Thursday, June 30, 2016

Like a kid in a candy.... err tea store



I caved.  I bought more tea.  This time fun, summertime teas because well it's summer...

David's Tea has come out with a bunch of new, summery teas.  I bought The Boardwalk Collection last week.  The Boardwalk Collection is described on the website as reminiscent of, "rollercoasters. beaches. cotton candy..." Oh my! 

My order came today and I can't wait to try out each flavor.

Cotton Candy, Caramel Corn, Grape Freeze, Chocolate Covered Banana, and Coco Colada.
I am definitely most excited about the first three but all of them sound good.  I haven't decided if I will try them warm or cold yet.  I think some would be better cold for sure -- grape freeze!  But warm caramel corn sounds good too!  The collection also came with some old fashioned rock candy.  My girls will surely appreciate those!  Also, I got a few samples as when you order online from David's Tea they always send three free samples... not a bad deal in my opinion.

In case you were wondering, I am not sponsored by David's Tea, it is just really great tea in my opinion and I'm a tea enthusiast. And for the record, I do like other tea brands like Teavana and Tazo, but David's Tea just happens to be my favorite so I talk about it far more than the others.  I also drink a ton of Diet Peak tea that I buy from my local grocery store. 

So if you come looking for me, I'm likely hunkered down somewhere with a book and a cup of tea.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

New Show Addiction: Wayward Pines



I had been hearing a lot of good things lately about a show by Fox called Wayward Pines that is currently on it's second season.  I am easily sucked into watching entire seasons (and series!) on Netflix and Hulu so I decided to check it out.

What I noticed immediately upon starting the show how reminiscent it was of one of my favorite films, The Village.  No wonder, the show is directed by M. Night Shyamalan who also did The Village as well as Unbreakable (another favorite), Signs, The Visit, and Sixth Sense.  I happen to like the darker stuff and Wayward Pines is just that, very dark.  It is also a Sci-Fi show which is based on a series of books written by Blake Couch. I had never heard of Couch before this but I might have to start reading his books!



Without giving away any spoilers I will try to summarize the premise of the show.

A Secret Service Agent (played by Matt Dillon) arrives in a town called Wayward Pines after being involved in car crash.  He is very confused and the town and it's people seems a little off.  As he tries to leave the town, he finds that it is impossible to actually leave and that there is more to investigate in Wayward Pines. There are creatures, bad guys, and good guys and it's hard to trust anyone in the show. Several other well-known actors are in the show including Juliette Lewis, Carla Gugino, and Jason Patric. I get a little bit of LOST vibe  but in my opinion it already comes across as far better acting (not that I didn't like LOST but it was frustrating at times)  and excellent cinematography.  I don't know what it is about the cool blue tones that I love in a film but it adds to overall eeriness and makes me love a movie or show more.

Wayward Pines is currently streaming on Hulu and it looks like some episodes are on the Fox site.  You can also buy all of Season 1 on Amazon.

I am about halfway through Season 1 of Wayward Pines and I am already completely wrapped up in the show. I haven't gotten this into a show since Sons of Anarchy which was another happy surprise. I suppose I will add WWP to my revolving list of shows to watch, not that it is that large of a list.  Since it is summer, most shows I am interested in aren't on, i.e. Walking Dead!  Pretty Little Liars did return last week but I am starting to grow tired of the show. The story seems more and more unbelievable and the continuous lack of resolution gets old year after year.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Memory Lane: Charmkins

Lately I have been interested in revisiting things from my childhood, the awesome 80's. It was different back then, kids actually played with toys and not just electronics.  Characters were invented by toy makers not just television.  I had some die hard favorites that to this day I still cherish and often wish I could share with my own girls before they get too big.



Charmkins by Hasbro are at the top of my list.  In fact, I often talk about them to my family because I had a rather large collection that my grandmother helped start and my mother lost/sold/gave away at some point after I left home.  I am still devastated and remind her of this often.  It is a long running joke in my family but truth be told, they were my most cherished childhood toys.



