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My Weight Loss Journey - Hello Yo-Yo!


It's been a while since I've posted an update, and I have to say that this is a hard one to write -- but it must be done.

So what happened that was so terrible that I didn't want to talk about it? Well, I gained a pound or two back. I know exactly why and when it happened, and gaining that pound or two might not seem like a lot to some people, but when you're actively trying to lose weight, you definitely notice. You start feeling bloated again, and you know can tell by the way clothes fit. Now that I know I have gained back a pound, I am desperately trying to lose it again.

I have also noticed that I am hitting the yo-yo effect - gaining and losing weight. When I noticed I gained weight, I felt like a failure. Seriously, I felt like I had let myself down. I was upset with my myself, allowing the weight gain to happen. Then I realized that while yes, I had made a mistake in my diet, it gives me a chance to start again and work even harder.

Am I upset that I gain a few pounds? Absolutely! But do I let it get me down? Nope! I will just try and try again. I know I can lose this weight - it will just take a little more will-power and a lot more belief that I can do it.


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Fancy Pants Poetry by Agostino Scafidi

I rarely talk about poetry on the blog - mainly because poetry is subjective and I don't want to offend anyone. But in general, I love poetry. I used to write some back in my teens years, though they have now been lost for years.

So when I was asked to review Fancy Pants Poetry by Agostino Scafidi, I was a little hesitant. Would I enjoy it? Would I even know what he was talking about? The short answer? Yes. Most of his poems I understood, though some were a little hard for me to grasp. But after spending a day reading his book, I even found myself bookmarking certain ones because they resonated with me on an personal level. His prose and descriptions made the words stand out in a way I haven't seen in new poetry for a long time.

My absolutely favorite one was full of emotion that caught me off guard - but in a good way. Titled Death or Rebirth?, it's about letting a circumstance either take you down or making you stronger and better. If you think about it, we have all been in situations where we were unsure if we should just give in or fight.

While it Fancy Pants Poetry can be described as dark and sarcastic, it has a raw beauty in the way he allows you to see into his soul... in a way. I believe poetry is the best way to illuminate your thinking into the world and everyone sees something different.

I liked it -- plain and simple.

If you're interested, you can see samples of Fancy Pants Poetry.
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FREE Julep Maven St. Patrick's Day box!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
St. Patrick's Day Welcome Box Offer
This is a monthly subscription, but you may cancel at any time.

Lucky You! If you have been waiting for the perfect time to become a Julep Maven, now is the time! The St. Patrick's Day Welcome Box is FREE for new subscribers and it includes three "pinch proof" nail colors, a fan favorite beauty product and even a fun sheet of nail decals bringing the value of the box to $58 - just pay $2.99 shipping.

A Maven beauty box subscription is one of the best values going and as a Julep Maven subscriber, you get first access to trend setting colors and top-rated beauty products every month.
  • Julep Maven is affordable. Every month you get more than $40 of full-size products for just $24.99 per month (tip - prepay for three months at a time and save $15).
  • Julep Maven is the only customizable box of full-size, limited-run nail colors and beauty innovations. That means no surprises, no dupes or colors you don't like. You can see what is in your box each month and have the option of swapping out colors/products you already have or don't want.
  • Julep Maven is flexible. You can gift your box to a friend or even say "I'm out this month" if you want to (after you have purchased at least one full priced month).
  • Julep Mavens get 20% off all single product purchases, free shipping, early access to secret sales. If you are passionate about your polish, that adds up to some amazing savings!
Become a Maven by March 9th to get this welcome box before St. Patrick's Day! Join Maven and get the St. Patrick's Day Welcome Box FREE ($58 value) - just pay $2.99 shipping with code PINCHME.
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Curvy Girl's Spring Outfit under $150!

I love spring - for a variety of reasons, and one of them being that I can buy new clothes so I can retire last year's. But this year, I only have $150 to spend. Think I can create a outfit that every curvy girl will love and keep it under $150? I think I did!

Curvy Girl's Spring

BKE racerback tank top / Old Navy plus size stretch jeans / maurices Plus Size - Chevron Stripe Blanket Cardigan With Fringe / Charlotte Russe neon ballet flat

The tank top is only $18, the jeans are only $57, the cardigan is only $39, and the flats are only $23 with a total amount of $137! Maybe I can find me a cute handbag at Walmart to go with this outfit. (I just love the shoes!)

What color will you be wearing this spring?

