Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Revealed: a Comeback Trend for Fall 2016

When I saw what the trend was for fall this year, I was floored! No really. This is something I used to wear in the '90s. Although it was cool, especially when glitter was pasted on it, it was also HOT to wear. And I mean HOT in the sweaty sense.

Am I surprised it made a comeback? No. If high-waisted "mother pants" can make a fashion statement today, then ANYTHING can!
 
Here are a few pics of the newest - but old - fall fashion for 2016.
Hope you can guess what it is!!



THAT'S RIGHT!!!
VELVET everything.
 
Which is interesting because back in the day, we wore it like this:
 

In the 90's, I was in high school, and I had the velvet shirt, the black choker, and the babydoll dress. Two actually. I also remember running my fingers on the fabric making it darker if smoothed one way versus the other. And holy crap, NEVER EVER iron velvet. EVER!!! Or get it wet outside of the washer doing it. Or sweat in it. Or lift up your arms enough to expose your armpits. Or...
 
Now crushed velvet for a fashion trend?? That's a WHOLE other story!
 
Question to the Reader:: Did you still own something velvet? Think you'll buy back into the trend?
 
Come back Friday when I'll be discussing some Easy- Cheap Labor Day Ideas!!
 
 

Monday, August 29, 2016

My School Year FAILS

Although I'm thoroughly enjoying seeing my friends post photos of their kids' 1st day of school, I have yet to do so. Out here on the island, we don't start till September 6th!! It's sooooooo far away...

In the meantime, I've reflected on some big FAILS from last year that I didn't want to repeat. Some funny, some frustrating, and others just learning experiences. Hope these will help you in making the school year a total win-win. Or if anything, give you a good laugh at my expense!

MY BIG FAILS OF THE 2015-16 SCHOOL YEAR!!!
 
note the "not having it" attitude
1. Telling pre-teen daughter what to wear the 1st day of school in a...threatening manner. (uniform school and I wanted a dress while she wanted pants; worst 1st day pic ever)

2. Assuming homework is done by the time I'm home from work. (and then believing them when they swear it is because you're too tired to check. Hint: they're 40% right, always check check check)

3. Not paying attention to the fact 2nd daughter keeps wearing the same shoes (holes, people! Quickest way to wear them out and have you back at the shoe store.)

4. Brushed teeth/hair done by the time we rush to the car. (basically if you didn't see it, it didn't happen; the rule of kid hygiene)

5. Littlest boy, crumbs, and backpacks (let's not go there...)

6. Any of the kids, bananas, and backpacks (kill me now...)

7. When my middle school son states that the teacher said it didn't need to be turned in right away. (believe nothing; you hear me?? Nothing!!)

8. The start of explaining to pre-teen daughter that being annoying to her crush, or boys in general, isn't attractive. (glares, got lots of glares)

9. Telling daughter said crush is not allowed because he's annoying ME. (the ban has not been lifted as of yet even with said glares)

10. Reminding oldest he is to protect all siblings as an older brother (must not have repeated "protect" enough as he heard "discipline as a parent would")

Question to the Reader::: What are some of YOUR FAILS?

Well, GOOD LUCK out there parents! Let's make this new year as awesome as we can with lots of fun! Just think, I may be doing worse than you! Now, doesn't that make you feel better already??

Hope to see you Wednesday for the reveal on what trend made a comeback for Fall!!


Friday, August 26, 2016

Back to School Blues

It’s that time of year again. Social media will be flooded with back to school pictures of kids holding intricate chalkboard signs declaring their grade. Their hair is gelled and bejeweled, their clothes new and some kind of brand name. Moms everywhere load those sparkling kids up in their cars and drive them to school, singing We Are Family.

Probably.

And then there’s me. My kids will eat cereal. Because it’s too early to cook. My daughter and I will fight over her mismatched outfit. One of my children will not be able to find their shoes. The oldest child will need to be woken up at least three times. He will certainly insult me and probably swing blindly at me. Someone will probably spill something. And they will all leave their food out on the table, along with a generous scattering of crumbs on the floor.