Charmkins were a series of characters that included little people and animals that were the size of a large charm.  They were a rubbery plastic and had loops on the top of their heads so that they could be attached to something you wear like a bracelet or to accessory toys that you could buy.  They also had holes on the bottom so they could be stood up in certain spots in the houses and cases that were sold as well.  I remember that they also smelled but no nearly as strong as Strawberry Shortcake dolls (another love of mine from the past).


My collection was made up of the Whippoorwill House.  It was a pink windmill house that you could attach the Charmkins to and spin them around. It opened up on the back side to a living room of a house where the Charmkins could live and play.  It also came with tiny pink furniture for the Charmkins to use. 



I also had the Jewelry Carrying Case which would store all the Charmkins but also folded out to be a little garden display. I loved organizing from a young age and I definitely kept my Charmkins orderly.  There was a small box on the bottom to store the accessories that came with each character as well.



Some of my favorite characters I owned were Brown-Eyed Susan, Wee Willie Winkle, Blossom, Chrysanthemum, Buttercup, and Popcorn. I remember my collection was so big that I filled the entire carrying case.  Brown-Eyed Susan was my favorite not sure if that had to do with the fact that I was a brown-haired, brown-eyed girl myself or I just loved the Van Morrison song, Brown Eyed Girl.

Several other Charmkins products were made in the 80's including a movie (only available on VHS as far as I know), coloring books, a game, and paper dolls.  Don't get me started on paper dolls because I seriously loved those too. 

You can still find Charmkins on Ebay these days, sometimes even new in packaging.  I love how retro the packaging is with bubbly letters.  I've considered restarting my collection again.  It kind of goes against my minimalist focus lately but I admit... I really do miss them.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sugar Paper Planner



I am a planner. I thoroughly enjoy the process of all things planning related. 

Documenting lists, creating schedules, goal planning, organizing ideas and schedules. Ticking off each item as I get it done.  Even going back and recording the things that I already did just to have the satisfaction of ticking the item off.

Planning supplies. Paper, notebooks, notepads for lists, stickers, colorful pens (staedtler fine liners are my favorite), cute characters, florals, and geometric prints. I love it all.

I could sit in my office for hours just organizing and planning my day, my week, my life, my grocery list, my list of bills to pay, scheduling activities, my business, cataloging information (paper and electronic).

Me and planning are tight. 

There is something I find incredibly satisfying about the whole process.  I have dabbled with using planners off and on over the years.  For a long time I had a large Day Runner that contained my life (contacts, calendar, bills, important info, etc.).  A few years ago I stopped using a paper planner and moved to Google Calendar.  My husband and I decided it was the best way to keep ourselves reminded of what was going on and inform each other of things we had schedules.  I love Google Calendar for this.  We each have individual calendars that we share and then we have Meal Calendar that we used for awhile to plan our meal menus each week.  Now that I am on Keto, we haven't used it but when we did, we loved it. It definitely kept us eating at home more because we had a plan.  Our Google Calendar usually contains appointments that we have, the school schedule for the year (in-service days, early release days, conferences, etc.), birthdays, and other various reminders.  The Google Calendar continues to work for us but also I realized it wasn't helping me with the things that my old paper planner did like goal setting, planning activities that weren't appointments, ensuring that I make time to do things for myself, etc. 

At the beginning of 2016 I decided to move back to using a paper planner in addition to the Google Calendar.  The Planner that I purchased was fairly inexpensive (from Target) by Sugar Paper.  Sugar Paper makes a line of all things stationary related. My planner has a monthly calendar and then a weekly page that allows me to plan tasks, people/places to call, things to buy, and people/places to email. It also has a monthly page that allows me to goal-set for the month -- Financial Goals, Work Goals, Personal Goals, etc. I really like the setup of the planner and it works well with how I think.  It also includes little slots in the front to stick bills that need to be dealt with. 

I have found that since moving back to a paper planner my ability to accomplish tasks has really improved. I feel like each week, my family and I have achieved many things and widdled down our to-do list.  From a small-business perspective my planner has definitely helped keep me accountable to the goals I set each month.  It has even helped in ensuring that I make time to blog and get my posts up on here each week.