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Blogging Trick: Who Likes Your FB Page?


For the longest time, I've been trying to figure out who likes my Facebook page, especially when it comes to verifying giveaway entries. For a long time, Facebook allowed you to see who liked your page, but that is no longer the case.

I discovered a neat little trick somewhere you can see those who like your Facebook page without stressing out. I can't remember exactly where I learned it, but I'll try to find it!

NOTE: Before we get started, you will notice that names and pictures have been blocked out. This is to protect everyone's identity!

Step 1. Type in "people who like PAGENAME".

Step 1. Go to the Facebook homepage, and in the search box, type "people who like PAGENAME". Chance PAGENAME to your page name.


Step 2. Click on See More.

Step 2. You will be taken to a page that shows you, a friend, and the page's posts below. You see see a link that says See More just above you and your friend's information. Click on See More.


You should be taken to a page that lists people who like your page.

Voila! You now have a list of the friends and people who like your page! Unfortunately, there is no way to search for a certain person to see if they like your page. Until Facebook allows that, this is probably the quickest way to search for likes on your page.

This is very helpful for verifying people for giveaways or verifying it for other reasons. But be a responsible blogger - don't abuse it!

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Accepting Guest Posts for #MentalHealthAwareness Month!


May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and since a family member suffers from a mental illness (General Anxiety Disorder), I thought it would be a great time to spend most of May focusing on mental health awareness with interviews, ways to help, and I am even trying to plan a Twitter party/discussion so people can talk about their experiences.

With that being said, I am now accepting guest posts for May. As of the moment, there are only 2 spots available on the following topics:

  • How you can help bring more awareness.
  • How to cope when you (or someone you love) suffers.
  • Experience with mental illness.
  • Keeping your mind healthy (and how it relates to mental illness).
The deadline to submit your post is May 23rd, but please try to submit it by May 15th (so there is more time to promote it during the month).  

If you're interested in doing a guest post for May, please fill out this form.

Now that we've got that out of the way, we are also trying to plan a Twitter party. If you're interested in being part of the Twitter party crew (or want to sponsor a prize), please e-mail me. I could use all the help I can get! 






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Celebrate your inner Irish! #StPatricksDay


I've said it once, and I will say it again - I am part Irish. But I am proud of the Irish part in me! I may have other heritages (like German and Polish) as part of my ancestry, but the Irish side seems to come out more. So when St. Patrick's Day rolls around, you can bet that I get excited!

But how does someone celebrate their Irish side? First off, drinking until you're drunk does not make you Irish. It makes you drunk. But there are plenty of cocktail recipes made from authentic Irish whiskey that will make any Irish want to celebrate in moderation! The Michael Collins Honeysuckle from Liquor.com brings out the Irish whiskey's sweetness. It looks so good, I might have to try it. If it's still cold by the time March 17th rolls around, you could always try out this Hot Toddy recipe!

Gammon (Ham) Steaks with Whiskey Sauce

Every celebrate needs food - or at least I thought so. Instead of dying everything green and calling it a St. Patrick's Day feast, why not give actual Irish dishes a shot? Forget the corned beef and cabbage - it is usually reserved for Halloween in Ireland. If you want to try a really good Irish dish, I suggest the Gammon (Ham) Steaks with Whiskey Sauce, Irish Champ, or Irish Apple Cake (if you're wanting something a little sweet).

Create a "LUCKY" pennant banner made from paint chips!


What's a celebration without decoration? This year, I plan on my wearing my new clover t-shirt and putting up a nice big green shamrock I picked up a few years ago. If you don't want your decor to appear tacky, I would skip the leprechauns, pots of gold, and rainbows. Go with clovers/shamrocks and the Irish flag instead. It looks more authentic.

The Quiet Man feat. John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara

Not into the whole St. Patrick's Day revelry thing? I don't blame you! Since St. Patrick's Day is kind of a religious holiday, you could always go to Mass, spend the day watching some Irish movies, or listening to Irish music. Here are some suggestions for Irish movies and Irish music.

No matter how you celebrate your inner Irish (or your Irish heritage), be safe, have fun, and do everything in moderation!


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Get to snacking with #Rudolphs Pork Rinds!



In Texas, pork rinds are right up there with chips and salsa for snacks. I didn't grow up eating pork rinds, but as I hit my teens and young adult years, I fell in line and started eating them. I wouldn't have them very often, but once in a while, you would start craving them.

