28 July 2014

She don't know she's beautiful

15. weight-loss-pills
 (Photo credit: TipsTimesAdmin)
Have you ever had someone say something to you that made you question their motivation? I'm not talking so called friends who make a snide remark, I'm talking family or loved ones who you know genuinely care who say things that make you wonder if the words sound as harsh to them as they do to you. 

For instance, my late grandparents loved me, of this there is no doubt. they were wonderful, amazing people. My grandfather told me from a fairly young age how beautiful I would be if I would just lose a little weight. My grandmother would let it slip now and thin that I would be able to buy much cuter clothes if I were only slimmer. These were comments I remember starting in elementary school. Though I don't recall how I handled them as a younger child, I know by high school I pretended none of it bothered me while silently struggling with an eating disorder. No, I'm not blaming my beloved grandparents for my messed up thoughts on food and weight. I think their words were meant to help and there was absolutely no intention of hurt behind them. But, you take being told you need to lose weight from around eight years old, throw in society's definition of beauty, mix in what media tells us, and it's a recipe for disaster. I am not the only person who has dealt with negative self image, body image issues, and all the other inner turmoil the aforementioned recipe can bring on. As a result, to this day I think I have one set of grandparents who never thought I was beautiful and the other set never made me feel anything other than that. I'm sitting here all teary over that fact because I loved my late grandparents so much and because I am so incredibly thankful that Nanny and Pop never made me feel like my weight was an issue to them. 

Okay, I swear I have a point here. Little Miss is going to be a freshman in high school this year. She is already nervous and dealing with body image issues as a result of her birth defect. Enter one person's offhand remark about her gaining weight over the summer and we spent the evening discussing diet and exercise.  High school is hard enough without well meaning adults adding fuel to the fire. She's 14, I don't want her on a diet. I tried every fad diet I could find in my jr. high and high school years. We discussed making smart choices, limiting sugar, cutting out sodas, and upping physical activity, all I feel are smart for anyone when it comes to food. It's something I feel we will be discussing a lot in the near future. Sure, I want her healthy, but we are not discussing an obese child here. I also want her comfortable in her own skin and to know that she is beautiful, because she truly is. Her heart, mind, soul, everything that she is makes up one stunning young woman.

I look back on high school and think I'd give anything to be that size again. No, I wasn't stick thin, but I was the same size as Marilyn Monroe and at 35 that sounds pretty darn good! Now my thoughts are just all over. My initial feeling when I started typing was to remind us all just how powerful words are and how they stick with us. I was also all fired up about self esteem and body image, which I still am. I guess I just have questions to. How do I encourage these things while helping her meet whatever goals she has for her weight? Losing a few pounds is her idea and it's nothing I will ever push, but at the same time I don't want her to end up like me, wishing I had gotten in shape 20 years ago. Also, when these little remarks are made, do we let them go or speak up? This is something I'm not sure of. 

Teenage girls... I wish I had instructions. OR maybe I need them for life in general. All I know is it comes down to this for me; my daughter is beautiful. And something I've learned is you can be overweight, grey haired, and nearly toothless and still be beautiful. The wrappings concern me little no matter who we are discuss, let me see what's inside. That's what makes you beautiful. 

26 July 2014

Coffee when it's 102 out? Bring on the coffee smoothie!

 “As long as there was coffee in the world, how bad could things be?” ― Cassandra Clare
This is one of my favorite quotes and at times could pretty much sum up my outlook on life. I love coffee. I don't like it, there is deep affection there. It makes me happy, warms me, wakes me, is comforting, and well I could go on and on.  It is one of my favorite things, one of the simple pleasures that just makes me smile. So, you can imagine how horrified I was when the only two other hardcore coffee drinkers in the house moved out taking with them their expensive yet wonderful coffee making machine. I wanted to cry, scream, and possibly go with just to have that morning cup of wonderful. Alas, that was not an option.

Right around that time I was asked to give CoolBrew a try. I was thrilled because COFFEE that I didn't need a coffee machine to drink!! I was also excited because the more I learned about CoolBrew the more impressed I was. They offer the original cold-brewed fresh coffee concentrate and are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. They are a family owned company with a commitment to their city and to the environment that is impressive. You can learn all about CoolBrew here. So, I was sent samples and began drinking tons of coffee experimenting over the next few weeks all in the name of sharing with you guys about what delicious discoveries I had made. I know, I'm awesome like that.

There is so much I love about this product and many, MANY tasty beverages one could create using CoolBrew concentrate. But, I don't want to overlook the fact that it makes an outstanding cup of coffee, just coffee without the frills and dressing up, and I REALLY appreciate a great cup of joe. My favorite flavor for just drinking either hot or iced is the limited edition Chocolate Almond. It is seriously good stuff! Making a delicious cup of coffee couldn't be easier, you just squeeze the coffee up into the awesome container that measures for you, then pour it into water, either hot or cold.

