Follow on Bloglovin>

Saved by the Bell- make that, Saved by the BlogU

My husband travels infrequently for business. I would say a half dozen times a year. And probably 2 or 3 of those trips might be for a conference. When he comes home he’s always soooo tired. I mean, how hard is it? You sleep in a nice hotel, get meals out and stand around and talk to people. Big deal. And he complains how his feet hurt. But he’s a guy and he wears flat shoes. How can his feet hurt?

Hold the phone. I just came back from BlogU, a blogging conference. I’m exhausted. Instead of some convention center or hotel ballroom, our conference was at a college campus. The beautiful Notre Dame of Maryland. It’s such a small campus (I went to the University of Washington. That place is huge. Any campus after that seems small to me.) Talking to about 150 other blogger/writer/creative talent forces takes a lot from a person. It’s exhausting! Dancing at the #MiddleSchoolAwkward NickMom dance that Saturday night also is exhausting. And I WORE FLAT SHOES!

I came home and I was all, “McSweetie, I’m so sorry I never acknowledge your fatigue after a conference. Talking to people is tiring! Also, dancing 2 hours to 80s hits with a banana clip in my hair is exhausting too. I bet you don’t do that at your conferences.”  Nope. You can bet your Spanx, he does not.

Dancing in a banana clip? I will tell you more about that later. Trust me. It’s GOOD.

I’ve been blogging for about 4 years now. Sometimes that seems like an eternity. Sometimes I think how far I’ve come. Sometimes, I look at other people’s success and feel sorry that I haven’t come further. But you know what? That’s what is so cool about BlogU. The bloggers who attend BlogU come from all genres, social media reaches, and experience levels. Some have just begun. Some have had that VIRAL post, some are New York Times best selling authors, and some are media mogul powerhouses. What’s great about the community of writers that this weekend brings together, is everyone is accessible, everyone has a story, everyone has a purpose.

BlogU’s creator Stephanie of Binkies and Briefcases started this conference and builds this conference, literally from her garage! But what makes this so special? What makes it so awesome that folks like NickMom like sponsoring themed dances and Scary Mommy’s creator, Jill Smokler comes to give the keynote? The special sauce is in the people. And that there’s a spirit at BlogU. It’s going to sound corny as hell, but there is a spirit of trust and camaraderie at this conference unlike any other conference, that wants to see it’s attendees soar. That the next Jen Mann can be in the crowd.

But even writing that- ‘the next Jen Mann’ seems wrong. Because the individuality of each blogger is what makes them special. There’s only one Sass Mouth, or Real Life Parenting, or Quirky Chrissy. And they will get their success and blogger notoriety how they are meant to. Best selling author? Talk show host? Reality TV star? Who knows!

When you think of the endless sea of bloggers, you think how many more does there really need to be? And you even think about your own blog, ‘why bother?’ But then it only takes one person to say they read something of yours and it really related to them. Then you smack yourself in the forehead and say, “yep! That’s why I blog.”

It’s stories. And stories need to be told. Thanks BlogU for lighting that fire, or blowing on the coals to stoke them a little more. I have lots of stories to tell!

So I’m just gonna leave my #MiddleSchoolAwkward dance pics right here-

Left- photo booth sponsored by That's What She Said, Top R- Jen Mann, and Harmony Hobbs in the back! Bottom R- Kerry HouseTalkN and Nikki Moms Who Drink and Swear

Left- photo booth sponsored by That’s What She Said, Top R- Jen Mann, and Harmony Hobbs in the back! Bottom R- Kerry HouseTalkN and Nikki Moms Who Drink and Swear

 

 

Top right - Mommy Shorts, Bottom L- Nicole Shaw- Bottom R- Me- 2nd place WINNER #MiddleSchoolAwkward

Top right – Mommy Shorts, Bottom L- Nicole Shaw- Bottom R- Me- 2nd place WINNER #MiddleSchoolAwkward

Ellen, Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, Susan, Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, and ME

Ellen, Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms, Susan, Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, and ME

Yep. This is how I dance. Elaine from Seinfeld just comes out. Notice the fanny pack, popped collar and sky high bangs?

Yep. This is how I dance. Elaine from Seinfeld just comes out. Notice the fanny pack, popped collar and sky high bangs?

 

Here it is. The best picture of all Middle School Awkward 80s themed shots. Taken by the fabulous Susan of Divine Secrets of a Domestic Diva, it looks right out of a Nickelodeon TV show. Yes- I’m ‘you can’t touch this’.

Saved by the Bell at BlogU15

Saved by the Bell
at BlogU15

 

If that’s not enough- there’s this. I think I made my kids proud. Thank you Kim from Let Me Start By Saying, for being my dance soul sister. Thank you Anna Bardsley for capturing the video. Click on the date below and it will take you to awesomeness. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to rub ointment on my aching feet. Something I didn’t need to do in 1985.

Wildness

Posted by Anne Bardsley on Saturday, June 6, 2015

American Sniper DVD giveaway and help Wounded Warriors (giveaway closed)

With the Memorial Day weekend approaching, many of us have a family member or friend we remember and honor that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

We honor James’ cousin, Patrick, who was killed in Iraq back in 2004. Thousands of families will remember their loved ones lost in service this weekend, and every day.