If you are in the market for a planner, there is a great many out there as the world seems to have gotten planner-fever the last couple of years.  There are certainly some very customizable, fancy planners (and pricey) like Erin Condren and Day Runner but there are also planners for those that maybe don't need something so extravagant.  The Happy Planner is a cheaper option that still gives you some of the customization options,

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Strawberries

 
 

I am loving strawberries right now.  Especially strawberries that adorn my low-carb cream cheese pancakes.

Cream Cheese Pancakes
2 eggs
2 oz cream cheese
1 tsp. sugar substitute
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking powder
Coconut Oil spray or Kerry Gold butter for the griddle

Heat griddle and prep with coconut oil or butter.  In blender mix first 5 ingredients until well blended.
Pour batter on griddle and cook approximately 2 min per side until done.

Strawberry Topping
1/2 C. Strawberries, sliced
2 Tbs. sugar substitute

Combine strawberries and sugar-substitute and let sit overnight in the fridge.

Serve on top of pancakes with Cool Whip if desired.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

11-Month Keto Weightloss Update

It was 11 months ago that I started my weight loss journey and started leading a Ketogenic lifestyle.  My hope was that I would be down 100 pounds by the time I hit my one year anniversary... assuming that I stuck with it.  Sticking with a diet was something I just never was able to do until Keto came into my life. The most I had lost at any true attempt was 30 pounds. I distinctly remember how I felt 11 months ago -- emotionally stronger but disappointed in my body. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to do the things in life that I wanted to do like travel and keep up. I was constantly sleepy, walked slowly, and didn't feel good a lot of the time.  My blood pressure was high, my blood sugar was high, and I was on a fast track to a significant health event. Never mind the day to day aches, exhaustion, and moodiness.

As I am closing in on my one year anniversary,  I wanted to share my progress update. I believe the last update I provided here was a weight loss of 67 pounds.  I am now 86 pounds down and 14 pounds away from my one year goal.  At this point, it doesn't matter if I don't make 100 pounds in a year... I am just so dang proud of myself for making it this far.  I am now at the back of my closet - I can fit into all my old clothes (some of which are even now too big on me).  I can put on clothing that was I was wearing a year ago and have one of those moments where you hold the fabric away to see the gap. (I haven't made it into standing in one pant leg though!)  I will provide a one year update on the anniversary but until then I will continue to Keto on.

Here is a recent Keto Friendy meal that I had for dinner -

2 Grilled pepperjack cheese stuffed sausages
1 serving of grilled eggplant and zucchini - I can't wait to make more of this, so so good.
1 Tbs. Sriracha Mayo

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Literary Tour Guide to the United States Books - THe SOUTH! NORTHEAST! MIDWEST!



This weekend my husband and I went out and hit up some garage sales.  It was a nice Saturday for getting out and we hadn't been to a  garage sale in a long time.  We hit up about 10 different sales and found a few good deals.  While visiting one sale that I believe belonged to a former English teacher, I came across three books that I was obviously meant to find.  I had never heard of the "A Literary Tour Guide to the United States" books before. They are a part of Americans Discover America Series. There were three of them - The Northeast, The West and Midwest, and South(!) and Southwest.  I was surprised to see Target stickers from long ago still on the books. The books are in excellent shape considering the age. 

I had to check out my own state of Kansas in the West and Midwest volume (by Rita Stein) to see what was highlighted.  It is a sad little chapter that focuses mostly on William Allen White but makes mention of Langston Hughes growing up in Kansas for part of his life. 

I checked out the South and Southwest volume  (by Rita Stein) most extensively as my southern literature, southern gothic in particular, is my absolute favorite genre.  There was mention of many of my favorites including William Faulkner, Eurdora Welty, and Flannery O'Connor. Flannery O'Connor is an absolute favorite and I have visited one of her homes in Savannah Georgia which has now been made into a museum.