My favorite creation so far, and what I've been basically living off of after my extractions last week, is the coffee smoothie. It's the perfect cool, refreshing summertime treat and I may be slightly addicted. It gives me my morning coffee, the yogurt packs in some protein, and bananas are good for you!

Coffee Smoothie:

  • 1 frozen banana
  • 1 small carton coffee flavored Greek yogurt 
  • 1 cup of CoolBrew made cold - sometimes I use the CoolBrew with a cup of water, other times I do it with a cup of milk, and when I want a real treat I use chocolate milk
  • cream, sugar, or whatever you'd normal put in your coffee - in my case this means a dash of flavored creamer
All you do is put all ingredients in your blender or bullet or whatever you make smoothies in and let it go until it's reached desired consistency. You can use water or pretty much any type of milk as I sort of mentioned above. I've also been known to throw in some cacao nibs now and then. It's a versatile recipe you can play with. Pour in a glass and enjoy! 

Ramblings of a Texas Housewife Product Review and/or Giveaway Disclosure- I have received no compensation other than the offer of free product to review and/or giveaway. Any opinions expressed on Ramblings of a Texas Housewife are my own. My reviews are never reviewed or edited in any way by sponsors.

23 July 2014

The not so ordinary tale of a plump teenage girl... My review of How I Got Skinny, Famous, And Fell Madly In Love

"Sixteen-year-old Emery feels out of place in her model Californian family; Emery is, according to her doctor, more than fifty pounds overweight. After discovering her family may lose their house through a foreclosure letter, Emery agrees to take part in a reality show that will win her family one million dollars if she can lose fifty pounds in fifty days. Her aptly named show, Fifty Pounds to Freedom, puts Emery through rigorous workouts, strict diets, and a whole bunch of crippling anxiety that raises questions about family, truth, and freedom. Emery begins to shed fat and the ownership she once had over her body as her personal life spirals out of control. Uncovering secrets about beauty, love, and fame, Emery sets herself free by making the choice to reclaim her identity as the person she wants to be."
I am going to let y'all in on a secret; I thought I would not like this book. I questioned how in the world a man could effectively write a teenage female heroine. My expectation was for everything about the novel to fall flat. After-all, woman are complex creatures and teenagers? Grown women can't figure out teenage girls? In my mind it was a recipe for disaster. I am so pleased to tell you I was dead wrong. Ken Baker nailed it with How I Got Skinny, Famous, and Fell Madly In Love.

Emery is a 16 year old girl living with a "perfect" family. The problem is, Emery doesn't fit society's stereotypical definition of perfect. She's curvy. Fluffy. Pleasantly plump. Anyway you shake it, Emery has a weight problem according to everyone from her doctor to her family. This was something I could relate to and I immediately fell in love with this character. Ken Baker does a remarkable job getting in the head of of Emery and all the emotional ups and downs that go with her story. She is a remarkable character. Vulnerable, but not a doormat. She hurts, but is no victim. She owns her mistakes. Her story is full of humor and heartache. Emery makes this book for me.

There was much I enjoyed, especially Emery's character and how she traverses the unorthodox turns and twists her life takes. Sadly, the book ends quite abruptly, at least that's how it felt to me. There were many unanswered questions and loose ends left hanging. This along with the fact that the lack of support her family offered drove me batty. Mostly the ending though. Please don't leave me hanging like that. You suck me in and then BAM!

I'm really trying hard not to put spoilers in reviews these days. All things considered, I would still recommend the book. My only advice is be prepared for an ending you'll likely be disappointed in. Even with that, I still enjoyed the story and did not regret reading it.

Ramblings of a Texas Housewife Product Review and/or Giveaway Disclosure- I have received no compensation other than the offer of free product to review and/or giveaway. Any opinions expressed on Ramblings of a Texas Housewife are my own. My reviews are never reviewed or edited in any way by sponsors.

22 July 2014

Lost in a world of mystery and romance, my review of Solsbury Hill

Recovering from this surgery is kicking my hind end in a way I hadn't expected. I cannot say much for being stuck in the house, resting when I don't want to be, and missing work. Yes, I actually want to head back to work and see if my little charge is walking. I miss Little Buddy when I go to long without seeing him. Anyway, I spent the day trying very hard to follow doctor's orders and not overdo it. Easier said than done. Refusing to sleep the day away in fear of completely throwing off my schedule, I decided to catch up on the reading I've not had time for as of late. I picked up Solsbury Hill and devoured it in a single afternoon.

