Happy first day of kinder, my how you’ve grown.

It feels like just yesterday, my belly was your home.

When you first started preschool, I couldn’t believe it was time,

Our new routine went from two half days to three, then, overnight, it climbed…

In a blink, it was time I went back to work from part-time to full…

Adventures with you the first 3 years sure filled my heart and my soul.

I knew you were scared when we toured your first school,

because you were my little hip-hugging koala (and oh boy, was I was trying to play it cool).

The entire first year you clung to my side morning at drop-off with a plea…

“Please don’t go, Mama. I love you…one more huggie?”

Leaving you each time, I’d feel my chest gasping for air.

I knew you would shine as soon as I left, but boy, real life felt so unfair.

How could someone besides me keep you safe and secure?

But we both spread our wings, and just like that, age 3-5 went by in a blur.

Preschool turned to T-K, and now T-K into kinder.

How on earth are you turning 5 and in grade school?! Father Time, I’d like to beg to differ…

This weekend it finally hit me, you’re a toddler no more.

My sweet baby boy, it’s time for you to truly soar.

May you always remember that kindness is key;

Respect, manners, please, and thank you are all free.

Listen to your teachers and keep old and new friends,

If someone is hurting, may you always have a hand or ear to lend.

Strong girls are the future, and so are kind little boys,

Remember to stay true to your values amongst all the noise.

Hold your head high whether you win or you lose,

In order to grow, sometimes your ego will have to bruise.

And remember what we always say? There’s more to life than winning.

Although, trust me, I know, it won’t feel like that in the beginning.

This morning, as I got you ready, I shut my eyes for a second.

I wanted to freeze time; weren’t you just born, I reckon?!

Don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to see the man you become,

But sometimes it’s hard to let you fly since our party of two has always been a unit of one.

As I send you off to kindergarten, it’s a big day for me, as well.

Soon enough, your independence will grow, your strength will blossom, and AH! There’s that school bell…

You still timidly clung to my legs and gave me a big hug and a kiss.

Then a little boy from camp came up and said say hi, and off you both flew into big-kid abyss.

It’s so bittersweet watching you grow big and strong, inside and out.

But here’s to the days and years ahead where you keep teaching me what life is all about…

Love always wins, and so does honesty, chivalry, and hard work,

Through all my life memories and proud moments thus far, you’re truly the biggest perk.

I love you forever, my sweet little boy.

I hope you always fill others (and yourself) with things that bring you joy.

I’ll be right by your side to help pick you up if you stumble,

Here’s to you, here’s to kinder, and here’s to it always staying humble.

Being your mama is something I treasure,

and I hope you never stop saying, “I love you more, and I’ll love you forever.”

This year you will grow, and oh, so will I…

Now go spread your wings and fly so, so high.

Advertisements

I don’t know if you’re fancier than me and happen to be a crepe connoisseur, or if I’m the only one who has been living under an apparent rock not knowing crepes were so versatile and so easy (and really effing good, too). But, I’m guessing I’m not alone in this (because, hello, I blog about food and live for easy recipes, so can’t be the only one who’s been intimidated by homemade crepes?!). Plus, if you’ve come across this post, the little crepe babes I recently posted most likely brought you here to learn more…

First off – Did you know you can basically eat crepes for every meal? Seriously – breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner, dinner, dessert; the possibilities are endless, honestly.

They can be zesty, spicy, savory, sweet, or a combo of the two. They can be made super traditionally, or made with a modern twist, combining unique flavors and toppings (basically like FroYo, yeah?). They’re basically a unicorn of all.food.groups.

Recently, some friends of my other half were telling me about these things called a dosa…ever heard of them? I said, “Sounds like an Indian crepe?” Where I was enlightened that they were, in fact, basically a crepe’s cousin, and are basically a savory and crispy pancake.

dosa

Since I’m a millennial, (and if you’re reading this, you most likely are too), here’s the super scientific definition of what a dosa is (because, ya know, Urban Dictionary is a legit siting source, right?)

“A very thin, crisp pancake made of finely ground lentils (fermented batter). Think crispy, lightweight, savory crepe; often served with chutney, spiced vegetables, and a type of tomato-and-tamarind-based soup. Dosas are vegetarian.”

In all honestly, they actually nailed it, so the above description is pretty accurate AF.

So what does a dosa have to do with crepes and my recipes? The magical appliance I used; aka, my new fav kitchen gadget. And if I wasn’t told about dosas and this dope little gem that makes them, this recipe would not exist. (Read on)… 

crepe1

To start, crepes and dosa are made up of totally different ingredients, they both originated from different parts of the world (“Dosa is a typical part of the Southern Indian diet and popular all over the Indian subcontinent; from Southern India, to be exact”, Wikipedia, 2018), and they both have different toppings and fillings. But at the end of the day, they’re similar in consistency and purpose; a wrap-like doughy “pancake;” however, dosa is typically thinner and crispier due to its ingredients.

That being said, since I’m a “mom/food blogger” (who has no “real” cultural or professional training in my cooking abilities besides my toddler telling me he hates or loves his food; I’m just a mom who enjoys cooking – but, mostly making my pictures look pretty), when I Googled how to make a traditional Dosa, I was super intimidated. LIKE, HI, EVERY RECIPE CALLED FOR A *12-HOUR PREP TIME*. Excuse me, say what? The only thing I spend 12 hours on is worrying about something (anxiety, amiright?!).

