Saturday, January 24, 2015

Disordered drinking.

When is the last time you've gotten together with friends to watch football over a couple beers? Grabbed a few drinks after work with colleagues for happy hour? Attended a wedding reception with an open bar at your disposal? I'm sure you had a few cold beverages over Christmas and New Years celebrations? 

Drinking has become the norm when placed into social situations. While some are willing and able to keep it to a manageable number of drinks, others let it spiral out of their control.

Let's talk about addiction. They say it runs in families; a hazy mixture of genetics, exposure, and environment. I'm scared it will become me; afraid for my future kids, and their kids that come after. But it doesn't have to be this way. My genes are not my destiny and it's time to break the vicious cycle.
When I was home, my mom and I drank a glass or two a night to wine down (excuse the pun) after a long day. We had a fully stocked wine fridge at our exposure with a seemingly never ending supply of our beverage of choice. But it couldn't just be one glass, and before I knew it half the bottle would be gone.

A few days before I left for Australia, my mother left a pamphlet out for me titled "Wine addiction."  I got oddly defensive at this not-so-subtle jab at my habits. I become accusatory instead of accepting the problem: "Mom, I drink as much as you do! Are you saying I have an addiction? Then you must to!"

I would call my boyfriend and get in petty arguments, simply because I had been heavily drinking. The next day, he would gently point out how scary it was that I couldn't recall the course of events after a long night out on the town. I refused to consider this a blackout as my memory slowly returned to me and I pieced the night back together. What fun is having a night you don't remember?
I have an anxious soul of the worst kind, and tend to turn to wine to alleviate stress. I use it as a means to escape, relax, and reward myself after a long day of work. I ironically find myself feeling anxious if I am not able to drink for more than a few days at a time. I am finally admitting to myself that I am becoming reliant on alcohol to self-medicate. 
To make matters worse, wine is becoming glamorized in the media for women. We watch Hoda and Kathie Lee give a sloppy presentation every Winesday Wednesday. For many women, wine o'clock becomes a dangerous compulsion.

It's not like I ever drink during the day or by myself, so I'm fine right? I write it off to being a recent college graduate where binge drinking was the norm. I try to justify my actions. That's the behavior of an addict.

One of the primary differences between alcoholics and non alcoholics is that those without the disease, change their behavior to meet their goals while alcoholics change their goals to meet their behavior. I'm ready to do the former. 

Drinking in excess is unhealthy. I realize, it's time for a change. Coming from a family where addiction is prevalent, I want to commit the month of February to an alcohol detox. There are a plethora of healthier alternatives out there to relieve my stress. I plan to turn to yoga or tennis when I get that inevitable craving for a glass of vino.



It's a disease, like getting bitten by the vampire, he can't help it, it's not a choice," mama reminds me about my little brother, day in and day out. Consider heart disease, the leading cause of death in the developed world. It's partly due to genes and partly due to poor life style choices such as bad diet, lack of exercise, and smoking. Current addiction research shows that 50% of addiction tendencies are attributable to genetic predisposition. That's a high proportion, but it still leaves half of the equation up to you. 

I am taking on the FebFast challenge to enjoy not only 28 days of a healthier me, but all in the name of a cause near to my heart. Resisting my own cravings is a tiny insight into what people with serious addiction issues go through every day.

Youth Drugs + Alcohol Advice (YoDAA) is a service which includes a resources, a 24 hour phone line, live webchat and email, al designed to talk to young people and those concerned about them. Since launching in 2014, YoDAA has helped over 10,000 kids, families, school teachers and social workers bridge the addiction gap.

I would be honored to have your support. You can  join my team and take on a detox of your own (alcohol, fast food, sugar, social media, or smoking) or donate in my name. Help me reach my goal of $400 by the end of February!

