Sunday, January 31, 2016

My Motivation

I was talking with my cousin, Kari, the other day and telling her about what has helped to keep me on track as far as my health goals.  I haven't told many people about this but I have a big goal that is helping drive my behavior.  Travel.  I'm not talking about just our normal family vacations but rather a dream I have to take a 2-month backpacking trip. The trip destinations are still to be determined although I have some places in mind.  My goal would be to sustain out of a single backpack for the duration of the trip.  I would also write about the experience and live as a virtual/digital nomad.  This is something I've been thinking about for awhile and realized that the way I was living was going to prevent me from ever doing that among other things. And I certainly don't want to go out in life having never experienced the rest of the world.  Sure, I could continue to vacation as I currently am but some of the places I want to go aren't places with all the modern amenities.  I want to experience cultures more authentically and I know backpacking would be a great way to do this.  I also believe that to write about the world, you have to experience the world. I've found that through new worldly experiences, I have a better understanding of myself and where I fit in this world.  The day to day that we get caught up in seems so insignificant when you view it from a broader view of the world.  I have a better sense of self-awareness and overall a better sense of peace.  She joked in our conversation that I was going to "Eat, Pray, Love." While it was a joke, it was true in spirit.  I do love that book/movie because of the self-discovery journey that these locations led Elizabeth Gilbert on. There aren't many things in life that have been able to motivate me like this has and continues to each day.  I look forward to the day that I can make this a reality and report back on it.

Saturday, January 30, 2016


The girls had a sleepover with their cousin Friday evening.  Pizza, monster cookies, and Star Wars!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Elizavecca Korean Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask

Last week I saw a youtube video where someone was doing a bubble mask.  I had never heard of such a thing so I went onto Amazon and sure enough, it was for sale there.

The directions for the mask are in Korean so I had to refer to the video for instructions.  You take the spatula to spread it across your face and then wait for the bubbles to appear.  My girls had a blast doing this and loved seeing how puffy their faces grew.

** Nevermind the messy bed and the husband and dog lounging in the background...

After the mask has bubbled then it is ready to be rubbed in.  Rub in the bubbles until the mask is solid and then let it sit until it dries.  I'm not quite sure what the mask is good for (brightening, oily, etc.) but it made our faces feel nice and soft.  If you are interested in picking up some for yourself, you can do so at the link below.

Thursday, January 28, 2016


Eggs are great keto food, actually they are kind of a mega-food for keto.  Some people actually do egg fasts. I have come up with a lot of ways to eat eggs.  Lucky for me, I've always been a big egg eater.  Here are my favorite ways to make them.

Hard-boiled - Yes, just easy to take on the run and a great snack.  I like to sprinkle them with S&P or dip them in melted kerrygold butter.  Sound weird, try it.

Deviled Eggs - Take your hard boiled eggs cut them in half.  Mix up the yolks, mayo, mustard, and any other spices or veggies to your liking.  Siracha is good. Stuff filling back into eggs. 

Egg Salad - I make a lazy version of this where I just mash up an egg with some mayo, mustard, and diced onion and call it good.

Scrambles - I like scrambling eggs up with sausage or ham, onion, green pepper or any other low carb veggie I have on hand.

Omelets - One of my favorites.  I love cheese so an omelet is really just another avenue to eat more cheese.  I like to add pepper jack cheese, green chili, and some diced bacon to mine.  To top it off I add some Herdez green chili salsa or guacamole salsa.  So so good.

Egg cups - Using a muffin tin, line them with lunch meat of choice.  Break open an egg into each tin on top of the lunch meat. Add some cheese and veggies if desired.  Bake until the eggs have set (unless you like them runny).

Breakfast burritos - Take a scramble from above and stuff it in a low carb tortilla with some sour cream, cheese, and salsa.

Shakshukra - Really good and really simple.  In an oven safe skillet cook up some onion and green pepper till soft. Add some garlic. Add some spices: cumin, paprika, and cayenne to your liking.  Add a can of tomatoes (coarsely chopped) to the skillet and simmer until begins to thicken.  Season with S&P.  Now this part is optional - add some cheese of your choice.  Mozzarella, Feta, Monterrey Jack are good.  Stir in cheese.  Crack open eggs on top of mixture.  Move skillet to the oven and bake 7 minutes or so until eggs are set.  Top with cilantro or hot sauce if you'd like.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Another Keto Meal 1/24/16

A regular meal that I love is a flavored pork loin with roasted brussell sprouts.  This week it was mesquite pork loin and garlic bacon roasted brussell sprouts topped with a little kerrygold butter.  So good.  And yes, I use every opportunity to use up party plates... these are from Christmas.

Monday, January 25, 2016

40 Bags Declutter Update 2

This last week was really productive as far as the declutter goes.  I went through jewelry, my husband's closet, the two bedroom dressers, the master bath vanity drawer, and two linen closets upstairs.  I didn't think to take before pictures but I did get some after ones.

Vanity - these trays were purchased at Target really helped to get this drawer organized.

Girl's Linen Closet - these baskets were purchased at Target.  Before the door barely shut on the closet and stuff was piled to the ceiling.  Now each girl has their own basket with change of sheets. I tossed a lot from this closet that will never be used again.  Bye Bye Hannah Montana sheets!

Family Linen Closet - This one was pretty bad too.  Barely any room to add stuff.  All of the towels were in the wash so once they are put away, the closet will still be fairly full. I still need to get one more smaller basket for the dust rags on the second shelf.  I have some afghans made by family members that I have to admit, aren't my favorite, but I can't bear to part with them either.  I ended up throwing out a semi-broken humidifier and thought it would be easy to replace.  I went to Target and Walgreens today and wasn't impressed with the selection. And now my husband is sick with a cold... figures.

Husband's Closet - He wasn't thrilled to participate but now everything that is left actually fits.  He has lost quite a bit this last couple of  years so we had a good amount of weeding out to do.

Items added to the donate pile - 2 garbage bags full
Items listed and sold on Ebay - 14 + Relists. Amount made: $360 (not bad!)
Goals for next week - Upstairs bathrooms, put away Christmas décor ( I know, I know...)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Go-to Snack

On Keto, I snack on a lot of meat and cheese.  In particular, I like shelf stable stuff I can take and keep with me in a pinch.  The Old Wisconsin Beef & Jalapeno Cheese Smoke Stacks are my favorite.  I love spicy cheese. Sometimes I'll just have these as a meal when I'm not too hungry. I pick these up at Walgreens but I assume they have them at convenience stores as well.  I also found them on Amazon where you can order a case.  I may just do this going forward to save myself some $$.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

My Career

I thought I would talk a little bit about my job.  What I do to make money. My professional career.  I'm not even sure my family (aside from my husband) really understand what I do for a living.  So here is my attempt to explain.

