… duh.)

This man, who had devastated me by that time TWICE in my lifetime, was still someone I would have called my best friend. I realized I needed to tell him how I was feeling. Did that. He began acting super crazy after that. Paranoia on his part just settled in.

He was so emotional… like super freaky emotional… at the thought of me not being with him that I just shut down. Completely. I couldn’t handle his super emotional-ness, so I went the other direction… I became non-emotional. Now, if you know me, this is NOT me. At all. I am usually the super emotional freak. I just flaked out. I could not handle it.

Anyway, his super emotional paranoia caused him to leave the home. I told him before he left that he should not leave and that if he did I would not ask him back. He left. I didn’t ask him back. (I know I confused some people by saying in my post that I decided to separate… I feel like it was my choice because I didn’t ask him back.) It was all downhill from there…

All that followed was Jerry Springer shit. I heard a barrage of confessions on his and other women’s parts… stories of past indiscretions on his part… some in the first year of our marriage…  I, myself, entered into a rebound relationship with an ex-childhood boyfriend that was stupid and misguided. (He was a lying asshole at the end of the day…) I found out who my real friends were… two. My ex started just making up random stories about me that were completely fabricated but everyone thought they were true. I lost almost my entire family… my daughter was the only one who had my back. My husband fought me tooth and nail during a divorce with no real assets or anything just so he could have some kind of power trip.

I did try once to reconcile after separation. He came home and lived with me. I felt suffocated. He knew I had been seeing this ex-boyfriend even though I was not seeing him at all during the reconciliation. Yet, he was suspicious of everything I did. I had to sneak around to even just see friends. (Stupidity on my part… I should have told him to fuck off and leave me alone…) I found out he came home and had lied to me about his prior living situation (and romantic involvement with a roommate, apparently). He finally violently blew up at me and it was over. Done.

My divorce took 2 years to complete. We had no assets we were fighting over. His dispute was a freaking life insurance policy that he couldn’t afford and has probably lapsed. I just wanted my kids to be able to afford to bury him if need be in the future. Now they’ll have to foot the bill. He hired a very expensive attorney. My legal fees went from $600 (which would have paid for both of us had he been amicable) to over $2000. I realize that’s cheap by city standards but it’s alot of money to me. He was court ordered to pay $600 of my legal fees but he has never paid it. Oh well.

So that’s my story of the divorce. That’s a short version, obviously. So much more went on. My long time readers and EPers know what I went through. As soon as he left, I made a series of horrible decisions. I was an emotional train wreck for about a year to 18 months before I started pulling myself together. This was the time it took me to find myself.

I’m going to now answer the top 5 questions people asked me repeatedly in emails and messages and comments since my face plant post:

1. Weren’t you scared to be alone?

Well, yes. Yes, I was. Which is why I immediately dropped into a rebound relationship. Mistake numero UNO. You should learn from my mistakes, but I know you won’t. 😉 That’s okay.

I did not really realize how incredibly alone I was going to be. You can kind of imagine it for yourself, but believe me when I tell you, take that times 10. I felt so incredibly alone. I lost everything and everyone in my life. My son hated me. My daughter was a Senior in high school. She was supportive but at that self-absorbed age. My extended family… well, I didn’t really have a family myself at that point… my unemotional father and my brother. My husband’s family virtually disappeared. Our friends didn’t want to take sides… such a lonely time…

During this time, I tried to nuture an untrue rebound relationship out of desperation. That was a big part of my FACE PLANT. I also went out and partied like a college student with money. 😆 I never went to college or had any “college” years so I guess it was a way of making up for lost time… and a way to make me feel like I wasn’t really alone… but I was.

BUT… let me say this… You WILL come out of this phase. Hopefully, it will last for less time than mine did… But I assure you that you WILL emerge from this loneliness. You just really have to love yourself enough to know that you are worthy of someone’s company. Spend time with friends that support you. I had two friends who supported me. I practically lived at their homes. Join a meet up group or two. I met some pretty great people through those and it gave me something to do. Say YES to every invitation to go out. Don’t be afraid to experience new things and places and things to do. Stay busy!