Cheers to sobriety! Catch me sipping on a soda water and lime at a local bar near you!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Embracing Positivity + $$$ Giveaway

I'm Ali from over at Thirty and a Half where I blog about my life as a single, twenty something girl living in my newly renovated loft apartment.
Recently, I got the opportunity to attend an amazing event that truly changed my life. To set the stage, I am have been an Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant for a little over 3 years. When I started my business I was a junior in college and had recently been let go from an internship. I was also single, after recently ending an on again, off again relationship for good. I was having a serious identity crisis and questioning what I was doing with my life. I was at a very low point and needed to be in a more positive atmosphere.

Anyway...it was events like this one that I joined for. The main goal of this event was to create the vision for some big goals and records that our unit is attempting to break over the next six months.

The first special moment for me was finding out that I am the second runner-up in the court of sharing, which means that I am one of the top people in our unit that has blessed other people with this opportunity.

Court of Sharing

But one of the other extremely special moments for me, was our praise breaks. At all of our corporate events we have dance breaks with upbeat, empowering music. However, at this small unit event, we had praise breaks to affirm each woman in the room. I was actually the first person in the room that got affirmed by the other women in the room. That also meant that I was the first person to ugly cry because of the amazing things that people said about me. And these are just a few of the things that my friends said:
//smile
//always shows up
//love for others
//wonderful friend
//going up to people to uplift them
//you are special
//keep on pressing
//love you and you are mighty
//momentum builder!

Having these things said to me, especially from women that I truly respect meant the world to me. I am so grateful that this amazing woman stepped into my life because it has definitely been changed for the better.

To hear more of my story, hop on over to Thirty and a Half :) 

Giveaway time!
oh lawdy. after a much needed hiatus of group giveaway fun in december...we're back with some mula burning holes in our pockets.

on another note...aside from purchased plane tickets for a wedding in february, i haven't done any random/boredom spending all of january!

no amazon 1-click shopping. none of the baby gap 40% off sales sucked me in. and i have to say, my farmer has appreciated not seeing packages stacked outside our front door. a big pat on the back for me.

but, if you are ready to spend some cash (like me), and you enjoy the following:
  • money
  • finding new blogs friends
  • looking at pretty faces
  • entering giveaways
  • clicking links
  • etc. etc. etc.
...you know the drill. visit my friends below. fall in love. get entered to win.

hannah | shane
karli | mar
lauren | rebekah
lindsay | amy | sara | karisssa
if you would like to get in on february's group giveaway action, click HERE to see your options!


Monday, January 19, 2015

Operation Beautiful v.39

Button
 As expected, I received overwhelming interest in my Operation Beautiful project. Thus, the showcase will roll out three lovely ladies each Monday as long as I receive entries.

This project is to make you think, ponder, appreciate the simple things about yourself, that add up and make you truly beautiful. The smaller qualities that you adore about yourself, like your lips or eyes, that make you feel pretty on the worst of days.

This project is about your talents, your secret hidden abilities, your amazing personalities. Those quirks which make you, uniquely you. And, I sincerely hope that after you read through the finished product to discover how these other ladies feel about themselves, you can spend the rest of the day, sincerely feeling great about yourself.

If you feel vulnerable, insecure, or hesitant to send in an entry, don't be! We're in this together. It will hopefully make you realize a few things about yourself. This will by far be one of my favorite posts I'll ever do on this blog, and I won't even write it, you guys will. Take it away ladies!

I feel most beautiful when I feel most beautiful in the orning after I put on make-up. My husband always says, "Well hello pretty lady." I may or may not bat my lashes so he notices but that's neither here nor there. I feel pretty :)

My favorite physical feature is my...I happen to think my eyes are pretty. They are blue and I love wearing eye makeup to make them "pop."
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...I think that I am pretty understanding. I try to see both sides of every story and try even harder to see the sunny side of any situation. Call me an optimist if you like, but I think there is always something to be thankful for, even when it doesn't seem like it at first!

I'm happiest when...I'm in sweatpants, on the couch with my husband and cat, eating pizza, drinking beer and either watching a movie or on the phone with family members. That's if I'm in Chicago.