I work in the industry of crime fighting.  Cybercrime fighting people who use the computers, hardware, software inappropriately.  I say inappropriately over maliciously because a lot of people don't know that they are doing anything wrong.  But then again... a whole lot of them do.  See the guy above, he's a bad guy.  A Hacker.

So let me back up because how I got here is a curious thing.  I started going to school years and years ago to be an English Professor.  In fact, I would still love to be an English Professor... debate great novels with students, read papers, talk about books, write some articles for professional journals.  I'm sure I romanticize it in my mind (Me, librarian glasses, sipping tea, hanging out with intellectuals lol). Unfortunately, those jobs are undervalued and the road to achievement (not to mention the bill) is long.  So I did what anyone needing to make money does, I went and got a job.

I somehow landed in Accounting.  It was a progression from working as a bookkeeper for a store, then a collections company, and then as an Accountant for a big hospital in Florida.  I had 6 Accounting jobs over a 10 year span.  I liked Accounting but I still wanted to be an English Professor.  So I kept working in Accounting and going to school to get an English degree. I started to notice that working in Accounting exposed me to Controls and I started developing really great relationships with the Financial Controllers in my companies.  I also noticed that I would frequently get assigned projects to work on addressing financial control gaps.  Those projects usually led to working with IT and getting into the weeds of a particular system.  This pattern happened at 3 different employers. 

I realized that I caught on to technical concepts pretty easily.  So I started migrating to IT.  Initially I started as a Business Systems Analyst working with business requirements and making the technology happen. I also completed that English degree but realized that I had very little options in the real world. Except for that fact I still believe today that my English degree has set me apart from my counterparts and has made me a different kind of Security Professional but that is another topic.  I liked what I was doing.  It was going somewhere.  I noticed that because I had a controls background, I really understood a lot about data protection and security.  So I started heading that direction.

My first Information Security role wasn't what I would call a nice slow introduction.  I moved into a role that put me in charge of running the department because my manager retired two weeks after I started.  I was up for the challenge, though, and went with it doing the best that I could. My knowledge grew leaps and bounds. In fact, I went back to school and my Masters degree in Information Systems. I grew the department quite a bit in headcount and in capability over several years, picking up this broad area called Controls. I became a Manager of a department and thought I did a pretty good job. (So good that my old team keeps in touch and lets me know about their successes which is awesome).  From there I became an IT Leader in the organization. Overtime the stress and burnout got to me so I left.  It was a difficult decision but worthwhile.  If you are a regular reader of my blog you know how much my life has improved since then.

I took on another Security role with another company where I act as a Security Architect and Advisor.  I work with different IT groups coming up with solutions to secure the environment, protect data, and allow for exceptions.  I fight to counter the Hackers, the Script Kiddies, the Hactivists, the Spy Hackers, and Cyber Terrorists. (Did you know there were some many kinds?  Believe me, there are more!) I also do a lot of consulting and teaching to users and IT administrators so they know the dos and don'ts of Cybersecurity.  I am part of several associations and get invited to speak around the area about Cybersecurity occasionally.  I work to protect data in systems from theft and corruption. I collaborate with Auditors on findings and appropriate remediation actions.  I mitigate risk.  I work to ensure that systems are protected from attack and that we are doing business with third parties that also have good security hygiene.   I also investigate threats and true attacks and breaches. I am always promoting good Security habits at work and home.

Twenty years ago I would never have thought this would be my career.  Now I am in the number one current profession in the world and growing rapidly. I'm also a woman in male dominated field.  I'm always happy when my girls show interest in technology because it really is short on women.  Of course, I wouldn't mind if they wanted to teach English or save the planet (another one of those dream careers from childhood). It always amazes me how people get to where they are professionally and my path has been no exception.    

Friday, January 22, 2016

Dinner 1/21/15

On Keto, I occasionally eat some very strange things.  Concoctions I will call them.  Things I think up that might pass as a meal.  Yes, my meals have gotten very strange and yours will too if you are on Keto, just watch. This would be one of those bizarre meals that somehow works. 

I am going to call it:

Faux Italian Fried Rice.

1 lb sausage
1 pkg of Cauliflower Crumbles (they sell them at Target but you can make them by taking a food processor to your cauliflower and getting down to rice size pieces)
1/2 brick of cream cheese
1/4 C low carb pizza sauce
1/2 C mozzarella cheese grated

Cook your sausage in a skillet.  Once it is done, drain it (or don't) and add your cauliflower.  Stir it together until the cauliflower gets soft. Add your cream cheese and pizza sauce to the skillet and mix together until melted through.  Top it with mozzarella and call it good.

Now I've never tried making Italian Fried Rice with rice so I don't know how it would be but I can imagine not so bad.  Obviously the meal isn't great to look at but was filling and the right mix for my macros today so I'll call it a win.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Weekend Recap

The weekend is already over and we are off to another week of work.  It looks like we may get some winter weather this week which I'll admit, I'm not sad about!

This last weekend we were productive and did some fun things as well. On Friday we went to a Pokémon Birthday party and had a good time.  The little boy (he's 3) that the party was for was so excited when he opened a blister pack of Shopkins, he couldn't put them down the entire evening... even as he was opening presents he had to keep checking that they were right next to him.  It was hilarious.

The girls were anxious to spend some Christmas and Birthday money so we did a little shopping on Saturday.  They are both really into Tsum Tsums so they each bought a couple. We did some house cleaning and then settled in to watch The Martian in 3D.  Josh and Tori really liked it.  I thought it was ok and Penny just wasn't having it.  It was a bit long.  I'm not a Matt Damon fan in general but did feel it was more entertaining than Castaway where Tom Hanks was left stranded for years.  Matt Damon seemed less crazy and was far more entertaining. 

On Sunday we relaxed and the girls caught up on their video game playing until 4.  We went to a tea party hosted by my niece at Grandma's house.  It was fun and the tea was yummy.  We don't have any really great tea places here but Chelmsford Tea does have some nice ones.  I tried the Apple Pie one but it was kind of bland.  My favorite was the Pumpkin Chai but I am a sucker for pumpkin and chai.  We were served little sandwiches and desserts.  I didn't eat anything other than the mini-keto cheesecakes made especially for me. Sunday evening I spent decluttering my jewelry and getting another group of listings put up for Ebay.  And then I stayed up way too late reading as per usual.

All in all.. a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ketone Strips?

