5.6

As of today, I’ve lost 5.6 pounds.

This number might not seem like a big deal to most, but it’s huuuuge for me right now. Two weeks ago, I finally decided to say fuck-all to conflicting nutrition recommendations and strict diets. I’ve said it a million times before, but I never did it. I felt safer hiding behind low calorie diets or diets that severely restricted certain foods. I kept on binge eating. I kept gaining weight. I’ve wasted so much time worrying that I’m not following “the perfect diet for PCOS” or “the perfect diet for insulin resistance” or whatever that I’ve used it as an excuse to not make any changes- or make changes that I either knew wouldn’t be good for me, or wouldn’t be permanent. I’d say “I don’t want a diet, I want a lifestyle change” but then I’d try to find the next super restrictive diet I could hide behind. It’s an exhaustive & overwhelming world out there, especially when you have a history of disordered eating.

So two weeks ago, I decided to just start eating what I liked + more of what I think is healthy for me. Focus on intuitive eating + a bit of calorie counting (but not extreme calorie restriction), at least initially, because I do believe they can coexist. Watch my portions, limit (but not eliminate) my sweets. It isn’t a diet in the typical sense of the word & it hasn’t been a difficult transition. I’ve still gone out and eaten yummy stuff and not felt anxious or guilty about it. I’ve had salads and I’ve had chili cheese fries. It sounds so obvious, but I’ve spent so much of my life dealing with my destructive all-or-nothing mentality when it comes to food and diets. Finding this middle ground, even for a moment, is really promising.

I no longer want weight loss at the expense of health or happiness. I don’t miss my sad summers of 1000 calorie diets & Lean Cuisines for lunch and dinner. I want my LIFE to be healthier and I believe my body will follow. So yeah, it’s only been two weeks, but I’m so excited by what they could represent. I want to reach a healthier weight, but I want to get there through a healthier relationship with food. I know this is part of what was missing in my previous weight loss efforts. I lost the weight, but I never developed a healthy relationship with food. So I gained the weight back. And I used to think losing weight would help me learn to love myself, but I eventually realized I had to love myself regardless of my weight. Weight and self love aren’t even on the same spectrum. They’re wholly & utterly unrelated. I now love myself enough to try this intuitive eating approach. I love myself enough to start to learn to trust myself with food. And yeah, it’s a little scary. But it’s also liberating. I can’t wait to see where I go from here.

My Meal Planning Template (Free Download)

Meal planning is simultaneously one of my most favorite & least favorite things to do, depending on the state of our budget (& kitchen!) and how ambitious I’m feeling that week. But once it’s done, I always feel relieved. Always. And I usually eat much better on weeks where I have a meal plan, because it eliminates those “oh crap, we have nothing for dinner so let’s just get takeout” nights. Or the takeout nights are factored in to the meal plan, because this is Real Life and I will always need someone else to cook some cheese enchiladas for me from time to time. Either way, they make my culinary & domestic life much easier and seem to help with my health as well. So really, all they do is win-win-win (#nomatterwhat).

But I haven’t done any proper meal planning since the holidays. Yeah, “the holidays” circa 2015. THE SHAME, THE HORROR. And because of that, I know we’ve eaten more fast food than two people ever should, bought more random pieces of processed crap than we’d like to remember, spent way more money than necessary on food, and neglected some mighty fine pantry staples in the process. Yep,  I have not been on my meal planning game at ALL this year and I’m finally coming around to the regret that brings. Some people can make healthy choices on the fly, but I need to be annoyingly methodical about making sure I’m eating well.

One thing that REALLY helps me out is creating a spreadsheet for my weekly meal plan. I know, I know – most people hate Excel & I totally understand why. I am the last person on earth who wants to use it in a professional setting, but for some reason, I love using it to keep track of random personal crap. I’m not super skilled with it, but I usually know enough to get by (or sometimes, get myself in trouble).