There will be lectures. I may or may not forget to take pictures (it totally counts if you take the picture AFTER school. Or the next day. Really, sometime in the first month totally works). There will be strange sounds from upstairs—something that can only be described as a mixture of the intricate mating dance of a male ostrich and the death howls of a pack of hyenas. I decide not to investigate unless there’s smoke or blood.

My oldest child will probably miss the bus, and some way or another, it will be my fault. But they will all get to school. On time. With their teeth brushed, hair combed, and matching shoes on their feet.

Probably.


Amber Argyle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband and a two-year-old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people. Amber is the bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. She currently has completed two series and is working on a third. You can receive four of her books for free. Simply tell her where to send them, here's her website.



It was great getting to know Amber better this week! She put several things into perspective and showed us how to figure out what's most important and take care of it. My favorite quote from Amber this week:

"There are three things that are worth our constant efforts: working hard, being happy, and serving others. Everything else is just clutter." - Amber Argyle

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Cook Once, Eat Twice Lasagna

*I always prepare two pans of lasagna. One to cook, one to freeze.*

picture credit
Cook Once, Eat Twice Easy Lasagna
Prep: 20 min l Total: 1 hour, 35 min

2 lb. ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
2 containers of 15 oz cottage cheese
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped (or 1/3 cup dried)
2 jars (26 oz) spaghetti sauce
2 cups water
24 lasagna noodles, uncooked

Preheat oven to 350. Brown meat in a large skillet. Meanwhile, mix egg, 2 ½ cups of mozzarella cheese, the ricotta cheese, ½ cup parmesan cheese, and parsley until well blended; set aside.
Darin meat; return to skillet. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Add water to empty sauce jar; cover with lid and shake well. Add to meat mixture; stir until well blended. Spread 1 cup of the sauce onto the bottom of two 13X9 pans; top with layers of 3 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta cheese mixture, and 1 cup of sauce. Repeat layers twice. Top with remaining 3 noodles and the remaining meat sauce (4 total layers). Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Cover with greased foil. Write bake time and temp. on one pan’s foil and put in the freezer (to bake, go directly from freezer to 325F oven for about 2-2 1/2 hours ).

Bake 45 min. Remove foil; bake an additional 15 min. or until heated through. Let stand 15 min. before cutting to serve. Makes 12 servings, 1 piece each.


Amber Argyle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband and a two-year-old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people. Amber is the bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. She currently has completed two series and is working on a third. You can receive four of her books for free. Simply tell her where to send them, here's her website.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Healthy Sense of Pride

This week we welcome Amber Argyle to the House! She's got advice, an awesome recipe, and fun, relatable beginning of school woes... I hope you'll join us as she shares this week!

All my life, I have been taught two contradictory ideas. One from my church: beware of pride, because it proceeds the fall (meaning your downfall). The other from my school: have pride in myself, my appearance, my team. I didn’t understand how pride could be both a good and bad thing. The question continued to morph as my life changed. Was it bad that I had such swelling feelings of pride in my son’s kindness? Or my best time at a 5K (32 minutes, with steep hills, if you must know)?
www.kevinspear.com
This seeming oxymoron came to a head when my career as an author finally began to take off. After years of struggle, I was finally making good money, my books were well-received, and I was respected by my peers. I was proud of myself. Of how far I’d come and how much I’d accomplished. Was that wrong? Was I doing something wrong?

And then everything changed. My income dropped by a third from one year to the next. And then dropped by a third the year after that, even though I had more than doubled the amount of books I had for sale. I began looking around at other authors (granted, there weren’t many) who were still succeeding, despite the indie market crash. I buckled down, wrote more books, and released them faster. I had a strict deadline and often pulled ten hours five to six days a week.