If I could be anywhere, I'm happiest with my family in the basement of my house in Lancaster, Ohio. Sweatpants, couch, husband, pizza and beer are part of the scenario as well."
I feel most beautiful whenI'm with my twinster Lydia. Both physically and non-physically, I think we bring out the best in each other and it's always when I feel my lightest, brightest, and most content.
My favorite physical feature is my...Would probably have to go eyes. And having someone in the world who is aaalmost identical to me, that's pretty cool.

Something non-physical that I love about myself is...Sarcastic nature and sense of humour, combined with being a genuinely nice person  who wants to make the world a better place. 
I'm happiest when... I'm making people laugh, at the beach, or eating and drinking with my favourite people. Combine all three and I'm basically delirious.

I feel most beautiful whenI'm just being myself. I usually am shy but when I get comfortable and when I let people see the real me, that's when I feel the most beautiful.
My favorite physical feature is my... My eyes and my nose. My eyes can sometimes reflects my real mood. You can tell I'm sad through my eyes even though I'm smiling and it smiles with me when I'm laughing. 
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...the ability to find beauty in everything. I appreciate everything that I encounter and always find the good thins about it.
I'm happiest when... I make other people happy. I always thought I'm funny and when people laugh at something I said, I feel great. And when I put a smile on someone's face or make their day, that's when I feel happiest.
Interested on being featured in future roounds?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fall in love with someone who inspires you

Is it true what they say? Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Distance makes the heart grow crazy. 

A year ago, I met the most amazing boy. He was ambitious, adventurous and generous; more attractive than even his looks would prove. I knew I was leaving for a year in Australia in a few short months and was hesitant hell bent on staying single. I was ready to explore a whole new country, unencumbered. 

Lo and behold, this boy swept me off my feet. He asked me to be his girlfriend shortly after the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve and would not take no for an answer. This all sounds magical, but he and I were soon to be 15,000 miles away from perfect.

For the first few months abroad, I held him at an emotional distance, afraid to leave myself vulnerable to the pain of the physical distance and 16 hour time difference. I failed to hold up my end of the relationship and eventually ended things to be fair to him. 

But one day, I woke up feeling something was missing. My heart felt less than whole. I no longer heard the voice or saw the smile that lit up even my darkest of days. I quickly realized I couldn’t let such a great person slip away. 

After six months apart, this boy flew across the globe for three weeks of exploring Australia and New Zealand with me. Traveling with your significant other is such an eye opening experience. You see the very worst of each other, but uncover the very best as well. 


I encourage you to fall in love with someone who inspires you; breathing life into the depths of your soul and renewing your faith in happily ever afters. 

I am so lucky to have someone who challenges me to step outside of my comfort zone and soak up all this crazy world has to offer. He inspires me to be an all-around better person. To push myself in my values, my passions, and my relationships; to shatter boundaries I never even knew existed.
In love, you deserve a passion that awakens your inner being and entwines your two hearts into one. You deserve a love that isn’t easy, yet you grow through your battles and learn to brave them together. You deserve to never doubt for a single second that the future consists of you together.

There is something particularly beautiful about the one willing to love us despite our brokenness. When you find someone willing to stick with you through your crazy (from across the globe!), hold onto them with all of your heart.
The truth is, there are far too many things we settle for in life: the subpar job in the ideal city, the cheaper yet practical dress, the healthier but blander meal at a restaurant. Love should never be one of these things. Unless it's mad, passionate, extraordinary love, it's a waste of your time.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Operation Beautiful v.38

Button
 As expected, I received overwhelming interest in my Operation Beautiful project. Thus, the showcase will roll out three lovely ladies each Monday as long as I receive entries.

This project is to make you think, ponder, appreciate the simple things about yourself, that add up and make you truly beautiful. The smaller qualities that you adore about yourself, like your lips or eyes, that make you feel pretty on the worst of days.

This project is about your talents, your secret hidden abilities, your amazing personalities. Those quirks which make you, uniquely you. And, I sincerely hope that after you read through the finished product to discover how these other ladies feel about themselves, you can spend the rest of the day, sincerely feeling great about yourself.