So, I decided to create my own meal planning template. It looks a little something like this:

Meal Planning Template - April 2016

I have a different spreadsheet for each week of the month saved in the workbook, so I can do bulk planning (rare) or plan week-by-week (much more likely to happen). But it’s nice to have the entire month laid out so I can note upcoming special events in the “Important Info” section – birthday parties, date nights, etc. – so when that day comes, I won’t plan to cook chicken curry when we’re already having pizza & birthday cake.

Each day is set to a default of 1400 calories, but of course you can & should change this to whatever works for you. I’ve set it up so that the calorie inputs for every meal are deducted from the daily total calories (obvs.), but that’s completely optional if you’re not a calorie counter. I’ve just found it’s handy to be able to input rough estimates for each meal & watch the calorie totals update accordingly. I rarely fill in all of the calories for every meal of the week, but putting in estimates for the major meals (usually dinner) & getting the remaining calories for each day helps me fill in the gaps. It also helps me shift my calories around to accommodate bigger (/better) meals on the horizon.

There’s no special section for it on the spreadsheet, but once my weekly plan is finalized & stuck on the refrigerator, I tend to use the cell just below the daily remaining calorie total to plan my grocery list for the week. I’ll type up any ingredients I need for the recipes for that day, along with any household products we may be running out of, and then I’ll compile the daily lists into one weekly grocery list. I’m rarely fortunate enough to get away with just one grocery trip each week (primarily due to the nature of fresh produce), but having a master list for the week helps me keep an eye on sales & plan when my second (or third, ugh) trips should be.

It all sounds complicated, and it can be a little time-consuming depending on what & how much you cook each week, but the heart of it is really simple: pay attention to what you eat. Try to plan for the good days as well as the “cheat” days. Even at the height of my meal planning mania, I rarely stuck to my plan 100% of the time. Some people would call that a failure, but hey, it’s life. There are also other people who would undoubtedly find my method too convoluted for them, and that’s fine, too. Find whatever works for you and what helps you make healthier choices.

If anyone is interested in using my meal planning template, I’ve included a link to download it below. It’s already filled out for the month of April, but you can always update the dates (and header!) for whatever month you’re in. It should already be formatted to print correctly (landscape; fit to 1×1 page), but if you have any problems, please let me know! Lord knows I’m no Excel expert.

I plan on sharing some of my favorite meal planning tips soon, so stay tuned!

Click to Download: Meal Planning Template – April 2016

Periods, The Pill, & Other Things My Boyfriend is Tired of Talking About

I know there’s nothing the internet loves more than an unapologetic fat woman discussing her menses, so let’s roll!

For real though, as mentioned in almost every blog post so far (or at least in every other conversation I’ve had this week), periods are a bitch. A big ol’ raging bitch who wants to punch you in your lady bits and your back and your legs and hey, maybe your stomach, too. Want some nausea? Or maybe some diarrhea? Hell, let’s throw in a headache for good measure. Okay, now let’s do one last check to make sure your innards feel like something is furiously gnawing on them. OH AND I ALMOST FORGOT, YOU’RE REALLY BLOATED LOL. Good luck finding any clothes that fit this week, not that you’ll need them thanks to that hot bath you’ll keep retreating to. It won’t really do much, but that’s how every “remedy” seems to work during this magical time. Advil & Midol might as well be placebo pills. Heating pads are the equivalent of someone gently patting you and saying “there, there.” Nice gesture, but wholly ineffective.

And then there’s the blood. OH, THE BLOOD. I feel like referencing Carrie is so overdone, but still applicable. You’re either waking up multiple times a night to go to the bathroom & empty a few buckets of blood, or you’re sleeping through the night & then doing this really charming penguin waddle as you race to the toilet in the morning. Spoiler alert? You rarely get there in time. If you slept all night without taking care of business, you will most likely have an accident. Hope you weren’t wearing cute panties! (But WHY WOULD YOU BE WEARING CUTE PANTIES?!) I keep a special selection of, erm, “tie-dyed” granny panties just for this time of the month. They are hideous. They will get more hideous over time. My crotch will never know the freaking difference.