For those who return from battle scarred and maimed, life isn’t anything like it was before. This is why we need more programs and services like the Wounded Warrior Project.

The mission of the Wounded Warrior Project is to empower and honor wounded warriors. Its purpose is to raise awareness for wounded service members, provide assistance and programs. By 2017 the Wounded Warrior Project will provide $96 million in benefit entitlements for warriors and their families.

I’m participating with Warner Bros. studios and Grace Hill Media to give away an American Sniper DVD/Blue-Ray combo pack to one lucky winner.

American Sniper DVD giveaway

With the release of American Sniper on DVD this week, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will donate a portion of the proceeds across physical and digital sales to Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP). One dollar of each purchase will be donated up to $1,000,000 from April 21, 2015 through December 31, 2015, void in Alabama, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Mississippi and South Carolina. To get involved and learn more, visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.com.

Enter my giveaway by sharing this post and commenting with your favorite movie title. The winner will be notified on Tuesday, May 26, 2015. Open to US Residents only, must be 18 years of age.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend and God bless our troops!

Luxury makeup at discount prices

frugie blog luxury makeup discount we make beauty

Don’t let my blog name fool you. I might be frugal, but I love fancy. I dip into high end brands from time to time. Of course, when they’re on sale! Or when you just can’t find anything close to what it is you want, and you decide to shell out the cash for the goods. They say that you get what you pay for.

I was doing homework for my YouTube channel. Also known as, shopping for product, when I came across a website that offers cosmetic brands that are at discount prices.

Say what?

Yes! This is the marriage of two wonderful things! High end cosmetics AND a discount!!

It’s called We Make Beauty. And they carry brands such as Guerlain, Dior, Clarins and Sisley and many others. There’s fragrance, skin care, cosmetics, and hair care.  You can even find men’s products.

The best way to navigate their site is to go in without any expectations and just see what they have. The selection is wide but for instance not every foundation comes in every shade. You have to do a little bit of picking and choosing.

I have been a huge fan of Dior and Guerlain products for awhile. But they are pricey. I went on the We Make Beauty site and was thrilled to find my favorite Dior eyeshadow 5 color palettes as well as some Guerlain foundations. The savings was around 10 to 20% off on different items. I also had a coupon code so I saved even more!

If you’re a complete makeup addict like me- then check this out! Other perks include free shipping on orders over $50 and a rewards program.

I made a video with my purchases so you can check out what I got and how I put them to work!

Also, because We Make Beauty is so nice, they are giving you guys a promotion code that is valid the rest of the year! Use “Frugalista2015″ to get 15% off all your purchases.

This could really become addicting!

Visit www.wemakebeauty.com and use code Frugalista2015

 

 

Why I deserve the greatest Mother’s Day of all. And you do too.

I know, I know. You’ve heard it before. We (moms) think were goddesses and fucking saints for pushing watermelons out of our easy bake ovens. And if you had a C-section- power to you. Because stitches through five layers of tissue makes any guy whining over a vasectomy look like the pansy ass douche he is.

Where was I? Why am I so angry? I don’t know. I mean, maybe it’s the PTSD from the pre-epidural catheter they gave me in the labor and delivery room when I went hypertonic trying to birth Emma. Hypertonic- abnormal muscle tone. Sadly, my over active uterus did not leave me with 6 pack abs.

Maybe it’s the bloody nipples I got a week after she was born because I spent those 7 days with her latching on improperly while trying to breast feed. Then cried when I was pumping milk sitting on the toilet in our cramped little bathroom because I felt like a failure.

Yeah. Moms unite! Bitches get shit done. And you know what? We get birthing done.

When I gave birth to Emma, there was a story that week in the news of some natural disaster in Africa ( I can’t remember because part of the brain that holds memory and reason comes out with the after birth. It’s true.)  that caused a woman to give birth in a tree. A GODDAMN TREE! By herself. Her and her baby were there for a good day or so before the rescue choppers got her. Did she worry about saving the placenta later because her MOPS group wanted to make smoothies out of it and then paint pretty pictures on canvases while drinking wine? NO! She did what she had to do.

And gosh darn, I was laboring in a comfortable first world hospital bed and I thought of her. HER. And she was my hero. But also, it kind of scared the shit out of me because the way things were going with Emma, I would have died in that tree and she with me. So yay, modern conveniences!

So I’m sorry if my wish for this Mother’s day is to be treated like royalty by the subjects of the house. But dude! I earned it. It’s been 15 years since all that happened. But still.

Not that you want to know this, but one of the first times I got up to go to the bathroom after I had Owen, I thought I had birthed a second child. I had been lying down in the bed for several hours. It was so scary, like, I paged the doctor  and all and told her that a pile of left over something and I think it had teeth and whatnot had just smooshed out of my cooch and did they need to weigh it or take it for a biopsy, because that twin baby looked like I was bleeding to death. It was frightening.