If you feel vulnerable, insecure, or hesitant to send in an entry, don't be! We're in this together. It will hopefully make you realize a few things about yourself. This will by far be one of my favorite posts I'll ever do on this blog, and I won't even write it, you guys will. Take it away ladies!




I feel most beautiful when I'm happy and healthy. When I've been taking care of my body by exercising and eating healthy and my pain level is minimum.

My favorite physical feature is my...
My eyes and hair (when its done). I have ocean blue eyes that I got from my mother and long blonde hair that I love so much when I actually do it :)
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...That I can cheer others up and help them feel loved even when I'm not in the best mood and don't feel particularly loved myself. That I can talk to anyone and listen to them no matter their age.

I'm happiest when...I'm surrounded by those I love and everyone is at peace with one another. There is no fighting just laughter. And if we just happen to be at the beach when this occurs its even better!

I feel most beautiful whenI'm wearing lipstick, having a fun night with friends, completing a hard task and finish it successfully, or am dancing around my apartment in just my bra and underwear. 
My favorite physical feature is my...Curves.  After years of wishing I were smaller, I'm learning to embrace them.
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...I'm an amazing listener.  I think it makes me a good friend and an even better teacher.
I'm happiest when... I'm an amazing listener.  I think it makes me a good friend and an even better teacher.


I feel most beautiful whenI am all sweaty. Gross I know, but since I am loosing weight. I feel most beautiful after a hard work out and I can see all my sweat because I know that with this sweat I am burning off the pounds and becoming healthy. 
My favorite physical feature is my... skin. I apparently have really amazing skin. Or that is what random strangers have told me many times. True story. I have been very lucky to never have major acne and hardly ever get pimples. So since I struggle with my weight I am happy I don't have to worry about zits too. 
Something non-physical that I love about myself is...my sense of humor. I don't know if that is cocky to say, but I think I am a funny person. Or at least 50% of the time I am a funny person. All I know I just hope it translates in my writing. 
I'm happiest when... I am with my puppy. I have a goldendoodle who will be 3 on September 27th and he can just make me smile no matter what has happened that day. Though also these days finally graduating from college in a few weeks is a close second.

Interested on being featured in future rounds?

Friday, January 9, 2015

When you give a 6 year old the camera...

Expect her to take some pretty epic photos.

It feels like the blog-osphere begins to die down come Friday, then trickles off on Saturday, with far less posts than Monday through Thursday. My quick fix? A rules free, anything goes link-up! Link-up your plans for the weekend, tutorials, giveaways. The best part? You can come back and link-up the entire weekend until Sunday at midnight! Then have fun wandering with some new friends! Wanna be featured next week? Use code: PIMPME for 20% off
Whispering Sweet Nothings
 

Lauren @ Simply Free

 photo horizontalpic_zpsdabb7b06.jpgIf today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
Some place exotic with my family and friends with good food and good drinks! Community, laughter and conversation with the people I love.

If you could be any color in the crayon box, which would you be?
A hunter or kelly green. I love all the shades of green because nature is where I see the beauty of creation and the One who created it.

twitter // instagram // pinterest

Erin @  South to Southwest

If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
I would grab the hubby and our yellow lab, and we would head over the dealership and buy a new Range Rover.  Then we would all take the Rover to the beach and eat tacos from the taco stand and maybe some ice cream.  We'd walk along the beach all afternoon, and at night all our friends would come or a bonfire, which would include s'mores.

If you could be any color in the crayon box, which would you be?
I would be gold, because it is bright, shiny, and a little girly.  Plus, Husband tells me I have expensive taste. 
facebook // pinterest // bloglovin

Mar @ T.O. & Fro


If today was the last day of your life, how would you spend it? 
It would have to be a day outdoors with friends and family, and most likely in Alaska. 

If you could be any color in the crayon box, which would you be?
Definitely blue, the colour of water. I grew up on the shores of Lake Huron and from a young was drawn to water. I could spend hours on end in the water, which is what led me to pursue a degree in Marine Biology and learn to scuba dive. 

bloglovin // twitter// instagram