life: super powers not included

When Things Get Hard

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This post was really hard to write, and I almost didn’t publish it. Being real on the blog is difficult, and I do my best to stay positive. But I also believe in openness. So here it goes.

True confession time.

I’m in a funk. I love writing this blog and I love all of you, but I’ve lost a lot of readers since I was diagnosed with EM. (Which, by the way, is totally understandable considering my life is not nearly as exciting as it used to be.)

I’d like to say that it hasn’t affected me, but it has. As much as I write this blog for myself, I also write it for others, too. I write it to connect with others. So when people leave, it’s not fun.

I think it’s affected me to the point where I don’t enjoy blogging as much as I used to. And that’s not right.

That’s why I’m taking a vacation. I think I need a week or two to remember why I loved this blog in the first place. Thanks to all of you for reading. Each and every comment makes my day. I really hope you’ll be here when I come back.

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June 10, 2011   61 Comments

Body Image: It’s What’s Inside That Counts

Hi friends.

I read this great post over at Psych Central about body image and I thought I’d share what I learned with you. Because, let’s be honest, most women have at least some issue with their bodies. Let’s start with an exercise:

Raise your hand if you’d like to have a body like this:

Jennifer Aniston

or this:

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or this:

NS4

Good. Now, I’m going to list some different types of people. Mentally check off which you’d like to be when you “grow up.”

  • Someone who thinks of others over themselves
  • A good listener
  • The laughing stock of America
  • Someone who’s dependable
  • An honest person
  • Dumped by the true love of your life
  • A humanitarian
  • A regular at rehab
  • The person everyone loves

Okay, everyone ready?

Because there’s a good reason I showed you decapitated women.

So…

Did anyone check The laughing stock of America?

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What about Dumped by the true love of your life?

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Or A regular at rehab?

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The point of this exercise is to prove what you already know in terms of your friends and family: It’s inner beauty that counts. We don’t pick our friends because they’re pretty or skinny, we pick them because we enjoy spending time with them. They make us laugh, stick with us through hard times, are honest and reliable.

Yes, outer beauty comes into play at the beginning of a relationship. To say otherwise would be a lie. (Though honestly, do you want to be with someone who’s only in it because you’re hot?) Most (lasting) relationships are built on more than good looks. Do you want a boyfriend/girlfriend whose best merit is his face? Or body? Don’t you also value a sense of humor, some intelligence, et cetera, et cetera?

That’s what other people look for in you, too. (Unless there’s someone out there who really does pick friends based on hotness quotient. In which case, I’m sure you also use the word fetch. Tip: That’s so last year.)

Think about this: Who do you admire? And why?

How do you want people to think about you?

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June 8, 2011   16 Comments

The Work Terminator


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As a testament to my own patheticness (um, uh, yeah, it’s a word…) only one person asked a question in response to my posts last week. If that makes me a loser as well, please don’t tell me.

So I thought I’d answer Alina’s question today. She said: I want to know how you write two blogs and a book and have a full-time job! Along the lines of “from 6 to 8 I do this…”

I can see how you’d be impressed. But, really, you too could run two blogs, write a book, and have a full-time job. And here’s how: Give up your social life.

P.S. That wasn’t a joke. Still, I love writing, so spending my free time doing it isn’t a chore. It’s like a hobby.

But Alina was looking for a detailed answer so here it is…

8 a.m. My alarm goes off, and I curse the fact that I’m unable to stop time. Sleeping four more hours would be ideal.

8:40 I finally stop pressing snooze and sit up in bed. My feet are flaring, so I grab my computer from the table beside my bed and get to work.

10:30 During a good week, my feet have usually stopped burning by now, and I can finally pee. My bladder thanks me.

10: 35 Now that I don’t feel like I’m going to explode, I eat breakfast. It’s usually an apple, a pear, and some other piece of fruit. Recently it’s been peaches, which make me all sorts of happy.

1:30 p.m. If The Man’s home, I’ll have lunch. Typically it’s either a sandwich with avocado, tomato, lettuce, sprouts, and mustard; a quesadilla; or a big salad.

5 Work’s over. (More or less. It depends on the day.) If The Man worked during the day, he gets home about now. When I’m unable to make lunch (if, say, my feet turned into fireballs), he’ll make me lunch. If I’ve already eaten, I catch up on some blogs.

6 I work on my blogs. I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday on both of them, so I write each on the same day.

7 After I’ve scheduled posts for both of my blogs, I eat dinner with The Man. That is, if I had lunch around 1. If I ate at 5, I’ll either hang out with The Man (currently we’re watching Dexter) or get to writing.