The Northeast volume (by Emilie C. Harting) covers many places that my husband and I toured when we did our Literary New England vacation a few years back.  Walden Pond (Thoreau), Wayside (Nathaniel Hawthorne's home), Old Manse (Ralph Waldo Emerson & Hawthorne lived there), Louisa May Alcott's house (now also a museum) and the resting place of many literary greats all are in Concord, MA.  If you love that kind of thing, it is a truly memorable experience. 

I can't wait to dig into these further and plot our next vacation spots!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Keto-Friendly, Sugar-Free, Diabetic-Friendly, Low Carb ButterBeer Recipe

Our recent trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has left me with a hankering for Butterbeer.  Now let me be clear, I already loved all things cream soda and butterscotch so it wasn't a hard sell.  Once I returned from our trip and jumped back onto Keto I thought to myself, "surely I could create a Keto-Friendly version of Butterbeer so I can continue to enjoy it while on keto."  I had to seek out a couple of ingredients but all were easily found at my local grocery store.




Keto-Friendly Butterbeer Recipe
Makes 1 Serving

Ingredients:
1 Can Diet A&W Cream Soda Chilled
1/4 C Heavy Whipping Cream
2-3 Sugar-Free Werther's Originals (the smaller ones)
1 Tsp. Butter (the real stuff)
1 Tsp. Sukrin Gold (great low carb alternative to brown sugar and is optional in this recipe)
1/2 C Ice Cubes


To make the Butterbeer froth, in a saucepan, melt butter and sukrin over low heat. Add heavy whipping cream and Werther's Original candy. Stir over low heat until candy has melted into mixture. Remove from heat.



In a blender (I just upgraded to a Ninja Blender and I love it!) add Cream Soda and Ice. Blend until nice and smooth and pour into glass. Careful removing the lid because there will be some pressure from the carbonation.  Pour froth mix over the top of cream soda.



Enjoy!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Vacation Recap - A Suprise Week in Orlando -- Best Places to Stay and Eat!

When my husband and I realized that we had a whole week left of vacation each to use up by the end of May (or else we lost it), we decided we would try to fit in a second family vacation this year.  We have an upcoming trip to Costa Rica that we have been planning for awhile so we wanted to do something within the US that we could make more cost effective.  A trip to Orlando, FL hasn't really been a cheap vacation for us in the past.  Of course, our past trips have centered around Disney World and we had decided that we wanted to spend the week getting to explore some of the other things in Orlando.  I managed to get nearly free airfare on Southwest when we traded in credit card points for miles earning us free tickets.







My girls are at the age that they love all things Harry Potter.  My youngest has been reading the books and doing audio books for awhile now.  I personally never really got into it and I'm not sure why other than I saw the movie and haven't read the books and the first movie wasn't that impressive to me... I'm probably in the minority, I know.  We decided that Universal Studios would be our destination this time with plenty of time dedicated to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  We also decided not to tell them we were going to Orlando for the week.  We decided to tell them we were going to visit my sister's family in KC for a week (since they just got a swimming pool and we wanted to try it out).  They were truly confused when we drove to the airport instead of hitting the turnpike.  My gullible girls lasted all the way to Orlando still without figuring out the surprise. Would you believe they actually thought we were flying to Kansas City from Wichita?  Of course, as time wore on, they knew something was up but not what.  Thank goodness for mobile technology.  Because their heads were wrapped up in their phones and tablets, they didn't notice the signs or announcements at the airports.

We arrived in Orlando late on a Monday evening.  We headed straight to our condo-hotel to get some sleep.  I'd mention the place we stayed but it wasn't my favorite in Orlando.  We have stayed at Floridays, Caribe Royale, and Disney Swan & Dolphin in the past and those are all much better options and places I would recommend (especially Floridays if you are looking for a home away from home with a lot of space and amenities). 