For those who are just starting on a keto, they may want to verify that they are in ketosis.  Ketone strips or sticks are one way to do this.  When I first started, I used the strips to assure me that the steps I was taking were getting me to a state of ketosis.  The sticks are fairly easy to use.  You just stick a ketone stick in your urine stream for a quick second and wait for it to turn colors.  There is a guide on the side of the bottle that helps you read the strip.  Basically, if you see purple, you are in ketosis.  Some people think that the darker the purple the more you are in ketosis but this is actually not true.  The sticks measure ketones in your urine so if you are dehydrated, your sticks will show darker and if you are well hydrated they will show lighter.  I just tried to stay purple and all was good.  The sticks are about $10 and you can order them on Amazon. They do expire quickly so be prepared.  Also, after you have been on keto for awhile they don't work anymore.  It has to do with your body adapting to ketosis and no longer being able to detect the ketones.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Preteen

I can't believe how fast she is growing up.  Tori turned 11 this week and is now officially in the pre-teen category.  She's been displaying teenager-esque behaviors for about a year now. 

The last 8 years have gone by so fast.  When I first met her, she was just 3 years old. She is still that 3 year old to me!

She's having a sleepover with friends later this month to celebrate so Monday we went out to dinner and had a low-key celebration.  She chose Longhorn for dinner.  The restaurant choice thing wasn't a maturity thing though... that kid loves her steak.  She had a steak covered in a tomato-bacon-butter sauce and a baked potato and cleaned her plate! 

For her birthday, she didn't want much stuff she really wanted money so we got her a Visa Giftcard to shop.  I also got her a few things... earrings, a new sweater, some makeup (something she has started really getting into) and some smelly bath stuff.  Did I mention... she's now in Juniors sizing?  No more little girl dresses... :(

She has also developed a lot of interests on her own now including history, ecology, robotics, and video games.  She enjoys girly things but regularly watches super hero shows with her dad. 

She likes dressing a little country and listening to music of all genres. 

Her favorite song lately has been "Fight Song" by Rachel Platten.  She's the kindest kid I know with a sensitive heart and always willing to help out.

 I feel so lucky to get to parent her and have her part of my life.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Things I am currently obsessed with

Things I am currently obsessed with:

1. Pretty Little Liars has returned
2. Finding Tsum-Tsum toys for my kids.  They are addicted and I admit, they ARE cute. 
3. Getting rid of stuff.  This whole declutter and sell stuff is working out fabulous.
4. Reading.  It usually hits me in the winter and the reading but has hit me again.  I've been doing more non-fiction lately for some reason.
5. Planning.  I bought a new planner earlier this month and have been doing really well at keeping up on my to-dos.  In fact, it helps me keep these posts coming along and shipping my items each week.
6. Drawing again.  I am waiting on some pendants to arrive so I can draw custom pendants and put them on chains.  I have gotten pretty good at some of the San-X characters.
7. Talking about my diet.  Have you noticed? 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Random Cash & Couponing

I love saving money.  I'm not cheap but I like holding onto as much money as I can.  Over the years, I have found various waves to save or make money on the side that I thought I would share in one big ol' post.  All of these methods work and I have received discounts, giftcards, or money in my bank and/or paypal account for using.

Ebates:  You can sign up here and earn me a $25 referral for using this link!
Ebates is a site you use to link you to the site you want to shop at. To use you simply search for the site you were wanting to shop at, i.e. Macys, Old Navy, Ulta, Zulily... the list goes on and on. You get a certain % cash back just by clicking on the link from the Ebates site.  If I am going to shop online anyway, I may as well get the cash back.  It is important to note that you need to not open a new shopping page for that store without going through the first page you open.  Otherwise your traceability is lost and you will have to email Ebates to get your cashback credit vs. being automatically credited.  What is great about this site is that you can still use other discounts or promotions with it. Occasionally stores I shop at will give me as high as 10-20% cash back.  I booked through using Ebates link and got back 20% last February!  Ebates pays you once a quarter and will automatically deposit your cashback into your account.  I earned $200 last year just using this site...

Swagbucks :
This is a site similar to Ebates but also allows you to earn points for doing other activities besides shopping such as watching videos and answering questions.  I haven't done much video watching or answering questions but there are some different stores from what is offered on Ebates so I use this when that happens.  Points can be turned in for rewards which are gift cards and cash deposits.

RetailMeNot: This is a promotional code/coupon site.
Want to find the codes to save you money? This is the place to search for coupons.  Again, if I am already shopping online, I may as well look for a discount code.  You simply search for the store you are shopping at and you will discount codes that you can enter as you check out.  I've saved 40% on clothing, gotten free shipping, the list goes on.  Using RetailMeNot codes plus Ebates can equal great savings.

Google Opinion Rewards:
You can download in the Google Play Store to download on your phone.  I like free stuff in the form of music, movies, games, and books.  I have this downloaded on my phone and get an invitation to complete a quick survey and earn money to spend in the Google Play store.  I haven't paid for music or games in months! Amounts you earn vary but I have found it very easy to use.

Surveys on the Go:
You can download in the Google Play or iTunes store.  This site has a great interface and allows you to answer surveys and earn cash. Once you build up $10 you can redeem it and have it deposited to your Paypal account.  These surveys are very quick and easy to navigate.

iPoll is another survey site and application.  You can download the app as well.  This has the ongoing readily available surveys to take.  I save this one for when I am watching tv or have time to kill.  At any time I can find at least $10 in surveys that I can take.  Like Surveys on the Go you need to earn $10 before you can redeem it.  You can get gift cards, cashback or even make a donation. 

If you use this link to sign up, you'll get $10 and I'll get $5, win-win!
This is an app that you can download on your phone.  It is a Rebate or Cashback program.  You unlock things you plan to buy on your normal shopping trips to the store.  Stores like Target, Costco, QT, Walmart, CVS, Kmart, etc.  After you purchase the item, you go home and scan the bar code and then scan you receipt as proof that your purchased it.  You then earn cash back for whatever the rebate offer was for that item.  I think this is great for grocery store items that you were going to buy anyway.  If you are a coupon person, this still works with coupons so it is like double the savings! 

To be honest, I don't think I could shop without these tools.  I have trained myself to make the most of my time and use all my saving resources. I would say I've saved/earned over $500 this year using these tools as I think of it... not bad for minimal effort.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

40 Bags Declutter Update

Well it has been one week since I started the challenge and I thought I would give some updates:

Items that I have added to the donate pile -  easily over 100 items

Items that I have listed on Ebay and sold - 22

Amount I made this last week on Ebay - $140  ( I really wasn't thinking it would amount to that much so this is quite a surprise)

Number of items I pulled out of the donate/sell piles:  1 ( I realized I am now small enough to fit into some really cute jeans that had already been in a pile for the last several months,  Score!)