One morning, I woke up in my bed, all alone, and thought… I slept great, I feel great, and shit… I look pretty damn good, too! 😀 I didn’t wake up feeling alone and lonely and full of despair at what I had done… it was all smooth sailing from there… that was May 10, 2010. Almost two years from my date of separation… it’s a process.

2. How did your kids take it? (aka Why didn’t you stay for the kids?)

First and foremost, I am a staunch believer that staying for the kids is STUPID. It’s like one of the most moronic things ever. Ever. Because children pick up on tensions and unloving actions. And then they just mimic that later in life. I am not a fan.

Secondly, my kids were grown (17 and 21 years old) and I thought they could handle it. I was wrong. They handled it better when they were younger and their dad left me for another woman… As adults, they were much less “okay” with it. I think this has alot to do with the parents…

Look, I would have loved an amicable split and remaining best of friends with my ex. Seriously. Every day of my life I wish that is what had happened. It is not. He is incredibly bitter and angry, even to this day. He has turned into his father which I never thought I would see. Those TV shows and movies showing exes having nice divorces are just LYING TO YOU! 😡

But I digress… My son was very bitter and spent the next couple of years in a bipolar spin of sorts. He was constantly breaking down into a poor me state… I think if he didn’t have bipolar disorder this would have went down much differently but that is not my reality… he lost it. Other bipolar people tell me that he probably would have lost it anyway on his own… He was partying too hard and failing at college. He had broken up with his high school sweetheart shortly after my separation. He was unmedicated and I couldn’t force him to take meds since he was now an “adult”.

My daughter was on the opposite spectrum. She was supportive but admitted that she was sad that we were divorcing. She understood, though. That’s because she saw alot more of my anguish than my son did during the years. My daughter is a homebody. She didn’t go out with friends to play or have much of a social life in high school. She was always home. She saw some of the things that happened. She experienced the ex-husband’s emotional outbursts with me and several even without me. She was witness to many scary things. So I think she understood, but was obviously sad.

Today, I feel my kids are doing fine. My daughter has her regular everyday twentysomething moments but I feel she is a very strong, stable, independent woman. I am super proud of her. She does tend to fall in my footsteps in terms of the men she picks for herself, but I am happy she is getting those mistakes out of the way NOW. I would hate for her to be almost 40 years old to figure it out.

My son… well, his bipolar disorder limits his maturity level. Even without the divorce, I think he would still probably blame me for all his problems. I chalk that up to bipolar and selfishness… because it’s been almost 6 years now… and even his own friends think he is ridiculous sometimes. And almost all of them have divorced parents…

Your kids will be okay. Someday. All I can tell you is to just be open and present in your children’s lives. Always. Don’t stop. Always be the bigger person and be willing to talk to them about anything. And always answer their questions truthfully. I have always done that and I think my kids are better for it. Do NOT be the parent that is so bitter that you make an ass of yourself trying to avoid your ex. Been there, done that… and it wasn’t me that looked like the ass…

3. Do you regret the divorce?

I used to. I actually had a time where I felt bad about everything that had transpired and sent a letter of apology to my ex. I even contemplated asking him to come home, but I refrained, figuring he would see between the lines of my apology and just do it. Thank goodness he did not.

I am almost 6 years post separation… I have never been happier in my whole life. I have a whole new life now and it’s a fucking AWESOME life! I now can honestly say that the only thing I regret is not leaving my ex-husband sooner. You will eventually get there, too, as long as you make the right choices for yourself eventually. Be true to you and love yourself. I know that sounds very cliche but I am serious.