So, being the mama/busy human I am who’s also recouping from an injury and keeping things basic AF right now, I told myself, “I’m going to make this dosa super mom friendly, fast, and non-traditional, while still tasting bomb AF; oh, and pretty, obvi.”

So, I realized I made a crepe; well, 9 of them. And I wanted to make it as pretty as possible and convince everyone in my family (including my 4 year old and crepe haters around me, that I could make the best dang little gem of a wrap/pancake possible). It wasn’t a dosa, but you’ll see how and why those still matter to me. Keep reading…(I promise there’s more pretty pictures).

Based on the photo above, it’s safe to say I’ve entered into the crepe world (and am quite proud I didn’t F them up like I assumed I would). So if I can make a crepe, you can make a crepe. Pinky promise…

So what was my secret? How did I outgrow my high school cooking class failures? This this dosa maker, creatively called DosaMaker (smart SEO; I see you, branding team).

crepe1

My past of breaking crepes in a frying pan and having them crumble when I tried to flip them (kind of like my well known “trick” of magically turning omelets into scrambles) didn’t boost my confidence that I could pull off a crepe. But, I wrote a recipe up, and boom – I shocked myself when I nailed it.

My first trial recipe was a homemade zesty onion, garlic, and herb crepe that I stuffed with rotisserie chicken, avo, homegrown tomatoes, jasmine parsley rice, and TLC. (I’ll blog that recipe soon when I’m not busy shoving it in my mouth before taking pictures). I’m so thankful I had a sous chef, because my arms currently resemble a t-rex.

You know how they say you know someone’s a food blogger because their food is always cold when they finally eat it? That they do it all out of sacrifice for the ‘gram? It’s true, so when we want to enjoy a meal and not photograph it, woah; mind blowing, I know.

Anyway, back to the recipes I DID style and write down measurements for…

Meet my new babies!!

Tanner requested a s’mores crepe, and I’m so glad he did, because…. THIS –

I also made peaches-n-cream, banana pecan, lemon blueberry, and strawberries and cream with mint.

Each crepe had the same base, a chocolate low-sugar batter that’s gluten-free and dairy-free. Here’s the recipe for the crepe base:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar or brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (non-melted)
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten-free flour
  • 3 eggs

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Add all wet ingredients to a Vitamix or other high-speed blender and blend until combined thoroughly.
  2. Add dry ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
  3. Add to blender / wet ingredients
  4. Blend until batter is thin and lump free. Add more water if necessary or batter thickens too much.
  5. Put batter into a bowl and cover.
  6. Put batter into the refrigerator and let sit for 30 minutes (this is necessary for the crepe consistency).
  7. After 25 minutes, prep your DosaMaker.
  8. If desired, lightly coat DosaMaker with avocado oil. It’s non-stick, so you don’t have to.
  9. Add about 1/3 cup of batter onto DosaMaker and let cook for 1.5-2 minutes.
  10. Remove crepe, set aside, fill with desired fillings / add toppings, and serve!

 

Info on the fillings + what I used:

For the s’mores crepe, I used marshmallow fluff, dairy-free Enjoy Life chocolate chips, crushed graham crackers, and marshmallows.

For the lemon blueberry crepe, I drizzled the crepe in fresh lemon juice, topped with lemon and orange zest + powdered sugar. (You could also glaze with icing made from powdered sugar, vanilla, and water).

For the banana pecan crepe, I topped with crushed pecans, almond butter mixed with cinnamon and vanilla extract, bananas, and topped with ground cinnamon.

For the peaches n creme crepe, I topped with fresh peaches, whipped yogurt, brown sugar, and cinnamon.

For the strawberries and creme crepe, I used organic strawberries and mint from our garden with dairy-free whipped cream, sprinkled with powdered sugar.

 

ps  This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own. 

 

Find more of my fav recipes by searching “recipes” or “cooking” at shelleyhopper.com (like these Rocky Road baked donuts).

Let’s talk mom-shaming and all the totally effed up things we say to eachother, ourselves, or overhear…

• • •

Photo by Ashley Gardner Photography

• • •

Must be nice to be a stay-at-home-mom; try having a ‘real’ job

Oh, you work full time? When do you spend time with you kid(s)?


Having a c-section is a cop-out of going through ‘real’ labor and childbirth.

Having a home birth is irresponsible and putting you and your baby in danger.


Breastfeeding is the only way to bond with your baby and give them the true nutrients they need; formula is poisoning your baby.

Breastfeeding is gross and takes away bonding time for dad and other family members.


Co-sleeping causes SIDS, is creepy, and teaching your child to be needy and less independent.

Co-sleeping is convenient for night-time nursing, means comforting a toddler scared of monsters or a bad dream, or helping give a sense of security through change.


Feeding your baby solids at 6 months is ruining your breastfeeding bond.

Feeding your baby solids at 6 months starts introducing foods they need to new vitamins and minerals and reduces food allergies.


Vaccinating is the only way to keep your baby safe from dangerous viruses and diseases.

Vaccinating is poisoning your child(ren) and causing developmental disorders.