She laughed, sweetly, and said, you know, most moms forget that their vagina is a long tunnel that fills up with all kinds of good stuff after the baby is born. It was just waiting to come out. Sometimes the muscles contract and it doesn’t until you get up to go to the bathroom. And then I was all, “Like a JELL-O mold!” And she’s all, “YES! You’re fine!”

Oh phew! I thought I hemorrhaged. And so does every other woman who just pushed an 8 pound bag of potatoes with a 90th percentile head out of a hole the size of a golf ball.

Let’s not forget the old days when our mothers and their mothers had babies. When they gave them enemas, shaved their pubes, and knocked them out with drugs. You know. Because it’s easier for the doctor. The male doctor. Oh boo on him for dealing with female pubic hairs. Thank GOD when they changed that. Even though now everyone’s got a Brazilian, so who cares. And I’m all for drugs, but I’d rather NOT wake up two days later to find out if I actually had the baby or not.

Ugh. Men.

“Waa. Let me whine some more because my wife snores when she sleeps and insists on sleeping with a body pillow we’ve named Phil. She never wants to do it anymore. WAAA.”

Someone call the whambulance, because I’m sick and tired of men complaining. I’m sick and tired of men complaining about their vasectomies and that their wife doesn’t want to have sex. Oh, and then newsflash. She’s not going to want to have sex with you after because, well. You’ve seen the Hindenburg disaster. Who wants to fly after that? We need some time. And by time, I mean at least, at LEAST 6 months post partum. And lube. Lots and lots of lube. And probably booze. And the promise of a nap afterwards without a baby attached to my body.

And again, sorry for the graphic nature of this- but if you had hemorrhoids, you don’t want your man down in your crotchal region with anything other than some nice cotton or microfiber breathable underpants. Stuff changes. It’s not the same.

Did you have an episiotomy? Or how about a 4th degree tear? Do the words ‘transvaginal mesh’ send you into flashbacks of trauma similar to a combat veteran’s? You didn’t know what a ‘taint was before, but now you do.

Yeah. So lay off dudes. We deserve pie, and croissants. We should have long leisurely baths alone without people asking to climb in the tub with us. That goes for little kids AND husbands. STAHP. If I wanted a bath with you, I would have said so.

Plus sex in bathwater leads to UTIs and nobody got time for that.

Happy Mother’s day mamas! May you get all the worldly goods you deserve. And peace.

 

Frugalista Blog in the Pee Alone Trilogy

Buy the books on Amazon!

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

It’s that time fellas, daughters, sons- mom needs a gift. Sure, you can go buy her a box of chocolates at Rite-Aid that you picked up on your way home from work, be sure to include the inflatable foot bath. Or you can get something a little more awesomer and then she’ll know you appreciate all the work she does washing your socks and wiping the toilet seat.

These items are my own personal favorites. I have experienced these products for myself or found out about them and want them in my life. In the end, if you want to make a macaroni necklace with a hand print and call it good- I’m fine with that too.

Jord Wood Watches-

It’s a watch made out of wood. Yep. And it’s lightweight, comfortable and completely handsome for both a Mother’s day gift, anniversary or birthday gift. You want something that’s treasured, smart and wears beautifully? It’s a Jord watch.

When my Jord watch came and I unwrapped it, McSweetie said, “oh, I’m jealous.”  The best part- they sized it for me before they sent it!

Jord Wood Watches Sully Timepiece in Cherry

Jord Wood Watch Sully Timepiece in Cherry

I recommend this for Father’s day too- especially for the guy who has everything. Why not something really unique?

What about the woman who likes to be pampered? Hmm, well if you have a hard to please matriarch in your family, how about Spoil?

https://www.spoil.io/

https://www.spoil.io/

You’ve seen subscription boxes all over the place. You can get meals, you can get pet supplies, makeup, period boxes (yes, that’s right) and snacks delivered every month. But, what about a gift box for Mother’s day delivered with exquisite items beautifully tucked in a package and sent to your mom like she is the Duchess Cate Middleton, herself? Yeah.  It’s called Spoil. If you need a fabulous gift for a different occasion, they have that too. Plus they have a discount for my readers! Enter “FRUGIE” at checkout.

Spoil Box for Mother's Day

Spoil Box for Mother’s Day

 

In the interest of doing for others, isn’t that what our moms always taught us? I want to share the company Women for Women International. If it is too much for your budget to sponsor a ‘sister’ each month, there’s an opportunity to purchase much needed supplies for a mother in Rwanda, the Congo and Afghanistan to name a few. If your own mom has enough tchotchkes and scarves or jewelry but has a calling to do something good and better in this world- think of what a baking basket or seeds could do for a woman providing an income for her family in a developing nation. From goats to seed packets, you can shop for a mother across the world and share it in honor of your own mother. She’ll be so proud.

Bakery Basket on womenforwomen.org

Bakery Basket on womenforwomen.org

 

Vegetable seeds for 30 acres womenforwomen.org

Vegetable seeds for 30 acres
womenforwomen.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And of course, for the sassy and funny mom in your life, who wouldn’t want the anthology I Still Just Want To Pee Alone?