4. I am (enter derogatory term here… fat/ugly/unemployed/stupid/etc). No one else will ever love me.

This isn’t really a question, but I felt like I had to address it… STOP. Seriously, just stop. You need to take your time and assess the situation and be honest with yourself. Everyone has faults. Everyone. If self esteem is an issue, you need to get that in order FIRST. Fair warning, once you start gaining self esteem, your tolerance level for mistreatment will be NIL, so be prepared…

At some point, you have to own the fact that you are what you are making yourself to be. Are you fat? Start exercising and dieting. Are you ugly? Start finding the great features about you and enhancing them. Are you stupid? Pick up a book, enlighten yourself! Are you feeling helpless and unemployed? Get into a training program, find any job possible, go back to school…

Be completely honest with yourself and how you feel about yourself. I highly recommend journaling or blogging. That’s what I did… although I am not a private person… Journaling is private, though, and allows you to look back and reflect on stupid shit you said about yourself. Once you have figured out what you hate about yourself, work to abolish those items on the list one by one.

I guarantee you that you will one day wake up EMPOWERED by your own courage and intelligence and beauty. And I hope that it makes you STRONG. It’s a really rough world out there… but no one has the authority to make you feel second rate… you allow that. So stop it. Right fucking now. And DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

5. How did you “get back out there”? (The “I’m scared to date” and “I’ll be alone forever” question)

This is my cautionary tale. Don’t do as I did…

By the time I separated, I was so done with my marriage. I had spent about 3 years living in utter regret and I was over it. I had an ex-boyfriend that heard I was separated right away and contacted me. I jumped in feet first and took off running. HUGE MISTAKE! Then, I proceeded to try dating and went out with a series of really shitty dates. So much fun. Not. 😐

The fact of the matter is, if you have been married a long ass time, you need time to be by yourself and learn to enjoy being alone, waking up alone, loving yourself wholly before being able to find genuine interest in other people. It truly was not until I was able to do this that I was actually worthy of being loved by someone else again.

Don’t skip steps… don’t jump in to anything… work on yourself first and love just being you… once you do that, THEN jump in. I didn’t do that. I jumped into the first shit pot that came along.

When I was truly ready, I started becoming more socially active (sometimes without alcohol 😆 ). I went out with the meet up groups to get some social interaction. I said yes to every social invitation. I made an effort to make new friends and try new things. And that’s how I met my husband…

I like to think that my new found confidence and dazzling personality were what drew him in. The fact of the matter is, we met on an online dating site, realized we went to the same high school (albeit different crowds and years), and decided we were not each other’s type… but we both had similar interests and just decided to hang out as friends. That’s where I just assume that I won him over, because I was not his type at all… he always went for the skinny blond chicks with no personality. 😉

You will find someone if you want to… there are single men everywhere… but I suggest you love yourself enough to really not give a shit if you end up alone forever before “getting back out there”. It really is true that you find love when you aren’t even really looking. Just be open enough to accept it. You are worthy of someone amazing coming into your life and loving you…

 

Alrighty… I know this post was super long… if you read through all that crap, you are either really a super fan or you are really hurting and needed it. Either way, take from it what you can and leave the rest. Don’t let anybody tell you how to live your life.

Everyone is unique in their emotional journey in this life. All I can do is let you into my personal journey as a warning of what NOT to do, but we all know you will just go do whatever it is you want to do. You will make mistakes along the way. It’s okay. Really. It’s all okay. You’ll make it through. And you’ll be smarter, more beautiful, and better than you ever imagined. I promise.

Much love.

PEACE!!!

I thought this was funny…

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As many of you know, my separation and divorce was hardly a graceful exit on my part. In fact, I pretty much face planted right out of the gate.

I mean it’s pretty funny now, but at the time, I was a hot mess. I don’t know what I was thinking when I first got separated. I am just going to claim insanity. But I think all women who separate after being married a long time (almost 20 years!) go through a bit of insanity at first.

Basically, when I decided to separate, I jumped head first. I was terrified and excited all at the same time. All of a sudden, I was free to do anything and everything I always wanted to do. And, of course, the very first thing I did was face plant myself into a fucking moron. 😆

Live and Learn!