As mentioned before, these god-awful periods are why I’ve taken birth control pretty consistently for the past decade. Human beings are typically expected to be functional, but Stephanie on Her Period is capable of very little other than bleeding and cramping and trying not to feel like death. I’m obviously being a little hyperbolic, but uhh, not much. Ask those who’ve had the pleasure of being around me during that special time when I’m not on the pill. I get pale. I get weak. I get terribly freaking sick. It’s the pits. THE PITS, dude.

So anyways, birth control. Suppresses ovulation, you get a nice little pseudo period, no more cramps, no more heavy bleeding. Bada bing, bada boom, you’re good to go. Right?

Uh, nah. In my last post, I said:

There are times when I feel a little more…uneven than usual, but so far, no major problems. Sometimes I do feel like I have to choose between my mental and physical health with birth control which isn’t fair, but it’s also not necessarily the truth. So far, I’ve been treating one aspect of my PCOS – painful periods. But what if I made a concerted effort to treat my PCOS in its entirety instead of just one symptom of it?

Let’s start with the first part. I have felt like I’m torn between mental or physical health, and especially so in recent weeks. It’s weird – I do great on most forms of birth control for a few months, but then I start to realize The Change. Sometimes it’s Jekyll/Hyde kinda shit, and sometimes it’s realizing you’re crying in a parking lot because you accidentally ordered fries instead of Greek potatoes with your gyro. I’m an emotional, sensitive person. I’m a crier. But even I’m not THAT much of a crier. It was a good day! I was in a great mood! So why the everloving fuck was I crying over steak fries?!

Birth control, man. It’s fabulous for some women & I am openly envious of them. It’s wonderful for my periods. But for my mind, my emotions…it’s pure hell. And sometimes the change is so subtle that you can barely distinguish the side effect of the pill versus a normal mood change or “rough patch” for you, at least initially. But over time, for me at least, it’s easy to tell when things aren’t right. Like when I’m crying over steak fries. Or not wanting to touch Dustin with a 10-foot pole. Or being afraid to leave the house ever, even when I really want to. I get irrationally sad and scared and angry on birth control. My sex drive withers up & dies. (Sorry, boo!) I don’t find humor in the little things anymore. I don’t find humor in much anymore. It’s super scary, honestly. Super scary to realize that you’re not yourself and you now have to parse all of that. But I’ve been suppressing my hormones with synthetic hormones. That affects way more than just “that time of the month”. It affects every single moment of the month. And for me, the negatives heavily outweigh the positives when I look at it all objectively. (When I’m in the middle of my period, I’d probably agree to never have sex or leave the house ever again if it meant the pain would go away. Sorry again, boo.)

I also have the super fun side effect of artificial, neverending hunger when I’m on the pill. It’s one of the reasons I quit taking it before, and yet another reason why I’m done for good this time. I’m overweight (okay, fine, OBESE), and excess weight increases allllll of the nasty PCOS symptoms that I’m trying to fight. The pill makes me ravenously hungry 24/7, and I genuinely never feel full. Ever. Since I’m fat, some people would undoubtedly just attribute that to my diet & my desire to eat, but I was fat before restarting birth control last time and I NEVER felt hunger like this. It’s horrible. There are times when I genuinely don’t want to eat, but I feel super hungry & like I have to eat. Dustin is a big dude (how many times can I apologize to you in one post?!) and I could out-eat him literally any day of the week. It’s insane. There are times when I’ll finish my meal and then eat his leftovers, too. And then dessert.

I need to lose weight to treat my PCOS, but the pill makes it really difficult for me to lose weight. But I’m to the point where I believe that significant weight loss (among other things) would have a more positive effect on my body & my symptoms than the pill ever could. See, the pill is usually prescribed as the first line of defense for PCOS, but I think it’s important for people to know that it doesn’t actually cure anything–it just helps manage some of the symptoms. Like many treatments, it acts as a bandaid: it may alleviate some of your symptoms, but it doesn’t cure the root cause of your problems. When you go off of birth control, your symptoms come back.