 

Buy her all three! I Just Want To Pee Alone (a NYT best seller!), I Just Want To Be Alone, and I Still Just Want To Pee Alone.

Look how pretty! Thanks letmestartbysaying.com for the awesome graphic

Look how pretty!
Thanks letmestartbysayingblog.com for the awesome graphic

And then actually give mom a few hours peace!

 

Disclaimer: The opinions in this post are all mine and I wasn’t paid for any of it.

 

 

When the fear of being wrong keeps us from doing what’s right

I’m not an expert on psychology or people’s motivations. I didn’t major in sociology or anthropology or any other subject at school that would make me know the inside of the human mind’s functions. But I’m a parent. And trying to teach kids from knowing right from wrong is pretty much what we live and breathe by, college degree in the subject or not!

One of those lessons happened to Owen in second grade. I remember it so well because I think it applies to most adults these days. Politicians caught in a scandal. Police officer questioned for misconduct. A spouse suspected of adultery.

When you do something wrong, the fear of the consequences makes for greater motivation than the interest of doing what’s right.

Owen is a good kid. He is one who listens, follows the rules, and really doesn’t like to get in trouble. But he’s human, so he does goof off. And occasionally he can manage to go too far. But he never got in trouble at school. Unlike the three detentions Emma got in 1st grade. I know, right? He’s my golden boy.

Okay, so he comes to me one day stressed and in tears. I ask him what’s wrong. He doesn’t want to tell me at first. His guilty conscience is heavy and he has a hard time facing me when he knows he’s done something that might disappoint me. But he also knows he needs help. So the need for help prevails and he bursts into tears and tells me the whole story.

He was stressed over some hoodlum in his class extorting him for money and toys!

This kid, Joey was getting a dollar here and a dollar there, not to mention some prized Legos out of the deal. I asked Owen what on earth he did that gives Joey so much power over him!

Owen said that one time at lunch in the cafeteria, he spit his food out to be funny. Some of it flew off and landed by Joey and he threatened to report Owen to the lunch monitor. Owen freaked out! He didn’t want to get in trouble so he said to Joey he would do anything to keep him from telling.

The first thing Joey extorted was a Lego key chain that Owen had kept on his backpack zipper. A friend gave it to him as a sympathy present after a kitten we had for a few weeks died suddenly. Then came Joey asking for a dollar for Owen to bring him the next day. Then two dollars another day.

Finally the toll of Owen giving up his money, and not to mention that he missed his key chain, put him over the edge.

He came clean with his story to me and I told him how we would handle it.

I pointed out that what was the source of his anguish was his first offense in spitting at lunch. He wanted to avoid the wrath of the lunchroom monitor and a possible detention, so he panicked and jumped to damage control.

I parted his sweet little blond hairs from his blue eyes and held his face in my hand. I told him that if he got in trouble at lunch, I would understand that we make mistakes from time to time. And that even though it wouldn’t have been much fun, his punishment would have been completed so that he could move on with this life. But instead he handed power over to Joey. And that power was his own guilty conscience.

When I said that in the morning we would have a face to face with Mrs. Peterson, his teacher, and tell her everything, he felt better. I told him that if there was a disciplinary action that still needed to be carried out over his behavior, he would accept it. And that we would tell the teacher what Joey was doing so that she can address that issue with him so he doesn’t do it to other kids too. Because a real friend doesn’t make you feel bad and take things that are yours.

The relief Owen felt was palpable. I knew that he understood that his first course of action was a rookie mistake, led on by panic and fear. And now he felt he had the strength and confidence to face the music.

We went to the teacher. Mrs. Peterson understood exactly what Owen was telling her about Joey. She said that he’s done something like that before. She told Owen to point out the key chain and tell her exactly how much money he gave Joey. She would have a conference with him and he would get his items back. As for the lunch behavior, the statute of limitations for spitting food out seemed to only have a short time span. Owen knew not to do anything like that again. But if he did slip up, to face his consequences.

Isn’t it funny how we can use a simple elementary school cafeteria extortion scenario to play out life’s moral code? How much better the world would be if people could own their wrong doing up front instead of creating more and more mess to cover it up?

I actually think that Owen won’t forget this lesson. Even though it happened almost 6 years ago. He remembers Joey and to steer clear of him even now in middle school. I’ve told Owen that getting punished by a teacher or administrator for something he did wrong doesn’t make me happy. But the disappointment is greater from me if he were to try and cover up his errors with more wrong doing. I’m more proud of his ownership of his actions, than whether or not he gets detention.

Fear of being wrong blog by Frugalista Blog

 

What Would Beth Do?

WWBD?

This is going to be my new phrase. Who is Beth? Well let me tell you. Beth is the genius blogger behind The Cult of Perfect Motherhood, my friend, and co-contributor of I Still Just Want to Pee Alone. But Beth is also, a wife, mom and woman living with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer. That’s a pretty big deal. It’s a big deal because when you’re diagnosed with Stage IV anything, it pretty much means that you probably will die within a few years or months. We’re all dying. But Beth is very open about the fact that she doesn’t know how long she has to live. And this breaks my heart.