I guess now I look back on those first few months the same way I look back on my junior high years… I can’t believe how stupid, insane, wreckless, scared, embarrassing, and awkward I was but I lived through it. I got past it. I learned who I wanted to be and became that.

I live in a very small community and many people know my history. Word of mouth (aka Gossip) travels fast and for years and years here. You would not believe the number of times people… women… distraught women… are “referred” to me when their husband or longtime partner cheats on them.

Yes. I am serious. This happens. Complete strangers get told about the years upon years that I endured with infidelity, and in their panic and desperation, they actually seek me out for advice. I know. Its weird.

The first couple of times this happened to me I felt very uncomfortable and uneasy. I mean, I didn’t know these people and they are telling me intimate details of their relationships. Its weird!

But now, I am much more at ease… maybe all that freaking “empathy” training at work is helping now… I have a whole spiel I go through with these poor broken souls.

And if, at the end of the day, they decide to leave the situation or get left, I make sure to tell them all the gory details of my face plant.

And they never listen… 😆 Oh well. I try.

But that’s okay. I don’t judge. People do stupid shit all the time and I am no exception. I actually feel that telling my story after separation is more of a way to tell these brave people that its okay to make a complete ass of yourself early on in your separation…

Making mistakes is the only way to find out who you want to be… and it takes a super brave person to live through that awkward time in life and come out smarter…

There’s definitely a couple that have turned the wrong way and have landed themselves in a perpetual state of Jerry Springer land, but I have seen a few women who are absolutely the strongest, most beautiful, and smartest women (and at least 2 men!) emerge from the depths of hell.
Such sad memories and super embarrassing life lessons. Totally worth it though.

And to all you long time readers, EPers, and my dear friends… thank you for letting me make an ass out of myself but still loving me anyway. 😉

PEACE!!!

So, I have gotten alot of emails and messages and comments asking me to explain e-cigs so I figured I would write a short post.

Now, I am not here to debate the pros and cons of e-cigarettes with you yahoos. To each his own! All I can tell you is that I smoked real cigarettes for almost 30 years. I tried countless times to quit. I actually did quit several times and eventually started back up. I have tried gum, patches, meds, cold turkey… nothing worked.

My problem was the habit of smoking. I used to LOVE smoking. I loved the burnt tobacco taste, the burnt tobacco smell, the wispy clouds of smoke coming out of my mouth… I also loved smoking after every meal, after sex, walking the dog, before I went to bed, in the morning after I peed…

E-cigarettes were the ONLY thing that saved me. I’m sure one day we will find that the chemicals pose some kind of long term hazard but I was going to die like in the next 10 years if I didn’t get my shit together… I’ll take my chances, thank you very much. Your mileage may vary. Make your own choices… I’m not telling you to do anything…

E-cigarettes are basically kind of like little hand held hookahs, if you’re familiar with those. If not, then they are basically little water vapor producers. The water vapor is inhaled via the tank or cartridge. That vapor is produced from heat from the battery. That’s a very lowcal version of a proper description right there…

I was super confused when I decided to do this and just became frustrated and bought a starter kit. Starter kits are wonderful but pricey. And I didn’t actually figure out how everything worked until after I got the kit and saw it in my hand. The kit I purchased was on a Black Friday special. It was $38 after using the sale price and a coupon. You can find coupons online for most places like this just by googling.

So the starter kit had 2 batteries (the white part of a normal cigarette), a USB charger, a wall charger adapter (which I never use), and 2 packages of cartridges – one coffee and one plain tobacco flavored. V2 Cigarettes generally offers a free shipping option, which I used, and the starter kit came very quickly. I think it arrived 4-5 days later.

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Now, I actually haven’t seen any deals as good as the deal I got since that time, but you could always hold out… The kit is like $60 without any deals but it’s a great starter kit and the batteries have a lifetime warranty. There are 2 batteries included.

So that was option one. If you are cheap ass and don’t want to invest that much in something you just aren’t sure of, you can build your own. I will tell you exactly what you need and where to purchase everything.