It didn’t work. My sales continued to hover right around unimpressive. I was devastated. I’d worked so hard, sacrificed so much, and I tasted success. And then it was gone.

For what had to be the 100th time, I wondered if it was time to quit. Get a real job with a steady paycheck. But I still loved creating stories. It was the schedule that was killing me. And maybe not making fantastic, life changing money was a blessing. Because I was free to stop. Or at least go to half-time. Free to say yes to lunch dates with friends or a spontaneous trip to visit family for a week. Free to add working out back into my schedule. Free to help others who need a meal or a cookie or a pair of strong arms to move boxes or wipe tears.

It was around this same time that I found a quote by C.S. Lewis and I finally understood. “Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man . . . It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.”

The danger of pride is comparing yourself to those above or below you: “I wish I could be more like them!” or “I’m so much better than them!”. Neither is fair to you or the other person. The key for me was that even if that comparison was (mostly) to myself, it was still harmful.

I’m not making the money I was before. And that doesn’t change my intrinsic worth one bit. It never did. There are three things that are worth our constant efforts: working hard, being happy, and serving others. Everything else is just clutter.


Amber Argyle graduated cum laude from Utah State University with a degree in English and physical education, a husband and a two-year-old. Since then, she and her husband have added two more children, which they are actively trying to transform from crazy small people into less crazy larger people. Amber is the bestselling author of the Witch Song Series and the Fairy Queen Series. She currently has completed two series and is working on a third. You can receive four of her books for free. Simply tell her where to send them, here's her website.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Sometimes I get a good feeling - Video Scrapbook tips

Today on Friday Free Day, I'm sharing some advice about digital scrapbooking...

I love making scrapbooks! But I limit myself to special occasions for all the time they take. My oldest son is about to graduate from high school, so you know this is a huge scrapbook opportunity. Unfortunately, scrapping has lost its steam, has anyone else noticed this? Plus, guys don't seem to appreciate them as much as girls... So instead of making a video/slide show AND a scrapbook, I'm making a VIDEO SCRAPBOOK.

And as I put it together, I thought I'd share some BACKGROUND tips to add TEXTURE...
Take pictures (closeups are great!) or Scan items to use for backgrounds. These things make the scrapbook that much more personal than just googling a background (which I also do). Here are my examples:

My guy loves baseball - I also have baseballs, a bat, grass, the baseline, the fence...

and sunflower seeds!

beads are a fun, colorful background - as well as crayons, legos, even post-its!

I love 3-D cards and keep special ones, like this one! (scanned it!)

Felt is svelt! I scanned these too!


Our team is the Grizzlies - so I scanned this shopping bag!

I also took pics of favorite stuffed toys, baby blankets, his trophies, stuff hanging on his walls... Lots of memories, now digitally immortalized to his favorite music!

Have you ever made a video scrapbook? 
Any advice for this weepy mom? *sniff, sniff*

Have a great weekend wherever you may be!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Did I feel a drop?

I'm always trying to improve my health habits. You know the big 4...
  1. Eat better
  2. Sleep more
  3. Exercise
  4. Drink water
Most of them come and go, though I do try to be aware and I come up with great strategies to help myself toward these goals of a healthier lifestyle.

Lately, I've been focusing on drinking more water. Here's my plan:
  • no coffee after lunch
  • only 1 diet soda a day, if any
  • the rest is water
But plain old water is plain old boring! So I decided to try some add-ins, or squirt-ins! And they are really helping me enjoy drinking water, a lot!

Do you have any tips for healthier living? I could use all the help I can get!

Monday, August 15, 2016

Can you feel me? #DIY felt tab fixes!

After such awesome guest posts the last two weeks, I FEEL pretty lame giving you my little old felt tab advice - but, it's my week and that's what I got!

I love these little guys.