Divorce screws up your child(ren) from having a ‘normal’ life and a ‘real’ family.

Divorce gives your child(ren) the chance to see a healthy, happy relationship and definition of marriage and gives you the chance to be free.


Being a single mom means you’re trashy and it’s your fault you’re divorced.

Being a single mom makes you strong AF; no one has a right to judge or gossip about why your marriage ended. It’s not your fault.


Pushing your religion and politics on your child(ren) is teaching them values and morals.

Teaching your child(ren) to be open-minded and make their own informed decisions on religion and politics gives them the freedom of choice and teaches them the power of research.


Having an abortion makes you a horrible human being.

Having an abortion makes you an incredible, strong woman who made the tough choice to make the right decision for your life and your future.


Putting a child up for adoption is an irresponsible disgrace.

Putting a child up for adoption means you are amazing for wanting your child to have a better life than you could provide.


Not having a uterus makes you less of a woman.

Not having a uterus does not define your womanhood.


Deciding not to have children makes you selfish.

You have no idea why some people cannot have children, and it’s not your place to judge if it’s due to medical complications or personal choice.


Raising kind humans means raising sensitive push-overs.

Raising kind humans means raising compassionate, empathetic, well-rounded children.


Living with family means you’re too lazy or not strong enough to do it on your own.

Living with family means you’re showering your child(ren) with more love, and yourself with more support.


Not losing your baby-weight means you don’t care about your appearance.

Having ten pounds of postpartum ‘fluff’ means you’re LIVING and care more about life than an Instagram photo.


Having a messy house means you are messy, unorganized, and lacking cleanliness.

Having a messy house means you care about making memories and spending time playing and being creative with your kid(s).


Having kids with a partner and not a husband or a wife means you don’t value marriage.

Having child(ren) and a relationship with someone who is not legally your spouse does not make you less of a family or a human.


Playing on your phone in front of your child(ren) is irresponsible and you’re ignoring them.

It’s amazing we live in a world where we can engage with our children and have part-time jobs while staying at home with them thanks to technology.


Going on anti-depressants or benzos for PPD, PPA or other mental health issues makes you weak and means you didn’t try hard enough to fix your issues ‘naturally.’

Admitting something doesn’t feel right and you need help for a disorder makes you a strong, responsible mom who deserves to feel like the best version of herself again.


Seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist means you’re ‘crazy.’

Going to counseling or seeing someone who went to med school to know how meds affect the brain makes you brave, courageous, and shows you are powerful, strong, and seeking change and growth.


Raising little boys who don’t play sports means you’re raising ‘pu%^ies’.

Raising little boys to be musicians or dancers or singers means you’re supporting their dreams and their talents.


You should teach little girls to play with dolls, like the color pink, cook, and be nurturing; don’t let them be too opinionated.

You should teach little girls to have a voice, let them be tomboys if they want, and teach them they truly can be and do anything.


YOU SHOULD JUST MOM THE BEST YOU KNOW HOW AND LET YOUR KIDS BE KIDS – in whatever forms that means to YOU.

STOP THE #MOMSHAMING.

These are ALL things I’ve personally been told or overheard.

WE ARE ALL DOING THE BEST WE CAN TO RAISE BABIES THE BEST WE KNOW HOW AND IN THE WAY WE FEEL IS BEST FOR OURSELVES AND OUR FAMILY.

Society, please just let us be.

Please just let us mom.

Please stop judging us, all of us, and all the ways we’re just trying to parent the very best we can.

We’ve all read the article claiming millennials “can’t afford to buy homes because they’re too busy buying avocado toast.”

And as a millennial, I say, actually, we can’t buy homes because they’re expensive AF and we don’t get paid enough to keep up with the price of living in today’s society.

Anyway – this post is about TOAST. And how although rent/home prices may be total shit in California, we have freaking GOOD avocados, so, we capitalize on them. For every meal. Plus, they’re loaded in healthy fats and omega-3s, so unless you have an allergy, you know you love them (or should).

When I moved away from Encinitas, I missed my friends first and the food second. Seriously – one of the biggest cons listed on my pro and con moving list was THAT LEUCADIA AND ENCINITAS FOOD THO. I love it. It’s me in a menu. It’s my spirit animal in a town. But, ultimately, family and best friends > food, so I’ve been crafting up all the foods I miss most from local beachside coffee shops, like avocado toast.

With that, here’s a few of my personal toast recipes that are favs among my friends and fam –

Use bread, gluten-free bread, or sweet potato slices as the base.

For all avocado toasts listed, I use my universal avocado homemade herb spread; the recipe is

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tablespoon dried chives
  • 1-2 teaspoon(s) Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel seasoning
  • Pinch of salt + black pepper
  • Pinch of paprika
  • Dash of onion powder
  • Mix like guacamole and use as your avocado spread.