Accomplishments this week - Night stands, Jewelry, Purses

Goal for this upcoming week - Master Bedroom dressers (will close out the bedroom as complete), the husbands closet, list another 10 items

Friday, January 15, 2016

Chai - Tea on Keto

If you know me, you know that I love tea.  I like tea hot and I like it cold.  Either way, I like it most with milk.  Chai is my tea of choice and I used to get an Iced Chai from Starbucks a couple of times a week.  Since starting Keto, I knew that I would have to stop that habit.  Starbucks uses a Chai concentrate (Tazo) that is loaded with sugar and carbs.  No Bueno.

So I figured out a new way to make my iced chai at home.  Enter in the ingredients.

Archer Farms Chai Latte Black Tea Concentrate - Purchased at Target. You can find it near the coffee.

So Delicious Cashew Milk Unsweetened Vanilla - Purchased at Dillons. You can find it near the shelf-stable milk alternatives such as Almond Milk and Soy Milk.

The mixture is 1:1 so very simple to combine and stir together.  The chai is sweet but not overly so. 

I had never tried Cashew Milk before. I used to be a Soy Milk person but it had too many carbs so I moved to Almond Milk for awhile.  When I tried Cashew Milk (I think at the recommendation of my sister), I was much happier. I like both the unsweetened plain and the unsweetened vanilla.  Low carb and good for me.

I still drink hot tea as well.  My favorite tea is from David's Tea which I have to order online. One of the best chai teas I have ever tried. (They are actually having a clearance sale so check them out if you like tea!) Instead of Cashew Milk in my hot tea, I usually had a splash of heavy whipping cream to the tea.

And lastly, I am completely obsessed with iced tea.  I drink iced tea every day, all day.  My favorite is Diet Gold Peak Tea.  It uses a keto-friendly sweetener and keeps me from drinking diet soda all day.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Disney Movie Rewards and DVD replacement

I thought I would share some cool things I learned this last year about Disney DVDs and BluRays.

Last summer my family was working on getting our basement set up as a theater room.  We decided to use two large DVD shelving systems to organizer all of our movies.  As we were alphabetizing the movies, I noticed that one of the Disney DVDs has some flyer in it about Disney Movie Rewards.  I hadn't heard of it so I pulled it up on my phone and realized that this is a rewards program that Disney have when you buy certain Disney products including DVDs, CDs, and movie tickets.  We had a ton of Disney movies so I signed up for an account and started entering Magic Codes (usually found on flyer on an insert in the cover of a DVD).  Disney will also use Facebook and other sites to give away free Magic Codes every now and again.  These codes equal points and as you accumulate points you can redeem them for Disney items.  Pretty cool.  I also realized that there are a lot of movies made by Disney that I wasn't aware of.  The site gave me a list and I started pulling out movies like National Treasure as well.  That day, we earned something like 3000 points.  We then started browsing the site for what we could get and were able to redeem the points for some more movies (which came with more rewards!) We added Aristocats and Rescuers Down Under initially to our collection.  Later we added Little Mermaid (a replacement for our bad copy).  There are several other rewards you can get from artwork to stuffed animals. The girls really like getting to pick out their award each time we build up points. 

Another thing I learned about at the same time was Disney's DVD Disc Replacement Program.  Disney will replace a broken or damaged DVD for $6.95 per DVD or $8.95 per BluRay.  This is a great deal because the girls definitely didn't do such a great job handling the discs when they were younger so we are able to replace those beat up discs for new ones.  To take advantage of the disc replacement program you go to their site and download a form that you complete and mail it with the damaged disc (not the case) and payment.  They will then send you a replacement disc that you can put into the case you already have.  We have had one mishap happen when we sent in Little Mermaid and Disney refused to replace.  It turns out that the disc was a bootleg copy!  We had no idea.  It was purchased on Amazon and we really couldn't tell any different. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Not giving up on Keto

I called this post "not giving up on Keto" but I think it is probably more accurately about not giving up on yourself.  This last year has taught me a lot about self discipline, changing my mindset,  and developing healthy attitudes.  I wanted to discuss some of those things today because I think they are key to your success when you start a health initiative as I have.

1. Set one goal and master it before you add another.  Last year, I knew I needed to change many things about how I had been treating my body.  But I also knew that trying to change all of them at once was going to overwhelm me. And I am always the impatient perfectionist who wants it all now.  This time it was different.  I had come out of a situation where I didn't want to get up each day from months on end because I was mentally and physically spent.  I knew I couldn't do it all at once, so I didn't even try.  And for some reason, just committing to one thing worked.  It stuck.  I started with getting good rest.  Meaning I went to bed at a decent hour, I slept a full 8 hours (plus some!) each day.  After I got that down (and I gave myself a couple of months to know that I could be disciplined to do it), I picked up another goal, drinking water.  I have always been a big diet soda drinker.  So much so that I can now say there were days I would go without any water. I knew that was terrible and I needed to change it so I started cutting back on soda and drinking a ton of water.  I bought myself some of those fancy plastic cups (I have a Walking Dead one that I use for work!) and some Mio (no-sugar water flavors) and began.  Each morning at work, I would fill up my cup and keep refilling it all day long.  At home, to cut back on soda drinking, I started drinking a ton of tea.  Peak Diet Tea is my favorite and while it isn't water, it has a larger water content and keeps me from drinking soda.  Again, after a couple of months, it stuck.  I knew I was then ready to start my next challenge the diet.  Being committed to one thing can sound simple but developing habits is hard, especially when you try to do it all at one time.

2. The road ahead may be long but you will start feeling better far before you get to the end.  I had a lot of weight to lose, I still do. It can be daunting to think about how far I have to go to get to my goal.  I realized very early on that I was feeling better after just two weeks.  I let that feeling, the day to day improvements motivate me... not the number on the scale.  I knew each day that even if I didn't lose another pound, I would be better for what I had accomplished thus far. 

3. Celebrate the non-scale victories.  Scales are funny.  They fluctuate and do erratic things... or maybe that is our bodies.  Either way, I knew I was going to get stuck at times.  I knew progress wouldn't be as fast as I wanted it to.  But what I found was paying attention to the little things like how my pants fit, how much more comfortable I was in a chair, the definition in my face returning.  These are all signs that progress is still being made, even the scale doesn't show it.

4. Don't diet.  Make a lifestyle change.  This was key for me.  Diets are deprivation.  Regardless of what you choose to eat (low carb, low fat, etc.)  accept that this is now your way of life.  You aren't doing it to reach a certain weight... you are doing it because your body needs to live this way to be healthy.  This as a key reason I chose Keto because I knew I could do it forever if I needed to.  Even today, I recognize that I will never be a person who can eat much sugar, bread, or pasta.  I don't expect to be this low carb for life but I always expect to be lower carb.  It is what feels right for my body.  I firmly believe that there are different diets that are meant for different bodies and it just takes finding the right diet that fits your body to be sustainable for health.  My general attitude has become, I don't care how long it takes me to get to my goal, it will happen because this is my life now.