Eleanor Abbot is the main character, a 27 year old clothing designer living in New York City. She seems to have it all; an up and coming career, a steady boyfriend who has been her dearest friend since childhood, and just general happiness. We find that she deserves said happiness after being orphaned as a teenager.  I must admit, the first pages of this book left me thinking Eleanor was a bit of a Mary Sue and her beau, Miles, became very much like a Ken doll in my mind. There was a point I nearly put it down, but I am so glad I kept reading. Eleanor is no Mary Sue and soon I was wanting to break Miles' knees. Anyway, a call in the night changes Eleanor's entire world. It is from a friend of her Aunt Alice, asking her to come to England as quickly as possible. Aunt Alice is dying and wants to see her. She agrees to go and in doing so sets off a series of events that will change everything Eleanor thinks she knows about herself. 

Eleanor makes the trip alone, the first thing she's ever done without Miles by her side, which is part of what I enjoyed about the book. I could very much relate to having the childhood sweetheart by your side through thick and thin then learning to do things independently. We see Eleanor grow as she reconnects with Alice and all those who live at her estate, Trent Hall. The family home becomes Eleanor's upon Alice's death and sadly the dear old woman departs leaving her niece with far more questions than answers. The ghost of Emily Bronte appears to help Eleanor put together her family's history and set right a so called "curse" on the women that share her bloodline. The book was inspired by Wuthering Heights and offers us a tale of what might have inspired that beloved classic. Ghosts, a handsome man named Mead, even Catherine and Heathcliff help weave a tale of tragedy, mystery, and romance as Eleanor explores her family's story and in doing so uncovers her own.

Eleanor, Alice, and her friend Gwen were all well developed characters who came alive within the pages. I felt as if I was with them and could feel their emotions so strongly I fought tears several times. It was the same with Emily, her ghostly state, sadness, and determination to help Eleanor tugged at my heartstrings. Conversely, I felt the men were not nearly as well developed. I very much disliked Miles right form the start; he remained plastic with a fake smile for me throughout the book. Mead I found more appealing. He was certainly described as handsome, but as with Miles there was no emotional attachment or any of the things I want to feel toward a male lead. This left me disappointed. 

The book moved slow in places, but it wasn't so horrible I was rolling my eyes at it. There were instances that left me confused, such as Mead pulling a blanket over Eleanor's bare shoulders when she'd just said she was wearing a t-shirt. Neither thing left me overly bothered. That said, it may have been inspired by Wuthering Heights, but Solbury Hill cannot be compared to that novel and needs to be read and judged on it's own merit. 

I would absolutely recommend this novel. The thing that sold me on the story was the incredibly descriptive setting. No longer was I in the West Texas heat, but walking the windswept moors alongside Eleanor. Susan M. Wyler did such an amazing job laying the scene that I felt the chill of the wind, took in the scents of heather, leather, moss and damp earth. It absolutely felt like I was in Yorkshire experiencing everything with Eleanor. Even her dreams took me in with her, the whole tale unfolding like an unrolled tapestry in my mind. Wyler is such a gifted wordsmith that no only did she paint a picture of Trent Hall in my mind, but she brought it to life in such a vivid way that I could not only see, but experience it with all senses. It takes quite the storyteller to give a novel such life, but she managed it. This is why I absolutely suggest Solsbury Hill be added to your TBR list. It is a great summer read.

Ramblings of a Texas Housewife Product Review and/or Giveaway Disclosure- I have received no compensation other than the offer of free product to review and/or giveaway. Any opinions expressed on Ramblings of a Texas Housewife are my own. My reviews are never reviewed or edited in any way by sponsors.

19 July 2014

Tooth Time Update!

Today was the day I've been waiting on for months. All these awful teeth would go away and give me a chance at functioning like a normal person. That's not exactly how things went down. The best laid plans and all that.

Upon arrive at the dental office my blood pressure decided to go nuts and was 170/104 when they checked it. So, they laid me back and told me to relax. I grabbed my cell, sent a few texts requesting prayer, then turned on the Calm Down Spotify playlist, chilled and breathed. It fell to 156/96, a level they found acceptable. I was then told they would only being doing half my mouth today and he let me decide. I went with the left. For all those who wondered, no there wasn't even gas. I stared up at this guy all wide eyed and freaked, tears streaming down my face. Yes, I was numbed but all the tugging, pressure, and noise was stressful. The last upper tooth came out and revealed a sizable hoke to my sinus cavity. That was it for the day. A plug was sewn in, I got antibiotics, pain meds, nasal spray, sinus meds. Add to that a referral to the medical clinic for a blood pressure check, anxiety meds, and a few more tests. The worst part? I can't go back until September.