They come in handy a lot around my house...
replacing tabs that fall off my ipad and other devices and appliances...

helping tiles and signs stay up, instead of hanging them...

just a little tab can keep a door from slamming - and make a quiet shut...

and my hub's favorite use, to keep pictures from scratching the wall!

And those felt tabs come in all sizes. They sell bigger ones to put on the bottom of chairs and I used a couple of those to replace the feet on my crock pot!

Sharing little ideas like this makes me feel all warm and fuzzy!

Happy Monday! And happy first day of school!

Friday, August 12, 2016

This is Strength

A few months back, a neighbor of mine was talking about her job as a personal trainer. She said something I’ll never forget: Beauty is not a flat stomach. It’s not smooth skin or great hair or a perfect figure. Beauty is strength.

I’ve never considered myself a courageous person. I sit on the edge of fear most of the time. No scary movies, no haunted houses… even doing everyday things like driving down a busy road or walking to the park scares me. But courage, and strength, can manifest itself in many different ways.

I have no qualms about telling people exactly how much I weigh. (292.6, for curious minds.) I don’t worry about sharing my pant size. (22) I make jokes often about how I dye my hair blonde to hide the many (MANY) gray hairs that have popped up, starting at age 26. The reason? It took me a long time to understand it, but sharing those things help. Not just me, but so many others.

When I decided on healthier and happier habits, I noticed that I often got discouraged by weight loss stories. All I saw were numbers. “Go from a size 16 to a size 8!” “She lost over 50 pounds in 6 months!” Numbers were my enemy. Numbers do not a beauty make.

So my number (292.6) means nothing to me. My size (22)? Nothing. You know what means something?

My smile.
(Oh, there it is ;) )

My relationships.

My strength.

For those of you who’ve read my entire week, first, thank you. And second, find those things that bring you happiness, that bring you joy, and that keep you strong.


Hugs and Love,
Cassie Mae

Cassie Mae is the author of a few hundred… okay, maybe not that many… books. Some of which became popular for their quirky titles, characters, and stories. She likes writing about nerds, geeks, the awkward, the fluffy, the short, the shy, the loud, the fun.

Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Once Upon A Time and The Flash. She can quote Harry Potter lines quick as a whip. And she likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree.

You can stalk, talk, or send pictures of Luke Bryan to her on her Facebook page

Thanks again, Cassie for sharing your journey to happiness, joy, and strength! You're a beautiful example!!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

This is Joy

Thank you to everyone who read my previous post, basically introducing my story to you :)

When I talk about happiness, I feel that the description is something felt deep within during moments that are lighthearted and fun. For example, happiness is losing that extra pound, getting that promotion, going on dates, or maybe getting some unexpected income. Life throws us a bone every now and again. It’s good to feel happiness.

But joy… I consider joy to be something that is much more valuable. It’s the quality that I fight for every day. I take comfort in the fact that joy does not require being happy one hundred percent of the time. Just as life throws us a bone, it also gives us challenges we are never ready for. To have something there to help us be happy in those times is what #projectgethappy is about.

After a steady five-pound-a-month weight loss, I stopped losing two months ago. At a standstill, I become frustrated, annoyed, angry even. But combined with all those emotions comes something even better—joy. Because I have been outright with my journey, candid about my weight, I have people to lean on and turn to for encouragement. Also, I’ve learned to lean on myself. Sure, I am at a standstill, but I am beautiful. I am strong. I’m all kinds of wonderful, really ;) These are things I never would’ve thought about myself before.

Joy is something that warms your soul when there is nothing else to keep it brightly lit. Joy is gaining a pound, but knowing how beautiful you still are. Joy is writing 10,000 words that your editor advises that you delete, and you do it knowing it’ll make the story better. Joy is getting fired and having someone to hold you while you worry about how to pay next month’s rent.
Hold onto your joy. It is the key ingredient to any weight loss journey.