5. Talk about it (your diet, your goal, etc.)  In the past, I never told people I was dieting.  I gave into social pressures because I didn't want people to know.  I also didn't want people pressuring me or getting disappointed in me when I fell off the wagon.  Maybe it has changed as I have gotten older but I care a lot less about what other people think now.  I am not losing weight for them.  I am doing this for me and I will be vocal about it.  It encourages me to say it out loud and it helps others understand my limitations.  My co-workers sometimes go to lunch together and they all know that if I am to go with them, they have to choose a place with options.  Family members will add more green veggies for me instead of potatoes.  It's not that I expect these things from people but by telling them, they are helpful and supportive of me.  And we can all use a little support now and then.

6. Just make it through the day.  You don't have to commit to anything more than the day.  I have been eating this way for 180 days.  I have not cheated one time.  I don't want to.  Sure there are things that sound good from time to time but I don't want to.  I think it is the first start of a diet that is the hardest because that is when it is most tempting to cheat.  By taking it day by day, I kept myself from messing up.  I almost made it a contest with myself, could I make it through the day without cheating?  Was I strong enough...stubborn enough.  It worked.  I had moments where there were things I really really wanted in front of me and when it came down to it, I couldn't do it. I couldn't give up on myself like that. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bulletproof Coffee and Fasting

Bulletproof coffee was really popular last year.  I saw recipes for it everywhere (facebook, pinterest, etc.) but didn't understand it was keto-related until I started the diet. 

Bulletproof coffee is coffee with coconut oil and butter added.  Sounds weird, right?  I thought so too but it didn't stop me from trying it. 

To make: In the blender add your cup of hot coffee, 1T of coconut oil, 1T of kerrygold butter, any sugar free flavors and artificial sweeteners that you want. Blend until frothy and then enjoy. To me, it tastes great.  It has a coconutty flavor which I happen to like. 

So why do people on keto drink bulletproof coffee?  To aid in filling full and to allow them to fast for longer.  First, fat fills you up. So drinking fat as part of your coffee in the AM suppresses your appetite. I never feel hungry come lunch time when I have been drinking bulletproof coffee. 

Fasting is something that a lot of people on keto do.  The idea is that you eat all your food within a small window of time thus allowing your to burn more fat in between meals.  People already get a pretty good fast during the hours they are sleeping but people have had really good results using bulletproof coffee to extend that time to after lunch time.  I've read about many people fasting and only eating between 2-7 PM other than drinking the coffee.  I have never tried to do this but have unintentionally done it when drinking the coffee;  I have lost weight steady enough without fasting.  Perhaps if I plateau or something I would try.  I drink the coffee mostly to get my fats in the for the day and to help me curb cravings early on.  If you haven't given it a try, I highly recommend it, especially if you are a coffee drinker.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Japanese Lucky Bags - Fukubukuro

New Years has got to be the best time to visit Japan.  Especially if you are a shopper, like myself and my two daughters.  There is a tradition in Japan called Fukubukuro otherwise known as lucky bags. At the beginning of each new year,  retailers all over Japan create mystery grab bags of items from their store or line that are valued at 40% more than they are priced.  These bags are available from just about everywhere... clothing stores, fast food places, anime shops, Apple, Starbucks, McDonalds.... you get the point. Prices vary from $10 to several hundred dollars.  Many times the stuff is limited edition and you wouldn't be able to get at other times of the year. The idea is that you could get lucky with what you get in your bag.  Let me tell you, these bags don't disappoint.

I would love to get to shop for lucky bags in Japan. Of course, I'd love to visit Japan regardless for many other reasons...  It reminds me of the excitement my girls have when they open blind boxes.  I find blind boxes to be really expensive and disappointing in the US but they love them anyway.  Collectors they are.  Their favorites are: Minecraft Mysteries, My Little Pony, and Five Nights at Freddys.  I'm sure there are others but many that they want to try aren't sold in the US.  Again... another reason I should be getting my shop going. 

I guess the other thing we have similar would be the subscription boxes that have come out the last couple of years like Lootcrate and Nerdblock.

I have watched several Lucky Bag openings now on YouTube and admit... I'm jealous.  I would gladly trade Black Friday for Fukubukuro any day.

Here are some of my favorites from Sharla in Japan (a channel my girls and I watch regularly).  And if you are looking for a Lucky Bag online,,, Ebay has some but they usually show you the contents :(  RocketNews24 also is revealing contents of Lucky Bags as well.

JBox is doing a few different bags that you can order online but the shipping from Japan isn't cheap.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Keto YouTube Channels

YouTube isn't for everyone but I have found that more and more bloggers are moving to video.  Keto has really taken off on YouTube and there are many people who are tracking their progress as well as sharing recipes and things they've learned while on keto.  I have found great ideas as well as inspiration so I thought I would share with you some of my favorite Keto channels.  By subscribing to these YouTube channels you will be notified every time they post something new.

Cooking Keto with Kristie - where I got a lot of my knowledge.  This lady has done this for a long time and has her whole family keto adapted.  She comes up with new ways to make things low carb as well... also, she's from the south!

Keto Karma - her progress is what pulled me in.

Manda Panda - she's always trying new recipes and sharing them

Michelle Rock - we are only a couple of weeks part so it has been particularly interesting to see her progress against mine

Keto Gabi - still new to Keto but does a "what I ate Wed" that is kind of neat

The Keto Show - recipes

I'm sure there are many more out there but these are some of my favorites and I have referred to them again and again.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge

In the general theme of declutter, I researched some approaches that I could use to help with this initiative in my house.  Over on the on White House Black Shutters Blog I found the 40 Bags in 40 Days Challenge that gave me some great ideas.  Most importantly reminded me of all the places I should be looking to declutter... places I often forget.  While the challenge suggests using it as a lent activity, I'm already geared up to go now so no waiting for me.  One bag or one location a day, I can handle that.

This week I have worked on my bedroom (minus closets) which is actually an easier task than some other spaces in our house.  I don't even want to think about my two linen closets right now!  (I may be a bit of a bedding addict).  I cleaned out the side tables and both dressers.  I couldn't believe all the old stuff I came across... cords that go to who knows what, old medicine, scentsy refills, clothing that hasn't been worn in years...  Under the bed wasn't a problem, though.  We recently got a new headboard and when we set it up, we pulled out all the dust bunnies and lonely socks from under the bed so I feel pretty covered there.  To be honest, our bedroom is one of the more minimal rooms in the house.  I like it to feel open and clean, perfect for relaxing.  Of course, the animals sleep in there too so it has challenges.  It doesn't hurt that it is a big room to begin with.  There are a few things I would like to change in the room still, including:

- Have an electrician move our cable cord to another wall
- Buy a new mattress and box springs (really high on our list for this year)
- Find the right mirror or mirrors to hang over our large dresser
- Fix the wall hangings that are now off center from our headboard
- Find a chair for one corner of the room

Not too far left to go in finalizing our bedroom.  And it really doesn't look bad now but I would like to get it just how I want it. 