You often hear that PCOS isn’t curable, but it’s treatable. And I think that’s important to consider, too. For some women, birth control is a godsend. It’s an effective form of treatment for them. I know it was for me for many years, back when it worked effectively and didn’t negatively impact me mentally & emotionally. I’m in no way trying to downplay the effectiveness or the worthiness of birth control as a treatment option for PCOS, because so many women have had great experiences with it. But as someone who had to go through hell to realize that it wasn’t a great option for me personally, all I can do is recount my own experiences. (And lord knows I’m not a medical professional, so please don’t take any of my words as advice. It’s just my rambling ass story, nothing more.)

PCOS can be difficult to even treat successfully because the causes and symptoms vary so widely from person to person. For instance, I’ve spent most of this post bitching about my period, but there are many women with PCOS who never even get theirs. They’d probably love to have my period problems instead of wondering where theirs went. And although it’s called polycystic ovarian syndrome, you technically don’t even have to possess ovarian cysts to have the syndrome. Confusing, right? So it’s tough for doctors to prescribe a cure-all (or, uh, treat-all) for PCOS when it’s an entirely different thing for each person who has it. For years I’ve lamented the fact that I’m insulin resistant (while simultaneously ignoring said fact with my poor diet), but I’m finally getting to the point where I realize that it’s a blessing in disguise. I don’t like being insulin resistant, but I’m honestly lucky to know that I am. So many women with PCOS would love to know some of the underlying causes of their problems, but they don’t. I do. I know that insulin resistance plays a major role in my version of PCOS, so I know I need to start treating that directly. There isn’t that much literature on how to effectively treat PCOS yet. There’s a ton of information on how to address insulin resistance. And in doing so, I’ll also be addressing my PCOS in the process.

It’s taken me years to get to this point, though. For so long, I was happy with the “bandaid approach,” if you will. I was content with sacrificing my emotional wellbeing for period relief. I was okay with ignoring the underlying problems associated with my PCOS. But how has that helped me? It hasn’t, at all. So now, I’m taking a much more aggressive, integrated approach to treating my PCOS. It’s a work in progress and will be for the rest of my life, I’m sure.

First up, my supplements:

DSC03624-1

Yes, that’s a hell of a lot of supplements (or #expensivepee if you’re a hater, haha). And no, I don’t want to get into why I’m taking each one of them yet because this is already a really lengthy post. But in the future? Definitely!

And yes, I’m the fool who changes all the variables at once instead of gradually adding them in and seeing how I react. I’m not proud of my all-or-nothing mentality, but it is what it is. I knew if I didn’t start everything now, I wouldn’t get around to trying them all. It’s dumb, I’m dumb, it’s fine. Think whatever you need to. But I know that I can always weed them out one-by-one in the future if I have any problems and I’m not afraid to do so. But I’ve put a TON of research into common deficiencies for PCOS patients & people with insulin resistance & on & on, so I feel really good about starting here.

I also got a prescription from my gynecologist for generic Lysteda (which is still $52! save us, Bernie Sanders) which is supposed to help with heavy menstrual bleeding. You take 2 pills, 3 times a day during your period for 5 days and it’s supposed to substantially lighten up the bleeding situation. If it works without any major side effects, that would be AMAZING, because then all I’d really need to address is the horrible cramping. From the reviews I’ve read, some women reported that it helped with their cramps, so it would be an absolute freaking GODSEND if that was the case for me. If not, I’ll keep pestering doctors and trying supplements and doing what I can to try & make that one week per month more livable.

And until then, I’ll be content knowing that the other three weeks per month will be so much better because I’ll finally feel like my damn self again.

where am i going & how the hell do i get there?