Hugs and Love,
Cassie Mae

Cassie Mae is the author of a few hundred… okay, maybe not that many… books. Some of which became popular for their quirky titles, characters, and stories. She likes writing about nerds, geeks, the awkward, the fluffy, the short, the shy, the loud, the fun.

Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Once Upon A Time and The Flash. She can quote Harry Potter lines quick as a whip. And she likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree.

You can stalk, talk, or send pictures of Luke Bryan to her on her Facebook page

Monday, August 8, 2016

This is Happiness

Another wonderful guest is joining us this week - CASSIE MAE! She'll be sharing POSITIVITY with us. We could all use more of that!


I’d like to thank the lovely ladies here for the invitation to crash their party for a few days. When I was asked to talk about my weight loss journey, I was honestly at a loss for words, and I find myself feeling that way again typing this, so I hope that what I really mean to say comes out in a way that makes sense.

2015 was a rough year for me. It wasn’t so much my weight, though that was a contributing factor, as it was the fact that I felt so out of control. I fell into a hole I hadn’t realized I’d been digging for myself over the course of many years. Bad habits, including procrastination, laziness, emotional eating, and poor self-image buried me, and it was around this time last year that I hit rock bottom. And I sat there for many, many months.

I felt my entire world slipping away—relationships I’d established went neglected and uncared for, and the worst of it was that while I worried about it, it was not enough to change it. I holed up, kept my feelings (and lack of feelings) close to the chest, never wanting to admit out loud that I felt dank and dark much of the time. On the outside, I put up a wall, trying to make people laugh and hoping that no one saw through the fa├žade. Those closest to me were not fooled, and it took a long while before I admitted the problem—If I wasn’t toeing the line of depression, I was indeed sunk into its depths.

Admission is the first step to recovery. The moment I confided in someone (my husband), a tiny spark ignited somewhere deep within. Over time, and with open communication, that light expanded. Realization that this was more common than I’d ever thought, an idea formed—In January, I started #projectgethappy, a very open, honest, and public way of my journey to not only lose weight, though that was a big part of it, but to find things that would make me happy again.

What started as a solo project quickly grew, and I could not be more grateful. The people involved have inspired me on my low days, have offered encouragement, and have found a safe place to be honest as well. We’ve found that weight is only a number—one that does not matter, at that. My 300 pounds may be viewed as many different things: unhealthy, ugly, lazy… Or to some who weigh more, it is viewed as goals and smaller sizes. To me? My 300 pounds is strength, beauty, happiness.

Over the course of these posts, I will talk about what is truly important in any sort of journey—not the numbers on the scale or the amount of words written a day (if you’re a writer like me) or the times you’ve been asked for a second date. It all comes down in finding happiness, joy, and strength along the way.

Hugs and Love,
Cassie Mae

Cassie Mae is the author of a few hundred… okay, maybe not that many… books. Some of which became popular for their quirky titles, characters, and stories. She likes writing about nerds, geeks, the awkward, the fluffy, the short, the shy, the loud, the fun.

Along with writing, Cassie likes to binge watch Once Upon A Time and The Flash. She can quote Harry Potter lines quick as a whip. And she likes kissing her hubby, but only if his facial hair is trimmed. She also likes cheesecake to a very obsessive degree.

You can stalk, talk, or send pictures of Luke Bryan to her on her Facebook page

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Truth About Counting Calories

Yep, y’all get to hear from me one more time. If you haven’t seen the previous posts, I’ve been talking weight loss. Today I’m tackling the hardest subject, food.

When I started my first competition I did everything right, but I wasn’t losing weight as quickly as I had in the past. How on earth could I be religious about 1200 calories and only lose .8 of a pound in a week?

That’s when I came across this video.

I quickly learned what I put into my body mattered more than how much I put in, although that part was important, too.  I decided to try adding more fat, a lot more, and it did wonders to help take weight off. Weird, I know.