I may post some pics after we get the rest of it done. Our house has been a work in progress since we moved in a few years ago but this last year has really allowed us to start making it our own.

Joy: The Movie

For months I had been waiting to see the movie Joy that was to open on Christmas day in my town.  I like Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper (loved Silver Linings Play Book and Winter's Bone although my children are particular fond of the Hunger Games movies) so was looking forward to the latest flick.  And the name... surely it was meant to be.  Now something to note about my taste in movies.  I kind of like depressive open-ended, no real conclusion movies.  If they make me think or expose some ugly side of humanity... I like it even better.  So based on what I knew, I would love this film.  So on New Years Eve my husband took me to see it.  He actually had very little interest but because he loves me, he did.  It was the rags to riches story of a woman named Joy who became successful inventing products that were then sold on QVC.  So I know from that description, many people would already be scared off.  Not me.  Sounded right up my alley.  But it wasn't.  Even with actors like Robert DeNiro, it still wasn't good.  In fact, I found myself really disgusted with the characters.  And not my normal disgust where I may not like them but I can relate to them kind of way... just nothing.  I didn't like it.  I didn't find the morale.  I didn't find Lawrence's character to overcome her character struggle.  I felt nothing.  As we walked out of the movie my husband and I noted that we were then feeling a little down and melancholy.  I can't say I would recommend it to most people.  There is a certain sort that may enjoy it but they would have to like a downer film even more than me.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Creamy Spinach Casserole Recipe - Keto Friendly

Creamy Spinach Casserole by my cousin, Andrea as made for Christmas Dinner 2015. 
Adapted from
  • 2 10 oz bricks frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 8 oz brick cream cheese (full fat)
  • 1 cups shredded Mozzarella (shred yourself as the packaged shredded has added carbs)
  • 1 cups shredded Parmesan (shred yourself as the packaged shredded has added carbs)
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large pan, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft.
  2. Turn the heat to low and add cream cheese, stirring constantly until melted.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the eggs and cheese.
  4. Add the spinach.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Spread into a greased casserole dish (or 9x13 glass pan)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.
  8. The edges should have a little brown on them.
The casserole turns out nice and firm so can be cut into squares bot a mushy mess. I think adding artichokes to this would be really good.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dinner 1/6/2016 and Cauliflower Mash Recipe

In an effort to help with ideas for things to eat on keto, I will be posting pictures and recipes of what I eat.  Tonight I had Italian herb kielbasa and cauliflower mash.  I had already eaten a couple of bites when I remembered to take a photo...

*ignore the party plate leftover from a recent baby shower that I hosted
Recipe:  Caulimash  -- is a good substitute for mashed potatoes

Bag of frozen cauliflower
2 T cream cheese (or more to your liking)
2 T sour cream
Shredded cheddar to your liking
Garlic powder or Garlic salt

1. Steam cauliflower in the frozen bag by microwaving bag (poke holes to steam) for 7 min or so (until tender)
2.  In food processor add cauliflower and puree
3.  Add cream cheese, sour cream, and garlic to the food processor and mix well to desired consistency
4.  Top with shredded cheese before serving.  Sometimes I make with bacon but happened to be out tonight.

This is super easy and really delicious.  My husband hates the smell of cooked cauliflower but puts up with it!

Where to Buy Low Carb Products

Since I had been on the Atkins diet over 10 years ago, low carb products have come along way.  I find that my own grocery store carries a lot of what I need and it tastes a heck of a lot better.  Occasionally though, I do need some special products that I can't get a Dillons so I must seek out other places or order online.  Below is a list of places that I frequently purchase from.

Dillons - Low Carb tortillas, sugar free ketchup, Truvia, Almond Butter, Almond Flour, Coconut Flour, Shirataki noodles, Unsweetened Cashew Milk, Diet Peak Tea (this isn't necessarily a low carb food exactly but has kept me from drinking so much diet soda), heavy whip cream, pimento cheese spread, kerrygold butter, Atkins Shakes & Bars (Walmart & Target have a good selection of these too), sometimes they have Quest bars, Atkins frozen meals, Mio (grape and sweet tea flavors) for my water, sugar free maple syrup

GNC - Quest bars and Quest chips

Whole Foods - Parmesan crisps, Lily's chocolate bars, different cheeses that I want to try, Epic Bars (like a jerky bar... kinda), coconut oil

Costco - Protein Plus Shakes, bag'o bacon crumbles (this is a bag that sits in your fridge and is full of bacon crumbles to add to stuff... seriously), salami & cheese rolls, spinach and artichoke dip, burger patties ready to be grilled, bag of frozen cooked chicken, boiled eggs (boiled and ready to go), nuts, single servings of guacamole (these are really really good), smoked gouda chicken burgers, avocado oil - Quest Bars, Carbquick - This is the holy grail of LC sites for food.  I order regularly Moon Cheese (all flavors are good), LC BBQ sauce, Atkins products I can't find in the store.  I have ordered pretzels, onion rolls, pizza crusts, muffins, etc.  by the low carb bread company.  All were pretty ok.  They will do for a craving but I like some homemade alternatives better.  Almond Flour, Erithrytol, Dixie breading (for frying), miracle noodles

Sukrin USA - Fiber syrup and sukrin sugar.  These are pricey but great for baking.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Eating Out on Keto

One question people have asked me is if I can eat out on Keto.  The answer is... carefully.  Restaurants put a lot of sugars and fillers into food so it always important to be very careful when eating out.  Over time, I have developed a list of safe bets and special orders at various restaurants and fast food chains.

Chipotle and other burrito places - Burrito bowl sans rice/beans or Salad.  Veggies, cheese, sour cream, guac are all fine.  Salsa/pico does have some carbs.  Best to stay away from the corn salsa.

Burger joints - Bunless burgers hold the ketchup.  Ketchup has a lot of sugar.   You can find low sugar ketchup at most grocery stores and it is a staple in my house now.  Many places like 5 Guys will make burgers Protein Style by wrapping the burger in lettuce. If you find places that do a beanless chili for burgers or hotdogs, this is usually fairly safe as well. Some places will add a fried egg to the burger too.

Wendys - Salads with creamy dressing, no croutons.  Ranch, Blue Cheese, and Caesar are good options.  Also bunless grilled chicken sandwiches. 