Tuesday we got up and decided to do some exploring.  It was two years ago the same week that we were in Orlando going to Star Wars week at Disney and a lot can change in that city in that amount of time.  We hit an outlet mall for a little bit, stocked our fridge with some snacks, did some swimming in the pool. We had some dinner at Bahama Breeze.  I am typically not one for chain restaurants but Bahama Breeze is an exception.  We go there every time we are in town and have never been disappointed.  We also spent a good amount of time exploring Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) and it has really changed since our last trip.  We were able to get some Japanese food for lunch from Morimoto Asia.  Also, do you see that pink box above, that is a Cupcake ATM by Sprinkles Bakery.

Wednesday morning we got up and headed to Universal Studios.  Right now Universal is running a special, buy a two-day pass (two-parks) and get the third day free.  We decided to go to the older park first although not much was the same since I was last there, maybe 15 years ago.  We were actually a little disappointed because Jaws, Backdraft, Twister, and Earthquake are all gone now.  Of course, they made room for some pretty neat things including the Simpson's Springfield Area and Harry Potter World.  I admit, the Simpson's area was my favorite.  We had lunch at Krusty Burger and it was actually pretty good.  The ET ride is still there so we managed to get that in.  Their is an are dedicated to Sponge Bob Square Pants which was pretty cute.  The girls really liked the Men in Black ride.  We did the Terminator 3D ride which was neat but kind of dated now.  We then hit Diagon Alley in Harry Potter World.  Even for someone who isn't a huge fan, I'll admit it was really neat.  We got our ButterBeer and walked around exploring.  So many cool things to check out at different shops.  A lot of the shops were facades though and I kept thinking they could do so much more with the space.  We ended the day with riding the Rock It Roller Coaster (not me, I personally hate roller coasters) as my husband and oldest love them.



 
 



Thursday we decided to make our beach day.  We drove up to Daytona Beach for lunch (fresh seafood!) and swimming.  I got a little sunburn on the back of my neck watching the girls swim. The girls did more swimming at the pool later and we called this our relaxed day.



Friday we headed back to Universal but headed to Island's of Adventure this time.  We stopped in at a burger-sushi fusion restaurant called The CowFish at Universal's City Walk.  I had never heard of it before but it was really great.  By far one of our best dining experiences this time.  They have a huge menu you can check out here.  We headed towards the Dr. Seuss area first and the girls did quite a few rides there. It is definitely aimed at younger kids but my girls didn't care, we all love Dr. Seuss.  After that we headed towards the Harry Potter side at Islands of Adventure. There was more roller coaster riding (husband and kids) and ButterBeer drinking (me).  We then headed to the comic area which was really pretty neat.  Lots of places themed after old school comic strips like Blondie, Beetle Bailey and Hagar the Horrible.  We then found the Marvel area with all the stuff that my husband loves and more rides to check out there.  We then took Hogsmeade (the train) from Island's of Adventure back to Universal Studios so we could cover more things we missed over there.  We stayed until closing.



 







Saturday was our Megacon day which I covered separately.

Sunday was another slow day with less walking.  We had thought we would go back to Universal for our third day but after walking at Megacon our feet were worn out.  We did some light shopping and exploring.  We did discover a great Latin restaurant called Sofrito Latin Cafe which I wish I would have discovered earlier in the trip.  Very authentic and not too pricey.

Monday we headed back to Wichita on an early flight. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Must Read Works of Southern Literature

I came across this article this week on BookRiot and wanted to share for those that love Southern Literature as much as me. A fine list indeed.  And some I need to get to reading!

http://bookriot.com/2013/06/20/100-must-read-works-of-southern-literature/

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

MegaCon!

We have been contemplating taking our family vacation to ComiCon in San Diego for a couple of years now but have been hesitant to do so, not sure if the girls would tolerate the walking, the sitting, and listening... and be as interested as we were in going.  While in Orlando a couple of weeks ago, we learned that MegaCon was going on the same weekend that we were visiting.  We checked out the guests list and were surprised that so many people we liked were also attending.  We had an extra day that we figured we would end up at Disney's Magic Kingdom but instead used it to attend MegaCon.  We figured it would give us a good idea if ComiCon was something we would want to do in the future. 

MegaCon didn't disappoint.  It was far larger than I imagined it would be.