Here’s a basic overview of my meals on my strict days. I never exceed 1400 calories, even on days I worked out. I did have one cheat day a week where I ate whatever I wanted. You have to give yourself a break sometimes if you’re going to survive.

Breakfast: One Apple (usually a Pink Lady since they’re tart and sweet) and two tablespoons of peanut butter.

Lunch: Salad with one whole avocado on top (also any other veggies I wanted) with a yogurt dressing. I also had a half an ounce of cheese. I couldn’t be that strict.

Afternoon Snack: Usually about three in the afternoon I’d get shaky from my lack of carbs. No matter what other people tell you, some carbs are good for you. They just shouldn’t be your main staple. I’d have sprouted wheat toast or a non-sugary cereal.

Dinner: Anything low-cal that used either olive or coconut oil. Usually it was something with chicken or fish and lots of veggies. Carbs were either rice or potatoes, in moderation.

As promised, I’m going to pass along a few recipes for dinner that are good anytime, but especially while counting calories.

I’ll start with my favorite chicken or fish marinades, all are great for grilling:

Honey Marinade: ¼ cup Honey. ¼ cup Olive Oil. 1Tbs prepared mustard. 1tsp of curry powder or to taste. (Usually about 4 chicken breast halves)

Balsamic: Taken from The Biggest Loser cookbook. ¼ cup balsamic vinegar. ¼ cup low cal balsamic dressing (I use Newman’s Own.) Rosemary and black pepper to taste. Serve with grilled veggies coated in olive oil and salt & pepper

Asian: (not really a low-cal marinade, but not terrible when put on fish. I usually went without carbs when making this. It’s too yummy not to make.) Link here.
Potato Cauliflower Curry (pic from recipe link)

A few favorite all-vegetarian dishes:
Potato Cauliflower Curry
Grilled Chile Rellenos
Sweet Potato Crust Quiche

No matter what, the most important thing is to not give up! It takes a while for everybody to adjust to new eating. It took me three weeks to get over my chocolate cravings! And you know what? I felt so much better when I ate better. That’s more important than any pounds shed.


Thanks so much for coming over this week, Jennie! You inspired us and gave us great advice! I'll definitely try out those recipes and you've given me hope that I can count calories in a good way, I just need to eat more veggies. Come back any time!


Jennie Bennett is a hopeless romantic. Thankfully, her husband is willing to be cheesy now and again. It’s probably the reason they have four kids. When she’s not swooning over her favorite romantic television shows (Kdramas) she’s writing love stories. Well, in between changing poopy diapers. Her family currently resides in Houston, TX.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Weight Loss Competitions: Motivation for Healthy Living

Huge thank you to everyone who read my last post, and cheered me on! I’m happy to be back today and talking more about weight loss.

From my heaviest weight ever (at nine months pregnant) I lost a total of 51 lbs, mostly thanks to two separate weight loss competitions. These things are great for jump-starting healthy habits, and even better if you’re competitive like me, and looking to shed a few pounds.

Disclaimer: Losing weight didn’t change how I feel, or my bad relationship with food. I still feel like me, but I also feel better.

How it Works
Participants form a group (both of mine were on Facebook.) Each member pays in cash (I paid $20 for the first, and $10 for the second) And the winners get the payout. I made a total of $100 so not a bad return. There are winners for whoever has the most points (a daily checklist of good habits like drinking water and exercising) and whoever has lost the most percentage wise. I won the percentage both times. I also won on points the first time around, but one person can’t win both categories.
These competitions were inspired by the Lifetime Fitness challenge. If you’d like full details of the competition email me and I’ll send you the everything.

What Worked For Me
Not every body is the same. Not everyone is going to lose weight by keeping all the points. When I began the competition, I was rigid about my points. I’m glad I was, it freed me from my sugar addiction (it took a full three weeks to no longer crave it) and it started me running.

I never in my life thought I would become a runner, but now I can’t live without it. I didn’t feel that way until both competitions were over, a four month span.