McDonalds - bunless burgers hold the ketchup.  Muffinless McMuffins - egg, cheese, and breakfast meat.

Jimmie Johns - Unwich.  They will make any sub hold the bread and wrap it in lettuce for you.

KFC - Grilled chicken or original chicken (only 3 carbs per piece). Green beans.

Breakfast joints (IHOP, Village Inn, etc.) - Omelets, scrambled eggs, scrambles hold the potatoes, etc.  Don't order omelets at IHOP though, they add pancake batter to the eggs!  Also these places will usually allow you to sub cottage cheese for potatoes as a side. I also like hollandaise sauce so I will have it added to different egg dishes.

Chickfila - Grilled nuggets.  Side salad.  Avocado ranch.

On the Border, Chilis, Applebees - Salads with creamy dressing hold the croutons.

Buffalo Wild Wings - Wings that aren't fried.  Naked boneless wings.  Salads.  Garlic Parmesan Sauce.  Ranch.  Celery and blue cheese.  Buffalo sauce.  Stay away from sweet sauces.

Red Lobster (this is a favorite of mine on keto) -- any non-fried fish or shell-fish.  Crab. Lobster. Shrimp.  Seafood stuffed flounder.  Green Beans.  Asparagus.  Grilled Brussel Sprouts (these are awesome!)

Outback - Steak.  Crabcakes.  Grilled chicken or pork.  Broccoli & Cheese. Grilled Mushrooms.

BBQ joints - All the meat.  Coleslaw if it isn't sweet.  Salads.  No BBQ sauce but you can order sugar free BBQ sauces online like this one.  Bacon and cheese grilled jalapenos.

Mexican places - Taco salads hold the shell or chips.  Fajitas sans tortilla.  A few places I've been to have dishes that are just meat and veggies in a sauce (Mi Ranchito, Abuelos, etc.) 

Starbucks - Coffee or Iced Coffee with any sugar free syrup.  For milk, you can sub almond or cashew if they have it.  Or my favorite a splash of heavy whip cream.

Philly Cheesesteak places - either salads with the toppings or just the philly minus the bun with all the cheese and veggies I want.

Italian places - Meatballs (light sauce) or alfredo sauce.  Sausage and peppers.

Japanese steak houses - hibachi meats hold the rice or noodles, acceptable veggies.  Chicken broth and salad are usually safe.

Chinese restaurants - dishes that aren't fried and aren't covered in sweet sauces.  Pepper beef.  Green bean chicken are examples. Bacon wrapped crab bites.

Convenience Stores - pork rinds, string cheese, beef jerky, slim jims, pickles, boiled eggs, salads to go, veggie sticks and ranch dip.

What you will likely find is that you have more options when you cook at home.  Eating out has lost a lot of my interest due to the fact that I feel like I eat the same things over and over.  Cooking at home, I can usually curb any craving I have with substitutes.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Vitamin B12

A few years ago I was doing a weight loss program under the direction of a doctor where I was prescribed multiple things to help me lose weight.  I was taking something to suppress my appetite, another to keep the water at bay, and another to burn fat.  The combination did work over the few months that I did it but it was really expensive and not sustainable for me.  So I stopped at 3 months and put the weight back on and then some.  The one thing that I did find to be a long term benefit was the fat burner... which was nothing more than B12.  B12 is a vitamin that can aid in the burning of fat and after a couple of months on keto, I added it to my routine.  B12 should go into your blood system as quickly as possible so many people will get B12 injections.  I'm not one for needles and I knew that there were over the counter sublingual B12 vitamins I could take.  I currently take one tablet of 1000 mcg of KAL B12.  It is in ActivMelt form allowing it to dissolve instantly when I hold it under my tongue for a minute.  I purchased these at Nature's Grocer but assume you can find at any natural food stores or drugstores.

It Was Me All Along

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

I just finished this memoir by Andie Mitchell as it came as a recommendation by many ladies I follow on Instagram.  The memoir is the story of a woman who was overweight growing up until her early twenties.  It is about overcoming food addiction and developing a healthy mentality when it comes to food and exercise.  It also talks a lot about self-acceptance, thus the name of the book, It Was Me All Along.  When we lose weight, things aren't automatically perfect.  And our weight when we are heavier doesn't make that time a waste.  Life is life... big or small.  It has a good message about self acceptance.  It was a fast read and I have already knocked it off my 2016 reading list. 

Monday, January 4, 2016

Keto Intro

Keto or Ketogenic is a diet that was designed for diabetics.  I have never been diagnosed with diabetes but I have a history of it in my family.  In fact, my grandfather passed away from a complications of diabetes. The disease has been a scary one for me ever since.  Last year I noticed that I was waking up sometimes multiple times to pee.  I knew this was a characteristic of diabetes and it worried me.  I also I had been wanting to lose weight. 

After leaving my stressed out job and starting a new one, I then had space in my life to lose weight and get healthier. My weight the last year of that job had put me in the position of being at my highest weight yet.  I didn't actually start the diet portion of my health initiative until about mid-year, July to be exact.  I started with the basics... get at least 8 hours of restful sleep, up my water intake and cut back on diet soda (the only soda I ever drank).  I mastered those the first part of the year and knew diet was next. 

Of course, I have done diet after diet year after year with minimal success.  I have done low calorie, fat free, low carb, shake supplements, and even prescriptions from my doctor.  Nothing worked or was sustainable.  So I started doing my research.  I knew that if I was going to start a diet, I needed something I could stick with.  Even if it meant not losing as fast... I needed a better way to live and sustain.  The most I had ever lost up until then on a diet was about 30 lb and that was with a prescription.  I didn't want to go that route because it wasn't sustainable and didn't teach me better eating habits.  I also didn't want to starve every day.  Those diets are miserable and make me really grouchy.  I wanted to eat whole foods that were good for my body and not feel deprived. 

I came across a YouTube channel, Keto Karma that was by a woman close to my age talking about all the success she was having on this diet called Keto.  She had weekly updates and was losing weight consistently week after week. After researching more about Keto, I learned it was a diet recommended for diabetics to do in order to gain control of their blood sugar without needing medical intervention.  While I had no idea if I needed the diet for this particular reason, I liked that it addressed something I was terrified of getting in life... diabetes. 

I learned that Keto was a High Fat, Low Carb diet.  Now I had done low carb diets in the past with a little improvement but always gave up because I would miss the bread too much and get hungry  This one struck me differently.  The high fat portion of the diet was aimed to keep you full.  The idea was that if you consume good fats, you stay full longer making the cravings less  The low carb then allows you to get into a state of ketosis whereby your body is trained to burn fat vs. sugar.  The science made a lot of sense to me.  Fat was filling.  Sugar wasn't good for me anyway.  So one week after Independence Day 2015, I started the keto diet.