According to my taste buds, Rudolph's makes the best pork rinds, bar none! There's just something about their pork rinds that are delicious and very flavorful. There are many different flavors available including their Original, BBQ, Bold & Spicy BBQ, Hot & Spicy, and Chile & Lime. The Chile & Lime (which is one of my favorite flavor combinations) sounds really good!

But Rudolph's also makes other snackables than just pork rinds! Rudolph's offers snacks including Cinnamon Twists, Chicharinas, and OnYums (onion-flavored rings). Interested in making your own pork rinds? You can buy cracklin' pellets and the seasoning!

Pork rinds aren't exactly healthy snacking, but they are much more delicious than your average potato chip!

To buy Rudolph's, you can purchase your snackables online or use their product locator to find a retailer near you.

Be sure to follow Rudolph's on Facebook and Twitter!

WHAT I THOUGHT

I don't get to eat pork rinds often, because for someone who is trying to lose weight, the impulse to buy and snack is too great. But I would never turn down the chance to review some! (What can I say- the Texan in me gave in.)

Like I said, my taste buds decided that Rudolph's makes the best pork rinds! It was not overly salty at all, and you can really taste the pork flavor. I had some leftover salsa from the Super Bowl, and decided to try them with that. Oh my word - the flavors mingled together into some sort of delicious Salsa/pork hybrid that was really good. I might have to try that again soon.

I'm sure you've seen bags of pork rinds where the cracklins are teeny, right? Well, these are HUGE! I only need 1 to last me at least 6 hours. In fact, I still have some left because I don't need to eat as many, thanks to their size!

I shared them with the family, and almost everyone loved them! (The only person who didn't care for them was Twin, but she doesn't like pork rinds in general.)

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Apparelnbags.com has great low-priced fashions!

I was not compensated for this review. I received a FREE product from apparelnbags.com to review. All thoughts/opinions are my own. Your experience may differ.

$12.54 - apparelnbags.com
Finding inexpensive fashions and accessories is hard - especially if you want really good quality items. 

Did you know that apparelnbags.com has great clothing and accessories at low prices that fits everybody's budget? It's true! They offer everything from men's shirts, women's intimates, beanies, to even bags. Even baby can get a new creeper for an amazingly low price! They have creepers for as low as $4.12. Did I also mention they have a lot of favorite brands like Playex, Barely There, Hanes, and Apples & Oranges? 

If you need safety gear (like a reflective vest), they have those, too! My dad usually wears a reflective vest at work and when he needs a new one, I think I'll get him the Value Mesh Five-Point Breakaway Vest because you just never know. They also have windbreakers, shirts, and reflective hats so you can been seen!

For those wondering about the bags... they have plenty of them. They have backpacks, duffle bags, messenger bags, and so much more. My family always uses tote bags (which they have), so I might have to get a couple of the Port Authority Improved Panel tote. I love the color combinations and at only $8.24 each, it's a steal as well! 

So if you're looking to find clothing and accessories that will fit your budget, give apparelnbags.com a try. They are so worth it!

Be sure to follow ApparelnBags on Twitter and like them on Facebook! When you like Apparelnbags on Facebook, receive a 10% OFF coupon code.

BUY
You can purchase the Authentic Pigment 1902 Pigment-Dyed Canvas Field Bag starting at $12.54 each.

WHAT I THOUGHT
$12.54 - apparelnbags.com
The color isn't pink but a nice vibrant red!

I love bags, but I don't have enough of them simply because I cannot afford it. But I also love field bags - it makes it so easy to get to what you need!

The Authentic Pigment Canvas Field Bag in Poppy is so roomy! I kid you not - I have a ton of stuff in there right now, and it is holding up very well. The quality is wonderful, and I love the little turn-buckles. Though the website showed the color being a little darker than it actually is, the color is still very vibrant and if I ever decide to do a steampunk DIY to it (since the turn-buckles remind me of steampunk), it is still a perfect color. It also has a little zipper pouch/pocket inside to keep your small stuff safe without the fear of losing it!

Affordable and a great bag? What more can a woman ask for?!