It breaks my heart like an ax through wood because Beth is pretty fucking awesome and she deserves more time. Yep. I’m just going to say it. “God, she needs more time!”

And when I had heard recently that she’s had some bad news, I couldn’t believe how positive she was about it. She knows. She knows it’s bad. And yet, she can make jokes, throw F bombs, and frickin’ quote the Constitution.

Because Beth is a lawyer. A civil rights attorney, actually. She’s not working right now, and that sucks. Well, I think it’s kinda cool she gets to be a SAHM. But Beth is a wicked smart attorney. She knows her law. We need more Beths in the legal system. She’s a feminist who knows her shit.

She knows Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Not personally, no. But I feel that she has a connection with Notorious RBG. She sees that woman on the bench who gives no shits and fist pumps the feminist who fights for justice.

So as I’m griping to myself over my haircut that I decided I didn’t like because now I want to grow out my hair, I will instead refer to WWBD? Let’s begin.

I don’t like my haircut. WWBD?

Beth would take the peach fuzz growing in post chemo and dye it bright red to emulate Alice on the BBC drama, Luther. Alice is a bad ass. She gives no fucks. Neither does Beth.

Having a bad day? Did you get tired of the Bruce Jenner interview? WWBD?

Beth would have a  Manhattan on the rocks and let her friends know on social media, that despite the mets in her liver, she’s feeling pretty fine. She’ll email her oncologist to make a drinking date with him probably pretty soon.

I’m griping about my belly hanging out over my swim suit. WWBD?

She would hand me a Jell-O shot and tell me to shut the fuck up. I’m beautiful dammit. (Beth likes the F word if you haven’t guessed already.)

I met Beth last year at MamaCon. I didn’t know who she was. I knew her blog. But I had never met her or seen her. There was an entire group of ladies in the front row wearing multi colored wigs and really rallying around this one woman. When she met me, she knew me and my blog and introduced herself. I was like “Duh, it’s YOU!” The wigs were all in support of Beth’s bald head from recent chemo. I was a little jealous of this woman and her devoted friends. Wow. What a group. They all got tickets, spent the night in the hotel doing pudding shots. Beth on chemo and cancer, can party harder than me on my best day in my twenties.

When Beth knew the cancer mets were in her brain, she also knew it would head to her liver eventually. Her oncologist, who she lovingly calls Eddie, and who has Bourbons with her, told Beth that she would probably need more chemo very soon. He’ll go easy on her this time. Chemo-lite, I guess. Nope.

WWBD?

Beth told him, “Fuck that. Go balls to the wall on these roaches. Kill the mother fuckers.”

Yeah. She does it for her kids, and her husband and herself. She’s fighting. Beth on chemo and cancer has a sharper, wittier mind than most people I know.

God I love her.

So when you’re having a bad day. The mortgage payment is late maybe, job got you down, kids pissing you off…. ask yourself WWBD?

She’d fight to live another day and toast that day with a fucking Bourbon on the rocks.

************

 

If you’re in town and want to raise a glass with Beth and I join us for this- Garden Party Book Club

or join us on May 15 for MamaCon

Rebecca and Beth book at MamaCon lite

 

 

Jazz party, book signing and cocktails

Sometimes when you’re invited to a party there’s certain aspects of the party that make it more fun. Like, will there be cupcakes? Will there be a pinata? When you’re a grown up you want to know will there be booze? Will there be cute boys and dancing?

Well what if I told you that I was throwing a party and there will be booze, cute boys (at least McSweetie will be there but he’s taken) and dancing. I’m sorry I can’t guarantee cupcakes and there will most likely not be a pinata. BUT STILL- doesn’t it sound like an awesome party?

My friends Beth and Tracy who are co contributors in the book , I Still Just Want To Pee Alone, are joining me for a book signing May 4th in Seattle at a place called Sole Repair Shop. It’s a cool, snazzy venue that will have cocktails and food and US (of course!) signing your books and selling as many copies as you need. Mother’s Day is the next weekend you know- you’ll need to be prepared for all your mama friends.

The jazz party will be provided by a group called Emily Asher’s Garden Party.  You guys. This chick and her band are AWESOME. She plays a trombone and sings and sounds like Ella Fitzgerald hopped out of a speak easy and into the new millennium. Even if you don’t like jazz, you will love her and her band. Because you just will. Beth at Cult of Perfect Motherhood (who will be there and hooked us up with Emily) was diagnosed with Stage IV metastatic breast cancer last spring. Emily wrote her this song-

This song makes me cheer and makes me cry.

I’m so excited for this awesome night of talent, fun and coming together for celebrating the book, garden parties, and life in general.

Get your tickets here so we know how many books to bring and the bar knows how much Bourbon to stock.

Cheers-

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/1413884

 

garden party book club poster

“Bikini body in 30 days!” – Nacho fast

See what I did there? I put nachos in a bikini title. I like nachos. And it was a play on words. Get it? “Not so” is also “Nacho”.

But you totally got that.

If you’ve been doing all the right things but still don’t look like one of those rock hard bikini bodies on Instagram or Pinterest, don’t be discouraged. I am right there with you.