I remember when I got my last job, a marketing position at a global law firm in Atlanta. I thought I’d finally made it – a prestigious employer, a decent salary,  solid benefits. And most importantly, a clearly defined career path. But time passed & I soon discovered that I hated every moment of it. Finally, after working nonstop for a few weeks and having way too many emotional breakdowns, my boo suggested that I quit. I was horrified to do it – our rent wasn’t cheap and all of our bills were divided 50/50. I kept putting it off, knowing that we had a vacation coming up. I thought it would be enough to restore me. Little did I know, it would do exactly that, but not in the way I’d planned.

We went to San Francisco and Seattle for a whirlwind weekend, our first time in both cities. I reconnected with a dear friend in San Fran and had one of the most beautiful days of my life. I’ll never forget us driving down the California coast, windows down, stereotypical breeze in my hair. It was the first time in weeks I’d felt really and truly happy. I remember Dustin reaching up from the back seat at one point to touch my arm. It was a simple gesture, but I knew what it meant. Later, he confirmed it: “You looked so relaxed and happy. I haven’t seen you look like that in so long.” It made me cry. I knew it was true. So when we got back from our trip, I quit.

I’m so grateful to D for all the hard work he’s done keeping us afloat financially since then. He’s never once tried to make me feel guilty for my decision. I’m also keenly aware that we were/are extremely lucky to be in a position where I was able to leave that job, even if things are still tight because of it. And in time, I would eventually encourage him to leave equally toxic jobs. Again, we’re lucky we were able to do so. So many people in situations like mine don’t realize how privileged they are, but I’m grateful for the luxury of time away from the corporate world to figure out an alternate career path. I’ve never found joy in the typical 9-5. So I’m definitely #blessed (haha!) to have the opportunity to figure out what I want to do in life and to have an amazingly supportive partner by my side.

But it’s weird when you step away from the working world. You don’t realize how much importance is placed on your job title until you no longer have one. When most of your friends are thriving young professionals, your job is the typical topic of conversation. And it makes sense – it takes up a solid 40+ hours of your week. But when you no longer have that in common, you feel disconnected sometimes. “Oh, what have you been up to?” Uh, washing dishes & doing laundry & researching recipes & buying groceries. You know, the errands & chores you do in your off-hours. That’s my 9-5.

You can feel oddly resentful sometimes, even though you don’t envy their jobs or their successes. I’d resent feeling like I needed to justify my existence or the use of my time. Yes, I’m not waking up early and going to work, but no, I’m not usually lounging around & playing video games all day. (But some days? Hell yeah!) And so what if I did? Why do I have to justify my time to you? Don’t get me wrong, most people I know are amazing and would never make weird implications. A lot of the time, you just feel insecure and start projecting. But there have been a few people who made me feel kinda shitty about it, and that’s on them. My value isn’t determined by my career or lack thereof. It’s been a surprisingly hard lesson to learn, especially in American society where your career is so intrinsically linked to your identity. That’s a really stupid concept. I thought so before I was unemployed, and I believe the same now. (But I can’t speak much more on that subject in this post or I will never get to the slightly exciting news, haha.) Still, it’s been tough. I’ve had quite a few ugly cries over it.

It’s always been my plan to go back to work. I’m smart and creative and like to get shit done, but I know the typical corporate job isn’t a feasible longterm option for me. I loathe it. I flee. Rinse & repeat. So I’ve spent months researching different paths and options with no real success. I’d either find worthwhile projects that weren’t profitable, or profitable options that fit into the corporate cubicle above. I’ve always envied people with clearly defined career goals. I want to be a nurse. I want to be an architect. On & on. I’m pretty good at achieving goals, but it’s tough to set a goal for something intangible. Thus the cycle of frustration is born. I want a job – I don’t know what job I want – what about that job? – oh, I don’t want that job – okay, what do I want in a job? – I want a job that offers a, b & c – but what job is that? – I don’t know – oh fuck this, I’m going to nap.

This endless loop led to yet another crying jag last night and a little heart-to-heart with my main man. And for the first time ever, I feel like there might’ve been a breakthrough.

“But my interests & skills are random and unrelated…music, food, decorating, entertaining; writing, marketing, organizational/administrative stuff…”

“What about event planning?”