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Mental Health in Women #womenslives

(Photo Credit)
I may talk frequently about my twin sister having anxiety, but mental health disorders were common in our family with my grandmother and other female relatives suffering from bipolar disorder to major depression. Since we're talking about women's issues this week (Thanks to the Across Women's Lives initiative.), I figured we could discuss mental health and the gender bias you didn't know about!
A shocking infographic about mental health in women. (Photo Credit)

According to a study from the World Health Organization, doctors are more likely to diagnose depression in women than men, even if they score the same on the diagnosis scale. Not bad, right? Not so fast! Doctors are also more likely to prescribe mind-altering drugs to women than to men, keeping the myth alive that women are "crazy", instead of focusing on the fact that as a woman in today's society, her feelings of sadness or anger could be appropriate - and understandable - responses to life's difficulties. (But make no mistake - if you are having many symptoms of the depression, go see a doctor!)

To make matter worse, some women of different ethnic backgrounds even have trouble getting the help they need because of the stereotypes that are flowing through our society. According to one interview I saw, an African American woman was barred from her church because she was diagnosed with a mental illness. She was even arrested (because the police didn't believe that she had a mental illness). Once at the police station, the officers thought she was "on drugs" or "drunk" and left her in cell for sixteen hours!
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Even though women are known to be strong, some who suffer from mental health problems are ashamed to say, "I have this [mental health issue] and this is who I am!" for fear of being ridiculed, embarrassed, or even shunned. The media (and society, for that matter) has forever perpetuated the myth that women suffer from some sort of "madness disease" that only affects women or even bringing up the stereotypes of women of color in today's society.

How can we change the way society - and the medical field - looks at mental health in women?
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Feel the love of #MikeandIke #PassionMix!



When you think of Valentine's Day, you think of chocolate and teddy bears. But did you know that Mike and Ike's Passion Mix and Hot Tamales make great Valentine's Day candy ideas? It's true!

Mike and Ike's Passion Mix is a bundle of delicious fruity flavors like Paradise Punch, Strawberry, Grape, and Cherry. It comes in a 520z box with a To/From label so all you have to do is write down the names and gift it to the special someone!

Feeling the love even more? Hot Tamales has a new look - just for Valentine's! The candy features the classic cinnamon flavor, but has a new box look with giving in mind. With the word "Hottie" and a To/From label, it is ready to be given to that spicy flame in your life!

You can buy Mike and Ike Passion Mix and the new Valentine's Day Hot Tamales box wherever Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales products are sold. Prices may vary, depending on your region.

Be sure to follow Mike and Ike Facebook and Twitter!
on

WHAT I THOUGHT
I love me some Mike and Ike candy, but I think my favorite is probably their Passion Mix. It is a delicious mix of fruity flavor that just creates a symphony in your mouth! Okay, that is maybe an exaggeration. Alright, alright - it is an exaggeration but it was so good. The Paradise Punch flavor went really well with the strawberry, cherry, and grape flavors. Now, I've never really cared for anything grape-flavored, even grape juice. But the grape flavors wasn't overpowering or overbearing, which made me happy!

The "Hottie" Hot Tamales candy tasted just like you would expect - a spicy cinnamon bite that is addicting. I just don't suggest eating several at one time. It tends to get a little hot! Though I must say that Twin, who doesn't care for Hot Tamales, seemed to really liked them this time. 

I was going to try and save the Mike and Ike and Hot Tamales candies so I could chop them up and put them in a cookie dough, but they didn't last. I might have to buy more!

By the way, does anyone know of a place that sells heart-shaped cookie cutters cheap?



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Valentine's Day Decor Ideas!

Now that Valentine's Day is just around the corner, it's time to start sprucing up the home in time for the big day! While I like to make some of the decorations, sometimes you just want that extra flair that some decorations have that can only be bought.

If you're looking to find things to make the love be felt in your home, we came up with some ideas!

1. Display Your Devotion Frame from ModCloth - $14.99
This is a simple rustic picture frame that fits into any decor, and doesn't have to be just for Valentine's Day. The wire can be used to hang the frame on the wall or twisted to sit it up on a table/shelf. It is from their Sweetheart Shop!

2. Personalized Birch Candle Holder from Etsy - $20.70
This is yet another great rustic touch to any Valentine's Day decor. You can have it customized with any initials you want, and the tealights are included! There are even other great personalized birch candle holders available, if you want to choose a different style.

3. LED Valentine's Day Candles from Big Lots - $6 each

This is an inexpensive way to have the romantic feel without a real flame - and they're cheap to boot! They are available only in store, and styles may differ from what you see on the website. But they're super cute! I may have to pick up a few.