Blackberry Herb Goat Cheese Avocado Toast with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds

  • Avocado spread
  • Organic blackberries
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds
  • Herb and chive goat cheese (use cashew cheese or leave out if vegan or dairy-free)
  • Drizzle a thick balsamic vinegar on top

Cherry Tomato and Marinated Onion Avocado Hummus Toast

  • Organic cherry tomatoes, washed and sliced with seeds removed
  • Marinated onions (sharing my recipe here soon)
  • Avocado spread
  • Hummus of choice
  • Optional – add goat cheese or sheep’s milk feta cheese
  • Optional – top with freshly ground pepper or Trader Joe’s Everything Bagel Seasoning and chives

Almond Butter Strawberry Banana Toast with Honey and Cinnamon

  • Almond butter or cashew butter (use sunflower butter if you need to avoid nuts due to allergy or preference)
  • Sliced banana
  • Sliced organic strawberries
  • Top with organic ground cinnamon and drizzle with local raw honey

Dear Single Mama,

I see you doing everything – literally everything – with all your heart and all your will…

Photo by Erica of EBC Photos

Nursing all night or warming up bottles. Doing each diaper change, outfit swap, kitchen cleaning, toilet scrubbing, meal prepping and cooking, lunch box packing, dog walking and pooper-scooping (little human(s) and fury friends)…

I see you doing every pre-school drop-off and pick-up, getting your little one to and from activities, play-dates, chaperoning field trips when you can or leading carpools to and from soccer/dance/football/karate/girl-scouts/boy-scouts. I see you helping with homework after a long day at work when you’re exhausted but still hands-on being your little one’s number one tutor and fan.

I see you having to call out sick from work one too many times to stay home with a sick baby or toddler because it’s just you at home. I see you trying to balance it all, and you are doing a freaking incredible, amazing job.

Because whether you’ve been a single mom from the start of your pregnancy, or you experienced the loss of your significant other, or went through a divorce and/or an intense custody battle, or got walked out on, left to fend for yourself and your cub, you are a mother. and a damn good one. 

I know some days are SO hard. So exhausting. Seem to never end or go by way too fast.

I know the loss of a spouse, physically or emotionally, is one of the hardest things to go through as a human, as a woman, and as a mother. But you are still here. Your kids are fed and kind and smart and talented. And so are you.

Whatever you’ve been through that got you on this road called “single parent” avenue, you are navigating it with such grace, courage, and strength.

So, single mama, please know you are so loved, cherished, and appreciated; whether it’s through the eyes of your best friends, your family, and/or your little one(s), they see you, too.

Everyone sees how hard you work to provide, to educate, to be there – ALL IN. Night after night and day after day. Even when you don’t see it in yourself; others most definitely do.

I know some days you will question your sanity, this life, and how you got here. But please know that even in your darkest hour, you are so bright and such an incredible human and mama.

Whether you’re in the midst of custody or into a new season of single mamahood healing after the loss of a partner and/or divorce, you will get through this. As the quote goes, “A ship is safe in the harbor, but that’s not what ships were built to do” by William Shedd, the same goes for your journey of motherhood and co-parenting and/or single parenting.

Adjust your sails, face the winds, and grab your compass and your heart. You will get through the stormy seas and feel sunshine again. You will learn that as each day passes, you are stronger than the day before. You will learn to let the wall you’ve built so strong and so tall down a little when needed. You will learn to love again, trust again, and truly believe that you are where you’re meant to be and that everything happens for a reason.

Don’t be afraid to be sad. Don’t be afraid to cry. Don’t be afraid to get angry.

Learn to be vulnerable.

Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and your family for support.

Learn to ask for help and trust that people want to actually be there for you.

Don’t be afraid to read 12387 articles on single parenthood so you can relate to someone.

Learn you are not alone.

Don’t be afraid to get into therapy and join a support group.

Learn to navigate and express your feelings; be open to freeing yourself from your past.

Don’t be afraid to try meditating, acupuncture, or breathing exercises for stress relief.

Learn that you need to take time for yourself.

Don’t be afraid to TREAT YOURSELF.

Learn to budget and save where you can; go see a financial advisor. But, also make time to invest in self-care; schedule a massage, mani/pedi, facial, go out just “because”, or attend your favorite concert if you can plan ahead.

Don’t be afraid to get back into the dating scene when it feels right; let your hair down and get dolled up, because, you deserve it.

Learn to let your guard down (when and if you’re ready).

But also, don’t be afraid to hide from the world if that’s what you need right now (big fan of Katy Perry “Grace of God” as an anthem to cry it out in a closet or blast in the car).

Learn that being a single mom isn’t easy, but you won’t feel so stuck forever.

Don’t be afraid to be the best mama you know how to be, simply by doing what feels right and when.

Learn to have faith in yourself and your situation.

Don’t dwell too much on your past, and stop focusing on your flaws or questioning how and why you got here…

Learn to let things go (in time) and trust that everything happens for a reason.

Remember a healthy happy woman is a healthy happy mama who can raise healthy happy babes.

I see you single mama, because I’m in your shoes.

I know how it feels to want to rip the eyeballs out of anyone who says “OMG it was so hard to be a ‘single/solo mom’ it when my husband was gone on a work trip!” (Because, how dare they even think that’s the same thing as being an actual single mama?!)

Being a single mom typically means not having a partner to come home and ask you about your day, tell you they’re proud of you, help you live off a two-income pay check, help you run errands or watch the baby/kids, cook a meal for you, or emotionally support you via texts and phone calls throughout the day or after a sleep regression.

I know how hard it is to go through the rollercoaster of change, grief, loss, anger, pain, feeling alone, facing heartbreak, stress, tears, anxiety, depression, trauma, the quest to seek “balance”, and all the sleepless nights tossing and turning causing over-exhaustion.