9:30 I’ve written for two hours. If I ate lunch at 5 p.m., I’ll break for dinner.

10:30 I’ll either go back to writing or hang out with The Man.

I’m ashamed to say this, but…

1 a.m. Look at the clock and be amazed it’s one in the morning. Get ready for bed.

Of course, that’s a typical day. On weekends, most of the time devoted to my job is used up on writing or reading. That is, I’ll write from 11 a.m. (I’m a late sleeper, okay?) to 11 or 12 p.m. Those are the nights when The Man’s working and I have nothing better to do than work on my manuscript.

Before you tell me I’m crazy for working that much on a weekend, you should know that I often take a break in the middle to read a book or watch a movie.

And that’s my day. So, yeah, it all boils down to

human – social life = machine

Or, like, the Work Terminator.

How do you balance work, play, social commitments, blogging, and the ever-important sleep?

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June 6, 2011   21 Comments

Broccoli & Cheese Potato Skins

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I’ve been looking for meals that fit into my diet but also are Man friendly. This is not as easy a feat as it sounds, especially considering his penchant for McDonald’s double cheeseburgers.

I bribed him with bar food: potato skins.

Yes, potato skins are usually fried.

Yes, they’re usually loaded with bacon.

And, yeah, they’re usually topped with heaps of cheese and sour cream.

Don’t tell The Man.

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These were baked and topped with chopped broccoli and some goat cheddar. And baked until the broccoli is crispy and roasted.

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The perfect side: roasted asparagus.

I can happily say The Man ate the entire meal without once complaining about the lack of animal products. That’s what I call a minor miracle.

So I’m still taking questions for next week’s post. Feel free to ask me anything in the comments.

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June 3, 2011   7 Comments

8 Things I’m Loving

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I think it’s safe to say that summer is here. And while I’ll be staying far, far away from the beach and outdoor parties in the heat, it still makes me think of colorful cups, pedicures, and flip-flops. (Granted, winter also makes me think of flip-flops, but my body has a sick sense of humor.)

Anyhow, I thought I’d show you a few things that scream summer to me…

RugbyStripeBin_xI was ready to order three of these baskets when I saw that they were on backorder at The Container Store. I’m weighing the pros and cons of ordering and waiting. Pro: I get the baskets eventually. Con: I have to wait. Hmm, come to think of it, that’s not really a con. Someone add them to my tab.

Paper straws

These straws are flat-out adorable, and I’m pretty sure my iced tea would taste better if I sucked it through one of those. They’d be perfect for a party, too. Which is my way of saying I wouldn’t use them on a daily basis because, you know, the plastic one in my insulated Starbucks cup is reusable.

Okay, I’m going to preface this section by saying I’m a sucker for fun nail colors in the summer. Usually I’d give myself a pedicure and paint my toes either really dark or something beachy.

Since the feet are now off-limits, I’m considering these for my fingers. (Yeah, technically I could put polish on, but the whole process would probably make my feet flare. They have incredibly bad tempers.)

braziliant

Essie’s Braziliant
I love the shimmer and the fact that this orange isn’t overly peachy. I will say, this would be a fantastic color for toes.

Essie’s Aruba Blue
It’s just kind of fun and makes me think of being a teen. It’s ironic, I guess, since I would never have worn this as a teen. (I was a total Ballet Slippers kind of girl.) Maybe I’m rebelling against both my teen and adult self.

Essie’s Damsel in a Dress
First, that’s an awesome name. Second, I actually like this color for fingers better than toes. There’s no reasoning behind that thought.

Essie’s Jelly Apple
It reminds me more of a candy apple, but whatevs, Essie. This color’s fun, but I’m not sure it would go well with my hands when they become hot and darker than the polish. However, Jelly Apple would look fabulous on my cold, pale hands.

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C’mon, nothing goes together better than summer and ice cream. (Fun fact: I don’t really like ice cream.) The Man picked up these bars—made from coconut milk and dried coconut—for me, thinking they’d make a good dessert. They’re gluten-free and vegan, though they do have some sugar in the form of agave nectar. The Man had one tonight and gave me a bite. I have to say, it tastes like the inside of an Almond Joy. For serious. Sugar-free me found a single bite sweet enough, but The Man ate the whole bar and loved it.

So, it’s been about two centuries since I did a Q&A. Let’s resurrect that beast, shall we? Today through Friday, ask me anything—silly questions 100 percent allowed—and I’ll answer them next week.