4. Peel & Stick Hearts from Wayfair - $13.99

If you want something a little more unique and colorful, Wayfair has this cute set of 12 Peel & Stick hearts! The smallest is less than 3" and the largest is a whopping 14"! They are repositionable. (By the way, does anyone else get sticker shock when they look at the prices at Wayfair? Wow!)


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#womenslives do matter!


I have partnered up with BlogHer and PRI in the #womenslives initiative, which is meant to talk about issues important to women everywhere - not just in the United States.

When I found out I would be working with the #womenslives program, I really wasn't sure how I felt. If you ask anyone I know, they will tell you that I rarely talk about my inner feminista. But I am excited to talk about women's issues because as a woman, it's important to know what is plaguing other women all around the world and reach out a helping hand.

So why does women's lives matter? Believe it or not, there is still some gender inequality being shown around the world. According to a study, only 24% of the news media talks about women's issues and only 6% mention gender equality. We are also the face of most domestic abuse cases. Believe it or not, South Africa has the highest incidents of domestic violence with about approximately 200,000 adult women are reported as being attacked in South Africa every year. Think about that - 200,000 women are having their lives changed forever because of domestic violence. How can we solve this problem?

There are so many different issues women face every day, and the @womenslives initiative is meant to bring those issues to light and perhaps find a solution to some of them.

As a woman, what issues are important to you?
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Get the natural taste of #ReedsGinger Brews! {+ Cocktail Recipe}

Somehow, I grew up loving ginger ale. Even ask a kid, I loved the taste of a good ol' ginger ale. But nowadays, a lot of ginger ale sodas are all sugar and no ginger!

Reed's Ginger Brews' passion for ginger allowed them to revive a unique ginger brewing process that predates modern soft drink technology. They brew using the finest fresh ginger root, fruit juices, spices, and herbs. Their ginger brews are made with natural ingredients to ensure a natural taste. Their Ginger Brews come in 6 delicious flavors including Original Ginger Brew, Extra Ginger Brew, Premium Ginger Brew, Raspberry Ginger Brew, Cherry Ginger Brew, and Spiced Apple Ginger Brew.

Since ginger is the name of their game, Reed's also offers ginger chews, nausea relief, energy elixir, crystallized ginger, and ice cream! (For those not a fan of ginger brews, they have Virgil's Root Bear, Sonoma Sparkler, Culture Club Kombucha, Flying Cauldron Butterscotch Beer, and China Cola available).

I don't know about you, but ginger ice cream sounds intriguing and delicious!

Be sure to follow Reed's on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube!

BUY
You can buy Reed's Ginger Brews through their shop or use their store locator for a retailer near you.

WHAT I THOUGHT (And cocktail recipe!)
like I said, I am a big ginger ale fan. I rarely drink sodas like Dr Pepper and when I do, I can't drink the whole thing. So when I am really craving that soda taste, I reach for a ginger ale. But who wants to drink a bunch of sugar a little teeny bit of ginger? So you better believe I was ready to see if Reed's Ginger Brews were up the challenge. Verdict? They surpass any other ginger soda I've had!

Why? You can actually taste the ginger. The Extra Ginger Brew was my favorite. The extra ginger made for a unique soda experience. And not to mention that ginger sodas are a lot better for your upset tummy than the lemon/lime sodas. I even drank the Spiced Apple Ginger Brew the next day before I wanted to try it so badly. It tastes A LOT better cold. Either way, I think I love Reed's Ginger Brew! It has replaced my former brand of ginger sodas.

Okay, everyone ready for the cocktail recipe? I know you are!

I know the orange is HUGE! That was all my local grocery store had.


Red Wine & Ginger Brew Fizz

Ingredients:
  • 4 orange slices or segments
  • 5/8 cup chilled light red wine (I used Barefoot Moscato at 9%)
  • 1/2 cup chilled Reed's Ginger Brew
  • 1 large tumbler
  • Optional: Ice
How to make it:
  1. Place 4 orange slices or segments into the bottom of a large tumbler glass.
  2. Pour in 5/8 cup of chilled light red wine.
  3. Pour in 1/2 cup of chilled Reed's Ginger Brew. Do not stir.
  4. Ice is optional, but you can put the ice in after you pour in the ginger brew.
This bad boy was tasty and loved the fizzied orange pieces!

NOTES: I couldn't find the tumblers so I had to use a champagne flute. I accidentally added a little more wine that I should have, so don't be surprised if your version comes out lighter. It's supposed to be light! You can also add as much wine or ginger brew as you need to, depending on taste.
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