I know how it feels to ask WHY and HOW.

I know how some days life seem so unfair and painful and like everything was taken away from you in the blink of an eye (no matter how many warning signs there may have been leading up to divorce or separation). But I also know how beautiful it is to have a special one-on-one bond with your babe(s) and to let go, move on, and heal. Because YOU deserve it, first and foremost.

And I know there are bright days ahead where you look back on this chapter and say “I did it.” You’ll look back and see how many obstacles you faced, but you still kept going. You’ll look back and see all the sacrifices you made, but see how they paid off.

You’ll look back and say I AM STRONG. I AM CONFIDENT. I AM LOVED. and this was just a page out of my book that’s not done being written yet. 

xo, Shelley

PS – want more single mama support? You can find more stories of single mamahood here and in the following articles:

“10 Ways to Kill It As A Single Mom”

“What Single Moms Want to Tell Their Friends but Never Would” 

“Living the Simple Life: I Already Have My ‘Epic Adventure’ Right Here at Home” 

PPS – Happy National Single Parent’s Day (March 21st)

You see, the beauty about today’s girls is they can dream to become whoever and whatever they want to be.

They work hard, they laugh, they learn, they adapt and they evolve.

They embody a strength and fight within them that can move mountains and shape futures.

They become women who lead fiercely, have a voice, and honor and nourish their bodies and souls.

Your version of womanhood all started somewhere, as a little girl…

Who played Barbies and volleyball and with American Girl dolls – who played soccer and was in Girl Scouts, and went on adventures in the fields with lizards and frogs barefoot in the creek.

Who won spelling bees and science fairs and went to State in sports.

Who rode mountain bikes and played in the dirt and refused to wear anything but Sporty Spice ponytails.

Who chose to dress like a tomboy all of middle school because it was who you wanted to be.

Who got grounded for lying and had to take a quarter back to the Bird Store for stealing it out of a fountain.

It started by driving a 1990 Ford F-150 aka chastity belt 😹

It all started being raised with morals and values and being encouraged and told to stand up for yourself yet be kind, empathetic, and put yourself in other’s shoes.

It meant being nice to the kid who wore wolf shirts in high school and sitting next to him when everyone was picking on him (and him writing in your yearbook you were the only person nice to him throughout 4 YEARS).

It meant dating the football players or the band geek, because ya know, balance 🤷🏼‍♀️

It also meant being told to knock it off when you acted like a little snot and needed to be reminded of humility.

It started by being encouraged and told “I’m proud of you” – of your aspirations, your beliefs, and your accomplishments.

It all started as a girl, who was raised by people who let her be whatever being a “girl” meant to her.

Thank you, Mom and Dad (and my teachers) for letting me be all of those things.

And thank you for welcoming me home, at 30, when I needed to be reminded that the little girl I was raised to be is still inside me as a woman, and I need to continue to fight and have faith and grace.

To think it all started with a little #girlpower

Since March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, I’ve been speaking up about what it means to live with “Endo” and a chronic illness on my Instagram.

image2

Today, I’m sharing a note to my disease…

An open letter to my #endometriosis –

I felt you for a year before I knew what you were. Initially, I was sure you were appendicitis, so you and I went to the ER; my appendix was inflamed, but you were deemed “IBS,” a “ruptured ovarian cyst” and you cause multiple painful other cysts having a popcorn party on my right ovary.

You and I were poked and prodded over the next year (all of 2017) accompanying each other to multiple trips to the ER and countless visits to specialists, labs & doctors all over the state of California.

We saw multiple GIs, had a colonoscopy, saw at least 10 different OBGYNs, had CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, more blood work than a lab rat, multiple PCPs, a psychologist and a psychiatrist. Because, obviously, I’m “young, beautiful & healthy,” so clearly, you’re “just in my head.”

Then, finally, someone listened and we had a diagnostic laparoscopy and you were given a name via pathology.

Endometriosis.

I thought, “WTF IS #ENDO?!”
You are so painful and draining – emotionally & physically.
You are so expensive.

You cause inflammation and pain like nagging, chronic stabbing in my lower right abdomen, legs, back and feet. You make my right ovary feel like an erupting volcano. You cause cyst ruptures and blood to lay around stagnant in my abdomen + my uterus. You cause GI upset, pain and digestion issues. You cause nausea, food intolerances, extreme exhaustion and fatigue. You cause hormone issues, painful sex and pain after sex. You cause headaches, heart palps, low iron and vitamin and mineral counts, infections & periods that last me 3 weeks.

You have no known cause, although your theory pertaining to me and my body is that you were possibly caused by my c-section, since Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus. So they think my normal and healthy uterine tissues escaped when my body was sliced open during childbirth.

You have no treatment that actually works; excision done by an Endometriosis specialist working alongside a skilled GI is currently the only gold standard. But, excision surgery is not covered by insurance and would require me to travel out of state to have surgery with a specialist.

You have no cure.
Your pain and symptoms are compared to cancer.

image1
But you are not recognized (yet) as an autoimmune disease or as a disability, even though you cause some women to be bedridden and attack some women’s organs, lungs, or in rare cases, their heart or their brain.

You are terrifying and intimidating.