Let’s just jump right out of the gate shall we with the cold hard truth. It takes way more than 30 days to look like you’ve got washboard abs and buns of steel.

You probably already knew that huh?

You probably already knew that huh?

And when you want it to happen like all the charts and gurus and detox whatever folks are telling you it can be done by, but it hasn’t, you throw your hands up in the air and say ‘fuck it’. I’ll just order the onion ring tower. Might as well since I’m just going to be fat forever, is what you tell yourself.

Well, let me tell you. Don’t. Or do, but share it with friends and eat just a few onion rings.

Don’t give up. Slow and steady wins the race, not fast and hard.

And you know what else? Being 40 totally sucks. My body doesn’t get in shape as fast as I want it to. AND I am more susceptible to injury and strain. So I can’t go full on Cross fit for 2 hours and think I will be able to function the next day. If by function I mean pull my pants down myself to go to the bathroom. Also, there’s these things called kids that I’m in charge of. Sucks that I can’t work out and be all ‘me, me, me’.

It’s not fair for a woman with 13% body fat who’s been working out most of her adult life to pose for one of those pics that us squishy moms look at and get all excited about and start hitting the mat with our lunges, planks, and squats. Yes, those exercises work, but it takes TIME.

I had been skinny all my life up to getting pregnant with my first at 27. I packed on the pounds, was stuck on bed rest, had a hard postpartum, and didn’t get moving much until my daughter was around 6 months old. I finally felt like myself when my daughter was 2, only to gain weight again with the pregnancy of my son. After he was born the weight came off fast and I really seemed to be more kind to myself. I understood what I could do to get fit. Things were working. For the next several years I did a random circuit of my own workouts that included classes, gym time, and my own stuff of walks with the dog and training for 5ks. I was pretty disciplined with my diet. I didn’t realize how good I had it. I still wanted to be thinner, skinnier. I was probably around a size 4/6. I always felt self conscious of my waist or my arms. If I knew then what I know now, boy would I have been more accepting of how my body looked.

Once I started blogging I became lazy. I spent more time on my laptop and social media than I did working out. I thought I could just get away with the occasional walk with the dog, skipping lunch, maybe a few squats. Then I would read different articles that would make my head spin. I could get fit in just short workouts, no wait, I had to sweat it out for at least 45 minutes, no wait, sweating wasn’t necessary, as long as you engage your core. Ninety percent of how you look starts in the kitchen not the gym. Drinking wine is like a workout. Eat kale. Drink coconut oil and you’ll totally whittle your waist down. Eat avocados and lose weight. Do Pure Barre. Do ten minutes of planks. But hey, if you’re not doing cardio, then all your core work is wasted.

Dear GOBS I want to scream.

WTF? Eat less and work out more right? Nope. Hold the phone. You might be making yourself fat if you eat too little, and maybe the workouts you’re doing and the food you’re eating are working against your hormones. How much coffee do you drink? Coffee is bad. Coffee makes you hold fat in your stomach. No wait. Coffee is good. Coffee before a workout helps you burn fat.

If you’re confused too then- yay. My point is made.

Here’s what’s going on right now. I’m using My Fitness Pal app to track my food. I’m using my pedometer on my phone to track my steps. I get 10,000 a day for the most part.

I am still doing my 30 day whatever challenges for abs, planks, pushups, etc. BUT. I am reminding myself that it will take me more than 30 days to even look the way I want to look. I’m remembering that feeling stronger climbing up into my son’s loft bed to change the sheets is a win. Pants that were tight to zip up 3 months ago are fitting better. My favorite little black dress still doesn’t fit. But it’s closer than it was to fitting a year and a half ago. So I’m keeping at it. My waist is 3 inches smaller than it was before Christmas. It’s still soft and pudgy like a bagel before it’s cooked, but hey, 3 inches is 3 inches!

After 8 weeks of consistent exercise, calorie tracking and just feeling like I was getting somewhere, I headed to the hotel pool of our vacation in my two-piece feeling a bit sassy. I had Emma take my picture, you know as a ‘look at me, I’m on vacation’ picture.

I have to say I was disappointed when I saw it. I felt thinner in my head. Seeing my dimples and fleshyness kind of bummed me out. But I shared it in a private group of friends and they were so positive. Of course they said I looked good and I was rocking the two-piece and yadda yadda yadda. Because they are my friends and that’s what friends do. Which was what I wanted to hear. But what it proved to me is that we all have our ideals in our head. Just because I see this picture and don’t feel a hundred percent like I’ve ‘arrived’ at some fitness precipice of awesome, I can feel good in the fact that I am on my way. I couldn’t do a 25 second plank 8 weeks ago, but now I can rock 90 seconds and maybe two minutes on a really good day. My arms are still squishy, but they are stronger than they were before. And remember those 3 inches I lost around my waist? Yeah, that’s something!

So here’s my journey. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. My point is that even if your success story doesn’t seem as obvious as the next person’s, don’t give up. Keep on doing what you’re doing. Doing nothing is not an option.

Also, I will not caption this, “How a ‘real’ woman looks in her 40s after 2 kids and not a whole lot of exercise”. But instead I will caption it that I’m just a ‘regular’ woman. Real women are size 0 and size 18. Size isn’t what makes us real. But you already knew that didn’t you?