They did take out 6. It took forever for the bleeding to stop. The swelling is driving me batty and the pain is not so great right now. I am trying very hard to stay positive. It may take longer, but we are headed in the right direction. Plus, if my blood pressure is that bad, it is so good to know. Baby steps it is. Regardless, I feel incredibly blessed.

To all of you who have prayed, donated, and just been incredible blessings in my life through this somewhat scary journey, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. I'll continue to keep y'all posted.

01 July 2014

Dave Says

English: Dave Navarro, Jane's Addiction, Ninja...
English: Dave Navarro, Jane's Addiction, Ninja tour. image shot by Fiona Bowie at Santa Barbara, California (thumbnail) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Anyone who knows me very well knows I have quite a fondness for Dave Navarro. It's bizarre really because normally looks wise this would not be the kind of guy I would call my type, but I adore him. It's not a looks thing, it's a talent thing. His voice too. I could listen to the man read the phone book. I got on the Dave train a little late; I had never even heard of him until that INXS reality show he cohosted. Yes, I know who RHCP are, but I didn't make the connection. Anyway, he was on the show and he spoke and played and looked amazing with all that ink. Even though he wore guy-liner, I was a fan pretty quickly.

This is not a post about my love for Dave Navarro, I promise.

Anyway, I've been dealing with some stuff lately. Stressors if you will. As many of you know, my teeth have been making me really sick and that's not helping the situation at all. A few weeks back I had an all out meltdown, questioning my faith and who I was. It wasn't pretty. What brought it on? Words. Those little puppies have power. Especially when you are a people pleaser like I am, anyone thinking badly of you can stress you beyond belief. The thing is, why? Why do I get like that? It's been eating me up for weeks and came to a pretty ugly head for me last night when I realized how ridiculous my weeks of being so upset over the whole thing were. So stressed that it was taking a physical toll over what someone thought of me. Just typing that makes me realize how nuts it sounds. Hello approval addiction. Anyway, I spent a good deal of my day questioning why my little brain in cahoots with my heart tends to agonize over this stuff and why I can't give my worries over and just let go, stuff like that. Being afraid of people not liking you is stupid, this was my mantra for the day.

Then tonight Dave came up in conversation, as happens a lot with my friends and I. We were watching videos of Heart and Dave Navarro together, seriously go check that awesomeness out, and I found this interview. Now, like any good fangirl, I know a LOT about Dave. I knew all the facts in the video. But, I found this interview, full of the slap upside the head and perspective I so desperately needed, exactly when I needed it most. The powers that be are kind of awesome like that. The fact that the message I needed to hear came from Dave Navarro is so ironic it would take me hours to explain it. Anyhow, this is Dave talking about overcoming fear. What I got was a hefty dose of perspective on things that are TRULY worth stressing over and no matter how great or small the fear... well we just have to say what's the worst that can happen and keep living.

As for me and my ridiculous stress and worry over people who aren't even important?

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind.” ― Bernard M. Baruch

I may have to remind mysself of that a lot, take a lot of deep breaths, sing Let It Go, and vent time and again, but I will be proactive. I refuse to give anyone that kind of power over me anymore.

Thanks, Dave. XOXO

20 June 2014

Did they really think that was Harry?

English: Prince Harry at a 2009 charity match ...
English: Prince Harry at a 2009 charity match at , London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I consider reality television almost a guilty pleasure. Some I love, love I hate. Some of the families on these shows I adore, others I want to hit the mute button on. I mean really, don't some reality TV stars leave you with your mouth hanging open a little? Snooki anyone? I never even watched that show, but know who she is and that's not a good thing in this case. There's the good, bad, and ugly in this genre, just like with anything else.

One new show has me doing the mouth hanging open thing. I Wanna Marry Harry. This show has 12 beautiful American women travel to the UK to compete for the attention of a Prince Harry look alike. Thus far the dude hasn't said he's Harry, but the show has gone to great lengths to make it seem like he just could be the handsome royal. I have been watching the show on Hulu, which I guess is good because Fox axed the show from their line up. Apparently the ratings were awful. My guess as to why is the same reason I'm writing this post; what are these women thinking? Some of them are highly educated. I don't have a master's degree, but does it really take a genius to realize the royal family is not going to let a potential heir to the throne use a reality television show as a potential dating pool? To be fair, not all the women believed he was the prince, but some did. Some REALLY did. The guy, Matt Hicks, is a cutie and a seems like he'd be a catch even though he's not a royal. It seems one lady thought so, as she walked away with him instead of slapping him across the face. Will they be the new Trista and Ryan? I guess we will see.

What are your thoughts? Am I the only one who questions how these women actually believed this?