Because of you, I don’t want to carry or deliver another baby, because, you’re scary.

You give me anxiety, low libido, insomnia, restlessness and sometimes, depression. You interfere with relationships.

At times, you suck the life out of me. You try to steal my confidence & my zest for life. But, even on my worst day, I am still here. I will continue to fight against you and the ignorance on you within the medical community, strangers, and society.

I will continue to spread awareness and demand action for you because out of all the things I’ve lost because of you, I haven’t lost my voice.

Because I am strong. I am a fighter. And you do not define me (although I have to constantly remind myself that because of #myscars).

You make me a statistic. I am 1 in 10.

But you do not define me.

#1in10

Screen Shot 2018-03-05 at 9.50.23 AM

* In response to speaking up about my journey of living with Endo, I have been urged to share my You Caring Fundraising Page. If you feel inclined to read more, here is the link:

You can also watch this video to learn more about what endo is and why I’m 1:10.

 

I’ve spent the last 3 years building a wall, brick by brick, layer by layer, lathering on the mortar extra thick to make sure the cold or danger wouldn’t creep through a crack, or that a brick wouldn’t fall out exposing the outside world aka fears and judgement and hostility.

I vowed to myself to keep building said wall to keep evil out and protect my home-base, my heart, and my vulnerability.

Because that’s what walls do, right?

Didn’t I need this huge, massive layer of bricks to feel “safe?” To feel protected? To keep me sheltered during storms and give me a place to hide?

I worked hard and long and being on guard became my new normal.

Feeling “safe” has an entirely new meaning when you feel like the walls were blown down by a stage 5 hurricane, on repeat.

I continued to rebuilt the wall again and again after it was shattered by storms, hands tired and sprit drained, until it dawned on me…

No more.

Because I knew I had the right to be

F R E E.

I realized the wall was keeping out the beauty of the outside world, the magic of new beginnings, the healthy fear of the unknown, and me from really being M E, unapologetically.

It was time to bust out the sledgehammer, the jackhammer, and the bulldozer.

Healing from loss and properly letting life stop and crumble to truly feel broken down to my core was an immensely important part of my grieving and acceptance phase.

It taught me so much about strength, about mental health, about the meaning of love and what it means to lose everything and have to rebuild, from scratch.

It taught me to appreciate my “flaws”, because they define me in a magical, special way.

They give me a voice.

In time, I realized that It’s okay to let life grow back through the cracks in the foundation that I was working so hard to keep perfectly surfaced and level and sealed.

I realized it’s okay to let light shine through the cracks of the wall; that each little hole didn’t need to be patched.

I realized it’s okay to let new people through the fortress; to realize that not everyone is an invader, and I don’t always need to be hiding behind a shield or building a moat or setting boobie traps (wait why are they called that?!)

“Broken” does not = unworthy.

Just like wanting to learn a new musical instrument when you’ve never played one before, healing and grief and allowing yourself to be vulnerable and exposed are a skill.

They’re a fine art.

You need to honor the time to mourn. The time to learn how to cope, and what that embodies.

You need to honor the times you feel unraveled.

The time to be angry and sad and frustrated.

You need to reflect upon the times you feel “broken” so you can truly learn what it means to “fix” yourself.

No one can do that but you – through time, dedication, research, self-love awareness, mindfulness, prayer, support groups, distractions, analyzing bad habits or unhealthy routines, and finally, remembering to find and honor positivity and peace- there’s a variety of factors and phases when it comes to rebuilding and finding hope again.

And there’s a raw true beauty when you can look back and know YOU DID IT. You didn’t seek a quick fix or a bandaid or a mask or someone else to “fix” you or “find” who you truly are and meant to be.

You took time investing in yourself.

To build and to dig and to break barriers – emotionally, physically,

Sometimes, we never know the “why” or the “how” or the “what” – regarding what we go through, who comes into our life, the cards we’re dealt, or the life we’ve been given…

But, we learn that it’s okay to take time to pick up the pieces of change, or just let them sit there when we need a break from trying to put all the puzzle pieces back together.

Because you don’t always have to do that.

Sometimes, a piece or two is missing and that puzzle literally cannot be completed.

Take it as a sign.

A sign to move on. To move forward. That the only thing you need to “fix” is yourself, and often your perspective.

And remember – you’re the only one that can do that.

Maybe you’ve been trying to paint the perfect picture of what your life was – or is – supposed to look like and you just can’t seem to finalize the piece.

It’s okay to grab a new blank canvas; design a new vision. Or, edit the original, or shred it to pieces.

And remember that wall you’ve been building, intentionally or not? it’s okay to bulldoze the whole fucking thing and get rid of it.

I hope you always remember to let your light shine, and to encourage others to glow alongside you.

I hope you always remember that strength, bravery, and courage are what will get you through hard times and what truly define you as beautiful person.

And lastly, I hope you say YES to things that feel right and NO to things that do not.

Honor yourself, in this very moment, no matter where you are and what is going on in your life.

You are so worth the sunshine after the storm or the new growth after a freeze. 🌱

You are so worth taking the time to pause, breathe, and grab a jackhammer and a sledgehammer to the fortress you’ve trapped yourself in.

Chronic illness and injury can feel like a cage.

Divorce can feel like you’re suffocating.