Regular woman in bikini after 2 months of steady working out and eating well.

Regular woman in bikini after 2 months of steady working out and eating well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My daughter’s journey with chronic pain

Frugie Blog My daughter's journey with chronic pain

This has probably been the hardest blog post to write in a long time. It’s been our lives the last 12 months. I wanted to do it justice. I wanted to make it clear and hope others gain perspective and find answers too if they’re in the same struggle.

I didn’t expect to become a parent of a child with chronic pain. Of Emma’s 14 years, she has had maybe 3 times in her life the need for antibiotics, never had a broken bone or stitches (knock on wood) and until this year, hadn’t been in an ER.

Emma’s problems started a year ago with a hemorrhagic cyst on her ovary the size of a lemon, then that cyst rupturing and causing her tremendous pain that just would not go away. The last 12 months have been surgery, hormones, therapy, narcotics, acupuncture, different hormones, analgesics, and whatever else we could think of, as part of our laundry list of getting her to be pain free.

Unfortunately, some of these temporary aides like narcotics, can make the body even more susceptible to pain, or decrease its ability to resist it.

The whole ‘high pain tolerance’ theory becomes confusing when you’re dealing with someone who is in constant pain. You can say that someone has a high tolerance for pain because they don’t have Novocaine during a filling at the dentist. Or maybe they had a kidney infection for days and didn’t feel it. Maybe you get through your work day with a migraine. Everyone’s pain is different and it’s subjective. There’s no way of knowing whose pain is greater than someone else’s.

But when your body is sending pain signals to your brain on a daily basis 24/7; you can become fearful of the pain, where your anxiety and anticipation add to the pain.

So someone who is used to being in pain, might react differently to new pain than someone who goes about their life pain free with only pain on occasion.

After Emma’s surgery in June, we thought we were in the clear and she would start feeling better. But by September she was in as much pain as she was during the cyst rupturing. She would go to school but text me how miserable she was. She would come home and pop a bunch of ibuprofen and sit on the couch with a heat pad for hours. The cycle would repeat and it would take her all she could just to go to school.

There was no time and energy left for socializing or extra curricular activities. Her daily struggle was a pain level of about a 6 (on a scale between a 1 and a 10, 10 being the worst).

Our girl was miserable and she begged for answers and writhed in pain. Some days it would leave me just a shell of a mom trying to comfort her child.

I went to our specialists at Children’s Hospital in Seattle. I wanted some kind of answer. I wanted a different pain pill, or treatment.

We figured since hormones are the bulk of her female issues; the surgery diagnosed her with endometriosis- we decided on an IUD.

Some people might think this is drastic to give a 14 year old an IUD. But it was with careful consideration. And because I have my own endometriosis issues, my IUD I got 2 years ago saved my life from debilitating pain. I thought this might be the answer for Emma. She needed to quiet down her reproductive system. Ovulation and menstruation needed to cease for now. They were only causing her pain and misery. We needed help.

The IUD seemed to be an answer on paper, but we learned over the months that her body just didn’t want it. She ended up with new pain from having it in place and took more ibuprofen to get over it.

The ibuprofen got out of hand when around Christmas we went to the ER with horrible pain she was experiencing. I didn’t know if her ovary had twisted, if she had an ulcer or hernia or just an alien trying to come out! She was writhing in pain and after tests they couldn’t find anything ‘wrong’ with her. General surgeons did a consult in the ER and determined she probably had gastritis from heavy doses of Advil. We changed our approach and focused on different pain management.

Visiting a gastroenterologist was our next step. The plan was for her to have an endoscopy to rule out any GI issues. Well, we found something. But sadly, it’s not a ‘fixable’ something. More of a ‘this is how you’re programmed. Sorry’ something.

She has a nervous system disorder that is common among many folks. Her stomach doesn’t empty the acid all the way like it’s supposed to. Acid pools above the stomach causing pain. A sort of reflux situation, that not even your average acid blockers could really do much for. It’s not a stomach issue, it’s a nervous system issue.

The specialist said to me that although this condition is common, it’s the hardest to treat. Because really, there is no treatment. It’s just the way she is.

We tried acupuncture. Three times. Ugh. I love acupuncture and have been going regularly for 5 years. Emma. Not so much. She hated it. When she was in pain, the needles would make her pain worse. She hates needles. She didn’t like lying on the table feeling helpless. She freaked out.

We went to psychologists and pain specialists. She hated them too. They kept talking about her anxiety. She didn’t understand why she needed to go to a head doctor for actual physical pain that she felt in her gut. It made no sense and she resented those appointments. Which probably stalled any progress anyway, right?

When your child is ill or hurting, you get so much advice. Some solicited, some unsolicited. We were suggested to try faith healing, gluten free diets, dairy free diets, rigorous exercise, more tests, getting a second opinion. Yes, all meant with good intentions, but not all realistic or actually helpful.

You know how hard it is to get a second opinion when you had to move mountains for the first opinion? It’s easier said than done.