It was also incredibly geeky and loads of fun.  The girls were disappointed that they hadn't packed costumes but still had blast. 

One of my favorite actors (and celebrity crush), John Cusack was there:




Walking Dead actors Lennie James (Morgan) and Tom Payne (Jesus) were also there! Norman Reedus (Darryl) was planned but ended up not making it.  I wasn't going to spend $80 to meet these actors but I certainly would have to meet Darryl!




Also in attendance were Curtis Armostrong (Revenge of the Nerds & Supernatural), Ralph Macchio (Karate Kid), and George Takei.




Also in attendance were tons of Comic writers and illustrators. Some favorites for everyone in my family.

 
The creator of the The Crow

 
My Little Pony comic is a favorite with my youngest
 
 
There was a ton of vendors including Anime / Manga / and Kawaii.  I especially liked looking at the indie Kawaii brands -- Tasty Peach Studios and Lucky Squid Studios reminded me a lot of what I am doing with Kawaiian Island.
 
There was lots of Cosplay going on -- Lots of Deadpools, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter, Pok√©mon, Steam Punk, Star Wars, Star Trek, Walking Dead, Little Twin Stars (!), etc. 
 



 
 
In the end, she had to get some kitty gear to join in on the cosplay.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Biotin for Hair Strengthening



I have had trouble with thin hair for at least the last ten years if not longer.  Around my early twenties, I noticed that I started losing hair.  I have a family history of thinning hair and I also have family history of light Trichotillomania.  Those items as well as a high-stress lifestyle have made it really difficult to grow a thick head of hair. 

On both sides of my family, there is male-patterned-baldness that began in the men early on in their lives. I actually don't remember my dad ever having a whole head of hair although pictures say he once did.  I am probably the worst case of Trichotillomania in my family (most of them just over pluck their eyebrows, something I never have struggled with).  Trichotillomania, often referred to as Trich, is pulling your hair out on purpose. I developed this habit years ago. When I was anxious, I would run my hands through my scalp.  I already have very fragile hair so doing this over and over and over caused my hair to fall out. I now have a pretty thin crown around the top of my head. It requires me to apply sunscreen if I am going to be outside for awhile, invest in volumizing products to amplify the thickness of my hair, and to wash my hair daily to keep it from looking so thin. I am better these days but when anxious I have to make a conscious choice to keep my hands away from my head.

I decided to start taking Biotin supplements by Vitafusion a couple of months ago to see if it would help with strengthening my hair and nails. In the past, I have tried a lot of special shampoos and treatments without much luck.  I am not a fan of pills so when I found Biotin gummies, I thought I could probably stick to it.  I just finished my first bottle and I can tell a difference in my hair growth. The hair isn't necessarily thicker (not sure I am getting any new growth) but the hair I do have has grown faster and my nails are definitely stronger.  I have also noticed less hair in my hair brush after brushing my hair out so it must be doing something.  I think I'll keep at it, it certainly isn't hurting!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Vacation from Keto: Butterbeer and Lard Lad Donuts!



Several months ago, I decided that I would go "off" keto for a week while we were in Orlando, Florida on a family trip for a week.  There were several reasons why I made the decision, 1) I knew it would cause me stress to figure out food while there, especially in the parks which would make me as well as my family miserable 2) I knew I would be tempted more than usual to eat carbs namely sugar 3) There were things I have been wanting to try for quite awhile that I didn't want to deprive myself of and 4) I have worked really hard the last 10 months and needed to know that I could fall off and get right back on.  That second part started the next day following our little trip, right back onto Keto. 

I thought I would share a little bit about what it was like going off physically, mentally, and such now that we have returned.

A couple of days leading up to the trip, I started to waiver on my decision to go off keto.  I started to think I should just stick to it.  Sticking to it hadn't failed me so far so why risk it?  I also started to feel like maybe it just wasn't the right decision for me right now. 