Loss and grief can feel like you’re drowning.

Heartbreak can make you lose hope.

Deceit can make you harvest anger and lose trust and faith.

It’s time to chip away at the walls that are no longer protecting you anymore, and let GO of the fears and the pain that are keeping you from LIVING.

They served their purpose and it’s time for you to book them a one way flight out of your life.

You deserve to be free from anything keeping you away from the future.

It’s beautifully terrifyingly unknown to let go of control, but that’s what makes the future worth seeing, believing in, feeling, touching, experiencing, and climbing onward and upward.

You don’t need to train for a marathon or climbing Mount Everest to find yourself.

Start at home and start within, by taking some of the bricks off your wall and peeking over the fence.

There’s a whole lot of magic out there, you just have to finally go seek it.

When YOU are ready.

📷 @briana.lindsey

macncheese

image1

I made this for Tanner when I was fed up with trying to come up with another inspiring new dinner idea, wanted to make something in like 5 minutes max, and didn’t have any Annie’s mac-n-cheese in my cupboards.

I looked through my fridge and played I Spy….when I spotted all kinds of cheese and thought like a drunk college student for a minute….ah ha, mac-n-cheese, of course!

The best part? When you pre-cook the noodles ahead of time, this recipe literally, I kid you not, takes under 2 minutes. Yep. #truth

Because, some nights, whether you’re a full-time working mama or full-time stay-at-home mama (because we all know that IS a real job…), we are just too tired and too busy to whip up a roasted chicken with colorful, broiled veggies with a reduction sauce made for hours with TLC (Sorry, Great Grandma, this isn’t the 50s and we say – I just can’t deal with that during the work week). But, if someone has time to make one, please feel free to deliver…

macncheese112

  • 1/4 cup pre-cooked whole wheat, gluten-free, or any pasta noodles of choice, in any shape! (like, make these the night before so this recipe will literally take you under 2 minutes!)
  • 2 tablespoons whipped cream cheese (or use a dairy-free whipped “cream cheese”)
  • 2 tablespoons organic cheddar cheese or any cheese blend, shredded (if you’re making this for you instead of your toddler, try adding goat cheese. If you need it to be dairy-free, use a shredded “cheese”)
  • 2 tablespoons organic whole milk (dairy-free? use unsweetened almond, cashew, or hemp milk)
  • Optional: sneak in all kinds of veggies and/or protein like peas, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, bacon, chicken, ham turkey, etc.

13

  1. In a small saucepan, add cooked noodles and warm pan + noodles (no oil or butter needed, unless you want to add some; I’d recommend ghee or avocado oil).
  2. When noodles have warmed slightly, add cream cheese and stir.
  3. Add in milk, adding more if you need to make it creamier.
  4. Add shredded cheese and stir until a creamy “sauce” is made.
  5. Optional: add salt and pepper to taste; top with chives and parsley!
  6. Serve immediately and enjoy when cooled off enough for those little tastebuds!

When it comes to working from home, you may go days without seeing a soul, days without showering, or days without feeling the sunshine outside. It can be lonely, isolating, and while everyone in office jobs daydreams of getting to work from home, those who are entrepreneurs or have remote jobs, often dream of human being interaction.

That being said, working from home most definitely has its perks, but you need to create a little sanctuary for yourself so you are limited from distractions, are inspired by your workspace, and are comfortable (and ergonomically comfy!)

work from home guide


1. Create an airy work space near natural light; no one is inspired while sitting in a dark cave. Just be sure to not put your computer up against a window; it’s really bad for your eyes.

2. Purchase or make a large desk so you don’t feel claustrophobic. I’m obsessed with this one I just ordered on Amazon and it was on sale, so a 63″ tabletop desk for literally under $140 AND free shipping?! Yes, please… Find it here.

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 1.49.30 PM

3. Decorate your desk space minimally + keep your workspace organized and decluttered. Take a few minutes each morning to go through papers and get rid of junk, file away old projects or shred old records, etc. Put your pens and accessories in an organizer or your desk drawer, keep nick-nacks to a minimum, and create a desk space you want to sit at. Also, be sure to sanitize your keyboard and mouse once a week (and your cell phone!) to get rid of germy bacteria. Did you know desks can contain more bacteria than toilets?! (SixWise, 2018)

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 8.11.27 PM

4. Keep a diffuser in the room or burn some incense. I love keeping a diffuser near my desk and playing with essential oil combos. Diffusing essential oils can help reduce unpleasant odors and airborne pathogens, relax the mind and body, relieve tension and stress, and can help improve mental clarity and clear the mind; ALL things that can be beneficial, especially if you have a desk job (Loving Essential Oils, 2018). Diffusing essential oils may also calm emotions, increase alertness, clean and purify the air, and help lift one’s mood (Loving Essential Oils, 2018). I love a glass one a company sent me a couple years ago, but I also love this little gem pictured above because it’s compact and comes with pretty decent starter oils. Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 10.45.07 AM5. Keep your work station ergonomic – if you don’t have a stand-up desk, be sure to purchase a laptop stand so your neck and arms don’t suffer. I have this one in gold, and also move my laptop throughout the day to areas in my house where I can stand. The kitchen counter or a fireplace mantle works great for me. If you work off a laptop, especially, make sure to set up a keyboard and a mouse rather than using your laptop keyboard and touchpad so you don’t put pressure on the nerves in your arms, fingers, hands, and rest of your body with poor posture.