Here’s an example to refresh your memory, except right now I’ll only answer the questions in GIF format. I promise I won’t do this for the real Q&A.

QUESTION: How do you eat your cereal?

QUESTION: How do you celebrate good news?

On a good day…

And on a really good day…

QUESTION: Can we join you in that happy dance?

All right guys, ask away!

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June 1, 2011   11 Comments

Summer Recipes

Happy Memorial Day, guys. In honor of the holiday that launches us into summer, here are a few recipes you might want to hang onto. I’m drooling over each one.

(No, they don’t all fit into my diet. But this is for you.)

spring pea pastaFresh mint and pea pasta alla carbonara from Honest Fare

Blueberry crumble cupcakesBlueberry crumb bars from Can You Stay For Dinner?

Beetroot wrapsPretty purple picnic wraps from Green Kitchen Stories

Lime CoolerTurbinado lime cooler from The Weekly Bite

I’m off to relax and enjoy the fact that this is a three-day weekend. My idea of relaxing: Reading a good book and chilling out with plenty of iced tea. Your idea of relaxing?

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May 30, 2011   8 Comments

In Which I Grocery Shop For You

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The consensus seems to be that you all would prefer I pushed you out of a plane instead of dumping you in an ocean full of sharks. Good to know.

I obviously share your aversion to giant creatures who have the ability to bite you in half. Yes, there’s a risk of death by splatter when you sky dive, but A. there’s only a possible chance the chute won’t work while sharks definitely find humans tasty, and B. it’s beyond fun. It’s actually one of the most fun things I’ve ever done.

Anyhow, I wanted to leave you with two products you should definitely try.

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Glutino gluten-free pretzels. I’m probably having a no-duh moment but it took me this long to find them, so I thought that, in the event you eat gluten free and have not found these, I wanted to enlighten you.

These pretzels taste like pretzels. Crazy, I know. But it’s always nice to find gluten-free products that taste like the ones with wheat.

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Next, for everyone else might I suggest some dried green mango slices? So, The Man picked these up at Trader Joe’s but didn’t realize they have sugar. I accidentally tried one before I realized that, of course. Here’s what I can tell you from my brief moment of bliss.

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They are tart.

They are sweet.

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They are the perfect snack. Or meal. I won’t judge.

They are addictive.

That is all.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend. What are your plans?

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May 27, 2011   11 Comments

The Everything-Free Diet: How It Looks

When I embarked on this new diet, I had a hard time getting into a pattern of eating. I mostly ate quesadillas because, really, what else do you eat when you can’t eat anything? The longer I’ve been on the diet, the easier it is to come up with new meal ideas. So I thought I’d spend today and tomorrow photographing my food for you.

This is how someone eats on a gluten-free, sugar-free vegan diet (that allows goat cheese). Note: I may have gotten better at this, but I’m nowhere near someone who can A. cook well and B. stand for a long period of time in order to cook.

DSC_0065Grits with diced red pepper, goat cheddar, and green pepper sauce.

Ah, breakfast. This was a bit different for me, and really a result of us having nothing else in the house. The Man was home in the morning, so he was able to make something for me that took a bit of time.

DSC_0083Farm-fresh strawberries

When The Man went to the grocery store in the afternoon, he came home with strawberries from a local farm. I had more than a handful of these. It was like an explosion of sweetness in my mouth. I’m pretty sure we’ll need to restock later this week.

Photo on 2011-05-23 at 19Me forgetting to take a photo of lunch.

So about my idea of photographing every meal… Yeah, I forgot about lunch. Rookie mistake. How about I describe it to you instead? Start with a plate. Add a bunch of sprouts to the center. Fill the rest of the plate with chopped cucumber. Top it all off with one tomato, sliced thin. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Can’t you just see it now? Er, if you can’t, just pretend. I ate the salad with some gluten-free pretzels and a guava kombucha. GUAVA KOMBUCHA! Sorry, I had to shout that. I’ve been waiting for my Whole Foods to carry it and yesterday was that day. In case you’re wondering, it’s worth the wait.

DSC_0095Greek salad with cucumber, tomato, green pepper, kalamata olives, and goat cheddar in an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing.*

The Man worked late last night so we didn’t get to prepare dinner until around 10. (I burned earlier in the night, so I wasn’t motivated to make my dinner earlier.) Which meant I didn’t want anything complicated. Plus, I love Greek salads. True, this was a slight variation on my favorite—I prefer sheep or goat’s milk feta, but I was out so goat cheddar it was—but it was still good.