By this time, we had the IUD removed and she was feeling a lot better. At least we knew one pain was handled. But then our full circle moment came to realization when that was supposed to be one of the ‘solutions’ and now we’re just back to square one.

Time had helped and healed some of her abdominal pain that was residual from the surgery in June.

After 3 specialist departments and hours and hours of appointments, we now knew that basically Emma’s nerves were still reacting to the pain of the cyst rupturing, even though there was no reason for this pain. This happens in appendicitis patients who have a ruptured appendix. They can feel pain in that area for up to a year later.

Amputees feel pain where there isn’t even a limb. Our nerves are amazing, magical, wonderful, devilish, mechanisms of our body sometimes.

Emma was determined to figure out a way to tell her body to stop thinking it was in pain.

And then the universe, God, and all divinity intervened to bring us one more option that I had never even heard of.

Recently, I spoke at a business women’s lunch on how to start a blog for your business. It was the local chapter for Business Among Moms.

I met with a woman who was hoping to learn how a blog could help promote her practice to more clients. We talked about her techniques she practices and what she’s trained in and I told her about Emma’s chronicles. Kalleen who is a licensed EFT therapist, EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Techniques or commonly called Tapping, had helped many people overcome a variety of issues and I mentioned Emma’s situation. She reached out to me and offered a session for Emma.

Sessions can be done at your home. Emma was open to the idea. I told her that it was a method that used meridians in your body, like acupuncture does, but without the needles. This pleased her greatly!

The therapist shows you how to tap on yourself and walks you through the series of taps. What is key to the session is not only the tapping itself, but the phrases and statements you say out loud WHILE you are tapping.

Pain is real. It’s not in your head. It’s not ‘perceived’. It’s honest to gosh real and hurts. No one can argue someone else’s pain. Nobody ever doubted Emma’s pain or that she was ‘faking’ it. There was never the ‘it’s just in your head’ explanation. But pain is held on in the body psychologically not just physically.

Pain manifests carrying three elements- fear, anger and benefits.

Depending how your body came upon the pain, depends upon these elements.

For Emma her fear was that she might have had cancer or something serious with her ovary or reproductive organs. After the cyst ruptured and her pain wouldn’t go away, she thought it was something life threatening or rendering her infertile.

Her anger came when she felt like she should be better after her surgery, but she wasn’t. When her pain interfered with her social activities, school, and quality of life, it made her angry.

The benefits are hard to understand. Benefits despite not being logical, can still be something we hold on to- like a crutch or a cast to protect us. In Emma’s case, she got used to being excused from physical activity, making excuses not to see friends, having an ‘out’ when it came to not having school work done. She didn’t like these benefits, but she started relying on them.

During Kalleen’s time with Emma, the tapping she showed her to do, while she said key phrases usually starting with “Even though…” and ending with “and that’s enough” or “that’s okay” pulled off a scab that Emma didn’t realize she had been building up.

Once she released some of the mental cages that had locked around her pain, she realized some of the control she had over it.

In an hour setting her pain went from a 2 on a pain scale (out of 1-10 and 2 has been her lowest in a long time!) to a 1 on the pain scale! She could tell she felt better in just an hour.

And to be honest, she broke down in tears because of it. She actually cried a lot during the session. It seems to open a flood gate of emotions. Again, because pain has fear, anger and benefits attached to it, she didn’t realize the emotional hold her pain had on her.

If you go to Kalleen’s website you can see a demonstration and explanation of what Tapping is.

I have even used Tapping on myself. The other day I had a migraine, or the start of one. I did a quick application of it

Tapping on the heel of my hand with the fingertips of my other hand saying “even though….”

Tapping on the top of the center of my head “I feel a migraine coming…”

Tapping gently with my fingertips the tops of my eyebrows “I can relax and know…”

Tapping gently along my cheek bones “that it will go away…”

Tapping gently under my nose “after some time…”

Tapping gently on my chin “I will feel better…”

Tapping on top of my pecs “I won’t get a migraine”

Tapping with one hand under my armpit along my rib cage “I feel better.”

You can come up with what you say, or not say anything at all and just gently tap in the places I mention in the order listed. Gently and for 5-7  times each.

It’s remarkable the difference you feel.

I can gladly account that Emma is feeling better and her pain is at an all time low! We are going to do another session with Kalleen, and Emma even said she wants to try acupuncture again.

Things are better today than a year ago and Emma was cast in the school play and is looking forward to feeling ‘normal’ again. Whatever that is for a teenager!

Kalleen generously offered her session with us free of charge in order for me to write this post. But I can honestly and truly say with whole heart that I will happily pay for this in the future as needed.

Finding new ways (even if they are centuries old methods!) of helping deal with pain, stress and struggles in our lives, is always worth it.

Kalleen would be more than willing to answer your questions. You can leave them in the comments or find her on her website- http://neuroeft.com/

Whenever trials and tribulations come our way, you have to ask what the purpose is. And my wish for Emma is not only she will be pain free very soon, but that she will take this journey and always remember the bad ass she is for persevering through this personal hell she was in. I hope in 10 years, she will know better and be stronger for whatever comes her way.