Those feelings started to fade as we arrived in St. Louis to meet our flight connection to Orlando.  Initially, I was really fearful to eat something.  I almost felt guilty like I was being "bad."  It eased up as time went on.  We ate out every meal while we were gone so I had plenty of opportunity to eat things I had been craving or so I thought.  What was strange to me was some of the choices I ended up making.  First, I wanted nothing, I mean absolutely nothing to do with a potato.  Fries? Nope.  Mashed?  Nada. Baked?  No way.  I have mentally equated potatoes as evil (as I have determined they are one of the main causes of obesity in society today) so I just had no desire.  It may all be in my head but that's fine.  I'm not eating potatoes.  I did eat Yuca though and it was excellent.

I found that I really missed fruit.  And previously, I didn't eat a whole lot of fruit. I found myself looking for veggies and fruits as alternative sides to potatoes...  I ate bread and rice quite a bit. I had a Curry dish at Bahama Breeze that had a pineapple salsa on it, it was really really good.  In the past, that's not the first thing I would have gravitated to but I guess my tastes have changed. 

Foods made with real sugar are really sweet. Like I am not sure how I used to eat such sweet things regularly.  There were two things I knew going into the trip I wanted to indulge in, both at Universal Studios.  First was a large Homer Simpson Donut that was big enough to share between the girls and I. I'll admit, it was an excellent donut.  Second was Butterbeer.  Butterbeer was probably the best thing I had on the trip... and I had it twice.  I may not be much of a Harry Potter fan (no worries, the husband and children are so we're good in this household) but I have heard so much about the stuff, well I had to try it for myself.  The best I can describe Butterbeer as is a sweet cream soda that has been topped off with a melted ice cream that tastes like Werther's Originals.  I had the regular version and then I had it frozen.  It is nice either way and I totally see why people go nuts for the stuff.  I believe I can make a keto-friendly version so look for that coming soon!



The bread and rice didn't impact me much as far as how I felt but after eating or drinking something sugary, I definitely felt jittery. And I usually regretted eating or drinking as much as I did. 

Some other things I noticed was that my body felt more bloated.  Not like I was retaining fluid but just more "full." in general.  I ate more but I was also hungrier.  I did do a good amount of walking but I am sure that carbs were causing me to crave eating more.  Nothing other than the Butterbeer was excellent or hit the spot.  It was just food in the end.  And I guess that was reassuring to know that food didn't have a hold on me.  Sure I ate some bad stuff but I could easily have said no and been fine. In fact, after a couple of days, I started thinking I should just jump back on keto because nothing is as good as I thought it would be...

All in all, the vacation from keto has helped to confirm for me that I truly have made a lifestyle change.  I am planning another trip in a couple of months and am considering what I will do then.

On the upside, I did reap the benefits of my weight loss on the trip -- I was able to walk around fine. Sure my feet hurt at the end of the day just like everyone else's.  I had no swelling in my feet or legs.  It was hot but I wasn't a sweaty mess at the end of each day. And I didn't complain the entire time from being uncomfortable or irritable.  All of those reasons is why it is absolutely worth it to me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Meeting Hello Kitty

 
We just returned from our surprise Orlando - Universal Studios trip with the girls.  I've got several posts planned on our trip and all that we did while we were there coming soon.

But first, the highlight of the trip for me was a priority to post about. 

I got a bit of a surprise myself when we stopped by a Hello Kitty Store at Universal Studios Orlando and was able to meet Hello Kitty herself.  I didn't even realize there was a Hello Kitty store inside Universal! The shop was adorable and I might have spent all my souvenir money there on new pjs and shirts for the girls.  They had several other Sanrio characters (Tuxedo Sam, Pom Pom Purin, My Melody, Chococat, Kerropi, and Badtz Maru) but Hello Kitty was definitely the most prominent character.  They also had a bakery case of Hello Kitty and Friends themed treats just like in Hello Kitty Cafes in Japan and Hawaii, how cool!  I was really tempted to load up on stuff for me as well but I don't really need anything (no more clutter!) but the girls benefited from some new clothing so we minimized the excess!  I will mention that like the Disney Trading Pins, there are now Sanrio/Hello Kitty Trading Pins and had they not been so expensive, I definitely would have started a collection of those.