Oh. Well, uh, duh.

It wasn’t the first time someone’s suggested that career for me (not trying to sound smug, just keepin’ it real), but it was the first time I’d really thought about how it represented the intersection of my abilities and interests. I know professional event planning is way different & more involved than throwing your own holiday parties, but I’ve always taken my party planning pretty seriously. I’m neurotic about calculating food & drink quantities, making playlists, and finding ways to keep people engaged & entertained. Themed decor holds a special place in my heart, but I also know how to keep it classy if needed. I work well with tight budgets & I somehow genuinely enjoy the organizational aspect of throwing a party. From budget spreadsheets to grocery lists to hourly breakdowns of what I need to do, I get a little anal retentive when throwing a party. And all of this is after the hours of research I usually put into the food, decor, etc. It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but it brings me so much joy. I’m never happier than when I’m planning another party. I almost feel guilty saying this, but the weeks of planning are usually my favorite part of throwing a party. I’m weird, what can I say.

I know there will be a million challenges and obstacles on this career path, and I’m not naive enough to believe that working for clients will be the same as planning events for myself. Still, it is such a unique combination of my talents and strengths that I feel confident about it even despite the inevitable difficulties. (And for someone who gets anxious ordering at Subway or calling to make a doctor’s appointment, that’s saying something, haha.) Any career path will be challenging in some way or another, but I think it’s all worth it if you love what you do. And I do love event planning.

I have a lot of research and a ton of work ahead of me, so wish me luck! And, y’know, maybe hire me in the future. <3

new year, new you

welcome to the time of year when everything tries to remind you that you’re too much, or not enough. that you’ve wasted another year, and you need to dedicate yourself + the next 365 days to becoming someone else. but it’s not true – you’re worthy and wonderful just as you are. make changes, make plans, but please, make them for you. make them because you love yourself, not because of shame or guilt or hate. or, god forbid, pressure from anyone else. i’m working on this every single day, and will continue to do so in 2016.

that being said, i’ll have a new post up soon about specific things i’m looking forward to (/occasionally vexing about) tackling in the new year. making lists and making big plans are two of my favorite things, so i’m not one of those anti-resolution people at all. i think everyone could use a fresh start now & again, and what better time than in the middle of the dull, depressing winter? but unlike in recent years, i want my 2016 goals to be guided by love instead of self loathing or fear of judgment or any of the other myriad things that have sadly motivated me in the past. i want to focus on things that will better my life, and hopefully the lives of those around me, not find new ways to punish myself for “bad behavior” the past 12 months.

so while the personal goals are forthcoming, please know that you’re not alone if you struggle with feelings of doubt or regret or self-esteem issues at this time, or any time, of year. just know that you are as valuable and as loved on december 29th as you were on june 2nd and october 15th and will be on january 1, 2016. don’t waste your precious time on earth trying to prove yourself to other people, because if they don’t love or respect you as you are right now, then fuck them. don’t waste another second, let alone another week or month or year, punishing yourself because you’ve lived. pursue whatever form of wellness you’re after, in whatever way works for you. we all have different mental, physical, emotional, professional, personal goals. why should we think that we all need to follow the same methods to reach them? do whatever makes you well. whatever makes you whole and happy and brings you closer to feeling like your best self. you know yourself better than anyone else, so you’ll know what’s right, and when it’s right.

treat yourself with patience and love and kindness, and ignore anything or anyone that tries to convince you otherwise.

I’m a Ho Ho Ho for the Holidays

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My name is Stephanie, and I am a Christmas addict.

I know, I know – it’s only November 10th, but the urge to put up our Christmas decorations is stronger than ever. In fact, I’m mainly writing this so I have an excuse to indulge my Christmas addiction without busting out the decor weeks early. I love Christmas, Christmas loves me, and my bank account (and boyfriend, I think) hates us both.