You better believe I followed this up with a large quantity of strawberries.

And that’s it, guys. I did want to make one last note: I realize this doesn’t add up to a ton of calories. And, truthfully, most days this is about the amount I eat. But before you start comparing yourself, remember how few calories I’m expending.

On a good day, I’m walking to and from the bathroom, kitchen, and living room. Each of you out there gets more exercise than me when you walk into work or grocery shop or walk to your car and back, so naturally you’ll need way more calories to get by. If I could be more active, I’d definitely eat more calories.

Kapiche?

How about a random question today? If you had to choose between going sky diving and swimming with the sharks (literally, not in the mafia sense of the phrase), which would you pick?

*Ah, night photos, how you look so terrible.

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May 25, 2011   17 Comments

Picky Eaters

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Welcome back. I hope you guys all had a great weekend. I spent Sunday with my two nephews and niece, which was all sorts of fun.

So I’m sitting there on the couch, basically one of the two places you’ll ever find me in the apartment (hint: the other’s the bed). The fan’s blasting, and I have my feet up. My 5-year-old nephew sits down next to me and stretches out so his feet are up on the pillow with mine. He turns to me and says, “This is nice. Relaxing. I never get to relax anymore.”

I died.

I just died again, typing that. Parents, how do you not self-combust with such adorable kidisms around you nonstop?

Speaking of kids…

In an effort to help parents, I thought I’d explain how to handle a picky eater. No, I don’t have kids. But I was a crazy picky eater when I was little. True, I still have a few food quirks (I won’t eat onions or garlic, for instance*) but on a whole I eat 70 percent more of different foods than I did as a kid.

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My point is that picky kids might don’t necessarily equal picky adults. If anything, picky kids equal somewhat-less-picky adults. And, truthfully, I’m a work in progress. Five years ago I hated avocados (it was a texture thing), but now I eat them in pretty much every meal.

Will I ever try bone marrow or sheep brains or pate? Probably not. But that’s okay. The point isn’t to be the most adventurous eater out there. It’s to eat a diet that’s well-balanced enough for you to get all of the nutrients you need. Technically living without ever eating truffles is still living. For serious.

There are two ways to deal with picky eaters. 1. Feed your kid whatever you eat so they get used to a variety of tastes. That’s the easy way.

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2. If you already have a picky eater on your hands, number 1’s not going to work. Unless you want to clean your floors with asparagus spears. Here’s what you do: Nothing.

Maybe this flies in the face of every parenting book—I did warn you that I don’t have kids—but being a picky eater isn’t like, oh I don’t know, not eating at all. Find some nutritious foods your kid will eat and make sure he or she eats them.

They’ll come around on their own. I promise. Tastes change as we age. It does for people who love everything and it does for picky eaters.**

Another thing, take that picky eater to the store, and ask them what they want. Yes, there’s a good chance you’ll leave with five boxes of mac ’n’ cheese, but they may discover something new. For me, it was fruit. As much as I hated trying new foods, I was on a mission to try every exotic fruit out there. So whenever we went to the grocery store, my mom bought me some. Focus on the healthy things your kid will eat.

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And, if all else fails, pay them off. I ate calamari for $20 and have loved it ever since.

Are you a picky eater? What’s one thing you’ll never, ever eat?

*I get a bad stomachache when I eat these. (And now garlic also makes me flare.) I thought it was just me, my mother, and my sister, but I recently read that onions and garlic share a compound called allicin. Some people online say they’re allergic or intolerant to the compound, and I’m starting to think that may be behind the pains I get after accidentally eating some.

**I know people who are Andrew Zimmern clones but hate tomatoes or lima beans or some other food I love. We all have foods we don’t like. It’s a matter of taste. So go easy on a kid who swears five ways till Tuesday that he’ll never, ever, not in a million years eat onions. Maybe his taste will change or maybe he’ll be 29 and still picking the onions out of his salsa.

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May 23, 2011   36 Comments

Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse

I thought I’d talk about something real today, but instead I’ll just let the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention* do it for me. (Click to enlarge each section.)

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CDC2

CDC3

Excuse my while I pack my zombie repellent.

How will you survive the zombie Apocalypse?

Also, check out my guest post on Healthy Living Blogs: How to craft a great disclaimer statement. I promise funny animations.

*For the original disaster preparedness article (and, no, I’m not making this up) click here. Hey, at least the folks over at the CDC have a sense of humor.

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May 20, 2011   11 Comments

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