1. Battery – $8.95
2. Tank – $2.25
3. USB Charger – $3.95
4. 5ml E-Juice – $2.50 (I recommend the Thin Mint Cookie flavor)

Total: $17.65

So you can build your own starter kit for $17.65. That doesn’t include shipping but you can probably offset the shipping by using coupons that you find online.

Another option is to just go buy one in the gas station for $10 like I did on Thanksgiving and try it out. But generally, they don’t have cool flavors in gas stations and you are paying like $10 for basically one pack of smokes… But it’s super quick and easy. I haven’t seen the V2s in gas stations that I frequent but they may be in your local one.

Now, with the homemade set up, here’s what you get:

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First thing you do is attach the USB charger (sorry no picture of that) to your white (or whatever color you chose) battery by screwing it on gently. Then you plug the charger into your computer. Next, you fill the tank with the e-juice/e-liquid by dropping drops carefully down the insides of the tank. The black mouthpiece just pulls right off to accomodate this. Try not to get anything down the middle hole… but if you do, just replace the mouthpiece firmly and blow through it into a napkin and that will clear it. When the battery is charged (blue or green light usually), then disconnect the battery from the charger and screw the tank onto the battery. It should now look like this:

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When you first start smoking this, it feels awkward because obviously it’s not a real cigarette… it’s heavier and a little longer and has a blue tip (if you used the one I referenced above anyway). You can’t just hold this in your mouth. I wish I could but I can’t.

When you take your first puff, you need to “prime” it. This means you need to take a couple of quick puffs on it to get it going. This is how it works on a automatic battery. There are manual ones with buttons where you wouldn’t have to do that, but I don’t like the buttons… Now, depending on the “juice”, it should feel almost as good as real smoking!

When I first started, I really liked the tobacco flavored cartridges from V2 and I LOVED the coffee ones. But each cart only lasted about one day. They cost about $2 a cartridge in small quantities, which is still cheaper than real cigarettes. I ordered some actual liquid from V2 to refill the cartridges, which you can do if you don’t smoke them to the point that they are completely dry. As I researched how to refill on Youtube, I saw the clear tanks and different e-juice manufacturers… I decided to try a few for shits and giggles.

ECBlend is where I have been purchasing most of my e-juice liquid. E-Liquid is composed of a flavoring base, nicotine, and propylene glycol (PG) and/or vegetable glycerine (VG). They have like a million flavor blends over at ECBlend and all have reviews. The ECBlend website also has a shit ton of educational material there to explain that stuff too you.

The basics? Pick a flavor. Pick a nicotine strength. I started at 24mg (2.4% at V2) and have worked my way down to 12mg (1.2% at V2) in 2 months. I hope to eventually be at 0 strength nicotine.Then, you have to choose a base mix (at ECBlend anyway). The default is 50%VG/50%PG. The PG along with the nicotine strength produces a throat hit… the burn at the back of your throat when you smoke… usually pretty important to smokers actually… The VG produces the vapor (aka smoke) and thickens the liquid and enhances the flavor. I have been doing 60%PG and 40%VG and the vapor produced is perfect for me. Much better than the V2 cartridges.

I have tried like 10 or 15 different juices so far. You can get a 5ml bottle of any flavor for $2.50 and they have cheap shipping so why the hell not? My absolute favorite that is my all day juice is Thin Mint Cookies. I smoked regular cigarettes before, not menthol. And I generally hate all the other sweet ones I have tried… but this one is just too addictive!

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E-liquids do sometimes taste better over time. There is alot of information on ECBlend about “steeping”, which is basically waiting for it to age and blend better. I can do the Thin Mint right out of the mailbox. I have several coffee flavors “steeping’ right now in hopes of something being even remotely worth repurchasing. I tried the Orange Delight tonight and it tastes just like a creamsicle so I think that’s a winner! 🙂

So these are the very, very basics for you. If you have any more questions, don’t hesitate to message, comment, or email me!

PEACE!