My first priority was to get into keto as fast as possible.  To do so, I needed to get my macros figured out.  I went onto a site and used the calculator to determine my macros.  I learned that I needed 70% of my calories to come from fat, 20% to come from protein, and 10% from carbs.  I also learned how many calories I should be eating for my weight, exercise, lifestyle, etc.  I read that I should first just focus on the carbs... stay below 20 net carbs a day (net carbs are total carbs minus fiber and sugar alcohols). 

I signed up for MyFitness Pal and downloaded the app on my phone.  MFP would track my food intake as well as my calories, fats, and carbs.   This was critical for me to get started because I had no idea how much fat or carbs were in foods. I also started reading the site for food ideas, found other youtube channels and blogs geared to the Keto diet that helped me figure out what I should be eating.  I also bought the Ketogenic Cookbook to give me some ideas.

Initially, I lost a lot of water weight.  I knew that I was retaining water bad as my ankles would swell by the end of the day but had no idea just how bad it was.  Keto flushed my system and I stopped retaining water within 2 weeks.  After another couple of weeks, I noticed my energy level was up... really up.  I have a bit of walk into work and in the mornings would always feel sluggish and dragging.  I was walking with a purpose now; faster.  These two side-effects alone kept me on the diet because other than the initial water weight that I loss... I wasn't losing anything.  I knew from my research it could take awhile to be keto adapted.  My body had to learn to burn fat not sugar so it had to be deprived for awhile.  I just kept up with the diet and after a month... the weight started dropping.  And it continued down a little each week. 

Initially, I did have some sugar cravings and wasn't sure what I could eat to give me the sweetness that I was missing.  I found out about Quest bars which were low carb and came in variety of flavors so I stocked up to get me through.  These bars were critical to my success as well.  I couldn't eat one every day but when the urge hit me, I had something to supplement.  They also helped me out when I was traveling or at a birthday party and others were eating cake. 

So what do I eat?  Here is a list of foods that I regularly eat at home that can help you get started.  I think I will incorporate some of my meals/recipes and what I ate on this blog as I go so people have a place to go for information as I have many family members who are hoping to join me.

Eggs cooked anyway
Kerrygold butter - real irish butter  or just real butter (no margarine)
Cream cheese
Deli meats
All kinds of cheese (no fake stuff)
High fat, low sugar dressings - usually the creamy stuff
Brussel Sprouts
Green beans
Nuts - pecans, almonds
Cashew Milk (unsweetened)
Almond Milk (unsweetened)
Heavy Whipping Cream
Jello - SF
Sugar free pudding
Unsweetened Nut butters
Onion (in small amounts)
Green Pepper
Coconut Oil
Almond Flour
Miracle Noodles (made from tofu)
Carbquick - Like bisquick but low carb
Quest Bars
Atkins Bars
Atkins Shakes
Protein Plus Shakes
Moon cheese
Slim Jims or Jerky
Pork Rinds
Low Carb Tortillas (occasionally)
Truvia and other sugar substitutes - I buy Erithrytol in bulk for baking

I hope you find this information helpful. I am not a doctor only a woman who has found what works for her and wants to share with others.

Saturday, January 2, 2016


I come by it naturally.  My grandmother was a bad case.  She never threw anything away.  Of course, she lived at a time where basic needs were rationed and at times she had very little and scrimped and saved just to make it.  I hold onto too much stuff.  I am the sentimental sort and I also am creative. This is a bad mix.  I can always find memories in stuff and I can always think of ways to make things out of stuff.  I have a 3800 sq ft home and can pack it full but when it is... I am miserable.  I want less stuff.  I want to open drawers and cabinets and have room to put things away.  I hate cleaning and more stuff means more to clean.  So I am working on letting go of stuff and only keeping what is really important to me.  I also want to make the shift in thinking from quantity to quality.  I know that nicer things hold up longer and thus I need less of them but yet the urge to buy buy buy takes over.  Shoes and bags are good examples of this.  When I get the thing I really want, I use it like crazy. When I get the thing of the moment... well usually, it sits after a few weeks never to be touched again.  I have decided to start making my way through my house getting rid of things I don't love.  Don't get me wrong, I have plenty of things I love and won't be parting with but I also have a lot of just ok stuff.  Now obviously if it serves a functional purpose, then I'll be keeping it.  But if it is hanging out in the back of the closet, tucked in drawers never to be seen again... I'm finding it and finding a new home for it.  Today I started with a bag of clothes I had previously weeded out.  I donate a good amount to Goodwill but things have a lot of value still... like things with tags still attached (sigh)... I am selling on Ebay, etc.  Lucky for me, I am not much of a collector... other than just general stuff so I don't have any collectibles to disband.  My family on the other hand... all 3 of them... collecting fools.  So things need to have a place... a home.  I also made my way through my jewelry box and got rid of bunch of junk jewelry.  Did you know if you let the cheap stuff just sit for years it starts to get crusty and green... yuck!  Anything sentimental is still in box but things that are old, not wearable, no longer my style have left the building.  Wish me luck... I have a feeling this is going to take all year.

Friday, January 1, 2016

New Year

New Year

Happy 2016!  Last year flew by.  I have been off work for the holidays and the relaxing and family time has been nice.  As I look forward to 2016, I am excited about the things to come.  To be honest, last year was pretty awesome and I don't say that often.  I made some huge changes in my life and actually lived up to my 2015 resolutions.  I simplified my life by taking a low stress job that has allowed me to enjoy time with my family.  My creativity has been sparked again and I have worked on several things that I have wanted to do for a long time.  I wrote.  Not a ton but I started writing again.  I lost 53 pounds in 2015... and that was starting in July. I also got my water intake and sleep on a better track.  I traveled a ton -- Jamaica, Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Grand Cayman, Galveston, and Minneapolis twice (for work).  I built up more savings as well.  Above all, I became far more calm and content with life.  I am positive once again. And have became a positive influence in others life.  So 2015 was a good one for me and I am looking forward to this year and the positive changes it brings. 

My goals for 2016 are:

1. Lose another 50 lb.  Why not?  I feel great and another 50 would get me to a pretty great spot.  Besides my new way of eating has become pretty easy and I can't imagine going back.

2. Get my business off the ground.  I am no longer restricted on my sales platform.  I am working on a sticker sheet to see how I like it. If all turns out, I will probably launch the stickers/stationary on Etsy first.

3. Declutter.  This has been a 2015 work in progress for me and I want to continue.  We don't need all this stuff that we have and in the theme of simplifying, I'd like to continue. I'd also like to continue my focus on quality vs. quantity.

So that's about it.  I'm going to keep on doing what I've been doing and hope that 2016 treats me just as well as 2015 did.