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve just been enchanted by this season. The lights, the decorations, the food, the music! (And yes, the baby Jesus.) It’s glorious. Life can be so hard, but Christmastime just makes everything seem a little bit brighter. There’s so much goodness to go around, I feel like I need more than a day (alright, more than a month) to soak it all in. I usually start getting the Christmas itch in late November, but just like the department stores, my holiday dreaming happened even earlier this year. So here I am, alternating between admiring my first ever Thanksgiving decor and wishing I could rip it all down and get the Christmas party started already.

Maybe part of it is because I seem to go overboard at Christmas & feel like there’s just not enough time to get everything decorated. I’ve always admired those who can achieve the classy, refined holiday look, but that’s just not my bag. I want it bright. And loud. Old stuff with new stuff and red stuff with blue stuff and it’s getting a little Seussical, but you get the picture. I like it a little tacky. Of course, it never feels tacky to me, but I can be objective about it. It’s tacky. I want red & green everything with a side of glitter, plz. I want minimal blank wall space and pretty much zero blank tree space. I need to walk into my living room and feel like Santa is giving me a big, slightly drunk hug.

I’m thankful my minimalist boyfriend humors me in this department, because I know it’s not really his thing. Last year was our first Christmas living together, and I think my happiness exploded in the form of holiday everything. I wanted our first Christmas in our home to look beautiful & feel special, even though I know it would’ve been special regardless. But he embraced my festive nuttiness and let me go wild. So, for the second year in a row, he’s pretending to smile & nod while I tell him all of my decorating and baking plans. He’s also done a stellar job of pretending to look the other way when I sneak in yet another armload of Dollar Tree goodies. We’re freakishly similar in a lot of ways, but I’m so glad we can also celebrate the ways in which we’re (North) polar opposites. Mainly because I love celebrating. Also because I love him.

But I digress.

I’m a firm believer that it is The Most Wonderful Time of the Year, so for all of my other Christmas lovers who are probably catching hell from everyone they know right now, fret not. Your people are out there. I see them gleefully pushing their carts through the Christmas aisles in department stores, pinning themed desserts & decor on Pinterest, and even putting holiday lights up in their front yards. (Praise be to you, my bold brethren.) So whether you’re decorating your tree tonight or waiting with bated breath for that last bite of turkey on Thanksgiving, it doesn’t matter. Celebrate when you’re ready, and how you’d like, regardless of the criticism you might get from the Scrooges of the world. Don’t waste your time trying to turn their lump of coal into a diamond. That energy would be much better spent making hot chocolate & trimming the tree.

Welcome to the Jungle

Have you ever walked into a store and noticed the proverbial stench of death in the air? Where the store is still open, but it feels like it should’ve closed years ago – or will probably shut down in a few weeks? (You could also call this #thekmarteffect.) For me, my old site (I Hate Dry Food) felt like that rather quickly. Looking back, starting a food blog in the midst of moving was a little foolish. I didn’t have the time to put enough energy into the site, so when I would revisit it from time to time, all I felt was that stench of death. I finally had to accept that it was over. Kaput. Dead on arrival. I Hate I Hate Dry Food. Etc.

Plus, as much as I FREAKING LOVE FOOD, I do have other interests, too. Interests that also seem suited to the blogosphere, as it were. So here we are, shiny & new, ready for the onslaught of content that I now get to create.

I want Bits & Peaches to be an honest reflection of my life and my hobbies, with an occasional glossy sheen just to make everyone jealous of how great I am. Isn’t that how lifestyle blogs work? Really though, I’m looking forward to sharing recipes, entertaining tips, craft ideas, and more. And part of that “more” will be a series of posts focused on my struggles with my weight, PCOS, body image/self esteem, body positivity, and upcoming conversion to a low(er) carb lifestyle. I feel like the issues I’m most afraid of publicly discussing are the ones I need to discuss the most, because I know that they’re not unique to me. If my dumb life can motivate or inspire anyone, then I’ve done something right.

It won’t all be heavy, though. (Horrible pun intended.) So thanks for suffering through the always awkward first post, stay tuned for actual content coming soon, and feel free to follow me on Instagram in the meantime.