It was hard. I didn’t lose very much weight in the beginning. I had to try and follow the book until I could figure out how to break the rules to my advantage. It got me thinking more about what I put in my body.

But here’s the most important thing you have to know before starting one of these: After the first competition, I was mess. I ate everything in sight. I didn’t exercise as much. I gained 8lbs in 4 weeks. The thing was over. I won. So that was that. But it wasn’t. That’s why I did the second competition.

The second time around, instead of being strict about points, I worked on balance. I found a way to not feel like I was starving all the time, and still lose weight. The key was in letting myself live a little on the weekends, then being military strict during the week.

I discovered that when I held back, I actually enjoyed the times I could indulge more. That, was the best gift I could’ve been given.

Come back for my next post where I’ll be talking about everything I ate on my strict days, and share a few recipes!


Jennie Bennett is a hopeless romantic. Thankfully, her husband is willing to be cheesy now and again. It’s probably the reason they have four kids. When she’s not swooning over her favorite romantic television shows (Kdramas) she’s writing love stories. Well, in between changing poopy diapers. Her family currently resides in Houston, TX.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Weight Loss Journey (more like a train wreck!)

I can't tell you how much I appreciate Jennie Bennett's posts this week! She's being brave, telling us about her struggles with weight, which I had no idea she had. She always looks fabulous! It's a very common struggle for so many of us. Thanks, JA.

So happy to be on the Really Real Housewives blog for my first time ever! Thanks for having me ladies. I’m not the type to mess around, so let’s get straight to it, yeah?

In Feb 2015 I found out I was pregnant with my fourth child, and it was freedom.

I had a bad relationship with food for a few months leading up to the pregnancy. Nothing new really, I’d been through periods of starvation-binge-starvation many times before.

Finally, I had an excuse to gain weight, and no one would judge me for it. I’d had three other kids before and never a problem losing the weight afterwards. I should have known from the start that was a dangerous road to go down.

The recommended weight gain for pregnancy is 25-30 lbs. I gained that in the first trimester.  Before anyone starts thinking that weight gain is different for everyone during pregnancy, I agree. However, with my other three children 25-30 lbs was natural. I didn’t have to monitor my diet or exercise, it just was.

Turning 30+ and a 4th child was the recipe for disaster, the weight wouldn’t stop. I knew 198 lbs didn’t seem like the end of the world to everyone, but it did to me. I was only two pounds away from my worst nightmare. I was anxious to have the baby so I wouldn’t have to face that number on the scale.

That’s right, my thinking was so messed up I wanted to have the baby for the sake of my weight. After he was born, I knew it still wouldn’t be easy. I was counting on it. What I didn’t count on was that nagging 30+ age thing.

Some weight came off naturally. About 15 lbs. I had gained 45 when I was pregnant. If I thought the self-loathing and my relationship with food was bad before, it was multiplied by nothing fitting.

30 lbs overweight is nothing to sneeze at, but I had no idea how it would change the way I shopped for clothes. I love shopping, I always have. The shops I loved weren’t made for 30 lbs overweight.

It was Feb 2016, and now none of my clothes fit, and I couldn’t buy the clothing I really liked. I was going to a concert and meeting up with lots of friends, and I really wanted a cute outfit. It took me days and too many hours to count to find something. It shouldn’t be that hard.

After the concert, I decided that was the final straw, and I had to do something to change. I was fortunate enough to find the solution in a weight loss competition, where I lost 51 lbs! Weight loss competitions aren’t the answer, but I think they’ve helped me come closer to finding that answer.  If you want to know more about what they are, come on back for my next post!


Jennie Bennett is a hopeless romantic. Thankfully, her husband is willing to be cheesy now and again. It’s probably the reason they have four kids. When she’s not swooning over her favorite romantic television shows (Kdramas) she’s writing love stories. Well, in between changing poopy diapers. Her family currently resides in Houston, TX.
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