6. Decorate your work space in whatever way brings you inspiration, creativity, and joy. I love having a picture of my son at my desk, cute decor on the walls, plants, my salt lamp, my journal, and my diffuser. I also keep sage and my little Buddha. They bring me joy and hopes of inspiration and good luck, and I’m always inspired to write with more flow and design more creatively when I’m surrounded by things I love.

1410212283-forward_bend.gifGIF via Cosmo

7. Stretch and move! Be sure to stand up at least every 30 minutes, even if it’s just for 10 seconds at a time. Cosmo has a great article on 10 stretches for people who sit at a desk all day; check it out here.

8. Use your lunch break to get outside and go for a walk. Get blood flowing back into your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, regular brisk walking can help you

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Improve your balance and coordination.
Photos by Mike Marquez, Lauren Mancke + Heather Schwartz via Unsplash

9. Surround yourself with real house plants that are easy to care for. House plants are known to help with the following:

  • Reducing carbon dioxide levels
  • Increasing humidity
  • Reducing levels of certain pollutants, such as benzene and nitrogen dioxide
  • Reducing airborne dust levels
  • Keeping air temperatures down (facts via Ambius, 2018).

10. Keep a large wall or desk calendar where you see it every day so you can write out important deadlines. Working from home can be difficult to stay on-task at times, so marking important dates and deadlines is a lifesaver.

11. TAKE A LUNCH BREAK. It can be a habit to sit behind the screen all day and get so into projects you forget to eat. Unplug for at least 30 minutes to eat, take a breather, and recharge. You’ll be a better employee when you feel refreshed and re-energized after fueling on food and fresh air + a change of scenery. It’s also important to give your eyes a rest away from the computer screen. This is a great chance to sneak in your workout routine, too, if you don’t have time before or after the workday (moms, I see you).

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 8.39.36 PM

12. Keep a water bottle near you so you stay hydrated throughout the day. I love my Swell water bottle, which you can find here. According to Mind Body Green, drinking water

  • Increases Energy & Relieves Fatigue.
  • Promotes Weight Loss.
  • Flushes Out Toxins.
  • Improves Skin Complexion.
  • Maintains Regularity.
  • Boosts Immune System.
  • Natural Headache Remedy.
  • Prevents Cramps & Sprains.

Screen Shot 2018-02-07 at 10.47.16 AM

13. Create warm, calm light at your desk space with a salt lamp. True Himalayan pinksalt lamps (HPS lamps) claim that the negative salt ions released by heating can boost blood flow, improve sleep, increase levels of serotonin in the brain, and calm allergy or asthma symptoms (Critical Cactus, 2018). I like this one, because it comes with 2 (so you can put one in your living room or your bedroom, too!)

14. Consider going to a co-working space or coffee shop a couple days a week to get human interaction and give yourself a reason to shower, do your hair, and do your makeup. But, be mindful of your spending habits, as paying for coffee and food a few times a week can add up!

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 2.07.30 PM

15. Create a playlist to keep you calm or amped up throughout the work day. You can listen to my favorite work day playlist on Spotify here called “Chill Vibezzz.”

 

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 2.05.39 PM.png

16. Invest in a good pair of noise cancellation headphones so you can dial into conference calls without background noise distracting you. I love my wireless white + cream Bose pair, which you can find here.

17. Dress comfortably and stay warm (or cool) enough. In the winter, you can get cold sitting in a large house and stale room. When you’re a comfortable temperature, you may be more productive, so consider using a heater if you’re cold, or sit under a fan if you run warm. Personally, I work in a room with an electric fireplace + room heater and layer so I stay warm!

51aXWsS578L.jpg

18. Don’t be tempted to snack all day (unless it’s on healthy foods)! Keep junk food out of your pantry, fridge, and freezer and stock it with fresh whole foods. If snacking on processed goodies is your kryptonite, consider keeping a food journal (when you write down what you eat, you realize just what and when you’re putting things into your body!) When you have a sweet tooth, eat dark chocolate or make a nutrient-rich smoothie. When you want chips, grab nuts or popcorn or grapes instead. Load salads with protein to help you stay fuller, longer.

19. Create a little routine for yourself. For example, I get up and hustle to get my son out the door to school, so look like a bum most mornings. I realized I felt gross and down about my appearance (Gee, I wonder why?!) Slipping out of the house with no makeup on and a rat’s nest bun made me feel like I didn’t recognize myself anymore. I set my alarm for 15 minutes earlier so I can put on makeup and brush my hair. Amazing what simple hygiene does for the soul.

20. Speaking of hygiene, don’t work in your robe all day. Sure, some days it’s nice to know you can veg and give two f*ks about the way you look, but don’t make it a habit. Depression rates may increase when you’re not giving yourself a reason to get dressed and do your hair or makeup. If you have no reason to leave the house for three days, make yourself run an errand, grab dinner or drinks with a friend, or have a play date. Give yourself a reason to take care of your appearance, because studies show that helps mental health (seriously, that’s coming from my therapist).

Those are my go-tos to stay comfy and productive throughout my work days at home! What are your tips??

SaveSave